Leo Zeilig, author of Lumumba, a new political biography of Congo independence leader Patrice Lumumba, has kindly given permission for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to offer its readers an exclusive excerpt to download.
By Federico Fuentes
Caracas, September 6, 2008 -- The August 24 announcment by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to officially launch the social mission April 13, and the decreeing of 26 new and reformed laws on July 29, represent a further push to empower the poor communities.
Moreover, these moves represent a new offensive as part of Chavez’s stated aim of building “socialism of the 21st century” and eradicating poverty by giving power to the people.
Among other things, the new mission and laws build upon the communal councils that have been established across the country with the goal of organising the Venezuelan people, in order to transfer responsibilities until now in the hands of the state bureaucracy inherited by the Bolivarian revolution.
Mission April 13 is named in honour of the successful struggle of the poor majority, who along with the majority of the armed forces, defeated the coup organised by Venezuela’s business federation, Fedecamaras, on April 11, 2002. The coup briefly removed Chavez from the power, but an uprising resorted him two days later.
On September 9, 2008, supporters of the Cuban Revolution were saddened to learn of the sudden deaths of Celia Hart Santamaría and Abel Hart Santamaría, the daughter and son of Armando Hart Dávalos and Haydée Santamaría, in a car accident in Havana on September 7, possibly caused
By Tim Anderson
Antony Loewenstein is confused. Flushed with the success of his first book, My Israel Question, he has ventured into the wider world of global politics and has stumbled.
His first book presented the perspective of a young Australian Jew, reflecting critically on Israel. His second book, The Blogging Revolution, attempts a wider analysis of the cyber-media and democracy, by reference to six countries: Iran, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and China.
By David Travis
September 9, 2008 -- On the fringe of the green movement, one always hears the following phrases coming from the mainstream with great regularity: "green capitalism", "sustainable capitalism", "social entrepreneurs", "green entrepreneurs", etc. None of these terms tend to mean anything specific, and no one who uses them is in a great hurry to spell out, for example, how a green entrepreneur is different in any fundamental way from some other kind of entrepreneur, or how capitalism could be driven toward sustainability rather than profit. So you can imagine my pleasure at meeting the author of a book called Sustainable Capitalism: A Matter of Common Sense.
The following is the introduction to Why Washington Hates Iran: A Political Memoir of the Revolution That Shook the Middle East, a new Socialist Voice pamphlet published by South Branch Publications.
By Patrick Bond
In response to Beware Electocrats: Naomi Klein on South Africa by Ronald Suresh Roberts in Radical Philosophy commentaries, July-August 2008, http://www.radicalphilosophy.com/default.asp?channel_id=2187&editorial_id=26668
Klein’s chapter on South Africa follows this exchange.
September 3, 2008 -- In his first interview since he became Nepal's prime minister, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal ``Prachanda'' spoke to Rabindra Mishra of BBC's Nepali Service about the strategies of his new government.
BBC: In the past Maoist leaders had vowed not to keep any private property. They handed over their private properties to the party. Now, what will you do to your salary that you will be drawing as prime minister?
That (money) will go to the country and the people. It will be deposited in the party treasury. Except some amount for the general upkeep, the salary will be deposited in the party treasury.
Then, how can one be assured of the right to private property under your government when you are yourself are not keeping private property?
By Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation
[See below for relief fund details.]
September 2, 2008 -- The regime of Nitish Kumar, which rules the Indian state of Bihar, boasts of ``Bihar Shining''. These claims are now submerged by the cries of ``Bihar Drowning''. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government's claims of ``good governance'' have proved a washout in the face of the floods, and now the Chief Minister Kumar is trying to paint the floods as a ``natural'' calamity or divine ``deluge'' (Pralay).
Nothing could be further from the truth. The flood devastation was highly preventable – and is a direct result of callous negligence of basic flood-prevention strategies by the Bihar and central Indian governments. Despite the fact that every year breaches in embankments cause floods in the state, maintenance and repair of embankments have been rampantly neglected.
By Giles Ji Ungpakorn
September 2, 2008, Bangkok -- For the past two or more years, especially since the September 2006 coup, Thai society has been hypnotised into forgetting about the real social and political issues. Instead, the whole of society and, most tragically, the social movements have been entranced by a fight between two factions of the Thai ruling class.
On the one side are the deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his disbanded Thai Rak Thai Party, its successor the Peoples Power Party government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. Opposing them are a loose collection of authoritarian royalists comprising the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the pro-coup royalist military, the pro-coup judiciary and the Democrat Party. The authoritarian royalists are not a unified body. They only share a collective interest in wiping out Thaksin’s party.
By Federico Fuentes
September 3, 2008 -- On August 27, Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez announced the end of negotiations with former owner Ternium over the nationalisation of the Sidor steel factory, stating that the government would “take over all the companies that it has here”, and that Ternium “can leave”. Speaking during a televised broadcast, Chávez explained that Ternium “did not recognise our sovereignty”.
“The deadline for reaching an agreement has expired. We will move ahead and pay them what it really costs. Moreover, it will not be all in one go as they wanted. No, we will pay them at a pace that is appropriate for us.”
Until the April 9 decision to nationalise Sidor, the Ternium consortium, whose biggest shareholder is the Italian-Argentine transnational Techint, had 60% control of one of the largest steel factories in Latin America, located in the industrial state of Bolívar.
By Andrey Kolganov and Aleksandr Buzgalin, translated by Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal’s Renfrey Clarke