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latest news

South Africa
Metalworkers’ union expelled from COSATU

25/11/2014: Rebuild the trade union movement on socialist principles!

  Africa, South Africa

Catalonia
9 November “consultation” on independence

22/11/2014: Another show of strength for independence - fight for a Socialist Catalonia

  Spain

Greece
Workers’ victory at Diamant telesales company

21/11/2014: Xekinima (CWI) member wins key union position in Athens Municipality sector

  Greece

Israel-Palestine
Netanyahu threatens “heavy hand” response to synagogue attacks

19/11/2014: New rounds of repression answered by new wave of rage and protest

  Israel / Palestine

US
Mid-term elections do not mean a turn to the right in society

19/11/2014: Big Gains for Republicans while Voters Support Progressive Ballot Measures

  US

 Video
Socialist TD defends anti-water charges protests

18/11/2014: Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) appears on ‘Prime Time’

  Ireland Republic, Video

Vital lessons of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’

18/11/2014: Mass struggle needs genuine internal democracy and fighting working class programme to defeat dictatorship

  Hong Kong

 Video
Water tax revolt continues in Ireland

17/11/2014: Tanaiste (Deputy PM) trapped by protestors; AAA TD (MP) and Socialist Party member, Paul Murphy, assaulted

  Ireland Republic, Video

Indonesia
"New Hope" president faces intense pressures

16/11/2014: Initiative to build mass party of working class and rural poor urgently needed

  Indonesia

Ukraine
Competing ’elections’ deepen divisions

15/11/2014: Working people need socialist alternative to warring oligarchs and outside powers

  Ukraine

Scotland
SNP government announces £500 million cuts

14/11/2014: Majority of ‘Yes’ voters want end to austerity - anti-cuts candidates needed!

  Scotland

Afghanistan
British combat troops pull out

13/11/2014: A legacy of death and destruction

  Afghanistan, Britain, US

 Germany
Highly politicised train drivers’ strike

12/11/2014: Last week German train drivers and on-board staff went on strike for four days, shaking and polarising the country

  Germany, Solidarity

Greece
Mayors refuse to make job cuts

12/11/2014: Lefts, local authority workers and communities’ united can resist Troika’s policies

  Greece

Britain
Over 1,000 attend largest ever ‘Socialism’ event

11/11/2014: Socialism 2014 - infused with contagious confidence

  Britain

Belgium
Massive demonstration in Brussels

10/11/2014: Shows anger against austerity

  Belgium

Northern Ireland
20 years after the ceasefires

10/11/2014: In 1994, the IRA and Loyalist paramilitaries called ceasefires. Four years later the Good Friday agreement was declared to mark the end of the ‘Troubles’…

  Ireland Republic

Review
Environmental disaster and the need to change everything

09/11/2014: “This Changes Everything: capitalism vs the climate”, by Naomi Klein

  Environment, Review

Germany
25 years since November 9

09/11/2014: Berlin Wall brought down by mass revolutionary movement

  Germany

Canada
Right wing wins Toronto Mayoral election

08/11/2014: NDP increasingly irrelevant to needs of workers, immigrants and youth

  Canada

Elections in Brazil

07/11/2014: Narrow win for Dilma sets scene for more crisis and instability

  Brazil

Russia’s 1917 socialist revolution

07/11/2014: November 7th anniversary of workers taking power

  Russia

Europe
Anti-fascist demonstrations set for 8-9 November

06/11/2014: Movement of workers and youth needed against racism and fascism

  Europe, Greece, Sweden

Canada
Ottawa ‘locked-down’ after Parliament gun attack

05/11/2014: Tory government whips-up terrorist fears to boost Canada’s imperialist role

  Canada

Ireland
Stunning Dublin by-election victory, huge water protests…new chapter for working class resistance

04/11/2014: How the Anti Austerity Alliance won a parliamentary seat and the way forward for the Left

  Ireland Republic

Book review
The Jihadis Return

04/11/2014: Isis and the new Sunni uprising, by Patrick Cockburn

  Middle East, Review

South Africa
Metal workers’ union clashes with Congress of South African Trade Unions

03/11/2014: For political and class independence - Struggle, solidarity and socialism!

  South Africa

Britain
Come to Socialism 2014

03/11/2014: Weekend of discussion & debate hosted by the Socialist Party – London 8-9 November

  Britain

  Ireland
’Abortion Pill Train’ video

02/11/2014: Pro-choice ROSA campaigners swallow abortion pills after rail journey

  Ireland Republic, Video, Women

Italy
Renzi government faces mounting opposition

01/11/2014: A one-day strike of all workers is needed

  Italy

Burkina Faso
Mass uprising ousts dictator

31/10/2014: No to military rule! Continue mass struggle – the whole rotten system must go!

  Burkina Faso

Ireland
Anti-water tax protest in Limerick

31/10/2014: Video of one of the city’s biggest protests

  Ireland Republic

Kurdistan

Turkey continues repression of Kurds

www.socialistworld.net, 17/11/2002
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Kurdish people, known as the Kurds, live in an area that consists of south-eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, north-western Iran and a part of Syria.

Stephen Smellie

Visit to Kurdistan.

Stephen Smellie, South Lanarkshire UNISON branch secretary, recently visited the Kurdish area of Turkey as part of a trade unions delegation. Here he gives a report of the continued repression facing the Kurdish people in Turkey.

Turkey continues oppression of Kurds

The Kurds refer to this area as Kurdistan. The Kurds have their own language, culture and history as ancient as any other people in the region. Historically they have suffered oppression in all 4 countries that they inhabit.

When modern Turkey was established in the 1920s the Kurds were denied any distinct identity by the Turkish state who refused to acknowledge them as a minority group, referring to them as "Hill Turks." Over the years there have been a number of uprisings by Kurds trying to establish their own state, autonomy or simply their own identity. These risings have met with brutal responses from the Turkish state on each occasion.

In the 1980s the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) launched an armed struggle. This led to a prolonged period of civil unrest with the Turkish military occupying the area under military rule and brutally suppressing any support for the PKK. 30,000 people died during the conflict, thousands of villages were cleared with people forced to migrate to the cities, to western Turkey and abroad. Many came to live in western Europe, including Scotland, as asylum seekers and refugees.

During this period thousands of people were detained and tortured by the military. Many of these people disappeared. Families were persecuted and victimised.

Heroic struggle

A member of SES (Health and Social Workers Union) in the city of Van, Turkey brought home to me just how heroic ordinary Kurdish trade unionists need to be to struggle for basic human rights. He said "The head of our union in Van was suspended and exiled for making a statement to an Italian delegation. Since so many more people are here tonight I expect there to be many more suspensions."

I heard similar stories from trade unionists throughout the Region. The Secretary of KESK (Confederation of Public Service Employees) in Diyarbakir explained that when they elect their branch committee they also elect a second committee. This is because the state will target the committee members and probably exile them to other cities in Turkey. The members of the second committee are then able to step in to replace them. However, he pointed out, the second committee often are targeted as well. This makes it difficult to organize, he said with what must be an understatement.

The Kurdish (south east) region of Turkey suffered from years of brutal military rule as the Turkish state fought to defeat the armed struggle of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). 3 years ago the PKK’s leader, Ocalan, declared a ceasefire and since then the PKK armed units have retreated over the border into the hills of Iraq. This however has not ended the human rights abuses of people suspected of supporting the PKK, trade union activists, Kurdish politicians, socialists, lawyers and anyone else who argues for rights for the Kurds or working people.

During the time of the conflict the military destroyed thousands of villages and forced the small peasant farmers to migrate to the cities, to the west of Turkey and to Western Europe. The Kurdish cities were given no additional funding to cope with this huge influx of people. Many of these people had been victims of torture, had seen members of their family detained or murdered by the state or by the village guards. These guards continue to be a problem. Employed originally by the military to report any sympathies among the local population for the PKK, they have now became local warlords who terrorise the villagers and steal the best land for themselves.

Lawyers who represented people accused of supporting "separitism" were themselves targeted by the security forces. 70-80% of the members of the Bar Association in Diyarbakir were prosecuted or had charges brought against them. According to the Medical Association, Doctors, who examined people who had been detained for weeks before they appeared in court and who reported signs of torture, were threatened by the military.

Since the ceasefire the situation has improved but there are still reports of people being tortured in prison. Any country which sends 2 or 3 security police to wait for a Unison activist to come down to breakfast in the morning and follows him around all day for a week clearly has some way to go before it achieves a genuine democracy.

The Turkish state does not allow any language but Turkish to be used in any official setting. So even in schools where the children speak Kurdish teachers must only use Turkish. Failure to stick to this ruling can result in teachers being disciplined or exiled to another city. In the past year a campaign for the right to be taught in Kurdish has gathered momentum amongst students and parents of younger children. Signatures were collected on petitions to be presented to University rectors. This mild form of protest was met by a brutal response by the military. When Razat Bapci, a 19 year old student at Dija University, went to present a petition, he and his 2 colleagues were arrested, searched and beaten up by police before being detained for 3 days. They were sentenced to 3 years and 9 months in jail. They were also suspended from university just at exam time so they were unable to sit them. They are now appealing their sentence.

The teachers union, Egitim Sen, have always supported the right to "Mother Language Education." However when Abdullah Demirbas, the Chair of the unions Diyarbakir branch, made a statement on the subject he was sacked from his job. In the union office he showed me photographs of numerous union activists who had been shot by the state over the years.

While I was in Turkey the election campaign had just begun and many of the trade union and human rights activists I met were supporting DEHAP (the Democratic People’s Party)*. This was an alliance of the Kurdish party HADEP and 2 small socialist parties (EMEP and SP). This combination of nationalist and socialist outlooks continually emerged in the discussions I had with people I met. On the one hand they would emphasise the democratic struggle for Kurdish rights and on the other point out that the struggle in Turkey was against globalisation. On more than one occasion the view was expressed that the unions in Western Europe had not done enough to resist privatization and the programme of the IMF.

The activist from the SES in Van ended his contribution by making a plea for the movement against the War against Iraq. A war would not help either the Kurds in Iraq or in Turkey he said. "I am asking the socialist groups in your country to help us."

*In the election DEHAP received over 40% of the vote in the Kurdish region but only 6% of the vote nationally. They failed to win any seats in the Parliament as parties need to get at least 10% to get candidates elected.

This article was printed in the November 2002 issue of the International Socialilst, monthly paper of the International Socialists, the CWI’s section in Scotland. To receive a regular copy write to CWI, PO Box 6773, Dundee, DD1 1YL or cwi@blueyonder.co.uk



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NEWS

South Africa: Metalworkers’ union expelled from COSATU
25/11/2014, WASP Reporters:
Rebuild the trade union movement on socialist principles!

Catalonia: 9 November “consultation” on independence
22/11/2014, Rob MacDonald Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) Barcelona:
Another show of strength for independence - fight for a Socialist Catalonia

Greece: Workers’ victory at Diamant telesales company
21/11/2014, Xekinima Reporters:
Xekinima (CWI) member wins key union position in Athens Municipality sector

Video: Joe Higgins denounces Irish government’s water charge trickery
20/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Mass boycott will defeat water charges

US: Mid-term elections do not mean a turn to the right in society
19/11/2014, Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative:
Big Gains for Republicans while Voters Support Progressive Ballot Measures

Video: Socialist TD defends anti-water charges protests
18/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) appears on ‘Prime Time’

Venezuela: Scarcity and speculation - whose fault is it?
18/11/2014, Gabriela Sánchez. Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Venezuela):
Who is sabotaging who?

Vital lessons of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’
18/11/2014, chinaworker.info:
Mass struggle needs genuine internal democracy and fighting working class programme to defeat dictatorship

Video: Water tax revolt continues in Ireland
17/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Tanaiste (Deputy PM) trapped by protestors; AAA TD (MP) and Socialist Party member, Paul Murphy, assaulted

Indonesia: "New Hope" president faces intense pressures
16/11/2014, Iyan, CWI Malaysia:
Initiative to build mass party of working class and rural poor urgently needed

Scotland: SNP government announces £500 million cuts
14/11/2014, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Majority of ‘Yes’ voters want end to austerity - anti-cuts candidates needed!

Afghanistan: British combat troops pull out
13/11/2014, Niall Mulholland, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
A legacy of death and destruction

Germany: Highly politicised train drivers’ strike
12/11/2014, Sascha Stanicic, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Germany):
Last week German train drivers and on-board staff went on strike for four days, shaking and polarising the country

Greece: Mayors refuse to make job cuts
12/11/2014, Eleni Mitsou, Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Lefts, local authority workers and communities’ united can resist Troika’s policies

Britain: Over 1,000 attend largest ever ‘Socialism’ event
11/11/2014, Sarah Sachs Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Socialism 2014 - infused with contagious confidence

Belgium: Massive demonstration in Brussels
10/11/2014, Geert Cool, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium):
Shows anger against austerity

Review: Environmental disaster and the need to change everything
09/11/2014, Bill Hopwood, from the November 2014 edition of Socialism Today:
“This Changes Everything: capitalism vs the climate”, by Naomi Klein

Canada: Right wing wins Toronto Mayoral election
08/11/2014, Socialist Alternative Toronto:
NDP increasingly irrelevant to needs of workers, immigrants and youth

Europe: Anti-fascist demonstrations set for 8-9 November
06/11/2014, Anti-fascist organiser, Stockholm:
Movement of workers and youth needed against racism and fascism

Canada: Ottawa ‘locked-down’ after Parliament gun attack
05/11/2014, Socialist Alternative Reporters, Canada:
Tory government whips-up terrorist fears to boost Canada’s imperialist role

Book review: The Jihadis Return
04/11/2014, Reviewed by Paul Gerrard, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Isis and the new Sunni uprising, by Patrick Cockburn

South Africa: Metal workers’ union clashes with Congress of South African Trade Unions
03/11/2014, Moses Mayekiso, WASP President and Numsa founding general secretary (elected while on trail for treason in 1987):
For political and class independence - Struggle, solidarity and socialism!

Britain: Come to Socialism 2014
03/11/2014, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialism 2014 organising team:
Weekend of discussion & debate hosted by the Socialist Party – London 8-9 November

Ireland: ’Abortion Pill Train’ video
02/11/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Pro-choice ROSA campaigners swallow abortion pills after rail journey

Italy: Renzi government faces mounting opposition
01/11/2014, Giuliano Brunetti, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
A one-day strike of all workers is needed

Burkina Faso: Mass uprising ousts dictator
31/10/2014, CWI Reporters, Ivory Coast:
No to military rule! Continue mass struggle – the whole rotten system must go!

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Ireland: Lies and distortions against community protests, the AAA and the Socialist Party
21/11/2014, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) reporters:
Government and Water Charges completely undermined

Israel-Palestine: Netanyahu threatens “heavy hand” response to synagogue attacks
19/11/2014, Yasha Marmer, Socialist Struggle Movement (SSM):
New rounds of repression answered by new wave of rage and protest

Ukraine: Competing ’elections’ deepen divisions
15/11/2014, Rob Jones, CWI Moscow:
Working people need socialist alternative to warring oligarchs and outside powers

Northern Ireland: 20 years after the ceasefires
10/11/2014, Ciaran Mulholland, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
In 1994, the IRA and Loyalist paramilitaries called ceasefires. Four years later the Good Friday agreement was declared to mark the end of the ‘Troubles’…

Germany: 25 years since November 9
09/11/2014, By Robert Bechert, CWI, who was living in Berlin in 1989:
Berlin Wall brought down by mass revolutionary movement

Elections in Brazil
07/11/2014, Andre Ferrari, LSR (CWI in Brazil):
Narrow win for Dilma sets scene for more crisis and instability

Russia’s 1917 socialist revolution
07/11/2014, Clare Doyle, CWI:
November 7th anniversary of workers taking power

Ireland: Stunning Dublin by-election victory, huge water protests…new chapter for working class resistance
04/11/2014, Kevin McLoughlin, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
How the Anti Austerity Alliance won a parliamentary seat and the way forward for the Left

Kurdistan: Battle for Kobanê at a crossroads
31/10/2014, Serge Jordan, CWI:
What does US military ‘assistance’ mean for the Kurdish struggle?

A ‘third industrial revolution’
28/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
New technological innovations are having a huge impact on the capitalist system, a subject explored in a new book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society.

Britain: Anniversary of first issue of Militant newspaper
24/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, from this week’s Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
50 years of socialist ideas and workers’ struggle

Spain: Death knells of "Transition" regime
23/10/2014, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Catalonia; ’Podemos’, and the left

Kazakhstan: Brutal repression in imperialism’s interests
20/10/2014, Mike Whale, Secretary of Campaign Kazakhstan (first published in October 2014 issue of Socialism Today):
Workers pay the price for crony capitalism

Is the US promoting a “colour revolution” in Hong Kong?
18/10/2014, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Beijing’s scare propaganda doesn’t stand up to examination

Britain: Workers need a pay rise - how can we pay for it?
17/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales):
End poverty, inequality and capitalism

Ireland: Byelection triumph marks turning point in anti-austerity struggle
14/10/2014, Eddie McCabe, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Paul Murphy wins parliamentary seat as 100,000 march against water charges

Middle East: US-led policy of air attacks on Islamic State lies in ruins
13/10/2014, Tony Saunois, CWI:
As battle for Kobane rages, IS forces make major gains in Iraq

Ireland: Paul Murphy elected to Irish parliament in stunning byelection victory
12/10/2014, socialistworld.net:
Anti-Austerity Alliance victory shocks political establishment, reflects mass revolt against water charges and austerity

South Africa: "A workers’ party must emerge"
11/10/2014, John Malanga, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI South Africa):
Dire position of South African capitalism and inequality adds momentum towards creation of workers’ party

Israel/Palestine: After the Gaza war
07/10/2014, Shahar Benhorin, Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI Israel-Palestine):
No justice for Palestinians and no peace for the region - For a socialist solution!

Hong Kong: Pro-regime thugs attack protesters
06/10/2014, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI Hong Kong):
Organise democratic defence committees to repel attacks and kick out CY Leung’s government!

Kurdistan: The battle for Kobanê
02/10/2014, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Regional war poses new challenges for struggle for Kurdish self-determination

Iraq /Syria: US-led bombings will worsen divisions
01/10/2014, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
Stop imperialist slaughter!

Hong Kong: Massive anti-government protests after attempted police crackdown
30/09/2014, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Anger over police violence fuels spontaneous “umbrella revolution” and growing strike movement

Scotland: Independence referendum - A working-class revolt
24/09/2014, Peter Taaffe, General Secretary, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
The referendum has turned British politics upside down – even though the No vote won