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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.
* * *
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
Peter Boyle interviews Sonny Melencio
May 22, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Sonny Melencio is chairperson of the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses). At its recent national convention, the PLM launched a discussion about Bayanihan Socialism, which drawing on lessons from the Latin American experience links the egalitarian principles of socialism with national and Indigenous historical experiences and traditions, as a means to popularise the ideas of socialism to a mass audience in the Philippines. Melencio is also involved in a new coalition against the established "political dynasties" in the Philippines, called Alliance for Truth, Integrity and Nationalism (ATIN).
Melencio will be one of several international guest speakers at the Socialist Alliance 10th national conference in Sydney, June 7-9, where he will be part of the one-day public seminar on People's Power In the “Asian Century” . You can find out more about the conference, and how to register, HERE.
Members of Boko Haram, taken one the group's videos.
For more on Nigeria, click HERE.
By Tony Iltis
May 11, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- More than 270 female secondary students were kidnapped on April 14 as they sat matriculation exams in the north-east Nigerian town of Chibok. The kidnappers were members of a religious cult that calls itself Jama‘at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-da‘wa wal-Jihad — Arabic for Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad. The group is more commonly known by its Hausa nickname, Boko Haram, which translates — very loosely — as “Western education is filthy”, although this is not a name that the group itself uses.
Battle of Adwa, an oil painting probably done by a monk near Addis Ababa (ca. 1970). Led by Emperor Menelik II, Ethiopian forces defeated the Italian army of General Oreste Baratieri at Adwa on March 1, 1896. Considered to be one of the most important events in Ethiopian history, this battle is seen by some as the first great step in the African journey toward freedom from colonial rule. Ethiopians celebrate "Adwa" day as a national holiday.
For more discussion on Ethiopia and Eritrea, click HERE.
By Degeufe Hailu
April 22, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In 1935 Ethiopia became the first and only country in Africa to defeat a European colonial power during the “scramble for Africa”, making it the only independent nation in Africa that has never been colonised.
On March 1, 2014, we Ethiopians celebrated 118 years since the Battle of Adwa, one of the most defining and significant battles in history. It became an inspiring symbol of anti-colonial struggle and helped pave the way for other anti-colonial movements.
April 4, 2014 -- Newsclick -- Michael Lebowitz, a Canadian economist who has written extensively on Latin America and is a former resident in Venezuela, talks to Newsclick on the economic problems facing Venezuela and the recent protests there.
He says these protests have been orchestrated by right-wing forces that want to get rid of the left-wing government. They are happening in rich neighbourhoods; the poor are not participating.
Saying that these protests will not go very far and will fizzle out, Lebowitz points out that there is an underlying serious economic problem that did not originate with President Nicholas Maduro and have been building for quite a while.
Lebowitz says the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement is an international assault on the people and it can be countered only by an international response.
"Probably the most important Russian monopoly is Gazprom, the world’s largest gas company, which by 2008 had about 400,000 employees. The company is reported to control over 93% of Russia’s natural gas production and about a quarter of the world’s known gas reserves."
By Chris Slee
April 7, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Russia and China both play an important role in world politics. This includes involvement in armed conflicts distant from their borders. Russia for example supplies arms to the Syrian government. Both Russia and China supplied arms to the Sri Lankan government during its war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who were fighting for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka. (The LTTE was defeated in 2009.)
In some cases, Russia and China intervene on the same side as the Western imperialist powers. This was the case in Sri Lanka, where the US, Britain, Israel and other Western powers also aided the Sri Lankan government in its brutal war against the LTTE, which was in fact a war against the Tamil people.
By Tony Iltis
March 30, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- The United Nations General Assembly voted on March 27 ― with 100 votes for, 11 against and 58 abstentions ― to not recognise the results of the March 16 referendum in Crimea. In the poll, most voted for the territory to leave Ukraine and join Russia.
The resolution was put by Ukraine and sponsored by the United States, the European Union and other Western powers, including Australia.
There are certainly questions about the conditions in which the referendum was held ― and of electoral fraud. But the resolution specifically upheld the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine, thereby condemning the unilateral separation of Crimea from Ukraine regardless of the circumstance of the vote.
The resolution’s sponsors have portrayed the events in Crimea since the February 21 overthrow of the Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovich as a Russian invasion, a viewpoint not questioned in the Western corporate media.
Russia and its allies have, for their part, portrayed the events as an act of self-determination.
The following article appeared as an op-ed in the April 2, edition of the New York Times. It is reproduced at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal in interests of solidarity.
* * *
By Nicolás Maduro, president of Venezuela.
April 2, 2014 -- New York Times, CARACAS, Venezuela — The recent protests in Venezuela have made international headlines. Much of the foreign media coverage has distorted the reality of my country and the facts surrounding the events.
Venezuelans are proud of our democracy. We have built a participatory democratic movement from the grass roots that has ensured that both power and resources are equitably distributed among our people.
March 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This is what's really going on in Venezuela since January 2014.
For more on Venezuela, click HERE.