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Australia: Socialists release 'A Charter for Women's Rights' on IWD

March 8, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On International Women's Day 2012 the Socialist Alliance in Australia released its latest A Charter for Women's Rights, updated in line with the decisions of the 8th national conference of the Socialist Alliance. Download a PDF version of the charter HERE.

International Women’s Day 2012: Women march against US military expansion in the Philippines and the Pacific

Unity statement by women in the Philippines

March 8, 2012 -- On the occasion of the International Women’s Day 2012, we, Filipino women declare in strongest terms possible, our opposition not only to increased presence but to US military presence per se on Philippines soil.

The United States is increasing its military presence in Asia-Pacific, in particular in the Philippines, and the Philippine government is showing no qualms in allowing this to happen.

A news account recently reported on the United States' plan to increase its military aid to “boost” Philippine defence; the promised aid will amount to US$144 million, reflecting an increase of more than $20 million on the previous amount. In another earlier news article, US ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas was quoted as saying his government had spent US$50 million for the upgrading of Philippine military facilities.

The Washington Post in January 2012 also reported that Philippine officials were in the United States to conduct initial talks with representatives of the Obama government "about expanding the American military presence in the island nation". More high-level and intense discussions will take place this March.

International Women’s Day: the struggle for equality continues

By Socialist Alliance (Australia)

March 8, 2012 -- This International Women’s Day falls at a time when the environmental and economic crises of global capitalism are making life even harder for most women and the communities they live and work in. Capitalism’s crisis is hitting hard in the US and across Europe. It is particularly dire in Greece where school teachers and other essential service workers are being thrown out of work or being forced to take pay cuts of between 40-50%. Working-class women are being hit especially hard. The European-wide austerity drive of the 1% is designed to get the 99% to pay for their greed. However, as the huge protests by workers, students and the unemployed in Greece and across Europe reveal, the 99% is not giving in without a fight.

These mobilisations represent the continuity between the struggles of today and those of the early 20th century – struggles that gave rise to International Women’s Day 101 years ago.

Washington threatens reprisals against Nicaragua’s voters

Nicaraguans celebrate the re-election of Daniel Ortega as president.

John Riddell interviews Felipe Stuart Cournoyer

February 2, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, also available at http://johnriddell.wordpress.com/. First published in Axis of Logic -- In a fit of petulant anger, the US government lashed out on January 25 against the outcome of Nicaragua’s recent presidential election. To understand the context of the US threats, I talked to Felipe Stuart Cournoyer, a Nicaraguan citizen and member of Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).[1]

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John Riddell: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed that Nicaragua’s November 6, 2011, election “marked a setback to democracy in Nicaragua and undermined the ability of Nicaraguans to hold their government accountable”, but offered no particulars. What has roused Washington’s ire?

Raj Patel: Feeding 10 billion (audio)

January 11, 2012 -- In a Saskatoon lecture, writer and activist Raj Patel argues that the only way to feed everyone is to completely rethink agriculture and empower women. He outlines the history of the "Green Revolution" and how it was based on attempts to defeat "communism", control population and spread the market system. The lecture was broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Ideas program.

(Updated Jan. 24) 'Too Many People?' Ecosocialists debate population and environment

[For more on the population debate, click HERE.]

January 9, 2012 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal/Climate and Capitalism -- Veteran British socialist Alan Thornett has published a highly critical review of the new book, Too Many People? Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis. Below is Thornett’s critique, followed by a reply from the book’s authors, Ian Angus and Simon Butler.

Too Many People: a review

By Alan Thornett

January 2, 2012 -- Socialist Resistance -- As a long-time comrade of Ian Angus, a fellow ecosocialist, and an admirer of his work on Marxism and ecology, I am disappointed by the tone he has adopted in his new book on population Too Many People? – which he has authored jointly with Simon Butler, co-editor of the Australian publication Green Left Weekly.

Pakistan and Afghanistan: Conference of progressive parties' joint declaration

Statement by Afghan and Pakistan progressive and left parties

December 26, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The progressive and democratic forces of Pakistan and Afghanistan met here in Lahore for two days [December 21-22, 2011] in the first ever joint conference. This is a historic step for the progressive forces of both sides to sit together and share the sufferings of our people at the hands of US-led NATO forces as well as the religious extremists in the form of the Taliban. We also vehemently condemn the military establishment and the governments of both countries who use different excuses to justify the occupation by foreign forces as well as [being the] tacit [patrons] of religious extremism.

We resolve to launch a sustained campaign against the forces of imperialism and religious extremism. We plan to organise coordinated days of action and other initiatives at the political as well as the cultural and educational levels. We plan to broaden this movement and include other left and progressive forces who share the common goals of establishing a just peace and of progress in the region. We resolve to also include the progressive movements in India and Iran in order to build up a broad regional alliance to secure a just peace.

Rainbow Cuba: the sexual revolution within the revolution

March to celebrate LGBTI rights in Havana, May 2009.

By Rachel Evans

December 23, 2011 (updated January 28, 2012) – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When I was 16, I went to a Cuba solidarity event in my home town. At the end of inspiring speeches about Cuba’s health record, education standards, and the revolution’s policy of sending doctors and teachers to impoverished countries, a rousing “Cuba si! Yankee no!” chant erupted. It was electric. Much better than the fake feeling, singing and dancing we’d experienced in the church hall on Sunday. I was impressed and resolved to visit the country and see the revolution for myself. Years later and having come out of the closet, I decided my trip to Cuba could help prove or dispel the oft-uttered line of Cuba being homophobic.

This work will help put to bed the lies and distortions propagated by the powerful United States (US) propaganda machine: that the Cuban Revolution is undemocratic, homophobic and tyrannical. My visit to and study of Cuba finds that there is no basis to these claims.

La Via Campesina: 'No deal better than a bad deal that condemns humanity to climate catastrophe'

 

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

Assembly of the Oppressed, December 5, 2011, Durban, South Africa

As the Assembly of the Oppressed we are gathered here to demand the transformation of the entire neoliberal capitalist system. The fight against climate change is a fight against neoliberal capitalism, landlessness, dispossession, hunger, poverty and the re-colonisation of the territories of the people’s of Africa and the global South. We are here to declare that direct action is the only weapon of the oppressed people of the world to end all forms of oppression in the world.

We are here in Durban, South Africa, where the 17th United Nations Conference of Parties [COP17] is taking place and are discussing false solutions to the climate crisis. And we can see that the future of Mother Earth and of humanity is in peril as those responsible for nature’s destruction are attempting to escape their responsibility and erase history.

South Africa: Rural women demand action on climate change

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

Memorandum from the Rural Women's Assembly to the UNFCCC, the government of the Republic of South Africa and the governments of Africa

December 4, 2011 -- We the Rural Women's Assembly of Southern Africa, meeting in Durban on the event of the 17th Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC in Durban [COP17] from November 30 to December 5, 2011, demand that governments take the following immediate steps to address the clear and present danger posed to rural communities by the climate crisis.

1. A climate deal that will take meaningful steps to halt the climate crisis by cutting carbon emissions. Historical emitters who are responsible for 75% of greenhouse gases (GHGs) must face trade and investment sanctions if they refuse to cut emissions, particularly from African governments, as Africa has contributed least to climate change, but is the worst affected.

Malalai Joya: Occupation troops are making Afghanistan worse

Malalai Joya. Photo: malalaijoya.com.

September 8, 2011 -- Overland magazine via Green Left Weekly -- Malalai Joya is a writer, activist and former parliamentarian in the national assembly of Afghanistan. Prior to speaking at two Overland events at the 2011 Melbourne Writers’ Festival, she discussed occupation and resistance in Afghanistan today.

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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said: “We’re in Afghanistan to make sure that it never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists, a place where they can go and train and plan violent attacks. We need to see that mission through.” What role are Australian troops really playing in Afghanistan and what should the Australian people be demanding of their government?

The presence of Australian troops is only beneficial for the bunch of warlords and criminals ruling Afghanistan. The Afghan people face dire conditions as the US and their allies have massacred innocent women, children and men — and are continuing to do so.

Since 2001, tens of thousands of civilians have been killed by the blind bombardments of the US and their allies, which include Australia, as well.

Lucy Parsons: 'More dangerous than a thousand rioters'

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

Audio: Who was Rosa Luxemburg?

July 15, 2011 -- Rosa Luxemburg was a revolutionary icon, a pathbreaking Marxist theorist and, according to the editors of Verso's new volume of her correspondence, a "fanatical" letter writer. Essayist, memoirist and critic Vivian Gornick, author of The Men in My Life and Fierce Attachments, who also reviewed the new voluime for the US Nation, and Paul Le Blanc, professor of history at La Roche University and editor of Rosa Luxemburg: Reflections and Writings discuss -- and debate -- what Luxemburg's letters can tell us about women and communism at the dawn of the Soviet era.

The discussion is hosted by Marissa Brostoff from the Beyond the Pale radio program. It was broadcast on June 12, 2011.

The Communist Women’s International (1921-26)

"Emancipated woman -- build up socialism." Poster by Strakhov-Braslavskij A. I., 1926.

By John Riddell

June 12, 2011 -- The following working paper was presented to the Toronto conference of Historical Materialism on May 16, 2010. It first appeared on John Riddell's blog and is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission.

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When we celebrate International Women’s Day, we often refer to its origins in US labour struggles early last century. Less often mentioned, however, how it was relaunched and popularised in the 1920s by the Communist Women’s International. Moreover, this movement itself has been almost forgotten, as have most of its central leaders.

The Communist Women’s International was founded by a world gathering of communist women in 1921, which elected a leadership, the International Women’s Secretariat, reporting to the executive of the Communist International, or Comintern. It also initiated the formation of women’s commissions in national parties, which coordinated work by women’s bodies on a branch level, and called periodic international conferences of Communist women.

Venezuela: Discussing the workers' control movement: An interview with 'Cayapa' radio show

The workers at Grafitos del Orinico are proud of their collectively run factory. Photo by Ewan Robertson.

By Ewan Robertson

June 3, 2011 -- AlertaQueCamina via Venezuelanalysis -- On Sunday, May 22, 2011, Spanish-language radio program Cayapa, based in Windsor, Canada, broadcast a program discussing the social and political changes underway in Venezuela, in the context of a recent solidarity brigade to the country by activists from the English-speaking world, and the country’s growing workers' control movement. This article provides an overview of the program in English, followed by a translation of an interview with the program about the workers' control movement in Venezuela, particularly in the Guayana region in the east of the country. You can listen to the full program (in Spanish) here or in the player below (apologies for the strange advertisement at the beginning!).

Cuba's Ricardo Alarcón: ‘Trying to reinvent socialism’

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic reforms in Cuba, and assessments of the sixth congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, click HERE.]

Ricardo Alarcón, president of Cuba's parliament, interviewed by Manuel Alberto Ramy

April 27, 2011 -- Radio Progreso Alternativa -- The sixth congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, a congress that, from what I have read and heard, foreshadows a country and a society that will be qualitatively different.

The president of the National Assembly and member of the politburo of the Communist Party, Ricardo Alarcón, granted me this interview. I know that his time is limited, so I'd like to ask him three very specific questions. The first refers to the area of the People's Power [Cuba's system of democratic representation].

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Global microfinance industry totters as Grameen Bank founder’s career ends in disgrace

Grameen Bank's Muhammad Yunus (right) with Bangladeshi women. The promised empowerment and poverty reduction failed to eventuate.

By Patrick Bond

April 27, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Bangladesh’s once-legendary banking environment is now fatally polluted. The rot is spreading so fast and far that the entire global microfinance industry is threatened. Controversy ranges far beyond poisonous local politics, the factor most often cited by those despondent about Grameen Bank’s worsening crisis.

Sexual self-determination in socialist Cuba: An interview with CENESEX director Mariela Castro Espín

CENESEX director Mariela Castro Espín (centre).

March 23, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In Cuba, there is a LGBTT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite, transsexual] movement whose gestation is found at the intersection of the state and organised civil society. This movement seeks to tackle the main themes of LGBTT reality from the perspective of human rights, health and social integration, while inserting itself into the national project of a just society. Historically, the space for its existence was provided by the country’s women’s movement, which was largely responsible for making Cuba, in 2008, the first country in the Americas to have sex-change operations included in the universal health-care system.  

Egypt: Much more than a `Facebook revolution'

February 18, 2011 -- There has been much written in the mainstream and even the alternative media -- much of it superficial -- about the uprising in Egypt, and previously in Tunisia, being a "Facebook revolution" and/or a "Twitter revolution". Rare have been analyses that try explain the deeper dynamics at play beneath the surface, which put the effectiveness of cyberspace organising tools into a political and class context. Exceptions to this are two very useful articles that appeared in the February 12, 2011, edition of the India-based left-wing journal, Economic & Political Weekly, which map the interaction between the build-up to the uprising in Egypt and developments in the labour and working-class movements, and how they influenced the technology-savvy young men and women of Egypt.

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Why Egypt's progressives win

By Paul Amar

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