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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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Striking Honda workers, 2010.
By Ellen David Friedman
November 27, 2013 -- Labor Notes -- More than 30 years since China opened up to foreign investment, wildcat strikes surge month after month. They are driven by workers with no meaningful access to union representation, to a worker centre, to the media, to legal mechanisms, or to government intervention on their behalf. And yet workers in industries from electronics to health care continue to strike, impelled by low wages as low as US$2 an hour.
This raw resistance has generally gotten employers to give in to strikers’ economic demands. The typical wage is minimum wage, but overtime and the mandatory social insurances are often not properly paid, so workers’ demands are frequently just to get their legal due, which employers can easily meet.
The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance takes on climate, BRICS, Transnet, truckers and big oil.
November 28, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- What is to be done, in the wake of Warsaw climate summit’s conclusive failure to cap CO2 emissions last weekend? The answer: walk out of the United Nations process when it needs de-legitimation, and work much harder to curtail pollution in your home sites of struggle, everyone in civil society agreed.
Below are suspended general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions Zwelinzima Vavi's speaking notes for his address to the National Union of Metalworkers KwaZulu-Natal congress, on November 23 2013.
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I am speaking strictly in my personal capacity and not in any way as a representative of anybody.
A. Very lazy, shallow and extremely misleading explanations of the bases and causes of the paralysing crisis in Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) suggest the following:
a. That the current general secretary of COSATU, Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi has fallen out with a pro Jacob Zuma leadership faction inside COSATU, and that he is himself is supported by an anti-Zuma faction. This is arguably the most publicly punted explanation for the crisis in COSATU by the media.
b. That both the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) national leaders are unhappy with Zwelinzima Vavi and his anti-government corruption crusade, oppositional stance and public criticism of the ANC.
Models of Nature
By Douglas R. Weiner
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000, 1988.
Review by Ben Courtice
November 28, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The USSR was not known, in the West, as a pioneer of ecology. Unfortunately, it was known more for the Chernobyl nuclear power station accident, for acid rain and air pollution, and oil spills and the pollution of unique environments such as the Aral sea.
What if the USSR had been different? What if it had tried to preserve its natural ecosystems, after the tsar was overthrown?
It is little known today, but there was a small yet promising movement of scientific ecology and nature preservation in Russia, with roots in the tsarist order of the 19th century, which flourished in the revolutionary USSR of the 1920s.
Thousands of crazed middle-class reactionary royalists, led by the notorious blood-stained Democrat Party, have been demonstrating in an attempt to get rid of the Yingluck Shinawatra government.
By Giles Ji Ungpakorn
November 24, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The disastrous and disgraceful amnesty bill, put forward by Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai government in early November stirred up a hornet’s nest of “Yellow-Shirt” buzzing. Thousands of middle-class royalists, led by the notorious Democrat Party, have been demonstrating in an attempt to get rid of the government and all of Thaksin’s influence. They were very upset that the amnesty bill would have allowed Thaksin Shinawatra to return. These are the people who called for and supported the 2006 military coup against Thaksin’s democratically elected government. These are also the people who supported the bloody crackdown on Red Shirt protesters in 2010. Democrat Party strongman Sutep Tueksuban, addressing a crowd of supporters, called for the “restoration of full monarchy rule”.
Xiomara Castro addresses LIBRE's closing rally of the election campaign.
By Elena Zeledon
November 26, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Three of the main political parties contesting the November 24 election in Honduras are accusing the oligarchy-controlled Supreme Elections Tribunal of vote manipulation and fraud following a massive voter turnout on election day.
[For more on French politics, click HERE.]
November 24, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Leader of France's Left Front (Front de Gauche) Jean-Luc Mélenchon was interviewed on November 9, 2013, about the March 2014 municipal elections, and the disputes that have erupted within the front around them. For further detail, see "France: As National Front support grows, strategy struggle erupts in Left Front".
By Chris Williams
November 22, 2013 -- Climate & Capitalism -- “The smell of inaction” is how Dipti Bhatnagar, Friends of the Earth Mozambique’s international program director for climate justice and energy, summed up the atmosphere inside the giant Narodowy Stadium after the first week of the latest round of international climate negotiations, Conference of the Parties, otherwise known as COP 19, taking place November 11-22, 2013, in Warsaw.
Given that this is the 19th consecutive year of annual negotiations and with a meaningful global treaty more distant now than it was almost two decades ago, Bhatnagar’s olfactory deduction seems likely to be highly accurate.
As the pervasive smell of inaction seeped like a suffocating gas throughout the inside of the conference, outside, the choking effects of coal smoke waft from all corners of a country that obtains 90 per cent of its electricity from coal and whose government has pledged to keep it that way until 2060.
Melbourne protest against Work Choices, September 2007.
By Sue Bolton
November 16, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Over the years, I have heard many left-wing activists say that mass peaceful protests do not achieve anything. Rather, “militant actions” which “take it up to the ruling class” are more important.
But for smaller direct actions to have any real political significance, they have to be connected to a patient and democratic approach to building mass movements that can win reforms. Smaller direct actions that are not tied to this political aim are a posture.
In a period of relative political quiet, some on the left are being snookered into the false idea that demonstrations that insist on direct action and militancy are the only way to win reforms.
This is a failed strategy, because it rests on the notion that a tiny number of conscientious and outraged activists can frighten or shock the ruling class into delivering reforms or stopping cuts. This sort of idealism is dangerous, and ignores evidence of how social movements throughout history have grown and succeeded in their aims.
When I first arrived in Melbourne in 1993, I met a man at a tram stop who told me that Victorians supported then-premier Jeff Kennett because they had stopped protesting.
Xiomara Castro on the campaign trail.
By Elena Zeledon
November 23, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On November 24 the people of Honduras will elect Xiomara Castro Sarmiento de Zelaya as the first woman, and the first avowedly socialist, president of the republic. Her election, if not stolen by fraudulent methods, which is extremely likely given the terror her potential election is causing in the ranks of the ruling oligarchy, will represent the fruits of nearly 20 years of direct and organised mass struggle for social, labour and human rights.
It has been a struggle against various forms of government, from military dictatorships to liberal and more accommodative forms of capitalist rule. It has been a struggle which has produced what could arguably be the most class and social conscious mass movement in the world. It has been a struggle that has produced more than its fair share of martyrs, murdered at the hands of killers hired by the oligarchs, and more than its fair share of sorrow.
November 22, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialst Renewal -- The Scottish Left Review (issue 79) published this roundtable of the relationship of the trade unions and the British Labour Party.
* * *
Gregor Gall reviews Len McCluskey’s Jimmy Reid Memorial Lecture and concludes that the Unite leader is perhaps too generous in identifying signs of real change in the Labour Party leader Ed Milliband’s Labour Party.
At the second annual Reid Foundation lecture, Len McCluskey, general secretary of the largest union in Britain, Unite, proclaimed that at the September 2013 British Labour Party conference Ed Miliband had delivered the most radical party conference speech for 30 years. The reason for this, McCluskey argued, was that Miliband had broken with neoliberal dogma of "New" Labour.
Map of elected representatives of the Red-Green Alliance.
By Anne Rehder, international secretary, Enhedslisten (Red-Green Alliance, Denmark)
November 20, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Denmark's municipal and regional elections on November 19 were a historic success for the Red-Green Alliance (RGA or Enhedslisten). We are now a nationwide party with representatives in all regions and corners of Denmark. With an increase in votes from the previous election in 2009 from 2.3% to 6.9%. The RGA now has seats in 79 municipalities and all regions of Denmark, up from only a presence in 10 municipalities and one representative in the capital region around Copenhagen. The total number of city councillors has gone from 14 to 119 and from one regional elected to 15.
Furthermore the results grants the RGA a seat in the National Organisation of Municipalities, which negotiates the economy of the municipalities with the government and has been tolerating one austerity budget after the other even though it previously had a majority consisting of the Social Democrats (SD) and the Socialist People's Party (SPP). This gives the RGA a change to break the austerity consensus.
November 19, 2013 -- RCG -- In October 2012 Venezuela faced a choice: whether to deepen the Bolivarian Revolution that under the leadership of Hugo Chavez had brought dignity, health, education and hope -- or to return to a brutal, unequal, neoliberal society where oil wealth lined the pockets of multinational companies and Venezuela's elite. The people of Venezuela who voted for Chavez, voted to fight for socialism.
The Revolutionary Communist Group was on the streets of Caracas throughout the presidential elections in October 2012. We joined hundreds of thousands as they thronged the city, braving torrential rain or baking sun, to express their support. This film takes you on that journey, through the barrios, universities and workplaces to meet the political activists, students and workers who are changing their future.
The film premièred in London on October 25, 2013, where 150 people packed out Bolivar Hall to hear speakers from the RCG, the Venezuelan and Cuban embassy discuss the movement in Latin America and its relevance to the struggle here in imperialist Britain. It continues to screen all around the country, picking up momentum, not only increasing our understanding of the struggle in Venezuela, but helping us understand the tasks that face us here in Britain.
Building effective campaigns and coalitions is extremely important. Socialist Alliance members at the Sydney national day of action on climate change, November 17. Photo by Peter Boyle.
By Dave Holmes
[The following talk was presented at the Socialist Ideas Conference held in Melbourne, November 2, 2013, organised by the Socialist Alliance.]
November 18, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Arguing for Socialism -- In Australia, as in all the imperialist countries, the capitalist class is carrying out a massive assault on all the gains won by working people in more than 150 years. Every TV news bulletin these days features reports of cutbacks, selloffs and outsourcing, attacks on workers' rights and attacks on civil liberties — as well as wars and massive misery abroad.
With social democracy firmly in the neoliberal camp and the left marginalised, the capitalist class sees its chance and is pressing home the attack as vigorously as possible.
By Greg Albo
November 17, 2013 -- The Bullet, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- It has become commonplace to observe that the Conservative government of Stephen Harper has been re-making the symbols and practices of the Canadian state. Canada, in this view, was once the social democratic heartland of North America. But under Harper, Canada has been transformed into a hyper-regime of neoliberal market fundamentalism. Nowhere, it is argued, is this makeover more evident than in Canada's dealings with the rest of the world.
Canada was once the pre-eminent middle-power, peace-keeping nation. But now Canada operates like a renegade state: abandoning peace keeping; deploying troops in combat missions across several continents to discipline wayward states; attacking the United Nations (UN); money-wrenching climate change negotiations; and on it goes.
KEXP Interview with Kshama Sawant.
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal congratulates Kshama Sawant and US Socialist Alternative on their important and inspiring success in the Seattle City Council election.
* * *
November 15, 2013, Seattle, Washington -- Vote Sawant -- Today’s King County elections ballot count saw the Socialist Alternative candidate for Seattle City Council, Kshama Sawant, pulling further ahead of 16-year Democratic Party incumbent, Richard Conlin. The socialist candidate has now won 88,222 votes compared to Conlin’s 86,582. After today’s count was released, Richard Conlin announced he was conceding the race.
[Washington state votes by mail, and a majority of ballots typically come in after election day and will be counted until November 26 as long as they are postmarked November 5 or earlier.]
With corporations--steel giant Arcelor Mittal, General Motors, Emirates, coal companies--sponsoring the UN climate change conference in Warsaw, Poland, youth activists standing in solidarity with the Philippines demand: "Stop the Corporate Capture of Climate Talks".
November 7, 2013 -- Transnational Institute -- More than 135 groups internationally have condemned Poland and European Union for facilitating a corporate takeover of UN climate talks starting October 11, 2013, in Warsaw.
The EU aims to expand carbon markets that would benefit big polluters at the UN climate talks, COP19 in Poland, says a statement signed by 135+ groups, movements and networks from all over the world. The statement denounces the corporate capture of COP19 by the same companies that stand to profit from their responsibility for climate crisis.
“The European Commission and the carbon crooks who turn profits from the failing EU Emissions Trading Scheme [ETS] are pushing for a lifeline through linking up markets, foreshadowing a global carbon market”, stated Tamra Gilbertson from Carbon Trade Watch.
Voting board for the 2012 General Assembly 2012 on resolution calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba. This year, the vote was 188 in favour, two against, with three abstentions. UN Photo.
By Ike Nahem
November 10, 2013 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Annually, a near ritual unfolds in the Autumn session of the United Nations General Assembly: the assembled states and governments dutifully, in near-unanimous consensus, vote in favour of a Resolution on the "Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial, and Financial Embargo by the United States of America Against Cuba".
¡Justicia Climática Ya! ¡Salvar vidas, redistribuir alimentos, detener el saqueo económico y la destrucción del medio ambiente!
Por Partido Lakas ng Masas (Partido de las Masas Trabajadoras, PLM)
[English at http://links.org.au/node/3587]
11/11/2013 -- Partido Lakas ng Masa -- Los filipinos han sufrido el efecto devastador del que haya sido posiblemente el mayor tifón que haya azotado el país. El número de muertos aumenta rápidamente. Hay una enorme devastación.
Muchos están tratando de ponerse en contacto con sus familiares, amigos y compañeros , pero los sistemas de comunicación no funcionan en las zonas más afectadas. ¿Cómo debemos , como activistas y socialistas, hacer frente a la crisis?
Trade unionists marched against Venezuela’s main business federation on October 31 to protest the “economic war” that workers argue the federation is waging against the government.
By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, Merida
November 7, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis.com – Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has announced a slew of policy reforms aimed at combating speculation and hoarding, along with the creation of new government institutions to regulate trade and oversee foreign currency exchange.
“We have to make real decisions for the benefit of the economy and society, whatever the cost and whatever happens”, Maduro stated from Miraflores Palace on November 6.
Describing the package of reforms as an “economic offensive”, Maduro pledged to “strike hard” at speculators and hoarders.
He announced the creation of a new national task force to inspect businesses across the country to complement current efforts by the government's consumer protection agency Indepabis to identify hoarders.
Venezuelan consumers have been hit with shortages of products ranging from milk to toilet paper in recent months. The opposition has blamed government policy, though Maduro has pointed to businesses that hoard goods for political reasons.