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latest news

Scotland
Capitalist ‘Project Fear’ backfiring?

23/04/2014: The socialist case for independence

  Scotland

Chile
Socialism 2014 a success!

22/04/2014: First Santiago Socialism event organised by CWI in Chile

  Chile

CWI
History of the Committee for a Workers’ International

21/04/2014: 40th anniversary of the founding of the CWI

  History

Sri Lanka
Provincial elections spike president’s plans

20/04/2014: Repression can provoke opposition

  Sri Lanka

China
Labour disputes soar

17/04/2014: 40,000 workers paralyse world’s largest sports shoe maker

  China

Greece
International anti-fascist conference “No pasaran!”

16/04/2014: Four thousand attend three-day event in Athens

  Greece

South Africa
Enthusiastic response for WASP ahead of May elections

15/04/2014: WASP campaigning material available on pdf

  South Africa

India
Massive election process could end in turmoil

14/04/2014: New party expresses, but cannot solve, major discontents

  India

Cyprus
Austerity sees living standards fall back 40 years

11/04/2014: One year of the right wing Anastasiades government

  Cyprus

 Iranian nuclear talks
Hypocrisy abounds

10/04/2014: Paul Murphy MEP

  Video

Britain
Dave Nellist on BBC outlining TUSC’s socialist policies

10/04/2014: Trade union and socialist coalition (TUSC) candidate count reaches 476 for May local election

  Britain

Taiwan
Occupation of parliament ends after 23 days

10/04/2014: What are the lessons of the island’s ‘sunflower movement’?

  Taiwan

Hungary
Election highlights lack of Left challenge

09/04/2014: Declining vote for ruling Fidész party; neo-fascist Jobbik picks up 20% as false ‘alternative’

  Hungary

Environment
Ukraine crisis exploited by multinational fracking lobby

09/04/2014: Oppose the pro-big business EU/ US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

  Environment, Ukraine

Belgium
50,000 join ETUC Brussels demonstration

08/04/2014: Protesters’ radical mood

  Belgium

Britain
One in ten council seats will have TUSC candidate

07/04/2014: No-cuts election challenge grows

  Britain

Review
Net political impact

06/04/2014: To Save Everything, Click Here • By Evgeny Morozov •

  Review

Belgium
The rise of the PTB/PvdA

05/04/2014: Recent polls confirm a probable electoral breakthrough for the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PvdA).

  Belgium

Ivory Coast
First victory for students at University of Cocody

04/04/2014: An important step to push the struggle against neo-liberal policies further

  Ivory Coast

Canada
Port of Vancouver truckers’ strike wins significant gains

03/04/2014: After bosses’ seen off - unions must defend their right to strike!

  Canada

France
Government punished in local elections

02/04/2014: Far right gains highlight need for strong fighting left opposition

  France

Nepal
Turning back the wheel of history

01/04/2014: Second constituent assembly election – a shift to the right

  Nepal

South Africa
WASP manifesto launch success!

01/04/2014: On Saturday 29 March the Workers and Socialist Party launched its 2014 election manifesto at a rally in Katlehong, Gauteng

  Africa, South Africa

Taiwan
Half a million on the streets against President Ma

31/03/2014: Demonstrators call for trade pact to be withdrawn and for president to step down

  Taiwan

US
Winning $15 an hour in Seattle

31/03/2014: A socialist strategy

  US

Netherlands
Socialist Party local election gains

31/03/2014: Vote for SP can be the basis for a mass struggle against cuts

  Netherlands

 Video
Hypocrisy of Irish Govt & EU on Ukraine

29/03/2014: Joe Higgins, Socialist Party (CWI MP) speaks in Irish parliament

  Ukraine, Video

 Sweden
New political winds affect CWI Congress

28/03/2014: Optimistic Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna prepares for elections

  CWI, Sweden

No to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

28/03/2014: Anti-democratic agreement seeks to increase corporate domination of politics

Portugal
Thousands of police and military march in Lisbon

27/03/2014: Reflection of the government’s intrinsic weakness

  Portugal

Spain
A million march for dignity in Madrid

26/03/2014: 22M: A before and after moment for the class struggle

  Spain

Pakistan

New twists and turns in Pakistani politics

www.socialistworld.net, 24/08/2007
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

The threat of Emergency or Martial Law is not over yet,

Khalid Bhatti, SMP Lahore

Pakistan is one of the few countries in the world where political predictions are very difficult to make, because the political situation changes every few months. The political and social crisis is so deep that it is impossible for any regime to bring long-lasting stability in the country.

As the present regime is losing power and becoming increasingly unstable, it is bringing more volatility and uncertainty. One day the media has news of a possible deal between the main opposition PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) and the military ruler Musharraf. Next day, something contrary on the imposition of emergency rule comes out.

On one hand the regime talks about elections while at the same time it also talks about imposing emergency or even martial law. There were rumours in all the news channels for 24 hours during August that the government had decided to impose an emergency in the country and wants to postpone the general elections for one year. Everybody was worried. The stock market crashed, losing more than 900 points in one day. Foreign investors started withdrawing their money.

After this 24-hour drama and confusion, the government announced that emergency will not be imposed. General Musharraf later told the media that the government had sent him the proposal to impose an emergency but he refused to sign.

In fact he did it only after a phone call from the US foreign minister. His legal advisers also asked him not to impose emergency under these circumstances. The Americans and legal advisers saved him from another possible embarrassment at the hands of the Supreme Court.

The present situation in Pakistan can be described in one word - confusion. Every one seems confused in the ruling class including government, opposition parties and military establishment. Musharraf wants his re-election as uniformed president from the present assemblies at any cost, but is still unsure that he will be able to do that. There is no certainty when the general elections will be held.

Musharraf is also not sure whether to make a deal with the PPP. There is also confusion in the opposition camp. Both PPP and JUI, the largest component of religious parties’ alliance (MMA), wants to strike a deal with the government.

Some opposition parties want to bring down the present regime through street agitation, but they have no clear strategy to do that. Some opposition parties want to boycott general elections under Musharraf but other parties want to contest the elections under any circumstances.

Will Musharraf survive?

The most debated issue is, how long will Musharraf survive? No doubt Musharraf’s power has weakened in the last few months. The reinstatement of the Chief Justice of Pakistan by the Supreme Court on 20 July was the biggest below to his regime since he took over in 1999. Now Musharraf faces a hostile superior judiciary, a more concerned establishment, rising Islamic militancy and extremism and increased discontent about his rule.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for him to continue as president and army chief at the same time. With the presidential election looming, the issue of his uniform again takes centre stage. Musharraf desperately wanted to re elect himself as president in uniform to continue his rule. He has the required majority in the assemblies to get himself elected but the laws and the constitution do not allow him to continue as uniformed president.

He needs the support of two-thirds of Pakistan’s legislators to amend the constitution, which is not available to him. In 2002, the religious parties’ alliance MMA provided him the required number to amend the constitution. Now he wants to get the PPP’s support to amend it again.

If he failed to re-elect himself as president from the present assemblies, as a result of a supreme court decision against him, he will most likely impose emergency or direct military rule to hang on to the power. But this would be a blunder on his part and most likely he would be removed by another General. American politicians are also putting pressure on him to drop the uniform and become civilian president.

Musharraf has few options left to continue his rule. He is very unpopular amongst the masses and he is also not enjoying the same support in the military as he was some time ago. The next few months will determine the future of General Musharraf and his allies. But clearly he will not be able to extend his rule in the longer term without making new alliances and giving more concessions to staunch opponents like former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto. His survival mainly depends on the superior courts’ decisions on different constitutional issues.

Rebellious judiciary

There is a rebellion going on in the superior judiciary against the establishment. For the first time in Pakistan’s history, the judiciary is asserting itself and showing independence from the establishment. The judiciary has not only started to make decisions against the establishment but it is also taking up issues they never tackled before.

The Supreme Court not only reinstated the Chief Justice but also struck down the decades-old law which allowed the government to send judges on forced leave. The countrywide month-long struggle of lawyers and political activists gave the superior judiciary new confidence to go against the establishment.

A hostile judiciary can become a big obstacle to a regime which wants to extend its rule beyond the legal limits. The Supreme Court is taking many actions against the police brutalities and tortures, crimes against women and against illegal measures and actions of the establishment.

An overwhelming majority of people now looks towards the Supreme Court with new hopes. The Chief Justice is still the most popular and respected person linked with a state institution. For the first time in Pakistan’s history, the superior judiciary has started to hear petitions against intelligence agencies for detaining people without any legal proceedings.

All the political parties are approaching the judiciary on all sorts of issues. Judicial activism is hurting the government badly and making it difficult for them to fulfil their wishes. A new confrontation is taking place between judiciary and establishment, a new phenomenon in Pakistan.

Traditionally, the judiciary helped the establishment draw up its political designs. The judiciary always provides legal and constitutional cover and legitimacy to the military governments and even allows them to amend the constitution according to their political requirements.

But this decades-long cooperation came to an end on 9 March when Musharraf tried to sack the Chief Justice. It is not easy for the establishment to curtail the pro-active judiciary. Confrontation between two state institutions will further deepen the crisis.

Musharraf-Benazir deal

Finally Musharraf took another u-turn and decided to get the support of his arch-rival Benazir Bhutto. Musharraf in his seven years rule constantly attacked Bhutto for being corrupt and a security risk for the country. To strengthen his power, however, he decided to make a compromise with her.

The deal between General Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto has finally been achieved though both deny any deal between them. American advisers played a key role in this deal and they are putting lot of pressure on Musharraf to make concessions to Benazir.

US Imperialism is also pressurizing Musharraf to finalise a power-sharing formula with the PPP after the upcoming general elections. For the Americans the Musharraf-Benazir coalition is the best option to carry forward their policies in Pakistan. They insist that Musharraf should take off his uniform and become a civilian president after securing the second term.

Benazir is ready to accept him as civilian president if he accepts her as prime minister. There are still some issues that need to be settled before implementation of the deal that will benefit Musharraf and gave him some time in power.

But this deal has further eroded support for Benazir Bhutto, who is ready to make any sacrifice to come to power. She strongly believes that the establishment will bring her to power. She has lost confidence in the masses and wants to get support from the Pakistani establishment and American imperialism. The PPP is continuing to shift further to the right.

Benazir and Musharraf have common policies on many issues. They both are Pro- US and followed American policies. They both have neoliberal economic policies, believing in the free market economy and wanting to continue with the rotten and repressive capitalist system.

Crisis of leadership

The latest surveys by BBC radio, local news channels and other bodies clearly show there is a serious leadership crisis in the country. No leader at present can claim that he or she enjoys the overwhelming support of the masses. According to these surveys, Z.A. Bhutto the founding chairman of PPP, executed by a military ruler in 1979, is still Pakistan’s most popular leader, followed by Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto. Musharraf stands in sixth spot.

Nawaz Sharif has become popular because he refused to make any sort of deal or compromise with Musharraf. Benazir Bhutto has lost support since she met Musharraf. No religious leader is in the list of ten top politicians of the country.

According to these surveys, the majority of people have no trust in military generals or civilian politicians because they have failed to deliver. In 2004, the religious leaders were the country’s most trusted politicians but now they are the least trusted.

These surveys reflect the general mood of working people. The overwhelming majority has no interest in politics because they feel betrayed by political parties and their leadership. The main political parties have no real programme, strategy and ideology to solve the basic problems faced by the working masses.

Opposition parties routinely criticise the present regime for price hikes, poverty, unemployment, falling living conditions, rising Islamic militancy and the lack of basic facilities like health, education, clean drinking water and decent housing, but these parties have no alternative programme and policies to answer these problems.

If you ask them how you can solve these problems, the religious leaders always reply, Islam is the solution. For capitalist and feudal leaders the answer is democracy. They are not interested in the issues of working people. Working-class people have lost faith in politics and a clear majority consider it a waste of time. Hundreds of thousands of people who came to welcome the Chief Justice when he was travelling to different parts of the country are not ready to come out on the streets at the call of political parties.

The process of political alienation of the working class has even increased in the last few years. For the masses, all the parties are the same and their only objective is to share power with the establishment to plunder the state resources.

The charisma and popularity of PPP and Benazir Bhutto has eroded to the lowest levels. Religious leaders have been discredited and are losing support. Nationalist parties in different provinces are not enjoying the support they enjoyed in the past. Military rule and generals have also become very unpopular.

The already existing political vacuum is widening and becoming bigger. This situation can be compared with that in the early 1960s which led to the mass movement of working class and poor in 1968-69, the biggest revolutionary movement in the history of Pakistan.

Mass workers party

No working-class party exists in Pakistan. The working class has no political voice and platform to fight for its political interests. The absence of a mass working class party further disillusions working people from politics. The working class needs its own party with a clear socialist programme.

Many trade unions raise the idea of a working-class party but nothing practically has been done. Some union leaders use this slogan to satisfy their membership, which are putting pressure on them to form a workers’ party. The question is mainly raised by the right wing union leadership which is frightened at the prospect of a real mass working-class party based on a radical fighting programme.

There is no opposition to the idea of a workers’ party in the wider layers of workers and especially trade union activists. As the working class started to take part actively in politics, the idea of a new workers’ party will become more prominent in the labour movement.

Socialist Movement Pakistan (SMP) has been raising this idea in the trade unions and working class since 2004. SMP is constantly campaigning on this issue and it got a very positive response from workers.

SMP plans to launch a countrywide campaign during the general elections to be held in December this year or early next year. There is big potential for this campaign to develop on a national level. SMP is also campaigning to organise a national trade union conference on this issue next March.

These small steps can pave the way for big steps in this direction. The next few years will be crucial. A mass revolutionary party of the working class is a difficult task, but it needs to be done. The political situation is ripening for such a development.

 



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NEWS

Chile: Socialism 2014 a success!
22/04/2014, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Chile) reporters:
First Santiago Socialism event organised by CWI in Chile

Sri Lanka: Provincial elections spike president’s plans
20/04/2014, Siritunga Jayasuriya, Secretary of United Socialist Party (CWI Sri Lanka):
Repression can provoke opposition

China: Labour disputes soar
17/04/2014, chinaworker.info reporters:
40,000 workers paralyse world’s largest sports shoe maker

Nigeria: Bomb explosions in Abuja - more evidence of the failure of capitalist government
16/04/2014, Segun Sango, Socialist Party Nigeria National Chairperson:
For democratic self-defence committees

Greece: International anti-fascist conference “No pasaran!”
16/04/2014, Sebastian Forster (CWI Germany) and Elin Gauffin (CWI Sweden):
Four thousand attend three-day event in Athens

South Africa: Enthusiastic response for WASP ahead of May elections
15/04/2014, Socialistworld.net:
WASP campaigning material available on pdf

India: Massive election process could end in turmoil
14/04/2014, Clare Doyle (CWI international Secretariat):
New party expresses, but cannot solve, major discontents

Cyprus: Austerity sees living standards fall back 40 years
11/04/2014, Athina Kariati, New Internationalist Left (CWI in Cyprus):
One year of the right wing Anastasiades government

Iranian nuclear talks: Hypocrisy abounds
10/04/2014, :
Paul Murphy MEP

Britain: Dave Nellist on BBC outlining TUSC’s socialist policies
10/04/2014, :
Trade union and socialist coalition (TUSC) candidate count reaches 476 for May local election

Hungary: Election highlights lack of Left challenge
09/04/2014, Sonja Grusch and Tilman M. Ruster:
Declining vote for ruling Fidész party; neo-fascist Jobbik picks up 20% as false ‘alternative’

Environment: Ukraine crisis exploited by multinational fracking lobby
09/04/2014, Paul Murphy, Socialist Party MEP, and Tanja Niemeier:
Oppose the pro-big business EU/ US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

Belgium: 50,000 join ETUC Brussels demonstration
08/04/2014, Eric Byl, General Secretary, Linkse Socialistiche Partij / Parti Socialiste de Lutte (PSL/LSP):
Protesters’ radical mood

Review: Net political impact
06/04/2014, Ben Robinson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) published in Socialism Today:
To Save Everything, Click Here • By Evgeny Morozov •

Ivory Coast: First victory for students at University of Cocody
04/04/2014, CWI in Ivory Coast:
An important step to push the struggle against neo-liberal policies further

Canada: Port of Vancouver truckers’ strike wins significant gains
03/04/2014, Socialist Alternative Reporter, Vancouver:
After bosses’ seen off - unions must defend their right to strike!

France: Government punished in local elections
02/04/2014, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France) reporters:
Far right gains highlight need for strong fighting left opposition

South Africa: WASP manifesto launch success!
01/04/2014, Workers’ and Socialist Party (WASP):
On Saturday 29 March the Workers and Socialist Party launched its 2014 election manifesto at a rally in Katlehong, Gauteng

Taiwan: Half a million on the streets against President Ma
31/03/2014, CWI reporters in Taipei:
Demonstrators call for trade pact to be withdrawn and for president to step down

Netherlands: Socialist Party local election gains
31/03/2014, Pieter Brans, Amsterdam:
Vote for SP can be the basis for a mass struggle against cuts

Video: Hypocrisy of Irish Govt & EU on Ukraine
29/03/2014, socialistworld.net:
Joe Higgins, Socialist Party (CWI MP) speaks in Irish parliament

Sweden: New political winds affect CWI Congress
28/03/2014, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna Reporters:
Optimistic Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna prepares for elections

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Scotland: Capitalist ‘Project Fear’ backfiring?
23/04/2014, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland:
The socialist case for independence

CWI: History of the Committee for a Workers’ International
21/04/2014, Socialistworld.net:
40th anniversary of the founding of the CWI

Taiwan: Occupation of parliament ends after 23 days
10/04/2014, Interview with Sally Tang Mei-ching, CWI participant in Taipei protests:
What are the lessons of the island’s ‘sunflower movement’?

Belgium: The rise of the PTB/PvdA
05/04/2014, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium):
Recent polls confirm a probable electoral breakthrough for the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PvdA).

Nepal: Turning back the wheel of history
01/04/2014, Senan, CWI:
Second constituent assembly election – a shift to the right

US: Winning $15 an hour in Seattle
31/03/2014, Patrick Ayers, Socialist Alternative, USA:
A socialist strategy

Spain: A million march for dignity in Madrid
26/03/2014, Angel Morano, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain):
22M: A before and after moment for the class struggle

Taiwan: Ma government rocked by mass protests and occupation of parliament
26/03/2014, Sally Tang Mei-ching in Taipei and Vincent Kolo:
Down with undemocratic Kuomintang rule – for a Taiwan-wide student strike as the next step!

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Mass protests - The first flowers of spring
26/03/2014, Sonja Grusch, Socialist Left Party (CWI in Austria):
What programme should the Left advocate?

Britain: After Bob Crow and Tony Benn
24/03/2014, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (No.177, April 2014), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Mourn the loss, fight for the future

Scotland: Unions and the socialist case for independence
23/03/2014, John McInally, national vice-president of the Public and Commercial Services union (personal capacity):
Aruging a independent, working class position

Ukraine: Crimea breaks away to join Russia
18/03/2014, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
Tensions between powers worsen

Australia: Socialist Party playing key role in fight against East-West tunnel
13/03/2014, Mel Gregson and Stephen Jolly, Socialist Party (CWI in Australia), Melbourne:
Campaign brings public transport to forefront of political debate

Bosnia Herzegovina: Mass protests of working people and youth show the way forward
13/03/2014, CWI Leaflet text:
Working people stir to end poverty, joblessness, corruption and ethnic divisions!

Socialist perspectives for Aotearoa / New Zealand
09/03/2014, CWI Aotearoa / New Zealand:
The world and New Zealand in crisis

International Women’s Day 2014
07/03/2014, Clare Doyle (Committee for a Workers’ International):
Fighting austerity and oppression world-wide

Venezuela: A year after Chavez’s death
06/03/2014, By Gabriela Sanchez (CWI Venezuela).:
Commemorations in context of new crisis

Ukraine: Russian troops take up positions throughout Crimea
04/03/2014, CWI Reporters:
Tensions deepen between Western powers and Moscow

Greece: Still in the eye of the storm
26/02/2014, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI in Greece) published in Socialism Today:
From the outside, it can appear there’s a certain pause in the struggle in Greece. Is this true?

Ukraine: Bloodshed in Kiev
19/02/2014, Rob Jones, from Socialism Today (March edition, No.176):
What lies behind the Ukraine crisis?

Venezuela: An analysis of 12F
19/02/2014, By Gabriela Sanchez- SR Venezuela:
On 12F, three people (two right wing supporters and one government supporter) were killed in Caracas and dozens injured and arrested in the protests and demonstrations that took place around Venezuela to commemorate the annual ’Youth Day’.

Pakistan: Negotiating peace
18/02/2014, Khalid Bhatti, SNP Lahore:
Government/Taliban talks begin - But where will they go?

South Africa: The end of Cosatu?
17/02/2014, WASP (Workers and Socialist Party) Reporters, S Africa:
Time for a new socialist trade union federation

Greece: The fascist threat
08/02/2014, Christina Ziakka, Xekinima (CWI Greece) - translated by Amalia Loizidou. First published in Socialism Today:
Deep economic crisis, savage austerity and social upheaval have polarised Greek society.

South Africa: After NUMSA’s Congress
04/02/2014, Workers And Socialist Party (WASP) statement:
Seize the historic opportunity of the 2014 elections