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Down with the government of murderers! Greek left on the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos (+ video, audio; updated Dec. 23)

December 10-23, 2008 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is publishing a number of declarations, statements, calls and articles from Greek left organisations in response to the assassination by Greek police of Alexis Grigoropoulos. Please keep in mind that the translations may be less than perfect, but due to the urgency of the situation they have been posted as is.

We’ll add more as we receive them. Thanks to ESSF and Rustbelt Radical for the initial compilation.

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France's New Anti-Capitalist Party: An exchange between Alex Callinicos (British SWP) and François Sabado (LCR)

LCR presidential candidate Olivier Besancenot

Below are two articles which first appeared in Critique Communiste, and in English in the November issue of International Viewpoint, the magazine of the Fourth International. The first is by Alex Callinicos, a leader of the British Socialist Workers Party. The second, "The NPA, a new experience of building an anti-capitalist party", is a reply by François Sabado, a leader of the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR).

France: Towards the foundation of a New Anti-Capitalist Party

By Pierre Rousset

The political impact of the New Anti-Capitalist Party (Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste or NPA) process is quite important. In a number places, this new political party in construction is already de facto replacing the French Revolutionary Communist League (Ligue communiste révolutionnaire or LCR)and is very active.

In June 2007, the LCR launched an appeal for the constitution of a New Anti-Capitalist Party. In June 2008, 1000 delegates met in Paris to give a national-scale dimension to a process which started from the bottom. At the beginning of November 2008, delegates from some 400 committees gathered again to discuss three documents: programmatic references, political orientation, statutes and functioning of the NPA. Around 10,000 activists are presently engaged in the founding process of the NPA – three times more than the total membership of the LCR.

On November 6, 2008 it held its first public meeting in Paris with more than 2000 participants. If everything goes as planned, on January 29, 2009, the LCR at its last congress will decide on its own dissolution. The following days, January 30-February 1, 2009, at its first congress, the NPA will be constituted.

France: Olivier Besancenot -- `For a left that stops making excuses'

Hand in hand with the struggles of French workers and students has been the massive growth in popularity of postal worker and Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) spokesperson Olivier Besancenot (pictured).

Recent opinion polls listed “The Red Postie”, as even the capitalist media call him, as the second most credible opposition politician to the right-wing government of President Nicolas Sarkozy. Besancenot was voted second after the Socialist Party (PS) mayor of Paris and ahead of the parliamentary leaders of the official PS “opposition”.

Below is an excerpt of Besancenot’s speech to an August open air rally of 3500 members and supporters of the New Anti-capitalist Party (NAP), initiated by the LCR, on the challenges for the project.

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It’s in these times of economic crisis that we will have to show just how useful we really are.

We must, in the year ahead, continue to show that we are the most effective opponents of the Sarkozy government and the policies of the French Confederation of Business Enterprises.

Nationalism, revolution and war in the Caucasus

By Tony Iltis

August 27, 2008 -- Since the European Union-brokered ceasefire brought the shooting war between Georgia and Russia to an end on August 12, there has been a war of words between Russia and the West. One point of contention is the withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia-proper (that is, Georgia excluding the de facto independent territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia), in particular the towns of Gori, Zugdidi and Senaki and the port of Poti.

The war began with Georgia’s August 7 attack on the territory of South Ossetia. Russia responded with a military assault that first drove Georgian troops out of South Ossetia, then continued to advance within Georgia-proper.

Russia agreed to withdraw when it signed the ceasefire and has since indicated that it is doing so — but slowly, and not before systematically destroying Georgia’s military capacity.

A bigger difference, based on competing interpretations of what is and isn’t Georgian territory, is Russia’s stated intention to maintain a beefed-up peacekeeping presence in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The decline of US power: Can Russia, China, India or Europe fill the gap? Can people's power?

 

 

August 16, 2008, Radio New Internationalist

The new superpowers

Commentators claim that as a superpower, the US is in decline. Is this the case?

Serbia: The war criminal Karadzic and Western hypocrisy

By Michael Karadjis

August 2, 2008 (updated October 11, 2008) -- The new Serbian government last month finally cornered Radovan Karadzic, the former leader of the Bosnian Serb Republic (Republika Srpska), one of the two entities which make up Bosnia, during the war in 1992-5 when that statelet was created. Karadzic had been in hiding for many years from the International War Crimes Tribunal in, which in 1995 had indicted him for various war crimes including genocide.

The July 21 arrest led to a wave of hypocrisy in Western capitals, congratulating Serbia on the arrest of the vile criminal. Yet for the last seven years in Afghanistan and five years in Iraq, well upwards of a million people have been killed as a result of the US invasion and occupation of these countries. Whole countries are being destroyed; yet not only do these war crimes of climactic scale go unpunished, but these leading war criminals then see themselves as having the right to designate who is a war criminal.

The Scottish Socialist Party: the biggest small party

By Richie Venton

SSP - For a workers MP on a workers wage

July 26, 2008 -- What a phenomenal result in the July 24 Glasgow East by-election on two parallel levels: the earth-shattering defeat of the Labour Party in Red Clydesider John Wheatley’s seat, Labour’s third-safest seat in Scotland, held by them since 1922; and the tremendous achievement for the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) in winning fifth place, the highest position for any of the smaller parties, despite all the apparently insurmountable obstacles we faced.

If we compare the votes with those of the 2005 Westminster election in the identical Glasgow East seat, Labour has gone into freefall from 18,775 to 10,912; the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) rocketed from 5268 to 11,277 -- in a turnout down from 48.2% in 2005 to 42.1% this time.

The May-June 1968 revolt in France and its influence today (+ videos)

By Duncan Meerding

In May and June 1968, a movement erupted in France that threatened not just the survival of the government of President Charles De Gaulle but the system that it represented — capitalism. At the height of this movement, which was sparked by radical action by youth and students, an estimated 10 million workers were on strike and 600,000 students were occupying their schools and universities, and a further 2 million farmers were supporting them. This meant that more than one in five of France’s population were on the

How Europe underdevelops Africa (but how some fight back)

By Patrick Bond and Richard Kamidza

ADDIS ABABA, June 11, 2008 -- In even the most exploitative African sites of repression and capital accumulation, sometimes corporations take a hit, and victims sometimes unite on continental lines instead of being divided and conquered. Turns in the class struggle might have surprised Walter Rodney, the political economist whose 1972 classic How Europe Underdeveloped Africa provided detailed critiques of corporate looting.

In early June, the British-Dutch firm Shell Oil –- one of Rodney's targets -- was instructed to depart the Ogoniland region within the Niger Delta in southern Nigeria, where in 1995 Shell officials were responsible for the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa by Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha. After decades of abuse, women protesters, local NGOs and the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) gave Shell the shove. France's Total appears to be the next in line to go, in part because of additional pressure from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

Cuban VP: `Sustainable development requires a revolution in our values'

May 18, 2008

Address by José Ramón Machado Ventura, First Vice-President of Cuba’s Council of State, at a session on ``Sustainable Development: the Environment, Climate Change and Energy'', during the 5th EU/LAC (European Union/Latin America and Caribbean) summit meeting in Lima, Peru, May 16-17.

Your Excellency:

At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro 16 years ago, Fidel Castro issued a prophetic warning, stating that ``an important biological species is at risk of disappearing as a result of the rapid and progressive destruction of its natural living conditions: humanity''.

Time has proven him right.

Let us not mince our words: we won’t attain sustainable development, the negative impacts of climate change will not be halted or reversed, and the environment will not be preserved for future generations, if the irrational patterns of production, distribution and consumption imposed upon us by capitalism prevail. The globalisation of neoliberal policies has drastically exacerbated the crisis.

France: Coming together `to build a party of struggle and mobilisation'

Interview with the LCR's Olivier Besancenot, conducted by the Swiss revolutionary socialist newspaper SolidaritéS

SolidaritéS: Is there in the history of the French or international workers' movement precedents for the construction of a new ``anti-capitalist party'', as initiated by the LCR congress?

Besancenot: We do not claim to be inventing anything. But it's true, this project is rather unique. First, it is unusual for a political organisation that has not been discredited -- and has even experienced some success -– to pose the problem of its disappearance! Of course, this is not about assessing the profit and losses of the history of the political current that the LCR represents. But instead, to write a new page, with others. With many others.

And neither is it about a merger between political movements, even if we are ready to discuss with all those who might be interested in this project. In fact, this project is based on an analysis of a new situation, in particular the extent of the crisis of the workers' movement.

Towards a new anti-capitalist party in France

By François Duval, LCR National Leadership -- February 28, 2008 -- In January, a vast majority of the delegates at the 17th national congress of the LCR [Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire; Revolutionary Communist League] approved a new political perspective: the building of a broad anti-capitalist party. This decision is intimately related to the analysis of the political situation since the election of [right-wing candidate] Nicolas Sarkozy as president. There are three main reasons:

Irish nationalism and the peace process

Interview with Bernadette McAliskey

This interview appeared in the May 1999 German-language Irland Almanach, edited by Jürgen Schneider. It was conducted on April 6, 1999, in Coalisland, County Tyrone, by Ralf Sotscheck, Irish and British correspondent for the German daily newspaper Die Tageszeitung. Bernadette McAliskey, a leader of the Northern Ireland civil rights movement of the 1960s, was a Westminster MP in the early 1970s and is a long-time human rights activist.

You stated some time ago that the peace process cannot and will not lead to the achievement of the just and democratic ideals to which people gave their liberty and their lives. Do you reject the peace process, or what's your position now?

I still have exactly the same analysis of the peace process. I think that over the period of time in which it has been played out, the analysis has proved to be correct. I do not take any great joy in that.

Has the dictatorship over needs ended in eastern Europe?

By Laszlo Andor

Among state socialist countries, Hungary distinguished itself from the 1960s by introducing comprehensive economic reforms. These reforms, together with the so-called Prague Spring of Czechoslovakia, were typically interpreted as attempts to establish "socialism with a human face". A major feature of this new face was that the New Economic Mechanism[1] abandoned the Stalinist bias for forced accumulation and heavy industry, and improved the conditions of consumption and agriculture.

The Lessons of Prague

By Boris Kagarlitsky

The events of September 2000 in Prague marked a turning point. When the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund planned their annual meeting for the Czech Republic, they hoped for a peaceful gathering in the only eastern European country where hatred of neo-liberalism has not yet become a mass phenomenon. The outcome was that the international bankers were obliged to flee from a city whose streets had become the scene of battles between police and thousands of demonstrators from all parts of Europe. The bankers did not even manage to hold a concluding press conference.

By no means all the participants in the movement against capitalist globalisation, however, interpreted what had happened as a victory. Many were shocked by the violence on the streets, and still more were dismayed by the united attack mounted on the movement by the media.

It is thus essential to draw up a balance sheet of the events and to form conclusions. After Prague, the movement is clearly shifting into a new phase. It is not simply that disagreements have begun appearing among the protesters. The international financial organisations are not standing still either. For them, Prague was a severe defeat, in a certain sense even more serious than the "uprising in Seattle". For this very reason, the "executive committee of the ruling class" will inevitably draw conclusions from what has happened, and will adjust its course.

Campaigning and Parliamentary Priorities

By Tommy Sheridan

Tommy Sheridan was the first member of the SSP elected to the Scottish Parliament, in 1999.

The election of six socialist MSPs represents both a massive advance for and a huge challenge to the socialist movement in Scotland.

Undoubtedly the ability of the SSP to link its socialist activity within the Scottish parliament to its socialist program outside parliament has played a major role in promoting the party in relation to anti-poverty, pro-trade union, pro-peace and anti-war campaigns.

The way the party was able to take the abolition of poundings and warrant sales campaign out into the communities and bring pressure to bear back inside the parliament was a model for uniting parliamentary and extra-parliamentary activity. A similar and even broader exercise was conducted in relation to the free school meals campaign. Even though the end result was unsuccessful, the party still managed to pressure thirty-five MSPs to vote for a significant anti-poverty and pro-health measure.

Scottish Politics has changed for ever

By Allan McCombes

Alan McCombes is a member of SSP National Executive and was the coordinator for the party's 2003 election campaign. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Links.

For the complacent ruling establishment, the spectacular rise of a new left opposition in Holyrood came like a snowstorm in the Sahara.

Right up until literally the midnight hour, the SSP, the Greens and the independents had been ignored, or at best patronised, by the mainstream media.

Nothing prepared the political commentators for the shock of witnessing the big four parties lose one and a quarter million votes across the two ballots; or for the lurch to the left across Scotland and the election of seventeen radical anti-establishment MSPs.

The centre right continues to rule Scotland through the Lib-Lab coalition. But the political centre of gravity in Scotland has shifted decisively to the left.

There is now a clear red gulf separating Holyrood from Westminster. Scotland has become the political Achilles heel of the UK capitalist state.

Scottish socialists' election advance

Analysis of the SSP's 2003 Election Results

By Allan Green

Allan Green is a member of the National Executive of the Scottish Socialist Party and a member of the Editorial Board of Links.

CONTENTS

What happened with the second vote

SSP achieved a relatively stable, committed vote

Different layers support SSP and Greens

Conclusions on the second vote

Left election results in England and Wales

The role of the party in this success

 

The entire Scottish Socialist Party can be justifiably proud of our performance in the Holyrood elections on May 1. The vision, principles, courage and commitment of the party over four years have produced an election outcome that will permanently change the face of Scottish politics.

Another Europe is possible! No to the multinationals' constitution!

This statement was issued by a meeting of the European Anti-Capitalist Left on December 5, 2004.

 

European Union governments are trying to impose a constitution designed behind closed doors on 450 million people. This socalled constitutional treaty has taken the place of a constituent process based on a mandate coming out of open democratic debates and sovereignty of the peoples of Europe.

This constitution is dangerous.

It consecrates the absolute primacy of the "free market". It legally forbids any infringement of private property and market relations. It refuses to give any legal status to social gains won on a national level through a century and a half of workers' struggles.

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