The recent hardening of Tory rhetoric over Brexit and the status of migrant workers in Britain has shocked many, prompting some on the left to wonder if we too should advocate immigration controls and others, such as Owen Jones, to fall into a spirit of impotent despair. But aside from being a return to form for Britain’s traditional “Nasty Party”, May’s hard talk reflects a deepening divide within her own party and, if anything, a position of weakness rather than strength.
The 2017 presidential election is at the heart of a new, profound crisis in the French Communist Party (PCF). The National Secretary of the party, Pierre Laurent, has for several months been calling for a “common candidate” of the “living forces of the left,” and says that he regrets the “division.” In the name of this approach, the leadership of the PCF has refused to involve the party and its activists in the campaign of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who was the candidate for the Left Front in the presidential election of 2012.
France witnessed a wave of intense class struggle earlier this year with the strikes and mass protests against the government’s new law on labour relations. The law was eventually passed in July and the movement died down, but now the working class and youth is preparing to move from the trade union front to the political.
On Sunday 2 October, Hungary held a national referendum over the mandatory resettlement of refugees in the country. The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, had hoped to use the vote to strengthen his authority both at home and abroad. Instead, he has suffered arguably his most embarrassing setback since he came to power in 2010.
Polish women staged magnificent demonstrations and strike action all over the country on Monday 3 October. They are fighting against a proposed law that would ban abortion under all circumstances, even in cases of rape, incest or a threat to the mother’s life. Even in this country where the Catholic Church is so powerful, and where the right-wing Law and Justice party won power just a year ago, the spirit of struggle is alive and explosive.
Having seen off the miserable challenge of Owen Smith and the Blairites, both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell gave emboldened speeches to this year’s Labour Party conference. These were the speeches that the right wing did not want. Rather than trying to imitate the Tories, as previous Labour leaders have done, both Corbyn and McDonnell set out their vision for a Britain transformed. They even dared to use the “s” word – socialism.
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