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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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Review by John Riddell
April 21, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- A new and outstanding book by Umair Muhammad, Confronting Injustice: Social Activism in the Age of Individualism, presents a strong case for the necessity of socialism to counter the impending calamity of global warming.
Muhammad, an MA student at York University in Toronto, ends his 174-page text by quoting anarchist philosopher Peter Kropotkin: “The bold thought first, and the bold deed will not fail to follow.” Confronting Injustice is indeed bold in exposing all the market-based evasions and half-measures urged upon those seeking to end environmental destruction.
Muhammad is keenly aware of how hard it is for the newly radicalised to find a personal path in the face of immense social contradictions. The first half of his book responds to the issue posed by its subtitle, “Social Activism in the Age of Individualism”, presenting an extended discussion of moral philosophy for social activists.
Age of individualism/age of conformity
By Richie Venton, Scottish Socialist Party national trade union organiser and Trade Unionists for Independence
For more on Scotland and the independence debate, click HERE.
April 22, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Campaigners for Scottish independence received another boost in March as a Unison trade union branch sided "positively with the Yes side".
Nation-wide branch Skills Development Scotland held a Yes/No debate at their 2014 AGM. Richard Leonard, GMB's political officer represented United for Labour, and went head-to-head with Richie Venton of Trade Unionists for Independence.
Yes emerged the popular choice of the night.
Skills Development Scotland branch secretary, Derek Cheyne, said: "It was a really good debate -- I think a lot of people really engaged and we had a great turn out as well.
"I've got to say, I think that most of the questions from the floor were very pro-yes. We've not canvassed on whether our members are yes or no, but I got the feeling tonight Yes was dominant.
"I hope it has energised our members, that they become more involved whether it's yes or no -- that's entirely up to them, because my union has taken a more neutral stance."
To improve the resolution of the subtitles, please press play, then click on the small "cog" in the right-hand bottom corner and change quality to 360p or higher. You may need to restart the video from the beginning. It is also best watched in full-screen view (click on the square on the far right-hand bottom corner).
April 25, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This in-depth interview with Left Party (Parti de Gauche) co-spokesperson Jean-Luc Mélenchon was conducted on April 13, 2014, after the March French municipal elections and the April 12 Paris anti-austerity march. It features comments on French politics after Manuel Valls becomes PM, as well as discussion of European politics and the developments in Ukraine.
By John Rainford
October 25, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal on April 25, 2014 -- With political advantage from a national celebration of the centenary of World War I in mind, the Julia Gillard government last year allocated an initial $83.5 million towards the “ANZAC Centenary”.
Through a local grants program, up to $125,000 is available for each federal MP to fund suitable projects in their electorates. But unfortunately for Labor, the project is now headed by Tony Abbott, who has appointed himself head of the Centenary. Stand by for a broadside of jingoism and a celebration of empire.
Unlike World War II, a conflict that arose from the march of fascism, the origins of WWI are more difficult to explain. Why did the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie by nineteen-year-old Gavril Princip in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 lead to war?
Venezuela: ‘Can a country have a revolutionary state and a capitalist economy?’-- Interview with Steve Ellner
Steve Ellner interviewed by Professor Evaristo Marcano for Aporrea.org; translated by Steve Ellner
April 22, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, with permission of the author -- At various moments in the interview with Steve Ellner, I welcomed the explanations that he offered in response to my questions. I most identified with the idea of the state as developed by Nicos Poulantzas in which in addition to, and beyond, being an object of a given class, the state is conceived of as a type of mirror that takes in and reflects the nation’s social dynamic. According to this conception, the state is a relation of forces that grows and changes in accordance with the capacity to mobilise each social force. The thesis makes much practical sense in the context of the current process taking place in Venezuela.
Battle of Adwa, an oil painting probably done by a monk near Addis Ababa (ca. 1970). Led by Emperor Menelik II, Ethiopian forces defeated the Italian army of General Oreste Baratieri at Adwa on March 1, 1896. Considered to be one of the most important events in Ethiopian history, this battle is seen by some as the first great step in the African journey toward freedom from colonial rule. Ethiopians celebrate "Adwa" day as a national holiday.
For more discussion on Ethiopia and Eritrea, click HERE.
By Degeufe Hailu
April 22, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In 1935 Ethiopia became the first and only country in Africa to defeat a European colonial power during the “scramble for Africa”, making it the only independent nation in Africa that has never been colonised.
On March 1, 2014, we Ethiopians celebrated 118 years since the Battle of Adwa, one of the most defining and significant battles in history. It became an inspiring symbol of anti-colonial struggle and helped pave the way for other anti-colonial movements.
Baba Jan, a popular leader of the struggle who was jailed and tortured by Pakistani authorities until 2013, leads a April 19 protest rally in Aliabad, Hunza Valley, in support of the charter of demands of the Awami Action Committee. This photo and those below from PYF Gilgit Baltistan Facebook page.
UPDATE (April 24): Syed Asad Hasan, Green Left Weekly's on-the-spot informant in Gilgit shares a strong frustration felt by the thousands still occupying the city's Gadi Bagh square:
“Throughout today some 10,000 people would have taken part in the sit-in. The sit-in has been going since April 15 and there is another big occupation going on in the city of Skardu. Yet there has been no Pakistani TV coverage of this protest. And very little other media coverage.
“The chief secretary Mohammad Younus Dagha, the head of the local government bureaucracy, has been fired as he was the person who signed the order to end the wheat subsidy. But this part of a pass-the-blame game that the Pakistani federal government and the local puppet government of Gilgit Baltistan are continuing to play.
“The people are shaking the authorities but they are trying to keep this quiet. But the protesters spirit is very strong and the occupation is continuing.”
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Former ministers Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge and Ronnie Kasrils at the media launch of the Vukani! Sidikwe! (Wake Up! We are Fed Up!) Vote No! campaign at Wits University. Photo by Antoine de Ras.
For more on South Africa, click HERE.
April 21, 2014 -- Former leading member of the South African Communist Party (SACP) and former government minister Ronnie Kasrils, together with another former minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, has launched the Vukani! Sidikwe! (Wake up! We are fed up!) Vote No! campaign. It calls on South Africans to "vote no" at the May 7, 2014, general election to the corruption and neoliberal economic policies of the African National Congress (ANC) and the right-wing oppostion, the Democratic Alliance (DA). Kasrils' call has provoked widespread debate on the South African left and condemnation from the SACP and the ANC.
Below, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal publishes an article by Kasrils on the reasons behind the campaign, as well as some commentary from the left.
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By Ronnie Kasrils
[For more on Sweden, click HERE.]
By Adam Bott
April 2014 -- Red Pepper, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- For a hundred years, ABF-Huset on Sveavägen has been the headquarters of the workers’ education movement, a pillar of Sweden’s "study-circle social democracy". Every day and all evening the classrooms and lecture halls are filled with adult education classes, theatre and music performances, as well as political discussions.
Tonight’s public meeting is standing room only. The mood is cheerful, earnest, disciplined and, dare I say it, rather churchly. Fittingly, we begin with songs: first a hymn tune with the refrain "Everything is for sale", then a jazzier number that goes "Got any money? (Then you can buy a place in the queue)". Next there’s a short dystopian pantomime set in a hospital waiting room: the man with the private plan goes straight upstairs while the lady on the public option has to wait in line. The sheepish uninsured fellow with the broken leg is shown a price list, then the door.
April 20, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- After the first round of the French municipal elections (March 23, see here for coverage in Green Left Weekly), the media mainstream obsessed about the rise in support for the xenophobic and racist National Front (FN) of Marine Le Pen. The only other stories found worthy of comment were the collapse in support for the ruling Socialist Party (PS) of president François Hollande and the surge in the abstention rate—to a record 36.5%. (This endnote explains the French two-round voting system as applied to municipal elections.)
According to the Le Monde analysis of that vote, the PS would face losing 90 towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants at the second round (March 30). The FN had a chance of winning between ten and 15 of these.
April 20, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Leaflet distributed by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) at the 2014 Labor Notes convention, April 4-6, in Chicago.
For more on NUMSA, click HERE.
Click HERE for more on Kshama Sawant's election campaign and those of other socialists around the world at the municipal level.
April 9, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Kshama Sawant spoke on labour and independent politics at the 2014 Labor Notes convention, April 4-6, in Chicago. Sawant was elected as a socialist to the Seattle City Council in November 2013. She is an adjunct professor of Seattle Community College and a member of American Federation of Teachers 1789.
Production by the Labor Video Project http://www.laborvideo.org.
Documentary: Bosnia and Herzegovina in Spring, March 2014.
For more on the Bosnia-Herzegovina revolt, click HERE.
By Charles Reeve
April 2, 2014 -- Brooklyn Rail -- The perspective of yet one more nationalist clash at the gates of Europe, in Ukraine, doesn’t seem to displease the world’s masters and those who write for them.
Things are going differently, at least until now, with the revolt gripping Bosnia-Herzegovina. This movement began in the first week of February with workers’ demonstrations against the consequences of privatisation and an increase in unemployment. These demonstrations took place in Mostar and especially in Tuzla, an industrial city with a long tradition of struggle dating from the “socialist” era. Tuzla was also one of the rare places where the nationalist madness had little following, even in the worst moments of the war of the 1990s.
Demonstrators opposed to the Ukraine government in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, April 6, 2014.
By Roger Annis
April 15, 2014 -- A Socialist in Canada, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Moves by the Ukraine government to crack down on protests against its rule in the east of the country appear to have quickly faltered and backfired. Protest actions are widening.
By Roberto Musacchio, translated from Italian by Veronika Peterseil
April 10, 2014 -- Transform! Network -- The project is called “The Different Europe with Alexis Tsipras”. It name is written on a red background. Predictions indicate it could surpass, maybe even easily, the 4% electoral threshold in the coming European elections
In 2009 this threshold prevented both leftist lists, the Partito della Rifondazione Comunista/Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) and the Sinistra Ecologia Libertà/Left Ecology Freedom (SEL), both of which received only a little more than 3%, from entering the European Parliament. This new project, however, is not a mere electoral coalition set up to clear this hurdle. In its foundation and structure it is, in fact, something very different.
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published a range of views from the left on developments in Ukraine HERE.
By Boris Kagarlitsky, translated by Renfrey Clarke, for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
April 13, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In Ukraine, a genuine revolution is unfolding. This may seem strange, but it is something very characteristic of the history of that country.
In Ukraine in 1918, workers’ protests by the “Reds” took place solely in response to actions by the nationalist authorities that had installed themselves in Kiev. The question of how progressive the regime established by the supporters of the Donetsk Peoples Republic and other movements in Ukraine’s south-east will prove remains unanswered for the present simply for the reason that the very survival of these movements is far from guaranteed. But it can already be said with assurance that there is no road back. The point of no return has been passed, not only in in the political but above all in the social sense.
Example of Chavista graffiti in an area where Dan Gent was living in Merida. The opposition barricades are way down the road, where you will not find any of this graffiti.
April 11, 2014 -- RS21 -- Dan Gent, writes from Venezuela having witnessed the events surrounding the opposition riots. It is offered as a comradely response to Mike Gonzalez’s "Letters from Venezuela". This piece was originally published on the Comrade Markin blog, where there are more photos that Dan has taken in Venezuela. Dan was a participant in the most recent solidarity brigade organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network.
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April 14, 2014 -- PolyluxMarx -- For several years now, people have been starting to dust off Marx and return to his analysis of society. This is mainly due to the social turmoil in global capitalism, weaknesses in prevailing explanations of economic relationships and the harrowing crises the world has faced since the 1990s.
In particular, a younger generation of readers – untainted by former ideological battles – is starting to read Capital. Whether in universities, educational institutions, unions or in their own living rooms, small groups are discussing Marx’s critique of political economy.
This is exactly what PolyluxMarx aims to support. This website provides a collection of annotated PowerPoint slides that illustrate the central arguments from Capital. We also use concise introductory texts and notes on methodology and learning to make Capital easier to read.
April 4, 2014 -- Newsclick -- Michael Lebowitz, a Canadian economist who has written extensively on Latin America and is a former resident in Venezuela, talks to Newsclick on the economic problems facing Venezuela and the recent protests there.
He says these protests have been orchestrated by right-wing forces that want to get rid of the left-wing government. They are happening in rich neighbourhoods; the poor are not participating.
Saying that these protests will not go very far and will fizzle out, Lebowitz points out that there is an underlying serious economic problem that did not originate with President Nicholas Maduro and have been building for quite a while.
Lebowitz says the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement is an international assault on the people and it can be countered only by an international response.
El gobierno revolucionario de Chavez invertió 300 millones de dolares en la construcción del metrocable. El metrocable elimina horas de la subida y bajada que normalmente la gente hacia a pie para llegar al trabajo, la escuela, centros de saludo, y otros sitios importantes. Beneficia a miles de habitantes de San Agustín, la mayoría de ellos siendo afro-descendientes.
Por Arlene Eisen
6 abril 2014 -- Sinpermiso.info -- Los grandes medios de comunicación, aquí y en Venezuela, han triunfado ampliamente dando un rostro democrático al movimiento racista, esencialmente fascista, de las calles en Venezuela. Coaliciones tradicionalmente antirracistas han ignorado Venezuela. Es hora de ser solidarios con la mayoría del pueblo venezolano.