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Germany's post-Stalinists in turmoil: PDS leaders Gysi and Bisky step down

By Ulrich Rippert, 29 April 2000

Ten years after its founding, and only months after substantial election gains in several eastern German states, the PDS (Party of Democratic Socialism—successor to the ruling Stalinist party of East Germany) is in the grips of a severe crisis.

Interview with a South African Volkswagen worker: "Working conditions are worse now than they were under the apartheid regime"

By Dietmar Henning and Andreas Kuckartz, 29 April 2000

Binisile Mzeku visited Germany at the end of March as part of a world-wide tour. Mzeku is one of 1,300 workers who have been fired by the Volkswagen works in Uitenhage, South Africa. Workers had gone on strike to protest the expulsion from the trade union of 13 factory representatives elected last year. The World Socialist Web Site has reported on the dispute. At solidarity meetings and press conferences in Cologne and Dortmund reporters from the WSWS had the opportunity to speak with the South African factory representative.

Mounting social contradictions in Chile

By Perla Astudillo, 29 April 2000

After the military takeover led by General Augusto Pinochet in 1973, free market economists labelled Chile as “the miracle economy”. The same thinktanks then praised Chile for continuing the so-called miracle following the establishment of civilian rule in 1990. To this day, the International Monetary Fund and global financiers often refer to Chile as a model for the rest of the world.

Obesity: a curable epidemic

By Leanne Josling, 29 April 2000

Obesity has become a global pandemic affecting the lives and health of millions of people, according to the World Health Organisation. It is an accelerating social problem in industrialised countries and is also growing in the former colonial world.

US states use welfare "reform" to finance tax breaks for the wealthy

By Kate Randall, 29 April 2000

With the enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWOA) in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law a process of welfare "reform" which has been responsible for removing thousands of people from "welfare as we know it." While 14.2 million people received welfare cash assistance in early 1994, by mid-1999 that number had fallen to 6.9 million.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

29 April 2000

Indonesian teachers continue strike action

WSWS Editorial Board member Nick Beams replies to a reader's question on the labour theory of value

29 April 2000

Dear Mr. Beams:

"Some films can change the fate of their characters"

By Richard Phillips, 28 April 2000

Mohsen Makhmalbaf is one of Iran's most well-known and influential film directors. Born in 1957 in a poor working class district in Tehran, Makhmalbaf left school and began working at the age of 15 in order to support his family. In 1974, at the age of 17, he joined one of the many radical organisations that sprang up to fight the Shah's regime. He was jailed and sentenced to death after the organisation attacked a police station. Makhmalbaf escaped the death penalty and was released in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution after serving five years jail. He began writing plays, essays, short stories and then film scripts declaring that he planned to devote his life to art as a force for social change.

A stifled leadership challenge in Malaysia points to continuing rifts in UMNO

By John Roberts, 28 April 2000

Elections for the top party positions in Malaysia's ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) are due to take place on May 11. As in previous years, the results are a foregone conclusion. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his deputy Abdullah Badawi will win the posts of party president and deputy president, in all likelihood completely unopposed.

British media and Tories defend murderer of 16-year-old boy

By Julie Hyland, 28 April 2000

Britain's Conservative (Tory) Party has adopted an openly racist, trigger-happy sociopath and convicted murderer as the figurehead for a law-and-order campaign.