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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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Demos - Romania's new kids on the block

 

 

By Claudia Ciobanu

 

January 12, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from openDemocracy –– A new party is born in Romania, grounded in years of civic struggle against government abuse and the failures of a neo-liberal state. Can Demos follow in the footsteps of Syriza and Podemos?

 

Andreea Petruț and Claudiu Crăciun are members of Demos, a new civic platform - soon to become political party - in Romania that has an explicit social and ecological agenda. Petruț and Crăciun are both political scientists and civic activists.

 

For the moment, Demos functions as a civic platform bringing people together to debate and organise around the values of democracy and solidarity. The platform also serves as an "antechamber" for a party that is planned to be officially registered in the next couple of months.

 

Georgi Plekhanov and the roots of Soviet philosophy

 

 

By Jason Devine

 

January 11, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– Marxism was born through a critical appropriation of Hegel’s method and a radical break with the philosophy of Young Hegelianism.[1] With this, Marx declared that philosophy was over. As he wrote to Ferdinand Lassalle in regards to the Hegelian dialectic, “This dialectic is, to be sure, the ultimate word in philosophy and hence there is all the more need to divest it of the mystical aura given it by Hegel.”[2] Even more explicitly, Engels wrote in an early introduction to his Anti-Dühring: “The Hegelian system was the last and consummate form of philosophy, in so far as the latter is presented as a special science superior to every other. All philosophy collapsed with this system.”[3] Hence, any attempts to revive philosophy i.e. a specific form of ideology, could only be a step backwards from the advance made by Marx and Engels, could only ever be a reactionary project. If carried out within Marxism it can only mean a reversion back to pre-Marxist times, to pre-scientific views in the study of society. Dialectical materialism as the philosophy of Marxism is exactly such a reactionary turn. In fact, dialectical materialism, the ruling philosophy in the USSR, a philosophy which, in whole or in part, countless Marxist-Leninist parties, groups, and sects claim adherence to today, was essentially the product of Georgi Plekhanov. However, Plekhanov’s philosophy of dialectical materialism was not and is not synonymous with Marx’s method, with scientific socialism. Rather, the former can be more correctly described as neo-Young Hegelian.

 

Financial claims on the world economy

 

 

Reviewed by Tony Norfield

 

Finance Capital Today: Corporations and Banks in the Lasting Global Slump
By François Chesnais
Brill, Leiden, 2016

 

January 10, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Economics of Imperialism – This book is well worth reading. It is written in a clear and accessible style and discusses key points about the limitations of capitalism and the role of contemporary finance. Perhaps its most important point is how the financial system has accumulated vast claims on the current and future output of the world economy – in the form of interest payments on loans and bonds, dividend payments on equities, etc. These claims have outgrown the ability of the capitalist system to meet them, but government policy has so far managed to prevent a collapse of financial markets with zero interest rate policies, quantitative easing, huge deficits in government spending over taxation, and so forth. The result is an unresolved crisis, a ‘lasting global slump’, in which economic growth remains very weak and vast debts remain in place.

 

Pakistan: Awami Workers Party demands immediate and safe recovery of disappeared poet & activist Salman Haider

By Awami Workers Party

January 7, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – The Awami Workers Party (AWP) Deputy-General Secretary Ismat Shahjahan expressed deep concern about the mysterious disappearance of renowned literary figure, university lecturer and progressive activist Salman Haider from the outskirts of Islamabad on Friday night.

Will Washington’s new pro-Moscow, anti-Beijing gang drive a wedge through the BRICS in 2017?

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

January 9, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– The weeks following an underwhelming Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) mid-September summit in Goa and the United States presidential election in November have unveiled ever-widening contradictions. Thanks to blatant corruption, presidential delegitimation has reached unprecedented levels in both Brazil and South Africa, while ruling-party religious degeneracy in India also included an extraordinary bout of local currency mismanagement. And sudden new foreign-policy divergences may wreak havoc in China and Russia. The BRICS bloc’s relations could well destabilise to the breaking point.

 

From Obama to Trump: The failure of passive revolution

 

 

By William I. Robinson

 

January 8, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– Barack Obama declared to CNN this past December 26 that he could have beaten Donald Trump had he the chance to run against the president elect for a third term, but he may have done more than anyone else to assure Trump’s victory.

 

While Trump’s election has triggered a rapid expansion of fascist currents in US civil society and the political system, a fascist outcome is far from inevitable and will depend on the fight back that has already begun. But that fight back requires clarity as to how we got to such a dangerous precipice. The seeds of a 21st century fascism were planted, fertilized, and watered by the government of outgoing president Barack Obama and the bankrupt liberal elite that Obama’s presidency represents.

 

The defeat of Aleppo – Some harsh lessons for the international left

 

 

Introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

 

January 7, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left with permission – Aided by the bombs of the Russian air force and the bullets of foreign militias organized by Iran, Syria’s president Bashar Al-Assad has finally managed to destroy the eastern sector of the country’s largest city Aleppo, the major remaining pocket of popular resistance to his regime.

 

In the following article Santiago Alba Rico, a Spanish-born philosopher and writer based in Tunisia, analyzes what the defeat in Syria means for democratic and progressive opinion everywhere, and in particular the far-reaching implications of the failure of much of the international left to identify with and mobilize in support of the people of Syria in their powerful rebellion against oppression and repression. This failure, he argues, was a critical factor that facilitated the efforts of Assad and his reactionary international allies to drown the revolt in a river of blood.

 

Against imperialist regime-change intervention in Syria and the Middle East

 

 

By Roger Annis and Felipe Stuart Courneyeur

 

January 7, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – David Bush has published an appeal for reasoned and informed discussion in Canada of the war and humanitarian disaster in Syria. He calls for building (or rebuilding) movements in imperialist countries such as Canada to oppose war and foreign intervention in the Middle East. We welcome his appeal and write this essay as a contribution to the discussion David suggests be opened.

 

We do not agree entirely with David's presentation of the war in Syria. This contribution aims to fill in the gaps we believe he leaves. Hopefully, we can arrive at a better understanding in Canada of events in Syria and from there arrive at a clear path for action by an antiwar left wing.

 

Debating Syria productively

 

 

By David Bush

 

January 7, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project – The debate over Syria on the Left is toxic. I pulled together 13 points about the situation in Syria I hope can be useful in framing the discussion in a more productive way. The ultimate goal of these discussions in Western countries should be to have a clearer idea about how to strengthen antiwar movements to stop the madness of imperialism.

 

United States: The rise of Trumpism

 

 

By Barry Sheppard

 

January 6, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– A feature of the recent election campaign was the deep divisions in both the Democratic and Republican parties. This was on top of the stalemate in Congress between the twin parties of capitalism. In addition, the nation is polarized over race, the economy and many other issues.

 

Also, it should be noted that there is and was no mass working class party that could have championed an alternative.

 

Donald Trump emerged and was then elected as the strongman who would take over and set things right, although exactly how he will do this has been left open on many issues.

 

United States: Trump’s demand to ban Muslim immigration is extreme, but not outside the mainstream

 

 

Young men play basketball at a Japanese internment camp in 1944.

 

January 6, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Antipodean Atheist with permission – There are many analyses of the incoming Donald Trump administration examining the reasons for his electoral victory, the racism and Islamophobia that he deployed to win votes, his populist appeals to the American working class, the emboldened position of the “alt-right”, and the ultra-rightist nature of his incoming cabinet.

 

It is no exaggeration to state, for instance, that his chief-of-staff, the man Trump turns to first for political advice, is an outright fascist. It is not difficult to ascertain that the leading personnel of the Trump regime, composed of billionaires, ex-generals and ultra-rightist psychopaths, are going to make life harder for the US working class – and by that I mean people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

 

The candlelight protests that refuse to go out: Understanding the significance of South Korea’s latest protest wave

 

 

By Youngsu Won

 

January 5, 2016 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– The last day of 2016 witnessed another historic moment in South Korean history: once again, a huge mobilization involving 1 million people took place, taking the total number of people mobilized in 10 successive national days of candlelight action to over 10 million. These historical mobilizations of people power have had a tremendous impact on every sphere of South Korean society and politics.

 

After Trotskyism, what? Some personal thoughts

 

 

By Arash Azizi

 

“The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.”
— Karl Marx

 

December 31, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — A few months ago, I left the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), an organization of which I had been a member for more than seven years. Many friends and comrades wrote to ask me to outline the reasons for this decision. I write these lines primarily for them. As someone who had recruited many to the ranks of the IMT, I felt responsible to explain why I had left it and what path do I see ahead in the fight for socialism. I don’t claim to have found a magical formula or the answer to all my questions but hope that these humble lines will be of interest to some.

 

United States: Attack on St. Louis homeless sneaks under a dark cloud

 

 

By Don Fitz

 

December 31, 2016 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– The sub-freezing temperature was dropping. As the snow began to fall, many felt their hands were too cold to hold signs during the December 17 action. Two dozen had answered the Green Party call to picket the mayor of St. Louis for his efforts to close down New Life Evangelistic Center, the city's homeless “shelter-of-last-resort.” They knew things would be much worse for those forced to sleep in the cold if the shelter were shut down. The action was one in a series of efforts to draw attention to the city government's continual onslaught against those with no place to go.

 

The critical communism of Antonio Labriola

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

December 30, 2016 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Socialist Review with the author’s permission –– Antonio Labriola, if he is known today at all, is remembered as a minor Marxist theorist in the Second International, overshadowed by such well known figures as Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg, or Eduard Bernstein. Sometimes Labriola will be mentioned as a formative influence on the Marxism of Antonio Gramsci and Leon Trotsky. Yet Labriola deserves to be known and studied based on his own merits. He provided a critique of Second International orthodox Marxism, arguing that it divorced theory and practice, engaged in sterile, dogmatic systematization, and held to an economically deterministic form of Marxism. Labriola revived Marxism as an open philosophy of praxis, that is, as a critical and revolutionary method. He did not take for granted the inevitability of historical progress, but argued that it was necessary for socialists to intervene actively in shaping it.

 

Trump and the limits of globalization

 

 

By Steve Ellner

 

December 30, 2016 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Steve Ellner’s blog with the author’s permission –– Many analysts have belittled the seriousness of Donald Trump's anti-globalization rhetoric and even such jingoistic proposals as the construction of a wall along the Mexican border. They point to Trump’s appointments of such global players as Rex Tillerson and Steven Mnuchin as evidence that Trump cannot and will not turn his back on global commitments and realities.

 

Along these lines, William I. Robinson (whose work I have always admired and used extensively in the classroom) argues that Trump represents the rise of neo-fascism, but in no way threatens to put a halt to, or a break on, globalization. As proof, he points to the global dimensions of Trump’s own capitalist holdings.

 

In contrast to Robinson, I argue that globalization is still basically a tendency rather than an all-encompassing reality and that the nation state is a fundamental element, which has to be at the center of any analysis of the world’s political economy.

 

Homage to Fidel

 

 

By Uriel Barrera

 

December 17, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In life, Fidel did not allow the establishment of a personality cult around him; so let’s make this painful occasion a tribute to his memory.

 

Black America facing 2017: The Obama legacy and rise of Trump

 

 

"We fight for our collective liberation because we are clear 
that until black people are free, no one is free." 
From Black Lives Matter statement after Donald Trump’s election victory.

 

By Malik Miah

 

December 16, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — So much is said about why Donald Trump won the presidency, and the anger of the white working class. White supremacists are overjoyed by his victory. White Americans who believed that they had suffered so-called “reverse discrimination” from Blacks, Latinos and undocumented immigrants proclaimed the defeat of “identity politics.” Many feel confident to strike out verbally and at times physically against Muslims and others.

 

Much less is written or discussed about the failures of liberalism and the Obama presidency for Blacks and other minorities who voted for Hillary Clinton as a lesser evil.

South Korea: After President Park’s impeachment, candle light protests continue

 

 

By Youngsu Won

 

December 12, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On December 10, downtown Seoul was lit up by candles once again. One million people turned out for candle light rallies across the country, a day after President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment. In Seoul, a huge crowd of eight hundred thousand people gathered at Gwanghwamoon Square and marched toward the Blue House (presidential palace).

 

A wave of historically unprecedented mobilisations by South Korean indignados forced parliament to impeach the incompetent and corrupt president. It was a significant victory for peoples power. However, in the wake of this historical triumph, the popular struggle is heading into uncertain terrains.

 

“No” to Renzi’s referendum in Italy: Democracy Against neoliberalism

 

 

By Cinzia Arruzza

 

December 10, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint — Listening to the media, you would think that yesterday’s Italian referendum results were yet another victory of right-wing populism against democracy. The situation, however, is much more complex than this, and the No victory is a victory for democracy and for the defense of social rights worth celebrating.

 

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