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Occupy Wall Street
Striking Chicago teachers rally, October 2012.
By Dan La Botz
December 31, 2012 -- New Politics -- The most important social conflict in the United States in 2012—the Chicago Teachers Union strike—suggests that the rising trajectory of social struggle in the United States that began at the beginning of 2011 may be continuing. While the United States has a much lower level of class struggle and social struggle than virtually any other industrial nation—few US workers are unionised (only 11.8%) and unionised workers engage in few strikes and those involve a very small numbers of workers—still, the economic crisis and the demand for austerity by both major political parties, Republican and Democrat, have led to increased economic and political activity and resistance by trade unions, particularly in the public sector.
By Paul Le Blanc
July 25, 2012 – ESSF, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Paul Le Blanc’s permission -- Paul Mason is one of the best journalists covering the global economy today. His book, Live Working, Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global, is an essential resource for anyone concerned about the workers’ struggle against oppression and for liberation in the past, present and future. I met him while I was in thick of Pittsburgh’s G20 protests, which he was covering for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). I had already read his splendid book (which I was using in one of my courses) – and his front-line television reportage of the protests and the realities generating them was outstanding.
More than 15,000 protesters marched from Pushkin Square to the Chistye Prudy metro station in Moscow on May 13, in support Occupy Abay. Photograph: Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images.
By Aleksandr Buzgalin in Moscow, translated by Renfrey Clarke
May 30, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In Russia, the winter of 2011-2012 was unusually stormy in the political sense. The results of both the parliamentary and presidential elections were clearly worked out in advance, and everything went as foreseen. Both the United Russia party and President Vladimir Putin were confirmed in power. But the meetings and demonstrations of many tens of thousands of people that took place regularly in Moscow and elsewhere over months placed this order and simplicity in doubt.
At the request of the author, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is happy to make available a new pamphlet produced by radical Occupy activists in United States, in the interests of the advancing discussion in the movement. The pamphlet can be downloaded free HERE (in PDF) or you can read it on screen below.
* * *
By Pham Binh
April 18, 2012
Who would’ve imagined the word “occupy” would inspire millions to take direct action and stand up for the 99% here in America after brutal occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine?
Now there’s Occupy Pakistan and even Occupy Nigeria.
Occupy is more than a movement, less than a revolution, and long overdue. Occupy isn’t about ideology, it’s about the 99%, hence why pacifists and insurrectionists, anti-capitalist anarchists/socialists and pro-capitalist libertarians, liberal Democrats and Ron Paul Republicans, vegans and omnivores have come together despite our differences.
By Peter Boyle
April 18, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- The Coalition of Free and Fair Elections (called Bersih – meaning “clean” in Malay), a civil society movement for free and fair elections in Malaysia, has called for a mass sit in on April 28 because it suspects that the country’s entrenched Barisan Nasional (BN) government is about to call a general election before addressing widespread electoral irregularities confirmed by a review forced on the government by the previous Bersih 2.0 mass mobilisation on July 9, 2011.
The Bersih 2.0 mobilisation was banned by the government, which set up roadblocks around the capital Kuala Lumpur, carried out pre-emptive arrests of activists and tried to ban the wearing of yellow clothes, the colour used by the movement. Yet on the July 9 some 50,000 defied the riot squads, tear gas attacks and 1600 arrests and took to the streets.
Introduction to Marxism
March 28, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- More than 50 key figures on the left including Ian Angus, John Riddell, Patrick Bond, Paul Le Blanc, China Miéville, Ken Loach, Lindsey German, Alex Callinicos, Suzi Weissman, Michael Yates and Immanuel Ness have backed Pluto Press' Get Political! campaign urging activists fighting for the 99% to draw inspiration from the lives and writings
The New Left Project's Ed Lewis interviews Paul Le Blanc
March 6, 2012 -- Paul Le Blanc is professor of history and political science at La Roche College, Pittsburgh. He is the author of a number of books on revolutionary and radical politics, most recently Marx, Lenin and the Revolutionary Experience and Work and Struggle: Voices from U.S. Labor Radicalism. He spoke to Ed Lewis about the Get Political campaign, which aims to bring radical activists of today into critical engagement with the ideas of Lenin, Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburg.
Ed Lewis: What is the "Get Political" initiative?
February 23, 2012 -- Fifty key figures on the left including Ian Angus, John Riddell, Patrick Bond, Paul Le Blanc, China Miéville, Ken Loach, Lindsey German, Alex Callinicos, Suzi Weissman, Michael Yates and Immanuel Ness have backed a Pluto Press campaign urging activists fighting for the 99% to draw inspiration from the lives and writings of three giants of 20th century political change: Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg and VI Lenin.
The "Get Political" campaign statement (see below; also at www.getpoliticalnow.com) contends that "it will not be a simple thing to win the battle of democracy ... Luxemburg, Trotsky and Lenin were among the most perceptive and compelling revolutionaries of the 20th century. The body of analysis, strategy and tactics to which they contributed was inseparable from the mass struggles of their time. Critically engaging with their ideas can enrich the thinking and practical activity of those involved in today’s and tomorrow’s struggles for a better world."
Occupy Pittsburgh, October 15, 2011.
By Paul Le Blanc
February 16, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Occupy movement has been having a profound impact on the socialist left in the United States. I want to share some information on this, focusing on my own experience, and relate it to broader issues of Marxism and organisation that I have been engaged with for some time.
[Click HERE to follow the entire debate on Tony Cliff's Lenin. For more discussion on revolutionary organisation, click HERE. Articles on left unity can be found HERE.]
By Pham Binh
February 10, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The first response to my “Occupy and the tasks of socialists” piece to be written by a leading member of an US socialist organisation is emblematic of what is wrong with the US socialist left.
I am referring to “The mangling of Tony Cliff”, written by Paul D’Amato, International Socialist Organization (ISO) member and managing editor of the International Socialist Review. He responds to my Tasks piece in his reply to a book review I did, writing:
"It was decisive action and mass defiance – ultimately forcing the use of federal troops -- that ended Jim Crow legal segregation... Fundamental and radical change, as history shows, comes by mass direct action and popular outrage. Martin Luther King marched and demanded equal rights under Republican and Democratic presidents."
By Malik Miah
February 8, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Against the Current-- The bitter truth about US politics is that neither of the ruling-class parties speaks for the working class or poor. The Democratic Party’s President Barack Obama likes to talk about the “middle class” and how he stands up for them, but he rarely mentions that poverty disproportionately hits African Americans and Latinos. While he personally supports social programs for the working poor, his proposed budgets would reduce funding for these programs.
Dan La Botz speaking about what theUS Occupy movement has accomplished, the Democrats and the role of the left. He was addressing the Open University of the Left on January 28, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.
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.
Occupy the London Stock Exchange.
By Mike Marqusee
January 23, 2012 -- Red Pepper (February-March 2012) via Mikemarqusee.com -- 2011 has been hailed in the media as a year of “protest” in the abstract, but it’s been more challenging and concrete than that. In defiance of received political wisdom, mass action in the streets returned with undeniable impact. Contests over space and the public domain became vehicles for the assertion of radical alternatives, which thereby forced their way into a discussion long restricted to a narrow consensus.
By the Partido Lakas ng Masa’s (Party of the Labouring Masses, Philippines) international affairs department
[The following educational report is being discussed in PLM branches across the Philippines.]
January 5, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – In 2011 we experienced revolutionary upheavals and mass upsurges that have further deepened the crisis of global capitalism. The impact has been the deepening of the political crisis of the international capitalist system and the weakening of its ideological hold and legitimacy. The inequalities of the “American Dream”, for instance, are now almost household knowledge: that the top 1% get more than 20% of the national income. Perhaps the most telling figure is that one-tenth of the top 1% – around 400 families – earn as much as the bottom 120 million people.
Sit-in strikers at General Motors' Fisher No. 1 plant.
By Don Fitz
January 3, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The year 2012 marks the 75th anniversary of the great sit-down strike wave of 1937. It also begins the second year of the Occupy movement, which has more than a few similarities to the time when hundreds of thousands of Americans occupied their workplaces.
The first recorded sit-down strike in the US was actually in 1906 among General Electric workers of Schenectady, New York. When three organisers for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies) were fired, 3000 of their fellow workers sat down and stopped production.
By the 1930s, the IWW was on the wane, but many of its organisers were active and workers across the US had seen its tactics first hand.
To view With Babies & Banners go to http://links.org.au/node/2681.
December 30, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Flint-based filmmaker Michael Moore has described the 1936 Flint sit-down strike as the "first Occupy" movement. Whether this is strictly accurate or not, the 1936-37 occupation/strike was a ground-breaking development in the US labour movement. To mark this anniversary, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is making available the classic 1977 documentary on the strike and the role of women in it, With Babies & Banners (via the link at the top of this article, or click here).
As Moore recounts, "On this day, December 30th, in 1936 -- 75 years ago today -- hundreds of workers at the General Motors (GM) factories in Flint, Michigan, took over the facilities and occupied them for 44 days. My uncle was one of them. The workers couldn't take the abuse from the corporation any longer. Their working conditions, the slave wages, no vacation, no health care, no overtime -- it was do as you're told or get tossed onto the curb.
Trade unionists join Occupy Wall Street.
By Jane Slaughter
December 30, 2011 -- Labor Notes -- It’s been an exhilarating year. Crowds of people finally moved into resistance after decades of misrule.
The year began with Egypt, moved quickly to the snowy streets of Wisconsin, and re-erupted in August with Verizon workers out on strike and longshore unionists in Washington state dumping scab grain onto railroad tracks.
What no one could have predicted was that a relatively small number of young people at Occupy Wall Street would touch off a wave of imitators across the country, from Detroit to Abilene.
November’s electoral victory in Ohio, where Governor John Kasich’s anti-union bill went down to sound defeat, capped off a remarkable year for US workers.
By Dave Duhalde and Dan La Botz
December 4, 2011 -- Against the Current -- Below is a debate between David Duhalde of the Democratic Socialists of America and Dan La Botz of Solidarity that was first published on the website Talking Union.
Where is the beef? An open letter to Dan La Botz on DSA and the Democrats
"Out of clouds of pepper spray and phalanxes of riot cops a new generation of revolutionaries is being forged, and it would be a shame if the Peter Camejos, Max Elbaums, Angela Davises, Dave Clines and Huey Newtons of this generation end up in separate “competing” socialist groups ... Now is the time to begin seriously discussing the prospect of regroupment, of liquidating outdated boundaries we have inherited, of finding ways to work closely together for our common ends. "
By Pham Binh