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latest news

Greece
Why did Syriza and the KKE fail to reach agreement?

29/01/2015: For socialist policies to end austerity nightmare!

  Greece

Greece
Syriza victory shows austerity elite can be beaten

29/01/2015: An inspiration for workers and youth across Europe

  Britain, Greece

Greece
Syriza comes to power, as old ruling parties collapse

27/01/2015: Left parties fail to form government - Syriza goes into coalition with populist right Independent Greeks

  Europe, Greece

China
Slowest growth rate since 1990

25/01/2015: Economy decelerated 30 percent in five years

  China

Cuba
Diplomatic relations with US restored, embargo eased

24/01/2015: Threat of capitalist restoration accelerates

  Cuba, US

Northern Ireland
Water service workers win important victory

23/01/2015: A victory for all workers and an inspiration to resist the ‘race to the bottom’

  Ireland North

Sri Lanka
Mobilise now to defend our demands

22/01/2015: Article first published in the Colombo Telegraph

  Sri Lanka

 US
Kshama Sawant gives socialist response to Obama’s "State of the Union" address

21/01/2015: "Why can’t Barack Obama say “Black Lives Matter”?"

  US, Video

Russia/Ukraine
Facing a turbulent 2015

21/01/2015: As death toll rises, economies plunge into freefall

  Russia, Ukraine

Greece
Prospect of Syriza victory raises workers’ hopes

20/01/2015: Mass intervention of working class to struggle for socialist policies is vital

  Greece

Nigeria
The Massacre in Baga

19/01/2015: Socialism or Barbarism

  Nigeria

Review
‘Eleanor Marx - a life’

17/01/2015: Clare Doyle reviews ’Eleanor Marx - A Life’ by Rachel Holmes

  Review

 Video
Joe Higgins questions Irish Central Bank governor

16/01/2015: Socialist MP grills establishment over banking bubble and collapse

  Video

Nigeria
2015 general elections and the working masses

16/01/2015: Boko Haram and the war in the north-east

  Nigeria

  Video
Ruth Coppinger calls for referendum on abortion rights in Ireland

15/01/2015: "You march in Paris, yet uphold laws any religious fundamentalist would envy"

  Ireland Republic, Video, Women

 Video
A year of struggle in Brazil

14/01/2015: LSR members intervene in struggles of 2014

  Brazil, Video

Sri Lanka
New but uncertain period opens up

14/01/2015: President Sirisena aims for clean government but will face difficulties

  Sri Lanka

Iran
Labour and children’s rights activist, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, sentenced to another nine years

13/01/2015: International action needed to overturn latest conviction and to immediately release Behnam

  Iran

Germany
What is behind the ‘PEGIDA’ anti-immigrant demonstrations?

13/01/2015: Unions and Left must organise against racism and for jobs and decent living standards for all

  Germany

France
Millions march for solidarity

12/01/2015: Unity against racism and capitalism!

  France

New Zealand
Extreme poverty worsens

12/01/2015: Workers need to build political alternative to major parties’ big business agenda

  New Zealand

France
Counter terrorist threat with workers-led mass unity

10/01/2015: The shocking, cold blooded slaughter at Charlie Hebdo, and more killings in subsequent days, has been met with mass outrage

  France

Norway
General strike called for 28 January

10/01/2015: Two-hour protest against worsening working conditions

  Norway

Sri Lanka
Rajapaksa defeated

09/01/2015: Period of uncertainty opens

  Sri Lanka

Sweden
New elections cancelled

09/01/2015: “Peace deal” between government and right-wing opposition

  Sweden

Greece
Towards a Syriza government?

08/01/2015: General elections on 25 January

  Greece

France
Deadly attack on satirical paper Charlie Hebdo

08/01/2015: Defend freedom of speech! Don’t let us be divided!

  France

Hong Kong
Politics transformed by ‘Umbrella Revolution’

07/01/2015: A fighting democratic movement must be created to continue and build upon this historic “first round”

  Hong Kong

Israel-Palestine
A successful Socialism conference in the shadow of national divide

06/01/2015: Over 150 people participated in the ‘Socialism Conference 2014’ in Tel Aviv, organised by the Socialist Struggle Movement (SSM - CWI in Israel-Palestine)

  Israel / Palestine

Northern Ireland
The Stormont House Agreement

05/01/2015: Agreeing Not To Agree, Again

  Ireland Republic

Environment
Market forces hold back renewable energy

01/01/2015: Have capitalist governments around the world finally woken up to the danger of global warming?

  Environment

New Year
Political and economic ingredients for volatile 2015

31/12/2014: As crisis of capitalism worsens, vital to organise and continue the struggle

  Britain, Europe, World Economy

Britain
In defence of TUSC

30/12/2014: As the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition gears up for its biggest ever electoral stand…

  Britain, US

 CWI
National Question a key feature of political crisis of capitalism

28/12/2014: A socialist solution to national oppression

  CWI

Scotland
Blairite wins election as Labour’s new Scottish leader

27/12/2014: Murphy’s election means trade unions must build a new workers party

  Scotland

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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US: Kshama Sawant gives socialist response to Obama’s "State of the Union" address, 21/01/2015

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NEWS

Greece: Syriza victory shows austerity elite can be beaten
29/01/2015, Editorial of The Socialist, newspaper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
An inspiration for workers and youth across Europe

China: Slowest growth rate since 1990
25/01/2015, chinaworker.info reporters:
Economy decelerated 30 percent in five years

Northern Ireland: Water service workers win important victory
23/01/2015, Donal O’Cofaigh, Socialist Party, Fermanagh:
A victory for all workers and an inspiration to resist the ‘race to the bottom’

Sri Lanka: Mobilise now to defend our demands
22/01/2015, Tu Senan, International Coordinator of the Tamil Solidarity campaign:
Article first published in the Colombo Telegraph

US: Kshama Sawant gives socialist response to Obama’s "State of the Union" address
21/01/2015, Socialistworld.net, via socialistalternative.org:
"Why can’t Barack Obama say “Black Lives Matter”?"

Review: ‘Eleanor Marx - a life’
17/01/2015, Clare Doyle, CWI. Article published in the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Clare Doyle reviews ’Eleanor Marx - A Life’ by Rachel Holmes

Video: Joe Higgins questions Irish Central Bank governor
16/01/2015, socialistworld.net:
Socialist MP grills establishment over banking bubble and collapse

Nigeria: 2015 general elections and the working masses
16/01/2015, Aj. Dagga Tolar and Kola Ibrahim, DSM (CWI in Nigeria):
Boko Haram and the war in the north-east

Video: Ruth Coppinger calls for referendum on abortion rights in Ireland
15/01/2015, socialistworld.net:
"You march in Paris, yet uphold laws any religious fundamentalist would envy"

Video: A year of struggle in Brazil
14/01/2015, socialistworld.net:
LSR members intervene in struggles of 2014

Sri Lanka: New but uncertain period opens up
14/01/2015, Clare Doyle, CWI:
President Sirisena aims for clean government but will face difficulties

Iran: Labour and children’s rights activist, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, sentenced to another nine years
13/01/2015, Campaign in Support Workers of Iran:
International action needed to overturn latest conviction and to immediately release Behnam

France: Millions march for solidarity
12/01/2015, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
Unity against racism and capitalism!

New Zealand: Extreme poverty worsens
12/01/2015, CWI Reporters, NZ/Aotearoa:
Workers need to build political alternative to major parties’ big business agenda

France: Counter terrorist threat with workers-led mass unity
10/01/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) website editorial:
The shocking, cold blooded slaughter at Charlie Hebdo, and more killings in subsequent days, has been met with mass outrage

Norway: General strike called for 28 January
10/01/2015, Trond Sverre and Elise Kollveit (CWI, Oslo):
Two-hour protest against worsening working conditions

Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa defeated
09/01/2015, TU Senan, CWI:
Period of uncertainty opens

Sweden: New elections cancelled
09/01/2015, Questions answered by Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
“Peace deal” between government and right-wing opposition

France: Deadly attack on satirical paper Charlie Hebdo
08/01/2015, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
Defend freedom of speech! Don’t let us be divided!

Hong Kong: Politics transformed by ‘Umbrella Revolution’
07/01/2015, Editorial from Socialist magazine《社會主義者, of CWI in China and Hong Kong:
A fighting democratic movement must be created to continue and build upon this historic “first round”

Israel-Palestine: A successful Socialism conference in the shadow of national divide
06/01/2015, Or Dar, Socialist Struggle Movement, CWI in Israel-Palestine:
Over 150 people participated in the ‘Socialism Conference 2014’ in Tel Aviv, organised by the Socialist Struggle Movement (SSM - CWI in Israel-Palestine)

Environment: Market forces hold back renewable energy
01/01/2015, Pete Dickinson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Have capitalist governments around the world finally woken up to the danger of global warming?

Britain: In defence of TUSC
30/12/2014, Clive Heemskerk, from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
As the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition gears up for its biggest ever electoral stand…

CWI: National Question a key feature of political crisis of capitalism
28/12/2014, Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI Scotland):
A socialist solution to national oppression

Scotland:Blairite wins election as Labour’s new Scottish leader
27/12/2014, Philip Stott, SPS (CWI Scotland):
Murphy’s election means trade unions must build a new workers party

Obituary: Gough Whitlam, 1916-2014
26/12/2014, Conor Flynn, Socialist Party (CWI in Australia):
Former Australian Labour Party (ALP) prime minister

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

Northern Ireland: The Stormont House Agreement
05/01/2015, Michael Cleary, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Agreeing Not To Agree, Again

New Year: Political and economic ingredients for volatile 2015
31/12/2014, Peter Taaffe, General Secretary Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
As crisis of capitalism worsens, vital to organise and continue the struggle

Latin America: The end of one cycle and the beginning of another
17/12/2014, socialistworld.net:
Document on Latin America, agreed by CWI International Executive Committee

World Perspectives: A turbulent period in history
15/12/2014, CWI International Executive Committee:
Signs of revival of class struggle signposts the future

Sri Lanka: Presidential Election January 8, 2015
11/12/2014, Interview with Siritunga Jayasuriya, USP (CWI Sri Lanka):
Socialist candidate challenges all other forces

Australia: Major community victory stops Melbourne’s East-West Toll Road
08/12/2014, By Socialist Party (CWI Australia) reporters, Melbourne:
Socialist Party leads successful campaign against Toll Road and for investment in public transport

World Perspectives: A turbulent period in history
27/11/2014, International Secretariat of the CWI :
Signs of revival of class struggle signposts the future

Ireland: Lies and distortions against community protests, the AAA and the Socialist Party
21/11/2014, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) reporters:
Government and Water Charges completely undermined

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.