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Europe

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: 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.

European Left discussion: What scorecard for the radical left in government?

Helmut Markov (Die Linke, Germany).

By Denis Rogatyuk

September 8, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Among the many discussions that took place during the annual Party of the European Left’s Summer University (outside Berlin, in late July) was a seminar by representatives of various left-wing parties that have been, or are currently, part of regional, state or national governments.

The question of the non-social-democratic left’s ability to function as a genuine anti-capitalist alternative to the existing political elite, while at the same time being in government in coalition with the elements of the same elite, has been a key point of discussion on the left in Europe.

Spain: Podemos and the dynamic reorganisation of the left

Click for more on Podemos and politics in Spain.

By Mario Candeias

September 3, 2014 -- The Bullet, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission-- It is no longer enough to win over civil society, occupy public spaces, take to the streets, carry out symbolic actions, prevent evictions or to win plebiscites. In Spain movements for "real democracy" are setting a course to capture institutions – albeit with the aim to recreate these institutions in a constitutive process in the interests of "real democracy".

We are witnessing a dynamic reorganisation of the political sphere – from the left. Even before the European parliamentary elections at the end of May a shift was evident that would bring the Izquierda Unida (United Left, IU) party a tripling of its votes. It now has six members in the European Parliament (MEPs) in Strasbourg.

East of the West: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland after the EU election


A supporter of the the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) at a party rally.

By Jirí Málek

[This analysis was presented at the international workshop of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation “On the situation of the left in Europe after the EU elections: New challenges”. Held July 21-23, 2014, in Berlin.]

Transform! Network -- Before me is the task of speaking in a limited time on things that can hardly be responsibly described in brief. For that reason please allow me to make use of a method that could be compared to tossing a flat stone along a flat surface – ever grazing the water, making a couple of little waves and flying off a little more to brush the surface again. With regards to several issues I too will merely brush the surface and rush on to others. And it is likely more questions will arise than answers.

What will I be speaking about? The Karlovy Vary Film Festival has a section called: East of the West. Likewise we will devote this time to the area east of the West, though in the slightly narrower sense of the part of Central Europe otherwise known as the Visegrad Four: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland (total 106 European parliament seats – 14.1 %).

Escocia: Independencia sin fronteras

hands up

"La independencia de Escocia no es una cuestión de fronteras o banderas, sino de la vida de las personas y como cambiar a mejor” -- Cat Boyd en una reunión en la Cámara de los Comunes.

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4022.]

Por Hilary Wainwright

31/08/14 -- Sinpermiso --En la actualidad existe un movimiento político en Escocia que va bastante más allá de lo controlable, que ni siquiera comprensible a través de los mecanismos parlamentarios convencionales, la política reducida a la mera elección-de-un-candidato-cada-cuatro-años.

Muchos de nosotros, al sur de la frontera con Escocia, hemos tenido nuestros sentidos políticos tan adormecidos por las promesas incumplidas de cambio durante tanto tiempo que ha costado mucho que la gente acepte este hecho, pero debemos aceptarlo.

Ireland: Gerry Adams reflects on 20th anniversary of IRA cessation

August 31, 2014 -- Sinn Féin -- Sinn Féin president and TD for Louth Gerry Adams reflects on the 20th anniversary of the IRA cessation of military operations on August 31, 1994. Adams highlights the urgent need for the British and Irish governments to tackle outstanding issues bedevilling the political process in the north and which threaten the progress that has been made.

Sinn Féin and its newspaper An Phoblacht have launched a special section on the Sinn Féin website on the 20th anniversary of the IRA cessation. The section includes an interactive timeline, historic statements and this video by Gerry Adams.

Click HERE for more discussion of Irish politics.

Scotland: Independence without borders

hands up

"Scottish independence isn't about borders or flags, it's about people's lives and change" -- independence campaigner Cat Boyd argued as she presented the case for Yes at a meeting in the House of Commons.The meeting agreed with a resounding Yes vote.

By Hilary Wainwright

August 2014 -- Red Pepper, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- There is today a political movement in Scotland that is quite beyond anything containable by or even comprehensible through the terms of conventional parliamentary, tick-some-scoundrel's-name-every-four-years politics.

Scotland's independence vote: 'For a modern democratic republic' -- Scottish Socialists

The Scottish Socialist Party pamphlet, For a Modern Democratic Republic, written by SSP national spokesperson Colin Fox (pictured above), highlights the need for an elected, representative and accountable head of state as part of Scotland’s constitution. The book is available from local SSP branches priced £3.99, and from its online shop for £5 (inc. p&p). Here is a taste of the pamphlet’s contents.

* * *

By Colin Fox, Scottish Socialist Party national co-spokesperson

August 26, 2014 -- Scottish Socialist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

‘Fighting nationalism and the troika is our goal’, says Party of the European Left chairperson

Pierre Laurent.

Read more on the Party of the European Left

Pierre Laurent interviewed by Denis Rogatyuk

August 3, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- The Party of the European Left is a continent-wide amalgamation of far-left, radical and socialist political parties and groups. It includes the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) in Greece, Die Linke in Germany, the United Left in Spain, the Left Front (Front de Gauche) in France and many others.

While attending the Ninth Summer University of European Left, Green Left Weekly's Denis Rogatyuk got a chance to discuss the challenges and plans of the European Left with Pierre Laurent, its current chairperson. Laurent is also national secretary of the French Communist Party, which is part of France’s Left Front.

* * *

Denis Rogatyuk: I thought we would begin with the question on the mind of all the different left and progressive political parties in Europe — the question of the European Elections. Do you think the European Left fulfilled the best possible outcome in these elections?

‘No Afghanistan in Ukraine!’: Anti-war protests spread as Kyiv wages all-out war in the south east

Anti-war protest in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, July 25, 2014, blocking traffic bridge over Bug River. Sign reads: "We demand, save the 79th Regiment!"

Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.

By Roger Annis

July 31, 2014 -- A Socialist in Canada, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- A rising wave of anti-war and anti-conscription protests is taking place in cities and towns across western Ukraine. The protests are prompted by the announcement of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko 10 days ago that a “third” military mobilisation is now required for the war that his governing regime began waging against the population of eastern Ukraine three months ago. Kyiv calls the war an "anti-terrorist operation".

The protests are paralleled by a rise in Ukraine army desertions and refusals of men and women to heed conscription orders.

Spain’s Podemos: An inside view of a radical left sensation

Pablo Iglesias.

Click for more on Podemos and politics in Spain.

By Iñigo Errejón, head of Podemos' European election campaign

July 15, 2014 -- Le Monde Diplomatique, translated by Revolting Europe -- In Spain, the surge of discontent caused by structural adjustment policies and hostage taking of popular sovereignty by the oligarchic powers gave rise to a series of protests and created spaces for social cooperation. However, it had no effect on the political system and its internal balance.

Ukraine: Despite MH17 disaster, Kyiv regime escalates shelling of east

A villager surveys his home wrecked by shelling in Semyonovka, in Luhansk district. Image from BBC.

Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.

By Roger Annis

July 19, 2014 -- Rabble.ca, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- I learned of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 when my plane landed in Montreal the same day, July 17, on my way home from Moscow. The Moscow-Munich leg of my flight departed one hour before the (delayed) departure of Flight MH17 from Amsterdam at 12:30 pm local time. I reckon the respective flight paths crossed each other somewhere just west of Ukraine.

Spain: Podemos MEP Pablo Iglesias condemns 'hijacking of democracy' by big business

To activate subtitles, press play and click on the bottom right icon, next to the clock. Then choose English.

Click for more on Podemos

July 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal --  Pablo Iglesias is one of the five members of the European Parliament elected from the lists of Podemos, a barely 100-day-old political party that in the May 2014 European elections won more than 1 million votes in Spain.

In his maiden speech in the European Parliament, Iglesias praised the memory of the European peoples who fought for justice and freedom, and attacked the hijacking of democracy by financial markets, lobbies and big corporations.

Podemos website (in Spanish)is at http://podemos.info/

'No to the war in eastern Ukraine!' Declarations of the Yalta anti-war conference

Ukraine army in Kramatorsk. Photo Ukraine government.

Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.

July 16, 2014 -- Text from A Socialist in Canada, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission

Declaration of the assembly of citizens of Ukraine and representatives of international solidarity networks, issued in Yalta, Crimea, July 7, 2014

A major human rights and humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Ukraine. The government that took power in Kyiv in February 2014 is conducting a brutal military assault in the southeast of the country.

Slovenia: Radical left wins surprise fourth place in early election

Anti-privatisation protest during United Left Coalition's campaign.

By Gal Kirn

July 14, 2014 -- Transform! Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We have broken the vicious circle of anti-communism in the post-Yugoslav context. As you imagine we are more than happy to present you with such an amazing election result! As all the commentators say, the United Left Coalition (ULC) was the biggest surprise. But the path was difficult, the ULC was from early on marginalised by the mainstream.

[The ULC was formed for the May 25, 2014, European elections. It is composed of the Party for Sustainable Development (TRS), the Democratic Labor Party (DSD) and the Initiative for Democratic Socialism (IDS).]

Belgium: Far-left breakthrough as Workers’ Party enters parliaments

By La Gauche

July 11, 2014 -- International Viewpoint -- Before May 25, there were no elected representatives of what is called the "radical" left in Belgium, unlike in other countries in Europe. This anomaly has now been corrected.

The PTB-GO![1] lists are in fact sending two members to the Belgian federal Chamber of Deputies (Raoul Hedebouw in Liège and Marco Van Hees in Hainaut), two to the Walloon parliament (including the steelworker Frédéric Gillot) and four to the parliament of the Brussels-Capital region. Apart from Vincent Decroly and Bernard Wesphael, who were elected for the Ecolo party but who continued to sit after resigning from their party (one on the federal level and the other in the Walloon region), there had been no member of parliament to the left of the Socialist Party (PS) and the Greens since the early 1980s.

Liège and Hainaut

Catalonia: ‘Let’s Win Barcelona’ lays down unity challenge for left

The school hall in which the launch of "Let's Win Barcelona" took place was packed, with over a thousand forced to watch proceedings from outside and 5000 more looking on via video link

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

By Dick Nichols

For a 'social Europe benefiting all': Gabi Zimmer, head of the GUE/NGL parliamentary group

Interview conducted by Maxime Benatouil

June 24, 2014 -- Transform!, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Recently re-elected at the head of the GUE/NGL parliamentary group, Gabi Zimmer (from Germany's Die LINKE) delivers insights on the new GUE/NGL’s composition. It has significantly grown, numbering 52 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in the new legislature -- up from 35 in the previous parliament.

How would you assess the results for the political forces that have jointly managed European institutions since the beginning of European integration, namely the conservatives, the social-democrats and the liberals?

Gabi Zimmer: The results of the European elections are very ambivalent. On the one hand, we have to acknowledge that there is a slim majority for the conservatives. MEPs from the European Popular Party will most likely form a sort of great coalition with the social democrats and the liberals. But on the other hand, this does not reflect the wishes of the people for another policy. The results showed that they want the European Union to change, and its policies to go in another direction. Moreover, it is not possible to talk about the outcomes of the European elections without mentioning the results of extreme right and nationalist political forces.

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