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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.

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Austria: Students occupy universities; mass demonstrations and broad solidarity throughout the country

40,000 students march in Vienna on October 30, 2009. Photo: Press TV.

By the international press working group, Occupied University of Vienna

November 3, 2009 -- Throughout the last few years, studying conditions at Austrian universities have dramatically declined. The introduction of tuition fees, a massive cutback of democratic structures and lack of course availability are only some examples. Reasons can be found in the huge decline in university funding on the one hand and the introduction of the three-level "Bologna" system on the othe, resulting in the implementation of admission reductions and limits.

On October 22, students' dissatisfaction turned into savage protest. At noon several hundred students from the Academy of Fine Arts (which was occupied the day before) and the University of Vienna gathered to make known their desperate situation. In a spontanious action they squatted in Austria's largest auditorium in the main university building. The news of the occupation spread rapidly and soon students from several other departments joined.

Corporate investors lead rush for control of poor countries' farmland

By GRAIN, October 2009

With all the talk about "food security," and distorted media statements like "South Korea leases half of Madagascar's land,"[1] it may not be evident to a lot of people that the lead actors in today's global land grab for overseas food production are not countries or governments but corporations. So much attention has been focused on the involvement of states, like Saudi Arabia, China or South Korea. But the reality is that while governments are facilitating the deals, private companies are the ones getting control of the land. And their interests are simply not the same as those of governments.

Fourth International debates `ecosocialism'

By Michael Löwy

International Viewpoint -- October 10, 2009 -- Daniel Tanuro’s report on climate change [Report on climate change at the IC of the Fourth International] is one of the most important documents produced by our movement in recent years. It is an invaluable contribution to the political arming of revolutionary Marxists and to making them capable of facing up to the challenges of the 21st century.

Nepal: Interview with the UCPN (Maoist)'s Baburam Bhattarai: `We have not abandoned the revolutionary path'

October 26, 2009 -- This interview first appeared on the web site of the Britain-based World People's Resistance Movement (WPRN). It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission. Baburam Bhattarai is a politburo member of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and was finance minister in the former Maoist government led by Prachanda. For background to this interview, visit HERE.

* * *

Climate change: The carbon trading debacle

By Carter Burke

October 28, 2009 -- The next major international summit on climate change will be held in Copenhagen in early December, 2009. The position of the United States in these talks remains ambiguous. The latest climate legislation to move through the US Congress is H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. It passed the US House of Representatives in June 2009, mostly along party lines, to the applause of President Obama and house speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Honduras: Two Latin American views on the deal to restore Manuel Zelaya

Honduras: The struggle must be more intense than ever

By Ricardo Salgado

October 30, 2009 -- Cubadebate -- Those who claimed several weeks ago that the president would be restored at the beginning of November, though bound by his hands and feet, in order to legitimate the elections, managed to describe the end that we are witnessing now. But let the record show that it is not the end of the coup; this continues in effect, its purposes prevail; the conditions that brought it about continue just as they were on June 28.

Honduras: Deal signed for Zelaya’s return, but struggle continues


October 30, 2009, report by Democracy Now! reporter Andrés Conteris in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. Conteris has been holed up at the embassy since Zelaya took refuge there in September.
 
* * *

By Stuart Munckton

October 31, 2009 -- After more than 120 days of mass resistance by the poor majority of Honduras, against a coup regime that overthrew elected President Manuel Zelaya, the regime has finally signed an agreement for Zelaya’s reinstatement.

On October 30, Zelaya and the coup regime signed an agreement opening the way for the elected president to take office once more. However, the key demand of the mass resistance for a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution is excluded by the deal until Zelaya leaves office in late January.

The National Resistance Front against the Coup (FNRG) is pledging to continue its campaign of protests around this demand (see statement following this article) and it is unclear whether it will continue with a planned boycott of the November 29 elections.

South Africa: Time for a new democratic left party?

Mazibuko Jara.

By Mazibuko K. Jara

October 30, 2009 -- Our country is in crisis. There is deepening inequality, many people live in permanent poverty and millions are unemployed for most of their adult lives. Women continue to suffer from social oppression, violence and poverty. The very ecological and biophysical conditions for our human existence are under threat.

Retrogressive ideologies in our society are gaining ground: we are going back to ethnic identity, we have retrogressive notions of womanhood, we have seen the rise in the power of undemocratic rule of unelected chiefs. The state is dysfunctional, corrupt and fraudulent. The state seems unwilling to confront the economic system that produces all these crises. Together, none of these socioeconomic problems can be addressed by a South Africa that reproduces capitalism. These problems require solutions that go beyond capitalist accumulation.

Is it correct to regard the Jacob Zuma-led African National Congress (ANC) as left? Whilst the Zuma-led ANC is much friendlier to the left than Thabo Mbeki's, neoliberal capitalism survives in South Africa.

China: Youth and the Cultural Revolution

For more on the Chinese Revolution, click HERE.

By Graham Milner

The revolution that brought the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to power in 1949 marked the second great breach, after the Russian Revolution of October 1917, in the 20th century imperialist world order, and initiated a process that was to remove from the capitalist orbit the most populous nation in the world, containing over a quarter of its population.[1] The revolution of 1949 aroused vast expectations not only among China's popular masses, but also among the peoples of the Third World as a whole, and indeed among the socialist-minded everywhere.[2] However, by the end of the 20th century, communism had been overturned in Eastern Europe and the USSR, while in China a largely discredited, authoritarian, Stalinist regime had virtually abandoned anything more than a nominal adherence to socialist ideals. So what went wrong?

Pakistan: What to do about religious fundamentalism?

By Farooq Tariq

Let’s deal with the ISI and the Pakistan military and let’s go recruit these mujahideen. Here is a very strong argument which is… it wasn’t a bad investment to end the Soviet Union but let’s be careful with what we sow… because we will harvest.” – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, April 23, 2009.

October 28, 2009 -- Once again Pakistan has become the focus of world attention. Every day there is news of the latest suicide attack or military operation, with killings, injuries and the displacing of communities. Recently schools were ordered closed for more than a week. Even children talk about death and suicide attacks.

With more than 125 police checkpoints in Islamabad, it has become a fortress city. Lahore and other large cities are suffering the same fate: there are police road blockades everywhere. After each terrorist attack authorities issue another security high alert and set up additional barriers. How ironic that, until recently, officials and the media described these “terrorists” as Mujahideen fighting for an Islamic world.

Cuba: UN for the 18th consecutive year demands end to US blockade

28 October 2009
General Assembly
GA/10877

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

UN General Assembly, for 18th consecutive year, overwhelmingly calls for end to the US economic, trade embargo against Cuba

Vote: 187 in favour to 3 against, with 2 abstentions;

Paul Le Blanc -- Why I'm joining the US International Socialist Organization: Intensifying the struggle for social change

Paul Le Blanc.

By Paul Le Blanc

October 2009 -- I have decided to join the International Socialist Organization (ISO) because I believe socialists can and must, at this moment, intensify the struggle to bring about positive social change. I have been active in this struggle for most of my life -- as a member of the "new left" in the 1960s and early '70s (first in Students for a Democratic Society and briefly in the New American Movement), then in the Trotskyist movement (the Socialist Workers Party for ten years, briefly in Socialist Action, the Fourth Internationalist Tendency for another eight years). I have always considered "Trotskyism" as the same as revolutionary socialism, associated with some of the most useful ideas and most inspiring traditions that ever existed -- something I will come back to shortly.

Since 1992 I have been a member of Solidarity, which over the years has attracted a number of fine people who have done excellent work, although it has never proved able to sustain a membership of more than 300. I feel I have done all that I can to help build Solidarity. At this point I believe I may have more to contribute to building the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and am hopeful that the ISO can play a badly needed role in the intensification of the struggle to bring fundamental social change.

South Africa: ‘The African Communist': 50 years of mobilisation, analysis

The African Communist, 1991.

By Blade Nzimande

October 26, 2009 -- A browse through the very first edition of the African Communist in 1959 not only gives an insight into the time and context during which it was launched but also the courageous and defiant character of those who breathed life into our historic journal.

This magazine, the African Communist, has been started by a group of Marxist-Leninists in Africa, to defend and spread the inspiring and liberating ideas of Communism in our great Continent, and to apply the brilliant scientific method of Marxism to the solution of its problems.

It is being produced in conditions of great difficulty and danger. Nevertheless we mean to go on publishing it, because we know that Africa needs Communist thought, as dry and thirsty soil needs rain.

Australia: Red councillors during the Cold War: Communists on Sydney City Council, 1953-59

 

 Sydney Town Hall in the 1950s.

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 other socialists who have been elected to such bodies. With permission of the Rough Reds Collective, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is publishing Beverley Symons' paper that examines the example of Communist Party of Australia members elected to the Sydney City Council in the 1950s. This article first appeared in the 2003 book A Few Rough Reds, published by the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, Canberra Region Branch. The book is available online at http://www.roughreds.com.

* * *

By Beverley Symons

As is well known, the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) was represented in an Australian parliament only once, by Fred Paterson in the Queensland state seat of Bowen from 1944-50. However, the party's electoral successes in local government have attracted little historical attention. As far as I know, the only published material outside the communist press were two articles in 1985 and 1986 examining the CPA's 1944 victory in winning five of the eight seats on the Kearsley Shire Council in the northern New South Wales coalfields.

Britain: Landmark demonstration against the war in Afghanistan

Tariq Ali addresses the October 24 protest in London. More videos of the speeches below.

By Robin Beste

October 25, 2009 -- Stop the War Coalition UK -- Stop the War's demonstration on October 24 brought the centre of London to a standstill. It was a landmark demonstration, led by Lance Corporal Joe Glenton -- the first serving soldier in the British army to join an anti-war march.

Asia: NGOs display `lobby cretinism' over ASEAN human rights commission

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

October 25, 2009 -- The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is made up of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Brunei and Singapore, which are all authoritarian states. It also includes the semi-democratic Malaysia, along with the Philippines and Indonesia, which are more or less democratic. Would anyone expect a gathering of government leaders from these countries to set up a genuine human rights commission? Apparently, some NGOs from the region did think so.

However, they got snubbed. Not only did the governments decide to appoint the human rights commissioners themselves, they also refused to meet with half the NGO delegates, and allowed only Dr Surichai Wangaeo of Chulalongkorn University to speak on behalf of the NGO delegation. Who is Dr Surichai? He supported the 2006 military coup in Thailand and was an appointee to the military junta’s parliament. The Thai NGO team that was involved in so-called “civil society” discussions also included people who supported the military coup.

Sri Lanka: Brian Senewiratne on the humanitarian crisis facing the Tamil people

Brian Senewiratne.

October 22, 2009 -- Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Queensland -- In September 2008, the government of Sri Lanka ordered all aid agencies (including the UN agencies) to leave the ``northern war zone'' -- inhabited by Tamils -- of Sri Lanka. Socialist Alliance member Brian Senewiratne explains the history of Sri Lanka and the attacks on the oppressed Tamil people of the north and east.

Following the Sri Lankan government's war on the Tamil people in 2008, UN agencies had been delivering food and medical aid to nearly 160,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), i.e. refugees, in the Vanni, the Tamil area just south of the Jaffna Peninsula. There were 13 aid groups in the region, providing emergency food aid, clean water and sanitation to some 200,000 people living in refugee camps and under trees in this area. All agencies except ICRC, the Red Cross, left. A humanitarian crisis is now unfolding.

When the climate change centre cannot hold

By Patrick Bond

October 26, 2009 -- After the October 24-25 weekend in which 350.org and thousands of allies around the world valiantly tried to raise global consciousness about impending catastrophe (see slideshow below, photos from 350.org), we can ask some tough questions about what to do after people have departed and the props packed up. No matter the laudable big-tent activism, let's face it: global climate governance is gridlocked and it seems clear that no meaningful deal can be sealed in Copenhagen on December 18.

System's defenders warn of 'collapse' of global capitalism

By Grant Morgan

October 22, 2009 -- Something molecular is changing in the DNA of capitalism. Look at these three recent quotes:

  • "The future will be a total disaster, with a collapse of our capitalistic system as we know it today."
  • "Capitalism is near the tipping point, unprepared for a catastrophe, set up for collapse and rapid decline."
  • "There is a high probability of a crisis and collapse by 2012. The 'Great Depression 2' is dead ahead. Unfortunately, there's absolutely nothing you can do to hide from this unfolding reality or prevent the rush of the historical imperative."

What's particularly important about these quotes is who made them. Not socialists. No, they were made by ardent, intelligent and reputable defenders of capitalism. For more information, read the MarketWatch essay "America's soul is lost and collapse is inevitable".

Cuba's 2009 report to United Nations on the US economic blockade


To be presented to the UN General Assembly on October 28, 2009

1. Introduction

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