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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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Venezuela: Prospects and challenges facing the PSUV

August 2, 2008 -- Federico Fuentes, Links and Green Left Weekly commentator based in Venezuela, is back in Caracas after a quick speaking tour of Australia. He talks with community radio about the lead up to the regional elections this November, and discusses the prospects of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which is the core party of President Hugo Chavez' government. The Chavista project of building grassroots democracy in Venezuela from the bottom up continues, but there are challenges ahead. Thanks to LeftClick and Latin Radical.

15Mb. 128kbps. mono 16mins

Serbia: The war criminal Karadzic and Western hypocrisy

By Michael Karadjis

August 2, 2008 (updated October 11, 2008) -- The new Serbian government last month finally cornered Radovan Karadzic, the former leader of the Bosnian Serb Republic (Republika Srpska), one of the two entities which make up Bosnia, during the war in 1992-5 when that statelet was created. Karadzic had been in hiding for many years from the International War Crimes Tribunal in, which in 1995 had indicted him for various war crimes including genocide.

The July 21 arrest led to a wave of hypocrisy in Western capitals, congratulating Serbia on the arrest of the vile criminal. Yet for the last seven years in Afghanistan and five years in Iraq, well upwards of a million people have been killed as a result of the US invasion and occupation of these countries. Whole countries are being destroyed; yet not only do these war crimes of climactic scale go unpunished, but these leading war criminals then see themselves as having the right to designate who is a war criminal.

Cooling a fevered planet: economics, policy and vision for fighting global warming

By Gar Lipow

July 1 2008 -- Nobody, except for a small lunatic fringe, still disputes that human-caused climate chaos endangers all of us. Further, most serious scientific and technical groups that have looked at the question have concluded that we have the technological capability today to replace greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels with efficiency improvements and clean energy — usually at a maximum cost of around the current worldwide military budget, probably much less. The question therefore is: what's stopping us?

To answer that we need to look at the causes of global warming — not the physical causes, but the economic and political flaws in our system that have prevented solutions from being implemented long after the problem was known.

For a limited time only! Full screening of `Now the People Have Awoken: Exploring Venezuela's Revolution'

Venezuela’s new assertiveness has brought it to the centre of international controversy: to some it has been stolen by populist dictator, while for others, it is the centre of a continent-wide democratic revolution.

There is much at stake. Venezuela sits atop huge oil reserves, which are being used to foment a new order. President Hugo Chávez, who survived a military coup in 2002, has supported a number of controversial social programs that have pushed Venezuela onto the United States government's and media's radar screens.

What makes Venezuela tick? Who is behind the movement and what does it seek? Filmed through the 2006 presidential elections, this is a documentary about the people building a new Venezuela.

Click here to watch this amazing documentary in full (55 minutes) for a very limited time.

Download now! Links Dossier #3: Michael Lebowitz on Socialism for the 21st Century

A selection of thought-provoking articles by Michael A. Lebowitz from Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. Lebowitz is professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, and author of Beyond Capital: Marx’s Political Economy of the Working Class and Build it Now: Socialism for the 21st Century. He is a program coordinator with the Centro International Miranda, Caracas, Venezuela.

Links Dossiers are in easy-to-print PDF format and readers are encouraged to print and distribute them.

Contents

Socialism is the future: Build it now!

The spectre of socialism for the 21st century

Discussion on ‘The spectre of socialism for the
21st century’

The capitalist workday, the socialist workday

Without workers’ management, there is no socialism

Venezuela's young militants: An antidote to the weaknesses of the revolution

By Tamara Pearson

July 30, 2008 -- We stayed up until 2 am two nights in a row -- students from a range of faculties, and young people from various movements and revolutionary organisations. In the campsite of La Mucuy in the Andean city of Merida, we discussed and debated the role of youth in Venezuelan’s revolution and the construction of a youth wing of the PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela), while around us clouds hugged the buildings and mountain slopes, horses slept in the foreground and mosquitos made meals of our legs and faces.

Following the call for a youth wing of the party, various revolutionary youth in Merida had organised the camp as a space to meet and ensure that this new youth organisation would be specifically revolutionary, and that it wouldn’t contain the errors of the current PSUV. As well, it was important that this organisation be built by the youth from the ground, rather than declared by the leadership and built downwards.

Too often, in my opinion, the initiatives of the revolution come from Chavez rather from the base. When Uribe, the right-wing president of Colombia, came to Venezuela recently, Chavez came out against calls for protests against him. In Merida, it was the young people who protested anyway.

The Scottish Socialist Party: the biggest small party

By Richie Venton

SSP - For a workers MP on a workers wage

July 26, 2008 -- What a phenomenal result in the July 24 Glasgow East by-election on two parallel levels: the earth-shattering defeat of the Labour Party in Red Clydesider John Wheatley’s seat, Labour’s third-safest seat in Scotland, held by them since 1922; and the tremendous achievement for the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) in winning fifth place, the highest position for any of the smaller parties, despite all the apparently insurmountable obstacles we faced.

If we compare the votes with those of the 2005 Westminster election in the identical Glasgow East seat, Labour has gone into freefall from 18,775 to 10,912; the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) rocketed from 5268 to 11,277 -- in a turnout down from 48.2% in 2005 to 42.1% this time.

Socialist Alternative gets the balance wrong on propaganda and action

Reviewed by Ben Courtice

From Little Things Big Things Grow: strategies for building revolutionary socialist organisations, by Mick Armstrong, Socialist Alternative, 2007.

As official politics continues to move to the right, a growing gulf is opening up between the hopes and aspirations of millions of working people and the agenda of the ruling capitalist establishment and its parties… Much of the time that disenchantment and discontent finds no outlet, but then it explodes in massive mobilisations like those against the outbreak of the Iraq war in 2003, or the repeated giant rallies against Howard’s WorkChoices.[i]

Sudanese Communist Party on ICC's request to indict Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir

Statement of the Sudanese Communist Party

Khartoum, July 20, 2008 -- The inclusion of the name of the President of the Republic of the Sudan among those wanted for justice by the International Criminal Court increases the complications engulfing the crisis prevailing in the Sudan. Despite the fact that such procedures were already in place and expected since the establishment of the Court, and this last step of naming the President of the Sudan was preceded by a similar step indicting two prominent figures in the government in February 2007, the Government of the Sudan was ill-prepared both legally and politically to react to either attempts.

If socialism fails: the spectre of 21st century barbarism

By Ian Angus

July 27, 2008 -- From the first day it appeared online, Climate and Capitalism’s masthead has carried the slogan “Ecosocialism or Barbarism: there is no third way.” We’ve been quite clear that ecosocialism is not a new theory or brand of socialism — it is socialism with Marx’s important insights on ecology restored, socialism committed to the fight against ecological destruction. But why do we say that the alternative to ecosocialism is barbarism?

Marxists have used the word “barbarism” in various ways, but most often to describe actions or social conditions that are grossly inhumane, brutal, and violent. It is not a word we use lightly, because it implies not just bad behaviour but violations of the most important norms of human solidarity and civilised life. [1]

The slogan “Socialism or Barbarism” originated with the great German revolutionary socialist leader Rosa Luxemburg, who repeatedly raised it during World War I. It was a profound concept, one that has become ever more relevant as the years have passed.

Class war and the Anglican schism

By Barry Healy

July 29, 2008 -- Dramatic events within the worldwide Anglican Communion (the international association of national Anglican churches) have revealed a “cold split” with the potential for a complete collapse of the Episcopal formation. Superficially, the debates have centred on the right of women and homosexuals to be priests and bishops, and on gay marriage. However, while theological arguments dating back centuries are being mouthed, behind them are class-war elements of more recent vintage, including some connected with the era of US President Ronald Reagan’s backing of Central American death squads in the 1980s.

African bishops have led the charge against modernity, but they are funded and organised by right-wing US think tanks and the Sydney Anglicans’ arch-reactionary Archbishop Peter Jensen. Another player is the Vatican, which has been reported as throwing its resources behind Anglican Primate Rowen Williams.

Latin America's struggle for integration and independence

By Federico Fuentes

Caracas, July 26, 2008 -- Commenting on how much the two had in common — same age, three children, similar music tastes — Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said to Mexican President Felipe Calderon on April 11 that “perhaps we represent the new generation of leaders in Latin America”. He added, however, that one difference still remained: Calderon had still not become a socialist. “Being right wing is out of fashion in Latin America … Join us, you are always welcome.”

The election of Fernando Lugo as Paraguayan president seems to confirm the idea of a new fashion for presidents. The former priest joins the ranks of current Latin American presidents that includes two women (Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in Argentina and Michelle Bachelet in Chile), an indigenous person (Evo Morales in Bolivia), a former militant trade unionist (Lula da Silva in Brazil), a radically minded economist (Rafael Correa in Ecuador), a doctor (Tabare Vasquez in Uruguay), a former guerrilla fighter (Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua) and a former rebel soldier (Hugo Chavez in Venezuela).

A people's history of sports -- Dave Zirin

Dave Zirin presents a terrific and humourous talk on ``The People's History of Sports'', providing insights and little-known history about sports in the United States. He spoke at the US International Socialist Organization's Socialism 2008 conference in Chicago on June 21, 2008.

Zirin is a radical sports editor, writer and columnist for Nation.com, and a columnist for SportsIllustrated.com, the Progressive and other media. He is author of What's My Name Fool?, The Muhammad Ali Handbook and Welcome to the Terrordome. His columns and articles can be found at http://www.edgeofsports.com.

Howard Zinn said of Zirin, ``It is so refreshing to have a sports writer who writes with such verve and intelligence, who also has a social conscience,and who refuses to keep those parts of his life separate." He is author of the forthcoming A People's History of Sports in the US.

The coming economic & environment meltdowns ... and the possibilities for fighting back

July 15, 2008 --The planet is facing a meltdown -- from the global financial system to the unprecedented environmental crisis. Almost everyone from stockbrokers to scientists to economists agree the situation is dire.

Yet Wall Street banks are given hundred-million-dollar bailouts, while millions face home foreclosures. In the Third world it's worse -- crops are used to provide fuel for thirsty rich-world SUVs, while 100 million more people face starvation due to the growing food crisis. The disregard for the hardship of the majority has seen food riots and strikes hit over 30 countries.

El Salvador election 2009: High hopes for FMLN

[Stop press, March 15, 2009: El Salvador: Victorious FMLN candidate promises `to benefit the poor rather than the rich']

By the National Committee of the War Veterans' Sector of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN)

El Salvador has entered a governance crisis the signs of which include the bare participation by the general public in the life of the nation. There is no attempt by the government to achieve consensus, or a will to reach agreement on public policy; and there is no tolerance of even a minimal participation by the citizenry in public affairs. Disillusion and scepticism are the predominant feelings amongst the general public. The country's institutional structures are weak and poorly developed. This impacts even upon political parties, which neither express nor channel popular demands and lack the capacity to play an intermediary role in the conflicts caused by the demands of different sectors of society.

Stuffed and Starved: `Snapping' the power of agribusiness

Review by Leo Zeilig

Stuffed and Starved, by Raj Patel, Black Inc., 2007

At the end of the 19th century huge areas of the globe where violently incorporated into the world market. Whole regions that had for generations been farmed for local consumption were transformed for the production of cash crops. In captured and occupied lands new food crops were introduced that had little or no local nutritional use: ground nuts (peanuts) in what is now Senegal and Nigeria, cocoa in Cote d’Ivoire, cotton and rubber production across thousands of square kilometres of Central Africa.

The xenophobia outbreak in South Africa: Strategic questions facing the new social movements

By Oupa Lehulere

June 2008 -- The township of Alexandra outside Johannesburg, South Africa, has a long history of resistance to oppression and exploitation. In the late 1950s Alex (as it is popularly referred to) was the centre of bus boycotts against increases in fares and of struggles against apartheid, in the 1980s Alex was the centre of building street committees that represented what were then called ``organs of people’s power’’ – forms of alternative government to the apartheid state, and in 2002 the event that announced the presence of the new social movements on the South African post-apartheid political landscape – the 20,000-strong march led by the Social Movements United – took place in Alex.

The fact that it was Alex that would go down in history as the township that expressed most publicly the reactionary attitudes held by working-class people against fellow working-class people from other parts of Africa throws into sharp relief the process of political and organisational decline that has been underway within the South Africa’s working class since 1994.

Leo Panitch on movements, debates and struggles in Latin America

July 17, 2008 -- A report by Leo Panitch on an international seminar organised by the Brazilian Landless People's Movement (MST). Bringing together key ``organic'' intellectuals from the continent, the meeting discussed the advances and contradictions of the rise of the left movement across Latin America, one that seeks to change society by taking power. Leo Panitch is editor of Socialist Register. The meeting was sponsored by the Socialist Project in Canada.

 

Venezuela: The hard battle for socialism

Interview with Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela’s minister of energy and petroleum from Punto Final. Translated by Federico Fuentes for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

* * *

Up until now, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s socialist project has counted on broad popular support. But it is encountering – as was foreseen – numerous difficulties and an opposition that is not disgusted by coup plots nor assassination attempts. On November 23, the revolutionary project will have to submit itself to a new test, this time in the form of elections for governors and mayors.

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