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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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January 9, 2014 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- “Today, after two decades of bluff and lies, the remaining 2°C budget demands revolutionary change to the political and economic hegemony.” That was in a blog posting last year by Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at Manchester University. One of Britain’s most eminent climate scientists, Anderson is also deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.
Or, we might take this blunt message, from an interview in November: “We need bottom-up and top-down action. We need change at all levels.” Uttering those words was Tyndall Centre senior research fellow and Manchester University reader Alice Bows-Larkin. Anderson and Bows-Larkin are world-leading specialists on the challenges of climate change mitigation.
By John Riddell
January 14, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In 1921, when the Communist International (Comintern) held its Third World Congress, Clara Zetkin was the most widely respected Communist outside Russia. Yet she was the victim of vigorous efforts on the eve of the congress to vilify her and drive her out of the Comintern leadership, if not from the movement. Nonetheless, she ranks, together with Lenin and Leon Trotsky, among the dominant intellectual figures at the congress.
Let us survey Zetkin’s role in the great ideological struggle at the Third Congress and then link it to her involvement in the movement for women’s emancipation.
Railway workers' three-week strike against privatisation garnered wide support—and government repression. Photo by DDanzi Ilbo.
By Li San
January 8, 2014 -- Labor Notes -- South Korea’s railway workers have ended a 22-day strike, the longest such stoppage in the country’s history. Though they didn’t win a clear victory, they succeeded in placing the issue of privatisation in public focus.
The government’s and management’s attack on the strike was ruthless to the point of recklessness, while the public’s solidarity and sympathy with the striking workers continued to rise.
And the full impact of the action has yet to ripple out. Amid rising political tensions, the country’s biggest union umbrella, the 700,000-strong Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), has called for a one-day general strike February 25.
Privatisation Plans Sparked Strike
About 15,000 unionists, or about 45 per cent of the workforce, of Korea Railroad Corporation (Korail) walked off the job December 9 to protest what they saw as a preliminary step to privatising rail service—a plan by management to spin off the most lucrative slice of its business.
By Roger Annis
January 11, 2014 -- Truthout, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the permission and at the suggestion of the author -- The military-dominated regime that seized power in Egypt in July 2013 has escalated its attacks on freedom and democracy in the country. A series of pronouncements were issued in late December, including the banning of the country's largest political movement, the Muslim Brotherhood. By all evidence, Egypt's economic and military elite are taking the country back to the darkest days of the rule of former dictator Hosni Mubarak or even farther into the abyss.
The regime's new measures have been accompanied by regressive court decisions and assaults on protesting citizens by police and soldiers backed by plainclothes thugs. A harrowing prospect threatens the country -- that of a violent war by the regime and its backers against the population, similar to the bloody war that was waged by Algeria's government and military against the people of that country during the 1990s and 2000s.
Former members of the SWP are discussing what's next?
January 9, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Britain's Socialist Workers Party (SWP) has been in crisis for over a year after the central committee's handling of a rape allegation against one of the party's leaders sparked a huge opposition. Now the last of this opposition, those who chose to stay and take the fight to a second annual conference in December 2013, have resigned as a bloc and are discussing what to do next.
For more on the left unity process in Britain, click HERE.
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By Tom Walker
An anti-militia protester gunned down on November 15, 2013.By Chris Slee
January 9, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In recent months there has been a wave of protests against militias in Libya’s cities. The militias are armed groups originally formed during the 2011 civil war. Most are based in particular towns or regions, but they sometimes try to exercise power over a wider area. There is widespread resentment at their arbitrary exercise of power. One protester told the Libya Herald that the militias “terrorise, steal and kidnap people”.
On November 15, 2013, protesters marched on a militia base in Gharghour, a suburb of Tripoli, Libya’s capital. The base was occupied by a militia from the city of Misrata. The protesters were demanding that the militia leave Tripoli. But the militia opened fire, killing 47 people and injuring 500.
This led to more protests. The Tripoli local council called a general strike, initially intended to last three days.
Adam Hanieh on his new book: 'Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East'
Adam Hanieh interviewed by Jadaliyya
January 8, 2014
Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East
By Adam Hanieh
Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2013
[For more articles by or about Adam Hanieh, click HERE.]
Jadaliyya: What made you write this book and what are its key themes?
Adam Hanieh: The book was written over the course of 2011 and 2012 and was intended as a contribution to some of the debates that emerged in these first years of the Arab uprisings.
I did not want to write another narrative account of the uprisings themselves. This was partly because these were events still unfolding and shifting rapidly from day to day; it was also because there had already been several very useful books published along these lines, including, of course, Jadaliyya’s The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings.
Michele Bachelet won a resounding victory in the Chilean presidential race with 62% of the vote.
By Roger Burbach
January 7, 2014 -- América Latina en Movimiento -- Elections in Venezuela and Chile in December 2013 molded the political panorama of Latin America for the coming year, providing a new opening for left-leaning governments and the advance of post-neoliberal policies in the region.
In Venezuela, the decisive victory of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in the municipal elections on December 8 gave a boost to the presidency of Nicolas Maduro, enabling him to advance the 21st century socialism of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.
After Maduro's narrow victory margin of 1.5% in the presidential elections in April 2013, the opposition went on the offensive, declaring fraud and waging economic war in an effort to destabilise the country. If the opposition coalition had won in the municipal elections, or even come close in the popular vote, it was poised to mount militant demonstrations to destabilise and topple the Maduro government.
Democracy Now! interviewed Kshama Sawant on January 6, 2014, prior to her inauguration.
Click HERE for more on Kshama Sawant's election campaign and those of other socialists at the municipal level.
By Kshama Sawant, Seattle
January 6, 2014 -- Vote Sawant
My brothers and sisters,
Thank you for your presence here today.
This city has made glittering fortunes for the super wealthy and for the major corporations that dominate Seattle’s landscape. At the same time, the lives of working people, the unemployed and the poor grow more difficult by the day. The cost of housing skyrockets, and education and healthcare become inaccessible.
This is not unique to Seattle. Shamefully, in this, the richest country in human history, 50 million of our people – one in six – live in poverty. Around the world, billions do not have access to clean water and basic sanitation and children die every day from malnutrition.
Click HERE for more on Kshama Sawant's election campaign and those of other socialists.
January 5, 2014 -- Black Sheep Radio -- Just a few weeks after Kshama Sawant was victorious running as a socialist for the Seattle City Council, and on the eve of her inauguration on January 6, 2014, we interviewed Anh Tran, Sawant’s assistant for the campaign. Tran also served as the volunteer coordinator for Sawant when she ran for the Washington State Legislature in 2012, so talking to Tran we were able to get a sense of the wider arc of the Seattle election.
January 5, 2014 -- Anticapitalist Initiative -- With new papers released by the National Archives about the British miners’ strike the Anticapitalist Initiative’s Chris Strafford caught up with Harry Paterson, author of the upcoming book Look Back in Anger: The Miners’ Strike in Nottinghamshire 30 years on, to discuss what we have learnt.
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Chris Strafford: With the release of documents from the Cabinet Office and Prime Minister’s Office from 1984 detailing discussions and actions of the Thatcher government in the 1984-85 miners’ strike we have got some insight into how the attack on the miners was carried out. What were your initial thoughts once you had finished reading the documents?
By Mike Marqusee
January 4, 2014 -- http://www.mikemarqusee.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- This is an edited version of a letter I've just sent to a relative in the United States who's been trying to figure out the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) issue in the wake of the recent onslaught against the American Studies Association's decision to support the academic boycott of apartheid Israel.
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The “singling out” objection seems to me quite perverse. It's not possible to campaign against any injustice anywhere without “singling it out”. When people campaigned and boycotted South Africa, they were “singling it out” -- and that accusation was in fact frequently made by apologists for South Africa. “What about the black dictatorships in Africa?”, they would say. This was always an evasive manoeuvre, a poor excuse for allowing gross racial oppression to continue unhindered. Many of those who raise this objection now in relation to Israel would have or indeed did dismiss it when it was raised in relation to South Africa.
[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.]
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By John Bellamy Foster
[This article is an expanded and slightly altered version of a keynote address under the same title presented to the Marxism 2013 Conference in Stockholm on October 20, 2013. That address built on ideas introduced in the author’s Rosa Luxemburg Lecture, “The Great Rift,” presented to the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in Berlin on May 28, 2013.]
December 7, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Colin Fox, Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) national co-spokesperson and Yes Scotland advisory board member, presents the SSP's overview of the Scottish government's white paper on independence.
Filmed at the Scottish Socialist Voice forum in Edinburgh. An event bringing the pro-independence left together to respond to the white paper on independence.
[For more on Belgium, click HERE.]
Statement by the LCR-SAP secretariat
December 31, 2013 -- International Viewpoint -- The end of the tunnel is far from being in sight. We are only at the beginning of a gigantic offensive by European capitalism against the world of labour, youth and women. Since 2008, in the European Union (EU), more than 2 billion private bank debts have been transformed into public debts, and these debts serve as the pretext for a ferocious austerity.
The sacrifices imposed on the majority of the population aggravate deficits and recession. But the dominant class continues to pursue them. Why? Because its objective is not purely economic but strategic: it wishes to break social resistance, dismantle what remains of the “welfare state”, reduce the public sector to its simplest expression and structurally weaken the trade unions. The drift of the employers’ discourse on competitiveness is revealing: for the bosses, it is no longer enough that “labour costs” are aligned with other European countries — it is henceforth in the context of the world market, faced with the “emergent” capitalism of China and elsewhere, that workers on the old continent should be “competitive”.
The EU, capitalist war machine
North Carolinians mobilised against an anti-worker (and anti-woman, anti-civil rights) legislative assault by bringing thousands of protesters to the state capitol every week for “Moral Mondays”, with close to a thousand arrests. Photo by Ajamu Dillahunt.
By Jenny Brown
December 30, 2013 -- Labor Notes -- Lean meanness stalked workplaces. The political and economic outlook continued dismal. But the year was marked by workers trying new things and setting higher standards, for their employers, their unions, and—in the case of low-wage workers—their pay.
Unemployment ticked down slightly, but the jobs created paid worse than ever. Mainstream media reported with amazement that jobs that once paid the bills, from bank teller to university instructor, now require food stamps and Medicaid to supplement the wages of those who work every day.
California Walmart worker Anthony Goytia spoke for many when he said it’s no longer pay cheque to pay cheque for him and his co-workers, but payday loan to payday loan.
Part 1. John Riddell. Parts 2 and 3 below.
Moderated by Jackie Esmonde. Presentations by:
- John Riddell, editor of Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International.
- Paul Kellogg, author of “The Only Hope of the Revolution is the Crowd: The Limits of Žižek's Leninism”, International Journal of Žižek Studies.
Sponsored by Education Committee of the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly.
Ike Nahem at the memorial for Soweto martyrs.
For more on Nelson Mandela, click HERE.By Ike Nahem
Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings. -- Nelson Mandela
December 29, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The outpouring of emotion and dignified appreciation that met the passing of Nelson Mandela on December 5, 2013, flowed like a raging river from every nation and people on the planet. It was a grief tempered by a jubilation and wonderment at the life of this great and humble human being.
While it is certainly true that Mandela's death resonated most powerfully with the South African people and particularly with oppressed and exploited working people worldwide, it is also the case that Mandela was admired and loved by countless millions from all social classes and walks of life with any democratic and anti-racist principles, who were sincerely touched and inspired by his amazing life, his example and his deeds.
I had the unforgettable experience -- and the thrill of a lifetime -- to meet, shake hands and exchange a few words with Nelson Mandela.
Democratic Left Front salutes the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa special national congress
By the Democratic Left Front, South Africa
December 23, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- There is a spectre haunting the ruling class and government in South Africa: it is the radical anti-capitalist movement that the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has given birth to at its historic special national congress held last week. The Democratic Left Front (DLF) congratulates NUMSA for this congress that united metalworkers in spite of the sustained attempts to divide NUMSA.
"March of million" on Independence Square in Kiev, December 8, 2013.
By Aleksandr Buzgalin
December 24, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As this article is being written the outcome of the resistance remains undecided, but the author is certain that, one way or another, the present Ukrainian authorities will draw closer to the European Union. Meanwhile, one thing is clear: the profound problems of Ukraine, and of Russia’s relations with it, will not be solved as a result.
A tragedy turning into farce? Or farce as tragedy?
Ukraine is shot through with contradictions. For the second time in 10 years Kiev has become the scene of mass protest actions and of clashes with the authorities. But the events of late autumn 2013 are only superficially similar to those of 2004. The situation has grown far more complex.