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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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Socialist Unity, January 17, 2011 -- Picture sent by Twitter from Al Jazeera journalist Ayman Mohyeldin. Protesters hold up signs outside a trade union office saying “Protests must continue”, rejecting the fake “national unity” government.
By Richard Seymour
[This article first appeared on Seymour's blog, Lenin's Tomb. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission.]
By Billy Wharton
January 17, 2011 (MLK Day) -- Bronx County Independent Examiner -- Discovering the radical message in the writings of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. is no easy task for secular leftists. It requires a leap into the world of black Christian theology, a long tradition that has inspired multiple attempts at emancipation – from the slave revolt of Nat Turner to the modern civil rights movement. However, the terms of discussion inside of this tradition require secular readers to think through categories firmly rooted in Christian teachings. Some patience and a willingness to deal with what might be unfamiliar examples can yield new perspectives on an American tradition dedicated to service in the call of human freedom.
Most commentators on left have no time for such exercises. They automatically gravitate toward instances when King engages with mainly secular audiences. They take inspiration from King’s overt admission of his socialist leanings, “There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a Democratic Socialism.” Focus is placed on his brave stand against the war in Vietnam and his militant insistence on the need for racial integration.
(Updated Jan. 24) Tunisia:`All Arab dictators are shaking on their thrones' -- Left and Arab voices on the insurrection
[For more on Tunisia in revolt, click HERE. Scroll down for earlier reports and analysis. ]
UGTT demands dissolution of 'unity government'
Statement of the National Administrative Commission of the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) issued on January 21, 2011 (first published in English on MRZine).
1. The General Union of Tunisian Workers is a national organisation necessarily interested in political affairs, given its history of struggle during the colonial epoch and the period of the construction of the modern state, considering the dialectical links among economy, society, politics, and culture in the process of development, but out task has become more urgent than ever.
[This statement was released before the fall of Ben Ali. See "Tunisia's intifada topples tyrant: 'Yezzi fock!".]
January 11, 2011 -- When Mohamed Bouazizi committed suicide by setting fire to himself after being harassed by the police his act became the spark which is now setting fire to the whole of the “miraculous Tunisia” of General Ben Ali.
January 11, 2011, irregular cleaning staff at Hongik University in Seoul protest their unfair dismissal.
[For more background to the South Korean irregular workers’ struggle, see Chris Kim’s excellent article on the Hyundai irregular workers’ strike in Ulsan: “South Korea: ‘Just the first round’ by ‘irregular workers’ at Hyundai Motors”, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, December 16, 2010.]
By Roddy Quines
On January 14, the BBC reported that the mass uprising in Tunisia had toppled that country's Western-backed tyrant after weeks of protests and government repression, which has cost the lives of dozens of Tunisians. According to the BBC:
Tunisia's President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has stepped down after 23 years in power, amid widespread protests on the streets of the capital Tunis. In a televised address, Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi said he would be taking over from the president. A state of emergency was declared earlier, as weeks of protests over economic issues snowballed into rallies against Mr Ben Ali's rule. Unconfirmed reports say Mr Ben Ali and his family have left Tunisia. The reports suggest that the deposed president is looking for a place of asylum, with French media saying that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has turned down a request for his plane to land in France.
The articles below explain some of the background to the uprising.
January 9, 2011 -- Socialist Voice -- Of all the commentaries and interviews coinciding with the anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake, none are likely to exceed in significance the interview granted by Organization of American States representative to Haiti, Ricardo Seitenfus, to the Swiss daily Le Temps on December 20, 2010.
The critique he delivered to the newspaper is especially significant for Latin America and the Caribbean because Seitenfus is Brazilian. Sensitivity is running high in the region over the evident failure of the international relief effort led by the big powers – the United States, Canada and Europe – whose interventionist policies had already done so much harm to Haiti before this latest catastrophe.
By Mong Palatino
January 11, 2011 -- Global Voices -- Red Shirt anti-government protesters in Thailand mobilised tens of thousands of their members in central Bangkok on January 9, 2011, as they continued to press their demand for more democratic reforms in government. Police estimated the crowd at 30,000 but rally organisers claimed they gathered 60,000 in the streets.
"The Zapatistas’ anarchist strategic outlook, with their anti-theory 'no political line' position and their disdainful 'all politics is corrupt' led them to abstain from key struggles against neoliberalism."
By Rachel Evans and Tristan Parish
January 12, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This is an examination of Mexico’s social movements, the political parties’ and organisations that lead them, and their tactical and strategic outlooks, as well as the left’s successes and failures in the fight against neoliberalism.
From 1994 onwards, the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and the centre-left electoral formation, the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), have been the organisations that have led the largest social movements in Mexico. Hence, the effectiveness of their strategies -- Zapatista anarchism and Party of the Democratic Revolution electoralism -- in resisting neoliberalism in Mexico will be examined.
By Alistair Davidson
December 23, 2010 -- Liberty and Solidarity -- Despite blanket media coverage of Wikileaks and Julian Assange, there has been little discussion of the fact that Assange is merely one leader within a large and complicated social movement. The better analyses have found it interesting that the Swedish Pirate Party are aiding Wikileaks; some note links to the German Chaos Computer Club. But only “geeks” and “hackers” (technology workers) are aware that all of these organisations are members of the same movement.
This social movement, which has been termed the “free culture movement”, has a 30-year history. It incorporates elements reminiscent of earlier workers’ movements: elements of class struggle, political agitation and radical economics. The movement’s cadre, mainly technology workers, have been locked in conflict with the ruling class over the political and economic nature of information itself. As Wikileaks demonstrates, the outcome will have implications for all of us.
Latin America: For a solidarity `Marshall Plan' with the Cuban Revolution!; Un Plan Marshall para Cuba
By Atilio Boron
January 5, 2011 -- CADTM -- Cuba is currently faced with a crucial dilemma: either it updates, revises and reconstructs its economic model or it runs the risk of succumbing to the combined pressures created by its own errors and the aggression of the US embargo. The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as all of those in Africa and Asia, cannot remain indifferent towards this situation or limit themselves to contemplating how the revolution delivered this decisive battle without any assistance other than their own strength.
Help, however, cannot be confined to verbal support, which is fine but insufficient. Cuba needs something more concrete: that its creditors, and in particular that the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, cancel Cuba’s external debt.
Ivorians protest against food price increases in 2008.
By Peluola Adewale
Jannuary 5, 2011 -- Democratic Socialist Movement (Nigeria) -- That the November 28, 2010, run-off election in the Ivory Coast has produced two presidents – Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo – is not a surprise, though working people had expected the election to usher a return of peace. The country has been divided into two since the 2002 coup attempt and subsequent rebellion, with each half effectively having its own de facto government. The north is controlled by rebels, Forces Nouvelles (New Forces), while the south is under Gbagbo with the support of the armed forces and youth militia. Therefore, on this account and with the ethnocentric sentiment that has characterised Ivorian politics in the last two decades, it is natural that the results of the election from either half would be bitterly disputed by the party declared the loser of the contest.
By Andrea Pason & Billy Wharton, co-chairs Socialist Party USA
January 9, 2011 -- On behalf of the Socialist Party USA, we send our sincerest condolences to the families of the people killed in the January 8 shooting in Tucson, Arizona. This was an attempt at political assassination as the shooter, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, reportedly shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ, D.) in the head before turning his gun on the crowd. The dead include a 9 year child and five others, with twelve people wounded. Rep. Giffords remains in critical condition.
As socialists, we say unequivocally that political assassination has no role inside of a democratic society or our movement. Throughout [US] history, assassination has been a tool primarily used by the right wing. The death by execution of strong leaders such as Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr stand as testimony to the damage done to our cause. We are democratic socialists and we seek to make a democratic revolution. A revolution that places people in control of their own lives. Political assassination has no role in such a movement.
By John Bellamy Foster
January 2011 -- Monthly Review -- In the opening paragraph to his 2009 book, Storms of My Grandchildren, James Hansen, the world’s foremost scientific authority on global warming, declared: “Planet Earth, creation, the world in which civilization developed, the world with climate patterns that we know and stable shorelines, is in imminent peril…The startling conclusion is that continued exploitation of all fossil fuels on Earth threatens not only the other millions of species on the planet but also the survival of humanity itself—and the timetable is shorter than we thought.”1
Washington has reactivated the US Navy’s 4th Fleet to ensure US power projection over the Caribbean, Central and South America.
[This talk was presented at the regional “socialism conference” was held in Manila from November 27 to 28, 2010. The conference was organised by the socialist Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses) and the socialist-feminist regional network Transform Asia.]
By Rasti Delizo
By Doug Lorimer
[This article first appeared in the Democratic Socialist Party's internal discussion bulletin, The Activist, volume 10, number 7, August 2000.]
The Communist Party of Australia has recently published a pamphlet by David Matters entitled Putting Lenin's Clothes on Trotskyism which claims that the DSP's rejection of Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution is really a cover for its support for Trotskyism. However, the real purpose of the pamphlet is to criticise the DSP's position on the 1998 waterfront dispute.
This is made clear in the introduction to Matters' pamphlet by CPA general secretary Peter Symon:
In writing Putting Lenin's clothes on Trotskyism, David Matters has contributed to the task of clarifying ideas and maintaining the validity and truth of Marxism...
The attack on Marxism in the name of Marx, or on Lenin in the name of Lenin, is a particularly pernicious form which can easily mislead those who are not familiar with what Marx, Engels and Lenin actually said and wrote.
The pretension that Trotsky was a great Leninist is one of these misrepresentations and was refuted time and again by Lenin.
General strike against austerity in Portugal, November 24, 2010.
By Raphie de Santos
January 4, 2011 -- Socialist Resistance -- A full financial bailout of Portugal involving the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) looks set to happen in the first half of 2011. This will involve severe austerity conditions being imposed on the Portuguese people by the ECB and IMF.
The indications are clearly there as at the end of 2010 Fitch joined the two other credit rating agencies to downgrade Portugal’s debt to A+, which is just above junk status. They are concerned that the current account deficit running at 9% is unsustainable with the ruling Socialist Party unable to impose the effective 4% budget cuts in 2011 that they outlined at the end of 2010.
A trader in Lijang, China, selling images of Karl Marx. Photo by Malias.
By Norman Levine
January 4, 2010 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Organised by Marcello Musto of York University (Toronto, Canada), an international delegation of scholars from Canada (Marcello Musto and George Comninel), USA (Norman Levine), England (Terrell Carver), Japan (Hiroshi Uchida and Kenji Mori) and South Korea (Seongjin Jeong) participated in a two-week series of colloquiums and lectures in China. This delegation was invited and graciously hosted by Fudan University of Shanghai and Nanjing University (two of the top five universities in China), and by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and the Chinese Central Compilation and Translation Bureau (CCTB) of Beijing. The faculties and administration of each of these institutions partnered in these colloquiums, which also saw the participation of Chinese academics from 23 different universities (and, among them, of many deans and chairs of departments).
France, 2010: 'Karl Marx is not dead.'
January 2, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Logos – The Russian journal Logos, one of the most important journals of philosophy in Russia, is publishing a special issue on Karl Marx in January 2011. It includes a translation of Marcello Musto’s “The Rediscovery of Karl Marx” and an extensive interview with Musto. Below is the English translation of the interview.
* * *
Vesa Oittinen is professor at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland, and author of many books. Among these are: Spinozistische Dialektik (Peter Lang, 1994); Der Akt als Fundament des Bewusstseins? (Peter Lang 1996); Marx ja Venäjä (ed., Aleksanteri Papers, 2006); and Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe (MEGA) ja Marxin uudelleen löytäminen (ed. with Juha Koivisto, Vastapaino 2010).