Syriza’s victory: turning hope into reality

by Michael Burke and John Ross

tsiprasThe Greek people have inspired every progressive force in Europe, and beyond, by electing the first anti-austerity government in Europe. Syriza has similarly inspired every progressive person with the great political skill with which it outmanoeuvred the forces in Greece and Europe who attempted to scare the Greek people into not voting for it. As Alexis Tsipras said immediately after its victory Syriza has opened up hope for the Greek people – and many others as well.

The key question now is how to turn hope into reality. Continue reading →

Syriza deserve our trust, support and solidarity

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

GREEK ELECTIONSRadical Left Takes Power‘. There’s a headline not seen in my lifetime. Syriza‘s victory in Sunday’s Greek elections is rightly being greeted with dismay, derision, and near panic by those who presume to know the needs of Greece better than the 2.2m voters who turned out against a completely unnecessary economic depression and austerity-without-end. Sadly, it was just two seats short from acquiring an absolute majority, tingeing the celebrations with a bit of ‘oooh, ‘ang on a minute‘ as Syriza came to a governing arrangement with the Independent Greeks (or ANEL), also known as the British Conservatives’ Greek sister party. Continue reading →

Remembering the last Greek government elected on a Bennite programme

by Jon Lansman

Tony Benn

As PASOK suffers the worst defeat in its history, the one thing it still has in common with Syriza is that it too was once elected on a Bennite programme. We reflect on that with the help of Tony Benn.

Last night’s sweeping victory for Syriza is the first election of a genuinely radical Left government in the European Union (though you might argue the Socialist/ Communist government François Mitterand appointed in 1981 also had a radical economic programme). The importance of Syriza’s victory in challenging austerity in Europe is tremendous and across Europe we will all be affected by its success or otherwise in meeting that challenge.  Continue reading →

As Syriza win on an anti-austerity platform in Greece, Labour MPs seek a change in direction here

by Jon Lansman

SYRIZA Labour logoAs Syriza wins a remarkable victory in Greece on a platform of ending austerity and greater state intervention in the economy, fifteen Labour MPs have today expressed concerns about elements of Labour’s policy agenda, and proposed a change of course in three key areas. They have issued a statement calling for an alternative to austerity, for public ownership of the railways and for a return to collective bargaining and employment rights in the workplace.

Michael Meacher – who co-ordinated the statement – said: Continue reading →

The on-demand economy is an even greater threat than zero hours contracts

by Michael Meacher

stampout casual contractsMuch of the debate about the fast-growing on-demand economy has centred around Uber. Their drivers get paid only when they work and are responsible for their own pensions and health care. Risks borne by companies are being pushed back on to individuals, and this has huge implications for the organisation of work, the potential insecurity for workers, and the nature of the social contract in a capitalist society. Like many innovations, the on-demand economy began in the US, but the concept of connecting people with freelances is growing prodigiously. Uber, founded in San Francisco in 2009, now operates in 53 countries, had sales last year exceeding $1bn, and now has a valuation of $40bn. Altogether some 53 million US workers, a quarter of the labour force, already work as freelances. Continue reading →

Why Labour should adopt ‘citizen’s income’

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

basic-incomeI’m all for nicking good policies, and one Labour and the labour movement should half-inch is the citizen’s income from the Green Party. Of course, the Greens don’t own it, it has been knocking about for a good many years. But they are the only ones pushing it as a key plank of their commitments. Here is the short section from their policy website, and is likely to have similar wording for the 2015 manifesto: Continue reading →

Nothing stands between Labour and election victory except its own timidity

by Michael Meacher

Timid Ed lookalikeA sad tale of ambivalence and timidity across a range of policies

This coming Monday the remaining stages of the Infrastructure Bill will be taken in Parliament, including votes on the launch of fracking in this country. Cameron and Osborne have declared they are both ‘gung-ho’ to develop this technology to the fullest degree as fast as possible, though the resistance at Balcombe in East Sussex and Lancashire where the county council has refused drilling consent to Cuadrilla suggests that grass roots opposition may be a lot stronger than the Tories have reckoned for, including in hitherto true-blue areas. Continue reading →

Greek election: latest polls show Syriza in lead but short of working majority

by Jon Lansman

GREEK ELECTIONSThe latest polls completed on Friday show Syriza with a convincing lead over New Democracy of 5.5% before don’t knows are excluded. However, that lead would leave Syriza without a working majority although it is possible that, with this lead given the margin of error, it could just achieve 151 seats.

GPO 33.4 26.7 5.0 5.1 4.9 5.0 3.5
MRB 31.2 26.0 6.5 5.5 4.5 4.0 3.2
Kapa 31.8 28.9 4.9 5.5 4.5 4.7 2.6
Alco 32.9 26.3 5.4 5.4 3.7 4.5 3.6
Marc 32.2 26.0 6.3 6.1 4.4 4.0 3.4
Average 32.3 26.8 5.6 5.5 4.4 4.4 3.3
Seats 149 81 17 17 13 13 10

Continue reading →

The economics of hypocrisy and why the sheikdoms have to go

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

AbdullahPaying close attention to politics you become immune to the dollops of lick spittle and cretinous behaviour that comes with it. Yesterday, however, didn’t only take the biscuit but dribbled great dollops of gob over it. Remember when the Dear Leader died and great numbers of presidents and prime ministers queued up to praise his rancid regime? Nope, me neither. Then why the hell is the government and the British establishment they represent flying flags at half-mast and gibbering pious praise for the late and very much unlamented Abdullah ibn Abdilaziz Al Saud, the self-styled King of Saudi Arabia? Continue reading →

Is Hinkley C the turning point against nuclear power in Britain?

by Michael Meacher

Nuclear_power_plant_worldDespite the government’s constant assertion that funding is impossibly tight and that any departure for a rigid status quo by the Labour party is unaffordable, there seems to be no limit to government subsidies gushing into the doomed nuclear project at Hinkley in Somerset.

Last year the government offered the French energy company EDF the contract to build a third nuclear power station paid for by increases in electricity bills over 35 years and Treasury-backed loans. Now confidence in the project is evaporating as it is increasingly realised that the same construction problems, delays and spiralling costs which have devastated EDF’s building similar nuclear plants at Olkiluoto in Finland and Flammanville in France will hit Hinkley C in the UK. Centrica, which was supposed to be a joint partner with EDF, pulled out. Continue reading →

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