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Europe

Spain’s Podemos: An inside view of a radical left sensation

Pablo Iglesias.

Click for more on Podemos and politics in Spain.

By Iñigo Errejón, head of Podemos' European election campaign

July 15, 2014 -- Le Monde Diplomatique, translated by Revolting Europe -- In Spain, the surge of discontent caused by structural adjustment policies and hostage taking of popular sovereignty by the oligarchic powers gave rise to a series of protests and created spaces for social cooperation. However, it had no effect on the political system and its internal balance.

Ukraine: Despite MH17 disaster, Kyiv regime escalates shelling of east

A villager surveys his home wrecked by shelling in Semyonovka, in Luhansk district. Image from BBC.

Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.

By Roger Annis

July 19, 2014 -- Rabble.ca, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- I learned of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 when my plane landed in Montreal the same day, July 17, on my way home from Moscow. The Moscow-Munich leg of my flight departed one hour before the (delayed) departure of Flight MH17 from Amsterdam at 12:30 pm local time. I reckon the respective flight paths crossed each other somewhere just west of Ukraine.

Spain: Podemos MEP Pablo Iglesias condemns 'hijacking of democracy' by big business

To activate subtitles, press play and click on the bottom right icon, next to the clock. Then choose English.

Click for more on Podemos

July 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal --  Pablo Iglesias is one of the five members of the European Parliament elected from the lists of Podemos, a barely 100-day-old political party that in the May 2014 European elections won more than 1 million votes in Spain.

In his maiden speech in the European Parliament, Iglesias praised the memory of the European peoples who fought for justice and freedom, and attacked the hijacking of democracy by financial markets, lobbies and big corporations.

Podemos website (in Spanish)is at http://podemos.info/

'No to the war in eastern Ukraine!' Declarations of the Yalta anti-war conference

Ukraine army in Kramatorsk. Photo Ukraine government.

Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.

July 16, 2014 -- Text from A Socialist in Canada, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission

Declaration of the assembly of citizens of Ukraine and representatives of international solidarity networks, issued in Yalta, Crimea, July 7, 2014

A major human rights and humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Ukraine. The government that took power in Kyiv in February 2014 is conducting a brutal military assault in the southeast of the country.

Slovenia: Radical left wins surprise fourth place in early election

Anti-privatisation protest during United Left Coalition's campaign.

By Gal Kirn

July 14, 2014 -- Transform! Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We have broken the vicious circle of anti-communism in the post-Yugoslav context. As you imagine we are more than happy to present you with such an amazing election result! As all the commentators say, the United Left Coalition (ULC) was the biggest surprise. But the path was difficult, the ULC was from early on marginalised by the mainstream.

[The ULC was formed for the May 25, 2014, European elections. It is composed of the Party for Sustainable Development (TRS), the Democratic Labor Party (DSD) and the Initiative for Democratic Socialism (IDS).]

Belgium: Far-left breakthrough as Workers’ Party enters parliaments

By La Gauche

July 11, 2014 -- International Viewpoint -- Before May 25, there were no elected representatives of what is called the "radical" left in Belgium, unlike in other countries in Europe. This anomaly has now been corrected.

The PTB-GO![1] lists are in fact sending two members to the Belgian federal Chamber of Deputies (Raoul Hedebouw in Liège and Marco Van Hees in Hainaut), two to the Walloon parliament (including the steelworker Frédéric Gillot) and four to the parliament of the Brussels-Capital region. Apart from Vincent Decroly and Bernard Wesphael, who were elected for the Ecolo party but who continued to sit after resigning from their party (one on the federal level and the other in the Walloon region), there had been no member of parliament to the left of the Socialist Party (PS) and the Greens since the early 1980s.

Liège and Hainaut

Catalonia: ‘Let’s Win Barcelona’ lays down unity challenge for left

The school hall in which the launch of "Let's Win Barcelona" took place was packed, with over a thousand forced to watch proceedings from outside and 5000 more looking on via video link

Click for more on political developments in Catalonia and the Spanish state.

By Dick Nichols

For a 'social Europe benefiting all': Gabi Zimmer, head of the GUE/NGL parliamentary group

Interview conducted by Maxime Benatouil

June 24, 2014 -- Transform!, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Recently re-elected at the head of the GUE/NGL parliamentary group, Gabi Zimmer (from Germany's Die LINKE) delivers insights on the new GUE/NGL’s composition. It has significantly grown, numbering 52 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in the new legislature -- up from 35 in the previous parliament.

How would you assess the results for the political forces that have jointly managed European institutions since the beginning of European integration, namely the conservatives, the social-democrats and the liberals?

Gabi Zimmer: The results of the European elections are very ambivalent. On the one hand, we have to acknowledge that there is a slim majority for the conservatives. MEPs from the European Popular Party will most likely form a sort of great coalition with the social democrats and the liberals. But on the other hand, this does not reflect the wishes of the people for another policy. The results showed that they want the European Union to change, and its policies to go in another direction. Moreover, it is not possible to talk about the outcomes of the European elections without mentioning the results of extreme right and nationalist political forces.

Ireland: 'We have to convince people that Sinn Féin is different', argues councillor

Eoin Ó Broin (above) is a Sinn Féin activist and writer based in Clondalkin, Dublin. He is on the South Dublin County Council representing the Clondalkin electoral area. He works as a policy advisor specialising in the European Union and economic policy. He was Sinn Féin’s candidate for the constituency of Dublin Mid West and a member of the party's Ard Comhairle (national executive).

* * *

July 1, 2014 -- Another view -- Sinn Féin had a good election on May 24. We consolidated our position in the North and significantly increased our strength in the South. We are now well placed to make significant gains in the next Dáil [Ireland's parliament] election.

As we face into that electoral contest two questions will loom large. Voters and the media will want to know who we would enter government with and what economic policies will form the core of our campaign.

In the 2007 election we fudged the first question and back-peddled on the second. The electorate punished us for both mistakes.

European Left Party on Ukraine: 'Ukraine: No more war, no more fascism'

July 1, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Party of the European Left (EL) is a political party at the European level that unites parties to the left of social democracy. It was formed in 2004. The EL is composed of 26 members parties and seven observer parties.

* * *

We consider as the main factors in the Ukraine crisis the imperial atttitude towards the country, as shown by all major powers involved: the deliberately provocative and bellicose moves by USA, NATO and EU as well as the aggressive steps taken by Russia. This leads to a dangerous situation at our doorsteps, with reminiscence to the Cold War and even to the WWI outbreak in 1914.

We are against undemocratic represssion of communist party, left wing, and other democratic political forces.We demand the release of all political prisoners and people taken hostage.

Discussion: Fourth International needs to oppose the war and austerity drive against Ukrainian people

Far-right militia parade openly in Kyiv.

More on developments in Ukraine HERE.

By Roger Annis and Renfrey Clarke

June 27, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On June 7, the leadership bureau of the Fourth International adopted a statement on the crisis in Ukraine. It was adopted unanimously, with one abstention vote. The text was translated and published in English on June 16, and has also been published without comment in the weekly Presse-toi à gauche (Move Left!) online bulletin in Quebec.

Spanish state: Eruption of Podemos sparks turmoil left and right

By Dick Nichols

July 1, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The five seats (7.9%) won by the platform Podemos (“We Can”) in the May 25 European election was an earthquake in Spanish politics. It stunned all political trends, including Podemos itself.

Ceasefire in Ukraine? The battle of the ‘peacemakers’

A Ukrainian army shell explodes in eastern Ukraine.

By Viktor Shapinov, translated by Renfrey Clarke

"The only chance of peace remains federalisation of Ukraine and a broad degree of self-government, if only for the south-eastern regions. A reconciliation, at least of a sort, might be reached on this basis."

'Broad left parties': Murray Smith replies to Socialist Alternative's Mick Armstrong

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.

Discussion: The 'Russia is imperialist' thesis is wrong

See also Chris Slee's "Discussion: Are Russia and China imperialist powers?"

By Roger Annis

June 18, 2014 -- Truthout, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The violent coming to power of a rightist regime in Kyiv, Ukraine in late February 2014 has opened an exceptionally dangerous political period in Europe. For the first time since World War II, a European government has representatives of fascist parties as ministers. These are the ministers of the armed forces, prosecution service and agriculture, and deputy ministers of national security (police), education and anti-corruption.

“Mainstream” parties alongside the fascists in government, including the elected president, are committed to an austerity project of economic association with Europe that will see much of the manufacturing base of the country further degraded or dismantled. The consequences for agricultural production are also likely to be dire.

Does Ireland need a new left party?

"We have a multiplicity of left parties [in Ireland] of the traditional types... All have maxed out their potential in their present form. Some are still vital, while others have been in decline for some time."

By Helena Sheehan

June 16, 2014 -- Irish Left Review,  posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Does Ireland need a new left party? Yes. Why? We are involved in a colossal class struggle and we are not winning.

We need to confront the very system that is demanding ever more drastic redistribution of wealth from below to above, accelerated accumulation by dispossession, continuing dismantling of the public sphere in favour of private property and commodified culture.

It is not enough to go issue to issue, to oppose cuts, to denounce austerity.

We need to win consent to a counter-narrative to the dominant view of the crisis. We need to break the grip of the belief that there is no alternative.

Ireland: Gerry Adams' radical vision of a 'new republic ... as Wolfe Tone envisioned'

June 15, 2014 -- Sinn Féin -- Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams delivered the annual address at the Wolfe Tone commemoration at Bodenstown, County Kildare today (pictured above). In the course of a wide ranging speech Gerry Adams said that Sinn Féin wants to be in government to change Ireland for the better:

We want to tackle disadvantage, unemployment and inequality and improve the quality of life and standards of living for people across Ireland – particularly those people who are today struggling under the burden of austerity. We want to deliver on issues such as housing, health and jobs. Sinn Féin is deeply committed to the peaceful and democratic ending of Partition to a new agreed Ireland.

But Sinn Fein will not do is what the Labour Party has done —go into office to give cover to the agenda of conservative parties, repeating again the failed political history of this State over the past 80 years...

The Sinn Féin Leader concluded his address by saying Sinn Féin is committed to is the radical republican politics of Wolfe Tone:

We are about creating a New Republic, with new politics and a new way of doing things that puts fairness and equality at the heart of how this country is governed.

Boris Kagarlitsky on Ukraine: A country that might have been

A statue of Lenin toppled by pro-EU protesters in Kiev.

By Boris Kagarlitsky, translated by Renfrey Clarke for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Portugal and Europe after the European elections

Click HERE for more the 2014 European election; more on Portugal HERE.

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.

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