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Kobayashi Takiji: Class struggle and proletarian literature in Japan

Kobayashi Takiji (1903-1933).
The Crab Cannery Ship: and Other Novels of Struggle
By Kobayashi Takiji
Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2013, 328 pages
[Scroll to the end for a video presentation of this article, and to Note 1 for Takiji Memorial:  February 20, 2009, a three-part documentary tribute to Kobayashi Takiji, produced by Heather Bowen-Struyk.]

By Doug Enaa Greene

April 15, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In 2008, one of the best-selling novels in Japan was an 80-year-old novel, Kanikosen (Crab Cannery Ship) by the communist author Kobayashi Takiji, detailing the wretched working conditions on a fishing ship and the crew's strike and determination to overthrow their oppressors. The novel, previously selling a moderate 5000 copies per year, shot up to sales of 500,000, along with the release of four manga versions reaching many more readers.

France: Jean-Luc Mélenchon's assessment of March 22 and 29 departmental elections

To improve the resolution of the subtitles, please press play, then click on the small "cog" in the right-hand bottom corner and change quality to 240p or higher. You may need to restart the video from the beginning. It is also best watched in full-screen view (click on the square on the far right-hand bottom corner).

[For more on French politics, click HERE.]

April 7, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Front de Gauche (Left Front) leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon's assessment of the March 22 and 29, 2015, departmental elections in France.

Global campaign: ‘Free Otegi, bring Basque prisoners home’

By Emma Clancy

March 28, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- An international campaign for the release of jailed Basque pro-independence leader Arnaldo Otegi was launched at a conference in the European Parliament in Brussels on March 24.

A statement calling for Otegi’s release was announced at the conference, which has been endorsed by international figures including former Latin American presidents, Nobel Prize winners, political representatives and former political prisoners.

The initial signatories include Senator José Pepe Mújica, president of Uruguay until his term ended in March; Fernando Lugo, president of Paraguay until he was ousted in a constitutional coup in 2012; and José Manuel Zelaya, former Honduran president deposed in a right-wing military coup in 2009.

The statement has also been signed by Nobel Peace Prize winners Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Mairéad Maguire.

Ireland: Sinn Féin launches a 'People's Pact' for Westminster election

Click for more discussion of Irish politics.

March 30, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams TD points out that Sinn Féin's progressive politics is the only alternative to austerity.

Gerry Adams said:

Sinn Féin is totally and absolutely opposed to austerity north and south.

Any parties, which contemplate endorsing or supporting a cabinet of millionaires who are behind budget cuts, cuts to public services and cuts to social protections are ignoring the needs of the people in favour of narrow self-interest.

The people need to have the opportunity to have their say and their voice needs to be heard.

The parties at Westminster are committed to further austerity.

Sinn Féin’s progressive politics and commitment to the rights of citizens is the only alternative to that.

We want to see a society based on equality, inclusion and safeguards for children with disabilities, adults with severe disabilities and the long term sick.

Germany, 1918-1923: the fire and the spirit of revolution

The German Revolution of 1918-1923 not only saw the collapse of the monarchy, but the real possibility of communism spreading into the heart of Europe. Communist historian Doug Enaa Greene lectures on the course of the revolution and the reasons why it didn't succeed. Presented at the Center of Marxist Education.

Click for more on the Communist Party of Germany; and more by Doug Enaa Greene

By Doug Enaa Greene

Ukraine: US/NATO pushes to arm Kyiv's bloody war in the east

February 3 interview on Democracy Now! with Professor Stephen Cohen of New York University and Princeton University.

More on the political situation in Ukraine.

By Roger Annis

February 6, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Kyiv and NATO-driven civil war in Ukraine is taking new and dangerous turns. The United States is threatening to significantly increase its military support to Kyiv's army and the extreme-right militias allied with it, notably in the form of advanced heavy weapons, including artillery systems and anti-tank weaponry. The NATO countries as a whole are increasing their military presence in eastern Europe, including creating rapid-deployment infantry bases.

Increased sanctions against Russia are also on the agenda, although Russia's capacity to withstand sanctions as well as the harmful consequences of sanctions on European countries are cooling the enthusiasm for more sanctions and propelling parallel, military options.

Greece: European elites declare war on SYRIZA government; Thousands rally in Athens

Thousands of protesters gathered in front of the parliament building in Athens on February 5, to show support for the new SYRIZA-led government after the European Central Bank announced its decision to reject Greek bonds as loan collateral from February 11.

For more discussion and analysis of SYRIZA's victory, click HERE.

By Dick Nichols

February 8, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- If anyone was still wondering whether European politics and a Europe-wide class struggle actually exist, reactions from all political quarters to the first two weeks of Greece’s new SYRIZA-led government would have cleared up any lingering doubts.

Interview: South African metalworkers' leader Irvin Jim at the centre of a storm

[For more on NUMSA, click HERE. For more on South Africa, click HERE.]

January 28-30, 2015 -- Real News Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In this three-part interview, Irvin Jim, leader of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) -- the largest trade union in South Africa with 340,000 members that is calling for a return to the principles of the Freedom Charter -- describes his early life and radicalisation and explains why his union withdrew its support for the governing African National Congress (ANC).

Workers must build a united front to implement the Freedom Charter, which includes participating in electoral politics, and fight for socialism. The workers movement can't just be about marching, he says.

The full rough transcript continues below the videos.

Eyewitness Greece: SYRIZA announces dramatic changes, prepares for debt battle with EU

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras makes his victory speech, January 25, 2015. Photo by Vivian Messimeris/GLW.

For more discussion and analysis of SYRIZA's victory, click HERE.

By Dick Nichols, Athens

January 30, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It was the French Catholic daily La Croix that last week best described the size of the challenges facing Greece’s incoming SYRIZA government—they are “labours of Hercules”, a reference to the mythical Greek hero whose 12 feats against impossible odds made him immortal in the ancient world.

Greece: SYRIZA wins! SYRIZA's 40-point program

 Emotional celebrations as SYRIZA wins the January 25, 2015, general election.

See SYRIZA's 2014 governmental program: "Greece: What a SYRIZA government will do"

For more discussion and analysis of SYRIZA's victory, click HERE.

January 26, 2015 -- SYRIZA has won a great victory in the Greek general election.
It became clear in the final days of the campaign that SYRIZA was headed for such a momentous victory. Their rallies across Greece – in town squares, factories and universities – were thoughtful and inspirational. The working class was making its mind up about SYRIZA. Now it has decided and the results are clear – this is nothing short of an overwhelming expression of the people’s will for change, by and for the people.

The last question that remains is if SYRIZA will achieve a majority 151 seats out of Greek parliament’s 300 seats. So far they are just short on 149, but final results will take some time.

* * *

Pablo Iglesias: 'It is called SYRIZA in Greece, in Spain it is Podemos'

Click HERE for more on SYRIZA and the election in Greece.

January 23, 2015 -- Stokokkino.gr, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Alexis Tsipras was joined on stage by Pablo Iglesias, leader of Spanish leftist party Podemos. Supporters waved Greek flags and placards reading "Change Greece, change Europe!", while loudspeakers blared lyrics from the Leonard Cohen song, "First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin".

"The wind of democratic change is blowing, a change in Europe, of a change in Greece", Iglesias told the rally. "It is called SYRIZA in Greece, and in Spain it is called Podemos."

Earlier Iglesias gave an interview to the radio station StoKokkino, in which he underlined that the forthcoming electoral win of SYRIZA will be a promise to the majority of Europe's people, because "SYRIZA, like Podemos in Spain and Sinn Fein in Ireland, is fighting first of all for democracy.”

Greece: Yanis Varoufakis on the economic crisis and why he is standing for SYRIZA

Click HERE for more on SYRIZA.

January 13, 2015 -- Yanis Varoufakis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Beginning at 3.55 minutes, Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economic theory at the University of Athens, discusses the European economic crisis and expalins why he has chosen to be a SYRIZA candidate for parliament in the January 25, 2015, general election.

The POUM: Those who would?

On January 3, 2015, historian Doug Enaa Greene led a discussion on the history of the POUM and the lessons to be drawn for today. It was presented to the Center of Marxist Education. His talk was based on the text below.

By Doug Enaa Greene

January 7, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For generations of leftists, the most recognizable images of the Spanish Civil War is from May 1937 comes from George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia of anarchist and POUMist workers defending the Telephone Exchange in Barcelona from the Communist Party. This image is said to represent the betrayal of Spain's libertarian communist revolution by agents of Moscow. In the decades since May 1937, a great number of polemics have been exchanged on what went wrong and on many “what ifs” on how the revolution could have won in the streets of Barcelona.

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.

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 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.

James Connolly: National liberation and socialism

Tribute to James Connolly by MyLittleTripod.

By Doug Enaa Greene

[See the video of this talk below.]

December 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- "My business is revolution."[1] These words of the Irish socialist James Connolly succinctly sum up the main focus of his life. James Connolly is one of the towering socialist figures of our time. Connolly’s commitment to socialism and internationalism saw him work as labour organiser in Scotland, the United States and Ireland.

Connolly was also a stalwart member of the left wing of the Second International along with Lenin, Eugene Debs, Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky. However, Connolly is most well known for his central role in the struggle of Irish independence, especially in leading the Easter Uprising of 1916. The revolt failed and cost Connolly his life, but it was the spark that led to the end of British rule in the 26 counties of southern Ireland.

Pablo Iglesias (Podemos) on working-class consciousness and politics

Click for more on Podemos and politics in Spain.

Spanish leftist leader Pablo Iglesias, from the political party Podemos, explains his approach to the masses. During its campaign for the 2014 European election, Podemos was criticised by some on the left for avoiding traditional terms such as "class struggle", "bourgeois", "proletariat"...

Read the full text of the comments at https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/12/pablo-iglesias-podemos-left-speech/.

Raj Patel on nutrition, gender and food security in Africa

More from Raj Patel.

November 27, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and The Value of Nothing, speaks on “Nutrition, Gender and Food Security in Africa". Patel is a research professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, a visiting professor at the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University in South Africa and a fellow at the Institute for Food and Development Policy. His current writing and film project is “Generation Food”. The event is sponsored by UT’s Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice.

Produced/edited by Jeffry Zavala, videography by Grace Alfar, Jeff Zavala and Ellie Main.

An Austin Indymedia Production, http://Austin.Indymedia.org.

Rojava: Syria's secret revolution (BBC Our World)

[For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people, click HERE.]

November 14, 2014 -- BBC -- Is the Middle East’s newest country a territory called “Rojava”? Out of the chaos of Syria’s civil war, mainly Kurdish leftists have forged an egalitarian, multi-ethnic mini-state run on communal lines.

But with ISIS jihadists attacking them at every opportunity — especially around the beleaguered city of Kobane, how long can this idealistic social experiment last? From the frontlines to the refugee camps, Mehran Bozorgnia filmed in Rojava for the BBC's Our World and has gained exclusive access and a revealing snapshot of Syria’s secret revolution.

COPYRIGHT: Mehran Bozorgnia / Bozorgnia Films / 2014

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