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United States: Michael Harrington’s failure of vision

 

 

Interview with Doug Greene,

August 18, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — An interview with Doug Greene, the author of a new biography of Michael Harrington, A Failure of Vision: Michael Harrington and the Limits of Democratic Socialism (London: Zero Books, 2022)

Afghanistan: The end of the occupation

 

 

By Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale 

August 18, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Anne Bonny Pirate — A lot of nonsense about Afghanistan is being written in Britain and the United States. Most of this nonsense hides a number of important truths.

First, the Taliban have defeated the United States.

Second, the Taliban have won because they have more popular support.

Third, this is not because most Afghans love the Taliban. It is because the American occupation has been unbearably cruel and corrupt.

Fourth, the War on Terror has also been politically defeated in the United States. The majority of Americans are now in favor of withdrawal from Afghanistan and against any more foreign wars.

Fifth, this is a turning point in world history. The greatest military power in the world has been defeated by the people of a small, desperately poor country. This will weaken the power of the American empire all over the world.

Colombia: When the fascists get offended

 

 

By David Escobar, translated by Carlos Pedraza, Maya Hernández & James Jordan

“It is the mark of a weak position, not a strong position, that its holder, when challenged, takes offense”. - J.M. Coetzee in Essays on Censorship.

August 4, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This chronicle tells of aggressions, death threats, armed assaults, harassment, theft of information, and physical and psychological torture that happened to us, a group of activists, health providers and journalists, in the city of Cali, during the coverage of the National Strike in Colombia, in the year 2021.

The stories are narrated sequentially, with some temporal skips, and the common thread is the perspective of the chronicle’s author, who had to abandon the city due to the high risk in which he found himself after investigating and publicizing a short documentary about police brutality, stigmatization, massacres, and disappearances of protestors.

Creating a democratically run economy: Lessons from World War II price control struggle

 

 

By Marty Hart-Landsberg

August 1, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Reports from the Economic Front — Many activists in the United States are working to build a movement for a Green New Deal transformation of the economy.  Not surprisingly, a growing number look to the World War II conversion of the US economy from civilian to military production for inspiration and policy ideas.  The conversion experience shows that a rapid, system-wide transformation of the U.S. economy is indeed possible. It also demonstrates that state capacities and action are critical; the successful conversion required state planning, public financing and ownership, and state direction of economic activity.  At the same time, with very few exceptions, the conversion process was structured in ways that minimized any serious challenge to existing class relations.1 

There is no silver lining to South Africa’s Zuma insurrection

 

 

By Benjamin Fogel 

August 1, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Observatorio Internacional Lauro Campos — South Africa’s immense poverty and inequality have been weaponized by former president Jacob Zuma and his supporters through a massive economic sabotage campaign. Any response must address the miseries saturating the country as well as the chaos now unleashed.

South Africa is not a normal country. Almost half of the labor force is unemployed; the number rises to 76 percent for young people, who have no hope for their future. South Africa has the highest inequality rate in the world, with extreme wealth living next to extreme poverty. It is a country in which violence, state dysfunction, and broken services are normal. It is a country that lacks a strong opposition party, despite the fact the ruling African National Congress (ANC) government is no longer able to govern.

South Africa: Historic rupture or warring brothers again?

 

 

By Mandy Moussouris and Shawn Hattingh

August 1, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Everything we are now is built upon all that we were and where we came from. The same can be said for countries, any analysis has to look backwards before it can begin to understand the influences and causes of the present. This makes analysis intrinsically complex and often, almost impossible. At some point we are forced to simplify, look for patterns and analyse situations with a focus on where the key locus of power lies.

An analysis of the recent events taking place primarily in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng has to be done with this in mind. It is impossible to follow every strand of the complexity that is South Africa, but at the same time the link between the spate of large scale looting that took place and two very obvious conflicting ruling class power bases that currently exist in the country is undeniable. To claim that there was an exercising of working class power is to fundamentally misunderstand the powers at play and where the locus of power at this point in history actually lies.

Trotsky, Krupskaya and the Bolshevik tradition

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

August 1, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This contribution will touch on Leon Trotsky’s relationship to the Bolshevik organization headed by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. To gain insights into this, we will consider some of the critical reflections of Nadezhda Krupskaya, one of the founders of the Bolshevik tradition, and a central figure within it. All too often, she has been perceived as “merely” the companion of Bolshevism’s central figure, Lenin. In fact, she came to this relationship as a Marxist revolutionary in her own right. For decades she had a far more alert and interactive engagement with Lenin, intellectually and politically, than is sometimes acknowledged. She was also an outstanding educator influenced by Leo Tolstoy and John Dewey. After the Bolshevik Revolution, she became part of the new People's Commissariat of Enlightenment, headed by Anatoly Lunacharsky.[1] 

The West's campaign against China

 

 

By Dave Holmes

July 30, 2021  — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Arguing for Socialism — Socialists are not the only ones who talk about a new cold war between the US and China. It is becoming a commonplace in the mainstream media.

But we have an explanation for it. All the endless propaganda and punitive measures against China are part of a campaign by Western imperialism, principally the United States, to isolate and contain China and reassert Washington’s hitherto uncontested hegemony — economically, militarily and politically.

Despite its enormous power, the US is in relative decline. Just compare its position now to that at the end of World War II. Then it was the unchallenged world superpower — the only one. Now China is a an emerging superpower. It is challenging the US, both economically and militarily. And the US is beset by truly massive, glaring social problems, obvious to everyone.

Social explosion in Cuba: The ignored signals

 

 

By Alina Barbara López Hernández, translated by Observatorio Internacional

July 24, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal translated from La Joven Cuba — It hurts to see the social explosion in Cuba; however, it is not at all surprising. The social sciences may not be exact, but they are not blind. If those in power close their eyes to reality, we women and men of science must not do so. Our credibility and, more importantly, the lives of many people and the future of the country are at stake.

Britain: Cuba Solidarity Campaign statement on the current situation in Cuba

 

 

By Cuba Solidarity Campaign

July 22, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Cuba Solidarity Campaign — The Cuba Solidarity Campaign calls on the US government to suspend the blockade of Cuba to allow emergency medical and humanitarian aid into the country in order to ease the economic and health crisis the island is experiencing.

The current emergency is a result of the ongoing US blockade, an additional 243 sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cuba has shown incredible resilience in the face of six decades of economic warfare by the US government in the form of a blockade intended to strangle the economy and create hunger and hardship in an attempt to destabilise the country.

From Cuba: a description of the protests

 

 

By the Editorial Board of Comunistas, translated by Héctor Sierra, revised by Richard Fidler.

July 22, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal translated from Comunistas — Six days after the events and after a thorough analysis, Comunistas reveals its official position on the protests that took place in Cuba last Sunday, 11 July:

Almost simultaneously and with greater or lesser intensity, on Sunday 11 July, Cuba experienced a series of social outbreaks that encompassed at least six of the 14 provinces that make up the country. In the 62 years since the triumph of the revolution led by Comandante Fidel Castro, Cuba had not faced a situation like this.

Cuba today: Homeland, people and sovereignty

 

 

By Julio César Guanche

July 21, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from On Cuba News — Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel has just called for “the unity of all Cubans, for respect among Cubans, and that we strip ourselves of any feelings of hatred.” Given the concrete circumstances of last Sunday, his statement may be very important.

At the same time, three historic days have already been documented in verified videos that will never be erased from our collective memory. Every effort—civic and patriotic—must be made to process the situation in ways that lead to positive solutions rather than worsen the crisis the nation is undergoing.

A scream: Leonardo Padura on the recent protests in Cuba

 

 

By Leonardo Padura, translated by Richard Fidler

July 21, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal translated from La Joven Cuba — It is quite possible that everything that happened in Cuba, starting last Sunday, July 11, was encouraged by a certain number of people opposed to the system, some of them even paid, with the intention of destabilizing the country and creating a situation of chaos and insecurity. It is also true that later, as often happens in these events, opportunistic and regrettable acts of vandalism occurred. But I think that, true or not, these events do not make the scream that we have heard the least bit unreasonable. A cry that is also a product of the desperation of a society that is going through not only a long economic crisis and a specific health crisis, but also a crisis of confidence and a loss of expectations.

Increase in COVID-19 cases raises social tensions in Cuba

 

 

By Fernando Ravsberg, translated by Richard Fidler

July 21, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal translated from La Jornada — After the protests on Sunday, calm seems to have returned to Cuba, although it is difficult to know for how long that may be, given the complex situation that the country is experiencing. The economy suffers from the US blockade, reinforced by the measures of Trump and Biden , and by the slowness of the Cuban government in promoting reforms. The pandemic, controlled during 2020, erupted in the last month with terrible virulence, especially in the province of Matanzas. Health spending is bleeding state coffers that were already battered before the pandemic. The huge queues to buy food and the power outages due to the breakdown of several plants were the last straw in the face of anti-Castro calls to go into the streets to protest.

Spanish state: Forward Andalusia refounded as home of the Andalusist left

 

 

By Dick Nichols

July 21, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On June 26, in a theatre with a panoramic view of Granada’s Alhambra, the refoundation congress took place of Forward Andalusia, a political force with the ambition to be “an instrument for the emancipation of the Andalusian people” (words of newly elected spokesperson Teresa Rodríguez). The congress adopted three documents, on political line, feminism and organisation, completing a six-month-long reconstruction of Forward Andalusia as common home of the Andalusist left.

Launched last December by the coalition’s four affiliate organisations — Andalusian Spring (PA), Andalusist Left (IA), Defending Andalusia (DA) and Anticapitalists Andalusia — this process took the form of a “bottom-up” public discussion called “Andalusia Doesn’t Surrender!” Over 2000 participants across the eight provinces of Spain’s southernmost mainland region got involved in the exchange, which took place in 26 local organising centres. 

Afghanistan’s tragedy

 

 

By Valentine M. Moghadam

July 21, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Against the Current — Afghanistan has been in a state of chaos since at least the Taliban resurgence in 2006 and the entry of the Islamic State group (Daesh) more recently. Assaults have been made not just on Afghan police units and U.S. military targets but also on prisons, schools, funerals and maternity wards across the country. In early 2017, the UN estimated that some 18,000 civilians had been killed since 2015 alone.

Taliban gunmen attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul in January 2018. Daesh attacked offices and staff members of international NGOs. Women and men who have worked with those offices have been targeted with threatening “night letters” and some with assassination.

Is AltE truly the best solution to climate catastrophe?

 

 

By Don Fitz

July 19, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — “Accumulate, accumulate! That is Moses and the prophets!... Accumulation for the sake of accumulation, production for the sake of production: this was the historical mission of the bourgeoisie in the period of its domination …” Karl Marx, Capital, Vol 1, Ch 25

The world is threatened with environmental disaster and capitalists hope to make a killing off it. Fossil fuel (FF) companies claim they are “environmentally friendly.” Other corporations promote nuclear energy, hydro-power (dams), and solar and wind power as the best energy alternatives.

Yet environmentalists have known for decades that reduction of useless and harmful energy is the “greenest” form of energy available. Over 50 years ago, the first Earth Day recognized this with the slogan “Reduce; Reuse; Recycle.” Today, corporate “environmentalism” chants “Recycle; Occasionally Reuse; and, Never Utter ‘Reduce.’” Even mentioning the word “reduce” can be met with howls of derision that “Reduction means ‘austerity,’” as if any type of collective self-control would plunge the world into depths of suffering.

Right-wing populism and historical fascism: Traverso’s new book on postfascism

 

 

By Seiya Morita

July 18, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Enzo Traverso's new book, The New Faces of Fascism: Populism and the Far Right,[1] which examines various theories of European fascism historically, is the second part (History in the Present) in a series. It is more interesting than the first (The Present as History), which analyzes the phenomenon of right-wing populism in contemporary Europe (which Traverso calls “postfascism”). Traverso is a historian, and so his knowledge and background as a historian are expertly applied to an analysis of fascism as a historical phenomenon. In contrast, his analysis of the phenomenon of right-wing populism in contemporary Europe is in the realm of the mediocre radical or liberal leftists.

Venezuela: Blockade, crisis and ‘right turn’

 

 

By Chris Slee

July 18, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Links recently published an interview with Venezuelan activist Antonio Gonzalez Plessmann. He speaks of a "turn to the right" by the Venezuelan government, headed by President Nicolas Maduro.

Spain: PSOE ‘pardons’ Catalan political prisoners to better fight Catalan rights

 

 

By Dick Nichols

July 1, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Who is that attacking Catalonia’s Catholic bishops and the Spanish Confederation of Employer Organisations (CEOE), Spanish big capital’s peak body? An anarchist? An indignado? No, try the other end of the political spectrum: it’s Pablo Casado, leader of the conservative opposition People’s Party (PP).

Ever since news of the impending pardon of the nine Catalan leaders imprisoned over the October 1, 2017 independence referendum became public knowledge in late May, the PP leader has been up in arms, determined to stop anyone, no matter how rich or how holy, from approving Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez’s plan for early release of those who flouted Spain’s unity.

On June 21, the PP leader sounded the direst of warnings about this decision of the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and Unidas Podemos (UP). The goal of the criminal alliance supporting the pardon — Sánchez, UP and “the nationalists” — was the destruction of Spain and the PP.

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