Thursday, October 8, 2015

A historical inflection point?

The recent Russian intervention in Syria, after 25 years of allowing the USA to do as they wanted (with horrible results) seems to define a critical inflection point in global geopolitics. It is not the only such marker of a changing global scenario in which the formerly uncontested "Western" (USA, NATO) hegemony is revealing itself as a powerless bluff or ill-designed strategy without clear goals. The recycling of the financial system of the BRICS so they walk around the dollar-centric system established by Washington is another shot to the floating line of the US Empire, whose gold reserves are considered by way too many to be just imaginary and whose "real economy" is at least largely based on consumption and financial speculation rather than on production, being therefore quite feeble.

Before anyone jumps at my throat accusing me of "Putinism" or whatever, I must clarify that I reckon that the BRICS are Capitalist regimes, some of them quite authoritarian. But that's pretty much the same I think of the USA with its twin party system, its winner-takes-all farcical elections, its perpetual emergency laws and its extreme concentration of the media in very few oligarchic hands. So let me be clear: all are pretty much the same bourgeois junk internally but they don't play exactly the same externally anyhow, probably because there is a historical imbalance of power that the BRICS, and particularly Russia and China as main powerhouses of this bloc, need to manage very carefully if they want to compensate. And there is a major difference between playing carefully and being the elephant in the china shop.

The current geopolitical scenario (click to expand)

A short history of the period between the two Cold Wars

Of course we are now in the Second Cold War but for 25 years this was not so obvious: Russia and China were still too weak to conform the new polarity, the European Union seemed a bit more independent (and hopeful for Europeans ourselves) than it really was in the end, and nobody dared to challenge the US hegemon but rather undersigned all its daredevil interventions rather naively.

In the 1990s, we witnessed the sudden collapse of the socialist states of Europe, not just the Soviet bloc but also, and very painfully, that of Yugoslavia, which used to be the most developed state of Mediterranean Europe. The fall of the racist regime of South Africa, after providing guarantees for private property of the means of production, produced the false impression that the World was becoming a better place under Capitalism.

In that context, so favorable for the USA, George Bush Sr. tricked Saddam Hussein into invading Kuwait. Why? In order to reinforce the US military presence in the Persian Gulf. This first Gulf War was relatively limited in extent but set the scenario for what would happen in the 2000s.

Meanwhile only the Zapatista uprising of 1994 gave us a tiny slit of hope, like announcing that Fukuyama's "end of history" was nothing but a brief illusion, that everything changes sooner or later. Otherwise the US Empire ruled as unique hegemon and even China, let along Yeltsin's Russia, bowed to them.

Things began to speed up around the turn of the century: in 1999 a "soft coup" removed the drunkard Boris Yeltsin from the Kremlin and had him replaced by a former KGB agent: Vladimir Putin, in September 2001 the USA engineered the most spectacular false flag attack ever, with the obvious goal of invading Afghanistan and imposing emergency legislation in all its empire. The main ojective was to establish a wedge between Russia and China and also between these and Iran and India. Afghanistan as such was not the main objective but rather Uzbekistan and the wider Central Asia region in a replica of the century old Great Game that Tsarist Russia and Victorian England used to engage in before the Revolution of 1917.

The very evening of September 11 2001, the recycled Nixonian minister Donald Rumsfeld was already lobbying inside his own administration to use the pretext also to invade Iraq, which had been suffering regular US bombings since the First Gulf War. The invasion was much harder to justify and, with Russia and China slightly more alert, they had to act almost unilaterally, but it was done anyhow.

The USA ruled the world solo... or not?

In 2002 an officer named Hugo Chávez reached the presidency of Venezuela, in 2003 Lula da Silva that of Brazil, in 2006 a coca farmer named Evo Morales became the first indigenous president of Bolivia and that same year the Sandinista National Liberation Front retook power in Nicaragua after a long period of Contra rule, in 2007 Rafael Correa took over a troubled and "dollarized" Ecuador... Latin America was slipping out of US hands while these were focused in Asia. What did the US do? Mostly intervene in Haiti and finance coups in Honduras and Paraguay, while keeping a growingly troubled Mexico tightly close in a deadly embrace. They also tried, insistently, to overthrow Chávez in Venezuela... but they failed miserably.

Mackinder's concept of geostrategy
El que mucho abarca poco aprieta, warns a Spanish saying, which I'd translate liberally as who grabs too much, holds too little. The USA was too focused on their own arbitrary goals, defined by Mackinderian geostrategy, oil reserves and the total commitment with the abhorrent Zionist neo-crusade. Meanwhile their classical colonial "backyard" became growingly independent under the coy leadership of Brazil and the more militant one of Venezuela.

Brazil would soon become crucial in the formation of the loose BRIC bloc, which also gathered the three independent Eurasian powers: China, Russia and India. While the acronym BRIC was coined in 2001, it was only since 2006 that this bloc became increasingly real. Earlier only some China-Russia collaboration existed, with India and Brazil fully inside the US imperial bloc.

The first BRIC formal meeting was held only in 2009 and in 2010, with the inclusion of South Africa, it became the BRICS. South Africa may seem relatively small compared to the other four giants but its area of influence, consolidated in the Congo War, is significant, including almost half of Africa south of the Sahara. This area nicely complements the projected power of the four original BRIC states and establishes a key link between Brazil and India, who may well hold claims to inherit the legacy of the historical Portuguese and British colonial empires respectively, albeit in a much more constructive fashion hopefully.

Besides growing economic and geostrategical collaboration, the main apparent goal of the BRICS is to displace the US dollar financial centrality, which gives the North American power a dubious advantage in global affairs.

How did the USA and allies answer to this patent threat to its hegemony? If all you have is a hammer, every problem seems to be a nail, they say. The USA and allies (Britain and France very particularly, also Poland, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain) reacted in clear anger: they are going to see how we do things in Tombstone! So they helped to destroy Libya, what was not pleasing to Italy nor Germany, who abstained to intervene.

But Libya was just the entrant, the main course was meant to be Syria. Unlike "crazy" Gaddafi's Libya, Syria was and is indeed integrated in the geopolitics of the region, having established a long term cooperation with Iran, who, even if not formally a BRICS member, is clearly close to the independent powers' bloc. Syria also used to have strong relations with the Soviet Union, again unlike Libya, considered by all to be too unpredictable.

After some initial induced trouble, quickly a UN Security Council resolution was ready to be signed authorizing the USA and allies to intervene against Syria. Russia vetoed it.

That was too much for the arrogant Pentagon generals and Wall Street oligarchs, so they orchestrated a coup in Ukraine with massive fascist participation. In turn that was a red line for the Kremlin, because it potentially implied NATO missiles a few kilometers away from Moscow. Crimea quickly voted themselves out of the new fascist Ukraine, asking for and obtaining re-incorporation to Russia. But when Russian-speaking Eastern Ukrainians tried to do the same thing, Russia remained distant, sending humanitarian aid and diplomatic mediation but refusing to fall in the trap of annexing those territories. Why? Because Russia needs to have a neutral Ukraine in full and breaking it into pieces would be bad for her. Crimea is too strategic to ignore but otherwise Ukraine must remain together and non-aligned: Kiev and Kharkov are what really matter, rather than just Donetz and Lugansk.

Meanwhile, even if less dramatically, the Cold War has also been escalating in East Asia. The earlier developments focused on North Korea and Myanmar (Burma), as well as Cambodia and Thailand. More recently the focus has been on several strategical uninhabited islands, where China has demonstrated to be a most strong regional power.

TISA likely signatories
The overall answer of the USA has been to strengthen its weakened empire. The Ukraine conflict has served to, more or less forcibly, rally the European states (Germany was and is particularly reluctant) around Washington's dictates but what really is consolidating the imperial structure of the US bloc are the secret trade treaties (TPP, TTIP, TISA, etc.) being negotiated behind closed doors in order to establish US-like "free market" chaos in all its area of influence, be it Japan, Australia or Europe, severely undermining state sovereignty. This is not substantially different from the "pay or die" blackmail imposed to Greece or Ukraine, or the sale of the military bases, Gibraltar or Guantanamo style, that Spain recently signed with the USA. All converge into a more centralized, and also more hyper-capitalist imperial structure in which "rights" only exist for corporations, not for people.

Back to the present

What the Russian reaction to the latest US-orchestrated threats shows is that Washington can't expect to get away with its persistent plotting and de-stabilization in all circumstances. In fact, while the US Empire has got some mild victories, mostly costly and unstable ones, in Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay and the barrens of Afghanistan, it has also suffered many defeats and stalemates: most of Central Asia is still aligned with Russia and China, Iraq has grown closer and closer to Iran and China, Syria had no choice but to ally with Russia, Georgia was defeated in South Ossetia in spite of its Zionist "elite training", Hizbollah has demonstrated to be perfectly able to bomb Tel Aviv, Iran has finally got away with its nuclear program, the Wahabbite regimes show growing weakness in spite of their massacres in Yemen, Bolivarians still rule Venezuela and other Latin American countries in spite of all the attempts at de-stablizing them. Etcetera.

After all the wars, the USA is not a tiny bit stronger. I'd dare say that it is in fact weaker than in the 1990s and that it has been its unilateral arrogance what has caused its own weakening. 

First, it has lost Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa as allies, mostly being Washington's fault that this happened. The fault being in wanting to be a colonial empire in a post-colonial world, a single superpower in a multipolar world, a blunt and trigger-happy cowboy in a world that wants peace, cooperation and prosperity. Of course, this is just how Imperialism, the final phase of Capitalism in the words of Lenin, works. In a way this is semi-automatic and expectable but not less despicable for that reason.

Second, Japan and the North Pacific are now heavily polluted by Fukushima deadly radiation, which has already reached North American coasts, causing massive sea life mortality. Together with other factors, such as drought, unsustainable debt, etc., this means that the North Pacific key "province" is growingly weaker by the day and that the US Empire is almost totally reliant on the "loyalty" of its North Atlantic "province", namely Europe, for it to be considered an empire any longer. 

Third, Europe is much much weaker than it was just eight years ago. The financial crisis has hit it badly: partly it has paid US costs by means of keeping a hyper-strong euro for way too long, what is a tribute of sorts, a heavy one. But the most visible cracks in the European construction are internal: on one side the hegemony of Northern Europe, organized around Germany, has clearly transformed the Union into a IV Reich of sorts, in which there is no hope for Southern Europeans. But this German-centric imbalance is also dramatically affecting Western Europeans such as the French and the British and the election of Jeremy Corbyn is a symptom of something that runs much deeper: class struggle becomingly growingly patent, mostly not thanks to propaganda or organizing efforts by the few class-conscious people in the Worker camp but to the growing extremist abuses by the Capitalist oligarchs, who have enjoyed total impunity under the imperial order. 

As I say, if Europe cracks the Empire collapses. So we Europeans should be most alert, not just because our hard-fought, yet mild, social rights have been totally destroyed but because, as class war grows in the subcontinent, what is inevitable and already happening, actual war and brutal repression, Ukraine-style, may become more and more common. 

The European Union is an ailing gothic monster, nobody should expect it to last. However its collapse will be brutal because the oligarchies won't allow the peoples to regain even some of their rights without the most violent of fights. The final showdown of the class war is going to take place here in Europe, I have little doubt, even if it may take still some years to fully unfold (working class consciousness is still a bit weak), they won't be too many. Give it a decade, not more. 

And it is not totally independent of what happens across the Mediterranean. In fact I consider the most important current revolutionary reference to be the Kurdish popular movement, with their going beyond the state format program (Democratic Confederalism), that blends once again Anarchism and Marxism in a single praxis, much as Bismark feared it might happen. Europe, West Asia and North Africa are a single historical and socio-geographical region in spite of so many centuries of religious sectarianism, and that is why destroying Wahabbism, along with all other intolerant totalitarian fascist religious ideologies is so important. We are a single People of Peoples, religion belongs to the private sphere, not the social one.

The USA, inspired by historical British colonial praxis, has thrown its lot along with the reactionary forces, ignoring the fact that reaction is powerless in the long run. Not only they have actively supported and manipulated the Sunni Islamist networks but also they have actively supported the most fascist terrorist elements in Ukraine for example. And they can well do it in Western Europe: Gladio never died: NATO is first and foremost a system to control Europe, even by fascist means. 

Let me say that, even if I do support the Russian well-calculated intervention in Syria, because the Islamists must be destroyed at almost any cost, Moscow is no angel either. If you read, as I do, Russian media, you can't but notice their sympathies for the European far right, be it the Hungarian government of FIDESZ or the French National Front. 

This is a true problem for us European workers, because we do not have any allies outside, barring a handful of Latin American progressive governments, not truly socialist, rather just patriotic social-democrat, and the general but imprecise Human solidarity. This circumstance has some pros: we have to create from zero and not follow any model, but also many cons. However if revolutionary or at least truly social-democratic (not Blairite mercenariate) power manages to arise in one or several large European states, the subcontinent is objectively powerful enough to bring that revolutionary process to a successful end. And the growing multipolarity of international relations allows for the necessary balance in whose interstices we have to create our own socialist reality, the only one that can give us not just hope but also expectations of a better future for ourselves and our children. 

The situation resembles that of World War I, with the USA in the role of the declining British hegemon, China in that of the German challenger, etc., but it is not identical: history does not repeat itself, it could not in the age of nuclear weapons anyhow. There can't be a real major war because it would mean total destruction, so the reality of the conflicts is more similar to that of the First Cold War in fact. And it was in this context in which the colonies became independent, in which more or less alternative "third way" projects (be it Tito's Yugoslavia or Palme's Sweden) could happen, in which the Cuban and Vietnamese revolutions succeeded, etc.

But one thing at least is also different: to some extent Europe has lost its strategical relevance. The scenario is too global and as "last major province" of the Empire, Europe is expected and demanded to contribute at any cost. The Empire is declining even before adopting fully imperial form, and it is unavoidable that many of the contradictions arise here in Europe, because it is ethnically complex and because the socialist tradition was never eradicated. 

There is yet another reason: Europe has a fully mature, very illustrated working class. Highly educated and growingly desperate: the perfect recipe for the worker revolution. At least that's the theory. The praxis... only time will tell.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

India: thousands arrested in Hyderabad to prevent march against state terrorism

The state of Telangana has arrested some thousands almost overnight, mostly in Hyderabad, in order to prevent a demonstration against state orchestrated assassinations of Maoist militants. The exact figures are unclear: the Hindustan Times states that the figure is between 3000 to 4000 while Democracy and Class Struggle puts the figure of arrests as high as 10,000. 

The march, called by the Telangana Democratic Front and declared illegal by authorities, was meant to denounce the assassination by state forces of two Maoist militants in what is claimed to be a "fake encounter". 

The fact that so many people were arrested suggests that the sympathy for the Maoists is much larger than the government claims. In any case the mass arrests against freedom of speech and demonstration are symptomatic of a broken system that is leaning dangerously towards totalitarianism unable to face its own crisis in a constructive manner because it would imply giving away elite privileges.

Source: Odio de Clase.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Catalan elections: 48% for independence, 39% against

Catalans celebrate the independentist victory (La Vanguardia)
Yesterday the Catalan People had the opportunity to vote on national independence, via regular elections, issuing a clear mandate to go ahead with the process. The total votes for independentist options did not reach 50% but those voting for unionist options are less than 40%.

Crucially 12% of the votes went to options that did not have a clear stand on the independence issue, notably Catalyunya si que es Pot (ICV+Podemos+independents), although the Spanish media (all of them militantly unionist) try to count them in the "no" fraction in a futile exercise to manipulate the actual will of the sovereign Catalan People.

In case there is any doubt, the lead candidate by Catalunya Sí que es Pot, Lluis Rabell, declared unambiguously for all who want to hear that his list gathered independentists and federalists and that by no means their fraction of the vote can be considered as opposed to Catalan independence, but rather expressing the will of people who think that there are more important matters such as human and social rights.

The results of the plebiscitary elections are (by blocs):

seats votes %
YES 72 1,952,482 47.80
NO 52 1,599,527 39.16
other 11 512,910 12.56

In detail (source: La Vanguardia):


seats votes %
JxSí 62 1,616,962 39.57
C's 25 732,147 17.91
PSC 16 520,022 12.72
Cat.Sí que es Pot 11 364,823 8.93
PP 11 347,358 8.50
CUP 10 335,520 8.21
Unió 0 102,594 2.51
PACMA 0 29,685 0.73
Recortes Cero 0 14,324 0.35
Guanyem 0 1,158 0.03 0 326 0.01

The result is very clear, even if it could be even more clear if a legally binding referendum was held, something that both Spain and its political brands in Catalonia oppose by all means, knowing that they would lose.  

What lays ahead?

An immediate issue is who will lead the new government. Junts pel Sí has failed to muster a majority of seats and needs a backer. This one can only be the rising star: the Nationalist Left list CUP (Popular Unity List). The CUP has made clear that they will not support Artur Mas nor another conservative government in any case and that may result in a more left-leaning government, with utterly clean hands on issues of corruption, repression and social policies, made up of mostly independents. The very nature of the JxSí list, made up largely of independents may facilitate this, although who exactly will be the new President (Romeva, Junqueras) is an open issue. 

The main and quite important difference between JxSí an the CUP is social policies, although human rights have also been an issue with the previous government, way too ready to use police brutality. However they fully agree on going ahead with an independence schedule within the next couple of years. In fact the CUP was close to join the JxSí list and only the role given to the previous government's politicians (Mas, Junqueras) blocked the agreement. 

My first impression is that there will be agreement and that an independentist government dead set to implement the roadmap to independence will be formed in the next few weeks, unless Spain intervenes militarily, what is certainly a possibility. That should end in an independent Catalonia in a couple of years... or a military dictatorship imposed by Spain. 

It's hard to imagine how these results can produce any other scenario but we will see in due time. 

The independence camp (48%)

The clear winner in the independentist camp is the Popular Unity List (CUP), which has more than tripled their previous results. They have attracted voters from the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), discontent with their right-leaning coalition with Artur Mas (CDC), but maybe more importantly they have attracted much of the leftist vote that in other elections went to not explicitly independentist Left options such as Iniciativa (ICV) or the popular lists that performed so well in the municipal elections, such as Barcelona en Comú of Ada Colau. The ambiguity on the national issue of the other Left list, Catalunya Sí que es Pot (ICV + Podemos + independents), has clearly played in favor of the CUP, which in any case already showed a clear growth and consolidation in all Catalonia. 

Instead Junts pel Sí has not even replicated the previous results of its constituent parties (CDC and ERC, although most candidates are actually independents, coming from socio-political movements for independence). However it has performed relatively well, no doubt owing to the exceptional nature of the list and the national self-determination nature of this vote. 

The unionist camp (39%)

The unionist parties have performed rather well as a whole, no doubt owing to the massive participation, again owing to the plebiscite nature of the election. The clear winner is Ciutadans (C's), originally a xenophobic and extremist unionist party that has however dramatically moderated its discourse on these matters and is instead being presented as the clean option of the Right in order to rally a much larger fraction of the vote, in Catalonia as in Spain. The yuppies' party has more than doubled its previous results and become the main unionist reference in Catalonia. It must be said that they were the only party running with a woman, Inés Arrimadas, as list head (although it is clear in group photos that all other leaders are men) and that in general they are projecting a positive image of youthful, reformist and anti-corruption "new conservatism" that clearly works to some extent.

The PSC-PSOE (pseudo-socialists, Blairites or liberals), after purging its nationalist fraction, has managed to survive in half-decent shape, with clear losses but much less than forecast. Much of this is no doubt owed to the unsuspected dancer qualities of their leader, Miquel Iceta, which went viral. Also from Madrid, the state leader Pedro Sánchez is behaving looking ahead to the general elections (to be held in a couple of months or so) as the true President, while the conservative leader Mariano Rajoy is instead showing an almost total leadership collapse, owing both to the corruption scandals that have revealed his party as a mafia and his own rather shy or near-autistic personality, which combined to the Galician psychological trait of not speaking clear for fear of repercussions, make him a very weak leader.

Adding to all that, the pretense of hard-handed firmness that they wanted to project has not worked and they have collected their worst ever result. 

The other camp (13%)

There were two notable options in the other camp. The least unsuccessful one has been Catalunya Sí que es Pot (Catalonia Can Indeed), which aimed to replicate the municipal success of ample Left platforms, detaching themselves from the independence debate and trying to put forward other issues such as the social emergency, which is very dramatic in Catalonia, largely owing to Mas' conservative policies but also to their lack of a separate fiscality, what makes the country dependent on Spain's good will on financial matters, good will that is invariably nowhere to be seen. 

Many of their potential voters therefore went to the CUP, or even to Junts pel Sí, being both options much more clear on the central issue of Catalonia's national self-rule. 

In any case the list can't be at all considered part of the "no" camp: both constituent political parties, the historical Iniciativa per Catalunya - Les Verts (ICV) and the newcomer Podemos include people who are in favor and against independence (but usually for much greater self-rule) but who consider that other issues are prioritary instead. Their official stand is for self-determination (unlike those in the "no" camp) and in any case for a Federal Republic, and not at all the centralist state with minor concessions that exists now. 

The other remarkable option is Unió, former minor associates with Artur Mas' Convergencia for many years, whose stand on the national issue is rather federalist as well, with recognition of the right of self-determination. On the event of an independence-focused election they decided to try to collect the third option votes but failed to get any representation whatsoever and a meagre 2.5% of the vote.

Among the rest of the undefined options the Animal Rights' platform PACMA is the most notable one. They are clearly very far from getting any representation but they are again in favor of self-determination for all animals, human or not. 

Provincial variation

The only province with some marked division is Barcelona (85 seats). In the metropolitan province, the secessionists got 39 seats, while the unionists gathered 37, the other 9 going to CSP. 

In Tarragona province (18 seats), the independentists won a clear majority of 10 delegates, while the unionists added up to 7 and CSP got just one. 

In Lleida (15 seats), the "yes" camp got 11 delegates, while unionists got 4 and CSP none.

In Girona (17 seats) the independentists obtained 12 seats, the unionists 4 and CSP the remaining one. 

Constituent Parliament

It is clear to me that the current parliament has a strong mandate to be the Constituent Assembly of an independent Catalonia. And I have little doubt that they will go ahead with the secessionist process, even if the particulars of government formation are still unclear.

However it is clear that Spain will react hard-handedly to any attempt at secession, which is technically "illegal". But how exactly they will manage the separatist will of a nation of 7.5 million people (some 16% of all of Spain's citizens) is yet to be seen. 

The Basque Country lacking

Here in the Basque Country things are moving slow however. While the Basque Nationalist Left (EH Bildu) clearly sees the Catalan movement towards independence as a window of opportunity and would like to join them in the process of secession from the Spanish jail of nations, they are alone on this will. While clearly the Basque Nationalist Left is much larger than the CUP relative to population, being now the largest all-Basque political option, it faces reluctant allies in each territory. 

In the Western Basque Country, the so-called Basque Nationalist Party is clearly spousing nowadays an anti-independence discourse with a federalist tinge. Rather than being the Basque version of Junts pel Sí, they are like the vanishing Unió party... but much much stronger in voter support. Unless voter attitudes change, there is no possibility of pushing ahead with an independence project without them. 

In Navarre the situation is even more complicated, owing to the strength of the unionist camp, which has forced a quadruple coalition between Nationalists and left-leaning Federalists in order to clean up the Old Kingdom from corruption, intolerance and cronyism. 

In the North (under French rule) the advance of the Basque Nationalist camp is still being consolidated after many decades or even centuries of relative absence. The small size and lack of any sort of self-rule of the Northern Basque Country make things even more complicated. 

Critically, if Catalans manage to get ahead with their independence project and we Basques do not, we will be in an even weaker position, without almost any allies in the reduced Spain. That would be very bad, no doubt.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Saber-ratting ahead of Catalan "independence" elections

After the Catalan independence referendum of November 2014 produced a 80.72% in favor of independence, but with very low voter turnout, and this result was flatly ignored by Spain, the Catalan government decided to call plebiscitary elections, which are normal regional elections a bit before schedule and with a twist. 

This twist was initially to gather all pro-independence parties and social movements into a single list that, assuming victory, would manage the declaration and implementation of independence, unilaterally if need be, in two years. Finally the leftist CUP (Popular Unity List) abandoned this plan because it was too much under the control of the two bourgeois parties allied in the current governmet (Democratic Convergence of Catalonia, CDC, and Catalan Republican Left, ERC) and is running on their own ticket. 

The joint list Junts pel Sí (Together for the Yes) is set to win and nearly all polls announce an independentist majority, which must count with the CUP in any case. The key legitimacy question is whether that majority of seats will correspond to a majority of votes. They are close (48-49% in most polls) but not quite there yet. On Sunday night we should get to know, stay tuned because this may be a game changer. 

It must be mentioned that another left-leaning list, Catalunya sí que es Pot (Catalonia Can Indeed, blend of Podemos, United Left and independents), set to be the third group in Parliament, is formally neutral on the issue of independence and tries to focus on social issues instead. Usually the media counts them as anti-independence but they are just not defined and do defend the right to self-determination in any case. The truly unionist parties could get some 38%, mostly around the quasi-fascist Ciutadans (Citizens), while the traditional Spanish twin party is just collapsing to anecdotal irrelevance. 

The latest Diada (Catalan National Day) demo on September 11th, rallied again some 1.5-2 million people in the streets, what is a huge figure in a country of just 7.5 million inhabitants. It may be unclear if they can muster a technical majority but it is very clear that they are a huge force. 

Diada 2015 (ETB photo)

Meanwhile in the military barracks

Yesterday I read that the 22nd Telecommunications Regiment of the Spanish Army, whose base sits right besides the state-owned Spanish Radio-Television (RTVE), has "invited" all workers of this company to swear loyalty to Spain precisely this week. The direction of the entity has backed the offer, which has no precedent whatsoever, not even in Franco's time. 

The poisonous invitation is very symptomatic of which are the state's plans for Catalonia: military intervention and suppression of the autonomy. As the campaign is still ongoing, ministers and other unionist politicians are avoiding this issue and focusing on "how bad" it'd be for Catalonia to become independent, but what will happen after Sunday? 

My expectation is that at some point Spain will just declare the martial law in the secessionist territory and try that way to block their ongoing process of self-determination. The consequences of such development are truly unpredictable. That's how Yugoslavia fell into war: by blocking manu militari the Kosovar process of self-determination. 

Mingled into all this are the all-Spain elections, expected to take place at the latest possible date: December, in which the ruling party PP, as well as the traditional other party PSOE, are set to lose much of their previous support. However a right-wing PP-Ciudadanos coalition or a great coalition PP-PSOE are being speculated about. 

So you are aware of what's going on when the events that will take place. I hope for the best but fear the worst.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Greek elections: a disaster for the European Left

What are you saying? Syriza won! 

Precisely. No means yes and other rape-justifying tall tales seem to have been paid off to Tsipras, who will now repeat coalition with the, more damaged but still alive, conservative party Independent Greeks, now impossible to take apart from their New Democracy matrix. 

On the other hand the consequent leftistsm who Tsipras moped out from the party so easily, have failed to cater enough support even to reach Parliament at all (final results anyone?) 

Greece is a Bundesbank protectorate and the so-called "radical left" will be allowed to manage it once they have humiliated themselves and their country in so many despicable ways.

And the Greek People, defeated and hopeless, have now sanctioned that with their vote. 

They could have stayed with the PASOK after all. This is not different at all. 

Now that Syriza is not anymore within the left, the remaining Left has only managed to gather some 9%, most of it to the old school commies of the KKE (6%). 

Sure, there are still the anarchists, who in Greece are more significant than almost anywhere else on Earth. But what do anarchist do other than complaining and carrying an aura of Utopian holiness?

Abstention was extremely high, almost 50%, but it doesn't mean that those abstaining did so in any "active" way, rather in a gesture of hopelessness and defeat. There were good options after all but the aura of negativeness seems to have defeated them all.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Corbyn's victory offers some hope for Europe

Honestly, I don't know enough about British politics to have a well pondered assessment on Jeremy Corbyn's victory in the Labour Party elections yesterday (with 59% of the votes) but I have enough intuition to understand that, if all the Blairites are angry, then it is probably something very good and hopeful.

Binoy Kampmark at Global Research reports some of the reactions: 

... former leader Ed Milliband, immediately made it clear that they would be reluctant to serve in a Corbyn ministry, shadow or otherwise.

Good sign.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, GCHQ’s finest errand boy and rank apologist, chose to congratulate Corbyn with a statement that “Labour are now a serious risk to our nation’s security, our economy’s security and your family’s security.”

Admittedly scarier but also very good sign.

Good sign as well. And the double photo, which will hopefully go viral, clearly underlines what the real issue is about: lizard or human?, wow, the English can finally make a choice now!

Not like in the last elections, when many of the potential supporters of Labour stayed at home out of anger. Some even asked to be allowed to vote for the Scottish National Party, the only large party with an anti-austerity platform - and a few went even further, asking for the annexation of Northern England (where leftism is more mainstream) to Scotland, preferably an independent one. 

Towards the end of Thatcherism?

It is not yet the end of Thatcherism, Babyface Cameron still rules in London with an iron grip, always at the service of his financier dark masters. But it seems it is at least the end of Left-Thatcherism (so to say: not much "left" in it), alias Blairism. 

And that is clearly very good news. These three and a half decades, all my adult and teenager life, have been a very dark time, even if masked by the mega-bubble that the ice-cream chemist began to inflate herself. The tide was set to march firmly to the right, to deregulation, to privatization of social capital, to the demolition of human and social rights, to something way too similar to outright fascism to be comfortable in. Every other day I consider if I should get myself exiled to Latin America... so dark is our Europe these days. 

So it is good to feel some refreshing wind of change. We'll see what it can do and how far it dares to reach but it is no doubt a sign that finally the mega-crisis has began opening the eyes of the people and that some spark of working class consciousness is arising again. And it is not the only such sign. 

As for the Labour Party... it had no other choice: it could never hope to win in the current context with a bourgeois program.


The anti-militarist curriculum of Corbyn is quite impressive, as Stephen Lendman, mentions (again at Global Research):
He’s a member of the Socialist Campaign Group, the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Amnesty International, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and chairs Britain’s Stop the War Coalition.
He calls himself a democratic socialist, advocating renationalizing Britain’s utilities and railways, making business pay its fair share in taxes, ending austerity, reversing public welfare cuts, abolishing higher education tuition fees, nuclear disarmament, and quantitative easing for ordinary people, vital infrastructure and renewable energy projects.

He said “(w)e need to strongly challenge NATO supremacy and oppose its exercise in Ukraine.” He opposes Britain’s membership in the US-dominated Alliance.

His web site says “(o)ur timeless task in the Labour Party is to stand up against injustice wherever we find it. That notion has driven me throughout my political life – and it’s what drove me to stand for Parliament in the first place.”

In mid-August, he said “(s)urely it is high time that we had a serious debate about Britain’s overall defense and foreign policy. More than 60 years of Nato membership has brought us enormous levels of military expenditure and by our close relationship with the US through NATO and the Mutual Defence Agreement involved us in countless conflicts.”

“In a world beset by conflict, often around the grab for natural resources and fueled by the greed of arms and defence manufacturers, surely it’s time to reassess our priorities for a foreign policy based on human values, peaceful development and not exacerbating military aggression.”

This is potentially very important because if some state can effectively challenge NATO from inside those are Britain and France. Their might is a mere shadow of what it used to be a century ago but their military budgets are still very impressive, ranking just behind the three major powers, and their recent role in causing trouble in the Mediterranean and Africa is way too big. 

It was a bit notorious these days, in the midst of the refugee crisis in the European Union, that Britain, the European state most involved in causing the crisis by stirring the pot in Syria and in the wider region, infamous for selling weapons to horrible tyrannies like Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, for profiting from the cruelest wars in Syria and Yemen, for closely collaborating with the Washington hawks in creating these very wars, as well as the one in Ukraine... was not accepting a single refugee. 

So it would be indeed quite a change to have an anti-NATO government in London. That naturally explains the stark comment of Minister Fallon, who was maybe just being a bit too honest, but the prospect looks good, much better than with the Tsipras treacherous government in Athens and their preferential agreement with Israel. Surely someone with Corbyn's curriculum cannot betray us as Tsipras did, can he?

Even if he has held political offices in the past, he seems not quite your usual "caste" politician but someone with a social movements' background, a pretty solid one. Sure: I don't expect Corbyn to lead the takeover of Buckingham Palace or the City but rather to, hopefully, turn Britain into a beacon of home in Europe much as Venezuela or Bolivia are in America. They are not "communist" countries, just serious old school social-democracies. Not my ideal type... but still much better than what we have now. 

Anyhow... almost four year to elections in Britain. If they allow elections at all.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Cizre: the new Kobane

Solidarity demo in Paris on Thursday
Dozens have been killed by the Turkish armed forces in the Kurdish town of Cizre, which is being cruelly besieged with the silent complicity of the Western media.

Much like when the Zionist forces march onto Gaza Strip, Turkish police just shoots down everyone who attempts to go out, people are dying for lack of access to medical care and the dead cannot be buried even. 

The victims: "Turkish citizens" (on paper only), their murderer: the Turkish state. 

The town has been gripped by persistent fight between the YDG-H (young organization akin to the Kurdistan Workers' Party) and the Turkish armed forces who try in vain and criminally to retake control of a town that just does not want them. 

According to Ankara some 30 people had died, many of them children. The situation is becoming extreme for the 100,000 inhabitants, as food and water are becoming scarce quickly. 

Telephone communications have been cut, as well as electricity and water supply, at least three European journalists attempting to report have been expelled from Turkey. 


The conflict between the Kurdish nation and the Turkish state, under Fascist-Islamist control, advanced yet another step to the worst possible scenario as pro-Erdogan militants attacked, crying "God is Great!" more than 300 sees of the multi-ethnic People's Democratic Party (HDP) on the night of September 8th to 9th, in what has been called the Night of Broken Glass of Turkey, and surely implies the end of even a semblance of democracy in the bicontinental state. The fascist attack did not just took against the HDP offices, some of which were burned to the ground without Western media reporting at all, but has also attacked historical secularist media like the popular newspaper Hürriyet (Freedom), whose central Ankara offices were totally destroyed. 

The situation of growing and widespread war in all Kurdistan and extremist violence backed by the state in Turkey proper makes impossible that the upcoming elections can be considered fair at all. In fact, it is very clear that Erdogan wants to use the violence to secure a comfortable majority for his fascist party and that way reform the constitution in order to grant himself even greater power and destroy the safeguards for secularism, turning Turkey into a Saudi Arabia of sorts... without the oil.

Source: Diagonal[es].