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Spirited Scottish Socialist Party conference tackles post-referendum challenges

The Scottish Socialist Party played an important role in the Yes campaign. This video explores the aftermath for the party and the future of Scotland.

For more on the Scottish Socialist Party, click HERE.

By Dick Nichols

October 29, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Edinburgh’s Augustine United Church is a cold place when the wind is howling, as it was when the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) held its 2014 annual conference there on October 25.

However, any feeling of chill disappeared when the 200-plus SSP members present got down to tackling the challenges of an inspiring new period in Scottish politics, marked by unprecedented popular engagement in activism and debate over Scotland’s future.

Communist resistance in Nazi Germany

Historian Doug Enaa Greene, as part of the Center for Marxist Education's Red History Lecture Series, speaks on "Communist Resistance in Nazi Germany".

For more by Doug Enaa Greene, click HERE.

By Doug Enaa Greene

October 29, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In 1943, a member of the Communist Party, sentenced to die for resistance activities as a member of the Red Orchestra, wrote these final words to his father:

Britain: Left Unity leader Kate Hudson on creating a new party for the left

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras with Left Unity national secretary Kate Hudson.

October 27, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- Left Unity is a new political group in Britain created out of a call last year by filmmaker Ken Loach for a new party to the left of Labour, which has moved rightwards in recent years and supports anti-worker austerity measures. The call was supported by thousands of people and Left Unity held its founding conference in November last year. Green Left Weekly's Denis Rogatyuk spoke with Left Unity's national secretary Kate Hudson, a veteran campaigner who is also general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

* * *

Left Unity’s platform consists of socialism, feminism, environmentalism and anti-racism, among other features. How was this platform conceived? What was the decision-making process behind it?

The origins of the Left Unity project came in November 2012 out of the common struggle across Europe against austerity. There was a coordinated general strike across Europe on November 14 and we wanted to participate in that in Britain.

Irish Republican News: Government thrashed in by-elections as 100,000 protest water charges

waterchargedemo.jpg

See also "Water revolt in Ireland: Socialist candidate wins by-election as 100,000 march". Click for more discussion of Irish politics.

October 11, 2014 -- Irish Reuplican News -- Crowds not seen in several years have demonstrated against water charges on the streets of Dublin city centre on October 11 as voters delivered a stunning message of no confidence in two by-elections to the Dublin parliament.

Traffic in Dublin’s city centre came to a standstill due to the unprecedented collective anti-austerity march. The demonstration took one hour and twenty minutes to pass the Spire in O’Connell Street asmarchers  made their way from Parnell Square, around the city finishing at the GPO in O’Connell Street.

While the Garda [police] press office could declined to give a figure for the numbers in attendance, one garda observing the march admitted the numbers could be as high as 100,000, a giant number by the standard of such protests.

Water revolt in Ireland: Socialist candidate wins by-election as 100,000 march

By Henry Silke, Dublin

October 13, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Saturday, October 11, saw a major revolt in Ireland over the implementation of the controversial water charge. An estimated 100,000 people marched in unseasonal sunshine, while former member of the European parliament (MEP) Paul Murphy was elected in the Dublin South West by-election. Murphy stood for the Socialist Party’s (CWI) electoral front, the Anti Austerity Alliance (AAA).

Catalan national struggle enters critical stage

On the day after the Constitutional Court decision, the squares of Catalonia’s towns were full to the brim with protesters.

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

By Dick Nichols

October 12, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On September 29, the normally sluggish Spanish legal system had an attack of extreme speed. Its Usain Bolt-like behaviour was sparked by the regional government of Catalonia formally decreeing the long-awaited November 9 non-binding consultation of Catalan opinion [referendum] on the future political status of the region.

Escocia: Esta derrota lleva las semillas de la futura victoria

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4076.]

Por Murray Smith

28/09/2014 -- Simpermiso.info -- Tras una campaña que ha durado dos años, Escocia votó el 18 de septiembre a favor o en contra de la independencia, Sí y No. Y fue el No el que se llevó la victoria por una mayoría del 55% frente al 45%. De modo que fue una victoria para el establishment político británico y una derrota para las fuerzas de la independencia. Y como buenos demócratas, los perdedores han aceptado el veredicto.

Bulgaria: Wealthy EU governments target 'freedom of movement' for poor workers

GERB leader Boyko Borissov and his political role model Angela Merkel.

By Raya Apostolova

September 30, 2014 -- Left Perspectives/Left East -- The election in Bulgaria scheduled to take place on October 5, 2014, comes in the midst of a deep political crisis and social disarray. Bulgaria’s right-oriented vote in the past two decades has resulted in non-existent public services and social destabilisation. Thousands of Bulgarian workers journey to Germany’s slaughter houses or Poland’s agricultural fields as they cannot secure employment in Bulgaria. The unfolding enmity towards the working poor on a European scale, as expressed in the openly declared battle against migrant labour from eastern Europe, may cost Bulgaria's shaky social peace. Bulgaria needs to immediately address social inequalities.

Écosse: Cette défaite porte les graines d’une victoire future

[English at Scotland: Independence loss contains seeds of future victory.]

Cliquez ICI pour en savoir plus sur l'Ecosse et de l'indépendance.

Cliquez pour plus de français.

Par Murray Smith

Après une campagne qui aura duré deux ans, l’Écosse a voté le 18 septembre pour ou contre l’indépendance – oui ou non. Et c’est le non qui l’a emporté. C’était donc une victoire pour l’establishment politique britannique et une défaite pour les forces de l’indépendance. Et en bons démocrates, les vaincus ont accepté le verdict des urnes.

France: Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the Movement for the 6th Republic

The first of a three-part video (other parts below) features the address of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, former spokesperson for the French Left Party and initiator of the Movement for a Sixth Republic, at the 2014 year's Humanity Fair, which is hosted every year by the daily newspaper L'Humanité, of the French Communist Party.

[Note: To improve the resolution of the subtitles, 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 best watched in full-screen view (click on the square on the far right-hand bottom corner).]

Mélenchon discusses how to build a movement against austerity that goes beyond the traditional left, an important issue in a country where the racist National Front is leading in the polls. Also appearing is Hamma Mammami, leader of the Communist Party of Tunisian Workers and the candidate of the Popular Front in 2014's presidential election. At the end there is a short interview with Jérôme Kerviel, a "rogue trader" who cost the Société Générale bank €4.9 billion, but who maintains that his superiors knew about and condoned his activities. Mélenchon and the Parti de Gauche (Left party) have been active in building solidarity with Kerviel.

* * *

Scotland: Independence loss contains seeds of future victory

By Murray Smith

September 25, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- After a campaign that lasted two years, Scotland voted on September 18, for or against independence, yes or no. And it was the No that carried the day, by a majority of 55 per cent to 45 per cent. So it was a victory for the British political establishment and a defeat for the forces of independence. And as good democrats, the losers have accepted the verdict.
Yet those who were expecting to see the supporters of independence dispirited and those who hoped that the issue of independence was settled for at least a generation were quickly disappointed.

Sweden: Far-right gains cause political crisis; Beware of 'Swedish lessons'

Social Democratic PM-designate Stefan Lofven.
By Farooq Sulehria

September 25, 2014 -- International Viewpoint, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Sweden went to elections on September 14 to elect a new government for the next four years. As expected, an informal red-green coalition gained outpolled (43.7% votes) its rival "bourgeois alliance" (39.3%). The red-green alliance includes the Social Democratic Party, the Left Party (the reformed Communist Party) and Greens. It has represented the ideological polarisation in Swedish electoral politics since the 1990s. It represents the mainstream Swedish left.

In contrast, the right-wing alliance, consisting of the Moderate Party (conservatives), Liberals, the Centre Party and Christian Democrats, was a formal block. It won the last two elections and during eight years of misrule, it managed to aggressively dismantle the famous Swedish welfare state. It will be news only for casual observers of Swedish developments that the country is now top among OECD lands where the class gulf has widened.

Feminist Initiative

Escocia: el 45% votó a favor de la independencia a pesar de la campaña del miedo

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4062.]

Por Alister Black, Glasgow

21/09/ 2014 -- Sinpermiso -- Después de dos años de campaña, referéndum de independencia de Escocia ha terminado. La victoria ha sido para el NO, para quienes se oponen a la independencia, con un respaldo del 55% en comparación al 45% que apoyó un SI a la independencia.

El referéndum registró un nivel sin precedentes de participación y debate en toda Escocia. Esto se reflejó en la enorme participación sin precedentes del 84,59%, que invierte la tendencia de las últimas décadas de un declive de la participación electoral. Algunas zonas rurales han tenido un 100% de participación.

Los activistas independentistas, especialmente de la Campaña Radical por la Independencia, registraron en el censo electoral a miles de personas, en especial en las comunidades más pobres y marginadas de Escocia, en las que mucha gente había dejado de registrarse y votar desde la campaña contra la contribución urbana (poll tax).

Scotland: 45% vote Yes despite ruling class panic; Business as usual is not an option; Labour for Independence statement

By Alister Black, Glasgow

September 20, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- After two years of campaigning, Scotland’s independence referendum has ended. It saw victory for the No side, the opponents of independence, with 55% compared to 45% who backed a Yes to independence.

The referendum saw an unprecedented level of political engagement and debate throughout Scotland. This was reflected in the huge and unprecedented turnout of 84.59%, reversing the trend of recent decades of dwindling poll turnouts. Some rural areas even recorded 100% turnout.

Pro-independence campaigners, especially around the Radical Independence Campaign, registered thousands to vote in Scotland’s poorest and most marginalised communities, where many had been off the voters roll since the days of the poll tax.

We spoke to people who had never voted and needed the process explained. These alienated communities were enfranchised by the referendum.

Catalonia and the Spanish state on collision course

1.8 million people (25% of the population of Catalonia), took part in this year’s September 11 Diada demonstration. More pictures HERE.

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

By Dick Nichols

September 17, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This year’s September 11 Catalan national day (Diada) demonstration, in support of the Catalan parliament’s planned November 9 popular consultation on Catalan statehood, was the biggest since the present cycle of mobilisations for the country’s right to national self-determination began four years ago.

Escocia: Dossier sobre el referéndum de septiembre por la independencia

[English (first item) at http://links.org.au/node/4051.]

11 de septiembre -- Sinpermiso.info -- Después de la gran manifestación popular del 11 de septiembre en Cataluña que centró el interés de los grandes medios de comunicación, el 18 de septiembre la atención de gran parte del mundo estará puesta en Escocia. Este dossier sobre el referéndum que el próximo 18 de septiembre se realizará en esta nación sobre la independencia o no del Reino Unido, consta de varios artículos y entrevistas de los siguientes autores: Alister Black, William Black, George Monbiot, Owen Jones, Andy Robinson.

Descarga aquí o leer en la pantalla de abajo.

Pamphlet: The case for an independent socialist Scotland

Download the full pamphlet HERE or read on screen below.

By Colin Fox, Scottish Socialist Party national co-spokesperson and Yes Scotland advisory board member

September 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On September 18, 2014, Scotland will go to the polls to decide whether to remain part of the 300-year-old political union that is the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" or become the world’s newest independent country. The decision will have far reaching consequences either way.

For the British state, Scottish independence represents a huge threat, a profound loss of economic and political power and influence at home and abroad. Consequently, it is dead-set against it and it will do its utmost to stop that from happening.

For the independence movement, the stakes are equally high. The referendum offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure self-determination for Scotland, to establish a left-of-centre social-democratic state and free 5 million Scots from the yoke of British imperialism.

Scotland: What explains the surge in support for independence?

Alister Black interviewed by Dick Nichols

September 9, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- In Scotland, a remarkable popular movement, the campaign for independence, is heading towards the September 18 referendum on whether the country will remain part of the United Kingdom.

France: Front de Gauche debates ‘uniting the people’ vs ‘uniting the left’

"We want to federate the people" -- Front de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Melenchon.

By Liam Flenady, Brussels

September 14, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- About 200 activists from France’s Front de Gauche (Left Front) gathered in Paris on September 6 to discuss the group’s future. The front has been in limbo over the past few months after disagreements about strategy led to a weak performance in the European and local council elections in May.

The meeting took place at a time of controversy in French politics. The once social-democratic Socialist Party (PS) President Fancois Hollande had sacked the cabinet and appointed a new one — the second time since the start of the year — and the far-right National Front (FN) topped the presidential opinion polls for the first time.

On top of this, Jean-Luc Melenchon, the leader of the Parti de Gauche (Left Party) that is one of main groups in the Left Front, stood down as Left Front co-president. Melenchon announced he would soon launch a new Movement for a Sixth Republic.

This political instability is an outgrowth of a deeper economic malaise. Since Hollande’s election in 2012, the economy has stood on shaky ground. The economy has stagnated for the first two quarters of the year.

France: Jean-Luc Melenchon's closing speech to Parti de Gauche's Summer University

September 13, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In August, the Parti De Gauche (Left Party) held it's annual "Summer University" in Grenoble, France. On August 22, 2014, the party's leader Jean-Luc Melenchon held an impromptu press conference (subtitled at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE4oo... ) and at the end of the program of meetings, round-tables and presentations summed up the highlights of the four-day event, describing strategic changes at the party and its program for the next year.

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