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Debate: NATO in Libya: A tactical, necessary evil

[For more left views on Libya, click HERE.]

By Iggy Kim and Marce Cameron

April 3, 2011 -- The NATO intervention in Libya is a necessary evil. Evil, yes, but necessary just the same. At least for the present.

The brutal reality of the early weeks of March was the choice between the crushing of the centre of liberated Libya in Benghazi or the securing of much-needed time (and protection) for the regrouping of the revolutionary forces – however this needed to be obtained, given the urgent imperatives of the actual struggle. The ends do command the means. That is the unavoidable reality confronted by all masses in political motion, engaged in open, class warfare, and no less one that has gone over into armed struggle.

Democratic revolution based on popular power

Why George Monbiot is wrong on nuclear power

By Ricardo Sequeiros Coelho

“This is a very serious accident by all standards. And it is not yet over.” – Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

March 29, 2011 -- Cool the Earth -- George Monbiot, the well-known environmentalist and journalist, managed to surpass the nuclear power lobby in the downplaying of the Fukushima disaster. First, he wrote that the disaster should not lead to an end of nuclear power, since that would mean more coal plants, so we should build more nuclear plants (Monbiot.com). Then, he wrote that since no one died from Fukushima he is now a nuclear power advocate (Monbiot.com). Amazing.

His arguments are as far fetched as they are deceiving. It is worth discussing them in detail, going through the four strategies that he uses to make his point.

Left debates Libya: `The Arab revolution must stay in Arab hands' -- a reply to Gilbert Achcar

French navy technicians load a Mica missile, destined for Libya, under the wing of a Rafale jet fighter on the deck of Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea.

[For more left views on Libya, click HERE.]

By Kevin Ovenden

March 28, 2011 -- Socialist Unity -- The Arab revolution has widened the left’s horizons. In the region itself there is now a historic possibility of a new radical politics: successful resistance to the hegemonic Western powers and to Israel fused with the movement of the young and propertyless masses against the corrupt and complicit elites. 

The fall of Tunisia's Ben Ali and Egypt's Mubarak shattered decades of Western policy, rocking them onto the back foot. They are now moving onto the front foot, as the regional despots raid their political and military arsenals to cling on.  

Left debates Libya: Juan Cole's open letter to the left on intervention; Phyllis Bennis and Vijay Prasad respond

March 29, 2011 -- Democracy Now! -- Juan Cole defends the use of military force to prevent a massacre in Benghazi and to aid the Libyan rebel movement.Vijay Prashad warns the United States has involved itself in a decades-long internal Libyan struggle while it ignores violent crackdowns by US-backed governments in Bahrain, Yemen and other countries in the region.

Left debates Libya: SEARCH Foundation -- `Support "no-fly" UN resolution for Libyan democratic rebellion'

Libya rebels ride a captured Gaddafi tank in Benghazi March 19, 2011. Photo by Goran Tomasevic.

The following statement was released by the Australian SEARCH Foundation. The foundation was set up as a not-for-profit company in 1990 to preserve and draw on the resources of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA), and its archives. The CPA was the most significant socialist party in Australia between its formation in 1920 and 1991, when it ceased operating.

George Monbiot’s nuclear mistakes

Children being scanned for radiation exposure near Fukushima, March 12.

By Jim Green 

March 27, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- Prominent British columnist George Monbiot announced in the British Guardian on March 21, 2011, that he now supports nuclear power. That isn't a huge surprise — having previously opposed nuclear power, he announced himself “nuclear-neutral” in 2009. As recently as March 16, Monbiot declared himself neutral while saying that he would not oppose nuclear power if four conditions were met:

1. Its total emissions — from mine to dump — are taken into account, and demonstrate that it is a genuinely low-carbon option.

2. We know exactly how and where the waste is to be buried.

3. We know how much this will cost and who will pay.

Mike Marqusee: Thoughts on Libya and liberal interventionism

[For more on Libya, click HERE.]

By Mike Marqusee

In the Guardian, Jonathan Freedland writes that liberal interventionism is “fine in theory” but goes wrong “in practise”. I’d suggest that it goes wrong in practise because it’s deeply flawed in theory.

March 25, 2011 -- www.mikemarqusee.com -- The hypocrisy, double standards and selectivity displayed in the Western military action in Libya defy enumeration, but just for a start….

In Yemen and Bahrain Western-backed regimes are violently repressing the democracy movement the West claims to back in Libya. In Iraq a US-sponsored regime protected by 47,000 US troops is trying to do the same – shooting demonstrators, detaining thousands and subjecting many to torture.

Libya intervention: A legitimate and necessary debate from an anti-imperialist perspective

"The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was indeed a compromise with the imperialists, but it was a compromise which, under the circumstances, had to be made... To reject compromises 'on principle', to reject the permissibility of compromises in general, no matter of what kind, is childishness, which it is difficult even to consider seriously... One must be able to analyze the situation and the concrete conditions of each compromise, or of each variety of compromise. One must learn to distinguish between a man who has given up his money and fire-arms to bandits so as to lessen the evil they can do and to facilitate their capture and execution, and a man who gives his money and fire-arms to bandits so as to share in the loot."

-- Vladimir I. Lenin

[For more left views on Libya, click HERE.]

By Gilbert Achcar

Libya, imperialism and ALBA

A Libyan rebel walks past a military position decorated with the rebellion flag at the southern entrance to Benghazi. Photograph: Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images.

[For more coverage of Libya, click HERE.]

By Barry Sheppard

March 27, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalThe struggle in Libya cannot be analysed except in the context of world and especially US imperialism, as I am sure all will agree. But its also cannot be analysed solely in terms of Libya itself in conjunction with the role of imperialism in that single country.

What is the context in which Libya must be placed? Or to put the question another way, could the civil war in Libya and the US military assault have happened four months ago? Of course not. Neither were even remote possibilities in anyone’s mind four months ago.

Australia: How Socialist Alternative misrepresents Socialist Alliance on Libya

February 22, 2011 -- Solidarity rally in Sydney with the Libyan people in their struggle for democracy. Photo by Pip Hinman. See an article about this action here: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46782

[For more coverage of Libya, click HERE.]

By Nick Fredman

March 16, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Most interested observers of the public statements and activity of the Australian organisations Socialist Alternative (SAlt) and Socialist Alliance in regard to Libya would surely conclude that the two groups are in concord: a similar analysis of the pro-imperialist nature of the regime and enthusiastic support for the struggle of the workers and oppressed against dictatorship. Which makes it quite disappointing that Corey Oakley of SAlt has launched a swingeing polemic against Socialist Alliance about Libya[1]. [See Appendix 1 below]

China, Vietnam and the islands dispute: What is behind the rise of Chinese nationalism?

By Michael Karadjis

February 2, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over the last year or so, tensions have been heightened in the dispute over two island groups in the South China Sea (also known as the East Sea in Vietnam), involving rival claims to some or all of the islands by Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and even Brunei. The first three of these countries claim all of both island groups.

The islands in question are known in English as the Paracels and the Spratlys, in Vietnamese as the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, and in Chinese as the Xisha and the Nansha. Both island groups are uninhabited rocky islands and reefs; there is neither a Vietnamese population oppressed by the current Chinese occupation of the Hoang Sa nor a Chinese population oppressed by Vietnamese rule over most of the Truong Sa. Thus there are no questions of self-determination of actual peoples. Therefore, international law would seem to be the best way to judge the status question, unless further negotiations settle things differently.

Ireland: Radio debate on United Left Alliance and left unity

The future of the left in Irish politics

January 20, 2011 -- RTE, Today with Pat Kenny -- A new political alliance was born in Ireland just before Christmas. It is the United Left Alliance. It’s an umbrella group of left-wing parties and individuals who have joined forces to fight the March 11, 2011, general election.

The grouping consists of three existing political parties: the Socialist Party, the People Before Profit Alliance and the Workers and Unemployed Action Group. However the Labour Party and Sinn Fein are not members.

Camila Piñeiro Harnecker: `Cuba needs changes, to take us forward rather than backwards'

Cuban workers march on May Day 2009. Photo by Bill Hackwell/Havana Times.

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic reforms in Cuba, click HERE.]

Translator's introduction

January 15, 2011 -- Cuba's Socialist Renewal -- Alongside and intersecting with the grassroots debates on the Draft Economic and Social Policy Guidelines and the informal debate, there is a rich discussion and debate taking place among Cuban intellectuals and academic specialists from a variety of disciplines and a spectrum of political perspectives within the broad camp of the Cuban Revolution. The Cuban magazine Temas (Themes) is one publication that carries contributions to this debate among Cuba's revolutionary intelligentsia.

How the Communist Party of Australia exposes the Democratic Socialist Party's 'Trotskyism'

By Doug Lorimer

[This article first appeared in the Democratic Socialist Party's internal discussion bulletin, The Activist, volume 10, number 7, August 2000.]

The Communist Party of Australia has recently published a pamphlet by David Matters entitled Putting Lenin's Clothes on Trotskyism which claims that the DSP's rejection of Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution is really a cover for its support for Trotskyism. However, the real purpose of the pamphlet is to criticise the DSP's position on the 1998 waterfront dispute.

This is made clear in the introduction to Matters' pamphlet by CPA general secretary Peter Symon:

In writing Putting Lenin's clothes on Trotskyism, David Matters has contributed to the task of clarifying ideas and maintaining the validity and truth of Marxism...

The attack on Marxism in the name of Marx, or on Lenin in the name of Lenin, is a particularly pernicious form which can easily mislead those who are not familiar with what Marx, Engels and Lenin actually said and wrote.

The pretension that Trotsky was a great Leninist is one of these misrepresentations and was refuted time and again by Lenin.

The left cannot ignore China’s achievements, but neither can it be too celebratory

Rural poverty in China is much higher than urban poverty.

By Michael Karadjis

November 24, 2010 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I strongly agree with Reihana Mohideen (“The left cannot ignore China’s achievement in poverty reduction), that the left cannot simply ignore China’s impressive achievements in poverty reduction and other related social development. I also agree very much with Reihana that the main source of China’s outstanding success as a Third World capitalist power is to be found in the Chinese revolution itself, despite the undoing of its socialist basis and the uncontrolled capitalist development that has taken its place.

I would make a few points about poverty reduction.

A century since Hilferding’s `Finanz Kapital' -- again, apparently, a banker’s world?

By Patrick Bond

November 19, 2010 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The power and reach of financial institutions, not to mention the resulting superprofits, are the source of widespread, often extreme frustration. Industrialists, small businesspeople, government leaders, workers, consumers, environmentalists, the Greeks and Irish (and similar Third Worlders), and indeed all debtors have suffered usurious, speculative or bailout-related decimation of their resources over the past thirty years.

A shared critique of banks today, we’d all agree, includes: too much control, too much out-of-control investing, and too much revolving-door crony capitalism connecting financiers to state “regulators”, of which the Wall Street-Washington crew appear the most corruptly profligate.

Australia -- burqa ban debate: If I can't wear a burqa it's not my revolution?

Kiraz Janicke's "Burqa Revolution".

Green Left Weekly -- On September 23, the Daily Telegraph reported on a wall mural in the Sydney inner-west suburb of Newtown by artist Sergio Redegalli with the slogan “Say no to burqas”. Redegalli’s mural has sparked protests by local residents who have condemned it as racist. Sydney Socialist Alliance activist Kiraz Janicke says Redegalli’s piece “has no other value than to promote racism”. She has responded with an artwork of her own — a submission to the Live Red Art Awards, titled “Burqa revolution”.

Below, Janicke argues that banning the burqa (a veil covering the entire body, with a mesh over the eyes), or other forms of Islamic dress worn by some Muslim women that cover the face, will hinder true women’s liberation.

* * *

`Productivism' or liberation? Socialists debate consumerism

By Ben Courtice, Melbourne

November 2, 2010 -- In a recent seminar on trade unions and the climate movement, I observed a surprising disagreement between some of the socialists present. It was started by a comment from Melbourne University academic (and Socialist Alliance activist) Hans Baer, who suggested that the “treadmill of production and consumption” had to be challenged, that we need to challenge consumerism and the alienation of work that makes people buy things to feel better.

Liz Ross of Socialist Alternative took umbrage at this, declaring that workers should create and enjoy wonderful technological products, tearing down a straw figure that Hans was supposedly arguing to stultify the creativity of the working class.

Australia: The nature of the Greens: a rejoinder to Nick Fredman

Australian Greens MPs and federal Labor Party leaders sign the agreement to back the ALP in government.

By Ben Hillier

October 23, 2010 -- In a recent article (“A Marxist critique of the Australian Greens”, available at marxistleftreview.org) I argue that the Greens cannot be regarded as a left alternative to the Australian Labor Party. My conclusions are based on the following considerations:

1. The Australian Greens is a pro-capitalist party with no organic links to the working class – either ideologically or organisationally.

2. The Greens is an organisation 9000 strong that has several thousand unionists as members. Yet they have no activist base in the union movement. There is no union/workers’ fraction in the organisation; no Greens unionist conference; and it has no rank-and-file groups. The organisation has made no serious attempt to intervene into the workers’ movement at all. It has a number of officers from the union movement as members, but no organised current in the bureaucracy.

Australia: A response to Socialist Alternative on the Greens and class

Greens' leader Senator Bob Brown addresses a rally demanding action on climate change.

Ben Hillier replies at http://links.org.au/node/1959

By Nick Fredman

October 13, 2010 -- Ben Hillier’s article, “A Marxist critique of the Australian Greens” (available at http://www.marxistleftreview.org/) contains some useful information and analysis on the Australian Greens, a formation that has achieved a significant breakthrough in the recent federal election. Hillier is correct, generally, in writing of the Greens’ “populist left nationalism” and “middle class ideological basis”. But he over-emphasises the sociologically middle-class nature of the Greens’ voting base (and probably membership), as part of a general confusion on class today. In a related error, he is quite wrong, and quite sectarian, to state that the Greens “do not in any sense represent an alternative to the ALP” [Australian Labor Party].

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