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Left Bloc

Portugal: el Bloco pide un gobierno de izquierda

www.bloco.org.

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3112.]

Por Dick Nichols, Lisboa, traducción para www.sinpermiso.info por Gustavo Buster

09/12/12 -- Un fantasma recorre Portugal: el fantasma de Grecia y de Syriza, el partido de su izquierda radical. Todos los poderes de la Europa neoliberal, encabezados por la canciller alemana, Ángela Merkel, han entrado en una alianza impía para exorcizar ese fantasma.

Acompañada por los representantes de las grandes empresas alemana, Merkel no tuvo otro remedio que durante seis horas soportar el asedio de los manifestantes en Lisboa el 12 de noviembre. Felicitó al Primer Ministro de Portugal, Pedro Passos Coelho, por su "valentía" al aplicar los programas de austeridad (una "historia de éxito"), e instó al líder político más impopular del país a no ceder un ápice.

Portugal: Left Bloc debates call for a left government

Delegate votes during the Left Bloc's eighth national convention. Photo from www.bloco.org.

By Dick Nichols, Lisbon

November 18, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A spectre is haunting Portugal ― the spectre of Greece and of Syriza, its radical left party. All the powers of neoliberal Europe, led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have entered into an unholy alliance to exorcise this spectre.

Accompanied by representatives of German big business, Merkel ran the gauntlet of protesters in Lisbon for six hours on November 12. She congratulated Portugal’s Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho for his “courage” in applying austerity (a “success story”) and urged the country’s most unpopular political leader to stick to his guns.

Europe: Greece, Spain, Portugal – the arc of resistance to austerity hardens

 On September 25-26-27, 2012, up to 50,000 demonstrators tried to encircle the parliament, calling for the resignation of the government and declaring “democracy kidnapped”. There were violent clashes with police.

Read more by Murray Smith. Read more analysis of Greece, Spain, Portugal and France.

By Murray Smith

October 16, 2012 -- Frontline, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- It sometimes seems as if Europe’s sovereign debt crisis has been going on forever. But in fact it really only manifested itself in 2010, a result of the bailing out of private banks with public money and other public spending due to the crisis. And in May of that year Greece became the first country to ask for help and to receive so-called “aid” – really, it cannot be repeated too often, loans that must be paid back – from the now infamous "Troika", the IMF-ECB-European Commission.

Portugal's Left Bloc: 'The people now have a goal: resignation of the government'

A million people protested across Portugal on September 15, 2012.

Resolution of the national board of the Left Bloc of Portugal, September 22, 2012, passed unanimously.

[The following articles and documents first appeared in the October 2012 issue of International Viewpoint, magazine of the Fourth International.]

1. The gigantic demonstration on September 15, 2012, [see article below], which cannot be compared to any other mobilisation in recent decades, turns the page of Portuguese politics. This was the response of the social majority to the government offensive, adopting a clear position against the Troika and demanding a break with the policy of impoverishment, austerity and destruction. The demonstration by the people in the streets did not demand time to slow down austerity, or the protection of the Troika: it demanded the end of the Troika in Portugal.

This was a signal sent to all the oppositions, to the financial markets, to Germany's Angela Merkel and the  International Monetary Fund (IMF), to the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission.

Crisis, revolt and the left in Europe

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following presentation is a slightly edited and updated version of a talk given on January 20, 2012, to the eighth national conference of the Australian Socialist Alliance, held in Sydney. The slides mentioned refer to the PowerPoint presentation above, which accompanied the talk. Dick Nichols works in the European office of the Socialist Alliance and Green Left Weekly, based in Barcelona.

* * *

By Dick Nichols

Slide 1

Thank you, comrades, for the invitation to speak—what a pleasure it is to see old faces, and new ones, too! The class struggle may be more advanced in Europe, but I sorely miss what we have created in the Socialist Alliance, as should become clear later in this talk.

My aim is to sketch the present phase of the class struggle in Europe, assess the gains of our side along with the challenges it faces, and hopefully help us all think about what this might mean for Socialist Alliance and the socialist movement in Australia. But the opinions expressed are my own, of course, not the Socialist Alliance’s: so feel free to disagree vigorously!

The euro on a knife edge: Are the Greeks to blame? What is the left position on the euro crisis?

On October 19 and 20, 2011, Greece will be stopped by the latest in a series of general strikes against austerity. Above and below: Workers march on October 19. All photos by WFTU International.

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

October 19, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- “Bloody Greeks—corrupt and lazy, born cheaters who think the world owes them a living. Why should the hard-working taxpayers of the euro zone core economies like Germany have to fund billion-euro rescue packages for those scoundrels?” That’s the vicious tone of Germany’s tabloids and conservative politicians towards Greece’s galloping public debt crisis and the Greek people’s protests against the austerity programs imposed on them by the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (the “troika”) as the price of bail-out funding.

Europe Against Austerity conference builds enthusiasm for fightback

By Fred Leplat

October 3, 2011 -- Socialist Resistance -- The Europe Against Austerity conference, held in London on October 1, was attended by 681 people including 150 from outside Britain. This happened the same weekend that two big demonstrations took place. In Glasgow, there was the "People First" demonstration of 15,000 called by the Scottish TUC on October 1. On October 2, 35,000 joined a demonstration in Manchester on outside the Conservative Party conference, called by the Trades Union Congress and backed by the Coalition of Resistance and the Right to Work Campaign.

Europe: Statement by the Anti-Capitalist Left conference


Mobilisation of the ENOUGH campaign against the IMF in Dublin on July 16, 2011. One of the European actions the European Anti-Capitalist Left pledged to build.

The following statement was adopted by the anti-capitalist left organisations meeting together in London on June 11-12, 2011, on the call of the SWP (Britain) and the NPA (France) as a follow-up to the previous conferences held in Paris in June 2008 [1], December 2009 [2], and May [3] and December [4] 2010. Text from International Viewpoint.

Portugal: Left Bloc fires up to fight austerity

Left Bloc conference.

By Dick Nichols

May 22, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- When the 548 delegates to the seventh national convention of Portugal’s Left Bloc came together in a vast sports hall in Lisbon over May 7-8, they had two big questions to answer. The first was what alternative should they propose at the June 5, 2011, Portuguese elections to the €78 billion (about $103 billion) “rescue package” negotiated between the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (the “troika”) and the Socialist Party (PS) government of Prime Minister Jose Socrates?

The second was how to build greater unity among all those forces opposed to austerity — representing millions of Portuguese — so that a government of the left becomes thinkable in a country used to a back-and-forth shuffle of PS and Social Democratic Party (PDS) administrations?

(Updated April 1) Left statements on Libya: Stop the bombing, victory to the Arab revolution

March 24, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below are a number of statements on the situation in Libya issued by left parties and organisations around the world following the start of the US-led bombing campaign. Statements include those by the Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt),  Via Campesina, Socialist Aotearoa (New Zealand), the Fourth International, France's New Anti-Capitalist Party, the South African Communist Party, Focus on the Global South, Sinistra Critica (Critical Left, Italy), Portugal's Left Bloc, Brazil's PSOL. There is also a statement signed by 58 communist and workers' parties. More will be posted as they come to hand. See also statements by Socialist Alliance (Australia), the Socialist Party of Malaysia, the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippines), the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the New Zealand Greens.

* * *

After Copenhagen: Can we save the world? Video: Is the climate sick of us?

Ian Angus interviewed by Esquerda.net during the conference O Clima Farto de Nos? (Is the climate sick of us?), held in Lisbon, March 26-27. The three questions, shown in text in Portuguese, are: Is the climate sick of us? What must be done internationally about this situation? What message would you like to give to the Portuguese people?The video, which is in English with Portuguese subtitles, has also been posted on the website of Portugal's Left Bloc, and on the Esquerda.net channel on YouTube.

 

* * *

Beyond Copenhagen: left alternatives to capitalism

Copenhagen, December 12, 2009. Photo by Lauren Carroll Harris.

By Lauren Carroll Harris, Copenhagen

"Can a finite Earth support an infinite project? The thesis of capitalism, infinite development, is a destructive pattern, let’s face it. How long are we going to tolerate the current international economic order and prevailing market mechanisms? How long are we going to allow huge epidemics like HIV/AIDS to ravage entire populations? How long are we going to allow the hungry to not eat or to be able to feed their own children? How long are we going to allow millions of children to die from curable diseases? How long will we allow armed conflicts to massacre millions of innocent human beings in order for the powerful to seize the resources of other peoples?"

-- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, speaking at COP15, December 16, 2009

Recent experiences in left regroupment and reconstruction

By Jim McIlroy

November 23, 2009 -- How do you build socialism in the First World countries right now? Of course, we are part of a world movement for socialism, including the Third World. We can learn a lot from recent and current experiences in left regroupment and party building that are happening around the world at present -- with all proportions guarded, and realising that there is no direct transposition of one historical, national experience onto another.

When we talk about left regroupment and reconstruction, unlike some of the other overseas examples that I will refer to, Socialist Alliance in Australia is not at this stage a broad left party or a regroupment organisation in quite the same way as some of the other international experiences. But it is a vehicle for constructing one and it is a nucleus for building a broad-based socialist party in the future.

L’appel historique de Chavez pour une 5eme Internationale

par Federico Fuentes

2 décembre 2009 -- CADTM/Green Left Weekly -- S’adressant aux délégués de la Rencontre Internationale des Partis de Gauche qui s’est tenue à Caracas du 19 au 21 novembre (2009), le président vénézuélien Hugo Chavez a déclaré : « il est temps de constituer la 5ème Internationale. » Face à la crise capitaliste et la menace d’une guerre qui représente un danger pour l’avenir de l’humanité, « les peuples réclament » une unité plus forte des partis de gauche et révolutionnaires qui sont prêts à lutter pour le socialisme, a-t-il dit.

A l’instar de son appel de 2005 pour la construction « d’un socialisme du 21ème siècle » et son appel de 2006 pour la création au Venezuela d’un nouveau parti de masse révolutionnaire – le Parti Socialiste Unifié du Venezuela – l’appel de Chavez à l’unité de la gauche et pour une nouvelle internationale est un événement historique.

El llamado histórico de Hugo Chávez para conformar una V Internacional Socialista

por Federico Fuentes

2 de diciembre de 2009 -- CADTM/Green Left Weekly -- Hablando a los delegados del Encuentro International de Partidos de Izquierda realizado en Caracas, el presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez señalo “que llegó la hora de que convoquemos a la Quinta Internacional. Frente la crisis capitalista y la amenaza de guerra que poner en peligro el futuro de la humanidad, la unidad de partidos de izquierda y revolucionario dispuesto a luchar para el socialismo “es un clamor del pueblo,” dijo Chávez.

Como su llamado en 2005 a construir el “Socialismo de Siglo XXI” y su anuncio de la construcción de un partido de la revolución al final del 2006, el llamado de Chávez a unificar la izquierda en torno a la Quinta Internacional representa en hecho histórico.

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez calls for international socialist unity

[Read the conference declaration HERE.]

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

November 27, 2009 -- Addressing delegates at the International Encounter of Left Parties held in Caracas, November 19-21, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said that with the capitalist crisis and threat of war risking the future of humanity, “the people are clamoring” for greater unity of those willing to fight for socialism.

Chavez used his November 20 speech to the conference, which involved delegates from 55 left groups from 31 countries, to call for a new international socialist organisation to unite left groups and social movements: “The time has come for us to organise the Fifth International.”

Historic

Venezuela: Chavez calls for new international organisation of left parties

By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas

[Read the conference declaration HERE.]

November 23, 2009 – Venezuelanalysis.com – Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez called for the formation of a “Fifth International” of left parties and social movements to confront the challenge posed by the global crisis of capitalism. The president made the announcement during an international conference of more than 50 left organisations from 31 countries held in Caracas over November 19-21.

“I assume responsibility before the world. I think it is time to convene the Fifth International, and I dare to make the call, which I think is a necessity. I dare to request that we create my proposal,” Chavez said.

Portugal: What's behind the success of the Left Bloc?

 

 

By Raphie de Santos

Portugal’s Left Bloc has achieved a major breakthrough in the last five months. It polled nearly 11% and 10% respectively in the recent European and parliamentary legislative elections in June and September 2009. For a party that is firmly established outside of left social democracy this is a major achievement. How did it happen?

Its success is owed to a combination of objective and subjective factors. The objective factors are rooted in Portugal’s 20th century history while the subjective factors are linked to how the Left Bloc was formed and how it operates and engages with people in Portugal. The left in Britain and particularly in England can learn from the development and practice of the Left Bloc.

Positive developments in the European left

By Ian Angus

October 7, 2009 -- Socialist Voice -- LeftViews recently published an article by Alex Callinicos, a central leader of Britain’s Socialist Workers Party (SWP), on the state of the left in Europe. While conceding that there have been some gains, overall the picture he painted was dire.

Callinicos is an insightful writer on leftwing politics in Europe, and much of his analysis rings true. I’m certainly not going to try to offer a different analysis from my vantage point well west of the Atlantic [in Canada].

But by itself, his article might leave Socialist Voice readers with a picture of unrelieved gloom, when in fact there are some bright spots of note. In Germany and Portugal, leftwing parties made modest but important gains in last month’s elections, while in France and England we’re seeing constructive steps towards greater unity on the left.

Germany

Portugal: Boost for left as Left Bloc doubles its representation

Left Bloc's symbol.

By the Left Bloc, Portugal

International Viewpoint — Portugal’s parliamentary elections, held on September 27, 2009, have changed the political landscape. The Socialist Party (SP), which had an absolute majority in 2005 with 45% of vote, lost more than half a million votes and fell to 36.56%.

Even as the winner, it is in a minority in parliament, the only political force which lost seats in relation to 2005 (96 down from 121). The result for the SP is its lowest since 1991. This is undoubtedly the result of the anti-social policies of an arrogant absolute majority who chose to save the bankers from bankruptcy instead of establishing public policies for the banks; who passed an employment law which makes dismissals easier in a country that has nearly 600,000 unemployed, with half of them not receiving unemployment benefits and makes job insecurity the rule. A government which has waged war on teachers and civil servants like none before.

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