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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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Coronavirus Is the end of the End of History

 

 

By Lee Jones

March 26, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Tribune — In 1989, the American pundit Francis Fukuyama presciently declared the ‘end of history’: the collapse of all existing alternatives to liberalism. That apparently unassailable order has been crumbling for years. Coronavirus is the final nail in its coffin.

Soaring beyond the Green New Deal

 

 

By Don Fitz

May 24, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — When Stan Cox was writing his book, The Green New Deal and Beyond: Ending the Climate Emergency While We Still Can, he scripted these prophetic words: “The oft-predicted national decline in use of fossil fuels is nowhere to be seen, and it is unlikely to occur on its own, at least until the next economic meltdown.” He became one of those few people who dare predict the future; but it was unfortunate for humanity that his prediction came true. Between the time that Cox foresaw the conditions under which fossil fuel usage would go down and his book appeared in print, the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, production crashed in country after country, and CO2 emissions dropped even more than they did during the 2008 financial crisis.

The capitalist pandemic and socialist solutions

 

 

Speech by Sonny Melencio, Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), Philippines, at PLM Webinar presentation, May 16, 2020

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from AngMasa Para Sa Sosyalismo — My main idea for this presentation actually comes from a reading of an article written by Simon Hannah, titled “Coronavirus has given us two visions of the future” published in Mutiny, an online paper of a group of socialists in the UK. Mutiny is a fine online paper, just Google it.

These are the points I would like to present in this Webinar:

Transforming our infrastructure systems to face pandemics

 

 Correlation Between Quality of Infrastructure and Health Security, Source: AIIB, March 2020

 

By Reihana Mohideen

May 24, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from AngMasa Para Sa Sosyalismo — In our response strategies to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are effectively undertaking a massive experiment where we disrupt our entire economy and how we work and live within it. This has implications for our health and infrastructure linked systems and social inclusion linkages.

The Communist movement at a crossroads: 1922-23

 

 

Introduction by John Riddell

 

May 24, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary — Posted here is the introduction to The Communist Movement at a Crossroads: Plenums of the Communist International’s Executive Committee, 1922-1923. Edited by Mike Taber and translated by John Riddell, the book is published by the Historical Materialism Book Series, and is available from Haymarket Books.

This volume is the latest in a series begun in 1983 under the general editorship of John Riddell. The aim of this series has been to present, in its own words, the record of the Communist International (Comintern) under Lenin, chronicling the development of this dynamic revolutionary undertaking and showing it as a vibrant and living movement embracing millions around the world.[1]

This latest volume is noteworthy in showing the Comintern taking up several questions of contemporary relevancy, among them the united front and fascism. For this reason, the book will be of special interest both to those studying the history of the world Communist movement as well as to activists seeking to examine key strategic questions that remain on the agenda today.

Mike Taber’s Introduction provides a good summary not only of the book but of the issues raised within it and the Comintern’s evolution in the period under study.

Human suffering during the pandemic and the need for a new society

 

 

By Raju J Das

May 14, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — During the on-going pandemic, humanity’s suffering has increased enormously. By May 11, 2020, 4.2 million people in the world had contracted the coronavirus, and 285,000 had died. In the richest and most powerful country of the world, more than 1.4 million cases have been reported, with 81,000 deaths.[1] The pandemic is producing massive adverse impacts, including on income and employment opportunities (Davis, 2020; Toussaint, 2020).[2] The pandemic is forcing us to think about what kind of society we wish to live in. This article discusses the ‘consequences’ of the pandemic for people and what they say about the nature of the society we live in. The article then talks about what a different kind of society would look like, one that is worth fighting for now.

Bayer/Monsanto’s bioimperialism versus Cuba’s biosolidarity

 

 

By Don Fitz

May 14, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Genetically engineered crops are a form of food imperialism. This technology allows mega-corporations like Bayer/Monsanto to patent seeds, lure farmers into buying them with visions of high yields and then destroy the ability of small farmers to survive.

Genetic engineering produces an artificial combination of plant traits that often results in foods with less nutritional value while introducing health problems to animals and humans who eat them. It increases costs of food production, pushing millions of farmers throughout the world into poverty and driving them off their land. 

Agricultural corporations get control of enormous quantities of land in Africa, Latin America and Asia, which they use to control the world’s food supply and reap super-profits from the cheap labor of those who work for them, sometimes people who once owned the same land. These crops can be developed in open-field testing, which allows the novel pollen to contaminate wild relatives of the engineered crops.

How the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbates existing gender inequalities

 

 

By Nalini E

May 14, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Think Left — Everyone has been made to believe that the coronavirus pandemic is a public health issue. Now, a few months into life with coronavirus, and the threat of the associated coronavirus disease (Covid-19), it is now abundantly clear that this is not merely about health.

Reality strikes. The entire world’s economic, political and social structures are in a state of heightened anxiety and emergency. Now, while it is true that the coronavirus does not discriminate, the impact is most felt by society’s vulnerable, marginalised groups.

This article focuses on the strong and specific impact such a global pandemic has on gender inequalities, specifically women.

Workers’ power + renewable electrification of the whole economy: For a Red-Green New Deal in transport

 

 

By Asbjørn Wahl

May 14,2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — The transport sector represents one of the most serious challenges when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, which are increasing faster than from any other sector in society – and at an ever-increasing pace (over 120 per cent globally over the last 30 years – and still increasing in all parts of the world). In Europe, transport is the largest climate problem, accounting for 27 per cent of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2017. It is also the only sector that has emissions above 1990 levels (Transport & Environment, 2018).

The COVID-19 crisis and the end of the 'low-skilled' worker

 

 

By Mark Bergfeld & Sarah Farris

“One day our society will come to respect the sanitation worker if it is to survive, for the person who picks up our garbage, in the final analysis, is as significant as the physician, for if he doesn’t do his job, diseases are rampant. All labor has dignity.” —Martin Luther King

Could coronavirus spark a popular uprising in Venezuela?

 

 

By Ociel Alí López

May 2, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Venezuela Analysis — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s bump in his approval rating – a result of his effective early response to the COVID-19 pandemic – is rapidly fading. The government’s overemphasis of the threat posed by the virus as a means of lowering tensions in the face of the deep crisis of gasoline shortages is losing popular support.

The economic situation has reverted to the worst years of the crisis in 2017 and 2018. The public is demanding a normalization of activities in order to minimize the economic fallout of the pandemic, which has revived the scourge of hunger and is becoming a catalyst for unrest.

And the worst part is that after two months the coronavirus is becoming a tangible threat due to the mass return of Venezuelans from many countries hard hit by the pandemic, including Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil. The Venezuelan popular classes’ main source of income – remittances – has been severely reduced and will remain so until economic activity resumes in those countries. Trump and Bolsonaro are definitely not the only world leaders in dire straits. The Venezuelan government has stepped into a minefield that could explode even without US military intervention, which now seems like a more distant possibility.

COVID capitalism: General tendencies, possible 'leaps'

 

 

By Tithi Bhattacharya & Gareth Dale

May 2, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Spectre — Never has the global economy faced such a thorough challenge from a virus. Previous epidemics scythed through populations and ravaged livelihoods, but they remained contained on a regional scale or, where global, impacted the world economy less precipitously. Noteworthy too is the fact that never in recent memory have Euro-American countries, whose governments and media still dominate global public discourse, been so affected by a health crisis. Pandemics that kill people in Asia and Africa do not create quite the same reverberations in media conglomerates as they do when they hit the hearts of imperial hegemons.

Covid-19 has starkly revealed not only the brutal systemic priorities of capitalism—profit-making over life-making—but also the relationship between capital and the capitalist state form. We should be attentive to this relationship in order to face a darker truth about this crisis: that it is far from an anomaly and that lacking a body blow to the system, we should prepare for a world where such crises and its effects become part of our daily lives.

Asian Left May Day 2020 statement: Build a better future for working people in times of multiple crises

 

May 1, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In recent months, the world has been severely affected and paralysed by the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The countries of Southeast Asia are not spared. This health crisis affecting the masses, is part and parcel of the deeper crisis of global capitalism which has bred social inequalities and injustices in all areas of life. The pandemic has erupted in the midst of the climate crisis, and is set to unleash another crisis — an economic crisis with possibly the worst recession in our time.

Remembering George Shriver (1936-2020)

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

May 2, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — I knew about George Shriver (who used the party name George Saunders) long before I got to know him. Since the early 1960s he had been part of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), which I joined in 1973. Shortly after I joined a very important book was published that he edited and which I hungrily devoured, Samizdat: Voices of the Soviet Opposition.  This was an eye-opening and inspiring collection of primary sources on resistance, inside the Soviet Union, to Stalinist and bureaucratic oppression, ranging from heroic and ill-fated struggles of Left Oppositionists in the 1930s to articles and documents from dissidents of the 1960s and 1970s. 

A reasoned counter to Peter Singer and Michael Plant’s 'When Will the Pandemic Cure Be Worse Than the Disease?'

 

 

By Gwenael Velge

April 28, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On April 6, the well-known Australian ethicist Peter Singer (author of Animal Libertion and other influential philosophical texts) and Michael Plant, a research fellow at Oxford’s Wellbeing Research Centre and Director of the Happier Lives Institute published an article in the on-line journal, Project Syndicate. They weighed up the competing benefits of using society-wide lockdowns to control Covid19 against the costs of unemployment, social isolation, and widespread bankruptcies.

Although Peter Singer and Michael Plant, spend the second part of their article on ‘well-being’ – which, as good utilitarians, they nevertheless frame as a measurable ‘currency’ that can be maximised in abstract – they knowingly and provokingly introduce it with the more common argument of pitting lives against the economy, going as far as stating that Trump is right: “the cure cannot be worse than the decease”. 

United States: Are deaths from COVID-19 just more unintended, but acceptable, collateral damage for the capitalist state?

 

 

By Vince Montes

April 27, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The concept of collateral damage is the death and injury to civilians, or other damage inflicted, as the unintended result of military operations. In this conceptualization, collateral damage, similar to the military euphemism for the killing of civilians, is the idea that there is unintentional, but acceptable death, injury, and damage associated with the carrying out a stated goal. However, unlike the goal of winning a war or when this concept is used in an Orwellian way to describe the “unintended” deaths of non-combatants killed in counterinsurgency operations, designed to kill, injury, and ultimately terrorize a people into submission, the death, injury, and destruction of COVID-19 can be see as collateral damage because it is unintended, yet deemed acceptable for the continuation of U.S. capitalism. 

Lenin, 150 years on

 

 

By Julian Coppens

April 27, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — For Stalinists and liberals, Vladimir Lenin has been useful both as a myth and as a scapegoat. For the former, a myth selectively cited and distorted to justify the terror of bureaucratic rule and the theory of socialism in one country that undermined the international communist movement; for the latter, a scapegoat on which to attribute the Stalinist degeneration of the Soviet Union and, therefore, of Marxist practice.

However, the lessons and legacy of one of the most prominent and influential figures in the history of the labour movement and revolutionary praxis, despite deliberate discredit, remain valid 150 years after his birth on April 22, 1870.

Coronavirus: a return to normal is not good enough

 

 

By Marty Hart-Landsberg

April 27, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Reports from the Economic Front — We shouldn’t be satisfied with a return to normalcy. We need a “new normal.”

We are now in a recession, one triggered by government ordered closures of businesses producing nonessential goods and services, an action taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus. In response, Congress has approved three stimulus measures which legislators hope will keep the economy afloat until the virus is contained and companies can resume business as usual.

Many people, rightly criticizing the size, speed, and aims of these measures, have called for a new, improved stimulus package.  But what is getting far less attention, and may be the most important thing to criticize, is the notion that we should view a return to normalcy as our desired goal.  The fact is we also need a new economy.

Capitalism & the pandemic

 

 

By Dave Holmes

April 25, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The scale and scope of government measures to deal with the COVID-19 crisis have surprised many people. Long-held neoliberal dogmas have been pushed aside. Government action is clearly decisive: The bourgeois fetish of the budget surplus has been junked and huge deficits run up; after being frozen for 20 years, the dole rate has been doubled; economic sectors and firms are everywhere putting their hands out for government support; firms are being encouraged and even directed to produce vital medical supplies.

The political will and funds were never available for climate action, health or welfare. But suddenly huge amounts of money — hundred of billions of dollars — have been committed to the pandemic problem.

COVID-19: Charting the way forward for Malaysia

 

 

By Jeyakumar Devaraj 

April 19, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Human society is going through an extraordinary period. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the global economy to its knees.

It has upended our normal consumerist way of life. Economists expect a severe recession this year and the next. Some economists say it could be as bad as the Great Depression of the late 1920s–1930s. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 death rates are mounting rapidly in many parts of the world, and the richest country in the world continues to underestimate and mishandle this health crisis.

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