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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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Thirteen theses on the imminent ecological catastrophe and the (revolutionary) means of averting it

 

 

By Michael Löwy

February 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Global Ecosocialist Network 

I. The ecological crisis is already the most important social and political question of the 21st century, and will become even more so in the coming months and years. The future of the planet, and thus of humanity, will be determined in the coming decades. Calculations by certain scientists as to scenarios for the year 2100 aren’t very useful for two reasons: A) scientific: considering all the retroactive effects impossible to calculate, it is very risky to make projections over a century. B) political: at the end of the century, all of us, our children and grandchildren will be gone, so who cares?

Marxism: Ten aspects concerning socialism in the 21st century

 

 

By Ian Parker

February 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from FIIMG — What can we hope for and strive for in a world in which globalised capitalism is rampant and is driving us all to destruction? We have a responsibility to link theory and practice in order to put an end to capitalism once and for all. The century of revolutions, from 1917 to 2017, has provided progressive political narratives and conceptual tools which deepen and extend revolutionary Marxism, and we need to draw on those conceptual tools to bring the Marxist tradition to life again, acting alongside other progressive forces. Now, in this century, Marxism is a theory and practice of emancipatory politics, providing a revolutionary praxis for liberation movements, and our task is to make socialism visible as an alternative, in our forms of struggle and in our vision of another world beyond capital. We can begin to imagine what a future socialist society might look like, albeit with a status of little more than fiction for us now. We need to start here, with where we are and with what we have as existing conditions of life and resources for struggle. I focus on ten aspects of Marxism, showing what it pits itself against and suggesting what kind of world it makes possible for us.

Michael Heinrich: Capital & Crisis – Actuality of Marx’s critique of political economy in the 21st century

 

 

Speech given by Michael Heinrich at 12th Subversive festival "Europe on the Edge – Towards New Emancipatory Imagination" Moderated by Stipe Ćurković.

February 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal via SkriptaTV — The first volume of Capital appeared more than 150 years ago. However, it didn’t just picture capitalism of 19 th century. Marx didn’t want to present a certain period of capitalist development, he claimed to present the capitalist mode of production in its “ideal average”, i.e. the core of capitalist relations, which are connected with any form of capitalism. I will discuss this claim especially with regard to value, money, crisis and class relations.

‘Capitalism, patriarchy, and racism now threaten to destroy this world’

 

 

By Dr. Laurie Adkin, introduction by Richard Fidler 

February 12, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — To mark its 40th anniversary, Studies in Political Economy, A Socialist Review sponsored a conference October 26 at Carleton University, Ottawa. The theme: “The Limits of Capitalism and the Challenge of Alternatives.” Among the speakers was Professor Laurie Adkin of the University of Alberta, who addressed the conference via Skype. Prof. Adkin has kindly agreed to the publication here of the notes she prepared for her panel presentation, in my opinion an outstanding contribution.

Blue Acceleration: Capitalism’s growing assault on the oceans

 

 

By Ian Angus

February 8, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Climate & Capitalism — Capitalism’s inherent drive to expand went into overdrive in the mid-20th century. Long-term socioeconomic and Earth System trends, graphed fifteen years ago and updated in 2015, show nearly simultaneous hockey stick upturns in about 1950.

Called the Great Acceleration, the speed-up is driving what Earth System scientists describe as “the most rapid transformation of the human relationship with the natural world in the history of humankind.”[1] It marks the beginning of a new historical and geological epoch, the Anthropocene — a time when “human activities have become so pervasive and profound that they rival the great forces of nature and are pushing the Earth into planetary terra incognita.”[2]

Climate change, the Green New Deal and the struggle for climate justice

 

 

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

February 6, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Reports from the Economic Front — Most calls for a Green New Deal correctly emphasize that it must include a meaningful commitment to climate justice.  That is because climate change—for reasons of racism and capitalist profit-making—disproportionately punishes frontline communities, especially communities of color and low-income.

Notes on a novel coronavirus

 

 

By Rob Wallace

February 6, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from MR Online — A new deadly coronavirus 2019-nCoV, related to SARS and MERS and apparently originating in live animal markets in Wuhan, China, is starting to spread worldwide.

Chinese authorities have reported 5974 cases nationwide, 1000 of them severe. With infections in nearly every province, authorities warned 2019-nCoV appears to be spreading fast out of its epicenter.

France: The struggle to defend the French pension system

 

 

By Lisbeth Latham

February 5, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Revitalising Labour — Since December 5, France has been gripped by ongoing strikes and mobilisations by a coalition of trade unions, high school and university student unions, as well as the gilet jaunes (yellow vests) to defeat the attack by the Macron and the Philippe government on France’s pension system. Whilst the alliance has been able to sustain a period of heightened mobilisations that have put the government under pressure, it remains unclear that the movement is powerful to defeat the attack, and there are serious barriers if the movement is to expand and grow.

The Brexit election – from revenge to resistance

 

 

By Ray M

February 5, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from RS21 — This essay follows on from two recent articles. The first was written before polling day and defined the election as the ‘Revenge Election’. It argued that Labour needed to articulate the desire for revenge felt by working-class people who have suffered years of neoliberalism, austerity and injustice. The second article, written after the election, drew on Mark Fisher’s 2009 book Capitalist Realism to explain the failure of the Corbyn-led Labour Party to present an alternative that convinced enough working-class people to vote for them in 2019; Labour’s manoeuvring over Brexit between 2017 and 2019 made Corbyn seem more like another establishment politician. This piece builds on these, drawing on Enzo Traverso’s reflections on ‘militancy coming from mourning’ to outline a framework for how we understand the defeat with suggestions about how we begin to rebuild. We need a strategy that transcends the current culture war and unites our class against both the radical right-wing Tory government and the metropolitan liberals from the ‘extreme centre’.[1]

Britain: 2019 election analysis – A victory for the Far Right. A crisis for the Left

 

 

By Neil Faulkner and Phil Hearse

December 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Mutiny — The British ruling class has much to celebrate. Their party – the party of the rich and the corporations – has won its biggest majority since 1987. Our party – the party of working people – has suffered its worst result since 1935.

They are right to celebrate. Millions of working-class people, many of them in once rock-solid Labour seats based on traditional industry and union power, have voted for the party of the bosses. This is the story in many former mining constituencies, where the victims of Thatcher’s destruction of the coal industry and the NUM have now come full circle and voted for Thatcher’s party. It is a story repeated in a swathe of ‘Red Wall’ old industrial centres in the North and the Midlands.

What do we mean by neoliberalism?

 

 

 

By Phil Hearse 

February 5, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Mutiny — In the wake of Labour’s election defeat, the Blairite Right, and its intellectual outriders, have launched a sustained campaign against the Left and socialism. ‘The leadership’, ‘sectarianism’, ‘ideological purity’, and of course ‘anti-semitism’ are standard explanations of Labour’s defeat.

Part of this is a bad-tempered Observer article[1] by economist Will Hutton, in which he claims the word ‘neoliberal’ – applied to people or ideas – is just an ‘unthinking leftist insult’.

Will Hutton, it will be remembered, was the author of a sharp attack on Thatcherism, The State We’re In, published in 1996, and subsequently a strong advocate of Blairism.[2] He now claims the Left lost its battles against the Right in the last decade:

The marginalization of Marxism in academia

 

 

By Raju J Das

February 5, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — There are several aspects of dialectical thinking. One is totality: different ‘things’ and different relations and processes inter-connect to produce a whole, a totality. The totality shapes the parts that make the totality. Bukharin, among others, emphasized this idea. Another aspect of dialectical thinking is the idea of conflict/contradiction or the inter-penetration of opposites. Lenin stressed this idea. The third is the law of the transformation of quantity into quality and vice versa, an idea that Trotsky regularly underlined.[i]

Let us consider the third aspect of dialectical thinking. There is a difference between some amount of salt and zero amount of salt. There is a difference between a limited amount of salt and a significant amount of salt. When the amount/quantity of a thing gets reduced below a level or when it is increased above a level, then that thing itself does not exist or almost ceases to exist (it loses its essence[ii]). For example, when the temperature of water is so low that it is below zero, it is not water anymore. And when it is above 100 degrees, it is not water either.

Political chess game: Socialists, Sanders and the Green New Deal

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

February 4, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Politics is like a multi-dimensional chess game. I am reminded of that as I look at and think about the current Democratic Party primary campaign.

The “liberal” capitalist elite

The quite powerful “liberal” wing of the corporate-capitalist elite dominating the Democratic Party (and which will never be willing to give up control) is obviously very much opposed to Bernie Sanders’ campaign against "the billionaires" and for a social-democratic power shift that would take some of the wealth and power from the rich and give it to the rest of us. 

This wing of the elite also hates Donald Trump, whose egocentric, bigoted and bullying policies and mode of functioning damage and jeopardize the long-term stability of the system. If they cannot tame him, they would like to remove him. 

Waging peace in Vietnam

Waging Peace in Vietnam, US soldiers and veterans who opposed the war
Edited by Ron Carver, David Cortright and Barbara Doherty
New Village Press, 2019, 239 pp., A$51.00

 

Winter Warrior, a Vietnam Vet’s anti-war odyssey
By Eve Gilbert (telling the story of Scott Camil)
Fantagraphics Books, 2019, 96 pp., A$29

Reviewed by Barry Healy

January 14, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — At the height of the US invasion of Vietnam around 500,000 US military personnel were involved. Of those over 50,000 lost their lives - and the US lost the War. 

The US defeat was due to the mass base of support in Vietnam for the revolutionary National Liberation Front, the huge anti-war movement in the USA and also the wave of opposition that arose among the US forces themselves. 

The expression “the Vietnam Syndrome” was coined to describe that mass civilian and military opposition. 

For decades following the 1975 defeat US foreign policy was hamstrung by the fear of reigniting the “Syndrome”. National liberation forces all over Africa and Latin America benefited from the inability of the US to directly use its military power.

For a Green New Deal with people’s power

 

 

By Mike Treen

January 14, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Today for the first time in half a century there is a wave of revolt sweeping the world that seems pregnant with revolutionary possibilities that may finally allow working people to help lead humanity and the planet we exist on out of the hell-hole that capitalism has created for us.

I lived through the 1960s and 70s during a similar period of challenge and change. It filled me with hope for the future of humanity. Progressive change seemed inevitable. Working people expanded their rights and living standards. Access to health care, education and welfare became expanded. Women, Maori, Gays and other oppressed peoples found their voices to challenge discrimination and seek liberation.

The institutions working people could use to empower themselves like the trade unions seemed to get stronger, active and more democratic. Parties that claimed to represent us became more progressive in their outlook. 

Internationally the ruling elites were frightened. In response, they launched a full-scale ideological, political, and social counter-revolution that swept away or corrupted many of the gains that had been made. Led by the then UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan, the right-wing wave swept the world.

Spain: Storm clouds gather as PSOE-UP government formed

 

 

By Dick Nichols

January 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — By the narrowest of margins (167 votes to 165 with 18 abstentions), the 350-seat Spanish Congress invested Pedro Sánchez as prime minister of a coalition government of the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and the more radical Unidas Podemos on January 7. No Spanish prime minister has ever been elected by so low and so close a vote, with eight of the parliament’s eighteen parties in favour, eight against and two abstaining.

The January 4-7 investiture sessions of PSOE candidate Sánchez took place amid scenes of hysterical vituperation and attempted sabotage by the formerly governing People’s Party (PP), the ultra-right Vox and the neoliberal Citizens. The leaders and MPs of this triple-headed Spanish-patriotic bloc strove to outdo each other in their abuse of Sánchez and the “social-communist” PSOE-UP coalition. 

The PSOE candidate finally won office due to the 18 abstentions of what the right called the "secessionist coup-plotters" and the "terrorists” — the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the Basque left-independentist EH Bildu. Their vote guaranteed Sánchez the relative majority needed to win office after he failed to achieve an absolute majority in the first round  on January 5.

Syria after the uprisings: the political economy of state resilience

 

 

Syria After the Uprisings: the political economy of state resilience
By Joseph Daher
Pluto Press, London, 2019

Reviewed by Chris Slee

January 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This book is a comprehensive account of the rebellion against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. In it, Joseph Daher explains the reasons for the rebellion, which began in 2011 as a response to political repression, corruption, economic inequality and poverty, and why it has failed to overthrow Assad.

Revolutionary reels: Soviet propaganda film and the Russian Revolution

 

 

By Shalon Van Tine 

December 6, 2019  — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Cosmonaut — In 1896, the Lumière brothers visited Saint Petersburg to present their collection of moving pictures to a small Russian audience, marking the first viewing of film in Russia.[1] The first film to be made in Russia was during the same year: a filming of the coronation of what would be Russia’s last monarch, Tsar Nicholas II.[2] It would take nearly a decade for Russia to have its own film studio, and the advent of World War I slowed the influx of foreign cinema, leaving Russia to launch its own film industry instead of relying predominantly on foreign film distributors.[3] Once established, Russia’s film industry grew, and, by 1914, about half of Russia’s urban population regularly attended the movies.[4] 

Anticapitalists: ‘We need a left that is not a crutch for the PSOE’

 

 

Interview with Raul Camargo, spokesperson for Anticapitalists, by Sato Díaz Cuartopoder, November 20. Translation and footnotes by Dick Nichols.

December 6, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The election campaign, then the elections, then the results and then, after 48 hours, the announcement by Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias of the pre-agreement for a coalition government [between the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and Unidas Podemos (UP, United We Can)]. Everything very fast and then sudden silence. Away from the media, the negotiations between the PSOE and UP to devise a government and a program follow their course, while in parallel the PSOE works to win the support needed to achieve investiture before Christmas.

The organisations involved in the possible coalition government (PSOE, Podemos, the United Left (IU) and En Comú Podem (ECP, Together We Can[1]) are consulting their memberships in internal referenda, in the hope of getting the green light. Other left-wing organisations are watching from the sidelines. Anticapitalists has long since been more outside than inside Podemos, except in Andalusia.[2] Always critical of governing with the PSOE and always in a minority within the purple formation[3], Anticapitalists today observes the course of Podemos with suspicion and distance.

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