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- Not Optimistic Enough?
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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).
This site is best viewed with the Firefox internet browser.
By Rupen Savoulian
March 24, 2014 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- In 2005, Palestinian human rights groups and civil rights organisations launched a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel. This campaign has multiple aims, one of them being to pressure the Israeli government to comply with United Nations resolutions and ensure that its policies conform with international law and the Universal principles of human rights.
Specifically, the BDS campaign intends to achieve the full recognition of Palestinians as equal citizens within the state of Israel, to achieve the right of return of Palestinian refugees displaced by Israel since 1948, as demanded by Article 11 of the United Nations general assembly resolution 194, to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Arab land, cease the building of settlements and dismantle the ongoing Israeli West Bank barrier (also known as the Apartheid Wall).
South Africa: Irvin Jim (NUMSA) on new working-class leadership and prospects for socialist politics
In three parts.
Presentation by Irvin Jim, general secretary of National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa; chaired by John S. Saul.
March 6, 2014 -- Left Streamed, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The dramatic upsurge of popular grass-roots protest in South Africa's townships and rural areas in recent years has marked a “rebellion of the poor” in that country. The working-class itself has also been assertive, prompting the African National Congress administered state's horrific massacre of dissident mineworkers at Marikana in 2012.
Until recently, leading trade unions have confined been within the tripartite governing coalition of the ANC, the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the country's largest trade union federation.
For more on Ukraine, click HERE.
By Tony Iltis
March 22, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- Russian President Vladimir Putin announced legislation on March 18 accepting the formerly Ukrainian Republic of Crimea and City of Sevastopol into the Russian Federation. The legislation was passed by the Russian Duma (parliament) on March 20.
Crimea and Sevastopol had voted in a March 16 referendum to leave Ukraine and join Russia. This was the culmination of a process that began after the February 21 overthrow of unpopular Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich by protesters in the capital Kiev.
Crimea is 60% Russian-identifying and 84% Russian-speaking, and was not historically part of Ukraine. Sevastopol is the home port of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Yet this dramatic change in Europe’s borders was not on the agenda before the fall of Yanukovich less than a month earlier.
The Ukrainian government responded with predictable outrage and threats to what it regards as a blatant annexation of its territory. But Ukrainian forces in Crimea ― those who have remained loyal to the new Kiev regime ― have been powerless to stop pro-Russian forces taking over their bases and naval ships.
Russian troops in Crimea.
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published a range of views from the left on developments in Ukraine and Crimea HERE.
By Murray Smith, translated for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Dick Nichols
March 11, 2014 -- Déi Lénk (The Left), Luxembourg -- So, the Crimean parliament has voted to reunify with Russia. The notorious referendum, initially set for May 25, then brought forward to March 30, will finally take place on March 16 and “will serve to confirm” the decision of parliament. Clearly, they are already on their way to joining Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Over there, you never hold an electoral consultation without having decided the result beforehand.
We must grasp the enormity of what has just happened. For the first time since 1945, a country has annexed by armed force part of the territory of another country. Up until now we have had armed interventions, bombings, even wars in the Balkans. But never this. And for the time being, nothing indicates that it will remain an isolated case.
See "El Salvador: FMLN wins presidency; right wing trying to steal election" for more detail.
March 22, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the first round of El Salvador's 2014 presidential election the FMLN candidate Salvador Ceren had a clear win over the runner-up, Norman Quiroga of the right-wing ARENA party. However he fell just short of the 50%+ required to be declared president. With the smaller parties dropping out there was a run-off between Ceren and Quijano on Sunday, March 9. Here is video of the voting process and an interview by Warwick Fry with Juan Campos, who travelled from Australia as an official observer. The FMLN's Salvador Ceren was victorious, much to the great delight of tens of thousands of Salvadoreans (below).
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On March 14, 2014, renowned Marxist author Tariq Ali presented, as part of Edinburgh University Sociology Department's Independence Lectures series, "Dismantling the British State: Strategy, Tactics and Ideology". It was held in association with Pluto Press and Wordpower Books.
See also "France: Parti de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon on Ukraine". For more on Ukraine, click HERE.
March 21, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A number of European left parties have released statements on the developments in Ukraine, Crimea and the region. Unless otherwise stated, they have been translated by Dick Nichols, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal and Green Left Weekly correspondent in Europe. There are statements from Déi Lénk (The Left), Luxemburg; Sortu, the radical left Basque Country party; the Communist Party of France; the Communist Party of Spain; and Gregor Gysi, chair of Germany's Die Linke (The Left). More will be added as they come to hand.
By Dave Kellaway
March 17, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Bob Crow’s family sent a message of solidarity to the People’s Assembly conference on March 15. They recognised that he was fully supportive of this movement. A truly nationwide movement if you listened to the accents and checked the delegate lists of those attending yesterday. A broad movement with over a dozen major unions affiliated. A movement that is not a top-down coalition, as some of its ultraleft critics have suggested, but one that is embedded in over 80 local groups. More than 660 people registered and there were around 500 in attendance. As someone remarked to me, you could tell it was a broad mobilisation because you did not recognise many people.
The Emmanuel Centre with its biblical exhortations beautifully marked out on the walls was full with activists actually fighting for some of those good intentions in a 21st century where hundreds of thousands have to go to food banks each week.
Tens of thousands of workers across South Africa responded to the call from NUMSA for a general strike on March 19, 2014, against neoliberal government policies.
Break the paralysis of COSATU!
Why the attacks on Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi and NUMSA will fail!
Our call for a special COSATU national congress
[Posted March 20, 2014 at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal]
Statement by the nine COSATU affiliates campaigning for the reinstatement of Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi as general secretary
Almost 29 years ago at the height of mass struggles by workers, youth, women, students and communities, despite repression, detention without trial, a state of emergency, killings and assassinations of activists and leaders, the workers of South Africa declared; “A giant is born”. And so the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), by the blood, sacrifices and sweat of many generations before it, was launched.
How did the giant help to defeat apartheid?
Crimeans vote in the referendum on the region's political future.
By Roger Annis
March 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Two distinct views on the left have emerged to describe the political upheaval that has shaken Ukraine and Crimea in recent months. On February 21, the government of President Victor Yanukovych was overthrown and replaced by a pro-western government in which extreme rightists have a prominent place.
One view describes the political intervention of the US and other NATO countries in favour of regime change as playing a decisive role. So much so that the mass protests against the Yanukovych government are denied any popular and social legitimacy. Russia’s role in events is viewed uncritically.
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness in conversation with Tony Benn.
Introductory comment by Stuart Munckton
March 17, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following article provides an Irish republican perspective on Tony Benn. In some ways Ireland is a great prism through which to view Benn, his contradictions and his political development and radicalisation.
I read a book recently featuring essays by a range of British left and labour movement on Ireland and its struggle for self-determination that came out in 1985 -- the height of the troubles.
Benn's essay was fascinating because he was a cabinet minister when the then-Labour government sent in British troops to occupy Ireland's north. Benn, at the time, did not oppose it and said he knew very little of the situation. He said no one in the Labour government actually knew the first thing about Ireland and just did what they were told. He said he tried to get a debate started about it at one point, but was shot down.
By Emma Clancy
March 10. 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- The Spanish government’s response to the move by armed Basque pro-independence organisation Basque Homeland and Freedom (ETA) to put its weapons beyond use has clearly demonstrated it favours continuing conflict over peace.
On February 21, ETA released a video showing two of its members meeting with representatives of the International Verification Commission. The IVC were inspecting weapons that had been put beyond operational use.
IVC spokesperson Ram Manikkalingam said that day: “The commission is confident that this step is significant and credible.” ETA published a statement on March 1 declaring it had begun the process of putting its entire arsenal beyond use.
The Amsterdam-based IVC is not recognised by the Spanish government. Consisting of six high-profile international experts in conflict resolution, it formed in 2011 to monitor and verify ETA’s permanent ceasefire. Its members have worked on conflict resolution in Sri Lanka, Iraq and Ireland.
By Phil Hearse
March 15, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- It is a bitter irony that Tony Benn has died in the very same week as Bob Crow, two giants of the labour movement who will be cruelly missed.
Numerous instant obituaries and comments have concentrated on Benn’s determination, his speaking and writing talents, his humour and his personal kindness. Of course. But in celebrating his life the important thing for the left, especially the younger generation, is to make an assessment of Benn and Bennism as a political phenomenon, why it constituted such a threat to the existing powers that be (including in the trade unions and Labour Party) and why such an array of forces gathered together to attempt to put an end to it.
Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East
By Adam Hanieh
Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2013
[For more articles by or about Adam Hanieh, click HERE.]
Review by Chris Slee
March 15, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The year 2011 saw uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa. They were portrayed in the Western media as rebellions against dictatorial regimes and for democracy. But that is only part of the story. Political discontent was combined with economic discontent, as reflected in the widespread slogan, “bread, freedom and social justice”.
FMLN presidential candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren.
March 13, 2014 -- Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador -- Just after 1:30 am this morning, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced the final count from the Sunday, March 9 election, giving a decisive victory to the leftist FMLN party over right-wing ARENA (50.11% to 49.89%).
Over the past three days, ARENA has tried (almost) every trick in the book to prevent the FMLN’s Salvador Sánchez Cerén from being named president –- from calling on the armed forces to defend their false “victory” to initiating legal measures to annul the entire election.
Ultraconservative US allies of ARENA –- like Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen –- are already backing ARENA’s attempted electoral sabotage.
Though the State Department has shown public support for the Tribunal, we need more voices in Congress weighing in on the side of democracy, reinforcing the State Department’s position and keeping ARENA politically isolated from international support.
With ARENA’s legal challenges to the election still pending, the next few days will be critical to ensuring that Sánchez Cerén can take his rightful place as the next president of El Salvador on June 1.
By Liam Mac Uaid
March 11, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance -- We are deeply shocked at the news that Bob Crow has died suddenly early this morning of a heart attack at the age of 52.
We send our heartfelt condolences and solidarity to his family and friends and to the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and its members. His death is a huge blow to the RMT and to the wider trade union movement and to the cause of militant class-struggle trade unionism. During his 12 years as general secretary, the RMT has grown in both size and stature. He has been prepared to support strike action to defend the wages jobs and conditions of his members, and has done so very successfully.
As a result of this he has been vilified by the employers, government ministers and the likes of London mayor Boris Johnson, but has enjoyed strong support among the rank and file of the union. To say that he will be sorely missed is a gross understatement.
* * *
Jean-Luc Mélenchon (centre).
By Jean-Luc Mélenchon, translated by Dick Nichols
March 11, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I think it is useful to specify [my position on developments in Ukraine] in black and white. I’m doing it in broad brushstrokes so that the advanced minds in the newsrooms can understand. I’m doing it in their language, saying what "I support" and what "I condemn”. Please understand me: my comments here are an express warning sign for the Mickey Mouse minds of the media world.
Let's go: I do not support Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Neither do I support the de facto actual authorities of the Ukraine, nor the kleptocrats of the previous constitutional government. However, contrary to [Green member of the European Parliament] Daniel Cohn-Bendit, I am not in favour of war with Russia! While I think that the Russians have nothing to do outside their bases in the Crimea, I also condemn the attempted encirclement of Russia by NATO which is the cause of their action. I condemn the neo-Nazi anti-semitism of the de facto ministers in power in the Ukraine and support their rapid expulsion from the government.
Review by Coral Wynter
The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines made Australia
By Bill Gammage
Allen & Unwin, 434 pp., 2012
March 13, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This is an extraordinary book, one that will increase your appreciation of the country’s first people, as we begin to understand their amazing knowledge and sheer genius in the way they cared for the land, or as Bill Gammage calls it the “biggest estate on Earth”.
Gammage describes with many examples how the Aborigines looked after the land. No corner was forgotten, including deserts, rainforests and rocky outcrops, across the entire continent for at least 60,000 years until the colonisers began to destroy all this labour after their arrival in 1788.
By John Riddell
March 9, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In a recent comment to this blog, Tad Tietze defines Clara Zetkin’s approach to women’s oppression as marked by “consistent method, flexible application”. To portray this approach, he offers us an important speech by Zetkin to a convention of German socialists in 1896. In my view, Zetkin’s address is a classic of Marxism, worth careful study, but does not offer us a satisfactory strategy for the women’s liberation struggle today.