Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War

 

 

Reviewed by Chris Slee

 

Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War
by Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila al-Shami
Pluto Press 2016 London

 

May 4, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Despite some flaws, this book is a good introduction to the Syrian revolution. It explains why people protested against the Assad regime, and why many of them took up arms. It also shows how the initially non-sectarian popular uprising was increasingly converted into a sectarian conflict.

 

The main flaws of the book relate to the role of Turkey, and of the PYD (Democratic Union Party) in the struggle in Rojava (the predominantly Kurdish area in northern Syria).

Philippines socialists on the phenomenal rise of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte

 

 

The phenomenal rise of Rodrigo Duterte (pictured), the mayor of the southern city of Davao who is now leading in the polls ahead of the May 9 Philippines presidential elections, has shaken up the country's political landscape. His outsider campaign, with talk of the need for a "Duterte revolution" against expected electoral fraud to prevent his election, has galvanized much of the existing discontent towards the political class.

 

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal have republished two pieces, one by Sonny Melencio from the Party of the Labouring Masses, and the other by left Senate candidate Walden Bello, looking at what the Duterte phenomenon means for the Philippines and the left.

 

The final aim is nothing: The politics of revisionism and anti-revisionism

 

 

Chinese communist propaganda poster from the sixties: 'Defeat American Imperialism, defeat Soviet Revisionism'

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

I. Introduction

 

May 2, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Revisionism, like the terms “Marxism-Leninism” or “fascism” is arguably one of the most widely used and abused terms on the revolutionary left.

Anti-imperial Marxism: Borderland socialists and the evolution of Bolshevism on national liberation

 

 

Latvian Marxist polemic against class harmony

 

By Eric Blanc

 

May 2, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Socialist Review with the author’s permission — Given the importance Marxists place on the fight against racial and national oppression, it is surprising that relatively little attention has been paid to the socialists of imperial Russia’s borderlands. Most of the inhabitants of the tsarist empire were non-Russian (Poles, Jews, Ukrainians, Finns, Latvians, Georgians, Muslims, etc.), as were most revolutionaries. Yet academic and activist historiography has distorted our understanding of the socialist movement’s overall development by narrowly focusing on Central Russia.

 

The Kiental Manifesto: Socialists against war, 1916

 

 

Rosa Luxemburg’s Spartacists called at Kiental for a new International.

 

By John Riddell

 

April 27, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell’s blog with permission -- One hundred years ago this week, socialist opponents of the First World War gathered in Kiental, Switzerland, issued an appeal calling on working people to “use every means possible to bring a rapid end to the human slaughter.” The appeal, known as the “Kiental Manifesto,” appears below.

 

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood: ‘Listen To People, Hear Their Problems And Listen To Their Solutions’

 

 

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood talks to John Haylett about the party’s manifesto which she sums up as three ambitions to build a Wales that is ‘well, well-read and wealthier’

Peru: An initial analysis of the election results

 

 

Veronika Mendoza (pictured) ran as the presidential candidate
of the left-wing Broad Front in the April 10 general elections.

 



By Bárbara Ester and María Florencia Pagliarone, translation by Sean Seymour-Jones

 


April 23 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal translated from Strategic Latin American Centre of Geopolitics, CELAG -- 
General elections were held in Peru [on April 10]. Along with the position of president and vice-president, 30 congresspeople were elected for the 2016 – 2021 period, and another five representatives to the Andean Parliament.

How Bernie Sanders can harness the kind of momentum transforming British politics

 

 

A Momentum rally in Oxford, England in February.

 

By Kate Aronoff

 

April 23, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Waging Nonviolence — After his double-digits win in Wisconsin on April 5, Bernie Sanders’s insurgent campaign has a fair amount of momentum behind it. Still, many are asking what comes next, and how to carry the political revolution forward — whether he wins the Democratic nomination or not.

 

Lessons for Sanders might come from the movement that formed around another white-haired progressive challenger to the political establishment: British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Naomi Klein-inspired 'Leap Manifesto' shakes up Canadian left

 

 

Canada: Leap Manifesto unites broad forces, builds climate justice campaigns

 

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has acknowledged shocking details about the violence of Canada’s near past. Deepening poverty and inequality are a scar on the country’s present. And Canada’s record on climate change is a crime against humanity’s future.” —The Leap Manifesto

 

by John Riddell

 

April 3, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Climate and Capitalism -- Five hundred Toronto-area supporters crowded into a west-end school auditorium March 29 to support the Leap Manifesto, launched early this year in support of a rapid, “justice-based” energy transition to a renewable economy.

 

The movement was launched in January 2016 to popularize the ideas of Naomi Klein’s influential book on climate change, This Changes Everything. Klein pointed to the need for a mass social movement addressing both the urgent need for climate action and an agenda for social justice.

 

What is to be done with the banks? Radical proposals for radical changes

 

 

By John Weeks, Eric Toussaint, Stavros Tombazos, Pritam Singh, Benjamin Selwyn, Alfredo Saad Filho, Patrick Saurin, Sabri Öncü, Susan Pashkoff, Ozlem Onaran, Thomas Marois, Philippe Marlière, Francisco Louça, Stathis Kouvelakis, Andy Kilmister, Michel Husson, Michael Hudson, David Harvey, Pete Green, Giorgos Galanis, Alan Freeman, Gilbert Achar, Costas Lapavitsas

 

The heroic deed: myth and revolution

 

 

Che Guevara

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

April 21, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red Wedge with the author's permission -- According to legend, the last words of Che Guevara before his execution were “I know you've come to kill me. Shoot coward, you are only going to kill a man.” What Che meant here was that the cause of revolution would live on despite his death. Whether or not the myth is true, the meaning behind it has inspired revolutionaries throughout the world. In certain ways, the myth surrounding Che Guevara has been just as important as the truth. In fact, myths provide a crucial underpinning to how ideology and society is able to function. Myths play a major role not only in society, but in radical political movements, as was recognized by the French syndicalist Georges Sorel and the Peruvian communist Jose Carlos Mariategui. And despite the scientific pretensions of much of the left, myths also supply inspiration, passion and faith to militants in the course of struggle.

 

UPDATED: France: Nuit Debout’s call to action; Reflections on 'Nuit Debout'

 

 

Vive la révolution: demonstrators gather in Place de la République, Paris, for a nocturnal sit-in on April 2

 

On the “Philosophy” of “Dialectical Materialism”

 

 

Lenin was completely wrong when he stated in his classic work, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, that 'All these people could not have been ignorant of the fact that Marx and Engels scores of times termed their philosophical views dialectical materialism.'

 

By Jason Devine

 

April 20, 2016 -- Submitted by the author to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It has and continues to be argued that Marxism has a philosophy and that such philosophy is termed dialectical materialism. It is further argued that historical materialism is the result of the application of dialectical materialism “to the study of human society.” To put it into very simple terms, these formulations take the form of a basic math equation:

 

Dialectical Materialism + Social Reality = Historical Materialism

 

However, no matter how it is stated, it is not so. To be more precise, while we can make a theoretical distinction between what we call dialectical materialism and historical materialism, they are in fact two sides of the same coin; or rather one and the same thing.

 

Brazil's social movements: We will not accept a coup against democracy and our rights! We will defeat the coup in the streets!

 

Statement by the Popular Brazil Front and the People Without Fear Front, translated by Federico Fuentes

 

April 19, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In response to the recent vote in the lower house of Brazil’s parliament in favor of impeaching president Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s two main coalitions of social movements issued the below statement on April 17. Both the Popular Brazil Front and People Without Fear Front were formed as a response to the recent right-wing mobilizations against Dilma, while at the same time remaining critical of the government’s austerity measures. Between them they unite many of Brazil’s largest social movements including Unified Workers' Central (CUT), the Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST), the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST), and the National Student Union (UNE), among others.

 

Party of Socialism and Freedom (Brazil) - Why we voted against the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff

 

PSOL legislator Jean Wyllys speaking out against the vote to impeach Dilma Rousseff

 

By Party of Socialism and Freedom, translation by Sean Seymour-Jones

 

April 19, 2016 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, originally posted in Portuguese on the PSOL website - Brazil’s lower house voted on April 17 to impeach Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in a move that many see as an attempt by the right-wing opposition to carry out a “institutional coup”. The vote came after a series of massive protests - both for and against Dilma - that have rocked the largest country in Latin America.

 

In October 2014, Rousseff was elected to a second term, and a fourth consecutive term for the Workers Party (PT) after Lula da Silva’s two terms in office. It will now be up to a vote in the upper house, scheduled for May, as to whether she is impeached.

 

Among those to vote against the impeachment process was the Party of Socialism and Freedom (PSOL), the largest party to the left of the PT, and which has maintained a strong oppositional stance towards the current government. Below is a translation of a PSOL statement released just prior to the vote explaining why they would be voting against the impeachment process.

 

The Left Hook: The Marxism of Sidney Hook

 

Doug Enaa Greene speaking at the Center for Marxist Education, in Cambridge, MA, on Sidney Hook as a Marxist thinker.

 

By Doug Enaa Greene, published on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

 

To my friend Amy.

 

I. Introduction

 



When the politics of Sidney Hook, a public intellectual and philosopher, are remembered today, they are generally associated with a right-wing variant of social democracy which was compatible with both neoconservatism and McCarthyism. For example, in 1953, Hook infamously wrote Heresy, Yes-- Conspiracy, No which justified the witch-hunts of the Red Scare and the purging of communists from academia reasoning that Leninist doctrine was the basis of an international communist conspiracy of subversion – with all orders emanating from Moscow.[1] Hook would end his life receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Ronald Reagan, whose policies in support of death squads in El Salvador he had “applauded.” However, there was a very different Hook, who during the Great Depression was not only a committed communist revolutionary, but the leading Marxist theorist of his generation.

John Bellamy Foster answers three questions on Marxism and ecology

 

In the present planetary epoch, the concept of sustainable human development, as a way of conceiving of socialism, represents Marx’s most valuable legacy. No other ecological analysis has such breadth and power.

 

April 18, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Climate & Capitalism -- John Bellamy Foster is editor of Monthly Review. His most recent book, written with Paul Burkett, is Marx and the Earth: An Anti-Critique (Brill, 2016). The French magazine La Revue du Projet asked him to reply to three questions on ecology and Marxism.

 

UPDATED: Controversy sparked by Cuban Communist Party leadership's approach to 7th Party Congress, Raul Castro's Congress report

 

Cuba's President Raul Castro addresses the 7th Cuban Communist Party Congress
in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, April 16, 2016

 

Introductory notes and translations by Marce Cameron[1]

 

April 17, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Cuba's Socialist Renewal blog — The Seventh Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) began on April 16. The cluster of translations published below relate to the controversy surrounding the preparations for this congress.

 

Cuba’s Medical Mission

By Don Fitz
John M. Kirk, Health Care without Borders: Understanding Cuban Medical Internationalism (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2015), 376 pages, $79.95, hardback.

 

April 17, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Monthly Review with the author's permission -- When the Ebola virus began to spread through western Africa in fall 2014, much of the world panicked. Soon, over 20,000 people were infected, more than 8,000 had died, and worries mounted that the death toll could reach into hundreds of thousands. The United States provided military support; other countries promised money. Cuba was the first nation to respond with what was most needed: it sent 103 nurses and 62 doctors as volunteers to Sierra Leone. With 4,000 medical staff (including 2,400 doctors) already in Africa, Cuba was prepared for the crisis before it began: there had already been nearly two dozen Cuban medical personnel in Sierra Leone. After an initial assessment, Cuba dispatched another 296 to Guinea and Liberia. Since many governments did not know how to respond to Ebola, Cuba trained volunteers from other nations at Havana’s Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine. In total, Cuba taught 13,000 Africans, 66,000 Latin Americans, and 620 Caribbeans how to treat Ebola without being infected. It was the first time that many had heard of Cuba’s emergency response teams.

 

A left-wing refugee policy for the European Union

 

Gabi Zimmer, chair of European United Left - Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)
 
April 16, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Transform! -- The following is a speech given by Gabi Zimmer, chair of GUE/NGL, in Athens at the International Conference “Alliance For Democracy – Against Austerity in Europe”, 18-20 March 2016

 

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