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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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Thailand: Activist Giles Ji Ungpakorn charged with `insulting' monarchy

[Please sign the petition HERE against the attack on freedom of speech in Thailand, which the use of lese majeste represents.]

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

January 20, 2009 -- Today, the police informed me that I have been charged with lese majeste because of eight paragraphs in Chapter 1 of my book A Coup for the Rich. The paragraphs are listed below.

According to the police charge sheet, the charges arise from the fact that the director of Chulalongkorn University bookshop decided to inform the police Special Branch that my book "insulted the Monarchy". The bookshop is managed by the academic management of the university. So much for academic freedom!

Paragraphs from A Coup for the Rich that are deemed to have "insulted the Monarchy":

Good riddance, Dubya!



Poster of President George W. Bush outside the US Consulate in Montreal, Canada. US President George W. Bush and shoes are now synonymous. People around the world were inspired by Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi. Source: Flickr. Thanks to http://osocio.org/message/bye_bye_dubya_and_thank_you/.

Lenin on liquidationism

By Chris Slee

January 2007 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In recent years there have been a number of cases where revolutionary Marxist parties have initiated or participated in attempts at building broad socialist parties. Examples include the Scottish Socialist Party; the Socialist Alliance and later Respect in England; the Socialist Alliance in Australia; Papernas in Indonesia; participation in the Party of Communist Refoundation in Italy; and the New Anti-Capitalist Party initiated by the Revolutionary Communist League (Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire) in France.

Sometimes Marxist groups that participate in such broad formations are accused of "liquidationism". This was a term used by Lenin to refer to the policy of certain members of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party who wished to dissolve ("liquidate") the RSDLP after the crushing of the 1905 revolution.

El Salvador: Election results add to tension as presidential race heats up

celebracion2

FMLN members celebrate victories on January 18.

 [For the latest information of the FMLN's election campaign, click HERE.]

* * *

January 20, 2009 -- Amanda Peters was on the spot as an official observer, and as part of a delegation from CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador). She spoke with community radio's Latin Radical as the first results started coming in, and gives her nervous prognosis for the presidential round coming up on March 15.

Peace requires justice — freedom for Palestine! Maintain solidarity!


Thousands protest against Israel's war on Gaza in Tel Aviv and Yaffa, January 17, 2009. Below: 10,000 people protested in Melbourne on January 18, 2009. Photos by Margarita Windisch.

Thailand: Petition for freedom of speech; Interview with Giles Ji Ungpakorn on the use of `lese majeste' laws

Please sign the petition (below the videos) and ask others to sign.

Palestine government salutes Venezuela's Hugo Chavez

Palestinian National Authority

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Deputy Office, Gaza

January 12, 2009

In the Name of God; the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

President Hugo Chavez,

Your Excellency, President Hugo Chavez,

We, the people of Palestine, commend your courage to speak and act upon your conscience regardless of your detractors' criticism or cowardice.

Mr. President, we have watched death rain upon our families and children in Gaza for weeks; and yet we stand proud and ready for any outcome. We are a resilient people who wish for peace but will fight rather than bow to injustice. We live and die by the codes of our forefathers -- codes of honor, integrity, truth and bravery.

Throughout history, in a just conflict, there always emerges a champion, a single hero who, by his actions, embodies all the virtues the masses aspire to. You have demonstrated that you are such a man.

South Africa's new opposition party: Face to face with `Terror'

The following was presented by social movement activist Ashwin Desai as part of t

COSATU leader Zwelinzima Vavi: Sanction and boycott apartheid Israel!

Protesters call for boycott of apartheid Israel, Johannesburg, January 2, 2009.

By Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)

January 14, 2009 -- From our own experience, we know how painful and dehumanising is the system of segregation, otherwise known as apartheid. Apartheid is a system based on the assumption that one group or race is superior to others and therefore has a right to all the privileges and virtues associated with that particular status. It has a right to run and determine the lives of others, excluding them from certain privileges, merely because they do not belong to the “chosen” group.

What other definition would so fittingly define a system based on different rights and privileges for Jews and Arabs in the Middle East? The bantustanisation of Palestine into pieces or strips -- West Bank, Ramallah, Gaza Strip and so on -- run by Israel and with no rights whatsoever for the Palestinians, is definitely an apartheid system.

Bolivia breaks ties over Gaza, will take Israel to ICC/Bolivia rompe relaciones diplomáticas con Israel en solidaridad con Gaza

Bolivia severs ties with Israel

January 14, 2009 -- Al Jazeera -- Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, says he is breaking off ties with Israel in protest against its war in Gaza, which has left more than 1000 Palestinians dead.

Morales said on Wednesday that he would seek to get top Israeli officials, including Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, charged with "genocide" in the International Criminal Court.

The Bolivian president also dismissed the United Nations and its "Insecurity Council" for its "lukewarm" response to the crisis and said the general assembly should hold an emergency session to condemn the invasion.

"Considering these grave attacks against ... humanity, Bolivia will stop having diplomatic relations with Israel," Morales told diplomats in the Bolivian capital, La Paz.

Young Israeli socialist speaks out for a free Palestine

January 7, 2009 -- Isaac Shuisha, an Israeli citizen and student involved in the Palestine solidarity movement in Sydney, spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Simon Butler about the reasons behind Israel’s assault on Gaza and the campaign for a free Palestine. Shuisha is a member of the socialist youth organisation, Resistance. [See also ``Jewish and Israeli opposition to Israel's slaughter in Gaza''.]

What has motivated you to be a part of the campaign against Israel’s ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people? 

Growing up in Israel, you are exposed to a very specific narrative about the history of Israel/Palestine. In this story, all that “we Israelis” ever wanted is to live in peace, but alas, all the Arab people surrounding us want nothing less than to drive us all into the sea.

In Israel, this is considered to be the indisputable truth, which you hear every time you read the paper, every time you go to school, every time you talk to your parents.

This is why most Israelis support the current attacks on Gaza: after being exposed to this overwhelming brainwashing, people really believe that this attack on Gaza is the only way to defend ourselves.

Israel — an apartheid state

Protest in Melbourne, January 4, 2009. Photo by Margarita Windisch.

By Tony Iltis

January 6, 2009 -- In a 1969 interview, then-Israeli PM Golda Meir, referring to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, said: “It is not as though there was a Palestinian people … and we came and threw them out and took their country … They did not exist.”

Of course, the Palestinian people did, and still do, exist. This inconvenient fact helps explain why Israel is forced to continuously resort to brutal military force.

Meir herself was part of the Zionist leadership that threw out 800,000 Palestinians in 1948 and took 78% of their country in a meticulously planned war to establish the new, exclusively-Jewish state in historic Palestine.

Palestinian villages and towns were systematically razed and new European-style communities built.

It is impossible to understand the current bloodbath in Gaza without understanding the inherently racist nature of Israel. The slogan of Zionism (the ideology that advocates an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine) since it began in the 1890s has been, “A land without people, for a people without land”.

Tariq Ali on Israel's massacres in Gaza

Tariq Ali addresses the Stop Gaza Massacres meeting in London, January 8, 2009. Organised by Stop the War Coalition (http://www.stopwar.org.uk).

Jewish and Israeli opposition to Israel's Gaza slaughter (updated Jan. 25)


Israel's young conscientious objectors (shministim) tell why they refuse to serve in an army that occupies ``another people'', the Palestinians. From http://www.December18th.org.

Thailand: Activist Giles Ji Ungpakorn faces arrest for `insulting' monarchy (now with excerpts from Coup for the Rich)

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to send letters of protest and calling for all charges against Giles Ji Ungpakorn to be dropped. Send them to the Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at Government House, Bangkok, Thailand,  fax number +66 (0) 29727751. Please also write letters of protest to the ambassador of the Royal Thai embassy in your own country.

By John Berthelsen

Asia Sentinel -- January 12, 2009 -- Giles Ji Ungpakorn, a political science professor at Thailand's Chulalongkorn University and a well-known socialist activist, has been ordered to appear at a Bangkok police station to be charged under the country's stiff lèse majesté laws for insulting the country's monarchy.

Malaysian police detain anti-war protesters; PSM slams minister’s ‘double standards’

Malaysiakini -- January 10, 2009 -- The police have arrested 21 people, including member of parliament for Klang MP Charles Santiago and several top leaders of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia -- PSM, at an anti-war vigil at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur. The vigil was organised by Anti-War Coalition to show support to the victims of war and aggression in Palestine and Sri Lanka.

About 200 people had gathered at about 8pm for the vigil, which was declared illegal by the police who were also present at the venue. About 100 light strike force personnel were on hand to control and disperse the crowd.

The crowd was ordered to disperse and the 21 were arrested for their failure to leave the area. They were then taken to the Dang Wangi district police headquarters. They are still being held at the police station.

Among those held were Parti Sosialis Malaysia leaders Dr Nasir Hashim and S. Arutchelvan, PKR’s Kuala Langat MP Abdullah Sani and several activists from Suaram and Jerit. Nasir is also the Kota Damansara state assemblyperson.

Critical elections in El Salvador; FMLN activists assassinated

Latin Radical -- Burke Stansbury from the Washington office of the US-based Committee with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) talks with community radio about the first round of the El Salvadoran elections -- legislative and municipal -- to be held on January 17, 2009. Burke reports that the chances of an FMLN victory (supported by a 10 to 15 point lead in the polls over the last year) are good, with the voting population shrugging off the scare tactics of the ARENA party's media blitz.

There are still fears that ARENA, with a history of violence, intimidation and terror (the founder of ARENA was also the head of the notorious death squads of the 1980s), may resort to more drastic tactics, before the presidential elections in March. There is a loud call from the opposition FMLN party for international observers to ensure the integrity of the elections.

Australian unionists back `boycott apartheid Israel' call

Geelong Advertiser -- January 9, 2009 -- Geelong Trades Hall secretary Tim Gooden has backed calls for the Rudd Government to cut ties with Israel over the current crisis in the Gaza Strip.

In a letter headed Trade Unionists for Palestine, Mr Gooden and other prominent unionists have called on the Rudd Government to denounce ``the latest Israeli aggression against Gaza''.

The signatories include the state president of the Tertiary Education Union, Dr James Doughney, AMWU state secretary Steve Dargeval, the assistant secretary of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union Burt Blackburne.

The group called on the ACTU and regional trades and labour councils to:

DEMAND the Rudd Government sever all ties with Israel; and

GIVE full support to the protest movement in Australia against the Israeli aggression.

The letter makes no mention of rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas militants.

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

January 8, 2009 -- 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 covers 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.

Iskander and his team are working to involve progressive activists from other Arabic-speaking communities in the Flame project. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is also proud to bring the Flame to readers outside Australia. Below is the edition of the Flame published on January 8, 2009.

Its contents include:

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