Enrico Berlinguer, thirty years on. This year, unlike the previous two decades of his death, attempts to erase his memory have not prevailed. Especially in 1994, the PDS [the social democratic successor party to the Italian Communist Party, PCI, now subsumed, together with ex-Christian Democrats into PM Mattteo- Renzi's Democrat Party] headed by Achille Occhetto saw Berlinguer as a cumbersome relic to be scrapped.
It is no coincidence that two of the biggest supporters of the Bolognina [the dissolution of the PCI in 1989-91], Piero Fassino and Claudio Mancina, at different times (2003 and 2014) reiterated and reaffirmed that in their opinion Bettino Craxi [Italian Socialist Party leader and late embezzler who died in exile] had the right line, and Berlinguer was wrong.
Today attacks on Beriinguer, airbrushing him from history or filocraxiana revisionism, does has not prevailed but there remains a risk that in the image of Berlinguer – two-dimensional, sterilized, neutralized, purified of all those elements that they can remember – one simple truth is forgotten: Berlinguer was a communist, and remained so until the end.
In many interviews, speeches, TV appearances he always wished to reaffirm that his aim was for a socialist society, not to reform capitalism while leaving intact the social relations of production.
This message is not getting through today, because the [neo-liberal ] pensee unique in its various forms has scorched the earth of the very possibility of a radically different society based on cooperation and the collective and participatory management of resources.
I still stubbornly repeat that the “do-gooder” and “moral” Berlinguer is not the real Berlinguer.
Berlinguer was a communist and a revolutionary as one can and should be in contemporary society, following the lessons of Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks and his redefinition of the concept of revolution.
For all this and much much more the thoughts and example give by Enrico Berlinguer is useful to those who want to change the world and not just interpret it.
Guido Liguori is author of the book Berlinguer Rivoluzionario
French communist party
Faced with the project of dismembering Alstom to benefit of America’s General Electric, the government is trying to bring in Germany’s Siemens. This race should not end with a choice between the plague and cholera. In the interests of France and the group’s employees, we must not let a strategic flagship industry be lost to the country.
The French government must not reduce the industrial and strategic issues around Alstom to an arbitration between two take over bids. The idea of an Airbus style European energy giant floated over these last few hours to counter General Electric will result in Siemens Energy that is disconnected from the transportation unit, that [as a result] will not survive. This is a fool’s bargain.
There is an alternative : the creation of an Energy and Transport pole, the only guarantee of industrial independence for France. The issue of nationalizing Alstom is raised. It is possible: large clients such as EDF , SNCF , RATP , AREVA, could subscribe to the capital as part of new strategic cooperation agreements that are industrially, financially and employment-friendly, as well as being socially useful.
The European parliament gave the OK to changes to the Posted Workers Directive on April 16 which will further encourage social dumping by European firms using low-cost workers. A posted worker is a person who is sent by his or her employer to work in another EU member state. The Commission estimates the number of posted workers in the EU at over 1 million.
Speaking ahead of the European Parliament vote on new rules dealing with the posting of workers, German GUE/NGL MEP Thomas Händel said that “EU legislators should be acting to fight against social dumping and to ensure workers get equal pay for equal work”, and that while the current rules are abused, this latest measure was “a half-hearted effort that workers will pay for”.
“Posted workers encounter many problems: lack of information, lack of cross border cooperation, fraudulent companies that do not pay wages and social security contributions, minimal health and safety requirements, letter-box companies that get round the law. Unfortunately, this directive fails in its objective to better protect them against abuse and circumvention. In fact it makes things worse by limiting the list of control measures,” he said.
GUE MEPs, which group radical left and green parties, failed in their bid to get key amendments through, for example one that would see joint and several liability – the contractor, not just the subcontractor for pay, and tax and social security – extended to all sectors and not only the construction sector as it does now.
MEP Patrick Le Hyaric from the French Communist Party, a member of the GUE group, said the Posted Workers directive “has for too long been used by big multinationals to get around labour law and carry out social dumping at the expense of social security and pension rights We need to tackle this problem at its root – European economic and social policy cannot be based on social dumping!” he said.
“Companies will have an easier time exploiting workers from other countries,” said Dutch MEP Dennis De Jong who told the house that the notion of “complete freedom to provide services prevailed” over workers’ rights in these negotiations. “The basic principle should be equal pay for equal working conditions.”
Another member of the GUE group, the radical left former French Presidential candidate Jean -Luc Mélenchon said:
“This text is a gimmick . The Liberals and the Socialists pretend to do something. In reality, they organize the continuation of unfair competition and exploitation of posted workers. To protect the rights of workers, we must break with the 1996 directive and disobey Europe. ‘
The ETUC explained in more detail how the changes that were supposed to improve the directive have actually made it worse:
“One example of the vote weakening enforcement is in the area of sub-contracting. Eight member states have national laws making all companies in the sub-contracting chain potentially liable for breaches of contract such as non-payment of wages. The Enforcement Directive agreed by the Parliament allows such laws only as long as they are ‘proportionate’ – which gives the European Commission a green light to screen such legislation in the light of allegedly more important internal market objectives.
French Communist Party
The second round of municipal elections undeniably demonstrate the continued mobilisation of the Right, which have won significant victories. Government policy has demobilised Left voters plunged them in disappointment and dismay. The Socialist Party lost many cities, among them historically left bastions. The Front National, largely overrepresented in the political and media debate, has won some cities, too, mostly on the right.
In this context – and after electing 94 mayors of cities with more than 3,500 people in the first round – the French Communist Party was not spared the gains of the [UMP] Right, who have gained from the transfer of votes from the Front National. The French Communist Party has recorded losses in several departments. This is very bad news for people who find themselves deprived of local protection against austerity. However, the French Communist Party has maintained the third largest national network of mayors, and retains major cities, while we won Aubervilliers, Montreuil and Thiers.
The immediate balance to make of these municipal election results is the absolute urgency of policy change, beginning with the pact of ” irresponsibility” dictated by [employers association] MEDEF and the European Commission. This pact is totally alien to the values of the left and the labour movement, it is the expression of the political drift of government that has led to the results in these municipal elections. Without political change, a cabinet reshuffle will be totally irrelevant for the people and the country.
Already, the Communists and the Left Front [of which the communists are a key force] have organised a response to the Right in order to achieve a shift to the left. We meet on April 12 in the streets, for a political surge open to all progressive forces and all those who have their heart on the Left. The French Communist Party and the Left Front will dedicate all their energy and forces in the European election campaign to come, particularly in the fight against the transatlantic free market, to stop the advance of the Right and to offer a real Left alternative.
French Communist Party website (30.3.2014)
The Party of the European Left (EL) shows its solidarity with the 8 trade unionists, whom the Attorney General Office of the Government of Spain demands for 64 years of prison, 8 years each, for taking in part in an informative picket at the door of the factory of Airbus, during the dawn of the General Strike on 29th September 2010. On that day, the majority of the country followed the General Strike against the labour reform of the socialist party government (PSOE) that reduced the compensation of dismissal and weakened collective bargaining.
Portuguese Communists pay tribute
The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) expresses its deep regret at the death of Nelson Mandela and transmits to the South African people and the progressive and revolutionary forces of South Africa its deepest condolences and solidarity of the Portuguese communists for the painful loss of the historic leader of the fight of the south African people against apartheid and for the achievement of freedom, democracy and social progress.
Nelson Mandela very early on identified himself with the aspirations of freedom and justice of his people, devoting his life to the struggle against exploitative and oppressive apartheid regime in South Africa….Following the Sharpeville massacre, perpetrated by the South African police , and the banning of the ANC in 1960, Nelson Mandela led the ANC’s armed struggle against apartheid . In 1962, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, been sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1985, he was denied parole because he refused to renounce the armed struggle of the people against apartheid.
After 28 years in prison in 1990, after the heroic struggle of the South African people and a campaign of solidarity demanding his release by progressive forces in the developed world, Nelson Mandela was released, taking his place in the leadership of the process that would lead to the end of the heinous apartheid regime. In 1991, he was elected President of the ANC, replacing Oliver Tambo, and in May 1994 was elected President of the Republic of South Africa, holding this position until 1999.
Nelson Mandela remained until 2008 included in the list of persons considered terrorists by the United States Department of State.
The death of Nelson Mandela is a great sadness for all those across the world who consider his life a shining example of courage, dignity and total dedication to the cause of freedom, justice and social progress.
The PCP recalls that the Portuguese Revolution – the Revolution of April – in its two years of existence ended the Portuguese fascist and colonialist regime and, in solidarity with the national liberation struggle of the African people, contributed to the isolation of apartheid and colonialism in southern Africa and supported, with the countries of the Front Line [Seretse Khama's Botswana, Kenneth Kaunda's Zambia and Julius Nyerere's Tanzania], the south African people’s struggle for freedom.
The Portuguese Communist Party reaffirms its solidarity the African National Congress (ANC), the Communist Party of South Africa (SACP) and Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) – the forces of the Tripartite Alliance – in the confidence that through their drive and determination they will build the road towards the realisation of a programme of profound transformations that provide solutions to the complex problems faced by South Africa, responding to the aspirations of its people.
PCP website (December 5, 2013)
Front de Gauche, France
Against tax and social injustice, Front de Gauche calls for a mass demonstration on Sunday 1 December in Paris for a fiscal revolution, taxation of capital and cancellation of the VAT hike.
The march will head to ‘portique’ of Bercy*, the symbol of the Ayrault government’s policy that is more favourable to the [employers lobby] MEDEF and the financial sector than to employees and the great mass of the population.
This event will take place at the time of the [parliamentary] vote on the austerity budget which we oppose. This policy continues to drive the country into economic stagnation, bringing more unemployment and layoffs. Following on from [former right-wing President Nicolas] Sarkozy, the policy aggravates tax injustice by raising taxes for the vast majority of the population while increasing gifts to employers and continuing the destruction of public services and social protection.
This is unacceptable and violates the republican principle of fair tax. The VAT increase scheduled for January 1 is the most outrageous example as it is intended to mitigate a portion of 20 euros granted to employers with no strings attached. That is why we demand its immediate cancellation.
Popular anger against the consequences of austerity is just and legitimate. The right-wing, MEDEF and the extreme right are now trying to mislead the people. Their goals have nothing to do with the interests of the people, and they must not be rebuffed.
This is why the Left Front wants the demonstration to be as open as possible. We therefore call on all those, organisations and individuals who refuse these socially and environmentally disastrous policies to take action locally and make the march their own. We ‘re available to prepare together.
It is time for those who wanted to defeat Nicolas Sarkozy, and furious to see his policies continue, to mobilise with the widest possible unity.
See more at : http://www.pourlarevolutionfiscale.fr (November 2013)
* reference to the equipment deployed on highways that would be used to implement the controversial tax on heavy vehicles, AKA ‘eco-tax’, and the ministry of finance located in the Bercy district of Paris
Statement by Stavros Evagorou, Deputy Parliamentary Spokesperson of AKEL – Left (Communists)
We will not tire of repeating that the only way in which the one-way Memorandum path the government is blindly leading us to is a dead-end and is destroying the perspective of the Cyprus economy. Besides, an in-depth analysis of financial data isn’t required for anyone to arrive at this conclusion. You only have to take a look at the latest data and figures from the study conducted by the University of Cyprus on the economy’s outlook for 2014. The doubling of the recession in relation to the Memorandum that is forecasted demonstrates that the recovery of the Cyprus economy and the creation of conditions for growth are unfortunately an impossible dream according to today’s given situation.
At the same time, the economy is faced with a deeply damaged banking sector. The closure of one of the systemic banks, the imposition of the haircut on the deposits, but also the growing disagreement between the Government and the Governor of the Central Bank have a direct affect on the liquidity which is channelled in the market, resulting in thousands of households and small businesses on the verge of collapse.
Unfortunately, the first months of the implementation of the Memorandum were the strongest pretext for the Government and ruling powers to illustrate the real character of the policies they wish to implement. The budget submitted for 2014 has been cut by €626 million, as well as the funds for development by 20%. The cuts in social policy have reached €127 million, indeed at the same time when the Government showed a frantic obsession to increase its revenues through devastating increases in the immovable property tax and vehicle taxes. Unfortunately it did not show the same passion for funds to be allocated for the vulnerable strata of the population, since it decided to cut €10 million from the social pension, the introduction of an admission fee for hospitals, general cuts in health spending, but also the elimination of the heating allowance.
It is clear that the above phenomena are not coincidental but are part of the vicious cycle we have entered. The austerity policies generate recession in the economy, which in turn force the need for additional cuts, thus exacerbating the recession. As AKEL, we believe that this insanity cannot continue any longer. It is our duty to search for alternative policies and an exit from the Memorandum path. These options do exist, as long as the Government and political parties are ready to discuss them.
Jerónimo de Sousa, Communist Party of Portugal
Today, hundreds of thousands of workers powerfully affirmed their dignity, courage and determination in defending their rights.
It was an incisive statement of resistance against the illegitimate attempt to curtail fundamental freedoms that provoked by the government, with workers crossing the April 25 bridge and exercising their democratic rights, delivering an important new defeat the government.
It was a great show of unity and strength and combativeness for [the spirit of the Carnation Revolution] April [of 1974], the Constitution and sovereignty.
In Lisbon, Oporto and the regions an immense stream of protest and indignation filled the streets demanding the resignation of the state government, the end of the [Troika's] Aggression Pact and right wing policies, in order to build policies serving workers, the people and the country.
The European Left Party (EL) is horrified and deeply concerned by the tragic deaths of at least 300 refugees in the Mediterranean close to the island of Lampedusa. This deaths are not the result of a natural catastrophe but the direct result of a policy that treats refugees as a security risks and forgets that they are vulnerable human beings in need of help. The EU has waged a kind of war against people seeking shelter and a better life and build up a fortress controlled by FRONTEX and soon monitored by EUROSUR. As a consequence of this securitarian logic at least 20.000 refugees died while trying to cross the Mediterranean. The EL condemns the EU’s migration policies and fights for a Europe that gives shelter to those in need and for a Europe without FRONTEX and EUROSUR.
Paolo Ferrero, Communist Refoundation party, Italy
Saturday, July 20…I will be in Genoa, Piazza Alimonda, 12 years after the massacre of the G8 in Genoa in 2001 and the murder of Carlo Giuliani, to remember him and all the victims of torture. We continue to seek truth and justice, in spite of everything, and do not forget the greatest violation of human rights in our country since the [Second World] war. While the perpetrators of the violence – at all levels – are rewarded and promoted, starting with De Gennaro, the new president of Finmeccanica, who in 2001 was the chief of the police who massacred the demonstrators.
Front de Gauche (Left Front), France
On 26 June 2013 the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers of Agriculture of the EU 27 agreed a compromise on the Common Agricultural Policy that will be applied in the EU from 1 January 2014.
Unfortunately, the CAP reform once again aims to place European agriculture in a completely liberalized international trade system. Any idea of organizing and regulating agricultural markets has been completely abandoned and negotiations have focused only on how to distribute and direct aid to European farmers. In addition, the second pillar of the CAP, which provides funding for environmental activities and economic development in rural areas, continues to represent only 1/9th of the total amount received by France.
The result is a system that promotes the expansion of larger farmers for the next seven years.
It is time to abandon the neo-liberal refrain that seeks greater “competitiveness” of agriculture. The Left Front wants the CAP budget to be protected, but a distribution of aid that is completely redesigned in order to achieve greater justice, ensure food sovereignty and serve the purpose of ecological transition of agriculture.
Left Front website 28 June 2013
Our urgent common priorities for a democratic, social, ecological and feminist Europe
Roll Back Austerity, Claim Real Democracy
Europe stands on the edge of a precipice, looking into the abyss. Austerity policies drive the peoples of Europe into poverty, undercut democracy and dismantle social policies. Rising inequalities endanger social cohesion. Ecological destruction is worsening while acute humanitarian crises devastate the most affected countries. Women and young people are hardest hit.
The European oligarchy employs ever more authoritarian methods to prop up a failed neoliberal system—all this despite widespread protest and resistance. Democracy and peace are under threat. Discrimination, based on religion, racism, homophobia or sexism and nationalism are on the rise and the crisis is deepening daily. The very existence of the European Union is now at risk while current policies weaken solidarity among European peoples.
Our most urgent priority is to build Europe on the basis of equality, solidarity, and authentic democracy. EU institutions and European governments now serve the interests of financial markets, with no respect for popular sovereignty. They must be brought under democratic control, just as the public interest must prevail and ecological and social needs be met. We base our demands for a democratic, social, ecological and feminist Europe on these principles, in solidarity with the peoples of the world.
Public debt stems from economic and political choices still on the agenda of EU institutions and European governments. Decades of regressive tax policies have consciously and outrageously enriched a small minority whereas public revenues have declined and public entities using public money have bailed out failed banks. Austerity policies have drained household and small business resources and made the recession worse. Speculation on government bonds is commonplace for private banks while public finance has been tainted by corruption and collusion between politicians and private economic interests.
Moreover, in many countries private, as opposed to national debt, is due to household borrowing, aggressively promoted by the financial sector and governments in order to compensate for the stagnation of real wages while prices were rising.
The measures imposed by European institutions and governments are designed to make the people pay for this debt. However, in large part, this debt can be considered illegitimate since it was amassed with no regard for the common good. It is now clear that some countries will never be able to reimburse their debt.
Human rights must come before debt service and human needs before profit. As a matter of urgency, we demand European-wide measures to free peoples from the pressures of financial markets and austerity policies. Fiscal, tax and monetary policies must be changed so as to defuse the debt trap.
Our common and urgent demands:
Throughout Europe, particularly on its southern and eastern rims, harsh austerity policies are imposed, supposedly for the sake of debt repayment and reduction. Entire populations are overburdened, public spending is cut dramatically in essential areas, valuable investments in research or industrial activities are downgraded although they could contribute to a social and ecological transition.
These austerity policies enforced by EU institutions and European governments create a downward spiral, destroy economies, add to deficits, debts, unemployment and poverty and intensify the ecological crisis and the looting of the environment. Meanwhile, a small minority continues to enrich itself unduly.
Today, more than half of European wealth is captured by 10% of the population. Present policies are intentionally designed to maintain these inequalities as well as the neoliberal model which is devastating the planet and undermining democratic and social rights.
We demand a complete reversal of these policies and a different model of society that ensures social justice, equality, a fair distribution of wealth, ecological sustainability and protection of the commons.
Our common and urgent demands:
1. Roll back austerity now: it is driving Europe deeper into recession. Cancel or veto the treaties and regulations that underpin it, such as the Fiscal Pact, the Six-Pack, the Two-Pack or the Pact for Competitiveness currently negotiated. Trade imbalances within the Monetary Union must be reduced by adjusting surplus country policies, not by imposing austerity on the deficit countries. Fiscal policy should remain a democratic choice.
2. Ensure tax justice with a just, progressive and permanent taxation system on revenues, wealth and corporate profits, with effective minimum rates applied in all European countries. Revoke increases of consumption taxes such as vat and drastically reduce those on basic goods. Outlaw tax havens and strengthen measures against fraud and tax avoidance and evasion.
3. Develop public, Europe-wide investment programs under social control for a social and ecological transition. This transition should be based on an industrial and agricultural policy that addresses the ecological crisis as well as the need to create millions of quality jobs and should rely on ecologically sustainable and socially useful activities in the public interest. Among these would figure increased investment in education, energy transition, public transportation, and food sovereignty. It would simultaneously require cutting military spending and socially and ecologically harmful expenditure. EU and national budgets should also be reoriented in this direction.
4. Strengthen and develop the social and ecological commons, redefine and expand public services, including health, scientific research, education, early childhood nurturing, transport and energy, water, information and culture, public housing, credit and so on. Stop all privatization of these services, establish their public or cooperative ownership and manage them democratically.
Austerity policies attack economic and social rights and dismantle social protection. They lead to a drop in the standard of living and in many countries to acute humanitarian distress. The consequences are massive unemployment as well as a serious downgrading of working and living conditions. These, in turn, lead to unacceptable increases in poverty: today, 120 million people in the EU are poor.
In the present context of the crisis, these measures are taken even further. They attack labour rights and the role of unions, including their capacity to organize and bargain collectively. They impose competitiveness as a principle in order to divide people, increase profits, lower wages, and turn nature and human activities into commodities. Free trade agreements also foster social, ecological and fiscal dumping.
People living in precarious conditions, workers or unemployed, disabled people, pensioners are hardest hit. Among them, women, young people and migrants are first in line. Women are particularly affected by attacks on labor rights and are also obliged to compensate for the demolition of public services with unpaid care work; migrants’ basic rights are denied and an entire generation of European youth is subjected to unprecedented joblessness and social decline.
We demand that every person enjoy effective democratic, economic, environmental and social rights.
Our common and urgent demands:
For a democratic economy: make banks serve the public interest
The collapse of the private banking system in 2008 was not an accident but rather a direct consequence of finance serving only shareholders and speculators to the detriment of the public interest. In recent decades, governments have both authorized and encouraged this system by consenting to every demand of the financial industry. Many public or cooperatively-owned credit institutions previously devoted to financing useful regional activities have been privatized. Meanwhile, the absence of regulation has allowed criminal organizations worldwide to launder money and invest their huge profits freely.
Governments responded to the crisis by injecting hundreds of billions of euros into bank rescues at the expense of taxpayers and provided financial interests with unconditional guarantees, thereby strengthening the private banks even further.
In order to make the banking sector and the financial industry serve the public interest, society and the environment from now on, the disproportionate power of financial institutions must be curbed through strict regulation and public and democratic control over banks.
Our common and urgent demands:
STAND UP FOR DEMOCRACY!
Current developments in Europe represent an outright denial of democracy. Democratic debate is silenced, repression against social movements is increasing and divisions are encouraged between people and between countries. The predictable outcome is the rise of racist, right-wing or fascist movements as resentment is partly directed against migrants, poor people, minorities, foreigners, and/or other European peoples. The best way to defeat these movements is to get rid of austerity.
Alternatives exist: our responsibility is to change the balance of power in order to impose them and build genuine political, social and economic democracy in Europe.
Because we refuse to be governed by a self-appointed European oligarchy,
Because we refuse the exploitation of people and nature in Europe and in the rest of the world,
Because we reject the European Union’s contribution to conflict and militarization,
Because we call for an end to the exploitation and the oppression of women
and for a break with the patriarchal system,
Because we want real democracy, real participation and popular sovereignty,
Because we want a society that gives priority to ecological and social needs,
We are building a united movement
for a democratic, social, ecological and feminist Europe!
We are supporting and strengthening each other’s struggles;
We pledge to join forces and to fight together make our demands a reality
through national and European actions.
The Alter Summit in Athens on June 7th and 8th 2013 will be an important step in this direction.
Front de Gauche (Left Front), France
The European Parliament today backed the principle of a EU-US free trade agreement This is unacceptable!
This agreement will result in deepened competition, with disastrous effects, from the social, economic and environmental point of view – and also to health, as US multinationals will be exempt from European standards in field. It will undermine our ‘cultural exception‘.
We are Europeans – we refuse to become Euro-Americans. How can such a race to the bottom be supported? And renouncing the universality of the values of progress contained in our European ideal? Accepting the generalization of the American model? This is not our vision of the world.
Our ideal, that of a united and egalitarian society, is difficult to defend in an increasingly neo-liberal Europe, weighed down by austerity Europe. But in an enlarged European market with the United States, it would be impossible! Do the European Commission, Member States and MEPs who defend such a project want to hand over the remnants of European social gains that are already threatened, and our public services, to North American multinationals?
As with the Multilateral Agreement on Investment and the opposition of the progressive governments of South America to the Free Trade Area of the Americas, we aim to defeat this project.
We want a more united world where the interests of the peoples of North and the South are taken into account. We want to derail this agreement.
Guillaume Etiévant, Left Party spokesperson on economic affairs, France
[Official statistics show] that gross domestic product fell by 0.2% in France in the first quarter, after a contraction of a similar magnitude in the last quarter of 2012. We are now officially in recession.
The fault lies with François Hollande: his austerity policies, an explosive mix of cuts in public spending, deregulation of the labour market and submission to finance, have plunged us into disaster.
The French people are paying the price: for the first time since 1984, purchasing power is declining (-0.9% in 2012).
It is time to change course. France is not doomed to be in recession.
We urgently need a majority for an alternative to austerity.
This will implement policies to boost environmentally sustainable activity and the distribution of wealth. This alternative will see, in particular, increased demand based on massive investment in the real economy, and its ecological transition, the creation of a public banking pole, a general increase in wages and pensions, the creation of hundreds of thousands public and private jobs and the abolition of poverty.
France has the means, it is just a question of deciding to implement these measures.
Left Party website 15.5.2013
Gregor Gysi, Die Linke (Left Party, Germany)
On the occasion of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s fifth visit to Afghanistan
Chancellor Merkel can’t deny that the Federal Armed Forces mission in Afghanistan has failed. None of the declared aims has been reached – Afghanistan didn’t proceed politically, economically, or socially. To the contrary. Opium growing flourishes as much as corruption even more than before the war, Al Qaida and its allies are meanwhile fought with the deployment of drones against international law in Pakistan and elsewhere, women’s rights exist primarily on paper, and inner-Afghan conflicts are still rather solved with armed force instead of reconciliation.
The deaths of 53 Federal Army soldiers painfully and clearly shows that there is no difference between a military mission and a supporting mission
Each and every killed civilian, every killed soldier is one too many. DIE LINKE mourns the loss of life and expresses its condolences to the bereaved . The federal government and the majority of the Bundestag are asked to eventually draw consequences out of the failed mission: Even under the planned Post-ISAF-mandate – as much as this became clear – the federal army remains a war party in Afghanistan, the soldiers are still confronted with killing and being killed. It is time for a rapid, systematic and complete withdrawal – out of responsibility for the future of Afghanistan as well as Germany.
Die Linke website 10.5.2013
Paolo Ferrero, secretary, Communist Refoundation party, Italy
I have been highly critical of the re-election of Napolitano and agree with Five Star Movement leader Beppe Grillo in defining it a bloodless coup. I would like to explain my reasoning…
In our system, the President is the guarantor of the Constitution and represents the unity of the country. It is a role that is above politics, so to speak, non-partisan, in some ways the opposite of what is expected in a presidential political system [such as France or the USA], where the president is elected by the people by virtue of his proposed policies.
With the [re-]election of Napolitano, the opposite happened: Napolitano negotiated with the parliamentary political parties the conditions for his re-election in terms of the government, programme and relations with the EU.
The President as the guarantor of the Constitution has become a guarantor of the political system: he was elected as the guarantor of the future government of which he has already dictated a part of the programme, based on the agenda of the 10 wise men based on two broad areas of policy – a fundamental rewriting of the [political] rules and economic policy.
We’ve gone from a parliamentary republic to a presidential republic, resting on a negotiated democracy, whose purpose is not to represent the interests of the Italian people but the application of the directives and the dictates of the European Union. Popular sovereignty has essentially been wiped out by parties who demand the vote to do one thing and then do another.
This substantial distortion of the function of the President of the Republic followed the appointment of Mario Monti’s government a year and a half ago and the appointment – totally alien to the Constitution – of the 10 wise men a few weeks ago.
And is open to debate whether this is a strict violation of the Constitution, but certainly what has happened in recent months, and especially this latest development, has nothing to do with the constitutional structure and spirit of the Constitution.
That’s why I have talked about a bloodless coup because I think there is a real trend towards a dictatorial regime in Italy today, a trend accompanied by the lack of neutrality of a large part of the media.
As Edward Luttwak – a man who knows a thing or two about coups – states: “A coup consists of the infiltration of a small but critical segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder.” Thus armed force (either military or paramilitary) is not a defining feature of a coup d’état. And thus, neither is the use of force a defining characteristic of a bloodness coup.
Jorge Codeiro, member of Portuguese Communist Party’s Politburo
The latest developments highlight a socially isolated and politically defeated government acting in conflict with the Constitution and seeking desperately to cling to power to continue its work of destroying the lives of the Portuguese and the country.
Rather than what the Prime Minister has cynically stated neither the decision of the Constitutional Court nor the Constitution have created the [deficit reduction] problems. It is the government that is responsible for the situation of economic decline and social regression that is throwing Portugal into the abyss.
What [prime minister] Passos Coelho and [foreign minister] Paulo Portas want is, by force and at the margins of the law, to continue liquidating the social functions of the state and public services, the theft of wages and income from the settlement of tax rights and serve to continue to serve the interests of finance capital and economic groups.
The government is now looking for new pretexts to disguise the direction of disaster – unemployment, recession, inequalities …
The government and the Prime Minister is seeking – casting off their responsibilities onto others – is a new opportunity to impose more austerity and the liquidation of more rights that will inevitably lead to an endless recessive spiral.
The government and the prime minister plan to find false justifications to perpetuate their policies, to prepare new arguments for a new bailout … in the interests of big business….designed to increase worker exploitation, plunder the people’s rights and interests, and subject Portugal to the interests of foreign powers….
The reaffirmation by the President of his support for the continuation of the government, in defiance of constitutional responsibilities, shows his complicity with the path of ruin and national destruction pursued [by the government]
The government’s confrontation with the Constitutional Court is in itself the most clear sign of how much the proper functioning of the institutions has been undermined, and is by itself reason enough for this government to be dismissed, the parliament dissolved and elections called.
The rejection of the [Troika's] Aggression Pact is urgent…
The Portuguese Communist Party appeals to workers and the people to intensify their struggle…,
The struggle of the workers and the people will ensure the final defeat of the government, the creation of conditions which will assure the break with the policy of the Right and the implementation of a policy and a patriotic government and leftist values of the Carnation Revolution , capable of ensuring a better life in the future in Portugal.
The PCP is supporting mass protests on Saturday, April 13, in Lisbon.
Statement, Sunday 7 April 2013
Sahra Wagenknecht, Die Linke, Germany
The disclosure of tax havens is political dynamite. Since the beginning of the financial crisis federal governments are pumping billions into banks.
But the dealings with criminal tax havens proceed as before, comments Sahra Wagenknecht, deputy party chair of the party Die Linke, on the disclosure of data sets of international tax fraudsters.
Read on at Die Linke website 3.4.2013
Wolfgang Gehrcke, Die Linke, Germany
We will oppose the worldwide involvement of the Bundeswehr in wars and military missions. All who take part in the diverse demonstrations at Easter carry the thought of a peaceful and globally just world into society.
More at Die Linke website 28.3.2013
Sahra Wagenknecht, deputy chair, Die Linke (Germany)
The Federal Government abuses the emergency credit line of the European Central Bank as a drawn weapon to force Cyprus to agree to the dictate of the troika. This is an unbelievable abuse of an allegedly independent institution,“ said to Sahra Wagenknrecht commenting on the announcement of the ECB to let the emergency credit line to Cyprus become due on Monday without consent of the troika.
‘Small savers have to remain unaffected. It is only a pyrrhic victory for the Cypriots if in the end the deposits of the rich remain untouched while capital based pensions and gas reserves of the country are liable for the exploding state debt due to the banks bailout. This all under the dictate of the troika who strangles the economy by an unsocial austerity mandate and thus cements the future sovereign default.
‘Cyprus needs an audited shrinking and a partial insolvency of the banking sector as well as the founding of public „good banks“ after the model of Iceland: to recapitalise the banks and decrease debt, shareholders of the banks as well as bond-owners have to be liable. Deposits by foreigners have to be warranted up to 100,000 Euro and by Cyprian savers and companies up to 500,000 Euro. 20 per cent of deposits above 500,000 Euro and 100 per cent of deposits above 1 mio. Euro are to be blocked and if necessary used for financial recovery’.
March 21, 2013 Die Linke
March 8 Manifesto – Feminist Network of the European Left (EL-FEM)
Today, on the International Day of Women 2013, women across Europe protest against the degradation of their lives caused by the capitalist crisis and patriarchal living conditions in our countries! As women and feminists of the European Left, we are part of this international women’s movement.
We fight against living conditions dictated by the financial markets and demand that our governments and the EU put a ban on the speculation with public money and implement wealth taxes. Austerity programs must be stopped as they are ruining national economies and risking the very survival of the people, especially the most vulnerable, among which women are the majority. We also protest against the corruption in which politicians of all countries are involved and we demand that they be judged.
We emphatically reject the dismantling of the welfare state that primarily hits women as workers and as users of these services.
We demand work, wages and decent working conditions for everyone, men and women, immigrants. But economic output and labour cannot must not destroy nature and the planet. The number of working hours should be reduced and care work done by women should be more highly valued. We do not want the economy organized according to the principles of profit maximization and growth, but according to human needs.
We do not agree that some people have more rights than others. We therefore call on the EU to abandon its restrictive asylum and immigration policies that represent a permanent gap in human rights and express our solidarity with the refugees’ s movements throughout Europe for the right to residence and access to the labour market. We fight for decent living conditions for refugees. Europe is responsible in part for the living conditions existing on other continents that leads their people to emigrate.
We fight against ‘macho’ violence perpetrated against women in our daily lives and sexism prevalent in our society and in public discourse, and demand the extension of programmes to protect women against violence. Violence against women takes many forms and serves to weaken us and control us. We demand action against trafficking in women and prostitution.
The very serious problem of rape is reaching alarming proportions; we require legislation and a proper functioning of the public authorities to help women to report violations instead of being ashamed of it, and the punishment of violators by courts.
As lesbians, we demand greater visibility of our struggle, and respect in all areas of our lives and the end of discrimination.
Economic autonomy is essential to our independence. We demand wages and incomes for all women so that we can live our lives with economic independence. We demand that care work performed by non-paid women (childcare, housekeeping, elderly care etc.) is considered and is included as a political concept. Also fighting for equal distribution of domestic and care work between men and women.
We fight against the attacks on our right to self-determination and demand our right to decide if we want to have and raise children, as well as when and how. The offensive against the right to choose is an aggression of fascist inspiration and a tool to subjugate women. The activities of the self-proclaimed movement ‘pro-life’ should cease and the resources that support them, as they consider the ‘life’ of fetuses and embryos as more important than our health. We support the right to choose a safe and legal abortion; women must not keep dying from illegal abortions in Europe or anywhere else in the world. For this and many other reasons, we fight all religious patriarchies as they try to limit the freedom of women. We fight against faith schools of all religions and against the inclusion of religious teachings in the curriculum. We support secularism as a value and as a public space for secular ethics.
We demand custody laws that do not force us to maintain contact with the fathers of our children if we do not wish it.
We fight the spread of fascist organizations and extreme right and demand a ban on their activities. They are a danger to democracy.
We demand global demilitarization and disarmament of all governments and (male) armed groups. We demand an end to military budgets and that they be replaced by budgets for social, educational and environmental uses.
We want all resources and means to be distributed equally between the sexes. We fight for a socialist, feminist and Europe.
El-Fem is a feminist network consists of the European Left parties organized by women and independent women. As communists and socialists we are also feminists, in the same way that feminists are on the Left. For us the struggle for social change is linked to the struggle for the rights of women and the recognition of our specific situation, and the reality of our lives as women.
European Left pays homage to Hugo Chávez in Caracas
Two Vice-Presidents of the Party of the European Left, Alexis Tsipras and Maite Mola, are today in Caracas sharing with the people of Venezuela, and the entire people of Latin America, the pain of the loss of Hugo Chávez.
In the history of Venezuela, of whole Latin America, and in the memory of all the men and women of the world who fight for social justice, Hugo Chávez will remain as the leader that, as no one, improved the living conditions of the poorest Venezuelans, which pushed an already irreversible way of unity of Latin America and who gave encouragement and hope to mankind that a fairer world outside of capitalism, is possible.
These are moments of unity to shore up between all the bolivarian revolution, and to support Nicolas Maduro who took over the relief to continue and develop the political legacy that Chavez entrusted him.
European Left 08.03.2013
Portugal’s Motion of Popular Censure
This Motion of Popular Censure expresses the will of a people who want to take the present and the future in our hands. In a democracy, it is the people who rule.
The successive governments of the Troika do not represent us. This government does not represent us. This government is illegitimate. It was elected based on promises it did not fulfil. It promised that taxes would not rise, but increased them to unbearable levels. It guaranteed that it wouldn’t cut pensions or wage subsidies, but there is not a day when it does not steal money from workers and retirees. It vowed not to lay off civil servants or increase unemployment, but every hour that passes there are more people out of work.
This Motion of Censure is the expression of the isolation of the government. It can pass laws and cuts with the banks and its parliamentary majority. The President may approve everything, even measures that subvert the Constitution that he swore to enforce. But this government has no legitimacy. The population are against the government and require, as a starting point, the resignation of the government, an end to austerity and the domination of the troika over the people, who are sovereign.
Let the people speak! The government cannot dismiss the people, but the people can and will dismiss the government. No government can survive the opposition of the population.
This Motion of Popular Censure is the cry of a people demanding participation. It is a public affirmation of a growing willingness of the people to take the direction [conducao] of the country into their hands, bringing down a corrupt power that is creeping over several governments.
On March 2, across the country and in several cities around the world under the slogan “screw the Troika!’ The People Rule,” the people have expressed a clear desire to break with the policies imposed by the troika and carried out by this government.
Enough! Obviously, they are fired. The People Rule!
The Party of the European Left
The Party of the European Left is very concerned about the election of a right-wing president, “man of confidence” of European leaders, at the head of the Republic of Cyprus.
The mass movement for the right to energy and demand for the renationalization of this sector, has led to the fall of a neoliberal government….It creates hope for all citizens fighting in Europe against privatizations and for social rights. Moreover, there is now an occasion for political change in Bulgaria.
The savage assault by the Greek riot police against members of the PAME communist trade union at the Ministry of Labour is part of the Greek government’s strategy to escalate the authoritarianism and repression against working class in order to implement measures that make the people destitute and in order to curb the organized struggle of the people.
In Europe, fascism is on the manhunt again. Greedily it points at everything with which a spontaneous identification seems hard. It brutalises old prejudices and suggests itself as a bulwark against everything unknown. It goes against Muslims, Roma, the Left and other Democrats and again against Jews.
The fascism takes up simple thought concepts like anticommunism, anti-Semitism and anti-Islamism, deepens the popular shyness being faced with difficult crisis contexts and elevates – in a populist way – its anti-intellectualism to “common sense”.
The fascism controls the bloody art, to draw damaged and defeated people as free-rider of the crisis, as scapegoats and even as elitist. It does this in order to protect old elites and to offer itself to them as alliance partner. Notwithstanding its socio-demagogic showings of rebel poses at state power, it always became the most open form of terroristic and imperialistic dictatorship of the banking and multinational companies’ power executing its enemies, the organisations of the workers movement.
Democrats all over the world are now have to help to stop fascism and its manhunt. To spread humanistic cultures in order to discuss the context of crises broadly – also in and with its difficulties -and not to leave good tradition as well as social dissatisfaction without a fight.
Resolution to the European Left Executive Board meeting, Berlin, 11.-12.01.2013
Pierre Laurent, President of the Party of the European Left
The meeting of finance ministers of the Eurozone would have resulted in an historic agreement tonight, the first step towards the EU banking union…. After more than four years of financial crisis, recapitalizations, gifts of 1000 billion euros to banks from the European Central Bank, speculative attacks on the debts of the states, industry and labour vampirized by finance, credit rating agencies that are calling the shots, the peoples of Europe are aware that it is the whole system that is failing. Thus they make it clear in the struggles.
The adopted measures are promoting federalism. While this may satisfy “euro-naïves” that have only that word in their mouths and never define it, it will not respond at all to social emergencies, because if the ECB is independent of the people. It will then only supervise speculation. Without democratic control, without public powers, capital will continue to have only the profit as horizon and continue butchering tools of production and its offensive against public services in Europe.
European Left Party
The Eurogroup announced an agreement on the payment of an amount of 34.4 billion euros to the Greek state, on December 13, and on a 40 billion euros reduction of its debt. A “rescue” of Greece? No, a rescue of the capital negotiated without the Greeks, between Angela Merkel and Christine Lagarde. Smooth euphemisms and nice coatings have lasted long enough. There are at least three truths to restore in order to understand what is at stake today.
Alexis Tsipras, leader of Syriza, Exerpts from speech to Greece parliament during debate on latest austerity budget
This is the third and toughest package we are debating. Even our lenders realize that this program won’t work and that Greek debt is not sustainable
There is no point debating the budget because it’s certain that targets will not be met because of the recession. The Government started in summer talking about €11 billion in measures but ended up with €18 billion. The tactic of being a “good pupil” has failed.
You voted for the measures but you didn’t get the bailout instalment. Now you are going to reap the fearmongering and blackmail that you sowed. You didn’t take part in the Malta talks between Hollande and periphery leaders. Instead, you welcomed Merkel to Athens. The problem is European, not Greek. The solution must be comprehensive.
You agreed to everything that lenders asked for, why are you accusing them of blackmail now? How are people in northern Greece going to stay warm this winter? The unwillingness of lenders to give us the next tranche was public knowledge. You weren’t talking about it . We advised you not to negotiate with troika officials but to demand political discussion at EU level, even an emergency summit
You said if SYRIZA won, wages and pensions would be cut, there’d be no medicines, firms would leave. You won and this has happened. Companies like Coca-Cola are leaving Greece because of your destructive policies, not SYRIZA. You question SYRIZA’s plan but what’s your plan? Maybe if you fall at Merkel’s feet, she might help. You are the only ones in Europe who are not talking about debt write-off.
Everyone says debt is not sustainable. Even a child can see it. What do you say, though? You are dangerous because you are not suitable to negotiate. You criticized us for not wanting to meet terms of bailout but now are lenders are ignoring those terms. The only response is to cancel measures and austerity and sit down with lenders to work on new plan, with debt writeoff.
Lenders who use European taxpayers money to pay off Greek creditors should know we would put domestic needs first. Schaeuble said euro exit would destroy single currency. Lenders are giving us money for recap because they fear European banking collapse. They wouldn’t commit suicide.
There is no way the same political elite that created this clientelistic state will make an effort to change it. Lenders have realized your time is up. That’s why they want to pass all measures now. But we warn them elections will be soon.
KKE, Greek Communist Party
The first strike rally of PAME on Tuesday morning in Athens and dozens of other cities was mass, dynamic and lively. An indication of the size of the demonstration in Athens was that it once again occupied the entire centre of the city. Thousands of workers, self-employed, tradesmen, youth and women demonstrated their opposition to the savage anti-people and anti-worker measures which are being pushed forward by the government, EU and Troika. The central slogan of the rally was “The measures must be overthrown, the people must have their say, either we will prevail or the monopolies will.”
A storm is brewing in Southern Europe. In Greece on November 6 and 7 another general strike will take place. On November 14 Portuguese, Cypriot, Spanish and Italian trade unions intend to go on strike in opposition to the austerity policies of the European Union. Belgian and British trade unions, as well as the European and German trade union confederations, are also calling for action. If the mobilization is successful, this transnational strike will be a milestone in the formation of a European protest movement desperately needed to prevent the final demolition of the European welfare states.
Sahra Wagenknecht is co-vice president of Germany’s Die Linke
KKE, Greek Communist Party
The demonstrations of the All-workers Militant Front (PAME) in Athens, Thessalonica, Piraeus and dozens of cities all over the country on the 18th of October, 2012 were a decisive response to the barbaric measures and political line of the government, EU and capital.
Pierre Laurent, national secretary, French Communist Party, Senator for Paris
October 17, 1961 – and other dates when massacres occurred – remind us how violence and state crimes are inseparable from colonialism.
On that day, simply for holding a peaceful demonstration, in the tens of thousands, against an illegal and scandalous curfew aimed exclusively at Algerians in Paris, 11,000 people were arrested and, according to current research, at least 200 people killed in atrocious conditions.
Faced with the ‘policies of forgetting’ that various governments of the Right have tried to impose, the communists and their national and Parisian elected representatives, together with others, have tried from the outset to ensure that the truth comes out about this abomination.
It is time for France to recognize the facts, helping to meet the requirement of truth and remembrance for all victims, two demands expressed ever more strongly in recent decades.
It is to this end that I will speak on October 23 in the Senate with my friend Guy Fischer during the debate of a draft resolution the Communist Republican and Citizen parliamentary group filed on January 30 and I hope for the broadest possible support for it.
By adopting such a resolution that calls on France to recognize the facts and to establish a place of remembrance for the victims of 17 October 1961, the Senate would also be supporting the rapprochement between the Algerian people and the French people, promoting harmony between the two peoples.
PCF website 16.10.2012
Communist Party of Greece (KKE)
The thousands of protesters who flooded the central streets of Athens on Tuesday cancelled in practice the banning of the demonstrations that the EU and the three-party government (liberals, social democrats, “Democratic Left”) sought to impose on the working people due to the visit of the German chancellor Angela Merkel to Athens. More
French Communist Party
Last week, in his speech to the National Assembly, the Prime Minister finally admitted that not a single line of the European fiscal treaty signed by Sarkozy and Merkel has been modified.
After a number of inglorious weeks for the Government in a ratification debate that deprived our citizens of fair information allowing them to form their own opinions, without any consideration of the proposals of progressive forces (political , unions and civil society associations) mobilized against austerity, the ratification of the treaty today in the National Assembly is a bad act against democracy and against the European idea.
A sad spectacle. Having been elected on the basis of ‘Change now!’, that five months later [the socialists have come down] on the side of the Right on an issue as important and fundamental as this constitutes an error which, sooner or later, will have a political price.
Pierre Laurent, Party of the European Left
The Parliamentary Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left (GUE-NGL) in the European Parliament has just released an expert’s report proving that the fiscal treaty does not respect European law, whether in form or in content. More
Communist Party of Greece (KKE)
The developments in Eastern Mediterranean and the wider region are particularly dangerous. This fact is shown by the realization of the imperialist plan aiming at the extension of the activity of the big business groups of the EU member- states and the USA in the Middle East, North Africa, the Persian gulf as well as regarding the acquisition of geostrategic advantages in the competition with Russia, China, the alliance of BRICS that threaten the USA’s primacy in the imperialist pyramid. This situation is combined with the channeling of capital into military conflicts as a means of controlling the capitalist crisis. The developments are constantly and more persistently showing the relation capitalism-crisis-war. More
The crisis reaches a critical point in Europe. The more countries practice their politics of austerity the crisis is worse. The economic treaty imposed without any debate, neither popular referendum condemns those countries which confirmed it to a permanent austerity and to leave their budgetary sovereignty. How critical must be the unemployment, poverty and recession until the national and also European decision-makers of these policies recognize that they are leading the euro zone and the European Union towards the abysm?
Against this situation and by picking up a proposal from the Party of the european left, a committee of 7 european citizens (political, syndicalist, associative and cultural public figures) have decided to use the european citizens’ initiative procedure to promote the creation of a new institution: a public bank which mission would be to fund projects which aim is creating employment, which are socially useful and which help the promotion of public services and the defense of the environment.
By blocking this initiative, the commission has just demonstrated its disdain towards the citizens’ participation for the construction of Europe.
Jerónimo de Sousa, General Secretary, Portuguese Communist Party
After a year of severe austerity policies imposing painful sacrifices and a sharp impoverishment of the majority of the Portuguese workers and other strata and classes, the Government of the PSD / CDS-PP unveiled an unacceptable package of new measures affecting even more dramatically Portuguese workers, pensioners, unemployed and those in a situation of extreme fragility and poverty.
Over a period of four days, first the Prime Minister and then the Finance Minister, surpassing all bounds of propriety, showed to the country the manifest contempt with which the current government sees the living conditions and the future of the vast majority of the Portuguese, and the dramatic situation in which many live today.
First, at the top of the list of measures announced by Passos Coelho, is the decision to maintain the theft of two pay packets for employees of the public administration and for pensioners, and one wage packet for private sector workers.
The decision to increase contributions paid by workers to the social security fund from 11% to 18%, and at the same time reduce by 5.75% the [social security] Single Social Tax payable by corporations is an unspeakable and unacceptable blow to the income of workers, resulting in an annual transfer of about 2.3 billion euros to capital, particularly for big business.
A shameless theft, sneaked in using the smoke screen of tackling unemployment, this is nothing more than a colossal fraud by a government that among the measures announced for 2013 foresees an acceleration of the the pace of layoffs in public administration, endangering the jobs of almost 90,000 workers on fixed term contracts.
This is a set of measures that targets incomes of workers in the public and private sector, pensioners and the general population for new and more drastic cuts in the areas of health and education.
Cuts that also affect the public administration by reducing benefits and increasing the retirement age, see new cuts in unemployment benefits, minimum income welfare support and pensions above 1,500 euros.
These measures that will sharply reduce the disposable income of households, cut demand and so lead to thousands of company abankruptcies, and extend unemployment and misery.
Capital will face a bill of a ridiculous and outrageously small 25 million euros, a real offence to a billion euros extorted from labour. It is a travesty of justice with big capital still reaping the benefits from past privatization programmes, and now there will be more sell offs, including CTT, (postal services) CP Cargo (rail freight) and solid waste division of Aguas de Portugal (water utility), addition of TAP (airline) and ANA (airport authority) and ENVC (shipyards).
The announced Aggression Pact flexibility means more brutal sacrifices by workers and the people, a further step in the attempt to perpetuate injustice and exploitation, a new threat that risks sinking the country. Fake flexibility that ultimately translates into great austerity measures for the people and not relief against the harsh social conditions that are imposed.
This fake flexibility only serves the foreign troika and the interests it represents – the interests of mega banks and big business nationally and internationally.
The new measures that have been announced reinforce policies that are already sinking the country. They highlight the failure of the [Troika's] Aggression Pact. They will not solve any of the problems of the country.
Today it has been shown that the country might have been spared this ruinous path of decay and suffering for millions of Portuguese – initiated by [the former government of the] Socialist Party, PSD and CDS, and supported throughout by the President – if the opinions and prejudices of PCP had been heard.
Today the total bankruptcy and credibility of the government and all its solutions and predictions have been proven a failure. The prospects for the future are now even more severe, with the postponement and expansion of the deficit reduction targets, with increasing debt and debt service payment, with the prolongation of the economic downturn for the third consecutive year and the predictable stagnation for many more years, with the inevitable increase in unemployment as a result of the continued destruction of productive capacity and employment. A perspective that is increasingly dark and dramatic for millions of Portuguese.
Today it has been shown that that with the continued application of the Aggression Pact, this government and its policies will only lead the country to decline and ruin. The Portuguese have seen that there is nothing inevitable about this policy, but rather it is a deliberate choice in favour of big business.
There’s no longer any hiding that with each passing day this course of action means more suffering and the sinking of the country.
It is necessary and urgent to put an end to these policies and the government that promotes them before they put an end to the country. That is why the PCP calls for uniting of all democrats and patriots, and the forces and sectors that are willing to rally behind the rejection of the Aggression Pact, to break with the right wing policies, and adopt patriotic and left policies.
Even with the dramatic situation in which the policy of successive governments has placed the country, there is an alternative to the policies of national disaster. There are solutions for the country: the PCP proposes a patriotic and leftist politics and government: rejecting the Troika’s aggression pact [IMF-ECB-EU 'bailout'], liberating the country from control by large national and transnational capital, renegotiating the debt (interest rates and pay-back terms) and reject responsibility for illegitimate debt, starting the local production of products that are currently imported, stoping the privatization process, boosting wages and pensions, defending and developing public services, asserting national sovereignty, rejecting the impositions of supranational and the federalist European Union; these are the necessary, possible and increasingly urgent policies.
We have entered a new phase, the situation in which we live demands that everyone – workers, pensioners, young woman, farmer or small business owner – demonstrate their discontent and indignation, joins the stream of protest and rejection of these policies, which will strengthen with the determination and the confidence in the country and for a better life, and the ensuing fight by organized workers and the people. The PCP calls for the development of the struggle in its various forms and in particular calls for participation in the great manifestation decided by the CGTP [trade union central] in Lisbon, September 29, to make a powerful show of strength and confidence, and again on the “National Day of Struggle ‘scheduled for October 1 and the March against unemployment on 5-13 October.
We are heading into a national disaster but it can be stopped. We can open up a path to a more developed and fairer country. In this situation, unparalleled since fascism, the Portuguese Communist Party reaffirms its commitment to use all its energies and abilities to serve the workers, youth and the Portuguese people. Rejection of the Aggression Pact, a clean break from right wing policies, for a politics and government that is patriotic and left, for a future with Portugal. This is the way forward for struggle, and for the alternative.
13 Sep. 2012
Left Party, France
Prime Minister Passos Coelho, model student of the Troika, announced Friday, 7 September that the 2013 budget would be a “collective effort” for the Portuguese people. In other words, more suffering for a very impoverished population.
The menu prepared directly by the Troika and its misnamed “Program Economic and Financial Assistance” will plunge the vast majority of Portuguese and citizens of the euro area as a whole in misery.
With a lower minimum wage in Greece, 17% official unemployment and a half million Portuguese who fled the country since the beginning of 2011, the government is again asking people to pay up, with a hike in social security contributions to 18 %. This is actually a transfer of employer contributions to employee contributions as the government has at the same time cut the share firms have the pay by a similar amount.
The Left Party (Parti de Gauche), condemns this latest round of austerity measures place on people who can take no more.
The Party reiterates its unwavering solidarity with the resistance of the Portuguese people and their political representatives: the Bloco de Esquerda, PCP and Greens Portuguese, and social representatives: the CGTP, the movements of 12 March and 15 October, and the associations of precarious workers.
The Left Party supports the call to action on 15 September. We say “Troika, go away… We want to live our lives!”
10 Sep 2012
Paolo Ferrero, Communist Refoundation
They speak of a secret cap on the spread but everybody knows that in the last summit that the ECB decided to intervene directly in the purchase of Government bonds in the event that the spread rises above a certain limit.
It will do so by virtue of a memorandum – as with the Greeks – that the country under attack will have to sign and take away all sovereignty on economic policy for the country in question.
We see that after the last meeting of the ECB, the spread has fallen: In practice, we have the proof that in order to stop the spread it is enough is that the ECB threatens to intervene so that no speculator uses his money to speculate when he risks losing it.
It’s the proof that the spread was intentionally allowed to rise in recent months to scare people and push to accept as a lesser evil cuts to welfare and rights.
With the spread we have the greatest political and media operation of mass disinformation since the Nazis under Goebels.
European leaders are criminals and have the same conception of the Nazis democracy: the people is imbued with lies in order to keep them from rising.
Now, after cutting people’s rights we have passed to the second phase the privatisation of all public property.
So Monti says he can see the end of the crisis in order to impose the removal of our rights, they scared people with speculation. Now they reassure us by saying that we are almost cured of the disease and we just need to sell off public assets.
It was a lie before and it’s a lie now: speculation was a phenomenon that was encouraged, but the cut in public spending has exacerbated the crisis. As a result this, Italy and the Italians are much worse than they were a year ago.
20.8.2012Spread: difference between the price (yield) of one ( Italian ) government bond over the benchmark German Bunds.
Marie-George Buffet, French Communist Party
The management of PSA has formalized this morning its plan to eliminate 8,000 jobs in France and closure of Aulnay in 2014. This announcement is disastrous because it would mean, in reality, the removal of tens of thousands of jobs in the country. It is not, however, a surprise. These intentions were revealed, a year ago by the CGT. For months, I have challenged the government on this issue. The former government obviously did not listen.
The arrival of the Left should mark a radical change from this point of view.
Just yesterday, I raised this with Arnaud Montebourg, the Minister of productive recovery, during the government’s question time in parliament. The Head of State and Prime Minister cannot remain with crossed arms.
Yes or no – Will you let the management of the automotive group that has paid dividends of 200 million in 2011, decide to shut down modern plants for the sole benefit of shareholders?
Yes or no- will we take the necessary measures to revive the auto industry in our country?
Yes or no – Will you place before Parliament, a bill to ban dismissals by profit-making companies?
The MPs of the Left Front are determined to act to ensure this, quickly.
The European Left Party is planning actions across Europe to block the ratification of the ‘dangerous’ fiscal pact and fight against egoistic views promoted by the extreme right. And it wants to see a European public bank dedicated exclusively to social and ecological development, and solidarity and aims to launch a major campaign in September to collect a million signatures across the EU to demand this people’s bank. More
The crisis in Europe is advancing. Nevertheless, now there is also a new hope for all European peoples thanks to the positive developments for the Left in different European countries, especially after the recent unprecedented reinforcement of SYRIZA/USF in Greece and the important increase of the Front de Gauche in France. This new situation reinforces the influence of a European left alternative against the dangerous Fiscal Pact and all austerity and authoritarian policies. More
Greek Communists (KKE)
The dramatic language used by the plutocracy and the bourgeois media analysts, who characterised the EU summit on the 28/29 of June as the “most crucial for the future of Europe” was another attempt to mock and spread illusions amongst the peoples that the EU and the bourgeois governments-centre-right and centre-left- can tackle the people’s problems and provide a pro-people way out from the crisis. More
It is always the banks who win. We call on all left people and MPs, to take action to prevent the ratification of this fatal pact in our countries.Only a refoundation of the EU can solve the crisis. We will repeat it as necessary: austerity leads to recession. There will be no growth in this framework. We propose an alternative: More
It’s over. The new European Treaty dreamed up by Merkel and Sarkozy will prevail unchanged. For Francois Hollande the negotiations were a ‘success’. It’s amazing! Better: ‘Europe has changed in the right direction,’ he said. France’s new administration backs the existing European policy. Neo-liberal policies will deepen, the sovereignty of citizens over their national budgets is reduced to nothing. All the dictates of the neo-liberals were endorsed. They now form the basis of a new structure [for Europe] whose coherence satisfies Francois Hollande. He celebrates this and will present it on behalf of his government to parliament!
Yet active resistance has been proven to work. Only François Hollande did not apply it. Mrs. Merkel, alone, opposed all, including the IMF and the ECB in the pooling of sovereign debt and direct loans from the European Central Bank. Rajoy and Monti refused to accept anything if we did not grant their emergency request!
Resistance and standing firm are the only forms of action that pay in the standoff in Europe. The French government made up the numbers. Now it is the happy. More than ever it is for the people to decide and not a meeting where the Right and Socialists vote on their common European programme without any possible debate.
The EU summit on June 28 and 29 in which you are about to participate is of extreme importance. The European Union, still in turmoil, “must change direction”, as you said in your campaign. The development of new measures, breaking with the logic of austerity that is every day more unjust and more disastrous, remains an imperative for a sustainable exit from the crisis.
It is also the first summit where you will speak for and promote the policies of France. It is now time to translate into action the change for which the French have elected you.
On the occasion of your speech on Jan. 22 at Le Bourget, you pledged to “renegotiate the EU treaty, arising from the Agreement of 9 December,” that is to say the treaty drawn up by Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel. Five months later, the implementation of this commitment seems more necessary than ever.
The French have decided to turn the page on the policies of Nicolas Sarkozy. It would be therefore incomprehensible for our fiscal policies to continue to be dictated by that treaty, and worse, they they would be subject to greater control of Brussels in defiance of parliamentary democracy and popular sovereignty.
Our citizens have been cheated after their “no” to Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (TCE), [ European Constitution or the Constitutional Treaty], in 2005. Today, the continued existence of the Treaty on the stability, coordination and governance (TSCG), or Fiscal Compact, is a new denial of democracy.
Secondly and most importantly, the developments of the crisis within the EU show that no improvement of the financial situation of the Member States will be achieved by persisting with the current approach.
Without a stimulus policy built on new models of development, without ending our dependence and huge support for financial markets, the crisis will like the horizon line along with the so-called advance of European economic coordination. This, however, are likely to transform Europe into a battlefield dominated by large corporations, as demanded in a joint statement by the CEOs of Telecom Italia, Siemens and Axa.
What is taking shape at the opening of the EU summit worries us to the highest degree.
The fiscal pact, or TSCG, will emerge intact from the Summit. It will be the only text considered binding, and therefore, with the European Stability Mechanism that dictates the granting of funds in compliance with the fiscal pact, the only text subject to ratification by States.
At the request of Angela Merkel, “Growth Pact” that you wished to add to it would not be included in a protocol annexed to the conclusions of the Summit. It will have no real constraining value and its real scope is contradicted at every point by the measures imposed by the Fiscal Pact. This will most likely just lead to another waste of funds.
The shackles of austerity would be tightened, nothing would be changed on the decisive points, nor the pooling of debt, nor the role of the European Central Bank (ECB). The Banking Union referred to would not alter the current credit criteria. In France, public investment by the state, such as local authorities, would be stifled.
If all this is confirmed, you need to be true to the French people. You don’t have to endorse it.
I fully understand, Mr. President, that a change in direction of European policies cannot be decreed. It must be negotiated. And Chancellor Merkel resists this change, and seeks t trade in return for the slightest concessions, even greater domination. France does not have to given in.
We are not the only ones, in the French Communist Party, in the Left Front, to worry.
Four leaders of socialist youth organizations in Europe (France, Austria, Spain and Germany) [link] have asked you solemnly, in an article published a week ago, to reject this budget pact.
For their part, Bernadette Segol and Ignacio Fernandez Toxo, the two leaders of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), in turn, have warned about “the content of growth and ways to revive it”, on the degradation of social conditions in the EU and the endangering of the European democratic framework, noting explicitly: “We do not believe that structural reforms of labour markets create jobs, let alone growth. “
I therefore ask you: do not sign the summit’s conclusions if they were to stop there. Make these decisions public and open the debate in the country and in Europe on the limits of the summit. Do not force the process of ratification of the Fiscal Pact in the French Parliament budget, as Angela Merkel did in the Bundestag from 29 June.
Otherwise, as you know, we will not ratify this text. We will call on all Left MPs to do the same. We invite the French to express their opposition to ratification contrary to your own commitment to renegotiation.
Another way is possible. We propose that France should take the initiative to refound Europe to to include, notably: change the status and tasks of the European Central Bank, adjust the refinancing of banks to encourage private investment for more jobs and training, and to penalize loans to speculators, creating a European public bank focused on social development, solidarity and ecology, financed by the ECB, a tax on financial transactions and in part by the EU budget, and responsible for supporting the development of public services, public investment and socially effective and innovative industrial projects that create jobs and growth by raising social and ecological standards in Europe.”
Pierre Laurent, national secretary of the French Communist Party
Paris, June 27, 2012. Humanite
The Party Chair of the party DIE LINKE, Katja Kipping, declares to the agreement between the conservative-liberal government, social democrats, and greens on the adoption of the fiscal pact:
The agreement between social democrats, greens and conservative-liberals does not solve the basic problems of the fiscal pact. The cutbacks in wages, pensions, and social services are thus carved in marmor. Whereas to questions of promoting growth and financial market regulation there are mere non-binding declarations of intent. The fiscal pact is and and will remain the coffin nail for the European idea. A real participation of those profiting from and causing the crisis of the financial markets is not intended. Without a drastic taxation of high incomes and wealth there is no possible way out of this crisis. Without a just allocation of the load the fiscal pact only means cuts in social services.
DIE LINKE as single faction in the Bundestag will unanimously vote against the fiscal pact. We cannot approve of a law, that permanently restricts the life chances of workers, pensionists and unemployed. We cannot say Yes to a law constraining core democratic parliamentary rights. We will decisively fight against passing the burden of the European economic and banking crisis to the citizens. We hope many parliamentarians of other factions will find the courage to say No, too. We will file a suit at the Federal Constitutional Court and request an urgent decision to stop this over hasty ratification, if a majority in Bundestag and Bundesrat adopts fiscal pact and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).
The election result is negative for the people, which has suffered significant blows by the consequences of the economic capitalist crisis in Greece…. More
Extracts from a speech by General Secretary Aleka Papariga speaking at a press conference on Tuesday 5 June.
The “euro or drachma” dilemma posed by New Democracy or the “memorandum or SYRIZA” dilemma posed by SYRIZA are both false and misleading. They do not answer the real dangers which the people of Greece and the peoples of Europe are facing due to the sharpening of the capitalist crisis in the Eurozone. More
The European Left Party supports Spain’s mining strike, called by trade unions CCOO and UGT, protesting against the Spanish government’s decision to weaken the coal sector. More
European Left (GUE/NGL)
Speaking ahead of a European Parliament vote on a resolution calling for action against homophobia in Europe, Dutch GUE/NGL MEP Dennis de Jong criticised EU leaders and the European Commission for ‘talking about human rights in third countries, but dragging their feet within the EU’.
‘This is a welcome resolution from Parliament but other EU institutions must start taking action. A key area of inaction by the EU is the treatment of gay couples who move to another EU country. At present partners need not be recognized as such by the destination Member State. It’s downright hypocritical that the Commission will not put the mutual recognition of partnerships and marriages on the European agenda while they criticise countries outside the EU.’
During the parliamentary debate on the resolution, De Jong expressed alarm at developments in Eastern Europe saying ‘more and more Eastern European countries’ laws make it impossible for public discourse to take place on gay, bisexual or transgender issues.’
This statement was issued ahead of the vote Thursday which received widespread support from MEPs as expected.
European United Left / Nordic Green Left/European Parliamentary Group
‘This proposal for a financial transaction tax (FTT) is the first sign that speculation won’t go unpunished,’ Portuguese GUE/NGL MEP Marisa Matias told the European Parliament in this morning’s debate on Common system for taxing financial transactions.
‘It’s just a beginning but it is an important beginning” she said. ‘For decades financial markets built and operated within a world economy in which they face no obstacles. The speculation they engaged in lies at the heart of most problems facing us today and still speculative traders continue to take money out of people’s pockets. Governments must take back responsibility and re-establish the trust of the people.’
German MEP Jürgen Klute said this FTT plan picks up on a number of elements of the Tobin tax which has been under discussion for many years now. ‘It’s an important signal to send to citizens, markets and banks following a series of campaigns and petitions aimed at introducing an FTT at EU level. Obviously it could have gone further, it’s not sufficient to stabilise financial markets and more needs to be done, but I urge Council to follow the citizens and do all possible to prevent this proposal being blocked by member states.’
‘We finally have a proposal for an FTT after so much wasted time and money,’ Younous Omarjee (France) added. ‘We’ve had to wait until such an unstable situation has arisen so that these predators can be tackled. It’s a timid scheme and the introduction of exemptions prevents sufficient flesh being placed on the bones of this proposal’.
The vote on the FTT (Podimata report) will take place this afternoon in Strasbourg. In an effort to improve the text of the report, GUE/NGL MEPs have proposed several amendments.
European United Left / Nordic Green Left/European Parliamentary Group
Interview with CNN
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Mr Tsipras, thank you for joining me from Athens. Mrs Merkel has said you either do the reform and the austerity or you are out of the euro.
Do you think that the German chancellor is bluffing?
ALEXIS TSIPRAS: I don’t know what Mrs – Madam Merkel wants to do. But I know what we want to do. We don’t want Greece outside – outside Europe. We don’t want Greece outside –outside the euro. We don’t want Greece outside the Eurozone. We want Greece inside euro and inside eurozone.
But I – we feel that Madam Merkel puts euro and Eurozone in a big danger by keeping we – in these austerity measures. The austerity measures put Europe and the eurozone in a big danger.
So we want to change the austerity measures, also in Greece and also in Europe. That’s what we want to do and we want to do this with – in cooperation with the other forces and the – the – the people of – of Europe, the people who want a big change, because everybody now, at this time that, with this policy, we are going directly to the hell. And we want to change this – this way.
AMANPOUR: You know, you talk about going directly to hell. And a lot of people are concerned, because, obviously, this would be unprecedented, if Greece leaves the euro and goes back to the drachma. Nobody knows what that would mean.
If that happens, what do you think it would mean for Greece and for Europe?
TSIPRAS: We believe that if Greece go back to – to – to drachma, that the second day, the other countries in Europe will have the – the same problem. And I – I really disagree with a lot of things that Madam Merkel say and do.
But I – I – I – I agree with that that she said. She said before – before a month – a month ago, a month before, that if Greece go out of euro, the second day, the markets will find who will be the second. And the second will be Italy or Spain.
Italy has a very big debt, public debt, not like Greece. Greece have 3,500 million euros, but Italy has a debt about 1.9 trillion.
So you can understand what I was meaning when I was telling to you that this road goes to hell. We don’t want Europe to be in – in – in a catastrophe way. So if we want to save Europe, we need to change – to change these directions.
AMANPOUR: I hear you loud and clear. And you keep saying we do not want to do austerity, we need to change this.
What is your responsibility, as a Greek politician, to make this work?
TSIPRAS: No, I don’t believe that we will have a benefit if Greece goes back to the drachma. I don’t believe that because as – as I told you before, the second day, the Eurozone will be in a big disaster. So I don’t – we don’t – we don’t want a whole catastrophe of the Eurozone and for Europe.
And, at the same time, we don’t want to go back to drachmas because, in Greece, we will have the poor people to have drachmas and the rich people to buy everything with euro.
And this evolution, it will not a good evolution for society and for the people. We – we are here to – to – to try to be with – with the majority. And the majority of people need to be in a safe way.
So that’s why we don’t that we will have a benefit with the drachma.
TSIPRAS: It’s clear for us, we will be – we will do whatever we could do in this direction, to keep Greece inside the Eurozone and inside Europe.
But as I told you before, we are watching this situation in – in – in the whole view of Europe and the eurozone. You can understand what will happen if Eurozone will – will be split –splitted and if Eurozone will be in – in this big danger.
AMANPOUR: Right. You said you…
AMANPOUR: You said you’re…
TSIPRAS: – I think that our position is clear in this…
AMANPOUR: It’s clear.
TSIPRAS: – in these questions.
AMANPOUR: It’s very clear.
AMANPOUR: But you said you’ll do everything that you can do. Just tell me, what will you do? TSIPRAS: First of all, we will cancel all – all Greece’s austerity measures in memorandum. Do you know the memorandum?
TSIPRAS: We will cancel the memorandum. And then we will go to renegotiate, in a European level, about a common way to go out – to go outside of this crisis.
And we that this crisis is not a Greek crisis, but a European crisis. And we will try to find a common solution. And I said to you before, what’s – what’s our opinion about the solutions, about the role of ECB, about the Eurobonds, about the negotiation of the debt in the European level of – of – of the public debt of – of all the European countries.
That’s – that’s – that’s our opinion. That’s our position. And I think it’s a clear position.
AMANPOUR: And do you think you’ll…
AMANPOUR: – do you think you’ll have partners for that negotiation?
TSIPRAS: Yes, we think that we will find partners. First of all, in – in the south countries, I think that we’ll have the – the same problem with Italy, with Spain, with Portugal and also with Ireland. And I think that we will find partners, and also in the Central Europe.
I’m looking very positive the change in – in France, with Mr Hollande’s win in the elections. We will try to find – to find partners. But I think that the situation – the political situation in Europe will change the next days, especially after the big change in Greece. These…
AMANPOUR: And do you think you’ll win?
TSIPRAS: – these people instead in this – in this – in this opinion that we – we don’t want more state measures. We – we can’t go on with these austerity measures, because everything is –was destroyed in Greece.
If the Greek people stick in this opinion, I think that everything will change in Europe.
AMANPOUR: Mr Tsipras, thank you very much, indeed.
Source: Athens News
European Left Party
Yesterday, the parliamentary elections in Greece were marked by a spectacular defeat of the member parties of the “coalition of national unity” – including PASOK and New Democracy – who inflicted the Greek people, with a rare violence, the austerity measures demanded by markets, employers and leadership of the EU. This is an important political turning point that must be heard in Greece and throughout Europe. More
Greek Communists (KKE)
The election results, despite the fact that the votes were scattered in both directions, right and left, objectively demonstrate a positive tendency: that radical changes are maturing or will mature in the peoples consciousness…. More
After five years of suffering, regression, of arrogance and permanent deterioration of our living
conditions, particularly with young people, we are delighted that Sarkozy lost nearly 6% from the first
round of the 2007 presidential election.
As he who has ruled for five years with such contempt, so much violence and so diligently to meet the
demands of financial markets and the MEDEF [employers lobby group], can now be beaten, we will redouble
our effort to tear out this page from our sordid history.
This page is also sordid because it has put the Front National in the saddle for 5 years, with many of its
ideas finding their way into government. Further fuelling fears, playing on the divisions between
citizens, by practising the politics of permanent resentment, the UMP has nurtured a fertile ground for
the far right.
The Left Front was the only force to lead a determined campaign against the Right and extreme. By its
determination to campaign on merit, its determination not to get trapped in the vice of the
bipartisanship of the 5th Republic, the Left Front and the millions of citizens who voted for its
candidate Jean Luc Melenchon took the path of resistance to the capital markets, to the far right and to
new social conquests.
For our generation, who has experienced the Right in power and regression these past 10 years, the return
of an unusual fighting left with the Left Front that has gathered hundreds of thousands of people
including many young people in its campaign, is great news and a tremendous asset for the future. We must
now use it to return Sarkozy and Front National to the dustbin of history.
Now, by stepping up the fight with the Left Front, we can finish off the people who want to destroy our
future and get back to dreaming of a better life. We must extend this fight so that tomorrow no member of
the National Front is elected [in the June elections] to the National Assembly.
This must be the People’s Assembly, of the youth who return to power for the triumph of social justice,
dignity, solidarity, freedom and fraternity. The Front National, the party of hate, racism and watchdog
of financial markets must be banished.
For this, we must first rid ourselves of Sarkozy. That is why the Communist Youth Movement of France,
bluntly calls for a massive vote for Francois Hollande on May 6.
Young Communists now call all youth to join us in this fight with the Left Front….
…Electing the maximum number of members of the Left Front to the National Assembly tomorrow, is the guarantee that it is the people, young people who can return to power to make new advances. In order for a new page can be opened for our future we must be rid of Le Pen and Sarkozy.
Spanish Communist Party
On 9 April 1977 communists came out of the clandestine existence imposed by fascism in 1939. For almost 40 years of antifascist resistance the Spanish Communist Party (PCE) returned to public political life with the same objective as when it was founded: democracy and socialism.
It is important to remember, more than historic memory, the memory of all those communists is under threat; that the party was a firm defender of democratic freedoms. Including in times of uncertainty, when the fascist barbarity struck again, crueller and more bloody like the Massacre of Atocha in January 1977, the PCE in an immense act of responsibility, led the hundreds of thousands of comrades who demanded justice to stay within the law and to defend the peaceful transition. A Transition that, as time has demonstrated, was not as ‘model’ as it was presented nor as radical as was necessary.
But, at least formally, it meant that the country abandoned the prolonged period of fascist obscurantism and entered the constitutional path of Western democracies.
With the 1978 Constitution PCE made a strategic commitment to freedom. The support, with the “YES” vote in the referendum, for the Constitution, was the result of an objective analysis of the balance of power between “democrats” and “Franco”.
The PCE is, today, on the side of the democrats and the side of freedom, justice and equality. The communists continue to claim a real democracy and a social and participatory democracy, a functioning democracy that ensures the full development of social, political and economic citizenship. The PCE continues, 35 years later, fighting for democracy that is achieved socially, formalized institutionally and materializes economically.
The PCE has helped to build democracy in our country more strongly than any other political force. An insufficient democracy but a necessary one.
Therefore, we are fully entitled to say that today the social compact which underpinned the 1978 Constitution has inevitably been broken with the express constitutional reform [EU Fiscal Compact] carried out by an obscure agreement between PSOE and PP.
This reform, dictated by the “market” without prior consultation with the public, without a referendum…
PSOE and PP have delivered a death sentence to the Constitution of 1978.
Moreover, the economic crisis we are facing has revealed the inadequacy of the Constitution (and hegemonic party) that provides political “management” to respond to most social policies to protect citizens against the offensive of Capital.
The 1978 Constitution, which never saw fully realized the social rights it proclaimed, was a useless tool in the fight against the subjugation of national sovereignty, of the popular will by transnational capital and expectations.
The crisis has highlighted the inadequacy of our own Constitution. We need to move towards a new constituent process.
Capitalism is a determined enemy of democracy, and this has been highlighted in this “financial crisis”. Benefiting from the favourable economic situation caused by fear and social uncertainty, the parties of the system, the Popular Party and PSOE essentially present the only possible solution of the crisis as the reduction of the state to a legal-administrative apparatus of social control. A small state serving the interests of capital in its relentless pursuit of increased value and profits.
Against this false solution to the crisis, the PCE advocates a ‘social , democratic and anti-capitalist alternative’ to serve as the hub of this new process. A new democratic republicanism towards a full democracy, a strong state to ensure full social protection of its citizens putting politics and economy to serve the people.
Capital against labour and capitalism against the state, that is the situation that determines this crisis.
Consequently, we face what the unions have been synthesized brilliantly with the theme of the last call for general strike: ‘They want to end it all.
True, and in this battle, like so many before, the PCE, men and women of the party, we will be on the side of the social majority, the working class. For the PCE, the people are always first. And in that sense, we can only be with “our own”: With the forces of labor and culture facing capital, with the state facing capitalism.
We can not forget that the Party is a tool for fighting, a tool of social transformation that should be useful and effective. A tool in class struggle, class against class, and should always be at the service of the workers. The Party must continue to push, as it has always and United Left is the best example, the process of unifying the radical, plural, open, social and transforming Left. The communists have to work aggressively in the process of convergence and the refounding of the left in order to build a broad anti-capitalist front where the historic bloc of progressive forces this widely represents.
The Party has been, in these 35 years of legality, an example of commitment to the working class. With the working class from which it comes and for which it exists. We’ve been through hard and difficult times, we have overcome every difficulty imaginable, rebuilding, again and again, the Party from our militancy. Always getting up to fight for the dignity of men and women workers, to fight for a common goal: Democracy and socialism.
Some have tried, in these 35 years, to remove the PCE from public life, to socially and politically marginalize the communists. We have responded, to those who wanted to ignore us with honesty, frankness, humility and boldness…
José Luis Centella, spokesman for PCE in the Plural Left Group, Spanish Parliament
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Left Front Presidential Candidate, speaking at a 120,000 strong rally in Paris
But where ever have we been all this time? How had we all disappeared? We’ve been missing one another, hoping to get together, to meet. We’ve finally made it: here we are, all here.
Genie of the Bastille, you who preside over this entire square, we are back. We, the people of the revolutions and rebellions in France, are the red flag, and are the red on the flag, the open hand proffered in solidarity, the hand that gives force, making afist to communicate its energy.
Gesine Lötzsch, chair, Left Party (Die Linke), Germany
The ESM is the largest rescue package that has ever been stretched out over a casino by governments. Speculators receive € 500 billion from the European taxpayers. The rules in this casino have not changed. The Finance Ministers of the Euro countries could not even reach a consensus on the introduction of a financial transaction tax. The lobbyists of the financial industry have paid particular attention to this. Speculators can now uninterruptedly continue their games against entire economies and plunge millions into misery. More
Women’s Network of the European Left
Today all over Europe the social crisis is augmented and the financial decline goes much deeper. The European Union shifts the weights of the crisis to the people but we are well aware that it is the result of bank and stock exchanges speculation. The countries of the South are being impoverished and others face negative development and stagnation. More
The SPD’s Thomas Oppermann, said: “Merkel dictates sweeping austerity to our European partners, but fails to save in her own budget.”
Klaus Ernst, chair of Die Linke (Left Party) said:
“With the fiscal pact Angela Merkel is garrotting Europe, but misses unreasonable saving targets in her own country by miles. This once again confirms the chancellor’s and her government’s arrogance and ignorance towards the peoples of Europe.’
‘The chancellor’s savings mania is anti-social, with the employees, the pensioners, and the small businesses…. It would be reasonable and fair to ask the rich to pay up through a millionaires tax, as Die Linke has been demanding…Anything else is unfair, leads to the impoverishment of millions of people and jeopardizes the European idea.’
Front de Gauche (Left Front), France
The crisis of the capitalist system and the policies of austerity and social regression led by Sarkozy reinforce the social relations of domination, and in particular the inequalities between men and women. Women suffer them more and more every day : purchasing power, wages, imposed working time, pensions, public services…
They are the targets of reactionary and retrograde measures like the closure of abortion and maternity units aimed at imposing a new moral order…There are so many attacks on women’s fundamental rights…
Women have been leading many struggles for the respect of their rights and any advance they make is an advance for all humanity.
Women’s rights have evolved in France over a number of decades thanks to the different feminist mouvements in France who have courageously battled the patriarchy.
You have advanced your demands such as freely controlling your body and achieving laws concerning contraception and abortion.
You have wrested the right to equality at work although laws to implement this have unfortunately been delayed.
Finally your have tackled violence against women with a recognition of rape, and finally a law on the matter in 2010. These laws are down to your determination.
But i don’t think for one minute that the feminist battle has been won
Jean Luc Melechon, French presidential candidate of Front de Gauche)
The battle for equality between men and women for the right to control their bodies, the struggle against patriarchy, against violence against women are important dimensions of any prospect of emancipation. Women continue to suffer oppression in public and private life. The field of action is immense – economic, cultural, symbolic.
It is high time that the goals of their struggles become central to today’s political issues. This is the commitment of the Left Front in the near future, together with the feminist movement and its organisations.
The Left Front is committed to the creation of a Secretary of State for Women’s Rights and Equality with teeth. We are in favour of an increase in all wages to promote equality at work and for the development and improvement of public services from cradle to grave.
We defend the right for each woman to have control over her body with 100% control over contraception and abortion.
We reject all trivialisation of violence against women and support legislation, with the teeth to implement for prevention, education and training.
Together, citizens, political activists, trade unions, associations, artists, politicians, we will follow the logic of ‘humaine d’abord! (Humanity first’)’ in the Left Front, in our struggles and at the polls.
The Left Front’s programme, which includes a demand for a minimum wage of Euros 1700 and retirement at 60, would bring many women out of a situation of precarity. Measures specifically for women also include an anti-sexist law that would criminalise discrimination and sexist insults, an automatic right to move from part-time to full time work, a ‘plan creche’ that would provide 500,000 nursery places, a reimbursement of abortion costs and a housing programme for women in danger
A few facts about women in France today
Source: www dot placeaupeuple dot fr
Femmes Solidaires (Sisters of Solidarity), France
For many years the 190 local committees of Femmes Solidaires have raised the alarm: poverty has a women’s face.
Femmes solidaires, at local and national level, hasn’t been waiting for the International Women’s Day to defend womens’ rights. We have been working closely with those fighting misery, and for an improvement in the living standards and women’s working conditions.
The situation has been aggravated by the national and international crisis. The lowering in purchasing power, precarity, increasing health care charges are among the many blows to the people, and in the first instance, women.
In France, as elsewhere in the world, 80% of the poor are women. There are objective reasons for these facts. Women suffer imposed part-time working, a wage gap and precarious work contracts.
The notion of a middle class tends to evaporate when the gap between rich and poor becomes ever wider.
According to a study by [France's statistics agency] INSEE (August 2011) almost one in eight households are now below the poverty line with less than 950 euros a month.
In 2011, and for the first time in history, SAMU social* stated that more families call [the homeless emergency number] 115 than individuals. This change is due to the crisis in housing, employment and purchasing power that is hitting single parent families in particular.
Femmes Solidaires is standing up against austerity and its catastrophic impact on unemployment and precarity.
Thousands of families, and in particular women who are in sole charge of their children, are falling into poverty.
In the face of this general decline in living standards affecting the majority of French people, Femme Solidaires rejects this tidal wave of organized poverty, and will always be by your side to defend the rights of women.
*a municipal Social Humanitarian emergency service in several cities in France and worldwide whose purpose is to provide care and medical ambulatory aid and nursing to homeless people and people in social distress
Femmes Solidaires has its origins in the women’s committees in the Resistance and has historically been close to the French Communist Party. It has around 30,000 members.
Fernanda Mateus, member of the Political Committee of the Central Committee of Portuguese Communist Party
The commemoration of March 8 takes place in a context of a very violent offensive against women’s rights and their struggle for emancipation. Every measure imposed by the Pact of Aggression deepens the gulf between the aspirations of a vast majority of women to assert their role, their knowhow and capacities – at the professional, social and cultural level – and a brutal worsening of their living and working conditions, together with their increasing impoverishment, namely among women coming from the popular and working classes.
Paolo Ferrero, Communist Refoundation, Italy
[Italian prime minister Mario] Monti says that Europe is speaking about growth but doesn’t tell us that it has instead decided on recession. In fact the Fiscal Compact agreed this morning has guaranteed Italy twenty years of recession. This measure means that for the next 20 years the Italian state has to make cuts [every year] of Euros 40 billion…
It’s complete madness closely resembling the policy in Germany of the Brüning government that from 1929 to 1932 produced 5 million unemployed and the subsequent victory of the Nazis in 1933.
It is ever more clear that the technocrats – and their speculator friends – that govern us speak of economic development but instead practice policies that are just recessive, that increase unemployment, weaken workers and demolish rights won through years of struggle.
This is a real monetary coup d’etat. Monti government has sold off Italian sovereignty entirely.
Soon-not-to-be-President Sarkozy says he won’t call a referendum in France on new EU Treaty. Francois Hollande of the socialists, leading in the polls for the Presidential election kicking off April 22nd, has said he will seek to renegotiate parts of the deal if he wins.
Here’s what Marc Dolez, co-founder of the Left Party that is in an alliance with the communists, told parliamentarians in the debate on 29 February:
‘The Treaty that will be signed [at an EU summit] tomorrow does not respond at all to the banking and financial crisis; designed above all to reassure financial markets and credit rating agencies, it does not include any measure to reduce the power of finance or deepen the solidarity and co-operation between the peoples: the only objective is to constrain countries to generalised austerity.
‘If it comes into being, the Treaty will annihilate any chance of economic growth, aggravating unemployment and precarity. Penalties on member states violates popular sovereignty. We reject putting government under tutelage as we reject any attack on the budgetary sovereignty of parliament, guaranteed by article 14 of the Declaration of human and citizen rights. France cannot commit to an issue that has such serious and grave consequences without consulting with the people….That’s why we are strongly demanding a referendum.’
Party of the European Left
European Mobilizations of workers are taking place today across the European Union, after the call of the European Trade Union Confederation. The Party of the European Left supports and participates in this important day of action against austerity policies pursued by the EU, IMF and ultra-liberal governments. More
Federation of the Left, Italy
New figures show Italian workers earn half of their German, Dutch and Luxembourg colleagues.
Italians working for a company employing at least 10 people earned in 2009 Euros 23,406 gross, compared to Euros 48,914 in Luxembourg, Euros 44,412 in Holland and Euros 41,100 in Germany, according to Eurostat’s ‘Labour market statistics’ report.
The figures were released days after it was revealed that a number of government ministers are millionaires and amid government plans to introduce reforms that will weaken workers’ power in the workplace.
Says Massimo Rossi of the communist Federation of the Left :
‘Eurostat certifies the misery of Italian workers. In Italy a worker earns half of his German, Dutch and Luxembourg colleagues. This is a scandal.
But even more scandalous are the policies of the Monti government that through the ‘modernisation’ of the labour market and attack on Article 18 [employment protections in the constitution ] wants to cut workers’ bargaining power…
‘In reality, he wants workers to pay for a crisis that originates in the same mass impoverishment and enormous social inequalities (for example just look at the income and assets of our sobre governors). The redistribution of wealth and the rebalancing of incomes, more than ineludible objectives of social justice, are indispensable preconditions to exit from the crisis.
Paolo Ferrero, national secretary, Communist Refoundation, Federation of the Left
‘The Executive’s declared objectives were social justice and the crisis: instead its measures have created social injustice and exacerbated the crisis. This is worse than Berlusconi because at least there was some opposition to him, while Monti has none. The core of these first hundred days was the attack on pensions and attempts to dismantle the workers rights. As well as the the lack of a wealth tax, cutting back on public works and the absence of measures in favour of temporary workers and the unemployed. Another hundred days like this will be very serious for the country: the recession will weigh increasingly on workers.’
Die Linke, Germany
According to the federal government, the Greeks may elect who they want provided that they continue to apply the dictates of the troika. Never before has it been so clearly stated that the ruling classes renounce fair-weather democracy when it comes to the money of the banks. More
Italian banks cut lending to businesses by 1.5% in the last quarter of 2011, and 2.2% in December, while a hike in interest cost Italy’s businesses an additional euros 3.7 billion last year, according to Cgia di Mestre, a research centre. A cut in bank lending was a reaction, but also contributed to, a 36% rise in company insolvencies in 2011.
Paolo Ferrero, leader of the Communist Refoundation party:
‘…the banking system is strangling small and medium sized companies by not lending to them. It is ever more evident that private banks take almost free money from the European Central Bank and use it only to lend to governments at exorbitant rates. As a result the economy sinks further into recession. To guarantee credit to small and medium sized businesses it is necessary to end speculation and nationalise the big banks. Only with public control of credit is it possible to exit the crisis and to carry out a green and social transformation of the economy.’
Greece Communist Party (KKE)
“The people must not allow themselves to be flayed alive. It is of no importance whether this happens inside or outside of the Euro, with a controlled or uncontrolled bankruptcy. What is of vital importance is that the people decide that they will make no more sacrifices for the plutocracy, to fill the treasure vaults of the capitalists, while they and their children will be submerged in absolute poverty and destitution.” More
Down with the dictatorship of the monopolies-EU
Greece Communist Party (KKE)
The KKE hung 2 giant banners from the rock of the Acropolis on Saturday morning, the second day of the 48hr general strike. More
Greece Communist Party (KKE)
A mass militant strike took place in Greece on Tuesday 7/2. It was an immediate dynamic response the morning after the official announcements of the government concerning 20% cuts to the basic wages and corresponding 15% cuts to the supplementary pensions, new reductions of the basic pensions, unemployment benefits, and 150,000 dismissals in the public sector. More
Greece Communist Party (KKE)
On 25/1 at the crack of the dawn the All Workers’ Militant Front (PAME) carried out a dynamic protest in Athens outside the hotel where the delegation of the troika is staying and called on the working people to rise up against the government, the plutocracy and their allies. The protesters of PAME blocked the central entrance of the hotel and shouted slogans from the loudspeakers expressing the opposition of the workers and the people to the policy that leads them to bankruptcy and impoverishment. More
Paolo Ferrero Communist Refoundation Party
The protests by fishermen, truck drivers, farmers and taxi drivers, are the demonstration that the Monti government is not only against the workers but also the self-employed and small businesses, while at the same time it protects big business and finance. More
Statement of Hungarian Communist Party
The Hungarian capitalist class understands that if the euro system or the EU itself collapses, it will lead to social explosions even more dramatic than in Greece. They understand that people are unsatisfied and many of them consider that socialism was better that the actual capitalism…
What is now going on in Hungary is on one hand a common fight of the capitalist class against the working masses, and on the other hand, a struggle between two groups of the capitalist class. Even more, it is a struggle between the leading capitalist powers, the US and Germany for European dominancy….
Statement of Greek Communist Party (KKE)
The parties of the coalition government and the plutocracy are attempting to convert their impasses into dilemmas to blackmail the people. While the return of the people to the 1950s constitutes a strategic choice for them so that the workers and self-employed pay not only for the crisis but also for the future profitability of the monopolies, they have the brazenness to demand that the people accept its damnation in order to foil the already scheduled bankruptcy which is inevitable. More
Resolution of the Council of chairpersons of the Party of the European Left (EL) on tackling the European Economic and Financial Crisis
The European summit of the 8-9 December 2011 marks a very dangerous turning point for the future of Europe. Entering into an agreement on the protection of the European Central Bank independence and the stability pact, imposing budgetary discipline to European countries by automatic penalties, inclusion of the “golden rule” in fundamental laws and creation of a “right of interference” for European institutions in national budgets, heads of states and European leaders are overturning peoples in a chaotic Europe.
Common Declaration of Jean-Luc Mélenchon – candidat of France’s Left Front (Front de Gauche) for the French Presidential Election 2012 – and Oskar Lafontaine – founding member of Germany’s Left Party (Die Linke) and former German MP, Chancellor in Strasbourg (14.12.2011).
Address to European Workers
The current leaders of the European Union are leading us to disaster.
For years they have given more power to finance. The result is catastrophe. The environment has been sacrificed. Unemployment has exploded. Workers are squeezed and impoverished. The real economy has been taken hostage by the banks. In the name of the crisis that they have caused, European governments want to deepen their austerity policies.
Under pressure from Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, they decided to write a new treaty in order to impose economic rigor, that will remove from the European people the right to freely set their budgets. None of them thought to seek the opinion of the people on such a fundamental text. It’s a headlong rush into austerity Europe.
Statement of the Political Bureau of the central Commitee of the Greek Communist (KKE)
The Agreement of the Eurogroup (EU of 17) for a stricter framework-control of fiscal discipline does not constitute a strengthening either of the Euro or of the Eurogroup or even more so of the EU.
A fragile compromise was achieved with the will and interests of Germany prevailing, which is not going to blunt the contradictions, nor will the unevenness be surpassed and nor will the economic crisis be dealt with. In any case, the adherence to the strict fiscal management is being disputed within Germany also.
The unification of the European market in the framework of the EU from 1991 to 2000 belongs to the past. Even now, the communist and workers parties or forces within them, which surrendered to the “inevitability” of the EU, should now fight its imperialist character as a whole, they should call on the workers-people’s movement to break fully with the EU, regardless of whether they operate in a state in its leading core or in one of the countries which is in a closer or further orbit from it.
The people’s movement in Greece and in every member-state of the EU must not be trapped waiting for the development of the contradictions between the bourgeois governments and the various sections of big capital, but it must leave its mark on the developments. It must march forwards for disengagement from the EU with people’s workers power.
Continued at KKE website
Georgios Toussas MEP of KKE during the current session of the European Parliament on 14.12.2011 to discuss the “Review of the Polish Presidency of the EU”. Stated:
“The Polish Presidency in conditions of the sharpening of the capitalist crisis and the inter-imperialist contradictions within the EU and other imperialist centres, contributed to the servicing of the interests of the European monopoly groups and the defence of the bourgeois political system. It was a merciless enemy- together with other bourgeois governments of the EU –of the interests of the people. It zealously promoted all the anti-people decisions of the Council, Commission, governments and political forces of capital: The EU strategy “Europe 2020″, the “stronger economic governance”, the recent decisions of the Summit for a more reactionary “Stability Pact” and “enhanced fiscal discipline” and work for the “Multi-annual Cohesion Program “, a barrage of capitalist restructuring, with painful sanctions against the peoples that make their lives hell and the other hand new privileges and “golden” subsidies for the European monopolies and the financial system .
They supported the decisions for the controlled bankruptcy of Greece, the uncontrolled bankruptcy of the Greek working class and the popular strata, opening the “Pandora’s box” for the spread of bankruptcy to the peoples of other Member States, in order to safeguard the profits of the plutocracy.
The Polish presidency was marked by the imperialist war of the U.S., EU and NATO against Libya. The danger of imperialist wars, a generalized conflagration at a regional level, is growing even more….More
Nichi Vendola, governor of Puglia and leader of Left Ecology Freedom Party, was among thousands marching in Florence, Italy, on Saturday December 17, to remember Mor e Modou, Senegalese migrant workers murdered Tuesday by neo-nazi Gianluca Casseri:
“Racism has been permitted by the political class for a long time. The language of power was a racist language. Italy is a country that has withdrawn legislation that stigmatised racial hatred, that constructed racial laws.
“Fine words are not enough. Today we need to build a civilised image for Italy, that is welcoming and democratic.
“We need to liberate ourselves from the rubbish of racial laws,” he said pointing to the Bossi-Fini legislation , which gives unscrupulous bosses excessive power over migrant workers, and to reinstate the Mancino law that criminalises the incitement to racial hatred.
“We also need to recognised the right to citizenship for those who are born in Italy,” he said.
Pedro Guerreiro, member of the Central Committee of the Portuguese Communist Party on the conclusions of the EU summit of 8 December
The European Council have confirmed the essential purpose of the process of capitalist integration of the European Union: the imposition of an agenda based on the exploitation and impoverishment of workers, of more austerity for the people in order to ensure the protection of the profits of financial capital, of subordination of national sovereignty to the interests of the powers hegemonised by Germany.
Paolo Ferrero, leader, Communist Refoundation party, Italy:
Italy’s communists react to EU summit of 8 December
The European summit concluded with the complete victory of Chancellor Merkel: a genuine Monetary Coup d’Etat and a new European order in which Berlin reigns supreme. The model to which Merkel aspires is evidently the mad restrictive policies that Chancellor Bruning imposed on Germany after the 1929 crisis. This led to 5 million unemployed and the victory Hitler in the elections of January 1933. Even more than a disaster the measures adopted at the summit are madness:
Earlier this month, Italian communist Lucio Magri passed away.
Check out this review by John Green in the Morning Star of “The Tailor of Ulm: Communism in the Twentieth Century” in which Green describes the work as “one of the most significant and important books I’ve read on the history of communism during the 20th century.”
“Magri’s assessments and ideas are not only fascinating for those who are themselves Marxists or communists but would be invaluable to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of our recent history and for ways of overcoming the present global and systemic crisis. Even though the author develops his perspectives from his experience within the Italian communist party (PCI), they have much wider implications and significance.”
Today (14.12.2011) the main trade unions called a day of action against austerity in more than 170 French cities. Trade unions denounce rightly the two austerity plans imposed by the French government which combine social and welfare cuts, destruction of public services that finally leads to recession and impoverishment of peoples.
The Party of the European Left (EL) supports workers in their legitimate struggle and shares their condemnation of Nicolas Sarkozy and François Fillon policy whose only goal is to steal workers, women, young people, pensioners, to take what belongs to people in order to deliver it on a plate to their « Fouquet’s friends », to the bankers and stockholders. It is the workers that make the wealth of France and they must be heard!
At a time when heads of states and European leaders want to impose the « golden rule » in all countries, submit national budgets to their order, and continue attacks against workers, the Party of the European Left is fully committed to fight with them to promote real solutions to exit the crisis. It means: public control of banking and financial systems, a new role for the European Central Bank to serve the social, ecological and solidarity development, a fair tax system and an increase of social and wage standards in every European country.
The EL calls for the creation, everywhere in Europe, of resistance fronts against austerity and will take initiatives to establish dialogue between all political, trade unions and democratic forces in Europe which are looking for solution to exit –not to manage – the crisis. It’s time for unity and alternatives to exit the dead-end.
Interviewed on this occasion for France’s l’Humanité newspaper, Axel Troost, Linke deputy in the Bundesrat declares: Social inequality in Germany strikes deeper than at any time since 1949”. And indeed a recent IFOP-Humanité poll shows a majority of Germans dissatisfied with the much vaunted « German model » .
“That Linke deputies on the one hand and Front de Gauche deputies on the other hand present the same bill before their respective Parliaments is a first for our two parliamentary groups. This kind of Franco-German cooperation will know further developments. The trend is already widening since the Czech Parliament is due next week to debate on the same proposals brought up by the Czech Communist group.
Among the measures proposed, one is largely approved  namely the taxation of financial transactions. This proposal comes from Die Linke, but is has the support of the Social Democratic Party and of the Greens. Only the Federal Democratic Party officially opposes it. But all in all, the bill will be voted down by all these parties.
In Germany the gulf between the richest and the poorest is growing wider and wider. We have never seen the like of this since the foundation of the Federal Republic in 1949. The poor have become poorer, and the rich have grown richer. The labour market does not meet people’s expectations. It offers a lot of precarious, temporary, under-paid jobs. It does not give many workers the opportunity to make a decent living. This is why dissatisfaction runs so deep, not just among salaried workers, but also among pensioners who have seen their real income dwindle year after year. The condition of students is often miserable.
Even though social inequality has increased in Germany and caused deep dissatisfaction over the last years, there is still a gap between the actual social situation and the way people see it. When asked for whom they intend to vote in the next elections, many are resigned and no longer believe that politics can help them out of their difficulties. It is a duty for the Left (‘Die Linke) to regain their support and convince them that they can fight and change their country’s policies.”
 53 % of them find the level of social protection (unemployment and sick leave benefits, education) inadequate ; 64% find that the education system and the health system operate poorly; 67% think pensions are not sure to be paid over the next twenty years; 86% buy an important part of their food and cleansing products from hard discount stores (against 43% of French people).
 In the German Parliament,
Translated Monday 12 December 2011, by Isabelle Métral and reviewed by Henry Crapo.
The EL denounces the insulting and historically wrong amalgamation, used by multiple European governments, which – in order to discredit them – put communist ideas on the same level with fascist, racist and chauvinist ideas.
In Romania, for example, an organisation cannot call itself “communist”, as it would subsequently be considered as a “threat for national security”. In this very moment a law is debated upon regarding the “organisation of public meetings”. It stipulates that those public meetings are forbidden which have “the propagation of totalitarian ideas, such as fascist, communist, racist and chauvinist ideas” as their goal. In the Czech Republic, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia risks suspension or prohibition for reasons which are absolutely illegitimate as well.
The EL deems it as unacceptable to compare the struggles being fought by communists – defender of the solidarity of and with the people – with those that have been caused by the worst chauvinist downturns and setbacks of civilization on our continent. It is scandalous – in a moment when populisms are growing again in Europe and when the extreme right has entered into the Greek government with the blessing of the European Union – that the governments thus falsify the history, with the goal of discrediting all forms of alternative thinking against ultraliberalism, the dictatorship of the markets, capitalism and NATO imperialism.
The EL supports the organisations concerned by these attacks and will rise up against each and every attempt aimed at criminalising, demonising and treating the European left the same as the extreme right.
30 November 2011
Julien Lauprêtre, the president of Secours populaire (a non-profit association whose aim is to fight poverty and exclusion), declared that the poverty rate revealed by INSEE this Tuesday is clearly lower than the reality. These figures actually date back to 2009 and therefore are not current. The president of Secours populaire is worried by this “tidal wave of poverty” which is crashing down over France. Interview for Humanité.fr
This morning you criticised INSEE’s 2009 figures for being lower than the reality. What does the current situation look like?
Julien Lauprêtre: This morning, Secours populaire received INSEE’s figures on poverty with great interest, and they do indeed reveal the high level of poverty in our country. However, these figures date back to 2009 and, as a result, they are below the reality. All the signs point towards the fact that poverty is growing. On the other hand, although these figures are fact, they don’t cover every aspect. You have to take into account other factors. One French person in two didn’t go on holiday this year. In addition, 39% of French people gave up health care, for financial reasons, care that had been prescribed to them. Lastly, it should be noted that not all French people have access to sport or culture. There is a real tidal wave of poverty crashing down over France. Today our volunteers all came to the same conclusion: poverty has continued growing, no matter which region you look at. There isn’t a single region in France where the situation hasn’t deteriorated.
Which measures have been put in place by the Secours populaire?
Julien Lauprêtre: Today the problems of job insecurity have become problems with society. We have alerted the public authorities that it is affecting young people more and more. In the last few years we have observed a flood of young people coming to our centres. In November, we are organising the “National Conference of Youth Solidarity” which will be held from 24th to 26th November in Nancy. The Secours populaire are trying to get as close as possible to young people, but we can’t solve the problem on our own.
What kind of response have you received from the government and the E.U.?
Julien Lauprêtre: The Secours populaire directs the authorities and is an advocate for the poor. These figures confirm what we have been saying for years. Today we have proof, in the form of these figures, that poverty has continued to grow. That’s the reality of it. From this moment on the authorities must wake up to these signs. Unfortunately, there is no chance that the poverty rate will improve after the European Commission took the decision to cut around 400 million euros from its European Programme of Aid to the Poor (PEAD) in June. This is a drastic decision, which involves the budget being cut by 75% before being scrapped completely. In France, this programme helps feed nearly 4 million people through the work of 4 associations (French Red Cross, Banques alimentaires, Restos du Coeur and French Secours populaire). Regarding our services, if this measure is not reconsidered, it will be impossible to distribute half of these meals. A meeting of the ministers for Agriculture will take place on 18th September. If the decision to make these cuts cannot be revised then our country faces a real food disaster.
Lastly, can you tell us something about the reason behind your presence at the Fête de L’Humanité (the biggest communist festival in France)?
Julien Lauprêtre: The aim of Secours populaire’s presence at the Fête de l’Humanité is to show the public the importance of developing our organisation in today’s society in order to create more and more solidarity. We are also there to spread our message, notably by alerting the public to the seriousness of the European Commission’s decision through a petition.
In their study INSEE announced that in 2009 the poverty rate had reached 13.5%, 5% higher than in 2008. This year the poverty line was set at 954 euros a month and in 2009 8.2 million people were living below this line. Out of these 8.2 million half are living on less than 773 euros a month.
Translated Tuesday 11 October 2011, by Emily Drummond and reviewed by Bill Scoble