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The French yellow vest protests and the politics of alliances: what can be learned?

 

 

By Steve Ellner

 

December 15, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — It should not be surprising that the right in the form of Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump have attempted to give voice to the protests that have wracked France in recent days. In fact, the protests may signal a new stage that opens opportunities for the left at the international level. That is because the protests unify diverse non-elite sectors of the population and are directed against the economically privileged and the political establishment. Their rejection of a tax on fuel prices has now expanded to include an array of other economic demands such as a rise in the minimum wage, reduction of the workweek and improved retirement benefits. Furthermore, the protests skirt the right’s leading banners such as a halt to immigration, zero tolerance approach to law and order and other racist-driven formulations.

 

Central Europe and Central America: Will there be a historical convergence?

 

 

By Joyce McCracken

 

December 15, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — During October 1956 Soviet tanks rolled into the capital of the Hungarian People’s Republic, Budapest. Much has been written about the event. Discussions have ranged from Communist Party congresses, Fourth Internationalist gatherings, academic forums, and discussions in bars and over kitchen tables — essentially wherever lefties hang out in Europe and beyond.

 

A young English reporter, Peter Fryer, working for the Daily Worker, witnessed the event itself and the immediate aftermath. That paper was the forerunner of today’s Morning Star, which today proudly and justifiably claims to be the world’s only English language, socialist daily newspaper.

 

The story of what Fryer witnessed in Hungry can be read in his short book, Hungarian Tragedy. It makes harrowing reading.

 

Québec solidaire reviews the election and maps campaign on climate crisis

 

 

Introduction by Richard Fidler

 

December 13, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — Québec solidaire will make climate change the party’s main political campaign issue in the coming year, both in and outside the National Assembly. The campaign will build on the major proposals in the QS economic transition plan featured in the recent Quebec general election.

 

Meeting in Montréal December 7-9, the party’s National Committee (CN), which comprises delegates from its constituency associations and other membership bodies, debated and adopted a “political balance sheet” of the October 1 election, in which Québec solidaire doubled its share of the popular vote to 16% and elected 10 deputies to the National Assembly.

 

Britain: Gordon Brown’s self-exoneration rings hollow

 

 

Review by Alex Miller

 

My Life, Our Times
By Gordon Brown
Bodley Head, £16.99, 500 pages

 

December 13, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Gordon Brown went from being a creditable left-wing British Labour MP in the 1980s to Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) under Tony Blair from 1997-2007 and then Prime Minister from 2007, until his defeat at the hands of the Conservatives in 2010. As co-architect of New Labour, he became a champion of business elites, the private sector, the ultra-wealthy, globalisation, private finance initiatives (PFIs), public-private partnerships (PPP), privatisation, financialisation, and just about any neoliberal policy you care to mention.

 

In this dismal and depressing autobiography, he attempts to portray himself as a progressive opponent of neoliberalism and tries to relieve himself of culpability in New Labour disasters, such as the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Create two,three, many Rojava revolutions!

 

 

By Peter Boyle

 

December 10, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Hawzhin Azeez: Reflections of a Kurdish Feminist — Solidarity is a core value of the Socialist Alliance. Wherever we see people fighting tyranny or oppression our response is one of solidarity. Many of our founding members, including myself, had come to our socialist convictions when we were part of the powerful solidarity movement for the Vietnamese struggle against US imperialism.”

 

So when people started rising in the Middle East in the so-called “Arab Spring” revolts we jumped into solidarity action once again. Knee-jerk  solidarity with the oppressed, you could say. We were in the streets with the Egyptian community when it took to the streets around Australia and when the people in Syria rose up we helped organise one of the first solidarity actions in Sydney.

 

Linking class and gender theory

 

 

Reviewed by Pip Hinman

 

Social Reproduction Theory
Edited by Tithi Bhattacharya
Pluto Press $45

 

December 7, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The rise of #MeToo, the anti-rape culture movement in India, the US women's strike and the pro-choice movements that have rocked Ireland and Argentina reveal that a new generation of feminist activists — some of whom may not have heard of “second-wave feminism” nor read the debates — is now organising for change.

 

They are fighting back because their hopes and aspirations for a better, more equal life are being thwarted. They experience oppression as women and as workers. They may not all identify as feminist (thanks to liberal feminism), but they are fighters against women’s oppression nonetheless.

 

These are some of the people Tithi Bhattacharya hopes to reach with Social Reproduction Theory, a collection of essays that focus on developing and linking class and gender theory.

 

Value in a divided world

 

 

By Neville Spencer

 

Modern Imperialism, Monopoly Finance Capital and Marx’s Law of Value
By Samir Amin
Monthly Review Press, 2018

 

December 7, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — One of the most obvious and abhorrent features of the global economy is the stark division of the world into a wealthy “North” and a poor “South” — a division that Egyptian-born economist Samir Amin often referred to as one of “centre” and “periphery”.

 

Amin, former director of the Third World Forum in Senegal, is renowned as one of the most significant theorists in the field of global economics, uneven development and imperialism. His work is a major reference point in explaining the origin and nature of the North/South divide.

 

Modern Imperialism, Monopoly Finance Capital and Marx’s Law of Value was published shortly before his death in August. It comprises his 2010 work The Law of Value Worldwide and several essays explaining and expanding upon the themes of that work.

 

Interview with Indian socialist, feminist and student leader Sucheta De

 

 

December 7, 2018 
 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Sucheta De is a former JNU President and current President of the All India Students Association. She is a leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation and has experience in fighting the reactionary policies of the Modi government against women, students and the poor.

 

Sucheta De will be speaking at the Socialist Alliance's national conference in January 2019. More information at socialist-alliance.org

 

This interview was conducted at a CPIML Liberation conference earlier this year.

 

Trotsky’s revolutionary ideas – originality or continuity?

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

 

 

December 2, 2018 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Although I consider myself a Trotskyist (just as I consider myself a Leninist and a Marxist), there is something that has gotten me into trouble with some friends who also identify as Trotskyists.[1]

 

What Is Trumpism?

 

 

By Barry Sheppard

 

December 2, 2018 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Among socialists and the broader left there have been a range of views about what Donald Trump represents. These range from that Trump is an aberration and that things will return to “normal” once he is gone, to that Trump is working toward establishing fascism.

 

I reject the first view. Since 2008 politics in the U.S. and much of the world has undergone an important shift. There is no return.

 

Those who hold the latter view point to Trump’s overt racism and misogyny, his threats to unleash new wars (even nuclear war), his championing of restrictions on democratic rights, his open America First nationalism, his urging his audiences to attack protesters and reporters, his attacks on the press and so forth. Fascist ideology indeed encompasses these traits, but carries them to an extreme.

 

Antonio Gramsci and the Modern Prince

 

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

 

December 1, 2018 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – In this period of global crises and ferment, radical and revolutionary activists are reaching for modes of organization and political practice that can help advance their struggle for human liberation. For growing numbers, the political and organizational perspectives of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin are becoming a pole of attraction – providing an increasingly desired coherence and revolutionary edge. Yet the Leninist tradition can most fruitfully be understood not as providing dogmatic Truths fashioned by a revolutionary genius, but rather as a collective project and process, creatively fashioned and made relevant by insightful, passionate activists engaging with a variety of contexts. 

 

Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) offers an incredibly rich way of articulating and applying Leninist perspectives.

Cuba's first military doctors

 

 

 

By Don Fitz

 

December 1, 2018 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Cuba's deployment of military doctors to Africa in the 1960s was secret, known only at the highest level of government.  Accounts of these hidden efforts were not published until the beginning of the 21stcentury. 

 

Portugal: Convention gears up Left Bloc for year of critical fights

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

November 20, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalIn 2019, European and legislative elections will take place in Portugal in a national political context different from any other in the European Union (EU), where austerity policy still prevails and the rise of the racist and xenophobic right seems unstoppable.

 

'Being treated like slaves': Why migrant exploitation exists

 

 

By Mike Treen

 

November 16, 2018 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Recently Unite Union discovered a case of migrant exploitation where the workers talked about being “treated like slaves”.

 

In a capitalist society labour is meant to be “free” – unlike the forced labour associated with slavery. Workers are not meant to be the property of an individual owner. But it is also meant to be free in the sense that the worker is not bound to the land like feudal conditions. Then the serfs had no right to leave the land but the owner had no right to evict them either. Creating a class of “free labour” under capitalism involved the forced eviction of peasants from the land.

 

Right-wing coup or popular revolt? The April 2018 Nicaraguan uprising examined

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

November 16, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This document investigates the causes of the student protests that broke out on April 18 against the Nicaraguan government’s decree changing the regulations governing the country’s Institute for Social Security (INSS). The subsequent conflict has to date claimed at least 269 lives.

 

The research focuses on the period from April 18 to April 30 because what actually happened in these first days of the conflict is key to reaching a conclusion about which of two opposing accounts of its cause is most believable. The first account is that of the Nicaraguan government. This is that the events amounted to an attempt at a right-wing coup against a democratically elected administration , a coup successfully defeated with the minimum possible use of force. The INSS changes were merely a pretext for launching the coup attempt. For the opposition, by contrast, the events amounted to a revolt against a regime that suppressed protest with violence: police and paramilitary forces using military-grade weaponry were deployed to crush peaceful demonstrations that in reaction to state repression escalated into a popular uprising for justice and democracy.

 

Catalonia: The struggle over strategy in the independence movement

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

October 26, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal Last December 21, the three parliamentary forces supporting Catalan independence-- Together for Catalonia (JxCat), the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the People’s Unity List (CUP)--together won a 70-65 seat majority in the 135-seat Catalan parliament. Six months of drawn-out negotiations over forming a pro-independence government followed.

 

During this period Spanish Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena, instructing magistrate with regard to alleged offences in relation to the October 1, 2017 Catalan independence referendum, prohibited JxCat and ERC MPs in preventive detention and exile from standing for Catalan president or as ministers in any new Catalan government. Llarena’s work was backed up by the Spanish Constitutional Court, acting at the behest of the former People’s Party (PP) government of prime minister Mariano Rajoy.

 

Revolutionary Rojava: An polyethnic, feminist and anti-capitalist experiment

 

 

By Rachel Evans

 

October 26, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal As Syria enters its eighth year of civil war, the Bashar al-Assad regime, backed by Russia and Iran, must be held to account for its role in the killing of 500,000 people. In a bloodbath that has reaped unspeakable horrors, more than 5 million Syrians have been forced to flee the country, with a further 6 million internally displaced. The barbaric Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), grew out of this chaos and at one point controlled a third of Syria. Amid this savagery, however, a beacon of hope emerged in north-eastern Syria in 2012 – the polyethnic liberated zone of Rojava (Western Kurdistan).

 

‘October Song’ – A challenging portrayal of the Russian Revolution

 

 

Review of Paul Le Blanc, October Song:Bolshevik Triumph, Communist Tragedy, 1917-1924, Chicago: Haymarket, 2017, 479 pp., US$19.56.

By John Riddell

 

Ocotber 26, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentaries — Amid a flock of volumes marking the Russian revolution’s centenary last year, Paul Le Blanc’s October Song is set apart by its unique method. Working from English-language sources, Le Blanc offers us an anthology of assessments and viewpoints on the revolution with “a strong inclination to privilege older things” – that is, testimony and opinions from its early years.

 

The result is a kaleidoscope of observations, some by respected historians and many by unknown or forgotten voices, which, taken together, constitute a far-ranging debate over the meaning of these world-shaking events.

 

Québec solidaire prepares to confront a new government of austerity and social and ethnic polarization

 

 

By RIchard Fidler

 

October 25, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — Québec solidaire’s 10 members of the National Assembly, elected October 1, took their oath of office on October 17 in two parts.

 

Karl Kautsky: From Pope to Renegade

 

 

Eduard Bernstein and Karl Kautsky, 1910

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

October 25, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice with author's permission — At the height of the Second International, Karl Kautsky was recognized by socialists and anti-socialists alike as “The Pope of Marxism” for his popularization and systematization of Marxist ideas. The great figures of the day looked to him for guidance, whether Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, V. I. Lenin, or Eugene Debs. Since Kautsky was such an authoritative voice on Marxism, his subsequent betrayal was so deep that later communists could be forgiven for mistaking his first name as “Renegade” (as Lenin bitterly called him). Although Kautsky fell into obscurity following the Russian Revolution, in the last few years there has been a revival of interest in his politics in both academia (notably by the scholar Lars Lih) and on the political left. This raises questions about the meaning of Kautsky’s orthodox Marxism and about what, if anything, a renewed revolutionary left should adopt from it as our own?

 

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