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The Irish revolutionary current éirígí issued the following statement on Saturday, June 25 on the Leave victory in the EU membership referendum in the ‘United Kingdom’ and its ramifications for Ireland:

Speaking from Dublin the national chairperson, Brian Leeson said, “Today’s result can only be seen as a defeat for the business and political elite of Ireland, Britain and Europe. The EU superstate project has been struck a massive blow by millions of working class people across England, Scotland, Wales and occupied Ireland.

“Over the last decade éirígí has consistently highlighted the deeply flawed nature of the EU. In three separate referendums in the Twenty-Six Counties we have encouraged voters to reject an EU superstate that is militarised, anti-democratic and fundamentally wedded to a destructive neo-liberal ideology.

“Over the last number of weeks our activists have again been on the ground in Belfast and elsewhere distributing tens of thousands of leaflets and posters calling on people to oppose the EU superstate by voting Leave.

“Despite the hysterical scare-mongering of Sinn Féin and the other pro-EU parties our activists succeeded in getting the socialist Leave message to the people on the ground. I commend them for the part they played in today’s historic result.”

Calling for a British withdrawal from Ireland and an Irish withdrawal from the EU, Leeson said:

“Like Connolly and the others leaders of the 1916 Rising we believe that the Read the rest of this entry »

13466301_1776408282646207_5266060617501731086_nby Don Franks

Roughly US$2 trillion got wiped off global stocks after Britain’s shock vote to leave the European Union.

(Two trillion is two thousand billion. One billion is one thousand million.)

Doug Cote, chief market strategist at Voya Investment Management in New York, said that dynamic was a positive one for markets.

“If you have cash on the sidelines it could be a buying opportunity”.

By the way, according to the United Nations, it would take Read the rest of this entry »

download (1)by Tony Norfield

What explains the desperation of British capitalism and Conservative Party in the lead up to the Brexit referendum on 23 June? Opinion polls have shifted in favour of a Leave vote and, while the accuracy of the polls is always in doubt, a shift towards Leave seems evident from widespread vox
pop views in the media, in the panic of the Remain camp and in the financial market setbacks for sterling’s downloadexchange rate. Equity markets have also been hit, and not just in the UK. As a sign of desperation, the Remain camp has even called upon the Labour Party’s lumbering has-been, Gordon Brown, to add his
weight to what looks like a failing balance. Her Majesty has so far been allowed to stay above the dispute, just about. One can imagine that if the polls get any worse for Remain, then Downing Street could try to prompt a Royal appeal to her loyal subjects to do the right thing. Where has this revolt of popular sentiment come from?

download (2)My previous coverage of the Brexit referendum has focused on the situation facing the British ruling class in a world where its economic and political interests are clearly bound up with Europe, but where there has been a minority view that an alternative is possible ‘outside’, especially in a context of European economic crisis. But the significant support for Leave shows that this has underestimated a key point. What might otherwise be considered simply as popular disgruntlement with political elites – ‘vote Leave to teach them a lesson’ – is better explained as a widespread view that these elites have broken their pact with Read the rest of this entry »

downloadThe statement below appeared on the English-language site of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on June 16:

All of the proposed international “initiatives” for settlement in Palestine are a “waste of time,” said freed prisoner and Palestinian leader Comrade Khalida Jarrar, in a Wednesday evening interview with Palestine Today satellite channel. “The continued reliance on bilateral negotiations…or other initiatives that differ slightly but remain on the framework of familed negotiations, without any political review required to replace it with a new political track to enhance Palestinian steadfastness and unity, is wasteful and destructive,” said Jarrar.

Jarrar said that the goal of these many initiatives is to cut the road in front of real political choice and political struggle, while diminishing the strength of the Palestinian case internationally, saying that the so-called “Arab initiative” is not a “serious option to support the Palestinian people and enable them to end the occupation.” She noted that a number of Arab countries are attempting to strengthen their relations with the occupation and using such initiatives in their interests in this regard.

Addressing the situation of Palestinian prisoners, she highlighted the imprisonment of Read the rest of this entry »

2010 Christchurch protest against the 90-day legislation

Part of 2010 Christchurch protest against the 90-day legislation

 

by Phil Duncan

In 2009 the government introduced legislation which allowed bosses in workplaces with less than 20 workers to take on people in trial 90-day periods; within this 90 days they could fire at will.  In 2011, the legislation was extended to all workplaces.  Fairly quickly, the ‘opposition’ Labour Party declared that it would not repeal this legislation if it got back into office.  John Key’s rationalisation for this anti-worker measure was that it would make employers more likely to hire young people, migrants, beneficiaries, Maori and Pasifika workers.

Opponents of the legislation, like ourselves, pointed out that while the legislation was unlikely to have any devastating effect on the working class, it was essentially a sop to business, especially small business, which sought greater control over workers and more ‘flexibility’ on the part of workers – ie working as and when the bosses dictated.

Reduced costs for bosses, nothing for workers

Now a Treasury report has been issued confirming precisely what people like ourselves said back in 2009 and 2011.

The key findings of the report indicate, “the policy appears to make a positive, if small, contribution to the range of regulatory options for achieving labour market flexibility and increasing the ease of doing business”.  Thus, “trial periods allow firms to Read the rest of this entry »

People march with labour union flags and banners at a demonstration to protest the proposed labour law reforms in Nantes, France, May 17, 2016. Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

People march with labour union flags and banners at a demonstration to protest the proposed labour law reforms in Nantes, France, May 17, 2016. Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

by Julien Salingue and Ugo Palheta (June 6)

France continues to be rocked by massive protests and strikes against the Socialist Party government of President François Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls and its plans to change longstanding labor rules that favor workers. Now targeting legislation known as the El Khomri law, the demonstrations have grown from their first stage—the Nuit Debout (Up All Night) protests that began with nightly gatherings in the Place de la République in Paris and spread to more public squares.

The French Senate is set to begin debate on the El Khomri law on June 14, and unions and social movements are ramping up strikes and protests in preparation for the most important political confrontation in Europe since the Greek anti-austerity referendum last July.

When a social movement erupts, there is a natural temptation to judge it based on the terms of movements that preceded it—for instance, by comparing its slogans and the number of people on protests. Even the new movement’s participants may contribute to this tendency by adopting the postures and even the language of past uprisings, as Karl Marx pointed out in The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, his famous account of the French Revolution of 1848.

But the historical significance of a movement and its successes—be they immediate or posthumous—are never reducible to the glorious memories they revive nor to the number of individuals they mobilized. Paying too much attention to these aspects often leads one to miss new features that herald unforeseeable upheavals and may reshape the map of what is possible.

In fact, the current movement—whose decline (if not death) was declared by the corporate media immediately upon its birth—has yet to mobilize as many people as those who took to the streets in the defeated mobilizations against pension cuts pushed through by conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2010.

Likewise, the victorious struggle in 2006 against the contrat première embauche (CPE, or First Employment Contract), which would have gutted employee rights for young workers, included student general assemblies and demonstrations more massive than what we have yet seen today.

So it can be argued that the movement against the new Labor Code—of which Nuit Debout is obviously an integral part—is not simply an extension of the cycle of massive struggles opened by previous victories, most critically those against neoliberal reforms proposed by conservative Prime Minister Alain Juppé in December 1995. Rather, it represents a Read the rest of this entry »

"What do we want? A fair deal. When do we want it? Now!" more than 1000 firefighters chanted as they marched through the streets of Melbourne on December 8 last year;

“What do we want? A fair deal. When do we want it? Now!” more than 1000 firefighters chanted as they marched through the streets of Melbourne on December 8 last year

by Susanne Kemp

Given that firefighters risk their lives for not exactly a lot of pay, you’d think that any half-decent government anywhere might be vitally concerned to ensure they have the best conditions possible as workers and their pay reflects both their skills and the danger of their jobs.  Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

Across the ditch in Victoria, for instance, instead of facilitating the firefighters in doing their job, the state government last year launched a massive assault on pay, conditions and the firefighters’ union itself.  This assault was fronted by ‘socialist-feminist’ Emergency Services minister Jane Garrett.  Garrett used feminist rhetoric – she’s also a member of the phony ‘Socialist Left’ faction in the Victorian ALP (Labor Party) – to attack the firefighters union.  When she got booed by fireifghters, for instance, she accused them of “bullying”.  More seriously, she was utterly backing the CFA (Country Fire Authority) and doing her damnedest to bring the union down.  On June 9, however, the firefighters scored a small victory as she was forced to resign.

On the pay front, the firefighters haven’t had an increase since  Read the rest of this entry »