Dec 04 2017

AUSTRIA’S RIGHT TURN

There has been some debate amongst the British and American Left about the nature of the challenges to the old political establishment offered by Brexiters and Trump (‘Brexit plus, plus, plus’). Some have argued that these represent fightbacks.  by the working class against the neoliberalism, albeit somewhat distorted. This blog has posted several articles which have argued that these Right populist challenges have been mounted by sections of the ruling class, not so openly compromised by the 2008 crash, in order to win wider ruling class support and launch a stepped up ruling class offensive. They have indeed successfully made appeals to  sections of the working class, but mainly those  who have lost their traditional organisations and self-confidence and are looking instead for saviours.

The recent triumph of the Right in Austria shows this process going one step further.  This has happened shortly after some other liberal and Left commentators argued that  the recent defeat of the far right Freedom Party’s presidential candidate in Austria, and  the electoral victories over Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen show that right populism is  being contained in Western Europe at least.

However, a section of Austria’s  leading traditional conservative People’s Party, led by Sebastian Kurz, decided it would break the longstanding Peoples Party/Social Democrat Party coalition and push politics to the Right. Kurz  successfully captured the Peoples Party leadership. After the recent general general election he  led the party into a new government coalition, this time  with the  Freedom Party.

Far from undermining neo-liberalism, Kurz intends to use this coalition to mount a stepped up neo-liberal offensive. This is also the trajectory of the real leaders of the Brexit and of Trump and his backers.

This article by Benjamin Opratko describes what has happened in Austria.

 

AUSTRIA’S RIGHT TURN

 

Kurz rebrands the conservative Peoples Party as the New Folk Party

With the two parties of the Right entering into a coalition government, Austrians can expect more neoliberalism and more xenophobia. Continue reading “AUSTRIA’S RIGHT TURN”

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Sep 22 2015

THE REFUGEE CRISIS – AN OUTCOME OF CAPITALIST BARBARISM

THE REFUGEE CRISIS – AN OUTCOME OF CAPITALIST BARBARISM

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In response to the current refugee storm a Palestinian activist remarked that, if pictures of dead children changed anything, Palestine would long have been free.

The bitterness is understandable. However it would be wrong to write off the response to the refugee crisis as light-headed liberalism. Rather it is better understood as the potential to, as Marx said, transform from quantity to quality and become a broad opposition to the crimes of imperialism.

The capitalist powers have been exhibiting an increasing barbarism. Mass penury is imposed on their own populations. The wars they direct and provoke grow increasingly bloody. As refugees flee devastation they slander and criminalise them, applying a policy called “pushing the rope” – making conditions at holding centres so hellish that new refugees will not come. It is bare months since they withdrew rescue services from the central area of the Mediterranean, leaving thousands to drown. They constantly refer to migrants, because refugees are meant to be offered refuge and dismiss “economic migrants,”  as if fleeing starvation was bad and only war can be advanced as a legitimate reason for flight.
Continue reading “THE REFUGEE CRISIS – AN OUTCOME OF CAPITALIST BARBARISM”

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Jul 26 2015

PAST AND PRESENT IMPERIALISMS: PUTIN, THE WAR IN UKRAINE AND THE FAR RIGHT

Ukraine is an  international issue that has caused more confusion than most on the Left.  In this article, first posted on Europe Solidarie sans Frontieres (see http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article35480), Jean Batou explains the role of Putin’s Russia and the historical background to revolutionary socialists’ understanding of Russia’s  imperial domination of Ukraine.

 

PAST AND PRESENT IMPERIALISMS: PUTIN, THE WAR IN UKRAINE, AND THE FAR RIGHT

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Putin’s Russia is an imperialist state dominated by a capitalist oligarchy that controls the state and that has developed a bellicose attitude toward its neighbors, whom the oligarchy reproaches for having taken advantage of the collapse of the Soviet Union in order to escape its century-long tutelage. Embracing an ultra-nationalist ideology that gives a good deal of space to racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia, its authoritarian neoconservatism has become a veritable standard for the European extreme right. For those of us dedicated to fighting Western imperialism, be it American or European, an understanding of the Russian state’s imperial nature, of its expansionist tendencies, and of the real nature of its contest with the West is essential. Continue reading “PAST AND PRESENT IMPERIALISMS: PUTIN, THE WAR IN UKRAINE AND THE FAR RIGHT”

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