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[personal profile] tcpip2017-09-20 02:55 pm

SI statement on violence in Myanmar

The Socialist International has witnessed with growing concern the severe deterioration of the situation in Myanmar's Rakhine state. Renewed violence has led to multiple deaths and the displacement of many thousands of members of the Rohingya minority in that country, deepening the humanitarian crisis. Ethnic Rohingya refugees who have successfully fled to Bangladesh have reported massacres in their villages and the burning of hundreds of homes by the Burmese military, in an effort to remove the civilian Rohingya population from this area by forcible means.

The government and authorities of Myanmar have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure the safety and security of all those living in the country, regardless of ethnicity and religion, and the SI calls on the government to now cooperate with the United Nations and to allow aid to reach those in desperate need. The reluctance of the Burmese authorities to allow independent monitors to access the affected areas of Rakhine state casts doubt on their denial of responsibility for the violence and destruction. The SI appeals in particular to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to show moral leadership and exert her influence and authority to put a stop to the suffering of the Rohingya.

As the crisis continues to deepen, the international community must also fulfil its responsibility to the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, by increasing pressure on the Burmese government to take the necessary steps to bring an end to the violence and grant the Rohingya people their fundamental rights. Those who have been forced to flee to neighbouring countries, including more than 120,000 who have crossed into Bangladesh in the last two weeks, must be assured of humanitarian assistance and given support until they are able to return to their homes.

The SI has consistently spoken out in support of the rights of the Rohingya people in Myanmar, a subject that has been addressed by both its Committee on Migrations and the XXV Congress of the SI, which took place in Cartagena earlier this year. It has heard first hand from representatives of the Rohingya on their current and
historical plight. The SI now reiterates its call, made at the XXV Congress, for the leadership and government of Myanmar to immediately end persecution and human rights violations against the Rohingya and to open a full dialogue to address their minority rights and needs to be recognised and respected as full citizens.
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[personal profile] tcpip2016-02-02 07:42 pm

Narin calls on youth to resist

At twenty-two years old I was not an armed libertarian socialist in a warzone. Mind you, I didn't wear a bunny jacket either.

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[personal profile] tcpip2015-11-08 10:56 am

Communist/Socialist Coalition Topples Portuguese Government

Less than two weeks after forming, Portugal’s center-right government is overthrown

It was only 12 days ago in which Pedro Passos Coelho was sworn in as the Prime Minister of the new Portuguese government after the October 4th elections. He came into office uncertain of his future, with his party no longer in the majority after an election day rout that gave enormous gains to Socialist and Communist parties. His future was set however when it was announced that the far-left parties had united against him.

The new Communist/Socialist government has already garnered substantial opposition from business leaders, with an open letter expressing their fears over no longer being able to ride the austerity gravy train. After all, without austerity, how else can big businesses force government concessions? The rise of the Communist block within Portuguese politics should warn these businesspeople that it may not be wise to continue trying to push their weight around, for now the government regulation awaiting them has no fear of shutting them down completely.
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[personal profile] tcpip2015-07-03 07:42 pm

Heroic Socialist Sir Nicholas Winton Dies

We bid fare well to one of the quiet heroes of the human species.

From Wikipedia:

Winton kept quiet about his humanitarian exploits for many years, until his wife Grete found a detailed scrapbook in their attic in 1988.[28] It contained lists of the children, including their parents' names and the names and addresses of the families that took them in. By sending letters to these addresses, 80 of "Winton's children" were found in Britain.[28]

The world found out about his work in 1988 during an episode of the BBC television programme That's Life![29] when he was invited as a member of the audience. At one point, Winton's scrapbook was shown and his achievements were explained. The host of the programme, Esther Rantzen, asked whether any in the audience owed their lives to Winton, and if so, to stand – more than two dozen people surrounding Winton rose and applauded.[30]

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[personal profile] tcpip2014-04-27 08:58 am

No copyright for Marx-Engels collected works!

It is immensely ironic that a private publishing company is claiming the copyright of the collected works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the philosophers who wrote against the monopoly of capitalism and its origin, private property, all their lives.

Marxists Internet Archive is an international, public archive which gives free access to a wide range of academic and historical writings about Marxism in multiple languages. Lawrence & Wishart is a private publishing house in Britain which claims to hold the copyright of Marx Engels Collected Works. During the last several years, the Marx Engels Collected Works have been read by the millions of people on the Marxists Internet Archive (MIA). However, now the private publishing company, Lawrence & Wishart - which loves to position itself as a 'radical company', claiming historical links with the Britain's Communist Party - has directed MIA to delete all texts originating from Marx Engels Collected Works (MECW).

If this happens, MECW would not be accessible on the internet for free, from 30th April, 2014, and that would be a huge loss for the students and political activists who continue to utilize this free academic source.

If you have a Linux/UNIX/MacOS X or Cygwin system, you may wish to download the site before it goes offline.

wget -m
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[personal profile] tcpip2014-03-19 07:51 pm

21st Century Socialism and Democracy at the Workplace

In this short, concise, interview with Truthout’s Leslie Thatcher, professor Rick Wolff explains, among other things, one of the factors that led to the unraveling of the 20th century’s experiments in Socialism: lack of democracy in the workplace.
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[personal profile] tcpip2014-03-16 11:21 am

Tony Benn

It is with some sadness that Tony Benn has died. As a radical democratic socialist who renounced his own peerage, I am comfortable in describing myself as a "Bennite" insofar he was inspirational. His capacity for pithy sayings has not been forgotten, nor his final attempt in parliament to transform the UK into a democratic, federal, and secular republic. He wasn't above engaging in a bit of politically justified vandalism either, even as an MP.
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[personal profile] tcpip2013-10-28 10:53 pm

Australia, Norway, and Germany: Three Setbacks for Socialism

In three recent elections, centre-left parties have either been defeated (Australia, Norway) or have failed to achieve government (Germany). In two of these cases, it's a major setback because for Norway and Australia, the social acquisition of public resource wealth is being taken away.

Norway suffered a most unusual problem: "Our biggest challenge is that our oil wealth is so huge we run the risk of wasting it on substandard projects that are not profitable enough." Take the time to listen to this interview on why deriving public income from natural resources is much better than taxes on wages.

In Australia, mining companies and polluters have run a savage campaign against both carbon emissions pricing, and the resource rent on mining. The incoming right-wing government, heavily backed by the Murdoch Press, has vowed to support the pollutors and mining monopolists.

In Germany, the overall left vote remained stable (Social Democrats up, The Left down, Greens down), along with a big swing to the conservative CDU/CSU, but with the Free Democrats losing 10%. As a result the conservatives must find a coalition partner; instead of the Social Democrats seeking an alliance among The Left and Greens, they are seeking a Grand Coalition with the conservatives. The last time they did this, they were absolutely hammered in the following election.
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[personal profile] tcpip2013-09-05 03:10 pm

SI statement on Syria

Socialist International Media Release on "The responsibility of the international community towards the Syrian people"

In March 2011 the world began to witness anti-government protestors in Syria taking to the streets calling for an end to President Bashir al-Assad’s regime and for an opening of the way for a democratic system and the enjoyment of rights and freedoms for all the Syrian people. From the outset, the Socialist International, consistent with its principles and values and its commitment to all those in the world struggling for democracy and fundamental rights, has openly supported these demands.

Throughout the period since the protests began, the Syrian regime has ignored these calls from its people, as well as calls from members of the international community, responding instead with violence and brutality, including gross violations of human rights, indiscriminate torture, repression and executions. This has resulted in a deepening of the conflict with, to date, over 100,000 deaths, as stated by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

Today, as a consequence, close to 5 million Syrians are internally displaced, according to international voluntary organisations, and almost 2 million are homeless refugees in neighbouring countries.

The use of chemical weapons in Syria on the 21st of August 2013 has shocked the world. This deeply abhorrent and immoral act caused the deaths of over 1400 innocent civilians, including more than 400 children, and constitutes a crime against humanity that in our view, neither the international community nor any country can ignore.

Syria is reported to be one of the countries in the world with the largest stockpile of chemical weapons, under the control of the ruling regime. It must be restated clearly that the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons violates the widely accepted 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans the use of chemicals as weapons of mass destruction.

In our view, all the democratic nations of the world, and their citizens, have today a responsibility towards the Syrian people and all those who have been victims of this atrocious slaughter. We cannot turn our heads. The hour requires a broad and decisive international initiative to put an end to the horror and carnage in Syria and the suffering of its people, and to ensure that this type of crime is never again repeated. At the same time, as a priority, there remains the need for a political framework to open the way for democratic change in Syria that is fully inclusive of the entire population.

The world would be a better place, and the cause of peace would be greatly advanced, by nations acting together through the United Nations. To this end, the UN needs to urgently confirm the facts regarding these atrocities in Syria and to quickly define an international response, and to hold accountable those responsible. The coming days will be crucial in advancing common positions on this critical issue and the Socialist International appeals to all nations, and particularly those who are members of the UN Security Council, to lead the way with an accord that would set an example in building a safer world for tomorrow.
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[personal profile] tcpip2013-08-30 07:23 pm

Imperialism, sectarianism and Syria’s revolution

Joseph Daher is a member of the Syrian Revolutionary Left Current and runs the He spoke with Solidarity’s Mark Goudkamp about the Syrian revolution.

How would you characterise the current balance of forces in Syria?

The military balance of forces is clearly on the side of the regime. It has been continuously provided [arms] by its allies (Iran and Russia), high inflows of money and in the case of Hezbollah has participated directly on the field, while training some new soldiers.

On the other side, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) completely lacks any real material and financial support. The Islamists reactionary forces such as Jabhat al Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are being well-funded by some Gulf countries.

They fund the Islamist reactionary forces to transform the Syrian revolution into a sectarian war. The victory of the revolution in Syria and its spread to the region would be a threat to their own regimes. We must not forget also that the tensions between FSA groups and Islamist forces of Jabhat al Nusra and ISIL have expanded recently. The latter are accused of murdering members of the FSA, including Fadi al-Qash, the head of a FSA battalion and his two brothers.

The ISIL also expelled FSA forces from several regions the FSA liberated and declared their will to establish Islamic emirates, while refusing to fight on the front lines in Aleppo, Homs and Khan al Asal. Despite the clear advantage of the regime militarily and their destruction, the determination of the Syrian popular movement has not diminished. There are continuous demonstrations and other forms of resistance in many regions throughout Syria.

More at:
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[personal profile] tcpip2013-08-02 10:07 am

Socialist International Statement on Egypt

During recent weeks, the world has been witnessing a dramatic departure from the democratic agenda in Egypt. The political situation has continued to deteriorate rapidly, further diminishing the prospects for national reconciliation and democracy.

The violent crackdown and extreme use of force by the army and police against demonstrators, which has resulted in scores of deaths and many more injured, is deplorable and is unequivocally condemned by the Socialist International.

Political persecution must stop. Mohamed Morsi and all members of the opposition under arrest must be released.

The right to peaceful demonstration must be respected.

Restrictions placed on opposition media outlets and on freedom of expression must be immediately lifted.

The return to the deployment of the police units used to suppress demonstrations, the same units that were suspended following the 2011 uprisings, is utterly unacceptable, as is granting the interim Prime Minister the power to place the country under a state of emergency, as in the past.

Egypt’s democratic agenda, brought forward by the millions who wanted to do away with the repression and human rights violations of previous years, must be urgently restored. As stated by our International, the interim authorities resulting from the military intervention must uphold the rule of law and engage in the preparation of presidential and parliamentary elections without delay. Nothing less than true democracy, the enjoyment of freedoms and rights for all, should be the way forward after the sacrifices of so many since 2011. The Socialist International calls on all the Egyptian citizens, all groups and all political parties to give priority to dialogue, pluralism, mutual recognition and respect, preserving the spirit and goals of the 2011 revolution.
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[personal profile] tcpip2013-07-21 12:11 am

Converting The Tyranny of the Majority : The Egyptian Example

A coup d'état (or putsch, or pronunciamiento), the sudden seizure of governmental power by a small group, is almost invariably a detestable event. Typically a military event, as they have the resources to carry this out effectively, they are often associated with the overthrow of a popular democratic government by a military associated with an existing ruling class with foreign backing. The Pinochet coup against the elected socialist government of Allende in Chile in 1973 being perhaps the most well known example of this type. However this is obviously not the only type. Sometimes a coup can occur from the competing different factions within military-dominated governments. The latter case is often tied to a succession of civil wars, and is particularly the case in resource-rich developing countries where different groups aspire to control monopoly profits.

Recent events in Egypt bring certain questions to the fore. In January 2011, protests rose against the government of Hosni Mubarak, whose authoritarian social-democratic National Democratic Party was a member of Socialist International until these protests. Involving hundreds of thousands of people and with clashes with security forces resulting in over eight hundred deaths. Increasingly however, it became clear that the armed forces would not act against the protesters and in February Mubarak resigned with the military assuming control for a while, resulting in a constitution referendum in March and parliamentary elections in November and January 2012.

Read more... )

Time will determine whether their action was the right thing to do. One of the metrics of the judgement will be the military coup of Costa Rica of 1948 led by José Figueres and the National Liberation Army. A disputed election resulted in a short and bloody civil war where some two thousand people were killed. Taking control of the government, Figueres and his team began instituting a program of individual liberty and social democracy. They granted women and the children of black immigrants the right to vote, and abolished literacy requirements for the same. They nationalised the banking sector, and used that wealth to provide for basic welfare and universal education. They established a professional civil service, ending patronage and nepotism. True, the new military government did ban the Communist Party for its support of the previous regime, but it operated under a new name in any case. Having provided these liberties, rights, and codified in new constitution, the military junta of Costa Rica did something quite remarkable, unique and beautiful; it abolished the military. In the decades that followed, uniquely among Latin American nations, Costa Rica enjoyed a stable, liberal, democratic government - and never experienced a military coup ever again

(Also posted a few minutes ago at
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[personal profile] tcpip2013-07-05 07:07 pm

Egypt: Statement from Socialist International

One year on from sweeping to power with 13 million votes, President Mohamed Morsi and his Moslim Brotherhood dominated government have been forcefully removed from office by the Egyptian military.

President Morsi, the first freely-elected President of Egypt, was at his lowest in terms of popularity, having failed to deliver on the democratic promises he was elected to fulfil. Last December he granted himself un-challengeable powers, which shocked both the Egyptian people and the international community, and then rushed through a referendum on the new constitution despite a lack of agreement among the political forces. Since then, discontent and national discord have intensified, leading to a deeply divided and polarised nation. The economy has deteriorated, unemployment and inflation continue to rise, and GDP growth has severely shrunk.

A military coup, however, is out of step with democracy and the Socialist International calls on the interim authorities to uphold the rule of law and to immediately restore democracy, pressing ahead with presidential and parliamentary elections without delay.

The popular revolution which shook the country two years ago has not ushered in the era of democracy and freedoms that the Egyptian people had hoped for, and which so many bravely fought and died for. But advances have been made and it is clear that the vast majority of the people of Egypt will not give up the struggle for full democracy.

The Socialist International looks forward to a peaceful outcome to the problems facing Egypt today and calls on the population as a whole to respect each others’ differences, regardless of religion, belief or gender, to unite in the interests of the nation and to do justice to those citizens who paid with their lives for a better country living in peace and democracy. The SI reiterates its solidarity with all those in Egypt who share the ideals and principles of social democracy and who remain engaged in defending the democratic goals of the 2011 revolution.
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[personal profile] tcpip2013-06-27 01:50 pm

Socialist Landslide in Albania

The Socialist Party of Albania has won a landslide in parliamentary elections held on June 23rd. As the lead party of the broad Alliance for a European Albania, their share of the vote increased from 40.85% to 57.7% and their seats from 65 to 84. The previous right-wing government led by the Democratic Party and their Alliance for Employment, Prosperity, and Integration, saw their votes fall from 40.18% to 39.4% and their seats from 68 to 56.

Members of the European Alliance included, in addition to the lead Socialist Party, the Socialist Movement for Integration, the Social Democracy Party of Albania, the Social Democratic Party of Albania, the youth-orientated social liberal/social democratic G99, the Green Party of Albania, and the Unity for Human Rights Party.

This was the first parliamentary elections since 2009 which were marred by allegations of widespread voter fraud by the right-wing government, and led to riots in 2011.
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[personal profile] tcpip2013-06-21 09:40 am

Gyula Horn: The Man Who Tore Down the Iron Curtain?

The Socialist International mourns the loss of Gyula Horn, a former Vice-President of the SI, former leader of the Hungarian Socialist Party, and Prime Minister of Hungary from 1994 to 1998, who passed away yesterday, 19 June 2013.

Horn, who was born in 1932 in Budapest, studied Economics before joining the Hungarian Working People’s Party in 1954, later reorganised in 1956 as the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (MSzMP), led by János Kádár. From 1954 to 1959 Horn worked at the Ministry of Finance, after which he served in the Foreign Ministry, and during the 1960s he became a diplomat in the Hungarian embassies in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. He was appointed Secretary of State in the Foreign Ministry in 1985 and Minister for Foreign Affairs in 1989. In 1990, Horn was elected chairman of the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSzP), established in October 1989. Under his leadership, the party achieved victory in 1994. Gyula Horn was Prime Minister from 1994 to 1998, and held a seat in Parliament from 1990 to 2010.

At a defining time of transition in Central and Eastern Europe, Gyula Horn’s political vision greatly influenced Hungarian politics and the wider European political context. His role in the downfall of the Berlin Wall, and subsequent unification of Germany, is now embedded in European history. In 1989, whilst Foreign Minister under Prime Minister Miklos Nemeth, Gyula Horn was behind the opening of a route through Hungary to allow East Germans passage to the West, a fact which accelerated the fall of the Wall two months later.

Gyula Horn was elected as a Vice-President of the SI at our Congress held in New York in 1996. He joined in Socialist International activities and played an important part in many of our global debates on democracy. With his party, Horn hosted a number of SI events, including meetings of the SI Committee for Central and Eastern Europe and, as Hungarian Prime Minister, hosted the SI Council meeting in Budapest in 1994.

Despite debilitating illness in later life, Gyula Horn continued to be politically active until recent years. Today we honour his memory and pay tribute to his life, to his democratic achievements, and to his contribution to the work of the Socialist International. He will be long remembered and sadly missed.
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[personal profile] tcpip2013-05-07 06:13 pm

Whatever Happened to Japanese Socialism?

Following the end of the Japanese Imperial government and the establishment of a more liberal and democratic government, various socialist parties were very popular. In the elections of 1946, the Socialist Party commanded 18.2% of the vote, a Cooperative Party a further 6.3%, and the Communist Party, another 3.8%. In following elections, the Socialist Party grew to become the main opposition party, until a split prior to the 1952 elections where the "Leftist Socialist Party of Japan" received 9.8% of the vote and the "Rightist Socialist Party of Japan" 12.8%. The two separate parties grew in the following two elections, finally merging, before splitting again with the left group becomingthe Japan Socialist Party and the moderates the Democratic Socialist Party. Between them however, the could count on some 36% of the vote in 1960 (27.4% for the Socialist, 8.8% for the Democratic Socialists), with similar results in the 1963, 1967. In the 1969 the SP/DSP vote dropped with the appearance of the Komeitō Party which at the time leant slightly to the left. In the 1972 elections, the Socialist Party achieved 21.9% of the vote, the DSP 7.0%, and a surprisingly resurgent Communist Party 10.5%. Komeitō received 8.5%. Similar results occurred in 1976, and 1979 (Komeitō becoming the New Komeito, or Justice Party), the 1980, 1983, and 1986 elections. In the 1990 elections the Socialist Party reached 24.35%, although this seemed to be at the expense of both the Democratic Socialists and the Communist Party, who declined to 4.84% and 7.96% respectively.

The 1993 election was quite extraordinary. A major insider trading scandal affected huge sections of the ruling LDP who had hitherto had little trouble in securing a majority prior. Members of the LDP joined the socialist and other opposition figures in bringing down the government. The resulting general election saw the election of an Eight Party Alliance achieve 48.60% of the vote over the LDP's 36.62%. Notably however, the Socialist Party vote dropped almost 9% to 15.43%, and the Democratic Socialists by 1.33% to 3.51%. Most of the gains were made by new parties that had split from the LDP; the centre/centre-left Japan Renewal Party (10.10%), the New Party (8.05%). Outside the alliance the Communist Party retained 7.7% of the vote.

By the 1996 election however, the Japanese Socialist Party had become the Social Democratic Party and joined in an electoral alliance with - the Liberal Democrats. The old competitors now had found common ground apparently, and worked together to secure a majority against the centrist New Frontier Party, the centre/centre-left Democratic Party (10.62%). The SDP vote however was a mere sliver of the Japanese Socialists; even in the proportional representation party list, they could only secure 6.38% of the vote. Although part of the government they never recovered any standing of note, picking up 9.36% in 2000, 5.12% in 2003, 5.5% in 2005, 4.27% in 2009, and a mere 2.38% in 2012. During this period the LDP-opposition vote has drifted to the Democratic Party, ideologically an amalgamation of liberal and social-democratic thought, with primacy to the former as indicated by their international affiliation to the Alliance of Democrats. Their vote in the past decade peaked at 42.41% (2010) and reached a nadir a mere two years later at 15.49%. In comparison, the Japanese Communist Party has declined slowly; from 13.08% in 1996 to 11.23% in 2000, 7.76% in 2003, 7.3% in 2005, 7.03% in 2009, 6.17% in 2012.

So whatever happened? The combined solid socialist vote in 1946 was 28.3%; in 2012 it was a mere 8.55%, not counting whatever socialist voters may be casting their ballot in Democratic Party. Whatever that number is, it is still a significant decline. Is it because socialist policies have been largely adopted by mainstream Japan and the socialist parties have been unable to successfully advocate beyond these? Is it because the international situation has changed to such an extent that a socialist party has lost viability? Has the class structure of Japanese society changed? Were there internal reasons among the socialist political parties, or strategic errors?

What is the future of Japanese socialism?

I have, of course, my own opinions on these matters. But it would be interesting for members of the community to pose some suggestions...
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[personal profile] tcpip2013-03-18 09:33 pm

Chávez in Retrospect

Less than two years ago, the Isocracy Network published a brief piece on the Venezuelan elections and the major economic and political changes that had occurred in that country in the preceding decade [1]. Standing outside of the hyperbolic opposition of the (usually) U.S. right-wing who condemned the Chávez government, sometimes for an apparent lack of democracy but mostly for its socialism, and the similarly the Chavistas of the left who could see in no (or at best) very little wrong with his rule. In contrast to these positions, the Isocracy Network article noted the real reductions in poverty, establishment of co-operatives, land reform, health care and education, employment, and improvements in real GDP. These were largely built on oil wealth, operating on a sound principle that natural resource wealth belongs to the people in common, and achieved more with elections that were mostly free, albeit insufficiently fair. Now that Chávez has died, like so many others it is necessary to engage in a retrospective.

For opponents of Chávez's Bolivarian Revolution the succession of election victories (1998; 56.20% to 39.97%., 2000; 59.8% to 37.5%., 2006; 62.84% to 36.90%., 2012; 55.07% to 44.31%), would have been a source of some frustration, and for his supporters, a cause for elation. Both emotional responses were quite legitimate. For there can be absolutely no doubt that Chávez was a genuine advocate for the seriously impoverished of his country, who had been disenfranchised for generations. Not only did Chávez himself came from a working-class family and from 2002 to 2011, since 2004 poverty has been halved and extreme poverty reduced by seventy percent, not through cash handouts but by the provision of housing, education, and - surpising to some - private sector growth [2]. It is not without reason that Chávez's death was met with an enormous outpouring of support from among the poorest people of the world, whilst the well-off members of the capitalist world who loathed his rule expressed a weirdly necrophiliac joy.

More at:

TL;DR version. When Chavez's government was socialist, it was good. When it acted contrary to the principles of democratic and civil rights, it was not.
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[personal profile] tcpip2013-01-18 08:54 am

Socialist International on Mali

The Socialist International continues to be engaged in support of the efforts of its member parties in Mali, the ADEMA-PASJ of HE Dioncounda Traoré the interim President of Mali and the RPM led by Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, in defending the democratic institutions of the country, its territorial integrity and the security of its citizens.

At this difficult juncture for Mali, under threat from terrorist and rebel forces, the Socialist International has welcomed and fully supported the multilateral efforts to help the Malian government, including those of ECOWAS and the African Union, and Resolution 2085 adopted by the Security Council of the United Nations with regard to the establishment of an African-led international support mission in Mali (AFISMA). We recognise and commend the declared willingness and availability of countries from Africa to take the lead in response to the appeals to provide troops, as well as the swift assistance of the President of the Republic of France, HE François Hollande, and his government with the support of the members of the UN Security Council, in helping to secure the territory of Mali from occupation, disruption and violence.

Reports in relation to Mali from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the increasing numbers of displaced people, and from the international medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders in regard to the wounded are of grave concern to our organisation.

While extending solidarity with all the peoples of the Sahel region, our International continues to stand firmly in support of the efforts of HE President Mahamadou Issoufou and our member party the PNDS of the neighbouring Republic of Niger, to consolidate the democratic institutions and to raise its people out of poverty. We stand equally in support of the efforts of our member party in Mauritania, the RFD, led by Ahmed Ould Daddah, who is currently engaged in moving forward demands for free and fair elections, to begin a new era for democracy in that country.

The Socialist International has been in touch with its member parties from the Sahel region in recent days and has undertaken to schedule a full discussion on these issues at the forthcoming Council meeting to take place in Cascais, Portugal on 4-5 February, as an emergency item. Our discussions will include exchanges on how best to effectively contribute to these international efforts, in support of peace and democracy in Mali as well as to security in the entire region.
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[personal profile] tcpip2013-01-10 09:30 am

War on the Poor: UK style

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

- John Kenneth Galbraith

The Welfare Bill: A government of millionaires just made the poor poorer - and laughed as they did it

They cheered, they guffawed, they mocked. Picture the scene, and don't forget it as the next two and a half years of Cameron's Britain drag on: a smug pack of over-paid Tory MPs – some worth millions – sniggering as they prepared to slash the incomes of Britain's already struggling poor. Labour's Lisa Nandy and Ian Mearns pleaded with them in the Chamber, vainly, to stop laughing. Not since 1931 has a Government attempted to deliberately, consciously reduce the incomes of the poor. Oh, the hilarity.

The cap on in-work and out-of-work benefits is the culmination of a systematic campaign by the Tories and their media allies to turn large sections of the population against each other. “Strivers” versus “skivers” and “shirkers”; sinister images of the workshy and feckless with their curtains drawn: this is a near-daily diet of poison in Cameron's Britain. The substance of their argument is this: you have been mugged and therefore your less deserving neighbour should be mugged too. They said it to private sector workers about their counterparts in the public sector, attempting to stir up envy at their supposedly over-generous “gold plated” pensions and pay settlements. Now the Tories attempt to exploit the resentment of public sector workers languishing under a de facto pay cut they have imposed themselves. Where is the justice if we do not pick-pocket your neighbour, too, with this benefits cap? There is a Yiddish expression - “chutzpah” - for such unapologetic shamelessness.

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