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France

Pierre Bourdieu, a thinker of emancipation

Pierre Bourdieu.

By Dimitris Fasfalis

February 3, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Ten years after his death, Pierre Bourdieu’s work and commitments are commemorated throughout the world by friends and foes alike. Le Monde, for instance, described him as a “classic thinker”: second-most quoted author of the academic world after Michel Foucault.

Academia thus recognises Bourdieu as a major sociologist of the 20th century whose concepts (habitus, fields, types of capital, symbolic violence) have become pillars of the social sciences. Few voices, however, have reclaimed Bourdieu’s radical legacy, while his work is of great interest for all those committed to emancipation.[1]

Congolese community calls for solidarity; Mineral profits fuel Congo violence


Sydney, December 10, 2011 -- Leaders of the Congolese community in Australia, at a meeting organised by the Latin American Social Forum, explained the crisis the Democratic Republic of Congo is facing after more than 50 years of exploitation by the Western countries and their local allies, and appealed for solidarity from the international socialist movement. Above community elder Mbuyi Tshielantende speaks (translated by Fralis Kolanga).

Liliane Lukoki discusses the situation of women in Congo; Fralis Kolanga calls for solidarity.

Europe: Old racist poison in new bottles

Marine Le Pen, daughter of the racist founder of the National Front in France, Jean Marie Le Pen (right).

By Rupen Savoulian

November 14, 2011 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- With Europe engulfed in an economic crisis that threatens to bring down the eurozone, and possibly shrink the European Union itself, it is noteworthy to see that some people are doing well out of this crisis – very well in fact. The capitalist system is lurching from crisis to crisis, and while the political left and socialist parties have experienced some growth from the widespread disaffection with the imploding capitalist system, it is the extreme right that is also benefiting from the generalised economic malaise.

On the meaning of ‘popular front’

The Bolivarian movement led by Hugo Chávez contains bourgeois forces and has been the scene of repeated struggles between popular and bureaucratic wings. But far from subordinating workers to bourgeois leadership, it has served as the instrument to mobilise the masses in struggles that have won significant gains.

By John Riddell

August 8, 2011 -- also availabe at johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal with John Riddell's permission -- In a comment posted July 16 to my article “Honduras Accord: A Gain for Ottawa?” Todd Gordon warns against the danger of “popular-front style organization” and a “popular front electoralist strategy” (see his comment below this article). Socialists often use the term “popular front” or “people’s front” as a form of condemnation. But what exactly does the term mean, and how does apply it to poor, oppressed countries like Honduras?

Review: `The Muslim revolt: A journey through political Islam'

By Rupen Savoulian

June 25, 2011 -- http://rupensavoulian.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Since the September 11, 2001, twin tower attacks, there has been renewed interest in the questions of Islam, political Islamism and jihadism. Books have been published by the truckload, seminars bringing together various political scientists and experts have been held, reams of paper analysing the origins and trajectory of political Islam have been published, and the airwaves resonate with talkback from pundits about the impact of Islam and Islamism in the world. How can one make sense of all this? Where does one begin?

R. Palme Dutt's 'Fascism and social revolution'

By Graham Milner

In the present situation in the world, with the intermittent resurgence of fascist and neo-fascist movements in some countries, an avowedly Marxist treatment of the subject of fascism, such as Palme Dutt's Fascism and Social Revolution, deserves the attention of new generations of readers.

Rajani Palme Dutt (1896-1974) was born in England of an Indian father and a Swedish mother.[1] He grew up in a political household, where socialism and Indian independence were familiar subjects of discussion. A brilliant scholar at Oxford University (he took a double first), Dutt was a conscientious objector during the World War I, and was expelled from university in 1917 for disseminating Marxist propaganda.

Western Sahara: `We want to go back to our country. Nothing will stop us wanting our rights'

Tagiyou Aslama. Photo by Alan Bain.

Tony Iltis interviews Tagiyou Aslama

March 20, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Western Sahara is the last country in Africa awaiting decolonisation. Invaded by Spain in the late 19th century, in the early 1970s mass mobilisations heralded the birth of the modern independence movement. In 1973, Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front) was established to wage an armed independence struggle.

By 1975, the dying days of the Franco dictatorship, the Spain had been fought to a standstill. However, rather than allow independence, Spain made an agreement with neighbouring countries, Morocco and Mauritania, whereby these countries would occupy Western Sahara while Madrid would retain access to its maritime resources.

Many Saharawi fled to refugee camps on the border with Algeria. However, most of the men returned to fight for independence. On February 27, 1976, the Polisario Front declared the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

The European workers' movement: dangers and challenges

In Portugal, November 2010 general strike called by the Communist Party-led CGTP and the Socialist Party-led UGT was massively supported, with 3 million strikers out of a workforce of 4.7 million.

By Murray Smith

March 6, 2011 -- New Socialist -- With the onset of the world economic crisis, the European workers' movement finds itself in a new phase, one that is replete with dangers and challenges. It is important to underline that we are in fact in a new situation and not just a continuation of the previous period.

Nuclear means catastrophe: The lesson of Fukushima

People are tested for radiation exposure near Fukushima. 

By Daniel Tanuro

March 17, 2011 -- International Viewpoint via Climate and Capitalism -- What has happened was entirely predictable: yet another major nuclear “accident”. At the time of writing, it is not yet certain that it will take on the dimensions of a disaster similar to Chernobyl, but that is the direction in which things, alas, look set to evolve. But whether it develops into a major disaster or not, we are once again faced with evidence that nuclear technology can never be 100% secure.

France, WSF, Korea ... International left solidarity with the Egyptian people's uprising

Melbourne solidarity celebrations, February 12, 2011. Photos by Sue Bolton, beats from Al Aqsa Intifada by Rootsman and Muslimgauze, edited by Nick Fredman.

Below are a number of statements and reports of solidarity actions around the world following the overthrow of the US-backed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. They include a statement from organisations attending the New Anti-Capitalist Party congress in France, solidarity from the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, a statement by leaders of the Socialist Party USA and a report on trade union organised protests in South Korea. Check back for more.

* * *

Statement from left organisations present at the New Anti-Capitalist Party congress

February 12, 2011 -- The overthrow of Ben Ali and Mubarak change the political situation not only in the Maghreb but on the international scale.

Olivier Besancenot on Tunisia: `I know now that revolution is possible'

Photo: Photothèque Rouge/Akremi Mesbah.

January 26, 2011 -- Collective Resistance -- Olivier Besancenot, spokesperson for the Nouveau Parti Anti-Capitaliste, was in Tunisia earlier this week to find out about the revolution happening there. Here are his impressions.This interview first appeared in French on the NPA website. The translation by the Collective Resistance blog appeared on January 26.

* * *

How did this trip to Tunisia come about?

The rise and fall of Tunisia's Ceauşescu

Socialist Unity, January 17, 2011 -- Picture sent by Twitter from Al Jazeera journalist Ayman Mohyeldin. Protesters hold up signs outside a trade union office saying “Protests must continue”, rejecting the fake “national unity” government.

[For more on Tunisia in revolt, click HERE.]

By Richard Seymour

[This article first appeared on Seymour's blog, Lenin's Tomb. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission.]

New Anti-Capitalist Party on Tunisia: 'Ben Ali assassin, Sarkozy accomplice!'

Statement by the New Anti-Capitalist Party (Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste) France, translated by John Mullen for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

[This statement was released before the fall of Ben Ali. See "Tunisia's intifada topples tyrant: 'Yezzi fock!".]

January 11, 2011 -- When Mohamed Bouazizi committed suicide by setting fire to himself after being harassed by the police his act became the spark which is now setting fire to the whole of the “miraculous Tunisia” of General Ben Ali.

(Updated Jan. 16) Tunisia's intifada topples tyrant: 'Yezzi fock!'

[For more on Tunisia in revolt, click HERE.]

On January 14, the BBC reported that the mass uprising in Tunisia had toppled that country's Western-backed tyrant after weeks of protests and government repression, which has cost the lives of dozens of Tunisians. According to the BBC:

Tunisia's President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has stepped down after 23 years in power, amid widespread protests on the streets of the capital Tunis. In a televised address, Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi said he would be taking over from the president. A state of emergency was declared earlier, as weeks of protests over economic issues snowballed into rallies against Mr Ben Ali's rule. Unconfirmed reports say Mr Ben Ali and his family have left Tunisia. The reports suggest that the deposed president is looking for a place of asylum, with French media saying that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has turned down a request for his plane to land in France.

The articles below explain some of the background to the uprising.

Ivory Coast: Behind the post-election political crisis and threat of military intervention

Ivorians protest against food price increases in 2008.

By Peluola Adewale

Jannuary 5, 2011 -- Democratic Socialist Movement (Nigeria) -- That the November 28, 2010, run-off election in the Ivory Coast has produced two presidents – Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo – is not a surprise, though working people had expected the election to usher a return of peace. The country has been divided into two since the 2002 coup attempt and subsequent rebellion, with each half effectively having its own de facto government. The north is controlled by rebels, Forces Nouvelles (New Forces), while the south is under Gbagbo with the support of the armed forces and youth militia. Therefore, on this account and with the ethnocentric sentiment that has characterised Ivorian politics in the last two decades, it is natural that the results of the election from either half would be bitterly disputed by the party declared the loser of the contest.

France: Not victorious, but not defeated

By Murray Smith

December 8, 2010 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It is now possible to begin to draw a tentative balance sheet of the vast movement against the reform (or more exactly, counter-reform) of the pension system in France over the last few months. We need to look at the depth and breadth of the movement, the forms that it took and the positions adopted by its various components. And finally at what might be the repercussions and consequences.

The immediate aim of the reform proposed by President Nicolas Sarkozy and his government seemed quite clear. It was to raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 and the age for retiring with a full pension from 65 to 67, with corresponding increases in the number of years of contribution required. But behind this immediate aim lies the ongoing objective of slowly undermining the public pension system, with the aim of pushing workers towards subscribing to private pension plans, to the greater profit of the pension funds.

Private funds have never been able to develop in France to the extent that they have elsewhere.

France: Movement debates next steps in resistance to government attacks

By Chris Latham

November 14, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- President Nicolas Sarkozy enacted a new law on November 10 that increases the retirement age of French workers. The move came just days after more than a million workers and students mobilised across France against the law.

The November 6 protests were the eighth national strike and protests since September 7 against the bill — although it was the easily the smallest of the mobilisations.

The protest highlighted the depth of ongoing popular anger over the changes, which were pushed through parliament on October 27. However, the decline in the size of the protests reflects growing divisions in the movement over its direction now the law has been passed.

Sarkozy enacted the law just hours after it had been approved by the Constitutional Council. There had been hopes among some union leaders and left groups that the council would reject the bill.

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.

* * *

`French workers and people show the way in resisting attacks' -- solidarity from Philippines, Australia, Indonesia

Demonstration in Lyon, central France, October 16, 2010. AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, Boston.com.
For more on the French workers' upsurge, click HERE.

France: Workers, students fight attacks on pensions, oppose austerity (+ photo essay)

High school students join a demonstration against attacks on pensions rights in Paris, October 14, 2010. AP Photo/Francois Mori from Boston.com.

By Chris Latham

October 24, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- Since October 12, France has been gripped by intensifying mass opposition by workers and students to proposed counter reforms to the country’s pensions system by the right-wing government of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Public opposition to the attack has been highlighted by three national strikes each involving millions of people, two national student strikes and a growing wave of indefinite strikes in a range of industries — most notably the crippling shutdown of the oil industry.

Despite the size and intensity of the mobilisations, the Sarkozy government remains defiant, insisting the changes to the pension system are essential to France’s future. The government has threatened to repress attempts to disrupt France’s economic life.

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