The rise of far-right populism in the world – A ‘morbid symptom’ of our times

 

 

By Bulent Gokay

 

June 23, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Italian Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci wrote in his Prison Notebooks, in 1930, that “the crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum, a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” Gramsci was preoccupied with the breakdown and collapse of the liberal order which was the dominant pattern in international affairs after World War I. In particular, when struggling to understand the rise to power of Benito Mussolini, Gramsci used the term, “morbid phenomenon”. For Gramsci, Mussolini was one such morbid symptom. The term “interregnum” was originally used to denote a time-lag separating the death of one royal sovereign from the enthronement of the successor. Interregnum here, as referred by Gramsci, can be understood with a new wider meaning as a period where one arrangement of hegemony is waning, but prior to the full emergence of another.

 

The US-DPRK Singapore Summit was a meaningful step towards peace on the Korean Peninsula

 

 

By Marty Hart-Landsberg

 

June 22, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Reports from the Economic Front — The June 12th Singapore Summit between the US and the DPRK was an important, positive step towards the achievement of peace on the Korean Peninsula, normalized relations between the US and North Korea, and the reunification of Korea.

 

In the words of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union, one of South Korea’s largest unions:

 

The very fact that the top leaders of North Korea and the U.S., two countries whose relationship has been laced with hostility and mutual threats for the last seventy years, sat together in one place and shared dialogue is historic and signals a new era in which peace on the Korean Peninsula is possible. We therefore welcome the North Korea-U.S. Summit and joint statement.

 

Liberals are criticizing the Korea Summit from the right. Here’s why they have it all wrong.

 

 

By Sarah Lazare

 

June 22, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from In These TimesPoll after poll shows that the 51 million residents of South Korea overwhelmingly want an end to the 68-year Korean War—which the United States is still officially involved in. A recent survey found that 88.4 percent of South Koreans support the April 27 joint peace declaration by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in. And 81 percent of South Koreans expressed optimism about the Trump-Kim summit.

 

Despite widespread concerns that U.S. President Donald Trump would torpedo an historic opportunity for peace—including through his repeated threats to annihilate the entire Korean Peninsula with nuclear weapons—this worst-case scenario has not yet come to pass. When North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met with Trump in Singapore on June 12 and etched out a four-point agreement, the reaction in South Korea was largely a sigh of relief. “Koreans see the Singapore summit not just as another sensational episode in the story of Donald Trump but as a step away from a sixty-eight-year-old unfinished war,” writes E. Tammy Kim for The New Yorker.

 

Is imperialism still imperialist? A response to Patrick Bond

 

 

June 21, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Review of African Political Economy — In Towards a Broader Theory of Imperialism Patrick Bond joins in the debate between John Smith and David Harvey on roape.net over the direction of imperialism today. He criticizes both debaters for overlooking the category of sub-imperialism, a concept that can indeed help clarify some issues. But in stressing this and other important matters like environmental destruction and gender oppression, Bond sidesteps the major issue over which Smith challenges Harvey: what is the reality of imperialism today? Is it so different from the system described and analyzed by Lenin, Luxemburg and other Marxists a century ago that the traditional imperialist powers no longer drain value from the resources and labor of most of the world?

 

Bond is more critical of Smith than of Harvey, since he disparages Smith’s ‘old fashioned binary of oppressed and oppressor nations,’ just as Harvey rejects Smith’s ‘fixed, rigid theory of imperialism.’ But in avoiding the key issue Bond is in effect covering for Harvey: focusing on the theory of sub-imperialism serves to obscure the untenability of Harvey’s position on imperialism itself.

 

Spanish state: what does the Sánchez cabinet portend?

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

June 20, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — At the June 8 ceremonial hand-over of portfolio briefcases from outgoing People’s Party (PP) ministers to their incoming Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) substitutes, the contrasts were pretty dramatic. A bunch of reactionary lifetime political operators and religious obscurantists were giving way to what new PSOE prime minister Pedro Sánchez boasted was a “progressive”, “feminist” and “Europeanist” alternative.

 

The PSOE leader replaced deposed prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s 15-member ministry of ten men and five women with an 18-member team of 11 women and seven men, easily the most “feminist” in Europe and pushing Sweden (12 women and 11 men) into a distant second place. It also featured two gay ministers, former National High Court senior judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska as interior minister and Máxim Huerta, TV presenter, journalist and novelist, as culture minister.

 

| „Wenn wir streiken, steht die Welt still“ – wie der spanische Frauenstreik zum Erfolg wurde

 

 

[Original in English here.]

 

Von Julian Coppens und Dick Nichols

 

Juni 2018 — Zeitschrift LuXemburg — Am diesjährigen Internationalen Frauenkampftag fanden in beachtlichen 177 Ländern Demonstrationen statt. Dabei stach der spanische Staat mit einen Generalstreik für die Gleichberechtigung von Frauen besonders hervor. Mindestens fünf Millionen Menschen waren beteiligt. Es war die größte Mobilisierung von Frauen in der Geschichte Spaniens.

 

Es gibt viele Gründe für diesen Erfolg. Die #MeToo Kampagne von Schauspielerinnen und prominenten Frauen gegen sexuelle Belästigung durch Männer in Machtpositionen hat gerade in Spanien, wo der Machismo allgegenwärtig ist, hohe Wellen geschlagen. Allerdings hätte dies allein wohl kaum zu einer solchen Explosion des Protests von Frauen aller Altersklassen geführt, wie sie sich am 8. März in 120 Städten und Gemeinden auf der iberischen Halbinsel ereignete.

 

Struggle and defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence

 

 

By James Jordan

 

June 9, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalThere is a scene in Arturo Alape’s novel, El Cadaver Insepulto (The Unburied Corpse) that sums up Colombia’s current reality. A small group of authorities have been called to enter the apartment of an elderly woman who has not been seen in the community for days. Her apartment is at the top of Bogotá’s historic hillside Candelaria community, facing onto the narrow street that descends directly into the Plaza Bolívar, the park at the city’s heart. Plaza Bolívar is surrounded by federal government buildings and the National Cathedral and is the site of many public gatherings. The woman’s neighbors have been alerted not so much by her absence as the overwhelming stench seeping out from beneath her apartment door. Upon entering, the authorities are met by howling cats gathered around her bed, where she had died. When they pull back the covers, they are shocked to see her decomposed body being consumed by a host of vermin. The surprised vermin take off en masse, a river of cockroaches, rats, and pursuing cats exiting the woman’s home and descending at breakneck speed into the Plaza Bolívar, taking possession of the heart of Old Colombia.

 

New Zealand: A strategic vision for unions under Ardern's Labour-led government

 

 

By Mike Treen

 

June 9, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Converge — The union movement needs to have a strategic approach to the newly-elected Labour-led government that can maximise the immediate gains to be made whilst not accepting the absurd fiscal limits they have imposed on themselves.  The Government has declared their acceptance of a narrowly-defined "fiscal responsibility" that accepts the unfair taxation regime of the previous Government and refuses to introduce any new taxes on the wealthy individuals and corporates who treat taxation as a voluntary activity. 

 

They have also accepted a commitment to run surplus budgets in most circumstances to repay the accumulated debt when these debt levels are actually very low by any international measure. Budget surpluses require a Government to collect more tax than it spends – which inevitably depresses economic activity rather than stimulates it. That does not mean that I think governments in a capitalist economy can spend what they like or can prevent economic crises – but that is another story. 

 

Spanish state: How and why the Rajoy government fell

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

June 5, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On June 1, the Spanish government of the ruling People’s Party (PP) of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy fell to a no-confidence motion brought against it in the 350-seat Spanish congress by the opposition Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), led by its federal secretary Pedro Sánchez.

 

The vote was 180 to 169 with one abstention. This result installed Sánchez as the new prime minister of Spain. It was the first time since a multiparty-system replaced the Francisco Franco dictatorship 40 years ago that a no-confidence motion has succeeded.

 

Key to the final result was the decision of the conservative Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), governing the Basque Autonomous Community (Euskadi), to support the PSOE motion. Without its five votes the motion would have been lost because an absolute majority of 176 was needed for its adoption. Previously, the two Catalan nationalist parties with a presence in the Congress — the centre-left Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the conservative nationalist Catalan European Democratic Party (PDECat) — had flagged their support.

 

Nancy Fraser: Feminism and Marxism

 

 

June 4, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal via Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - New York Office — Noted scholar Nancy Fraser provides a wide-ranging interview covering Marx' and Engels' view of social reproduction, the tension between class, gender, and race, and the need for a "Feminism for the 99%". Nancy Fraser was interviewed by Albert Scharenberg of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, New York.

 

1968 in Asia: Malaysia’s “Second Emergency” (1968–89) and the Malayan Communist Party

 

 

By Gregor Benton

 

June 4, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Verso — The impact of revolutionary developments in Vietnam and China on the May events of 1968 in France and other Western countries has long been acknowledged. Less notice has been paid outside Asia to their repercussions on other Southeast Asian countries, which also experienced a revolutionary high tide in 1968. The upsurge of armed struggle in Malaysia in 1968 is rarely mentioned in general studies on the period, and is not often talked about even in Malaysia.

 

Lo que viene después del 20 de mayo: ¿algo nuevo en la política venezolana?

 

 

[Read in English here.]

 

Por Steve Ellner

 

2 de junio de 2018
Traducido con la ayuda de José Gregorio Tovar y Carmen Sánchez Ellner para Rebelion El desconocimiento de la legitimidad del proceso electoral del 20 de mayo por parte de Henri Falcón y el otro candidato presidencial importante de la oposición, el evangélico Javier Bertucci, no presagia bien para el nuevo periodo del presidente Maduro. La consolidación de un bloque moderado dentro de la oposición representado por Falcón que reconoce la legitimidad del gobierno, hubiera restado influencia a los partidos radicales de la derecha y significado un mayor grado de estabilidad en el país al disminuir la polarización.

 

La Rivoluzione Bolivariana vince la battaglia, ma sta perdendo la guerra?

 

 

[Original in English here.]

 

Di Federico Fuentes

 

28 maggio 2018
Traduzione di Maria Chiara Starace, Znet Italy Anche prima che avessero avuto luogo le elezioni presidenziali del Venezuela del 20 maggio, gli Stati Uniti –guidati da un presidente che ha perduto il voto popolare in un sistema elettorale che sistematicamente priva del diritto di voto milioni di elettori poveri e non bianchi – hanno rifiutato l’elezione perché non era “né libera né corretta”.

 

Venezuela's May 20 elections: Where do things stand?

 

 

By Steve Ellner

 

May 27, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from NACLA— Defeated Venezuelan presidential candidate Henri Falcón announced on May 20 that he would not recognize the legitimacy of that day’s elections. Nicolás Maduro’s reelection was generally expected, though his 68 percent of the vote was higher than what most polls predicted. Similarly, the 54 percent abstention among registered voters came due to the opposition’s Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) call for an electoral boycott.

 

The refusal by Falcón and the other main presidential candidate, evangelist Javier Bertucci, to recognize the electoral results bodes poorly for Maduro’s new term as president. The consolidation of a moderate bloc within the opposition that Falcón represented which recognizes the government’s legitimacy would have significantly cut into the strength of the more intransigent or radical parties on the Right and provided Venezuelan politics with much needed stability.

 

‘Racist’ Catalan president vows to build republic as Spain vetos ministers

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

May 24, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On May 14, 199 days after the Catalan pro-independence bloc re-won a majority at the December 21 elections imposed by the Spanish government, the parliament of Catalonia finally voted in a new president. Quim Torra, MP for Together For Catalonia (JxCat)—headed by exiled outgoing president Carles Puigdemont—was invested as head of government by 66 votes to 65 with four abstentions. On the first round of the investiture, held on May 12, the same vote was inadequate because an absolute majority of 68 was required.

 

The conservative Catalan nationalism of Quim Torra

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

May 24, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Is new Catalan president Quim Torra just another right-wing xenophobe, as claimed by Pedro Sanchez, leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), the equivalent in the Spanish state of Marine Le Pen in France, Gert Wilders in the Netherlands, Italy’s Matteo Salvini, Hungary’s Victor Orban and their counterparts in Denmark, Sweden and Finland?

 

As the battle over Catalonia’s right to self-determination increasingly gets fought out on the European stage it is vital for any democrat to answer this question correctly.

 

Is fascism inevitable?

 

 

Can Democracy Survive Globalised Capitalism?
By Charles Kuttner
Norton Publishers, May 2018

 

By Phil Hearse

 

May 22, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint — Since the global financial crisis in 2007-8, and the consequent anti-capitalist mobilisations like the Occupy! movement and the struggle against austerity in Greece, there have been a series of books arguing for major reforms to capitalism. [1].

 

Charles Kuttner’s important new book is perhaps the most radical of these, making a trenchant critique of globalised capitalism and proposing sweeping reforms to rebuild a mixed economy which works in the interests of everyone (especially workers) and pumps life back into liberal demonocracy. Basing himself on the work of his hero Karl Polanyi [2] Kuttner’s basic message is that unless major reforms are made within capitalism, then fascism or right-wing authoritarianism is virtually inevitable.

 

1968: A crushing defeat for the Indonesian Left

 

 

By Vannessa Hearman

 

May 19, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Verso — In Indonesia, 1968 was a year of defeat for the Left. A military operation, called the Trident (Trisula) Operation obliterated attempts by remnants of the Indonesian Communist Party (Partai Komunis Indonesia, PKI) to organise resistance against Suharto’s authoritarian New Order regime from bases in southern rural East Java. The strongest base, in remote South Blitar, was also a place of refuge, because leftists were being sought and detained or killed in the rest of Indonesia. The party had been, in 1965, the world’s third largest communist party. It was pro-China and was critical of the Soviet Union’s peaceful coexistence strategy in the Cold War. It had enjoyed a close relationship with Indonesia’s President Sukarno who was sympathetic to leftist ideas. From early October 1965, however, following its implication in the abduction and murder of seven army officers, the PKI has been subjected to violent army-led pogroms. In 1968 then, inspired by the rise of guerrilla movements in other parts of the world, the PKI leadership tried to salvage what was left of the party after vicious and murderous terror against its members and sympathisers.

 

Nuclear disaster at Chernobyl: reality and unreality

 

 

By Don Fitz

 

May 19, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — With the escalating doom of climate change hovering over us, it is tempting to push nuclear horror to the back of our minds. To those of us who grew up in the 1950s, it was omnipresent. Nuclear war could not exist without nuclear power and on April 26, 1986 the world experienced a form of nuclear horror it will never forget.

 

Why did Unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear plant explode on that day? Did operator error cause it? Was design flaw the reason? Should we look deeper into the Soviet system for the cause? Or should we look deeper still into the very existence of nuclear power?

 

Oppression of Pakistan’s caricatured feudalism

 

 

By Farooq Tariq

 

May 14, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal Large swathes of Pakistan are in the stranglehold of caricatured feudalism. These feudal relations are increasingly penetrated by finance capital as it imposes itself on social relations, politics and the economy itself. It has made the lives of millions miserable, deepening and brutalizing class exploitation. Rampant inequality and poverty remain chronic issues as millions can still be considered bonded labour. Such a harrowing situation is revealed by the fact that only five per cent of agricultural households in Pakistan own nearly two thirds of the farmland.

 

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