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Parties elected -- Red: Communist; Orange: ČSSD; Blue: ANO 2011; Purple: TOP 09.
By Jirí Málek
October 29, 2013 -- Transform! -- After a government crisis in summer, early elections were called in the Czech Republic. October 25-26 were the D days. The campaign was relatively short and the program documents were of little interest to the majority.
The campaign was more about persons and political marketing. Polls were showing positive results for the left, but the last two weeks revealed that the situation would be much more complicated and without a clear majority of the left.
Parties elected to parliament:
CSSD (Social democrats): 20.5%, 50 seats (down six)
ANO 2011 (a new political formation): 18.7%, 47 seats
KSCM (Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia): 14.9%, 33 seats (up seven)
TOP 09 (until now the ruling right-wing party): 12.0%, 26 seats (down 15)
ODS (until now a dominant right-wing, ruling party): 7.7%, 16 seats (down 37)
USVIT (a new political formation): 6.9%, 14 seats
KDU-CSL (Christian democrats): 6.8%, 14 seats
By Michael Lebowitz
September 13, 2013 -- The Bullet, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission. This essay is from a talk given to the Centre for Political Emancipation in Belgrade, Serbia, on May 6, 2013. It can also be seen above and on YouTube. -- Why did "real socialism" and, in particular the Soviet Union, fall? Let me note a few explanations that have been offered. With respect to the Soviet Union, one very interesting explanation that has been suggested is that it's all the fault of Mikhail Gorbachev. And not simply the errors of Gorbachev but the treachery. Those who offer this explanation rely in particular upon a document which is sometimes described as his confession. This document begins as follows:
June 9, 2013 -- Webguerrillero [es] -- The Saskaņas Centrs, a coalition of left-wing parties, has won 59% of popular vote in the municipal elections held in this Eastern European country. The coalition, whose name means "Harmony Center" is formed by the social-democratic party "Harmony" and the Socialist Party of Latvia (heir of the Communist Party, which was declared illegal in 1994).
The coalition belongs to the all-European Union (EU) political bloc European United Left-Nordic Green Left, which includes the major communist-leaning coalitions and parties, such as Greek SYRIZA, Cypriot AKEL, German Die Linke, French Left Front, Spanish United Left and Irish Sinn Féin, among others.
While the EU and the International Monetary Fund insist that Latvia is an example of the "success" of the draconian policies of "austerity for the poor, huge profits for the rich" that they sponsor and dictate all around, the reality is that Latvia has been ravaged by such policies (see the funny video above).
Jock Palfreeman interviewed by Tony Iltis, Sofia
May 17, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- “I’m in Villawood!”, Jock Palfreeman exclaimed, with the cheerful exuberance he displayed throughout an interview conducted through glass and wire-mesh partitions in the gloomy surroundings of the visiting room of Sofia central prison.
He told Green Left Weekly that it was the plight of refugees illegally detained in Sydney's Villawood detention centre by the Australian government that first radicalised him. His first protest, as a high school student in Sydney, was a blockade of the offices of Villawood’s then operator Australasian Correctional Management on May Day in 2002.
A year later he organised students at his school to attend the “Books Not Bombs” student walkouts to protest against the war on Iraq.
It was because of his seeming inability to ignore injustice that he is now serving a 20-year sentence in Bulgaria.
[The following document is the program of Slovenia's Initiative for Democratic Socialism. It is posted for the information of readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. Thanks to Michael Lebowitz for making it available. It is also posted at http://www.demokraticni-socializem.si/.]
The ideological dominance of capitalism as the only feasible mode of production is coming to an end. In the second half of the 1970s, when rapid and stable economic growth came to a halt in the "developed" world, the forces of capital intensified their attack on workers’ rights that has not ceased to this day. The foundation on which the ideological domination of capitalism was based had started to wither away, and the advocates of capitalism increasingly justified its existence by turning to the mere fact of its existence.
By Gyula Thurmer
March 27, 2013 -- Morning Star -- Hungary is in crisis. Almost 500,000 people are officially registered as unemployed -- just over 11 per cent of the workforce. About the same number of young people are working in other EU countries, notably Britain, Austria and Germany, because they could not find a job at home. Even so, the rate of youth unemployment (under the age of 25) in Hungary stands at more than 28 per cent.
The Fidesz (Civic Union) government led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban is well aware of these facts, while proclaiming the "Hungarian miracle". The reality is that many ordinary people are worse off than they have ever been.
The real winners under this capitalist government are those who earn more than 900,000 forints (£2500) net a month. The rest are on or below the average net salary of 157,000 forints (£434), which is absolutely nothing considering that prices in Budapest are similar to those in Vienna.
The pro-capitalist forces in Hungary know very well that only the Hungarian Communist Workers Party (HCWP) proposes a real alternative to mass unemployment, poverty and the colonial occupation of Hungary by multinational companies.
Mass protest in Sofia, Bulgaria's capital, February 17, 2013.
March 15, 2013 -- Left Unity, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In the last week of February 2013, after days of protests across the country, the Bulgarian government headed by Boyko Borisov resigned. Mariya Ivancheva looks at how it happened and what comes next.
From the beginning of February, Bulgarians in most big cities have been out in the streets, protesting against increased electricity and heating bills. While the increase has happened gradually throughout 2012, in January 2013 the bills were considerably bigger than they would normally get. The price formation was transparently written down on the bill, but what angered many is that a significant amount of money was charged not for energy per se but for various taxes and tariffs.
By Jiri Málek
October 27, 2012 -- Transform-network.net via The Bullet -- On October 12-13 , 2012, elections took place in the Czech Republic. The elections were for regional assemblies and one-third of the Senate. Their political impact could have far-reaching results for the whole of society. They signalled a resounding “no” to cost cutting and complete submission to the demands of the world financial sector for a quick restart of neoliberal capitalism.
The regional elections can be characterised as follows:
Post-socialism, the European Union and a new left in the Balkans: Welcome to the desert of transition!
Protesters rally during anti-government protest in Zagreb, Croatia, March 2011. Photograph: Darko Bandic/AP.
[Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to consider taking out a subscription to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared.]
By Srećko Horvat and Igor Štiks
Protesters shout as a background banner reads "Freedom, Early Elections" during an anti-government rally in Bucharest, January 24, 2012.
By Rupen Savoulian
February 15, 2012 -- Antipodean Athiest, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Back in 1989, Romania was gripped by mass protests, led by miners, against the corrupt and authoritarian regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. The protests in Romania were part of the generalised "Velvet Revolution" against the dictatorial, bureaucratised, deformed workers’ states 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 abandoned the Stalinist bias for forced accumulation and heavy industry, and improved the conditions of consumption and agriculture.