Western Europe

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.

Ha’aretz joins witch-hunt against UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

By Jean Shaoul, 4 September 2018

Ha’aretz aims to silence and criminalise any signs of growing left-wing sentiment expressed in the support for Corbyn’s minimalist reforms.

Why are French media obsessed with Ecology Minister Hulot’s resignation?

By Francis Dubois, 4 September 2018

While the media endlessly discuss the crisis of the government, their obsession with Hulot obscures the deep unpopularity of Macron’s policies of austerity and war.

Mélenchon’s Unsubmissive France opens summer school with overtures to right-wing parties

By Francis Dubois, 30 August 2018

Mélenchon’s invitation of right-wing parties to his summer school marks another milestone in the right-wing trajectory of the middle-class pseudo-left.

Who is Unsubmissive France’s “Comrade Policeman” Alexandre Langlois?

By Anthony Torres, 30 August 2018

An intelligence agent who read some Marx while in an agency that set up provocations against strikers, Langlois was ideally placed to join the populist pseudo-left.

French government announces plan to undermine pension system

By Francis Dubois, 28 August 2018

While giving tens of billions of euros in tax cuts to the super-rich, President Macron is slashing pensions, eliminating social rights established more than 70 years ago.

The German army’s new policy doctrine: Preparing for World War III

By Johannes Stern, 28 August 2018

The grand coalition and the entire German ruling elite are planning the massive rearmament of the army in preparation for major military operations.

UK: Northamptonshire County Council and the obliteration of local authority services provision

By Paul Bond, 28 August 2018

The council is “reviewing” how to reduce the number of children who are taken into care , cut support for those with learning disabilities and introduce fees or charges for services.

German government and police unite with far-right to clamp down on press freedom in Dresden

By Peter Schwarz, 25 August 2018

The grand coalition of the CDU, CSU and SPD has largely adopted the AfD’s policies, and is going out of its way to praise the right-wing extremist party.

UK foreign secretary uses US visit to support Boris Johnson replacing Theresa May as prime minister

By Robert Stevens, 25 August 2018

For the hard Brexit faction, the future of May’s premiership is understood in terms of days and weeks—with Johnson’s leadership challenge gathering pace.

Nearly 90,000 retail jobs lost in UK in 12 months

By Barry Mason, 25 August 2018

Retailers are shifting employees from secure full-time contracts to less secure ones with “less rigidity and more flexibility.”

German federal and regional governments extend refugee camp system nationwide

By Marianne Arens, 21 August 2018

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann claims that the camps are “not detention facilities,” and that “no one is imprisoned,” but that is a lie.

UK: Boris Johnson gathers support for pro-Brexit Tory leadership challenge

By Robert Stevens, 21 August 2018

Johnson’s anti-burqa comments and the leadership ambitions that informed them were spurred on by effusive support from Trump and his former adviser, Steve Bannon.

UK: Momentum’s Jon Lansman takes his place alongside anti-Corbyn witch-hunters

By Julie Hyland, 20 August 2018

Whatever the progressive sentiments of those who signed up to the project, the Momentum network was from the very start aimed at controlling and ultimately sabotaging any genuine challenge to the right.

UK: Westminster “terror incident” remains unclear

By Paul Bond, 18 August 2018

While the authorities are not yet able to confirm that the incident was a terrorist attack, it will be used to intensify policing powers and surveillance across the capital.

German Social Democrats launch xenophobic campaign about child benefits

By Christopher Lehmann, 14 August 2018

On the “Tagesthemen” TV news program, the SPD mayor ranted against EU nationals who were allegedly flocking to Germany to fraudulently obtain social welfare payments.

Scotland: Protests force Serco to halt asylum seeker evictions

By Steve James, 14 August 2018

Serco wrote to Glasgow City Council of its intention to evict “former Asylum Seekers who do not wish to engage in voluntary return, and who the Home Office have determined have no legal right to remain in the UK.”

UK government warned of dangers of flammable cladding three years before Grenfell fire

By Tom Pearce, 14 August 2018

The warnings are further evidence of the vast criminality committed at Grenfell by the political and corporate elite.

Unsubmissive France summer school: Mélenchon invites the right wing

By Anthony Torres, 14 August 2018

Mélenchon’s attempts to ally with the political right must serve as a warning to workers that he plans to carry out a violently anti-worker policy.

Workers and youth in UK speak out against continued persecution of Julian Assange

By our reporters, 13 August 2018

August 16 will mark six years since WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange was granted political asylum by the Ecuadorian government.

UK National Health Service pay deal fuels growing rebellion against unions

By Ajanta Silva, 13 August 2018

More than 1,000 health workers signed a petition calling for the current leadership of the Royal College of Nursing to stand down.

Ryanair faces largest pilots’ strike in its history

By Marianne Arens, 9 August 2018

On Friday, simultaneous strikes against Ryanair will take place in several European countries. While workers’ anger has grown, the unions are doing everything to isolate the strike.

UK: Boris Johnson makes anti-Muslim pitch for Tory Party leadership

By Julie Hyland, 9 August 2018

In publishing his views, Johnson is counting on the fetid anti-migrant atmosphere being whipped up by all political parties.

German government plans reintroduction of military conscription

By Noah Windstein, 9 August 2018

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party conference is scheduled to adopt a decision to reintroduce military service.

The Ryanair strike and the resurgence of international class struggle

By Robert Stevens, 8 August 2018

The class struggle is reaching a higher stage of development, posing strategic issues before every section of the international working class.

UK: Haringey Development Vehicle scheme scrapped, but social cleansing threat remains

By Paul Bond, 8 August 2018

The scheme would have seen the demolition of 1,400 council houses and their replacement by luxury developments and supposedly “affordable” properties.

UK: Fascist Tommy Robinson’s court victory seized on by far-right

By Laura Tiernan, 6 August 2018

The response to Robinson’s release signals a further rightward lurch by the mainstream media in the direction of normalising the far-right.

Appeal to neo-fascists on police scandal exposes reactionary role of Unsubmissive France

By Francis Dubois, 4 August 2018

Unsubmissive France is advancing out a populist, anti-worker policy compatible with police repression.

German government launches camp system for refugees

By Christoph Vandreier, 2 August 2018

With the inhumane camp system, the coalition government of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats is implementing the refugee policy of the far-right Alternative for Germany.

Ryanair’s mass sacking threat raises need for globally coordinated struggle of airline workers

By Steve James, 2 August 2018

The role of the unions in the airline and other industries is to isolate any struggle, impose the demands of the companies and prevent a unified fight of the entire working class.

British Navy evacuated Manchester bomber Salman Abedi from Libya in 2014

By Robert Stevens, 2 August 2018

It was known at top levels of the British state that Abedi had travelled on the ship, but the public, including the families of his victims, was kept in the dark for over a year.

Protest in Munich against attacks on refugees, poverty and war

By our reporters, 1 August 2018

Despite pouring rain, tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Munich against right-wing agitation, increasing military spending, poverty and war.

France sets aside €300 billion for military in 2019-2025 budget plans

By Kumaran Ira, 1 August 2018

The massive increase in military spending underscores the fact that a fundamental aim of European austerity policies is to finance large-scale imperialist wars.

Corbyn outlines nationalist, anti-migrant pitch for Labour government

By Robert Stevens, 26 July 2018

Under conditions of a worsening crisis for Theresa May’s Conservative government, Corbyn sought to reassure business that Labour was the party it could trust to navigate troubled waters ahead.

Pursuit of rapper Valtònyc reveals widespread censorship in Spain

By Alejandro López, 26 July 2018

The unrelenting pursuit of rapper Josep Miquel Beltrán (stage name Valtònyc) is further evidence of the growing assault on free speech in Spain and throughout Europe.

Josep Valtònyc: “What’s happening to me could happen to anyone.”

By Alejandro López, 26 July 2018

“They put me on trial for telling true, objective facts, and that is because what is happening is scary. People are not going to be able to say what they think about those who are stealing public money from us, money taken out of our wages every month. We have the right to speak out, to criticize, to get angry.”

Fascist assault on UK union leader Steve Hedley

By Julie Hyland, 19 July 2018

The brutal assault on Steve Hedley, assistant general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union by fascist thugs on Saturday is an outrage.

UK: May government in meltdown over Brexit

By Robert Stevens, 18 July 2018

May’s attempted compromise over Brexit has blown up, due not simply to events in Britain, but also to the antagonisms between the US and Europe.

As Jeff Bezos’ wealth reaches $150 billion

Unions strangle strike efforts by European Amazon workers on Prime Day

By Will Morrow and Genevieve Leigh, 17 July 2018

Prime Day is treated as a virtual public holiday by the corporate media, akin to Black Friday, but it is synonymous with increased exploitation for Amazon and other shipping workers.