Portugal : A Preemptive Strike

Portugal : A Preemptive Strike

  By Joshua Tartakovsky, November 3, 2015 A Prime Minister in charge of a new government was just appointed in Portugal.  His name is Pedro Passos Coelho, and he is the leader of Portugal à Frente (Portugal Ahead), a center-right umbrella that had been governing the country in a pro-austerity direction between 2011 and 2015.  There is a slight problem, however, and a reason to hold back from clinking glasses. In the recent October 4 parliamentary elections, à Frente received a total of 107 seats out of 230 seats in the Assembleia da República, the Portuguese Parliament.  À Frente is now the largest bloc in parliament. But Portugal is a parliamentary democracy.  A coalition that wishes to govern must enjoy the vote of confidence of at least 116 members in parliament in which 230 members serve.  Passos Coehlo does not enjoy such a majority, and the parties on the Left are unwilling to join his coalition. This not only means that he will be unable to govern, since in 10 days most of the Portuguese parties will pass a no-confidence vote, but also that he does not represent the democratic will of the Portuguese majority. How did things come to this bizarre stage? Before we begin to seek an answer to this question, we must first make sense of the Portuguese political map.  Portugal à Frente is the name of joint list composed of two parties, Partido Social Democrata (PSD), which is a social-democrat party only by name run by neoliberals (as one who is accustomed to European politics by now must know), and People’s Party (CDS), a Conservative...
Footage from Stepanovka: A Town Heavily Destroyed by the Ukrainian Army

Footage from Stepanovka: A Town Heavily Destroyed by the Ukrainian Army

One who is exposed regularly to the Western mainstream media gains the impression or, in fact, the absolute knowledge, that Ukraine is defending itself from “Russian aggression.” My visit to Donetsk and its surrounding environment made it clear, however, that actually it is the people of Donbass who are being bombarded by the Ukrainian government. Their, supposedly, own government.  Who will defend the civilians of Donbass from their own government when it bombs them while receiving international impunity and support? Below is a video took of the town of Stepanovka in the Donetsk region on my visit there on April 21-23, 2015. Many homes were destroyed and their residents were killed. Is our media not failing us by not showing us these pictures and failing to notify us on the war crimes taking place in our name by the Western-supported Kiev...
This is a Betrayal: Interview with Professor Spyros Marketos

This is a Betrayal: Interview with Professor Spyros Marketos

Photo: telesurtv.net Telesur | Blogs By Joshua Tartakovsky 15 July, 2015 ​Professor Spyros Maketos teaches at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, is a member of the Truth Committee on Public Debt and a member of Antarsya. Joshua Tartakovsky (JT): Professor Spyros Marketos, how are most people in Greece reacting to the memorandum? Obviously people to the left of Syriza or even within Syriza are not happy but, the how does the vast majority, those who voted No in the referendum, view the agreement? and what is the media saying about the agreement? Sypros Marketos (SM): I can only give my impressions. Here we don’t have solid data on this but the first sentiment seems to be a numbing of the public. People were really joyous after the last plebiscite. After all this joy, this victory, the complete turn around of the government left them with no joy and there was agony until last morning and now people don’t really believe what had just happened. There is a large percentage of the people who are incredulous about what is happening but there are others that are very angry because this is not the first time something like this happens in Greece. Papandreou was elected promising to give money, and he imposed the first memorandum. Samaras has been elected as anti-memorandum and he imposed the second memorandum, and now Tsipras has been elected with the promise to tear the memoranda and now he brings the third memoranda. So people are now much less credulous and gullible than they were towards the previous governments before. Secondly, people know that the road to the...
Tsipras Capitulated, We Owe It to Greece to Speak Out

Tsipras Capitulated, We Owe It to Greece to Speak Out

  Photo: Reuters. The picture above appeared in this article.  Telesur 10 July, 2015 This past Thursday, the Greek government represented by Alexis Tsipras handed over the final proposal to the Troika. In return for a bailout of 50 billion euros for the next three years and a short-term financial bridge, Tsipras agreed to major cuts, raises in VAT which will affect negatively most Greeks, and slashing of pensions which were already cut by 50 percent since the first bailout. Just 6 days ago, this past Sunday, 61 percent of the Greek public voted for its dignity and against capitulation to the Troika, despite the fact that they were placed under economic siege and financial blackmail. The majority of the Greek people voted against a proposal which would cut 8 billion euros of public funds. Now Tsipras offered the Eurogroup 13 billion euros in a new proposal. It remains to be seen whether the German Bundestag will accept this capitulation. As far as Tsipras is concerned, however, the decision has been made. Many people on the international Left are naturally sympathetic to Syriza and to Alexis Tsipras. They understand the immense pressure he was placed under, and respect the fact that he managed to take a tough negotiating position with the Troika entirely on his own. Yet, what they fail to understand is that Tsipras is not Greece, and Tsipras is not Syriza. The last proposal cannot be defined as anything else but capitulation. This is due to the simple fact that it would involve major cuts in pensions and a rise in VAT while Greece would cut 13 billion...
CrossTalk: EU Fiasco?

CrossTalk: EU Fiasco?

RT.com Quagmire and fiasco are only two words to describe the condition of the European Union and the eurozone after the democratic choice of the Greek people. In the end the IMF’s crisis-mongering strategy failed and the Brussels leadership completely miscalculated. So-called Western values are lying in tatters. CrossTalking with Joshua Tartakovsky, John Laughland, and Theofanis Exadaktylos....