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The socialism of Norbert Wiener

 

 

By Greg Adamson, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

 

The answer, of course, is to have a society based on human values other than buying or selling. To arrive at this society, we need a good deal of planning and a good deal of struggle, which, if the best comes to the best, may be on the plane of ideas, and otherwise—who knows?
–Cybernetics, Norbert Wiener, 1948

 

These profoundly radical words from Norbert Wiener (1894-1964) echo Malcolm X’s call to address structural racism in society “by any means necessary”. Yet Wiener is hardly known as a revolutionary. In fact, by the beginning of the 21st century his name was hardly known at all. Given that he is arguably the foremost 20th century thinker and commentator on the relationship between technology and society, this is unfortunate.

Philippines: A unity statement — Save the nation! Duterte resign!

 

 

April 16, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This statement was initially signed by 500 medical frontliners, educators, youth leaders, religious, lawyers, civic leaders and concerned citizens on April 15, 2021. See the growing list of signatories here

*****

For the past five years we have watched President Duterte’s incompetence, brutality, corruption and kowtowing to foreign powers destroy democratic governance as we know it. The Covid-19 pandemic only magnified his failures of leadership.

Over one year into the pandemic, the public health crisis has deepened. We have record numbers of daily infections, positivity rates and deaths. The public health system is at breaking point. Our economy is just as bad. Too many patients are dying without getting access to critical care. Millions have lost their jobs and livelihoods due to the lockdowns and restrictions — the longest and harshest in the world yet glaringly ineffective. 

All these, Duterte shrugs off: “Maliit na bagay ito. Wala tayong magawa.” 

Philippines: Mr. President Duterte, the issue is competence; the solution is resignation

 

image

By Walden Bello

April 15, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Rappler — 'When ordinary people...start to register serious doubts about the performance of the administration, that is a sign that it may not be light that is at the end of the tunnel that awaits it, but a crash'

No one expects Rodrigo Duterte to be another Winston Churchill, rallying the country in the face of a savage pandemic that, like the bombs falling on London during the Second World War, has dealt a terrible, swift death to unsuspecting friends and loved ones.

But the country certainly expects a president who does not project the image of a deer – eyes frozen by the headlights of an oncoming car – in the brief addresses he gives the nation. And over the last week, the nation has been deprived even of the chance to hear that paralyzed deer of a president, as he seems to have gone into hiding.

Philippines: Laban ng Masa’s declaration and platform for the 2022 elections

 

 

By Laban ng Masa

April 15, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal —  Is this the future you gave your life for?

If you were Gabriela Silang, Jose Rizal, or Andres Bonifacio and by some miracle you woke up and found yourself in today’s Philippines, would you say that this is the future you fought and shed your blood for?

With over 712,000 infections and over 13,000 deaths, catastrophic is the only way to describe Duterte’s Covid 19 policy. But then, how can you expect a regime that specializes in taking lives prioritize saving them? 

Defending Rojava means defending Abdullah Öcalan

 

 

By Internationalist Commune

April 15, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Internationalist Commune — There are some days when we no longer see the sky with so many enemies around us. The apocalypse seems more likely than the end of capitalism and we are surrounded by patriarchal attacks – inside and outside of us. Sometimes I can no longer believe that we can make revolution – revolution what does that even mean? A different life? All this seems so far away, so abstract- really like a distant utopia. And in all this leftist depression, Rojava is like a huge beacon of hope. Rojava, that is a revolution in the 21st century. This is a revolution that combines so many struggles, so many ideas – a society that organizes itself, a society without state, a society based on gender liberation and ecology. An anti-fascist revolution against colonialism, against imperialism. Rojava is the proof that another life is possible – Rojava is a living utopia, a vision of how the world after capitalism could look like and how we can get there. Rojava is a perspective during a time full of attacks.

United States: For a fighting approach, not factionalism — An interview with Kshama Sawant

 

 

By Andy Sernatinger & Emma Wilde Botta

April 15, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Tempest — The most prominent independent elected socialist in the U.S., Kshama Sawant, recently announced, along with other members Socialist Alternative, that they would be joining the Democratic Socialists of America. At a time when the independent, democratic, and socialist political horizons of DSA are themselves at stake in the run-up to the summer 2021 convention, and in the aftermath of the failed Sanders presidential run, and in the glow of the liberal honeymoon for the Biden administration, this decision to join DSA has been both welcomed and criticised. This dynamic forms the important backdrop to this interview.

Aotearoa/New Zealand: Building links between trade unionists and environmentalism

 

Grant Brookes (right) with Green Party MP Julie Anne Genter

prior to giving the below speak to the Green Party Rongotai Branch.

By Grant Brookes

April 15, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Tēnā koe te Kaiwhakahaere ko Tom. E te whānau kākāriki, tēnā tātou. Ko Grant Brookes tōku ingoa. He mema o te uniana ahau. 

Greetings everyone. Thanks to Rongotai Branch Co-Convenor Tom, for inviting me to speak. My name is Grant Brookes. I’m a trade unionist. As mentioned in Tom’s introduction, I am also the National Co-Convenor of the PSA Eco Network, although I should stress at the outset that I am not speaking on behalf of the PSA this evening. 

Take the plant, save the planet: Workers and communities in the struggle for economic conversion

 

 

April 15, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — A discussion of the politics of plant conversion for an ecologically sustainable future with:

  • Francesca Hannan, an active member of We Are OshawaGreen Jobs Oshawa, and the Durham Food Policy Council. She has been involved in climate justice activism with Toronto-based groups, and her professional background is in environmental policy and law.
  • Stephen Buhler, an organizer with Climate Justice Edmonton and a full-time journeyman machinist currently working in the oil and gas sector.
  • Simon Black, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Labour Studies at Brock University and an organizer with Labour Against the Arms Trade.

Universal discrimination and the democratic camouflaging of culturalism

 

 

By Saladdin Ahmed

March 27, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The ideology that initiated the recent anti-leftist campaigns has been developing democratic discursive strategies for the last 75 years following the fall of old fascism in Europe. For instance, race-talk is no longer part of official and academic discourse; instead, culture-talk is prevalent, which is far more effective for the racist massification of people and the normalization of exclusionary fanaticism among ordinary people. 

Rosa Luxemburg and the political mass strike

 

 

By Rida Vaquas

March 26, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Prometheus Journal — If you ever went to an anti-austerity protest in the United Kingdom in the last decade, you may well have seen the ubiquitous placards demanding a ‘General Strike Now’. In the US ‘General Strike 2020’ briefly trended on Twitter in March 2020, spurred on by popular writers like Naomi Klein and Bree Newsom Bass. Most tellingly, shortly after this, multiple articles appeared explaining what exactly a general strike is. Of course, no socialist would be against a general strike were it to occur. But raising the demand for a general strike, through placards on demonstrations, or by popular tweets, suggests a decline in our ability to think about what mass strikes are, why they happen, and what can be achieved with them.

Workers of the world: Growth, change and rebellion

 

 

By Kim Moody

March 26, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from NewPolitics — The working class of the twenty-first century is a class in formation, as one would expect in a world where capitalism has only recently become universal. At the same time, Marx himself reminded us long ago, in speaking of the development of classes in England where they were “most classically developed,” that “even here, though, this class articulation does not emerge in pure form.”1 The working class, of course, is much broader than those who are employed at any one time. Relying only on workforce figures obscures important aspects of the broader working-class life, including its reproduction. Nevertheless, those in and out of employment form the core of the working class, once seen as a male domain but today nearly half composed of women. Furthermore, both space and research limitations dictate that this article will focus on the employed and near-employed sections of this global class. With these caveats in mind, we look first at the growth of the global working-class labor force in the twenty-first century.

To fix democracy in Malaysia, rebuild mass movements

 

 

By Choo Chon Kai

March 26, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Think Left — From the “Sheraton Move” to the state of Emergency: a year of political crisis has revealed the democratic deficiencies in Malaysian politics. That’s why it’s crucial for the Left and progressive forces in Malaysia to rebuild a social movement that fights for genuine democracy and social justice — a movement that cuts across racial and religious lines.

Malaysia plunged into its latest stage of political crisis at almost the exact time that COVID-19 hit in March 2020.

Stop Erdogan's crackdown: Global solidarity statements with the HDP & democratic forces in Turkey

 

 

HDP faces closure after the appeal of the Chief Public Prosecutor to the Constitutional Court

By Feleknas Uca & Hişyar Özsoy, HDP’s Co-spokespersons for Foreign Affairs

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is under a ferocious attack by the AKP government, which was squeezed out of key cities in the local elections and faces immense economic problems exacerbated by the pandemic. On 17 March 2021, the final ruling against HDP parliamentarian Mr. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was read out at the plenary session of the Parliament and he was stripped of his status as a deputy. A few hours later, it came out that the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation has filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court to ban the HDP altogether. These attacks against the HDP have come briefly after President Erdoğan declared a new Human Rights Action Plan, which was promoted as including reforms on law and human rights.

COVID-19 vaccines: Stories of monopoly, blackmail and inequality

 

 

By Randy Alonso Falcón and Edilberto Carmona Tamayo. Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.

March 26, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from CubaNews — The apprehensions raised in some countries by the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, the US dirty campaign against the Russian Sputnik V and the confirmed refusal of the most powerful nations to let their pharmaceutical companies temporarily release the patents of their antidotes against COVID-19, have further strained the availability of vaccines and deepened the profound differences in the right to life between the powerful and the poor in this world.

Lessons of the Paris Commune (Part III)

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

The history of the Paris Commune has become a touchstone of great importance for the question: How should the revolutionary working class organize its tactics and strategy in order to achieve ultimate victory? With the fall of the Commune, the last traditions of the old revolutionary legend have likewise fallen forever; no favorable turn of circumstances, no heroic spirit, no martyrdom can take the place of the proletariat’s clear insight into … the indispensable conditions of its emancipation. What holds for the revolutions that were carried out by minorities, and in the interests of minorities, no longer holds for the proletariat revolution. … In the history of the Commune, the germs of this revolution were effectively stifled by the creeping plants that, growing out of the bourgeois revolution of the eighteenth century, overran the revolutionary workers’ movement of the nineteenth century. Missing in the Commune were the firm organization of the proletariat as a class and the fundamental clarity as to its world-historical mission; on these grounds alone it had to succumb.

— Franz Mehring1

March 22, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — In 1919 at the end of the failed January Uprising in Berlin, Rosa Luxemburg observed the following in one of her last articles:

The whole path of socialism, as far as revolutionary struggles are concerned, is paved with sheer defeats. And yet, this same history leads step by step, irresistibly, to the ultimate victory! Where would we be today without those “defeats” from which we have drawn historical experience, knowledge, power, idealism! Today, where we stand directly before the final battle of the proletarian class struggle, we are standing precisely on those defeats, not a one of which we could do without, and each of which is a part of our strength and clarity of purpose.2

Forming government after the Catalan elections: Who is left? Who is right?

 

 

By Dick Nichols

March 19, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The standard political terms “right” and “left” originally grouped supporters and opponents of the French monarchy according to their place in the National Assembly born of the 1789 Revolution: monarchists sat to the right of the speaker, revolutionaries to the left. Since then, the terms have been used to classify parties and elected representatives according to their attitude to the prevailing political order. 

These necessary words must be used with great care when that order is constituted by a multinational state that denies the right of self-determination to its various peoples, as in the case of the Kingdom of Spain. Politics in states like Spain is a minefield because it operates on a double axis: it moves “left and right” along the scale of social and class interests but also “up and down” the scale running from full recognition to total rejection of the right of stateless peoples to choose their relation to the regime ruling over them.

Women and nature: Towards an ecosocialist feminism

 

 

By Jess Spear

March 19, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Rupture — It was hot outside that day. In the remote area of KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa a young man watched as five men approached him on the porch. “Could we have a drink?” one of them asked. As they finished the water they asked if they could go inside and thank the woman that lived there. The young man led them in the front door. Moments later shots rang out as the men gunned down the young man’s grandmother and environmental organiser, Fikile Ntshangase, and raced out.

Second-wave feminism: Accomplishments & lessons

 

 

By Nancy Rosenstock

“Today is the beginning of a new movement. Today is the end of millennia of oppression.”
— Kate Millett, feminist author, speaking to 50,000 in New York City, August 26, 1970.

March 19, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Against the Current — August 26, 1970 marked the public emergence of second-wave feminism, coming 50 years after the winning of women’s suffrage.

The women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and early 1970s had a profound effect on society. It also had a profound effect on those of us who were a part of it. Working collectively for women’s liberation, reveling in the joy and sisterhood that comes from that, was a life-changing experience.

I had the good fortunate to be one of those women, as a member of Boston Female Liberation — one of the first and most widely respected radical feminist organizations of that time. I was also on the national staff of the Women’s National Abortion Action Coalition (WONAAC) in 1971.

The Resolution of the Communards (Part II)

 

 

 

Whereas nobody’s left who still believes
The government whatever it promises
We have resolved we’ll build ourselves good lives
By being the only ones who govern us.
Whereas you’ll listen to what the cannon say —
No other language will you listen to —
Well then, we’ll have to turn the cannon your way.
Yes, that will be the best thing we can do!

 

— Bertolt Brecht, “Resolution of the Communards”

By Doug Enaa Greene

March 19, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — On March 18, 1871, the National Guard took over all the strategic points in Paris without meeting any resistance. It was the largest revolutionary organization in Paris, but it had not planned to take power that day. Now power had practically fallen into its hands; the guard had only to decide what to do with it.

Insurgent Communards: The Road to Revolution (Part I)

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

March 19, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — In June 1871, the French poet Eugène Pottier wrote a poem entitled “L’Internationale” to commemorate the fallen Paris Commune. That poem contains the following lines, calling the working class to revolution:

Arise, ye prisoners of starvation!

Arise, ye wretched of the earth!

For justice thunders condemnation:

A better world’s in birth! …

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