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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 Marta Harnecker, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. Translated by Rachael Boothroyd, VenezuelaAnalysis.com
Remembering the context in which the project emerged
1. When Chávez triumphed in the presidential elections of 1998, the neoliberal capitalist model was already falling apart. The dilemma was none other than to either reform the neoliberal capitalist model, evidently with changes, and amongst those a greater for concern for social issues, but still orientated towards the same profit seeking motive, or to move forward with the construction of another model.
2. Chávez chose the latter option. To give it a name, he decided to rescue the word socialism, despite its historical burden of negative connotations. He specified that it should be socialism of the 21st Century in a bid to differentiate it from the Soviet socialism implemented during the 20th Century, and warned that it must not “make the same errors of the past”; the “Stalinist deviation” which had bureaucratised the whole party and put an end to popular protagonism, or the state capitalism which emphasised state property and not the participation of the workers in directing enterprises.
By Dick Nichols
November 16, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In the end, on October 29, it all worked out pretty well for Mariano Rajoy. After patiently implementing his motto that “all things come to he who waits”, the leader of the minority conservative People’s Party (PP) was that day confirmed as Spain’s prime minister for a second four-year term.
Two days later, Rajoy was sworn in by King Philip and normal operations were resumed in the institutions of the Spanish state after ten months of tension and turmoil springing from the inconclusive general elections of December 20 and June 26.
These had converted the two-party system into a four-party game, with newcomers Podemos (on the left) and Citizens (on the right) drawing millions of voters away from the PP and the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), Spain’s other traditional “party of government”. No party had a majority and the second election was called because the PSOE’s attempt to form a government with Citizens failed because of the opposition of the PP, Podemos and the rest of the left, as well as of Basque and Catalan nationalist forces.
By Noam Chomsky
November 15, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Pope Francis captured the essence of the crisis of immigration: “Migrants are not the danger. They are in danger.”
The implication is clear - the so called crisis of immigration is an indication of a bigger moral crisis in the wealthy countries of the world; those societies that have resources to help those who are in severe danger and to mitigate or resolve the circumstances that lie at the roots of their flight.
Reflection on these matters is essential if we are to face the moral crisis honestly and realistically, which is a prerequisite to a humane and constructive response to an enormous human problem that is right before our eyes, and is very likely to become far worse in the near future unless decisive actions are undertaken. And it is instructive, I think, to reach for these reflections, to reach beyond the events, that are before our eyes which are shattering enough. That includes the report in yesterday’s El Pais that more than 4,000 desperate refugees have drowned in the Mediterranean this year, fleeing from misery and violence. Migrants are often in extreme danger as we see every day.
By Marta Harnecker, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
1. Unfortunately, there tends to be a lot of subjectivism in our analysis of the political situation. What tends to occur is that leaders, driven by their revolutionary passion, tend to confuse desires with reality. On the one hand, an objective evaluation of the situation is not carried out, the enemy tends to be underestimated and, on the other hand, one’s own potential is overestimated.
2. Moreover, leaders tend to confuse the mood of the most radical activists with the mood of the grassroots popular sectors. There exists a tendency in more than a few political leaderships to make generalizations about the mood of the people based simply on their own personal experiences, whether it is in the region they are in or the social sector they are active in, or based on the perception of those around them, who are always the most radicalized sectors.
3. Those that work with the most radicalized sectors will have a different vision of the country compared to those that carry out their political activities among the least political sectors. Revolutionary cadre who work in a militant popular neighborhood will not have the same vision of the country as those that are active in middle-class sectors.
Below, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is republishing a series of statements releases by left parties and organisations in the United States in the wake of Donald Trump's election as president. This includes statements by the US Green Party's presidential candidate Jill Stein and VP running mate Ajamu S. Baraka, the national steering committee of Solidarity, and the International Socialist Organization, as well as an article by Dan La Botz.
by Richard Fidler
November 14, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In Syria the rebel cities that rose up four years ago in revolt against the brutal Assad dictatorship are now under a genocidal siege, bombed and assaulted from the air by Assad’s military aided and abetted by Russian fighter jets and bombers. Their desperate fight for survival, if unsuccessful, will put paid to the Arab Spring and with it the potential for building a democratic, anti-imperialist governmental alternative in the Middle East for an extended period to come. Socialists and antiwar activists everywhere have every interest in supporting the Syrian people and opposing that war.
But where is the antiwar movement?
[Original in English here]
Por Patrick Bond
November 14, 2016 — Traducido por Enrique García para Sin Permiso — Esta semana quizás sea recordada como el punto de inflexión política de Sudáfrica más importante desde que en septiembre de 2008 su propio partido, el ANC, obligase a dimitir al presidente Thabo Mbeki. Su torturador principal era en aquella época Jacob Zuma, que - después de un breve período transitorio - ha gobernado el país de una manera cada vez menos convincente desde mayo de 2009.
Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MPs that have been arrested.
By Hişyar Özsoy and Aysel Tuğluk
November 10, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This brief presents an overview of the illegality of the entire political and judicial process leading up to the arrest of our Co-Chairs Mr Selahattin Demirtaş and Mr Figen Yüksekdağ, along with eight other MPs of our party on 4 and 7 November 2016.
In response to domestic and international outcry over the arrests, the Erdoğan-AKP government officials have presented this a necessary judicial measure against our Members of the Parliament (MPs) who refused to follow the summons of prosecutors for interrogation in relation to criminal cases filed against them. In his statement to the press on November 4th following the detention of our twelve MPs the night before, Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ argued that our MPS had defied the rule of law by this refusal, and left judicial authorities with no other choice than bringing them before the court by force.
Ideas for the struggle #11 - Popular consultations: spaces that allow for the convergence of different forces
By Marta Harnecker, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
1. I have previously argued the case for the need to create a large social bloc against neoliberalism that can unite all those affected by the system. To achieve this, it is fundamental that we create spaces that allow for the convergence of specific anti-neoliberal struggles where, while safeguarding the specific characteristics of each political or social actor, common tasks can be taken up that help strengthening the struggle.
By Doug Enaa Greene
To my friend and comrade Francesca.
November 6, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — “What side of the barricades are you on?” This phrase expresses the poignant meaning that the term barricades has in the revolutionary lexicon. Barricades represent a line of demarcation in the class war between the exploiters and the exploited. To stand with the exploited on the barricades is to pick a side, it is an action of solidarity with one's comrades, and shows that one is read to sacrifice their life for the cause. Although barricades dominated the insurrectionary movements during the nineteenth century, as time passed the barricade was found wanting as a effective tactic to topple the state, especially as the forces of order redesigned cities to prevent uprisings and revolutionaries pursued legal channels for political advance. When revolutionary opportunities came following the Russian Revolution, the barricade was relegated to the background in favor of more sophisticated approaches to insurrection.
Kurds and Turks are at the edge of a cliff: An interview with arrested Kurdish women’s rights activist Ayla Akat
Nadje al-Ali and Latif Tas interview Ayla Akat
November 4, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Open Democracy — Ayla Akat, lawyer, former Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) MP for Batman, KJA Spokesperson and prominent Kurdish women’s rights activists based in Diyarbakir (Amed) was arrested a few days ago alongside other Kurdish women’s rights activists.
They were protesting against the illegal arrest of Gültan Kışanak, co-mayor of Diyarbakir, who has been detained together with the city’s male co-mayor, Fırat Anlı. In addition, 27 elected Kurdish co-mayors are in prison in Turkey, while 43 of them were dismissed. On 11 September 2016, the central government appointed deputy governors as trustees to replace the dismissed Kurdish mayors who were elected by more than 70% of the public vote.
By Patrick Bond
November 3, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This week could well be remembered as South Africa’s most important political inflection point since the September 2008 ousting of sitting President Thabo Mbeki by his own party, the African National Congress (ANC). His main tormenter then was Jacob Zuma, who – following a brief handover period – has ruled the country in an increasingly dubious manner since May 2009.
But several contradictions have exploded in Zuma’s face. Political opponents from across the spectrum, radical university students and his own party’s establishment smell the blood, as Zuma’s fabled patronage system is now in the spotlight, apparently in tatters.
Zuma just suffered two major legal defeats: a fumbled state attack on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan which was humiliatingly withdrawn by an incompetent prosecutor on Monday following a national outcry; and Wednesday’s release of the public protector’s State of Capture report on the Zuma family’s corrupt relationships, a report the president and two cabinet colleagues unsuccessfully attempt to quash.
By James Schneider, Emma Rees and Adam Klug
November 3, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red Pepper — Change and disruption is happening across Europe and North America. More and more citizens are rejecting a status quo that doesn’t work for them – and the elites who told them that it would. The breaking down of neoliberal hegemony creates almost unthinkable opportunities, such as Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership in the UK or Syriza coming to power in Greece. But these opportunities face intense efforts to suppress them, as politics once more becomes a contest between the powerful and the rest of us.
By Dan La Botz
November 2, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Politics — Imagine that it is 1840 and someone approaches you on the street and hands you a flyer for James G. Birney, the presidential candidate of the new Liberty Party. The flyer says that the Liberty Party opposes slavery. It is the only party that does.
The Democrats and the Whigs--the two parties of the two-party system of that time--supported slavery, not to the same degree perhaps, but neither party opposed slavery. The Liberty Party is new and small, tiny. It’s candidate Birney has absolutely no chance to win the election. But he stands opposed to slavery. Who will you vote for on voting day in 1840?
Will you argue that voting for the Liberty Party would be wasting your vote, and that instead you would vote for the Whig or Democratic parties, both of which accepted slavery?
By Dick Nichols
November 1, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The trials of major European banks, starting with “venerable institutions” like the Monte dei Paschi di Siena (the world’s oldest bank) and Deutsche Bank (Germany’s largest), have raised the spectre of another 2008 — a “Lehman Brothers times five” in the words of one finance market analyst.
By Alan Wieder
October 31, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — When Noam Chomsky recently told Amy Goodman that he would hold his nose and vote for Hillary Clinton if he lived in a swing state, it reminded me of Studs’ statements during the 2000 Gore-Bush election for the presidency. In 2000, Studs endorsed Ralph Nader, but like Chomsky at the present time, he suggested that it might be prudent in certain cases to vote for Gore. In 1970, when Chomsky appeared on Studs’ show to discuss his book, The New Mandarins, much of the conversation focused on conquest and corporate power. And the men agreed that grassroots movements, not heroes, changed history. Chomsky argues, in correspondence to the mass support of Bernie, that “The New Deal legislation of Roosevelt, for example, wouldn’t have been passed—it wouldn’t have even been initiated—without militant labor action and other political action.” Studs referenced 1948 Progressive Party candidate, Henry Wallace, during the 2000 election, arguing that Nader might elevate Gore just as Wallace did Truman. Both men also acknowledge realpolitik in terms of Supreme Court nominations to say nothing of Trump’s fascist tendencies.
By Marta Harnecker, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
1. I have previously referred to the necessity of building unity among all left forces and actors in order to be able to cohere a broad anti-neoliberal bloc around them. Nevertheless, I do not think that this objective can be achieved in a voluntarist manner, creating coordinating bodies from above that end up being a simple sum of acronyms.
[Original in English here.]
Por Eric Blanc
By Walden Bello
October 30, 2016 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from InterAksyon – Just into his fourth month as head of state, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has managed to become one of the most controversial actors on the global stage, rivalling if not eclipsing Donald Trump. His war on drugs, marred by the extra-judicial execution of drug users and peddlers, won him the title of “serial killer” on French television. More recently, his telling US President Obama to “go to hell” and his declaration of “separation” from the United States and “alignment”with China and Russia during a state visit to Beijing has alarmed and befuddled governments in the East Asian region.
October 28, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — Hannah Holleman is an activist and professor of sociology at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Her work has appeared in numerous publications on subjects including imperialism and colonialism, political economy ecology, ecological justice, feminism, advertising and propaganda, financialization, mass incarceration, and social theory.