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Market in Luhansk hit by Ukraine government shelling, August 2014.
The following is an edited version of a talk by Roger Annis on August 22, 2014, that was delivered to a session of the Peoples Social Forum that took place in Ottawa from August 21 to 25. Also on the panel was David Mandel, a professor of political science in Montreal and expert in the history of the working class movements in Russia and Ukraine. You can read Mandel's talk, titled "Understanding the civil war in Ukraine", HERE.
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpointson the political situation in Ukraine. These do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers.
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Kurdish fighters resist ISIS.
By Tony Iltis
August 24, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, a shorter version of this article first appeared in Green Left Weekly -- Since August 8, for the first time since officially ending its occupation at the end of 2011, the United States has been carrying out air strikes in Iraq.
The strikes were aimed at the extremely violent multinational terrorist group that was until recently known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but which renamed itself simply the "Islamic State" on June 29, to reflect that its ambitions are global. The group originally emerged in the aftermath of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
International gangs of Salafi Sunni Muslim fundamentalists have been a feature of world politics since the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1989. To fight the Soviet occupation, the CIA, working with Saudi Arabia, had recruited a Salafi force from all over the world but having achieved this cut them loose. International groups of Salafi fighters began appearing wherever there was large-scale armed conflict in the Islamic world, while the mainly Saudi leadership of the network (prosaically named “the Base”, or Al Qaeda) engaged in escalating attacks against their former sponsor, the US, culminating in the 9/11 attacks.
Massive destruction of Gaza by Israel has left Palestinians devastated.
By Santiago Alba Rico, translated for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Art Young
August 14, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, from Spanish at Cuartopoder.es -- Let’s imagine a Syrian who was dreaming of enjoying a little bit of democracy, a little bit of freedom, a little bit of social justice: in short, of enjoying a little human dignity. Which forces, and how many of them, would he or she have to struggle against?
First, against a dynastic dictatorship that, for more than 40 years, has repressed, impoverished and murdered its own people and that, for the last three years, has not hesitated to resort to torture, extrajudicial executions, aerial bombardment and even chemical weapons, not to mention spreading sectarian poison and the most abject propaganda.
July 29, 2014 -- TeleSUR -- Tariq Ali examines the United States' drive to create and maintain its global empire.
Young opponents of Israel's war of terror protest, in Sydney, August 2, 2014. Photo by Susan Price.
By Tony Iltis
August 2, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- “This is not a war. It is genocide”, reads a popular slogan on homemade signs at protests against Israel’s current attack on the Gaza Strip.
The body count is enough to illustrate the one-sidedness of the violence. For the first nine days of their assault, Israeli forces pounded the besieged territory from the land, sea and air, but did not send forces in. About 250 people were killed in these nine days. Only one was Israeli.
Israeli ground operations that started on July 17 increased the casualty rate for both Palestinians and Israelis. By August 1, 1592 Palestinians and 66 Israelis had been killed, the New York Times said. That is 24 Palestinians killed for every Israeli.
Dramatically larger than the disparity between the two sides in overall numbers killed is the disparity in the number of civilians killed.
On the Israeli side, only three of the fatalities were civilians — 95% of Israelis killed by Palestinians were combatants.
Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem published figures on July 31 that showed that between July 8 and July 30 less than 14% of the Palestinians killed by Israelis were combatants.
Three Palestinian combatants have been killed for every Israeli combatant while 473 Palestinian civilians have been killed for every Israeli civilian.
August 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This is the next installment of the debate between Felipe Stuart and Michael Karadjis on the question of the concept of an anti-imperialist "camp" and related positions, strategies and tactics. The first part can be read at "Is there an 'anti-imperialist camp'? A debate (part 1)". Below, Stuart responds to Karadjis' previous contribution, followed by a final reply by Karadjis. Further discussion will continue in the comments section at the end of this post.
By Felipe Stuart
Michael Karadjis, thanks for your response to my last article.
I suspect that your distinction between class-based politics and anti-imperialist-based politics is rooted in a failure on your part to understand that imperialism itself is all about class and class struggle. I hope I am wrong, but let’s discuss that.
Leaders of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in Cuba at its 2014 meeting.
[Michael Karadjis responds below. Read part 2 of this debate at http://links.org.au/node/3982.]
By Felipe Stuart
July 31, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Michael Karadjis, I read the exchange between Einde O and you where you state that:
An unguided Ukrainian government Grad rocket hit the house of Valentina Fedorovna, 77, in the Kuibyshivskyi district in Donetsk on July 19, 2014. Photo by Human Rights Watch.
Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.
By Barry Sheppard
July 28, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It is clear that people who consider themselves to be some form of revolutionary socialist do not agree on the facts about Ukraine. We do not even have agreement on whether or not Russia is imperialist, or even what the word means.
I would urge caution and patience in assessing the current situation.
But here is my take in a nutshell of what I think are the facts, culled from various sources.
There needs to be a ceasefire and negotiated solution to the conflict.
Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.
Green Left Weekly editorial
July 19, 2014 -- The apparent shooting down of Malaysia Airlines passenger flight MH17 is an unspeakable tragedy and a criminal act that has sent shock waves around the world. Green Left Weekly offers our condolences to the families of all its victims.
Nobody yet knows who was responsible for this crime, despite Western media and governments pointing the finger at either the rebel forces in Ukraine's east, which the West accuses Russia of arming, or the Russian military itself.
Amid claims and counter claims by all sides, each force denies responsibility and there is no obvious motive for any force to deliberately carry out such an atrocity.
The United Nations Security Council has called for “a full, thorough and independent international investigation”. But, whether this has any hope of leading to clarity on the incident remains to be seen.
Yet many Western governments, with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott joining in, are exploiting this tragedy and using it to escalate rhetoric and tensions with Russia, raising the prospect of the war expanding.
Ukraine army in Kramatorsk. Photo Ukraine government.
Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.
Declaration of the assembly of citizens of Ukraine and representatives of international solidarity networks, issued in Yalta, Crimea, July 7, 2014
A major human rights and humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Ukraine. The government that took power in Kyiv in February 2014 is conducting a brutal military assault in the southeast of the country.
By Tony Iltis
June 21, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- US President Barack Obama announced the deployment of 300 special forces troops to Iraq on June 19. It followed a week of denials that the US would respond militarily to the rapid advance toward Baghdad of anti-government forces led by the Sunni fundamentalist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Obama’s announcement contradicted his previous statements as well as itself. On the one hand, he insisted the role of the special forces would be limited to “advising” forces of the US-installed Iraqi government, saying: “We always have to guard against mission creep. So let me repeat what I've said in the past: American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again.
“We do not have the ability to simply solve this problem by sending in tens of thousands of troops and committing the kinds of blood and treasure that has already been expended in Iraq.”
But he also said: “We will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action, if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it.”
Australian education minister Christopher Pyne told Channel Nine on June 20: “The United States obviously has to lead any kind of response in Iraq as they are the world power, if you like. If they ask us for assistance, we’ll weigh that up at the time and decide what we can or can’t do. The situation in Iraq is obviously very, very serious.”
June 27, 2014, BBC map of the gains made by ISIS.
By Michael Karadjis
June 25, 2014 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- As a coalition of Sunni-based forces, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), took the major northern Iraqi city of Mosul and then most of the Sunni heartland in the north and west of Iraq, regional and western capitals went into crisis mode: the entire post-US occupation stabilisation had collapsed in a heap.
By Michael Karadjis
June 3, 2014 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Over the last year, the sectarian (mainly Sunni versus Alawite) element of the Syrian conflict has markedly grown, within an uprising that began as a multi-sectarian popular democratic uprising against Syria’s tyrannical regime of Bashar al-Assad.
The hold of Sunni sectarianism is by no means universal among the insurgent Syrian masses and their myriad of civil and armed resistance organisations; on the contrary, despite persistent myths, the revolution still contains a powerful secular wing (both within the civil uprising and the Free Syrian Army), and even the largest parts of the clearly political-Islamist wings are not specifically sectarian; and many are markedly moderate Islamists. However, there is no denying that a dangerous level of Sunni sectarianism has grown, especially among the more extreme ‘jihadist’ fringe affiliated to al-Qaida, and that this is an entirely negative and reactionary development.
[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3910.]
Por Sonny Melencio
22-06-2014 -- Sinpermiso -- Cuando viaje desde Manila hasta Australia, me compré en el aeropuerto un libro de bolsillo para leer en el avión. Fue la novela de Dan Brown titulada Infierno. Cuando la edición de tapa dura de este libro llegó a las librerías, en las Filipinas la gente se volvió loca con una pequeña parte de la novela que se refería a Manila como la "puerta del infierno".
Después de leer el libro, pensé que lo que la novela dice sobre Manila es verdad. Es la ciudad más densamente poblada de la tierra, con enormes atascos de tráfico, una contaminación sofocante, casas hechas de metal corrugado y cartones, comunidades que apestan y un horrible comercio sexual y tráfico de mujeres, jóvenes y niños.
Me acordé de la novela de Dan Brown hoy porque, a pesar del infierno que es actualmente Manila, nuestro gobierno habla de un paraíso que se construirá en las Filipinas durante este "siglo de Asia".
El siglo de Asia
Statement by Socialist Alliance (Australia)
June 19, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The US, Australia and other partners-in-crime in the war on Iraq must not be allowed to use the latest developments in that country to increase their military intervention in the region. The Socialist Alliance adds its voice to others in Australia rejecting Prime Minister Tony Abbott's all-the-way-with-the-USA commitment made to US President Barack Obama over Iraq.
The 2003 invasion of Iraq was a monstrous war crime. Millions of people have died or been displaced as a consequence of that invasion and the subsequent occupation. The leaders of governments that ordered that invasion and occupation – chief among them former US President George W. Bush, former British PM Tony Blair and former Australian PM John Howard – need to be brought to account as war criminals.
The invasion of Iraq did not bring democracy but simply replaced one brutal regime with another more pliant to Western imperial interests. The invaders cared nothing for the people of Iraq and region and acted to advance the selfish interests of the powerful corporations they serve.
Video from Green Left TV.
[The following talk was presented by Sonny Melencio, chairperson of Partido Lakas ng Masa-Philippines (Party of the Labouring Masses), during the Socialist Alliance 10th national conference in Sydney, Australia on June 7, 2014.]
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When I was travelling from Manila, coming here to Australia, I bought a copy of a pocketbook that I could read in the plane. It was Dan Brown’s novel entitled Inferno. Actually, when the hardbound copy of this book first hit the bookshops, the Philippines went crazy about a small part of the novel which referred to Manila as the “gate of hell”.
After reading the book, it occurred to me that what the novel said about Manila was true. It was the most densely populated city on Earth, with huge traffic jams, suffocating pollution, houses made of corrugated metal and cardboards, communities reeking of stench, and horrifying sex trade and trafficking of women, girls and children.
I was reminded of Dan Brown’s novel today because, despite the inferno that is Manila now, our government is talking about a paradise that will be built in the Philippines during this "Asian Century".
The 'Asian Century"
"Despite repeated warnings from the majority of the world's scientists of the urgent need to slash greenhouse gas emission, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed over 400 parts per million for the first time in human history – signalling the globe’s dangerous race to catastrophic and irreversible global warming."
Adopted by the 10th National Conference of the Socialist Alliance, June 7-9, 2014.
1. The 10th national conference of Socialist Alliance is taking place at a time extreme inequality, intensified conflict and ecological crisis on a global scale. The 85 richest individuals in the world now hold as much wealth between them as the 3.5 billion poorest people in the world. A world divided by such extreme inequality will never be at peace and this is fundamentally why wars and uprisings continue to break out in numerous countries. This unprecedented concentration of wealth and power also is an absolute block to the urgently needed transition to an ecologically sustainable future.
"In the US and elsewhere, including Britain, a mass anti-war movement developed against the US war in Vietnam. By 1968, the International Socialists in the US and the IS in Britain changed their line [of neutrality between the 'two imperialisms'] and came out against the US and defended Vietnam. In the US they joined the mass demonstrations to 'Bring the troops home now!'"
Read more by Barry Sheppard HERE.
By Barry Sheppard
June 6, 2014 – Links
International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In this two-part article I
examine the ramifications for today of the three theories of the USSR that
emerged from the Left Opposition: state capitalism, bureaucratic collectivism
and Leon Trotsky’s theory of the degenerated workers’ state. (Read more on the theory of state capitalism HERE.)
Ukrainian Svoboda (freedom) party members carry portraits of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.
June 12, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following address was delivered by Andriy Manchuk on April 11, 2014, to a three-day, European-wide anti-fascist meeting in Athens, Greece. He spoke on behalf of Borotba group of Ukraine. Borotba is a significant association of left groups and activists in Ukraine formed in 2011.
The theme of the anti-fascist meeting in Athens was, “From France to the Ukraine, and from Norway to Greece: No Pasaran!” [They shall not pass!]. The following text was first published on the English-language page of Borotba’s website. The original translation has been slightly edited for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, and published on June 12, 2014.
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By Andriy Manchuk
Today we are witnessing the realisation of Túpac Katari’s prophecy: ‘I will come back, and I will return as millions’; we are millions, in all parts, representing Túpac Katari, Bartolina Sisa, Simón Bolívar, Antonio José de Sucre. Evo Morales represents this historic current and brings together 500 years of struggle by the people of Bolivia, of Latin America and the Caribbean.
President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez