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Michael Löwy discusses Pope Francis’s recent Encyclical Laudati Si’, ecosocialism and left unity in Europe today
February 19,2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Michael Löwy is a militant of the French section of the Fourth International. His wide-ranging interests include, in part, the connection between the Romantic movement and Marxism, ecosocialism, Liberation Theology and questions of art and culture.
His many publications (in various languages) include The Marxism of Che Guevara, Georg Lukács: from Romanticism to Bolshevism, The war of gods: Religion and Politics in Latin America, Fatherland or Mother Earth? Essays on the national question and Fire Alarm: Reading Walter Benjamin’s ‘On the Concept of History'.
This interview was conducted by Barry Healy via the internet in February, 2016.
You have written that Pope Francis’ Laudato Si is of “world historic importance”.
Why do you see this encyclical as different from previous Vatican documents and what significance do you see it having for Catholics in particular? What are the Encyclical’s strengths and weaknesses?
On January 3, 2015, historian Doug Enaa Greene led a discussion on the history of the POUM and the lessons to be drawn for today. It was presented to the Center of Marxist Education. His talk was based on the text below.
For more by Doug Enaa Greene, click HERE.
By Doug Enaa Greene
January 7, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For generations of leftists, the most recognizable images of the Spanish Civil War is from May 1937 comes from George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia of anarchist and POUMist workers defending the Telephone Exchange in Barcelona from the Communist Party. This image is said to represent the betrayal of Spain's libertarian communist revolution by agents of Moscow. In the decades since May 1937, a great number of polemics have been exchanged on what went wrong and on many “what ifs” on how the revolution could have won in the streets of Barcelona.
By Noam Chomsky
Hamish Hamilton (also Penguin), 2013
Review by Alex Miller
February 26, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This volume consists of eight interviews given by Noam Chomsky to David Barsamian in 2010-12 (in fact six of them were given in 2012). As always, Chomsky’s insights into politics and power are penetrating and insightful, and cover a wide range of topics, including the Arab Spring, Wikileaks and Bradley Manning, the role of social media like Facebook and Twitter in the atomisation of society, the Obama administration, and a host of others. As is usual in Chomsky’s books, every factual claim he makes is meticulously referenced in notes at the end.
By Dan La Botz
January 14, 2014 -- Solidarity (USA), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The Chiapas rebellion led by the Zapatistas took place 20 years ago this month. What was the importance of the rebellion and of the Zapatistas? What was the impact at the time? And what has been its political legacy? What is the role of the Zapatistas in Mexico today?
The Chiapas rebellion had an enormous impact at the time, not only in Mexico but around the world. The EZLN had led the first leftist, armed rebellion since the fall of Communism and the break-up of the Soviet Union just a few years before, suggesting that contrary to claims about the death of the left and the “end of history”, a new left had arisen in the Lacandón Jungle of Chiapas.
Recovering Bookchin: Social ecology and the crises of our time
By Andy Price
New Compass Press: 2012
Reviewed by Ian Angus
October 30, 2013 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In June 1987, long-time anarchist and environmental activist Murray Bookchin was keynote speaker at the first national meeting of US Greens in Amherst, Massachusetts. Before his talk, Bookchin placed a copy of a long article he had just written on every seat. In the article and in his talk – both titled “Social Ecology versus Deep Ecology: A Challenge for the Ecology Movement” – Bookchin described “two conflicting tendencies” in the environmental movement.
On one side, “deeply concerned naturalists, communitarians, social radicals and feminists” were challenging the “hierarchical, sexist, class-ruled” society responsible for environmental destruction, and developing a “coherent, and socially oriented body of ideas that can best be called social ecology”.
By Doug Enaa Greene
September 24, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
“There was much in it that I did not understand, in some ways I did not even like it, but I recognized it immediately as a state of affairs worth fighting for.”
This was George Orwell’s first impression of revolutionary Barcelona at the end of 1936. In many ways, the phrase, ‘a state of affairs worth fighting for,’ sums up how an entire generation felt about the Spanish Civil War. Whether on the left or right, millions were passionately aroused by the war. Idealistic volunteers from more than fifty countries went to fight on behalf of the Republic. Hitler and Mussolini helped the Nationalist side in their fervent crusade to establish a ‘Catholic Spain.’
By Paul Le Blanc
July 25, 2012 – ESSF, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Paul Le Blanc’s permission -- Paul Mason is one of the best journalists covering the global economy today. His book, Live Working, Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global, is an essential resource for anyone concerned about the workers’ struggle against oppression and for liberation in the past, present and future. I met him while I was in thick of Pittsburgh’s G20 protests, which he was covering for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). I had already read his splendid book (which I was using in one of my courses) – and his front-line television reportage of the protests and the realities generating them was outstanding.
How anarchists, syndicalists, socialists and IWW militants were drawn to Bolshevism: four case studies
William Dudley (Big Bill) Haywood, US labour movement leader, marching with strikers in Lowell, Massachusetts, circa 1912.
By Doug Enaa Greene
“The unity of thought and action gave Bolshevism its original power; without entering into doctrinal questions we can define Bolshevism as a movement to the left of socialism -- which brought it closer to anarchism -- inspired by the will to achieve the revolution immediately.”
These words of Victor Serge sum up a whole new wave of thinking that came over many anarchists, anarcho-syndicalists, and socialists with the onset of the Russian Revolution. Many anarchists, syndicalists, and socialists who had been hostile to the practices of organized socialist parties for decades found themselves drawn to the example of the Bolshevik Revolution and joined the emerging Communist Parties, providing them with valuable cadres. One of these men was Victor Serge, a Russian exile most noted for his later work as a novelist. Another was Bill Haywood, an American trade unionist active in both the Western Federation of Miners and the Industrial Workers of the World. A third was James P. Cannon, another trade union militant in the USA. A fourth was Antonio Gramsci, an Italian journalist and political activist.
“William D. Haywood—Soldier to the Last” by James P. Cannon (Daily Worker, May 22, 1928) is a heartfelt obituary of the IWW leader William “Big Bill” Haywood by a friend and comrade, James P. Cannon. Both joined the Communist Party. Download the article HERE, or view on screen below. For more on the IWW, click HERE.
By Lars Lih
June 7, 2012 -- Weekly Worker -- Lenin’s pamphlet "Leftwing" communism -- his last work of more-than-article size -- was written in spring 1920 in order to be distributed to the delegates of the 2nd Congress of the Communist International, or Comintern. The message that Lenin intended to send cannot be understood apart from the particular circumstances of this event.
Comintern was founded in spring 1919, a time of great enthusiasm and hope about the possibility of soviet-style revolutions sweeping across Europe. Exuberantly confident predictions were made by Lenin and Grigorii Zinoviev that the 2nd Congress of the new international would be a gathering not just of parties, but of new soviet republics. Accordingly, little attention was given to the party as such. As Trotsky put it later, the hope was that “a chaotic, spontaneous [elemental or stikhiinyi] assault” would mount in “ever-rising waves, that in this process the awareness of the leading layers of the working class would become clarified, and that in this way the proletariat would attain state power in the course of one or two years”.
Text and transcription from the Marxist Internet Archive
Source: To the I.W.W., A Special Message from the Communist International;
First Published: by Guido Baracchi and Percy Laidler, Proletarian Publishing Association, Melbourne, 1920;
Transcribed: by Andy Blunden, 2003;
Proofed: and corrected by Nicole McKenzie, 2007.
At the request of the author, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is happy to make available a new pamphlet produced by radical Occupy activists in United States, in the interests of the advancing discussion in the movement. The pamphlet can be downloaded free HERE (in PDF) or you can read it on screen below.
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By Pham Binh
April 18, 2012
Who would’ve imagined the word “occupy” would inspire millions to take direct action and stand up for the 99% here in America after brutal occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine?
Now there’s Occupy Pakistan and even Occupy Nigeria.
Occupy is more than a movement, less than a revolution, and long overdue. Occupy isn’t about ideology, it’s about the 99%, hence why pacifists and insurrectionists, anti-capitalist anarchists/socialists and pro-capitalist libertarians, liberal Democrats and Ron Paul Republicans, vegans and omnivores have come together despite our differences.
The New Left Project's Ed Lewis interviews Paul Le Blanc
March 6, 2012 -- Paul Le Blanc is professor of history and political science at La Roche College, Pittsburgh. He is the author of a number of books on revolutionary and radical politics, most recently Marx, Lenin and the Revolutionary Experience and Work and Struggle: Voices from U.S. Labor Radicalism. He spoke to Ed Lewis about the Get Political campaign, which aims to bring radical activists of today into critical engagement with the ideas of Lenin, Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburg.
Ed Lewis: What is the "Get Political" initiative?
By Doug Lorimer
Doug Lorimer is a member of the National Executive of the DSP. This article is based on a report adopted by the 14th National Conference of the DSP, held in Sydney, January 2-6, 1992.
©Resistance Books 1997; first published 1992, second (revised) edition 1997
"Out of clouds of pepper spray and phalanxes of riot cops a new generation of revolutionaries is being forged, and it would be a shame if the Peter Camejos, Max Elbaums, Angela Davises, Dave Clines and Huey Newtons of this generation end up in separate “competing” socialist groups ... Now is the time to begin seriously discussing the prospect of regroupment, of liquidating outdated boundaries we have inherited, of finding ways to work closely together for our common ends. "
By Pham Binh
Lucy Parsons, 1930: "I have seen many movements come and go. I belonged to all of those movements. I was a delegate that organized the Industrial Workers of the World. I carried a card in the old Socialist Party. And now I am today connected with the Communists."
By Keith Rosenthal
[The following article is a reply to Jeffery Webber's article, “Bolivia’s reconstituted neoliberalism”, which appeared in the International Socialist Review, September–October 2010. Webber's reply to Fuentes' criticisms follows the article below. Fuentes is editor of the Bolivia Rising website and was based in Venezuela as a correspondent for Australia's leading socialist newspaper, Green Left Weekly. He is a member of the Australian Socialist Alliance. For more coverage of Bolivia, click HERE.]
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By Federico Fuentes
"The Zapatistas’ anarchist strategic outlook, with their anti-theory 'no political line' position and their disdainful 'all politics is corrupt' led them to abstain from key struggles against neoliberalism."
By Rachel Evans and Tristan Parish
January 12, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This is an examination of Mexico’s social movements, the political parties’ and organisations that lead them, and their tactical and strategic outlooks, as well as the left’s successes and failures in the fight against neoliberalism.
From 1994 onwards, the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and the centre-left electoral formation, the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), have been the organisations that have led the largest social movements in Mexico. Hence, the effectiveness of their strategies -- Zapatista anarchism and Party of the Democratic Revolution electoralism -- in resisting neoliberalism in Mexico will be examined.