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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.
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The Socialist Resistance national committee adopted this document, by Liam Mac Uaid, on January 9, 2010, to outline its balance sheet of the last decade’s attempts at the resolving the crisis of working-class representation in Britain.
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January 9, 2010 -- Socialist Resistance -- The workers’ movement in Britain has faced a crisis of working-class representation since the rise of New Labour in the mid-1990s and it has been becoming more acute ever since. This backdrop put left unity at the centre of the political agenda. The rise of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) and the Socialist Alliance (SA) were the first organisational expressions of this necessary process. A critical look at the last decade is essential if we are not to make the same mistakes – those who do not learn from history are pretty likely to make the same ones all over again.
By John Bellamy Foster
January 2010 -- Monthly Review -- It is now universally recognised within science that humanity is confronting the prospect — if we do not soon change course — of a planetary ecological collapse. Not only is the global ecological crisis becoming more and more severe, with the time in which to address it fast running out, but the dominant environmental strategies are also forms of denial, demonstrably doomed to fail, judging by their own limited objectives. This tragic failure, I will argue, can be attributed to the refusal of the powers that be to address the roots of the ecological problem in capitalist production and the resulting necessity of ecological and social revolution.
Party of Socialism and Liberty, Brazil: Chavez’s call to form the Fifth International and the world situation
By Pedro Fuentes
January 11, 2010 -- At the meeting of left-wing political parties and socialists held in Caracas on the eve of the congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez called for the formation the Fifth Socialist International. In a strong speech in which he summarised the history of international socialist organisations, Chavez said, Confronting the capitalist crisis and the threat of war that threatens the future of humanity, it is time to convene the Fifth International, towards the unity of the left parties and revolutionaries willing to fight for socialism … of the parties and socialist currents and social movements in the world to create a common strategy for the fight against imperialism, the overthrow of capitalism by socialism.
At that meeting, which had a clearly anti-imperialist tone, there were many parties that were out of place; including, the Mexican Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Chinese Communist Party and even the Brazilian Workers Party (PT). Others were missing, for example, the Brazilian Party of Socialism and Liberty (PSOL), the French New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA), the National Resistance Front of Honduras and the Revolutionary Tendency of El Salvador, among others.
Statement by Socialist Party of Malaysia central committee
PSM condemns attacks on churches! Najib and Hishamuddin should take full responsibility!
January 8, 2010 -- The Parti Socialist Malaysia (PSM) is shocked to learn that three churches have been attacked in the last 12 hours in the Klang Valley – the Assumption Church in Jalan Templer, Petaling Jaya, the Life Chapel in Section 17, Petaling Jaya, and the Metro Tabernacle Church in Desa Melawati, Kuala Lumpur. The three-storey Metro Tabernacle church in Desa Melawati, part of the Assemblies of God movement, was set ablaze in the attack which took place around midnight.
We cannot deny the fact that the attacks are somehow related to the High Court ruling last week which ruled in favour of allowing the Catholic Weekly Herald newspaper, which used the word "Allah" as a translation for “God” in its Malay-language section. The ruling however was suspended on January 6 pending an appeal by the government.
On January 1, 1959, the hated US-backed Batista dictatorship in Cuba was overthrown by the workers, peasants and students. To mark that momentous occasion Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is making freely available Resistance Books' Cuba: How the workers and peasants made the revolution, by Chris Slee (2008). Please click HERE to download the pamphlet in pdf format, or read it on screen below. If you would like to purchase a hard copy of the pamphlet, please visit Resistance Books.
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By Chris Slee
January 10, 2010 -- Some left groups claim that the Cuban Revolution was made by a few hundred guerrilla fighters, and that the working class played no role.
For example Ruth Braham, writing in the Socialist Alternative magazine, claims that the Cuban Revolution “entailed a mere 800 armed guerrillas seizing power, again on behalf of the majority but without their active involvement”.
By Mick Hall
January 6, 2010 -- Organized Rage -- Despite all its shortcomings and some might say murky history, the Morning Star is about to celebrate its 80th year of publication. Which in today's economic climate would be an achievement for any newspaper, but this is especially so for a radical left of centre daily and must surely be something to celebrate.
That survived the collapse of one of its main benefactors the Soviet Union was a major feat in itself and has had unforeseen, yet beneficial consequences. Having had the dead weight of Stalinism lifted from its editorial policy has proved liberating for the paper; and during the recent period it has moved beyond being a mouthpiece for what had become a form of sclerotic international communism, with football results thrown in, and is gradually becoming the voice the UK left has so desperately needed.
Honduras: Which Way?
January 10, 2010 -- In October, 2009, a delegation of human rights observers from Chicago visited Honduras to witness the popular resistance to the coup d'etat. We interviewed many leaders of the movement, and recorded abuses against them perpetrated by the coup regime and its military apparatus. This video is a short example of the spirit of the resistance by the Honduran people, which continues despite the fraudulent election that took place on November 29, 2009. Despite being boycotted by 63% of voters, the coup regime remains in power. Video produced by We = Producciones En El Ojo (In the Eye Productions).
January 9, 2010 -- Sydney -- The Socialist Alliance conference -- held January 2-5, 2010 -- was attended by representatives of a number of parties and organisations overseas, who presented verbal greetings to the conference. These were:
Abelardo Curbelo Padron, ambassador to Australia for the Republic of Cuba;
Sivaranjani Manickam, Socialist Party of Malaysia;
Reihana Mohideen, Party of the Labouring Masses, Philippines;
Peter Hughes, Socialist Worker New Zealand; and
Mike Treen, Unite, New Zealand.
The greetings below were sent by organisations and activists unable to attend the conference.
[Just prior to the Socialist Alliance conference, the Democratic Socialist Perspective voted to merge with the Socialist Alliance to strengthen left unity in Australia. For reports see HERE and HERE.]
January 5, 2010 -- Considering that climate change represents a real threat to the existence of humanity, of living beings and our Mother Earth as we know it today;
Noting the serious danger that exists to islands, coastal areas, glaciers in the Himalayas, the Andes and mountains of the world, the poles of the Earth, warm regions like Africa, water sources, populations affected by increasing natural disasters, plants and animals, and ecosystems in general;
Making clear that those most affected by climate change will be the poorest in the world who will see their homes and their sources of survival destroyed, and who will be forced to migrate and seek refuge;
Confirming that 75% of historical emissions of greenhouse gases originated in the countries of the global North that followed a path of irrational industrialisation;
Noting that climate change is a product of the capitalist system;
By Fidel Castro
January 3, 2010 -- As the Cuban Revolution celebrated its 51st anniversary two days ago, memories of that January 1, 1959, came to mind. The outlandish idea that, after half a century — which flew by — we would remember it as if it were yesterday, never occurred to any of us.
During the meeting at the Oriente sugar mill on December 28, 1958, with the commander in chief of the enemy’s forces, whose elite units were surrounded without any way out whatsoever, the commander admitted defeat and appealed to our generosity to find a dignified way out for the rest of his forces. He knew of our humane treatment of prisoners and the injured without any exception. He accepted the agreement that I proposed, although I warned him that operations under way would continue. But he travelled to the capital, and, incited by the United States embassy, instigated a coup d’état.
[This report, presented by Peter Boyle on behalf of the Australian Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) national executive was adopted, by the 24th DSP congress on January 2, 2010. See also ``Australia: New era of left unity as DSP votes to merge with the Socialist Alliance''.]
We are proposing to take an important step forward in our party building effort, an effort that has now spanned some four decades. We propose, at this 24th congress, to merge the Democratic Socialist Perspective into the Socialist Alliance, to take everything we have learned and built over these years of political struggle (organised through the DSP) into a broader political organisation, an organisation which has a majority of members who don't come from the DSP.
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[The following speech, to the opening rally of the seventh national conference of the Socialist Alliance on January 2, 2010, was delivered by Peter Boyle, former national secretary of the Democratic Socialist Perspective.]
My job tonight is to make the unusual – if not unexpected – announcement that the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) decided today at its 24th congress to effectively dissolve into the Socialist Alliance and to transfer all that it has built up, over some four decades of its existence, to the Socialist Alliance.
The Labour Party Pakistan's National Committee meeting on December 26-27, 2009, held in Islamabad agreed to endorse the declaration for the fifth international. The LPP leadership discussed in detail the different aspects of the declaration and found in agreement on the issues.
The National Committee is the highest body of Labour Party Pakistan, elected at the national congress every two years. The fifth LPP congress is taking place from January 27-29, 2010, in the industrial city of Faisalabad. On January 29, an international conference of the workers and peasants is aiming to mobilise over 30,000 people at a main political centre used by Bhuttos and other main leaders in Pakistan.
The Labour Party Pakistan (www.laborpakistan.org) is a left-wing socialist party formed in 1997 by several different trends of the left movement, trade unions and peasant organisations. It is the main left party in Pakistan in terms of its membership and influence within social and class movements.
By Patrick Bond
I will be the world’s troubadour
if not my country’s
jousting up and down
with justice for my theme
weapons as I find them
and a world-wide scatter of foes
Being what I am
a compound of speech and thoughts and song
and girded by indignation
and accoutred with some undeniable scars
surely I may be
-- Dennis Brutus, 1978
January 1, 2010 -- World-renowned political organiser and one of Africa’s most celebrated poets, Dennis Vincent Brutus, died early on December 26 in Cape Town, in his sleep, aged 85. Poetry and Protest: A Dennis Brutus Reader is the title of the autobiographical sketches and verse published in 2006 by Haymarket Books of Chicago and the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press. What links these aspects of your life, I once asked the itinerant Dennis Brutus, and he replied, “The role of the troubadour.”
Travelling from court to court during the Middle Ages, the troubadour was southern Europe’s sage, a wit whose satirical songs offered some of the most creative expressions of love for life and people.
By Graham Milner
Rosa Luxemburg (1870-1919) is one of the greatest figures ever produced by the international socialist movement. Her contribution, as theorist and activist, deserves to be recognised and celebrated by the newer generations of socialist activists who have become involved in the movement in recent decades. Those of us who have been involved in the socialist left for rather longer may also benefit from a critical review of the achievements of this great woman.
Interest in Rosa Luxemburg among historians, political scientists and activists alike has increased considerably since the radicalisation of the 1960s and early 1970s brought with it a re-evaluation of the long-buried revolutionary tradition in the world socialist movement. The questioning of the reformist and Stalinist orthodoxies dominant on the left in the 1950s and 1960s, which accompanied this radicalisation process, made essential a reassessment of those socialist theorists and activists who fitted into neither of these categories.
Review by Paul Le Blanc
Trotsky: A Biography
By Robert Service
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009
December 25, 2009 -- ESSF -- Robert Service has written, to great acclaim, a new biography of Leon Trotsky. “Trotsky moved like a bright comet across the political sky,” Service tells us. Along with Lenin and other leaders of the Russian Revolution associated with the Bolshevik – soon renamed Communist – party, “he first came to global attention in 1917. … He lived a life full of drama played out with the world as his stage. The October Revolution changed the course of history, and Trotsky had a prominent role in the transformation. … There is no denying Trotsky’s exceptional qualities. He was an outstanding speaker, organizer and leader.” (1, 3)
By Helen Patterson
December 15, 2009 -- The antipathy of mainstream Australian society toward Muslims is not a new development. As early as 1912, Australians were being cautioned about the danger of Australia falling under Islamic control. The adoption of camel transport had brought Muslim men from Afghanistan to Australia in increasing numbers from 1860 until they controlled the camel transport business. Despite their valuable contribution to the expeditions carried out by the European “explorers” and their vital role in establishing a transport system in the harsh outback conditions, the early Muslim immigrants were considered inferior to the dominant, white, Christian Europeans and marginalised in a similar way to the detribalised Aboriginal community.
By Roy Wilkes
December 27, 2009 -- Socialist Resistance -- Something rotten happened in Denmark. The fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15), in which so many had invested so much hope, began as farce and ended in tragedy. Anyone who still had the faintest illusion that the climate crisis could be resolved within capitalism has now seen it fatally dashed against the rocks of Copenhagen.
Of course, our rulers cannot blame themselves for this fiasco. So, who then is to blame? “China”, screams a furious Ed Milliband [the British Labour government's Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change] upon his return to London, with the media machine joining the chorus. Blame China! Blame Venezuela! Blame the poor countries who obstructed "The Deal"! Blame the victims who dared to ask for a 1.5 degree C limit, those unrealistic fools who dared to ask to be allowed to live.
By Fidel Castro Ruz
December 26, 2009 -- Climate change is already causing enormous damage and hundreds of millions of poor people are enduring the consequences.
The most advanced research centres have claimed that there is little time to avoid an irreversible catastrophe. James Hansen, from the NASA Goddard Institute, has said that a proportion of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is still tolerable; however, the figure today is 390 ppm and growing at a pace of 2 ppm every year. Each one of the past two decades has been the warmest since the first records were taken, while carbon dioxide increased 80 ppm in the past 150 years.
The melting of ice in the Artic Sea and of the huge two-kilometre thick ice cap covering Greenland, of the South American glaciers feeding its main fresh water sources and the enormous volume of ice covering Antarctica; of the remaining ice on Mt Kilimanjaro and the Himalayas, and the large frozen area of Siberia are visible. Outstanding scientists fear abrupt quantitative changes in these natural phenomena that bring about the change.