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Cuba's unsung medical training helps develop Timor Leste and Pacific island countries

August 3, 2013 -- Australia-Cuba Friendship Society -- Excerpts from some longer documentaries by Tim Anderson on Cuban health cooperation with Timor Leste, Vanuatu, Nauru and the Solomon Islands. Also a short excerpt from Nauru Television. For more on Cuba's health system and its assistance to other countries, click HERE.

How should socialists organise? Paul Le Blanc, Gilbert Achcar discuss Leninism, left unity, revolutionary parties

July 31, 2013 -- SwpTvUK -- The following panel discussion -- involving Paul Le Blanc, a speaker from the SWP and Gilbert Achcar -- took place at Marxism 2013, organised by the British Socialist Workers Party. Questions addressed included Lenism today, "left reformism", the left unity process underway in Britain today and the crisis in the SWP. It is followed by a vigorous discussion from the floor.

For more by Paul Le Blanc click HERE. For Le Blanc's thoughts on Marxism 2013, click HERE. For more on the left unity process in Britain, click HERE. For more on Leninism, click HERE. For more on the crisis in the UK SWP, click HERE.

Has the Egyptian revolution been aborted? Interview with Hossam El-Hamalawy

For more on Egypt, click HERE.

By Bassam Haddad

July 12, 2013 -- Jadaliyya -- Hossam El-Hamalawy is an Egyptian journalist and activist who maintains the popular site www.arabawy.org. He is associated with the Revolutionary Socialists group. Hossam El-Hamalawy starts by rejecting the "coup vs. revolution" debate, and addresses briefly the short and long history of the military's involvement in politics in relation to the June 30 events.

He then moves on to discuss in more detail the developments of the past two years, revealing that we cannot assume that "what we had was an 'Ikhwani' [Muslim Brotherhood] regime; it was still the Mubarak regime, but they gave a share of the cake to the Islamists". The army assumed they can use the opportunistic leaders to stabilise the streets, according to Hossam.

Marxism and women's liberation: talks by Sharon Smith, Abbie Bakan (video and text)

July 12, 2013 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Abbie Bakan and Sharon Smith's talks on why it is impossible to be a Marxist without also embracing feminism. It was presented to the International Socialist Organization's Socialism 2013 conference in Chicago, June 27-30.

Abbie Bakan is head of the department of gender studies at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and a professor of political studies. Her research focuses on employment equity, Marxist theory and anti-oppression politics. Sharon Smith is author of Women and Socialism, Subterranean Fire: A History of Working-Class Radicalism in the United States and the forthcoming Marxism, Feminism and Women’s Liberation.

For more video and audio from the Socialism 2013 conference, go to Wearemany.org.

Ahmed Shawki (US ISO): `We can forge the basis for a new and different party' (now video)

July 7, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The above talk,"Perspectives for the left", was presented by the US International Socialist Organization's Ahmed Shawki at the organisation's annual Socialism conference in Chicago, June 27-30, 2013. It outlines the ISO's current perspectives, in particular it's task of rebuilding the left in collaboration with other parties and tendencies. This and other talks are also available at Wearemany.org.

Shawki is author of Black Liberation and Socialism and editor-in-chief of the International Socialist Review.

Egypt: 'The people still want end to regime' -- left assessments of the uprising and military takeover (updated July 10)

Demonstration at Tahrir Square in Cairo, June 30, 2013.

July 7, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below are a number of assessments of the massive protests and military intervention that overthrew the government of Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood on July 3, 2013. Check back for new additions.

For more on Egypt, click HERE.

* * *

Egypt: 'The people still want end to regime'

By Tony Iltis

July 7, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly (Australia) -- The protests which began on June 30 ― and by July 3 had led to the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi ― were reportedly the largest in Egyptian history.

With claims between 10 and 20 million people took part, they were larger than the protests which led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011.

There are obvious similarities between the downfall of the two presidents. In both cases it was the military who, despite having previously been a pillar of the regime, executed the overthrow because protests were becoming too big and staunch to be easily repressed.

Australia: Cuba's 'Yes, we can' literacy campaign success in outback

June 27, 2013 -- Green Left TV -- Bob Boughton speaks to GLTV's Linda Seaborn about his experience with the Cuban literacy campaign. Filmed in the GLTV studio at the Hobart Activist Centre.

This is an abridged transcript of an interview Linda Seaborn conducted with Dr Bob Boughton for Green Left Weekly. Boughton helped initiate a Cuba-supported literacy program in the New South Wales town of Wilcannia.

* * *

Tell us about the Cuban “Yes, we can” literacy campaign model.

I came across it while working in Timor Leste where the government had invited a group of Cubans to help with their national literacy campaign. They had a model they had developed back in 2000. There are three aspects to the model. One is they mobilise the whole community around the issue of literacy and they build a local campaign structure which drives the campaign.

The second aspect of the model is they have a pre-recorded set of DVDs on which there are lessons, and when you watch the lessons you are watching a class learn how to read and write.

The third aspect of the campaign is that when people complete the 64 lessons, the community or local government organise activities which allow people to continue to build their literacy.

Robert Austin on 'Latin America's Turbulent Transitions' (video)

June 16, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Latin America expert Robert Austin gives an information-packed review of the new book, Latin America's Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty-First Century Socialism, by Roger Burbach, Michael Fox and Federico Fuentes. The book is a detailed exposition and analysis of the powerful social movements challenging Imperialism across the South American continent.

Robert Austin is an honorary fellow at the school of history, philosophy, religion and classics, University of Queensland, St Lucia.

Latin America's Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty-First Century Socialism
By Roger Burbach, Michael Fox & Federico Fuentes
Zed Books, 2013.

Order at Resistance Books.

Britain: People's Assembly prepares for fight back (with videos); Success, challenges and politics

Ken Loach.

By Jody Betzien, London

June 30, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Frances O’Grady, head of the British Trade Union Congress (TUC), set the tone in the opening session of the People's Assembly in London on June 22, declaring: “The Bullingdon boys are waging class war against ordinary people. We will retaliate, it is time to fight back against a government of millionaires.”

O'Grady's reference to Conservative Party Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne by the exclusive upper-class Oxford University society they belonged reflects the anger at the Conservative-Liberal Democrats war on the poor.

More than 4000 anti-austerity campaigners packed Westminster Central Hall on June 22 to launch a national fight-back campaign.

The huge mass gathering was a joint initiative of unions, campaign organisations and left parties opposed to the coalition government's savage austerity, which is largely supported by the Labour opposition.

It was preceded by “people's assemblies” in cities across Britain, involving thousands of people.

Brazil: Massive protests fuelled by majority's lost expectations


Real News network report, June 24, 2013. More at The Real News.

[For more on Brazil, click HERE.]

By Charmain Levy

June 22, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The massive protests across Brazil have taken everyone – even the instigating group, the Movimento do Passe Livre (MPL, Free Fare Movement) – by surprise. Some international lefties and political analysts have repeated mainstream Brazilian journalists’ claim that they are the most important protests since the end of the military dictatorship in 1985. This is false.

Turkey: Unionised workers call general strike as mass protests reach more than 67 cities

June 4, 2013 -- Real News Network -- Today the uprisings witnessed a new development, when Turkey's Confederation of Public Workers Unions, KESK, consisting of 11 unions and approximately 240,000 members, declared their decision to stage a massive two-day strike. The action, which was originally planned for a later date in response to labor law modifications, was rescheduled to June 4 now, in response to the government's excessive use of police brutality and its increasingly undemocratic practices. For the full transcript, click HERE.

Bulgaria: Free Jock Palfreeman! Australian activist wrongly imprisoned

Jock Palfreeman interviewed by Tony Iltis, Sofia

May 17, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- “I’m in Villawood!”, Jock Palfreeman exclaimed, with the cheerful exuberance he displayed throughout an interview conducted through glass and wire-mesh partitions in the gloomy surroundings of the visiting room of Sofia central prison.

He told Green Left Weekly that it was the plight of refugees illegally detained in Sydney's Villawood detention centre by the Australian government that first radicalised him. His first protest, as a high school student in Sydney, was a blockade of the offices of Villawood’s then operator Australasian Correctional Management on May Day in 2002.

A year later he organised students at his school to attend the “Books Not Bombs” student walkouts to protest against the war on Iraq.

It was because of his seeming inability to ignore injustice that he is now serving a 20-year sentence in Bulgaria.

France: Front de Gauche calls huge march against austerity, for democratic renewal

Jean-Luc Mélenchon addresses the May 5, 2013, mobilisation in Paris. Part 2 below.

By Dick Nichols

May 11, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On May 5, the largest left protest ever against the policies of a French Socialist Party (PS) government took place in Paris. To the stirring sounds of the protest anthem “On Lâché Rien (“We Don’t Give In”), up to 180,000 workers, pensioners, unemployed and students marched from the Bastille to Place de la Nation.

They were demanding an end to economic austerity and for a democratic Sixth Republic that would overturn the present Fifth Republic, which is dominated by corrupt and entrenched financial and political elites. The symbol of the march was the kitchen broom, for the “clean sweep of this insufferable political atmosphere”, called for by Front de Gauche (Left Front) leader and 2012 presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

On the day tens of thousands marched with brooms or brushes in hand.

Michael Lebowitz: 'Spectres and struggles' (video): a new vision for socialism in the 21st century

By Michael A. Lebowitz

May 3, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The above talk was presented in Zagreb, Croatia, at a conference organised by the Centre of Workers' Studies.(More videos are available at http://www.youtube.com/user/SkriptaTV?feature=watch.)

A spectre is haunting the working class of Europe (both east and west) and the working class of developed capitalism in general. That spectre is the spectre of communism. For the working class, that frightful hobgoblin is a society of little freedom, a society of workers without power (in the workplace or community) and a society where decisions are made at the top by a vanguard party which views itself as the sole repository of truth. Of course, this was not what communism meant for Karl Marx and Frederick Engels nor, indeed, for Lenin.

Michael Lebowitz: Primitive accumulation versus contested reproduction (video)

[For more articles by or about Michael Lebowitz, click HERE.]

By Michael A. Lebowitz, Ljubljana

May 4, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- If we don't understand a system as it is fully developed [its "being"] and thus its critical characteristics, we cannot investigate the "becoming" of those characteristics.

This is why Marx discussed primitive (or original) accumulation of capital only at the end of volume 1 of Capital. Exclusive focus upon the emergence of the new elements, however, is not real history. "Becoming" is two sided: it is both a coming into being and a passing away. The concept of primitive accumulation explores only the former; it considers the new being born but not the old struggling to remain alive. It is, in short, one-sided. Not only does it fail to explore on its own the struggle of the old for its reproduction but it also does not consider the interaction, the morbid symptoms and dysfunction when two sets of productive relations are engaged in contested reproduction with respect to their control of the elements of production.

Britain's days of hope -- Ken Loach's 'The Spirit of ’45' reviewed

Ken Loach discusses The Spirit of '45.

Left-wing film director Ken Loach is at the centre of a movement for a new left party in Britain that is committed to defending and extending the welfare state and uncompromisingly fighting austerity. More than 8000 people have signed his appeal for such a party. A vital component of this campaign has been the success of his new documentary, The Spirit of '45.

* * *

April 2013 -- Red Pepper -- Ken Loach’s The Spirit of ’45 is not just an exercise in nostalgia but a compelling intervention into the politics of the present, writes Alex Nunns.

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when Britain responded to crippling debts and chronic daily hardship with a decisive move to the left: nationalising industry, building council houses and creating brand new public services from scratch.

Adam Hanieh: A strategic overview of the struggles in the Middle East (video)

April 21, 2013 -- SocResVideo -- Adam Hanieh addressed the 2013 April 2013 Socialist Resistance conference in Britain on the social upheavals in the Middle East and their strategic context.

[Adam Hanieh is a lecturer in development studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is author of Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States (Palgrave-Macmillan 2011) and a member of the editorial board of the journal Historical Materialism. For more by Adam Hanieh, click HERE.]

Hong Kong: 'We're all on the same ocean' -- dock workers' strike holds firm

April 17, 2013 -- Labor Notes -- A new video shows Hong Kong dock workers walking off the job March 29 and describing apalling working conditions at the world’s third-busiest port, where their dramatic strike has brought transport to a virtual halt.

Their energy is palpable. “It’s like—the things we’ve suppressed for 10, 20 years, it’s all blowing up now”, one worker says (at 3:59 in video above). He points to a co-worker seriously. “Look at his face. He’s done 24. That’s what a 24 looks like.” Then he cracks a smile. “Actually, you know, he used to be pretty [bleep] good-looking—at least if you shave that beard!”

The workers are appealing for protest letters to be send to support their strike. Please visit Dock workers defy Hong Kong's richest person, seek solidarity, attract huge support for sample letters and more background the struggle.

The video was produced by students from Left 21, a left organisation in Hong Kong. Richard Chen, who translated it, writes:

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