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George Galloway, Posadist, “Every terrorist will be shot down dead, and if I can, I will pull the trigger myself from my Sputnik.”

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Watch out World: Galloway is in Orbit!

George Galloway has been a busy bee.

Here is Galloway this morning:

Here was Galloway yesterday:

Here was also Galloway yesterday.

This yet again was Galloway yesterday:

He even claims that Russia is the forefront of the fight against the Daesh genociders.

Forgetting perhaps that it was welcome US air-support that saved the Kurds from in Kobane from mass murder.

Here was him last week.

The police will find a friend in me,” he added.

“Every terrorist will be shot down dead, and if I can, I will pull the trigger myself.

“I say to the police officer in the room, when it comes to your wages, your resources and your strengthening, you can count on me.”

Speculation is rife that Galloway plans to follow Vladimir Putin and wrestle a terrorist, bare-handed, to the ground.

He is there, up in space, with a new Communist civilisation, orbiting the earth, just waiting……

Here is an earlier incarnation of Sputnik.


Written by Andrew Coates

November 29, 2015 at 12:53 pm

Another small group, Independent Socialist Network, to join Labour: is this the way to win backing for Marxism?

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Another Group Joins Labour? 

Rethinking Labour: More of the same or change of course?

Nick Wrack is a respected socialist activist who has long argued for a new Marxist party in Britain.

He is part of the Independent Socialist Network.

The history of that current is extremely complex even by the high left’s standards (for those who so wish they can look at its site,  here.)

Like many he is deeply impressed by the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, which he describes as a “game changer for left-wing politics in Britain”.

If I may jump over the article this is something he is not impressed with,

We have considered it worthwhile participating in TUSC and standing candidates against Labour in the hope that this could be a springboard to the formation of a new party. However, that is clearly not going to happen. It puts a negative over the whole project, even more so now that Corbyn has won the leadership of the Labour Party. TUSC will obtain even worse votes in the short term and standing to obtain risible votes cannot even be justified with the argument that it is to lay the basis of building a new party. In these circumstances it is time, in my opinion, to draw a line in our participation in TUSC.

A similar situation exists now with Left Unity. Left Unity has politics no different from Corbyn, so why would any of them join it? Why join a party of 1,500 when you can join a party of hundreds of thousands, with millions of affiliated trade unionists? Its perspective for any meaningful contribution to the socialist cause is minimal, if that.

It is unlikely, we note, that these failures are due to the following, causes which he mentions,

  • No group will give up its claim to be “the one true socialist party”. As result they cannot achieve, “unification of Marxists into a single organisation.”
  • The various socialist groups have sought to limit the nature of the project to essentially reformist policies, while presenting themselves as the ‘real’ socialists.
  • In Left Unity, Socialist Resistance and other non-aligned Marxists actively prevented clear socialist aims and principles being incorporated into the party constitution, preferring to blur the distinction between socialists and social democrats because they don’t want to put anyone off.

A simpler explanation is that these ideas have little connection to social reality and popular thinking.

One might say (with reference to, Lars T.Lih. Lenin Rediscovered. 2008) that Wrack’s view is based on the common ground of Erfurt Marxism (which could be said to be shared by the pre-Third International Lenin and social democratic Second International). That is,  that the “good news” of socialism has to be brought to people by democratic politics  ((Wrack’s group has always insisted on this point, in distinction from vanguardist Leninist groups),  debate on Marxist analysis (or socialism more widely) and activism.

In this respect it is clearly false for Wrack to claim that there are “two incompatible political ideologies – revolutionary socialism-communism versus reformist social democracy (which) – have existed in opposition since the second half of the 19th century.”

It would take many pages, of earnest theoretical and scholastic debate to determine what is ‘Marxism’, but the line between “revolutionary socialism-communism” and “reformist social democracy” is pretty minor compared to the distinction between Stalinism and democratic socialism.

In reality there is no one ‘Marxism’. There are Marxisms.

Where there is a fault line on the left and between Marxists, it lies in the difference between those who wish to emphasise the importance of political liberty, before and after the winning of political power by socialist parties, and those who believe that everything – including liberty – has to take second place to gaining and sustaining that power. We could go further and say that some of the latter still believe in the ‘actuality of the revolution’ – its continued presence ready to spring into life and led to victory the right manoeuvres of small left groups. Democratic socialism is the belief that we proceed by consent and by voting to a “revolution” in social structures and culture, not an imposed political leadership, or by violence – which as our founders said, was only justified against  “slave holders'”.violent opposition.

That kind of democratic Marxism is only one strand amongst an increasingly bewildering number of other left themes, third-wave feminism, the renewed  egalitarian social democracy of the people around Pierre Rosenvallon in France,  of the vast variety of Greens, radical democrats, other-globalisation theorists, supporters of décroissance and a host of other other left ideologies,  from the broad appeal of democratic secularist anti-racism, to other ideas, with a more limited audience, such post-Negri autonomism and the tradition stemming from Cornelius Castoriadis.

To varying degrees all these ideas exist within trade unions (the ultimate ‘reformist’ bodies), and parties like the Labour Party, the French left bloc, the Front de gauche, and a long list of European left and social democratic parties.

If Marxist ideas have any value it is not because they are ‘Marxist’ but because there are Marxist researchers and activists who can help develop a democratic socialist strategy and practical policies for achieving  – amongst a very very long list:

  • an egalitarian and socialist  response to neo-liberal economics based on the classical premises of class struggle politics: in the conditions of vastly changed class structures.
  • policies that offer a democratic transformation of the European Union.
  • policies that democratise the state: end the system of farming public functions (welfare, health onwards) off to private rentiers and take them under democratic control.
  • Workers’ rights, social rights, and the whole galaxy of human rights based on popular movements, not NGO’s lists of ideas.
  • the goal of the “an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”

A creative left current, with an input from all these sources cannot be reduced to ‘Marxism’.

  • There is no evidence that “true” socialism exists in which the left can unite on the basis of Marxist doctrine. There are varieties of socialist politics and parties, many of which are incompatible No democratic socialist would want to be part of a party based on the kind of democratic centralism practised in the SWP or Socialist Party. Their version of Leninism is not accepted as ‘true’ Marxism either.
  • Out of experience many on the left would not touch these parties and their various ‘fronts’ with a barge pole.

We can imagine that it’s the fact that Wrack is part of the movement, and an activist, which had the main pull in the following analysis.

Having said that, there is an enormous battle taking place now within the Labour Party and the Trade Unions. This battle is going to intensify over the next year. Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are principled social democrats. They do not, in my opinion, put forward a programme for overthrowing capitalism or for establishing a socialist society. But they are sincere and honest supporters and defenders of the working class and its interests. They support workers on strike; they support workers in protest; they stand up for the poor, the migrant and those on welfare. Arrayed against them is the whole of the capitalist class, the media and their echoes in the Labour Party and trade unions.

Marxists cannot stand aside in this battle and say, “It’s nothing to do with us.” Marxists participate in all aspects of the class struggle. Marxists must do everything we can to defend Corbyn and McDonnell, while engaging in a thoroughgoing criticism of their programme. We must defend Corbyn and McDonnell but fight for socialist policies. I do not have the space here to develop details points of programmatic criticism but fundamentally the issue boils down to what Corbyn is attempting to do differently from Syriza. How can Corbyn succeed where Tsipras failed? In my opinion, the weaknesses of the Syriza approach are present in Corbyn’s programme. How can we alter this to strengthen the movement for change?

Or perhaps not.

Activism seems to get downplayed in favour of, the no-doubt to be welcomed, “through-going criticism”

I spelled out some aspects of disagreement in an earlier article. I think that both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have already made too many concessions or compromises, in a vain attempt to appease their opponents in the Parliamentary Labour Party, where they are in a small minority. But they cannot hope to win the battle they face in the Labour Party on the basis of the PLP. It seems that they have understood the need to base themselves on their support outside the PLP and have set up Momentum to organise that support. Momentum has to develop into a genuinely democratic organisation in which its members can influence policy and tactics.


For all these reasons I am now of the opinion that all Marxists should, at the very least, join Momentum. We can play a key role in helping to defend Corbyn and defeating the right. Where possible, therefore, Marxists should also join Labour. This is best done as an organised group, rather than as individuals. The purpose of joining is two-fold: to strengthen the forces in defence of Corbyn and against the rightwing in Labour and the trade unions and to argue for a Marxist ideas in the mass movement around Corbyn. There is no knowing how long this battle may last or what the outcome will be. Those coming into Momentum and into the Labour Party will include thousands of people who simply want change. But many will have no clear idea of what that change should be or how it can be accomplished. Marxists have to engage with the debate. What change? How can it be achieved? What programme is necessary?


The ISN will seek to organise all independent socialists in and out of the Labour Party who want to fight for Marxist ideas in the labour movement and we will work with all who see the need ultimately to build a mass united socialist party based on Marxist ideas.

It is hard to not see just how far this analysis from the ILN is from reality.

  • How is Momentum going to change the Labour Party? Is is going to act as an organised group that will take control over local Labour parties, and Council groups, on the basis of ‘debate’? How will this work within the slow process of Labour Party internal democracy? How on earth will this group actually oeprate within, say Policy Forums, CLPs? As an alternative party or as a simple current of ideas?
  • How will they cope with set-backs? The experience of ‘new’ politics, from Podemos onwards, indicates that ‘new’ democratic methods are hard to create, and frankly, the rhythm of Labour Party internal life is going to be an obstacle to anybody wanting instant political gratification.
  • How will they appeal to the large centre-ground inside the Labour Party which has to be convinced on solid grounds of the reasonableness of the new politics? The sudden arrival of new people, who campaigned against Labour in the General Election, eager to give advice, is, perhaps not likely to impress everybody. A simple thought: you have show respect for your opponents, even work for their election in councils, and so forth. Will the ILN manage that?

It is hard to not to think that some people on the left, with limited experience of how the Labour Party actually works, and the inevitable disappointments for those with simple and clear goals of “defending” Corbyn, are going to get frustrated and bitter very quickly.

Socialist Unity (John Wight), “Andrew Coates is a card carrying member of the neo-McCarthyite gang….”

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John Wight: Recent Picture.

These, perhaps unhelpful, comments have been brought to our attention by a class conscious struggler.

 Andrew Coates is a card carrying member of the neo-McCarthyite gang that resides in the rotten, seeting swamp I describe in my recent piece in defence of Seumas Milne.

He is not in any way shape or form on the ‘right side’.

Here is the link to my Milne article: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/23/seumas-milne-and-his-swivel-eyed-detractors/

Socialist Unity.

From said description of ‘seeting’ swamp,

What we have seen take place is nothing less than a feral and unhinged scream from the swamp of reaction that resides in our culture, where every crank with a computer resides, consumed with bitterness and untreated angst, much of it in the form of self loathing over their own inadequacies and lack of talent – not to mention in some cases a jump from the extreme left to extreme right of the political spectrum, with all the psychological dysfunction such a metamorphosis describes’.

Did Wight say this as well?

Shoot these rabid dogs. Death to this gang who hide their ferocious teeth, their eagle claws, from the people! Down with that vulture Trotksy, from whose mouth a bloody venom drips, putrefying the great ideals of Marxism!… Down with these abject animals! Let’s put an end once and for all to these miserable hybrids of foxes and pigs, these stinking corpses! Let’s exterminate the mad dogs of capitalism, who want to tear to pieces the flower of our new Soviet nation! Let’s push the bestial hatred they bear our leaders back down their own throats!

Apparently not.

As a long-standing Labour Party card-holder (from this morning indeed, to add to the above) and thus a comrade I am  dismayed that my old mucker John Wight, an ectoplasm of egregious excrement, a ponce of putrescent pompousness, a snivelling sycophant of a scrote, should resort to such language.

Though it’s true that the allotment was rather damp this morning.

For popular instruction:

Recent Wight Tweets,

John Wight – perhaps not surprisingly –  on Russia Today: Op-Edge.

John Wight on George Galloway for London Mayor.


Written by Andrew Coates

October 30, 2015 at 4:47 pm

Seumas Milne’s New Best Friend, Neil, “Belarus”, Clark.

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Censored Photo.

Neil Clark: Seumas Milne’s New Bestie.


New Photo.


Neil Clark.

Yesterday one Neil Clark, apparently a journalist who writes for the New Statesman and the Guardian, amongst others, published this on the Russian backed site, Sputnik.

The news that Seumas Milne, anti-war journalist and Guardian columnist, has been appointed the new Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s Executive Director of Strategy and Communications has caused uproar among Britain’s McCarthyite pro-imperialist faux-left.

Milne, we’re told is a “terrorism apologist”, a “Stalinist” an “extremist”, ”apologist for dictators”, “apologist for murderous dictators”, “Kremlin/Putin apologist” and “facism (sic) apologist”.

Clark continues,

You’d think from reading these attacks that Milne was some kind of wild-eyed, foaming at the mouth madman who needs to be tethered on a leash for public safety. Just about the only very bad thing he hasn’t been accused of is being an “apologist” for Jack the Ripper — though no doubt, Cyril Waugh-Monger is working on that article right now.

Anyone who knows Seumas in person — as I do, can only laugh out loud at these ludicrous portrayals of a thoroughly decent and very thoughtful man

This may well be true.

We have concentrated on a few issues which concern us.

  • Milne supported the Islamist – and relatively moderate – right wing pro-business Tunisian party, Ennahda, against the Tunisian left, notably the by far largest workers’ organisation, the Union GĂ©nĂ©rale Tunisienne du Travail, UGTT, in the period proceeding and immediately following Tunisia’s first free elections (2011)
  • That he failed to a give proper support for Charlie Hebdo’s freedom of expression. Making the claim, a  few days after the slaughter at the Weekly’s offices, and the Hyper-Cacher,  that suggested that their “repeated pornographic humiliation” of Muslims – underlined amongst other factors such as poor conditions in the French banlieues, helped to explain this blow back.

In today’s New Statesman,  Oliver Bullough sums up the underlying reasons for our gripes extremely well,

For Milne, geopolitics is more important than people.

Whatever crisis strikes the world, the West’s to blame.

Why did a group of psychopaths attack a magazine and a supermarket in Paris?

“Without the war waged by western powers, including France, to bring to heel and reoccupy the Arab and Muslim world, last week’s attacks clearly couldn’t have taken place”.

These – serious – disagreements pale into insignificance compared to the revulsion people on the left will feel about the full spread of Clark’s politics.

Here is an example.

Belarus and Venezuela are natural allies: both are progressive, independent, socialist democracies who are following entirely different economic and social agendas to the neo-liberal one laid down by the Empire, one which benefits only multinationals and the very rich. Because of their independence, the leaders of Belarus and Venezuela have been demonised: both President Lukashenko and President Chavez have been called ‘dictators’ despite their regular election successes and the overwhelming popularity both men command in their respective countries.

Clark’s Blog 2007.

And this, Bright light on the Dniepe 2011.

After SWP Involvement Makes News, Momentum Publishes Ethical Code – is this enough?

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Enfin, les difficultés commencent !

By a route leading back to, amongst others,  Tendance Coatesy the New Statesman has published this:

When new group Momentum was launched by Jeremy Corbyn supporters, Labour MPs were immediately alarmed by its decision to allow non-party members to sign up. This, they warned, risked far-left entryism and the creation of a Militant-style “party within a party”.

Their fears were given greater credence yesterday by the announcement by the Socialist Workers Party, the most loathed Trotskyist groupuscule, that it intends to participate in Momentum. The SWP’s “Party Notes” stated: “There are also various initiatives to re-launch the Labour left. Momentum which has the backing of a group of newly elected Corbyn-supporting MPs such as Clive Lewis and Richard Burgon, looks like it might be the most significant to date (Corbyn and McDonnell have also made supporting statements backing it). It does not seem restricted to Labour members, though it says it will aim to encourage people to join Labour. We should go along to any local Momentum meetings with the aim of taking part as open SWP members, suggesting joint activity, and sign up to be on the email lists. A launch meeting in Manchester last week attracted 70 people, many of them new and comrades had a friendly response when they raised common activity.”

For Momentum’s Labour supporters, the involvement of the SWP (see Edward Platt’s 2014 NS piece for an account of the party’s multiple woes) would be a political catastrophe. Indeed, it is precisely because the SWP recognises that its participation would discredit the group that it has adopted this strategy. It intends to support Momentum as the noose supports a hanged man.

It is notable, then, that the group’s founders have moved swiftly to repudiate the SWP. An article on Left Futures, the site edited by Momentum director Jon Lansman, declares: “There are extremely good reasons why the SWP and my erstwhile comrades in the Socialist Party should be told to sling their hook when they try and get involved. A passing acquaintance with them is all it takes to understand that they’re fundamentally uninterested in building the wider labour movement, let alone the Labour Party – which is one of Momentum‘s explicit objectives. During the summer the SWP looked upon stormin’ Corbyn with indifference and barely any comment. For the Socialist Party, because Labour was a “capitalist party” Jeremy couldn’t possibly win and it was dead as far as socialist politics were concerned.

But the suspicion that Momentum will be infiltrated by hostile left-wingers is likely to endure. If SWP members are to be formally excluded from meetings, the new fear is that its activists go undercover (though it is worth recalling how few there now are). Shadow minister Clive Lewis, a Momentum director, told me this week: “If people are concerned about Momentum, all I would say is judge it on what it does.” But for Labour MPs, the jury will remain out for some time.

Momentum published this yesterday

Interim Ethical Code for Individuals and Local Groups Associated with Momentum

Individuals and groups using the Momentum name and branding must operate according to the following principles at all times:

‱ As the successor to Jeremy Corbyn’s Leadership Campaign, Momentum promotes the values that Jeremy popularised during the campaign, of fair, honest debate focused on policies, not personal attacks or harassment.
‱ Momentum is outward-facing. It seeks to reach out across the community and encourages the participation of people who may not have been involved in political activities before. Ensuring the safety and self-expression of everyone is a priority, especially of those who are often marginalised on the basis of their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, religion, class, disability and educational or economic status.
‱ Groups of individuals may form local Momentum Groups to share ideas, organise and participate in activities at their local level which demonstrate how ‘Labour values’ and collective effort can make a positive social and/or environmental impact. These groups must be democratic in their nature and be organised around a spirit of collaboration, inclusion and respect.
‱ As the successor to Jeremy Corbyn’s Leadership Campaign, Momentum promotes the communication of progressive ideas for political change, such as: opposition to austerity, the promotion of equality and participatory democracy. These are the values for which Jeremy Corbyn was elected.
‱ Momentum is wholly committed to working for progressive political change through methods which are inclusive, participatory and non-violent.
‱ Momentum seeks to build a social movement in support of the aims of the Labour movement and a fairer and more decent society. Momentum is committed to supporting the Labour Party winning elections and entering government in 2020 and seeks positive and productive engagement with local Labour Party branches.

Individuals and/or groups who do not adhere to the above principles will not be considered to be part of, or associated with, Momentum. Please note that Momentum is its embryonic stage as a network organisation. Our Code of Conduct is likely to develop further along with the governance structures of our organisation.

Whether these interim  commitments will make a difference, or become fully codified,  remains to be seen.

The principal concern is not setting up measures to avoid being hectored by the SWP/SP. Or even to put a stop to attempts to support break away candidates standing in elections against the Labour Party (which we flagged up).

It is about what the left needs to be done to make itself not ‘populist’ but popular enough to be able to implement our democratic socialist policies.

However democratic and inclusive an internal structure is this Blog’s own view that a lot more needs to be done to reach out not just to ourselves, to ‘new’ people, and movements in civil society. Particular attention should be given to the views of Trade Unions on issues concerning not just budget austerity but privatisation, hiving off local services, and to groups fighting, what is effectively the dismantling of the Welfare state.

For this to have a real impact:

  • The left has to appeal, and listen to, those already in the Labour Party who did not vote for Jeremy Corbyn.
  • We have to respect the hard work they have put in, over many years, as activists, as Councillors and MPs.
  • We have to offer rational well-thought out policies – on austerity, on broader economic issues, on social policy, and on international subjects.
  • It is important, therefore, that supporters of Team Corbyn and the new Shadow Cabinet more broadly, work with that section of the Party which  wants to see a Labour government elected, our representation on local councils increased and effective policies carried out in local government.
This means listening and trying to convince the ‘centre ground’ of the Party.

This will not help:

“Momentum England an Unofficial page supporting “Momentum” the movement inspired by Jeremy Corbyn the Leader of the Labour Party #ANewKindOfPolitics.”

2,093 people like this.

The Facebook page (Here)  is managed by one Mark Anthony France,  Republican Socialist and Labour Party Member.

Politics in Britain and Ireland is being transformed.
We have seen a powerful rebellion in Scotland in support of a radical movement for Independence and the spectacular rise of the Scottish National Party.

We see the growth of Sinn Fein both North and South as we approach the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising.

In Wales Plaid Cymru is a potent force led by Socialist Republican Leanne Wood
In the Summer of 2015 came an unprecedented mass movement mainly based in England that led to Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Leader of the Labour PartyThere is tremendous momentum for change.

One of the biggest issues that confront all the peoples of these islands is how to manage dynamic towards the break up of the so called ‘United Kingdom’ in a peaceful, democratic way.
We encourage debate and discussion about the movement for change and how to maintain and accelerate the Momentum for change towards a genuinely democratic future based upon peoples power.

This chap has a bit of a ‘history’.

With John Tummon Mark Anthony France was the seconder of the (roundly defeated) notorious Caliphate motion at the Left Unity Conference in November 2014 (Extracts: original here)

To show solidarity with the people of the Middle  East by supporting the end of the  structure of the  divided nation states imposed by the Versailles  settlement and their replacement by a Caliphate type polity in which diversity and autonomy are protected and nurtured and the mass of people can effectively control executive authority’.

Left Unity distances itself specifically from the use of intemperate, inaccurate and moralist language such as ‘terrorism’, ‘evil’, ‘fundamentalist’, ‘viciously reactionary’, ‘murderous’, genocidal’, etc in discussion about the Middle East; these terms are deployed by people and forces seeking not to understand or analyse, but to demonise in order to dominate, and they have no place within socialist discourse.

We also distance ourselves  from the Eurocentric brand of secularism that  believes that the peoples of the Middle East must accept western terms of reference by consigning  their religious faith to a separate part of their  lives from their political aspirations, if they are to  develop progressive societies.

The story got national attention,

Islamic State’s ‘Progessive Potential’ As ‘Stabilising Force’ Debated By New Left Unity Party. Huffington Post.

The “progressive potential” of Islamic State (IS) had been discussed by a British political party, which also claimed a caliphate created by the brutal Islamist terror group would be a “stabilising force” in the region.

The bizarre proposition was put to members of a new left-wing party in an amendment that said IS’s territorial ambitions were a break from “framework of western-imposed nation states” in the Middle East.

The Left Unity motion added that Islamic State’s call for a pan-Islamic Caliphate to replace the various states of the Muslim world was “an authentic expression of … anti-imperialist aspirations.”

No more than ‘debating’ with the SWP would we wish to ‘discuss’ the idea that we should be sympathetic to an Islamic caliphate.


Portugal: Socialists and Left Bloc Reach Possible Governing Agreement.

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Negotiated Possible Governing Deal with Socialist Party.

Today began with Bernard Guetta on France-Inter. In Un message de Lisbonne he talked of the possibility of a left government in Portugal after agreement had been reached between the Left Bloc and the Portuguese Socialist Party.

Whether the pro-European Guetta is right about this signaling the growth of a “new left” in Europe, both hostile to leaving the EU and the right-wing economic policies pursued across the continent remains to be seen.

But the news of a possible governing agreement has been sending out waves across Europe.

Portugal opposition leader says any leftist government would honour international commitments

The leader of Portugal’s Socialist opposition sought to calm worried investors on Monday, saying any new government formed with the backing of far-left parties would still respect Portugal’s budget pledges.

Portuguese shares fell sharply on Monday as a second far-left party said it could back a Socialist-led government, raising concerns that the fall-out from last week’s election could lead to reversal of Lisbon’s strict budget policies.

Socialist leader Antonio Costa said his contacts with the Left Bloc and the Communists were aimed at working out a government programme that would ease austerity, but also had “the condition to respect Portugal’s international commitments”.

EU budget rules envisage countries keeping their deficits below 3 percent of economic output and working to reduce them further.

Costa spoke after meeting President Anibal Cavaco Silva who has to name the new prime minister in the coming weeks.

However, the far-left Left Bloc said Passos Coelho would fail to win enough backing to govern again.

“The (centre-right) government is over as of today, because it will not have support in parliament, but also because there is another government solution that corresponds to people’s expectations,” Left Bloc leader Catarina Martins said after meeting Costa earlier in the day.

“Conditions have been created for a basic consensus on the Left Bloc’s terms for allowing the creation of a government.”

Costa was more cautious, saying there were “possible points of convergence” with the Left Bloc, especially on how to give more disposable income back to the Portuguese.

“But it is premature to say whether an agreement is possible,” he said.


The inconclusive election result had left markets largely unmoved last week, with a leftist government seen as unlikely. But the prospect of prolonged political uncertainty unsettled investors on Monday.

Shares in banks were hit particularly hard. The largest listed lender, Millennium bcp, slumped more than 9 percent, dragging Lisbon’s stock index 3 percent lower. Bond yields, cushioned by the European Central Bank’s asset purchases, were little changed.

“The next few weeks will be a test for the political environment and risk is already up,” said Banco Best trader Alfredo Mendes. “Banks are the engines of the economy. If there are signs that the economy will be rudderless because there is no government, banks could be weakened.”

Economists fear that a change in economic policy or a long delay in forming a government could undermine the Portuguese economy’s revival after three years of recession made worse by harsh austerity imposed under a now-completed bailout.

Political scientist Adelino Matlez said the Communists’ stance was a big game-changer as the party had signalled it is ready to “enter the system and become institutional” rather than remain a constant opposition force.

“The possibility of a leftist government is beginning to loom,” he said. “Everything now is about the negotiations, about bargains … (centre-right leader Passos Coelho) by now knows that Costa is not just bluffing, so his next proposal should be bolder.


Then there is this:

Portugal’s three main leftist parties, including the Communists and an ally of Greece’s Syriza, have signaled a willingness to form a government following inconclusive elections that left the ruling centre-right coalition unable to secure a parliamentary majority.


And this: Socialistas y Bloco de Esquerda acercan posturas en Portugal. El PaĂŹs.

AntĂłnio Costa, Secretary General of the Portuguese Socialist Party (PS), has  ended the first round of negotiations with the other leftist parties. And the possibility of a leftist government is growing. Both the PC and the Left Bloc (BE) will guarantee a stable government for the whole legislature, while the center-right seems to be on the lookout. The question remains the same as it has been for a week after the elections: a dalliance between the parties or the real possibility of a “largely sanctioning”  majority  as Costa himself has described it?

On the morning of Monday, Costa (32% of the vote and 85 seats) met Catarina Martins, the Left Bloc (BE, 10.2% of the vote, 19 seats). Both left the encounter content. The BE requires that the  PS halts the freeze on pension levels, stops the reduction of social security payments,  and the reconciliation process in dismissals.

“As far as we are concerned,  the government of Passos and Portas  ends today” were the first words of Martins, after the meeting. The Bloc leader said that they had put on the table their respect wage conditions, labour and pensions, and a lower of the rates of payments of rates under the European Budget Treaty. A journalists’ questions, she acknowledged that the Left Bloc’s election demand for a renegotiation of the country’s debt had been put back during the negotiations.

The report indicates that the Socialist leader, AntĂłnio Costa, was more prudent about the results of the talks. He spoke of them as “very interesting” “very constructive”, estimating that there were areas of common ground. He added that everybody knew that they came from different backgrounds, and had their own policies, but the two parties were searching for a solution that would create a stable government that corresponded to the majority of voters’ expressed wishes in the election.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 13, 2015 at 11:37 am

Is this the end of the Turkish Republic? Davutoğlu Blames Ankara Bombings on Islamic State and Resumes Bombing Kurds.

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Downing Street Protest at Ankara Peace Rally Bombing.

Turkey blames Ankara bombings on Islamic State


Prime minister says authorities close to identifying one of suicide attackers who killed at least 128 at peace rally

Turkey is focusing on Islamic State in its investigation into a twin bombing that killed at least 128 people in Ankara, and are close to identifying one of the bombers, the prime minister has said.

Speaking on the Turkish broadcaster NTV, Ahmet Davutoglu said the attack was an attempt to influence the outcome of the country’s general election, due to take place on 1 November, and that necessary steps would be taken if security failures were found to have contributed to the bombing.

“It was definitely a suicide bombing,” he said. “DNA tests are being conducted. It was determined how the suicide bombers got there. We’re close to a name, which points to one group.”

At least 128 people were killed and more than 200 wounded on Saturday when two explosions hit a peace rally organised by several leftist groups, including labour unions and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic party, to call for an end to the escalating violence between the Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK).

The attack is the deadliest in the country’s recent history and was labelled a terrorist act by the government, which declared three days of national mourning.

Then there is,

Turkish air strikes on Kurdish PKK rebels as mourning continues

The Turkish air force has pounded Kurdish militants a day after a deadly bomb attack on a rally for peace in the capital Ankara.

Planes hit Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in both the south-east and over the border in northern Iraq.

Saturday’s twin bombing in Ankara killed at least 95 people, making it the deadliest such attack ever.

Security sources say they suspect the so-called Islamic State (IS) group was behind the attack.

The air force struck after the government rejected a new ceasefire announced by the PKK on Saturday.

Tensions in Turkey were already high, with a general election looming on 1 November.

The governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its overall majority in June after gains by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which was involved in Saturday’s rally.

PKK positions were destroyed in the Metina and Zap areas of northern Iraq in Sunday’s air strikes, the Turkish military said.On Saturday, the air force targeted the PKK in Turkey’s Diyarbakir province. Forty-nine people were reported killed in the strikes, but these figures could not be verified independently.

“The PKK ceasefire means nothing for us,” one senior Turkish security official told Reuters news agency. “The operations will continue without a break.”

Whether there was Turkish state complicity in the Ankara atrocity – which continues to sear the hearts of millions throughout the world – is not clear.

Islamism, in all its shapes and forms, is the enemy of the left and all people of good will.


This is well worth reading:

Ankara bombing and the end of the Turkish Republic

What we have witnessed in the last two years, culminating in the horrible scenes of 10 October in Ankara, is the end of the Turkish Republic as we know it.

..the last of these moments was experienced during the rule of none other than Erdogan when his Justice and Development Party (AKP) embarked on a peace process with the Kurds, the so-called “democratic opening” process which lasted in fits and starts until the beginning of 2015. True, the reforms the state undertook were more cosmetic than concrete; the process itself was top-down, opaque and subject to the whims of two “men”, Erdogan and Abdullah Öcalan, the incarcerated leader of the PKK. Yet the ceasefire between Turkish armed forces and the PKK lasted more than two years, and many believed that the process was irreversible, whatever the (real) intentions of the actors involved.

In the long-run, it probably is irreversible. That it was not in the short-run has been proven by the events that have unfolded since the collapse of the ceasefire in the wake of the now defunct June 7 elections.

What is more, it is not only the Kurds that the AKP and its unquestioned leader Erdogan have alienated. Trampling on every faultline that divides the society, the AKP has managed to turn the liberals, leftists, ultra-nationalists (of all hues), Alevis, secularists, other political Islamists (including its one-time ally, the Gulen community) against itself, running the country relying only on a loyal constituency which is still enough to give it a majority in the parliament.

But the country it runs is not the country it took over in 2002. “The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in” (be it the army, or common ideals, common symbols – you name it), to borrow from the lyrics of a famous Pink Floyd song, is no longer there. The armageddon, if it has not already happened at Gezi or Suruc, or indeed Ankara, is nearby.

The bottom line may not be pleasant to hear for some, but it needs to said out loud: what we have been witnessing in the last couple of years, the culmination of which were the horrible scenes we were exposed to on 10 October in Ankara, is the end of the Turkish Republic as we know it. This does not mean that the territorial integrity of the country will be forfeited. But the anger that pits half of the society against the other is too intense, the divisions that run through various ethnic, religious or ideological groups are too deep to paper over. Moreover, as I have alluded to above, the quest of the Kurds for the full recognition of their identity and rights, especially in the context of the developments in Iraq and Syria, is in the long-run irreversible. Whatever the results of the forthcoming November 1 elections (assuming that they will be held), Turkey will embark on a long and possibly painful journey to a “less unitary”, less centralized system.

On 10 October, Simon Tisdall observes in the article I have mentioned earlier, “Turkey, suffering the impact of the worst ever terror outrage on its soil, is a nation in shock. But it is also a nation living in fear.” Unfortunately, Tisdall is wrong, for Turkey is not a nation in the conventional sense of the term any more.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 12, 2015 at 11:52 am