austerity

Austerity, racism and the EU referendum in Britain

 

 

Nigel Farage, leader of the far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP), has been among the key figures advocating a vote to exit the EU.

 

By Tony Mckenna

 

June 13, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The EU debate is perhaps one of the more difficult to make sense of. For you are bombarded with a vast amount of articles, from every colour on the political spectrum. How does one go about making an informed decision? It’s said you can tell a lot about a person by who their friends are. When translated into political thought the axiom has a simplistic but not unuseful purpose: take the time to look at the groups and social forces that are gathering around a particular position. These might give you some hint as to which political interests the position truly serves and hint at its real essence. However, in the case of the EU referendum – the vote that is to be held later this year in Britain on whether we should remain or leave the European Union – there is a remarkably odd admixture of people who have aligned themselves with both sides.

Yanis Varoufakis: a manifesto for democratising Europe

 

‪European trade unionists protest outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels‬

 

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who last September stepped down from his post in the radical-left Syriza government, has launched his Democracy in Europe movement, DiEM25. Its ambitious aim is a radical overhaul of Europe’s institutions and the introduction of absolute transparency in decision-making, to be completed by 2025. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is republishing here from Mediapart the manifesto Varoufakis presented in Berlin on February 9th, a plan to “regain control over our Europe from unaccountable ‘technocrats’ and shadowy institutions”.

 

For all their concerns with global competitiveness, migration and terrorism, only one prospect truly terrifies the Powers of Europe: Democracy! They speak in democracy’s name but only to deny, exorcise and suppress it in practice. They seek to co-opt, evade, corrupt, mystify, usurp and manipulate democracy in order to break its energy and arrest its possibilities.

 

For rule by Europe’s peoples, government by the demos, is the shared nightmare of:

 

• The Brussels bureaucracy (and its more than 10,000 lobbyists)

 

Rekindling Hope: SYRIZA's Challenges and Prospects

 

Greek farmers protesting against planned pension system reforms.

 

By Michalis Spourdalakis

 

January 27, 2016 -- Socialist Project -- Before turning to the main theme of this article it would be very useful to come to terms with at least the following preliminary observations:

 

The left in government and especially the radical left in government has never been the subject of easy discussion among leftists. As the project of social transformation was never a peaceful stroll in the park, the debates on the question of in and/or out of government, let alone those about political power, have been very heated. In fact, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that these debates are as old as the left itself. Before, during, and after coming into office, leftist theorists and practitioners have been involved in fierce discussions and heated arguments, often leading to organizational splits and fragmentation. The intense polemical nature of these debates has very rarely led to useful, positive, and practical conclusions for the left.

 

Plan B for Europe - Appeal to build a European area of work in order to end austerity and build a true democracy.

 

By Susan George, Yanis Varoufakis, Ada Colau, Zoe Konstantopoulou, Ken Loach, Noam Chomsky, et. al

 

January 19, 2016 - Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Plan B Europa - In July 2015, we witnessed a financial coup d’état carried out by the European Union and its institutions against the Greek Government, condemning the Greek population to continue suffering the austerity policies that had been rejected on two occasions in the polls. This coup has intensified the debate over the power of the EU, and by extension it’s institutions, its incompatibility with democracy, and its role as guarantor of the basic human rights demanded by European citizens.

 

We know that there are alternatives to austerity. Manifestos such as “For a Plan B in Europe“, “Austerexit” or DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025) denounce the blackmail of the third memorandum of understanding imposed against Greece, the catastrophe that it would cause and the antidemocratic nature of the EU. The President of the European Commission no less, Jean -Claude Juncker, said : ” There can be no democratic decision against European treaties “.

 

The Spanish state versus Catalonia: a decisive battle has begun

 

 People wave pro-independence flags as they gather outside the Parliament of Catalonia in Barcelona. Read more on Portugal.

Portugal: 'Europe is very concerned' as new gov't likely short-lived

 Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho (front) and Deputy minister Paulo Portas leave a press meeting after talks with Socialist party (PS) leader Antonio Costa in Lisbon, October 13. Read more about Portugal.


By Dick Nichols

The incoming government of Portugal will most probably prove to be the briefest in modern Portuguese history.

It is headed by conservative Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Pedro Passos Coelho, whom Portuguese president Cavaco Silva appointed on October 22 to repeat as prime minister. Passos Coelho has already overseen the application of the 2011 “bail-out” memorandum applied to Portugal by the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund). The PSD will again be joined by the neoliberal Democratic and Social Centre-People's Party (CDS-PP), with whom it ran in the October 4 legislative election as the Portugal Ahead coalition.

Portuguese elections: surge in Left Bloc support puts Socialist Party on the spot

 

 Left Bloc activists. Read more about Portugal here.

 

By Dick Nichols

Will Portugal finally see the end of austerity as administered for four years by the right-wing coalition of the Social-Democratic Party (PSD) and Democratic and Social Centre—People's Party (CDS-PP)?

In the country's October 4 elections this governing alliance, running for the first time as a single ticket called Portugal Ahead (except on the Azores), won the elections, but with only 38.4 % of the vote (down from 50.4% at the 2011 national election). Of the 5.4 million Portuguese who voted, 739,000 turned their back on the outgoing government, leaving it with only 107 seats in the 230-seat parliament (down 25).

As a result, the PSD-CSD alliance,  which boasted during the election campaign of being the most reliable tool of the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund), could even lose government.

Oskar Lafontaine: Let’s develop a Plan B for Europe!

 Oskar Lafontaine

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.

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