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May 28, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- At the recent Socialist Alliance's Socialism in the 21st Century Conference held in Sydney in May 2016, Marta Harnecker, a Chilean psychologist, writer, journalist and a prominent investigator and commentator on experiences of social transformation in Latin America, presented this paper on: People's power and political instruments.
May 24, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Leading Marxist author Michael A. Lebowitz has dedicated a big part of his research to the problem of the possibilities of building a socialist alternative. He spent six years (2004-2010) in Venezuela working as a director of the program for Transformative Practice and Human Development at the Miranda International Center (CIM) in Caracas, where he had the opportunity to participate in the building of “socialism for 21st century”.
Lebowitz was recently in Australia for the Socialism in the 21st Century conference, which was co-hosted by Links. In the interview published below, Lebowitz covers some of the topics he discussed during his visit regarding the opposition to neoliberalism and the prospects for a socialist alternative in Latin America today.
By Bárbara Ester and María Florencia Pagliarone, translation by Sean Seymour-Jones
April 23 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal translated from Strategic Latin American Centre of Geopolitics, CELAG -- General elections were held in Peru [on April 10]. Along with the position of president and vice-president, 30 congresspeople were elected for the 2016 – 2021 period, and another five representatives to the Andean Parliament.
March 23, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project -- Every so often, the bourgeois political system runs into crisis. The machinery of the state jams; the veils of consent are torn asunder and the tools of power appear disturbingly naked. Brazil is living through one of those moments: it is dreamland for social scientists; a nightmare for everyone else.
Dilma Rousseff was elected President in 2010, with a 56-44 per cent majority against the right-wing neoliberal PSDB (Brazilian Social Democratic Party) opposition candidate. She was reelected four years later with a diminished yet convincing majority of 52-48 per cent, or a majority of 3.5 million votes.
Dilma's second victory sparked a heated panic among the neoliberal and U.S.-aligned opposition. The fourth consecutive election of a President affiliated to the centre-left PT (Workers’ Party) was bad news for the opposition, because it suggested that PT founder Luís Inácio Lula da Silva could return in 2018. Lula had been President between 2003 and 2010, and when he left office his approval ratings hit 90 per cent, making him the most popular leader in Brazil's history. This likely sequence suggested that the opposition could be out of federal office for a generation. The opposition immediately rejected the outcome of the vote. No credible complaints could be made, but no matter; it was resolved that Dilma Rousseff would be overthrown by any means necessary. To understand what happened next, we must return to 2011.
By Lucas Koerner
March 12, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Venezuela Analysis with the author's permission -- Since the US political establishment began taking seriously the threat posed by Bernie Sanders’ presidential candidacy in recent months, the self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” senator has faced an endless barrage of red-baiting attacks.
On several occasions, Sanders’ social democratic program has been likened to Venezuela and other Latin American countries of the so-called “pink tide”, conjuring up the now routine images of apocalyptic economic meltdown replayed ad nauseum by corporate media outlets.
Sanders, for his part, has emphatically denied the comparisons– not without a small amount of red-baiting himself– preferring to draw his inspiration from Scandinavian social democracy, where a strong capitalist state guarantees a host of key social welfare provisions for its largely homogenous populace.
“We're not talking about Venezuela, we're not talking about Cuba. We are talking about the concept, which I don't think is a radical idea, of having a government which works to represent the needs of the middle class and working families rather than just the top 1 percent,” the Democratic presidential contender explained at a recent forum hosted by Telemundo.
These assertions aside, there is, however, something about Sanders’ left populist crusade against the “billionaire class” that is much more at home in Caracas than in Copenhagen.
Harnecker will be one of the keynote speakers at Socialism for the 21st century: Moving beyond capitalism, learning from global struggles being held in Sydney on May 13-15.
Reviewed by Ian Richardson
A World to Build: New Paths toward Twenty-First Century Socialism
Monthly Review Press 2015, 224pp.
March 3, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Counterfire with the author's permission -- The reason for socialists to have an interest in the situation in Latin America today is simple; the most significant political advances in the world today are taking place in Latin America. The Chilean revolutionary Marta Harnecker’s book A World to Build is perhaps the most important English language attempt so far to analyse and to move forward the discussion on the left internationally around these changes.
Is South America’s ‘progressive cycle’ at an end? Neo-developmentalist attempts and socialist projects
Marta Harnecker (pictured) will be one of the keynote speakers at Socialism for the 21st century: Moving beyond capitalism, learning from global struggles being held in Sydney on May 13-15.
By Marta Harnecker, translated by Richard Fidler
January 2016 — Monthly Review, reposted on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission — In recent years a major debate has emerged over the role that new social movements should adopt in relation to the progressive governments that have inspired hope in many Latin American nations. Before addressing this subject directly, though, I want to develop a few ideas.
The situation in the 1980s and ’90s in Latin America was comparable in some respects to the experience of pre-revolutionary Russia in the early twentieth century. The destructive impact on Russia of the imperialist First World War and its horrors was paralleled in Latin America by neoliberalism and its horrors: greater hunger and poverty, an increasingly unequal distribution of wealth, unemployment, the destruction of nature, and the erosion of sovereignty.
Introduced and translated by Richard Fidler, article original published in Spanish in La Llamarada
July 14, 2013 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Two recent events — the second-round victory on November 22 of right-wing candidate Mauricio Macri in Argentina’s presidential election, and the December 6 victory of the right-wing Democratic Unity Roundtable, winning two thirds of the seats in Venezuela’s National Assembly elections — have radically altered the political map in South America. In the following interview, Argentine Marxist Claudio Katz discusses what these setbacks for the left mean for the progressive “process of change” that has unfolded on the continent over the last 10-15 years. My translation from the Spanish.
Katz is a professor of economics at the University of Buenos Aires, a researcher with the National Council of Science and Technology, and a member of Economists of the Left.
Argentine Left presidential candidate: 'We want a hard left that denounces the political caste and fights with workers'
Initiated just over four years ago, the Left and Workers Front (FIT) in Argentina has become a key reference point on the left, and is quickly earning its place on the national political scene.
The FIT was formed as an alliance of three Trotskyist parties: the Socialist Workers’ Party (PTS), Workers Party (PO) and Socialist Left (IS). It began largely as an attempt to overcome new electoral obligations requiring parties to win more than 1.5% of the vote in Open, Simultaneous and Obligatory Primaries (PASO) in order to stand in elections.
In a context where the far left has traditionally performed poorly in presidential elections, the FIT were relatively successful in their first electoral venture – the 2011 PASO for that year’s national election - with presidential pre-candidate and historic figure on the left, Jorge Altamira, winning over half a million votes (2.46%).
In the PASO held July this year, more than 750,000 people voted for one of the two FIT presidential pre-candidates. Unable to come up with a united slate, the FIT used the mechanism of the primaries to let voters decide their candidate list for president-vice president.
Banker and opposition leader Guillermo Lasso (second from right) meets with leaders from the Pachakutik political party in their offices in April 2015.
For more on Ecuador, click HERE.
By Pablo Vivanco
August 20, 2015 -- Originally published by TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For a relatively small nation, in terms of size, population and economics, Ecuador has been a major player in contemporary Latin American politics, particularly on the left.
The experience of toppled governments by popular uprisings, led by Indigenous organisations with radical left-oriented politics, has contributed to a regional shift that ushered in the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and later the election of Evo Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism in Bolivia.
Rafael Correa (right) with Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (left) and Bolivia's President Evo Morales.
For more on Ecuador, click HERE.
By Denis Rogatyuk
August 15, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Ecuador'sPresident Rafael Correa and social movements behind Ecuador’s “Citizens' Revolution” are engaged in yet another battle against the South American country's entrenched elites.
Supporters of Correa marched through the capital of Quito on August 12 to the presidential palace, where they intend to maintain a permanent presence to help defend the elected government.
The next day, violent opposition protests led to 86 police officers being injured, the interior ministry said, along with 20 civilians and three members of the press.
What originally began as demonstrations by the country's right-wing opposition against a proposed new inheritance tax laws targetting the country's richest 2% have now turned into a full-blown attempt at a “soft coup”.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4546.]Di Federico Fuentes
4 agosto 2015 -- ZNet Italy -- Se Hugo Chavez non fosse morto nel 2013, l’ex presidente venezuelano il 28 luglio avrebbe compiuto 61 anni. Tuttavia, anche se Chavez non c’è più, la sua impronta indelebile sul panorama politico del Venezuela, sopravvive.
Il 6 dicembre i venezuelani andranno alle urne per la ventesima volta da quando Chavez era stato eletto presidente per la prima volta nel 1998. L’elezione di dicembre per l’Assembela Nazionale si avvia a diventare un’altra fondamentale battaglia tra le forze che per 15 anni hanno appoggiato o si sono opposte a Chavez.
Per le forze chaviste, la vittoria è vitale per la difesa e l’intensificazione della loro “rivoluzione bolivariana.”
Per l’opposizione, il successo rappresenterebbe un passo importante verso la rimozione del successore di Chavez, Nicolas Maduro, o tramite un referendum prima della scadenza del suo mandato nel 2016 o per mezzo del possibile uso del parlamento per metterlo in stato di accusa.
Nella maggio parte dei paesi, le persone in carica devono fare i conti con un prevalente umore anti-politico riflesso nella maggiore mutevolezza dei votanti e nei più rapidi cambiamenti di governo. Anche l’Australia, relativamente tranquilla, ha visto quattro diversi governi nello scorso decennio.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4546.]
Írta: Federico Fuentes
2015. augusztus 06 -- Green Left Weekly/Latin-Amerika Társaság -- A 2013-ban elhunyt Hugo Chávez egykori venezuelai elnök és forradalmi szocialista július 28-án lett volna 61 éves. Bár Chávez eltávozott, emléke a venezuelai politikai színtér kitörölhetetlen része maradt.
December 6-án Venezuela huszadik alkalommal fog az urnákhoz járulni azóta, hogy Chávezt 1998-ban először elnökké választották. Eközött a két időpont között a szegénypárti átalakítási folyamat jelentősen visszavetette a szegénységet és hatalommal ruházta fel a szegény többséget.
Komoly akadályokkal is felmerültek, amely akadályozzák és veszélyeztetik a „bolivári forradalom” – ahogyan a Chávez által vezetett folyamatot hívják – fennmaradását.
A decemberi nemzetgyűlési választás egy újabb kritikus ütközetet jelent azok között, akik 15 éven keresztül támogatták vagy ellenezték Chávezt.
A chavista erők számára létfontosságú a győzelem, hogy megvédjék és elmélyítsék a forradalmat.
For more on Venezuela, click HERE
By Federico Fuentes
August 5, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Had Hugo Chavez not passed away in 2013, the former Venezuelan president and revolutionary socialist would have turned 61 on July 28. However, though Chavez is gone, his indelible imprint on Venezuela’s political landscape endures.
On December 6, Venezuelans will go to the polls for the 20th time since Chavez was first elected president in 1998. Between then and now, a process of pro-poor transformation has significantly cut poverty and empowered the poor majority.
It has also confronted serious obstacles blocking further advances and threatening the survival of the “Bolivarian revolution”, as the process pushed by Chavez is known.
The December election for the National Assembly is shaping up to be another critical battle between forces that for 15 years either supported or opposed Chavez.
For the Chavista forces, victory is vital to defending and deepening the revolution.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4542.]
Por Barry Sheppard, traducción Faustino Eguberri para VIENTO SUR
31 de julio de 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, Viento Sur -- Mientras el mundo entero tiene su atención fija en el espectáculo que dan el FMI, la CE y el Banco Central Europeo (la troika) aplastando al pueblo griego, hay otros numerosos ejemplos de poderosos países imperialistas que utilizan la "crisis de la deuda" para extraer más riquezas de los países más débiles que ellos, así como de países imperialistas más pobres.
Un caso típico es el de la colonia de Puerto Rico (3,6 millones de habitantes). En una entrevista concedida al New York Times, el gobernador de la nación caribeña declaró: "Nuestra deuda, que asciende a 73 mil millones de dólares, no es pagable. No hay otra opción. Sería feliz si hubiera otra opción más fácil. Pero no es cuestión de política, sino de matemáticas". Puerto Rico no ha podido pagar un plazo de más de mil millones de dólares que vencía el pasado 1 de julio.
By Barry Sheppard
July 27, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The world has been focused on the spectacle of the “Troika” of the International Monetary Fund, European Union and the European Central Bank crushing the Greek people, but it is far from the only example of strong nations using a “debt crisis” to extract more wealth from those that are weaker.
A case in point is the US colony of Puerto Rico. In a June 28 New York Times interview, the governor of the Caribbean archipelago nation declared its debt of US$73 billion “is not payable. There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics. This is math.”
Puerto Rico, which remains a territory of the US, has missed a July 1 deadline on a payment of more than $1 billion.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4542.]
Par Barry Sheppard
18 juillet 2015 -- A l'encontre -- Pendant que le monde entier a eu son attention fixée sur le spectacle montrant le Fonds monétaire international, la Commission européenne et de la Banque centrale européenne (la « Troïka ») en train d’écraser le peuple grec, il y a de nombreux autres exemples de pays impérialistes parmi les plus puissants qui utilisent une «crise de la dette» pour extraire plus de richesse de pays plus faibles qu’eux, ainsi que de pays non impérialistes plus pauvres.
Bolivians receive free tree saplings as part of the "My Tree" program, which combats deforestation. Photo via TeleSUR.
For more on Bolivia, click HERE.
By Federico Fuentes
July 27, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When Bolivia's President Evo Morales announced in May that his government was allowing oil and gas drilling in national parks, mainstream and progressive media outlets alike were quick to condemn his supposed hypocrisy on environmental issues.
Writing for the Associated Press, Frank Bajak argued that although Morales is known internationally for his outspoken campaigning on climate change, at home he faces constant criticism from conservationists “who say he puts extraction ahead of clean water and forests”.
Bajak said this contradiction was a result of Morales’ strategy of developing extractive industries as a means of cutting poverty, regardless of the environmental cost.
Rafael Bernabe, spokesperson for the Partido del Pueblo Trabajador. He was its candidate for governor in 2012.
For more on Puerto Rico, click HERE.
By Rafael Bernabe
July 2015 -- New Politics, posted at Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Partido del Pueblo Trabajador—the Party of the Working People (PPT)—is a political project of the Puerto Rican left addressed to working people in the context of the island’s deep economic crisis. It would be hard to exaggerate the gravity of Puerto Rico’s present social and economic situation, which can only be compared to the impact of the Great Depression in the 1930s.