With Boris Kagarlitsky, Institute For Globalization and Social Movements, Moscow.

Since the collapse of the old Soviet Union in the 1990s and the end of the politically bankrupt regime of Boris Yeltsin in 2000, Vladimir Putin has consolidated power in Russia. He has ruled over an economy growing at about 7% per year, and, in Kagarlitsky's view, establishing Russia as an 'empire of the periphery'. The left and workers have faced enormous challenges in the new (and not so new) Russia in the face of massive economic restructuring and major political obstacles. This discussion will address how the left, workers and unions are attempting to re-group and respond to these challenges.

By Dipankar Basu

March 25, 2008 -- This article attempts to throw some light on the following two questions: (1) How does the classical Marxist tradition conceptualise the relationship between the two stages of revolution: democratic and the socialist? (2) Does the democratic revolution lead to deepening and widening capitalism? Is capitalism necessary to develop the productive capacity of a society?

``We need an emergency mobilisation of society, a five- or 10-year plan to achieve a drastic reorientation of our economy and use of energy. Anything else is simply not serious.''

April 3, 2008 -- Dave Holmes, a veteran leader of theAustralian Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP), is one of the authors of the pamphlet Change the System Not The Climate (Resistance Books 2007) who will be participating in the Climate Change | Social Change Conference, April 11-13 in Sydney Australia. The other authors of the pamphlet, renowned Marxist John Bellamy Foster and Links editor Terry Townsend, are speakers at the conference.

Peter Boyle of the DSP spoke to Holmes about the key issues the conference needs to address.

By Kjell Havnevik, Deborah Bryceson, Lars-Erik Birgegård, Prosper Matondi & Atakilte Beyene

December, 2007 -- Agriculture's dominant role in Sub-Saharan Africa's local, national and regional economies and cultures throughout pre-colonial history has been foundational to 20th century colonial and post-colonial development. No other continent has been so closely identified with smallholder peasant farming. Nonetheless, smallholder farming has been eroding over the last three decades, perpetuating rural poverty and marginalising remote rural areas. Donors' search for rural ``success stories'' merely reinforces this fact. Certainly many farmers have voted with their feet by increasingly engaging in non-agricultural livelihoods or migrating to urban areas. In so doing, the significance of agriculture for the majority of Africa's population has altered.

By Pierre Rousset

March 24, 2008 -- The Chinese army has Tibet and its provinces under tight control. The repression of the ``rioters'' who have descended into the streets these last two weeks has been severe. Solidarity and the effective recognition of the right of the Tibetan people to self-determination is urgent.

Some on the left (rare in France, but more numerous elsewhere) refuse to commit to solidarity for fear of playing the game of the United States against China. Others, on the right, call for demonstrations against 59 years of Chinese occupation –- it was in 1950-1951 that the Peoples Liberation Army entered the country -– and denounce a ``communist'' dictatorship. These two positions ``mirror'' one another, attaching little importance to history: the ``Tibetan question'' arises in very different contexts according to different periods.

By Tony Iltis

March 28, 2008 -- A demonstration by Buddhist monks in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, on March 10 to commemorate the anniversary of China’s crushing of the Tibetan independence movement in 1959 triggered protests for self-determination that, by March 14, had escalated into anti-Chinese riots in which 19 people were killed.

Over 100 Tibetans are reported to have been killed, and hundreds more arrested, by Chinese occupation forces.

This eruption of mass anger — that spread to cities throughout the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the neighbouring provinces of Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan, historically part of Tibet and with large ethnic Tibetan communities — was a response not only to the 58-year-old Chinese military occupation of Tibet, but to the dispossession and marginalisation of Tibetans by an influx of both global capital and Han Chinese transmigrants.

By Mahesh Maskey and Mary Deschene

As the elections to the constituent assembly draw near (April 10), the question in Nepal seems not to be whether there will be a democratic republic, but rather what kind of democratic republic it will be. ``Bourgeois democrats'' would want to preserve the country's capitalistic character, while the ``revolutionary left'' will make every effort to give it a transitional character to bring socialism on to the nation's agenda. ``The reformist left'' will vacillate between the two courses but predominantly forge alliances with the ``bourgeois democrats''.

By Barry Healy

Not many young authors can publish a work before they reach thirty years of age and have it remain in publication continuously for the following 160 years. Yet that is precisely the case with the Communist Manifesto, which was born in the middle of a Europe-wide revolutionary upsurge in February 1848.

Moreover, the Manifesto still rings through the years to today’s world with its promise of human liberty and fulfilment.

By Michael Karadjis

The previous article of this series showed that the basis for Kosova’s right to self-determination is real, and that there has been a genuine, mass-based striving for it all century. Yet some on the left have argued that Kosova’s recent declaration of independence is merely an initiative of the imperialist powers, which allegedly have had a long-term aim to create an ``independent’’ Kosovar state under their control.

(Click here for the first article in the series.)

By Kavita Krishnan

In the wake of the anniversary of the 1959 Tibet movement (March 10) and ahead of the Beijing Olympics, Tibet has once again emerged as a hot spot of ethnic tension. There are reports of violence against and killing of protesting Tibetan monks by Chinese forces; and also of ethnic targeting of Han Chinese and Hui Muslims by Tibetan protesters. Chinese authorities have straightaway blamed the Dalai Lama for provoking the violent protests. The [Chinese] Army has been deployed after more than a week of escalating tension. While there is little ``independent'' information to judge the actual nature and scale of the turbulence within Tibet and attempts by the Chinese state to suppress it, solidarity protests are being witnessed in many centres across the world and Tibetan refugees based in India are particularly vocal against the recent turn of events in Tibet.

The turmoil in Tibet has been greeted by die-hard anti-China hawks with demands of boycott of the Beijing Olympics. In India, BJP and the likes of George Fernandes have raised an uproar in Parliament with their shrill anti-China hate campaign over Tibet.

Alberto Müller Rojas, first vice president of the of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), speaks to Kiraz Janicke of Venezuelanalysis.com and to Federico Fuentes of Links - International Journal of Socialist Renewal about the significance of the formation of the PSUV for the Bolivarian Revolution -- debates within the new party, what its relationship with the government should be and the immediate tasks of the PSUV in the struggle for the socialist transformation of Venezuela

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Interview with the LCR's Olivier Besancenot, conducted by the Swiss revolutionary socialist newspaper SolidaritéS

SolidaritéS: Is there in the history of the French or international workers' movement precedents for the construction of a new ``anti-capitalist party'', as initiated by the LCR congress?

Besancenot: We do not claim to be inventing anything. But it's true, this project is rather unique. First, it is unusual for a political organisation that has not been discredited -- and has even experienced some success -– to pose the problem of its disappearance! Of course, this is not about assessing the profit and losses of the history of the political current that the LCR represents. But instead, to write a new page, with others. With many others.

And neither is it about a merger between political movements, even if we are ready to discuss with all those who might be interested in this project. In fact, this project is based on an analysis of a new situation, in particular the extent of the crisis of the workers' movement.