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latest news

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
Battle for Kobanê at a crossroads

31/10/2014: What does US military ‘assistance’ mean for the Kurdish struggle?

  Kurdistan, Middle East

Belgium
Government’s Thatcherite attacks provoke class confrontation

30/10/2014: The right wing coalition must go, and all austerity policies!

  Belgium

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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Video: Joe Higgins denounces Irish government’s water charge trickery, 20/11/2014

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A socialist world is possible, the history of the cwi with new introduction by Peter Planning green growth, a contribution to the debate on enviromental sustainability

NEWS

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!

Ireland: Anti-water tax protest in Limerick
31/10/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Video of one of the city’s biggest protests

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

Greece: "This destruction of workers’ lives serves the bankers"
23/09/2014, Speech by Apostolis Kasimeriss, an Athens bus driver, to Italian socialists:
“We must all keep going…we have no other way to survive than to fight-back”