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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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An Irish republican perspective on Tony Benn

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.

Madrid’s Basque stance absurd and untenable

For more on the Basque Country, click HERE. For more on politics in Spain, click HERE.

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.

Tony Benn (1925-2014): A great communicator of the socialist cause

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.

Understanding the Arab rebellions: Adam Hanieh's 'Lineages of revolt'

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”.

(Updated March 14) El Salvador: FMLN wins presidency; right wing trying to steal election

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.

Britain: Bob Crow's death 'a huge blow to militant class-struggle unionism'

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.

* * *

France: Parti de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon on Ukraine

 Jean-Luc Mélenchon (centre).

Click HERE for more on Ukraine.

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.

Australia: How the Aboriginal people managed 'the biggest estate on Earth'

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.

Reading Clara Zetkin today: What strategy for women’s liberation?

Clara Zetkin.

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.

Venezuela: (Updated March 17) Asia-Pacific socialists pledge continuing solidarity with revolution

If your organisation would like to sign this statement, please email: international@socialist-alliance.org

March 11, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialists in Asia-Pacific pledge support for Venezuela’s socialist revolution, a year after Chavez’s death.

March 5 marked one year since the death of Venezuela's president and revolutionary Hugo Chavez. An outspoken fighter for the oppressed in Venezuela and Latin America, the loss of Chavez is still felt keenly by socialists and anti-imperialists globally.

But the Bolivarian revolution that Chavez led is a mass movement of millions of people that lives on in the barrios and workplaces in Venezuela. This process, led by the government of President Nicolas Maduro, is facing fresh attacks by right-wing forces backed by the United States.

The recent violent protests by a minority that has repeatedly been defeated at the ballot box has caused widespread destruction and terror. Along with at least 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries, public buildings and government-run, pro-poor social missions have been attacked by opposition protesters, at the estimated cost of up to 10 million bolivars.

The international media has presented this fascist violence as a peaceful democracy struggle that has been repressed by a dictatorial Maduro government. This turns reality on its head.

Germany: Union militant on how wind-power development is held to ransom for profit

Wind turbine towers at Bremerhaven port. Photo by Lucy Alcorn.

March 11, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialist Alliance member Zane Alcorn spoke with Ali Can, a metalworker who has worked in the wind-turbine industry in the north German portside town Bremerhaven. Ali is a rank and file organiser with the trade union IGMetal and is an active member of Verein für Gleiche Rechte (Equal Rights Association), a secular Turkish community centre. Translated by Anne K. Schulz.

Can you tell us a little about Bremerhaven – how many people live here, what are the main industries, how has the city changed in the last 20 years?

(With video) Australia's premier socialist newspaper, 'Green Left Weekly', produces 1000th issue

))

By Mel Barnes, Green Left Weekly editor

March 8, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly --  You can tell how good a newspaper is from the enemies it keeps. Rupert Murdoch's Australian wrote a sneering dismissal of the new Saturday Paper, launched last weekend, and used its ultimate insult by comparing the new paper to Green Left Weekly, calling GLW “ignorant, moralistic and simplistic”.

This is from a paper whose editorial line doubts the existence of climate change, claims locking up refugees in offshore detention centres indefinitely is the more humane option and promotes a “user-pays” system in health care, education and welfare.

It attacks GLW, which it has previously named the “best known radical left newspaper in Australia”, because it campaigns for the opposite position on almost every issue. But if GLW was as irrelevant as the Australian tries to make out, why would it bother attacking it so often?

Video: Tariq Ali presents the inaugural Hugo Chavez Memorial Lecture

Tariq Ali presents the inaugural Hugo Chavez Memorial Lecture in London (part 1).

March 10, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Venezuela Solidarity Campaign in Britain on February 20, 2014, sponsored the inaugural Hugo Chavez Memorial Lecture in London. The speaker was internationally renowned Marxist author Tariq Ali. Parts 2-4 below.

Boris Kagarlitsky: ‘Polite intervention’ and the Ukrainian uprising

Unarmed Ukrainian troops march on the Belbek airfield in Crimea to retake it from soldiers under Russian command. After a shouting match, the Ukrainians withdrew and some members of both sides played soccer together.

By Boris Kagarlitsky, Moscow; translated by Renfrey Clarke

March 4, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Why, do you suppose, war has not yet broken out between Russia and Ukraine? The answer is very simple: no one plans to go to war, and no one can. Kiev for practical purposes does not have an army, while the government that has appeared in Kiev has no control over half of Ukraine, and cannot even exercise particular control over its own supporters. If the Ukrainian authorities make any serious attempt to mobilise their forces, this will merely provoke new protests. Even rumours of such a possibility have been enough to provoke anti-government demonstrations in Odessa.

Violenze in Venezuela: miti e fatti

venezuela-protests-feb_-24-2014

 

[English at https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/56008]

di Federico Fuentes – 6 marzo 2014

Di seguito l’attivista della Rete di Solidarietà Australia-Venezuela, Federico Fuentes, offre risposte a domande comuni sui recenti avvenimenti in Venezuela. Ai fatti chiave è fatto riferimento in larga parte attingendo a canali mediatici che non possono essere identificati come filo-governativi.

I recenti disordini in Venezuela sono dovuti alla repressione governativa di proteste pacifiche?

Has King Environmentalism no green clothes?

Green illusions: The dirty secrets of clean energy and the future of environmentalism,
by Ozzie Zehner
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2012
437 pages, $29.95 ISBN-978-0-8032-3775-9 (paper)

Review by Don Fitz

March 9, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Should a post-capitalist society dedicate itself to using “green” energy or concentrate on using less energy? Environmentalists, trade unionists and many socialists often shout “Green energy!” in unison. Ozzie Zehner says that they could well be barking up the wrong tree.

Zehner’s Green Illusions emphasises that wrong solutions are not “solutions” at all. Though he focuses on shortcomings of reformist environmentalists, his critiques could also apply to many “revolutionary” socialists whose understanding of energy economics can be as empty as that of corporate executives.

A visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, Zehner first appeared on national TV with the hybrid car he designed and built. Then he saw the light. The book is from the point of view of someone whose life work has been understanding a myriad of technical issues but who is able to present them in a way that the non-techie can follow.

Against infantile realpolitik: Richard Seymour on some left reactions to Ukraine

Click HERE for more on Ukraine.

By Richard Seymour

March 5, 2014 -- Lenin's Tomb, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The enemy of your enemy might still be your enemy. Because, complexity. Because, nuance. Because, concrete analysis of concrete situations. How much do I really need to underline this?

I raise the point because the tendency to try to distil the situation in Ukraine into one or at most two relatively simple contradictions is apparent in abundance. Lindsey German's article for Stop the War Coalition (UK) is a classic instance of this. It attempts a "clarification" of the political stakes, largely by way of clearing away complicating clutter and allowing people to see the interests of US imperialism and its allies at work. But in so doing, German's article resorts to utter nonsense and embarrassingly crude reductions.

Ukraine: 'If the left movements don’t unite, only the far right will benefit from social anger'

Volodymyr Ishchenko.

Click HERE for more on Ukraine.

Volodymyr Ishchenko, deputy director of the Center for Society Research in Kiev, interviewed by Maxime Benatouil

March 4, 2014 -- Transform! Network

Maxime Benatouil: What root causes explain such large parts of the population joining the protests, on Maidan Square and elsewhere?

Volodymyr Ishchenko: First, let me tell you that the protests weren’t exclusively initiated by the students. It is a quite widespread misperception. The first protests were launched by various groups: journalists, civic activists, and students. All these groups share a common European dream, a very deep-rooted idea that Europe has the solution to Ukraine’s problems. To them, it means: more democracy, more justice, less corruption and a better welfare. This is a very old idea, well-anchored in Eastern European societies. Ever since the 19th century, there has been a will to catch up with Western Europe. Many Ukrainians still think that way.

Die Linke and the fight against European austerity

March 4, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Speech by Florian Wilde, of Germany's radical left party Die Linke, at the March 1 "Fight the Troika" meeting in Bilbao. It was held the day before a meeting of the European Commission summit on the Spanish economy.

L'Humanite on Ukraine: 'The true fuel of the uprising'

Click HERE for more on Ukraine

From L’Humanité (French Communist Party daily newspaper).

By Vadim Kamenka, translated (March 4) by Gene Zbikowski

Fenruary 24, 2014 -- Kiev (Ukraine), from our special correspondent. While a majority of Ukrainians back the movement that led on February 22 to the deposition of president Yanukovich, social distress was at the centre of political discontent. This is what bore the aspiration for change which is on everyone’s lips.

Barricades by the dozen, the ground black with soot, the pavement torn up, buildings burnt to the ground – the stigmata of the clashes are still visible on Maidan square, the epicentre for the past three months of the uprising against President Viktor Yanukovych. People came by the tens of thousands on February 23 to place red flowers and to remember the dead (60 since February 18). “We will see it through to the end”, Vassili, 42 years old, promises.

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