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Introduction and translation by Richard Fidler
January 7, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left with permission – Aided by the bombs of the Russian air force and the bullets of foreign militias organized by Iran, Syria’s president Bashar Al-Assad has finally managed to destroy the eastern sector of the country’s largest city Aleppo, the major remaining pocket of popular resistance to his regime.
In the following article Santiago Alba Rico, a Spanish-born philosopher and writer based in Tunisia, analyzes what the defeat in Syria means for democratic and progressive opinion everywhere, and in particular the far-reaching implications of the failure of much of the international left to identify with and mobilize in support of the people of Syria in their powerful rebellion against oppression and repression. This failure, he argues, was a critical factor that facilitated the efforts of Assad and his reactionary international allies to drown the revolt in a river of blood.
By Roger Annis and Felipe Stuart Courneyeur
January 7, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – David Bush has published an appeal for reasoned and informed discussion in Canada of the war and humanitarian disaster in Syria. He calls for building (or rebuilding) movements in imperialist countries such as Canada to oppose war and foreign intervention in the Middle East. We welcome his appeal and write this essay as a contribution to the discussion David suggests be opened.
We do not agree entirely with David's presentation of the war in Syria. This contribution aims to fill in the gaps we believe he leaves. Hopefully, we can arrive at a better understanding in Canada of events in Syria and from there arrive at a clear path for action by an antiwar left wing.
Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis
Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century:
Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis
By John Smith
Monthly Review Press, 2016, 382 pp.
Review by Barry Healy
October 18, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On April 24, 2013 a clothing factory in Rana Plaza, Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1133 workers and injuring 2500 others.
This image of super-exploited, fatally-trapped workers, hemmed in by national borders and racist migration policies preventing them from moving to safer, better-paid work opens John Smith’s book — and illustrates his outrage.
By Patrick Bond
October 14, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — A Brazilian leader’s faux pas spoke volumes about the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) heads of state summit underway in Goa this weekend. The country’s foreign minister (and occasional presidential candidate) José Serra told an interviewer last month that the BRICS included Argentina. And as he stumbled while spelling out the acronym, Serra also had to be prompted to recall that South Africa is a member (because in English it is the “S” in BRICS, but in Portuguese the country is “Africa do Sul”).
By Felix Holtwell
“In fact, early in our history, the U.S. had to deploy ‘gunboat diplomacy,’ or military intervention, to protect private American commercial interests. ISDS [Investor-State Dispute Settlement] is a more peaceful, better way to resolve trade conflicts between countries.” - US White House
October 14, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Official lack of foresight knows few bounds, and trade appears to be no exception. In the above quote the US government, the White House site to boot, compares ISDS to a new, better form of gunboat diplomacy. They expect this to be an argument in favour of the arbitration system. Besides the communication blunder this entails, it does show an underlying structure to our global economic system. It shows the force necessary to maintain economic hegemony and how economic policy is still made irrespective of those concerned by it.
By Rupen Savoulian
August 10, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Antipodean Atheist with permission — US President Barack Obama, the first African American to occupy the White House, has used his part-African background to leverage influence in the continent of his ancestors.
By Tony Norfield
June 26, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal originally posted on Economics of Imperialism blog on June 16 — What explains the desperation of British capitalism and Conservative Party in the lead up to the Brexit referendum on 23 June?
By Renfrey Clarke and Roger Annis
February 29, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A sharp controversy within the international left in recent times has concerned the place occupied by Russia in today’s capitalist world-system. Is Russia an imperialist power, part of the “centre” of global capitalism? Or, do its economic, social and politico-military characteristics mark it as part of the global “periphery” or semi-periphery – that is, as one of the majority of countries that, to one degree or another, are the targets of imperialist bullying and plunder?
Traditionally, the Marxist left has used the term “imperialism” with a high degree of discrimination. Imperialism for Marxists is not something called mysteriously into being when “greed” overcomes political leaders. Nor is it simply external military action, however aggressive. For Marxists, the imperialism of our time arises from specific features of the economies and social orders of the most advanced capitalist countries.
The classic Marxist definition of imperialism in the modern epoch was provided by V.I. Lenin in his 1916 pamphlet Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. As viewed by the Bolshevik leader, the advanced capitalism that had emerged during the preceding decades had these salient characteristics:
By Lou Proyect February 9, 2016 —Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Unrepentant Marxist with permission — One of the main talking points of the pro-Kremlin left is that Russia is not imperialist. This goes hand in hand with an analysis claiming that Putin’s intervention in Ukraine was purely defensive, a move against the genuine imperialists in Washington, London and elsewhere.
The last time I dealt with this question was in June 2014 when I replied to Roger Annis, a tireless defender of Kremlin foreign policy. Annis has once again made the same arguments on Links magazine in Australia in an article co-written by Renfrey Clarke who shares his orientation to Russia. Titled “Perpetrator or victim? Russia and contemporary imperialism”, it rehashes many of the same arguments that are supposedly based on Lenin’s “Imperialism, the final stage of Capitalism”.
By Renfrey Clarke and Roger Annis
February 7, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The decision by the Crimean people in March 2014 to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia sparked fury in right-wing circles worldwide. Urged on by the new ultra-nationalist government in Kyiv, Western leaders made haste to subject Russia to political and economic sanctions.
In commentaries in the Western conservative media, the meme of “Russian imperialism” took firm root. Less predictable, and calling for serious reflection, was the response in another quarter: denunciations of Russian imperialism' were echoed cheerfully by significant sections of the international left.
For many of the leftists concerned, “Russian imperialism” was such an obvious truth that it required no serious explaining. The British weekly Socialist Worker, for example, intoned on 11 March 2014: “It remains imperative to struggle against all sides in the imperialist conflict being fought out in Ukraine.…Russian imperialism has made its move to retain political and economic domination over the country with its takeover of Crimea ‒ this should be unconditionally condemned by all revolutionaries claiming to be anti-imperialist.”
But just what is imperialism, now the stuff of such effortless catch-phrases? Can the term be applied meaningfully to today’s Russian state? This article is an introduction to several longer pieces forthcoming by the authors on the same subject. We will argue that today’s state and economy in Russia fit neither empirical nor Marxian theoretical definitions of imperialism.