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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).
This site is best viewed with the Firefox internet browser.
By Giles Ji Ungpakorn
May 20, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Today Thai army general Prayut Chanocha declared martial law without consulting the caretaker government or any other elected representatives. Troops took over all radio and TV stations and are positioned along major road intersections in Bangkok.
Despite the fact that he claimed that “this is not a coup”, Prayut’s actions smell, taste and look like a coup. This is from a man who has blood on his hands. Four years ago to the day Prayut oversaw the shooting down in the streets of almost 90 Red Shirt pro-democracy demonstrators. Before the elections in the following year he made public statements against the Pheu Thai Party. He had previously been a key figure in manoeuvring the (anti-)Democrat Party into an unelected government in 2008. He has never been brought to court for his crimes and was on the list of those who would be given total amnesty in Yingluck Shinawatra’s abortive amnesty bill.
Thousands of indigenous peoples led by CONAIE (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador) converge on Quito in March 2012 after a 15-day march demanding an end to open pit mining and new oil concessions.
By Federico Fuentes
May 20, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, a shorter verson of this article appeared in Green Left Weekly -- A recent spate of high-profile campaigns against projects based on extracting raw materials has opened up an important new dynamic within the broad processes of change sweeping South America. Understanding their nature and significance is crucial to grasping the complexities involved in bringing about social change and how best to build solidarity with peoples’ struggles.
For more on Left Unity, click HERE.
By Dave Kellaway
May 10, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance -- Several hundred members joining in a week after a Ken Loach Guardian article and a Salman Shaheen appearance on the Daily Politics show … new branches opening up every week and a well-attended national policy conference in Manchester … a dozen or more candidates baptising our electoral intervention in the May local elections.
This is Left Unity (LU) only six months after its founding conference. Who would have thought a new broad party of the left launched by an internet appeal and sustained through a Ken Loach cinema documentary would still be around a year later with nearly 2000 members and more than 50 branches? Occasionally on the left we need to acknowledge that we have done something right. Even in a very difficult period where we have suffered a series of defeats it is possible in a small way to build something to the left of the Labour Party that has the potential to draw in wider layers than the revolutionary left normally engages with.
Breaking a path for the '60s radicalisation: John Riddell reviews Ernest Tate's 'Revolutionary Activism'
Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s: A Memoir
By Ernest Tate
Volume 1, Canada 1955-1965
Vol. 1: ISBN 978-0-902869-69-1; EAN: 9780902869691
Vol. 2: ISBN 978-0-902869-60-8; EAN: 9780902869608
Resistance Books, London, 2014
Review by John Riddell
Voters line up in Donetsk to vote in the autonomy plebiscite on May 11, 2014.
By Roger Annis
May 17, 2014 -- A Socialist in Canada, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- There are sketchy and misleading reports in mainstream press that steelworkers in eastern Ukraine have mobilised, including into street patrols, to rebuff the political movement for autonomy in eastern Ukraine. On May 11, successful plebiscites were held in the southeast regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in which the big majority of those who cast ballots opted for political sovereignty from Ukraine.
The following interview was conducted on May 13, 2014, by the Real News Network.
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Anton Woronczuk: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Anton Woronczuk in Baltimore.
A referendum for independence was held in the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk a couple of days ago. The organizers of the referendum have declared the region independent and reportedly issued calls to join the Russian Federation.
Here to give us an update on what's going on in Ukraine is Aleksandr Buzgalin. Aleksandr is a professor of political economy at Moscow State University. He is also editor of the independent democratic left magazine Alternatives, coordinator of the Russian social movement Alternatives, author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles, translated into English, German and many other languages.
Thanks for joining us, Aleksandr.
An election poster for Québec Solidaire.
For more on Quebec, click HERE.
By Richard Fidler
May 13, 2014 – Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author’s permission -- The defeat of the Parti Québécois and the election of a federalist Liberal Party government in the Quebec general election of April 7, 2014, raises important questions about the future of the Quebec movement for sovereignty and political independence. And it poses some major challenges to the left party Québec Solidaire, as it seeks to position itself in the developing struggle for the direction and programmatic content of the Québécois national movement.
S. Arutchelvan (Arul), secretary general the Socialist Party of Malaysia.
By Peter Boyle
May 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The 2014 May Day rally in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, was the biggest in the country since 1947 when the British colonial authorities violently repressed the labour movement, which had become one of the most strongly organised in Asia, having organised the majority of the workforce.
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal spoke to S. Arutchelvan (Arul), secretary general the Socialist Party of Malaysia. He was also spokesperson for the May 1 Committee. Arul will be one of the international guest speaker in the People's Power in the “Asian Century” seminar to be held in conjunction with the 10th national conference of the Socialist Alliance, in Sydney June 7-9, 2014.
For more details of the Socialist Alliance conference and to register see HERE.
For more on the Socialist Party of Malaysia, click HERE.
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The May Day protest in Kuala Lumpur looked very big? What is your estimate of the size and was this the biggest ever May day?
Voters cast ballots in eastern Ukraine's autonomy referendum on May 11, 2014.
By Roger Annis
May 13, 2014 – Truthout, via A Socialist in Canada, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author’s permission -- A political crisis over the future of Ukraine has exploded in the past two months. It's being driven by the longstanding efforts of the big imperialist countries to assert economic and military domination over the republics of the former Soviet Union and to weaken and marginalise rival Russia.
To improve the resolution of the subtitles, please press play, then click on the small "cog" in the right-hand bottom corner and change quality to 240p or higher. You may need to restart the video from the beginning. It is also best watched in full-screen view (click on the square on the far right-hand bottom corner).
May 13, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Excerpts from Jean-Luc Mélenchon's speech to Front de Gauche (Left Front) supporters at a 500-strong meeting in the town of Alès (Gard department, Languedoc-Rousillon region) during the May 2014 European election campaign.
Por Boris Kagarlitsky
11/05/14 -- Sinpermiso.info -- En la Casa de los sindicatos en Odessa murieron el 2 de mayo más personas que durante varios días de combates en el Donbass, aunque en Kramatorsk ese mismo día las fuerzas del gobierno ucraniano se lucieron matando a 10 residentes locales desarmados que habían tratado de bloquear la ruta de acceso de varios vehículos blindados.
Es evidente para todos que la catástrofe en Odessa se ha convertido en un punto de inflexión en la historia de la guerra civil que comenzó cuando las fuerzas del gobierno ucraniano atacaron Slavyansk y otras ciudades que habían izado la bandera de la república de Donetsk.
Inevitablemente, la ferocidad en ambos lados se incrementará; la escalada de violencia y la división del país son inevitables. Pero no sólo en Ucrania los acontecimientos del 2 de mayo han representado un punto de inflexión para la opinión pública. También es aplicable a Rusia.
Por Giles Ji Ungpakorn
11/05/14 -- Sinpermiso.info -- El Tribunal Constitucional no electo, antidemocrático e ilegítimo, orquestó un golpe de Estado, derrocando a la primera ministra Yingluck Shinawatra, por un mero tecnicismo. Afirman que la primera ministra electa no tenía facultades para trasladar a un funcionario del gobierno.
Esto es un mero tecnicismo ya que ella está acusada por "abuso de poder" al haber designado a un pariente en un puesto vacante. Mientras que Yingluck ha sido acusada de esta ridícula "mala práctica", los militares golpistas y los políticos del partido Demócrata, que mataron a decenas de manifestantes a favor de la democracia, quedan impunes.
An Impatient Life: A Memoir
by Daniel Bensaïd, translated by David Fernbach, with an introduction by Tariq Ali,
Verso Books, 2014.
Review by Paul Le Blanc
May 11, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Daniel Bensaïd (1946-2010) was one of the most respected theorists to emerge from the 1960s radicals of Western Europe. Always inclined to think “outside the box”, waving aside venerable dogmas and shrugging off standard formulations, he found fresh ways, energised with the aura of unorthodoxy, to express and apply truths from the revolutionary Marxist tradition.
Protest against Sunday trading.
By Afrodity Giannakis, Thessaloniki
May 12, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- “I wish I could leave Greece. I can’t go on living here. I work very long hours and live more frugally than ever, but I still can’t pay the bills, the income tax or the other taxes like the property poll tax. My tax debt keeps building up. I’ll end up losing my home. They are stealing our homes and they are not communists. And people are getting sadder and madder every day. I can’t go on like this.”
For more on South African politics, click HERE.
By Dale McKinley
May 11, 2014 -- South African Civil Society Information Service, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- No sooner had the final results of the just concluded 2014 national elections been announced than President Jacob Zuma gave a predictably self-congratulatory speech lauding the result as “the will of all the people”. The reality however is that the African National Congress’ victory came from a distinct minority of “the people”. The real "winner", as has been the case since the 2004 elections, was the stay-away "vote".
Since South Africa’s first-ever democratic election in 1994, the hard facts are that there has been a directly proportionate relationship between the overall decline in support for the ANC and the rise of the stay-away "vote". A quick look at the relevant percentages/numbers from each election confirms the reality.
1994: Of the 23,063,910 eligible voters, 85.53 per cent (19,726,610) voted while the remaining 14.47 per cent (3,337,300) stayed away. The ANC received support from 53,01 per cent (12,237,655) of the eligible voting population.
Members of Boko Haram, taken one the group's videos.
For more on Nigeria, click HERE.
By Tony Iltis
May 11, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- More than 270 female secondary students were kidnapped on April 14 as they sat matriculation exams in the north-east Nigerian town of Chibok. The kidnappers were members of a religious cult that calls itself Jama‘at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-da‘wa wal-Jihad — Arabic for Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad. The group is more commonly known by its Hausa nickname, Boko Haram, which translates — very loosely — as “Western education is filthy”, although this is not a name that the group itself uses.
The most recent strike, one of the largest in China in many years, is taking place at a Taiwanese-owned factory complex, Yue Yuen, in the city of Dongguan.
May 3, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- Peter Boyle spoke to Kevin Lin, who is doing research for his PhD at the University of Technology Sydney on the labour movement in China, about the background to a new wave of strikes in the country.
Lin will be speaking at the “People's Power in the 'Asian Century'” conference, a one-day public event organised by the Socialist Alliance in conjunction with its 10th national conference in Sydney, June 7-9. Find out more about the conference and register (“early bird” discounts if you register before May 18) HERE .
* * *
There seems to be a new labour upsurge in China. What can you tell us about the recent strikes and their causes?
Tracking strikes in China is difficult because of censorship, but there does appear to be an upsurge in strikes in recent months based on reports collected by labour groups.
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published several views from the left on developments in Ukraine HERE. For more by Boris Kagarlitsky, click HERE.
By Boris Kagarlitsky, translated for Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal by Renfrey Clarke
May 7, 2014 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the House of Trade Unions in Odessa on May 2 more people died than over several days of fighting in the Donbass, though in Kramatorsk the same day government forces also excelled themselves, killing 10 unarmed local residents who had tried to block the path of armoured vehicles.
May 8, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Kavita Krishnan is a central leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) and editor of Liberation, the party's central publication. A former leader of the All India Students Association (AISA), Krishnan is joint secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), which is active among women workers and agricultural labourers, and has led struggles for the dignity and rights of Dalit women, and against state repression. The AISA and AIPWA played a significant role in the struggle against sexual violence that followed an internationally publicised gang rape of a student in Delhi and Krishnan has become a well-known international spokesperson for the movement.
Krishnan will be on of the international guest speakers at the 10th national conference of the Socialist Alliance to be held in Sydney, June 7-9. She will also be doing a speaking tour of Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Geelong, Adelaide and Perth.
Mila Gisbert, a conference organiser, interviewed Krishnan in the midst of campaigning for India's April 7-May 12, 2014, general election. The CPI-ML is fielding in 83 constituencies spread over 15 states and three union states.
By Giles Ji Ungpakorn
May 8, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The unelected, anti-democratic and illegitimate Constitutional Court has staged a coup d'état, overthrowing Prime Minister Yingluk Shinawatra on a mere technicality. It claims that the elected prime minister did not have the right to move a government official.
It is a mere technicality because she is accused of “abusing her power” to appoint an in-law to the vacant position. While Yingluk has been accused of this ridiculous “wrong doing”, the military coup makers and the Democrat Party politicians who killed scores of pro-democracy demonstrators enjoy impunity.
The actions of this court would be laughable if they were not so serious. The court has previously ruled against the right of an elected parliament to amend the military constitution so that all senators would be elected. It also ruled that the government cannot build a much-needed high-speed rail link. In that case the old fogies stated that “it would be better to build roads”. Apparently they have illusions that they are experts in all matters and have the right to run the country instead of the government.