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Europe

Local politics enters the global contest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

 

 

European municipalities are joining the battle against TTIP to protect sovereignty and public services, as well as demonstrating how to take political initiative and build an alternative economy

 

By Sol Trumbo Vila

 

May 27, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Transnational Institute -- Opponents of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) see their chances of victory increasing. Local authorities are now also increasingly taking a strong position against supranational structures that negotiate opaque trade deals.

 

What is to be done with the banks? Radical proposals for radical changes

 

 

By John Weeks, Eric Toussaint, Stavros Tombazos, Pritam Singh, Benjamin Selwyn, Alfredo Saad Filho, Patrick Saurin, Sabri Öncü, Susan Pashkoff, Ozlem Onaran, Thomas Marois, Philippe Marlière, Francisco Louça, Stathis Kouvelakis, Andy Kilmister, Michel Husson, Michael Hudson, David Harvey, Pete Green, Giorgos Galanis, Alan Freeman, Gilbert Achar, Costas Lapavitsas

 

A left-wing refugee policy for the European Union

 

Gabi Zimmer, chair of European United Left - Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)
 
April 16, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Transform! -- The following is a speech given by Gabi Zimmer, chair of GUE/NGL, in Athens at the International Conference “Alliance For Democracy – Against Austerity in Europe”, 18-20 March 2016

 

Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the politics of a Plan B for Europe

 

March 10, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Intervention by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, candidate for the Left Front in the 2012 French presidential elections, in the Internationalist Summit for a Plan B, held in Paris on January 23-24. Mélenchon has recently formed the “France in Revolt” (France Insoumise) movement, for which he aims to be candidate in the 2017 presidential elections.

 

Declaration of the Conference of European Left Parties Solidarity Conference With Kurdish People

The European Left Parties Solidarity Conference With Kurdish People was held in the main Kurdish city of Amed on February 20.

February 20, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from ANF News — The final declaration of the European Left Parties Solidarity Conference With Kurdish People in Amed has been released.

The conference in the main Kurdish city Amed on 20 February was organised by HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party), DTK (Democratic Society Congress), DBP (Party of Democratic Regions) and KJA (Free Women's Congress).

The declaration of the European Left Parties Solidarity Conference With Kurdish People reads;

* We as Kurdish, Turkish and European left and democratic forces stand together in our fight for democracy, peace, diversity and social justice.

* We are gathered here today to call on the Turkish Government to stop the massacres and killings of civilians in the besieged Kurdish cities. Civilian woman and children are the ones suffering the most from this brutal policy. We call on the Turkish government to stop the curfew and allow for access to the besieged cities. The grave violations of basic human rights must be stopped and an international commission must be set up in order to secure that the responsible for war crimes will be prosecuted.

Workers' Party of Belgium leader: "We have to struggle to bring down this European Union and build another form of cooperation"

 

Workers' Party of Belgium supporters rally in solidarity with the people of Greece

 

On October 15, Liam Flenady interviewed David Pestieau, Vice-President of the Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB) at their headquarters in Brussels. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstance, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewalis only publishing this interview now but we believe it will be of great interest to our readers.

 

Since the interview was conducted, a number of significant events have taken place in France and Belgium, including the Paris attacks on November 13 and the ensuing lock-down of the city of Brussels, as well as the banning of the Paris Climate March planned for November 29. These events have had a significant impact on the political situation in Belgium and Europe, and the Worker's Party has playing an important role in responding to them.

 

While not covering this new situation, this interview still represents an important introduction to the politics of the PTB and their orientation towards significant issues in Belgian and European politics.

 

* * *

 

Over 100,000 people demonstrated as part of the union-led national day of action on October 7 in opposition to the austerity measures of the government of Prime Minister Charles Michel. What are the key issues facing the people of Belgium, and what’s next for the struggle?

 

Yanis Varoufakis: a manifesto for democratising Europe

 

‪European trade unionists protest outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels‬

 

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who last September stepped down from his post in the radical-left Syriza government, has launched his Democracy in Europe movement, DiEM25. Its ambitious aim is a radical overhaul of Europe’s institutions and the introduction of absolute transparency in decision-making, to be completed by 2025. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is republishing here from Mediapart the manifesto Varoufakis presented in Berlin on February 9th, a plan to “regain control over our Europe from unaccountable ‘technocrats’ and shadowy institutions”.

 

For all their concerns with global competitiveness, migration and terrorism, only one prospect truly terrifies the Powers of Europe: Democracy! They speak in democracy’s name but only to deny, exorcise and suppress it in practice. They seek to co-opt, evade, corrupt, mystify, usurp and manipulate democracy in order to break its energy and arrest its possibilities.

 

For rule by Europe’s peoples, government by the demos, is the shared nightmare of:

 

• The Brussels bureaucracy (and its more than 10,000 lobbyists)

 

On Greece, Syriza, Podemos and the Democracy in Europe Movement – Yanis Varoufakis interview in El Mundo

Ex-finance minister of Greece Yanis Varoufakis

January 23, 2016 -- thoughts for the post-2008 world -- Why did you resign the very next day after the ‘no’ victory in the Greek referendum?

Yanis Varoufakis - Because the Prime Minister told me, on the night of that magnificent result, that it was time to surrender to the troika. Not what I had entered politics for and certainly not what the mandate that the 62% NO vote we had just received stipulated.

Did the European leaders press Tsipras to get rid from you? Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the president of the Eurogroup of finances ministers, has admitted that he did so…

They knew that I would never sign up to a new non-viable, toxic loan agreement. That was clear from the beginning. I was elected to negotiate a viable agreement. And since it is the finance minister who signs these agreements on behalf of the state, it was essential to the troika that I should be removed.

Why do you think you are so uncomfortable (and considered even dangerous) for the EU leaders?

Because I was an obstacle to the maintenance of their permanent denial regarding their failed fiscal reform programs.

What has been your major mistake during the time you were Greece Finance Minister?

Rekindling Hope: SYRIZA's Challenges and Prospects

 

Greek farmers protesting against planned pension system reforms.

 

By Michalis Spourdalakis

 

January 27, 2016 -- Socialist Project -- Before turning to the main theme of this article it would be very useful to come to terms with at least the following preliminary observations:

 

The left in government and especially the radical left in government has never been the subject of easy discussion among leftists. As the project of social transformation was never a peaceful stroll in the park, the debates on the question of in and/or out of government, let alone those about political power, have been very heated. In fact, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that these debates are as old as the left itself. Before, during, and after coming into office, leftist theorists and practitioners have been involved in fierce discussions and heated arguments, often leading to organizational splits and fragmentation. The intense polemical nature of these debates has very rarely led to useful, positive, and practical conclusions for the left.

 

Danish refugee policy and the position of the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten)

 

January 28th, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) -- On Tuesday, January 26th, 2016, a broad majority in the Folketing (Danish parliament) passed bill L 87 which introduces a long series of restrictive measures aimed at making it less attractive to seek asylum in Denmark.

 

Internationally the focus has been directed mainly at the part of the bill that authorizes the police to take jewellery, cash and other valuables from asylum seekers in order to finance the cost of their stay in Denmark during asylum procedures.

 

The Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), which holds 14 of the 179 seats in the Folketing, is against this part of the bill but does not consider it the most problematic part. In practice it will hardly have any affect, as most asylum seekers arrive without significant valuables. Furthermore the new law excludes jewellery with an emotional value to the asylum seeker. And each asylum seeker (including children) gets to keep the equivalent of DKK 10.000 (EUR 1.340) in cash in those rare cases when asylum seekers arrive with appreciable amounts of money.

 

Plan B for Europe - Appeal to build a European area of work in order to end austerity and build a true democracy.

 

By Susan George, Yanis Varoufakis, Ada Colau, Zoe Konstantopoulou, Ken Loach, Noam Chomsky, et. al

 

January 19, 2016 - Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Plan B Europa - In July 2015, we witnessed a financial coup d’état carried out by the European Union and its institutions against the Greek Government, condemning the Greek population to continue suffering the austerity policies that had been rejected on two occasions in the polls. This coup has intensified the debate over the power of the EU, and by extension it’s institutions, its incompatibility with democracy, and its role as guarantor of the basic human rights demanded by European citizens.

 

We know that there are alternatives to austerity. Manifestos such as “For a Plan B in Europe“, “Austerexit” or DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025) denounce the blackmail of the third memorandum of understanding imposed against Greece, the catastrophe that it would cause and the antidemocratic nature of the EU. The President of the European Commission no less, Jean -Claude Juncker, said : ” There can be no democratic decision against European treaties “.

 

Oskar Lafontaine: Let’s develop a Plan B for Europe!

 Oskar Lafontaine

By Oskar Lafontaine (pictured)

Many in Europe had put great hopes in the election of Alexis Tsipras as Greek Prime Minister. When, after long and exhausting negotiations, the Syriza leader signed the European diktat, the disappointment was great.

It would be unjust and presumptuous to want to give moral lessons to Alexis Tsipras and Syriza. After these experiences for the European left, it would be better to reflect on the conditions in which a democratic and social politics (and thus a left politics) is possible in Europe. We have learned one thing: while the European Central Bank, which claims to be independent and apolitical, can turn off the financial tap to a left government, a politics that is oriented towards democratic and social principles is impossible.

Yanis Varoufakis: 'Our Athens Spring'

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – This speech was delivered on August 23, 2015, by former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, at the Festival of the Rose, at Frangy-en-Bresse, in the French department of Saône-et-Loire. The festival is organised by the local organisation of the French Socialist Party, which is associated with former French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg. Montebourg was sacked from this post in August 2014 by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

* * *

Let me tell you why I am here with words I have borrowed from a famous old manifesto. I am here because:

A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of democracy. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: The state-sponsored bankers and the Eurogroup, the Troika and Dr Schäuble, Spain’s heirs of Franco’s political legacy and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany's Berlin leadership, Baltic governments that subjected their populations to terrible, unnecessary recession and Greece’s resurgent oligarchy.

RISE: Scotland's new left alliance to launch

Click for more on left politics in Scotland

New political force will launch on August 29

August 24, 2015 -- Scottish Left Project, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We are pleased to announce the name under which the new coalition of the left being launched on August 29 will stand. Our name -- RISE, Scotland's Left Alliance -- reflects our political outlook and organisational make-up.

Respect: We stand for a society where we end racism, sexism, discrimination on the grounds of sexuality and where people of all backgrounds, colours and creeds are treated with respect and dignity.

Independence: We stand for Independence for Scotland. But our Independence is based on ending neoliberalism, austerity and the membership of NATO. We are for ending the monarchy and putting people in charge.

Socialism: We are for a social alternative to capitalism where people run the affairs of our society democratically and where the vast resources of society are utilised in common, rather than for the super-rich.

Grecia, ruptura en Syriza: ¡Nace 'Unidad Popular'!

Panagiotis Lafazanis.

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4560.]

Por Stathis Kouvelakis, Athens

21 de agosto de 2015 -- Viento Sur -- Esta mañana, a primera hora, 25 diputados de Syriza abandonaron el grupo parlamentario del partido para crear una nueva formación bajo el nombre de "Unidad Popular". La mayor parte de estos diputados están afiliados a la Plataforma de Izquierdas, pero se han unido también otros como Vangelis Diamantopoulos o Rachel Makri, una estrecha colaboradora de Zoe Konstantopoulou.

Este es un acontecimiento importante en la política griega, pero también para la izquierda radical en Grecia y a escala internacional.

Se deben subrayar tres elementos:

El primero es que "Unidad Popular" es el nombre de un nuevo frente político que reagrupará a trece organizaciones de la izquierda radical, aquellas que firmaron el texto publicado el 13 de agosto a favor de la constitución de un "Frente por el NO". Este frente es por lo tanto el primer resultado tangible de la recomposición de la izquierda radical de Grecia. Una recomposición que extrae todas las lecciones de los últimos cinco años y, por supuesto, de la experiencia de Syriza en el poder y de la catástrofe en la que ha desembocado.

Greece: New radical left front to challenge SYRIZA in snap election

Panagiotis Lafazanis.

By Stathis Kouvelakis, Athens

August 21, 2015 -- First appeared on Kouvelakis' Facebook page, reposted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Early this morning, 25 SYRIZA MPs left the parliamentary group of the party to create a new group, under the name of “Popular Unity” (Laiki Enotita in Greek). Most of these MPs are affiliated to the Left Platform, but some others also joined like Vangelis Diamantopoulos or Rachel Makri, a close collaborator of Zoe Kostantopoulou.

[The new party will stand in the snap September 20 general election announced by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on August 20.]

This is a major development in Greek politics but also for the radical left, in Greece and at an international level.

Three elements need to be emphasised.

Greece: SYRIZA 2.0? Split looms as third memorandum passes

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

August 21, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- By any normal logic Greece’s SYRIZA-led government should be sinking in the opinion polls. On July 12, at the Brussels summit of Eurozone leaders, it agreed to implement a set of draconian preconditions for obtaining a third €86 billion bail-out—effectively reversing the opposition to austerity on which it had been elected on January 25.

Legislation enabling the implementation of the memorandum, covering 35 “prior actions” required of the government, was adopted by the Greek parliament on August 14, with 64 MPs voting against. Of SYRIZA’s 149 MPs, 32 voted no to the deal—including Left Platform leader Panagiotis Lafazanis, parliament speaker Zoe Constantopoulou and former finance minister YanisVaroufakis—and 11 abstained, with one MP absent.

Lessons from Greece: Leo Panitch and Richard Fidler debate SYRIZA

August 13, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, also posted at LeftStreamed -- In this video of a debate, Leo Panitch and Richard Fidler discuss alternate views on recent developments in the fight against austerity waged by SYRIZA and the Greek people.

Moderated by Susan Spronk, associate professor in the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa.

Panitch is Canada research chair in comparative political economy at York University, Toronto. Fidler is life-long socialist, activist and writer who blogs at http://lifeonleft.blogspot.ca/

Scottish Socialist Party to affiliate with new left alliance

By the Scottish Socialist Party,

August 8, 2015 -- Scottish Socialist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Scottish Socialist  Party (SSP) National Council members have voted in favour of the party becoming an affiliate of a new electoral alliance for the Scottish elections next year.

Party co-spokesperson Sandra Webster highlighted the potential for socialism to grow in this alliance.

At our NC ... the comrades present voted to enter an alliance with the soon to be renamed Scottish Left Project. All of our comrades should be proud of their passionate discussion and resolution. The SSP look forward to being at the heart of the alliance hoping socialists may be elected to Holyrood in 2016. I look forward to continuing to build the SSP and building a movement that is truly grassroots.

Alexis Tsipras: 'Austerity is a dead end ... the struggle continues'

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  hopes to contribute to the left debate on Greece by providing background information, thoughtful comment and presenting positions of various left organisations.

Alexis Tsipras interviewed by Kostas Arvanitis (STO kokkino radio), published in French in L’Humanité, July 31, 2015; translated by Eric Canepa (unauthorised version)

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