Europe

French Medical Association denounces official inaction on pandemic

By Alex Lantier, 1 October 2020

The herd immunity policy decided by President Emmanuel Macron raises the risk of another terrible spike in deaths, worse than last spring.

Bridgestone, Total shut plants as COVID-19 layoffs sweep Europe

By Anthony Torres, 1 October 2020

After receiving billions of euros from the public purse in the form of European Union bailouts, European corporations are drastically cutting jobs.

Explosive outbreak of COVID-19 at British universities

By Simon Whelan, 1 October 2020

The government knew the start of the academic year would bring about a resurgence of the virus but continued nevertheless as part of its herd immunity policy.

UK Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee hears report on Greek school occupations

By our reporter, 1 October 2020

The meeting heard how the Greek government was following the same “herd-immunity” policy of allowing the virus to rip through the population as others worldwide.

For a London-wide strike to oppose the threat to life from COVID-19!

By the London Bus Drivers Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 1 October 2020

We cannot allow a re-run of March, April and May when 33 colleagues died because of deliberate neglect by Transport for London, the bus companies and Unite.

Protest strikes in German public sector and local transport

By Marianne Arens and Andy Niklaus, 1 October 2020

As part of the collective bargaining round for 2.3 million public sector workers, protest strikes are currently taking place in day-care centres and hospitals, town halls, government offices, savings banks, refuse companies and elsewhere.

Ukrainian miners strike for better pay and conditions in defiance of the unions

By Jason Melanovski, 1 October 2020

Workers at the Krivoy Rog Iron Ore Company are carrying out a courageous strike in defiance of the union that puts them into direct conflict with the country’s entire ruling class.

Evidence of war crimes, torture, surveillance and assassination plots: Assange hearing nears final day

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 1 October 2020

The CIA’s surveillance was targeted against Assange’s communication with his legal representatives, considered “priority targets.”

700 Greek schools occupied by students protesting unsafe return to classes

By Robert Stevens and John Vassilopoulos, 30 September 2020

Given that it is mainly secondary education impacted, more than one in five of the country’s 3,168 high schools have been occupied.

With one million dead, governments abandon efforts to contain COVID-19 pandemic

By Andre Damon, 30 September 2020

The fall and winter months in America and Europe are expected to bring a major resurgence of the disease.

Former US prison warden testifies Assange will be treated like a “terrorist”: The “war on terror” comes home

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 30 September 2020

Baird’s testimony made clear that Assange is now the victim of the CIA-backed torture and rendition which he courageously exposed as WikiLeaks publisher and journalist.

More than 2,000 schools in UK hit by COVID-19 outbreaks as thousands of children and staff sent home

By Tom Pearce, 29 September 2020

Thousands of children are being sent home to self-isolate, in some cases to isolate with vulnerable parents.

London bus drivers challenge Metroline over new COVID-19 infections at Cricklewood garage

By our reporters, 29 September 2020

Drivers are calling for urgent safety measures to prevent the further spread of infection. Their open letter to Metroline is published in full.

The Asgaard security firm: Neo-Nazi networks in German army and police

By Jan Ritter, 29 September 2020

Asgaard advertises among and employs former and active police officers and soldiers, who were described by “Kontraste” as highly specialised men.

Germany railway workers’ union agrees to wage cuts at Deutsche Bahn

By Marianne Arens, 29 September 2020

Together with the management of Deutsche Bahn AG and the transport minister, the EVG union supports the restructuring of the railways at the cost of the workforce.

Assange faces a fate “worse than death” in US prisons, witnesses tell court

By Thomas Scripps, 29 September 2020

No amount of lame denials can hide the fact that if Assange is put in the clutches of these people, he will be disappeared into the darkest corner of the US prison system.

Youth protests over COVID-19 mount in working-class districts of Madrid

By Alejandro López, 28 September 2020

Madrid is the epicentre of the resurgence of COVID-19 in Spain, now the worst-hit country in Western Europe, with 51 dying last Friday alone.

Johnson government rolls out Kickstart youth cheap labour scheme

By Harvey Thompson and Robert Stevens, 28 September 2020

The collapse in the number of jobs and apprenticeships meant that by July one in 13 of the seven million UK workers aged between 16 and 24 years was claiming Universal Credit.

Warning strikes in German public sector: Growing anger over low wages and insecure working conditions

By Gregor Link, 28 September 2020

Some 2.3 million public sector workers face a sellout by the Verdi union, including educators, local government workers and daycare workers who are at the forefront of the pandemic.

Cheaper flammable cladding was ordered for Grenfell tower to save time

By Charles Hixson, 28 September 2020

The project manager at one of the main firms involved in the Grenfell Tower refurbishment admitted he lacked qualifications and training.

Spain’s PSOE-Podemos government assaults protests vs. herd immunity policy

By Alejandro López, 26 September 2020

As 7,500 army troops deploy to Madrid amid a Europe-wide resurgence of COVID-19, this crackdown is a threat aimed at the entire working class.

New bailout for UK corporations as COVID-19 infections rocket

By Robert Stevens, 26 September 2020

Chancellor Sunak’s announcement was unveiled outside his office in Downing Street, flanked by Trades Union Congress General Secretary Frances O'Grady and Confederation of British Industry Director General Dame Carolyn Fairbairn.

Thousands at UK universities infected with coronavirus as new term opens

By Simon Whelan and Barry Mason, 26 September 2020

The former regional director for public health in northwest England, Professor John Ashton, said it was “almost inevitable” that the return of students would lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Record growth of COVID-19 infections in Eastern Europe

By Markus Salzmann, 26 September 2020

The numbers of new COVID-19 infections in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary are breaking previous records.

A murderous pact: The European Union to deport refugees

By Peter Schwarz, 26 September 2020

Wrapped up in sugary phrases about “values,” “responsibility” and “solidarity,” the EU Commission president has presented a plan that spells deportation, misery and certain death for hundreds of thousands.

Decision on Assange’s extradition set for next year

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 26 September 2020

Accepting the defence’s argument that any dramatic change in the facts surrounding the case before November 13 would have to be taken into account, Baraitser asked, “What impact on your case, say you, will the American elections have?”

Student protests against herd immunity policy spread across Greece

By Alex Lantier, 25 September 2020

High school students marched in Athens and Thessaloniki Thursday as occupations of high schools and strikes by doctors, port workers and airline workers spread.

Report demolishes government claims that reopening UK schools reflects concern for disadvantaged children

By Margot Miller, 25 September 2020

The education of poorer children is of as little concern for the Johnson government as the health of the working class.

Tory legislation legalising war crimes by UK troops goes forward thanks to Labour Party

By Robert Stevens, 25 September 2020

Only 18 Labour MPs defied the party whip and voted against the bill.

Italian regional elections: Political elite shifts further right

By Peter Schwarz, 25 September 2020

Elections for the presidents and parliaments in six of Italy’s 18 regions were held on Sunday and Monday. The first election since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic was seen as a test for the government in Rome.

Germany’s IG Metall trade union establishes fund to eliminate “overcapacity” in auto parts industry

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 25 September 2020

IG Metall established its own private equity fund earlier this summer to finance the restructuring of Germany’s auto industry.

For a general strike to halt the resurgence of COVID-19 in Europe!

By Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Germany), Socialist Equality Party (UK), Parti de l’égalité socialiste (France) and Sosyalist Eşitlik (Turkey), 25 September 2020

The insistence of European governments on fully reopening schools, workplaces and public gathering places has paved the way for a devastating resurgence of the virus.

Assange lawyers expose politically biased medical evidence

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 25 September 2020

Edward Fitzgerald QC told the court that Dr Blackwood had described the Truesdale correctional centre in “glowing” terms. Yet he had failed to acknowledge Chelsea Manning’s suicide attempt there.

Spanish pseudo-left covers for union complicity in back-to-school drive

By Alice Summers, 25 September 2020

The Morenoite Workers Revolutionary Current, and its daily publication Izquierda Diario, is refusing to oppose the return to classrooms, aiming instead to divert opposition to it into impotent channels.

Strikes by Greek doctors and ferry workers, UK’s London underground rail drivers’ strike vote, South African health workers continue protests over pay and COVID-19 safety measures

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

25 September 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Medical evidence shows devastating impact of decade-long state vendetta against Assange

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 24 September 2020

What UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer described in May 2019 as the “public mobbing” and “psychological torture” of Assange has had the desired effect.

Johnson’s bogus agenda for combating the escalating pandemic will cost tens of thousands of lives in UK

By Chris Marsden, 23 September 2020

After Johnson’s health advisers announced there would be 50,000 cases a day by mid-October and 200 deaths a day by November without government action, his measures read like a cruel joke.

Students occupy schools across Greece to protest unsafe return to classrooms

By Robert Stevens, 23 September 2020

Anger is erupting among youth in Greece at being forced back to school amid a raging pandemic of COVID-19.

UK Educators Rank-and-File Committee holds second meeting

By our reporters, 23 September 2020

The aim of meeting was to call on educators, students and parents to join and build rank-and-file committees “in your workplace, college or campus and communities.”

National Education Union letter to Boris Johnson: A total surrender to herd immunity

By Tania Kent, 23 September 2020

From the outset of the pandemic, the NEU has blocked all moves to combat the deadly consequences of the government’s handling of the virus.

Assange faces “very high risk of suicide,” medical expert tells court

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 23 September 2020

Kopelman’s evidence confirms the warnings made since November 2019 by Doctors for Assange that Assange is suffering “psychological torture” and “could die in prison.”

Johnson government says UK COVID-19 infections could hit 50,000 per day as pandemic spins “out of control”

By Robert Stevens, 22 September 2020

Chief Scientific Officer Sir Patrick Vallance, an early advocate of a “herd immunity” strategy, conceded that only an estimated 8 percent of the population had been infected and that the majority of the population remain susceptible.

Whistle-blowers speak out as German authorities cover up coronavirus cases at schools and day-care centres

By Martin Nowak and Gregor Link, 22 September 2020

Despite hundreds of teaching and care facilities being infected, school and health authorities, as well as the federal and state governments, with the support of the trade unions, are doing everything in their power to continue reopening schools.

EU parliament calls for international investigation into alleged poisoning of Navalny

By Clara Weiss, 22 September 2020

The resolution represents a significant escalation of attempts by the European imperialist powers to destabilize the Putin regime and ratchet up tensions with Russia.

COVID-19: French NPA’s Révolution Permanente web site lines up with Macron’s school re-opening

By Anthony Torres, 22 September 2020

Factions of France’s New Anti-capitalist Party linked to Argentina’s Socialist Workers Party (PTS) tacitly back a return to school endangering millions.

Explosive evidence from Trump insider

Assange dragged from embassy “on the orders of the president”

By Laura Tiernan and Thomas Scripps, 22 September 2020

Cassandra Fairbanks testified that Arthur Schwartz, a wealthy Republican Party donor and key Trump ally, had provided her with evidence of plans by the Trump administration to impose the death penalty.

Combustible insulation used on Grenfell Tower was sold at a heavy discount to building company

By Charles Hixson, 21 September 2020

The Celotex RS5000 insulation—found by the Grenfell Inquiry as “more likely than not” to have contributed to the 2017 inferno—was sold to Harley Facades at a 47.5 percent discount.

UK firms awarded billions in NHS/government contracts amid failure of COVID-19 testing system

By Julie Hyland, 21 September 2020

The largest intended privatisation is the £100 billion-plus expansion of the national coronavirus testing programme “Operation Moonshot.”

UK unions use “consultative” strike ballots to suppress class struggle

By Barry Mason and Robert Stevens, 21 September 2020

The consultative ballot never implies action being taken, even if a massive vote in favour is returned.

Lufthansa prepares to double job cuts to nearly 40,000

By Gustav Kemper, 21 September 2020

Lufthansa is considering reducing its current workforce by about 30 percent or almost twice as many as the German airline announced at the end of June.

Johnson government opposes national lockdown despite exponential rise in UK coronavirus cases

By Robert Stevens, 19 September 2020

It is just 77 days since the Johnson government recklessly reopened the economy on July 1, in the middle of a pandemic. By next Tuesday at least 13 million people will be in lockdown.

Germany: Right-wing extremist network in police pays homage to Hitler and the Nazis

By Jan Ritter, 19 September 2020

A photo montage shared online by police officers shows a grinning SS soldier pressing a button marked “Gas.” In the background, refugees are screaming in fear in a gas chamber.

Neo-Nazis in German police issue new threats

By Gregor Link, 19 September 2020

The extreme-right continues its work because it is being protected by senior authorities in the state apparatus.

Build an independent action committee to defend jobs and wages!

Union suppresses criticism of job cuts at German steel producer ThyssenKrupp

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 19 September 2020

Major corporations, banks and hedge funds are using the pandemic to launch attacks on wages and jobs worked out long before the crisis.

Russia’s opposition parties fail to win broad support in regional elections

By Andrea Peters, 19 September 2020

Kremlin-backed candidates held onto governorships and control of local parliamentary bodies in the 83 regions of the country where voting occurred.

Peace negotiations stall as ceasefire begins to fall apart in Ukraine

By Jason Melanovski, 19 September 2020

Ukraine’s far-right continues to oppose any negotiated settlement that could lead to the end of the six-year long civil war that has needlessly killed over 13,000.

Witnesses recall Collateral Murder attack: “Look at those dead bastards,” shooters said

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 19 September 2020

“The publication of that video and those words was the equivalent of the death of George Floyd and his words ‘I can’t breathe’. They had a profound effect on public opinion in the world.”

World Health Organization warns of “alarming” resurgence of COVID-19 in Europe

By Alex Lantier, 18 September 2020

With over 300,000 weekly infections, European authorities are now confirming more COVID-19 cases each week than they did prior to the lockdowns this spring.

Germany: Local elections in North Rhine-Westphalia express growing opposition to official politics

By Peter Schwarz, 18 September 2020

Half of all eligible voters stayed at home. Many saw no point in voting between parties that work together and pursue similar right-wing, anti-working-class policies.

Over one million UK children kept off school in face of government threats and propaganda

By Harvey Thompson and Tania Kent, 18 September 2020

By Thursday evening, 1,118 schools had been hit by coronavirus infections, forcing many to close partially or fully.

Oppose the unsafe reopening of UK schools and universities! Attend Online Educators Rank-and-File Committee meeting

18 September 2020

We urge educators and students in Britain to register and participate in the online forum being held on Saturday, September 19 at 2 p.m.

British government and universities pursue reckless return to higher education under pandemic conditions

By Simon Whelan, 18 September 2020

Students now face a limit on socialising under the government’s arbitrary limiting of gatherings to six, yet can go to work and to campuses.

Former CIA director Leon Panetta: We are prosecuting Assange to intimidate others

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 September 2020

Panetta’s comments confirmed the mafia-character of the US-pursuit of Assange, its politically-motivated nature and flagrant disregard for international laws.

Military research at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

By Gregor Link, 18 September 2020

As Germany again takes up aggressive great power politics, German universities are once more serving the needs of war and dictatorship, just as they did before the First and Second World Wars. A major centre of German weapons research is the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

Retail workers continue protests in Ireland and UK; South African and Nigerian health workers walk out; union sells out Zimbabwe nurses’ strike

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

18 September 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Students return to UK universities: Build campus safety committees!

By Danny Knightley, 17 September 2020

Campus safety committees must ensure safety procedures are put in place to protect the health of students and staff alike, and fight for increased testing on campuses.

Manchester Go North West bus drivers vote overwhelmingly to strike

By Dennis Moore and Robert Stevens, 17 September 2020

Workers in Manchester should emulate the move by London bus drivers at a number of garages, who this week set up the London Bus Drivers Rank-and-File Safety Committee.

Former Der Spiegel journalist exposes US government lies that Assange “failed to redact” and “put lives at risk”

By Laura Tiernan, 17 September 2020

Testimony from John Goetz established that the only “harm to life” came from US war crimes which Assange and WikiLeaks were trying to expose.

Assange exposed “a very serious pattern of actual war crimes,” Daniel Ellsberg tells extradition hearing

By Thomas Scripps, 17 September 2020

Ellsberg said that “with the Manning and Assange papers, I found my name being mentioned all the time as a very good person … to use me as a foil against these new revelations which were supposedly very different from mine.”

The Moria catastrophe and the European Union’s war on refugees

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 16 September 2020

The inhumane treatment of the desperate people on Lesbos is the product of deliberate policies being pursued by the European Union and its member states.

Schools at epicentre of UK’s coronavirus explosion

By Robert Stevens, 16 September 2020

The virus is resurgent in workplaces, schools, and communities, with the R (reproduction) value rising above 1 across the UK.

France imposes return to school without protections against COVID-19

By Jacques Valentin, 16 September 2020

With over 1,200 schools and universities affected, France faces a resurgent pandemic provoked by the reopening drive by the highest state authorities.

The political significance of the London Bus Drivers Rank-and-File Safety Committee: “Change is coming in the working class”

By our reporters, 16 September 2020

The formation of the committee shows that bus workers are starting to draw a balance sheet from their experiences over the past six months and are ready to fight back.

London bus drivers launch rank-and-file safety committee to fight renewed threat from COVID-19

By the London Bus Drivers Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 16 September 2020

“We are not cattle and will not be sacrificed to protect the profits of the corporations and banks who have made a financial killing during the pandemic,” states the resolution passed by the London Bus Drivers Rank-and-File Safety Committee.

London bus drivers resolve to fight for Assange’s freedom

By the London Bus Drivers Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 16 September 2020

The first action of the newly formed London Bus Drivers Rank-and-File Safety Committee was to pass a resolution calling for the defence of imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Assange faces life imprisonment in politically motivated trial, witnesses argue

By Thomas Scripps, 16 September 2020

Both expert witnesses shared the view that the prosecution of Assange is politically motivated—which, if found to be true, would bar his extradition.

Exposure of Trump’s lies on COVID-19 implicates Spain’s Podemos party

By Alejandro López, 15 September 2020

Though it had access to intelligence briefings on the deadly danger posed by the pandemic, Podemos adopted a criminally negligent policy.

Protests continue against Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov

By Markus Salzmann, 15 September 2020

For over two months, thousands of people have been marching in the streets of Bulgaria almost every day in opposition to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

Greece buys billions in French arms amid war tensions with Turkey

By Alex Lantier, 14 September 2020

The purchase of a squadron of fighter jets and four warships marks a major escalation in the military standoff between Greece, backed by France, and Turkey.

Three postal workers test positive at UK Royal Mail’s Medway Mail Centre

By Paul Lee, 14 September 2020

The outbreak at the “state-of-the-art” delivery office demonstrates that workers’ health is being imperilled in an ongoing scramble for profit.

UK firms announce hundreds of thousands of redundancies

By Barry Mason, 14 September 2020

There is a fear among some bourgeois commentators and political representatives that a sudden end to the Jobs Furlough scheme could lead to social upheaval.

Stop the dangerous “routine operation” of schools in Germany! Prepare a nationwide general strike!

Set up independent action committees for the safety of teachers, pupils and parents!

By the Action Committees for Safe Education, 14 September 2020

The completely unsafe routine operation of schools threatens the health and lives of millions of educators, parents, children, young people and their families.

German Left Party preparing to enter government and support war

By Johannes Stern, 14 September 2020

In August, the Left Party’s parliamentary leader Dietmar Bartsch backed the German Army’s foreign deployments. Now foreign affairs spokesperson Gregor Gysi is going further.

Revelation of US government conspiracy on COVID-19 exposes EU herd immunity policy

By Alex Lantier, 12 September 2020

Revelations that US officials conspired to lie to the public about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic also expose the politically criminal role of the EU.

Full classes, full buses—German schools are becoming a coronavirus trap

By Marianne Arens, 12 September 2020

With schools re-opening without social distancing and the wearing of masks, new infections are increasing. Throughout Germany, hundreds of facilities have been affected.

Brexit crisis intensifies after Johnson government tears up agreement with Brussels

By Robert Stevens, 12 September 2020

Brexit epitomises the malignant growth of inter-imperialist antagonisms that are plunging the world into a brutal trade war and exacerbating the threat of military conflict.

UK Tories use Extinction Rebellion protests to argue for savage political repression

By Richard Tyler, 12 September 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked officials to take a “fresh look” at the legal status of Extinction Rebellion and see if it can be classified as an “organised crime group.”

UK government’s “Operation Moonshot”—a trojan horse for herd immunity policy

By Thomas Scripps, 12 September 2020

Under the cover of a non-existent mass testing programme, the government plans to encourage as much intermingling as possible.

Thousands sleeping rough after the burning down of Moria refugee camp on Lesbos

By John Vassilopoulos, 12 September 2020

Shocking footage and pictures show refugees of all ages sleeping on roads and hillsides, surrounded by their meagre possessions.

UK Conservative government votes down Grenfell Tower safety recommendations as inquiry resumes

By Charles Hixson, 12 September 2020

The inquiry’s toothless “suggestions”—that tower block tenants be granted a few minimal safety rights—have been tossed into the bin by the Tories.

Russia holds regional elections amidst growing political crisis

By Andrea Peters, 12 September 2020

Balloting in 83 regions ends Sunday, and Kremlin-backed candidates are facing challengers in a number of areas.

No to a Greek-Turkish war in the eastern Mediterranean!

International Committee of the Fourth International, 12 September 2020

Amid the escalation of threats and naval maneuvers between Turkey and Greece, backed by France, Europe and the Middle East are teetering on the brink of war.

“Practically all children, one way or another, will be infected”

Spanish government demands schools reopen as COVID-19 deaths surge

By Alice Summers, 11 September 2020

The PSOE-Podemos government is deliberately implementing a reckless and criminal policy that will lead to an explosion of cases and many unnecessary deaths.

Assange hearing adjourned as prosecution lawyer is tested for COVID-19

By Thomas Scripps, 11 September 2020

Dr Stephen Frost, founder of Doctors for Assange, told the WSWS, “While the Court today adjourned due to the risk of infection from COVID-19, Julian Assange has been sent back to Belmarsh maximum security prison where the threat of infection from COVID-19 is extremely high—and he is severely immunocompromised.”

National stoppage planned in France over job losses; Nigeria’s doctors resume strike for PPE; South African protests for PPE met with police brutality

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

11 September 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Lesbos refugee-camp blaze leaves 13,000 without shelter

By Robert Stevens, 10 September 2020

A call from a detainee during the blaze asked, “Where is the police, where is the fire brigade, where is anyone? We are burning, our tents are burning. Everything is burning. We came here to burn to death. All is on fire.”

Lies in the Navalny case

By Peter Schwarz, 10 September 2020

The relationship between Germany and Russia has reached its lowest point since Berlin supported the pro-Western coup in Ukraine six years ago and Russia annexed Crimea.

Scottish Crown Office blocks release of documents vital for Craig Murray’s defence

By Steve James, 10 September 2020

The Scottish Crown Office and government are stonewalling all efforts to secure documentation requested by journalist Craig Murray who is facing contempt of court charges.

Austria: No protection for population despite rising coronavirus infections

By Markus Salzmann, 10 September 2020

Austria has played a leading role in Europe’s lifting of protective measures against the coronavirus, with infections rising sharply as a result.

UK government blames young people as COVID-19 surges

By Thomas Scripps, 10 September 2020

The government’s new and tokenistic six-person rule does not apply to workplaces or schools, and groups of six can continue to visit pubs, bars, and restaurants.