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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.
Yet, these policies are rational from the point of view of the bourgeoisie. They are a brutal way -- a shock therapy -- for restoring the profits, for guaranteeing the financial rents and for implementing the neoliberal counter-reforms. What is going on is fundamentally the validation by the states of the financial claims on future production and GDP. That is why the crisis takes the form of a sovereign debt crisis.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/3301]
Por Dick Nichols
12/4/2013 -- Sinpermiso.info -- En el tercer congreso nacional del Partido de Izquierda (Parti de Gauche) celebrado en Burdeos del 22 al 24 de marzo, el nuevo grupo socialista, el cual está cobrando fuerza a una velocidad sorprendente, pareció por fin alcanzar la madurez como partido.
Con tan sólo cuatro años de vida, el Partido de Izquierda surgió en el momento en que su principal figura, Jean-Luc Melenchon, quien fuera antiguo líder de las corrientes de izquierdas
del Partido Socialista (PS), abandonara éste después de que las propuestas del PS contra la
austeridad neoliberal lograran no más de un 19% de apoyo en el congreso del 2008.
Happier days before the Socialist Party and Socialist Workers Party abandoned the ULA.
By Henry Silke, Dublin
April 29, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This brief report intends to outline the situation within the Irish left following the slow implosion of the United Left Alliance (ULA).
Down with austerity!
By Dick Nichols
April 12, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- At the third national congress of the Left Party (Parti de Gauche) held in Bordeaux from March 22 to 24, France’s newest and fastest-growing socialist group seemed to come of age.
Only four years old, the Left Party was born after its leading figure, Jean-Luc Melenchon, a long-time leader of left currents in the Socialist Party (PS), abandoned it after the tendencies in the PS opposing neoliberal austerity mustered only 19% support at its 2008 congress.
By Gyula Thurmer
March 27, 2013 -- Morning Star -- Hungary is in crisis. Almost 500,000 people are officially registered as unemployed -- just over 11 per cent of the workforce. About the same number of young people are working in other EU countries, notably Britain, Austria and Germany, because they could not find a job at home. Even so, the rate of youth unemployment (under the age of 25) in Hungary stands at more than 28 per cent.
The Fidesz (Civic Union) government led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban is well aware of these facts, while proclaiming the "Hungarian miracle". The reality is that many ordinary people are worse off than they have ever been.
The real winners under this capitalist government are those who earn more than 900,000 forints (£2500) net a month. The rest are on or below the average net salary of 157,000 forints (£434), which is absolutely nothing considering that prices in Budapest are similar to those in Vienna.
The pro-capitalist forces in Hungary know very well that only the Hungarian Communist Workers Party (HCWP) proposes a real alternative to mass unemployment, poverty and the colonial occupation of Hungary by multinational companies.
Alexis Tsipras in London: Q & A on lessons from Hugo Chavez, a left government, the euro, stopping Golden Dawn ...
March 15, 2013 -- Irish Left Review -- The following questions [in bold] and answers took place after a talk SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras gave to SYRIZA’s London branch in Friend’s House in Euston on March 15. The speech itself can be found here. Some of the questions have been condensed to remove lengthy preambles and/or tangents but they remain an accurate reflection of the query posed by the audience member.
Could you give us a few reflections on what we can learn from the left in Latin America and particularly the legacy of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela?
Ken Loach has called for a new left party in Britain.
March 25, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the recent period a number of left unity/left regroupment initiatives have been launched on Britain's far left. They include the Anti-Capitalist Initiative, Left Unity and radical film director Ken Loach's call for a new left party in Britain.
Another important development has been the formation of the International Socialist Network out the hundreds of revolutionary socialists who have resigned from the Socialist Workers Party during its recent crisis.
And in June 2013 a People's Assembly Against Austerity organised by the Coalition of Resistance is to be held, already having gathered the support of more than 1600 activists from all sections of the left.
Below are a number articles from the British left that introduce and survey some of these developments.
SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras' London speech: 'Our pragmatism is subject to our vision for radical change'
By Alexis Tsipras
March 15, 2013 -- Left.gr -- Comrades and friends, Europe is on edge. Two worlds collide. On one side stand the productive forces of democracy, the people fighting to create a society of justice, equality and freedom. On the other side, a neoliberal biopolitical project unfolds. Its aim is to control bodies and minds through the politics of fear. To discipline human life in its entirety. To intensify the exploitation of labour and to increase the profits of capital.
I am privileged to address you here in the heart of London today to declare that we are part of the experiment of democracy.
We in SYRIZA believe that radical democratic changes are the only way out of the crisis for the people of Europe.
This is not an optimistic illusion.
It is the compelling conclusion of rational argument and detailed analysis.
Mass protest in Sofia, Bulgaria's capital, February 17, 2013.
March 15, 2013 -- Left Unity, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In the last week of February 2013, after days of protests across the country, the Bulgarian government headed by Boyko Borisov resigned. Mariya Ivancheva looks at how it happened and what comes next.
From the beginning of February, Bulgarians in most big cities have been out in the streets, protesting against increased electricity and heating bills. While the increase has happened gradually throughout 2012, in January 2013 the bills were considerably bigger than they would normally get. The price formation was transparently written down on the bill, but what angered many is that a significant amount of money was charged not for energy per se but for various taxes and tariffs.
Above: March 6 press conference by Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Front de Gauche, Left Front) on the death of Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez Frias.
l’Humanité interview with Jean-Luc Mélenchon, spokesperson Front de Gauche (Left Front), France, translated by Dick Nichols
March 7, 2013 -- You have always supported the revolutionary process in the Venezuela, why?
We need to place the Bolivarian Revolution in its continental and historical context. The collapse of state communism was presented to the whole world as the end of history for communist and socialist sentiment and aspiration. But the flame flared up again in South America because the new age of capitalism had made that continent its proving ground. Neoliberalism was tried out there by military dictatorships on the one hand and by Operation Condor and CIA acts of violence on the other. The policies which then got applied were the same everywhere: free and unbridled competition, monetarism and deregulation, leading the whole continent to disaster. It is in this context that the revolutionary flame flared up again. Bolivarian Venezuela has occupied a special place: not only has been it been built on democratic foundations, but it has outmaneuvered the criminal plans of the opponent by peaceful and popular action.
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.
By Dick Nichols
March 5, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Nearly 10 years after the Spanish high court outlawed its previous political organisations, Basque left nationalism has finally given birth to a new legal party—Sortu (“to create” or “to be born” in Basque). The new arrival is a powerful progressive force for Basque independence—socialist, feminist, ecologically aware and staunchly internationalist.
Its goal is an independent socialist Basque-speaking state that unites the three northern Basque regions in the French department of Pyrenees Atlantiques with the four southern Basque regions covering Navarra and Euskadi (the Basque Autonomous Community) in the Spanish state.
By Dick Nichols
February 15, 2013 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The four years since the founding of France’s New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) have been a roller coaster rise and fall for the organisation, which was created in 2009 on the initiative of the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR), the former French section of the Trotskyist Fourth International.
The party’s rapid early growth seemed to confirm the premise on which it was founded — tens of thousands of France's workers and young people wanted to get active against capitalism’s crises and crimes, but were wary of existing left organisations and looking for a new sort of political home.
February 18, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Oskar Matute (pictured above) was elected to the Basque parliament in the election of October 21, 2012, as a candidate for Euskal Herria Bildu (EH Bildu, Basque Country Reunification). He was previously a member of parliament from 2002-2009 with Ezker Batua-Berdeak, a united-left grouping. His is spokesperson for Alternativa, one of the founding members of the EH Bildu coalition, which has achieved spectacular electoral results since its legalisation in May 2011. EH Bildu won 25% of the popular vote in the October 2012 Basque election -- capturing 21 out of 75 seats.
Tristan Parish and Rachel Evans spoke to Oskar Matute about EH Bildu and the Basque battle for independence, dignity and socialism.
* * *
How did EH Bildu form and why did it achieve such good results?
France's Socialist Party President Francois Hollande with the Left Front's Jean-Luc Melenchon.
By Murray Smith
February 7, 2013 – KritiskDebat (Denmark ) and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It is just over seven months since the Socialist Party’s Francois Hollande capped his victory in the presidential elections by winning a working majority in the elections to the National Assembly.
It probably seems longer to him. It has been a hard half-year. Hollande won the election by standing on a program that was distinctly on the left by the standards of the Socialist Party. Partly this was to position himself as a clear alternative to his conservative opponent Nicolas Sarkozy. To a not insignificant degree it was to hold the SP electorate against the strongest challenge from the left for thirty years, in the shape of the Left Front (Front de gauche) and its presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon.
By Dick Nichols
February 6, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Political tensions within the Spanish state have reached a new pitch following the January 23, 2013, declaration by the Catalan parliament of Catalonia’s sovereign right to decide its own political future. Antagonism is intensifying between the Catalan and national Spanish governments and polarisation continues to increase among and within all main political forces.
The 135-seat Catalan parliament adopted the “Catalan People’s Declaration of Sovereignty and Right to Decide” by 85 votes to 41 with two abstentions. It was supported by the governing conservative nationalist federation, Convergence and Union (CiU), the independentist Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), the left coalition Initiative for Catalonia-Greens and United and Alternative Left (ICV-EUiA), and by one of the three representatives of the left-nationalist Popular Unity Candidacies (CUP).
By Henry Silke
January 30, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On January 26, the Socialist Party (affiliated to the Committee for a Workers International, CWI) posted an article on its website announcing the end its membership of the United Left Alliance. This was one of the least surprising political developments on the Irish left as the Socialist Party (SP) had been steadily moving away from the alliance for more than a year.
The SP has given two reasons for leaving the alliance.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon interview, the Guardian by lepartidegauche
On December 17, 2012, the British Guardian posted the above interview with the leader of France's Front de Gauche (Left Front), Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
Syriza poster, Synaspismos office in Athens, Helena Sheehan on the streets with Syriza in Athens.
By Helena Sheehan
January 21, 2013 -- Irish Left Review, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal at the author's suggestion and with her permission -- A monumental drama is playing out before our eyes. It is a true Greek tragedy. The plot: A society is being pushed to its limits. The denouement is not yet determined, but survival is at stake and prospects are precarious. Greece is at the sharp end of a radical and risky experiment in how far accumulation by dispossession can go, how much expropriation can be endured, how far the state can be subordinated to the market. It is a global narrative, but the story is a few episodes ahead here.