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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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The AVSN brigadistas at the state-owned Diana Industries.
January 28, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Attached below is a report, plus photos, on the activities undertaken during the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network's (AVSN) brigade to Venezuela last month (December 2013).
A 2014 solidarity brigade will run from December 2-14, 2014. Further information and registration forms will be available on the AVSN website soon, at www.venezuelasolidarity.org.
For more information about the 2014 brigade, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network
Download the report HERE, or read on screen below.
January 17 leadership meeting between the PCF and the Left Party.
[For more on French politics, click HERE.]
By Dick Nichols
January 29, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- To the an almost audible sigh of relief from its tens of thousands of activists, the two main forces in France’s nine-party Left Front (Front de Gauche)—the Communist Party (Parti Communiste Français, PCF) and the Left Party (Parti de Gauche) of Jean-Luc Mélenchon—have called a halt to hostilities that were not only undermining its chances in France’s March municipal elections but also those of the Party of the European Left (PGE) in the May 25 European poll.
Anti-democratic protesters attempt to disrupt pre-poll voting, January 26, 2013.
By Giles Ji Ungpakorn
January 27, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On January 26, the Democrat Party’s mad dogs unleashed violence around Bangkok’s voting stations. Voting stations throughout the country were supposed to be open for people to cast their votes in advance on the February 2 general election. Advanced voting is a required service since it is compulsory for people to cast their ballot.
In many areas of Bangkok, angry residents argued with the anti-democratic protesters. They also protested against local election commissioners who closed voting stations whether or not they were surrounded by Sutep Tuaksuban’s Democrat Party thugs. At some stations the thugs physically attacked citizens who wanted to vote. What happened on the day shows that significant sections of the Bangkok population are opposed to the Democrat Party’s attempts to wreck the election. This will only come as a surprise to those commentators who claim that the Thai crisis is a “rural vs Bangkok” dispute. At the last election almost half of the Bangkok electorate voted for Pheu Thai.
Nearly 100 people met at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum on January 22 for the founding meeting of the Chicago Socialist Campaign. Photo by Isaac Silver.
By Andrew Mortazavi
January 24, 2014 -- In These Times -- If a socialist can win an election in Seattle, why not Chicago? That was the spirit at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Jane Addams Hull House Museum on January 22, where close to 100 Chicagoans gathered for the founding meeting of the Chicago Socialist Campaign.
Drawing on the example of Seattle’s Kshama Sawant—who in November became the first socialist in recent memory elected to a city council—the campaign seeks to run a socialist candidate for alderman in Chicago’s 2015 city council race. Activists also plan to use the electoral effort to amplify the demands of popular movements in Chicago, such as the call for a $15 minimum wage.
The above video presents a summary of the activities of the Partido lakas ng Masa in 2012-2013.
Introduction by Reihana Mohideen
January 24, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following is the English-language translation of a document on bayanihan socialism that was presented at the convention of the Philippines socialist party Partido lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, PLM) in December.2013.
It is an attempt to project more strongly the socialist character of PLM and at the same time to popularise the ideas of socialism to a mass audience in the Philippines. Lessons were drawn from the Latin American experience, of linking the egalitarian principles of socialism with national and Indigenous historical experiences and traditions. It also flows from the understanding that it's no longer enough to struggle around specific issues, but that there is an urgent need to put forward an alternative vision or possibility, that is socialism, in a way that the masses can understand.
Another important question raised in the paper is the restructuring of the working class, towards contractualisation and the growth of the informal economy and the urban poor, which is an important area for ongoing discussion and assessment.
Striking garment workers marching to the Ministry for of Labor Vocational Training with placard demanding US$160 a month minimum wage, December 30. Photo by Workers Information Centre, Cambodia.
By Chrek Sophea, Phnom Penh
January 20, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- I was deeply saddened to read the article by Anne Elizabeth Moore titled “What’s the Price of Workers’ Lives in Cambodia?”, published on January 17 in the US-based Truth-out.org website.
This story contained an outrageous attack on the Cambodian garment workers' demonstration over the minimum wage by a well-known Cambodian blogger, academic and human rights activist Sopheap Chak.
I am used to hearing such arguments from employers as a way to escape from their responsibility to pay workers a decent wage, but I did not expect this from an experienced human rights activist.
Chak, program director for the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), claimed she has been watching the recent events closely, but disparaged the garment workers' campaign for a US$160 a month minimum wage.
[See also Chris Slee's free pamphlet Cuba -- How the workers and peasants made the revolution and "System or siege? Samuel Farber misses the main cause of Cuba's problems", Slee's review of Farber's book Cuba since the revolution of 1959: a critical assessment.]
By Chris Slee
January 21, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Samuel Farber has recently written an article on “The Future of the Cuban Revolution”. This article contains some useful information on “the emergence of new tendencies and debates” in Cuba. But Farber’s article is fundamentally flawed. It contains not a single word about the 55-year-long campaign by the United States government to overturn the Cuban revolution!
Klassenapartheid: Die Wirtschaftspolitik der Mandela-Ära war geprägt von Zugeständnissen an das »big business«
[English at http://links.org.au/node/3620.]
Von Patrick Bond
Analyse & Kritik -- Die Welt trauert um Nelson Mandela, der am 5. Dezember 2013 im Alter von 95 Jahren starb. Wie hat Mandela Südafrika verändert? Und wie viel politischen Spielraum hatte er dabei überhaupt? Südafrika taumelt heute von Krise zu Krise, weshalb sich viele nach Mandelas Regierungszeit zurücksehnen. Diese habe sich grundsätzlich unterschieden vom jetzigen kumpel-kapitalistischen, durch und durch korrupten, auf einer brutalen Sicherheitspolitik beruhenden Regime – so lautet der Tenor. Doch vielleicht wurde die Saat des heutigen politischen Übels schon früher gesät?
Photo by Jim Hinton, Norma Rogers/Carnegie Hall Archives.
By Raj Patel
January 20, 2014 -- Rajpatel.org, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Raj Patel's permission -- This Martin Luther King day, why not celebrate by reading one of MLK’s last speeches, the one delivered at Carnegie Hall on February 23, 1968, to fête the 100th anniversary of the birth of W.E.B. Du Bois?
Well, you can’t.
Not, at least, if you go to the MLK archive (sponsors: JPMorgan Chase & Co.). I wrote to them earlier this week, pointing out that in their million document collection of speeches, letters and pamphlets, they had omitted Dr King’s encomium to the great W.E.B. DuBois. Carnegie Hall recorded the event, and posts a picture (above) celebrating the then-Nobel Laureate’s oratory.
The archives have yet to reply.
By Dick Nichols
January 19, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For decades the People’s Party (PP) of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has believed it has a reliable gun in its political holster—unbending opposition to anything that could be portrayed as linked to Basque Homeland and Freedom (ETA), the left-nationalist armed organisation responsible for more than 800 deaths in its 50-year-long fight against the Spanish state.
However, since ETA’s declaration two years ago of a permanent ceasefire, this particular weapon has started to backfire on the Spanish state’s ruling conservative party.
“We in Swaziland are not doing enough for Palestine”, he said sternly. I replied that I thought they had their hands full already. And I couldn’t help but smile. But the comrade was not amused. He shook his head impatiently. “That’s not how it works. We ask for solidarity so we must give solidarity.”
By Mike Marqusee
January 17, 2014 -- http://www.mikemarqusee.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Further to “If not now, when?” On BDS and ‘singling out’ Israel", opponents of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against apartheid Israel accuse its supporters of unfairly “singling out” Israel while neglecting a host of other deplorable regimes. It seems that until we simultaneously campaign against all outstanding injustices, any campaign against a particular injustice will remain illegitimate.
Presumably, however, the liberal critics of BDS have no objection to the Palestinians themselves “singling out” Israel and campaigning against the particular injustice that affects them. So they’re permitted to call for international support but we are not permitted to answer that call.
By the Socialist Resistance executive committee
January 17, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance -- Socialist Resistance welcomes the news that the comrades who left the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in December as a consequence of the ongoing crisis over the abuse of women in that organisation have launched Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st century group (RS21). We recognise that they have done this in order to continue the struggle for revolutionary politics and we look forward to establishing both practical and political collaboration with them.
We welcome the openness of the statement they have posted on their website and the basic principles around which it is framed.
It is never a time for celebration when an important organisation of the revolutionary left goes into crisis and decline because, ultimately, the whole movement suffers. The question it poses, however, is how to build something new and better out of this experience and how to move on in a positive direction.
By Hao Qi
January 2014 -- Monthly Review -- In the past two decades, China’s economic growth has been increasingly dependent on investment.1 To maintain the growth of investment, China must sustain a fairly high rate of profit, and the fall in labour’s share has been seen as a crucial factor to sustain profitability.2 Using a raw measure of labour’s share—the compensation of employees as a percent of GDP—as shown by the bottom solid line in Chart 1, labour’s share has experienced a major decline from 51.4 percent in 1995 to 42.4 percent in 2007.
The latest land occupation facilitated by the National Land Institute is underway in the south-western state of Apure. Photo by Victor Hugo Majano/Aporrea.org.
By Ewan Robertson, Merida
January 13, 2014 -- Venezuelanalysis -- This year the Venezuelan government plans to continue its pace of land expropriations in order to move towards what it terms “agrarian socialism”.
According to the 2014 national budget, the government’s National Land Institute (INTI) aims to expropriate 350,000 hectares of land this year.
This compares with the goals of 350,000 and 397,000 hectares of land to be expropriated in 2012 and 2013 respectively, after the government began to increase the pace of land expropriations in 2011.
It is estimated that in the decade between 2001, when former president Hugo Chavez passed a law promoting land redistribution, and 2011, the INTI expropriated 3.6 million hectares of agricultural land.
Chicago Teachers Union members during their strike against Democratic Party mayor Rahm Emanuel's assault on public schools.
By Marilena Marchetti
January 14, 2014 -- Socialist Worker (USA) -- The Chicago Teachers Union wants to shake up the city and state political establishment. In a sweeping majority vote, representatives of the union's 23,000 members passed a resolution to launch an independent political organisation (IPO). The goal of the initiative is to unite progressive groups, non-profit organisations and trade unions around political campaigns that have the potential to sustain social movements and activism, rather than empowering Democratic Party candidates who have turned their back on teachers and public education.
The resolution concludes:
RESOLVED that the Chicago Teachers Union, along with key allies in the progressive labour movement and among progressive community organisations will launch an independent political organisation (IPO) that is capable of leading strong electoral and legislative campaigns to benefit working families, our active and retired members, and our communities, and be it further
By Mike Treen, national director of the Unite union (New Zealand)
January 14, 2014 -- The Daily Blog, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the permission of the author -- Everyone from the Pope Francis to US President Barack Obama is bemoaning the effect that inequality is having on the world today. It is even being blamed for the depth of the economic recession and the weakness of the current recovery because it is claimed that poorer people spend a larger portion of their income than the rich who save more and thus more equal income would help revitalise the economy.
By Dan La Botz
January 14, 2014 -- Solidarity (USA), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The Chiapas rebellion led by the Zapatistas took place 20 years ago this month. What was the importance of the rebellion and of the Zapatistas? What was the impact at the time? And what has been its political legacy? What is the role of the Zapatistas in Mexico today?
The Chiapas rebellion had an enormous impact at the time, not only in Mexico but around the world. The EZLN had led the first leftist, armed rebellion since the fall of Communism and the break-up of the Soviet Union just a few years before, suggesting that contrary to claims about the death of the left and the “end of history”, a new left had arisen in the Lacandón Jungle of Chiapas.
Striking garment worker shows spent cartridges from police and military shootings the Veng Sreng Street in Phnom Penh on January 3. Photo by Malay Tim, President Cambodian Youth Network.
* * *
Chrek Sophea, former garment worker and interim coordinator of the Worker’s Information Centre (WIC), a women garment workers' base association in Phnom Penh, interviewed by Peter Boyle
January 9, 2014 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- “Today, after two decades of bluff and lies, the remaining 2°C budget demands revolutionary change to the political and economic hegemony.” That was in a blog posting last year by Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at Manchester University. One of Britain’s most eminent climate scientists, Anderson is also deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.
Or, we might take this blunt message, from an interview in November: “We need bottom-up and top-down action. We need change at all levels.” Uttering those words was Tyndall Centre senior research fellow and Manchester University reader Alice Bows-Larkin. Anderson and Bows-Larkin are world-leading specialists on the challenges of climate change mitigation.