Articles by Joachim Becker

Internationalised Power Struggle in Venezuela

On January 10th, Nicolás Maduro commenced his third term as Venezuelan President. At that time, the oppositional president of the parliament, Juan Guaidó called on the military forces to stage a coup d’etat.  A few days later, he declared himself to be the president. Within less than half an hour, he was recognised by the USA. This fits well into the classical patterns of right wing coup d’etats in Latin America. With this step, the power struggle has reached a new phase of escalation. Since 2015, a political stalemate and a form of dual power has reigned in the South American country. In the parliamentary ..

After Erdoğan’s Narrow Victory

Update: Since the time of writing of this article, over three weeks ago, the Turkish lirahas lost over 25% of its value against the US dollar and inflation is rapidly catching up on this figure. A significant factor in this devaluation has been the diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the United States over the former’s practice of hostage diplomacy (the arrest of the American evangelical missionary Andrew Brunson) and the latter’s threat to levy a mu lti-billion-dollar fine on the Turkish-state-owned Halkbank over violations of US-imposed sanctions on Iran. But Turkey’s underlying economic problems run muc ..

Turkey: Voting under the State of Emergency

In Turkey, the government of the nationalist-religious Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi—AKP) called early presidential and parliamentary elections for the 24 June. It was aware that its electoral base is gradually eroding, particularly in the big metropolitan areas like Istanbul. Therefore, it did everything in order to enhance the chances of being declared the winner of the forthcoming elections. By anticipating the elections, both president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and AKP hoped to increase their chances. However, not everything is going according to their plans. The ruling party had ob ..

Ahead of a Hot Italian Summer

Disenchantment with the euro had been growing in Italy for many years. After the last elections, this disenchantment proved to be the basis for the formation of a coalition between the far-right wing Lega and the diffuse Movimento Cinque Stelle (Five Stars Movement). While the two parties differed on many economic and social issues, they agreed on that the Eurozone is dysfunctional for Italy. And they nominated a politically experienced economist and a well-known critic of the euro zone, Paolo Savona, as a Minister of Finance. The prospect of a euro-critical government in Italy produced nervousness among other eu ..

Nationalism at a Crossroads: the Turkish Intervention in Syria

Late last month, Turkish military forces invaded Afrin, an autonomous Kurdish area in Syria. This is a further step of escalating the involvement of the Turkish AKP government in the Syrian war and in its conflict with the Kurds. In the wake of the so-called Arab spring, the nationalist-religious AKP government decided, after some hesitation, to bank on regime change in Syria and to support Islamist forces in their neighbouring country. This engagement did not bring the desired results. On the contrary, the Assad regime proved to be relatively resilient and the Kurds managed to establish autonomous regions in Syr ..

The Austrian Anti-Social Coalition

The new government of the ÖVP (Austrian People’s Party) and FPÖ (Freedom Party of Austria) in Austria opens the way towards radicalised neo-liberal economic and social policies. As in some other EU countries, such as Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark and Finland, a traditional liberal-conservative party has formed a coalition with or at least achieved the tolerance of a hard right-wing force with an aggressive anti-immigrant agenda in order to pursue or deepen its neo-liberal policies. The new Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, had ended the coalition with the Social Democrats in order to form a right-wing coalition after ..

Agrokor – oligarchic crisis in Croatia

Note from the LeftEast editors: this article was originally published in Slovak in the newspaper Pravda. We republish the piece in English with the kind permission of the author. The blue sea and summer holidays – that is what people usually associate with Croatia. However, there is a vast inland too. And tourism is not the only pillar of the economy though it is crucial as a foreign exchange earner. Since independence, the economy has, however, become more reliant on the tourist sector. Industry suffered heavily from the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the war and transformation. It has never again reached its 1 ..