the greek elections, ‘workers’ governments’ and the radical left

Conrad Russell replies to Barry Biddulph’s previous article

The premise of the article (‘is syriza a workers’ government in waiting?’) is whether or not SYRIZA – the coalition of the radical left, who won 27% of the vote in the Greek elections on the 17th of May – can form a ‘worker’s government’ at some point in the future. The first question which needs asking is; who is saying it can? The answer, alluded to in the article, is; ‘Worker’s Power is saying it can’. Given that this tiny British ‘post-trotskyist’ organisation has no section in Greece, and therefore no direct involvement in the movement there, this raises another question; who cares? The article falls into the trap of rehearsing old arguments (and animosities) within the British ‘Left’, rather than offering any concrete analysis of the social forces engaged in the struggle in Greece, or the actual arguments being put forward on the Greek Left. Continue reading “the greek elections, ‘workers’ governments’ and the radical left”

national divisions and the eurozone in crisis

Oisín Mac Giollamóir explores the complexity of how the Eurozone crisis affects particular states

If the working class has no country it is for one reason: because capital has no country. But of course capital is often national. The emergence of the nation state and capitalism are contemporaneous. As capitalism emerged so did the nation state. As various historical class relations are dissolved into the capital/labour relation, the notion of the nation’s common interest emerges. But what happens when the nation becomes a constraint on capital accumulation? It expands.

Over the last 60ish years, through the emergence of the EU, Europe has seen the emergence of an integrated capitalist system. However, a major limit of this integration is that the national myth, the idea of a common interest between capital and labour, has not developed on a European level. Continue reading “national divisions and the eurozone in crisis”

lightning strikes twice in greece

by David Broder

On 12th February the Evening Standard boards in London proclaimed “Brown: we won’t pay for Greece bailout”, almost as if darkly parodying the left’s slogan “we won’t pay for their crisis”. But much as the Greek government plans harsh austerity measures to appease its European counterparts, millions of workers are refusing to capitulate.

Yesterday a general strike brought Greece’s planes, trains and buses to a standstill; left schools quiet and government offices empty; and brought thousands of raucous demonstrators into the streets of Athens. Not only was this the second nationwide strike against the budget cuts plan in two weeks, but also marked continued defiance against the new social-democratic PASOK government, just over a year after the December 2008 struggle against the right-wing New Democracy administration. Continue reading “lightning strikes twice in greece”

another speaker confirmed for 20th april european elections meeting

We are pleased to announce another speaker for our upcoming London forum on ‘European elections: where should we turn our fire?’. RMT activist Andy Littlechild will be speaking alongside Mick Dooley (rank-and-file candidate for general secretary of the builders’ union UCATT) and Peter Gowan (Professor of International Relations at London Metropolitan University and a member of the editorial board of New Left Review)

The public meeting takes place from 7pm at the Lucas Arms, near King’s Cross on Monday 20th April.

We will be looking at the European Union’s response to the recession and its proposed constitution; whether there is any worth in contesting elections and whether they have any relevance to today’s workplace struggles; and the politics of the No2EU election campaign backed by the RMT, Morning Star and Socialist Party.

All are welcome. Email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com for further details or to register your interest. See below for map of the venue. Continue reading “another speaker confirmed for 20th april european elections meeting”

the rmt’s “no2eu” initiative

by Dave Spencer

With only two and a half months to go to the June 4th 2009 European elections, the RMT leadership have come up with a new party “No2EU – Yes to democracy”. Without a hint of irony (remember “Yes to democracy”) we are told that this “party” is for election purposes only. There will be no membership, therefore no voting for the slate of candidates needed for the election and worse still there will be no continuation of the party after the election. Indeed the whole idea has been cobbled together by the RMT, CPB and SP leaderships and will be run by them – no democratic voting by the members.

Furthermore if any “No2EU” candidate wins the election as an MEP they will not take their seat in Brussels. The voice of the British working class will not be heard in Europe. There will be no speaking tours to make links with European workers in struggle, no greetings brought to mass demonstrations and strikes, no attempt to build a new European-wide workers’ movement. No, the “No2EU” MEPs will stay at home in Britain.

And who will pay for this last minute stunt? It costs £5,000 as a deposit for each slate in each constituency. Then you need to pay for at least a million leaflets in each constituency. Presumably the RMT members are paying for it with the CPB and SP jumping on board for the ride. Continue reading “the rmt’s “no2eu” initiative”

the commune’s 20th april forum ‘euro elections: where should we turn our fire?’

The next of The Commune’s London ‘uncaptive minds’ forums on capitalism and the working class today will be on the subject of ‘European elections: where should we turn our fire?’

The public meeting takes place from 7pm at the Lucas Arms, near King’s Cross on Monday 20th April.

We will be looking at the European Union’s response to the recession and its proposed constitution; whether there is any worth in contesting elections and whether they have any relevance to today’s workplace struggles; and the politics of the No2EU election campaign backed by the RMT, Morning Star and Socialist Party.

Speakers confirmed so far include Mick Dooley (rank-and-file candidate for general secretary of the builders’ union UCATT) and Peter Gowan (Professor of International Relations at London Metropolitan University and a member of the editorial board of New Left Review)

All are welcome. Email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com for further details or to register your interest. See below for map of the venue. Continue reading “the commune’s 20th april forum ‘euro elections: where should we turn our fire?’”