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Reviewed by Chris Slee
Chasing the scream
By Johann Hari
Bloomsbury Circus London 2015
April 9, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Over the past hundred years, millions of people around the world have been jailed for drug use. The United States has been particularly harsh. Its huge prison population, disproportionately Black and Latino, includes many people jailed for drug use.
But until 100 years ago, drug use was not a crime in the US (or in most parts of the world). Opiates were sold in pharmacies as remedies for a range of ailments.
Johann Hari explains that: “You could go to any American pharmacy and buy products made from the same ingredients as heroin and cocaine. The most popular cough mixtures in the United States contained opiates, a new soft drink called Coca-Cola was made from the same plant as snortable cocaine, and over in Britain the classiest department stores sold heroin tins for society women”. [page 9]
Most people used these products without any problem: “Just as a large majority of drinkers did not become alcoholics, a large majority of users of these products did not become drug addicts.
April 8, 2017 — Tlaxcala — Essa entrevista com Marta Harnecker foi feita pelo jornalista Tassos Tsakiroglou para o diário grego Efimerida ton Syntakton. Apareceu no país no dia em que foi inaugurada a Conferência Internacional "150 anos de publicação de O Capital, de Marx: Reflexões para o século 21", da qual Marta era convidada. O evento realizou-se em Atenas, de 14 a 15 de janeiro de 2017 e foi organizado pela revista de teoria marxista Theseis em colaboração com a fundação Rosa Luxemburg. Essa tradução ao português do Brasil foi feita por alunos de tradutologia, para finalidades exclusivamente didáticas.
By Murray Smith
April 7, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — What is happening in France this spring is much more than an election, or a series of elections, presidential and legislative. The two great poles of French political life, the Socialist Party (PS) and the Republicans (LR, right), are in crisis.
In the case of the PS, the crisis could prove to be terminal. The far right and the radical left occupy considerable spaces in the campaign and in the polls. And the campaign has been marked by so many twists and turns that everything still seems possible. We are witnessing an unprecedented political crisis of the Fifth Republic which will not be resolved so quickly, regardless of the results of these elections.
By Ernie Tate
April 5, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Unity — Now and then, and despite its capitalist and racial biases,our culture throws up something that can speak quite eloquently and uniquely about the times we’re living through. In this case, I’m referring to an amazing documentary film that has been released recently, “I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO”, by Raoul Peck, an acclaimed Haitian director with major films to his credit.This latest work is well worth seeing and has been well received here.
By Renfrey Clarke
April 3, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – For several weeks in mid-December, media outlets were aflame with the news: Russian President Vladimir Putin, no less, had led a cyber-assault on US democracy, hacking the files of the Democratic Party in an effort to secure the election of his ally Donald Trump.
Or perhaps, the real source of the tale had nothing to do with Russia: perhaps it was an attempt to reinforce the self-hypnosis of US liberals that Hillary Clinton’s defeat did not stem from the disgust of millions of rust-belt workers at years of disdain and neglect by Democratic Party politicians.
Retired US intelligence experts soon shot the “hack” allegations full of holes. But the refutations were ignored by the mainstream media. And the prejudice the allegations created would survive, to strengthen the rationale for Western economic, diplomatic and military pressures on Russia unparalleled in the post-Cold War period.
By Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation
April 3, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Liberation, central organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation — March 8 – International Women’s Day – was born in the struggles that women factory workers in their thousands waged against bondage a century ago. Communists began the tradition of observing IWD in memory of those struggles.
Ironically, the powers-that-be and the advertisements all across try to hide the real legacy of Women’s Day and seek to establish a different narrative. They try to tell us that International Women’s Day (IWD) is an occasion when husbands are supposed to buy women washing machines and kitchen gadgets, when boyfriends are supposed to buy them flowers, and governments are supposed to make promises for ‘women empowerment’. So it is important for us to collectively reassert the fighting legacy of the international women’s day and draw lessons for the tasks and challenges at hand. On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2017 let us reiterate some key concerns of the women’s movement.
Introduction by John Riddell
April 2, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — The following declaration appeared 7 May 1917 on the front page of the Bolshevik newspaper Pravda under the title, Draft of a mandate for use in electing delegates to the Soviet of Worker and Soldier Deputies. This Mandate marked the first appearance of the slogan “All power to the soviets” in an official party statement. Its purpose was to help the soviet constituency distinguish genuine revolutionary candidates from revolutionaries in name only.
By Dale McKinley
March 31, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Pambazuka News — The ANC has become the key political vehicle, both in party and state form, of corporate capital; both domestic and international, both black and white, both local and national, and constitutive of a range of different ‘fractions’ of capital.
March 31, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Historical Materialism — In the hundred years since the overthrow of Tsarism, there has been a near consensus among socialists and scholars that Bolshevism underwent a strategic rupture in early 1917. According to this account, the Bolsheviks supported the liberal Provisional Government until Vladimir Lenin returned to Russia in April and veered the party in a radical new direction by calling for socialist revolution and soviet power.
Through a re-examination of Bolshevik politics in March 1917, the following article demonstrates that the prevailing story is historically inaccurate and has distorted our understanding of how and why the Bolsheviks eventually came to lead the Russian Revolution.
Introductory note by LeftEast editors
March 31, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from LeftEast – For the last several months in Turkish politics, the party-state’s agenda has been dominated by two interconnected operations: consolidation of power and elimination of opposition.
By Patrick Bond
March 30, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Will the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) bloc ever really challenge the world financial order?
March 30, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Climate & Capitalism – The Indian website Ecologise recently published John Bellamy Foster’s Foreword to my book Facing the Anthropocene. Commenting on Foster’s article, journalist and activist Saral Sarkar, who describes his views as eco-socialist, raised questions that challenge the usefulness of Marxist analysis in understanding the global ecological crisis. Foster’s reply was posted by Ecologise on March 26.
By Nick Fredman
March 28, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Sharply different opinions have developed among the radical left in recent years towards the Syrian radical democratic movement led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — an initially Kurdish-based force which through a series of political and military struggles and alliances has recently formed the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, as a model for a multi-ethnic, non-sectarian, federal and socially just alternative for the nation and the region. Some on the international left have accused this movement of human rights abuses, political repression and collaboration with the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad.
I was prompted to write the present notes in response to two articles by Roy Gutman in the US Nation magazine (here and here). But as these articles both sum up and are fairly extreme examples of the left criticisms of the PYD-led movement, it makes sense to discuss some background and previous articles before taking up Gutman.
By Kavita Krishnan
March 28, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Liberation, central organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation — In a recent trial court judgement on 10 March 2017, 117 workers of the automobile company Maruti Suzuki’s factory in Manesar, Gurgaon, India were acquitted of a murder charge. 18 workers were convicted of minor offences while 13 – all leaders of the Maruti union – have been convicted of murder and await the quantum of punishment, to be declared on March 17, 2017.
The Maruti workers plan to challenge the convictions of their comrades in higher courts. Why are automobile workers being jailed for murder? The story at Maruti is a familiar one in India’s industrial scene.
Petrograd Soviet meets at the Taurida Palace, Petrograd, March 1917
March 27, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal / John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — One hundred years ago today, on March 27 (14), 1917, the Petrograd Soviet issued the following appeal “To the Peoples of the World,” calling for a restoration of workers’ unity in the cause of peace.
The moderate socialists who dominated the Petrograd Soviet until September 1917 pursued a policy of “revolutionary defensism,” which advocated defending Russia and its revolution against German aggression while calling upon European socialists to pressure their governments to bring about peace.
This policy toward the war would not be consistently defined until the return from Siberian exile of Tsereteli and other Menshevik leaders on April 2 (March 20), 1917. Therefore, the document below reflects the views in the Soviet at a time when moderate socialists were still open to making concessions to their radical counterparts regarding the Soviet’s position on the war and other issues. Discussions in the Soviet were crucial to the realignment of leftist forces that occurred in the wake of the February Revolution.
By Kevin Young
March 26, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Against the Current — In November 2016 the Colombian Congress approved a peace deal between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, potentially ending a 50-year armed conflict that has killed at least 220,000 people--82 percent civilians--and displaced almost seven million. The accord includes mechanisms for disarmament and reintegration of guerrilla fighters, lenient sentencing for those who confess to committing acts of violence, and an allotment of ten congressional seats for FARC politicians for eight years. Separate peace talks with the smaller National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla force are now underway.
March 25, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint — Alexandre Araujo Costa, a Brazilian ecology activist, spoke to Belgian ecology writer and activist Daniel Tanuro on a range of questions concerning ecology and ecosocialism.
“Down with the Minister Capitalists”.
By Lars Lih
March 24, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — “All power to the Soviets!” is surely one of the most famous slogans in revolutionary history. It is right up there with “Egalité, liberté, fraternité” as a symbol of an entire revolutionary epoch. In this essay and others to follow later in the spring, I would like to examine the origin of this slogan in its original context of Russia in 1917.
È possibile che un’improbabile alleanza tra la sinistra e la destra fermi la Rivoluzione Cittadina dell’Ecuador?
24-03-2017 - Traduzione del Comitato Carlos Fonseca - L’Ecuador tornerà alle urne il 2 aprile dopo che il primo turno delle elezioni presidenziali non aveva dato una vittoria decisiva a Lenín Moreno, il candidato disposto a continuare la “Rivoluzione Cittadina” dell’uscente presidente Rafael Correa, che ha favorito i poveri.
Ora Moreno affronta la sfida di riuscire a far sì che l’Ecuador non si aggiunga alla lista dei paesi della regione nei quali la sinistra ha recentemente perso le elezioni.