Héctor Puente Sierra

Will Covid-19 break the Union with Scotland?

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A widespread perception that Nicola Sturgeon’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis has been better than Boris Johnson’s shambles seems to be convincing growing numbers of people in Scotland to break from the United Kingdom. Six polls conducted in 2020 have consistently shown support for independence hovering at over 50 percent. And while Johnson’s approval rating stands at minus 39 percent, Sturgeon’s is at plus 60 percent. In 2019, new support for independence was registered mainly among people who opposed Brexit.

Battles ahead in Spanish state

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Catalan independence colours the results of the fourth general election in the Spanish state since 2015, as the far right party VOX makes major gains and the left loses support. Héctor Puente Sierra explains.

The Spanish general election on 10 November saw the possibility of a left wing coalition government but also the horrifying growth of the far-right party VOX to become the third force in parliament.

This is the fourth general election since December 2015, underpinning four years of political turmoil and instability.

Spain has been a stark example of the social polarisation and erosion of the neoliberal centre that followed the 2008 economic crisis, with the Labour-type PSOE and conservative PP becoming shadows of their former selves.

Debating critical Marxism in Cuba today

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In May over 100 people attended an international conference in Cuba discussing the ideas of Leon Trotsky, with the aim of shaking up state–sanctioned “Marxism”. Héctor Puente Sierra reports.

Resistance to imperialism runs through the history of this small Caribbean island. A Spanish colony for nearly four centuries, Cuba was the last Latin American country to win independence, in 1898 — only to become a United States protectorate immediately after. The US held Cuban development back, channelling away the profits of the economy’s chief export, sugar.

Resist the imperialist coup in Venezuela

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The ongoing right wing offensive to oust Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro came to a head on 23 January, with National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó appointing himself as interim president in a calculated move during a massive anti-government rally.

Within hours the governments of Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro and other right wingers had issued statements recognising Guaidó as president and demanding the resignation of Maduro. Support followed from Britain, Canada, the European Union and EU countries.

Is left populism a viable strategy?

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Several socialist thinkers claim the left should employ the “populist” model being taken up by the right. Héctor Puente Sierra explains why they are wrong.

Phenomena as varied as Donald Trump’s election, Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity and the Brexit vote have been explained in the mainstream media as the result of “populism”. The term is abused by the defenders of the neoliberal consensus to dismiss anybody that questions the dominant economic and political set-up — whether the racist right represented by Italy’s new Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, or the radical left.

Revolutionaries and the state

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History is littered with lessons on why workers’ action is the key to real change, and Marx’s insights are crucial.

This month marks 45 years since the military coup that overthrew Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity government in Chile. On 11 September 1973 general Augusto Pinochet seized power and within days oversaw the murder of about 30,000 people. Exile, prison and torture would follow for thousands more in the 17 years that Pinochet ruled the country.

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