British politics in transition: Austerity, Brexit and the Corbyn challenge

 

 

By Phil Hearse

 

February 28, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  — In the middle of the harshest winter for more than a decade, Britain finds itself still gripped by the icy fingers of neoliberal austerity. Both the health service (NHS) and local government stagger from crisis to crisis, as savage spending cuts by Theresa May’s Conservative government make the provision of adequate services – those used mainly by the elderly, disabled people, the ill, the poor and the homeless – impossible. Eight years of austerity and harsh pay restraint among public sector workers have pushed economic growth into a nosedive, sharply reducing tax income, thus giving a further twist to the knife of Tory cutbacks.

 

United States: Barre’s hidden history of Italian-American radicalism

 

By Kate Frey

 

February 23, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  — Barre, located in central Vermont, not far from the capital, Montpelier, with a population of 8710, was for a time in the early 1900s an internationally known center of Italian-American radicalism.

 

The city was founded in 1788 as a farming community and was named after Issac Barre, a British politician who supported the American colonies in the period leading up to the Revolutionary War. Vermont is known for rocky soil and a cold climate, making farming difficult and many of the first generation of settlers eventually moved away.

 

Large granite deposits were discovered shortly after the War of 1812 and Barre’s first granite quarry opened in 1813. Vermont’s hilly terrain made transporting granite difficult though and it wasn’t until the Central Vermont Railroad ran a spur into Barre in 1875 that the granite industry took off.

 

United States: Settler colonialism and the second amendment

 

 

By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

 

February 23, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Monthly ReviewThe Anglo-American settlers’ violent break from Britain in the late eighteenth century paralleled their search-and-destroy annihilation of Delaware, Cherokee, Muskogee, Seneca, Mohawk, Shawnee, and Miami, during which they slaughtered families without distinction of age or gender, and expanded the boundaries of the thirteen colonies into unceded Native territories.

 

Pakistan: 10 left-wing parties seek to form alliance

 

 

By Dawn staff reporter

 

February 23, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from DawnIn their maiden meeting to form an `alliance of the left,` the leadership of 10 progressive and left-wing parties on December 29 agreed to work together in the future and formed an eight member committee to find a way for the formation of an alliance.

 

Change in South Africa's president: Out with the old, in with the not so new

 

 

By Shawn Hattingh

 

February 18, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from PambazukaFor white and international capital in South Africa, the last few weeks have been a period of rejoicing due to Cyril Ramaphosa being elected as African National Congress (ANC) president. His subsequent appointment as the country's president following Jacob Zuma's resignation on February 14 has lead the business elite to feel an even greater sense of smugness.

 

The bitter faction fights within the ANC, therefore, have seen Zuma defeated and his erstwhile supporters placed squarely on the back foot.

 

A Marxist perspective on sustainability: Brief reflections on ecological sustainability and social inequality

 

 

By Raju J Das[1]

 

February 18, 2018
 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal   Karl Marx’s concept of sustainability is connected to his concepts of metabolism and reproduction. While the first connection is well recognized in recent literature (famously in the work of Paul Burkett, John Bellamy Foster and many others)[2], the second connection is not. Moreover, sustainability is potentially connected to another crucial concept in Marx’s thinking – that is, value of labour power (which is expressed as the wage that workers receive), although Marx fails to explicitly make that connection.

 

In this short paper, I connect sustainability to metabolism, reproduction, and value of labour power. I argue that sustainability (or a healthy environment) can be seen as an “ecological social wage” under capitalism and has to be fought for as a part of a larger fight against the various logics of capitalism, such as endless accumulation, and against the system as a whole. Therefore, ecological sustainability is fundamentally a class issue, one that concerns the working class of the world as a whole that is comprised of people with different gender, racial, and nationality backgrounds, and it is not to be narrowly seen as an ecological issue, separate from the needs and the movements of the working class.

 

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.
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