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John Bellamy Foster on the economic and ecological crises: `The common denominator is capitalism'

John Bellamy Foster interviewed by Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly's Ruth Ratcliffe

A 20-minute interview recorded with a handheld cam in Oregon, USA, in February 2009. John Bellamy Foster is editor of Monthy Review and professor of sociology at the University of Oregon. He is co-author, with Fred Magdoff, of The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences (Monthly Review Press, January 2009) among numerous other works. Foster discusses the global economic crisis, its implications for the world and particularly the Australian economy. He also discusses the ecological crisis and the potential for revolutionary change.

Venezuela: Confronting capitalism's crisis with more revolution

By Manuel Sanchez

Caracas, March 14, 2009 -- In some countries, the severe crisis of capitalism has resulted in a realignment of respective governments with the imperialist powers — and the adoption of different forms of cut backs that affect the living conditions of the majority.

In the Venezuela, the opposite is occurring.

Before and after the victory for the pro-revolution forces in the referendum on February 15, 2009, to allow elected officials to stand for re-election more than once, the decision to push forward with the transition to socialism was ratified.

The world economic situation has also undoubtedly hit hard in Venezuela. The revolutionary government has already resolved to eliminate “all expenses that are not absolutely indispensable”.

But these austerity measures, far from adversely affecting the course of the revolution that seeks to transform the country, are favouring it. To the average politically trained eye, this has been evident since September 2008. President Hugo Chavez explicitly warned of this in this annual message to the nation on January 13.

Marx is back! Karl Marx and his contribution to the socialist tradition

The ideas of Karl Marx -- that class society creates great wealth for the few at the expense of the many  --  ring truer every day. Brian Jones, a member of the International Socialist Organization of the United States, examines Marx's revolutionary ideas in the following three articles. These articles first appeared in Socialist Worker, newspaper of the International Socialist Organization of the United States. They have been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission of Socialist Worker.

Michael Lebowitz: The path to human development -- capitalism or socialism?

The following is the preface to an important article in the March 2009 issue of Monthly Review by Michael Lebowitz, entitled "The path to human development: capitalism or socialism?". Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal encourages its readers to follow the link below to the full article. Michael Lebowitz will be a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads conference, to be held in Sydney, Australia, on April 10-12, 2009, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective, Resistance and Green Left Weekly. Visit http://www.worldATACrossroads.org for full agenda and to book your tickets.

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By Michael A. Lebowitz

If we believe in people, if we believe that the goal of a human society must be that of “ensuring overall human development”, our choice is clear: socialism or barbarism.

Free pamphlet: Revolutionaries and parliament: The Bolshevik experience

By Maurice Sibelle

One of the greatest obstacles to winning working people to the perspective of a socialist revolution is the widespread and deeply ingrained illusion — inculcated in their minds day-in and day-out by the capitalist rulers — that through the institutions of bourgeois democracy, particularly parliament, working people can defend and advance their interests.

Historical experience has shown that socialists cannot destroy this widely held illusion simply by presenting arguments against it. On the contrary, the working masses can only be convinced that parliament is an instrument of capitalist rule when this argument is backed up by their own experience. That is, the masses of working people will have to go through the practical experience of struggles in which they can test the limits that the parliamentary system places on their activity before they can be convinced of the necessity of overthrowing this system and replacing it with genuinely democratic political institutions — a centralised system of elected committees or councils of working people’s delegates like the Russian soviets of workers’ deputies that emerged in the 1905 revolution and again in 1917.

Between 1912-14, the Russian Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin were able to use the tsarist parliament — the Duma — to help build a revolutionary workers’ movement. This experience provides possibly the richest period for lessons in revolutionary parliamentarism. It was a vital period in the history of the Bolshevik Party. The work done in this period laid the ground work for the rapid changes that occurred in 1917 and the eventual victory of the October Revolution.

Join the next Australian solidarity brigade to Venezuela! April 15-25, 2009

Join the next Australian solidarity brigade to Venezuela! April 15-25, 2009

Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution led by President Hugo Chavez is shaking up global politics and inspiring millions of ordinary people with the evidence that a better – a peaceful, democratic and socially just – world is possible.

* Whereas in Australia, health, education and public infrastructure is being privatised, in Venezuela, major industries are being nationalised and put under workers’ control, and universal access to health, education and social welfare is now guaranteed.

* Whereas in Australia, workers are being sacked, wages and conditions are being eroded and trade unions are under attack, in Venezuela, wages are increasing, and union membership and organisation is growing.

* Whereas in Australia, the government sends troops into Indigenous communities, and Aboriginal people continue to live in Third World conditions and are killed in custody, in Venezuela, indigenous people have Constitutionally guaranteed land rights and representation in parliament, and are exercising self-determination.

African American students discuss Cuba’s healthcare revolution

Radio Open Source carried this interview with three medical students from the United States studying in Cuba.
But the core of our long conversations is medicine, the Cuban way. This is aggressive, free, hands-on healthcare that makes house calls, and lingers for the feel of emotions and homelife. Doctors’ training -- like doctors’ care -- is free: the payback required of the students here from all over the hemisphere is only that they return to under served areas of their home countries...Their thinking on social determinants of health, on the primacy of public health and the vital role of prevention strategies are unmatched in the world. With spending of less than US$200 per person per year for health care, they have achieved health outcomes no different than in the USA where expenditures now exceed $7000 per person annually!”.

Cuba: Rebuilding after the hurricanes, sustainably

Hurricane Gustav hits Cuba

Professor Fernando Martirena is from the Centre of Investigation into Structures and Materials (CIDEM) research institute at the University of Santa Clara, Cuba. He visited Australia in November 2008 to speak at a number of meetings organised by the Australian Green Development Forum. In 2007, Martirena's team won the World Habitat Award from the Building and Social Housing Foundation, an independent research organisation that promotes sustainable development and innovation in housing. Trent Hawkins caught up with Martirena, to find out how the CIDEM is helping to build houses in Cuba using sustainable building materials.

The US economic blockade forced the Cuban government to rely almost entirely on the Soviet Union for trade. With the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost half its oil imports and much of its food imports leading to a major food crisis.

Sign the Belem Ecosocialist Declaration

The following Declaration was prepared by a committee elected for this purpose at the Paris Ecosocialist Conference of 2007 (Ian Angus, Joel Kovel, Michael Löwy), with the help of Danielle Follett. It will be distributed at the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil, in January 2009.

To add your name to the list of signatories who support the analysis and political perspectives set forth in this statement, email your name and country of residence to ecosocialism@gmail.com, or visit http://www.ecosocialistnetwork.org/.


The Belem Ecosocialist Declaration

“The world is suffering from a fever due to climate change,
and the disease is the capitalist development model.”
— Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, September 2007

Audio: David Harvey on the `Enigma of capital' and the current capitalist economic crisis

A lecture by Professor David Harvey
City University of New York Graduate Center
November 14, 2008
1 hour 2 minutes

Listen now:

Open this page in a new page, or download MP3 file (42.7 MB)

(To download on a PC right-click on the above file and click ‘Save as’ or ‘Download to’. On a Mac Control-click instead of right-click.)

John Bellamy Foster: Ecology and the transition from capitalism to socialism

Walk Against Warming, Sydney, 2006.
Photo by Alex Bainbridge/Green Left Weekly

By John Bellamy Foster

[This article, which first appeared in the November 2008 issue of Monthly Review, is a revised version of a keynote address delivered at the “Climate Change, Social Change” conference, Sydney, Australia, April 12, 2008, organised by Green Left Weekly. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission. Watch and listen to Bellamy Foster's presentation HERE. For more articles on Marxism and the ecology, click HERE.]

Michael Lebowitz: `Reach for the book: it is a weapon’

By Michael A. Lebowitz

[Presentation at the launch of El Camino al Desarrollo Humano: ¿Capitalismo o Socialismo? (The Path to Human Development: Capitalism or Socialism?) at the Venezuelan International Book Fair, Filven, in Caracas on November 8, 2008. The English version of the pamphlet will be published in a forthcoming edition of Monthly Review.]

Richard D. Wolff: Capitalism hits the fan: a socialist solution

Richard Wolff is professor of economics at UMass Amherst. He talks about the underlying cause of the current capitalist crisis (NOT ``financial'' crisis) and capitalism in general. Socialism and workers' democracy is presented as the alternative. The talk was presented by the Association for Economic and Social Analysis and the journal Rethinking Marxism in early October 2008.

Capitalist versus socialist state intervention in the economy

By Martin Saatdjian

October 1, 2008 -- Venezelanalysis -- The current financial crisis reveals the first symptoms of a major, perhaps revolutionary, socioeconomic change in world affairs. Much has been said how, after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, capitalism overshadowed socialism and "the end of history" was decreed in much of the intellectual world. Not surprisingly, less has been mentioned that while socialism was dying in Europe, it was also blossoming in Latin America. In 1989, events known as El Caracazo -- major protests in Venezuela against neoliberalism and the "Washington Consensus" aimed at reducing the role of the state in the economy -- erupted. The election of Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela in 1998 was a reaction not only to people's dislike [of neoliberalism] and the failure of neoliberalism, but also to the strong repression that followed the 1989 protests.

Cuba: Climate change, disaster and collectivism

By Susana Hurlich

September 17, 2008 -- Havana -- The TV coverage here in Cuba on the impact of hurricanes Gustav and Ike is very instructive, not just in showing clearly the extent of damage, but in giving a sense of the feelings and spirit of the people through many, many different testimonies. I notice that in much of the reporting outside the country, there's not much commentary on this aspect, which is as important -- if not more so in the long run -- as the statistics on damage.

Cuban workers work with heavy machines to remove debris infront of a house in Havana, Cuba on September 9, 2008, after the passing of Hurricane Ike. EPA/ALEJANDRO ERNESTO.

Scenes from Marx in Soho, by Howard Zinn

Scenes from Howard's Zinn's Marx in Soho (Bob Weick of the Iron Age Theatre appears in videos 2 & 5). For the latest on the play, go to http://www.marxinsoho.com/ Four more scenes follow: click HERE.

Marx on capitalism

 

Women and the Russian Revolution: `Our task is to make politics available to every working woman'

By Lisa Macdonald

The following is the Introduction to On the Emancipation of Women, a collection of the key articles and speeches on women’s liberation by Russian revolutionary V.I. Lenin, published by Resistance Books. On the Emancipation of Women is available online at http://www.resistancebooks.com.

* * *

The persistence of gender inequality in the most advanced capitalist societies, with the most complete bourgeois democracy in which women have full formal equality, has put paid to the idea that women's liberation is possible within the framework of capitalism, even in its "healthiest" periods of expansion. Today, in a period of global capitalist stagnation and crisis, as the "gender gap" widens and women, especially in the Third World, bear the brunt of the capitalist class's neo-liberal offensive against the working class as a whole, the correctness of the Marxist analysis of women's oppression as a cornerstone of class society and its revolutionary approach to achieving women's liberation is clearer than ever before.

Celia Hart's last essay: A revolutionary fight against the demon

On September 9, 2008, supporters of the Cuban Revolution were saddened to learn of the sudden deaths of Celia Hart Santamaría and Abel Hart Santamaría, the daughter and son of Armando Hart Dávalos and Haydée Santamaría, in a car accident in Havana on September 7, possibly caused by the conditions resulting from Hurricane Gustav. Below is the last essay written by Celia, on the topic of hurricanes, global warming and the Cuban Revolution's and Cuban society's ability to protect its people from devastating storms like hurricanes Katrina and Gustav. (Click HERE to watch Celia Hart discuss the politics of Latin America in a video recorded in May 2008. A selection of Celia Hart's essays, It’s never too late to love or rebel, was published in 2006 by Socialist Resistance.)

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 Celia Hart Santamaría

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