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Planning the future

 

 

By Leigh Phillips & Michal Rozworski

July 25, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Tribune — British railways back under public control. Payrolls of private companies effectively nationalised across many countries. Outsourced carers brought back as public workers. Factories retooling under government orders. State intervention into the economy is suddenly more widespread than it has been in at least a half-century. Even if haltingly: economic planning is back.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the result of a long march through the institutions for the Left, but of the longest March in history. March 2020 saw a global pandemic take hold of nearly every corner of the globe and a necessary public health response which has shaken the global economy to its foundations. In response, laissez-faire platitudes that the private sector knows best, is most nimble, most innovative, most efficient, and that the role of government is to get out of the way of the allocative marvel of the free market, are being tossed out the window by governments of all shades.

The pandemic and beyond: Free quality healthcare is a fundamental right

 

 

By Arindam Sen

July 23, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Liberation — When the whole of India was put under lock and key in late March, we had only 564 known cases of Novel Coronavirus infection. By the middle of May, we earned the dubious distinction of defeating eternal competitor China (which had nearly 83000 cases) at least in this field. On May 19 the tally crossed the 100000 mark and is all set to rise rapidly for quite some time.

United States: Federal armed forces out of our cities! No occupation of our streets!

 

 

By Alliance for Global Justice

July 23, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from AFGJ — On Thursday, July 16, during a massive demonstration in defense of Black lives and to demand an end to police violence in Portland, the brutality of U.S. security forces escalated rampantly: a group of unidentified federal agents used unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland to pick up and arrest protesters. While the police, National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents used tear gas and potentially lethal weapons against demonstrators, some people reported being kidnapped and then released in a different location than where they had been taken from. 

The Comintern’s Second Congress: A Centennial Introduction

 

 

By John Riddell

July 22, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary — The Second Congress of the Communist International (Comintern), convened in Moscow precisely 100 years ago, on July 19, 1920. Its deliberations, spread over almost three weeks, represent the best single introduction to the thought and dynamics of global communism during Lenin’s lifetime.

Defunding police and challenging militarism, a necessary response to their “battle space”

 

 

By Marty Hart-Landsberg

July 21, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Reports from the Economic Front — The excessive use of force and killings of unarmed Black Americans by police has fueled a popular movement for slashing police budgets, reimagining policing, and directing freed funds to community-based programs that provide medical and mental health care, housing, and employment support to those in need.  This is a long overdue development.

The origins of ‘Socialism or Barbarism’ and its contemporary significance: From the 'Communist Manifesto' to the present day

 

 

By Seiya Morita

July 21, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — We are in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. In East Asian countries (except for Japan), the situations are fairly well under control, but in the United States and Latin American and African countries, the situations have not converged at all, and in fact are becoming more and more serious. In early July 2020, the world's number of infected people topped 12 million and the death toll surpassed half a million. This momentum is not yet waning.

We already know this state of affairs has been prepared by the past 40 years of neoliberalism and austerity policies in these countries. In U.S., as well as in Western countries, medical and social welfare services are being cut, and health care is being left to market forces. Hospitals were shut and the number of hospital beds, especially ICU beds, were steadily cut. Since even in peacetime, as if in an emergency, social resources and margins were reduced to a barely acceptable level, when a real emergency emerges, we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot deal with it.[1]

What to do about the police: How some socialists, decades ago, addressed these issues

 

 

By Richard Fidler

July 21, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — The mass protests and public debate over what to do about the police sparked by the brutal police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis have brought to the fore popular demands to defund, disarm and disband the police. These issues and demands arise at frequent intervals under late capitalism, as deepening neoliberal austerity features increasingly violent attacks on working people and national and ethnic minorities, and their democratic rights, by the repressive forces of the state.

Canada, a colonial-settler state built on the expropriation and oppression of the Indigenous peoples and the marginalization of the Québécois, has been no stranger to such conflicts. In the 1970s, when the RCMP’s Security Service was exposed as engaging in a wave of illegal interventions against the Quebec nationalist movement and its leftist sympathizers, the federal government was led to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Certain Activities of the RCMP, better known as the McDonald Commission after its chair, Justice David McDonald.

Popular protagonism in Venezuela’s transition to socialism: A conversation with Michael Lebowitz

 

 

By Cira Pascual Marquina

July 12, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Venezuela Analysis — Michael Lebowitz is a professor of political economy, researcher, and prolific writer. He is the author of Beyond Capital: Marx's Political Economy of the Working Class (1992), The Socialist Imperative: From Gotha to Now (2015), and the upcoming Between Capitalism and Community (2021). From 2006 to 2011, Lebowitz was Development Director in the Program in Transformative Practice and Human Development at the Centro Internacional Miranda, in Caracas. In this interview, he explores the importance of participation and democracy in the construction of socialism, while reflecting on the internal contradictions of the Bolivarian Process.

CoronaShock and Socialism

 

 

CoronaShock is a term that refers to how a virus struck the world with such gripping force; it refers to how the social order in the bourgeois state crumbled, while the social order in the socialist parts of the world appeared more resilient.

 

By Ana Maldonado, Manolo de los Santos, Subin Dennis and Vijay Prashad.

Grave diggers: the grim tale of states, capitalism and COVID-19

 

 

By Shawn Hattingh

July 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it often seems as if we are stuck in a dystopian movie. In this movie death is stalking us, hospitals overflow with the sick and dying, and the grave diggers are at work. We know more victims will soon die as the folly of millions of workers being forced by circumstances to return into cramped mines, banks, factories and warehouses is so evident. Those that are no longer needed by the billionaires who own the companies are marshalled daily by the police and military dishing out violence and on occasion, humiliation, to underline their power and the power of their bosses. It all feels so unreal, a ghastly movie playing out before our eyes. 

The social power of money and the neoliberal capitalist model of development

 

 

By Raju J Das[1]

July 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The current model of development being pursued in the world is a combination of an attack on democratic rights and immiserizing capitalist economic growth at the expense of common people’s livelihood.[2] In this model, even slaughter of certain animals (cows) is to be prohibited (as in India), but the slaughter of living human beings, if they belong to a particular religion or a class-stratum (migrant workers, low-income African-Americans, Indian Muslims), can be encouraged or allowed. The fact that millions of human beings, of different races, religions and ethnic backgrounds die untimely death due to lack of food and medicine, etc. or that millions are malnourished can be well tolerated.[3] While the world’s focus has been on COVID-19, the disease caused by the  novel coronavirus and the deaths caused by the disease (and rightly so), it is important to remember that malnutrition is the single largest contributor to disease in the world. 

David Harvey’s new thesis is that “capitalism is too big to fail”. Is it?

 

 

By Steve Ellner

July 5, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Up until now, famed geographer David Harvey has been considered a leading Marxist, even if some on the left have criticized several of his theories as “reformist.” In my opinion Harvey’s contributions to Marxist thinking, with regard to both his theoretical formulations and efforts to make Marxism accessible to large numbers of people, are undeniable. All the more reason to be disappointed by his recent thesis.

United States: A statue of Hatuey

 

 

By Don Fitz

July 5, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — If you look at a US $20 bill, you might notice Andrew Jackson nervously watching statues of Columbus and Robert E. Lee coming down and wondering if his face is going to disappear from currency. As Democrats ponder which militarist they wish to glorify in the next round of monuments, it is critical to realize that statues which go up are at least as important as the ones that come down. Perhaps the best nominee for a new statue is Hatuey.

Turkish attacks on PKK meet fierce resistance

 

 

By Dave Holmes

July 5, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Arguing for Socialism — In mid-June Turkey launched yet another large-scale air and ground operation in northern Iraq aimed at crippling the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Turkish planes bombed the Makhmur refugee camp, home to 12,000 Kurds from Turkey. The camp near Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government, is a stronghold of support for the PKK. Also bombed was Shengal (Sinjar), home of the much-persecuted Yazedi Kurds. Following the devastating Islamic State attack on Shengal in August 2014, the PKK played a key role in helping to establish the Yazedi self-defence forces.

Turkish planes also hit targets across the rugged PKK-controlled border region between Iraq, Turkey and Iran (the Medya Defence Zones). Following these attacks Turkey has ramped up its efforts, which began last year, to establish bases in the Heftanin region.

‘Either you are fighting to eliminate exploitation or not’: A leftist critique of the Green New Deal

 

 

James Wilt interviews Max Aji

July 3, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Canadian Dimension — The catastrophic economic fallout from COVID-19–millions unemployedskyrocketing food bank usageuncertain job futures–has provided a major boost to the case for a Green New Deal.

The worldwide uprising against systemic racism: Lessons for India

 

 

By Kavita Krishnan

July 3, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Liberation — On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 45 year-old Black man, was choked to death on a public street by a white Minneapolis police officer who placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, ignoring Floyd’s desperate pleas of “I can’t breathe”. Two other police officers helped hold Floyd down. The police had been called to the scene by a store-owner who had said that Floyd “was awfully drunk and not in control of himself when he tried to pay (for a pack of cigarettes) with a counterfeit $20 bill”.

The police initially hid the cause of Floyd’s death, claiming he resisted arrest and that they called an ambulance after they saw that he “appeared to be suffering medical distress”.

But the truth came out because of footage recorded by a passerby - 17-year-old Darnella Frazier, a Black teenage girl - on her phone camera. The footage showed that Floyd was not struggling but was in fact begging to be allowed to breathe, and that the police officer only lifted his knee after Floyd fell unconscious.

The united front: adoption and application

 

 

The Communist Movement at a Crossroads: Plenums of the Communist International’s Executive Committee, 1922–1923,

By Mike Taber 

Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2018, 796 pp., US$50.

By John Riddell 

July 2, 2020  — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary — The newest volume of the Comintern Publishing Project, The Communist Movement at a Crossroads, presents a wealth of documentation and debate portraying the world movement’s dynamics at a time of fateful choices concerning its future path.

Venezuela: Trump’s second Thoughts on Juan Guaido are Not Enough

 

 

By Steve Ellner

July 2, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Consortium News — After nearly a year and a half of all-out efforts at regime change in Venezuela which took a major toll on the Venezuelan people, Donald Trump now tells the world he was never big on the strategy in the first place. On Friday, the U.S. president appeared to shove the blame onto advisers, and added “I think that I wasn’t necessarily in favor” of the policy of recognizing Juan Guaidó as president, but “I was OK with it.”

Trump’s statements made it seem as if Guaidó’s only sin was that he did not manage to seize power. This might-makes-right mindset belies what is happening on the ground in Venezuela which is much more complicated than just one leader’s approval rating. It also ignores the horrendous suffering of the Venezuelan people due to crippling sanctions imposed in August 2019, the result of a foreign policy decision that Trump now brushes off as a simple mistake.

United States: Should New York City’s Wall Street Be Renamed 'Eric Garner St'?

 

 Delmar Blvd. at Sgt. Mike King Dr. Image by David Doonan.

By Don Fitz

July 2, 2020  — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Scenes of sorrow spread across the US. Football teams apologize. Cops march with demonstrators. Democratic Party politicians call for “structural change” in police departments.

Some of these are sincere. Others are crocodile tears shed in hopes that people will be pacified with assurances that turn out to be vague rhetoric devoid of meaning or else empty promises that will never be fulfilled. Yet, there are changes that would cost little, could happen quickly, and be reminders to future generations of what happened in 2020.

All of us began with Marta Harnecker

 

In memory of Marta Harnecker, who passed away on June 14, 2019 

By Miguel Enrique Stédile

June 25, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — During an interview, then-Bolivia Vice President Álvaro García Linera and Spanish state parliamentarian Pablo Iglesias were exchanging ideas on classic texts and their own initiation into politics when the Spanish activist proclaimed: “All of us began with Marta Harnecker”. This statement is not only true for today’s young leftists but for thousands of people who have defended Marxism and socialism in the past four decades.

It is no exaggeration to affirm that Marta Harnecker was arguably the most important disseminator of Marx and Lenin’s ideas among successive waves of activists in Latin America, starting with the publication of her “Booklets for Popular Education” in the 1970s and followed shortly after by The Basic Concepts of Historical Materialism. At the same time, her own political and intellectual trajectory is illustrative of the course of the Latin American left in the second half of the 20th century.

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