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Socialist Alliance

Sri Lanka: Lionel Bopage, former JVP general secretary, on new left party, Tamil rights and state repression

Lionel Bopage, former JVP general secretary.

April 17, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) was launched in Colombo, Sri Lanka, amidst international media outcry about the illegal abduction of four of its activists in the lead up to the launch by security forces. Two of these abductees, Premakumar Gunaratnam (an Australian citizen) and Dimuth Atygalle (a prominent woman leader of the group) have since been released. Gunaratnam, who has been deported to Australia, says he was tortured before being released. Two other FSP activists are still being illegally detained.

The Flame, April 2012 -- Green Left Weekly's Arabic-language supplement

April 16, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly -- Australia's leading socialist newspaper -- publishes a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame covers news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. Editor-in-chief is Soubhi Iskander is a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

“There are Arabic newspapers in Australia, but still all reflect the views of their editors and there is a great need to establish a progressive Arabic-language press which can frankly discuss the squalid condition of the Arab world due to submission and subservience to neo-colonialism”, Iskander explains. “At the same time, the Arabic-speaking communities in Australia need to read articles relating to the Australian government policy internally — articles which will unmask the pitfalls of these policies, and will expose the violation and the lies of the capitalist parties. The Flame, we hope, will be a powerful addition to Green Left Weekly.”

Solidarity with journalists in Sri Lanka, defend democratic rights! Protest abduction of socialists!

UPDATE: The two comrades of the Frontline Socialist Party, Premakumar Gunarathnam and Dimuthu Attygale, have both been released, on late April 9/early April 10. Gunarathnam has been deported to Australia (he is an Australian citizen). Without doubt it was the high level of international attention and the unprecedented solidarity across the political divide in Sri Lanka that secured their lives and liberty.

April 5, 2012 -- Democratic freedoms are increasingly under attack in Sri Lanka. In a climate of intense chauvinism, critics of the government and its increasingly authoritarian and repressive policies are more and more threatened. Even journalists who have already been forced into exile are targets of threats and smear campaigns. Government members have personally called for violence against media personnel that have raised criticism of the Sri Lankan government or that have drawn attention to violations of Human Rights in the country.

Doug Lorimer's introduction to 'Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism'

Introduction by Doug Lorimer

I. Lenin's aims in writing this work

The term "imperialism" came into common usage in England in the 1890s as a development of the older term "empire" by the advocates of a major effort to extend the British Empire in opposition to the policy of concentrating on national economic development, the supporters of which the advocates of imperialism dismissed as "Little Englanders". The term was rapidly taken into other languages to describe the contest between rival European states to secure colonies and spheres of influence in Africa and Asia, a contest that dominated international politics from the mid-1880s to 1914, and caused this period to be named the "age of imperialism".

The first systematic critique of imperialism was made by the English bourgeois social-reformist economist John Atkinson Hobson (1858-1940) in his 1902 book Imperialism: A Study, which, as Lenin observes at the beginning of his own book on the subject, "gives a very good and comprehensive description of the principal specific economic and political features of imperialism" (see below, p. 33).

Lenin had long been familiar with Hobson's book. Indeed, in a letter written from Geneva to his mother in St. Petersburg on August 29, 1904, Lenin stated that he had just "received Hobson's book on imperialism and have begun translating it" into Russian.(1)

Sudan: Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud's ideas will live on

Procession at funeral of Sudanese Communist Party general secretary Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud, March 25, 2012.

By Abohoraira Ali

March 29, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud, secretary general of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP), died on March 22, 2012, in London, where he was undergoing medical treatment for an inoperable brain tumour. Thousands of people joined the funeral procession to farewell Nugud on March 25, when his body was taken from the airport past his home and the SCP headquarters, before being buried in the Al Farouq cemetery. Leaders of other opposition parties and representatives from South Sudan attended.

Western Sahara: ‘No one will give us our freedom’

[Click HERE for more on the struggle of the people of Western Sahara.]

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim and Laura Gilbie

March 11, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- After two decades of political deadlock, Africa’s oldest refugee population is losing faith in UN mandated peace negotiations.

“No one will give us our freedom — we must take it!,” Sahrawi journalist Embarka Elmehdi Said told Green Left Weekly. Said sees little hope for a peaceful resolution to the crisis that has gripped Western Sahara since its independence from Spain in the 1970s.

A child when her family fled the Moroccan invasion of Western Sahara in 1975, Said has spent most of her life in the Polisario run refugee camps on the Western Sahar-Algeria border.

Her two sons, aged 12 and three, have spent all their lives in the camps.

International solidarity helps keep the ‘Zimbabwe 6’ out of jail

Johannesburg protest in support of the "Zimbabwe 6", March 20, 2012.

By Lisa Macdonald

March 22, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Six Zimbabwean activists who were convicted for watching a video of the Arab Spring in February 2011 won a partial victory on March 21 when they were given suspended jail sentences of two years, ordered to each do 420 hours of community service and pay a fine of US$500 each.

The six activists were convicted in the Harare Magistrates Court on March 19 of trumped-up charges of “conspiracy to commit public violence”. They had faced up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a sentence demanded by the state prosecutor, Edmore Nyazamba.

Australia: Socialists release 'A Charter for Women's Rights' on IWD

March 8, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On International Women's Day 2012 the Socialist Alliance in Australia released its latest A Charter for Women's Rights, updated in line with the decisions of the 8th national conference of the Socialist Alliance. Download a PDF version of the charter HERE.

International Women’s Day: the struggle for equality continues

By Socialist Alliance (Australia)

March 8, 2012 -- This International Women’s Day falls at a time when the environmental and economic crises of global capitalism are making life even harder for most women and the communities they live and work in. Capitalism’s crisis is hitting hard in the US and across Europe. It is particularly dire in Greece where school teachers and other essential service workers are being thrown out of work or being forced to take pay cuts of between 40-50%. Working-class women are being hit especially hard. The European-wide austerity drive of the 1% is designed to get the 99% to pay for their greed. However, as the huge protests by workers, students and the unemployed in Greece and across Europe reveal, the 99% is not giving in without a fight.

These mobilisations represent the continuity between the struggles of today and those of the early 20th century – struggles that gave rise to International Women’s Day 101 years ago.

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

February 27, 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.

Syria needs solidarity not Western intervention!

Statement by the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

February 9, 2012 -- Socialist Alliance supports, and expresses its full solidarity with, the Syrian people’s democratic uprising against the tyrant Bashar al-Assad.

We also condemn the interference by Western imperialist powers and the threats of military intervention. Further, we call on the Australian government to extract itself from the US alliance and its involvement in aggressive multinational military operations.

The death toll in Syria is now more than 6000. We condemn the Syrian government’s military repression of protests and Assad’s refusal to yield to the wishes of the Syrian people to step down. We also condemn the four decades of repressive rule by Assad and his father Hefaz al-Assad.

Western policy in the resource-rich and strategically important Middle East remains devoted to maintaining Western global dominance. The West’s very selective opposition to tyranny in the Middle East — opposing some, while propping up the most tyrannical regimes in region — is transparently motivated by how compliant a tyranny is to imperialism’s interests.

Australia: Left-Green unity is an objective necessity

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge addresses the Socialist Alliance national conference in January 2012. Photo: Peter Boyle
By Peter Boyle

February 4, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Rupert Murdoch's flagship newspaper, The Australian, has been on a campaign to destroy the Australian Greens because the party represents a big electoral break from the two-parties-for-capitalism system that has dominated Australian politics for more than a century. In the past two weeks, this campaign has been hyped into McCarthyite Cold War hysteria.

Crisis, revolt and the left in Europe

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following presentation is a slightly edited and updated version of a talk given on January 20, 2012, to the eighth national conference of the Australian Socialist Alliance, held in Sydney. The slides mentioned refer to the PowerPoint presentation above, which accompanied the talk. Dick Nichols works in the European office of the Socialist Alliance and Green Left Weekly, based in Barcelona.

* * *

By Dick Nichols

Slide 1

Thank you, comrades, for the invitation to speak—what a pleasure it is to see old faces, and new ones, too! The class struggle may be more advanced in Europe, but I sorely miss what we have created in the Socialist Alliance, as should become clear later in this talk.

My aim is to sketch the present phase of the class struggle in Europe, assess the gains of our side along with the challenges it faces, and hopefully help us all think about what this might mean for Socialist Alliance and the socialist movement in Australia. But the opinions expressed are my own, of course, not the Socialist Alliance’s: so feel free to disagree vigorously!

Australia: Socialist Alliance to launch public consultations on 'socialism in the 21st century'


Scenes from the 8th national conference of the Socialist Alliance. Made with Slideshow Embed Tool.

January 27, 2012 -- Socialist Alliance -- The 8th national conference of the Socialist Alliance -- held in Sydney on January 20-22 -- decided to take a draft document entitled “Towards a socialist Australia” through a nationwide public consultation process to promote a wide discussion about socialism in the 21st century.

This was in response to its assessment that it is important for socialists is to take full advantage of the expanded political opening created by a new wave of popular anti-capitalist sentiment and mobilisations to win many more people to socialism. Socialist Alliance recognised it is equally important for socialists to immerse themselves in this new wave of struggles.

(Updated Jan. 24) 'Too Many People?' Ecosocialists debate population and environment

[For more on the population debate, click HERE.]

January 9, 2012 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal/Climate and Capitalism -- Veteran British socialist Alan Thornett has published a highly critical review of the new book, Too Many People? Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis. Below is Thornett’s critique, followed by a reply from the book’s authors, Ian Angus and Simon Butler.

Too Many People: a review

By Alan Thornett

January 2, 2012 -- Socialist Resistance -- As a long-time comrade of Ian Angus, a fellow ecosocialist, and an admirer of his work on Marxism and ecology, I am disappointed by the tone he has adopted in his new book on population Too Many People? – which he has authored jointly with Simon Butler, co-editor of the Australian publication Green Left Weekly.

Ανατέμνοντας τους αριθμούς για τον υπερπληθυσμό

[In English (Αγγλική εκδοχή σε) at http://links.org.au/node/2520.]

των Ίαν Άνγκους και Σάιμον Μπάτλερ

Μαρξιστική Σκέψη, τόμος 4, Ιανουάριος-Μάρτιος 2012, σελ. 416, 13€

 

Από το 1798, όταν ο Πάτερ Μάλθους υποστήριξε ότι ο πληθυσμός αυξάνεται με γεωμετρική πρόοδο (2, 4, 8, 16...), ενώ η προσφορά τροφίμων αυξάνεται μόνο αριθμητικά (2, 3, 4, 5...), το επιχείρημα για τον υπερπληθυσμό έχει εξαρτηθεί από τους αριθμούς. Είναι σπάνιο να διαβάσει κανείς ένα άρθρο, φυλλάδιο ή ιστοσελίδα για τον υπερπληθυσμό που δεν περιλαμβάνει δηλώσεις όπως αυτές:

West Papua: Support workers at the Freeport-McMoRan Grasberg mine striking for a wage increase

Statement by Asia-Pacific left and workers’ organisations

December 11, 2011 -- The strike started on September 15, 2011, and it involves nearly 12,000 workers. It was called after the negotiations between the union and the management went into deadlock.

The striking workers want to be paid US$7.50 per hour (for grade F1) to $18 per hour (for grade A5) instead of the US$2.10 per hour to $3.50 per hour they are currently receiving.

Their demands are for increases of 250% to 500%, but these wage demands are still much lower than the amounts workers are paid in other Freeport-McMoRan mines such as those in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. In negotiations the union has offered solutions, but these have been rejected by the management.

Australian socialists debate ecosocialism

By Ian Angus

December 13, 2011 -- Climate and Capitalism (Canada) -- Should ecologically concerned socialists call themselves ecosocialists? Members of the Socialist Alliance are conducting a public policy debate.

Is there a need for the word “ecosocialism”? Does it mean something substantially different from socialism without the prefix? Will using it help to build the left? Or is it an unnecessary and dangerous concession to greens who lean to liberalism and anarchism?

Here at Climate and Capitalism, we gave our answers to those questions long ago, by putting the words “Ecosocialism or barbarism: there is no third way” at the top of every page.

But on that question we are in a minority. While the word “ecosocialism” is used by growing numbers of green lefts and left greens, it is still very far from being universally accepted.

Of course, it is just a word. What’s important is the idea that in the 21st century the fight against environmental destruction and the fight against capitalism are inextricably linked – neither can succeed without the other. The label anyone chooses to apply to that concept is far less important.

Lessons of #Occupy: Don’t agonise, organise!

Occupy Perth. Photo by Peter Boyle.

For more on the Occupy movement, click HERE.

By Peter Boyle, national convenor, Socialist Alliance (Australia)

[Talk given to a Socialist Alliance organised forum in the Occupy Perth camp in Forrest Place on on October 30, 2011.]

"Don’t agonise, organise!" --  This quote that has become a bumper sticker, a popular slogan in the feminist movement, the title of many a speech, conference and newsletter is credited to the Afro-American woman civil rights activist Florence Rae Kennedy. She was quoted by Gloria Steinem in Ms magazine in 1973 and since then this powerful slogan has circumnavigated the world many times and being used by many, many activists and movements.

And why do you think this has happened?

It is because this is a slogan that reasonates very strongly with the condition of the oppressed, exploited and persecuted.

On one hand, we are weighed down with the pain of the suffering and indignities inflicted as a matter of everyday business by powerful oppressors. On the other, we are challenged as to what we do in response.

Is the #Occupy movement 'socialist'?

Occupy Brisbane, Australia.

For more on the Occupy movement, click HERE.

By Ash Pemberton

October 29, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- Some conservative commentators have declared the global Occupy movement to be “socialist”. Right-wing musician Ted Nugent said in the Washington Times on October 14: “Occupy Wall Street is nothing more than anti-American socialism on parade... These useful idiots are clamoring for social justice, as if they don’t have enough of that already.” Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly declared: “The Occupy Wall Street movement is basically socialistic.”

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