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left unity

South Africa: Declaration of the Democratic Left Front; New left seeks revamped SA

By the steering committee of the Democratic Left Front (previously the Conference of the Democratic Left)

January 24, 2011 -- Post-apartheid capitalism is leaving a trail of hunger, poverty, anger and misery. The wealthy elite, the bosses and their hangers-on refuse to concede a single inch to the urgent needs of the majority. They label even the most modest reforms as the thin edge of the wedge of communism. And as always the government shakes and concedes … And a new round of suffering begins for our people.

From January 20 to 23, 2011, at Wits University in Johannesburg, 250 delegates from around the country representing a diverse range of social movements, popular organisations and anti-capitalist formations gathered to forge a united political front to break this cycle which has made South Africa the most unequal country on Earth. The cry of the Conference of the Democratic Left is KWANELE, KWANELE, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, GENOEG IS GENOEG.

ANC managing capitalism

Ireland: Radio debate on United Left Alliance and left unity

The future of the left in Irish politics

January 20, 2011 -- RTE, Today with Pat Kenny -- A new political alliance was born in Ireland just before Christmas. It is the United Left Alliance. It’s an umbrella group of left-wing parties and individuals who have joined forces to fight the March 11, 2011, general election.

The grouping consists of three existing political parties: the Socialist Party, the People Before Profit Alliance and the Workers and Unemployed Action Group. However the Labour Party and Sinn Fein are not members.

United States: Buckeye Socialist Network launched

By Micah O'Canain

January 2011 -- Against The Current -- The 2010 Dan La Botz Socialist for Senate campaign in Ohio represents an important success in the recent context of leftist third-party initiatives. Running the first Socialist Party campaign for national office in Ohio since 1936, La Botz garnered 25,368 votes statewide, one of the more successful socialist electoral bids in decades. This experience provides some important lessons for how the left can engage the electoral arena in this period.

Ireland: United Left Alliance's electoral challenge strengthens

January 16, 2011 -- United Left Alliance -- The challenge of the United Left Alliance to the right-wing consensus in Irish politics is strengthening rapidly. As of today, a total of 17 constituencies will be contested by 18 ULA candidates in the looming general election. As well as Tipperary South and West Waterford, 11 constituencies in Dublin, two in Cork, as well as Wexford and Limerick city, candidates have been nominated for Carlow/Kilkenny and Laois/Offaly. This means that almost 50% of Dáil [parliamentary] constituencies will have a left alternative to the establishment political parties.

Joe Higgins MEP of the Socialist Party said:

It is entirely possible that this number will be extended in the coming weeks but even at the current number, it is the first time in Irish politics that there was such a wide representation of principled left candidates presented to the electorate in a general election.

Greece: PASOK, right wing in deep crisis; support for anti-capitalist left grows

By Tassos Anastassiadis and Andreas Sartzekis

December 2010 -- International Viewpoint -- Not so long ago the defeat of the right-wing candidates in the municipal elections in the two major cities in Greece, Athens and Thessaloniki, would have been followed by scenes of popular enthusiasm in the streets throughout the night. There was nothing like that this time, when the right was defeated in cities where it had ruled for decades!

The United Left Alliance in Ireland: Is this the left unity we were hoping for?

Richard Boyd Barrett from the People Before Profit Alliance and Joe Higgins MEP from the Socialist Party, during the launch of the new United Left Alliance, November 29, 2010.

By Des Derwin

December 13, 2010 – Irish Left Review – Jodie Ginsberg, Reuters’ woman in Dublin, said on TV3’s Vincent Browne Tonight program on November 25, when asked for her impression of the situation in Ireland, “people are shell shocked”.

They have been for some time, but in little more than two months a series of ever more powerful shells has burst among us:

South Africa: First national Conference of the Democratic Left called

A call to the 1st national Conference of the Democratic Left

Unite to make Another South Africa and World possible!

A call for united anti-capitalist action and for democratic left politics

Issued by the Interim Steering Committee of the Conference of the Democratic Left 

December 7, 2010 -- This is a call to social movements, trade unions, other progressive mass organisations, progressive civil society organisations, left forces and supportive individuals committed to an anti-capitalist politics to come together in unity and action in the 1st national Conference of the Democratic Left (CDL), a conference against capitalism and for democratic left politics.

Through this conference, the momentum of the two-year old CDL process is reaching an important milestone. The conference will take place as follows:

Date: 13h00 on Thursday, January 20, 2011, ending 13h00 on Sunday, January 23, 2011.

Venue: Wits University, Johannesburg.

Philippines: Successful Asian regional conference discusses socialist strategy

Delegates and international participants. Photo by Macario Sakay.

By Partido Lakas ng Masa international desk

December 11, 2010 -- A successful "socialism conference" was held in Manila from November 27 to 28. The conference was organised by the socialist Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses) and the socialist-feminist regional network, Transform Asia. The conference was attended by 100 delegates, leaders of the PLM from Metro Manila and other leading socialists of the Philippine left, as well as 13 international guests.

The international organisations represented were the Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM); People’s Democratic Party (PRD-Indonesia); Working People’s Association (PRP-Indonesia); Political Committee of the Poor-People’s Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD-Indonesia); Left Turn Thailand; Socialist Alliance (Australia); the Left Party (Sweden); the General Confederation of Nepalese Trade Unions (Gefont); the Vietnamese Union of Friendship Organisations; and the Centre for Environment and Community Asset Development (Vietnam).

New Zealand: Matt McCarten on Unite and the prospects for a new left party

Matt McCarten (right) campaigning for better pay.

December 7, 2010 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Matt McCarten is secretary of the New Zealand's fastest growing union, Unite. The union organises fast-food workers, cleaners, hotel and casino workers, security and part-time staff. It has a financial membership of 8000 members. The transient nature of the industries the union organises means it has an annual membership turnover of 66 per cent and recruits about 600 new members every month. The union operates on an income of just over 1 million dollars per annum.

McCarten is a veteran of many left campaigns, including playing a key role in the foundation of the New Labour Party following the split from the New Zealand Labour Party in 1989. It was his leadership in the historic 1985 occupation of the Sheraton Hotel with the Hotel and Hospital Workers Union that put McCarten in the national spotlight. He writes a weekly column for the Herald on Sunday.

Scotland: Respect votes to split left vote, Galloway opposes independence

On November 13, 2010, the English left-wing organisation Respect’s annual conference voted, 59 to 15, to begin organising in Scotland. The decision was preceded by the most prominent Respect leader and former MP George Galloway floating the idea that he stand for the Scottish Parliament, either as part of a Respect campaign or an independent "George 4 Glasgow" campaign. Below are a number of articles from the Scottish and English left on Respect's move into Scotland.

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Don't do it, George

Writing on Liam MacUaid's blog on November 10, 2010, Raphie de Santos of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) makes a case against George Galloway standing for Respect in Scotland.

New Zealand: Matt McCarten for Mana! It's time for a new left

In a wide-ranging Radio New Zealand interview on October 17, 2010, Matt McCarten discusses atheism, socialism, neoliberalism, the IWW, working class history and the need for a new left party.

Listen here | Download here (45 mins)

For the latest on Matt's campaign, visit http://www.matt4mana

By Joe Carolan

Australia: The DSP in the 1980s

[This first appeared as the introduction to Building the Revolutionary Party: Jim Percy Selected Writings 1980-87 (Resistance Books: Chippendale, 2008). Dave Holmes is now a leader of the Socialist Alliance in Melbourne. This and other writings are also available at Dave Holmes' blog, Arguing for Socialism.]

By Dave Holmes

This is the second volume of writings and speeches by Jim Percy, one of the founders of Australia's Democratic Socialist Perspective and its longtime central leader until his death in 1992. These seven items — reports given by Jim to conferences and leadership gatherings of the DSP (or SWP, Socialist Workers Party, as it was known in this period) — span the years 1980 to 1987.

John Riddell: (Audio) The Comintern, 1919-1923: The two souls of centralism

A talk presented by John Riddell to International Socialist Organization's (USA) Marxism 2010 conference in Chicago. The talk was originally posted at Wearemany.org. John Riddell is co-editor of Socialist Voice (Canada) and editor of The Communist International in Lenin’s Time, a six-volume anthology of documents, speeches, manifestos and commentary.
Download mp3 file -- Press arrow to play

Brazil: Left workers’ unity attempt fails

Delegate addresses the national congress of militant Brazilian trade union federation, Contulas.

By Raul Bassi

July 11, 2010 -- An attempt to forge greater unity among militant union sectors in Brazil has imploded. The Working Class Congress (Conclat) was held in Sao Paulo on June 5-6 to try and bring together various radical union currents. The key forces behind the congress were Conlutas and Intersindical, both formed in opposition to the main union confederation, the Unified Workers’ Confederation (CUT).

The CUT unites approximately 60 million formal or informal workers out of a total population of 200 million, making it the biggest workers confederation in the continent. The CUT has had a very close relationship with the governing Workers Party (PT), both during its period of ascendency as it emerged out of the militant workers' struggles of the 1970s, as well as during its transformation to what it is today.

Europe: Solidarity with the resistance of the Greek workers (updated May 9)

Greek workers stage general strike, March 2010.

April 30, 2010

1. The global economic crisis continues. Massive amounts of money have been injected into the financial system – US$14 trillion in bailouts in the United States, Britain and the eurozone, $1.4 trillion in new bank loans in China last year – in an effort to restabilise the world economy. But it remains an open question whether or not these efforts will be enough to produce a sustainable recovery. Growth remains very sluggish in the advanced economies, while unemployment continues to rise. There are fears that a new financial bubble centred this time on China is developing. The protracted character of the crisis – which is the most severe since the Great Depression – reflects its roots in the very nature of capitalism as a system.

Statement Bersama untuk Hari Buruh Internasional

Di seluruh dunia kelas buruh mengorganisasikan dirinya. Kami berorganisasi untuk menuntut upah yang layak untuk hidup. Untuk kesehatan dan keselamatan di tempat kerja. Untuk kompensasi dan rehabilitasi. Untuk hak buruh migran dan pengungsi, Untuk hak kewarganegaraan bagi buruh migran dan keluarganya. Untuk hak bekerja berdasarkan prinsip kesetaraan. Kelas buruh berorganisasi melawan deportasi, menentang rasisme, menolak diskriminasi. Kelas buruh berorganisasi menentang perang yang membawa bencana bagi jutaan kelas buruh.

May Day 2010: `Workers will win!'

Graphic by Ashley Cecil.
 

Statements from left organisations around the world to mark international workers' day.

* * *

Joint May Day 2010 statement from Asia

Click here to endorse the joint May Day statement 

All over the world workers are organising ...

We are organising to demand a living wage. For health and safety at work. For compensation and  rehabilitation. For the  rights of migrant workers and refugees, for citizenship rights for migrant workers and their families. For the right to employment on equal terms. Workers are organising against deportations, against racism, against discrimination. Workers are organising against wars that are a disaster to millions of workers.

Philippines: Ric Reyes for Pasig mayor -- a model electoral campaign for the left

By Reihana Mohideen

April 7, 2010 -- Socialist Feminist -- Ric Reyes' campaign for mayor of the city Pasig was formally launched at a 5000-strong local rally on March 26. The march, the biggest to be held in that city for many years, snaked its way on a "long march" through the working-class sections of Pasig. Ric Reyes' campaign is a model campaign for the left – an example of how to conduct a united, principled and effective electoral intervention.

The campaign unites local mass leaders and activists of Akbayan and the Partido Lakas ng Masa, in a tactical alliance with the local "yellow forces" of the Liberal Party, whose national presidential candidate is Noynoy Aquino. The local chapter of the Magdalo, one of the political formations formed by military rebels who attempted to lead a military mutiny against President Gloria Macapagal Aorroyo, is also supporting the campaign.

Québec: Why the Parti Québécois expelled SPQ Libre

By Richard Fidler

March 30, 2010 -- Life on the Left -- A five-year long attempt to reform the Parti Québécois (PQ) as an independentist and “social-democratic” party ended abruptly on March 13 when the PQ’s national executive decided not to renew recognition of its left-wing “political club” as an authorised grouping with the party. The decision, which effectively expelled Syndicalistes et Progressistes pour un Québec Libre (SPQ Libre)[1] from the party, was promptly approved by the PQ’s conference of constituency presidents.

Conference of the Democratic Left: Unite to make another South Africa and world possible!

The following call was issued by the Conference of the Democratic Left, a left unity project in South Africa. It first appeared at the Conference of the Democratic Left web site.

* * *

A call to a national people’s conference against capitalism and for democratic left politics

A Call for united anti-capitalist action …

This is a call to come together in unity in a Conference Against Capitalism and for Democratic Left Politics.

1.   The world is in crisis

Global capitalism threatens our world with disaster. If it is left to plunder the natural resources of our planet and pollute the atmosphere, the oceans and the soil, life itself will be under grave threat.

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