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Catalonia referendum: resisting the Spanish government siege

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

September 20, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In 1713-14, it took the troops of Spain’s Borbon monarchy 14 months of siege before taking Barcelona and ending Catalan self-rule. In September 2017, Catalonia is again under siege, this time from the central Spanish People’s Party (PP) government.

 

Under prime minister Mariano Rajoy the Spanish state is concentrating all its firepower on stopping the Catalan government’s October 1 independence referendum. On that day, if this siege is successfully resisted, Catalan citizens will vote on whether “Catalonia should become an independent state in the form of a republic”.

 

Since September 6, the day its parliament adopted its referendum law, Catalonia has experienced a “shock and awe” offensive aimed at forcing the pro-independence government of premier Carles Puigdemont to submit to the central Spanish administration. The adoption of the law by the parliamentary majority of 62 Together For The Yes (JxSí) and 10 People’s Unity List (CUP) MPs was the culmination of an eight-year process that has seen over one million people mobilise every Catalan National Day since 2012.

 

United States: Trump’s war on immigrants

 

 

 

By Justin Akers Chacón

 

September 11, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — At the press conference to announce his run for President in 2016, Donald Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as “drug dealers, criminals, rapists” who must be stopped by “building a wall.” Since taking office, Trump has continued to reiterate that message through policy initiatives designed to further degrade the quality of life for undocumented workers and their families. The overtly racist targeting of migrant and immigrant people by Trump has excited the far-right, and emboldened their efforts to organise and mobilise on a national scale, and terrorise working class communities of colour.

 

Gracchus Babeuf revisited

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

September 11, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from RS21 — In most English language scholarship on the French Revolution, Gracchus Babeuf (1760-1797) remains a marginal figure. At most, he merits a mention in a few paragraphs, where he is generally portrayed as an eclectic and utopian figure, who led an extremist movement doomed to fail. Sadly that view is shared by too many socialists, who dismiss Babeuf as just a Jacobin elitist with little to teach the present. Thankfully, Ian Birchall’s Spectre of Babeuf provides a welcome corrective to the neglect of Babeuf by giving him the respect he deserves as a participant in the French Revolution and as an original socialist thinker from whom revolutionaries can still learn a great deal.

 

The Catalan national struggle and the left in the Spanish state—a dossier

 

 

 

Introduction and translations by Dick Nichols

 

September 10, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The June 9 decision of Catalonia’s pro-independence Together For The Yes (JxSí) government to hold a referendum on whether the country should become “an independent state in the form of a republic” has created a raft of differences within the Catalan and all-Spanish left. The decision came after all efforts at a negotiating a Scottish-style referendum with the Spanish government had come to naught.[1]

 

Besides the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and its regional affiliates, nearly all left currents in Spain support the right to self-determination of the peoples of the Spanish State[2]: they differ, however, over how that right should be concretely exercised.

 

The Green Revolution: Effects in Asia and implications for Africa

 

 

By Alan Broughton

 

September 8, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal The term Green Revolution refers to the introduction of high-yielding varieties of staple food crops, particularly wheat and rice, into Third World countries, starting in the 1960s. Initially Mexico, India and the Philippines were targeted. The stated aim was to increase food production to end hunger and prevent uprisings.

 

The Green Revolution did increase agricultural production, and no more successful revolutionary uprisings occurred, but it failed to reduce hunger and poverty, improve nutrition, or protect the environment. While some of these failures are now acknowledged by the proponents, the answer is that “there was no alternative”, and that for untouched areas of the world, particularly Africa, there is still no alternative. However, that alternative does exist: it is called agroecology. Science takes credit for successes but takes no responsibility for failures (Shiva 2001).

 

'People are radicalizing Venezuela's Revolution': An interview with Christina Schiavoni

 

 

By Farooque Chowdhury and Fred Magdoff

 

September 7, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from MR Online — Amidst imperialist interference, the people in Venezuela are carrying on the task of reorganizing their society. Real-life picture in Venezuela is far different from new-reports the mainstream media continuously circulates. The following interview of Christina Schiavoni, a researcher and food sovereignty activist, provides a different view of the life of the Venezuelan people than we normally get from the media. The interview covers food and health situations as well as on-going politics and people’s participation in the politics. The interview was conducted by Farooque Chowdhury and Fred Magdoff, in August 2017.

 

Why is Canada supporting Africa’s most ruthless dictator?

 

 

By Yves Engler

 

September 7, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Pambazuka NewsAfter amending the constitution to be able to run indefinitely Paul Kagame recently won 98.63% of votes in Rwanda’s presidential election. In response Canada’s High Commissioner Sara Hradecky tweeted: “Congratulations to Rwandans for voting in peaceful presidential election” and "Canada congratulates Paul Kagame on his inauguration today as President of Rwanda". The latter Tweet was picked up by the state propaganda organ New Times in a story titled "Heads of State, diplomats laud Kagame’s 'visionary leadership'.”

 

July 19 Revolution: a start towards a federal, democratic Syria

 

 

By Noursham Ibrahim

 

September 7, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Cooperative Economy The July 19th Revolution, whose spark started in Kobanî [Kobanê / Ayn al-Arab] in 2012, soon echoing in the region and the world, has achieved considerable victories on the military, political, and social levels during the last five years ─ achieving unique progress in leading the community towards democracy and federalism, perceived by observers as the best solution not only for Syria, but also for the stalemate in the communities of the Middle East.

 

Catalonia terror attacks: 500,000 march for tolerance as Spanish establishment blames independence movement

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

September 4, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal After the August 17-18 terror attacks on Barcelona’s Rambla and in the seaside town of Cambrils, the half-million-strong march in the Catalan capital on August 26 expressed the profound desire in Catalan society to stay tolerant, open and un-militarised in the face of the terrorist threat. But it expressed more than that.

 

‘A basic question’: Lenin glosses the April Theses

 

 

V.I. Lenin in 1920, drawing by Isaak Brodsky

 

By Lars Lih

 

September 1, 2017 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary blog In April 1917, Lenin was churning out articles for Pravda at an alarming rate. One such article is “A Basic Question,” written on April 20 and published the next day. This article later made its way into Lenin’s collected works, where it is easily available today. It is in no way a hidden or undiscovered document—and yet, in the context of a new look at the events of spring 1917, “A Basic Question” becomes a remarkable and revealing document. I have therefore newly translated it and provided a commentary.

 

Thirteen to two: Petrograd Bolsheviks debate the April Theses

 


Vladimir Nikolaevich Zalezhskii (1880-1957)

 

 

Everywhere and always, every day, we have to show the masses that until the vlast has been transferred into the hands of the Soviets of Worker and Soldier Deputies, there is no hope for an early end of the war and no possibility for the realization of their program.—Sergei Bagdatev, explaining his misgivings about Lenin’s April Theses at the April Conference of the Bolshevik party

 

By Lars Lih

 

Quebec independence a key to building the left in Canada

 

 

By Richard Fidler

 

August 31, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the LeftThe 2017 edition of the Université populaire (the People’s University), meeting in Montréal August 17-19, included a panel of speakers from Quebec and English Canada on the possibilities for building a convergence of left forces in both nations.

 

BRICS Xiamen Summit: Capitalist ‘deglobalisation’ could crack the bloc even if internal geopolitical strife eases

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

August 31, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal The Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa summit in Xiamen from September 3-5 is already inscribed with high tension thanks to Sino-Indian border conflicts. But regardless of a welcome new peace deal, centrifugal forces within the fast-whirling world economy threaten to divide the BRICS. South Africa, which plays host to the BRICS in 2018, is already a victim of these trends – even as President Jacob Zuma continues to use the bloc as a primary crutch in his so-called “anti-imperialist” (talk-left walk-right) political survival kit.

 

The Russian Revolutions of 1917

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

 

Russian Revolutions of 1917, two revolutions that occurred in Russia in 1917. The first revolution, in February, overthrew the Russian monarchy. The second revolution, in October, created the world’s first Communist state.

 

The Russian revolutions of 1917 involved a series of uprisings by workers and peasants throughout the country and by soldiers, who were predominantly of peasant origin, in the Russian army. Many of the uprisings were organized and led by democratically elected councils called soviets. The soviets originated as strike committees and were basically a form of local self-government. The second revolution led to the rise of the modern Communist movement and to the transformation of the Russian Empire into what became known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The goal of those who carried out the second revolution was the creation of social equality and economic democracy in Russia. However, the Communist regime that they established eventually turned into a bureaucratic dictatorship, which lasted until 1991.

 

Correcting Eva Golinger on Venezuela

 

 

By Stansfield Smith

 

August 21, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — As the class struggle heated up in Venezuela this year, fueled by interventionist threats by the pro-US Organization of American States (OAS) bloc, many former supporters of the Bolivarian revolution have remained sitting on the fence. Fed up with these fair-weather friends and their critiques which recycle corporate news propaganda, some defenders of Venezuela such as Shamus Cooke,  Greg Wilpert, Maria Paez Victor, have come with articles clarifying the stakes and calling the so-called “left” to account.

 

Falling BRICS endanger their citizens’ health, starting with South Africa’s Jacob Zuma

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

August 21, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — As he launched the African Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB) in Johannesburg on Thursday, nearly 18 months behind schedule, South African President Jacob Zuma must have had mixed feelings. Strife-riven Brazil, Russia, India and China are more risky allies than Zuma reckoned when in 2010 he accepted Beijing’s invitation to join the club.

 

Trump versus the Venezuelan Revolution

 

 

Rally in Caracas against Trump's military threats

 

By Shamus Cooke

 

August 15, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Trump’s threats against Venezuela escalated recently from the economic to the military: after announcing sanctions he threatened that all military options were “on the table.” Trump’s actions were perfectly timed to lend support to the U.S.-backed opposition in Venezuela, whose ongoing violent rebellion aims to topple the government of democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro.

 

The apex of violence was focused on stopping the recent elections to the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), convened by President Maduro to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution with the goal of resolving the current social-economic crisis.

 

The ANC was tasked to become the most powerful governmental body while in session. Part of Maduro’s motivation in convening the ANC was to break the political deadlock that started when the U.S.-backed opposition gained control of the Venezuelan parliament, the National Assembly.

 

Marx and Engels on ecology: A reply to radical critics

 

 

Marx and the Earth: An Anti-Critique
by Paul Burkett and John Bellamy Foster
Haymarket Books, 2017

 

Reviewed by Chris Williams

 

August 15, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Socialist Review — A long-standing critique of the writings of Marx and Engels has been their supposed lack of concern for or even analysis of the environmental damage caused by capitalism. Worse, even as they envisaged and fought for a world of human freedom, their conception of socialism showed a comprehensive disregard for how humans interact, or should interact, with nature.

 

Crisis and Breakdown

 

 

 

“Either the socialist transformation is, as was admitted up to now, the consequence of the internal contradictions of capitalism, and with the growth of capitalism will develop its inner contradictions, resulting inevitably, at some point, in its collapse, (in that case the “means of adaptation” are ineffective and the theory of collapse is correct); or the “means of adaptation” will really stop the collapse of the capitalist system and thereby enable capitalism to maintain itself by suppressing its own contradictions. In that case socialism ceases to be an historic necessity. It then becomes anything you want to call it, but it is no longer the result of the material development of society."

 

Rosa Luxemburg

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

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