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latest news

Britain
Terror attack at Westminster

24/03/2017: Unite against terror, racism and war

  Britain

Italy
Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis

22/03/2017: Class struggle can build real left force

  Italy

Spain
Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March

21/03/2017: Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

  Spain

Scotland
Second referendum on independence?

18/03/2017: SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

  Scotland

Brazil
National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten

17/03/2017: For a one-day general strike as the next step

  Brazil

South Africa
Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia

17/03/2017: Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

  South Africa

Netherlands
Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government

16/03/2017: Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

  Netherlands

Yemen
Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies

16/03/2017: International campaign needed to force companies to pay

  Yemen

Hong Kong
Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman

14/03/2017: Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

  Hong Kong

Ireland North
Snap election raises sectarian temperature    

14/03/2017: Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

  Ireland North

Quebec
Counter protest against far-right

13/03/2017: Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

  Quebec

 International Women's Day
Speech by Kshama Sawant

12/03/2017: Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

  Women

 International Women’s Day
Millions join marches and take action

10/03/2017: Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

  Women

 Hong Kong
Women’s march against sexism and racism

09/03/2017: International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

  Women

 Spain
Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike

08/03/2017: ‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

  Women

Pakistan
Political spectacle of the ruling class

08/03/2017: Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

  Pakistan

 International Women’s Day 2017
A century on from the Russian Revolution

06/03/2017: Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

  Women

Britain
Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won

06/03/2017: Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

  Britain

Egypt
Price hikes hit workers and middle classes

04/03/2017: Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

  Egypt

Hong Kong’s sham election

03/03/2017: Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

  Hong Kong

US
Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress

02/03/2017: Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

  US

Sweden
“Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017: What is behind Trump's attack?

  Sweden

Britain/Ireland
Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty

23/02/2017: Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

  Ireland Republic

Ireland
A web of intrigue sparks government crisis

22/02/2017: Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

  Ireland Republic

February revolution 1917
What lessons for today?

21/02/2017: 23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

  Russian Revolution

 Yemen
International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers

20/02/2017: Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

  Solidarity, Yemen

Netherlands
Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections

18/02/2017: Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

  Netherlands

Britain
Council cuts can be fought - and they must be

16/02/2017: Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

  Aceh

Spain
Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress

15/02/2017: Time to build the class struggle on the streets

  Spain

Egypt

Price hikes hit workers and middle classes

www.socialistworld.net, 04/03/2017
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)

Egyptian workers and middle classes have been hit hard by prices almost 30 percent higher in January than a year earlier. But after a period of few strikes and workers’ protests, and despite severe state repression, recent signs show this may be starting to change. 

Prices shooting up

Inflation was around 14 percent even before 3rd November, when the government floated the Egyptian pound, which immediately fell by about a third against the US dollar. Since then it has fallen to half its pre-float exchange rate.

At the same time cuts in government subsidies on basic foods and fuel for all but the poorest were part of a package linked to a US$12billion International Monetary Fund loan. The loan was finalised one week after the subsidies were cut. Shortages of many goods and a new Value Added Tax of 13 percent have added to inflation. Food and drink prices rose seven percent in January alone and 38.6 percent year-on-year.

Two hundred and ten life-saving medicines became unobtainable, except at black market prices 300 percent above the original price. These included drugs for cancer, liver diseases, anaesthetics, kidney dialysis and diabetes. Government billboards on Cairo’s October Bridge and main streets reading, “Courageous reforms will make the road shorter” and “We can ration consumption, reduce our imports,” will have angered those suffering as a result. Pharmacists threatened to strike against a fall in their profit margins from 25 to 18 percent, caused by pharmaceutical companies hoarding drugs priced at pre-shortage levels to sell later at inflated prices.

Growing poverty

Only 15 per cent of the population lead a relatively decent living with reasonable access to some sort of decent education and nutrition (Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics, 2016). The rest live under “very dire conditions that leaves them with very high levels of illiteracy and malnutrition that is harsh enough to affect their physical and mental health negatively.” The government admits there are nine million children “under the poverty line… lacking the most basic, minimum level of care.”

Falling living standards hit the working class and poor hardest but middle class people are also affected. This stretches back beyond the recent fall in exchange rate. The 2015 Global Wealth Report estimated the size of the middle class as five percent of the population, almost half that in 2000 (Credit Suisse Research Institute). Middle class was defined as being “reasonably secure from falling into poverty.” Egypt, the World Bank said, was “a country with stronger downward than upward mobility.”

Although some workers have had wage increases of 50 percent since 2011, purchasing power has not kept pace with prices. Initial gains from the revolution that began on January 25th 2011 have been lost.

Fewer strikes but movement will rebuild

Strike levels fell during 2016 to their lowest level since the downfall of former president Hosni Mubarak. Around 1,736 protests on social and economic issues were recorded, slightly fewer than the 1,955 recorded in 2015. (Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights) These included strikes and rallies, with 478 in the government sector and 107 in the private sector. This compares with 350-460 strikes and workers’ protests a day in February and March 2013, towards the end of Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood presidency.

Strikers have been arrested and tried in military courts, such as Alexandria shipyard workers. Twenty seven workers from food oil refining IFFCO Egypt were arrested in January when striking and sitting-in against low wages and unfair bonus distribution. They were imprisoned for 15 days before being acquitted by the court. Among the defendants were the President and General Secretary of the independent IFFCO Egypt Labour Union. In December 2016 100 tourism police illegally protested against a new shift system.

On February 7th 3,000 textile workers, mostly women, at Mahalla al-Kubra announced a strike over pay. The strike ended the next day after strike leaders were questioned, threatened with prosecution and losing their jobs. The 2006 Mahalla strike marked the beginning of the end for former president Hosni Mubarak’s regime. The number of workers has fallen since then from 24,000 to 15,000 but it is still the largest factory in the country. The recent short strike shows pressures are building and will erupt again at some point.

The explosive growth of independent trade unions after the 2011 revolution has been set back by a combination of exhaustion following the upheavals of 2011-13, heavy repression including torture, imprisonment and victimisation and also, in some cases, collusion between independent union leaders and the state. Meanwhile, in January the state-controlled Egyptian Trade Union Federation, whose leaders were appointed under the Mubarak regime, had its leadership’s term of office extended by another year by parliament’s Manpower Committee - which is dominated by ETUF members!

The 2013 Protest Law requires organisers to inform the police in advance, with large fines for disregarding this. Protesters who “disrupt public order, block traffic, or threaten public safety” face up to five years jail. President Sisi’s government was able to get such repressive laws passed after the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood government, when there was a widespread mood for a return to ‘stability’. These short and relatively small strikes show this mood may now be starting to change. State repression against strikes and protests can hold back workers’ action for a time, but not their growing anger, which will break out again on a wider scale.

A recent Committee for a Workers’ International visitor to Egypt was told that ‘Sisi-mania’ - shirts, cakes and cookies bearing his photo – is no more. Although some older people still support him, with falling enthusiasm, his popularity among others, especially the youth, has eroded.

Sectarian attacks

A suicide bomber killed 29 in a Cairo church in December. The Coptic Christian minority in North Sinai have been subject to increasing bloody sectarian attacks by ISIS. Seven have been murdered in the past month and dozens of families have fled their homes. In 2013 Sisi had widespread support among the Copts who feared the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda was increasing discrimination. These recent attacks are now fuelling anger and a sense that Sisi’s regime is failing to protect them.

There was a strong sense of unity between Muslims and Christians during the uprising against Mubarak, when huge crowds occupied Tahrir and other public squares. Members of each community protected the other during their prayers and many wore symbols of an intertwined cross and crescent. Rebuilding joint struggle on class issues while organising democratic community protection can defeat the sectarian attackers. The capitalist state can never be relied on for protection.

February 1917 – 100 years on

One hundred years years after the outbreak of the Russian revolution, socialists will be studying the lessons for Egypt today. Workers in Russia experienced the defeat of the 1905 revolution followed by several years of reaction and repression before class struggle built again. As the fear of the regime ebbed, new struggles developed. The women textile workers in Petrograd did not expect to spark a revolution when they marched out of their factories demanding bread, but the mood had changed from previous years and the Tsarist regime fell within five days.

Had it not been for Lenin and the Bolshevik party, a capitalist dictatorship would have been restored within months. The vital lessons for socialists today are the need to build a party rooted in the working class that links workers’ daily needs and democratic rights to the tasks of socialist revolution.



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NEWS

Britain: Terror attack at Westminster
24/03/2017, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website :
Unite against terror, racism and war

Belarus: Protesters flood onto streets demanding scrapping of “law against parasites”
21/03/2017, Daniil Raskolnikov (translation of article from the Russian CWI site www.socialist.news):
President Lukashenko must go!

Spain: Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March
21/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes (SE), Spanish Students' Union :
Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

Scotland: Second referendum on independence?
18/03/2017, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) :
SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

South Africa: Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia
17/03/2017, Shaun Arendse, Workers and Socialist Party (CWI South Africa):
Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

International Women’s Day: March in Malaysia and week of activity in Belgium
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Reports from Kuala Lumpur and Brussels

Netherlands: Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government
16/03/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

Russian Revolution: March 1917 - After the fall of Czarism, what next for the revolution?
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
New article on 1917revolution.org

Hong Kong: Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman
14/03/2017, Sally Tang Mei-ching, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

Quebec: Counter protest against far-right
13/03/2017, Michele Hehn, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec) :
Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

International Women's Day: Speech by Kshama Sawant
12/03/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

International Women’s Day: Millions join marches and take action
10/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

Hong Kong: Women’s march against sexism and racism
09/03/2017, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) reporters:
International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

Spain: Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike
08/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes, students’ union in the Spanish state :
‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

Pakistan: Political spectacle of the ruling class
08/03/2017, Tariq Shahzad, National Organiser of IYWM (International Youth and Workers Movement) :
Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

Britain: Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won
06/03/2017, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) deputy general secretary :
Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

Egypt: Price hikes hit workers and middle classes
04/03/2017, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) :
Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

Hong Kong’s sham election
03/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action:
Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

US: Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress
02/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

Catalonia: Historic demonstration in Barcelona in support of refugees
25/02/2017, Esquerra Revolucionària :
'Volem acollir'

Sweden: “Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
What is behind Trump's attack?

Britain/Ireland: Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty
23/02/2017, Neil Cafferky, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

Ireland: A web of intrigue sparks government crisis
22/02/2017, By Cillian Gillespie, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

Yemen: International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers
20/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

Netherlands: Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections
18/02/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Italy: Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis
22/03/2017, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrrente, (CWI in Italy) :
Class struggle can build real left force

Brazil: National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten


17/03/2017, André Ferrari LSR (CWI in Brazil) :
For a one-day general strike as the next step

Yemen: Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies
16/03/2017, Cedric Gerome, CWI :
International campaign needed to force companies to pay

Ireland North: Snap election raises sectarian temperature    
14/03/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

International Women’s Day 2017: A century on from the Russian Revolution
06/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI :
Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

February revolution 1917: What lessons for today?
21/02/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), printed in the Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party):
23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

India: Upheaval in Tamil Nadu
09/02/2017, Sajith Attepuram, New Socialist Alternative (NSA) (CWI India) :
Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

Britain: Universal basic income demand gains ground
08/02/2017, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales) :
What approach should socialists take?

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification
06/02/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

France: After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out
06/02/2017, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France) :
Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

Syria: Is an end to the war in sight?
03/02/2017, Serge Jordan (CWI) :
New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

Sri Lanka: The year 2017
31/01/2017, Siritunga Jayasuriya, United Socialist Party (CWI in Sri Lanka) :
Between oppression and struggle

Canada: Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?
31/01/2017, Tim Heffernan, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada), Toronto

:
Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

Russian Revolution Centenary: January 1917 - On the eve of revolution
29/01/2017, Niall Mulholland, from 1917revolution.org :
War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

Afghanistan: The limits of US power
28/01/2017, Judy Beishon, from Socialism Today (February 2017 issue), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)<br />
<br />
:
Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

US: Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!
27/01/2017, Bryan Koulouris, Socialist Alternative, US :
Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

Millions on women's marches around the world
25/01/2017, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) and reports from US marches :
Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

China: New US President’s approach to China
21/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info :
Outbursts raise fears of confrontation

Ireland North: Snap elections called to Stormont Assembly
17/01/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Build a socialist alternative to the ‘Orange’ versus ‘Green’ headcount

Spain: What kind of Podemos do workers and youth need?
17/01/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spanish state, editorial :
Debate within leadership touches on fundamental issues for future of party

US: Trump prepares vicious attacks
05/01/2017, Philip Locker and Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative (US):
Mass resistance needed!

Russian Revolution centenary
02/01/2017, Editorial from Socialism Today, Dec/Jan 2017 edition:
Defending the legacy in a new era

2017:Upheaval and fightback will continue
01/01/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary :
Everything to play for in 2017

Britain's shifting political contours
22/12/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) from Socialism Today Dec/Jan 2017 edition :
Capitalist establishment in disarray

CWI International Executive Committee: European capitalism “battered by events”
16/12/2016, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Report of discussion on Europe at CWI IEC meeting in November