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Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal seeks to promote the exchange of information, experience of struggle, theoretical analysis and views of political strategy and tactics within the international left. It is a forum for open and constructive dialogue between active socialists from different political traditions. It seeks to bring together those in the international left who are opposed to neoliberal economic and social policies, and reject the bureaucratic model of "socialism" that arose in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and China.

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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Boris Kagarlitsky: Eastern Ukraine people’s republics between militias and oligarchs

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints from the region on the political situation in Ukraine. These do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers.

For more by Boris Kagarlitsky, click HERE.

By Boris Kagarlitsky, Moscow; translated by Renfrey Clarke

August 16, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The war between the Ukraine government and the republics of Novorossiya [New Russia] is gradually taking on the character of a positional stand-off. The resources of both sides are exhausted, and fighting reserves are at an end. For the people’s republics, defending themselves against the many times larger military forces of the Kiev regime, the well-known principle of “a government needs to win, but for an insurrection it is enough not to lose” operates with full force.

South Africa: 'Return to the Freedom Charter'! -- NUMSA leader Irvin Jim's Ruth First Memorial Lecture

Nelson Mandela with fellow accused Ruth First (centre) and Congress of Democrats supporter Rose Schlachte during the Treason Trial, which began in 1957.

“The revolutionary task of the moment: building democratic organs of the working class, trade unions, the civic movement and a revolutionary socialist vanguard party to defeat South African colonial and racist capitalism.” -- Irvin Jim.

August 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Irvin Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), presented the 12th annual Ruth First Memorial Lecture at the University of Witswatersrand in Johannesburg, in memory of the revolutionary activist who was assassinated by the apartheid regime in 1982.

* * *

May I simply say: Ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends gathered at this 12th Ruth First Memorial Lecture.

Please allow me to thank the University of the Witwatersrand for taking a very brave and big risk: inviting a humble, unlettered leader of a black trade union to give the 12th Ruth First Memorial Lecture.

We thank you, very much.

Kurds mobilise to fight ‘Islamic State’ over vast front

Kurdish YPG fighters, Rojava.

By Dave Holmes

August 12, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly --The Kurdish people are facing an unprecedented challenge. Across a vast swathe of northern Syria and Iraq, the region’s Kurds are locked in a desperate and heroic struggle with the genocidal forces of the so-called Islamic State (IS). Fighting is raging from Aleppo and Kobane in Syria to Mosul and Kirkuk in Iraq — and all points in between. (The “front” is enormous: for example, the direct distance from Aleppo to Kirkuk is over 650 kilometres.)

Kavita Krishnan: Re-imagining India

For more on India, click HERE.

By Kavita Krishnan

August 21, 2014 -- Outlook, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- We revolutionaries, who seek to transform society, spend a lot of time re-imagining the world we live in. That does not mean we live in a fool’s paradise. It means that we dream dreams that can be achieved.

We don’t wish on a star. Our wishes, we know, won’t be granted by any gods. The beauty of our dreams lies in the fact that they’re made up of human imagination and human will, and can be shaped and brought to life by human will.  

When our imaginations are cramped, our realities too are likely to be the same. When an idea comes to life in our imagination, it is the first step towards bringing it to life in our real world. 

The other thing about our dreams is that we aren’t solitary dreamers. We don’t dream our dreams isolated from others. Our dreams are not a private indulgence or a private solace. These dreams are born in the collective minds of fellow fighters. We dream together, as we fight struggles together. And when others are able to see and share our dreams, the dreams acquire a life beyond our own personal lives.

Thailand: Supremo Prayut appoints himself prime minister

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

August 21, 2014 -- Ugly Truth Thailand -- The self-appointment of dictator of Thailand, Prayut Chan-ocha, as prime minister, by his hand-picked military parliament, was an unsurprising non-event. Prayut did not even bother to attend and the so-called “vote” was unanimous.

Prayut has set himself up as Thailand’s “Supremo”, placing himself in charge of all important posts. This harks back to the dark old days of the military dictatorships in the 1960s and 1970s. As acclaimed writer Wat Wanyangkoon has said: “The junta is detritus left over from the Cold War.”

Prayut’s junta is both brutal and stupid. It is brutal in its crackdown on pro-democracy activists, the use of lèse-majesté to jail its opponents, and the use of violence against detainees. It is stupid in its attempts to create an image that the coup has created “peace and happiness” among citizens. Prayut also loves to strut around barking orders in a pathetic quest to appear like some outdated “strongman”.

Lars T. Lih: ‘All Power to the Soviets’: a biography of a slogan

"All power to the soviets!"

For more by or about Lars Lih, please click HERE.

By Lars Lih

August 18, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- “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. I would like to examine this slogan in its original context of Russia in 1917, in order to see why it arose, where it came from, and to what extent it was carried out in practice.[1]

United States: ‘Right to farm’ scam -- third wave corporatocracy

By Don Fitz

August 21, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When Monsanto’s home state of Missouri passed the “Right to Farm” on August 5, 2014, the third noose of corporate control tightened around the neck of the United States. Unlike the first two steps of corporate domination of public life, this was a constitutional amendment that would block the state legislature or voters from passing future laws for environmental protection, animal welfare or labeling of contaminated food. This third wave corporatocracy could well spread across US and globally as it becomes a new form of mass disenfranchisement.

Interview: Tariq Ali on Gaza, BDS, ISIS and Iraq

On August 11, 2014, the British left organisation Counterfire sponsored a public forum on Palestine featuring Tariq Ali.

Tariq Ali interviewed by Al McKay, an editor-at-large of E-International Relations.

August 18, 2014 -- E-International Relations -- Tariq Ali is a longstanding editor of the New Left Review. He has written seven novels and a number of screenplays, in addition to many works on history and world politics. His latest books are On History: Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone in Coversation and The Obama Syndrome.

In this interview, Tariq Ali discusses the recent Israel-Palestine conflict, the BDS movment, the rise of ISIS, and Obama’s commitment to long-term US involvement in Iraq.

* * *

Bolivia: Beyond (neo)extractivism?

Bolivia: Beyond (neo)extractivism?

For more on the discussion around "extractivism", click HERE.

By Federico Fuentes

August 9, 2014 -- TeleSUR, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Labelling the government of Bolivia as “pro-extractivist” or “neoextractivist” ignores the reality that Bolivia has made significant advances in breaking with the extractivist framework inherited from previous governments and enforced by the existing global relationship of forces.

A central challenge facing progressive governments and social movements in South America today is breaking the region’s dependency on raw material exports. This issue, which has tended to revolve around the concept of “extractivism”, has also become one of the main points of contention between supporters and critics of the processes of change currently underway in the region.

Ukraine: Proposed Communist Party ban threatens democratic rights

August 14, 2014 -- Real News Network -- Ukrainian sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko discusses the attempt by the Kiev regime to outlaw the Communist Party and crackdown on opposition to the war in the east.

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Click HERE for more coverage of Ukraine.

By Dick Nichols

August 9, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- “This political force should be liquidated”, said Pavlo Petrenko, Ukraine’s justice minister, quoted in the July 9 edition of Capital (Kiev’s equivalent of the Australian Financial Review). Petrenko was referring to the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU). For a time in the 1990s, it was the most supported party in Ukraine and it still won 13% of the vote at the 2012 parliamentary poll.

Maybe Petrenko, a member of a government desperate to get Ukraine into the European Union and which has just signed an Agreement of Association with Brussels, has not yet had time to read Article 12 of the EU’s “Charter of Fundamental Rights”, which says: “Political parties at Union level contribute to expressing the political will of the citizens of the Union.”

‘Fighting nationalism and the troika is our goal’, says Party of the European Left chairperson

Pierre Laurent.

Read more on the Party of the European Left

Pierre Laurent interviewed by Denis Rogatyuk

August 3, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- The Party of the European Left is a continent-wide amalgamation of far-left, radical and socialist political parties and groups. It includes the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) in Greece, Die Linke in Germany, the United Left in Spain, the Left Front (Front de Gauche) in France and many others.

While attending the Ninth Summer University of European Left, Green Left Weekly's Denis Rogatyuk got a chance to discuss the challenges and plans of the European Left with Pierre Laurent, its current chairperson. Laurent is also national secretary of the French Communist Party, which is part of France’s Left Front.

* * *

Denis Rogatyuk: I thought we would begin with the question on the mind of all the different left and progressive political parties in Europe — the question of the European Elections. Do you think the European Left fulfilled the best possible outcome in these elections?

Israel and the coming Arab revolution

Massive destruction of Gaza by Israel has left Palestinians devastated.

By Santiago Alba Rico, translated for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Art Young

August 14, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, from Spanish at Cuartopoder.es -- Let’s imagine a Syrian who was dreaming of enjoying a little bit of democracy, a little bit of freedom, a little bit of social justice: in short, of enjoying a little human dignity. Which forces, and how many of them, would he or she have to struggle against?

First, against a dynastic dictatorship that, for more than 40 years, has repressed, impoverished and murdered its own people and that, for the last three years, has not hesitated to resort to torture, extrajudicial executions, aerial bombardment and even chemical weapons, not to mention spreading sectarian poison and the most abject propaganda.

Review: 'In Place of Fear II: A Socialist Programme for an Independent Scotland'

In Place of Fear II: A Socialist Programme for an Independent Scotland
By Jim Sillars
Vagabond Voices Publishing, 2014

Review by Alex Miller

August 13, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Jim Sillars is a well-known and well-respected figure on the Scottish political scene. He was elected (UK) Labour Party MP for South Ayrshire in 1970 but subsequently shifted away from mainstream Labour Party politics as a result of his commitment to devolution from Westminster and the setting up of a Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. It's worth remembering that the infamous "40% rule" that blocked the narrow majority vote in favour of devolution in the 1979 referendum was the work of UK Labour Party MP George Cunningham (with the support of fellow Labour MPs George Robertson, Robin Cook and Tam Dalyell).

United States: Seattle socialist wins 22% in primary poll

Jess and WFSE activists (personal capacity)

Jess Spear (fifth from left) and supporters.

US Socialist Alternative candidate Jess Spear has won more than 20% of the vote in the August 5 primary election, against Frank Chopp, a 20-year Democrat incumbent in the Washington State parliament and speaker of the house. The actual general election for the seat will take place in November 2014. The campaign builds on the victory of Kshama Sawant, who won a position on the Seattle city council. This letter and report was sent to  supporters of Spear.

* * *

August 8, 2014 -- Vote Jess Spear, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Every one of you should be proud of what we accomplished in our primary election campaign. In the first count of votes on election night we had won 19% against the most powerful legislator in the state, and as the late votes are counted we will likely end up with over 20%. In fact so far Jess has received 22.16% of the late votes, with more to be counted.

Tariq Ali: The US global empire (video)

July 29, 2014 -- TeleSUR -- Tariq Ali examines the United States' drive to create and maintain its global empire.

Capitalism's world war and the battle against it

Trench warfare between French and German troops during the First World War
Trench warfare between French and German troops during the First World War.

July 28, 2014 -- Socialist Worker (USA) -- John Riddell is the author and editor of numerous books, including, most recently, Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922. Here, he explains how the First World War broke out 100 years ago, how the socialist movement reacted, and how a revolutionary anti-war opposition emerged.

* * *

Bolivia's president calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel

August 7, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Bolivia's leader Evo Morales is among a list of recognised names including former Honduras president Mel Zelaya and Nobel peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel calling for support to the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.

Morales has officially signed on as a supporter of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

In an open letter released on August 6, Morales heads a long list of signatories from Latin America and elsewhere condemning "apartheid and genocide" against Palestinians, and calls on Israel to respect United Nations resolutions. Among those listed as signatories include former president of Honduras Mel Zelaya, Nobel peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, Cuban musician Silvio Rodríguez and teleSUR president Patricia Villegas (see full letter below).

Leninism, No? Paul Le Blanc replies to Ian Birchall

For more by Paul Le Blanc, click HERE. For more discussion of "Leninism", click HERE.

August 6, 2014 -- Socialist Worker (USA) -- Paul Le Blanc is a veteran socialist and author, most recently, of Unfinished Leninism: The Rise and Return of a Revolutionary Doctrine. In response to an article by British socialist Ian Birchall published at the Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century website [published by the socialist group of the same name, abbreviated as RS21], Le Blanc wrote this commentary to contribute to the discussion of "Leninism".

* * *

Ian Birchall has made an important contribution to the ongoing discussion on the international left about the meaning and value of Leninism, which is one of the focal points of my recent collection Unfinished Leninism: The Rise and Return of a Revolutionary Doctrine. Here I would like to make a few comments about what this esteemed comrade has to say.

Responding to capitalist global disaster: World War I and today

The following talk was delivered to the US International Socialist Organization's Socialism 2014 conference in Chicago, June 28, 2014. It has been edited for publication in International Socialist Review. See also John Riddell's article, “Capitalism’s First World War and the Battle Against It“, in Socialist Worker.

* * *

By John Riddell

August 5, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- On August 5, 100 years ago, a Bosnian nationalist assassinated the crown prince of Austria-Hungary, setting in motion a chain of events that led a month later to the outbreak of the First World War.

The war shattered the world socialist movement and unleashed an overwhelming social catastrophe in Europe, killing 17 million soldiers and civilians. The resulting revolutionary struggles brought the war to an abrupt end in 1918, while toppling the continent’s three great empires and bringing workers and peasants to power in Russia. The war also contributed to a global rise of anti-colonial struggles.

What does this unique cataclysm mean for us today? It is useful to compare World War I with the dangers posed today by climate change and environmental collapse.

Volodymyr Ishchenko on Kiev's attempts to ban the Communist Party: its meaning for democracy and the left

Confrontation between Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko (left) and parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Turchynov in May. Turchynov is working to have the CPU banned.

Read more on Ukraine HERE. More by Volodymyr Ishchenko.

By Volodymyr Ishchenko

August 4, 2014 -- LeftEast, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- On July 24 the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament Oleksandr Turchynov announced the disbanding of the parliamentary group of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU) over a ridiculous technicality. The court trial over CPU’s ban as a political party started the same day with the next session of the court scheduled for mid-August.

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