Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 4 December 2004

Committee for a Workers' International

Building the forces of socialism worldwide

THE INTERNATIONAL Executive Committee (IEC, the elected leadership of the Committee for a Workers' International - CWI) recently met to discuss the impending crisis in the world economy, the effect of Bush's re-election and the continuing bloody occupation of Iraq and Europe. (See note)
IEC member Hannah Sell, in this short report, touches on some of the highlights of the final session on building the CWI.

THE SOCIALIST Party is affiliated to the CWI which organises in 36 countries across the globe. Today, when just 500 giant multinationals dominate the globe - employing 46 million people and controlling 45% of world production - the need for a global struggle against capitalism is more pressing than ever.

Capitalism in the 21st century is a system of inequality, instability and turmoil. It is this which is leading a new generation to challenge the existing order and to begin to search for an alternative.


After a decade or more when the ideas of Marxism stood isolated, buffeted by a tidal wave of pro-capitalist propaganda, the tide of history has turned.

More than at any time in the last 15 years, the opportunity exists to build the forces of the CWI. Since our previous IEC, a year ago, our membership has increased by 10%. But in the coming year we need to grow far more significantly if we are to try and meet the tasks that are facing us.

Perhaps the most inspiring reports at the IEC were those from CWI sections in the neo-colonial world. For example, our section in Sri Lanka, that has recently contested elections in very dangerous conditions, caused by a dramatic rise in communal tensions. Our party received the highest vote of any on the left with 14,660 votes and was one of the only parties to stand in both the Tamil North and the Sinhalese areas. In the face of death threats, our section ran a very successful election campaign and has five new branches as a result.

Our section in Pakistan has also made important steps forward. It now exists in all four provinces and has produced the first four issues of our sister paper (also called the socialist) since May this year - which has been used to intervene in a number of campaigns and struggles - including a steel mill strike and a campaign against domestic violence.

In the last year, the South African ruling class have felt the fury of the working class, in the shape of the biggest public sector strike in the country's history. Our small section intervened energetically in the strike movement and, as a result, has two new branches.


BUT IT is perhaps in Nigeria - the second largest section of the CWI - that our members have been faced with the greatest challenges and possibilities. Over the last two years the country has been rocked by four general strikes over increases in fuel prices. The high international oil price means that the government has $4.7 billion more in oil revenue than was budgeted for.

Yet, in a country where petrol is essential for everything from electricity to cooking, the government has relentlessly attempted to drive the fuel prices up. They have been met with absolutely determined opposition from the working class and the poor masses. In response, the government has brought in new anti-labour laws.

Our party has played a leading role in the movement, particularly in Lagos where the general secretary - Segun Sango - was on an eight-person committee co-ordinating the strike.

Unfortunately, as well as opposing the government, they are also having to oppose the hesitancy of the majority of trade union leaders - who called off the most recent general strike without a significant victory being won.

It is not only in the neo-colonial world where we have taken steps forward, but also in the most powerful imperialist country on the planet - the USA. The gap between the rich and poor in the USA is the widest it has been for 75 years. A majority think the war on Iraq was wrong - and 40% support immediate withdrawal of the troops.

As Socialist Alternative, our section in the USA explained - Bush could not win the presidential election, but Kerry could lose it. A pro-war, big business politician, he was incapable of offering a real alternative for working class people. That's why, while they understood the 'anyone but Bush' feeling of many ordinary Americans, Socialist Alternative were the first on the left to support the candidacy of Ralph Nader, the anti-corporate candidate.

In Seattle, Minneapolis and Boston, Socialist Alternative speakers were on the platform of Nader's rallies of between 500 and 1,000 people.


THE SOCIALIST Party in England and Wales can learn a lot about party building from our sister sections in Europe. Two of them, Belgium and Greece, are currently the fastest-growing sections of the CWI.

In every country of Europe, the big business neo-liberal offensive is being stepped up. Countries that were previously held up to British workers as models of 'social partnership' and 'caring capitalism' are now, as a result of capitalism's crisis, facing an even more brutal version of Thatcherism.

In Germany, the supposedly social-democratic government are presiding over a savage assault on every aspect of workers' living standards. Eight million German workers are now employed in e1 an hour jobs. Millions are facing an overnight increase in the working week from 35 hours a week to 40, 45 or even 50.

Despite their baleful national trade union leadership, sections of the German working class have started to fight back. Our small section has played an important role. We helped to initiate the first national demonstration against the cuts, which was 100,000 strong, and showed the possibility for generalised strike action by leading a strike of young workers and students in Kassell.

Similarly, in Belgium, we proposed a 'national youth march for jobs' that has now been taken up by the youth sections of the two largest trade union federations.

The economic and social crisis in Europe is also leading to political radicalisation. In Germany, for example, ten years after the wall came down a government survey found that 51% of West Germans and 79% of East Germans believe that 'socialism was a good idea only badly implemented.'

This is not a result of new illusions in the old East Germany, which bore no resemblance to genuine socialism, but flows from German workers' experience of 21st century capitalism. As a result, our section has its first three councillors elected in Aachen, Cologne and Rostock.

Of course, the economic crisis also creates conditions where racist and reactionary ideas can grow, which, as recent events in the Netherlands demonstrate, can temporarily cut across class struggle. The need for a renewed campaign against racism was agreed at the IEC.

However, the main trend is for an increased combativity and anger amongst the working class, and, amongst a significant minority, a searching for a means to transform the planet. The IEC gave us all renewed confidence that the CWI is capable of building a force which will play a critical role in the socialist transformation of society.

Background documents outlining the main themes of those discussions can be found on the CWI's website - Shorter discussions were held on Venezuela, Brazil, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Germany. (back)

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 4 December 2004:

Private hands off public services

Pre-budget statement: Workers will pay for economic failure

NHS not safe in Labour's hands

Blair's election strategy threatens democratic rights

No top-up fees

Fighting fund Christmas appeal

International socialist news and analysis

Ukraine: Neither Yanukovych or Yuschenko

Socialist Party councillor elected in Australia

Iraq election crisis

Committee for a Workers' International: Building the forces of socialism worldwide

Which Revolution?

Socialist Party workplace news

UNISON general secretary election: A fighting programme to defend pensions

Save the Jag! Renationalise Jaguar to save jobs

Brighton teaching assistants fight council attacks

DWP needs more experienced staff, not less


Home   |   The Socialist 4 December 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleCampaign against political repression in Hong Kong

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

triangleChe Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter

triangleGermany: Election results in political earthquake

triangleGerman elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance


triangle'From Militant to the Socialist Party' - new book now available

triangleHow Blairism sank its claws into the Labour Party

triangleAttacks ratchet-up Syrian conflict and fuel tensions between powers

World economy:

triangleBuilding workers' struggle and the forces of international socialism

triangleBuild 100 days of resistance to Trump's agenda!

Hannah Sell:

triangleRussia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangleCorbyn and Brexit: Why a socialist approach to the EU is needed


trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle


triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right


triangleConference on state spies and sabotage: who's watching who?


triangleWorkers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers


triangleOctober 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis


What we saw

What we saw



Obesity epidemic: end food market anarchy



Tories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!



Young people being strangled by debts



Tories torn - bin them now



The end of the Tories?



Nasty party out the Tories


Black history

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity



Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right


Universal Credit

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty


Them & Us

Them & Us



NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts



IMF helps cause inequality it slams



Tories wreck our NHS



Monarch abdicates responsibility to workers

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice