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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.

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By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

John Riddell: Lars Lih and Ben Lewis reveal Zinoviev at his best

Zinoviev and Martov: Head to Head in Halle
Edited by Ben Lewis and Lars T. Lih,
London: November Publications, 2011, pp. 229 [1]

Review by John Riddell

June 22, 2012 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com/Weekly Worker, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The Thrilla in Halle! A ringside seat, just for you, as Gregory Zinoviev (in the red trunks) and Julius Martov (his are pale pink) duke it out before delegates of the 700,000-member Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany (USPD). The stakes: should the USPD join the Communist International (Comintern)? Here at last, after 92 years, the full text of their historic speeches to the October 1920 USPD congress in Halle, Germany, translated and edited by Ben Lewis and Lars Lih.

Tariq Ali: The rotten heart of Europe (video)

May 15, 2012 -- Tariq Ali's keynote lecture on the state of Europe presented at the annual Subversive Forum, the theme of which this year was "The future of Europe", held in Zagreb, Croatia, May 13-19, 2012. He explains the evolution of the European Union and its role, and touches on the crisis in Greece.

Greece: 'For an anti-austerity government of the left'

By Socialist Resistance (Britain)

This statement was agreed to at a meeting of the Socialist Resistance National Committee on May 26, 2012. Socialist Resistance is affiliated to the Fourth International. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to promote left discussion. For more discussion and analysis on the political crisis in Greece, click HERE.]

May 28, 2012 -- Socialist Resistance -- Syriza’s stunning vote in the recent elections has shaken the Greek and European ruling classes to their foundations. It was a total rejection of the austerity package, on a progressive basis, by 60% of the electorate and has created not only the biggest crisis, but the most significant class confrontation in Europe since the Portuguese revolution of 1974.

Germany: Die Linke's program in English (adopted October 2011)

May 23, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below is the full text of Germany's radical left Die Linke party's program in English. It can also be downloaded HERE. At the time of publication, this document was unavailable anywhere else on the web.Germany: Die Linke's program in English

How revolutionaries of Lenin’s time resisted austerity

Towards the end of 1921, an attempt was made to shift the burden of debt to the working class through higher sales taxes. The German Communist Party opposed this, demanding instead an increase in the tax on wealth and the seizure of assets.

Introduction by John Riddell

April 26, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/johnriddell.wordpress.com -- Economic collapse drives workers into hunger and destitution. Foreign powers extort huge payments, forcing the national economy toward bankruptcy. The government forces workers to pay the costs of capitalist crisis.

This description of Greece in 2012 applies equally to Germany in 1921.

How should a workers’ party respond to such a breakdown? The proposals of the German Communist Party (KPD) included a simple approach to fiscal policy: tax those who own the country’s productive wealth.

The KPD was then a member of the Communist International, whose leadership included V.I. Lenin, Leon Trotsky and Gregory Zinoviev.

Germany's genocide in Namibia

German troops kill the Herero, circa 1904. Painting by Richard Knötel (1857-1914).

Africa's Pambazuka News has devoted an entire issue to Germany's 1904-08 genocide of the Nama and Herero peoples (in Namibia). Below Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal posts the editorial and an article that details this shameful imperialist slaughter and modern Germany's refusal to adequately acknowledge and compensate Namibia for its crimes. Read the full issue HERE. Become a Friend of Pambazuka.]

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By Eric Van Grasdorff, Nicolai Röschert and Firoze Manji

March 20, 2012 -- Pambazuka News -- On March 22, 2012, Germany's parliament will debate a motion to acknowledge its brutal 1904-08 genocide of the Nama and Herero peoples. Germany’s refusal thus far, and its less than even ‘diplomatic’ treatment in 2011 of the Namibian delegation at the first-ever return of the mortal remains of genocide victims, demands a reassessment of suppressed colonial histories and racism.

Un debate de actualidad: Gobierno de trabajadores y transición al socialismo

Por John Riddell

Fecha de publicación: 01/02/12  -- America XXI -- El concepto de gobierno de los trabajadores es el hijo torpe de la joven Internacional Comunista.  La idea que expresa es fundamental para el marxismo: los trabajadores deben luchar para tomar el poder político. Sin embargo, en los comienzos de la Comintern, se unió a una perspectiva entonces discutible para los marxistas: que los trabajadores pudieran formar un gobierno que funcione inicialmente en un Estado capitalista aún existente.

Como comenta el marxista francés Daniel Bensaid, “la fórmula algebraica del ‘gobierno de los trabajadores’ ha dado lugar a lo largo del tiempo a las interpretaciones más diversas, y a menudo contradictorias” [1].

Veamos qué luz puede arrojar sobre esta cuestión el registro del Congreso Mundial de la Comintern de 1922, publicado recientemente en inglés [2]. Esta fue la reunión que celebró la discusión más extensa de la Comintern acerca de la cuestión del gobierno de los trabajadores, y que adoptó su posición inicial.

A ‘workers’ government’ as a step toward socialism

Soviet poster dedicated to the fifth anniversary of the October Revolution and Fourth Congress of the Communist International.

By John Riddell

January 1, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, for more articles by John Riddell, go to http://johnriddell.wordpress.com -- The concept of a workers’ government is the awkward child of the early Communist International. The thought it expresses is central to Marxism: that workers must strive to take political power. But in the early Comintern, it was attached to a perspective that was contentious for Marxists then and is so now: that workers can form a government that functions initially within a still-existing capitalist state.

As French Marxist Daniel Bensaid commented, “The algebraic formula of a ‘workers’ government’ has given rise over time to the most varied and often contradictory interpretations.”[1]

Let us see what light can be shed on this question by the record of the Comintern’s 1922 World Congress, recently published in English.[2] This was the gathering that held the Comintern’s most extensive discussion of the workers’ government question and adopted its initial position.

Germany: Die Linke's road to an anti-capitalist program

By Dick Nichols, Erfurt

November 18, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Late on October 23, 2011, a chilly Sunday afternoon, the culminating vote of the program congress of Germany’s Left Party (Die Linke) came in Erfurt’s cavernous Congress Centre: 503 delegates raised their voting cards to support the document as finally amended by the congress, with only four against and 12 abstentions.

The euro on a knife edge: Are the Greeks to blame? What is the left position on the euro crisis?

On October 19 and 20, 2011, Greece will be stopped by the latest in a series of general strikes against austerity. Above and below: Workers march on October 19. All photos by WFTU International.

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

October 19, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- “Bloody Greeks—corrupt and lazy, born cheaters who think the world owes them a living. Why should the hard-working taxpayers of the euro zone core economies like Germany have to fund billion-euro rescue packages for those scoundrels?” That’s the vicious tone of Germany’s tabloids and conservative politicians towards Greece’s galloping public debt crisis and the Greek people’s protests against the austerity programs imposed on them by the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (the “troika”) as the price of bail-out funding.

(Updated Oct. 19) Occupy Wall Street inspires global protests against the '1%' (activist reports, videos, pics)


Occupy Sydney, October 15, 2011. Photos by Kate Ausburn.

October 16 , 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- According to http://15october.net, protests and actions -- inspired by the Occupy Wall Street mass movement across the United States -- were to take place in more than 950 cities in more than 80 countries on October 15. Actions had already begun in some parts of the world before that.

Martin Hart-Landsberg: The troubled US economy means a shaky world economy

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

August 15, 2011 -- Reports from the Economic Front, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Martin Hart-Landsberg's permission -- The US economy is in trouble and that means trouble for the world economy. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s Trade and Development Report, 2010, “Buoyant consumer demand in the United States was the main driver of global economic growth for many years in the run-up to the current global economic crisis.”

Before the crisis, US household consumption accounted for approximately 16 per cent of total global output, with imports comprising a significant share and playing a critical role in supporting growth in other countries. In fact, “as a result of global production sharing, United States consumer spending increas[ed] global economic activities in many indirect ways as well (e.g. business investments in countries such as Germany and Japan to produce machinery for export to China and its use there for the manufacture of exports to the United States)”.

Baltic far right attempts to rewrite history

Estonian Nazis parade on July 30, 2011.

By Rupen Savoulian

August 12, 2011 -- Antipodean Athiest, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Early in August, a major World War II anniversary was marked in Europe; August 1 was the 67th anniversary of the heroic Warsaw uprising by the Polish underground resistance movement against Nazi German occupation forces. I raise this anniversary to highlight the importance of commemorating the courageous struggles by the peoples oppressed by the Nazi regime, and to underscore the importance of historical debate for comprehending the tremendous social forces that have shaped the world today.

My point is not to just go over old historical ground, but to highlight a growing problem; Baltic ultranationalism which has mutated to outright neo-fascism.

Audio: Who was Rosa Luxemburg?

July 15, 2011 -- Rosa Luxemburg was a revolutionary icon, a pathbreaking Marxist theorist and, according to the editors of Verso's new volume of her correspondence, a "fanatical" letter writer. Essayist, memoirist and critic Vivian Gornick, author of The Men in My Life and Fierce Attachments, who also reviewed the new voluime for the US Nation, and Paul Le Blanc, professor of history at La Roche University and editor of Rosa Luxemburg: Reflections and Writings discuss -- and debate -- what Luxemburg's letters can tell us about women and communism at the dawn of the Soviet era.

The discussion is hosted by Marissa Brostoff from the Beyond the Pale radio program. It was broadcast on June 12, 2011.

Greece: 20 popular fallacies concerning the debt crisis

By the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (Germany)

July 9, 2011 -- It’s that time again! Greece needs more loans and governments in Europe are arguing about whether it’s really necessary and who should foot the bill. There is widespread opinion in Germany that Greece itself is to blame for the problems it now finds itself in. It is claimed that first of all cheated its way into the eurozone, then the government spent too much and the governed worked too little, many believe.

Latently nationalistic interpretations of this kind have been nourished by German politicians and the media, who have no end of proposals for how to "solve" the crisis. For example, the Greeks should save more, work more and sell their public property – and if all of these measures do not help, then Greece will just have to leave the eurozone or declare itself bankrupt.

The stupid thing is, neither are the causes of the crisis that have been named are correct, nor will the proposed ways out of the crisis achieve their goal.

The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation has produced Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! to explain the truth about the fallacies being spread about the causes of the Greek crisis, and who is responsible.

Paul Le Blanc: Marxism and organisation

By Paul Le Blanc

This presentation was given at the Chicago educational conference of the US International Socialist Organization, Socialism 2011, on the July 2-3, 2011, weekend. The text first appeared at Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières.

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It is always worth examining the question of Marxism and organisation because, if we would like to be organised Marxists who effectively struggle for socialism, we have a responsibility to know what we are about -- and such knowledge is deepened by ongoing examination. There are scholarly reasons for going over such ground, but for activists the primary purpose is to improve our ability to help change the world. There are three basic ideas to be elaborated on here: 1) there must be a coming together of socialism and the working class if either is to have a positive future; 2) those of us who think like that need to work together hard and effectively -- which means we need to be part of a serious organisation; and 3) socialist organisations must be a democratic/disciplined force in actual workers’ struggles -- that is the path to socialism. In what follows I will elaborate on this.

Lenin and us: Into the past, back to the future

Cover of Lars Lih's latest book, Lenin (London: Reaktion Books, 2011).

By Paul Le Blanc

June 14, 2011 -- Europe Solidare Sans Frontieres -- I will never forget, as the 20th century trudged through its final decade, a once-close comrade telling me and others that developments of our time had consigned the Leninist conception of the party to “the dustbin of history”. Yet its dusty tracks may be something we will discover as we make our way into the near future. Polemical sparks spraying out from those engaged in the vibrant renewal of Lenin scholarship suggest that it still has life.

In 2008 – while on a Left Forum panel entitled “Lenin’s Return”, and in surveying the recent proliferation of works on Lenin at that time, including Lars Lih’s huge and important book Lenin Rediscovered – I said:

Comparing 1911 and 2011: What's relevant for socialists today?

The German gunboat, Panther, tried to halt French claims to Morocco in 1911.

By Dimitris Fasfalis

June 4, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- History, of course, never repeats itself. Yet there are lessons to be learned from past experiences, especially when similar patterns affect similar historical actors in different epochs and settings. This seems to be the case for revolutionary socialists when we compare 2011 and 1911. Despite their differences, these are times when imperialist war threatens while a revolutionary-democratic upsurge sweeps vast areas that were thought of as stable, if not stagnant. Hence the question: what’s relevant for us on the left today in our socialist predecessors’ experience in 1911?

Threat of imperialist war

First, the early 20th century socialists developed an understanding of the contradictory dynamics of capitalist globalisation and imperialist rivalries.

The European workers' movement: dangers and challenges

In Portugal, November 2010 general strike called by the Communist Party-led CGTP and the Socialist Party-led UGT was massively supported, with 3 million strikers out of a workforce of 4.7 million.

By Murray Smith

March 6, 2011 -- New Socialist -- With the onset of the world economic crisis, the European workers' movement finds itself in a new phase, one that is replete with dangers and challenges. It is important to underline that we are in fact in a new situation and not just a continuation of the previous period.

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