Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal seeks to promote the exchange of information, experience of struggle, theoretical analysis and views of political strategy and tactics within the international left. It is a forum for open and constructive dialogue between active socialists from different political traditions. It seeks to bring together those in the international left who are opposed to neoliberal economic and social policies, and reject the bureaucratic model of "socialism" that arose in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and China.

Inspired by the unfolding socialist revolution in Venezuela, as well as the continuing example of socialist Cuba, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is a journal for "Socialism of the 21st century", and the discussions and debates flowing from that powerful example of socialist renewal.

Links is also proud to be the sister publication of Green Left Weekly, the world's leading red-green newspaper, and we urge readers to visit that site regularly.

Please explore Links and subscribe (click on "Subscribe to Links" or "Follow Links on Twitter" in the left menu). Links welcomes readers' constructive comments (but please read the "Comments policy" above).

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Brazil's Landless Workers Movement (MST) on the political crisis engulfing the Dilma government

 

April 16, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over 700,000 Brazilians took to the streets on March 31 across dozens of cities in Brazil in defence of democracy. The demonstrations were called by the Popular Front of Brazil, of which the Landless Workers Movement (MST) is a key part. The demonstrations demanded an end to the impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, which protestors say is equivalent to a coup.

 

Below, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is republishing two articles reflecting the views of the MST on the current political crisis in Brazil which have been translated by Friends of MST. The first is the MST's analysis of the origin of the political crisis and the role of the social movements and working class in this struggle. The second was written by MST leader João Pedro Stedile, and looks at how the crisis has been accompanied by rising rural violence, including the killing of two farm workers on Thursday April 7.

 

Amadeo Bordiga and the development of a revolutionary core

 

Amadeo Bordiga

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

"We do not wish to evangelize, but to ignite, and when the moment arrives the flame will burst forth."[1] These passionate words were uttered by the Italian socialist Amadeo Bordiga in 1912 and summed up his life's revolutionary mission: to organize for international communist revolution.

Austerity Gathers Pace in Volatile South Africa

 

South African students protest outside the parliament precinct before forcing their way through the gates of parliament on October 21, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa.

 

By Patrick Bond

 

April 6, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project -- A wedge is being quickly driven through Pretoria's political elite, splitting even those who worked closely in the murky 1980s Durban spy scene during the fight against apartheid. Amongst the victims are vast numbers of poor people beginning to bear the brunt of the diverse shakeouts in the ongoing confrontation now underway between the country's two most powerful 21st century politicians: President Jacob Zuma and his predecessor Thabo Mbeki. That battle began in 2005, when Mbeki fired then-Deputy President Zuma following a corruption conviction against a long-time Zuma associate.

 

The revival of their duel comes at a very tense time in South Africa. Student, worker and community protests intensified last month after the December-January summer break. Repeated currency crashes left a 30 per cent decline in value over the past year, prompting the country's financiers and upper-middle class commentariat to universally applaud Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for maintaining low-grade austerity. A ‘junk’ label by international credit rating agencies, one which appears imminent and will lead to faster capital flight, remains an economic threat to this faction.

 

Kurdish women struggle for a new society in Rojava

 

Kurdish women volunteers at the Girke Lege women’s center

 

By Ruken Isik

 

April 5, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Next System Project -- The struggles of Kurdish women in Rojava Kurdistan (Northern Syria) became known to many people in the world during the brutal attacks of ISIS against the city of Kobane in northern Syria on September 15th, 2014. While Kurdish men and women were trying to defend the city from ISIS militia men with limited  ammunition and inadequate weapons, compared to sophisticated weapons in the hands of ISIS, Kurds worldwide took to the streets to be voice for Kurds in Rojava and Kobane. From the battle to defend Kobane onward, Western media and politicians have started to talk about the brave Kurdish women who are fighting against ISIS and its brutal treatment—including enslavement—of women.

 

But a question still resonates in many ears: how do Kurdish women join the fight against ISIS in such numbers, and why are women on the forefront of the struggle? What is the history behind this remarkable departure from the norm, and what can advocates for systemic change and feminism learn from Rojava?

 

The Resolute Subject: Daniel Bensaïd, Voluntarism and Strategy

 

Daniel Bensaïd

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 



To my brother, Daniel, who also made me see the possibilities contained in a moment.

 


April 4. 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, it has been fashionable to say that the time for communist politics has passed. One commentator went so far as to claim that “history had ended,” which meant capitalism was the only game in town. For many leftists, politics shifted from Marxist theory, revolutionary strategy and fighting to win, to begging the ruling class for “realistic” reforms. Yet there remained a stubborn few who refused to accept that capitalism was the sole vision on the horizon, but maintained a stubborn fidelity to Marxism and revolution. One of these was the French Trotskyist, Daniel Bensaïd (1946-2010), a key figure of the Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire, a leading participant in the May 1968 general strike and a militant Marxist intellectual. Bensaïd practiced a critical and creative Marxism throughout his life that fruitfully engaged with other radical political thinkers, such as Blanqui and Benjamin, and he refused to believe that the last word on our future had been said. Rather, he argued that resistance to capitalism was not only possible, but he gave serious thought about what it would take to win. Daniel Bensaïd remains a powerful voice to argue for strategic thinking and developing a “resolute subject” that could overcome the crushing weight of the “objective situation.”

 





The real population problem is too many capitalists

 

“There are too many coal barons, too many oil tycoons, too many politicians who are completely tied to the fossil fuel industry, too many vested interests that don’t want change,” argues Simon Butler.

 

Radio Adelaide interview with Simon Butler.

 

April 4, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal via Climate & Capitalism -- Simon Butler is a member of the Socialist Alliance in Sydney, Australia, a regular contributor to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal and co-author, with Ian Angus, of Too Many People? Population, Immigration and the Environmental Crisis (Haymarket Books, 2011).

 

He was interviewed by Des Lawrence on Radio Adelaide, on March 20, 2016.

 

Fidel Castro: 'We don't need anything from the Empire'

 

 

Despite big improvements in diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US in recent times, the US still maintains its more-than-50-year-long economic blockade and its occupation of Guantanamo Bay -- both of which Cuba's revolutionary government insists must end.

After United States President Barack Obama's history March 21 visit to Cuba -- the first sitting president the visit the island in more than 80 years -- Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro penned a column for Granma.cu

***

Brother Obama

We don’t need the empire to give us anything. Our efforts will be legal and peaceful, because our commitment is to peace and fraternity among all human beings who live on this planet.

A glimpse of what could be: The NSW BLF, the most radical and innovative union the world has ever seen

 

NSW Builders Labourers Federation Union secretary Jack Mundey is arrested during the ‘green bans’ at The Rocks in 1973 which saved the historic buildings of Sydney's birthplace 

 

By John Tully

 

Fifty years ago, a group of dedicated left-wing activists wrested control of the NSW Builders Labourers’ Federation (BLF) from the corrupt gangster types who had used it to feather their own nests. The militants, who included Jack Mundey, Joe Owens and Bob Pringle, rebuilt the union into a radically democratic, socially progressive and environmentally-aware organisation the likes of which Australia—and the world—had never seen. Today, we live in dark times for trade unionism. Only around 7% of workers in private industry are organised and unionists face ruthless attacks by the bosses and the state. The achievements of the NSW BLF, however, give us a glimpse of the liberating potential of the working class and are a beacon for the future.

 

Kurdish PYD leader: Time has proved us right

 

Co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party-PYDSalih Muslim

 

Interview by Karlos Zurutuza

 

March 25, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal translated from the Spanish edition of Vice News and reposted from Kurdistan Tribune — Salih Muslim Muhammad (born Kobani, Aleppo, 1951) is co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party-PYD, the political force that has led the uprising of the Kurds in Syria since the war began, in March 2011.

 

After spending 12 years as an oil industry engineer in Saudi Arabia, Muslim returned to Syria in the 90s to work clandestinely — Kurdish political parties were banned. By the time he became president of the Democratic Union Party, in 2010, he’d already paid for his political dissent with torture and imprisonment in Assad´s prisons.

 

It is not the first time Vice News has talked with Muslim, but this time we wanted to hear first-hand his take on the role his people are playing in a conflict that started five years ago.

 

South Africa: Condemn the murder of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, leading campaigner against the Australian-owned Xolobeni mine

 

‪Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe‬

 

March 24, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee and a leading campaigner against the Australian-owned Xolobeni mineral sands mine in South Africa was shot dead in his home on March 22. Below we republish statements by the Amadiba Crisis Committee and one signed by 82 civil society organisations condemning the assassination of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe and asking for international support to ensure his murderers are brought to justice. There is also an online petition you can sign onto at the bottom.

 

Amadiba Crisis Committee 2016-03 22: Our chairman brutally murdered

 

We are shocked to tell the public that the chairman of Amadiba Crisis Committee, Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe from Mdatya village in Amadiba, was brutally assassinated tonight outside his house in Lurholweni township, Amadiba area, Mbizana.

 

Our beloved Bazooka made the ultimate sacrifice defending our ancestral land of Amadiba on the Wild Coast.

 

He was murdered at about 7.30 in the evening. The hitmen came in a white Polo with a rotating blue lamp on the roof. Two men knocked at the door saying they were the police. Mr Rhadebe was shot with 8 bullets in the head. He died defending his young son, who witnessed the murder. His son and his wife are now in hospital.

 

Eritrea: origins of an oppressive regime

 

Overlooking Asmara, capital of Eritrea.

 

By Chris Slee

 

Eritrea, a small country in the horn of Africa, generally receives little attention in the international media. But in recent years there have been occasional reports of mass drownings of Eritrean refugees in the Mediterranean.

 

Overthrowing Dilma Rousseff: It’s class war, and their class is winning

 

Supporters of former Brazilian president Lula da Silva confront police officers in front of Lula's apartment in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, 4 March 2016.
By Alfredo Saad Filho

 

March 23, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project -- Every so often, the bourgeois political system runs into crisis. The machinery of the state jams; the veils of consent are torn asunder and the tools of power appear disturbingly naked. Brazil is living through one of those moments: it is dreamland for social scientists; a nightmare for everyone else.

 

Dilma Rousseff was elected President in 2010, with a 56-44 per cent majority against the right-wing neoliberal PSDB (Brazilian Social Democratic Party) opposition candidate. She was reelected four years later with a diminished yet convincing majority of 52-48 per cent, or a majority of 3.5 million votes.

 

Dilma's second victory sparked a heated panic among the neoliberal and U.S.-aligned opposition. The fourth consecutive election of a President affiliated to the centre-left PT (Workers’ Party) was bad news for the opposition, because it suggested that PT founder Luís Inácio Lula da Silva could return in 2018. Lula had been President between 2003 and 2010, and when he left office his approval ratings hit 90 per cent, making him the most popular leader in Brazil's history. This likely sequence suggested that the opposition could be out of federal office for a generation. The opposition immediately rejected the outcome of the vote. No credible complaints could be made, but no matter; it was resolved that Dilma Rousseff would be overthrown by any means necessary. To understand what happened next, we must return to 2011.

 

Venezuela: ¡Comuna o Nada!

 

By George Ciccariello-Maher

 

March 23, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from ROAR Magazine with permission — Have you heard about Venezuela’s communes? Have you heard that there are hundreds of thousands of people in nearly 1,500 communes struggling to take control of their territories, their labor, and their lives? If you haven’t heard, you’re not the only one. As the mainstream media howls about economic crisis and authoritarianism, there is little mention of the grassroots revolutionaries who have always been the backbone of the Bolivarian process.

 

This blindspot is reproduced by an international left whose dogmas and pieties creak and groan when confronted with a political process that doesn’t fit, in which the state, oil, and a uniformed soldier have all played key roles. It’s a sad testament to the state of the left that when we think of communes we are more likely to think of nine arrests in rural France than the ongoing efforts of these hundreds of thousands. But nowhere is communism pure, and the challenges Venezuela’s comuneros confront today are ones that we neglect at our own peril.

 

Sanders and the Left After Super Tuesday - Why there is still hope and why the Left should rejoice and push forward

 

Supporters at a primary campaign rally in Littleton, New Hampshire wave signs as they wait for candidate Bernie Sanders to make a speech.

 

By Brad A. Bauerly and Ingar Solty

 

March 19, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project -- While some have become skeptical, there are those – from The Nation via Politico and Tom Cahill ( U.S. Uncut) to Robert Reich – who are now saying that this is not the end of the line for Bernie Sanders U.S. presidential bid.

 

‘Plan B’ for Bernie Sanders supporters? An interview with Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein

 

Green Party 2016 presidential candidate Jill Stein

 

An interview with Jill Stein by Cory Collins

March 18, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Ricochet with permission -- You wouldn’t know it from watching the mainstream media, but there is political life in the United States outside of the Democratic and Republican parties.

 

Dr. Jill Stein was the 2012 presidential nominee for the Green Party of the United States, and is widely expected to be the party's nominee for 2016 as well. Recently, she has cast her campaign as a potential “plan B” for supporters of Bernie Sanders, should he not win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

 

As Jacobin recently pointed out, the Green Party is the only independent party of the left with a national presence in the United States. Ricochet spoke with Dr. Stein last week about her campaign and the comparisons with Sanders, as well as about Canadian and U.S. politics.

 

A tactical defeat in Bolivia: Evo's re-election referendum defeat and the future of the process of change

 

By Alfredo Rada Vélez, Bolivian vice-minister for coordination with social movements

 

March 17, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal translated from La Razon by Sean Seymour-Jones -- Let’s start with the positives. On February 21, rural voters stood firm in their support for [Bolivian president] Evo Morales. I’m talking about the rural communities of La Paz, Oruro, Cochabamba, Chuquisaca and Potosí, as well as the bastions of San Julián and Yapacaní in Santa Cruz, and various provinces in Pando, Beni and Tarija. The Yes vote also triumphed overwhelmingly in Huanuni, Colquiri and San Cristóbal, home of the strongest miners unions. The vote of factory and construction workers, the largest proletarian components of the COB [Bolivian Workers Central], was felt in the working class neighbourhoods of La Paz, in the most populated districts of El Alto, as well as in Vinto, Quillacollo in the plebian zone in the south of the city of Cochabamba, and in the barrios and in Plan Tres Mil in the city of Santa Cruz. The vote of other urban neighbourhood sectors was particularly important in El Alto, La Paz, Cochabamba and Oruro. In other word, the indigenous-working class-popular base of the process of change continues to back Evo, as this was the main class composition of the support received.

 

A workers’ International
 at a turning point: Introducing excerpts from the Communist International’s Third Congress

 

Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin addressing the
Third Congress of the Communist International in 1921.

 

By John Riddell

 

March 16, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Socialist Review with the author's permission -- When revolutionary socialists met in a global congress in 1921, both their strong and their weak points were on full display. Their world alliance, the Communist International (Comintern), had built mass parties in the decisive countries of Europe. Yet, as 600 delegates from fifty-five countries gathered in Moscow that year, Lenin wrote, “Something is wrong in the International. . . . We must say Stop! . . . Otherwise, the International is lost.”[1]

 

The complete record of this tumultuous three-week event, finally available in English, enables today’s activists to make the acquaintance of their predecessors in the era of the Russian revolution and witness their efforts to map a new course. To the Masses, Proceedings of the Third Congress of the Communist International, 1921 will be available in a Haymarket Books edition in early 2016.

 

International Socialist Review is publishing three sets of excerpts from this book, the first of which is reposted below.

 

What Is The Kurdish Calculation In Rojava?

 

March 15, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Rojava Report -- The following is a translation of an article written by Fehim Taştekin for Radikal. In the article Taştekin interviews Eldar Halill, a member of the executive committee of TEV-DEM, and Zuhat Kobani, a representative of the PYD in Europe, and reflects on the current calculations of the Kurds in Rojava in light of the complex geopolitics unfolding in the region.

 

Despite receiving warnings from the United States and artillery fire from Turkey, the Kurds are silently laying the foundation for democratic autonomy between Marea and Azaz.

 

Throughout the history of Syria the Kurds have moved back and forth in the gray zone between freedom the one day and oppression the next. Since 1957 the Kurds have passed through a political vice whereby they undertook party politics during during time when it was outlawed, and even when it was legal it was seen as illegal when it crossed beyond certain redlines. This also deepened their experience with conflict. It also taught them how to take their own case to an international platform. Everyone has a game plan in Syria, including the Kurds…

 

Podemos and the crisis of the Spanish state

 

People hold up banners during a Podemos march in Madrid in January 2015

 

March 13, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from SpectreZine -- Early in February Australian Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal correspondent Dick Nichols, who reports from Catalonia, was interviewed by the Dutch Socialist Party monthly Spanning. Spanning of course published it in Dutch. Below is an edited version of the original interview published on March 1.

 

A Bolivarian Bernie? The Latin American Roots of Sanders’ Social Democratic Populism

 

Bernie Sanders at a rally held by National Nurses United in support of his candidacy.

 

By Lucas Koerner

 

March 12, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Venezuela Analysis with the author's permission -- Since the US political establishment began taking seriously the threat posed by Bernie Sanders’ presidential candidacy in recent months, the self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” senator has faced an endless barrage of red-baiting attacks.

 

On several occasions, Sanders’ social democratic program has been likened to Venezuela and other Latin American countries of the so-called “pink tide”, conjuring up the now routine images of apocalyptic economic meltdown replayed ad nauseum by corporate media outlets.

 

Sanders, for his part, has emphatically denied the comparisons– not without a small amount of red-baiting himself– preferring to draw his inspiration from Scandinavian social democracy, where a strong capitalist state guarantees a host of key social welfare provisions for its largely homogenous populace.

 

“We're not talking about Venezuela, we're not talking about Cuba. We are talking about the concept, which I don't think is a radical idea, of having a government which works to represent the needs of the middle class and working families rather than just the top 1 percent,” the Democratic presidential contender explained at a recent forum hosted by Telemundo.

 

These assertions aside, there is, however, something about Sanders’ left populist crusade against the “billionaire class” that is much more at home in Caracas than in Copenhagen.

 

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