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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.

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Hamas: What is really behind Israel's assault on the people of Gaza (updated Jan. 13)

By Mousa Abu Marzook

January 6, 2009 -- Damascus -- While Americans may believe that the current violence in Gaza began December 27, in fact Palestinians have been dying from bombardments for many weeks. On November 4, when the Israeli-Palestinian truce was still in effect but global attention was turned to the US elections, Israel launched a "preemptive" airstrike on Gaza, alleging intelligence about an imminent operation to capture Israeli soldiers; more assaults took place throughout the month.

The truce thus shattered, any incentive by Palestinian leaders to enforce the moratorium on rocket fire was gone. Any extension of the agreement or improvement of its implementation at that point would have required Israel to engage Hamas, to agree to additional trust-building measures and negotiation with our movement -- a political impossibility for Israel, with its own elections only weeks away.

Not that the truce had been easy on Palestinians. In the six-month period preceding this week's bombardment, one Israeli was killed, while dozens of Palestinians lost their lives to Israeli military and police actions, and numerous others died for want of medical care.

50 years of people's resistance and strength -- Interview with Cuba's President Raúl Castro

Raúl Castro speaks on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution.

December 31, 2008 -- Interview with Raúl Castro, president of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, conducted by Talía González Pérez for Cuban Television’s News System. From Granma Internacional.

Talía González Pérez: During the initial years of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, Commander of the Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz affirmed to the people that, although the Revolution had been victorious, nobody should think that everything would be easier in the future, but that everything might be more difficult in the future. How difficult has it been in the last 50 years to construct a socialist Revolution in the face of imperialist aggression and the complex international panorama?

Cuba: Rebuilding after the hurricanes, sustainably

Hurricane Gustav hits Cuba

Professor Fernando Martirena is from the Centre of Investigation into Structures and Materials (CIDEM) research institute at the University of Santa Clara, Cuba. He visited Australia in November 2008 to speak at a number of meetings organised by the Australian Green Development Forum. In 2007, Martirena's team won the World Habitat Award from the Building and Social Housing Foundation, an independent research organisation that promotes sustainable development and innovation in housing. Trent Hawkins caught up with Martirena, to find out how the CIDEM is helping to build houses in Cuba using sustainable building materials.

The US economic blockade forced the Cuban government to rely almost entirely on the Soviet Union for trade. With the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost half its oil imports and much of its food imports leading to a major food crisis.

The future of socialism and LGBTI rights in Cuba -- Interview with Mariela Castro Espín

January 1, 2009 -- In Havana, Mariela Castro Espín speaks to Anastasia Haydulina of Russia Today Television. Mariela Castro is director of CENESEX –- the National Center for Sexual Education -- and a leading authority and proponent of LGBT freedoms in Cuba and globally. She addresses how Cuban society is dealing with changing perceptions of sexuality and concrete measures benefiting LGBTs. Castro also reflects on new legislation, transsexualism, same-sex unions, gay rights, AIDS, her father President Raúl Castro, her mother Vilma Espín, founder and President of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), the woes caused by the US economic blockade of Cuba and her views on US President-elect Barack Obama, as well as the history of the revolution. Sections of the interview have been translated and transcribed below.

`We are all Gazans!' -- Palestinian trade unionists appeal for solidarity

January 4, 2009 -- A message from the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions

Sisters and brothers:

The PGFTU has been working at all levels in Palestine and in its international relations to mobilise international support for peace in the region. This is the ultimate goal for our working families in Palestine, who laboured in every way possible to bring about an end to the Israeli occupation of all Palestinian territories. This occupation is the longest and worst in the modern history.

Over the years and even at this moment, these efforts have been met only with terrorism against our people by the Israeli army of occupation, which has indiscriminately destroyed homes and worksites, slaughtered our people, confiscated our land, established and expanded illegal settlements, and limited the movement of workers who are only trying to feed their families. These measures have affected every member of the Palestinian society.

The recent construction of the Apartheid Wall stands as a symbol of the extent of Israel’s brutal aggression against the Palestinian people and denial of their legitimate rights, dignity and human needs.

We call upon all peace-loving people in the world:

Ferment in Nepal: A dynamic vortex of revolutionary change

CPN (Maoist) mass meeting in Kathmandu

By Bill Templer

January 3, 2009 -- One remarkable laboratory that discussion in much of the world’s progressive press tends to neglect is the dynamic vortex of revolutionary change in Nepal. Since spring, Nepal has something that may be making genuine history: a Maoist people’s movement, that, led by the CPN (Maoist), and the struggle of the People’s Liberation Army over a decade, has come to state power through the ballot box. As Tufts University historian Gary Leupp wrote last April: “It ought to be the ballot heard 'round the world. It ought to be front page news. […] This moment may in the not distant future be seen as another 1917, another 1949.”[1]

`We are all Palestinians!' -- International left solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine (updated Jan. 13)

Below Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal publishes a range of statements from left parties and groups around the world. More will be added as they come to hand.

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Respect's George Galloway on January 8, 2009, addresses a London meeting organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign

France: From the Revolutionary Communist League to the New Anti-Capitalist Party

This contribution was written as part of preparations for the January 2009 congress of the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR). The congress agenda includes the political “self-dissolution” of the LCR, to set the stage for the new challenge of the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA). The authors of this piece belong to the generation of activists from the 1960s and 1970s; so while principally addressed to members of the LCR, it may be of interest to many others. It first appeared in the January 2009 International Viewpoint, the magazine of the Fourth International.

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By Daniel Bensaïd, Alain Krivine, Pierre Rousset, François Sabado and others 

World economic crisis: No room for band-aid solutions in the Third World

By Reihana Mohideen

December 29, 2008 -- According to recent Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) figures, another 40 million people have been pushed into poverty and hunger so far this year as a result of spiralling food prices, and the total number of people suffering hunger and malnutrition has reached 963 million worldwide.

While the prices of major cereals have fallen by more than 50per cent of their peak in 2008, they still remain high compared to previous years.[1] Nearly two-thirds of the world's hungry live in Asia (583 million in 2007). In sub-Saharan Africa, one in three people -- or 236 million (2007) -- are chronically hungry. Most of the increase in the number of hungry occurred in a single country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, as a result of widespread and persistent conflict. The FAO predicts that the impact of the economic crisis, on the heels of the food price crisis and oil price increases, could further exacerbate malnutrition and hunger levels.

Israel invades Gaza, Palestinians, solidarity activists call for solidarity and resistance (updated Jan. 7)

Non-Aligned Movement condemns Israel’s attacks against Gaza

January 6, 2008 -- The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) condemned Israel’s military invasion against the Gaza Strip as it expressed its sorrow over the loss of more than 550 innocent Palestinians and the merciless destruction of their territory.

A statement issued by the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), published at the United Nations, in New York, expresses the NAM’s concern about Israel’s ground invasion, which started on January 3, when hundreds of tanks opened fire against the Gaza territory, [defying] the world’s outcry.

The NAM statement reads as follows:

The Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) strongly condemns the military aggression, including airstrikes, carried out by Israel, the occupying Power, on the Gaza Strip, which has caused death and injuries to hundreds of civilians, including children, and destruction of Palestinian property and infrastructure.

This unacceptable military escalation by Israel constitutes a grave breach of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, fuels the cycle of violence and threatens international peace and security as well as the fragile peace process between the two sides.

Capitalism and sport: Sports for a few

Sachin Tendulkar (pictured) and other stars learnt their cricket in the compounds of their buildings or in lanes and alleys. But even these spaces are now beyond the reach of the common people.

By Vidyadhar Date

The competitive frenzy for winning in sports has been fuelled by aggressive marketing. Together they ensure that while a minority is trained with superlative sports facilities, the majority is deprived of even basic amenities to play and breathe fresh air. In India, market forces have pampered cricket while harming all other games in the process.

India won just three medals at the recent Beijing Olympics, though it did better than in the past. This is seen as a breakthrough by our ruling class,  which now wants the nation to gear up for further success at the London Olympics in 2012.

Cuba, 50 years on ... and the same challenge of making a revolution

By Lázaro Barredo Medina

Granma International -- October 30, 2008 -- "The dictatorship has been defeated. The joy is immense. And yet, there still remains much to do. We won’t deceive ourselves by believing that everything will be much easier from now on; perhaps it will be much more difficult." This is what Commander in Chief Fidel Castro told the people on January 8, 1959, the day of his entry into Havana. Many people could never imagine the immense challenge that they would live to experience.

Suffice it to say that just a few days later, Fidel proclaimed the right to self-determination in terms of relations with the United States and immediately, the aggressions, attempts on his life and anger on the part of US politicians began, evidence of which can be seen in speeches and articles of the time, as in an editorial of Time magazine, the mouthpiece of the most conservative sectors, entitled: "Fidel Castro’s neutralism is a challenge for the United States."

1959-2009: 50 years of the Cuban Revolution -- Fidel Castro: the Untold Story

Part 1


To mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, which triumphed on January 1, 1959, here is filmmaker Estela Bravo's remarkable portrait of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution. Click HERE for more.

Present-day Russia needs a renewal of the feminist movement

By Anna Ochkina, translated from Russian for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Renfrey Clarke

January 1, 2009 -- In the Soviet Union feminism was elevated to the status of official state policy and ultimately was destroyed as an ideology and a social movement. The dominant concept was one of a general, global equality; as a result, a separate movement for the rights of women simply could not exist. The feminist reference points of Soviet social policy took the form of a set of rights for women: employment in the workforce on an equal basis with men; political rights; equality before the law, and so forth. The gaining of formal rights, however, resulted in the restricting of particular, specific rights of women, which in practice proved very difficult to realise.

Michael Warschawski on Gaza: Blaming the `two sides'; International intervention now!

 

Melbourne, December 30, 2008. Photo by by Margarita Windisch

By Michael Warschawski

December 30, 2008 -- Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, defence minister Ehud Barack, foreign minister Tzipi Livni and army chief Gabi Ashkenazi will one day have to answer to war crimes charges in an international court of justice, like other war criminals. Accordingly, our duty today is to document their acts and statements in order to be sure they will pay for the massacres they ordered and commit.  

Talking points and background on Israel's murderous assault on Gaza

Melbourne, December 30, 2008. Photo by by Margarita Windisch

By the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (Canada) and the Palestine Solidarity Committee (South Africa)

December 31, 2008

Can Washington `save Darfur’?

By Kevin Funk and Steven Fake

Few humanitarian crises have occasioned as much media and activist attention in the US as the conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan.

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Click HERE for an exclusive free excerpt from Kevin Funk and Steven Fake's latest book, Scramble for Africa.

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Major politicians routinely pay homage to suffering Darfurians in their speeches, well-heeled Darfur advocacy groups take out full-page ads in the New York Times, and commentators regularly fill op-ed ledgers around the country with righteous, indignant calls for the West to act to end the suffering. Yet for all the rhetorical attention and concern afforded to Darfur in the US, what is actually understood about the US role in addressing the conflict? Further, what do we know about the historical and current nature of Washington’s relations with Sudan, and how does this relate to our understanding of the Darfur crisis, and what we can do to address it?

Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia condemn Israel's massacres in Gaza

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Puedes ver otros en radiomundial.com.ve

Dozens of protesters rallied outside the Israeli embassy in Caracas on December 28, in opposition to what one speaker referred to as “genocide” by the Israeli “occupation forces”. The protests will continue in front of the embassy, according to a rally organiser, Hindu Anderi. Anderi, a Palestinian human rights activist, thanked the Venezuelan government for its position on the conflict, but demanded concrete action, saying “solidarity needs to mean taking measures that will affect Israel economically and politically, because otherwise the condition of the Palestinian people will not change”.

Palestinians, solidarity activists condemn Israel's mass slaughter in Gaza, call for protests and sanctions (updated Jan. 3)

December 27 demonstration in Bethlehem against the massacre in Gaza (Photo: Ghassan Bannoura-IMEMC)

By the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee

Occupied Ramallah, Palestine -- December 27, 2008 -- Today, the Israeli occupation army committed a new massacre in Gaza, causing the death and injury of hundreds of Palestinian civilians [latest reports place the death toll at more than 200], including a yet unknown number of schoolchildren who were headed home from school when the first Israeli military strikes started. This latest bloodbath, although far more ruthless than all its predecessors, is not Israel's first. It culminates months of an Israeli siege of Gaza that should be widely condemned and prosecuted as an act of genocide against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the occupied coastal strip.

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