Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières (ESSF)’ Category

Afghanistan, the End of the Occupation and the LeftOnline event by ISO and the marx21 network (Germany) with Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale (UK)Wednesday 6 October, 6pm Ireland and Britain 7pm CET

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Afghanistan, the End of the Occupation and the Left
Online event by ISO and the marx21 network (Germany) with Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale (UK)
Wednesday 6 October, 6pm Ireland and Britain 7pm CET


Join Zoom meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81981905958, Meeting ID: 819 8190 5958 With translations ‒ Dari, German and English


The Taliban have defeated the United States of America imperialism and its allies in Afghanistan. The eyes of the world witnessed an event which is part of a shift and reordering of international power structures.


Anthropologist Nancy Lindisfarne and activist-author Jonathan Neale published a detailed article on the return of the Taliban a few days after the “fall of Kabul” on 15 August. It has received much attention, some of it controversial. We invited the two experts and comrades, who have known Afghanistan well for more than 40 years, to the debate.
What does the victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan mean? Why was Kabul conquered so quickly? What is happening to Afghan women now and why do so many Afghans support the Taliban? How should the left itself in view of this?


The Taliban have defeated the United States of America imperialism and its allies in Afghanistan. The eyes of the world witnessed an event which is part of a shift and reordering of international power structures.


Article “Return of the Taliban: The end of the occupation” in German:
https://www.marx21.de/rueckkehr-taliban-ende-besatzung-afghanistan/ https://intersoz.org/nach-der-afghanistan-besatzung-deshalb-sind-die-taliban-wieder-da/
Article in original: https://annebonnypirate.org/2021/08/17/afghanistan-the-end-of-the-occupation/ Website of Nancy and Jonathan: https://annebonnypirate.org/. Theses from the essay:

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2021 General Election Result in Germany – Preliminary Notes – Will Berlin go Red-Red-Green?

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  • These are the official numbers :
  • Preliminary official result
  • Distribution of votes
  • 24.1% CDU/CSU (Christian Democrats)
  • 25.7%. SPD (Social Democrats)
  • 10.3% AfD (Far-Right)
  • 11.5% FDP (Liberals)
  • 4.9% Die Linke (Left)
  • 14.8% Greens
  • 0.1% SSW (Danish Minority)
  • 8.6% Others


Distribution of seats
Total seats
735

  • 196 CDU/CSU
  • 206 SPD
  • 83 AfD
  • 92 FDP
  • 39 Left
  • 118 Greens
  • 1 SSW

A Red-Red-Green coalition is just short of a majority 206 +118+39 = 363

https://www.dw.com/en/top-stories/s-9097

Do any readers know the politics of the single SSW member?

“Do minorities have their own parties?
In Germany there are four state-recognized minorities: Sorbs, Danes, Frisians and the German Sinti and Roma. There is only a special party for the Danes and Frisians in Schleswig-Holstein, the South Schleswig Voters Union (SSW). It is standing for election to the Bundestag for the first time in 2021. The SSW has a good chance of gaining a seat, because it is exempted from the 5 per cent clause as a protected minority. This means that the calculated average number of votes needed for a single mandate is sufficient for the party to be represented.”


https://www.deutschland.de/en/topic/politics/the-german-federal-election-facts-about-the-bundestag-and-electoral-law

The far-right party, the AfD, are shunned by all other parties (including the Christian Democrats and the Liberals).

German voters made very positive decisions about housing in Berlin elections


Voters in the German capital, Berlin, alongside casting ballots for the makeup of the new German parliament and for their local legislature, also took part in a referendum on whether to force large real estate companies to sell off most of their housing units.

With Berliners casting more votes in a day than the city ever had, there was chaos and delays at several polling stations. About 34,000 helpers were working at more than 2,250 polling stations across the city.

Therefore, final results on the nonbinding referendum are not expected until Monday.

After counting 27% of the ballots, a clear margin was already emerging: 56.9% had voted in favor and only 39% against the proposal.

“This is just an extrapolation, we won’t get the final results until tomorrow! But even this number shows that Berliners have had enough of speculation and mad rents,” the movement to expropriate Berlin housing corporations said on Twitter.

The measure required a simple majority to pass as well as a “yes” vote from at least a quarter of all eligible voters, but, even if it does pass, that would only force the incoming Berlin city-state government to debate the proposal.

https://www.dw.com/en/germany-berlin-locals-vote-to-expropriate-real-estate-giants/a-59315431

Die Linke (Left) suffered a significant electoral reverse. It gained 4.9% of the National vote, losing 4.3% compared with 2017. By comparison the SPD and the Greens gained 5.2% and 5.8% respectively. The big losers were the Christian Democrats (down 8.8%). The AfD Nazis also lost ground (down 2.3%). The free-market Liberals, the FDP, held their ground (up 0.7%).

Here is a Die Linke pre-election statement :

Janine Wissler, Chairperson of DIE LINKE party, declares on the occasion of the Global Climate Strike on 24 September 2021:

A supporter of die Linke chairperson Janine Wissler

“On Sunday, we are facing a General Election. The coming federal government will be the last one that still has a chance to prevent the worst in climate protection and still achieve the 1.5 degree target. As the Left, we say: stop the politics of lost time. In the last three years, the many committed people at Fridays for Future have ensured that society, politics and business can no longer ignore the climate issue. Their fight for climate justice is making history.
DIE LINKE stands in solidarity with the climate movement. We call on our members to participate in the climate strike! We have requested the recognition of the climate emergency in the German Bundestag and are on the ground with MPs as parliamentary observers at climate protests.
With an “Immediate Programme for Climate Justice”, we want to set the course for a change in climate policy after the Bundestag elections. Our goal is climate neutrality by 2035. The Left Party is the guarantor of consistent and socially just climate protection:
We want to complete the coal phase-out by 2030 at the latest and introduce compulsory solar on roofs. In addition, we want to expand wind power, for 100% renewable energies by 2035 at the latest.
For us, a socially just mobility transition means: We want to expand public transport and make it free of charge. Making Germany a rail country: Railways must become a real, low-cost alternative to cars and air travel. No more fossil combustion engines from 2030. A moratorium on new motorway construction and finally enforce a speed limit.
We want to push ahead with the ecological refurbishment of buildings by investing billions and protect tenants from burdens by abolishing the modernisation levy.”

on behalf of Antje Dieterich

Press Office DIE LINKE Party Executive Committee
Press spokesperson Matthias Hinze – office 030 24009-543 matthias.hinze@die-linke.de
Deputy Press Spokesperson Götz Lange – Office 030 24009-674 goetz.lange@die-linke.de
Deputy Press Spokesperson Antje Dieterich – Office 030 24009-544 antje.dieterich@die-linke.de

German comrades will have to deal politically with this interesting electoral result. John Meehan September 27 2021

Covid-19 restrictions Necessary – Irish Government’s Hesitation Showed Priority it Places in Profits over Lives

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No Border News (NBN) No Borders News is publishing a series of interviews about Covid 19 in many different parts of the world.

Jessy Ní Cheallaigh answers NBN’s questions about the Coronavirus Epidemic in Ireland.

Please provide a brief biography for yourself and any links to resources or websites you would like included in your interview.

My name is Jessy Ní Cheallaigh. I’m a 22 year old woman living in Ireland. I’m a socialist activist and a final year student studying Communications through the language of Irish in NUIG, Galway City. I’m a member of RISE (Radical, Internationalist, Socialist, Environmentalist) a democratic socialist political group. https://www.letusrise.ie/

Above from left: Dave Murphy; Jessy Ní Cheallaigh, Paul Murphy TD, Kay Keane and Nicole McCarthy

1. Briefly describe the state of the pandemic in your country or city. How many people are infected? How many have died? What do experts expect in the coming weeks in terms of how fast the contagion will spread.

At the current date (14/04/2020) the total number of confirmed cases in the Republic of Ireland is 10,647. Death toll has reached 365 as 31 more deaths were confirmed in the last 24 hours. In Northern Ireland, 76 new cases have been registered and 6 more people have died from the coronavirus. The tally in the North now stands at 118 deaths and 1,882 confirmed cases. 12,529 confirmed cases on the island with a death toll of 483. Overall Ireland has made a decent effort to flatten the curve as the spread is not as rapid as it is in other countries. The government announced that there has been a “very high level of compliance” with restrictions on non-essential travel over the bank holiday weekend. However there is still concern amongst experts over the “clusters” of the virus present in nursing homes around the country with very little healthy/qualified staff to help prevent spread. As of Saturday 11 April, there have been 6.5 deaths per 100,000 people in Ireland. These figures however are definitely not 100% accurate as there have been problems with testing in the lack of testing kits available/bought as well as the huge backlog in test results that have yet to be processed. When testing was first opened up it was under the understanding that anyone who suspected they had the virus could be tested, when large numbers of test were coming back negative they changed it so that the only people who were referred for testing were those who had two or more of the most common symptoms of the virus or those who were high at risk (immuno-compromised/underlying conditions etc.) This resulted in over 40,000 people being taken off the waiting list who then had to reapply. Lots of reports state that some of these people still haven’t received results and that was just under a month ago.

2. What practical measures has your national government taken to respond to the crisis? Have they acted responsibly or were they unprepared? Briefly describe measures your government is taking now to contain the virus and treat people infected with Covid-19. Is there a state of emergency, are schools closed, etc.?

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Faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, our lives are more worth than their profits – Fourth International European Declaration

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The workers’ movement, and all progressive forces, have a duty to resist the Covid-19 Assault, and put forward practical proposals which will work at local, national, and international levels. The full text of a Fourth International Declaration is here : http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article6517 Key extracts are below.

International Viewpoint

Emergency measures

The organizations and activists of the Fourth International in Europe, together with their respective organizations, are in favour of a programme of emergency measures:

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the injection of sufficient means for the mass availability of screening kits, the multiplication of resuscitation beds and respirators. Generalization to the entire population of suitable protective masks and biologic tests is the condition for confinement lifting. Immediate support for democratically controlled production of these means and for non-commercial research for medicines and vaccines against Covid-19.

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“Never Waste A Good Crisis” – Big Economic Recession Coming Our Way – Irish Ruling Class Cuts “Meals on Wheels” – EU Leaders Pour Petrol ⛽️ on Flames 🔥

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An Irish Warning : Sam Nolan reports his HSE “meals on wheels” service has been suspended. Friends and Comrades are rallying, Sam will be supported. Des Derwin reacts, very perceptively :

“I’m speechless. Just as an expanded service is needed. Have y’all noticed how the (Fine Gael!) state is building up its repressive apparatus for the crisis. Templemore early graduation trainees given crash course in public order (read riot control). New standing public order unit. (WTF?!) Scores of hired in Garda cars to ‘help the vulnerable’. Maybe the HSE is transferring the meals on wheels service to An Garda Siochana.”

Former SYRIZA Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis Analyses the European Union Response :

Those of us who know how the Eurogroup works were not holding much hope yesterday. Nevertheless, Europe’s finance ministers managed to do even less than what we feared: They failed to use the fiscal compact’s proviso for loosening up fiscal policy across the euro area. They continued with the tragic error of treating a crisis of insolvency as a crisis of liquidity. And they failed to recognise that some countries, in particular those savaged by the never-ending euro crisis, need a great deal more support than others.
In short, the Eurogroup’s bazooka is no more than a pathetic waterpistol. It is time that Europeans pushed for something better than this. It is time that we organise at a transnational, paneuropean level to replace this instrument of austerity-driven recession, the Eurogroup, with an institution that can work for a majority of Europeans everywhere.

APPENDIX: The Eurogroup’s telling reference to “automatic stabilisers”
The Eurogroup communique referred to the “full use of automatic stabilisers”. What did they mean?
Here is an example of an ‘automatic stabiliser’: When people lose their job, they go on unemployment benefit. This means a transfer of money from the better off to the worse off. As the worse off, who are now unemployed, save nothing and, therefore, more of the money of the better off enters the markets. That’s what economists refer to as an ‘automatic stabiliser’ (‘automatic’ because no government decision was needed to activate it – the loss of jobs does it automatically | and ‘stabiliser’ because the higher portion of spending relative to savings boosts GDP ).
Can you see dear reader what the Eurogroup are really saying when confessing to relying to the ‘automatic stabilisers’ in the absence of concerted fiscal expansion? They are saying: Don’t worry folks. While it is true we, the finance ministers, are doing almost nothing to avert the disaster, when the disaster comes your job losses and poverty will trigger some automatic mechanism that will break the economy’s fall. A little like consoling the victims of the plague with their thought that their death will, through shrinking the labour supply, boost future wages…

Some Proposals for Resistance :

DiEM25’s answer to: What should they have done?
At the very least, the Eurogroup should have recommended to the European Council that the European Investment Bank is given the green light to issue EIB bonds worth €600 billion with the stipulation that, as part of its ongoing and recently enhanced quantitative easing program, the European Central Bank will support the value of these bonds in the bond markets. That €600 billion should be spent directly to support national health services and also be invested in sectors of the economy badly hit by the lockdown – while also nudging our economy toward greener forms of transport, energy generation etc. Additionally, the fiscal compact should be immediately side-lined and governments should effect a tax haircut for small and medium sized firms, households etc.
The above would probably be enough not to avert but to contain the recession to something like between -1% and -2% of GDP. To avert it completely, the Eurogroup should have decided to mimic Hong Kong and have the European Central Bank mint an emergency fund from which every European household is given between €1000 and €2000.

Coronavirus has sparked a perfect storm of nationalism and financial speculation – Yanis Varoufakis, Former SYRIZA Finance Minister in Greece – THE GUARDIAN

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Here is a fresh warning about the toxic combination of two different phenomenons – the CoVid-19 Health Crisis and a Financial Money Markets Storm, similar to the 2008 Crash.

The author is Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek Finance Minister sacked from a SYRIZA Government before it surrendered to the Austerians.

See also https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/03/06/coronavirus-is-not-responsible-for-the-fall-of-stock-prices-international-viewpoint-online-socialist-magazine/.

When the air is replete with inflammable materials, any given spark can cause a financial explosion, at any time.

Éric Toussaint of CADTM examines a worldwide stock market collapse.

Eric Toussaint is a historian and political scientist who completed his Ph.D. at the universities of Paris VIII and Liège, is the international spokesperson of the CADTM (Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt) , and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France. 
He is the author of Debt System (2019), Bankocracy (2015); Glance in the Rear View Mirror. Neoliberal Ideology From its Origins to the Present, Haymarket books, Chicago; “Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank, Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers”, Monthly Review Press, New York, 2010. He has published extensively in this field. He is a member of the Fourth International leadership.

Yanis Varoufakis, Former SYRIZA Finance Minister in Greece

Nationalism and speculation have seldom had a better opportunity to combine forces as the one riding today on the coattails of Covid-19, known as the coronavirus. When Covid-19 leapfrogged from China to Italy, even ardent Europeanists normally appreciative of open borders joined the deafening calls to end freedom of movement across Europe’s national borders – a longstanding demand of nationalists. Meanwhile, the money men speculating on government debt are performing a classic flight from Italian to German government bonds, seeking the financial safety that only the continent’s hegemon can offer during any crisis. As if in a bid to remind us of the great contradiction of our times, Covid-19 is illuminating gloriously the freedom of money to transcend a borderless financial universe while humans remain as fenced in as ever.

Coronavirus has sparked a perfect storm of nationalism and financial speculation – THE GUARDIAN

https://www.yanisvaroufakis.eu/2020/03/09/coronavirus-has-sparked-a-perfect-storm-of-nationalism-and-financial-speculation-the-guardian/
— Read on www.yanisvaroufakis.eu/2020/03/09/coronavirus-has-sparked-a-perfect-storm-of-nationalism-and-financial-speculation-the-guardian/

Coronavirus in Ireland: challenging misinformation and offering solutions – Independent Left

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Donald Trump, for example, has twice explained to the world that the threat of coronavirus will ‘go away’ in April with warmer weather. He’s said that life will return to normal after the spike and that the media have been exaggerating how dangerous the virus is.

And in their own way, the caretaker Irish government have been failing us. Their theme is ‘don’t panic’. Well, yes, panic wouldn’t help the situation. But is it panicking to want to know where the virus has been present and what measures are being taken to prevent it spreading? As the case of the student from Scoil Chaitríona shows, Fine Gael have a strategy of keeping detailed information out of the public domain as much as possible and assuring us that no special measures are needed.

This approach is creating panic rather than ending it. The less we know, the more we speculate and rumours (not without foundation in respect to the Mater hospital, but made up in other instances) of other possible cases fly around social media. Crucially, too, lives will be lost if the message goes out – as it did this morning on RTÉ’s panel discussion – that public concern about the coronavirus was massively exaggerated and we should carry on as normal. We shouldn’t even cancel travel plans to centres of infection like northern Italy.
— Read on independentleft.ie/coronavirus-in-ireland/

This is a very useful article.

See also :

https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/02/27/coronavirus-2019-ncov-or-covid-19-in-france-medical-information-thoughts-and-practical-advice-international-viewpoint-online-socialist-magazine/

In Italy, the Racist Far-Right is using the CoronaVirus Crisis :

David Broder, the European Editor of Jacobin and a historian of French and Italian Communism, Explains :

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