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Inspired by the unfolding socialist revolution in Venezuela, as well as the continuing example of socialist Cuba, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is a journal for "Socialism of the 21st century", and the discussions and debates flowing from that powerful example of socialist renewal.
Links is also proud to be the sister publication of Green Left Weekly, the world's leading red-green newspaper, and we urge readers to visit that site regularly.
Please explore Links and subscribe (click on "Subscribe to Links" or "Follow Links on Twitter" in the left menu). Links welcomes readers' constructive comments (but please read the "Comments policy" above).
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By Nick Fredman
March 28, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Sharply different opinions have developed among the radical left in recent years towards the Syrian radical democratic movement led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — an initially Kurdish-based force which through a series of political and military struggles and alliances has recently formed the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, as a model for a multi-ethnic, non-sectarian, federal and socially just alternative for the nation and the region. Some on the international left have accused this movement of human rights abuses, political repression and collaboration with the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad.
I was prompted to write the present notes in response to two articles by Roy Gutman in the US Nation magazine (here and here). But as these articles both sum up and are fairly extreme examples of the left criticisms of the PYD-led movement, it makes sense to discuss some background and previous articles before taking up Gutman.
By Kavita Krishnan
March 28, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Liberation, central organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation — In a recent trial court judgement on 10 March 2017, 117 workers of the automobile company Maruti Suzuki’s factory in Manesar, Gurgaon, India were acquitted of a murder charge. 18 workers were convicted of minor offences while 13 – all leaders of the Maruti union – have been convicted of murder and await the quantum of punishment, to be declared on March 17, 2017.
The Maruti workers plan to challenge the convictions of their comrades in higher courts. Why are automobile workers being jailed for murder? The story at Maruti is a familiar one in India’s industrial scene.
Petrograd Soviet meets at the Taurida Palace, Petrograd, March 1917
March 27, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal / John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — One hundred years ago today, on March 27 (14), 1917, the Petrograd Soviet issued the following appeal “To the Peoples of the World,” calling for a restoration of workers’ unity in the cause of peace.
The moderate socialists who dominated the Petrograd Soviet until September 1917 pursued a policy of “revolutionary defensism,” which advocated defending Russia and its revolution against German aggression while calling upon European socialists to pressure their governments to bring about peace.
This policy toward the war would not be consistently defined until the return from Siberian exile of Tsereteli and other Menshevik leaders on April 2 (March 20), 1917. Therefore, the document below reflects the views in the Soviet at a time when moderate socialists were still open to making concessions to their radical counterparts regarding the Soviet’s position on the war and other issues. Discussions in the Soviet were crucial to the realignment of leftist forces that occurred in the wake of the February Revolution.
By Kevin Young
March 26, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Against the Current — In November 2016 the Colombian Congress approved a peace deal between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, potentially ending a 50-year armed conflict that has killed at least 220,000 people--82 percent civilians--and displaced almost seven million. The accord includes mechanisms for disarmament and reintegration of guerrilla fighters, lenient sentencing for those who confess to committing acts of violence, and an allotment of ten congressional seats for FARC politicians for eight years. Separate peace talks with the smaller National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla force are now underway.
March 25, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint — Alexandre Araujo Costa, a Brazilian ecology activist, spoke to Belgian ecology writer and activist Daniel Tanuro on a range of questions concerning ecology and ecosocialism.
“Down with the Minister Capitalists”.
By Lars Lih
March 24, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — “All power to the Soviets!” is surely one of the most famous slogans in revolutionary history. It is right up there with “Egalité, liberté, fraternité” as a symbol of an entire revolutionary epoch. In this essay and others to follow later in the spring, I would like to examine the origin of this slogan in its original context of Russia in 1917.
È possibile che un’improbabile alleanza tra la sinistra e la destra fermi la Rivoluzione Cittadina dell’Ecuador?
24-03-2017 - Traduzione del Comitato Carlos Fonseca - L’Ecuador tornerà alle urne il 2 aprile dopo che il primo turno delle elezioni presidenziali non aveva dato una vittoria decisiva a Lenín Moreno, il candidato disposto a continuare la “Rivoluzione Cittadina” dell’uscente presidente Rafael Correa, che ha favorito i poveri.
Ora Moreno affronta la sfida di riuscire a far sì che l’Ecuador non si aggiunga alla lista dei paesi della regione nei quali la sinistra ha recentemente perso le elezioni.
By Phil Hearse
“The way the Leave campaign have tried to ramp up a fear of immigration has been disgraceful—but the truth is that if you see an immigrant in a hospital, they’re far more likely to be working there than being treated. The time has come to brand the “Brexit” campaign for what it is—a bid for a right-wing Tory takeover of the reins of power in the UK and to dismantle the hard-worn social gains of the last few decades. The people leading the case for a vote to leave are on the right of the Conservative Party and will take an “out” vote as their signal to make their power grab complete.” Nicola Sturgeon, 16/6/2016
By Charles Pierce
March 22, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Since December 9 last year, when the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) made its allegations to U.S. Congressional leaders, ranking politicians of both major parties have gone on a concerted rant against Russia for allegedly subverting American “democracy”. The specific allegations are: (1) that Russian state operatives hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC); (2) that Russia then used WikiLeaks as an intermediary to make public internal DNC emails which would embarrass the DNC and hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign; (3) that Russia’s objective was to help Donald Trump win the Presidency; and (4) that Russia’s intervention changed the outcome of the Presidential election. For reasons given below: (1) and (2) are possible but unproven, (3) is unlikely, and (4) is fantasy.
Meanwhile, the major U.S. news media outlets have reported the story with a persistent evasion of highly relevant facts including the U.S. government’s many subversions of elections in other countries.
Corea del Sur: Victoria del movimiento de las velas, destitución de la presidenta Park y convocatoria de elecciones
Por Youngsu Won
Marzo 22, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, traducido por Enrique García para Sin Permiso— El 10 de marzo, a las 11:22 de la mañana, el juez del Tribunal Constitucional Lee Jeingmi leyó la última frase de la sentencia, que declara que el tribunal había decidido por unanimidad, destituir a la Presidenta Park Geun-hye. Después de un juicio de 92 días, la presidencia de Park Geun-hye había terminado.
Dutch election: GreenLeft and Animal Rights gains the bright spots as Wilders stalls and mainstream right strengthens
By Dick Nichols and Will Wroth
March 21, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The containment in the March 15 Dutch general election of islamophobe Geert Wilders’ Party of Freedom (PVV) was greeted with relief by the mainstream European media (see table for election results as of March 19; final results will be declared on March 22).
The PVV’s final vote of only 13.1% (20 seats in the 150-seat lower house according to the Dutch proportional representation system) represented an increase of only 3% (5 seats): given expectations this advance was really a sizeable setback.
The PVV, which advocates shutting all mosques (“hate palaces”), banning the Quran, closing Dutch borders and leaving the European Union (“Nexit”), had been leading in opinion polls since September 2015. Its support reached high points of over 40 seats–up to 20 more than the ruling conservative People’s Party of Freedom and Democracy (VVD). Wilder’s one-man party—himself--only started to poll consistently behind the VVD in the last ten days of the election campaign.
¿Es posible que una improbable alianza entre la izquierda y la derecha detenga la Revolución Ciudadana de Ecuador?
March 18, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Unity — This is the third of Ernie Tate’s letters to Left Unity detailing and analysing the struggles against Trump as they emerge on the other side of the pond. Ernie is a lifelong revolutionary who emigrated to Canada from Northern Ireland as a young man. He was one of the most important activists of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign in the 1960s and has recently produced a two volume memoir, “Revolutionary Activism of the 1950s and 1960s”.
A by-product of present toxic atmosphere in the United States against immigrants and refugees has been a sharp increase in this country in recent weeks in the number of asylum seekers walking across the Canadian border, often placing themselves and their families in harm’s way from our extremely harsh winter. It’s also a consequence it should be noted, of the military interventions by the American empire in the Arab and African world — now greatly destabilized because of it, especially since the fall of the Soviet Union. And like everywhere else, reactionary forces here are attempting to exploit it to stoke up anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment.
Dilar Dirik interviewed by George Souvlis, first published at Salvage
George Souvlis: By way of introduction, could you explain what personal experiences strongly influenced you, politically and academically?
Dilar Dirik: As a Kurd, you can never run from your identity, because your identity is essentially political and the level of your political consciousness acts as a self-defense as the only way to secure your survival and existence. That is why insistence on the free expression of your self-determined identity is portrayed as political controversy, nationalism, or terrorism by the capitalist-statist system.
1917: The View from the Streets #8 - 'The only guarantee of Polish independence is international solidarity'
March 17, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal / John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — One hundred years ago, on March 17 (4) 1917, the following appeal calling on Polish workers to support the Russian Revolution and fight for Polish independence was adopted at a rally of Polish socialist workers in Petrograd.
After the outbreak of World War One, the bulk of Poland (which had previously been ruled by the Tsarist government) came under German occupation. By 1917, roughly three million Poles – many of whom had been evacuated from Poland on the eve of the German invasion – found themselves under Tsarist rule. In response, Polish socialist parties began organizing the large groups of displaced Polish workers in industrial cities like Petrograd and Moscow.
By Davide Grasso
March 15, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from InfoAUT — When Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire on December 17, 2010 – few of us knew the dimensions of what was about to happen. North Africa and Southwest Asia were ticking time-bombs waiting to explode, waiting to manifest, sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly, deep contradictions and new paths towards the future. Few among us were aware of how unprepared we were for these events and, initially, for developing a solid analysis of what was happening beyond the Mediterranean.
At the time, a friend told me: "These 'springs' have swept away the Salafis from the history of those countries denying that tendency to be the dominant one among the youth." The following events, up to the present ones, demonstrate how incomplete and one-sided this impression was. We were projecting our expectations on the events. We did not analyze the facts in all their complexity, for what they were, albeit in their ambivalence; we looked at them for what we wanted them to be.
March 14, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal / John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website —100 years ago today, on March 14 (1), 1917, the Social Democratic Interdistrict Committee (Mezhrayonka), supported by the Petersburg Committee of Socialist-Revolutionaries, issued the following appeal to soldiers.
At that time, the Duma Committee and the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies were striving to bring order into the revolutionary events on the streets and to prevent the tsarist autocracy from restoring its control over the city. Dominated by moderate socialists, the Soviet pursued a policy of cooperation with liberals in the Duma.
The appeal below presented a militant alternative to the Duma Committee’s course. According to Michael Melancon (2009), it circulated on March 14 (1), 1917, probably before Order No. 1 was issued, and may have influenced the wording of Order No. 1. Alexander Shlyapnikov, who published the leaflet in 1923, states that the Executive Committee of the Petersburg Soviet confiscated it on the morning of March 15 (2), 1917.
Selection, translation, and annotation by Barbara Allen.
South Korea: With Park Geun-hye’s impeachment confirmed, the 2016-17 candlelight protest movement has won an important victory
By Youngsu Won
March 12, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On March 10, at 11:22 am, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court Lee Jeingmi read the final sentence of the verdict, declaring that the court had unanimously decided to dismiss President Park Geun-hye. With that, following a 92-day trial, Park Geun-hye’s presidency was over.
Pro-impeachment protesters present at that time in front of the courthouse applauded the verdict, filled with a huge sense of joy and the feeling of a moment of emancipation. On the other side, desperate anti-impeachment protesters were deeply disappointed, resorting to verbal and physical assaults, causing the tragic and unnecessary deaths of some poor old people.
It was a historic moment, signifying a gigantic political victory for the millions of people who participated in the grassroots candlelight protests – South Korea’s indignados – and for those who led the 134 days of consecutive mobilisations that all together brought more than 15 million people onto the streets. Park now joins the list of presidents ousted in disgrace; her collapse has sent nostalgia for her father’s time in power (Park Chung-hee 1961-79) to the dustbin of history.
1917: The View from the Street #6 - Culmination of the Russian February Revolution ‘For a general strike against autocracy’
March 12, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal / John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — 100 years ago today, on March 12 (February 27) 1917, Socialists in Petrograd distributed the following appeal for an insurrectional general strike to bring down tsarism. That day, the culmination of the Russian February revolution, witnessed the crumbling of tsarist power.
By Dick Nichols
March 11, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In the end the close result that participants and commentators alike were expecting never happened: at the second congress (“citizens’ assembly”) of the radical Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos, held in Madrid on February 11-12, the proposals and candidate list of outgoing general secretary Pablo Iglesias easily defeated those of outgoing political secretary Iñigo Errejón.