Europe

With the triggering of Article 50 and an upcoming general election to be fought primarily over the issue of Brexit, there has been much debate about Labour’s position on this key question and how it and the wider labour movement should respond to the Tories’ Brexit plan.

La tranquilidad del gobierno del PP no se siente amenazada por los innumerables casos de corrupción y de saqueo del dinero público en que está envuelto el partido desde hace años. Tampoco se ve amenazada por aplicar una política económica y social que ha empobrecido a las familias trabajadoras. El gobierno del PP tiene la convicción de que, llueva o truene, será sostenido –con la excepción de algún que otro ladrido– por sus muletas de Ciudadanos, el PNV y la gestora que dirige el PSOE. Esa es la voz de mando del IBEX35.

The results of the first round of the presidential election open a new phase of the political crisis in France. As in April 2002, the second round will be between the right and the far right. But much has changed since then. The economic crisis of 2008 has taken place. The probable victory of Emmanuel Macron, in two weeks time, will not lead to the relative political stability that Chirac benefited from in the wake of his victory in May 2002.

Los medios de comunicación se han apresurado a destacar el pase de Macron y Le Pen a la segunda ronda de las elecciones presidenciales  francesas –algo que, por otro lado,  esperaban desde el inicio de la campaña electoral. Para nosotros, el elemento más destacado es el gran resultado electoral de La Francia Insumisa que ha emergido como la fuerza hegemónica e indiscutible de la izquierda, algo imprevisto por esos mismos medios de comunicación hace unas semanas.

“En este momento de enorme importancia nacional debería haber unidad en Westminster, pero en cambio hay división. El país se está uniendo, pero Westminster no”. Con estas palabras, la primera ministra Tory, Theresa May, anunció elecciones generales anticipadas para el 8 de junio y pidió unidad política para afrontar el “divorcio” del Reino Unido con la UE.

Τα αποτελέσματα του πρώτου γύρου των Προεδρικών εκλογών, σηματοδοτούν την είσοδο της Γαλλίας σε μία νέα φάση πολιτικής κρίσης. Όπως και τον Απρίλιο του 2002, στον δεύτερο γύρο θα αναμετρηθούν η Δεξιά με την Άκρα Δεξιά. Όμως πολλά έχουν αλλάξει από τότε. Είχαμε το ξέσπασμα της κρίσης του 2008.

Met de resultaten van de eerste verkiezingsronde gaat de politieke crisis in Frankrijk een nieuwe fase in. Net zoals in 2002 zal het in de tweede ronde gaan tussen rechts en extreem rechts. Maar er is ondertussen veel veranderd. De economische crisis van 2008 heeft toegeslagen. De waarschijnlijke overwinning van Emmanuel Macron, binnen twee weken, zal niet tot een relatieve stabiliteit leiden zoals dat bij Chirac het geval was bij zijn zege in Mei 2002. De herschikking van het politieke landschap zal veel onzekerheid en onstandvastigheid met zich meebrengen. De komende parlementsverkiezingen in juni zullen hiervan het eerste bewijs zijn. Er is helemaal geen garantie dat ze het

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After months of turbulent campaigning, the drama of the first round of the French presidential election has come to a close, with Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen left to face each other for the second round.

Los resultados de la primera vuelta de la elección presidencial abren una nueva fase de la crisis política en Francia. Al igual que en abril de 2002, la segunda ronda opondrá la derecha a la extrema derecha. Pero mucho ha cambiado desde 2002. Entre medias, ha tenido lugar la crisis económica de 2008. La probable victoria de Emmanuel Macron, en dos semanas, no dará lugar a la relativa estabilidad política de la que Chirac se benefició tras su victoria en mayo de 2002. La recomposición de todo el espectro político abre un período importante de incertidumbre e inestabilidad. Las elecciones legislativas de junio serán la primera ilustración. No hay ninguna

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Les résultats du 1er tour de l’élection présidentielle ouvrent une nouvelle phase de la crise politique en France. Comme en avril 2002, le deuxième tour opposera la droite à l’extrême droite. Mais bien des choses ont changé depuis 2002. La crise économique de 2008 est passée par là. La probable victoire d’Emmanuel Macron, dans deux semaines, ne débouchera pas sur la relative stabilité politique dont Chirac avait bénéficié dans la foulée de sa victoire en mai 2002.

Although initially written in December last year (and therefore already overtaken in places by new events and developments, most notably the announcement of the general election), this document written by Socialist Appeal provides an analysis of the main processes affecting British politics and society, as well as outlining the fundamental contradictions facing the ruling class and leaders of the labour movement. It is clear that the current political period in Britain is incredibly intense, and that a radical analysis and perspective is needed more than ever before.

La repentina remontada de la candidatura de Jean Luc Mélenchon en las elecciones presidenciales francesas del próximo domingo 23 de abril, ha vuelto todas las miradas hacia su movimiento, La Francia Insumisa, y su programa. La Corriente Marxista Internacional nunca ha claudicado a la histeria de “que viene el fascismo” que ha caracterizado a las principales corrientes de izquierda europeas en los últimos meses. Al contrario, hemos defendido de manera consistente que están dadas las condiciones para un giro a la izquierda en todas partes.

“In questo momento di enorme importanza nazionale ci dovrebbe essere una spinta all’unità qui a Westminster, ma invece c’è divisione. Il paese sta serrando le fila, Westminster no.” Con queste parole il primo ministro Tory, Theresa May, ha annunciato elezioni politiche anticipate per l’8 giugno prossimo e ha chiesto un mandato diretto per traghettare il Regno Unito verso la Brexit, il divorzio con l’UE.

De senaste tre veckorna har Rebelliska Frankrikes kandidat ökat snabbt i opinionsmätningarna inför presidentvalet: från att ligga på femte plats med omkring 11 procent, till tredje platsen med över 18 procent idag. Samtidigt har andelen som uppger att de tänker rösta på någon av de två ledande kandidaterna långsamt men stadigt minskat: längst till höger har Le Pen gått från en högsta punkt på 28 ned till 24 procent, och den extremt högerinriktade liberalen Macron har gått från en högsta punkt på 26 ned till 23 procent.

The last three weeks have seen a quick progression of the candidate of Rebellious France in the polls for the presidential election: from being fifth with around 11% to being third with over 18% now. This rapid rise has been accompanied with a slow but steady decrease in the voting intentions for the two candidates at the top, the far right Le Pen (from a peak of 28% down to 24) and the liberal Thatcherite Macron (from a peak of 26% down to 23).

The power-sharing deal in the North of Ireland, established with the Good Friday Agreement, has broken down. The old system of rule no longer works, an indication of the pressures that flow from the economic crisis. Gerry Ruddy looks at why and how this has come about.

On Friday, 7 April at 2:53 pm, a truck crashed into the department store Åhlens City in Stockholm, after first going on a rampage along Drottninggatan. Four people were killed, 15 wounded and 9 are in critical care. We strongly condemn this terrorist attack and our deepest sympathies are with all the people affected.

After Bus Éireann, a subsidiary of Ireland’s state-owned public transport operator (CIÉ) responsible for bus travel outside of Dublin, announced a swathe of attacks against workers and bus services, the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) declared an all-out strike effective from midnight on 23rd March. The bus drivers have reacted to these attacks with fierce militancy. This struggle is a clear indication of the growing discontent and class anger building up across Ireland.  As cracks open up in the Fine Gael-led coalition government over everything from water charges to police corruption, it is clear that this weak and divided government can be brought down.

With under a month to go before the first round of France’s presidential elections, there is still all to play for, with almost half of French voters still undecided. Arguably the most significant feature of the contest so far has been the almost complete collapse of the traditional parties. The incumbent president, Francois Hollande hasn’t even bothered to stand, so loathed is he by the public. His Socialist Party’s last hope, the “radical” Benoit Hamon, now languishes in fifth place according to recent polls.

With Article 50 triggered and Britain now formally starting the process of leaving the EU, the gloves have come off. According to Theresa May, this is “the moment for the country to come together”. But the country has never been so divided.

Ken Livingstone’s suspension from standing for office or representing the Labour Party for a further year for “bringing the party into disrepute” has provoked a cacophony of protests from the party’s right wing, all demanding his immediate expulsion.

On the surface, the wave of political earthquakes shaking Europe and the world seemed to have left Poland unaffected. The seething anger growing from decades of privatisations and austerity has produced neither a Corbyn nor a SYRIZA. Eight long years after the economic crash of 2008, an election for the first time in the new republic's history produced a majority government of the nationalist, ultra-Catholic Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, Law and Justice Party, (PiS), ousting the previous Civic Platform led government, considered “right of centre”.

It is deeply ironic that those who have spent years ignoring the working class and trying to break the link between the trade unions and the Labour Party should now be taking such an intense interest in the future of Britain’s biggest union, Unite. And yet this is precisely what is happening at present, with the Blairite wing of the Labour Party going into overdrive in their attempts to kick out the incumbent, Len McCluskey, as ballots for the Unite leadership election arrive through the letterboxes of the union’s 1.4 million members.

The die is cast. In her letter, hand-delivered this afternoon to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, Theresa May has announced the beginning of Brexit negotiations under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, marking a point of no return for both British and European capitalism.

In the traditional Irish rural community of yesteryear there was a saying, “never speak ill of the dead”. Martin McGuinness’s body was scarcely cold before the keyboard “warriors” were launching attacks on his reputation.

Four people have been killed and at least 20 injured in what the police are describing as a “terrorist incident” this afternoon in central London. Shortly after 2pm, a man drove a vehicle into pedestrians at Westminster Bridge before crashing it against the fences of Parliament and then entering the complex wielding a knife. He stabbed a police officer before being shot by other officers. Those killed are the attacker, one police officer and two pedestrians. The House of Commons was put on lockdown.

Last weekend, 17-19th March, saw the Marxists in Britain take a momentous step forward at the national conference of Socialist Appeal activists and supporters in London.

In normal times, the Dutch general elections would not make headline news around the world. But we are not in normal times. The Netherlands, for decades were considered one of the solid, stable, north European countries. That is no longer the case, as the crisis of world capitalism impacts on this small country.

Nicola Sturgeon this week finally delivered the speech that had seemed almost inevitable ever since the Brexit vote in June last year. By announcing her intention to seek a second independence referendum, Sturgeon has started a political storm that will likely rage on - at the very least - until any referendum takes place.

John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor and veteran of the Labour Left, has warned of a "soft coup" being orchestrated to undermine Corbyn's Labour leadership. Owen Jones, meanwhile, has called on Corbyn to stand down and "do a deal" with the Blairites in order to pass on the baton to a left successor. The only way forward for the Left, however, is to boldly go on the offensive.

The elections on 2nd March to the Northern Ireland Assembly have served to shatter all of the old certainties enshrined in the sectarian monolith established by the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), now languishing in crisis. The elections have done nothing to shift the political deadlock. Instead they have brought to the surface all of the contradictions in the North, reflected in a sea-change in the balance of forces, with unionism losing its majority for the first time since partition.

Britain - Chancellor Philip Hammond’s spring Budget was presented by the media as something of a non-event – unless you happened to be poor, reliant on public services, or self-employed on a zero-hours contract that is.

This year March 8 in Italy will not be the same as other years. We live in a system that is no longer able even to pretend to guarantee decent living conditions for the majority of the people and this is reflected in particular in the terrible situation facing women. In the past few months, however, in dozens of countries around the world we have seen hundreds of thousands of women expressing their anger against the system, and taking to the streets to in defence of their rights.

On March 6, Spanish dockers will go on strike against a decree of the PP government which destroys the very foundations of social rights conquered with organisation and struggle, and contained in agreements and laws, such as Convention 137 of the International Labour Organisation Labour, ratified by Spain in 1973, to guarantee the regularity of employment and minimum salaries of this group of workers.

Under the former coalition government and now the Tories, a swathe of brutal cuts and closures has been sweeping the country. And this blight is set to continue. “To eliminate the deficit”, states the Financial Times, the mouthpiece of big business, “Mr Hammond [the Tory Chancellor] will need to extend austerity well into the next decade.” (FT, 20/2/17)

Britain - The script was clearly written in advance by Jeremy Corbyn’s critics. After, Labour’s “humiliating” defeat in the Copeland by-election, surely Corbyn would “do the right thing” and step aside? Indeed, leading figures from the Blairite camp are likely feeling aggrieved that Labour actually won in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election – a victory that slightly ruins and contradicts their narrative about the “unelectable” Corbyn.

The resignation of Clive Lewis from the Labour front bench has dealt yet another blow to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, as Brexit continues to torment the Labour Party. But while last summer’s “Chicken Coup” may have seen a greater number of resignations, the public resignation of one of Corbyn’s most well known supporters in order to vote against the whip may prove even more damaging.

Two years ago, an editorial in the Financial Times described France as being in a pre-revolutionary situation. That may have been an exaggeration, but it was certainly a reflection of the impasse of French society. Now that impasse has grown into a full-blown political crisis.

The resounding victory of Pablo Iglesias and his list of candidates at the Podemos congress, the National Citizens' Assembly, is viewed as a great event for millions of workers and youth in Spain and, by extension, for the Spanish and European left. At the same time, it represents a defeat for the ruling class and the dark forces of reaction, who barricaded themselves behind the right-wing stance of Íñigo Errejón, with the vain desire of dealing a demoralizing blow against everything that is alive and is truly progressive in the country.

The defeat of Manuel Valls in the Socialist Party primary was celebrated, or at least appreciated, by far more than the 1.2 million who voted for Benoit Hamon. Valls, the former prime minister, is one of the most consistent representatives of the right-wing, pro-capitalist, leadership of the PS.

“Vote Leave - Take Control” was always a deeply cynical slogan, designed to exploit the alienation and powerlessness of the working class in the EU referendum. It is only now, however, as the brave new world of Brexit starts its lengthy unfolding, that its irony is being exposed.

The second statewide Citizens Assembly (Vistalegre II) has a tremendous importance for Podemos and the Spanish left. It is by no means an accident that the event has been accompanied by increasing polarisation between the positions of comrades Pablo Iglesias and Íñigo Errejón.

There was a record participation at the congress of the Italian section of the International Marxist Tendency – Sinistra, Classe e Rivoluzione – held on 6-8 January in Bologna with more than 150 comrades from 25 cities attending. Fred Weston of the IMT introduced the debate on global relations.

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