Europe

Sweden in the pandemic

Swedish policy in the pandemic has been an outlier in two ways. Alone in Europe, it has not had a lockdown, only social distancing guidelines. And the policy has been explicitly set by the public health scientists. The outcome is unclear: Sweden's cases and deaths show the same sort of graphs as other countries, worse than some, not as bad as others, and with similar doubts about the accuracy of the figures. Some scientists in Sweden are calling for policies there more like the UK's. The Left Party is calling for "compensation to people in risk groups who cannot work from home", "increased...

Building a left movement against Brexit

Michael Chessum is the organiser of Another Europe Is Possible. He talked with Martin Thomas from Solidarity ahead of AEIP's conference on 8 December Martin Thomas (Solidarity): In the June 2016 referendum, Labour was for “reform and remain”, but unenergetically. Straight after the referendum, Labour said it now agreed Brexit must go ahead; and then in November 2016 Labour dropped its support for free movement within Europe. That position has remained fixed ever since, except that over 2018 the Labour leadership has edged towards saying that a new referendum may become an option. We need to...

The roots of antisemitism in Hungary

For part one click here In the last part of this article I looked at how Bibó analysed the historical background of antisemitism in Hungary. But on a more general level what makes an anti-semite “tick”? Bibó begins by considering the personal experiences of anti-semites, “[…] anyone who knows anti-semites even a little, knows that they base their claims about Jews on very personal experiences, presented in honest and passionate form. It would be incorrect to claim that they invent their experiences because of their shared prejudices, interests and ideologies; there are indications that the...

The development of antisemitism in Hungary

For part two click here Bibó was not a Marxist but a member of the National Peasant Party (NPP) — a party of radical reformists who adhered to a political position which was loosely described as “the third road” (or “third way”): neither Communist (i.e. Stalinist) or capitalist. It was, in effect, left-reformist and probably closer to the politics of Bennism (but with an agrarian orientation) than anything else to which it could be compared in the UK today. That political stream had a short existence from 1939 to 1948. In the Hungarian elections of 1945 the NPP won 42 seats in the National...

Austrian government attacks migrants and Muslims

Q:How did the coalition government come about? Following the collapse of the coalition between the Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the People's Party (ÖVP) in May 2017, the People’s Party won the resulting election but were without a majority in parliament. They needed to go into coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ). For most of the Second Republic (Austria since the Second World War) there has been an informal understanding that the government should be a coalition between the SPÖ and the ÖVP as well as the Chamber of Labour and the Chamber of Economy; this move has challenged the...

The answer to Trump: rebuild working-class organisation

July saw the one-man circus that is President Donald Trump smear its rancid trail across Europe. Most eye-catching was Trump’s support for the anti-immigrant racism of the European populist right. He re-told the standard cultural racist narrative to the Sun, saying that immigration had “changed the fabric” of the continent “I think you are losing your culture.” Trump also continued his ongoing attacks on London Mayor Sadiq Kahn saying, “Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London. I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism”, with the clear...

For a Workers' Europe

Why campaign to stop Brexit? To uphold the rights of the three million EU migrants currently in Britain, our workmates, our neighbours, our friends, our fellow trade-unionists. To defend their right to reunite their families. To sustain the right of others across Europe to come to work and live in Britain, and the right of British-born people to go to work and live in Europe. We want more open borders, less fences and barbed-wire and barriers between countries. The technologies and productive capacities of today indict the division of continents into walled-off nation-states. But Britain can’t...

LETTER: EEA poor substitute

I was intrigued by the line in the editorial in Solidarity 472, headlined “Build the left against Brexit”. It states Solidarity supports the PLP voting for amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill that would keep the UK in the EEA. Whilst this is an improvement on the prospect of a hard Brexit, I think it is the wrong approach to the question. The AWL has been raising the slogan of “Stop Brexit” and rightly so. Membership of the EEA is a poor substitute for full membership of the EU. EEA members must make budget contributions and accept regulations without having any say in decision making...

Labour should speak out against Brexit

On Wednesday 2 May, so the press has reported, the Cabinet will discuss proposing a “customs partnership” with the EU post-Brexit. Britain would routinely deal with imports from outside the EU as if they were coming into the EU — it would apply EU tariffs, and pass them on to the EU — and then fix exemptions for imports coming in for final consumption in the UK. Both the EU and keen-Brexiter Tories think this scheme technically unworkable. On 4 April an official cross-party committee of MPs proposed that Britain should go for European Economic Area status (effectively EU semi-membership, like...

Big rise in antisemitism since 2013

The year 2017 saw a 60% increase in antisemitic incidents in the USA, and a doubling of the number of cases of antisemitic harassment, vandalism, and attacks in schools and on college campuses. Over 1,000 of the 1,986 antisemitic incidents reported and collated by the Anti-Defamation League happened in schools or universities. The total number has been increasing since 2013, and is now over two and a half times its level then (bit.ly/adl-2017) . The rise parallels, and must surely be driven by, the surge in “America First”, anti-”globalist” feeling flagshipped by Donald Trump. Many nationalist...

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