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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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Hats and men: Marx's faulty symmetry

 

 

By Michael A. Lebowitz

 

May 11, 2017
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — Was Marx a superman or a human being? Joan Robinson once asked a Soviet professor this very question. Of course, Marx was human, he answered. ‘Then he could make mistakes?’ Yes. ‘Would you mind mentioning a mistake that he made?’ The Soviet professor changed the subject.[1]

 

However, 150 years after the publication of Volume I of Capital, it is long past time for revolutionaries not to change the subject but to talk seriously about mistakes Marx made in Capital and their implications. This article is about one such mistake and how it infected Capital and subsequent practice.

 

Local and mayoral elections in Britain: Brexit election delivers carnival of reaction

 

 

By Phil Hearse

 

May 11, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Unity — The huge Labour losses in the local council elections are just what the Labour Right was hoping for. Peter Mandelson said as much late last year, when he stated he was hoping for Theresa May to call an early election that would result in a disastrous Labour defeat and therefore the removal of Jeremy Corbyn. It’s exactly what all Corbyn’s reactionary detractors in the press and television wanted as well.

 

French left statements on presidential election outcome: Melenchon, Ensemble!, French Communist Party, New Anti-Capitalist Party

 

 

Below, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is publishing statements from various French left groups on the outcome of the May 7 French presidential election which saw centre-right banker Emmanuel Macron defeat the far-right candidate for the National Front, Marine Le Pen. These include statements by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, from France Unbowed; Ensemble! (Together!); the French Communist Party (PCF); and Philippe Poutou, from the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA).

Britain: The Tories, the general election and neoliberalism’s second phase

 

 

By Neil Faulkner

 

May 9, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Unity — ‘Ignorance never yet helped anyone.’ So raged Karl Marx as he leapt from his chair and thumped the table so hard that the lamp shook. The occasion was a meeting in Brussels in 1846 of the newly formed Communist Correspondence Committee – the tiny acorn from which, over the next 150 years, so many mighty oaks would grow. The target of the tirade was a somewhat vacuous activist called Wilhelm Weitling, who professed to believe that socialist theory was unnecessary. This was, Marx fumed, ‘equivalent to vain dishonest play at preaching which assumes an inspired prophet on the one side and only gaping asses on the other’.

 

Theresa May’s decision to call a general election should not mean that socialists stop thinking and mumble platitudes. To become uncritical cheerleaders for a cack-handed reformism can only foster illusions and false hopes at the expense of equipping activists with the understanding they need in the struggle to change the world. Left websites which are simply shouting support for a Corbyn victory – without discussing any of the contradictions in play – are the modern Weitlings. Corbyn is not a prophet, activists are not gaping asses, and a general election should not be the occasion for putting our brains in deep freeze.

 

'The Kurds': Internationalists or narrow nationalists?

 

 

By Marcel Cartier

 

May 9, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from TeleSUR EnglishIt seems impossible. I look down from the hilltop that I’m standing on to see a very narrow stretch of river — from here appearing rather insignificant. This, I’m told, is the mighty Tigris, and on the other side of it lies Iraq. Where I stand is Syria, the war-torn country that has already endured six years of destruction up to this point. To some in my company this particular region is more frequently called Rojava, but to the even more politically correct of comrades the name Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria is used (I will from here on use the abbreviation DFSNS rather than Rojava for reasons that will be explained later in this article).

 

Julius Nyerere: Legacy and defeated dreams in Tanzania

 

 

By Alan Broughton

 

May 8, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– Julius Nyerere is regarded as one of the greatest African political leaders. He was a visionary for African unity, socialist development and self-reliance in the aftermath of colonialism, and still commands great respect. Though much of his vision failed to materialise he leaves a legacy of ethnic and religious tolerance and peace in his East African country, Tanzania.

 

New Catalan political space: one hurdle cleared on the road to left unity

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

May 7, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– The struggle to build a Catalan political force inspiring the level of support and activism needed to implement radical social change took a step forward in Barcelona on April 8, when the new “political subject” provisionally called Un País en Comú (“A Country Together”) held its founding congress.

 

Un País en Comú, whose final name will be decided by membership referendum, is the third Catalan progressive unity project with en comú (“together” or “in common”) in its title. The first, in June 2014, was the broad activist coalition that under the name of Barcelona En Comú won the May 2015 Barcelona city council election. In defeating the ruling conservative nationalist Convergence and Union (CiU) the new formation made former housing rights activist Ada Colau the city’s mayoress and a reference point for radical politics across the Spanish state.

 

Catalonia: What Un País en Comú stands for

 

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

May 7, 2017 
–– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– This appendix to the article “New Catalan political space: one hurdle cleared on the road to left unity” tries to summarise the essential content of the first draft of Un País en Comú.

 

Germany: The return of hope - for an offensive double strategy

 

 

By Michael Brie and Mario Candeias

 

May 7, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Transform NetworkThe future has gone astray. The neoliberal utopia is exhausted just as are left alternatives. The decades of an initially conservative-orthodox neoliberalism from Margaret Thatcher to Helmut Kohl; its generalization under the governments from Tony Blair to Gerhard Schröder; and, finally, its authoritarian deepening and anchoring in the years of the crisis have caused social inequalities and dynamics, which are hardly under control. The structural crisis is not resolved and cannot be solved in the old framework. The attempts to stabilize financial market capitalism only extend the agony and tear apart the European Union and our societies. The situation is however not characterized by rupture; instead, an old quote from Antonio Gramsci applies: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” One such morbid symptom is the new radical Right in its various forms.

 

Winning power, not just government

 

 

By Florian Wilde

 

May 6, 2017
 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Jacobin with the author's permission Is it a shortcut, if it’s seemingly the only path on offer? Many left parties in Europe today see participating in a center-left coalition government as the only realistic way to win reforms. They often justify joining these administrations by reasoning that having a left party in government will at least block the most regressive policies and keep a more reactionary formation from taking power. These parties also believe government participation will increase their credibility in the eyes of voters and members, ultimately strengthening their prospects to govern on their own.

 

Twenty-five years of history, however, suggest that these expectations are rarely met.

 

South Africa: World Economic Forum-Africa hosts a turf battle between Jacob Zuma and ‘white monopoly capital’

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

May 3, 2017
–– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– At a time when US and South African presidents Donald Trump and Jacob Zuma personify controversies over crony capitalism, corruption, populist rhetoric and self-serving economic strategies, will big business calm down the politicians – or just egg them on?

 

Feminist organising and the women’s strike: An interview with Cinzia Arruzza

Cinzia Arruzza interviewed by George Souvlis and Ankica Čakardić. FIrst published at Salvage

Jobs and industry in the Hunter Valley: Context for a conversation about a Just Transition away from coal

 

 

 

By Steve Phillips

 

May 5, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– The Hunter Valley is famously, or infamously, one of the most coal-mining-dominated regions in the world. We have one of the highest concentrations of mines on the planet, and we host its biggest export coal facility. Many will tell you that the Hunter has always been a coal-mining region, and it's true. But in the past it played a lesser role, and only in recent years has mining come to dominate the physical, social, and economic landscape of the Hunter Valley.

 

South Korea: How candlelight protests impeached a president and created spaces for direct democracy

 

 

By Jeong-eun Hwang

 

April 28, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– At 9 am on March 10, people gathered in front of the Constitutional Court to await the court’s ruling on whether to impeach South Korean president Park Geun-hye. Two hours before the verdict was read, those gathered chanted: “The Constitutional Court should uphold Park’s impeachment!”

 

At the designated time of 11am, the crowd held its breath as the eight judges appeared on the large screen set up in front of the court. As acting chief Lee Jung-mi calmly read the verdict, the crowd broke out at times in cheers and at others times in groans. After 20 minutes, Lee concluded the verdict by stating that the president would be removed from office. The crowd erupted with shouts, clapping and crying.

 

Those that had come out onto the streets in protest had finally “impeached Park.” For the past four months we had gathered at the square to realize our demands and acted on them, creating a space for direct democracy. In winter, we planted the seeds to make fundamental changes in Korean society shouting slogans, from the impeachment of Park to the eradication of deep-rooted problems like corrupt conservative forces and the chaebols that had been reigning over our laws. As spring comes, we await the seeds to sprout, nourished by the radiance of people power.

 

South Africa: Mass protests follow cabinet reshuffle as Zuma impeachment vote looms

  

 

By Patrick Bond

 

April 28, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On South Africa’s political left, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party dominated recent news by leading a mass march on President Jacob Zuma’s office in Pretoria, following a government power shift seen as amplifying corruption. The move also catalysed a ‘junk’ rating by two neoliberal credit ratings agencies. And an impeachment process on the immediate horizon represents the first real parliamentary threat to Zuma’s eight-year reign.

Asia: Statement in defense of Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution - no to foreign intervention!

 

 

 

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — We, the undersigned organizations, express our support and solidarity for the people of Venezuela and Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, against the ongoing threats of counterrevolution and violent attacks orchestrated by right-wing forces with the backing of the US imperialist power.

 

French presidential election: An earthquake? Yes and no

 

 

Manifestation of France Insoumise with Jean-Luc Mélenchon on 18 March

 

By Maxime Benatouil

 

April 27, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Transform Network — After the predicted but non-the-less spectacular result of the first round of the presidential election, on the left urgent questions are burning each and everyone’s lips: what shall we do in two weeks?

 

Going for Emmanuel Macron to make sure that Marine Le Pen looses? Abstaining from voting, thus taking the risk to see her move in the Élysée Palace? Would not five years of ‘more of the same’ politics be ultimately leading to the victory of the far-right in 2022?

 

Letter from North America: NAFTA redux and on steroids

 

 

By Ernie Tate

 

April 27, 2017  Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Unity with the author's permission — The new Trump administration has made NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States, a major issue in its relations with its two neighbours. Recently, Trump has threatened to tear it up. With his standard nationalist demagogy, he claims “previous bad trade deals”, have cost the United States many jobs as a result of American manufacturers moving plants off-shore. He is now in the process of triggering the required ninety day notification period, telling Canada and Mexico the new administration is prepared to bully its way to a new and more favourable arrangement for itself.

 

Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

 

Reviewed by Chris Slee

Chasing the scream 
By Johann Hari 
Bloomsbury Circus London 2015

 

April 9, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Over the past hundred years, millions of people around the world have been jailed for drug use. The United States has been particularly harsh. Its huge prison population, disproportionately Black and Latino, includes many people jailed for drug use.

 

But until 100 years ago, drug use was not a crime in the US (or in most parts of the world). Opiates were sold in pharmacies as remedies for a range of ailments.

 

Johann Hari explains that: “You could go to any American pharmacy and buy products made from the same ingredients as heroin and cocaine. The most popular cough mixtures in the United States contained opiates, a new soft drink called Coca-Cola was made from the same plant as snortable cocaine, and over in Britain the classiest department stores sold heroin tins for society women”. [page 9]

 

Most people used these products without any problem: “Just as a large majority of drinkers did not become alcoholics, a large majority of users of these products did not become drug addicts.

 

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