Dick Nichols

Dick Nichols, former trade union coordinator and national coordinator for the Socialist Alliance, covers European economy and politics from Barcelona. He has been active in socialist, union and environment movements since the 1970s.

Greece:‭ ‬SYRIZA's scores clear win amid high abstention,‭ ‬more austerity

SYRIZA pulled off a remarkable victory at the September‭ ‬20‭ ‬Greek election.‭ ‬Although burdened by its acceptance of the draconian austerity measures in the third memorandum imposed by Greece's creditors and eight months of rule in the midst of recession,‭ ‬closed banks and capital controls,‭ ‬SYRIZA's vote fell by only‭ ‬0.88%‭ ‬and its parliamentary seats by just four.

Catalan independence forces face blackmail, dirty tricks ahead of crucial poll

More than 1 million people took part in a pro-independence march in Barcelona on September 11, Catalonia's national day.

A year has passed since the British establishment won the September referendum on Scottish independence with a final campaign week of blackmail, dirty tricks and multi-party sworn promises yet to be kept.

Greece: What's beneath 'eerily calm' election campaign?

It is hard to imagine two election campaigns more different than that leading up to SYRIZA's triumph in Greece's January 25 elections and country's September 20 vote.

In January, SYRIZA's winning slogan was “Hope is on the Way” — hope for a government that would end the six years of suffering inflicted on Greece by austerity measures in the first two memoranda of the “Troika” (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund).

Greece: SYRIZA on brink of split over new bail out deal

By any logic, Greece's SYRIZA-led government should be sinking in the opinion polls.

At the Brussels Eurosummit of Eurozone leaders on July 12, SYRIZA Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras agreed to a set of draconian preconditions for obtaining a third €86 billion bailout. The decision effectively reversed the opposition to austerity on which SYRIZA was elected in January.

Spanish state: Catalonia hurtles towards showdown

If a Catalan Rip Van Winkle were to wake up today after a sleep of only six years, his disorientation with Catalonia would be as great as that of the original Rip Van Winkle after he dozed right through the American War of Independence.

“Am I hallucinating?” he might ask, struggling to find the right answer to questions like:

Knife at its throat, Greece accepts brutal bailout

Public sector workers strike against the deal, July 15.

In the early hours of July 16, Greek parliament voted to accept the punitive July 12 funding deal put forward by eurozone lenders.

The deal included many harsh austerity measures, including large-scale privatisation, that the SYRIZA-led government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had come to office pledging to oppose.

In or out of the euro, Greece needs our solidarity

Regardless of the result of the latest round of negotiations between the SYRIZA-led government of Greece and the heads of the 28 members of the European Union, one thing is certain: in coming years, the Greek people are going to need all possible solidarity because their struggles and sufferings are bound to continue.

The best imaginable deal with the EU will mean six years of Troika-imposed austerity grinding along to one degree or another. Forced Greek exit from the eurozone will drive the country deeper into recession, further contracting an economy that has shrunk by 25% since 2008.

Spain:‭ '‬Popular unity‭' ‬councils sworn in amid huge enthusiasm‭

The squares in front of scores of town halls across the Spanish state were jam-packed with enthusiastic crowds on June 13. Tens of thousands had gathered to celebrate the inauguration of progressive administrations elected in a leftward swing in the May 24 local government elections for Spain’s 8144 councils.

Greece talks: Troika turn screws in new bid to break SYRIZA

For a while in late May, it looked as if negotiations over terms for releasing the last €7.2 billion owed to Greece under its second bailout package with the “Troika” of the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund might have some chance of success.

The commentary from the SYRIZA-led Greek government's negotiators and from its creditors was of “fruitful discussions” and “meaningful progress”. Greek government spokespeople even spoke of reaching an agreement “within a week or two”, at the latest by the June 18 meeting of the eurozone finance ministers.

Spain:‭ ‬Left breakthroughs sends elites into shock

It was clear early on that something special was happening in the May‭ ‬24‭ ‬local government and regional elections across the Spanish state.‭

In Spanish elections,‭ ‬the voter participation rate gets announced at‭ ‬1pm and‭ ‬6pm‭ — ‬while voting is still taking place.‭ ‬Well before the polling stations closed,‭ ‬the news was that participation was up about‭ ‬5%‭ ‬in Catalonia and about‭ ‬8%‭ ‬in the working-class districts of Barcelona.‭

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