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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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Steve Ellner addresses a forum on Chavismo in Caracas, Venezuela.
Steve Ellner is a well-known analyst of Venezuelan and Latin American politics and is a retired professor at the Universidad de Oriente. He has published scores of journal articles and over a dozen books, his last being the edited Latin America’s Radical Left: Challenges and Complexities of Political Power in the Twenty First Century, published by Rowman & Littlefield.
This interview by Evaristo Marcano was originally published in Spanish in Aporrea.org and Rebelion.org
Argentine Left presidential candidate: 'We want a hard left that denounces the political caste and fights with workers'
Initiated just over four years ago, the Left and Workers Front (FIT) in Argentina has become a key reference point on the left, and is quickly earning its place on the national political scene.
The FIT was formed as an alliance of three Trotskyist parties: the Socialist Workers’ Party (PTS), Workers Party (PO) and Socialist Left (IS). It began largely as an attempt to overcome new electoral obligations requiring parties to win more than 1.5% of the vote in Open, Simultaneous and Obligatory Primaries (PASO) in order to stand in elections.
In a context where the far left has traditionally performed poorly in presidential elections, the FIT were relatively successful in their first electoral venture – the 2011 PASO for that year’s national election - with presidential pre-candidate and historic figure on the left, Jorge Altamira, winning over half a million votes (2.46%).
In the PASO held July this year, more than 750,000 people voted for one of the two FIT presidential pre-candidates. Unable to come up with a united slate, the FIT used the mechanism of the primaries to let voters decide their candidate list for president-vice president.
Left Unity, September 12 -- Jeremy Corbyn is the new leader of the Labour Party. Who could have imagined writing such a sentence only a few weeks ago? His victory shatters the austerity consensus that has dominated British politics for the last five years.
This is a victory for the movement as a whole. It is a victory for all those opposing the welfare cuts, for all those campaigning against war and racism, for all those fighting to defend our NHS and a host of other issues.
Jeremy’s election will have the effect of a dam breaking in British political life. It will shift the centre of political gravity to the left.
There were two intersecting currents behind the dramatic growth of the Corbyn campaign. Firstly there was the long pent-up resentment against the Blairite wing of the party, which the new process for electing the leadership allowed to be unleashed.
By Oskar Lafontaine (pictured)
Many in Europe had put great hopes in the election of Alexis Tsipras as Greek Prime Minister. When, after long and exhausting negotiations, the Syriza leader signed the European diktat, the disappointment was great.
It would be unjust and presumptuous to want to give moral lessons to Alexis Tsipras and Syriza. After these experiences for the European left, it would be better to reflect on the conditions in which a democratic and social politics (and thus a left politics) is possible in Europe. We have learned one thing: while the European Central Bank, which claims to be independent and apolitical, can turn off the financial tap to a left government, a politics that is oriented towards democratic and social principles is impossible.
Click for more on left politics in Scotland
August 25, 2015 -- STV News, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On August 29 in Glasgow we will see the birth of a Rise, a new left wing anti-austerity movement designed to shake up Scotland's political establishment and win seats at next year's Holyrood elections.
Born out of the referendum campaign using an umbrella model based on SYRIZA in Greece, the alliance brings together activists from different left-wing strands on a platform spelled out by its name: Respect, Independence, Socialism, Enviromentalism.
The group's website carries a statement of intent, which reads: "There is a need for something truly new and original to be born out of the independence movement that can manifest itself at the ballot box in 2016 and beyond. We do not presume to have all of the answers, but we intend to start a conversation around certain core principles that must be represented in politics once more.
Click for more on the political situation in Ukraine.
August 26, 2015 -- New Cold War.org, posted by Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Stephen F. Cohen, contributing editor to The Nation, was interviewed on the the John Batchelor Show, WABC radio in New York City. They discuss the news of a ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine for a cessation of hostilities beginning September 1, 2015, and the recent meeting in Berlin on August 24 of Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, France's President François Hollande and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko.
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – This speech was delivered on August 23, 2015, by former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, at the Festival of the Rose, at Frangy-en-Bresse, in the French department of Saône-et-Loire. The festival is organised by the local organisation of the French Socialist Party, which is associated with former French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg. Montebourg was sacked from this post in August 2014 by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
* * *
Let me tell you why I am here with words I have borrowed from a famous old manifesto. I am here because:
A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of democracy. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: The state-sponsored bankers and the Eurogroup, the Troika and Dr Schäuble, Spain’s heirs of Franco’s political legacy and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany's Berlin leadership, Baltic governments that subjected their populations to terrible, unnecessary recession and Greece’s resurgent oligarchy.
Review by John Green
August 26, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Anna Funder’s book Stasiland seems to have become the touchstone for anyone who wishes to find out about life in the German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany). It was given enormous publicity, has been translated into several languages and is one of the most quoted books of reference on the GDR. Its aim is to show how horrendous life in the GDR really was.
Funder visited the GDR once as a tourist in 1987 and then returned again in 1996 (six years after unification with the Federal Republic of Germany, or West Germany) and wrote her book. It is made up almost entirely of interviews with only three women who suffered under the GDR authorities, plus a former GDR rock star, a television presenter who was loyal to the state, as well as several shorter ones with former officers of the state security services.
For more by Doug Enaa Greene.
By Doug Enaa Greene
August 26, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Work sucks. Every day, workers go into jobs they hate, whether in a factory, office or on a checkout line. Workers are made to perform menial and demeaning tasks that have already been outlined for them, down to the smallest details, by management. Their job is so simple that anyone can do it. Ultimately, the worker possesses no control at the workplace.
How that situation came about and what it means for class struggle is the subject of Harry Braverman's classic work, Labor and Monopoly Capital. Braverman's book not only unveils how work is degraded under capital, but remains an important resource for how we understand capitalist society, working-class consciousness, and the class struggle today.
Site of Zimmerwald conference
Click for more by or about John Riddell.
By John Riddell
August 21, 2015 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The Zimmerwald conference, a small gathering held in Switzerland 100 years ago, on September 5-8, 1915, marked a turning point in the world socialist movement. Socialists from many countries issued an appeal that united anti-war socialists during World War I and helped prepare the revolutions with which it concluded. To mark the Zimmerwald centenary I am presenting links to three major documents of the conference in new translations, together with my short introduction.
Documents of the Zimmerwald conference
New political force will launch on August 29
August 24, 2015 -- Scottish Left Project, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We are pleased to announce the name under which the new coalition of the left being launched on August 29 will stand. Our name -- RISE, Scotland's Left Alliance -- reflects our political outlook and organisational make-up.
Respect: We stand for a society where we end racism, sexism, discrimination on the grounds of sexuality and where people of all backgrounds, colours and creeds are treated with respect and dignity.
Independence: We stand for Independence for Scotland. But our Independence is based on ending neoliberalism, austerity and the membership of NATO. We are for ending the monarchy and putting people in charge.
Socialism: We are for a social alternative to capitalism where people run the affairs of our society democratically and where the vast resources of society are utilised in common, rather than for the super-rich.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4560.]
Por Stathis Kouvelakis, Athens
21 de agosto de 2015 -- Viento Sur -- Esta mañana, a primera hora, 25 diputados de Syriza abandonaron el grupo parlamentario del partido para crear una nueva formación bajo el nombre de "Unidad Popular". La mayor parte de estos diputados están afiliados a la Plataforma de Izquierdas, pero se han unido también otros como Vangelis Diamantopoulos o Rachel Makri, una estrecha colaboradora de Zoe Konstantopoulou.
Este es un acontecimiento importante en la política griega, pero también para la izquierda radical en Grecia y a escala internacional.
Se deben subrayar tres elementos:
El primero es que "Unidad Popular" es el nombre de un nuevo frente político que reagrupará a trece organizaciones de la izquierda radical, aquellas que firmaron el texto publicado el 13 de agosto a favor de la constitución de un "Frente por el NO". Este frente es por lo tanto el primer resultado tangible de la recomposición de la izquierda radical de Grecia. Una recomposición que extrae todas las lecciones de los últimos cinco años y, por supuesto, de la experiencia de Syriza en el poder y de la catástrofe en la que ha desembocado.
Banker and opposition leader Guillermo Lasso (second from right) meets with leaders from the Pachakutik political party in their offices in April 2015.
For more on Ecuador, click HERE.
By Pablo Vivanco
August 20, 2015 -- Originally published by TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For a relatively small nation, in terms of size, population and economics, Ecuador has been a major player in contemporary Latin American politics, particularly on the left.
The experience of toppled governments by popular uprisings, led by Indigenous organisations with radical left-oriented politics, has contributed to a regional shift that ushered in the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and later the election of Evo Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism in Bolivia.
"The Abe administration is composed of and supported by extreme rightists who are trying to rewrite history and glorify Japan’s aggressive war."
August 15, 2015 -- Japanese Communist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Japanese Communist Party chair Shii Kazuo held a news conference on August 14 at the JCP head office in Tokyo, releasing a statement to mark the 70th anniversary since the end of World War II. In the statement, he criticised Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s statement published on the same day as deceitful. The full text of the JCP statement is as follows.
On the 70th anniversary since the end of World War II, the Japanese Communist Party offers its deepest condolences to all victims of the war of aggression and colonial rule by Japan’s militarism.
Now Japan is standing at a historical crossroads between war and peace. The war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is a treasure embraced by the Japanese people, which they wholly endorsed based on reflection over the past war and the war ravages. The JCP sincerely calls for all peace-loving people to unite in order to protect Article 9 and create a truly peaceful Japan in line with the article, beyond differences in thought, beliefs and political stances.
By Stathis Kouvelakis, Athens
August 21, 2015 -- First appeared on Kouvelakis' Facebook page, reposted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Early this morning, 25 SYRIZA MPs left the parliamentary group of the party to create a new group, under the name of “Popular Unity” (Laiki Enotita in Greek). Most of these MPs are affiliated to the Left Platform, but some others also joined like Vangelis Diamantopoulos or Rachel Makri, a close collaborator of Zoe Kostantopoulou.
[The new party will stand in the snap September 20 general election announced by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on August 20.]
This is a major development in Greek politics but also for the radical left, in Greece and at an international level.
Three elements need to be emphasised.
Panagiotis Lafazanis, leader of the Left Platform.
For more on Greece's struggle against austerity, click HERE.
By Dick Nichols, BarcelonaAugust 21, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- By any normal logic Greece’s SYRIZA-led government should be sinking in the opinion polls. On July 12, at the Brussels summit of Eurozone leaders, it agreed to implement a set of draconian preconditions for obtaining a third €86 billion bail-out—effectively reversing the opposition to austerity on which it had been elected on January 25.
Legislation enabling the implementation of the memorandum, covering 35 “prior actions” required of the government, was adopted by the Greek parliament on August 14, with 64 MPs voting against. Of SYRIZA’s 149 MPs, 32 voted no to the deal—including Left Platform leader Panagiotis Lafazanis, parliament speaker Zoe Constantopoulou and former finance minister YanisVaroufakis—and 11 abstained, with one MP absent.
For more on South Africa, click HERE.
By John S. Saul, Johannesburg
August 5, 2015 – University of Johannesburg, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It is true that I’m from Canada and only arrived in Africa, in Tanzania to be specific, in 1965 at the age of 27; nonetheless, it was in Africa that I grew up, at least politically. Not, initially, in South Africa but in Tanzania, where I taught for many years and in working with Mozambique’s FRELIMO in exile; in visiting the liberated areas of a new Mozambique in Tete Province in 1972; and, later, in teaching in a liberated Mozambique at the Universidade de Eduardo Mondlane.
Rafael Correa (right) with Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (left) and Bolivia's President Evo Morales.
For more on Ecuador, click HERE.
By Denis Rogatyuk
August 15, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Ecuador'sPresident Rafael Correa and social movements behind Ecuador’s “Citizens' Revolution” are engaged in yet another battle against the South American country's entrenched elites.
Supporters of Correa marched through the capital of Quito on August 12 to the presidential palace, where they intend to maintain a permanent presence to help defend the elected government.
The next day, violent opposition protests led to 86 police officers being injured, the interior ministry said, along with 20 civilians and three members of the press.
What originally began as demonstrations by the country's right-wing opposition against a proposed new inheritance tax laws targetting the country's richest 2% have now turned into a full-blown attempt at a “soft coup”.
Berlin November 1918: Workers and sailors join in revolutionary uprising.
The German Left and the Weimar Republic
By Ben Fowkes
Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2015
399 pages, US$28.
Review by John Riddell
August 13, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, also posted at LeftStreamed -- In this video of a debate, Leo Panitch and Richard Fidler discuss alternate views on recent developments in the fight against austerity waged by SYRIZA and the Greek people.
Moderated by Susan Spronk, associate professor in the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa.
Panitch is Canada research chair in comparative political economy at York University, Toronto. Fidler is life-long socialist, activist and writer who blogs at http://lifeonleft.blogspot.ca/