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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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On the “Philosophy” of “Dialectical Materialism”

 

 

Lenin was completely wrong when he stated in his classic work, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, that 'All these people could not have been ignorant of the fact that Marx and Engels scores of times termed their philosophical views dialectical materialism.'

 

By Jason Devine

 

April 20, 2016 -- Submitted by the author to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It has and continues to be argued that Marxism has a philosophy and that such philosophy is termed dialectical materialism. It is further argued that historical materialism is the result of the application of dialectical materialism “to the study of human society.” To put it into very simple terms, these formulations take the form of a basic math equation:

 

Dialectical Materialism + Social Reality = Historical Materialism

 

However, no matter how it is stated, it is not so. To be more precise, while we can make a theoretical distinction between what we call dialectical materialism and historical materialism, they are in fact two sides of the same coin; or rather one and the same thing.

 

Brazil's social movements: We will not accept a coup against democracy and our rights! We will defeat the coup in the streets!

 

Statement by the Popular Brazil Front and the People Without Fear Front, translated by Federico Fuentes

 

April 19, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In response to the recent vote in the lower house of Brazil’s parliament in favor of impeaching president Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s two main coalitions of social movements issued the below statement on April 17. Both the Popular Brazil Front and People Without Fear Front were formed as a response to the recent right-wing mobilizations against Dilma, while at the same time remaining critical of the government’s austerity measures. Between them they unite many of Brazil’s largest social movements including Unified Workers' Central (CUT), the Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST), the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST), and the National Student Union (UNE), among others.

 

Party of Socialism and Freedom (Brazil) - Why we voted against the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff

 

PSOL legislator Jean Wyllys speaking out against the vote to impeach Dilma Rousseff

 

By Party of Socialism and Freedom, translation by Sean Seymour-Jones

 

April 19, 2016 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, originally posted in Portuguese on the PSOL website - Brazil’s lower house voted on April 17 to impeach Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in a move that many see as an attempt by the right-wing opposition to carry out a “institutional coup”. The vote came after a series of massive protests - both for and against Dilma - that have rocked the largest country in Latin America.

 

In October 2014, Rousseff was elected to a second term, and a fourth consecutive term for the Workers Party (PT) after Lula da Silva’s two terms in office. It will now be up to a vote in the upper house, scheduled for May, as to whether she is impeached.

 

Among those to vote against the impeachment process was the Party of Socialism and Freedom (PSOL), the largest party to the left of the PT, and which has maintained a strong oppositional stance towards the current government. Below is a translation of a PSOL statement released just prior to the vote explaining why they would be voting against the impeachment process.

 

The Left Hook: The Marxism of Sidney Hook

 

Doug Enaa Greene speaking at the Center for Marxist Education, in Cambridge, MA, on Sidney Hook as a Marxist thinker.

 

By Doug Enaa Greene, published on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

 

To my friend Amy.

 

I. Introduction

 



When the politics of Sidney Hook, a public intellectual and philosopher, are remembered today, they are generally associated with a right-wing variant of social democracy which was compatible with both neoconservatism and McCarthyism. For example, in 1953, Hook infamously wrote Heresy, Yes-- Conspiracy, No which justified the witch-hunts of the Red Scare and the purging of communists from academia reasoning that Leninist doctrine was the basis of an international communist conspiracy of subversion – with all orders emanating from Moscow.[1] Hook would end his life receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Ronald Reagan, whose policies in support of death squads in El Salvador he had “applauded.” However, there was a very different Hook, who during the Great Depression was not only a committed communist revolutionary, but the leading Marxist theorist of his generation.

John Bellamy Foster answers three questions on Marxism and ecology

 

In the present planetary epoch, the concept of sustainable human development, as a way of conceiving of socialism, represents Marx’s most valuable legacy. No other ecological analysis has such breadth and power.

 

April 18, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Climate & Capitalism -- John Bellamy Foster is editor of Monthly Review. His most recent book, written with Paul Burkett, is Marx and the Earth: An Anti-Critique (Brill, 2016). The French magazine La Revue du Projet asked him to reply to three questions on ecology and Marxism.

 

UPDATED: Controversy sparked by Cuban Communist Party leadership's approach to 7th Party Congress, Raul Castro's Congress report

 

Cuba's President Raul Castro addresses the 7th Cuban Communist Party Congress
in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, April 16, 2016

 

Introductory notes and translations by Marce Cameron[1]

 

April 17, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Cuba's Socialist Renewal blog — The Seventh Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) began on April 16. The cluster of translations published below relate to the controversy surrounding the preparations for this congress.

 

Cuba’s Medical Mission

By Don Fitz
John M. Kirk, Health Care without Borders: Understanding Cuban Medical Internationalism (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2015), 376 pages, $79.95, hardback.

 

April 17, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Monthly Review with the author's permission -- When the Ebola virus began to spread through western Africa in fall 2014, much of the world panicked. Soon, over 20,000 people were infected, more than 8,000 had died, and worries mounted that the death toll could reach into hundreds of thousands. The United States provided military support; other countries promised money. Cuba was the first nation to respond with what was most needed: it sent 103 nurses and 62 doctors as volunteers to Sierra Leone. With 4,000 medical staff (including 2,400 doctors) already in Africa, Cuba was prepared for the crisis before it began: there had already been nearly two dozen Cuban medical personnel in Sierra Leone. After an initial assessment, Cuba dispatched another 296 to Guinea and Liberia. Since many governments did not know how to respond to Ebola, Cuba trained volunteers from other nations at Havana’s Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine. In total, Cuba taught 13,000 Africans, 66,000 Latin Americans, and 620 Caribbeans how to treat Ebola without being infected. It was the first time that many had heard of Cuba’s emergency response teams.

 

A left-wing refugee policy for the European Union

 

Gabi Zimmer, chair of European United Left - Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)
 
April 16, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Transform! -- The following is a speech given by Gabi Zimmer, chair of GUE/NGL, in Athens at the International Conference “Alliance For Democracy – Against Austerity in Europe”, 18-20 March 2016

 

Resistance, citizens assemblies and the rise of a French indignes movement

April 17, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Throughout the month of March 2016, French students and workers met on the streets to protest a proposed labor law reform and the prolonging of the state of siege, neither of which President Francois Hollande was able to get through parliament as a set of Constitutional revisions.

 

Here in this video the main points in the progress of their resistance are documented.

 

Brazil's Landless Workers Movement (MST) on the political crisis engulfing the Dilma government

 

April 16, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over 700,000 Brazilians took to the streets on March 31 across dozens of cities in Brazil in defence of democracy. The demonstrations were called by the Popular Front of Brazil, of which the Landless Workers Movement (MST) is a key part. The demonstrations demanded an end to the impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, which protestors say is equivalent to a coup.

 

Below, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is republishing two articles reflecting the views of the MST on the current political crisis in Brazil which have been translated by Friends of MST. The first is the MST's analysis of the origin of the political crisis and the role of the social movements and working class in this struggle. The second was written by MST leader João Pedro Stedile, and looks at how the crisis has been accompanied by rising rural violence, including the killing of two farm workers on Thursday April 7.

 

Amadeo Bordiga and the development of a revolutionary core

 

Amadeo Bordiga

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

"We do not wish to evangelize, but to ignite, and when the moment arrives the flame will burst forth."[1] These passionate words were uttered by the Italian socialist Amadeo Bordiga in 1912 and summed up his life's revolutionary mission: to organize for international communist revolution.

Austerity Gathers Pace in Volatile South Africa

 

South African students protest outside the parliament precinct before forcing their way through the gates of parliament on October 21, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa.

 

By Patrick Bond

 

April 6, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project -- A wedge is being quickly driven through Pretoria's political elite, splitting even those who worked closely in the murky 1980s Durban spy scene during the fight against apartheid. Amongst the victims are vast numbers of poor people beginning to bear the brunt of the diverse shakeouts in the ongoing confrontation now underway between the country's two most powerful 21st century politicians: President Jacob Zuma and his predecessor Thabo Mbeki. That battle began in 2005, when Mbeki fired then-Deputy President Zuma following a corruption conviction against a long-time Zuma associate.

 

The revival of their duel comes at a very tense time in South Africa. Student, worker and community protests intensified last month after the December-January summer break. Repeated currency crashes left a 30 per cent decline in value over the past year, prompting the country's financiers and upper-middle class commentariat to universally applaud Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for maintaining low-grade austerity. A ‘junk’ label by international credit rating agencies, one which appears imminent and will lead to faster capital flight, remains an economic threat to this faction.

 

Kurdish women struggle for a new society in Rojava

 

Kurdish women volunteers at the Girke Lege women’s center

 

By Ruken Isik

 

April 5, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Next System Project -- The struggles of Kurdish women in Rojava Kurdistan (Northern Syria) became known to many people in the world during the brutal attacks of ISIS against the city of Kobane in northern Syria on September 15th, 2014. While Kurdish men and women were trying to defend the city from ISIS militia men with limited  ammunition and inadequate weapons, compared to sophisticated weapons in the hands of ISIS, Kurds worldwide took to the streets to be voice for Kurds in Rojava and Kobane. From the battle to defend Kobane onward, Western media and politicians have started to talk about the brave Kurdish women who are fighting against ISIS and its brutal treatment—including enslavement—of women.

 

But a question still resonates in many ears: how do Kurdish women join the fight against ISIS in such numbers, and why are women on the forefront of the struggle? What is the history behind this remarkable departure from the norm, and what can advocates for systemic change and feminism learn from Rojava?

 

The Resolute Subject: Daniel Bensaïd, Voluntarism and Strategy

 

Daniel Bensaïd

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 



To my brother, Daniel, who also made me see the possibilities contained in a moment.

 


April 4. 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, it has been fashionable to say that the time for communist politics has passed. One commentator went so far as to claim that “history had ended,” which meant capitalism was the only game in town. For many leftists, politics shifted from Marxist theory, revolutionary strategy and fighting to win, to begging the ruling class for “realistic” reforms. Yet there remained a stubborn few who refused to accept that capitalism was the sole vision on the horizon, but maintained a stubborn fidelity to Marxism and revolution. One of these was the French Trotskyist, Daniel Bensaïd (1946-2010), a key figure of the Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire, a leading participant in the May 1968 general strike and a militant Marxist intellectual. Bensaïd practiced a critical and creative Marxism throughout his life that fruitfully engaged with other radical political thinkers, such as Blanqui and Benjamin, and he refused to believe that the last word on our future had been said. Rather, he argued that resistance to capitalism was not only possible, but he gave serious thought about what it would take to win. Daniel Bensaïd remains a powerful voice to argue for strategic thinking and developing a “resolute subject” that could overcome the crushing weight of the “objective situation.”

 





The real population problem is too many capitalists

 

“There are too many coal barons, too many oil tycoons, too many politicians who are completely tied to the fossil fuel industry, too many vested interests that don’t want change,” argues Simon Butler.

 

Radio Adelaide interview with Simon Butler.

 

April 4, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal via Climate & Capitalism -- Simon Butler is a member of the Socialist Alliance in Sydney, Australia, a regular contributor to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal and co-author, with Ian Angus, of Too Many People? Population, Immigration and the Environmental Crisis (Haymarket Books, 2011).

 

He was interviewed by Des Lawrence on Radio Adelaide, on March 20, 2016.

 

Fidel Castro: 'We don't need anything from the Empire'

 

 

Despite big improvements in diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US in recent times, the US still maintains its more-than-50-year-long economic blockade and its occupation of Guantanamo Bay -- both of which Cuba's revolutionary government insists must end.

After United States President Barack Obama's history March 21 visit to Cuba -- the first sitting president the visit the island in more than 80 years -- Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro penned a column for Granma.cu

***

Brother Obama

We don’t need the empire to give us anything. Our efforts will be legal and peaceful, because our commitment is to peace and fraternity among all human beings who live on this planet.

A glimpse of what could be: The NSW BLF, the most radical and innovative union the world has ever seen

 

NSW Builders Labourers Federation Union secretary Jack Mundey is arrested during the ‘green bans’ at The Rocks in 1973 which saved the historic buildings of Sydney's birthplace 

 

By John Tully

 

Fifty years ago, a group of dedicated left-wing activists wrested control of the NSW Builders Labourers’ Federation (BLF) from the corrupt gangster types who had used it to feather their own nests. The militants, who included Jack Mundey, Joe Owens and Bob Pringle, rebuilt the union into a radically democratic, socially progressive and environmentally-aware organisation the likes of which Australia—and the world—had never seen. Today, we live in dark times for trade unionism. Only around 7% of workers in private industry are organised and unionists face ruthless attacks by the bosses and the state. The achievements of the NSW BLF, however, give us a glimpse of the liberating potential of the working class and are a beacon for the future.

 

Kurdish PYD leader: Time has proved us right

 

Co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party-PYDSalih Muslim

 

Interview by Karlos Zurutuza

 

March 25, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal translated from the Spanish edition of Vice News and reposted from Kurdistan Tribune — Salih Muslim Muhammad (born Kobani, Aleppo, 1951) is co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party-PYD, the political force that has led the uprising of the Kurds in Syria since the war began, in March 2011.

 

After spending 12 years as an oil industry engineer in Saudi Arabia, Muslim returned to Syria in the 90s to work clandestinely — Kurdish political parties were banned. By the time he became president of the Democratic Union Party, in 2010, he’d already paid for his political dissent with torture and imprisonment in Assad´s prisons.

 

It is not the first time Vice News has talked with Muslim, but this time we wanted to hear first-hand his take on the role his people are playing in a conflict that started five years ago.

 

South Africa: Condemn the murder of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, leading campaigner against the Australian-owned Xolobeni mine

 

‪Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe‬

 

March 24, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee and a leading campaigner against the Australian-owned Xolobeni mineral sands mine in South Africa was shot dead in his home on March 22. Below we republish statements by the Amadiba Crisis Committee and one signed by 82 civil society organisations condemning the assassination of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe and asking for international support to ensure his murderers are brought to justice. There is also an online petition you can sign onto at the bottom.

 

Amadiba Crisis Committee 2016-03 22: Our chairman brutally murdered

 

We are shocked to tell the public that the chairman of Amadiba Crisis Committee, Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe from Mdatya village in Amadiba, was brutally assassinated tonight outside his house in Lurholweni township, Amadiba area, Mbizana.

 

Our beloved Bazooka made the ultimate sacrifice defending our ancestral land of Amadiba on the Wild Coast.

 

He was murdered at about 7.30 in the evening. The hitmen came in a white Polo with a rotating blue lamp on the roof. Two men knocked at the door saying they were the police. Mr Rhadebe was shot with 8 bullets in the head. He died defending his young son, who witnessed the murder. His son and his wife are now in hospital.

 

Eritrea: origins of an oppressive regime

 

Overlooking Asmara, capital of Eritrea.

 

By Chris Slee

 

Eritrea, a small country in the horn of Africa, generally receives little attention in the international media. But in recent years there have been occasional reports of mass drownings of Eritrean refugees in the Mediterranean.

 

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