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Europe

Greece: 'Why we must support a SYRIZA government'

“Their struggle is your struggle too! Everyone to the streets!”

By Andrew Burgin

December 10, 2014 -- Left Unity (Britain), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has called a presidential election, which will take place this month. It’s the parliament that elects the president in Greece but if the electoral sums don’t add up – which so far they don’t – and no president is elected, then the government must call a general election. In the event of a general election, it is likely that SYRIZA – the party of the radical left – will be the largest party and will form the government.

Concerns about a SYRIZA victory are expressed clearly by the stock market: the Athens exchange closed 12.8% down the day the presidential election was announced. The markets may be down, but there is great popular enthusiasm for a SYRIZA victory. Support for the party has grown hugely over the last few years because it rejects the austerity policies that have brought Greece to crisis point and will it break with neoliberalism.

Alemania: un gobierno rojo-rojo-verde en Turingia

[English at "Germany: Red-red-green government in Thuringia", http://links.org.au/node/4187.]

Por Victor Grossman , traducción para Sinpermiso: Enrique García

Belgium: Towards a major confrontation after successful general strike

Strikers march on December 15, 2014.

[For more on Belgium, click HERE.]

By Daniel Tanuro

December 17, 2014 -- International Viewpoint, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The 24-hour strike that mobilised the Belgian working class on December 15 was an enormous success. The country was completely paralysed: in Flanders, in Wallonia and in Brussels, in the private and public sectors, in industry and the services, transport and the trade, the big and small companies. Such a massive movement has not been seen since the strike of November 1993 but, unlike that one, the strike of December 15 should not remain uncompleted.

Scotland: Labour Party leadership vote confirms entrenched right-wing politics, opens way for left

Jim Murphy campaigns against independence for Scotland.

For more on Scotland and independence, click HERE.

By Ken Ferguson

December 13, 2014 -- Scottish Left Project, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The election of arch Blairite Jim Murphy – by a 20% margin – as Scottish Labour Party leader is surely final confirmation that the former working-class party is now a wholly owned tool of the Westminster establishment and its role as servants of the neoliberal speculation policies of the City of London.

That Labour Party members elected Murphy in the belief that he is the new Messiah tells us just how out of touch with Scottish opinion both they and their party have become.

Faced with the mass radicalisation and ferment of progressive ideas developed by the Yes campaign, which has gone way beyond the independence issue into areas as diverse as land reform, poverty pay and building a just sustainable Scotland they repeated their September reaction and said No thanks.

Ireland: Huge water protest brings Dublin to standstill -- again

By Duroyan Fertl

December 12, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- Up to 100,000 protesters shut down Dublin city on December 10 in the latest mass demonstration against the introduction of water charges. Protesters from across the country braved media hysteria, riot police and police barricades, and the threat of a fierce storm, to descend on the centre of Dublin, placing Leinster House – home of the Dáil (the Irish parliament) – and other government buildings in “lock down”.

The protest – organised by the Right2Water campaign – was the third major protest against the charges in two months. It came after a 100,000 strong march in Dublin on October 11 and protests across Ireland on November 1 that attracted about 200,000 in dozens of towns and cities.

The introduction of new charges on water use, levied via new state-owned company Irish Water, has brought years of anger with austerity cuts and government arrogance to a head. Not only is the cost of water already covered by general taxation, it is also widely believed water charges are a first step towards privatising Irish Water and the revenue from water charges.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s 'The Era of the People': 'Citizens’ revolution' and ecosocialist vision


[The people] are supposed to exercise power through parliamentary assemblies. But the financial oligarchy which rule our present situation have taken upon themselves the right to veto their decisions. This is why the system doesn’t fear the left, which it has been able to control … But it has a clear-headed fear of the people. Since it is the people who directly and physically contend with them for power with a spontaneous program that is the negation of the established order. -- Jean-Luc Mélenchon

By Liam Flenady

Pablo Iglesias (Podemos) on working-class consciousness and politics

Click for more on Podemos and politics in Spain.

Spanish leftist leader Pablo Iglesias, from the political party Podemos, explains his approach to the masses. During its campaign for the 2014 European election, Podemos was criticised by some on the left for avoiding traditional terms such as "class struggle", "bourgeois", "proletariat"...

Read the full text of the comments at https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/12/pablo-iglesias-podemos-left-speech/.

Germany: Red-red-green government in Thuringia

By Victor Grossman

December 7, 2014 -- MRZine, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Political parties in Germany are represented by colours: the Christian-Democrats (CDU), due to clerical ties, are black, the Greens of course are green, the Social Democrats (SPD) are traditionally red. When the redder Die Linke (Left) party came along critics said the SPD should switch to "pink". But it didn't, so the new government in the eastern state of Thuringia is a "red-red-green coalition" -- the very first in Germany with the Die Linke on top!  A true sensation! The coalition squeezed  to victory -- by one single wavering vote.

Were the SPD and Greens really willing to be junior partners with Die Linke, scorned as pariahs? They were, but in an almost exactly split legislature every vote was needed to beat possible maneuvers by the CDU, now very bitter at getting pushed out after ruling Thuringia since 1990.  

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.

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.

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.

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