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Paul Le Blanc: The birth of the Bolshevik party in 1912

Portrait of Lenin by Isaac Israelovich Brodskii, 1924.

[Click HERE to follow the entire debate on Lenin.] 

By Paul Le Blanc

April 17, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- How odd it would be, one century after the fact, to hear the following over the air waves: NEWS FLASH! THE BOLSHEVIKS BECAME A POLITICAL PARTY IN 1912! In fact, it was the opposite “news” that flashed across a little corner of the internet’s far-left end. A young activist in the US socialist movement, Pham Binh, making positive reference to the outstanding contributions of historian Lars Lih in challenging myths regarding Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s revolutionary organisational perspectives, advanced his own challenging re-interpretation of Lenin’s thought and practice, claiming to have exploded “the myth that the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks separated into two parties in 1912.”[1]

Gramsci in 1923: notes on the crucial year for his Leninism

More articles on Gramsci at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

By Jonathan Strauss

April 14, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Among those who are sympathetic to the views of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), two views have developed about the significance of his political theorising.

One is that Gramsci -- a leader of the Turin workers’ movement in the years at and immediately after the end of World War I, a founding member of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and later the PCI secretary from 1923 until his jailing by the fascists in 1926, and author of the Prison Notebooks -- was “of the early-1920s Lenin-Trotsky stripe” (Thomas 2010). Beyond upholding these Marxists’ common revolutionary commitment, however, this view proceeds from a partial reading not so much of Gramsci as of Lenin, and especially on a particular understanding of his What Is to Be Done? (1902), which in turn prevents a more profound understanding of Gramsci’s relationship with Lenin’s thought.

Paul Le Blanc on Barry Sheppard’s memoirs: Revolutionary redemption, lessons for activists

Barry Sheppard in 1964.

By Paul Le Blanc

The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, volume I: The Sixties, A Political Memoir, by Barry Sheppard, Chippendale, Australia: Resistance Books, 2005, 354 pages including index, with a rich collection of photographs.

The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, volume II: Interregnum, Decline and Collapse, 1973-1988, A Political Memoir, by Barry Sheppard, London: Resistance Books, 2012, 345 pages including index.

Doug Lorimer's introduction to 'Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism'

Introduction by Doug Lorimer

I. Lenin's aims in writing this work

The term "imperialism" came into common usage in England in the 1890s as a development of the older term "empire" by the advocates of a major effort to extend the British Empire in opposition to the policy of concentrating on national economic development, the supporters of which the advocates of imperialism dismissed as "Little Englanders". The term was rapidly taken into other languages to describe the contest between rival European states to secure colonies and spheres of influence in Africa and Asia, a contest that dominated international politics from the mid-1880s to 1914, and caused this period to be named the "age of imperialism".

The first systematic critique of imperialism was made by the English bourgeois social-reformist economist John Atkinson Hobson (1858-1940) in his 1902 book Imperialism: A Study, which, as Lenin observes at the beginning of his own book on the subject, "gives a very good and comprehensive description of the principal specific economic and political features of imperialism" (see below, p. 33).

Lenin had long been familiar with Hobson's book. Indeed, in a letter written from Geneva to his mother in St. Petersburg on August 29, 1904, Lenin stated that he had just "received Hobson's book on imperialism and have begun translating it" into Russian.(1)

Sudan: Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud's ideas will live on

Procession at funeral of Sudanese Communist Party general secretary Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud, March 25, 2012.

By Abohoraira Ali

March 29, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud, secretary general of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP), died on March 22, 2012, in London, where he was undergoing medical treatment for an inoperable brain tumour. Thousands of people joined the funeral procession to farewell Nugud on March 25, when his body was taken from the airport past his home and the SCP headquarters, before being buried in the Al Farouq cemetery. Leaders of other opposition parties and representatives from South Sudan attended.

Colombia: The end for guerrilla warfare?

FARC guerillas.

[For more discussion on Colombia, click HERE.]

By Anthony Boynton, Bogotá, Colombia

March 25, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As long as there are sleepy, oppressed, oppressive and isolated villages connected to a city somewhere over the hill by an unpaved road with bridges that might wash out in the next storm, guerrilla warfare will be possible. But those villages are fast disappearing into memory as the extension of electric grids and networks of paved roads extend into every corner of what used to be called the Third World.

The contradictions of Ronnie Kasrils: The leftist spy who came in from cold Pretoria

Ronnie Kasrils speaks out against Israel's apartheid policies, March 5, 2009.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

March 26, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- ‘I don’t have the stomach or the taste to serve any more at this level,’ said the normally ebullient minister of intelligence Ronnie Kasrils, as he quit after 14 years of service to the South African government. It was late September 2008, just after Thabo Mbeki was replaced in palace coup.

Kasrils’ intelligence service was by then an international laughing stock, with spy-versus-spy intrigue spilling out wide across the political landscape. His own troops were locked in unending, ungovernable, internecine battles against each other’s factions, using hoax emails, other disinformation and extraordinary political contortions unknown in even the ugliest Stalinist traditions of the African National Congress (ANC). Recall that Mbeki’s police chief Jackie Selebi was also the head of Interpol, and to have the mafia penetrate such high levels made South African security farcical at best.

Germany's genocide in Namibia

German troops kill the Herero, circa 1904. Painting by Richard Knötel (1857-1914).

Africa's Pambazuka News has devoted an entire issue to Germany's 1904-08 genocide of the Nama and Herero peoples (in Namibia). Below Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal posts the editorial and an article that details this shameful imperialist slaughter and modern Germany's refusal to adequately acknowledge and compensate Namibia for its crimes. Read the full issue HERE. Become a Friend of Pambazuka.]

* * *

By Eric Van Grasdorff, Nicolai Röschert and Firoze Manji

March 20, 2012 -- Pambazuka News -- On March 22, 2012, Germany's parliament will debate a motion to acknowledge its brutal 1904-08 genocide of the Nama and Herero peoples. Germany’s refusal thus far, and its less than even ‘diplomatic’ treatment in 2011 of the Namibian delegation at the first-ever return of the mortal remains of genocide victims, demands a reassessment of suppressed colonial histories and racism.

Uganda: How the West brought Idi Amin to power

Some of the victims of the Idi Amin regime recovered by local farmers in the fertile fields of the Luwero Triangle region north of the Ugandan capital of Kampala in 1987.

Introduction by Tony Iltis

March 22, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The reception in Uganda to the KONY 2012 viral video has been unanimously negative. From journalists, academics and bloggers to local NGO workers and local people at a public screening in the northern town of Lira, Ugandans have reacted angrily to their country’s politics and problems being simplified into a childish narrative to serve foreign propaganda needs.

Many Ugandan commentators noted that this is not the first time Uganda has suffered this treatment from Western filmmakers, citing the highly successful, award-winning 2007 British film, The Last King of Scotland, as another example. This film is centres on Idi Amin Dada, who ruled Uganda from 1971 to 1979 in a violent reign of terror that cost 100,000 lives.

Cuba's alternative to privatisation

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

By Marce Cameron

March 11, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Cuban President Raul Castro has urged the Caribbean nation's citizens to contribute to a free and frank debate on the future of Cuba’s socialist project.

For the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), the aim of this debate is twofold: to strive for consensus on a new Cuban model of socialist development and to empower Cuba’s working people to implement what has been decided.

In other words, to advance a socialist renewal process in the face of entrenched opposition from within the administrative apparatus.

It is first and foremost a debate about the economy. A draft policy document, the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines, was submitted to a national debate for three months before to its adoption by the Sixth PCC Congress in April last year.

The core principles and objectives of the draft were conserved, but the final version of the Guidelines was substantially modified on the basis of this public debate.

China faces rural revolts

[For more discussion on China's economic and political development, click HERE.]

By Kevin Lin

March 11, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Rural protests make up a large part of overall social unrest in China. But such protests had not received prominent international attention until the siege of Wukan, a village of 12,000 in Guangdong province, late last year.

Just like the strikes in Honda plants in 2010, Wukan brought to light the deep-seated grievances of villagers in a dramatic way. The revolt featured the eviction of party officials and the police, the self-management of the village by villagers, and the stand-off against armed police in a siege for more than a week.

The Wukan protest was triggered by the local government's land expropriation without adequate compensation to the affected villagers. It was escalated by the death of a protest leader in police custody.

The villagers showed remarkable courage in occupying their own village against predictable state repression.

The class nature of the Chinese state

By Doug Lorimer

[The general line of this report was adopted by the 18th DSP Congress, January 5-10, 1999. This text is taken from The Activist, volume 9, number 1, 1999.]

The purpose of this report is to motivate the adoption by the party of the "Theses on the Class Nature of the People's Republic of China" approved by the National Committee at its October plenum last year.

Since 1993 our party has held the position that the ruling Chinese bureaucracy has been presiding over the restoration of capitalism in China. However, our policy toward China has been ambigious: while taking an oppositional stance in our public press toward the ruling bureaucracy's restorationist course, we have left it unclear as to whether we continued to believe that China is still a bureaucratically ruled socialist state.

Lenin: 'democratic, socialist and revolutionary'

March 1, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Fifty key figures on the left including Ian Angus, John Riddell, Patrick Bond, Paul Le Blanc, China Miéville, Ken Loach, Lindsey German, Alex Callinicos, Suzi Weissman, Michael Yates and Immanuel Ness have backed Pluto Press' Get Political! campaign urging activists fighting for the 99% to draw inspiration from the lives and writings of the giants of 20th century political change, including VI Lenin.

Below is Bryan Palmer's review of the new collection of Lenin's writings, edited by Paul Le Blanc. It is posted with Palmer's permission. For full details on the Get Political! campaign, go to www.getpoliticalnow.com.

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Lenin: Revolution, Democracy, Socialism
By Paul Le Blanc,
London: Pluto Press, 2008

Reviewed by Bryan D. Palmer

'Uneven and combined Marxism' within South Africa’s urban social movements

A protest by Kliptown Concerned Residents and the Anti Privatisation Forum.

By Patrick Bond, Ashwin Desai and Trevor Ngwane

February 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The political dynamics of contemporary South Africa are rife with contradiction. On one hand, it is among the most consistently contentious places on earth, with insurgent communities capable of mounting disruptive protest on a nearly constant basis, rooted in the poor areas of the half-dozen major cities as well as neglected and multiply-oppressed black residential areas of declining towns. On the other hand, even the best-known contemporary South African social movements, for all their sound, lack a certain measure of fury.

Lars Lih: Falling out over a Cliff

Click HERE to follow the entire debate on Tony Cliff's Lenin. For more discussion on revolutionary organisation, click HERE.More articles by Lars Lih are available at http://links.org.au/taxonomy/term/500.

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Remarks on the 1905 Congress and the 1912 conference of the Russian Social Democratic Worker Party (RSDWP)

By Lars T. Lih

The collapse of 'communism' in the USSR: Its causes and significance

By Doug Lorimer

Doug Lorimer is a member of the National Executive of the DSP. This article is based on a report adopted by the 14th National Conference of the DSP, held in Sydney, January 2-6, 1992.

©Resistance Books 1997; first published 1992, second (revised) edition 1997

Contents

Stalinism in the Soviet Union

Un debate de actualidad: Gobierno de trabajadores y transición al socialismo

Por John Riddell

Fecha de publicación: 01/02/12  -- America XXI -- El concepto de gobierno de los trabajadores es el hijo torpe de la joven Internacional Comunista.  La idea que expresa es fundamental para el marxismo: los trabajadores deben luchar para tomar el poder político. Sin embargo, en los comienzos de la Comintern, se unió a una perspectiva entonces discutible para los marxistas: que los trabajadores pudieran formar un gobierno que funcione inicialmente en un Estado capitalista aún existente.

Como comenta el marxista francés Daniel Bensaid, “la fórmula algebraica del ‘gobierno de los trabajadores’ ha dado lugar a lo largo del tiempo a las interpretaciones más diversas, y a menudo contradictorias” [1].

Veamos qué luz puede arrojar sobre esta cuestión el registro del Congreso Mundial de la Comintern de 1922, publicado recientemente en inglés [2]. Esta fue la reunión que celebró la discusión más extensa de la Comintern acerca de la cuestión del gobierno de los trabajadores, y que adoptó su posición inicial.

Decisión desconocida sobre gobiernos de los trabajadores

Foto
Asamblea obrera en la fábrica rusa Putilov, 1905.

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/2451.]

Por John Riddell

Fecha de publicación: 01/02/12 -- America XXI -- La discusión en idioma inglés de la Internacional Comunista de 1922, sobre el llamado a crear gobiernos de los trabajadores, se ha basado en un anteproyecto que fue alterado de manera significativa antes de su aprobación. Aquí, tomado de la primera traducción al inglés, está el texto enmendado que el Congreso realmente adoptó.

El llamado a crear un gobierno de los trabajadores surgió a partir de las luchas de los trabajadores alemanes en 1920, como modo de plantear la necesidad de un poder de los trabajadores, en un contexto en el que no existían estructuras alternativas, como congresos revolucionarios o soviets.

Raj Patel: Feeding 10 billion (audio)

January 11, 2012 -- In a Saskatoon lecture, writer and activist Raj Patel argues that the only way to feed everyone is to completely rethink agriculture and empower women. He outlines the history of the "Green Revolution" and how it was based on attempts to defeat "communism", control population and spread the market system. The lecture was broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Ideas program.
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