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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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NUMSA national treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo's address to the Australian Workers Union, Australia
March 3, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I greet you in the name of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA). I am here to give you an update since our general secretary, Irvin Jim, addressed your 2013 conference. I am happy to report that, despite the shrinking of South Africa's manufacturing sector, NUMSA has continued to grow.
In 2013 we reported to you a membership of 300,000. Today it stands at 360,000. We are the biggest union in the history of the African continent. Despite massive deindustrialisation in our country, during which hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs have been destroyed, NUMSA's membership has grown by nearly 65% over the last six years. NUMSA is truly a dominant force.
The key development since Comrade Jim's address to you in 2013 was our Special National Congress at the end of 2013.
The German Revolution of 1918-1923 not only saw the collapse of the monarchy, but the real possibility of communism spreading into the heart of Europe. Communist historian Doug Enaa Greene lectures on the course of the revolution and the reasons why it didn't succeed. Presented at the Center of Marxist Education.
By Doug Enaa Greene
For more on South Africa, click HERE.
Group of eight COSATU unions statement
March 1, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- South Africa continues to be ravaged by the crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality and the black and African working class are its worst victims. Black working class women and youth are in a state of hopelessness, desperation and despondency. Increasing numbers of school leavers are swelling the accumulating pool of the unemployed.
We are fighting for a militant, independent trade union movement
The congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is in a state of paralysis and that has given our government an opportunity to pursue its neoliberal policy direction, as articulated in the National Development Plan. This was not going to be easier for the state if the federation remained the militant defender of the working class that it has been throughout its history.
The leaderships of the eight unions have consistently refused attempts to turn COSATU into a passive and non-campaigning federation. We have rejected all attempts to get COSATU becoming a conveyor belt and an apologist of neoliberal policies.
Left to right: Brian Jones (ISO), Kshama Sawant (Socialist Alternative) and Howie Hawkins (Greens). Hawkins, the ISO and Socialist Alternative have endorsed the conference.
By Robert C.
February 17, 2015 -- Against the Current, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Activists and candidates from around the United states will come together on May 2-3, 2015, in Chicago to share their experiences and to launch a network for future cooperation at the Future of Left/Independent Electoral Action Conference.
The past few years have seen a significant uptick in independent political initiatives on the left, from election campaigns to new local electoral and social movement formations, to referenda campaigns.
Kshama Sawant’s November 2014 election to the Seattle City Council captured the attention of leftists across the country, but a number of other exciting campaigns have also been path breaking, including the Jackson Plan of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and Richmond Progressive Alliance’s David and Goliath fight against Chevron in the East Bay. Many recent political developments have brought organisers building alternatives to the two-party system together with those using direct action and referenda to help win gains against fracking, for a $15 minimum wage, and other important initiatives.
Chicago teacher Tara Stamps campaigns in the 37th Ward for a spot on the city council, and for mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. Both Stamps and Garcia earned enough votes to make the April 7, 2015, runoff. Photo: Tara Stamps.
Click for more on left electoral politics at the municipal level.
By Samantha Winslow
February 25, 2015 -- Labor Notes, posted at Links International journal of Socialist Renewal -- On election night, February 24, 2015, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and its new independent electoral organisation didn’t knock out Democratic Party mayor Rahm Emanuel—but they did take him down a notch, forcing him into a runoff with the union’s preferred candidate, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
It’s the first runoff in a Chicago mayoral election in 20 years.
Union-friendly city council candidates and ballot initiatives gave Garcia’s campaign a boost. Three rank-and-file CTU members running for city council seats—Tara Stamps, Susan Sadlowski Garza and Tim Meegan—made it into the April 7 runoff, too.
Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble looks on as Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis speaks.
For more discussion on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE
By Duroyan Fertl
February 28, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Greece’s new SYRIZA government submitted its list of proposed economic reforms to the Eurogroup (the finance ministers of eurozone nations) on February 23 as a precondition for its international creditors to approve a four-month loan extension. The deal was signed on February 20.
With Greece’s existing loan arrangement expiring on February 28 and bankruptcy looming, a last-minute deal was finally agreed after three weeks of intense negotiations. The talks had been characterised by daily — sometimes hourly — twists and turns, claims and counterclaims, leaks and threats.
By Peter Boyle
February 27, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On February 19, 15 policemen descended on the home of Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) general secretary S. Arutchelvan (Arul) in Kajang, a suburban satellite of the capital city Kuala Lumpur.
They detained him under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act for a statement he issued by the PSM on February 10 after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction on a sodomy charge.
Demonstrations for his release began immediately outside the police station where he was held and late in the evening on February 20 he was released on the orders of a magistrate. The PSM and others are campaigning for the repeal of the colonial-era Sedition Act and for the release of Anwar Ibrahim.
Arul gave Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal this interview via email on February 26.
* * *
What is your legal situation now? Are you charged with sedition or only still being investigated?
I am not charged yet. The police want two weeks to process the information on my mobile phone, modem and laptop -- which they confiscated -- before they decide. It will again be a political decision, I believe.
By David Renton
February 23, 2015 -- Lives; running, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- When I was young, I used to believe that I knew what a revolution would look like.
It would begin with a bitterly unpopular government and a political system which allowed no space for dissent to be expressed. Anger with the government would rise and, with it, popular organisation, until the will of the people would be like a great wave of water overwhelming every wall put up by the enemy. An alternative revolutionary government would be formed; it would derive its support from the workers, winning other classes to their side because of the wholly principled way in which it would deal with every social question.
For more on SYRIZA, click HERE
By Sean Sweeney
February 18, 2015 -- Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (USA), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- During its first days in office, SYRIZA has taken actions that suggest it is willing to confront the European Union’s neoliberal approach to energy and to embark on a new course. New Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has also stated his government will restore collective bargaining agreements and stop 300,000 planned layoffs.
The SYRIZA government has said it will stop the proposed sell-off of the Public Power Corporation (PPC), which is 51% publicly owned but had been targeted for full-on privatisation in 2016. “We will halt immediately any privatisation of PPC”, energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis told Greek television a few hours before officially taking over his portfolio. “There will be a new PPC which will help considerably the restoration of the country’s productive activities”, he said.
February 26, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The SYRIZA government's list of reforms, drawn up as part of its temporary four-month loan extension deal, was accepted by the Eurogroup on February 24.
February 23, 2015 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The following talk was given at a celebration of ALBA in Toronto, February 21, 2015.
* * *
Today we celebrate a decade of achievement of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA). For 10 years ALBA has stood on the world stage as a defender of peace, solidarity and popular sovereignty.
Before ALBA, Cuba stood alone for many years against the U.S.-led empire. But through ALBA, an alliance of countries, with wide influence and many friends among governments and peoples, now challenges imperialism on a range of issues. While representing only a few small and poor countries, ALBA exercises great moral authority and carries weight in world affairs. ALBA is the most effective international alliance based on solidarity in modern history.
For more on SYRIZA, click HERE
[February 25, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Paul Mason, writing on the February 24 SYRIZA government letter to the Eurogroup, outlining the reforms it intends to carry out, comments: "As flagged before it looks like [the Greek government] will be allowed to carry out the humanitarian aspect of Syriza’s so-called Thessaloniki Programme – i.e. anti-poverty measures. This, plus one of the most aggressive anti-tax avoidance offensives ever planned in the western world, is the centrepiece of Yanis Varoufakis’ plan.
["If the Greek government is allowed to use €10bn in an earmarked fund to recapitalise the banks, then the issues that remain are ones that demarcate the radical left from the centre: privatisations, trade union rights, universal healthcare, pensions and the minimum wage...
For more on SYRIZA, click HERE
By Isidoros Diakides, Greek Solidarity Campaign (Britain) co-chair
February 24, 2015 -- Greek Solidarity Campaign, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Greek epic has already acquired all the features of an exciting action thriller, with all the appropriate drama (and hubbub), with constant surprises, twists and turns. And we still are at the opening scenes.
The exhilarating SYRIZA win, with thousands of activists across Europe gathering in Athens on election day to be part of "history in the making”, the cliff hanger on the night as to whether SYRIZA would secure an absolute majority, the breathtaking speed with which the new government was formed and hit the ground running, all helped to set the scene and the pace of the thriller.
Rail union RMT president Peter Pinkney with Greens MP Caroline Lucas. Pinkney is standing as a candidate for the Greens, who support re-nationalising Britain's railways.
By Derek Wall, London
February 23, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A Green surge has hit Britain. Thanks to an ongoing growth spurt, the Green Party of England and Wales has now hit 54,000 members, on top of nearly 10,000 members in the Scottish Green Party.
Opinion polls put the party on the rise, frequently beating the Liberal Democrats, who are governing in coalition with the Conservative Party. The Greens now have more members than the far-right anti-immigrant UK Independence Party (UKIP), whose growing support has generated much media attention.
British politics is changing, the Greens are part of this. The Green Party's success has been built by moving to the left.
The most obvious manifestation of the Green surge has been large rise increase in party membership. At the start of last year, membership in the the Green Party of England and Wales was about 14,000. This grew to 34,000 by the end of the year.
Membership growth this year has been explosive, with nearly 20,000 members signing up in January. On several occasions, the party website broke down and at one point, people were joining at a rate of one every 10 seconds.
See also "SYRIZA's debt deal: breathing space or capitulation? Three assessments". For more on SYRIZA, click HERE
By Tom Walker
February 2015 -- Red Pepper, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Surrender! Capitulation! Betrayal! Syriza hasn't even been in office for a month, but already the obituaries are being written. Some on the left, of course, had written them long before January's election. Syriza, you see, has failed to declare the revolution. So far, so familiar.
But over the last few days some more sensible forces seem – as with the coalition deal in the early days of the Syriza government – to have got a little carried away in their horror at this week's debt deal, believing the German government's crowing rhetoric that Syriza has suffered total humiliation.
This is a deal that has been described in quite the opposite terms by Greek prime minister Alexis Tspiras: he called it "a decisive step, leaving austerity, the bailouts and the troika". Unless he has quite suddenly and unexpectedly taken leave of planet Earth, there is more going on here than meets the eye.
February 23, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The interim deal between European authorities and the SYRIZA government of Greece has caused controversy on the left, with accusations of "capitulation", sell out" and worse from some sections. Below are three assessments from the left that offer a more sober analysis.
Greece gets its deal... but if the detail’s wrong ‘we’re finished’
By Paul Mason
February 20, 2015 -- Channel 4 --- The eurozone and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have done a deal with Greece, extending its bailout for four months in return for a commitment to run all policy measures with significant economic impact past the lenders. The second part of the deal has to be done on February 23, by Greece submitting a list of proposed measures.
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February 21, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The undersigned organisations add our voices to those in Malaysia now calling for the immediate release of Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PSM) secretary general S. Arutchelvan (Arul), who was arrested on the evening of February 19, 2015, on charges of "sedition".
These charges, and the arrest of Arul, are a travesty of justice and democracy.
We believe Arul has been arrested for his press statement on behalf of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia on Anwar Ibrahim’s "sodomy 2" guilty verdict. In this statement Arul criticised Malaysia's Federal Court judgement, saying the courts are not independent and are politically driven.
We call for the:
1. That the sedition charges be dropped and Arul be freed immediately.
2. The repeal of the Sedition Act , a notoriously anti-democratic law dating back to British colonial rule which has and continues to be used to suppress and intimidate dissent.
South Africans protest against fracking for coal seam gas.
By Patrick Bond
February 18, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- After an explosive start to his State of the Nation Address, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma turned to nuclear, coal, fracking and offshore drilling projects – but what about the country’s free sunshine, wind and tides?
On February 13, in Cape Town’s parliament hall, South Africa’s newest and cheekiest political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), fought gamely but lost their two dozen seats for the evening. They were expelled during the State of the Nation speech when making what they termed a “point of order”: asking whether President Jacob Zuma would “pay back the money” (about $20 million) that the state illegitimately spent on upgrading his rural mansion. As police ushered them out with extreme force, seven were hospitalised, one with a broken jaw.
By Jeyakumar Deveraj
February 20, 2015 -- PSM, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- At about 6 pm, February 19, 15 policemen from the Dang Wangi police station descended on the house of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (Socialist Party of Malaysia, PSM) secretary general S. Arutchelvan [Arul] in Kajang, and arrested him. According to the arresting officer, Arul was being arrested under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act, which reads: "Any person who prints, publishes ... or reproduces any seditious publication shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM5000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years."
Hugo Chavez and supporters at Chavez’s final campaign rally in Caracas on October 4, 2013, three days before his re-election as president.
By Mike Treen, director of the Unite union in Aotearoa/New Zealand
February 19, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The election of the radical left-wing SYRIZA party in Greece and a possible victory of the similarly radical party Podemos in Spain has raised the hopes of millions of people across Europe and the globe that we can put an end to austerity-type policies, put in place policies that will protect working people from the capitalist crisis and advance society to a new era of social justice governments.