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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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By Martin O'Beirne
September 30, 2013 -- The Ecosocialist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- We had not yet destabilised the climate and trounced other planetary ecological boundaries back in 1876 when Frederick Engels wrote these passages in his unfinished The part played by labour in the transition from ape to man. But it is clear that back then Engels had established a biophilous ethic, or in his words:
The senseless and unnatural idea of a contrast between mind and matter, man and nature, soul and body ... but that we, with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature ... [and] the more will men not only feel but also know their oneness with nature.
Hillside barrios in Caracas. Photo by Ryan Mallett-Outtrim/Venezuelanalysis.
By Enric Llopis, Rebelion, translated by Ryan Mallett-Outtrim and Tamara Pearson
October 10, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis -- At the invitation of the Jose Marti Valencian Association of Friendship with Cuba (Asociación Valenciana José Martí de Amistad con Cuba) and the Acontracorrent union, Yasmin Zabala and Hector Acosta -- social activists from the Caracas neighbourhood of 23 de Enero (January 23) -- have lectured at the social sciences faculty in Valencia. They come from a neighbourhood that has historically been very combative, with a strong tradition of community and mutuality.
This barrio of about 250,000 inhabitants, situated on a hill west of the city and near the Miraflores Presidential Palace, has been part of all the major revolutionary moments in Venezuelan history. 23 de Enero owes its name to the date on which the dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez fled the country (in 1958) after his overthrow by a military-civilian movement.
Bolivia: Workers to take over closed or abandoned firms; The working class and the political process
By Richard Fidler, La Paz, Bolivia
October 10, 2013 -- Life of the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission − On October 7, Bolivia's President Evo Morales issued a government decree that allows workers to establish “social enterprises” in businesses that are bankrupt, winding up, unjustifiably closed or abandoned. These enterprises, while private, will be operated by the workers and qualify for government assistance.
Morales issued Supreme Decree 1754 at a ceremony in the presidential palace marking the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the Confederación General de Trabajadores Fabriles de Bolivia (CGTFB – the General Confederation of Industrial Workers of Bolivia). Minister of Labour Daniel Santalla said the decree was issued pursuant to article 54 of Bolivia’s new constitution, which states that workers
in defense of their workplaces and protection of the social interest may, in accordance with the law, reactivate and reorganize firms that are undergoing bankrupty, creditor proceedings or liquidation, or closed or abandoned without justification, and may form communitarian or social enterprises. The state will contribute to the action of the workers.
(Note: to improve the resolution of the subtitles in each, after pressing "play", click on the "cog" at the bottom of the video, and increase the setting for "quality" to 360p. Then restart the video.)
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Front de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon addressed the fete of left newspaper L´Humanité in Paris on September 15, 2013. In this six-part video (above and below) Mélenchon discusses French foreign policy in relation to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, the colossal failures of "Chicago School" [neoliberal] economics, the attacks of the European Union, the Front de Gauche's program when elected, religion and politics, and the front's opposition to militarism.
Celebrations following the release of the EO6. Ex-detainee Choo Chon Kai in centre. Photo by Alex Cheong.
October 8, 2013 -- From reports in the Malaysian press -- The Malaysia government has agreed to pay six Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PSM) members RM200,000 (approx. US$63,000) following the settlement of the lawsuit filed for false imprisonment at the High Court.
The six were detained in a bus on June 25, 2011, on charges of treason and were released on July 2 when their remand period expired. They were re-arrested under the (now repealed) Emergency Ordinance (EO) and freed 27 days later on July 29.
The detentions resulted in an international solidarity campaign.The detainees became known as the EO6. The PSM credits this solidarity campaign for their comrades' release.
Prime Minister Najib Razak's government scrapped the Emergency Ordinance and other tough security laws in December 2011 following criticism that they were abused to silence dissent.
Open Marxism and the dilemmas of coherence: Paul Le Blanc's reflections on the contributions of Michael Löwy
More by Paul Le Blanc can be found HERE.
By Paul Le Blanc
September 8, 2013 -- ESSF, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Paul Le Blanc's permission and urging -- The discovery of a wondrous continent is what it felt like when some of my closest comrades and I connected with Michael Löwy, this remarkable revolutionary Marxist intellectual and activist -- himself a blend of Austrian Jew, Brazilian, Parisian, seeming to reach out to the world in all directions, an outstanding modern-day representative of Trotsky’s Fourth International. 
Last man standing.
By Rupen Savoulian
October 5, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Antipodean Atheist -- Five years ago, in September 2008, the giant investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed, filing for bankruptcy. This was the largest, but not the only, banking and investment firm to go under in that year, signalling the beginning of the ongoing capitalist economic crisis. Bear Sterns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, IndyMac and a host of financial institutions went bust, were taken over by the US federal government (yes, in the United States where private corporations are venerated, banks were nationalised) and returned to private ownership or continued in different forms.
John Bellamy Foster: The epochal crisis -- the combined capitalist economic and planetary ecological crises
[Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to consider taking out a subscription to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared. Click HERE for more on Marxism and ecology. For more by John Bellamy Foster, click HERE.]
By John Bellamy Foster
Parts of this argument on epochal crisis were presented in three overlapping keynote addresses in: (1) Esslingen, Germany on May 30, 2013, at a conference on Marxist thought organized by the Berlin Institute of Critical Theory (InkriT) and the Historisch-Kritisches Wörterbuch Des Marximus; (2) New York City on June 9, 2013, at the closing plenary of the Left Forum; and (3) Dublin on June 27, 2013, at the annual conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research. The argument has been revised and updated based on the original notes for these talks.
By Farooq Tariq
October 3, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Awami Workers Party (AWP) organised a rally in Islamabad for land rights and against the eviction of Katchi Abadies dwellers. More than 2000 marched from Aab Para Chouck to national parliament in Islamabad, a distance of 4 kilometres.
There was great enthusiasm and a lot of revolutionary slogans were raised. More than 400 women were part of the rally and they were mostly carrying the red flags of the AWP.
The rally was led by the leadership of the AWP including Abid Hasan Minto, president; Fanoos Gujjar, chairperson; Asim Sajad Akhta, general secretary of the AWP Punjab; Dr Farzana Bari, women's secretary AWP; Alia Anir Ali, general secretary of the National Students Federation; and Farooq Tariq.
The All Pakistan Karchi Abadies Alliance was part of the rally and women, children and men came from all parts of the poor areas of Islamabad.
The rally condemned the PMLN government and demanded an end to evictions. It demanded effective land reforms and declared that they are not unIslamic. Participants demanded land rights for tenants and for the landless peasantry and raised slogans against land grabs.
It was one of the largest mobilisations of the AWP this year in Islamabad. Those in power must be very upset to see a wave of red flags in the hands of the working class.
Statement by the Communist Party of Swaziland
October 1, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Information received by the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) indicate that the party and all other pro-democracy forces that wholly opposed the September 20 elections of the King Mswati regime did the right thing by calling on people not to be fooled by the sham poll.
Only just over 100,000 people voted in the primary elections. There was less than that voting in the second round. This is about 500,000 fewer voters than the Mswati regime trumpeted as likely to pack the voting stations. This is much less than in the previous elections, suggesting that popular dissatisfaction with the regime is increasing.
Mswati has no mandate to govern. This much is certain from the ban on political parties and organisations working for democracy. But skewed, closed and unfair elections with no other aim than to renew Mswati’s support base wholly failed to deliver. Mswati cannot even get enough people behind him when he rigs his own polls.
Among other things the CPS has information through its own election boycott campaign that:
By Walter Baier
October 2, 2013 -- Transform! -- The outcome of the September 29, 2013, Austrian parliamentary elections must seem paradoxical all across Europe.
Despite the – by comparison – favourable economic data, the ruling “Great Coalition” of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and conservative Peoples Party (ÖVP) was punished. Its share of the votes fell back from 55 per cent to less than 51. The SPÖ at 27 per cent remained the largest party, however is now sitting in a parliament with four right-wing parties, which hold 108 out of 183 seats altogether.
The German-nationalist, racist Freedom Party (FPÖ) scored better than expected at 20.6 (+3.0%) per cent. It managed to retrieve the majority of the votes it had lost after 2005 lost to the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ), which had been founded by Jörg Haider. In Styria, however, the FPÖ topped the poll to become the party with the most votes, spectacularly gaining from the electorate of both the ÖVP and SPÖ. Notably among workers and employees, the FPÖ replaced the SPÖ as the strongest party.
By S. Arutcheclvan, general-secretary, Socialist Party of Malaysia
October 3, 2013 -- Socialist Party of Malaysia/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The first Monday of every October is designated by the United Nations as World Habitat Day. The main purpose to celebrate this date is to reflect on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. The UN has dedicated one day to highlight the plight of people fighting for shelter as it seems that the right to a home is one of the most fundamental human rights. With this, let me argue the case of kampong Hakka in Mantin, Negeri Sembilan.
When I first stepped into kampong Hakka a year ago, I was amazed that a Chinese new village complete with temple, community hall and school existed in this village and I was further shocked to learn that all the people living there have been declared illegals just because some rich company has bought their land.
When I looked at the structure of their homes and their lifestyle, I was convinced that these villagers have a history to talk about. They have lived here for many decades. Most of the villagers were elderly people as their children had left to more urban town centres. Their economic activity varies, with most of them being petty traders and self-employed.
A Palestinian (right) in Rafah on the Gaza-Egypt border talks to an Egyptian soldier.
By Rupen Savoulian
October 3, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Antipodean Athiest -- The online magazine Common Dreams carried the following incisive article about the situation on Egypt’s contribution to the ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip: "Egypt joins Israel as Gaza’s jailer".
The article, co-authored by Medea Benjamin and Pam Bailey, focuses on how, in the past, Israel was the specific target of condemnation by human rights and activist groups for its blockade of Gaza. While the Israeli state still receives its fair share of criticism for its role in economically strangling Gaza and inflicting suffering on the Palestinians, the Egyptian militarist dictatorship should also by the target of stinging criticism. The Egyptian generals have not only continued to block off Gaza, the critical lifeline for the Palestinians through Rafah, previously open to humanitarian aid for the Palestinians, will also be restricted by the Egyptian military.
The article quotes from the Washington Post:
Aporrea.org -- De Nicolás Maduro, presidente electo de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, se sabe muy poco en España. Apenas cuatro trazos, aportados principalmente por los medios de comunicación de masas hostiles al proceso revolucionario. El Viejo Topo quiso conocerlo, y el presidente venezolano aceptó ser entrevistado sin poner la menor traba.
Balearic Islands (Spain): Attack on language rights provokes indefinite teachers’ strike, citizens' revolt
By Dick Nichols
October 1, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The school year should have already begun on the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula), but it hasn’t. Since September 16, high school and primary teachers have been on an indefinite strike.
On September 30, after an earlier mass meeting of the cross-union Teachers’ Assembly voted to stay out, the strike entered its third week.
The day before, the Balearic Islands saw their biggest ever demonstrations, when at least 100,000 came out to support the teachers and to protest against the education and language policy of the regional People’s Party (PP) government of Jose Ramon Bauzá and his education minister Joana Maria Camps.
By Raymond Suttner
September 27, 2013 -- Weekly Mail & Guardian (South Africa) -- For some time political commentators have been proved wrong when predicting the collapse of the tripartite alliance (made up of the African National Congress, the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions) and suggesting that splits in these organisations could lead to the formation of a new political party that might displace the ANC.
At this moment, for the first time one can say without any sense of exaggeration, the ANC, South African Communist Party, COSATU alliance, insofar as it exists, has no ideological coherence or significance and provides little political leadership and direction. It may exist as a name but it no longer captures the moral fervour that led millions to place their hopes in them.
The glue that binds survives at the leadership level, where the spoils of office have been spread to a significant number of members of the SACP leadership and a fair number of former COSATU leaders. With the absorption of the top COSATU leadership into the ANC's national executive committee, the relationship is consolidated by the prospect of their being offered cabinet posts or other rewards, which are part of the largesse that the ANC in government can dispense.
Malaysia: Urgent protest needed -- Socialist leader and 11 other activists detained in anti-eviction struggle
Socialist Party of Malaysia's general secretary S. Arutchelvan being arrested.
October 1, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Please spread the news that the Socialist Party of Malaysia's general secretary S. Arutchelvan (Arul) and 11 other protesters have been detained. Please contact the Mantin Police Station to question the arrests and demand the release of those detained.
Call chief inspector Rashid on 0675812222 to demand their release. Please email solidarity messages to email@example.com.
Call 12 orang termasuk Arul ditahan polis kerana pertahan pemaju roboh Kg. Hakka, Mantin.
* * *
On September 30, 2013, in their effort to stop developers from demolishing Kampung Hakka Mantin, five residents and seven activists were arrested by police. It is also reported that one resident was injured during the commotion. Among those picked up was Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S. Arutchelvan.
Around 90 residents and activists gathered at the village in Negri Sembilan, attempting to negotiate with the developer, police and court representative, who came to demolish the houses. The negotiation broke down at 11.20 am, and the authorities proceeded to detain those trying to stop the demolition.
By Dan La Botz
September 25, 2013 -- New Politics, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Since school began again on August 19, tens of thousands of teachers have been engaged in strikes and demonstrations throughout Mexico—including seizing public buildings, highway toll booths and border crossing stations, occupying public buildings and city plazas, and blocking foreign embassies—actions taken against the Education Reform Law and the new Professional Teaching Law and over local demands linked to wages and working conditions. While these are traditional tactics, these are the largest and most militant teachers’ union demonstrations in Mexican history.
September 26, 2013 -- Very little is known about Nicolas Maduro, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in Spain. [There’s] scarcely four lines, mainly contributed by the mass media which is hostile to the revolutionary process. Spain's El Viejo Topo wanted to get to know him, and the Venezuelan president accepted the interview without any hassles.
By Richard Fidler, La Paz, Bolivia
September 26, 2013 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Washington’s refusal to allow Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro to over-fly its colony of Puerto Rico on September 19 attracted little attention in the North American and European media.
But in Latin America this arrogant gesture drew immediate outrage. It recalled the July 2 denial by four European countries — France, Italy, Spain and Portugal — of landing and refuelling rights and passage through their airspace to Bolivia’s president Evo Morales while he was returning home from a trip to Moscow. This unprecedented attack on Bolivia’s sovereignty, clearly at Washington’s behest, had been defended on the fallacious grounds that Morales’ plane harboured US espionage whistleblower Edward Snowden.