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left unity

Portugal: el Bloco pide un gobierno de izquierda

www.bloco.org.

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3112.]

Por Dick Nichols, Lisboa, traducción para www.sinpermiso.info por Gustavo Buster

09/12/12 -- Un fantasma recorre Portugal: el fantasma de Grecia y de Syriza, el partido de su izquierda radical. Todos los poderes de la Europa neoliberal, encabezados por la canciller alemana, Ángela Merkel, han entrado en una alianza impía para exorcizar ese fantasma.

Acompañada por los representantes de las grandes empresas alemana, Merkel no tuvo otro remedio que durante seis horas soportar el asedio de los manifestantes en Lisboa el 12 de noviembre. Felicitó al Primer Ministro de Portugal, Pedro Passos Coelho, por su "valentía" al aplicar los programas de austeridad (una "historia de éxito"), e instó al líder político más impopular del país a no ceder un ápice.

Scotland: Radical Independence Conference unites left

November 25, 2012 -- Counterfire -- More than 800 delegates gathered in central Glasgow, Scotland on November 24 to attend the Radical Independence Conference and launched a campaign for a radical vision of Scottish independence. Speakers from a broad range of campaigns and struggles provided strategies for winning voters to independence whilet calling for a progressive social, economic and environmental transformation of the country in the interests of ordinary people.

A rejection of neoliberalism in a post-independence Scotland was a recurring theme throughout the event, which skilfully mixed packed rallies with wide-ranging breakaway workshops on topics such as "women and independence", "wealth of the commons: a Green economy for a progressive Scotland" and "organising the 99%".

A mass movement

In the opening plenary Peter McColl, rector of Edinburgh University, called for a mass movement against neoliberalism, saying that independence was part of a better future for Scotland. Trade union activist Cat Boyd told how she became radicalised by taking part in the anti-war movement which exposed "the true nature" of the "war obsessed machine" that is the British state.

Portugal: Left Bloc debates call for a left government

Delegate votes during the Left Bloc's eighth national convention. Photo from www.bloco.org.

By Dick Nichols, Lisbon

November 18, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A spectre is haunting Portugal ― the spectre of Greece and of Syriza, its radical left party. All the powers of neoliberal Europe, led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have entered into an unholy alliance to exorcise this spectre.

Accompanied by representatives of German big business, Merkel ran the gauntlet of protesters in Lisbon for six hours on November 12. She congratulated Portugal’s Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho for his “courage” in applying austerity (a “success story”) and urged the country’s most unpopular political leader to stick to his guns.

Greece in the eye of the storm (the Greek left, SYRIZA and the limits of the concept of ‘left reformism’)

SYRIZA rally. Photo by SYN Flickr.

By Paul Kellogg

November 18, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, originally published as six notes at PolEcon.net. Republished here with Paul Kellogg’s permission.-- An economic crisis of enormous proportions has erupted in a first world country in the global North. The scale of the economic crisis in Greece has few modern equivalents, and is at the root of a massive social and political upheaval. Navigating that crisis poses difficult challenges for the social movements in Greece, and has important lessons for activists around the world. The article that follows is an attempt to provide information that can assist those, unfamiliar with the situation in Greece, in navigating this situation.

¿Socialismo del Siglo 21 en Pakistán?

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3089.]

El 11 de Noviembre nacerá un nuevo partido de la izquierda marxista en Pakistán. Un proceso novedoso de fusión de tres partidos de carácter marxista. Hace mucho que no se produce una experiencia así, sino lo contrario, divisiones y sectarismos.

Por Aasim Sajjad Akhtar

9 de Noviembre de 2012 -- La Aurora -- El artículo que presentamos invita a reflexionar sobre el proceso de fusión de los 3 partidos, sobre el papel que están jugando las jóvenes generaciones en esta lucha por la unidad, sobre el papel de las mujeres, sobre los retos de la izquierda revolucionaria ante la globalización económica, los nuevos auges de las religiones y sectas y muchas otras cuestiones. Sin duda hay aspectos específicamente asiática y pakistaní. Pero también hay en esas reflexiones la parte global, mundial, útil para toda la izquierda en cualquier parte del mundo, particularmente la marxista.

Tres partidos de la izquierda se unen para formar el Partido de los Trabajadores Awami.

بيتر بويلي، ممثل "التحالف اليساري بأستراليا" :شكرا للشّعب التّونسي الذي أظهر للعالم أنّ الانتفاضة الشعبيّة لا تزال قـوّة مؤثرة

[The following interview with national co-convenor of Australia's Socialist Alliance Peter Boyle appeared in Sawt Chaab (People's Voice), the weekly newspaper of the Tunisian Worker's Party (formerly the Communist Workers’ Party of Tunisia) on November 9, 2012. Tunisian Worker's Party comrades have been jailed for publishing this newspaper, which was produced in clandestinity under both the Bourguiba and Ben Ali regimes. While other papers disappeared because of oppression, Sawt Chaab has survived since 1985 through the determination of many militants. The interview and translation was done by Haithem Mahjoubi (email haithemmahjoubi [at] rocketmail.com) See the unabridged English text below.]

Australia’s two biggest socialist groups begin talks on prospects for left unity

Graphic from the North Star.

By Peter Boyle

November 4, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On November 4, a delegation of Susan Price, Sue Bolton and myself, from the Socialist Alliance had an initial meeting to discuss left unity prospects with a delegation comprising Mick Armstrong, Sandra Bloodworth and Corey Oakley from Socialist Alternative.

The meeting was cordial and constructive. A short joint statement was issued that night, which noted that “the basis exists to begin a process of discussion to clarify our respective political positions and engage in collaborative work, with the aim of establishing if unity is possible”. The statement was published on both organisations' websites.

The joint statement said: “It was acknowledged that there are real political differences between the groups, both historic and to do with immediate questions of day-to-day politics and a conception of what kind of organisation the left needs. We had only the most provisional discussion of these issues, and it is clear that we are just at the start of a lengthy process of clarification.

Pakistan: Left parties unite to form Awami Workers Party; 21st century socialism in Pakistan?

By the Awami Workers Party

Islamabad, November 2, 2012 – Three leftist parties, Awami Party Pakistan, Labour Party Pakistan and Worker’s Party Pakistan, will formally merge into a new party called the Awami Workers Party on November 11 as a first step towards building an alternative to the status quo which has brought Pakistani state and society to the brink of collapse. This was stated by leaders of the three parties at a press conference held on Friday at the Islamabad Hotel.

Speaking to reporters, Workers Party leader Abid Hasan Minto said that the institutions of the state are fragmenting, and often completely at odds with one another. Democratic institutions remain weak and underdeveloped in comparison to the military establishment and civil bureaucracy. The increasingly untenable situation in Balochistan indicates a wider crisis of the federation, thus confirming that our ruling class has learnt little from the secession of east Pakistan in 1971. Finally, the state continues to maintain a confrontational and interventionist posture vis a vis neighbouring countries, which serves only to isolate Pakistan and exacerbate internal divisions.

Behind the rise of the Galician Left Alternative: Interview with Xosé Manuel Beiras

Xosé-Manuel Beiras.

For more on the Galician Left Alternative, click HERE. For more on Spain, click HERE.

Xosé-Manuel Beiras interviewed by Daniel Raventós, translated for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Dick Nichols

Xosé-Manuel Beiras, 76, has been a prominent figure nationalist left politics in Galicia since the 1960s. In 1963 he helped found the Galician Socialist Party (PSG, Partido Socialista Galego), illegal under the Franco dictatorship, and later became its international secretary and then general secretary (1971-77).

In 1982 Beiras participated in the founding of the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG, Bloco Nacionalista Galego), entering its leadership. In 1985 he was elected as a BNG candidate to the 75-seat Galician parliament, and was re-elected in 1989, becoming the BNG’s parliamentary spokesperson. Upon further re-election in 1993 Beiras was also elected as the BNG’s national spokesperson at its seventh national assembly.

Spain: Inspiring rise of the ‘Galician SYRIZA’ (+ AGE program)

For more on the Galician Left Alternative, click HERE. For more on Spain, click HERE.

By Dick Nichols

November 5, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On the morning of October 22, the day after elections to the parliaments of the Basque and Galician autonomous communities of the Spanish state, the TV and radio political pundits were struggling to be wise. Their powers of analysis were not tested so much by the rise of EH Bildu, the Basque left-nationalist coalition—the polls had predicted its vote of 25%. The disorienting new phenomenon was result for the new Galician Left Alternative (Alternativa Galega de Esquerda, AGE).

Just six weeks old and already widely dubbed the “Galician SYRIZA”, AGE won 14% of the vote and nine seats in the 75-seat parliament. The average of poll predictions for AGE before the election was three to four seats and 6 to 7 per cent of the vote.

Puerto Rico elections: New Partido del Pueblo Trabajador to challege neoliberal parties

By Antonio Carmona

October 31, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- After years of strategic dialogue and an arduous process of electoral inscription, Puerto Rico can now count on an organised alternative, a political party that is committed to defending the interests of the working class and marginalised sectors of the island’s population. On November 6, 2012, the new Working People’s Party (Partido del Pueblo Trabajador, PPT) will run 71 candidates, from governor to members of the municipal legislative assembly. “Breaking the electoral barrier” and “Puerto Rico should be governed by those who sweat for it” are the slogans that the PPT brings to the 2012 elections.

The PPT represents a radical break with traditional politics on the island, as it welcomes people who believe in social justice, democratic rights, (local) sustainable development and environmental protection, independently of the positions that individuals may hold concerning the country’s political status.

Spain: As two-party system breaks down, what prospects for a ‘Spanish SYRIZA’?

Demonstrators march to the Spanish parliament against austerity measures announced by the government in Madrid, September 26, 2012.

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

October 28, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The economic, social and territorial crisis in the Spanish state is morphing into a crisis of the two-party system that has provided Popular Party (PP) or Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) administrations for the last 30 years. Basque, Catalan and Galician nationalist forces (left and right), and the United Left (IU) and Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD) parties are gaining support. However, only a brave gambler would put serious money on the future evolution of this crisis. While the two-party set-up has been severely weakened, a replacement party with enough popular support to impose a different solution has yet to emerge.

Europe: Greece, Spain, Portugal – the arc of resistance to austerity hardens

 On September 25-26-27, 2012, up to 50,000 demonstrators tried to encircle the parliament, calling for the resignation of the government and declaring “democracy kidnapped”. There were violent clashes with police.

Read more by Murray Smith. Read more analysis of Greece, Spain, Portugal and France.

By Murray Smith

October 16, 2012 -- Frontline, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- It sometimes seems as if Europe’s sovereign debt crisis has been going on forever. But in fact it really only manifested itself in 2010, a result of the bailing out of private banks with public money and other public spending due to the crisis. And in May of that year Greece became the first country to ask for help and to receive so-called “aid” – really, it cannot be repeated too often, loans that must be paid back – from the now infamous "Troika", the IMF-ECB-European Commission.

Basque Country: Behind the rise of the EH Bildu left coalition

EH Bildu's main election rally.

By Dick Nichols

October 22, 2012 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On October 21, in probably the most powerful performance in the history of Basque politics, the left nationalist coalition Euskal Herria Bildu (EH Bildu, Basque Country Assembly) won 25% of the vote and 21 seats in the elections for 75-seat parliament of the Basque Autonomous Community (Euskadi) in the Spanish state. The rise of the EH Bildu came at the expense of all other parties.

(The seven regions of the Basque Country lie between Spain and France. The three provinces of Euskadi — Biskaia, Gipuskoa and Araba — plus the autonomous community of Navarra form its southern zone, Hegoalde, while three regions within the French department of Pyrenées Atlantiques form its northern zone, Iparralde.)

Over the years since the end of the Franco dictatorship the Basque left nationalist vote has varied greatly, depending whether the party representing it was legal or outlawed, or whether the movement was advocating an election boycott. Its highest previous vote for the Euskadi parliament was the 17.9% (14 seats) won by Eusko Herritarrok (EH, Basque Citizens) in 1998. In the October 21 election an extra 50,000 people voted for EH Bildu.

Richard Seymour: A comment on Greece and Syriza

Photo from Kasama Project.

[For more discussion of SYRIZA, click HERE.]

By Richard Seymour

October 9, 2012 -- International Socialism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal in the interests of promoting left discussion -- The “strategic perplexity” of the left confronted with the gravest crisis of capitalism in generations has been hard to miss.1 Social democracy continues down the road of social liberalism. The far left has struggled to take advantage of ruling-class disarray. Radical left formations have tended to stagnate at best. Two exceptions to this pattern are the Front de Gauche in France and Syriza in Greece. While the Front de Gauche did not do as well as many hoped, it did channel a large vote for the radical left in the presidential elections won by Hollande. Meanwhile, Syriza is potentially a governing party in waiting.

Britain: ‘To fight austerity we need a united left’ -- Anticapitalist Initiative

By Simon Hardy, Anticapitalist Initiative (Britain)

October 9, 2012 –  Submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The urgent need for unity on the radical left is something that has been eloquently put forward by Dan Hind on the Al-Jazeera website. Asking a very pertinent question as to whether there can be a SYRIZA-type organisation in Britain, Hind draws out some of the most important lessons of the Greek struggle and poses a challenge to the British left -- can we break out of the ghetto as well?[1]

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on political and social situation facing Greece and Europe

September 27, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greece's left party SYRIZA, visited the European Parliament as a guest of the United Left Group/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), the coalition of radical left parliamentarians in the European Parliament to which SYRIZA is affiliated. At a press conference, Tsipras discussed the current economic, political and social situation facing Greece and the European Union. Chaired by Gabi Zimmer, GUE/NGL president, from Germany's Die Linke party.

Pakistan: Three left parties to unite

Statement by the Awami Party Pakistan, Labour Party Pakistan and the Workers Party Pakistan

September 19, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over the past few months, three left political parties have been holding meetings to discuss the possibility of a merger and creation of a new progressive force in Pakistan politics. Many of us have been striving for left unity for years, even decades.

The challenges that working people and progressive political forces face both within this country and in the form of imperialist intrigue cannot be meaningfully confronted without such unity. In the past, efforts to bring the left together have both succeeded and failed, and it is in the spirit of learning from such experiences that this present attempt is being made.

We do not expect to suddenly emerge as a "third" force in Pakistan politics, because we do not enjoy the kind of patronage of state and non-state powers as the right-wing parties. Yet we do believe that the people of Pakistan want to see new alternatives emerging and we expect that a merger of existing left groups will be a giant step forward in building such an alternative.

Richard Seymour: The problem of left unity

By Richard Seymour

August 28, 2012 -- Lenin's Tomb, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Richard Seymour's permission -- Dan Hind, enlivened by the Hellenic tumult, calls for a Coalition of the Radical Left in Britain. I love it. Of course I do. But isn’t it, to any rational observer, a perfectly silly idea?

Anyone who has spent much time listening to the British radical left these days would no more expect them to coalesce than they would expect grace, humility and talent from Gary Barlow. The latest rumble has been over Julian Assange, Wikileaks, US imperialism and the rape allegations, which has produced more mutual distrust and resentment on the left than I have seen for at least weeks. The disagreement seems to be between those who think the rape accusations against Assange have been politicised in order to facilitate his forward extradition to the US, and those who think Assange’s supporters have greatly exaggerated this risk in order to justify his refusal to go and face these allegations in Sweden.

France: The rise of the Left Front (Front de Gauche) – a new force on the left

Jean-Luc Melenchon.

[Read more on French politics HERE.]

By Murray Smith

August 2, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Left Front (Front de Gauche) emerged onto the political scene at the beginning of 2009. As the Left Front to Change Europe, it was established by three organisations -- the French Communist Party (PCF), the Left Party (PG, Parti de Gauche) and the Unitary Left (GU) -- with the aim of standing in the European elections of June 2009.

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