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Political Confusion on the European Union Gains Ground on the Left: Jacques Sapir and the Front National.

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Selling Your Soul to Mr. Putin

Jacques Sapir: Red/Brown Alliance Against European Union. 

There is an excellent French Blog site which deals in “political confusionism”.

Back in July it picked up on a development that’s hit the headlines in France over the last few days: the call by “left” economist Jacques Sapir for an alliance with the Front National. (JACQUES SAPIR, UN HOMME DE GAUCHE ?).

Like many people (including we note floating voter Tariq Ali who got a column in Le Monde recently hinting darkly at ‘the left’ turning against Europe) he is claiming that the crisis in Greece shows the need for a left-wing anti-European Union stand.

Sapir has gone one stage further than the NO2EU UK left and indicated that he would be favourable to this:

 L’économiste «hétérodoxe» préconise une alliance des partis anti-euro, regroupant le Front de gauche et le Front national.

Like certain British Labour politicians he has a fondness for evoking memories of the Resistance.

Sapir gave the Conseil national de la résistance (CNR) as his model.

Sapir is no unknown: a prominent economist, and Director of the Centre d’études des modes d’industrialisation (CEMI-EHESS), he has been close to the Front de Gauche, to Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Parti de Gauche and to the “sovereigntist” former Socialist Minister (and leader of the left tendency inside the Parti Socialiste, CERES), Jean-Pierre  Chevènement.

On the Confusionisme site  Ornella Guyet adds,

Prominent in the current debate surrounding the Greek crisis, a prominent supporter of  “de-globalization” – whose theories inspired the Arnaud Montebourg’s (1) discourse on the question – he is also an expert on Russia, known for his softness towards  the Putin regime, equally famous for his careerism, his homophobia and his alliances with the far right in Europe. His site Russeurope, given legitimacy by legitimized by its academic pretensions Jacques Sapir is a frequent guest of  the salons of the Russian embassy, ​​as well as seminars of the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, a think tank based in Paris to promote the image of Putin’s Russia in Europe. Not surprisingly, we find his name in several pro-Kremlin media, Voice of Russia and Sputnik News.

More recently, obsessed by the Euro, he has become ever closer to the “sovereigntists” of the Right:  the groupuscule Debout la République

Sapir claims that the Front National has “changed” from its far-right origins, and that in any case he was talking about an alliance of the right and left involving a party that has “come from” this transformed FN.

Immediate reaction on the left to Sapir’s ideas was not favourable.

Eric Coquerel, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s close ally,  called this strategy “an aberration”. He continued, “Given the scale of the current crisis, we must offer an alternative to  fascist and xenophobic reactions. Their nation is not ours. ”  Clémentine Autain (Ensemble), a leader of the Left Front  has said that “The phenomenon is not massive…but it  gives credibility to the FN . “

It is however well known that Mélenchon’s party is openly flirting with the idea of a “Plan B”, that is, leaving the Euro, “if a renegotiation of EU treaties fails .”

They plan an “internationalist summit for Plan B” to be held in late 2015 which bring together those in the like minded  “left” who agree to work together on the subject. (More here)

Sovereigntism, that is the belief that the “nation” has the supreme right to decide “its” fate – faced with international forces, from the European Union to NATO – appears to be gaining ground on the British left as well. The collapse of sections of the left to the belief that Scotland would be better off governed by its “ain folk”  in the SNP was one indication. After the Greek crisis, anti-European Union voices have become louder, promoting perhaps a return to a belief in a road to socialism outside of the EU.

At a time when fear of ‘foreigners’ – migrant workers, refugees in particular – is reaching an all-time high in Europe, playing with nationalism seems a dangerous gamble.

(1) Left-wing of the Parti Socialiste. Montebourg scored  17,19 % in the first round of the open PS French Presidential “primaries” of the party, which involved 2,700,000 voters who signed a declaration saying the backed the values of the left – without anybody wetting themselves about “infiltration”.

Istanbul Peace Rally Against against Islamic State of Iraq and ISIS on 26th of July.

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A photo showing two young women, Ezgi Sadet and Büşra Çetin, lying side by side with Çetin holding Sadet’s hand tightly after the bombing in Suruç has become one of the symbols of the tragedy. Both women were thought to be dead, but Çetin survived. She was first treated in Şanlıurfa, from where she was sent to İstanbul for further treatment ( Story from Zaman)

CALL TO INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY FOR ISTANBUL RALLY ON 26 JULY 2015

The Islamic State brutally attacked the internationalist youth group who met in Suruç on July 20. They had gone there to support the struggle for great humanity being waged in Kobani, and help rebuild the city.

As a result of this attack, 32 people were killed and over 100 people were injured. Although Islamic State has been held responsible for this attack, Turkey’s AKP Government, by resisting the taking of effective measures to prevent Islamic State and other reactionary forces, bears the real responsibility for these massacres of civilians.

Being part of the progressive international community, we hold it to be a historical duty for us to develop further cooperation against Islamic State (ISIL) and similar organizations. The Peace Bloc, in which HDP takes place as well, will organize a big march in Istanbul on July 26 in order to act in solidarity with peoples who are yearning for freedom and peace everywhere in the world, and particularly in the Middle East, in order to give a powerful response to Islamic State barbarism.

In this context, we invite everyone who believes in democracy and freedom to support our struggle for humane values against barbarity and Islamic State by participating in this march on July 26 in Istanbul.

Selahattin DEMİRTAŞ & Figen YÜKSEKDAĞ
Co-Presidents of HDP

Date: 26.07.2015, 4:00 pm
Place: Şişhane, Beyoğlu/İstanbul

Co-chair of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas calls for a mass rally in Istanbul against the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Sham(ISIS) after Suruc incident

Selahattin Demirtas, the co-chair of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has called people for a mass rally in Istanbul on Saturday against the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) over the Suruc incident in which 32 people were killed.

“We shall organise an international ‘peace rally’ against ISIS in Istanbul” Demirtas said at his party’s board meeting on Tuesday.

The ‘peace rally’ is organised by Peace Blog, consisting of different civil society organisations, women organisations, political parties, labor and profession groups.

The rally is planned to begin on July 26 from the front of Turkish National Television (TRT) building in Sishane to Aksaray district of Istanbul at 16:00 (GTM)

32 people were killed on Monday when the massive explosion hit the garden of the Amara Culture Centre where members of the far-left pro-Kurdish Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF) gathered for a press meeting in Suruc district of Turkey’s southeastern province of Sanliurfa.

The suicide bombing suspect is confirmed to have links to ISIS on Wednesday, after he was identified with DNA test.

Chaos and violence hit Turkish streets in aftermath of Suruç

Protesters took to the streets and clashed with riot police throughout Turkey on Tuesday due to widespread public anger over the massacre of over 30 activists in a suicide bomb attack in the town of Suruç in the southeastern province Şanlıurfa on Monday.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 23, 2015 at 5:11 pm

People’s Democratic Party (HDP – Turkey) Calls for International Solidarity with the Martyrs of Suruç.

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suruc bombing

 

People Carry the Coffins of the Suruç Martyrs through Gaziantep.

Our beloved comrades were bringing toys to give to Kobanê children.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Gaziantep deputy Celal Doğan, who attended the ceremony, said: “There was no violence; there were no guns [with this tragedy]. There were just a handful of idealists in Turkey, just 300 people who were at most 25 years old who aspired to go to the destroyed town of Kobani and rebuild it. They dreamed of building daycare centres, parks and projects such as hospitals.” (Zaman)

The  Peoples’ Democratic Party, Turkish: Halkların Demokratik Partisi (HDP), Kurdish: Partiya Demokratik a Gelan, has issued the following statement:

CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

I’m writing this urgent letter to inform you regarding to the ISIL’s bombing attack that caused death of 28 young people and nearly 100 injures in Suruç in Turkey where closest town to Kobani. All the victims were members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations which known as youth organization of ESP (Ezilenlerin Sosyalist Partisi or Socialist Party of the Oppressed).

We as HDP strongly condemn the massacre against the young people whose show their internationalist solidarity for Kobani and its resisting peoples against the ISIL.

The ISIL’s activities in Turkey and AKP Government’s tolerance for ISIL members caused many civil casualties in Turkey like Hatay/Reyhanlı Attack on 11 May 2013 and Diyarbakir Attack on 5 June 2015. It is clear that, Turkey and its borders has turned into logistical base and militia crossing gate for ISIL for 3 years. Additionally Turkish Intelligence’s (MIT) hundreds of trucks which full of the arms and military equipments have been dissembled by the government and the divulgers (prosecutors and gendarmerie officers) have been arrested due to the preventing the arm transmitting operation to Syria.

Our party and peoples of Turkey are aware that AKP Government has big responsibility to encouraging the ISIL and rising civil casualties in Syria, Iraq and Turkey as well. We as HDP calls international public opinion to react for AKP Government’s irrational approaches that causing civil casualties in the Middle East. In this regard, HDP call all the democratic and progressive parties and NGOs to show their solidarity for the young victims in Suruç.
Respectfully yours,

Nazmi GÜR
Vice Co-Chair of HDP in Charge of Foreign Affairs

The HDP  site already lists expression of solidarity by the following:

 European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy, Die Linke (Germany) and Syriza.

Syriza declares:

Statement by YIANNIS BOURNOUS, member of the Political Secretariat of SYRIZA,

Head Responsible for European Policy, International Relations, Foreign Policy & Defense, Greek diaspora

On the deadly terrorist attack in Suruc

We express our horror and unspeakable sorrow for today’s barbaric bomb attack by fundamentalist islamists against dozens of members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations in Suruc, Turkey, which resulted in the loss of 28 lives and the injury of more than 100 people.

We mourn the loss of dozens of young militants who went to Suruc, in order to help as volunteers in rebuilding neighboring Kobane, a city-symbol of the struggle of the Kurdish people against the barbarity of islamofascism.

The AKP government is accountable for its underground and/or visible links and transactions with branches of the Islamic State. It must immediately stop providing any kind of direct or indirect support to the terrorists, starting from the exemplary punishment of those who orchestrated today’s murderous attack.

SYRIZA expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims and stands on the side of the Turkish and Kurdish Left, which fights against darkness on behalf of humanity.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 22, 2015 at 10:54 am

Are Jordan and Turkey Invading or about to Invade Syria?

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Erdogan: Neo-Ottoman Foreign Policy?

Are Jordan and Turkey Invading Syria?

Asks the Daily Beast.

Or are they just messaging to Obama that they’ve had enough with his non-policy?

Turkey announced plans to send 18,000 soldiers into Syria. That announcement was amplified by Jordan’s, which came out the next day in a Financial Times story that reported the Jordanian plan was “backed by key members of the international coalition against Isis.”

One key member of the coalition that definitely has not backed the plan is the U.S.

A State Department official, speaking the same day the story about Jordan’s planned buffer zone broke, downplayed the possibility to reporters, saying there was no “solid evidence” for it and citing “serious logistical challenges” in creating them.

Turkey and Jordan, on Syria’s northern and southern border respectively, have a common interest in erecting buffers zone. Both countries have absorbed large refugee populations fleeing the war and both are threatened by the growing presence of hostile actors on their doorsteps, be they jihadists are Kurdish nationalists. A buffer zone is an area controlled by military forces, either national armies or those of allied rebels inside Syria that would allow the Turks and Jordanians to exert more influence inside Syria and prevent people and materiel from passing over the border. But those are old concerns that have been expressed by Turkey and Jordan before. The resurgence of plans for intervention suggests that new developments—namely the Assad regime’s deterioration and the success of Kurdish forces fighting ISIS— may be changing the calculus in Ankara and Amman.

Turkey, which first announced plans for a buffer zone, is threatened by the growing power of Kurdish groups who have had a series of recent victories against ISIS forces in Syria.

“I am saying this to the whole world,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech last Friday, “We will never allow the establishment of a state on our southern border in the north of Syria.” He was referring to the increasing autonomy exhibited by the Democratic Union of Kurdistan (PYD), an armed and U.S.-backed Kurdish affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey (and the U.S.) consider a terrorist organization. The PYD has made no mystery of its intention to establish “Rojava,” an independent statelet of Syrian Kurdistan tantamount to what the Kurds of northern Iraq have maintained for decades. Impressive military gains in Syria by the PYD’s paramilitary force, the YPG, have rattled Ankara more than ISIS has.

This follows the following report (28th June) in the pro-Kurdish site, Kurdish Question.

KQ News Desk

Turkish newspapers especially those allied with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) have for the past few days been headlining discussions that have allegedly taken place between Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, former government and current majority party AKP and the Turkish Armed Forces on a possible military operation into Rojava (West Kurdistan-North Syria).

The headlines began coming thick and fast after the President declared ‘I am talking to the whole world, regardless of the price we might have to pay we will not allow a Kurdish state in North Syria, to the south of Turkey.’ This declaration was made on 26th June, a day after ISIS gangs, crossing over from Turkey (North Kurdistan), massacred over 200 civilians in Kobanê.

It is also being speculated that there is no consensus between Erdogan, his de-facto party and the Armed Forces and that the latter are wary of any military operation due to the unknown results it may trigger. The Armed Forces are asking the President and AKP to get support and the go-ahead from the USA, Russia and Assad, commentators are claiming.

The Turkish state for a long time were calling for a no-fly and buffer zone in Rojava on the pretext of bolstering the fight against the Syrian regime and protecting refugees. This was rejected by the international community and only the training and arming of FSA elements was supported. With Erdogan’s latest speech it has become clear that his main concern is the autonomous cantons of Rojava.

 

An important article by Selahattin Demirtaş,   the leader of the Turkish, democratic socialist, feminist and pluralist  Party HDP which won 13% of the vote in the recent elections and now has 80 MPs,  which touches on the Kurdish issue appeared in le Monde yesterday: Le rêve d’une Nouvelle Turquie est possible.

One of the reasons for the HDP’s success, he notes, is that the Turkish government alienated the Kurdish electorate by Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his “neo-Ottoman” foreign policy. At the centre of this has been a claim that his government was the “self-proclaimed protector of all the peoples of the Middle East” (“autoproclamé protecteur de tous les peuples du Moyen-Orient.”)

He notes,

Pendant la résistance kurde à Kobané, ce discours s’est durci en des termes inacceptables pour les Kurdes. Alors que l’immense majorité du monde démocratique soutenait l’héroïque résistance des combattantes kurdes face aux assassins du Daech, ainsi que l’abnégation des femmes et des hommes venus de partout – qui, poussés par une conscience internationaliste, ont défendu Kobané, où a été perpétré l’un des crimes contre l’humanité du XXIe siècle – et qu’on pouvait entrevoir dans ces résistances l’espoir d’une paix au Moyen-Orient, « la chute de Kobané ne tient qu’à un fil », ne cessait d’ironiser M. Erdogan.

During the resistance in Kobane, this line hardened in a way that was unacceptable to the Kurds. The vast majority of the democratic world stood with the heroic resistance of the Kurdish fighters against the murderers of Daesh. The self-sacrifice of women and men who came from everywhere – driven by an internationalist conscience – defended Kobane, where one of the Crimes Against Humanity of the 21st century was  carried out. While one could see amongst this resistance hopes for peace in the Middle East, Erdogan could only mockingly comment, “The Fall of Kobane Hangs by a Thread”.

Update:  Syrian Kurdish group PYD warns Turkey not to intervene militarily.

Syria‘s main Kurdish party warned Turkey on Wednesday that any military intervention would threaten international peace and said the country’s main Kurdish militia is ready to face any “aggression.”

The statement by the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, comes as Turkish media is abuzz with talk of a long-debated military intervention to push the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) back from the Turkish border – a move that would also outflank any Kurdish attempt to create a state along Turkey’s southern frontier.

Kurdish fighters backed by US-led airstrikes have been on the offensive against ISIL in northern Syria for months, and now control a long stretch along the Syria-Turkey border. Turkey has viewed the advance with growing concern and has warned it will not tolerate the establishment of a Kurdish state in Syria.

Two weeks ago, the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, which is dominated by the PYD, captured the border town of Tal Abyad, denying ISIL a crucial nearby border crossing used to bring in supplies and foreign fighters.

The capture of Tal Abyad cleared the way for the Kurds to connect their stronghold in Syria’s northeast to the once badly isolated border town of Kobani – where they famously resisted a months-long ISIL siege – and possibly extend it to the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Syria’s northwest.

“Any military intervention in Rojava will have local, regional and international repercussions and will contribute to complicating the political situation in Syria and the Middle East and threaten international security and peace,” the PYD statement warned. Rojava is a term that refers to Syria’s predominantly Kurdish region.

The PYD called on NATO members to prevent Turkey from carrying out any “reckless” intervention. It added that Syria’s Kurds want good relations with their neighbors and have no intention to set up an independent state.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan chaired a National Security Council meeting Monday which covered developments in Syria. Pro-government newspapers said proposals ranged from loosening the rules of engagement to give Turkish troops a freer hand to fire into Syria, to a tanks-and-troops invasion aimed at occupying a 110-kilometer (70-mile) long, 33-kilometer (20-mile) wide buffer zone.

Turkish officials fear the creation of a vast and contiguous zone of Kurdish control could stir up separatist sentiment among its own Kurdish minority. Ankara is also concerned over reports that Kurdish rebels are chasing other ethnic groups, such as Arabs and Turkmens, out of the areas under their control.

The PYD statement said YPG fighters “are ready to repel any aggression by any party.” It called on Turkish officials to “stop their provocative and reckless acts.”

Those in direct contact with Turkish and Middle Eastern politics would no doubt be able to comment further.

Erdogan appears to be moving on the home front as well: Erdogan and Turkey move toward once-unthinkable grand coalition.

French President Hollande: Greek PM, Tsipras’s proposals are “acceptable”

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Pétition - La France doit soutenir la Grèce

La France doit soutenir la Grèce!

As the Greek crisis develops some new,  just now from Libération (adapted)

Monday morning: receiving a delegation of political and community leaders supporting the Greek government, the Head of State said he was convinced that an agreement is “close.”

Will France stand alongside Greece? This is what President of the Republic assured a delegation of signatories for the appeal “The role of France is alongside the Greek people” launched last week at  the Elysée,   this morning.

In the Green Room of the Elysée, the Head of State reiterated his government’s  position on these policies to this delegation from the left,  “There has to be an agreement” , ” Agreement is near” and “Tsipras’s proposals are acceptable ” .

“He gave credit to Tsipras for standing up to the Troika demands” , insists Julien Bayou, the spokesperson  for French Green Party (EELV)  and a member of the delegation.

A note of caution:  “Acceptable does not mean accepted. This is a negotiation “

Anne Sabourin,  of the  Parti Communiste, spoke of how President Hollande sided with Tspiras’ negotiation stance.

“He’s grasped that it’s not Greece that’s being intransigent.” added  Eric Coquerel of the  Parti de gauche,  who was present with other members of the  Front de gauche.

Coquerel, however, noted, that one can always leave an audience with François  Hollande at the Elysée with the impression that the President is on your side.

Afterwards…..the real facts come into play.

The Economic Times reports,

PARIS: A comprehensive deal with Greece allowing it to remain in the euro zone and live with its debts must be found either at a euro zone summit on Monday or in coming days, French PresidentFrancois Hollande said.

“If we get a deal tonight, that would be better, but if not, we’ll need to set the foundation tonight so that a deal can be reached in coming days,” Hollande told reporters in Paris before he was due to travel to Brussels for the summit.

Latest from Chron.

French President Francois Hollande says “progress has been made in the negotiations” between Greece and its creditors, which include eurozone states like France.

Hollande is urging Greece to find an agreement at a Monday summit in Brussels between Greece and its creditors.

“We must do everything so that an agreement is found tonight,” Hollande said at an event in Paris before heading to Brussels.

If Monday’s talks are inconclusive, Hollande insists an agreement would need to be found “within the next days.”

“France and Germany are aware that Greece must remain in the eurozone,” he said.

 More at l’Humanité,

End Austerity Now Demonstration: a Personal Report from Ipswich.

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Protesters flood Parliament Square (Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire)

Protesters flood Parliament Square (Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire)

End Austerity Now Demonstration: a Personal Report.

Around 80,000 people (the Tendance’s estimate) marched in London on Saturday. They protested against the newly elected Conservative government’s plans to continue, and deepen, austerity.

It’s unnecessary to list the faults of these policies. It’s enough to see the people begging in the streets, a few hundred metres from the office of Ipswich Tory M.P. Benedict Gummer. Without the response of the People’s Assembly, the unions, the diverse groups and parties on the demonstration, and the wider public, Cameron and Osborne will have free rein to create a mean-spirited free-market Britain.

From Ipswich and Stowmarket 42 people piled in our coach – there were more travelling to London by train. Up to 70% were under the age of 40, with a large percentage in their teens and twenties. This was reflected amongst the marchers, with a strong presence of young people.

While assembling by the Bank of England we were addressed by various speakers. Those advertised included Kate Hudson (Chair, Left Unity, CND) and Diane Abbott (Labour MP and candidate to represent the party for the London Mayoral contest). They and others made good, rousing, contributions on the need to fight austerity.

Weyman Bennett (SWP/Unite Against Fascism) linked people being rude to women wearing the Islamic veil to the massacre at Charleston and the heart-rending plight of migrants drowned in the Mediterranean. Lee Jasper (Respect Party), the ‘controversial’ former Director for Policing and Equalities under Ken Livingstone’s Greater London Authority Assembly continued in this vein.

Someone (one can imagine who) compared his peroration  unfavourably to Ali G.(1)  One Suffolk comrade remarked that on what she called the “shouting”.

It was to be regretted that there was nobody from the National Shop Stewards Network – a group which, whatever one’s political differences, represents a lot more than the former two users of the demo microphone – was not invited to speak.

The route of the protest, which began next to the City, took us from Ludgate Circus, down the Strand, past Trafalgar Square. This was the venue of a – poorly attended- commercial beano, a pop radio concert. It symbolised the use of public space for corporate gain.

Local People’s assembly groups (like Suffolk People’s Assembly) unions, Left Unity, anti-cuts organisations, disabeld rights groups,the SWP, the Socialist Party, and other (even) smaller left parties, the Labour Assembly Against Austerity , the Green Party …to Class War, were present.

In Parliament Square there were more speeches. Again there were solid well-argued arguments against the Cabinet’s plans, from Steve Turner (UNITE and the People’s Assembly) onwards. John Rees included a reference to the rights of atheists in a call for to defend the freedoms of different beliefs. His claim that the demonstrators were from all ethnic backgrounds was perhaps not fully substantiated by a glance at the overwhelmingly  white crowd.

Charlotte Church made an exceptional contribution.

The Mirror called it an “incredible speech“.

The Conservatives’ intention was to create a society around their principles, of private profit and public loss.

Describing the idea that Britain needs austerity as “the big lie”, Charlotte said: “They will sell off our schools and our hospitals. When it’s done, it will he hard to reverse.

“One aspect of this that really gets under my skin is that it’s all wrapped up in a proud-to-be-British package.

“I’m proud to be British because of the NHS and David Bowie, not because of the Union Jack.

“Be proud for the right reasons. We need to win back these young minds and save ourselves from years of yuppie rule.

“If you are ashamed that you have to use a food bank, because this Government would rather see you starve than put a note in your pocket, walk tall. You have the moral high ground.

“We are not afraid of national debt and we will not let our public services be attacked.”

She added: “What this country needs is economic stimulation – most economists around the world would say the same. We need to get the blood pumping.”

Earlier, she said: “I’m here today in a show of solidarity with everyone here – it is a massive turnout – everybody who thinks that austerity isn’t the only way and thinks it is essentially unethical, unfair and unnecessary.”

It was hard not to be moved by Charlotte’s clear and heart-felt words.

Her call for positive alternatives and hope will resonate across the country.

For many present, Jeremy Corbyn, standing for the Labour Party leadership, made a decisive call to make sure there is a strong left, anti-austerity,  vote in this election.

End Austerity Now was a success.

Where we go from now is the subject of serious discussion.

One way forward can be seen in the multitude of protests against welfare reform: from the continued campaign against the Bedroom Tax, Benefit cuts, Workfare, to the – still not fully implemented – psychological treatment of some claimants.

It is to be regretted that some parties see groups like the People’s Assembly as a recruiting ground.

In Suffolk the Green Party does not appear to publicise this:

Suffolk’s best-known Green Party politician has pulled out of the battle to become Ipswich MP in next May’s general election – because he hasn’t “got the heart” to take on Tory Ben Gummer.

Mark Ereira-Guyer, leader of the Green and independent group on Suffolk County Council and an experienced election campaigner, was chosen earlier this year to fight for the Ipswich seat, but has now dropped out.

“Although I find Conservative policies odious and overly focused on free market fundamentalism, crass cost-cutting measures and ecological destitution, I am of the view that the current MP Ben Gummer is dedicated and hardworking.

“I respect his honest endeavours for the town. And, therefore, I can’t drum up sufficient energies to really take him on. I like my politics to work on a human level, and not in a tribalist way.

Ipswich Star.

The day was an achievement for the organisers.

It was, as they say, only a beginning.

(1) This is what Jasper said (Charlie Hebdo and Europe’s rampant racism. 17th of January) about the massacre at Charlie Hebdo  (he doesn’t even mention the anti-Semitic murder at the Hyper-Casher):

“JeSuisCharlie in this context is nothing more than appeal from right wings white’s to be allowed to be racist without opposition in the name of free speech.  It’s a sort of ‪#WhiteLivesMatter statement particularly when viewed in the context of the tragic violence and world silence about the Nigerian massacre by Boko Haram.

This privilege allows them to disregard the social environment and political context of such satire and its consequences.  Writing in this flawed tradition is the perogative  of white, middle class Libertarian anarchists. Charlie Hebdo is for me,  a silly magazine and quintessentially an exercise in white privilege and arrogance.

Danish Election Defeat: Consequences for the Left.

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http://www.danskfolkeparti.dk/pictures_ed//stor%20forside%20billede(1).jpg

Anti-European Party Makes Gains in Danish Election.

The BBC reports:

Denmark’s opposition parties have beaten the governing coalition after a close general election.

With all mainland votes counted, the centre-right group led by ex-PM Lars Lokke Rasmussen beat PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s centre-left coalition, although her party is the largest.

Ms Thorning-Schmidt has now stood down as Social Democratic Party leader.

The right-wing, anti-immigration Danish People’s Party will become the second-largest in parliament

These are the results in Parliamentary seats:

  • The Social Democrats (A) – 47
  • Radikale, the Danish Social Liberal party (B) – 8
  • Socialist People’s party (F) – 7
  • Red-Green Alliance (Ø) – 14
  • The Alternative (Å) –9

Blue bloc:

  • Venstre (V) – 34
  • Danish People’s party (O) – 37
  • The Liberal Alliance (I) – 13
  • The Conservative People’s party (C) – 6

From the Guardian.

Consequences.

Flemming Rose, the foreign editor of the right-wing Jyllands-Posten, comments on Politico.

The anti-immigration and anti-EU Danish People’s Party received its best result ever. It is now the second biggest party and almost doubled its support compared to 2011. This will resonate around Europe, where anti-immigration and anti-EU forces are gaining ground in several countries. The big question is whether the Danish People’s Party will join the new government. If that happens, the party’s chairman, Thulesen Dahl, may become the next minister of finance. It will depend on negotiations with Lars Løkke Rasmussen. “Am I awake, or am I asleep and dreaming?” the founder of the party and former chairman, Pia Kjærsgaard, told Danish TV.

The Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti) policy includes the following (Party site):

    • The aim of the Danish People’s Party is to assert Denmark’s independence, to guarantee the freedom of the Danish people in their own country, and to preserve and promote representative government and the monarchy.
    • Denmark’s constitutional monarchy must be preserved.
    • The Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church is the church of the Danish people.
    • Danish independence and freedom are the primary objectives of Danish foreign policy.The Danish People’s Party wishes friendly and dynamic cooperation with all the democratic and freedom-loving peoples of the world, but we will not allow Denmark to surrender its sovereignty.As a consequence, the Danish People’s Party opposes the European Union.
    • Denmark is not an immigrant-country and never has been. Thus we will not accept transformation to a multi-ethnic society.

The other electoral fact which will have a wider impact is that the ‘meat-free days’ Alternative Party (Alternativet)  got more seats than the left-wing Socialist People’s Party, (Socialistisk Folkeparti)  though fewer than the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten – De Rød-Grønne).

They compare themselves to Podemos.

Wikipedia notes, “it refuses to position itself on the classical left-wing, right-wing political spectrum.The party states the aims of supporting sustainability and environmentalism, internationalism, social justice and entrepreneurship.

Their platform is grounded on the following:

The Alternative is based on six core values that characterise our internal and external working processes as well as specific political proposals.

The six core values are:
Courage. Courage to look problems in the eye. But also courage about the future we share.
Generosity. Everything which can be shared will be shared with anyone interested.
Transparency. Everybody should be able to look over our shoulders. On good days and on bad.
Humility. To the task. To those on whose shoulders we stand. And to those who will follow us.
Humour. Without humour there can be no creativity. Without creativity there can be no good ideas. Without good ideas there can be no creative power. Without creative power there can be no results.
Empathy. Putting yourself in other people’s shoes. Looking at the world from that point of view. And creating win-win solutions for everyone.

This is their ‘Manifesto’:

There is always an alternative!

The Alternative is a political idea. About personal freedom, social dignity, and living, sustainable communities. A hope. A dream. A yearning. For meaning, sense and compassionate relationships. The Alternative is an answer to what is happening in the world today. All around us. With us.

The Alternative is a shout out. Against cynicism, lack of generosity and the ticking off which prevails in our society.

The Alternative is a positive countermeasure. The desire to bring real and serious answers to the environmental and resource crisis our planet is in the midst of. A crisis which every day worsens our own and our children’s and grandchildren’s opportunities for good, rich and meaningful lives.

The Alternative is curiosity. About developing our local societies, cities and nations. We want to take back ownership of the economy and of democratic decisions. At our workplaces and in the places where we live our lives. Without losing the global vision for the responsibility for finding mutual solutions with our neighbours – including those who live on the other side of the world.

The Alternative is collaboration. We know that private companies alone cannot solve these problems. Neither can the public sector, and neither can the NGO movement. So we need to invent completely new links and ways of working together where we use the best from the private, public and the NGO sectors.

The Alternative is openness. Towards trying out new ideas and creating solutions which work. The Alternative is also thoughtfulness. About understanding complex contexts and resisting the temptation of simplified arguments and pleasant illusions.

The Alternative is courage. To look problems in the eye. But also courage about the future we have to share together. The Alternative is also humour. Without humour there can be no creativity. Without creativity there can be no good ideas. Without good ideas there can be no creative power. Without creative power there can be no results.

The Alternative is already a reality. Around the world new types of institutions, businesses and social networks are being created. Whether in Copenhagen, Seoul, Durban or Rio. Individually they may not be that significant, but together they form a global wave of change full of vitality.

The Alternative is for you. Who can tell that something has been set in motion. Who can feel that something new is starting to replace something old. Another way of looking at democracy, growth, work, responsibility and quality of life. That is The Alternative.

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias is  influenced  by ‘post-Marxist’ populist discourse theorist Ernesto Laclau (Understanding Podemos. New Left Review. May-June 2015).

This ‘manifesto’ sounds as if one of the influences (if in a diluted form) on the Alternative is the  ‘programme’ advocated by John Holloway in such books as  How to Change to World Without Taking Power, screams and shouts included.

The Alternative’s  success in winning seats on this ‘ programme’  after only two years of existence will not be universally welcomed on the European left.

By contrast we draw inspiration from the good result of the Danish Red-Green Alliance.

For more information  on their background see, Denmark: Fresh openings for Red-Green Alliance as it marks 25 years. And their site (English section)

But all of this is overshadowed by the boost given to anti-European, anti-Internationalist, and xenophobic Dansk Folkeparti.

Update: already the Independent (just on-line)  draws this conclusion: David Cameron could have a new ally for his EU reforms.

The right-wing populist Danish People’s Party is the undisputed winner of the elections. It took 21.4 per cent of the vote, up from 12.3 in 2011.

The eurosceptic group has struck a deal with his right-wing allies to support David Cameron’s plans for renegotiating EU rules about migration.

The PM wants to renegotiate rules around freedom of movement and social security payments, but has been stonewalled by a number of other European nations – he’ll welcome support from the new Danish government.

But…..

While Mr Cameron will see the result as a welcome boost, having Denmark on-side doesn’t necessarily make him any more likely to succeed.

In one sense, the prime minister is just standing still – he lost a close ally late last year in Sweden after the centre-left took power there. Denmark is really stepping in to fill the gap.

Despite its international reputation, Denmark is also a rather small country, with a population similar to that of Yorkshire.

The PM also needs to find agreement across Europe to actually effect any change. With so many countries actively set against his plans, this will still be difficult to achieve.