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Understanding Putin's war on Ukraine

 

 

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Even since Russian president Vladimir Putin order the invasion of Ukraine in February, LINKS International Journal of Socialist Renewal has sought to carry a range of views from the socialist left to help understand the significance of this event. Particular attention has been paid to the voices of Ukrainian and Russian leftists who are at the forefront of resist this invasion.

Below is a regularly updated compilation of links to articles we have published, ordered into categories and listed from most recent to oldest. We have also included links to some older articles that provide important historical or theoretical context (for example on the debate over Russian imperialism and assessments of events surround the Maidan revolt in 2014 and subsequent anti-Maidan revolt in the country’s east).

Malaysia: Politics of electoral coalitions – No shortcuts, no accomplishing goals by hook or by crook

 

 

By S. Arutchelvan

August 1, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Think Left — Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) recently concluded its 24th National Congress and the first one since the start of the pandemic. The event was held in Klang, between 15th of July to 17th of July 2022. It was a refreshing congress with many young people participating — displaying a promising future for socialism and giving us hope that its ideology is not outdated, but without a doubt, brewing amongst the youth. The election for the party’s Central Committee was participated by 49 candidates for 10 Central Committee seats, which for the first time saw woman candidates winning 8 of them. 11 out of the 16 members that were elected into the Central Committee by the delegates of the 24th PSM National Congress were women, which equals 68.75% of the group. This makes PSM the first and only political party in Malaysia whose top leadership consists of a 2/3 majority of women.

Russian socialist dissident Boris Kagarlitsky on Putin’s growing domestic crisis: ‘People will not fight for this regime’

 

 

Interview with Boris Kagarlitsky by Federico Fuentes

August 2, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Boris Kagarlitsky is a Moscow-based sociologist and editor of the socialist website Rabkor (Worker Correspondent), whose writings regularly appear in English on Russian Dissent

In this interview with Federico Fuentes, Kagarlitsky provides insight into the domestic factors behind the Russian regime’s decision to invade Ukraine, why President Vladimir Putin is seeking an “everlasting war”, the critical role being played by the left in anti-war organising, and prospects for social upheaval in Russia. A much shorter version of this interview first appeared in Green Left.

Stop the attack on the labour rights of Ukrainian workers! (articles and statements)

 

 

By European Network in Solidarity with Ukraine

July 31, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from European Network in Solidarity with Ukraine — We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, fighting a brutal invasion by Putin’s Russia.  We wish their people’s resistance victory over this criminal aggression.

However, it is with dismay that we learn--right in the middle of their life-and-death struggle—that Ukraine’s working people have come under attack on a second front: laws attacking their labour rights and working conditions have been passing through the Ukrainian parliament.

The latest and worst of these, Laws 5371 and 5161, were adopted on July 19.

This petition explains how the Laws would destroy Ukrainian workers’ rights and working conditions if they were allowed to come into effect.

They would legalise extremes of exploitation in Ukraine that would also endanger workers’ rights across the whole of Europe.

One man has the power to stop this disastrous legislation—President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He can ratify the laws or veto them.

I’m a Ukrainian socialist. Here’s why I resist the Russian invasion.

 

 

By Taras Bilous

July 28, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Commons — I’m writing from Ukraine, where I serve in the Territorial Defense Forces. A year ago, I couldn’t have expected to be in this situation. Like millions of Ukrainians my life has been upturned by the chaos of war.

For the past four months, I have had the opportunity to meet people whom I would hardly have met under other circumstances. Some of them had never thought of taking up arms before February 24, but the Russian invasion forced them to drop everything and go to protect their families.

We often criticize the actions of the Ukrainian government and the way defense is organized. But they do not question the necessity of resistance and understand well why and for what we are fighting.

The left, inflation and monetary policy

 

 

By  Andrew Jackson

July 28, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — The return of high inflation after the global pandemic poses a major political and analytical challenge for labour and the left. On top of cuts to real wages resulting from the wide gap between inflation and pay, high and rising inflation has led central banks, including the Bank of Canada, to hike interest rates sharply. This is raising the debt servicing costs of households, businesses and governments and making new borrowing more expensive.

If and as interest rates result in slowing economic growth and a possible recession, unemployment will rise, poverty will increase, and the squeeze on wages will intensify. Workers are being made to pay through inflation the cost of the pandemic which could have been financed through a wealth tax. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is already forecasting rising unemployment and stalled growth in the major advanced economies and China, while calling for tough monetary policy to deal with inflation.

Sri Lanka: ‘Weeks when decades happen’

 

 

By B.Skanthakumar 

July 20, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Social Scientists' Association — “There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen”, as Lenin never actually said. The estrangement between the regime-state in Sri Lanka and its core constituencies, while widening over the course of the pandemic years, became outright antagonism in a matter of weeks in the first half of 2022. This is what sets apart the first half of 2022 from the years preceding it.

In the first three months, the train wreck in slow motion of an economy mired in debt derailed at last. What began as a financial crisis – the depletion of foreign exchange reserves – expanded, as it must, into an economic crisis – through shortages of imports critical to the production and circulation of goods and services and mobility of people. This in turn catalysed a socio-political crisis – in which the Gotabaya Rajapaksa presidency, and by extension the first family and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (People’s Front) government, became the lightning conductor for popular disaffection and anger.

'The simple thing, so hard to achieve': Interview with Standing Together (Israel) national field organiser Uri Weltmann

 

 

Uri Weltmann interviewed by Daniel Randall

July 24, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Politics — Uri Weltmann, is the national field organiser for Omdim be’Yachad-Naqef Ma’an (Standing Together), and a member of its national leadership. Standing Together is a Jewish-Arab social movement active in Israel, organising against racism and occupation, and for equality and social justice.

Daniel Randall is a trade unionist and socialist based in London. He is the author of Confronting Antisemitism on the Left: Arguments for Socialists.

They discussed the political situation in Israel and the prospects for the left.

When the chickens came home to roost: Behind the assassination of Shinzo Abe

 

 

By Seiya Morita

“The political meaning of Abe’s death, the consequences, I no longer have the luxury of thinking about” ― Final line in a letter the killer sent to a journalist the day before the incident.

July 23, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — At 11:30 am on July 8, two days before Japan’s House of Councillors election day, former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was giving a speech at a roundabout in front of Saidaiji Station in Nara, Japan’s ancient capital, when someone shot him in the back. The attack put him into cardiopulmonary arrest (a medical euphemism for “death”). As soon as the news broke, the whole country was in an uproar. TV stations interrupted their regular programming to switch to live coverage of the crime scene, repeatedly showing what little information was available in fragments, as well as footage of the incident taken at the time. The perpetrator was apprehended on the spot. His name, photo, and personal information that he resided in Nara City and was a former member of the Maritime Self-Defence Force were immediately reported.

Russian imperialism: Economically weak, militarily strong

 

 

By Chris Slee

July 22, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — There is a debate among socialists over whether Russia is an imperialist power or not. Michael Probsting argues strongly that Russia is imperialist.[1][2] Renfrey Clarke and Roger Annis argue that it is not.[3]

This disagreement flows from the fact that Russia has some of the features we would expect in an imperialist power, but not others. For example, it has a strong military that intervenes in other countries, but it has a low per capita GDP.

Strategic ambivalence or disguised conflict? China’s reactions to Russia’s war on Ukraine and to Covid

 

 

By Don Nonini

July 11, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Focaal Blog — Why does China’s response so far to the Russian invasion of Ukraine “not add up”? On one hand, China has refused to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has pushed its own state-controlled media to promote only pro-Russian propaganda, and even republished false reports by the Russian state media. China abstained from a UN Security Council resolution in March 2022 that condemned the Russian invasion. Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently announced that China and Russia “will always maintain strategic focus and steadily advance our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era,” especially in the energy trade (Quoted in Torigian 2022). And it is an open secret that Xi Jinping gave his assent – or at the very least knew and did not demur – when he heard of Putin’s intention to invade Ukraine during the latter’s visit to Beijing at the recent Winter Olympics.

The BRICS spall, fall and (try to) reconstitute

 

 

By Patrick Bond

ABSTRACT: World financial relations were shaken up in early 2022 with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and one window through which light was shed on evolving geopolitics was the shifting power relations within the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa bloc. During the 2010s, the group was intended to generate Global-South solidarity against injustices carried out especially in the financial circuits of the world economy. The bloc soon launched two institutions: a New Development Bank and Contingent Reserve Arrangement. The former suspended Moscow’s borrowing rights (after 15 prior loans) in early 2022, consistent with Western financial trends. Ultimately this was not surprising, for instead of offering an alternative to the Bretton Woods twins, the bloc had, all along, served to amplify multilateral power relations that keep poorer countries oppressed, while littering societies and ecologies with destructive projects and debts, as consideration of the South African case reveals.

 

The tragedy of the Ukrainian working class

 

 

By Karmina

July 11, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Karmina — At the end of 1965, the apparatchiks of the Communist Party of Ukraine received an outrageous samizdat – in Ukrainian: samvydav – entitled “Internationalism or Russification?”. It argued that behind the facade of fraternal coexistence of peoples in the USSR, there lurked a Great Russian chauvinism that prevented the real development of national culture, suppressed the history of non-Russian peoples, promoted Russification and encouraged Ukrainophobia. Using references to Lenin’s writings, the manuscript argued that this was the result of “a complete revision of Leninist party policy on the national question, a revision carried out by Stalin in the 1930s and continued by Khrushchev in the last decade.”

The author of these words, Ivan Dziuba, a native of the Donetsk Oblast, a Ukrainian literary critic and dissident, died only recently: on 22 February 2022. The attack on Kiev began a mere two days later.

NATO expands – Kurds betrayed

 

 

By Phil Hearse and Sarah Parker

STOP PRESS: The Turkish offensive against Kurds in northern Iraq and northern Syria, predicted in this article, may have already begun. On Wednesday (20 July) Turkish shells hit the Iraqi tourist resort of Zakho, killing 9 people. Turkey blamed fighters of the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) for the attack, as it normally does.

July 20, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Anti*Capitalist Resistance — For a new country to join NATO, the agreement of all existing members is required. But until the beginning of July, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had vetoed Finland and Sweden getting on board. Erdoğan’s approval to admit Sweden and Finland was now needed by the NATO countries, and he knew he could drive a hard bargain. According to the US State Department, no concessions were made to Turkey to shift its veto, but the evidence strongly suggests otherwise.

In Sri Lanka’s crisis, a new president and old problems

 

 

By B. Skanthakumar 

July 21, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Labor Hub — Sri Lanka has a new president. On July 20, parliament, in accordance with the Constitution, elected by clear majority acting president and former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. He succeeds Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was forced to vacate the presidency on July 9 and flee abroad, after resisting months of demands for his resignation in the public backlash to the island’s worsening economic crisis.

Wickremesinghe had been the pundit’s favourite in what began as a four-horse race, since the majority party in parliament – the Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP, People’s Front) of the Rajapaksa clan – declared in his favour. Hostility to his nomination from within the SLPP, smaller parties once aligned to it, and opposition parties, echoing the sentiments of substantial opinion within the unstructured protest movement, proved inadequate.

Thoughts on Malaysia’s most pressing challenges

 

 

Speech by Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj to Socialist Party of Malaysia's 24th National Congress

July 18, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Think Left — Salam perjuangan, (Greetings) and welcome to the 24th PSM Congress. For two years, we have not been able to congregate in person. Online discussions cannot compare to our face-to-face discussions, where we can meet to exchange ideas while sharing a few drinks.

We are meeting at a time that is profoundly challenging for ordinary citizens. They have still not recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, but are now being threatened by food shortages and the price inflation of basic necessities. I hope we can have a fruitful discussion and debate in these coming two days, to sharpen our analyses and understanding, while organising programs to defend the interests of the common people more effectively.

Please allow me to share a few thoughts on a few important items on an international and national level.

(Video) Ukrainian women’s voices from the warzone

 

 

July 12, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Ukraine Solidarity Campaign — Ukraine Solidarity Campaign recently hosted a Women’s Forum with a range of speakers from Ukraine. Speaking at the event was: Yuliya Yurchenko, Chairperson, Ukraine Solidarity Campaign; Ivanna Khrapko, Chair of the Youth Council of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine; Olesia Briazgunova, International Secretary of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine; Tetiana Pulia, Coordinator at Social Democratic Platform; and Viktoriia Pigul, Sotsialny Rukh (Social Movement) of Ukraine.

(Video) Boris Kagarlitsky: Russia, not NATO, started the war; capitalists on all sides fuel the fire

 

 

July 19, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from TheAnalysis.News — Boris Kagarlitsky responds to criticism he underestimates NATO provocations. He also analyzes the changing politics of Ukraine and growing anti-war feelings in Russia.

Diplomats, spies, and arms deals: How Turkey grows its soft power in North Africa and beyond

 

 

By Akram Kharief

July 15, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung — TİKA, MÜSAID, TÜSAID, SADAT — all of these acronyms are actually the hidden face of Turkey’s global strategy in Africa and North Africa in particular, which has become the site of significant Turkish interventions since 2009 as the country seeks to expand its geopolitical influence in the region and beyond.

The primary reason for Turkey’s strategic shift is the move by some EU countries (mainly France) to block Turkey’s accession to Europe, despite the fact that Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan made great efforts to align his country ideologically with the rest of the EU. In 2002, he accepted Kofi Annan’s peace plan for the reunification of Cyprus and its integration into the EU, and implemented extensive reforms to upgrade the Turkish economy.

Three strategies were designed to satisfy the Turkish appetite for economic expansion: a return to Pan-Turkism by strengthening its presence and cooperation with the Turkish-speaking nations of Central Asia, maritime expansion in the Eastern Mediterranean, and a presence in Africa, which it has pursued aggressively ever since.

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