By the kind permission of Britain’s grossly undemocratic electoral system new Labour won a ’landslide victory’ in the general election. This bizarre result was achieved with the support of just 42% of those who voted and a mere 25% of those entitled to vote. Labour’s vote went down by nearly 3 million from the 1997 election.
The perspective of a victory for Silvio Berlusconi led to fairly lively reactions in the political circles of several European countries, which expressed two major concerns: the use that a personality with such economic power could make of access to political power and the threat that a coalition comprising a right populist party like the Northern League and the heirs of the neo-fascists, National Alliance, would represent.
The Party of Communist Refoundation (PRC) took a heavy battering throughout the electoral campaign and in the days following the announcement of the results. So-called democratic and/or left journalists and intellectual masterminds competed in a kind of witch hunt against the PRC denounced as guilty of having helped Berlusconi become Premier.
Gigi Malabarba, one of three PRC senators elected on May 13, began working at Alfa Romeo in Milan in the early 1970s and participated in the fierce workers’ struggles which took place at this factory, firstly against privatisation and then against the closure carried out by the new bosses, Fiat. Gigi is one of the leaders of Bandiera Rossa (Italian supporters of the Fourth International in the PRC) and the Party of Communist Refoundation.
Profoundly divided, disorientated and marginalised on the political chessboard, the Greek left has been in decline for a good decade or so, that is since its participation in the ephemeral government coalition led by the conservative right (the New Democracy party).
It was enough for the PASOK government to disclose its central ideas on reform of the pension system for the social and political climate to change radically. It was as if the real menace of seeing the value of pensions halved and the retirement age going from 60 to 65 or even higher, brusquely awakened a long slumbering and fatalistic Greek society.
What happened during the Summit of the Americas meeting in Quebec City in April was big - anywhere between 40,000 to 60,000 people at its’ biggest.
In the following article, which has been shortened for space reasons, Alex Callinicos, a leader of Britain’s Socialist Workers Party, explains his party’s viewpoint on the new world situation.
On the 2nd of December 2000, when the Zapatistas announced that they would travel to Mexico City to engage in dialogue both with civil society and with the National Assembly of the Union to persuade the legislators to be so kind as to approve the Law on Indigenous Culture and Right, no one, not even the most optimistic, would have imagined the tremendous success of this mobilisation.
This article is a contribution to the discussion of the social movements that are driving the protests in Argentina today, movements in which the old syndicalist and political identities are being reconfigured and mixed with new actors, where new voices are making room for the complaints of social sectors, hitherto pushed into misery as a result of the policies of neo-liberal "restraint", allowing them to be heard.
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