Europe

Labour should speak out against Brexit

Submitted by SJW on 1 May, 2018 - 9:00 Author: Colin Foster

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.

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Big rise in antisemitism since 2013

Submitted by SJW on 28 March, 2018 - 6:10 Author: Editorial
Swastika graffiti

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.

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Austrian protest against far-right coalition

Submitted by SJW on 16 January, 2018 - 7:15 Author: Michael Elms

On Saturday 13 January, tens of thousands of people braved pouring rain and cold to demonstrate in Vienna against the new conservative-far right coalition government, one of Austria’s largest demonstrations in recent times. The police estimated participation at 20,000; organisers had it at 70,000.

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Left must defend freedom of movement

Submitted by cathy n on 14 January, 2017 - 7:22

After weeks of intense pressure from the Labour right (and from some supposed to be on Labour’s left), Jeremy Corbyn has retreated on freedom of movement. In a speech on 10 January he said: “Labour is not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principle... Labour supports fair rules and reasonably managed migration as part of the post-Brexit relationship with the EU”.

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Far right defeat in Austria

Submitted by AWL on 9 December, 2016 - 10:02 Author: Felix Roth

After almost a year of campaigning, voting, a second ballot, and a delayed re-run of the second ballot, the Austrian presidential elections finally came to an end on 4 December. With a relatively narrow lead of just 53.8 per cent, the Green Party candidate Alexander Van der Bellen was able to defeat the far-right Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer.

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Ports and workers’ powerAWLWed, 14/09/2016 - 12:27

"The RWG [container] terminal [in Rotterdam, 2.35m teu capacity], with its fully automated cranes, is operated by a team of no more than 10 to 15 people on a day-to-day basis. Most of its 180 employees aren’t longshoremen, but IT specialists” (Journal of Commerce, 4 Feburary 2016).

The managing director says: “We are in fact, an IT company that handles containers”.

Compare: in 1900 the Port of London was the busiest port in the world. It had 50,000 workers shifting cargo mostly by hand, as they had done for thousands of years. It handled 7 million tons of cargo.

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Europe: the Stalinist roots of the “left-exit” myth

Submitted by cathy n on 22 June, 2016 - 11:34 Author: Paul Hampton

The revolutionary left once had reputable politics towards Europe, an inheritance from Trotsky that was not finally dispensed with until the early 1970s. The story of how the British revolutionary left went from an independent working class stance to accommodation with chauvinism and Stalinist “socialist-in-one-country” deserves to be better known.

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Austria: far right surge and Green’s narrow win

Submitted by Matthew on 25 May, 2016 - 8:55 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.

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More hopeful for Left Bloc?

Submitted by Matthew on 20 November, 2015 - 11:40 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.

Comments

Submitted by david kirk on Tue, 24/11/2015 - 16:30

Events in Portugal since I wrote my original letter have moved on. The deal that the Left Block signed with the Communist Party and the Socialist Party was not to enter a governing coalition but for its deputies support a Socialist minority government led by Antonio Costa that pledges will "turn the page on austerity".

Even though this deal has been signed and the "left" parties have a majority in parliament a rightwing conservative caretaker government remains in power. The President Anibal Cavaco Silva is putting pressure on Costa and the Socialists to repudiate the agreements signed with the Left Block and CP or water down the anti austerity measures and promise to repeal anti worker legislation the SP stood on. It seems unlike Martin, Silva is sure a Costa government dependent on Left wing votes would not simply be another species of "neo liberal" government.

Martin asks me if "With enough street agitation, it could become a workers' government?". Obviously I do not think that. Portugal is not in a pre revolutionary situation and none of the parties in the potential governing block including the Left Block want to go beyond anti austerity reformism.

However such a government could provide much more favourable conditions for a working class to make real advances in power and confidence. The Portuguese working class has being showing a increase in combativity and assertiveness. The result of the recent election is part of that. It’s a clear signal that the majority of Portuguese workers want an end to austerity and reversal of the anti worker legislation the PSD had brought in. The failure to form a anti austerity government against Silva's machinations will do nothing to advance working class confidence.

Martin is right is to point out the danger any kind of peace treaty between the left in the left block and a Socialist Party government. The history of other "Parties of the European" left is not encouraging on. However it does not seem that is what the Left Block has signed and there refusal to take roles in the government even though these were offered is a good sign.

The method revolutionary socialists in Portugal should adopt is the one developed during the first four congresses of the 3rd International and re-iterated by Trotsky once in exile - the United Front. To "join with all workers belonging to other parties and groups and all unaligned workers in a common struggle to defend the immediate, basic interests of the working class against the bourgeoisie". Its pretty clear that the immediate struggle to form an anti austerity government against ruling class opposition even on the weak lines of Costa's programme is in the immediate interests of the Portuguese and European working class. For the Revolutionary Socialists in the Left Block at this point to argue for a course of action that will endanger the fulfilment working class's sincere wish for a government alleviating austerity would be wrong. For revolutionaries to do this on the hope the Left Block may pick up votes in any future election is a sectarian dereliction of their historical duty.

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Far right surge in Swiss election

Submitted by Matthew on 21 October, 2015 - 1:56 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%.

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