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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

US
A socialist strategy to defeat Trump

14/02/2017: Escalate the resistance toward shutdowns on March 8 and May 1!

  US

Scotland
Greens back SNP government austerity budget

13/02/2017: TUSC council elections candidates put forward 100% anti-austerity programme

  Scotland

India
Upheaval in Tamil Nadu

09/02/2017: Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

  India

Britain
Universal basic income demand gains ground

08/02/2017: What approach should socialists take?

  Britain

Yemen
Workers protest at parliament against TOTAL and G4S

07/02/2017: Security workers demand wages and arrest of colleagues’ killers

  Yemen

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification

06/02/2017: Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

  Spain

France
After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out

06/02/2017: Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

  France

Romania
Biggest street protests since 1989

04/02/2017: What position should the left take?

  Romania

Syria
Is an end to the war in sight?

03/02/2017: New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

  Syria

Quebec
Terrorist Attack in Québec City

01/02/2017: Counter terrorism and hate with solidarity

  Quebec

 CWI
9th Latin American school a success

31/01/2017: Over 200 participate in Sao Paolo CWI continental gathering

  CWI

Sri Lanka
The year 2017

31/01/2017: Between oppression and struggle

  Sri Lanka

Canada
Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?

31/01/2017: Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

  Canada

US
Airport protests help block Trump travel ban

30/01/2017: Defend immigrant communities

  US

Russian Revolution Centenary
January 1917 - On the eve of revolution

29/01/2017: War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

  Russian Revolution

China
CWI member Hu Xufang forced to flee

28/01/2017: Xu and his family are victims of China’s deepening police crackdown

  China

Afghanistan
The limits of US power

28/01/2017: Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

  Afghanistan

US
Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!

27/01/2017: Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

  US

Russia
Duma legislates to decriminalise domestic violence

26/01/2017: For unified struggle for women’s rights and against capitalism

  Russia

Tamil Nadu
Mass protests against state repression

26/01/2017: Support the right to assemble and protest - release those arrested immediately!

  India

Millions on women's marches around the world

25/01/2017: Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

  US

Bangladesh
Hartal protest against power plant

25/01/2017: Follows mass strike of garment workers in December

  Bangladesh

Côte d’Ivoire
Social revolts shake Ouattara regime

24/01/2017: Public sector strike and soldiers’ mutiny expose reality behind “economic growth”

  Ivory Coast

Taiwan
US foreign policy under Trump

24/01/2017: Island risks being pawn in his game

  Taiwan

US
CWI joins protests around the world against Trump

23/01/2017: Photo gallery selection of CWI actions during weekend of mass protests

  US

US
Kshama Sawant responds to Trump inauguration speech

23/01/2017: Socialist council member speaks

  US

South Africa

Union leadership attacks workers

www.socialistworld.net, 12/07/2003
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

The entire labour movement should be outraged by the draconian actions of the National Office Bearers (NOBs) of the Chemical Paper, Printing Wood and Allied Workers Union.

First published in the April-May edition of Izwi La Basebenzi (Voice of the workers), the newspaper of the Democratic Socialist Movement, affiliated section of the CWI in South Africa.

The suspension of the Wits Regional Office Bearers (ROBs) and National Executive Committee (NEC) delegates over the call by the Wits Regional Shop Stewards Council (RSSC) for a Workers Referendum on the Tripartite Alliance and the 2004 elections, is a serious attack on union democracy. This political suppression -- the occupation of the offices and the imposition of what workers rightly call a “Bush” regime on the region, the changing of office locks, the forcible eviction of the regional deputy chairperson from the office, the collaboration with the bosses to intimidate them for marching and suspending their subs, and posting of security at the offices -- undermine a cornerstone Cosatu’s foundations: worker control.

The NOBs are saying workers cannot, in fact are not allowed to think for themselves. This could split Ceppawu and will ripple throughout Cosatu, threatening possibly its very existence in the future.

Without even discussing with the Wits Region the Cosatu May Central Executive Committee has worsened the situation by taking a position, repeating the Ceppawu NOBs’ blatant lies that the suspensions were “for failing to respect the decisions of the union arrived at through a democratic process. They argue that “Cosatu is a home for all political and ideological tendencies...”, except apparently, the Anti-Privatisation Porum. The claim that “Ceppawu is coming under attack from the Anti-Privatisation Campaign”(sic) is false and hypocritical. The crisis in Ceppawu has been brewing long before the APF, which correctly answered the call for solidarity action from the workers themselves, was born.

The CEC’s argument that “once a decision is taken in the constitutional structures, all, particularly those elected into positions of leadership, must defend these even though they may not be in agreement.” (Cosatu Weekly 30/05/03) has nothing to do with democratic centralism, which presupposes the participation of the membership in a democratic process, not the imposition of a decision from the top. The CEC made no effort to “hear the other side” – a basic principle of natural justice. This is not democratic but bureaucratic centralism – the leadership determines the ‘line’ and the membership obeys without question.

The Ceppawu NOBs arrogant decision to conduct an investigation into a decision taken by the Wits Region is in reality a political witchhunt against any workers who dare to challenge them. They are refusing to meet the RSSC – the most representative body in the Region-- so they can divide workers. The Ceppawu NOBs and Cosatu CEC are in fact saying that the ROBs should have disregarded the mandate of the members that elected them. This is the substitution of worker control with a bureaucratic dictatorship.

The CEC decision will aggravate the Ceppawu, and similar crises simmering below the surface in other affiliates. Already 10 000 Ceppawu Wits Region members have suspended union subscription payments The Ceppawu NOBs, emboldened by the CEC’s backing, have called an emergency NEC for June 12th. The NEC will likely decide on further action probably against comrade John Appolis, the Regional Secretary, making him a scapegoat. They hope this will intimidate workers and break their unity. Comrade Appolis’ sin is that he happens to be the APF chairperson.

The crisis is at root political

The Cosatu leadership is hiding behind principles of organisational discipline to deflect attention from the real issue raised by the Ceppawu workers – the political crisis in the Tripartite Alliance. It is no accident that the October 2002 two-day anti-privatisation general strike brought matters to a head.

Comrades John Appolis and regional deputy chairperson, Vuyani Tayika pointed out during an interview with the DSM, that many Ceppawu workers had refused to participate in the October general strike. Johnson & Johnson workers said they opposed privatisation, but were no longer prepared to blindly follow leaders using them to let off steam because of pressure from below. They felt that the Cosatu leadership, paralysed by loyalty to the ANC – the Alliance leader, had no intention of carrying the fight to the end.

Lessons of the October Nnti-Privatisation General Strike

Unlike the Cosatu leadership, workers have learned the lessons of the October 2002 anti-privatisation general strike.

President Mbeki accused Cosatu of being under “ultra left” influence, of attempting to impose a “socialist agenda” on the ANC and of failing to understand that the ANC was never socialist. In a contemptuous dismissal of the general strike, the working class and Cosatu, the government, added insult to injury by announcing plans for listing Telkom the day after the strike.

Like a bolt of lighting after a thunderstorm, the October 2002 general strike illuminated the political landscape, burning lessons into the consciousness of the working class. Things that had been evident for some time became blindingly clear. Mbeki, as president of the ANC and the country, used the events to make clear once and for all that the ANC:

  • is irreversibly committed to Gear and privatisation
  • is a party of capitalism for which the interests of big business takes precedence over those that voted it into office – the working class
  • as the leader of the Tripartite Alliance it regards anything other than unquestioning obedience from Cosatu as disloyal
  • expects the Cosatu leadership to control workers by preventing strikes not encouraging them

Conscious of the growing alienation of the masses and recognising, with three general strikes in as many years during his presidency, that the awakening of the working class poses the biggest threat to the political authority of his government, Mbeki deliberately raised the temperature around the general strike. In words and deeds, Mbeki drew a line in the sand of class struggle. He dared the Cosatu leadership to step across. Instead of getting off their knees the COSATU leadership are creeping on their bellies.

We are beyond the point where replies such as Madisha’s that workers are “ultra-hungry” will restore confidence in their leadership. For the masses it is action that counts. Unlike Mbeki, the Cosatu leadership did not put deeds behind their words. Whilst sharply denouncing privatisation, Gear and Mbeli’s labeling, they continue to plead pathetically that the Alliance’s end would be a disaster for the working class.

Whereas the 2000 and 2001 general strikes were well supported, last year’s received patchy support. Despite denials by the Cosatu and SACP leaders, workers understood the strike was political and directed against the government as were the two previous general strikes in 2000 and 2001. This is why posters of former Cosatu general secretary and Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa were torn down and burnt. More significantly, workers have begun to draw the conclusion that the Cosatu leadership is part of the problem.

ANC now a conscious party of capitalism

The Cosatu leadership blames mysterious, unidentified forces for the ANC government stance, pledging to continue to fight for its soul. They have abandoned the programme of rolling mass action for meaningless forums such as the one Restructuring of State Assets, the Millennium Labour Council, Ekhuruleni Summit and the Growth and Development Summit. Like a drowning man clutching at straws, the Cosatu leadership complain, as they undoubtedly will after the GDS, that agreements are not respected because the “ANC lacks capacity.”

Yet Mbeki’s statement that the ANC was never a socialist organisation is the bitter truth. The ANC’s policies are consistent with its historic mission: to create a rich black capitalist class. This was always its aim even during its most radical days of the Freedom Charter. Nor does it help to imagine that the differences between Mandela and Mbeki are fundamental. Tata will not rescue the situation. Such differences as there are have much more to do with style than programmatic substance. Gear, was adopted under the Mandela presidency. By declaring privatisation as the ANC’s “fundamental policy”, he effectively buried the Freedom Charter.

As long ago as 1956, Mandela made it clear that the Freedom Charter was not a blueprint for socialism. Instead its implementation would “.. open up fresh fields for the development of a prosperous non-European bourgeois class.” (“In Our Lifetime”, published in Liberation, (June 1956). The Mbeki government’s Black Economic Empowerment programme is fulfilling this aim. This has required the preservation of capitalism and therefore the continued oppression and exploitation of the working class. This is why the cautious, even suspicious toenadering between the ANC and Big Business has transformed into mutual admiration. The interests of the working class and the capitalist class are incompatible and irreconcilable. This is the underlying basis for the repeated conflict between Cosatu and the ANC government

Capitalism with a human face an illusion

Instead of accepting this, the Cosatu leadership itself denounces “ultra-leftism” for not recognising the reality of the present “balance of forces”. This mechanical and undialectical reasoning.only leads to capitulation to capitalism and Cosatu’s own involvement in privatisation as Mbeki so scornfully reminded them. The point, however, as Marx said in a different context, is to change the balance of forces by subordinating (not excluding) negotiations to mass actions, exposing the fact that capitalism is incapable of satisfying the basic need of the masses; to raise the consciousness of the working class, and to actively campaign for the socialist transformation of society. The Cosatu leaders tactic of “engagement” creates the illusion that capital can be “disciplined”.. This approach inevitably leads to accepting, as Vavi repeated at the Growth and Development Summit, that workers employed on public works programmes would accept lower wages and conditions. This creates a two-tier labour market undermining decades-old gains.

The SACP’s claim that the ANC is “social democratic” ignores the fact that worker rights in the far more developed social democracies in Europe are under attack unleashing a strike wave of millions. Millions in the Third World – in India, Peru and Zimbabwe -- are resisting neo-liberalism. SA capitalism is not of a special type capable of satisfying the needs of the masses

The SACP has no intention of being an alternative to the ANC. Comrade Blade Ndzimande has made the astonishing statement that not only is the ANC not neo-liberal, it could even be converted to socialism! These preposterous positions have split the SACP down the middle at a leadership level. In open defiance of the SACP Central Committee’s decisions to support the general strike, central committee members, Ronnie Kasrils and Jeff Radebe took out full-page newspaper advertisements denouncing the strike. No action has been taken against them because supporting and denouncing party decisions are both in line with official SACP policy! Like in a circus, it all depends on which hat you wear.

The Wits Region of Ceppawu is merely the advance guard of wider layers of workers drawing the same conclusion: that unless Cosatu is taken out of the Alliance, it will not be able to play the role it was created for – to defend and advance the interests of the working class. This is what has driven the Ceppawu Wits Region, to take matters into their own hands.

Cosatu facing implosion

It is perfectly clear that the Ceppawu leadership is prepared to in effect expel 10 000 members and break up the union rather than allow workers to engage in a democratic debate and draw their own conclusions. The Ceppawu NOB’s and Cosatu CEC leadership’s position is that workers are allowed to review the Alliance as much as they like provided they end up supporting the ANC.

Cosatu does not have a God-given right to exist. If the leadership continues to sacrifice the interests of workers on the altar of class collaboration, Cosatu will ultimately disintegrate. This would represent a serious setback for the working class for which the Cosatu leadership will be criminally responsible. The deep divisions in Cosatu are precisely around the Alliance. The Commission of Inquiry into Nehawu concluded that it is split into pro-ANC and pro-SACP factions. An independent audit found that 11 of Cosatu’s 19 affiliates are in such a serious financial crisis that they may not last the next four years.

For a Mass Workers Party on a Socialist Programme

The Ceppawu Wits region’s courageous stance has done the whole movement a service. Placed in an impossible situation by the leadership – either continued political imprisonment in the Alliance or class independence outside the union -- they may have no alternative but to break away. It is regrettable that they may have no choice but to accept this. This should be regarded as taking one step back in order to take two steps forward. They must reach out to fellow workers by establishing a campaign for the restoration of worker control, democracy and socialism in Cosatu. The establishment of left opposition committees throughout all affiliates should be initiated. The issues should be taken into working class communities. With the APF, plans to put up independent worker candidates in the 2005 local government elections should be made now.

Breaking away from the Alliance poses the question of an alternative. The DSM believes that the answer lies in the formation of a mass workers party on a socialist programme.



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NEWS

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?

Solidarity: French presidential candidate Mélenchon backs #JobstownNotGuilty campaign
17/02/2017, socialistworld.net :
Support the international solidarity campaign

Britain: Council cuts can be fought - and they must be
16/02/2017, Editorial comments from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) :
Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

Spain: Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress
15/02/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spain:
Time to build the class struggle on the streets

US: A socialist strategy to defeat Trump
14/02/2017, Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council Woman and member of Socialist Alternative :
Escalate the resistance toward shutdowns on March 8 and May 1!

Greece: Athens’ bus cleaners win bulk of wages owed
14/02/2017, Eleni Mitsou (Xekinima - CWI Greece) and Apostolis Cassimere’s (Board Member of OASA - Athens Bus Workers’ Union):
The struggle continues!

Scotland: Greens back SNP government austerity budget
13/02/2017, Matt Dobson, Socialist Paty Scotland (CWI), Glasgow:
TUSC council elections candidates put forward 100% anti-austerity programme

Yemen: Workers protest at parliament against TOTAL and G4S
07/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Security workers demand wages and arrest of colleagues’ killers

Romania: Biggest street protests since 1989
04/02/2017, Mâna de Lucru (CWI supporters in Romania):
What position should the left take?

Quebec: Terrorist Attack in Québec City
01/02/2017, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Canada) :
Counter terrorism and hate with solidarity

CWI: 9th Latin American school a success
31/01/2017, socialistworld.net:
Over 200 participate in Sao Paolo CWI continental gathering

US: Airport protests help block Trump travel ban
30/01/2017, Socialist Alternative reporters, US :
Defend immigrant communities

China: CWI member Hu Xufang forced to flee
28/01/2017, chinaworker.info reporters :
Xu and his family are victims of China’s deepening police crackdown

Russia: Duma legislates to decriminalise domestic violence
26/01/2017, From Socialist Alternative (Russian CWI) website (socialist.news) :
For unified struggle for women’s rights and against capitalism

Tamil Nadu: Mass protests against state repression
26/01/2017, Isai Priya, from Tamil Solidarity website :
Support the right to assemble and protest - release those arrested immediately!

Bangladesh: Hartal protest against power plant
25/01/2017, Pete Mason, Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales) :
Follows mass strike of garment workers in December

Côte d’Ivoire: Social revolts shake Ouattara regime
24/01/2017, Militant Côte d’Ivoire (CWI group in Côte d’Ivoire) :
Public sector strike and soldiers’ mutiny expose reality behind “economic growth”

Taiwan: US foreign policy under Trump
24/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Island risks being pawn in his game

US: CWI joins protests around the world against Trump
23/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
Photo gallery selection of CWI actions during weekend of mass protests

US: Kshama Sawant responds to Trump inauguration speech
23/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
Socialist council member speaks

Russian Revolution Centenary: New site celebrates and defends October socialist revolution
20/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
1917revolution.org brings rich lessons of 100 years ago to wide audience

Kazakhstan: Regime increases repression
20/01/2017, Andrei Prigor from Campaign Kazakhstan:
Citizens forced to register with police at all times

US: Global resistance against Trump’s inauguration
20/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
CWI organizes protests as millions prepare to fight Trump’s agenda

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

CWI International Executive Committee: World shaken by seismic political events
14/12/2016, Kevin Parslow, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Report of first session of the CWI International Executive Committee, discussing World Relations

World capitalism in deep crisis
08/12/2016, CWI :
Perspectives documents agreed by November CWI international meeting

Sudan: Three day nationwide strike shuts down the country, in unique defiance of Al-Bashir’s rule
30/11/2016, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Escalation of the struggle needed to overthrow repressive regime

US: Trump prepares attacks on working people,immigrants and women
27/11/2016, Tom Crean and Philip Locker, Socialist Alternative (USA):
We must prepare massive resistance!

Cuba: Fidel Castro, leader of 1959 revolution, dies at 90
26/11/2016, Tony Saunois, CWI :
Castro's life and the Cuban Revolution