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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.
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July 25, 2009 -- The first All-Stakeholders' Conference aimed at drafting a new constitution in Zimbabwe was held in Harare on July 13-14. The constitutional reform process is the result of the agreement reached between President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), when they formed a power-sharing government in February 2009.
The agreement between ZANU-PF and the MDC sets an 18-month timeline for drafting the constitution. It mandates two so-called all-stakeholders’ conferences and national consultation, but the process is controlled by a parliamentary committee. The final draft is to be determined by parliament before going to a referendum.
Many in the pro-democracy movement believe the constitutional reform process is dominated by politicians and will fail to incorporate the demands of ordinary Zimbabweans suffering worst from the country’s social and economic crisis.
Pacific islanders struggle for survival against global warming -- `Rich countries must slash emissions now'
July 29, 2009 -- For Pacific islanders, climate change is not a threat looming somewhere in the future. Rising sea levels and unpredictable weather are having devastating effects right now. Climate change has already forced some communities to leave their traditional homes.Simon Butler spoke to two climate change activists from the Pacific about their campaign for immediate cuts to global greenhouse emissions.
Pelenise Alofa Pilitati is the chairperson of the Church Education Directors' Association in Kiribati. Reverend Tafue Lusama is the chairperson of the Tuvalu Climate Action Network. They are on an Australian speaking tour through July and August, which is co-sponsored by Greenpeace and Oxfam. For details of the tour go to http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/news-and-events/events/pacificvoicestour-300609.
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Simon Butler: What are you hoping to achieve with your speaking tour?
Hitler’s Priests, by Kevin Spicer, Northern Illinois University Press, 2008, 369 pp. US$34.95
Who Will Write Our History? Emanuel Ringelblum, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Oyneg Shabes Archive, by Samuel D. Kassow, Indiana University Press, 2007, 523 pP., US$34.95
Kasztner’s Train: the True Story of an Unknown Hero of the Holocaust, by Anna Porter, Scribe, 2008, 548 pp., A$32.95
The Complete Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, Art Spiegelman, Pantheon, 1996, 296 pp., US$35.
Review by Barry Healy
July 28, 2009 -- In October 2008 the Catholic Synod of Bishops convened in Rome for a four-day theological discussion. Without warning, on the first day, Pope Benedict XVI suspended discussion and ordered the 200 participants to attend a special commemoration mass for Pius XII, who was the pope between 1939 and 1958.
[With the permission of Monthly Review Press, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is making available an exclusive excerpt from Jonah Raskin's The Mythology of Imperialism: A Revolutionary Critique of British Literature and Society in the Modern Age. A PDF file, available to read or download, of Chapter 2, ``Kipling's Contrasts'' is below. Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are encouraged to purchase The Mythology of Imperialism from the Monthly Review Press website, click HERE.]
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``We, the readers and students of literature, have been hijacked. The literary critics, our teachers, those assassins of culture, have put us up against the wall and held us captive.”
July 26, 2009, marks the 56th anniversary of the guerrilla attack on the Moncada military barracks by revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro in 1953, viewed by Cubans as the start of the revolution. 2009 is also the 50th anniversary year of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.
Chris Slee, author of Cuba: How the Workers & Peasants Made the Revolution (Resistance Books, 2008), explains how the revolution was made and defended by Cuba’s working people.
[For more coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, click HERE.]
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Workers, peasants and students played an active role before, during and after the insurrection that destroyed the brutal and corrupt US-backed Fulgencio Batista dictatorship in January 1959. Batista seized power in a coup in March 1952.
By Felipe Stuart Cournoyer
Update, July 24, 2009 -- Today, Honduras has been totally paralysed by a general strike, and Honduran resistance activists and protesters are chanting.
Zelaya - get used to it. The people are rising up
(it rhymes in Spanish).
Also common is the resistenCia, resistenCia, resistenCia, el pueblo unido jamas sera vencido (people united will never be overcome) and so on...
This afternoon Zelaya crossed over the frontier at Las Manos north of Esteli. He stood technically just inside Honduran territory, having crossed the chain separating the two countries in the "neutral" strip between them. Zelaya remained there for about two hours, hoping to meet up with members of his family and others who were trying to join him.
(Updated August 3) Capitalism vs the environment: Wind turbine workers fight factory closure with sit-in
Bolivians celebrate their new constitution. President Evo Morales in centre.
The following article by Raúl Prada Alcoreza was originally published in the first issue (June 2008) of Crítica y Emancipación, a biannual Latin American journal of the social sciences. This translation from the Spanish, by Shana Yael Shubs and Ruth Felder, was published this year in a complete English-language version of the journal’s first issue. It was distributed at the recent congress of the Latin American Studies Association, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June. A review of the first issue of Crítica y Emancipación was published at http://tinyurl.com/nuk4jp. This article also appeared at Bolivia Rising.
Latin America Solidarity Conference 2009
Major cracks are appearing in the global capitalist system – cracks that are being forced open by the tide of rebellions and revolutions across Latin America.
(Updated August 4) South Korea: Ssangyong workers face brutal police/thug attacks as factory occupation continues
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See also the statement by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, ``Call to Action: Stop Police Suppression against the Striking workers of Ssangyong Motors!''
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Scroll down for earlier coverage.
Urgent Appeal: Ssangyong Motor workers’ lives in danger! Solidarity urgent!
Monday, August 3, 2009
Korean Metal Workers Union (KMWU)
We urgently request your solidarity regarding Ssangyong Motor Workers’ dispute. It is urgent for the Korean government to step up and play a role toward a peaceful settlement!
Our union members’ lives are in danger.
By Jan Sithole, general secretary of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions
July 16, 2009 -- Ask most people around the world who are not from Swaziland what they know about the country, the most likely response will be a blank stare. Those who have heard of Swaziland are mired in stereotypes about an exotic mountain kingdom.
As a Swazi citizen who was born, brought up and lives in Swaziland, these conjured images bring weary smiles every time I am confronted with them, especially when I am abroad on an assignment representing the trade union movement.
Yes, Swaziland is a beautiful kingdom at the southern tip of the African continent, dotted with mountains and full of exciting flora and fauna and other natural scenery. Yes, Swaziland is very proud of its rich cultural heritage, which includes the famous annual reed dance. And yes our country is so small that it is often barely visible on the African map.
But we are all that and more.
Swaziland, just like the rest of Africa and the global South, is a country grappling with all the contradictions and challenges thrown up by history, globalisation and internal power politics.
Venezuela: Marea Socialista -- Firmness and participation needed; The best defence is to deepen revolution
[Translators' note: The following editorials come from Marea Socialista (Socialist Tide), a magazine published by an organised tendency of the same name within Venezuela's United Socialist Party (PSUV), headed by Hugo Chávez.]
July 20, 2009 -- After the G8 summit in Italy, US President Barack Obama flew off to Africa with a so-called gift: an envelope of US$20 billion to distribute over three years, so that “generous” donors in the rich countries could “help” reduce world hunger. While the promise to eradicate hunger has been made on a regular basis since 1970, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) published a report last month indicating that the number of undernourished people has passed the 1 billion point, that is 100 million more than the year before. At the same time, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) sounded the alarm bell and announced that it had to cut
July 21, 2009 -- This is a taste of a new documentary about Venezuela by Australian-based filmmakers Katrina Channells and Nikolas Lachajczak, which is now in production. It explores Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution through the eyes of Australian Coral Wynter, an activist with the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, as she seeks a meeting with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. Wynter and Jim McIlroy are authors of a new book about Venezuela's participatory democracy, Voices from Venezuela: Behind the Bolivarian Revolution.
Vancouver Socialist Forum
Vancouver Socialist Forum was founded in 2007 to promote the ideas of socialism and facilitate the political activity of its members. It organises educational discussions and regular public forums.
Socialism or barbarism
The economic crisis that engulfed the planet in 2008 once again illustrates the destructive and irrational nature of capitalism. To prevent worsening social and economic misery for the world’s population, capitalism must be replaced by an entirely new economic and social order, socialism.
The goal of socialism is to create societies that offer full participation to each member and are environmentally sustainable. Human needs will be fulfilled through public and democratic ownership of the means of producing social wealth.
By Billy Wharton
July 19, 2009 -- Consider it a symptom of a larger disease. A fervent commitment to defend the profit margins of private industry seems to be a national religion for politicians in the United States. No matter how deeply the private sector mucks up society, some senator or representative or, if things get really out of control, president will appear to rescue the day for the corporations all in the name of justice for the citizens of the US. Like any religion, this process has highly crafted rituals. First a confession, then march the sinners around at one hearing or another, then mete out acceptable penance and then all is forgiven.
By Renfrey Clarke
July 20, 2009 -- From desert-fringe villages and drowning atolls, global warming is predicted before long to set climate refugees on the move. But arguably, the first climate refugees to reach Australia’s major cities are arriving already. And the places from which they have come are not exotic — rural towns like Mildura, Renmark and Griffith in Australia’s south-east.
In settlements throughout the Murray-Darling, residents are quietly deciding the irrigation-based economy has no future. For many orchardists and viticulturalists, allocations of water in recent years have been too low to keep plantings alive.
When barely a trickle is coming down the rivers, farmers are concluding it’s best to sell the next-to-meaningless water rights, accept a government exit package, bulldoze the trees and vines, and walk away.
By Tony Iltis
July 18, 2009 -- US President Barack Obama used his African heritage in his July 11 speech to the Ghanaian parliament in Accra as justification for proceeding to blame Africa’s problems on its own people.
He acknowledged historical Western crimes, but denied that ongoing suffering is caused by the current policies of the West. Western aggression and exploitation, Obama claims, are things of the past. A July 15 Los Angeles Times editorial said: “It was the same message about good governance they’d heard from presidents [Bill] Clinton and George W. Bush. No new programs or initiatives for Africa. But just because the message is old doesn't mean it's not worth repeating.”
Obama played up his own ancestry to appeal to his audience. He referred to the indignities his grandfather suffered under British colonial rule in Kenya, including being briefly imprisoned during the independence struggle of the 1950s and ’60s.
By Firoze Manji
July 16, 2009 -- The internet and wires have been burning with anger and disappointment at the speech made by US President Barack Obama on July 11 at the start of his visit to Ghana. Below is a speech Obama might have -- or should have -- made during his second visit to the continent in the space of a few weeks.
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Good morning. It is an honour for me to be in Accra, and to speak to the representatives of the people of Ghana. I am deeply grateful for the welcome that I've received, as are Michelle, Malia and Sasha Obama. Ghana's history is rich, the ties between our two countries are strong, and I am proud that this is my second visit to Africa as president of the United States.
By Yash Tandon
July 16, 2009 -- Pambazuka -- The summit of the world’s richest and most powerful Northern countries that constitute the G8 took place in L'Aquila, Italy from July 8-10, 2009. In attendance also were the heads of state and government of a host of other minor or lesser countries, some of whom were admitted to the inner sanctum of the G8 summit, and some simply hovered around in the corridors at the call of the G8 waiting to be ``invited'' for ``breakfast meetings'' or press conferences or ``bilaterals''. At one of these ``breakfast meetings'' the G8 broadened their participants to take in the African countries of Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa, as well as the IEA, World Bank, IMF, ILO, OECD, WTO and United Nations and the African Union Commission’s representatives. At this meeting the G8 graciously agreed to increase aid to Africa for food security and agricultural development from an earlier figure of US$15 billion to US$20 billion.