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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: Unionists debate call for new federation; Chavez sacks labour minister

By Kiraz Janicke

Caracas, April 15, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com) -- In a joint press conference with Venezuela's labour minister Jose Ramon Rivero on Sunday, National Assembly deputy and coordinator of the Bolivarian Socialist Workers Force (FSBT), a faction within the National Union of Workers (UNT), announced the formation of a new national union federation and called on unions to disaffiliate from the UNT.

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STOP PRESS

CARACAS, April 16 (Reuters) - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez named a veteran communist leader as labour minister on Wednesday, days after ordering the nationalisation of a giant steelmaker whose workers are fighting for better pay. The first task facing Roberto Hernandez, a [former] long-term member of the Venezuelan Communist Party, will be to negotiate a new labour contract with the union at the Ternium Sidor steel works.

The appointment was published in the government's official gazette.

John Pilger on South Africa: Honouring the 'unbreakable promise'

March 28, 2008 -- Fourteen years after South Africa's first democratic elections and the fall of racial apartheid, John Pilger describes, in an address at Rhodes University, the dream and reality of the new South Africa and the responsibility of its new elite. (See video clips of John Pilger's visit here.)

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By John Pilger

On my wall in London is a photograph I have never grown tired of looking at. Indeed, I always find it thrilling to behold. You might even say it helps keep me going. It is a picture of a lone woman standing between two armoured vehicles, the notorious ‘hippos’, as they rolled into Soweto. Her arms are raised. Her fists are clenched. Her thin body is both beckoning and defiant of the enemy. It was May Day 1985 and the uprising against apartheid had begun.

Nepal: Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) victory, a great step forward

By Farooq Tariq

April 13, 2008 -- The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) victory in the constituent assembly election held on April 10 is a great step forward for the forces of the left in the region and internationally. Not only the CPN (Maoist) but also the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) (UML) received more votes than the Nepal Congress. At the time of writing, the CPN (Maoist) has won 69 seats, UML 21, Nepal Congress 20 and the Peasant Workers Party 2 seats.

The Maoists are heading to become the single largest group in the 240 constituent assembly seats that are being decided on a first-past-the-post basis. Nearly 60 per cent of the 601 seats in the constitutional assembly will be decided by a complex proportional representative votes, whose final results will take a couple of weeks to be decided. The future of King Gyanedra and the Shah monarchy hangs by a thread straining under the weight of the Maoists' mandate.

Video: John Bellamy Foster on Capitalism and Climate Change

John Bellamy Foster, Marxist ecologist and editor of Monthly Review, addressed the Climate Change I Social Change Conference on ``Capitalism and Climate Change'', Sydney, April 11, 2008. Foster's talk was part of a panel discussing ``Climate change and its social roots''. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. Below is Foster's talk in five parts. Click here for an audio recording of all the speakers on the panel, which included Patrick Bond from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and editor of Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society. John Bellamy Foster discusses Marxism and the environment further here.

 

15 years since the murder of Chris Hani

On April 10, 1993, South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Chris Hani was asassinated by right-wing extremists hoping to derail South Africa's transtion to democratic rule. On the 15th anniversary of his death, Links reproduces a speech by socialist and African National Congress (ANC) veteran Pallo Jordan delivered to mark the 10th anniversary of the assassination.

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By Dr Pallo Jordan

Allow me first to thank the leadership of the SACP and the central executive committee of Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) for inviting me to deliver this inaugural Chris Hani Memorial Lecture. I consider it a great honour to have been chosen for this task because Comrade Chris was a close and very dear friend of mine.

Photo essay: The men who live in the canyon

Photographs and captions by David Bacon

San Diego, California -- March 31, 2008 -- Isaias, Alvino and Porfirio, three Mixtec men from Etla, a town in Oaxaca, Mexico, live in the Los Peñasquitos canyon on the north edge of San Diego. They work as day labourers and farm workers -- wherever they can find work.

Isaias stands next to the place where he sleeps.

Speech & video: Martin Luther King: Beyond Vietnam -- A time to break the silence

On April 4, 1967, African-American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King addressed a gathering of religious antiwar activists at Riverside Church in New York City. On April 4, 1968, he was assassinated.

``I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a `thing-oriented' society to a `person-oriented' society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.'' -- MLK.

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1968 year of revolt

Joel Geier, associate editor of the International Socialist Review, spoke on ``1968: Year of Revolt'' at the University of Illinois, Champaign, IL on March 26, 2008. He was a leading member of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley in the 1960s and witnessed the 1968 protests in Paris. He discussed a vital yet hidden history of struggle and its relevance to today.

The International Socialist Review is sponsoring a national meeting tour to mark the 40th anniversary of the remarkable year 1968. It was a year of conflict, class struggle and revolutionary upheaval around the world. 1968 saw the Vietnam Tet Offensive; the May general strike in France; the Black Power salute at the Olympics; the student struggle in Mexico and the massacre in Tlatelolco Plaza; the Prague Spring and Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia; the police riot at the Democratic Party convention; the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and urban rebellions; the birth of the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement in Detroit. 1968 offers lessons to a new generation of activists and radicals organising for a better world.

Video: Boris Kagarlitsky on the left and labour in Russia under Putin

With Boris Kagarlitsky, Institute For Globalization and Social Movements, Moscow.

Since the collapse of the old Soviet Union in the 1990s and the end of the politically bankrupt regime of Boris Yeltsin in 2000, Vladimir Putin has consolidated power in Russia. He has ruled over an economy growing at about 7% per year, and, in Kagarlitsky's view, establishing Russia as an 'empire of the periphery'. The left and workers have faced enormous challenges in the new (and not so new) Russia in the face of massive economic restructuring and major political obstacles. This discussion will address how the left, workers and unions are attempting to re-group and respond to these challenges.

Video and audio: Cuban permaculturist -- `Climate change means we must change'

Cuban permaculturist Roberto Perez spoke at the Climate Change | Social Change conference, April 11-13, Sydney. Click here for more videos and text.


The CPI (M) and stages of revolution

By Dipankar Basu

March 25, 2008 -- This article attempts to throw some light on the following two questions: (1) How does the classical Marxist tradition conceptualise the relationship between the two stages of revolution: democratic and the socialist? (2) Does the democratic revolution lead to deepening and widening capitalism? Is capitalism necessary to develop the productive capacity of a society?

A revolutionary response to the climate change crisis

``We need an emergency mobilisation of society, a five- or 10-year plan to achieve a drastic reorientation of our economy and use of energy. Anything else is simply not serious.''

April 3, 2008 -- Dave Holmes, a veteran leader of theAustralian Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP), is one of the authors of the pamphlet Change the System Not The Climate (Resistance Books 2007) who will be participating in the Climate Change | Social Change Conference, April 11-13 in Sydney Australia. The other authors of the pamphlet, renowned Marxist John Bellamy Foster and Links editor Terry Townsend, are speakers at the conference.

Peter Boyle of the DSP spoke to Holmes about the key issues the conference needs to address.

African agriculture and the World Bank: Development or impoverishment?

By Kjell Havnevik, Deborah Bryceson, Lars-Erik Birgegård, Prosper Matondi & Atakilte Beyene

December, 2007 -- Agriculture's dominant role in Sub-Saharan Africa's local, national and regional economies and cultures throughout pre-colonial history has been foundational to 20th century colonial and post-colonial development. No other continent has been so closely identified with smallholder peasant farming. Nonetheless, smallholder farming has been eroding over the last three decades, perpetuating rural poverty and marginalising remote rural areas. Donors' search for rural ``success stories'' merely reinforces this fact. Certainly many farmers have voted with their feet by increasingly engaging in non-agricultural livelihoods or migrating to urban areas. In so doing, the significance of agriculture for the majority of Africa's population has altered.

For the right to self-determination of the Tibetan people

By Pierre Rousset

March 24, 2008 -- The Chinese army has Tibet and its provinces under tight control. The repression of the ``rioters'' who have descended into the streets these last two weeks has been severe. Solidarity and the effective recognition of the right of the Tibetan people to self-determination is urgent.

Some on the left (rare in France, but more numerous elsewhere) refuse to commit to solidarity for fear of playing the game of the United States against China. Others, on the right, call for demonstrations against 59 years of Chinese occupation –- it was in 1950-1951 that the Peoples Liberation Army entered the country -– and denounce a ``communist'' dictatorship. These two positions ``mirror'' one another, attaching little importance to history: the ``Tibetan question'' arises in very different contexts according to different periods.

Stop the bloodshed — freedom for Tibet!

By Tony Iltis

March 28, 2008 -- A demonstration by Buddhist monks in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, on March 10 to commemorate the anniversary of China’s crushing of the Tibetan independence movement in 1959 triggered protests for self-determination that, by March 14, had escalated into anti-Chinese riots in which 19 people were killed.

Over 100 Tibetans are reported to have been killed, and hundreds more arrested, by Chinese occupation forces.

This eruption of mass anger — that spread to cities throughout the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the neighbouring provinces of Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan, historically part of Tibet and with large ethnic Tibetan communities — was a response not only to the 58-year-old Chinese military occupation of Tibet, but to the dispossession and marginalisation of Tibetans by an influx of both global capital and Han Chinese transmigrants.

Nepal: The constituent assembly election and the revolutionary left

By Mahesh Maskey and Mary Deschene

As the elections to the constituent assembly draw near (April 10), the question in Nepal seems not to be whether there will be a democratic republic, but rather what kind of democratic republic it will be. ``Bourgeois democrats'' would want to preserve the country's capitalistic character, while the ``revolutionary left'' will make every effort to give it a transitional character to bring socialism on to the nation's agenda. ``The reformist left'' will vacillate between the two courses but predominantly forge alliances with the ``bourgeois democrats''.

Marx's call to liberation 160 years and still going strong

By Barry Healy

Not many young authors can publish a work before they reach thirty years of age and have it remain in publication continuously for the following 160 years. Yet that is precisely the case with the Communist Manifesto, which was born in the middle of a Europe-wide revolutionary upsurge in February 1848.

Moreover, the Manifesto still rings through the years to today’s world with its promise of human liberty and fulfilment.

Imperialism's long-term opposition to Kosova’s independence

By Michael Karadjis

The previous article of this series showed that the basis for Kosova’s right to self-determination is real, and that there has been a genuine, mass-based striving for it all century. Yet some on the left have argued that Kosova’s recent declaration of independence is merely an initiative of the imperialist powers, which allegedly have had a long-term aim to create an ``independent’’ Kosovar state under their control.

(Click here for the first article in the series.)

Tension in Tibet: Political dialogue only key to lasting solution

By Kavita Krishnan

In the wake of the anniversary of the 1959 Tibet movement (March 10) and ahead of the Beijing Olympics, Tibet has once again emerged as a hot spot of ethnic tension. There are reports of violence against and killing of protesting Tibetan monks by Chinese forces; and also of ethnic targeting of Han Chinese and Hui Muslims by Tibetan protesters. Chinese authorities have straightaway blamed the Dalai Lama for provoking the violent protests. The [Chinese] Army has been deployed after more than a week of escalating tension. While there is little ``independent'' information to judge the actual nature and scale of the turbulence within Tibet and attempts by the Chinese state to suppress it, solidarity protests are being witnessed in many centres across the world and Tibetan refugees based in India are particularly vocal against the recent turn of events in Tibet.

The turmoil in Tibet has been greeted by die-hard anti-China hawks with demands of boycott of the Beijing Olympics. In India, BJP and the likes of George Fernandes have raised an uproar in Parliament with their shrill anti-China hate campaign over Tibet.

Müller Rojas: United Socialist Party of Venezuela is a `political necessity'

Alberto Müller Rojas, first vice president of the of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), speaks to Kiraz Janicke of Venezuelanalysis.com and to Federico Fuentes of Links - International Journal of Socialist Renewal about the significance of the formation of the PSUV for the Bolivarian Revolution -- debates within the new party, what its relationship with the government should be and the immediate tasks of the PSUV in the struggle for the socialist transformation of Venezuela

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