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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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[English at http://links.org.au/node/4417]
Por Dick Nichols, Barcelona
17/05/2015 -- Sinpermiso -- Si algunas personas que conozco del sector más cínico o desencantado del espectro de la izquierda española reflexionasen sobre el tema de nuestro debate de esta noche --- "democracia de base y los movimientos contra el capitalismo: lecciones de España"- podrían tener la tentación de hacer un comentario bastante cáustico, tal vez algo como:
"¿Democracia de base?” ¿Cual? Sin embargo, el movimiento indignado de las plazas -que comenzó hace cuatro años (el 15 de mayo de 2011), cuando millones de personas se concentraron en más de 80 ciudades y pueblos, fue en buena medida una expresión de esa democracia de base, aunque más o menos se haya evaporado por ahora.
"¿Movimientos contra el capitalismo”? ¿Dónde están? Si no estamos hablando de grupos revolucionarios marginales, no hay movimientos contra el capitalismo dignos de tener en cuenta. Lo que tenemos es un montón desigual de movimientos de resistencia, por lo general sin éxito, contra diferentes aspectos de la austeridad capitalista.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4407]
Por Reihana Mohideen
10/05/2015 -- Sinpermiso -- Si bien la renuncia de Walden Bello como representante en el Congreso de Akbayan debe ser bienvenida, también ha puesto de manifiesto la crisis y el fracaso del movimiento de izquierda y progresista y su incapacidad para construir una alternativa viable al actual régimen de las élites. Además, ha puesto de manifiesto el fracaso de las políticas electorales pragmáticas de la izquierda filipina.
Una pregunta importante que se plantea es, ¿cómo puede la izquierda responder a la reciente crisis política y darle una salida progresista, a fin de que beneficie a la Masa (masas) y no a una de las facciones de la elite gobernante? Teniendo en cuenta que las principales facciones de la élite no son capaces de presentar una alternativa creíble, ello proporciona la izquierda una oportunidad única, para defender y ganar apoyo popular a una alternativa de izquierda al gobierno de las elites filipinas.
By Steve Ellner
May 13, 2015 – versions of this article were published in Red Pepper (April-May issue) and Alborada.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission of the author -- It’s a point of honour for Venezuela’s government that despite the sharp plunge in oil prices and acute shortages of goods, President Nicolás Maduro has ruled out austerity measures. In a recent TV interview conducted by former vice-president José Vicente Rangel, Central Bank president Nelson Merentes explained why, when he asked: “Do you remember what happened on February 27, 1989?”
On that date massive nationwide disturbances broke out after the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez announced sharp price hikes and negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, setting the stage for the 1992 military uprising led by Hugo Chávez. The memory of February 27 and the decision of the formerly left-leaning Pérez to come to terms with powerful economic groups as a way out of pressing economic difficulties undoubtedly weigh on Maduro’s response to the current situation.
Ireland: People Before Profit Alliance, Anti-Austerity Alliance: 'Build an active, democratic, principled left'
April 27, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following statement, for the May 1, 2015, conference organised by the trade unions affiliated the the Right 2 Water campaign, was agreed between the People Before Profit Alliance, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and some independent activists, including councillor Brendan Young.
The People Before Profit Alliance is aligned to the Socialist Workers Party in Ireland, while the Anti-Austerity Alliance is associated with the Socialist Party (CWI). Despite wariness among activists due to these organisations' past practices that contributed to the failure of the United Left Alliance, the statement has been widely welcomed.
The text is taken from that posted by the Irish Left Review.
May 13, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sinn Féin video featuring Gerry Adams TD, councillor Emma Murphy and mayor of Dublin South Fintan Warfield calling on people to vote Yes to marriage equality in a referendum on May 22, 2015.
Irish protest against water charges at the GPO in January.
Click HERE for more on Ireland
By Rory Hearne
May 8, 2015 -- Broadsheet.ie, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Hope has been in short supply in Ireland in recent years but, thankfully, it has emerged in recent months. But this hope has not come in the so-called "recovery", which is deeply uneven across the country and from which the majority of people remain excluded.
No, the real hope emerged, first in the mass protests against water charges, and now in the possibility of a new political movement built from the grassroots of these unprecedented protests.
Since Ireland's independence in 1921 the overwhelming majority of Irish governments have been composed of the tweedle-dee, tweedle-dum parties of Fine Gael/Fianna Fail/Labour Party. What have they achieved for ordinary people? Corruption, inequality and austerity are now the hallmarks of the Irish Republic, a centenary after its founders aimed for a Republic of equality.
By Colin Fox
May 11, 2015 -- Scottish Socialist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the end the polls got it wrong, badly wrong. And all the commentators who placed so much faith in them looked foolish. There was no hung parliament. No horse trading between Westminster parties, no weeks of instability before a coalition government was formed. The Tories thumped Labour and won a clear majority.
Basta! : We seem to be heading straight toward climate disaster. We know what will happen if we do nothing about climate change, yet nothing really changes. Why is it so?
Naomi Klein: It’s not that we’re doing nothing – we’re actually actively doing exactly the wrong things. We have an economic system that defines success and progress as infinite economic expansion. Any kind of expansion is deemed good. Our emissions are going up much faster than they were in the 1990s.
In the past decade, we had very high oil prices, which has created huge economic incentives for fossil fuel companies to push into new, more expensive, higher-emitting forms of extraction, such as tar sands and fracking.
"Podemos, whose decision-making process is based on online voting by a passive mass membership of 300,000, is a highly centralised operation that is in many ways the polar opposite of the grassroots democracy of 15M."
For more on politics in Spain, click HERE.
By Dick Nichols, Barcelona
May 11, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- If some people I know from the more cynical or disillusioned end of the Spanish left spectrum were to reflect on the topic of our discussion tonight---“Grassroots democracy and the movements against capitalism: lessons from Spain”—they might be tempted to make a rather acid commentary, maybe something like this:
May 9, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party won a clear victory in Britain's May 7 general elections. In Scotland, however, the Scottish National Party (SNP) dramatically rose from six seats to 56 out of 59, in a clear sign of opposition to the brutal austerity backed by the major parties in Westminster.
The big loser in Scotland was the Labour Party, which was nearly wiped out. Previously the largest party in Scotland, it kept just one seat. It was ruthlessly punished for its support for austerity and its role in opposing Scottish independence. Although the “no” vote won, Labour paid the price for a nasty campaign in which it appeared as just one more voice of the London establishment.
For more on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE
May 8, 2015 -- Australia-Greece Solidarity Campaign posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The political secretariat of SYRIZA met on May 5 and, with its unanimous decision, stressed amongst other things that the "government’s red lines are the Greek people’s red lines. They constitute the necessary prerequisite for the exit from the crisis whilst abiding by terms of social justice and economic development“.
By John Riddell
May 5, 2015 -- JohnRiddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In 1921, a time of declining mass struggles, the Communist International (Comintern) was thrown off course by insistent demands at every level of the organisation for the young movement to launch confrontational actions, even if Communists must fight almost alone. In mid-1921, the Comintern’s Third Congress turned decisively away from this policy. Under the slogan, “To the masses”, it adopted, on Lenin’s insistence, the strategy of unifying working people in struggle that was codified six months later as the “united front”.
A Short History of Social Democracy: From Socialist Origins to Neoliberal Theocracy
By John Rainford
Review by Jim McIlroy
April 27, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The rise and then fall of social democracy as a movement for fundamental social change is a modern tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. It is one of the epic stories of the 19th and 20th centuries.
This new book by Socialist Alliance member and unionist John Rainford charts the history of the doctrine from the birth of socialist thought in the 19th century. It focuses on the development of social democracy, which essentially became a project for “reforming” capitalism, expressed in parties such as the Australian Labor Party (ALP).
It examines the political forces opposed to social democracy on its left and right, its victories and its “golden years” after World War II. The book examines its surrender to “free market” neoliberalism before suggesting what might constitute “an anti-capitalist politics for the 21st century”.
May 5, 2015 -- Solidarity (USA), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Some 200 political activists from a variety of independent political organisations, as well as individual activists, carried out rich discussion and amicable debate about how to collaborate in the work of building a large political alternative to the left of the Democratic Party.
Participating in the Future of the Left/Independent Politics Conference in an unprecedented spirit of cooperation, national, state, and local candidates and activists, as well as elected officials from the Green Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Richmond Progressive Alliance, Socialist Alternative, International Socialist Organization (ISO) and the Vermont Progressive Party discussed the challenges of campaigning and the difficulties of actually holding office while trying to both build movements and push progressive policies. Also at the conference were members of Progressive Democrats of America and the Justice Party.
A toppled statue of Vladimir Lenin in Ukraine.
More on the political situation in Ukraine
Volodymyr Ishchenko interviewed by Javier Morales
Javier Morales: How do you think that Ukrainian society is assessing the consequences of the Euromaidan revolution? Has there been any change in their attitudes in the past year?
For more analysis and discussion on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE
By Panagiotis Lafazanis, minister of reconstruction of production, environment and energy.
April 29, 2015 -- CRASH magazine, translated by The Greek Analyst, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Panagiotis has been involved in negotiating with Russia for a gas pipeline to Greece. He is a member of SYRIZA's Left Platform grouping. The Greek version can be found on the website of the ministry, here.
By Alister Black, Edinburgh
May 4, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International journal of Socialist Renewal -- Britain's May 7 general election is set to be the closest in living memory. In the polls, the two leading parties, Labour and the Conservatives (Tories), are within points of each other. The polls have not shifted despite the best efforts of Tory Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband to secure a breakthrough.
Why are the polls so close?
South Africans campaign against apartheid Israel.
Click HERE for more on BDS
May 4, 2015 -- BDS South Africa, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We gather here today as the Student Representative Council (SRC) presidents of five of South African universities, namely: University of South Africa, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Durban University of Technology, Mangasutho University of Technology and the University of the Western Cape. This day will go down in history as we announce the resolutions adopted by our University Student Representative Councils to join the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
Today we follow the mandate provided in 2011 by the South African Union of Students (which represents all SRCs in the country) which urged "all SRCs, student groups and other youth structures to strategise and implement a boycott of Israel”. SAUS declared in August 2011 that “all South African campuses must be Apartheid-Israel free zones”.
Philippine police commandos unload body bags containing the remains of their comrades killed as a result of the "Mamasapano debacle".
For more coverage of the Philippine left, click HERE.
An important discussion is taking place in the Philippine left about its intervention in the 2016 elections, the revival of the mass movement and the coalition of a section of the progressive movement, the Akbayan party, with the governing Liberal Party.
Several leaders of Akbayan have called for an end to this alliance, including Walden Bello, who recently resigned as Akbayan's leader in parliament, former chairperson of Akbayan Ric Reyes, who has now resigned from the party after its congress in April voted to continue as a coalition partner of the government, and SENTRO, the labour organisation aligned with Akbayan.
The following paper is a contribution to the discussion. Other papers and statements can be found at www.lakasngmasa.wordpress.com.
* * *
By Reihana Mohideen
For more analysis and discussion on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE
By Dick Nichols
May 4, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On April 27, in a three-hour appearance on private TV channel Star TV, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras spoke extensively about the challenges confronting the government led by SYRIZA, the Coalition of the Radical Left.
The program, beginning with a grilling of Tsipras by interviewer Niko Katsinikolao and ending with questions from a 50-strong audience, is available above and below with simultaneous English translation.