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latest news

Scotland
Indefinite strike by Glasgow Council Homeless workers

01/04/2015: Workers treated unfairly by council for years

  Scotland

South Africa
Cosatu splits as ‘Vavi’ expelled

01/04/2015: Expulsion opens new chapter in working class struggle

  Africa, South Africa

Singapore
Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew dies

31/03/2015: Apologist for neo-liberalism and autocracy

  Singapore

France
Elections punish Valls and Hollande

31/03/2015: Department results show need for fightback against austerity and racism

  France

 Venezuela
Alcedo Mora must be found alive!

30/03/2015: Urgent need for international solidarity

  Solidarity, Venezuela

Netherlands
Election setback for Labour Party

30/03/2015: Main parties guarantee austerity - A mass party of the Left with a socialist programme needed

  Netherlands

Germany
20,000 people give ECB “the finger”

28/03/2015: Big demo and blockade against the reopening of the Central Bank

  Germany

 Video
Interview with a Greek socialist

28/03/2015: The Syriza government and the Troika and building the Greek Left

  Greece, Video

South Africa
NUMSA & WASP discuss international experiences of new workers’ parties

27/03/2015: South Africa’s metalworkers union in discussion with WASP and CWI

  Africa, South Africa

Obituary
Harald Mahrer (1974-2015)

27/03/2015: An active, critical and inspiring comrade

  Obituary

 Video
Dave Nellist on Russia Today TV

26/03/2015: Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) standing throughout Britain in May elections

  Britain, Video

Norway
Lessons of the pilots’ strike

25/03/2015: A struggle against outsourcing

  Norway

Israel
Netanyahu mobilises far right to win election

25/03/2015: New coalition will face unresolved crises and bitter struggles

  Israel / Palestine

China
Demand release of arrested women activists

24/03/2015: Has the commemoration of International Women’s Day also now been outlawed in China?

  China

Italy
The instability of domestic capitalism

24/03/2015: Political vacuum pushes FIOM to take initiative

  Italy

Sweden
Central bank rates cut "panic measure"

23/03/2015: Eurozone’s QE intensifies currency wars

  Sweden

Greece
Varoufakis’ “erratic Marxism” is not the answer

23/03/2015: Necessary to clarify ideas upon which successful struggles of European working class will be conducted

  Greece

Tunisia
Twenty three killed in terrorist attack

20/03/2015: Down with terror! Down with capitalism!

  Tunisia

Belgium
No agreement reached between unions and government over austerity

20/03/2015: New action plan against right wing government takes off

  Belgium

Ukraine
Conflict unresolved after ’Minsk-2’ agreement

18/03/2015: Only independent working-class mass movement can remove the region’s authoritarian rulers

  Ukraine

Ireland North
Public sector workers strike against austerity

18/03/2015: For a second day of strike action in the run-up to the May general election!

  Ireland North

 North Cyprus
New strike wave against cuts

17/03/2015: Workers determined to stop austerity

  Cyprus, Solidarity

 Brazil
Urgent solidarity protests needed

17/03/2015: Faced with lack of water for the people, Sao Paulo water company SABESP cuts costs, sacks more than 500 workers and victimises trade union activists

  Brazil, Solidarity

 Scotland
Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) leaves Solidarity

16/03/2015: Tommy Sheridan departs from principled socialist position with call for “lending vote" to cuts-making SNP

  CWI, Scotland

Britain
What lies behind UKIP?

14/03/2015: Its Tory-oriented anti-immigration, anti-EU rhetoric has been adapted to a right-wing populism aimed at winning voters fed up with the political establishment

  Britain

Ireland North
Massive public sector strike against austerity

13/03/2015: Socialist MPs in Southern Ireland Parliament send message of support to strikers

  Ireland North, Ireland Republic

Ireland South
Marriage equality referendum set for May

12/03/2015: Poisonous bigotry must be challenged

  Ireland Republic

Ireland North
Stormont government crisis on eve of public sector strike

11/03/2015: Struggle can force politicians back from austerity measures

  Ireland North, Ireland Republic

Iran
Independent workers’ organizations statement about minimum wage

11/03/2015: Increasing demands for a living wage

  Iran

Ireland North
13 March public sector strike against austerity

10/03/2015: Dead-end of rightwing, sectarian politics - new anti-sectarian party which fights for working class needed

  Ireland North

  Video
Dublin ROSA demonstration on International Women’s Day

10/03/2015: Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) speaks along with other activists

  Ireland Republic, Video, Women

 International Women’s Day 2015

09/03/2015: Articles from CWI sections celebrating IWD

  Women

Greece
Syriza’s first months in power

07/03/2015: The working class and social movements must enter the struggle for their rights

  Greece

Netherlands
Wave of student protests

05/03/2015: For democratic reforms and end to budget cuts

  Netherlands

Austria
The year starts with antifascism

05/03/2015: Right-wing Ball events, PEGIDA, and neo-nazi Violence: A Month of Intense and Successful anti-fascism in Austria

  Austria, Venezuela

Poland

Future of Polish government in doubt

www.socialistworld.net, 26/09/2006
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Tumultuous twins sack Deputy Prime Minister Andrzej Lepper

Karl Debbaut, CWI, London.

Poland’s government is in danger of total collapse after the Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, aided by his twin brother, Lech, who is the Polish President, sacked the deputy Prime Minister, Andrzej Lepper, of the Self Defence party. The current political crisis could bring an end to a government of right wing nationalist and populist parties only in power for 4 months.

The brother Kaczynski are leaders of the Law and Justice Party (PiS), the right wing nationalist force who won the last general election inflicting a huge defeat on the outgoing government of the Democratic Left Alliance (Poland’s former communist party). Law and Justice’s politics are a mix of nationalism and anti-communism. It won the elections thanks to its campaigns against outright privatisation, against the growing influence of foreign capital in the Polish economy and against the robbery of state assets by the ruling elite in the transition from Stalinism to capitalism. It received 27% of the votes against 24% for its main contender, the neo-liberal opposition party, Civic Platform. However, as Paul Newbery GPR (cwi) member in Poland, reported at the time “the record low turn out of 40% meant that almost two thirds of the electorate gave all political parties a massive thumbs down, feeling that no party represented their interest.”

Post-electoral negotiations to form a PiS – Civic Platform government failed and the brothers Kaczynski opted for a minority cabinet supported by Self Defence and the reactionary ultra-Catholic League of Polish Families (LPR). This summer, Self-Defence and the League of Polish Families officially joined the cabinet to form one of the more exotic Polish governments in recent history. It was dubbed the “accidental government” by the international press.

Afghanistan and public spending

Self-Defence is described in the press as a “leftist” force. The position of Andrzej Lepper, as the undisputed leader as Self-Defence, are more akin to classical populism. His national notoriety is based on organising farmers’ protests against the European Union, which he calls the “mafia in Brussels” and refers to their “collaborators” in Warsaw. As a former pig-farmer himself, albeit a large one, Lepper consistently championed the plight of the farmers and the rural poor in Poland. In a country where nearly 15 million people, or over a third of Poland’s population, live in the country side, this is no small matter. When Poland joined the European Union hopes were raised that money from Brussels would transform the lives of the many smallholders in the country side. The evidence, so far, is that while agro-industry and export-orientated holdings rake in profits, the situation for millions of small holders is bleaker then ever. To find a way out of poverty, thousands of Poles have left its one-storey log cabins, its tiny plots and the horse-drawn carts of the country side.

Andrzej Lepper left the government over its decision to supply an extra 1,000 soldiers to the NATO force in Afghanistan. In the last months, he led a heated debate, arguing for more public spending on health, education and for fuel subsidies for farmers. The Law and Justice party disagreed and locked the budget deficit for the next year at 30 billion zlotys. Lepper demanded 2.5 billion zlotys more spending. However ‘eccentric’ some of the parties in government might appear the overall aim of capitalist politicians is to get Poland into the euro zone and to continue the pro-market reforms of previous governments.

Poland, and the Kaczynski government in particular, came under criticism from international commentators for holding back from more neo-liberal reforms. The Financial Times, in an editorial, this week, stated that “Poland as a whole will suffer because the government is not making use of the current period of rising growth and falling unemployment to cut wasteful welfare spending”. The economic figures give some credibility to the comment that Poland is experiencing a “current period of rising growth and falling unemployment”. Demand for raw materials from China has boosted the coal and steel industry. This has given some relief, as plans to cut production in both industries are temporarily postponed. However with general unemployment at 18% and youth unemployment around 40% it seems a tad exaggerated to speak about falling unemployment.

As reported by the CWI comrades in Poland, over the summer the country was struck by a wave of working class militancy, as striking nurses and doctors forced the government to make massive concessions. Miners also moved into action, demanding a share of the profits from the mining companies. The profits of the three biggest mining companies exceeded 250 million euros. Even the police, alongside fire-fighters and border guards, were gearing up for action against the government.

Prisoners fill jobs left vacant by the rush to Europe

Since Poland joined the European Union, in May 2004, more than 1.2 million Poles went to Western Europe. Fuelled by a desire to escape mass youth unemployment and slave wages, thousands went to countries like Britain and Ireland. This created labour shortages in Polish construction, plumbing and electrical industries but also in the more traditional low wage sectors, such as catering, nursing and residential home care sectors. The government has now allowed prisoners to work outside jails to fill the vacancies created by mass immigration. The prisoners are working in gangs for 86p a day.

Frustrated patriots

In an attempt to face down the double treat of increased working class militancy on the one hand, and the exodus of young and skilled workers, on the other hand, the Law and Justice government stepped up its ‘patriotic campaigns’. The Kaczynski brothers hit the front pages with homophobic and anti-German statements. President Lech Kaczynski, who banned a gay pride march when he was the major of Warsaw, provoked outrage when he floated the idea of reintroducing the death penalty.

Subsequently they tried to appeal to national and anti-communist feelings, by campaigning for a ‘fourth republic’. This, in effect, is a attempted purge of the state. They used the files of the security services from the Stalinist-era to ‘cleanse’ everyone from official life who had any links whatsoever, with the Jaruzelski Stalinist regime. Even priests and high officials of the Catholic Church came under fire, and they where criticised for their role in negotiating with the former Stalinist regime.

The government created an elite law enforcement agency, called the ‘Central Anti-Corruption Bureau’ to investigate people’s pasts and how some of the influential figures under Stalinism enriched themselves during the transition period to capitalism. Holders of a wide range of public sector posts will require certification by the ‘Institute of National Remembrance’, an institution that holds police files from pre-1989.

PiS spokespeople hammer away at hitting the “clique” that rules Poland. PiS deputy, Cymanski, was quoted saying “The connections between old secret services, business circles and politics is not fiction, but a reality”

Radoslaw Markowski, a political analyst, comments on the attempts by PiS to take control of the Central Bank, the Constitutional Tribunal, and even local governments by saying the PiS is “Like the Bolsheviks. Until they have controlled the whole governing process, they won’t start making any decisions.”

Whilst these purges, and especially the ones aimed at the banking sector and Leszek Blacerowicz (the central bank president reviled by many Poles for selling of state assets cheaply and creating deep divisions between the haves and the have-nots) may get an echo from people who feel cheated since 1989, parties like Law and Justice do not offer any way forward for working class Poles.

Internationalism and working class struggle

It is misleading for the international press to call this government “accidental”. The political instability in Poland, like in other East European countries, flows from the disastrous social situation created by the reintroduction of capitalism. As a result, we have seen a succession of weak government, losing authority and support, as they move to do away with stable employment, social services and benefits. The privatisation process lead to a bigger gap between the haves and the have-nots, with yesterdays Stalinist bureaucracy enriching themselves, while the majority of the population find conditions have worsened.

What the Polish working class needs is its own political party

The neo-liberal party, Civic Platform, appeals to the ‘winners’ of the last 15 years. Its base consists of business men, middle class professionals, and those who think that the country is on the right path and only needs ‘tweaking’. PiS in contrast are supported by the poor, the disappointed and the patriotic who feel the last 15 years were harsh. So far, there is no evidence of any personal greed or corruption on the part of Law and Justice. “These people live in the same grotty flats, with the same grotty wives and the drive the same grotty cars as they were 15 years ago” said an observer of Polish politics quoted in the British magazine, ‘The Economist’. “Compare that with the mansions, Mercedes and mistresses that their political opponents manage to afford on their official salaries”.

Important as this may be, in a country where the last coalition perished under a mountain of corruption scandals, it does not mean that the leaders of PiS do not lead a cushioned life unimaginable to most of their voters. Moreover Law and Justice’s programme is not a programme for the working class but a screen behind which one layer of the capitalist class and the middle class fights for their own interests.

The resurgence of working class struggle and strikes in Poland needs to be accompanied by intense campaigning for the formation of a new working class party. This party would first and foremost be an instrument to assist the workers in the day to day struggle for their rights and interest. It would be a school of action and ideas. The GPR, the CWI comrades in Poland, work together with a small working class and trade union based party called the Polish Labour Party. This formation can play a role, even if only as a pre-formation, in gathering the first forces for the creation of a new mass workers party. The forces of the CWI in Poland would fight for such a party to adopt a genuine democratic socialist program to abolish capitalism and built a society for the millions instead of the millionaires



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NEWS

Scotland: Indefinite strike by Glasgow Council Homeless workers
01/04/2015, Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Workers treated unfairly by council for years

South Africa: Cosatu splits as ‘Vavi’ expelled
01/04/2015, WASP (Workers’ and Socialist Party) reporters:
Expulsion opens new chapter in working class struggle

Singapore: Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew dies
31/03/2015, Ravichandren, CWI Malaysia:
Apologist for neo-liberalism and autocracy

France: Elections punish Valls and Hollande
31/03/2015, Leila Messaoudi, from Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI France) website (updated 30 March):
Department results show need for fightback against austerity and racism

Venezuela: Alcedo Mora must be found alive!
30/03/2015, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Venezuela) reporters:
Urgent need for international solidarity

Netherlands: Election setback for Labour Party
30/03/2015, Pieter Brans, Amsterdam:
Main parties guarantee austerity - A mass party of the Left with a socialist programme needed

Germany: 20,000 people give ECB “the finger”
28/03/2015, by Michael Koschitzki, SAV – Sozialistische Alternative (CWI in Germany):
Big demo and blockade against the reopening of the Central Bank

Video: Interview with a Greek socialist
28/03/2015, Nicos Anastasiades of Xekinima (CWI Greece):
The Syriza government and the Troika and building the Greek Left

South Africa: NUMSA & WASP discuss international experiences of new workers’ parties
27/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
South Africa’s metalworkers union in discussion with WASP and CWI

Obituary: Harald Mahrer (1974-2015)
27/03/2015, Sozialistische LinksPartei (CWI Austria) Reporters:
An active, critical and inspiring comrade

Video: Dave Nellist on Russia Today TV
26/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) standing throughout Britain in May elections

Norway: Lessons of the pilots’ strike
25/03/2015, Elin Gauffin, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
A struggle against outsourcing

China: Demand release of arrested women activists
24/03/2015, Sally Tang Mei-Ching, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Has the commemoration of International Women’s Day also now been outlawed in China?

Sweden: Central bank rates cut "panic measure"
23/03/2015, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
Eurozone’s QE intensifies currency wars

Tunisia: Twenty three killed in terrorist attack
20/03/2015, Statement by CWI-Tunisia:
Down with terror! Down with capitalism!

Ireland North: Public sector workers strike against austerity
18/03/2015, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
For a second day of strike action in the run-up to the May general election!

North Cyprus: New strike wave against cuts
17/03/2015, Özgür İnsanoğlu and Bahtiyar Girne, North Cyprus:
Workers determined to stop austerity

Brazil: Urgent solidarity protests needed
17/03/2015, Translation of a solidarity appeal from the LSR (CWI in Brazil):
Faced with lack of water for the people, Sao Paulo water company SABESP cuts costs, sacks more than 500 workers and victimises trade union activists

Scotland: Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) leaves Solidarity
16/03/2015, Statement from Socialist Party Scotland Executive Committee:
Tommy Sheridan departs from principled socialist position with call for “lending vote" to cuts-making SNP

Britain: What lies behind UKIP?
14/03/2015, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Its Tory-oriented anti-immigration, anti-EU rhetoric has been adapted to a right-wing populism aimed at winning voters fed up with the political establishment

Ireland North: Massive public sector strike against austerity
13/03/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Socialist MPs in Southern Ireland Parliament send message of support to strikers

Ireland South: Marriage equality referendum set for May
12/03/2015, Helen Redwood, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
Poisonous bigotry must be challenged

Ireland North: Stormont government crisis on eve of public sector strike
11/03/2015, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Struggle can force politicians back from austerity measures

Iran: Independent workers’ organizations statement about minimum wage
11/03/2015, Statement by six Iranian workers’ organizations:
Increasing demands for a living wage

Ireland North: 13 March public sector strike against austerity
10/03/2015, Text of Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) leaflet, Belfast:
Dead-end of rightwing, sectarian politics - new anti-sectarian party which fights for working class needed

Video: Dublin ROSA demonstration on International Women’s Day
10/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) speaks along with other activists

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Israel: Netanyahu mobilises far right to win election
25/03/2015, Yasha Marmer, Socialist Struggle Movement, Israel-Palestine:
New coalition will face unresolved crises and bitter struggles

Italy: The instability of domestic capitalism
24/03/2015, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
Political vacuum pushes FIOM to take initiative

Greece: Varoufakis’ “erratic Marxism” is not the answer
23/03/2015, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Necessary to clarify ideas upon which successful struggles of European working class will be conducted

Belgium: No agreement reached between unions and government over austerity
20/03/2015, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (Belgian section of the CWI), Brussels:
New action plan against right wing government takes off

Ukraine: Conflict unresolved after ’Minsk-2’ agreement
18/03/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
Only independent working-class mass movement can remove the region’s authoritarian rulers

Greece: Syriza’s first months in power
07/03/2015, Andreas Payiatsos, from Xekinima (newspaper of the CWI Greece):
The working class and social movements must enter the struggle for their rights

Quebec: Towards a hot spring
02/03/2015, Deirdre and Bruno, Socialist Alternative (CWI Quebec):
Disrupt them like they disrupt us!

Greece showdown
26/02/2015, Article to be published in the March issue of Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party, CWI in England and Wales):
Niall Mulholland interviewed NICOS ANASTASIADES, of Xekinima (CWI Greece), just as Syriza leaders agreed a four-month bail-out extension with the EU.

Libya: War-torn country becoming new hub for IS activities
25/02/2015, Serge Jordan (CWI):
Libyan people bearing the brunt of NATO’s fiasco

Europe: Eurozone time-bomb
25/02/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party of England and Wales):
Mired in recession, the eurozone is haunted by the spectre of stagnation

Greece: Syriza retreats under Troika threats
24/02/2015, Nicos Anastasiades, Xekinima (CWI Greece), Thessaloniki:
Popular mood shows anti-austerity, socialist policies would win huge support

History: The political legacy of Malcolm X
21/02/2015, Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative:
50 years after his assassination

Spain: Is ‘Podemos’ the Spanish Syriza?
16/02/2015, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Dangers of “moderation” and domestication

Egypt: Regime brutality on fourth anniversary of revolution
10/02/2015, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Masses will regain confidence and willingness to fight

Greece: Not a single step back!
08/02/2015, Statement by the Editorial Board of Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Conflict between SYRIZA government and EU escalates

Kurdistan: ‘Islamic State’ driven out of Kobanê
02/02/2015, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Will the end of Kobanê’s siege turn the tide against IS?

Greece: Why did Syriza and the KKE fail to reach agreement?
29/01/2015, Article from Xekhinima (CWI Greece) website [dated 26 January 2015] translated and slightly edited:
For socialist policies to end austerity nightmare!

Greece: Syriza comes to power, as old ruling parties collapse
27/01/2015, Niall Mulholland, socialistworld.net, interviews Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Left parties fail to form government - Syriza goes into coalition with populist right Independent Greeks

Cuba: Diplomatic relations with US restored, embargo eased
24/01/2015, Tony Saunois, CWI:
Threat of capitalist restoration accelerates

Russia/Ukraine: Facing a turbulent 2015
21/01/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
As death toll rises, economies plunge into freefall

Greece: Prospect of Syriza victory raises workers’ hopes
20/01/2015, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI in Greece):
Mass intervention of working class to struggle for socialist policies is vital

Nigeria: The Massacre in Baga
19/01/2015, H.T Soweto, DSM (CWI in Nigeria):
Socialism or Barbarism

Germany: What is behind the ‘PEGIDA’ anti-immigrant demonstrations?
13/01/2015, Wolfram Klein, Socialist Alternative (SAV- CWI Germany):
Unions and Left must organise against racism and for jobs and decent living standards for all

Greece: Towards a Syriza government?
08/01/2015, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI in Greece):
General elections on 25 January