The Left

Darcus Howe on Black Power

Long-time black and left activist Darcus Howe, who recently died, was a founder member of the British Black Panthers. In this interview from 1995, he discussed the politics of “black power”.

A new TV drama — Guerilla — tells the story of the British Black Panthers. Long-time black and left activist Darcus Howe, who recently died, was a founder member of the group and consultant for the show. In this interview from 1995 Howe discussed the politics of “black power” with Dan Katz.


DH: The Panthers have been grossly misrepresented in political circles. They were an intensely revolutionary organisation, the largest non-establishment political party ever to exist in America — larger than the Communist Party or any left-wing group.

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Greece: Towards a fourth memorandum?

Author: 

Theodora Polenta

The latest poll in Greece shows Syriza has the support of just 15% of the electorate. Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos has boasted that a third of the austerity measures Greece had to impose as part of the current programme have been “totally completed”, another third are “totally agreed”, while the rest are subject to “political negotiation”.

The IMF estimates Greece’s debt will be 170% of gross domestic product by 2020 and 164 per cent by 2022, and “become explosive thereafter”, escalating to 275 per cent of GDP by 2060.

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Italy: a shift in the political centre

Author: 

Hugh Edwards

At its recent conference Italy’s governing party, il Partito Democratico (PD), split. This follows a massive defeat in the December 2016 referendum for party leader and head of government Matteo Renzi.

There are now a number of groups and figures in Italy pointing to the need for a more social democratic orientation, even the notion of an explicitly working-class party.

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Grim picture in French elections

Author: 

Martin Thomas

On the website of the French daily Le Monde, Matthieu Goar writes: “If the MPs [of the main right-wing party, LR, The Republicans], Sarkozy [right-wing president 2007-2012], Juppé [prime minister 1995-7, and candidate to be LR nominee for president] and the others give the impression that they are ‘killing off’ Fillon by replacing him, the risk of some of Fillon’s voters going off to the National Front is not negligible.

Seven weeks from the French presidential election, the risk that far-right candidate Marine Le Pen will win is not disappearing.

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The dangers of Stalinism in Labour

Author: 

Martin Thomas

24 September 2016 gave me a condensed snapshot of the problems which are now generating unease among Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters in the Labour Party.

The pressures and blockages on the left-wing Labour leadership cannot be defeated by panic-stricken manipulations, but only by helping the new left-wing members to organise, mobilise, debate, learn, and win democratic control.

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Spain: Podemos split on strategy

Author: 

Eoghan Gilmartin

Last month Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias won an internal leadership contest against faction opponent Íñigo Errejón. A temporary truce has now been declared. The following extract from an article by Eoghan Gilmartin, written before the vote, explains the background and is reproduced from Jacobin online magazine.

Podemos, a party that traces its origins back to the indignados movement, is divided over how it should approach its new role as a force in Spain’s political institutions.

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How to fight the Labour right

Author: 

Keith Road

The Labour Party has 600,000 members and Momentum has 20,000. That should be good news for the activist left in the party. Certainly, if the left organises on the scale it did for the two leadership elections that delivered majorities for Corbyn, then it should be capable of making real progress in other Labour internal elections, in getting through positive rule changes which would strengthen and democratise the Party.

The huge potential of left support that arose out of the Labour leadership elections should be able to stop the right, but the left has to up its game and ensure that activists are prepared to fight locally for both socialist policies and for democratic procedures across the board.

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A human slaughterhouse: inside Assad’s Syria

A report by Amnesty International released on 7 February 2017 says that between 5,000 and 13,000 people were murdered in a secret prison in Syria from 2011 to 2016. Inmates at the prison were mostly civilians who supported the opposition to President Bashar al Assad. The information comes from interviews with 84 people who were former prisoners, guards, judges and doctors.

Since the popular uprising in 2011, and as the crisis in Syria worsened tens of thousands have been arrested and detained. Viewed in this context, the soft approach of much of the British left to the Russian and Syrian governments’ actions is both inexcusable and sickening.

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The left in France’s presidential election

Author: 

Marianne Davin

In my last letter I wrote about the far right, the right, and the almost right (the Socialist Party), but things have evolved since then. Here I will try to describe the current situation of the far left.

Les Republicans’s candidate, Francois Fillon, has had a bit of a tough time. It has been revealed that his wife, Penelope Fillon, was being paid as an assistant while he was a minister. Not a problem in itself but for about nine years she was paid first €3900 and then €7900 per month, a total of 500,000 euros (£430,000) for a job that sources claim she never actually did.

A letter from France by Marianne Davin.

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From 2008 to fighting capitalism

Author: 

Caroline Jeffries

When the housing bubble burst and a full-blown financial crisis developed in 2008 I was ten years old. I lived in an upper-class neighbourhood, so very few people around me were greatly affected by the crisis. 2008, however, would come to bother me for years after the recession ended.

Becoming a socialist in post-2008 crash America.

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