4 Takeaways from SYRIZA’s Second Congress

By Dimitris Rapidis. First published by Blog Active.eu. Hyperlinks added by this blog.

Between October 13-16, the governing Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party held its second congress in Athens. There were many debates and fruitful discussions but above all else the congress addressed some major issues that define the party’s new vision and political scope.

epa04833806 (FILE) A file picture dated 10 February 2015 shows then Greek Alternate Minister for International Economic Relations Euclid Tsakalotos speaking during a parliament session in Athens, Greece. According to widespread news reports, Tsakalotos was on 06 July 2015 named successor of Yanis Varoufakis as Greek Finance Minister. EPA/SIMELA PANTZARTZI EPA/SIMELA PANTZARTZI

1. Euclid Tsakalotos Comes in First in the Central Committee Ballot

The Greek Minister of Finance achieved to get the first place among the contenders for the party’s Central Committee. This is an historic achievement, considering also that he is the one managing negotiations with the creditors and implementing the bailout program. Leading one of the influential political trends in SYRIZA, the Group of 53+, mostly critical to the bailout deal, Tsakalotos combines efficiency in negotiations — considering the balances of power with and among the creditors — and a constant effort to open the debate over the political vision of the party and the Left in Greece and Europe. While he is not clamoring for any leading position in the party nor is he promoting himself, Tsakalotos turns out to be extremely popular in the party. He can definitely build on that, empowering his position abroad and building the bridge connecting policy-making and daily management of policy consequences. Continue reading

Burlington’s Political Revolution and Bernie Sanders’ Forgotten Run for Governor

Thesis by Catherine Alison Hill

ABSTRACT

This thesis is the story of Bernie Sanders, the socialist mayor of Burlington and his campaign for governor of Vermont in 1986. The campaign is used as a prism to explore his version of socialist politics and policies within a capitalist state. The policies which Sanders developed in this campaign for lowering property taxes for middle and lower income people, increasing social spending, increasing citizen participation, and raising the taxes for wealthy people and corporations are examined in detail. Sanders claims that city governments can work for poor and working class people; however, this thesis demonstrates the difficulties leftists have in getting elected and in implementing policies whenever they do win. In conclusion, I examine the questions about left participation in the electoral process, the autonomy of the state, and what socialist municipal and state policies should be.

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How Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Trumped Themselves (and Us)

While it is indisputable that Jill Stein split the left-liberal anti-Trump vote in Wisconsin and Michigan and handed Republican Donald Trump the presidency, it is equally indisputable that Trump beat Hillary Clinton despite winning fewer votes than John McCain and Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012.

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All of Our Revolution’s Down-Ballot 2016 Victories

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Our Revolution (OR) bounced back from a rocky start and survived the Trump wave on November 8 to help elect 56 down-ballot progressives and rack up 23 progressive victories in ballot initiatives all over the country. OR endorsed a total of 106 general election candidates and worked for/against 31 ballot initiatives, achieving a success rate of 53% and 74%, respectively, in OR’s first general election. Additionally, OR backed 9 candidates in primaries and 7 of them won. (The full list of OR’s 2016 wins and losses can be found at the bottom of this post.) Continue reading

Jill Stein Enabled Trump’s Electoral College Victory

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In a repeat of the 2000 election, Jill Stein failed to win 5% of the popular vote but won enough votes in key states to tip the outcome of the Clinton-Trump electoral college contest in Trump’s favor by splitting the anti-Trump vote between herself and Hillary Clinton.

  • In Wisconsin, Trump beat Clinton by 26,989 votes and Stein received 30,907 votes.
  • In Michigan, Trump beat Clinton by 16,236 votes and Stein received 51,043 votes.

Taking these states’ combined 26 electoral votes away from Trump would have put him below the 270 threshold necessary to become president (as of this writing he stands at 276).

Voters in these states who cast their ballots for the ‘greater good’ and in doing so enabled the greater evil. Bernie Sanders was right to warn against casting a protest vote in 2016.

Jill Stein Syria Statements Show She’s Unfit to Be President

Last month, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was roundly condemned for surreptitiously substituting a neutral pro-peace Syria statement on her campaign’s website in place of her original pro-war criminal position without a word of explanation.

Now, the URL linking to her original statement no longer seamlessly re-directs to her new statement but has been restored — but without its original incriminating text. Instead, there is the following statement: Continue reading