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Industrial Workers of the World poster against WWI.
By Doug Enaa Greene
February 2, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It has been a hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War. The centennial of the “war to end all wars” has seen countless commemorations of the millions of heroic soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice for king and country.
Yet missing from all of the observances of the war are the deeper questions of its causes – to divide colonies among predatory ruling classes – and the heroism of those who opposed the mass slaughter. And for the left, that is how we should remember this 100th anniversary – but honoring those socialists and communists who fought against all the odds to end the slaughter.
"For many developing intellectually in the English-speaking world during the early 1960s, the radical sociologist C. Wright Mills (on his way to work above) was an incredibly important influence."
By Paul Le Blanc
January 15, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The ideas of Karl Marx are often put forward as an invaluable resource for those wishing to understand the world in order to change it for the better. Yet various people who speak as Marxists often insist upon divergent ways of understanding even the most basic concepts associated with Marxism – such as capitalism and the working class.
Tribute to James Connolly by MyLittleTripod.
For more by Doug Enaa Greene, click HERE.
By Doug Enaa Greene
[See the video of this talk below.]
December 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- "My business is revolution." 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.
Ohioans successfully defeated Right to Work last time -- but it may come around again. Meanwhile, unions around Lorain have had it with Democrats who attack labour. Photo: AFSCME.
Click for more on left electoral politics at the municipal level.
By Bruce Bostick
November 17, 2014 -- Labor Notes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In Ohio’s most trade union-dense county, the dominant Democratic Party machine declared war on what has historically been its own base: labour. So last year, in opposition to the machine, the labour federation in Lorain County, the Central Labor Council (CLC), ran and elected several independent candidates.
This time around, as an anti-union “Right to Work” bill looms again in Ohio, the CLC is taking aim at the leader of the pack: City of Lorain mayor Case Ritenauer.
By Maxime Combes
November 14, 2014 -- MediaPart, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- An unheard of agreement. Seen by some as historic, taking the words of US President Barack Obama and not putting them into perspective. On November 12, the media and commentators welcomed almost unanimously the joint US-China announcement on greenhouse gas emissions. But what is it really?
On November 12, Barack Obama and China's President Xi Jinping announced their targets for cuts to their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The US announced a 26-28% reduction by 2025 compared to 2005 levels. While China envisages a peak in its GHG emissions around 2030, or if possible before.
Are these announcements really unheard of?
Brian Jones (left) and Howie Hawkins.
November 13, 2014 -- Socialist Worker (USA) -- In a mostly dismal election year, Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones gave the US left something to cheer about with their Green Party campaign for the governor and lieutenant governor of New York. (Jones is also a member of the International Socialist Organization). By getting almost 5 per cent and 200,000 votes, Hawkins-Jones had the most successful independent left-wing campaign in New York state in more than 50 years.
The Hawkins-Jones campaign was able to bring attention to struggles to defend public education and ban hydrofracking -- and to show that it's possible for the left to begin building organisation outside the Democratic Party. Howie and Brian spoke toabout their assessment of the campaign and their thoughts about next steps.
* * *
What were your hopes for the campaign and were they realised?
Howie: We wrote four goals into our original campaign plan last January. I'll run through them:
1. At least 50,000 votes to retain our line on all New York ballots for the next four years. We easily achieved this goal.
By Colin Wilson
October 10, 2014 -- rs21, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- This week has seen a striking victory for US campaigners for LGBT equality. On Monday, October 6, the Supreme Court decided not to hear appeals from five states that sought to uphold bans on same-sex marriage. This is the end of the road for opponents of marriage equality in states as conservative as Utah, where over half the population are Mormons, and where marriage licences were issued to jubilant same-sex couples from Monday.
Six further states are covered by the same courts that heard the now-defeated appeals. The implication is that same-sex marriage will become legal there too. Judges also ruled on October 7 in favour of same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada: the ordained Elvis impersonators of Las Vegas’s wedding chapels began practising their new lines.
New York City, September 21, 2014.
By Patrick Bond, New York City
September 24, 2014 -- First published at TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The world’s largest ever march against climate change on Sunday, September 21, brought 400,000 people to the streets of New York, starting a lively parade at Central Park. On Tuesday, September 23, 120 of the world’s political leaders – notably not including China's and India's – gathered 25 blocks away at the United Nations. The message they got from society was symbolised by the march route: instead of heading towards the UN building, the activists headed the other way, west.
This directional choice reveals that hope for action on climate change comes not from the apparently paralysed heads of state and their corporate allies, who again consistently failed on the most powerful challenge society has ever faced: to make the greenhouse gas emissions cuts necessary to halt certain chaos.
Instead, momentum has arisen largely from grassroots activists, even those fighting under the worst conditions possible, amid denialism, apathy, corporate hegemony, widespread political corruption and pervasive consumer materialism.
1919 US Labor Party convention.
By Eric Blanc
September 10, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Discussions on how to break working people from the hold of the Democratic Party have acquired a new immediacy as a result of the recent electoral victories of independent working-class candidates in Seattle, Washington, and Lorraine, Ohio, as well as the campaign for Chicago union leader Karen Lewis to run as an independent for mayor. Those interested in promoting independent politics today may benefit from studying the rich experience of the labor party movement in the United States of the early 1920s.
Environmental activists attempt to gain access to the plenary session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban.
By Patrick Bond, Durban
August 30, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- – The movement from below to tackle climate change is gathering pace in South Africa and elsewhere in the world in advance of the September 21 mass march against the United Nations.
Environmentalists lead, but this struggle invokes the world’s greatest class-race-gender-North-South conflicts, too. Ban Ki-Moon’s heads-of-state summit on September 23 may generate greater publicity for the cause, but if, as anticipated, world rulers simply slap each other on the back, activists will have to even more urgently intensify the pressure.
Caroline Lund at work.
By Barry Sheppard
August 25, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Caroline Lund was for many years a leader of the US Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and for some years of the Fourth International. She and I resigned from the SWP in 1988.
In 1992 she got a job at an automobile factory in Freemont, California, called New United Motors, Inc. (NUMMI). She became an activist in the plant and the United Auto Workers locally and nationally. In 1998, she began to publish a plant newsletter, The Barking Dog.
August 21, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When Monsanto’s home state of Missouri passed the “Right to Farm” on August 5, 2014, the third noose of corporate control tightened around the neck of the United States. Unlike the first two steps of corporate domination of public life, this was a constitutional amendment that would block the state legislature or voters from passing future laws for environmental protection, animal welfare or labeling of contaminated food. This third wave corporatocracy could well spread across US and globally as it becomes a new form of mass disenfranchisement.
Jess Spear (fifth from left) and supporters.
US Socialist Alternative candidate Jess Spear has won more than 20% of the vote in the August 5 primary election, against Frank Chopp, a 20-year Democrat incumbent in the Washington State parliament and speaker of the house. The actual general election for the seat will take place in November 2014. The campaign builds on the victory of Kshama Sawant, who won a position on the Seattle city council. This letter and report was sent to supporters of Spear.
* * *
August 8, 2014 -- Vote Jess Spear, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Every one of you should be proud of what we accomplished in our primary election campaign. In the first count of votes on election night we had won 19% against the most powerful legislator in the state, and as the late votes are counted we will likely end up with over 20%. In fact so far Jess has received 22.16% of the late votes, with more to be counted.
July 29, 2014 -- TeleSUR -- Tariq Ali examines the United States' drive to create and maintain its global empire.
By Dan La Botz
July 2014 -- New Politics -- The US political system, so highly polarised between conservative Republicans and moderate Democrats, has experienced in the last year some interesting changes on the left-hand margin of the national political scene.
From Bill de Blasio’s victory in the mayoral election in New York City, to Kshama Sawant’s winning of a city council seat in Seattle, from the late Chokwe Lumumba’s popularly based campaign in Jackson, Mississippi, to self-described socialist Bernie Sanders’ talk of a run for the presidency, something new appears to be happening.
Independent politics and socialist party campaigns, so long marginal to US political life and from discussion in the media, seem to be back on the radar again. This is all the more remarkable given our terrible election laws that make it so difficult in so many states to get parties and candidates on the ballot.
[Editorial note: This essay was the winner of the Daniel Singer Prize for 2013. Kilgore lived in South Africa from 1991-2002. During that time he was a fugitive from US justice -- arising from activities as a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army -- living under the pseudonym “John Pape”. He worked as an educator and researcher for trade unions and social movements. In 2002 he was arrested in Cape Town, then extradited to the United States where he served six and a half years in prison. Following his release he has campaigned for prison reform and has written a number of novels. In July 2012 he returned to South Africa for the first time since his arrest. Here he presents his reflections on the journey.]
By James Kilgore
There were 1450 registered participants at the Socialism 2014 conference. Photo by Peter Boyle.
By Peter Boyle, Chicago
July 15, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, an earlier, shorter version of this article appeared in Green Left Weekly -- New red-green electoral alliances, a turn to ecosocialism and a deepening of the US International Socialist Organization's rethink on feminism were key features of its well-attended Socialism 2014 conference held June 26-29 in Chicago.
The gap between rich and poor in the US is large and growing. It has sparked a popular campaign for a minimum wage of US$15 an hour for low-paid workers, and in defence of jobs of teachers and other social service providers.
A growing number of trade union leaders are running as part of left and independent election tickets, just as many endorsed the successful Seattle's council campaign of socialist Kshama Sawant.
International assessments and rethinks
By Jen Roesch
June 24, 2014 -- Socialist Worker (US) -- Nearly six years into Barack Obama's neoliberal presidency, there are growing signs of discontent within the Democrats' traditional voting base. While both of Obama's electoral wins can be attributed to the turnout of young, female, Black, Latino/a and working-class voters, these are precisely the groups that have most suffered from the economic crisis and his administration's commitment to austerity. This is part of the reason why, for the first time since 2000, there is a space opening up in mainstream politics to the left of the Democratic Party.
In Seattle, socialist Kshama Sawant's campaign for the city council was able to gain support from constituencies, including some unions, that would normally support the Democratic Party. In Lorain County, Ohio, union activists angered by their local DemocraticParty mayor and city council broke ranks and ran their own independent slate of two dozen labour candidates--nearly all of whom won. This represents a flexing of labour muscle in the face of Democratic Party betrayal, rather than a firm break, but it points to the potential working-class audience for an independent political alternative.
By the Chicago Socialist Movement
May 2, 2014 -- Chicago Socialist Movement -- We're proud to announce the candidacy of one of Chicago’s most well-known and respected community activists, who is challenging one of Chicago’s most politically connected and unaccountable aldermen for a seat on the city council.
The race pits Jorge Mújica -- an award-winning journalist and long-standing activist for labour and immigrant rights -- against one of the city’s most powerful aldermen, the 25th Ward’s Danny Solis, who has drawn the ire of local residents for supporting school privatisation, corporate pinstripe patronage and developer deals that are driving up rents and displacement in the heavily immigrant and working-class ward.
Campaign volunteers include veterans of a host of independent anti-machine candidacies dating back to Harold Washington's historic race for mayor -- and in this race, volunteers are directly challenging the Democratic Party political machine by running Mújica as an openly socialist candidate, with the support of progressives who include Seattle's recently elected socialist councilmember Kshama Sawant.
Check out our press release below -- and join us!
Click HERE for more on Kshama Sawant's election campaign and those of other socialists around the world at the municipal level.
April 9, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Kshama Sawant spoke on labour and independent politics at the 2014 Labor Notes convention, April 4-6, in Chicago. Sawant was elected as a socialist to the Seattle City Council in November 2013. She is an adjunct professor of Seattle Community College and a member of American Federation of Teachers 1789.
Production by the Labor Video Project http://www.laborvideo.org.