Europe

The Portuguese Revolution of 1974-5: “The left had no strategy and the right did”

Miguel Perez, a Lisbon-based socialist activist and historian who delivered a talk on the Portuguese Revolution of 1974-5, spoke to Solidarity about his view of events.


Why was there so much left-wing ferment in the Portuguese officer corps in the 1970s? Why did Portugal’s colonial war have such a big effect on the officer corps, the army and society?

An interview with Miguel Perez, a Lisbon-based socialist activist and historian, about the Portuguese Revolution of 1974-5.

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The Peace Programme (1915)

Leon Trotsky's argument, during World War One, about the programme of peace which socialists should fight for, including the right of nations to self-determination and a United States of Europe.


I. What Is a Program of Peace?

What is a program of peace? From the viewpoint of the ruling classes or of the parties subservient to them, it is the totality of those demands, the realization of which must be ensured by the power of militarism.

Hence, for the realization of Miliukov’s “peace program” Constantinople must be conquered by force of arms.

Vandervelde’s “peace program” requires the expulsion of the Germans from Belgium as an antecedent condition.

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Blitzkrieg and Revolution (May 1940)

I. IF HITLER WINS – PERSPECTIVE FOR SOCIAL REVOLUTION

As Hitler overruns most of western Europe, what are the perspectives for the working class?

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Blitzkrieg and Revolution (May 1940)

I. IF HITLER WINS – PERSPECTIVE FOR SOCIAL REVOLUTION

As Hitler overruns most of western Europe, what are the perspectives for the working class?

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The German workers' revolution of 1918/19 and why it was defeated

In January 1919 Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the two most prominent leaders of the German revolutionary movement, were savagely murdered in Berlin. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were victims of a wave of terror unleashed by the leaders of German Social Democracy in order to crush working-class revolution.

In January 1919 Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the two most prominent leaders of the German revolutionary movement, were savagely murdered in Berlin.

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Remaking Socialism: From Socialism's Collapse in 1914 to the Foundation of the Communist International in March 1919

THE ECLIPSE OF THE INTERNATIONAL

This account of socialism's eclipse and re-emergence is by Boris Souvarine, a participant in these events and a founder and leader of the French Communist Party.

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Portuguese government plans new cuts

On 5 April the Portuguese constitutional court ruled that some of the sweeping new government cuts (to holiday bonuses for civil servants and pensioners, unemployment and sickness benefits) were unlawful (5 April) were unlawful.

But Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho responded by reiterating his right-wing government’s intention to make the cuts. He says cuts are obligatory under the terms of an €78 billion EU/IMF bailout deal.

The court held that the tax rises which will take place under the 2013 budget are legal.

The Portuguese constitutional court has ruled that government cuts to holiday bonuses for civil servants and pensioners and unemployment and sickness benefits are unlawful.

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Cyprus elections

Presidential elections were held in Cyprus on 17 February.

In a run-off on 24 February Nicos Anastasiadis of the Democracy Rally Party (DHSY) won with 57.5% of the vote.

The Cyprus elections come amid panic about the collapse of banks and the entire economy of Cyprus — and a long strike by construction workers.

Presidential elections were held in Cyprus on 17 February.

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Cyprus: lessons from AKEL's shame

Background article on Cyprus written at the time of February elections.

The Cyprus elections come amidst panic about the collapse of banks and the entire economy of Cyprus - and in the midst of a long strike by construction workers.

In these presidential elections the economy took precedence over the national questions.

A big lead was secured by candidate of the (DHSY), Nicos Anastasiadis, who was also supported by the majority of the Democratic Party (DHKO). He will almost certainly win the second round [post-script: he did win the second round].

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The first European general strike in history

14 November will see the first Europe-wide general strike in history.

Wednesday 14 November, the day this paper goes to press, will see the first Europe-wide general strike in history.

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European strike on 14 November

14 November will see Europe’s first ever continent-wide general strike. It will be far from complete, but workers in several different countries will be out “for jobs and solidarity in Europe: no to austerity”.

There will be full one-day general strikes in Spain and Portugal. Greek unions are expected to follow up their two-day general strike on 6-7 November by striking again on 14 November.

In Italy, the CGIL union federation has called a four-hour general strike.

14 November will see Europe’s first ever continent-wide general strike.

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14 November: European unions to strike together

Trade union federations in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Malta, and Cyprus have called general strikes on Wednesday 14 November.

Unions in France and Italy are also said to be considering calling mass strikes.

Spanish union federation CCOO said: “Unemployment, cuts, the impoverishment of the majority and the deterioration of public services justify a general strike.”

CCOO and UGT, Spain’s two main union federations, held a “social summit” with working-class community organisations, students’ unions, and smaller trade unions to launch the strike call.

The European day of action against austerity on 14 November should be a platform for developing independent rank-and-file organisation that allows workers to take control of our own struggles.

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A European general strike?

The European Trade Union Confederation has called a day of action against austerity on 14 November.

The TUC General Council is supposed to be committed to investigating the practicalities of a general strike. Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey asked the crowd in Hyde Park on Saturday if they wanted a general strike. and got a resounding yes.

The National Shop Stewards Network and the Socialist Party are asking the TUC to name the day. In fact we already have a day: 14 November. As things stand, there are plans for simultaneous general strikes in five countries, three major —Spain, Portugal and Greece — two minor — Cyprus and Malta.

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Dutch elections: disappointment but not surprise

A real shift to the left in the Netherlands will come through grassroots mobilisation, not electoral manoeuvring.

The election in the Netherlands on 12 September produced an increased vote, and victory, for the main right-wing party, VVD.

The Socialist Party, a left social-democratic group originating from Maoism, which had led the polls for large parts of 2012, slumped badly in the last weeks before the election and ended up with the same number of seats, and a smaller vote (9.2%) than in 2010.

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Les socialistes et l'Europe

Les nations n'ont pas toujours existé. En Europe, la croissance du commerce a créé des unités avec une langue commune, une culture, des lois, un système fiscal et des communications, les États-nations qui se sont développés entre les 16e et 19e siècles.

Nous sommes pour l'abolition des barrières entre les nations, et pour des unités politiques plus grandes. La raison pour laquelle nous n'avons pas «soutenu» la lente semi-unification de l'Europe au cours des 60 dernières années est que les classes capitalistes l’ont fait à leur manière, non pas parce que nous préférons des barrières plus élevées entre les nations

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"Euro periphery" needs investment

George Irvin is a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and author of Super rich: the rise of inequality in Britain and the United States. He spoke to Solidarity about the new stage of the eurozone crisis created by the jump, from 8 July, in the interest rates that Italy has to pay to sell bonds (IOUs) on world markets.


Eurozone politicians have been so slow to react that the bond markets are rightly worried about the poor and inadequate nature of the response.

An interview with George Irvin, a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, about the new stage of the eurozone crisis.

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Social Democracy goes Thatcherite: Kinnock and the market

Author: 

Ruth Cockroft

Click here to download pdf.

Neil Kinnock's applause for the capitalist market is part of an international trend. In many countries, social democracy has gone 'Thatcherite'.

Neil Kinnock's applause for the capitalist market is part of an international trend. In many countries, social democracy has gone 'Thatcherite'.

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Build European workers unity

Author: 

Darren Bedford

The bosses and bankers of Europe have been busily discussing a coordinated response to the debt crises that have shaken Ireland, Greece, Portugal and other countries within the “Eurozone.”

They are discussing united responses across the continent to defend the interests of their class. Our class needs to do likewise.

The bosses and bankers of Europe have been busily discussing a coordinated response to the debt crises that have shaken Ireland, Greece, Portugal and other countries within the “Eurozone.”

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France: Repeal the scandalous pensions law, let’s have a real fight!

O is a white-collar worker and a contact in France who spoke to us about the planned general strike there on Tuesday 12 October.
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What is happening right now?

A French worker comments on the strike planned for Tuesday 12 October against Sarkozy's pension reform, raising the retirement age from 60 to 62, 65 to 67 for a full pension.

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General strikes in France and Spain

Author: 

Ira Berkovic

Workers in France continued their struggle against the government’s pension reforms, with a general strike on 23 September and a wave of demonstrations on 2 October.

On both days, around three million workers took part, with more than 200 local demonstrations on 2 October. The next general strike is due to take place on 12 October but more plans will be announced by union leaderships as Solidarity goes to press.

Sarkozy’s government is trying to force workers to contribute more to their pension and retire later.

Workers in France continued their struggle against the government’s pension reforms with a general strike on 23 September while more than ten million workers also took part in a one-day general strike in Spain.

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European workers march

Author: 

Tony Byrne

Under the slogan “No to austerity. Priority for jobs and growth” 100,000 workers marched through Brussels on 29 September. I traveled as part of the delegation from the rail union RMT.

With 200 marchers, we were the largest component of a British contingent that included workers from CWU, FBU, TSSA, Unison and Unite.

An eyewitness report from the 29 September European TUC march against austerity in Brussels.

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RMT President on the role of the nation state

Author: 

Tony Byrne

“United action, of the leading civilised countries at least, is one of the first conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat.”

A critique of an article about nation states and the EU written by Alex Gordon, RMT president.

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UK Independence Party: sometimes quirky, always reactionary

Author: 

Dan Katz

It is now common to meet working-class people who say they are sympathetic to, or will vote for, the UK Independence Party. Clearly what they stand for has a resonance, including a resonance with former Labour supporters, alienated by New Labour's record in government. Anti-fascist activists need to arm themselves against this unpleasant far-right party.

UKIP's key policies are withdrawal from the EU, defence of the pound and opposition to immigration and “Islamisation”, offering a “respectable” alternative to the fascist BNP. Dealing with them adequately can only be accomplished by the labour movement spreading a message of internationalism and solidarity to those at the edges of the working class.

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Occupations in Vienna

Author: 

Patrick Rolfe

Since 22 October around two thousand students and university staff have been occupying several parts of the main university in Vienna, demanding an end to restrictive admissions practices, tuition fees, and the marketisation of education. Their action has swept across Austria, with seven universities now occupied around the country.

Since 22 October around two thousand students and university staff have been occupying several parts of the main university in Vienna, demanding an end to restrictive admissions practices, tuition fees, and the marketisation of education. Their action has swept across Austria, with seven universities now occupied around the country.

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The left and Europe

Author: 

Colin Foster

The British left is still infected by nationalism. There are a number of reasons for this. Britain did not join the European Community — despite two abortive attempts to do so — until 1972, 14 years after the Treaty of Rome came into operation. Initially there was strong ruling-class opposition, and that was reflected inside the labour movement.

How should the left respond to European capitalist integration?

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There is only one socialist answer on Europe: workers unite!

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Increasingly, “Europe” determines what happens within the member states of the European Union. More and more, what “Europe” decides happens, especially where a second rate power like the UK is concerned.

National parliaments are overshadowed. Democratic rights which in countries like Holland, Britain and France took centuries of popular struggle to win have in this way been increasingly nullified.

Socialists are for European unity, even under the bourgeoisie. The call for a United States of Europe was long the cry of the left.

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"Europe without frontiers yes, Europe without jobs no"

Author: 

Colin Foster

"Europe without frontiers yes, Europe without jobs no", was among the slogans on a 70,000 strong march in Brussels on 16 March, where workers from the threatened Renault car factory at Vilvoorde, Belgium, were joined by delegations from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, Portugal, Greece and Austria.

Renault workers unite across borders in fight for jobs

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“No 2 EU” is not an adequate platform

Author: 

Colin Foster

“Trade Unionists Against the EU Constitution” is planning to run lists in the 4 June election for the European Parliament, and on 4 March won the support of the Executive of the rail union RMT for that.

Should socialists like AWL who believe that New Labour has stifled working-class political representation, and who argue for unions to back independent working-class challenges in elections, back this initiative?

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No to little Englandism

Author: 

Colin Foster

As the banker James Pierpoint Morgan said, everybody has two reasons for things they do: the good reason, and the real reason.

A new pamphlet, The Big EU Con Trick, from a “Trade Unionists Against the EU Constitution” (TUAEUC) gives several good reasons “why trade unionists should demand a referendum on the EU’s Renamed Constitution”.

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The left in France and Greece

A delegation from Workers' Liberty and Solidarity attended the annual fete of the French Trotskyist organisation Lutte Ouvriere on 26-28 May.

This fete, a tradition for over 30 years now, attracts around 20,000 people each year - somewhat fewer this year on account of almost continuous rain. It is held in large grounds about half-an-hour from Paris, with some 200 stalls offering food, drink, games, and information, plus music, dancing, and forums for political debate.

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