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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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BDS Movement: 'Israel must be held accountable for its collective punishment of Palestinians'

July 3, 2014 -- BDS Movement -- Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists are urging governments and international civil society to take action to hold Israel to account for its continued collective punishment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza following the disappearance and killing of three Israeli settlers.

Zaid Shuaibi, a spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the civil society coalition that leads and supports the BDS movement, said:

Israel’s on-going actions are designed to terrorise Palestinians and constitute collective punishment. Military violence, collective punishment and the deliberate targeting of civilians are endemic to Israel’s of decades old system of occupation, colonisation and apartheid.

Israel is able to act with utter impunity because of the military, economic and political support it receives from governments around the world. We call on international governments to impose a two-way arms embargo immediately and to suspend bilateral agreements until Israel fully complies with international law.

Separatism or self-determination? Aleksandr Buzgalin on rebellion in east Ukraine

More on developments in Ukraine HERE.

July 2, 2014 -- Real News Network

Aleksandr Buzgalin is a professor of political economy at Moscow State University. He is also editor of the independent democratic left magazine Alternatives, and is a coordinator of the Russian social movement Alternatives, author of more then 20 books and hundreds of articles, translated into English, German and many other languages.

Progressive ‘extractivism’: hope or dystopia?

By Don Fitz

July 4, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The controversy over "extractivism" in Latin America has become a lot hotter. Though social justice and environmental activists have sought a partnership for years, this could become a wedge issue. The debate is core to our conceptualisation of what type of society we are working to build and how we plan to get there.

Behind Iraq's crisis: New US war is no answer

By Tony Iltis

June 21, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- US President Barack Obama announced the deployment of 300 special forces troops to Iraq on June 19. It followed a week of denials that the US would respond militarily to the rapid advance toward Baghdad of anti-government forces led by the Sunni fundamentalist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Obama’s announcement contradicted his previous statements as well as itself. On the one hand, he insisted the role of the special forces would be limited to “advising” forces of the US-installed Iraqi government, saying: “We always have to guard against mission creep. So let me repeat what I've said in the past: American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again.

“We do not have the ability to simply solve this problem by sending in tens of thousands of troops and committing the kinds of blood and treasure that has already been expended in Iraq.”

But he also said: “We will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action, if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it.”

Australian education minister Christopher Pyne told Channel Nine on June 20: “The United States obviously has to lead any kind of response in Iraq as they are the world power, if you like. If they ask us for assistance, we’ll weigh that up at the time and decide what we can or can’t do. The situation in Iraq is obviously very, very serious.”

For a 'social Europe benefiting all': Gabi Zimmer, head of the GUE/NGL parliamentary group

Interview conducted by Maxime Benatouil

June 24, 2014 -- Transform!, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Recently re-elected at the head of the GUE/NGL parliamentary group, Gabi Zimmer (from Germany's Die LINKE) delivers insights on the new GUE/NGL’s composition. It has significantly grown, numbering 52 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in the new legislature -- up from 35 in the previous parliament.

How would you assess the results for the political forces that have jointly managed European institutions since the beginning of European integration, namely the conservatives, the social-democrats and the liberals?

Gabi Zimmer: The results of the European elections are very ambivalent. On the one hand, we have to acknowledge that there is a slim majority for the conservatives. MEPs from the European Popular Party will most likely form a sort of great coalition with the social democrats and the liberals. But on the other hand, this does not reflect the wishes of the people for another policy. The results showed that they want the European Union to change, and its policies to go in another direction. Moreover, it is not possible to talk about the outcomes of the European elections without mentioning the results of extreme right and nationalist political forces.

Venezuela: Thousands debate socialist congress proposals

An activist with the Baruta Battle Unit Bolivar-Chavez (UBCh).

By Arlene Eisen, Caracas

June 19, 2014 -- Venezuelanalysis.com – On June 7, President Nicolas Maduro issued a call to each grassroots unit of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) to submit 10 concrete proposals for ways to improve how the Bolivarian government functions. In response, throughout Venezuela, local units of PSUV militants, known as Battle Units Bolivar-Chavez (UBCh), devoted their weekly meetings to lively debates analysing political problems and attempting to reach consensus on solutions. There are some 13,500 UBChs.

Other Venezuelans joined the discussions through forums, meetings, editorial pages and social media.

A well-attended forum in Catia, a working-class district of western Caracas, set the tone for many other UBCh meetings. Catia is known and respected for being a centre of Chavista militancy. Aporrea.org and other pro-revolution media repeatedly ran written and videotaped reports of the proposals made there by a Gonzalo Gomez, spokesperson from Marea Socialista (Socialist Tide), a leftist grouping within the PSUV, and by Manuel Sutherland, a Marxist economist who coordinates the Center of Worker Investigations and Education and teaches at the Bolivarian University of Caracas (UBC).

Ireland: 'We have to convince people that Sinn Féin is different', argues councillor

Eoin Ó Broin (above) is a Sinn Féin activist and writer based in Clondalkin, Dublin. He is on the South Dublin County Council representing the Clondalkin electoral area. He works as a policy advisor specialising in the European Union and economic policy. He was Sinn Féin’s candidate for the constituency of Dublin Mid West and a member of the party's Ard Comhairle (national executive).

* * *

July 1, 2014 -- Another view -- Sinn Féin had a good election on May 24. We consolidated our position in the North and significantly increased our strength in the South. We are now well placed to make significant gains in the next Dáil [Ireland's parliament] election.

As we face into that electoral contest two questions will loom large. Voters and the media will want to know who we would enter government with and what economic policies will form the core of our campaign.

In the 2007 election we fudged the first question and back-peddled on the second. The electorate punished us for both mistakes.

European Left Party on Ukraine: 'Ukraine: No more war, no more fascism'

July 1, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Party of the European Left (EL) is a political party at the European level that unites parties to the left of social democracy. It was formed in 2004. The EL is composed of 26 members parties and seven observer parties.

* * *

We consider as the main factors in the Ukraine crisis the imperial atttitude towards the country, as shown by all major powers involved: the deliberately provocative and bellicose moves by USA, NATO and EU as well as the aggressive steps taken by Russia. This leads to a dangerous situation at our doorsteps, with reminiscence to the Cold War and even to the WWI outbreak in 1914.

We are against undemocratic represssion of communist party, left wing, and other democratic political forces.We demand the release of all political prisoners and people taken hostage.

Discussion: Fourth International needs to oppose the war and austerity drive against Ukrainian people

Far-right militia parade openly in Kyiv.

More on developments in Ukraine HERE.

By Roger Annis and Renfrey Clarke

June 27, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On June 7, the leadership bureau of the Fourth International adopted a statement on the crisis in Ukraine. It was adopted unanimously, with one abstention vote. The text was translated and published in English on June 16, and has also been published without comment in the weekly Presse-toi à gauche (Move Left!) online bulletin in Quebec.

Fourth International statement on Ukraine: 'Popular movement and imperialisms'

Maidan square, Keiv, December 2013.

See also "Fourth International needs to oppose war and austerity drive against Ukrainian people". More on developments in Ukraine HERE.

International Viewpoint -- This resolution was adopted at the meeting of the Fourth International Bureau on June 7, 2014.

* * *

The very deep political crisis experienced by the Ukraine since November 2013 is far from being over. In this country, following a very long national oppression (basically Polish and Russian), the process of national formation is incomplete, the nation-state is still fragile. This is all the more the case that the country is taken in hostage between Russian imperialist pressure and that of the Euro-Atlantic powers, and subject to the socially fragmenting impact of neo-liberalism.

1. From Maidan to the provisional government: a powerful popular mobilization

Spanish state: Eruption of Podemos sparks turmoil left and right

By Dick Nichols

July 1, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The five seats (7.9%) won by the platform Podemos (“We Can”) in the May 25 European election was an earthquake in Spanish politics. It stunned all political trends, including Podemos itself.

United States: Breaking out of the two-party (ballot) box

By Jen Roesch

June 24, 2014 -- Socialist Worker (US) -- Nearly six years into Barack Obama's neoliberal presidency, there are growing signs of discontent within the Democrats' traditional voting base. While both of Obama's electoral wins can be attributed to the turnout of young, female, Black, Latino/a and working-class voters, these are precisely the groups that have most suffered from the economic crisis and his administration's commitment to austerity. This is part of the reason why, for the first time since 2000, there is a space opening up in mainstream politics to the left of the Democratic Party.

In Seattle, socialist Kshama Sawant's campaign for the city council was able to gain support from constituencies, including some unions, that would normally support the Democratic Party. In Lorain County, Ohio, union activists angered by their local DemocraticParty mayor and city council broke ranks and ran their own independent slate of two dozen labour candidates--nearly all of whom won. This represents a flexing of labour muscle in the face of Democratic Party betrayal, rather than a firm break, but it points to the potential working-class audience for an independent political alternative.

Thailand: The militarisation of society

A Thai journalist protests next to troops over concerns about freedom of speech. Photo by @redbamboo16 on Twitter.

For more on Thailand, click HERE.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

June 29, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As the autocratic rule of Big Brother Generalissimo Prayut Chan-ocha trundles forward, we are seeing the militarisation of politics, economics and society.

All government ministries are controlled by military personnel. Civil servants who were in post before the coup are being replaced by those who are loyal lapdogs or cronies of the junta.

New executive board members have been appointed to state enterprises, with military men on every board and with Generalissimo Prayut as overall chair. Civilian cronies are carefully chosen from among the ranks of the whistle-blowing middle class mobs who hate democracy.

Iraq and Syria: The struggle against the 'multi-sided' counterrevolution

June 27, 2014, BBC map of the gains made by ISIS.

By Michael Karadjis

June 25, 2014 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- As a coalition of Sunni-based forces, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), took the major northern Iraqi city of Mosul and then most of the Sunni heartland in the north and west of Iraq, regional and western capitals went into crisis mode: the entire post-US occupation stabilisation had collapsed in a heap.

The Gulf and Islamism in Syria: myths and misconceptions

ISIS fighters.

By Michael Karadjis

June 3, 2014 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Over the last year, the sectarian (mainly Sunni versus Alawite) element of the Syrian conflict has markedly grown, within an uprising that began as a multi-sectarian popular democratic uprising against Syria’s tyrannical regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The hold of Sunni sectarianism is by no means universal among the insurgent Syrian masses and their myriad of civil and armed resistance organisations; on the contrary, despite persistent myths, the revolution still contains a powerful secular wing (both within the civil uprising and the Free Syrian Army), and even the largest parts of the clearly political-Islamist wings are not specifically sectarian; and many are markedly moderate Islamists. However, there is no denying that a dangerous level of Sunni sectarianism has grown, especially among the more extreme ‘jihadist’ fringe affiliated to al-Qaida, and that this is an entirely negative and reactionary development.

Ceasefire in Ukraine? The battle of the ‘peacemakers’

A Ukrainian army shell explodes in eastern Ukraine.

By Viktor Shapinov, translated by Renfrey Clarke

"The only chance of peace remains federalisation of Ukraine and a broad degree of self-government, if only for the south-eastern regions. A reconciliation, at least of a sort, might be reached on this basis."

Aotearoa/New Zealand: A history of the Unite Union

By Mike Treen, Unite national director

[All four parts of this series can be downloaded as a single PDF file here.]

June 27, 2014 -- Unite News, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The following history was prepared as part of the contribution by Unite Union to the international fast food workers' meeting in New York in early May. Union officials and workers were fascinated by the story we were able to tell which in many ways was a prequel to the international campaign today.

* * *

South Africa: Historic win for striking platinum miners (+ video report)

June 25, 2014 -- Real News Network -- Patrick Bond provides an update on platinum miners' strike in South Africa is Patrick Bond. Patrick Bond is the director of the Centre for Civil Society and a professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Bond is also the author of the book, South Africa: The Present as History and Elite Transition.

By Gillian Schutte and Sipho Singiswa

June 25, 2014 -- SACIS -- The stadium in Phokeng outside Rustenberg exploded in jubilation when the end of the longest strike in South African history was announced on June 23. Men and women waved their arms victoriously in the air and resounding ululations and cheering reverberated as a great burden of domestic hardship lifted. Workers had changed history.

They had valiantly resisted the dogged state and corporate attempt to smash their strike despite the personal hardships that they had to endure to reach this point. It was they who dealt a blow to capital because it was they who held out determinedly and who accumulated five months of unpaid accounts, became black listed, kept their kids out of schools through necessity and went without food. They are indeed, the central heroes in this story.

El "siglo de Asia" y la integración de la ASEAN: contradicciones y desafíos

Sonny Melencio.

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3910.]

Por Sonny Melencio

22-06-2014 -- Sinpermiso -- Cuando viaje desde Manila hasta Australia, me compré en el aeropuerto un libro de bolsillo para leer en el avión. Fue la novela de Dan Brown titulada Infierno. Cuando la edición de tapa dura de este libro llegó a las librerías, en las Filipinas la gente se volvió loca con una pequeña parte de la novela que se refería a Manila como la "puerta del infierno".

Después de leer el libro, pensé que lo que la novela dice sobre Manila es verdad. Es la ciudad más densamente poblada de la tierra, con enormes atascos de tráfico, una contaminación sofocante, casas hechas de metal corrugado y cartones, comunidades que apestan y un horrible comercio sexual y tráfico de mujeres, jóvenes y niños.

Me acordé de la novela de Dan Brown hoy porque, a pesar del infierno que es actualmente Manila, nuestro gobierno habla de un paraíso que se construirá en las Filipinas durante este "siglo de Asia".

El siglo de Asia

South Africa: 'Labour and community in transition: Alliances for public services'

By Dale McKinley

June 26, 2014 -- Municipal Service Project, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- This paper critically analyses the context and practical experience of labour-community alliances to oppose privatisation and promote public services, as they have evolved in South Africa since 1994.

While 1980s South Africa was rich in such broad and politically independent alliances against the oppressive apartheid system and the ravages of neoliberal capitalism, following the 1994 democratic transition the labour movement largely embraced the neoliberal corporatism promoted by the African National Congress-run state, which increased the social distance between employed workers and poor communities.

Consistent attempts to repress community-led dissent in response to the political and socio-economic failures of the "new" democracy, and the resulting delegitimisation of community struggles related to the nature of public institutions and delivery of public services, undermined further the bases for unity.

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