Thursday, 29 January 2009




A FIGHTING socialist solution to the growing capitalist threat to workers' jobs and living standards is the only way forward for the trade union movement. The slaughter of jobs continues in 2009, following the crash of the banking system in 2008 that led to increased job losses, especially in the finance sector. But now the economic crisis is hitting home with a vengeance in the rest of the economy.

The car industry, in Britain and Europe as well as the USA, has entered new depths of recession. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has just announced that December's car production in the UK was 47.5% lower than it was in the same period in 2007. This is primarily due to the long Christmas shut-downs.

The SMMT also announced in January that the number of new cars sold in the UK in 2008 fell by 11.3% from 2007.

Honda will stop production at their Swindon plant in April and May. They had already planned to close the plant for February and March anyway as a result of the absolute decline in car sales.

The workers are expected to live on a much reduced pay packet throughout this four-month period. They will only get basic pay for the first two months and then 50% of this for the next two months. Even basic pay is a lot less than what they would get normally, which would include shift premiums which can equal up to 30% of basic pay.

All the main car companies have drastically reduced their production plans for 2009. In Europe as a whole car sales fell more than 20% in the last quarter of 2008 and are expected to fall another 20% in 2009. In the USA sales have fallen even more, by up to 40% already and Chrysler is not expected to exist by the end of the year. Chrysler has brought production to a halt in all its 30 USA plants and has no overseas plants to fall back on, unlike General Motors and Ford.

The US unions have been told that their members are expected to take drastic pay cuts and the company pension and health schemes are being cut back to the bone. The leaders of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union are in discussions with the bosses but it is clear that they will accept much of what is being proposed unless there is massive pressure on them from below.

Wage cuts

Already wage cuts are taking place in other companies. For example the Teamsters union has agreed with the second biggest hauliers in America, YRC, for their 40,000 members to take a 10% pay cut.

In Britain, Nissan in Sunderland has already announced that 1,400 jobs are to go and Jaguar/Landrover is getting rid of another 600 jobs. All these figures do not take into account that thousands of temporary contract and agency workers in these factories have already been sacked, both prior to Christmas and since, when their contracts were not renewed.

That has certainly been the case in the Ford Transit plant in Southampton, where a campaign by the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) managed to stop some of this happening. The agency workers saw what the campaign was doing to keep the factory open and took heart. At one stage they threatened to take strike action when the company tried to lay them off on £20 per day for a week and nothing thereafter. Instead they secured a more favourable deal.

Ford want to close the Southampton plant and send Transit van production to Turkey, but the battle continues to save the plant.

The euro commissioner for industry Günter Verheugan, at a meeting of ministers to discuss the crisis in the European car industry, pronounced a "brutal outlook" for the industry. He said that at the same time as ruling out any change to the EU rules that outlaw direct individual state aid to domestic car companies.

The meeting was Peter Mandelson's idea, who is under pressure from the car companies and unions to stomp up state aid for the industry in Britain. They were calling for £13 billion in state aid to be given to the car firms, which in the main are owned by overseas firms. The European car companies, along with the unions, are calling for a total state aid package of 46 million euros. It is clear that the European capitalists are reluctant to go down this road but it is not ruled out as the crisis deepens.

But what are the trade unions doing lining up with the bosses? We can see that in the USA state aid goes hand-in-hand with demands by the bosses and government for the workers to take cuts. Why don't the union leaders call for the government to take over the industry instead of giving the greedy bosses even more cash to line their pockets?

Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson, the joint general secretaries of Unite, the main union that organises the car industry in Britain, have greeted each new announcement of cut backs and falling production with calls for state aid. In response to Honda's four-month shut down, Simpson just indicated that the government should step in with assistance. It is clear that the union leaders are frightened to raise the idea of nationalisation.

Tied as they are to the Labour Party and government, the union leaders are afraid to raise nationalisation because the Labour Party leaders are fearful of being accused of bringing back 'old Labour'. The TUC has obviously decided that inaction is the best strategy for ensuring a Labour victory in the next general election. But the Labour leaders will be just as ineffectual in the face of economic crisis after a general election as they are now.


Brown was forced to nationalise some of the banking system after capitalist economists said that this was necessary. The ruling class knows that this "state capitalism" was required to save their financial system.

This has had the effect though of raising the idea with working people that the state takeover of companies that threaten to cut jobs is not only possible but the rational way forward.

There is a battle going on, sometimes behind the scenes and sometimes in the open, between the different wings of the ruling class. Financial capitalism is the dominant wing and whilst those capitalists were reluctantly forced to accept the intervention of the state to save the banking system, they do not want such aid to go any further.

The Financial Times (FT) opposed any state aid for manufacturing industry in an editorial last year when the American car companies first asked the Bush administration for aid. It has adopted the same attitude to the call for the British government to give state aid to the car industry. This led to Richard Lambert, the director of the bosses' organisation the CBI, running to the defence of manufacturing in general in a letter to the FT.

The CBI points out in other publications that manufacturing accounts for 16% of employment in Britain, around 2.6.million workers, yet another 2.4 million workers in the service sector are dependent on the manufacturing sector.

The TUC has revealed that, whilst there has been a rapid decline in the role of manufacturing industry in the British economy, it is still responsible for half of all exports. In the West Midlands region it is responsible for 23% of all full-time jobs.

The region has 1,500 companies dependent on the car industry, employing some 115,000 workers and generating £13 billion in sales. The collapse of the industry would deal a death blow to the region.

With so many manufacturing jobs linked to the car industry, the ending of car production in Britain would virtually finish off the country's large-scale manufacturing base.

Wages in manufacturing are 20% higher than in other parts of the economy. But under the dominance of finance capitalism, the prospects for manufacturing remain bleak. British manufacturing is at the moment the sixth biggest in the world but by 2025 it will fall to the eighth biggest.

The TUC indicated last November in a paper entitled Manufacturing Matters that, despite the propaganda, the jobs heading to eastern Europe or Asia are not part of some 'natural' process. It is a deliberate policy of the British capitalists, who long ago gave up trying to compete with their overseas rivals.

Not exactly in those words, that would be too much to expect, but that is what the TUC means when it says "there is no inevitability about this", that is, jobs going east and manufacturing employment collapsing in the west.


This process was speeded up enormously under Thatcher's deliberate policy of de-industrialisation as a means of breaking the power of the unions and the organised working class. Thatcher's short-sighted policies, reinforced with gusto by the Blair-Brown governments, allowed foreign capitalists to take over British industry. In a time of crisis such as this, the 'parent' companies are likely to sacrifice their satellites and withdraw to their base, leaving workers to pay the price.

The TUC report in November last year demonstrated clearly that the British capitalist strategy continues to be one of ending manufacturing. Between 1998 and 2008 the number of manufacturing jobs in the 'old' EU countries, fell by 1.712 million but of this, Britain was responsible for 84%, some 1.432 million jobs.

In that 10-year period, countries like Italy and Spain increased their number of manufacturing jobs and Germany, the biggest economy in Europe, only lost some 143,000 jobs.

Of course in the new recession, these figures have gone into a massive downward spiral. But the point is still well made that British manufacturing was set on a course of decline, primarily by the financial capitalists, whose machinations have led to the latest banking crisis.

Now the bankers have been bailed out to the tune of billions of pounds but so far the plight of manufacturing industry has been neglected. Yet the promises of a rosy future for British capitalism as a centre for the financial and service industries are turning into ashes. Estimates are that London alone could lose 370,000 jobs by 2010 as a result of the banking collapse.

Whatever the differences between the various wings of the capitalist class, the trade unions should have an independent class programme and policy, not just meekly follow the call of capitalist manufacturers for government money.

This path, as is being discovered in the USA, means that union members are expected to make major concessions in their wage packets and working conditions. And the US car industry is still in dire straits.

When workers lose jobs in the car industry, they are unlikely to be able to find another job on similar wages. This is shown by the experience of those workers made redundant by Rover at Longbridge in 2005. Two-thirds of those who managed to find other jobs are on lower wages than they earned at Rover.

Capitalist class to blame

What is needed is for the union leaders to make a clear call that the crisis is not of the workers' making but is the fault of the capitalist class that owns vehicle-making and manufacturing as a whole.

The car industry throughout the capitalist world has been a source of massive profits for decades.

The American press has recalled that in the 1950s it was the unions that held the whip hand, primarily because of the huge domestic demand for American cars. The Washington Post on 20 December said: "In 1950, for example, General Motors reported record profits, declared the largest stockholder dividend in US corporate history and couldn't build cars fast enough.

"So when the United Auto Workers threatened to strike, the company agreed a landmark deal with pensions, a cost of living formula and cut-rate health insurance. Fortune magazine hailed it as 'the treaty of Detroit'".

In 1970 the leader of the UAW, Walter Reuther said: "We are without question, the strongest and most effective industrial union in the world... We have taken on the most powerful corporations in the world, and, despite their power and their great wealth, we have always prevailed".

What a far cry from those days when the same union prepares to sign a deal to give back most of these reforms.

The same could be said about the industry in Britain. The TGWU (now part of Unite) in the 1970s had two million members. Along with the engineering union, the AEEU, its strength was based around the car industry.

The unions should point out that the crisis is not of workers' making but wholly down to a system that produces goods for profit and not for need.

In the modern era and under a socialist plan of production, the skills of the workers in the car industry would be utilised to produce for the needs of society as a whole. This would include producing vehicles that do not damage the environment.

The key question facing workers in the car industry and manufacturing as a whole now is defending jobs and keeping factories open.

There is no inevitability about the collapse of the car industry in Britain. What matters is the fighting capacity of the trade union leadership, particularly at shop steward level.

The conference of car workers called by the NSSN in Birmingham on 14 February is therefore particularly important. There, reps from car factories around the country and abroad will hammer out the necessary policies to fight back against the threats to jobs and living standards.

The Socialist Party (CWI England and Wales) believes this programme should include:

  • Opposition to all jobs cuts. Share out the work without loss of pay including full pay during "down time".
  • No to transfer of work between plants without the agreement of the unions and workers concerned.
  • No to concession bargaining.
  • Open the books to inspection by shop stewards and trade union committees - where have all the profits gone?
  • Nationalise all plants under threat of closure and run them under democratic workers' control and management.
Bill Mullins, CWI England and Wales


Britain: Government fails to find a way out of crisis

So the economy is now officially in recession. No great surprise, as most people feel they have been suffering recession-like conditions for six months already.

The latest blow is the announcement, by Corus steel, that it is cutting 2,500 jobs in the UK. It is sacking 2,500 skilled industrial workers who will mostly not find equivalent work. Many, plus others in the industry's supply companies, will join a dole queue that is nearing two million and predicted to rise to over three million, over the next year.

Corus steel was once the publicly owned British Steel, which employed 268,000 workers when it came into being, as a nationalised company, in 1967. Privatisation in 1988 threw the fate of Britain's steel workers back into the hands of private profiteers, with the end result that the 24,000 steel workers left in Britain today are at the mercy of Indian big business conglomerate, Tata Steel.

Gordon Brown's improvement in the opinion polls – mainly due to the blunders of Tory leader David Cameron – quickly evaporated, as the realisation set in that the recession will be both deep and prolonged. The economist Nouriel Roubini, now renowned for foreseeing the recession, was considered delusional and labelled Dr Doom in 2006, when he warned of the crisis to come. Now, the severity of the crisis has hit home to even the most upbeat capitalist politicians and economists, some of whom are succumbing to fear and demoralisation.

Capitalists scared and demoralised

They are having difficulty in seeing light at the end of the tunnel, as the economy is going to get even worse, before it gets better. Roubini made this clear in a Guardian interview last weekend when he said, "We might as well write off 2009 completely … The losses now are mostly in mortgages; wait until it hits commercial real estate, the credit card companies, the auto loans, the student loans, the corporate bonds. There's a whole pile of stuff. The financial system is insolvent … technically bankrupt".

But no-one, including Roubini, and certainly not the government, knows the extent of this bankruptcy – the amount of toxic debt held by the banks. So Gordon Brown and Chancellor Alistair Darling are floundering in their attempts to tackle it, with fewer and fewer people believing that they can avoid worse catastrophe.

Hundreds of billions of pounds of public money spent on bailing out banks, cutting VAT and other measures, together with lower than ever interest rates, are not having enough effect.

No sign of recovery

Neither are there signs of economic recovery outside of Britain. The pound has slumped to a 23-year low against the dollar, but this is an indication of the weakness of the UK economy, rather than any strength of the US economy. US president Barack Obama wants to push a new $800 billion (£486 billion) stimulus package through the US congress to create four million jobs. But over 2.5 million jobs have already been lost and five million more are predicted to go, so unemployment will still rise. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argues that a US package of double the present magnitude is necessary to avoid a severe slump.

So, in Britain, with most economic indicators diving to their worst level for 30 years, Darling decided to authorise the Bank of England to release more emergency money into the economy this week and he realises he must prepare a third emergency package in time for the spring budget. Help for the car industry, and green technology and infrastructure projects are among the measures being discussed.

As well as these desperate attempts to boost the economy, there is speculation that the spring budget will include plans for future tax increases and expenditure cuts to reduce the public deficit, now standing at £697.5 billion and rising fast. Such future cuts will be on top of slash and burn measures that are ongoing, or presently being stepped up, in parts of the public sector, despite the recession, for instance by councils like Wirral, and in sections of the civil service.

So working and middle class people will be assaulted on all fronts, through lack of jobs, no financial security and worse public services. British capitalism has never been so exposed in its failure to deliver reasonable living standards to the majority of the population. An anaemic economic recovery will at some stage set in, but an era of illusions in capitalism has ended and a new one is opening up, delivered by this present abrupt and shocking economic downturn.

Socialist change needed – build a new mass workers' party!

Defenders of capitalism try to blame excesses and a lack of 'moral compass' for the crisis, suggesting solutions such as Will Hutton's call for "a different kind of capitalism, less dependent on reckless bankers and property bubbles" (Observer 25.1.09). The Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales) explains that yes, there are reckless bankers and property bubbles, but these are by-products of a system that is essentially rotten to the core, and that must be removed.

It is still the case – incredibly, given the situation workers face – that no leading left or trade union individual is championing the building of a new mass workers' party. The Socialist Party will ceaselessly call for one, and argue that it will need a socialist programme, to demand nationalisation in the interests of workers as opposed to nationalisation in the interests of the bosses; the sharing out of all the work that is available, with no loss of pay; a massive building programme of good quality council houses; an end to the war in Afghanistan; and many other demands that would quickly attract tens of thousands of people to join the new party.

The Socialist Party shares none of the demoralisation of the capitalist commentators. Party activists are meeting more and more workers and young people who are interested in supporting a socialist alternative. Not only does the basis exist for the future development of a new mass workers' party that can aid mass struggles and seriously challenge the parties serving the rich, but the Socialist Party is increasing in size and influence to help speed forward the development of the labour movement and of Marxist ideas within it. Join us.

Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales)

Friday, 23 January 2009


星期五, 16 一月 2009.








Tuesday, 20 January 2009



Three hundred and ninety years after the arrival of the first 21 enslaved Africans to Jamestown, Virginia, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the first African-American president in U.S. history.

The vast majority of African Americans will see this as a defining moment. Within living memory, there was Jim Crow segregation in the South and the struggle to get black people the vote, during which a number of people died. Even 20 years ago, most Americans, black and white, would have seen an African-American president as almost inconceivable.

But many commentators in the mass media and many in the political establishment go further and claim that this is the fulfilment of the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the massive struggles of the civil rights movement.

The words, image and iconic status of Dr. King have been skillfully used to punctuate Obama's presidential campaign. He used the 45th anniversary of Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech to accept the Democratic Party nomination for president and he spoke at the King family church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

But was Dr. King's dream simply or mainly about the election of the first black president? With the election of Obama, is there still a need for a civil rights movement, to struggle against racism? Or do we live in a post-racial society?

Martin Luther King's Legacy

There has been a serious effort by big business, the two-party corporate establishment the black leadership, along with some members of the King family, to dilute the radical content of Dr. King's ideas and legacy. At the time of Dr. King's assassination, he was in complete opposition to the Vietnam War, planning a radical march on Washington, demanding jobs and the abolition of poverty as part, of his "poor people's campaign," and questioning capitalism.

This earned Dr. King the scorn and outright disdain of Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson, the traditional civil rights leaders and the media. Dr. King's growing radicalism (especially linking and expanding the struggle for civil rights to labor) reflected his growing realization about the need to challenge capitalism, the need for a total "redistribution of wealth," a guaranteed annual income, the need to nationalize some industries and a true "revolution of values."

Barack Obama's rise flows from a deep crisis of U.S. and global capitalism and eight years of the most hated administration since Herbert Hoover, which forged a huge political groundswell for change in society. Obama's rhetorical flair, oratorical skills, and universal themes of "one America, not red or blue, black or white" motivated middle and working class people and the poor, leading to a decisive victory over John McCain.

But while working people yearn and hope for change from the policies of the Bush regime, Obama is already recycling the Clinton-era political machine that brought NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), deregulation, attacks against workers, welfare "reform" and war.

The economic crisis has forced the Obama transition team to introduce government intervention, to stave off a total collapse of the system, providing a pittance for the working class and the poor in the stimulus package. But the real assistance, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, is being doled out to the biggest welfare recipients of all: corporate America.

Obama's acceptance of the so-called "war on terror" means that he will continue the brutal wars of U.S. imperial domination and aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq, with the possibility of expanding the war to the borders of Pakistan and adding 92,000 more troops to the U.S. military. The question must be posed again, did the dream of Dr. King involve the continuation of war, poverty, and militarism?

Post-racial society?

The election of Obama has given an emotional, psychological, and political uplift to working people and the poor, particularly people of colour, representing a "transcending moment" for many, especially on the question of race and racism.

But while the corporate mass media are preparing to all sing "kumbaya," the true racist character of capitalism continues to be revealed; in the recent riots in Oakland, after the murder of 22-year-old Oscar Grant by police; the not-guilty verdict of police in the Sean Bell murder; Hurricane Katrina and the devastation of New Orleans; the ICE raids on the immigrant population and the increase of xenophobia against Arabs and Muslims.

There is an enormous amount of media commentary about the economic crisis, but far less about how this has hit African Americans especially hard. Predatory lenders targeted working-class black areas with a vengeance, to sell their subprime mortgages. Now foreclosure rates in many black communities are far in excess of the national average. This will significantly increase the already huge disparity in wealth between African Americans and whites.

Unemployment among African Americans in December reached 11.9%, compared to the national average of 7.2%. This does not include the "discouraged" who have given up looking for work, or people who are working part-time but need and want a full-time job.

Unemployment for black teenagers is at 32% and according to Business Week, could hit 60-70% (12/22/08). They quoted Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute as saying, "we're talking about communities that live in a recession at the best of times going into a deep depression."

What is most striking about Obama's campaign and the period since he was elected is how little he has said about the economic devastation facing black working class communities as well the questions of police brutality and mass incarceration. He talks about transcending race but not the issues especially affecting black people. The reality is that there is no reason to believe that his administration will fundamentally alter the position of the black working class and poor.

The world capitalist economic crisis, poverty, racism and endless wars that are unfolding before our eyes require a radical, independent mass movement of the working class and poor for real change. This movement must be multi-ethnic, democratic, and politicised, learning the lessons of the black freedom movement.

The movement must be organized in our workplaces, communities, and schools around demands for free national healthcare, jobs for all at a living wage, against racism and poverty, for environmental justice, and to end militarism and imperialist wars. We need a system change to permanently uproot the seeds of racism, poverty, and war.

As Dr. King stated in 1966, "We are dealing with class issues. Something is wrong with capitalism…Maybe America must move towards democratic socialism."

Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the US)


Monday, 19 January 2009


What change will the Democrats bring?

Obama's victory in the 2008 election was historic. It signified a clear rejection of the Bush administration, its war on Iraq and ultra-free market policies. Voters also made history by electing the first black president in a country that was built on slavery and racism.

The Obama campaign mobilized a tremendous amount of support, particularly among young people and African Americans, and aroused massive hopes that change is coming to America.

For the first time since 1994, the Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress. They won 256 out of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives (59%), and they almost have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Meanwhile, the Republicans' defeat has sent their party into a crisis. Party leaders have been quarrelling about how to modify their politics to try to regain public support.

Obama is taking power with 65% of the public expressing confidence in his leadership, according to a January Gallup poll. Against the background of the hated Bush regime, Obama will undoubtedly enjoy a "honeymoon," potentially for an extended period.

At the same time, though, Obama and the Democrats are immediately being put to the test by an incredible array of enormous challenges. Obama is facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, a federal budget deficit of $1.2 trillion, wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the recent carnage in Gaza strip, and a global warming catastrophe.

When Obama takes office, he will chart a different course than Bush. He will probably begin withdrawing troops from Iraq (while sending more troops to Afghanistan) and enact a major economic recovery plan. But after these initial measures, what key domestic and foreign policies will Obama and the Democrats pursue?

Obama's Administration

Those appointed by Obama to lead his administration speaks volumes about the incoming president's plans. Although anti-war voters propelled him to victory, Obama has selected a hawkish foreign policy team that even includes figures from the Bush administration. Obama is keeping on Bush's defense secretary, Robert Gates, even though Gates is the man responsible for overseeing the troop surge in Iraq.

Obama selected retired Marine General James Jones to be his national security adviser even though Jones is a former NATO commander and currently a US Chamber of Commerce executive who backed John McCain for president.

And Obama selected Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state, even though voters supported Obama in the Democratic primaries in large part because Obama counter-posed his opposition to the Iraq war to Clinton's support for the war. To this day, Clinton has refused to apologize for voting for the criminal invasion of Iraq.

It is extremely revealing that the outgoing Vice President Dick Cheney praised Obama's foreign policy team, saying: "I must say, I think it's a pretty good team…I'm not close to Barack Obama, obviously, nor do I identify with him politically. He's a liberal. I'm a conservative. But I think the idea of keeping Gates at Defense is excellent. I think Jim Jones will be very, very effective as the national security adviser… I would not have hired [Hillary Clinton, but], I think she's tough. She's smart, she works very hard, and she may turn out to be just what President Obama needs."

Another very disturbing selection was Obama's choice of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. Warren is a far right-wing pastor well known for comparing abortion to the Holocaust and gay marriage to pedophilia and incest.

Obama threw the labor movement a bone by selecting Hilda Solis as his labor secretary, but he also upset workers and environmentalists by nominating Ron Kirk as the US Trade Representative. Corporate America, in contrast, was delighted with Kirk, an outspoken "free trade" advocate.

The fact that Obama's chief of staff, his White House counsel, and his economics, energy and environmental advisers all served in Bill Clinton's administration clearly shows that Obama's administration will be part and parcel of the corporate political establishment. "Most members of [Obama's] economic team are veterans of the Clinton Administration who tilt towards Wall Street. In the Clinton era, financial issues routinely trumped labor concerns" (NY Times, 12/28/08).

Saving US capitalism

Obama has clearly assembled an establishment administration that will act in the interests of the business elite, both at home and abroad. However, the underlying economic and political situation has drastically changed from what Bill Clinton faced in the 1990s.

Unlike Clinton and all major governments in the past 30 years who aggressively pursued extreme neo-liberal free-market policies, the deep economic crisis has compelled the ruling class to sharply change their course toward massive state intervention in the economy to shore up the capitalist system.

As hard-working people have lost their jobs and homes, they have grown furious at Wall Street executives who fabulously enriched themselves from reckless investments and taxpayer bailouts. Key sections of the ruling class have recently shifted away from discredited free-market policies toward Keynesian policies that regulate corporations in an attempt to avoid an even worse economic and political crisis.

Obama is responding to these pressures by enacting starkly different policies than Clinton's and Bush's free-market policies, but for the same purpose — to further the interests of the profit-driven capitalist system.

Even Bush was recently forced to toss aside his free-market ideology and nationalize or partially nationalize failing banks and financial institutions to save the economy from the brink of collapse. Obama, too, is being forced to intervene to save major sections of the economy, such as the auto industry.

Obama plans to spend $775 billion to $1 trillion, over two years, to create or save 3-4 million jobs through public works programmes, green energy technology, aid to states, expanding the length of unemployment compensation, food aid, and other initiatives. However, 2.6 million jobs were lost in 2008, and some economists estimate another 4 million might be lost in 2009. So, the number of jobs lost from the recession could still end up being twice the number of jobs that Obama creates.

This exemplifies how Obama's reforms will be designed primarily to stimulate the capitalist economy rather than protecting workers and their families. Obama's policies will not adequately address the problems workers and young people are facing. His stimulus package may well soften the blow of the recession, but it will not be able to prevent the deepest downturn since the 1930s and a sharp fall in the living standards of workers and even sections of the middle class.

Obama revealed his priorities when he recently announced that, under the cover of the need to deal with the economic crisis, he would put off his more left-wing campaign pledges such as "renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, overhauling immigration laws, restricting carbon emissions, raising taxes on the wealthy…allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military … [and passing the Employee Free Choice Act] to make it easier for workers to form unions" (NY Times, 1/11/09).

On the issue of tackling racism, while it is certainly regarded by millions in the US and around the world an important step forward to have a black president, Obama has not indicated that he is going to do much concretely to improve the worst paying jobs and living conditions that most blacks and people of color face.

On foreign policy, US imperialist strategists are desperately searching for a way to extract the US from the untenable, disastrous occupation of Iraq. Reflecting this, Obama is planning to withdraw some US troops, but he still plans to leave 60-80,000 troops, military bases, and approximately 140,000 "contractors," many of whom are, in reality, soldiers hired by private US corporations.

However, he may not even be able to successfully carry out these limited aims, given the difficulties US imperialism will encounter in Iraq. A reduction in the US troop levels threatens to trigger an increase in violence and instability in Iraq, which could lead to a wider regional war, which the ruling class is desperate to avoid.

Another reason Obama plans to withdraw troops from Iraq is to free up 20-30,000 troops to send into the worsening occupation of Afghanistan, practically doubling the US troop presence there. However, escalating the war in Afghanistan will only plunge the US deeper into a quagmire. Even General Petraeus, director of the troop surge in Iraq, admits that the Afghan insurgency is far more complex and difficult than Iraq's.

Struggles on the horizon

Compared to Bush's obviously disastrous policies, Obama will feel like a refreshing breath of fresh air to most people. Obama will be a more intelligent and flexible representative of US capitalism than Bush. For these reasons, Obama will enjoy popular support for a time.

It will take time and experience for wider layers of workers and young people to realize that the Democrats' reforms are designed primarily to benefit US capitalism and to restore faith in the political system, while benefits to working-class communities and the environment will only be of secondary concern.

However, as economic conditions worsen and the volatile occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan unravel, more and more workers and youth will realize that Obama and the Democratic Party are thoroughly tied to corporate interests. They will be compelled to move into struggle to defend their living standards, the environment, and their rights.

The fact that Obama has aroused expectations has already emboldened an important layer of people to get politically active to ensure that their hopes are realized.

In the coming period, workers and young people will increasingly draw the conclusion that we need to build our own mass movements—and our own independent party that is prepared to take on Corporate America—to bring about real change.

19 January 2009

Ramy Khalil, from Justice, paper of Socialist Alternative (CWI in the US)


Friday, 16 January 2009





The global crisis of capitalism has led to a surge of interest in socialist ideas all over the world.

Merriam-Webster reports that socialism was the third most searched-for term ("bailout" was #1) during 2008 in their online dictionary, which receives 125 million views per month, meaning millions of people were looking to find out what socialism means.

Sales of The Communist Manifesto have skyrocketed, with reporting a 700% increase since the banking collapse, according to the Times (UK) (11/9/08).

In Berlin, all copies of Karl Marx's Capital reportedly sold out several months ago. According to Joern Schuetrumpf, the German publisher of Marx's Collected Works, "Until 2004, we sold less than 100 copies of Das Kapital per year. In the ten months of 2008, we have sold more than 2,500 copies. It is clear that people are interested in learning what Marx has to say about why capitalism does not work." (Inter Press Service, 11/7/08)

There's even now a Japanese comic book version of Das Kapital, which sold 6,000 copies within a few days of hitting the shelves in December. Additionally, Kanikosen ("The Crab Factory Ship"), a Communist novel from 1929 about a group of workers rebelling against brutal working conditions on their ship, has experienced a resurgence, with sales of over 500,000 copies in 2008, up from an average of around 5,000 in previous years (Telegraph (UK), 11/18/08).

All this is evidence of the growing quest to understand the nature of the economic crisis. The coming years will provide ample opportunities to build the socialist movement as the failures of capitalism lead millions to search for an alternative.


Jan 10, 2009

Dan DiMaggio, CWI USA

Sunday, 11 January 2009


Protests and solidarity action needed.

On Thursday January 8, in broad daylight the prominent and respected editor of the Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunge, was hit in the head by gun-fire through his windscreen as his vehicle was stationary in traffic. He died in hospital three hours later. No one was apprehended or has been found and held for this heinous crime.

Three days before this, the premises of a TV station that has given some objective reporting of recent carnage and human suffering in the war, was raided and wrecked. Thugs held staff captive while all the vital equipment was destroyed. Even though the 'operation' lasted a full half an hour, the perpetrators could get away from the premises without hindrance.

These violent attacks, undoubtedly with government collusion, have been aimed at silencing any media which is critical of the Rajapakse government, especially over the war which is still raging. One British newspaper has spoken of casualties "on the scale of Gaza". The president himself, Mahinda Rajapakse, has taken on the portfolio of Media Minister to clamp down on objective, critical reporting. Now his rotten, war-mongering government has adopted the most extreme measures to prevent people like Lasantha from exposing the corrupt practices of himself and his clan. (At present there are four Rajapakse brothers in the government!)

Amnesty International reported last November on the killing of at least ten media employees since 2006. There have been frequent protests by journalists and other media personnel against their persecution. Lasantha even suggested more journalists than opposition politicians were being killed by the regime because the party leaders had not been raising their voices.

Roland Buerk of the British Broadcasting Corporation says, "The government has been accused of encouraging the violence, by branding reporters as critical rebel-sympathisers and enemies of the state". International media freedom groups such as Reporters without Borders say that intimidation and violence make Sri Lanka one of the most difficult countries in the world in which to report. They have commented that with the murder of the Sunday Leader editor, "Sri Lanka has lost one of its more talented, courageous and iconoclastic journalists". (Lasantha had also had a weekly programme on the TV station knocked completely out of action by the raid of MTV studios.)

Sri Lankan trade union and opposition leaders held a public protest on Friday, 9 January and are calling for world-wide condemnation of this latest brutal killing. The International Federation of Journalists and Reporters without Borders have taken up the issue but stronger action is needed.

The funeral of Lasantha Wickrematunge is being held on Monday 12 January. The Civil Monitoring,Committee, a body which has exposed hundreds of cases of cover-ups in relation to extra-judicial kidnappings and killings in Sri Lanka, is calling for messages of condemnation to be sent to the Sri Lankan government and demands to be made for an independent inquiry. They are also calling for loud protests to be made outside Sri Lankan embassies world-wide. The day proposed is next Wednesday, 14 January.

The United Socialist Party (CWI Sri Lanka) is at the forefront of protests and campaigns against the war, for press freedom, for the right of self-determination of the Tamil-speaking people and for an end to the present Sinhala chauvinist and dictatorial government. It has consistently campaigned for a united struggle of Sinhala and Tamil workers and poor people against imperialism and capitalism, with socialist policies. In doing so, the lives and freedom of its members and supporters are, at present, constantly in danger. Any financial support to help with their defence and with the campaigning work of the party is very welcome. Donations can be made to Campaign Sri Lanka.


On line (add the words 'Campaign Sri Lanka' to the comment box) or send cheques to Campaign Sri Lanka c/o Committee for a Workers' International, PO Box 3688, London, Britain, E11 1YE

Emails for protests about the Lasantha killing and attacks on press freedom

Protest message sent from Committee for a Workers' International

We condemn the daylight murder in Colombo on Thursday, 8 January,of Lasantha Wickrematunge, editor of the Sunday Leader a well-known critic of the Rajapakse government. It comes within three days of a half-hour rampage by thugs who destroyed the MTV station, without any intervention from the forces of the state.

We express our grave concern that the rights of journalists and other media personnel are being trampled on and their lives put in peril. These two events indicate the extent to which the Rajapakse government will go to silence those who speak the truth. It has tried to whip up a campaign against them which has encouraged thugs to carry out these vicious attacks.

With new 'victories' in the war against the Tamil Tigers, the present government will stop at nothing to prevent the truth of the bloodshed and human suffering being told. They also want to cover up the corrupt and dictatorial methods they use.

The killing of this prominent figure also means that ordinary workers who oppose the government as well as human rights workers and political activists are in danger.

We demand an independent inquiry into the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge and all journalists murdered in Sri Lanka in the recent war period, under the control of genuine representatives of journalists, human rights and workers' organisations. An end to the war in Sri Lanka and the killings and intimidation of media and opposition personnel. True freedom of the media and the restoration of all human and democratic rights in Sri Lanka.









Gaza sekarang seperti neraka yang tidak boleh dibayangkan akibat pembunuhan kejam yang dikemudi oleh tentera Israel. Bilangan kematian sedang menghampiri satu ribu yang juga termasuk ratusan kanak-kanak. Gaza adalah salah satu kawasan dengan penempatan yang padat di muka bumi ini dengan 1.5 juta orang . Mereka ditempatkan dengan penuh sesak di tanah yang terhad - seolah-olah seperti suatu kem penjara. Untuk melancarkan peperangan sepenuhnya di dalam kawasan sedemikian, boleh menyebabkan kematian, kecederaan dan keganasan yang tidak terhingga kepada penduduk di situ, yang mana kerajaan Israel sendiri sedia maklum.


Kelas pemerintah Israel langsung tidak prihatin terhadap keperluan kelas pekerja Yahudi yang menduduki kawasan yang bersempadan dengan Gaza, tetapi menggunakan ketidakselesaan rakyat Yahudi untuk menjustifikasi peperangan yang kejam ini, dan seterusnya untuk mengkaburi rakyat terhadap matlamat jahat mereka yang sebenarnya. Pada hakikatnya peperangan ini dilancarkan untuk alasan yang amat berlainan sekali.

Kerajaan Israel merasa terhina disebabkan oleh peperangan terhadap Lebanon pada tahun 2006 yang mana ianya telah mengakibatkan kegagalan dan skandal yang bertubi-tubi. Sekarang pula mereka terpaksa berhadapan dengan pilihanraya umum bulan depan dan untuk menyelamatkan kuasa pemerintahan mereka yang semakin lemah, mereka memesongkan isu-isu keperluan pekerja dan rakyat biasa dengan melancarkan serangan ganas terhadap Palestin. Kerajaan Israel pernah berulangkali mematahkan perjanjian genjatan senjata, tetapi pembunuhan 6 militan Hamas dalam bulan November telah menjadi landasan kepada taktik jahat mereka untuk sengaja menghasut untuk membuahkan peperangan ini.

Peperangan ini juga untuk sementara telah mengalihkan perhatian daripada kegawatan ekonomi yang sedang melanda dunia sekarang ini, di mana kuasa-kuasa besar kapitalis tidak berupaya mencapai jalan penyelesaian yang konkrit ke atas krisis ini untuk menjamin pekerjaan dan taraf hidup majoriti warga perkerja dan anak muda.


Kerajaan Bush telah menyokong kerajaan Israel hingga ke hujung tapak kaki mereka, manakala Obama terus menerus membisu. Tambahan pula, kenyataan-kenyataan Obama sebelum ini berkenaan isu tersebut langsung tidak positif. Ketika kempen pilihanraya Amerika, Obama mengisytiharkan sokongan padu kepada rejim Israel dan menyatakan Hamas tidak harus dirundingkan. Beliau juga beria-ia untuk menghantar lebih ramai tentera untuk berperang di Afghanistan.

Malahan juga, tiada kuasa-kuasa imprealis yang lain yang bersedia mengambil tindakan yang berkesan untuk menamatkan pembunuhan kejam ini. Perdana Menteri Britain, Brown dengan tangisan buaya beliau telah mengusul genjatan senjata, padahal kerajaan kepimpinan beliau tanpa segan silu melancarkan pembunuhan di Afghanistan. Malahan, beliau sama sekali tidak berhajat untuk menghalang industri pengeluaran tentera di negaranya supaya tidak menjual senjata kepada Israel.

Manakala Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (PBB) yang hanya ikut telunjuk kuasa-kuasa besar, tidak berupaya untuk menamatkan pertumpahan darah tersebut atau menawarkan sebarang penyelesaian. Malahan, beratus-ratus keputusan oleh Perhimpunan Agung PBB telah mengutuk tidakan rejim Israel, tetapi kebanyakannya tidak diendahkan langsung oleh Amerika dan Israel, melainkan hanya jika keputusan tersebut memanfaatkan pihak mereka.


Kini Abbas, Mubarak dan pemimpin-pemimpin liga Arab yang lain mengutuk pembunuhan kejam tersebut. Tetapi, sebelum ini mereka secara tidak langsung terlibat sama dalam agenda kerajaan Israel untuk kebuluran penduduk Gaza apabila sekatan dan kepungan dilancarkan selama tiga tahun oleh kerajaan Israel. Rejim-rejim Arab ini dengan rela menurut perintah imperealisme. Rejim Mubarak di Eqypt berkerjasama dalam memenjarakan rakyat Palestin dengan menghadkan pergerakan bebas mereka dan barangan keperluan melalui sempadan Gaza dengan Eqypt. Namun, Mubarak berjumpa dengan Menteri Luar Negara Israel, sehari sebelum serangan Israel.

Sosialis dengan sepenuhnya mempertahankan hak rakyat Palestin untuk tentangan bersenjata terhadap penjajahan yang kejam. Ramai rakyat Palestin melihat tentangan roket-roket Hamas terhadap bandar-bandar di Israel sebagai cara terbaik yang ada untuk menentang kekejaman tersebut. Namun demikian, serangan sebegini tidak dapat mengalahkan kerajaan Israel. Sebaliknya, cara ini akan memudahkan kerajaan Israel untuk memenangi sokongan rakyat Israel untuk alasan peperangan.

Hamas tidak mempunyai rancangan yang konkrit dan sesuai untuk mengalahkan penjajahan tersebut atau untuk memperlengkapkan rakyat Palestin dengan taraf hidup yang sepatutnya. Ini disebabkan, Hamas berlandaskan kepada penyambungan kapitalisme dengan semua kesengsaraan yang telah dibawa oleh sistem ini. Setiap kejayaan yang dikecapi dalam sejarah perjuangan Palestin adalah melalui mobilisasi aktif massa rakyat Palestin. Untuk tindakan sebegini berkesan, ianya seharusnya di bawah kawalan dan halatuju demokratik rakyat yang luas yang mana perlu diorganisasi melalui jawatankuasa akarumbi, dan bukannya suatu militia/askar yang bersifat rahsia.


Sosialis berkempen supaya segera meningkatkan demonstrasi di Timur Tengah dan antarabangsa terhadap peperangan tersebut. Ini termasuk pengembangan tindakan oleh warga pekerja seperti menghalang pengimportan senjata oleh Israel. Kami juga berkempen untuk aksi massa untuk merobohkan sempadan-sempadan yang memenjarakan Gaza- termasuk perobohan sempadan Rafah oleh pekerja Palestin dan Eqypt. Kami juga berkempen supaya rakyat Israel berdemonstrasi di sebelah sempadan Israel terhadap serangan kerajaan Israel.


Kelas pekerja Israel berupaya untuk berkembang menjadi suatu kuasa keramat dan penentu terhadap dominasi kelas pemerintah Israel, yang mana mesti dikalahkan untuk menyelesaikan aspirasi tersendiri warga pekerja Israel dan juga Palestin.

Di Israel, jurang pemisahan kelas semakin melebar, di mana golongan kaya semakin kaya dan satu pertiga kanak-kanak dalam kemiskinan. Wujud kemarahan yang amat sangat terhadap kerajaan dalam isu-isu ekonomi dan keselamatan yang semakin buruk. Rakyat biasa Yahudi di Israel tidak akan bebas daripada kitaran keganasan selagi mereka dipimpin oleh ahli-ahli politik kapitalis yang selalu mengundang konflik nasional untuk kepentingan sendiri dan golongan kapitalis.

CWI ( Jawatankuasa Untuk Pekerja-pekerja Anatarabangsa), satu organisasi antarabangsa yang berjuang terhadap kesengsaraan yang diwujudkan oleh kapitalisme dan untuk membina satu alternatif sosialis. Kami mengorganisasi aktiviti-aktiviti di Timur Tengah dan antarabangsa. Perjuangan terhadap pembunuhan di Timur Tengah dan perjuangan terhadap kerajaan kapitalis adalah satu perjuangan.

Sertai Kami !

CWI Malaysia,


Saturday, 10 January 2009


Massive demonstration against war on Gaza Massive and angry demonstration in London, 10 January 2009, much larger than last Saturday's and probably 100,000 strong, passed by the Israeli embassy to a rally in Kensington Gardens.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009



10,000s, mostly Israeli-Palestinians, demonstrate in Northern Israel

After what seems to be the deadliest week in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for 40 years, many have demonstrated around the world against the barbaric actions of the Israeli regime.

Two main protests have been organised in Israel, against a background of brutal anti-democratic moves by the regime to silence opposition to the war. These have included threats by the secret services and mass arrests in the recent week, mainly of Israeli-Palestinians - 300 are thought to be still held.

The police attempted to prevent the demonstration planned for January 3 in Tel-Aviv, claiming that waving the Palestinian flag in Tel-Aviv is a disturbance to the public peace. The Supreme Court, while approving the actions of the regime on the big issues, including what is defined by international law as war crimes, has nevertheless decided that this is too embarrassing, and approved the demo.

It became the most important joint Jewish and Arab demo since the beginning of the war, and took place under a very difficult atmosphere. The march was surrounded by a big police force, enforced by a special squad of the Prisons Authority. Also, about 300 right wingers (many of whom from Yisrael Beitenu ("Israel Our Home"), Liberman's far right party) surrounded the demo, and from every corner of the streets, as the demo marched in the centre of Tel-Aviv, the tension and violent hostility was evident. Sometimes things were thrown onto the protestors, and curses were a background tone. But the demonstration was extremely loud, vivid, and lively, with red flags and drums, with around 10,000 taking part.

Many slogans in Hebrew and Arabic were shouted. Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI in Israel) members shouted along with many others: "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies", "Jews and Arabs are fighting against the racists", "In Gaza and Sderot, kids want to live", "Barak, Minister of Security, you will not buy the rule with blood", "No peace, No security, dismantle the Rule of Capital", "No more walls and shelters - talks between residents", "Money for education and jobs - Not for occupation and wars".

We also shouted, and were joined by other around us: "Want Peace? We've gotta struggle! --- Halt the bombings! * Stop the war! * No to the firing of the qassam! * Remove the siege! * End the occupation! * Bring down the wall * Dismantle settlements! * Terminate the separation * Crush racism * Terminate the system of exploitation and prestige * Terminate the system of capital and war * Want peace? We've gotta struggle!"

We also joined in the calls "All the ministers of the government are war criminals", "Barak, Minister of Security, how many kids did you murder today?", and "Fascism will not pass". During the demo we distributed our Socialist Struggle Movement statement on the war which we have also been using in other demos and public activities in Tel Aviv, Haifa and elsewhere. Hadash (the Communist party front) were also a very dominant force in this demo.

The institutional news media not only campaigned against this demo, afterwards it was downplayed. For example, Haaretz newspaper, which is an internationally known liberal paper, wrote as a side story title on its website: "Tel-Aviv: Thousands protested For [!] and Against the operation". The same paper's editorial began with the words: "Head of Government, Ehud Olmert, expects justifiably for the unifying of the Israeli public behind the IDF operation in Gaza".

Just to clear the picture, the weekend state TV news programme, that lasts almost two hours, did not show even one picture from within Gaza, but it showed plenty of politicians and generals, and ended with a report on the chocolate industry in Israel! And that is not only media control. Even the international press that would like to cover the attacks find it very difficult, as it is practically forbidden by the military for them to get into Gaza. Two Al-Jazeera reporters were arrested as they came "too close" to the Gaza strip. The Israeli enlisted reporters would report anyway anything that the military spokespersons will tell them to believe. Mentioning of the Palestinian victims is very much marginalised. The Israeli media never even mention, for example, that the ratio of victims now is 1:100 - and sometimes, it is being simply put like Barak does: "Hamas and the Terror Organizations have about 400 killed". The ruling elite's propaganda and falsification machine is simply immense. Reports of the protests around the world are presented also in a very denunciatory manner, hinting sometimes that any international criticism of the Israeli regime means anti-Semitism.

Earlier on Saturday, in the northern city of Sakhnin, tens of thousands gathered in one of the strongest Israeli-Palestinian demos in years. While in some Israeli press it was reported "a few thousands", it was closer to 100,000, with a few Israeli-Jews present. In some press sources they indeed described it as a mass event, but did so as a scare. Tens of right wingers (again, mostly of Liberman's party) counter-protested around the city. The atmosphere was very militant, but also dominated mostly by the Islamic Movement (northern wing) and the Palestinian Nationalist party Balad. Slogans in Arabic were shouted, including solidarity calls with the people of Gaza, calling them not to surrender in face of the military tanks and machineguns and stand heroically. Some of the slogans called upon Hezbollah to act, and criticized the Arab League regimes for their traditional collaboration, especially with the USA. Some slogans unfortunately called implicitly for terror measures against Jewish population.

The fact that the Sakhinin demo was more dominated by rightwing forces such as the Islamic Movement did not fall from the sky. Hadash was scattered - a sign to both the immense national polarization developing, and the certain weakening of some of its base of support among Israeli-Palestinians in recent years, as was reflected also in recent municipal elections in that city and some other towns. This sign of despair is unfortunately due to the CP/Hadash role as a party that effectively trails behind events, focusing on getting minor cosmetic law fixes, and not building a movement. Now while some of these small reforms are very well, much more could be achieved with if Hadash had the approach of building mass struggle. There are sad examples of such opportunist conduct such as electoral collaboration with the Islamic Movement in some areas, instead of setting an alternative, and the most strikingly Hadesh's collaboration with Liberman's party ("Israel Our Home") in Haifa, where they sit in the same coalition. In Haifa they supported the election of the current mayor from the main government party Kadima, allegedly to prevent the Libermanist candidate from taking the job. This is the explanation for the big political vacuum, and the fact that such significant demos are influenced more by rightwing organizations.

More than 500 Palestinians have been killed in just 9 days, 30 of them since the ground operation began. Thousands are wounded, and thousands of houses have been destroyed in the small strip of Gaza, and of course there are also the very harmful effects on the Arab and Jewish masses inside Israel. But yet, at the end of Saturday's march in Tel-Aviv, we heard the horrific news on the beginning of the land invasion as an opening for a new week of butchery. It will also be a new week of protests. The demo in Tel-Aviv showed that the joint movement of Jews and Arabs against the war, can and needs to be expanded, firmly in spite of the repression.

The Israeli ruling elite exploits the fears of the Israeli-Jewish working class, and these attacks are incredibly explained in one voice by the whole establishment as a "war of no choice". They do that in order to justify their desperate attempt to escape their deep political crisis, and to erase their own humiliation from the defeats of their own strategies during recent years. But working class people will also come to realize sooner or later that they are being viciously deceived, and dragged into a bloody conflict against their interest, and they will look in growing numbers for another choice. The movement against the war must try to reach these people as well, in spite of the very difficult mood. Based on ideas of solidarity and socialism, this can be achieved. And this is the only way forward.

5 January 2009

Report from Socialist Struggle Movement (Tnu`at Maavak Sotzyalisti/Harakat Nidal Eshteraki – CWI in Israel)


Thursday, 1 January 2009


Like the rest of the world, there is boiling anger in Lebanon among the masses at the Israeli state's brutal attack on Gaza. Many are taking to the streets in daily protests and demonstrations against the vicious Israeli massacres carried out against the people of Gaza.

The biggest demo was a mass protest organised by Hezbollah on the 29 December which was called for by its general secretary, Hassan Nasrallah, in his last televised speech. Nasrallah appealed to the masses of the Arab world to take to the streets in continuous mass action.

He said: "It does not matter what your ideologies and beliefs are to the US, what matters is if you stand in the way of the American – Israeli agenda. You can even be a Muslim, Communist, Marxist, Leninist, or Maoist, and the US would welcome you on board as long as you allow it to carry out its programme. Even Hamas would be welcomed today to the US for a deal if Hamas agrees to the US – Israeli politics. This war is against anyone who is resisting…. I appeal to the people of the Arab and Muslim world to take to the streets to put pressure on their regimes and to the Egyptian president to open the Rafah borders immediately!"

Nasrallah never explained what the US – Israeli agenda is or how it can be defeated, but he mentioned that the US is suffering an economic recession and that the Arab world has oil and water and could force the US and Israel to stop the massacres immediately.

The CWI in Lebanon has produced the leaflet below in response to the existing awareness among the Lebanese and Arab masses in regards to the US – Israeli agenda of a "New Middle East" and the recognized role of Arab regimes in this Israeli state terror. The definition "New Middle East" was used by Rice when she blatantly defended the 2006 Israeli war on Hezbollah in Lebanon where ferocious attacks killed 1,200 civilians and destroyed tens of thousands of homes within 33 days.

Text of leaflet produced by CWI members in Lebanon




Within less than 48 hours, the racist and brutal Israeli government has carried out massacres unseen in recent history. With more than 300 killed and over 1400 injured, numbers that are increasing, this attack has inflamed the Arab street and is putting pressure on the Arab regimes which have given a green light to this brutal war. This war is one of the attacks organised against the people of the region who stand up to American – Israeli politics and who are against the puppet rulers of the Arab world.

The need is necessary and urgent today more than ever for people of the Middle East to organize themselves through mass revolutionary and democratic struggles and through trade unions capable of building parties of workers and the poor. Real self-determination can only be realized through challenging the ruling classes and the capitalist system starting with the repressive and corrupt Arab regimes which serve the interest of the global capitalist class and which benefit from impoverishing and exploiting their own masses. Such movements are capable of uniting the effective force in society - the working class – and to spread in solidarity among workers and the poor across countries of this globalized world; a world dominated by the greedy multi-corporations which strive to control the wealth in the Middle East from energy to water reserves.

Any future Arab state under the supremacy of American neo-liberalism will result in further impoverishment and repression as is seen in Egypt where around 6 million people live in grave yards (according to UN estimates) or to wars and sanctions as seen in Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.

Free market capitalism, breeding insecurity and destruction, and through its exploitation of the masses widening further inequality gaps, cannot be fought except through a mass workers' movement and via committees democratically elected by the masses with the right to be armed in defence of land and services in the face of military and economic attacks.

The only way to realise real and permanent justice for the Palestinians and for the people of the region is by overthrowing capitalism and local feudalism and via the socialist transformation of society which puts people before profit ending poverty and wars and putting the wealth and resources in the hands of the majority.

  • Mass resistance for liberation of the Palestinian people and all people of the region
  • Mass movement of workers and the poor against capitalism
  • For a socialist Middle East


CWI Lebanon, 31 December 2008