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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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New African resistance from below to global finance

By Patrick Bond

October 25, 2008 -- A far-reaching strategic debate is underway about how to respond to the global financial crisis, and indeed how the North's problems can be tied into a broader critique of capitalism.

The 2008 world financial meltdown has its roots in the neoliberal export-model (dominant in Africa since the 1981 World Bank Berg Report and onset of structural adjustment during the early 1980s) and even more deeply, in 35 years of world capitalist stagnation/volatility. Africa has always suffered a disproportionate share of pressure from the world economy, especially in the sphere of debt and financial outflows. But for those African countries which made themselves excessively vulnerable to global financial flows during the neoliberal era, the meltdown had a severe, adverse impact.

Stop the war in Sri Lanka! The Tamil national question in demands a political solution!

Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation central committee statement on developments in Sri Lanka.

October 27, 2008 -- The Sri Lankan government's ongoing military campaign to corner and crush the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has led to a terrible humanitarian crisis in the country. Reports emanating from the island indicate that the Sri Lankan state is on the verge of wresting military control over large parts of LTTE territory including the administrative headquarters in Killinochi. While the number of people killed so far in the crossfire between the advancing Sri Lankan armed forces is anybody's guess, some 500,000 people are estimated to have been displaced and rendered homeless in their own land. With the Sri Lankan government not allowing any relief to reach the people in refugee camps, international humanitarian organisations have been forced to leave the battle zones and recently even UN food convoys have had to return, leaving a vast population in the battle zones on the brink of starvation.

John Bellamy Foster: `Capitalism has reached its limits'

Postscript to "The Financialization of Capital and the Crisis"

By John Bellamy Foster

October 26, 2008 -- Six months ago the United States was already deep in a financial crisis -- the roots of which were explained in `The Financialization of Capital and the Crisis' (Monthly Review, April 2008). Yet, the conditions now are several orders of magnitude worse and are affecting the entire world.

We are clearly in the midst of one of the great crises in the history of capitalism. More than a mere financial panic, what is taking place is a major devaluation of capital of still undetermined dimensions. Marx explained that capital was invariably over-extended in a boom and that in the crisis that followed a part of that capital was devalued, enabling the rest to return to profitability and to the process of accumulation and expansion.

John Bellamy Foster on climate change: `Demand solutions based on necessity, not wealth and profits'

John Bellamy Foster: We need to go down to 350 parts per million [of carbon dioxide], which means very big social transformations on a scale that would be considered revolutionary by anybody in society today -- transformation of our whole society quite fundamentally. We have to aim at that, and we have to demand that of our society.

Forget about capitalism, forget about whether the system can do it. Don't let that be your barometer. Say this is necessary for the planet, for human survival, for justice, for environmental justice, and we just have to do it.

We demand that be done, and we work out the operating system of the world economy, we work out our social relations of production, in accordance with necessity, in accordance with what is necessary for the planet, not in accordance with what is necessary for the accumulation of wealth and profits for a very few.

Thailand: Prison sentence for ex-PM Thaksin. What does it mean?

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

October 22, 2008 -- The prison sentence handed down to ex-Thai prime minister Thaksin is just one part of the present Thai political crisis. I write this short piece because I have been contacted by both the BBC TV and radio to give a telephone interview, but on both occasions the telephone line went dead during the interview. Times like this can make us paranoid. It was probably a technical fault which just happened to occur twice.

Thaksin was found guilty of a ``conflict of interest'' because he was prime minister at the time when his wife bought a piece of land at a knock-down price from the Thai state. The land originated from bankruptcies due to the 1997 economic crisis. Earlier Prime Minister Samak was found guilty of appearing on a TV cooking program and forced to resign. Samak was head of the Peoples Power Party (PPP), the descendant of Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party (TRT) which was dissolved by the courts during the time of the military junta.

It is interesting to note that Thaksin's wife was not found guilty of any corruption by the courts, nor was the organisation that held the land auction. This means that there is no evidence that the price paid for the land was below market rates or artificially depressed.

Three left views on Obama: Howard Zinn, Mike Davis, Todd Chretien

Howard Zinn: `Obama creates an opening for change but direct action needed'


October 22, 2008 -- Real News Network -- Howard Zinn says vote against McCain, vote for Obama. Even though Obama does not represent any fundamental change, he creates an opening for a possibility of change. Obama will not fulfill that potential for change, unless he is enveloped by a social movement, which is angry enough, powerful enough, insistent enough, that he fills his abstract phrases about change with some content. We need direct action, because only that kind of indignation is going to have some affect on the people in Washington.

Howard Zinn is an historian, political scientist, social critic, activist and playwright. He is best known as author of the best-seller A People's History of the United States. Zinn has been active in the civil rights and the anti-war movements in the United States.

Quebec left's challenge to socialists in the rest of Canada

Bloc Québécois supporters

By Richard Fidler

October 19, 2008 -- Once again, the Bloc Québécois has taken a majority of Quebec’s seats in Canada's House of Commons — 50 out of 75, one less than in 2006, although down by three percentage points.

In doing so, it dashed Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s hopes of a Conservative breakthrough in Quebec that would deliver him a majority government in Ottawa. Working people throughout Canada heaved a sigh of relief.

The Bloc’s support is more than a rejection of the Tories’ right-wing policies. As Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe declared on election night, October 14, it is a clear demonstration “that Quebec is a distinct nation linguistically, culturally, socially and economically”. This was the sixth consecutive federal election since 1993 in which the pro-sovereignty Bloc has won a majority of Quebec’s seats under the first-past-the-post system.

The Flame, October 2008 - Green Left Weekly's Arabic supplement

According to the 2006 census, the most commonly spoken language in Sydney households, after English, is Arabic. In Australia as a whole, Arabic is the fifth most commonly spoken language. The Arabic-speaking community includes Lebanese, Egyptians, Syrians, Iraqis, Palestinians, Jordanians and Sudanese. Many other ethnic groups also speak Arabic in addition to their language because they have lived in Arabic-speaking countries. These include Armenians, Kurds, Assyrians, Mandaeens and many more.

With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly -- Australia's leading socialist newspaper -- is publishing a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame will cover news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. The editor-in-chief will be Soubhi Iskander, a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

South African Communist Party on capitalist economic crisis, right-wing split in the ANC

NUMSA members

Speech to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) 8th national congress by Blade Nzimande, South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary

October 14, 2008 -- The SACP wishes to express its appreciation for the invitation to come and address this august body, the 8th national congress of this giant affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). Your congress is taking place at very crucial domestic and international conjunctures which though may seem distinct but are deeply interrelated developments: the global crisis of finance capital and the splinter group from the African National Congress (ANC). I say these are related because we are part of a global capitalist system, whose impact on our shores go beyond just the economic realm, but has had disproportionate influence on our politics as well.

France: Olivier Besancenot -- `For a left that stops making excuses'

Hand in hand with the struggles of French workers and students has been the massive growth in popularity of postal worker and Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) spokesperson Olivier Besancenot (pictured).

Recent opinion polls listed “The Red Postie”, as even the capitalist media call him, as the second most credible opposition politician to the right-wing government of President Nicolas Sarkozy. Besancenot was voted second after the Socialist Party (PS) mayor of Paris and ahead of the parliamentary leaders of the official PS “opposition”.

Below is an excerpt of Besancenot’s speech to an August open air rally of 3500 members and supporters of the New Anti-capitalist Party (NAP), initiated by the LCR, on the challenges for the project.

* * *

It’s in these times of economic crisis that we will have to show just how useful we really are.

We must, in the year ahead, continue to show that we are the most effective opponents of the Sarkozy government and the policies of the French Confederation of Business Enterprises.

Hugo Blanco: `No contradiction between my indigenous struggle and dialectical materialism'

Interview with veteran Peruvian Marxist Hugo Blanco, conducted by Yásser Gómez for Mariátegui magazine, September 9, 2008. Translated by Sean Seymour Jones for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

“The Self-organised Legislative Coup of the FTA [Free Trade Agreement], Indigenous Peoples and Social Movements” was the name of the national gathering of originario [indigenous] peoples, peasant communities and social movements that took place in Lima. There Mariátegui magazine interviewed Hugo Blanco, who in the 1970s led land takeovers in La Convención, Cusco, before the agrarian reform of Juan Velasco Alvarado was implemented. Today he continues in political combat from the trenches together with the peasantry, and as director of the newspaper Lucha Indigena (Indigenous Struggle).

What is your analysis of the Peruvian indigenous movement?

Latin America: In support of regional integration and a partial delinking from the world capitalist market

By Eric Toussaint, translated by Federico Fuentes for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

[Click HERE for the Spanish version]

October 8, 2008 -- The economic and financial crisis, whose epicentre is found in the United States, has to be utilised by Latin American countries to build an integration favourable to the peoples and at the same initiate a partial delinking from the world capitalist market.[1]

Fictitious capital and real compacts

By Anitra Nelson

October 15, 2008 -- Radical Notes -- Perhaps we need a Marxian to sort out the world's financial woes. The insights of Karl Marx on capitalist crises, especially speculation and financial crises, were sophisticated for his time. Indeed, this nineteenth century communist revolutionary called financial assets and loans 'fictitious capital' or 'imaginary wealth' as distinct from 'real capital' -- industrial or productive capital -- such as factories and commodity stocks.

The global economic crisis: An historic opportunity for transformation

An initial response from individuals, social movements and non-governmental organisations in support of a transitional program for radical economic transformation.

Preamble

Beijing, October 15, 2008 -- Taking advantage of the opportunity of so many people from movements gathering in Beijing during the Asia-Europe People’s Forum, the Transnational Institute and Focus on the Global South convened informal nightly meetings between October 13 and 15, 2008. We took stock of the meaning of the unfolding global economic crisis and the opportunity it presents for us to put into the public domain some of the inspiring and feasible alternatives many of us have been working on for decades. This statement represents the collective outcome of our Beijing nights. We, the initial signatories, mean this to be a contribution towards efforts to formulate proposals around which our movements can organise as the basis for a radically different kind of political and economic order.

Please sign on to this statement at http://www.casinocrash.org.

Final declaration of the International Political Economy Conference: Responses from the South to the Global Economic Crisis

October 11, 2008 -- Academics and researchers from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Mexico, Peru, Phillipines, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela participated in the International Political Economy Conference: Responses from the South to the Global Economic Crisis, held in Caracas October 8-11, 2008. The conference stimulated a wide-ranging debate on the current economic and financial health of the global economy, the new perspectives and the challenges to the governments and peoples of the South posed by the international financial crisis.

The meeting concluded that the situation has worsened in the last few weeks. It has progressed rapidly from being a series of crises in the financial markets of countries in the centre and has turned into an extremely serious international crisis. This means that countries in the South are in a very difficult situation.

The crisis threatens the real economy and, if energetic and effective actions are not taken immediately, all peoples in the world could be drastically punished; especially the least-protected and most-neglected sectors.

Evo Morales: Ten commandments to save the planet

By Evo Morales Ayma, president of the Republic of Bolivia

Message to the Continental Gathering of Solidarity with Bolivia in Guatemala City

October 9, 2008 -- Sisters and brothers, on behalf of the Bolivian people, I greet the social movements of this continent present in this act of continental solidarity with Bolivia.

We have just suffered the violence of the oligarchy, whose most brutal expression was the massacre in Panda, a deed that teaches us that an attempt at power based on money and weapons in order to oppress the people is not sustainable. It is easily knocked down, if it is not based on a program and the consciousness of the people.

We see that the re-founding of Bolivia affects the underhanded interests of a few families of large landholders, who reject as an aggression the measures enacted to favour the people such as a more balanced distribution of the resources of natural gas for our grandfathers and grandmothers, as well as the distribution of lands, the campaigns for health and literacy, and others.

John Bellamy Foster: Monopoly finance capital and the crisis

Interview with John Bellamy Foster for the Norwegian daily Klassekampen (posted from MRzine with permission), conducted on October 15, 2008.

Klassekampen: Is the credit crisis a symptom of overaccumulation of capital? It seems to me that investments worldwide, but especially in the United States, were funneled into the traditionally "safe" housing market following the bursting of the dotcom bubble. This overinvestment in turn generated a new bubble, thus causing today's havoc. Is this correct?

Free download: Marxist Economics -- A handbook of basic definitions

Download Marxist Economics -- A handbook of basic definitions (Resistance Books, 1998).

You can also purchase a hard copy, click HERE.

Introduction

This handbook is not, of course, a substitute for the study of Marxist political economy, but an aid to that study. It will perhaps prove most useful as an aid to review. It was first developed for the Fourth International’s cadre school in Europe. It was subsequently also used by the Democratic Socialist Party in its cadre school. Along the way, many of the definitions and explanations were modified to take account of students’ difficulties or further questions.

It may be asked, however, whether there is any longer any purpose in the study of Marxist economics. Is not Marx’s analysis discredited by the collapse of the “communist” states of Europe and China’s somewhat slower but no less determined path in the direction of capitalism? Have not Marxist economics been superseded by Keynesianism, or monetarism, or neo-liberalism?

Don't pay for a failed system

US$700 billion dollars is twice the combined debt of the world’s poorest 49 countries.

By Tony Iltis

October 11, 2008 -- “Meltdown” is a word that one hears a lot on the news these days.

Despite the US$700 billion government bailout of banks in the US, similar (albeit smaller) bailouts in Europe, and various forms of state intervention in the finance industry on both sides of the Atlantic, sharemarkets worldwide are in free fall. Comparisons with the Great Depression of the 1930s are common. Homelessness and unemployment are rising and are set to increase dramatically.

Meanwhile, more quietly but even more relentlessly, another meltdown is occurring: that of the polar icecaps. According to the Western world’s establishment politicians and corporate media, the way to avert catastrophic climate change lies in setting up elaborate emissions trading schemes and carbon markets: that is, relying on precisely the mechanisms that have created the economic meltdown!

Refounding Bolivia: Morales calls for vote on a new democratic constitution

Evo Morales (left) receives a traditional ceremonial staff
at the sacred place of Tiwanaku.
Photo: AFP

By Raul Burbano

October 13, 2008 -- Bolivian President Evo Morales has called for a national referendum on the country’s new draft constitution on December 7. The demand of the Bolivian people for a new and socially, politically and economically inclusive constitution is at the heart of the present political upheaval in that country.

Right-wing forces representing the country’s traditional ruling oligarchy have launched a secessionist movement to balkanise the country, in an attempt to block the constitutional referendum. They have organised murderous fascist gangs to terrorise the population.

They are backed by the US government, whose ambassador, Philip Goldberg, has recently been expelled from Bolivia for his support of the opposition and openly admitted interference in Bolivian political life.

On the other side the vast majority of the Bolivians, more than 67% of whom just voted support President Evo Morales in a recall referendum.

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