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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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Zimbabwe and the strategy of resistance

By Dale T. McKinley

April, 2008 -- The character and content of the past and ongoing political, economic, social/humanitarian and (progressive) organisational crisis in Zimbabwe has received huge amounts of analytical and empirical attention from the broad left in Southern Africa and, to a lesser extent, from the global left. Several books, numerous essays/articles, frequent seminars/workshops and countless blogs and emails have been offered on almost every aspect of the crisis. While these efforts have certainly provided much-needed intellectual stimulation/debate, important information, degrees of organisational impetus and knowledge-generation about the crisis, and have often catalysed practical efforts to assist, and be in solidarity with, progressive forces in Zimbabwe, the Achilles heel of the struggle for a new Zimbabwe -- the strategy and tactics of resistance/opposition -– has, for the most part, been treated as a ``poor cousin'', forever condemned to sit on the margins of the main ``conversation'' and struggle.

Orwell’s Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four: Critiques of Stalinism `from the left’?

Review by Alex Miller

This essay is the result of a re-reading of George Orwell’s two most famous novels. Both Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four have acquired the status of textbooks, and are routinely used in schools to demonstrate to children the inherent dangers of social revolution. It is time for a reappraisal.

The ``Centenary Edition’’ of George Orwell’s Animal Farm contains a preface written by Orwell for the first edition (Secker and Warburg, 1945) but never published, together with a preface that he wrote specially for a translation for displaced Ukrainians living under British and US administration after World War II.

* * *

A rough guide to the Italian election

Right-winger Silvio Berlusconi's election victory on April 13-14, the disastrous results for the Rainbow Left (Sinistra Arcobaleno) -- `` new party born old’’ -- and the increased number of no-voters in this election present new yet anticipated challenges for the radical left in Italy. Below, Paolo Gerbaudo discusses the election result and the challenge for the Italian

Socialist Alliance: Let the Tibetans decide their future

By Dick Nichols

April 26, 2008 -- The protests and arrests in Lhasa and the demonstrations and counter-demonstrations around the Olympic torch relay has re-focused the world on the plight of Tibetans. This has, in turn, sparked a debate on the left about whether the Tibetan struggle is a just one, or not what it seems. The Socialist Alliance national executive decided at its April meeting that the right to self-determination applies as much to the Tibetans as to any other people. It’s not for others to decide according to some private benchmark of oppression whether or not the Tibetans are “really” oppressed. Obviously, the protests in Lhasa and other centres reflect deep feelings of discrimination and alienation: these things cannot be manufactured.

In this context it is irrelevant that some in the West, especially high-profile Hollywood followers of the Dalai Lama, believe in the weird delusion that old theocratic Tibet was a Shangri-la that was cruelly destroyed by the “Chinese communist dictatorship”. The fact that the Tibetan resistance army up until 1959 was funded and trained by the CIA is also irrelevant.

Michael A. Lebowitz: La jornada laboral capitalista y la jornada laboral socialista

By Michael A. Lebowitz

[Translation by J. Duckworth]

A medida que el primero de mayo se acerca, vale la pena recordar cuatro aspectos sobre ese día:

1. Para l@s trabajador@s el primero de mayo no es la celebración de un día feriado estatal, ni un regalo de él, sino que conmemorara es la lucha —desde abajo— de l@s trabajador@s.

2. Inicialmente, el primero de mayo se centraba en la lucha por una jornada laboral mas corta.

3. La lucha para una jornada laboral mas corta no es una lucha aislada sino la lucha contra la explotación capitalista.

4. La lucha contra la explotación capitalista es una parte esencial pero no es la única parte de la lucha general contra el capitalismo.

Hoy quiero exponer algunas ideas que se refieren tanto a la jornada laboral capitalista como a la socialista y espero que ellas puedan ser útiles en la lucha actual en Venezuela y que sirvan, de manera más inmediata, a los debates de hoy.

Michael A. Lebowitz: May Day -- The capitalist workday, the socialist workday

By Michael A. Lebowitz

April 24, 2008 -- As May Day approaches, there are four things that are worth remembering:

1. For workers, May Day does not celebrate a state holiday or gifts from the state but commemorates the struggle of workers from below.

2. The initial focus of May Day was a struggle for the shorter workday.

3. The struggle for the shorter workday is not an isolated struggle but is the struggle against capitalist exploitation.

Left regroupment: issues and prospects

The left in Britain has been better at coming apart than coming together in the last year. Gregor Gall, a member of the Scottish Socialist Party, examines the prospects for left regroupment in Britain and Scotland, and looks to Europe to see if there are lessons to learn.

***

Bolivia: Sign-on statement to oppose attempt to divide Bolivia

The conspiracy to divide Bolivia must be denounced

The process of changes in favor of the Bolivian majority is at risk of being brutally restrained. The rise to power of an Indigenous president with unprecedented support in that country and his programs of popular benefits and recovery of the natural resources have had to face the conspiracies of the oligarchy and United States interference from the very beginning.

In recent days the increase in conspiracy has reached its climax. The subversive and unconstitutional actions of the oligarchic groups to try to divide the Bolivian nation reflect the racist and elitist minds of these sectors and constitute a very dangerous precedent not only for the country’s integrity, but for other countries in our region.

History shows with ample eloquence, the terrible consequences that the divisionary and separatist processes supported and induced by foreign interests have had for humanity.

Climate Crisis — Urgent Action Needed Now!

Statement initiated by participants in the Climate Change|Social Change conference, Sydney, Australia, April 11-13, 2008. The statement is now available at to be signed online at http://www.petitiononline.com/Nelmezzo/petition.html. Please distribute this information to your networks, and get all who are serious about fighting global warming to sign on.

The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. For video and audio from the conference, please click here.

The following statement was started by the participants in the Climate Change|Social Change conference. It is being distributed to environmental, trade union, Indigenous, migrant, religious and community organisations to help build the movement against global warming.

Marxism and the environment -- John Bellamy Foster

Marxism and the environment was a workshop given by John Bellamy Foster to the Climate Change Social Change Conference, in Sydney on April 12, 2008. Foster is editor of Monthly Review (USA) and author of Marx's Ecology. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. For more audio and video of John Bellamy Foster on related topics, go to http://links.org.au/node/343


South Africa: A victory for workers' solidarity with the Zimbabwean people

By Patrick Craven, COSATU

April 22, 2008 -- The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes the statement by a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman that the China Ocean Shipping Company which owns the An Yue Jiang, has decided to recall the ship because Zimbabwe cannot take delivery of the 77 tonnes of weapons and ammunition onboard.

If true, this is an historic victory for the international trade union movement and civil society, and in particular for the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), whose members refused to unload or transport its deadly cargo.

Protest banner being removed from China's Pretoria embassy.

Protest banner being removed from China's Pretoria embassy. 

 

Venezuela: Sidor nationalisation marks ‘new revolution within revolution’

By Stalin Perez Borges

Introduction by Green Left Weekly:

April 19, 2008 -- Denouncing the “coloniser attitude” and “barbarous exploitation” of workers by the management of the Sidor steel company, Venezuelan Vice President Ramon Carrizalez announced at 1.30am on April 9 that President Hugo Chavez had decided to nationalise the company.

“This is a government that protects workers and will never take the side of a transnational company”, said Carrizalez.

The decision of the Chavez government to nationalise Sidor has begun the process of returning to state hands one of the most important steel factories of Latin America, located in the heartland of Venezuela’s industrial belt in Guayana.

Sidor was privatised in 1997, one year before Chavez was elected. The major share-holder has been an Argentinean-controlled conglomerate Techint. Since privatisation, the workforce has been slashed from around 15,000 to just over 5000 and the company has used contract labour in violation of a government decree banning the practice.

Tibet and the `Olympic tradition'

Below are two articles discussing the protests against the Olympic torch relay by supporters of Tibet's right to national self-determination. The first appeared in Green Left Weekly. The second is by Pierre Rousset, a member of the French Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) and editor of the Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières (ESSF) website. It was translated for Links -- International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- by Katie Cherrington.

***

Pro-Tibet protests grow — why Tibet deserves justice

By Tony Iltis

April 19, 2008 -- Australian Capital Territory (ACT) police have been given enhanced stop-and-search powers for dealing with protests planned for the Canberra leg of the global Olympic torch relay on April 24. This comes as protests by the Tibetan diaspora and their supporters have turned the torch’s world tour into a public relations disaster for the Beijing Olympics.

Continued below photos ...

*** Stop press, April 24 ***

Climate change solutions: what role for the market? & Equity in energy consumption -- Patrick Bond

Two talks by Patrick Bond, delivered at the Climate Change Social Change Conference, Sydney, April 12, 2008.

Climate change solutions: what role for the market?

Patrick Bond, University of KwaZulu-Natal; editor of Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society
John Kaye, Greens NSW MLC
Stuart Rosewarne, co-editor Journal of Australian Political Economy and Capitalism, Nature, Socialism

Malaysia: Newly launched People's Alliance claims it is ready to topple government

S. Arutchelvan interviewed by Peter Boyle

April 18, 2008 -- There have been dramatic developments in Malaysia since the ruling National Front (Barisan Nasional – BN) government had its majority in parliament reduced sharply in general elections on March 8. Opposition parties, which won five out of 13 state governments, formed a new People’s Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat) on April 1. Police disrupted a large opposition rally on April 14 to mark the end of the government’s five year ban on opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim participating in politics. Anwar claimed at the rally he now has enough defections from government MPs to form a federal government but will not make the move until he increases his majority. At this stage, the People's Alliance comprises the Justice Party (Parti Keadilan – PKR), the Islamic Party (PAS) and the Democratic Action Party (DAP).

Cuba: The challenge of fossil fuels and climate change

Roberto Perez, Cuban biologist and permaculturalist, Antonio Núñez Jimenez Foundation for Nature and Humanity, a Cuban NGO. Feature talk at the Climate Change Social Change Conference, Sydney, April 12, 2008. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly.

 

Audio: John Bellamy Foster on `Ecology, capitalism and socialism'

John Bellamy Foster's feature talk, recorded at the Climate Change Social Change Conference on April 12, 2008. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. Foster is editor of Monthly Review and author of Marx's Ecology: Materialism and Nature.

*NEW* Links Education for Socialists media player

A new addition to the Links - International Journal of Socialist Renewal - website is the Education for Socialists media player. It provides a selection of audio discussions of Marxist theory, history and politics. Use the player below, click here to open it in a new window while you explore the rest of the Links site, or access it anytime from the navigation menu on the left of the home page.

 

Zimbabwe: Only mass mobilisation can defeat the Mugabe dictatorship

By the International Socialist Organization (Zimbabwe)

April 11, 2008 -- The March 29, 2008, elections have brought into sharp relief the escalating crisis in Zimbabwe. [At the time of writing] the government–appointed Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has not announced the results of the presidential election, which the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change led by former trade union leader Morgan Tsvangirai -- MDC(T) [a marginal faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara, also stood] claims to have won by a margin of more than 50%. The results for the parliamentary election show that the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), led by Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, has lost its majority to the opposition for the first time since independence.

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.

***

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.

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