Turkey: After Last Week’s Dress Rehearsal Now We See a Real Coup in Action…

CollagePublished: 22 July 2016. Author: Tayfun Hatipoğlu.

Each day that goes by after the farcical “coup” supposedly organised by rebel army units, we see a real coup being put into operation by President Erdogan’s regime. One sector after another faces a massive purge. Already over 60,000 state employees have been arrested or fired. And many more are promised as those interrogated supposedly give up the names of their colleagues.

We have seen this technique before from would-be dictators in history. Hitler burnt down the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament building, then blamed it on the communists in order to justify the introduction of an emergency and the assumption of executive powers. He then proceeded to round up all his opponents and launch his murderous regime. In the Soviet Union, Stalin used the assassination of his rival and Leningrad Party Boss Kirov to justify a four year purge of Soviet society that led to the murder of millions.

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Failed “Coup” in Turkey only Strengthens President Erdogan’s Grip on Power

Pro-government supporters beat soldiers after “coup” collapses

Published: 17 July 2016.
Author: Tayfun Hatipoğlu.

The failed “coup” in Turkey has significantly bolstered the position of President Erdogan’s regime, giving him an excuse to go even further in repressing his critics. The farcical coup was virtually tailor-made to help President Erdogan’s AK Party regime further strengthen its power, while simultaneously giving it a claim to be “defenders of democracy”. No wonder Erdogan greeted the coup as a “gift from god”.

Far-fetched as it may seem to think that this coup was actually stage-managed by the regime, suspicions are raised by the fact that neither the President, the Prime Minister nor any of his ministers were arrested or injured, or any government buildings occupied. Nor, by chance, was there any damage done to Erdogan’s beloved new Presidential Palace, the prime symbol of his overweening ego. And what kind of coup would allow the President to issue a video appeal online as soon as events began to unfold, fire on his hotel after he had left it, and then allow him to fly unhindered a few hours later into Istanbul’s Ataturk airport to a waiting crowd of his supporters?

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THE BASIS OF A SOCIALIST MANIFESTO Chapter 3: The Working Class

The Transition To Socialism

Published: 10 July 2016.
Author: Jonathan Clyne (TSN Policy Coordinator).
Intro by: TSN Editor.

Below is Chapter 3 of the first draft of a new book written by Jonathan Clyne entitled ‘The Transition to Socialism’. This will form the basis of a discussion at a future meeting of The Socialist Network’s international coordinating committee as part of a process of creating a new Socialist Manifesto. For this discussion around the book we wish to encourage the widest participation and feedback from members of the Network and the socialist movement in general.

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Modern Imperialism and the Working Class

Modern ImperialismPublished: 6 July 2016.
Author: Michael Roberts.

The IIPPE workshop in London on modern imperialism, organised this week by Simon Mohun, Emeritus professor of political economy at QMC London University, was highly appropriate for two reasons.

First, it brought together those scholars with the latest works on modern imperialism. Both John Smith’s new book and that of Tony Norfield have been reviewed on my blog. Smith’s book has won the prize from the Monthly Review and Tony’s has been included on the short list for the Isaac Deutscher prize for the best Marxist book of the year, previously won by many eminent leftists and Marxists. And Lucia Pradella had a book Globalization and the Critique of Political Economy: New Insights from Marx’s Writings, Routledge, 2014 that was also shortlisted for Isaac Deutscher in 2015.

The other reason, of course, was Brexit. The decision of the British people to vote in a referendum to leave the EU brings into focus the history of British imperialism and its impact on the consciousness of the British people. And the workshop spent some time considering the importance of British imperialism in the 21st century. It may be only the 5th largest economy by GDP, but as Tony Norfield has shown, it is still second only to the US as an imperialist power, when finance and military might are considered. The split in the British ruling class between its past imperialist ambitions and its recent need to integrate with Europe has come to a head with Brexit.

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Britain’s Labour Crisis – Defend Jeremy Corbyn, Bring Labour MPs under Membership Control

jeremy and refugees

Published: 4th July 2016.
Author: John McDonnell, British Labour Party Shadow Chancellor.
Intro by: TSN Editor.

A move to unseat Jeremy Corbyn, the left wing leader of the British Labour Party, has just been launched following a vote of no confidence in Jeremy by a majority of Labour members of parliament (172 votes to 40). Although the move is supposed to be based on criticism of Jeremy’s performance in the EU Referendum campaign, it has now emerged that it is part of a careful plan by his political enemies inside the Labour Party that was developed ten months ago after he was elected by a big majority of Labour members to be their leader. The timing of the plan is to remove Jeremy before the Labour Party Conference this Autumn which is expected to agree some significant changes, and forestall the possibility of many right-wing Labour MPs being deselected by their local constituency parties. 

Below we print the speech given last week on the crisis by Labour’s Shadow Chancellor (Finance Minister) in support of Jeremy:

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Some Reasons for and Consequences of Britain’s Departure from the EU

EU referendumPublished: 30 June 2016.
Author: Pat Byrne.

The unexpected vote of the British public by 52-48% to leave the European Union has rocked ruling elites worldwide. Not only are they worried that Britain leaving the EU will tip the UK into recession but could slow down the rest of the global economy. In the longer term, they also fear it could mark the beginning of the dissolution of the European Union itself. Moreover, they worry that this vote against the EU signals a growing rejection of international capitalist institutions and spells the doom of pro-corporate trade pacts like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, better known as TTIP.

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Book Review of: ‘And the weak suffer what they must?’ by Yanis Varoufakis

9781568585642Published: 12 June, 2016.
Author: Chris Gray.

Margaret Thatcher made two errors regarding Europe. The first – a common one among British politicians and commentators – was to imagine that a single European market was possible without something resembling a single European state. Tariffs can be lowered and quotas abolished without affecting the sovereignty of national parliaments, but a single European market requires a lot more: it demands a single rulebook. This means that member-states lose all power to set particular quality standards, environmental controls tailor-made for specific habitats or protection for workers and pensioners from cross-border races to the bottom. A single market may not need a single currency, but it needs a single federal-like state to function properly. But, then again, if a single federal-like state is in place, then we might as well have a single currency too (p121).

Varoufakis’s book is subtitled Europe, austerity and the threat to global security. The analysis deserves scrutiny. The title is a clause from Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian war, taken from the famous passage concerning the island of Melos, which had rebelled against Athenian rule and was about to suffer the consequences.1

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Israel Moves Even More to the Right

NetanyahuPublished: 4 June 2016.
Author: Uri Avnery.

I recently mentioned the German word Gleichschaltung – one of the most typical words in the Nazi vocabulary. “Gleich” means “the same”, and “Schaltung” means “wiring”. The long German word means that everything in the state is wired up the same way – the Nazi way. This was an essential part of the Nazi transformation of Germany. But it did not happen in any dramatic way. The replacement of people was slow, almost imperceptible. In the end, all important positions in the country were manned by Nazi functionaries.

We are now witnessing something like this in Israel. We are already well into the middle of the process. Position after position is taken over by the far-far right, which is ruling Israel now. Slowly. Very, very slowly.

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UK Labour’s New Economics – Unfortunately Not So New…

The New EconomicsPublished: 2 June 2016
Author: Michael Roberts

Over 1000 people packed into a London college to take part in a day of analysis of the state of the British economy. And hundreds had been turned away. This was a conference called by the new left-wing leadership of the opposition Labour party in Britain. The hardworking and dedicated activists within the Labour party that had backed Jeremy Corbyn, the new leftist leader, had turned out in droves to discuss with due intent what is wrong with capitalism in Britain and what to do about it. It was an unprecedented event: the leadership of the Labour party calling a meeting to discuss economics and economic policy and allowing party members to discuss.

Labour’s finance leader, John McDonnell opened the conference by saying the aim of the various sessions was to see how Labour could “transform capitalism” into delivering a “fairer, democratic sustainable prosperity shared by all”. We needed to “rewrite the rules” of capitalism to make it work for all. He argued the British capital was failing to invest for growth and jobs. We needed to break with the ‘free market’ ideology of the neo-liberal agenda and “reshape the narrative” with “new economics”.

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Unions Agree to Organise a New Independent Socialist Workers Federation in South Africa

360Published: 23 May 2016.
Intro by: TSN Editor.

On May Day 2016 unions representing more than a million workers met and decided to take all necessary steps to create a new independent militant workers federation in South Africa. This move logically follows on from the expulsion by the pro-ANC Government Congress of South African Trade Unions of the radical National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa which The Socialist Network  reported on 18 months ago. Below we print the stirring and forward-looking statement of this historic gathering…

“History was made in South Africa on 30 April 2016 when 1406 representatives of 29 separate  trade unions and one existing federation, NACTU, with 22 affiliates, supported by a range of civil society and community organisations, came together to commit themselves to building a new, worker-controlled, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, independent, financially self-sufficient, internationalist, socialist-orientated and militant union federation.

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