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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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Report on 15th Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network brigade to Venezuela

By Paul Dobson, brigade leader, Caracas

January 12, 2015 -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Following months of organisation and planning, the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s 15th solidarity brigade touched down in Maiquetía International Airport in Caracas on December 1, 2014, at a highly important time for the Bolivarian revolution.

With imperialism increasing its efforts to undermine the revolution and exacerbate internal weaknesses, and with the Venezuelan people still reeling from the blow of the premature death of former president Hugo Chavez, international solidarity is needed like never before to maintain the revolutionary advances made by and for the Venezuelan people.

The 2014 brigade, which was made up of activists of Australian, New Zealand and Malaysian nationalities, spent two weeks in Venezuela, during which time it fulfilled all three of its objectives. These were:

Haiti: Promised rebuilding unrealised; authoritarian rule challenged

Important achievements in earthquake rehabilitation were achieved with the public health initiatives taken by Haiti's Ministry of Public Health in cooperation with large international missions and many smaller, vital health care projects. The contributions of Cuba and Partners In Health stood out.

For more on Haiti, click HERE.

By Travis Ross and Roger Annis

Revolutionary sport: exclusive excerpt from 'Sport in Capitalist Society'

Sport in Capitalist Society: A short History
By Tony Collins
London: Routledge, 2013
184 pages

January 11, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Routledge has kindly given permission for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to publish an excerpt from Tony Collins' radical history of sport.

Readers of Links are urged to order a copy of this excellent book HERE.

More on sport and capitalism at Links.

* * *

  • Why are the Olympic Games the driving force behind a clampdown on civil liberties?
  • What makes sport an unwavering ally of nationalism and militarism?
  • Is sport the new opiate of the masses?

These and many other questions are answered in this new radical history of sport by leading historian of sport and society, Professor Tony Collins.

Sri Lanka: Mahinda Rajapaksa defeated, Australia urged to push for new way

Sri Lanka’s newly elected president Maithripala Sirisena. Photograph: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images.

For more coverage of Sri Lanka, click HERE.

By the Tamil Refugee Council

Melbourne, January 9, 2015 --The Tamil Refugee Council urges the Australian government to use the change of leadership in Sri Lanka to push for a resolution to the country’s most pressing issue – the long-standing oppression and persecution of Tamils.

(Updated Jan. 13) Socialists condemn 'Charlie Hebdo' massacre, warn of Islamophobia in its wake

Vigil in Sydney on January 8, 2015, for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo Paris massacre.

Statement by Australian Socialist Alliance national co-conveners on the Paris massacre

Sydney, January 9, 2015 -- The Socialist Alliance Australia condemns the massacre of journalists, cartoonists and others at and around the offices of the Paris-based publication Charlie Hebdo. However offensive anyone may have found some of the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo, this act of brutal violence is not justified.

Socialist Alliance condemns the conservative religious fundamentalist sects which promote and carry out such acts of violence. These sects are deadly enemies of democracy, justice and progress and their violent and sectarian actions weaken the real struggles for a just, equitable, democratic and sustainable future.

The Socialist Alliance also warns against and condemns any attempts by Western politicians, governments, corporate media and others to use this latest incident to whip up racist Islamophobia which is already virulent in the rich countries of the world.

This latest act of brutality does not justify the “clash of civilisations” hysteria that is widely used by racists to justify ongoing and new imperial wars, anti-refugee and anti-immigrant policies and laws, and anti-democratic “security” laws.

Mexico: 2014 saw a resurgence of the broad opposition movement

Click the following links for more by Dan La Botz, and more on Mexico.

By Dan La Botz

January 8, 2015 -- New Politics -- Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto, who had been so successful in advancing his fundamentally conservative economic program during his first year and a half in office, suddenly faced a serious challenge beginning in September 2014 when police, apparently cooperating gangsters, killed six students, injured at least 25 and kidnapped 43 in the town of Iguala in the state of Guerrero.

Protest demonstrations demanding that the students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College be returned alive, led by parents, students and teachers quickly spread from Guerrero to Mexico City and around the country. An international solidarity movement has also developed, with demonstrations at consulates in several countries.

Greece: 'Troika stop! Give them back their democracy!'

Click HERE for more on SYRIZA.

Translated by Liam Flenady

Statement released in French on January 5, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- European Union, European directors, International Monetary Fund, ratings agencies: stop your blackmail, end your interference in the Greek election campaign! Let the people decide!

In a context where harsh blows are multiplying in Greece (corruption of elected representatives, disinformation, restriction of democratic liberties), in order to prevent the possible victory of the left-wing movement SYRIZA in the legislative elections on January 25, we see the IMF announce the suspension of its “aid”, and the European commissioner for the economy Pierre Moscovici address himself directly fo the Greek electorate to tell them which way they should vote.

For his part, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, declared that he “would not like it if the extreme forces come to power” in Athens. In Germany, the finance minister Wolfgang Schaüble reaffirmed in passing that there is “no alternative” to the reforms underway in Greece.

The POUM: Those who would?

On January 3, 2015, historian Doug Enaa Greene led a discussion on the history of the POUM and the lessons to be drawn for today. It was presented to the Center of Marxist Education. His talk was based on the text below.

By Doug Enaa Greene

January 7, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For generations of leftists, the most recognizable images of the Spanish Civil War is from May 1937 comes from George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia of anarchist and POUMist workers defending the Telephone Exchange in Barcelona from the Communist Party. This image is said to represent the betrayal of Spain's libertarian communist revolution by agents of Moscow. In the decades since May 1937, a great number of polemics have been exchanged on what went wrong and on many “what ifs” on how the revolution could have won in the streets of Barcelona.

Mexico: First congress of the Organización Política del Pueblo y los Trabajadores

By Nevin Siders

January 5, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The People’s and Worker’s Political Organization (Organización Política del Pueblo y los Trabajadores, OPT)  held its first national congress in Mexico City on the weekend of December 12 and 13, 2014.

Since its founding in 2011, the party has grown to have local units registered in 16 of Mexico’s 32 states. According to convention organisers, 200 members attended the convention held in the headquarters of the Mexican Electricians Trade Union (SME), which was the protagonist for its founding in 2011 and has continued to press for it as an alternative to the parties of capital and their hangers-on.

Brian Senewiratne: The choice in Sri Lanka's presidential election

Mahinda Rajapaksa (middle) with his brother Gotabaya (left).

By Brian Senewiratne, Brisbane

January 5, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- There are two main candidates – Mahinda Rajapaksa and “common opposition candidate” Maithripala Sirisena. The January 8, 2015, election was called by Rajapaksa two years before it was due because of a slide in his popularity as judged from the recent provincial council elections. He has claimed, with some strange reasoning, that even if he loses, he will continue as president for two more years (if he wins, the two years will be added to the six-year term – making it eight years).

With the opposition in disarray and unable to find a credible candidate, Rajapaksa was so sure of victory that he even said that he would be the only candidate. He failed to see that the possible candidate was Maithripala Sirisena, his own health minister and general secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

Greece: If SYRIZA wins the election, what might happen next?

Click HERE for more on SYRIZA.

By Lisa Mittendrein and Valentin Schwarz

December 2014 -- Red Pepper, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- With Greece facing a snap general election on January 25, 2015, there is the genuine prospect of a radical left government coming to power in a European Union country. SYRIZA, a party born from a coalition of Eurocommunists, the far left, social movements and anti-globalisation activists, is riding high.

The general sentiment among SYRIZA officials and activists is that they will win the election and form the next government. The party won the European election in May 2014 and achieved some significant wins at the regional elections. It has been leading nationwide polls for months, scoring 29 per cent in late December 2014. The majority-friendly electoral law allows for an absolute majority at 35 to 40 per cent of the vote, depending on the number of parties passing the threshold.

Lionel Bopage: ‘Let us take a principled stand for the future of Sri Lanka!’

Prageeth (sitting at the centre) at a discussion with us before the day he was made to disappear.

By Lionel Bopage

January 3, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As we move towards Sri Lanka’s presidential election on January 8, 2015, two years ahead of schedule, we need to carefully consider what we are standing for.

To the credit of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, with the end of the war in 2009 there has been some widespread development of infrastructure. Despite this there are many disturbing aspects. The development of infrastructure has come at the cost of heavy indebtedness. The Colombo City “cleaning up”’ has displaced many long-time residents without adequate compensation. The service industry has grown, but there are serious breakdowns in the provision of basic services, notably health, education and law and order.

Sri Lanka: Tamils, left debates election

Opposition-backed presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena is supported by some Tamils and human rights activists, but others say he represents little different from the current regime.

By Chris Slee

January 2, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly -- Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa is being challenged by Maithripala Sirisena, who was until recently one of his ministers, in the January 8 presidential elections. However, many Tamils and leftists see little difference between the two.

Sirisena is being supported by the opposition United National Party, and has promised to appoint UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe as prime minister. There are 16 other candidates.

Sirisena has promised to abolish the system of executive presidency, which concentrates power in the hands of the president, and replace it with a system where the parliament has more power.

This change has long been advocated by many human rights advocates, who think that reducing the arbitrary power of the president would improve the human rights situation. Some human rights advocates are supporting Sirisena for this reason.

However the Tamil Civil Society Forum sees no real difference between Rajapaksa and Sirisena.

Marxist economist Claudio Katz on the Cuban Revolution and its economic reforms

Small businesses in Havana, 2014.

By Claudio Katz, introduction by Richard Fidler

December 29, 2014 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The release December 17 of the remaining three of five Cubans held for 15 years in US prisons is an historic victory for the Cuban people, their government and supporters around the world.

Ramon Labañino, Geraldo Hernández and Antonio Guerrero joined Fernando González and René González, released earlier, in an emotional reception in Havana with President Raúl Castro.

The five were arrested in 1998 while working in Miami to uncover terrorist plots against the people of Cuba being masterminded by anticommunist extremists in Florida. In a 2001 report to the United Nations, the Cuban government catalogued 3,478 deaths on the island as a result of terrorism, aggression, acts of piracy and other actions. Many of these actions were attributed to operatives of the CIA.

For background information on the case of the Cuban Five, see http://www.freethefive.org/.

Greece: Austerity, collapse and the rise of the radical left SYRIZA

January 1, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Greece is facing a snap general election on January 25, 2015. The left party SYRIZA is leading the polls. Above SYRIZA's Ioannis Bournous and Giorgos Karatsioubanis talk on "Austerity, Collapse, and the Rise of the Radical Left in Greece". It was presented at a meeting of 100 leaders of the left from North America and Europe, August 1-4, 2014, in New York state organised by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation-NYC.

Greece: The snap election and myths surrounding the country’s economic ‘recovery’

Yanis Varoufakis interviewed for Il Manifesto newspaper by Thomas Fazi, translated by Revolting Europe, December 30, 2014

Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- With a snap general election due January 25, a Greek economist close to SYRIZA dismantles some myths surrounding the Greek economy and believes victory for the left-wing opposition is increasingly likely.

* * *

Venezuela: After Chávez, has the Maduro government stalled the revolution?

For more on Venezuela, click HERE.

By Steve Ellner

December 24, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Nearly two years after the death of Hugo Chávez, the key question that many on the left are debating, in Venezuela and elsewhere, is whether his successors have been true to his legacy, or whether the “revolutionary process” initiated more than a decade ago has now stalled or even been thrown into reverse.

The recent emergence of a number of pressing problems has convinced some Chavistas that the revolution has either been betrayed or, at best, that President Nicolás Maduro is severely lacking in Chávez’s political acumen.

Has the International Monetary Fund reformed?

Click for more by Patrick Bond.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

December 22, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- In a Washington Post op-ed on December 17, 2014, "The IMF's Perestroika Moment", Boston University political economists Cornel Ban and Kevin Gallagher suggested "conventional wisdom" about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is "outdated" because the IMF is no longer "a global agent of economic orthodoxy". Hmmm.

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