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50 years since ‘The Feminine Mystique’

By Suzanne Weiss

January 31, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Fifty years ago, on February 13, 1963, the publication of US writer and activist Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique sparked a new awakening in the thinking of women across North America. Friedan denounced the repression women suffered in the aftermath of World War II, when they were forced out of wartime jobs and convinced to accept the role of keepers of the home.

Profiteers of the market launched an unrelenting but subtle propaganda campaign to venerate women as wife and mother. This role, Friedan said, was the “feminine mystique”.

This domestic existence became, Friedan wrote, “a religion, a pattern by which all women must now live or deny their femininity”. In submitting to this concept of womanhood, women gave up their self-respect, recognition of their talents and abilities, and — most importantly — their identities. Fundamentally, Friedan said, this was a scam to sell more consumer goods to women, who were to be the major purchasers for home and family.

Ska: the pulse that doesn't die; Reggae: evolution of a rebel music

Foundation Ska
The Skatalites
Heartbeat/Rounder through Festival

Review by Norm Dixon

March 25, 1998 -- Green Left Weekly -- Viewers of late night music television will have noticed a revival of the unmistakable "ba-ba-ba" ska pulse in some of the clips emanating from the US. Punk/thrash bands like Rancid and No Doubt, as well as longer established new-wave ska outfits like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and the Toasters, are leading what is dubbed the "ska-core" or "third wave ska" movement.

This revival is simply the latest example of how western pop music repeatedly rejuvenates itself (via often circuitous and complex paths) from the music of the African diaspora.

Ska appeared in Jamaica around the time of independence in 1962. It reflected the pride and assertiveness of the Jamaican people as they threw off the shackles of formal British rule. Ska was Jamaica's first indigenous popular music, and its influence has spread far and wide.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Jamaican musicians made their living playing in "society bands" — big bands which played very restrained swing music for the colonial upper crust and their local imitators in swank hotels and nightclubs. Poor Jamaicans, in the countryside and the ghettos, played and listened to traditional, African-derived mento music.

Canada & Quebec: Idle No More movement -- the high stakes of Indigenous resistance

By Geneviève Beaudet and Pierre Beaudet, translated from the French original at Nouveaux Cahiers du Socialisme by John Bradley

January 25, 20133 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The blossoming of the Idle No More movement signals the return of native [Indigenous] resistance to the political and social landscape of Canada and Quebec.

With its origins in Saskatchewan in October 2012, this mass movement has taken on the federal government and more specifically the adoption of Bill C-45.[1] Its origins lay not in the work of established organisations such as the Assembly of First Nations (although the AFN supports the initiative), but in a grassroots mobilisation that has arisen in several parts of the country. This process echoes other recent citizen mobilisations such as the student carrés rouges in Quebec and the worldwide Occupy movement.

Venezuela: What is Chavismo?

A massive rally was held in Caracas in defence of the Bolivarian Revolution on January 23, 2013. Known as the "Day of Democracy" in Venezuela, it marks the day in 1958 when the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez was overthrown by a civilian-military movement.

By Elias Jaua, former vice-president of Venezuela, translation by Rachael Boothroyd

[Jaua was appointed Venezuela's foreign minister soon after this article was written.]

January 4, 2013 -- Aporrea via Venezuelanalysis.com --The Bolivarian civic-military organisation that began to be constructed as a political force under the leadership of Comandante Hugo Chavez is rooted principally in the rebellions of the people and the military in 1989 and 1992 respectively. However, the structure of the Bolivarian Movement 200 (MBR200) as a presence in the streets began to take place at the beginning of 1994, when Hugo Chavez was released from prison and began a social and political pilgrimage throughout the country.

Paul Le Blanc on Martin Luther King: Christian core, socialist bedrock

January 22, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following article was first published in Against The Current #96 (January/February 2002) and is one of the first to focus on the fact that Martin Luther King was a socialist from the time he war a college student until his death. It is posted at Paul Le Blanc's suggestion and with his permission.

For more on Martin Luther King, click HERE.

* * *

By Paul Le Blanc

The life and example of Martin Luther King, Jr. are central to any quest for a better world—in part because he so effectively illuminated, and helped people struggle against, the realities of racism, highlighting the link between issues of racial and economic justice.  I will argue here that his outlook represents a remarkable blending of Christian, democratic, and socialist perspectives.

Forgotten legacies of Bolshevism on revolutionary organisation

"Iskra. It is often argued that the early period of the organisation of Iskra resembled the small, highly homogenous and monolithic cadre grouping that today is promoted as the sine qua non of revolutionary organisation, but if one looks at the original concept of the Iskra editorial board, we can see it promoted debate among a plurality of tendencies."

[Click HERE for more discussion on revolutionary organisation.]

Salvador Allende, Cuba and internationalism, 1970–73

Fidel Castro with Chile's President Salvador Allende upon his arrival at Pudahuel Airport in Santiago on November 10, 1971.

[For more articles by John Riddell, click HERE.]

By John Riddell

January 6, 2013 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the US-inspired rightist coup in Chile that overthrew the leftist government of Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973. The coup was a historic disaster for working people in Latin America and globally. Socialists worldwide saw it coming. How did they attempt to counter this danger?

Paul Le Blanc: Lenin and Luxemburg through each other’s eyes

August Thalheimer, a revolutionary who knew and worked with both of them, insisted on the formulation “not Luxemburg or Lenin – but Luxemburg and Lenin”, explaining that “each of them gave ... what the other did not, and could not, give”.

[More by (and about) Paul Le Blanc HERE, more on Lenin HERE and more on Rosa Luxemburg HERE.]

By Paul Le Blanc

(Talk presented at the International Conference on “Lenin’s Thought in the Twenty-First Century: Interpretation and Its Value”, Wuhan University, October 20-22, 2012.)

January 3, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg first met in 1901 but actually got to know each other amid the revolutionary workers’ insurgencies sweeping through Russia and Eastern Europe in 1905-1906. As Luxemburg biographer J. P. Nettl tells us:

Self-guided tours of revolutionary history: Fourth Congress of the Communist International (1922)

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

In Australia, Toward the United Front is also be available from Resistance Books

To recommend the Brill hardcover edition to your favourite library, go to Brill Academic Publishers and click on “recommend”.

For more on the Communist International, click HERE; for more study guides of socialist history and theory, click HERE.

By John Riddell

How workers rallied to aid the early Soviet republic: International Workers’ Aid for Soviet Russia (+ study guide)

Munzenberg

Willi Münzenberg.

December 29, 2012 -- The following talk on work by the Communist International to gather material aid for the Soviet Republic was given by Suzanne Weiss at the fourth Toronto study session on Toward the United Front, a 1300-page edition the fourth Communist International Congress (1922).

The study session, entitled “The Comintern’s Struggle for Social Hegemony”, surveyed the Comintern's work in unions, cooperatives, education, youth organisations and on material assistance to Soviet Russia. The presentation, taking up a speech by Willi Münzenberg, is followed by a brief biography and a description of the study session. More information on Toward the United Front is available HERE. – John Riddell

This article first appeared at Johnriddell.wordpress.com and is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

Alvaro Garcia Linera: Geopolitics of the Amazon -- Patrimonial-Hacendado power and capitalist accumulation

Introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

December 2012 -- This essay first appeared in English in five parts at Richard Fidler's Life on the Left and has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Álvaro García Linera is one of Latin America’s leading Marxist intellectuals. He is also the vice-president of Bolivia — the “co-pilot”, as he says, to President Evo Morales, and an articulate exponent of the government’s policies and strategic orientation.

In a recent book-length essay, Geopolitics of the Amazon: Patrimonial-Hacendado Power and Capitalist Accumulation, published in September 2012, García Linera discusses a controversial issue of central importance to the development process in Latin America, and explains how Bolivia is attempting to address the intersection between economic development and environmental protection.

The issues he addresses are of great importance not only in Bolivia but throughout Latin America, and in fact in most of the countries of the imperialist periphery. They are especially important to understand in the “First World,” where there is an increasing campaign in parts of the left to turn against the progressive and anticapitalist governments in Latin America on the ground of their alleged “extractivism.”

Paul Le Blanc: International conference in China on Lenin’s thought

Paul Le Blanc presents the keynote address to the international conference on “Lenin’s thought in the 21st century: interpretation and its value”, held October 20-22, 2012.

[Read more by (and about) Paul Le Blanc HERE and more on Lenin HERE.]

By Paul Le Blanc

Aleksandr Buzgalin: In memory of Nina Ivanovna Buzgalina, a true communist

Nina Ivanovna Buzgalina, 1932-2012

Translation and introductory note by Renfrey Clarke

November 18, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Many members of the international left who have lived in Moscow or visited it during the past few decades will be saddened to learn that Nina Ivanovna Buzgalina, mother of Aleksandr Buzgalin, died on November 9, 2012. Aleksandr has now written this tribute to her.

Nina Ivanovna was a proletarian fighter from her teenage years, and a committed, insightful communist. Her remarkable history stands as a testament to the struggles, sacrifices and triumphs of her generation.

* * *

By Aleksandr Buzgalin, Moscow

People don’t write about their mothers in scholarly journals, or post about them on public e-lists. But I’m doing so. I’m doing this because someone has died whose life reflected the best elements in the world of true communists, just as the ocean is reflected in a drop of water.

Aotearoa/New Zealand: Mana, a movement of the people

Grant Brookes.

By Grant Brookes

November 7, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – The following talk was presented to a Socialist Alliance public meeting in Melbourne.

Tihei mauriora!
Ko Ranginui kei runga
Ko Papatūanuku kei raro
Ko nga tangata kei waenganui

Ko Grant Brookes ahau
Ko Helen toku mama
Ko Don toku papa
Na Ōtepoti ahau
Na Koterana oku tipuna
Ko nga kaimahi o te ao taku iwi.

When a Maori person rises to talk in formal occasions, they often announce their speech, with tihei mauriora! – translated literally, “sneeze of the life spirit”. It is then customary to recount one's ancestry and tribal connections. So I said, Ranginui the sky father above, Papatūanuku the earth mother below, the people in between. I am Grant Brookes. My mother is Helen, my father is Don. I am originally from Ōtepoti/Dunedin. My ancestors are from Scotland. Being Pakeha, or a New Zealand European, I have no Maori tribal connections, so I say, the workers of the world are my tribe.

El futuro del 'socialismo del siglo XXI' tras las elecciones

[In English at Venezuela: The future of ‘21st century socialism’ after Chavez's victory.]

Por Federico Fuentes, traducido para Rebelión por Paco Muñoz de Bustillo

La reelección del presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez el pasado 7 de octubre con más del 55 % de los votos fue vital por dos razones.

En primer lugar, el pueblo venezolano impidió el retorno de la derecha neoliberal al poder. De haber ganado ésta, hubiera intentado dado marcha atrás, con el apoyo de Estados Unidos, a los importantes avances conseguidos por la mayoría pobre desde el primer triunfo de Chávez en 1998. Entre estas mejoras se incluye un enorme aumento de los servicios básicos prestados por el gobierno (como educación, sanidad y vivienda), la nacionalización de sectores estratégicos anteriormente privatizados y la promoción de la participación popular en las comunidades y lugares de trabajo.

Venezuela: The future of ‘21st century socialism’ after Chavez's victory

Supporters celebrate the president's re-election on October 7 outside the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas. Photo by Tamara Pearson/Venezuelanalysis.com.

Click HERE for more coverage and analysis of the Venezuelan revolutionary process.

By Federico Fuentes

[En espanol @ http://links.org.au/node/3085]

October 28, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez’s re-election on October 7 with more than 55% of the vote was vital for two reasons. First, the Venezuelan people blocked the return to power of the neoliberal right. Had they won, these US-backed forces would have worked to roll back important advances for the poor majority won since Chavez was first elected in 1998.

These include a huge expansion in government providing basic services (such as education, health and housing), the nationalisation of previous privatised strategic industries, and the promotion of popular participation in communities and workplaces.

C.L.R James: The historical development of the Negro in the United States (1943)

This article by Trinidad-born socialist C.L.R. James, written under the pseudonym J.R. Johnson, was originally circulated as an internal memorandum of the Workers Party in December 1943, under the title "The Historical Development of the Negro in the United States." It was published in 1945 as "Negroes and the Revolution: Resolution of the Minority" in New International. It was republished in C.L.R. James on the "Negro Question," (Scott McLemee, ed., University Press of Mississippi, 1996).

This text is republished in Socialist Worker (USA) from the Marxists Internet Archive.

Marxist Classics

 

THE HISTORY of the Negro question and the American revolutionary movement in general, and the Trotskyist movement in particular, makes it imperative at this stage to outline in however brief a form the role of the Negroes in the political development of American society.

Cuba: The legacy of the October 1962 Missile Crisis

By Ike Nahem

[This is the third in a series of articles by Ike Nahem. The first can be found HERE and the second HERE. For more articles on Cuba, click HERE.]

October 22, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- October 1962 marks the 50th anniversary of the so-called “Cuban Missile Crisis”. The last two weeks of that October was the closest the world has come so far to a widespread nuclear exchange.

The 'Marx party' -- Karl Marx's revolutionary household

Jenny and Karl Marx, 1869.

Love & Capital: Karl & Jenny Marx & the Birth of a Revolution
By Mary Gabriel,
Little, Brown & Company 2011
707 pages, $39.99

Review by Barry Healy

October 19, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- The spectre of Karl Marx still haunts the capitalist world. Only 11 people attended his funeral in 1883 and the corporate press still loves to dance on his grave, constantly declaring that his ideas are irrelevant. Yet with every economic crisis all eyes return to Marx's masterpiece, Capital, to understand what is really going on in our economic system.

How did this extraordinary work get produced? What circumstances fed the creative process?

Through Mary Gabriel’s intimate biography we see that hardship ― unrelenting, heartbreaking miserable poverty ― was the physical context. But in greater measure, love and unstinting generosity of the spirit nurtured the flame of creativity and rebellion.

The author of The Communist Manifesto and Capital, Marx was hounded from country to country in Europe before settling in London to further his revolutionary work. With him every inch of the way, physically, intellectually and emotionally was his family.

Few lives have been lived as intensely as that of Karl Marx. And through this book the zeal that his entire family shared is honoured.

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