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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.

Venezuela’s economy under siege: A conversation with Luis Salas

 

 

Interview with Luis Salas by Cira Pascual Marquina

June 22, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Venezuela Analysis — Former Venezuelan Vice President for Productive Economy Luis Salas is a founder of the online journal 15 y Ultimo and a member of the economic think tank Vortice. He is well known for his prolific analyses of the country’s economy, always carefully documented. In this interview with Venezuelanalysis, Salas explores the government’s general tendency towards economic liberalization in the midst of a complex economic scenario.

Capitalism’s accumulation crisis prompts attacks on wages and organised labour

 

 

By Lisbeth Latham

June 22, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Irish Broad Left — The central driver of the capitalist system is the drive for capitalists to constantly increase profits – failure to do so can be a trigger for a crisis within the capitalist system.

Since the end of the long boom in the early 1970s, capitalism, particularly in the advanced capitalist countries, has entered a period of long-run crisis under which individual capitalists have sought to find ways to continue to expand profits during a period of chronic over-accumulation.

This crisis has prompted the search for new avenues for profitable investment and the attempt to maximise returns on the existing capital in circulation. Despite sporadic periods of temporary growth, the past 50 years have been punctuated by regular national, regional, and global crises.

United States: Racism, COVID-19 and the fight for economic justice

 

 

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

June 22, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Reports from the Economic Front — While the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the United States were triggered by recent police murders of unarmed African Americans, they are also helping to encourage popular recognition that racism has a long history with punishing consequences for black people that extend beyond policing.  Among the consequences are enormous disparities between black and white well-being and security.  This post seeks to draw attention to some of these disparities by highlighting black-white trends in unemployment, wages, income, wealth, and security. 

We had to tear this mothafucka up: The legacy of the LA Uprising

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene & Shalon van Tine

June 19, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — The L.A. Uprising began after the beating of African American construction worker Rodney King. On March 3, 1991, the LAPD pulled over King, and four police officers beat him within an inch of his life. What made King’s case unique compared to other examples of police brutality was that his beating was caught on tape. That footage quickly spread across the country. The police attempted to justify their abuse of power, falsely claiming that King was on PCP and that he had attacked them. Anger was so widespread that prosecutors charged the officers in question, hoping to appease the public outcry. 

In, out and round-about: the variegated terrain of labour responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa

 

 

By Dale McKinley

June 18, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Society, Work & Politics Institute — Long before the Covid 19 (C-19) pandemic arrived in South Africa, the country’s broad working class was already in serious trouble. Whether permanent, casual or unemployed or whether part of trade unions, worker collectives or wholly unorganised, the worker ship had long been navigating treacherous waters.

Much of this journey has been framed by the cumulative, devastating impacts of 25 years of neoliberal onslaught; created, managed and implemented by the post-1994 power triumvirate of the state, capital and party (ANC). Further, the more immediate (post-NASREC) period under Ramaphosa has seen intensified attacks on unions, rising levels of casualisation and thus worker precarity as well as a more generalised increases in poverty and inequality amongst the working class majority.  

Capitalism and workers struggle in China

 

 

By Chris Slee

June, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalThird edition; First edition: Resistance Books, 2010; Second edition: links.org.au/node/2349 (online only), 2011 — China is increasingly powerful, both economically and militarily, and increasingly influential in world affairs.  But what sort of society is it?

In the 1950s China adopted a policy of “transition to socialism”.  In the 1960s, Mao criticised the Soviet Union for seeking peaceful coexistence with the capitalist West.  Yet by the early 1970s Mao had done a deal with the United States at the expense of the Soviet Union and third world struggles.

Later China became a key location for transnational corporations producing for the world market.  Many Australian trade unionists now see China primarily as a place where workers are paid very low wages.  Few are aware of the widespread militant struggles by Chinese workers to improve their situation.

On the other hand, the rapid recovery of China after the 2008 world economic crisis has given some Australian socialists a more favourable impression of China.  The continued predominance of state-owned enterprises in some sectors of the Chinese economy is cited as a positive example, counterposed to the privatisation of nearly all public enterprises in Australia.

How Che Guevara taught Cuba to confront COVID-19

 

 

By Don Fitz

June 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, an earlier version appeared in Monthly Review — Beginning in December 1951, Ernesto “Che” Guevara took a nine-month break from medical school to travel by motorcycle through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. One of his goals was gaining practical experience with leprosy. On the night of his twenty-fourth birthday, Che was at La Colonia de San Pablo in Peru swimming across the river to join the lepers. He walked among six hundred lepers in jungle huts looking after themselves in their own way.

Coronavirus will not destroy neoliberalism – Only we can do that

 

 

By Lisbeth Latham

June 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Irish Broad Left — Triumphalist comments about the end of capitalism or neoliberalism abounded in the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2008, just as there are many people today who believe that the current crisis is the end of neoliberalism or capitalism.

Unfortunately, neoliberalism and – more importantly – the capitalist system will not just end of their own accord. Both, while prone to crisis, are extremely resilient, and are adept at turning their own crises into a rationale for deepening rather than reversing their dynamic.

It is not inevitable that the current crisis will see a strengthening of capitalism and its dominant ideological frame – they can both be defeated, but their defeat will not just happen. It will be the result of conscious resistance, not happenstance or luck.

Vale Jack Mundey: Inspirational Australian union leader

 

 

By John Tully

June 5, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from MR Online — Jack Mundey’s passing was met with great sadness, tempered with the knowledge that his legacy will never die. Fifty years ago, Jack and his comrades recast the corrupt and ineffectual New South Wales branch of the Builders Labourers’ Federation[1] (BLF) into a fighting democratic organisation and were probably the world’s first ecosocialist union activists. According to the German Green Party founder Petra Kelly, use of the word “green” as a synonym for environmental politics stems from the BLF’s policy of “green banning” ugly, anti-social and polluting urban development.[2] Blacklisted after the union was crushed by an unholy alliance of the state, corrupt politicians, property developers and sectarian union opponents, Jack continued as an environmental activist until the end of his days. He is survived by his life partner, Judy, herself a lifelong left-wing activist.

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