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Socialism as an alternative: Reflections on ‘Socialism for the 21st Century’ international conference
Thursday, February 4, 2016 -- Socialist Alliance (Australia) condemns the murder by the Pakistani military on January 30 of Dr Mannan Baloch, Secretary General of Baloch National Movement (BNM), and four other BNM members. According to eyewitnesses, the military attacked the house where they were staying with mortar fire, then troops entered and shot each of the occupants in the chest and head. The youngest victim was just 19 years old. All the victims were unarmed. The BNM is not an armed organisation. It has been waging a non-violent struggle for the independence of Balochistan, which has suffered partition and occupation by Pakistan and Iran since the 1940s.
BNM activists are routinely victims of violence by the Pakistani state. In April 2009, BNM president Ghulam Mohammed Baloch was kidnapped from a legal office along with two other nationalist leaders. Their mutilated bodies were found five days later.
This forms part of a broader campaign of Pakistani state violence in Balochistan. At least 6000 Baloch civilians were killed by Pakistani forces in the 1970s. Since 2004 about 2000 civilians have been killed. Thousands of others have been arrested or simply disappeared. Civilians displaced by Pakistani state violence number in the hundreds of thousands.
For more on Greece's struggle against austerity, click HERE
Statement of the Socialist Alliance (Australia) national executive
July 16, 2015 -- Socialist Alliance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialist Alliance condemns the effective imposition of colonial status on Greece by the ruling institutions of the European Union (EU), which represent the interests of the big banks whose speculative excesses contributed in great part to the accumulation of the “Greek debt” they are now seeking to recover.
This is a coup and a brutal assault on democracy.
The popular will of the Greek people, expressed in the 61.3% "Oxi" (“No”) vote in the July 5 referendum on the previous European Union austerity demands is being denied and even the decisions of the Greek parliament has been put under EU supervision and control.
For more analysis and discussion on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE
By Stuart Munckton
The Australia-Greece Solidarity Campaign says half of all young people cannot find work, there is a growing shortage of essential medicines and child malnutrition rates have reached levels not seen since World War II.
All very sad, no doubt, but surely you cannot just allow reckless behaviour by the Greek people without any consequences?
July 3, 2015 -- Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the people of Greece and the SYRIZA-led government as they prepare for a referendum on July 5, 2015, on whether to accept the continuation of the program of neoliberal austerity or chart a new course free from the debilitating stranglehold of the “troika” — the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission.
We support the call of SYRIZA for a "no vote" as the only option for the people of Greece, especially the working classes, to assert sovereign control over the country's economy and their own future.
We condemn the “troika” and their allied political institutions, for forcing their policies of neoliberal austerity, privatisation, deregulation and savage cutbacks dismantling the public sector. We, therefore, hold the “troika” responsible for the massive unemployment, increased poverty, greater social inequality and a severe economic depression now being experienced by Greece. The irony of it all is that the huge debts the “troika” is demanding for repayment did not go to Greece but were used to repay private sector creditors such as French and German banks. In other words, these are onerous and illegitimate debts.
Adopted by the 11th Socialist Alliance national conference, June 5-8, 2015
June 21, 2015 -- Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Humanity has reached a critical crossroad. Capitalism cannot advance society as a whole. Already, large sections of the world live in poverty, repression and endless war but in addition the irrational and insatiable drive for profits by a highly monopolised and globalised capitalism is driving towards irreversible and catastrophic climate change.
Capitalist governments – and the giant corporations they work for – are refusing to act on the desperate warnings of the great majority of the world's leading scientists to avert the climate crisis.
Gemma Weedall presents Australian politics report. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.
Australian politics and campaigns perspectives resolutions adopted by the 11th national conference of Socialist Alliance
By Alex Bainbridge, Sydney
June 20, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The campaign against closure of Aboriginal communities and mobilisations against unconventional gas in eastern Australia are some examples of growing campaigns that are successfully challenging the agenda of capitalist governments in Australia, according to the 11th national conference of the Socialist Alliance.
The Australian politics resolution adopted by the conference highlighted these and other campaigns — such as the successful campaign against the East West Link in Melbourne and the campaign to free the refugees — as important examples of resistance in Australia today.
A Short History of Social Democracy: From Socialist Origins to Neoliberal Theocracy
By John Rainford
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”.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
* * *
President Barack Obama
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.
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.
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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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gemma Weedall addresses Socialism 2014 in Malaysia.
By Gemma Weedall
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.