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The Korean crisis

www.socialistworld.net, 08/02/2003
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

IN OCTOBER 2002 US imperialism provoked a confrontation with the isolated and floundering Stalinist regime of North Korea. Revealing publicly the news (known to the US administration for some time) that Kim Jong-il’s regime had resumed its nuclear weapons programme in violation of the 1994 ’agreed framework’, the Bush administration ignored the fact that the US had consistently reneged on its own 1994 promises.

Lynn Walsh, CWI

Last autumn, as the Bush administration geared up for a showdown with Iraq, a full-blown diplomatic and military crisis was developing on the Korean peninsula, once again raising the spectre of war and nuclear conflict. LYNN WALSH analyses this new and disturbing feature of world relations.

CWI onlin.

The Korean crisis

Leaning on South Korea and Japan, the US cut off the oil supplies being delivered to North Korea under the 1994 agreement. There would be no talks or further economic assistance, proclaimed the US, until North Korea unconditionally abandoned its nuclear weapons programme. The White House hawks were evidently sure that Kim Jong-il would back down - but that was a serious miscalculation. North Korea defiantly announced that it would continue its nuclear programme until the US entered serious talks to normalise relations between North Korea, South Korea, and the US. Moreover, the North would retaliate in the event of any military attack by the US - which appeared to be threatened in Bush’s ’axis of evil’ speech and recent US actions.

Despite its commitment to pre-emptive military action against any state developing weapons of mass destruction, US imperialism was forced to retreat. While continuing hard-line threats against North Korea, the US began to reassure the world that it would seek a ’diplomatic solution’ to the crisis. Colin Powell and other US representatives began to speak, in somewhat coded language, about new talks and economic concessions. In reality, the hawk administration had been forced to confront the limits of US military power. "In private", reported the New York Times, "some of the president’s aides... said that North Korea’s existing nuclear capacity, and its ability to wreak enormous damage on Seoul with its conventional weapons, had led them to conclude that the US had no viable military options in dealing with the North, at least without risking the rekindling of the Korean war". (2 January)

Moreover, despite Rumsfeld’s public claims that it was perfectly possible for the US to conduct two regional wars simultaneously, the US strategists were forced to recognise that, in reality, two wars would put massive strains on the US’s strategic capabilities. The diplomatic and political overheads of preparing for a second war would seriously distract from US efforts to mobilise support for an attack on Iraq.

Powell and others worked hard to play down the consequences of the US’s confrontational policy. There is no ’crisis’, said Powell, only a ’serious situation’. There would be no ’negotiations’ but there would be ’talks’. The glaring contradiction, however, between the US policy on Iraq, on the one side, and North Korea, on the other, destroys the legitimacy claimed for an attack on Iraq. This devastating exposure of US hypocrisy is a serious blow to the superpower’s prestige.

Anatomy of a crisis

AS IN 1993-94, North Korea is using the threat of nuclear weapons (whether actual or potential) and its formidable conventional arsenal to force the US superpower into negotiations. Kim Jong-il’s regime needs economic concessions to avoid collapse, and just as crucially needs an end to the strategic siege imposed by the US since the end of the Korean war (1950-53). Pyongyang’s nuclear brinkmanship, though potentially dangerous, is driven by fear rather than by militaristic ambition. The rotten Stalinist dictatorship faces the prospect of an implosion. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, which deprived North Korea of vital economic support, the regime has consistently attempted to secure from the US a non-aggression pact, recognition of its sovereignty, and economic assistance. The US’s equally consistent refusal to enter into direct negotiations with North Korea, effectively ruling out a peace treaty to formally close the 1950-53 Korean war, has encouraged the regime to resort to nuclear blackmail.

The 1994 ’agreed framework’ provided an opportunity for defusing the Korean conflict. The US, however, never fulfilled its promises, leading North Korea to secretly renew its nuclear weapons policies. The aggressive, reckless policy of the Bush administration has been the primary cause of a renewed confrontation, once again raising the spectre of war and nuclear conflict.

During 1993-94 the CIA discovered that, despite signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1985, North Korea was developing a nuclear weapons programme based on its plutonium-producing reactor at Yongbyon. Whether they actually produced weapons (or now possess usable weapons) is not certain, though North Korea has not carried out the kind of nuclear tests considered essential to producing a viable weapon. Nevertheless, Clinton has recently admitted that "we actually drew up plans to attack North Korea and to destroy their reactors, and we told them we would attack unless they ended their nuclear programme". US imperialism’s own military assessment, however, concluded that the cost of an offensive against North Korea would be too high. Full-scale war on the peninsula would claim up to one million dead, including up to 100,000 Americans. The immediate cost to the US would exceed $100bn, while the cost of destruction and economic dislocation would be over $1 trillion. This was apart from the horrendous consequences of a nuclear conflict.

Instead, the US (through mediation by former president Carter) negotiated the agreed framework. In return for North Korea suspending its nuclear weapons programme, the US would provide economic assistance in the form of oil, food and the construction of two (non-plutonium-producing) ’light water’ reactors for electricity generation. Just as important for the North, however, was the US promise to move towards "full normalisation of political and economic relations".

Apart from providing oil, however, the US did not proceed to fulfil its promises. Construction of the two nuclear power stations was repeatedly postponed, and there were no serious talks on the normalisation of relations. Clinton was undoubtedly under pressure from the Republican-dominated Congress not to end economic sanctions or honour US promises. At the same time, Clinton’s administration believed that the North was on the verge of collapse: they calculated that economic problems would force the regime into unilateral military concessions, even if the US did not deliver.

In 1998, North Korea resumed missile testing, firing some missiles over Japan. This was partly to promote its missile sales (estimated to be $50-100m a year to states such as Pakistan, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Yemen) and partly to put pressure on the US to resume negotiations.

In June 2000 there was a summit meeting between Kim Jong-il and the South Korean president, Kim Dae-jung. A big section of the capitalist class in the South is strongly in favour of reaching agreement with the North, to prevent a collapse and avoid the devastating consequences of a mass exodus. Japanese capitalism also wants a rapprochement with North Korea, though negotiations were delayed by the shocked reaction in Japan to North Korea’s admission that the regime had abducted over a dozen Japanese citizens during the 1970s and 1980s. This confession and apology was apparently intended to placate Japan but had the opposite effect (despite Kim also renouncing North Korea’s demand for wartime reparations).

The takeover in Washington by Bush and his foreign policy hawks, however, cut across the process of détente developing among the North-East Asian states. Bush broke off talks with North Korea and adopted a confrontational approach. In his State of the Union Speech (January 2002) Bush declared North Korea to be part of an ’axis of evil’, in language that was tantamount to a declaration of war. Later, the US National Security Statement authorised a policy of pre-emptive military strikes against any state acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

In June 2002 the CIA produced a secret intelligence report that since 1998 North Korea had restarted its nuclear weapons programme, this time on the basis of the uranium-enrichment process (as an alternative to reactor-produced plutonium). An assistant secretary of state, James Kelly, was sent to Pyongyang to deliver an ultimatum to Kim Jong-il - drop your nuclear programme or face the consequences. Bush and his hawks evidently believed that Kim would back down. Instead, the regime admitted they had restarted their nuclear programme, and threatened to accelerate the development of nuclear weapons unless the US fulfilled its framework agreement promises and entered into serious negotiations to normalise relations.

After Kelly’s visit the US publicly announced the existence of North Korea’s new nuclear programme, clearly with the intention of gearing up another confrontation with North Korea. Very little publicity, however, was given to a key element of the CIA’s report - evidence that the technology for uranium enrichment had been supplied to North Korea by Pakistan’s Musharraf regime. Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal but needs the missiles necessary to deploy them operationally. Facing acute economic crisis in 1997, the Pakistan regime supplied North Korea with uranium-processing equipment in exchange for their latest ballistic missiles. Another glaring contradiction. The US’s key ally in the war against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was actively collaborating in a nuclear weapons programme with a ’rogue’ state, part of Bush’s ’axis of evil’.

The US put pressure on South Korea and Japan to halt the oil supplies to the North. In retaliation, North Korea restarted its Yongbyon reactor, removed UN monitoring equipment and ordered International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to leave the country. On 10 January this year, North Korea formally withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The unanticipated consequences of Bush’ provocative policy towards North Korea have again revealed the deep split within the Bush administration between hawks, who want to pursue confrontation, and the doves, who advocate ’engagement’ and negotiations. " I have never seen a more divided group in my 30 years of involvement in foreign policy", commented a veteran of the Republican foreign policy establishment (New York Times, 13 January). They appear to be lurching between wielding the big stick and dangling fresh carrots. Bush is insisting on referring North Korea to the UN Security Council for breach of the Non Proliferation Treaty, a step towards new sanctions. At the same time, Powell and others are raising the possibility of further economic assistance. Both Russia and South Korea have opened talks to try to reach a negotiated settlement of the conflict. For the time being, the diplomatic approach prevails in Washington, mainly because Iraq takes priority. There is little doubt, however, that the hawks see North Korea as the next target, once they have dealt with Iraq.

The North Korean regime

UNDER PRESSURE OF a deep internal crisis, the Kim Sung-il regime has, since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the other Stalinist states after 1990, desperately sought to break out of its extreme isolation. Using its capacity to develop nuclear weapons as a bargaining counter, North Korea has attempted to open up economic relations with its neighbours and the rest of the world and at the same time negotiate a ’non-aggression pact’ with the US. While the country’s economic crisis is profound, with even the possibility of a collapse, the North Korean regime is not willing to bargain away its potential nuclear capacity solely in return for economic assistance - survival of the regime, Kim’s primary aim, depends on a strategic détente with US imperialism.

In 1994, under the framework agreement, North Korea agreed to suspend its nuclear weapons development, but fearing that the Clinton administration was reneging on its promises, the regime secretly renewed its nuclear programme. Rather than preparing for war, however, which would undoubtedly result in the total destruction of Korea, the regime’s main aim is to use the threat of nuclear weapons to pressure the US into ’talks’ (negotiations) on a non-aggression ’agreement’ (effectively, a tripartite North Korea-South Korea-US treaty) formally concluding the 1950-53 Korean war and recognising North Korea’s right to exist. North Korea’s real motive is recognised by former US president Carter, who said recently "they are using these fiery and public statements [about preparing for war] in order to accomplish their long-standing goal of negotiating a permanent and positive relationship with the US". (New York Times, 17 January)

North Korea is a fossilised form of Stalinism, a grotesque distortion of the idea of socialism, modelled on the bureaucratically planned economies of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Hardened by the Korean war and the prolonged US military threat during the cold war, North Korea has been far more isolated, monolithic and rigid than other variants of Stalinism. Kim Jong-il is a hereditary dictator, taking over from his father, Kim Il-sung, in 1994. He has continued the cult of personality around the ’Great Leader’, and the ideology of ’Juche’ (self-sufficiency), linked to a xenophobic attitude to all foreigners. Kim Jong-il, however, has reportedly strengthened the role of the tops of the army and security apparatus in the regime, trying to counter the weight of the ’old guard’ leadership of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party, who oppose his move towards economic reform and détente with imperialism.

The regime is ideologically monolithic and rules by totalitarian methods. There are thought to be over 200,000 political prisoners, mostly in labour camps. The military apparatus dominates the state. There are around a million troops, most of them stationed just north of the demilitarised zone (DMZ) and only about 30 miles north of Seoul. North Korea has a massive array of conventional weaponry: tanks, heavy artillery, missiles, military aircraft and warships, though most is now technologically outmoded. This is a massive burden on the economy.

The regime’s apparent paranoia - or permanent siege mentality - is not without historical causes. After a long and bitter guerrilla struggle against the occupation of the Korean peninsula by Japanese imperialism, the leadership of the Korean Communist Party then faced an intervention by US imperialism to prevent the reunification of Korea after the second world war. During the Korean war (1950-53) the US military commander, General McArthur, advocated dropping 20 or 30 nuclear bombs on the North - this was only five years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The conventional bombardment of the North, previously the most industrialised region of Korea, caused enormous casualties and massive destruction of the country’s infrastructure. After the war (never formally ended with a peace treaty), the US backed an extremely repressive dictatorship in the South and maintained a nuclear arsenal in South Korea from 1957 until 1991. Hiding behind the fiction that the US was not directly a party to the hostilities, merely a participant in a UN force, Washington has consistently refused to negotiate a peace treaty with North Korea. In the light of this history, it is hardly surprising that the North Korean regime feels itself to be under threat from US imperialism.

North Korea is predominantly an urbanised, industrialised country, not like China, Vietnam, etc, which still have a predominant peasantry. Most of the industrial plant, however, is obsolete, and the bureaucratic planning apparatus is suffering from the kind of organic sclerosis that undermined the former Soviet Union. Output has undoubtedly been steadily falling (though it is impossible to confirm some Western claims of a 50% fall over recent years). Debts to European and Japanese banks total around $3.2bn, and the default on many of the debts is a barrier to potential investment from abroad. The economy was hit very hard by the collapse of the Soviet Union after 1990, which deprived North Korea of cheap imports of oil, fertilisers, and machinery. Serious flooding in 1995-96, which particularly affected the ’bread basket’ areas of the south, led to a serious famine and has left a legacy of malnourishment amongst children. There are estimates that between one and two million died of starvation, and many thousands of refugees fled to North-East China (with a predominantly ethnic Korean population).

The famine forced the Kim Jong-il leadership to tolerate the growth of private farmers’ markets, charging higher prices for food products. Early in 2001 the regime began to implement limited Chinese-style reforms, raising agricultural prices and some consumer prices. However, this will not automatically have the same effect as in China in the 1980s, where higher prices for farmers stimulated the rapid growth of rural industries. North Korea has a very different social structure from China, Vietnam, etc, where rural-sector growth had a much bigger impact on the economy than it could in North Korea.

In the summer of 2002, the regime announced the development of two SEZs, special economic zones (Kaesong just north of the DMZ and Sinuiju, near the border with China). There is no shortage of capitalists throughout East Asia eager to exploit North Korea’s cheap labour. South Korean capitalists in particular, view investments in the North as a way of opening up the economy, avoiding a precipitous collapse of the North, and achieving a ’soft landing’ for the disintegrating Stalinist regime. The economic development of the North, however, will not automatically follow from overseas investment. In any case, growth throughout East Asia is likely to be undermined by the developing world downturn. A ’soft landing’ for the North, moreover, depends on a peaceful resolution of the peninsula’s cold-war era divisions, which is far from being guaranteed.

North Korea is a grotesque regime. But its development has been heavily conditioned by the unrelenting military-strategic threat from US imperialism. Neither US diplomacy nor military aggression (which would in fact be catastrophic) can resolve the Korean crisis. Only the working class, applying socialist solutions, can find an exit route from the dangerous dead-end created by Stalinism and imperialism.

South Korea and the US

"’IN SOME WAYS, the problem in South Korea has become harder to handle than that of North Korea’, said a Korea specialist with ties to many members of Bush’s foreign policy team". (New York Times, 2 January) South Korea is now as much a problem for the US as the North. Roh Moo-hyun, candidate of the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP), won the presidential elections (19 December) on a wave of anti-American feeling. Viewed by the Bush regime as a dangerous populist and nationalist, Roh supports the continuation of the ’sunshine’ policy - as does a big section of the South Korean ruling class - and is strongly opposed to the US policy of aggressive confrontation with the North Korean regime. Although Roh, now a liberal bourgeois politician, has toned down his anti-American rhetoric, political changes in the South will unavoidably pose a challenge to the continued presence of US imperialism in South Korea, one of its main bases in East Asia.

Shortly before the elections mass demonstrations and candlelit vigils were triggered by the announcement that a US military court-martial had acquitted two US soldiers on charges of negligent homicide after their armoured vehicle had crushed two 14-year-old schoolgirls in June. Demonstrations continued for weeks, particularly involving young people but also drawing in broader layers of workers, white-collar workers, housewives, and shopkeepers. The movement reflected deep resentment at the continued presence of 37,000 US troops in the country (which costs South Korea $3bn to $4bn a year). For several decades after the Korean war (1950-53), the US supported a viciously repressive dictatorship in the South, which was only cleared out by the massive movement of the working class in the late 1980s. Moreover, there is growing support for the idea of reunification of the Korean peninsula and opposition to US policies which many fear could lead to another devastating war. There is an overwhelming feeling that South Korea should be treated as an equal by the US, not merely as a convenient military base. Even the presidential candidate of the ultra-conservative Grand National Party (GNP), Lee Hoi-chang, opportunistically joined the candlelit vigil outside the US embassy in Seoul. Ironically, it was Roh Moo-hyun, trying to establish ’moderate’ credentials with Washington, who urged the protesters to tone down their demands.

The rising tide of opposition to the role of US imperialism in Korea was the key factor in Roh’s narrow victory (48.9% against 46.6% for Lee Hoi-chang). Support for Roh’s MDP has been undermined over the last few years, because of president Kim Dae-jung’s economic policies, especially industrial restructuring and the imposition of new labour laws ending lifetime job security. These are seen as US-dictated IMF policies, the economic facet of US domination. There have been massive job losses (about a quarter of 15 to 29-year-olds are estimated to be unemployed). Two years ago president Kim Dae-jung deployed the riot police against Daewoo workers protesting against redundancies. Disillusionment with the MDP government, which harvested the political gains of the mass workers’ movement that forced through the democratisation of South Korea in the late 1980s, led to a 10% fall in the turnout compared to the 1997 election (down to 70.2%). Disillusionment with the MDP was also reflected in the increased vote for the Democratic Labour Party candidate, Kwon Young-ghil, leader of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), who won nearly 4% of the vote, up from 1.2% in 1997.

The ominous standoff between the US and the North did not strengthen the conservative Lee, a former supreme court judge, previously linked to the US-backed dictatorship. This indicates a big change from the cold war political alignments. At the time of Bush’s axis of evil speech (January 2002), even a section of the GNP’s parliamentary representatives joined with the MDP in condemning Bush’s provocative policy towards the North Korean regime. This indicates supports for the sunshine policy within the South Korean ruling class. They fear that a US policy of isolating the North Korean regime, and threatening a military strike, could lead to a catastrophic nuclear war. But they also fear an implosion of Kim Sung-il’s regime, whether from internal weakness or intensified economic pressure in the form of US-enforced sanctions.

A sudden collapse could lead to a massive migration from the North to the South, which would have a devastating impact on the already strained South Korean economy. The majority of South Korean capitalists want the reunification of the country, but they want it over a period of 20 to 30 years, beginning with some kind of loose federation and moving gradually towards integration on the basis of capitalism. A rapid unification on the lines of Germany in 1990-91 would, in their view, destroy the South Korean economic ’miracle’.

One estimate (Financial Times, 8 November 2002) puts the cost of rapid unification at $3,200bn, a phenomenal sum for South Korea. The high cost arises from the enormous disparity in wealth between the two countries: the South with a population of 50 million has a GDP of nearly $500bn, while the North, with a population of about 23 million, has a GDP estimated at only around $15bn. This disparity is about five times greater than the economic difference between West Germany and the East in 1990-91.

Behind the ’sunshine policy’ put forward by the previous president, Kim Dae-jung, and supported by Roh, is the strategy of step by step opening up of the North to southern-based capitalism. South Korea, now a member of the OECD, is no longer a cheap labour country, and has recently come under intensive pressure from China, with its huge reserves of extremely cheap labour and raw materials. Korean big business is relocating sections of its production (for instance in electronics and automobiles) in China, while a section is attempting to open up the North to exploit its cheap labour. For instance, one big South Korean capitalist, Kim Yoon-kyu, is beginning to build a $9bn, 49sq kilometre (19sq mile) industrial park and new town at Gaeseong just north of the demilitarised zone, only about 70 kilometres north of Seoul. When completed in 2010, this special economic zone will have 3,000 factories, 100,000 housing units, and over 1,000 hotel rooms. South Korean capitalists are also planning to open up rail and road links through North Korea to give the South access to energy, raw materials and markets in Siberia and China. Step by step economic colonisation of the North is therefore an attractive prospect for the South Korean capitalists, whereas rapid reunification of the peninsula would be a disaster.

After his election, Roh (who takes up the presidency in February) attempted to play down his radical ’populist’ reputation and reassure the Bush administration. He described George W as ’cool’, and disavowed his alleged anti-Americanism (in the 1980s Roh called for the removal of US forces from South Korea).

Roh, however, will be forced to take account of the profound mood in favour of reunification and an end to US domination. "I don’t have any anti-American sentiment", said Roh, "but I won’t kowtow to the Americans, either". The mass protests over the killing of the two South Korean schoolgirls by a US military vehicle will ensure, at the very least, that the issue of revision of the ’Status of Forces Agreement’, which effectively grants US personnel immunity from South Korean law, will be on the agenda.

Roh stresses the need for a "mature relationship with the United States", clearly meaning that his incoming government, not the US, should take the lead in dealing with North Korea. There is strong resentment in the country, including among the ruling elite, that US policy towards the North (including Clinton’s manoeuvres in 1994, which nearly came to armed conflict), were conducted over the head of the South Korean government. While attempting to appease the White House, Roh has spelled out his opposition to the Bush regime’s provocative and irresponsible policy.

"The US may benefit from a get-tough policy, but we will not", says Roh. "We must have dialogue with the North and with the US", said Roh on his election victory. "In this way, we must make sure that the North-US dispute does not escalate into a war. Now the Republic of Korea must take a central role. We cannot have a war".

Clearly in any war, the South would be the first target, likely to be obliterated. Later, Roh said that he had been horrified to learn about US plans for a strike against North Korea’s nuclear facilities. "At the time of the elections", said Roh, "some US officials, who held considerable responsibility in the administration, talked about the possibility of attacking North Korea. I then felt that no matter what differences I might face with the US, I would oppose an attack on North Korea".

Roh Moo-hyun, who comes from a poor farming family, made his reputation as a human rights lawyer in the 1980s. The capitalist press has portrayed him as a populist who "mistrusts big business and favours redistribution of wealth". (Financial Times, 20 December) In reality, there is no indication that Roh has an anti-capitalist policy that will defend the interests of the working class. In fact, on the issue of labour ’flexibility’ (with big business leaders complaining that their ability to sack workers is still restricted, despite changes in the labour laws made by Kim Dae-jung) Roh said: "I think there remains some rigid factors in the labour market. I will try to remove any unreasonable hurdles". The Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry has already made it clear that they regard the new president’s top priority to be ’strengthening industrial competitiveness and [the] economic rebound’. Despite the partial recovery from the 1997 crisis, however, South Korea, together with the rest of Asia, faces a period of economic turmoil and political upheavals. The working class that brought down the dictatorship in the 1980s will again move into mass action to defend working-class interest and struggle to chance society on socialist lines.

The US-North Korea crisis may, in the coming weeks, be diffused through diplomacy. But the effects will be far-reaching. Mass pressure for the withdrawal of the US military presence from South Korea and Japan will intensify. The cold-war framework will rapidly disintegrate, with intensified rivalry between Japan, China and other regional powers. North Korea’s use of its nuclear deterrent (actual or potential) to force the US to retreat will almost certainly lead to further ’nuclear proliferation’, with Japan and other states drawing the conclusion that they can wield influence internationally only if they possess nuclear weapons. A new and more dangerous period of world relations has opened.

From Socialism Today, February 2003 edition, journal of the Socialist Party, CWI England and Wales.



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16/09/2016, Editorial of the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales)
:
Tremendous opportunity to bring Labour back to power but on an entirely different, attractive basis

China: Fierce clashes at “Democracy village”
14/09/2016, chinaworker.info reporters:
Protesters defy crackdown

Ireland: Dublin Bus workers move into action

13/09/2016, Councillor Michael O’Brien, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland)
:
Strike launched after years of wage restraint

Hong Kong: When Edward Snowden went underground with refugees
12/09/2016, Pasha, Socialist Action (CWI) in Hong Kong:
Socialist Action’s Vanessa gave shelter to on-the-run Snowden

Britain: Trade Union Congress 2016

11/09/2016, Rob Williams, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) industrial organiser
:
Organise mass working class resistance to austerity

Hong Kong: Elections redraw political map
10/09/2016, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI) in Hong Kong :
Legco elections see record turnout and big swing towards ‘radical’ newcomers

Britain: Break with Blairites essential to defeating divided Tories

09/09/2016, Editorial of the Socialist, issue 915, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales)
:
Huge potential for a bold, socialist Labour party

Uzbekistan: President Karimov, the butcher of Andijan, dies
08/09/2016, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow :
West seeks “stability” under brutal dictatorship

Video: Irish Socialist MPs on Apple tax scandal
08/09/2016, socialistworld.net:
Socialist industrial policy argued for in parilament by Paul Murphy, Ruth Coppinger and Mick Barry

Quebec: Montreal Old Port strikers reject wage offer
07/09/2016, Interview with a striker :
Solidarity needed for struggle for a $15 minimum wage

Australia: Weak government has no mandate
05/09/2016, Editorial comment from the September 2016 edition of The Socialist
(journal of the CWI Australia) :
Time for the unions and social movements to push back

Pakistan: Teachers continue to be victimised in Sindh
03/09/2016, CWI reporters, Sindh:
Solidarity protests needed

India: Mass general strike across the country
02/09/2016, New Socialist Alternative (CWI in India):
Fight must go on for minimum wage and against labour law ‘reform’

Ireland: The €13 billion question
02/09/2016, Cillian Gillespie, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) :
Government supports Apple’s tax dodging

Britain: Labour right’s purges and exclusions
31/08/2016, Editorial of the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
We must fight for a party for the 99%

Congo: General strike results in "villes mortes"
30/08/2016, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden) :
Boiling anger as Kabila tries to cling to power

Environment: Green China to save the world?
29/08/2016, Pete Dickinson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Article published in latest edition of Socialism Today

Scotland: Will the Corbyn uprising save Scottish Labour?
27/08/2016, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) :
Lessons of indyref and need for active anti-cuts policies

Greece: Athens bus cleaners win major victory
26/08/2016, Interview with Eleni Mitsou (Xekinima - CWI Greece) and Apostolis Cassimere’s (Board Member of OASA - Athens Bus Workers’ Union):
Struggle achieves public contracts for 100s cleaning workers

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Leon Trotsky’s living legacy
21/09/2016, Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) :
Review of "The Life and Death of Leon Trotsky", published in the latest issue of Socialism Today

Britain: Corbyn's Brexit opportunity
06/09/2016, Clive Heemskerk, from Socialism Today, September 2016 issue (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party - CWI England & Wales) :
Socialist, internationalist policies can rally both Leave and Remain voters

Germany: Growing crises and the Left party
03/09/2016, Wolfram Klein (SAV – CWI Germany) :
War, refugees and global economic disaster knocking on Germany's door

Brazil: Impeachment farce only serves big capital
02/09/2016, LSR (CWI in Brazil) statement:
Temer out! General elections now! General strike to defend our rights!

France: Burkini ban fuels Islamophobia
30/08/2016, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, CWI England & Wales):
For workers’ unity and struggle against racism, division and austerity

Book review: Iraq, IS and the failing war on terror
28/08/2016, Manny Thain, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), from the September edition of Socialism Today:
Published earlier this year before the Chilcot report was finally released, Blood Year by counter-insurgency strategist David Kilcullen is a damning indictment of the so-called war on terror unleased by US imperialism in 2001, with the full support of Tony Blair.

Haiti: 225th anniversary of anti-slavery, anti-colonial revolution
27/08/2016, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
A heroic and lasting inspiration to the oppressed everywhere

Russia: Twenty five years since the coup against Gorbachev
25/08/2016, Rob Jones, CWI in Russia :
Decades of ‘shock therapy capitalism’, wars and corruption

Middle East: ISIS’ waning “caliphate”
20/08/2016, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Imperialist solutions are no solution at all

Russia: Twenty fifth anniversary of attempted coup
19/08/2016, Clare Doyle, International Secretariat of the CWI:
Attempted Stalinist counter-revolution speeds up capitalist counter-revolution

US: Trump in trouble
17/08/2016, Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative, USA:
Political polarisation deepens

Britain: The Corbyn insurgency 2.0
15/08/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Now let’s finish the job

CWI Summer School: Economic instability, inter-imperialist tensions, workers struggles’ and political earthquakes
03/08/2016, James McCabe, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Report of the discussion on world perspectives at the recent CWI Summer School

Germany: ‘Brexit’ and the German Left
30/07/2016, Sascha Stanicic, Sozialistische Alternative (CWI in Germany):
Reject the bosses’ EU! For a Europe of working people - a voluntary socialist federation

US: A call to action
27/07/2016, Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the US):
Walk out from the Democratic National Convention!

CWI Summer School: Europe in the aftermath of the Brexit shock
26/07/2016, Kevin Parslow, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Continent enters new phase of political and economic crises

US: Bernie Abandons 'the Revolution’
14/07/2016, Kshama Sawant, Socialist councillor Seattle City :
Time to back Green candidate Jill Stein

Australia: Close election result - A crisis for the establishment
08/07/2016, Socialist Party (CWI Australia) statement :
To fight anti-working class measures, we must build a socialist alternative

History: 1936 - Spain’s revolutionary promise
06/07/2016, Tony Saunois, from Socialism Today (July/August 2016):
Working class and peasants rose up against capitalist exploitation, poverty and fascism

US: Beyond Bernie
01/07/2016, Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the USA):
Still not with her

Britain: Referendum revolt
27/06/2016, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (issue No.200, July-August 2016):
Capitalist establishment shattered

Asia: Conflict in the South China Sea
16/06/2016, This is an abridged version of an article by Vincent Kolo, originally published on chinaworker.info.:
Territorial disputes resemble pieces on a ‘geopolitical chessboard’ as the US and China struggle for hegemony in Asia

Middle East: ISIS under pressure on several fronts
15/06/2016, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
Working classes, through bitterest of experiences, will take to road of mass struggle again

EU: Left parties turning against bosses’ Europe
10/06/2016, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Progress in Portugal and Spain, confusion in Britain

Muhammad Ali: A fighter who inspired millions
09/06/2016, Hugo Pierre, Socialism Today (originally published in 2003):
Establishment forced to incorporate his legend into re-writing of history