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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

Middle East

Obituary - Yasser Arafat (1929-2004)

www.socialistworld.net, 11/11/2004
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Palestinians mourn Arafat but struggle for liberation will continue

Rotem and Gal, Maavak Sotzialisti, Israel

Obituary

Yasser Arafat (1929-2004)

Many Palestinians will view the death of Yasser Arafat with a mixture of sadness and a wish that the Palestinian Authority he led, had done much more to end the poverty and oppression that blights their lives.

Whatever doubts some Palestinians may have had about his leadership they will see in his death, a snapshot of the brutal oppression and tenuous existence they face on a daily basis. Arafat remained a virtual prisoner in his compound for three years, a situation which undoubtedly contributed to the illnesses from which he died.

Yasser Arafat is seen by most Palestinians as a symbol of the longstanding Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation. His past as a guerilla leader since the 1960s as one of the founders of the Fatah organization and the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organisation) gave him a special status among the Palestinian masses. It is hard for many Palestinians to think who could play the same role or have the same authority as Yasser Arafat.

But while respect will be shown for the role he played amongst many Palestinians, there will be others who rightly question Arafat’s (and the other PLO leaders’) tactics and strategy in attempting to win Palestinian national liberation. In the earlier years of Fatah and the PLO this was armed attacks by secretive guerilla groups as opposed to mass action by the working class and peasantry armed for self-defence. Later on Arafat and other leaders attempted to form diplomatic alliances with corrupt Arab regimes and negotiate with imperialist powers.

Black September

When Arafat was faced with a revolutionary situation, he unfortunately betrayed such movements. September 1970 in Jordan was one such example where large sections of Palestinians and Jordanians rose up against the corrupt regime of King Hussein. Arafat and the PLO leaders could have led a revolutionary struggle for power which would have changed the whole face of the Middle East. Instead Arafat made concessions to King Hussein and tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed in the retribution by the Jordanian army that followed.

After the war and the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in the 1980s, Arafat and most of the PLO leadership escaped to exile in Tunis. Exile meant that they no longer had the same intimate connection with the Palestinians and also alienated them from the conditions that the majority of Palestinian faced.

The distance between the Palestinian masses and the leadership based in exile was clearly demonstrated at the beginning of the first Intifada. The PLO leadership in exile was completely taken by surprise by this event, as was the Israeli regime. The first Intifada provided the basis for the growth of a new leadership from below in the West Bank and the Gaza strip. After the signing of the Oslo agreement brought the Tunis leadership back to the Occupied Territories, tensions and disagreements developed between it and the local leadership which have remained in different forms up to the present day.

At the beginning of the 1990s the pace of the Intifada had slowed as a consequence of years of struggle without the defeat of the Israeli military occupation of the territories. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the support of the Fatah for Sadam Husain during the first Gulf War left the PLO isolated and financially bankrupt.

Under the pressure of US imperialism, which feared future upheavals in the region, the Israeli ruling class took advantage of the PLO’s weakened position to force it into negotiations and to accept the Oslo agreement. This deal was never meant to give the Palestinians national liberation. It was designed to grant a Bantustan-type prison existence to the Palestinian masses with the Palestinian Authority acting as guards and the Israeli state as prison governor.

The Israeli ruling class preferred to deal with the old weak leadership from Tunis which was not as militant as the leadership on the ground. Arafat’s regime represented the capitalist interests of the Palestinian elite and was totally dependent on the Israeli ruling class for its existence. As such it could not and never intended to solve the problems of the Palestinians.

The standard of living under the PA regime declined severely hand in hand with the continuing oppression by the Israeli Defence Forces. At the same time a small elite enriched itself on the expense of the masses. Without any solution to the problems of daily life the peace process couldn’t last for long. This was the basis for the second Intifada.

Second Intifada

The second Intifada was aimed against both the Israeli regime and in a distorted way the PA. The first reaction of the PA leadership was to condemn this outburst of the Palestinian masses. Only after they saw they could not hold back the movement, they tried to take the lead of the intifada.

Over the last few years the Israeli blockade on Arafat in Ramallah, gave him back the status of a symbol of the Palestinian resistance.

However, despite the fact that for many years Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, yearned for Arafat’s death, the news about Arafat’s life-threatening illness came at a very inconvenient time for him. In addition to the fear of being blamed for his death, and the affect it might have on the Palestinian street, the death of Arafat actually poses serious questions concerning the strategy of the Israeli ruling class.

For the last few years the main claim of the Israeli regime was that Arafat is an obstacle to any negotiation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This was one of the main arguments Sharon used to justify the disengagement plan.

The death of Arafat could lead to events which dramatically change the situation in Israel and he PA. Many names have been mentioned as candidates to replace Arafat as the PA president and the leader of the PLO and Fatah: Abu Alla, Abu Mazen, Muhamad Dahlan, even Faruq Kadumi (who opposed the Oslo agreement at first) and Marwan Baraguti who has sat in an Israeli jail for more than 2 years and holds credit for that in the Palestinian street. But none of them have the credit Arafat had as a symbol and a guerilla fighter.

Even during Arafat’s life we saw early struggles over the future control of the Gaza strip, when last summer Dahlan’s faction in Fatah challenged the control of Arafat’s armed forces.

More complicated

Now the situation has became more complicated, since Hamas have also laid a claim for a share in governing the PA. Hamas enjoy mass support in Gaza, but if it became part of the PA this might change over the long run and could cause enormous pressure to be exerted on the PA by the imperialist powers who could oppose its inclusion.

Other issues might bring clashes quite quickly - even before his death there was a demand by the PA for him to be buried at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem which was ruled out by the Israeli authorities. Whatever the eventual decision on this issue, the main question will be that the funeral will be accompanied by a mass presence of Palestinians on the streets in a situation which will not be fully under the control of the PA.

At the end of October Sharon won the vote on the disengagement plan in the Knesset (Israeli parliament). The Israeli ruling class wants to withdraw from the Gaza strip, but many of the Likud MPs from Sharon’s party are opposed which has exerted huge pressure on the Prime Minister. Four of Likud’s ministers tried to ambush Sharon during the voting.

Sharon suffers from a lack of support inside his party, and his governmental coalition includes less than half of all MPs and therefore the government is unstable.

At the moment he claims that nothing has changed since the death of Arafat, but there is strong pressure from inside the Likud for canceling the disengagement plan and going back to negotiations with a new future partner.

The option of a government of national unity is still open but it seems like the next general elections in Israel are only a matter of a short time away.

The death of Arafat has released forces of instability that were hidden beneath the surface, building up for a long time. These pressures did not develop because of the personality of Arafat but because of the inability of capitalism and imperialism to solve the daily problems of Palestinian and Israeli workers.

The solution is way beyond the hands of capitalism and its agents. The problems of the masses can only be solved by the organisation of society under a socialist plan to reconcile national differences by establishing two socialist states as part of the struggle to build a socialist federation on the basis of equal rights in the Middle East.



Europe

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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.