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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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In memory of Ernie Tate (1934-2021): A life of revolutionary activism

 

 

By John Riddell

February 13, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — The socialist movement lost an outstanding educator and organizer with the passing of Ernest (Ernie) Tate in Toronto on 5 February. An outstanding partisan of global anti-imperialist solidarity, Ernie also contributed, with his partner Jess MacKenzie, to building revolutionary Marxist groups and to promoting socialist unity in Canada and Britain.

Raised in an impoverished working-class community in Belfast, Ernie left school at age 14, taking a job at Belfast Mills as apprentice machine attendant. An avid reader and a rebel at heart, Ernie sympathized – unusually, given his Protestant background – with the Irish republican movement.

During a youthful jaunt through France in 1954, Ernie was deeply impressed by the mass solidarity actions celebrating the victory of Vietnamese freedom fighters in Dien Bien Phu. The following year, Ernie took the path of so many of his countrymen and emigrated, settling in Toronto.

The Kingdom of God versus the Kingdom of Man: BA Santamaria and the origins of the Movement

 

 

By Jessica Bell, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal 

Introducing BA Santamaria[1]

“Sometimes depicted as a man totally dedicated to principle, even perhaps despite consequences, he emerges…rather as an agile political pragmatist reformulating theory to suit the purpose at hand…

“[Santamaria’s] driving will is the explanatory key which allows us to see our intrepid anti-communist crusader not so much as a grand conspirator, but as a tragic figure in the classic sense, whose own indomitable will and imagination betrayed him, seducing him into a political adventure which was bound to fail.”

– Fr Bruce Duncan[2]

Cuba: the supreme victim of imperialism and colonialism

 

 

‘To change masters is not to be free.’—José Martí.

By Ian Ellis-Jones

February 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Cuba — perhaps more than most other countries — has been the victim of imperialism and colonisation.  

The greatest impact of imperialism and colonisation is on people, in particular, indigenous people. Cuba is no exception.

A tribute to Ernie Tate

 

 

By Phil Hearse

February 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Resistance — Ernie was born in 1934 in the Shankill Road, heart of Protestant Belfast. In 1955 at the age of 21 he migrated to Canada and within a year had become a member of the Canadian Trotskyist organisation, the Socialist Educational League.

In 1966 Ernie met Jess Mackenzie, an immigrant from Scotland, and from then on, they formed an unbreakable personal and political partnership. Ernie had been asked to move to Britain as the part of the international aid being provided by North American Trotskyists to establish a British section of the Fourth International and Jess moved to join him.

Fare thee well, comrade: A tribute to Ernie Tate

 

By James Clark and Pam Frache

February 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Spring — Ernest (“Ernie”) Tate, lifelong revolutionary socialist, died at home on February 5. He was 86. We send our deepest condolences to Jess MacKenzie, his companion of more than half a century.

With Ernie’s passing, the socialist movement has lost one of its fiercest fighters, someone whose deep commitment to working-class emancipation inspired nearly seven decades of political activity and changed the course of history. The greatest tribute we can pay to Ernie’s life is to share the countless lessons he leaves behind and pass to a new generation of revolutionaries the tools they’ll need to build a better world.

COVID-19 vaccines: The partiality of medicine in United States capitalism

 

By Vince Montes

February 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — COVID-19 vaccines are meant to function as a panacea for restoring confidence and reestablishing the social order in the capitalist social system. Saving lives is part of the capitalist state’s stated intention, but as we will see it is difficult to take this claim at face value when considering all the lives lost every year to preventable causes. In this way, COVID-19 vaccines will operate like therapeutics for cancer, diabetes, and other diseases because they do not address the social and environmental causes that increase susceptibility to illness, or in this case, COVID-19. In this view, profit-generating enterprises are normalized by the capitalist state's prevailing ideas and its capacity to engage in economic co-optation and coercion (Montes, 2009). Capitalism creates the conditions that lead to social ills and diseases, which produce high susceptibility to viruses such as COVID-19. Similar to how institutions of the state (such as the police, the military, corrections, and the legal system) serve to maintain the social order, so does medicine.

Spanish state: the Catalan February 14 election backgrounded

 

 

By Dick Nichols

February 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The issue must have been serious to persuade Salvador Illa, Spain’s minister for health, to leave that critical job just as the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was approaching its peak. 

It was. For Illa’s party, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), which runs the Spanish government with Unidas Podemos (UP) as junior partner, the Catalan independence movement’s still undefeated threat to Spain’s territorial unity is a graver concern than any virus—even one that has so far claimed 60,000 lives.

Remembering Leo Panitch

 

 

By Richard Fidler

February 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — I first met Leo personally in 1984. Articling with a progressive law firm in Toronto, I found that Leo was my contact for arranging the visit of Ralph Miliband as guest speaker at the annual Law Union conference. Miliband’s presentation was well received, and following the meeting Leo suggested the three of us should repair to the pub to which other conference participants had adjourned.

I remember telling Miliband that I had read several of his books but that my favourite was still his first, Parliamentary Socialism, A Study in the Politics of Labour. He laughed and said “It’s mine too.” Published in 1961, it began famously with the statement: “Of political parties claiming socialism to be their aim, the [British] Labour Party has always been one of the most dogmatic — not about socialism, but about the parliamentary system.” I was in 1962 a member of the provincial council of the recently-founded Ontario New Democratic Party, and had found Miliband’s analysis of the BLP of immense help in understanding the disturbing features of the NDP that I was encountering.

How pioneer Communists assessed the Russian Soviet Republic

 

 

By John Riddell

February 6, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary — The Communist International (or Comintern) was founded in Moscow in 1919, with the goal of helping to extend the socialist revolution that had taken place in Russia across Europe and around the world.  

The Russian Communist (Bolshevik) party that had led in establishing Soviet power was respected in the International as a prime source of strategic and tactical guidance. Yet the Comintern’s statutes did not accord any primacy to the Russian Communist Party (RCP). Like other Comintern sections, the Russian party was answerable to the International’s world congresses.

Behind the anti-China hysteria

 

 

By Dave Holmes

February 5, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — China’s influence in Australia, real or alleged, is a major issue in politics today.

Numerous Chinese investments in Australia have been blocked. The Chinese company Huawei has been banned from participating in the 5G rollout.

In June NSW Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane had his ALP membership suspended after an Australian Federal Police raid on his office over allegations that he was being cultivated by Chinese government agents. He was never charged and his ALP membership was reinstated in November. Former staffer John Zhang remains under investigation.

Academic Clive Hamilton has been a leading anti-China voice. He says Australia is “the global leader pushing back against the Chinese Communist Party’s interference”.

Is Russia waking up? The reasons behind the protest actions, the social forces involved and the possible consequences

 

 

By Aleksandr Buzgalin

February 5, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This text is being written in the heat of events, immediately following the mass protests that occurred in most regions of Russia on 23 and 31 January 2021. The total number of protesters throughout the country on 23 January was put by the authorities at fewer than 10,000, but by the opposition at more than 100,000. The largest of the demonstrations was, as usual, the one in Moscow, where according to the official count 4000 people came onto the streets, while unofficial figures put the number at 40,000. Similar numbers took part in the protests on 31 January, but this time the clashes were much more fierce, and according to various accounts, between 3000 and 4000 people were detained…

Is this revolution truly rinky-dink?

 

 

By Don Fitz

February 5, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — During the late ’60s, when the United States war on Viet Nam was going strong and people were questioning capitalism, I drove from Eugene to Berkeley where my sister was living. I ran into folks who invited me to a discussion about starting a commune. There, everyone talked about dropping out of consumer society and buying land to get away from it all. Asking about how you could confront the horrors around us by separating yourself from society, I got a string of denunciations accusing me of buying into what I claimed to oppose. 

After telling my sister about the experience, she invited a friend over for dinner the next night from a group called the Progressive Labor Party. “Great,” I replied. “I’ve heard of them but really don’t know anything except they are supposed to be serious.”

Blue Neocolonialism

 

 

By Kendall Dix

January 30, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Uneven Earth — Countries of the Global South are facing a modern form of economic domination from foreign interests. The story of Europeans plundering Black and brown nations to profit from their natural resources is probably a familiar one. But now that nature itself has become commodified through the tourist economy, environmentalism functions as  a justification for replicating the same old colonial power dynamics. 

Broken world, broken people – we need a path to a better future

 

 

By Shawn Hattingh

January 29,2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — We are living in a world that for most people is broken and that has broken most people. It is not a god given world, but one that has been constructed by those in power and that has left most people mired in deprivation. 

Under COVID-19, this world has sunk to new lows. While hundreds of millions of people have become unemployed – and in South Africa the unemployment rate has now surpassed 42% – corporations have once again received trillions in bailouts from states to keep capitalism barely afloat. Indeed, we face the greatest capitalist crisis since the Great Depression, political turmoil is rife, reactionary ideas continue to abound, and little hope of a better future seems to exist.

United States: After Trump, what prospects for Biden in the global imperial disorder?

 

 

Introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

January 29, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — Claudio Katz presciently analyzes shifts in the imperialist order, the mainstay of global capitalism, and weighs what the increasing social and political polarization within the United States portends for the Biden administration in the effort to restore its sagging world dominance.

Katz is professor of economics at the University of Buenos Aires, as well as a researcher with CONICET (National Council for Science and Technology, Argentina) and a member of Economists of the Left. My translation from the text on his web page.

Canada: New Year calls for a new COVID-19 strategy

 

 

By David Camfield and Claudyne Chevrier

January 29, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — As 2021 begins, many people in Manitoba are hopeful that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us. The number of infections reported is falling. Effective vaccines have been approved and will eventually become widely available. Unfortunately, the pandemic is far from over and the worst could still lie ahead.

Manitoba, like most jurisdictions in Canada except the Atlantic provinces and Northern territories, is using a public-health strategy for responding to COVID-19 that hasn’t given us the protection and positive outcomes that we could have expected. This strategy – one of mitigation, to use the epidemiological term – has aimed to keep the virus from spreading so much that sick people overwhelm the hospital system.

Do you remember Cuba’s dedication to Angola?

 

 

By Don Fitz

January 26, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Cuban blood left its stamp on the conscience of the world after the Angolan Wars of 1975-1988. Corporate politicians are united in their desire for us to ignore this reality.

Fed up with foreign wars, Portuguese officers overthrew Prime Minister Marcello Caetano on April 25, 1974. Many former colonies had the opportunity to define their own future.

Angola had been the richest of Portuguese colonies, with major production in coffee, diamonds, iron ore and oil. Of the former colonies, it had the largest white population, which numbered 320,000 of about 6.4 million. When 90% of its white population fled in 1974, Angola lost most of its skilled labor.

Three groups juggled for power. The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), headed by Agostinho Neto was the only progressive alternative. The National Front for the Liberation of Angola (NFLA), led by Holden Roberto, gained support from Zaire’s right-wing Joseph Mobutu, a conspirator in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. Jonas Savimbi, who ran the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), worked hand-in-hand with South Africa’s apartheid regime.

United States: Two principles of racial equity that outrage liberals

 

 

From left: Toussaint L'Ouverture, Gabriel Prosser and Denmark Vesey

By Don Fitz

January 26, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The May 25, 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a civil rights explosion. It ignited pushes to demilitarize the police, reallocate police over-funding to necessary social services, end economic and power divides, and replace symbols of oppression with recognition of those who have suffered and resisted.

How socialists resist rightist coups: Lessons from the early Communist International

 

 

By John Riddell

January 14, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary — Parliaments and elections are no guarantee of democratic rights and fair treatment for working people. Capitalist forces displeased with an electoral outcome are all too likely to take direct action to impose their will, whether by financial manipulations, economic blockades, or military coups.

Even apparently stable parliamentary regimes in dominant countries can be challenged in this way. So it was that a military revolt brought down the French Fourth Republic in 1958 and, in 2020-21, Donald Trump mounted a campaign including an apparent coup attempt aiming to overturn the outcome of the US presidential election.

Socialists are challenged to actively oppose rightist coup attempts without lending support to any wing of the ruling capitalist class.

Evald Vasilyevich Ilyenkov: A Marxist philosopher who confronted the Stalinist bureaucratic system

 

 

Finding Ilyenkov: How a Soviet Philosopher Who Stood Up for Dialectics Continues to Inspire
By Corinna Lotz
Lupus Books: London, 2019.
64 pp. £5. ISBN: 978-1-916031-81-4.

Reviewed by Jason Devine 

January 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Evald Vasilyevich Ilyenkov tragically took his own life in 1979, but he has continued to live on through a handful of published writings and websites dedicated to presenting his ideas and work. Still, his name is not broadly known in the global Marxist movement outside a relatively small circle of academics and interested activists. Indeed, when the question of dialectics is broached, the common names referred to, beyond Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, are Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and even Leon Trotsky. Therefore, the publication of Corinna Lotz’s booklet is most heartening. It serves to both publicise Ilyenkov and broaden the discussion on dialectics.

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