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How socialists resist rightist coups: Lessons from the early Communist International

 

 

By John Riddell

January 14, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary — Parliaments and elections are no guarantee of democratic rights and fair treatment for working people. Capitalist forces displeased with an electoral outcome are all too likely to take direct action to impose their will, whether by financial manipulations, economic blockades, or military coups.

Even apparently stable parliamentary regimes in dominant countries can be challenged in this way. So it was that a military revolt brought down the French Fourth Republic in 1958 and, in 2020-21, Donald Trump mounted a campaign including an apparent coup attempt aiming to overturn the outcome of the US presidential election.

Socialists are challenged to actively oppose rightist coup attempts without lending support to any wing of the ruling capitalist class.

Evald Vasilyevich Ilyenkov: A Marxist philosopher who confronted the Stalinist bureaucratic system

 

 

Finding Ilyenkov: How a Soviet Philosopher Who Stood Up for Dialectics Continues to Inspire
By Corinna Lotz
Lupus Books: London, 2019.
64 pp. £5. ISBN: 978-1-916031-81-4.

Reviewed by Jason Devine 

January 12, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Evald Vasilyevich Ilyenkov tragically took his own life in 1979, but he has continued to live on through a handful of published writings and websites dedicated to presenting his ideas and work. Still, his name is not broadly known in the global Marxist movement outside a relatively small circle of academics and interested activists. Indeed, when the question of dialectics is broached, the common names referred to, beyond Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, are Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and even Leon Trotsky. Therefore, the publication of Corinna Lotz’s booklet is most heartening. It serves to both publicise Ilyenkov and broaden the discussion on dialectics.

Options for Nicaragua

 

 

 

By Joyce McCracken 

January 12, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — For more than two years, politics in the Central American republic of Nicaragua has resembled the volcanoes that dominate its landscape. At times in violent eruptions, sometimes rumbling. At times hidden from view, sometimes in plain sight. Always threatening, always less than stable.

The situation is often not clearly understood and is certainly open to different interpretations. What follows is a guide to the present, if shifting, reality. It is not a road map with a guaranteed seal of approval.

Sandinistas

Whatever road the country was on under the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN) government of Daniel Ortega, it took an unscheduled turn following the events of April 2018. Mainly young people had been protesting against government policies for some time. Then one day in April, they were met with what can modestly be described as a heavy-handed response. Therein after everything changed.

The movement with the main nuances and activities is centered around the ruling Sandinista party. This is now often referred to as the Red and Black, after the FSLN colours.

Party organization in Lenin’s Comintern

 

 

By John Riddell

January 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary — Many socialist groups today seek to shape their organizational principles in the spirit of “democratic centralism” identified with V.I. Lenin. Yet as historian Lars Lih has demonstrated (“Fortunes of a Formula” and “Further Fortunes of a Formula”), Lenin himself used the term only occasionally, and then with widely varying emphasis. The formula’s meaning for socialists today is in fact derived mainly from its application by the Communist International (Comintern) in Lenin’s lifetime and under his guidance (1919–23).

Malaysia: COVID-19 vaccine - Hold your horses, let us play safe!

 

 

By Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj

January 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Focus Malaysia — There is a lot of discussion about our access to the COVID-19 vaccine and the cost of the vaccination programme for the country. However, the issue of the safety of the different vaccines on offer hasn’t been addressed adequately.

Leo Panitch and the socialist project

 

 

By Stephen Maher

January 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — The death of Leo Panitch has made the world a darker place. His writings have carried us through some of the most difficult periods in the history of the socialist left, as wave after wave of the neoliberal onslaught broke workers’ organizations, serving up one defeat after the next. Leo’s work sustained so many of us during these years, pushing us on and pointing the way through the storm.

This was not because he sowed illusions about just how bad things have been. Rather it was because, even as other erstwhile New Leftists lamented the “God That Failed,” he devoted himself to demonstrating the necessity of a democratic socialist society that would neither fall prey to the shortcomings of social democracy nor those of Soviet-style Communism.

In appreciation of Leo Panitch

 

 

By Colin Leys and Sam Gindin

January 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Verso — The sudden death our friend and comrade Leo Panitch has led to an extraordinary outpouring of sadness and appreciation across the world. Very few intellectuals on the left have had the intellectual impact on progressive thinkers and activists that Leo has had, as the flood of testimonials shows; and fewer still have in addition personally trained a comparable network of scholars of the highest calibre who are now carrying forward his distinctive project of critical – and self-critical – research and teaching in dozens of countries. Leo also combined research and teaching with engagement with activists in parties, trade unions and social movements: he knew and was consulted by leaders on the left in several continents, but was also known and admired by the rank and file who flocked to meetings whenever he showed up in Johannesburg, Athens, Frankfurt, London, Rio, New Delhi and elsewhere.

'Long live farmer-laborer unity': Contextualising the massive resistance going on in India

 

 

Interview by Veena Dubal with Navyug Gill

January 3, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Law and Political Economy Project  — Although it has hardly broken through the parochialism of the US news cycle, India is currently experiencing what is perhaps the largest strike wave in world history. In this post, Veena Dubal interviews Navyug Gill about the strikes, the agricultural reforms that led to them, what those outside India can learn from them, and what the future might portend.

Spanish state: Bulk of Forward Andalusia MPs expelled from their caucus — just desserts for turncoats or pre-emptive purge? 

 

 

By Dick Nichols 

January 3, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On the morning of October 27, Maribel Mora, representative on the Parliament of Andalusia’s speakership board of radical left coalition Forward Andalusia, got a nasty surprise: minutes before the board was due to meet in the capital Sevilla, Inmaculada Nieto, spokesperson for the coalition’s parliamentary caucus, rang Mora to say that she would be asking the board to expel eight MPs from their 17-member group for being “defectors”. If most MPs from the other parties on the board voted for expulsion, the eight Forward Andalusia representatives would be reclassified as “unassigned”. 

Growth and De-growth: What should ecosocialists say?

 

 

By John Molyneux

December 18,2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Global Ecosocialist Network — Throughout most of the existence of the labour and socialist movement the dominant position in the movement has been to favour economic growth.

Time out of number trade union and labour or social democratic conferences have passed resolutions calling for governments to adopt policies of economic growth. ‘Go for growth!’ has been a recurring slogan. The justification has always been simple: economic growth is essential to maintain and create jobs (which ‘our members’ or ‘our people’ need and want) and is the most favourable set of circumstances for raising the living standards of ordinary people which, again, is what our people want. And for the vast majority of mainstream, ie reformist, social democratic politicians and trade union officials, unwilling to contemplate any sort of challenge to capitalism, jobs and increased living standards were pretty much the limit of their aspirations.

Ecosocialism: A vital synthesis

 

 

By Michael Löwy

December 18,2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Global Ecosocialist Network — Contemporary capitalist civilization is in crisis. The unlimited accumulation of capital, commodification of everything, ruthless exploitation of labor and nature, and attendant brutal competition undermine the bases of a sustainable future, thereby putting the very survival of the human species at risk. The deep, systemic threat we face demands a deep, systemic change: a Great Transition.

José Carlos Mariátegui: Pioneering Latin American Marxist

 

 

By Marc Becker

December 14, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Against the Current — Writing in the 1920s, the Peruvian Marxist José Carlos Mariátegui introduced a uniquely Latin American perspective on revolutionary socialist movements and theories. He famously noted, “we certainly do not want socialism in America to be a copy. It has to be a heroic creation.”[1] This political dynamism is what made him into an intellectual force with lasting relevance.

Mariátegui’s voluminous and perceptive writings as well as extensive political activism left an unmistakable and lasting impression on the political, social, and intellectual landscape of his country. Nevertheless, even as he has retained central importance for revolutionary socialism in Latin America, in the United States few people are aware of his contributions.

Engels against reformism in Germany and France

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

December 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — More than a century ago, Eduard Bernstein claimed that it was time for socialists to abandon their revolutionary goal of overthrowing capitalism. He argued that the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) should adopt a reformist approach that strictly relied on legal channels, such as elections in which socialism could slowly be voted into power. To support his position, Bernstein cited the authority of Friedrich Engels, who had allegedly reached similar conclusions in one of his last works. Citing Engels’s introduction to Marx’s Class Struggles in France, Bernstein argued, “Engels is so thoroughly convinced that tactics geared to a catastrophe have had their day that he considers a revision to abandon them to be due even in the Latin countries where tradition is much more favourable to them than in Germany.”1 Bernstein is not alone in claiming Engels for reformism; he was later joined by others such as Karl Kautsky, Ralph Miliband, and Santiago Carrillo.2 Even the American democratic socialist Michael Harrington, who otherwise viewed Engels as a “distorter” of Marxism, had no problem using him to vindicate a democratic socialist strategy: “In his 1895 Preface to a new edition of Marx’s Class Struggles in France, Engels summarized the democratic strategy in sweeping historical terms…. Engels’s turn toward what can only be called democratic socialism was a critically important deepening of the idea of socialism itself.”3

What does the Esau Revolution despise?

 

 

By Don Fitz

And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint;
And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profits shall this birthright do me?
And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
Genesis 25: 30-33

December 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Despite the bizarre fantasy by Trump supporters that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, there was, in fact, genuine electoral fraud in the US. This fraud was more intense and blatant than any unproven claims of election meddling by Russians, Chinese, Syrians or Iranians. It was an all-out attack on political rights not seen since Joseph McCarthy era. Yet, this time, it was inspired not by Republicans but by Democrats and their liberal allies.

Québec: A strategic perspective for uniting ecosocialists

 

 

Introduction by Richard Fidler

December 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Climate & Capitalism — Ecosocialist activists in Québec have formed a new organization, Révolution écosocialiste (RE). Climate & Capitalism is pleased to publish our English translation of the group’s Basis of Unity.

From the Green New Deal to ecological socialism?

 

 

By Luke Neal

December 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from  Prometheus — “Our Green New Deal,” read the Labour Party’s 2019 manifesto, “aims to achieve the substantial majority of our emissions reductions by 2030 in a way that is evidence-based, just and that delivers an economy that serves the interests of the many, not the few.”[1] This was a central pillar of the election platform that suffered an historic defeat last December. As the ecological crisis continues unabated, the Green New Deal has solidified its place as the programmatic response among the left. Its core ideas have reappeared in the immediate economic crisis in the guise of a ‘green recovery’ and calls to ‘build back better’. This article argues that, from the perspective of Marxist ecology, the apparent path between a Green New Deal and an ecosocialism is confronted with several contradictions and strategic problems.

The planning and politics of conversion: World War II lessons for a Green New Deal — Part 1

 

 

By Marty Hart-Landsberg

December 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from  Reports from the Economic Front — This is the first in a series of posts that aim to describe and evaluate the World War II mobilization experience in the United States in order to illuminate some of the economic and political challenges we can expect to face as we work for a Green New Deal.  

This post highlights the successful government directed wartime reorientation of the U.S. economy from civilian to military production, an achievement that both demonstrates the feasibility of a rapid Green New Deal transformation of the U.S. economy and points to the kinds of organizational capacities we will need to develop. The post also highlights some of the strategies employed by big business to successfully stamp the wartime transformation as a victory for “market freedom,” an outcome that strengthened capital’s ability to dominate the postwar U.S. political economy and suggests the kind of political struggles we can expect and will need to overcome as we work to achieve a just Green New Deal transformation.

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.

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