The Left

The consequences of the fall of the Berlin wall & Eastern European dictatorships

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WHAT WAS ANYONE to make of the fact that students began hanging pears from apple trees on the morning of December 20th 1990 at Bucharest University? For, early that same morning, workers were bussed from all over Romania to attend a 'spontaneous' demonstration in front of Party buildings in support of the dictator, Nicolai Ceausescu. The students at Bucharest University, aware of the real mood in the country, were satirising a famous speech made by Ceausescu to the effect that Stalinist party policy in Romania would only change when 'pears began to grow from apple trees' - the students proved to be singularly accurate with their timing.

Understanding the Zapatistas as a social movement

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It is now five years since the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) came to the attention of the world when they seized five towns in Chiapas on New Year's day in 1994. The years since have seen only a couple of weeks of actual warfare. However the uneasy cease-fire has seen hundreds of land occupations and several national and international gatherings. Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people have travelled to Chiapas to see the rebellion with their own eyes. Hundreds have been deported by the Mexican government for doing so. Solidarity groups exist in most western countries, including Ireland. In 1993 Chiapas was as anknown backwater in Mexico. Now, in the eyes of many activists, it has moved to centre stage.

Noam Chomsky on Anarchism, Marxism & Hope for the Future - interview

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Noam Chomsky is widely known for his critique of U.S foreign policy, and for his work as a linguist. Less well known is his ongoing support for libertarian socialist objectives. In a special interview done for Red and Black Revolution, Chomsky gives his views on anarchism and marxism, and the prospects for socialism now. The interview was conducted in May 1995 by Kevin Doyle.

The EZLN rising in Mexico

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On New Years Day of '94 people awoke to the news that four towns in the south-eastern state of Chiapas had been taken over by a group calling itself the Zapatista National Liberation Army. Dermot Sreenan, who recently presented a talk on the EZLN and organised a picket of the Mexican embassy in January '94, looks at the politics and history of the EZLN.

Marx and The State

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Some Marxists claim Marx was a libertarian, and Leninism and social democracy are not really Marxist. But in doing so they ignore the anarchist critique of Marx's political ideas on the state, the party and the organisation of a socialist revolution. Conor Mc Loughlin looks at the contradictions within Marx's political writings.

 

Marx & the State

 


 

Has Socialism A Future? The Left - Ashes To Phoenix Part 1

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It has become something of a cliché to refer to the death or collapse of the left. What's still missing however is an analysis of what went wrong with the left. One that goes beyond surface manifestations, and reaches into its core politics. This lack of analysis means that much of the 'new left' is not that new at all, merely a repackaging of old ideas in new wrappers.

The Next Global Crash? On China and the 21st Century Crisis

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Today, China is the driving engine of global economic growth. A major crisis of the Chinese economy will almost certainly drag the global economy into the next recession in the 2020s. This may turn out to be far more damaging than the Great Recession of 2008.

Minqi Li is a political economist at the University of Utah and an advocate of China’s Maoist New Left [1]. His most recent book, ‘China and the 21st Century Crisis’, outlines capitalism’s next looming crisis. Regardless of the proximate cause, this coming crisis will be economic, political, and ecological. It will also be global.

The centre collapses - the Yellow Vests emerge

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On the apolitical labelling of the movement - Many of us have been following the Yellow Vest clashes on the streets of France with great interest and trying to understand this movement that appeared to come from nowhere.  It is another story of the pressures of late stage capitalism collapsing the center of politics, a center no longer able to fool more of the people most of the time.  A movement made possible by social media but which also reflects the often chaotic ‘apolitics’ of such movements.  And worrying in the context of the millions being poured into far right propaganda a movement in which the far-right have made some progress in infiltrating, even if our comrades in France are physically driving them out of the protests.

There is no such thing as an apolitical movement, all there can be is a movement with internal contradictions as well as internal struggles to resolve those contradictions.

Yellow Vests - People are ready to go onto the streets because they have nothing else to lose - audio

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A look at why the Yellow Vests will reject Macron’s concessions that takes the form of a discussion between two of our members, one of whom is a French migrant in Ireland who has been following the news and discussions in the movement in France online. Looks at the ‘concessions’, the formation of the movement, the clash with far-right infiltration and the contradictions of the relations between the Yellow Vest movement and climate change movement which also marched in Paris this weekend. Ends with a discussion of where the movement is now likely to go. [audio]

 

Identity Politics is a Four way Conflict

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Discussions about Identity Politics (IdPol) absorbs a huge amount of energy across the political spectrum.  Discussion on the left however is often complicated and made overly hostile because they take place along the single axis of oppression which means proponents of IdPol get lumped in with Hilary Clinton while opponents get lumped in with Donald Trump.  This understandably encourages bad faith discussions that throw a lot of heat and very little light. Here we are going to argue that a much more useful exchange can happen when we instead create a plot where one axis is oppression and the second is exploitation as that puts both Trump & Clinton a good distance away from socialists. [Audio of this article]

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