Western Europe

Hurricane Ophelia’s tail hits Ireland and UK

By Margot Miller, 17 October 2017

Three lives were reported lost and winds of up to 109 mph left 360,000 homes and businesses without power in the Republic of Ireland.

In latest victory for the far right, neo-fascists gain in Austrian election

By Peter Schwarz, 17 October 2017

The ability of far-right parties to obtain a broader hearing for anti-immigrant and racist policies is the result of the absence of any progressive outlet for social discontent within the political establishment.

French president Macron and ex-left Cohn-Bendit advocate a militarily strong Europe at Frankfurt Book Fair

By Marianne Arens, 14 October 2017

French President Emmanuel Macron is striving for a heavily armed Europe capable of pursuing its own imperialist strategy around the world, while suppressing opposition at home.

Germany’s conservative parties shift further to the right

By Peter Schwarz, 11 October 2017

The Christian Democratic Union and its partner, the Christian Social Union, have agreed on a common line of approach for a future government coalition to include the Free Democratic Party and the Greens.

British government prepares further draconian legislation to censor Internet

By Steve James, 10 October 2017

Rudd’s initial focus is on clamping down on opposition to British imperialism’s predatory wars in the Middle East, but this will inevitably be extended to cover all anti-war sentiment and commentary.

Madrid prepares to deploy troops in Catalonia

By Alejandro López, 7 October 2017

Spain’s political establishment is openly talking of invoking Article 116 of the Spanish constitution, laying the basis for the imposition of martial law.

Tory party on verge of leadership contest after disastrous conference performance by May

By Robert Stevens, 7 October 2017

Theresa May only remains in place to keep the party together and avoid an eruption of unrestrained factional warfare.

Spain prepares military crackdown in Catalonia

By Alex Lantier, 6 October 2017

The European Union is supporting Madrid's plans for a bloody military-police intervention in Catalonia and to impose a state of emergency across Spain.

Amid Catalan crisis, Madrid prepares military rule across Spain

By Alejandro López, 6 October 2017

Voices in the Spanish press are calling for imposing various states of emergency that would suspend basic democratic rights and hand power to the army.

Siemens and Alstom rail train units merge as corporations prepare for trade war

By Gustav Kemper, 6 October 2017

The merger of the two companies, with 62,000 employees and an annual turnover of around 15 billion euros, creates the world’s second-largest railway technology company.

Huge increase in UK firefighters with mental health problems

By Dennis Moore, 6 October 2017

Many of the firefighters who tackled the Grenfell fire suffered mental health problems following that terrible event.

Spanish government sends troops to Catalonia

By Paul Mitchell, 5 October 2017

The Ministry of Defense has dispatched army units to support the Civil Guard and national police in a possible further crackdown on the Catalonian population.

After Madrid’s violent crackdown:

An independent class strategy for the Spanish and Catalan working class!

By Keith Jones, 5 October 2017

A struggle to rally workers and youth to an internationalist orientation can only be waged in uncompromising opposition to the violence unleashed by the Madrid government.

UK: Corbyn ally John McDonnell declares Labour’s mission is to “stabilise capitalism”

By Robert Stevens, 5 October 2017

Despite the “socialist” rhetoric they may spout, the pseudo-left and Stalinist groups are all in fundamental agreement with McDonnell—the job at hand is to defend capitalism.

German Left Party’s Lafontaine launches AfD-style tirade against refugees

By Johannes Stern, 4 October 2017

The Left Party is using the AfD’s electoral success to justify adopting its xenophobic programme.

German Green Party opts for coalition with conservative and neo-liberal parties

By Peter Schwarz, 4 October 2017

A Green Party conference agreed to start negotiations on a coalition government with the Christian Democratic Union, Christian Social Union and the Free Democratic Party.

Director of British rights group Cage convicted for refusing to reveal mobile phone and laptop pass codes

By Steve James, 4 October 2017

The conviction of Muhammed Rabbani underscores the significance of recent investigations into massive mobile phone surveillance in Britain by local police forces.

Germany’s Social Democrats prepare to suppress popular opposition

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 3 October 2017

The Social Democratic Party is taking on the task of suppressing opposition to militarism, the strengthening of the state apparatus and social cutbacks.

Monarch Airlines collapse causes air travel chaos

By Steve James, 3 October 2017

Monarch is the third major European airline to go under this year.

People’s Assembly stage tame protest outside Conservative Party conference

By Robert Stevens, 3 October 2017

The pseudo-left groups are desperate to conceal the fact that the many local Labour authorities have imposed austerity on behalf of the government for years.

Grenfell Fire Forum: Wide-ranging discussion and resolution passed opposing Google censorship

By Paul Mitchell, 3 October 2017

Over 20 people, half of whom were local residents, attended the first meeting of the Grenfell Fire Forum last Saturday at the Maxilla Social Club in North Kensington, London.

German army build-up follows federal election

By Tino Jacobson, 30 September 2017

The latest acquisitions are part of a comprehensive armaments program over coming years whose dimensions recall the massive rearming of the Wehrmacht in the 1930s.

Parsons Green bomb seized on to call for greater internet censorship

By Steve James, 30 September 2017

The ruling elite are calling for powers to exclude whole sections of the population from internet use, as and when politically convenient.

After German elections establishment parties call for further military build-up

By Johannes Stern, 29 September 2017

The ruling class has responded to the right-wing extremist AfD’s electoral success with intensified calls for a military build-up and the strengthening of the repressive state apparatus.

German election: Where the far-right AfD won—and why

By Sven Heymanns, 29 September 2017

The entry of the Alternative for Germany into Germany's parliament last Sunday was cause for great concern, fear and anger for many, both in Germany and beyond.

German parties move further to the right after AfD’s electoral success

By Johannes Stern, 26 September 2017

The same parties that are politically responsible for the rise of the AfD are exploiting the right-wing extremists’ electoral success to shift the political climate even further to the right.

The rise of the AfD and the rightward lurch of official politics in Germany

By Peter Schwarz, 25 September 2017

For the first time since the fall of the Nazis, a right-wing extremist party is entering Germany’s national parliament.

In Paris, Mélenchon calls on trade unions to control opposition to austerity

By Anthony Torres and Kumaran Ira, 25 September 2017

On Saturday, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Unsubmissive France movement held its national rally in the Place de la République in Paris.

Sigmar Gabriel’s UN address: German great power ambitions in pacifist garb

By Johannes Stern, 23 September 2017

Phrases about “peace,” “human rights” and “global justice” are rhetorical window-dressing for Germany’s renewed turn to imperialist “Realpolitik.”

French President Macron signs labor decrees, trampling on social opposition

By Anthony Torres, 23 September 2017

Showing contempt for mass popular opposition and growing strikes and protests, France’s president signed decrees destroying the country’s Labor Code yesterday.

UK wields military and security cooperation as a weapon in Brexit negotiations

By Robert Stevens, 22 September 2017

The British government’s position paper on the terms of its exit from the EU stresses the UK’s role as the second military power in NATO, to underline the implicit threat that it will withdraw military and defence co-operation with the bloc.

How Germany is supporting Burma’s ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya

By Johannes Stern, 22 September 2017

Burma’s notorious army chief Min Aung Hlaing was welcomed with military honours to Berlin in April.

Dangerous developments in Germany: AfD leader praises the Nazi Wehrmacht

By Johannes Stern, 21 September 2017

Just days before the federal election, a leading member of the far-right Alternative for Germany has called for Germany's Nazi past to be seen in a positive light.

The war danger and the significance of the election campaign of the Socialist Equality Party of Germany

By the Socialist Equality Party (Germany), 21 September 2017

The incoming government’s policies have long been decided: an unprecedented intensification of militarism, the strengthening of the repressive state apparatus and social cuts.

French unions try to strangle workers’ opposition to Macron

By Anthony Torres and Alex Lantier, 19 September 2017

The unions, whose strike calls are carefully prepared beforehand with the government, are terrified of being outflanked on their left by an eruption of workers’ struggles.

Survivors and local residents speak out on Grenfell Tower Inquiry opening

By our reporters, 19 September 2017

Inquiry Chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick claimed that he was “impartial” and had therefore rejected submissions to appoint a local resident to act as an assessor.

Millions of the UK’s poorest families driven into deeper poverty

By Dennis Moore, 19 September 2017

The government’s overall agenda, dressed up as welfare “reform,” is underpinned by slashing welfare spending and encouraging people to move from benefits into work.

UK government officials back Trump demands for Internet censorship following London bombing

By Paul Mitchell and Robert Stevens, 18 September 2017

In the name of opposing “extremism,” the May government is preparing a drastic curtailment of democratic rights and civil liberties.

Lakanal House: Prelude to the Grenfell Tower inferno—Part 2

By Paul Armstrong, 18 September 2017

In the aftermath of the Lakanal House fire, the Labour-controlled council promised £62 million for improved fire safety and maintenance, but residents are still living in death traps.

World Socialist Web Site readers in Britain oppose Google’s censorship campaign

By our reporter, 18 September 2017

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to some of the hundreds of people in Britain on why they have signed the petition to Google demanding that the corporation stop its censorship of the Internet and end their blacklist of the WSWS.

Germany: Trial of neo-Nazi terror group whitewashes role of intelligence services

By Dietmar Henning, 16 September 2017

It is evident that, despite the attention to detail in the case of the five accused, the aim of the NSU trial was to conceal the role played by the secret services.

German conservative newspaper threatens Poland with territorial demands

By Peter Schwarz, 16 September 2017

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung warned the Polish government that its western border would no longer be recognised if it continues to insist upon reparations.

Truckers announce strike against attack on Labour Code in France

By Kumaran Ira, 16 September 2017

The French government has already stressed that it has no intention of modifying its position, despite growing opposition in the working class.

Lakanal House: Prelude to the Grenfell Tower inferno—Part 1

By Paul Armstrong, 16 September 2017

Recommendations from a coroner’s inquest into the Lakanal House tower block fire, handed down in 2013, were ignored by the Conservative government, local council authorities and the London Fire Brigade.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the case for socialism

By the Socialist Equality Party (UK), 15 September 2017

The refusal of Sir Martin Moore-Bick to answer questions at the official opening of the government inquiry into the Grenfell Tower inferno epitomises the class arrogance and indifference of the powers-that-be towards working people.

Hundreds of thousands march against Macron’s austerity measures in France

By Alex Lantier and Anthony Torres, 13 September 2017

The demonstrations point to the mounting opposition among French workers and youth to the government’s plans to carry out a social counterrevolution by executive fiat.

UK: Tony Blair calls for anti-immigration policies to stop Brexit

By Robert Stevens, 12 September 2017

The former Labour prime minister called for EU nationals without work in the UK to be barred from renting homes, opening bank accounts and receiving health care.

Plans for major military build-up after Germany’s federal election

By Peter Schwarz, 12 September 2017

The military build-up has not featured in the election campaign because all parties agree that it must be massively expanded after the election.

Germany’s federal election campaign and the danger of global nuclear war

By Johannes Stern, 9 September 2017

The media and political parties have long sought to keep the issues of war and militarism out of the election campaign, but reality is now catching up with them.

UK: May government finalises Grenfell Tower Inquiry cover-up

By Robert Stevens, 9 September 2017

The inquiry has no intention of achieving real justice for the victims of Grenfell—nor remedying the dangers faced by thousands of other tenants across the country.

ECB makes first move to wind back quantitative easing

By Nick Beams, 9 September 2017

The class agenda of the ECB emerged when president Mario Draghi called for the further elimination of job protection as he backed reforms by the Macron presidency in France.

Royal College of Nursing union holds rally in London

No answers to attacks on public health care

By Ajanta Silva and Paul Mitchell, 8 September 2017

The “Summer of Action” was largely restricted to appeals to MPs and photo opportunities for RCN bureaucrats and union officials making occasional media appearances.

British soldiers arrested for membership in banned fascist group

By Steve James, 7 September 2017

Four soldiers in the British Army were arrested on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism as members of the outlawed fascist group National Action.

London residents speak on Grenfell Tower fire

By our reporters, 6 September 2017

“As long as the rich people, special interests and the establishment are ruling, then there will always be a cover-up.”

German Left Party and Greens demand expansion of police powers

By Peter Schwarz, 6 September 2017

Like Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz in Sunday’s television debate, representatives of the smaller parties advocated a massive build-up of the domestic state apparatus.

Candidates denounce refugees, demand state build-up at German election debate

By Johannes Stern, 5 September 2017

Merkel and Schulz agreed on virtually every issue and appealed for a crackdown on refugees, more police, and a more aggressive German and European foreign policy.

No progress in UK- European Union talks over Brexit

By Julie Hyland, 5 September 2017

The European Union insists there can be no progress to discussion on future relations without Britain settling its “divorce” bill first.

Britain’s pseudo-left promote Labour councils enforcing savage cuts

By Laura Tiernan, 4 September 2017

Theresa May’s Tory government, like the Cameron government before it, has relied on local Labour councils to slash millions of pounds from public spending.

Germany: Policeman and lawyer conspire to murder left-wing politicians

By Sven Heymanns, 30 August 2017

Despite the serious nature of the allegations, the prosecutor's office has failed to issue a warrant for the arrest of the two accused.

Unions help Caterpillar restructure with closure of Belgian operations

By Ross Mitchell, 30 August 2017

The Caterpillar plant in Gosselies was the biggest industrial site in Wallonia, Belgium’s southern, primarily French-speaking region.

Youth clashes with police in Paris suburbs point to explosive social tensions

By Francis Dubois, 22 August 2017

The incidents at Aulnay-sous-Bois point to growing tensions between police and the population of the estate where police sexually assaulted a youth in February.

Trump, Charlottesville and Jorg Baberowski

By Johannes Stern, 22 August 2017

The same German media outlets and politicians who denounce Donald Trump for his support for the extreme right defend academic Jorg Baberowski for making even more egregious statements.

Anatomy of the Grenfell Tower fire

Speech given by Thomas Scripps at Socialist Equality Party public meeting

22 August 2017

Scripps: “It is politically vital to establish why this one event is a crime perpetrated by capitalism against the working class…and to explain why we have declared Grenfell to be an act of social murder.”

Demonstrators block neo-Nazi march in Berlin-Spandau

By Katerina Selin, 21 August 2017

Around 1,500 demonstrators blocked a march of 700 neo-Nazis who planned to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, on Saturday.

Socialist Equality Party holds public meeting on Grenfell fire in London

By our reporter, 21 August 2017

To ensure that all felt free to speak, the SEP had denied a request from Sky News to film proceedings and told police officers who inquired that they were not welcome.

SPD wages law-and-order campaign in Germany’s federal election

By Peter Schwarz, 17 August 2017

Adopting many slogans of the extreme right, Social Democratic candidate for Chancellor Martin Schulz is calling for more police and a crackdown on immigrants.

German politicians and media promoted the ideology on display in Charlottesville

By Johannes Stern, 16 August 2017

The sanctimonious outrage of German politicians and media outlets over the Charlottesville events cannot conceal their responsibility for the rehabilitation of right-wing extremist ideology and its violent consequences.

“The night our eyes changed”

Five musical responses to the Grenfell Tower inferno

By Paul Bond, 16 August 2017

Music mogul Simon Cowell brought together high-profile figures for a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, but a far more powerful and politically interesting response has come from local artists.

German economy minister threatens counter-measures in response to US sanctions on Russia

By Peter Schwarz, 1 August 2017

Following the adoption of new sanctions against Russia by both chambers of the US congress, Brigitte Zypries threatened that Europe may take counter-measures.

Residents in London district of Ladbroke Grove speak out on Grenfell fire

By our reporters, 31 July 2017

A Socialist Equality Party campaign team spoke to local residents in London’s Ladbroke Grove on Saturday about the Grenfell Tower fire.

German politicians call for quicker deportations after attacks in Hamburg and Konstanz

By Justus Leicht, 31 July 2017

The blood of the victims in Hamburg and Konstanz has barely had time to dry and the background to both attacks remains unclear, but politicians from all of the major parties are already seeking to outdo each other with right-wing demagogy.

Mélenchon denies France’s responsibility for the Nazi-era deportation of the Jews

By Alex Lantier, 31 July 2017

The social movement Mélenchon aims to launch would be a nationalist and petty-bourgeois movement hostile to historical truth and the working class.

Police announce possible manslaughter charges in connection with Grenfell Fire

By Robert Stevens, 29 July 2017

Despite the investigation being in operation for more than six weeks, not a single person has been arrested or even charged.

London schools with flammable cladding deemed “safe”

By Tom Pearce, 28 July 2017

Despite the widespread use of flammable cladding in schools, only three schools have so far been tested.

Grenfell fire witness Johnny Regasa: “You saw so many people at their windows burning alive”

By our reporters, 27 July 2017

WSWS reporters spoke to Johnny Regasa, who lost a friend, Hashim Kedir, in the Grenfell Tower fire and assisted several survivors.

Residents confront head of government inquiry into Grenfell Fire

By Robert Stevens, 27 July 2017

Such consultations are an attempt to bestow much needed legitimacy on the inquiry, which will have no legal powers to prosecute anybody or hold anyone to account.

Protest in London against police killing of Rashan Charles

By Robert Stevens, 26 July 2017

It is already clear from the response of the police and Independent Police Complaints Commission that yet another cover-up of the death of a man in police custody is underway.

German Social Democrats embrace policies of right-wing nationalist AfD

By Peter Schwarz, 26 July 2017

Anyone believing there is a limit to the SPD’s rightward shift in the federal election campaign was disabused of this notion on Sunday. The party is now openly agitating against refugees.

German government escalates confrontation with Turkey

By Johannes Stern, 24 July 2017

Last week, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel announced a realignment in the government’s policy toward Turkey.

Mélenchon hails French army as he launches movement against Macron’s cuts

By Alex Lantier, 24 July 2017

The movement Mélenchon aims to build is a nationalist, pro-war movement that would subordinate the working class to the strategic interests of French imperialism.

UK public meetings:

Grenfell Fire—Social Murder: A crime against the working class

21 July 2017

The Socialist Equality Party urges all workers and youth, including survivors of the Grenfell fire and local residents, to attend our public meetings and discuss the central issues involved in this capitalist crime against the working class.

Protesters at Kensington and Chelsea council meeting: “This has been a massive crime and they all seem to be getting away with it”

By our reporters, 21 July 2017

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to a number of those protesting outside the meeting.

Angry Grenfell survivors and residents berate London police and council officials

By Robert Stevens, 20 July 2017

Local residents and survivors of the Grenfell Tower inferno denounced police and the Kensington and Chelsea Council as “liars” working for “rich folks.”

The SPD’s “Germany Plan”—social democracy shifts further to the right

By Ulrich Rippert, 19 July 2017

Behind all the party’s talk of “securing the future”, “innovation”, “civil society” and “securing peace”, the SPD is preparing new spending cuts and the expansion of German militarism.

French National Assembly approves enabling act to rewrite labor law

By Francis Dubois, 18 July 2017

The legislature has opened the way for the government of President Emmanuel Macron to massively increase the exploitation of the French working class.

Germany and France to jointly develop new fighter jet

By Johannes Stern, 18 July 2017

The newly-proposed arms projects—including fighter jets, tanks and drones—should be taken as a warning by workers and young people throughout Europe.

After Hamburg G20 protests: SPD, Left Party and Greens prepare law-and-order election campaign

By Johannes Stern, 17 July 2017

In the wake of the protests and violent state repression during the G20 summit in Hamburg, the Social Democrats, Left Party and Greens are showing their true colours as parties of bourgeois order.

Thames Water workers speak:

Privatisation contributed to Grenfell Tower inferno

By Paul Mitchell, 14 July 2017

A former Thames Water worker told the WSWS that the company is seeking to deflect inquiries into a policy of reducing water pressure to cut down leakage from water mains.

Fire guts London’s Camden Lock Market

By Chris Marsden, 11 July 2017

The fire raged for three hours and destroyed around 30 percent of the first, second, and third floors.

After Hamburg protests, German government plans crackdown on left-wing views

By Andre Damon, 11 July 2017

High-ranking members of the German government have called for the drawing up of a list of “left-wing extremists” throughout Europe and a permanent ban on their entry into Germany.

G20 protest participants speak out against police crackdown

By our reporters, 10 July 2017

Demonstrators described how police attacked peaceful protests at this weekend’s G20 summit in Hamburg with water cannons, batons and tear gas.

Resignations at UK Shelter housing charity, after Grenfell exposes role of “Third Sector”

By Julie Hyland, 10 July 2017

The Grenfell Tower fire has laid bare the impact of decades of free market policies, deregulation and cuts in public spending initiated by Thatcher and continued by every subsequent government.

Camden residents: “You cannot trust them now because of Grenfell. It’s never going to be the same again”

By Robert Stevens, 10 July 2017

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to tenants in the Blashford tower block about the Grenfell fire and the situation they face.

Germany’s foreign policy shift 2.0: A call for German imperialism to “get going”

By Johannes Stern, 6 July 2017

In advance of the G20 summit in Hamburg, and three months prior to Germany’s federal election, a new frenzy of nationalism and militarism is gripping the ruling elite.

German Christian Democrats’ election programme calls for increased state powers

By Ulrich Rippert, 6 July 2017

On Monday, the leaders of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union government parties presented their election programme in Berlin.

London residents on the Grenfell fire: “All they want to do is maximise their profits”

By our reporters, 6 July 2017

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to London residents on Bramley Road, near Grenfell Tower.

Macron speaks to assembled houses of French parliament in Versailles

By Alex Lantier, 4 July 2017

Macron called for military escalation overseas and broad-ranging changes to basic institutions of French political and social life, to be worked out with the trade unions.

German foreign minister goes on the offensive in the Middle East

By Johannes Stern, 4 July 2017

Just days before the G20 summit in Hamburg, and in the midst of the Qatar crisis, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel traveled to the Arabian Peninsula.

G20 summit in Hamburg: A city in a state of siege

By Sven Heymanns, 4 July 2017

The planned measures in Hamburg are not just to protect the political elite attending the G20, but are deliberate preparations for a civil war scenario.

“There are people who died in there—and they’re not telling us who they are.”

Anger grows over Grenfell Tower inferno

By our reporters, 4 July 2017

Residents of the Lancaster West housing estate near Grenfell Tower talked to the World Socialist Web Site about the June 14 fire in London.