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Socialist Alliance

Australia’s two biggest socialist groups begin talks on prospects for left unity

Graphic from the North Star.

By Peter Boyle

November 4, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On November 4, a delegation of Susan Price, Sue Bolton and myself, from the Socialist Alliance had an initial meeting to discuss left unity prospects with a delegation comprising Mick Armstrong, Sandra Bloodworth and Corey Oakley from Socialist Alternative.

The meeting was cordial and constructive. A short joint statement was issued that night, which noted that “the basis exists to begin a process of discussion to clarify our respective political positions and engage in collaborative work, with the aim of establishing if unity is possible”. The statement was published on both organisations' websites.

The joint statement said: “It was acknowledged that there are real political differences between the groups, both historic and to do with immediate questions of day-to-day politics and a conception of what kind of organisation the left needs. We had only the most provisional discussion of these issues, and it is clear that we are just at the start of a lengthy process of clarification.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement, November 2012 issue

November 4, 2012 -- 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 President Hugo Chavez: “Time is short. If we don’t change the world now, there may be no 22nd century.”

GLW and Links congratulates the Latin America Social Forum for this important publication, and looks forward to continuing to help build solidarity in Australia, and around the world, with Latin America’s movements for freedom, democracy, sustainability and justice.

* * *

Australia: Socialist Alliance wins seat in Melbourne municipal council

For more articles on socialists in municipal councils, click HERE.

By Chris Slee and Selena Black, Melbourne

November 3, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Socialist Alliance candidate Sue Bolton (pictured above) was elected to Moreland City Council in Melbourne’s northern suburbs in the October 27 municipal government elections. Bolton received 9.5% of the first-preference votes in the council’s north-east ward, which covers Coburg, Fawkner and part of Brunswick. Twenty-four candidates contested the four available positions in the ward.

Bolton came third on primary votes, behind Greens candidate Lenka Thompson with 14.37% and Australian Labor Party (ALP) member Michael Teti with 10.42%. Bolton came in ahead of Liberal Party member Rob Thompson, who mangaed 9.39%, despite spending up big on his campaign.

Although the ALP candidates generally exchanged preferences, a large number of people who gave their first preference to an ALP candidate disregarded the how-to-vote cards and gave their second preference to Bolton. Bolton clearly campaigned as a Socialist Alliance candidate.

Is Venezuela a 'one off'? A response to Richard Seymour's must-read analysis

Supporters of the Bolivarian revolution mobilise in their millions. Caracas, October 3, 2012.

Click HERE for more coverage and analysis of the Venezuelan revolutionary process.

By Stuart Munckton

October 13, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Richard Seymour has written a very interesting analysis on Venezuela that is a must read for a number of reasons. It is open ended in its assessments and deliberately poses as many questions as it seeks to answer. Fair enough, as the revolution is open ended and poses questions that only the struggle will answer.

It is far superior to the article written by the British Socialist Workers Party (SWP) Latin American "expert" Mike Gonzalez, that acknowledged reforms, victory against the right, but then presented the ongoing struggles in a basically distorted "from below counterposed to Chavez" line.

2 millionth visit to 'Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal': yet another milestone

Dot sizes for visits between May and September 2012:   = 1,000+   = 100 - 999   = 10 - 99   = 1 - 9 visits 

September 9, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On Saturday, September 8, 2012, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal received its 2 millionth visit (since statistics began being kept on April 8, 2008). Its 1 millionth visit was registered on October 20, 2010. Less than a year later, Links' 1.5 millionth visitor arrived, in late September 2011.

Those 2 million visitors have collectively read more than 2,685,000 articles in that time. 

`Foro Social Latinamericano', Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement, September 2012 issue

September 9, 2012 -- 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 President Hugo Chavez: “Time is short. If we don’t change the world now, there may be no 22nd century.”

GLW and Links congratulates the Latin America Social Forum for this important publication, and looks forward to continuing to help build solidarity in Australia, and around the world, with Latin America’s movements for freedom, democracy, sustainability and justice.

* * *

Spain: Millions protest economic and political crisis; Audio: Spain's crisis, the popular fightback and its impact on Europe

Huge protest in Barcelona against new austerity measures, July 19. About 3.5 million people took to the streets across Spain on the day. Photo by Tim Gooden.


July 28, 2012 -- Dick Nichols, GLW/Links correspondent in Europe, interviewed by Melbourne 3CR radio's Solidarity Breakfast program on the political and economic crisis in Europe, the mass protests and strikes taking place.

* * *

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

The debate about the nature of the former Soviet Union: Who was right?

Moscow 2008.

[For more discussion on the nature of the Soviet Union click HERE. See also the related discussion on Stalinism HERE.]

By Chris Slee

July 30, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The nature of the former Soviet Union was an issue which divided the left for many decades. Now that the Soviet Union no longer exists, differing analyses of its class nature should no longer be a reason for maintaining separate socialist organisations.

Nevertheless, this historical debate has relevance to current politics, since the theories developed to explain the nature of the Soviet Union were subsequently applied to other countries, including Cuba. In particular, the theory of state capitalism, of which British Socialist Workers Party leader Tony Cliff was a leading exponent, is applied to Cuba by many groups today, including Solidarity and Socialist Alternative in Australia.

Pakistan: Urgent action needed to stop torture of activists

STOP PRESS, July 25, 2012 -- Thanks to all who sent protest messages and got the word out quick. Baba Jan and Iftikhar Hussain have now been returned to jail after being interrogated and roughed up by the special interrogation team. But we we still must demand: Free Baba Jan and Free the Hunza Five! -- Peter Boyle

By Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance (Australia) national co-convener

July 23, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A leading Pakistan newspaper, Dawn, reports that Labour Party Pakistan comrades Baba Jan and Iftikhar Hussain are being tortured by special "anti-terrorist police" unit in an undisclosed location now: http://dawn.com/2012/07/23/gilgit-rights-activist-being-given-the-third-degree/

John Riddell on the US SWP: Part 2, causes of a socialist collapse (1976–83)

The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume I: The Sixties, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (Sydney), 2005, 354 pages.

The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume II: Interregnum, Decline and Collapse, 1973-1988, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (London), 2012, 345 pages.

[For more discussion of the US SWP, click HERE.]

By John Riddell

Part 2 of a two-part article. Part 1 is available here.

John Riddell on the US SWP: Part 1, SWP attempts an outward turn (1976–83)

In 1976, the campaign of SWP presidential candidate Peter Camejo won unprecedentedly wide support from left currents.
The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume I: The Sixties, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (Sydney), 2005, 354 pages.

The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume II: Interregnum, Decline and Collapse, 1973-1988, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (London), 2012, 345 pages.

[For more discussion of the US SWP, click HERE.]

By John Riddell

Part 1 of a two-part article. Part 2 is available here.

Sudan: Regime digs its own grave in face of popular uprising

By Meera Zoll

June 24/July 1, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Sudan’s National Congress Party (NCP) regime is facing rising dissent after a new round of youth protests began on June 16 against austerity measures, spreading throughout the week to cities and towns across Sudan.

Protesters and security forces have clashed daily as the government of President Omer Al Bashir struggles to prevent a widespread uprising.

Sudan’s economy has been in a downward spiral since South Sudan’s secession last July. Most of the two countries’ combined oil reserves are located in the south, so Khartoum lost about 75% of its oil income after the split. Inflation reached 30% in May and the cost of basic necessities has rocketed, devastating the already impoverished population.

In a June 12 meeting, the National Consensus Forces (NCF), which comprises the major opposition parties including the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) and the National Umma Party, decided to initiate a mass campaign to topple the regime in response to the planned removal of fuel subsidies. It discussed an interim plan for a three-year transitional period after the regime’s projected downfall.

Debate: Cuba has a state bureaucratic *system* – a response to Chris Slee

This article is a reply to "System or siege? Samuel Farber misses the main cause of Cuba's problems", Chris Slee's review of Samuel Farber's Cuba Since The Revolution of 1959: A Critical Assessment (Haymarket Books 2011).

[For more discussion on Cuba, click HERE.]

By Samuel Farber

June 26, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The driving idea behind Chris Slee’s critical review of my recent book, Cuba Since The Revolution of 1959: A Critical Assessment (Haymarket Books 2011) is that the undemocratic practices of the Cuban revolutionary regime have been largely a response to the more than 50-year-old imperialist siege by the United States government and not a defining characteristic of the island’s political system.

Australian socialists: 'No imperialist military intervention in Syria!'

Western military intervention will cause more death and suffering in Syria.

Socialist Alliance (Australia) statement

June 13, 2012 -- Socialist Alliance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Since the uprising against the government of Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011 the death toll in Syria is now estimated to have exceeded 10,000. As the violence escalates, Western government leaders are openly canvassing launching a military intervention. We oppose imperialist military intervention.

Socialist Alliance supports the Syrian people’s right to rise up for democracy and economic justice. We recognise the secular and anti-imperialist nature of much of the mass democratic opposition.

We do not recognise the Syrian National Council, or any other exile elements now unilaterally being promoted by the imperialist powers, as representative of the Syrian uprising.

We condemn the violence of the Syrian government and the killings by religious sectarian gangs that are directly or indirectly supported by the imperialists or the Syrian regime.

The Syrian people have a right to use arms to defend themselves from the violence of government military and paramilitary forces.

LGBTI activists respond to John Pilger: 'Equal marriage rights and Bradley Manning are both big issues'

Bradley Manning supporters at Occupy London, last year. Photo: Queerfriendsofbradley.wordpress.com.

By Rachel Evans & Karl Hand

May 23, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- More than 1000 Sydney-siders hit the streets on May 12 demanding equal marriage rights, but prominent left-wing journalist John Pilger has criticised the march in his recent article “Bradley Manning, not gay marriage, is the issue”.

He said: “A protest parade in support of gay marriage filled the city centre. The police looked on benignly. It was a showcase of liberalism. Three days later, there was to be a march to commemorate the Nakba (The Catastrophe), the day of mourning when Israel expelled Palestinians from their land. A police ban had to be overturned by the Supreme Court.”

He said the equal marriage issue "diverts attention" from pressing issues of war and poverty, and in particular the detention and trial of alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning. We cannot agree with this.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement, May 2012 issue

May 18, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For environmentalists, Indigenous rights activists, feminists, socialists and all progressive people, Latin America is a source of hope and inspiration today. The people of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and Ecuador, among others, are showing that radical social change is possible and a better, more just society can be imagined and built.

The tide of rebellion and revolution now sweeping Latin America is posing a serious challenge to imperialism’s brutal global rule. For anyone who wants an end to war, exploitation and oppression, Latin America’s struggles to create alternatives are crucially important.

Australia's leading socialist newspaper Green Left Weekly is strongly committed to supporting the growing “people’s power” movement in Latin America. Through our weekly articles on developments in the region, GLW strives to counter the corporate media’s many lies about Latin America’s revolutions, and to give a voice in English to the people’s movements for change.

The continent-wide rebellion is weakening imperialism’s power. As a result, it is taking increasingly threatening steps to push back the power of the people. Our solidarity, to help the people of Latin America defend and extend their tremendous achievements, is vital.

Socialist Alliance releases 'Towards a Socialist Australia' discussion document

May 5, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following document,Towards a Socialist Australia, was adopted as a discussion draft by the 8th national conference of the Socialist Alliance, held in Sydney, January 20-22, 2012.

Socialist Alliance also voted to consult with members, supporters and allies in the social movements to improve the draft and deepen our collective understanding of the political climate and the nature of the economic and environmental crises.

We hope that by starting a broad discussion about socialism we will advance and further unite the socialist movement in Australia.

To comment or give feedback on this draft, visit the Towards a Socialist Australia website, or to attend one of the consultative discussions being organised in major cities and centres around the country. Contact your nearest Socialist Alliance branch for details here.

Pakistan: Protest torture of Baba Jan, 'prisoner of climate change'

May 3, 2012 -- The following letter to protest the beating and continued detention of Baba Jan (pictured speaking above), Waqar and other activists was sent to Pakistan's High Commissioner (ambassador) to Australia by the Socialist Alliance. Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to send similar letters to Pakistan embassies and consulate in their own countries.

* * *

Last year, after devastating floods swept the Atta Abad Lakes region of Pakistan, police opened fire on a demonstration of people demanding compensation. Two people were killed.

Baba Jan. a federal committee member of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), was among the first to raise the issue of Atta Abad Lake flood victims. He toured Pakistan in 2011 to organise rallies and demonstrations to highlight the plight of villagers who have lost their homes to this newly formed lake caused by deforestation, soil erosion and climate change. He spoke to the national media in press conferences held in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.

May Day greetings from the Socialist Alliance: Time for a wide discussion about socialism in the 21st century

May 1, 2012 -- The Socialist Alliance in Australia sends warm comradely greetings for May Day 2012.

May Day this year takes place in tumultuous conditions: the multiple crises confronting global capitalism are deepening, while mass resistance to its brutal rule grows. Taken all together, the people’s uprisings across the Arab world, the mass demonstrations and strikes occurring in Europe, the Occupy actions in the United States and the ongoing efforts of Latin American revolutionaries to construct socialism of the 21st century pose a huge challenge to the capitalist system.

The capitalist class is desperately striving to force working people and the entire Third World to pay for the worldwide economic, social and ecological crises it has created, but the momentum towards change and the creation of a system that puts the needs of people and the environment before private profit cannot be easily stopped.

Asian left parties: 'Free Somyot and all political prisoners in Thailand! End the medieval lèse majeste law!'

Joint statement

April 26, 2012 -- We, the undersigned organisations, are deeply concerned about the continuous repression against social activists under lèse majesté law in Thailand, including Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, a labour activist who has been imprisoned without bail since April 30, 2011.

We are concerned about Somyot’s continuous imprisonment, his transfer to another prison and his bail request being denied numerous times.

Somyot is known for his tireless work in the workers’ movement and to establish democratic trade unionism in Thailand. In 2007, he became editor of the Voice of Taksin magazine (now called Red Power), a political publication opposed to the military coup. Somyot is the chair of the Union of Democratic Labour Alliance and the leader of 24th June democracy group, which was formed in the aftermath of the military coup in September 2006.

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