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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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Kurds mobilise to fight ‘Islamic State’ over vast front

Kurdish YPG fighters, Rojava.

By Dave Holmes

August 12, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly --The Kurdish people are facing an unprecedented challenge. Across a vast swathe of northern Syria and Iraq, the region’s Kurds are locked in a desperate and heroic struggle with the genocidal forces of the so-called Islamic State (IS). Fighting is raging from Aleppo and Kobane in Syria to Mosul and Kirkuk in Iraq — and all points in between. (The “front” is enormous: for example, the direct distance from Aleppo to Kirkuk is over 650 kilometres.)

Review: 'In Place of Fear II: A Socialist Programme for an Independent Scotland'

In Place of Fear II: A Socialist Programme for an Independent Scotland
By Jim Sillars
Vagabond Voices Publishing, 2014

Review by Alex Miller

August 13, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Jim Sillars is a well-known and well-respected figure on the Scottish political scene. He was elected (UK) Labour Party MP for South Ayrshire in 1970 but subsequently shifted away from mainstream Labour Party politics as a result of his commitment to devolution from Westminster and the setting up of a Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. It's worth remembering that the infamous "40% rule" that blocked the narrow majority vote in favour of devolution in the 1979 referendum was the work of UK Labour Party MP George Cunningham (with the support of fellow Labour MPs George Robertson, Robin Cook and Tam Dalyell).

United States: Seattle socialist wins 22% in primary poll

Jess and WFSE activists (personal capacity)

Jess Spear (fifth from left) and supporters.

US Socialist Alternative candidate Jess Spear has won more than 20% of the vote in the August 5 primary election, against Frank Chopp, a 20-year Democrat incumbent in the Washington State parliament and speaker of the house. The actual general election for the seat will take place in November 2014. The campaign builds on the victory of Kshama Sawant, who won a position on the Seattle city council. This letter and report was sent to  supporters of Spear.

* * *

August 8, 2014 -- Vote Jess Spear, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Every one of you should be proud of what we accomplished in our primary election campaign. In the first count of votes on election night we had won 19% against the most powerful legislator in the state, and as the late votes are counted we will likely end up with over 20%. In fact so far Jess has received 22.16% of the late votes, with more to be counted.

Tariq Ali: The US global empire (video)

July 29, 2014 -- TeleSUR -- Tariq Ali examines the United States' drive to create and maintain its global empire.

Capitalism's world war and the battle against it

Trench warfare between French and German troops during the First World War
Trench warfare between French and German troops during the First World War.

July 28, 2014 -- Socialist Worker (USA) -- John Riddell is the author and editor of numerous books, including, most recently, Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922. Here, he explains how the First World War broke out 100 years ago, how the socialist movement reacted, and how a revolutionary anti-war opposition emerged.

* * *

Bolivia's president calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel

August 7, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Bolivia's leader Evo Morales is among a list of recognised names including former Honduras president Mel Zelaya and Nobel peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel calling for support to the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.

Morales has officially signed on as a supporter of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

In an open letter released on August 6, Morales heads a long list of signatories from Latin America and elsewhere condemning "apartheid and genocide" against Palestinians, and calls on Israel to respect United Nations resolutions. Among those listed as signatories include former president of Honduras Mel Zelaya, Nobel peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, Cuban musician Silvio Rodríguez and teleSUR president Patricia Villegas (see full letter below).

Leninism, No? Paul Le Blanc replies to Ian Birchall

For more by Paul Le Blanc, click HERE. For more discussion of "Leninism", click HERE.

August 6, 2014 -- Socialist Worker (USA) -- Paul Le Blanc is a veteran socialist and author, most recently, of Unfinished Leninism: The Rise and Return of a Revolutionary Doctrine. In response to an article by British socialist Ian Birchall published at the Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century website [published by the socialist group of the same name, abbreviated as RS21], Le Blanc wrote this commentary to contribute to the discussion of "Leninism".

* * *

Ian Birchall has made an important contribution to the ongoing discussion on the international left about the meaning and value of Leninism, which is one of the focal points of my recent collection Unfinished Leninism: The Rise and Return of a Revolutionary Doctrine. Here I would like to make a few comments about what this esteemed comrade has to say.

Responding to capitalist global disaster: World War I and today

The following talk was delivered to the US International Socialist Organization's Socialism 2014 conference in Chicago, June 28, 2014. It has been edited for publication in International Socialist Review. See also John Riddell's article, “Capitalism’s First World War and the Battle Against It“, in Socialist Worker.

* * *

By John Riddell

August 5, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- On August 5, 100 years ago, a Bosnian nationalist assassinated the crown prince of Austria-Hungary, setting in motion a chain of events that led a month later to the outbreak of the First World War.

The war shattered the world socialist movement and unleashed an overwhelming social catastrophe in Europe, killing 17 million soldiers and civilians. The resulting revolutionary struggles brought the war to an abrupt end in 1918, while toppling the continent’s three great empires and bringing workers and peasants to power in Russia. The war also contributed to a global rise of anti-colonial struggles.

What does this unique cataclysm mean for us today? It is useful to compare World War I with the dangers posed today by climate change and environmental collapse.

Mehr als 'Pragmatiker kontra Radikale'

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3968.]

Von Federico Fuentes, Übersetzung Christian Klar

August 4, 2014 -- Portal Amerika21.de -- Die Veröffentlichung eines gegenüber der Regierung des venezolanischen Präsidenten Nicolás Maduro höchst kritischen Dokuments, verfasst von einem der dienstältesten Minister in der Regierung des früheren Präsidenten Hugo Chávez, hat eine beispiellose Debatte unter den venezolanischen Revolutionären ausgelöst.

Jorge Giordani ließ die Bombe am 18. Juni platzen - einen Tag, nachdem er als Planungsminister ersetzt wurde. Dem ging seine Entlassung aus dem Vorstand der venezolanischen Zentralbank und aus der staatlichen Ölgesellschaft PDVSA voraus. Er hatte den Posten fast ununterbrochen inne, seit Chávez erstmals 1999 an die Macht kam.

Viele sahen Giordani als Hauptarchitekten der Wirtschaftspolitik der Chávez-Regierung und als Vertreter einer orthodoxen marxistischen Linie im Kabinett. Seine Absetzung ist als Beweis für eine Vergrößerung der Kluft zwischen "Pragmatikern" und "Radikalen" in der Regierung dargestellt worden.

Giordanis Zeugnis

Volodymyr Ishchenko on Kiev's attempts to ban the Communist Party: its meaning for democracy and the left

Confrontation between Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko (left) and parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Turchynov in May. Turchynov is working to have the CPU banned.

Read more on Ukraine HERE. More by Volodymyr Ishchenko.

By Volodymyr Ishchenko

August 4, 2014 -- LeftEast, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- On July 24 the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament Oleksandr Turchynov announced the disbanding of the parliamentary group of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU) over a ridiculous technicality. The court trial over CPU’s ban as a political party started the same day with the next session of the court scheduled for mid-August.

South Africa: NUMSA hosts international symposium of left parties and movements, August 7-10, 2014

Internationalism: Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa sing their solidarity with the people of Gaza. Filmed at a demonstration in Port Elizabeth on July 25, 2014.

For more on NUMSA, click HERE.

By Castro Ngobese, NUMSA national spokesperson

August 5, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) will be hosting an International Symposium of Left Parties/Movements in Benoni, Kopanong Hotel, from August 7-10, 2014, under the theme: “Building our own Movement for Socialism: Learning the Lessons First Hand”.

The symposium is in line with NUMSA’s groundbreaking resolutions taken at our special national congress held in December 2013. The NUMSA delegates who attended the special national congress mandated the national leadership structures to “explore” the establishment of a Movement for Socialism given that the working class needs a political organisation committed in its policies and actions to the establishment of a Socialist South Africa.

Ian Birchall reviews Ernie Tate's 'Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s'

Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s: A Memoir
By Ernest Tate
Volume 1, Canada 1955-1965
Vol. 1: ISBN 978-0-902869-69-1; EAN: 9780902869691
Vol. 2: ISBN 978-0-902869-60-8; EAN: 9780902869608
Resistance Books, London, 2014

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal readers can read an excerpt HERE. To order a copy, email terryconway@tiscali.co.uk.

By Ian Birchall

Salvador Allende: Revolutionary democrat

Salvador Allende: Revolutionary Democrat
by Victor Figueroa Clark
London: Pluto Press, 2013
paperback 164 pp.
ISBN: 9780745333076

Review by Laurence Goodchild

August 5, 2014 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In this succinct and well-researched book, Victor Figueroa Clark achieves numerous accomplishments. While detailing a vivid account of Salvador Allende’s life, Clark also provides a much needed historical context to Allende’s leadership of the Popular Unity government, and addresses his political strategy in a manner that is highly relevant to the contemporary “pink tide” in Latin America[i].

Israel the aggressor, not Gazans; Condemn Israel’s violence, not Palestinian resistance

Young opponents of Israel's war of terror protest, in Sydney, August 2, 2014. Photo by Susan Price.

By Tony Iltis

August 2, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- “This is not a war. It is genocide”, reads a popular slogan on homemade signs at protests against Israel’s current attack on the Gaza Strip. 

The body count is enough to illustrate the one-sidedness of the violence. For the first nine days of their assault, Israeli forces pounded the besieged territory from the land, sea and air, but did not send forces in. About 250 people were killed in these nine days. Only one was Israeli.

Israeli ground operations that started on July 17 increased the casualty rate for both Palestinians and Israelis. By August 1, 1592 Palestinians and 66 Israelis had been killed, the New York Times said. That is 24 Palestinians killed for every Israeli.

Dramatically larger than the disparity between the two sides in overall numbers killed is the disparity in the number of civilians killed.

On the Israeli side, only three of the fatalities were civilians — 95% of Israelis killed by Palestinians were combatants. 

Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem published figures on July 31 that showed that between July 8 and July 30 less than 14% of the Palestinians killed by Israelis were combatants. 

Three Palestinian combatants have been killed for every Israeli combatant while 473 Palestinian civilians have been killed for every Israeli civilian.

People's power appeal: Help Gaza recover

August 5, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On the recommendation of Shamikh Badra from the Palestinian People's Party in Gaza, the Socialist Alliance in Australia is launching a special appeal for funds to help the Palestinian people recover from Israel's latest genocidal war. All funds collected will be divided between the following two non-governmental organisations:

Inma’a Association
http://inmaa-nazareth.org
https://www.facebook.com/inmaa10

In particular, the funds collected will be for Inma'a Association's project of helping the Palestinian children and their families injured by the 2014 war on Gaza and those affected by cancer receiving treatments in East Jerusalem and Israeli hospitals.

Ukraine dominates discussion at Party of the European Left’s summer university

Read more on Ukraine HERE.

By Dick Nichols

August 4, 2014 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The main concern of ninth Summer University of the Party of the European Left (PEL), held outside Berlin from July 23 to July 27, was the armed conflict in Ukraine. Debate on the issue absorbed many sessions, including those not directly devoted to it, and the war in the country was a returning theme in often agitated informal discussion among the 1000 attendees from 31 countries.

L’esempio della Bolivia di fare le leggi con il popolo

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3984.]

Di Federico Fuentes, traduzione di Maria Chiara Starace

27 luglio 2014 -- Znet Italy -- Quando Evo Morales è stato eletto presidente della Bolivia nel 2005, ha promesso di “governare obbedendo al popolo.” La recente approvazione da parte dell’Assemblea Plurinazionale di leggi che riguardano l’attività mineraria e i diritti dei bambini, sono due esempi delle sfide e dei benefici di questo approccio radicale al governare.

Infrangendo la concezione che il legiferare dovrebbe essere confinato nelle quattro mura del parlamento, il governo boliviano ha fatto ripetuti tentativi di coinvolgere ampie sezioni della società nel riscrivere le regole del paese.

Il primo e più importante passo che si è fatto riguardo a questo, è stata la convocazione di un’Assemblea Costituente in cui i delegati eletti della comunità, insieme ai rappresentanti dei potenti movimenti sociali del paese e ad altri gruppi della società civile, hanno redatto una nuova costituzione.

La nuova carta è stata successivamente approvata da una larga maggioranza con il referendum del 2009, malgrado la campagna spesso violenta intrapresa dai gruppi dell’opposizione di destra.

Governing with the people: some examples from Bolivia

Bolivia's controversial new child labour law allows children under the age of 14 to work, but only in “exceptional circumstances”.

By Federico Fuentes

July 30, 2014 -- Bolivia Rising, an earlier version of this article was first published on the new teleSUR English website; it is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- When Evo Morales was elected president of Bolivia in 2005, he promised to “govern by obeying the people”. The recent approval by the Plurinational Assembly of laws dealing with mining and children’s rights are two examples of the challenges and benefits of this radical approach to governing.

Breaking with the conception that legislating should be confined to the four walls of parliament, the Bolivian government has made repeated efforts to involve broad sections of society in rewriting the rules of the country.

The first, and most important, step taken in this regard was the convocation of a constituent assembly in which elected delegates, together with representatives of the country’s powerful social movements and other civil society groups, drew up a new constitution.

Venezuela: Tariq Ali interviews Nicolas Maduro on the launch of teleSUR English

July 24, 2014 -- TeleSUR, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The renowned scholar Tariq Ali conducted an interview today with Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, marking the launch of teleSUR English.

During the interview, which took place in Simon Bolivar's birth home as celebrations marked 231 years since his birth, Ali and Maduro spoke about the legacy of former President Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan opposition, the economy, and the most recent world developments.

Regarding the Venezuelan opposition's stance against his government, Maduro underscored the importance of recognizing democratic rule. “In 15 years of revolution, we have won 18 out of 19 elections, we have built a solid majority based on our projects and on national and international values. The oligarchy...has a superiority complex and has not been able to respect this new majority that was built by Commander Hugo Chavez” he said.

President Maduro highlighted the importance of the recent changes in world affairs, assuring that the new mechanisms – such as the SUCRE monetary mechanism – and the New Development Bank announced by the BRICS countries would reshape the world economy.

Is there an 'anti-imperialist camp'? A debate (part 2)

August 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This is the next installment of the debate between Felipe Stuart and Michael Karadjis on the question of the concept of an anti-imperialist "camp" and related positions, strategies and tactics. The first part can be read at "Is there an 'anti-imperialist camp'? A debate (part 1)". Below, Stuart responds to Karadjis' previous contribution, followed by a final reply by Karadjis. Further discussion will continue in the comments section at the end of this post.

By Felipe Stuart

Michael Karadjis, thanks for your response to my last article.

I suspect that your distinction between class-based politics and anti-imperialist-based politics is rooted in a failure on your part to understand that imperialism itself is all about class and class struggle. I hope I am wrong, but let’s discuss that.

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