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From Latin America To Europe, Manifesto For A New Left

Protests in Frankfurt
Protests in Frankfurt
Luis I. Sandoval M


BOGOTA – Permit me to be direct and frank, but also practical. What do we see from the outside when we look at Europe? We see a Europe that is languishing, despondent, self-absorbed and self-satisfied, and to some extent both tired and apathetic.

I know these are words that are both harsh and ugly, but this is how we see things. The Europe of enlightenment, of revolts and revolutions is behind us. Europe's grand universal ideas once moved and enriched the world, and pushed peoples far and near to find hope and mobilize around it.

Democracies without hope and faith are defeated democracies. They are fossilized democracies. Strictly speaking, they are not even democracies. There is no valid democracy based on a rote attachment to decrepit institutions that implement certain rites every three, four or five years, to elect those who will make poor decisions to determine our fates.

On the Left, we all share a more or less common idea of how we have arrived at this situation. Students, academics and political debates have given us a number of interpretive axes around which we have come to understand our lowly situation.

A time for action

But how did we reach this point? We understand that capitalism has, without doubt, acquired an absolute, global, geopolitical sway. It encompasses the world, and the world is becoming one giant assembly line. A radio, a television or a telephone no longer has a manufacturing origin, unless that origin be the world at large. A chip is made in Mexico, its design is German, raw materials are Latin American, workers Asian, packaging North-American and sales are ever more global.

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The funeral of Hugo Chavez (Omerta-ve)

The European Left cannot simply diagnose and denounce. Diagnosis and denunciations are good for generating moral indignation, which of course is important, but can never generate the determination to act.

The European Left and the Left elsewhere in the world, must come up with new proposals and initiatives in response to our current state of predatory disorder, inherent to nature and humans, being driven by contemporary capitalism. As members of the Left in Europe and in all parts of the world, we must construct a new common sense.

Political struggle is essentially a struggle for common sense, and for the sum of our judgements and prejudices. It should seek a simple way for people – a student, a professional, a saleswoman, an employee or factory worker – to order the world.

This is common sense. A basic conception of the world with which we may order daily life, and assess what is just, unjust, desirable, possible, impossible or probable. The Left, in Europe and the world, must fight for a new common sense that is progressive, revolutionary and universal in scope.

Do not abandon other peoples and those of us fighting in isolation around the world, in Syria, a little bit in Spain, in Venezuela, Ecuador or Bolivia. We need you, a Europe that will once more light up the destinies of its continent, and our world.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Vulnerable Are The Russians In Crimea?

Ukraine has stepped up attacks on the occupied Crimean peninsula, and Russia is doing all within its power to deny how vulnerable it has become.

Photograph of the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters with smoke rising above it after a Ukrainian missile strike.

September 22, 2023, Sevastopol, Crimea, Russia: Smoke rises over the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters after a Ukrainian missile strike.

Kyrylo Danylchenko

This article was updated Sept. 26, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.

Russian authorities are making a concerted effort to downplay and even deny the recent missile strikes in Russia-occupied Crimea.

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Media coverage in Russia of these events has been intentionally subdued, with top military spokesperson Igor Konashenkov offering no response to an attack on Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, or the alleged downing last week of Russian Su-24 aircraft by Ukrainian Air Defense.

The response from this and other strikes on the Crimean peninsula and surrounding waters of the Black Sea has alternated between complete silence and propagating falsehoods. One notable example of the latter was the claim that the Russian headquarters building of the Black Sea fleet that was hit Friday was empty and that the multiple explosions were mere routine training exercises.

Ukraine claimed on Monday that the attack killed Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet. "After the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, 34 officers died, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded. The headquarters building cannot be restored," the Ukrainian special forces said via Telegram.

But Sokolov was seen on state television on Tuesday, just one day after Ukraine claimed he'd been killed. The Russian Defense Ministry released footage of the admiral partaking in a video conference with top admirals and chiefs, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, though there was no verification of the date of the event.

Moscow has been similarly obtuse following other reports of missiles strikes this month on Crimea. Russian authorities have declared that all missiles have been intercepted by a submarine and a structure called "VDK Minsk", which itself was severely damaged following a Ukrainian airstrike on Sept. 13. The Russians likewise dismissed reports of a fire at the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet, attributing it to a mundane explosion caused by swamp gas.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has refrained from commenting on the military situation in Crimea and elsewhere, continuing to repeat that everything is “proceeding as planned.”

Why is Crimea such a touchy topic? And why is it proving to be so hard to defend?

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