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.

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Spanish state moves to end Catalan self-rule after people power saves independence referendum

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

Is it possible to have a successful referendum when your country is effectively occupied by 10,000 police and paramilitaries with orders to stop it?

 

The holding of Catalonia’s October 1 referendum on independence shows that it is: all you need is a mobilised people with a clear view of where they are going, Europe’s most powerful and persistent social movement to help guide them, and a government that’s committed to carrying out its promises.

 

Add to those already rare ingredients imperviousness to provocation and violence, ability to improvise when logistics are sabotaged and determination to prevail in spite of a sea of difficulties (including severe tensions within your own camp), then you’ve uncovered the recipe for victory.

 

‘Africa Rising’ in retreat: Signs of new resistances

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

October 3, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Monthly Review — At the very moment that Africa’s GDP ceased its rapid 2002–11 increase, a profound myth took hold in elite economic and political circles, embodied in the slogan “Africa Rising.”[1] That myth persists.Deutsche Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann claimed in June 2017 at a Berlin conference, “Africa stands ready to benefit from an open world economy. Its economic outlook is positive.”[2] The conference was arranged by German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble to promote his G20 “Compact with Africa,” whose “main aim is to lower the level of risk for private investments” (but in the run-up to the German election, he and Angela Merkel were obviously also concerned to give the impression the strategy would reduce Europe’s African refugee crisis).[3]

 

The Philippines: On the frontline of Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’

 

 

In its first year in operation, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ has cost more than 13,000 lives and left the country mired in a human rights crisis.

 

One of the organisations at the forefront of opposing Duterte’s war is In Defence of Human Rights and Dignity Movement, iDefend, a coalition of more than 50 human right and grassroots organisations.

 

Peter Boyle spoke to iDefend spokesperson Ellecer “Budit” Carlos about the situation.

 

"Music can and should belong to all' - An interview with Dave Randall, author of 'Sound System: The Political Power of Music'

 

 

Dave Randall playing at Glastonbury

 

September 27, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Barry Healy speaks to Dave Randall, author of Sound System: The Political Power of Music

 

Pakistan: Repression of tenants at Okara Military Farms continue, Baba Jan's final review petition underway

 

 

By Farooq Tariq

 

September 25, 2017  
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières — The repression of tenants at Okara Military Farms continue for the last one and half years. On 21st September, Malik Salim Jakkar was arrested in Okara once again. He had spent most of the last two years (2015-2017) in jail and some two months back, he was released on bail.

 

Malik Salim Jakhar along his five friends came to see me a night before his arrest in Lahore, his first meeting after his release. However, he was arrested very next day. He has been facing 95 police cases, he was released only after he tendered an unconditional apology to the authorities. Despite that, he is arrested because many hundreds of peasants met him during his brief freedom.

 

Catalan referendum: a ‘democratic tsunami’ rises against Spanish state siege

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

September 24, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The most critical week in modern Catalan history began today, September 24. With one week to go to the October 1 referendum on independence, the battle lines in what will be a decisive clash have formed. On the one side, the 80% of Catalan people who support their right to decide their country’s future; on the other, the 10,000 Spanish National Police and paramilitary Civil Guard charged with stopping the October 1 vote.

 

Since the middle of last week, the two sides have been engaged in intensifying skirmishes that will end in one of three scenarios: the humiliation of the central Spanish government of People’s Party (PP) prime minister Mariano Rajoy (if the Catalan majority manages to vote); a setback for the movements for Catalan sovereignty and independence (if the police operation succeeds in closing polling stations); or a confused outcome due to some people getting into polling centres while others are kept outside by the “forces of order”.

 

United States: Where any white police officer can kill any Black man at any time…

 

 

… And the police officer will not go to jail.

 

By Don Fitz

 

September 23, 2017
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal This is what has sparked protests by thousands of people in St. Louis since September 15.

 

In 2011, St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley fired five to seven shots at Anthony Lamar Smith, killing him. Stockley claimed that Smith was selling drugs, chased him at high speed and shot him to defend himself. The story was briefly reported as another drug deal gone bad and that it was just incidental that the police officer was white and the victim was black.

John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’, eighty years on

 

 

Reviewed by Barry Healy

 

Of Mice and Men
By John Steinbeck
Penguin, 1993 (first published 1937), $8.95

 

September 23, 2017
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal This year marks the 80th anniversary of Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men. At less than 200 pages it carries enormous force as a mythic account of alienation under US capitalism.

 

Catalonia referendum: resisting the Spanish government siege

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

September 20, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In 1713-14, it took the troops of Spain’s Borbon monarchy 14 months of siege before taking Barcelona and ending Catalan self-rule. In September 2017, Catalonia is again under siege, this time from the central Spanish People’s Party (PP) government.

 

Under prime minister Mariano Rajoy the Spanish state is concentrating all its firepower on stopping the Catalan government’s October 1 independence referendum. On that day, if this siege is successfully resisted, Catalan citizens will vote on whether “Catalonia should become an independent state in the form of a republic”.

 

Since September 6, the day its parliament adopted its referendum law, Catalonia has experienced a “shock and awe” offensive aimed at forcing the pro-independence government of premier Carles Puigdemont to submit to the central Spanish administration. The adoption of the law by the parliamentary majority of 62 Together For The Yes (JxSí) and 10 People’s Unity List (CUP) MPs was the culmination of an eight-year process that has seen over one million people mobilise every Catalan National Day since 2012.

 

United States: Trump’s war on immigrants

 

 

 

By Justin Akers Chacón

 

September 11, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — At the press conference to announce his run for President in 2016, Donald Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as “drug dealers, criminals, rapists” who must be stopped by “building a wall.” Since taking office, Trump has continued to reiterate that message through policy initiatives designed to further degrade the quality of life for undocumented workers and their families. The overtly racist targeting of migrant and immigrant people by Trump has excited the far-right, and emboldened their efforts to organise and mobilise on a national scale, and terrorise working class communities of colour.

 

Gracchus Babeuf revisited

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

September 11, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from RS21 — In most English language scholarship on the French Revolution, Gracchus Babeuf (1760-1797) remains a marginal figure. At most, he merits a mention in a few paragraphs, where he is generally portrayed as an eclectic and utopian figure, who led an extremist movement doomed to fail. Sadly that view is shared by too many socialists, who dismiss Babeuf as just a Jacobin elitist with little to teach the present. Thankfully, Ian Birchall’s Spectre of Babeuf provides a welcome corrective to the neglect of Babeuf by giving him the respect he deserves as a participant in the French Revolution and as an original socialist thinker from whom revolutionaries can still learn a great deal.

 

The Catalan national struggle and the left in the Spanish state—a dossier

 

 

 

Introduction and translations by Dick Nichols

 

September 10, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The June 9 decision of Catalonia’s pro-independence Together For The Yes (JxSí) government to hold a referendum on whether the country should become “an independent state in the form of a republic” has created a raft of differences within the Catalan and all-Spanish left. The decision came after all efforts at a negotiating a Scottish-style referendum with the Spanish government had come to naught.[1]

 

Besides the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and its regional affiliates, nearly all left currents in Spain support the right to self-determination of the peoples of the Spanish State[2]: they differ, however, over how that right should be concretely exercised.

 

The Green Revolution: Effects in Asia and implications for Africa

 

 

By Alan Broughton

 

September 8, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal The term Green Revolution refers to the introduction of high-yielding varieties of staple food crops, particularly wheat and rice, into Third World countries, starting in the 1960s. Initially Mexico, India and the Philippines were targeted. The stated aim was to increase food production to end hunger and prevent uprisings.

 

The Green Revolution did increase agricultural production, and no more successful revolutionary uprisings occurred, but it failed to reduce hunger and poverty, improve nutrition, or protect the environment. While some of these failures are now acknowledged by the proponents, the answer is that “there was no alternative”, and that for untouched areas of the world, particularly Africa, there is still no alternative. However, that alternative does exist: it is called agroecology. Science takes credit for successes but takes no responsibility for failures (Shiva 2001).

 

'People are radicalizing Venezuela's Revolution': An interview with Christina Schiavoni

 

 

By Farooque Chowdhury and Fred Magdoff

 

September 7, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from MR Online — Amidst imperialist interference, the people in Venezuela are carrying on the task of reorganizing their society. Real-life picture in Venezuela is far different from new-reports the mainstream media continuously circulates. The following interview of Christina Schiavoni, a researcher and food sovereignty activist, provides a different view of the life of the Venezuelan people than we normally get from the media. The interview covers food and health situations as well as on-going politics and people’s participation in the politics. The interview was conducted by Farooque Chowdhury and Fred Magdoff, in August 2017.

 

Why is Canada supporting Africa’s most ruthless dictator?

 

 

By Yves Engler

 

September 7, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Pambazuka NewsAfter amending the constitution to be able to run indefinitely Paul Kagame recently won 98.63% of votes in Rwanda’s presidential election. In response Canada’s High Commissioner Sara Hradecky tweeted: “Congratulations to Rwandans for voting in peaceful presidential election” and "Canada congratulates Paul Kagame on his inauguration today as President of Rwanda". The latter Tweet was picked up by the state propaganda organ New Times in a story titled "Heads of State, diplomats laud Kagame’s 'visionary leadership'.”

 

July 19 Revolution: a start towards a federal, democratic Syria

 

 

By Noursham Ibrahim

 

September 7, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Cooperative Economy The July 19th Revolution, whose spark started in Kobanî [Kobanê / Ayn al-Arab] in 2012, soon echoing in the region and the world, has achieved considerable victories on the military, political, and social levels during the last five years ─ achieving unique progress in leading the community towards democracy and federalism, perceived by observers as the best solution not only for Syria, but also for the stalemate in the communities of the Middle East.

 

Catalonia terror attacks: 500,000 march for tolerance as Spanish establishment blames independence movement

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

September 4, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal After the August 17-18 terror attacks on Barcelona’s Rambla and in the seaside town of Cambrils, the half-million-strong march in the Catalan capital on August 26 expressed the profound desire in Catalan society to stay tolerant, open and un-militarised in the face of the terrorist threat. But it expressed more than that.

 

‘A basic question’: Lenin glosses the April Theses

 

 

V.I. Lenin in 1920, drawing by Isaak Brodsky

 

By Lars Lih

 

September 1, 2017 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary blog In April 1917, Lenin was churning out articles for Pravda at an alarming rate. One such article is “A Basic Question,” written on April 20 and published the next day. This article later made its way into Lenin’s collected works, where it is easily available today. It is in no way a hidden or undiscovered document—and yet, in the context of a new look at the events of spring 1917, “A Basic Question” becomes a remarkable and revealing document. I have therefore newly translated it and provided a commentary.

 

Thirteen to two: Petrograd Bolsheviks debate the April Theses

 


Vladimir Nikolaevich Zalezhskii (1880-1957)

 

 

Everywhere and always, every day, we have to show the masses that until the vlast has been transferred into the hands of the Soviets of Worker and Soldier Deputies, there is no hope for an early end of the war and no possibility for the realization of their program.—Sergei Bagdatev, explaining his misgivings about Lenin’s April Theses at the April Conference of the Bolshevik party

 

By Lars Lih

 

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