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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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Greece: If SYRIZA wins the election, what might happen next?

Click HERE for more on SYRIZA.

By Lisa Mittendrein and Valentin Schwarz

December 2014 -- Red Pepper, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- With Greece facing a snap general election on January 25, 2015, there is the genuine prospect of a radical left government coming to power in a European Union country. SYRIZA, a party born from a coalition of Eurocommunists, the far left, social movements and anti-globalisation activists, is riding high.

The general sentiment among SYRIZA officials and activists is that they will win the election and form the next government. The party won the European election in May 2014 and achieved some significant wins at the regional elections. It has been leading nationwide polls for months, scoring 29 per cent in late December 2014. The majority-friendly electoral law allows for an absolute majority at 35 to 40 per cent of the vote, depending on the number of parties passing the threshold.

Lionel Bopage: ‘Let us take a principled stand for the future of Sri Lanka!’

Prageeth (sitting at the centre) at a discussion with us before the day he was made to disappear.

By Lionel Bopage

January 3, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As we move towards Sri Lanka’s presidential election on January 8, 2015, two years ahead of schedule, we need to carefully consider what we are standing for.

To the credit of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, with the end of the war in 2009 there has been some widespread development of infrastructure. Despite this there are many disturbing aspects. The development of infrastructure has come at the cost of heavy indebtedness. The Colombo City “cleaning up”’ has displaced many long-time residents without adequate compensation. The service industry has grown, but there are serious breakdowns in the provision of basic services, notably health, education and law and order.

Sri Lanka: Tamils, left debates election

Opposition-backed presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena is supported by some Tamils and human rights activists, but others say he represents little different from the current regime.

By Chris Slee

January 2, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly -- Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa is being challenged by Maithripala Sirisena, who was until recently one of his ministers, in the January 8 presidential elections. However, many Tamils and leftists see little difference between the two.

Sirisena is being supported by the opposition United National Party, and has promised to appoint UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe as prime minister. There are 16 other candidates.

Sirisena has promised to abolish the system of executive presidency, which concentrates power in the hands of the president, and replace it with a system where the parliament has more power.

This change has long been advocated by many human rights advocates, who think that reducing the arbitrary power of the president would improve the human rights situation. Some human rights advocates are supporting Sirisena for this reason.

However the Tamil Civil Society Forum sees no real difference between Rajapaksa and Sirisena.

Marxist economist Claudio Katz on the Cuban Revolution and its economic reforms

Small businesses in Havana, 2014.

By Claudio Katz, introduction by Richard Fidler

December 29, 2014 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The release December 17 of the remaining three of five Cubans held for 15 years in US prisons is an historic victory for the Cuban people, their government and supporters around the world.

Ramon Labañino, Geraldo Hernández and Antonio Guerrero joined Fernando González and René González, released earlier, in an emotional reception in Havana with President Raúl Castro.

The five were arrested in 1998 while working in Miami to uncover terrorist plots against the people of Cuba being masterminded by anticommunist extremists in Florida. In a 2001 report to the United Nations, the Cuban government catalogued 3,478 deaths on the island as a result of terrorism, aggression, acts of piracy and other actions. Many of these actions were attributed to operatives of the CIA.

For background information on the case of the Cuban Five, see http://www.freethefive.org/.

Greece: Austerity, collapse and the rise of the radical left SYRIZA

January 1, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Greece is facing a snap general election on January 25, 2015. The left party SYRIZA is leading the polls. Above SYRIZA's Ioannis Bournous and Giorgos Karatsioubanis talk on "Austerity, Collapse, and the Rise of the Radical Left in Greece". It was presented at a meeting of 100 leaders of the left from North America and Europe, August 1-4, 2014, in New York state organised by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation-NYC.

Greece: The snap election and myths surrounding the country’s economic ‘recovery’

Yanis Varoufakis interviewed for Il Manifesto newspaper by Thomas Fazi, translated by Revolting Europe, December 30, 2014

Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- With a snap general election due January 25, a Greek economist close to SYRIZA dismantles some myths surrounding the Greek economy and believes victory for the left-wing opposition is increasingly likely.

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Venezuela: After Chávez, has the Maduro government stalled the revolution?

For more on Venezuela, click HERE.

By Steve Ellner

December 24, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Nearly two years after the death of Hugo Chávez, the key question that many on the left are debating, in Venezuela and elsewhere, is whether his successors have been true to his legacy, or whether the “revolutionary process” initiated more than a decade ago has now stalled or even been thrown into reverse.

The recent emergence of a number of pressing problems has convinced some Chavistas that the revolution has either been betrayed or, at best, that President Nicolás Maduro is severely lacking in Chávez’s political acumen.

Has the International Monetary Fund reformed?

Click for more by Patrick Bond.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

December 22, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- In a Washington Post op-ed on December 17, 2014, "The IMF's Perestroika Moment", Boston University political economists Cornel Ban and Kevin Gallagher suggested "conventional wisdom" about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is "outdated" because the IMF is no longer "a global agent of economic orthodoxy". Hmmm.

How the top brass undermined WWI soldiers' attempts to 'live and let live'

By Barry Healy

December 24, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Australians have begun the grim journey through the centenary of World War I. Our newspapers have special articles and multi-page wrap arounds commemorating every significant date. This is driven by a multi-million dollar government fund designed to whip up militarisation in contemporary Australia by obscuring the truth about WWI.

Part of the truth is that in Christmas 1914, just months after the war began, millions of soldiers ceased fighting and fraternised across the trenches. In some areas, this lasted for a week.

South Africa: United Front takes steps to redefine politics

Read more about recent developments in South Africa HERE.

By Dinga Sikwebu

December 22, 2014 -- Weekly Mail & Guardian -- Since its December 2013 special national congress’ call for trade union federation Cosatu to sever its ties with the ANC, the decisions of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) have received poor analysis. Most misrepresented has been the union’s resolution for NUMSA to lead in the establishment of a United Front.

Despite numerous statements that explained that the envisaged front was a movement whose primary objective is to strengthen and co-ordinate union and community struggles, commentators and analysts continued to describe the United Front as “a party-in-the-making” for electoral contests in 2016 and 2019.

Unfortunately, it is through these jaundiced eyes that the same commentators have analysed the outcomes of the Preparatory Assembly for the United Front that was held in December.

'Une planète trop peuplée?' Preface to the French edition of 'Too Many People?'

Une Planete Trop Peuplee

December 17, 2014 -- Capitalism & Climate, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Québec publisher Les Éditions Écosociété has translated and published the book that Simon Butler and Ian Angus co-wrote, Too Many People? Population, Immigration and the Environmental Crisis (Haymarket Books, 2011).

The French edition, titled Une planète trop peuplée? Le mythe populationniste, l’immigration et la crise écologique, features a new preface by Serge Mongeau, who is the founder of Écosociété and was a candidate for Québec solidaire in the 2008 Québec general election.

Below is a translation of that preface, followed by the original French text, both published with permission from Les Éditions Écosociété.

Preface to the French edition of Too Many People?

By Serge Mongeau, translated by Ian Angus, with assistance from Richard Fidler

Matzpen: Revolutionary anti-Zionism in Israel

Doug Enaa Greene's article below was based on his lecture on the history and perspectives of the Israeli Socialist Oranization (Matzpen), presented to the Center for Marxist Education.

For more by Doug Enaa Greene, click HERE.

By Doug Enaa Greene

December 23, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Shortly after the June 1967 war, revolutionary socialists, both Jewish and Palestinian, published a joint statement denouncing the war and calling for an end to Zionism. The Jewish socialists were perceived as traitors by Israeli society. In reply, the Jewish socialists published the following reply:

Farooq Tariq: 'Fue un ataque de fanáticos musulmanes contra los niños musulmanes'

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4210.]

Por Farooq Tariq

Sábado, 20 de diciembre de 2014 -- Viento Sur -- Ha sido el ataque más mortífero realizado contra una escuela por los fanáticos religiosos. En la Escuela Pública del Ejército [una de las cerca de 150 creadas y gestionadas por el ejército. ndr] hubo 146 víctimas. Entre ellas, 136 niños con edades comprendidas entre 10 y 17 años. A los niños se les pidió que recitaran el Kalma [ver: http://ismaili.net/heritage/node/10521] y luego les dispararon. Fue un ataque de fánaticos musulmames contra niños musulmanes.

El Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan se atribuyó la responsabilidad y envió una foto de los siete militantes que participaron en la "operación" portando armas y bombas. Lo hicieron depués de que se publicaran en la web los rostros de los siete militantes muertos, asesinados por el ejército en el contraataque, no antes de que ellos causaron el daño máximo.

Los fanáticos afirmaron que no mataron niños pequeños, que su "islam" no les permite asesina a niños del "enemigo" menores de 12 años. Casi el 11% de los niños matriculados en la escuela murieron en los primeros 15 minutos que tuvieron ocupada la escuela.

Cuba to stand by its communist principles, Castro says; ‘US got isolated trying to isolate Cuba’ -- Rene Gonzalez

Raul Castro.

Click HERE for more on Cuba.

December 20, 2014 -- RT, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Cuba's leader Raul Castro said the country would not give up its political values for which it has fought. Calling for mutual respect in the new development of relations with the United States, Castro stated Cuba would continue its socialist route.

"In the same way that we have never demanded that the United States change its political system, we will demand respect for ours", Castro told Cuba's National Assembly in a session on December 20.

Having expressed gratitude to US President Barack Obama for his initiative to open a "new chapter" in the two countries' history by making a decision to lift the blockade, Castro stressed that the US president's move would in no way make Cuba abandon the ideas it has struggled for over half a century.

"Cuba is a sovereign country, with its people having determined its path to socialism and its political system by expression of will", Raul Castro said, adding that blood has also been shed to stand for the national ideas.

Farooq Tariq and Tariq Ali on the 'Talibanisation' of Pakistan and the Afghan war blowback

Tariq Ali appeared on the December 18, 2014, episode of Democracy Now! (text below).

Click HERE for more on Pakistan.

By Farooq Tariq

December 19, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It was the most deadly attack on any school by religious fanatics: 146 were killed in a Peshawar Army Public School, including 136 children, ages ranging from 10 to 17 years. The attackers asked the children to recite the Kalma and then fired at them. It was an attack on Muslim children by Muslim fanatics.

Tehreek Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility and sent a group photo of the seven militants who took part in the “operation” holding guns and bombs. This was in response to the posting online of the dead faces of the seven who were killed by the army in the counter attack, not before they caused maximum damage.

Greece: What a SYRIZA government will do

December 20, 2014 -- Transform! Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Below is the governmental program of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) announced by Alexis Tsipras at the Thessaloniki International Fair, September 15, 2014. According to the latest opinion poll, SYRIZA is at 36.5%, with a seven percentage point lead over the conservative New Democracy. The current contest for the presidency of Greece looks likely to lead to a new parliamentary election.

In a first round of voting in parliament on December 17, Stavros Dimas, the government's candidate, won only 160 votes, short of the necessary 200 out of 300 members of parliament.

There will be two more rounds, with the last on December 29, when the threshold for Dimas to win the presidency drops to 180 votes. It is unlikely that the right-wing, pro-austerity New Democracy and its once social-democratic junior partner PASOK can find enough support.

If the government can't get someone elected it will trigger new a parliamentary election, probably in February 2015. SYRIZA won the most votes in the May election for the European Parliament, and for months, it has led the opinion polls.

Marta Harnecker: Decentralised participatory planning based on experiences of Brazil, Venezuela and the state of Kerala, India

Marta Harnecker.

For more by or about Marta Harnecker and her ideas, click HERE.

By Marta Harnecker, translated by Federico Fuentes

[Paper presented at the International Scientific Academic Meeting on Methodology and Experiences in Socio-environmental Participatory processes, Cuenca University, November 13-15, 2014.*]

December 19, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- These words are aimed at those who want to build a humanist and solidarity-based society. A society based on the complete participation of all people. A society focused on a model of sustainable development that satisfies people's genuine needs in a just manner, and not the artificial wants created by capitalism in its irrational drive to obtain more profits. A society that does all this while ensuring that humanity’s future in not put at risk. A society where the organized people are the ones who decide what and how to produce. A society we have referred to as Twenty-First Century Socialism, Good Living or Life in Plenitude.

Alemania: un gobierno rojo-rojo-verde en Turingia

[English at "Germany: Red-red-green government in Thuringia", http://links.org.au/node/4187.]

Por Victor Grossman , traducción para Sinpermiso: Enrique García

South Africa: Zwelinzima Vavi's open letter to the SACP

December 17, 2014 -- COSATU, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A response to comrade Jeremy Cronin and an open letter to leaders and members of the South African Communist Party (SACP), by Zwelinzima Vavi (pictured), general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

* * *

Dear comrades

After reading Comrade Jeremy Cronin's public response to my address on 21 November 2014 at the ceremony to mark the 40 years of the South African Labour Bulletin on the topic "Is the labour movement at the turning point?", I was convinced that a public debate was necessary, not just with comrade Jeremy but with the entire leadership and membership of the SACP. I am doing this not just as a General Secretary of COSATU but also as a member of the SACP.

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