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socialism

A Chinese alternative? Interpreting the politics of China's `New Left'

By Lance Carter

June 2010 -- Insurgent Notes -- In a country where the Communist Party (CCP) has dominated “left-wing” politics for over sixty years, dissent has often been deemed a “right-wing” or “counterrevolutionary” affair. Subsequently, many dissidents and parts of the general population have embraced the term “right wing” as implying something anti-authoritarian or progressive. To make things more confusing, since 1978 the CCP itself has moved farther and farther to the right while still claiming to be socialist. All this has contributed to a very strange political environment in mainland China.

False food choices under capitalism

Below is the editorial of the Socialist WebZine, online magazine of the Socialist Party of the United States. Following that is an article by Dan La Botz, SPUSA's Ohio candidate forthe US Senate. Both appear in Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

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July 17, 2010 -- Socialist WebZine -- How can we change the world? This is the question that socialists face in the 21st century. It certainly offers more possibilities than the one presented in the mid-1990s that asked whether we had reached the end of history. However, capitalism is also attempting to provide an answer to this question by offering individualised ways to change the world. Food is an important arena for this project – corporations insist that eating the right food or drinking the right coffee can really make a difference in the world.

Climate action now! Socialist Alliance releases latest Climate Change Charter

Photo by Martina Popovich, Green Left Weekly.

By the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

July 2010 -- For years, climate scientists have warned us that we need to act on climate change. Now, science is saying that climate change is taking place more rapidly than everyone previously thought.

The warning signs are obvious. April and May were the world’s hottest months since records began. This year’s Arctic ice sheet melt is taking place at a pace never seen before.

Scientists say carbon pollution has made the world’s oceans more acidic than they have been for at least 20 million years.

There is already too much carbon in the atmosphere. The warming already in the system risks the crossing of various natural “tipping points” that would raise temperatures further and faster.

If these points are crossed, it would bring average temperatures to levels that have not existed for millions of years, and to which today’s nature is simply not adapted.

Building a socialist-feminist economy in Venezuela

Lidice Navas in Caracas, Venezuela, June 18, 2010.

Lidice Navas interviewed by Susan Spronk and Jeffery R. Webber

June 30, 2010 -- The Bullet -- A long-time revolutionary activist, Lidice Navas is an important socialist-feminist leader within the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and a candidate for the Latin American parliament, among her many other responsibilities. We met her at the Women’s Development Bank in Caracas on June 18, 2010, to talk about her vision of socialism, the accomplishments of the Bolivarian process so far, and what remains to be done.

What is your political history?

I am a candidate for the PSUV in Caracas. I am also a member of the Political Bureau of the Region of Caracas and a candidate for the Latin American parliament. I also have some responsibilities in the Women's Development Bank (Banco de Desarrollo de la Mujer, BanMujer) and am also active as a coordinator in the parroquia [parish] El Valle, where we are trying to construct socialism from the level of the community.

The socialist revolution and the mass revolutionary party

Lenin: "In its struggle for power the proletariat has no other weapon but organisation".

By Dave Holmes

Today humanity faces a global crisis stemming from the incredible rapacity of the capitalist system. In the first place, there is catastrophic climate change which threatens to end life on our planet, then there is endemic war and conflict, mass poverty in the Third World and neoliberalism's ever more ruthless assault on working people everywhere.

Capitalism will destroy the human race. It is absolutely clear that the bourgeoisie will continue to put the drive for corporate profit ahead of everything, even our own future as a species. It is incapable of changing. Even when it recognises the danger it cannot stop doing what it does. If capitalism is not overthrown, humanity is most likely doomed.

The only way out is the abolition of capitalism and its replacement by socialism. And the only means to do this is anti-imperialist revolutions in the Third World and proletarian socialist revolutions in the advanced capitalist countries.

Marxism, socialism & religion

By Dave Holmes

Despite the apparently secular nature of so much of modern life, religion is a long way from being a spent force. For revolutionary socialists aiming to mobilise the masses for a fundamental transformation of society, religion is a question which cannot be ignored.

1. While each country has its specific situation, in the West it is undeniable that the traditional religions are considerably diminished compared to even a few decades ago, with church attendances down and religious identification increasingly nominal for wide layers of the population. Moreover, the churches are being shaken by multiple and ongoing controversies and crises — over the role of women and gays, especially as priests; over revelations of past and present sexual abuse of women and children in their institutions; over financial scandals; in the case of the Roman Catholic Church, over damaging exposures of leading clergy flouting their own code of celibacy; over clashes between their conservative and more liberal wings; and over their increased integration into the activities of the state through government funding for charitable and welfare work.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez interviewed by BBC `Hardtalk'; Mark Weisbrot analyses interviewer's bias

On June 15, 2010, the BBC's Hardtalk program broadcast an wide-ranging interview with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez from the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas. The interviewer, Stephen Sackur, clearly intended to provoke Chavez with a series of ill-informed and outright dishonest claims and questions. He did not succeed. Parts 2 and 3 below.


Part 2

Part 3

Building socialism from below: The role of the communes in Venezuela

Antenea Jimenez.

Antenea Jimenez interviewed by Susan Spronk and Jeffery R. Webber

June 13, 2010 -- The Bullet -- We met with Antenea Jimenez, a former militant with the student movement who is now working with a national network of activists who are trying to build and strengthen the comunas [communes]. The comunas are community organisations promoted since 2006 by the government of Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez government as a way to consolidate a new form of state based upon production at the local level. She told us about the important advances in the process, as well as the significant challenges that remain in the struggle to build a new form of popular power from below.

Can you tell us about the barrio where you live and the comuna?

I live in a barrio [neighbourhood] in the north part of Caracas and work in a national network that is building comunas. Currently we operate in seven states; the majority of the comunas are situated outside Caracas.

Michael Lebowitz: `We must choose socialism over capitalist barbarism'

Michael Lebowitz was interviewed by Srećko Horvat during the Subversive Film Festival and conference on socialism, held from May 1 to May 25, 2010, in Zagreb, Croatia. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Michael Lebowitz's permission. [Click HERE to read more articles by Michael Lebowitz.]

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Srećko Horvat: In May, as a participant of the big international conference on Socialism, you are coming to a country which had an experience with the the Yugoslavian version of socialism in the last century. Could you explain why socialism in the 21st century?

Debunking the `Menshevik myth': William Morris and revolutionary politics

The Hammersmith Branch of the Socialist League, William Morris is fifth from the right in the second row.

By Graham Milner

With some great revolutionary figures in world history, and in international labour history in particular, it has been found necessary for historians or biographers to dig out their subjects from beneath "a load of calumny and oblivion", "a mountain of dead dogs".[1] With others, however, a different problem exists. Lenin pointed to this when he wrote that the ruling classes, following upon the deaths of great revolutionaries, often attempt -- after having met the ideas and actions of such men and women during their lifetimes with "furious hatred ... and slanders" -- to turn them into "harmless saints ... by way of `consolation' to the oppressed ... while at the same time emasculating and vulgarising the real essence of their revolutionary theories and blunting their revolutionary edge".[2]

Audio: BBC In Our Time on Karl Marx

Marx

Listen now (45 minutes)

Available to listen.

Last broadcast on Thu, 14 Jul 2005, 21:30 on BBC Radio 4M

The `First Socialist International of the 21st Century'

Venezuela: `This what democracy looks like'; Alan Woods: The people in arms

Venezuelan students organised in the Bolivarian militia.

Introduction to Alan Woods' article (below) by Stuart Munckton, photos by Kiraz Janicke 

April 22, 2010 -- The Future on Fire -- A common chant around the world when people take to the streets against the crimes of the global capitalist system is: "This is what democracy looks like!"

It is a statement that real democracy is on the streets, in the united action of ordinary people. It is a statement that democracy is more than passive voting once every few years, it is popular power and direct participation.

Fourth International: Mobilisation for the climate and anti-capitalist strategy

[The following documents dealing with capitalism's climate crisis were presented at the 16th World Congress of the Fourth International, held in Belgium in February 2010.]

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By Daniel Tanuro

February 2010 -- Three billion human beings lack the essentials of life. The satisfaction of their needs requires increased production of material goods. Therefore increased consumption of energy. Today, 80 per cent of this energy is of fossil origin, and consequently a source of greenhouse gases which are unbalancing the climatic system.

However, we can no longer permit ourselves to unbalance the climate. We are probably no longer very far from a “tipping point” beyond which phenomena which are uncontrollable and irreversible on a human timescale are likely to be set in motion, which could lead to a situation that humanity has never experienced and which the planet has not experienced for 65 million years: a world without ice. A world in which the sea level would rise by approximately 80 metres compared to its level today.

Marta Harnecker: `Socialism is a search for a fully democratic society'

Bolivians mobilise. ``If our government officials are to be wise, they must be pushed by popular initiatives so that the people can feel they are doing it themselves. The state's paternalism, in building socialism, may help at first, but we must create popular protagonism.'' Photo by Ben Dangl.

Marta Harnecker interviewed by Edwin Herrera Salinas, for the Bolivian newspaper La Razón. Translation by MRZine's Yoshie Furuhashi. Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission

[Click HERE for more articles by Marta Harnecker.]

China, capitalist accumulation and the world crisis

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

[A version of this article appeared in the South Korean journal, Marxism 21. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Martin Hart-Landsberg’s permission.]

February 2010 -- The consensus among economists is that China’s post-1978 market reform policies have produced one of the world’s greatest economic success stories. Some believe that China is now capable of serving as an anchor for a new (non-US dominated) global economy. A few claim that the reform experience demonstrates the workability (and desirability) of market socialism. This paper is critical of these views.

Howard Zinn, 1922-2010: Howard Zinn interviewed by Dave Zirin

On May 2, 2009, the US International Socialist Organization invited Dave Zirin to sitdown and interview renowned historian Howard Zinn.

Ecuador: Interview -- President Rafael Correa discusses `Citizens' Revolution', socialism for the 21st century

rafael_correa_in_london rafael_correa_in_london_2 rafael_correa_in_london_3

In April 2009, Rafael Correa was elected to his second term as president of Ecuador with 51% of the vote. This gave him a mandate to continue and deepen the program of reforms and structural changes initiated since he first became president in November 2006. In three years Correa’s government has introduced unprecedented social and economic reforms – known as the Citizens’ Revolution – to reverse the poverty and exploitation suffered by the majority of the population in a country which has been ravaged by neoliberalism.

John Bellamy Foster: Why ecological revolution?

By John Bellamy Foster

January 2010 -- Monthly Review -- It is now universally recognised within science that humanity is confronting the prospect — if we do not soon change course — of a planetary ecological collapse. Not only is the global ecological crisis becoming more and more severe, with the time in which to address it fast running out, but the dominant environmental strategies are also forms of denial, demonstrably doomed to fail, judging by their own limited objectives. This tragic failure, I will argue, can be attributed to the refusal of the powers that be to address the roots of the ecological problem in capitalist production and the resulting necessity of ecological and social revolution.

Free pamphlet to download: `Cuba -- How the workers and peasants made the revolution'

On January 1, 1959, the hated US-backed Batista dictatorship in Cuba was overthrown by the workers, peasants and students. To mark that momentous occasion Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is making freely available Resistance Books' Cuba: How the workers and peasants made the revolution, by Chris Slee (2008). Please click HERE to download the pamphlet in pdf format, or read it on screen below. If you would like to purchase a hard copy of the pamphlet, please visit Resistance Books.

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By Chris Slee

January 10, 2010 -- Some left groups claim that the Cuban Revolution was made by a few hundred guerrilla fighters, and that the working class played no role.

For example Ruth Braham, writing in the Socialist Alternative magazine, claims that the Cuban Revolution “entailed a mere 800 armed guerrillas seizing power, again on behalf of the majority but without their active involvement”.

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