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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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April 23, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton spoke to Dave Holmes about her work as an elected socialist local councillor in Moreland, a municipality in Melbourne, Australia.
* * *
You were elected to the Moreland City Council for Socialist Alliance in October 2012. Many of the themes and issues raised in your campaign struck a chord with a wide range of people. There was also a fair bit of accident and luck: you headed up a ballot with 24 names on it and the ALP ticket was split.
There were two main reasons why I was elected. One was that our campaign theme, “community need not developer greed”, struck a chord with residents who didn’t know either Socialist Alliance or me because many residents are directly effected by developer greed.
Tony Benn discussing politics with Ralph Miliband (right) at the Socialist Society Conference, Chesterfield in 1988. Photograph: John Harris/reportdigital.co.uk.
By Andrew Perchard
April 16, 2015 -- History Workshop, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the midst of last year’s Scottish independence referendum campaign, a friend and fellow historian of modern Britain, visiting from the north west of England, recounted his Damascene moment in grasping the national conversation in Scotland.
He had been visiting friends several weeks before and was taken to a bar one night in a former mining village in central Scotland. There he had been struck by the overwhelming number of those in the bar, whose politics he typically associated with the Labour Party, who openly declared they would be voting in favour of Scottish independence.
For more by or about Marta Harnecker, click HERE.
By Marta Harnecker, translated by María Poblete and Federico Fuentes
April 17, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This text incorporates much of booklet #2 from the original series Cuadernos de Educación Popular (Booklets for Popular Education), which was titled “What is socialism?” and was written by Marta Harnecker in collaboration with Gabriela Uribe. This series was published in Chile during the Popular Unity government, lef by Salvador Allende, and was reprinted in various countries and languages. The text has been revised, some errors have been corrected, and supplementary examples and text boxes have been added, in order to make it easier to comprehend some of the complex ideas it tackles.
In this Booklet for Popular Education we hope to study the fundamental mechanism that explains why, under capitalism, you have a small group of people who possess a lot of wealth and enjoy an easy life, while a significant portion of workers find themselves in a very difficult situation.
See also "Australia & New Zealand: The imperialist reality behind ANZAC myth". For more on World War I, click HERE
Film by John Rainford and Peter Ewer
April 24, 2015 -- Green Left TV/Green Left Weekly//Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC's ill-fated Gallipoli campaign approaches, this timely short film cuts through the myth making, and shows with damning facts how lives were used as fodder as strategic and tactical blunders led to the slaughter of so many.
It reveals the context behind the Gallipoli campaign - a war fought because the world had been cut up into colonies by the major powers who were now battling for the spoils.
The film shows exactly why the terrible ANZAC Cove campaign should never be forgotten — and the crimes of the warmongers responsible never forgiven.
Marta Harnecker interviewed by Isabel Rauber, introduction and translation by Richard Fidler
April 21, 2015 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Marta Harnecker (above), a Marxist writer and lecturer of Chilean origin, is one of the foremost international exponents of the revolutionary process in Latin America today.
In the following interview she outlines some of the lessons she has derived from her experience with the Popular Unity government of Chile’s Salvador Allende (1970-73) that are applicable to current attempts in Latin America to build “an alternative society to capitalism that is essentially democratic”.
US President Barack Obama fetes the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
By Rupen Savoulian
April 19, 2015 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with author's permission -- Saudi Arabia’s aerial offensive against Yemen has continued for the fourth week at the time of writing. Yemen is undergoing a humanitarian crisis, with millions of Yemenis lacking basic access to food, clean drinking water and health care. The Saudi bombardment has only worsened the plight of the Yemenis, with schools destroyed, hospitals and health-care facilities targeted, and electricity supplies cut off. Basic infrastructure is being shattered, thus precipitating a catastrophic health situation for Yemeni residents.
Residents of "October" district of Donetsk city hard hit by Ukraine army shelling speak to visiting media group on April 16, 2015. Photo Roger Annis.
More on the political situation in Ukraine.
By Roger Annis, Donetsk
April 20, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, a version of this article was first published at CounterPunch -- -- I have just returned from participating in a four-day reporting tour to the city of Donetsk and the countryside that lies between Donetsk and the Russian city of Rostov to the south and east.
April 16, 2015 -- Scottish Socialist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A commitment to a £10 an hour minimum living wage for all, defiance of austerity and the eradication of insecure zero-hour contracts are at the heart of the Scottish Socialist Party’s manifesto, launched today at the Augustine Church in Edinburgh.
On the demand for a £10 an hour living wage, to be implemented immediately:
“The other parties contesting these elections may cry crocodile tears about this widening divergence in earnings between working people and their bosses but they stand full square behind the neoliberal economic system that manufactures such inequalities. A competitive, modern Scottish economy cannot be constructed on slave wages.”
Other measures proposed include vastly expanded carer rights:
South Africa's ANC President Jacob Zuma gives Swaziland tyrant Mswati III the red-carpet treatment.
For more on Swaziland, click HERE.
By Terry Bell, Cape Town
April 19, 2015 -- Terry Bell Writes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), campaigning groups and labour-supporting members of the European parliament this month launched protests about the continued harassment and jailing of trade unionists and democracy campaigners in Swaziland. ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow has noted that, in Swaziland, “Violations against the fundamental rights of workers have become systemic.”
But apart from a few verbal sallies from non-governmental groups, there has been silence from South Africa. And this should be deeply worrying to those who are concerned about deepening democracy on the continent and in ensuring that a wealthy, often corrupt — if not entirely melanin deficient — elite do not continue to dominate.
By Giles Ji Ungpakorn
April 19, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Thailand's military junta’s new draft constitution is a pathetic, backward, anti-democratic and infantile document.
Just like the rantings of generalissimo Prayut Chan-ocha (pictured above), it is full of tub-thumping and shouting about the “duties” and “responsibilities” of Thai people to grovel to “Nation, Religion and King”. It is infantile in this because it is written by conservative idiots who think that by bullying the population into conforming to elite beliefs they can actually change peoples’ attitudes.
The infantilism gets worse when we get to part 2 of the constitution, which is headed; “Good Political Leaders and Good Representatives”. It doesn’t take much brain power to guess what the junta’s definition of “good” might be. High up on the list is loyalty to “Nation, Religion and King” and not being corrupt … blah blah blah. The whole thing sounds like some moral tale designed for a bad kindergarten.
By Tony Iltis
April 13, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Joural of Socialist Renewal -- The United States is providing crucial support to regional ally Saudi Arabia ― a big buyer of US arms ― as it launches a new war in the Middle East by attacking neighbouring Yemen. A Saudi-led coalition of Western-aligned, mainly Sunni Islamist, Arab government's launched air, naval and ground military offensive against Yemen on March 25.
Saudi Arabian forces are being supported by military planes from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Egypt, which is also supplying naval forces. The military intervention is in support of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, the Yemen president overthrown in January by a coalition led by Ansar Allah, also known as the Houthi movement. Ansar Allah is an armed movement based in the Zaydi religious minority, who are about 35% of Yemen's population.
The Saudi intervention has accelerated the civil war engulfing Yemen.
The World Health Organisation said on April 8 that at least 643 people had been killed and 2226 injured in Yemen between March 19 and April 6. The WHO said: “These are only health facility-based figures and casualty estimates are likely to continue to increase as additional cases are verified and reported.”
More than 334,000 people have been internally displaced and 254,400 have fled abroad.
For more on Scotland and independence, click HERE.
The People’s Referendum: Why Scotland Will Never Be the Same Again
by Paul Geoghegan
Luath Press 2015
Review by Alex Miller
April 16, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The UK-wide general election for the Westminster parliament scheduled for May 7, 2015, looks set to be a very close, perhaps even closer than the 2010 election that resulted in the Labour Party being replaced by a Conservative Party-Liberal Democrat coalition government.
President Raúl Castro Ruz thanked the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean for their solidarity.
By Raúl Castro Ruz, president of Cuba
[Council of State transcript of Castro's speech to the Summit of the Americas in Panama.]
April 14, 2015 -- Granma, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It was high time I spoke here on behalf of Cuba. I was told at first that I could make an eight-minute speech; although I made a great effort, along with my foreign minister, to reduce it to eight minutes, and as I’m owed six summits from which we were excluded, six times eight, 48 (laughter and applause), I asked President Juan Carlos Varela [of Panama] a few moments before entering this magnificent hall, to allow me a few minutes more, especially after we have been hearing so many interesting speeches, and I am not only referring to that of President Obama, but also that of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, President Dilma Rousseff and others.
The Crab Cannery Ship: and Other Novels of Struggle
By Kobayashi Takiji
Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2013, 328 pages
[Scroll to the end for a video presentation of this article, and to Note 1 for Takiji Memorial: February 20, 2009, a three-part documentary tribute to Kobayashi Takiji, produced by Heather Bowen-Struyk.]
By Doug Enaa Greene
April 15, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In 2008, one of the best-selling novels in Japan was an 80-year-old novel, Kanikosen (Crab Cannery Ship) by the communist author Kobayashi Takiji, detailing the wretched working conditions on a fishing ship and the crew's strike and determination to overthrow their oppressors. The novel, previously selling a moderate 5000 copies per year, shot up to sales of 500,000, along with the release of four manga versions reaching many more readers.
The left-wing People's Democratic Party (PRD) held its eighth congress in Jakarta from March 24-26. This was the first time its congress was held openly.
By Alex Bainbridge, Jakarta
April 13, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The left-wing People's Democratic Party (PRD) held its eighth congress in Jakarta from March 24-26, 2015. This was the first time its congress was held openly. The open congress marks an important new stage of development for the party, which has a history of underground organising dating back to the era of the Suharto dictatorship that was overthrown in 1998.
The congress launched a large-scale campaign for the PRD to achieve the stringent requirements of electoral registration in time for the 2019 elections. It also emphasised politics designed to forge national unity in the struggle against imperialism.
The PRD was formed out of — and helped lead — a resurgence of struggle against the Suharto regime in the 1990s. Suharto came to power in a 1965 military coup that involved massacres that killed an estimated 1 million leftists.
April 14, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following articles were published in the April issue #86 of the Scottish Left Review, as part of a round-up of the various positions being proposed by sections of the Scottish left to advance a left agenda during and after the British general election to be held on May 7, 2015.
Greens' Westminster MP Caroline Lucas.
By Terry Conway
April 8, 2015 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Membership and support for the Green parties across Britain – the Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW) and the Scottish Green Party (SGP) – has surged dramatically.
The membership of the GPEW has doubled in the past year and currently stands at 54,500, making it the fourth-largest party in Britain – bigger than the Liberal Democrats and UK Independence Party. It has also been rising in the opinion polls, topping 10% recently, well in advance of the Lib Dems, which has led the broadcasters to propose its inclusion in the TV debates.
PSM MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj.
By Peter Boyle
April 8, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the early hours of the morning on April 7, the Malaysian parliament reintroduced powers of indefinite detention without trial in the form of a new Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). Such powers, previously under the Internal Security Act and Emergency Ordinance — which were repealed in 2012 under popular pressure — have a notorious history of being used by British colonial and, after independence, Malaysian authorities to detain political dissidents.
The official justification for POTA was the alleged threat faced from "terrorists" influenced by the so-called “Islamic State” group in Iraq and Syria. Just as the law was being rushed through the parliament, the police announced that it had arrested 17 people accused of planning terrorist acts.
“The new law gives the authorities very wide powers and does not have sufficient checks and balances”, Malaysia's sole socialist MP and long-time campaigner against the ISA Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj (pictured) told Green Left Weekly in an exclusive interview.
“This is how much I care about your sanctions, Mr Obama.” Placard at anti-imperialist rally in Caracas held in the wake of Obama's March 9 declaration.
April 2015 -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialisr Renewal with permission
[The following letter was written by Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and was originally published on March 17.]
By Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela
We are the people of Simon Bolívar, our people believe in peace and respect for all nations.
Freedom and independence
More than two centuries ago, our fathers founded a Republic on the basis that all persons are free and equal under the law.
Our nation made the greatest sacrifices to guarantee South American people their right to choose their rulers and to enforce their own laws today. The historical legacy of our father, Simón Bolívar, is always remembered. Bolívar was a man who gave his life so we would inherit a nation of justice and equality.
We believe in peace, national sovereignty and international law
Chicago teachers now have one of their own on the city council. Susan Sadlowski Garza, school counselor and Chicago Teachers Union executive board member, declared victory this week. Photo: Citizens to Elect Susan Sadlowski Garza.
Click for more on left electoral politics at the municipal level.
April 9, 2015 -- Labor Notes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Chicago teachers now have one of their own on the city council. Susan Sadlowski Garza, school counselor and Chicago Teachers Union executive board member, declared victory this week over incumbent John Pope. Absentee ballots are still being counted, but signs indicate she will squeeze past by less than 100 votes.