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United States

Don't pay for a failed system

US$700 billion dollars is twice the combined debt of the world’s poorest 49 countries.

By Tony Iltis

October 11, 2008 -- “Meltdown” is a word that one hears a lot on the news these days.

Despite the US$700 billion government bailout of banks in the US, similar (albeit smaller) bailouts in Europe, and various forms of state intervention in the finance industry on both sides of the Atlantic, sharemarkets worldwide are in free fall. Comparisons with the Great Depression of the 1930s are common. Homelessness and unemployment are rising and are set to increase dramatically.

Meanwhile, more quietly but even more relentlessly, another meltdown is occurring: that of the polar icecaps. According to the Western world’s establishment politicians and corporate media, the way to avert catastrophic climate change lies in setting up elaborate emissions trading schemes and carbon markets: that is, relying on precisely the mechanisms that have created the economic meltdown!

United States: The financial calamity, African Americans and Obama

Barack Obama supporters

By Malik Miah

October 8, 2008 -- The deepening financial calamity exposes how the “fundamentals” of the economy impact on working people, particularly African Americans. The so-called unfettered free market system has been a failure.

The issue of the economy has given the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, the first Black candidate for a major party, a big boost. After eight years of Bush-Cheney, Obama should be a shoo-in. Democrats are expected to garner big majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

John Bellamy Foster: Can the financial crisis be reversed?

Interview with John Bellamy Foster, editor of Monthly Review, for Página/12 (Argentina). This interview was first posted at MRzine on October 10, 2008, and has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

Página/12: What is your opinion about the decision of the US Treasury Department to consider taking ownership stakes in many United States banks? Do you think this is the right political-economic strategy? I mean, will it lead to the recovery of the system?

Richard D. Wolff: Capitalism hits the fan: a socialist solution

Richard Wolff is professor of economics at UMass Amherst. He talks about the underlying cause of the current capitalist crisis (NOT ``financial'' crisis) and capitalism in general. Socialism and workers' democracy is presented as the alternative. The talk was presented by the Association for Economic and Social Analysis and the journal Rethinking Marxism in early October 2008.

Capitalist versus socialist state intervention in the economy

By Martin Saatdjian

October 1, 2008 -- Venezelanalysis -- The current financial crisis reveals the first symptoms of a major, perhaps revolutionary, socioeconomic change in world affairs. Much has been said how, after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, capitalism overshadowed socialism and "the end of history" was decreed in much of the intellectual world. Not surprisingly, less has been mentioned that while socialism was dying in Europe, it was also blossoming in Latin America. In 1989, events known as El Caracazo -- major protests in Venezuela against neoliberalism and the "Washington Consensus" aimed at reducing the role of the state in the economy -- erupted. The election of Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela in 1998 was a reaction not only to people's dislike [of neoliberalism] and the failure of neoliberalism, but also to the strong repression that followed the 1989 protests.

Four crises of the contemporary world capitalist system

By William K. Tabb

Monthly Review, October 8, 2008 -- This essay examines aspects of the global political economy that I hope will inform progressive governments and movements for social change. It evaluates the constraints and opportunities presented in the current conjuncture of world capitalist development by analysing four areas of crisis in the contemporary world capitalist system. These are not the only contradictory elements in the contemporary conjuncture, but they are, in my view, the most salient.

Updated with video and audio: The financial crisis: A socialist perspective

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October 4, 2008 (KPFA/Left Business Observer) Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin on the financial crisis, neoliberalism and the American empire -- the end of what, if anything, exactly? Listen HERE

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Real News Network interviews with Leo Panitch

October 10, 2008:

Wall Street crisis: Poor to bail out the rich again

By Peter Boyle

September 26, 2008 -- "Rich people got it good in this country", said African-American comedian Wanda Sykes on the September 24 Tonight Show with Jay Leno. "We refuse to let them not be rich. Think about it. Broke people are about to bailout rich people. This is what is going on."

"And they want no oversight. $700 billion dollars and no oversight! No oversight? Why should we? I want receipts dammit! What do you mean no oversight? Because, oh, you're so good with the other money?"

"This is the biggest piece of garbage ever. You know what? It's welfare for the rich...

Peter Camejo remembered: tributes from the left

Below are number left tributes to Peter Camejo, who died on September 13: from Green Left Weekly (Australia); Ralph Nader, US presidential candidate; veteran US socialist Barry Sheppard; Socialist Worker (USA) and Louis Proyect, moderator of the Marxism List (USA).

As a tribute, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has also republished two of Peter's most influential and enduring lectures (at http://links.org.au/node/625), talks that continue to educate young revolutionary socialists to this day. 

Peter Camejo.

Financial crisis: working people will pay

By Dick Nichols

September 20, 2008 -- “Will my superannuation [pension] fund be next?” “Are my savings safe?” As working people in the developed economies watch the assets of one financial institution after another vaporise into nothingness, tens of millions are asking these dreadful questions.

 

 

Yesterday’s AAA assets are now junk and yesterday’s “risk-free” investments are losing money. No-one, not even the world’s central bankers, who are spending sleepless nights arranging rescue bailouts and emergency injections of trillions of dollars into a financial system frozen with fear and distrust, can answer them with 100% certainty.

Obama raises hopes but pledges more war

By Barry Sheppard

September 14, 2008 -- Socialist Voice -- The nomination of Barack Obama as the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party is historic. He is the first African American presidential candidate of one of the two major capitalist parties. He may win the election and become the first black president, something inconceivable only two years ago. That a black man might become head of government in a society still marked by ingrained racism puts race at the centre of the election campaign — more on this below.

Obama gave his acceptance speech at the end of the Democratic Party convention to some 84,000 people. Such a turnout for a presidential candidate is itself unprecedented. During the Democratic Party primary campaign Obama regularly spoke to audiences of thousands. He has raised hopes in a nation weary of war and which is in a worsening economic downturn hitting workers and the middle class hard.

Peter Camejo interviewed in 1976

Peter Camejo is heard here speaking in 1976 on the NBC network when he stood for the US Socialist Workers Party as its presidential candidate.

Source: Jon Flanders.

A brilliant piece of socialist advocacy and showcases Camejo's skill for making socialist ideas accessible to a wide audience.

Peter Camejo 1939-2008: How to make a revolution in the United States (1969)/Liberalism, ultraleftism or mass action (1970)

The tragic news on September 13, 2008, that Peter Camejo had lost his battle with cancer is a blow to all those on the revolutionary left who have been politically and personally influenced by him. As a tribute, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal republishes two of Peter's most influential and enduring lectures, talks that continue to educate young revolutionary socialists to this day.

Peter Camejo in 2005, photo by Charles Jenks.

Peter Camejo was a longtime leader of the United States Socialist Workers Party. As a leader of the Young Socialist Alliance, the youth group associated with the SWP, Camejo was a prominent activist in the student movement at the University of California in Berkeley and in the anti-Vietnam war movement. He was the presidential candidate of the SWP in 1976. (Listen to Peter Camejo interviewed on the NBC's Tomorrow Show in 1976.) He parted company with the SWP in 1980 as its politics increasingly became more sectarian (Camejo's analysis of the US SWP's political evolution is available HERE.).

Peter Camejo: How to make a revolution in the United States (1969)/Liberalism, ultraleftism or mass action (1970)

By Peter Camejo

Peter Camejo was a longtime leader of the United States Socialist Workers Party. As a leader of the Young Socialist Alliance, the youth group associated with the SWP, Camejo was a prominent activist in the student movement at the University of California in Berkeley and in the anti-Vietnam war movement. He was the presidential candidate of the SWP in 1976.

Camejo made a number of visits to Australia for the Democratic Socialist Party and Resistance in the 1980s and 1990s, giving public lectures on US politics and socialism.

“How to Make a Revolution in the United States” is the abridged text of a speech delivered by Peter Camejo at an educational conference of the SWP and the YSA in New York on May 3, 1969. It is taken from the May 30, 1969 issue of The Militant.

“Liberalism, Ultraleftism or Mass Action” is the abridged text of a talk given by Camejo at a meeting in New York on June 14, 1970. It is taken from the July 10, 1970 issue of The Militant.

Martin Luther King's last struggle -- a talk by Brian Jones

Teacher and actor Brian Jones educated and moved his audience with his talk, ``Martin Luther King's last struggle'' at the United States' International Socialist Organization's ``Socialism 2008'' conference in Chicago on June 20, 2008.

 

Since 1999, Jones has portrayed Karl Marx in Howard Zinn's play Marx in Soho in US tours. He lent his voice to the audio recording of Noam Chomsky's book Hegemony or Survival and to several staged readings from Zinn's latest book, Voices of a People's History of the United States. He is a teacher in New York and contributes frequently to the Socialist Worker newspaper and the International Socialist Review magazine.

Socialism conferences are sponsored annually by the Center for Economic Research and Social Change, publisher of International Socialist Review and Haymarket Books. Conferences are co-sponsored by the International Socialist Organization, publisher of Socialist Worker and Obrero Socialista.

The elephant in the room: Obama, the left and the race question

By Malik Miah

August 10, 2008 -- Much of the world is fascinated by the current US presidential election. The main reason is because the United States is ready to do something that most developed countries would never consider doing: electing a representative from an oppressed minority as head of state.

Olympics 1968: Black Power Salute

At the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games the enduring image was Tommie Smith and John Carlos, African-American athletes, raising their gloved clenched fists in support of the Black Power movement during the ``Star Spangled Banner''. They were subsequently banned from the games for life. Black Power Salute looks at what inspired them to make their protest, and what happened to them after the Games. Featuring Tommie Smith, Lee Evans, Bob Beamon and Delroy Lindo. Click HERE for parts 2-6.

Also read about Peter Norman, the Australian athlete who gained third place, who supported Smith's and Carlos' protest. Norman is the subject of a new documentary, Salute, which can be previewed here.

Part 1

 

Photo essay: Mexican indigenous front agitates for rights of migrants in the US

Text and photos by David Bacon

SANTIAGO DE JUXTLAHUACA, OAXACA, MEXICO

MAY 31, 2008 -- The assembly of the Indigenous Front of Binational Organisations in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca, one of the poorest areas in Mexico. A large percentage of the indigenous population of Oaxaca and other states has left to work in northern Mexico and in the United States. The FIOB is a political organisation of indigenous communities and migrants, with chapters in Mexico and the US. It advocates for the rights of migrants, and for the right not to migrate -- for economic development which would enable people to stay home.

Why Barack Obama’s nomination for the US presidency is historic

By Malik Miah

``America, this is our moment’’, stated Barack Obama on June 3 after winning enough delegates to become the presumed presidential nominee for the Democratic Party. Obama becomes the first African American in the history of the country to be nominated by one of the ruling parties. It happened on the evening of June 3 as the final two primaries occurred in Montana and South Dakota, where he and his main opponent New York Senator Hillary Clinton won one state each.

Fidel on Obama: The empire's hypocritical politics

By Fidel Castro Ruz

May 25, 2008 -- It would be dishonest of me to remain silent after hearing the speech Barack Obama delivered on the afternoon of May 23, 2008, at the Cuban American National Foundation, created by Ronald Reagan. I listened to his speech, as I did [John] McCain's and Bush's. I feel no resentment towards Obama, for he is not responsible for the crimes perpetrated against Cuba and humanity. Were I to defend him, I would do his adversaries an enormous favour. I have therefore no reservations about criticising him and about expressing my points of view on his words frankly.

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