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Understanding Abdullah Ocalan

 

 

The Political Thought of Abdullah Ocalan: Kurdistan, Woman's Revolution and Democratic Confederalism
Pluto Press 2017

 

Reviewed by Chris Slee

 

November 19, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Abdullah Ocalan has been held in a Turkish prison on Imrali Island since 1998. For most of that time he has been kept in solitary confinement. Access to lawyers and family members has been limited and sometimes cut off altogether for long periods. At the time of writing, access to Ocalan is completely blocked, with no contact whatsoever since September 2016.

 

Ocalan is considered the leader of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party). His isolation means that he cannot participate in the party's day-to-day decision making, but his ideas are taken as the basis for the political strategy of the PKK in Turkey and similar groups in Syria, Iraq and Iran.

 

Despite the difficult conditions of prison life, Ocalan has written extensively while in prison. This book's four chapters are articles by Ocalan written at different times.

 

The first chapter, “War and Peace in Kurdistan”, begins with a brief history of the Kurdish people from prehistoric times to the present day.

 

Catalan election shapes up as Europe’s critical battle for democracy

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

November 10, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On November 2, judge Carmen Lamela of Spain’s National High Court—direct descendant of the Franco-era Court of Public Order—took the war of the Spanish state against the Catalan pro-independence government to a new level of judicial violence.

 

It was not enough that Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, the two leaders of the Catalan mass pro-independence organisations the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Catalan cultural and language association Omnium Cultural, were already in jail. It was not enough that the Catalan government had been sacked on October 27 under article 155 of the Spanish constitution.

 

Now the deposed ministers had to be humiliated: facing charges of rebellion (up to 30 years jail), sedition (up to 15 years jail) and misuse of public moneys, eight of the ministers were sent into preventive detention supposedly to prevent them destroying evidence and fleeing the Spanish state.

 

Clearing up Marx and profit: ending the ‘Transformation Problem’ once and for all

 

 

Money and Totality, A Macro-Monetary Interpretation of Marx’s Logic in Capital and the End of the ‘Transformation Problem’
By Fred Mosely
Haymarket Books, 2016,
416 pp., $47.99

 

By Barry Healy

 

October 31, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Karl Marx published Volume 1 of Capital in 1867. By the time of its second German edition, just six years later he wrote, in a postscript: “That the method employed in ‘Das Kapital’ has been little understood, is shown by the various conceptions, contradictory one to another, that have been formed of it.”[1]

 

If anything, the contradictory conceptions have grown worse since then with various, near-intractable debates raging within Marxist circles. One of the fiercest of those debates is over the so-called “Transformation Problem”.

 

Catalonia braces to resist Spanish state war on its self-rule

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

The Spanish People’s Party (PP) government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has decided to impose direct rule on Catalonia under article 155 of the Spanish constitution. This clause allows the central government to take over the powers of a regional government if it “does not carry out its constitutional and legal obligations or acts in a way that seriously damages Spain’s general interest".

 

Rajoy announced the package enforcing the intervention on Saturday, October 21. The main measures are: sacking Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont, deputy premier and treasurer Oriol Junqueras and all other ministers and having their departments run from Madrid; prohibiting the Catalan parliament from appointing any replacement Catalan premier or adopting any legislation unacceptable to the Spanish government; and holding elections when the Catalan political and social situation has "normalised", in six months at most.

 

Venezuela: The significance of Chavismo's regional elections victory

 

 

Jim McIlroy, Steve Ellner, Dario Azzellini and Ricardo Vaz dissect Venezuela’s October 15 regional election results and its significance for the Bolivarian Revolution.

 

Understanding the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar

 

 

By Lionel Bopage

 

October 19, 2017
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal The Rohingya are the world’s largest stateless community. Most of them live in the western coastal state of Rakhine, one the poorest states in Myanmar. The majority of the Rohingya are Muslims and have for centuries lived in the majority Buddhist Myanmar. The Rohingya speak Rohingya or Ruaingga, a dialect that is distinct from other dialects spoken in Rakhine State and Myanmar. They are not considered one of the country's 135 official ethnic groups and have been denied citizenship in Myanmar since 1982, which has effectively rendered them stateless. Since August 2017, more than half a million Rohingya have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh alone.

 

Blanqui’s Politics of Revolution: An Interview with Doug Greene

 

 

October 18, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — In this interview, historian Doug Greene talks about Blanqui, his life and politics, and more. His new book, Communist Insurgent: Blanqui's Politics of Revolution, will be out next month.

 

Spanish state to Catalonia: 'Surrender or we'll take you over'

 

 

A meeting of one of the many local Committees to Defend the Referendum t
hat have sprouted up across Catalonia.

 

By Dick Nichols

 

October 16, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Catalonia’s Premier Carles Puigdemont officially declared an independent Catalan republic on October 10, only to announce the immediate suspension of independence to allow for negotiations with the conservative Spanish People’s Party (PP) government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The declaration of independence formalised the result of the October 1 referendum held under extreme police repression: in it 90% of those voting (43% of the electorate) said ‘Yes’ to independence.

 

The harsh reply from Madrid came two days later: Catalonia had to abandon all thought of secession or see its self-rule erased under article 155 of the Spanish constitution. The Catalan government was formally notified by fax that it had until 10am Monday, October 16 to make clear whether it had declared independence or not and, if it had, until 10 am Thursday, October 19 to abandon independence and "return within the framework of the constitution".

 

Moreover, only a clear written Yes or No would be accepted--"any statement different from a simple negative or affirmative reply will be considered as affirmative."

 

The fight for independence in Catalonia: What lessons for Quebec?

 

 

‘We are the grandchildren of the grandparents you bashed' October 3 demonstration 
outside the Spanish National Police headquarters in Barcelona

 

Introduction by Richard Fidler

 

October 16, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — Following the October 1 referendum in Catalonia — held in the face of massive repression resulting in hundreds of injured — the people shut down production and massed in cities and towns across the autonomous state on October 3 to protest the Spanish government’s attempt to deny them the elementary democratic right to vote on their constitutional and political future.

 

Marxist theories of the state played out in Venezuela

 

 

By Steve Ellner

 

October 15, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Steve Ellner's Blog on Venezuela, Latin America and Beyond — An abridged version of this article was published in Historical Materialism, volume 25, no. 2, 2017, pages 29-62

 

The Chimes at Midnight: Trotskyism in the USSR 1926-1938

 

 

To the memory of my grandparents, Dorothy and Charlie, who probably wouldn't have approved of the content of this essay, but hopefully I still made them proud.

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

I. Midnight in the Century

 

Spanish state moves to end Catalan self-rule after people power saves independence referendum

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

Is it possible to have a successful referendum when your country is effectively occupied by 10,000 police and paramilitaries with orders to stop it?

 

The holding of Catalonia’s October 1 referendum on independence shows that it is: all you need is a mobilised people with a clear view of where they are going, Europe’s most powerful and persistent social movement to help guide them, and a government that’s committed to carrying out its promises.

 

Add to those already rare ingredients imperviousness to provocation and violence, ability to improvise when logistics are sabotaged and determination to prevail in spite of a sea of difficulties (including severe tensions within your own camp), then you’ve uncovered the recipe for victory.

 

‘Africa Rising’ in retreat: Signs of new resistances

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

October 3, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Monthly Review — At the very moment that Africa’s GDP ceased its rapid 2002–11 increase, a profound myth took hold in elite economic and political circles, embodied in the slogan “Africa Rising.”[1] That myth persists.Deutsche Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann claimed in June 2017 at a Berlin conference, “Africa stands ready to benefit from an open world economy. Its economic outlook is positive.”[2] The conference was arranged by German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble to promote his G20 “Compact with Africa,” whose “main aim is to lower the level of risk for private investments” (but in the run-up to the German election, he and Angela Merkel were obviously also concerned to give the impression the strategy would reduce Europe’s African refugee crisis).[3]

 

The Philippines: On the frontline of Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’

 

 

In its first year in operation, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ has cost more than 13,000 lives and left the country mired in a human rights crisis.

 

One of the organisations at the forefront of opposing Duterte’s war is In Defence of Human Rights and Dignity Movement, iDefend, a coalition of more than 50 human right and grassroots organisations.

 

Peter Boyle spoke to iDefend spokesperson Ellecer “Budit” Carlos about the situation.

 

"Music can and should belong to all' - An interview with Dave Randall, author of 'Sound System: The Political Power of Music'

 

 

Dave Randall playing at Glastonbury

 

September 27, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Barry Healy speaks to Dave Randall, author of Sound System: The Political Power of Music

 

Pakistan: Repression of tenants at Okara Military Farms continue, Baba Jan's final review petition underway

 

 

By Farooq Tariq

 

September 25, 2017  
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières — The repression of tenants at Okara Military Farms continue for the last one and half years. On 21st September, Malik Salim Jakkar was arrested in Okara once again. He had spent most of the last two years (2015-2017) in jail and some two months back, he was released on bail.

 

Malik Salim Jakhar along his five friends came to see me a night before his arrest in Lahore, his first meeting after his release. However, he was arrested very next day. He has been facing 95 police cases, he was released only after he tendered an unconditional apology to the authorities. Despite that, he is arrested because many hundreds of peasants met him during his brief freedom.

 

Catalan referendum: a ‘democratic tsunami’ rises against Spanish state siege

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

September 24, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The most critical week in modern Catalan history began today, September 24. With one week to go to the October 1 referendum on independence, the battle lines in what will be a decisive clash have formed. On the one side, the 80% of Catalan people who support their right to decide their country’s future; on the other, the 10,000 Spanish National Police and paramilitary Civil Guard charged with stopping the October 1 vote.

 

Since the middle of last week, the two sides have been engaged in intensifying skirmishes that will end in one of three scenarios: the humiliation of the central Spanish government of People’s Party (PP) prime minister Mariano Rajoy (if the Catalan majority manages to vote); a setback for the movements for Catalan sovereignty and independence (if the police operation succeeds in closing polling stations); or a confused outcome due to some people getting into polling centres while others are kept outside by the “forces of order”.

 

United States: Where any white police officer can kill any Black man at any time…

 

 

… And the police officer will not go to jail.

 

By Don Fitz

 

September 23, 2017
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal This is what has sparked protests by thousands of people in St. Louis since September 15.

 

In 2011, St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley fired five to seven shots at Anthony Lamar Smith, killing him. Stockley claimed that Smith was selling drugs, chased him at high speed and shot him to defend himself. The story was briefly reported as another drug deal gone bad and that it was just incidental that the police officer was white and the victim was black.

John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’, eighty years on

 

 

Reviewed by Barry Healy

 

Of Mice and Men
By John Steinbeck
Penguin, 1993 (first published 1937), $8.95

 

September 23, 2017
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal This year marks the 80th anniversary of Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men. At less than 200 pages it carries enormous force as a mythic account of alienation under US capitalism.

 

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