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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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Spanish state: Splendour and decline of Podemos - Reasons for a farewell

 

 

Spain’s Anticapitalist Left (now Anticapitalists) was key to the formation of the mass, radical anti-austerity party Podemos, in 2013-14. However, in February this year Anticapitalists decided to leave Podemos. Economist Manuel Garí, Anticapitalist leader and member of the Advisory Council of the magazine Viento Sur, looks back at the evolution of Podemos and explains why the decision to leave was taken.

By Manuel Garí. Translation from Viento Sur by Dick Nichols

October 30, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The formation of Podemos in the Spanish state was an important attempt at building an anti-neoliberal and pluralist mass party to the left of social liberalism. That experience, which began very well, has finally ended very badly. Perhaps that is why the title of this article could have been “Splendour and decline of Podemos ... as an emancipatory political project”. Its purpose is to explain why Podemos had to be created, but also why it has had to be left behind. Involved too is reflection on the balance sheet to be made of the intervention in Podemos of the Anticapitalist Left (now Anticapitalists) and the lessons to be drawn from that experience.[1]

Centre-left convergence in Venezuela: A blow to United States intervention

 

 

By Steve Ellner

October 30, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Like other Venezuelan centrists, Claudio Fermín – a protege of neoliberal president Carlos Andrés Pérez in the early 1990s – has changed course and now vehemently opposes both US interventionism and his nation’s radical right. His changes show just how much Venezuelan politics have been transformed over the recent past. Since the attempted coup of April 2002, leftist governments have been pitted against a united opposition intent on achieving regime change by any means possible. But now such extreme polarization seems to be weakening. 

Video: US socialist Paul Le Blanc on Trump, fascism and the presidential elections

 

 

An interview with Paul Le Blanc by Alex Bainbridge

October 15, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Green Left — An interview with US socialist Paul Le Blanc about the coming presidential elections and the threat of fascism in the US.

The interview was conducted on October 10.

Ecosocialism and/or degrowth?

 

 

By Michael Löwy

October 9, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from RISE — Ecosocialism and the de-growth movement are among the most important currents of the ecological left. Ecosocialists agree that a significant measure of de-growth in production and consumption is necessary in order to avoid ecological collapse. But they have a critical assessment of the de-growth theories because: a) the concept of “de-growth” is insufficient to define an alternative programme; b) it does not make clear if de-growth can be achieved in the framework of capitalism or not; c) it does not distinguish between activities that need to be reduced and those that need to be developed. 

South Africa: Hunger, anger and a new social movement in response to COVID-19

 

 

By Kate Alexander

October 8, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Review of African Political Economy — South Africa’s government moved quickly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The first confirmed case was on 5 March 2020; a State of National Disaster was promulgated on 15 March, with this accompanied by closure of schools; a full lockdown was implemented from 26 March and the first death was announced the following day. Lockdown was draconian. Travel was prohibited except for essential services; only food shops, pharmacies and medical facilities were permitted to open (even the sale of cigarettes was illegal); and a curfew was enforced. From 1 May there was a slight easing of restrictions, with more industries and shops allowed to open; and there were further relaxation in most areas from 1 June. The number of confirmed cases is higher than elsewhere in Africa with 570,000 cases and 11,500 deaths recorded in mid-August. In our survey, 84.3% of adults felt the president, Cyril Ramaphosa, was doing a good job or a very good job.

Balochistan: Birth of a movement - The transformation of the Bramsh Solidarity Committees

 

 

By Balochistan Marxist Review

October 8, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Balochistan Marxist Review — Baloch society has entered into a new phase of political mobilization since the Dan’nuk incident[1]. A growing number of students, youth, and ordinary citizens, previously withdrawn from political activities during the ‘reign of terror’, a decade of state atrocities that is epitomised in the popular but also gory phrase of “kill and dump” started reclaiming the popular political space from the conventional nationalists as well as the king’s party. This mobilization is happening in the streets as well as on the social media, with a leading role of students and an unprecedented presence and participation of women. This new political force, comprising of students, youth, and intellectuals has started organizing independent of both bourgeoisie parliamentary parties and the separatist militant groups. Organizing on its own, crafting its own slogans, and perhaps most importantly, refusing to be a part of reactionary nationalism divided on the lines of personal interests of the elite leadership. The new phase of Baloch political mobilization is taking a shape of its own – a decentralized solidarity movement.

For an egalitarian, cooperative road to an ecosocialist future

 

 

By Green Left

October 8, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Green Left is publishing this Ecosocialist Manifesto for discussion and further development at a series of Ecosocialism conferences in several cities next month. If you would like to be involved, endorse or make a contribution to its development please get in touch.

Keynesianism is no long-term solution to the economic crisis

 

 

By Lisbeth Latham

October 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Revitalising Labour — The current COVID pandemic has caused massive financial damage to the global economy, damage which has been felt viscerally by working people in the form of dramatically reduced incomes and the loss of millions of jobs. As we progress through the pandemic and look hopefully towards its ending and eventual recovery, minds have begun to look towards what the eventual rebuilding of the economy might look like. Whilst capital, and its representatives in governments, are already looking towards an, even more, deregulated labour market and a general deepening of the neoliberal model, on the other hand, alternative models for recovery are being forward, most particularly that proposed the by the Australian Council of Trade Unions which draws its inspiration from the post-war recovery globally and most particularly in Australia post the Second World War. While this example has understandable appeal, it is well known, it refers to a period of massive and sustained economic growth. It is a deeply problematic model for recovery to the current period of crisis as it fails to understand the roots of the recovery post Second World War which will not be easily replicated but more importantly fails to recognise the broader reality of the global climate crisis that also confronts us, and which should mean we are wary of productivist solutions to this crisis.

A model for healthcare reform from a surprising place

 

 

By Troy Keith Preston

October 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The issue of healthcare reform is one that is consistently identified by opinion polls as being among the most important to Americans. The United States continues to be the only fully industrialized nation that lacks a public healthcare system, a feature of modern “democracy” that is taken for granted in most developed countries. Most American proponents of healthcare reform typically cite the models utilized by Canada, Western Europe, or Australia as the most appropriate guides for the implementation of universal healthcare in the United States. However, Don Fitz, a Green Party activist, provides a comprehensive overview of a model for reform that originates from what many would consider to be a surprising place. Cuba is widely regarded by Americans as an impoverished “Third World” nation. Yet, Fitz’s Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution describes how Cuba’s approach to healthcare during the six decades since the 1959 revolution has produced rather extraordinary results. 

Lenin150 (Samizdat): A Lenin birthday book

 

 

Review by Paul Le Blanc

Lenin150 (Samizdat)
Ed. by Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn and Patrick Anderson (translator), photography by Johann Salazar. 
Hamburg, Germany: KickAss Books, 2020, in English. 
15 Euros for individuals and 50 for institutions. 
Books can be ordered directly from the editor at lenin150@posteo.de.

September 30, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — 2020 is the birthday year of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, whom most of us know as Lenin. If still alive, he would be 150 years old. This explains part of the book’s title. There is also the word “samizdat,” commonly associated with the clandestine copying and distribution of literature banned by authoritarian regimes, especially in the formerly Communist countries of Eastern Europe. But here its meaning is simply: self-published. The book was deemed too weird for regular publishers to risk investing in.

COVID-19, mass consciousness and left organizing

 

 

By Robert Latham

September 24, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — A great many established voices on the left have pointed to how the crisis associated with the coronavirus reveals, illuminates, or even intensifies the underlying conditions of exploitation and oppression of workers and the marginalized under capitalism. Pockets of resistance and worker insight into the crisis have emerged. Perhaps the most emblematic is fired Amazon worker Chris Smalls, a rising worker activist and organic intellectual.

An anti-colonialist turn in Marx?: Questions for Thierry Drapeau

 

 

By Seiya Morita 

September 24, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  "The Roots of Karl Marx's Anti-Colonialism"[1] by Thierry Drapeau in Jacobin examines the influence of the Chartist Leftist Ernest Jones on the development of Marx's anti-colonialist thinking in the 1850s. Drapeau’s analysis is enlightening, but raises some questions.

Socialist Alliance launches PDFs for study & education

 

 

September 20, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In collaboration with Resistance Books, Socialist Alliance has set up a new page on its website called PDFs for study & educationhttps://socialist-alliance.org/education-downloads

This page lists all the Resistance Books titles (including some now out of print) plus a number of items which previously only existed as photocopied pamphlets.

Cuba’s ongoing health care revolution

 

 

By Stan Cox

September 20, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Don Fitz’s new book Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution was going to press at Monthly Review in early Spring, as the pandemic was ramping up, so he had just barely enough time to slip in a postscript teasingly titled, “How Che Guevara Taught Cuba to Confront COVID-19.” The postscript puts an exclamation mark on the medical history of Cuba that Fitz takes us through in the 240 compelling pages that come before. Based on that history, one would have expected Cuba to take early, decisive actions to stem the pandemic, and Fitz says that’s exactly what happened. 

The significance of questioning: What questions must students ask their educators, and why?

 

 

By Raju J Das

September 19, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Given the enormous problems that humanity is facing, it is reasonable to expect to see a future society that is radically different from, and superior to, the current one, that is a society that is genuinely democratic in the economic and non-economic spheres of life.[1] And to produce a better society, we need better ideas, even if ideas are surely not enough. Furthermore, to learn good ideas, it is important to ask good questions.[2] In this context, one might consider students in colleges and universities more specifically. Their active participation in the learning process is crucial to their intellectual success. Such participation can come in many forms, one of which is asking the educators probing questions. So for both intellectual and practical reasons, it is important that students ask good questions. 

The Comintern’s Great Turn of 1920-21

 

 

By John Riddell

September 18 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary — Following its consolidation as a global organization in 1920, the Communist International (Comintern) experienced triumphant growth, then a severe setback, a leadership crisis, and finally – at the Third World Congress – a sharp reorientation toward United Front strategy.

The story of this fast-paced and complex evolution is traced in the introduction to To the Masses, a study of the Comintern’s Third World Congress (June-July 1921), which carried out the necessary change of direction.

United States: Socialist strategy and the Biden debate

 

 

By Max Elbaum

September 17, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Organizing Upgrade — The COVID-19 pandemic and the uprising to defend Black lives have cast a spotlight on a level of deep-rooted inequality, ruling class degeneration, and public-health-be-damned behavior that makes the U.S. unique even among capitalist countries. My next column will examine the sources of these pathologies in a nation founded on racial slavery and genocide that has now entered the stage of its imperial decline.

But first I want to join a debate that was riveting parts of the left before COVID-19 hit and George Floyd was murdered. Partly because important lessons from the early forms it took are in danger of being lost; and partly because the discussion is still raging, and the stakes are high:

Should anti-capitalists urge a vote for Joe Biden to defeat Donald Trump in November 2020 or not?

United States: Conspiracy and loathing in Trumpland

 

 

 

"Conspiracies, since they cannot be engaged in without the fellowship of others, are for that reason most perilous; for as most men are either fools or knaves, we run excessive risk in making such folk our companions."
Francesco Guicciardini

 

By Simon Pearson

September 8, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Mutiny — Conspiracies exist, but conspiracy theories are something different. Since time immemorial we have had conspiracies. Julius Caesar died at the hands of a conspiracy led by Brutus, Cassius and other rebellious senators in 44 BCE, while more contemporaneously in California, 1996, one twin conspired to have the other murdered—so much for the sibling bond! In criminal law, ‘a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime at some point in the future’.

But today increasing numbers of people are getting sucked into the world of obsessing over bizarre ideas concerning those in power, a dark place, one in which imaginations run wild, where the ideas on ‘subreddits’ on the Reddit social media website are accepted as uncontested truths. In the world of the conspiracy theorist, you will find a place where shock jocks and YouTube vloggers pontificate over chemtrails, the birther movement and 5G to perennial favourites such as the Kennedy assassination and 9/11. Even the notion that the Earth is flat is now growing in popularity with several celebrities speaking out about their views.

What can we learn from Cuba? Medicare-for-All is a beginning, not the end point

 

 

By Don Fitz

September 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — As a coup de grâce to the Bernie Sanders campaign Joe Biden declared that he would veto Medicare-for-All.  This could drive a dedicated health care advocate to relentlessly pursue Med-4-All as a final goal.  However, it is not the final goal.  It should be the first step in a complete transformation of medicine which includes combining community medicine with natural medicine and health-care-for-the-world.

Contrasting Cuban changes in medicine during the last 60 years with the US non-system of medical care gives a clear picture of why changes must be all-encompassing.  The concept of Medicare-for-All is deeply intertwined with attacks on Cuba’s global medical “missions” and the opposite responses to Covid-19 in the two countries.

Political openings: Class struggle during and after the pandemic

 

 

By Sam Gindin

September 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — For some on the left, the economic breakthrough brought on by the pandemic was the general consensus, not least among economists, for an astonishing increase in fiscal spending. Relative to the economy’s size, the stimulus introduced so far in the US is already double (in Canada triple) what it was during the 2008-09 crisis, with more to come. And the stimulus in that earlier crisis was the largest since WWII, leading the OECD to declare that the earlier intervention “now seems like a small-scale rehearsal for the [present] disruptions to our socioeconomic system.”

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