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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.
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November 13, 2104 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi (pictured above) was absent from the COSATU media briefing on November 11, in the aftermath of the November 8 expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA). In the letter below, he explains why.
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Letter from COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi to the COSATU affiliates and others, November 11, 2014
To: COSATU president
COSATU affiliated general secretaries
COSATU provincial secretaries
November 11, 2014
RE: THE CRISIS IN THE FEDERATION
November 7, 2014 -- Léargas -- November 1, 2014, was the anniversary of the execution by the British of 18-year-old Kevin Barry. He was hanged on November 1, 1920. Kevin Barry was one of the "Forgotten Ten" -– Irish Republican Army (IRA) volunteers who were all executed in Mountjoy prison and buried there by the British government. He and nine other freedom fighters were afforded a state funeral a few years ago when their remains were moved from Mountjoy to Glasnevin.
I was there that day, and more important than all the pomp and ceremony of the fitting state occasion was the huge turn out of citizens who lined the pavements and joined the funeral ceremony. Kevin Barry was a victim and a hero of the Tan War – a conflict that lasted two years and was followed by a bloody civil war which saw atrocities committed by both sides.
His life and death and role as an IRA Volunteer was immortalised in song shortly after his death. "Kevin Barry" became one of the most popular rebel songs of that and subsequent generations.
November 12, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
To the comrades of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA),
The Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses), a socialist political party in the Philippines, sends its strongest solidarity to the comrades and leaders of NUMSA who are now fighting for the renewal of militant trade unionism and socialism in South Africa.
NUMSA was recently expelled in the Congress of South African Trade Unions federation through the maneouverings of its central executive committee. The central executive committee of COSATU supports the neoliberal program of the African National Congress government, while NUMSA does not. NUMSA has consistently opposed the neoliberal policies of the ANC government and stood for an independent trade union federation.
From the NUMSA press statement itself, we gathered that the real reason for NUMSA’s expulsion has been its consistent rejection of the ANC governmental policies which harm the interests of the workers and the South African masses.
SSP spokesperson Colin Fox.
For more on Scotland and independence, click HERE.
November 11, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) national spokesperson Colin Fox has written to Scottish National Party (SNP) leader elect Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Green Party leader Patrick Harvie inviting them to support “Independence Alliance” candidates from the Yes campaign in the 2015 Westminster general election.
In his letter, he wrote:
Britain’s Communists: The Untold Story
By John Green (with contributions from Andy Croft and Graham Stevenson)
Artery Publications 2014, 335 pages.
Review by Alex Miller
November 10, 2014 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) was founded in 1920, as one of the parties of the Third International promoted by Lenin and the Bolsheviks as an alternative to the Second (Socialist) International, whose member parties had discredited themselves by supporting their national governments in World War I.
Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine, with the new modernised main battle tank T-72B for the Ukrainian National Guard.
More on the political situation in Ukraine.
By Roger Annis
November 11, 2014 – A version of this first appeared at Truthout, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The general election to Ukraine’s parliament (the Verkhovna Rada, or Supreme Council) on October 26 was another step by the country’s wealthy power brokers to consolidate their pro-Europe, pro-austerity economic course and related war against the rebellious population in the east of the country. A large, neo-conservative and far-right majority now controls the Rada.
Polling station inside a rebel military base during elections in the city of Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine.
November 10, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the elections that took place in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics on November 2, 2014, the winner was the Russian presidential administration. This, and only this, was the political point of the voting. But the victory remains precarious and conditional.
NUMSA members dance at a demonstration.
By Dale McKinley, Johannesburg
November 10, 2014 -- South African Civil Society Information Service, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- It is arguably the most important political development of South Africa’s post-1994 era. In the early hours of November 8, South Africa’s largest union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), was expelled by the majority of the leadership belonging to South Africa’s largest union federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).
The political significance of NUMSA’s expulsion derives from three key, inter-related areas of impact.
[See also 'South Africa: 'We will continue to mobilise the working class for socialism', NUMSA's defiant response to COSATU'. For more on COSATU, click HERE. For more on South Africa, click HERE.]
Statement by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa
November 9, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- What we have warned the South African workers and broader public about has come to pass. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) with its 350,000 members was expelled as an affiliate by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in the early hours of Saturday morning (after 1 am), November 8, 2014, at a Special Central Executive Committee meeting (SCEC). This expulsion took place through a vote which was 33 for our expulsion and 24 against.
For more on Syria, click HERE.
By Michael Karadjis
South Africa: 'We will continue to mobilise the working class for socialism', NUMSA's defiant response to COSATU
By Irvin Jim, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) general secretary
November 9, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below are the speaking notes Jim's presentation to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Central Executive Committee meeting to discuss the union's expulsion from the federation, on November 7, 2014. After meeting through the night, delegates voted 33-24 in favour of expelling NUMSA, South Africa's biggest trade union, the largest union in the federation and a vocal critic of President Jacob Zuma's neoliberal regime.
* * *
I stand here as the General Secretary of the biggest affiliate of this federation, as a founding member at the Congress of 1985. I will be reminding comrades here of our common history.
Kurds protest in Dusseldorf.
[For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people, click HERE.]
By Florian Wilde, Die Linke member
November 3, 2014 -- International Viewpoint, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The West has suddenly begun supporting various Kurdish organisations in its fight against the Islamic State.
So why is the largest Kurdish organisation of all, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), still outlawed? This article discusses current developments in Kurdistan and gives a brief overview of the history of the Kurdish liberation movement and the PKK’s illegal status in Germany. It argues for a radical left strategy focused on defeating the ban on the PKK.
By Julian Coppens, Extremadura, western Spain
November 7, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- About 8000 members of the new organisation Podemos packed the Palacio Vistalegre in Madrid on October 18 and 19, 2014, for the final stages of the Citizens' Assembly “Si se puede” (Yes we can). The assembly, with 150,000 taking part online, discussed draft documents for the foundation of the Spanish state’s newest and fastest growing political force.
For more on Burkina Faso, click HERE.
By Amber Murray
November 3, 2014 -- Ceasefire, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- An incredible political transformation has been taking shape in the "Land of the Upright or Incorruptible People", Burkina Faso. Twenty-seven years after the assassination of revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, Burkinabés turned out in their hundreds of thousands, for several days of protest, chanting “trop c’est trop” (enough is enough), echoing in the process a long history of trade union activism against political repression in the country, as well as protests staged through the Balai Citoyen collective.
After four days of the popular anger, President Blaise Compaoré vacated his post.
November 5, 2014 -- Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
By the nine COSATU affiliates
A. Our objectives
After the 11th COSATU Congress in 2012, the Federation was gripped by a paralysing ideological, political, administrative and organisational crisis. We have analysed this crisis, and at our first joint press conference, stated the following, as the basis of our common approach:
1. To explicitly clarify what the progressive forces inside COSATU are campaigning for and what they are seeking to achieve.
2. To provide a clear set of demands to serve as the basis for mobilising a majority of workers in COSATU for a decisive break with class collusion and for trade union independence.
3. To regenerate a vibrant worker controlled organisational culture in COSATU with a leadership that is committed to the highest democratic and accountable processes.
Trade unions in Greece have announced a general strike against austerity to take place on November 27, 2014.
By Dick Nichols
November 4, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For 48 hours it looked as if Thursday, October 16, 2014 might join similar October Thursdays in 1907, 1929 and 1979 as another dramatic moment when share market panic triggered economic downturn.
However, it was not to be. The three trillion dollar slump in world share market values in the first two-and-half-weeks of October has so far been partially reversed by a coordinated effort of “calm engineering” by central bankers. But how long can that treatment—whose message to the gambling fund managers is that interest rates will stay low—succeed?
By Jim McIlroy
November 1, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- The passing of former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam at the age of 98 on October 21 provoked a wave of emotion from the community, both young and old. At a time when the federal government is trying to smash the remnants of the progressive reforms initiated during Whitlam's Australian Labor Party (ALP) government — in office from December 1972 to November 1975 — the Whitlam era seems like a period from another political universe.
A letter to the Sydney Morning Herald on October 23, 2014, summed up the mood: "The death of Gough Whitlam not only provided an opportunity for political midgets such as [present ALP federal leader] Bill Shorten and [Liberal Party-National Party coalition Prime Minister] Tony Abbott to become authorities on giants ... It also showed how these two agree on almost everything else. The contrast with the Whitlam era is complete.”
Fighters of the Free Syrian Army
For more on Syria, click HERE.
By Michael Karadjis
October 31, 2014 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The November 6 London Review of Books has published Patrick Cockburn’s latest article (http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n21/patrick-cockburn/whose-side-is-turkey-on), ‘Whose side is Turkey On?’. Now, as I support the struggle of the Syrian Kurds, led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed militia, the YPG, against ISIS’ genocidal siege, I have no interest in defending Turkey’s shabby role in this, even if I think both the US and Turkey, in their current difference on this issue are both being totally cynical in their different ways. So this critique will not deal with these issues.
For more on Thomas Sankara, click HERE.
Ernest Harsch interviewed by Jim Lance
October 10, 2014 -- New Books in African Studies --Thomas Sankara, often called the African Che Guevara, was president of Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in Africa, until his assassination during a military coup that brought down his government. Although his time in office was relatively short, Sankara left an indelible mark on his country’s history and development.
200,000 people demonstrated across Ireland on November 1 in protest against water charges.
November 1, 2014 -- Irish Republican News -- Sinn Fein has topped an opinion poll in the 26 Counties for the first time in the history of polling in the state, gaining four points to move up to 26%. The Millward Brown survey for tomorrow’s Sunday Independent questioned 1000 people over the past 10 days.
It shows independents also making gains, they increased their support by two points to stand at 23%.
Support for both government parties is down significantly, with Fine Gael dropping three points to 22% and Labour down two from 9% to 7%. Fianna Fail has also seen a drop in support, down one to 20%.
The poll showed a major move up for Sinn Fein, despite an intensive and orchestrated campaign in the establishment media to damage the party.
The news also came as over 200,000 people demonstrated on streets up and down the country in protest against water charges. Even the smaller towns across Ireland saw people march in their thousands, while cities numbered in tens of thousands.