Thursday, May 28, 2015

The clowns have gone hysterical: bolivarians, soviets, "democracy" and the great coalition

Aguirre's discourse according to some Twitter.
Aargh... Castro-Chavism! Uuurgh... Soviets!
I must say that Spanish politics have suddenly become quite interesting, funny even, dangerous maybe. 

It was the ousted mayor of Valencia Rita Barberá who first proposed the great coalition (tories + labor, PP + PSOE) in order to keep the "radicals" of Podemos, the popular lists and other similar coalitions (Compromís in the case of Valencia) from reaching power and putting upside down the post-fascist constitutional status-quo, which at the age of 40 is already rather senile and not just menopausic. 

That would allow her to keep her seat, her mafia network and her infamously expensive purses. 

Now her party colleague, Esperanza Aguirre, alias Espe, former Minister of Culture under Aznar, mocked for her ignorance, former President of Madrid region who had to resign on a espionage scandal, former partner of Rita and others in the plundering of people's pockets with the Bankia affair, and former and also frustrated last-minute candidate by her oh-so-reactionary party to the post of Mayor of Madrid, capital of the Kingdom worldwide famous for its abhorrent fictional characters like Don Quijote, the naive romantic madman, and El Lazarillo, the pragmatical con-man, has proposed exactly the same. 

Well, oops, I blinked and she has changed her mind already: what she has now proposed is an even greater coalition including the popular list Ahora Madrid but without any of their programatic proposals. In other words: well, kids, we will welcome you to the world of the political mafia but you must renounce to everything. 

Very particularly she now seems concerned about preserving the purity of "Western democracy", which happens only on a magical day in which dreaming is allowed, followed by four years of capricious and usually painful dictatorship, and standing firmly against "Bolivarian democracy" and the formation of "soviets", i.e. participative institutions to control and inspire those who hold power.

She wants to be allowed to perform in the carnival of lies that they call "electoral campaign" and then not to be democratically controlled about her keeping of her own promises of choice, let alone the possibility of being recalled from office on grounds of betrayal of the program under which she was elected (well, not this time). 

She thinks that politicians are not public servants but mostly illusionist-clowns who perform to distract the masses from the real issues while, right on our faces their perform the oldest trick of their profession once and again: See this electoral promise? Now you see it, now you don't! Tachaaan! See this public money that was supposed to be used for the common good? Now you see it, now it is a purse! Not any common purse but a very expensive one of course.

But I lie: the one who first proposed this grand coalition, at least as far as I know, was not Rita Barberá, let alone La Espe. I must confess that I am the guilty one. I'm really sorry but I could not resist: it was just soooo predictable!

But wait: isn't the PSOE actively flirting with Podemos and the popular lists? Well, of course they are. Another thing is what will happen in the end. The most clear example we have in Andalusia, where the PSOE, most voted party but without majority, has been unable to form government two months after elections because of fear of losing its brand distinctiveness if they ally with the PP but inability to accept the "red lines" of Podemos in order to earn their support. They have also been unable to call for new elections, fearing even worse results. 

And Susana Díaz, the leader of the PSOE in Andalusia, caretaker President and candidate to the presidency as well, is rather to the left inside the PSOE, so I make no sense whatsoever of this liberal decadent party, totally integrated in the power structure of NATO since too long ago, joining forces with Podemos and similar forces and accepting and implementing at least significant aspects of their program. 

Let's face it: they are not serious, they are just doing their illusionist-clown job. See this possibility of real change here? Now you see it, now you don't. 

My prediction is the following: the PP and the PSOE will form a national pact of some sort in order to keep Podemos and the popular lists outside of power in all possible institutions (there are some they can't really block, like Barcelona or Navarre). However doing that is a huge risk for the PSOE particularly: the risk of becoming the Spanish PASOK and being erased from the political spectrum. It is true that there are some other great coalitions at work in Europe, notably the German one, but not in a place where a Real Left alternative is strong. So the Spanish case is most similar to that of Greece and the leaders of the PSOE and many others know it. 

However their subservience to the NATO regime is so total that they will almost certainly still do it. But not so bluntly as Rita and Espe want: they will try to keep some sort of appearance, some pretext, some kind of "pedagogic PR exercise" that allows them to save face, or at least try. 

One of these "pedagogic" tricks is to pretend to try their hardest to reach a coalition with the Real Left forces and then declare that such alliance is impossible because of their radical demands. Of course they would love it if the popular lists or Podemos renounced to the essence of their program, which includes consulting their militants and the general public about any possible pact and decision, but that's quite unrealistic, so most likely they will try to put the blame on the "radicals" for forcing them to an "anti-natural" (but so natural in fact) alliance with the tories. 

Another such "pedagogic" trick that they will claim as price for their alliance is almost surely the calling of snap general elections before Summer (or in early Summer). Why? Because that way they can grant themselves four years of impunity for most institutions (still to come Galician, Basque and Catalan elections but those are hopelessly lost for them anyhow, at the very least the Catalan ones).

So this is my sad forecast: great coalition, more of the same (detail up or down) for the next four years. But not yet, first the clowns must perform their show.

At the very least we will have some laughs. Well, we are having them already. The tears will come later. 

Ah, I forgot about another of those reactionary dames of the Spanish Brandy Party (they don't drink much tea over there, really, that's further north: in Thatcherland), our very ousted President of Navarre Yolanda Barcina! She's even more hysterical than her PP colleagues because she has no hope whatsoever (unless the Army intervenes or the Four Horsemen arrive one of these days), because the PSOE is totally irrelevant in the pacts to be held in Navarre. According to her, these last elections are only equivalent to those that brought Hitler to power (mind you that with the support of all the German right-wing parties but whatever). It would seem that, instead of cider and beer, and some good Navarrese wine, Basques now prefer those boring torch marches and they may even be preparing their own version of the "final solution" for all those pro-Spanish: Basque language academies, oh, the horror!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The elections in the Southern Basque Country

Let's discuss a bit the Southern Basque political situation after the municipal and regional (provincial) elections.

First of all, I worked out a map of most voted lists for each municipality (but based on regional election vote). Notice that in many cases, particularly in Navarre, being first does not mean to be the winner nor being able to govern, that will be decided by the local councils, often very fragmented: it depends on possible pacts that I will discuss below.



Most voted list in the regional elections by municipality (click to expand)


You can compare with the European Parliament elections 2014, for which I made a similar map.


1. The Real Left:


The Real Left (EH Bildu, Podemos, United Left) has performed rather well in all the territories, however it is fragmented and the gains are in most cases not enough to displace the regime's parties. In some cases, Gipuzkoa notably, the result is rather bitter than sweet, as EH Bildu has lost its primacy and its ability to govern the region and some important towns, including the capital Donostia (San Sebastian). In Biscay the Real Left is relatively stagnated and gets mediocre results, what is always surprising in the most urbanized and industrial area of the Basque Country. In Navarre and Araba the results are undoubtedly good.

The best result is no doubt that of Navarre, where the regime change demand has become massive. Data from municipal elections:
  • EH Bildu gained 17,000 votes since 2011 (total 54,000), jumping from 12% to 16% of popular support.
  • The "others" category, which includes the many "citizen lists" akin to Podemos has grown in 41,000 votes, jumping from 5% to 18%. 
  • Izquierda-Ezkerra (United Left) remains stuck around 15,000 votes (5%).
Together we are talking of around 35% of the popular vote (more than 100,000 supporters). That's no small feat. These three political tendencies of the Real Left make up the core of the change coalition in Navarre, to which it must be added the center party Geroa Bai, probably not too comfortable of having so many and so strong "radical" partners and no other realistic options for coalitions. 

Another good result is in Araba:
  • EH Bildu grows 3,000 votes (total 35,000) sliding from 21% to 22% of the popular vote.
  • The "others" category grows in 15,000 votes, jumping from 7% to 16%. Again this is essentially attributed to Podemos-inspired popular lists. In fact, only in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Hemen Gaude gathered more than 10,000 votes. 
  • United Left (under the ad-hoc brand Irabazi) gained a few hundred votes (total 6000) and half percentual point (total 4%).
Overall it means some 55,000 voters and maybe 42% of the vote. Not enough to rule anywhere important because of fragmentation that harms representation, as well as the indecision about possible pacts of Podemos in the Western lands, the strong vote for PP in the capital Gasteiz and the consolidated lead of the PNV in the rural areas. 

In Biscay, holding one third of the overall Basque population, the results are more mixed:
  • EH Bildu loses 12,000 votes (total 113,000), sliding from 21% to 20%.
  • The "others" category doubles from 31,000 to 61,000 voters, from 5% to 10%.
  • United Left (through its brand Irabazi, including some other tiny parties) doubles its performance, otaining 18,000 votes (5%).
Overall the Real Left gets some 150,000 votes and 20% of the vote. Not a great performance in the most urban Basque region, I must say. It's clear that, for some unexplained reason, many working class voters are choosing other options, largely the righ-wing PNV. 

In Gipuzkoa, the second largest region and the one with the strongest Basque feeling, the results are considered quite bad, notably because of the loss for EH Bildu of the governing capacity in the province and capital, as well as many other towns. Again the explanation is difficult because Gipuzkoa has been performing very well at the economic level but conflicts like the one triggered by the imposition of certain unpopular recycling methods may have weighted too much, even beyond common sense. 
  • EH Bildu lost 13,000 votes (total 107,000), falling from five percentual points (from 35% to 30%).
  • The "others" category has only grown very little (some 2,000 votes) and not even noticeable at percentage (5%), indicating a lack of presence of Podemos or similar forces in this region.
  • United Left or Irabazi has also duplicated its votes (total 18,000, 6%) but remains a small force.
Overall the Real Left gathered some 125,000 votes (more than 35%). It is still a strong performance but clearly low and a setback considering the recent history.


2. The Unionist Center-Left (PSOE):

The party historically named Worker Socialist is not anymore such thing in practice, if it ever was, but has slided first out of Marxism (if Lafargue could see that!) and then out of social-democracy altogether, much like most other "social-democrat" or "labor" parties of Europe, into US style liberalism. In the Basque Country it tends to ally with regionalist right-wing forces on "reason of state" grounds and keeps absolutely no dialogue with the Real Left, at least its strongest force: EH Bildu. As in the rest of the state they have suffered some notable erosion, Gipuzkoa excepted, where they bounced slightly and got their best performance.

The PSN-PSOE has lost 7,000 votes in Navarre relative to 2011 (total 43,000), falling from 16% to 13%. It is also irrelevant in the coalition games in most places. This no doubt owes largely to their staunchly support for the corrupt UPN government only not to go along EH Bildu.

In Araba the collapse has been even worse, losing 7,000 votes (total 18,000) and falling from 16% to 11%

In Biscay the PSOE loses 19,000 votes (total 72,000) and drops from 16% to 13%, i.e. much like in Navarre. Critically they lost the second largest town and one of their historical strongholds, Barakaldo, to the PNV. In all the Greater Bilbao they only remain vote leaders in Portugalete, being their only other plaza the village of Ermua.

In Gipuzkoa however the PSOE holds well, gaining some 7000 votes and growing one percent point to 19%. They retain Irun and Eibar. 


3. The Basque-Regionalist "Center" (EAJ-PNV and Geroa Bai):


Much like the PSOE, this party does not anymore honors its name of Nationalist. It is de facto a regionalist force at the service of Spain and is also reactionary and cronyist enough to follow the doomsday path of UPN in Navarre, privatizing public banks, investing huge sums in absurd projects like the bullet train and what-not.

However it seems the time of their collapse is yet to come. They have in fact performed very well. 

In Navarre the PNV is tiny (they lost all credibility in the 1980s and could never recover it, much less being as Biscay-centric as they are), however they are part of the coalition Geroa Bai, surely more to the center-left, which they see as their own pet-project (after all left-leaning forces left it in favor of EH Bildu) although they do not control it. Let's begin by these:

Geroa Bai in Navarre loses 7,000 votes compared with Nafarroa Bai (which included forces now in EH Bildu), totaling 29,000 votes (9%) in municipal elections. It has performed better in the regional election (I don't have the data right now but they get the same representation as EH Bildu and even some more votes) because of the personal charisma of Uxue Barkos, no doubt, and also because it may have attracted "moderate" voters for change and for Basque identity. 

The PNV in Araba keeps approximately the same number of votes (34,000) but loses one percent point (21%). It gets to pick partner for coalition, either PP or EH Bildu, as these two don't talk to each other.

In Biscay it loses 3000 votes (total 215,000) but gains half percent point (38%). It will rule (again, in coalition with PSOE) the region and capital, as well as most municipalities, adding to their trophy shelf the second largest town (Barakaldo) and the historical capital (Gernika, where the mayor will be the same person, who changed parties). It also gets other referential towns from EH Bildu, notably Bermeo and Lekeitio.

Gipuzkoa is however the great victory for the jeltzaleak (partisans of God and the Old Law, JEL in Basque acronym), growing in 28,000 votes (total 111,000) and jumping from 21% to 31%. They gain (in coalition with PSOE) the regional government, the capital San Sebastian and many other towns like Tolosa. The media manipulation of issues like the recycling conflict or the issue of the European cultural capital may have weighted a lot on this. 


4. The Unionist Right (PP and UPN):


These two sibling parties are clearly the saddest ones. The PP barely gets any representation in the Western Basque Country, excepted Araba. 

In Biscay they lose 30,000 votes, falling to 8% (from 13%).

In Gipuzkoa they lose 15,000 votes, almost half, falling to 5% (from 10%).

In Araba however they even gain a few hundred resisting in the 25% share of voters. This is largely because of the demagogic xenophobic attitude of the Mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz Javier Maroto. They will probably hold control of the capital's City Hall and be a key player in regional governance coalitions. 

In Navarre the PP (running separately from UPN) experiences serious loses: almost 8000 votes, falling from 6% to 3%

Its close ideological relative, the Navarrese People's Union (UPN), is much stronger in the Old Kingdom and holds relatively well, considering its loss of prestige on corruption and mismanagement grounds. They lose 9,000 votes, falling from 28% to 24%. It may seem a minor setback but it is catastrophic in terms of their ability to retain power because of the parallel and more dramatic loses of their allies (PP and PSOE) and the determination of the change coalition (Geroa Bai, EH Bildu, Podemos and United Left). They will lose the regional government, the capital Iruñea-Pamplona, all of Pamplona's suburbs and many other towns, including some rather to the south like Tafalla.


In synthesis:


The Unionist parties tend to fall, particularly the PP. The PSOE also suffers and the loss of power in Navarre is almost total for the unionists. The PNV instead gets consolidated, strongly advanced in Gipuzkoa at the expense of the Nationalist Left. The Real Left tends to advance but more strongly in Navarre and Araba, more weakly in Biscay and clearly experiencing loses in Gipuzkoa in spite of a model administration in many aspects (but maybe a bit arrogant and self-centered in issues where the adversaries have won the battle of demagogy). Much of the advance can be attributed to the Podemos phenomenon, although clearly not all. 

The fragmentation of the Real Left and the underlying conflict on the National issue are no doubt crucial matters to be worked out. On one hand it is possible that the Basque Nationalist Left is sometimes over-emphasizing the national aspect over the social and class aspect, on the other the all-Spain associated Left has been doing the opposite, causing disaffection to many possible sympathizers for whom being Basque and Basque freedoms are a central issue, regardless of whatever possible collaboration with the Spanish worker class. Hence the Podemos-style lists get better performance in the South, where the national feeling is weaker, while the get little or nothing in the North instead. 

Another issue, less important here but not absent, is the Podemos vs United Left conflict for the hegemony of the Real Left, which is still raging, not just between both forces but also with fractures inside them (most notably in United Left but also inside Podemos sometimes, with the grassroots of Podemos in Bilbao impelling a different municipal list than the parties' coalition blessed by Podemos Madrid, what split the vote and reduced the representation).


____________________________________________________________________

Data from Naiz Info, you may want to check it for further detail: Navarre, Araba, Biscay and Gipuzkoa.

Colombia: FARC suspend unilateral cease-fire after massacre of guerrillas by government

The Colombian peace process has suffered a major setback after the government massacred 27 guerrillas in Guapi and other 10 in Segovia-Antioquía. As result the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have declared the end of their unilateral cease-fire, intended to favor the peace process, which was, on the table at least, advancing steadily. 

Very particularly the FARC blame President Santos of expressing joy at the killing of these Colombians, in what was clearly an attack against the peace process itself, becoming one way or another active accomplice of the sabotage. 

The unilateral cease-fire has lasted just five months.

Full FARC communication (in Spanish) at BGD!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fragmented but clear victory of the real left in Spain's elections (updated)

The new Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau
The next Mayor of Barcelona will be, beyond reasonable doubt, the former leader of the Anti-Evictions Platform, Ada Colau, leading a nearly unitary left platform Barcelona in Common. It is possible that the same will happen in Madrid, even if the the PP is the most voted party, just barely above of Manuela Carmona's platform Madrid Now. In Valencia the PP also managed to get a narrow plurality of the votes, with the leftist coalition Compromís (alliance of federalist and nationalist forces) being a close second and a strong candidate to lead the new ruling coalition. 

In these two cases the PSOE, nominally a left-wing party but effectively just another lackey of the bankster mafia, will have the key, however the wrong decisions can cost them their very existence (the PASOK's example is mentioned often), as the voters are clearly much less willing to pardon class treason these days and the shadow of Podemos has grown very large.

Likely new mayor of A Coruña, Xulio Ferreiro
Other towns where the so-called Popular Unity forces (akin to Podemos and United Left but largely independent from them) have made a decisive breakthrough and will be able to rule, if pacts allow, are Zaragoza (Zaragoza in Common), Cádiz (For Cádiz), A Coruña (Atlantic Tide), O Ferrol and Santiago de Compostela (Open Compostela).

Another highlight is the change in Navarre, where the various forces vocally opposing the UPN (regionalist but allied to the PP and similarly implicated in corruption scandals) have managed to muster majority in both Pamplona and the whole of Navarre.

In Catalonia it must be mentioned also the important advance of the Nationalist Left force Popular Unity List (CUP), which will probably rule Reus among other towns. However the Right Nationalism of Convergence & Union is still very strong. What has collapsed in Catalonia is the support for the unionist forces altogether, which, barring a few industrial towns with high Spanish-ancestry population, obtains nearly nothing.

It is clear that change is happening in many cities and regions. However the overall reality of the many towns and regions is way too complex and diverse, with no clear trend other than a very clear slide to the left everywhere.

Some of the new 'popular unity' wins or near wins (source: Diagonal)

Follows a synthesis of the regional (autonomous communities') results:

Madrid

The tories (PP) will be able to rule the capital's region (but surely not the capital city itself) by virtue of the likely support of the very similar maverick party Ciudadanos (xenophobic, posh, demagogic) as the hypothetical Podemos-PSOE coalition doesn't reach enough seats to muster a majority. However they have suffered massive loses and Podemos has become the third party with 19% of the vote. 

Sudden gloom of Valencian Mayor Barberá
Valencian Country

The PSOE will hold the key to governance and it is theoretically possible a left-leaning coalition made up by PSOE, Compromís and Podemos. However this party still has to make its decisions either in favor of a clear socialist agenda (that they lack in spite of their name) or in favor of the old regime. 

Castile-León

The PP barely managed to retain a majority in spite of clearly losing supports. It is the only region when it manages to do that. 

Asturias

The PSOE holds the key to governance and is also the most voted party so in principle they should lead a left-leaning coalition. However, as it happened in Andalusia (with a caretaker government two months after elections) it is possible that won't get the support of Podemos (third force and 9 seats) because they are unable to accept their "red line" demands, such as not collaborating with banks involved in home evictions. 

Cantabria

The Regionalist Party of Cantabria, formerly led by popular moderate conservative Revilla, is the most voted party and will most likely manage to form government. Podemos and Ciudadanos only get weak results in this region.

La Rioja

PP retains a strong plurality and will probably rule with the passive or active support of Ciudadanos. Notably the regionalist Partido Riojano gets no representation for the first time in many decades.

Scientist-turned-politician Pablo Echenique
leads Podemos in Aragón
Aragón

The PSOE holds here again the key to governance, even if it is the second most backed party, the third being Podemos. These two parties would need the support of the Chunta Aragonsesita (Aragonese Nationalist Left) and United Left anyhow to form a majority. Again it is unclear if the liberal politics of the PSOE and the socialist and participative ones of Podemos can be made compatible. 

Balearic Islands

Strong result of the nationalist left coalition Més (14%) and Podemos (15%). However the PSOE again holds the key to governance. 

Extremadura

The best result in all the state for the PSOE still leaves them short of a majority. It is possible but unclear that they form coalition with Podemos (not too strong in this rural region) or that they rule in minority with punctual pacts.

Castile-La Mancha

Pretty much like its neighor region Extremadura (see above). 

Murcian Country

The PP manages to hold strong, just one seat short of the absolute majority. They should be able to rule with the active or passive support of Ciudadanos.

Canary Islands

In spite of the strong advance of the left forces (PSOE holds, Podemos irrupts with 6 seats and Nueva Canarias grows slightly) and the huge loses of the PP, the regionalist right (Canarian Coalition) does hold pretty well and will surely be able to form government with PP support.

Galicia

Even if the Northwestern Iberian country only held elections to town councils and provincial governments, the massive advance of the popular unity lists and the collapse of the PP in one of its traditional strongholds is very significant. The only nationalist force running on its own (others joined the popular unity lists), the Galician Nationalist Bloc, has also suffered, as has the PSOE.

Regional governance map after elections. Color-code:
PP-led right majority
regionalist-led right majority
left majority but including PSOE
left majority without PSOE



Basque Country

I would like to discuss later (update: done!) on in greater depth the issue of Navarre particularly but here goes an advance of the political evolution in the Southern Basque Country:

Uxue Barkos (GB) appears as
the new Navarrese President
Navarre

After many many decades of UPN-PSOE effective coalition, these two old regime parties would not be anymore able to rule neither in Navarre nor in Pamplona. 

In both the Navarrese Parliament and the City Council of Pamplona an array of four political forces, each running separately but in agreement about the urgent need to replace the rotten UPN government add up to a narrow but sufficient majority. Therefore we can expect a coalition of Geroa Bai (Basque Nationalist Center), EH Bildu (Basque Nationalist Left), Podemos and United Left. Podemos has obtained in Navarre one of the best results of the whole state probably because its members and leaders were decided to make things change in the region and would not accept the intromission of Madrid. 

Western Basque Country

The Western Basque Country sees the consolidation of the right-wing nationalist (or rather regionalist these days) Basque Nationalist Party, which holds with modest loses in Biscay, advances in Gipuzkoa, where it will probably take both the provincial government and the mayorship of San Sebastian to EH Bildu, and loses in Araba. It also took the second largest town of Biscay, Barakaldo, to the PSOE, pretty much ending decades of "socialist" government in the working class and largely Spanish-descendant Left Bank of the Bilbao Estuary. 

The jeltzaleak, as the PNV followers are known, will need anyhow of the support of the PSOE, which experiences some but not overwhelming erosion, to rule in most power seats. 

The situation in Araba is however extremely complex with the PSOE having lost its traditional position as fourth contender to Podemos. However the stand of Podemos in the Western Basque Country is most ambiguous and anyhow EH Bildu plus Podemos plus Irabazi (expanded United Left) don't muster enough seats to form a majority. They would need of the PSOE but the PSOE just won't talk to EH Bildu, so the most likely end result is a two party coalition in minority led by the PNV. 


Conclusion

So in general: good performance of the real left, with some very significant game-changing highlights in cities like Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and also in territories like Navarre. Still in most cases the PSOE holds the key to governance and it is very possible, considering its leaders and policies, that will follow the European fad of coalitions with the right. It is unclear however if this will pay off as for the PASOK in Greece (catastrophic debacle) or as for the PD in Italy (reinforcement at the expense of the right).

I suspect that the next move of the Twin Party will be to call snap general elections in order to allow for PP-PSOE coalitions nearly everywhere, without having to pay for that alliance against nature in the next four years. This proposal is what the controversial acting-Mayor of Valencia Rita Barberá has brought forth, apparently in order to defend her corruption and cronyism: a state pact PP-PSOE "against the radicals". At worse the elections are scheduled for October but I would not be surprised if they are moved forth to June.

It is also notable that there are major regional differences: in some areas like Madrid, Aragón, Navarre, Galicia, Valencia, Balearic Islands and some urban areas of Catalonia, the forces of change are clearly performing strong. The erosion of EH Bildu in the Western Basque Country is just mild and irregular, so it can also be considered a stronghold of the forces of change, as happens with Cádiz and the revolutionary stronghold of Marinaleda in Andalusia, where the CUT repeats victory after 40 years in power. However in Castile (various regions, Madrid excepted), Andalusia, Asturias and Canary Islands, the change process seems quite a bit stagnated, it must be said.

Because of the very rigged electoral system, which gives 2 base deputies to every province, before apportioning the rest on population, and 4 senators, regardless of population, these largely rural and underdeveloped areas of what is, in essence, Greater Castile weight heavily on how the Spanish Parliament will be configured, electing 156 of the 350 deputies: a clear majority that does not correlate with population. This clearly favors the bipartisan (Twin Party) system and is key to the deciding power of the social-liberal PSOE, which now occupies the center of the political spectrum.

_________________________________ . _________________________________

Note: for full details you may want to check a page like this one of the newspaper Público, which I used as partial source.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rapid dramatic melting of Antarctica Peninsula

So big that it is affecting the local gravity, as measured by a specialized satellite.

Antarctica Peninsula (south of Tierra del Fuego) is melting almost by the day. And it is only the second largest region of Antarctica melting and contributing to sea level rise.

B. Wouters et al., Dynamic thinning of glaciers on the Southern Antarctic Peninsula. Science 2015. Pay per viewLINK [doi:10.1126/science.aaa5727]

Abstract

Growing evidence has demonstrated the importance of ice shelf buttressing on the inland grounded ice, especially if it is resting on bedrock below sea level. Much of the Southern Antarctic Peninsula satisfies this condition and also possesses a bed slope that deepens inland. Such ice sheet geometry is potentially unstable. We use satellite altimetry and gravity observations to show that a major portion of the region has, since 2009, destabilized. Ice mass loss of the marine-terminating glaciers has rapidly accelerated from close to balance in the 2000s to a sustained rate of –56 ± 8 gigatons per year, constituting a major fraction of Antarctica’s contribution to rising sea level. The widespread, simultaneous nature of the acceleration, in the absence of a persistent atmospheric forcing, points to an oceanic driving mechanism.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fascist Ukraine gets Western support in its bankruptcy - compare with Greece

The Fascist regime in Ukraine has just passed a law allowing arbitrary moratorium on its foreign debt payments. The country has been actually brought to bankruptcy by the Fascist "Maidan" regime imposed by the USA and its allies, including early "evacuation" (robbery?) of its gold reserves to the USA and therefore this bankruptcy was very predictable. 

The interesting part is actually in the Western reaction to the news:
The international community, including the United States, European Union and international financial institutions are helping Ukraine in this difficult time, said the statement. The country expects a $17.5 billion bailout from the IMF in the next four years, as well as $7.2 billion that will be loaned to Ukraine other countries and international financial institutions.

In other words the USA and its puppets are helping the Fascist dictatorship of Kiev to have a non-catastrophic partial bankrupcty by means of perpetuating the debt dependency. It serves their purposes, which are to extend the anti-Russian and anti-Ukrainian regime for as long as possible (it won't last forever, that's clear when you get a mere 17% participation in the mock presidential elections, but meanwhile the looting continues). 


The siege of Greece

Meanwhile the extremely democratic socialist government of Greece, enjoying growing popular support by all accounts, a member of the European Union and NATO, is being forced to uncontrolled bankruptcy (and exit from the Eurozone) by those same powers. 

Not a single attempt at relief is being made even if Tsipras and his cabinet enjoy vast democratic support. Much like in Venezuela, what the Western Empire is doing, is to besiege the democratic socialist government in the hope that it will collapse and stops being a nuisance to their extremist capitalist policies.

A naive observer would think this is absurd, how can the self-proclaimed "guardians of democracy" promote fascism and attack democracy? Well, they are only the guardians of Capitalism. "Democracy" in their propaganda speech is just a code word for Capitalism at its worst, for vassalage to the global banker mafia. That way in their media Ukraine becomes a "democracy" and Venezuela a "tyranny". Of course nobody informed can believe that but not everyone is informed, many just watch TV. 

In fact today we see more and more how democracy opposes Capitalism and how Capitalism, after the period of concessions because of the Cold War I, when it had to compete against the Leninist version of socialism, is again, as in the 1920s and 30s supporting fascism everywhere. It never really stopped being that way (just consider the many fascist regimes under NATO protectorate in Mediterranean Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia, including Israel and Apartheid South Africa) but there was a time when the West appeared ashamed of such relationships. Not anymore now that the mass media is absolutely concentrated in a few oligarchic hands: now it is again as in the time of Mussolini and Hitler and it may indeed have the same dire consequences.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

80 people own more than 3.7 billion.

I read at Global Research, citing OXFAM (one of the few charitable NGOs that really has a conscience) that the World's 80 wealthiest individuals own more than the less affluent 50% of the global population. Reality can be even worse because some very rich individuals such as monarchs are not included in the sources and the exact accountancy of their wealth is not fully clear anyhow. 

Another finding is:
The Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2014 presents on its page 98, a global wealth pyramid, which indicates that the world’s richest 0.7% (35 million people) own $115.9 trillion, while the poorest 99.3% (4,665 million people) own $147.3 trillion. It also shows that the richest 8.6% own $224.5T (trillion), while the poorest 91.4% own only $38.7T. (Or, in other words: the richest 8.6% own 5.8 times as much as do the poorest 91.4%.)

Finally they mention that scientific research demonstrates that the USA is no longer a democracy but an oligarchy (pretty much like Russia). The power of the common people to influence policy in the USA is effectively almost zero nowadays. 

They don't say but much of that is because of private property of the mass media, which are concentrated in very few hands. These have globally rigged the market so media are not anymore profitable in most cases, becoming exclusively an investment for their influence, something every stinkingly rich oligarch must have but not because they make any profit, not directly, but because they serve to influence policy and politics in general.

It is the same in Europe and in almost every other place. I guess that the few exceptions may be found in Latin America, where a few countries like Venezuela or Bolivia can be considered truly democratic, with common people actually making a difference, or in Greece. 


Marx predicted it

But back to the economy: this horrible situation of extreme and growing inequality, of extreme concentration of wealth and power in very few hands, is exactly the predictable and actually predicted outcome of Capitalism in the "end of times" (so to say): an unproductive rentier oligarchy, every day more extremely financier and speculative and corrupt to the marrow is parasitizing the global economy. This minuscule group of hyper-rich cannot of course generate much demand (some luxuries but nothing otherwise), what actually plunges the real economy into catastrophe as the bulk of the people is deprived of even the most basic means of life (salaries that don't even pay the rent, you know the deal, you probably live through it in one or another form). 

The result, the unavoidable and already ongoing result is a dramatic implosion of the whole economy, produce that doesn't sell, even if people would like to buy it (but nope: they can't afford even the very basics), deflation that causes the collapse of even correctly managed productive companies, accumulation of the nominal wealth in the speculative-financial sector, a gambling residual economy that is absolutely unsustainable (more money invested in betting against the success of companies and countries than in favor of their success). No future at all for this scenario. I doubt it survives to 2020. 

But regardless of the sustainability, or rather total lack of it, of the current speculative global economy (or rather eco-chaos, because there is no nomos whatsoever in it anymore), the dramatic effects it is having and will have on the vast majority of the population can't be exaggerated: each month, each year greater and greater fractions of the global people are being pushed to the extremes of near-impossible survival, what causes desperate mass migrations, riots and what-not. Only the low level of class consciousness and popular organization prevent this situation from evolving into full fledged revolutions in more and more places. Mind you that the growing victories of "Bolivarians" or now also Syriza in Greece must be considered as revolutionary because they are active expressions of the extreme exhaustion of the peoples and their growing desire to try anything but this endless and hopeless plunder. 

Sometimes, rarely, even mercenary politicians, in Freudian slip, speak the truth. The Secretary General of the ruling People's Party of Spain, María Dolores de Cospedal, is one of those. In two occasions she was recorded reminding us "how hard they have worked to plunder the country", confusing the Spanish word sanear (to clean up) for saquear (to plunder, to loot).

And that's the truth: they are looting not just this or that country but the whole planet Earth. It's a bit like the flying party of Douglas Adams: until the last pack of chips is exhausted, until the whole planet underneath has become scorched earth... they will continue with the looting. 

Unless we impede it. Time to sharpen the pitchforks.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Scottish nationalists win with a socialist program, Labor loses with a liberal one

British election results (Daily Mail)
In spite of the extremely poor representation score of the Anglosaxon electoral system of winner-takes-all, something good has arisen in that pretense of elections the United Kingdom has held: the Scottish National Party has come out as the great winner, getting 56 of the 59 seats of the Northern country. 

Why? Because they were the only meaningfully different electoral option and those who could vote for them, Scots, massively did so. Just check the programs:
  • UKIP: austerity: yes, militarism: yes
  • Tories: austerity: yes, militarism: yes
  • Liberals: austerity: yes, militarism: yes
  • Labor: austerity: yes, militarism: yes
  • SNP: austerity: no, militarism: no
The SNP hence became within the narrowness of the British political system, the only party having a socialist and truly "labor" program, up to the point that some people in England asked if they could vote for the SNP! 

The SNP are not "radicals" (I wish), they are just standing close enough to the heart of the Scottish people in the key issues to rally their votes: they are the common sense party, something that seemingly does not exist anymore south of the Tyne. So in England the Tories won but any other result would have been equally meaningless. The Tories just exploited the English nationalism better than the other parties, even than UKIP, while Labor is totally unable to rally the discontent masses with a program that is so similarly anti-worker, anti-people, as that of their posh rivals. 

Liberalism is out, socialism is in, that's the message of these elections. Another issue is if socialists in England can manage to get their wits together and defy the reactionary Labor Party.


Update (May 17): Northern English wanting to be Scots. 

I mentioned above that some people in North England wanted to be able to vote SNP. Well, it's not just "some people": a viral movement has emerged since the vote in Northern England against Tory and "London-centric" dominance by Southern England. Some ask to join a would-be independent Scotland, others to create a Northern Republic, tens of thousands are signing manifestos and even waving the Scottish flag deep into English territory. Slogans range from "scrap Trident, fund the NHS", denounces of the pedophile mafia among English MPs. Oddly enough, Scottish reaction has been generally sympathetic.

Twitter: #TakeUsWithYouScotland
RT (same title, more journalized content)