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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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Venezuela: The political economy of inflation and investment strikes

Hugo Chavez addresses oil workers in 2007, pushing for more national control of the country's oil.

For more on Venezuela, click HERE.

By Oliver Levingston

February 10, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This paper adopts a Marxian class analysis to dispute the orthodox critique of high inflation in contemporary Venezuela. It draws a parallel between the 2002-03 oil industry lock-out and the capital strike in the Venezuelan foodstuffs industry today. In each case, capital has suspended production to bid up the price of basic goods and create widespread shortages.

Orthodox economists have cited worsening output and rising inflation in the aftermath of the capital strike to demand fiscal austerity and restrictive monetary policy.

Exclusive excerpt from John Tully's 'Silvertown: The Lost Story of a Strike that ... Helped Launch the Modern Labor Movement'

February 9, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following is an excerpt from John Tully's new book, Silvertown: The Lost Story of a Strike that Shook London and Helped Launch the Modern Labor Movement, published by Monthly Review Press. It is posted with the kind permission of Monthly Review Press. Readers of Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to order a copy HERE. You can download the excerpt HERE (PDF), or read it on screen below.

* * *

“This is a revolt against oppression: a protest against the brute force which keeps a huge population down in the depths of the most dire degradation, for the benefit of a knot of profit-hunters … this is a strike of the poor against the rich.”—William Morris, 1889

Eyewitness El Salvador: 'An FMLN victory will empower us', say trade unionists

Salvadorans went to the polls on February 2. The union-backed party won the first round. The run-off is March 9. Photo by CISPES.

Click HERE for more on El Salvador.

By Emily B.R. Rodriguez

February 6, 2014 -- Labor Notes -- On a hot and breezeless day at the end of January, representatives from 83 unions across El Salvador gathered in the Casa Sindical (a shared union hall) in San Salvador to greet a delegation of international election observers. We had come to ensure that the presidential election would be free of fraud, violence and intimidation.

The images and names of their fallen comrades loomed on the walls behind them in black paint. Febe Elizabeth Velásquez. Juan Chacón. Ten unionists were martyred in a 1989 bombing by right-wing death squads, targeted because they were union leaders.

Paul Buhle on a new book about radical Jesus: 'Why didn’t I hear about this in Sunday School?

By Paul Buhle

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
by Reza Aslan
2013: Random House
336 pp.

February 6, 2014 -- Truthout/Rag Blog, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- A better title for this best seller would be: Jesus Against Empire. If the devil can quote scripture, according to tradition, and if the recovery and analysis of assorted versions of what became Bible text (or did not) have become a scholarly big business, then we can hardly expect any version to be accepted by all.

Still, Reza Aslan himself is by now the kind of major media personality who appears on The Colbert Report (and what could be more major?) with views on subjects ranging from Iran (where he was born) to the silliness of Fox News on Christmas.

Lionsgate has purchased the film rights to his new book, Zealot, The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, and he is reportedly scripting a television series for FX. Conservatives gripe at his Jesus, while senior Biblical scholars seem to be complaining that they never got the earthly attention and rewards now ladled upon him.

Visit revolutionary Venezuela: registrations open for 2014 AVSN solidarity brigade

Click HERE for more on the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network.

February 7, 2014 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Join this year’s Australian solidarity delegation to Venezuela, December 2-13, 2014. Registrations are now open for the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s 2014 solidarity tour to revolutionary Venezuela.

The tour -- to run from Tuesday, December 2 to Saturday, December 13 (inclusive) -- will be a unique an opportunity to observe first hand, learn about and be inspired by a grassroots movement that is transforming not only Venezuela, but Latin America, and is challenging the greed and destructiveness of global capitalism by showing that a better world is possible.

Since 1998, Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution has achieved remarkable things by putting control of the country’s politics and economy back into the hands of the poor majority. Despite the challenges created by the United States-backed opposition’s campaign to stall and destroy the revolution, this people-powered process of change continues to flourish.

El Salvador: FMLN wins first round of presidential election

Salvador Sanchez Ceren, candidate for the leftist FMLN party, gave a rousing speech on February 2 to announce victory in the first-round.

Click HERE for more on El Salvador.

February 3, 2014 -- CISPES -- With over 99% of polling places reporting, the candidate for the governing Farabundo Martí national Liberation Front (FMLN) party, Salvador Sanchez Cerén won handily the first round of El Salvador’s 2014 presidential election, earning nearly 49% of the vote. He holds a ten-point lead over Norman Quijano of the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), who placed second with 39%. Former president Tony Saca (1999-2004) garnered just over 11% of the vote. The FMLN and ARENA will head to a run-off on March 9.

According to the CISPES electoral observation mission, which included delegates from the National Lawyers Guild and various US universities, the electoral proceedings were calm and peaceful.

Venezuela: A year since Hugo Chavez’s death -- special edition of the AVSN broadsheet

By the Embassy of Venezuela in Australia

February-March 2014 -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialisr Renewal with permission -- Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias was the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. As the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Chavez promoted a political doctrine of participatory democracy, socialism and Latin American and Caribbean cooperation. He was also a critic of neoliberalism, globalisation and United States foreign policy.

A career military officer, Chavez founded the left-wing Fifth Republic Movement after orchestrating a failed 1992 military rebellion against former President Carlos Andres Perez.

Chavez was elected president in 1998 with a campaign centred on promises of aiding Venezuela's poor majority, and was re-elected in 2000, 2006 and 2012.

Domestically, Chavez established nationwide Bolivarian Social Missions, whose goals are to combat disease, illiteracy, malnutrition, poverty and other social ills.

Abroad, Chavez acted against the Washington Consensus by supporting alternative models of economic development and advocating cooperation among the world's poor nations, especially those in Latin America.

Clara Zetkin en la boca del lobo: frente único y feminismo en el III congreso de la Comintern

Clara Zetkin

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3663.]

Por John Riddell

2/2/2014 -- http://www.sinpermiso.info -- En 1921, cuando la Internacional Comunista (Comintern) celebró su III Congreso Mundial, Clara Zetkin era la comunista más respetada fuera de Rusia. Sin embargo, fue víctima en vísperas del congreso de grandes esfuerzos para vilipendiarla y apartarla de la dirección de la Comintern, e incluso del movimiento comunista. No obstante, fue, junto con Lenin y Trotsky, una de las figuras intelectuales más destacadas del congreso.

Examinaremos el papel de Zetkin en la gran lucha ideológica del III Congreso y su conexión con su participación en el movimiento por la emancipación de la mujer. Zetkin había ganado una gran reputación como la principal dirigente del movimiento internacional de mujeres socialistas antes de 1914. Se convirtió en uno de los defensores más eficaces del internacionalismo socialista durante la guerra. Ayudó a formar el Partido Comunista Alemán y fue uno de sus líderes más prominentes.

[Para continuar, descargue AQUÍ o leer en la pantalla de abajo.]

How we can use the Transitional Program today: a response to Socialist Alternative

 "Allen Myers denies the possibility of using the Transitional Program as a tool to advance the class struggle in Australia today. He devotes a lot of effort in arguing that nationalisation is not a transitional demand in current circumstances."

For more on the transitional method, click HERE

By Chris Slee

February 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Allen Myers, a member of the Australian party Socialist Alternative, has written an article in that organisation’s magazine Marxist Left Review entitled “Trotsky’s Transitional Program: its uses and abuses”.[1] Myers is also a former leading member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, some of whose members have joined Socialist Alternative.

Thailand: February 2 election has solved nothing; unity of democratic forces needed

Anti-democratic thugs opened fire on those wanting to vote.

For more on Thailand, click HERE.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

February 3, 2014 -- Ugly Truth Thailand -- The February 2 general election cannot solve the Thai political crisis because those lined up against the government and the holding of democratic elections are fundamentally opposed to democracy.

The election was marred by violence from Democrat Party thugs who were determined to prevent the election taking place. Armed thugs fired automatic weapons into crowds of people who were expressing their wish to vote. These thugs have been enjoying total impunity for over a month while intimidating voters and candidates.

Spain: Si, se puede! ‘White tide’ defeats Madrid health privatisation plan

By Dick Nichols

February 1, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Victories in the never-ending struggle against the sell-off of public services in southern Europe are rare. So when one comes along that is as big as the recent defeat of the Madrid regional government’s scheme to privatise hospital and community health-centre management we should celebrate it to the full.

Spain: 'Because it’s my choice', statement on abortion rights to Spain’s House of Commons

Tens of thousands marched on February 1 in Madrid in opposition to restrictions on the right to choose.

February 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following declaration of the "Freedom Train" in support of women's right to choose abortion and against the regressive changes to abortion laws by the national government of Spain was released prior to a big march from Atocha to the parliament on February 1, 2014 (picture above).

A draft bill to restrict abortion to cases of rape or severe danger to the mother's health is being considered. Four years ago, Spain came in line with most of the rest of Europe when the then Socialist Party government legalised abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

* * *

English translation by Pilar Cuder-Domínguez

Egypt: 'Al-Sisi’s rule is clearly a period of counter-revolutionary offensive', say Revolutionary Socialists

Click HERE for more on Egypt.

By the Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt) political bureau

January 26, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Greetings to the comrades and colleagues among the revolutionaries who came out onto the streets yesterday. Their presence and their bravery in facing the security forces in the midst of the mobilisation for Al-Sisi was of the utmost importance.

It is natural that there will be feelings of frustration because we were not able to enter Tahrir Square, and that the regime’s supporters were able to take control.

However, our goal was not to occupy the square, but to develop a third alternative on the political scene, an alternative which can gather around it the tens of thousands who did not take part in the referendum [on the constitution] and rejected this farce, terrifying the counter-revolution. Our presence in the streets yesterday marks the beginning of such a task. Imagine if the day had passed with celebrations which were only challenged by Islamist demonstrations against the military. Then, certainly the sense of frustration would be stronger. Today, in spite of the darkness and oppression, we are charting a new course, and there are many who are anticipating that this will be a battle where we need to take a deep breath.

South Africa: Nine COSATU unions call for Zwelinzima Vavi's reinstatement

Zwelinzima Vavi.

[For more on COSATU, click HERE. For more on South Africa, click HERE.]

January 29, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This press conference has been called to explain why the nine Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) affiliated unions have taken the unprecedented step of coming together in an attempt to rescue and regenerate COSATU.

Our main and overriding purpose is to work openly towards freeing COSATU from its current state of organisational and political paralysis, for it to become once again a vibrant, independent, progressive worker-controlled federation. The working class at this critical time demands nothing less!

What crisis in COSATU?

We hold the view that COSATU is in deep crisis, and denying the scale and extent of the crisis makes matters worse. A review of what COSATU was supposed to implement following its 2012 congress reveals an organisation unable to move forward on any significant area, and especially in relation to economic and social matters. Meanwhile millions of our people continue to face unemployment, poverty and worsening inequality.

Towards a European ecosocialist action network

European Ecosocialist Conference Jan 2014

Delegates to European ecosocialist meeting, January 19, 2014.

By Andrew Burgin

January 25, 2014 -- Left Unity via Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The increasing ecological crisis and impending environmental catastrophe that we all face, is leading more on the left to recognise that we have to be both red and green in our politics – we have to be ecosocialist. One without the other is not going to work.

Forging a new movement: NUMSA and the shift in South Africa's politics

[For more on NUMSA, click HERE. For more on South Africa, click HERE.]

By Leonard Gentle

January 28, 2014 -- SACSIS -- The decision of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) to cut ties with the African National Congress (ANC) has received poor analysis. Comment has tended to focus on the possibility of a new political party in 2019 or whether all this means that suspended general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Zwelinzima Vavi will get his job back.

The greater significance of the biggest trade union in the country throwing in its lot with a growing movement in opposition to the neoliberal order, and thus to the left of the ANC, rather than the line up to the right is being missed.

Kurds in Syria: ‘We don't want to draw new borders’, says Democratic Union Party

Salih Muslim, president of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party, interviewed by Thomas Schmidinger

January 29, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Salih Muslim (pictured above) shares the presidency of the Democratic Union Party (Partiya Yekitîya Demokrat, PYD) with Asya Abdullah. The PYD is a sister party of the Kurdistan Workers Party PKK and shares the same ideological background as its leader Abdullah Öcalan. The party is the ruling force in the Kurdish areas of Syria and took over three enclaves with Kurdish majorities in 2012.

In an interview with Austria-based political scientist Thomas Schmidinger, Salih Muslim tells about the present and future project of Kurdish self-rule in Syria.

First I want to give my deepest condolences on the death of your son Sherwan, who was recently killed at the age of 17 while fighting against jihadist groups.

Thank you. If we are fighting for freedom we have to pay a price. This was my price I had to pay.

'We shall overcome': Democracy Now! remembers folk icon, activist Pete Seeger

January 28, 2014 -- Democracy Now! -- Legendary folk singer and activist Pete Seeger died January 27, 2014, at the age of 94. For nearly seven decades, Seeger was a musical and political icon who helped create the modern North American folk music movement.

We air highlights of two appearances by Seeger on Democracy Now!, including one of his last television interviews recorded just four months ago. Interspersed in the interviews, Seeger sings some of his classic songs, "We Shall Overcome," "If I Had a Hammer" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone."

He also talks about what has been described as his “defiant optimism.” "Realize that little things lead to bigger things. That’s what [the album] 'Seeds' is all about," Seeger said. "And there’s a wonderful parable in the New Testament: The sower scatters seeds. Some seeds fall in the pathway and get stamped on, and they don’t grow. Some fall on the rocks, and they don’t grow. But some seeds fall on fallow ground, and they grow and multiply a thousandfold. Who knows where some good little thing that you’ve done may bring results years later that you never dreamed of."

Witnessing a revolution: Report of Australian 2013 solidarity delegation to Venezuela

The AVSN brigadistas at the state-owned Diana Industries.

January 28, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Attached below is a report, plus photos, on the activities undertaken during the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network's (AVSN) brigade to Venezuela last month (December 2013).

A 2014 solidarity brigade will run from December 2-14, 2014. Further information and registration forms will be available on the AVSN website soon, at www.venezuelasolidarity.org.

For more information about the 2014 brigade, please contact info@venezuelasolidarity.org

In solidarity,
Lisa Macdonald
Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

Download the report HERE, or read on screen below.

France: Activist pressure forces truce within Front de Gauche

January 17 leadership meeting between the PCF and the Left Party.

By Dick Nichols

January 29, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- To the an almost audible sigh of relief from its tens of thousands of activists, the two main forces in France’s nine-party Left Front (Front de Gauche)—the Communist Party (Parti Communiste Français, PCF) and the Left Party (Parti de Gauche) of Jean-Luc Mélenchon—have called a halt to hostilities that were not only undermining its chances in France’s March municipal elections but also those of the Party of the European Left (PGE) in the May 25 European poll.

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