August 27, 2008 -- Federico Fuentes, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal's and Green Left Weekly's Latin America correspondent based in Venez

The landslide victory by Justice Party leader Anwar Ibrahim in the August 26 Permatang Pauh by-election is welcomed in this commentary by Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, the first federal parliamentarian of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), as a "marker of the massive change" and another development that will open up democratic space in Malaysia.

By Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj
Image removed.The by-election results in Permatang Pauh, a semi-rural constituency in the northern state of Penang, is yet another marker of the massive change that is taking place in Malaysian politics. Usually by-elections are won handsomely by the Barisan National (BN) government because the BN will approve millions of ringgit in development projects, deploy all its main leaders in the campaign and use the subservient media to the fullest. This was attempted in Permatang Pauh this time around.

By Jesús Germán Faría,  Venezuela’ vice-minister for social security, ministry of popular power for labour and social security translated by Federico Fuentes for Links International Journal of Socia

By the Bolpress editorial board, translated by Sean Seymour Jones for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

State intervention in economic activity -- the nationalisation of businesses, restrictions on exports and price controls, among other measures -- doesn’t appear to be contributing to the materialisation of the structural changes postulated by the National Development Plan (PND) of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS). This is the evaluation of business leaders, analysts and political leaders from the right-wing opposition in Bolivia. However, according to the government of President Evo Morales, the brutal and desperate reaction of the dominant classes "in relegation" proves that something is changing.

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By Ian Angus

August 24, 2008 -- Will shared resources always be misused and overused? Is community ownership of land, forests and fisheries a guaranteed road to ecological disaster? Is privatisation the only way to protect the environment and end Third World poverty? Most economists and development planners will answer “yes” — and for proof they will point to the most influential article ever written on those important questions.

Since its publication in Science in December 1968, “The Tragedy of the Commons” has been anthologised in at least 111 books, making it one of the most-reprinted articles ever to appear in any scientific journal. It is also one of the most quoted: a recent Google search found “about 302,000” results for the phrase “tragedy of the commons”.

For 40 years it has been, in the words of a World Bank discussion paper, “the dominant paradigm within which social scientists assess natural resource issues” (Bromley and Cernea 1989: 6). It has been used time and again to justify stealing indigenous peoples’ lands, privatising health care and other social services, giving corporations ``tradable permits'' to pollute the air and water, and much more.

By Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke

August 23, 2008 -- The owner of Fundimeca, an air-conditioning factory in Valencia, Carabobo, is waging an intense campaign of terror and intimidation against the factory's workers. Fundimeca's workers has been fighting to ensure that the company complies with Venezuela's constitution and labour laws, in particular an order by the labour inspectorate to rehire nine workers. Fundimeca employs 360 workers, 80% of whom are women.

One worker has been shot in the leg by armed thugs and 18 workers and three union leaders are currently facing trial in Carabobo courts, accused of various charges including criminal gang activity with the threat of jail terms looming over their heads.

Among those standing trial is Stalin Perez Borges, a national coordinator of the National Union of Workers (UNT) and Venezuela's principal delegate to this year's International Labor Organisation convention — where after seven years, the delegation successfully removed Venezuela from the list of countries that supposedly violate union freedom.

By Andy Worthington

August 2008 -- The existence of a secret, CIA-run prison on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean has long been a leaky secret in the “War on Terror” and recent revelations in TIME — based on disclosures by a “senior American official” (now retired), who was “a frequent participant in White House Situation Room meetings” after the 9/11 attacks, and who reported that “a CIA counter-terrorism official twice said that a high-value prisoner or prisoners were being interrogated on the island” — will come as no surprise to those who have been studying the story closely.

Continuing Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal’s presentation of various positions in the debate within Argentina’s left around the rural crisis, we publish an exclusive translation of a recent article by Claudio Katz, an economist, researcher, professor and member of Economista de Izquierda (EDI -- Left Economists). Translated by Janet Duckworth. For previous articles on Argentina, go to http://links.org.au/taxonomy/term/147

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August 16, 2008, Radio New Internationalist

The new superpowers

Commentators claim that as a superpower, the US is in decline. Is this the case?

Act of Free Choice (directed by Mark Worth)

The so-called ``Act of Free Choice'' was a sham referendum held in 1969 to decide whether Indonesia should govern West Papua. The small sample of indigenous West Papuans selected to vote were threatened with physical voilence if they voted against the Indonesian regime. Of course, they ``voted'' to remain part of Indonesia.

By Vannessa Hearman

August 16, 2008 -- Indonesian trade union activist and chairperson of the Deliberative Council of the National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas) Dita Sari has declared that she will run for the Star Reform Party (PBR) in the 2009 legislative elections.

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Sari and around 40 other Papernas members have declared their intention to contest the elections as part of the PBR. Sari will occupy the number one position on the party’s candidate list for an electoral district in Central Java that incorporates the towns of Klaten, Boyolali, Sukoharjo and the city of Solo.

According to Indo Pos, the district where Sari will run is a hotly contested area, with other candidates including Puan Maharani, daughter of former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, running for the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and Hidayat Nurwahid, speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly from the Prosperity and Justice Party (PKS).