Decisive days in Catalonia

As state repression and popular mobilization in Catalonia grows, Barcelona-based author and activist Josep María Antentas explains the potential for the October 1 independence referendum to detonate an institutional crisis across Spain. As this article was being prepared for publications, demonstrations in support of Catalonia's right to self-determination were growing across Spain, and no one knows if conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will risk bloodshed to prohibit the vote; if the Catalan government will blink and postpone the referendum; or if the vote will proceed and trigger a political crisis for the both the Spanish state and the Europe-wide forces pushing austerity. 

Read more ...

The dilemma of Catalunya en Comú

This article, dated 11 September, discusses the position of one of the major parties in Catalonia faced with the decision of the Catalonian government to call the referendum outlawed by the central Spanish state government. It does not deal with the most recent repression against the Catalonian institututions by the Madrid government.

Read more ...

The Great Repeal Bill: the neoliberal assault on democracy and human rights

The trade deals that Liam Fox is currently negotiating all push for more deregulation and for less rights for the citizenry. TiSA is one example (see here). TiSA’s aim is the complete liberalisation of services (finance, insurance, telecommunication, transport, energy services, education and health care). TiSA has a “ratchet clause” which makes the privatisation of services effectively irreversible, as it forces countries to ensure market access to foreign companies in perpetuity (see here). Corporate lobbies in the UK and elsewhere are seizing the opportunity to push the agenda of financial deregulation, privatisation of public services, undermining workers’ rights and the expansion of unaccountable trade tribunals (see also here).

Read more ...

The Future of Greece

Costas Lapavitsas accompanied every step of this dizzying process as an MP for Syriza and a member of the Left Platform, a bloc within the party that called for exit from the European Monetary Union and the preparation of the Greek people for confrontation with international creditors. Had the Left Platform won the strategic and political argument in Syriza, Greece likely would have gone down a very different path.

Today neither Lapavitsas nor the Left Platform continue to be part of Syriza. Yet Lapavitsas has not relinquished the Left Platform’s central assertion: that the subjection of Greece’s working class is not inevitable.

Here, George Souvlis, a PhD candidate in history at the European University Institute in Florence, and Petros Stavrou, a former Syriza adviser and current member of the radical left initiative ARK, speak with Lapavitsas for Jacobin about Syriza’s government, the struggle against austerity across Europe, and the prospects for reviving the Greek left.

Read more ...

Closed Rooms and Class War

He presents himself as both insider and outsider to this world. As if sketching a scene for a film script, he recounts a meeting with Larry Summers in a Washington bar, where Summers tells him that he must decide which he is going to be: an insider or outsider. It is clear that Varoufakis glories in being one of them, while still wanting us to believe that he is simultaneously on our side. He speaks of how great it was to have the support of Larry Summers, Norman Lamont, and other figures on the Right, but it was support for whom, for what, and in whose class interests? Class analysis is far from the foreground of the picture sketched out here.

Read more ...

Construint un veritable internacionalisme des de l’esquerra

Construint un veritable internacionalisme des de l’esquerra

Gràcies a la pau sorgida després de la Segona Guerra Mundial, els estats europeus van reconstituir-se en la forma d’estats del benestar, un acord social-democràtic en l’àmbit estatal que distribuïa millor la riquesa i posava les bases per a la prosperitat dels 30 anys següents. Aquesta prosperitat econòmica va tenir com a pilar fonamental els Acords de Bretton Woods i el GATT, acords portats a terme entre més de 40 estats l’any 1944, que van servir per posar fi al proteccionisme de guerra i establir unes normes monetàries i comercials internacionals. Aquestes estaven basades en el control democràtic de les finances i en el reconeixement del dret dels estats a protegir els seus estàndards polítics propis i a portar a terme el seu propi model de desenvolupament econòmic, permetent-se la realització de polítiques industrials i comercials sempre que es justifiquessin de manera adient.

Read more ...

France at the crossroads: how to take down Le Pen

Stathis Kouvelakis, a member of the Greek Popular Unity party and a supporter of La France Insoumise, speaks to Feyzi Ismail on Macron’s victory, the crisis in French society and the possibilities for the Left.

Read more ...

Where’s Turkey headed?

The results of the April 16 referendum called by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan prompted a deluge of analyses in the Western media which, for the most part, painted him as ‘the great loser’. In Greece, the results were described as a ‘Pyrrhic victory’ which some analysts proclaimed the start of Turkey’s strategic decline. But the Istanbul stock exchange’s reaction was quite different.

Read more ...

Power in Podemos

Podemos’s second congress Vistalegre II, that reaffirmed Pablo Iglesias’s power, can be summarized as a confrontation without debate and a spectacle without substance. The final outcome, more a battle for power than a real discussion about the party’s future plans, is a facelift of what was decided at Vistalegre I. What was at stake was mainly the risk of negative changes rather than positive ones: either to move towards the final political normalization of Podemos (advocated by Errejón) or to remain a rebellious force but with major strategic incoherence (as Iglesias defended). So, at Vistalegre II, Podemos did not ultimately become worse but neither did it substantially improve. The overall assessment is crystal clear: the best thing that happened was that the worst was avoided.

Read more ...

By the numbers: Barack Obama’s contribution to the decline of US democracy

The iconic slogan “Yes, we can!” inspired the wave of enthusiasm that swept up millions of Americans during the presidential election of 2008 and carried Barack Obama to the White House. If that slogan epitomized the beginning of the Obama presidency, he had an equally iconic ending: the first African-American president shaking hands with the first president-elect in at least 100 years endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan.

Read more ...

Why Donald Trump's China policy is a trade war in the making

Donald Trump’s telephone call with the president of Taiwan shortly after he won the vote to become the next president of the US caused a diplomatic stir. Some attributed it to Trump’s ignorance of diplomatic protocol – which is to officially ignore the existence of a Taiwanese government that’s independent of the mainland. Others speculated that it signalled a radical shift in US government policy in Asia as a whole.

Read more ...

Clinton’s loss, Trump’s victory. A progressive analysis

According to the repellent self-righteousness of the mainstream “opinion-makers” (a profession which should be looked upon with contempt in any open society – in no way are they journalists), Trump’s victory is due to the intellectually impaired, the bigots, the racists, the misogynists, Russians hackers, the FBI, Wikileaks, Jill Stein, etc. The liberals nod their heads in disbelief at the unspeakable stupidity of the masses. The last thing they will examine is their own lack of thought, their own lack of empathy and their own hypocrisy. If the liberals did not want the beast to win, they should not have created it. If this election result mortifies you, it is because you have not been mortified enough by what preceded it.

Read more ...