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South Korea: How candlelight protests impeached a president and created spaces for direct democracy

 

 

By Jeong-eun Hwang

 

April 28, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– At 9 am on March 10, people gathered in front of the Constitutional Court to await the court’s ruling on whether to impeach South Korean president Park Geun-hye. Two hours before the verdict was read, those gathered chanted: “The Constitutional Court should uphold Park’s impeachment!”

 

At the designated time of 11am, the crowd held its breath as the eight judges appeared on the large screen set up in front of the court. As acting chief Lee Jung-mi calmly read the verdict, the crowd broke out at times in cheers and at others times in groans. After 20 minutes, Lee concluded the verdict by stating that the president would be removed from office. The crowd erupted with shouts, clapping and crying.

 

Those that had come out onto the streets in protest had finally “impeached Park.” For the past four months we had gathered at the square to realize our demands and acted on them, creating a space for direct democracy. In winter, we planted the seeds to make fundamental changes in Korean society shouting slogans, from the impeachment of Park to the eradication of deep-rooted problems like corrupt conservative forces and the chaebols that had been reigning over our laws. As spring comes, we await the seeds to sprout, nourished by the radiance of people power.

 

South Africa: Mass protests follow cabinet reshuffle as Zuma impeachment vote looms

  

 

By Patrick Bond

 

April 28, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On South Africa’s political left, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party dominated recent news by leading a mass march on President Jacob Zuma’s office in Pretoria, following a government power shift seen as amplifying corruption. The move also catalysed a ‘junk’ rating by two neoliberal credit ratings agencies. And an impeachment process on the immediate horizon represents the first real parliamentary threat to Zuma’s eight-year reign.

Asia: Statement in defense of Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution - no to foreign intervention!

 

 

 

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — We, the undersigned organizations, express our support and solidarity for the people of Venezuela and Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, against the ongoing threats of counterrevolution and violent attacks orchestrated by right-wing forces with the backing of the US imperialist power.

 

French presidential election: An earthquake? Yes and no

 

 

Manifestation of France Insoumise with Jean-Luc Mélenchon on 18 March

 

By Maxime Benatouil

 

April 27, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Transform Network — After the predicted but non-the-less spectacular result of the first round of the presidential election, on the left urgent questions are burning each and everyone’s lips: what shall we do in two weeks?

 

Going for Emmanuel Macron to make sure that Marine Le Pen looses? Abstaining from voting, thus taking the risk to see her move in the Élysée Palace? Would not five years of ‘more of the same’ politics be ultimately leading to the victory of the far-right in 2022?

 

Letter from North America: NAFTA redux and on steroids

 

 

By Ernie Tate

 

April 27, 2017  Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Unity with the author's permission — The new Trump administration has made NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States, a major issue in its relations with its two neighbours. Recently, Trump has threatened to tear it up. With his standard nationalist demagogy, he claims “previous bad trade deals”, have cost the United States many jobs as a result of American manufacturers moving plants off-shore. He is now in the process of triggering the required ninety day notification period, telling Canada and Mexico the new administration is prepared to bully its way to a new and more favourable arrangement for itself.

 

Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

 

Reviewed by Chris Slee

Chasing the scream 
By Johann Hari 
Bloomsbury Circus London 2015

 

April 9, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Over the past hundred years, millions of people around the world have been jailed for drug use. The United States has been particularly harsh. Its huge prison population, disproportionately Black and Latino, includes many people jailed for drug use.

 

But until 100 years ago, drug use was not a crime in the US (or in most parts of the world). Opiates were sold in pharmacies as remedies for a range of ailments.

 

Johann Hari explains that: “You could go to any American pharmacy and buy products made from the same ingredients as heroin and cocaine. The most popular cough mixtures in the United States contained opiates, a new soft drink called Coca-Cola was made from the same plant as snortable cocaine, and over in Britain the classiest department stores sold heroin tins for society women”. [page 9]

 

Most people used these products without any problem: “Just as a large majority of drinkers did not become alcoholics, a large majority of users of these products did not become drug addicts.

 

Marta Harnecker: "Ninguém pode negar que um novo sujeito revolucionário foi criado na Venezuela"

 
 
[Original in English here.]

April 8, 2017 — Tlaxcala — Essa entrevista com Marta Harnecker foi feita pelo jornalista Tassos Tsakiroglou para o diário grego Efimerida ton Syntakton. Apareceu no país no dia em que foi inaugurada a Conferência Internacional "150 anos de publicação de O Capital, de Marx: Reflexões para o século 21", da qual Marta era convidada. O evento realizou-se em Atenas, de 14 a 15 de janeiro de 2017 e foi organizado pela revista de teoria marxista Theseis em colaboração com a fundação Rosa Luxemburg. Essa tradução ao português do Brasil foi feita por alunos de tradutologia, para finalidades exclusivamente didáticas.

The presidential election in France — an election like no other

 

 

By Murray Smith 

 

April 7, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — What is happening in France this spring is much more than an election, or a series of elections, presidential and legislative. The two great poles of French political life, the Socialist Party (PS) and the Republicans (LR, right), are in crisis.

 

 

In the case of the PS, the crisis could prove to be terminal. The far right and the radical left occupy considerable spaces in the campaign and in the polls. And the campaign has been marked by so many twists and turns that everything still seems possible. We are witnessing an unprecedented political crisis of the Fifth Republic which will not be resolved so quickly, regardless of the results of these elections.

 

'I Am Not Your Negro' - A review

 
 

By Ernie Tate

 

April 5, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Unity — Now and then, and despite its capitalist and racial biases,our culture throws up something that can speak quite eloquently and uniquely about the times we’re living through.  In this case, I’m referring to an amazing documentary film that has been released recently, “I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO”, by Raoul Peck, an acclaimed Haitian director with major films to his credit.This latest work is well worth seeing and has been well received here.

 

A meticulously woven story of the civil rights movement at a critical juncture in its history, expressed in the marvellous words of James Baldwin, the documentary focuses on the lives of three central leaders of that movement in the 1960s, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, their lives tragically cut short by assassinations, killings that strategically weakened the movement and from which it never recovered.

 

Russia in the world

 

By Renfrey Clarke

 

April 3, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalFor several weeks in mid-December, media outlets were aflame with the news: Russian President Vladimir Putin, no less, had led a cyber-assault on US democracy, hacking the files of the Democratic Party in an effort to secure the election of his ally Donald Trump.

 

Or perhaps, the real source of the tale had nothing to do with Russia: perhaps it was an attempt to reinforce the self-hypnosis of US liberals that Hillary Clinton’s defeat did not stem from the disgust of millions of rust-belt workers at years of disdain and neglect by Democratic Party politicians.

 

Retired US intelligence experts soon shot the “hack” allegations full of holes.[1] But the refutations were ignored by the mainstream media. And the prejudice the allegations created would survive, to strengthen the rationale for Western economic, diplomatic and military pressures on Russia unparalleled in the post-Cold War period.

 

Identifying the foundations of women's oppression, charting the course of struggles for liberation

 

 

By Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation

 

April 3, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  reposted from Liberation, central organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation — March 8 – International Women’s Day – was born in the struggles that women factory workers in their thousands waged against bondage a century ago. Communists began the tradition of observing IWD in memory of those struggles.

 

Ironically, the powers-that-be and the advertisements all across try to hide the real legacy of Women’s Day and seek to establish a different narrative. They try to tell us that International Women’s Day (IWD) is an occasion when husbands are supposed to buy women washing machines and kitchen gadgets, when boyfriends are supposed to buy them flowers, and governments are supposed to make promises for ‘women empowerment’. So it is important for us to collectively reassert the fighting legacy of the international women’s day and draw lessons for the tasks and challenges at hand. On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2017 let us reiterate some key concerns of the women’s movement.

 

Pravda: ‘Mandate for Soviet Elections’

 

 

Introduction by John Riddell

April 2, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — The following declaration appeared 7 May 1917 on the front page of the Bolshevik newspaper Pravda under the title, Draft of a mandate for use in electing delegates to the Soviet of Worker and Soldier Deputies. This Mandate marked the first appearance of the slogan “All power to the soviets” in an official party statement. Its purpose was to help the soviet constituency distinguish genuine revolutionary candidates from revolutionaries in name only.

South Africa’s corporatised liberation: A critical analysis of the ANC in power

 
 

By Dale McKinley

 

March 31, 2017  Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Pambazuka NewsThe ANC has become the key political vehicle, both in party and state form, of corporate capital; both domestic and international, both black and white, both local and national, and constitutive of a range of different ‘fractions’ of capital.

 

A revolutionary line of march: ‘Old Bolshevism’ in early 1917 re-examined

 
Lev Kamenev reading Pravda
 

March 31, 2017 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Historical MaterialismIn the hundred years since the overthrow of Tsarism, there has been a near consensus among socialists and scholars that Bolshevism underwent a strategic rupture in early 1917. According to this account, the Bolsheviks supported the liberal Provisional Government until Vladimir Lenin returned to Russia in April and veered the party in a radical new direction by calling for socialist revolution and soviet power.

 

Through a re-examination of Bolshevik politics in March 1917, the following article demonstrates that the prevailing story is historically inaccurate and has distorted our understanding of how and why the Bolsheviks eventually came to lead the Russian Revolution.

 

The freedom to say “No”: Interview with dismissed Turkish academic and Yeniyol editor Uraz Aydin

 
 

Introductory note by LeftEast editors

 

March 31, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from LeftEast – For the last several months in Turkish politics, the party-state’s agenda has been dominated by two interconnected operations: consolidation of power and elimination of opposition.

The BRICS New Development Bank meets in Delhi to dash green-developmental hopes?

 


By Patrick Bond

March 30, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Will the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) bloc ever really challenge the world financial order?

John Bellamy Foster answers five questions about Marxism and ecology

 
 
Introduction by Ian Angus

 

March 30, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Climate & CapitalismThe Indian website Ecologise recently published John Bellamy Foster’s Foreword to my book Facing the Anthropocene. Commenting on Foster’s article, journalist and activist Saral Sarkar, who describes his views as eco-socialist, raised questions that challenge the usefulness of Marxist analysis in understanding the global ecological crisis. Foster’s reply was posted by Ecologise on March 26.

 

Fake news about the Rojava revolution

 
 

By Nick Fredman

 

March 28, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Sharply different opinions have developed among the radical left in recent years towards the Syrian radical democratic movement led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — an initially Kurdish-based force which through a series of political and military struggles and alliances has recently formed the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, as a model for a multi-ethnic, non-sectarian, federal and socially just alternative for the nation and the region. Some on the international left have accused this movement of human rights abuses, political repression and collaboration with the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad.

 

I was prompted to write the present notes in response to two articles by Roy Gutman in the US Nation magazine (here and here). But as these articles both sum up and are fairly extreme examples of the left criticisms of the PYD-led movement, it makes sense to discuss some background and previous articles before taking up Gutman.

 

India: Why are Suzuki automobile workers in jail?

 
 

By Kavita Krishnan

March 28, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  reposted from Liberation, central organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation — In a recent trial court judgement on 10 March 2017, 117 workers of the automobile company Maruti Suzuki’s factory in Manesar, Gurgaon, India were acquitted of a murder charge. 18 workers were convicted of minor offences while 13 – all leaders of the Maruti union – have been convicted of murder and await the quantum of punishment, to be declared on March 17, 2017.

The Maruti workers plan to challenge the convictions of their comrades in higher courts. Why are automobile workers being jailed for murder? The story at Maruti is a familiar one in India’s industrial scene.

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