Mar 29 2017

BEING ANTI-TRUMP ISN’T ENOUGH

David Broder, now a member of the editorial board of Historical Materialism, contibruted the Global Commune* events  organised in Edinburgh by the RCN in 2010.  David now lives in Italy and has written the following article about how socialists should relate to Trump, after the dismal experience of the Left’s response  in Italy to the rise and fall of Silvio Berlusconi. We would like to thank David and Bhaskar Sunkhara, editor of  the US magazine, Jacobin, for permission to  post this article, which is can also be found in the current issue 24 of Jacobin.

 

Berlusconi and Trump drink to a Left-free future

BEING ANTI-TRUMP ISN’T ENOUGH

Just months after the left seemed poised for a historic breakthrough, a shock national vote brought a dangerous reactionary to power. Smashing open the old party of the Right, the billionaire tycoon’s populism surfed a wave of anger against the corrupt elite that had long controlled the political center. Making government the stage for a permanent public performance, this curiously wealthy popular champion radically reshaped the country’s political life.
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Jun 10 2016

EUROPEAN DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION – A statement from the Republican Socialist Alliance

As part of the continued debate on the EU referendum we are posting this statement from the Republican Socialist Alliance. 

 

EUROPEAN DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION

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The European Union (EU) is facing a serious crisis. Vicious austerity imposed on Greece in an effort to uphold the Euro has destroyed living standards and jobs in that country. The EU’s economy is still in recession, while countries like Spain, Ireland and Portugal face mass unemployment and new spending cuts.
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Jul 18 2015

A VERY CAPITALIST COUP

The article below is a follow up from the World to Win blog (see http://www.aworldtowin.net/blog/a-very-capitalist-coup.html), from the one posted after the Greek referendum on July 5th. The humiliation enforced on the people of  Greece by the ECB backed by the EU bureaucracy will have a bearing on politics throughout Europe. It remains to be seen how the Syriza government’s capitulation will be received amongst those most affected in Greece. However, it is now abundantly clear that promoting bankers’ coups is European corporate capital’s favoured method of dealing with any challenge to their rule. This provides a wake-up call to socialists of the necessity for our own coordinated international response.

 

Reaction in Athens to Syriza government's capitulation to ECB and EU bureaucracy

Reaction in Athens to Syriza government’s capitulation to ECB and EU bureaucracy

 

The political and economic humiliation heaped upon Greece by the major European capitalist states led by Germany has shocked people around the world. The hashtag #ThisIsACoup trended on Twitter as global cyber-anger reflected what in essence had taken place.
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Oct 11 2014

AFTER THE SEPTEMBER 18th REFERENDUM VOTE – A socialist republican response

In the aftermath of the September 18th Scottish independence referendum, Allan Armstrong(RCN) updates his  earlier piece (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2014/09/03/up-to-and-beyond-the-september-18th-independence-referendum-a-socialist-republican-perspective/).

 

A Movement-in-the-making

The campaign for Scottish independence has been the largest movement for popular democracy seen in these islands since the Irish War of Independence. In terms of electoral participation it was unprecedented. Voter registration was 97% and voter turnout was 85%.

The ‘Yes’ alliance faced the biggest ruling class offensive, backed by the UK state, since the Miners’ Strike. Only this time it brought together the combined Tory/Lib-Dem/Labour ‘Better Together’ ‘No’ alliance, UKIP, Ulster unionists, the Orange Order, other Loyalists, British fascists, the BBC, the Pope and the Free Presbyterian Church, and the US and Chinese governments!

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Jun 06 2014

The ECONOMIC SITUATION IN IRELAND AND MARTIN McGUINNESS AT THE ROYAL BANQUET

Emancipation & Liberation is  publishing two articles from the latest issue of Socialist Democracy (Ireland). There is much talk of an economic ‘recovery’ in the UK by George Osborne. The first article examines another  the claims of another economic ‘recovery’ in Ireland. The second article  looks at the continued political degeneration of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland, highlighted by Martin McGuinness trip to the royal banquet at Windsor castle, and links it to Sinn Fein’s electoral ambitions in the South.

 

HOW REAL IS THE RECOVERY?

 

How real is the recovery? From a socialist point of view, there is no direct connection between the possibility of revolution and economic ups and downs. Workers may revolt out of desperation when their backs are to the wall, but equally the confidence that comes from a boom can inspire revolt.

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Mar 01 2014

LATVIA AND IRELAND IN THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM

There has been much talk recently from George Osborne about economic recovery in the UK, demonstrated in a rise in employment figures. That many of these jobs are on zero hours or other part-time contracts, and that the largest group dependent now on benefits are  the low paid jobs, highlights the reality of life in ‘Food Bank Britain’. 

Similar claims of recovery have been made by EU spokespeople with regard to Latvia and Ireland. The following two articles from the current Socialist Democracy (Ireland) bulletin show what such ‘recovery’ means for the working class.

 

1. LATVIA – ENDPOINT IN THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM?

Scavenging for scraps on the street of Riga in Latvia

Scavenging for scraps on the street of Riga in Latvia

Ireland is not alone in receiving the accolade of Forbes magazine. Latvia also receives glowing praise and, as with Ireland, the IMF’s enthusiasm is based upon growth figures.

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Aug 05 2012

FOR AN INDEPENDENT SCOTTISH SOCIALIST REPUBLIC

The Republican Communist Network supports the creation of an independent Scottish Socialist Republic as a significant step towards communism. We look to and would support a Federation of European Socialist States.

Our support is for a genuinely independent Republic, not a sham façade that presents a Scottish nationalism that settles for symbols, not substance. A politically independent Scotland cannot be won primarily through a vote, but rather by building a mass movement that takes its demands to the streets, and creates genuinely democratic institutions by the people and for the people.

A fully independent Scotland is one that is not subject to the UK’s Crown Powers and does not recognise the monarchy; a fully independent Scotland would have a banking system controlled by the people and not the Bank of England or the European Central Bank. A fully independent Scotland is one free of all foreign military bases, including the Faslane Naval Base; one that is outside of NATO, because this is an imperialist alliance dominated by the United States of America and supported by British imperialism. A fully independent Scotland would reject the bankers’ top-down internationalism, because this drives the EU’s current austerity agenda in Europe.

We need a new European unity based on internationalism from below.

Our vision of an independent Scotland is very different from the ‘independence” advocated by the SNP. In the two years until the referendum, we hope to work with others who share our vision of an independent Scottish Republic and are not willing to hand the SNP a blank cheque. We know that Alex Salmond is already bargaining behind closed doors, reassuring the ruling class, here and abroad, that the SNP can deliver an ‘independent’ Scotland subservient to business interests.

When the time comes, we will determine how we will vote, given the options presented, but for now our role is to organize around a Socialist vision of independence. Help to achieve this!

Republican Communist Network, 4.8.12

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Aug 01 2012

A REPORT ON THE SITUATION IN GREECE

RCN member, Eric Chester, has just returned from a trip to Greece, where he spoke to members of SYRIZA and ANTARSYA. Here is Eric’s report.

 

During a recent visit to Greece, I was able to get some sense of the enormous problems confronting that country. Greeks are very proud of their past, not only the legendary era 2500 years ago, the time of the Parthenon, but more recently when Greeks fought the Nazi invaders. Nevertheless, along with the national pride is a bitter sense of despair, a feeling that there is no way out of the current catastrophe. The number of suicides has been increasing rapidly, as young Greeks try to cope with massive unemployment and the disintegration of the educational system, along with clear indications that the crisis will only grow worse.

Walking along the streets of Athens I saw people living on the street everywhere, children begging, sidewalks crumbling, and riot cops ready to come down on the next demonstration. Greece is a poor country, perhaps comparable to Mexico in economic development. Furthermore, global warming has hit Greece with a vengeance. Temperatures climbed to over 40 degrees every day, and the stagnant, humid, polluted air was oppressive.  Heat wave of this sort can last for weeks.

Of course, the most acute problem is the national debt. Greece owes huge sums, mostly to foreign banks and to EU countries. Interest rates on government bonds have soared since few investors believe Greece can fully repay its debt. During the recent election campaign, the mainstream parties promised to renegotiate the debt, to extend the period of payments. Since then, the European Union has made it clear that there will be no negotiations. Greece pays the debt as promised, or it will be ousted from the Eurozone. The conservative government currently in power is preparing a new round of cuts that will cause a further drop in output, and a further increase in unemployment.

To say that the situation is grim would be to greatly understate the depth of the crisis. There is every likelihood that, in the end, Greece will be forced to leave the Eurozone. Once it does so, it will have to repudiate a significant part of its national debt. The critical question is how this exit from the EU will be handled. Leaving the EU will be wrenching, bringing with it a major shift in the Greek economy, and further hardships. No one is willing to take this step, and instead the crisis deepens and the economy spirals downward.

The only bright spot in this mess is the rise of the Left. While I was in Athens, the streets were quiet. Apparently, everyone was waiting the next round of cuts in social services and the fire sale of state owned businesses, including oil and gas properties.

The dominant force on the Greek Left is SYRIZA. Initially formed as a coalition of left-wing groups that came together to contest elections, the organization’s leaders are now ready to move from a coalition to a unified political party. Although there are Trotskyist and Maoist groupings within SYRIZA, the controlling groups are Eurocommunist in background. Alex Tsipiris, SYRIZA’s public face, is the leader of the strongest of the Eurocommunist component groups, Synaspismos.

After its recent relative success in the elections, coming in second, SYRIZA realizes that it must provide more than a parliamentary opposition to the current conservative government. SYRIZA has begun to mobilize its activist base to participate in neighbourhood based organizations targeting a specific issue. For instance, one of these social movements restores electricity to the many who can no longer afford to pay the bill. This shift toward the neighbourhood social movements would seem to be a good idea, but there are concerns that SYRIZA will attempt to take over these movements, and use them for its own narrow organizational interests.

The next elections are scheduled for four years from now, but few expect the current conservative government to last that long. Instead, there is a general expectation that there will be an “explosion” sometime soon in Greece, as the government attempts to push through another round of cuts. The government will then fall and, perhaps, SYRIZA will come to power. After that, the scenario becomes murky. SYRIZA hopes to avoid leaving the Eurozone, but is not willing to push through the cuts demanded by the troika composed of the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund. It would seem that SYRIZA’s leaders have done little to envision an alternative path, although it is clear that there are hopes that, somehow, a new government could restore the social welfare state that existed prior to the crisis.

To the Left of SYRIZA stands ANTARSYA, a coalition of radical socialist organizations coming from a variety of backgrounds. ANTARSYA has a brief history and seems to be a work in progress. I attended an Athens wide meeting of the coalition with about 75 activists, most of them young. The debate was vigorous, but the speeches went on too long.

I also met with a comrade from ANTARSYA prior to the meeting. We had a good discussion and agreed on the need for greater international solidarity. He emphasized that ANTARSYA called for an immediate exit from the Eurozone and the total repudiation of the debt, positions which put it in direct conflict with SYRIZA. This certainly made more sense than the position taken by SYRIZA, and yet there was a considerable haziness as to what would happen after Greece left the Eurozone. Would Greece move immediately toward a socialist transformation? If not, what would happen?

The idea that socialism can not flourish in one country is an immediate reality in Greece. Greece is too poor and too small to survive as a democratic socialist society for more than a brief period. Unless the revolution spread quickly, there would be a successful counter-revolution, or a leadership group would crystallize and an authoritarian regime the likes of Cuba would result.

As an anti-authoritarian socialist, the political perspective of ANTARSYA seemed far more compatible than that of SYRIZA. We should try to develop closer relations with ANTARSYA, exchanging documents and developing joint projects.

_______________________

From Murdo Ritchie 
MurdoRitchie@blog.co.uk
murdoritchie@yahoo.co.uk

Firstly, I don’t think it is possible to approach an exit from the Eurozone as if it was a consumer choice like choosing between different kinds of washing powder off a supermarket shelf. In many ways, it will be a choice that external circumstances impose on the Greek people. Put simply, it is a relationship of strength between different forces. If it becomes necessary to break with the Euro, then it must be understood by workers, peasants, students and all other concerned Greek people that no other option existed. The isolation of a separate country with a currency that has little convertibility alongside an inability to obtain external loans may become the best option but it will not be an easy one. All this requires that a process of popular education and preparation take place. It also requires that judgements on the conditions involved in making that leap be established and timing correctly assessed.Congratulations on a fascinating report. But two points.

Secondly, as an “anti-authoritarian socialist” you are entitled to your views, but the Greek people may not have that great a range of options available. Try to imagine what could happen if the Greek people “opt-out” of the Euro and repudiate the debt. The creditors will not drop their demands for debt repayments. Moreover, they will still be denominated in Euros so that even if the new currency attempts to escape by devaluation, the debts will increase. Greece will be placed under an economic embargo that could make the purchase of many types of goods impossible, especially hi-tech equipment, even if they can find someone to sell them. Companies and individuals trading with Greece will face enormous fines and possibly their assets seized. Ships and aircraft from companies trading with Cuba already face that danger.

All politics is about the wisest possible use of authority and power. That is even true for the exercise of working class power. That’s what separates it from moralising. All decisions have consequences. There is no such thing as a risk-free decision. I suspect there are a lot of political works-in-progress currently being made in Greece; the lining up of forces for coming conflicts is only beginning.

 7.10.12

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