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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.
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The Tragedies of the Global Commons and the Global Working Class: Reflections on the Papal Encyclical
Michael A. Lebowitz (pictured) will be one of the keynote speakers at Socialism for the 21st century: Moving beyond capitalism, learning from global struggles being held in Sydney on May 13-15.
By Michael A. Lebowitz
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — An earlier version of this paper was presented at ‘The First World Congress on Marxism’ at Peking University, 10 October 2015 in Beijing, China.
‘On Care for Our Common Home’: the premises
Everybody is talking about it — the dangers presented by climate change. Adding significantly, though, to the emphasis upon the need to take dramatic action now has been Pope Francis’s recent Encyclical Laudati Si’, ‘On Care for our Common Home’. Its over-riding theme is that we must ‘protect our common home’. ‘The climate,’ the document stresses, ‘is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all’ and is ‘linked to many of the essential conditions for human life’ (23). Not only, however, are we destroying those conditions but, ‘the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth’ (21). How is it, the Encyclical asks, that we have ‘so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years’ (53)?
Trade union demonstration outside Portugal's parliament on November 10. Read more on Portugal.
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya addresses a mass rally.
[This article was inspired by a recent tour of India, in the summer of 2015. It is the conclusion to an exploration initiated in two previous articles: “India Yesterday: Development and Revolution” and “India Today”.]
In two previous contributions on India, I have explored the history of its development, including the great revolution which resulted in its independence, and also the nature and problems of capitalist development in that country more or less up to the present time. What is presented here is necessarily more fragmentary and tentative, and should be seen more as notes than as any kind of complete report or finished analysis.
People wave pro-independence flags as they gather outside the Parliament of Catalonia in Barcelona. Read more on Portugal.
Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho (front) and Deputy minister Paulo Portas leave a press meeting after talks with Socialist party (PS) leader Antonio Costa in Lisbon, October 13. Read more about Portugal.
By Dick Nichols
The incoming government of Portugal will most probably prove to be the briefest in modern Portuguese history.
It is headed by conservative Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Pedro Passos Coelho, whom Portuguese president Cavaco Silva appointed on October 22 to repeat as prime minister. Passos Coelho has already overseen the application of the 2011 “bail-out” memorandum applied to Portugal by the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund). The PSD will again be joined by the neoliberal Democratic and Social Centre-People's Party (CDS-PP), with whom it ran in the October 4 legislative election as the Portugal Ahead coalition.
Antonio Baños (pictured) was the lead candidate for the left-nationalist People's Unity Candidacies—Constituent Call (CUP) in the September 27 Catalan elections. Read more about the Catalan struggle here.
Antonio Baños, journalist and author of The Catalan Rebellion, was the lead candidate for the anti-capitalist left nationalist People's Unity Candidacies—Constituent Call (CUP) in the September 27 Catalan elections. The CUP scored a major success at the poll, increasing it presence from three seats to ten in the 135-seat Catalan parliament (for further analysis, see here).
Presently involved in negotiations with the the winning pro-independence ticket Together For Yes, Baños outlines the CUP's view of the present stage of the Catalan independence process. For Baños, the new road to independence is too complex to be reduced to the debate over whether Catalan premier Artur Mas should continue in that role—opposed by the CUP--and therefore prefers that negotiations with Together For Yes and other organisations and groups focus on how to start disobeying the laws of the Spanish state and the decisions of its Constitutional Court, and on how to shield Catalan institutions from attacks from Spain.
Baños insists: "If we've come this far, this can't go wrong.”
Workers taking part in a two-day general strike in 2013 involving more than 100 million people.
[This article was inspired by a recent tour of India by the author, in the summer of 2015. Read the first piece, "India Yesterday". The third, “The Struggle for India’s Future”, will be published shortly. Read more articles by Paul Le Blanc.]
When I first visited India, to attend the Mumbai (Bombay) World Social Forum in 2004, I was overwhelmed by the poverty that I saw there – its extensive and intensive qualities outmatching poverty I had seen in United States slums, in Mexican shantytowns, in U.S.-devastated Nicaragua – offset only by the incredible vitality and energy of these impoverished men, women and children as they worked and struggled to ensure the survival of their families and themselves.
Left Bloc activists. Read more about Portugal here.
By Dick Nichols
Will Portugal finally see the end of austerity as administered for four years by the right-wing coalition of the Social-Democratic Party (PSD) and Democratic and Social Centre—People's Party (CDS-PP)?
In the country's October 4 elections this governing alliance, running for the first time as a single ticket called Portugal Ahead (except on the Azores), won the elections, but with only 38.4 % of the vote (down from 50.4% at the 2011 national election). Of the 5.4 million Portuguese who voted, 739,000 turned their back on the outgoing government, leaving it with only 107 seats in the 230-seat parliament (down 25).
As a result, the PSD-CSD alliance, which boasted during the election campaign of being the most reliable tool of the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund), could even lose government.
Read more about the Kurdish struggle
18th Oct 2015
Amnesty International Report, published on 12 October 2015 and titled, "We Had Nowhere Else to Go – Forced Displacement and Demolitions in Northern Syria" is contradictory and puts the credibility of the organisation at stake.
1. The Basic Argument to Respond
1.1. The content of the report contradicts its title, and this is enough to prove its invalidity and to call for the prosecution of its authors.
1.2. The accusations in the report contradict Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
2. Supporting Arguments
2.1. Hurling unsubstantiated accusations without sufficient evidence.
Front page of the Times of India on August 15, 1947.
More than 1.4 million people marched to support Catalan independence on September 11. The September 27 elections were seen as a de facto referendum on independence, in which pro-independence parties won a majority of seats but not the popular vote.
By Dick Nichols
Who won the September 27 elections for the Catalan parliament, called as a substitute for the Scottish-style independence referendum that the People's Party (PP) government of the Spanish state has always refused to allow? It depends whom you ask.
On the night most of the commentators on Madrid-based TV and radio called the result as a defeat for the pro-independence camp: its two tickets—the mainstream nationalist Together for Yes and the anti-capitalist People's Unity Candidacies (CUP)--had won only 47.74% of the vote against 52.26% for "the rest".
Syriza supporters celebrate re-election of Alexis Tsipras as Greece's president.
by Richard FidlerSeptember 25, 2015 -- lifeonleft.blogspot.com reposted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In the wake of the September 20 Greek election SYRIZA has once again formed a coalition government with a small right-wing party, ANEL. Both parties lost votes and seats but their standing, like those of most other parties, was not very dissimilar to the results in January, when SYRIZA was first elected.
SYRIZA’s 35.46% and ANEL’s 3.69%, combined, were sufficient to give them a majority of 155 seats in the 300-seat parliament under Greece’s electoral law, which gives 50 additional seats to the party with a plurality, in this case (as before) SYRIZA. However, voter turnout was at an all-time low, 44% of the electorate abstaining although voting is mandatory in Greece. This means that SYRIZA was supported by only 20% of eligible voters.
And this is a very different party, and government, than the one elected in January.
Read more on Greece.
By Dick Nichols
SYRIZA pulled off a remarkable victory at the September 20 Greek election. Although burdened by its acceptance of the draconian third memorandum of Greece's creditors and eight months of rule in the midst of recession, closed banks and capital controls, SYRIZA's vote fell by only 0.88% and its parliamentary seats by just four.
On September 20 SYRIZA won 35,46% and 145 seats: at the January 25 election it won 36.34% and 149 seats. Its lead over the main opposition party, the conservative New Democracy, fell by only 1.17%, from 8.53% in January to 7.36% today.
While the ND vote increased marginally, from 27.81% to 28.1%, it actually lost a seat, passing from 76 to 75.
In January, SYRIZA was the leading party in 42 of Greece's 56 constituencies, and ND in 14: after this election the numbers are exactly the same, with SYRIZA overtaking ND as leading party in three regional constituencies, while ND replaced SYRIZA as leading party in another three.
Steve Ellner addresses a forum in 2014 on Chavismo in Caracas, Venezuela.
In the first part of the interview (available here) conducted by Evaristo Marcano, Professor Steve Ellner contextualized government politics that favored those businesspeople who did not support the general strike of 2002-2003. According to him, the strategy was relatively successful from a political viewpoint, but not an economic one. In the second part of the interview, Ellner argues that populist policies also have to be contextualized in order to be objectively analyzed. At the same time, he calls for a critical examination of the assertion that the government’s social programs and labor policies have generated low levels of productivity.
E.M. Populism is a topic that has been widely studied and has generated considerable polemics. Renowned analysts specializing in Latin America have dedicated considerable effort to understand the phenomenon. Recently, Margarita López Maya, in an article published in a daily of national circulation, maintained that the upcoming elections in Venezuela will pit the populist model against democracy. By framing the issue in these terms, is she not ignoring the complexity of a phenomenon that, at least in Latin America, has many variations?
Speech given by Naomi Klein (pictured) on September 5 to the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Sydney Opera House, Sydney.
Nicolas Del Caño (FIT): 'Queremos una izquierda que denuncie a la casta política y acompañe a los trabajadores en sus luchas'
Iniciado hace poco más de cuatro años, el Frente de Izquierda y de los Trabajadores frontal (FIT) se ha convertido en un punto de referencia clave para la izquierda en Argentina, y está rápidamente ganando su lugar en la escena política nacional.
Steve Ellner addresses a forum on Chavismo in Caracas, Venezuela.
Steve Ellner is a well-known analyst of Venezuelan and Latin American politics and is a retired professor at the Universidad de Oriente. He has published scores of journal articles and over a dozen books, his last being the edited Latin America’s Radical Left: Challenges and Complexities of Political Power in the Twenty First Century, published by Rowman & Littlefield.
This interview by Evaristo Marcano was originally published in Spanish in Aporrea.org and Rebelion.org
Argentine Left presidential candidate: 'We want a hard left that denounces the political caste and fights with workers'
Initiated just over four years ago, the Left and Workers Front (FIT) in Argentina has become a key reference point on the left, and is quickly earning its place on the national political scene.
The FIT was formed as an alliance of three Trotskyist parties: the Socialist Workers’ Party (PTS), Workers Party (PO) and Socialist Left (IS). It began largely as an attempt to overcome new electoral obligations requiring parties to win more than 1.5% of the vote in Open, Simultaneous and Obligatory Primaries (PASO) in order to stand in elections.
In a context where the far left has traditionally performed poorly in presidential elections, the FIT were relatively successful in their first electoral venture – the 2011 PASO for that year’s national election - with presidential pre-candidate and historic figure on the left, Jorge Altamira, winning over half a million votes (2.46%).
In the PASO held July this year, more than 750,000 people voted for one of the two FIT presidential pre-candidates. Unable to come up with a united slate, the FIT used the mechanism of the primaries to let voters decide their candidate list for president-vice president.
Left Unity, September 12 -- Jeremy Corbyn is the new leader of the Labour Party. Who could have imagined writing such a sentence only a few weeks ago? His victory shatters the austerity consensus that has dominated British politics for the last five years.
This is a victory for the movement as a whole. It is a victory for all those opposing the welfare cuts, for all those campaigning against war and racism, for all those fighting to defend our NHS and a host of other issues.
Jeremy’s election will have the effect of a dam breaking in British political life. It will shift the centre of political gravity to the left.
There were two intersecting currents behind the dramatic growth of the Corbyn campaign. Firstly there was the long pent-up resentment against the Blairite wing of the party, which the new process for electing the leadership allowed to be unleashed.