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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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Pakistan: Social and economic crisis -- background and perspectives

Click for more on Pakistan.

By Farooq Tariq

February 11, 2008 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Pakistan is once again in the grip of military rule. Since 1999, the military generals have taken over the state and have ruled in the name of a ``smooth transition to democracy''. Thirty-three years of Pakistan's more than 60 years of existence have been under direct military rule. That reveals the real state of democracy, peace and security in Pakistan.

To understand the shortcomings of the democratic system in, and governance of, Pakistan, one must see where the weaknesses are in the political structure of the country. To begin with, government power is concentrated in the hands of an elitist bureaucracy and an over-ambitious military. The deeply rooted dominant feudal system in most of Pakistan and the weak capitalist class shares a common interest with the army, that is to loot and plunder national assets under the rule of suppression.

The religious grip on the society has played an important part in sustaining the military rulers and the politics of suppression in the name of ``fate'' and god-given circumstances. The religious political parties have taken refuge under military rule directly, but after 9/11, the rules are changing. The traditional partnership of mullah and military is no longer the same and is breaking down under the pretext of the ``war on terror''.

Video: Venezuela April 13 - How youth of the barrios fought to restore democracy

Venezuela suffered a US-backed coup d'etat on April 11, 2002. This is the story of the youth of the barrios who fought to restore democracy and president Hugo Chávez.With Hip Hop group Área 23. Produced by
Ávila TV. Directed by David Segarra and Ángela Mimiaga. Click here to watch: http://links.org.au/node/276 

Malaysia: PSM supports Chavez in building socialism; inspires the people's movement worldwide

February 6, 2008 -- This morning, Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) leaders met with Venezuela mbassador, Manuel Guzm'an and first secretary, Carlos J. Paez to express our continued support for the revolutionary efforts undertaken by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in his move to build ``socialism in the 21st century.

Letter from Malaysia: Why the government attacked the January 26 protest

By S. Arutchelvan

On behalf of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and members of the Movement of the Oppressed people (JERIT), I would like to thank all of you for your support, solidarity and urgent appeals which I believe did help in securing our early release and reduce intimidation of comrades in detention.

South Africa: Two economies - or one system of superexploitation

By Patrick Bond
[The following is the introduction to ``Transcending two economies – renewed debates in South African political economy'', a special issue of Africanus, Journal of Development Studies (Vol. 37 No. 2 2007, ISSN 0304-615x). It is republished with permission.The full issue is available for free download at http://www.nu.ac.za/ccs/files/africanus_1.pdf ]

Portugal: Where is the Left Bloc going?

On June 2-3, 2007 the Fifth National Convention of the Left Bloc took place in Lisbon. Since its creation in 1999, this unitary organisation of the anti-capitalist Left in Portugal has strongly consolidated itself and has established a presence in the country. Today it has become a significant force, with 4200 members, an active presence in struggles and social movements, as well as 350 local councillors and eight members of parliament. The following interview with Francisco Louça was conducted on July 7, 2007. It was conducted by Jean Batou of the Swiss organisation SolidariteS.

Q. The Left Bloc is a pluralist party of the socialist Left. How does it define itself in relation to the hard core of the socialist program, in the strong sense of the term, i.e. to the socialisation of the large-scale means of production, distribution, credit, etc? How do you tackle the key question of property in your program? Is it possible to refound an anti-capitalist left without taking a clear position on this question?

Germany: Die Linke electoral breakthrough

Statement by Die Linke central office, Berlin

January 28, 2008 -- DIE LINKE (The Left) emerged successful from regional elections on Sunday, January 27, 2008, in the German federal states of Hesse and Lower Saxony. After the state of Bremen, where the party in May 2007 for the first time entered a West German federal state parliament, DIE LINKE will have parliamentarians in two further West German states.

In Lower Saxony (capital: Hannover), the party got 7.1% of the vote, while in Hesse (capital: Wiesbaden) it just stepped over the 5% threshold with 5.1%. In both counties, the big parties had tried to prevent DIE LINKE entering parliament with anti-communist campaigning.

Indianismo and Marxism: The mismatch of two revolutionary rationales

Introduction by Richard Fidler -- This important article by Álvaro García Linera, now vice-president of Bolivia, was first published in 2005. It traces the contradictory evolution of the two most influential revolutionary currents in the country's 20th century history and argues that Marxism, as originally interpreted by its Bolivian adherents, failed to address the outstanding concerns of the Indigenous majority. García Linera suggests, however, that the evolution of indianismo in recent decades opens perspectives for a renewal of Marxist thought and potentially the reconciliation of the two currents in a higher synthesis. Although framed within the Bolivian context, his argument clearly has implications for the national and anti-imperialist struggle in other parts of Abya Yale (the indigenous name for the western hemisphere).

Although Bolivia won formal independence from Spain in 1825, its national character remained fragile and incomplete. Not only did it lose significant territories over the years — to Brazil, Chile and, in the 1930s, Paraguay (the Chaco War) — the continuing existence of semifeudal property relations in agriculture deprived its overwhelmingly campesino Indigenous majority of property in land and was the material basis for their oppression as peoples. Indianismo developed among Bolivia's three dozen Indigenous peoples as an ideological reaction to this oppression, but only in recent years has it emerged as a dominant force in the political life of the country, in a process outlined by García Linera in the following article.

Video: Chavez on food sovereignty

Click here to see and hear Venezela's President Hugo Chavez discuss food sovereignty in Latin America, Africa and the world.

http://www.links.org.au/node/262

Venezuela: Draft program and principles of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV)

[Below, Links provides translations of the draft program and principles of the provisionally named United Socialist Party of Venezuela, which are currently being discussed at its founding congress. The documents were drafted by the provisional leadership of the PSUV.

Pakistan collapsing, Musharraf must go

By Farooq Tariq

January 18, 2008 -- Pakistan is on the fast track to collapse under the Pervez Musharraf dictatorship. The state is in immense crisis. The infrastructure, industrial and social, is in total chaos. The economic crisis is showing its muscles. Inflation is uncontrollable and unemployment is ever increasing.

The vast majority of ordinary people of Pakistan believe that Musharraf will never leave power alive: ``If he is not killed, he will kill us all one by one.'' He has become the most unpopular president of Pakistan. Musharraf is widely seen as a person who has orchestrated the murder of Benazir Bhutto. ``Qaatal Qaatal Musharraf Qaatal''(``Murderer the murderer, Musharraf the murderer'') was the main slogan of the mass reaction to Bhutto's assassination.

What kind of left for the 21st century? Democratic Centralism and broad left parties

Socialist Resistance steering comittee

January 2008 -- Since the beginning of the decade important steps have been made in rebuilding the left internationally, following the working class defeats of the ‘80s and ‘90s and the negative impact of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Broad parties and narrow visions: the SWP and Respect

By Murray Smith

January 4, 2008 -- The crisis which has led to a split in Respect is an important development, affecting as it does the principal force of the radical left in England. The future will tell us whether the current crisis represents just another failure, another dead-end, another missed opportunity for the English left, or whether, as seems increasingly possible, it offers Respect itself the chance for a renewal and is perhaps a step on the road towards a broader formation.

Whichever way you look at it, the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) is at the centre of the crisis. It is or was the central component of Respect, as it had been of the Socialist Alliance which preceded it, and it has been one of the main protagonists in the conflict that has engulfed Respect. So I want to look at what has happened from the point of view of the relationship between the SWP, a traditional far-left organisation, and the broader left formation that Respect is. I think there are some lessons to be learned which go beyond Britain.

Malaysia: Continued repression by government

Statement by Sivarajan Arumugam on behalf of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM)

India: CPI (ML)'s Kolkata Congress: People's Resistance, Left Resurgence

January 7, 2008 -- The Eighth Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) [CPI (ML)] has been held successfully in Kolkata. Held in the 150th anniversary of the First Indian War of Independence and the birth centenary of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, the 8th Congress boldly underlined the glorious anti-imperialist legacy of the Indian people.

Book review: Cuban Communist makes case for international revolution

By John Riddell

Latin America at the Crossroads. By Roberto Regalado. Translation by Peter Gellert. Ocean Press (www.oceanbooks.com.au), 2007, US$17.95; America latina entre siglos. Ocean Press, 2007, US$17.95.

This compact book by Roberto Regalado, a veteran member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, strongly reaffirms the need for revolution in Latin America and beyond.

Regalado, a section chief in the Cuban CP's Department of International Relations, is anything but dogmatic. He is attentive to recent new trends in Latin American economics and politics, and respectful toward the diverse currents of socialist opinion. He stresses the importance of the new features of Latin American social struggles: the role of peasants, the landless, indigenous peoples, women, environmentalists and others.

But his careful and unpretentious analysis leads toward a striking conclusion: only a revolutionary seizure of political power by the masses can open the road to social progress south of the Rio Bravo and even within the imperialist countries.

Advent of neoliberalism

In just 232 pages Regalado provides a handbook of Marxist politics, outlining Marxism's basic anti-capitalist premise and examining closely the evolution of revolutionary and reformist schools of thought through the 20th century.

DSP Congress reaffirms commitment to broad left regroupment

By Peter Boyle
January 7, 2008 -- The 23rd Congress of the Democratic Socialist Perspective, a Marxist endency in the Socialist Alliance in Australia, reaffirmed its commitment o broader left regroupment.

The Congress noted that a new political terrain was opening up with the
election of the Rudd Labor government on the back of a mass campaign of opposition to the anti-worker "Work Choices" laws introduced by the former Liberal-National government.

Pakistan: Refusing to break with feudal traditions

By Farooq Tariq
December 31, 2007 -- The appointment of Benazir Bhutto's son, 19-year-old Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, as the new chair of the Pakistan Peoples Party is an attempt to keep the feudal traditions of politics alive in South Asia. The PPP Central Executive Committee unanimously approved the appointment of Bilawal Asif Zardari at its December 30 meeting at Nuedero Sind.

According to Benazir Bhutto's will, read out in the meeting, Asif Zardari, her husband, was to be appointed as PPP chair in her absence. However, Asif Zardari suggested his son as the new chair.

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