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Europe

Rebellious Catalan vote rocks Spanish establishment

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

By Dick Nichols

November 12, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On November 9, 2.305 million residents of Catalonia defied a November 4 Spanish Constitutional Court ban and voted on what future political status they wanted for their country, which is presently one of the 17 “autonomous communities” (regional governments) within the Spanish state.

This “participatory process” presented voters with the same ballot paper as the original non-binding consultation that had been adopted by the Catalan parliament on September 26. That too had been suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court on appeal by the national government of People’s Party (PP) Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

After this first legal veto the Catalan minority government of right-nationalist party Convergence and Union (CiU) adopted a substitute ballot for November 9, one that had more the status of a mass survey of public opinion than a formal plebiscite.

Escocia: El Partido Socialista Escocés después del referéndum

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4123.]

Por Dick Nichols

12 de noviembre de 2014 -- Viento Sur -- La iglesia Augustine United Church de Edimburgo es un lugar frío cuando sopla el viento, como era el caso cuando el Partido Socialista Escocés (Scottish Socialist Party, SSP) celebró su conferencia anual de 2014 el pasado 25 de octubre.

Sin embargo, el ambiente se caldeó cuando los más de 200 miembros presentes del SSP pasaron a abordar los retos que plantea un vibrante nuevo periodo que se ha abierto en la política escocesa, marcado por una implicación popular sin precedentes en el activismo y el debate sobre el futuro de Escocia. Esta fase comenzó con la derrota de los defensores del “Sí” por un 55 % contra un 45 % en el referéndum por la independencia del 18 de septiembre. El efecto más sorprendente de esa victoria para el establishment del Reino Unido es el hecho de que el “victorioso” Partido Laborista Escocés, el principal partido impulsor de la campaña “Better Together” (“Mejor juntos”) contra la independencia, está ahora en crisis.

Ukraine: 'Without peace, humanitarian crisis will be uncontrollable', warns European Left

Statement of a delegation of the Party of the European Left just returned from Kiev

November 17, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A delegation of the Party of the European Left (EL), headed by two of its vice-presidents, Margarita Mileva and Maite Mola, returned on November 16, after a four-day visit to Kiev.

The aim of the trip was to learn about the situation of the conflict in Ukraine on the ground, in such difficult moments in which the tension increases dangerously and threatens to put an end to the ceasefire, the Minsk agreements and to restart large-scale combats in the province of Donbas.

During these days, the delegation met with activists of social movements, non-governmental organisations, organisations in defence of civil and human rights of Kiev and Donbas, with independent journalists and media activists as well as the Communist Party of Ukraine.

Croatia, Slovenia: 'The left is rising again'

Demian Vokši interviewed by Vladimir Unkovski-Korica

November 5, 2014 -- LeftEast, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

The Radnička fronta (Workers’ Front, Croatia) has been recently founded and often calls itself the "Croatian Syriza". Could you tell us something more about the emergence and program of the Workers' Front? Who are you, how many are you, what do you stand for?

The Workers' Front was founded in May 2014 by a group of workers, trade unionists, students, activists and unemployed. Our goal is to create a broad progressive platform, combining the activity of a political party with direct action at the workplaces and political activism in general.

At the centre of our mission is the provision of a coherent critique of the capitalist system, and together with other progressive groups, to employ direct strategies against it. We think that a fundamental change of Croatian politics and society is necessary because the capitalist system, which is currently on the offensive in dismantling the remnants of welfare state, is inherently producing inequality, destroying the environment and increasing the ability of rich and the powerful to live off the work of the oppressed and the neglected, while simultaneously diminishing the latter’s ability to influence the political process in any meaningful way.

Volodymyr Ishchenko on Ukraine: Maidan, the far right and civil war

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints from the region on the political situation in Ukraine. Another video is below. For more by
Volodymyr Ishchenko
.

By Volodymyr Ishchenko

November 4, 2014 -- Danyliw Research Seminar on Contemporary Ukraine -- How significant was the participation of the far right in Maidan? Unfortunately, this question quickly falls  victim to extreme politicisation due to two phenomena: first, active propaganda aimed at discrediting Maidan by its opponents, including the Russian media, and second, by whitewashing attempts by Maidan's (left-) liberal or moderate nationalist supporters.

Eastern Europe: For whom the Wall fell? Balance sheet of the transition to capitalism

The Berlin Wall comes down, 1989.

By Branco Milanovic

November 3, 2014 -- Globalinequality, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal --  As I was leaving Berlin less than a week before the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and as celebrations there were going strong, I decided to look at the balance sheet of transition countries (even if the term is no longer fully adequate) over the past quarter century.

I am originally from one of them, I worked on most of them in the 1990s, and I discussed and documented the Great Depression there in my 1998 book Income, inequality and poverty during the transition to market economies. So, I was going back to a familiar terrain.

Ukraine: Election confirms right-wing government and its austerity and war aims

Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine, with the new modernised main battle tank T-72B for the Ukrainian National Guard.

More on the political situation in Ukraine.

By Roger Annis

November 11, 2014 – A version of this first appeared at Truthout, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The general election to Ukraine’s parliament (the Verkhovna Rada, or Supreme Council) on October 26 was another step by the country’s wealthy power brokers to consolidate their pro-Europe, pro-austerity economic course and related war against the rebellious population in the east of the country. A large, neo-conservative and far-right majority now controls the Rada.

Boris Kagarlitsky: Rebel eastern Ukraine republics between war and elections

Polling station inside a rebel military base during elections in the city of Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints from the region on the political situation in Ukraine.

For more by Boris Kagarlitsky, click HERE.

By Boris Kagarlitsky, Moscow; translated by Renfrey Clarke

November 10, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the elections that took place in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics on November 2, 2014, the winner was the Russian presidential administration. This, and only this, was the political point of the voting. But the victory remains precarious and conditional.

Spain: Podemos on road to sweeping away two-party system

Click for more on Podemos and politics in Spain.

By Julian Coppens, Extremadura, western Spain

November 7, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- About 8000 members of the new organisation Podemos packed the Palacio Vistalegre in Madrid on October 18 and 19, 2014, for the final stages of the Citizens' Assembly “Si se puede” (Yes we can). The assembly, with 150,000 taking part online, discussed draft documents for the foundation of the Spanish state’s newest and fastest growing political force.

European economic stagnation: diagnoses and treatments

Trade unions in Greece have announced a general strike against austerity to take place on November 27, 2014.

By Dick Nichols

November 4, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For 48 hours it looked as if Thursday, October 16, 2014 might join similar October Thursdays in 1907, 1929 and 1979 as another dramatic moment when share market panic triggered economic downturn.

However, it was not to be. The three trillion dollar slump in world share market values in the first two-and-half-weeks of October has so far been partially reversed by a coordinated effort of “calm engineering” by central bankers. But how long can that treatment—whose message to the gambling fund managers is that interest rates will stay low—succeed?

Ireland: Mass protests, opinion poll confirm dramatic change in Irish politics

200,000 people demonstrated across Ireland on November 1 in protest against water charges.

November 1, 2014 -- Irish Republican News -- Sinn Fein has topped an opinion poll in the 26 Counties for the first time in the history of polling in the state, gaining four points to move up to 26%. The Millward Brown survey for tomorrow’s Sunday Independent questioned 1000 people over the past 10 days.

It shows independents also making gains, they increased their support by two points to stand at 23%.

Support for both government parties is down significantly, with Fine Gael dropping three points to 22% and Labour down two from 9% to 7%. Fianna Fail has also seen a drop in support, down one to 20%.

The poll showed a major move up for Sinn Fein, despite an intensive and orchestrated campaign in the establishment media to damage the party.

The news also came as over 200,000 people demonstrated on streets up and down the country in protest against water charges. Even the smaller towns across Ireland saw people march in their thousands, while cities numbered in tens of thousands.

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.

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