french and greek voters seek a way out of austerity

Adam Ford on the recent elections in Europe.

Hollande has spoken of his admiration for Greek destroyer-in-chief Papandreou

The financial markets went into a petulant sulk today, in response to the election results in France – where incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy was defeated by his ‘centre-left’ challenger – and in Greece, where two thirds of the electorate voted against avowedly anti-austerity candidates. It seems likely that we will now see some attempt at rebranding austerity – ‘neoliberalism with a human face’ – but this will be nothing more than ‘lipstick on a pig’. The international financial gamblers will allow no let-up in the transfer of wealth from the overwhelming majority to their own decadent and diseased milieu. Continue reading “french and greek voters seek a way out of austerity”

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understanding europe’s crisis

John Keeley argues that it’s more than just Europe’s periphery that’s in crisis; it’s the entire capitalist system.

Democracy is derived from the Greek Demos (People) and Kratos (Power). This is what we are seeing on the streets of Athens – people power versus the EU/IMF dictatorship. But what are the roots of this debt crisis and why does the EU/IMF demand austerity?

To understand why each Greek owes €30,000 in debt requires an understanding of the role of credit in the capitalist system. Fractional reserve banking allows banks to lend more money than they actually have. In boom times everything looks rosy to the capitalists and credit is extended and profit rates look healthy. But this expansion of credit fuels overproduction. It then starts to dawn that debt-saturation means not all loans will be repaid. Banks become reluctant to lend to one another and credit dries up. This is a credit crunch. As capitalists retreat to cash, effective demand in the market reduces and a recession occurs. Continue reading “understanding europe’s crisis”

the fantasy world of UKIP

by Solomon Anker

The results of the European Elections have lead to many people being very worried about the rise of the BNP, but few haveany fear for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) despite them having great success. While it is true that UKIP are far from the aggressive racists of the BNP, still the nationalism of UKIP as well as their right-wing agenda on other issues is all very damaging. UKIP came in 2nd in the recent European Elections ahead of both the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats, and due to this strength, in many ways they are even more dangerous than the BNP.

UKIP

Out of the 16% of British voters who supported UKIP, very few of them know anything about what UKIP really believe in except for their anti-EU attitude. But in general these voters are not that ignorant of UKIP because as UKIP are a very shallow party there is not really much more to understand. In short UKIP’s basic ideas are based on a victim mentality that poor Britain is being oppressed by Europe and needs to escape from this occupation. In their fantasy, Britain is also this heroic country of Winston Churchill who defeated the Germans in World War II and is the home of freedom, peace and justice. This is of course the type of thing that all nationalists think about their country and it is a mixture of truth and non-truth. Britain has achieved many great things but Britain has also committed some of the worst crimes in history and its economic policies towards the 3rd World continue to be oppressive. But of course UKIP don’t care at all about the 3rd world. Continue reading “the fantasy world of UKIP”

the european elections, the left and anti-fascism

David Broder gives his (personal) view on the EU elections and the BNP

The Times has carried several articles in the last week predicting that the recent outcry at the “MPs’ expenses scandal” has boosted the chances of the British National Party winning at least one seat in the European Parliament in the June 4th elections. Most people can only be sickened by this prospect – and indeed the extra revenue and organising power this would afford the BNP –  but in a sense the election results will merely reflect the ‘already existing’ organising strength of the different parties. Of course, at election time we ought to be concerned not only by the growth of the BNP, which has expanded ten-fold in the last decade, but also by the much greater – continuing –  strength of the Tories and New Labour, who already have both the (state) power and determination to attack migrants.

Typically of the media (both corporate and leftist) The Times devotes great attention to all the activities of the BNP – wholly unwarranted by its size or power – much as the press swallowed the far-right group’s own ludicrous claims to have played a leading role in January’s Lindsey Oil Refinery wildcat strikes.  The paper fears the BNP playing on “anti-establishment” anger and widespread disaffection with the mainstream parties. Editorial pieces over the last week have extolled the virtues of Parliamentary democracy and pointed to the criminal records, violent past and sloppy attendance record of BNP councillors. A May 11th editorial piece encouraging voter turnout to stop the group securing an MEP commented:

“To alert voters to the reality of the BNP, the main parties need to make their own case and persuade people that, no matter what they think about the state of politics in general, the BNP is worse than just useless, it is bad. A vote for the BNP is a vote for extremism and intolerance.”

Of course, it is no surprise that The Times, the long-standing newspaper of record and ‘authoritative’, ‘serious’ voice of the elite, should defend the established order of ‘normal’ politics and ‘mainstream’ parties against ‘extremists’ (surely it would have the same attitude towards a sizeable communist alternative to the establishment). So why does the traditional left’s “anti-fascism” look so similar? Continue reading “the european elections, the left and anti-fascism”