Spain rally: Podemos holds Madrid mass ‘March for Change’

Pablo Iglesias with other Podemos leaders on stage at rally - 31 January

Tens of thousands of people have massed in central Madrid for a rally organised by radical Spanish leftists Podemos.

The “March for Change” is one of the party’s first outdoor mass rallies, as it looks to build on the recent victory of its close allies Syriza in Greece.

Podemos has surged into the lead in recent opinion polls, and says it will seek to write off part of Spain’s debt if it wins elections later this year.

Podemos says politicians should “serve the people, not private interests”.

The BBC’s Tom Burridge in Madrid says that there has been an impressive turnout and a carnival atmosphere at the rally.

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias spelt out the party’s message to the crowd.

“We want change,” he said, quoted by the Associated Press. “I know that governing is difficult but those who have serious dreams can change things.”

BBC News – Spain rally: Podemos holds Madrid mass ‘March for Change’.

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SYRIZA Achieves Victory in Greek Elections | FDL News Desk

By: BrandonJ — Sunday January 25, 2015

SYRIZA won 149 seats out of 300 in Greek parliament with more than 75 percent of voters already tallied. While the coalition did not gain the majority, it basically achieved a massive victory after the assault by European elites warning Greeks not to vote for SYRIZA.

Thirty-six percent of Greeks voted for the coalition compared to 28 percent who voted for New Democracy, the conservative party that will lose its majority in the Hellenic Parliament. Golden Dawn, the fascist organization where half of its members are jailed, received more than six percent of the vote and came in third.

Its success is obvious as the failure of austerity politics pushed for by the troika (the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission) caused mass devastation in the country. Unemployment hovers around 26 percent and youth unemployment is around 50 percent. Two in five children in Greece live in poverty, suicide rates are higher than before the crisis and youths are leaving the country for better opportunities in countries also suffering from global stagnation.

In general, austerity failed and the votes for SYRIZA reinforced this.

SYRIZA Achieves Victory in Greek Elections | FDL News Desk.

Greeks Vote In Austerity Foes, a Major Shift

NYTimes.com…

ATHENS — Greece rejected the harsh economics of austerity on Sunday and sent a warning to the rest of Europe as the left-wing Syriza party won a decisive victory in national elections, positioning its tough-talking leader, Alexis Tsipras, to become the next prime minister.

With almost 98 percent of the vote counted, Syriza had 36 percent, almost nine points more than the governing center-right New Democracy party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who conceded defeat. The only uncertainty was whether Syriza would muster a parliamentary majority on its own or have to form a coalition.

Appearing before a throng of supporters outside Athens University late Sunday, Mr. Tsipras, 40, declared that the era of austerity was over and promised to revive the economy. He also said his government would not allow Greece’s creditors to strangle the country.

Greeks Vote In Austerity Foes, a Major Shift – NYTimes.com….

“Je Suis Charlie” — But Not in My Backyard

So as royalty rode in 1910, symbols of imperial hubris, in 2015, world leaders walked, decrying the violent suppression of speech and religious freedom, although many of them have been guilty of the same crimes in their own nations. In the words of media watchdog Reporters without Borders, “It would be unacceptable if representatives of countries that silence journalists were to take advantage of the current outpouring of emotion to improve their international image and then continue their repressive policies when they return home.”

From the left, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU president Donald Tusk and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas march during a rally in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. A rally of defiance and sorrow, protected by an unparalleled level of security, on Sunday will honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed in Paris that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer, Pool)

“On what grounds are representatives of regimes that are predators of press freedom coming to Paris to pay tribute to Charlie Hebdo, a publication that has always defended the most radical concept of freedom of expression?

“Reporters without Borders is appalled by the presence of leaders from countries where journalists and bloggers are systematically persecuted…”
“Je Suis Charlie” — But Not in My Backyard.

I am Not Charlie » CounterPunch

Monsters of Our Own Creation

by JOHN WIGHT

The huge march and rally in Paris that took place in the wake of the horrific events that took place in the French capital was a festival of nauseating hypocrisy.

Watching the leaders of governments which, between them, have been responsible for carnage and mayhem on a grand scale – the likes of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for example – leading a march against terrorism and extremism qualified not so much as the theatre of the absurd but as the theatre of the grotesque; impostors at an event that millions of people allowed themselves to hope would mark a step-change in a world scarred by war, barbarism, and injustice.

Sadly, they will be disappointed, as the circular relationship that exists between Western extremism and Islamic extremism will not be broken anytime soon. Indeed, if at all, it will be strengthened after the massacre in Paris, as the congenital condition of Western exceptionalism reasserts itself.

More: www.counterpunch.org…

Sidebar Archives 2014-12

youtube.com…: The Afghan War is Not Over: U.S. Ends 13-Year Combat Mission, But 10,000+ Troops Continue the Fight 2014-12-30

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youtube.com…: Peace Activist Kathy Kelly Heads to Prison for Protesting U.S. Drone War 2014-12-30 [blockquote]Peace activist Kathy Kelly is about to begin a three-month prison sentence for protesting the U.S. drone war at a military base in Missouri earlier this year. Kelly, along with another activist, was arrested after offering bread and an indictment against drone warfare. Kelly is the co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare. [/blockquote]

The Afghan War is Not Over: U.S. Ends 13-Year Combat Mission, But 10,000+ Troops Continue the Fight

The U.S.-led NATO occupation has formally ended its 13-year combat mission in Afghanistan. The move leaves Afghan forces in charge of security, though more than 17,000 foreign troops will remain. This includes more than 10,000 U.S. troops, who will continue to see a combat role despite the nominal change. Last month, President Obama secretly extended the U.S. role in Afghanistan to ensure American troops will have a direct role in fighting, along with jets, bombers and drones. The transition follows the deadliest year in Afghanistan since 2001.

via The Afghan War is Not Over: U.S. Ends 13-Year Combat Mission, But 10,000+ Troops Continue the Fight | Democracy Now!.

Cuba: The New Opening With the USA

Learning the Art of Coexistence
by RAUL CASTRO

Since my election as President of the State Council and Council of Ministers I have reiterated in many occasions our willingness to hold a respectful dialogue with the United States on the basis of sovereign equality, in order to deal reciprocally with a wide variety of topics without detriment to the national Independence and self-determination of our people.

This stance was conveyed to the US Government both publicly and privately by Comrade Fidel on several occasions during our long standing struggle, stating the willingness to discuss and solve our differences without renouncing any of our principles.

The heroic Cuban people, in the wake of serious dangers, aggressions, adversities and sacrifices has proven to be faithful and will continue to be faithful to our ideals of independence and social justice. Strongly united throughout these 56 years of Revolution, we have kept our unswerving loyalty to those who died in defense of our principles since the beginning of our independence wars in 1868.

Today, despite the difficulties, we have embarked on the task of updating our economic model in order to build a prosperous and sustainable Socialism.

More….