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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.
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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Australian Greens MPs and federal Labor Party leaders sign the agreement to back the ALP in government.
By Ben Hillier
October 23, 2010 -- In a recent article (“A Marxist critique of the Australian Greens”, available at marxistleftreview.org) I argue that the Greens cannot be regarded as a left alternative to the Australian Labor Party. My conclusions are based on the following considerations:
1. The Australian Greens is a pro-capitalist party with no organic links to the working class – either ideologically or organisationally.
2. The Greens is an organisation 9000 strong that has several thousand unionists as members. Yet they have no activist base in the union movement. There is no union/workers’ fraction in the organisation; no Greens unionist conference; and it has no rank-and-file groups. The organisation has made no serious attempt to intervene into the workers’ movement at all. It has a number of officers from the union movement as members, but no organised current in the bureaucracy.
`French workers and people show the way in resisting attacks' -- solidarity from Philippines, Australia, Indonesia
High school students join a demonstration against attacks on pensions rights in Paris, October 14, 2010. AP Photo/Francois Mori from Boston.com.
By Chris Latham
October 24, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- Since October 12, France has been gripped by intensifying mass opposition by workers and students to proposed counter reforms to the country’s pensions system by the right-wing government of President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Public opposition to the attack has been highlighted by three national strikes each involving millions of people, two national student strikes and a growing wave of indefinite strikes in a range of industries — most notably the crippling shutdown of the oil industry.
Despite the size and intensity of the mobilisations, the Sarkozy government remains defiant, insisting the changes to the pension system are essential to France’s future. The government has threatened to repress attempts to disrupt France’s economic life.
France: The movement is far from over; Olivier Besancenot defends mass mobilisations to defeat Sarkozy
The New Anti-Capitalist Party's Olivier Besancenot.
By Sandra Demarcq
October 23, 2010 -- International Viewpoint -- Since May, the political situation in France has been marked by the mobilisations against changes to the pension law. Days of mobilisation succeed days of mobilisation, the movement against pension "reform" continues to develop and put down roots. It is the confirmation of a profound movement massively rejecting not only [the pension changes] but more broadly French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s anti-social, racist and authoritarian policies as a whole. But also the injustices accumulated and accentuated by the economic crisis, whether among the young or among wage earners.
Mohammad Yunus accepts the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.
Far from being a panacea for fighting rural poverty, microcredit can impose additional burdens on the rural poor, without markedly improving their socio-economic condition, write Patrick Bond and Khorshed Alam.
October 21, 2010 -- Pambazuka News -- For years, the example of microcredit in Bangladesh has been touted as a model of how the rural poor can lift themselves out of poverty. This widely held perception was boosted in 2006 when Mohammad Yunus and Grameen Bank, the microfinance institution he set up, jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize. In South Asia in particular, and the world in general, microcredit has become a gospel of sorts, with Yunus as its prophet.
Consider this outlandish claim, made by Yunus as he got started in the late 1970s: "Poverty will be eradicated in a generation. Our children will have to go to a `poverty museum' to see what all the fuss was about."
By Lars T. Lih
October 21 2010 -- Weekly Worker -- What is to be done? was written for the first time in Russian between the autumn of 1901 and spring of 1902. It was a success among the rather limited number of people he was addressing: namely the people in the social-democratic [as revolutionary socialism was still know as] movement in Russia and interested parties. Of course, this audience was not sufficient to make it a real bestseller, but it did have an impact. When we look at the pamphlet today we want to have a sense of when, why and for whom he wrote it.
So, first, I am going to look at the basic task that Lenin and his comrades had set themselves. The reason for this is that he shared this task with other leaders in the movement, and even with some of the people he is arguing against. But, because he shares it, it is not actually set out in the book itself. It becomes background; because he assumes agreement on the basic task, he does not talk about it. We have to be aware of this.
Scottish Socialist Party: `Not a matter of "if" the people will resist, but "when", "how" and "where"'
By Colin Fox
October 21, 2010 -- The British people have a long and proud history of defeating repression, tyranny and injustice. They stood up to Hitler in World War II and defeated Thatcher's poll tax in 1991 by invoking an inspiring spirit of resistance against seemingly insurmountable forces. And it’s just a well because they need to call on those traditions once again to defeat those behind the unprecedented and brutal cuts proposed for our public services.
When you stand back from discussions like the one BBC Scotland broadcast on October 14 in which Glen Campbell quizzed an invited studio audience on where the axe should fall you realise there’s an enormous injustice at the heart of this debate. It is the people, the masses, the vast majority, who are being forced by the elite, the rich, landowners, factory owners, bank owners and those who "own" our politicians to pay for this crisis. As usual the hired "commentariat" cannot see "the wood for the trees". They are apparently oblivious to the fact the victims of this economic crime are again being punished by its perpetrators.
Greens MP Caroline Lucas addresses the October 20, 2010, protest against the cuts in London, organised by the Coalition of Resistance.
By Raphie de Santos
October 21, 2010 – Socialist Resistance – The Conservative Party-Liberal Democrat Party (Con-Dem) coalition government has announced the most severe cuts in public spending since the great depression of the 1930s. The £81 billion (bn) of announced cuts and the £30 bn of tax increases for the next four fiscal years starting in April 2011 are on top of the already announced £8bn cuts for this fiscal year. Add in the hidden cuts (the National Health Service) and it all amounts to a rolling back of a large part of the gains that people have fought to establish since the end of the second world war.
Marx at the Margins: On Nationalism, Ethnicity and Non-Western Societies
By Kevin B. Anderson
University of Chicago Press, 2010, 336 pages
By Samir Amin
Monthly Review Press, 1988 (second edition 2009), 288 pages
Reviews by Barry Healy
October 22, 2010 -- In the foundational text of the Marxist movement, the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels paint a vivid word picture of the awesome, world-shaking advance of capitalism.
The East-Indian and Chinese markets, the colonisation of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid development.
By the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Australia
The ecology of consumption -- excerpt from John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Richard York's `The Ecological Rift'
October 20, 2010 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, with the permission of Monthly Review Press, is excited to offer its readers an excerpt from the The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth, an important new book by John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Richard York. Links' readers are urged to purchase the book. Please click here to order your copy. You can download (in PDF) the chapter, "The ecology of consumption", below the following introduction, or read it on screen.
* * *
October 20, 2010 -- In the early hours of October 20, 2010, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal passed an historic milestone -- its 1,000,000th visitor (since statistics began being kept on April 4, 2008). The unknown visitor entered site at Renfrey Clarke's essential article, "The new climate-change denialism: Who promotes it, and how to answer it".
Those 1 million visitors have collectively read more than 1.33 million articles since April 2008.
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal's mission has been to promote the revival of a democratic, ecological, thinking, activist socialism, and to encourage and publicise the activities and views of active socialists around the world who are rebuilding the socialist and radical alternative in deed as well as word.
Links' success is especially gratifying because there were some who claimed -- when we took the decision to go solely online, rather than continue to produce the excellent but largely unread hard-copy version -- that Links was being "closed down" and was part of an abandonment of our fundamental socialist principles. Well, there are now more than a million arguments against that pessimistic forecast.
October 14, 2010 -- Fisherfolk rally for debt cancellation, Karachi.
By Farooq Tariq
October 2, 2010 -- The recent devastating flood, affecting the lives of more than 20 million people in Pakistan, has once again revealed the severe poverty that people of Pakistan are facing. The only property that many hundreds of thousands were left with after fleeing their mud homes perhaps was just a trunk, few clothes and pottery and may be a donkey, cow or a buffalo.
Chairperson of the German Greens' parliamentary group in the Bundestag Renate Künast.
By Duroyan Fertl
October 17, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- Coasting on the back of environmental protests and a hemorrhaging two-party system, the German Greens have sent shock waves through German politics, surging into the position of main opposition party for the first time.
The Greens party, which was part of a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) from 1998-2005 at the expense of many of the party’s principles, is benefiting from the unraveling of Germany’s traditional two-party system.
Nevertheless, the two major parties — the centre-right Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union coalition (CDU/CSU) and the centre-left SPD — retain a monopoly over government in Europe’s biggest economy.
But the facade appears to be truly falling apart at last. Opinion polls in early October put the Greens on 24%, one point ahead of the SPD.
Malalai Joya visits a girls' school in Farah province in Afghanistan. Photo: AfghanKabul.
By Malalai Joya
October 10, 2010 -- rabble.ca -- In the United States, many looked to the ballot box and hoped for real change when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.
To be honest, I never expected that he would be any different for Afghanistan than President George W. Bush. The truth is that Obama's war policies have turned out to be even more of a nightmare than most people expected. Obama talked a lot about hope and change, but for Afghanistan the only change has been for the worse.
After almost two years of Obama, the number of US troops occupying Afghanistan has more than doubled. And the number of drone attacks in Pakistan has increased. Obama's so-called surge of troops has resulted in increased Afghan civilian deaths.
The documents released by Wikileaks prove what we have been saying about war in Afghanistan. There are more massacres by NATO forces than they wanted us to believe. Now the whole world should know this war is a disaster.
By Renfrey Clarke
October 15, 2010 – You remember the scandal provoked by the errors and exaggerations in the 2007 report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)? And you know all about the even bigger “Climategate” scandal last year, when stolen emails revealed that leading climate scientists were manipulating data to fit their alarmist political agenda? Now we have the next instalment. In a new Guide to the Science of Climate Change the world’s top science body, Britain’s Royal Society, has quit playing politics and stopped peddling its claims of looming disaster.
Source: UN Human Development Report, 2007/2008.
By Reihana Mohideen
October 15, 2010 -- China’s achievements in reducing poverty have been outstanding. From 1978 – when the restructuring of the Chinese economy began – to 2007 the incidence of rural poverty dropped from 30.7% in 1978 to 1.6% in 2007. The biggest drop took place between 1978 and 1984 when the number of rural poor almost halved, from 250 million in 1978 to 125 million in 1985. During this period the per capita net income of farmers grew at an annual rate 16.5%. Urban poverty, measured by an international standard poverty line of US$1 per day, reduced from 31.5% in 1990 to 10.4% in 2005. No other Third World country has achieved so much and made such a significant contribution to reducing global poverty, as China has, over this period.
By Simon Butler
October 9, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- It is close to an article of faith among environmentalists that using less energy is a big part of the solution to climate change. Energy efficiency is often said to be the “low hanging fruit” of climate policy. On face value, the benefits seem obvious.
The knowledge needed to make big gains in efficiency already exists. Using less energy will save consumers and industry money, whereas other policies will be costly. And most importantly, lower energy use could make a big dent in global greenhouse gas emissions.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency both promote energy efficiency as an important climate measure.
However, strong evidence has emerged that new energy efficient technologies alone won’t do much to cut emissions. Indeed, in a capitalist economy, it’s very likely that energy efficiency gains will lead to higher energy use, not less.
By Dave Holmes
[This article and slideshow were presented as a talk to the Geelong branch of Socialist Alliance on October 6, 2010.]
Greens' leader Senator Bob Brown addresses a rally demanding action on climate change.
Ben Hillier replies at http://links.org.au/node/1959
By Nick Fredman
October 13, 2010 -- Ben Hillier’s article, “A Marxist critique of the Australian Greens” (available at http://www.marxistleftreview.org/) contains some useful information and analysis on the Australian Greens, a formation that has achieved a significant breakthrough in the recent federal election. Hillier is correct, generally, in writing of the Greens’ “populist left nationalism” and “middle class ideological basis”. But he over-emphasises the sociologically middle-class nature of the Greens’ voting base (and probably membership), as part of a general confusion on class today. In a related error, he is quite wrong, and quite sectarian, to state that the Greens “do not in any sense represent an alternative to the ALP” [Australian Labor Party].