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Britain: Looking back in anger -- the miners’ strike 30 years on

January 5, 2014 -- Anticapitalist Initiative -- With new papers released by the National Archives about the British miners’ strike the Anticapitalist Initiative’s Chris Strafford caught up with Harry Paterson, author of the upcoming book Look Back in Anger: The Miners’ Strike in Nottinghamshire 30 years on, to discuss what we have learnt.

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Chris Strafford: With the release of documents from the Cabinet Office and Prime Minister’s Office from 1984 detailing discussions and actions of the Thatcher government in the 1984-85 miners’ strike we have got some insight into how the attack on the miners was carried out. What were your initial thoughts once you had finished reading the documents?

Luxemburg, Lenin, Levi: Rethinking revolutionary history

Part 1. John Riddell. Parts 2 and 3 below.

December 14, 2013 -- Left Streamed, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission

Moderated by Jackie Esmonde. Presentations by:

  • John Riddell, editor of Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International.
  • Paul Kellogg, author of “The Only Hope of the Revolution is the Crowd: The Limits of Žižek's Leninism”, International Journal of Žižek Studies.

More by John Riddell. More by Paul Kellogg.

Sponsored by Education Committee of the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly.

Reminiscences of Nelson Mandela and the US anti-apartheid movement

Ike Nahem at the memorial for Soweto martyrs.

See also "Cuba and the South African anti-apartheid struggle".

For more on Nelson Mandela, click HERE.

By Ike Nahem

Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings. -- Nelson Mandela

December 29, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The outpouring of emotion and dignified appreciation that met the passing of Nelson Mandela on December 5, 2013, flowed like a raging river from every nation and people on the planet. It was a grief tempered by a jubilation and wonderment at the life of this great and humble human being.

While it is certainly true that Mandela's death resonated most powerfully with the South African people and particularly with oppressed and exploited working people worldwide, it is also the case that Mandela was admired and loved by countless millions from all social classes and walks of life with any democratic and anti-racist principles, who were sincerely touched and inspired by his amazing life, his example and his deeds.

I had the unforgettable experience -- and the thrill of a lifetime -- to meet, shake hands and exchange a few words with Nelson Mandela.

Leon Trotsky and revolutionary insurrection

Trotsky aboard his famous armoured train during the Civil War in Soviet Russia.

[See also Doug Enaa Greene's "Day of the people: Gracchus Babeuf and the communist idea".]

By Doug Enaa Greene

December 15, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- "The entire labor of practical organization of the insurrection was placed under the immediate direction of the president of the Petrograd Soviet, comrade Trotsky. It can be stated with certainty, that the party owes the rapid coming over of the garrison into the camp of the soviets and the skillful work of the Revolutionary Military Committee above all and essentially to Comrade Trotsky."[1]

Ironically, this recognition of Trotsky's role as the main organizer of the successful October Revolution was made by Stalin (who would become Trotsky's bitter opponent in the 1920s).

In 1917, Trotsky's role in the Bolshevik revolution was widely recognized by friend and foe alike. Yet Trotsky as a theorist and practitioner of insurrection has taken a back seat to discussion of his theories of permanent revolution, analyzes of the USSR under Stalin and his historical texts.

From Marxism to neoliberalism: Ronnie Kasrils on how Mandela & ANC shifted

[Read more on Nelson Mandela and South African politics.]

December 12, 2013 -- Democracy Now! -- Speaking from Johannesburg, leading anti-apartheid activist and former South African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils discusses the evolution of the African National Congress’ economic views from its time as a liberation movement to leading South Africa after the fall of apartheid. Kasrils says the ANC was forced to make a "Faustian pact" with neoliberalism in order to bring apartheid to an end and avoid civil war. He also discusses recent reports that Mandela was a member of the South African Communist Party. Kasrils was on the National Executive Committee of the ANC for 20 years, serving as minister for intelligence services from 2004 to 2008.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

On the causes of totalitarianism

By Chris Slee

December 12, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Conservatives often claim that totalitarianism is the inevitable result of attempts to radically transform society. For example, Waleed Aly (a Monash University academic and prolific media commentator) equates communism, Nazism and radical Islam, claiming that they are all “utopian” movements that, if successful in gaining power, lead to totalitarianism:

Ashwin Desai: Nelson Mandela’s long walk

For more on Nelson Mandela, click HERE.

By Ashwin Desai, Johannesburg

December 10, 2013 -- The Unrepentant Marxist -- Nelson Mandela’s best-selling autobiography, published in 1994, is entitled Long Walk to Freedom. It tells the powerful story of the journey of a rural Transkei boy who was a cow-herd and son of a deposed tribal chief, to guerilla fighter to decades-long prisoner on an Island fortress and then to the first black and democratic president of his nation, South Africa.

This story came at a time when the world was witnessing the collapse of the Soviet Union, the toppling of statues of many socialist icons and the quagmire of many post-colonial states in Africa. Mandela’s story was rightfully seen as one example of vindication for resistance, righteousness, principle and steadfastness. With the African National Congress (ANC) victory seen as a rare move forward during the 1990s, it reminded us all that to sacrifice for justice will finally find redemption.

Solidarity saved me from Hitler: Now it must save Palestine

BDS-Sticker2009

 

By Suzanne Weiss

December 8, 2013 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In October 2013 I accompanied Suzanne Weiss in a trip back into the history of rural France under Nazi occupation. Suzanne’s interviews there provided a framework for the following talk given by her to Solidarity for Palestine Human Rights at the University of Western Ontario on November 20, 2013. A portion of her speech has been published by Electronic Intifada; the full text first appeared in Bullet, a publication of Socialist Project. -- John Riddell.

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Australia’s national interest versus Timor-Leste, 1941-2006

For more on East Timor, click HERE.

By Gaetano Greco, Francesco Faraci and Michael Cooke

In our Manichaean enthusiasms we in the West made haste to dispense whenever possible with the economic, intellectual and institutional baggage of the twentieth century and encouraged others to do so likewise... Not only did we fail to learn very much from the past – this would hardly have been remarkable. But we have become stridently insistent – in our economic calculations, our political practices, our international strategies, even our educational priorities – that the past has nothing of interest to teach us. Ours, we insist, is a new world; its risks and opportunities are without precedent. -- Tony Judt[1]

John Riddell: Do we need an anti-capitalist government? United fronts in the 20th and 21st centuries (videos)

[Click HERE for more by John Riddell.]

November 11, 2013 -- SocResVideo, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- John Riddell, editor and translator of Towards the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922, speaking in London on November 3, 2013, at the "Building Unity, Taking Power: Left Histories and Contemporary Practice" seminar organised by the Anti-Capitalist Initiative, International Socialist Network and Socialist Resistance. The above talk is "Do we need an anti-capitalist government". The second below is "United fronts in the 20th and 21st centuries". They are followed by some of the discussion.

Toward the United Front, Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922
Edited and translated by John Riddell
Brill, 2011 (hard back), 1310 pages, 200 euros
Haymarket Books, 2012 (paper back) US$55

Brian Manning (1932-2013): Charlie India Echo Tango calling Timor Leste

On November 3, 2013, Brian Manning -- veteran Northern Territory communist, trade unionist, campaigner against racism, long-time activist for Indigenous people's rights and solidarity campaigner with the East Timorese people (among many other causes) -- died in Darwin, aged 81. Brian won enormous respect for his commitment to human rights and his unstinting dedication to changing the system.

As a tribute to Brian, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal highlights another important chapter in his inspiring political life: his important role in the building solidarity the struggle of the East Timorese people for national self-determination. (See also "Brian Manning and the Gurindji `walk offs’".)

The following chapter appeared in the 2003 book,  A Few Rough Reds: Stories of Rank and File Organising, published by the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History. This and others chapters are available at http://roughreds.com/rrone/index.html.

[Click HERE for more on Timor Leste. For more on the Communist Party of Australia, click HERE. ]

* * *

By Brian Manning

Brian Manning (1932-2013) and the Gurindji `walk offs’

Brian Manning addressed the Gurindji Freedom Day celebration to mark the 45th anniversary of the historic walk-off.

On November 3, 2013, Brian Manning -- veteran Northern Territory communist, trade unionist, campaigner against racism, long-time activist for Indigenous people's rights and solidarity campaigner with the East Timorese people (among many other causes) -- died in Darwin, aged 81. Brian won enormous respect for his commitment to human rights and his unstinting dedication to changing the system. As a tribute to Brian, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal highlights one important chapter in his inspiring political life: his important role in the historic struggle of the Gurindji people for their rights.

* * *

By Terry Townsend

[The following is an excerpt from The Aboriginal Struggle & the Left (Sydney: Resistance Books, 2009.]

In memory of Doug Lorimer

The photo above (Sydney, c 1975) shows (from left): Joy Ecclestone, Dave Holmes, Doug Lorimer, (obscured unknown) and Geoff Payne.

[For more by or about Doug Lorimer, click HERE.]

By Dave Holmes

[These brief remarks were delivered at a memorial meeting for Doug Lorimer in Melbourne on October 25, 2013, organised by Socialist Alternative.]

October 25, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Arguing for Socialism -- The July 27, 2013, Green Left Weekly carried an obituary for Doug Lorimer written by Pat Brewer. For comrades interested in the basic details of Doug's political CV I would recommend it.

I first met Doug in February 1971 in Adelaide. John Percy, myself and Dave Riley went over as a national investigating commission of the Socialist Youth Alliance (SYA). Two members of the local SYA branch were or had become Maoists and were causing us some political embarrassment. Doug Jordan was the branch organiser.

South Africa: 'Political power without economic power is like an empty tin' -- NUMSA leader Irvin Jim

Irvin Jim.

For more on NUMSA, click HERE.

It is obvious that the black capitalist class favours capitalism and that it will do its best to influence the post-apartheid society in this direction.

It is obvious that the black middle and upper classes who take part in a broad liberation alliance will jostle for hegemony and attempt to represent their interests as the interests of all Africans.

It is obvious that (like their counterparts in every part of the world) the black middle and upper strata, who find themselves on the side of the people’s struggle, are often inconsistent and vacillating. They are usually the enemy’s softest targets for achieving a reformist, rather than a revolutionary, outcome.

-- Joe Slovo, The South African Working Class and the National Democratic Revolution, 1988.

Irvin Jim, general secretary, National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (NUMSA), presented the 2013 Joe Slovo Memorial Lecture, on October 20, 2013

Comrade chairperson,

General Vo Nguyen Giap (1911-2013): Military hero, revolutionary intellectual, environmentalist

General Vo Nguyen Giap, second from left, with Ho Chi Minh, in 1957.

By Michael Karadjis

October 24, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Few people from the 20th century can really claim to have changed history. One of them without a doubt was General Vo Nguyen Giap, who led the Vietnamese people to defeat the French and US empires.

Giap died on October 4, aged 102.

While mainly remembered as a military leader, Giap was also one of Vietnam’s most significant political leaders, a revolutionary intellectual, an environmentalist and a campaigner for progressive change within his own country.

Love and revolution

Many will call me an adventurer – and that I am, only one of a different sort – one of those who risks his skin to prove his truths...I have loved you very much, only I haven’t known how to express my affection. I am extremely rigid in my actions, and I think that sometimes you didn’t understand me. It hasn’t been easy to understand me. Nevertheless, please take me at my word today…An abrazo (hug) from your obstinate and prodigal son. -- Che Guevara, March 31,1965

By John Rainford

On Marxism and melodrama: An interview with Lars Lih

Lars Lih has explored the political and theoretical relationships between Lenin and Karl Kautsky.

[Click HERE for more by or about Lars Lih. For more discussion on Lenin, click HERE.]

Lars Lih interviewed by Dario Cankovic

October 2, 2013 -- The North Star, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Dario Cankovic -- Lars T. Lih lives and works in Montreal, Quebec. He is an adjunct professor of musicology at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University and writes about Russian and socialist history on his own time. His books include Bread and Authority in Russia, 1914-1921 (1990), Lenin Rediscovered: What Is to Be Done in Context (2006) and Lenin (2011), a biography. Links to his articles online can be found here.

The talented and reviled Mr Pepper (Comintern agent)

A Communist Odyssey: The Life of József Pogány/John Pepper
By Thomas Sakmyster
Budapest-New York: Central European University Press, 2012
Photos, bibliography, index; 249 pp.

Reviewed by Dan La Botz

October 2013 -- New Politics, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- During normal times in a capitalist society, skill and drive are harnessed by the corporations, the labour union bureaucracy and the political parties, but when the crisis comes a revolutionary party must harness the most talented and most ambitious for its purposes. The idealistic and the opportunistic, the selfless and the self-aggrandising, the ruthless and the kind, the brave and the cowardly among those most determined and striving souls must somehow be made use of for the higher purposes of the revolution and ultimately for of all of humanity. The revolutionary movement must bring out the best in them, for we are the only material we have.

Nelson Mandela: Between fact and fiction

Nelson Mandela at the Rivonia treason trial.

For more on Nelson Mandela, click HERE.

By Dimitris Fasfalis

October 16, 2013 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- There are many ways in which the capitalist rulers of the world manage to contain the empowering hope borne by revolutionary leaders: slander, silence -- and in some cases outright embezzlement. The latter is the case today with Nelson Mandela.

Here is an excerpt from a BBC News report about the latest African tour by US President Barack Obama, at the end of June:

Crónica de una jornada con Nicolás Maduro


[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3533. Haga clic aquí para más artículos en español.]

VÍCTOR RÍOS Y MIGUEL RIERA | septiembre 2013

Aporrea.org -- De Nicolás Maduro, presidente electo de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, se sabe muy poco en España. Apenas cuatro trazos, aportados principalmente por los medios de comunicación de masas hostiles al proceso revolucionario. El Viejo Topo quiso conocerlo, y el presidente venezolano aceptó ser entrevistado sin poner la menor traba.

El Viejo Topo

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