Europe

Austria: far right surge and Green’s narrow win

Author: 

Martin Thomas

On 22 May, the far right candidate for Austria’s presidency, Norbert Hofer, was defeated by the narrowest of margins.

Hofer, candidate of the “Freedom Party”, stood on a strident anti-migrant platform, and was way ahead of other candidates in the first round of the presidential election on 24 April. He scored 35.1%.
Alexander Van der Bellen, a veteran ex-Green running as an independent, who rallied a range of support to defeat Hofer on the second round, got 21.3% on the first.

On 22 May, the far right candidate for Austria’s presidency, Norbert Hofer, was defeated by the narrowest of margins.

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More hopeful for Left Bloc?

Author: 

Dave Kirk and Martin Thomas

The Solidarity 384 article on Portugal says the Portuguese SP is a “neo-liberal” party and seems to suggest that the Left Bloc shouldn’t have entered government with them. I think this misreads the situation.

Debating the decision by Portugal's Left Bloc to enter a coalition government with the Socialist Party.

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Far right surge in Swiss election

Author: 

Sebastian Osthoff

On 18 October Swiss voters elected new representatives for the two chambers of the Swiss parliament.

Though there has to be a second round of elections for the smaller chamber of parliament, the Council of States, the results are clear. As was generally predicted the right wing nationalist Swiss People’s Party (SVP) won the most votes, increasing its share of votes to 29.4%.

The right wing nationalist Swiss People’s Party won the most votes, increasing its share of votes to 29.4%, and now has 65 representatives.

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United Europe and the Marxist tradition

Working-class socialists will advise workers how to vote in the UK’s European Union (EU) in/out referendum by addressing the actual question on the ballot paper and by evaluating the known, quantifiable consequences of the options. Judged on the basis of workers’ interests, it is clear that however much the EU is a capitalist club, however neoliberal it is, however hostile it plainly is to migrants and refugees seeking shelter – the alternative of “Britain out” in today’s conditions will be far worse.

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2. Marxists in the nineteenth century

Marx and Engels developed their original synthesis of socialism as working class self-liberation through combining elements of English political economy, Germany philosophy and French socialism. Marx and Engels inherited the common sense demand for a federal united Europe from other socialist writings of their time – for example Henri Saint-Simon and Augustin Thierry’s De la reorganisation de la societe europeenne (1814).

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3. The debate on a united Europe around the First World War

The threat of world war did not recede into the new century. On the contrary, it became clear by the second decade of the twentieth century that Europe was fast heading towards a terrible armed conflict. In these circumstances, the demand for European unity took on a growing urgency.

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4. The Comintern and the Fourth International

The nascent Russian workers’ state survived beleaguered the civil war and resulting economic collapse, but saw capitalism stabilise and the immediate possibilities of workers’ revolution recede across Europe. Lenin and Trotsky sought to reorient the Communist Parties through their joint work in the Communist International, particularly at the Third (July 1921) and Fourth (November 1922) Congresses.

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5. Third Camp Trotskyism on European unity

Just before Trotsky’s death, a dreadful schism took place within the Fourth International. A debate sparked by the Hitler-Stalin pact within the American SWP resulting in a split within Trotskyism, between the ‘orthodox’ strand of Cannon and Mandel on the one hand and the heterodox, Third Camp Trotskyism of Shachtman and Draper on the other. Within less than a decade they would become political formations with very different politics: the former a satellite of Stalinism, while the latter fought desperately to utilise Marxism to understand the new post-war world.

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Dutch anti-racists ask for help

Ninety demonstrators were arrested in Gouda, in the Netherlands, on 15 November, when they peacefully protested against a “Black Pete” show.

The Netherlands celebrates a Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) day on 5 December, and since the middle of the 19th century the figure dressed up as Santa Claus is often accompanied by another, “Black Pete”, who is “blacked up” to represent a Santa Claus’s servant or slave.

Ninety demonstrators were arrested in Gouda, in the Netherlands, on 15 November, when they peacefully protested against a “Black Pete” show.

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Europe (AWL conference document 2014)

Author: 

AWL

Click here for index page for documents from AWL conference 2014



In or out, the class fight goes on, but rather EU membership than withdrawal

Running scared from UKIP, the Tories have promised an in/out referendum on the EU if they win the general election in 2015. Significant sections of the labour movement are pushing Labour to offer a referendum.

Document adopted by conference, plus alternative text which fell for lack of a proposer, and background document considered by conference.

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