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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.

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What do we mean by neoliberalism?

 

 

 

By Phil Hearse 

February 5, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Mutiny — In the wake of Labour’s election defeat, the Blairite Right, and its intellectual outriders, have launched a sustained campaign against the Left and socialism. ‘The leadership’, ‘sectarianism’, ‘ideological purity’, and of course ‘anti-semitism’ are standard explanations of Labour’s defeat.

Part of this is a bad-tempered Observer article[1] by economist Will Hutton, in which he claims the word ‘neoliberal’ – applied to people or ideas – is just an ‘unthinking leftist insult’.

Will Hutton, it will be remembered, was the author of a sharp attack on Thatcherism, The State We’re In, published in 1996, and subsequently a strong advocate of Blairism.[2] He now claims the Left lost its battles against the Right in the last decade:

The marginalization of Marxism in academia

 

 

By Raju J Das

February 5, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — There are several aspects of dialectical thinking. One is totality: different ‘things’ and different relations and processes inter-connect to produce a whole, a totality. The totality shapes the parts that make the totality. Bukharin, among others, emphasized this idea. Another aspect of dialectical thinking is the idea of conflict/contradiction or the inter-penetration of opposites. Lenin stressed this idea. The third is the law of the transformation of quantity into quality and vice versa, an idea that Trotsky regularly underlined.[i]

Let us consider the third aspect of dialectical thinking. There is a difference between some amount of salt and zero amount of salt. There is a difference between a limited amount of salt and a significant amount of salt. When the amount/quantity of a thing gets reduced below a level or when it is increased above a level, then that thing itself does not exist or almost ceases to exist (it loses its essence[ii]). For example, when the temperature of water is so low that it is below zero, it is not water anymore. And when it is above 100 degrees, it is not water either.

Political chess game: Socialists, Sanders and the Green New Deal

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

February 4, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Politics is like a multi-dimensional chess game. I am reminded of that as I look at and think about the current Democratic Party primary campaign.

The “liberal” capitalist elite

The quite powerful “liberal” wing of the corporate-capitalist elite dominating the Democratic Party (and which will never be willing to give up control) is obviously very much opposed to Bernie Sanders’ campaign against "the billionaires" and for a social-democratic power shift that would take some of the wealth and power from the rich and give it to the rest of us. 

This wing of the elite also hates Donald Trump, whose egocentric, bigoted and bullying policies and mode of functioning damage and jeopardize the long-term stability of the system. If they cannot tame him, they would like to remove him. 

Waging peace in Vietnam

Waging Peace in Vietnam, US soldiers and veterans who opposed the war
Edited by Ron Carver, David Cortright and Barbara Doherty
New Village Press, 2019, 239 pp., A$51.00

 

Winter Warrior, a Vietnam Vet’s anti-war odyssey
By Eve Gilbert (telling the story of Scott Camil)
Fantagraphics Books, 2019, 96 pp., A$29

Reviewed by Barry Healy

January 14, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — At the height of the US invasion of Vietnam around 500,000 US military personnel were involved. Of those over 50,000 lost their lives - and the US lost the War. 

The US defeat was due to the mass base of support in Vietnam for the revolutionary National Liberation Front, the huge anti-war movement in the USA and also the wave of opposition that arose among the US forces themselves. 

The expression “the Vietnam Syndrome” was coined to describe that mass civilian and military opposition. 

For decades following the 1975 defeat US foreign policy was hamstrung by the fear of reigniting the “Syndrome”. National liberation forces all over Africa and Latin America benefited from the inability of the US to directly use its military power.

For a Green New Deal with people’s power

 

 

By Mike Treen

January 14, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Today for the first time in half a century there is a wave of revolt sweeping the world that seems pregnant with revolutionary possibilities that may finally allow working people to help lead humanity and the planet we exist on out of the hell-hole that capitalism has created for us.

I lived through the 1960s and 70s during a similar period of challenge and change. It filled me with hope for the future of humanity. Progressive change seemed inevitable. Working people expanded their rights and living standards. Access to health care, education and welfare became expanded. Women, Maori, Gays and other oppressed peoples found their voices to challenge discrimination and seek liberation.

The institutions working people could use to empower themselves like the trade unions seemed to get stronger, active and more democratic. Parties that claimed to represent us became more progressive in their outlook. 

Internationally the ruling elites were frightened. In response, they launched a full-scale ideological, political, and social counter-revolution that swept away or corrupted many of the gains that had been made. Led by the then UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan, the right-wing wave swept the world.

Spain: Storm clouds gather as PSOE-UP government formed

 

 

By Dick Nichols

January 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — By the narrowest of margins (167 votes to 165 with 18 abstentions), the 350-seat Spanish Congress invested Pedro Sánchez as prime minister of a coalition government of the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and the more radical Unidas Podemos on January 7. No Spanish prime minister has ever been elected by so low and so close a vote, with eight of the parliament’s eighteen parties in favour, eight against and two abstaining.

The January 4-7 investiture sessions of PSOE candidate Sánchez took place amid scenes of hysterical vituperation and attempted sabotage by the formerly governing People’s Party (PP), the ultra-right Vox and the neoliberal Citizens. The leaders and MPs of this triple-headed Spanish-patriotic bloc strove to outdo each other in their abuse of Sánchez and the “social-communist” PSOE-UP coalition. 

The PSOE candidate finally won office due to the 18 abstentions of what the right called the "secessionist coup-plotters" and the "terrorists” — the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the Basque left-independentist EH Bildu. Their vote guaranteed Sánchez the relative majority needed to win office after he failed to achieve an absolute majority in the first round  on January 5.

Syria after the uprisings: the political economy of state resilience

 

 

Syria After the Uprisings: the political economy of state resilience
By Joseph Daher
Pluto Press, London, 2019

Reviewed by Chris Slee

January 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This book is a comprehensive account of the rebellion against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. In it, Joseph Daher explains the reasons for the rebellion, which began in 2011 as a response to political repression, corruption, economic inequality and poverty, and why it has failed to overthrow Assad.

Revolutionary reels: Soviet propaganda film and the Russian Revolution

 

 

By Shalon Van Tine 

December 6, 2019  — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Cosmonaut — In 1896, the Lumière brothers visited Saint Petersburg to present their collection of moving pictures to a small Russian audience, marking the first viewing of film in Russia.[1] The first film to be made in Russia was during the same year: a filming of the coronation of what would be Russia’s last monarch, Tsar Nicholas II.[2] It would take nearly a decade for Russia to have its own film studio, and the advent of World War I slowed the influx of foreign cinema, leaving Russia to launch its own film industry instead of relying predominantly on foreign film distributors.[3] Once established, Russia’s film industry grew, and, by 1914, about half of Russia’s urban population regularly attended the movies.[4] 

Anticapitalists: ‘We need a left that is not a crutch for the PSOE’

 

 

Interview with Raul Camargo, spokesperson for Anticapitalists, by Sato Díaz Cuartopoder, November 20. Translation and footnotes by Dick Nichols.

December 6, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The election campaign, then the elections, then the results and then, after 48 hours, the announcement by Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias of the pre-agreement for a coalition government [between the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and Unidas Podemos (UP, United We Can)]. Everything very fast and then sudden silence. Away from the media, the negotiations between the PSOE and UP to devise a government and a program follow their course, while in parallel the PSOE works to win the support needed to achieve investiture before Christmas.

The organisations involved in the possible coalition government (PSOE, Podemos, the United Left (IU) and En Comú Podem (ECP, Together We Can[1]) are consulting their memberships in internal referenda, in the hope of getting the green light. Other left-wing organisations are watching from the sidelines. Anticapitalists has long since been more outside than inside Podemos, except in Andalusia.[2] Always critical of governing with the PSOE and always in a minority within the purple formation[3], Anticapitalists today observes the course of Podemos with suspicion and distance.

Socialist convergence and the Green New Deal: Notes on the actuality of revolution

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

December 6, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — It is possible and necessary to build a powerful mass socialist movement in the United States by 2030 that could be in a position to provide an effective challenge to capitalism and transition to a socialist democracy. Both the objective possibility and the objective need exist. Revolutionary socialists have an opportunity to make it so – if we are willing to be serious, not just analytically and rhetorically, but in practice.

We must move beyond commentary and aspirations to actualities. We have limited time. At present we are woefully unprepared – we must change that. The growth of socialist consciousness in the political mainstream of our country, and the conception of the Green New Deal as a response to the socio-economic and environmental crises of our time, provide the basis for changing what must be changed.

Spanish elections: Vox threat scares PSOE and UP into government deal

 

 

By Dick Nichols

November 21, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The apparent winner of the November 10 Spanish general election was Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) acting prime minister Pedro Sánchez, whose party picked up the most seats (120) in the 350-seat Congress.

The contest was the fourth general election in four years. Sánchez had won the most seats but not an absolute majority at the previous poll on April 28 with a scare campaign about “holding off the right”. Afterwards, however, the PSOE decided that it could gain still more by refusing to enter a governmental alliance with the more left-wing Unidas Podemos (UP). UP is an alliance between Podemos and the older left coalition, the United Left (IU). 

Rosa Luxemburg and the actuality of revolution

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

 

November 17, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In these remarks, I want to do three things.  First, I want to suggest an approach to Rosa Luxemburg that makes sense to me, while mentioning other approaches that do not.  Then I want to suggest an answer to a question that has been raised about how Luxemburg was inclined to view and characterize – in the final years of her life – the Social Democracy in Germany and in general.  From there, I will want to consider advice on political strategy that she seems to offer socialist activists of today, to be found in volumes two and five of her collected works which I have helped edit, at the same time suggesting connections of this with a broader revolutionary tradition.  

A rich diversity: Underground channels and stream of US Trotskyism, 1928-1965

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

 

November 17, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Perry Anderson once offered, in his Considerations on Western Marxism, a brief judgment regarding Trotskyism that certainly charmed a young (twenty-something) Trotskyist of 1976 like me. He wrote: “One day this … tradition – persecuted, reviled, isolated, divided – will have to be studied in all the diversity of its underground channels and streams. It may surprise future historians with its resources.”

Over the past four decades I have made my way down an increasing number of such channels and streams. And I have found much polemical garbage. Not all polemics are garbage, but some are: designed to emphasize one’s superiority while trashing others with whom one disagrees, even though the disagreements could be discussed in ways that usefully clarify complex realities. But this clarifying approach all-too-often is not the mode of functioning, or even the underlying purpose, in so many proliferating polemics on the Trotskyist left. Such stuff clogs certain internet sites and other venues down to the present day.

Dammed good question about the Green New Deal

 

 

By Don Fitz

November 17, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Hydroelectric power from dams might be the thorniest question that proponents of the Green New Deal (GND) have to grapple with.  Providing more energy than solar and wind combined, dams could well become the backup for energy if it proves impossible to get off of fossil fuels fast enough.  

An August 2019 forum on the GND included representatives from the Sunrise Movement, Renew Missouri and three of us in the Green Party.  Rev. Elston McCowan asked, “What does the Green New Deal say about rivers and dams?” I said “That’s a dammed good question” and went into some of the issues below.  Howie Hawkins and Dario Hunter, both candidates for the Green Party presidential nomination, told of their participation in local efforts to block dam construction. But trying to defeat a single dam begs the question of what policy a political organization has toward them. [1]

Canada: After the federal election - the dangers and challenges that lie ahead

 

 

By Pierre Beaudet and Richard Fidler
 
November 9, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — It is still early to interpret fully the results of Canada’s October 21 federal election. But behind the immediate results some trends are clear. 

Holding pattern: The 2019 Canadian election

 

 

By Andrea Levy

 

November 9, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Rosa Luxemburg Foundation — In the parlance of the horse-race terminology favoured by election commentators, the 2019 Canadian Elections were a squeaker, or too close to call up until the last minute. Yet given the living fossil of Anglo-American representative democracy that is Canada’s winner-take-all electoral system, the outcome of the 2019 election held few real surprises. There was little doubt that it would be either the incumbent Liberal Party or the opposition Conservative Party which would walk away from election night victorious, if chastened, perhaps, by minority status. The French have a word for it: alternance, two parties governing by turns in a protracted holding pattern. And the periodic alternation of the Liberals and the Conservatives, both parties of capital whose concrete policies have diverged chiefly in the details, has characterized Canadian politics virtually since Confederation.

 

‘Climate Plan 2030’: Red-Green Alliance leads Denmark’s climate crisis response

 

 

Interview with Jon Burgwald, Climate and Environment Adviser to the Red-Green Alliance by Dick Nichols

 

November 9, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Formerly Greenpeace’s Arctic campaigner, Jon Burgwald has overseen the development of the Danish Red-Green Alliance’s Climate Plan 2030: A social justice route to a green society (available in English translation here).

 

In this interview Burgwald explains how the plan was developed, the impact it has been having on Danish politics and the problems it will confront in getting implemented.

 

How 7000 Quebec workers went on strike against climate change

 

 

By Alain Savard

 

November 9, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Labor Notes — With a crowd of 500,000, Montreal’s march for the climate was the largest in the world during the September 20-27 week of climate action. Yet it was also noteworthy for another reason.

 

Despite provincial labor laws preventing unions from striking over political issues, 11 locals representing 7,500 workers formally voted to go on strike for a day.

 

Extinction Rebellion: A socialist perspective

 

 

By John Molyneux 

 

November 4, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Rebel News — Extinction Rebellion (XR) burst into international radical celebrity and global protest history in April 2019 when it occupied five prime sites in central London—Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Waterloo Bridge and Parliament Square—holding them for a week, and withstanding over 1000 arrests in the process.

 

To describe this as spectacular is an understatement. It was quite literally unprecedented in modern English history and very unusual anywhere in Europe outside of revolutionary uprisings like the Paris Commune or Barcelona in 1936, and in a different way in May 1968 and Free Derry in 1969. That it should have captured the imagination of huge numbers of people both in Britain and internationally is hardly surprising.

 

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