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latest news

Greece
Bus cleaners renew strike after management’s broken promises

29/05/2016: "Triple-oppressed workers - immigrants, women and low-paid – show way forward"

  Greece

Congo
Day of Protest 26 May

28/05/2016: New massacres in mineral-rich region

  Congo

 Kazakhstan
Embassy protests in solidarity with struggle against land privatisation and for democratic rights

27/05/2016: Soldarity actions take place internationally against Nazarbayev regime

  Kazakhstan, Solidarity

Brazil
Mass protests against new government begin

27/05/2016: LSR (CWI) forces participation highlighted

  Brazil

 Solidarity
Brutal bosses attack striking Lisbon Dockers

25/05/2016: Protest and solidarity messages needed

  Solidarity

Austria
Only 31,026 votes prevent far right’s Hofer becoming president

24/05/2016: ‘Breathing space’ offers chance to build a fighting, democratic left alternative

  Austria

Britain
EU referendum exposes gaping political fault-lines

24/05/2016: New road can open up for labour movement if working class relies on its own forces

  Britain

Kazakhstan
Massive police operation confronts demonstrators

23/05/2016: Nazarbayev regime faces mounting opposition

  Kazakhstan

Australia
Federal election looming

21/05/2016: How should the labour and social movements respond?

  Australia

Kazakhstan
 Anger against Nazarbayev expressed on the streets

20/05/2016: ‘Illegal’ protests planned for Saturday 21 May

  Kazakhstan

Brazil
Fall of President Dilma Rousseff unleashes offensive against working class

19/05/2016: The impeachment process and historic crisis of the PT (Workers’ Party)

  Brazil

Britain
Brexit, the EU and the economy

19/05/2016: Remain or Leave, workers must fight for socialist change

  Britain

Nigeria
General strike begins

18/05/2016: Determined leadership and clear strategy needed to succeed

  Nigeria

Ireland
‘Jobstown trials’ to go ahead

18/05/2016: Government loses battle on water charges but wages war on Left

  Ireland Republic

Greece
Striking Athens bus cleaners continue their struggle

17/05/2016: Court declares strike ‘lawful’

  Greece

Canada
Fire devastates Fort McMurray

16/05/2016: Capitalism equals environmental destruction

  Canada

Saudi Arabia
Gathering storms over the House of Saud

13/05/2016: Collapse of oil prices expose fragile foundations of oil Gulf monarchies

  Middle East, Qatar, Saudi Arabia

France
New stage in battle over labour law

12/05/2016: Hollande’s decision to over-rule parliament provokes another round of struggle

  France

Kazakhstan
Protests erupt

12/05/2016: Phoney elections have not brought stability

  Kazakhstan

Sweden
Successful Congress for CWI forces

12/05/2016: Political foundations laid for new branches and growth in other Nordic countries

  Sweden

Ireland
100th anniversary of the execution of James Connolly

12/05/2016: Revolutionary socialist, militant workers' leader and internationalist

  Ireland Republic

Northern Ireland
Main parties win Assembly elections…

11/05/2016: But positive moves against sectarian politics

  Ireland North

Belgium
Trade unions announce new plan of action

11/05/2016: Call for two national demonstrations, building towards general strikes

  Belgium

Quebec
The fight for $15 shows true colors of Parti Québecois

10/05/2016: No to an all-class pro-independence alliance

  Quebec

Britain
Elections show anger and fragmentation

10/05/2016: Mobilise the anti-austerity mood into a mass, democratic movement to defeat the right

  Britain

Scotland
SNP win elections

09/05/2016: New openings for a socialist left alternative emerge

  Scotland

Ireland
How long can Kenny’s government last?

07/05/2016: Minority government supported by two main parties and “Independents” formed

  Ireland Republic

 Video
Paul Murphy sets record straight on "legal aid"

06/05/2016: Socialist MP threatened with jail for protesting against water charges responds to attacks in Irish parliament

  Video

South Africa
Zuma must go!

06/05/2016: Build a socialist mass workers’ party for a government of the working class

  South Africa

 Solidarity
Portuguese dock workers’ indefinite strike

05/05/2016: What we cannot do: leave the dockers alone

  Solidarity

Britain
90th anniversary of epochal general strike

05/05/2016: When workers tasted power

  Britain

Hong Kong
Racist smear campaign against refugees

05/05/2016: Socialist Action (CWI) initiates successful anti-racist march

  Aceh

May Day 2016
Rallies and marches mark international workers' day

04/05/2016: Photo gallery of CWI's global May Day participation

  May Day

Ireland
Water charges suspended

03/05/2016: Protest movement and boycott force huge Establishment parties climb down

  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

Greece: Bus cleaners renew strike after management’s broken promises
29/05/2016, Interview with Apostolis Kassimeris, member of Xekinima and of Executive of OASA Workers’ Union (Athens bus drivers' union) :
"Triple-oppressed workers - immigrants, women and low-paid – show way forward"

Congo: Day of Protest 26 May
28/05/2016, Per-Åke Westerlund, Jose Nsimba-Lobela and Congo Moko, Offensiv, weekly paper of Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
New massacres in mineral-rich region

Kazakhstan: Embassy protests in solidarity with struggle against land privatisation and for democratic rights
27/05/2016, Campaign Kazakhstan:
Soldarity actions take place internationally against Nazarbayev regime

Brazil: Mass protests against new government begin
27/05/2016, socialistworld.net:
LSR (CWI) forces participation highlighted

Solidarity: Brutal bosses attack striking Lisbon Dockers
25/05/2016, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Portugal) reporters:
Protest and solidarity messages needed

Britain: EU referendum exposes gaping political fault-lines
24/05/2016, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party England & Wales):
New road can open up for labour movement if working class relies on its own forces

Kazakhstan: Massive police operation confronts demonstrators
23/05/2016, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Nazarbayev regime faces mounting opposition

Australia: Federal election looming
21/05/2016, Editorial from May 2016 edition of ‘The Socialist’ (paper of the Socialist Party – CWI Australia) :
How should the labour and social movements respond?

Kazakhstan: Anger against Nazarbayev expressed on the streets
20/05/2016, socialistworld.net :
‘Illegal’ protests planned for Saturday 21 May

Britain: Brexit, the EU and the economy
19/05/2016, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party England & Wales) :
Remain or Leave, workers must fight for socialist change

Nigeria: General strike begins
18/05/2016, HT Soweto, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI Nigeria):
Determined leadership and clear strategy needed to succeed

Greece: Striking Athens bus cleaners continue their struggle
17/05/2016, Articles from Xekinima (CWI Greece) website :
Court declares strike ‘lawful’

Canada: Fire devastates Fort McMurray
16/05/2016, Bill Hopwood, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada) Vancouver :
Capitalism equals environmental destruction

Kazakhstan: Protests erupt
12/05/2016, Sergei Skobelev, CWI Russia:
Phoney elections have not brought stability

Sweden: Successful Congress for CWI forces
12/05/2016, Kristofer Lundberg, Rättvisepartiet Socialistern:
Political foundations laid for new branches and growth in other Nordic countries

Northern Ireland: Main parties win Assembly elections…
11/05/2016, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
But positive moves against sectarian politics

Quebec: The fight for $15 shows true colors of Parti Québecois
10/05/2016, Bruno, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec):
No to an all-class pro-independence alliance

Britain: Elections show anger and fragmentation
10/05/2016, Hannah Sell, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, CWI England & Wales):
Mobilise the anti-austerity mood into a mass, democratic movement to defeat the right

Scotland: SNP win elections
09/05/2016, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
New openings for a socialist left alternative emerge

Ireland: How long can Kenny’s government last?
07/05/2016, By Kevin McLoughlin, Socialist Party (CWI in Irelnd):
Minority government supported by two main parties and “Independents” formed

Video: Paul Murphy sets record straight on "legal aid"
06/05/2016, socialistworld.net:
Socialist MP threatened with jail for protesting against water charges responds to attacks in Irish parliament

South Africa: Zuma must go!
06/05/2016, Editorial from Izwi Labasebenzi (WASP - CWI South Africa) :
Build a socialist mass workers’ party for a government of the working class

Solidarity: Portuguese dock workers’ indefinite strike
05/05/2016, Socialismo Revolucionário (CWI in Portugal) Statement:
What we cannot do: leave the dockers alone

Hong Kong: Racist smear campaign against refugees
05/05/2016, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Socialist Action (CWI) initiates successful anti-racist march

France: Striking workers join students and youth in mass demonstrations
04/05/2016, Naomi Byron, Paris (first published in The Socialist):
Build a general strike movement!

May Day 2016: Rallies and marches mark international workers' day
04/05/2016, socialistworld.net :
Photo gallery of CWI's global May Day participation

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Austria: Only 31,026 votes prevent far right’s Hofer becoming president
24/05/2016, Sonja Grusch, SLP (the Austrian section of the CWI):
‘Breathing space’ offers chance to build a fighting, democratic left alternative

Brazil: Fall of President Dilma Rousseff unleashes offensive against working class
19/05/2016, André Ferrari, LSR (‘Freedom, Socialism and Revolution’ - CWI Brazil):
The impeachment process and historic crisis of the PT (Workers’ Party)

Ireland: ‘Jobstown trials’ to go ahead
18/05/2016, Kieran Mahon, Anti-Austerity Alliance / Socialist Party Councillor, Dublin:
Government loses battle on water charges but wages war on Left

Saudi Arabia: Gathering storms over the House of Saud
13/05/2016, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Collapse of oil prices expose fragile foundations of oil Gulf monarchies

France: New stage in battle over labour law
12/05/2016, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Hollande’s decision to over-rule parliament provokes another round of struggle

Ireland: 100th anniversary of the execution of James Connolly
12/05/2016, Three articles on Connolly’s life and ideas :
Revolutionary socialist, militant workers' leader and internationalist

Belgium: Trade unions announce new plan of action
11/05/2016, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium) Reporters:
Call for two national demonstrations, building towards general strikes

Britain: 90th anniversary of epochal general strike
05/05/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) general secretary:
When workers tasted power

Israel/Palestine: The Marxist left, the national conflict and the
Palestinian struggle

29/04/2016, Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI Israel-Palestine):
The necessity of a class approach and a socialist alternative

France: One-day strike set for 28 April
26/04/2016, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
A final stage before indefinite action against Hollande’s government?

US: The un-Democratic Primary
22/04/2016, Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative Seattle, originally published on counterpunch.org:
Why we need new party of the 99%

Capitalism: a failing system
18/04/2016, Peter Taaffe, from May edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
A new book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, analyses the downward course of the US economy – and the limits of the whole capitalist system

Review: ’Militant’ by Michael Crick
14/04/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary:
Lessons of Militant vital for anti-austerity struggles today

US election turmoil
01/04/2016, By Tony Saunois (CWI Secretary) who recently visited the US for meetings of Socialist Alternative:
Bernie Sanders campaign - an opportunity to build a new party of the 99%

Britain: A new moment
28/03/2016, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), published in April 2016 issue of Socialism Today:
Extracts from a statement discussed at the Socialist Party’s recent congress

Ireland: 100th anniversary of Easter 1916 Rising
26/03/2016, Cillian Gillespie, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
A revolt against imperial power and war

History: When Khrushchev denounced Stalin
26/03/2016, Niall Mulholland, from Socialism Today (April 2016 issue of the monthly journal of Socialist Party, England & Wales):
1956 ‘secret speech’ a devastating blow to Stalinist regimes

11th CWI World Congress: World Perspectives
22/03/2016, socialistworld.net:
Amended agreed version of the World Perspectives document agreed by the CWI’s 11th World Congress

Germany: Big gains for right-wing, nationalist, AfD in state elections
22/03/2016, Sascha Stanicic, Sozialistische Alternative (CWI in Germany):
DIE LINKE (Left Party) urgently needs to change course

US: Sanders needs to run as an independent in November
18/03/2016, Calvin Priest, Socialist Alternative (CWI supporters in USA):
Continuing the Political Revolution

European Union: Alliance with Turkey to close borders
09/03/2016, Per-Ãke Westerlund, from Offensiv - the weekly paper of Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
Crises for refugees - and the EU – continues

Germany: Between hatred and solidarity
08/03/2016, By Sascha Stanicic, Sozialistische Alternative (CWI in Germany):
The situation in Germany

Turkey: No intervention in Syria! Stop the war on the Kurds!
01/03/2016, By Murat Karin, Sosyalist Alternatif (CWI in Turkey) and Paula Mitchell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Two articles on the current situation in Turkey and Kurdistan

US: Nevada Goes to Clinton – Sanders Looks to Super Tuesday
26/02/2016, Calvin Priest, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the USA):
Huge enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders’ call for a political revolution leads to serious challenge to Hillary Clinton

Five years on from the “Arab Spring”
20/02/2016, Serge Jordan (CWI), article to be published in the March 2016 edition of Socialism Today, No.196.:
The “Arab Spring” revolutionary wave brought dictators in Tunisia and Egypt crashing down. It swept through the Middle East, inspiring workers and youth the world over. It has since ebbed, however, leaving the region wracked with war and sectarian conflict.