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In defence of South African academics' successful call for a boycott of Israel

Drawing comparisons to South African apartheid policies: Israel requires Palestinians to carry identification documents that restrict their movement. UN photo.

By the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

Occupied Ramallah, September 30, 2010 -- PACBI welcomes the decision[1] on September 29, 2010, by the Senate of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) "not to continue a long-standing relationship with Ben Gurion University (BGU) in Israel in its present form" and to set conditions "for the relationship to continue". The fact that the UJ Senate set an ultimatum[2] of six months for BGU to end its complicity with the occupation army and to end policies of racial discrimination against Palestinians is a truly significant departure from the business-as-usual attitude that had governed agreements between the two institutions until recently. 

Making sense of Trotskyism in the United States: Two memoirs

[This review-essay was written for and is scheduled to appear in the British journal Revolutionary History, which has granted permission to circulate it on-line. Please include this acknowledgement when sharing it. The text is from Labor Standard.]

North Star, A Memoir (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2010)
By Peter Camejo
364 pages with index

Outsider’s Reverie, A Memoir (Los Angeles: Boryana Books, 2010)
By Leslie Evans
438 pages with index.

By Paul Le Blanc

October 1, 2010 -- The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) of the United States was for a number of years the largest and strongest section of the Fourth International — both of which were formally established in 1938, both representing the revolutionary socialist perspectives associated with Leon Trotsky. Rooted in opposition to Stalinism in the early Communist movement, the U.S. Trotskyists worked closely with Trotsky in building the Fourth International, the global network of small revolutionary groups adhering to the original “Bolshevik-Leninist” perspectives. They also played a heroic role in U.S. class struggles of the 1930s, and their reputation among many was as unyielding partisans of workers’ democracy and Trotsky’s revolutionary Marxist orientation. Yet in the non-revolutionary aridity of 1950s America, their ranks dwindled down to handfuls of stalwarts, perhaps 400 aging members, in a handful of cities.

`A force which is truly for good' -- John Coltrane and the jazz revolution

The John Coltrane Quartet (John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones) on the 1963 TV program, Jazz Casual, playing "Alabama", written by Coltrane after reading a speech by Martin Luther King eulogising four black children blown up in a racist attack on a church in 1963.

By Terry Townsend

September 23, 2010 -- John William Coltrane (abbreviated as "Trane" by his fans) was born on this day in 1926. Since his untimely death on July 17, 1967, saxophone colossus Coltrane has become an icon of African-American pride, achievement and uncompromising determination. He led a revolution in music that mirrored the turbulent growth of black militancy and revolutionary ideas within the urban black community. Today, Trane continues to inspire.

Coltrane has often been likened to Malcolm X. US jazz writer and socialist Frank Kofsky, in his classic 1970 book Black Nationalism and the Revolution in Music (Pathfinder Press, New York), wrote:

Both men perceived the reality about [the USA] -- a reality you could only know if you were Black and had worked your way up and through the tangled jungle of jazz clubs, narcotics, alcohol, mobsters ...

¡Viva la Revolución!: The 1910 Mexican Revolution (part 2)

A 1938 painting depicts Lázaro Cárdenas giving land to the peasants.

[The first part of this article can be found HERE.This article first appeared in Against the Current, the publication of Solidarity, a revolutionary socialist, feminist magazine in the United States. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission. Dan La Botz is the Socialist Party (USA)'s Ohio candidate for the US Senate. He also is the editor of Mexican Labor News and Analysis.]

By Dan La Botz

September 2010 -- While the most violent stage of the Mexican Revolution was over by 1920, the country faced a series of new crises in the 1930s. The era opened in 1928 with the assassination of former president Álvaro Obregón, killed by a Catholic militant opposed to the secularising revolution in the formerly officially Catholic country.

Namibia: A trust betrayed – again?

[The following article first appeared in AfricaFile's At Issue Ezine, vol. 12 (May-October 2010), edited by John S. Saul, which examines the development of the southern African liberation movement-led countries. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

"As Namibian youth, and as Africans, you must therefore be on the full alert and remain vigilant against deceptive attempts by opportunists and unpatriotic elements that attempt to divide you. As the future leaders of our country, you should act with dedication and commitment; to always promote the interests of the SWAPO Party and the national interests before your own. It is only through that manner that the SWAPO Party will grow from strength to strength and continue to rule Namibia for the next ONE THOUSAND YEARS". -- Sam Nujoma, Founding Father1 of the Republic of Namibia, in a speech to the SWAPO Youth League in 2010

By Henning Melber

Australia: 10 years ago -- S11 2000 blockade: 'This is what democracy looks like'

September 11, 2010 -- Ten years ago, thousands of Australian activists joined forces to blockade a meeting of the powerful World Economic Forum in Melbourne for three days, beginning September 11, 2000. Despite a massive show of police force and violence, the unity of the protesters prevailed. The atmosphere of the protest was one of of determination and festivity. There were puppets, humour, banners and placards, songs, wandering drummers and minstrels. The crowd was diverse with trade unionists, socialists, anarchists, environmentalists, social justice activists, high school students, children, pensioners: a strong diversity of people united in opposition to an undemocratic and powerful elite.

Why Marxists oppose terrorism

[This is the slightly edited text of a talk presented to the Democratic Socialist Perspective and Resistance educational conference in Sydney in January 2002. Dave Holmes is now a leader of the Socialist Alliance in Melbourne. This and other writings are also available at Dave Holmes' blog, Arguing for Socialism.]

By Dave Holmes

I'd like to begin with a juxtaposition of two events — one which took place relatively recently and the other a long time before.

Video: Antonio Gramsci -- Life of a revolutionary

By Paul D'Amato

June 18, 2010 -- A talk presented at the International Socialist Organization of the United States' Socialism 2010, in Chicago. This talk was first posted at Wearemany.org. Paul D'Amato is a leader of the ISO, publisher of Socialist Worker.

For more on Gramsci and his ideas, click HERE.

Australia: The DSP in the 1980s

[This first appeared as the introduction to Building the Revolutionary Party: Jim Percy Selected Writings 1980-87 (Resistance Books: Chippendale, 2008). Dave Holmes is now a leader of the Socialist Alliance in Melbourne. This and other writings are also available at Dave Holmes' blog, Arguing for Socialism.]

By Dave Holmes

This is the second volume of writings and speeches by Jim Percy, one of the founders of Australia's Democratic Socialist Perspective and its longtime central leader until his death in 1992. These seven items — reports given by Jim to conferences and leadership gatherings of the DSP (or SWP, Socialist Workers Party, as it was known in this period) — span the years 1980 to 1987.

James P. Cannon: An introduction

[This the introduction to Building the Revolutionary Party: An Introduction to James P. Cannon (Resistance Books: Chippendale, 1997). Dave Holmes is now a leader of the Socialist Alliance in Melbourne. This and other writings are also available at Dave Holmes' blog, Arguing for Socialism.]

By Dave Holmes

James P. Cannon was a pioneer of the Communist Party of the United States and one of its central leaders in the 1920s. Breaking with the Stalinised CP in 1928 he founded the US Trotskyist movement and played the decisive role in building it for over three decades.

The dissemination and reception of the `Grundrisse' -- a contribution to the history of Marxism

Karl Marx’s Grundrisse.

[The following article is a chapter from Karl Marx’s Grundrisse: Foundations of the critique of political economy 150 years later, edited by Marcello Musto. Published by Routledge, the paperback edition is just out. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission. Marcello Musto teaches at the Department of Political Science at York University, Toronto Canada. Fpr more details about the book and how to order, click HERE.

* * *

By Marcello Musto[1]

Zimbabwe: Liberation nationalism, old and born again

Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai. "The [government of national unity] increasingly appears to have been most efficient in serving the instrumental needs of the ZANU-PF elite."

[The following article first appeared in AfricaFile's At Issue Ezine, vol. 12 (May-October 2010), edited by John S. Saul, which examines the development of the southern African liberation movement-led countries. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

By Richard Saunders

John Riddell: (Audio) The Comintern, 1919-1923: The two souls of centralism

A talk presented by John Riddell to International Socialist Organization's (USA) Marxism 2010 conference in Chicago. The talk was originally posted at Wearemany.org. John Riddell is co-editor of Socialist Voice (Canada) and editor of The Communist International in Lenin’s Time, a six-volume anthology of documents, speeches, manifestos and commentary.
Download mp3 file -- Press arrow to play

¡Viva la Revolución!: The 1910 Mexican Revolution (part 1)

Emiliano Zapata.

[This article first appeared in Against the Current, the publication of Solidarity, a revolutionary socialist, feminist magazine in the United States. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission. Dan La Botz is the Socialist Party (USA)'s Ohio candidate for the US Senate. He also is the editor of Mexican Labor News and Analysis. The second part appears HERE.]

By Dan La Botz

2010 marks 100 years since the beginning of the Mexican Revolution. The revolution, which began in 1910 and ended in 1940, transformed Mexico. During the course of those 30 years, tens of thousands of men and women fought in battles in many regions of the country to end the Porfirian Díaz dictatorship and to determine the course and goals of the revolution that had overthrown it. In a nation of 15 million, a shocking 1 million were killed while 2 million migrated to the United States to escape the violence (many of them subsequently returning), a movement which established the paths of future migrations.(1)

United States: The railroading of Leonard Peltier

Wounded Knee occupation, 1973.

By Mike Ely

Join in demanding freedom for Leonard Peltier, so that at long last simple justice be done for him and the Indigenous peoples of North America. Sign this petition urging his release. Petitions are also being circulated urging clemency and urging US Congress to investigate FBI misconduct on Pine Ridge and the “reign of terror” that existed between 1973 and 1976. This article was first written in 1998.

Barry Sheppard reviews Peter Camejo's `North Star -- A Memoir'

North Star – A Memoir
By Peter Camejo
Haymarket Books, Chicago, 2010

Order a copy

Review by Barry Sheppard

[Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

July 8, 2010 -- North Star – A Memoir by Peter Camejo, who was an important figure in the radicalisation of “the Sixties” and beyond, up to his untimely death in 2008, should be read by veterans of the socialist movement and wider social causes. It also should be read by new activists thirsty for understanding of previous struggles in order to better equip themselves for present and future battles.

Also, the book is a good read. The first chapter is set in 1979, out of chronological order from the rest of the book. It explains how the CIA attempted to get Peter arrested in Colombia, on a leg of a speaking tour in South America. If he had been imprisoned there it is possible that he would have been “disappeared”. Without giving away the story, Peter escaped this fate through an unlikely intervention, quite a tale in itself.

Zimbabwe: Struggle, dictatorship and the response of the social movements

"The MDC roots were in the popular challenge to ZANU-PF in the late 1990s and the social movements on which it rested."

By Leo Zeilig

June 28, 2010 – Zimbabwe’s economy has been in free fall. Between 2000 and 2005, the economy contracted by more than 40 per cent. Today GDP per capita is estimated to be the same as it was in 1953. Before the replacement of the Zimbabwe dollar with the US dollar and the South African rand in 2009, the country had the highest inflation rate in the world, soaring to 165,000 per cent in February 2008.

Class and politics in Thailand

Communist Party of Thailand fighters in southern Thailand.

Below is an excerpt from Thai socialist Giles Ji Ungpakorn's latest book, Thailand’s Crisis and the Fight for Democracy. It provides an historical background to Thai politics from the pre-capitalist era, through the turmoil of the 1930s and 1970s, up to the present day. This historical understanding is important in locating the dynamics of the ruling class and the changing politics of revolt from the time of the Communist Party through to the creation of the NGOs. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Giles Ji Ungpakorn's permission.

Giles Ji Ungpakorn is a political commentator and dissident. In February 2009 he had to leave Thailand for exile in Britain because he was charged with lèse majesté for writing a book criticising the 2006 military coup. His latest book will be of interest to activists, academics and journalists who have an interest in Thai politics, democratisation and NGOs.

Video: The Malthus myth: Population, poverty and climate change

May 30, 2010 -- Capitalism and Climate -- Most of what you've heard about Robert Malthus is wrong. He didn't predict a population explosion, and he didn't think we should control our population. His real goal was to convince people that society cannot be improved, that most people will always be poor. "The Malthus Myth: Population, Poverty and Climate Change" was a talk presented by Ian Angus, editor of Climate and Capitalism and a contributing editor of Socialist Voice, at Socialism 2010 in Toronto, May 22, 2010. Many thanks to Pance Stojkovski, who recorded this presentation and edited it for Socialist Project's LeftStreamed.

Debunking the `Menshevik myth': William Morris and revolutionary politics

The Hammersmith Branch of the Socialist League, William Morris is fifth from the right in the second row.

By Graham Milner

With some great revolutionary figures in world history, and in international labour history in particular, it has been found necessary for historians or biographers to dig out their subjects from beneath "a load of calumny and oblivion", "a mountain of dead dogs".[1] With others, however, a different problem exists. Lenin pointed to this when he wrote that the ruling classes, following upon the deaths of great revolutionaries, often attempt -- after having met the ideas and actions of such men and women during their lifetimes with "furious hatred ... and slanders" -- to turn them into "harmless saints ... by way of `consolation' to the oppressed ... while at the same time emasculating and vulgarising the real essence of their revolutionary theories and blunting their revolutionary edge".[2]

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