CWI: European school

MORE THAN 300 people from all over Europe, the USA, Middle East and Asia met at the CWI European Summer School.

Young people, trade union and community activists met to discuss the current momentous international events and how the bleak capitalist perspective of further war, unending poverty and environmental devastation can be replaced with socialism world-wide.

The CWI’s success in spreading the ideas of socialism and organising struggles of workers and young people internationally could be seen in the enthusiastic debates in every session of the school.

Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party, introduced the discussion on Europe, pointing out how the Europe-wide movement of the working class – particularly the strikes in France and the first public-sector strike in Sweden for eight years – had been fuelled by the growing economic and social gulf between the classes.

In eastern Europe, the riches being piled up by the ’gangster’ capitalists have been at the expense of the working class. Poland, a candidate for membership of the European Union, has an unemployment rate of 18% which is set to rise as more industries and services are privatised.

The bosses and the political leaders in Europe are trying to combine in the face of world competition, particularly from the USA. But the only way they can do this is to confront the working-class with the policies of so-called neo-liberalism – attacks in the shape of wage and welfare cuts and privatisation.

But the battles all over Europe show that the working class will not meekly accept these attacks. Delegates gave inspiring reports about how the CWI sections were participating in those battles.

The discussion on the world situation focused on the growing crisis in Iraq, as the political and military leaders of the USA and Britain face the consequences of the war. The bitter hatred of the occupying forces by the Iraqi people is laying the foundations of more struggles.

The worsening morale of the US troops as they face a lengthy stay in a hostile environment, coupled with their perception that they have been lied to by the politicians is developing into a new crisis. This was exacerbated by Bush himself, arrogantly saying: "Bring them on" when asked about the attacks on US troops.

The Vietnam syndrome – thousands of troops being brought home in body bags and the effect on public opinion – still weighs heavily in the US military.

The discussions ranged widely over the effects that the new, violent, expansionist policies of the political leaders of the USA are having on world relations. But also on the revival of the workers’ movement worldwide and the strengthening of the CWI.

The confidence of the CWI members there was shown by the fantastic collection of well over €16,000 in the financial appeal.

More reports to follow.

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August 2003