Western Europe

On-the-spot report from London:

Residents in Camden speak about Grenfell fire and their evacuation due to fire risk

By our reporters, 27 June 2017

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to residents evacuated from tower blocks on the Chalcots Estate in London by Labour Party-run Camden council over the weekend.

The political implications of the Grenfell Tower fire

By Chris Marsden, 27 June 2017

The staggering loss of life epitomises the devastation capitalism has wrought on generations of working people. It is the outcome of a vast and ongoing transfer of society’s wealth from the poor to the rich.

Hundreds of thousands in UK face same fire risk as Grenfell Tower victims

By Robert Stevens, 26 June 2017

Of the UK’s 4,000 tower blocks, 600 have been selected for testing, due to the use of unsafe building materials.

German SPD conference: Schulz attacks Merkel from the right

By Johannes Stern, 26 June 2017

At its party congress in Dortmund, the SPD presented itself as the party of social cuts, militarism and the intelligence services.

Austrian Social Democrats open to coalition with right-wing extremist Freedom Party

By Markus Salzmann, 26 June 2017

The SPÖ governor of Carinthia, Peter Kaiser, declared: “We are in a situation where the wind is not blowing from the left, but coming from the right.”

The SPD in Germany competes for the legacy of conservative Finance Minister Schäuble

By Peter Schwarz, 23 June 2017

The SPD’s tax plan picks up from and continues the ruthless austerity policies introduced by current CDU finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

After Grenfell Tower fire:

May government admits hundreds more UK tower blocks potentially clad in combustible material

By Robert Stevens, 23 June 2017

With the final death toll from the inferno still unknown, the Conservative government has called a public inquiry as part of efforts to conceal its complicity in the disaster.

Political lessons of the French elections

By Alex Lantier, 23 June 2017

The election of Emmanuel Macron is the outcome of the reactionary policies of the organizations in the so-called French left that broke with Trotskyism.

Weakened May government sets out plans for hard UK exit from the European Union

By Julie Hyland, 22 June 2017

Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May set out her government’s legislative agenda yesterday in the Queen’s Speech, which was widely acknowledged to be her first and last one.

Grenfell Tower fire victims and survivors treated with contempt by UK authorities

By Robert Stevens, 22 June 2017

The government’s “Grenfell Tower Residents’ Discretionary Fund,” which totals a pitiful £5 million, stands in stark contrast to the £369 million worth of repairs to Buckingham Palace.

UK’s Daily Mail tries to scapegoat resident for Grenfell Tower inferno

By Margot Miller and Robert Stevens, 21 June 2017

Angry denunciations of the tabloid flooded in after it tried to pin the blame for the horrific fire that cost the lives of at least 79 people on an Ethiopian taxi driver.

Exit talks begin between UK and European Union

By Chris Marsden, 20 June 2017

Britain’s Brexit Secretary David Davis and Michel Bernier of the European Union launched negotiations Monday on the terms of Britain’s exit from the trade bloc.

“We cannot brush this under the table, some heads have to roll”

London residents speak on Grenfell Tower fire

By our reporters, 20 June 2017

London residents and people living in housing nearby Grenfell Tower speak about the horrifying fire that has killed at least 79 residents, and the economic and political decisions that allowed it to happen.

France’s new pro-Macron legislature: The ruling class in office

By Francis Dubois, 20 June 2017

Despite claims that President Emmanuel Macron is renovating French politics, his party is a haven for business owners and France’s old political establishment.

London’s Grenfell Tower inferno: A crime against the working class

By Laura Tiernan, 15 June 2017

The catastrophic fire broke out shortly after midnight Wednesday, on the second floor of 24-storey council flats in Kensington, West London that were home to an estimated 500 people.

German law professor accuses Baberowski of right-wing extremism and historical revisionism

By Peter Schwarz, 15 June 2017

Despite right-wing historian Jörg Baberowski’s defeat in court, the Presidium of Humboldt University continues to defend him. Bremen-based law Professor Andreas Fischer-Lescano has therefore accused the university Presidium of being “an accomplice of right-wing scholarship.”

Britain’s general election: A new stage in the class struggle

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 10 June 2017

To those now inclined to accept the portrayal of Corbyn by pseudo-left groups in Britain as the natural leader of the working class, we say: Remember Alexis Tsipras and Syriza.

New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) election meeting in Paris: The dead end of the pseudo-left

By Alex Lantier, 9 June 2017

Despite the war crisis and growing social anger among workers, NPA leader Alain Krivine insisted that internationalist opposition to capitalism would find no popular support.

IYSSE demands Humboldt University retract its defense of right-wing radical Jorg Baberowski

By the IYSSE at Humboldt University, 9 June 2017

The university leadership can no longer sustain the assertion that it is protecting the freedom of academic inquiry and defending a scholar “whose integrity is beyond doubt.”

Britain’s crisis election and the tasks facing the working class

By Chris Marsden, 7 June 2017

Britain is being destabilised economically, politically and socially as world capitalism descends into its deepest crisis since the end of World War II.

London terror suspects were known to police

By Chris Marsden, 6 June 2017

As evidence continued to mount that the attackers received some degree of state protection, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn denounced Prime Minister Theresa May for having allowed “cuts in police numbers.”

Macron’s En Marche set to win large majority in French legislative elections

By Alex Lantier, 6 June 2017

The newly-elected president intends for the assembly, controlled by his party, to serve as a rubber stamp for unprecedented attacks on social and democratic rights.

Official account of London terror attack unravels

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 5 June 2017

Within 24 hours of Saturday’s terror attack at London Bridge, the official narrative presented by British Prime Minister Theresa May has begun to fall apart.

Socialist Equality Party stands candidates in German election: Against militarism and war! For socialism!

By Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party of Germany), 5 June 2017

At the centre of the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (SGP) election campaign is a socialist programme directed against war and capitalism and expressing the interests of the working class and youth all over the world.

In French legislative elections, Mélenchon moves closer to Macron

By Kumaran Ira, 2 June 2017

The perspective for opposition to President Emmanuel Macron’s agenda offered by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the Unsubmissive France movement, is collapsing.

Germany turns to Asia

By Johannes Stern, 1 June 2017

In the midst of a historic crisis in transatlantic relations, Berlin is working systematically to expand political and economic ties with Asia.

Green Party mayor demolishes refugee camp in Grenoble, France

By Athiyan Silva, 1 June 2017

More than one hundred CRS police rounded up and forcibly expelled refugees from the Valmy Refugee camp in southeast France.

German Professor Baberowski explains his far-right agenda

By Peter Schwarz, 31 May 2017

In an interview in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Humboldt University Professor Jörg Baberowski complains of the “cultural hegemony of the left” and calls for the “removal of taboos” on far-right positions.

UK and US mount damage control operation over Manchester bombing

By Robert Stevens, 30 May 2017

Amid revelations that suicide bomber Salmand Abedi was closely monitored by British intelligence, MI5 has launched an investigation into its latest “intelligence failure.”

Gasoline and chemical truck drivers strike in France

By Francis Dubois, 30 May 2017

The unions are insisting that this strike should be limited to action in one industry and are seeking to avoid any serious interruption of industry and transport.

As Labour rises in UK polls, Blairite breakaway party plans gather pace

By Robert Stevens, 29 May 2017

Ahead of the June 8 snap general election, former Labour Party leader Tony Blair and his supporters are brazenly advancing plans to establish a new right-wing political formation.

Macron prepares enabling act to slash contracts, labor rights in France

By Alex Lantier, 23 May 2017

The newly-elected president is preparing a historic assault on jobs, wages, and labor legislation to be rammed through by presidential decree in the face of public opposition.

Explosion kills, wounds dozens at pop concert in Manchester

By our reporters, 23 May 2017

The carnage and terror occurred barely 17 days before Britain votes in the snap June 8 national election.

Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia intensifies tensions with Europe

By Peter Schwarz, 23 May 2017

The European media has accused Trump of further inflaming the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites with his moves to forge a closer alliance with Saudi Arabia targeted against Iran.

Links established between neo-Nazi network and “Identity Movement” in the German army

By Christoph Vandreier, 23 May 2017

The latest reports confirm that the suspected terrorist cell is part of more widespread right-wing extremist networks in the German army.

French media, political parties hush up PS government’s coup plan

By Alex Lantier, 20 May 2017

Thursday’s edition of L’Obs magazine revealed that the outgoing Socialist Party government planned a coup d’état if National Front candidate Marine Le Pen had won the May 7 presidential elections.

French government prepared coup if Le Pen won presidential election

By Alex Lantier, 19 May 2017

According to L'Obs the plan aimed not to keep Le Pen out of office, but to crush anti-fascist protests, impose martial law, and force Le Pen to work with a social democratic government.

UK: Labour’s manifesto amended to stress commitment to militarism and war

By Robert Stevens, 19 May 2017

Jeremy Corbyn’s infinite malleability is essential to the Labour “left” in providing the necessary window dressing to sell to the working class a party of big business, militarism and war.

“It’s sheer slavery”

Amazon warehouse worker in Manchester UK “enterprise zone” speaks of intolerable working conditions

By our reporters, 19 May 2017

Amazon’s warehousing operations have become a byword for ultra-high levels of exploitation of a largely minimum wage workforce, who carry out highly demanding physical work.

“A declaration of hostility towards the principles of humanity”

Professor Mario Kessler publishes comment criticizing views of right-wing professor Jörg Baberowski

By Christoph Vandreier, 19 May 2017

On Sunday, the Tagesspiegel published a reader’s comment by Professor Kessler, who wrote that Humboldt University professor Baberowski showed an “elemental lack of feeling” for the victims of the Nazis.

Macron names government to implement social counterrevolution in France

By Francis Dubois, 18 May 2017

Edouard Philippe, named to the post of prime minister May 15 by newly elected President Emmanuel Macron, presented his cabinet yesterday afternoon.

Macron delays announcement of French ministerial cabinet

By Alex Lantier, 17 May 2017

The cabinet is to be announced Wednesday, with a delay of 24 hours, after verification of future ministers’ tax status and potential conflicts of interest.

UK: Labour’s shadow foreign secretary spells out Corbyn’s pro-war “journey”

By Laura Tiernan, 17 May 2017

The Labour shadow foreign secretary used her appearance Sunday on the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show” to declare that party leader Jeremy Corbyn had repudiated his previous opposition to NATO.

VW trade union boss pockets €750,000 per year

By Dietmar Henning, 17 May 2017

It has just been revealed that the salary of Bernd Osterloh, chairman of the joint works council of the Volkswagen Group, totals around €750,000 per year.

French President Macron names right-wing PM, meets Merkel to plan austerity and war

By Alex Lantier, 16 May 2017

Macron’s friendly meeting with Merkel shows that his election as president is part of a social counterrevolution being waged across Europe.

French auto parts workers at GM&S threaten to blow up plant to block closure

By Anthony Torres, 16 May 2017

The only way forward is a broad mobilization of workers to defend jobs at GM&S in a break with the union bureaucracies and in opposition to newly elected President Emmanuel Macron.

UK National Union of Teachers sabotages struggle against funding cuts

By Tom Pearce, 16 May 2017

While the NUT continues to oppose action, other education unions, including the NASUWT, are equally concerned about preventing strikes.

Neo-Nazi network in German army larger than previously thought

By Johannes Stern, 15 May 2017

According to Der Spiegel, investigations are on-going into seven people allegedly involved in preparing terrorist attacks against high-profile German politicians.

What is in the UK Labour Party’s manifesto?

By Robert Stevens, 13 May 2017

Labour proposes to fund its spending by an increase in Corporation Tax, asking “large corporations to pay a little more while still keeping UK corporation tax among the lowest of the major economies.”

Mélenchon-Communist Party alliance for French legislative elections collapses

By Alex Lantier, 11 May 2017

The two main forces that together supported Mélenchon’s presidential bid will run as opponents in the legislative elections next month.

What way forward in the struggle against Macron?

By Alex Lantier, 9 May 2017

Macron’s actions have rapidly exposed the fraudulent claims of his media and political supporters that he would defend democracy and block the rise of neo-fascism.

Defence Minister Von der Leyen apologises for criticizing the German army

By Ulrich Rippert, 8 May 2017

Rather than hold the army leadership to account for having covered up a right-wing terrorist conspiracy, Germany’s defence minister has been forced to kowtow to the general staff after mildly criticising its actions.

May Day 2017

The class issues in the British election

By Chris Marsden, 5 May 2017

With trade and military war comes the attack on wages, working conditions and the destruction of essential services.

Dangerous developments in Germany

Neo-Nazi network in German army exposed

By Peter Schwarz, 4 May 2017

The arrest of a German army officer suspected of plotting the assassination of leftist politicians and high-ranking state officials has exposed the operations of neo-Nazi forces at the highest levels of the German military.

Call by Labour right for a “progressive alliance” in UK election falls flat

By Robert Stevens, 3 May 2017

Declaring that Britain’s exit from the EU is the “dominant… issue” in the upcoming election, Tony Blair called for a more “open position on Brexit across the party divide.”

May Day in France: Trade union calls to support Macron fall flat

By Francis Dubois, 2 May 2017

Workers and youth throughout France sense that the calls to “block” Le Pen from the political establishment are barely disguised appeals to vote for the former banker Macron.

German army officer arrested for planning terror attack

By Peter Schwarz, 2 May 2017

The arrest of a 28-year-old German army officer suspected of planning a far-right terrorist attack shows that the Bundeswehr provides fertile ground for extreme right-wing elements.

May Day 2017

The perspective for the working class in the French presidential election

By Alex Lantier, 2 May 2017

The PES' campaign for an active boycott of the election is the revolutionary alternative to the impotent parliamentary maneuvers proposed by Mélenchon.

French right splits as sections back neo-fascist Le Pen

By Kumaran Ira, 1 May 2017

As the French two-party political system collapses, the National Front is developing overt ties with more traditional sections of the French right.

French youth protest Le Pen-Macron second round in presidential elections

By Alex Lantier, 28 April 2017

The critical issue facing youth protesting the elections is to turn to the working class, in defiance of the media’s reactionary pro-Macron propaganda.

Blairites declare UK Labour party unelectable

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 28 April 2017

Tony Blair refused to endorse Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in an interview with Rupert Murdoch’s Sky TV Thursday, saying that Tory Prime Minister Theresa May would win the election.

British ruling elite regard Macron victory in France as a “mixed blessing”

By Julie Hyland, 27 April 2017

Britain’s right-wing media are concerned that Macron will be unable to enforce his agenda under conditions of widespread political alienation and hostility to the ruling elite.

What lies behind the German elite’s celebration of Macron?

By Johannes Stern, 26 April 2017

All the major parties have hailed the results of the first round of the French presidential election.

Labour outlines pro-business “soft Brexit” policy for June 8 vote

By Robert Stevens, 26 April 2017

Labour's preoccupation is satisfying the concerns expressed by the majority of Britain’s bourgeoisie, which supported Remain and whose interests are tied to the EU.

Alternative for Germany moves further to the right

By Peter Schwarz, 26 April 2017

Founded in 2013 as an anti-Euro party, the AfD has completed its transformation into a far-right, ethno-nationalist organisation.

Demonstrators in Cologne support IYSSE fight for freedom of expression at Humboldt University

By our reporters, 26 April 2017

The IYSSE and SEP distributed thousands of copies of "The Defence of Historical Truth and the Fight against the Alternative for Germany (AfD)" in Cologne during demonstrations against the AfD’s party conference.

French ruling elite rallies around Macron

By Anthony Torres and Alex Lantier, 25 April 2017

Despite claims that Emmanuel Macron represents a “democratic” alternative to the fascistic Marine Le Pen, the former banker seeks to extend France's anti-democratic state of emergency, impose drastic austerity and re-establish the draft.

Attack on UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn over nuclear first strike

By Chris Marsden and Paul Mitchell, 25 April 2017

Britain’s ruling elite is set on establishing that the fundamental criteria for leading the country is a readiness to launch World War III.

Rail companies Bombardier and Siemens plan merger

By Gustav Kemper, 25 April 2017

Since the beginning of 2017, the two rail companies have been engaged in secret merger negotiations behind the backs of their employees.

UK adult social care system on verge of collapse

By Dennis Moore, 25 April 2017

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics found that the suicide rate for care workers is now twice the national average.

Macron and neo-fascist Le Pen advance to run-off in French presidential elections

By Alex Lantier, 24 April 2017

As France’s traditional two-party system collapses, neo-fascist candidate Marine Le Pen has emerged as a contender for state power.

Media and politicians agitate against Turks living in Germany

By Ulrich Rippert, 22 April 2017

While the extreme-right AfD has used the Turkish referendum vote to launch a “Turks out” campaign, some of the worst witch-hunting comes from the Left Party and the ostensibly left-liberal political milieu.

Open letter from the IYSSE to the president of Humboldt University in Berlin

22 April 2017

Sabine Kunst, the president of Humboldt University, has portrayed professors Jörg Baberowski and Herfried Münkler as the victims of a “defamation campaign” in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Fujitsu strikers in the UK speak out in defence of framed-up Maruti Suzuki workers

By our reporters, 22 April 2017

Workers on the picket line at Fujitsu in Manchester discussed support for the victimised Indian workers, their own dispute and Saturday’s international March for Science.

UK nurses in online vote over strike in protest at low pay

By Margot Miller, 22 April 2017

Registered nurses earn an average of just £23,319 per year and had their pay kept up with inflation they would now earn £26,584.

France announces major military deployment on presidential election day

By Johannes Stern and Alex Lantier, 20 April 2017

After the arrest of two suspected Islamic State sympathizers, authorities plan to deploy 50,000 soldiers and policemen on Sunday for the first round of presidential elections.

UK parliament votes for snap June 8 general election

By Robert Stevens, 20 April 2017

In calling the election, UK Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking to expand her government’s majority by exploiting the crisis facing Labour.

“They’re stuffing money into the pockets of the shareholders”

British autoworkers strike BMW to defend pensions

By our reporters, 20 April 2017

The strike is the first by the BMW’s British workforce, who could lose up to £160,000 each if pension cuts are enforced.

No to war and nationalism! Build the PES!

Parti de l’égalité socialiste statement on the French presidential election

19 April 2017

Growing demands for peace and an end to austerity herald decisive class struggles, for which the working class urgently needs a new revolutionary leadership.

Behind the Sun’s diatribe against footballer Ross Barkley

By Tony Robson, 18 April 2017

In the furore surrounding the filthy column by Kelvin MacKenzie, little has been said about the attack on working class men in Liverpool that constitutes the main thrust of his column.

BBC documentary exposes Bank of England’s role at centre of Libor-fixing scandal

By Jean Shaoul, 13 April 2017

The Libor scandal revealed not only the criminality of the global financial system centred in London, but the massive web of corruption and complicity involving governments and financial regulators the world over.

Der Spiegel columnist adopts slogans of the far right

By Ulrich Rippert, 13 April 2017

Jakob Augstein, son of the founder of Der Spiegel and publisher of the weekly newspaper Freitag, has adopted positions associated with the far right: identity and homeland.

Mélenchon gains in French presidential polls after Trump’s strike on Syria

By Alex Lantier, 11 April 2017

Mélenchon is seeking to speak to a growing left-wing and anti-war sentiment in the French population, but he will only disappoint the hopes he is awakening.

What is behind the German drive to war with Syria?

By Johannes Stern, 11 April 2017

Following the Merkel government’s declaration of support for the US attack on Syria, the German media launched a campaign for the expansion of aggression against the country.

French NPA candidate Philippe Poutou defends Trump’s bombing of Syria

By Alex Lantier, 11 April 2017

The NPA is defending the war, shamelessly denouncing any opposition to the reckless US military escalation as support for mass murder by the Syrian regime.

Attend NHS FightBack meeting in Bournemouth

UK: Oppose health care cuts, redundancies and privatisation of the National Health Service

Statement by NHS FightBack

11 April 2017

Health workers and all those who want to fight in defence of the NHS must build a new leadership, which fights on the basis of a socialist programme.

Occupational therapist and service user condemn attack on Bournemouth Intermediate Care Team

By Ajanta Silva, 11 April 2017

A resident said, “The loss of this team should be of grave concern to everybody in Bournemouth.”

French presidential candidates feign opposition in 11-party debate

By Alex Lantier, 6 April 2017

The fractious debate between all 11 French presidential candidates reflected the fear of growing social opposition by the French ruling class.

Aggressive claims by Spain helped provoke Gibraltar flare-up with Britain

By Alejandro López, 6 April 2017

Sections of the Spanish ruling class have calculated that Brexit offers Spain an opportunity not only to reclaim Gibraltar but also to possibly become Washington’s new strategic ally in Europe.

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joins right-wing campaign against Ken Livingstone

By Robert Stevens, 6 April 2017

The action against Livingstone is an outrageous violation of democratic rights, and accusations that he is an anti-Semite are slanderous.

Oppose Humboldt University’s attack on freedom of speech and historical truth!

By the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, 6 April 2017

Public criticism of professor Jörg Baberowski, who claims “Hitler was not vicious,” has been declared “unacceptable” by the presidium of Humboldt University.

Berlin student center halts German army advertising campaign

By Iason Stolpe, 6 April 2017

The administrative council of the Berlin Student Center decided at its last meeting that it would temporarily not accept any further advertisements for the German army.

Southern GTR train drivers in UK vote down union sell-out again

Build new organisations of struggle to unify rail workers

By Michael Barnes, 6 April 2017

Rail workers must break the stranglehold of the unions by creating their own rank-and-file organisations of struggle.

A reply to a reader’s comment on a WSWS article on Jean-Luc Mélenchon

By Alex Lantier, 5 April 2017

The WSWS evaluation of Mélenchon as a pro-war, nationalist politician whose call for restoring the draft underscores the growing danger of war is correct.

Germany clashes with US over NATO funding

By Johannes Stern, 4 April 2017

As in the periods prior to the first and second World Wars, the increasing global assertiveness of German imperialism is leading it into conflict with the United States.

Thousands protest police murder of Liu Shaoyo in Paris

By Alex Lantier, 4 April 2017

French intelligence has launched a reactionary media campaign, insinuating that protesters are agents of Beijing or of the Chinese mafia.

What is behind the hysterical defence of Baberowski by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung?

By Christoph Vandreier, 31 March 2017

The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published a long article on Monday aimed at defaming and silencing Baberowski’s critics with shameless lies and gross slanders.

Four hundred attend screening of Tsar to Lenin in Leipzig

By our correspondents, 30 March 2017

Mehring Verlag, the publishing arm of the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei, sponsored two well-attended meetings on the Russian Revolution and its contemporary significance as part of the Leipzig Book fair.

Saarland state election serves as test run for the next German government

By Marianne Arens and Ulrich Rippert, 25 March 2017

The state election is being used to bolster the campaign for a federal government composed of the SPD and the Left Party.

Five confirmed dead, 40 injured in terror attack in London

By Chris Marsden, 23 March 2017

The ruling elite in Britain and internationally were quick to make political capital from the appalling event.