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Do seven cheap things explain the history of capitalism?

 

 

 

A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things:
A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet

Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore
University of California Press, 2017

 

Reviewed by Ian Angus

 

February 14, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Climate & Capitalism — Every airport bookstore features books with titles like 10 Ways to Retire Rich, 150 Places You Must Visit Before You Die, or 8 Easy Steps to a Flatter Tummy, with the numbers in very large type on their covers. They are the publishing ­equivalent of junk food, quickie books written to match titles that were invented by the marketing department to generate impulse purchases. The authors and publisher of A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things must have had such books in mind when they chose its title and designed its cover. Although it is by no means an airport quickie book, it shares their principal defect: the title promises a lot, but the book doesn’t deliver.

 

India: Communists debate way forward

 

 

By Dipankar Bhattacharya

 

February 14, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from LiberationMedia reports coming from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Central Committee meeting held in Kolkata (19-21 January, 2018) indicate that the party is majorly divided on the issue of its current political assessment and tactical position. According to these reports, the draft presented by Sitaram Yechury was defeated 31 to 55 votes in the Central Committee, and the forthcoming CPI(M) Congress in Hyderabad is now expected to take up the draft attributed to former general secretary Prakash Karat for deliberation and adoption. Within the CPI(M) the division is being widely seen as a clash of the ‘Bengal line’ against ‘Kerala line’. Beyond the CPI(M), among broad progressive liberal circles it is being seen as a clash between a pragmatic mass line and a puritan isolationist position, a conflict between people who understand the nuances of popular electoral politics and those who are driven by copybook Marxist dogma.

 

Fragmented Power: Portugal in Revolution, 1974-1975

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

February 11, 2018 
 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  — On April 25, 1974, just after midnight, the Catholic-owned Radio Renascenca played a song entitled “Grandola Vila Morena”. This was the signal for the underground Armed Forces Movement (MFA) to begin their long-planned coup d'etat and bring down the Estado Novo regime that had ruled Portugal for forty-four years. The coup succeeded with remarkable ease in seizing control of key installations and cities. The next day, the people of Lisbon ignored radio appeals to stay inside and poured into the streets to enjoy their first taste of freedom. To show their support for the soldiers, the people placed carnations on their guns – giving the coup its name as the “Carnation Revolution”. Despite the modest intentions of its organizers, over the next eighteen months the coup unleashed mass movements and popular initiatives that brought Portugal to the brink of a socialist revolution.

 

Syria: The Assad regime - a response to Marcel Cartier

 

 

By Chris Slee

 

February 10, 2018 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – In a recent article republished on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, Marcel Cartier denounces the Turkish invasion of Afrin and calls for solidarity with Rojava:

 

It is Afrin that has been a beacon of stability in Syria over the course of the war, not only taking in tens of thousands of refugees from elsewhere in the country, but establishing the principles of direct democracy, women’s liberation and ecology in the midst of an otherwise catastrophic and tumultuous period. It is precisely this model of a socialistic, multi-ethnic, feminist canton advocated by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that Erdogan’s AKP government sees as ‘terrorism’

 

I fully agree with Cartier's call for solidarity with the Rojava Revolution, but I disagree with some other points in his article.

 

Amedspor: resistance is everywhere

 

 

By Steve Sweeney

 

February 8, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The RegionAmedspor football club was little known outside of Turkey and the Kurdish diaspora until its captain and star player Deniz Naki was shot at on a German autobahn in January 2018.

 

Catalonia: To stop Puigdemont, Spanish regime dives ever deeper into the sewer

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

February 7, 2018 
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Early on January 30, Roger Torrent, speaker of the Catalan parliament that was returned at the December 21 elections, suspended that day’s session. It had been set down to elect outgoing president Carles Puigdemont as head of the new Catalan government.

 

The decision of Torrent, a leading member of the pro-independence Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), came after the Spanish Constitutional Court had ruled two days earlier that the investiture of Puigdemont, in exile in Brussels, could not take place in absentia.

 

Moreover, as someone facing charges of “rebellion” and “sedition” he would have to get the permission of Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena—author of the preventive detention of other Catalan MPs—to actually attend the investiture session.

 

Wild Times: From the 1917 Russian Revolution to the Revolution of Our Times

 

 

By Álvaro García, Linera, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Crisis and Critique

 

Abstract: The present work is an attempt to locate the relevance of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. It takes as a premise the thesis that the previous century was announced by this event, which indeed brought the idea of Communism from the marginal debates into the center of political action. It then goes on to debate revolutions as a plebeian moment, all the way to the possibility and the nature of socialism today, by taking a detour through the meaning of the Bolshevik Revolution. The paper concludes with affirming the necessity of revolutions, as something which dignifies the human beings.

 

Contextualizing South Korea’s Winter Olympics

 

 

By Youngsu Won

 

February 6, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This winter has been extremely cold in South Korea, with temperatures regularly reaching well below -10oC – perhaps another sign of climate change. One of the coldest places has been Pyeongchang, a small town in Gangwon Province, which is just below the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and is set to host the Winter Olympics between February 9 to 25.

 

Blanqui and the Communist Enlightenment

 

 

Dedicated to my cousin, Finley William

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

February 6, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice with the author's permission — Currently, the principles of the Enlightenment are under attack on several fronts. On the one hand, there are fascists and religious fundamentalists who are opposed to secularism, democracy, and equality. On the other hand, large segments of the left have rejected Enlightenment-inspired “grand narratives” as inherently oppressive and totalitarian. Now that Enlightenment ideas are under attack, the left stands on the same philosophical ground as the right, making it ill-equipped to defend universalist principles. Other so-called defenders of the Enlightenment, whether liberals or social democrats, offer no positive alternative to reactionaries. They remain stalwart defenders of the status quo of capitalism, wars, and racism.

 

New evidence of Africa’s systematic looting from an increasingly schizophrenic World Bank

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

February 5, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal A brand new World Bank report, The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018, offers evidence of how much poorer Africa is becoming thanks to rampant minerals, oil and gas extraction. Yet Bank policies and practices remain oriented to enforcing foreign loan repayments and transnational corporate (TNC) profit repatriation, thus maintaining the looting.

Honduras: Free Edwin Espinal and all political prisoners (plus COPINH Updates on the Case of Berta Caceres and Gustavo Castro)

 

 

February 4, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Free Edwin Espinal Campaign — Long-time Honduran activist Edwin Espinal has been jailed on charges related to protests against election fraud in Honduras. Due to his activism, he has been subject to State harassment, violence, and threats since the 2009 coup d’état. Immediate action is required to push for Edwin’s release and to ensure his safety.

 

Ecuador: Referendum could decide fate of Correa’s Citizens’ Revolution

 

 

By Denis Rogatyuk

 

February 3, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Ecuadorians will head to the polls on February 4 to cast their vote in a referendum that could prove to be decisive for the government of President Lenin Moreno and the political direction of the country.

 

Moreno was elected president last April as the candidate of PAIS Alliance, the party of former left-wing president Rafael Correa. However, less than year on from the election, Correa – together with a majority of PAIS Alliance activists – now view Moreno as a “traitor” for failing to honour his commitment to continue the policies of the Citizens’ Revolution, which was kick-started by Correa’s election in 2007.

 

Rosa Luxemburg’s bloc with the SPD bureaucracy

 

 

By Eric Blanc

 

February 3. 2018 — 
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — Rosa Luxemburg’s contributions to the revolutionary movement and the development of Marxism are undeniably important. Yet many writers today uncritically romanticise Luxemburg as a humanistic, undogmatic, and democratic alternative to Social Democracy, Leninism, and/or Stalinism. Sobhanlal Datta Gupta, for example, argues that Luxemburg ‘inaugurated the heritage of an alternative understanding of Marxism with a revolutionary humanist face, as distinct from liberalism, social democratic revisionism as well as Stalinist authoritarianism. It is through the lens of Rosa Luxemburg that it is possible to understand what went wrong with Soviet socialism and how we can reposition our understanding of socialism in the twenty-first century.’[1]

 

David Harvey denies imperialism

 

 

By John Smith

 

February 2, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Review of African Political Economy — David Harvey, author of The New Imperialism and other acclaimed books on capitalism and Marxist political economy, not only believes that the age of imperialism is over, he thinks it has gone into reverse.

Afrin between the claws of the major powers

 

 

By Cihad Hammy

 

February 2, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Region In an article I wrote a day before the Turkish state's invasion of Afrin, I intended to scrutinize the underlying ideological structures of the Turkish ruling party (AKP) and the driving force behind the invasion of Afrin. This article will focus more on the role of major powers, mainly US and Russia, in the recent invasion of Afrin and the stances held by the Assad regime and Iran.

 

Socialist Party of Malaysia on upcoming elections: boycott or not?

 

 

By Mark Johnson

 

January 31, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières — As general elections approach, Malaysian leftists are hesitating between between a boycott, and voting for the liberal-social democrat opposition coalition as the lesser of two evils.

 

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) Central Committee member S Arutchelvan sympathises with those who propose spoliing their ballot papers in frustration with the lack of choice in Malaysia’s upcoming general election.

 

Women, nature, and capital in the Industrial Revolution

 

 

By John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark

 

January 30, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Monthly Review — The remarkable rise in recent years of “social reproduction theory” within the Marxist and revolutionary feminist traditions, identified with the studies of such figures as Johanna Brenner, Heather Brown, Paresh Chattopadhyay, Silvia Federici, Susan Ferguson, Leopoldina Fortunati, Nancy Fraser, Frigga Haug, David McNally, Maria Mies, Ariel Salleh, Lise Vogel, and Judith Whitehead—to name just a few—has significantly altered how we look at Karl Marx’s (and Frederick Engels’s) treatment of women and work in nineteenth-century Britain.[1] Three conclusions with respect to Marx’s analysis are now so well established by contemporary scholarship that they can be regarded as definitive facts: (1) Marx made an extensive, detailed examination of the exploitation of women as wage slaves within capitalist industry, in ways that were crucial to his overall critique of capital; (2) his assessment of women’s working conditions was seriously deficient with regard to housework or reproductive labor;[2] and (3) central to Marx’s (and Engels’s) outlook in the mid-nineteenth century was the severe crisis and threatened “dissolution” of the working-class family—to which the capitalist state in the late nineteenth century was compelled to respond with an ideology of protection, forcing women in large part back into the home.[3]

 

Dialectical logic in Plato’s ‘Parmenides’, Hegel’s ‘Logic’ and Marx’s ‘Critique of Political Economy’

 

 

By Jason Devine

 

January 29, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Leon Trotsky once contended that the “Dialectic training of the mind” was “as necessary to a revolutionary fighter as finger exercises to a pianist.”[1] Regardless of one’s appraisal of the man, his observation was incontestably correct. To be a revolutionary in our modern times is to be a Marxist, and to be the latter is to adhere to Marx’s dialectical method. This method, by its very nature, cannot be unconsciously absorbed: it must be consciously striven for and then put into practice. The essential path to beginning this process of “training” is the study of works of dialectical logic.[2] Of course, not all such works are equal or accessible. For example, to fully understand Marx’s dialectics, a study of the works of Hegel is necessary; but starting with Hegel is notoriously difficult. Nevertheless, one piece of writing which is generally accessible and, moreover, an exemplar, is Plato’s dialogue Parmenides.

 

It should be recalled that, as Hegel’s system is an organic integration and summation of all previous philosophy, any previous work could be said to be necessary for an understanding of his thought. Certainly this touches the very heart of the man’s philosophy, for he had already noted in 1807, in his famous preface to the Phenomenology, that,

 

Fruits and perils of the ‘bloc within’: The Comintern and Asia 1919-25 (Part 3)

 

 

Chen Duxiu

 

By John Riddell

 

January 28, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — The most advanced experience of Communist alliance with national revolutionists occurred in Indonesia (Dutch East Indies) prior to the Baku Congress. However, it was not mentioned at the congress, even though one of its architects – the Dutch Communist Maring (Henk Sneevliet) – was present in the hall. Maring had been a leader for many years of revolutionary socialist Dutch settlers in Indonesia, who had achieved the remarkable feat of transforming their group into one predominantly indigenous in leadership, membership, and programmatic orientation. The key to success had been a close alliance with a mass national-revolutionary organization of the type described by the Second Congress, called Sarekat Islam.

 

Their tactic, which they called a “bloc within,” involved building a Communist fraction within the Islamic organization both by sending comrades into the movement and recruiting from its ranks. The bloc with Sarekat Islam, which started up before the Comintern was formed, had resulted in consolidation of a small but viable Communist party in Indonesia.[1]

 

Should Communists ally with revolutionary nationalism? The Comintern and Asia 1919-25 (Part 2)

 

 

Turar Ryskulov (1894-1938)

 

By John Riddell

 

January 28, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — As described in part 1 of this series, the Comintern leadership concluded at the end of 1919 that “[T]he civil war of the working people against the imperialists and exploiters in all the advanced countries is beginning to be combined with national wars against international imperialism.”[1]

 

But how would the proposed alliance of workers’ and national uprisings be effected? This strategic issue was addressed in the Comintern’s Second Congress, held in Moscow 9 July-7 August 1920.
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