John Holloway on the challenges in Greece (7 Sept)

Leeds Taking Soundings is very pleased to be working with the School of Geography at the University of Leeds to present a talk by the distinguished radical scholar John Holloway. The public lecture is at 7pm. This poster advertises other events John is taking part in at the School of Geography.

holloway crisis and


This talk will be in Broadcasting Place (Leeds Beckett University, located opposite the Fenton  pub on Woodhouse Lane), room BPAG02 at 7 PM on Monday, September 7th 2015.

John Holloway: “Greece: Hope drowns in the Reality of a Dying World. Or does it”?

Here’s what the School of Geography have to say:

The MA in ‘Global Urban Justice’ and the ‘Cities and Social Justice’ research cluster at the School of Geography, University of Leeds are organising a workshop with John Holloway, titled “Greece: Hope drowns in the Reality of a Dying World. Or does it?”. Holloway is a Professor of Sociology at the Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y humanidades in the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico. He has published widely on Marxist theory, on the Zapatista movement and on the new forms of anti-capitalist struggle. His book ‘Change the World Without Taking Power’ (Pluto, London, 2002, new edition 2010) has been translated into eleven languages and has stirred an international debate. His more recent book, ‘Crack Capitalism’ (Pluto, 2010), takes the argument further by suggesting that the only way in which we can think of revolution today is as the creation, expansion, multiplication and confluence of cracks in capitalist domination. John visited the School of Geography at Leeds previously in 2011 and delivered a set of public lectures that can be watched here: .

Read an interview of John Holloway at Roar magazine, published online in September 2014:

Leeds Taking Soundings strongly recommends this talk, coming as it does at such a huge moment of crisis in Greece. We’ve booked the biggest room  in the building, we expect a lot of people will want to come.

For more details from Soundings contact Matthew Caygill at

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Labour: like Syriza, or like Pasok?

Doreen Massey and Mike Rustin (co-founders of Soundings journal) say:

‘The big question is whether Labour can rise to the challenge, accept the enormity of the changes needed and put forward a compelling vision for the future. The alternative may well be “Pasokification”.’ Read their full article in openDemocracy here 

Not left against right but democracy against oligarchy?

The Staggers

The New Statesman’s rolling politics blog

Syriza and Podemos: Britain could “learn lessons” from Europe’s radical insurgence

The European anti-austerity parties, Syriza and Podemos, took centre stage during the change:how? 2015 conference at Islington Metal Works.




Alexis Tsipras’s party won the Greek general election Photo: Getty/Louisa Gouliamaki

There is the potential for a more radical political movement in Britain, according to representatives from Europe’s flourshing anti-austerity parties, Syriza and Podemos.

Speaking at the change:how? 2015 conference on Sunday, representatives from the two parties said that the battles in their home countries are no longer contests between the left and right sides of the political spectrum – rather, they are between democracy and oppression.

The event, based in Islington Metal Works (usually home to industrial chic goth nights), had over 100 speakers including the London mayoral candidate, David Lammy and the Labour MP Stella Creasy. But it was the international austerity movement that took centre stage. Spiros Rapanakis, Syriza’s youngest parliamentary candidate in last month’s general election in Greece, said that he was at the conference to deliver a message to Europeans from the Greek government: “Change is coming, the old world has died and the new world is emerging now.” It was a message that was greeted by a loud applause and cheering from the audience.


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The anti-austerity party, Syriza, won the general election in Greece last month and it’s leader, Alexis Tsipras, has vowed to end “five years of humilation and pain” by renogtiating the terms of Greece’s dramatic international bailout.  It was an election campaign that instilled more hope in the Spanish counterpart, Podemos. Barely one year old, Podemos has a realistic chance of ending the bipartisan political system that has governed Spain since the death of Franco. Siro Canos, a member of the London circle for Spain’s Podemos party said that while the experiences in Spain aren’t directly transferable, “there are lessons to be learnt” and the potential for a much more radical movement here in Britain.

Here are extracts from Canos and Rapanakis speeches:

Sirio Canos – Podemos

What has happened in Spain is quite extraordinary: Podemos was formed only 13 months ago and within five months we had five MEPs in the European elections – soon after it was polling first in voting intentions for the national elections… it is not overstatement to say it has completely changed the political arena in Spain. It has changed the nature of political discussion.

The most important thing is that people are now excited about politics in a way we’ve never seen before. I go back home and there are people in their houses, in the streets and bars talking about politics. That had never happened before. They feel their vote matters and that finally people can have an influence on what happens in government. That was unthinkable two years ago.

By 2011, the socialisation of the financial crisis was already quite evident in Spain: rising unemployment, inequality, cuts to welfare and education. And on top of that we had major corruption cases across the political structure. And yet nothing seemed to happen . . . there wasn’t an alternative. We had the two main parties: the Conservatives and the Socialist party. But they were virtually indistinguishable in their economic and labour policies.

This might surprise you but Podemos does not describe itself as a left-wing party and we don’t because we believe there’s the overwhelming majority in Spain – across the political spectrum – agree on certain fundamental points: that institutions should govern in the interests of the majority, not the tiny privileged elite; that human rights and people’s wellbeing should come before the repayment of a debt which we don’t even know is legitimate. The real battle isn’t between right and left, it’s one between democracy and oligarchy. The division between right and left splits people and prevents the creation of a majority capable of winning that battle.

Spiros Rapanakis – Syriza

I am here today to give the message that Syriza and the Greek government give to all European people: change is coming, the old world has died and the new world is emerging now.

Thousands and thousands of people committed suicide in Greece because they couldn’t afford to live or they couldn’t afford to pay their bills. But creation and hope took the place of disaster and despair in Greece. Throughout the crisis, the main dividing line was not the left or the right, but it was democracy and dignity versus authority . . . and oppression.

I believe that democracy is coming back to Greece again after so many years. The most characteristic picture: throughout the crisis, barricades guarded the Parliament building; you could see only policemen and Special Forces. The first action of Syriza’s government was to take away the barricades, was to take away the policemen and to make Athens a city that you could safely live.

We are not afraid anymore.We are only at the beginning. The massive change is happening in Greece. Spain and other countries are following. The main question is: are you going to join the change that has begun in Greece?

Kevin Ovenden on Podemos and Syriza (16th Feb)

Greece – Spain – The dominos fall

Kevin Ovenden

Author and commentator on Greece

And a  speaker from Podemos

Monday 16th February 7 pm

The Tetley

Leeds centre near the Aldephi

All welcome

Organized by Leeds Left unity North and East and Podemos

More information email Garth Frankland at