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left unity

Galicia: Anova's bruising congress a ‘collective apprenticeship’

By Dick Nichols

July 7, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The mainstream media were taken aback: why was the first congress of the Galician left nationalist organisation Anova — the key component along with the United Left (EU in Galicia, IU nationally) in Galicia of the hugely successful Galician Left Alternative (AGE) — so heated and acrimonious, at times reaching the point of “shambles” (the term of the chairperson)?

How come the 16-month-old Anova — vital to AGE winning 14% of the vote in the October 2012 Galician regional elections and now at the point of overtaking the Galician affiliate of the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) in the polls — was having a congress marked by dissent from the rulings of the presiding committee, fierce lobbying of delegates and in-the-corridors distribution of four how-to-vote cards for different tickets for the national coordinating committee?

It was left to Xosé Manuel Beiras, historic leader of Galician left nationalism and Anova’s unanimously re-elected spokesperson, to help the media — and some shell-shocked delegates — grasp what had happened in the Congress Centre of Santiago de Compostela, capital of Galicia, on June 8-9, 2013.

Britain: Steps towards revolutionary unity (updated with discussion documents)

July 10, 2013 -- Anticapitalist Initiative -- This joint statement was agreed by the International Socialist Network, Anticapitalist Initiative and Socialist Resistance delegations to recent unity talks. They met to discuss the formation of a united revolutionary tendency.

* * *

Delegates from Socialist Resistance, the Anticapitalist Initiative and the International Socialist Network came together on Sunday July 7, 2013, to discuss the next steps on the road to forming a united, plural and heterodox revolutionary tendency on the left in Britain.

Britain: Kate Hudson on Left Unity, People's Assembly

Kate Hudson.

July 8, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Kate Hudson is a veteran British left-wing activist and former chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Hudson was a candidate for the left-wing Respect party in 2012's Manchester municipal by-election, but stood down after Respect leader George Galloway made “unacceptable and unretracted statements about the nature of rape”.

Since then, Hudson has joined other left-wing activists, including film maker Ken Loach, in pushing the Left Unity initiative for a new left-wing party, which has received support from thousands of people across Britain.

Green Left Weekly's Jody Betzien spoke to Hudson after the huge People's Assembly in London, which brought together more than 4000 people to plan to a campaign against the brutal austerity of the British government.

* * *

The People’s Assembly was a clear success with more than 4000 people attending. What was the significance of the event?

Ahmed Shawki (US ISO): `We can forge the basis for a new and different party' (now video)

July 7, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The above talk,"Perspectives for the left", was presented by the US International Socialist Organization's Ahmed Shawki at the organisation's annual Socialism conference in Chicago, June 27-30, 2013. It outlines the ISO's current perspectives, in particular it's task of rebuilding the left in collaboration with other parties and tendencies. This and other talks are also available at Wearemany.org.

Shawki is author of Black Liberation and Socialism and editor-in-chief of the International Socialist Review.

Australia: Revolutionary unity to meet the capitalist crisis -- Socialist Alliance responds to Socialist Alternative

Socialist Alliance national convenor Peter Boyle speaks at Socialist Alternative's Marxism 2013.

[A response from Socialist Alliance to "What kind of organisation do socialists need?", published in the Summer 2013 issue of Socialist Alternative's Marxist Left Review. This article first appeared in Marxist Left Review, Winter 2013 and is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

By Nick Fredman, Pip Hinman and Susan Price

Britain: People's Assembly prepares for fight back (with videos); Success, challenges and politics

Ken Loach.

By Jody Betzien, London

June 30, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Frances O’Grady, head of the British Trade Union Congress (TUC), set the tone in the opening session of the People's Assembly in London on June 22, declaring: “The Bullingdon boys are waging class war against ordinary people. We will retaliate, it is time to fight back against a government of millionaires.”

O'Grady's reference to Conservative Party Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne by the exclusive upper-class Oxford University society they belonged reflects the anger at the Conservative-Liberal Democrats war on the poor.

More than 4000 anti-austerity campaigners packed Westminster Central Hall on June 22 to launch a national fight-back campaign.

The huge mass gathering was a joint initiative of unions, campaign organisations and left parties opposed to the coalition government's savage austerity, which is largely supported by the Labour opposition.

It was preceded by “people's assemblies” in cities across Britain, involving thousands of people.

Paul Le Blanc: Moving forward to build a mass socialist movement

[Click HERE to see the entire discussion between Paul Le Blanc and Luke Cooper.]

By Paul Le Blanc

June 27, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/IS Network -- I very much appreciate Luke Cooper’s excellent response to my “Getting our priorities straight”. It maps out much of the common ground between us, and it offers food for thought for those wanting to move forward to build the mass socialist movement that now appears to be a possibility.

Given that agreement, and the fact that some of this simply needs to be lived through more before we can find additional things to say that are useful, I feel little need to “answer” him. But I do want to offer a few thoughts regarding my defence of Morris Stein, and related matters, in a way that I think addresses some questions posed for us as we seek to move forward together.

The poetry of dialectics

Australia: History, strategy and revolutionary unity

Photo by Alex Bainbridge.

The following talk by Socialist Alternative member Jorge Jorquera was presented on June 9, 2013, part of the panel on “Socialism in practice: Bridging socialist theory and social movement struggles” with Socialist Alliance’s Dave Holmes. It was a session of the “Organising for 21st century socialism” seminar organised by Socialist Alliance and held in Sydney on June 8-9. The seminar also featured US socialist Paul Le Blanc. See also Dave Holme's contribution, "How should a united socialist party work?"

* * *

By Jorge Jorquera

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Invariably some comment on the current period is a good place to start any conversation on the left. Both Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance generally concur on the basic contours of the Australian political situation.

Scotland: Socialists discuss building a 'better left'

The Scottish Socialist Party's Colin Fox marching in the Edinburgh May Day, 2013.

Click HERE for more on Scotland.

June 17, 2013 -- Frontline, an independent Marxist magazine is Scotland, hosted a meeting recently which brought together socialists from different backgrounds to look at the question of building left unity in Scotland. In the first article below Frontline editor Alister Black reflects on the challenges ahead. Below are also articles from sections of the Scottish left that discuss the prospects for a better left in Scotland.

* * *

Latvia: Left bloc gets 59% in municipal elections

June 9, 2013 -- Webguerrillero [es] -- The Saskaņas Centrs, a coalition of left-wing parties, has won 59% of popular vote in the municipal elections held in this Eastern European country. The coalition, whose name means "Harmony Center" is formed by the social-democratic party "Harmony" and the Socialist Party of Latvia (heir of the Communist Party, which was declared illegal in 1994).

The coalition belongs to the all-European Union (EU) political bloc European United Left-Nordic Green Left, which includes the major communist-leaning coalitions and parties, such as Greek SYRIZA, Cypriot AKEL, German Die Linke, French Left Front, Spanish United Left and Irish Sinn Féin, among others.

While the EU and the International Monetary Fund insist that Latvia is an example of the "success" of the draconian policies of "austerity for the poor, huge profits for the rich" that they sponsor and dictate all around, the reality is that Latvia has been ravaged by such policies (see the funny video above).

Australia: How should a united socialist party work?

[This is a slightly edited text of a presentation made by Dave Holmes at the “Organising for 21st century socialism” seminar, held in Sydney, June 9, 2013 (pictured above, photo by Alex Bainbridge). Holmes is a leading member of the Socialist Alliance in Melbourne.]

By Dave Holmes

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Today I want to talk about how socialists need to work to win mass influence and how that relates to the unity process between Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative.

On May 21, 2013, in Melbourne we held a very well-attended joint forum where our two organisations presented their views on the unity process. There is a report of the meeting in the May 29 issue of Green Left Weekly.[1]

I want to expand on some points touched on there and to raise some others. Hopefully most of what I say is uncontroversial but in any case I want to be clear and unambiguous on what I consider some key questions of socialist activity.

World in crisis

Our world has clearly entered what is arguably its deepest ever crisis.

Paul Le Blanc: Leninism for now

[More articles by Paul Le Blanc can be found HERE.]

By Paul Le Blanc

[This is a talk presented in London on May 31, 2013, at the Dangerous Ideas for Dangerous Times gathering.]

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- How can we move from capitalism’s violent oppressiveness to the economic democracy, the genuine freedom, the socialism that we desire? This question was central to the life and work of V.I. Lenin. In exploring that, I want to pin my remarks around quotations from Georg Lukács, plus an old US Trotskyist, Lenin himself, and a couple of young British activists.

A peoples’ manifesto: Roll back austerity and claim real democracy!

Our urgent common priorities for a democratic, social, ecological and feminist Europe

[The following is the manifesto to be discussed at the Alter Summit, June 7-8, 2013, in Athens.]

May 21, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Europe stands on the edge of a precipice, looking into the abyss. Austerity policies drive the peoples of Europe into poverty, undercut democracy and dismantle social policies. Rising inequalities endanger social cohesion. Ecological destruction is worsening while acute humanitarian crises devastate the most affected countries. Women and young people are hardest hit.

Richard Seymour on the rise of a new left in Europe

By Richard Seymour

May 19, 2013 -- Lenin's Tomb, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Speech presented at the Subversive Festival in Zagreb.

* * *

I think the title of this talk, "The rise of a new left", is clearly to some extent projection of a desired outcome; of course, there are elements of a new left visible. Not just the indignados and occupiers, but also the radical left challengers: Syriza, the Portugese Left Bloc, Die Linke, the Scandinavian red-green alliances, Front de gauche in France, maybe some elements of the Pirate Parties ...

Parti de Gauche: ¡Abajo la austeridad!

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3301]

Por Dick Nichols

12/4/2013 -- Sinpermiso.info -- En el tercer congreso nacional del Partido de Izquierda (Parti de Gauche) celebrado en Burdeos del 22 al 24 de marzo, el nuevo grupo socialista, el cual está cobrando fuerza a una velocidad sorprendente, pareció por fin alcanzar la madurez como partido.

Con tan sólo cuatro años de vida, el Partido de Izquierda surgió en el momento en que su principal figura, Jean-Luc Melenchon, quien fuera antiguo líder de las corrientes de izquierdas
del Partido Socialista (PS), abandonara éste después de que las propuestas del PS contra la
austeridad neoliberal lograran no más de un 19% de apoyo en el congreso del 2008.

Britain: New opportunities for left realignment

By Alan Thornett, Socialist Resistance

May 4, 2013 -- International Viewpoint -- The impact of austerity has thrown politics in Britain into turmoil. Both parties of the ruling coalition government -- the Conservative Party (Tories) and the Liberal Democrats -- lost heavily in municipal elections in England last week to the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) – a right-wing, populist, anti-immigration party that is pulling all the main parties to the right. Labour’s performance was better but poor, since its answer to austerity is its own brand of austerity and it has pandered to anti-immigrant sentiment.

The left was nowhere in the election – there was nothing to rally the left in the way UKIP rallied the right – which raised again the desperate need for a broad party of the left that can start to do what Syriza has done in Greece: provide a clear anti-austerity platform to which the working class can relate.

Long live May Day! Workers of the world unite!

May Day message from the Socialist Alliance, Australia

May 1, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As workers around the world take to the streets to celebrate May Day, we are sharply aware that the capitalist system has reached a point of development where it threatens the habitability of the planet on which we all live.

Last month, for the first time in 3 million years, the carbon concentrations in the Earth's atmosphere reached 399.7 parts per million (ppm) at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. In several other parts of the world that day, the reading exceeded 400 ppm.

When CO2 concentrations were last above 400 ppm it was the Pliocene era, when temperatures were 3-4 degrees Celsius and sea levels were 5-40 metres higher than they are today. Capitalism is throwing our planet into dangerous climate change.

Sadly this is no surprise. Capitalism has already devastated the lives of billions of people through exploitation, war and poverty.

Ireland: What’s left after the ULA?

Happier days before the Socialist Party and Socialist Workers Party abandoned the ULA.

Click HERE for more on the United Left Alliance.

By Henry Silke, Dublin

April 29, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This brief report intends to outline the situation within the Irish left following the slow implosion of the United Left Alliance (ULA).

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