Greece: 'Europe's moment of truth'; SYRIZA needs solidarity, says Tassos Koronakis

By Tassos Koronakis, SYRIZA

May 18, 2015 -- Change4All, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Tassos Koronakis (pictured), secretary of the Central Committee of SYRIZA, calls for acts of social and political solidarity. From the organisation of rallies and awareness campaigns across Europe, to institutional initiatives in local, regional and national parliaments, and personal or collective statements of support to the efforts of Greece to swift the European paradigm of austerity.

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Dear friends,

Aotearoa/New Zealand: Unite Union's fast-food workers take on corporations and win!

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 Unite fast-food delegates at a national gathering on February 14 take time out to picket a McDonald's store to launch the campaign publicly.

By Mike Treen, Unite national director

May 18, 2105 -- Unite Union, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Workers in the fast food industry in Aotearoa/New Zealand scored a spectacular victory over what has been dubbed “zero hour contracts” during a collective agreement bargaining round over the course of March and April this year.

Spartacus: rebel or 'proto-communist'?

The slave revolt led by Spartacus shook the Roman world to its foundations and, although a failure, has inspired the oppressed for centuries. Communist historian Doug Enaa Greene delivered a talk at the Center for Marxist Education on Spartacus on March 7, 2015.

By Doug Enaa Greene

May 15, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The ancient rebellion of Spartacus and tens of thousands of subjugated slaves is arguably the most famous slave revolt in history. During his lifetime, Spartacus dared to challenge the dominance of the Roman slave masters and their Republic. In subsequent generations, the name of Spartacus has stood forth as a symbol for resistance and liberation from oppression – inspiring the Haitian slave Toussaint L'Ouverture, who led a successful revolt in the 1790s; Karl Marx; and Germany's Spartacist League of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.

Hijacking 'Anthropocene': Anti-green ‘Breakthrough Institute’ misrepresents science

By Ian Angus

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone,
“it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
—Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

May 19, 2015 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- What can lobbyists do when science contradicts their political messages? Some simply deny the science, as many conservatives do with climate change. Others pretend to embrace the science, while ignoring or purging the disagreeable content. That’s what the Breakthrough Institute (BTI) is doing with one of the most widely discussed issues in 21st century science, the proposal to define a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene.

Eyewitness Donetsk: War and displaced persons in Ukraine and Haiti

"Pioneer" camp director Svetlana and Dr. Yuriy in discussion on April 14, 2015. Photo by Roger Annis.

More on the political situation in Ukraine

By Roger Annis

John Riddell on Michael Lebowitz: Dissecting the failure of Soviet ‘socialism’

Real Socialism

For more articles and videos by or about Michael Lebowitz, click HERE.

For more by or about John Riddell.

Review by John Riddell

The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”: The Conductor and the Conducted
by Michael A. Lebowitz
New York: Monthly Review 2012.

May 19, 2015 -- JohnRiddell.Wordpress.com, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- In current discussions of twenty-first century socialism, the work of Michael Lebowitz has a unique merit: it is rooted in the experience of Cuba and Venezuela, where efforts in recent decades to move toward socialism have been the most vigorous. Quotations from Che Guevara and Hugo Chávez set the tone.

Spain: 'Barcelona Together' and the fight for people-first city councils

Conversation in the Reina Sofia Museum Square, Madrid, attended by various left coalitions standing in the May 24 municipal polls.

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

May 21, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A commentator for the mainstream Barcelona daily La Vanguardia reported in its May 9 edition on a conversation in a lift that he had overheard between two “executives of a certain age”.

They were talking about an opinion poll giving the radical, movement-based ticket “Barcelona Together” and its mayoral candidate, housing rights activist Ada Colau, the lead in the March 24 contest for the Barcelona City Council. On that day elections will also be held in all municipalities in the Spanish state, as well as in 13 of the country’s 17 autonomous communities (states).

Executive A: “Have you seen that [incumbent Barcelona mayor Xavier] Trias is losing?”

Executive B: “Yes, Colau is winning.”

EE UU: Cooperación sin precedentes en la izquierda

Por Dan La Botz

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4412.]

12 de mayo de 2015 -- Vientosur.info -- Unos 200 activistas políticos, individuales o miembros de diversas organizaciones independientes, han protagonizado un debate enriquecedor y amistoso sobre la manera de colaborar en la construcción de una amplia alternativa política a la izquierda del Partido Demócrata.

Los participantes en la Conferencia sobre el "Futuro de la Izquierda y la Política Independiente" – candidatos y activistas nacionales, estatales y locales, así como cargos electos del Partido Verde, del Partido de la Paz y la Libertad, la Alianza Progresista de Richmond, la Alternativa Socialista y el Partido Progresista de Vermont– debatieron en un espíritu de cooperación sin precedentes sobre los retos electorales y las dificultades que entraña ejercer un cargo público mientras se intenta construir movimientos y llevar a cabo políticas progresistas. A la conferencia también asistieron miembros de los Demócratas Progresistas de América y del Partido de la Justicia.

Sudáfrica: Para resistir la xenofobia es necesario abordar sus causas profundas

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4401.]

Por Patrick Bond, Durban

10/05/2015 -- Sinpermiso -- En Sudáfrica los símbolos políticos están un día y desaparecen al siguiente, pero la opresiva política económica continua. En la superficie, somos testigos de una explosión de activismo anti-racista entre los sudafricanos más ilustrados – jovenes académicos negros que tratan de romper los restos de poder de un apartheid residual - pero al mismo tiempo, una implosión xenófoba está causando estragos en los estratos socioeconómicos inferiores.

A mediados de marzo, en la Universidad de Ciudad del Cabo (UCT), el estudiante de pregrado de ciencias políticas Chimani Maxwele arrojó un cubo de excrementos a la estatua de Cecil John Rhodes, el gran emprendedor colonial del sur de Africa, catalizando una rebelión contra las estructuras de poder dominadas por blancos en la UCT y otros lugares. Menos de tres semanas después, una revuelta de sudafricanos pobres urbanos en otras dos grandes ciudades del país - Durban y Johannesburgo – escogía como chivo expiatorio un sector igualmente pobre y oprimido: los inmigrantes, en su mayoría de otras partes de África.

Syria: Rojava offers a way forward

Kurdish fighters in Rojava.

By Tony Iltis

May 9, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- War planes from the US and its allies bombed the village of Birmehli in northern Syria on the night of April‭ ‬30.‭ ‬US Central Command spokesperson Major Curtis Kellogg claimed that at least‭ ‬50‭ ‬fighters from the self-styled Islamic State‭ (‬IS‭) ‬group were killed and there was‭ “‬no indication that any civilians were killed‭”‬.

Socialists: 'Stop pushing back refugee boats; ASEAN must solve Rohingya humanitarian crisis!'

May 16, 2015 -- Socialist Party of Malaysia, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Together with all concerned Malaysians, the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM, Socialist Party of Malaysia) would asserts that for the 8000 or so Rohingya [refugees] at our doorstep, pushing back the boats into the sea should never be considered an option. Instead they should be allowed onto Malaysian shores while negotiations take place at ASEAN level on how best to resolve this humanitarian crisis.

Though the sad and bitter truth is that the sea seems to be the only place willing to host them now, it would be completely inhuman to push back the boats and abandon 8000 lives to the vagaries of weather and sea. 

Malaysia and other ASEAN countries need to accept that they are dealing with 8000 lives, mostly victims of the barbarism of the genocidal Myanmar regime that has taken away their citizenship, and their right to life. Instead of criminalising the victims, ASEAN nations must resolve to find permanent solutions  to the situation. Turning them away or deporting them back to Myanmar are not only unacceptable, but such actions also do not address the crisis or prevent its recurrence.

Reino de España: 24 M, prólogo para australianos

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4417]

Por Dick Nichols, Barcelona

17/05/2015 -- Sinpermiso -- Si algunas personas que conozco del sector más cínico o desencantado del espectro de la izquierda española reflexionasen sobre el tema de nuestro debate de esta noche --- "democracia de base y los movimientos contra el capitalismo: lecciones de España"- podrían tener la tentación de hacer un comentario bastante cáustico, tal vez algo como:

"¿Democracia de base?” ¿Cual? Sin embargo, el movimiento indignado de las plazas -que comenzó hace cuatro años (el 15 de mayo de 2011), cuando millones de personas se concentraron en más de 80 ciudades y pueblos, fue en buena medida una expresión de esa democracia de base, aunque más o menos se haya evaporado por ahora.

"¿Movimientos contra el capitalismo”? ¿Dónde están? Si no estamos hablando de grupos revolucionarios marginales, no hay movimientos contra el capitalismo dignos de tener en cuenta. Lo que tenemos es un montón desigual de movimientos de resistencia, por lo general sin éxito, contra diferentes aspectos de la austeridad capitalista.

Filipinas: crisis política y el callejón sin salida de la izquierda

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4407]

Por Reihana Mohideen

10/05/2015 -- Sinpermiso -- Si bien la renuncia de Walden Bello como representante en el Congreso de Akbayan debe ser bienvenida, también ha puesto de manifiesto la crisis y el fracaso del movimiento de izquierda y progresista y su incapacidad para construir una alternativa viable al actual régimen de las élites. Además, ha puesto de manifiesto el fracaso de las políticas electorales pragmáticas de la izquierda filipina.

Una pregunta importante que se plantea es, ¿cómo puede la izquierda responder a la reciente crisis política y darle una salida progresista, a fin de que beneficie a la Masa (masas) y no a una de las facciones de la elite gobernante? Teniendo en cuenta que las principales facciones de la élite no son capaces de presentar una alternativa creíble, ello proporciona la izquierda una oportunidad única, para defender y ganar apoyo popular a una alternativa de izquierda al gobierno de las elites filipinas.

Maduro and the market: Can Chavistas keep the revolution on track?

For more on Venezuela, click HERE and more by Steve Ellner HERE.

By Steve Ellner

May 13, 2015 – versions of this article were published in Red Pepper (April-May issue) and Alborada.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission of the author -- It’s a point of honour for Venezuela’s government that despite the sharp plunge in oil prices and acute shortages of goods, President Nicolás Maduro has ruled out austerity measures. In a recent TV interview conducted by former vice-president José Vicente Rangel, Central Bank president Nelson Merentes explained why, when he asked: “Do you remember what happened on February 27, 1989?”

On that date massive nationwide disturbances broke out after the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez announced sharp price hikes and negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, setting the stage for the 1992 military uprising led by Hugo Chávez. The memory of February 27 and the decision of the formerly left-leaning Pérez to come to terms with powerful economic groups as a way out of pressing economic difficulties undoubtedly weigh on Maduro’s response to the current situation.

Ireland: People Before Profit Alliance, Anti-Austerity Alliance: 'Build an active, democratic, principled left'

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April 27, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following statement, for the May 1, 2015, conference organised by the trade unions affiliated the the Right 2 Water campaign, was agreed between the People Before Profit Alliance, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and some independent activists, including councillor Brendan Young.

The People Before Profit Alliance is aligned to the Socialist Workers Party in Ireland, while the Anti-Austerity Alliance is associated with the Socialist Party (CWI). Despite wariness among activists due to these organisations' past practices that contributed to the failure of the United Left Alliance, the statement has been widely welcomed.

The text is taken from that posted by the Irish Left Review.

Ireland: Sinn Fein backs Yes vote on marriage equality

May 13, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sinn Féin video featuring Gerry Adams TD, councillor Emma Murphy and mayor of Dublin South Fintan Warfield calling on people to vote Yes to marriage equality in a referendum on May 22, 2015.

Ireland: A new party called hope -- Right2Water unions begin new left process (with videos)

Irish protest against water charges at the GPO in January.

By Rory Hearne

May 8, 2015 -- Broadsheet.ie, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Hope has been in short supply in Ireland in recent years but, thankfully, it has emerged in recent months. But this hope has not come in the so-called "recovery", which is deeply uneven across the country and from which the majority of people remain excluded.

No, the real hope emerged, first in the mass protests against water charges, and now in the possibility of a new political movement built from the grassroots of these unprecedented protests.

Since Ireland's independence in 1921 the overwhelming majority of Irish governments have been composed of the tweedle-dee, tweedle-dum parties of Fine Gael/Fianna Fail/Labour Party. What have they achieved for ordinary people? Corruption, inequality and austerity are now the hallmarks of the Irish Republic, a centenary after its founders aimed for a Republic of equality.

Scottish socialists: UK election a 'bitter-sweet' result

By Colin Fox

May 11, 2015 -- Scottish Socialist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the end the polls got it wrong, badly wrong. And all the commentators who placed so much faith in them looked foolish. There was no hung parliament. No horse trading between Westminster parties, no weeks of instability before a coalition government was formed. The Tories thumped Labour and won a clear majority.

Naomi Klein: To fight climate change we must fight capitalism

Naomi Klein interviewed by Agnès Rousseaux and Sophie Chapelle, for Basta! magazine.

May 10, 2015 -- Basta! magazine, posted at Climate and Capitalism, reposted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Basta! : We seem to be heading straight toward climate disaster. We know what will happen if we do nothing about climate change, yet nothing really changes. Why is it so?

Naomi Klein: It’s not that we’re doing nothing – we’re actually actively doing exactly the wrong things. We have an economic system that defines success and progress as infinite economic expansion. Any kind of expansion is deemed good. Our emissions are going up much faster than they were in the 1990s.

In the past decade, we had very high oil prices, which has created huge economic incentives for fossil fuel companies to push into new, more expensive, higher-emitting forms of extraction, such as tar sands and fracking.

Lessons from Spain: grassroots democracy and the movements against capitalism

"Podemos, whose decision-making process is based on online voting by a passive mass membership of 300,000, is a highly centralised operation that is in many ways the polar opposite of the grassroots democracy of 15M."

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

May 11, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- If some people I know from the more cynical or disillusioned end of the Spanish left spectrum were to reflect on the topic of our discussion tonight---“Grassroots democracy and the movements against capitalism: lessons from Spain”—they might be tempted to make a rather acid commentary, maybe something like this:

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