Europe

Greece: 'Europe's moment of truth'; SYRIZA needs solidarity, says Tassos Koronakis

By Tassos Koronakis, SYRIZA

May 18, 2015 -- Change4All, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Tassos Koronakis (pictured), secretary of the Central Committee of SYRIZA, calls for acts of social and political solidarity. From the organisation of rallies and awareness campaigns across Europe, to institutional initiatives in local, regional and national parliaments, and personal or collective statements of support to the efforts of Greece to swift the European paradigm of austerity.

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Dear friends,

Spain: 'Barcelona Together' and the fight for people-first city councils

Conversation in the Reina Sofia Museum Square, Madrid, attended by various left coalitions standing in the May 24 municipal polls.

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

May 21, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A commentator for the mainstream Barcelona daily La Vanguardia reported in its May 9 edition on a conversation in a lift that he had overheard between two “executives of a certain age”.

They were talking about an opinion poll giving the radical, movement-based ticket “Barcelona Together” and its mayoral candidate, housing rights activist Ada Colau, the lead in the March 24 contest for the Barcelona City Council. On that day elections will also be held in all municipalities in the Spanish state, as well as in 13 of the country’s 17 autonomous communities (states).

Executive A: “Have you seen that [incumbent Barcelona mayor Xavier] Trias is losing?”

Executive B: “Yes, Colau is winning.”

Reino de España: 24 M, prólogo para australianos

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4417]

Por Dick Nichols, Barcelona

17/05/2015 -- Sinpermiso -- Si algunas personas que conozco del sector más cínico o desencantado del espectro de la izquierda española reflexionasen sobre el tema de nuestro debate de esta noche --- "democracia de base y los movimientos contra el capitalismo: lecciones de España"- podrían tener la tentación de hacer un comentario bastante cáustico, tal vez algo como:

"¿Democracia de base?” ¿Cual? Sin embargo, el movimiento indignado de las plazas -que comenzó hace cuatro años (el 15 de mayo de 2011), cuando millones de personas se concentraron en más de 80 ciudades y pueblos, fue en buena medida una expresión de esa democracia de base, aunque más o menos se haya evaporado por ahora.

"¿Movimientos contra el capitalismo”? ¿Dónde están? Si no estamos hablando de grupos revolucionarios marginales, no hay movimientos contra el capitalismo dignos de tener en cuenta. Lo que tenemos es un montón desigual de movimientos de resistencia, por lo general sin éxito, contra diferentes aspectos de la austeridad capitalista.

Ireland: People Before Profit Alliance, Anti-Austerity Alliance: 'Build an active, democratic, principled left'

r2water_unions

April 27, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following statement, for the May 1, 2015, conference organised by the trade unions affiliated the the Right 2 Water campaign, was agreed between the People Before Profit Alliance, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and some independent activists, including councillor Brendan Young.

The People Before Profit Alliance is aligned to the Socialist Workers Party in Ireland, while the Anti-Austerity Alliance is associated with the Socialist Party (CWI). Despite wariness among activists due to these organisations' past practices that contributed to the failure of the United Left Alliance, the statement has been widely welcomed.

The text is taken from that posted by the Irish Left Review.

Ireland: A new party called hope -- Right2Water unions begin new left process (with videos)

Irish protest against water charges at the GPO in January.

By Rory Hearne

May 8, 2015 -- Broadsheet.ie, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Hope has been in short supply in Ireland in recent years but, thankfully, it has emerged in recent months. But this hope has not come in the so-called "recovery", which is deeply uneven across the country and from which the majority of people remain excluded.

No, the real hope emerged, first in the mass protests against water charges, and now in the possibility of a new political movement built from the grassroots of these unprecedented protests.

Since Ireland's independence in 1921 the overwhelming majority of Irish governments have been composed of the tweedle-dee, tweedle-dum parties of Fine Gael/Fianna Fail/Labour Party. What have they achieved for ordinary people? Corruption, inequality and austerity are now the hallmarks of the Irish Republic, a centenary after its founders aimed for a Republic of equality.

Lessons from Spain: grassroots democracy and the movements against capitalism

"Podemos, whose decision-making process is based on online voting by a passive mass membership of 300,000, is a highly centralised operation that is in many ways the polar opposite of the grassroots democracy of 15M."

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

May 11, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- If some people I know from the more cynical or disillusioned end of the Spanish left spectrum were to reflect on the topic of our discussion tonight---“Grassroots democracy and the movements against capitalism: lessons from Spain”—they might be tempted to make a rather acid commentary, maybe something like this:

SYRIZA: 'The mandate of the Greek people is not negotiable'

May 8, 2015 -- Australia-Greece Solidarity Campaign posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The political secretariat of SYRIZA met on May 5 and, with its unanimous decision,  stressed amongst other things that the "government’s red lines are the Greek people’s red lines. They constitute the necessary prerequisite for the exit from the crisis whilst abiding by terms of social justice and economic development“.

Ukraine: 'Before Maidan, Ukraine was more democratic', says Volodymyr Ishchenko

A toppled statue of Vladimir Lenin in Ukraine.

Volodymyr Ishchenko interviewed by Javier Morales

April 27, 2015 -- LeftEast, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Javier Morales: How do you think that Ukrainian society is assessing the consequences of the Euromaidan revolution? Has there been any change in their attitudes in the past year?

Greece: Panagiotis Lafazanis -- SYRIZA 'will not bow down, neither will it surrender'

lafazaneiro

Panagiotis Lafazanis.

For more analysis and discussion on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE

By Panagiotis Lafazanis, minister of reconstruction of production, environment and energy.

April 29, 2015 -- CRASH magazine, translated by The Greek Analyst, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Panagiotis has been involved in negotiating with Russia for a gas pipeline to Greece. He is a member of SYRIZA's Left Platform grouping. The Greek version can be found on the website of the ministry, here.

Why Scottish votes will be decisive in the outcome of the UK general election

Rally for A Just Scotland. October 18, 2014.

By Alister Black, Edinburgh

May 4, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International journal of Socialist Renewal -- Britain's May 7 general election is set to be the closest in living memory. In the polls, the two leading parties, Labour and the Conservatives (Tories), are within points of each other. The polls have not shifted despite the best efforts of Tory Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband to secure a breakthrough.

Why are the polls so close?

Greece: Referendum on the cards if EU deal not reached

Part 1.

For more analysis and discussion on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE

By Dick Nichols

May 4, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On April 27, in a three-hour appearance on private TV channel Star TV, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras spoke extensively about the challenges confronting the government led by SYRIZA, the Coalition of the Radical Left.

The program, beginning with a grilling of Tsipras by interviewer Niko Katsinikolao and ending with questions from a 50-strong audience, is available above and below with simultaneous English translation.

British election: Labour Party prefers Tory government than deal with Scottish nationalists

May 2, 2015 -- Irish Republican News, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- With just days to go before a potentially historic Westminster general election on May 7, a further rise in support for the Scottish National Party (SNP) is already creating a crisis in British politics which will likely have implications for Ireland.

Most recent polls indicate that the SNP will sweep almost all of the 59 Westminster seats in Scotland, and is well placed to win the balance of power in London. The development appears to have taken the British establishment by surprise and thrown the opposition Labour Party into chaos.

All but one or two of the 59 MPs elected by Scotland could now be won by the SNP by the time counting concludes, creating a political imperative for independence which is directly comparable to the 1918 "Sinn Fein" election in the aftermath of the Easter Rising in Ireland.

A confused Labour Party leader Ed Miliband told a television election special that he would refuse any pact with the SNP -- even if it meant giving up the chance of power to David Cameron’s Conservatives (Tories). On May 1 he repeated that there would be “no deals or coalitions”.

Ireland: Left discusses how to win a radical new republic

May 1, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Ireland's left, under the impact of the mass movement against water charges that has thrown traditional politics into turmoil, is discussing how it can organise to seriously challenge for power.

On May 1, in Dublin, five trade unions involved in the Right2Water (R2W) campaign are hosting a conference to discuss a “Platform for Renewal” for the general election due within the year. There will be guest speakers from SYRIZA, Podemos and the European movement against water privatisation.

R2W includes the radical left, Sinn Féin, other left politicians and the extensive network of anti-water charges grassroots groups in towns and communities across Ireland. R2W has mobilised four massive protests in since October 1, 2013, which have rocked the establishment.

Ireland's Irish Left Review is housing a discussion on what way forward for the left, from which the contribution below first appeared.

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By Rory Hearne

Greece: European powers tighten the noose

For more analysis and discussion on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE

By Stathis Kouvelakis

April 25, 2015 -- International Viewpoint, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Events in Greece have taken a dramatic turn, and insolvency is at the gates. On April 20, the Greek government issued a decree forcing local authorities to place cash reserves at the Bank of Greece.

Two days later, Dimitris Mardas, the deputy minister of finance in charge of state revenue, declared that €400 million was missing to pay for pensions and salaries at the end of the month. A few hours later, he said the money was found and that he was now trying to constitute cash reserves. But according to sources, Mardas informed SYRIZA members of parliament at a meeting that same day that the state reserves wouldn’t be able to make all payments in May.

Spain: Will fall of former IMF boss destroy People’s Party?

For more on politics in Spain, click HERE.

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

April 27, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On April 16, a central member  of the Spanish economic and political establishment came crashing down. Rodrigo Rato, former deputy prime minister in the 1996-2004 People’s Party (PP) government of José María Aznar and head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2004 to 2007, was detained on suspicion of tax evasion, concealment of assets  and fraud. At the same time it became public that Rato had also taken advantage of a 2012 government amnesty for tax cheats.

Although the former treasurer is no longer in detention, TV coverage of Rato being pushed into a police car like any other suspect continues to dominate comment in the bars and on the social media. Many commentators judge that his detention marks a turning point in Spanish politics.

Ukraine: Eyewitness to the war zone of eastern Ukraine

Residents of "October" district of Donetsk city hard hit by Ukraine army shelling speak to visiting media group on April 16, 2015. Photo Roger Annis.

More on the political situation in Ukraine.

By Roger Annis, Donetsk

April 20, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, a version of this article was first published at CounterPunch -- -- I have just returned from participating in a four-day reporting tour to the city of Donetsk and the countryside that lies between Donetsk and the Russian city of Rostov to the south and east.

Review: Why Scotland will never be the same again

The People’s Referendum: Why Scotland Will Never Be the Same Again
by Paul Geoghegan
Luath Press 2015
177 pages

Review by Alex Miller

April 16, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The UK-wide general election for the Westminster parliament scheduled for May 7, 2015, looks set to be a very close, perhaps even closer than the 2010 election that resulted in the Labour Party being replaced by a Conservative Party-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

How should leftwingers in Scotland vote in the UK general election?

April 14, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following articles were published in the April issue #86 of the Scottish Left Review, as part of a round-up of the various positions being proposed by sections of the Scottish left to advance a left agenda during and after the British general election to be held on May 7, 2015.

 

Netherlands: Socialist Party now 'biggest left party' after provincial elections

March 19, 2015 -- Socialist Party (Netherlands), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Speaking to party activists, in a celebratory mood as it became clear that the Socialist Party (SP) had once again recorded an extremely positive result in the provincial elections, party leader Emile Roemer told them:

This is an historic evening. We have become the biggest left party in the Netherlands. The SP is a powerful factor in the Senate. An ideal starting point for the SP to be elected to government at the next general election.

Both governing parties suffered strong losses, and Roemer reminded those listening that it had been Prime Minister "Rutte himself who made these elections into a referendum on his government. And the result is clear. The Netherlands has done with the policy of austerity. The government should not be sailing a different course, or any course at all, it should be passing the rudder on."

France: Jean-Luc Mélenchon's assessment of March 22 and 29 departmental elections

To improve the resolution of the subtitles, please press play, then click on the small "cog" in the right-hand bottom corner and change quality to 240p or higher. You may need to restart the video from the beginning. It is also best watched in full-screen view (click on the square on the far right-hand bottom corner).

[For more on French politics, click HERE.]

April 7, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Front de Gauche (Left Front) leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon's assessment of the March 22 and 29, 2015, departmental elections in France.

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