For workers and youth, it is clear that the fallout from the 2008 global economic crisis adversely impacts upon the majority of households in the UK. It is plain for all to see: as jobs are lost by the thousands, public services are cut to the bone, and the juggernaut of austerity ploughs on desolating communities, synchronously wealth continues to flow upwards into the pockets of the elite.
This Easter, as every year, socialists and Republicans across Ireland will commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising. Yet with only 2 years to go until the centenary, and with rumours that Her Majesty will attend commemorations in 2016 the aim of the Workers’ Republic that James Connolly, commander of the Irish Citizens’ Army and military leader of the rising in 1916 fought for, appears as far off as ever. Six years into possibly the greatest economic crisis since Ireland was partitioned in 1921 the left, if anything, has gone backwards. This reflects a bending to opportunism, short-termism and a lack of a far-sighted Marxist perspective within Labour or any of the small forces to their left.
Ukrainian president Oleksandr Turchynov declared yesterday in a live televised address that a full-scale operation involving the army will be launched to regain control over Eastern Ukraine. Whether it is a bluff or a real threat, which the Ukrainian government has the will and means to enforce, is yet to be seen. But today, the same Turchynov has declared that the Kiev government is not against holding a referendum in Eastern Ukraine and set a date for May 25. Meanwhile, there is talk of Kiev asking for UN peacekeepers. This all shows the insoluble mess the Ukrainian authorities have got themselves into.
Over the last weeks and months, concerns about energy have become more and more widespread in Britain. Firstly the simmering controversy over “fracking” has become more prominent, with a series of demonstrations pushing this issue into the public eye. Then the pledge of Ed Miliband that the next Labour government will freeze energy prices was met with howls of protest from the coalition parties and threats by the energy companies that “the lights will go out”. In addition, the announcement that Britain will build the first new nuclear power station for decades has been overshadowed by the attempt to close the Grangemouth oil refinery. The question has to be asked: is Britain facing a serious energy crisis?
The right-wing FIDESZ (Young Democrats’ Union) of Viktor Orbán have once again won the elections in Hungary. However, due to the very high levels of abstention, in reality only 25% of the electorate actually voted for them, most people being utterly disgusted with politicians in general.
Tsipras has been chosen by the Party of the European Left (EL) as candidate for the Presidency of the European Union. Does his programme offer a solution to the problems facing workers across Europe?
In the recent municipal elections in France the right wing did well, mainly at the expense of the Socialist Party which pays a heavy price for carrying out draconian austerity measures at national level. Unfortunately, in many towns the Front de Gauche (Left Front) split, with the Communist Party forming an alliance with the Socialist Party, and the Parti de Gauche (Left Party) presenting joint lists with the Greens.
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