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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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Spain: a budget for an ecological, feminist and socially just recovery?

 

 

By Dick Nichols

November 20, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The Spanish government of Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) prime minister Pedro Sánchez and Unidas Podemos (UP) second deputy prime minister Pablo Iglesias launched their 2021 draft budget with great fanfare on October 27. For the proud parents, their newborn fiscal package — the first since 2018 — will inaugurate “a new epoch that definitively leaves behind the phase of neoliberalism and cuts to the public sector” (Iglesias): it will also “mark a turning point in our economic model” (Sánchez).

Not that the birth was painless: up until the day before the draft budget was to go before cabinet UP was tweeting that it could not be adopted because they did not agree. UP only relented after stitching up late-night deals with the PSOE on relaxing conditions for access to the Minimum Living Wage and adopting a law to allow rent control by regional and local government.

Philippines typhoon response: Duterte administration ‘unprepared and criminally incompetent’ (plus aid appeal)

 

 

By Partido Laban ng Masa

November 20, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The scale of the disaster wrought by three successive typhoons still has to be fully grasped but the images of utter desperation of people begging for rescue from rooftops all over Luzon, from Catanduanes to Cagayan, spell the story much better than the numbers. These images are far worse than those fictional scenes conjured in the film Waterworld.

Four main components of Marxism

 

 

By Raju J Das 

November 20, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In a recent interview given to Jacobin, David Harvey (2019) says this about Marxism: “I still don’t know what it means”.It is difficult to exactly know how to understand this cryptic statement from one of the world’s most well-known Marxists. But this is not an unusual view. Many “Marxists” are “shy” to define their Marxism. It is also interesting that while there are numerous academic journals (e.g. Science & SocietyHistorical Materialism) that claim to be Marxist, they do not explicitly define their Marxism. When they say they are open to all varieties — forms — of Marxism, the question is: forms or varieties of what? There has to be content for it to have many forms. And to the extent that it is possible to know what someone or some entity (e.g. journal or group) means by Marxism, this Marxism often has little to do with the Marxism that was founded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the 19th century, and continued by Vladimir Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky and their followers in the 20th century.

Thomas Sankara: An icon of revolution

 

 

By Yanis Iqbal

November 19, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — October 15 was the 33rd anniversary of Thomas Sankara’s death. On this day, he was murdered by imperialist forces at the tender age of 37. A Pan-Africanist, internationalist and Marxist, he was committed to the total liberation of the oppressed masses from the clutches of imperialism. Instead of bourgeois nationalism, Sankara believed in radical nationalism: a combination of anti-imperialist courage and unabashed humanism that pushes for revolution instead of neo-colonial settlement. Thus, he belonged to a pantheon of African revolutionaries like Amilcar Cabral, Samora Machel and Patrice Lumumba who understood the necessity of adopting socialism for the fundamental transformation of their respective societies. Looking at the short life of Sankara, one can’t help but be moved by the way in which he emerged through the anguish and aspirations of millions of Burkinabe civilians and commanded a radical project of socialist transformation. 

Triple crisis in the Anthropocene Ocean

 

 

By Ian Angus

November 19, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Climate & Capitalism — It is impossible to overstate the importance of the ocean to life on Earth. Covering 71% of the planet’s surface, it contains 97% of the world’s surface water and is central to the great biogeochemical cycles that define the biosphere and make life possible. Marine plants generate half of the world’s breathable oxygen.

Millions of species of animals live in the ocean. Seafood is a primary source of protein for three billion people, and hundreds of millions work in the fishing industry.

The ocean’s metabolism — the constant flows and exchanges of energy and matter that have continued for hundreds of millions of years — is a vital part of the Earth System. As famed oceanographer Sylvia Earle writes, our fate and the ocean’s are inextricably intertwined.

Rojava: Cooperatives in North and East Syria – developing a new economy

 

 

By Rojava Information Center

November 19, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Rojava Information Centre — Currently, North and East Syria (NES) faces enormous economic difficulties: rampant inflation, a partial embargo, war and the draining of resources by occupying Turkish forces in Sere Kaniye, Tel Abyad and Afrin. In this crisis context, NES is developing an economic model which aims at self-sufficiency and sustainability. The economic program of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) presents itself as an alternative to capitalist economies. Its aim is to establish a democratic social economy, based on cooperatives, which moves society towards a more communal economy. 

Why medical students get more experience in the US than Cuba, and what this has to do with inequality

 

 

By Don Fitz

November 19, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — During the past 10 years I have written multiple articles documenting how Cuba has better medical practice and education than the US. To be honest, I have known for a long time that there is an area of medical training where medical students in the US get considerably more training than do those who study in Cuba.

This realization came to me when my daughter Rebecca was in her first year of medical school in Havana. When I phoned after she had been there for a few months, she said, “Dad, I am really glad that when I was a girl you gave me a needle and thread to sew up rips in my clothes. In clinic today, we saw someone with his head whacked open by a machete and a medical student was sewing it back together. It was clear that the guy trying to sew the wound did not have experience with a needle and thread and that the guy getting his head patched up could tell. With the sewing I’ve done, I know that I could handle a wound.”

Book Review: How to Be an Anti-Capitalist in the 21st Century

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

November 19, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — I needed a break from my normal routine, so read Erik Olin Wright’s How to Be an Anti-Capitalist in the 21st Century. This was published last year and was one of the last books Wright wrote before dying of cancer. Wright himself was a sociologist, Analytical Marxist, and a democratic socialist. Also by all accounts, he seemed to be a decent human being, so all my criticisms here are not about him, but rather his book.

Bolívar and Zamora Revolutionary Current: ‘The people have to guarantee that the anti-blockade law is implemented correctly’

 

 

Interview with Yonatan Vargas by Federico Fuentes

November 1, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The Bolívar and Zamora Revolutionary Current (CRBZ) is a radical grassroots current that operates as a public tendency of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. Largely set up by activists from the Ezequiel Zamora National Campesino Front (FNCEZ) and Simón Bolívar National Communal Front (FNCSB), it has a presence in a majority of Venezuela’s states and members that have elected as parliamentarians, mayors and local councillors on the PSUV ticket.

In this interview, Yonatan Vargas, an member of the CRBZ international relations team, outlines some of the CRBZ’s views on current developments in Venezuela, including the rise in protests over basic services, the impact of sanctions, the debate generated by the new anti-blockade law and the upcoming National Assembly elections.

Reinaldo Iturriza: ‘Un parte importante del chavismo está reclamando ubicarse nuevamente en la cresta de la ola'

 

 

[Available in English here

Entrevista con Reinaldo Iturriza por Federico Fuentes

31 de octubre de 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  Como activista revolucionario que trabaja con los movimientos populares de Venezuela y sociólogo que ha estudiado y teorizado ampliamente el surgimiento del chavismo como un movimiento político de las clases populares, Reinaldo Iturriza está bien situado para proporcionar una descripción general de la situación actual dentro de la Revolución Bolivariana. Iturriza también se desempeñó como Ministro de Comunas y Movimientos Sociales, y luego Ministro de Cultura en el gabinete del presidente Nicolás Maduro entre 2013 y 2016.

En esta entrevista, Iturriza expone sus puntos de vista sobre la ley anti-bloqueo recientemente aprobada por la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente y el debate que ha generado, las divisiones electorales que se han abierto dentro la revolución y el estado actual del chavismo.

Reinaldo Iturriza: ‘An important part of Chavismo is demanding its rightful place at the crest of the wave'

 

 

[Disponible en castellano aqui.]

Interview with Reinaldo Iturriza by Federico Fuentes

October 31, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — As a revolutionary activist working with Venezuela’s popular movements and a sociologist who has extensively studied and theorised the rise of Chavismo as a political movement of the popular classes, Reinaldo Iturriza is well placed to provide an overview of the current state of play within the country’s Bolivarian Revolution. Iturriza also served as Minister for the Communes and Social Movements, and then Minister for Culture in President Nicolas Maduro’s cabinet between 2013 and 2016.

In this interview, Iturriza outlines his views on the recently approved anti-blockade law and the debate it has generated, the electoral divisions that have opened up with the revolution, and the current state of Chavismo.

The crises of the twenty-first century and Trotsky: In honor of the 80th anniversary of his death

 

 

By Seiya Morita 

October 31, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This year marks the 80th anniversary of Leon Trotsky's assassination by an agent sent by Joseph Stalin. The greatness and tragedy of Trotsky was inextricably linked to the greatness and tragedy of the era in which he lived. This era was the “Age of Permanent Revolutions” that began with the Paris Commune in 1871 and ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern European bloc, and China’s partial transformation into "state capitalism" around 1990.

50 years ago: When Canada suspended civil liberties

 

 

By John Riddell 

October 31, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist essays and commentary — It was October 16, 1970, fifty years ago today. Turning on CBC radio over breakfast that day, I was startled to learn that the War Measures Act had been decreed across the entire country. The Canadian equivalent of martial law, War Measures were invoked on the excuse that the country faced an “apprehended insurrection.”

During that night, hundreds in Quebec had been arrested. Secretly. No charges. No phone call. No right to a lawyer or court hearing. All civil liberties were suspended. Quebec was under military occupation. A few hours later, television news started showing photos of soldiers in battledress armed with assault rifles and of tanks in the streets of downtown Montreal.

Canada: Quebec’s October Crisis 1970 – What today’s left learned from Ottawa’s turn to repression

 

 

By Richard Fidler

October 31, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — Fifty years ago this month the federal government, invoking the War Measures Act – its first use in peacetime – occupied Quebec with 12,000 troops, arrested without a warrant almost 500 citizens, and carried out 36,000 police searches of homes, organizations and publications.

Of the 497 trade unionists, artists, lawyers and left activists jailed, 435 were subsequently freed without charges, and 44 of the 62 charged were acquitted or had their prosecutions stayed. But October 1970 marked a turning point in the federalist response to Quebec’s “Quiet Revolution” and the rapidly growing popular mobilization in favour of making Quebec an independent state.

United States: Three tough laps to change the balance of power

 

 

By Max Elbaum

October 31, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Organising Upgrade — Partisans of social justice are nearing the end of a very tough lap on the long march to a different world.  Even if we succeed in achieving a best-case vote November 3, the next two laps – protecting the electoral victory and then winning substantial changes under a new administration – are likely to be even tougher.

Spanish state: Splendour and decline of Podemos - Reasons for a farewell

 

 

Spain’s Anticapitalist Left (now Anticapitalists) was key to the formation of the mass, radical anti-austerity party Podemos, in 2013-14. However, in February this year Anticapitalists decided to leave Podemos. Economist Manuel Garí, Anticapitalist leader and member of the Advisory Council of the magazine Viento Sur, looks back at the evolution of Podemos and explains why the decision to leave was taken.

By Manuel Garí. Translation from Viento Sur by Dick Nichols

October 30, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The formation of Podemos in the Spanish state was an important attempt at building an anti-neoliberal and pluralist mass party to the left of social liberalism. That experience, which began very well, has finally ended very badly. Perhaps that is why the title of this article could have been “Splendour and decline of Podemos ... as an emancipatory political project”. Its purpose is to explain why Podemos had to be created, but also why it has had to be left behind. Involved too is reflection on the balance sheet to be made of the intervention in Podemos of the Anticapitalist Left (now Anticapitalists) and the lessons to be drawn from that experience.[1]

Centre-left convergence in Venezuela: A blow to United States intervention

 

 

By Steve Ellner

October 30, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Like other Venezuelan centrists, Claudio Fermín – a protege of neoliberal president Carlos Andrés Pérez in the early 1990s – has changed course and now vehemently opposes both US interventionism and his nation’s radical right. His changes show just how much Venezuelan politics have been transformed over the recent past. Since the attempted coup of April 2002, leftist governments have been pitted against a united opposition intent on achieving regime change by any means possible. But now such extreme polarization seems to be weakening. 

Video: US socialist Paul Le Blanc on Trump, fascism and the presidential elections

 

 

An interview with Paul Le Blanc by Alex Bainbridge

October 15, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Green Left — An interview with US socialist Paul Le Blanc about the coming presidential elections and the threat of fascism in the US.

The interview was conducted on October 10.

Ecosocialism and/or degrowth?

 

 

By Michael Löwy

October 9, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from RISE — Ecosocialism and the de-growth movement are among the most important currents of the ecological left. Ecosocialists agree that a significant measure of de-growth in production and consumption is necessary in order to avoid ecological collapse. But they have a critical assessment of the de-growth theories because: a) the concept of “de-growth” is insufficient to define an alternative programme; b) it does not make clear if de-growth can be achieved in the framework of capitalism or not; c) it does not distinguish between activities that need to be reduced and those that need to be developed. 

South Africa: Hunger, anger and a new social movement in response to COVID-19

 

 

By Kate Alexander

October 8, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Review of African Political Economy — South Africa’s government moved quickly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The first confirmed case was on 5 March 2020; a State of National Disaster was promulgated on 15 March, with this accompanied by closure of schools; a full lockdown was implemented from 26 March and the first death was announced the following day. Lockdown was draconian. Travel was prohibited except for essential services; only food shops, pharmacies and medical facilities were permitted to open (even the sale of cigarettes was illegal); and a curfew was enforced. From 1 May there was a slight easing of restrictions, with more industries and shops allowed to open; and there were further relaxation in most areas from 1 June. The number of confirmed cases is higher than elsewhere in Africa with 570,000 cases and 11,500 deaths recorded in mid-August. In our survey, 84.3% of adults felt the president, Cyril Ramaphosa, was doing a good job or a very good job.

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