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Turkish socialists: In the face of nationalist consensus and militaristic unreason, we condemn Erdogan’s war on Afrin!



By Sosyalist Demokrasi icin Yeniyol


January 25, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International ViewpointAfter weeks of moral preparation, diplomatic pressure and massive disinformation, the Turkish state has finally attacked the predominantly Kurdish enclave of Afrin, located in north-western Syria. Skilfully playing on the cleavages between Washington and Moscow, the Turkish President has launched a major military operation involving air strikes, the deployment of Islamist militias and the incursion of Turkish troops on Syrian soil ready for the offensive.


We strongly condemn this war, cynically called “Olive Branch”, which will have no other consequence than to aggravate the tensions between the Turkish, Kurdish and Arab peoples, to postpone any hope of life together and whose ultimate objective is undoubtedly the consolidation of Erdogan’s dictatorial regime.


Vanguards of Humanity: Why I support Afrin & the Rojava Revolution



By Marcel Cartier


January 26, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Region — The dark clouds of 21st-century fascism are once again hanging over the heads of the people of northern Syria. As if the inhabitants of the region often referred to as Rojava haven’t suffered enough over the course of the past 7 years of war, the Turkish state has come to the conclusion that the time is ripe to pick up the fallen, bloodied sword from the corpse that is Islamic State. Together with Salafist mercenaries carrying flags of the Syrian ‘rebels’ – one of the many components of what at one historical juncture seemingly all so long ago was a cohesive ‘Free Syrian Army’ – Erdogan’s regime vows a ‘swift operation’ to destroy ‘terrorism’ in Afrin.


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’. The irony could not be more obvious.


Karl Korsch's Philosophical Bolshevism



By Doug Enaa Greene


January 25, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal When Karl Korsch is remembered, he is generally alongside Georg Lukács and Antonio Gramsci as one of the founders of “Western Marxism”. Western Marxism is typically viewed as a diverse trend that focuses more on issues of culture and ideology instead of political economy, and eschews political engagement. It is certainly the case that most of what we understand by Western Marxism, notably the Frankfurt School, falls under that broad definition.


After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Korsch believed that Marxism needed to be restored as a revolutionary philosophy. Korsch wrote his most famous work, Marxism and Philosophy, in 1923 when he was a leader in the Communist Party of Germany. Far from being a Western Marxist, Korsch like Gramsci and Lukács, is better characterized as a “Philosophical Bolshevik” who was committed to the theory and practice of socialist revolution.


Syria: Solidarity with Afrin, al-Ghouta, Idlib against all military attacks



By Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists


January 23, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists Since January 20, 2018, Turkish military assisted by pro-Turkish Syrian opposition militia groups have launched a large scale air and ground offensive, dubbed "Operation Olive Branch" on Afrin province located in northwest Syria with a Kurdish majority population and controlled by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People’s Protection Units (YPG). At least 30 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the operation.


United States: Greitens scandal - looking beneath the surface



By Don Fitz


January 17, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal When I shook hands with Eric Greitens following the 2016 debate for Missouri Governor, none of us on the Green team imagined that, a year before, he had tied a woman up, blindfolded her, undressed her, photographed her and warned that he would release the photo if she ever said what happened. The story made local and US news on January 11, 2018 when the now-Governor Greitens followed his “State of the State” address with an admission that he had had an affair, that he and his wife had come to terms with it, and they wanted to get on with their lives.


He failed to mention whether the “affair” included bondage and sexual blackmail. During and following Donald Trump's ascendency to the White House, there had been a year of non-stop sex scandals in the US and a story had to be beyond the pale to make the headlines in early 2018. The Missouri governor's scandal hit that mark.


Geopolitics of Syrian Kurds and military cooperation with the US



By Ercan Ayboga


December 4, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from ANF English — How did the US end up supporting the Kurds in Rojava?


Since October 2014 the Syrian Kurds and their non-Kurdish Allies have discussed military cooperation with the US-led Global Coalition against the “Islamic State” (IS). Towards the end of 2014, the mainly Kurdish People’s/Women’s Defense Units (YPG/YPJ) defended Kobanî, nowadays the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes ten thousand non-Kurds in its ranks, have liberated Raqqa, the de facto IS capital and the eastern parts of the Deir Ez-Zor province. Many leftist and progressive organizations and movements around the world have discussed and were divided about this military cooperation due to the historically contradictory ideological positions of the two forces. On the one hand there are those including some within the Kurdish solidarity organisations, who voiced concerns that the revolution of Rojava could lose its emancipative-liberating value and independent stance. On the other hand, critics think that the SDF is already instrumentalized by the US and has betrayed the revolution.


Why North Korea developed nuclear bombs



By Park Jae-seong (Planning Committee Member, ISC), translated by Dae-Han Song (Chief Editor, The [su:p]


December 3, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Strategy Center — The North Korean nuclear conflict started in 1990. Few people are aware that before taking out its nuclear card, North Korea had approached the United States in earnest. As Communism crumbled and the Soviet Union established diplomatic relations with North Korea’s southern counterpart, the country’s leaders couldn’t help but feel insecure. In an attempt to gain political recognition as an independent state, North Korea signed a basic North-South agreement, a denuclearization agreement (preventing the development of nuclear weapons in  the Korean Peninsula) and even joined the United Nations, all by 1991. 


Kanaky/New Caledonia: A referendum that is far from a level playing field



By Bernard Alleton


December 3, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint — Within the next year the referendum on the self-determination of Kanaky / New Caledonia [1] must be held. This territory of the Pacific has been a French colony since 1853, and was re-registered in 1986 by the United Nations on the list of non-autonomous territories to be decolonized. The Kanaks have never accepted the spoliation of their lands and the denial of their culture.


Anti-imperialists must understand the relationship between the Syrian Democratic Forces and US



By Marcel Cartier


December 2, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Region — On October 17, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced the liberation of Raqqa from the reactionary forces of the Islamic State after the so-called ‘Great Battle’ in which over 600 of their comrades lost their lives. The freeing of the city from the region’s most brutal fascistic group was a great moment of jubilation for the forces of the SDF, both in its Arab militias and the predominately Kurdish-forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).


The long ecological revolution



By John Bellamy Foster


December 2, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Monthly ReviewAside from the stipulation that nature follows certain laws, no idea was more central to the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, and to the subsequent development of what came to be known as modern science, than that of the conquest, mastery, and domination of nature. Up until the rise of the ecological movement in the late twentieth century, the conquest of nature was a universal trope, often equated with progress under capitalism (and sometimes socialism). To be sure, the notion, as utilized in science, was a complex one. As Francis Bacon, the idea’s leading early proponent, put it, “nature is only overcome by obeying her.” Only by following nature’s laws, therefore, was it possible to conquer her.

'Colombia is safe for business, but not for people': interview with Daniel Kovalik



December 1, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Investig'Action — Murders of trade unionists and social leaders, paramilitary activity, coca production… If we only paid attention to the mainstream media we would not get the idea that these problems are actually growing in Colombia, one year after the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC came into place. To get a better picture and understand how all these elements connect to US policy and corporate interests, we interviewed Daniel Kovalik, a lawyer and human rights activist who has long been involved in the struggle for peace and justice in Colombia.


100 years of Russian Revolution: Lessons of the October Revolution



Panel presentation for Socialism 2017 conference, Malaysia


By Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance (Australia)


December 1, 2017
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal There is much for us to learn from the Russian Revolution in which, for the first time in history, working people took power and held onto it for years against all the odds.


Building on the legacy of socialism





By Vaios Triantafyllou


November 30, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from MR Online — Following the intense revolutionary experiences and struggles of the past century, intense debate has emerged on the relationship between socialist theory and practice. How is socialist theory applied during struggles for civil and economic rights, and how is it applied when a revolutionary struggle is successful? What is the role of democracy in such a process, and how are democratic principles incorporated in the pursuit of socialism? Were the mistakes and failures in the effort to build a socialist society inherent to its premises, or were there other factors that led to those failures?


‘All Power to the Soviets’ – A slogan that launched a revolution



The following talk was presented by video to meetings organized by Socialist Alliance in Australia on 7 November 2017.


By John Riddell.


November 29, 2017 — 
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — Tonight we’re going to revisit the Russian revolution by telling the story of a slogan that shaped its outcome, “All power to the soviets.” Before beginning, I want to acknowledge my debt to recent historical writing on this period by Lars Lih, Eric Blanc, China Miéville, and Paul Le Blanc. Thanks also to Doug Williams, my videographer, and Lars for originating the idea of tracing the “biography” of this slogan.


And so let us go back to Russia a little more than 100 years ago, to a gray and hungry Petrograd still locked in winter, where people’s hearts were suddenly full of hope.


Candlelight Revolution Part 2: South Korea’s Constitutional Reform



By Dae-Han Song


The sovereignty of the Republic of Korea shall reside in the people, and all state authority shall emanate from the people.” – Article 1 of the Republic of Korea Constitution


November 29, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Strategy Center — A democracy is founded upon the consent and power of the people. Its fundamental compact is the constitution which establishes the rules and government that shape and determine the lives of its people. Yet, rarely is a constitution drawn up by them or with their consultation. Rather, it is done by a political regime mediating the interests of the ruling class. The world’s first completely written constitution was established in 1789. To “protect the minority of the opulent against the majority,” it created the United States Senate [1].


Korean Crisis - A South Korean Perspective



By Youngsu Won


November 29, 2017 
 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières — Will a verbal war between a senile dotard and a little rocket man result in an actual war? Probably not, but at the very moment, the risk is unprecedented, the highest without question. The reason?


Simply because the consequent of any action will be beyond imagination, and extremely catastrophic in every sense of the word. This is the only imaginable deterrent of any possible war, unfortunately.


National struggle and class struggle: complementary or contradictory?



Introduction by Richard Fidler


November 23, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — A major item on the agenda of the upcoming convention of Québec solidaire (QS), to be held in the Montréal suburb of Longueuil December 1-3, will be a proposal for fusion with another pro-independence party, Option nationale (ON). This will entail revisiting the relationship between the parties’ support for Quebec independence (basically the entire program of ON) and Québec solidaire’s attempt to link the national question with its social justice program.


The current struggle for national self-determination in Catalonia quite naturally suggests parallels with the issues posed in the Quebec pro-sovereignty movement. In recent weeks, two leaders of Québec solidaire — Manon Massé, a party spokeswoman and member of Quebec’s National Assembly, and André Frappier, a member of the QS National Coordinating Committee — have visited Catalonia as invited guests of the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP), a left pro-independence party that is now contesting the December 21 Catalan election.


Catalonia: Democratic revolution or authoritarian state



Introduction by Richard Fidler


November 23, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — The Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) is a left pro-independence party in Catalonia that has emerged in recent years and developed around an anticapitalist program. With ten seats in the now-deposed Catalan parliament, it gave critical support to the Puigdemont government, ensuring a pro-independence majority, but was not a member of the government as such.

Revisiting the “killing times” in the Kimberley frontier of Western Australia



November 23, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Historian and Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History at the University of Western Australia, Dr Chris Owen has produced a monumental history of the “killing times” in the Kimberley region in the decades leading up to Federation.


It is estimated that 10,000 to 30,000 Aboriginal people lived in the area before police entered the region. It is impossible to calculate how many were killed in the decades of the land war.


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.


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