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Left Unity, September 12 -- Jeremy Corbyn is the new leader of the Labour Party. Who could have imagined writing such a sentence only a few weeks ago? His victory shatters the austerity consensus that has dominated British politics for the last five years.
This is a victory for the movement as a whole. It is a victory for all those opposing the welfare cuts, for all those campaigning against war and racism, for all those fighting to defend our NHS and a host of other issues.
Jeremy’s election will have the effect of a dam breaking in British political life. It will shift the centre of political gravity to the left.
There were two intersecting currents behind the dramatic growth of the Corbyn campaign. Firstly there was the long pent-up resentment against the Blairite wing of the party, which the new process for electing the leadership allowed to be unleashed.
Click for more on left politics in Scotland
August 25, 2015 -- STV News, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On August 29 in Glasgow we will see the birth of a Rise, a new left wing anti-austerity movement designed to shake up Scotland's political establishment and win seats at next year's Holyrood elections.
Born out of the referendum campaign using an umbrella model based on SYRIZA in Greece, the alliance brings together activists from different left-wing strands on a platform spelled out by its name: Respect, Independence, Socialism, Enviromentalism.
The group's website carries a statement of intent, which reads: "There is a need for something truly new and original to be born out of the independence movement that can manifest itself at the ballot box in 2016 and beyond. We do not presume to have all of the answers, but we intend to start a conversation around certain core principles that must be represented in politics once more.
New political force will launch on August 29
August 24, 2015 -- Scottish Left Project, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We are pleased to announce the name under which the new coalition of the left being launched on August 29 will stand. Our name -- RISE, Scotland's Left Alliance -- reflects our political outlook and organisational make-up.
Respect: We stand for a society where we end racism, sexism, discrimination on the grounds of sexuality and where people of all backgrounds, colours and creeds are treated with respect and dignity.
Independence: We stand for Independence for Scotland. But our Independence is based on ending neoliberalism, austerity and the membership of NATO. We are for ending the monarchy and putting people in charge.
Socialism: We are for a social alternative to capitalism where people run the affairs of our society democratically and where the vast resources of society are utilised in common, rather than for the super-rich.
For more on Greece's struggle against austerity, click HERE.
August 13, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, also posted at LeftStreamed -- In this video of a debate, Leo Panitch and Richard Fidler discuss alternate views on recent developments in the fight against austerity waged by SYRIZA and the Greek people.
Moderated by Susan Spronk, associate professor in the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa.
Panitch is Canada research chair in comparative political economy at York University, Toronto. Fidler is life-long socialist, activist and writer who blogs at http://lifeonleft.blogspot.ca/
By the Scottish Socialist Party,
August 8, 2015 -- Scottish Socialist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) National Council members have voted in favour of the party becoming an affiliate of a new electoral alliance for the Scottish elections next year.
Party co-spokesperson Sandra Webster highlighted the potential for socialism to grow in this alliance.
At our NC ... the comrades present voted to enter an alliance with the soon to be renamed Scottish Left Project. All of our comrades should be proud of their passionate discussion and resolution. The SSP look forward to being at the heart of the alliance hoping socialists may be elected to Holyrood in 2016. I look forward to continuing to build the SSP and building a movement that is truly grassroots.
A Corbyn rally in Bristol.
By Socialist Resistance (Britain)
July 31, 2015 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Jeremy Corbyn campaign for the Labour Party leadership is a remarkable phenomenon. He stands a very good chance of winningunless the Labour Party establishment can turn around the tide over the next six weeks.
As things stand, the tide remains with him. The Labour leadership is like a rabbit in the headlights. Large numbers of people, young people in particular, are joining Corbyn's campaign and people are flocking to his rallies and campaign events. Many are signing up to Labour as registered supporters or as affiliated supporters through their trade unions. (According to Labour List in late June the figures were registered supporters: 9115, affiliated supporters: 3788 while the number of full members has also grown significantly since the general election.)
The support from inside major trade unions for Corbyn’s candidacy has been extraordinary.
SSP national co-spokesperson Colin Fox.
May 25, 2015 -- Scottish Left Project, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Scottish Left Project welcomes the motion passed at the Scottish Socialist Party annual conference calling for a new left electoral alliance in time for the 2016 Holyrood [Scottish] elections.
Colin Fox, SSP national co-spokesperson said:
The Scottish Socialist Party believes the Scottish Left Project electoral alliance has great potential and we want to help harvest that potential. We bring our experience and expertise as a party, one that has fought all four previous Holyrood elections, with us. And we look forward to meeting our partners in the Left Project in the next few days to see what progress can now be made towards advancing our shared political goals.
Conversation in the Reina Sofia Museum Square, Madrid, attended by various left coalitions standing in the May 24 municipal polls.
For more on politics in Spain, click HERE.
By Dick Nichols, Barcelona
May 21, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A commentator for the mainstream Barcelona daily La Vanguardia reported in its May 9 edition on a conversation in a lift that he had overheard between two “executives of a certain age”.
They were talking about an opinion poll giving the radical, movement-based ticket “Barcelona Together” and its mayoral candidate, housing rights activist Ada Colau, the lead in the March 24 contest for the Barcelona City Council. On that day elections will also be held in all municipalities in the Spanish state, as well as in 13 of the country’s 17 autonomous communities (states).
Executive A: “Have you seen that [incumbent Barcelona mayor Xavier] Trias is losing?”
Executive B: “Yes, Colau is winning.”
Por Dan La Botz
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4412.]
12 de mayo de 2015 -- Vientosur.info -- Unos 200 activistas políticos, individuales o miembros de diversas organizaciones independientes, han protagonizado un debate enriquecedor y amistoso sobre la manera de colaborar en la construcción de una amplia alternativa política a la izquierda del Partido Demócrata.
Los participantes en la Conferencia sobre el "Futuro de la Izquierda y la Política Independiente" – candidatos y activistas nacionales, estatales y locales, así como cargos electos del Partido Verde, del Partido de la Paz y la Libertad, la Alianza Progresista de Richmond, la Alternativa Socialista y el Partido Progresista de Vermont– debatieron en un espíritu de cooperación sin precedentes sobre los retos electorales y las dificultades que entraña ejercer un cargo público mientras se intenta construir movimientos y llevar a cabo políticas progresistas. A la conferencia también asistieron miembros de los Demócratas Progresistas de América y del Partido de la Justicia.
Irish protest against water charges at the GPO in January.
Click HERE for more on Ireland
By Rory Hearne
May 8, 2015 -- Broadsheet.ie, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Hope has been in short supply in Ireland in recent years but, thankfully, it has emerged in recent months. But this hope has not come in the so-called "recovery", which is deeply uneven across the country and from which the majority of people remain excluded.
No, the real hope emerged, first in the mass protests against water charges, and now in the possibility of a new political movement built from the grassroots of these unprecedented protests.
Since Ireland's independence in 1921 the overwhelming majority of Irish governments have been composed of the tweedle-dee, tweedle-dum parties of Fine Gael/Fianna Fail/Labour Party. What have they achieved for ordinary people? Corruption, inequality and austerity are now the hallmarks of the Irish Republic, a centenary after its founders aimed for a Republic of equality.
May 5, 2015 -- Solidarity (USA), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Some 200 political activists from a variety of independent political organisations, as well as individual activists, carried out rich discussion and amicable debate about how to collaborate in the work of building a large political alternative to the left of the Democratic Party.
Participating in the Future of the Left/Independent Politics Conference in an unprecedented spirit of cooperation, national, state, and local candidates and activists, as well as elected officials from the Green Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Richmond Progressive Alliance, Socialist Alternative, International Socialist Organization (ISO) and the Vermont Progressive Party discussed the challenges of campaigning and the difficulties of actually holding office while trying to both build movements and push progressive policies. Also at the conference were members of Progressive Democrats of America and the Justice Party.
Click for more discussion of Irish politics.
May 1, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Ireland's left, under the impact of the mass movement against water charges that has thrown traditional politics into turmoil, is discussing how it can organise to seriously challenge for power.
On May 1, in Dublin, five trade unions involved in the Right2Water (R2W) campaign are hosting a conference to discuss a “Platform for Renewal” for the general election due within the year. There will be guest speakers from SYRIZA, Podemos and the European movement against water privatisation.
R2W includes the radical left, Sinn Féin, other left politicians and the extensive network of anti-water charges grassroots groups in towns and communities across Ireland. R2W has mobilised four massive protests in since October 1, 2013, which have rocked the establishment.
Ireland's Irish Left Review is housing a discussion on what way forward for the left, from which the contribution below first appeared.
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By Rory Hearne
Click HERE for more on Kshama Sawant and other socialist municipal election campaigns.
By Ben Norton
March 17, 2015 -- Socialist Worker (USA), posted at Links International of Socialist Renewal -- The Urban League is going after the only leftist and the only woman of colour on the Seattle City Council. Rather than challenging the pro-corporate advocates of neoliberalism, whether Democrat or Republican, who increasingly dominate US politics, this well-known liberal organisation is expending its energy on defeating the left.
Pamela Banks, president of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, announced this month that she will run in the next municipal election against City Council member Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative candidate who won national attention for her successful 2013 campaign.
Left to right: Brian Jones (ISO), Kshama Sawant (Socialist Alternative) and Howie Hawkins (Greens). Hawkins, the ISO and Socialist Alternative have endorsed the conference.
By Robert C.
February 17, 2015 -- Against the Current, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Activists and candidates from around the United states will come together on May 2-3, 2015, in Chicago to share their experiences and to launch a network for future cooperation at the Future of Left/Independent Electoral Action Conference.
The past few years have seen a significant uptick in independent political initiatives on the left, from election campaigns to new local electoral and social movement formations, to referenda campaigns.
Kshama Sawant’s November 2014 election to the Seattle City Council captured the attention of leftists across the country, but a number of other exciting campaigns have also been path breaking, including the Jackson Plan of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and Richmond Progressive Alliance’s David and Goliath fight against Chevron in the East Bay. Many recent political developments have brought organisers building alternatives to the two-party system together with those using direct action and referenda to help win gains against fracking, for a $15 minimum wage, and other important initiatives.
Alexis Tsipras and Pablo Iglesias.
February 2, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The victory of SYRIZA in the January 25, 2015, general election in Greece has led to widespread discussions across the Europe on the way forward for the left. In Spain, the rapid rise in the polls of the Podemos party has excited many. The following is one viewpoint on the meaning of the SYRIZA win for the Spansih left.
* * *
By Manel García Biel
Ireland: Sinn Féin leader calls for discussions on building left alternative; Anti-austerity campaign boosted
By John Hedges
January 29, 2015 -- An Phoblacht, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sinn Féin national chairperson Declan Kearney calls in the February issue of An Phoblacht for formal discussions on building an Irish left alternative in the wake of the success of SYRIZA in Greece.
Writing in An Phoblacht, Declan Kearney says:
“This is the time for serious political discussion among progressive Irish political, community and trade union activists on ideas and strategies to ensure the future election of a Left coalition in the South ...
“Those on the progressive and republican Left need to make that change irreversible by altering the current balance of forces to create a new political realignment. That will only come about through popular support for a credible political alternative that can effectively challenge the conservative power blocs and their policies ...
The Radical Independence Campaign conference after the referendum, on November 22, 2014, drew 3000 and demonstrated that spirits had not dimmed since the vote.
For more on Scotland and independence, click HERE.
By Alister Black
January 25, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As Scots gathered together at Christmas and Hogmanay last year conversations turned inevitably to politics. Most were agreed that the year ahead would be a very interesting one. The impact of the independence referendum vote on September 18, 2014, is still being felt throughout Scottish society, and that impact is reverberating across the UK state as well.
January 28, 2015 -- Bright Green via Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- SYRIZA’s colours are red and purple and green, identifying it as socialist, feminist and environmentalist. The party platform includes all the key demands of the Green Party (UK).
SSP spokesperson Colin Fox.
For more on Scotland and independence, click HERE.
November 11, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) national spokesperson Colin Fox has written to Scottish National Party (SNP) leader elect Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Green Party leader Patrick Harvie inviting them to support “Independence Alliance” candidates from the Yes campaign in the 2015 Westminster general election.
In his letter, he wrote:
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras with Left Unity national secretary Kate Hudson.
For more on Left Unity, click HERE.
October 27, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- Left Unity is a new political group in Britain created out of a call last year by filmmaker Ken Loach for a new party to the left of Labour, which has moved rightwards in recent years and supports anti-worker austerity measures. The call was supported by thousands of people and Left Unity held its founding conference in November last year. Green Left Weekly's Denis Rogatyuk spoke with Left Unity's national secretary Kate Hudson, a veteran campaigner who is also general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
* * *
Left Unity’s platform consists of socialism, feminism, environmentalism and anti-racism, among other features. How was this platform conceived? What was the decision-making process behind it?
The origins of the Left Unity project came in November 2012 out of the common struggle across Europe against austerity. There was a coordinated general strike across Europe on November 14 and we wanted to participate in that in Britain.