Europe


Underdog politics

14 June 2008 Support for parties of the populist right has been growing across Europe. Faced with 37 per cent support for the far-right Progress Party, according to polls in his home country Norway, political writer Magnus Marsdal travelled across Europe to find out why

The crisis of Italy’s political institutions: a view from inside government

13 April 2008 Paolo Ferrero was Minister of Social Solidarity in the Prodi Government. He describes here the difficulties of achieving radical reform in the face of a weak coalition, social conservatism and the crisis besetting Italy's weak political institutions

We must avoid being absorbed by the State

13 April 2008 Paolo Cacciari, a former Rifondazione MP, argues that the left should avoid being 'absorbed' by state institutions, and explains how citizens' associations can work to bring about a new left culture

Movements and left parties should keep a respectful distance

13 April 2008 Alessandra Mecozzi, International Secretary of FIOM, the Italian metalworkers union, reflects on the weakened state of the movements, including the trade union movement, and draws some harsh lessons

Against Veltrusconi: the challenges facing Italy’s ‘territorial’ social movements

13 April 2008 Italy has seen a recent wave of 'territorial' social movements, brought together by a crisis of political representation. In the face of an increasingly insecure society, and the appeal of more authoritarian demands, these movements still need to develop a mass base, argues Tommaso Fattori

A new coalition may be the best hope for a weak left

13 April 2008 With the centre-left taking a rightward turn, and a fractious left increasingly losing its social base, the prospects for the Italian election look bleak, argues Luciana Castellina

The Italian left should appeal to the urban middle class

13 April 2008 Italy is a right-wing country, where the Vatican retains a strong influence and a majority of the population belong to the urban middle class. The left needs a new appeal to these sectors if it is to challenge Berlusconi, argues Paul Ginsborg

Walter Veltroni: projecting Italy as the ‘hub’ of neoliberal Europe

13 April 2008 Walter Veltroni is the main centre-left challenger to Berlusconi in Italy's general election. As leader of the Democratic Party, he rejects local and social movement campaigns in territorial autonomy and favours making Italy a military and industrial 'hub', writes Enzo Mangini

Balance sheet of the Prodi Government

13 April 2008 The Prodi government failed in its promises to rewrite Berlusconi's controversial labour laws, remunicipalise water and reverse Italy's militaristic international policies. The result is disillusionment with the left, writes Vittorio Longhi

A red guide to Italian politics

3 April 2008 Italians have often led the way in creating a European left but now they face a crisis in the return of Silvio Berlusconi. Hilary Wainwright talked to a range of left activists as they prepared for the elections

Wrong man, wrong Europe

2 April 2008 Referendums killed off the EU Constitution, a 'blackmail' that Europe's elites will now avoid by forcing through the Lisbon Treaty without debate, writes Susan George. And Tony Blair is just the man some of them want to lead the way in this new Europe

Energy cowboys and green mountebanks

17 January 2008 The failed strategy of energy liberalisation that brought rolling blackouts and the financial high jinks of Enron to the United States is now being tried by the European Union, writes Westby Swift

European unions of the people

1 December 2007 Giulio Marcon and Duccio Zola survey the resistance to privatisation across Europe, highlighting the role of pan-European trade union initiatives and a growing alliance between social movements and the unions

The left has only itself to blame

1 December 2007 The right-wing election victory in France should never have happened, writes Philippe Marlière.

Privatisation in Europe

1 November 2007 The privatisation of public services is proceeding apace across Europe. Paolo Andruccioli examines what it means for consumers, workers, citizens - and democracy

Terror laws hit German left

24 September 2007 The past few months have seen a wave of repression unleashed in Germany. Houses, offices, social centres and bookshops have been raided by police and several people accused of 'membership of a terrorist organisation' - sometimes for as little as having written academic texts about 'gentrification'. Frank Meyer reports from Hamburg

Flunking the written

1 August 2007 The newly formed Die Linke (Left) party is breaking the rules of German politics to create a strongly rooted party to the left of the Social Democratic Party across Germany's historic divide. Die Linke organiser Christophe Spehr reports

The struggle for Europe’s soul

1 March 2007 The European Union (EU) marks its 50th birthday this month with no solution in sight to revive the stalled constitutional treaty. But with a raft of new proposals to further liberalise markets, it is too soon for the left to celebrate, argues Oscar Reyes.

Frank, as in honest

1 November 2006 The leaking of a secret speech by the Hungarian prime minister, Ferenc Gyurcsany, has led to mass protests and political crisis in Budapest. In the speech, Gyurcsany said that his party had lied to the electorate to win the April election. Laszlo Bihari reports on the political fallout from the truth about Hungary's honest liar

Bridges to peace

1 July 2006 Fabio Alberti from the Italian 'Bridges to Baghdad' argues that the peace movement will have to keep Prodi to his commitment to withdraw from Iraq and calls for the government to initiate an international peace conference.

We are the European people

1 June 2006 An innovative survey of activists across Europe casts light on the successes and failures of the continent’s social movements and the problems and challenges that they face

Why French and Dutch citizens are saying NO

1 June 2006 The French referendum on the EU constitution takes place on 29 May, followed by a similar referendum in The Netherlands on 1 June. Opinions polls show the 'no' side edging ahead, but in both countries it's still too close to call. The following virtual interview is based on presentations given at the Transnational Institute (TNI) Fellows' Meeting in Amsterdam on 21 May.

Europe: bridging the emotional gap

1 November 2005 In search of a fresh argument for the left in Britain to become more European in its thinking and organising, I picked an extraordinary book off my bookshelf: 'Europe in Love; Love in Europe' by Louisa Passerini from the European University Institute in Florence.

Paris is burning

1 November 2005 In 1991, after violent riots between youths and police scarred the suburbs of Lyon, French sociologist Alain Tourraine predicted that 'it will only be a few years before we face the kind of massive urban explosion of the American experience'. The 12 nights of consecutive violence following the deaths of two young Muslim men of African descent in a Paris suburb indicate that Tourraine's dark vision of a ghettoised, post-colonial France is now upon us.

Ceuta and Melilla: Europe’s wall of shame

1 November 2005 In the last week of September 2005, the true image of Fortress Europe entered our living rooms: black people hanging from barbed wire, laying down with broken arms an legs, bleeding and desperately asking for help. Since 27 September, when it is said that al least 1,000 tried to cross the 3 to 6-meter fence that separates Morocco from Melilla - a Spanish territory in the North African coast - similar images, if not worse, have been exposing the consequences of EU immigration policies.

Who really bombed Paris?

1 September 2005 The French response to 'Islamic terrorism' after the 1995 Paris metro bombing is often held up as a model. But there is strong evidence that the attacks were part of the Algerian government's 'dirty war' on its opponents.

The remaking of the left

1 September 2005 More than a decade after the fall of the Berlin wall, communist successor parties are winning support as they struggle to reinvent themselves

Non de gauche: the French Left after the referendum

1 July 2005 The French No vote in the 29 May referendum on the European constitution had immediate consequences, both for the fate of the treaty and for domestic politics. But this was no mere mid-term protest against an unpopular government, nor further evidence of France's famed 'ungovernability', the fact that no government in the last thirty years has lasted more than one term in office. It actually marks an important staging post in the making of a new Left on the terrain of capitalist globalisation.

The UK/US Presidency of the EU

1 July 2005 You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to work out the meaning of the UK Presidency of the EU. Just read the Wall Street Journal of 16 October 2003, where Gordon Brown explains New Labour’s agenda for Europe: ‘economic reform should be embraced with even greater speed. The right response to global competitive pressure is […]

Hungary’s first ‘eco-president’

1 July 2005 Recently the words 'Another Politics is Possible' took on a new meaning in Hungary when Dr László Sólyom, Hungary's first 'civil candidate', was elected President of the Hungarian Republic in an unexpected success for grassroots politics

The people’s President?

1 July 2005 Activism and party politics in a polarised Hungary

French Hijab ban: one year on

1 May 2005 Naima Bouteldja on why French Muslim school children are not celebrating the first anniversary of the 'headscarf ban'.

The Left and Power – the Italian way

1 May 2005 From the dramatic events surrounding the killing of an Italian secret agent to a sweeping electoral victory against Berlusconi, Hilary Wainwright provides a snapshot of a dramatic time in Italian politics. But as Rifondazione Comunista extends its influence in regional government, she asks: can the left transform the state by sharing power?

The Bluffer’s Guide to… the Bolkestein directive on services

1 April 2005 Preying on your apathy and sunny personalities, free-market lunatics embedded in Brussels are trying to sneak through reforms of the services sector that would effectively steamroller national regulatory systems out of existence. By Graham Copp

Trade Unions Protest in Romania

1 April 2005 Amongst the slew of changes in Romania recently, the only one to unite the trade unions in opposition is the proposed change to the Work Code.

A tale of two treaties

1 March 2005 French magazine Politis asked two leading French progressive figures, Alain Lipietz (Green Party) and Jean-Luc Melenchon (Socialist Party) to debate their respective support for and opposition to the proposed EU constitution.

European Parliament stands up for asylum seekers

1 December 2004 The European Parliament and Commission are set on a collision course with the Council of Europe, the organisation of Member States, over asylum policy after the Parliament adopted a report that condemned draconian practices by European countries.

Internationale Rescue

1 September 2004 The year is 1996, and 21-year-old Ilya Ponomarev, typical of Russia's new breed of young entrepreneurs, is making the most of the market opportunities opened up by perestroika. At 15 he had set up his own computer-programming company, achieving a $10m turnover in two years. At 24 he became the youngest ever vice-president of the giant Russian oil company Yukos.

Local Democracy Italian style

1 August 2004 Hilary Wainwright savours the political and cultural dolce vita in the Adriatic town of Grottammare.

The End of ‘Rhineland Capitalism’: Germany at the Crossroads

1 January 2004 In the decades following the Second World War, Federal Germany established a social-welfare state which brought a measure of social security to the broad mass of the population unprecedented in German history. The German model also ranked highly in international terms.

Whatever happened to the German Greens?

1 August 2003 Back in the early 1980s the West German Greens were a bastion of radicalism, challenging US imperialism, advocating pacifism and describing their own position as one of 'ecological socialism'. By the late 1990s the party seemed to have changed beyond all recognition: as a member of Gerhard Schroeder's 'third way' coalition, the Greens were defending radically neoliberal policies and staunchly supporting military interventions for humanitarian purposes.

NGO launches bid to force EC to open up GATS negotiations

1 August 2003 Friends of the Earth has lodged a complaint with the European Commission's Ombudsman in a bid to force the Commission to release documents detailing the European Union's stance in international trade negotiations.

The Socialist Workers Party and the euro

1 July 2003 We want a Europe that meets the needs of workers and the poor, not a Europe of capital and war.

The Scottish Socialist Party, the European Anti-Capitalist Left and the euro

1 July 2003 In the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), the debate is not about whether or not to have the euro - the party is markedly against (and so follows the fear of ending up in bed with the reactionary and xenophobic Sun and Daily Mail campaigns, or subconsciously adopting the little Englander mentality). Sure, you'll see campaigning against the euro in the SSP - it's the official party line. You'll even find the odd pro-euro platform - perhaps a knee-jerk reaction to the anti-European right-wing rhetoric, or more likely in the hope that it will unite workers across Europe, act as a rival to the US, and be open enough to expose corruption.

Labour Left Briefing – Britain’s Integration into Europe

1 July 2003 From a specifically British perspective European integration has much to offer - a levelling up of living standards, trade union laws and human rights. Indeed large sectors of the labour movement have looked across the channel and noticed that Britain is the sweatshop of Europe - we work the longest hours, have fewer rights than most other EU countries and we have fewer holidays.

The Green Party and the euro

1 July 2003 While the Green Party now accepts that the UK should stay within the European Union, it sees the EU as over-centralized and driven by a neo-liberal agenda.

Charter88 – Five Democratic Tests for Europe

1 July 2003 Charter88, the democracy campaigning group, recently launched a pamphlet listing five democratic tests for EU institutions to mirror Gordon Brown's five economic tests for the euro.

Atlanticism

5 July 1997 Atlanticism is the Achilles' heel of European security, self-identity and collective will, argues John Williams



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