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Understanding Putin's war on Ukraine

 

 

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Even since Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February, LINKS International Journal of Socialist Renewal has sought to carry a range of views from the socialist left to help understand the significance of this event. Particular attention has been paid to the voices of Ukrainian and Russian leftists who are at the forefront of resisting this invasion.

Below is a regularly updated compilation of links to articles we have published, ordered into categories and listed from most recent to oldest. We have also included links to some older articles that provide important historical or theoretical context (for example on the debate over Russian imperialism and assessments of events surround the Maidan revolt in 2014 and subsequent anti-Maidan revolt in the country’s east).

Britain: Tory candidates push anti‑China cold war

 

 

By Phil Hearse

August 10, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Anti*Capitalist Resistance — Although Liz Truss has largely succeeded in outflanking her rival Rishi Surnak to the right[1] on economic policy, by contrast on social issues[2] and foreign policy Surnak and Truss have played a game of right-wing leapfrog, each dragging the other successively toward more hard-line positions.

When Rishi Surnak accused Truss’ Foreign Office of being soft on China and said he would close the Confucius Institutes (CIs)—China’s version of the British Council, concentrating on teaching Mandarin and promoting Chinese culture—Liz Truss claimed that Sunak was recently reportedly eager to relaunch the UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue last held in 2019.

The war on Ukraine: An interview with a Ukrainian socialist

 

 

Summer 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Politics — New Politics put the following questions to Andrei, a member of the Ukrainian socialist organization Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement).

NP: What is your assessment of the current military situation?

A: Russia has conceded defeat in its attempted blitzkrieg, or “general battle,” and has moved on to a war of attrition. Putin believes that, over time, support for Ukraine will weaken, pressure from sanctions will become less and less, and Ukraine will not be able to stand alone against Russia. As we can see, he does have reasons to think so. Putin considers the complete obedience of the Russian population to be his strategic advantage over the West, which, unlike the populations of Western countries, will not criticize him because of high inflation or economic problems. 

Running aground: The Revolutionary Communist Party (US) and Stalinism

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

June 2, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Cosmonaut Magazine — Emerging from the social upheavals of the 1960s, the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) counted many dedicated organizers in its ranks who were inspired by the ideas and the example of Maoist China. The party used Maoist theory not only to plan for a future socialist revolution, but also to grapple with the complicated history of Stalinism and its impact on the international communist movement and the USSR. While the RCP did confront some of the dogmas and myths of Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy, in the end they were unwilling and unable to effectively understand Stalinism.

Kautsky, Lenin, Stalin and revolutionary Russia

 

 

Stalin: Passage to Revolution,
By Ronald Grigor Suny. 
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020. 
857 pages. $39.95 hard cover

Revolutionary Social Democracy: Working-Class Politics Across the Russian Empire (1882-1917) 
By Eric Blanc. 
Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2022. 
455 pages. $36.00 paperback

By Paul Le Blanc

August 13, 2022  — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint — Karl Marx once commented: “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” Less mature activists prefer the posture of changing the world over the hard work of understanding it, but as the young Marx also thundered: “Ignorance never did any one any good!”  

Statements: Free Walden Bello!

 

 

Socialist Alliance condemns the arrest of Walden Bello

August 9, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Alliance — Socialist Alliance condemns the politically motivated arrest of Walden Bello by the Marcos government in the Philippines.

Walden Bello is a renowned international scholar and political activist with a long history of involvement in the Filipino left and is the chairperson of socialist coalition Laban ng Masa.

On August 8, Walden Bello was arrested by the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) for two counts of cyber libel.

The cyber libel charges were filed against Walden Bello by the former aide of the current Vice President Sara Duterte at the height of the election campaign period earlier this year where Walden Bello ran as the candidate for Vice President under the ticket of the Party of Labouring Masses (PLM).

The persecution of Walden Bello through these charges is politically motivated because of his open criticism and stance against the Marcos government. The subsequent arrest of Walden Bello represents a fundamental attack on human rights and freedom of speech within the Philippines.

Ukraine: Trade union and human rights activist from Donbas — 'When there’s a problem, people come to us'

 

 

By Posle Editorial Collective

August 3, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Posle — Before the 2014 war, Pavel Lisyansky, founder of the Eastern Human Rights Group, was a miner and trade union activist in the Donbas. If it were not for Russia’s aggression, he would still be working in the mines, he says. “This is my life,” is how he signed the photo from his personal archive accompanying this interview. Today, Pavel Lisyansky and his colleagues from the Eastern Human Rights Group (EHRG) founded in July 2014 in Debaltseve actively document and report on human rights violations in the Russian-occupied territories and help local residents facing lawlessness.

How China escaped shock therapy in the 1980s: An interview with Isabella M. Weber

 

 

By Ondřej Bělíček

July 29, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from LeftEast — When today’s historiography refers to the debate about economic reforms in Eastern European countries during late communism, it often uses the term the “long transition”. It shows that the economic transformation from state socialism into neoliberalism was a process that took off in some of the countries in Eastern Europe in reaction to the oil crisis in 1973. Their debt was getting out of control and it forced them to work more closely with Western financial institutions, but it also meant a much deeper transformation of the world’s economic system with the end of the gold standard and Bretton-Woods economic system. Cooperation between Eastern European economists and Western financial institutions helped to shape the debate about the need for further economic transformation of state socialist economies. The most radical supporters of the neoliberal economic reform, later known as “shock therapy“, were influenced by Pinochet’s Chile or the military regime in South Korea. But at the same time, very similar debates over economic reform were taking place in China.

Video: The Kurdish women's movement — History, theory, practice

 

 

With Dilar Dirik and Elif Sarican

July 26, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Pluto Press — The Kurdish women's movement is at the heart of one of the most exciting revolutionary experiments in the world today: Rojava. Forged over decades of struggle, most recently in the fight against ISIS, Rojava embodies a radical commitment to ecology, democracy and women's liberation. But while striking images of Kurdish women in military fatigues proliferate, a true understanding of the women's movement remains elusive.

Malaysia: Politics of electoral coalitions – No shortcuts, no accomplishing goals by hook or by crook

 

 

By S. Arutchelvan

August 1, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Think Left — Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) recently concluded its 24th National Congress and the first one since the start of the pandemic. The event was held in Klang, between 15th of July to 17th of July 2022. It was a refreshing congress with many young people participating — displaying a promising future for socialism and giving us hope that its ideology is not outdated, but without a doubt, brewing amongst the youth. The election for the party’s Central Committee was participated by 49 candidates for 10 Central Committee seats, which for the first time saw woman candidates winning 8 of them. 11 out of the 16 members that were elected into the Central Committee by the delegates of the 24th PSM National Congress were women, which equals 68.75% of the group. This makes PSM the first and only political party in Malaysia whose top leadership consists of a 2/3 majority of women.

Russian socialist dissident Boris Kagarlitsky on Putin’s growing domestic crisis: ‘People will not fight for this regime’

 

 

Interview with Boris Kagarlitsky by Federico Fuentes

August 2, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Boris Kagarlitsky is a Moscow-based sociologist and editor of the socialist website Rabkor (Worker Correspondent), whose writings regularly appear in English on Russian Dissent

In this interview with Federico Fuentes, Kagarlitsky provides insight into the domestic factors behind the Russian regime’s decision to invade Ukraine, why President Vladimir Putin is seeking an “everlasting war”, the critical role being played by the left in anti-war organising, and prospects for social upheaval in Russia. A much shorter version of this interview first appeared in Green Left.

Stop the attack on the labour rights of Ukrainian workers! (articles and statements)

 

 

By European Network in Solidarity with Ukraine

July 31, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from European Network in Solidarity with Ukraine — We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, fighting a brutal invasion by Putin’s Russia.  We wish their people’s resistance victory over this criminal aggression.

However, it is with dismay that we learn--right in the middle of their life-and-death struggle—that Ukraine’s working people have come under attack on a second front: laws attacking their labour rights and working conditions have been passing through the Ukrainian parliament.

The latest and worst of these, Laws 5371 and 5161, were adopted on July 19.

This petition explains how the Laws would destroy Ukrainian workers’ rights and working conditions if they were allowed to come into effect.

They would legalise extremes of exploitation in Ukraine that would also endanger workers’ rights across the whole of Europe.

One man has the power to stop this disastrous legislation—President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He can ratify the laws or veto them.

I’m a Ukrainian socialist. Here’s why I resist the Russian invasion.

 

 

By Taras Bilous

July 28, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Commons — I’m writing from Ukraine, where I serve in the Territorial Defense Forces. A year ago, I couldn’t have expected to be in this situation. Like millions of Ukrainians my life has been upturned by the chaos of war.

For the past four months, I have had the opportunity to meet people whom I would hardly have met under other circumstances. Some of them had never thought of taking up arms before February 24, but the Russian invasion forced them to drop everything and go to protect their families.

We often criticize the actions of the Ukrainian government and the way defense is organized. But they do not question the necessity of resistance and understand well why and for what we are fighting.

The left, inflation and monetary policy

 

 

By  Andrew Jackson

July 28, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — The return of high inflation after the global pandemic poses a major political and analytical challenge for labour and the left. On top of cuts to real wages resulting from the wide gap between inflation and pay, high and rising inflation has led central banks, including the Bank of Canada, to hike interest rates sharply. This is raising the debt servicing costs of households, businesses and governments and making new borrowing more expensive.

If and as interest rates result in slowing economic growth and a possible recession, unemployment will rise, poverty will increase, and the squeeze on wages will intensify. Workers are being made to pay through inflation the cost of the pandemic which could have been financed through a wealth tax. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is already forecasting rising unemployment and stalled growth in the major advanced economies and China, while calling for tough monetary policy to deal with inflation.

Sri Lanka: ‘Weeks when decades happen’

 

 

By B.Skanthakumar 

July 20, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Social Scientists' Association — “There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen”, as Lenin never actually said. The estrangement between the regime-state in Sri Lanka and its core constituencies, while widening over the course of the pandemic years, became outright antagonism in a matter of weeks in the first half of 2022. This is what sets apart the first half of 2022 from the years preceding it.

In the first three months, the train wreck in slow motion of an economy mired in debt derailed at last. What began as a financial crisis – the depletion of foreign exchange reserves – expanded, as it must, into an economic crisis – through shortages of imports critical to the production and circulation of goods and services and mobility of people. This in turn catalysed a socio-political crisis – in which the Gotabaya Rajapaksa presidency, and by extension the first family and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (People’s Front) government, became the lightning conductor for popular disaffection and anger.

'The simple thing, so hard to achieve': Interview with Standing Together (Israel) national field organiser Uri Weltmann

 

 

Uri Weltmann interviewed by Daniel Randall

July 24, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Politics — Uri Weltmann, is the national field organiser for Omdim be’Yachad-Naqef Ma’an (Standing Together), and a member of its national leadership. Standing Together is a Jewish-Arab social movement active in Israel, organising against racism and occupation, and for equality and social justice.

Daniel Randall is a trade unionist and socialist based in London. He is the author of Confronting Antisemitism on the Left: Arguments for Socialists.

They discussed the political situation in Israel and the prospects for the left.

When the chickens came home to roost: Behind the assassination of Shinzo Abe

 

 

By Seiya Morita

“The political meaning of Abe’s death, the consequences, I no longer have the luxury of thinking about” ― Final line in a letter the killer sent to a journalist the day before the incident.

July 23, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — At 11:30 am on July 8, two days before Japan’s House of Councillors election day, former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was giving a speech at a roundabout in front of Saidaiji Station in Nara, Japan’s ancient capital, when someone shot him in the back. The attack put him into cardiopulmonary arrest (a medical euphemism for “death”). As soon as the news broke, the whole country was in an uproar. TV stations interrupted their regular programming to switch to live coverage of the crime scene, repeatedly showing what little information was available in fragments, as well as footage of the incident taken at the time. The perpetrator was apprehended on the spot. His name, photo, and personal information that he resided in Nara City and was a former member of the Maritime Self-Defence Force were immediately reported.

Russian imperialism: Economically weak, militarily strong

 

 

By Chris Slee

July 22, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — There is a debate among socialists over whether Russia is an imperialist power or not. Michael Probsting argues strongly that Russia is imperialist.[1][2] Renfrey Clarke and Roger Annis argue that it is not.[3]

This disagreement flows from the fact that Russia has some of the features we would expect in an imperialist power, but not others. For example, it has a strong military that intervenes in other countries, but it has a low per capita GDP.

Strategic ambivalence or disguised conflict? China’s reactions to Russia’s war on Ukraine and to Covid

 

 

By Don Nonini

July 11, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Focaal Blog — Why does China’s response so far to the Russian invasion of Ukraine “not add up”? On one hand, China has refused to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has pushed its own state-controlled media to promote only pro-Russian propaganda, and even republished false reports by the Russian state media. China abstained from a UN Security Council resolution in March 2022 that condemned the Russian invasion. Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently announced that China and Russia “will always maintain strategic focus and steadily advance our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era,” especially in the energy trade (Quoted in Torigian 2022). And it is an open secret that Xi Jinping gave his assent – or at the very least knew and did not demur – when he heard of Putin’s intention to invade Ukraine during the latter’s visit to Beijing at the recent Winter Olympics.

The BRICS spall, fall and (try to) reconstitute

 

 

By Patrick Bond

ABSTRACT: World financial relations were shaken up in early 2022 with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and one window through which light was shed on evolving geopolitics was the shifting power relations within the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa bloc. During the 2010s, the group was intended to generate Global-South solidarity against injustices carried out especially in the financial circuits of the world economy. The bloc soon launched two institutions: a New Development Bank and Contingent Reserve Arrangement. The former suspended Moscow’s borrowing rights (after 15 prior loans) in early 2022, consistent with Western financial trends. Ultimately this was not surprising, for instead of offering an alternative to the Bretton Woods twins, the bloc had, all along, served to amplify multilateral power relations that keep poorer countries oppressed, while littering societies and ecologies with destructive projects and debts, as consideration of the South African case reveals.

 

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