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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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United States: New prescription for a healthy union movement


Scenes from the NUHW founding convention.

By Carl Finamore

May 1, 2009 -- It’s not every day that a new national union is formed in the United States. But that’s exactly what happened on April 25 in San Francisco. If the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) turns out as planned, it’s a date for the history books.

A Green's view of Cuba: Reflections on the 50th anniversary of the revolution

Barb in Cuba
Barbara Chicherio and husband Don Fitz in Havana.

By Barbara Chicherio

During January 2009 I visited Cuba over a long weekend. My stepdaughter started medical school there this past August and this was the first chance in several months for her Dad and me to see her. Visiting Rebecca was wonderful, but I was unprepared for what I encountered during the three short days spent in Cuba and how the experience would shift my perception of the global economy.

Former elite resists the `New Nepal'

Supporters of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) demand the sacking of army chief of staff Rookmangud Katawal on April 28.

* * *

STOP PRESS -- Ben Peterson from Kathmandu reports on May 3, 2009, at 3pm:

This morning the Maoists in government made the decision to remove General Katawal from his position of chief of army staff after his repeated political insubordination. This follows 10 days of trying to reach consensus with the other political parties, up until a final cross-party meeting this morning. Failing to achieve consenus, the goverment ordered Katawal's retirement.

The political economy of crisis management in the heart of world capitalism

By Arindam Sen

May 2009 -- Do we see a faint glimmer of light at the -- still distant -- end of the tunnel? In March the housing market in the US stabilised somewhat and new claims for unemployment insurance stopped rising. Crisis-ridden US banks surprised everybody when they reported profits in mid-April, which was followed by a good stockmarket rally. But most other indices, including retail sales figures seem to suggest that such optimism might be premature. As late as March 31 the OECD released a very gloomy prognosis, predicting that the US economy would shrink by 4% this year and not grow at all next year.

Meanwhile, a great debate of sorts is raging over contradictory strategy options for crisis management, in the process revealing the class conflicts in US society -- both between the bourgeoisie and the working class, and among various sections of the bourgeoisie.

Two versions of the nationalisation slogan

May Day, 2009: `Advance the socialist alternative!', `Together we shall restore humanity'

May Day 2009 in Karachi, Pakistan. Photo by Farooq Tariq.

May 1, 2009 -- Below are a number of messages to mark International Workers' Day -- May Day -- from revolutionary organisations around the world. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal will post others as they become available. Please check back.

* * *

Malaysian socialists' clenched-fist logo approved

April 29, 2009 -- Malaysiakini -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PSM), having recently won a decade-long battle for recognition from Malaysia's Registrar of Societies, today announced another victory: that its logo has been approved by the Election Commission (EC).

The EC had previously rejected the logo -- a white clenched fist against a red backdrop -- as it was found to have “connotations of violence” and was “morally unsuitable”.

The PSM announced that the EC had given the green light for the party to use the logo in a letter dated April 20. This means the party can use its own logo in the next general election and any future by-elections which it wants to contest.

The commission had not given any reason for their change in mind in approving the logo, said PSM officials at a press conference held in the party headquarters in Brickfields this morning.

April 30: Vietnam celebrates Liberation Day

By Peter Boyle

April 30, 2009 -- Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific -- There are two unforgettable images of Vietnam's Liberation Day on April 30, 1975. The first is the image of liberation fighters entering the Independence Palace (now Reunification Palace) in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). The second is the hasty evacuation by helicopter from the roof of the US embassy.

Thirty-four years later Vietnam will celebrate not just the end of a 16-year war of aggression by the US, Australia and other imperialist and pro-imperialist states but also the end of the two-decade-long economic blockade that was subsequently imposed by the US on this poor and war-ravaged nation.

Bolivia: Rich countries must pay their `ecological debt'

Retreat of the Chacaltaya Glacier, Bolivia 1940-2005.

Submission by Republic of Bolivia to the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the [UN Framework Convention on Climate Change] (AWG-LCA)

April 25, 2009 -- We call on developed countries to commit to deep emission reductions in order to advance the objective of avoiding dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system and its consequences, to reflect their historical responsibility for the causes of climate change, and to respect the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities in accordance with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Scottish Socialist Party: ‘Little Britain’ politics and the left

By Alan McCombes

April 24, 2009 -- Voters who want an isolationist Britain will be spoiled for choice in the European elections on June 4th. On the far right, the BNP and UKIP both demand an independent Britain. Left of centre parties that want British withdrawal include Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Parry and the NO2EU Yes To Democracy coalition. While these four parties promote British independence, the Free Scotland Party campaigns for an independent Scotland outside the European Union.

What should be the attitude of Scottish socialists towards Europe? Should the left back British separatism? And does the NO2EU Yes To Democracy campaign represent a progressive step forward?

Swine flu and a sick social system: Why the poor die and the rich sniffle

Poverty in Mexico.

April 27, 2009 -- A World to Win News Service -- It is impossible to predict the spread, severity and consequences of the swine flu epidemic that broke out in Mexico. But influenza epidemics have occurred regularly –- with three pandemics (global epidemics) in the 20th century -- and scientists and public health authorities have known for a long time that new pandemics are inevitable. Some possible parameters and paths of development can be scientifically understood, in both the biological and social spheres.

There are two separate and mainly independent factors at work. One is the nature and evolution of the disease itself, which is not caused by human activity. Although social factors -- for instance industrial pig farming -- may have played a contributing role in the appearance of this particular disease, human beings didn't invent viruses or human and animal vulnerability to them.

The Flame, April-May 2009 -- Green Left Weekly's Arabic-language supplement

With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly -- Australia's leading socialist newspaper -- is publishing a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame will cover news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. The editor-in-chief is Soubhi Iskander, a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

“There are Arabic newspapers in Australia, but still all reflect the views of their editors and there is a great need to establish a progressive Arabic-language press which can frankly discuss the squalid condition of the Arab world due to submission and subservience to neo-colonialism”, Iskander explains. “At the same time, the Arabic-speaking communities in Australia need to read articles relating to the Australian government policy internally — articles which will unmask the pitfalls of these policies, and will expose the violation and the lies of the capitalist parties. The Flame, we hope, will be a powerful addition to Green Left Weekly.”

Thailand: Why have NGOs sided with the royalists, against democracy and the poor?

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

April 27, 2009 -- In the present political crisis in Thailand, it is shocking that most Thai NGOs have disgraced themselves by siding with the ``Yellow Shirt'' elites or have remained silent in the face of the general attack on democracy. It is shocking because NGO activists started out by being on the side of the poor and the oppressed in society. To explain this situation, we must go beyond a simple explanation that relies on personal failings of individuals or suggestions that NGOs have “underlying bad intentions”, or that they are “agents of imperialism”.

Mike Davis: Capitalism and the flu

Agri-biz at root of swine flu? Real News Network report, April 30, 2009.

* * *

April 27, 2009 -- Socialist Worker (USA) -- Mike Davis, whose 2006 book The Monster at Our Door warned of the threat of a global bird flu pandemic, explains how globalised agribusiness set the stage for a frightening outbreak of the swine flu in Mexico.

Who are the Tamil Tigers?

By Chris Slee

April 25, 2009 -- The Sri Lankan government claims to be on the verge of totally defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE — also known as the Tamil Tigers). The LTTE has fought for more than 30 years for an independent state for the Tamil people on the northern and eastern parts of the island.

The roots of the conflict lie in a long history of state-sponsored oppression of the Tamils, which eventually led some Tamil youth to take up arms. When the British granted independence to Sri Lanka in 1948, power was handed to politicians drawn mainly from the upper classes of the majority Sinhala ethnic group. These politicians used racism as a tool to divide the working class.

Second-class citizens

Tamil plantation workers were deprived of citizenship rights. Sinhalese was declared the sole official language of Sri Lanka, making Tamil language speakers second-class citizens. Knowledge of Sinhalese became necessary for public service jobs, excluding most Tamils. Discrimination was also applied in education.

* * *

Ronnie Kasrils -- South Africa and Palestine: Long roads to freedom

Ronnie Kasrils spoke at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow on March 20, 2009, at a talk organised by Pulsemedia.org and the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. During the years of apartheid rule in South Africa, Ronnie Kasrils was a leader in the banned South African Communist Party and African National Congress, and its military wing Umkonto we Sizwe. Hunted by the security police, he was described as ``armed and dangerous''. Kasrils served as a government minister in post-spartheid South Africa until 2008.

Today Kasrils is an activist in the Palestine Solidarity Committee in South Africa, which recently won support from Durban dock workers to adopt a policy of boycotting Israeli ships that dock in South African ports.

`Worse than South African apartheid'

Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation manifesto for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections

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

Liberation -- The 15th Lok Sabha [April-May 2009] elections have been announced. As the country gets ready to vote for the constitution of a new Lok Sabha, dark clouds of deepening crisis overshadow our entire economy. While the rural economy had long been reeling under an acute agrarian crisis, and soaring prices had been reducing the already limited purchasing power of the masses, now jobs have started vanishing even in the so-called growth sectors and wages are going down to make survival a challenge for ever larger sections of the poor and working people. The government’s pompous rhetoric of rapid economic growth and massive investment inflow has melted into thin air, and the people have been asked to get ready for a long period of recession.

Elections in India: Asserting people’s issues above the clamour of `crorepatis', communalists and corporate media

By Kavita Krishnan

April 24, 2009 -- The media’s poll pundits have already declared that there are “no issues” in India’s 2009 parliamentary polls. At the same time, the corporate media houses have launched campaigns seeking to ``awaken’’ middle- and upper-class voters. They have been awash in self-congratulation at their success in mobilising this class of voters – the only class, they imply, which is capable of making Indian politics clean and meaningful, because it is not a ``vote bank’’. ``Slumdogs’’, they rue, are even willing to sell their kids, so their votes are suspect – while sheer wealth places corporates and crorepatis above corruption.

[India’s Lok Sabha (national lower house of parliament) polls, are being held in five phases between April 16 and May 13, 2009.]

Who are the real pirates in Africa's waters?

By Tony Iltis

April 18, 2009 -- The report in the Times of London began: ``Pirates caught redhanded by one of Her Majesty’s warships after trying to hijack a cargo ship off Somalia made the grave mistake of opening fire on two Royal Navy assault craft packed with commandos armed with machineguns and SA80 rifles.’’ The references to modern weapons and the use of the modern term ``hijacking’’, indicate that this is a recent article (from the November 12, 2008, online edition). In other respects it could have been written 300 years ago.

Scottish Trade Union Congress votes to support boycotts, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel

By the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign

April 22, 2009 -- The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), representing every Scottish trade union, voted overwhelmingly to commit to boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. This is the third example of a national trade union federation [including Ireland and South Africa] committing to boycotts, divestment and sanctions and is a clear indication that, while Israel can kill Palestinians with impunity and Western support, it has lost the battle for world public opinion. It is now seen to be a state born out of ethnic cleansing and still expanding through the violent dispossession of the Palestinian people.

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