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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.

Please explore Links and subscribe (click on "Subscribe to Links" or "Follow Links on Twitter" in the left menu). Links welcomes readers' constructive comments (but please read the "Comments policy" above).

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500,000th visitor to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

At around 8pm on November 25, 2009, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal received its 500,000th visit since records began being kept on April 4, 2008. Almost 676,000 articles were read by those visitors in that period.

The lucky visitor came from Norway, entered site at the fascinating article about the historic plan put forward by the Lucas Aerospace workers in the 1970s for socially responsible jobs, and exited after reading about the Australian socialist newspaper Green Left Weekly's new Spanish-language supplement, Foro Social Latinamericano.

Don't YOU miss an article, subscribe at http://www.feedblitz.com/f/?Sub=343373  or follow Links at http://twitter.com/LinksSocialism. You can also join the Links Facebook group.

`The Caracas Commitment' -- Declaration from World Meeting of Left Parties, November 19-21, Caracas, Venezuela

[For background information, go to ``Venezuela: Chavez calls for new international organisation of left parties''.]

Declaration from World Meeting of Left Parties, November 19-21, Caracas, Venezuela

November 21, 2009 -- Political parties and organizations from Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania commemorate and celebrate the unity and solidarity that brought us together in Caracas, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and from this libertarian city we would like to express our revolutionary rebelliousness. We are glad of and committed to the proud presence of the forces of change in a special moment of history. Likewise, we are proud to reaffirm our conviction to definitively sow, grow and win Socialism of the 21st century.

Pamphlet to download: Marta Harnecker's `Ideas for the Struggle'

This 12-part series of articles by Marta Harnecker (translated by Federico Fuentes) on ideas for how to organise for socialism in the 21st century first appeared in Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. It is now available download free as a pamphlet in PDF format.

Venezuela: Chavez urges PSUV to debate how to win socialism by 2019

Hugo Chavez addresses the PSUV congress.

By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas

November 23, 2009 – Venezuelanalysis.com – During an inaugural speech to the 772 delegates at the First Extraordinary Congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) on November 21, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez raised a series of proposals to open the debate and discussion over consolidating the struggle for socialism both internationally and in Venezuela.

The global economic crisis should be viewed as an opportunity to accelerate the dismantling of the capitalist system and the construction of socialism, the Venezuelan president stated. In this context he called on the congress delegates to consider his proposal to the international conference of left parties, organisations and social movements to form a “Fifth Socialist International".

Venezuela: Chavez calls for new international organisation of left parties

By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas

[Read the conference declaration HERE.]

November 23, 2009 – Venezuelanalysis.com – Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez called for the formation of a “Fifth International” of left parties and social movements to confront the challenge posed by the global crisis of capitalism. The president made the announcement during an international conference of more than 50 left organisations from 31 countries held in Caracas over November 19-21.

“I assume responsibility before the world. I think it is time to convene the Fifth International, and I dare to make the call, which I think is a necessity. I dare to request that we create my proposal,” Chavez said.

Britain: One million climate jobs now!

By the Public and Commercial Services Union (Britain)

November 15, 2009 -- Earlier this year, Britain's Campaign against Climate Change (CaCC) trade union group set up a commission to produce a detailed plan for a million ``climate'' jobs.

The commission includes academics and environmental groups as well as several unions including the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS).

In November 2009 the CaCC trade union group published a pamphlet, One million climate jobs NOW!, which sets out how this can be achieved. The pamphlet is the first stage in a national campaign to get the government to employ a million unemployed workers to save the climate. It contains the arguments workers need for building the campaign.

You can download the pamphlet here: One million climate jobs PDF or read on screen below.

 

`Foro Social Latinamericano', Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement launched

Green Left Weekly editorial

November 25, 2009 -- For environmentalists, Indigenous rights activists, feminists, socialists and all progressive people, Latin America is a source of hope and inspiration today. The people of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador and El Salvador, among others, are showing that radical social change is possible and a better, more just society can be imagined and built.

The tide of rebellion and revolution now sweeping Latin America is posing a serious challenge to imperialism’s brutal global rule. For anyone who wants an end to war, exploitation and oppression, Latin America’s struggles to create alternatives are crucially important.

Australia's leading socialist newspaper Green Left Weekly is strongly committed to supporting the growing “people’s power” movement in Latin America. We are proud of the fact that GLW is the only Australian newspaper to have a permanent bureau in Latin America, based in Caracas, Venezuela. Through our weekly articles on developments in the region, GLW strives to counter the corporate media’s many lies about Latin America’s revolutions, and to give a voice in English to the people’s movements for change.

Socialists, the environment and ecosocialism: a view from South Africa

Trevor Ngwane.

By Trevor Ngwane

November 19, 2009 -- There is an ecological crisis in the world and this crisis can be traced to capitalism. There is deforestation due to the trade in timber. There is climate change due to unsafe production methods.
The working class is the class that suffers the most from the ecological crisis. Working-class people are in the majority and their life conditions make them more vulnerable. Workers live in flimsy houses and shacks that are easily washed or swept away by strong rains and winds. When workers are sick or injured there is always not enough medical help for them.

Over the years not enough attention has been paid to this problem by socialists. What is worse is that some people who call themselves socialists have added to the ecological crisis, for example, the Soviet Union was responsible for one of the biggest nuclear accidents in human history in Chernobyl. The Chinese Communist Party continues to supervise the destruction of nature through its single-minded and ruthless adoption of capitalist production methods.

Join the 2010 `May Day’ solidarity brigade to Venezuela! April 24 - May 2, 2010

The AVSN brigade marches in Caracas, May 1, 2008.

Registrations close February 1, 2010

The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s brigades to Venezuela are a once-in-a-lifetime experience - the opportunity to see first-hand an unfolding revolution that is not only radically transforming the lives of Venezuelans, but is challenging the greed, exploitation and destructiveness of global capitalism by showing that a better world is possible.     

Join the AVSN’s “May Day” solidarity brigade, to run from April 24 to May 2, 2010, and visit worker-run factories and cooperatives; free, high-quality public health and education programs; Indigenous controlled programs of sustainable economic development and environmental repair; and community controlled TV and radio stations.

Observe “popular power” at work in Venezuela’s new communal councils, and speak to a wide range of grassroots organisations, community activists, trade unions and government representatives about the radical changes being implemented by the Venezuelan people.

United States: Photo essay -- Students occupy Berkeley university building to protest fee hikes

Story and photos by David Bacon

Berkeley, California -- November 20, 2009 -- Students occupied Wheeler Hall on the University of California campus in Berkeley, protesting against a decision by university regents to raise tuition fees by 32%, bringing them to US$10,302 per year for undergraduates.

At the beginning of the occupation the students made several demands, including the reinstatement of 38 laid-off custodial workers, and amnesty for protesting students.

Paul Le Blanc: Theories of Stalinism

The Marxism of Leon Trotsky
By Kunal Chattopadhyay
Kolkata: Progress Publishers, 2006, 672 pages

Western Marxism and the Soviet Union
By Marcel van der Linden
Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2009, 379 pages

Reviews by Paul Le Blanc

Karl Marx and his comrades deemed their own approach “scientific”, as compared to “utopian” intellectual efforts on behalf of socialism, because they believed that practical efforts to challenge and ultimately replace capitalism with something better must be grounded in a serious study of economic, political, social, historical realities and dynamics.

More, they believed that lessons learned from practical organising and political experiences of the working class and popular social movements — sometimes glorious victories and often tragic defeats — must also guide practical efforts of the future. The combination of such study and experience has been called “Marxist theory”.

The massive crisis of capitalism has put the meaning of “socialism” back into public debate. Superficially equating state intervention in the economy with “socialism”, some are inclined to agree with Newsweek magazine that “we are all socialists now.”

Venezuela: Socialists debate party's direction

PSUV members vote in delegate elections on November 15, 2009.

By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas

November 16, 2009 – Venezuelanalysis.com – The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) held nation-wide delegate elections on November 15 for its First Extraordinary Congress which will be held over the next several weekends in Caracas.

Up for discussion at the congress are the party’s program, principles, organisational structure and most likely the mechanism for selecting candidates for the national parliamentary elections of 2010.

A total of 7800 members competed in the elections for 772 delegate places to the congress. Although the PSUV nominally has nearly 7 million members, voting in the delegate elections was open only to the 2,450,377 “active” members of the party.

Australia: Elected socialist's goal of `campaigning' local council gained wide support

Sam Wainwright with Justine Kamprad.

Justine Kamprad is a co-convenor of the Fremantle branch of the Socialist Alliance, in Western Australia (WA), and was the party's campaign director for the October 17, 2009, Fremantle City Council election, which saw socialist Sam Wainwright top the poll and get elected with 33.44% of the vote. Wainwright is the first member of the Socialist Alliance to be elected to public office in Australia, and one of only two socialist party members currently in an elected local council position in the country. Jim McIlroy spoke to Kamprad about the successful campaign.

* * *

What were the main aims of Sam Wainwright’s election campaign?

The main goals of the campaign were to engage the local community, and create the hope that their activism could be effective. That was a huge part of the campaign. When Sam announced he was going to run a number of people approached him about forming policy with him and actively engaging in developing community interest.

Cuba and ALBA let down Sri Lanka’s Tamils

By Ron Ridenour

"Those who are exploited are our compatriots all over the world; and the exploiters all over the world are our enemies… Our country is really the whole world, and all the revolutionaries of the world are our brothers." -- Fidel Castro.[1]

“The revolutionary [is] the ideological motor force of the revolution…if he forgets his proletarian internationalism, the revolution which he leads will cease to be an inspiring force and he will sink into a comfortable lethargy, which imperialism, our irreconcilable enemy, will utilize well. Proletarian internationalism is a duty, but it is also a revolutionary necessity. So we educate our people.” -- Che Guevara.[2]

November 14, 2009 -- I think that the governments of Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua let down the entire Tamil population in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, as well as “proletarian internationalism” and the “exploited”, by extending unconditional support to Sri Lanka’s racist government.

Population control’s dark past

Fatal Misconception: The struggle to control world population
By Matthew Connelly, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2008. 521 pages.

Review by Simon Butler

November 16, 2009 -- A select group of billionaires met in semi-secrecy in May 2009 to find answers to a “nightmarish” concern. Their worst nightmare wasn’t the imminent danger of runaway climate change, the burgeoning levels of hunger worldwide or the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

The nightmare was other people – lots of other people.

The self-styled “Good Group” included Microsoft founder Bill Gates, media mogul Ted Turner, David Rockefeller Jr and financiers George Soros and Warren Buffet.

The London Sunday Times said they discussed a plan to tackle overpopulation, something they considered “a potentially disastrous environmental, social and industrial threat”.

A new united movement stops Mexico for a day

By Tamara Pearson

November 14, 2009 -- Mexico City -- In the many metro stations of this giant city, amidst the ugly smell of Pizza Hut and the newspapers vendors yelling out, “Grafico! 3 pesos!”, every day young people crowd around the handwritten posters recruiting for the national police. At 12,000 pesos (US$1000) per month, and with increasing unemployment and harder prospects, the offer is very tempting.

Portugal: What's behind the success of the Left Bloc?

 

 

By Raphie de Santos

Portugal’s Left Bloc has achieved a major breakthrough in the last five months. It polled nearly 11% and 10% respectively in the recent European and parliamentary legislative elections in June and September 2009. For a party that is firmly established outside of left social democracy this is a major achievement. How did it happen?

Its success is owed to a combination of objective and subjective factors. The objective factors are rooted in Portugal’s 20th century history while the subjective factors are linked to how the Left Bloc was formed and how it operates and engages with people in Portugal. The left in Britain and particularly in England can learn from the development and practice of the Left Bloc.

Canada/Quebec: Québécois denounce Supreme Court attack on language rights

By Richard Fidler

November 9, 2009 -- The October 22 ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada overturning yet another section of Quebec’s Charter of the French Language (CFL) has been met with angry protests by a broad range of opinion in the French-speaking province.

The court declared unconstitutional a law adopted unanimously by Quebec’s National Assembly in 2002 that closed a loophole in the charter being used to circumvent the requirement that Quebec students attend French-language schools. In effect, the judgment restores free choice of language of elementary schooling for parents rich enough to send their kids for a few years to private schools not funded by the Quebec government before enrolling them in English public schools.

Four goals for a new left party

By Duncan Chapel

November 14, 2009 -- Socialist Resistance -- The people on this platform share a lot of ideas.

  • We want a working-class party to the left of the Labour Party, with a socialist program that confronts the dual crises of the ecology and the economy, which the ruling class is struggling to contain
  • We want a party in which anti-capitalists are hegemonic, but not monolithic. We have to be open to everyone who’s for the class struggle, not just those with Marxist ideas
  • We want a party of struggle, based on the ground, that’s developing a movement of resistance as well as an electoral campaign.

That’s a lot of agreement. It’s meaningful. It’s new. We like it.

But what’s the next step? Where do we go from here? And in particular, some of us are in different places -- so that means different routes to the same destination. Socialist Resistance has four ideas we want to share with you about our idea of the route to a new party.

1. We need a party based on the struggle, not just a party for the election

In this crisis, the capitalists are starting a new offensive against social and democratic rights to increase the exploitation of labour and protect profits. Western governments are making working people pay for the crisis: “just as before, or almost and perhaps worse”.

Canada: Vale Inco strike shows need for international action

On strike since mid-July.

By Marc Bonhomme, translated by Richard Fidler

A Québécois militant, member of Québec solidaire, discusses the global implications of the strike by 3500 workers at Vale Inco, the world’s largest nickel mine, in Sudbury, Ontario.

November 11, 2009 -- Socialist Voice -- In France’s South Pacific colony of New Caledonia [Kanaky], a small delegation of Vale Inco strikers from Sudbury, in northeastern Ontario, most of them Franco-Ontarians, met in October with the union at the island’s Vale Inco nickel mine, due to open in 2010, although it threatens a UNESCO nature reserve. The newspaper Nouvelles calédoniennes reported the encounter, in its October 31 edition:

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