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Socialist Alliance

Social democracy's past and present dissected

A Short History of Social Democracy: From Socialist Origins to Neoliberal Theocracy
By John Rainford
Resistance Books
184 pp.

Order your copy HERE

Review by Jim McIlroy

April 27, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The rise and then fall of social democracy as a movement for fundamental social change is a modern tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. It is one of the epic stories of the 19th and 20th centuries.

This new book by Socialist Alliance member and unionist John Rainford charts the history of the doctrine from the birth of socialist thought in the 19th century. It focuses on the development of social democracy, which essentially became a project for “reforming” capitalism, expressed in parties such as the Australian Labor Party (ALP).

It examines the political forces opposed to social democracy on its left and right, its victories and its “golden years” after World War II. The book examines its surrender to “free market” neoliberalism before suggesting what might constitute “an anti-capitalist politics for the 21st century”.

Australia: ‘People are capable of running society themselves’-- socialist councillor Sue Bolton

Click for more on left electoral politics at the municipal level and for more on the Australian Socialist Alliance

April 23, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton spoke to Dave Holmes about her work as an elected socialist local councillor in Moreland, a municipality in Melbourne, Australia.

* * *

You were elected to the Moreland City Council for Socialist Alliance in October 2012. Many of the themes and issues raised in your campaign struck a chord with a wide range of people. There was also a fair bit of accident and luck: you headed up a ballot with 24 names on it and the ALP ticket was split.

There were two main reasons why I was elected. One was that our campaign theme, “community need not developer greed”, struck a chord with residents who didn’t know either Socialist Alliance or me because many residents are directly effected by developer greed.

Indonesia: People's Democratic Party holds first open congress

The left-wing People's Democratic Party (PRD) held its eighth congress in Jakarta from March 24-26. This was the first time its congress was held openly.

By Alex Bainbridge, Jakarta

April 13, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The left-wing People's Democratic Party (PRD) held its eighth congress in Jakarta from March 24-26, 2015. This was the first time its congress was held openly. The open congress marks an important new stage of development for the party, which has a history of underground organising dating back to the era of the Suharto dictatorship that was overthrown in 1998.

The congress launched a large-scale campaign for the PRD to achieve the stringent requirements of electoral registration in time for the 2019 elections. It also emphasised politics designed to forge national unity in the struggle against imperialism.

The PRD was formed out of — and helped lead — a resurgence of struggle against the Suharto regime in the 1990s. Suharto came to power in a 1965 military coup that involved massacres that killed an estimated 1 million leftists.

Venezuela: 'No more coups! No more interventions! Repeal the Executive Order, Mr. President!'

April 9, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following letter, signed by 30 academics, municipal councillors, trade union officials, journalists, solidarity organisation convenors and political party leaders from around Australia, was initiated by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign in Melbourne. It will be handed over the US consulates in Melbourne and Sydney on April 10. If you would like to add your name please email Denis Rogatyuk at denis_rogatyuk@mail.ru.

* * *

President Barack Obama
White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr President,

We, the undersigned individuals and organisations, reject your March 9, 2015, declaration deeming Venezuela as an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”.

We also oppose the sanctions your administration has placed on a number of Venezuelan state officials and call for the immediate repeal of your Executive Order on Venezuela.

The reality is that Venezuela today is not at war with any nation, nor does it have military bases outside its borders. In fact, Venezuela is helping to mediate an end to the war in Colombia and has constantly championed peace in the region.

Eyewitness Greece: The SYRIZA factor in European politics

Click for more on SYRIZA

By Dick Nichols

The following talk -- “The Greek elections -- what next? SYRIZA and the fight against austerity” – was presented to the Department of Political Economy and the Australia-Greece Solidarity Campaign, March 10, 2015, at the University of Sydney’s New Law School. Dick Nichols is Green Left Weekly’s and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal’s European correspondent, based in Barcelona, and a member of the Australian Socialist Alliance. Nichols is currently touring Australia presenting an eyewitness account of the SYRIZA election victory.

* * *

March 12, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- What does SYRIZA’s victory means for politics in Europe, at both all-European and national levels? Both are closely intertwined, and since SYRIZA’s January 25, 2015, electoral victory there have been having increasingly rapid feedback effects.

Malaysia: Solidarity statement -- 'Free Arul! Abolish the Sedition Act!'

Joint statement

To endorse please send email to: peterb@greenleft.org.au

February 21, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The undersigned organisations add our voices to those in Malaysia now calling for the immediate release of Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PSM) secretary general S. Arutchelvan (Arul), who was arrested on the evening of February 19, 2015, on charges of "sedition".

These charges, and the arrest of Arul, are a travesty of justice and democracy.

We believe Arul has been arrested for his press statement on behalf of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia on Anwar Ibrahim’s "sodomy 2" guilty verdict. In this statement Arul criticised Malaysia's Federal Court judgement, saying the courts are not independent and are politically driven.

We call for the:

1. That the sedition charges be dropped and Arul be freed immediately.

2. The repeal of the Sedition Act , a notoriously anti-democratic law dating back to British colonial rule which has and continues to be used to suppress and intimidate dissent.

(Updated Feb. 20) Asia-Pacific socialists condemn latest US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela

Protest on April 11, 2004, commemorates the April 11, 2002, coup attempt that almost succeeded in overthrowing Hugo Chavez.

[If your organisation would like to sign this statement please email int.psm@gmail.com.]

February 17, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We, the undersigned organisations, strongly condemn the recent coup attempt that sought to overthrow the democratically elected government of Venezuela in order to reverse the achievements of the socialist Bolivarian process.

The failed coup attempt was crafted around a plan that involved creating an economic assault on the country, creating an international debate around a supposed humanitarian crisis, a political coup involving officials who would turn on the government, and finally a military coup that would lead to the installation of the transitional program. The coup plotters even planned to bomb Miraflores [presidential] Palace and the TeleSUR offices in Caracas, as well as conducting assassinations of both members of the opposition and the government, including President Maduro, during the ensuing chaos once the coup unfolded.

Australia: SYRIZA’S victory and building a green-left alternative

Socialist Alliance activists march on May Day in Sydney last year. Photo by Peter Boyle.

By Susan Price

February 14, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- What lessons can we learn from the recent victory of SYRIZA for building the anti-austerity movement and a political alternative to neoliberalism here in Australia? Australian Greens senator Lee Rhiannon, in her recent article in New Matilda [see https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/58246], writes that the left in Australia should wake up and take notice of what is happening in Europe. I couldn’t agree more.

Rhiannon writes that the European developments give those on the progressive side of politics encouragement and build our hopes, and then asks the reasonable question, “But do they have any direct application?” To that we can answer, yes. Not because we can or want to create a carbon copy of SYRIZA, but because there are some general lessons that can be applied here.

Eyewitness Greece: Solidarity from Australia; SYRIZA pushes plan to help jobless

By Socialist Alliance (Australia)

January 23, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal and Green Left Weekly -- A SYRIZA win will not only be a victory for the people of Greece, but a victory for all people around the world. Over the last four years we have seen the poor pay for the crisis created by the rich, a crisis created by their determination to defend profit and privilege no matter what the suffering inflicted on ordinary people. We have watched as Greece has been used a neoliberal laboratory. Global capital is not restricted by borders and the policies of austerity affect all working people. The struggle against austerity is therefore not just a Greek struggle but an international struggle.

(Updated Jan. 13) Socialists condemn 'Charlie Hebdo' massacre, warn of Islamophobia in its wake

Vigil in Sydney on January 8, 2015, for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo Paris massacre.

Statement by Australian Socialist Alliance national co-conveners on the Paris massacre

Sydney, January 9, 2015 -- The Socialist Alliance Australia condemns the massacre of journalists, cartoonists and others at and around the offices of the Paris-based publication Charlie Hebdo. However offensive anyone may have found some of the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo, this act of brutal violence is not justified.

Socialist Alliance condemns the conservative religious fundamentalist sects which promote and carry out such acts of violence. These sects are deadly enemies of democracy, justice and progress and their violent and sectarian actions weaken the real struggles for a just, equitable, democratic and sustainable future.

The Socialist Alliance also warns against and condemns any attempts by Western politicians, governments, corporate media and others to use this latest incident to whip up racist Islamophobia which is already virulent in the rich countries of the world.

This latest act of brutality does not justify the “clash of civilisations” hysteria that is widely used by racists to justify ongoing and new imperial wars, anti-refugee and anti-immigrant policies and laws, and anti-democratic “security” laws.

Philippines: Successful Asian Socialism Conference; Bonifacio Day in Manila (video)

By Reihana Mohideen, Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) international desk

December 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A very successful Asian Socialism Conference was held in the Philippines, November 28-29, followed by a rally on November 30. Around 350 delegates participated in the conference, well exceeding our target of 250 leaders who had registered prior to the conference. A contingent of around 3000 rallied and marched on November 30 to mark Bonficacio National Hero's Day.The conference was organised by the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, PLM).

A strong feature of the conference was the participation of women leaders of the Philippine Socialist Feminist movement.The conference brought together the socialist feminists, revolutionary LGBT activists, with a strong contingent of socialist workers, intellectuals from the University of the Philippines, urban poor leaders and out-of-school youth, and students from high schools and campus.

Climate activism: 'It's not enough to criticise. Build movements that confront the crisis'

Gemma Weedall addresses Socialism 2014 in Malaysia.

By Gemma Weedall

[This is based on a presentation Socialist Alliance's Gemma Weedall gave to Socialism 2014, a conference organised by the Socialist Party of Malaysia. ]

November 20, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- Climate change is the biggest and most urgent threat facing humanity today. We are seeing global temperatures rise at an unprecedented rate, with 13 of the 14 warmest years on record having occurred in the past 14 years.

In fact, if you are under 37 years of age, you have never seen a year of below average temperature.

Last year in Australia, over 150 weather records were broken, including experiencing our hottest day, week, month and year on record. It is likely that these records will not be long-standing, with all signs indicating they will be broken again this coming summer.

There are predictions that at current rates of emissions increases, the Arctic will be ice free in summer as soon as four years from now, but in the best case scenario, in about 20 years.

This represents a dangerous tipping point that will take us into uncharted territory from which we may not be able to return.

Australia: How and why the Gough Whitlam government's far-reaching reforms were won

By Jim McIlroy

November 1, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- The passing of former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam at the age of 98 on October 21 provoked a wave of emotion from the community, both young and old. At a time when the federal government is trying to smash the remnants of the progressive reforms initiated during Whitlam's Australian Labor Party (ALP) government — in office from December 1972 to November 1975 — the Whitlam era seems like a period from another political universe.

A letter to the Sydney Morning Herald on October 23, 2014, summed up the mood: "The death of Gough Whitlam not only provided an opportunity for political midgets such as [present ALP federal leader] Bill Shorten and [Liberal Party-National Party coalition Prime Minister] Tony Abbott to become authorities on giants ... It also showed how these two agree on almost everything else. The contrast with the Whitlam era is complete.”

Socialist Alliance: Solidarity with Rojava revolution! West prefers IS killers to humane, pro-woman, democratic revolution

"At least a third of the defence forces of Rojava are female. They are in the frontlines and in the command. Many women have perished after resisting heroically to the end. Such examples by women are demolishing social taboos and challenging feudal, patriarchal values in society. Rojava has also mounted a big ongoing campaign against domestic violence."

* * *

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

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This resolution was adopted by the Australian Socialist Alliance National Council on October 4, 2014. Below that is the text of a leaflet being distributed by Socialist Alliance members at solidarity mobilisations in Australia.

* * *

1. Socialists have always supported the legitimate national aspirations of the Kurdish people, left divided by the colonial powers at the end of World War I between four countries.

Socialist Alliance: 'No Australian military involvement in Iraq'; 'End Australian partnership with NATO'

September 4, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following statements were adopted by the Socialist Alliance national executive on September 4, 2014, in response to the Australian government's decision to join the US and other imperialist states in a new military intervention in Iraq.

* * *

1. The US wars on Iraq (1991 and 2003) killed hundreds of thousands and completely wrecked the country. The US promoted sectarian divisions in order to retain control. It created the conditions for the rise of the "Islamic State" and is thus responsible for the current crisis.

2. Australia was an enthusiastic junior partner in both US wars on Iraq and thus shares responsibility for the terrible suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people as well as the current situation.

3. There is a humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria due to the Islamic State’s ethnic cleansing and general terror campaign. Approximately 1.5 million refugees are living in camps in Rojava (the Kurdish liberated zone in northern Syria), Turkey and the Federal Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

a. Australia should give large-scale assistance to these refugees. This should be delivered by non-military means.

b. Australia should massively increase its refugee intake from Iraq and Syria.

c. No asylum seekers already here should be forcibly returned to Iraq or Syria.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', September 2014 issue: Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement

El Foro Social Latinoamericano se pronuncio el 12 de agosto sobre la detención de Liliany Obando, activista colombiana de derechos humanos. Muchos en Australia conocen Liliany por
su visita a nuestro país y su incansable lucha en Colombia, incluyendo desde dentro de la cárcel.

September 3, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Providing facts and analysis, and publicising and organising Latin America solidarity activities in Australia, Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has sought to promote greater understanding and solidarity between the people of Australia and Latin America.

We are therefore delighted to publish Latin America Social Forum (Foro Social Latinamericano), a Spanish-language supplement produced regularly by the Latin America Social Forum in Sydney.

We hope the supplement will help build stronger links and solidarity between the Spanish-speaking communities in Australia and all those involved in the urgent struggles for the people and the planet. In the words of Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chavez: “Time is short. If we don’t change the world now, there may be no 22nd century.”

Israel the aggressor, not Gazans; Condemn Israel’s violence, not Palestinian resistance

Young opponents of Israel's war of terror protest, in Sydney, August 2, 2014. Photo by Susan Price.

By Tony Iltis

August 2, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- “This is not a war. It is genocide”, reads a popular slogan on homemade signs at protests against Israel’s current attack on the Gaza Strip. 

The body count is enough to illustrate the one-sidedness of the violence. For the first nine days of their assault, Israeli forces pounded the besieged territory from the land, sea and air, but did not send forces in. About 250 people were killed in these nine days. Only one was Israeli.

Israeli ground operations that started on July 17 increased the casualty rate for both Palestinians and Israelis. By August 1, 1592 Palestinians and 66 Israelis had been killed, the New York Times said. That is 24 Palestinians killed for every Israeli.

Dramatically larger than the disparity between the two sides in overall numbers killed is the disparity in the number of civilians killed.

On the Israeli side, only three of the fatalities were civilians — 95% of Israelis killed by Palestinians were combatants. 

Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem published figures on July 31 that showed that between July 8 and July 30 less than 14% of the Palestinians killed by Israelis were combatants. 

Three Palestinian combatants have been killed for every Israeli combatant while 473 Palestinian civilians have been killed for every Israeli civilian.

People's power appeal: Help Gaza recover

August 5, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On the recommendation of Shamikh Badra from the Palestinian People's Party in Gaza, the Socialist Alliance in Australia is launching a special appeal for funds to help the Palestinian people recover from Israel's latest genocidal war. All funds collected will be divided between the following two non-governmental organisations:

Inma’a Association
http://inmaa-nazareth.org
https://www.facebook.com/inmaa10

In particular, the funds collected will be for Inma'a Association's project of helping the Palestinian children and their families injured by the 2014 war on Gaza and those affected by cancer receiving treatments in East Jerusalem and Israeli hospitals.

Australia: Reject 'Cold War posturing' over MH17 tragedy: No troops to Ukraine!

Statement by the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

July 24, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance -- The Socialist Alliance conveys its condolences to the families of all its victims of the suspected shooting down to Malaysian Airlines flight 17 (MH17) over war-torn eastern Ukraine but it rejects the inflammatory Cold-War-style political posturing by both Liberal PM Tony Abbott and Labor Party opposition leader Bill Shorten.

Both these politicians have shamelessly sought to exploit this terrible tragedy to step up their pro-war and imperialist propaganda and they have been urged on by the capitalist media.

If the downing of MH17 was a deliberate shooting down of a civilian airliner, then who ever was responsible would be guilty of an atrocious crime against humanity and should be punished accordingly.

However, an independent and objective international investigation into the incident needs to be allowed to take place without provoking more war or leaping to conclusions about who may be responsible.

Instead the Australian government has flagged sending soldiers as part of an "international deployment" to eastern Ukraine under the guise of securing the crash site. This comes amid reports that the US was planning to send military advisers to assist the Ukranian regime in its war against rebels in the east.

Ukraine: MH17 tragedy shows need for peace, not warmongering

There needs to be a ceasefire and negotiated solution to the conflict.

Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.

Green Left Weekly editorial

July 19, 2014 -- The apparent shooting down of Malaysia Airlines passenger flight MH17 is an unspeakable tragedy and a criminal act that has sent shock waves around the world. Green Left Weekly offers our condolences to the families of all its victims.

Nobody yet knows who was responsible for this crime, despite Western media and governments pointing the finger at either the rebel forces in Ukraine's east, which the West accuses Russia of arming, or the Russian military itself.

Amid claims and counter claims by all sides, each force denies responsibility and there is no obvious motive for any force to deliberately carry out such an atrocity.

The United Nations Security Council has called for “a full, thorough and independent international investigation”. But, whether this has any hope of leading to clarity on the incident remains to be seen.

Yet many Western governments, with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott joining in, are exploiting this tragedy and using it to escalate rhetoric and tensions with Russia, raising the prospect of the war expanding.

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