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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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The House That Jack Built: Jack Mundey, Green Bans Hero

 

 

The House That Jack Built: Jack Mundey, Green Bans Hero
By James Colman
NewSouth Publishing, 2016, 356 pages

 

Reviewed by Phil Shannon

 

Pavlovian hostility to construction industry unions and venom-flecked hatred of the environment movement is far from a new development amongst conservative commentators, notes James Colman (Sydney architect, urban planner and university lecturer) in his book, The House That Jack Built, on Jack Mundey, the 1970s New South Wales State Secretary of the Builders Labourers’ Federation (BLF) who originated the world’s first ‘green bans’ to save working class housing, historic buildings and urban bushland from the developers’ bulldozer.

 

Punto muerto en Venezuela

 

 

[Original version in English published on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal here.]

 

Federico Fuentes entrevista Steve Ellner. Traducido para Rebelión por Paco Muñoz de Bustillo

 

Desde hace algunas semanas, Venezuela vive estremecida por manifestaciones casi diarias de protesta (y contraprotesta) con las que los oponentes de derechas del presidente Nicolás Maduro intentan derribar su gobierno.

 

Stallo in Venezuela

 

 

[Original version in English published on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal here.]

 

di Steve Ellner e Federico Fuentes, traduzione di Giuseppe Volpe, Da ZNetitaly

 

13 maggio 2017
Il Venezuela è stato scosso nelle settimane recenti da manifestazioni e contromanifestazioni quasi quotidiane, con gli oppositori di destra del presidente socialista Nicolas Maduro che cercano di far cadere il suo governo.

 

Political crisis in Brazil: Opportunities and challenges for the left

 

 

Below, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is reposting two
views on the current political crisis and the situation facing the left.

Both articles first appeared at Socialist Project

Brazil: ‘We need direct elections now and an emergency plan for the people’ says MST leader Joao Pedro Stedile

 

 

Interview by Joana Tavares

 

May 26, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, originally translated from Brasil de Fato by Dawn News — Joao Pedro Stedile, leader of the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) and the People’s Brazil Front, analyzes the Brazilian political situation, the role of the O Globo media network, the internal divisions among the putschists, and the need for a transition government and building a people’s project for Brazil.

 

Disobedient Roses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Nevin Siders

 

May 26, 2017
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal When I began this essay I thought I aimed at a rather modest target, but the “story grew in the telling” and reached out further and further to interweave more and more threads, and therefore required much more time and thought than originally foreseen. Yet I believe the effort to have been worthwhile, opening a bit of new territory for socialism. It sets out from one of Rosa Luxemburg’s most enduring postulates and conjugates it with the topic of civil disobedience which, (as far as the author knows, has never been associated with this giant of socialist thought.

 

One of the protagonists of the civil disobedience movement was Rosa Parks, the other “rose” to whom this monograph is dedicated to and honored in the title, for being a quintessential representative of civil disobedience as understood and practiced by Gandhi and King.

 

Venezuela: speaking up to say the truth

 

 

By Atilio Boron

 

May 24, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Alainet — In various recent works, different analysts and observers of Latin American political life have reproached intellectuals and militants on the left for their silence on what is happening in Venezuela. That silence, they say, only reinforces the worst features of the government of Nicolas Maduro. This strategy was used a few weeks ago by a noted Venezuelan intellectual, Edgardo Lander, and more recently, in a special production of Pagina/12, it was reiterated by two colleagues from Argentina: Roberto Gargarella and Maristella Svampa. [1]

 

Is Maduro taking Venezuela down the authoritarian path?

 

 

 

By Lucas Koerner

 

May 23, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Venezuela Analysis — Venezuela is once again dominating international headlines as violent opposition protests bent on toppling the elected Maduro government enter their seventh week. The demonstrations have claimed to date at least 54 lives since April 4, surpassing the previous wave of violent anti-government protests in 2014, known as “the Exit”. However, this time around, the unrest coincides with a severe economic downturn and a transformed geopolitical landscape defined by the return of the right in Brazil and Argentina as well as an even more bellicose regime in Washington.

The Chávez hypothesis: vicissitudes of a strategic project

 

 

By Chris Gilbert

 

May 23, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Counterpunch —What does Chavism really stand for? What are its main accomplishments and its main failures? What was the soldier-become-president Hugo Chávez trying to achieve, and how far did he go in achieving it? Most often it is taken for granted that Chávez, who was elected president of Venezuela in 1998, began with an anti-neoliberal project that became, with time, anti-imperialist and then later aspired to socialism. It is also usually argued that, unfortunately, Chávez went very little of the way to achieving the latter goal. Chávez’s project suffered, this story goes, because it was only discursively socialist; that is, it proposed socialism as a goal but could not really begin the transition, being unable to go beyond mere discourse to concrete social and economic facts. That being the case, a part of the Left praises the Venezuelan leader for what it sees as an essentially verbal achievement. This group contends that Chávez fulfilled an important task for humanity by merely recovering and promoting the word socialism after the fall of the Eastern bloc. Others, generally from the so-called Hard Left, are more skeptical. They highlight Chávez’s failure to significantly alter the structure of the society or the economy.

 

Major decisions face Québec solidaire at its forthcoming congress

 

 

By Richard Fidler

 

Original published on May 16, 2017 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left Quebec’s broad party of the left, Québec solidaire (QS), will open a four-day congress on May 19 in Montréal — the 12th congress in its 11-year history. The delegates face a challenging agenda. It includes the final stage of adoption of the party’s detailed program, a process begun eight years ago; discussion of possible alliances with other parties and some social movements including a proposed fusion with another pro-independence party, Option nationale; and renewal of the party’s top leadership.

 

Why socialists don’t need human nature

 

 

By Themistoklis Pantazakos

 

May 22, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal In his recent Jacobin article, Adaner Usmani makes a claim that will sound odd to the socialists of our times, or at least to the post-structuralists among them. This claim is, per the title of Usmani’s piece, that socialists should believe in the existence of human nature. That this claim should raise a fair amount of eyebrows among contemporary socialists is expected, as Usmani himself recognizes: human nature has been a repository, a refuge and a departure point for much of the reactionary political thought of the modern era. The concept is typically summoned to block any kind of socialist programme in its genesis. Per a certain right-wing ideology, human nature, which is held to consist of qualities of the ilk of selfishness and greediness, is intrinsically antithetical to a life built on solidarity as described in a manifold of socialist and communist political programs.

 

Corea del Sur después de la elección de Moon Jae-in

 

 

[Original in English here.]

 

17 de mayo, 2017 — Traducido por Enrique García, Sin Permiso — Moon Jae-in, del Partido liberal demócrata, ganó las elecciones presidenciales de Corea del Sur el 9 de mayo, obteniendo el 41% de los votos y derrotando fácilmente a su oponente, el archi-conservador Hong Jun-pyo, que obtuvo alrededor del 24%.

 

Las elecciones tuvieron lugar después de la destitución de la presidenta conservadora, Park Geun-hye como consecuencia de un gran escándalo de corrupción. Park, del partido conservador Saenuri (rebautizado Partido de la Libertad de Corea, en un intento de cambio de marca), fue obligada a dimitir tras la gran “revuelta de las velas”. Millones de coreanos se movilizaron en una serie de protestas con velas para exigir su destitución.

 

A Québécois view of Canada’s 150th anniversary: Why celebrate colonial autonomy?

 

 

By André Binette, translation and notes by Richard Fidler

 

May 16, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — Each sovereign state can choose the date of its national holiday. Generally, this date recalls the accession to independence. The United States, for example, chose to emphasize each year their unilateral declaration of independence of July 4, 1776. They preferred this date to the date of the Treaty of Paris, 1783, which ended the revolutionary war they had won thanks to France’s decisive support. Their national holiday commemorates a founding act.

 

1917: The View from the Streets #10 & 11 - Soviet executive calls for peace - and renewed military offensives

 

 

 

Fraternization between Russian and German soldiers on the Eastern Front, World War I

 

May 15, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal / John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — One hundred years ago, on May 15 (2), 1917, the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies issued two appeals – one to all socialists of the world and the other to all soldiers at the front.

 

Global capitalist crisis and Trump’s war drive

 

 

By William I. Robinson

 

May 14, 2017 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The recent U.S. attack on Syria and mega-bombing of Afghanistan come at a time when the Donald Trump regime is facing a mounting scandal over alleged Russian involvement in its 2016 electoral campaign, historically low approval ratings for an incoming presidency, and a growing mass grassroots resistance movement. U.S. rulers have often launched military adventures abroad to deflect attention from political crises and problems of legitimacy at home.

 

Critiquing Maduro from the left

 

 

By Steve Ellner

 

May 13, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from NACLA — With the intensification of political conflict and economic deterioration in Venezuela, harsh all-encompassing criticism of the government is originating not only from the right side of the political spectrum, but also from the left. Gone are the days when late President Hugo Chávez could boast of having unified the nation’s notoriously fragmented leftist movement, ranging from Trotskyists and Communists to social democrats.

 

Venezuela: The Constituent Assembly is a strategic decision

 

 

By Carlos Eduardo Morreo, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

 

1. The Constituent Assembly is strategic

 

The initiative by the government of Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro to convene a National Constituent Assembly with ‘originary powers’, disrupts the dynamic of confrontation against the government by the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) coalition and those who support this political instrument.

 

After more than a month of street protests and mobilisations by the opposition, the constituent initiative may shift the spaces of confrontation, from the highways and the codes of violence, to texts, political negotiation and discourses regarding the Venezuelan state.

 

Standoff in Venezuela

 

 

May 12, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal / Green Left Weekly — Venezuela has been rocked in recent weeks by almost daily protests and counter-protests, as right-wing opponents of socialist President Nicolas Maduro seek to bring down his government.

 

While the media portrays these events as a popular rebellion against an authoritarian government, supporters of the pro-poor Bolivarian revolution initiated by former president Hugo Chavez say the country is witnessing an escalation in what is an ongoing counter-revolutionary campaign seeking to restore Venezuela’s traditional elites in power and reverse the gains made by the poor majority under Chavez and Maduro.

 

Federico Fuentes interviewed Steve Ellner, a well-known analyst of Venezuelan and Latin American politics and a retired professor at Venezuela’s Universidad de Oriente, to get his views on recent events.

 

What is to be done in Venezuela?

 

 

By Greg Grandin

 

May 12, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Nation — The news from Venezuela is grim: A “fall in oil prices, soaring interest rates…have intensified an already deep-rooted recession. The country is being pauperized. It has the highest inflation in Latin America, increasing unemployment and more than 40 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty.” With economic immiseration comes political violence: Over the course of one year, “security forces killed 126 people, 46 in extra-judicial executions, and 28 when they were in police or military custody. Authoritarianism and repression are growing. Of 13,941 arbitrary detentions, 94 percent occurred during anti-crime operations mainly in poor neighborhoods.… Violent death has become a feature of Venezuelan life. On Monday mornings, the newspapers carry a grim roll call of those killed in stabbings and shootings in the city’s slums. The figure often reaches 40 or 50, mostly young, male and poor.” 

 

South Africa's ANC: Mistaking consequence for cause

 

 

By Dale T. McKinley

 

May 12, 2017
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Pambazuka News — President Jacob Zuma’s recent Cabinet reshuffle is nothing more and nothing less than the latest instalment of a long-running story of the capture of the ANC and the post-1994 democratic state it has politically run. It is but a component consequence of a political, economic and social crisis that has been forged and fed by the ANC (and its Alliance partners) as a whole, in conjunction with capital. That crisis is not the result of actions taken by a small collection of conspirators, a select group of bad people or an individual.

 

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