Western Europe

070 Macron and yellow vests

19 January 2019

Factional warfare hots up after collapse of May’s European Union Brexit deal

By Robert Stevens, 19 January 2019

Led by the Blairite wing of the Labour, Pro-Remain politicians calculated that the decks would now be cleared for them to campaign for a second “People’s Vote” to overturn the 2016 referendum.

UK parliament votes down Prime Minister May’s Brexit deal

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 16 January 2019

In response to the resounding rejection of May’s proposal, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called a vote of no confidence for Wednesday.

France’s mass “yellow vest” protests continue to grow in 2019

By Alex Lantier, 14 January 2019

Demonstrations this Saturday grew significantly compared with last week, amid rising anger at French President Emmanuel Macron.

Jaguar Land Rover announces nearly 5,000 UK job losses in global restructuring

By Robert Stevens, 12 January 2019

Last October, JLR posted losses of £90 million and has seen a collapse in sales by nearly 50 percent in its main and most profitable market, China.

Security personnel at German airports continue protest strikes

By K. Nesan and Marianne Arens, 12 January 2019

The work stoppages make clear the enormous anger of security staff and their willingness to fight.

Was the hack of German politicians data supported by the state?

By Ulrich Rippert, 12 January 2019

Out of all the parties represented in parliament, only politicians from one remained unaffected by the hack: the far-right AfD.

The struggle against austerity and the fight for the United Socialist States of Europe

By the Socialist Equality Party (UK), 12 January 2019

The SEP insists that the answer to austerity in the UK is not the election of a pro-capitalist Labour government, but the unification of the working class across the continent in the struggle for socialism.

Socialist Equality Party takes legal action against surveillance by German secret service

By the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei, 10 January 2019

Dr. Peer Stolle, the lawyer for the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei, has submitted formal notice in writing to the German Federal Agency for the Protection of the Constitution, which is published here.

Report: Police gave neo-Nazi rioters free rein in Chemnitz, Germany

By Martin Nowak, 10 January 2019

An internal police report makes clear that although the police were well informed about the activities of the far right in Chemnitz, they did nothing to stop them.

Growing “yellow vest” protests defy French police repression

By Anthony Torres, 7 January 2019

The protest Saturday, the first day of action of French “yellow vest” protesters in 2019, mobilized substantially larger forces than the last protests of 2018.

German media demand accelerated rearmament

By Peter Schwarz, 7 January 2019

Editorials in leading German publications are marked by a mixture of fear and aggression as the new year begins.

UK Integrity Initiative heavily involved in Skripal affair

By Robert Stevens, 7 January 2019

Leaked documents indicate that the moves against Russia over the Skripal affair were scripted well in advance.

Demands surge for Britain to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

By James Cogan, 22 December 2018

John Pilger told an online vigil: “Julian is a touchstone for opposition to so much of what is happening in our world right now—the rise of fascism, the threat of nuclear war.”

UK: Half of Royal College of Nursing leadership re-elected after being forced out

By Ajanta Silva, 22 December 2018

The re-elected union functionaries played a crucial role in selling a rotten pay deal to their members earlier this year, after conspiring with other unions and the government.

Her photos shed light on history: The outstanding work of photographer Maria Austria (1915-75)

By Verena Nees, 22 December 2018

Her work deserves to be exhibited in one of Germany’s or Austria’s major museums, not least because she is the source of the only photographic record of the hiding place of Anne Frank and her family before deportation to Auschwitz.

UK government’s role in anti-Corbyn campaign exposed

By Robert Stevens, 11 December 2018

The Integrity Initiative (II), funded by the UK, US governments and NATO, has played a central role in the campaign against the Labour Party leader.

Which way forward for France’s “yellow vest” protests?

By Alex Lantier, 10 December 2018

The critical question is the independent organization of the working class, in France and internationally, in the preparation of a European general strike.

The “yellow vests”: A movement of workers against social inequality

By our reporters, 10 December 2018

In this video, workers participating in France’s “yellow vests” demonstrations explain their demands and appeal for international support.

French government threatens bloody crackdown on “yellow vest” protest

By Alex Lantier and Francis Dubois, 8 December 2018

Amid rising popular support for demonstrations against austerity and inequality, French officials are warning they will stop at nothing to halt the protests.

Still no justice as phase one of Grenfell Tower fire inquiry closes

By Paul Bond, 8 December 2018

The inquiry was never intended to bring the guilty to justice and is being overseen and directed by the very capitalist state apparatus and its political representatives that are responsible for turning Grenfell Tower into a death trap.

UK: University and College Union seeks to demobilise pay dispute

By Simon Whelan and Robert Stevens, 8 December 2018

The UCU, past masters at isolating and demobilising struggles over pay and job losses, finally authorised a token pay strike at the end of November—at just six institutions.

Mobilize the working class against Macron!

By Alex Lantier, 5 December 2018

The critical task facing protests against austerity and inequality in France is to expand the struggle more broadly into the French and international working class.

Britain’s highest paid CEO built fortune on online gambling

By Jean Shaoul, 5 December 2018

Last year, Denise Coates raked in an obscene £265 million, up from £199 million the year before, based on salary and perks, nearly 10,000 times more than the average UK salary.

French protests spark media demands for Facebook censorship

By Andre Damon, 5 December 2018

Sections of the press in France and the United States have seized upon the “yellow vest” demonstrations to directly demand the suppression of popular opposition on social media.

Bank of England warns “no-deal” Brexit would be worse than 2008 crash

Labour pledges to rescue British capitalism

By Robert Stevens, 3 December 2018

The "worst case" scenario presumes there would be custom checks on the UK’s border for goods, with the UK unable to reach new trade deals with the EU or other countries until 2023.

German trade union federation defends Hartz IV

By Ulrich Rippert, 3 December 2018

The SPD is concerned only with cosmetics and a possible change of name, because Hartz IV is now associated with mass poverty, state harassment, cheap wages and social inequality.

Resolution of the SEP (UK) Fourth National Congress

The resurgence of the class struggle and the tasks of the Socialist Equality Party (UK): Part One

By the Socialist Equality Party (UK), 3 December 2018

This resolution was unanimously adopted by the Fourth National Congress of the Socialist Equality Party in Britain, which was held October 27-30, 2018. It is being published in three parts. This is the first part.

Merkel backs Ukrainian provocations against Russia

By Peter Schwarz, 1 December 2018

Chancellor Angela Merkel has sharply attacked Russia at the German-Ukrainian Economic Forum, declaring that Putin is fully responsible for the present conflict.

I object—Ian Hislop’s search for dissent: An exhibition that eradicates socialist ideas and revolutionary action

At the British Museum, London

By Paul Mitchell, 1 December 2018

Would-be satirist Ian Hislop had access to one of the world’s most magnificent collections, in the British Museum, but ends up producing an exercise in political, social and artistic emptiness.

UK Intelligence and Security Committee admits Manchester bomb attack should have been prevented

By Thomas Scripps, 30 November 2018

The evidence points to Abedi having been viewed as an intelligence asset, allowed free rein to participate in jihadist formations aligned with British imperialism.

No to Macron’s maneuvers to strangle the Yellow Vest protests in France

By Alex Lantier, 27 November 2018

The talks Macron is slated to offer today to the Yellow Vest protesters are a trap for a movement that requires a turn to the working class and a revolutionary strategy.

French president bans fuel tax protest in Paris as strikes expand

By Alex Lantier, 24 November 2018

As the government of French President Emanuel Macron moved to ban protests against its fuel tax increase, strikes and demonstrations in support of the protest movement spread across France yesterday.

Left Party in Germany supports the French president’s call for a European army

By Johannes Stern, 24 November 2018

The fact that Emmanuel Macron’s appeal has been applauded by the Left Party speaks volumes about the pro-imperialist and anti-worker character of the organisation.

Black Friday strikes hit Amazon in Europe

By our reporters, 24 November 2018

Amazon workers launched strikes and protests in Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, France and the UK.

European Jewish Association slanders left and urges dialogue with far-right

By Jean Shaoul, 24 November 2018

Central place at the two-day event in Brussels, November 6-7, was given to a session slandering UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters as an “existential threat” to Jews.

No to driver only operated services at West Midland Trains! For a national mobilisation of rail workers

By Michael Barnes, 24 November 2018

Drivers at West Midlands Trains are resisting a coordinated effort by the private train operator Abellio and rail unions to impose Driver Only trains in 2020.

No to the draft in France and Europe!

By Parti de l’égalité socialiste, 23 November 2018

Faced with plans to reintroduce military service across Europe, the decisive question is the construction of an anti-war movement in the international working class.

Amid mass protests, France announces return to universal military service

By Alex Lantier, 20 November 2018

After hundreds of thousands protested anti-worker tax hikes this weekend, the French government announced plans to begin drafting youth as early as next summer.

“Macron is the president of the rich”: “Yellow Vest” protesters speak out

By our reporters, 20 November 2018

Participants in the “Yellow Vest” protests across France, which continued yesterday in a number of regions, talked to the WSWS about why they are demonstrating.

UK: Left groups targeted for decades-long police infiltration

By Alice Summers, 20 November 2018

The long-term police operations against left-wing organisations are an anti-democratic and morally degraded attack and reveal a serious and present threat to the entire working class.

France shaken by mass protests

By Alex Lantier, 19 November 2018

There were cries of “Macron resign” from protesters holding signs saying “No to the president of the rich.”

The only answer to Brexit is the United Socialist States of Europe

By Chris Marsden, 19 November 2018

Every faction of Britain’s ruling elite—whether pro- or anti-EU membership or urging some form of continued relations—is viciously opposed to the interests of the working class.

Britain: Reading University flags article on “ethics of revolution” under anti-terror policy

By Tom Scripps, 17 November 2018

The banning of Norman Geras’ essay under anti-terrorism legislation is a police state measure that has, for the first time, targeted an article discussing socialism and revolution.

Netherlands: 10,000 protest pro-corporate government policies

By Harm Zonderland, 17 November 2018

The demonstration was one of the largest since the government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) came to power last year.

French riot police attack protests against deadly Marseille building collapse

By Anthony Torres, 17 November 2018

The clashes express the immense social anger over the deaths of eight people in the building collapse on the Rue d’Aubagne.

Scotland: Michelin plans closure of Dundee plant with loss of 845 jobs

Rank-and file organisations needed to organise fight-back

By Steve James, 17 November 2018

French-based transnational Michelin’s decision to close its Dundee tyre manufacturing plant poses workers with the challenge of creating new organisations of struggle.

A terrorist network inside the German Army

By Peter Schwarz, 17 November 2018

The right-wing extremist conspiracy inside the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) is tolerated, covered up and supported by the highest authorities inside the state and politics.

UK: SEP assistant national secretary Julie Hyland addresses social sciences conference on fake news, censorship and war

By our reporters, 10 November 2018

The conference examined ways in which the media has historically been used to condition public opinion in favour of war.

UK government’s crocodile tears over burning of Grenfell Tower effigy backfire

By Robert Stevens, 10 November 2018

Social consciousness has changed as a result of the Grenfell fire. After the callous treatment of the survivors, many saw through the sympathetic posturing of the ruling elite.

French President Macron hails fascist dictator Philippe Pétain

By Alex Lantier, 10 November 2018

Macron’s attempt to rehabilitate Pétain is an unabashed appeal to the far right, which he is cultivating as a base of support amid rising opposition among workers.

“100 years of social partnership”—a sinister celebration of trade unions, employers’ associations and the state in Germany

By Wolfgang Weber, 10 November 2018

On October 16, the German Trade Unions and Employer Associations celebrated the centenary of the Stinnes-Legien-Agreement, which laid the foundation for the suppression of the German Revolution of 1918/19.

EU responds to US midterm elections with calls for military build-up

By Alex Lantier, 8 November 2018

European ruling circles have concluded that US-European conflicts reflect a deeper crisis than they first believed.

Residents oppose official cover-up of Grenfell fire toxic contamination

By Barry Mason, 8 November 2018

Despite evidence of toxicity in soil samples found around the site of the June 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, the authorities have failed to act to protect public health.

The case of Hans-Georg Maassen and the struggle against police-state repression in Germany

By Johannes Stern, 8 November 2018

The latest revelations surrounding the dismissal of the long-time president of the German secret service, Hans-Georg Maassen, confirms that the German domestic intelligence agency has been run by a right-wing extremist since 2012.

Massive increase in police violence across UK

By Alice Summers, 3 November 2018

Since last year, police firearms operations have risen by nearly 20 percent nationally, with some areas seeing an increase of 53 percent.

Ireland votes to remove blasphemy from the constitution and re-elects Michael D. Higgins as president

By Dermot Byrne and Steve James, 3 November 2018

The collapse of Sinn Fein and the Labour Party, and their eclipse by the right-winger Casey, underscores the urgent need for a genuine socialist party of the working class in Ireland.

France to send aircraft carrier to South China Sea to threaten China

By Anthony Torres, 2 November 2018

Amid growing tensions between the major powers, France’s nuclear-armed aircraft carrier is set to travel next year to the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

100,000 people living in unsafe UK tower blocks

By Barry Mason, 2 November 2018

Building surveyor expert Arnold Tarling, who has examined Large Panel System blocks across London, believes they have fundamental structural flaws.

State elections in Hesse mark further defeat for Germany’s grand coalition

By Ulrich Rippert, 30 October 2018

The election result is an expression of the growing hostility towards the grand coalition and its right-wing policies of militarism, state repression and social austerity.

The Unexplained Wealth Order legislation and London’s financial aristocracy

By Thomas Scripps, 30 October 2018

The move will not in any way alter London’s status as a playground for the super-rich and haven for illegal wealth.

Tamil family fight UK plans to deport their seriously ill father

By Simon Whelan, 27 October 2018

Authorities sought to deport Sangarapillai Balachandran, who had been headhunted by a British company due to a severe shortage of civil engineers with his specific skills.

UK: May fends off challenge by hard-Brexiteers

By Robert Stevens, 26 October 2018

That May, who supported Remain in the 2016 referendum, was able to seize the day reflects a pronounced shift in ruling circles, who cannot countenance a hard Brexit.

“McStrike”: UK unions police anger of young workers

By Alice Summers and Robert Stevens, 20 October 2018

Behind talk of a coordinated struggle, the demand of service workers for better pay and conditions is being misled by the trade unions.

After 250,000 people march in Berlin

The way forward in the struggle against the far-right danger in Germany

By Ulrich Rippert and Johannes Stern, 18 October 2018

Last weekend’s massive demonstration in Berlin expressed widespread popular opposition to the return of fascism and militarism in Germany.

After police raids on LFI, French courts and media denounce Mélenchon

By Alex Lantier, 18 October 2018

The official reaction to the police raids on Mélenchon’s LFI movement shows that a police state exists and is rapidly consolidating itself in France.

Macron organises French cabinet reshuffle to pursue austerity and militarism

By Francis Dubois, 18 October 2018

The government reorganisation will not resolve the crisis of rule emerging from growing working class opposition to Macron's program.

UCU recall conference seeks to silence opposition to sell-out of UK lecturers’ strike

By Robert Stevens, 18 October 2018

Anyone believing that today’s recall will provide an opportunity to discuss the betrayal underestimates the contempt of the union apparatus for democratic debate.

“National crisis” facing UK National Health Service as deficits grow

By Ben Trent, 16 October 2018

The budget deficits are the outcome of a systemic attack on a public health service provider with the intent of bringing the 70-year-old institution into private hands.

Bonus removal cancels out Amazon’s UK pay rise

By Alice Summers, 13 October 2018

Workers are effectively paying for their own wage increase through the slashing of employee benefits, share and incentive schemes, with some possibly seeing a net loss.

Macron fails to name new French government

By Francis Dubois, 13 October 2018

More than ten days after Interior Minister Gérard Collomb resigned, President Emmanuel Macron again missed a self-imposed deadline to name a new government.

Grenfell Tower Inquiry:

Survivors and bereaved give evidence—“We will not be silenced anymore”

By Paul Bond, 13 October 2018

The evidence reveals a devastating picture of official negligence before and after the fire.

France’s Mélenchon tacitly backs Wagenknecht’s xenophobic Aufstehen group

By Anthony Torres, 13 October 2018

By his silence, Mélenchon is tacitly supporting forces within his Unsubmissive France party that are orienting toward right-wing populism and the militarization of Europe.

Britain’s pseudo-left oppose worker rebellion against Royal College of Nurses leadership

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 11 October 2018

The no-confidence motion against the executive of the Royal College of Nurses is only one example of growing opposition to the decades of betrayals by the trade union bureaucracy.

Kilometres from the ashes of Grenfell Tower

British royals spend millions on palace improvements

By Laura Tiernan, 11 October 2018

More than £1.4 million will be spent to make Kensington Palace more comfortable for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

Chemnitz: German Neo-Nazi terrorist group relied on extremist network

By Christopher Lehmann, 9 October 2018

The authorities’ claims that the anti-immigrant rampage by neo-Nazis in Chemnitz took them by surprise are not credible.

German government organises mass deportations of refugees to Kabul

By Marianne Arens, 9 October 2018

The louder the protests of working people, the more deliberate and mercilessly the German government pursues its right-wing policies.

French government on verge of collapse after interior minister resigns

By Alex Lantier, 9 October 2018

Like rats fleeing a sinking ship, ministers are abandoning Macron in an attempt to save their political careers by finding positions in municipal politics.

Build rank-and-file committees to unify struggles against austerity in France!

By the Socialist Equality Party (France), 9 October 2018

Workers face the choice between President Emmanuel Macron’s social counterrevolution and a revolutionary struggle to bring down the Macron government.

40,000 people protest in Munich, Germany against racism and police state laws

By Markus Salzmann, 6 October 2018

On October 3, the day marking the reunification of Germany, 40,000 people demonstrated in the Bavarian capital against racism and the new Police Task Law (PAG)

The destruction of Germany’s Thyssenkrupp and the role of the IG Metall union

By Dietmar Henning, 6 October 2018

The decision to break up the Thyssenkrupp multinational conglomerate, in which the IG Metall union has played a key role, has been secretly prepared for months.

UK: No to Driver Only Trains in any form, mobilise against rail union sellout

By Michael Barnes, 6 October 2018

The struggle by rail workers in defense of jobs is in danger, due to the systematic sabotage of their fight by the unions.

“I am a poet who has the ability to sing his poems” – Charles Aznavour (1924-2018)

By Paul Bond, 6 October 2018

Aznavour grew up with a love of music and theatre and leaves a legacy of some 1,200 songs, innumerable recordings, and some notable film appearances.

Brexit and growing social divide dominate crisis-ridden Tory conference

By Robert Stevens, 4 October 2018

Both wings of the Tories are concerned that Prime Minister May’s downfall could lead to a Corbyn-led Labour government that would be unable to keep the working class in check.

German Left Party mayor orders deportation of refugees

By Markus Salzmann, 29 September 2018

The Left Party mayor of Frankfurt on the Oder, René Wilke, has initiated a deportation order against seven refugees from Syria, Pakistan and the Palestinian territories.

Meghan Markle’s Grenfell cookbook: The royal family in damage control mode

By Laura Tiernan, 29 September 2018

Markle’s “first solo project” is an attempt to restore public faith in the monarchy, present a caring and “culturally diverse” image and prevent the working class from challenging the wealth, privilege and power of the British ruling class.

Jeremy Corbyn calls for unity with Labour’s right-wing and the “business world”

By Robert Stevens, 29 September 2018

Addressing those who have spent years slandering him and his supporters, Corbyn pleaded that it was necessary “to focus on what unites us. We are on a journey together and can only complete it together.”

The neo-Nazi offensive in Germany and the role of historians

By Christoph Vandreier, 27 September 2018

The 52nd Historikertag (Historians’ Conference) September 25-28 in Münster takes place under conditions where historical questions have assumed immense significance.

German grand coalition backs secret service head who defended neo-Nazis

By Peter Schwarz, 25 September 2018

The decision to retain Hans-Georg Maassen in the interior ministry sends a clear message to the extreme right that it enjoys the full backing of the grand coalition.

At conference of British Labour Party

Corbyn and trade unions block deselection of right-wing MPs

By Chris Marsden, 25 September 2018

Anger was generated among Labour Party conference delegates by the rotten compromise stitched up by the National Executive Committee in a two-day meeting prior to the conference.

MI5’s anti-Corbyn campaign and the slandering of Michael Foot

By Chris Marsden, 25 September 2018

What is revealed by the renewed slander campaign against Foot is a dirty plot by the security services to bring down a Labour government, had it won the 1983 general election, that now reads like a dry run for today’s campaign against Corbyn.

EU summit marked by Brexit threats and ultimatums

By Chris Marsden, 22 September 2018

Theresa May's address was met with silence and her implied threats were stonewalled, as the main players within the EU combined the next day to declare her proposals to be “unworkable.”

“A whiff of 1933”

Sharp rise in far-right attacks in Germany

By Marianne Arens and Ulrich Rippert, 22 September 2018

Racist and anti-semitic attacks are rising at an alarming rate across Germany with acts of violence occurring on almost a daily basis.

Macron impeachment mooted as more French ministers resign

By Francis Dubois, 22 September 2018

Two weeks after Macron called for a “common front” of all his ministers as the school year began, ministers are constantly resigning, throwing into question the survival of the government.

Manchester “anti-Semitism” protest

Blairites and Tories share platform calling for Corbyn’s removal

By Robert Stevens, 22 September 2018

Tory MP Chris Green not only called for Corbyn’s removal, but suggested how the Blairites could defy the democratic will of their own party’s members.

UK Food Foundation: Four million children have poor diets

By Liz Smith, 17 September 2018

The situation worsened during the summer school holidays, with an estimated 3 million children nationwide at risk of going hungry.

In France, Mélenchon advisor hails Wagenknecht’s anti-immigrant Aufstehen group

By Alex Lantier, 17 September 2018

Kuzmanovic applauded Aufstehen’s xenophobic line as a strategy for Melenchon's Unsubmissive France (LFI) to win workers’ votes.

UK: Rival Socialist Party members vie for position as deputy leader of civil servants union

By Robert Stevens, 13 September 2018

The sordid episode demonstrates that the pseudo-left organisations have no independence from the trade union bureaucracy.

The fight against fascism in Germany requires a socialist perspective

By the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei, 4 September 2018

Moral outrage is not enough to stop the fascist mob: it is necessary to understand the political roots of its resurgence.

UK: Momentum’s Jon Lansman aids witch-hunt against Corbyn, joins Blairites at Jewish Labour Movement event

By Paul Mitchell, 4 September 2018

Momentum leader Jon Lansman joined pro-Zionist and pro-Blairite figures to issue a blatant apologia for their campaign to blackguard the left as anti-Semitic.