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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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Socialist Party of Malaysia: Look after the poor and self-employed during COVID-19 crisis

 

 

By Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj

March 30, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The poorest 1/3 of Malaysians have exhausted their savings. The Covid-19 response must provide social assistance payments and somehow restart the activities of the micro and small enterprises.

The world is being buffeted by a serious three-faceted crisis. The first aspect and the precipitating cause of this crisis is the Covid-19 pandemic that sweeping the world.

The pandemic is causing a massive overload on the medical services even in the richest countries in the world. The death rates in Italy, currently one of the most badly affected nations, has already exceeded 10 percent of total diagnosed cases in that country – far above the 1percent seen in countries such as South Korea which acted early to contain the epidemic.

Malaysia is handling this health crisis much better than many other countries and hopefully we will be able to arrest the upward trajectory in the number of new cases within the next week and avoid the stressing our medical services to breaking point.

This is a global pandemic – Let’s treat it as such

 

 

By Adam Hanieh

March 29, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Verso — In the face of the COVID-19 tsunami, our lives are changing in ways that were inconceivable just a few short weeks ago. Not since the 2008-2009 economic collapse has the world collectively shared an experience of this kind: a single, rapidly-mutating, global crisis, structuring the rhythm of our daily lives within a complex calculus of risk and competing probabilities.

Pakistan: A left strategy against coronavirus

 

 

By Ammar Ali Jan & Zahid Ali

March 29, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Pakistan Left Review — We are passing through one of the gravest crises faced by humanity to which no one can afford to be indifferent and neutral. It is clear that the crisis is exacerbated due to the priorities of our ruling elites, who relentlessly pursue fantasies of regional domination rather than the welfare of the public. We have tanks, missiles, even a nuclear arsenal, but do not have enough beds, ventilators and medicine for our patients.

The state is in crisis, due to an accumulation of structural weaknesses and lack of political will. There is confusion and disarray in nearly every sector of social life, as the patriarch guardian of our civilization, the state, has revealed itself to be incompetent and cruel in the most pressing of times. Our society, for all intents and purposes, is passing through a stateless existence in the midst of an emergency. The essential work being carried out by health-workers is despite the presence of the state, not due to it.

The COVID-19 crisis in the Spanish state: "We can't go on living as per usual"

 

 

Interview with Dick Nichols

March 28, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — As the Spanish state attempts to deal with its spiralling COVID-19 death toll—over 4000 as of March 27 and second only to Italy in Europe—Federico Fuentes spoke to Dick Nichols, Green Left’s Weekly’s European correspondent based in Barcelona, about the debates engulfing country, the government's response, including its "nationalisation" (or not) of private hospitals, and how, among all the anguish, people’s solidarity is shining through.

South Africa: Coronavirus and capitalism — structural foundations and opportunities for systemic change

 

 

By Dale T. McKinley 

March 26, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Understandably, the dominant focus (conceptually and practically) of most governments,  media outlets and the general public both globally and in South Africa, has been on understanding and confronting the immediate impact and effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In particular, this focus has been directed at global as well as national impacts and responses related to human health and economic relations.

For the most part however, what has been missing is an understanding of the pandemic’s more foundational causes. Further, how, as we move through this unprecedented crisis, such an understanding can potentially provide fertile ground for some of the conceptual and practical, systemic changes we so desperately need.

At the heart of the multi-level crises that this virus has unleashed is the fact that so little is known about it and that it is not an isolated case. The reasons for this are there to find if we look hard enough.

Ecosocialism or barbarism: an interview with Ian Angus

 

 

Interview with Ian Angus

March 26, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Review of African Political Economy — In an interview with roape.net, ecosocialist and writer Ian Angus discusses the environmental crisis, the Anthropocene and Covid-19. He argues that new viruses, bacteria and parasites spread from wildlife to humans because capital is bulldozing primary forests, replacing them with profitable monocultures. Ecosocialists must patiently explain that permanent solutions will not be possible so long as capital rules the Earth.

Take the plant, save the planet (PDF pamphlet)

 

 

By Socialist Interventions

March 26, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — On November 26, 2018, General Motors announced a number of plant closures in North America, the largest of which was in Oshawa, Ontario. The Oshawa facility, once the largest auto complex on the continent, was to end all its assembly operations by the end of 2019.

The issue is not simply a matter of bringing the environmental movement and the labour movement together; each must be transformed if the sum is to be more than the currently limited parts. The environmental movement must raise itself to a new level by concretely engaging the working class and the labour movement must escape what for it has become an existential crisis. The threats and opportunities of the environmental crisis offer a chance for labour revival, but only if this incorporates a renewed approach to organizing, struggle, radical politics, and the maximization of informed membership participation.

Austerity kills: European Commission demanded cuts to public healthcare spending 63 times between 2011-18

 

 

By Emma Clancy

March 26, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Emma Clancy's blog — Protestors against government spending cuts to public services in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis often carried placards and banners bearing the slogan “Austerity kills”.

The COVID-19 pandemic is demonstrating the brutal truth inherent in this statement. A decade of austerity imposed by the EU institutions and EU member state governments has caused significant deterioration in healthcare services across the EU.

Over the past week, doctors in northern Italy have described the horrific situation of their being forced to choose which patients are to be treated, and which are to be left to die.

Socialist Party of Malaysia: We need to call-out the dangerous myth of "mitigation" when it comes to COVID-19

 

 

By Dr. Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj

March 24, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — I just received a video this morning featuring an Israeli Minister making an argument supporting “mitigation” as a strategy for combating COVID-19. He explained that since mortality rates are lower than 1% for the young, society just needs to isolate those above 70 years of age, and allow the infection to spread through the rest of the population so that after about 80% of the total population have recovered from being infected by COVID-19, one has herd immunity in the population and this will protect the older members from getting infected.

Philippines: The Duterte regime and the COVID-19 pandemic — the case of a weak but authoritarian state

 

 

By Reihana Mohideen and Tony Iltis

Update: On March 23, Duterte put to Congress the erroneously titled “Bayanihan Act of 2020”. The word ‘bayanihan’ means community assistance or ‘communitarian’ and the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ means assistance given voluntarily and without any monetary consideration by a member of the community. The title itself is fake, a lie. Nowhere in the bill does the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ prevail. The doctors, nurses, health workers, grocery employees, transport workers and all the frontliners who are heading the fight against COVID19 are not empowered in this bill — instead it extends more power to Duterte, the bureaucracy and his minions. This bill is sinister in many ways, as it aims to give wide powers to a president who’s proven to being incompetent in dealing with the pandemic. 

Pakistan: Politics in times of emergencies

 

 

By Ammar Ali Jan

March 20, 2020  — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The News — We are living through an era where emergencies appear more regularly than the norm. The ‘war on terror’ from 2001, the financial crisis of 2008, civil wars in the Middle East, followed by the ‘refugee crisis’ and the ongoing ‘climate crisis’ that threatens the obliteration of the planet, are all manifestations of the extraordinary times we live in.

These socio-economic crises have been supplemented by health emergencies that frequently threaten our social fabric. The AIDS epidemic has affected people throughout the world, particularly in Africa, where a large percentage of the population suffered the debilitating effects of this deadly virus. The Ebola epidemic and Dengue fever also induced mass fear in the public, even if their geographical reach was limited to specific regions of the Global South.

Italy's COVID-19 pandemic: From health emergency to social crisis

 

 

By Marta Autore & Salvatore Corizzo

March 18, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint — The emergency that we have experienced in recent weeks in Italy has a health, economic and social nature in a broad sense, which could soon turn into a real crisis, with security implications. As we write (data updated on the afternoon of 11 March 2020) in Italy there are 12,462 infected, with 827 deaths. Unfortunately, these numbers are constantly increasing, seeming to follow an exponential trend. But to understand where we are today and where we could be in a few hours, days or weeks, it is necessary to take a step back to define the characteristics of the particular political-social phase that we are going through.

Faced with the coronavirus pandemic, solidarity is our only chance

 

 

By Jane Slaughter

March 18, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Labor Notes — If there were ever a time to say, “I'll fight for someone I don't know,” this is it. If we ever meant it when we said “an injury to one is an injury to all,” now we're seeing why that's so.

The labor movement's cherished values of solidarity and siblinghood are our only chance if we don't want to see our elders die before their time.

Projecting from Italy, if half the U.S. population catches the coronavirus, and our unpreparedness is not addressed, we could see 1.6 million deaths.

The thing is, our natural human impulse to reach out to our neighbors is counterproductive because the virus is so contagious. Any piecemeal, private, personal efforts will be washed aside like the levees were by Hurricane Katrina. We need solidarity as a whole society.

COVID-19: The politics of the pandemic

 

 

By Neil Faulkner 

March 18, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Mutiny — Anyone who trusts the Tories to respond to the coronavirus crisis in a rational and socially responsible way is a fool. Their response will reflect the class interests they represent.

Moreover, the present regime – a regime of the Hard Right, not the Centre Right – will use the opportunity to test-run the more authoritarian forms of state control they favour.

This may prove very necessary for them. There is every possibility that the pandemic will trigger a worldwide economic collapse and a massive intensification of the social tensions created by 40 years of neoliberalism and 10 years of austerity. Expect forms of police power trialled in the context of the pandemic then to be deployed again and again as the global crisis deepens in other ways.

Coronavirus pandemic: Eight theses on Covid-19

 

 

By Daniel Tanuro

March 18, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint — 1. The fact that the economic slowdown preceded Covid-19 should not lead to denying either the economic impact of the epidemic (interruption of some production processes, disruption of supply chains, sectoral impacts on air transport and tourism, etc.) or the seriousness of the threat it poses as such. A disruptive phenomenon with exponential dynamics, this epidemic is a specific amplifier of the economic and social crisis. It also reveals the fragility of the capitalist system and the dangers it poses for the working classes, in particular through its congenital fossil-based productivism, the fundamental cause of the ecological and climate crisis.

Cuba’s contribution to combating COVID-19

 

 

By Helen Yaffe

March 14, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Yale University Press Blog — COVID-19 surged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019, and by January 2020 it had hit Hubei province like a tidal wave, swirling over China and rippling out overseas. The Chinese state rolled into action to combat the spread and to care for those infected. Among the thirty medicines the Chinese National Health Commission selected to fight the virus was a Cuban anti-viral drug, Interferon Alpha 2b. This drug has been produced in China since 2003, by the enterprise ChangHeber, a Cuban-Chinese joint venture. 

Spain: An emergency social and political plan against COVID-19

 

 

By Anticapitalistas

March 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint — The Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic is showing up the inadequacy of capitalist governments in dealing with such a crisis, and pointing to the responsibility of their policies regarding a public health service. It also raises broader ecological questions. These all merit broad discussion on the radical anticapitalist left, This statement from Anticapitalistas in the Spanish state indicates the guidelines to an initial response. 

Britain: On the Coronavirus and the social crisis - An open letter to the Trade Union movement from Labour Transformed

 

 

March 12, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Labour Transformed — Labour Transformed are extremely concerned about the situation presented by the Coronavirus and the inadequate responses from both the Conservative government and the organised Labour/Union movement. We appreciate a lot is going on, ‘behind the scenes,’ but believe a collective  response from the union movement is long overdue. Hopefully such a response can help to quell social anxiety and provide the leadership necessary to deal with the crisis as it unfolds over the coming weeks. 

All current modelling regarding the spread of the coronavirus suggests that the UK is currently two weeks ‘behind’ Italy in terms of infection rates, although some modelling has already suggested the UK will suffer a larger number of cases given the current rate at which the virus is spreading here. If we end up with a 20% infection rate in the UK, with only 5% of those needing ICU care –  we would need 600,000 ICU beds.There are only 4000 ICU beds across the whole of the NHS, and these are already 90% occupied. 

United States: Now is the time for solidarity - Democratic Socialists of America statement on COVID-2019

 

 

March 12, 2020  — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Democratic Socialists of America — From the 2008 global financial collapse to the natural disasters caused by climate change that rocked Northern California, New Orleans, New York, and Puerto Rico, capitalism is causing devastating human crises. During each of these crises, it has been poor, working-class, and already marginalized people who have suffered the most — while banks, energy companies, and the real estate industry have been bailed out.

New Zealand: Banking must be a public utility to solve the housing crisis

 

 

By Mike Treen

March 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Daily Blog — Housing availability and affordability are in a crisis in New Zealand.

31 percent of households spent 30 percent or more of their income on housing costs. This number was only 11% in the late 1980s.

For renters, 28% spend 40% or more of income on housing. Average rents have increased from $400 to $580 a week since 2008.

Over the last decade, average housing costs increased by 43%. This was similar to the growth of average incomes but the poorest housing incomes only increased by 29%.

The has been a decline in floating mortgage rates from 10% to 3% at the same time as median house prices have doubled.

Mortgage debt is now at $266 billion (May 2019) – up 38% in the last five years. Overall household debt has gone from the equivalent of 50% of GDP in the late 1970s to over 160% today. Household debt to income ratios is also extremely high and dangerous at 165% double the level of the mid-1990s.

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