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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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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.

Global warming - No more business as usual: This is an emergency!

By David Spratt

October 10, 2008 -- A year ago I was researching what was intended to be a short submission to the Garnaut review [commissioned to advise the Australian federal government of Labor Party Prime Minister Kevin Rudd], when events in the polar north turned the world of climate policy upside down. It was found that eight million square kilometres of sea-ice — an area the size of Australia — was melting, in the immortal words of one glaciologist, "a hundred years ahead of schedule".

Yet the international policy debate carried on as if this had not happened. Out-of-date scenarios, research and observations were being used to propose emission reduction targets that would still lead to catastrophe even if fully implemented.

And so a short submission became a long detour into how the climate debate is being constructed, and the result, with Philip Sutton,  was a book we did not intend to write, Climate Code Red.

Cuba: Lift the blockade!

Statement from the National Assembly of People’s Power

Calling on parliamentarians worldwide to demand that the USA unconditionally lift the blockade

Havana, October 13, 2008 -- The United Nations General Assembly on October 29 will discuss and put to the vote the draft resolution "Necessity to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba".

For 16 consecutive years, this same General Assembly has approved similar resolutions by a growing and overwhelming majority. The last of these, which was put to the vote on October 30, 2007, was supported by 184 countries.

However, as was irrefutably demonstrated in the report presented by Cuba to the General Assembly on the resolution adopted last year, the government of the United States, with its customary arrogance, has ignored the express mandate of the international community and, far from ending that genocidal policy, is intensifying it in an attempt to kill our people by means of hunger and sickness.

United States: The financial calamity, African Americans and Obama

Barack Obama supporters

By Malik Miah

October 8, 2008 -- The deepening financial calamity exposes how the “fundamentals” of the economy impact on working people, particularly African Americans. The so-called unfettered free market system has been a failure.

The issue of the economy has given the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, the first Black candidate for a major party, a big boost. After eight years of Bush-Cheney, Obama should be a shoo-in. Democrats are expected to garner big majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Nuke deal a conduit to import US crisis into India

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with US President George Bush

By Dipankar Bhattacharya, general secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation

October 14, 2008 -- India's United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government finally sealed the nuclear deal with the US on October 10. For the Congress Party and the coalition of ``Unashamed Partners of America'' headed by it, the nuclear deal is the supreme achievement of the government. On the eve of signing the deal, India's external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee reiterated India's commercial commitment to the US nuclear energy industry: "We look forward to working with US companies on the commercial steps that will follow to implement this landmark Agreement." In a second statement issued after the agreement's signing he also reiterated India's commitment to implement the agreement in good faith even though no such reciprocal assurance was made by the US to confirm New Delhi's claim regarding the so-called US ``guarantee'' on uninterrupted fuel supply.

The Tamil question in Sri Lanka

By Chris Slee

October 5, 2008 -- On January 2, 2008, the Sri Lankan government formally renounced the ceasefire agreement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which a previous government had signed in February 2002. But by the beginning of 2008 the ceasefire already existed only on paper. Violence, which had been escalating for several years, had by then reached the level of full-scale war.

John Bellamy Foster: Can the financial crisis be reversed?

Interview with John Bellamy Foster, editor of Monthly Review, for Página/12 (Argentina). This interview was first posted at MRzine on October 10, 2008, and has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

Página/12: What is your opinion about the decision of the US Treasury Department to consider taking ownership stakes in many United States banks? Do you think this is the right political-economic strategy? I mean, will it lead to the recovery of the system?

Richard D. Wolff: Capitalism hits the fan: a socialist solution

Richard Wolff is professor of economics at UMass Amherst. He talks about the underlying cause of the current capitalist crisis (NOT ``financial'' crisis) and capitalism in general. Socialism and workers' democracy is presented as the alternative. The talk was presented by the Association for Economic and Social Analysis and the journal Rethinking Marxism in early October 2008.

Videos on the Marxist theory of capitalism

These resources with notes are created by Brendan Cooney and are available at Kapitalism 101. This page was compiled by Dave Riley.

The financial meltdown: Roots of the economic crisis in overaccumulation, financialisation and ‘global apartheid’

By Patrick Bond

October 3, 2008 -- The global economy’s vast financial sector expansion – in the context of productive sector stagnation tendencies – has increased the leading powerbrokers’ capacity to devalue large parts of the Third World (including major emerging market sites), as well as to write down selected financially volatile and vulnerable markets in the North (e.g. dot.com and real estate bubbles). In contrast to the 1930s, this set of partial write-downs of overaccumulated financial capital has not yet created such generalised panic and crisis contagion as to threaten the entire system’s integrity. Shifting and stalling the necessary devalorisation of overaccumulated capital, particularly as it bubbles up via financial sectors into speculative markets, entailed spatial and temporal fixes.

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Click HERE to view the accompanying PowerPoint slideshow

[Read more on the capitalist economic crisis HERE.]

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Capitalist versus socialist state intervention in the economy

By Martin Saatdjian

October 1, 2008 -- Venezelanalysis -- The current financial crisis reveals the first symptoms of a major, perhaps revolutionary, socioeconomic change in world affairs. Much has been said how, after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, capitalism overshadowed socialism and "the end of history" was decreed in much of the intellectual world. Not surprisingly, less has been mentioned that while socialism was dying in Europe, it was also blossoming in Latin America. In 1989, events known as El Caracazo -- major protests in Venezuela against neoliberalism and the "Washington Consensus" aimed at reducing the role of the state in the economy -- erupted. The election of Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela in 1998 was a reaction not only to people's dislike [of neoliberalism] and the failure of neoliberalism, but also to the strong repression that followed the 1989 protests.

John Pilger: The downfall of Mbeki -- The hidden truth

By John Pilger

October 7, 2008 -- The political rupture in South Africa is being presented in the outside world as the personal tragedy and humiliation of one man, Thabo Mbeki. It is reminiscent of the beatification of Nelson Mandela at the death of apartheid.

This is not to diminish the power of personalities, but their importance is often as a distraction from the historical forces they serve and manage. Frantz Fanon had this in mind when, in The Wretched of the Earth, he described the "historic mission" of much of Africa's post-colonial ruling class as "that of intermediary [whose] mission has nothing to do with transforming the nation: it consists, prosaically, of being the transmission line between the nation and a capitalism, rampant though camouflaged".

Mbeki's fall and the collapse of Wall Street are concurrent and related events, as they were predictable. Glimpse back to 1985 when the Johannesburg stock market crashed and the apartheid regime defaulted on its mounting debt and the chieftains of South African capital took fright.

Four crises of the contemporary world capitalist system

By William K. Tabb

Monthly Review, October 8, 2008 -- This essay examines aspects of the global political economy that I hope will inform progressive governments and movements for social change. It evaluates the constraints and opportunities presented in the current conjuncture of world capitalist development by analysing four areas of crisis in the contemporary world capitalist system. These are not the only contradictory elements in the contemporary conjuncture, but they are, in my view, the most salient.

Exclusive book excerpt: A manifesto for principled Darfur activism -- and beyond

Below Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal publishes -- with the authors' permission -- an exclusive excerpt from Kevin Funk and Steven Fake's just published book, Scramble for Africa: Darfur Intervention and the USA (Black Rose Books).

In Scramble for Africa Kevin Funk and Steven Fake provide a forensic and astute examination of the Bush administration's politically cynical and opportunist exploitation of the people of Darfur's terrible plight, using them as pawns to regain access to Sudan's oil riches and to promote the self-serving imperialist concept of ``humanitarian intervention''. Funk and Fake reveal the hypocrisy of Washington, which can in the same breathe declare the Sudan regime's slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Darfuris ``genocide'' while -- out of the general public's earshot -- praise and collaborate with the very same butchers as allies in its ``war on terror''. The mainstream ``Save Darfur'' movement's leadership also comes in for a similar investigation for its willingness to allow the interests of the people of Darfur to play second fiddle to Washington's foreign policy double standards.

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