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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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Portugal: Left Bloc fires up to fight austerity

Left Bloc conference.

By Dick Nichols

May 22, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- When the 548 delegates to the seventh national convention of Portugal’s Left Bloc came together in a vast sports hall in Lisbon over May 7-8, they had two big questions to answer. The first was what alternative should they propose at the June 5, 2011, Portuguese elections to the €78 billion (about $103 billion) “rescue package” negotiated between the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (the “troika”) and the Socialist Party (PS) government of Prime Minister Jose Socrates?

The second was how to build greater unity among all those forces opposed to austerity — representing millions of Portuguese — so that a government of the left becomes thinkable in a country used to a back-and-forth shuffle of PS and Social Democratic Party (PDS) administrations?

Honduras: Agreement signed for democratic rights

By Felipe Stuart Cournoyer and John Riddell

May 24, 2011 -- http://johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- On May 22, Hondura's president Porfirio Lobo Sosa and former president José Manuel Zelaya Rosales signed an agreement 'For National Reconciliation and the Consolidation of the Democratic System in the Republic of Honduras".

Lobo was elected in November 2009 in a rigged vote organised by the regime installed through the June 28, 2009, military coup that overthrew Zelaya. The majority of Latin American and Caribbean nations refused to recognise the legitimacy of the Lobo government, despite the strong support it received from the United States and Canada.

The present agreement, finalised in Cartagena, Colombia, also bears the signatures of Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuela's foreign minister Nicolás Maduro (on behalf of President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías) as witnesses.

This agreement opens the door to significant changes in the Central American political landscape and to the re-entry of Honduras into the Organization of American States (OAS) and SICA (Central American Integration System).

Spain: The 'indignant’ and the Paris Commune

By Atilio A. Boron

May 24, 2011 – AtilioBoron.com, translated by the tlaxcala-int.org website, via the Bullet -- Perhaps it's one of history's surprises that the popular uprising surging through Spain (and which is beginning to reverberate throughout the rest of Europe) was sparked on the 140th anniversary of the Paris Commune, a heroic moment in which the fundamental demand was also that of democracy. But a democracy conceived as a government by, for, and of the people, and not as a regime serving the interests of patronage and in which the people's interests are inexorably subordinate to the imperative of business profits.

West Bengal: Collapse of the Left Front government and the way ahead for India's left

West Bengal's defeated chief minister, the CPI (M)'s Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, addresses a mass rally.

By Dipankar Bhattacharya, general secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation

[This article is the editorial in the forthcoming June 2011 issue of the CPI (ML) Liberation's journal Liberation. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

Canada’s election: NDP gains widen space for social struggles

By Roger Annis

May 23, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, an earlier version of this article also first appeared in Green Left Weekly -- The incumbent Conservative Party sailed to victory in Canada’s federal election on May 2 with the first majority government in the federal parliament since the 2000 election. There was celebration in the boardrooms of the country. The victory caps a decades-long drive by much of Canada’s business elite to fashion a strong national government on a hard-right agenda.

The result is a deep disappointment for progressive-minded people in Canada. The Conservatives led by Stephen Harper will form the most right-wing government in modern Canadian history, extending the regressive path of its two minority governments won in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

Middle East: Can democracy activists undo US and IMF/World Bank damage?

By Patrick Bond, Palestine

May 23, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Here in Palestine, disgust expressed by civil society reformers about US President Barack Obama’s May 19 policy speech on the Middle East and North Africa confirms that political reconciliation between Washington and fast-rising Arab democrats is impossible.

Amidst many examples, consider the longstanding US tradition of blind, self-destructive support for Israel, which Obama has just amplified. Recognisng a so-called “Jewish state” as a matter of US policy, he introduced a new twist that denies foundational democratic rights for 1.4 million Palestinians living within Israel. For a Harvard-trained constitutional lawyer to sink so low on behalf of Zionist discrimination is shocking.

For although Obama mentioned the “1967 lines” as the basis for two states and thereby appeared to annoy arch-Zionist leader Benjamin Netanyahu, this minimalist United Nations position was amended with a huge caveat: “with land swaps.”

Behind the upsurge in Spain: ‘Revolutions arrive too late or too early, but always when they’re not expected’

“There are many Joses here, I’m not sure if its my turn or another Jose”, said Jose, a middle-aged man standing on the outer rim of a grupo de trabajo (work group) called at midnight on an adjacent street to Sol, the plaza known as point zero, in the heart of Madrid. The plaza has been occupied, as have dozens around Spain, since the huge protests on May 15 that brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets to demand “real democracy now!” and an end to austerity measures... That the protesters are mostly young is no surprise in a country where youth unemployment is about 40% and university graduates consider themselves lucky to secure a job at a fast food outlet. The overwhelming sentiment is that corrupt politicians must be banned from re-election and the electoral laws must be reformed so that they are more representative.

Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine -- `an example of internationalism and human solidarity’

Students from Latin American School of Medicine march on May Day in Havana 2006. Photo by Bill Hackwell/Havana Times.

“We are one people who share a common history of struggle.” — Cassandra Cusack Curbelo, second-year ELAM student

By Don Fitz

May 18, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, an earlier version of this article first appeared at Monthly Review in March -- A revolution can only be successful when the new generation takes over from the old. When thousands of students come together because of their dedication to helping others at a school that was built to allow them to fulfill their goals, the ground is fertile for students to continue the struggle.

Sri Lanka: Will Tamils get justice from the UN?

Tamils are held in miserable conditions in IDP camps.

[For more on the struggle of the Tamil people, click HERE.]

By Ron Ridenour

May 16, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Forty-seven governments on the Untied Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) will discuss and decide, beginning at its May 30 session, what to do about an unusually truthful report in the world of international politics.

The “Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka” was delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on March 31 concerning: 1) alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the last phases of the 26-year-old civil war, September 2008 to May 19, 2009; 2) consequences for approximately 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and, by extension, for 2.7 million Sri Lankan Tamils, 13% of Sri Lanka's 21 million population.

Scotland: Why the left should back independence

By Alan McCombes

May 19, 2011 -- Scottish Socialist Party -- More than 150 years ago, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels called on the working class of all countries to unite and fight for a socialist world.

At a time when there were no telephones, no cars, no aeroplanes, no TV and no radio, their internationalist vision represented an extraordinary feat of historical imagination.

In today’s world of the internet, satellite TV, high-speed air travel, global capitalism and the World Social Forum, the philosophy of socialist internationalism no longer looks like a utopian flight of fantasy.

But what does socialist internationalism mean in practice?

“Imagine there’s no countries, I wonder if you can; nothing to kill or die for, a brotherhood of man”, sang John Lennon in his celebrated radical anthem.

The revolt in Syria: Its roots and prospects

This interview with Hassan Khaled Chatila was conducted and first published by the A World to Win News Service. Chatila was born in Damascus in 1944 and holds a doctorate in political philosophy from the University of Paris, a city where he has lived as a refugee for many years. He is a member of the Syrian Communist Action Party, founded in 1975. AWTWNS condensed and edited this material while trying to faithfully represent his views, which are his own.

* * *

By Hassan Khaled Chatila

Malaysian and Australian socialists: `Refugees are not commodities! No outsourcing refugee obligations to Malaysia!'

Joint statement of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

May 18, 2011 -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and the Socialist Alliance in Australia denounce the recent agreement made between the governments of Malaysia and Australia, whereby Australia will send 800 asylum seekers who have been detained by Australian authorities to Malaysia in exchange for 4000 refugees currently in Malaysia.

The arrangement for this “Malaysian solution” to asylum seekers attempting to arrive in Australia clearly shows that the Australian government is washing its hands of its responsibility to protect refugees and is “off-shoring” or “outsourcing” the violation of refugee rights to Malaysia, a country with no proper legal instruments to protect the rights of refugees. Both the governments of Malaysia and Australia have not taken the plight of refugees and asylum seekers seriously, and only treat them like trade-able commodities.

Bangladesh: Climate change and neoliberal policies

By Danielle Sabai

May 9, 2011 -- Asia Left Observer, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Located in the largest delta at the world, where two Himalayan rivers, the Brahmaputra and the Ganges, converge and flow into the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh is used to climatic catastrophes. Half of the land area of Bangladesh is less than 10 metres above sea level. It consists mainly of silt deposited by the rivers that flow down from the Himalayan glaciers. When the snow melts it regularly causes large-scale floods. The coast is at the mercy of cyclones and giant waves which submerge the coastal areas.

Communists in local councils: The red shire of Kearsley, 1944-47

For more articles on socialists in municipal councils, click HERE. 

May 18, 2011 -- Recent electoral victories in Australia by socialists at the municipal council level -- the Socialist Party's Stephen Jolly in Victoria and Socialist Alliance's Sam Wainwright in Western Australia -- have sparked renewed interest in the experiences of socialists who have been elected to such bodies. Below is a study of one such experience in Australia: Martin Mowbray's classic (1986) "The Red Shire of Kearsley, 1944-1947: Communists in Local Government". It is posted here for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Mowbray, Martin, "The Red Shire of Kearsley, 1944-1947: Communists in Local Government", Labour History, no. 51 (Nov., 1986), pp. 83-94. Published by the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, Inc.

Download HERE in PDF format, or read it on screen below.

(See also "Red councillors during the Cold War: Communists on Sydney City Council, 1953-59".)

Australia: Greens' BDS stance widens debate over boycott of Israel's apartheid

By Pip Hinman and Peter Boyle

May 18, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Samah Sabawi, from Australians for Palestine, addressed a May 13, 2011, community forum in Holy Trinity Church Hall, Dulwich Hill, a suburb in Sydney, which was called by local residents to discuss the controversy (incited by Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd media empire) around a December 2010 decision by Marrickville Council to support the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel's apartheid. Samah is introduced by Father Dave Smith, the local Anglican parish priest.


Samah Sabawi, part 2

Former Greens parliamentarian Sylvia Hale dissected the NSW Greens' stand in support of BDS and the struggle around the Marrickville Council position.

Colombia must free Joaquin Perez Becerra

Statement from the Socialist Alliance in Australia

May 14, 2011 -- The Socialist Alliance calls on the Colombian government to immediately release independent media activist Joaquin Perez Becerra, who is now facing charges of “terrorism”.

Perez Becerra, a refugee from Colombia, is a Swedish citizen. We also call on the Swedish government to do its upmost to defend the rights of one of its citizens.

Under Article 33(1) of the Geneva Convention, no refugee shall be returned “in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”.

We also call on the Venezuelan government, which complied with Colombia's request to deport Perez Becerra to Colombia, to demand that Colombia respect the rights due to Perez Becerra under international conventions.

Perez Becerra, a strong voice in defence of human rights in Colombia, was forced to leave Colombia in 1993 following the murder of his wife and constant death threats against him due to his membership in the Union Patriotica (UP).

As a member of this democratic and legally registered party, Perez Becerra was elected city councillor in Corinto, Valle del Cauca. However, a state-sponsored campaign of violence and terror against the UP resulted in the assassination of more than 4000 UP members.

Documentary: Al Nakba: The Palestinian Catastrophe 1948


Al Nakba: The Palestinian Catastrophe 1948 by Benny Brunner and Alexandra Jansse on Vimeo.

Al Nakba: The Palestinian Catastrophe 1948 (58 minutes, documentary, Israel-Germany-The Netherlands, 1997). Arguably the first film that seriously tackles the historic events that led to the creation of 750,000+ Palestinian refugees at the end of 1948. Based on historian Benny Morris' book, The birth of the Palestinian refugee problem, 1947-49.

Produced and directed for ARTE by Benny Brunner and Alexandra Jansse.

Swaziland: Urgent action needed: Trade unionists arrested; COSATU condemns arrests

Urgent action needed: Trade unionists arrested in Swaziland: Repression continues!

May 14, 2011 -- The Swaziland Democracy Campaign has just received urgent news that a group of leading trade unionists have been arrested by the security police in the Lubombo Region of Swaziland. The comrades were attending a meeting to discuss the establishment of a regional division of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) the new democratic trade union federation that was launched on May Day this year, and which brings together all the trade unions in Swaziland into a historic single organisation.

Those arrested include the following:

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