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Scotland: 45% for independence despite ruling class panic; Business as usual is not an option

By Alister Black, Glasgow

September 20, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- After two years of campaigning, Scotland’s independence referendum has ended. It saw victory for the No side, the opponents of independence, with 55% compared to 45% who backed a Yes to independence.

The referendum saw an unprecedented level of political engagement and debate throughout Scotland. This was reflected in the huge and unprecedented turnout of 84.59%, reversing the trend of recent decades of dwindling poll turnouts. Some rural areas even recorded 100% turnout.

Pro-independence campaigners, especially around the Radical Independence Campaign, registered thousands to vote in Scotland’s poorest and most marginalised communities, where many had been off the voters roll since the days of the poll tax.

We spoke to people who had never voted and needed the process explained. These alienated communities were enfranchised by the referendum.

Catalonia and the Spanish state on collision course

1.8 million people (25% of the population of Catalonia), took part in this year’s September 11 Diada demonstration. More pictures HERE.

Click for more on political developments in Catalonia and the Spanish state.

By Dick Nichols

September 17, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This year’s September 11 Catalan national day (Diada) demonstration, in support of the Catalan parliament’s planned November 9 popular consultation on Catalan statehood, was the biggest since the present cycle of mobilisations for the country’s right to national self-determination began four years ago.

Brazil: Marina Silva’s rise is a result of the left’s failures

Marina Silva.

For more on Brazil, click HERE.

By Federico Fuentes

September 16, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- A fortnight out from Brazil’s October 5 national election, the big news has been the significant surge in support for Marina Silva, a former Workers’ Party (PT) government minister and environmental activist, with some polls predicting she could end up winning the presidential race.

Incumbent president and PT candidate Dilma Rousseff maintains a narrow lead over Silva, but the elections will almost certainly go to a second round run-off on October 26. 

If this occurs, current indications are that Marina Silva has a chance of winning, a remarkable feat given that a little over a month ago she was not even a presidential candidate.

South Africa: Workers need to speak with 'one voice', but whose voice?

[For more on COSATU, click HERE. For more on South Africa, click HERE.]

By Terry Bell, Cape Town

September 14, 2014 -- Terry Bell Writes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission --  The labour movement is coming under increasing pressure as the global economic crisis continues to bite. On the South African front the pressure is growing as the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) labour federation fails to deal with the internal divisions that threaten to tear the federation apart. Or at least further fragment the country’s largest union organisation.

This much has been admitted by COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. He noted in August that “unions are in a state of paralysis”. Addressing the Food and Allied Workers’ Union congress in Johannesburg he said that “workers’ issues are being sidelined even by COSATU itself”. And it is the unions themselves that should sort these matters out.

NATO’s new cold war redraws left, liberal views on imperialism and war

The right-wing Canadian government endorsed a "Ukrainian Independence Day" celebration in Toronto that openly raised funds for the fascist Right Sector organisation and at which the group's red and black flags were displayed prominently.

By Roger Annis

September 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Just under 25 years ago, the Cold War ended with a capitalist triumph. The nationalised economies and political structures of the Soviet Union and eastern Europe collapsed and a transition to a harsh, anti-social capitalism began.

In the years that followed, an eastward expansion was undertaken by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the military alliance of the imperialist countries of Europe and North America. Many of the countries of eastern Europe joined the alliance, in explicit defiance of agreements by NATO with post-Soviet Russia not to expand in this way.

Escocia: Dossier sobre el referéndum de septiembre por la independencia

[English (first item) at http://links.org.au/node/4051.]

11 de septiembre -- Sinpermiso.info -- Después de la gran manifestación popular del 11 de septiembre en Cataluña que centró el interés de los grandes medios de comunicación, el 18 de septiembre la atención de gran parte del mundo estará puesta en Escocia. Este dossier sobre el referéndum que el próximo 18 de septiembre se realizará en esta nación sobre la independencia o no del Reino Unido, consta de varios artículos y entrevistas de los siguientes autores: Alister Black, William Black, George Monbiot, Owen Jones, Andy Robinson.

Descarga aquí o leer en la pantalla de abajo.

United States: Marxists and the lost Labor Party of 1923

1919 US Labor Party convention.

By Eric Blanc

September 10, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Discussions on how to break working people from the hold of the Democratic Party have acquired a new immediacy as a result of the recent electoral victories of independent working-class candidates in Seattle, Washington, and Lorraine, Ohio, as well as the campaign for Chicago union leader Karen Lewis to run as an independent for mayor. Those interested in promoting independent politics today may benefit from studying the rich experience of the labor party movement in the United States of the early 1920s.

Pamphlet: The case for an independent socialist Scotland

Download the full pamphlet HERE or read on screen below.

By Colin Fox, Scottish Socialist Party national co-spokesperson and Yes Scotland advisory board member

September 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On September 18, 2014, Scotland will go to the polls to decide whether to remain part of the 300-year-old political union that is the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" or become the world’s newest independent country. The decision will have far reaching consequences either way.

For the British state, Scottish independence represents a huge threat, a profound loss of economic and political power and influence at home and abroad. Consequently, it is dead-set against it and it will do its utmost to stop that from happening.

For the independence movement, the stakes are equally high. The referendum offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure self-determination for Scotland, to establish a left-of-centre social-democratic state and free 5 million Scots from the yoke of British imperialism.

A lesson in humility for ‘New Atheists’

Christianity, Islam and Atheism: Reflections on Religion, Society and Politics
By Michael Cooke.
Sydney: Resistance Books, 2014.
Order HERE.

Review by Ben Courtice

September 11, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For a time I stopped referring to myself as an atheist in public. I was intensely embarrassed by seeing ads on buses promoting atheism around the time of the World Atheist Conference in Melbourne. For a while I simply became “not religious” for public purposes. I found it embarrassing because public evangelism is the one thing that particularly galls me about religion.

I didn't change my opinions, but this book does a good job of outlining why I felt as I did, in far more insightful terms than I ever thought of.

Scotland: What explains the surge in support for independence?

Alister Black interviewed by Dick Nichols

September 9, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- In Scotland, a remarkable popular movement, the campaign for independence, is heading towards the September 18 referendum on whether the country will remain part of the United Kingdom.

The fight for socialism in Slovenia: interview with Anej Korsika (Initiative for Democratic Socialism)

For more on the Initiative for Democratic Socialism, click HERE.

Anej Korsika interviewed by James Robertson

September 1, 2014 -- Left East, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

James Robertson: Let’s start with a brief history of the Initiative for Democratic Socialism (IDS) and its role in the formation of the Združena levica (UL, United Left) earlier this year. What are the origins of IDS? 

Anej Korsika: The Initiative for Democratic Socialism, to use the old cliche, has a short history and a long past. Officially, the party was founded on March 8 this year. However when one wants to grasp the gradual formation of the party, one needs to take into consideration a much longer timeline.

France: Front de Gauche debates ‘uniting the people’ vs ‘uniting the left’

"We want to federate the people" -- Front de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Melenchon.

By Liam Flenady, Brussels

September 14, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- About 200 activists from France’s Front de Gauche (Left Front) gathered in Paris on September 6 to discuss the group’s future. The front has been in limbo over the past few months after disagreements about strategy led to a weak performance in the European and local council elections in May.

The meeting took place at a time of controversy in French politics. The once social-democratic Socialist Party (PS) President Fancois Hollande had sacked the cabinet and appointed a new one — the second time since the start of the year — and the far-right National Front (FN) topped the presidential opinion polls for the first time.

On top of this, Jean-Luc Melenchon, the leader of the Parti de Gauche (Left Party) that is one of main groups in the Left Front, stood down as Left Front co-president. Melenchon announced he would soon launch a new Movement for a Sixth Republic.

This political instability is an outgrowth of a deeper economic malaise. Since Hollande’s election in 2012, the economy has stood on shaky ground. The economy has stagnated for the first two quarters of the year.

Socialist Alliance: 'No Australian military involvement in Iraq'; 'End Australian partnership with NATO'

September 4, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following statements were adopted by the Socialist Alliance national executive on September 4, 2014, in response to the Australian government's decision to join the US and other imperialist states in a new military intervention in Iraq.

* * *

1. The US wars on Iraq (1991 and 2003) killed hundreds of thousands and completely wrecked the country. The US promoted sectarian divisions in order to retain control. It created the conditions for the rise of the "Islamic State" and is thus responsible for the current crisis.

2. Australia was an enthusiastic junior partner in both US wars on Iraq and thus shares responsibility for the terrible suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people as well as the current situation.

3. There is a humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria due to the Islamic State’s ethnic cleansing and general terror campaign. Approximately 1.5 million refugees are living in camps in Rojava (the Kurdish liberated zone in northern Syria), Turkey and the Federal Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

a. Australia should give large-scale assistance to these refugees. This should be delivered by non-military means.

b. Australia should massively increase its refugee intake from Iraq and Syria.

c. No asylum seekers already here should be forcibly returned to Iraq or Syria.

France: Jean-Luc Melenchon's closing speech to Parti de Gauche's Summer University

September 13, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In August, the Parti De Gauche (Left Party) held it's annual "Summer University" in Grenoble, France. On August 22, 2014, the party's leader Jean-Luc Melenchon held an impromptu press conference (subtitled at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE4oo... ) and at the end of the program of meetings, round-tables and presentations summed up the highlights of the four-day event, describing strategic changes at the party and its program for the next year.

Asia: ASEAN integration and its impact on labour

September 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Presented by Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM), to the assembly of the Union Presidents Against Contractualization, Century Park Hotel, Manila, September 10, 2014.

* * *

1. There are many regional agreements in Asia-Pacific that impact on regional economic integration and trade policies. One of these agreements centered on the integration of ASEAN economies in Southeast Asia composed of the ten countries of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam.

Barry Sheppard on Daniel Bensaid's and Ernie Tate's memoirs of the 'tumultuous' 1960s

Paris, May-June 1968.

An Impatient Life, a Political Memoir
By Daniel Bensaid
London: Verso, 2013

Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s: a Memoir: volume 2, Britain 1965-1970
By Ernest Tate
London: Resistance Books, 2014

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal readers can read an excerpt HERE.

Read Barry Sheppard's review of Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s: volume 1 HERE

Reviewed by Barry Sheppard

September 9, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- These books cover the impact of the worldwide youth radicalisation that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s upon two sections of the Fourth International, one in France and the other in Britain. In both countries, this was a period of tumultuous events, including the US invasion of Vietnam and the international movement that erupted against it.

민병대와 과두세력 사이의 동부 우크라이나 인민공화국

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4008.]

이후로는 외국의 진보적 매체의 글들을 정기적으로 번역하여 게재할 예정이다. 이번에는 최근 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewald에 실린 우크라아니 동부지역의 분리그룹 내부 움직임에 대한 러시아 좌파 활동가 보리스 카갈리츠키의 글을 번역하여 싣는다. 번역은 델라님께서 맡았다. <편집자>

Redian.org
———————–

* Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal은 우크라이나의 정치적 상황에 대해 다양한 좌파적 견해를 발표해왔다. 이 글들이 반드시 발행인의 의견을 대변하지는 않는다. 아래는 모스크바의 Boris Kagarlitsky의 글이다. (Renfrey Clarke 번역)

우크라이나 정부와 노보로시야 Novorossiya 공화국(노보로시야는 ‘신러시아’라는 뜻. 우크라이나로부터 독립을 선포한 도네츠크 주와 루간스크 주 일대 지역이 모여 결성한 국가) 사이의 전쟁은 점차 교착상태가 되어가고 있다. 양쪽의 자원은 소모되고 있고, 전투 역량도 바닥을 보이고 있다.

Ukraine army defeat forces ceasefire, underlying political conflicts unresolved

Destroyed Ukrainian military hardware is strewn across the outskirts of Mariupol, reports the Guardian.

Click for more on the political situation in Ukraine

By Roger Annis

September 9, 2014 --  A version of this article was first published at Truthout, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- A ceasefire in the war in eastern Ukraine was announced in Minsk, Belarus on September 5. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko made a simultaneous announcement in Wales, where he was a special guest at the summit meeting of the NATO military alliance.

Palestine: Hamas is leading a legitimate struggle for self-determination

Palestinians take part in a rally marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, in Gaza City on December 8, 2012. 

By Rupen Savoulian

September 4, 2014 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas is the abbreviation from the Arabic – has constituted the democratically elected government of the Palestinian territories since January 2006. It swept to power in that year, winning a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament, amid recognition of the failure of the traditional secular nationalist Palestinian parties, in particular the Fatah party that had dominated the Palestinian leadership for decades.

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