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Venezuela — Interview with Stalin Pérez Borges: “It will be very difficult to defeat us.”

 

 

March 3 2019 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal Stalin Pérez Borges is a union leader and veteran socialist militant. He is currently a member of LUCHAS (acronym for Unitarian Unionist Chavista League, and also ‘Struggles’ in Spanish) and of the Bolivarian Socialist Workers’ Central (CBST) Advisory Council. Intersecciones spoke to Pérez Borges about the current crisis in Venezuela. The original Spanish version was published on February 7. Translated by Pedro Alvarez from Aporrea

 

Before commenting on the current political crisis, how would you describe the social and economic crisis in Venezuela today?

 

This question leads to a very long answer, so I apologise if it gets tiresome. The economic and social crisis has grown exponentially for about five years now, and has got to this rotten state of hyper-inflation that we’re barely coping with, and which is breaking world records. This is the cause for the huge discontent that we have at this stage and for the important change in the correlation of political power in this juncture. In my opinion this is a consequence of three fundamental facts: two of them circumstantial, and one structural.

 

Budgeting for black-out in South Africa

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

March 3, 2019 Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalUpon taking power in a palace coup a year ago, Cyril Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) government was supposedly going to sweep out the prolific corruption associated with the 2009-18 Jacob Zuma ANC regime. But although excruciatingly-slow progress is being made in evicting the most obvious villains, durable Zumite influences remain, and whistleblowing continues to unveil rapid ANC degeneracy, even stretching into the Ramaphosa family.

 

Contributions to revolutionary theory from the Mexican highlands: A review of 'Lucio Cabañas y la guerra de los pobres'

 

 

Lucio Cabañas y la guerra de los pobres.
Silva Nogales, Jacobo. 2015.
Mexico City: Deriva Negra and Cooperativa Rizoma. 207 pages.
Cooperativa Rizoma: coop.rizoma@gmail.com
Deriva Negra: deriva.negra@gmail.com

 

Review by Nevin Siders

 

March 3, 2019 Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalMany biographies have been written on Lucio Cabañas. This one’s value derives from how it highlights his contributions to revolutionary theory. In the first chapter we see how he was in teacher training in the early 1960s in the state of Guerrero, home to Acapulco but also one of Mexico’s most violent and y despotic. When he left school he was assigned to a school in the rural county of Atoyac where he got involved in the small revolutionary movements of the time, the Teacher’s Revolutionary Movement (MRM), the Mexican Communist Party, and a group that the latter directed, the Independent Farmer’s Confederation (CCI).

 

Spanish state: an early election about breaking the Catalan struggle

 

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

February 25, 2019 Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalPedro Sánchez, prime minister of Spain’s minority Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government, announced on February 15 that the country would vote on April 28.  The election comes 15 months short of a full term and only nine months after the previous People’s Party (PP) government of Sánchez’s predecessor Mariano Rajoy fell to a PSOE censure motion in the Spanish Congress.

 

The censure motion was supported by the rest of the all-Spanish left (Podemos and the United Left), the alliances in which they participate in Galicia, Catalonia and the Valencian Country (respectively In Tide, Together We Can and A La Valenciana) and by nearly all nationalist forces, left and right.

 

These were the conservative Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and the left pro-independence Basque alliance EH Bildu, the conservative Catalan European Democratic Party (PDECat) and the centre-left Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the New Canary Islands group.

 

Once in government, Sánchez, with only 84 PSOE seats in the 350-seat Congress, had to negotiate support for his legislative program bill by bill. Nonetheless, he had been saying before the announcement that his government would run its full term. Why did he change his mind?

 

Iran: Class struggle and neo-liberal capital accumulation

 

 

By Minna Langeberg

 

February 25, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Recent months have seen protests throughout Iran, by teachers, nurses, labourers, retirees, oil industry workers, bazaar traders and shopkeepers, truck drivers, farmers, the unemployed, students, and many more.

 

The current wave of protests across the country is a continuation of those of December 2017- January 2018 that were brutally suppressed by the regime. Like the 2017-18 protests, they signal the deep crisis of legitimacy of the regime, as expressed by one of the most enduring slogans that emerged from those protests: 'Fundamentalists, Reformists, the game is over'. The main slogan of current protests is 'Bread. Work. Freedom'.

 

These protests are sporadic, self-organised, fragmented and generally small in size – but more or less continuous. They are grassroots protests against the current situation in Iran, which has reached a boiling point. These are protests of the working class, women, the poor, the unemployed, marginalised, the underclass and the 'surplus population' who cannot be absorbed into capitalist wage labour.

 

On fire: A dialectical heritage

 

 

By Jason Devine

 

February 24, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Heraclitus has come down to us as the philosopher of Πάντα ῥεῖ, of the view that everything flows. This immediately calls to mind the image of water. Indeed, a saying of his that most commonly attends discussions of his philosophy is the following: “Upon those who step into the same rivers, different and again different waters flow.”[1] However, this can only lead to false impressions. For fire plays a far greater and more fundamental role for Heraclitus, as both an element and a metaphor, than water ever did. Fire expresses and is the eternal alteration between life and death, movement and rest, between uniformity and diversity viz. what has come to be known as the dialectic.

 

Revolution, capitalist restoration and class struggle in China

 

 

By Chris Slee

 

February 24, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In 1949 the Chinese Communist Party (CP), led by Mao Zedong, came to power after more than 20 years of war.  They had fought against the reactionary Chiang Kai-shek regime, and against the Japanese invasion of China.

 

For a time there was an alliance between the CP and Chiang Kai-shek against Japan, but this ended when Japan was defeated.  The CP, based in rural areas, won the support of the peasants through land reform and other progressive measures.  This enabled them to win the war, despite US military aid to Chiang Kai-shek.

 

Initially, the revolution was intended to be democratic, not socialist.  Those capitalists who had not been closely associated with Chiang Kai-shek were allowed to continue in business.

 

But after the outbreak of the Korean war in 1950 there was a change.  The party’s policy became more radical

 

Revolution and revolutionary strategy in Latin America

 

 

By G.LL. Williams

 

February 24, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The need for social revolution and socialist revolution is rather obvious in Latin America — a need that stretches from Mexico to Argentina. While this need is different in the various countries of Latin America, the overall nature of the struggle for social revolution and socialist revolution in Latin America is very similar. The history of the revolutionary struggle in Latin America, since the twentieth-century, shows the necessity of such a social revolution and socialist revolution. For the Latin American Left that struggle continues today.

 

Venezuela: Taking a look at the anti-Maduro narrative

 

 

By Steve Ellner

 

February 19, 2019  — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The recognition by Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden of Juan Guaidó as Venezuelan president is the latest demonstration of the consensus in Washington over the nefariousness of the Nicolás Maduro government. Not since Fidel Castro’s early years in power has a Latin American head of state been so consistently demonized. But the 1960s was the peak of the Cold War polarization that placed Cuba plainly in the enemy camp, and unlike Venezuela of today that nation had a one-party system in the absence of political pluralism.

 

The scope of the consensus was put in evidence by the recent faceoff between two figures as far apart as Donald Trump and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In his State of the Union address, Trump attributed Venezuela’s economic crisis to the failed system of socialism. Ocasio-Cortez responded by arguing that the Venezuelan case is “an issue of authoritarian regime versus democracy.”

 

Zimbabwe: Capitalist crisis + ultra-neoliberal policy = “Mugabesque” authoritarianism

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

February 14, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Once again, a formidable burst of state brutality against Zimbabwe’s citizenry has left at least a dozen corpses, scores of serious injuries, mass arrests, Internet suspension and a furious citizenry. The 14-17 January nationwide protests were called by trade unions against an unprecedented fuel price hike, leading to repression reminiscent of former leader Robert Mugabe’s iron fist.

 

 

Most of the country’s economy ground to a halt. For more than a week, the cities remained ghost towns, as army troops continued attacking even ordinary civilians who are desperate to earn a living in what often seems to be the country’s main occupation these days: street vending of cheap imported commodities. A national strike of 500,000 civil service workers has been called. Most essential commodities are now vastly overpriced or in very short supply. This is what a full-on capitalist crisis looks like.

 

Venezuela and disaster capitalism

 

 

By Reinaldo Iturriza López, translation by Nicolas Allen

 

February 10, 2019
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Verso Blog — On Monday, January 28, the Department of the Treasury of the United States announced it was placing a “block” on all of Petróleos de Venezuela’s (PDVSA) assets under US jurisdiction, prohibiting its citizens from engaging in any type of transaction with the Venezuelan state-owned oil company.[1] Secretary Steve Mnuchin added that “if the people of Venezuela want to continue to sell us oil”, we will only accept it on the condition that our money goes to “blocked accounts”, which would later be made available for the “transition government”.[2]

 

Venezuela defines the future of the region

 

 

By Claudio Katz, translation by Nicolas Allen

 

February 10, 2019
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Verso Blog — Guaidó’s self-proclamation as Venezuelan president is the most ridiculous and dangerous coup attempt in recent years. With the shameless backing of Washington, the Venezuelan rightwing intends to place a complete stranger at the helm of the state.

 

This time around, the starting signal was neither a terrorist attack nor an assassination attempt directed against Maduro. Trump has chosen a group of conspiracy experts (Abrams, Pence, Bolton, Rubio) to pursue escalation and has opted to seize the Venezuelan oil enterprise operating in the United States (CITGO). He has brushed aside all principles of legal guarantee in his quest to appropriate the world’s largest concentration of crude oil reserves.

 

British politics today

 

 

By G.LL. Williams
 

February 10, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Britain’s politics is in crisis. Today there is a need to think about British politics to develop a better Left politics in Britain. Britain is faced with a simple choice today: capitalism or socialism, barbarism or socialism. British politics needs to lead to a better Britain — a socialist Britain.

 

Regime change in Venezuela: “Made in the USA”

 

 

 

By Steve Ellner

 

February 9, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  republished from NACLA: Report on the Americas —  Since its outset, the Trump administration has ratcheted up pressure on Venezuela and radicalized its positions. In the process, the Venezuelan opposition has become more and more associated with—and dependent on—Washington and its allies. An example is the opposition protests slated for February 4. The actions were timed to coincide with the European Union’s “ultimatum” stating that they would recognize the shadow government of Juan Guaidó if President Nicolás Maduro did not call elections within a week’s time.

 

Spain’s ‘socialist’ government to US: ‘Coup against Maduro? We’re in!’

 

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

February 9, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On February 15, 2003, in the face of the looming US-led war against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, the Spanish state saw the biggest demonstrations in its history. Part of a worldwide anti-war outpouring, about four million people turned out on the day, with 1.3 million in Barcelona, a million in Madrid and half-a-million in Valencia.

 

Leaders of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) were among those at the head of these oceanic demonstrations, which directly targeted the conservative Spanish People’s Party (PP) government of prime minister José María Aznar.

 

Brexit and the Left

 

 



By G.LL. Williams

 

February 9, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Brexit, the British vote to leave the European Union in 2016, has created a major political crisis in Britain and in the EU. This crisis has also created a dire political situation in Great Britain for the Left and for the Right. The Left has split between those supporting Britain leaving the EU and those supporting Britain staying in the EU. The close, but decisive, victory for Leave in the June Referendum, divide the British Left on the issue of the European Union and the place of Britain in Europe. This crisis has affected all the major forces of the British Left, including in the Labour Party and the other groups of the British Left. This crisis within the British Left needs to be confronted and tackled so that the British Left can unite on a common politics and a common programme about Brexit and Britain’s place in Europe. This issue and disunity is likely to cause serious problems for the British Left, unless it can be solved. The British Left cannot afford to be divided over Brexit and Europe. The Left needs a Brexit policy and a Brexit politics: it needs to come together on the politics of Brexit and present a united position on Brexit. A better position on Brexit will allow it to push for a better Britain today and for a better Britain in the future.

 

The US coup in Venezuela: New attempt to eradicate the Chavista Revolution

 

 

By Stansfield Smith

 

January 26, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — For over two years we have been told Putin’s Russia has interfered with the 2016 US presidential elections. We now find the US government has decided it can unilaterally invalidate the actual presidential elections in Venezuela and recognize a person of its choosing as president. This is just the latest US-backed coup attempt against a progressive Latin American government, following Venezuela (2002), Haiti (2004, and every subsequent election), Bolivia (2008), Honduras (2009), Ecuador (2010, 2015), Paraguay (2012), and Nicaragua (2018).

France in Revolt: Sam Wainwright on the Yellow Vest movement

 

 

January 25, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Sam Wainwright (who has just completed an honours thesis titled "Crisis and Renewal in the French left) speaks about the Yellow Vest movement in France at the Socialist Alliance summer school on January 16.

 

Sam Wainwright is a member of the Fremantle Council and a member of the national executive of Socialist Alliance.

 

Is foreign military intervention in Venezuela imminent?

 

 

By James Jordan

 

January 24, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — According to conventional wisdom, there should be no serious talk of foreign military intervention in Venezuela. But these aren’t conventional times. The conventional playbook would adopt a strategy of foreign coordination of the Venezuelan opposition, economic sabotage, infiltration of the military, and manipulation of popular movements against the elected government. All this is being done, but, so far, unsuccessfully. The frustrations of the Bolivarian movement’s enemies are palpable. Does this mean intervention is imminent? And what would such an intervention look like?

 

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