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CWI - Building Socialism Worldwide
MANY PARTICIPANTS at this week's European Social Forum in London will be looking for an alternative to the capitalist system. The socialist ideas and programme of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) explains the causes of exploitation, poverty, unemployment, imperialism, war and terror. The CWI also argues that the only alternative to the barbarism of capitalism is a democratic socialist society.
But the ideas of the CWI are not developed in isolation: they are always linked up to the day-to-day fight against the capitalist system.
The CWI is a campaigning organisation, with sections and supporters across the world. We are at the forefront of the anti-war and anti-globalisation movements. We play a full part, and often a key role, in the daily struggles of workers, youth, communities and minorities.
Across Europe, workers are resisting neo-liberal attacks. The social democratic SPD/Green government in Germany is making the biggest cuts in welfare since 1945. Over the last year, demonstrations against the so-called 'reforms' of Chancellor Schroeder have rocked the country. The German section of the CWI, Sozialistische Alternative (SAV), takes part in these social movements and campaigns in the unions for decisive action, including general strikes.
The SAV has also taken part in election lists opposing the Schroeder government. In recent months SAV members were elected to three local councils. They are using these public positions to resist the cuts and to campaign for a mass socialist alternative to the main parties.
SAV members also participate in the new left formation, the 'Electoral Alternative - Jobs and Social Justice' (WASG). For this new group to win workers and youth, SAV members call for it to immediately stand in elections, to be active in the social movements and to put forward fighting socialist policies.
Similarly the Dutch working class is under ferocious attacks from the country's right wing coalition government. The CWI, Offensief, participated in one day protest strikes in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, this September, and also in the 300,000-strong anti-government demonstration on 2 October. Their call for a general strike is getting a great reception from workers.
In Britain, the New Labour government wants to sack 104,000 civil servants and the bosses of the Jaguar car makers plan to close their plant in Coventry. Socialist Party (CWI) members in the main civil service union, the PCS, have been instrumental in organising strike action to defend jobs and are attempting to widen the action with other unions to defend public services.
In Coventry, Socialist Party councillors, Dave Nellist and Karen McKay, presented a petition to the city council demanding full support to defend Jaguar jobs, for a council demonstration and for the trade unions to organise a national march.
Another general strike against crippling fuel price rises in Nigeria is threatened. The Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI in Nigeria), which plays an important role in the National Labour Congress (TUC) and the opposition National Conscience Party, campaigns for full preparations for all-out action to stop the attacks.
New workers' party
In Brazil, CWI members (Socialismo Revolucionario) are now working with other left forces in the new P-SOL ('Party of Socialism and Liberty'). The aim is to create a powerful socialist and Trotskyist alternative to the ruling PT (Workers' Party), which is carrying out vicious anti-working class neo-liberal policies.
Socialist Alternative (US CWI) supports the Presidential campaign of Ralph Nader and is organising big support rallies. Despite Nader's limited policies, his campaign gives the opportunity to start building a powerful socialist alternative to the two big business parties of Bush and Kerry.
The CWI has always stressed the importance of struggles of youth. Across Europe and in the US, we led thousands of school students and higher education students on walkouts against the US-led war on Iraq.
The Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI) in South Africa recently initiated a demonstration of hundreds over students' fees. The Australian CWI, the Socialist Party, set up the 'Unite!' anti-low pay campaign, which has won important victories for low-paid shop workers.
Young people are often at the forefront of campaigns against the racist and fascist organisations and the far right. Today, the CWI helps lead anti-fascist resistance in Austria, Northern Ireland, Belgium and Canada.
This direct action is always backed up with a socialist programme that calls for jobs, decent housing, a living wage and a good health service for all. In Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Israel and other countries, the CWI fights against sectarian division and for workers' unity.
As even these few examples from around the world show, the CWI is an international organisation of struggle, as well as a place to discuss and to debate socialist ideas.
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Contacting the CWI
How to contact CWI members differs from country to country. Find our sister sections on www.socialistworld.net
Some you can contact directly. For others, it is easier to do it via the CWI offices in London. e-mail to the International Office of the CWI: email@example.com or contact us at PO Box 3688, London, Ell 1YE, Britain.
Phone: + 44 (0)20 8988 8760. Fax: + 44 (0)20 8988 8793. www.socialistworld.net
European Social Forum: on this site
In The Socialist 16 October 2004:
International socialist news and analysis
European Social Forum
International socialist news and analysis