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left unity

‘Socialism of the 21st century’ and left unity


By the Socialist Alliance, Australia

[The following is the text of a leaflet being distributed by the Socialist Alliance in Melbourne.]

April 2, 2010 -- The triumphalism spouted by capitalist apologists in the early 1990s with the collapse of the Soviet Union has long gone. Today the problems are so obvious: global warming and the world economic slump are shaking the capitalist world and casting a growing shadow over the future.

“Capitalism is the road to hell”, as Venezuela’s leader Hugo Chavez said at the Copenhagen climate conference. The revolutionary process in Venezuela and the bold stand taken by its leader have resurrected the idea of socialism in the consciousness of millions. His call for a “socialism of the 21st century” has inspired people around the world. And now Chavez has called for a new international socialist organisation which would unite parties and movements that want to fight imperialism and neoliberalism.

But important as solidarity with Venezuela is and much as we may admire Chavez, our fundamental task is to fight for social change right here.

Survival of humanity is at stake

Fourth International's response to Chavez’s call to found a Fifth Socialist International

[The following is an excerpt from the "Role and tasks of the Fourth International", a report adopted by the Fourth International at its 16th World Congress held in Belgium in February 2010. Click here for the full report.]

Chavez’s call to found a Fifth International poses other questions about its origins, its framework, that is to say, its viability. The Fourth International declares that it is willing to participate in the debates and preparatory meetings that may be organised. We will contribute our historic gains and our vision about what a new international and its programatic foundations could be. A genuine new international can only be born if its members share a program, an ability to intervene in society, a democratic, pluralist form of functioning, as well as clear independence from governments in order to break with capitalism.

Fourth International: Report on international situation to the 16th World Congress; Role and tasks of the FI

By Laurent Carasso

February 2010 -- This report will not attempt a detailed survey of the world but will try to stress what is most significant, what, in our view, should come under a common understanding of events and tasks. On many regional situations, the comrades will broadly enrich the discussion through their interventions.

(I) The world situation is marked by crisis

For the first time in history, this crisis is located is explained by capitalist globalisation. No territory is immune. All the economic, social and political factors are interrelated worldwide. The economic crisis is not a conjunctural crisis. This is a systemic, structural crisis: this is the most serious crisis since 1929. The United States has lost 35% of its financial wealth and the Euro zone 25%. And, when governments speak of “emerging from crisis” we do not agree. There may be short-term recoveries, related to policies in support of activity in this or that country, but the countries of the centre -- the USA and Europe -- are not emerging from crisis. The explosion of public debt in southern Europe -- in Greece, Spain -- and the banking and financial uncertainty demonstrate the instability of the situation and a new phase of the crisis, at least in Europe.

The crisis is not over!

Why global capitalism is tipping towards collapse, and how we can act for a decent future

"Random events, those happenings that nobody could foresee, always have a huge impact on historical outcomes."

March 15, 2010 -- This is an excerpt from an essay that forms the entire contents of the March 2010 edition of UNITY, Socialist Worker New Zealand's quarterly Marxist journal for grassroots activists. Following editions of the journal will expand on the crises which are converging to tip global capitalism towards collapse. To subscribe to UNITY journal, email Len Parker at office@sworker.pl.net. UNITY is posted to your letterbox four times a year. Price: $25 for NZ subscribers, NZ$40 offshore fastpost. This excerpt has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

* * *

By Grant Morgan

Part 1: History lessons

The fable behind the stereotype

Has the World Social Forum been co-opted by capitalism? Does it have a future?

March 3, 2010 -- Olivier Bonford and Eric Toussaint are members of the International Council of the World Social Forum (WSF) and of the the Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt (CADTM). In this interview with Marga Tojo Gonzales, they discuss the future and role of the World Social Forum as it enters its second decade. They also examine the relationship between the WSF and the call for a Fifth Socialist International by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Translated by Vicki Briault and Christine Pagnoulle.

* * *

Marga Tojo Gonzales: Ten year after the first use of the slogan, "Another world is possible", a majority of humankind still lives in subhuman conditions, and with the international financial crisis, the situation has become even worse. Does this mean that the alternative globalisation movement has failed?

Canada's Socialist Project on the call for a Fifth Socialist International

The call by Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez for discussion of the formation of a "Fifth International" has generated a lot of debate amongst the left around the world. As an addendum to the "Caracas Commitment" of November 2009, a resolution was passed to form a preparatory committee to convene a global conference of left parties in Caracas in April 2010 to discuss the formation of a new international.

Burma: Regional left support for workers’ struggle

February 13, 2010 -- The statement below has been signed by the Working People’s Association (Indonesia); Confederation Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance; the Singapore Democratic Party; the Socialist Party of Malaysia; Socialist Alternative (Australia); Socialist Alliance (Australia); Socialist Worker New Zealand; Young Democrats (Singapore); Partido ng Manggangawa (Philippines); Congress of South African Trade Unions; Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippines); World Federation of Trade Unions (Asia Pacific Region); Movement for the Advancement of Student Power (Philippines); Canadian HART; Free Burma Campaign (South Africa).

If your organisation would like to sign this statement, email international@prp-indonesia.org.

* * *

Workers at Burma’s Taiyi shoe factory and Opal 2 garment factory began a strike on February 8, 2010. They are demanding a salary increase, a reduction of working hours and the provision of a clean space for meals.

The strike started in the Mya Fashion garment factory in the No. 3 Factory Zone of Yangon’s Hlaing Thrayar Township.

Beyond the World Social Forum ... the Fifth International

Eric Toussaint interviewed by Igor Ojeda for the Brazilian weekly paper Brasil de Fato. Translated from French by Judith Harris and Christine Pagnoulle.

February 2010 -- According to Eric Toussaint, a doctor in political science and one of the ideologists of the World Social Forum, now in its tenth edition, effective political action calls for the creation of a permanent national front of parties, social movements and international networks.

Eric Toussaint, a doctor in political science and a member of the International Council of the World Social Forum (WSF), is in favour of the WSF becoming a platform of greater political influence in social struggles throughout the world. He is not particularly worried about the resistance of certain sectors within the forum who would prefer this event to retain its original form. For him, the solution is simple. “If the World Social Forum cannot accommodate it, we must build another instrument, without leaving or scrapping the forum”.

Fifth Socialist International -- Time for definitions; Hora de definiciones


By Luis Bilbao, translated by Janet Duckworth for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

February 2, 2010 -- The first step has been taken. It has extraordinary strategic implications. It will shake up the left and right, the West and the East. It will blow in like a whirlwind through every political organisation, trade union or social, in every corner of the planet. On the evening of November 20, 2009, the day before the opening of the first extraordinary PSUV [United Socialist Party of Venezuela] congress, a feeling of vertigo swept over tens of thousands of people who heard Hugo Chávez, either on TV or on the internet, speak before delegates of parties from 30 or so countries, and launch a proposal that was as long desired as it was unexpected: to set to work to build the Fifth Socialist International.

Building the Labour Party Pakistan

By Farooq Tariq

January 21, 2010 -- The political perspectives of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) have been put to the test several times in a rapidly changing political situation. From day one we opposed General Musharraf's military dictatorship. We oppose both US imperialism and religious fanaticism, while some feel they must support one side or the other.

Almost all of the present LPP leadership, including women leaders, were jailed under the Musharraf regime for demanding democratic rights or taking part in the struggle for workers’ and peasants’ rights. The LLP has worked to maintain its political space and refused to be driven underground.

Unlike the traditional left parties, who set up organisations controlled by the party, since its inception the LPP has put special emphasis on helping to develop independent social, labour and peasant organisations and other social movements. For example, there is no trade union wing of LPP. Instead we support the development of the National Trade Union Federation, formed in 1998, and also aided the Pakistan Workers Confederation from its beginning in 1994.

New Zealand: Socialists cooperate in defence of refugees

Auckland protest in support of Tamil refugees, January 18, 2010.

By Grant Morgan, Socialist Worker-New Zealand

January 19, 2010 -- The refugee issue is almost certain to rise from near invisibility in New Zealand politics to become a strategic battleground. Waves of refugees will be thrown up by the poverty, strife and ecotastrophes of global capitalism's end times.

The right, centre and much of the left in New Zealand politics will seek to portray these waves of refugees as threats to "our way of life". This could open the way towards authoritarian nationalism which jackboots the New Zealand working class as well as offshore refugees.

New Zealand socialists and our allies must show that offshore refugees are a resource, not a threat, to the majority of Kiwis under the thumb of corporate bosses and politicians.

Refugees are a resource for our side because they are fleeing the poverty, wars and other calamities caused by the same world system which kicks most Kiwis around. They are our natural allies against the unnatural forces of global capitalism.

In defence of Hugo Chavez’ call for a Fifth Socialist International

By Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

January 15, 2010 -- Critics who have planted themselves firmly on the sidelines have been lobbing all kinds of disapproving missives at Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez’ call for a new international, urging others who have been carried away by enthusiastic support to join them on the sidelines. The laundry list of complaints is extensive: Chavez is the head of a bourgeois government; Chavez only pursues reformism, not genuine revolution; he made his call in the presence of an audience that included avowed supporters of capitalism; and so on.

Britain: Building left unity out of the wreckage

Anti-war protesters in London, 2003.

The Socialist Resistance national committee adopted this document, by Liam Mac Uaid, on January 9, 2010, to outline its balance sheet of the last decade’s attempts at the resolving the crisis of working-class representation in Britain.

* * *

January 9, 2010 -- Socialist Resistance -- The workers’ movement in Britain has faced a crisis of working-class representation since the rise of New Labour in the mid-1990s and it has been becoming more acute ever since. This backdrop put left unity at the centre of the political agenda. The rise of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) and the Socialist Alliance (SA) were the first organisational expressions of this necessary process. A critical look at the last decade is essential if we are not to make the same mistakes – those who do not learn from history are pretty likely to make the same ones all over again.

Party of Socialism and Liberty, Brazil: Chavez’s call to form the Fifth International and the world situation

By Pedro Fuentes

January 11, 2010 -- At the meeting of left-wing political parties and socialists held in Caracas on the eve of the congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez called for the formation the Fifth Socialist International. In a strong speech in which he summarised the history of international socialist organisations, Chavez said, Confronting the capitalist crisis and the threat of war that threatens the future of humanity, it is time to convene the Fifth International, towards the unity of the left parties and revolutionaries willing to fight for socialism … of the parties and socialist currents and social movements in the world to create a common strategy for the fight against imperialism, the overthrow of capitalism by socialism.

At that meeting, which had a clearly anti-imperialist tone, there were many parties that were out of place; including, the Mexican Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Chinese Communist Party and even the Brazilian Workers Party (PT). Others were missing, for example, the Brazilian Party of Socialism and Liberty (PSOL), the French New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA), the National Resistance Front of Honduras and the Revolutionary Tendency of El Salvador, among others.

Australia: 'It's time for the DSP to merge into the Socialist Alliance'

Peter Boyle speaks at the Socialist Alliance seventh national conference, Januray 2, 2010. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.

[This report, presented by Peter Boyle on behalf of the Australian Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) national executive was adopted, by the 24th DSP congress on January 2, 2010. See also ``Australia: New era of left unity as DSP votes to merge with the Socialist Alliance''.]

We are proposing to take an important step forward in our party building effort, an effort that has now spanned some four decades. We propose, at this 24th congress, to merge the Democratic Socialist Perspective into the Socialist Alliance, to take everything we have learned and built over these years of political struggle (organised through the DSP) into a broader political organisation, an organisation which has a majority of members who don't come from the DSP.

Australia: New era of left unity as DSP votes to merge with the Socialist Alliance


Made with Slideshow Embed Tool

[The following speech, to the opening rally of the seventh national conference of the Socialist Alliance on January 2, 2010, was delivered by Peter Boyle, former national secretary of the Democratic Socialist Perspective.]

Comrades,

My job tonight is to make the unusual – if not unexpected – announcement that the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) decided today at its 24th congress to effectively dissolve into the Socialist Alliance and to transfer all that it has built up, over some four decades of its existence, to the Socialist Alliance.

Labour Party Pakistan endorses Fifth Socialist International process

The Labour Party Pakistan's National Committee meeting on December 26-27, 2009, held in Islamabad agreed to endorse the declaration for the fifth international. The LPP leadership discussed in detail the different aspects of the declaration and found in agreement on the issues.

The National Committee is the highest body of Labour Party Pakistan, elected at the national congress every two years. The fifth LPP congress is taking place from January 27-29, 2010, in the industrial city of Faisalabad. On January 29, an international conference of the workers and peasants is aiming to mobilise over 30,000 people at a main political centre used by Bhuttos and other main leaders in Pakistan.

The Labour Party Pakistan (www.laborpakistan.org) is a left-wing socialist party formed in 1997 by several different trends of the left movement, trade unions and peasant organisations. It is the main left party in Pakistan in terms of its membership and influence within social and class movements.

El Salvador: FMLN welcomes Hugo Chavez's call for a Fifth International

Translated by Lara Pullin of the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

RESOLUTION OF THE XXV ORDINARY FMLN NATIONAL CONVENTION ON THE INITIATIVE TO ESTABLISH THE `FIFTH (V) SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL'

This FMLN National Convention,

CONSIDERING:

(Sunday, December 13, 2009)

1. That the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) is a political organisation that has the responsibility, recognised by popular majority and as a consequence of our long history of struggle, of constructing in El Salvador a society based on social justice; which is economically productive, environmentally sustainable and wherein all exercise and respect fundamental freedoms and inherent rights of the human being, as recognised in the Constitution of the Republic.

2. That the progressive and left-wing political and social movements, which are leading the struggles for democracy and social progress, are experiencing a period of growth and gain in various parts of the world, and particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean; proposing and winning solutions to the major problems confronting the world today.

Australian Socialist Alliance's address to the International Encounter of Left Parties, Caracas, November 2009


One of the delegates of Australia's Socialist Alliance, Federico Fuentes, addresses the International Encounter of Left Parties held in Caracas, November 19-21, 2009.

Marta Harnecker on the Fifth International and the left movement in Latin America

December 10, 2009 -- Venezuelanalysis.com/Correo del Orinoco -- Marta Harnecker remains ardent, audacious, reflective and perceptive. A collaborator of the Miranda International Centre [in Caracas], she will today [December 3] attend a reception in her honour in the Teresa Carreño Theatre for her outstanding career, fundamentally in the study of the mechanisms to effective take power at the community level and her contributions to Marxist theory.

In carrying out an assessment of the correlation of forces in Latin America, she laughs at those who reproached her about the “failure” of the left... She is passionate about journalism, although she never studied the profession. In fact she was the editor of the magazine Chile Hoy (Chile Today), published during the government of Salvador Allende.

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