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Part I of the series “Greece and debt: two centuries of interference from creditors”

Newly Independent Greece had an Odious Debt round her Neck

by ERIC TOUSSAINT

2016-05-10 01 5-draxmaiSince 2010, Greece has been the centre of attention. Yet this debt crisis, mainly the work of private banks, is nothing new in the history of independent Greece. The lives of Greeks have been blighted by major debt crises no less than four times since 1826. Each time, the European powers have connived together to force Greece to contract new debts to repay the previous ones. This coalition of powers dictated policies to Greece that served their own interests and those of a few big private banks they favoured. Each time, those policies were designed to free up enough fiscal resources to service the debt by reducing social spending and public investment. Thus Greece and her people have, in a variety of ways, been denied the exercise of their sovereign rights, keeping Greece down with the status of a subordinate, peripheral country. The local ruling classes complied with this.

This series of articles analyses the four major crises of Greek indebtedness, placing them in their international political and economic context – something which is systematically omitted from the dominant narrative and very rarely included in critical analysis.

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Bern: The Bernie Sanders Movie

2016-05-04 01 Bernie-movie "Bern" The Bernie Sanders documentary will tell the story of Bernie Sanders' life growing up, the historic campaign currently taking place, and the people working to get him elected. We have a unique opportunity to capture a pivotal moment in American culture and its impact on the country's political and social landscap.

 We are independent filmmakers, producers, animators, editors, writers and other creative and communications professionals who are interested in adding dimension to the current political discourse by learning more about one of the most intriguing participants of the 2016 presidential election. As an independent collective, we are beholden only to the story we are telling, and we are committed to discovering and telling it as authentically as possible.

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Armenia, Azerbaijan & the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Behind the Four-Day War

by LIAKHOV Peter

2016-04-27 02 Peter-LiakhovOn the afternoon of April 2, Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, was gripped with anxiety. On the street, the dour, worried faces of passersby clashed with the unusually warm and sunny spring weather. By evening, the normally bustling bars and restaurants were nearly empty, and the few patrons that did come were loath to touch the food and drinks they ordered. Waiters too were morose, having dropped any pretense at a customer-service smile. Earlier that morning the “frozen” Nagorno-Karabakh conflict had erupted in violence, and just like that, the country was at war.

It seems that under the cover of darkness, Azerbaijani troops on the border with the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh pushed across the line of contact, and with the support of tanks, gunships, and heavy artillery overran many of the Armenian positions, including three villages.

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Eric Toussaint à la Nuit Debout - Témoignage

2016-04-22 01 Eric ToussaintL'occupation de la place de la République à Paris par Nuit Debout se poursuit depuis 3 semaines. Hier je m'y suis rendu. J'ai commencé par écouter les discussions qui se déroulaient dans le cadre de la commission finance et économie qui se tenait en plein air à partir de 17h30. Y participait une bonne centaine de personnes. Dans le même temps avaient lieu deux autres commissions. Par ailleurs, en dehors des espaces occupés par les commissions, beaucoup de monde se rassemble pour des dialogues improvisés un peu partout sur la place. Il y a également des animations musicales, du théâtre action,...

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USA: Labor Notes Conference Gathers Over 2,000 ‘Troublemaker’ Workers and Organizers in Chicago – “To create a militant and democratic unionism”

by MOBERG David

2016-04-20 01 Troublemakers-UnionEvery two years since 1981, the Detroit- and Brooklyn-based monthly newsletter Labor Notes has rallied union members and wannabe members, as well as some union staff and elected leaders, to join in a long weekend of sharing stories, strategies and wisdom gained in their workplace skirmishes.

They are the sort of people that bosses everywhere—and a few union officials—might call “troublemakers,” and they have adopted the moniker as a badge of honor (including holding “troublemaker schools” and producing tactical handbooks for do-it-yourself organizers).

Last weekend, around 2,200 labor activists, from diverse age groups, industries, personal experiences and nations (about 150 visitors from 22 countries), gathered in Chicago for a packed line-up of workshops and plenary sessions in the largest of these conferences.

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Bulgaria in the trap of neoliberalism

Daniela Penkova

2016-04-11 02 protestIn 1989 the Berlin Wall fell and the so-called “transition period” for Central and Eastern Europe began. The goal pursued was a radical change of society at economic, political and social level. In relation to this, Bulgaria endorsed a variety of development programs, which were manipulated by the two supranational institutions – the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The country was quickly encompassed by a wide network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) whose number amounts nowadays to 38,000. The UN agencies, supranational authorities and NGOs organized and coordinated Bulgaria’s transition through the same methods, ideas and language, which were being used for the Third World Countries by that time.

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Britain: Three Tax Avoidance Schemes and you’re out, Cameron

by DOWLING Felicity

2016-04-11 01 Felicity DowlingCameron has tried – but failed – to distance himself from the Panama papers, says Left Unity Principal Speaker, Felicity Dowling.

The recent revelations and admissions show that he has dissembled the sources of his wealth. He has profited from offshore banking, inheritance tax management and the tax avoidance schemes that are the preserve of the very rich. He has criticised others for tax evasion but now the mask has slipped and his hypocrisy is exposed. He is revealed for what he is: both a beneficiary and an agent of extreme class privilege. And while profiting himself he has driven forward the most savage attacks on working people and the poorest in our society.

The Panama papers show clearly that offshore banking and the complex system of tax evasion have been carefully constructed by the very rich and their political representatives. They have been developed and established over years, in law and in tax regulation. And it is not something confined to corrupt individuals and regimes elsewhere – as some would have us believe. Britain is at the very heart of it: the whole legislative framework of the Virgin Isles, laws in the Channel Islands and in the Isle of Man and more. Tax minimisation lawyers have been “consulted” by HMRC while tax collection employees have been reduced in numbers.

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Aire fresco agita la sociedad francesa

Olivier Besancenot y François Sabado

Militantes del NPA (Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste)

2016-04-05 03 Besancenot-SabadoUn millón de personas se echó a la calle el 31 de marzo para expresar su rechazo a la “Ley del trabajo” del gobierno Hollande. Ya el 9 de marzo, cerca de 500.000 personas habían marchado por las calles de más de 250 ciudades. Se trata de una movilización popular nacional, en proceso de construcción y ampliación, de la juventud, de las personas mayores, de la gente asalariada, de los estudiantes de bachiller, de los universitarios y de las paradas y parados. Pero sobre todo, y es lo más importante, se ve como emerge una nueva generación, no sólo en las huelgas y manifestaciones de la escuela secundaria y universitaria sino también en los cortejos de los asalariados y asalariadas y de los sindicatos. Aunque en cada país el movimiento tiene sus propias características, ¿cómo no acordarse de esos miles de jóvenes que ocuparon las plazas de las grandes ciudades en el Estado español, de los “indignados, sin los que no se puede explicar el surgimiento de Podemos, o de esas luchas de la juventud de “Occupy Wall Street” en EE UU? Esta nueva ola de radicalización de la juventud ya se había expresado también con anterioridad en la manifestación  del pasado diciembre, durante la COP21 organizada por la ONU, exigiendo soluciones a los gobiernos ante los efectos y amenazas del cambio climático.

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English & Español

Sanders Statement on Puerto Rican Debt Crisis

APRIL 1, 2016

2016-04-03 01 Sanders sobre CrisisNEW YORK – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders issued the following statement today calling on Congress and the Obama administration to put the people of Puerto Rico over the interests of financial firms in any legislation to address the Puerto Rican debt crisis:

“There is a humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico that Congress and the administration must address as soon as possible. But let me be clear: Establishing an unelected oversight board that would be given the power to inflict even more economic pain on the 3.5 million American citizens in Puerto Rico would be a move in exactly the wrong direction. It must be defeated.

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My Endorsement

by MICHAEL MOORE

My Dear Friends,

2016-04-01 01 sanders-mooreWhen I was a child, they said there was no way this majority-Protestant country of ours would ever elect a Catholic as president. And then John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected president.

The next decade, they said America would not elect a president from the Deep South. The last person to do that on his own (not as a v-p) was Zachary Taylor in 1849. And then we elected President Jimmy Carter.

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Irlande – Il y a cent ans : l’insurrection de Pâques 1916 à Dublin – Au delà des mythes

par FOULON Dominique

2016-03-27 03 Ireland-100-years-1916-2016Depuis cent ans, l’insurrection républicaine irlandaise donne lieu à diverses interprétations plus ou moins malveillantes : du sacrifice sanglant au putsch raté en passant par une escarmouche inutile. Or, ce soulèvement armé en pleine guerre mondiale, ne prend sa signification que si on l’englobe dans une période révolutionnaire en Irlande qui s’étend sur plus de dix ans, de 1912 à 1923, et que si l’on tient compte de l’environnement international d’alors.

Bien peu de personnes à l’époque comprirent que les premiers coups de feu qui résonnèrent à Dublin le 24 avril 1916, sonnaient en fait le glas de l’empire britannique. La presse de l’époque ne note qu’une tentative de sédition ratée, qui plus est, fomentée par l’Allemagne. Or cet événement s’inscrit dans un contexte très ancien.

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Ireland: The 1916 Easter Rising: Comrades of Ours – James Connolly and the Left at the Time

by BELL Geoffrey

2016-03-27 01 connolly02Geoffrey Bell writes about the Easter Rising and the response of the British left. His latest book, Hesitant Comrades, the Irish Revolution and the British Labour Movement, has just been published by Pluto Press.

Just before he was executed for his part in Ireland’s Easter Rising of 1916 James Connolly asked his daughter, Nora, if she had seen the socialist press. Nora was to report him as saying, “They will never understand why I am here. They forget I am an Irishman.”

The Easter Rising was when a group of armed men and women led by the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army proclaimed the formation of the Irish Republic at Dublin’s General Post Office. They were out to end British rule in the whole of Ireland. They had no popular mandate and were easily crushed by the British. Their leaders were executed, while the rank and file and suspected sympathisers were jailed without trial.

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Après les attentats de Bruxelles : Face à l’impuissance sécuritaire, quelle réponse au terrorisme ?

par TANURO Daniel

2016-03-25 01 TANURO DanielLes autorités ont poussé des cris de victoire à l’arrestation de Salah Abdeslam. « On l’a eu ! »… Quelques jours plus tard, les criminels de Daesh frappaient en plein cœur de Bruxelles. Trente-deux morts, des centaines de blessés, des enfants mutilés. Un carnage horrible. Aurait-il pu être évité ? Peut-être. Le dysfonctionnement des services de sécurité dans le cas d’Ibrahim Barkhaoui est flagrant, et fait penser à l’affaire Dutroux.

Mais Dutroux était (presque) seul, tandis que Daech est une organisation criminelle qui ne manque pas d’aspirants au suicide. Y compris des aspirants issus de milieux non musulmans, moins « répérables » que Barkhaoui. L’attentat de Verviers a été déjoué, cela n’a pas empêché la suite. Si Ibrahim Barkhaoui avait été remis en prison à son retour de Turquie, que se serait-il passé ? Il y aurait recruté d’autres djihadistes – avant d’en sortir un jour. L’arbre ne doit donc pas cacher la forêt. C’est une illusion de croire qu’on peut venir à bout du fléau terroriste par une « meilleure police », de « meilleurs renseignements », une surveillance « ciblée », etc. [1]

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Fascism in Hungary

by Matyas Benyik

2016-03-18 01 Matyas BenyikThe fascist movement is usually on the rise in situation of political and economic crises with a specific mandate to train the dissatisfied, rebellious masses docile or even enthusiastic servers of capital. At the same time the dispossessed people and their capitalist owners must be convinced that no one can defend their interests better and more consistently than the fascists. Antagonistic interests are to be harmonised. The program of the fascist movement in this respect resembles to the one of social democracy, but its methods are brutal and primitive.

The basic method of fascism is to combine open terror with social demagogy, which promises material recovery and growth to the masses; the terror rides on the basest instincts in order to tread both the left and the democratic and liberal wings of the bourgeoisie, but if necessary, the proletarian and petty-bourgeois groups of the fascist movement itself as well, if the social fulfillment of promises were asked for accountability. The special task of the terror is a psychological function intertwined with the task of the politics, namely to divert the social anger of the masses from the real responsibles to the most vulnerable elements of the population whom are chosen as scapegoats.

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Contribution au débat sur la situation mondiale et l’internationalisme aujourd’hui

par Catherine Samary

QUELLE DEMARCHE TRANSITOIRE ET INTERNATIONALISTE AU 21E SIECLE ?

1- Impérialisme - concepts et orientations politiques

2016-03-18 03 Catherine SamaryLes débats sur l’impérialisme et les enjeux stratégiques combinent plusieurs exigences : d’une part, le besoin d’actualiser la dimension analytique des concepts : comprendre comment s’est transformé le monde capitaliste que nous combattons ; d’autre part, la nécessité de prises de position face à des conflits.

Le débat sur “l’impérialisme” est à la croisée de ces deux ensembles de questions. Mais il est essentiel de les distinguer en explicitant les critères de nos prises de positions – nous avons été et restons concerné.e.s par tous les rapports de domination internationaux. L’adoption d’un concept marxiste d’impérialisme spécifiquement capitaliste n’implique pas une “hiérarchie” quant à la “gravité” des divers types de domination. On pouvait à la fois considérer que l’URSS ou la Chine n’étaient pas “impérialistes” mais dénoncer les politiques d’oppression nationales “grand-russes” staliniennes ou chinoises.

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Le 9 mars et après : Une brèche s’ouvre contre le gouvernement Valls

par LE MOAL Patrick

2016-03-13 01 imageMercredi 9 mars se sont tenues dans plus de 170 villes des manifestations de masse unifiant la jeunesse et les salarié-e-s contre la politique du gouvernement Valls. Une situation politique et sociale nouvelle s’ouvre en France

Depuis un an, l’orientation autoritaire et néolibérale du gouvernement Valls et du président Hollande a pris une nouvelle ampleur. Les attaques contre les libertés, l’accentuation de la répression contre les luttes, le racisme institutionnalisé se conjuguent avec une accumulation de modifications législatives contre les droits des salarié-e-s qui amplifient la contre réforme néolibérale visant à détruire bon nombre d’acquis sociaux issus de la seconde moitié du XXe siècle. Se met en place un autre système, une autre place de la loi, de l’Etat, de la répression, une modification fondamentale du système de domination capitaliste en France.

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Madrid y Barcelona estudian con el comité que analizó la deuda griega hacer una “auditoría ciudadana”

por Pablo Garcia

2016-03-10 01 pablo-garcia- El encuentro del Plan B en Madrid sirvió para reforzar el contacto entre los ayuntamientos de Manuela Carmena y Ada Colau y el Comité para la Anulación de laDeuda del Tercer Mundo (CADTM)

- Ambos consistorios reconocen conversaciones. «El trabajo que hicimos en Grecia puede ser una fuente de inspiración incluso para el Gobierno actual de Tsipras», señala el belga Eric Toussaint

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