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Australia: 'Zoe's law' prepares ground for US-style attacks on women's right to choose

By Pat Brewer

April 8, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The New South Wales (NSW) parliament is due to debate the final passage of the anti-woman legislation known as “Zoe’s law” [Crimes Amendment (Zoe's Law) Bill 2013]. Originally introduced by the far-right Christian Democratic Party’s Fred Nile in the upper house (Legislative Council) and later taken up by Liberal Party MP Chris Spence in the lower house (Legislative Assembly), where it has already passed, it has yet to be voted on by the Legislative Council. As yet it has not been scheduled for a vote but it is likely to pass given the support it has among many members from both major parties, the Liberal Party and the Australian Labor Party.

Boris Kagarlitsky: Crimea annexes Russia

Russian president Vladimir Putin signs law completing Crimea annexation.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published a range of views from the left on developments in Ukraine and Crimea HERE.

By Boris Kagarlitsky, Moscow, translated by Renfrey Clarke for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

March 24, 2014 – editorial, Rabkor (Worker Correspondent) -- No, that’s not a mistake. On March 18, Crimea annexed Russia. There were no insidious schemes or imperial ambitions involved. There was, however, a spontaneously developing situation, together with the usual, everyday willingness of the Crimean bosses, who saw a unique chance in the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.

Nicolás Maduro in 'New York Times': 'A call for peace'

The following article appeared as an op-ed in the April 2, edition of the New York Times. It is reproduced at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal in interests of solidarity.

* * *

By Nicolás Maduro, president of Venezuela.

April 2, 2014 -- New York Times, CARACAS, Venezuela — The recent protests in Venezuela have made international headlines. Much of the foreign media coverage has distorted the reality of my country and the facts surrounding the events.

Venezuelans are proud of our democracy. We have built a participatory democratic movement from the grass roots that has ensured that both power and resources are equitably distributed among our people.

Boris Kagarlitsky on Ukraine: From the Maidan to the revolution?

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published a range of views from the left on developments in Ukraine HERE.

By Boris Kagarlitsky, translated by Renfrey Clarke, for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

April 13, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In Ukraine, a genuine revolution is unfolding. This may seem strange, but it is something very characteristic of the history of that country.

In Ukraine in 1918, workers’ protests by the “Reds” took place solely in response to actions by the nationalist authorities that had installed themselves in Kiev. The question of how progressive the regime established by the supporters of the Donetsk Peoples Republic and other movements in Ukraine’s south-east will prove remains unanswered for the present simply for the reason that the very survival of these movements is far from guaranteed. But it can already be said with assurance that there is no road back. The point of no return has been passed, not only in in the political but above all in the social sense.

A comradely response to Mike Gonzalez’s 'Letters from Venezuela'

Example of Chavista graffiti in an area where Dan Gent was living in Merida. The opposition barricades are way down the road, where you will not find any of this graffiti. 

See also "Federico Fuentes replies to Mike Gonzalez". For more discussion on developments in Venezuela, click HERE.]

April 11, 2014 -- RS21 -- Dan Gent, writes from Venezuela having witnessed the events surrounding the opposition riots. It is offered as a comradely response to Mike Gonzalez’s "Letters from Venezuela". This piece was originally published on the Comrade Markin blog, where there are more photos that Dan has taken in Venezuela. Dan was a participant in the most recent solidarity brigade organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network.

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PolyluxMarx: A guide to reading Karl Marx's 'Capital'

April 14, 2014 -- PolyluxMarx -- For several years now, people have been starting to dust off Marx and return to his analysis of society. This is mainly due to the social turmoil in global capitalism, weaknesses in prevailing explanations of economic relationships and the harrowing crises the world has faced since the 1990s.

In particular, a younger generation of readers – untainted by former ideological battles – is starting to read Capital. Whether in universities, educational institutions, unions or in their own living rooms, small groups are discussing Marx’s critique of political economy.

This is exactly what PolyluxMarx aims to support. This website provides a collection of annotated PowerPoint slides that illustrate the central arguments from Capital. We also use concise introductory texts and notes on methodology and learning to make Capital easier to read.

Michael Lebowitz: Venezuela's economic problems; Trans-Pacific Partnership an imperialist assault

[For more articles by or about Michael Lebowitz, click HERE. For more on Venezuela, click HERE.] 

April 4, 2014 -- Newsclick -- Michael Lebowitz, a Canadian economist who has written extensively on Latin America and is a former resident in Venezuela, talks to Newsclick on the economic problems facing Venezuela and the recent protests there.

He says these protests have been orchestrated by right-wing forces that want to get rid of the left-wing government. They are happening in rich neighbourhoods; the poor are not participating.

Saying that these protests will not go very far and will fizzle out, Lebowitz points out that there is an underlying serious economic problem that did not originate with President Nicholas Maduro and have been building for quite a while.

Lebowitz says the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement is an international assault on the people and it can be countered only by an international response.

Venezuela: el racismo desvergonzado de la contrarrevolución

El gobierno revolucionario de Chavez invertió 300 millones de dolares en la construcción del metrocable. El metrocable elimina horas de la subida y bajada que normalmente la gente hacia a pie para llegar al trabajo, la escuela, centros de saludo, y otros sitios importantes. Beneficia a miles de habitantes de San Agustín, la mayoría de ellos siendo afro-descendientes.

[English at "Venezuela: Racism and the counter-revolution".]

Por Arlene Eisen

6 abril 2014 -- Sinpermiso.info -- Los grandes medios de comunicación, aquí y en Venezuela, han triunfado ampliamente dando un rostro democrático al movimiento racista, esencialmente fascista, de las calles en Venezuela. Coaliciones tradicionalmente antirracistas han ignorado Venezuela. Es hora de ser solidarios con la mayoría del pueblo venezolano.

Caracas, última hora de la mañana del pasado 12 de febrero. Desde el restaurante del hotel situado en una esquina de la Plaza Venezuela podemos oír los cantos, pero hay demasiado barullo para entender. ¿Qué dicen? ¿Maduro Salida, Maduro/burro salida, o qué? Desde la ventana vemos a las gentes, casi todos blancos sonrientes bajando por la calle para sumarsea la enorme manifestación antigobierno que dio el tiro de salida a las presentes revueltas en Venezuela.

Federico Fuentes: ¿Cogestión es Revolución? Workers' participation during the first Chávez administration (1999-2006)

For more on Venezuela, click HERE.

By Federico Fuentes

April 12, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Attempts to analyse Venezuela's experiments in cogestión (generally translated as "co-management") during the first Hugo Chávez administration (1999-2006) have tended to centre on form rather than content. Almost all have concluded that the government ultimately abandoned cogestión, and with its support for workers' participation.

However, rather than focusing on pre-established models or comparisons with historical experiences, the development of cogestión can be better understood as the product of a complex interaction between competing visions within the government and workers' movement in the broader context of attempting to create a uniquely Venezuelan model of socialism.

At the heart of these debates were the issues of ownership, production and distribution. The end result of all this was that by early 2007, cogestión came to resemble something quite different to its initial conception, that is: a mechanism for co-governance in the economic sphere and a necessary means by which to ensure integral human development.

Farooq Tariq, Awami Workers Party: 'Left unity a precious gain amid right-wing advances in Pakistan'

Farooq Tariq

April 10, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- One of the international guests at the 10th national conference of the Socialist Alliance, to be held in Sydney June 7-9, 2014, will be Farooq Tariq, general secretary of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) in Pakistan. Conference organiser and Green Left Weekly correspondent Peter Boyle interviewed Tariq on April 10. He will speak on "The struggle for democracy and justice in Pakistan" on June 7 at the Addison Road Community Centre, Marrickville, Sydney.

Get your ticket here.

* * *

It has been nearly a year and a half since the Awami Workers Party was formed out of a merger of the Awami Party Pakistan, the Labour Party Pakistan and the Worker’s Party Pakistan. How is this united party going today?

Costa Rica: Rout of the status quo

Luis Guillermo Solis.

By Elena Zeledon, San Jose , Costa Rica

April 8, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The election of Luis Guillermo Solis on April 6 as president of Costa Rica, with 77% of the votes, represents the end of an historcal period and opens the door to unprecedented opportunities for the left.

Solis, representing the Citizens Action Party (PAC), crushed the remnants of the Party of National Liberation (PLN), a party that he once served as general secretary.

Nigeria: Africa’s number one economy -- for wealth evaporation

In 2012, neoliberalism catalysed a national “Occupy Nigeria” strike that nearly overthrew the government the removal of a petrol subsidy, under direct pressure from the IMF.

Click for more on Nigeria; and on BRICS. More articles by Patrick Bond.

By Patrick Bond

April 10, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Jim O’Neill – the Goldman Sachs banker who in 2001 coined the idea of Brazil-Russia-India-China or “BRIC” serving as “building bricks of the 21st century world economy” – has another bright idea. [With South Africa this bloc is now known as BRICS.] He recently announced a new fascination with the Mexico-Indonesia-Nigeria-Turkey (MINTs) countries, which “all have very favourable demographics for at least the next 20 years, and their economic prospects are interesting”.

Rwanda: The World Bank and IMF role in the 1994 genocide

For more on Rwanda, click HERE.

By Eric Toussaint

April 7, 2014 -- Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt -- Twenty years ago, beginning April 7, 1994, in less than three months, nearly 1 million Rwandans were exterminated – the exact figure has not yet been determined – because they were (or thought to be) Tutsis. Tens of thousands of moderate Hutus were also slaughtered. This was indeed a genocide, that is, the deliberate destruction of an entire community through mass murder in the aim of preventing their biological and social reproduction.

In this context, it is crucial to investigate the role played by international financial institutions. Everything we know leads us to believe that the policies imposed by these institutions, the main financial backers of General Juvénal Habyarimana’s dictatorial regime, accelerated the process resulting in the genocide. In general, the negative impact of these policies is not taken into consideration to explain the tragic unfolding of the Rwandan crisis. Only a few authors highlight the responsibilities of the Bretton Woods institutions |1|, which have rejected any kind of responsibility.

Discussion: Are Russia and China imperialist powers?

"Probably the most important Russian monopoly is Gazprom, the world’s largest gas company, which by 2008 had about 400,000 employees. The company is reported to control over 93% of Russia’s natural gas production and about a quarter of the world’s known gas reserves."

By Chris Slee

April 7, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Russia and China both play an important role in world politics. This includes involvement in armed conflicts distant from their borders. Russia for example supplies arms to the Syrian government. Both Russia and China supplied arms to the Sri Lankan government during its war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who were fighting for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka. (The LTTE was defeated in 2009.)

In some cases, Russia and China intervene on the same side as the Western imperialist powers. This was the case in Sri Lanka, where the US, Britain, Israel and other Western powers also aided the Sri Lankan government in its brutal war against the LTTE, which was in fact a war against the Tamil people.

Martin Empson's 'Land and Labour': A Marxist view of ecology and human history

Land & Labour: Marxism, Ecology and Human History
By Martin Empson
London: Bookmarks Publications, 2014

Review by Simon Butler

April 4, 2014 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- With several serious global environmental crises bearing down on us, the question of our age must be “what can we do?” Martin Empson urges us to look into the past and into the future for answers in his new book, Land and Labour. His message is that human destruction of its environment is not inevitable, although it is very likely if we don’t draw upon the best and worst examples from humanity’s diverse experience.

He writes:

Greece: Open war against the majority in favour of the rich

Police attack protesting Greek shipyard workers in 2012.

By Afrodity Giannakis, Thessaloniki

April 7, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- New austerity measures were passed by the Greek parliament, albeit by a narrow majority, on March 30. The bill contained just three articles, which seem to give the final blow to remaining workers’ and pension rights, the country’s economy and public ownership of land and services.

Legislation usually passes by a narrow majority in Greece. In the current parliament, this majority has been mostly ensured by a change in the electoral law before the last election, according to which the winning political party gets a bonus of 50 extra parliamentary seats. As a result, New Democracy, the major party in the governing coalition, has a number of MPs quite disproportionate to the vote it got.

Britain: New party Left Unity is on the move

The Left Unity conference backed the health policy commission’s “10 point plan to re-instate, protect, and improve the [National Health Service] NHS”.

By Tom Walker

April 2, 2014 -- Left Unity -- Left Unity’s national conference on Saturday, March 29, saw delegates come together in Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry to make decisions about the policy of this new party.

The party’s founding conference in November set Left Unity’s broad direction as a new party of the left and set up its constitution. This conference looked in more detail at policy areas including economics, health, housing and anti-racism, based on months of work put in by those who volunteered for the party’s policy commissions as well as many submissions from branches. (You can see the motions booklet here.)

Ukraine: Hypocrisy abounds as outside powers interfere

By Tony Iltis

March 30, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- The United Nations General Assembly voted on March 27 ― with 100 votes for, 11 against and 58 abstentions ― to not recognise the results of the March 16 referendum in Crimea. In the poll, most voted for the territory to leave Ukraine and join Russia.

The resolution was put by Ukraine and sponsored by the United States, the European Union and other Western powers, including Australia.

There are certainly questions about the conditions in which the referendum was held ― and of electoral fraud. But the resolution specifically upheld the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine, thereby condemning the unilateral separation of Crimea from Ukraine regardless of the circumstance of the vote.

The resolution’s sponsors have portrayed the events in Crimea since the February 21 overthrow of the Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovich as a Russian invasion, a viewpoint not questioned in the Western corporate media.

Russia and its allies have, for their part, portrayed the events as an act of self-determination.

South Africa: 'Challenge the neoliberal ANC government and its capitalist allies'

Striking platinum workers, January 30, 2014.

'We are looking forward to the mass workers party to challenge the neoliberal ANC government and its capitalist allies'

Statement of the Democratic Left Front, South Africa

April 2, 2014 -- On the eve of the May 2014 national elections the Democratic Left Front held its second conference since its formation in 2011 at Stay City in Berea, Johannesburg, from March 27-30, 2014.

One hundred and forty delegates representing a number of important popular movements, independent trade unions, women, youth, socialist and environmental organisations from around the country met and were decisive in embracing the NUMSA break with the Tripartite [[African National Congress, Congress of South African Trade Unions, South African Communist Party] Alliance and the building of a mass united front and a movement for socialism. We believe that this represents the most significant opportunity for placing democratic, left socialist politics at the centre of our country’s political system.

Suddenly politics has become interesting. The dominance of the ANC’s exhausted nationalism and the [opposition] Democratic Alliance’s [the former apartheid parties] regurgitation of big-business interests will be decisively challenged and, we have no doubt, defeated. Tweedledee and Tweedledummer will meet their match.

What did that ‘NASA-funded collapse study’ really say?

The four formulas in the HANDY Model
Can four equations explain the collapse of civilisations?

By Ian Angus

March 31, 2014 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- If hundreds of newspaper and online reports are to be believed, scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Agency have proven that Western civilisation will collapse unless we radically reduce inequality and shift to renewable resources.

That would be important news if it were true. Is it?

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