In brief: News, reports and analysis from the Committee for a Workers’ International

The following short extracts are from recent articles posted on the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) website.

They are mostly written by members active on the ground in their respective CWI sections and provide analysis, programme and perspectives from a Marxist standpoint. Read them in full on

Some of the members present at the refoundation conference of the CWI, 22-25.7.2019, photo Philip Stott

Some of the members present at the refoundation conference of the CWI, 22-25.7.2019, photo Philip Stott   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Afghanistan: Taliban makes rapid gains in wake of Western forces humiliating withdrawal

As Taliban forces conquer large swathes of Afghanistan, the 20-year occupation by American and allied imperialist forces is ending in humiliation, chaos, and an ignoble retreat.

Describing the war against the Taliban as “unwinnable”, US President Joe Biden announced American withdrawal by 11 September, and other Nato allies followed suit.

A staggering $2.26 trillion was spent by Washington in both military and civilian operations during the two decades of occupation. It is conservatively estimated that over 175,000 Afghan civilians were killed during the long war. More than 2,320 US personnel died.

The other main imperialist occupier, the UK, spent £40 billion in its disastrous operations in Helmand province alone and lost over 400 soldiers.

Yet two decades ago, Afghanistan was held up as the model of ‘nation building’ and supposed ‘liberal interventionism’, after the US-led a war to overthrow the Taliban in 2001.

Niall Mulholland, of the Committee for a Workers’ International details this monumental failure by imperialism and explains what socialist programme the workers and poor of Afghanistan and the region must pursue to achieve lasting peace and an end to poverty and unemployment.

South Africa: Riots and looting a dead end – Build working-class unity to win jobs and services for all!

Following the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma for corruption, South Africa has witnessed the most widespread unrest in decades. Tens of thousands of the poor, the destitute, and the hungry have raided supermarkets and shopping malls for food, clothes, and other consumer goods.

At the same time, however, forces with entirely separate agendas have inserted themselves among those genuinely looking to relieve the suffering of their families.

More significantly, behind these were the organised forces of the pro-Zuma Radical Economic Transformation (RET) faction in the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

The Marxist Workers Party condemns the instigators of the riots – the ANC’s RET forces. With their backs against the wall after suffering one defeat after the other in the ‘lawfare’ with the Ramaphosa faction, they have cynically exploited the grievances of the destitute for their own factional ends.

Responsibility for these developments lies squarely at the feet of the ANC – both the Ramaphosa and the Zuma faction. This government must go!

Marxist Workers Party (CWI South Africa) statement

Tunisia coup

On 25 July, Tunisia’s president, Kais Saied, carried out a coup in the country which had been labelled “The Arab world’s only democracy”. He sacked the prime minister, Hichem Mechichi, along with the ministers of defence and justice.

Parliament was closed down and surrounded by troops who barred the way of the Speaker, Rached Gannouchi, who heads the Islamist party, Ennahda. With only 20% support, it is still the largest in parliament. The party’s offices and local headquarters were stormed and set alight.

Gannouchi has denounced the president’s action as, “a coup against the constitution and the revolution”. But in the past ten years there has been no resolution of the seething discontent among the poor and unemployed in Tunisian society.

As the ‘i’ newspaper put it: “The dramatic move… followed violent nationwide rallies demanding the resignation of the prime minister and dissolution of parliament, amid a disastrous coronavirus outbreak that has pushed the healthcare system to the point of collapse and escalated economic woes” (27 July).