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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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Aotearoa/New Zealand: Corporate parties, media gang-up to defeat Internet MANA

Hone Harawira (centre) with John Minto (right).

For more on the MANA party, click HERE. For more on Aotearoa/New Zealand, click HERE.

By John Minto

September 22, 2014 -- Daily Blog -- It was always going to be a hard task for MANA party leader  Hone Harawira to hold onto his Te Tai Tokerau seat in the September 20 general election when the political establishment united in a coalition to defeat him and the chance for Internet MANA to bring more MPs into parliament.

From the outset Labour Party candidate Kelvin Davis announced he was going hard-out to win the seat despite any sane strategist realising at that stage that Labour would almost certainly need Internet MANA votes in a coalition of the left to change the government. Killing off MANA’s parliamentary representation would be a self-defeating strategy. However Davis was quickly backed up by several more of the party’s right-wing MPs such as Phil Goff and Chris Hipkins and then by Labour leader David Cunliffe.

Escocia: el 45% votó a favor de la independencia a pesar de la campaña del miedo

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4062.]

Por Alister Black, Glasgow

21/09/ 2014 -- Sinpermiso -- Después de dos años de campaña, referéndum de independencia de Escocia ha terminado. La victoria ha sido para el NO, para quienes se oponen a la independencia, con un respaldo del 55% en comparación al 45% que apoyó un SI a la independencia.

El referéndum registró un nivel sin precedentes de participación y debate en toda Escocia. Esto se reflejó en la enorme participación sin precedentes del 84,59%, que invierte la tendencia de las últimas décadas de un declive de la participación electoral. Algunas zonas rurales han tenido un 100% de participación.

Los activistas independentistas, especialmente de la Campaña Radical por la Independencia, registraron en el censo electoral a miles de personas, en especial en las comunidades más pobres y marginadas de Escocia, en las que mucha gente había dejado de registrarse y votar desde la campaña contra la contribución urbana (poll tax).

Brasile: l’ascesa di Marina Silva è una conseguenza dei fallimenti e non del successo della sinistra

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4059.]

Di Federico Fuentes

16 settembre 2014 -- ZNet Italy -- A due settimane dalle elezioni nazionali del Brasile del 5 ottobre la grande notizia è stata il significativo aumento dell’appoggio a Marina Silva, ex ministro di governo del Partito dei Lavoratori (PT) ed attivista ambientalista; alcuni sondaggi predicono che potrebbe vincere la corsa alla presidenza.

La presidente in carica e candidata del PT Dilma Rousseff, mantiene uno stretto vantaggio su Marina, ma le elezioni andranno certamente a un ballottaggio il 26 ottobre.

Se questo succederà, le indicazioni attuali sono che Marina ha una probabilità di vincere, una notevole impresa dato che poco più di un mese fa non era neanche candidata alla presidenza.
La sua candidatura è arrivata soltanto come conseguenza della morte avvenuta il 13 agosto del candidato presidenziale del Partito Socialista Brasiliano (PSB), Eduardo Campos. Avendo in precedenza assunto l’incarico della vice presidenza come parte di un accordo tra il PSB e il suo proprio partito non registrato, la Rete di Sostenibilità, Marina è stata promossa a candidata alla presidenza.

Scotland: 45% vote Yes despite ruling class panic; Business as usual is not an option; Labour for Independence statement

By Alister Black, Glasgow

September 20, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- After two years of campaigning, Scotland’s independence referendum has ended. It saw victory for the No side, the opponents of independence, with 55% compared to 45% who backed a Yes to independence.

The referendum saw an unprecedented level of political engagement and debate throughout Scotland. This was reflected in the huge and unprecedented turnout of 84.59%, reversing the trend of recent decades of dwindling poll turnouts. Some rural areas even recorded 100% turnout.

Pro-independence campaigners, especially around the Radical Independence Campaign, registered thousands to vote in Scotland’s poorest and most marginalised communities, where many had been off the voters roll since the days of the poll tax.

We spoke to people who had never voted and needed the process explained. These alienated communities were enfranchised by the referendum.

Catalonia and the Spanish state on collision course

1.8 million people (25% of the population of Catalonia), took part in this year’s September 11 Diada demonstration. More pictures HERE.

Click for more on political developments in Catalonia and the Spanish state.

By Dick Nichols

September 17, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This year’s September 11 Catalan national day (Diada) demonstration, in support of the Catalan parliament’s planned November 9 popular consultation on Catalan statehood, was the biggest since the present cycle of mobilisations for the country’s right to national self-determination began four years ago.

Brazil: Marina Silva’s rise is a result of the left’s failures

Marina Silva.

For more on Brazil, click HERE.

By Federico Fuentes

September 16, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- A fortnight out from Brazil’s October 5 national election, the big news has been the significant surge in support for Marina Silva, a former Workers’ Party (PT) government minister and environmental activist, with some polls predicting she could end up winning the presidential race.

Incumbent president and PT candidate Dilma Rousseff maintains a narrow lead over Silva, but the elections will almost certainly go to a second round run-off on October 26. 

If this occurs, current indications are that Marina Silva has a chance of winning, a remarkable feat given that a little over a month ago she was not even a presidential candidate.

South Africa: Workers need to speak with 'one voice', but whose voice?

[For more on COSATU, click HERE. For more on South Africa, click HERE.]

By Terry Bell, Cape Town

September 14, 2014 -- Terry Bell Writes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission --  The labour movement is coming under increasing pressure as the global economic crisis continues to bite. On the South African front the pressure is growing as the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) labour federation fails to deal with the internal divisions that threaten to tear the federation apart. Or at least further fragment the country’s largest union organisation.

This much has been admitted by COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. He noted in August that “unions are in a state of paralysis”. Addressing the Food and Allied Workers’ Union congress in Johannesburg he said that “workers’ issues are being sidelined even by COSATU itself”. And it is the unions themselves that should sort these matters out.

NATO’s new cold war redraws left, liberal views on imperialism and war

The right-wing Canadian government endorsed a "Ukrainian Independence Day" celebration in Toronto that openly raised funds for the fascist Right Sector organisation and at which the group's red and black flags were displayed prominently.

By Roger Annis

September 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Just under 25 years ago, the Cold War ended with a capitalist triumph. The nationalised economies and political structures of the Soviet Union and eastern Europe collapsed and a transition to a harsh, anti-social capitalism began.

In the years that followed, an eastward expansion was undertaken by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the military alliance of the imperialist countries of Europe and North America. Many of the countries of eastern Europe joined the alliance, in explicit defiance of agreements by NATO with post-Soviet Russia not to expand in this way.

Decline and fall: The US SWP’s final embrace of Zionism

Israel blasts Gaza. The SWP’s response to the one-sided slaughter this summer illustrates the political and moral depths to which the group has descended.

By Art Young

September 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- At its peak in the 1960s and early 1970s the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in the United States was the largest group to the left of the Communist Party and a major pole of attraction for radicalising youth. It was also the most dynamic and creative Marxist organisation in the USA.

The SWP of today bears no resemblance to that organisation. It now consists of a few hundred members and supporters, many of them in their 50s and older, together with a few dozen followers with the same demographic in other countries. Deliberately cutting itself off from most arenas of struggle, the SWP has little influence and few prospects for renewal. Like most left sects, its prime imperative appears to be the perpetuation of the sect and the position of its maximum leader, Jack Barnes.

Escocia: Dossier sobre el referéndum de septiembre por la independencia

[English (first item) at http://links.org.au/node/4051.]

11 de septiembre -- Sinpermiso.info -- Después de la gran manifestación popular del 11 de septiembre en Cataluña que centró el interés de los grandes medios de comunicación, el 18 de septiembre la atención de gran parte del mundo estará puesta en Escocia. Este dossier sobre el referéndum que el próximo 18 de septiembre se realizará en esta nación sobre la independencia o no del Reino Unido, consta de varios artículos y entrevistas de los siguientes autores: Alister Black, William Black, George Monbiot, Owen Jones, Andy Robinson.

Descarga aquí o leer en la pantalla de abajo.

United States: Marxists and the lost Labor Party of 1923

1919 US Labor Party convention.

By Eric Blanc

September 10, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Discussions on how to break working people from the hold of the Democratic Party have acquired a new immediacy as a result of the recent electoral victories of independent working-class candidates in Seattle, Washington, and Lorraine, Ohio, as well as the campaign for Chicago union leader Karen Lewis to run as an independent for mayor. Those interested in promoting independent politics today may benefit from studying the rich experience of the labor party movement in the United States of the early 1920s.

Pamphlet: The case for an independent socialist Scotland

Download the full pamphlet HERE or read on screen below.

By Colin Fox, Scottish Socialist Party national co-spokesperson and Yes Scotland advisory board member

September 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On September 18, 2014, Scotland will go to the polls to decide whether to remain part of the 300-year-old political union that is the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" or become the world’s newest independent country. The decision will have far reaching consequences either way.

For the British state, Scottish independence represents a huge threat, a profound loss of economic and political power and influence at home and abroad. Consequently, it is dead-set against it and it will do its utmost to stop that from happening.

For the independence movement, the stakes are equally high. The referendum offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure self-determination for Scotland, to establish a left-of-centre social-democratic state and free 5 million Scots from the yoke of British imperialism.

A lesson in humility for ‘New Atheists’

Christianity, Islam and Atheism: Reflections on Religion, Society and Politics
By Michael Cooke.
Sydney: Resistance Books, 2014.
Order HERE.

Review by Ben Courtice

September 11, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For a time I stopped referring to myself as an atheist in public. I was intensely embarrassed by seeing ads on buses promoting atheism around the time of the World Atheist Conference in Melbourne. For a while I simply became “not religious” for public purposes. I found it embarrassing because public evangelism is the one thing that particularly galls me about religion.

I didn't change my opinions, but this book does a good job of outlining why I felt as I did, in far more insightful terms than I ever thought of.

Scotland: What explains the surge in support for independence?

Alister Black interviewed by Dick Nichols

September 9, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- In Scotland, a remarkable popular movement, the campaign for independence, is heading towards the September 18 referendum on whether the country will remain part of the United Kingdom.

The fight for socialism in Slovenia: interview with Anej Korsika (Initiative for Democratic Socialism)

For more on the Initiative for Democratic Socialism, click HERE.

Anej Korsika interviewed by James Robertson

September 1, 2014 -- Left East, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

James Robertson: Let’s start with a brief history of the Initiative for Democratic Socialism (IDS) and its role in the formation of the Združena levica (UL, United Left) earlier this year. What are the origins of IDS? 

Anej Korsika: The Initiative for Democratic Socialism, to use the old cliche, has a short history and a long past. Officially, the party was founded on March 8 this year. However when one wants to grasp the gradual formation of the party, one needs to take into consideration a much longer timeline.

France: Front de Gauche debates ‘uniting the people’ vs ‘uniting the left’

"We want to federate the people" -- Front de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Melenchon.

By Liam Flenady, Brussels

September 14, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- About 200 activists from France’s Front de Gauche (Left Front) gathered in Paris on September 6 to discuss the group’s future. The front has been in limbo over the past few months after disagreements about strategy led to a weak performance in the European and local council elections in May.

The meeting took place at a time of controversy in French politics. The once social-democratic Socialist Party (PS) President Fancois Hollande had sacked the cabinet and appointed a new one — the second time since the start of the year — and the far-right National Front (FN) topped the presidential opinion polls for the first time.

On top of this, Jean-Luc Melenchon, the leader of the Parti de Gauche (Left Party) that is one of main groups in the Left Front, stood down as Left Front co-president. Melenchon announced he would soon launch a new Movement for a Sixth Republic.

This political instability is an outgrowth of a deeper economic malaise. Since Hollande’s election in 2012, the economy has stood on shaky ground. The economy has stagnated for the first two quarters of the year.

Socialist Alliance: 'No Australian military involvement in Iraq'; 'End Australian partnership with NATO'

September 4, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following statements were adopted by the Socialist Alliance national executive on September 4, 2014, in response to the Australian government's decision to join the US and other imperialist states in a new military intervention in Iraq.

* * *

1. The US wars on Iraq (1991 and 2003) killed hundreds of thousands and completely wrecked the country. The US promoted sectarian divisions in order to retain control. It created the conditions for the rise of the "Islamic State" and is thus responsible for the current crisis.

2. Australia was an enthusiastic junior partner in both US wars on Iraq and thus shares responsibility for the terrible suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people as well as the current situation.

3. There is a humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria due to the Islamic State’s ethnic cleansing and general terror campaign. Approximately 1.5 million refugees are living in camps in Rojava (the Kurdish liberated zone in northern Syria), Turkey and the Federal Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

a. Australia should give large-scale assistance to these refugees. This should be delivered by non-military means.

b. Australia should massively increase its refugee intake from Iraq and Syria.

c. No asylum seekers already here should be forcibly returned to Iraq or Syria.

France: Jean-Luc Melenchon's closing speech to Parti de Gauche's Summer University

September 13, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In August, the Parti De Gauche (Left Party) held it's annual "Summer University" in Grenoble, France. On August 22, 2014, the party's leader Jean-Luc Melenchon held an impromptu press conference (subtitled at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE4oo... ) and at the end of the program of meetings, round-tables and presentations summed up the highlights of the four-day event, describing strategic changes at the party and its program for the next year.

Asia: ASEAN integration and its impact on labour

September 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Presented by Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM), to the assembly of the Union Presidents Against Contractualization, Century Park Hotel, Manila, September 10, 2014.

* * *

1. There are many regional agreements in Asia-Pacific that impact on regional economic integration and trade policies. One of these agreements centered on the integration of ASEAN economies in Southeast Asia composed of the ten countries of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam.

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