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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.
Por Dan La Botz
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4412.]
12 de mayo de 2015 -- Vientosur.info -- Unos 200 activistas políticos, individuales o miembros de diversas organizaciones independientes, han protagonizado un debate enriquecedor y amistoso sobre la manera de colaborar en la construcción de una amplia alternativa política a la izquierda del Partido Demócrata.
Los participantes en la Conferencia sobre el "Futuro de la Izquierda y la Política Independiente" – candidatos y activistas nacionales, estatales y locales, así como cargos electos del Partido Verde, del Partido de la Paz y la Libertad, la Alianza Progresista de Richmond, la Alternativa Socialista y el Partido Progresista de Vermont– debatieron en un espíritu de cooperación sin precedentes sobre los retos electorales y las dificultades que entraña ejercer un cargo público mientras se intenta construir movimientos y llevar a cabo políticas progresistas. A la conferencia también asistieron miembros de los Demócratas Progresistas de América y del Partido de la Justicia.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4401.]
Por Patrick Bond, Durban
10/05/2015 -- Sinpermiso -- En Sudáfrica los símbolos políticos están un día y desaparecen al siguiente, pero la opresiva política económica continua. En la superficie, somos testigos de una explosión de activismo anti-racista entre los sudafricanos más ilustrados – jovenes académicos negros que tratan de romper los restos de poder de un apartheid residual - pero al mismo tiempo, una implosión xenófoba está causando estragos en los estratos socioeconómicos inferiores.
A mediados de marzo, en la Universidad de Ciudad del Cabo (UCT), el estudiante de pregrado de ciencias políticas Chimani Maxwele arrojó un cubo de excrementos a la estatua de Cecil John Rhodes, el gran emprendedor colonial del sur de Africa, catalizando una rebelión contra las estructuras de poder dominadas por blancos en la UCT y otros lugares. Menos de tres semanas después, una revuelta de sudafricanos pobres urbanos en otras dos grandes ciudades del país - Durban y Johannesburgo – escogía como chivo expiatorio un sector igualmente pobre y oprimido: los inmigrantes, en su mayoría de otras partes de África.
Unite fast-food delegates at a national gathering on February 14 take time out to picket a McDonald's store to launch the campaign publicly.
For more on Aotearoa/New Zealand, click HERE.
By Mike Treen, Unite national director
May 18, 2105 -- Unite Union, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Workers in the fast food industry in Aotearoa/New Zealand scored a spectacular victory over what has been dubbed “zero hour contracts” during a collective agreement bargaining round over the course of March and April this year.
[For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people, click HERE.]
By Tony Iltis
May 9, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- War planes from the US and its allies bombed the village of Birmehli in northern Syria on the night of April 30. US Central Command spokesperson Major Curtis Kellogg claimed that at least 50 fighters from the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group were killed and there was “no indication that any civilians were killed”.
May 16, 2015 -- Socialist Party of Malaysia, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Together with all concerned Malaysians, the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM, Socialist Party of Malaysia) would asserts that for the 8000 or so Rohingya [refugees] at our doorstep, pushing back the boats into the sea should never be considered an option. Instead they should be allowed onto Malaysian shores while negotiations take place at ASEAN level on how best to resolve this humanitarian crisis.
Though the sad and bitter truth is that the sea seems to be the only place willing to host them now, it would be completely inhuman to push back the boats and abandon 8000 lives to the vagaries of weather and sea.
Malaysia and other ASEAN countries need to accept that they are dealing with 8000 lives, mostly victims of the barbarism of the genocidal Myanmar regime that has taken away their citizenship, and their right to life. Instead of criminalising the victims, ASEAN nations must resolve to find permanent solutions to the situation. Turning them away or deporting them back to Myanmar are not only unacceptable, but such actions also do not address the crisis or prevent its recurrence.
The slave revolt led by Spartacus shook the Roman world to its foundations and, although a failure, has inspired the oppressed for centuries. Communist historian Doug Enaa Greene delivered a talk at the Center for Marxist Education on Spartacus on March 7, 2015.
For more by Doug Enaa Greene, click HERE
By Doug Enaa Greene
May 15, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The ancient rebellion of Spartacus and tens of thousands of subjugated slaves is arguably the most famous slave revolt in history. During his lifetime, Spartacus dared to challenge the dominance of the Roman slave masters and their Republic. In subsequent generations, the name of Spartacus has stood forth as a symbol for resistance and liberation from oppression – inspiring the Haitian slave Toussaint L'Ouverture, who led a successful revolt in the 1790s; Karl Marx; and Germany's Spartacist League of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4417]
Por Dick Nichols, Barcelona
17/05/2015 -- Sinpermiso -- Si algunas personas que conozco del sector más cínico o desencantado del espectro de la izquierda española reflexionasen sobre el tema de nuestro debate de esta noche --- "democracia de base y los movimientos contra el capitalismo: lecciones de España"- podrían tener la tentación de hacer un comentario bastante cáustico, tal vez algo como:
"¿Democracia de base?” ¿Cual? Sin embargo, el movimiento indignado de las plazas -que comenzó hace cuatro años (el 15 de mayo de 2011), cuando millones de personas se concentraron en más de 80 ciudades y pueblos, fue en buena medida una expresión de esa democracia de base, aunque más o menos se haya evaporado por ahora.
"¿Movimientos contra el capitalismo”? ¿Dónde están? Si no estamos hablando de grupos revolucionarios marginales, no hay movimientos contra el capitalismo dignos de tener en cuenta. Lo que tenemos es un montón desigual de movimientos de resistencia, por lo general sin éxito, contra diferentes aspectos de la austeridad capitalista.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4407]
Por Reihana Mohideen
10/05/2015 -- Sinpermiso -- Si bien la renuncia de Walden Bello como representante en el Congreso de Akbayan debe ser bienvenida, también ha puesto de manifiesto la crisis y el fracaso del movimiento de izquierda y progresista y su incapacidad para construir una alternativa viable al actual régimen de las élites. Además, ha puesto de manifiesto el fracaso de las políticas electorales pragmáticas de la izquierda filipina.
Una pregunta importante que se plantea es, ¿cómo puede la izquierda responder a la reciente crisis política y darle una salida progresista, a fin de que beneficie a la Masa (masas) y no a una de las facciones de la elite gobernante? Teniendo en cuenta que las principales facciones de la élite no son capaces de presentar una alternativa creíble, ello proporciona la izquierda una oportunidad única, para defender y ganar apoyo popular a una alternativa de izquierda al gobierno de las elites filipinas.
By Steve Ellner
May 13, 2015 – versions of this article were published in Red Pepper (April-May issue) and Alborada.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission of the author -- It’s a point of honour for Venezuela’s government that despite the sharp plunge in oil prices and acute shortages of goods, President Nicolás Maduro has ruled out austerity measures. In a recent TV interview conducted by former vice-president José Vicente Rangel, Central Bank president Nelson Merentes explained why, when he asked: “Do you remember what happened on February 27, 1989?”
On that date massive nationwide disturbances broke out after the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez announced sharp price hikes and negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, setting the stage for the 1992 military uprising led by Hugo Chávez. The memory of February 27 and the decision of the formerly left-leaning Pérez to come to terms with powerful economic groups as a way out of pressing economic difficulties undoubtedly weigh on Maduro’s response to the current situation.
Ireland: People Before Profit Alliance, Anti-Austerity Alliance: 'Build an active, democratic, principled left'
April 27, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following statement, for the May 1, 2015, conference organised by the trade unions affiliated the the Right 2 Water campaign, was agreed between the People Before Profit Alliance, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and some independent activists, including councillor Brendan Young.
The People Before Profit Alliance is aligned to the Socialist Workers Party in Ireland, while the Anti-Austerity Alliance is associated with the Socialist Party (CWI). Despite wariness among activists due to these organisations' past practices that contributed to the failure of the United Left Alliance, the statement has been widely welcomed.
The text is taken from that posted by the Irish Left Review.
May 13, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sinn Féin video featuring Gerry Adams TD, councillor Emma Murphy and mayor of Dublin South Fintan Warfield calling on people to vote Yes to marriage equality in a referendum on May 22, 2015.
Irish protest against water charges at the GPO in January.
Click HERE for more on Ireland
By Rory Hearne
May 8, 2015 -- Broadsheet.ie, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Hope has been in short supply in Ireland in recent years but, thankfully, it has emerged in recent months. But this hope has not come in the so-called "recovery", which is deeply uneven across the country and from which the majority of people remain excluded.
No, the real hope emerged, first in the mass protests against water charges, and now in the possibility of a new political movement built from the grassroots of these unprecedented protests.
Since Ireland's independence in 1921 the overwhelming majority of Irish governments have been composed of the tweedle-dee, tweedle-dum parties of Fine Gael/Fianna Fail/Labour Party. What have they achieved for ordinary people? Corruption, inequality and austerity are now the hallmarks of the Irish Republic, a centenary after its founders aimed for a Republic of equality.
By Colin Fox
May 11, 2015 -- Scottish Socialist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the end the polls got it wrong, badly wrong. And all the commentators who placed so much faith in them looked foolish. There was no hung parliament. No horse trading between Westminster parties, no weeks of instability before a coalition government was formed. The Tories thumped Labour and won a clear majority.
Basta! : We seem to be heading straight toward climate disaster. We know what will happen if we do nothing about climate change, yet nothing really changes. Why is it so?
Naomi Klein: It’s not that we’re doing nothing – we’re actually actively doing exactly the wrong things. We have an economic system that defines success and progress as infinite economic expansion. Any kind of expansion is deemed good. Our emissions are going up much faster than they were in the 1990s.
In the past decade, we had very high oil prices, which has created huge economic incentives for fossil fuel companies to push into new, more expensive, higher-emitting forms of extraction, such as tar sands and fracking.
"Podemos, whose decision-making process is based on online voting by a passive mass membership of 300,000, is a highly centralised operation that is in many ways the polar opposite of the grassroots democracy of 15M."
For more on politics in Spain, click HERE.
By Dick Nichols, Barcelona
May 11, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- If some people I know from the more cynical or disillusioned end of the Spanish left spectrum were to reflect on the topic of our discussion tonight---“Grassroots democracy and the movements against capitalism: lessons from Spain”—they might be tempted to make a rather acid commentary, maybe something like this:
May 9, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party won a clear victory in Britain's May 7 general elections. In Scotland, however, the Scottish National Party (SNP) dramatically rose from six seats to 56 out of 59, in a clear sign of opposition to the brutal austerity backed by the major parties in Westminster.
The big loser in Scotland was the Labour Party, which was nearly wiped out. Previously the largest party in Scotland, it kept just one seat. It was ruthlessly punished for its support for austerity and its role in opposing Scottish independence. Although the “no” vote won, Labour paid the price for a nasty campaign in which it appeared as just one more voice of the London establishment.
For more on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE
May 8, 2015 -- Australia-Greece Solidarity Campaign posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The political secretariat of SYRIZA met on May 5 and, with its unanimous decision, stressed amongst other things that the "government’s red lines are the Greek people’s red lines. They constitute the necessary prerequisite for the exit from the crisis whilst abiding by terms of social justice and economic development“.
By John Riddell
May 5, 2015 -- JohnRiddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In 1921, a time of declining mass struggles, the Communist International (Comintern) was thrown off course by insistent demands at every level of the organisation for the young movement to launch confrontational actions, even if Communists must fight almost alone. In mid-1921, the Comintern’s Third Congress turned decisively away from this policy. Under the slogan, “To the masses”, it adopted, on Lenin’s insistence, the strategy of unifying working people in struggle that was codified six months later as the “united front”.
A Short History of Social Democracy: From Socialist Origins to Neoliberal Theocracy
By John Rainford
Review by Jim McIlroy
April 27, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The rise and then fall of social democracy as a movement for fundamental social change is a modern tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. It is one of the epic stories of the 19th and 20th centuries.
This new book by Socialist Alliance member and unionist John Rainford charts the history of the doctrine from the birth of socialist thought in the 19th century. It focuses on the development of social democracy, which essentially became a project for “reforming” capitalism, expressed in parties such as the Australian Labor Party (ALP).
It examines the political forces opposed to social democracy on its left and right, its victories and its “golden years” after World War II. The book examines its surrender to “free market” neoliberalism before suggesting what might constitute “an anti-capitalist politics for the 21st century”.
May 5, 2015 -- Solidarity (USA), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Some 200 political activists from a variety of independent political organisations, as well as individual activists, carried out rich discussion and amicable debate about how to collaborate in the work of building a large political alternative to the left of the Democratic Party.
Participating in the Future of the Left/Independent Politics Conference in an unprecedented spirit of cooperation, national, state, and local candidates and activists, as well as elected officials from the Green Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Richmond Progressive Alliance, Socialist Alternative, International Socialist Organization (ISO) and the Vermont Progressive Party discussed the challenges of campaigning and the difficulties of actually holding office while trying to both build movements and push progressive policies. Also at the conference were members of Progressive Democrats of America and the Justice Party.