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latest news

Haiti
225th anniversary of anti-slavery, anti-colonial revolution

27/08/2016: A heroic and lasting inspiration to the oppressed everywhere

  Haiti

Scotland
Will the Corbyn uprising save Scottish Labour?

27/08/2016: Lessons of indyref and need for active anti-cuts policies

  Scotland

Greece
Athens bus cleaners win major victory

26/08/2016: Struggle achieves public contracts for 100s cleaning workers

  Greece

Russia
Twenty five years since the coup against Gorbachev

25/08/2016: Decades of ‘shock therapy capitalism’, wars and corruption

  Russia

Chile
Up to 2 million march against pensions robbery

24/08/2016: General strike threatened for 4 November as protests grow

  Chile

Quebec
Montreal workers strike for $15 an hour

22/08/2016: "Company totally underestimated workers’ determination"

  Quebec

 Video
Militant, Liverpool and Trotskyism today

22/08/2016: Russia Today covers historic Liverpool battle, led by the CWI in Britain

  Trotsky, Video

US
Build a new party of the 99%

21/08/2016: Support Jill Stein

  US

Middle East
ISIS’ waning “caliphate”

20/08/2016: Imperialist solutions are no solution at all

  Middle East

Russia
Twenty fifth anniversary of attempted coup

19/08/2016: Attempted Stalinist counter-revolution speeds up capitalist counter-revolution

  Russia

US
Trump in trouble

17/08/2016: Political polarisation deepens

  US

Philippines
Is Duterte following in Marcos’ footsteps?

16/08/2016: New president threatens martial law while leaning on ‘left’ parties for support

  Philippines

Britain
The Corbyn insurgency 2.0

15/08/2016: Now let’s finish the job

  Britain

 Video
Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe on Channel 4

14/08/2016: Socialist party media coverage amid accusations of Trotskyist "entryism"

  Video

 Video
CWI around the world

13/08/2016: Video shown at the CWI Summer school of some sections’ activities

  CWI, Video

Quebec
World Social Forum 2016

13/08/2016: Tens of thousands of activists from around the world gather WSF in Montreal, 9-14 August

  Canada, Quebec

Hong Kong
Multinational MTR takes socialist Sally Tang Mei-ching to court

12/08/2016: Political motives behind ‘David versus Goliath’ trial

  Hong Kong

Britain
#KeepCorbyn - stand firm for socialism

10/08/2016: The fight for a Labour Party for the working class

  Britain

South Africa
Local elections a thunderous rebuke for ANC

09/08/2016: ANC polls less than 60% for first time since end of apartheid

  Africa, South Africa

Zimbabwe
Mugabe must fall!

05/08/2016: Mass revolt shakes the regime to its foundations

  Zimbabwe

The Olympics, big business and dictatorship

04/08/2016: A short history of the Olympics:

  History

 CWI Summer school
Brazil

04/08/2016: New cycle of struggle following right-wing parliamentary coup

  Brazil, CWI

 CWI Summer School
Economic instability, inter-imperialist tensions, workers struggles’ and political earthquakes

03/08/2016: Report of the discussion on world perspectives at the recent CWI Summer School

  CWI, Turkey

 CWI Summer School 2016
Fighting racism and the far right 

02/08/2016: Capitalist crisis and anti-immigrant reaction

  CWI

Germany
‘Brexit’ and the German Left

30/07/2016: Reject the bosses’ EU! For a Europe of working people - a voluntary socialist federation

  Germany

US
Most contentious Democratic Convention since 1968

29/07/2016: We need a new party of the 99% to defeat the billionaire class

  US

 Cameroon
Free jailed Buea activists!

28/07/2016: 100 protest outside the court demanding release of the 15

  Cameroon, Solidarity

Cote d’Ivoire
Protests against electricity prices

28/07/2016: The straw that broke the camel’s back!

  Ivory Coast

US
A call to action

27/07/2016: Walk out from the Democratic National Convention!

  US

Chile
One million protest against private pension fund

26/07/2016: After student protests, working class returns to streets

  Chile

Venezuela

Workers’ occupy Ministry of Labour offices

www.socialistworld.net, 17/09/2007
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Armed threats ends action

Bravo, Collectivo Socialismo Revolucionario, CWI Venezuela

On Wednesday 15 August 40 workers leaders together with workers occupied the offices of the Ministry of Labour. They arrived at the offices of the Ministry of Labour to demand a discussion with the Minister about the collective contract negotiations for public sector workers. Once they arrived, the workers were told the contracts were going to be signed in an office on the fifth floor of the ministry building. After two hours of waiting, and with no information from the civil servants, a commission amongst the trade union leaders and workers was elected to find out what was going on. The commission finally got word that the civil servant responsible to receive the contracts was the National Inspector of labour and Contractual Matters, who was not present in the building since she was having a meeting with the Minister of Labour. Faced with this situation, the trade union leaders decided to occupy the office as a means of mounting pressure and to make sure the collective agreements would be received. This was decided by the 40 to 50 workers. Later, 30 people taking part in the occupation spent the night in the building. On Thursday morning some of the workers had to leave the occupation. Eventually, the 17 people who stayed were surrounded by the security staff from the Ministry of Labour. These closed the fifth floor off and the workers representatives were locked in the building and not allowed to have any contact with the outside world.

The actions taken by these security staff, on the orders of the Minister, testify to repressive measures that are used by the state apparatus against workers. As a reaction to this incident, a group of between 20 and 30 people, mostly family members and other leading trade unionists, mobilised to picket the entry of the Ministry of Labour and show solidarity with the workers locked in upstairs. This was a show of solidarity had as its main objective the physical safety of the imprisoned upstairs. The response from the functionaries in the Ministry was to shut the entrance to the ministry and to block people’s movements. They blocked those who tried to bring food to the locked-in workers. At this point, the situation was already disturbing. The national leaders of the UNT [a trade union federation] arrived, like Orlando Chirino, and Marcella Maspero, to show support for the occupation. However, they did not organise a mass protest or call on people to join the picket line. With desperation mounting, women on the picket line tried to batter down the doors to the ministry and get some food up to the 5th floor for the imprisoned trade union members and leaders. The reaction of the functionaries of the Ministry of Labour was to put chains around the entrance gates.

Desperate situation

Different journalists from newspapers and TV stations came to see what was going on but only the privately-owned media channels reported on the situation. The government-controlled media kept silent about what was happening.

On Friday, we went to look for a public prosecutor to draw up an official record of what was happening. Two public prosecutors showed up but not one of them was allowed access to the offices in the ministry where the workers were locked in.

On Saturday, the only people still outside the Ministry of Labour supporting the people who were still being held on the fifth floor were their family members. On Sunday, the same situation continued and desperation prevailed.

On Monday, an idea to petition the Supreme Court and serve a habeas corpus was discussed (in common law, a habeas corpus is the name of a legal action through which a person can seek relief from unlawful detention. The court can decide that a prisoner is brought before a court so it can determine whether that person is serving a lawful sentence). A press conference was organised and the television outlets, Globovision, Televen and Venezolana de Televisión, attended. This press conference was manipulated by the media, as TV pictures showed Orlando Chirono making a declaration. In reality, he never made a statement at the press conference.

We received messages of support for this action from Brazil, Argentina, Switzerland and other countries. In Argentina, a picket was held at the Venezuelan Embassy. The people present demanded an end to hostile actions against trade union members. They also demanded that national trade union leaders, like Orlando Chirino and Marcelo Maspero, mobilise workers, and the population, in general, and campaign against the detention of the trade unionists in the Ministry of Labour.

A protest demonstration did take place but the mobilisation and turnout for it was disappointing. It was a sign that the trade union movement is divided and that some of the trade union leaders cannot count on much support.

On Tuesday, when the trade unionists had already spent 6 days in illegal custody in the Ministry of Labour, the situation did not look much better. We were expecting more repression from the Minister, and the trade union leaders who support him, like Franklin Rondon. The Minster sent unarmed officers of the national police to have so-called ‘negotiations’ with those held on the fifth floor. At the same time, a group of armed thugs, with the support of the tupamaros (an armed group from the ‘23 September neighbourhood’, in Caracas), gathered in front of the building. They entered the ministry shouting “fuera los escuálidos” (‘out with the squalid ones’ – ‘squalid’ is widely used in Venezuela to refer to supporters of the pro-imperialist opposition and the national oligarchy). They made their way through the building, smashing things up and destroying furniture. Once they got to the fifth floor, they drew their weapons and threatened to kill the trade union leaders held captive.

One of the trade unionists recognised two of these thugs and started negotiations to prevent a bloodbath. The two said they were instructed to end the occupation. We know from other sources that the Minister of Labour, and his underlings, paid these thugs.

The occupation ended to prevent the shedding of blood. The National Guard officers who were still present on the fifth floor of the Ministry did not intervene at all, not even when lives were threatened.

When the occupation ended, and the workers got out of the Ministry of Labour, they told about the brutal actions of the armed thugs, and how they had to negotiate for their lives.

This whole episode is also a comment on the complications facing the trade union movement in Venezuela. For some in the trade union movement the reaction of the minister of labour has been a shock. After all this is the person who openly declares himself a Trotskyist. On the other hand the occupation of the ministry might not have been understood by other workers not immediately involved as the best tactic to employ. In any case, the inexperience or wrong tactics of the trade unionists involved is no excuse for the use of paid thugs and the intimidation of the trade union movement by a government that claims to build ‘socialism in the 21st century. This experience shows the contradictory nature of the regime and the Venezuelan process and how they can use shock troops to contain any independent class demonstration of Venezuelan workers.



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NEWS

Scotland: Will the Corbyn uprising save Scottish Labour?
27/08/2016, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) :
Lessons of indyref and need for active anti-cuts policies

Greece: Athens bus cleaners win major victory
26/08/2016, Interview with Eleni Mitsou (Xekinima - CWI Greece) and Apostolis Cassimere’s (Board Member of OASA - Athens Bus Workers’ Union):
Struggle achieves public contracts for 100s cleaning workers

Pakistan: Vindictive management suspend and transfer Sindh teachers
24/08/2016, CWI Reporters, Sindh :
Solidarity protests needed!

Chile: Up to 2 million march against pensions robbery
24/08/2016, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Chile) reporters:
General strike threatened for 4 November as protests grow

Britain: Answer right’s attacks with firm socialist programme
23/08/2016, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
#KeepCorbyn

Quebec: Montreal workers strike for $15 an hour
22/08/2016, Interview with Jacques Fontaine, a striking worker at the Old Port of Montreal:
"Company totally underestimated workers’ determination"

Video: Militant, Liverpool and Trotskyism today
22/08/2016, socialistworld.net:
Russia Today covers historic Liverpool battle, led by the CWI in Britain

US: Build a new party of the 99%
21/08/2016, Joshua Koritz, Socialist Alternative, USA:
Support Jill Stein

Philippines: Is Duterte following in Marcos’ footsteps?
16/08/2016, Vincent Kolo (CWI) interviews Philippines-based socialist, Gabriel:
New president threatens martial law while leaning on ‘left’ parties for support

Video: Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe on Channel 4
14/08/2016, Socialistworld.net:
Socialist party media coverage amid accusations of Trotskyist "entryism"

Video: CWI around the world
13/08/2016, socialistworld.net:
Video shown at the CWI Summer school of some sections’ activities

Quebec: World Social Forum 2016
13/08/2016, socialistworld.net:
Tens of thousands of activists from around the world gather WSF in Montreal, 9-14 August

Hong Kong: Multinational MTR takes socialist Sally Tang Mei-ching to court
12/08/2016, Socialist Action reporters (CWI in Hong Kong):
Political motives behind ‘David versus Goliath’ trial

Britain: #KeepCorbyn - stand firm for socialism
10/08/2016, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The fight for a Labour Party for the working class

South Africa: Local elections a thunderous rebuke for ANC
09/08/2016, Weizmann Hamilton, Workers and Socialist Party (CWI in South Africa):
ANC polls less than 60% for first time since end of apartheid

Ireland: Non-payment of water bills rises to 73%
09/08/2016, Katia Hancke, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Abolish the charges now

Zimbabwe: Mugabe must fall!
05/08/2016, Statement by the Executive Committee of the Workers and Socialist Party (CWI in South Africa):
Mass revolt shakes the regime to its foundations

The Olympics, big business and dictatorship
04/08/2016, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
A short history of the Olympics:

CWI Summer school: Brazil
04/08/2016, Michael O’Brien, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
New cycle of struggle following right-wing parliamentary coup

CWI Summer School 2016: Fighting racism and the far right 
02/08/2016, Scott Jones, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Capitalist crisis and anti-immigrant reaction

Germany: Media seizes on violent attacks to whip up Islamophobia
01/08/2016, Sascha Stanicic, Sozialistische Alternative (CWI in Germany):
No security under capitalism

US: Most contentious Democratic Convention since 1968
29/07/2016, Patrick Ayers, Socialist Alternative (US):
We need a new party of the 99% to defeat the billionaire class

Cameroon: Free jailed Buea activists!
28/07/2016, CWI reporters:
100 protest outside the court demanding release of the 15

Cote d’Ivoire: Protests against electricity prices
28/07/2016, CWI in Cote d’Ivoire:
The straw that broke the camel’s back!

Britain: No compromise with Labour right wing
28/07/2016, Editorial of the Socialist, newspaper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
#Keep Corbyn

Chile: One million protest against private pension fund
26/07/2016, Celso Calfullan and Patricio Guzman Socialism Revolucionario (CIT/CWI Chile):
After student protests, working class returns to streets

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Haiti: 225th anniversary of anti-slavery, anti-colonial revolution
27/08/2016, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
A heroic and lasting inspiration to the oppressed everywhere

Russia: Twenty five years since the coup against Gorbachev
25/08/2016, Rob Jones, CWI in Russia :
Decades of ‘shock therapy capitalism’, wars and corruption

Middle East: ISIS’ waning “caliphate”
20/08/2016, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Imperialist solutions are no solution at all

Russia: Twenty fifth anniversary of attempted coup
19/08/2016, Clare Doyle, International Secretariat of the CWI:
Attempted Stalinist counter-revolution speeds up capitalist counter-revolution

US: Trump in trouble
17/08/2016, Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative, USA:
Political polarisation deepens

Britain: The Corbyn insurgency 2.0
15/08/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Now let’s finish the job

CWI Summer School: Economic instability, inter-imperialist tensions, workers struggles’ and political earthquakes
03/08/2016, James McCabe, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Report of the discussion on world perspectives at the recent CWI Summer School

Germany: ‘Brexit’ and the German Left
30/07/2016, Sascha Stanicic, Sozialistische Alternative (CWI in Germany):
Reject the bosses’ EU! For a Europe of working people - a voluntary socialist federation

US: A call to action
27/07/2016, Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the US):
Walk out from the Democratic National Convention!

CWI Summer School: Europe in the aftermath of the Brexit shock
26/07/2016, Kevin Parslow, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Continent enters new phase of political and economic crises

US: Bernie Abandons 'the Revolution’
14/07/2016, Kshama Sawant, Socialist councillor Seattle City :
Time to back Green candidate Jill Stein

Australia: Close election result - A crisis for the establishment
08/07/2016, Socialist Party (CWI Australia) statement :
To fight anti-working class measures, we must build a socialist alternative

History: 1936 - Spain’s revolutionary promise
06/07/2016, Tony Saunois, from Socialism Today (July/August 2016):
Working class and peasants rose up against capitalist exploitation, poverty and fascism

US: Beyond Bernie
01/07/2016, Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the USA):
Still not with her

Britain: Referendum revolt
27/06/2016, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (issue No.200, July-August 2016):
Capitalist establishment shattered

Asia: Conflict in the South China Sea
16/06/2016, This is an abridged version of an article by Vincent Kolo, originally published on chinaworker.info.:
Territorial disputes resemble pieces on a ‘geopolitical chessboard’ as the US and China struggle for hegemony in Asia

Middle East: ISIS under pressure on several fronts
15/06/2016, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
Working classes, through bitterest of experiences, will take to road of mass struggle again

EU: Left parties turning against bosses’ Europe
10/06/2016, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Progress in Portugal and Spain, confusion in Britain

Muhammad Ali: A fighter who inspired millions
09/06/2016, Hugo Pierre, Socialism Today (originally published in 2003):
Establishment forced to incorporate his legend into re-writing of history

Review: The working-class case against the EU
08/06/2016, Hannah Sell, article from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Review of ‘And The Weak Must Suffer What They Must?’ by Yanis Varoufakis

France: Fight against Valls/Hollande government intensifies
31/05/2016, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Gauche Revolutionnaire statement underlines vital need for political alternative

Austria: Only 31,026 votes prevent far right’s Hofer becoming president
24/05/2016, Sonja Grusch, SLP (the Austrian section of the CWI):
‘Breathing space’ offers chance to build a fighting, democratic left alternative

Britain: EU referendum exposes gaping political fault-lines
24/05/2016, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party England & Wales):
New road can open up for labour movement if working class relies on its own forces

Brazil: Fall of President Dilma Rousseff unleashes offensive against working class
19/05/2016, André Ferrari, LSR (‘Freedom, Socialism and Revolution’ - CWI Brazil):
The impeachment process and historic crisis of the PT (Workers’ Party)

Ireland: ‘Jobstown trials’ to go ahead
18/05/2016, Kieran Mahon, Anti-Austerity Alliance / Socialist Party Councillor, Dublin:
Government loses battle on water charges but wages war on Left