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Cuba: Changes go deep -- democratic reforms

Cubans vote for members of their local Assembly of People's Power.

[For more analysis and discussion on the changes in Cuba, click HERE.]

By José Alejandro Rodríguez, Havana

August 17, 2011 -- Progreso Weekly -- Apart from some exceptions, the powerful international media has ignored a recent Cuban parliamentary bill that would deepen democracy on the island. The reason is obvious: the news is not convenient. The initiative is made within socialist institutionalism, not in terms of the “transition” whose staging is highly anticipated and promoted by certain hegemonic interests in this world.

The idea is to give the green light to an experiment in the new provinces of Mayabeque and Artemisa, which, if they bear fruit, would be extended to the whole country through constitutional reform: the reassignment of the duties of the chairperson of the local Assembly of People's Power and chairperson of the assembly's territorial administrative board to different people, in each municipality and province.

Cuba: National Assembly approves economic changes; Raul Castro's speech

"More than once, I have stated that our own worst enemy is not imperialism but our own errors and that these, if they are deeply and honestly analysed, can be transformed into lessons in order not to fall into them again." -- Raúl Castro

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

By President Raúl Castro

Speech given by President Raúl Castro Ruz, president of the Councils of State and Ministers, to the 7th ordinary session of the 7th legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power, August 1, 2011. The parliament earlier that day also adopted the amended Guidelines of the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution as state policy.

Compañeras and compañeros:

Capitalism is just depressing

By Mark Harris

July 23, 2011 -- Resistance.org.au -- There is no denying it, depression is on the rise across the world. The World Health Organization says depression will be the second largest contributor to the global burden of disease by 2020. For young people this is already the case. Depression leads to about 850,000 deaths every year.

But why is depression on the rise? In some instances it is a product of more readily available methods of diagnosis and public understanding of the disorder. But increases in suicide rates and other indicators suggest that the increase in depression is well beyond this statistical readjustment.

Depression is not always caused by a chemical imbalance or as a result of human biology. It is a result of social factors such as loneliness, lack of social support, financial strain, lack of purpose and unemployment. These are endemic under capitalism.

Even in a wealthy country like Australia, youth often look to a future that is at best unfulfilling. Furthermore, capitalism is based on competition. In all sorts of ways we can only succeed if someone else fails. Obvious examples are job interviews or exams to get into uni.

Capitalist culture

Capitalist culture emphasises competition and individualism. Even the main form of transport — cars — means being physically separated from, and often in competition with, other people travelling on the same road.

Excerpt from 'Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba are Changing the World’s Conception of Health Care'

July 19, 2011 -- Monthly Review Press has kindly given permission to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to publish an excerpt from one of their latest books, Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba are Changing the World’s Conception of Health Care by Steve Brouwer. You can download the excerpt HERE (PDF), or read it on screen below.

Readers of Links are also urged to purchase copies of Revolutionary Doctors; click HERE to order.

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Cuba: Historian's party membership restored

Esteban Morales.

Message to my readers and friends

By Esteban Morales. Translation by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews

July 7, 2011 -- This is to let you know that last week I was summoned by the Appeals Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba to a meeting in which I was informed of their decision to nullify the separation order from the party given last year by the Playa Municipality Committee and to return my card and full membership.

I'd like to seize the opportunity to state how grateful I am for all the support I have received in the last few months from friends, intellectual colleagues and people I've never met who got in touch with me through different ways, made statements about this issue, or simply stopped me in the street for an update on my situation.

I also want to thank my family for their support in these difficult and yet extremely enlightening days. I will keep on working as hard as I have on the topics I have been writing about in my blog. I'm looking forward to your attention.

Cuba: Notes on socialist democracy, by Dario Machado Rodriguez

Photo by Roberto Suarez.

[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.]

Introduction by Marce Cameron

June 12, 2011 -- Cuba's Socialist Renewal, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Generation R is an new bilingual blogin Cuba launched by pro-revolution Cuban university students. It's their answer to Generation Y, the blog of Yoani Sanchez, a Havana-based counterrevolutionary whose diatribes just happen to be translated almost instantaneously into over a dozen languages by her "fans" overseas. You can check out the English version of Generation R here.

Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine -- `an example of internationalism and human solidarity’

Students from Latin American School of Medicine march on May Day in Havana 2006. Photo by Bill Hackwell/Havana Times.

“We are one people who share a common history of struggle.” — Cassandra Cusack Curbelo, second-year ELAM student

By Don Fitz

May 18, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, an earlier version of this article first appeared at Monthly Review in March -- A revolution can only be successful when the new generation takes over from the old. When thousands of students come together because of their dedication to helping others at a school that was built to allow them to fulfill their goals, the ground is fertile for students to continue the struggle.

Sri Lanka: Will Tamils get justice from the UN?

Tamils are held in miserable conditions in IDP camps.

[For more on the struggle of the Tamil people, click HERE.]

By Ron Ridenour

May 16, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Forty-seven governments on the Untied Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) will discuss and decide, beginning at its May 30 session, what to do about an unusually truthful report in the world of international politics.

The “Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka” was delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on March 31 concerning: 1) alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the last phases of the 26-year-old civil war, September 2008 to May 19, 2009; 2) consequences for approximately 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and, by extension, for 2.7 million Sri Lankan Tamils, 13% of Sri Lanka's 21 million population.

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].

* * *

`No space for shock therapies': Central report to the sixth congress of the Communist Party of Cuba

Cuba's President Raul Castro presents the central report to the sixth congress of the Communist Party.

By Raul Castro

April 16, 2011 -- Comrades all, the opening of the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba this afternoon marks a date of extraordinary significance in our history, the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the socialist nature of our Revolution by its Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro Ruz, on April 16, 1961, as we paid our last respects to those killed the day before during the bombings of the air bases.

This action, which was the prelude to the Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs) mercenary invasion organized and funded by the United States government, was part of its plans to destroy the Revolution and restore its domination over Cuba in league with the Organization of American States (OAS).

Cuba: Sixth congress of the Communist Party concludes -- three assessments


Cuba's President Raul Castro addresses the sixth congress of the Communist Party. 

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic changes in Cuba, click HERE.]

By Jesús Arboleya Cervera

April 20, 2011 -- Progreso Weekly -- With the enthusiastic support of Fidel Castro, the sixth congress of the Communist Party of Cuba has just ended. Not by happenstance, the date chosen for the meeting coincided with the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the victory of Playa Girón [Bay of Pigs], an event that had enormous repercussions for the Cuban revolutionary process, not only for its military significance but also because it defined the revolution's socialist character and instilled in the masses an awareness of their own strength that translates into the political capital necessary for the preservation of the revolution.

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.  

Leonard Weinglass (1933-2011)

By John Mage

March 25, 2011 -- Leonard Weinglass, a leading leftwing lawyer in the United States with an international perspective, died in the early evening on March 23, 2011. Len, who died on his 78th birthday, fell ill in late January while in Cuba. In the first days of February exploratory surgery at Montefiore Hospital discovered that he had inoperable cancer of the pancreas.

Lenny, a 1958 graduate of Yale Law School, became active in the US left lawyers' organisation, the National Lawyers Guild, in the course of the civil rights movements of the 1960s. He rose to fame as co-counsel with Bill Kunstler in the Chicago Seven (originally Chicago Eight) conspiracy trial of 1969-70. The seven defendants -- Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines and Lee Weiner -- were charged with conspiracy, inciting to riot and other charges arising from the mass protests in Chicago, Illinois at the time of the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Weinglass (sixth from left) with the Chigago Seven.

Libya, imperialism and ALBA

A Libyan rebel walks past a military position decorated with the rebellion flag at the southern entrance to Benghazi. Photograph: Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images.

[For more coverage of Libya, click HERE.]

By Barry Sheppard

March 27, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalThe struggle in Libya cannot be analysed except in the context of world and especially US imperialism, as I am sure all will agree. But its also cannot be analysed solely in terms of Libya itself in conjunction with the role of imperialism in that single country.

What is the context in which Libya must be placed? Or to put the question another way, could the civil war in Libya and the US military assault have happened four months ago? Of course not. Neither were even remote possibilities in anyone’s mind four months ago.

Australia: How Socialist Alternative misrepresents Socialist Alliance on Libya

February 22, 2011 -- Solidarity rally in Sydney with the Libyan people in their struggle for democracy. Photo by Pip Hinman. See an article about this action here: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46782

[For more coverage of Libya, click HERE.]

By Nick Fredman

March 16, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Most interested observers of the public statements and activity of the Australian organisations Socialist Alternative (SAlt) and Socialist Alliance in regard to Libya would surely conclude that the two groups are in concord: a similar analysis of the pro-imperialist nature of the regime and enthusiastic support for the struggle of the workers and oppressed against dictatorship. Which makes it quite disappointing that Corey Oakley of SAlt has launched a swingeing polemic against Socialist Alliance about Libya[1]. [See Appendix 1 below]

Immanuel Wallerstein: Libya and the world left

By Immanuel Wallerstein

March 15, 2011 -- There is so much hypocrisy and so much confused analysis about what is going on in Libya that one hardly knows where to begin. The most neglected aspect of the situation is the deep division in the world left. Several left Latin American states, and most notably Venezuela, are fulsome in their support of Colonel Gaddafi. But the spokespersons of the world left in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and indeed North America, decidedly don’t agree.

Hugo Chavez’s analysis seems to focus primarily, indeed exclusively, on the fact that the United States and western Europe have been issuing threats and condemnations of the Gaddafi regime. Gaddafi, Chavez and some others insist that the Western world wishes to invade Libya and “steal” Libya’s oil. The whole analysis misses entirely what has been happening, and reflects badly on Chavez’s judgment – and indeed on his reputation with the rest of the world left.

Fidel Castro: The revolutionary rebellion in Egypt

By Fidel Castro Ruz

February 13, 2011 -- Several days ago I said that Hosni Mubarak’s fate was sealed and that not even Obama was able to save him.

The world knows about what is happening in the Middle East. News spreads at mind-boggling speed. Politicians barely have enough time to read the dispatches arriving hour after hour. Everyone is aware of the importance of what is happening over there.

After 18 days of tough struggle, the Egyptian people achieved an important objective: overthrowing the main United States ally in the heart of the Arab nations. Mubarak was oppressing and pillaging his own people, he was an enemy to the Palestinians and an accomplice of Israel, the sixth nuclear power on the planet, associated with the war-mongering NATO group.

Cuba: El sindicato Australian Workers Union se arrodilla ante Washington

[English at http://links.org.au/node/2122.]

Por Tim Anderson

En este mes de enero, el Sindicato de Trabajadores Australianos (AWU—Australian Workers Union) escribió una carta insultante al nuevo embajador cubano en Australia, Pedro Monzón. El documento del sindicato revela la dominación ideológica que Estados Unidos mantiene sobre las partes más débiles y dóciles del movimiento sindical australiano.

El embajador Monzón, llegado a Australia a finales de 2010, invitó a varios dirigentes sindicales para un intercambio. Paul Howes, como Secretario Nacional del AWU, le replicó de manera innecesariamente ofensiva: ‘Estaría encantado de aceptar su oferta de encuentro, pero, desafortunadamente, sólo podrá llevarse a cabo cuando el gobierno cubano cese la represión de los sindicatos independientes y libere los numerosos dirigentes sindicales actualmente encarcelados en su país.’ En la carta se menciona a cinco encarcelados.

Fidel Castro: Mubarak's fate is sealed

By Fidel Castro

February 1, 2011 -- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s fate is sealed, not even the support of the United States will be able to save his government.

The people of Egypt are an intelligent people with a glorious history who left their mark on civilisation. “From the top of these pyramids, 40 centuries of history are looking down upon us”, Napoleon Bonaparte once said in a moment of exaltation when the revolution brought him to this extraordinary crossroads of civilisations.

After World War II, Egypt was under the brilliant governance of Abdel Nasser, who together with Jawaharlal Nehru, heir of Mahatma Gandhi; Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah; and Guniea's Ahmed Sekou Toure — African leaders who together with Sukarno, then president of the recently liberated Indonesia — created the Non-Aligned Movement of Countries and advanced the struggle for independence in the former colonies.

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