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Is Russia an imperialist power? Benevolent glances

 

 

By Claudio Katz

Abstract: Washington's bullying and the gulf with tsarism do not place Moscow outside the imperial universe. Its embryonic place in this space negates the characterisation of the country as a semi-colony. Military arsenal is a defining feature of a foreign policy that includes oppressive tendencies. The intervention in Kazakhstan illustrates this dynamic of a power with a long tradition of international protagonism. Putin is not a progressive leader. He validates the privileges of millionaires, arbitrates between chauvinists and liberals, manipulates elections and harasses the left. Anti-imperialist projects are forged with popular subjects. [Note by LINKS: This is the fourth part of a series of articles looking at the issue of Russia’s imperial status by Claudio Katz. Translation by Federico Fuentes]

Mészáros and Chávez: “The Point from Which to Move the World Today”

 

 

By John Bellamy Foster

June 1, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Monthly Review — István Mészáros was a global thinker strongly committed to anti-imperialist struggles. In this respect, he allied himself with those fighting for socialist transformation in the Philippines, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, and elsewhere. He argued that in the descending phase of capitalism there was a “downward equalization of the rate of exploitation,” by which he meant a race to the bottom in wages and working conditions, enforced by a global system of monopolistic competition.1 In 1978, he edited and introduced a book consisting of thirteen essays by the great Filipino historian and political theorist Renato Constantino, titled Neo-Colonial Identity and Counter-Consciousness: Essays in Cultural Decolonisation, in which Constantino developed the concept of counter-consciousness into a powerful philosophy of cultural liberation.2 Mészáros took great interest as well in Brazilian developments and struggles over the state, supporting various socialist movements there. But his most singular contribution to struggles in the Global South was the role he was to play in his strong strategic support of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution.

The necessity of ecosocialist degrowth

 

 

By Paul Murphy and Jess Spear

June 4, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Global Ecosocialist Network — Capitalist growth is destroying our life support systems. Its parasitic relationship with nature (both human and nonhuman) is as Marx wrote, “vampire-like”1 and “will not lose its hold…so long as there is a muscle, a nerve, a drop of blood to be exploited.”2 Every single year the material taken from the Earth to feed the insatiable capitalist appetite for profits grows larger and larger, and the waste spewing into the atmosphere, land, rivers, and sea grows bigger and bigger. Out of the nine planetary boundaries identified – which together delineate the “safe operating space for humanity” – four have been crossed.3

The limits to growth: ecosocialism or barbarism

 

 

By Alberto Garzón EspinosaLinks International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from La-U

Abstract: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Limits to Growth, a report warning of the serious ecological consequences of maintaining the trajectory followed by the economic activity at global level. Nonetheless, half a century later, the situation has simply got worse in terms of environmental pressure and impact, while the ideologies and practices built up around the fetish of economic growth have continued to expand. The scientific community warns that time is running out and the only way of avoiding environmental collapse, with its catastrophic consequences especially for the most vulnerable social sectors, is to scale economic activity down to the level compatible with the planetary boundaries. Some international institutions and various national governments have approved programmes and policies to achieve these goals, with meagre results so far, while alarm is growing as to the possibility of a reactionary, eco-fascist solution to the eco-social crisis. In this article, we assess the current position and review how the production and consumption model lies behind ecological breakdowns and why the only democratic political solution to the eco-social crisis is the eco-socialist project.

The Philippines: Class struggle at the ballot box

 

 

By Eduardo C. Tadem

June 14, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung — Prior to the 2022 elections, the Left in the Philippines had fielded candidates only at the middle and lower levels of government, including the party list system in Congress. At the presidential level, left-wing groups would either support candidates who were of a liberal bent and less repressive towards them, or else simply adopt a boycott position. Additionally, Left candidates merely spoke to progressive liberal issues and concerns and avoided espousing radical or socialist platforms.

The 2022 elections, on the other hand, proved to be a game changer, with an openly socialist tandem running for president and vice-president on a platform calling for systemic change. How this audacious move evolves in future electoral exercises will be a test of whether the Philippine Left can become a major player in the country’s electoral sphere.

Ukraine: Humanitarian aid is not enough

 

 

Interview with Taras Bilous by Ivo Georgiev

June 19, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung — In the last few months, Taras Bilous has arguably become the most well-known Ukrainian leftist on the planet. In the days following the Russian invasion, his “Letter to the Western Left” in New Politics went viral, not only among left-wing circles but well into the liberal media sphere. Excoriating what he calls “campists” who ignore the crimes of non-Western states in deference to a perceived “anti-imperialist” obligation, Taras called on leftists in Western Europe to acknowledge Russia’s culpability, support the shipment of weapons by their respective governments, and abandon an “anti-imperialism of idiots” that, in his view, had come to dominate how the Left thinks about geopolitics.

Russia: Students against the war (Part Two)

 

 

By Posle

June 17, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Posle — On plans for the future

Sophia (SAD): The first thing on our agenda is the communication among students within cities and universities and between them. This is necessary in order to establish connections and share experiences between initiatives, as well as to ensure that people who feel lonely could become part of the teams which already exist. At first we were afraid that this might not be safe for students, so we didn’t pay much attention to this work. Now we are thinking about an application form for new-comers and some kind of verification technique.

Peoples' Democratic Party (Turkey): Kobani was not an exception

 

 

By Ertuğrul Kürkçü

June 8, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Progressive International — Ankara believes that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has opened a window of opportunity in its century-long war with the northern Kurds by expanding its influence beyond the borders of the Turkish Republic.

The Erdogan regime hopes to deepen its exploitation of the United Nations Security Council's 2015 call for an "international alliance" directly against ISIS and al-Nusra. It mobilised that appeal to assault the Kurdish autonomous governments in Syria and Iraq that the Kurds had won through their fight against ISIS. 

Russia: Students against the war (Part One)

 

 

By Posle

June 14, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Posle — Student protest is one of the most visible forms of opposition to Russian aggression in Ukraine. Now when public protests are banned, activists are forced to create new modes of resistance and organization. We publish a conversation between activists about their protest activities, tactical challenges, and future plans.

Posle: Here we have members of the Student Anti-War Movement, SAD* (All-Russia Initiative), PhysTech Against War (Moscow), Vyatka State University group Viatka Whispers (Kirov), Groza Media (Kazan, Novosibirsk), and the Tyumen State University Initiative Group (Tyumen). Thank you for joining us today. First, each group has the floor, and then we move to a general discussion.

The conquest of Ukraine and the history of Russian imperialism

 

 

By Zbigniew Marcin Kowalewski

June 12, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Politics — In this pivotal war on a global scale, the Ukrainian nation is struggling to preserve its independence, obtained only 30 years ago, after centuries of domination and relentless Russification. It rejects the “Trinitarian” Russian nation (Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine) imagined in the tsarist era and claimed by Vladimir Putin. The Russian ruling class is struggling for the revival of a declining Russian imperialism that, without control over Ukraine, risks disappearing from the historical scene.

Meet the Ukrainian leftists resisting Putin’s war: Interview with Sotsialnyi Rukh's Nataliia Lomonosova and Oleksandr Kyselov

 

 

Interview with Nataliia Lomonosova and Oleksandr Kyselov by Dick Nichols

June 9, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Nataliia Lomonosova and Oleksandr Kyselov of the Ukrainian left organisation Social Movement (Sotsialnyi Rukh) attended the May 13-15 annual conference of the Danish radical left force Red-Green Alliance (RGA), where they gave greetings on behalf of their organisation.

Nataliia Lomonosova is an editor of the web-based journal Political Critique and Oleksandr Kyselov is a student activist.

On May 15, the two Ukrainian comrades talked about the history and work of Sotsialnyi Rukh with Dick Nichols, European correspondent of Green Left and Links—International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

Russia’s brutal war on Ukraine sends ripples across globe

 

 

By Geoff Mirelowitz and Argiris Malapanis

June 3, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from World-Outlook — One hundred days since Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of its neighbor, Russia’s war on Ukraine shows no sign of abating. Stiff resistance aimed at defending Ukraine’s sovereignty has pushed Russian forces back in parts of the country — particularly around the capital Kiyv and most of Ukraine’s north.

In the eastern region, however, the Russian military continues to conquer territory. The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. “think tank,” estimates that 95% of the Luhansk region is presently under Russian control. News reports on June 1 stated Russia was close to capturing the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk. This would give Putin control of the last major city in the Luhansk province still in Ukrainian hands.

Solidarity with the Ukrainian resistance

 

 

By Ashley Smith

June 3, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Tempest — On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine with the expectation of a quick victory over an outgunned army and unpopular government and a successful installation of a puppet regime in the capital, Kyiv. Instead, Ukraine’s military, volunteer Territorial Defense Forces, and mass popular resistance stopped Russia in its tracks.

Humiliated, Russia has retreated from Kyiv as well as the country’s second largest city, Kharkiv, and adopted a new goal—the seizure of Donbas in Ukraine’s east to form a land bridge to Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, followed by a planned partition of the country. The U.S. and NATO, which like Moscow expected the Russian invasion to quickly win, have increased shipments of heavy weapons for the new phase of the war.

The Ukraine war will end, but how?

 

 

By Peter Solenberger

May 25, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Politics — The Russian invasion of Ukraine caught most observers by surprise. I, for one, didn’t think that the Russian government would be so foolish as to invade. If Ukraine resisted, the Russian military could destroy it with nuclear weapons but couldn’t conquer it with the conventional forces they had deployed to its borders. The Russian ruling class needed a deal, not a war. Ukraine in the European Union and out of NATO, like Finland or Sweden, would have suited it very well. The Russian people certainly didn’t want war.

The Russian government must have thought that Ukrainian resistance would collapse as soon as the tanks rolled in and the the bombs began falling. Instead, the Ukrainian military held Kyiv and the other major cities outside the south and launched mobile attacks on stalled Russian columns. The Ukrainian government kept its head, and Volodymyr Zelenskyy emerged as an effective media spokesperson. The Ukrainian people rallied around the government in the north and west. The US and NATO flooded Ukraine with arms and munitions.

Ukraine: The return of Francis Fukuyama

 

 

By Phil Hearse

March 31, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Anti*Capitalist Resistance — It is no accident that amidst heated debates about the future of Ukraine and the role of NATO, the thinking of American political theorist Francis Fukuyama is resurfacing.

After the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Stalinist states in 1989-91, Fukuyama shot to international fame by predicting the ‘end of history’. By the ‘end of history’ he meant the end of the contest between competing social systems and competing ideologies, and the victory of liberal democratic capitalism, which from now on would become increasingly dominant.

From the 1960s onwards right-wing philosophers like Karl Popper accused Marxism and the Left of ‘historicism’, the idea that history had an inherent and inevitable endpoint—socialism. Fukuyama developed his own ‘historicism’—this time a real one— that the endpoint of human history was a system as near perfect as possible, liberal democratic capitalism.

Workers are defending Ukraine. The Ukrainian state is not defending workers’ rights (Plus Vitaliy Dudin on 'The war on workers')

 

 

By Małgorzata Kulbaczewska-Figat

May 28, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Cross-Borders Talk — In the shadow of war, the Ukrainian government is pushing for labor reforms that had been planned for more than two decades, but – for various reasons – never came into being. And these are not the reforms that labor unions were fighting for. Perhaps the term “counter-reforms” would be more adequate: if the Ukrainian labor market was not a worker-friendly space long before the war, it is now going to get even more destabilized, deregulated and even more tailored to fit employers’ expectations.

Back in March, the parliament voted and Volodymyr Zelensky signed the Bill 2136 – or the law on labor relations in the conditions of war. Officially, the law is a temporary measure seeking to help those companies which were heavily affected by the conflict and cannot keep operating on the previous scale. However, the state’s help does not consist of subsidies, loans or preferential tax rates. The Ukrainian state seems to suggest that it has no resources for any of these measures. Instead, it gives the entrepreneurs a free hand to exploit workers.

What we can learn from Georgia's social workers' struggle

 

 

By Sofia Japaridze, with introduction by Oksana Dutchak

June 2, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Commons — Although Georgia differs significantly from Ukraine in size and population, we have much in common. In particular, we are united by the past, as well as the common, albeit different in scale, the experience of invasion by the Russian Federation, respectively — war, destruction, displacement of large numbers of people and the resulting poverty.

However, in addition to historical parallels, there are great socio-economic similarities. At one time, Georgia in Ukraine was seen as an example of the fight against corruption and successful reforms. All these reforms were guided by neoliberal logic of public cost-cutting, privatization, deregulation and so on. These approaches are still involved in both countries, leading to similar problems.

Russian ‘left’ split over Ukraine War (Plus statement by Opposition current in the Communist Party of the Russian Federation)

 

 

By Ilya Budraitkis

June 1, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from PortSide — In his address on 22 February, just before Russia invaded Ukraine, Vladimir Putin set out his ideological justification for the war. He presented Ukraine, within its current borders, as an artificial entity created by the Bolsheviks, which today can ‘rightfully [be] called “Vladimir Lenin’s Ukraine” ’.

Putin, who on coming to power 20 years ago, described the break-up of the USSR as a ‘major geopolitical disaster’, now believes the real tragedy was the creation of the Soviet Union: ‘The disintegration of our united country was brought about by historic, strategic mistakes on the part of the Bolshevik leaders,’ he said, and criticised Lenin for giving every republic the constitutional right to leave the Soviet Union. By making the war in Ukraine what he calls a ‘real “decommunisation” ’, Putin wants to finally turn the page on Soviet history and return to the principles of the pre-revolutionary Russian empire.

Putin's war in Ukraine: The dialectics of victory and defeat

 

 

By Boris Kagarlitsky

June 4, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Russian Dissent — With the US Senate’s approval of the latest “lend-lease” law, and with Ukraine set to receive a bonus offering of modern Western weapons and financial assistance, the question of who will win the war can now be considered resolved. The current Russian government not only lacks the material resources, but also the human resources necessary for a protracted conflict. It has no goal or ideology for which it would be possible to convince its citizens to fight. Mass mobilization is impossible because it would inevitably cause mass protests, and in any case neither the economy nor the military infrastructure is prepared to maintain the existence of a massive army. Aggressive propaganda, whether in the form of appeals to common inhumanity or threats against the whole world, might poison the consciousness of the older generation, but does not work as a motivation for people who will have to be compelled to fight or work for the war effort. On the contrary, discontent and even resistance is growing (as evidenced by the repeated arsons of military registration and enlistment offices). The defense industry, which has been in decline for decades, is unable to make up for the loss of equipment, and sanctions have further hobbled the production of the most important components, without which modern weapons manufacturing is impossible. Of course, occasionally the industry finds ways to circumvent sanctions, but production remains extremely expensive, and most importantly, suffers from supply instability.

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