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- Bayanihan - the Filipino spirit of socialism
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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.
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By Hugo Blanco
Cuzco, Peru, October, 3 2008 -- First, I would like to express my profound gratitude to all of the people and institutions who, upon hearing of my arrest, demanded my liberation.* Every one of those was important. But among those that touched me most, I should mention the pronouncement made by my Canadian brothers and sisters with whose support I am able to continue publishing Lucha Indígena the call from the Conacami (The Peruvian National Confederation of Communities Affected by Mines) with whom I share the anxious desire for a political project that emanates from the indigenous, campesino and grassroots organisations; and the support of Wilbert Rozas, the mayor who instituted the indigenous communities’ municipal government and went immediately to Paruro after learning of my arrest. Thanks to this solidarity, I was quickly—though temporarily—released.
A selection of articles from Canadian socialists discussing the October 14 federal election and the debates and discussions in the Canadian and Quebec left and labour movements on electoral tactics.
Canada’s elections: What’s the alternative to the Tories?
By Roger Annis
October 1, 2008 -- Canada’s minority Conservative Party government has called a federal election for October 14. Serious issues confront voters — war in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the economic downturn that that will grow out of the US financial crisis, and climate change that endangers human life on our planet. But four of the five parties in the federal parliament are avoiding serious debate on these issues.
The fifth, the labour-based New Democratic Party (NDP), has a platform that responds to many working class needs, but it is evading vital issues. Only action by trade unions and social justice movements can place working-class concerns at the centre of the electoral spectacle.
The Liberal Party — lesser evil?
By Reihana Mohideen
The Wall Street crisis seems light years away from the side streets of Manila’s urban poor slums. For the labouring masses in the Philippines the capitalist system has been in crisis for some time now, unable to deliver life’s basic necessities: jobs and a living wage; affordable quality healthcare and education; and food security.
According to official National Statistics Office data poverty levels have increased between 2003 and 2006, and 2008 is expected to be the worst year since the 1998 Asian economic crisis. Between April 2007 and April 2008 the labour force grew by only 81,000, while the number of unemployed rose by 249,000, i.e. triple the increase in the labour force. In 2008 the number of employed persons fell by 168,000 and there was no employment generation in April of this year. Jobs were being lost at a time when prices and inflation were skyrocketing.
London Times, October 17, 2008: `It's time for revolution, says French leftwing star'
International Herald Tribune, October 15, 2008: `Ten arrested in Taser spy ring' (directed at Olivier Besancenot)
By Adolfo Gilly
September 22, 2008 -- Mexico -- “The problem in Bolivia is that the country is undergoing a process of reforms, without abandoning the democratic framework, but both the opposition and the government act as if they were facing a revolution”, stated Marco Aurelio García, a close international affairs advisor to [Brazil's president] Lula, according to an article by José Natanson in the newspaper Pagina 12.
myself to not take this declaration literally, but instead in an ironic
sense, Marco Aurelio García, an intelligent and well-informed man,
can’t help but realise that if the two protagonists of the Bolivian
confrontation believe that they are dealing with a revolution, this
belief is the best confirmation that, in effect, it is. The vice-president of Bolivia, Álvaro García Linera, on the other hand, has said that what
is happening is “an increase in elites, an increase in rights, and a
redistribution of wealth. This, in
By Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South
[Read more on the capitalist economic crisis HERE.]
September 25, 2008 -- The Wall Street meltdown is not only due to greed and to the lack of government regulation of a hyperactive sector. It stems from the crisis of overproduction that has plagued global capitalism since the mid-seventies.
Many on Wall Street are still digesting the momentous events of the last ten days:
Many on Wall Street are still digesting the momentous events of the last ten days:
Statement by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network
September 30, 2008 -- As a broad network of organisations and individuals that has closely studied the significant changes in Venezuelan society since 1998 – including organising eight study tours to Venezuela involving more than 150 Australians from diverse backgrounds -- we are obliged to respond to the biases, distortions and lies contained in the Human Rights Watch report A Decade Under Chavez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela, released in September 2008.
The key theme of the report -- that “Ten years ago, Chavez promoted a new constitution that could have significantly improved human rights in Venezuela. But rather than advancing rights protections, his government has since moved in the opposite direction, sacrificing basic guarantees in pursuit of its own political agenda” -- bears no relation to the reality in Venezuela today.
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
-- Langston Hughes, 1951
By Kavita Krishnan
Arising out of the UK Climate Camp in August 2008 there has developed an interesting debate between Ewa Jasiewicz, an activist in Britain, and well-known radical columnist George Monbiot about the role of so-called “state solutions” to climate change. Jasiewicz’s article, published on the Guardian website[i] and entitled “Time for a Revolution”, was an attack on Monbiot for a “controversial presentation [at climate camp] … in which he endorsed the use of the state as a partner in resolving the climate crisis”. It was also prompted by a debate between Monbiot and former National Union of Mineworkers’ leader and head of Britain’s Socialist Labour Party Arthur Scargill about what is more polluting: nuclear or coal energy.
Sydney climate emergency rally, October 3, 2008. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.
Climate action now!
September 25, 2008 -- The Australian federal government’s climate change adviser, Professor Ross Garnaut, has released his recommendations for medium-term cuts to Australian greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
He calls for reductions by 2020 of just 5% if there is no comprehensive international agreement on emissions reductions, or reductions of 10% if there is an agreement. At the Bali climate summit in December 2007 many developed countries expressed support for goals of 25-40% reductions.
`A Maoist Vision for a New Nepal' -- MP3 recordings of a talk by Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda), followed by questions and answers, presented to the India China Institute of New School University, New York City, on September 26, 2008. The MP3 audio clips were first presented on the Hegemonik site, and are posted here with permission
By José Ramón Machado Ventura, vice-president of Cuba, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, at the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.
[To watch video of the speech, click here.]
September 24, 2008 -- We are living a decisive moment in the history of humankind. The threats looming over the world put the very existence of the human species at risk.
The promotion of peace, solidarity, social justice and sustainable development is the only WAY to ensure the future. The prevailing world order, unjust and unsustainable, must be replaced by a new system that is truly democratic and equitable, based on respect for international law and on the principles of solidarity and justice, putting an end to the inequalities and exclusion to which the great majorities of the population of our planet have been condemned.
By Peter Boyle
September 26, 2008 -- "Rich people got it good in this country", said African-American comedian Wanda Sykes on the September 24 Tonight Show with Jay Leno. "We refuse to let them not be rich. Think about it. Broke people are about to bailout rich people. This is what is going on."
"And they want no oversight. $700 billion dollars and no oversight! No oversight? Why should we? I want receipts dammit! What do you mean no oversight? Because, oh, you're so good with the other money?"
"This is the biggest piece of garbage ever. You know what? It's welfare for the rich...
Venezuela's revolutionary youth: `Socialist youth will be guarantors of the deepening of the revolution'
[Below is the political declaration of the founding congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela Youth, JPSUV, held on September 11-13, 2008. Translated by Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke. The original in Spanish can be downloaded at http://juventud.psuv.org.ve/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/declaracion-de-cachamay.doc]
September 23, 2008 -- In our last update, in the July issue of Socialist Worker, we reaffirmed our long-held position of the likelihood“ of an elite political settlement between the ruling party and opposition around a Western-supported full neoliberal economic program”, given the domination of all the political parties by bourgeois elites who are fearful of political implosions from the collapsing economy and the rank opportunism of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leadership. The deal signed by the leaderships of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the MDC in September substantially confirmed our fears. We look at the deal and what it means for working people.
By Leonard Weinglass, attorney for the defence
September 23, 2008 -- After decades of enduring attacks within Cuba’s own borders (acts of arson, sabotage, assassinations and the use of biological weapons) perpetrated by anti-Cuban terrorist groups based in southern Florida that enjoy the support and consent of the US government, and after the United States repeatedly refused to implement measures to prevent such attacks, a group of unarmed men travelled from Cuba to the United States to monitor the activities of mercenary groups responsible for those attacks and organisations that support them and to warn Cuba of their aggressive intentions.
September 12, 2008, protest in Washington DC to mark the tenth anniversary of the unjust imprisonment of the Cuban 5
By Susana Hurlich
September 17, 2008 -- Havana -- The TV coverage here in Cuba on the impact of hurricanes Gustav and Ike is very instructive, not just in showing clearly the extent of damage, but in giving a sense of the feelings and spirit of the people through many, many different testimonies. I notice that in much of the reporting outside the country, there's not much commentary on this aspect, which is as important -- if not more so in the long run -- as the statistics on damage.
Cuban workers work with heavy machines to remove debris infront of a house in Havana, Cuba on September 9, 2008, after the passing of Hurricane Ike. EPA/ALEJANDRO ERNESTO.
A conversation between Eric Hobsbawm and Marcello Musto. Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the permission of Marcello Musto.
September 20, 2008 -- At the end of the background information below (and HERE) is a link to an open letter to the national and international community sent by imprisoned Colombian trade unionist and human rights campaigner Liliana Obando.
Colombian trade union and human rights activist Liliana Obando was arrested and detained in a maximum security prison on August 8 by the anti-terrorism unit of the Colombian National Police. She was charged with “rebellion” against the state, a catch-all charge that is regularly used to imprison those who speak out against the government of President Alvaro Uribe Velez, the largest recipient of US military aid in the region.
At the time of her arrest, Obando, the sole breadwinner in her family of two young sons and her mother, was carrying out a study on assassinations of Agricultural Workers Union Federation (Fensuagro) members by paramilitary death squads and government security forces.
September 23, 2008 -- Venezuelanalysis -- The following is a translation of a document produced by the Venezuela's Ministry for Communication and Information. It is a summary of the content of the 26 laws passed by the Venezuelan executive and also seeks to debunk some of the myths spread by the right-wing opposition. The actual laws are 30-60 pages each, so it is an accessible way to learn what they are. The Venezuelan government is distributing this summary across Venezuela.