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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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United States: How socialist Kshama Sawant defeated her capitalist opponent

Click HERE for more on Kshama Sawant's election campaign and those of other socialists.

January 5, 2014 -- Black Sheep Radio -- Just a few weeks after Kshama Sawant was victorious running as a socialist for the Seattle City Council, and on the eve of her inauguration on January 6, 2014, we interviewed Anh Tran, Sawant’s assistant for the campaign. Tran also served as the volunteer coordinator for Sawant when she ran for the Washington State Legislature in 2012, so talking to Tran we were able to get a sense of the wider arc of the Seattle election.

Britain: Looking back in anger -- the miners’ strike 30 years on

January 5, 2014 -- Anticapitalist Initiative -- With new papers released by the National Archives about the British miners’ strike the Anticapitalist Initiative’s Chris Strafford caught up with Harry Paterson, author of the upcoming book Look Back in Anger: The Miners’ Strike in Nottinghamshire 30 years on, to discuss what we have learnt.

* * *

Chris Strafford: With the release of documents from the Cabinet Office and Prime Minister’s Office from 1984 detailing discussions and actions of the Thatcher government in the 1984-85 miners’ strike we have got some insight into how the attack on the miners was carried out. What were your initial thoughts once you had finished reading the documents?

Mike Marqusee: 'If not now, when?' On BDS and 'singling out' Israel's apartheid

By Mike Marqusee

January 4, 2014 -- http://www.mikemarqusee.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- This is an edited version of a letter I've just sent to a relative in the United States who's been trying to figure out the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) issue in the wake of the recent onslaught against the American Studies Association's decision to support the academic boycott of apartheid Israel.

* * *

The “singling out” objection seems to me quite perverse. It's not possible to campaign against any injustice anywhere without “singling it out”. When people campaigned and boycotted South Africa, they were “singling it out” -- and that accusation was in fact frequently made by apologists for South Africa. “What about the black dictatorships in Africa?”, they would say. This was always an evasive manoeuvre, a poor excuse for allowing gross racial oppression to continue unhindered. Many of those who raise this objection now in relation to Israel would have or indeed did dismiss it when it was raised in relation to South Africa.

John Bellamy Foster: Marx and the rift in the universal metabolism of nature

[Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to consider taking out a subscription to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared. Click HERE for more on Marxism and ecology. For more by John Bellamy Foster, click HERE.]

* * *

By John Bellamy Foster

[This article is an expanded and slightly altered version of a keynote address under the same title presented to the Marxism 2013 Conference in Stockholm on October 20, 2013. That address built on ideas introduced in the author’s Rosa Luxemburg Lecture, “The Great Rift,” presented to the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in Berlin on May 28, 2013.]

Scottish Socialists respond to government's independence proposals

December 7, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Colin Fox, Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) national co-spokesperson and Yes Scotland advisory board member, presents the SSP's overview of the Scottish government's white paper on independence.

Filmed at the Scottish Socialist Voice forum in Edinburgh. An event bringing the pro-independence left together to respond to the white paper on independence.

Belgium: Left parties to form united electoral ticket

[For more on Belgium, click HERE.]

Statement by the LCR-SAP secretariat

December 31, 2013 -- International Viewpoint -- The end of the tunnel is far from being in sight. We are only at the beginning of a gigantic offensive by European capitalism against the world of labour, youth and women. Since 2008, in the European Union (EU), more than 2 billion private bank debts have been transformed into public debts, and these debts serve as the pretext for a ferocious austerity.

The sacrifices imposed on the majority of the population aggravate deficits and recession. But the dominant class continues to pursue them. Why? Because its objective is not purely economic but strategic: it wishes to break social resistance, dismantle what remains of the “welfare state”, reduce the public sector to its simplest expression and structurally weaken the trade unions. The drift of the employers’ discourse on competitiveness is revealing: for the bosses, it is no longer enough that “labour costs” are aligned with other European countries — it is henceforth in the context of the world market, faced with the “emergent” capitalism of China and elsewhere, that workers on the old continent should be “competitive”.

The EU, capitalist war machine

United States: In 2013, workers tried new angles and alliances

North Carolinians mobilised against an anti-worker (and anti-woman, anti-civil rights) legislative assault by bringing thousands of protesters to the state capitol every week for “Moral Mondays”, with close to a thousand arrests. Photo by Ajamu Dillahunt.

By Jenny Brown

December 30, 2013 -- Labor Notes -- Lean meanness stalked workplaces. The political and economic outlook continued dismal. But the year was marked by workers trying new things and setting higher standards, for their employers, their unions, and—in the case of low-wage workers—their pay.

Unemployment ticked down slightly, but the jobs created paid worse than ever. Mainstream media reported with amazement that jobs that once paid the bills, from bank teller to university instructor, now require food stamps and Medicaid to supplement the wages of those who work every day.

California Walmart worker Anthony Goytia spoke for many when he said it’s no longer pay cheque to pay cheque for him and his co-workers, but payday loan to payday loan.

Luxemburg, Lenin, Levi: Rethinking revolutionary history

Part 1. John Riddell. Parts 2 and 3 below.

December 14, 2013 -- Left Streamed, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission

Moderated by Jackie Esmonde. Presentations by:

  • John Riddell, editor of Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International.
  • Paul Kellogg, author of “The Only Hope of the Revolution is the Crowd: The Limits of Žižek's Leninism”, International Journal of Žižek Studies.

More by John Riddell. More by Paul Kellogg.

Sponsored by Education Committee of the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly.

Reminiscences of Nelson Mandela and the US anti-apartheid movement

Ike Nahem at the memorial for Soweto martyrs.

See also "Cuba and the South African anti-apartheid struggle".

For more on Nelson Mandela, click HERE.

By Ike Nahem

Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings. -- Nelson Mandela

December 29, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The outpouring of emotion and dignified appreciation that met the passing of Nelson Mandela on December 5, 2013, flowed like a raging river from every nation and people on the planet. It was a grief tempered by a jubilation and wonderment at the life of this great and humble human being.

While it is certainly true that Mandela's death resonated most powerfully with the South African people and particularly with oppressed and exploited working people worldwide, it is also the case that Mandela was admired and loved by countless millions from all social classes and walks of life with any democratic and anti-racist principles, who were sincerely touched and inspired by his amazing life, his example and his deeds.

I had the unforgettable experience -- and the thrill of a lifetime -- to meet, shake hands and exchange a few words with Nelson Mandela.

Democratic Left Front: Together, a new South Africa is possible

Democratic Left Front salutes the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa special national congress

By the Democratic Left Front, South Africa

December 23, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- There is a spectre haunting the ruling class and government in South Africa: it is the radical anti-capitalist movement that the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has given birth to at its historic special national congress held last week. The Democratic Left Front (DLF) congratulates NUMSA for this congress that united metalworkers in spite of the sustained attempts to divide NUMSA.

Ukraine: Russia or the European Union? Reject a choice between ‘lesser evils’

By Aleksandr Buzgalin

December 24, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As this article is being written the outcome of the resistance remains undecided, but the author is certain that, one way or another, the present Ukrainian authorities will draw closer to the European Union. Meanwhile, one thing is clear: the profound problems of Ukraine, and of Russia’s relations with it, will not be solved as a result.

A tragedy turning into farce? Or farce as tragedy?

Ukraine is shot through with contradictions. For the second time in 10 years Kiev has become the scene of mass protest actions and of clashes with the authorities. But the events of late autumn 2013 are only superficially similar to those of 2004. The situation has grown far more complex.

Egyptian revolutionary socialist: ‘We are facing a counterrevolution’

Rana Nessim and Rosemary Bechler interviewed Sameh Naguib (pictured above), a leading member of the Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt, on October 24, 2013. The interview was published on the openDemocracy website on November 8. Nessim is associate editor for openDemocracy's Arab Awakening page. Bechler is editor of openDemocracy. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has added subheads and abridged the interview for reasons of space. The full text is available at HERE.

More on Egypt HERE.

* * *

Rosemary Bechler: Well a lot has happened since the last time we met, Sameh. How have you been and what is life like for the Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt?

Thailand: Yingluck sleepwalks into the trap set by anti-democratic forces

Yingluck Shinawatra (centre).

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

December 21, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her Pheu Thai government were pressurised into dissolving parliament by a nasty coalition of Sutep Tuaksuban’s Democrat Party, middle-class protesters, pro-military academics, conservative civil servants and NGO groups. This is the same coalition that supported the 2006 military coup.

Having now tasted blood, they want more. They are demanding that Yingluck resigns her position as caretaker prime minster, a role stipulated by the constitution. They want the election to be boycotted by opposition parties. They also want to postpone the general election, which is due in early February. They are justifying this by their dishonest claim to want to “reform” Thai politics before any new election.

South Africa: NUMSA calls for new movement for socialism, end to ANC alliance

Delegates to NUMSA's special congress greet suspended COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi (centre).

[For more on NUMSA, click HERE. For more on South Africa, click HERE.]

Declaration of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) Special National Congress, held in Boksburg, December 17-20, 2013. This document had been abridged.

This and other congress documents are available in full at http://www.numsa.org.za.

* * *

1. Introduction

NUMSA’s Special National Congress convened from December 17 to December 20, 2013. It was attended by 1200 delegates representing 338,000 metalworkers from 50 Locals throughout the provinces of South Africa. NUMSA was proud to announce in the congress that it is the biggest union in the history of the African continent. In the last 17 months, since our 9th Congress in Durban, we have grown from 300,000 members to 338,000 members. We are ahead of schedule in our goal to organise 400,000 workers by the time of our 10th Congress in 2016.

2. The passing of Madiba

United States, Iran, Russia, Syria and the geopolitical shift: Anything for the region’s oppressed?

Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov (right) and US Secretary of State John Kerry during a May 2013 joint press conference in Moscow on "finding ... common ground" on the conflict in Syria.

Click HERE for more on Syria.

By Michael Karadjis

December 19, 2013 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- In recent weeks and months, a pronounced geopolitical shift in US policy related to the Middle East has been widely discussed. This shift consists mainly of the US-Russia deal with Syria’s Assad regime to get rid of its chemical arsenal, in exchange for the US dropping its brief threat of air strikes over Assad’s chemical attack on August 21; and the high-level US-Iran negotiations over its nuclear arsenal, which led to a new agreement, involving a slight reduction on imperialist sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iranian concessions on its civilian nuclear program.

India: Fearless freedom for women won’t be stopped by the wall of reaction

Protesters from the All India Progressive Women's Association in Delhi, December 22-23, 2012.

[For more discussion of feminism, click HERE. For more on India, click HERE.]

Editorial from the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation’s ML Update

December 16, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- “What has changed since last December?” is the question everyone is asking a year after the brutal gang rape and murder that sparked off a massive movement. After all, the number of rapes and sexual assaults are higher than ever, and women certainly don’t feel safer.

Egypt's revolution deepens in the face of state repression

Haitham Mohamedain (pictured above) is a prominent member of the Egyptian organisation the Revolutionary Socialists and a leading activist.

More on Egypt HERE.

* * *

By Haitham Mohamedain

December 6, 2013 -- Socialist Worker (UK) -- The revolutionary groups that called for, organised and participated in the Revolution of 25 January with the Egyptian masses are still mobilised. They are keeping alive the slogans of the revolution and calling for the realisation of its goals of bread, freedom and social justice.

They have fought against Hosni Mubarak’s regime, and the Military Council, so that every month of the year now brings with it the memories of revolutionary battles and mass uprisings.

The latest of these uprisings came on June 30 this year. The uprising would have happened whether the revolutionary forces took part or not, as the presidency of the dictator Mohamed Mursi had witnessed the greatest mass protests in the world.

United States: The electoral opening for the left

Kshama Sawant.

By Jason Netek, Chicago

December 16, 2013 -- Socialist Worker (USA) -- There is a lot of debate among socialists in the United States about just how to engage in this country's rigged electoral game, if at all.

In a time when the revolutionary left is numerically small, some socialist groupings have made a fetish out of participating in elections, local and national, in attempts to realise their ambitions of becoming the party of the US working class all by themselves. Others have made a fetish out of not engaging in any kind of electoral work for lack of a viable mass workers' party or else as a permanent boycott of the objectively pro-capitalist electoral system in the United States.

Leon Trotsky and revolutionary insurrection

Trotsky aboard his famous armoured train during the Civil War in Soviet Russia.

[See also Doug Enaa Greene's "Day of the people: Gracchus Babeuf and the communist idea".]

By Doug Enaa Greene

December 15, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- "The entire labor of practical organization of the insurrection was placed under the immediate direction of the president of the Petrograd Soviet, comrade Trotsky. It can be stated with certainty, that the party owes the rapid coming over of the garrison into the camp of the soviets and the skillful work of the Revolutionary Military Committee above all and essentially to Comrade Trotsky."[1]

Ironically, this recognition of Trotsky's role as the main organizer of the successful October Revolution was made by Stalin (who would become Trotsky's bitter opponent in the 1920s).

In 1917, Trotsky's role in the Bolshevik revolution was widely recognized by friend and foe alike. Yet Trotsky as a theorist and practitioner of insurrection has taken a back seat to discussion of his theories of permanent revolution, analyzes of the USSR under Stalin and his historical texts.

The terrible legacy of Agent Orange and dioxin

US wages chemical warfare on Vietnam.

By Coral Wynter                       

December 16, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Agent Orange was manufactured by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemicals to use as a herbicide and defoliant in the Vietnam War. Agent Orange is the combination of the code names for Herbicide Orange (HO) and Agent LNX.

At the famous Battle of Dien Bien Phu, North Vietnamese General Giap and the Viet Minh forces totally defeated the French army on May 7, 1954, and the French garrison surrendered. At the 1954 Geneva Conference, the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh, and its leader Ho Chi Minh, and independence was granted to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

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