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[Original in English here]
Por Dick Nichols
August 18, 2016 — Traducido por Enrique García para Sin Permiso — Es difícil imaginar un contraste más fuerte que entre la 10ª Convención Nacional del Bloque de Izquierda portugués, que se celebró en Lisboa del 24 al 26 de junio, y su predecesora, que tuvo lugar en la misma ciudad hace 18 meses.
By Dick Nichols
August 2, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal a much shorter version of this article first appeared in Green Left Weekly — It is hard to imagine a sharper contrast than that between the 10th National Convention of Portugal's Left Bloc, held in Lisbon from June 24 to 26, and its predecessor, held in the same city 18 months ago.
Trade union demonstration outside Portugal's parliament on November 10. Read more on Portugal.
People wave pro-independence flags as they gather outside the Parliament of Catalonia in Barcelona. Read more on Portugal.
Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho (front) and Deputy minister Paulo Portas leave a press meeting after talks with Socialist party (PS) leader Antonio Costa in Lisbon, October 13. Read more about Portugal.
By Dick Nichols
The incoming government of Portugal will most probably prove to be the briefest in modern Portuguese history.
It is headed by conservative Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Pedro Passos Coelho, whom Portuguese president Cavaco Silva appointed on October 22 to repeat as prime minister. Passos Coelho has already overseen the application of the 2011 “bail-out” memorandum applied to Portugal by the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund). The PSD will again be joined by the neoliberal Democratic and Social Centre-People's Party (CDS-PP), with whom it ran in the October 4 legislative election as the Portugal Ahead coalition.
Left Bloc activists. Read more about Portugal here.
By Dick Nichols
Will Portugal finally see the end of austerity as administered for four years by the right-wing coalition of the Social-Democratic Party (PSD) and Democratic and Social Centre—People's Party (CDS-PP)?
In the country's October 4 elections this governing alliance, running for the first time as a single ticket called Portugal Ahead (except on the Azores), won the elections, but with only 38.4 % of the vote (down from 50.4% at the 2011 national election). Of the 5.4 million Portuguese who voted, 739,000 turned their back on the outgoing government, leaving it with only 107 seats in the 230-seat parliament (down 25).
As a result, the PSD-CSD alliance, which boasted during the election campaign of being the most reliable tool of the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund), could even lose government.
For more on Portugal, click HERE.
By Dick Nichols
September 25, 2014 -- International Viewpoint, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Sweden went to elections on September 14 to elect a new government for the next four years. As expected, an informal red-green coalition gained outpolled (43.7% votes) its rival "bourgeois alliance" (39.3%). The red-green alliance includes the Social Democratic Party, the Left Party (the reformed Communist Party) and Greens. It has represented the ideological polarisation in Swedish electoral politics since the 1990s. It represents the mainstream Swedish left.
In contrast, the right-wing alliance, consisting of the Moderate Party (conservatives), Liberals, the Centre Party and Christian Democrats, was a formal block. It won the last two elections and during eight years of misrule, it managed to aggressively dismantle the famous Swedish welfare state. It will be news only for casual observers of Swedish developments that the country is now top among OECD lands where the class gulf has widened.
Mass rally for Greece’s opposition Syriza party in Athens in May 2014.
By Murray Smith
June 23, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Mick Armstrong of Socialist Alternative, Australia, has written an article which sets out to criticise what I have written over the last 15 or so years on broad left parties ("A critique of the writings of Murray Smith on broad left partes" (PDF), Marxist Left Review, Summer 2014). I would like to reply to some of the points that he makes.
Statement by Left Bloc (Bloco de Esquerda), Portugal; translated by Federico Fuentes.
June 8, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, original source http://www.bloco.org/media/resomesa20140601.pdf -- Following the [September 29, 2013] local elections, the Left Bloc developed its European program via a thorough programmatic debate involving many independent activists. That culminated at our February 2014 national conference.
[See a table containing all the results for the European left, Green and left nationalist parties at the end of the article.]
By Dick Nichols
May 30, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly, an earlier version of this article appeared at Green Left Weekly -- The result of the May 25 European parliamentary poll was dominated by the victories of the xenophobic and racist National Front (FN) in France (26%, 24 MEPs, Members of the European Parliament) and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in Britain (26.8%, 24 MEPs). It has set off a wave of mainstream media angst across the old continent.
For more coverage of the 2014 European elections, click HERE.
[See a table containing the results for the European left, Green and left nationalist parties HERE.]
By Dave Kellaway
May 26, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance -- Despite a strong support for the far right, the radical anti-austerity left maintained and increased its votes in some countries such as Greece, but also Spain and Portugal.
April 26, 2014 -- EsquerdaNet -- Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) in Greece and of the Party of the European Left's campaign in the May 25 European Parliament elections, spoke in Portugal with the Left Bloc.
By Jorge Costa
April 24, 2014 -- International Viewpoint -- On the eve of April 25, 1974, Portuguese society was smouldering from contradictions accumulated in half a century of dictatorship. At the heart of these contradictions was a war that lasted thirteen years, to hold on to the African colonies of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea, Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe. This conflict conditioned the whole of national life, because of the social suffering caused by the mobilisation of two hundred thousand men, a tenth of the working population (a human cost equivalent to twice that of Vietnam), because of the wave of migration driven by hunger and the war, and because of the impossibility of a military solution, the only one contemplated by the regime.
By Dick Nichols
February 24, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When the 200-plus delegates finally voted on the two main documents presented to the fourth congress of the Party of the European Left (EL), held on December 13-15, 2013, in Madrid, there was a faint murmur of surprise at the degree of support received. After all, the EL is a mix of different but related political sensibilities, bringing together “anti-capitalist, communist, socialist, ecologist, feminist, eco-socialist, republican and other democratic forces”[i].
Its affiliates embody different national political cultures and are based on all sides of the widening north-south and east-west economic and social ravines that cross Europe, the European Union and the Eurozone. Moreover, it is only 10 years old, created in 2004 in a forced march driven by the process of European integration and the need to compete with other European “party families”.
Syriza congress delegates vote.
By Pedro Filipe Soares (Left Bloc, Portugal), translated by Dick Nichols
July 19, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over the July 10-14 weekend, at the first congress of Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left), it was obvious that history was being written in indelible ink. This was a congress that changed the Greek left.
Faced with the challenge of rising growth opening the door to future government, the left coalition took the step of becoming a party. Hence this first congress, where everything was spelled out — from founding principles to political orientation and statutes. And, of course, where everything was discussed and different positions clarified, always with typical Greek passion.
Attendance: 3430 delegates. This statistic reveals the enormous commitment that the party invested into building this congress. Its deliberations lasted from July 10 to July 14, when 3412 delegates participated in the election of the president. It was an extraordinary sensation to enter that hall and feel the energy of the delegates, the intensity of the discussion and the attention given to all points of detail.
For more on Portugal's Left Bloc, click HERE.
Francisco Louçã, Left Bloc (Portugal), interviewed by Mark Bergfeld
May 17, 2013 -- The Bullet
Mark Bergfeld: Across Europe we have witnessed three strands of resistance to the Troika (the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank) : mass strikes by workers, youth revolts like the indignad@s, and electoral revolts such as SYRIZA in Greece, Front de Gauche in France, and the CUP in Catalonia. In Portugal we have witnessed the former two but haven't seen an upsurge in support for the Left Bloc or the Communist Party for that matter. Why hasn't the Portuguese left been able to take advantage of a favourable situation?
By Murray Smith
May 10, 2013 -- Left Unity, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Murray Smith's permission -- Having followed with sympathy the emergence of Left Unity and the possibility of a new party of the left being launched, I read with interest the two-part article by an anonymous figure, who may or may not be called Michael Ford, which may or may not be a pseudonym. I’m sure we’ll find out. For the purposes of this article, I will refer to him as Ford. In any case, whoever wrote it, the aim of the article is clearly to try and discredit the perspective of building a new party to the left of Labour and validate that of working with/within the Labour Party to drive it to the left.
There will undoubtedly be many replies to Ford from people who are directly involved in politics in Britain, which I am not at present. However, an important part of Ford’s argument is to try and demonstrate that the political forces to the left of social democracy in Europe don’t amount to much, either politically or in terms of their support. In doing so, frankly, he paints a picture which has little relation to reality. This is what I want to take up .
According to rally coordinators, some 500,000 protesters filled the Lisbon boulevard leading to the Finance Ministry on March 2. Many chanting "It's time for the government to go!" and "Screw the Troika, we want our lives back", referring to the lenders from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Introduction by Dick Nichols, European correspondent, Green Left Weekly, based in Barcelona
March 12, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Whenever there’s a protest in Portugal you are almost certain to hear the haunting song, "Grandola, Vila Morena" (“Grandola, sunburnt town”), with its line “who most rules within you, O city, is the people”. On Saturday, March 2, at massive protests across Portugal, "Grandola, Vila Morena" was sung by more voices than ever before.