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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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Burkina Faso: Thomas Sankara inspires new generation of anti-government activists

Thomas Sankara meets Fidel Castro.

By Brian Petersen

August 15, 2014 -- Think Africa Press -- In 1987, Blaise Compaoré overthrew Sankara and took over the presidency. 27 years later, Sankara's ghost may be coming back to return the favour.

Thirty years ago, on August 4, 1984, the former French colony of the Upper Volta was re-baptised as "Burkina Faso" amidst a revolutionary process that proved to be one of the most inspiring, yet ultimately tragic, episodes of modern African history.

In 1983, the young Captain Thomas Sankara had come to power in a popularly supported coup d'état and − with broad support from leftist political parties, students, women and peasants − initiated a range of ambitious projects, including the country's name change, that aimed to make the country more self-reliant and free of corruption. Sankara also sought to decentralise and democratise power in order to facilitate more participatory forms of governance, though elections for national offices were never attempted.

David Mandel: Understanding the conflict in Ukraine

Ukraines' President Petro Poroshenko (second from left) greets US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints on the political situation in Ukraine.

By David Mandel

August 24, 2014 -- The Bullet, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The Ukrainian conflict, like most political phenomena, is multi-dimensional and highly complex. As such, it calls for a holistic – dialectical, if you wish – approach.

But to judge by US and NATO spokespersons and by their mass media, there is only one really decisive factor that explains everything: Russia's imperialism, Vladimir Putin's determination to dominate and further dismember the Ukraine as part of his plan to restore the Soviet empire. In this simplistic view, Ukraine, with benevolent support from the West, would be quite capable of dealing with its problems and would soon be on its way to becoming a prosperous, Western-style democracy.

Scotland: Independence without borders

hands up

"Scottish independence isn't about borders or flags, it's about people's lives and change" -- independence campaigner Cat Boyd argued as she presented the case for Yes at a meeting in the House of Commons.The meeting agreed with a resounding Yes vote.

By Hilary Wainwright

August 2014 -- Red Pepper, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- There is today a political movement in Scotland that is quite beyond anything containable by or even comprehensible through the terms of conventional parliamentary, tick-some-scoundrel's-name-every-four-years politics.

Comment: Prospects for an anti-war/solidarity movement in Ukraine and Russia

Anti-war protest in Chernivtsi, western Ukraine, July 23, 2014. Signs read, "Bring our children back!" and "Stop the bloodshed!"

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints on the political situation in Ukraine. These do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers.

By Roger Annis

August 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In an article published on Left-East on August 10, Russian left-wing writer Ilya Budraitskis laments "there is no anti-war movement in Russia". His article is a rather bleak, despairing outlook on the prospects of organising against “war” in the border regions between Ukraine and Russia. He titles his article “Hope in a hopeless place”.

Marta Harnecker: New paths require a new culture on the left

Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro with Marta Harnecker at the award ceremony.

For more by or about Marta Harnecker and her ideas, click HERE.

Speech given by Marta Harnecker on August 15, 2014, accepting the 2013 Liberator’s Prize for Critical Thought, awarded for her book, A World to Build: New Paths towards Twenty-first Century Socialism; translated by Federico Fuentes

Caroline Lund: Reflections of a trade union militant and socialist

Caroline Lund at work.

By Barry Sheppard

August 25, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Caroline Lund was for many years a leader of the US Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and for some years of the Fourth International. She and I resigned from the SWP in 1988.

In 1992 she got a job at an automobile factory in Freemont, California, called New United Motors, Inc. (NUMMI). She became an activist in the plant and the United Auto Workers locally and nationally. In 1998, she began to publish a plant newsletter, The Barking Dog.

Iraq, Syria: US-caused 'blowback' as violence escalates; Kurds resist ISIS

Kurdish fighters resist ISIS.

By Tony Iltis

August 24, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, a shorter version of this article first appeared in Green Left Weekly -- Since August 8, for the first time since officially ending its occupation at the end of 2011, the United States has been carrying out air strikes in Iraq.

The strikes were aimed at the extremely violent multinational terrorist group that was until recently known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but which renamed itself simply the "Islamic State" on June 29, to reflect that its ambitions are global. The group originally emerged in the aftermath of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

International gangs of Salafi Sunni Muslim fundamentalists have been a feature of world politics since the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1989. To fight the Soviet occupation, the CIA, working with Saudi Arabia, had recruited a Salafi force from all over the world but having achieved this cut them loose. International groups of Salafi fighters began appearing wherever there was large-scale armed conflict in the Islamic world, while the mainly Saudi leadership of the network (prosaically named “the Base”, or Al Qaeda) engaged in escalating attacks against their former sponsor, the US, culminating in the 9/11 attacks.

Blowback

Scotland's independence vote: 'For a modern democratic republic' -- Scottish Socialists

The Scottish Socialist Party pamphlet, For a Modern Democratic Republic, written by SSP national spokesperson Colin Fox (pictured above), highlights the need for an elected, representative and accountable head of state as part of Scotland’s constitution. The book is available from local SSP branches priced £3.99, and from its online shop for £5 (inc. p&p). Here is a taste of the pamphlet’s contents.

* * *

By Colin Fox, Scottish Socialist Party national co-spokesperson

August 26, 2014 -- Scottish Socialist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

South Africa: New liberation forces debate post-apartheid future

Striking NUMSA members, July 2014.

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

By Federico Fuentes, Johannesburg

August 23, 2014 -- A version of this article was first published at TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Around 30 guests from across the globe and 120 shop stewards from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) met August 7-10, 2014, in Johannesburg to discuss the prospects and challenges of building a new, left political alternative to the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the party of deceased national hero Nelson Mandela.

Kavita Krishnan: Re-imagining India

For more on India, click HERE.

By Kavita Krishnan

August 21, 2014 -- Outlook, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- We revolutionaries, who seek to transform society, spend a lot of time re-imagining the world we live in. That does not mean we live in a fool’s paradise. It means that we dream dreams that can be achieved.

We don’t wish on a star. Our wishes, we know, won’t be granted by any gods. The beauty of our dreams lies in the fact that they’re made up of human imagination and human will, and can be shaped and brought to life by human will.  

When our imaginations are cramped, our realities too are likely to be the same. When an idea comes to life in our imagination, it is the first step towards bringing it to life in our real world. 

The other thing about our dreams is that we aren’t solitary dreamers. We don’t dream our dreams isolated from others. Our dreams are not a private indulgence or a private solace. These dreams are born in the collective minds of fellow fighters. We dream together, as we fight struggles together. And when others are able to see and share our dreams, the dreams acquire a life beyond our own personal lives.

Thailand: Supremo Prayut appoints himself prime minister

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

August 21, 2014 -- Ugly Truth Thailand -- The self-appointment of dictator of Thailand, Prayut Chan-ocha, as prime minister, by his hand-picked military parliament, was an unsurprising non-event. Prayut did not even bother to attend and the so-called “vote” was unanimous.

Prayut has set himself up as Thailand’s “Supremo”, placing himself in charge of all important posts. This harks back to the dark old days of the military dictatorships in the 1960s and 1970s. As acclaimed writer Wat Wanyangkoon has said: “The junta is detritus left over from the Cold War.”

Prayut’s junta is both brutal and stupid. It is brutal in its crackdown on pro-democracy activists, the use of lèse-majesté to jail its opponents, and the use of violence against detainees. It is stupid in its attempts to create an image that the coup has created “peace and happiness” among citizens. Prayut also loves to strut around barking orders in a pathetic quest to appear like some outdated “strongman”.

Lars T. Lih: ‘All Power to the Soviets’: a biography of a slogan

"All power to the soviets!"

For more by or about Lars Lih, please click HERE.

By Lars Lih

August 18, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- “All power to the Soviets!” is surely one of the most famous slogans in revolutionary history. It is right up there with “Egalité, liberté, fraternité” as a symbol of an entire revolutionary epoch. I would like to examine this slogan in its original context of Russia in 1917, in order to see why it arose, where it came from, and to what extent it was carried out in practice.[1]

United States: ‘Right to farm’ scam -- third wave corporatocracy

By Don Fitz

August 21, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When Monsanto’s home state of Missouri passed the “Right to Farm” on August 5, 2014, the third noose of corporate control tightened around the neck of the United States. Unlike the first two steps of corporate domination of public life, this was a constitutional amendment that would block the state legislature or voters from passing future laws for environmental protection, animal welfare or labeling of contaminated food. This third wave corporatocracy could well spread across US and globally as it becomes a new form of mass disenfranchisement.

Interview: Tariq Ali on Gaza, BDS, ISIS and Iraq

On August 11, 2014, the British left organisation Counterfire sponsored a public forum on Palestine featuring Tariq Ali.

Tariq Ali interviewed by Al McKay, an editor-at-large of E-International Relations.

August 18, 2014 -- E-International Relations -- Tariq Ali is a longstanding editor of the New Left Review. He has written seven novels and a number of screenplays, in addition to many works on history and world politics. His latest books are On History: Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone in Coversation and The Obama Syndrome.

In this interview, Tariq Ali discusses the recent Israel-Palestine conflict, the BDS movment, the rise of ISIS, and Obama’s commitment to long-term US involvement in Iraq.

* * *

Boris Kagarlitsky: Eastern Ukraine people’s republics between militias and oligarchs

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints from the region on the political situation in Ukraine. These do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers.

For more by Boris Kagarlitsky, click HERE.

By Boris Kagarlitsky, Moscow; translated by Renfrey Clarke

August 16, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The war between the Ukraine government and the republics of Novorossiya [New Russia] is gradually taking on the character of a positional stand-off. The resources of both sides are exhausted, and fighting reserves are at an end. For the people’s republics, defending themselves against the many times larger military forces of the Kiev regime, the well-known principle of “a government needs to win, but for an insurrection it is enough not to lose” operates with full force.

Bolivia: Beyond (neo)extractivism?

Bolivia: Beyond (neo)extractivism?

For more on the discussion around "extractivism", click HERE.

By Federico Fuentes

August 9, 2014 -- TeleSUR, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Labelling the government of Bolivia as “pro-extractivist” or “neoextractivist” ignores the reality that Bolivia has made significant advances in breaking with the extractivist framework inherited from previous governments and enforced by the existing global relationship of forces.

A central challenge facing progressive governments and social movements in South America today is breaking the region’s dependency on raw material exports. This issue, which has tended to revolve around the concept of “extractivism”, has also become one of the main points of contention between supporters and critics of the processes of change currently underway in the region.

Ukraine: Proposed Communist Party ban threatens democratic rights

August 14, 2014 -- Real News Network -- Ukrainian sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko discusses the attempt by the Kiev regime to outlaw the Communist Party and crackdown on opposition to the war in the east.

* * *

Click HERE for more coverage of Ukraine.

By Dick Nichols

August 9, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- “This political force should be liquidated”, said Pavlo Petrenko, Ukraine’s justice minister, quoted in the July 9 edition of Capital (Kiev’s equivalent of the Australian Financial Review). Petrenko was referring to the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU). For a time in the 1990s, it was the most supported party in Ukraine and it still won 13% of the vote at the 2012 parliamentary poll.

Maybe Petrenko, a member of a government desperate to get Ukraine into the European Union and which has just signed an Agreement of Association with Brussels, has not yet had time to read Article 12 of the EU’s “Charter of Fundamental Rights”, which says: “Political parties at Union level contribute to expressing the political will of the citizens of the Union.”

‘Fighting nationalism and the troika is our goal’, says Party of the European Left chairperson

Pierre Laurent.

Read more on the Party of the European Left

Pierre Laurent interviewed by Denis Rogatyuk

August 3, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- The Party of the European Left is a continent-wide amalgamation of far-left, radical and socialist political parties and groups. It includes the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) in Greece, Die Linke in Germany, the United Left in Spain, the Left Front (Front de Gauche) in France and many others.

While attending the Ninth Summer University of European Left, Green Left Weekly's Denis Rogatyuk got a chance to discuss the challenges and plans of the European Left with Pierre Laurent, its current chairperson. Laurent is also national secretary of the French Communist Party, which is part of France’s Left Front.

* * *

Denis Rogatyuk: I thought we would begin with the question on the mind of all the different left and progressive political parties in Europe — the question of the European Elections. Do you think the European Left fulfilled the best possible outcome in these elections?

South Africa: 'Return to the Freedom Charter'! -- NUMSA leader Irvin Jim's Ruth First Memorial Lecture

Nelson Mandela with fellow accused Ruth First (centre) and Congress of Democrats supporter Rose Schlachte during the Treason Trial, which began in 1957.

“The revolutionary task of the moment: building democratic organs of the working class, trade unions, the civic movement and a revolutionary socialist vanguard party to defeat South African colonial and racist capitalism.” -- Irvin Jim.

August 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Irvin Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), presented the 12th annual Ruth First Memorial Lecture at the University of Witswatersrand in Johannesburg, in memory of the revolutionary activist who was assassinated by the apartheid regime in 1982.

* * *

May I simply say: Ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends gathered at this 12th Ruth First Memorial Lecture.

Please allow me to thank the University of the Witwatersrand for taking a very brave and big risk: inviting a humble, unlettered leader of a black trade union to give the 12th Ruth First Memorial Lecture.

We thank you, very much.

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