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left unity

Videos: European revolutionaries discuss left unity experiences

The British socialist newspaper Socialist Resistance on June 28, 2008, sponsored a fascinating day of discussion and debate on building broad left parties across Europe, attracting a comprehensive list of speakers from key left unity projects. The videos of the following talks were recorded on the day. They include speakers from the Left Bloc Portugal, Respect in Britain, the Socialist Party in the Netherlands, Die Link in Germany, Sinistra Critica (Italy) and the European Greens. They are reposted from Liam Mac Uaid's essential weblog, with permission. More videos of the day are available there.

Germany: Die Linke, one year on (+ video)

By Thies Gleiss

One year after the foundation of the Die Linke (Left) party, commentators on both right and left agree that the political situation in Germany has been changed. Following three regional elections in spring 2008, Die Linke is solidly installed on the landscape.[1] On paper it is now the third biggest party in the country, whether in terms of members, elected representatives or other holders of paid political functions at all levels of the state, or again in terms of financial strength.

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France: `The new anti-capitalist party is on the march'

Appeal of the national coordination of action committees for a New Anti-capitalist Party

The “new anti-capitalist party” proposed by the LCR in France had its first national meeting on the 28th and 29th June in St Denis near Paris. About 1000 people were present including 800 delegates from local committees. After a first session of contributions from local committees, the gathering split up into workshops on different themes such as ecology, feminism, internationalism, work in local neighbourhoods, in work places, with the sans papiers...

The meeting ended with the creation of a national coordinating committee to prepare a further national meeting in the autumn and the adoption of a statement.

We will carry further reports on this meeting and the process of creating the new party but we publish here the statement adopted.

Britain: New left regroupment effort announced

An invitation to participate in the creation of a new Revolutionary Socialist Organisation

This text was voted on and passed at a meeting in London on Sunday 29th June. A Steering Committee was also elected.

The purpose of this document is to launch a regroupment process, which will culminate in a conference after a period of discussion. It registers the most important areas of agreement we have achieved at the beginning of this discussion. There are other areas, not included, which will have to be the subject of further discussion.

1. This is a proposal made by members of the International Socialist Group (ISG), Socialist Resistance (SR), a group of former members of the SWP and some independent Marxists not presently in any organisation. It is an invitation to everyone who would be interested in establishing a new revolutionary organisation based on an understanding of the need for Marxists to build a revolutionary organisation and to work for the widest unity of the working class on economic, social and political issues.

Germany's Die Linke: ‘We have the wind of history in our sails’

By Duroyan Fertl

May 30, 2008 -- After a year of stellar successes, almost 600 delegates from Germany’s new left-wing party, Die Linke, came together for the party’s first ever congress, held in the east German city of Cottbus on May 25 and 26. Former East German communist Lothar Bisky and former Social Democratic Party (SPD) national president Oscar Lafontaine, once dubbed by the media as “Europe’s most dangerous man”, were re-elected as co-chairs of the party, and a social justice-oriented platform was adopted for the coming period, which includes state elections in Bavaria this September and federal elections next year.

Die Linke was officially formed in 2007 as a fusion between the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS — the successor to the former East German ruling party) and a collection of militants, unionists and socialists from the west organised as the Electoral Alternative for Jobs and Social Justice (WASG). Die Linke now has almost 80,000 members.

London, June 28, 2008: Socialist Resistance Day School on broad left parties

You can download the flyer for the Socialist Resistance day school on the European experience of broad parties here. We will have speakers from the Communist Party, the Greens, the LCR, Left Bloc and the Dutch Socialist Party plus your usual favourites.

Respect and the London election results

By Nick Wrack and Alan Thornett, Socialist Resistance

May 6, 2008 -- The New Labour project is falling apart at the seams. Its local election results were the worst in 40 years, with only 24% of the vote and coming third behind the Liberal Democrats. This is a disastrous result for British Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In London, the election of the Conservative Party's Boris Johnson as mayor and the presence of a far-right British National Party (BNP) member on the Greater London Assembly will disturb and depress all who value the multi-cultural diversity of the city.

`Tipping point' in New Zealand politics at the grassroots: the Residents Action Movement

The Residents Action Movement (or RAM) is a left-wing local government electoral ticket in the Auckland Regional Council of New Zealand's largest city. RAM is in the process of becoming a national-level political party to contest the 2008 elections. RAM can be characterised as as broad left coalition, stretching from social liberals, community activists and former National Party members to social democrats, democratic socialists and left-wing radicals. Its chairperson is currently Grant Morgan, who is also a leading member of Socialist Worker (Aotearoa).

This interview with Grant Morgan, Daphne Lawless (a RAM candidate in last year's Auckland Regional Council election and is a current member of the RAM executive) and Oliver Woods, RAM co-organiser, was recorded by telephone on May 1, 2008, and broadcast by LeftCast.

A rough guide to the Italian election

Right-winger Silvio Berlusconi's election victory on April 13-14, the disastrous results for the Rainbow Left (Sinistra Arcobaleno) -- `` new party born old’’ -- and the increased number of no-voters in this election present new yet anticipated challenges for the radical left in Italy. Below, Paolo Gerbaudo discusses the election result and the challenge for the Italian

Left regroupment: issues and prospects

The left in Britain has been better at coming apart than coming together in the last year. Gregor Gall, a member of the Scottish Socialist Party, examines the prospects for left regroupment in Britain and Scotland, and looks to Europe to see if there are lessons to learn.

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Müller Rojas: United Socialist Party of Venezuela is a `political necessity'

Alberto Müller Rojas, first vice president of the of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), speaks to Kiraz Janicke of Venezuelanalysis.com and to Federico Fuentes of Links - International Journal of Socialist Renewal about the significance of the formation of the PSUV for the Bolivarian Revolution -- debates within the new party, what its relationship with the government should be and the immediate tasks of the PSUV in the struggle for the socialist transformation of Venezuela

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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.

Venezuela: Revolution, party and a new international

By Luis Bilbao, translated exclusively for Links by Federico Fuentes

Venezuela has entered a decisive phase of its revolutionary process, which has advanced rapidly, and without pause, since 1999. The failed attempt to reform the constitution in the December 2, 2007, referendum opened up a conjuncture of sharp contradictions in the short and medium term and modified the institutional framework in which this period will develop; but it does not modify the content of the confrontation underway. The forces of the revolution will be unleashed, along with those of the counterrevolution.

Video: A new European socialist movement? The rise of the the Left party in Germany

The emergence of the Left party (Linkspartei) in Germany is the most significant development of a new political party to the left of social democracy in decades in Europe. The formation of the Left party coincided with the anti-G8 mobilisation in Germany a year ago. It was followed by a startling rise in the opinion polls, and political break-throughs in West Germany, building on its political base in East Germany and the old Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS).

A forum sponsored by Socialist Project (www.socialistproject.ca) and Socialist Voice (www.socialistvoice.ca).


Part 1: Introduction by Greg Albo.

History calls for a broad left party

By Vaughan Gunson and Grant Morgan -- March 2, 2008 -- In 2006, the neoliberal maniacs at the World Bank ranked New Zealand as No.1 in the world for doing business, out of 200 countries surveyed. And a recent government report titled Wealth Disparities in New Zealand showed that 95% of New Zealand’s net wealth is owned by half the population. The other half is left with the crumbs -- a mere 5% of the country's wealth. Two decades of neoliberal polices have seen a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, increasing the rage, frustration and alienation at the base of New Zealand society.

In recent years Socialist Worker-New Zealand (SW-NZ) has recognised that this discontent is being combined with signs of self-activity among grassroots people, which is causing them to be more open to alternative political ideas. The rise of a global social justice movement has been influential. There have been bursts of union militancy, along with mass movements against imperial wars, GE foods and government injustices against Maori [New Zealand’s indigenous people]. In combination this points towards a political stirring at the grassroots of New Zealand society which socialists must relate to.

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:

Venezuela: Socialist Tide (Marea Socialista) activists on the referendum defeat and the PSUV

Federico Fuentes, part of the Green Left Weekly/Links Caracas bureau, spoke to two of the key leaders of Socialist Tide (Marea Socialista), asking them their opinions on the PSUV and its founding congress, particularly in light of the defeat of the December 2, 2007, referendum on Chavez’s proposed constitutional reform.

Venezuela: Assembly of Socialists activists on the referendum defeat and the PSUV

Federico Fuentes, a member of the Green Left Weekly/Links Caracas bureau, interviewed a number of elected spokespeople from the local grassroots units and delegates to the founding congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. This is the first in a number of interviews that will appear in Links -- International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

Portugal: Where is the Left Bloc going?

On June 2-3, 2007 the Fifth National Convention of the Left Bloc took place in Lisbon. Since its creation in 1999, this unitary organisation of the anti-capitalist Left in Portugal has strongly consolidated itself and has established a presence in the country. Today it has become a significant force, with 4200 members, an active presence in struggles and social movements, as well as 350 local councillors and eight members of parliament. The following interview with Francisco Louça was conducted on July 7, 2007. It was conducted by Jean Batou of the Swiss organisation SolidariteS.

Q. The Left Bloc is a pluralist party of the socialist Left. How does it define itself in relation to the hard core of the socialist program, in the strong sense of the term, i.e. to the socialisation of the large-scale means of production, distribution, credit, etc? How do you tackle the key question of property in your program? Is it possible to refound an anti-capitalist left without taking a clear position on this question?

Germany: Die Linke electoral breakthrough

Statement by Die Linke central office, Berlin

January 28, 2008 -- DIE LINKE (The Left) emerged successful from regional elections on Sunday, January 27, 2008, in the German federal states of Hesse and Lower Saxony. After the state of Bremen, where the party in May 2007 for the first time entered a West German federal state parliament, DIE LINKE will have parliamentarians in two further West German states.

In Lower Saxony (capital: Hannover), the party got 7.1% of the vote, while in Hesse (capital: Wiesbaden) it just stepped over the 5% threshold with 5.1%. In both counties, the big parties had tried to prevent DIE LINKE entering parliament with anti-communist campaigning.

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