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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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Colombia: Behind the freeing of Ingrid Betancourt

By Stuart Munckton

July 5, 2008 -- On July 2, an operation by the Colombian military succeeded in freeing French-Colombian citizen Ingrid Betancourt from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who had held her prisoner since 2002. Betancourt was the highest-profile FARC-held prisoner and the action, which also liberated 14 other prisoners, captured world headlines.

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More on the struggle in Colombia HERE.

* * *

On July 2, an operation by the Colombian military succeeded in freeing French-Colombian citizen Ingrid Betancourt from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who had held her prisoner since 2002. Betancourt was the highest-profile FARC-held prisoner and the action, which also liberated 14 other prisoners, captured world headlines.

Fidel on Trujillo; honesty in journalism; and the release of Ingrid Betancourt

The true story and the challenge of the Cuban journalists

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Excerpt: ``Out of a basically humanist sentiment, we rejoiced at the news that Ingrid Betancourt, three US citizens and other captives had been released. The civilians should have never been kidnapped, nor should they have been kept prisoners in the conditions of the jungle. These were objectively cruel actions. No revolutionary purpose could justify it. The time will come when the subjective factors should be analysed in depth.''

* * * 

By Fidel Castro Ruz

July 3, 2008 -- Seven days ago I wrote about one of the great men in history: Salvador Allende, a man the world remembered with deep emotion and respect on his first centennial. However, no one quivered or even recalled the date of October 24, 1891, when the Dominica Republic's despot Rafael Leonidas Trujillo was born, eighteen years before our admired Chilean brother.

Baruch Hirson: The South African left and the Russian connection (1991)

Click HERE to view a CVET video production of a seminar at the
University of the Western Cape on the past, present, and future of
Marxism in South Africa, held in September 1991. It was addressed by veteran South African Trotskyist activist Baruch Hirson. Participating in the seminar were Ciraj
Rassool, Baruch Hirson, Andrew Nash, Colin Bundy, Adam Habib, Paul
Allen and Neville Alexander.  

`Is Cuba done with equality?' NOT!

By Fred Feldman

June 28, 2008 -- I am responding to ``Of Pay and Productivity: Is Cuba Done With Equality?'', an article by Moshe Adler, director of Public Interest Economics, which appeared in the June 20 Counterpunch (a radical monthly print and daily webzine based in the US.) The article deals with the latest modifications of the country's wage structure made public June 11.

I think it would be useful if I presented some general considerations, despite what I admit is a broad but rather too shallow knowledge of the Cuban Revolution. I have never been in the country, for example. My knowledge of Spanish has grown quite a bit in the recent period, so that I can plough through shorter Spanish-language articles with a dictionary in hand, but it is still in the poquito range.

Characteristics of the experiences underway in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia

By Eric Toussaint

June 27, 2008 -- In Latin America, if we exclude Cuba, we can point to three general categories of governments. First, the governments of the right, the allies of Washington, that play an active role in the region and occupy a strategic position: these are the governments of Álvaro Uribe in Colombia, Alan García in Peru and Felipe Calderón in México.

Second, we find supposed “left” governments that implement a neoliberal policy and support the national or regional bourgeoisies in their projects: Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Nicaragua and the government of Cristina Fernandez Kirchner, from Argentina’s Peronists. They are governments that implement a neoliberal policy that favour grand capital, covered up with some social assistance measures. In effect, they make it a bit easier to swallow the neoliberal pill by applying social programs. For example, in Brazil poor families receive a bit of help from the government, which assures them popular support in the poorest region of the country.

Michael Lebowitz: The spectre of socialism for the 21st century

The following is the keynote address to the annual meeting of the Society for Socialist Studies, Vancouver, June 5, 2008. It was originally titled ``Building socialism for the 21st century''. To hear an audio recording of the speech, click HERE.

By Michael A. Lebowitz

A spectre is haunting capitalism. It is the spectre of socialism for the 21st century. Increasingly, the characteristics of this spectre are becoming clear, and we are able to see enough to understand what it is not. The only thing that is not clear at this point is whether the spectre is real – i.e., whether it is actually an earthly presence.

Friedrich Engels: the Che Guevara of his day

Review by Alex Miller

Engels: A Revolutionary Life

By John Green

Artery Publications

Paperback 2008

347 pages, £10

Most people know that Friedrich Engels (1820–1895) was the lifelong friend and collaborator of Karl Marx, and for most people the image of Engels that springs most readily to mind is of a heavily bearded, earnest old Victorian gentleman (most likely standing in the background of a group consisting of Marx and his family).

Canada: Saying `sorry' with a forked tongue

By Mike Krebs

“I want to get rid of the Indian problem. I do not think as a matter of fact, that the country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone… Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department, that is the whole object of this Bill” — Duncan Campbell Scott, head of the Department of Indian Affairs and founder of the residential school system, 1920.

July 1, 2008 -- On June 11, 2008, Stephen Harper, prime minister of Canada and leader of the Conservative Party, issued an “apology” for the residential school system that more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forced through. The hype before and after the statement was enormous, with extensive coverage in all major media.

France: `The new anti-capitalist party is on the march'

Appeal of the national coordination of action committees for a New Anti-capitalist Party

The “new anti-capitalist party” proposed by the LCR in France had its first national meeting on the 28th and 29th June in St Denis near Paris. About 1000 people were present including 800 delegates from local committees. After a first session of contributions from local committees, the gathering split up into workshops on different themes such as ecology, feminism, internationalism, work in local neighbourhoods, in work places, with the sans papiers...

The meeting ended with the creation of a national coordinating committee to prepare a further national meeting in the autumn and the adoption of a statement.

We will carry further reports on this meeting and the process of creating the new party but we publish here the statement adopted.

Britain: New left regroupment effort announced

An invitation to participate in the creation of a new Revolutionary Socialist Organisation

This text was voted on and passed at a meeting in London on Sunday 29th June. A Steering Committee was also elected.

The purpose of this document is to launch a regroupment process, which will culminate in a conference after a period of discussion. It registers the most important areas of agreement we have achieved at the beginning of this discussion. There are other areas, not included, which will have to be the subject of further discussion.

1. This is a proposal made by members of the International Socialist Group (ISG), Socialist Resistance (SR), a group of former members of the SWP and some independent Marxists not presently in any organisation. It is an invitation to everyone who would be interested in establishing a new revolutionary organisation based on an understanding of the need for Marxists to build a revolutionary organisation and to work for the widest unity of the working class on economic, social and political issues.

Taking stock of the Bolivarian Revolution: Changing Venezuela by Taking Power

Changing Venezuela by Taking Power, by Gregory Wilpert (Verso, 2007)

June 26, 2008 -- Gregory Wilpert has pulled off a triumph on two fronts with his new book on the Bolivarian Revolution, Changing Venezuela by Taking Power. Most obviously, Wilpert's book — in both its scope and (sometimes almost maddening) objectivity — is the most detailed and credible analysis yet published of the Venezuelan revolution, which itself represents, arguably, the single most significant challenge today to the hegemony of global capitalism.

NEW! Links Dossier #2: Class Struggle and Resistance in Zimbabwe

In the second Links Dossier, in an easy to print a PDF format, Links - International Journal of Socialist Renewal makes available essential historical background material on the struggle for socialism in Zimbabwe, the degeneration of the regime and party of Robert Mugabe and the views of the Zimbabwean socialist movement on the way forward for the struggle for democracy and radical change.

Contents:

Revolutionaries, resistance and crisis in Zimbabwe

His Excellency Comrade Robert: How Mugabe’s ZANU clique rose to power

Zimbabwean socialists: `No to a government of national unity! Only united mass action will defeat Mugabe!'

Click HERE to download.

Please forward the following link: http://static.links.org.au/dossiers/2008-06-26-Zimbabwe-Dossier.pdf

For other Links Dossiers, please click here.

Pakistan: Workers' power in Faisalabad

By Farooq Tariq

June 26, 2008 -- More than 10,000 workers picketed a power loom factory in Sadhar Faisalabad for more than eight hours on 24 June. They were demanding the arrest of the owner of the factory and his gangsters. The factory owner, Asif, a Muslim League Q member of Punjab Assembly (MPA), directed his gangsters to open fire on the 300 workers protesting outside the factory for higher wages. Seven workers were shot and severely injured. They were rushed to the Allied Hospital in Faisalabad. One was in a critical condition.

On hearing the news of the shootings, the workers of all the power loom and textile factories of the area walked out in protest and picketed (gherao) the factory. The workers were led by the local leaders of Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM), an organisation of textile workers, supported by the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) and several radical social movements.

The main leaders of LQM were busy elsewhere in Faisalabad, where workers has taken action for better wages. Almost half of the Faisalabad power loom workers had been on strike for the last two days on the instruction of the LQM.

XIV Sao Paulo Forum: Left parties debate the current historic conjuncture

By Inés Hayes, with reports from Montevideo by Cristina Camusso and Julio Louis.

Dilemma: From May 22 to 25, the XIV Sao Paulo Forum was held in Montevideo, Uruguay. Under the banner `The Latin American and Caribbean left in the new time, richness in diversity’, 844 delegates from 35 countries in Latin America, Asia and Europe participated in this historic meeting. The first encounter was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1990. The debates over the crucial issues of the 21st century are embodied today in the governments which have emerged through the electoral road. The historic dilemma of reform or revolution once again returns to centre stage.

Peru: Miners, Moqueguanos win victory following violent government attacks

By Carlos Quiroz, peruanista.blogspot.com

June 19, 2008 (updated June 26) -- The videos you are about to see are a bit shocking. For 18 months the people of the Moquegua region (southeastern Peru) and the mining workers from that region have been seeking for peaceful negotiations with the Peruvian government in Lima.

NATO's Balkan war and the Kosova liberation struggle

By Doug Lorimer

[The general line of this report was adopted by the June 12-14, 1999 DSP National Committee plenum. Text is taken from The Activist, volume 9, number 5, 1999]

On Wednesday March 24, 1999, the secretary-general of NATO, former Spanish social-democratic minister of culture Javier Solana, told a press conference: "I have just given the order to the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, United States General Wesley Clark, to begin air operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."

The following day 371 NATO warplanes undertook bombing raids and six NATO warships in the Adriatic launched cruise missiles against targets in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Between March 25 and the cessation of NATO bombing raids on June 9, more than 30,000 combat missions had been flown by NATO warplanes against Yugoslavia. Thousands of civilians in Serbia have been killed or wounded. Millions of Serbian workers are now living without electricity, or water, or jobs. Factories, power stations, houses, hospitals, bridges and roads have been destroyed or damaged. The destruction of oil refineries and petrochemical plants have poisoned the air, rivers and soil of Serbia with toxic products. It has been estimated that the reconstruction of damaged or destroyed infrastructure will cost between $US15-50 billion.

The May-June 1968 revolt in France and its influence today (+ videos)

By Duncan Meerding

In May and June 1968, a movement erupted in France that threatened not just the survival of the government of President Charles De Gaulle but the system that it represented — capitalism. At the height of this movement, which was sparked by radical action by youth and students, an estimated 10 million workers were on strike and 600,000 students were occupying their schools and universities, and a further 2 million farmers were supporting them. This meant that more than one in five of France’s population were on the

Zimbabwe socialists: `No to a government of national unity! Only united mass action will defeat Mugabe!

By the International Socialist Organisation of Zimbabwe

* * *

June 23, 2008 -- After the publication of the original article (see below), Movement for Democratic Change presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai held a press conference at which he issued a statement to the effect that the MDC is pulling out of the presidential run-off election because conditions for a free and fair election do not exist, [due to the] the massive violence against his party and civic society. The press conference followed the disruption of his final rally in Harare by ZANU-PF vigilantes on June 22. Tsvangirai stated that the MDC was to carry out further consultations and would announce the details of the way forward.

We welcome the position taken by the MDC, and initial reports indicate that this position has been accepted by MDC and civic society activists and supporters.

Photo essay: Mexican indigenous front agitates for rights of migrants in the US

Text and photos by David Bacon

SANTIAGO DE JUXTLAHUACA, OAXACA, MEXICO

MAY 31, 2008 -- The assembly of the Indigenous Front of Binational Organisations in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca, one of the poorest areas in Mexico. A large percentage of the indigenous population of Oaxaca and other states has left to work in northern Mexico and in the United States. The FIOB is a political organisation of indigenous communities and migrants, with chapters in Mexico and the US. It advocates for the rights of migrants, and for the right not to migrate -- for economic development which would enable people to stay home.

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