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XIV Sao Paulo Forum: Left parties debate the current historic conjuncture

By Inés Hayes, with reports from Montevideo by Cristina Camusso and Julio Louis.

Dilemma: From May 22 to 25, the XIV Sao Paulo Forum was held in Montevideo, Uruguay. Under the banner `The Latin American and Caribbean left in the new time, richness in diversity’, 844 delegates from 35 countries in Latin America, Asia and Europe participated in this historic meeting. The first encounter was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1990. The debates over the crucial issues of the 21st century are embodied today in the governments which have emerged through the electoral road. The historic dilemma of reform or revolution once again returns to centre stage.

Peru: Miners, Moqueguanos win victory following violent government attacks

By Carlos Quiroz, peruanista.blogspot.com

June 19, 2008 (updated June 26) -- The videos you are about to see are a bit shocking. For 18 months the people of the Moquegua region (southeastern Peru) and the mining workers from that region have been seeking for peaceful negotiations with the Peruvian government in Lima.

Photo essay: Mexican indigenous front agitates for rights of migrants in the US

Text and photos by David Bacon

SANTIAGO DE JUXTLAHUACA, OAXACA, MEXICO

MAY 31, 2008 -- The assembly of the Indigenous Front of Binational Organisations in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca, one of the poorest areas in Mexico. A large percentage of the indigenous population of Oaxaca and other states has left to work in northern Mexico and in the United States. The FIOB is a political organisation of indigenous communities and migrants, with chapters in Mexico and the US. It advocates for the rights of migrants, and for the right not to migrate -- for economic development which would enable people to stay home.

Bolivia's vice-president on the course of revolution

By Álvaro García Linera, vice-president of Bolivia

Translation, notes and introduction by Richard Fidler

The following article, based on a speech given in December 2007 but only recently transcribed and published in Spanish by Bolpress on May 12, 2008, is an important statement by a leading member of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ government on the political situation in that country in the wake of the Constituent Assembly’s vote on a draft political constitution. The draft constitution is to be put to a popular vote for adoption later this year.

Álvaro García Linera, Bolivia’s vice-president, is a former leader of the Tupac Katarí guerrilla army. He was subsequently employed as a university sociologist. He is also a prominent Latin American Marxist, strongly influenced by post-World War II European non-Stalinist Marxist currents inspired by the ideas of the Italian communist leader and political theorist Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci, who died in 1937, was an innovative Marxist thinker who wrote extensively on the concept of cultural hegemony and its role as an ideological mainstay of capitalist societies.

Nicaragua: Anti-FSLN opposition seeks unity to topple Ortega government

By Felipe Stuart Cournoyer

Managua -- On June 11, 2008, the axe of Nicaragua’s Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) came down on the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS[i]) and the old historic Conservative Party of Nicaragua (PCN), now a tiny shell of its former self. The CSE unanimously decided to deregister both parties on the grounds that they had failed to fulfill the requirements of the national electoral law.

From Marx to Morales: Indigenous socialism and the Latin Americanisation of Marxism

By John Riddell

June 16, 2008 -- Over the past decade, a new rise of mass struggles in Latin America has sparked an encounter between revolutionists of that region and many of those based in the imperialist countries. In many of these struggles, as in Bolivia under the presidency of Evo Morales, Indigenous peoples are in the lead.

Latin American revolutionists are enriching Marxism in the field of theory as well as of action. This article offers some introductory comments indicating ways in which their ideas are linking up with and drawing attention to important but little-known aspects of Marxist thought.

Eyewitness report from Venezuela's May Day



June 13, 2008 -- LatinRadical -- Coral Wynter is back after coordinating the distinctive presence of the Australian Venezuela Solidarity Network's ``May Day'' brigade to Venezuela that included, appropriately, a large contingent of Australian trade unionists. The previous Australian government of John Howard had the Australian embassy in Venezuela closed down when a Washington-inspired coup against President Hugo Chavez failed, but hopefully that will change, if Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown (with the Australian brigadistas) returns after his own visit with the news that President Hugo Chavez is not a ``dictator'', but a popularly elected leader who has increased his electoral popularity regularly at each electoral contest.

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Che Guevara's final verdict on the Soviet economy

By John Riddell

June 8, 2008 -- One of the most important developments in Cuban Marxism in recent years has been increased attention to the writings of Ernesto Che Guevara on the economics and politics of the transition to socialism.

A milestone in this process was the publication in 2006 by Ocean Press and Cuba's Centro de Estudios Che Guevara of Apuntes criticos a la economía política [Critical Notes on Political Economy], a collection of Che's writings from the years 1962 to 1965, many of them previously unpublished. The book includes a lengthy excerpt from a letter to Fidel Castro, entitled ``Some Thoughts on the Transition to Socialism''. In it, in extremely condensed comments, Che presented his views on economic development in the Soviet Union.[1]

In 1965, the Soviet economy stood at the end of a period of rapid growth that had brought improvements to the still very low living standards of working people. Soviet prestige had been enhanced by engineering successes in defence production and space exploration. Most Western observers then considered that it showed more dynamism than its US counterpart.

At that time, almost the entire Soviet productive economy was owned by the state. It was managed by a privileged bureaucracy that consolidated its control in the 1920s under the leadership of Joseph Stalin. Managers were rewarded on the basis of fulfilling production norms laid down from above; workers were commonly paid by the piece.

Bolivia: When minorities deny the rights of the majorities

By Miguel Lora Fuentes, Bolpress (translation by David Montoute)

How true it is that nothing lasts forever. Bolivia’s exploited classes, of mainly indigenous origin, are now confronting more than five centuries of exclusion. This territory’s original inhabitants were subjugated by the cross and the sword during the colonial period, they were harassed and had their lands taken from them under the Republic, and their culture was ignored during the bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1952. Now, as they finally take state power by democratic means at the beginning of the 21st century, the dominant minority accuses them of wanting to install the ``first racist, fascist state in Latin America’’.

The current historical juncture is characterised by a profound crisis of the market economy, of liberal democracy and of the very foundations of the old republican colonial state, a monocultural, centralist and exclusionary state that has remained intact since the foundation of the Republic.

NEW! Links Dossier #1: PSUV: Birth of a mass revolutionary party

The first in a series of occasional Links Dossiers, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is making available a selection of its key articles on the exciting development of Venezuela's United Socialist Party (PSUV). The dossier is in PDF format, to allow easy downloading, printing and distribution.

To download Links Dossier #1 -- PSUV: Birth of a mass revolutionary party, click HERE

Links Dossier #1 -- PSUV: Birth of a mass revolutionary party

Contents

Revolution, party and a new international

PSUV vice president Alberto Müller Rojas: The party is a `political necessity'

Asamblea de Socialistas: `The left has to be inside the PSUV to wage the ideological battle'

Marea Socialista: `We need to insert the working class into the PSUV'

Draft program of the PSUV

Nicaragua: What alternative do President Daniel Ortega's opponents propose?

By Domingo Quilez, introduction and translation by Felipe Stuart Cournoyer

June 6, 2008 -- In February, the rift between the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS)[1] and the Movement for the Recovery of Sandinismo (MpRS or the Rescate Group)[2] began to widen and become more public. Although still in an electoral alliance, the Rescate Group (whose main leaders are Comandantes Henry Ruiz and Mónica Baltodano) has made clear its disagreement with the MRS policy of trying the embrace the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance Party (ALN) and Eduardo Montealegre in some kind of electoral alliance or ``movement against the dictatorship'' (meaning the presidency of the FSLN's Daniel Ortega). Montealegre's decision to run as Managua mayoralty candidate for Arnoldo Alemán's Constitutional Liberal Party (PLC) has put the skids under any electoral MRS alliance with him and the ALN that he formerly led. The ALN is now tangoing with the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).

The MpRS is endorsing the MRS candidates in the November municipal elections, but it is apparent that differences continue to surface between these allies.

Some more comments on Peter Taaffe's Cuba book

[This article first appeared in the Democratic Socialist Party's internal discussion bulletin The Activist - Volume 10, Number 9, October 2000.]

 

By Doug Lorimer

Last year I wrote a letter to Farooq Tariq, general secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan, responding to his request for our leadership's disagreements with the Committee for a Workers' International's view of Cuba. The letter took the form of an extended polemic against Socialist Party of England and Wales (SPEW) general secretary Peter Taaffe's 1982 pamphlet Cuba: Analysis of the Revolution. The letter was subsequently printed in The Activist for the information of DSP members. In June this year [2000] the CWI published a book by Peter Taaffe replying to my letter to Comrade Tariq entitled Cuba: Socialism and Democracy.

The Cuban Revolution and its leadership: A criticism of Peter Taaffe's pamphlet 'Cuba: Analysis of the Revolution'

The following article was written at the request of Farooq Tariq, general secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan, as an initial contribution to a discussion between the LPP and the DSP on the character of the leadership of the Cuban socialist state and the Communist Party of Cuba. It was published in the Volume 9, Number 4, 1999, edition of The Activist, the Democratic Socialist Party's internal discussion bulletin.

By Doug Lorimer

Peter Taaffe's pamphlet on Cuba (first published in 1978 and reprinted in 1982) consists of three articles taken from the paper of the British Militant organisation (now called the Socialist Party), of which he was, and still is, general secretary. The first article presents an analysis of the revolutionary struggle in Cuba up to the expropriation of capitalist property and the establishment of a planned economy. The second article analyses the character of the group which led the Cuban socialist revolution, the central conclusion of which is indicated by the article's title: "Power in the Hands of [a] Bureaucratic Elite". The third article is an attempt to substantiate this view in the light of the foreign and domestic policies of this leadership group.

The basic conclusion of the pamphlet is set out at the end of the third article:

“Ahora construimos el socialismo”. Informe sobre la revolución venezolana para la sesión de abril del Comité Nacional.

Stuart Munckton

April 29, 2007 -- Este informe pretende reafirmar la línea general y las posiciones sobre la fase actual de la revolución bolivariana recogidas en el informe del 12 de febrero adoptado por el Ejecutivo Nacional del DSP. Los acontecimientos posteriores han mostrado que el análisis general, que indicaba la apertura de una nueva fase en la lucha de clases desde las elecciones presidenciales del 3 de diciembre, era correcto. Aquel texto contenía más información sobre algunos de los análisis y formulaciones recogidas en este informe, a los que deberán remitirse los camaradas para complementarlo y desarrollarlo.

Venezuela: Rumbles in the PSUV; Big stakes in Nov. elections; 2.5 million take part in PSUV pre-selection; Candidates announced

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UPDATED: June 5

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Caracas on the Line - Rumbles in the PSUV

June 2, 2008 -- Fred Fuentes in Caracas reports on important struggles being played out within Venezuela's governing PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela). While President Chavez' power base is with the grassroots organisations, some of the entrenched bureaucrats and more conservative politicians are fighting off challenges from delegates representing these organisations. PSUV is currently going through a kind of pre-selection process, and the more conservative elements are using all kinds of dirty tricks to hang on to their influence within the party. Aired on LeftCast.

19.3Mb 128kbps mono 21:08 minutes

La pulseada por la renta

Por Claudio Katz[1]

19.05.08 -- El prolongado conflicto entre el ruralismo y el gobierno ha derivado en una agobiante pugna política. El primer bloque busca acaparar la renta agraria a costa de la mayoría popular y el oficialismo necesita exhibir autoridad, para implantar un Pacto Social que favorezca al conjunto de los capitalistas.

Argentina: The clash over rent

Following the March 11 decision by the Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner government to introduce a sliding tax increase – varying from 35% to 45% – on soya exports, Argentina has been rocked by a wave of protests by agricultural producers. For 21 days, the “countryside” – including the four organisations that unite large, middle and small agricultural producers – organised a rural lockout, blocking the circulation of agricultural produce to the cities. On April 1, one-hundred thousand government supporters

Fidel on Obama: The empire's hypocritical politics

By Fidel Castro Ruz

May 25, 2008 -- It would be dishonest of me to remain silent after hearing the speech Barack Obama delivered on the afternoon of May 23, 2008, at the Cuban American National Foundation, created by Ronald Reagan. I listened to his speech, as I did [John] McCain's and Bush's. I feel no resentment towards Obama, for he is not responsible for the crimes perpetrated against Cuba and humanity. Were I to defend him, I would do his adversaries an enormous favour. I have therefore no reservations about criticising him and about expressing my points of view on his words frankly.

Yugoslavia, Washington and the `Balkanisation' of Bolivia

By Michael Karadjis

I feel forced to write to correct some confusion that has been circulating regarding the current US ambassador to Bolivia, Philip Goldberg, who has been supporting the so-called ``autonomy'' referendum by the Bolivian oligarchy.

A continuous line has come out that Goldberg ``has experience in partition'' because he allegedly participated in the dismemberment of Yugoslavia. This tends to be a secondary point alongside a more general point that erroneously compares actual oppressed nations, such as the Kosovar Albanians, the poorest people in Europe, who have striven for independence for over a century, with the rich oligarchy of low-lands Bolivia, engaged in an imperialist-backed destabilisation of the Bolivian revolution.

Along with Kosova, some also list Tibet and other examples of so-called ``secessionism'' as being related to the Bolivian oligarchy's campaign. One feels compelled to add Palestine, Eritrea, Bangladesh, East Timor, Aceh, Tamil Ealam and other national liberation struggles by oppressed peoples just to make it consistent.

Venezuela: Struggle in the PSUV -- `If the people don't stand firm, the right will screw it up!'

By Stuart Munckton

May 27, 2008 -- The two Venezuelanalysis.com articles below, by Kiraz Janicke (a member of the Green Left Weekly Caracas bureau and Venezuelanalysis.com journalist), give a feel for the increasingly intense struggle that is taking place within the Chavista camp.

``Venezuela gets ready to choose candidates for regional elections''

-- http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/3487

``Controversy erupts over nominations for PSUV candidacies in Venezuela''

-- http://www.venezuelanalysis. com/news/3494

In fact, as articles from the GLW Caracas bureau among a fair few others have pointed out in recent times, the key struggles in Venezuela are occurring within the Chavista camp — and the outcome of this struggle will play a major role in determining the fate of the Venezuelan revolution.

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