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By Oskar Lafontaine (pictured)
Many in Europe had put great hopes in the election of Alexis Tsipras as Greek Prime Minister. When, after long and exhausting negotiations, the Syriza leader signed the European diktat, the disappointment was great.
It would be unjust and presumptuous to want to give moral lessons to Alexis Tsipras and Syriza. After these experiences for the European left, it would be better to reflect on the conditions in which a democratic and social politics (and thus a left politics) is possible in Europe. We have learned one thing: while the European Central Bank, which claims to be independent and apolitical, can turn off the financial tap to a left government, a politics that is oriented towards democratic and social principles is impossible.
[Please return regularly for updates.]
January 28, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Venezuela's government has congratulated Alexis Tsipras, leader of the left-wing SYRIZA party, who won a huge victory in Greece's parliamentary elections on January 25, 2015, reports TeleSur English. Tsipras has been inaugurated as the country's prime minister.
A Venezuelan government statement said: “Venezuela warmly congratulates the Syriza coalition party and Alexis Tsipras for their historic victory, wishing them success and complete solidarity and support.”
Venezuela's foreign minister Elias Jaua tweeted: “The Greek people, after a long and historic battle against neoliberalism, has crowned itself a wonderful victory. Syriza is fresh air for Europe!”
[English at "Germany: Red-red-green government in Thuringia", http://links.org.au/node/4187.]
Por Victor Grossman , traducción para Sinpermiso: Enrique García
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.
More on the political situation in Ukraine.
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.
Kurds protest in Dusseldorf.
[For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people, click HERE.]
By Florian Wilde, Die Linke member
November 3, 2014 -- International Viewpoint, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The West has suddenly begun supporting various Kurdish organisations in its fight against the Islamic State.
So why is the largest Kurdish organisation of all, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), still outlawed? This article discusses current developments in Kurdistan and gives a brief overview of the history of the Kurdish liberation movement and the PKK’s illegal status in Germany. It argues for a radical left strategy focused on defeating the ban on the PKK.
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.
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?
Read more on Ukraine HERE.
By Dick Nichols
August 4, 2014 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The main concern of ninth Summer University of the Party of the European Left (PEL), held outside Berlin from July 23 to July 27, was the armed conflict in Ukraine. Debate on the issue absorbed many sessions, including those not directly devoted to it, and the war in the country was a returning theme in often agitated informal discussion among the 1000 attendees from 31 countries.
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.
Mass rally for Greece’s opposition Syriza party in Athens in May 2014.
By Murray Smith
June 23, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Mick Armstrong of Socialist Alternative, Australia, has written an article which sets out to criticise what I have written over the last 15 or so years on broad left parties ("A critique of the writings of Murray Smith on broad left partes" (PDF), Marxist Left Review, Summer 2014). I would like to reply to some of the points that he makes.
See also "France: Parti de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon on Ukraine". For more on Ukraine, click HERE.
March 21, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A number of European left parties have released statements on the developments in Ukraine, Crimea and the region. Unless otherwise stated, they have been translated by Dick Nichols, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal and Green Left Weekly correspondent in Europe. There are statements from Déi Lénk (The Left), Luxemburg; Sortu, the radical left Basque Country party; the Communist Party of France; the Communist Party of Spain; and Gregor Gysi, chair of Germany's Die Linke (The Left). More will be added as they come to hand.
Wind turbine towers at Bremerhaven port. Photo by Lucy Alcorn.
March 11, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialist Alliance member Zane Alcorn spoke with Ali Can, a metalworker who has worked in the wind-turbine industry in the north German portside town Bremerhaven. Ali is a rank and file organiser with the trade union IGMetal and is an active member of Verein für Gleiche Rechte (Equal Rights Association), a secular Turkish community centre. Translated by Anne K. Schulz.
Can you tell us a little about Bremerhaven – how many people live here, what are the main industries, how has the city changed in the last 20 years?
March 4, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Speech by Florian Wilde, of Germany's radical left party Die Linke, at the March 1 "Fight the Troika" meeting in Bilbao. It was held the day before a meeting of the European Commission summit on the Spanish economy.
By Dick Nichols
February 24, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When the 200-plus delegates finally voted on the two main documents presented to the fourth congress of the Party of the European Left (EL), held on December 13-15, 2013, in Madrid, there was a faint murmur of surprise at the degree of support received. After all, the EL is a mix of different but related political sensibilities, bringing together “anti-capitalist, communist, socialist, ecologist, feminist, eco-socialist, republican and other democratic forces”[i].
Its affiliates embody different national political cultures and are based on all sides of the widening north-south and east-west economic and social ravines that cross Europe, the European Union and the Eurozone. Moreover, it is only 10 years old, created in 2004 in a forced march driven by the process of European integration and the need to compete with other European “party families”.
Members of the left-wing Die Linke celebrating their victory over the Greens, and the demise of their rivals the FDP.
September 23, 2013 -- The Local -- Despite dropping a few percentage points since 2009, the socialist Left party (Die Linke) celebrated becoming the third biggest party in Germany's parliament after the September 22 general election.
For a party well-used to being excluded from post-election celebrations, the atmosphere at Die Linke's election party was first of tense excitement, and then of triumph.
As the first exit polls were announced, the edgy, warehouse-like brewery venue in Berlin's trendy Prenzlauer Berg district erupted in whooping that the socialist Die Linke would likely beat the Greens to become the third-biggest political party in the German parliament.
The first estimates of the election's result placed Die Linke at 8.5 per cent - down half a percent from their last poll score - but half a point ahead of the Greens.
A specially impassioned roar of approval came with the news that the business-friendly FDP had dropped to 4.5 per cent, meaning the liberal party, natural rivals to the socialist Linke, will not be able to enter the Bundestag at all.
This will be the first time the FDP are not represented in the Bundestag since 1949.
Below are a number of statements (or news reports of statements) by European left parties on the crisis in Syria. More will be posted (or expanded) as they come to hand.They include Die Linke (Germany), Syriza (Greece), the Party of the European Left and the New Anti-Capitalist Party (France).
Die Linke: German government's support for war coalition is insanity
August 27, 2013 -- Die Linke -- "A military strike of the US threatens to escalate the conflict in Syria to become an international war“, warns Christine Buchholz, member of the executive board of the party Die Linke.
The attack of the US army using cruise missiles threatens to cause a wildfire, further aggravating the suffering of the Syrian population. With the assault the US government does not help the people in Syria but will solely demonstrate its military supremacy in the region.
Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle said yesterday that Germany "in close coordination with its allies" will be among those „that consider consequences to be appropriate. "This boils down to nothing else but support of impending military assaults. The support of an evolving US-led war coalition is insanity".
By Phil Hearse
July 12, 2013 -- Socialist Resistance -- A supporter of the Morning Star/Communist Party of Britain (CPB), under the pseudonym "Michael Ford", has written the most substantial rebuttal of the proposal to found a new left party in Britain – “Left Unity’s Modest Flutter”, posted on the Left Unity site.
Weighing in at more than 9000 words Ford’s article assesses almost every conceivable objection, from the weighty to the absurd. By analysing his critique in depth we can be more precise about what the case for a new party actually is and on what basis it can be built.
By Murray Smith
May 10, 2013 -- Left Unity, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Murray Smith's permission -- Having followed with sympathy the emergence of Left Unity and the possibility of a new party of the left being launched, I read with interest the two-part article by an anonymous figure, who may or may not be called Michael Ford, which may or may not be a pseudonym. I’m sure we’ll find out. For the purposes of this article, I will refer to him as Ford. In any case, whoever wrote it, the aim of the article is clearly to try and discredit the perspective of building a new party to the left of Labour and validate that of working with/within the Labour Party to drive it to the left.
There will undoubtedly be many replies to Ford from people who are directly involved in politics in Britain, which I am not at present. However, an important part of Ford’s argument is to try and demonstrate that the political forces to the left of social democracy in Europe don’t amount to much, either politically or in terms of their support. In doing so, frankly, he paints a picture which has little relation to reality. This is what I want to take up .
Above: March 6 press conference by Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Front de Gauche, Left Front) on the death of Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez Frias.
l’Humanité interview with Jean-Luc Mélenchon, spokesperson Front de Gauche (Left Front), France, translated by Dick Nichols
March 7, 2013 -- You have always supported the revolutionary process in the Venezuela, why?
We need to place the Bolivarian Revolution in its continental and historical context. The collapse of state communism was presented to the whole world as the end of history for communist and socialist sentiment and aspiration. But the flame flared up again in South America because the new age of capitalism had made that continent its proving ground. Neoliberalism was tried out there by military dictatorships on the one hand and by Operation Condor and CIA acts of violence on the other. The policies which then got applied were the same everywhere: free and unbridled competition, monetarism and deregulation, leading the whole continent to disaster. It is in this context that the revolutionary flame flared up again. Bolivarian Venezuela has occupied a special place: not only has been it been built on democratic foundations, but it has outmaneuvered the criminal plans of the opponent by peaceful and popular action.