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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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Photo essay: `May my blood be the seed of liberty' -- Assassinated 30 years ago, Monsignor Oscar Romero honoured
Photos and text by James Rodriguez, San Salvador, El Salvador
March 24, 2010 -- MiMundo.org
Versión en español aquí.
By Richard Fidler
March 30, 2010 -- Life on the Left -- A five-year long attempt to reform the Parti Québécois (PQ) as an independentist and “social-democratic” party ended abruptly on March 13 when the PQ’s national executive decided not to renew recognition of its left-wing “political club” as an authorised grouping with the party. The decision, which effectively expelled Syndicalistes et Progressistes pour un Québec Libre (SPQ Libre) from the party, was promptly approved by the PQ’s conference of constituency presidents.
[The following documents dealing with capitalism's climate crisis were presented at the 16th World Congress of the Fourth International, held in Belgium in February 2010.]
* * *
By Daniel Tanuro
February 2010 -- Three billion human beings lack the essentials of life. The satisfaction of their needs requires increased production of material goods. Therefore increased consumption of energy. Today, 80 per cent of this energy is of fossil origin, and consequently a source of greenhouse gases which are unbalancing the climatic system.
However, we can no longer permit ourselves to unbalance the climate. We are probably no longer very far from a “tipping point” beyond which phenomena which are uncontrollable and irreversible on a human timescale are likely to be set in motion, which could lead to a situation that humanity has never experienced and which the planet has not experienced for 65 million years: a world without ice. A world in which the sea level would rise by approximately 80 metres compared to its level today.
The following call was issued by the Conference of the Democratic Left, a left unity project in South Africa. It first appeared at the Conference of the Democratic Left web site.
* * *
A call to a national people’s conference against capitalism and for democratic left politics
A Call for united anti-capitalist action …
This is a call to come together in unity in a Conference Against Capitalism and for Democratic Left Politics.
1. The world is in crisis
Global capitalism threatens our world with disaster. If it is left to plunder the natural resources of our planet and pollute the atmosphere, the oceans and the soil, life itself will be under grave threat.
By the Socialist Alliance, Australia
[The following is the text of a leaflet being distributed by the Socialist Alliance in Melbourne.]
April 2, 2010 -- The triumphalism spouted by capitalist apologists in the early 1990s with the collapse of the Soviet Union has long gone. Today the problems are so obvious: global warming and the world economic slump are shaking the capitalist world and casting a growing shadow over the future.
“Capitalism is the road to hell”, as Venezuela’s leader Hugo Chavez said at the Copenhagen climate conference. The revolutionary process in Venezuela and the bold stand taken by its leader have resurrected the idea of socialism in the consciousness of millions. His call for a “socialism of the 21st century” has inspired people around the world. And now Chavez has called for a new international socialist organisation which would unite parties and movements that want to fight imperialism and neoliberalism.
But important as solidarity with Venezuela is and much as we may admire Chavez, our fundamental task is to fight for social change right here.
Survival of humanity is at stake
Marta Harnecker interviewed by Edwin Herrera
Salinas, for the Bolivian newspaper La Razón. Translation by MRZine's
Yoshie Furuhashi. Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission
The Dubliners' version of "The Foggy Dew" (featuring photos from the Easter Rising).
By Stuart Munckton
April 2, 2010 -- The Future on Fire -- Easter is here again -- the anniversay of the Irish rebellion against British rule in Easter 1916. Over Easter week, Irish rebels took control of key parts of Dublin and declared a republic. It took seven days for the British to put the rising down.
"The Foggy Dew", a much-covered Irish folk song about the uprising, details what happened and gives an indication of the issues surrounding it. There are two key lines that reveal something often sidelined about the rising. The first is: "'Twas better to die 'neath an Irish sky/Than at Suvla or Sud-el-Bar."
The second is: "'Twas Britannia bade our Wild Geese go/that small nations might be free/but their lonely graves are by Sulva's waves/or the shore of the Great North Sea."
By Liam Mac Uaid
March 31, 2010 -- MacUaid -- The International Institute for Research and Education (IIRE) is an Amsterdam-based centre providing activists and scholars around the world with opportunities for research and education. It is offering a free download of the late Daniel Bensaïd’s Revolutionary Strategy Today.
Since the rise of capitalism, socialists have faced certain deep-seated obstacles: the hostility of the bourgeois state, the fitful curve of proletarian class-consciousness and the inertia or active opposition of apparatuses originally built by the workers for struggle.
March 31, 2010 -- Socialist Alliance national convenor Peter Boyle interviews Ignatius Mahendra Kusumawardhana, the international relations officer for the Working People's Association (Perhimpunian Rakyat Pekerja – PRP) of Indonesia, who was in Australia to speak at Socialist Alternative's "Marxism 2010" conference in Melbourne, April 2-5, 2010.
In 2003, Mahendra was imprisoned for two years for “insulting the government” of President Megawati Sukarnoputri. He was a member of the People's Democratic Party (PRD) at the time of his arrest.
* * *
By Peter Boyle, Sydney
March 31, 2010 -- Indigenous and trade union activist Chicka "The Fox" Dixon (1928-2010) was farewelled by more than a thousand people in a state funeral in Sydney Town Hall today. Chicka was from the Yuin people whose traditional lands stretch along the south coast of New South Wales, from the Shoalhaven down to the Victorian border.
By Jade McClune, Windhoek
March 23, 2010 -- Twenty years ago, at Namibia's first independence celebrations on March 21, 1990, many people would have shared the hopes and the euphoria of the moment. People thought that something good would come to us if we kept our peace and relinquished all the power to "the few who knew". Now that terrible hangover is wearing off and time has enforced a certain sobriety on us: the brutish reality of a rapidly falling life expectancy, unprecedented epidemic crises, poverty, vast malnutrition, a ruined education system and chronic mass unemployment, is inescapable.
Yes, there have been achievements: for some people with connections or capital or a lot of luck, life has improved as they moved into the other side of town, but for most citizens life has become meaner and shorter. There is a breakdown of all social and municipal services and a growing chauvinistic brutishness about the bureaucracy. At the same time we are witnessing a new desperate scramble for Africa's mineral wealth, that will make the evils of 19th century colonialism look pleasant in comparison. So let it be said, the struggle is not over.
* * *
[The following is an excerpt from the "Role and tasks of the Fourth International", a report adopted by the Fourth International at its 16th World Congress held in Belgium in February 2010. Click here for the full report.]
Chavez’s call to found a Fifth International poses other questions about its origins, its framework, that is to say, its viability. The Fourth International declares that it is willing to participate in the debates and preparatory meetings that may be organised. We will contribute our historic gains and our vision about what a new international and its programatic foundations could be. A genuine new international can only be born if its members share a program, an ability to intervene in society, a democratic, pluralist form of functioning, as well as clear independence from governments in order to break with capitalism.
Fourth International: Report on international situation to the 16th World Congress; Role and tasks of the FI
By Laurent Carasso
February 2010 -- This report will not attempt a detailed survey of the world but will try to stress what is most significant, what, in our view, should come under a common understanding of events and tasks. On many regional situations, the comrades will broadly enrich the discussion through their interventions.
(I) The world situation is marked by crisis
For the first time in history, this crisis is located is explained by capitalist globalisation. No territory is immune. All the economic, social and political factors are interrelated worldwide. The economic crisis is not a conjunctural crisis. This is a systemic, structural crisis: this is the most serious crisis since 1929. The United States has lost 35% of its financial wealth and the Euro zone 25%. And, when governments speak of “emerging from crisis” we do not agree. There may be short-term recoveries, related to policies in support of activity in this or that country, but the countries of the centre -- the USA and Europe -- are not emerging from crisis. The explosion of public debt in southern Europe -- in Greece, Spain -- and the banking and financial uncertainty demonstrate the instability of the situation and a new phase of the crisis, at least in Europe.
The crisis is not over!
By Grasian Mkodzongi
March 11, 2010 -- Pambazuka News -- Zimbabwe’s land issue has generated unprecedented debates both within and outside the country. The debates, which followed the dramatic occupations of white farms by rural peasants in the late 1990s, are generally polarised between those who support radical land reform and those who support market-orientated reforms. The former stand accused of supporting Mugabe’s regime while the latter are generally maligned as neo-colonialists running a smear campaign against the ruling Zimbabwe AFrican National Union-Patriotic Frent (ZANU-PF).
March 26, 2010 -- Australian Socialist Alliance member Ben Peterson speaks in Wellington, New Zealand, during his seven-day tour of New Zealand. More below. Videos by Socialist Worker New Zealand.
“There are Arabic newspapers in Australia, but still all reflect the views of their editors and there is a great need to establish a progressive Arabic-language press which can frankly discuss the squalid condition of the Arab world due to submission and subservience to neo-colonialism”, Iskander explains. “At the same time, the Arabic-speaking communities in Australia need to read articles relating to the Australian government policy internally — articles which will unmask the pitfalls of these policies, and will expose the violation and the lies of the capitalist parties. The Flame, we hope, will be a powerful addition to Green Left Weekly.”
By Reihana Mohideen
[The first two in a series of commentaries in the lead-up to the May 10, 2010 elections in the Philippines.]
March 12, 2010 -- Socialist Feminist -- While Latin America has opened up a new socialist front for the 21st century and we have the most recent victory of the united left coalition in Uruguay, the Frente Amplio (FA – Broad Front), led by a former leader of the Tupamaros Jose "Pepe" Mujica, winning thep residency in November 2009, the Philippines left, by contrast, is a tragic and even horrible spectacle going into the May 2010 elections.
While the left is undeniably present in the electoral arena, the main tactic pursued is to vie for positions in the Senate tickets of pro-capitalist trapo (traditional politicians) presidential candidates who are the frontrunners in the polls, i.e. the tickets of Noynoy Aquino, the presidential candidate of the Liberal Party (which is carrying an Akbayan Senate candidate), Manny Villar, the presidential candidate of the Nacionalista Party (which is carrying two senators for the Bayan bloc), and the previously ousted former president Joseph Estrada of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (which is running a Sanlakas Senate candidate).
By Pablo Solón Romero
March 19, 2010 -- http://pwccc.wordpress.com/ -- In the aftermath of the Copenhagen climate conference, those who defended the widely condemned outcome tended to talk about it as a “step in the right direction”. This was always a tendentious argument, given that tackling climate change cannot be addressed by half measures. We can’t make compromises with nature.
Bolivia, however, believed that Copenhagen marked a backwards step, undoing the work built on since the climate talks in Kyoto. That is why, against strong pressure from industrialised countries, we and other developing nations refused to sign the Copenhagen Accord and why we are hosting an international meeting on climate change in Cochabamba, Bolivia, from April 19 to 22, 2010. In the words of the Tuvalu negotiator, we were not prepared to “betray our people for 30 pieces of silver”.
By Kieran Adair
March 23, 2010 -- In Copenhagen, Sydney-based climate justice advocate Natasha Verco, as well as US activist Noah Weiss, faces charges under Denmark’s “terrorism” laws. Verco faces up to 12-and-a-half years' jail for her role in organising protests against the United Nations Copemnhagen climate summit in December.
The two activists appeared in court on March 18 (see report below).
Verco was arrested while riding her bike on December the 13 ahead of a national day of action she was helping organise the following day. She said: “A plainclothed police women jumped out at me and ... took me to an unmarked police van. I asked them, ‘Are you randomly picking me up?’ and they said ‘No, we hunted you’.”