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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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Democracy Now!, July 14, 2015 -- Michalis Spourdalakis, professor of political science at Athens University and a founding member of SYRIZA: "The Greek prime minister and the country’s minister of finance were blackmailed by the eurozone people." Read the full transcript HERE.
July 13, 2015 -- Keep Talking Greece, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Twitter hashtag #ThisIsACoup was trending worldwide on Sunday night, July 12, as European leaders were pushing and kicking around and putting pressure on Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to either accept their deal or exit the euro club in an unprecedented collective action of EU/EURO-blackmail against a member state.
By Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin, Athens
July 13, 2015 -- The Bullet (Socialist Project, Canada), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As against those on the international left so keen to put the boot in against the SYRIZA government with the charge that they had abjectly "capitulated" already with the plan passed in the Greek parliament, it is instructive to read this document from the German finance ministry.
SYRIZA's unique capacity on the international left to build the type of party capable of both mobilising against neoliberalism and entering the state to try to actually do something about this has always hinged on the way it sought to find room for manoeuvre within a European Union that has neoliberalism in its DNA, going back all the way to the Treaty of Rome let alone the Economic and Monetary Union 30 years later.
By Stuart Munckton
The Australia-Greece Solidarity Campaign says half of all young people cannot find work, there is a growing shortage of essential medicines and child malnutrition rates have reached levels not seen since World War II.
All very sad, no doubt, but surely you cannot just allow reckless behaviour by the Greek people without any consequences?
Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) was a brilliant Marxist theorist and dedicated revolutionary, whose work is still discussed today. Unfortunately, a great deal of this discussion distorts Gramsci's ideas in order to advance a reformist agenda or is confined to academia. Yet Gramsci was a partisan of class struggle and revolution. Communist historian Doug Enaa Greene lead a discussion on Gramsci's ideas dealing with how to build a communist movement that can win.
For the full text of "Gramsci for Communists, see: http://links.org.au/node/4474
To learn more about the Center of Marxist Education, see https://www.facebook.com/CenterForMarxistEducation
Soup kitchen, Athens.
By Dick Nichols, Barcelona
July 10, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Regardless of the result of the latest round of negotiations between the SYRIZA-led government of Greece and the heads of the 28 members of the European Union, one thing is certain: in coming years, the Greek people are going to need all possible solidarity because their struggles and sufferings are bound to continue.
The best imaginable deal with the EU will mean six years of Troika-imposed austerity grinding along to one degree or another. Forced Greek exit from the eurozone will drive the country deeper into recession, further contracting an economy that has shrunk by 25% since 2008.
This awful choice will hang over Greece so long as the country has a government committed to ending the austerity that has created a humanitarian crisis.
Which of these two paths to misery appears least evil will be for Greece to decide. At the time of writing – July 9 – a forced Greek exit from the euro remains possible.
Dawronoye's television team visits the guerrillas. Beside Jacob Mirza (front row, third from left) sits Sargon Adam, holding a machine gun. (Photo courtesy Sargon Adam, August 1999).
By Carl Drott
May 25, 2015 -- Warscapes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- This article is primarily based on interviews conducted in Syria and Sweden between August 2013 and January 2015. For the sake of simplicity, the term "Syriac" is here employed to denote also those individuals or communities identifying as Assyrians, Chaldeans, Arameans, Christian Kurds or Christian Arabs.
* * *
In northeastern Syria, “Christian militias” (as they are often termed) are now battling the Islamic State [also known as ISIS] alongside Kurdish forces. However, these groups did not simply emerge spontaneously as a response to a security threat: they are the latest incarnations of the Dawronoye movement, which first appeared on the European and Middle Eastern political scenes 20 years ago.
By Patrick Bond
July 10, 2015 -- originally published by teleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The main point of the summit of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa this week was host Vladimir Putin’s demonstration of economic autonomy, given how much Western sanctions and low oil prices keep biting Russia. In part this sense of autonomy comes from nominal progress made on finally launching the bloc’s two new financial institutions.
But can these new banks address the extraordinary challenges in world finance? For example, more than 60% of Greeks voting in last Sunday’s referendum opposed the neoliberal dictates of Brussels-Berlin-Washington, thus raising hopes across Southern Europe and among victims of “odious debt” everywhere.
Meanwhile, bubbly Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets were crashing by $3 trillion from peak levels in just 17 days, a world-historic meltdown, at a time Chinese housing prices were also down 20% over the prior year. Beijing’s emergency bail-out measures represent vast subsidies to financiers, just like those used in Washington, London, Brussels and Tokyo since 2007.
July 8, 2015 -- Rojava Report, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following interview with Burkan al-Firat Command Center spokesperson Şervan Dervîş was conducted by Ersin Çaksu for Özgür Gündem.
In the interview Dervîş speaks about the recent victories won against ISIS [also known as Islamic State] in Rojava, the current fighting in Aleppo and the larger trajectory of the Syrian civil war, as well as the role of Burkan al-Firat in rebuilding a democratic and inclusive revolution. It has been translated into English below.
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What is the Burkan al-Firat? Why was such an organisation created?
Burkan al-Firat is the creation of some groups within the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the YPG/YPJ [Peoples Protection Units/Women's Protection Units]. Its formation was announced on September 10, 2014, five days before the beginning of the ISIS assault on Kobanê.
July 9, 2015 -- First published in the June 2015 New Left Review, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Andrew Wilson’s earlier publications on Ukraine won him a reputation as a serious historian.  His first books—notably Ukrainian Nationalism in the 1990s (1997), The Ukrainians (2002) and Ukraine’s Orange Revolution (2005)—were distinguished by three signal features.
First, Wilson argued strongly that while Ukrainian nationalism was a force in the west of the country—where, bred under Austrian and Polish rule, it had mostly possessed a strong right-wing bent—it had only limited appeal in the country as a whole, due to the existence of deep regional, linguistic and ethnic historical divisions. Ukrainian “national identity”, Wilson insisted in The Ukrainians, was essentially a product of the Soviet era.
Supporters of the left-wing People’s Democratic Party.
By Dave Holmes
July 7, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- One month after Turkey’s June 7 parliamentary elections, the country still does not have a government. Ahmet Davutoglu of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) remains caretaker prime minister. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains the dominant figure in the AKP and is actively manoeuvring to retain his party’s leading position. The president is supposed to be an impartial figure above party politics but Erdogan pays scant regard to such constitutional niceties.
The elections were marked by two significant and related developments.
Varis Yaroufakis: 'I wear the creditors’ loathing with pride'; New minister 'a change in style, not substance'
By Varis Yaroufakis, Greece's former minister of finance
July 6, 2015 -- Thoughts on a Post-2008 World, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The referendum of July 5, 2015, will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt bondage.
Democracy Now! on July 6, 2015, reports on the Greek rejection of austerity.
By Colin Fox
July 5, 2015 -- Colin Fox, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- So much for it being a close vote! The Greek people today delivered a resounding blow to the European Central Bank's plan to implement further hardship and austerity on the Greek people.
More than 61.3% of Greeks voted "No" (38.69% voted Yes). This represents a huge success for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and an extraordinary vindication of the SYRIZA government and its record since January 25th. Despite falling living standards and increased hardship, epitomised by the enforced "bank holiday" this week which restricted customers to €60 per day, the Greek people have again resoundingly backed their radical left-wing government.
July 4, 2015 -- Irish Republican News, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The election of a first-ever Sinn Fein mayor in Dublin has underlined the party’s progress in city councils across the island ahead of the centennial commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising.
Long-standing Dublin councillor Criona Ni Dhalaigh (pictured above) was elected mayor with 41 votes from the 63 member city council -- despite a last minute effort by the right-wing parties to wreck a deal which should have guaranteed Sinn Fein the post.
Ni Dhalaigh is the 346th mayor of the city, but only the eighth woman to hold the office.
Sinn Fein became the largest party on the council at last year’s local elections, taking 16 out of the council’s seats.
For more analysis and discussion on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE
Athens -- Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addressed tens of thousands of people late on July 3, 2015, in the final rally to call for a #OXI (No) vote in the July 5 referendum against the European Union's blackmail and austerity.
* * *
Citizens of Athens, citizens of Greece.
Today we are not protesting, today we are not demonstrating–today we are celebrating.
Today we are celebrating democracy.
Democracy is cause for celebration, democracy is cause for joy; democracy is liberation, democracy is a solution.
July 3, 2015 -- Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the people of Greece and the SYRIZA-led government as they prepare for a referendum on July 5, 2015, on whether to accept the continuation of the program of neoliberal austerity or chart a new course free from the debilitating stranglehold of the “troika” — the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission.
We support the call of SYRIZA for a "no vote" as the only option for the people of Greece, especially the working classes, to assert sovereign control over the country's economy and their own future.
We condemn the “troika” and their allied political institutions, for forcing their policies of neoliberal austerity, privatisation, deregulation and savage cutbacks dismantling the public sector. We, therefore, hold the “troika” responsible for the massive unemployment, increased poverty, greater social inequality and a severe economic depression now being experienced by Greece. The irony of it all is that the huge debts the “troika” is demanding for repayment did not go to Greece but were used to repay private sector creditors such as French and German banks. In other words, these are onerous and illegitimate debts.
The graphic from Seamus Milne's article.
By Michael Karadjis
June 8, 2015 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- In early June, journalist Seamus Milne penned a piece for the Guardian entitled, "Now the truth emerges how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq" (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/03/us-isis-syria-iraq).
Of course, we all wait for “the truth”. The nickname “truth” has been used by every kind of religious organisation for centuries – indeed they all had opposing “truths”. Generations of Americans saw the reflection of their own imperialist leaders in Superman fighting for “truth, justice and the American way”. For decades Soviet citizens were told their leaders spoke only “the truth” in a newspaper by that name.
Milne, in other words, is in good company.
"But the banks are made of marble, with a guard at every door, and the vaults are stuffed with silver, that the worker sweated for ..." -- "The Banks are made of Marble" was written circa 1948 by Les Rice and recorded by Pete Seeger among others.
By John Rainford
July 2, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Across Africa, western Asia and Latin America in the 1980s, the growth of per capita GDP was brought to a halt. This was not a recession, it was a severe depression, and its cause was profligate lending by banks in the 1970s.
In the 1960s, the Eurocurrency (as opposed to the euro) had been invented. US dollars deposited in non-US banks and held there in order to avoid restrictions of US laws became negotiable financial instruments that formed the basis for an unregulated market specialising in short-term loans.
In 1964 the market was estimated at US$14 billion, but by 1978 it was close to $500 billion after it became the chief mechanism for investing the massive oil profits of the Organization of Petrol Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel, which managed to quadruple oil prices in 1973 and treble them again in the late 1970s. In 1970, the average price for a barrel of oil was US$2.53, in 1980 it was about $41.
By Lucas Koerner
July 1, 2015 -- Venezuelanalysis.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro voiced solidarity with the Greek government of Alexis Tsipras after the latter refused a payment of $1.8 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“I want to officially express solidarity to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the Greek people on behalf of Venezuela”, said the socialist leader on his weekly television program shortly after the IMF deadline late June 30 evening.
Greece’s recently elected leftwing SYRIZA government rejected the harsh terms for a new bailout laid out by the Troika, composed of the IMF, European Commission (EC), and the European Central Bank (ECB), which would have meant a continuation of the severe austerity policies that have devastated the Greek economy over the last five years.
“Fear not, Greek sisters and brothers, the path forward is to break the chains of international financial capital and the IMF, to free yourselves from the yoke that tries to consume the people’s blood, the people’s labor, the wealth of countries, that is the path”, Maduro continued.
Λέμε ΟΧΙ Για την Ελλάδα της Αξιοπρέπειας, για την Ευρώπη της ΔημοκρατίαςPosted by ΣΥ.ΡΙΖ.Α. on Wednesday, July 1, 2015
July 1, 2015 -- Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- "We say no! For a Greece of dignity, for a Europe of democracy."
By Podemos (Spain)
June 30, 2015 -- Podemos, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In view of the situation in Greece, and following the breakdown in the negotiations by the Eurogroup, Podemos wishes to communicate the following:
1. Last Monday, the Greek government presented a proposal to the Eurogroup which included important concessions and was unanimously welcomed by the lenders as being reasonable and viable. In the following days, however, the international creditors led by the International Monetary Fund did not accept the Greek government’s proposal to tax the wealthiest sectors of society, restructure the debt and launch an investment plan to revive the economy.