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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.

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Honduras: The threat of a Haiti-style foreign military occupation

Honduras, September 30, 2009.

By Ricardo Arturo Salgado

Tegucigalpa, September 27, 2009 –- Socialist Voice –- The Honduras crisis has sparked great interest among thinkers of both right and left up and down the continent. Many people are reflecting on events, using all the analytical tools their knowledge permits. There is wide scope for speculation, mainly because – for most people – the actions of different forces have been so unexpected in character.

President Manuel Zelaya carried out his return to Honduras in a way that astonished everyone, both the coup makers and most of his followers (myself included). Of course, the countries that are said to have participated in the operation do all they can to deny prior knowledge of his trip.

Venezuela plans deeper popular democracy to address economic crisis

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

September 24, 2009 -- Faced with the growing impact of the global economic crisis, Washington’s intentions to establish seven military bases in Colombia and growing challenges in solving structural problems, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez reaffirmed the need to build a new state.

“We have inherited a capitalist state that serves the interests of the bourgeoisie and is still penetrated by interests contrary to the revolution. We need to carry out an internal shake up of the government structures”, Chavez said on September 19 during the second expanded council of ministers meeting, which also involved governors and mayors aligned with the Bolivarian revolution.

The meeting was called to discuss a series of new measures the revolutionary government plans to announce in coming weeks to confront some of the challenges it faces on the economic, political and social fronts. In all, 54 new measures have already been approved by his cabinet.

Global economic crisis

New figures released by the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) showed the national economy contracted by 1% in the first half of the year, including a 2.4% drop in the second quarter.

(Updated Oct. 6) On the spot in Honduras: The people are still on the streets!

Honduras, September 30, 2009.

* * *

October 6, 2009 -- Latin Radical -- Democracy Now! reporter Andres Corteris, inside the Brazil embassy with President Manuel Zelaya, says there may be a ``light at the end of the tunnel''. Elements within the military and business community that originally backed the coup are putting pressure on the Micheletti coup regime to negotiate. Zelaya and his supporters are in good spirits, having just celebrated the birthday of the president's grandchild. He sends a gruff ``Saludos'' to community radio in Australia. But for the people of Honduras the issue now goes far further than reinstating Zelaya. They are demanding the constitutional reform and determined to defy the suspension of constitutional guarantees that has unleashed a wave of repression.

South Africa: `The ANC has invaded Kennedy Road' shack settlement

A statement by Abahlali baseMjondolo president S'bu Zikode. S'bu and his family have been living as refugees since the September 26-27 violence by the African National Congress targeting Abahlali leaders at Kennedy Road shack settlement in Durban, South Africa. He appeals for continued support for the Shack Dwellers Movement in these dire times of government repression and lies. It can be said without exaggeration that the so-called democratic government of South Africa is attempting to silence and disband the country's largest social movement of the poor. 

By Abahlali baseMjondolo (Shack Dwellers Movement)

Mexico's leftist 'La Jornada': 25 years of rabble rousing

By John Ross, Mexico City

September 27, 2009 -- Rag Blog -- Seven mornings a week, Vicente Ramirez's battered aluminium kiosk on Cinco de Mayo Street in this city's old quarter is plastered with the front pages of 22 daily newspapers. All day handfuls of pedestrians pause to gawk at the incendiary headlines slapped to the siding, often engaging in animated debate about the nature of the news.

"This country is going down the toilet", sneers one elderly gentleman studying a story about a particularly cruel kidnapping. "Ay Mamacita", another old gaffer exclaims, ogling a bare-breasted senorita.

Fully a quarter of the score of dailies on view at Vicente's kiosk are dedicated to the "nota roja" or "red note". Tabloids like La Prensa (reputedly Mexico's biggest seller but circulation figures are elusive) and Impacto are all blood and tits, spotlighting brutal beheadings, sensational crimes of passion and bevies of topless lasses.

Photo essay: Guatemalan Indigenous communities resist violent eviction by Canadian mining company

Adolfo Ich Xaman (in middle) murdered by company goons.

Story and photo essay by James Rodríguez, Barrio La Union, El Estor, Izabal, Guatemala

September 28, 2009 -- MiMundo.org -- (Unless indicated, all photographs were taken in June 2009.) As a result of a frustrated eviction attempt in the community of Las Nubes in El Estor, Izabal, Adolfo Ich Xaman (middle in photograph above) was brutally shot and killed by private security guards subcontracted by the Guatemalan Nickel Company (CGN), local subsidiary of HudBay Minerals Inc., a Canadian mining company.

Mr. Ich Xaman was chairperson of the Community Committee for Development (COCODE) of the nearby Barrio La Union community, a primary school teacher, and brother-in-law of Ramiro Choc, a high-profile imprisoned Indigenous and peasant leader. During the attack, the following men were also shot and injured: Samuel Coc, Ricardo Tec, Alfredo Xi, Haroldo Cucul (left in the photograph), Alejandro Acté, Luciano Choc, Hector Choc and Guzman Chub.

(Updated October 2) Honduras: Dictatorship steps up reign of terror, resistance pushes on

Democracy Now! September 29, 2009.

* * *

By Fred Fuentes, Caracas

October 1, 2009 — Green Left Weekly — The dictatorship in Honduras, which overthrew the elected government of Manuel Zelaya in a military coup on June 28, has stepped up its reign of terror. A state of siege remains in place. The most recent targets of the repression have been Radio Globo and Channel 36 — the two main media outlets opposed the coup and giving the popular resistance movement in the Central American country a voice. The continual repression has affected the size of anti-coup protests.

However, the ongoing resistance has caused further cracks to open within the pro-coup forces as support for the resistance spreads.

“They have just attacked our comrades from the resistance who had been protesting at the offices of Radio Globo”, Dirian Pereira from the National Resistance Front Against the Coup in Honduras (FNRG) told Green Left Weekly over the phone from the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa.

India: Lalgarh’s battle for dignity and justice

By the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation

September 27, 2009 -- The following appeared as the editorial in the July 2009 issue of Liberation, the central organ of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) – CPI (ML). Since then, while the paramilitary campaign in Lalgarh has ended, repression against the adivasi (tribal) people of Lalgarh continues, with incidents of rape and violence reported. It must be remembered that the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) began in Lalgarh after adivasi women were sexually assaulted by police during an anti-Maoist raid; one woman was blinded. The state government of West Bengal [formed by the pro-business Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front] initiated an enquiry that established the assaults had taken place – but only offered some monetary ``compensation’’ to some of the victims, refusing to meet their demand of punishment for, and a public apology by, the police authorities concerned.

Portugal: Boost for left as Left Bloc doubles its representation

Left Bloc's symbol.

By the Left Bloc, Portugal

International Viewpoint — Portugal’s parliamentary elections, held on September 27, 2009, have changed the political landscape. The Socialist Party (SP), which had an absolute majority in 2005 with 45% of vote, lost more than half a million votes and fell to 36.56%.

Even as the winner, it is in a minority in parliament, the only political force which lost seats in relation to 2005 (96 down from 121). The result for the SP is its lowest since 1991. This is undoubtedly the result of the anti-social policies of an arrogant absolute majority who chose to save the bankers from bankruptcy instead of establishing public policies for the banks; who passed an employment law which makes dismissals easier in a country that has nearly 600,000 unemployed, with half of them not receiving unemployment benefits and makes job insecurity the rule. A government which has waged war on teachers and civil servants like none before.

East Timor: The struggle for full independence — 10 years on

Oil rig in the Timor Sea. Timor Leste's oil wealth has not benefitted the people.

By Mericio Akara, translated by Vannessa Hearman

September 30, 2009 -- Dili -- What is commemorated as Timor Leste’s (East Timor) “liberation” is the United Nations-facilitated referendum on August 30, 1999. 

East Timor, which had been a Portugese colony, was already an independent country, as a result of the pro-independence political party Fretilin declaring East Timor independent on November 28, 1975. But barely days after the independence proclamation, on December 7, 1975, the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia used all its military firepower to invade Timor Leste.

The invasion was brutal and the occupation lasted 24 years before the UN referendum in 1999. During the occupation, the Indonesian military tortured and slaughtered our people. Such terrible acts became an everyday spectacle in Timor Leste.

Philippines: Flood relief appeal from Partido Lakas ng Masa

By Reihana Mohideen, international desk, Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses)

September, 28, 2009 -- Typhoon Ondoy swept through the Philippines on September 26, displacing some 250,000 people and, according to the most recent reports, has left some 86 people dead. Urban centres, such as Metro Manila, were also badly affected with more than 80% of the city under water. In some areas the water was around 4'-5' deep. Apparently one month’s rainfall poured down in a matter of a few hours.

We are conducting relief operations through our own networks and we are appealing for funds to support our relief work. The typhoon has now cleared and today we will be assessing the situation based on reports from our organisers on the ground. This will also include getting information on the state of the government's disaster management response. Reports are coming in about the inadequacy of the government's response -- in some areas people are still waiting for rescue operations to get to them and in other cases people are still waiting for food assistance.

Thailand: When King Pumipon dies ...

Souvenir clock featuring King Pumipon Adunyadet and his mother.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

September 25, 2009 -- Many Thais, whether they are royalist ``Yellow Shirts'' or pro-democracy ``Red Shirts'', are waiting for King Pumipon Adunyadet [often spelled Bhumipol Adulyadej in the Western press] to die. It may take years. Their feelings will be different, either positive or negative. This is because Pumipon has influenced Thai society for years. But the issue to discuss is whether this influence is created by others or based on the king's own power?

Most Thais, both Yellow and Red, believe that Pumipon is the most powerful political actor. Many academics like Paul Handley believe this too. But it is not the case. If Pumipon was powerful, like an absolute monarch, when he dies there would be a civil war between those who want to become the next king. That is unlikely.

There will be a power struggle and rivalries, but it will be a struggle among the elites, including former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, to see who can use the monarchy for their own ends. After the 2006 coup, Thaksin lost this battle. Maybe he might return to the fight. Among the Yellow Shirts there will also be such rivalries.

Fidel Castro on Honduras: A revolution in the making

Fidel Castro’s reflections on current political developments are available at Reflexiones del compañero Fidel. This article was published on September 24. The translation is by Socialist Voice, Canada.

By Fidel Castro

September 24, 2009 -- Last July 16, I said that the coup d’état in Honduras “was conceived and organised by unscrupulous characters on the far-right – officials who had been in the confidence of George W. Bush and were promoted by him”.

I mentioned the names of Hugo Llorens, Robert Blau, Stephen McFarland and Robert Callahan, Yankee ambassadors to Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua appointed by Bush in July and August 2008. The four pursued the line of John Negroponte and Otto Reich, two characters with murky histories.

I then indicated that the Yankee base at Soto Cano [Honduras] had provided the main backup to the coup and that “the idea of a peace initiative from Costa Rica was transmitted to the president of that country [Oscar Arias] from the State Department when Obama was in Moscow and was declaring at a Russian university that the only president of Honduras was Manuel Zelaya.” I added,

People's Republic of China at 60: socialist revolution, capitalist restoration

[Click HERE for more analysis of the Chinese Revolution and its evolution.]

By Chris Slee

September 23, 2009 -- October 1 will mark 60 years since Mao Zedong proclaimed the creation of the People's Republic of China. This followed the victory of the People’s Liberation Army, led by the Communist Party of China (CCP), over the US-backed Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party, KMT). 

In 1921, when the CCP was founded, China was in chaos. Western intervention — military, economic, political and cultural — had destroyed or undermined traditional Chinese institutions. New, stable institutions had not been created. Various imperialist powers grabbed pieces of Chinese territory.

Some modern industry was established, mainly in the coastal cities. But most Chinese people were peasants, heavily exploited by big landowners.

People's Republic of China at 60: Maoism and popular power, 1949–1969


Youth demonstrate during the Cultural Revolution.

[Click HERE for more analysis of the Chinese Revolution and its evolution.]

By Pierre Rousset

With the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) found itself at the head of a country three times larger than Western Europe, with a population of some 500 million. The internal situation was favourable to the revolutionary regime. At the end of a long series of civil and foreign wars, the population sought and relied on the new leaders to achieve peace while the ongoing people’s mobilisation opened the way for a deep reform of society.

People's Republic of China at 60: 1925–1949 -- Origins of the Chinese revolution

Mao Zedong (on horse) during the Long March.

[Click HERE for more analysis of the Chinese Revolution and its evolution.]

By Pierre Rousset

Retrospectively, we know the importance of the period opened in China by the overthrow in 1911 of the Qing Dynasty: it concluded, nearly four decades later, with the victory of the Communist revolution on October 1, 1949 – an event of historical scope. However, at the time, the future of the country looked very uncertain. Power was fragmenting in China, but the European states were not in a position to seize this opportunity to impose their colonial domination on the Middle Kingdom and were soon going to be at war with each other. The new imperialist powers (the United States and Japan) were not yet ready to replace them and claim for themselves the conquest of China. But it was only a matter of time. China seemed to be condemned to be dismembered into Japamese and Western zones of influence.

(Updated Sept. 28) International solidarity with the Honduran people's struggle for democracy

Solidarity demonstration, Sydney, September 24, 2009.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal below is publishing various solidarity statements and reports of actions in solidarity with the democracy struggle of the people of Honduras. More will be posted as they come to hand.

Socialist Alliance: `Australia must act for democracy in Honduras'

Below is an open letter from the Socialist Alliance to Australia's foreign affairs minister, Stephen Smith, calling on the Australian Labor government to act for the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya, and the restoration of democracy in Honduras.

The persecution of Caster Semenya -- sport and intersex people's rights

Caster Semenya.

By Farida Iqbal

September 20, 2009 -- Eighteen-year-old South African track athlete Caster Semenya has done nothing wrong. Yet she has been accused of deceiving the world about her sex. There is nothing wrong with Semenya’s body. Yet her body has been paraded in front of the world by the mass media as if she were a sideshow freak.

Semenya is a talented athlete. Yet her career is at stake.

Semenya won the 800 metres in the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships on August 19. She was accused by the international media of having won the race due to her unfair disadvantage of “really” being a man.

Semenya, like many other female athletes, has been subjected to sexist judgement of what a female body is supposed to look like.

Semenya is an intersex woman. But intersex women are not the only women who have been subjected to such scrutiny. The accusation of looking “too masculine” has always been used to degrade female athletes, including tennis great Martina Navratilova. For years the media focused on her highly developed biceps.

Semenya was subjected to invasive “gender tests” (actually testing biological sex, not gender). The test results were leaked to the international mass media. Australia’s Daily Telegraph was the first to run the story, revealing Semenya has internal testes and no womb. This may or may not be true.

Los! Hau Bele! -- `Yo! Si Puedo' comes to Timor Leste: Cuba assists the eradication of illiteracy

By Bob Boughton

In Timor Leste [East Timor], which is one of the world’s newest countries and Australia’s poorest Asia-Pacific neighbour, Cuba is delivering an educational aid program which aims to eradicate illiteracy, currently affecting nearly 50% of the adult population, within a period of less than 10 years. The Timor Leste national literacy campaign, utilising the Cuban-developed Yo! Si Puedo (Yes! I can) audiovisual teaching method, opened its first classes in the capital Dili in June 2007.

Eighteen months later, by December 2008, nearly 18,000 adults had completed a course of 65 lessons, led by local village monitors who work under the close supervision of 36 Cuban education advisers deployed throughout the country. If it continues at this rate, the literacy campaign can be expected to have a major impact on the stabilisation and development of Timor Leste, providing a model for other Pacific countries struggling to overcome their educational disadvantage.

Swaziland: Democracy leader released after 340 days, struggle continues

September 22, 2009 -- Morning Star -- Democracy activists in Swaziland celebrated on September 22 after the leader of the country's opposition was acquitted of terrorism charges and freed from prison after 340 days. Banned People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) leader Mario Masuku (pictured above) was arrested and charged with terrorism on November 15, 2008. The charge centred on seditious statements he had allegedly made during the funeral of a militant.

Judge Mbutfo Mamba acquitted Mr Masuku because the evidence was too weak to link him to the charge.

As Mr Masuku left the court amid scenes of jubilation, he told his comrades that the struggle for democracy and human rights in Africa's last absolute monarchy had only just begun.

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