Donate to Links


Click on Links masthead to clear previous query from search box

GLW Radio on 3CR



Recent comments



Syndicate

Syndicate content

Europe

New hope in Ireland

By Brendan Young

May 20, 2011 -- Scottish Left Review via the Irish Left Review, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Described as a sea change by commentators, the biggest shock of Ireland’s February 25, 2011, general election was the collapse of the vote of Fianna Fáil (FF), the state’s largest party; from 41.5 per cent in 2007 to just 17.4 per cent this time. FF has governed in Ireland for 61 out of the 79 years since it was formed in 1932 and has won 14 out of the 19 general elections. Yet it now has only one TD (member of parliament) in Dublin -- down from 13. Its first preference vote in Dublin was only 12.5 per cent, whereas the United Left Alliance (ULA), on its first outing, got 7.1 per cent. What stands out is the loss of support for FF among working-class voters -- confirming what has already been happening in local elections.

Spain: The 'indignant' beat back authorities; 'Nothing will be as it was before'

Demonstrators in Madrid's famous Puerta del Sol protest against politicians, bankers and authorities' handling of the economic crisis on May 19, 2011. Photo by Pedro Armestre/AFP/Getty Images, via The Atlantic, which has more graphic photos.

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

May 29, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- The central plazas of dozens of cities and towns across Spain bear an uncanny resemblance to Tahrir Square in Cairo. They have been taken over by thousands of demonstrators demanding a "new system". As of May 29, dozens of other central plazas in Spanish cities and towns look the same — taken over by thousands of ordinary people demanding “a new system”.

Portugal: Left Bloc fires up to fight austerity

Left Bloc conference.

By Dick Nichols

May 22, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- When the 548 delegates to the seventh national convention of Portugal’s Left Bloc came together in a vast sports hall in Lisbon over May 7-8, they had two big questions to answer. The first was what alternative should they propose at the June 5, 2011, Portuguese elections to the €78 billion (about $103 billion) “rescue package” negotiated between the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (the “troika”) and the Socialist Party (PS) government of Prime Minister Jose Socrates?

The second was how to build greater unity among all those forces opposed to austerity — representing millions of Portuguese — so that a government of the left becomes thinkable in a country used to a back-and-forth shuffle of PS and Social Democratic Party (PDS) administrations?

Spain: The 'indignant’ and the Paris Commune

By Atilio A. Boron

May 24, 2011 – AtilioBoron.com, translated by the tlaxcala-int.org website, via the Bullet -- Perhaps it's one of history's surprises that the popular uprising surging through Spain (and which is beginning to reverberate throughout the rest of Europe) was sparked on the 140th anniversary of the Paris Commune, a heroic moment in which the fundamental demand was also that of democracy. But a democracy conceived as a government by, for, and of the people, and not as a regime serving the interests of patronage and in which the people's interests are inexorably subordinate to the imperative of business profits.

Behind the upsurge in Spain: ‘Revolutions arrive too late or too early, but always when they’re not expected’

“There are many Joses here, I’m not sure if its my turn or another Jose”, said Jose, a middle-aged man standing on the outer rim of a grupo de trabajo (work group) called at midnight on an adjacent street to Sol, the plaza known as point zero, in the heart of Madrid. The plaza has been occupied, as have dozens around Spain, since the huge protests on May 15 that brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets to demand “real democracy now!” and an end to austerity measures... That the protesters are mostly young is no surprise in a country where youth unemployment is about 40% and university graduates consider themselves lucky to secure a job at a fast food outlet. The overwhelming sentiment is that corrupt politicians must be banned from re-election and the electoral laws must be reformed so that they are more representative.

Luxembourg: Class struggle in a ‘haven of peace and social progress’

Steelworkers protest outside in the Luxembourg headquarters of ArcelorMittal, May 2009.

By Murray Smith

May 1, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  – Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in the European Union, and also one of the richest. However, in spite of its small size, it has some features that provide an acute illustration of broader tendencies that exist within the European Union and the advanced capitalist countries in general. The two most striking aspects of Luxembourg are its importance as a financial centre and the multinational character of its workforce.

The European workers' movement: dangers and challenges

In Portugal, November 2010 general strike called by the Communist Party-led CGTP and the Socialist Party-led UGT was massively supported, with 3 million strikers out of a workforce of 4.7 million.

By Murray Smith

March 6, 2011 -- New Socialist -- With the onset of the world economic crisis, the European workers' movement finds itself in a new phase, one that is replete with dangers and challenges. It is important to underline that we are in fact in a new situation and not just a continuation of the previous period.

Nuclear means catastrophe: The lesson of Fukushima

People are tested for radiation exposure near Fukushima. 

By Daniel Tanuro

March 17, 2011 -- International Viewpoint via Climate and Capitalism -- What has happened was entirely predictable: yet another major nuclear “accident”. At the time of writing, it is not yet certain that it will take on the dimensions of a disaster similar to Chernobyl, but that is the direction in which things, alas, look set to evolve. But whether it develops into a major disaster or not, we are once again faced with evidence that nuclear technology can never be 100% secure.

Ireland: Sinn Fein calls for a republic of freedom, sovereignty and the empowerment of citizens across all 32 counties

[Below is the transcript of Sinn Féin president and newly elected member of parliament Gerry Adam's first speech to Ireland's parliament (video above), on March 9, 2011.]

By Gerry Adams

March 9, 2011 -- I am very proud to stand here as an Ulsterman, as an Irish republican from County Antrim. It is a great honour to represent Sinn Féin in any capacity but it is especially gratifying to receive a mandate from one’s peers.

Ireland: United Left Alliance pledges to be radical opposition in the Dáil, and build a mass left alternative on the ground


The United Left Alliance's Joe Higgins' first speech in the Dáil on March 9, 2011. Transcript here.

March 9, 2011 -- United Left Alliance -- At the March 8 press conference convened by the United Left Alliance in response to the program for government agreed by Fine Gael and Labour Joe Higgins, Socialist Party/United Left Alliance TD [MP] for Dublin West said:

As we predicted, despite the media palaver about Fine Gael and [the] Labour [party] being incompatible they rapidly split the minute differences in their respective manifestos and have presented the public with essentially a continuation of the Fianna Fáíl/Green Party/IMF cuts program.

Tied in the straightjacket of cuts and austerity, the policies of this government mean more unemployment, more emigration, more stealth taxes and more transferring of wealth from taxpayers to failed banks and greedy bondholders. Scarcely any demands are being asked off the wealthy to pay for the crisis they created.

Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams: 'We can bring about a democratic revolution'

Follow Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams TD as he casts his vote for the first time in an Irish Dail election to topping the poll with 15,072 first preference votes and becoming a Sinn Fein TD for Louth/East Meath.

By Gerry Adams

March 1, 2011 -- The [Irish] election is now finally and positively and definitively over! The last counts in Wicklow and Laois Offaly and Galway West have been completed and the shape of the next Dáil is now known.

Acres of newsprint have been used to analyse the results and hours of television and radio, of tweets and blogs have reported on every twist and turn of what was a hugely important election.

Fianna Fáil and the Green Party have been punished for the bad decisions they took in government. Fine Gael and Labour benefited from the public anger. They did so despite having said they will implement Fianna Fail’s policy of adding private banking debt to the sovereign debt, and of implementing a succession of punitive austerity budgets over the next three years at least.

There are a plethora of independents from the left to the right and many in between.

Ireland: Electoral revolt against austerity, left makes big gains

Election night report of the count in Dun Laoghaire. United Left Alliance's Richard Boyd Barrett TD interviewed on RTE by Brian Dobson after being elected.

By Harry Browne, Dublin

March 3, 2011 -- Something changed in Ireland on February 25 when we cast our votes in parliamentary (Dáil) elections to replace the government that has overseen the utter collapse of the economy and Ireland’s debt enslavement to fund bankrupt banks and their bondholders.
The traditional centre-right ruling party, Fianna Fáil, lost nearly three-quarters of its seats, and will be replaced as the main party of the next government by Fine Gael, the centre-right party that is accustomed to spending most of its time in opposition. This has its own drama, to be sure, albeit rather predictable in outcome.

But in opening up a new space for the left, putting Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams in the Dáil, along with community activists like Joan Collins and Seamus Healy, and old Trots like Joe Higgins, Richard Boyd Barrett and Clare Daly, this election has provided a new platform for a resistance movement that could extend far beyond the polite precincts of parliament.

Ireland: Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams -- `The people know the system doesn’t serve them'

Gerry Adams launches Sinn Fein's general election campaign.

February 7, 2011 -- Irish Republican News -- Sinn Fein opened its election campaign on February 6 with a strong attack by party president Gerry Adams on corruption in the political system in the 26 Counties. Adams pointed to deep-seated anger among voters about the outgoing government and the other establishment parties, who he said were part of a deeply corrupt ruling elite.

“The economy is in crisis because of political choices being made by a deeply corrupt political elite operating within a flawed political system. And the political choices that they made were bad political choices”, Adams said. “There is deep distress out there. The people know the system doesn’t serve them, and that makes it a corrupt system.”

Ireland: More left support for the United Left Alliance

This Irish Times reports on February 13, 2011, that a former Labour Party member of parliament, Declan Bree, has joined the United Left Alliance (ULA). Another Irish left organisation has also backed the newly formed ULA. The ULA presently consists of three political parties: the Socialist Party, the People Before Profit Alliance and the Workers and Unemployed Action Group. Socialist Democracy, the party aligned with the Fourth International has released the following statement.

* * *

Statement from Ireland’s Socialist Democracy on the February 25 general election.

Ireland: Radio debate on United Left Alliance and left unity

The future of the left in Irish politics

January 20, 2011 -- RTE, Today with Pat Kenny -- A new political alliance was born in Ireland just before Christmas. It is the United Left Alliance. It’s an umbrella group of left-wing parties and individuals who have joined forces to fight the March 11, 2011, general election.

The grouping consists of three existing political parties: the Socialist Party, the People Before Profit Alliance and the Workers and Unemployed Action Group. However the Labour Party and Sinn Fein are not members.

Portugal: More austerity looms in 2011

General strike against austerity in Portugal, November 24, 2010.

By Raphie de Santos

January 4, 2011 -- Socialist Resistance -- A full financial bailout of Portugal involving the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) looks set to happen in the first half of 2011. This will involve severe austerity conditions being imposed on the Portuguese people by the ECB and IMF.

The indications are clearly there as at the end of 2010 Fitch joined the two other credit rating agencies to downgrade Portugal’s debt to A+, which is just above junk status. They are concerned that the current account deficit running at 9% is unsustainable with the ruling Socialist Party unable to impose the effective 4% budget cuts in 2011 that they outlined at the end of 2010.

Irish crisis: A complete failure for neoliberalism

Protest against austerity outside Irish government buildings in Dublin.

By Eric Toussaint, translated by Christine Pagnoulle in collaboration with Judith Harris

January 3, 2011 -- CADTM -- For a decade, Ireland was heralded by the most ardent partisans of neoliberal capitalism as a model to be imitated. The "Celtic Tiger" had a higher growth rate than the European average. Tax rates on companies had been reduced to 12.5% |1| and the rate actually paid by the transnational corporations that had set up business there was between 3 and 4% -- a CEO’s dream!

France: Not victorious, but not defeated

By Murray Smith

December 8, 2010 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It is now possible to begin to draw a tentative balance sheet of the vast movement against the reform (or more exactly, counter-reform) of the pension system in France over the last few months. We need to look at the depth and breadth of the movement, the forms that it took and the positions adopted by its various components. And finally at what might be the repercussions and consequences.

The immediate aim of the reform proposed by President Nicolas Sarkozy and his government seemed quite clear. It was to raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 and the age for retiring with a full pension from 65 to 67, with corresponding increases in the number of years of contribution required. But behind this immediate aim lies the ongoing objective of slowly undermining the public pension system, with the aim of pushing workers towards subscribing to private pension plans, to the greater profit of the pension funds.

Private funds have never been able to develop in France to the extent that they have elsewhere.

Samir Amin: Global currency wars, US imperialism and the global South

November 25, 2010 -- Pambazuka News -- Marxist economist Samir Amin speaks to Pambazuka's Firoze Manji on the misleading rhetoric over the so-called currency war. The real problem, he argues, is the disequilibrium in the global integrated monetary and financial system, in which the US insists on the right to control its currency, but denies the same rights to others, such as China. The countries of the global South need to leave the US and its allies to sort out their own problems and concentrate on developing regional currencies and exercising strict control over capital flows, Amin argues.

* * *

(Updated Nov. 24) Ireland: Fianna Fail/Greens cave in to EU/IMF on `bailout'; Left vows to fight austerity

Photo by Christina Finn/Politico.

November 23, 2010 -- Irish Republican News -- The public finances of the 26-county state [Ireland] will, for the next three years at least, be subject to “regular reviews” by external monitors working on behalf of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union (EU) and the British and Swedish governments.

On November 21, the Taoiseach [Prime Minister] Brian Cowen and minister for finance Brian Lenihan, after a week of shocking lies and deceit, said they were accepting the IMF/EU bailout. It later emerged that the G7, comprising the seven most powerful countries in the world, had met to give its approval to the deal.

Syndicate content

Powered by Drupal - Design by Artinet