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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.

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The fortunate Marxist: Ernie Tate (1934-2021)

 

 

By Bryan Palmer

March 5, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Canadian Dimension — Born poor on Belfast’s Shankill Road in the midst of the Great Depression was certainly no entré to a life that would cross paths with Bertrand Russell, Vanessa Redgrave, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir.

Ernest (Ernie) Tate would nevertheless work closely with luminaries such as these and many others who, like him, opposed the war in Vietnam in the 1960s. A lifelong revolutionary socialist, Tate was a leading organizer of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign, worked for Russell’s Peace Foundation and its International War Crimes Tribunal, and partnered with the then leftist, David Horowitz (now a prominent conservative spokesman), in taking the anti-war side at an Oxford Union debate.

From the murder of Berta Cáceres in Honduras to dam disaster in Uttarakhand, India

 

 

By Don Fitz

March 5, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — March 2, 2021, was the five year anniversary of the murder of Berta Cáceres, who opposed the Agua Zarca dam in Honduras. That date was less than one month after the deaths of dozens of people from the Tehri Dam disaster in Uttarakhand, India. The two stories together tell us far more about consequences of the insatiable greed of capitalism for more energy than either narrative does by itself.

The misuses of Antonio Gramsci

 

 

By David Broder

March 5, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Weekly Worker — To accuse others of ‘misuses’ of Antonio Gramsci might sound like the defence of some stale orthodoxy. But the challenge is, if anything, to assert the communist character of the Sardinian Marxist’s actual work, in the face of its dominant political and academic uses.

In a famous 1976 book Perry Anderson counted Gramsci among the first generation of so-called “western Marxists” - an array of thinkers counterposed to the “construction of socialism” in the eastern bloc.1 In the then Trotskyist-influenced Anderson’s reading - and in the more acid tones of Domenico Losurdo’s more recent work2 - western Marxism had come to represent a gradual distancing of Marxist analysis from any connection to party-building or political practice. Such a trend intensified over the first half of the 20th century: hence currents like the Frankfurt School were focused on academic production rather than writing for party newspapers.

Why 'Islamo-Leftism' is just another conspiracy theory

 

 

By Saladdin Ahmed

March 5, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Islamo-leftism is one of the latest rhetorical inventions of the Right propagandists in France and the United States. This term is just another device to obscure reality by classifying the perceived enemies of White nationalism under one term. Equating political Islam and leftism can only be a sign of: 1) genuine political and historical ignorance, or 2) racism. 

To unpack this, let us analyze the terminology and look at a few historical facts. Let us also be charitable in our interpretation and assume that those who adhere to the term “Islamo-leftism” do not mean to implicate “Islam” as such simply, because that would be absurd given that “Islam” refers to a religion with thousands of variations and hundreds of millions of believers, just like Christianity. 

United States: Seattle City councilmember Kshama Sawant - 'Why I’m joining Democratic Socialists of America'

 

 

By Kshama Sawant

March 5, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Alternative (US) — The reemergence of a socialist movement in the United States, and rapid growth of organizations like Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and Socialist Alternative (SA), is of enormous historical importance. This is not only because Marxism is beginning to take root again on the hard soil of U.S. capitalism, but also because of the enormous challenges facing the working class in this period.

Capitalism is in the midst of its worst crisis in nearly a century, and it is a compound one – not only do we face the deadly disasters of COVID-19 and the economic collapse, but also the coming climate catastrophe. The disasters we’ve seen in the past year could become far worse unless socialists and the working class rise to the historic tasks in front of us.

Putting Australia's anti-China campaign in perspective

 

 

By Dave Holmes

February 26,2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Arguing for Socialism — In a recent Green Left article Dave Bell raised some important issues about China. What is China’s place in the world economic and political system, what is its influence in Australia and how should socialists should relate to it?

Against the tide: André Frappier’s journey as a class-struggle militant

 

 

Introduction by Richard Fidler

February 26, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — I first met André Frappier in the late 1970s, when we were members of the Revolutionary Workers League/Ligue ouvrière révolutionnaire, a pan-Canadian Marxist cadre organization. When the league decided to hoist its banner in the 1980 federal election campaign, André — already well-known as a union militant — was chosen as our candidate in a downtown Montréal riding. (No, he was not elected!)

Along with many others, André and I parted company with the RWL/LOR soon afterward. For André, this was by no means the end of his political activism, quite the contrary, as this recent interview by Pierre Beaudet shows. It is published in the current issue of Nouveaux Cahiers du socialisme, no. 25, winter 2021, under the title “À contre-courant : André Frappier, toujours présent,” also published as a separate text on the NCS webpage.

My translation, along with a few supplementary notes and this introduction.

* * *

Catalan elections analysed: what now after Spanish unionist assault repelled?

 

 

By Dick Nichols

February 25, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The February 14 elections in Catalonia took place in a phantasmagorical setting created by the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ruling of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia that they had to go ahead despite the danger of an increased infection rate in a country where 20,000 have already died of the pandemic.

As a result, 25% of the 90,000 citizens chosen by ballot to staff polling stations requested exemption; candidates gave rousing speeches to vacant halls while thousands of eyes watched on over Zoom, and the TV debates between the lead candidates were weird combinations of robotic set speeches and uncontrollable screaming matches.

With COVID-19 still raging in a half locked-down country, it was inevitable that the abstention rate would surge and decide the main issue in the elections: would the independentist majority in the Catalan parliament withstand the onslaught of Spanish unionism, this time carried out under the banner of the Party of Socialists of Catalonia (PSC), the Catalan affiliate of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE)?

Twenty-first century global capitalism reconfigures the imperialist disorder

 

 


Introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

February 25, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — The following is the third of a series of articles on contemporary imperialism by Argentine Marxist Claudio Katz. I translated the first article (The United States’ failed imperial recovery) and cited a section of the second in my review of the work of Leo Panitch (Remembering Leo Panitch). In this third instalment, Katz draws attention to what he considers an increasing asymmetry between the enduring geometry of post-WWII imperialism and the changing features of 21st century global capitalism.[1] Katz published his text under the title “La indefinición imperial contemporánea.”

Ecosocialism and political strategy

 

 

By John Molyneux

February 25, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Global Ecosocialist Network — Ecosocialism now rests on strong theoretical foundations as a result of the tremendous pioneering work done by John Bellamy Foster, Paul Burkett, Michael Lowy, Ian Angus, Fred Magdoff, Kohei Saito, Jonathan Neale, Sabrina Fernandes, Martin Empson, Patrick Bond, the adjacent work of Naomi Klein and many others. As a result of this work we can confidently assert that:

For Boğaziçi and freedom: a report from Turkey’s new student opposition

 

 

By LeftEast

February 25, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from LeftEast — This year the Turkish government’s campaign to stamp out dissent has broken new ground, but a new spirit of resistance is there to meet it, particularly at one of the country’s landmark public universities. In what follows, two participants in the oppositional student movement at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul tell us about their struggle against the imposition of a new rector aiming to put the university securely under the command of the ruling party.

In memory of Ernie Tate (1934-2021): A life of revolutionary activism

 

 

By John Riddell

February 13, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — The socialist movement lost an outstanding educator and organizer with the passing of Ernest (Ernie) Tate in Toronto on 5 February. An outstanding partisan of global anti-imperialist solidarity, Ernie also contributed, with his partner Jess MacKenzie, to building revolutionary Marxist groups and to promoting socialist unity in Canada and Britain.

Raised in an impoverished working-class community in Belfast, Ernie left school at age 14, taking a job at Belfast Mills as apprentice machine attendant. An avid reader and a rebel at heart, Ernie sympathized – unusually, given his Protestant background – with the Irish republican movement.

During a youthful jaunt through France in 1954, Ernie was deeply impressed by the mass solidarity actions celebrating the victory of Vietnamese freedom fighters in Dien Bien Phu. The following year, Ernie took the path of so many of his countrymen and emigrated, settling in Toronto.

The Kingdom of God versus the Kingdom of Man: BA Santamaria and the origins of the Movement

 

 

By Jessica Bell, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal 

Introducing BA Santamaria[1]

“Sometimes depicted as a man totally dedicated to principle, even perhaps despite consequences, he emerges…rather as an agile political pragmatist reformulating theory to suit the purpose at hand…

“[Santamaria’s] driving will is the explanatory key which allows us to see our intrepid anti-communist crusader not so much as a grand conspirator, but as a tragic figure in the classic sense, whose own indomitable will and imagination betrayed him, seducing him into a political adventure which was bound to fail.”

– Fr Bruce Duncan[2]

Cuba: the supreme victim of imperialism and colonialism

 

 

‘To change masters is not to be free.’—José Martí.

By Ian Ellis-Jones

February 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Cuba — perhaps more than most other countries — has been the victim of imperialism and colonisation.  

The greatest impact of imperialism and colonisation is on people, in particular, indigenous people. Cuba is no exception.

A tribute to Ernie Tate

 

 

By Phil Hearse

February 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Resistance — Ernie was born in 1934 in the Shankill Road, heart of Protestant Belfast. In 1955 at the age of 21 he migrated to Canada and within a year had become a member of the Canadian Trotskyist organisation, the Socialist Educational League.

In 1966 Ernie met Jess Mackenzie, an immigrant from Scotland, and from then on, they formed an unbreakable personal and political partnership. Ernie had been asked to move to Britain as the part of the international aid being provided by North American Trotskyists to establish a British section of the Fourth International and Jess moved to join him.

Fare thee well, comrade: A tribute to Ernie Tate

 

By James Clark and Pam Frache

February 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Spring — Ernest (“Ernie”) Tate, lifelong revolutionary socialist, died at home on February 5. He was 86. We send our deepest condolences to Jess MacKenzie, his companion of more than half a century.

With Ernie’s passing, the socialist movement has lost one of its fiercest fighters, someone whose deep commitment to working-class emancipation inspired nearly seven decades of political activity and changed the course of history. The greatest tribute we can pay to Ernie’s life is to share the countless lessons he leaves behind and pass to a new generation of revolutionaries the tools they’ll need to build a better world.

COVID-19 vaccines: The partiality of medicine in United States capitalism

 

By Vince Montes

February 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — COVID-19 vaccines are meant to function as a panacea for restoring confidence and reestablishing the social order in the capitalist social system. Saving lives is part of the capitalist state’s stated intention, but as we will see it is difficult to take this claim at face value when considering all the lives lost every year to preventable causes. In this way, COVID-19 vaccines will operate like therapeutics for cancer, diabetes, and other diseases because they do not address the social and environmental causes that increase susceptibility to illness, or in this case, COVID-19. In this view, profit-generating enterprises are normalized by the capitalist state's prevailing ideas and its capacity to engage in economic co-optation and coercion (Montes, 2009). Capitalism creates the conditions that lead to social ills and diseases, which produce high susceptibility to viruses such as COVID-19. Similar to how institutions of the state (such as the police, the military, corrections, and the legal system) serve to maintain the social order, so does medicine.

Spanish state: the Catalan February 14 election backgrounded

 

 

By Dick Nichols

February 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The issue must have been serious to persuade Salvador Illa, Spain’s minister for health, to leave that critical job just as the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was approaching its peak. 

It was. For Illa’s party, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), which runs the Spanish government with Unidas Podemos (UP) as junior partner, the Catalan independence movement’s still undefeated threat to Spain’s territorial unity is a graver concern than any virus—even one that has so far claimed 60,000 lives.

Remembering Leo Panitch

 

 

By Richard Fidler

February 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — I first met Leo personally in 1984. Articling with a progressive law firm in Toronto, I found that Leo was my contact for arranging the visit of Ralph Miliband as guest speaker at the annual Law Union conference. Miliband’s presentation was well received, and following the meeting Leo suggested the three of us should repair to the pub to which other conference participants had adjourned.

I remember telling Miliband that I had read several of his books but that my favourite was still his first, Parliamentary Socialism, A Study in the Politics of Labour. He laughed and said “It’s mine too.” Published in 1961, it began famously with the statement: “Of political parties claiming socialism to be their aim, the [British] Labour Party has always been one of the most dogmatic — not about socialism, but about the parliamentary system.” I was in 1962 a member of the provincial council of the recently-founded Ontario New Democratic Party, and had found Miliband’s analysis of the BLP of immense help in understanding the disturbing features of the NDP that I was encountering.

How pioneer Communists assessed the Russian Soviet Republic

 

 

By John Riddell

February 6, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary — The Communist International (or Comintern) was founded in Moscow in 1919, with the goal of helping to extend the socialist revolution that had taken place in Russia across Europe and around the world.  

The Russian Communist (Bolshevik) party that had led in establishing Soviet power was respected in the International as a prime source of strategic and tactical guidance. Yet the Comintern’s statutes did not accord any primacy to the Russian Communist Party (RCP). Like other Comintern sections, the Russian party was answerable to the International’s world congresses.

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