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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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Native blood: the truth behind the myth of `Thanksgiving Day' (now with video)

Video: Thanksgiving: A Native American View

By Mike Ely

It is a deep thing that people still celebrate the survival of the early colonists at Plymouth — by giving thanks to the Christian god who supposedly protected and championed the European invasion. The real meaning of all that, then and now, needs to be continually excavated. The myths and lies that surround the past are constantly draped over the horrors and tortures of our present.

Chavez calls for ‘revolution in the revolution' -- On the spot reports from Venezuela on the eve of the Nov. 23 elections

By Barry Healy & Annolies Truman, Caracas

November 22, 2008 -- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez called for a “revolution within the revolution” at an 8000 strong United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) rally here on November 18.

Chavez called upon the PSUV ranks to hold successful PSUV candidates to account if they failed to act in the interests of the people after the election.

The rally was organised to inspire PSUV organisers and local committee members in the lead-up to the vote for state governors and local government positions on November 23. Poliedro Stadium, on the edge of Caracas, was a sea of red T-shirts and banners, and echoed with energetic revolutionary singing and chanting.

Contingents of local PSUV battalions and international solidarity groups from Argentina, Peru and Australia listened to Jorge Rodriguez, PSUV candidate for mayor of the Caracas municipality of Liberatador, and candidate for mayor of Greater Caracas, Aristobulo Isturiz.

Rodriguez was Venezuelan vice-president during 2007, while Isturiz is a former education minister.

Bolivia's vice-president, Álvaro García Linera: ‘We are going through the most radical ... social transformation’

Álvaro García Linera (right) with Bolivia's President Evo Morales

By Álvaro García Linera, introduced and translated by Richard Fidler

In the following interview, the vice-president of Bolivia, Álvaro García Linera, explains his interpretation of the changes that were made in the draft constitution, originally drafted in December 2007 by the country’s constituent assembly, as a result of the recent negotiations involving the parties represented in Bolivia’s National Congress. A popular referendum to adopt the new draft constitution is to be held on January 25, 2009. Álvaro García Linera also discusses his view of the role of constitutional change in the social transformation of Bolivia that is now under way.

Trade unionists call for solidarity with Western Sahara

UGTSARIO congress delegates

By Margarita Windisch

The 6th Congress of the Western Sahara General Union of Saguia El Hamra and Rio de Oro Workers (UGTSARIO) took place from October 19-21, 2008, in El Aaiun, one of four Saharawi refugee camps in the Hamada desert in south-west Algeria.

The brutally harsh Hamada desert, justifiably termed the most inhospitable place on Earth, has become the home away from home for more than 160,000 Saharawi refugees since Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara in 1975.

Three Australian trade unionists (two from the Australian Workers Union --AWU -- and one from the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance -- MEAA) travelled thousands of kilometres to attend the congress and participate in the 4th International Trade Union Conference in Solidarity with the Western Saharan Workers, which was convened as part of the 6th UGTSARIO congress. All three were also members of the Australian Western Sahara Association.

UGTSARIO congress

On the spot reports from Venezuela: Right-wing seeks to undermine November 23 elections

Below Green Left Weekly/Links Caracas correspondent Federico Fuentes speaks to Latin Radical about developments and possible outcomes of November's regional and state elections in Venezuela. Following that, GLW's Jim McIlroy and Coral Wynter also report from Caracas on the US-backed opposition's antics.

South Africa’s ANC: things fall apart

BY Dale T. McKinley, Johannesburg

November 15, 2008 -- At some point in the not-too-distant future, we might just look back at 2008 as the year in which things really started to fall apart for the African National Congress (ANC).

Africa’s oldest liberation movement, which has enjoyed overwhelming political hegemony and electoral success since South Africa’s democratic breakthrough in 1994, is in deep trouble.

Crucially, this is not mainly as a result of the more recent domestic manifestations of the ever-widening crisis of capitalism nor of any kind of immediate threat to its 18-year hold on political power.

It is rather more simple — the “big happy family” whose members range from crypto-communists to die-hard capitalists, from ethno-nationalist chauvinists to cosmopolitan liberals — is beginning to break apart because there remains little to hold the heterogeneous clan together anymore.

France: Towards the foundation of a New Anti-Capitalist Party

By Pierre Rousset

The political impact of the New Anti-Capitalist Party (Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste or NPA) process is quite important. In a number places, this new political party in construction is already de facto replacing the French Revolutionary Communist League (Ligue communiste révolutionnaire or LCR)and is very active.

In June 2007, the LCR launched an appeal for the constitution of a New Anti-Capitalist Party. In June 2008, 1000 delegates met in Paris to give a national-scale dimension to a process which started from the bottom. At the beginning of November 2008, delegates from some 400 committees gathered again to discuss three documents: programmatic references, political orientation, statutes and functioning of the NPA. Around 10,000 activists are presently engaged in the founding process of the NPA – three times more than the total membership of the LCR.

On November 6, 2008 it held its first public meeting in Paris with more than 2000 participants. If everything goes as planned, on January 29, 2009, the LCR at its last congress will decide on its own dissolution. The following days, January 30-February 1, 2009, at its first congress, the NPA will be constituted.

Close the US military base on Diego Garcia! Complete the decolonisation of Mauritius!

US-occupied Diego Garcia

By Lindsey Collen, Lalit (Mauritius)

October 26, 2008 -- Five separate judgments were handed down in the House of Lords’ October 22 judgment on the appeal of the British government against the Chagossians’ right of abode on Diego Garcia. Lords Hoffman, Rodger of Earlsferry and Carswell found against the Chagossians’ right of abode, while Lords Bingham of Cornhill and Mance found in favour. In this article, we’ll summarise the arguments the judges relied upon and also briefly comment on the numerous mentions of Lalit in the judgment, before moving on to the question of Diego Garcia in more political terms; the illegal military occupation of Diego Garcia and the Chagos islands by the British and US, which is the reason for the horrendous banishment of the Chagossians from their home islands is an eminently political problem.

Nationalisation — a key demand in the socialist program

By Dave Holmes

For all the misery it represents for ordinary people, there is at least one positive result of the current capitalist financial crisis. The idea of nationalisation is getting an airing again in the West, however squeamish bourgeois leaders and pundits may be about using the actual word. Of course, this is clearly a case of governments mobilising massive resources and taking drastic action to save bankers and speculators from the consequences of their greed but, nevertheless, there it is. And if nationalisation — state or public ownership — is allowable in this dubious instance, why not for far more deserving and urgent causes such as saving the planet and the lives and welfare of masses of working people?

The question of nationalisation is important because it is simply impossible to conceive of addressing a whole series of key problems facing us today without a major expansion of the public sector and bringing the “commanding heights” of the economy under state ownership and control. First, of course, there is the overriding issue of climate change and all the things related to that — especially energy and water sustainability, food security and the preservation of workers’ jobs as the economy is restructured. Then there is the struggle to preserve workers’ jobs and livelihoods in the face of widespread downsizing during the economic downturn.

Poster: Makeba presente

By Ricardo Levins Morales

Miriam Makeba passed away on November 10 at a concert in Italy. The link below is to a poster I made in tribute to Makeba as soon as I heard the news.

When I was a child, my father would occasionally travel to the United States. When he returned to Puerto Rico he would sometimes bring back a music record. Sometimes it would be Makeba. I only understood the words to a few of the songs she was singing (Makeba sang in many languages), but I understood the sprit and the rhythms. The sounds of drumming has always made sense to me. I also new that she was in some way connected to the struggle for a better world.

Miriam Makeba was banned from her homeland by the apartheid regime after addressing the United Nations committee on apartheid and spent the next thirty years in exile. As with all of those who pass out of this world she will continue to be with us as long as we carry her. This poster tribute is one more vessel in which to bring her along with us. The road toward justice is a long one. I know that as long as I walk it Miriam Makeba's songs will be with me.

`Too many people' arguments provide no solution to the global warming crisis

By Simon Butler

November 17, 2008 -- In Green Left Weekly, Climate and Capitalism and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal , I argued that population reduction schemes provide no answers to the threat of climate change. Population-based arguments wrongly treat population levels as the cause, rather than an effect, of an unsustainable economic system. This means they tend to divert attention away from pushing for the real changes urgently needed.

Campaigning for such measures as the rapid introduction of renewable energy and the phasing-out of fossil fuels, along with a shift to sustainable agricultural methods, should instead be the highest priority of the environmental movement.

Strategies to reduce human population also end up blaming some of the world’s poorest people for the looming climate crisis, when they are the people least responsible. Instead, it is the powerful, vested interests that profit most from the fossil-fuel economy who pose the real threat to the planet. They must be confronted.

John Bellamy Foster: Ecology and the transition from capitalism to socialism

Walk Against Warming, Sydney, 2006.
Photo by Alex Bainbridge/Green Left Weekly

By John Bellamy Foster

[This article, which first appeared in the November 2008 issue of Monthly Review, is a revised version of a keynote address delivered at the “Climate Change, Social Change” conference, Sydney, Australia, April 12, 2008, organised by Green Left Weekly. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission. Watch and listen to Bellamy Foster's presentation HERE. For more articles on Marxism and the ecology, click HERE.]

CPI (ML) Liberation on `Obamania'

By CPI (ML) Liberation

November 11, 2008 --The emphatic victory of Barack Obama in the US presidential election has generated a great deal of interest and enthusiasm, a veritable ``Obamania'', across the world. There are indeed several special aspects to this remarkable victory. That he is the first black person to be elected to the highest political office in the US; that his campaign emphasised ``hope'' and ``change'' at a time when the US is passing through an extremely gloomy period in its history, and, above all, that his arrival marks the much-awaited end of the hated Bush presidency, and a decisive popular rejection of its hallmarks, have all added up to make this probably the most memorable election in recent US history. For political observers watching this election from afar, the most encouraging aspect perhaps has been the passionate popular participation that made this election an energised extension of not only the fight against racism but also the wider anti-globalisation, anti-war campaign.

China and the global capitalist economic meltdown

By Peter Boyle

Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific (ASAP) -- As the US, Japan and Europe slide into recession, the leaders of many smaller countries are desperately hoping that continued strong growth in the Chinese economy, which has contributed about 15 per cent of world economic growth in recent years, might save them from this meltdown.

There's hope and then there's hard facts. Recently the latter has replaced those desperate hopes with terror. A measure of this was the November 4 decision of Australia's Reserve Bank to make a bigger than expected interest rate cut. Any temptation by holders of large mortgages and other debts in Australia to reach for the champagne was killed by the realisation that this decision, in the words of one business correspondent, "was a recognition by Australia's top policymakers that the Chinese economy is no longer providing a firewall to insulate the Australian economy from the international crisis".

 

A crucial test for Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution

Once again, the intricate process of the Bolivarian Revolution will put its strengths and weaknesses in play in the form of an electoral contest.

Can Africa survive Obama's advisers?

Kenyans celebrate Obama's victory.

By Patrick Bond

November 12, 2008 -- One of Barack Obama's leading advisers has done more damage to Africa, its economies and its people than anyone I can think of in world history, including even Cecil John Rhodes. That charge may surprise readers, but hear me out.

His name is Paul Volcker, and although he is relatively unknown around the world, the 82-year-old banker was recommended as ``a legend!'' to Obama by Austan Goolsbee, the president-elect's chief economic adviser (and a professor at the University of Chicago). Volcker was recently profiled by the Wall Street Journal: "The cigar-chomping central banker from 1979 to 1987, he received blame for driving up interest rates and tipping the US into the deepest recession since the Great Depression."

We'll consider the impact of Volcker's rule on Africa in a moment. But why dredge up crimes nearly 30 years old?

This kind of reckoning is important, as three current examples suggest:

Obama and the clash of hopes

By Peter Boyle

November 12, 2008 -- There can be no doubt that the great majority of the 55 million US citizens whose votes made Barack Obama president want change.

They want a change from the system in which trillions of dollars are spent to bail out Wall Street while ordinary people on “Main Street” lose their homes, their jobs and can’t even get basic health care.

They want an end to the endless wars abroad that George W. Bush launched in the wake of 9/11 — wars that are returning thousands of young Americans home in body bags and many times more seriously wounded. They want the US to be welcomed by the rest of the world as a peacemaker rather than hated as the biggest war-maker.

So around the world, everyone with a shred humanity cheered on that wave of hope for change that gave the US its first black president on November 4.

Is the climate crisis caused by overpopulation?

By Simon Butler

November 12, 2008 -- Many environmentalists believe that environmental destruction is a product of “overpopulation”, and that the world is already “full up”. So are population reduction strategies essential to solving the climate crisis?

At best, population control schemes focus on treating a symptom of an irrational, polluting social and economic system rather than the causes. In China, for instance, such measures haven’t solved that country’s environmental problems.

At worst, populationist theories shift the blame for climate change onto the poorest and most vulnerable people in the Third World.

They do not address the reasons why environmental damage, or even instances of overpopulation, happen in the first place and they divert attention away from the main challenge facing the climate movement — the urgent need to construct a new economy based on environmentally sustainable technologies and the rising of living standards globally.

For at least 200 years, “overpopulation” has been used to explain a host of social problems such as poverty, famine, unemployment and — more recently — environmental destruction.

Barack Obama’s dual mandate

By Solidarity (US)

November 10, 2008 -- Millions of Americans see the election of Barack Obama as a referendum on white supremacy and today we join in their celebration. The racist campaigns launched against Obama, conducted sometimes in coded language and other times in inflammatory accusations, turned out to be amazingly unsuccessful. Yet the 2008 election also represents a dual reality that is important for socialists and activists for peace and social justice to grasp.

For tens of millions of Black Americans, seeing a United States president-elect who’s Black – and even more important, for their children to see a Black president – is a huge symbolic stride towards full citizenship and liberation. Perhaps no event since that legendary night in 1938, when Joe Louis knocked out Max Schmeling, has there been such a magic moment of celebration for the Black community; only in this case they weren’t simply spectators but participants in the victory.

Hamba kahle Mama Africa (Miriam Makeba)

Mama Afrika (Miriam Makeba) passes, November 10, 2008

Miriam Makeba addresses the UN, 1964

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