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latest news

Nigieria
Buhari Government takes power

28/05/2015: Working People Must Prepare to Struggle for improvement and Real Change

  Nigeria

Ireland
Massive ‘Yes’ to Marriage Equality referendum

28/05/2015: Growing opposition to conservative establishment

  Ireland Republic

Britain
The struggles to come

27/05/2015: No fundamental change to be expected from the Labour Party

  Britain

Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific workers to strike in August

26/05/2015: Protesting cabin crew at Hong Kong airport explained their grievances to Socialist Action reporters

  Hong Kong

Canada’s ‘carbo-state’

26/05/2015: Only a socialist alternative can challenge the carbo-capitalists’ grip on Canadian politics

  Canada, Environment

New Zealand
Victory over zero-hour contracts

24/05/2015: ‘Cotton On’ clothes retailer workers defeat attempt to remove rest and meal breaks

  New Zealand

Iraq/Syria
ISIS rout national armies at Ramadi and Palmyra

23/05/2015: United working class movement needed to sweep away sectarian militias and reactionary politicians

  Iraq, Syria

Britain
Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business

22/05/2015: The Labour leadership contest begs the question: what is the point of the Labour Party?

  Britain

Ireland North
Election marks growing rejection of sectarian status quo

21/05/2015: Opportunities to build new anti-sectarian political voice for working class and youth

  Ireland Republic

Spain
Is Podemos in crisis?

20/05/2015: Left and social movements in a state of flux, as key elections loom

  Spain

Britain
Build a movement to defeat Tories’ cuts savagery

20/05/2015: For massive union demonstrations, linked to a 24-hour general strike

  Britain

Ireland South
Vote ‘Yes’ to marriage equality!

19/05/2015: Referendum a product of long-waged campaign of struggle from below

  Ireland Republic

Greece
Subordination to Troika or rupture with austerity?

18/05/2015: The choices before the Greek working class

  Greece

North Cyprus
‘Moderate leftist’ wins presidential election on peace ticket

16/05/2015: Workers’ common front, north and south, can find solution to island’s division

  Cyprus

Chile
Huge demonstrations call for free education

15/05/2015: New chapter opens in country’s political and ‘moral’ crisis

  Chile

Australia
East-West toll road dispute concluded

15/05/2015: Local community direct action secures victory

  Australia

Ireland
Parliament suspended after PM tells Socialist MPs “where to go”

14/05/2015: Contemptuous remarks reflect government concerns over non-payment of water charges

  Ireland Republic

Britain
Organising against Tory austerity starts now

14/05/2015: Potential for industrial response to cuts but needs determined leadership and campaigning

  Britain

 Video
Joe Higgins TD questions former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet

13/05/2015: "When bankers and bondholders’ gambles crashed, their massive burden of private debt was placed onto the shoulders of the Irish people"

  Ireland Republic, Video

Sudan
Mass apathy towards elections

12/05/2015: Renewed struggle from below needed to put an end to Bashir’s rule

  Sudan

USA
Presidential candidate declares "political revolution" against billionaires

12/05/2015: Campaign needs to build independent political power

  US

Britain
Fight against "five more damned years" of Tory rule

12/05/2015: Labour leader’s ’responsible capitalism’ shows its bankruptcy

  Britain

China
“In a hard landing now”

11/05/2015: Stock market frenzy and fabricated GDP figures cannot hide the reality of an economy in deep trouble

  China

Scotland
Labour annihilated

11/05/2015: SNP sweeps to victory by posing as an anti-austerity alternative

  Scotland

Britain
With the votes of 24% of the electorate, Tories have no mandate for more savage cuts

11/05/2015: Labour’s failure puts centre stage the need for new mass anti-austerity force

  Britain

Poland
65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies

07/05/2015: Plan of action for a general strike needed

  Poland

Ireland North
Socialist Party replies to leading Sinn Fein councillor’s attacks

06/05/2015: How to fight cuts, sectarianism and to build workers’ unity

  Ireland North

Britain
Russell Brand mistaken to sow illusions in Labour

06/05/2015: Russell Brand calls on people to elect a Labour government, saying Ed Miliband will ’listen’ and wants pressure from below

  Britain

May Day 2015
International workers’ day marked by marches and rallies

05/05/2015: Photo gallery of the CWI taking part in May Day event across the world

  May Day

Iceland
Fighting for better wages

05/05/2015: General strike called for 26 May

  Iceland

May Day 2015
Socialist plan or capitalist chaos

01/05/2015: What sort of new society are we struggling for?

  May Day

Nepal
Disaster in Nepal –amplified by capitalism

30/04/2015: Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the south Asian region has been further devastated by the recent earthquake.

  Nepal

US
Rage in Baltimore

29/04/2015: The aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death

  US

Book review
’No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance state’

29/04/2015: What the 1% will do to defend their class interests

  Review, US

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



Europe

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NEWS

Nigieria: Buhari Government takes power
28/05/2015, Segun Sango, Socialist Party Nigeria, National Chairperson:
Working People Must Prepare to Struggle for improvement and Real Change

Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific workers to strike in August
26/05/2015, Chinaworker.info:
Protesting cabin crew at Hong Kong airport explained their grievances to Socialist Action reporters

New Zealand: Victory over zero-hour contracts
24/05/2015, Joe Kelly, CWI NZ/Aotearoa:
‘Cotton On’ clothes retailer workers defeat attempt to remove rest and meal breaks

Britain: Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business
22/05/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The Labour leadership contest begs the question: what is the point of the Labour Party?

Britain: Build a movement to defeat Tories’ cuts savagery
20/05/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, weekly paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
For massive union demonstrations, linked to a 24-hour general strike

Ireland South: Vote ‘Yes’ to marriage equality!
19/05/2015, From the Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) website:
Referendum a product of long-waged campaign of struggle from below

Greece: Subordination to Troika or rupture with austerity?
18/05/2015, Editorial from Xekinima (no. 410, 6-20 May 2015), fortnightly newspaper of CWI Greece:
The choices before the Greek working class

Pakistan: Jawad Ahmad speaking at May Day rally held by International Youth and Workers Movement
18/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Video of May Day Rally and concert in Lahore

North Cyprus: ‘Moderate leftist’ wins presidential election on peace ticket
16/05/2015, Athina Kariati, New Internationalist Left (CWI in Cyprus):
Workers’ common front, north and south, can find solution to island’s division

Chile: Huge demonstrations call for free education
15/05/2015, Patricio Guzman, Socialismo Revolcuionario (CWI in Chile):
New chapter opens in country’s political and ‘moral’ crisis

Australia: East-West toll road dispute concluded
15/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Australia) Reporters:
Local community direct action secures victory

Ireland: Parliament suspended after PM tells Socialist MPs “where to go”
14/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Contemptuous remarks reflect government concerns over non-payment of water charges

Britain: Organising against Tory austerity starts now
14/05/2015, John McInally, Public and Commercial Services Union national Vice-President (personal capacity), from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website:
Potential for industrial response to cuts but needs determined leadership and campaigning

Video: Joe Higgins TD questions former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet
13/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
"When bankers and bondholders’ gambles crashed, their massive burden of private debt was placed onto the shoulders of the Irish people"

Sudan: Mass apathy towards elections
12/05/2015, Sudanese CWI supporter:
Renewed struggle from below needed to put an end to Bashir’s rule

Scotland: Labour annihilated
11/05/2015, :
SNP sweeps to victory by posing as an anti-austerity alternative

Britain: With the votes of 24% of the electorate, Tories have no mandate for more savage cuts
11/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Labour’s failure puts centre stage the need for new mass anti-austerity force

Poland: 65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies
07/05/2015, Alternatywa Socjalistyczna (CWI Poland) Reporters:
Plan of action for a general strike needed

Britain: Russell Brand mistaken to sow illusions in Labour
06/05/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Russell Brand calls on people to elect a Labour government, saying Ed Miliband will ’listen’ and wants pressure from below

May Day 2015: International workers’ day marked by marches and rallies
05/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Photo gallery of the CWI taking part in May Day event across the world

Iceland: Fighting for better wages
05/05/2015, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
General strike called for 26 May

US: Rage in Baltimore
29/04/2015, Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative, New York:
The aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death

Book review: ’No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance state’
29/04/2015, Reviewed by Tony Saunois, CWI:
What the 1% will do to defend their class interests

Kazakhstan: Presidential ‘election’ - Nazarbayev’s overwhelming victory no surprise
28/04/2015, Elizabeth Clarke, CWI:
Workers need to build mass opposition

Ireland North: Health Minister forced to resign after making homophobic remarks
27/04/2015, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
LGBT and women’s rights campaigners boosted

Italy: Migrant disasters - the human cost of budget cuts
27/04/2015, From web-site of ControCorrente (CWI in Italy):
From Mare Nostrum to Triton

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Ireland: Massive ‘Yes’ to Marriage Equality referendum
28/05/2015, Conor Payne, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Growing opposition to conservative establishment

Britain: The struggles to come
27/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI England and Wales) General Secretary:
No fundamental change to be expected from the Labour Party

Canada’s ‘carbo-state’
26/05/2015, Bill Hopwood, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada):
Only a socialist alternative can challenge the carbo-capitalists’ grip on Canadian politics

Iraq/Syria: ISIS rout national armies at Ramadi and Palmyra
23/05/2015, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
United working class movement needed to sweep away sectarian militias and reactionary politicians

Ireland North: Election marks growing rejection of sectarian status quo
21/05/2015, Daniel Waldron and Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Opportunities to build new anti-sectarian political voice for working class and youth

Spain: Is Podemos in crisis?
20/05/2015, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Left and social movements in a state of flux, as key elections loom

USA: Presidential candidate declares "political revolution" against billionaires
12/05/2015, Philip Locker, Socialist Alternative, Seattle:
Campaign needs to build independent political power

Britain: Fight against "five more damned years" of Tory rule
12/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party )CWI England & Wales) General Secretary:
Labour leader’s ’responsible capitalism’ shows its bankruptcy

China: “In a hard landing now”
11/05/2015, Dikang, chinaworker.info:
Stock market frenzy and fabricated GDP figures cannot hide the reality of an economy in deep trouble

Ireland North: Socialist Party replies to leading Sinn Fein councillor’s attacks
06/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) Statement:
How to fight cuts, sectarianism and to build workers’ unity

May Day 2015: Socialist plan or capitalist chaos
01/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party General Secretary, (CWI England & Wales):
What sort of new society are we struggling for?

Nepal: Disaster in Nepal –amplified by capitalism
30/04/2015, TU Senan, CWI:
Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the south Asian region has been further devastated by the recent earthquake.

May Day 2015: Resisting austerity, exploitation, wars and oppression
28/04/2015, CWI:
125 years since first May Day – Build a united workers’ movement for socialism!

Latin America: A new turn?
25/04/2015, Tony Saunois, article from May issue of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, turmoil in Venezuela, and stalled reforms in Bolivia – as well as crises in Brazil – symbolise a new turn in Latin America and the Caribbean

Iran: Proposed nuclear deal reflects transformed Middle East
24/04/2015, Robert Bechert, CWI:
In aftermath of disastrous Iraq occupation, Obama administration balancing between region’s forces

Tunisia: After the Bardo terrorist attack
18/04/2015, Serge Jordan:
New class battles loom

Yemen: Brutal onslaught on country’s poor
15/04/2015, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the CWI England & Wales):
For unity of workers and poor against imperialism and sectarianism

Economy: What low oil prices cost the world economy
03/04/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The sudden plunge of oil and gas prices has underlined the volatility in the world capitalist economy

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!