Archive for the ‘Capitalism’ Category
- Far-right candidate Norbert Hofer has conceded as initial results declared
- Polling ended at 4pm UK time and final result will be announced tomorrow
- Hofer would have been Europe’s first far-right leader since World War II
The Independent reports,
Austria’s Norbert Hofer has conceded defeat after his hopes of becoming the European Union’s first far-right president were dashed.
The first official results showed left-leaning candidate Alexander Van der Bellen with what appeared to be an unbeatable lead over his rival.
When the results were released shortly after polls closed on Sunday, Mr Van der Bellen had 53.5 per cent, while Mr Hofer had 46.4 per cent.
In the election run up RT (Russia Today) broadcast many sympathetic reports on Hoffer,
Norbert Hofer, the Austrian presidential candidate for the Freedom Party who is often described as “far-right” by opponents, has dismissed the idea in an interview with RT, saying that he is “a normal man, who does not like extremes.”
“That’s not true,” Hofer told RT’s Egor Piskunov when asked about opponents accusing him of spreading nationalist ideas.
“Yes, I’m right side, but I’m not far-right. I’m middle right and if you compare things members of the government say here in Austria and things I say, I’m not more right than the government,” Hofer said.
RT payed special attention to this aspect of his policies:
Speaking of his plans in case he wins the election, Hofer noted that he would like Austria to cooperate with many countries, including Russia, as he makes a “strong economy” his number one priority.
In this regard, Hofer also touched upon the sanctions imposed against Russia amid the Ukrainian crisis and the situation after the Crimean referendum on joining Russia.
“I don’t think sanctions are now useful for keeping peace,” the presidential candidate said, adding that they don’t solve problems and it’s better to look for a diplomatic way out.
In its programmes on Hofer’s defeat RT underlined – like the Daily Mail – the role of ‘left-wingers’ who campaigned against the candidate of the Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ).
Election results (Der Standard): the Greens/Alexander Van der Bellen, had a strong urban vote.
Some more left-wing gloating:
Triumph für den Alpen-Kretschmann (Neues Deutschland. Socialistische Tageszeitung).
The ‘People’s Question Time: Brexit.” Lindsey German: “a chance to shape the future of British society along egalitarian lines.”
Brexit: Lindsey German says, “..a chance to shape the future of British society along egalitarian lines.”
This is being organised the ‘People’s Assembly‘.
The People’s Question Time: Brexit – What Are Our Demands?
7pm, Thursday 19 January, St Pancras Church, Euston Road, NW1 2BA. Register your place: https://pqtjan2017.eventbrite.co.uk/
Emily Thornberry MP – Shadow Foreign Secretary, Labour Party
Amelia Womack – Deputy Leader, Green Party
Kevin Courtney – General Secretary, National Union of Teachers
Lindsey German – People’s Assembly
Malia Bouattia – NUS President
Steve Turner – Assistant General Secretary, UNITE
This is their puff:
Do you have a question for our panel? Submit one when registering for a chance to put it to the event.
This has been a year full of surprises; the Political landscape is changing at an unprecedented rate. Brexit has been hugely divisive and has created a dynamic and unpredictable situation.
Our new (un-elected) Prime Minster and her cabinet clearly have no real plan. One thing is for sure, if the last 6 years are anything to go by, if the Tories are left to handle Brexit negotiations on their own we’ll see a deal that suits the bankers, the bosses and the corporations. What should we be demanding from the government that means Brexit is negotiated in the interests of the people? However you voted in the EU referendum, we need to put pressure on the Tories to ensure they don’t use Brexit as a way of increasing attacks on the majority, continuing austerity, whipping up racist divisions in our community and scapegoating immigrants.
The idea that Brexit, whose purpose is to serve the bankers, the bosses and the corporations, and to attack migrant workers, can be effectively changed through demands that it is “negotiated in the interests of the People’ is a straightforward, to put it simply, lie.
Speaking for the People’s Assembly (who have never debated the issue in public still less asked supporters to vote on the issue) Lindsay German holds these views.
Next stop… the People’s Brexit (3rd of November 2016)
The missteps of the ruling class can create space for our side, notes Lindsey German
No doubt influenced by her groupuscules belief in the ‘actuality of the revolution’ German goes into say,
The job for all those on the left now should be not to overturn that decision but ensure that the ruling class’s division is turned in our favour. We need to fight for an outcome that ensures a solution to the NHS funding crisis, a solution to the housing crisis, a raising of workers’ wages and employment rights, as well as total opposition to scapegoating of migrants and to racism in all its forms.
….a chance to shape the future of British society along egalitarian lines. This now has an urgency given the likelihood of a general election next year. It means putting forward these demands, mobilising around them, building trade union strength, doing everything to support Corbyn in these electoral battles, and trying to give a voice to the millions of working people, whichever way they voted, who are looking for an alternative.
If Brexit is the occasion for this “chance to shape the future of British society along egalitarian lines” then we are indeed in the actuality of great revolutionary events.
How Brexit will do anything but hinder the fight to resolve the NHS funding crisis, a solution to the housing crisis, a raising of workers’ wages and employment rights, is less than clear. As well as a being a major cause of the scapegoating of migrants and to racism in all its forms it is becoming part of these crises.
Well-established Rumour has it that this is German’s coming Retirement cottage.
Looking forward to evenings eating toasted crumpets with honey, while Rees warms his slippers on the wood fire.
Diane Abbott: Labour Should Hold its Nerve Against Racists Who Say: “‘What are you still doing here? We voted for Brexit.’”
What has happened to the “People’s Brexit“, or, as the leader of the Stop the War Coalition, Lindsey German, called, “a chance to shape the future of British society along egalitarian lines” ?
The Carnival of Reaction continues.
The latest news is that this individual had been elected to lead UKIP.
People in my family, where I live in Hackney, have been shouted at in the street and told: ‘What are you still doing here? We voted for Brexit.’ Brexit has become a euphemism for anti-immigrant feeling. “I’ve got friends on the South Coast, which is not ‘left-behind Britain’, and yet people are shouting at them on the bus: ‘Why are you still here?’”
Says comrade Diane Abbott in the I’ today.
..the shadow Home Secretary, argued that the party should “hold its nerve” and appealed to its huge membership to confront “toxic” arguments over immigration. “It’s as if the Brexit vote has given people permission to say they things didn’t feel able to say before,” she said in an interview with i.
Ms Abbott’s appointment by Jeremy Corbyn, and her decision to take personal control of immigration policy, has dismayed some Labour MPs who fear the party’s failure to take a tougher stance on the issue will make it vulnerable to Ukip. But she has no truck with that argument, insisting: “I don’t think there’s any way forward for the Labour Party electorally from sounding Ukip-lite. “If you are attracted by Ukip arguments, you are going to vote Ukip. And in areas where they are not so upset about migration they are going to be baffled about what we are actually doing.”
The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington added: “What some of my colleagues don’t seem to bear in mind is there are
people out there who are genuinely frightened by the turn this debate has taken.” Ms Abbott blamed anti-migration feeling in many Labour-loyal areas which voted for Brexit on disaffection in post-industrial Britain and a “cry of loss for a world which isn’t coming back”. She accused New Labour of taking those areas for granted on the mistaken assumption that there was nowhere else for its natural supporters to go. Ms Abbott argued Labour’s 500,000-plus membership should take the initiative in campaigning on the continuing economic boost from migration.
It was a tough task “in the era of Farage and Le Pen and Trump” but was the right thing for the party to do, she said. “If you were a Corbynista you would feel very let down if we said anything else. “We’ve now got the biggest social democratic party in western Europe, and we have to respond to it almost conversation by conversation, but at the same time being seen to address the real concerns people have about the NHS, job security and so on “I understand how high feelings run, but I just think we have to beware of a downward spiral in the debate.”
The Independent reports,
Some Labour backbenchers are furious with Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary, accusing her of trying to stamp on any debate about immigration which could see Labour trying to “outdo Ukip”.
Cuba’s former president Fidel Castro, one of the world’s longest-serving and most iconic leaders, has died aged 90.
We make no apologies for reproducing in full this not uncritical tribute, by Dr Manuel Barcia, and published by Al-Jazeera, which stands out as one of the most balanced.
Soon after his capture in 1953, following an attack he led on the Moncada Army Barracks, a young Fidel Castro was put on trial.
While conducting his own defence, Castro accused then-President Fulgencio Batista’s regime of depriving Cuba of democratic rule and of establishing a dictatorship.
He finished his speech with a phrase that has become well-known in Cuba and abroad:”You can condemn me but it doesn’t matter: History will acquit me.”
Interesting enough, Castro’s subsequent actions placed him in one of those inconclusive historical wormholes where agreeing on anything about him, let alone an acquittal for his actions, is almost an impossibility.
To some, he was an irredeemable monster who submerged Cuba into a long, dark age of tyranny and human rights violations.
To others, he was a socialist superman who brought about social equality – at least partially for women and for Afro-Cubans – and who introduced free education and universal healthcare.
From an economic and political point of view, Castro’s rule was characterised by a catalogue of mistakes that over the years led to more than one “rectification of errors” campaign. Domestically, many of his policies seemed bound to failure from the start.
A heavy dependence on the Soviet Union as a result of an unremitting American embargo left the country exposed to the rough forces of the free market in the early 1990s, fostering an economic crisis known in Cuba as the “special period in time of peace” that arguably still continues.
Internationally, Castro’s involvement in world affairs, especially those concerning Latin America, was a thorn in the side of US policies.
His alliance with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, which brought the USSR and US to the brink of nuclear war in 1962, was an early red flag that Castro was not about to back off when it came to confronting US imperialism.
Castro lent his support to Latin American armed groups fighting US-backed dictatorships countless times in the following decades, and in some cases supported movements taking on democratically elected governments, such as that of Romulo Betancourt in Venezuela in the 1960s.
Cuban secret agents wandered across the continent, training guerrilla commandos from Guatemala to Argentina.
One of the icons of the Cuban Revolution, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, even lost his life while trying to set up a guerrilla movement in Bolivia to topple the government of President Rene Barrientos.
Beyond the confines of Latin America, Castro’s influence grew steadily throughout the Cold War years.
In 1979, Cuba was elected to take over the presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), an organisation formed in 1960 to offer a peaceful alternative to the belligerent East-West blocs that characterised the Cold War.
Castro’s presidency of the NAM came as recognition of Cuba’s role in the international arena and was widely accepted and praised by all NAM members.
However, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan only three months into Castro’s presidency of the NAM caused havoc among the member states, and in particular affected Castro’s leadership since he was forced to side with the USSR.
In doing so, he failed on two fronts. He failed to stick to the actual principle of non-alignment enshrined in the NAM name and constitution, and he did so by turning his back on one of the NAM member states while supporting a Cold War power.
Even though Castro’s stock took a massive tumble afterwards, he continued to influence international politics, and nowhere more so than in Africa.
Cuba in Africa
Castro’s (and Guevara’s) role in assisting the decolonisation process in Africa was second to none. From the early 1960s, Castro threw all his support behind the Algerian liberation struggle against France.
Cuban doctors and soldiers were some of the first to arrive in Algeria to offer a hand to the independence forces fighting to push French colonialism out of their country.
In the following years, that support increased in size and scope across the continent. Castro offered Cuban support to the liberation struggles in Mozambique, Namibia, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), Guinea-Bissau, and Angola, among many others.
In some cases, this support involved military interventions that did not always go according to plan.
For example, in the mid-1970s after Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed by the Derg regime, Castro was forced to change sides – as the Soviets, East Germans, Czechs, and Americans also did – during a realignment of forces in the region provoked by ongoing disputes between Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Cuban personnel were required to abandon their former ally Mohammed Siad Barre, the Somali president, who now sided with the Americans, and take sides with their new ally Mengistu Haile Mariam.
Cuban troops fought the Somali invasion of the Ogaden alongside Ethiopian forces, and by remaining in Ethiopia gave at least tacit support to Ethiopian campaigns against Eritrean armed groups fighting for independence.
This position almost certainly became a political dilemma for Castro, who until then had always supported anti-colonial movements of liberation across the world.
While Castro’s intervention in the Horn of Africa was characterised by dubious decisions and tainted by the purges that Mengistu’s regime would eventually carry out between 1977 and 1978, his involvement in the Angolan war is the outstanding episode in his career as a champion of decolonisation.
Not only did he demonstrate to the world that Cuba was far from being a pet project of the USSR – Cuba’s support for the socialist MPLA was done without the approval of the Kremlin and almost certainly against its wishes.
It also helped raise his profile, and that of Cuba, to new levels of recognition and influence throughout the developing world.
Securing Angola’s independence
Cuban backing for the MPLA helped Angola to secure independence from Portugal in 1975, and helped repel the joint attempts of the South African apartheid government and Zaire’s Mobutu regime to occupy Angola.
Growing up in Cuba at the time, I can certainly say that I don’t recall any other Castro enterprise that united Cubans behind the regime to such an extent – except perhaps Cuba’s resistance to the 1983 US invasion of Grenada.
Contrary to what has been argued for years, Cuba’s involvement in Angola was a response to previous US and South African interventionism and to the very tangible threat of a South African invasion.
After almost two decades of struggle, when Cuba’s troops left Angola, they had secured not only the independence of the country, but had also contributed significantly to the independence of Namibia and to the fall of the apartheid regime.
Little wonder, then, that Raul Castro, in place of his brother, was one of the few world dignitaries asked to speak at Nelson Mandela’s funeral a few months ago.
Ultimately, Castro’s legacy in Africa is more of a Cuban legacy. Everywhere I have visited in Africa, from Dakar to Addis Ababa, from Niamey to Luanda, I have been welcomed with open arms and big smiles as a Cuban.
Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, in response to a New York Times question about Cuba’s role in Africa, said: “I am not sure that there is a single Cuban in the African continent who has not been invited by some members of the continent. So long as this is the case, it is not easy to condemn their presence.”
I am far from certain that history will acquit Fidel Castro. More likely history will record his journey through the past six or seven decades as a controversial one.
Almost certainly, he will continue to be an irredeemable monster to some – and a socialist superman to others.
Dr Manuel Barcia is Professor of Latin American History at the University of Leeds.
“Hookin’ up” with Brexiteers against “Globalism”.
“Well, see, Great Britain and America, see how we’re hooking up now?” she told the Associated Press at a Trump rally as the results rolled in.
“We’re going rogue and saying, you know, the people are going to take back control of our governance.”
Ms Palin continued: “Really, we’re going to be able to say, no, we don’t want this globalism […]
“We can’t be telling other countries, other nations how to sweep their porches if we can’t sweep our own yet.
“So we’ve got to take care of what’s going on here within our borders, just like you all have done, especially recently.”
Reports the Independent.
The Daily Mail is enthusiastic. They continue the story,
Sarah Palin says Donald Trump’s sensational win was inspired by Brexit and said: ‘Britain – we’re going rogue and the people are taking back control’.
The billionaire tycoon Donald Trump is set to be the next president of the United States after voters gambled on his promise to ‘Make America Great Again’.
It was a similar message to the one used by Brexiteers who successfully convinced voters that Britain’s future was brighter outside the European Union.
Ms Palin, a former beauty queen turned Republican politician, said this spirit had spread across the Atlantic and bolstered Trump’s campaign.
James Corden, now also a big star in the United States, tweeted he had ‘Brexit feelings’ as it became clear Trump would win.
Speaking at the Trump Rally in New York she said: ‘See Great Britain! America! See how we’re hookin’ up now?
‘We’re going rogue and the people are going to take back control.
‘We’re going to be able to say we don’t want this globalism, and we can’t be telling other countries how to sweep their porches if we can’t sweep our own yet.
‘So we’ve got to take care of what’s going on here within our borders just like you all have done especially recently.’
It came as Nigel Farage booked himself onto the first plane to America from London this morning to meet his friend Donald Trump.
….he’s already thought of a role he could fulfill: President Trump’s ambassador to the EU.
There are signs that The People’s Assembly Against Austerity will look to organise an event around the theme of a ‘People’s Brexit’.
As the People’s Assembly will be mobilising and using trade union and labour movement resources for a pro-Brexit rally – pro- in the direction they want, a “People’s anti-European Union events, RSL warns against joining any anti-UKIP activity when Farage leads a pro-Brexit, march against the High Court,
There is a temptation to have a broad, anti-racist demo and campaign with whoever is opposed to Farage. This by its very nature could include several figures from the pro-EU centre. To be so broad, this movement would at best be non-committal about the idea of Britain leaving the EU and at worst have several elements seeking to overturn the vote.
…while Farage’s march will be racist, it has been called over Brexit and that is an important distinction we should make.
The pro-Brexit ‘left’ now claims that their demand for open borders (outbidding the existing EU freedom of movement, in a universal call to tear down frontiers) will protect them from accusations that they have joined in with the likes of Trump, Palin, and Farage,
But as Mark Boothroyd notes (Brexit ushers in a Carnival of Reaction),
The response to the Leave vote by pro-Leave leftists of increased attempts at migrant solidarity work are welcome, but they rarely confront the point that this activism is necessitated by the very victory of the Leave campaign, and these effects were warned about by pro-Remain activists. Failing to acknowledge what is driving the attacks that they were warned were coming in the event of a Leave victory, is shortsighted and politically dishonest, and leaves unanswered the bigger questions as to what stance to take towards the ongoing Brexit negotiations and its effects on migrants.
One could say that there is equally a logic in Palin’s cries against ‘globalisation’ and a wing of the anti-globalisation left. Their demand for ‘no-borders’ cannot be taken seriously when the refuse to recognise the side they have chosen: the Brexit side, for National Sovereignty against ‘globalisaiton’.
The ex-SWP faction concludes that they think many left-wing Remain supporters will accept that they should work with the strategy of the ‘left’ Leave campaign
will be open to working on the basis of a left wing exit from the EU even if they remain pro-EU.
Cautiously they note that some will not.
can’t support a People’s Brexit platform because they simply don’t want any Brexit ever.
Oddly many on the left are going to say to the – ineffectual, declining and marginalised – People’s Assembly leadership (another ex-SWP faction, Counterfire): we don’t want Brexit.
I suppose in the supple tactical minds of anybody who’s been in the SWP the whirl of constantly changing campaigns is part of the political culture. One day for hysterical Stand up UNKIP campaigns. The next for a refusal to do anything but lie down as UKIP marches to British ‘independence’ and Trump.
These revolutionaries take their cue not from Marxism but from Vautrin, Jacques Collin, Trompe-la-Mort, one of the central characters of Balzac’s Comédie humaine.
This one of his best known statements, (Le Père Goroit),
Vautrin : « Il n’y a pas de principes, il n’y a que des évènements ; il n’y a pas de lois, il n’y a que des circonstances : l’homme supérieur épouse les évènements et les circonstances pour les conduire. »
There are no principles, there are only events; there are no laws, there are only circumstances: the superior man shapes his conduct to fit events and conditions.
You’re going to hear a lot of wailing from the left about our “disconnection” with the values of “ordinary working-class people”. It is bullshit – both as a fact and an explanation of what’s happened. In every state in America there are working-class people staffing beleaguered abortion clinics, organising unions among migrant cleaners and Walmart workers.
Those who tell you the left has to somehow “reconnect” with people whose minds are full of white supremacy and misogyny must finish the sentence. By what means? By throwing our black brothers and sisters under a bus? Eighty years ago the poets and miners of the International Brigades did not march into battle saying: “Mind you, the fascists have got a point.”