Tag Archives: austerity

Irish voters reject the Right: a new opportunity for the Left?

Sinn Féin, a nationalist party that sits with the left/far-left group in the European parliament and from the 1970s to ’90s was attached to an armed insurgency in Northern Ireland, won the most first-preference votes in this month’s general election in the Republic of Ireland. It now has about the same number of parliamentary seats as each of the state’s traditional centrist “big parties”, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. This is an extraordinary development by any measure. However, with the party’s vote and seat share sitting just below one quarter, and with “the Left” in total, gener ..

Sinn Féin and the land issue: notes on the 2020 Irish general election

A century ago a change began in Ireland but some radical change can take centuries. An Irish Countess (married to an undocumented polish immigrant) was elected Minister for Labour for Sinn Féin. This was a first as women had yet to gain the right to vote. The US-based Irish Republican Brotherhood had pushed through an unpopular rebellion even after leaks to the Empire’s Intelligence Services. The rebellion failed but the ensuing military punitive overreaction – executing all but two military leaders – ensured further resistance. De Valera, a Spanish-American catholic, and that same indomitable Countess Con ..

Austerity Economics Russian Style: “The state never asked you to be born”

Translated by Joseph Livesey For two decades steadily rising living standards and high rates of economic growth have served as the standard explanations for Vladimir Putin’s overwhelming support among Russian voters while a key theme of Russian state propaganda has been the championing of Putin-style “stability” (as opposed to the chaos and poverty of the 1990s) and the unfettered consumption that has been made possible in Russia today. The effectiveness of such propaganda never really depended on the extent to which its depictions of reality were true, as much as it did on confidence in its promise for the ..

Introducing the Five Senses of Austerity

This podcast was originally published at podcasts.ceu.edu as part of the Sound Relations Project based at Central European University, Budapest, and is done in collaboration with the Blinken Open Society Archives. In recent years, most of us have become used to hearing about austerity. Following the 2007 financial crisis, it was said that austerity was the only viable cure. Today, more than 10 years later, the ghost of austerity still haunts Europe and much of the Western World. But this is not the first time that austerity was imposed on people in order to solve a financial crisis.  In Five Senses of Austerity, ..

Belarusian activists: Freedom or Prison – It’s All the Same

How ‘Freedom Day’ went in Belarus, and what to expect next: comments from Belarusian activists On 25 May 2017, demonstrations marking Freedom Day took place in cities across Belarus (Freedom Day is the anniversary of the announcement of the self-proclaimed Belarusian People’s Republic on 25 March 1918; it is celebrated mainly by Belarusian nationalists). The government’s reaction to the demonstrations was quite brutal: in Minsk the unauthorized rally, attended by several thousand people, was dispersed by the police and about seven hundred participants were detained. Similar rallies were held in Gomel, Bre ..

The pain goes on: Greece and the European Union (EU)

As the UK’s referendum on the European Union approaches, Greek workers are facing more pain from Greece’s European creditors The Eurozone last week pushed Greece to accept more austerity in exchange for a loan of 7.5 billion euros to pay off the country’s debt. This comes less than a year after Greece was promised debt relief following a bailout worth 86 billion euros last summer. No debt relief deal is in sight, however. Even the IMF, normally a keen proponent of balanced budgets, argued austerity was only making matters worse in Greece. But the Eurozone, led by Germany and the Netherlands, rejected an ..

Post-Capitulation Greece: Interview with Stathis Kouvelakis

While at the Marx Is Muss 2016 conference earlier this month, Anja Ilic and Pavle Ilic (Marx21) interviewed Stathis Kouvelakis, a member of a party called Popular Unity, which split from Syriza last summer after the referendum. Kouvelakis served at Syriza’s central committee from 2012 to August 2015 and is also a professor of political theory at King’s College in London. This conversation focuses on the political and social situation in Greece today. I would like to start by asking you to summarise the political and social development of the Greek society after the events of August 2015, after the capitulat ..

An Open letter to Yanis Varoufakis

In the following open letter, George Souvlis and Samuele Mazzolini respond to the recent DiEM launch in Rome. Dear Yanis, We decided to write you this letter after following closely the launch of DiEM 25 in Rome on 23 March. The missive aims to discuss a series of issues regarding your initiative that we found unconvincing by offering a well-intentioned criticism of it. We clarify at this point that our aim is neither to dismiss a priori the project nor to appear like smarty pants that know better than anyone else how things should be done, something not totally foreign within the universe of the Left. Rather, wi ..

Did it Ever Happen? Social Movements and the Politics of Spontaneous Consensus in Post-Socialist Romania

Note from the LeftEast editors: This article has first appeared in Romanian on the website Criticatac. It was translated into English by Maria Pozsar and extensively reworked by the author.                    1. The Oblivion Today, only two months after they took place, the protests mentioned in this text are already history. In a double sense: not only that they are over, but their presence within the public sphere seems as distant as possible. Like a bizarre non-event, the street demonstrations have largely disappeared from public focus and the changes brought by them don’t differ that much fro ..

Greece: A call for support of the struggle of VIOME workers

Note from the LeftEast editors: we publish this call, sent around by the general assembly of the workers at VIOME, in solidarity with their plight and struggle.  — Dear friends: As a result of the legal battle waged against the VIOME workers collective, the state-appointed trustee is now organising a series of auctions with the aim of liquidating the plot of land on which the VIOME factory is located. A possible sale of the land would create the legal ground for evicting the workers from the factory. Although the workers and the solidarity assembly are decided to stand their ground and defend the fac ..