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By Käte Duncker, introduction by John Riddell
September 21, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/John Riddell: Marxist Essays and Commentaries — 100 years ago today, a leading antiwar socialist in Germany explained the need for revolution to end the First World War. Her audience was delegates to the last unified national conference of the Social-Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), held in Berlin on September 21-23, 1916.
"The Abe administration is composed of and supported by extreme rightists who are trying to rewrite history and glorify Japan’s aggressive war."
August 15, 2015 -- Japanese Communist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Japanese Communist Party chair Shii Kazuo held a news conference on August 14 at the JCP head office in Tokyo, releasing a statement to mark the 70th anniversary since the end of World War II. In the statement, he criticised Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s statement published on the same day as deceitful. The full text of the JCP statement is as follows.
On the 70th anniversary since the end of World War II, the Japanese Communist Party offers its deepest condolences to all victims of the war of aggression and colonial rule by Japan’s militarism.
Now Japan is standing at a historical crossroads between war and peace. The war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is a treasure embraced by the Japanese people, which they wholly endorsed based on reflection over the past war and the war ravages. The JCP sincerely calls for all peace-loving people to unite in order to protect Article 9 and create a truly peaceful Japan in line with the article, beyond differences in thought, beliefs and political stances.
April 30, 1975: a North Vietnamese tank rolls through the gate of the Presidential Palace in Saigon.
By Jon Mitchell
April 30, 2015 -- Asia-Pacific Journal, Japan Focus, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On April 30, 1975, North Vietnamese troops and their supporters entered Saigon. Their arrival ended three decades of conflict -- including 10 years of direct US- intervention -- which left as many as 3 million dead and countless others suffering from the legacy of PTSD, unexploded ordnance and Agent Orange.1
As the world remembers this 40th anniversary, all too often forgotten is the role of the Pentagon’s most important launch pad for this failed war: Okinawa.
The Vietnam War wrought massive changes on the lives of the island’s 900,000 residents. Many of Okinawa’s current problems date back to this era and, if the history of the Vietnam War there continues to be ignored, the island’s wounds -- in many ways as raw as those in South-east Asia and the US -- will continue to fester long into the future.
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See also "Australia & New Zealand: The imperialist reality behind ANZAC myth". For more on World War I, click HERE
Film by John Rainford and Peter Ewer
April 24, 2015 -- Green Left TV/Green Left Weekly//Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC's ill-fated Gallipoli campaign approaches, this timely short film cuts through the myth making, and shows with damning facts how lives were used as fodder as strategic and tactical blunders led to the slaughter of so many.
It reveals the context behind the Gallipoli campaign - a war fought because the world had been cut up into colonies by the major powers who were now battling for the spoils.
The film shows exactly why the terrible ANZAC Cove campaign should never be forgotten — and the crimes of the warmongers responsible never forgiven.
February 23, 2015 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The following talk was given at a celebration of ALBA in Toronto, February 21, 2015.
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Today we celebrate a decade of achievement of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA). For 10 years ALBA has stood on the world stage as a defender of peace, solidarity and popular sovereignty.
Before ALBA, Cuba stood alone for many years against the U.S.-led empire. But through ALBA, an alliance of countries, with wide influence and many friends among governments and peoples, now challenges imperialism on a range of issues. While representing only a few small and poor countries, ALBA exercises great moral authority and carries weight in world affairs. ALBA is the most effective international alliance based on solidarity in modern history.
Industrial Workers of the World poster against WWI.
By Doug Enaa Greene
February 2, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It has been a hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War. The centennial of the “war to end all wars” has seen countless commemorations of the millions of heroic soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice for king and country.
Yet missing from all of the observances of the war are the deeper questions of its causes – to divide colonies among predatory ruling classes – and the heroism of those who opposed the mass slaughter. And for the left, that is how we should remember this 100th anniversary – but honoring those socialists and communists who fought against all the odds to end the slaughter.
Vigil in Sydney on January 8, 2015, for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo Paris massacre.
Statement by Australian Socialist Alliance national co-conveners on the Paris massacre
Sydney, January 9, 2015 -- The Socialist Alliance Australia condemns the massacre of journalists, cartoonists and others at and around the offices of the Paris-based publication Charlie Hebdo. However offensive anyone may have found some of the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo, this act of brutal violence is not justified.
Socialist Alliance condemns the conservative religious fundamentalist sects which promote and carry out such acts of violence. These sects are deadly enemies of democracy, justice and progress and their violent and sectarian actions weaken the real struggles for a just, equitable, democratic and sustainable future.
The Socialist Alliance also warns against and condemns any attempts by Western politicians, governments, corporate media and others to use this latest incident to whip up racist Islamophobia which is already virulent in the rich countries of the world.
This latest act of brutality does not justify the “clash of civilisations” hysteria that is widely used by racists to justify ongoing and new imperial wars, anti-refugee and anti-immigrant policies and laws, and anti-democratic “security” laws.
By John Riddell
December 2, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- During the first four months of the First World War, no statement from German socialists appeared denouncing the war. Government repression and the bonds of Social Democratic Party discipline prevented anti-war voices, such as those of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, from gaining a hearing.
This changed 100 years ago on December 2, 1914. Liebknecht took a bold stand against the slaughter as the first deputy to vote in the German parliament (Reichstag) against allocating funds for war spending. His protest resounded across Europe and gave new hope and energy to socialist antiwar currents.
Socialist Alliance: 'No Australian military involvement in Iraq'; 'End Australian partnership with NATO'
September 4, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following statements were adopted by the Socialist Alliance national executive on September 4, 2014, in response to the Australian government's decision to join the US and other imperialist states in a new military intervention in Iraq.
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1. The US wars on Iraq (1991 and 2003) killed hundreds of thousands and completely wrecked the country. The US promoted sectarian divisions in order to retain control. It created the conditions for the rise of the "Islamic State" and is thus responsible for the current crisis.
2. Australia was an enthusiastic junior partner in both US wars on Iraq and thus shares responsibility for the terrible suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people as well as the current situation.
3. There is a humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria due to the Islamic State’s ethnic cleansing and general terror campaign. Approximately 1.5 million refugees are living in camps in Rojava (the Kurdish liberated zone in northern Syria), Turkey and the Federal Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
a. Australia should give large-scale assistance to these refugees. This should be delivered by non-military means.
b. Australia should massively increase its refugee intake from Iraq and Syria.
c. No asylum seekers already here should be forcibly returned to Iraq or Syria.
Anti-war protest in Chernivtsi, western Ukraine, July 23, 2014. Signs read, "Bring our children back!" and "Stop the bloodshed!"
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints on the political situation in Ukraine. These do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers.
By Roger Annis
August 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In an article published on Left-East on August 10, Russian left-wing writer Ilya Budraitskis laments "there is no anti-war movement in Russia". His article is a rather bleak, despairing outlook on the prospects of organising against “war” in the border regions between Ukraine and Russia. He titles his article “Hope in a hopeless place”.
Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922. Here, he explains how the First World War broke out 100 years ago, how the socialist movement reacted, and how a revolutionary anti-war opposition emerged.is the author and editor of numerous books, including, most recently,
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The following talk was delivered to the US International Socialist Organization's Socialism 2014 conference in Chicago, June 28, 2014. It has been edited for publication in International Socialist Review. See also John Riddell's article, “Capitalism’s First World War and the Battle Against It“, in Socialist Worker. Read more on World War I.
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By John Riddell
August 5, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- On August 5, 100 years ago, a Bosnian nationalist assassinated the crown prince of Austria-Hungary, setting in motion a chain of events that led a month later to the outbreak of the First World War.
The war shattered the world socialist movement and unleashed an overwhelming social catastrophe in Europe, killing 17 million soldiers and civilians. The resulting revolutionary struggles brought the war to an abrupt end in 1918, while toppling the continent’s three great empires and bringing workers and peasants to power in Russia. The war also contributed to a global rise of anti-colonial struggles.
What does this unique cataclysm mean for us today? It is useful to compare World War I with the dangers posed today by climate change and environmental collapse.
Anti-war protest in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, July 25, 2014, blocking traffic bridge over Bug River. Sign reads: "We demand, save the 79th Regiment!"
Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.
By Roger Annis
July 31, 2014 -- A Socialist in Canada, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- A rising wave of anti-war and anti-conscription protests is taking place in cities and towns across western Ukraine. The protests are prompted by the announcement of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko 10 days ago that a “third” military mobilisation is now required for the war that his governing regime began waging against the population of eastern Ukraine three months ago. Kyiv calls the war an "anti-terrorist operation".
The protests are paralleled by a rise in Ukraine army desertions and refusals of men and women to heed conscription orders.
Statement by the Socialist Alliance (Australia)
July 24, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance -- The Socialist Alliance conveys its condolences to the families of all its victims of the suspected shooting down to Malaysian Airlines flight 17 (MH17) over war-torn eastern Ukraine but it rejects the inflammatory Cold-War-style political posturing by both Liberal PM Tony Abbott and Labor Party opposition leader Bill Shorten.
Both these politicians have shamelessly sought to exploit this terrible tragedy to step up their pro-war and imperialist propaganda and they have been urged on by the capitalist media.
If the downing of MH17 was a deliberate shooting down of a civilian airliner, then who ever was responsible would be guilty of an atrocious crime against humanity and should be punished accordingly.
However, an independent and objective international investigation into the incident needs to be allowed to take place without provoking more war or leaping to conclusions about who may be responsible.
Instead the Australian government has flagged sending soldiers as part of an "international deployment" to eastern Ukraine under the guise of securing the crash site. This comes amid reports that the US was planning to send military advisers to assist the Ukranian regime in its war against rebels in the east.
There needs to be a ceasefire and negotiated solution to the conflict.
Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.
Green Left Weekly editorial
July 19, 2014 -- The apparent shooting down of Malaysia Airlines passenger flight MH17 is an unspeakable tragedy and a criminal act that has sent shock waves around the world. Green Left Weekly offers our condolences to the families of all its victims.
Nobody yet knows who was responsible for this crime, despite Western media and governments pointing the finger at either the rebel forces in Ukraine's east, which the West accuses Russia of arming, or the Russian military itself.
Amid claims and counter claims by all sides, each force denies responsibility and there is no obvious motive for any force to deliberately carry out such an atrocity.
The United Nations Security Council has called for “a full, thorough and independent international investigation”. But, whether this has any hope of leading to clarity on the incident remains to be seen.
Yet many Western governments, with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott joining in, are exploiting this tragedy and using it to escalate rhetoric and tensions with Russia, raising the prospect of the war expanding.
A villager surveys his home wrecked by shelling in Semyonovka, in Luhansk district. Image from BBC.
Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.
By Roger Annis
July 19, 2014 -- Rabble.ca, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- I learned of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 when my plane landed in Montreal the same day, July 17, on my way home from Moscow. The Moscow-Munich leg of my flight departed one hour before the (delayed) departure of Flight MH17 from Amsterdam at 12:30 pm local time. I reckon the respective flight paths crossed each other somewhere just west of Ukraine.
Ukraine army in Kramatorsk. Photo Ukraine government.
Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.
Declaration of the assembly of citizens of Ukraine and representatives of international solidarity networks, issued in Yalta, Crimea, July 7, 2014
A major human rights and humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Ukraine. The government that took power in Kyiv in February 2014 is conducting a brutal military assault in the southeast of the country.
Statement by Socialist Alliance (Australia)
June 19, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The US, Australia and other partners-in-crime in the war on Iraq must not be allowed to use the latest developments in that country to increase their military intervention in the region. The Socialist Alliance adds its voice to others in Australia rejecting Prime Minister Tony Abbott's all-the-way-with-the-USA commitment made to US President Barack Obama over Iraq.
The 2003 invasion of Iraq was a monstrous war crime. Millions of people have died or been displaced as a consequence of that invasion and the subsequent occupation. The leaders of governments that ordered that invasion and occupation – chief among them former US President George W. Bush, former British PM Tony Blair and former Australian PM John Howard – need to be brought to account as war criminals.
The invasion of Iraq did not bring democracy but simply replaced one brutal regime with another more pliant to Western imperial interests. The invaders cared nothing for the people of Iraq and region and acted to advance the selfish interests of the powerful corporations they serve.
See also "Australia & New Zealand: The imperialist reality behind ANZAC myth".
Read more on World War I.
By John Rainford
October 25, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal on April 25, 2014 -- With political advantage from a national celebration of the centenary of World War I in mind, the Julia Gillard government last year allocated an initial $83.5 million towards the “ANZAC Centenary”.
Through a local grants program, up to $125,000 is available for each federal MP to fund suitable projects in their electorates. But unfortunately for Labor, the project is now headed by Tony Abbott, who has appointed himself head of the Centenary. Stand by for a broadside of jingoism and a celebration of empire.
Unlike World War II, a conflict that arose from the march of fascism, the origins of WWI are more difficult to explain. Why did the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie by nineteen-year-old Gavril Princip in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 lead to war?
Melbourne protest against Work Choices, September 2007.
By Sue Bolton
November 16, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Over the years, I have heard many left-wing activists say that mass peaceful protests do not achieve anything. Rather, “militant actions” which “take it up to the ruling class” are more important.
But for smaller direct actions to have any real political significance, they have to be connected to a patient and democratic approach to building mass movements that can win reforms. Smaller direct actions that are not tied to this political aim are a posture.
In a period of relative political quiet, some on the left are being snookered into the false idea that demonstrations that insist on direct action and militancy are the only way to win reforms.
This is a failed strategy, because it rests on the notion that a tiny number of conscientious and outraged activists can frighten or shock the ruling class into delivering reforms or stopping cuts. This sort of idealism is dangerous, and ignores evidence of how social movements throughout history have grown and succeeded in their aims.
When I first arrived in Melbourne in 1993, I met a man at a tram stop who told me that Victorians supported then-premier Jeff Kennett because they had stopped protesting.