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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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Talking about Ukraine while ignoring the Ukrainians

 

 

By Richard Seymour

February 25, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Richard Seymour's Patreon blog — The news we depend on, while mentioning Ukraine a lot, isn't really talking about Ukraine. Ukraine is an afterthought, one element in a geopolitical puzzle, the stake in a great power rivalry. It is discussed by secretaries of state, military and intelligence officials, and hawkish MPs. It is spoken of in a way that makes Ukraine a pawn on the Brzezinskian chessboard, in which either NATO or Russian imperialism prevails. One is given no way of understanding what what is at stake for Ukrainians.

Clara Zetkin on the path to workers’ power

 

 

Edited by Bob Schwarz 

February 21, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell Marxist Essays and Commentary — The following extended address by Clara Zetkin to the Communist International’s fifth congress (1924) presents the most rounded defense by a Marxist leader of the call for a workers’ united front, which the International had adopted in 1921. Toward the end of this address, she provided a compact explanation of the “workers’ government” concept, probably the most precise left to us from the Comintern’s early years.

The ‘German October’ of 1923: A failed bid for workers’ power

 

 

By John Riddell 

February 21, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell Marxist Essays and Commentary — On 11 January 1923, France and Belgium sent their armies to occupy the Ruhr region, the industrial heartland of Germany. The invaders’ stated goal was to extract the reparations payments imposed on Germany in the 1919 Versailles treaty that ended World War I.

The French-Belgian occupation pushed Germany into a political and economic crisis that deepened as the year progressed, propelling the German working class toward revolutionary action.

In October 1923, the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) launched an insurrectionary bid for power – an attempt to repeat the Bolshevik victory of October 1917 that became known to historians as the “German October.” The failure of this attempt led to widespread dismay in the KPD, an outcome that helped tip the Comintern as a whole into a process of retreat and decline.[1]

United States: Prospects for the Teamsters under new leadership

 

 

By Dan La Botz

February 20, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — The victory of the OZ slate in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union, headed by Sean O’Brien and Fred Zuckerman and backed by Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), has raised the question: Will this new leadership bring about reform in one of the nation’s largest and most powerful unions? Real reform would mean a union that is free from corruption, more democratic, willing to mobilize the members to fight the bosses, and capable of also addressing broader social issues like Trumpism, COVID, and climate change.

Portugal: Geringonça’s end

 

 

By José Neves

February 20, 2022  — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Side Car — On 27 October 2021, the budget put forward by Portugal’s ruling Socialist Party (PS) was voted down by the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) and Left Bloc (BE), resulting in the dissolution of Portuguese parliament, the collapse of the government and an early general election. The subsequent national ballot, held on 30 January, saw the PCP and BE lose half their elected positions while the PS gained an absolute majority. The PCP fell from 6.33% of the vote to 4.39%, the BE from 9.52% to 4.46%. Although the polls showed an increasingly close race between the PS and the centre-right PSD towards the end of the campaign, on election night the former surpassed its 2019 performance by five percentage points – enough to elect more representatives than every other party combined. Its 41.5% gave the PS 119 seats out of a total 230. Turnout rose by almost 10%.

Nicaragua: Was Daniel Ortega’s re-election a gain for the left? Preface to three articles

 

 

See also: 

On Nicaragua: to the left forces of the Sao Paulo Forum
Was Nicaragua’s November 7 general election fixed or fair?
Nicaragua: What have we learnt about the conflict of April-July 2018?  

 

By Dick Nichols

February 12, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The articles that follow this preface deal with the background to and the conduct of the November 7 general election in Nicaragua. In addition to returning outgoing president Daniel Ortega and vice-president Rosario Murillo with over 75% of the vote, the election saw the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) increase its majority in the 90 elected seats of Nicaragua’s National Assembly from 71 to 74 and from 14 to 15 in its 20-seat contingent in the 126-seat Central American Parliament.

That result would seem to mark a gain for the whole Latin American left, to be ranked with recent advances like those of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) in Bolivia, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Libre in Honduras, and Apruebo Dignidad in Chile.

Was it? The Latin American left is divided on how to take Ortega’s and Murillo’s win. While welcomed by the Cuban, Venezuelan and Bolivian governments, Chilean presidential candidate Gabriel Boric, who was to win the second round of his country’s presidential poll on December 19, disowned the Nicaraguan election.

On Nicaragua: to the left forces of the Sao Paulo Forum

 

 

See also: 

Nicaragua: Was Daniel Ortega’s re-election a gain for the left? Preface to three articles
Was Nicaragua’s November 7 general election fixed or fair?
Nicaragua: What have we learnt about the conflict of April-July 2018?  

 

By Iosu Perales[1]

San Sebastián, August 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Shortly after learning of the departure into exile from Nicaragua of Mónica Baltodano[2] and her family I sat down at the computer and began to write, without a prepared script, without an organised plan for producing a document. A sort of improvisation with its thinking focused on the critical reaction that the left should have, but—with a few honourable exceptions—will not have.

I will be clear from the outset. I feel and believe that no small part of the Latin American left has—along with its political project—been disabled intellectually. Instead of the rule of critical, combative thinking, we find a conservatism that does not match the achievements of a heroic past.

Was Nicaragua’s November 7 general election fixed or fair?

 

 

See also: 

Nicaragua: Was Daniel Ortega’s re-election a gain for the left? Preface to three articles
On Nicaragua: to the left forces of the Sao Paulo Forum
Nicaragua: What have we learnt about the conflict of April-July 2018?  

 

By Dick Nichols

February 12, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The November 7 Nicaraguan general election was never about who would govern the country once the votes were counted. Everyone knew outgoing president Daniel Ortega would be returned for a fourth consecutive term (and his fifth since 1985) and that his wife Rosario Murillo would repeat as vice-president. 

Nicaragua: What have we learnt about the conflict of April-July 2018?

 

 

See also: 

Nicaragua: Was Daniel Ortega’s re-election a gain for the left? Preface to three articles
On Nicaragua: to the left forces of the Sao Paulo Forum
Was Nicaragua’s November 7 general election fixed or fair?  

 

By Dick Nichols

February 12, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This coming April four years will have passed since the protests in Nicaragua against proposed changes to the country’s social security system led to three months of social turmoil. The death toll from April 19 (date of the first fatalities) to July 17 (date of the final elimination of protester barricades) was somewhere between 251 and 328.

Taking on the Philippine axis of evil: An interview with Walden Bello

 

 

By Ashley Smith

February 10, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Tempest — Walden Bello teaches sociology at the State University of New York at Binghamton and is co-chair of the Bangkok-based research and advocacy institute Focus on the Global South. He is the author or co-author of more than two dozen books, including Counterrevolution: The Global Rise of the Far Right and Paper Dragons: China and the Next Crash.

Why the Taliban won: A review of 'No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War through Afghan Eyes'

 

 

No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War through Afghan Eyes
By Anand Gopal
Picador, New York, 2014

Reviewed by Chris Slee

This book, published seven years before the Taliban took control of Kabul for a second time in 2021, helps explain their victory.

China sets target of ‘common prosperity’: Effort for social equality arouses concern on Wall Street

 

 

By John Riddell

October 20, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell Marxist Essays and Commentary — Addressing the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee on 17 August  2021, Xi Jinping, president of the Chinese People’s Republic, stressed the need for “common prosperity” as a fundamental requirement of socialism.[1] The Central Committee responded by calling on high-income individuals and businesses to “give back more to society.”[2]

Big-businesses media in the West have reacted to this development with expressions of concern. “The End of a ‘Gilded Age’: China is Bringing Business to Heel,” declared A New York Times headline. “Where once executives had a green light to grow at any cost,” the Times continued, “officials now want to dictate which industries boom, which ones bust.”[3]

Japan’s 2021 general election and its crisis of democracy

 

 

By Seiya Morita

January 21, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Despite the many voices in favor of a change of government heard on the eve of Japan’s 49th general election held at the end of October 2021, the ruling parties, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Kōmeitō, secured a stable absolute majority. They achieved this with only a minimal loss of seats (LDP from 276 to 261; Kōmeitō from 29 to 32; total from 305 to 293). The main opposition parties, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) and the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), which fielded coalition candidates in most single-seat electoral districts in an effort to change the government, lost seats (CDP from 109 to 96; JCP from 12 to 10). Most of the seats lost were snatched up by Nihon Ishin No Kai, an Osaka-based neoliberal party, which increased its number of seats several times over (from 11 to 41).

There are two contrasting assessments of the election results and the opposition coalition. Many in the media argued that the opposition coalition was a failure, or even a disaster. On the other hand, the supporters of the opposition, including the Communist Party leadership itself, are of the opinion that it was not a great defeat at all, and even think they got the ruling parties on the ropes.

Cuba’s life task: Combatting climate change

 

 

January 21, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Dani Films — Climate change is among the world’s greatest challenges. As a small Caribbean island, Cuba is disproportionately affected by climate change through extreme weather events. Up to 10% of Cuban territory could be submerged by the end of the century, wiping out coastal towns, polluting water supplies, destroying agricultural lands and forcing one million people to relocate. Finding solutions is now essential.

In this documentary, Dr Helen Yaffe goes to Cuba to find out about ‘Tarea Vida’ (Life Task), a long-term state plan to protect the population, environment and the economy from climate change. The Cuban approach combines environmental science, natural solutions and community participation in strategies for adaptation and mitigation. There are lessons here for the world.

Produced by DaniFilms with Dr Helen Yaffe from the University of Glasgow for the COP26 conference in Glasgow.

Directed, Edited and Produced by Daniesky Acosta. Co-directed by Hugo Rivalta. Co-produced by Helen Yaffe. Assistant producer Laura Rivalta.

John Ross and the myth of ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’

 

 

By William Briggs

January 21, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Hardly a week goes by without a new book, commentary or academic paper being published about China in the 21st century. Most of these portray China as a threat and most link this to the idea that China is socialist. The demonisation is real. The threat is real, although it is a threat that comes from the United States and its allies. However, regardless of attacks from the West, China cannot be considered socialist.

The characterisation of China is a key part of the US campaign against China. China’s economic rise threatens US hegemony. The left, quite correctly, stands against the threats that emanate from the USA. Socialists can recognise that hundreds of millions have been brought out of poverty in China. But what they cannot do is accept that China is a socialist state, or that its advances are because of any socialist or Marxist policy.

There needs to be clarity in our analysis of just what China is. Some voices on the left promote the alleged socialist credentials of China. Their arguments, however, do not stand up to scrutiny. 

After historic failure, what future for progressive politics in South Korea?

 

 

By Youngsu Won

January 2, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalWith 2022 beginning, South Korea's left remains extremely divided and politically fragmented. In terms of institutional politics, the only left-wing party in parliament is Shim Sang-jung’s Justice Party (JP), nominally the third party in parliament with just 6 seats out of 295. Unfortunately, JP is the exclusive representative of progressive politics in South Korea’s parliament. Moreover, and in spite of its moderate position, it is evident that JP’s links with labour and popular movements are quite thin and fragile. Some Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) unionists are party members, but most labour and social movement leaders and activists do not belong to JP.

The over-representation of JP in progressive politics is a tragic result of the political collapse of the National Liberation (NL) tendency-led Unified Progressive Party (UPP), which has no seats in parliament and is struggling to politically survive after the party’s arbitrary and forceful dissolution by the Park Geun-hye government in 2013. Though this party remains organisationally strong, in a relative sense, and influential among labour and popular movements, its power in comparison to the previous Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was tremendously weakened. The DLP-UPP years has long gone.

Imperialist rebalance: America’s ‘KGB’ foreign policy line fortifies US imperialism’s global hegemony

 

 

By Rasti Delizo

January 8, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Today’s imperialist world system reflects a combined set of diverse crises sharpening the global order’s systemic contradictions. These inherently include the generalized and deepening crisis of the international capitalist economy, the deadly and unabating COVID-19 pandemic, rising regional and transregional political-security tensions driven by inter-imperialist competitions, and the catastrophic climate change emergency endangering humankind and its ecosystems. The consequence of this historical conjuncture of worldwide ruptures already poses a direct threat to the future of our universal humanity. Hence, the international working-class movement—led by progressive, Left and revolutionary socialist forces—is now urgently tasked to overcome the multiple crises of capitalism by resolutely advancing the general struggle for world socialism. 

Manufacturing the myth of a China threat

 

 

By William Briggs

January 8, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — A lie, well told, is often easy to believe. The fiction that China somehow presents a threat to our lives and lifestyles proves the point. Cold War rhetoric is accepted as truth, even when there is no ideological battlefield.

The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was supposedly about ideas. It was presented as a battle between the forces of light on one side and the forces of darkness on the other. The idea was well marketed, and the world ran along these ‘ideological’ rails for the better part of half a century until the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

One world or no world. Choose!

 

 

By Susan Rosenthal

January 8, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialism is the Best Medicine — The emergence of yet another COVID variant and a surge of new infections and restrictions have people wondering if this pandemic will ever end.

We’ve known how to stop infectious disease transmission for over a century. The problem is that our profit-driven society is structured to a) promote the spread of infectious diseases and b) block effective measures to stop them.

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