Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Germany: Left-wing politician car-bombed as attacks on refugees rise

Die Linke councillor and refugee activist, Michael Richter
Just after midnight on Monday 27 July, a bomb exploded in the car of left-wing politician and refugee activist, Michael Richter, in the town of Freital, on the outskirts of Dresden in eastern Germany.

Richter, a 39-year old town councillor for the socialist party Die Linke (“The Left”) was not in the car at the time, and fortunately noone was harmed by the blast, which damaged a nearby car.

While police are yet to assign blame, Richter is certain that the attack came from right-wing groups in the area, who have threatened him repeatedly in recent months over his campaigning work for refugees.

"I am one of the faces in Freital who say we are for asylum, and I think that's the reason for the attack," Richter said after the blast.

"Threats have now become reality. They are trying to scare me, but I will not give up,"

Germany has seen a steady rise in violence against asylum seekers in the past year, with the German Federal Ministry of the Interior recording 202 attacks in the first six months of 2015 alone, compared to 162 in all of 2014 and 58 in 2013.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Thermopylae or Versailles? Greece deal threatens to destroy the European project

Europe, as we know it, appears to be over. 

The promise of a peaceful integration of capitalist equals lies tattered on the floor of a negotiation room in Brussels. There, the SYRIZA-led Greek government finally succumbed to the blackmail, economic carpet-bombing and “mental water-boarding” of the institutions of European capitalism.

The final weeks of the debt negotiations culminating in a cynical political coup against Greece have laid bare the undemocratic, technocratic nature of the European Union (EU), which operates as a thieves’ kitchen to protect vested financial interests at an incalculable human cost.

For many, the brutal humiliation of the Greek government and people heralds the end of the dream that the EU could be softly nudged towards a benevolent economic and political union. For others on both the political far left and far right, it provides further justification for a perspective of exiting the EU to return social and political issues to a primarily national level.

German philosopher Jürgen Habermas, an intellectual figurehead of European integration, told The Guardian on 17 July that the outcome of the negotiations means that the “European Council is effectively declaring itself politically bankrupt”. 

Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman, described the terms of the deal as “madness”, and argued that “[w]hat we’ve learned these past couple of weeks is that being a member of the Eurozone means that the creditors can destroy your economy if you step out of line.”

“This goes beyond harsh into pure vindictiveness, complete destruction of national sovereignty, and no hope of relief … it’s a grotesque betrayal of everything the European project was supposed to stand for,” he said.