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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

South Africa

Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia

www.socialistworld.net, 17/03/2017
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

Shaun Arendse, Workers and Socialist Party (CWI South Africa)

Over the past two months a new ‘wave’ of xenophobic violence threatened to engulf South Africa. Isolated attacks against foreign residents and foreign businesses took place in the south of Johannesburg and the west of Pretoria. But the swift action of immigrant groups and organised South African communities, with the Workers and Socialist Party (CWI South Africa) playing a leading role, for now at least, seems to have prevented the sparks from catching fire.

Even so, for several weeks there was near panic amongst foreign residents. They feared a repeat of the 2008 violence that saw 62 murders and the destruction of large numbers of small businesses, or the half dozen killings in 2015 leading to the temporary creation of a ‘refugee camp’ outside of Durban as foreign-residents fled the townships.

The counter campaign led by WASP, founding the Coalition of Civics Against Xenophobia in Pretoria, culminated in a march to Union Buildings (seat of the presidency) on 9 March. Up to 400 marched representing dozens of immigrant groups alongside South African community organisations under the slogan “Unite against poverty, crime and xenophobia”.

Xenophobic statements by Johannesburg mayor

From the end of January, the Mamelodi Concerned Residents (MCR) group, from the huge township to the east of Pretoria distributed leaflets across the city blaming “foreigners” for unemployment, crime and drugs and calling on residents to march against “illegal immigrants”.

This followed xenophobic statements by the new mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba. In December, he put the blame for crime in the city at the feet of “illegal” foreigners, demanded they leave, and called on the national government to restrict immigration. Mashaba is a member of the Democratic Alliance (DA), a white middle class-dominated neo-liberal party, but one that presents itself with a socially liberal face. That Mashaba could make these comments with zero consequences within his party is a symptom of the global ‘Trump effect’.

When Donald Trump was elected to the US presidency the CWI anticipated that his ‘legitimisation’ of anti-immigrant views would produce ‘mini-Trumps’ and embolden reactionary forces across the world. Mashaba has stepped-up to prove us correct! That a black mayor, in a majority black country, could copy the rhetoric of a racist like Trump demonstrates that it is class forces that drive ‘Trumpism’ – namely the crisis of the capitalist system and the complete inability of capitalist parties to put forward any sort of programme capable of overcoming it. The capitalist politicians find xenophobia and other reactionary ideas useful to try and divert attention away from the failures of their rotten profit system. For them they would rather incite a bloodbath by turning the working class against each other than face the possibility of united struggle.

Xenophobia is able to have some influence over some sections of the working class, and especially the unorganized poor and unemployed because of the grinding poverty that the crisis of capitalism means for the majority. In such desperate circumstances, and in the absence of mass organisations to lead disciplined struggle against the real enemies of the working class and poor – the bosses, the capitalist politicians and their system – people will look for any way to push their way to the head of the queue to eat. Indeed, it has become clear that much of the looting that accompanies outbursts of xenophobia is not perpetrated by xenophobic ideologues, but by the most marginalised and ground-down groups in communities – the unemployed youth, drug addicts etc. – who use the political cover given by the likes of Mashaba and the MCR to fill their empty bellies.

Coalition of Civics Against Xenophobia

The Mamelodi Concerned Residents’ march was granted permission without any questions raised by the DA controlled Tshwane (Pretoria) municipality. It went ahead on 24 February. The ANC controlled Department of Home Affairs agreed to meet the leaders of the march and promised a timeous response to their memorandum. Reports from WASP members living in Pretoria indicate that even EFF activists were involved in mobilizing for this march. With no programme for struggle to break with capitalism and address the underlying social problems that can fuel support for xenophobia amongst some sections of the working class and poor, all of the mainstream parties capitulated.

In this vacuum WASP was able to take an initiative. As soon as we became aware of the MCR march we organised the hundreds of worker activists under the #OutsourcingMustFall campaign to distribute leaflets in their townships countering the MCR’s lies and calling for organisation and struggle to deal with the very real issues of poverty, crime and unemployment. On 17 February we organised a public meeting, followed quickly by a second on 19 February appealing to foreign resident and immigrant groups. The response was excellent with 50 and more attending the second meeting representing more than a dozen communities. The meeting agreed to found an Anti-Xenophobia Coalition.

On 22 February, two days before the planned MCR march, the Coalition went ahead with a press conference with Mametlwe Sebei and Themba Ncalo (both leading members of WASP), alongside a leader of the Congolese community, acting as the Coalition’s spokespeople. Over the next two days these WASP leaders dominated the TV, radio and newspapers. This played an important role in giving confidence to the vast majority of South Africans who are opposed to xenophobia, and the tide, especially in the media, began to turn against the MCR and their march. We put forward a clear call for the organisation of community self-defence patrols to defend foreign residents and businesses in the run up to the march.

In a major victory for the campaign, Mashaba was forced to ‘clarify’ his xenophobic statements as having been misinterpreted. President Zuma finally made a public comment only the day before the MCR march, but this was only because the South African cell phone operator MTN’s Nigerian offices were attacked in retaliation to violence targeting Nigerians. Disgracefully, his message was one of irritation that anti-immigrant sentiment is also normal in Europe but it does not get labelled as ‘xenophobia’! This is another stark demonstration that reactionaries like Zuma think that the rise of right-populism in other parts of the world can justify their own capitulation to it.

When the possibility of withdrawing permission for the MCR march began to be debated in the media, the ANC-led South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) and ANC-led Congress of South African Students (COSAS) intervened to mediate between the organisers and the Pretoria West police to ensure it went ahead as a ‘peaceful’ march – albeit still a xenophobic one!

The Somali community in particular responded to the call to organise community self-defence. On the night of the MCR march WASP leaders attended a community meeting in Pretoria West and played a direct role in organising patrols. In other areas, WASP members patrolled as part of their Community Policing Forum networks. In one area at the heart of the violence, WASP members reported that known ANC Youth League activists were trying to organise and incite looting against foreign businesses. That there was an orchestrated effort to incite a new wave of violence under the cover of ‘xenophobia’ is beyond doubt.

Marching forward

In the end, the MCR march, despite work to organise it taking place over months and it being talked about intensely in the media for weeks, failed to attract more than a few hundred. It was a dismal failure. The organisers themselves blamed the Workers and Socialist Party for this.

The anti-xenophobia Coalition decided to go ahead with its own march that would put the issues of tackling crime and poverty at its heart. By now the Coalition had been joined by an organisation of hawkers and small traders from Mamelodi itself. This was crucial for showing the real views of the residents of Mamelodi – these traders marched under slogans including “the mall is taking our jobs not our African brothers”.

In stark contrast however to the tacit support of the authorities for the MCR march, the Coalition’s march was obstructed at every turn. In the end it went ahead as an ‘illegal gathering’ and the Office of the President refused to even send a representative to receive our memorandum. This was a very important learning curve for the Coalition. The government had not been silent because they were unaware of the growing xenophobia; on the contrary they supported it.

Whilst the immediate threat of widespread xenophobic violence appears to have receded, the task of organising communities – uniting foreign residents and local – is just beginning. With the successes of the campaign under the Coalition’s belt, the strategic task of forming a country-wide socialist civic federation can take steps forward.

 



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A socialist world is possible, the history of the cwi with new introduction by Peter Planning green growth, a contribution to the debate on enviromental sustainability

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