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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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Lessons of Zimbabwe: An exchange between Patrick Bond and Mahmood Mamdani

Aftermath of Mugabe's 2005 Operation Murambatsvina.

By Patrick Bond

December 2008 -- Mahmood Mamdani is an inspiring intellectual and political writer, one of Africa's greatest ever. But I think there are a few points raised in his recent London Review of Books article, ``Lessons of Zimbabwe'' (see full text in the appendix at the end of this article; quotes from Mamdani's article are in indented italics) that are worth debating.

... [Mugabe's] policies have helped lay waste the country's economy, though sanctions have played no small part.

A deeper capitalist malaise engulfed Zimbabwe since around 1974, the year that per capita wealth began to decline, based on overaccumulation of capital and, by the time of structural adjustment in the early 1990s, a turn to the speculative/parasitical mode of not only capital accumulation but also state management. These are not Mugabe's ``policies'', but problems all state managers have faced, nearly everywhere in the world.

France: New Anti-Capitalist Party `a very exciting initiative'

Interview by Jim Jepps

December 22, 2008 -- There's been surprisingly little discussion in the UK on the launching of the New Anti-Capitalist Party (Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste or NPA) over the water in France. I thought I'd take a look at this interesting and significant new development and so I spoke to John Mullen, the editor of Socialisme International, to see if I could find out more.

You recently attended the French launch of the "New Anti-Capitalist Party". How did it go?

The official founding conference will be in January 2009. For the moment there are 400 “committees for a new anti-capitalist party” all over France. The Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR) was the force which proposed and coordinated the foundation, and will dissolve itself into it in a couple of months time. I attended the November national delegate meeting as one of the delegates for my town.

A government in pandemonium: The first nine month of Pakistan Peoples Party rule

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari (left)

By Farooq Tariq

December 22, 2008 -- Instability, price hikes, growing unemployment and rising debts are the hallmarks of the first nine months of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government. There are daily demonstrations across Pakistan around one or another of these issues.

There is a real danger of a war between Pakistan and India after the Mumbai terrorist attack on November 26. The statement by Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari about the doubtful Pakistani identity of Ajmal Qasab, the only terrorist captured alive, did not go down very well within the Indian establishment. The joint war-room meeting of all the Indian government's important officials is a very serious matter.

In defence of Nicaragua's sovereignty, in opposition to imperialist destabilisation

December 21, 2008 -- This is an appeal in defence of Nicaraguan sovereignty, in opposition to an imperialist destablisation campaign to undermine, and possibly topple, the Sandinista government. The pretext, phoney as usual, is the claim that the municipal elections in November were rigged.

But the real aim of this phoney campaign is to blackmail and intimidate the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) government to back down -- and override the will of the majority as expressed in the election and as recognised by the Supreme Electoral Council that includes both FSLN and opposition party supporters. The heavy armament of the campaign is the blocking and withdrawal of important international aid, especially on the part of the USA and some European countries.

The letter below will be presented at the official celebration of the anniversary of the inauguration of the current president on Janaury 10, 2009.

To give your support to this letter, send an email to carta@tortillaconsal.com

Spend the trillions on climate!

Sydney, October 2, 2008. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.

By Martin Khor

December 15, 2008 -- The two crises of our times — economic recession and global warming — should be tackled together. The trillions of dollars earmarked for economic recovery can be spent to fight climate change. The economic crisis should not stop governments from serious action to combat climate change, but should instead be an opportunity to fund climate-related activities.

This was a clear message that came out of the last days of the United Nations climate talks at Poznan in Poland.

The two major crises of our times – the economic recession and global warming – were addressed by the UN secretary-general and some world leaders at the opening ceremony of the ministerial segment of the two-week talks.

If the US and Europe can come up with so many trillions of dollars to save their financial institutions within a few months, surely there is money to tackle the climate crisis, which is a far bigger problem involving the world’s survival.

Indonesia: Protest napalm bomb attack on farmers' settlement!

By Papernas (National Liberation Party of Unity, Indonesia)

December 18, 2008 -- About 1000 thugs sent by PT Arara Abadi and directly led by 500 police, under Riau regional police commander Alex Mandalika, unsparingly attacked, destroyed and burned houses using napalm bombs in Suluk Bongkal village, Riau Province, Indonesia. A two-year-old girl died in the attack.

The attackers said the villagers were newcomers who must be evicted. They were also falsely accused of having ilegally cleared state-owned forest. According to our information, Suluk Bongkal village has been legally acknowledged in the state map made after the Dutch cooperated with the Siak kingdom (around 1940), and in 1959 (after independence) the area was designated as customary rights forest (for Sakal tribe); Suluk Bongkal was included in it. Suluk Bongkal villagers have lived peacefully with the other citizens and surrounding tribes.

Lockerbie, 20 years on: Behind the frame up of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi

To mark the 20th anniversary of the Lockerbie air disaster, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is republishing these important articles. Since their first publication, important new evidence has cast even more doubt on the unjust conviction of  Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi -- see comments section below. 

[Read Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi's legal defence documents HERE.]

By Norm Dixon

February 14, 2001 -- The eminent barrister Horace Rumpole has often noted that the “golden thread running through the history of British justice” is that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty by the prosecution “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Of course, Rumpole is a fictional character created by writer John Mortimer. As the verdict handed down in the Lockerbie bombing trial proves, the “golden thread” is just as fictional.

On January 31, 2001, the three Scottish lords sitting in judgement on the charges against two Libyans accused of planting the bomb that felled Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland on December 21, 1988, found Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi guilty of the murders of the 270 people killed in the disaster. Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah was found not guilty.

* * *

Malaysia: Victory as `cyclists for change' reach parliament after massive police repression

Jerit activists arrive at Malaysia's national parliament

By Oppressed People’s Movement (Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas, Jerit)

December 18, 2008 -- Jerit, Suaram -- People's power has spoken once again! With the roars from a strong crowd of 500 people, the young militant cyclists, who from December 3 conducted their ``Cycle for Change'' campaign throughout Malaysia, pedalled bravely into the grounds of the parliment, which definitely belongs to them, ``THE PEOPLE". After almost 16 days' journey through the states of Malaysia, they brought the people's demands to the ears of their representitives!

The six demands were: 1. Legislate a Minimum Wage Act; 2. Abolish draconian laws; 3. Adequate housing for the people; 4. Control prices; 5. Stop the privatisation of public services; 6. Revive local municipal council elections. The was one of the Jerit's ways of raising awareness about issues like food shortages, global food shortage, environmental problems, draconian laws and the financial crisis -- in an eco-friendly way to boot.

Indigenous-majority Greenland wins self-government

By Ray Bell

December 1, 2008 -- Bella Caledonia -- One of Scotland’s largest neighbours has just voted for independence. I don’t mean England, or Ireland, or Scandinavia, but a country which is bigger than all of these combined. And I use the term “neighbour” loosely, because it is a good few hundred miles across the Atlantic from us, and very few readers will have ever been there.

Greenlanders voted by 3-1 for almost total independence in late November 2008. I say “almost”, because while they don’t get control of defence or foreign policy, they get control of just about everything else. 32 areas of government will be handed over to them. Every political party, but one, in Greenland backed the “yes” vote. Who couldn’t sympathise with this statement that senior politician Hans Jakob Helms made?

“Home rule was a compromise, it’s a simple fact that home rule has reached its limit and there’s a need for more room for self-government.” 

Applied to Scotland, it appears that even the majority of Unionists support this position. The result makes Greenlandic independence pretty much inevitable.

Play Sock and Awe, inspired by Muntadar al-Zaidi

Join the growing international call for the release of Muntadar al-Zaidi! Click here to sign a petition: http://www.iraqsnuclearmirage.com/articles/Zaydi.html

Click HERE for more on Muntadar al-Zaidi.

Workers' Republic - Scenes from a successful factory occupation

When the workers at Republic Windows and Doors -- in Chicago, USA -- were notified their factory would close in three days, they took matters into their own hands. The unionised workers seized control of the factory for six days to demand the entitlements they were owed by law. They also demanded that Bank of America, which was ``bailed out'' with taxpayers' money just weeks before, make funds available to the company to pay the workers. On the sixth day, December 10, 2008, of their occupation, they won all their demands, and showed the world's working class a classic example of people's power.

This short video from Labor Beat (http://www.laborbeat.org) represents a fraction of its coverage of this historic event (something not seen in the USA for decades).

Sign the Belem Ecosocialist Declaration

The following Declaration was prepared by a committee elected for this purpose at the Paris Ecosocialist Conference of 2007 (Ian Angus, Joel Kovel, Michael Löwy), with the help of Danielle Follett. It will be distributed at the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil, in January 2009.

To add your name to the list of signatories who support the analysis and political perspectives set forth in this statement, email your name and country of residence to ecosocialism@gmail.com, or visit http://www.ecosocialistnetwork.org/.


The Belem Ecosocialist Declaration

“The world is suffering from a fever due to climate change,
and the disease is the capitalist development model.”
— Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, September 2007

Release Muntadar al-Zaidi!

December 16, 2008 -- Join the growing international call for the release of Muntadar al-Zaidi! Click here to sign a petition: http://www.iraqsnuclearmirage.com/articles/Zaydi.html

By now, you've all seen the footage of the Iraqi journalist hurling his shoes at George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad on December 14, 2008. See below.

What has not been so widely reported are the words Muntadar al-Zaidi, a correspondent for Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya TV, shouted. As the first shoe was thrown at Bush, he said: "This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog." And with his second shoe, which the president also dodged, al-Zaidi said: "This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq."

Venezuelan elections: Mixed results intensify class struggle

PSUV members rally before the November 23, 2008, elections.

By Christopher Kerr

Electoral politics in Venezuela are primarily an expression of the greater class struggle occurring around them. This general tendency occurs despite efforts by the government to institutionalise the mechanism of elections as the legitimate method of implementing the political project of both blocs of power, and ensuring the transparency and reliability of the electoral process in the eyes of the Venezuelan masses.

Challenges facing Québec solidaire following breakthrough in Quebec election

Québec solidaire's Amir Khadir (left) has been elected to the Québec National Assembly.

By Richard Fidler

December 15, 2008 -- In the December 8 Québec general election, the Liberal government headed by Jean Charest was re-elected with 66 seats, turning its minority status before the election into a thin majority of seats in the National Assembly. The sovereigntist Parti québécois (PQ), benefiting from a late surge in the polls, was elected in 51 seats and replaced the right-wing Action Démocratique du Québec (ADQ) as official parliamentary opposition. The ADQ elected only seven members.

India must not succumb to the US strategy of proliferation of terror

By Dipankar Bhattacharya

December 15, 2008 -- The recent siege of Mumbai for nearly three days by a small band of well-trained terrorists has almost universally come to be described as ``India’s 9/11’’. In terms of sheer audacity of planning and execution, the places targeted and the scale and range of people killed and injured, the Mumbai terror siege can surely be bracketed with the original 9/11, and in terms of the duration of the skirmish it can also claim to have left the original way behind.

The analogy between New York 9/11 and Mumbai 26/11 must not however be confined to these operational details. What is most important is to recognise the Mumbai attack was an extension of the same terror trajectory that struck New York seven years ago. What should we learn from this?

Thailand: `Cockroaches' take over

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Bangkok, December 15, 2008 -- The appointment of ``Democrat'' Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva as the new Prime Minister of Thailand is the final stage of the second coup against an elected government. After the deliberate chaos created by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) seizure of the airports, the courts stepped in to dissolve the hugely popular governing Thai Rak Thai (Peoples Power Party) for the second time. [The constitutional court dissolved the party for fraud in the 2007 election that brought it to power.] The army chief then called a meeting of Democrat Party parliamentarians, along with some of the most corrupt elements of the governing coalition parties. It is widely believed that the army chief and others threatened and bribed MPs to change sides. Chief among them is ``Newin Chitchorp'', who was named by his father after the infamous Burmese dictator.

Greece: Left prospects in the post-PASOK era

By Michalis Spourdalakis

In the last few years, the political alignments in the European Union (EU) countries have changed drastically. In the 1990s, social-democratic parties and centre-left political forces were dominant. Under the banners of “progressive governance” or “modernisation” these parties ruled numerous countries and dominated the political scene on the continent.

Today, it is no secret that after long years in government, these political forces, what some like to call the “governmental left” are, to say the least, in retreat. It is indeed no secret that social democracy is in deep crisis: the recent congress of the French Socialists proved that this party is going through a period of self-questioning over the issue of its leadership, but also that it had nothing new to offer or, as a conservative daily commented, it appears as if “it does not think any more”.

John Bellamy Foster: The great financial crisis: causes and consequences

A November 3, 2008, public lecture by John Bellamy Foster, editor of Monthly Review and co-author (with Fred Magdoff) of The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences, which will published by Monthly Review Press in January 2009. See also ``Financial implosion and stagnation: Back to the real economy'' , by John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff.

Climate Justice Now! Network: Radical new agenda urgently needed!

Poznan, Poland, December 12, 2008 – Members of the Climate Justice Now! Network – representing more than 160 organisations fighting for climate justice – issued today a joint statement calling for a radical change in direction to put climate justice and people's rights at the centre of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations.

The statement asserts (see below) that: "Solutions to the climate crisis will not come from industrialised countries and big business. Effective and enduring solutions will come from those who have protected the environment – Indigenous Peoples, women, peasant and family farmers, fisherfolk, forest dependent communities, youth and marginalised and affected communities in the global South and North."

Alicia Munoz from Via Campesina in Chile stated, "We are shocked by the level of corruption that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has reached in allowing corporations to take over the political space and process of climate negotiations."

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