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Morning Star backs Nicaraguan regime repression against accusations of human rights violations.

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Portada de El Nuevo Diario (Nicaragua)

39th Anniversary of Nicaraguan Revolution: Regime Chief Says Bishops in “Coup Plan”.

Nicaragua strongman blames ‘satanists,’ bishops, U.S. for unrest.

Agence France-Presse July the 20th.

Daniel Ortega says the protesters, financed by the ‘North American empire’ and domestic business chiefs, had been conspiring to mount a coup d’etat against him.

Standing on a stage alongside the Cuban and Venezuelan foreign ministers and his wife Rosario Murillo, who is also his vice president, Ortega spoke as if his security forces had finished with the public dissent after armed offensives launched over the past week.

“The satanists have to be exorcized,” he said.

“It has been a painful battle. Painful because we have confronted an armed conspiracy financed by internal forces we know and external forces,” he said.

The 3 months of unrest in what used to be one of Latin America’s safest countries has seen more than 280 people killed, most of them protesting youths, according to rights groups.

Ortega made no mention of those deaths, instead rattling off a list of two dozen police officers he said were killed by “terrorists.”

Le Monde today is moved to Editorialise on the anniversary speaking of the regime’s moral disarray and excessive use of force (“déroute morale, provoquée par un usage excessif de la force”).

The Spanish language press has talked for some time of the violence of Ortega’s henchmen, the “turbas sandinistas“.

Faced with the mounting violence most of the international left has backed the protests against the corrupt Nicaraguan regime’s bloody repression.

THE BATTLE FOR NICARAGUA’S STREETS

June 21, 2018 US Socialist Worker (no relation at present with UK publication of the same name).

The two-month old uprising in Nicaragua against the government of President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo (Ortega’s wife} has turned into a city-by-city battle for control. Students began the protests with opposition to cuts to Social Security, but now, the chief demand of the spreading movement is the resignation of the Ortega-Murillo government.

At one point, the government seemed to teeter, but government-backed paramilitary forces are waging a campaign of terror to intimidate the population into submission. Meanwhile, the government is negotiating with a fractious grouping of opposition representatives in an effort to resolve the crisis. Ortega has indicated he may be willing to accept early elections in 2019, but not leave power any sooner. But it’s unclear whether this is a sufficient concession to demobilize the anti-government protests.

Oscar René Vargas is a Nicaraguan sociologist and political analyst who was a militant in the Sandinista revolution, and is now a critic of the political and moral degeneration of the FSLN and the Ortega government. This article first appeared in Correspondencia de Prensa and was translated by Lance Selfa.

The Guardian reports today, Tom Phillips: Nicaragua: what’s driving the uprising and what comes next?

The initially student-led protests in April were met with a shower of police bullets and since then Nicaragua has been gripped by a highly unpredictable wave of violence and government repression. Victims have included several babiesan altar boy and numerous teenage protesters as well as police officers and some government supporters.

Journalists critical of Ortega’s government have been targeted or threatened. Key roads and cities, including the former Sandinista stronghold of Masaya, have fallen under rebel control.

Recent weeks have seen violence intensify as government troops and paramilitaries began clearing protest camps and roadblocks that had brought swaths of the country to a standstill.

“It is an ugly moment,” said Geoff Thale, a Central America expert and activist from the Washington Office on Latin America advocacy group.

“Paramilitary groups and snipers and others have aggressively … tried to dislodge people from the National University. They’ve tried to dislodge tranques [roadblocks] in Masaya. They have pushed around priests, they have gone into churches. It is really pretty intense.”

Meanwhile Nicaragua’s government and its supporters have blamed the bloodshed on “coup mongers”, “terrorists” and “criminals”.

..

Nicaraguan officials have repeatedly cast protesters as criminals and “terrorists” involved in a US-backed conspiracy. The vice-president, Rosario Murillo, has accused the “satanic” opposition of driving the violence and attacked what she calls a “false” anti-Ortega media witch-hunt.

In response to these accusations Tom Phillips notes,

However, there is widespread and growing consensus within the international community that Nicaragua’s government is in fact largely responsible for the bloodshed.

This week 13 Latin American countries – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay – called for an immediate end to the repression and the dismantling of paramilitary groups and denounced “the acts of violence, intimidation and the threats directed towards Nicaraguan society”.

The United Nations accused Ortega’s government of “a wide range of human rights violations … including extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detentions, and denying people the right to freedom of expression”. “The great majority of violations are by government or armed elements who seem to be working in tandem with them,” a UN spokesperson added.

Uruguay’s former leftwing president José Mujica also spurned Ortega, admitting the Sandinista “dream” had gone astray.

These reports stand in stark contrast with the Morning Star which appears hell-bent on denying the facts:

Nicaragua celebrates 39th anniversary of the revolution and defeat of coup attempt.

Morning Star July the 19th.

A government offensive is underway, dismantling roadblocks that have damaged the Nicaraguan economy and been used to launch attacks against Sandinista supporters and the police.

The coup attempt began on April 18 following protests over pension reforms.

Mr Ortega announced a national dialogue backed by most layers of Nicaraguan society including trade unions and the country’s official student body.

Despite this, opposition groups continued to wage violent attacks, demanding the resignation of Mr Ortega. On Sunday an arsenal of weapons, including bomb-making equipment and home-made mortars, was found at the occupied National Autonomous University of Nicaragua.

Fearing potential attacks on today’s celebrations, critics warned that international organisations have sided with the coup-plotters.

They accused Amnesty International and “fellow coup apologists” such as Bianca Jagger and SOS Nicaragua, along with media organisations including the Guardian, BBC, Telegraph, Washington Post, New York Times, Al Jazeera and CNN of covering up human rights violations committed by opposition activists trying to oust Nicaragua’s legitimate government.

This article is far from alone in the self-styled Paper of the Left’s coverage.

HUGE cache of arms has been found at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) as the Sandinista government launched an offensive against armed right-wing terrorists over the weekend.

Morning Star. Monday July 16th.

Vargas and many, many, others, tell a very different story.

It’s time Labour spoke out against this brutal and corrupt regime.

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Written by Andrew Coates

July 20, 2018 at 12:19 pm

Pressure Grows on Labour to Oppose Brexit.

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Image result for brexit cartoon june 2018

#StopToryBrexit – A Final Say For The Many.

The Conservative Party is now in open warfare over the terms of Brexit,

Michael Gove has literally ripped up Theresa May’s plan for a new customs partnership with the EU. To the surprise of the officials present, Gove tore the document in two at a meeting on Wednesday night.

Customs will be one of the biggest bones of contention at the Chequers. I understand that there is talk that the model favoured by Brexiteers, MaxFax, might be altered to include tariff alignment with the EU.

But if that’s the case, then Britain won’t be able to have a proper, independent trade policy. One of the Brexiteers close to the discussions warns that this is the ‘breaking point of what people are prepared to accept’.

Michael Gove rips up Theresa May’s customs plan 

Meanwhile the call for a People’s Brexit from anti-EU left (A People’s Brexit that unites the left is the only way to confront an increasingly bold neoliberal mafia, argues Lindsey German) is increasingly marginalised.

The assertion that shouting  “taking back control” would inspire a post-Brexit radical movement  is dead in the water.

Only the far-right has benefited, launching its own campaigns.

The idea that a Sovereign Parliament, free from EU rules will be then able  to turn the capitalist system into a Beacon of Socialism is crumbling faced with the prospect of disrupted production and distribution chains. What kind of ‘independent tariff policy’ with bargaining power is possible in the post neo-liberal world of Trump’s Trade Wars.

Only on the fringes  only those still wedded to the idea of ‘ourselves alone’, a Britain perhaps reinvigorated by Pharaonic  irrigation projects –  the removal of the surplus urban population to dig canals and grow rice in the countryside, continue on, regardless.

Then there remains the issue, which the pro-Brexit Trade Unionists Against the EU campaign and their allies in the Morning Star and the Socialist Party have failed to respond to, of the £54,000 donation the front received from far-right millionaire Arron Banks donated to their cause.

The Labour Party is now debating the serious issues that Brexit creates.

In the New Statesman PATRICK MAGUIRE comments,

 

The campaign for a second Brexit referendum is fatally flawed but it could still hurt Labour

There is undoubtedly a significant gap between Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on Brexit and the softer one most of the membership would prefer. Recent polling shows that 87 per cent would like to see the UK remain in the single market, and 78 per cent want a referendum on the final deal.

 

In other words, the only thing keeping the line behind Corbyn is fear of public division, not any popular left wing support for a Popular Brexit tailored to help a radical left government implement its programme.

 

Some in Labour are now speculating the campaign for a second referendum – or People’s Vote, to use its sickly-sweet brand name – could similarly dominate this year’s conference.

There is good reason to think so. The failure of Tory rebels to deliver MPs a meaningful vote on the final deal has given impetus to the campaign at the grassroots. Lots of constituency Labour parties are largely Europhile, and activists from 62 of them have already promised to table a motion demanding a second referendum.

As my colleague Stephen says in his column this week, it’s a given that the leadership won’t acquiesce. If it is voted on, then it may well be that Corbyn’s distance from his members on Brexit will be much harder to hide. If chicanery from his allies prevents a potentially embarrassing vote on Brexit for the second year in a row, then attention will be drawn to the gap anyway.

The campaign has many shortcomings. There is no majority in the parliamentary Labour party, nor the Commons, for a second referendum, and its advocates are making the same mistake as David Cameron: what happens if they lose? While the 2016 referendum left room for ambiguity on the shape of the Brexit deal, there would be no doubt as to what an endorsement of the government’s deal meant. Despite them, it is still likely to cause headaches for Labour.

The probable shape of a  ‘final deal’ is something no Labour leadership should accept.

What can we then do?

The last paragraph makes some serious strategic points, but faced with disaster that is Brexit you can’t help feeling that many will consider that the gamble is worth it.

Growing pressure on Jeremy Corbyn from Momentum to turn against Brexit

Financial Times. , (today)

Momentum, the grassroots political movement that helped to sweep Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of Britain’s Labour party, is putting growing pressure on him to turn against Brexit and even push for a referendum on the final deal.

At last September’s Labour conference, Momentum played a key role in preventing delegates from voting on the party’s Brexit position (and we note, specifically on Freedom of Movement).

But this year, by contrast, several Momentum members said it could take the opposite role and force a vote among delegates on whether there should be a “people’s vote” on the final Brexit deal.

“Labour’s leadership fears that any tilt towards being anti-Brexit could cost the party the support of working-class voters in Wales, the Midlands and the North.” – not to mention that key Corbyn’s advisers such as Andrew Murray of UNITE are pro-‘People’s Brexit’.

This is the crucial point, “But the leadership of Momentum, while currently supporting Mr Corbyn’s position, is facing an upswelling of anti-Brexit sentiment among its membership of largely younger, more urban, supporters. One member of the shadow cabinet said the mood was changing and a general election could be won without the support of Brexiters. “There are people who want to keep the strategic ambiguity, there is a fear that if we are pushed too far on this it could screw up Labour’s electoral chances,” added one senior figure inside Momentum. “It’s possible that there could be an electoral route through being pro-Remain and that wouldn’t lose us votes, but it would be a risk.”

At a meeting of the Momentum version of its Central Committee,

Sam Tarry, political officer from the TSSA union, made an argument for a second referendum, while Mr McDonnell spoke against. With the attendees at odds over the issue they eventually agreed to put off a final decision until September.

The  petition of Momentum members calling for a second referendum stands (today) at 2,703 Signatures Collected. It needs just above 4,000 — 10 per cent of the group’s membership — to oblige a vote of all members.

It appears that Momentum supporters, as befits a left-wing organsiation, are more pro-Remain than even the heavily pro-EU Labour membership.

EU People’s Vote, Liberal Elite Versus “community, place, belonging ” (Paul Embery).

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Image result for far right unity demo 24nd June 2018

“For we are the people of England, that never have spoken yet“?

Those familiar with French politics will know all too well the gaggle of former left-wingers who have discovered patriotism, moral order, and nationalism barely disguised as “republicanism”.

Amongst many many others, Jean-Claude Michéa (admirer of George Orwell’s ‘common decency’) “«Les classes populaires ont presque entièrement disparu du champ de vision de l’élite et des classes moyennes… », Alain Finkielkraut “Alain Finkielkraut fustige ”une nouvelle élite barbare” et les ”collabos de la modernité” Michel Onfray, ( Michel Onfray contre les élites ) Michel Houellebecq (Les élites haïssent le peuplehave for a long time attacked the liberal ‘elite’, political ‘correctness’, the ” “nouveau progressisme”, unbridled free markets, fragmented identities, and  individualism.

The alternative?

France, the French People, perhaps the terroir, maybe the land and its memories – whatever takes their prejudiced fancy.

Many are, like the anti-Charlie Emmanuel Todd, advocates of “national solidarity,  leaving the Euro and economic protectionism (“il faut sortir de l’euro et pratiquer le protectionnisme.  la solidarité nationale et la fraternité.)

If like Todd they do not generally support Marine Le Pen it is because she does not include all the French people in this destiny.

It would not take long to find these currents  in the ideological soup across the whole continent.

So it no surprise that we are now seeing a similar stream of support for Family, Flag and Community against the” liberal pro-EU elite” as they call it)  in this country as the Carnival of Reaction following Brexit unfurls.

Disgracefully not unfrocked Priest, Giles Fraser, micturated recently with a stream of urine against ‘rootless cosmopolitans’.

Paul Embery, a public shit house for Family, Faith and Flag, is world class in this game of who can pee higher against ‘liberal elites”.

Brexit voters weren’t duped by propaganda.

PAUL EMBERY 26th of June. Unherd.

This is his comment on the Saturday People’s Vote march.

“Listening out for the hysterical outpourings of the grieving liberal intelligentsia can be an interesting pastime. It’s almost as if they are trying to outdo each other in their paroxysms of utter contempt for the mob.”

Indeed the stout working class types pictured above did not get as much publicity as the People’s Vote elite.

Embery has a word of advice for the limousine liberals (as the US original of this copied ‘patriotic’  diatribe had it in the past). The “explanation for why millions of working-class people voted for Trump and Brexit. But you’d need to rub shoulders with them every once in a while to know it.”

Thanks for the tip!

Here it is at greater length:

Left behind by globalisation, witnessing their communities rapidly changing from the effects of deindustrialisation and large-scale movements of people, suffering the effects of low wages and poor housing, they took the opportunity to hit back against a cloth-eared liberal establishment that had treated them with disdain for too long. Treat people like cattle, and you’ll get kicked.

You don’t have to be a cheerleader for Trump or Brexit to recognise this obvious truth.

Me old china, the Leave campaign was led by the wealthy (like his mate Arron Banks), and the public school educated and supported by the mass right-wing press.

And, we shall say to Scholar and a Gentleman Embery, that, well, let’s just just say that Disdain is Trump’s middle name….

That if they were ‘left behind’ – every tout for Brexit’s cheapest answer to everything – they are going to be stuck in the wilderness  after this bunch of chancers running EU withdrawal get their way.

Yet….

Apparently this is not the main issue.

Emberey’s new conspi theory it that the same ‘elite’ is now out to attack ‘free speech’.

For the new sinister agenda is not just to subvert the referendum result, but also to establish a compliant media where, in future, only the ‘facts’ as interpreted by these enlightened progressives and their chosen experts may be allowed to see the light of day.

Of course they know they can’t get away with crude bans on platforms giving air to alternative opinions, so their methods are more insidious. Thus we see increasingly restrictive laws designed to suppress freedom of speech, support for state-backed regulation of the press, boycotts of mainstream newspapers, and the sinister threat to reputations and livelihoods for the crime of saying the wrong thing.

He continues, outraged,

This mix of draconian legislation on the one hand and a repressive and intimidating public atmosphere on the other is toxic. The end goal is to batter us into submission so we think twice before expressing unfashionable opinions.

You can see it in the activities of outfits such as Stop Funding Hate – an authoritarian and menacing campaign dressed up as ethical and progressive. This group demands a boycott of any company which advertises in newspapers spreading “hate” (for which read ‘newspapers whose editorial line we dislike’). Several firms, fearful of damage to profits and reputations, have capitulated. They know the group is serious. It would happily see businesses, large and small, go to the wall and be forced to throw thousands of ordinary workers on to the scrapheap for the crime of advertising in the ‘wrong’ newspapers. So much for its high-minded ethics.

Its target isn’t really hate, of course; it is alternative opinions, particularly those traditional, some might say old-fashioned, opinions to which millions of Britons still hold true, but which are considered beyond the pale by the liberal elite.

Here is the wily plotters’ statement,

After what it called “decades of sustained and unrestrained anti-foreigner abuse, misinformation and distortion”, the United Nations has accused some British newspapers of “hate speech”. UK experts are now warning that hate crime is being “fuelled and legitimised” by the media. Relentlessly hostile and often inaccurate headlines have been described by charities as “dangerous”. But, indirectly, nearly all of us are funding them.

We’re taking on the divisive hate campaigns of the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express by persuading advertisers to pull their support.

There is a version of Godwin’s law that rightward drifting left-wingers always cite George Orwell at some point.

So it is no surprise that Embery says, “Our radical tradition is that of the Levellers and Chartists, of Tom Paine and George Orwell…”

He ends with this,

I along with millions of other working-class people voted for Brexit for reasons of democracy, community, place, belonging and accountability. Don’t tell us we did so because of something we read in the Daily Mail or on the side of a bus. For if you believe that, you really understand nothing of your own country.

No I know nothing.

Though I would say that “community, place and belonging” sound to me very much like ideas that echo the ideas of the far-right French writer Maurice Barrès (1862 – 1923) of la Terre et les morts, the notion that we are above all else rooted in our national soil and carry on the memories of our ancestors, and the same author’s criticism of the  Déracinés – the cosmopolitan rootless.

I would add that my fights (sometimes physical) with those at school and in my North London homeland, including in a factory,  with those who used to say “good ‘ole Enoch” in the late sixties and ‘seventies,  did not take place with ‘left-wingers’ of the Embery stripe telling me that really Enoch Powell has a point….

 

Giant Protest for Final Deal Brexit Vote; Counterprotest for Brexit and Free Tommy.

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People’s Vote demonstration in London culminates with speeches in Parliament Square

The rabble described below held their own Carnival of Reaction.

“The pro-Brexit march attracted a wide range of groups, from Ukip supporters to the “alt-right” White Pendragons and Generation Identity.

The mood among the pro-Brexit marchers was one of anger and defiance as far-right groups such as The White Pendragons and For Britain took their place alongside Veterans’ and People’s Party and Ukip with the sound of God Save the Queen and “Free Tommy” booming through the streets.

But many melted away as a long succession of speakers took to the platform with just a few thousand supporters left at the rally two hours later.

The Ukip leader Gerard Batten urged people to join the party and fight against what he saw as an imminent loss for Brexit supporters. “There is a real danger we will leave in name only,” he said. “MPs don’t care how many people go on this march, it doesn’t affect them … the only thing that affects them is losing their seats.”

Speaker after speaker followed decrying the anti-Brexit MPs and the BBC.

Anne Marie Waters, the leader of the far-right For Britain, said she was appalled that the business secretary Greg Clark was proposing to keep the borders open to keep business leaders happy. “The company’s voice is not louder than ours,” she said referring to the 17.4 million who voted for Brexit. “Companies, they can adjust,” she added.

Waters said the BBC had “taken great pleasure” at reporting the Airbus threat to leave the country because of Brexit. “It is not because of Brexit but because of the incompetence of the government, which two years later can’t tell companies what sort of Brexit they want.”

Andrew Peck, a pro-Brexit and White Pendragon supporter, came from Nottingham. He described himself as a floating voter who had supported Ukip in the last elections but otherwise “whichever party was best for the NHS”. “I don’t want anything to do with the EU, it’s nice to see lots of people like me here,” he said. “

Guardian.

Banner Below says, Note to Police. Stop the Rape of our Kids.

Image result for freedom march london

The SWP reports this march without mentioning the pro-EU one…

2,500 racists march through London in a display of far right unity

Around 2,500 racists marched through central London on Saturday in another sign of the growing confidence of the British far right on the streets.

The crowd chanted, “Whose streets, our streets” as they marched from Victoria Station to Parliament. And a big focus on the march was jailed Nazi Tommy Robinson—whose supporters organised a 15,000-strong rally on Whitehall on 9 June. 

Marches broke into spontaneous chants of “Oh, Tommy, Tommy” and “We want our country back”. It was a popular chant on mobilisations of the English Defence League (EDL), a group previously led by Tommy Robinson. 

The march was organised by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA), Veterans Against Terrorism and a host of other racist groups.

The DFLA is acting as a bridge between the fascists and the racist Ukip party. Flags from Ukip were one of the most visible elements on the demonstration—much more than on previous mobilisations in recent months. 

It confirmed that the party leadership is orientating on the far right in the hope of rebuilding after its wipeout in the local elections last month. 

At the rally Ukip leader Gerrard Batten urged marchers to join the party. “If you want to change things you have to organise politically,” he said. “The MPs in the House of Commons don’t mind how many join a march. 

“You have to join a political party, help fight elections and win power.” 

By contrast this is a good article on the context.

 Michael Chessum

The Left Against Brexit is an initiative that seeks to take back what should be the common-sense left wing position on Brexit, and stand out from the more centrist establishment anti-Brexit campaigns.

David Miliband may believe speaking out with Nicky Morgan and Nick Clegg from a rice factory will do the trick. We don’t.

The left has slipped back on its ideas around the EU since the referendum. A lot of the left and not just in the Labour Party, is of the view that is it better to keep your head down and hope for a Labour government to sort it out. I think that is totally misplaced for a number of reasons.

We have 18 locations lined up for the Left Against Brexit speaker tour. We would like to do more. The first are 4 July in Manchester and 11 July in London. We are on course to sell out both venues.

Organisers who were previously involved in AEIP across the UK are excited about it and we are finally getting back to some of what we did during the campaign.

Personally I want there to be a national demonstration against the Brexit bill. That would be broader then just calling for a “People’s Vote”. It should be based around the idea of “Block the bill”. That way it would get people who don’t support the “People’s Vote” coming onboard.

I hope we can bring organisations including the NUS onboard in backing that.

Brexit is not just a policy. It is a project. That project comes with a narrative as to who is to blame for the crisis. It blames migrants for a crisis caused by the political and economic elite.

That narrative is kryptonite to the left and will damage us very severely in the long run, if we concede to any of it.
We’re also dealing here with a process that will wreck the economy. Socialists are rightly sceptical about “doing what is good for the economy”; but here we are in going to be in a position of major austerity, and the only way for Corbyn to get out of that would be a hugely accelerated socialist programme. I would be in favour of this but I am sceptical about the Parliamentary Labour Party being willing.

Chuka Umunna and Chris Leslie are unlikely to walk through the division lobbies in favour of nationalisation and expropriation on the scale that will be needed with a major economic downturn?

The British people voted to leave the EU, and we do respect that. But the multiplicity of what Brexit meant to people means lots of different options were in effect voted for. There is now just one version of Brexit. We ask, does that version of Brexit have a majority?

Will people looking it straight in the eye say that is what they want? Or better than being in the EU?
People are allowed to change their minds.

Below the surface 80% of Labour members agree with us, and think there should be a referendum on the terms of the deal. This tour is about banging a big drum that says “we are on the left and are opposed to Brexit” and getting people to put their heads above the parapet.

There is a lot of pressure to keep your head down and stay in line with the leadership. But the leadership have never brought their policy for Brexit to conference. Corbyn has not run on a programme of supporting Brexit during his leadership elections or in the 2017 General Election.

In fact Labour has a conference position from 2016 that says that there would be a final say on the Brexit deal whether that was via referendum or a general election and that Labour should vote against the deal unless it meets its six tests.

I want to see Conference very proudly restate that and win a majority round to vote against the deal in Parliament and to support a referendum on that deal.

The underlying politics of the issue are about campaigning in favour of free movement.

We combat the idea that social problems are caused by freedom of movement and assert the need to campaign for strong trade unions, abolishing the anti-union laws, a socialist government that creates an irreversible shift in the balance of power that gives people control over their own destiny.

Rhetorically now the Labour Party is the best it has ever been on immigration, but the actual policy is no different to if Ed Miliband was still in charge! We have a triangulation to the right on immigration which must be causing Corbyn, McDonnell and Abbott some problems in their own heads. I think are probably very torn about this.

It isn’t that hard for Labour to have a left wing immigration policy, defend and extend free movement, and improve people’s lives at the same time. The vast majority of Brexit-supporting Labour voters and indeed Brexit supporters in general do not rank freedom of movement or even immigration as their number one issue. They rank housing, public services, wages and jobs just as much as anti Brexit people. If you give people real solutions on those things then you win time and space to convince them on other things.

Extending freedom of movement will benefit the workers’ movement as a whole. If migrant workers win more rights, the levelling up will benefit everyone. The more rights you take from migrants, the more precarious they become and the more difficult it is to organise. Labour should say that it will keep free movement, improve social housing, keep wages above inflation, provide more funding in schools and increase public investment.

That is how Labour should deal with people’s “immigration concerns”.

My own impression, from UNITE and elsewhere, is that the prospect of damaging UK industry, from Airbus onwards, will weigh more heavily than a March on Labour’s need to take an anti-Brexit stand. 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 24, 2018 at 12:27 pm

General Strike In Nicaragua. Left Condemns Ortega who “Puts Down Protests Violently”.

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General Strike in NIcaragua: Demonstrator in Burnt-out Bus in Tipitapa.

Nicaragua protesters stage national strike as clashes persist.

A 24-hour general strike has brought much of Nicaragua to a standstill, as anti-government campaigners demand the resignation of President Daniel Ortega.

Streets have been deserted and businesses closed in the capital, Managua, but violent protests have broken out in other cities.

Reports say at least three people died on Thursday, bringing the total killed in eight weeks of clashes to about 160.

Fresh talks aimed at ending the stand-off are due to take place on Friday.

The protests began on 19 April after the government imposed cuts to pension and social security programmes.

The cuts were later scrapped but the protests evolved into a rejection of the Ortega government and thousands of people have since taken to the streets.

Nicaragua se paraliza mientras Ortega mantiene la represión

El País

A detailed report on the strike, which has already resulted in deaths,  has just appeared:

Paro total y varios muertos: la huelga general en Nicaragua pone aún más contra las cuerdas a Daniel Ortega

Nicaragua paralysed as Ortega continues the repression.

Despite the report in the Sun today on British apologists for the repression (“Top Corbyn allies ‘help spread propaganda for murderous dictator who’s killed dozens of protesters in Nicaragua”)  there have been strong left criticisms of the Ortega regime from the left.

A massive violation of human rights” Mike Phipps

From the latest Labour Briefing.

In late April, civil unrest swept across Nicaragua. Over 40 people were killed, ostensibly over social security reforms proposed by Daniel Ortega‘s government. Many more were injured at the hands of the police who used live rounds, or in beatings by pro-government groups, western media reported.

One local blogger reported: “Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista government proposed a rise in employer contributions, a smaller one in employee contributions and a 5% cut in pensions (offset by stronger health care entitlements). The employers’ federation, which is opposed to paying more and would prefer more drastic cuts, called for protests. University students obliged. The government dispatched anti-riot police who – having never done so before – fired live rounds.”

Pitched battles followed in several cities and the army was deployed amid widespread looting. Independent media were censored and Nicaraguan state news outlets blamed the protesters. The unpopular social security overhaul was suspended and the violence subsided.

For some. President Ortega continues to enjoy huge legitimacy as a  key figure in the 1979 popular revolution that overthrew the decades-long Somoza dictatorship. Through the 1980s, Nicaragua pursued policies popular with most ordinary Nicaraguans – in the teeth of armed subversion by the USA. The Sandinistas lost power in 1990, but bounced back in 2007, with Nicaragua receiving economic help from Venezuela, but facing renewed pressure from the US.

Last year, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act, which would cut the loans Nicaragua receives from international financial institutions. This legislation is currently stalled in the Senate. Nicaragua’s uncharacteristic violence comes at a convenient time for US policymakers seeking to tighten the screws on the country.

Additionally, the US National Endowment for Democracy has been channelling money – over a million dollars last year – to student and civil society groups opposed to the Nicaraguan government. For some, the recent violence resembles unrest in Venezuela, both in its choice of weapons – homemade mortars and rockets – and in the prominent role played by students, who are not directly affected by the social security reform.

But for others, the involvement of many young people, often from Sandinista families, underlines their anger at the corruption of revolutionary values by the Ortegas. Ortega’s latest term in office has seen power centralised, with presidential term limits scrapped and the unpopular first lady, Rosario Murillo, made vice president – potentially the successor.

The Ortegas dominate Nicaragua’s Congress and judiciary. Their children run the family’s considerable business empire and the government’s radicalism has been superseded by an alliance with conservative sections of the catholic church, exemplified by harsh anti-abortion legislation. The government’s latest target appears to be social media and the internet.

The Economist accuses Ortega of “establishing a family dynasty reminiscent of the dictatorship he overthrew in 1979,” comparing him to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, “re-elected last year in a vote widely believed to have been fraudulent.” This is cynical obfuscation: Honduras, remember, saw its elected government overthrown in a US-backed coup in 2009. It quickly became one of the most dangerous countries in the world for political activists and its current president is a US placeman.

But this longstanding hostility in the mainstream media  to Nicaragua’s government makes the left wary of criticising it. Activists in Nicaragua allege violence on both sides, saying some protesters had highly hostile political agendas. One reported significant vandalism, for example of mobile health clinics. A Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign statement confirms this analysis with considerable detail.

But other reliable local sources alarmingly report that the Ortegas now hire thugs from the poorest neighbourhoods to put down protests violently. Videos show goon squads in pickup trucks, driving up and beating protesters with pipes and clubs despite the presence of the police. A leading member of the country’s Human Rights Commission was herself injured in such an attack while observing a peaceful protest.

The Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights, whose director is Vilma Núñez, a woman of great stature who was imprisoned and tortured under Somoza and served on Nicaragua’s Supreme Court following the 1979 Revolution, has produced a scathing report. It lays the blame for the “massive violation of human rights” that it documents squarely on the Ortegas. As for the Truth Commission set up to investigate the bloodshed, the Report concludes, “ Nicaraguans can in no way accept the manoeuvre of setting up a Truth Commission by the President of the National Assembly, who has not the moral authority or credibility to initiate something of this nature.”

This view is widely shared: critics see a whitewash in preparation. Ortega’s time in office may well have been shortened by recent events, but what follows is uncertain – especially as violence flared up again in mid-May.

There is from Paul Canning.

For Sandinistas, who aren’t Danielistas, it’s Time to Serve your Country.

The hour for our nation has come, for a new republic, with new thinking that has been incubating in the new generation of Nicaraguans.

The civic struggle, headed by the university students, stands out for their refusal to use the methods of war to confront the State repression against Nicaraguan society. The densely populated citizen marches and the roadblocks are their principal instruments of struggle. The civic struggle has reached the heart of the people and shown itself to be an effective tool for awakening political conscience. The organized repression of the National Police, the paramilitaries and the so-called “Sandinista mobs,” all respond to political orders from a unified command.

Everything seems to indicate that the capability of the Police to order and repress was outflanked in the first days of the civic insurrection. Ortega’s paramilitary bodies, the mobs who identify themselves as Sandinista Youth, and the incorporation of the so-called nostalgic Sandinista combatants and retired military officers into reserve squadrons, became, and continue to be, the reconstructed forces for repression.  It’s this new conglomerate that the masses of people have been facing, and they’ll continue doing so peacefully and civically with a great cost in lives. Meanwhile, the Nicaraguan Army maintains its political commitment to remain in their barracks.

The massacre of young people from all social classes and religious creeds, students and workers from all trades, is a wound that won’t close nor should it ever close in our people’s memory.

More than anyone else, it was Sandino who taught us the importance of national sovereignty in constructing the foundation for a republic. Sandino pointed us to the specific import of this fundamental value.

The confiscations permitted under Law #840 (the canal law), have offered up our national sovereignty to a Chinese magnate in exchange for the promise to construct an inter-oceanic canal across our national territory. Where does that situate Ortega’s government and those who organized this so-called public-private model? We should recall that the leadership of Danielismo, plus the Private Enterprise Council (COSEP) and its spokespeople greeted the handing over of our National Sovereignty as an inevitable trade-off for Nicaragua’s economic and social progress.

How far did that model get us? What should we recognize as good and what should we censure and correct in it? The rural residents who have fought against Law #840 in favor of sovereignty and against the canal are now part of the current struggle against the tyrant and his dictatorship. How do the spokespeople of large capital see them and weigh their actions?

Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, his wife, fed on that stew of our political history. They abandoned the ideas inherited from the peoples’ revolutionary struggles against colonialism, imperialism, capitalism and those of our own history as exemplified by Sandino. They abandoned the patriotic education of their early political days for the unholy practice of forging pacts with the lowest elements if such alliances brought them closer to the political power they desired.

As architects of evil, they elaborated a mixture of strange and hybrid ideas that allowed them to pact with large capital, preach a socialism with no genuine substance and a Christianity with esoteric practices of dolls and pins. Daniel and Rosario filled the vacuum left by the ideological emptying of Sandino’s thought, and skillfully embraced cynicism, the art of deceit, “banditry” as cunning and practice.  Internationalists abandoned him for his empty praises, false discourses and undisclosed agreements.

The activists who hold Sandino in their hearts but are naïve enough to maintain that in Nicaragua Danielism is developing a new stage of the FSLN’s revolutionary project are either fools or acting the fool for convenience.  On the other hand, those citizens who are FSLN militants but who consider themselves Sandinistas but not Danielistas, are called upon to reflect profoundly about their political militancy in this dark hour. Because the hour has come to defend our nation, and we should only see light emerging from it. To act the fool or ignore the murderous repression that Ortega and Murillo are leading is to become an accomplice of the entire tragedy we’re living through.

Justice and democratic institutions are the themes of the dialogue that simultaneously opened and closed the people’s expectations. From the guts of the youth who head the civic rebellion, the slogan was born: “Ortega Out!” The couple have equaled Somoza in many things and they’ve outdone him in others, because as they say out there, history repeats itself either as a comedy or a tragedy. Nicaraguans today are going back through the tragedy of yesterday. The popular struggle comes at an opportune moment, and opens a historic window on a new Nicaragua, with clear rules for democratic coexistence, the legal Rule of Law, with transparency and accountability before the eyes of Nicaraguans of all territorial and social sectors.

The condition that the young students and representatives of the farmers’ movement have imposed for continuing the Dialogue is correct and healthy for assuring a response and stopping the tyrant from spilling so much young blood. With the pair of dictators out of the national territory, other architects the public knows and believes in will be able to create the new figure of the Republic that we’ve dreamed about.

Students and farmers are the crucible of our struggle: the different strata of our society are headed towards developing a potent force capable of finishing off the resistance of the tyrant and his woman.

There are many indications that Ortega is militarily shoring up his residence in El Carmen. He’s equipping himself to resist and improve his negotiating position – not before the kids and the anti-canal farmers, but with large capitalists. “If they want to screw just me, well then we’ll all get screwed.” He doesn’t care about the political verdict on his proven murders, just as he cares little about the conclusive preliminary report of the IACHR.  Or about the upcoming documenting of the experts from the IACHR, because in his desperate clutching to sick, brute force, he prefers to think that like Hitler, he’ll die in his bunker before he’ll be made accountable for his crimes.

The figureheads of large capital, in particular Pellas, have proposed Ortega’s exit by the institutional route, that is, by moving up the date for elections. Some of his spokespeople have called that initiative “the soft landing.” This isn’t a possible solution. Force is what can and will move Ortega. The Ortega Murillo family and those close to them also understand the interests of large capital. There will come a moment in the people’s fight in which his family members and close circle reflect on the exit from power. It will involve an arrangement, and in such an arrangement the young people and the rural residents can’t be erased.  Large capital has a part in this scenario. Pontius Pilate has nowhere to wash his hands in this game; and Judas shouldn’t be at the table either.

If we need to count on strength and the Constitution, the elections should take place in October at the latest, with the necessary structures in place, even if they’re transitory ones to be perfected later. The Episcopal Conference should continue facilitating the solution, but good faith isn’t enough in this commotion.  The Catholic temples like the University halls should be ready for the final battle. The National Army must be pressured; there shouldn’t be any room for conjecturing whether the snipers, an active contingent in the savage repression of the protesting masses of citizens, are coming from their ranks. The presence of Dragonov weapons has been uncovered, and this type of rifle is principally the property of the National Army. The communiques from the National Army urge the citizenry to believe hook line and sinker in their declarations, but the proof in these situations can be deceiving.

Ortega Out! Murillo Out! Long live the April Mothers! Eternal memory for the immolated youth!

Written by Andrew Coates

June 15, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Labour splits on access to EU single market; Morning Star peddles fantasy “progressive, pro-worker” Brexit.

with 5 comments

Now is the Time To Fight Brexit.

Brexit: Labour too divided to back Norway-style deal, says Starmer

Guardian.

European Economic Area amendment does not have full support within the party

Keir Starmer has hit back at claims Labour will squander the chance to defeat the government over an amendment to keep the UK in a Norway-style deal after Brexit, saying his party was too divided to back it.

Labour’s frontbench has announced a new amendment to the EU withdrawal bill, which returns to the Commons next week, proposing “full access to the internal market of the European Union”.

However, the new amendment stops short of calling for the full single market membership sought by a vocal group of Labour MPs, after the Lords backed a Norway-style membership of the European Economic Area (EEA).

Meanwhile the Morning Star, the paper of choice of a Corbyn adviser on Brexit (“part-time consultant, as Labour hones its Brexit strategy) and the EU, Andrew Murray, publishes this.

Ian Scott, “a Unite member and president of Birmingham Trades Union Council”, blames the EU for “younger people working longer hours on lower wages under harsher job contracts”, ” the closure of car manufacturing at Longbridge, Birmingham, with big job losses.” and the Lisbon Treaty for calling for the “the end of welfare state”. Not to mention “poorer pensions”.

POST-BREXIT Britain is not necessarily the confusing issue it is deliberately made out to be.

Much of the mess we are in today is also due to many of our MPs allowing EU legislation “on the nod” to go through our Parliament and, more often than not, without the content of directives being explained to them and, unsurprisingly, without knowing what the implications could be.

The 2016 referendum saw the largest turnout in a Britain-wide vote since 1992, the people spoke clearly for many issues of concern.

Since the referendum, there’s been much doom and gloom and much panic about the loss of trade, jobs and rights.

Yet, on workers’ rights, one such claim for EU benefits, I was incensed on reading a young electrical worker’s contract of employment which said — with reference to the EU’s working time directive (WTD) — that the employee was required to work up to 48 hours per week. In other examples, the WTD has extended the working week for many (mainly younger) workers.

All this to the negation of what our fore parents fought for. In a nutshell, we will witness younger people working longer hours on lower wages under harsher job contracts, only to retire later than 65 years of age just to receive poorer pensions than what many pensioners enjoy today.

If the above statement is not an indictment of corporate greed exacerbated by EU policy, a question arises about the type of trade union necessary to fight for change. A corporate union interested in the role of corporate business would do nothing for workers, let alone youth who currently working on zero-hour contracts. Did the EU Commission not endorse this type of contract many years ago?

Similarly, more up-front trade unions need to wake up and learn a trick or two on contracts of employment, a powerful tool that needs to be fully researched and an area where trade unions can stand up to erroneous employers in Britain and, importantly, improve their standing with their employees to promote union membership — for job security and conditions.

Remember that 99 per cent of employees work in a workplace employing 250 people or fewer. Just 13 per cent of employees in the private sector are members of a trade union.

Here is an opportunity for trade unions to improve their standing and base of support within the “missing” 87 per cent by forwarding these policies.

A trade union call for better procurement policies to improve domestic trade will resonate with both employees and employers and the public accordingly.

Likewise, from the public perspective, how many who voted Remain would be happy to learn that the EU Commission signed off the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (Ceta) on September 10 2017? This would have huge implications for the future of our NHS as well as trade deals, especially on food and other services.

The role of the EU serves corporate interest by essentially legitimising the flow of capital that contributed to the demise of manufacturing in Britain, for example HP Sauce, Peugeot, jobs that moved abroad and at lower wages. The debacle of EU regulations has led to the closure of car manufacturing at Longbridge, Birmingham, with big job losses.

It is hardly surprising that the largest Leave vote was recorded in both the East and West Midlands, with these two areas witnessing the greatest industrial losses because of EU policy. Also, nationally, with the EU being the driving force behind privatisation, to the closure of car manufacturing at Longbridge, Birmingham, with big job losses. this has led to inferior job contracts and lower wages for fewer people remaining in employment.

We cannot return to the EU’s neoliberal failed economic model, which Italy and Greece are also thinking of leaving. Iceland voted to drop its application to join the EU some years ago and its economy is currently doing well. We need to move on.

Brexit is presenting an opportunity for trade unionists and public groups to demand what type of society and future for Britain we wish to see outside of the EU. I am concerned over any vaunted customs union, a sly manoeuvre that would keep us within EU regulations. Progressive inputs from an enlarged trade union and public base of support will also strengthen the case for a future Labour government to carry out our demands. There is no time to fail.

The Tory Cabinet is currently edging towards a settlement with the EU that will likely include an agreement to only enable services and finance to escape regulation. We cannot continue to sacrifice even more industrial jobs. We need state aid for industry, comprehensive public ownership, a state investment bank and the use of public procurement to buy local and to enforce decent wages, trade union rights and collective bargaining.

Trade unionists need to come together urgently to campaign for a progressive, pro-worker outcome and to put pressure on our political representatives to do so in Parliament.

Remember how the Lisbon EU 2020 programme in 2000 effectively called for the end of welfare state? It restricted “early exit from work” (increasing pension ages), removed “disincentives to work” (reducing benefits) and substituted “flexicurity” for existing employment contracts (casualising the workforce).

To discuss this and more, I make this open call for the biggest and broadest national post-Brexit conference to be held in Birmingham for this September and I seek your maximum support in organising for this.

Ian Scott is a Unite member and president of Birmingham Trades Union Council and writes in his personal capacity.

The tissue of fabrications which lead Scott to blame the EU for successive British governments’ neo-liberal policies, thus include blaming the working Time directive (limiting working time) for long hours and the notion that Thatcher privatised British Leyland at the behest of Brussels, are hardly worth considering.

The Morning Star will no doubt be blaming Brussels for the Iron Lady next!

And for Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron, May……

And their policies…..

How exactly is a post-Brexit UK going to escape the world of the ITO, the IMF, and international finance, and how could a Labour government  operate outside its major market and the rules that govern it?

Better procurement policies – for public services – well, why not!

No doubt Scott’s new best mate Donald Trump will make a ‘deal’ with the UK to ensure that food and services are protected from his own corporations…..

Er, No.

Then there is this. on the car plants Scott is concerned about…

European businesses advised to avoid using British parts ahead of Brexit

The car industry fears a “catastrophe” as the EU warns exporters they may lose free trade access if they use UK parts post-Brexit.

In its advice rolled out to all Dutch businesses, the Dutch government has told its exporters that “if a large part of your product consists of parts from the UK” domestic exporters may lose free trade access under existing deals.

The advice says: “Brexit will have consequences for exports outside the EU.

“After Brexit, parts made in the UK no longer count towards this minimum production in the European Union.”

As the Guardian article indicates: “EU negotiators have repeatedly made it clear there can be no cherry picking or division of the four freedoms of the single market, including free movement of people.”

They also include, “the free movement of goods, capital and services”.

A Norway style deal or not, these remain pillars of our economy.

But they cannot stand alone.

Another Europe is Possible campaigns for:

The 6 progressive elements of EU membership.  We identify those as:

  • Rights at work
  • Environmental protections
  • Freedom to move
  • Human rights
  • Education and innovation
  • Science and research funding

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 6, 2018 at 11:28 am

Nicaragua: After Police Kill Protesters, Giant Demonstration for Peace and against Daniel Ortega

with 3 comments

Manifestation au Nicaragua pour réclamer la fin des violences, le 28 avril.

Nicaragua se vuelca en una gigantesca marcha contra Ortega.

Tens of thousands march for peace and justice in Nicaragua

The protests have expanded beyond the original opposition to the social security changes to include broader anti-government grievances.

Tens of thousands of Nicaraguans have joined a march for “Peace and Justice” called by the Catholic Church, the second massive demonstration in less than a week following a wave of deadly protests against social security reforms.

The two marches in Managua came after protests and looting last week that Nicaragua’s Permanent Commission on Human Rights said left at least 63 people dead, 15 missing and more than 160 wounded by gunfire.

The government of President Daniel Ortega has not confirmed or denied the casualty figures.

Mr Ortega, who began his third five-year term in office last year, withdrew the social security overhaul that sparked the social convulsion last Sunday and agreed to meet with different sectors of society.

The rescinded changes would have imposed higher contributions by workers and employers and required retirees with pensions to give up 5% of their checks for medical care.

But the protests, which have been largely led by university students, had expanded beyond the original opposition to the social security changes to include broader anti-government grievances. Protesters at times were met with violent with police repression and attacks from Sandinista youth and motorcycle-riding thugs

Guardian: A correspondent in Managua and  in Mexico City

Tens of thousands have joined student-led protests, which started as an outbreak of fury over social security reforms and morphed into a broader revolt against the authorities’ violent response – and Ortega’s 11-year rule. At least forty-two people have died in the unrest, including a journalist shot dead while broadcasting on Facebook Live.

“We came in memory of the university students who fell fighting a dictatorship,” said Cinthia Madrigal, 30, who joined a march in Managua. “We took to the streets peacefully … and Daniel ordered us to be killed.”

During the 1980s, Ortega became a poster boy for the global left: a mustachioed Marxist feted for overthrowing the despised dictator Anastasio Somoza and for his David versus Goliath cold war struggle with Washington.

Ortega, now 72, suffered a chastening setback in 1990 after losing a presidential election he had expected to walk.

In 1998, his step-daughter – Murillo’s daughter, Zoilamérica Narvaez – publicly accused Ortega of having sexually abused her for a number of years from the age of 12. Murillo chose her husband over her daughter, and gradually moved to the centre of power; both parents deny the allegations.

After two failed attempts to reclaim the presidency, Ortega staged a dramatic comeback in 2006 – a victory in Murillo is thought to have played a key role.

In his victory speech, Ortega pledged to rule for the poor and for the people and “create a new political culture”. Yet he returned a changed and to many a tarnished man.

Former Sandinista comrades began turning away from the Nicaraguan president amid accusations of cronyism and corruption and anger over his support for a highly controversial Catholic church-backed ban on abortion.

Background:

Nicaragua on the Brink, Once Again.  

New Yorker.

The present convulsion began earlier this month, after President Daniel Ortega proposed a change to the country’s social-security provisions that would have forced taxpayers to pay more for the program while simultaneously cutting payouts to beneficiaries. Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries of Latin America, and public reaction to this change was furious and swift, with demonstrators taking to the streets to protest. The government’s ensuing response was as ill-considered as it was cruel. Police around the country fired live ammunition to break up the protests; as many as sixty people are believed to have died in the chaos that followed, including Ángel Gahona, a young reporter who was shot in the head while conducting a Facebook Live report in the streets of the Caribbean coastal town of Bluefields.

As the civilian deaths mounted, Rosario Murillo—Ortega’s wife, Vice-President, and spokesperson—issued a stream of belittling comments, calling the protesters “bloodsuckers,” “criminals,” and “vampires.” This only raised the ire of many thousands of ordinary Nicaraguans, and, just as happened in the late nineteen-seventies, when the dictator Somoza tried to stamp out dissent with harsh measures, the sentiments on the street have only hardened.

It’s clear now that, for all their pragmatic backpedalling on the social-security bill, Ortega and Murillo’s long time in power, and their near-total control of Nicaragua’s public institutions, have left them out of touch with the feelings of many of their countrymen. Ortega initially rose to power after the 1979 Sandinista revolution, when he was known as a Marxist firebrand, and he served as the country’s strongman President until 1990, when he ceded power after losing elections. He returned to the Presidency, in 2006, after dropping his Marxist tag, allying himself with former politicos and enemies that included Nicaragua’s corporate class and its archconservative Catholic archbishop, and declaring himself a belated follower of Jesus Christ. In the years since, Ortega and his wife have steadily consolidated their power, eliminating their opponents through a canny combination of economic co-option and, when necessary, outright repression.

In addition to the executive branch of government, Ortega and Murillo dominate Nicaragua’s Congress and judiciary. The couple’s children, in turn, run the family’s business empire via a web of public-relations firms and media companies that functions as the government’s communications department. The Ortega-Murillo regime, in other words, exists in an echo chamber.

More background: (2016)  Nicaragua’s compromised revolution

Memories of the 1979 Sandinista revolution remain strong in Nicaragua, but today’s FSLN is a very different organization, reports Jonah Walters from Managua.

The FSLN of today is not like the Sandinistas who led the left-wing government for a decade after the revolution, with Ortega at its head then, too.

After enduring a decade of economic strangulation and counterrevolutionary military attacks by the contra armies, the Sandinistas lost power to the U.S.-backed right-wing opposition in 1990.

Since then, the FSLN leadership has restricted internal democracy, colluded with the corrupt conservative governments that succeeded them and sought power again through cynical backroom deals. Its political stances became more and more moderate, if not downright conservative–in 2006, on the eve of Ortega winning the presidency again, the Sandinistas endorsed a law that banned all abortions in Nicaragua.

The Sandinistas once represented a vital revolutionary force–an inspiration to leftist movements all over Latin America and the world. But how should we make sense of the FSLN in the current moment, after decades of degeneration and behind-the-scenes maneuvering have compromised the organization?

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 29, 2018 at 1:11 pm