By Bob Archer
Politicians and the media talked a great deal about earthquakes as the results of last months elections to the European parliament were published. This was especially true in France and the UK, where the established parties were beaten at the polls by the Front National (FN) and the UK Independence Party respectively.
Failing to assuage voters anger could mean the erosion, if not the destruction of the union in a matter of years, said veteran Austrian journalist Erhard Stackl, writing in The New York Times International Weekly. In some countries, the vote against an integrated Europe was profound.
He consoled himself with the observation that nevertheless two-thirds of the votes were cast for pro-European parties. And in Germany, the economic powerhouse of the 28-nation bloc, Chancellor Merkel and her allies still command a comfortable majority.
Smarting under a series of lost seats in the European parliament, many established bourgeois parties needed all the consolation on offer. Continue reading
By Balazs Nagy
, May 2014
The forthcoming European elections will no doubt produce unprecedented advances by the French Front National (FN). It gained considerable strength by its spectacular advances in the recent municipal elections, which have clearly given it a head-start in the European elections. So a critical examination of its programme, in particular in relation to Europe, is not only vital in itself but allows us to clarify what the essential problems for Europe are. It also allows to look at all the other parties European policies.
Now, to decode what the FN’s orientation towards Europe is and what it means, we must first of all describe its national policy. We must do this not on the basis of that party’s own deceptive slogans or what other people say about it, but on the firm basis of the only objective criterion for political evaluation, i.e. its class character.
What is the Front National’s real class character?
Actually, we need to establish clearly what the FN’s social basis is and indicate unequivocally which class’s interests are expressed in its programme and activities. This is the fundamental question which politicians and commentators either evade or completely muddle up, but it is the most important one. Continue reading
5 March 2014, Posted in NUMSA Bulletin
Lessons from Germany
South Africa’s structural unemployment crisis which affects the youth in particular could do with a good dose of German training medicine says Boniswa Ntshingila.
South Africa’s youth unemployment crisis
South Africa’s youth unemployment rate is amongst the highest in the world. Therefore one of the greatest socio-economic problems currently facing South Africa is youth unemployment.
According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey by Statistics South Africa, in the third quarter of 2013, 34.8% of young South Africans1 could not find a job compared with less than 15% of adults over 34. If one breaks down the youth unemployment figures by race, the picture becomes more gloomy for African and coloured youth. In 2010, African youth unemployment hit 58%, coloured youth unemployment 45% while Indian and white youth unemployment were at 22% and 18% respectively. However, these figures do not correctly reflect the seriousness of the youth unemployment problem because it excludes young people that have not been looking for employment2.
If all young people are considered in the calculation of youth unemployment then the actual youth unemployment rate was 47.5% for the third quarter of 2013. This means that 1 in every 2 young people cannot find a job and has very little chance of ever finding a job. Continue reading
7pm Monday 31 March 2014, Conway Hall, Red Lion square.
This work was originally planned as “an article explaining the great economic crisis which erupted in 2007 from a Marxist point of view”.
However, while working on it Balazs Nagy quickly realised that a deeper understanding of this development would only be possible through grasping the nature and meaning of this current upheaval in and through the development of the economic-political system as a whole.
Therefore he “could not avoid going back – occasionally a long way back – to unearth the roots of the social content and important components of economic life and trace how they came into being historically”.
The present volume therefore contains Part One of this work. It starts with the efforts of classical socialist thinkers to understand imperialism as a stage of capitalism, then traces the persistent contradictions working in society and economy through the Twentieth Century.
This compelling and original account rescues and re-presents basic Marxist conceptions of these matters which are often overlooked in contemporary political discourse.
Balazs Nagy dedicates this book “to the memory of the pioneer who inspired these Considerations, the outstanding Marxist economist, my comrade and friend Geoff Pilling, who died before his time in August 1997”
Marxist Considerations on the Crisis by Balazs Nagy
190 pages, paperback:
Published for Workers International by Socialist Studies, PO Box 68375, London E7 7DT,
One of the Secretaries of the Petofi Circle in Hungary in 1956, Balazs Nagy participated in establishing the Budapest Central Workers’ Council.
In his pamphlet: 1956: How the Budapest Central Workers’ Council Was Set Up, he explains that even before the uprising and the brutal intervention of the Soviet army, workers had spontaneously started to organise their actions.
Forced into exile in Western Europe, Balazs Nagy came into contact with Trotskyism to which he has since dedicated his life. He is a founding member of Workers International to Rebuild the Fourth International.
Theses towards a revolutionary programme
by Balazs Nagy, Workers International To Rebuild the Fourth International, 20 February 2011
Biased, fragmentary and very incomplete as the media reports are, some things are clear:
1. These movements are desperately short of revolutionary leadership. The long years of ruthess dictatorship have strangled even the more or less petty-bourgeois parties. There is no sign even of any bourgeois leadership independent of the ruling authorities, apart from groups and individuals tied to the dictators whom the workers have thrown out. Continue reading
In defence of the workers and people of Greece – first victims of capital’s offensive
European march on Brussels!Response to the “Common Appeal for the Rescue of the People of Europe” launched by Mikis Theodorakis and Manolis Glezos,
by Balazs Nagy, Workers’ International (20 February 2012) Continue reading
by Balazs Nagy
Another day, another worrying news item. One minute a sudden squall blows away the Dutch government’s oddly cherished triple-A credit rating; the next, the UK officially announces it is mired in – “double dip” – recession. That most distinguished of French dailies, Le Monde, carries a pre-May Day editorial headed “Spanish crisis rocks Europe”. Then the Greek people resoundingly toss out Papademos, the banker “democratically” inflicted on them as chief puppet in a government of marionettes. The first round of the Greek elections was certainly a powerful rejection of the austerity imposed by the bourgeoisie’s puny, misbegotten Europe. Continue reading