To curtail the development of emancipation movements: World Bank and IMF support to dictatorships

Series: Bretton Woods, the World Bank and the IMF : 70th anniversary (Part 8)

Éric Toussaint

2014-09-14 01 Toussaint-Eric  After the Second World War, in a growing number of Third World countries, policies diverged from those of the former colonial powers. This trend encountered firm opposition from the governments of the major industrialised capitalist countries whose influence held sway with the World Bank (WB) and the IMF. WB projects have a strong political content: to curtail the development of movements challenging the domination/rule of major capitalist powers. The prohibition against taking “political” and “non-economic” considerations into account in WB operations, one of the most important provisions of its charter, is systematically circumvented. The political bias of the Bretton Woods institutions is shown by their financial support to dictatorships ruling in Chile, Brazil, Nicaragua, Congo-Kinshasa and Romania.

Independence for Catalonia? With the November 9 consultation, the moment of truth approaches

ANTENTAS Josep Maria

2014-09-08 03 AntentasThere is no doubt. The moment of truth approaches. But which? The coming months will be worth years. For better or worse they can lead to an acceleration and a point of irreversible movement towards the breaking of the institutional framework created in 1978, or can represent the epic collapse of the process initiated in 2012, leaving behind a legacy of cynicism and frustration without comparison.

The first measures of the script of the coming weeks seem clear. After the mobilization of 11-S the Mas government [of the Generalitat of Catalonia] will approve the Law of Consultations [concerning the independence vote] and then, sign the decree for calling of the consultation, which will probably be suspended by the Constitutional Court.

The fight for socialism in Slovenia and the IDS


2014-09-05 03 Anej KorsikaJames Robertson: Let’s start with a brief history of the Initiative for Democratic Socialism (IDS) and its role in the formation of the Združena levica (UL, United Left) earlier this year. What are the origins of IDS?

Anej Korsika: The Initiative for Democratic Socialism, to use the old cliche, has a short history and a long past. Officially, the party was founded on the 8th of March this year. However when one wants to grasp the gradual formation of the party, one needs to take into consideration a much longer timeline. Before Slovenia entered NATO in 2004, there was a strong civil initiative that opposed joining such a military organization. There was also opposition to the support of the invasion of Iraq (Slovenia was among the countries that signed the disgraceful Vilnius letter [1]). There were domestic issues that mobilized civil society, such as the case of the erased [2] and migrant workers. These and many other “anomalies” depicted a more sinister picture of the so-called “success story” that domestic and foreign politicians liked to call Slovenia. Apart from such initiatives, there were also a couple of student associations and progressive professors that encouraged critical thinking. The Institute for Labour Studies (former Workers’ and Punks’ University) played a very important role here. It was one of a handful of places where one could seriously engage with critical political economy and conceptually equip oneself to systematically and thoroughly understand the dynamics of contemporary capitalism.

100 years ago: World War I and Its Century

RUFF Allen

2014-08-30 04 Ruff-AllenIN HIS AGE of Extremes, the great Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm marked the start of World War I in August, 1914 as the beginning of the “short twentieth century.”

In Hobsbawm’s account, that short century ended with the reunification of Germany and the breakup of the Soviet “East Bloc” in 1989-90. The “Great War” of 1914-1918, he argued, was the defining event of the century.

With the dismemberment of Yugoslavia underway in the early 1990s as he wrote, Hobsbawm observed that the inter-communal strife reignited in the “Balkan tinderbox” represented the “old chickens of Versailles once again coming home to roost” — meaning that the repercussions of the punitive peace imposed outside Paris in 1919 were reverberating over 70 years later. Were he alive today, he certainly would note how some of the wounds of that “war to end all wars” continue to fester.

The Second International and the First World War – Responding to capitalist global disaster: 1914 and today

John Riddell

2014-08-25 01 RiddellThe Second International and the First World War – Responding to capitalist global disaster: 1914 and today

Table of contents:

 On this day one hundred years ago, a Bosnian nationalist assassinated the crown prince of Austria-Hungary, setting in motion a chain of events that led a month later to the outbreak of the First World War. The war shattered the world socialist movement and unleashed an overwhelming social catastrophe in Europe, killing seventeen million soldiers and civilians. The resulting revolutionary struggles brought the war to an abrupt end in 1918, while toppling the continent’s three great empires and bringing workers and peasants to power in Russia. The war also contributed to a global rise of anti-colonial struggles.What does this unique cataclysm mean for us today? It is useful to compare World War 1 with the dangers posed today by climate change and environmental collapse.The world is still ruled by arrogant imperial powers, which wage and threaten wars in many continents. Still, these powers do not seem to be on the verge of hurling themselves at each other in a global war as they did in 1914. Meanwhile, the colonial empires have given way to new forms of domination. We face a looming environmental disaster, but it will mature over decades, not weeks. The socialist movement is far weaker and less militant than in 1914. The road to socialism now seems more extended than it did at that time.Yet many aspects of the socialist response to the First World War have resonance in our time. It is particularly helpful in defining the socialist response to climate change and in clarifying some disputed issues in this arena.

Series : Bretton Woods, the World Bank and the IMF : 70th anniversary (Part 6)

The cancellation of German debt in 1953 versus the attitude to the Third World and Greece

  by Eric Toussaint

2014-08-20 05 Toussaint-EricThe United States cancelled the debts of some of its allies. The most obvious instance of this kind was the way the German debt was largely cancelled by the 1953 London Agreement. In order to make sure that the economy of West Germany would thrive and thus become a key element of stability in the Atlantic bloc, the creditor allies led by the United States made major concessions to German authorities and corporations - concessions that went beyond debt relief. A comparison between the way West Germany was treated after WWII and the current attitude to developing countries or to Greece today is a telling story.

A call: Jewish survivors and descendents of survivors of Nazi genocide unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza

2014-08-13 06 gaza jews for palestineAs Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors of the Nazi genocide, we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine. We further condemn the United States for providing Israel with the funding to carry out the attack, and Western states more generally for using their diplomatic muscle to protect Israel from condemnation. Genocide begins with the silence of the world

We are alarmed by the extreme, racist dehumanization of Palestinians in Israeli society, which has reached a fever pitch. In Israel, politicians and pundits in The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post have called openly for genocide of Palestinians, and right-wing Israelis are adopting Neo-Nazi insignia

Furthermore, we are disgusted and outraged by Elie Wiesel’s abuse of our history in these pages to promote blatant falsehoods used to justify the unjustifiable: Israel’s wholesale effort to destroy Gaza and the murder of nearly 2,000 Palestinians, including many hundreds of children. Nothing can justify bombing UN shelters, homes, hospitals and universities. Nothing can justify depriving people of electricity and water

We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people. We call for an immediate end to the siege against and blockade of Gaza. We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. “Never again” must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!

Serbia: Faced to the neoliberal assault on working class rights, can the trade unions lead the struggle?

 ILIC Pavle

2014-08-09 01 Beograd-Worker-and-citizen-protestJuly 17th witnessed one of the largest social protests in Serbia since the beginning of the global financial crisis. Around 10000 people, mainly public sector workers, marched through the streets of Belgrade against the “economic reform legislative package” including the latest incarnation of the Labour law. This will, among other things, severely deregulate the labour market, making it even easier for “entrepreneurs” (as capital owners and managers are lovingly referred to by the government controlled media) to sack workers and cut wages and severance pay (thus legalising practices already commonplace in contemporary Serbia), which has, in one form or another, been on the agenda of all post-Milosević governments in Serbia.

Israël : Vers le fascisme – « l'Etat hébreu est en train de sombrer dans le fascisme »


warschawskiMichel Warschawski (né en 1949 à Strasbourg) est un journaliste et militant pacifiste d'extrême gauche israélien, cofondateur et président du Centre d'information alternative de Jérusalem et ancien président de la Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire Marxiste israélienne.

Au cours des 45 dernières années, j'ai participé à de très nombreuses manifestations, de petits rassemblements, faits de quelques irréductibles à des manifestations de masses où nous étions plus de 100 000 ; des manifestations calmes, voire festives et des manifestations où nous avions été attaqués par des groupes de droite voire par des passants. J'ai pris des coups, j'en ai rendus, et il m'est arrivé, surtout quand j'avais des responsabilités, d'être nerveux. Mais je ne me souviens pas avoir eu peur.

Fort Apache - Extrema derecha: Surgen los monstruos 

Iglesias-Errejón-RodríguezLa aparición en la escena política de partidos ultraderechistas como Amanecer Dorado, la Liga Norte, el Frente Nacional Francés, PxC o España2000 en España, no hacen sino constatar, como ya resumió el dirigente británico del BNP, Nick Griffin, que las condiciones actuales representan la tormenta perfecta para su crecimiento.

Así se ha demostrado en las Elecciones Europeas del pasado 25 de Mayo en las que los partidos xenófobos y de ultra derecha vencieron en Francia (Front National), Reino Unido (UK Independence Party), Dinamarca (Dansk Folkeparti i København), Croacia (Hrvatska stranka prava - HSP) y Polonia (Ley y Justicia). Además los autodenominados nazis griegos de Amanecer Dorado lograron entrar en el Parlamento Europeo, así como los alemanes del Partido Nacional Demócrata.

Chinese ambitions - An imperialism in formation


RoussetChina is not an “emerging country” but a power that has emerged. It is not a “sub-imperialism” ensuring order in its own region, but an imperialism “in formation.” The new Chinese bourgeoisie is aiming to play in the big league. The success of its enterprise is still far from assured, but this ambition determines its international policies, both economic and military.

Table of contents  

Economy and Strategy
The maritime conflict in (...)

The new “emerging powers” are often grouped together under the acronym BRICS; namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon constate « l’échec » du Front de Gauche : « Là, j’ai besoin de dormir, de ne rien faire, de bayer aux corneilles »


 MelenchonDans une Interview exclusive de Jean-Luc Mélenchon au site payant Hexagones [1] le leader du Parti de Gauche annonce sa volonté de prendre du champ pour pouvoir se ressourcer, estimant qu’il est temps pour lui de passer le relais à d’autres. Il constate l’échec du Front de Gauche, et dénonce le rôle des médias dans la percée électorale du Front national.


The arms trade and Israel’s attack on Gaza: Nobel peace laureates and celebrities call for military embargo on Israel


stop-arming-israelAn abridged version of this letter calling for the UN and governments to impose a military embargo on Israel was published in the Guardian on July 19 2014 [1].

The letter is signed by six Nobel peace laureates: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Rigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams.

Other signatories include Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters from Pink Floyd, playwright Caryl Churchill, US rapper Boots Riley, João Antonio Felicio, the president of the International Trade Union Confederation, and Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions.

TAKE ACTION NOW - add your name to the call for a military embargo [2]

Nobel laureates, artists and public intellectuals call for immediate military embargo on Israel

« Le peuple palestinien tient sur ses faibles épaules l’avenir de l’humanité, entre barbarie et libération »

La Palestine - Le Cœur du monde


warschawski-peledL’équipe d’Algérie de football vient d’annoncer qu’elle donnerait l’ensemble de sa prime aux Palestiniens de Gaza. Combative et au jeu attractif, elle n’a malheureusement pas réussi à vaincre les États-Unis et dépasser ainsi les huitièmes de finale, mais ce geste envers la population martyre de Gaza la met sur le podium du championnat de la solidarité internationale.

Aux Fennecs, il faut ajouter un autre Algérien (ou plutôt franco-algérien), le prestigieux buteur de l’équipe de France Karim Benzema, qui, a plusieurs occasions, a exprimé lui-aussi sa solidarité avec le peuple palestinien.

Qu’est-ce qui fait que, même dans ce sport de compétition où les acteurs sont plus préoccupés par les sommes astronomiques qu’ils engrangent que par les valeurs morales, il y ait un tel engouement pour la Palestine et son peuple ? La réponse que nous donnent les inconditionnels de l’Etat juif ne peut nous surprendre : derrière ce soutien à la Palestine se cache, ou plutôt ne se cache même pas l’antisémitisme, surtout s’il s’agit d’Arabes, d’où qu’ils soient. Ayant intériorisé la théorie du Choc des Civilisations, les inconditionnels d’Israël, voient dans la solidarité avec la Palestine l’expression de la haine éternelle (sic) du monde musulman envers ce qu’ils appellent la civilisation judéo-chrétienne. L’histoire du monde se résumerait à cette guerre éternelle, inscrite dans le code génétique de la civilisation musulmane : c’est ce qu’on nous rabâche depuis maintenant plus d’un quart de siècle, faisant fi à la fois de deux millénaires d’antisémitisme chrétien et de nombreux siècles de coexistence judéo-musulmane plus ou moins harmonieuse. A moins de me tromper gravement, Treblinka n’était pas au Maghreb, et Sobibor une banlieue de Damas…

Women against the First World War (1914-1918) – A time to remember

Women in Black (Madrid)

WILPFWomen in Black of Madrid remember the Cassandras of the Great War:

Bertha von Suttner worked to avoid another war, any war. Her novel Lay Down Your Arms is an appeal for peace and describes the horrors of armed confrontation. She founded the Austrian Society for Peace in 1891 and worked tirelessly for the international pacifist movement. She denounced rearmament in peacetime, which would ruin the nations, and warned about the preparation of various countries for a great conflict. She confronted the virulent opposition of nationalists, the clergy and anti-Semites. The First World War began a month after her death. She was the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Rosa Luxemburg was arrested in February 1914 for inciting soldiers to rebel and declared: “If they expect us to assassinate the French or any other foreign brother, let’s tell them: ‘No, under no circumstance.’” A couple of weeks after the outbreak of the war, she declared her disappointment that the European workers’ movement had not avoided the catastrophe. She opposed the directives of the International Socialist Movement and thought that once the war came to an end, the “traitors” could be brought to justice. She was executed in January of 1919 by paramilitaries recently demobilized from the war front.

Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport – "I know what it is to have been helpless victims, living and dying under racist oppressors' boots"


Mira-Bar-HillelI can no longer stand by while Israeli politicians like Ayelet Shaked condone the deaths of innocent Palestinian women and children

She is young. She is pretty. She is a university graduate and a computer engineer. She is also an Israeli Parliamentarian - and the reason why I am on the brink of burning my Israeli passport. Because behind that wide-eyed innocent face lurks the Angel of Death.

Ayelet Shaked represents the far-right Jewish Home party in the Knesset. This means she is well to the right of Benyamin Netanyahu, just in case you thought such a thing was not possible.

On Monday she quoted this on her Facebook page: "Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there."

595 femmes de ménage grecques : 11 mois de lutte acharnée contre le gouvernement et la Troïka

  par Sonia Mitralias

Sonia MitraliaAprès 11 mois d’un long et âpre combat, limogées depuis septembre, mises sous statut de "disponibilité », soit licenciées au bout de huit mois, 595 femmes de ménage de la fonction publique sont devenues l’incarnation, le symbole, l’âme, la vie-même de la résistance la plus farouche contre la politique de rigueur en Grèce ! Ces femmes sont devenues tour à tour « sujet politique » et le leadership de toute la résistance actuelle contre la politique de la Troïka, osant affronter un ennemi aussi puissant que le gouvernement grec, la Banque centrale européenne, la Commission et le FMI

Et pourtant, après ces 11 mois de combat, après avoir défié et être devenues l’ennemi principal du gouvernement et de la Troïka, après avoir court-circuité la mise en œuvre des mesures de rigueur, après une présence très médiatisée sur la scène politique, ces femmes de ménage en lutte ne sont toujours pas considérées comme sujet politique par les opposants à l’austérité.

Soutenons les 595 femmes de ménage du Ministère des Finances en Grèce qui se battent pour leurs emplois et leur dignité

  par Patrick Saurin

SaurinDepuis le 17 septembre 2013, en Grèce, 595 femmes de ménage ​du Ministère des Finances sont ​en lutte ​contre leur licenciement. Elles sont devenues un cas emblématique de résistance contre la Troïka. Il y a un blog avec des vidéos, des photos et des informations sur le combat qu’elles mènent :

Des témoignages de soutien peuvent être transmis à Sonia Mitralias du Comité de solidarité avec « Les Femmes de Ménage en Lutte ».

​ Le 28 juillet prochain, il y aura un grand concert ​de solidarité à Syntagma. Des messages de solidarité par écrit et par vidéo peuvent être adressés par des syndicats de femmes de ménage, par des artistes ainsi que par des organisations (associations, collectifs, syndicats, partis) p​our être lus et visionnés pendant le concert. Ces témoignages pourraient également figurer sur​ le blog des femmes de ménage.​


«Última llamada»

Esto es más que una crisis económica y de régimen: es una crisis de civilización

2014-07-08 02 Ultima-Llamada-bwLos ciudadanos y ciudadanas europeos, en su gran mayoría, asumen la idea de que la sociedad de consumo actual puede “mejorar” hacia el futuro (y que debería hacerlo). Mientras tanto, buena parte de los habitantes del planeta esperan ir acercándose a nuestros niveles de bienestar material. Sin embargo, el nivel de producción y consumo se ha conseguido a costa de agotar los recursos naturales y energéticos, y romper los equilibrios ecológicos de la Tierra.

Nada de esto es nuevo. Las investigadoras y los científicos más lúcidos llevan dándonos fundadas señales de alarma desde principios de los años setenta del siglo XX: de proseguir con las tendencias de crecimiento vigentes (económico, demográfico, en el uso de recursos, generación de contaminantes e incremento de desigualdades) el resultado más probable para el siglo XXI es un colapso civilizatorio.

"El crecimiento es ya un genocidio a cámara lenta"


2014-07-08 01 El-crecimientoAlrededor de 250 autores, entre ellos Ada Colau, Pablo Iglesias, Alberto Garzón, Cayo Lara, Joan Herrera, Florent Marcellesi, Juantxo López de Uralde, Teresa Forcades, Juan Diego Botto o Yayo Herrero, han hecho público un manifiesto en el que se reclama de manera urgente un cambio de modelo de consumo ante el probable "colapso civilizatorio" que traerá el siglo XXI.

"Hoy se acumulan las noticias que indican que la vía del crecimiento es ya un genocidio a cámara lenta. El declive en la disponibilidad de energía barata, los escenarios catastróficos del cambio climático y las tensiones geopolíticas por los recursos muestran que las tendencias de progreso del pasado se están quebrando", señala el texto titulado ’Última llamada’ y que está abierto a nuevas firmas a través de su página web.

El escrito, promovido por varios grupos sociales, es un llamamiento a los nuevos partidos y formaciones organizativas surgidas a raíz del "despertar de dignidad y democracia que supuso el 15M" ante la necesidad de asumir "cambios radicales en los modos de vida".