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- Video: Kshama Sawant at protest of Boeing machinists, Nov. 18
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[For more on French politics, click HERE.]
By Dick Nichols
November 6, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- October was a month of sharp shifts in French politics. On October 4, a poll in the French weekly Nouvel Observateur showed the xenophobic and racist National Front (FN) of Marine Le Pen leading voting intentions for the 2014 European elections with the support of 24% of those interviewed—up 3% in six months.
On October 13, in the second round of the by-election for the canton of Brignoles (in the Mediterranean department of Var), the FN easily defeated the mainstream conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), by 53.9% to 46.1%. Until 2011 Brignoles had had a Communist Party (PCF) mayor, but in this election the main left candidate, with a PCF background and supported by the Socialist Party, could only manage 14.6% in the first round.
[For more on Martin Luther King Jnr, click HERE.]
August 22, 2013 -- Labor Notes -- It is 50 years since 1963’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom drew more than 200,000 people. But after the latest one-two punch—George Zimmerman walking free after killing Trayvon Martin and the Supreme Court rolling back the Voting Rights Act—the new March on Washington August 24 is clearly needed to renew the struggle.
A fascinating new book from historian William P. Jones puts the 1963 action in its organising context. Every US school child learns the opening words of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but how many are taught that the march was the brainchild of the nation’s leading black labour activists—and called not only for an end to prejudice, but also for a federal jobs program, equality at work and a boost to the minimum wage?
'A Freedom Budget for All': Paul Le Blanc on Martin Luther King's struggle for economic and racial justice (now with slideshow)
[For more on Martin Luther King Jnr, click HERE.]
August 21, 2013 -- Inside Higher Ed, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Three years after the August 28, 1963, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a number of its core organisers projected a new stage of the struggle for equality -- expanding and deepening it, creating the economic and social foundations needed to realise Martin Luther King’s dream.
Their program, “A Freedom Budget for All Americans”, was issued by the A. Philip Randolph Institute in fall 1966. In his foreword, King called the document “a moral commitment to the fundamental principles on which this nation was founded”. Chances are you’ve never heard of it. (The original pamphlet is available in PDF here.)
By Thomas Roud, Christchurch
July 29, 2013 -- Fightback -- A Facebook page for “The Pakeha Party” caused a stir in early July, quickly gaining more "likes" than any other political party in New Zealand. [Pākehā are New Zealanders of European descent.] While the founder, David Ruck, admitted that the idea was initially a joke between friends, the torrent of interest has resulted in an attempt to build a real political party based on rhetoric of "equal rights" for all New Zealanders.
The Pakeha Party illustrates the profound ignorance of history within our society, as well as an underbelly of racism which have both been emerging more frequently during the economic recession. While many have, quite rightly, pointed out that David Ruck is a complete buffoon, the popularity of his bigoted "joke" highlights a dangerous ideological tendency.
The following is an excerpt from Alan Wieder's new book, Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the war against apartheid, published by Monthly Review Press. It is posted with the kind permission of Monthly Review Press. Readers of Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to order a copy HERE.
July 14, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Ruth First and Joe Slovo, husband and wife, were leaders of the war to end apartheid in South Africa. Communists, scholars, parents, and uncompromising militants, they were the perfect enemies for the white police state. Together they were swept up in the growing resistance to apartheid, and together they experienced repression and exile.
By Mathias Wåg, translated from Swedish by Petter Nilsson
May 28, 2013 -- Transform! -- Stockholm suburbs have been ablaze. Cars have been torched in suburbs around the city and when the firefighters and police arrive they have been met by youths throwing stones. Why is this? Why now? How come in Sweden?
Seen from the outside, Sweden can still seem like the promised land of welfare, the balanced third way between socialism and capitalism. But inside during the last 10 to 20 years, neoliberal policies have been eating away like termites consuming the welfare state's foundations from within, leaving it as an empty shell. And Stockholm, where the riots started and were centred, is the testing facility for neoliberal reforms large and small.
Jock Palfreeman interviewed by Tony Iltis, Sofia
May 17, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- “I’m in Villawood!”, Jock Palfreeman exclaimed, with the cheerful exuberance he displayed throughout an interview conducted through glass and wire-mesh partitions in the gloomy surroundings of the visiting room of Sofia central prison.
He told Green Left Weekly that it was the plight of refugees illegally detained in Sydney's Villawood detention centre by the Australian government that first radicalised him. His first protest, as a high school student in Sydney, was a blockade of the offices of Villawood’s then operator Australasian Correctional Management on May Day in 2002.
A year later he organised students at his school to attend the “Books Not Bombs” student walkouts to protest against the war on Iraq.
It was because of his seeming inability to ignore injustice that he is now serving a 20-year sentence in Bulgaria.
By David T. Rowlands
May 10, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Between January 31 and February 2, 1971, over a hundred ex-US service personnel who had served in Vietnam between 1963 and 1970 gathered in Detroit for a three-day media conference. Organised by the activist group Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), the Winter Soldier Investigation (WSI) was intended to educate the American public about the scale of US atrocities in Vietnam, emphasising the direct relationship between such atrocities and official military policies.
"Waterside worker', by Noel Counihan, 1963.
By Chris Slee
March 18, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In his article entitled “Is there a labour aristocracy in Australia?” (published in the Socialist Alternative magazine, Marxist Left Review) Tom Bramble criticises the concept of the “labour aristocracy” on a number of grounds.
'They will make splendid allies': The Communist Party of Australia and its attitude towards migrants
February 22, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below are two chapters from Australian socialist Douglas Jordon's thesis on the Communist Party of Australia. They deal with the CPA's sometimes inconsistent attitude to migration and racism within the Australian working class. As such issues continue to feature heavily in Australian politics and trade union activity, something the left must always deal with, these chapters provide useful lessons and experiences for socialists today. The chapters are availabe for download as PDF files or can be read on screen below the introduction.
Douglas Jordan was politicised in England in the late 1960s. After arriving in Australia he joined the Socialist Youth Alliance/Socialist Workers League/Socialist Workers Party, in which where he remained a member for 14 years. Today he is a community activist and co-presenter of the City Limits radio program on Melbourne's 3CR.
The following is an excerpt from Esteban Morales Domínguez's new book, Race in Cuba: Essays on the revolution and racial inequality released February 2013 by Monthly Review Press. It is posted with the kind permission of Monthly Review Press. Readers of Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to order a copy HERE.
You can download the excerpt HERE (PDF), or read it on screen below.
As a young militant in the Student Youth movement, Esteban Morales Domínguez participated in the overthrow of the Batista regime and the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. The revolutionaries, he understood, sought to establish a more just and egalitarian society. But Morales, an Afro-Cuban, knew that the complicated question of race could not be ignored, or simply willed away in a post-revolutionary context. Today, he is one of Cuba’s most prominent Afro-Cuban intellectuals and its leading authority on the race question.
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.
* * *
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.
The United State’s robot wars in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and other countries is the logical outcome of a shadowy war that has no definition and with no end in sight.
By Rupen Savoulian
January 7, 2013 -- Antipodean Athiest, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The US National Defense Authorisation Act, updated by the administration of US President Barack Obama for 2013, has been signed into law. It provides for the indefinite detention of any person suspected of "terrorism" offences, prohibits the transfer of the remaining Guantanamo Bay detainees from that facility and allows the US military to detain any person, even US citizens without any recourse to civilian courts and legal access.
Obama, the "anti-war" candidate of 2008, has not only continued the Bush-Cheney-era "war on terror", he is ensuring that its continuation, its corrosive effect on civil liberties and the undermining of the already fragile democratic rights will go on spreading its toxic effect.
Striking Chicago teachers rally, October 2012.
By Dan La Botz
December 31, 2012 -- New Politics -- The most important social conflict in the United States in 2012—the Chicago Teachers Union strike—suggests that the rising trajectory of social struggle in the United States that began at the beginning of 2011 may be continuing. While the United States has a much lower level of class struggle and social struggle than virtually any other industrial nation—few US workers are unionised (only 11.8%) and unionised workers engage in few strikes and those involve a very small numbers of workers—still, the economic crisis and the demand for austerity by both major political parties, Republican and Democrat, have led to increased economic and political activity and resistance by trade unions, particularly in the public sector.
Socialist Alliance member Margarita
Windisch addresses the 2012 Melbourne Reclaim the Night rally. Transcript HERE.
December 9, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- An article that appeared on the website of the magazine of the Socialist Alternative organisation on November 22, 2012, has sparked an interesting debate across the Australian left on merits of socialists organising against violence against women.
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).
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.
By Thomas Harrison and Joanne Landy, co-directors of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy (New York)
Thomas Harrison and Joanne Landy recently returned from a trip to Greece, where they met with activists and others to gain a better understanding of the popular upsurge against the Greek government's austerity program.
The construction of Israel’s mammoth apartheid wall has separated Palestinian farmers from their fields and destroyed Palestinians' legally owned fertile agricultural land.
By Ben Lorber
July 12, 2012 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Since the idea of Zionism first gripped the minds of a few intellectuals and the limbs of many agrarian pioneers in the early 20th century, the state of Israel has presented its settlement of the land of Palestine, and its uprooting of the Palestinian people, as a rejuvenation of the earth. By “greenwashing” the occupation, Israel hides its apartheid behind an environmentalist mirage, and distracts public attention not only from its brutal oppression of the Palestinian people, but from its large-scale degradation of the earth upon which these tragedies unfold.
Determined to “make the desert bloom”, an international organisation -- the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet LeYisrael (JNF-KKL, or JNF) planted forests, recreational parks and nature reserves to cover over the ruins of Palestinian villages, as refugees were scattered far from, or worse, a few hilltops away from, the land upon which they and their ancestors had based their lives and livelihoods.
Johannesburg's Orange Farm revolts against local elites.
By Patrick Bond
July 17, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The recent surge of unconnected community protests across South Africa confirms the country’s profound social, economic and environmental contradictions. But if activists fall before a new hail of police bullets, or if they lack an overarching, unifying political strategy, won’t their demonstrations simply pop up and quickly fall back down again – deserving the curse words "popcorn protests" – as they simply run out of steam, or worse, get channelled by opportunists into a new round of xenophobic attacks?
It’s been a hot winter, and we’re just halfway through July (the Centre for Civil Society’s Social Protest Observatory keeps tabs at http://ccs.ukzn.ac.za). Consider evidence from just the past two weeks, for example, in Johannesburg’s distant Orange Farm township south of Soweto, where residents rose up against city councillors and national electricity officials because of the unaffordable $250 installation charged for hated pre-payment (i.e. self-disconnection) meters, not to mention a 130% increase in electricity prices.
Former enslaved African Americans vote in New Orleans, 1867, during the "Radical Reconstruction" period.
By Malik Miah
May 25, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The “Reconstruction amendments” — the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the United States constitution — are being targeted in many of the far-right “Tea Party” and Republican campaigns against the rights of immigrants and women, marriage equality and gay rights, and voting rights for African Americans and other minority ethnic groups.
The racist tinge of many of these attacks, whether openly stated or implied, is obvious – but this does not mean that racism is more prevalent now than in the past. Rather, the smear campaign against President Barack Obama’s mixed background and dark skin is calculated to appeal to the most extreme backward elements of the Republican Party.