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Class struggles on the rise across Europe


CWI summer school reports

The Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) held its annual Summer School, in Belgium during the second week of July. Over 400 people were in attendance including from across Europe, Russia, Central Asia, India, the US and Quebec and the Middle East. This article is a summary of the discussion that took place at the school on The World Capitalist Crisis and Class Struggle in Europe.

By Kevin Parslow

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Greece – A test bed for ‘austerity’ and resistance


A new, dramatic, phase

Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)

On a visit to Greece at the start of June, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, attended a meeting of the central committee of Xekinima, the Greek section of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI).

Here Peter draws on the analysis made at that meeting and on discussions with the members of Xekinima, particularly Andros Payiatsos, general secretary of Xekinima.

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Thousands in Greece hear Joe Higgins call for European week of action


The Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) MEP Joe Higgins spoke at a recent meeting in Athens, which was attended by up to 2,500 members and friends of the left coalition group Syriza. The meeting was in support of Greek workers who are fighting against the austerity plans of Greece's government, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Harris Sideris, Xekinima (CWI Greece)

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Is Sweden Socialist?

The Rise and Fall of the ‘Swedish Model’ Per Olsson, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden) Within the left internationally, the question often arises about the politics and economy of the Nordic states, particularly Sweden, and whether these societies represent a ...

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Ireland: Socialists campaign against anti-worker Lisbon Treaty


Capitalist establishment conduct a campaign of fear to secure a yes vote in second referendum

Socialist Party reporters (CWI in Ireland)

There are only a few days left before the second referendum vote on the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland. The big business and political elite in Europe on the one hand, but also many workers and activists on the other, will be watching the result closely but hoping for different results.

The Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) and our MEP, Joe Higgins, have been key elements in the campaign for a no vote. Joe Higgins is the only MEP who is fighting for a no vote. Even more so than last year, Joe has clearly been the most consistent, clear and effective leader on the no side in the media, able to deal with the general points but also bringing out the very dangerous attacks hidden in the depths of the treaty. Joe and the party have made a real impact.

The Lisbon Treaty is being promoted as a ‘tidying up’ exercise, aimed at stream-lining the structures of the EU. The reality is that Lisbon is not about achieving a better future for all.

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CWI councillor re-elected in Germany

SAV consolidates roots in the community and defends seat

SAV reporters (CWI in Germany)

“I was really impressed that you put up election posters yourself, Ms Lehnert”, said an employee of the city during the official election party in the city hall to the newly re-elected SAV (CWI in Germany) member of the City Council and congratulated her. This shows the difference between Christine Lehnert and all the other representatives. She still works as a travel agent, is a representative for the working class and decides her policies with and for the working class – without being bribed or garnering privileges.

This re-election is a vindication of five years of Christine’s consistent socialist opposition and policies in the city council and on the streets and her participation in social protests and movements. Five years ago, SAV stood for election to the city council for the first time, winning 4,222 votes, 2.5% (in Rostock, you can cast three votes) and was elected to the city council. This time, our vote dropped to 3,408, 1.6%, which seems, on the surface, to represent a weakening of SAV. But a more precise look shows that it is just a loss of few hundred votes, as voter participation was higher than last time, when it was 35.7% compared to 43.6% now.

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Europe on the Edge

Euro elections 2009

Little or no confidence in governments, but no genuine socialist alternative

Robert Bechert, CWI

Last week’s European elections gave a snapshot, albeit often distorted by low turnouts, of the continent’s anxious mood and the distrust, if not hostility, to most governments. In a number of countries, like Britain, Greece, Ireland and Hungary, the ruling parties suffered dramatic reverses. But generally, with a few exceptions, this did not lead to a growth in support for the left or even green forces, instead it was expressed in a further drop in voter turnout and increases for right nationalist or far-right parties.

Europe is sinking into a deep recession, the worst since the 1930s. Just before the election the European Central Bank worsened its forecast drop in the 16 country eurozone’s GDP to a fall of 5.1% this year.

This was the background to the general rebuff to most ruling parties and the search, amongst those who voted, for an alternative. Even the record low turnout in these elections showed, alongside alienation from the EU and the correct understanding that the so-called European Parliament was powerless, a rejection of many of the established parties.

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