By Brian Jones
The working class of Greece obviously still faces a huge uphill fight against the savage austerity measures being imposed on them to pay for the crisis created by the Greek capitalist class. The new ‘bailout’ package for Greece agreed by the Eurozone countries only represents the mildest of ameliorations of the terms of the previous such package – 21 per cent effective reduction in the size of debt on Greece’s bonds, reduction of interest rate for bailout funds from 5.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent, and extension of the period of repayment. But nevertheless it contains a crucial lesson – struggle pays.
By Tom O’DonnellThe results of the Spanish municipal, local and regional elections on May 22nd were a defeat for the ruling socialist government of the PSOE (Party of the Spanish Socialist Workers) – but they were not a major victory for the Right, led by the Partido Popular (PP). PSOE received just 27.8% of the vote, down from 35.3% in the same elections held in 2007.
This week, as Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams’ announced the party’s new Ministerial Assembly team, the party emerged from the fourth consecutive election this year which has seen Sinn Féin’s vote steadily rise – north and south of the border. The 5 May Assembly and council elections in the six counties saw a continuation of a trend in the north – that of an increase in support for Sinn Féin, and of endorsement for the Good Friday Agreement.
By Frances Davis
This year will mark the 30th Anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike, in which Bobby Sands and nine other republican prisoners died in a struggle for political status against the Thatcher government’s brutal policy of ‘criminalisation’. The hunger strike was a critical turning point in the most prolonged struggle against colonialism anywhere in history – the more than 800-year-long struggle against British rule in Ireland. This historic moment in Irish history, which ultimately saw the victory of the hunger strikers’ demands, was indeed, as Fidel Castro described that year, ‘one of the most heroic chapters in human history’.
By Jane West
Sarkozy’s introduction of the legal ban on wearing the full face veil in France is an indication of the degree to which right-wing governments across Europe are prepared to try to deflect anger at attacks on working class living standards onto innocent scapegoats – in this case approximately 2000 Muslim women in France, less than 0.2% of the population, who wear a Burqa or Niqab.
Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Féin and elected to the Dáil in the recent Irish elections, draws out the historic turn in the politics of Ireland marked by the 1981 hunger strike and the elections of hunger strikers Bobby Sands (to the Westminster Parliament) and Ciaran Doherty and Paddy Agnew (to the Dublin Dáil). He draws out how this period marked a turn in the politics of Ireland on both sides of the border and shaped the subsequent three decades of Irish politics. The article orginally appeared on his blog.
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