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Parchment in the Fire: Spain: Madrid and Barcelona show — the greater the unity on the left, the bigger the win | Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Spain: Madrid and Barcelona show — the greater the unity on the left, the bigger the win | Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

Filed under: Austerity Tagged: Eurozone Crisis, Podemos, Spain

Parchment in the Fire: Spain, Poland and Greece: shudders in Europe’s political foundations | Paul Mason

Spain, Poland and Greece: shudders in Europe’s political foundations | Paul Mason.

“The economy’s recovering, so why are you punishing us?” That is the subtext of mainstream conservative responses to the two big election shocks last night.

In Spain, the radical left, campaigning under various regional brand-names linked to the new Podemos party, caused a political shock, winning the city of Barcelona and teeing up the possibility of a left coalition in Madrid.

 

In the Catalan capital housing activist Ada Colau, backed by a grassroots group called Barcelona en Comu, supported by Podemos, won the most votes.

(Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Podemos fuels hopes for Spain’s emigrated youth to return home

Podemos fuels hopes for Spain’s emigrated youth to return home.

by Mischa Wilmers

Over the last two years, Spain’s political landscape has been transformed by the emergence of the progressive, anti-austerity party, Podemos (“We Can”).

Formed in 2014, the party has already built a membership of over 350,000. In opinions polls, it matches the country’s two establishment parties only a few months way from the general elections.

 

Pablo Iglesias (centre), leader of Podemos, smiles as he marches before giving a speech at Puerta del Sol square, in Madrid, during a massive party rally on 31 January 2015. As (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Parchment in the Fire: Podemos fuels hopes for Spain’s emigrated youth to return home

Parchment in the Fire: Why Greece’s Syriza party is not sticking to the script on an IMF deal | Paul Mason | Paul Mason

Why Greece’s Syriza party is not sticking to the script on an IMF deal | Paul Mason | Paul Mason.

The leaked IMF document seen by Channel 4 News last weekend effectively signals a three-week endgame in the Greek debt stand-off.

The IMF thinks there is “no possibility” that Greece can meet €11bn worth of debt repayments due between June and the end of August. The Greek government is running out of cash.

Yanis Varoufakis, the finance minister, told Channel 4 News last night (see video below) that faced with the choice of paying €350m due on 5 June (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Europe faces second revolt as Portugal’s ascendant Socialists spurn austerity – Telegraph

Europe faces second revolt as Portugal’s ascendant Socialists spurn austerity – Telegraph.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Europe faces the risk of a second revolt by Left-wing forces in the South after Portugal’s Socialist Party vowed to defy austerity demands from the country’s creditors and block any further sackings of public officials.

“We will carry out a reverse policy,” said Antonio Costa, the Socialist leader.

Mr Costa said a clear majority of his party wants to halt the “obsession with austerity”. Speaking to journalists in Lisbon as his country prepares for elections – expected in October – he insisted that Portugal must (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: ekathimerini.com | Greece toying with ‘chaos’ has Eichengreen urging lesser evil

By Lenka Ponikelska

Greece’s exit from the euro would unleash turmoil whose fallout will far exceed the cost of staying in the currency union, said U.S. economist Barry Eichengreen.

Reintroducing the drachma would solve none of Greece’s problems and instead set the stage for “even more chaos and uncertainty,” Eichengreen, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said in an interview in Prague on Friday.

“Staying in the euro zone will be costly and difficult for Greece and for Greece’s partners, but Greece getting out of the euro would be even more costly and difficult,” said Eichengreen, author (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Would leaving euro be more of a catastrophe for Greece than staying? | Business | The Guardian

Would leaving euro be more of a catastrophe for Greece than staying? | Business | The Guardian.

Larry Elliot

Yanis Varoufakis rues the day when Greece joined the euro. The Greek finance minister says his country would be better off if it was still using the drachma. Deep down, he says, all 18 countries using the single currency wish that the idea had been strangled at birth but understand that once you are in you don’t get out without a catastrophe.

All of that is true, and explains why Greece is involved in a game of chicken with all the (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Greece: The Noose Tightens | Jacobin

Greece: The Noose Tightens | Jacobin.

There are only three options remaining for the Syriza government.

 

by Stathis Kouvelakis

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

 

Events in Greece have taken a dramatic turn, and insolvency is at the gates. On April 20, the Greek government issued a decree forcing local authorities to place cash reserves at the Bank of Greece.

Two days later, Dimitris Mardas, the deputy minister of finance in charge of state revenue, declared that €400 million were missing to pay for pensions and salaries at the end of the month. A few hours later, he (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Parchment in the Fire: Greece: The Noose Tightens | Jacobin

Parchment in the Fire: Greece: Phase Two | Jacobin

Very interesting interview with Syriza MP and SOAS Professor of Political Economy Costas Lapavitsas.

Greece: Phase Two | Jacobin.

Much — too much — has been written in a journalistic, superficial vein about Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and last month’s negotiations with the European Union. But now that the lines have hardened and are clearer for us all to see, a new situation has opened up.

 

The scenario of Greece leaving the eurozone (“Grexit”) is more frequently and explicitly posed as the only way that Syriza’s government can avoid backtracking on its campaign promises.

 

To discuss this question (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Contesting Capitalism in the Eurozone

In light of the new Syriza government’s difficult struggle against the German dominated institutions of the Eurozone, I’ve revisited a little known book published ten years ago by political scientist Richard Dunphy called Contesting Capitalism? Left Parties and European Integration (Manchester University Press, 2004). In the book, Dunphy charts out the trajectory of the European Far Left’s relationship to European integration. While at the time the book seemed to fly under the radar (this was just before the French and French rejection of the Lisbon Treaty in 2005 and the rapid accession of a number of new member states in (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Syriza’s Only Choice: A Radical Step Forward | The Bullet No. 1089

Syriza’s Only Choice: A Radical Step Forward | The Bullet No. 1089.

 

1. Introduction

The transitional “bridge Agreement” of the 20th of February is a truce intended by the Greek government and welcomed by the other side (the European “institutions”). Within the truce period (the next four months), the conditions for negotiating the next agreement will be shaped. This could mean that everything is still open. However, that is not true for two reasons. First, the very transitional agreement changes the balance of power. Second, the “hostilities” will continue in the course of the next four months (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: The rise of Europe’s new Left

The rise of Europe’s new Left.

By Bryan Evans

Filed under: Europe, Socialism Tagged: Austerity, Europe, Eurozone Crisis, Greece, Podemos, Spain, Syriza

Parchment in the Fire: European Banks vs. Greek Labour

Filed under: Austerity Tagged: Austerity, Eurozone Crisis, Greece, neoliberalism

Parchment in the Fire: Germany’s sickly economy | Europe’s World

Germany’s sickly economy | Europe’s World.

Filed under: Austerity, Eurozone crisis Tagged: Eurozone Crisis, German Economy, Germany

Parchment in the Fire: Juncker urged to revive ‘Social Europe’ model

Juncker urged to revive ‘Social Europe’ model.

by Benjamin Fox

 

The ‘Social Europe’ model must be revived if the EU is to avoid lumbering itself with low social mobility and other economic millstones, according to a report published Monday (23 February) by Brussels-based think-tank Friends of Europe.

The ‘Unequal Europe’ report is the product of a 25-member ‘expert group’, chaired by former Belgian deputy premier and social affairs minister Frank Vandenbroucke, including former employment commissioner Laszlo Andor and Pascal Lamy, the former director general of the World Trade Organisation.

The report, which is addressed to Jean-Claude Juncker’s Commission, now (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Varoufakis Keeps Greece in the Eurozone, by its Fingernails  » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Varoufakis Keeps Greece in the Eurozone, by its Fingernails » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

Mike Whitney

It’s not easy to negotiate with a gun to your head. Nevertheless, that’s the situation Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis found himself in on Friday preceding a crucial meeting with the Eurogroup. According to one report, the objective of the last-ditch confab “was to prepare a consensus text that would be the basis for the discussion” with the EU’s finance ministers. That might sound innocent enough, but it doesn’t come close to explaining the real purpose of the meeting which was far more sinister. Check out this blurb from Costas (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Reading The Greek Deal Correctly

Reading The Greek Deal Correctly. James K. Galbraith

On Friday as news of the Brussels deal came through, Germany claimed victory and it is no surprise that most of the working press bought the claim. They have high authorities to quote and to rely on. Thus from London The Independent reported:

several analysts agreed that the results of the talks amounted to a humiliating defeat for Greece.

No details followed, the analysts were unnamed, and their affiliations went unstated – although further down two were quoted and both work for banks. Many similar examples could be given, from both sides (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: How Greece Got Outmaneuvered – The New Yorker

How Greece Got Outmaneuvered – The New Yorker.

By John Cassidy

To the surprise of nobody except a few alarmists, the finance ministers of the European Union reached a deal with Greece on Friday, extending the country’s existing bailout until the early summer. Greece’s new left-wing Syriza government had been telling everyone for weeks that it wouldn’t agree to extend the bailout, and that it wanted a new loan agreement that freed its hands, which marks the deal as a capitulation by Syriza and a victory for Germany and the rest of the E.U. establishment.

Strictly speaking, though, the (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Greek Bailout Extension Deal Represents a “Significant Retreat” by the European Authorities, CEPR Co-Director Says | Press Releases

Greek Bailout Extension Deal Represents a “Significant Retreat” by the European Authorities, CEPR Co-Director Says | Press Releases.

Washington, D.C.- A deal reached between the Greek government and European authorities represents a “significant retreat” by the so-called troika and “shows that their austerity program, which has failed miserably, is no longer politically enforceable,” Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said today.

Greek government officials reached a deal with European authorities earlier today to allow bailout funds to be extended to Greece for another four months. As The Guardian and other outlets have reported, the (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Greece deal is first step on the road back to austerity | Business | The Guardian

Philip Inman – The Guardian

The rightwing orthodoxy that dominates thinking in Brussels has asserted itself over the hapless Greeks. A deal that allows the eurozone policymakers, the International Monetary Fund and the government of Athens to keep talking next week is the first stage in a clampdown on anti-austerity sentiment.

Eurozone chiefs strike deal to extend Greek bailout for four months

Read more

That much was clear from the statements coming out of Brussels, not least those from Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s veteran finance minister, who indulged himself with some patronising comments to show where the power lies. “Being in (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: How Radical is Syriza?

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13088

Filed under: Europe, Eurozone crisis, Greece Tagged: Eurozone Crisis, Greece, Socialism, Syriza, the Left

Parchment in the Fire: Is Syriza Retreating? | Jacobin

Is Syriza Retreating? | Jacobin.

Stathis Kouvelakis

To use a worn-out cliché, “the times are critical.” In fact, they are more than just that: we are at the edge of a crucial temporal sequence. The whole endeavor of a Syriza government will be judged by its reaction to the unprecedented blackmail and ultimatums it is receiving from its tragically misnamed European “partners.”

And the news from the frontline is not pleasant. To be sure, it is very difficult to have a clear view of the current status of the negotiations — “negotiations” being a oxymoron given the (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Syriza Holds Its Ground | Jacobin

Syriza Holds Its Ground | Jacobin.

As the media and the Athens stock market (down 4 percent yesterday) had widely expected, yesterday’s finance ministers’ meeting ended in failure, perhaps even a momentous one.

The tone of the Greek government’s official communiqué, which the whole media were quick to pick up on, was very tough indeed: “‘Certain circles’ insistence that the new Greek government implement the Memorandum is absurd and unreasonable. The implementation of the Memorandum program was not on the table at the summit, and those who try to put it back there are wasting their time.”

(Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: The pro-worker, pro-growth experiment in Greece is under threat | Senator Bernie Sanders | Comment is free | The Guardian

The pro-worker, pro-growth experiment in Greece is under threat | Senator Bernie Sanders | Comment is free | The Guardian.

While the wealthiest 85 individuals on the planet own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population – and when the top 1% will soon own more wealth than the bottom 99% – the people of Greece and the anti-austerity party, Syriza, they elected to lead them are struggling to rebuild their economy so that ordinary people there can live with a shred of dignity and security.

But powerful international interests are putting the pro-growth, pro-worker experiment (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Germany faces impossible choice as Greek austerity revolt spreads – Telegraph

Germany faces impossible choice as Greek austerity revolt spreads – Telegraph.

 

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

The political centre across southern Europe is disintegrating. Establishment parties of centre-left and centre-right – La Casta, as they say in Spain – have successively immolated themselves enforcing EMU debt-deflation.

Spain’s neo-Bolivarian Podemos party refuses to fade. It has endured crippling internal rifts. It has shrugged off hostile press coverage over financial ties to Venezuela. Nothing sticks.

The insurrectionists who came from nowhere last year – with Trotskyist roots and more radical views than those of Syriza in Greece – are pulling further ahead in (Read more…)