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By Doug Enaa Greene
December 30, 2016 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Socialist Review with the author’s permission –– Antonio Labriola, if he is known today at all, is remembered as a minor Marxist theorist in the Second International, overshadowed by such well known figures as Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg, or Eduard Bernstein. Sometimes Labriola will be mentioned as a formative influence on the Marxism of Antonio Gramsci and Leon Trotsky. Yet Labriola deserves to be known and studied based on his own merits. He provided a critique of Second International orthodox Marxism, arguing that it divorced theory and practice, engaged in sterile, dogmatic systematization, and held to an economically deterministic form of Marxism. Labriola revived Marxism as an open philosophy of praxis, that is, as a critical and revolutionary method. He did not take for granted the inevitability of historical progress, but argued that it was necessary for socialists to intervene actively in shaping it.
By Doug Enaa Greene
September 27, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red Wedge with the author's permission — In the Spring of 1940, as the Nazis conquered France and were the dominant power on the European continent, the exiled German Marxist philosopher Walter Benjamin wrote his final work, Theses on the Philosophy of History. In a moment of political defeat, with fascism triumphant, the parties of the far left lying prostrate and subjugated, Benjamin penned the following words:
By Käte Duncker, introduction by John Riddell
September 21, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/John Riddell: Marxist Essays and Commentaries — 100 years ago today, a leading antiwar socialist in Germany explained the need for revolution to end the First World War. Her audience was delegates to the last unified national conference of the Social-Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), held in Berlin on September 21-23, 1916.
Introductory note by John Riddell
July 20, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell’s blog with permission — One hundred years ago, on June 28, 1916, 55,000 metalworkers in Berlin went on strike to protest the sentencing of Karl Liebknecht to two and a half years in prison. It was Germany’s first mass protest strike of World War 1. Liebknecht received mass support in Germany and beyond as the first German socialist to have voted against parliamentary allocations to pay for the government war spending. He had been arrested at an illegal May Day demonstration organized by the Spartacist League, just after calling out, “Down with the war! Down with the government!” Two days after his arrest, Liebknecht explained the goals of the May Day demonstration and the Spartacist League in the following statement at his trial.
A missed revolutionary opportunity: The Comintern Third Congress discussion on the 1920 Italian factory occupations
Introductory note by Mike Taber and John Riddell
July 12, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Socialist Review -- As the Communist International’s Third Congress convened in Moscow in June–July 1921, the powerful working-class upsurge that had shaken Italy months earlier was fresh in delegates’ minds and posed a backdrop to their debates.
The September 1920 occupation of the factories in Italy is a lesser-known revolutionary experience of the post–World War I years, yet its impact was no less significant. By starkly posing the question of which class should run the economy, the occupations legitimized a new form of proletarian struggle—expressed in part through the tactic of the sit-down strike that was widely utilized during the 1930s. Possessing the potential for working-class victory, the defeat of this movement instead opened the door to the rise to power of Benito Mussolini and Italian fascism.
Victor Serge (left), Benjamin Péret, Remedios Varo, and André Breton
By Doug Enaa Greene
January 18, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, reposted from Red Wedge with the author's permission — In 1941, reflecting on his own life, which spanned several revolutions, exile, and prison, Victor Serge commented:
Front page of the Times of India on August 15, 1947.
Site of Zimmerwald conference
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By John Riddell
August 21, 2015 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The Zimmerwald conference, a small gathering held in Switzerland 100 years ago, on September 5-8, 1915, marked a turning point in the world socialist movement. Socialists from many countries issued an appeal that united anti-war socialists during World War I and helped prepare the revolutions with which it concluded. To mark the Zimmerwald centenary I am presenting links to three major documents of the conference in new translations, together with my short introduction.
Documents of the Zimmerwald conference
"The Abe administration is composed of and supported by extreme rightists who are trying to rewrite history and glorify Japan’s aggressive war."
August 15, 2015 -- Japanese Communist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Japanese Communist Party chair Shii Kazuo held a news conference on August 14 at the JCP head office in Tokyo, releasing a statement to mark the 70th anniversary since the end of World War II. In the statement, he criticised Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s statement published on the same day as deceitful. The full text of the JCP statement is as follows.
On the 70th anniversary since the end of World War II, the Japanese Communist Party offers its deepest condolences to all victims of the war of aggression and colonial rule by Japan’s militarism.
Now Japan is standing at a historical crossroads between war and peace. The war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is a treasure embraced by the Japanese people, which they wholly endorsed based on reflection over the past war and the war ravages. The JCP sincerely calls for all peace-loving people to unite in order to protect Article 9 and create a truly peaceful Japan in line with the article, beyond differences in thought, beliefs and political stances.
For more on South Africa, click HERE.
By John S. Saul, Johannesburg
August 5, 2015 – University of Johannesburg, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It is true that I’m from Canada and only arrived in Africa, in Tanzania to be specific, in 1965 at the age of 27; nonetheless, it was in Africa that I grew up, at least politically. Not, initially, in South Africa but in Tanzania, where I taught for many years and in working with Mozambique’s FRELIMO in exile; in visiting the liberated areas of a new Mozambique in Tete Province in 1972; and, later, in teaching in a liberated Mozambique at the Universidade de Eduardo Mondlane.
Berlin November 1918: Workers and sailors join in revolutionary uprising.
The German Left and the Weimar Republic
By Ben Fowkes
Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2015
399 pages, US$28.
Review by John Riddell
Doves were released over the Hiroshima peace memorial park during the August 6, 2015, ceremony. Photograph: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images.
By Rupen Savoulian
August 9, 2015 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- This month marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States in August 1945.
By Doug Enaa Greene
August 5, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We live in an era where too much of the left, both in the USA and abroad, remains stuck to old orthodoxies and failed strategies. Marxism is reduced to holy writ and rote, devoid of any ability to either interpret or change the world.
In order to win, the left desperately needs to break away from past habits and recover the ability to raise questions anew by using Marxist methodology to formulate strategy. In this endeavour, there are a number of thinkers we can profitably learn from; one of whom is Nicos Poulantzas. Despite the limitations and contradictions within Poulantzas' methods, he was not afraid to ask the right questions and to develop new strategies.
To that end, it is worth looking at Poulantzas' work in three areas: the state, class and the transition to socialism.
For more by Doug Enaa Greene, click HERE.
August 2, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Greek Civil War was one of the major events shaping modern Greek history. The Greek Civil War from 1946-49 was fought between the Communist Party and the monarchy aided by the United States. The Civil War was one of the first major clashes of the Cold War. Communist historian Doug Enaa Greene lectured and led a discussion on the roots and course of the war for the Center for Marxist Education.
To read a transcript of the talk, see http://links.org.au/node/4514. To learn more about the Center for Marxist Education, see https://www.facebook.com/CenterForMarxistEducation
Fighters of the Greek Army of National Liberation.
By Doug Enaa Greene
July 17, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On March 24, 1945, the famed partisan leader Aris Velouhiotis wrote the following in a letter to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE):
Lars Lih: The ironic triumph of ‘old Bolshevism’ -- the ‘April debates’ and their impact on Bolshevik strategy
June 1, 2015 --Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Lars T. Lih challenges a commonly held view of the Russian Bolshevik party's conduct during the Russian Revolution of 1917, stressing the continuity between the Bolsheviks’ positions before World War I and those advanced during the revolutionary upheaval.
The text is based on a talk Lih gave in 2010 and recently revised. Following the text is a note on other places where Lih’s views on this topic are available – John Riddell.
* * *
By Lars T. Lih
"Pioneer" camp director Svetlana and Dr. Yuriy in discussion on April 14, 2015. Photo by Roger Annis.
More on the political situation in Ukraine
By Roger Annis
The slave revolt led by Spartacus shook the Roman world to its foundations and, although a failure, has inspired the oppressed for centuries. Communist historian Doug Enaa Greene delivered a talk at the Center for Marxist Education on Spartacus on March 7, 2015.
For more by Doug Enaa Greene, click HERE
By Doug Enaa Greene
May 15, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The ancient rebellion of Spartacus and tens of thousands of subjugated slaves is arguably the most famous slave revolt in history. During his lifetime, Spartacus dared to challenge the dominance of the Roman slave masters and their Republic. In subsequent generations, the name of Spartacus has stood forth as a symbol for resistance and liberation from oppression – inspiring the Haitian slave Toussaint L'Ouverture, who led a successful revolt in the 1790s; Karl Marx; and Germany's Spartacist League of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.
By John Riddell
May 5, 2015 -- JohnRiddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In 1921, a time of declining mass struggles, the Communist International (Comintern) was thrown off course by insistent demands at every level of the organisation for the young movement to launch confrontational actions, even if Communists must fight almost alone. In mid-1921, the Comintern’s Third Congress turned decisively away from this policy. Under the slogan, “To the masses”, it adopted, on Lenin’s insistence, the strategy of unifying working people in struggle that was codified six months later as the “united front”.
A Short History of Social Democracy: From Socialist Origins to Neoliberal Theocracy
By John Rainford
Review by Jim McIlroy
April 27, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The rise and then fall of social democracy as a movement for fundamental social change is a modern tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. It is one of the epic stories of the 19th and 20th centuries.
This new book by Socialist Alliance member and unionist John Rainford charts the history of the doctrine from the birth of socialist thought in the 19th century. It focuses on the development of social democracy, which essentially became a project for “reforming” capitalism, expressed in parties such as the Australian Labor Party (ALP).
It examines the political forces opposed to social democracy on its left and right, its victories and its “golden years” after World War II. The book examines its surrender to “free market” neoliberalism before suggesting what might constitute “an anti-capitalist politics for the 21st century”.