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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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Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the politics of a Plan B for Europe

 

March 10, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Intervention by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, candidate for the Left Front in the 2012 French presidential elections, in the Internationalist Summit for a Plan B, held in Paris on January 23-24. Mélenchon has recently formed the “France in Revolt” (France Insoumise) movement, for which he aims to be candidate in the 2017 presidential elections.

 

Spanish state: Basque leader Otegi freed as Podemos-PSOE war intensifies

 

Basque independence movement leader Arnaldo Otegi at a welcoming party in his home town of Elgoibar following his release from prison on March 1.

 

By Dick Nichols

 

March 9, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On March 1, all media outlets in the Spanish state were dominated by the images of two men: one was leaving prison near the northern city of Logroño to the cheers of inmates he was leaving behind; the other was trying to convince the Spanish parliament in Madrid to vote him in as prime minister.

 

"La alternativa socialista: El verdadero desarrollo humano" de Michael Lebowitz

 

[English translation is available here]

March 9, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Lo que sigue es la presentacion hecha por Olga Fernández Ríos en el lanzamiento de la edicion cubana del libro "La alternativa socialista: El verdadero desarrollo humano" en la Feria Internacional del Libro de La Habana el 15 de febrero de 2015

 

* * *

 

Este oportuno libro anteriormente fue publicado por Colección Debates Sobre Socialismo, Corporación Plataforma Nexos, Escaparate Ediciones, Chile, octubre 2012.

 

Su autor es Profesor Emérito de Economía de la Universidad Simon Fraser de Canadá. Para nosotros los cubanos su obra nos s muy familiar y hoy podemos recordar varios de sus trabajos: Más allá de El Capital: la economía política de la clase obrera que recibiera el Premio Deutscher en 2004 a la mejor y más innovadora obra reciente de tradición marxista en el mundo angloparlante. Este texto fue publicado en Cuba en 2008 por la Editorial Ciencias Sociales. De igual forma en 2009 la Editorial Ciencias Sociales publicó El socialismo no cae del cielo y en 2015 Ruth Casa Editorial y el Instituto Juan Marinello publicaron Contradicciones del socialismo real: el dirigente y el dirigido. Más recientemente Lebowitz publicó The socialist imperative.

 

Michael Lebowitz's "The Socialist Alternative: Real Human Development"

 

March 6, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following was a presentation given by Cuban scholar Olga Fernández Ríos at the launch of the Cuban edition of Michael Lebowitz' The Socialist Alternative: Real Human Development at the Havana International Book Fair, February 15, 2015. It has been translated by Sean Seymour-Jones.

 

Lebowitz will be one of the keynote speakers at Socialism for the 21st century: Moving beyond capitalism, learning from global struggles being held in Sydney on May 13-15.

* * *

 

This timely book was previously published by Colección Debates Sobre Socialismo, Corporación Plataforma Nexos, Escaparate Ediciones, Chile, October 2012.

 

Its author is a professor emeritus of economy from the Simon Fraser University of Canada. For us Cubans his work is very familiar and today we can recall many of his works: Beyond Capital: The Political Economy of the Working Class that received the Deutscher Prize in 2004 for the best and most innovative recent work of the Marxist tradition in the English-speaking world. This text was published in Cuba in 2008 by Editorial Ciencias Sociales. Likewise, in 2009 Editorial Ciencias Sociales published Socialism Doesn’t Fall From the Sky and in 2015 Ruth Casa Editorial and the Instituto Juan Marinello published The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”: The Conductor and the Conducted. More recently Lebowitz published The Socialist Imperative.

 

On this occasion, we dealing a study that covers a very topical subject of interest to our country and for the Latin American context: the pertinence and existing possibilities for the development of socialism with a correct understanding of the process of socialist transition.

 

¡Solidaridad con Rojava, con la revolución kurda y con la lucha de liberación del PKK!

 

Un convoy de combatientes revolucionarios kurdos de las Unidades de Protección del Pueblo (YPG)

 

[English version available here]

 

Review: A World to Build: New Paths toward Twenty-First Century Socialism by Marta Harnecker

 

Marta Harnecker's A World To Build shows us alternatives to neoliberalism in recent movements in Latin America, where political strategies have claimed important victories, argues Ian Richardson.

 

Harnecker will be one of the keynote speakers at Socialism for the 21st century: Moving beyond capitalism, learning from global struggles being held in Sydney on May 13-15.

 

Reviewed by Ian Richardson

 

A World to Build: New Paths toward Twenty-First Century Socialism
Marta Harnecker
Monthly Review Press 2015, 224pp.

 

March 3, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Counterfire with the author's permission -- The reason for socialists to have an interest in the situation in Latin America today is simple; the most significant political advances in the world today are taking place in Latin America. The Chilean revolutionary Marta Harnecker’s book A World to Build is perhaps the most important English language attempt so far to analyse and to move forward the discussion on the left internationally around these changes.

 

Feeling the Bern Become a Flame: Jacobin founder Bhaskar Sunkara on Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign

 

February 27, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Real News Network -- Jacobin founder Bhaskar Sunkara discusses the strategies needed to keep the energy of the Sanders campaign thriving beyond presidential politics

 

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

 

The mainstream media narrative of the Democratic presidential race is that Bernie Sanders has lost momentum to Hillary Clinton. After he lost Nevada to Clinton by five percentage points, and is entering a tough race in South Carolina where he's expected to lose as well, many are asking themselves, what is behind the Bern?

 

Now joining us to discuss all of this is Bhaskar Sunkara. He is the founder of Jacobin magazine, and co-author of the book The Future We Want: Radical Ideas for the New Century. Thanks for joining us, Bhaskar.

 

BHASKAR SUNKARA: Thanks for having me.

 

DESVARIEUX: So let's talk about South Carolina. The average polling is showing that Sanders has about 28 percent of the vote, while Hillary Clinton has closer to 60 percent. So many are pointing to the fact that Sanders is not able to connect with the majority of black Southern voters. What do you think, what is presumably going to be a large defeat in South Carolina, this is attributed to?

 

The Myth of “Russian Imperialism”: in defence of Lenin’s analyses

 

By Renfrey Clarke and Roger Annis

 

February 29, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A sharp controversy within the international left in recent times has concerned the place occupied by Russia in today’s capitalist world-system. Is Russia an imperialist power, part of the “centre” of global capitalism? Or, do its economic, social and politico-military characteristics mark it as part of the global “periphery” or semi-periphery – that is, as one of the majority of countries that, to one degree or another, are the targets of imperialist bullying and plunder?[1]

 

Traditionally, the Marxist left has used the term “imperialism” with a high degree of discrimination. Imperialism for Marxists is not something called mysteriously into being when “greed” overcomes political leaders. Nor is it simply external military action, however aggressive. For Marxists, the imperialism of our time arises from specific features of the economies and social orders of the most advanced capitalist countries.

 

The classic Marxist definition of imperialism in the modern epoch was provided by V.I. Lenin in his 1916 pamphlet Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. As viewed by the Bolshevik leader, the advanced capitalism that had emerged during the preceding decades had these salient characteristics:

 

The Revolution Behind the Headlines: Autonomy in Northern Syria

Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State (IS) militants on the front line in Makhmur

By Joris Leverink

February 22, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from TeleSUR English -- During the four months Kobane was under siege from ISIS, few media paid attention to the real struggle of the people of northern Syria in which they're fighting for real democracy, women's rights and ecological sustainability. 

On January 26, after 134 days of resistance the Kurdish defense forces announced they had successfully pushed the forces of the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS) out of the Kobane. Over the course of the four and a half months the town in northern Syrian was under attack from ISIS it became a symbol of resistance against the seemingly 'unbeatable' jihadist forces and a bulwark of freedom in the midst of the chaos and destruction of the Syrian civil war.

Declaration of the Conference of European Left Parties Solidarity Conference With Kurdish People

The European Left Parties Solidarity Conference With Kurdish People was held in the main Kurdish city of Amed on February 20.

February 20, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from ANF News — The final declaration of the European Left Parties Solidarity Conference With Kurdish People in Amed has been released.

The conference in the main Kurdish city Amed on 20 February was organised by HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party), DTK (Democratic Society Congress), DBP (Party of Democratic Regions) and KJA (Free Women's Congress).

The declaration of the European Left Parties Solidarity Conference With Kurdish People reads;

* We as Kurdish, Turkish and European left and democratic forces stand together in our fight for democracy, peace, diversity and social justice.

* We are gathered here today to call on the Turkish Government to stop the massacres and killings of civilians in the besieged Kurdish cities. Civilian woman and children are the ones suffering the most from this brutal policy. We call on the Turkish government to stop the curfew and allow for access to the besieged cities. The grave violations of basic human rights must be stopped and an international commission must be set up in order to secure that the responsible for war crimes will be prosecuted.

UPDATED: Sonny Melencio and Walden Bello on the 30th anniversary of the Edsa Uprising

 

Sonny Melencio (pictured) will be one of the keynote speakers at Socialism for the 21st century: Moving beyond capitalism, learning from global struggles being held in Sydney on May 13-15.

 

What is there to celebrate on the 30th anniversary of the Edsa Revolution?

By Sonny Melencio

 

February 25, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I once had a chance to be a guest at the Rembrandt Kapihan together with a KBL (New Society Movement) senatorial candidate for the May 2016 election. The foul-mouthed KBL candidate went on a cursing spree to lambast an imaginary audience that had made Ninoy Aquino (the murdered father of current President Benigno Aquino, also known as PNoy) a hero of the first "Edsa Revolution". This seemed to be a response to my statement that we were going to celebrate Edsa 1 on February 25 with the usual protest rallies.

 

The KBL candidate spewed a barrage of crisp curses against the people’s uprising that brought down the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. After Marcos fled the country in 1986, everything went downhill for the country and the people, according to the KBL candidate.

 

Should the left support a "Brexit" in the upcoming British referendum?

 

In June, Britain will hold an referendum on whether to remain part of the European Union. Below Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is republishing two opposing views on whether the left should support a British exit, or "Brexit".

A different Europe or bust

 

February 4, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red Pepper -- As David Cameron’s renegotiation nears its uneventful conclusion, the big picture of what kind of Europe we want to live in is in danger of being lost, writes Luke Cooper. What can we do to change it?

 

That Europe is in urgent need of reform is beyond question. At risk of being lost in the current British public debate, however, is the discussion as to the type of reforms that Europe needs. The focus on David Cameron’s ‘wish list’ of demands has established an accepted discourse that presumes that these demands reflect ‘British interests’. It also presumes that were Cameron to win European acceptance for all of his demands, then this would be ‘a good deal for Britain’.

 

Venezuela: a turning point for Latin America?

 

By Stuart Piper

 

January 25, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Resistance with the author's permission

 

“They hit us in the stomach. The revolution, and we as social movements, haven’t been able to deal with the problem of food.” Marisa, community activist in La Vega, a day after the election.

 

Confrontation inside and outside parliament

 

On the morning of Tuesday, 5 January, a few thousand supporters of Venezuela’s right-wing opposition gathered around La Hoyada metro station in central Caracas. Most had travelled in from the better-off neighbourhoods to the east. The mood was euphoric, but tense. They would march the short distance west to the National Assembly, in the company of their newly elected representatives who were about to be sworn in.

 

Michael Löwy discusses Pope Francis’s recent Encyclical Laudati Si’, ecosocialism and left unity in Europe today

 

Michael Löwy

 

February 19,2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Michael Löwy is a militant of the French section of the Fourth International. His wide-ranging interests include, in part, the connection between the Romantic movement and Marxism, ecosocialism, Liberation Theology and questions of art and culture.

 

His many publications (in various languages) include The Marxism of Che Guevara, Georg Lukács: from Romanticism to Bolshevism, The war of gods: Religion and Politics in Latin America, Fatherland or Mother Earth? Essays on the national question and Fire Alarm: Reading Walter Benjamin’s ‘On the Concept of History'.

 

This interview was conducted by Barry Healy via the internet in February, 2016.

 

***

 

You have written that Pope Francis’ Laudato Si is of “world historic importance”.

 

Why do you see this encyclical as different from previous Vatican documents and what significance do you see it having for Catholics in particular? What are the Encyclical’s strengths and weaknesses?

 

Workers' Party of Belgium leader: "We have to struggle to bring down this European Union and build another form of cooperation"

 

Workers' Party of Belgium supporters rally in solidarity with the people of Greece

 

On October 15, Liam Flenady interviewed David Pestieau, Vice-President of the Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB) at their headquarters in Brussels. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstance, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewalis only publishing this interview now but we believe it will be of great interest to our readers.

 

Since the interview was conducted, a number of significant events have taken place in France and Belgium, including the Paris attacks on November 13 and the ensuing lock-down of the city of Brussels, as well as the banning of the Paris Climate March planned for November 29. These events have had a significant impact on the political situation in Belgium and Europe, and the Worker's Party has playing an important role in responding to them.

 

While not covering this new situation, this interview still represents an important introduction to the politics of the PTB and their orientation towards significant issues in Belgian and European politics.

 

* * *

 

Over 100,000 people demonstrated as part of the union-led national day of action on October 7 in opposition to the austerity measures of the government of Prime Minister Charles Michel. What are the key issues facing the people of Belgium, and what’s next for the struggle?

 

Solidarity with Rojava, with the Kurdish revolution and with the liberation struggle of the PKK!

 

A convey of Kurdish revolutionary fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG)

 

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint -- An international statement on the situation in Syria in Iraq “Let us mobilise against dictatorships, imperialist aggression and Daesh. We reject the politics ‘national security’, racism and austerity” published by International Viewpoint on 11 December, has now (as of 4 January 2016) been signed by over 40 revolutionary socialist organizations spanning five continents.[1]

 

We very much welcome the emergence of such broad joint statements from the Left! As individuals who feel closely tied to the revolutionary Left and its fortunes, we hope to see more international initiatives of this type in the future, as they can contribute to an intensification of international coordination between the forces of the revolutionary Left, thereby helping to make us a more visible social and political force. We’d like to thank the comrades for taking the initiative for this international statement, and we share the analysis and the demands of the statement.

 

Propaganda as “News”: Ecuador Sells out Indigenous and the Environment to China

A portion of the Yasuni National Park in Ecuador

By Stansfield Smith

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A news article appeared at end of January - “Ecuador To Sell A Third Of Its Amazon Rainforest To Chinese Oil Companies” - and has resurfaced again and again on the internet. Posted on progressive websites such as Reader Supported News, Daily Kos, The PeoplesVoice.org and ThinkGlobalGreen.org, the story often comes with maps of the affected area, and includes pictures of indigenous peoples living peaceably with nature or protesting against oil drilling.

Almost all these stories refer back to an article published three years ago, in March 2013, in the Australian online journal Business Insider:

“Ecuador is planning to auction off three million of the country’s 8.1 million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies, Jonathan Kaiman of The Guardian reports.” And, “Ecuador owed China more than $7 billion — more than a tenth of its GDP — as of last summer. In 2009 China began loaning Ecuador billions of dollars in exchange for oil shipments. It also helped fund two of the country’s biggest hydroelectric infrastructure projects, and China National Petroleum Corp may soon have a 30 per cent stake in a $10 billion oil refinery in Ecuador.”[1]

Yanis Varoufakis: a manifesto for democratising Europe

 

‪European trade unionists protest outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels‬

 

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who last September stepped down from his post in the radical-left Syriza government, has launched his Democracy in Europe movement, DiEM25. Its ambitious aim is a radical overhaul of Europe’s institutions and the introduction of absolute transparency in decision-making, to be completed by 2025. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is republishing here from Mediapart the manifesto Varoufakis presented in Berlin on February 9th, a plan to “regain control over our Europe from unaccountable ‘technocrats’ and shadowy institutions”.

 

For all their concerns with global competitiveness, migration and terrorism, only one prospect truly terrifies the Powers of Europe: Democracy! They speak in democracy’s name but only to deny, exorcise and suppress it in practice. They seek to co-opt, evade, corrupt, mystify, usurp and manipulate democracy in order to break its energy and arrest its possibilities.

 

For rule by Europe’s peoples, government by the demos, is the shared nightmare of:

 

• The Brussels bureaucracy (and its more than 10,000 lobbyists)

 

A return to the question of whether Russia is imperialist

 

A demonstrator in Istanbul holds a picture depicting Vladimir Putin during a protest against Russian military operations in Syria.

 

By Lou Proyect

February 9, 2016 —Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Unrepentant Marxist with permission — One of the main talking points of the pro-Kremlin left is that Russia is not imperialist. This goes hand in hand with an analysis claiming that Putin’s intervention in Ukraine was purely defensive, a move against the genuine imperialists in Washington, London and elsewhere.

 

The last time I dealt with this question was in June 2014 when I replied to Roger Annis, a tireless defender of Kremlin foreign policy. Annis has once again made the same arguments on Links magazine in Australia in an article co-written by Renfrey Clarke who shares his orientation to Russia. Titled “Perpetrator or victim? Russia and contemporary imperialism”, it rehashes many of the same arguments that are supposedly based on Lenin’s “Imperialism, the final stage of Capitalism”.

 

After Spanish elections: establishment in funk over Podemos

 

Supporters of left-wing political force Podemos celebrate the strong showing for their party in the December 20 general elections

 


 By Dick Nichols

 

February 12, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In an article that appeared in the January 24 edition of the Spanish daily El País, Pablo Iglesias, secretary-general of the radical Spanish political force Podemos, spells out his view of the kind of government the Spanish state needs after the December 20 general election produced a broadly left social majority but no clear majority coalition in the 350-seat Spanish parliament.

 

The governing conservative People's Party (PP) won 123 seats and the right-populist Citizens 40. On the left, the main opposition Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) won 90 seats, while Podemos and the three people’s unity alliances in which it participated in Catalonia, Galicia and the Valencian Community won 69. The other seats went to the United Left-Popular Unity (IU-UP), and Catalan, Basque and Canary Island nationalist forces.

 

Decisive for determining what sort of government Spain will get — or if it will have to go to early elections — is which way the PSOE will jump in the wheeling-and-dealing presently taking place among the parties.

 

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