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New book reveals the history of rubber: holocausts, environmental destruction and class struggle

The Devil’s Milk: A social history of rubber
By John Tully
Monthly Review Press, 2011

[Order the The Devil’s Milk from Monthly Review Press HERE. John Tully launched the book in Melbourne on February 17, at Readings Books, Carlton (309 Lygon St). He will also launch it in New York City on February 22, 7.30pm, at The Brecht Forum,  451 West Street.]

February 18, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This new book from Monthly Review Press – by Australian socialist John Tully -- documents the history of rubber and the role it has played in the development of capitalism.

Rubber is an essential industrial material, although underappreciated by most of us, even though we are surrounded by it. Since its industrial uses began to be fully appreciated in the 1800s, the quest for rubber has been, in Tully’s words, “a paradigm of imperialism”.

Australia: 'Green Left Weekly' celebrates 20 years!

One of the despairs of our time is a corporate media that speaks for authority and power, rarely for its readers and viewers. One of the excitements of our time is the means by which we can now circumvent the old gatekeepers. WikiLeaks is a new creation, but Green Left Weekly has been a pathfinder for 20 years, no less. Congratulations!

John Pilger, renowned journalist and filmmaker.

Over the course of the past 20 years, Green Left Weekly has emerged as a focal point of the world green left movement, its leading weekly guide to theory and practice. Long may its flag fly!

John Bellamy Foster, editor, Monthly Review.

What better birthday present could Green Left Weekly have asked for than the Egyptian people’s taste of freedom? Congratulations to all at GLW. Onward!

Raj Patel, independent journalist, author and activist.

More Greetings to Green Left Weekly from around Australia.

Egypt: Historian Joel Beinin on the role of the labour movement; Democracy Now! interview

February 10, 2011 -- Democracy Now! -- Egypt’s pro-democracy uprising is surging after striking workers joined in the protests nationwide. Thousands of Egyptian workers walked off the job February 9 demanding better wages and benefits. Strikes were reported in Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and the Suez Canal. We speak to Stanford University Professor Joel Beinin, who, as the former director of Middle East Studies at the American University in Cairo, has closely studied the Egyptian labour movement for years. “This is huge, because there has been for the last 10 years an enormous wave of labour protests in Egypt”, Beinin says. “In the last few days what you’ve seen is tens of thousands of workers linking their economic demands to the political demand that the Mubarak regime step aside.” Click HERE for the program transcript. Intervew continues HERE.

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Fidel Castro: Mubarak's fate is sealed

By Fidel Castro

February 1, 2011 -- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s fate is sealed, not even the support of the United States will be able to save his government.

The people of Egypt are an intelligent people with a glorious history who left their mark on civilisation. “From the top of these pyramids, 40 centuries of history are looking down upon us”, Napoleon Bonaparte once said in a moment of exaltation when the revolution brought him to this extraordinary crossroads of civilisations.

After World War II, Egypt was under the brilliant governance of Abdel Nasser, who together with Jawaharlal Nehru, heir of Mahatma Gandhi; Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah; and Guniea's Ahmed Sekou Toure — African leaders who together with Sukarno, then president of the recently liberated Indonesia — created the Non-Aligned Movement of Countries and advanced the struggle for independence in the former colonies.

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.]

Discovering the radical vision of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

By Billy Wharton

January 17, 2011 (MLK Day) -- Bronx County Independent Examiner -- Discovering the radical message in the writings of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. is no easy task for secular leftists. It requires a leap into the world of black Christian theology, a long tradition that has inspired multiple attempts at emancipation – from the slave revolt of Nat Turner to the modern civil rights movement. However, the terms of discussion inside of this tradition require secular readers to think through categories firmly rooted in Christian teachings. Some patience and a willingness to deal with what might be unfamiliar examples can yield new perspectives on an American tradition dedicated to service in the call of human freedom.

Most commentators on left have no time for such exercises. They automatically gravitate toward instances when King engages with mainly secular audiences. They take inspiration from King’s overt admission of his socialist leanings, “There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a Democratic Socialism.”  Focus is placed on his brave stand against the war in Vietnam and his militant insistence on the need for racial integration. 

How the Communist Party of Australia exposes the Democratic Socialist Party's 'Trotskyism'

By Doug Lorimer

[This article first appeared in the Democratic Socialist Party's internal discussion bulletin, The Activist, volume 10, number 7, August 2000.]

The Communist Party of Australia has recently published a pamphlet by David Matters entitled Putting Lenin's Clothes on Trotskyism which claims that the DSP's rejection of Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution is really a cover for its support for Trotskyism. However, the real purpose of the pamphlet is to criticise the DSP's position on the 1998 waterfront dispute.

This is made clear in the introduction to Matters' pamphlet by CPA general secretary Peter Symon:

In writing Putting Lenin's clothes on Trotskyism, David Matters has contributed to the task of clarifying ideas and maintaining the validity and truth of Marxism...

The attack on Marxism in the name of Marx, or on Lenin in the name of Lenin, is a particularly pernicious form which can easily mislead those who are not familiar with what Marx, Engels and Lenin actually said and wrote.

The pretension that Trotsky was a great Leninist is one of these misrepresentations and was refuted time and again by Lenin.

Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe (MEGA2): Has another Marx been revealed?

France, 2010: 'Karl Marx is not dead.'

January 2, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Logos – The Russian journal Logos, one of the most important journals of philosophy in Russia, is publishing a special issue on Karl Marx in January 2011. It includes a translation of Marcello Musto’s “The Rediscovery of Karl Marx” and an extensive interview with Musto. Below is the English translation of the interview.

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Vesa Oittinen is professor at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland, and author of many books. Among these are: Spinozistische Dialektik (Peter Lang, 1994); Der Akt als Fundament des Bewusstseins? (Peter Lang 1996); Marx ja Venäjä (ed., Aleksanteri Papers, 2006); and Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe (MEGA) ja Marxin uudelleen löytäminen (ed. with Juha Koivisto, Vastapaino 2010).

Martin Hart-Landsberg: What’s happening on the Korean Peninsula?

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

December 31, 2010 -- Reports from the Economic Front -- What’s happening on the Korean peninsula? If you read the press or listen to the talking heads, your best guess would be that an insane North Korean regime is willing to risk war to manage its own internal political tensions. This conclusion would be hard to avoid because the media rarely provide any historical context or alternative explanations for North Korean actions.

For example, much has been said about the March 2010 (alleged) North Korean torpedo attack on the Cheonan (a South Korean naval vessel) near Baengnyeong Island, and the November 2010 North Korean artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island (which houses a South Korean military base).

The conventional wisdom is that both attacks were motivated by North Korean elite efforts to smooth the leadership transition underway in their country. The take away: North Korea is an out-of-control country, definitely not to be trusted or engaged in negotiations.

But is that an adequate explanation for these events? Before examining the facts surrounding them, let’s introduce a bit of history. Take a look at the map below, which includes both Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong Islands.

China, Mao and the global neoliberal offensive

Review by Chris Slee

The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy
By Minqi Li
Monthly Review Press, New York, 2008

January 4, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Minqi Li’s The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy deals with a range of topics including the history of the Chinese Revolution, China's role in the world economy today and the future of the world economy. This review will not deal with every aspect of the book, but will focus on Minqi Li's discussion of China's history, economics and politics, and its current role in the world.

United States: 120th anniversary of the massacre at Wounded Knee: The bloody birth of empire

December 29, 2010 -- Rustbelt Radical -- Wounded Knee, December 29, 1890 is full of meaning. Not just for the Miniconjou and Hunkpapa Lakota who were victims and perished in their hundreds, but for the course of imperial America. Its violence an echo of the violence that was the settlement of this country.

Tariq Ali on Mao Zedong and communism in China

"Mao images are for sale, popular in China and not just with tourists, his ideas on protracted war used frequently for `guerrilla marketing'. His fate, like that of Che, seems now to be that of a treasured commodity—all that is missing is a Chinese equivalent of the Motorcycle Diaries."

Review by Tariq Ali

Mao Zedong and China in the Twentieth-Century World
By Rebecca E. Karl
Duke University Press: Durham, NC 2010
paperback, 216 pages, 978 0 8223 4795 8.

November-December 2010 -- New Left Review -- The emergence of China as the world’s economic powerhouse has shifted the centre of the global market eastwards. The People's Republic of China’s (PRC) growth rates are the envy of elites everywhere, its commodities circulating even in the tiniest Andean street markets, its leaders courted by governments strong and weak. These developments have ignited endless discussion on the country and its future.

The German Communist Party and the crisis of 1923

Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebnecht, murdered by the Social Democrat government.

By Graham Milner

The German Communist Party (KPD) was founded in the very heat of revolutionary struggle. One of the party's major problems from the beginning was that it was formed as a separate organisation too late to influence significantly the course of the German Revolution of 1918-19. If there had been in existence at this time a mass revolutionary party along the lines of Lenin's Bolshevik party, then there could well have been a radical reconstruction of German society into a republic of workers' councils. Instead of such an outcome, the stunted bourgeois-democratic regime of Weimar came into being, in which most of the existing state machine, including the army, judiciary and civil service, was preserved intact.[1]

South Africa: `COSATU has waged titanic battles' -- COSATU marks its 25th anniversary

Workers celebrate COSATU’s 25th anniversary. Picture: Gallo Images.

The following speeches, by COSATU's president and general secretary, were delivered at a ceremony in Johannesburg on December 3, 2010, to celebrate the Congress of South African Trade Unions' 25th anniversary.

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By Sidumo Dlamini, COSATU president

December 3, 2010 -- Cyril Ramaphosa was prophetic when he declared that “a giant has arisen!” That giant has grown from 130,000 members when it was launched to well over 2 million paid up members today.

While still barely walking, the young giant launched itself into titanic battles against employers and the apartheid regime. In his speech at the launch, founding COSATU president Elijah Barayi gave apartheid ruler P.W. Botha a six-month deadline to do away with passes. Indeed Botha succumbed and the hated pass laws that had humiliated millions for decades were scrapped. Today we carry proper identity documents.

Wanderings of a Zen Marxist: 30th anniversary of John Lennon's murder -- `The US vs John Lennon'

On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was murdered in New York. To mark the 30th anniversary of Lennon's murder Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal makes available the fascinating documentary The US vs John Lennon (above). Below, we reproduce a review by Green Left Weekly's Phil Shannon about the political and cultural significance of John Lennon and his evolution.

The wanderings of a Zen Marxist

Come Together: John Lennon in his Time
By Jon Weiner
Faber and Faber, 1995, 379 pages (pb)

Reviewed by Phil Shannon

Lenin and Trotsky on Wikileaks (well, sort of)

German workers strike against the war, January 1918.

December 7, 2010 -- November 8, 1917, the day after the victory of Bolshevik-led Russian Revolution, the first foreign policy decision of the revolutionary government was the "Decree on Peace", written by Lenin and adopted on that day by the second All-Russian Congress of Soviets. It proposed an end to the carnage of World War I on the basis of a "just, democratic peace". It declared the abolition of existing secret treaties and promised that all future treaties would be negotiated "openly in full view of the whole people".

Lars T. Lih: ‘We must dream!’ Echoes of `What Is to Be Done?’ in Lenin’s later career

[Talk given at the US International Socialist Organization’s Socialism 2010 conference, Chicago, June 2010. Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Lars Lih's permission. Lars T. Lih's Lenin, a short volume in the Critical Lives series of Reaktion Books, will be published later this year. Click here for a special offer. Read more by and about Lars T. Lih HERE. You can also read more about Lenin HERE.]

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By Lars T. Lih

Currency wars and the privilege of empire

By Paul Kellogg

October 23, 2010 -- PolEconAnalysis -- In uncertain times, the headline was soothing: "Secretary Geithner vows not to devalue dollar".[1] United States Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner was saying, in other words, that if there were to be "currency wars" -- competitive devaluations by major economies in attempts to gain trade advantage with their rivals -- the United States would not be to blame. Who, then, would be the villain? China, of course.

Earlier this year, Democratic Party congressman Tim Murphy sponsored a bill authorising the United States to impose duties on Chinese imports, made too inexpensive (according to Murphy and most other commentators) by an artificially devalued Chinese currency. "It's time to deliver a strong message to Beijing on behalf of American manufacturing: Congress will do whatever it takes to protect American jobs."[2]

Was Karl Marx `Eurocentric'?

Marx at the Margins: On Nationalism, Ethnicity and Non-Western Societies
By Kevin B. Anderson
University of Chicago Press, 2010, 336  pages

Eurocentrism
By Samir Amin
Monthly Review Press, 1988 (second edition 2009), 288 pages

Reviews by Barry Healy

October 22, 2010 -- In the foundational text of the Marxist movement, the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels paint a vivid word picture of the awesome, world-shaking advance of capitalism.

The East-Indian and Chinese markets, the colonisation of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid development.

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