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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).
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By Jonathan Strauss
"The Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions supports the demands of the people's revolution and calls for a general strike of Egyptian workers", reads a banner at an anti-Mubarak demonstration in Tahrir Square. Photo by Hossam el-Hamalawy.
By Joel Beinin
August 23, 2013 -- Middle East Research and Information Project -- The independent labour movement that has flourished in Egypt since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak enthusiastically supported the Tamarrud (Rebel) campaign for the huge June 30 demonstrations asserting a popular vote of no confidence in President Mohammad Morsi.
The Center for Trade Union and Workers Services (CTUWS), Egypt’s most experienced (and during the 1990s only) labour-oriented NGO, claims to have gathered 200,000 signatures for the Tamarrud petition through its six regional offices. Three independent trade union organisations -- the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU), the Egyptian Democratic Labor Congress (EDLC) and the Permanent Congress of Alexandria Workers (PCAW) -- also collected signatures and monitored workers’ participation in the demonstrations.
By Daphne Lawless
August 24, 2013 -- Fightback, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The latest opinion polls put John Minto – teacher, veteran activist and MANA movement candidate – in third place in the race for mayor of Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland, to be held on October 12, 2013. Why has John Minto decided to run for the most powerful urban office in Aotearoa/New Zealand? He hesitates for quite a long time before answering – he calls it “the hardest question”.
It’s certainly not a question of seeking the limelight. A recent interview in the NZ Herald by Michelle Hewitson focussed relentlessly on delving Minto’s personality – and bringing up what John calls “the wallpaper of history” about his 30-year activist career. So he seems quite relieved that Fightback is interested in his campaign’s politics.
[For more on Martin Luther King Jnr, click HERE.]
August 22, 2013 -- Labor Notes -- It is 50 years since 1963’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom drew more than 200,000 people. But after the latest one-two punch—George Zimmerman walking free after killing Trayvon Martin and the Supreme Court rolling back the Voting Rights Act—the new March on Washington August 24 is clearly needed to renew the struggle.
A fascinating new book from historian William P. Jones puts the 1963 action in its organising context. Every US school child learns the opening words of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but how many are taught that the march was the brainchild of the nation’s leading black labour activists—and called not only for an end to prejudice, but also for a federal jobs program, equality at work and a boost to the minimum wage?
'A Freedom Budget for All': Paul Le Blanc on Martin Luther King's struggle for economic and racial justice (now with slideshow)
[For more on Martin Luther King Jnr, click HERE.]
August 21, 2013 -- Inside Higher Ed, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Three years after the August 28, 1963, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a number of its core organisers projected a new stage of the struggle for equality -- expanding and deepening it, creating the economic and social foundations needed to realise Martin Luther King’s dream.
Their program, “A Freedom Budget for All Americans”, was issued by the A. Philip Randolph Institute in fall 1966. In his foreword, King called the document “a moral commitment to the fundamental principles on which this nation was founded”. Chances are you’ve never heard of it. (The original pamphlet is available in PDF here.)
By John Riddell
August 20, 2013 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com -- The military massacres in Egypt are “part of a plan to liquidate the Egyptian Revolution and restore the military-police state of the Mubarak regime”, say the Revolutionary Socialists (RS) of Egypt in an August 15 statement. Their present analysis contrasts sharply with their previous positive appraisal the July 3 military coup that ousted Egypt’s elected government.
The RS, who enjoy a wide reputation as a revolutionary voice in the Egyptian struggle, are reconsidering the meaning of this experience. Socialists abroad should be rethinking it as well.
In the rich and varied world discussion of these events, contributions in the Green Left Weekly newsgroup (Australia) provide useful starting points for reflection, as do the reactions of several ALBA governments.
The army/police massacre is “a bloody dress rehearsal for the liquidation of the Egyptian Revolution”, the RS now states. “It aims to break the revolutionary will of all Egyptians who are claiming their rights, whether workers, poor, or revolutionary youth, by creating a state of terror.”
Supporters of toppled President Mohamed Morsi rally in Cairo (Gregg Carlstrom).
Statement by the Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt)
August 19, 2013 -- Socialist Worker -- Terrible massacres and violent repression, a huge escalation in attacks on Egyptian Christians and churches, and the consolidation of the repressive military state continue apace. These are the momentous political developments we have experienced during the last few weeks.
They pose enormous challenges to the revolution, but they also contain opportunities to prepare for the coming waves of the revolution, which the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt can use effectively to build the movement, provided that we develop tactics capable of dealing with changing circumstances.
Revolution or military coup?
By the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (Socialist Party of Malaysia)
August 19, 2013 -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) strongly condemns the bloody crackdown on protesters by the Egyptian army. We are deeply concerned over the current situation in Egypt where the revolution is hijacked by the military establishment.
The use of excessive force for the last few days has killed more than 800 people and wounded thousands. Political violence has spread across the country as retaliation to state repression, and innocent people have been victimised.
Morsi was removed in a military coup on July 3 after massive protests initiated by Tamarod, a movement that opposes Morsi and calls for an early election. The military coup was not aimed at deepening the revolutionary process but to contain the revolutionary waves. The current atrocities committed by the military is not just aimed at crushing the Muslim Brotherhood, but is also part of a plan to derail the Egyptian revolution and bring back Mubarak-era repressive rule.
Today, supporters of Muslim Brotherhood have become the target of the violent crackdown, but tomorrow any other forces that pose a threat to the military ruling elites will by also subject to brutal repression. The military and security forces in Egypt have been committing atrocities all the while with impunity, making them the fundamental threat to Egypt's struggle for bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity!
The PSM calls for:
Australian protest against the US war on Vietnam. Socialists argued for the movement to have as its central demand the call for the immediate withdrawal of US and Australian troops from Vietnam.
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This talk was presented by Peter Boyle representing the then Democratic Socialist Party (since merged with the Socialist Alliance) to a workshop with comrades from the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) of Indonesia in 2000. It was based on a talk by Doug Lorimer to a Resistance leadership training school in Sydney on April 24-25, 1995. It was published in The Activist, volume 5, number 6, 1995. Doug Lorimer passed away on July 21, 2013. Read more of Doug Lorimer's writings HERE.]
* * *
By Terry Bell, Cape Town
August 16, 2013 -- Terry Bell Writes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Shortly after this column below was written and blogged, the South African Communist Party (SACP) issued its statement on the first anniversary of the Marikana massacre that reveals the deep and dangerous sectarianism of that organisation. Here, I feel, is exposed one of the roots of the problem. I include here the final paragraph of that statement as an introduction to this "Inside Labour" column:
Statement by the Socialist Alliance national executive
August 16, 2013 -- The Socialist Alliance of Australia condemns the massacre of protesters by the Egyptian army during the dispersal on August 14 of sit-ins at Rabea al-Adaweya and Nahda Square by supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Socialist Alliance restates its solidarity with the Egyptian people’s mass movement against the Morsi government as well our opposition to the July 3 military coup d'état. We call for the release of all political prisoners, the lifting of the month-long emergency rule, the end of monitoring and blocking of electronic communications and the attacks on reporters.
The Egyptian military is seeking to impose its will through bloody repression. Today, supporters of Morsi are targeted, but all forces that may be viewed as a threat to stability for the ruling elites risk being targeted next.
For more on COSATU, click HERE.
Statement of the Democractic Left Front, South Africa
August 15, 2013 -- As expected the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Central Executive Committee took a decision to suspend Zwelinzima Vavi, its general secretary. An internal probe will now sit and in all likelihood find him guilty of bringing COSATU into disrepute and he will be permanently removed from the leadership of COSATU. [Vavi admitted to having sex with a junior staff member at the federation’s headquarters in January.]
Abuse of women is a very serious offence. Abuse of power is very serious. No-one should be above the law. In this case Vavi’s guilt has not been established. And it is obvious that the rapid and determined way some in the CEC went about taking up this issue is part of the bigger campaign to rid COSATU of Vavi’s leadership. If Vavi, or any official is guilty of serious abuse, the workers’ movement must act principally.
Down with military rule! Down with Al-Sisi, the leader of the counter-revolution!
Statement by the Revolutionary Socialists, Egypt
August 14, 2013 -- The bloody dissolution of the sit-ins in Al-Nahda Square and Raba'a al-Adawiyya is nothing but a massacre—prepared in advance. It aims to liquidate the Muslim Brotherhood. But, it is also part of a plan to liquidate the Egyptian Revolution and restore the military-police state of the Mubarak regime.
The Revolutionary Socialists did not defend the regime of Mohamed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood for a single day. We were always in the front ranks of the opposition to that criminal, failed regime which betrayed the goals of the Egyptian Revolution. It even protected the pillars of the Mubarak regime and its security apparatus, armed forces and corrupt businessmen. We strongly participated in the revolutionary wave of 30 June.
Neither did we defend for a single day the sit-ins by the Brotherhood and their attempts to return Mursi to power.
August 14, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- An outstanding historical account of the "Green Bans" first introduced by the communist-led New South Wales Builders Labourers Federation (BLF) in the 1970s in response to community demand to preserve inner-city parkland and historic buildings. One of the first women to be accepted as a builders labourer, filmmaker Pat Fiske in 1985 traced the development of a union whose social and political activities challenged the notion of what a union should be.
More on the BLF from the Green Left Weekly archives below.
Essential viewing for unionists and environmentalists
Review by Ben Courtice
[This review appeared in Green Left Weekly, March 12, 1997.]
This film, an old favourite of radical activists, charts the rise of the NSW branch of the Builders Labourers' Federation. Beginning as a corrupt bosses' union in the 1940s, by the 1970s it was a powerful force for progressive social change and is now famous for placing "green bans" on building sites that were environmentally and socially destructive.
The old, corrupt leadership of the union was voted out after a 10-year campaign by a group of rank-and-file members who then reoriented the union to establish a high level of accountability for officials.
Fuentes is co-author of Latin America's Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty-First Century Socialism.
Latin America's Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty-First Century Socialism
By Roger Burbach, Michael Fox & Federico Fuentes
Zed Books, 2013.
Philippines: The killing of workers' leaders is a blow to combating corruption! The government must be held accountable!
Assassinated transport workers’ leader Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin.
By Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses), Philippines
August 12, 2013 -- The Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) joins the campaign to protest against the recent spate of killings of labour leaders, the most recent case being the assassination of transport workers’ leader Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin on July 2. Petalcorin joins the ranks of assassinated workers’ leaders this year, such as Emilio Rivera and Carlos Cirilo, who were also members of national labour centre, the Alliance of Progressive Labor in the Philippines.
While the PLM demands that the Benigno Aquino government put a stop to the assassinations and speedily bring the murderers to justice, we are also outraged at the seeming lack of determination of this administration to do so.
Furthermore, we are extremely concerned that this lack of determination emanates from a government which includes Akbayan as a coalition partner. While Akbayan congress representatives have called on the president to act on the cases of the assassinated labour leaders, some of whom are also members of Akbayan, what of the Akbayan leaders and their supposed allies in government and in cabinet? They all seem unable to bring the murderers to justice!
By Felicity Dowling
August 11, 2013 -- Left Unity -- We face the probability of a terrible decline in the social wealth of the working people in the UK, a critical change in the life experience of working-class people. Hunger, want and fear are coming back to this and other countries. Thousands have signed petitions supporting the call for a new political formation under the banner of Left Unity. On November 30, hundreds of founding members of this new party will inaugurate it, determine our political direction, our priorities and the nature of the organisation itself.
Three different political platforms have been published in the run-up
to this founding conference of Left Unity to try to put forward the
best way for us to move forward. A platform is a set of ideas that a
group wants to put forward to be considered at the founding conference.
Political discussion helps us all understand the tasks facing Left
Unity, and the range of political opinion within the organisation.
Solidarity and inclusiveness will help us all make the most of these
discussions. Each member has a right to comment and any group of ten can
produce an alternative platform.
What are the differences between the platforms? This post will, I hope, lay the positions of the three platforms side by side so that people can compare them directly.
By the Kshama Sawant Campaign for Seattle City Council
August 8, 2013 -- Votesawant.org -- Seattle voters sent a clear message to an out-of-touch political establishment on August 6 that they are fed up with business as usual, and are looking for an alternative to corporate-pandering politicians like Richard Conlin. Kshama Sawant, who was recently written off by The Seattle Times as “too hard left for Seattle”, won a stunning 35% of the vote, a number that will likely rise as late ballots are counted.
[Sawant is a member Socialist Alternative, the United States affiliate of the small international Committee for a Workers International (CWI).]
A majority of primary voters voted against 16-year Seattle City Council incumbent, Democrat Richard Conlin, who despite a massive fund-raising advantage and name recognition, received only 49%. Sawant and a second challenger to Conlin, Brian Carver, won the majority of the vote in the City Council Position 2 race.
[Sawant will now participate in the two-candidate run-off election with Conlin to determine who takes the contested position.]
Riots in Honiara in 2006.
By Scott Hamilton
July 30, 2013 -- Reading the Maps, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Back in 1989 a schoolmate of mine showed me some copies of Tribune, the newspaper of New Zealand’s Socialist Unity Party. The SUP had for decades been convinced of the infallibility of the leadership of the Soviet Union, and the pages of Tribune were full of recycled press releases from the Kremlin and large airbrushed photographs of crumbling Soviet leaders like Leonid Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov.
August 7, 2013 -- MRZine -- John Bellamy Foster: We need a society that is geared, as István Mészáros always tells us, to substantive equality. And no compromise on the issue of equality. Bolívar said equality is the law of laws. So we need substantive equality and we need ecological sustainability. And they have to go together. How do we know they have to go together? Because what is causing the ecological damage and what is causing the social damage is the same thing: it's the rift in the production system; it's the alienation of nature, which is one with the alienation of human society.