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BREAKING NEWS, February 20, 2014 -- This morning one of our long-time subscribers, Arthur, pledged $1000 to our Special 1000th Issue Fund Appeal -- taking us over $100,000 target. We are there with 21 days to spare! Thank you all who have made pledges or donations. But it is not too late for those who haven't. You can still send in a pledge to: email@example.com Or make a direct donation online at: https://www.greenleft.org.au/donate/details
February 18, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal relies heavily on the financial and human support offered by Green Left Weekly, Australia's and one of the world's leading red-green newspapers. Without Green Left Weekly there would be no Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. That's why we are urging our many readers to please donate to Green Left Weekly's special fund appeal to mark its historic 1000th issue. Any contribution, large or small, will be greatly appreciated. You can donate HERE.
In the first issue of Green Left Weekly for 2014, we announced the campaign to raise $100,000 in pledges for GLW by its 1000th issue, on March 12.
"Allen Myers denies the possibility of using the Transitional Program as a tool to advance the class struggle in Australia today. He devotes a lot of effort in arguing that nationalisation is not a transitional demand in current circumstances."
For more on the transitional method, click HERE.
By Chris Slee
February 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Allen Myers, a member of the Australian party Socialist Alternative, has written an article in that organisation’s magazine Marxist Left Review entitled “Trotsky’s Transitional Program: its uses and abuses”. Myers is also a former leading member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, some of whose members have joined Socialist Alternative.
[See also Chris Slee's free pamphlet Cuba -- How the workers and peasants made the revolution and "System or siege? Samuel Farber misses the main cause of Cuba's problems", Slee's review of Farber's book Cuba since the revolution of 1959: a critical assessment.]
By Chris Slee
January 21, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Samuel Farber has recently written an article on “The Future of the Cuban Revolution”. This article contains some useful information on “the emergence of new tendencies and debates” in Cuba. But Farber’s article is fundamentally flawed. It contains not a single word about the 55-year-long campaign by the United States government to overturn the Cuban revolution!
For more on the transitional method, click HERE.
By Dave Holmes
[Text of a talk given to the Geelong branch of Socialist Alliance on December 3, 2013.]
December 4, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The unity discussions between Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative have come to an end. In a November 3, 2013, letter on behalf of the Socialist Alternative national executive, Mick Armstrong wrote: “The overall political projects of both organisations are not sufficiently similar to carry through a sustained and productive unity that could advance the cause of the revolutionary left in Australia and the broader class struggle.”
Melbourne protest against Work Choices, September 2007.
By Sue Bolton
November 16, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Over the years, I have heard many left-wing activists say that mass peaceful protests do not achieve anything. Rather, “militant actions” which “take it up to the ruling class” are more important.
But for smaller direct actions to have any real political significance, they have to be connected to a patient and democratic approach to building mass movements that can win reforms. Smaller direct actions that are not tied to this political aim are a posture.
In a period of relative political quiet, some on the left are being snookered into the false idea that demonstrations that insist on direct action and militancy are the only way to win reforms.
This is a failed strategy, because it rests on the notion that a tiny number of conscientious and outraged activists can frighten or shock the ruling class into delivering reforms or stopping cuts. This sort of idealism is dangerous, and ignores evidence of how social movements throughout history have grown and succeeded in their aims.
When I first arrived in Melbourne in 1993, I met a man at a tram stop who told me that Victorians supported then-premier Jeff Kennett because they had stopped protesting.
Building effective campaigns and coalitions is extremely important. Socialist Alliance members at the Sydney national day of action on climate change, November 17. Photo by Peter Boyle.
By Dave Holmes
[The following talk was presented at the Socialist Ideas Conference held in Melbourne, November 2, 2013, organised by the Socialist Alliance.]
November 18, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Arguing for Socialism -- In Australia, as in all the imperialist countries, the capitalist class is carrying out a massive assault on all the gains won by working people in more than 150 years. Every TV news bulletin these days features reports of cutbacks, selloffs and outsourcing, attacks on workers' rights and attacks on civil liberties — as well as wars and massive misery abroad.
With social democracy firmly in the neoliberal camp and the left marginalised, the capitalist class sees its chance and is pressing home the attack as vigorously as possible.
The photo above (Sydney, c 1975) shows (from left): Joy Ecclestone, Dave Holmes, Doug Lorimer, (obscured unknown) and Geoff Payne.
[For more by or about Doug Lorimer, click HERE.]
By Dave Holmes
[These brief remarks were delivered at a memorial meeting for Doug Lorimer in Melbourne on October 25, 2013, organised by Socialist Alternative.]
October 25, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Arguing for Socialism -- The July 27, 2013, Green Left Weekly carried an obituary for Doug Lorimer written by Pat Brewer. For comrades interested in the basic details of Doug's political CV I would recommend it.
I first met Doug in February 1971 in Adelaide. John Percy, myself and Dave Riley went over as a national investigating commission of the Socialist Youth Alliance (SYA). Two members of the local SYA branch were or had become Maoists and were causing us some political embarrassment. Doug Jordan was the branch organiser.
By Alex Bainbridge
October 20, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Socialist Alliance Western Australia's co-convenor Sam Wainwright was re-elected to the Fremantle municipal council on October 19. In the other wards, progressive councillors defeated conservative opponents, and Greens Mayor Brad Pettitt was also returned.
Wainwright won 58% of the vote in his ward compared to 33% at the 2009 poll. Wainwright's absolute vote also increased from 438 votes to 602 this year.
Over the last four years Wainwright has made a priority of organising and promoting community campaigns and supporting council initiatives such as a dramatic increase in the cycling budget. He has been a strong supporter of the Fremantle Road to Rail campaign and helped promote a community-owned wind farm at North Quay.
He introduced the Workplace Values policy which recognises the right of council employees to trade union representation and job security, and set a target for the employment of Indigenous people.
Wainwright has vigorously defended the Warrawee Women's Refuge which battles to maintain funding levels, and introduced policy to include and respect people with disabilities.
For more discussion on feminism, click HERE.
October 13, 2013 -- Green Left TV/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialist Alliance and socialist youth group Resistance held a seminar in Sydney on March 14, 2013, on the topic of 21st century feminism. Socialist Alliance's Lisa Macdonald, a Green Left Weekly journalist, and Alison Pennington, a member of the Resistance and Socialist Alliance, spoke about the culture of violence that exists in our society, how women can fight collectively to live in an equal and violence-free society, and why socialists wholeheartedly support these struggles.
September 4, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Australian Socialist Alliance national executive member Simon Butler gave this speech, "Marxism and the ecological revolution", at the Marxism 2013 conference, which was held in Melbourne, Australia, over March 28-31. The conference was organised by Socialist Alternative.
In the talk Butler explores Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' much neglected insights into the anti-ecological dynamic of capitalism, a system based on the dual exploitation of labour and nature. He also discusses the relevance of Marx's ecology for meeting today's crises and makes an argument for why 21st century socialists should also be ecosocialists.
[Below are statements from the left in Asia, from Australia, Malaysia and the Philippines.]
Statement by the Socialist Alliance (Australia)
August 28, 2013 -- Socialist Alliance -- The Socialist Alliance condemns the threatened US-led Western military assault on Syria. We call on the Australian government to reject this latest imperial aggression, to extract itself from its military alliance with the US and end its involvement in all aggressive multinational military operations.
The Socialist Alliance supports the Syrian people’s democratic uprising against the tyranny of the Bashar al-Assad regime but we reject the interventions of the US and its allies in Syria. The Syrian people should have the right to decide their own future.
The horrendous chemical weapons attack on civilians is being used as the justification for this latest intervention. The use of chemical weapons is a heinous war crime and whoever uses it should be brought to account.
By Jonathan Strauss
Australian protest against the US war on Vietnam. Socialists argued for the movement to have as its central demand the call for the immediate withdrawal of US and Australian troops from Vietnam.
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This talk was presented by Peter Boyle representing the then Democratic Socialist Party (since merged with the Socialist Alliance) to a workshop with comrades from the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) of Indonesia in 2000. It was based on a talk by Doug Lorimer to a Resistance leadership training school in Sydney on April 24-25, 1995. It was published in The Activist, volume 5, number 6, 1995. Doug Lorimer passed away on July 21, 2013. Read more of Doug Lorimer's writings HERE.]
* * *
Statement by the Socialist Alliance national executive
August 16, 2013 -- The Socialist Alliance of Australia condemns the massacre of protesters by the Egyptian army during the dispersal on August 14 of sit-ins at Rabea al-Adaweya and Nahda Square by supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Socialist Alliance restates its solidarity with the Egyptian people’s mass movement against the Morsi government as well our opposition to the July 3 military coup d'état. We call for the release of all political prisoners, the lifting of the month-long emergency rule, the end of monitoring and blocking of electronic communications and the attacks on reporters.
The Egyptian military is seeking to impose its will through bloody repression. Today, supporters of Morsi are targeted, but all forces that may be viewed as a threat to stability for the ruling elites risk being targeted next.
By Karen Fletcher
August 6, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Tony Cliff was characteristically blunt when he set out what was to become the International Socialist Tendency’s (IST) position on “the feminist movement” in his 1984 book, Class Struggle and Women's Liberation:
Read some of Doug Lorimer's writings HERE.
By Pat Brewer
July 27, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Doug Lorimer, a life-long committed revolutionary, died on July 21 in Sydney after a year of fighting deteriorating ill health and long-term hospitalisation.
Lorimer was born April 17, 1953 in Dundee in Scotland and migrated to Australia with his parents Connie and Bill when he was four years old to settle in the South Australian steel town of Whyalla.
Lorimer radicalised as a high school student. He first became involved in left politics through the Australian movement against the imperialist war in Vietnam, when he and his mother joined the moratorium marches in Adelaide in 1970.
Lorimer was recruited to the Socialist Youth Alliance — which later became the youth organisation Resistance — aged 16 in late 1971 in his final year in high school. He then went on to enrol in a science degree majoring in physics at Flinders University.
He dropped out of the degree during his first year as his commitment to building a revolutionary party grew. However, his interest in science never waned.
'The revolution belongs to the Egyptian people': Socialist Alliance statement of solidarity with Egyptian revolution
[This statement was adopted by the Socialist Alliance (Australia) national executive on July 12, 2013. Below that is a statement from Spain's Izquierda Anticapitalista (Anti-capitalist left), the views of which, reports International Viewpoint, "represents a generally held opinion in the Fourth International."]
For more on Egypt, click HERE.
The Socialist Alliance recognises and welcomes the June 30-July 3, 2013 popular mobilisations of the Egyptian people, led by youth, for democracy, human rights and social and economic justice that brought down the regime of President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Socialist Alliance notes that the number of Egyptians who participated in the protests was higher than the number who voted for Morsi, as was the number of Egyptians who signed the Tamarod petition calling for the president to step down.
At the same time, the Socialist Alliance condemns the violent and repressive measures of the Egyptian Armed Forces since July 3 in particular the July 8 massacre of more than 50 unarmed supporters of the Morsi government and the arbitrary detention of Morsi and other leaders and functionaries of the deposed regime.
Egypt: 'The people still want end to regime' -- left assessments of the uprising and military takeover (updated July 10)
Demonstration at Tahrir Square in Cairo, June 30, 2013.
July 7, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below are a number of assessments of the massive protests and military intervention that overthrew the government of Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood on July 3, 2013. Check back for new additions.
For more on Egypt, click HERE.
* * *
Egypt: 'The people still want end to regime'
By Tony Iltis
July 7, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly (Australia) -- The protests which began on June 30 ― and by July 3 had led to the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi ― were reportedly the largest in Egyptian history.
With claims between 10 and 20 million people took part, they were larger than the protests which led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011.
There are obvious similarities between the downfall of the two presidents. In both cases it was the military who, despite having previously been a pillar of the regime, executed the overthrow because protests were becoming too big and staunch to be easily repressed.
This is the text of Ian Angus' talk at the Socialism 2013 conference in Chicago, June 29, 2013, organised by the international Socialist Organization (USA). The video and audio of Angus' talk is also available, thanks to Wearemany.org.
Australia: Revolutionary unity to meet the capitalist crisis -- Socialist Alliance responds to Socialist Alternative
Socialist Alliance national convenor Peter Boyle speaks at Socialist Alternative's Marxism 2013.
[A response from Socialist Alliance to "What kind of organisation do socialists need?", published in the Summer 2013 issue of Socialist Alternative's Marxist Left Review. This article first appeared in Marxist Left Review, Winter 2013 and is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]
By Nick Fredman, Pip Hinman and Susan Price