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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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The meaning of Kashmir

 

 

By Ammar Ali Jan

 

August 17,2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The News — Modi’s decision to revoke Article 35-A and Article 370 of the Indian constitution has fulfilled one of the cornerstones of Hindutva ideology – the forceful assimilation of Kashmir. The audacity of ambition combined with unprecedented secrecy amplified the menacing character of this event. Couching the operation as part of the fight against terror, arresting the entire political leadership of Kashmir, and cutting off communications throughout the valley indicates the colossal nature of the legal and political rupture taking place in the region.

 

Washington intensifies its collective punishment of Venezuelans

 

 

By Kevin Young

 

August 17,2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from NACLA — On August 5, the Trump administration issued an executive order escalating its sanctions against Venezuela. The order froze all Venezuelan government assets in the United States and threatened third parties around the world with punitive action if they trade with the Venezuelan government.

 

The next day, National Security Adviser John Bolton delivered a speech to a meeting of foreign governments in Lima, Peru. “We are sending a signal to third parties that want to do business with the Maduro regime: proceed with extreme caution,” he said. “There is no need to risk your business interests with the United States.”

 

In response, the Nicolás Maduro government cancelled its negotiations with self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó, which had been scheduled for later that week in Barbados. The Venezuelan foreign minister plausibly speculated that Washington was “trying to dynamite the dialogue.”

 

The move is the Trump administration’s latest escalation of its coup campaign in Venezuela.

What the New Deal can teach us about winning a Green New Deal: Part II—Movement Building

 

 

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

 

August 17, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Reports from the Economic Front — In Part I in this series on lessons to be learned from the New Deal, I described the enormous economic and social costs of the first years of the Great Depression and the reluctance of business and government leaders to pursue policies likely to threaten the status quo.  I did so to demonstrate that we should not assume that simply establishing the seriousness of our current multifaceted crisis, especially one that has yet to directly threaten capitalist profitability, will be enough to win elite consideration of a transformative Green New Deal.

 

I also argued that it was the growth of an increasingly militant political movement openly challenging the legitimacy of the police, courts, and other state institutions that finally transformed the national political environment and pushed Roosevelt to change course and introduce his early New Deal employment and relief programs.  In this post, I examine the driving force of this movement, the movement of unemployed.

 

What the New Deal can teach us about winning a Green New Deal: Part I–Confronting Crisis

 

 

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

 

August 17, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Reports from the Economic Front — The New Deal has recently become a touchstone for many progressive efforts, illustrated by Bernie Sanders’ recent embrace of its aims and accomplishments and the popularity of calls for a Green New Deal.  The reasons are not hard to understand. Once again, growing numbers of people have come to the conclusion that our problems are too big to be solved by individual or local efforts alone, that they are structural and thus innovative and transformative state-led actions will be needed to solve them.

 

The New Deal was indeed a big deal and, given contemporary conditions, it is not surprising that people are looking back to that period for inspiration and hope that meaningful change is possible.  However, inspiration, while important, is not the same as seeking and drawing useful organizing and strategic lessons from a study of the dynamics of that period.

 

Paul Le Blanc: Bernie Sanders, US politics & socialism today

 

 

August 13, 2019 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from GreenLeftTV — Long time socialist activist & author Paul Le Blanc discusses the current juncture in US politics, the Bernie Sanders campaign and the prospects of organising for socialism.

 

Öcalan’s Strategic Success on Imralı

 

 

Mahmut Şakar interviews Civaka Azad, attorney for Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan's attorney.

 

August 11, 2019 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from ANF English — On May 2, 2019, Öcalan’s lawyers had contact with their client for the first time since almost eight years. Another visit on the prison island of Imralı came to pass on May 22. Before these visits, altogether 810 requests for visit had been rejected since July 2010. With that, Öcalan holds the “European record” for confinement without access to any legal representation. The visits in May were won by a months-long hunger strike by activists and sympathizers of the Kurdish movement. The prohibition of visits that the defense team had been subjected too was lifted by a court on April 17, 2019. One month later, the Turkish Minister of Justice, Abdülhamit Gül announced that from then on, there would be no limitations for visits to Öcalan by his lawyers. In a joint declaration, Öcalan and his three fellow prisoners pointed to the urgent necessity of democratic negotiations for the solution of the conflicts in Turkey and the Middle East. The problems and wars in the region ought to be addressed not by violence, but by the “methods of democratic negotiations, beyond any polarization and culture of conflict,” Öcalan and his fellow prisoners Hamili Yıldırım, Ömer Hayri Konar and Veysel Aktaş demanded.

 

Kashmiri, Indian and Pakistani left reject India's revocation of Kashmir's special status

 

 

Statements from Jammu Kashmir National Students Federation, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation and Awami Workers Party (Pakistan)

 

India’s Kashmir crackdown poses risk of war

 

 

Gray zone on upper left is Pakistan-administered ‘Azad Kashmir’;
gray zone at right is China-administered.

 

By John Riddell 

 

August 11, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary Blog — On August 5, India’s Hindu nationalist government unilaterally revoked the autonomy of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, while flooding the region with troops, imposing a curfew, and shutting down all communications.

 

The state is to be broken in two, with the eastern portion (Ladakh) under direct rule by New Delhi.

 

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi shut down Internet connections, mobile phone services, and land-line phones in the besieged region. The fragmentary news that has trickled out speaks of arrests of leading politicians and widespread fear among the region’s 12 million inhabitants.

 

Venezuelans under siege

 

 

August 10, 2019 - U.S. sanctions have blocked the Venezuelan people from obtaining food and medicine. They have resulted in at least 40,000 deaths between mid-2017 and the end of 2018, according to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research – and that was prior to the more severe sanctions, announced in January, and the total embargo announced in August. VENEZUELANS UNDER SIEGE documents the impacts of the sanctions, plus the ways that ordinary Venezuelans are organizing to survive the crisis and to build new institutions of participatory socialism.

 

United States: Should the Green Party stand down in 2020?

 

 

By Howie Hawkins

 

July 29, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Politics — We can expect much commentary on why the socialist left should unite behind the Democrats in 2020 to get rid of the dreaded Trump. The Green Party will be told to stand down in the 2020 presidential campaign.

 

The quadrennial attacks on the Green Party will come from the usual whiny liberals like Eric Alterman, Jonathan Chait, Katha Pollitt, Michael Tomasky, and Joan Walsh in publications like The NationThe New Republic, and The Daily Beast. They are already recycling their 2016 attacks on Bernie Sanders for being too left to beat Trump.

 

Numsa strike against sexual harassment is a ‘powerful moment in labour history’

 

 

By Erica Emdon

 

July 28, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Mail & Guardian — What does it require to get management to take a sexual harassment complaint seriously? If the recent National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) strike is anything to go by, it takes about 290 striking workers remaining underground without food and clean water for nine days.

 

South Africa: The urban crisis is a crisis of capitalist democracy (and the struggle to remove its chains)

 

 

By Trevor Ngwane

 

July 28, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Amandla — There were protests galore during the build-up to the 2019 May 8 South African national elections. The elections took place after 25 years of freedom and democracy and the people’s victory against apartheid. The protests happened in many parts of the country but mainly in Gauteng, the industrial heartland, and in the Western Cape, with its palpable legacy of colonialism. In Caledon, Western Cape, two protesters were shot dead by private security during a march and a land occupation. In Alexandra, the state president, Cyril Ramaphosa, addressed the protesting community after a tumultuous week, including a march to nearby ultra-rich Sandton.

 

Protesters were not celebrating their freedom and their right to vote. Many were saying they saw no need to vote because politicians and political parties habitually abused their vote, promising heaven and earth, but never honouring those promises. There were threats of disrupting the elections. As things turned out, they proceeded smoothly, albeit with a low turnout, especially by the youth, and a few sporadic instances of disruption.

 

The coincidence of protests and elections is not new in this country. What was new was the ferocity and proliferation of the protests. The images of chaos in the country’s urban working class townships during the elections implied that there was a crisis underlying South African politics. 

 

Socialist Party of Malaysia crosses 20-year hurdle

 

 

By S Arutchelvan

 

July 28, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Malaysiakini — It was May 1, 1998. At the front lobby of Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Mohd Nasir Hashim, V Selvam and I were excitedly reading an article in The Star

 

It was the news of PSM sending in its application for registration, the previous day, at the Selangor office of the Registrar of Societies. 

 

The report questioned whether PSM would survive or fade away like the other socialist parties after the demise of the Socialist Front. 

 

What will it take to address poverty in Malaysia?

 

 

By Jeyakumar Devaraj

 

July 28, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Mandala —According to government statistics, poverty is virtually non-existent in Malaysia—the Barisan Nasional (BN) government pegged its incidence at 0.6% of the population in 2014. But this was because the poverty line was fixed at ridiculously low levels then. It is still unrealistic now: RM920 per month for a family of two adults and three children works out to a per capita income of US$1.60 per day. A more realistic poverty line would be a household income of RM3,000 per month, which would be about 50% of the current median household income. Around 25% of Malaysian households are below this income level.

 

Not a manifesto but part of a discussion: A review of Bhaskar Sunkara's 'The Socialist Manifesto'

 

 

The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality.
By Bhaskar Sunkara.
New York: Basic Books, 2019.
276 pages, including index. Hardcover, $28.00.

 

Review by Paul Le Blanc

 

Principles and tactics: Socialists utilizing the Democratic Party ballot-line

 

 

Contributions to a debate by Paul Le Blanc, Rob Lyons & Matthew Strauss

 

Preface by Paul Le Blanc

 

With the one-sentence preface “these ten points indicate where my thinking is now on certain questions,” I initiated a tempest in the little teapot of my FaceBook page, although the storm – such as it was – swept through other sites and beyond the virtual reality of the worldwide web.  

 

What generated the debate were ten fairly succinct points on how I felt revolutionary socialists should respond to socialists running on the ballot-line of the Democratic Party (the most famous so far being Congressional representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) and the related question of the Bernie Sanders campaign.  Many had assumed I would express “revolutionary rejection” – and the fact that I expressed something different astonished many.

 

United States: A left strategy for the 2020 elections and beyond

 

 

By Carl Davidson & Bill Fletcher Jr.

 

July 17, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Truthout — As the 2020 presidential campaigns begin in 2019, nearly everyone on the left knows the stakes are high. The defeat of Donald Trump and the ejection of his right-wing and white supremacist populist blocfrom the centers of political power is a tactical goal of some urgency not only for Democrats but also for leftists. The outcome of the upcoming election will have a direct effect on thwarting right-wing populism and the clear and present danger of incipient fascism and war.

 

The democratic socialist cul-de-sac: A critical look at 'The Socialist Manifesto'

 

 

The Socialist Manifesto
By Bhaskar Sunkara
New York: Basic Books, 2019

 

Reviewed by Doug Enaa Greene

 

On the democratic character of socialist revolution

 

 

By John Riddell

 

July 12, 2019 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary BlogUnder the headline “Karl Kautsky was right,” Eric Blanc wrote on the blog on April 5:

 

Leninists for decades have hinged their strategy on the need for an insurrection to overthrow the entire parliamentary state and to place all power into the hands of workers’ councils.[1]

 

When I read these words, my mind went back to a day 40 years earlier when this formulation was hurled at me by members of Canada’s security police.  They used it as justification for their illegal disruption and harassment directed against me and fellow members of the Revolutionary Workers League (RWL).

Trudeau government gives dangerous new powers to Canada’s political cops

 

 

By Richard Fidler

 

July 12, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left Blog — Canada’s spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), is engaged in massive surveillance of environmentalists and Indigenous opponents of extractive energy projects. And it is sharing some of its “intelligence” with the oil industry and its regulator, the National Energy Board.

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