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        Click on Links masthead to clear previous query from search box

        Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal seeks to promote the exchange of information, experience of struggle, theoretical analysis and views of political strategy and tactics within the international left. It is a forum for open and constructive dialogue between active socialists from different political traditions. It seeks to bring together those in the international left who are opposed to neoliberal economic and social policies, and reject the bureaucratic model of "socialism" that arose in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and China.

        Inspired by the unfolding socialist revolution in Venezuela, as well as the continuing example of socialist Cuba, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is a journal for "Socialism of the 21st century", and the discussions and debates flowing from that powerful example of socialist renewal.

        Links is also proud to be the sister publication of Green Left Weekly, the world's leading red-green newspaper, and we urge readers to visit that site regularly.

        Please explore Links and subscribe (click on "Subscribe to Links" or "Follow Links on Twitter" in the left menu). Links welcomes readers' constructive comments (but please read the "Comments policy" above).

        This site is best viewed with the Firefox internet browser.

        Spanish state: candidate preselection turmoil as ‘existential’ election looms

         

         

        By Dick Nichols

         

        March 26?
        —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?—?According to Josep Borrell, outgoing Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) foreign minister and self-appointed scourge of the movement for Catalan sovereignty, the April 28 general elections will be ?existential? for the Spanish state. For People’s Party (PP) opposition leader Pablo Casado they will be a "referendum on the secessionist menace".

         

        This shared judgment of Spain’s "parties of government" would only have been heightened by the resounding success of the March 16 Madrid demonstration "Self-Determination is not a Crime: Democracy is Deciding". The rally, organised by the Catalan National Assembly, òmnium Cultural and the platform Women and Men of Madrid for the Right to Decide, brought into the capital up to 120,000 supporters of the right to self-determination of the nations of the Spanish state. The size and spirit of the demonstration marked an important step ahead down the long road to a democratic alternative to Spanish state unionism.

         

        Paul Le Blanc: Reflections on coherence and comradeship

         

         

        By Paul Le Blanc

         

        March 26, 2019?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?—?Recent discussions with European comrades, whom I have known for many years and whose experience in the struggle goes back many more years, have stirred a desire in me to draw together some political thoughts long swirling and at least partially coming together in my mind.[1]

         

        Working in Europe during the period from mid-January to mid-April of 2019 took me away from a political earthquake and after-shocks hitting my organization in the United States, the International Socialist Organization (ISO). Regarding aspects of both the earthquake and the after-shocks, I have formed only tentative and partial judgments. An impending dissolution of the group seems likely. What I?have written?is not a commentary on these recent specifics. Yet they have deepened my desire to draw together these longer-range thoughts, and find reflection in what I have to say here.

         

        The gist of what I am reaching for involves several things.

         

        Rethinking some dominant approaches to climate change

         

         

        By Richard Fidler

         

        March 26 2019?
        —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Life on the Left Blog?—?Climate change is the most visible, most threatening expression of a larger, planetary ecological crisis, the result of an economic system (capitalism) with an inherent growth and profit dynamic which ensures that the exploitation of natural resources (both renewable and non-renewable) exceeds the carrying capacity of nature. You have read the almost-daily scientific reports, each more alarming than the ones before, on the scope of the crisis. I won’t belabour the point.

         

        Our approach must be informed by, and congruent with, the challenge that crisis poses to the way society must be organized if we are to halt and reverse the ecological catastrophe toward which we are now hurtling.

         

        Looking for loopholes: On the misuses of Lenin’s “‘Left-Wing’ Communism”

         

         

        By Doug Enaa Greene

         

        March 26, 2019??
        —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Left Voice?with the author's permission —?With the 2020 U.S. presidential election already in full swing, we are already hearing the familiar clichés from liberals: that this is the “most important election in our lifetime” and that we must support the Democrats to defeat Donald Trump. Any left-wing criticism of the Democrats is met with a prompt demand to “shut up,” renounce our principles and get in line. Unfortunately, there are socialists and communists who not only repeat these liberal refrains, but also quote Lenin to justify supporting for the Democratic Party and to attack other socialists and communists as “dogmatists,” “purists” and “ultra-leftists.” The Lenin text most often cited as providing “loopholes” for radicals to abandon their principles and support the class enemy is “‘Left-Wing’ Communism: An Infantile Disorder” (LWC). This is, however, a gross misinterpretation of the purpose of Lenin’s LWC, which is not about rationalizing opportunism; rather, it is intended to help communists think seriously about strategy and tactics in order to successfully lead the working class.

         

        Contribuciones a la teoría revolucionaria desde las monta?as mexicanas: Una rese?a de Lucio Caba?as y la guerra de los pobres

         

         

        [Original in English?here]
        ?
        Lucio Caba?as y la guerra de los pobres.?
        Silva Nogales, Jacobo. 2015.
        Ciudad de México: Deriva Negra y Cooperativa Rizoma. 207 páginas.
        Cooperativa Rizoma: coop.rizoma@gmail.com
        Deriva Negra: deriva.negra@gmail.com

         

        Rese?a de Terrence Nevin Siders Vogt

        ?

        Venezuela — Interview with Stalin Pérez Borges: “It will be very difficult to defeat us.”

         

         

        March 3 2019 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal Stalin Pérez Borges is a union leader and veteran socialist militant. He is currently a member of LUCHAS (acronym for Unitarian Unionist Chavista League, and also ‘Struggles’ in Spanish) and of the Bolivarian Socialist Workers’ Central (CBST) Advisory Council. Intersecciones spoke to Pérez Borges about the current crisis in Venezuela. The original Spanish version was published on February 7. Translated by Pedro Alvarez from Aporrea

         

        Before commenting on the current political crisis, how would you describe the social and economic crisis in Venezuela today?

         

        This question leads to a very long answer, so I apologise if it gets tiresome. The economic and social crisis has grown exponentially for about five years now, and has got to this rotten state of hyper-inflation that we’re barely coping with, and which is breaking world records. This is the cause for the huge discontent that we have at this stage and for the important change in the correlation of political power in this juncture. In my opinion this is a consequence of three fundamental facts: two of them circumstantial, and one structural.

         

        Budgeting for black-out in South Africa

         

         

        By Patrick Bond

         

        March 3, 2019 Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalUpon taking power in a palace coup a year ago, Cyril Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) government was supposedly going to sweep out the prolific corruption associated with the 2009-18 Jacob Zuma ANC regime. But although excruciatingly-slow progress is being made in evicting the most obvious villains, durable Zumite influences remain, and whistleblowing continues to unveil rapid ANC degeneracy, even stretching into the Ramaphosa family.

         

        Contributions to revolutionary theory from the Mexican highlands: A review of 'Lucio Caba?as y la guerra de los pobres'

         

         

        Lucio Caba?as y la guerra de los pobres.
        Silva Nogales, Jacobo. 2015.
        Mexico City: Deriva Negra and Cooperativa Rizoma. 207 pages.
        Cooperativa Rizoma: coop.rizoma@gmail.com
        Deriva Negra: deriva.negra@gmail.com

         

        Review by Nevin Siders

         

        March 3, 2019 Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalMany biographies have been written on Lucio Caba?as. This one’s value derives from how it highlights his contributions to revolutionary theory. In the first chapter we see how he was in teacher training in the early 1960s in the state of Guerrero, home to Acapulco but also one of Mexico’s most violent and y despotic. When he left school he was assigned to a school in the rural county of Atoyac where he got involved in the small revolutionary movements of the time, the Teacher’s Revolutionary Movement (MRM), the Mexican Communist Party, and a group that the latter directed, the Independent Farmer’s Confederation (CCI).

         

        Spanish state: an early election about breaking the Catalan struggle

         

         

         

        By Dick Nichols

         

        February 25, 2019 Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalPedro Sánchez, prime minister of Spain’s minority Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government, announced on February 15 that the country would vote on April 28.? The election comes 15 months short of a full term and only nine months after the previous People’s Party (PP) government of Sánchez’s predecessor Mariano Rajoy fell to a PSOE censure motion in the Spanish Congress.

         

        The censure motion was supported by the rest of the all-Spanish left (Podemos and the United Left), the alliances in which they participate in Galicia, Catalonia and the Valencian Country (respectively In Tide, Together We Can and A La Valenciana) and by nearly all nationalist forces, left and right.

         

        These were the conservative Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and the left pro-independence Basque alliance EH Bildu, the conservative Catalan European Democratic Party (PDECat) and the centre-left Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the New Canary Islands group.

         

        Once in government, Sánchez, with only 84 PSOE seats in the 350-seat Congress, had to negotiate support for his legislative program bill by bill. Nonetheless, he had been saying before the announcement that his government would run its full term. Why did he change his mind?

         

        Iran: Class struggle and neo-liberal capital accumulation

         

         

        By Minna Langeberg

         

        February 25, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Recent months have seen protests throughout Iran, by teachers, nurses, labourers, retirees, oil industry workers, bazaar traders and shopkeepers, truck drivers, farmers, the unemployed, students, and many more.

         

        The current wave of protests across the country is a continuation of those of December 2017- January 2018 that were brutally suppressed by the regime. Like the 2017-18 protests, they signal the deep crisis of legitimacy of the regime, as expressed by one of the most enduring slogans that emerged from those protests: 'Fundamentalists, Reformists, the game is over'. The main slogan of current protests is 'Bread. Work. Freedom'.

         

        These protests are sporadic, self-organised, fragmented and generally small in size – but more or less continuous. They are grassroots protests against the current situation in Iran, which has reached a boiling point. These are protests of the working class, women, the poor, the unemployed, marginalised, the underclass and the 'surplus population' who cannot be absorbed into capitalist wage labour.

         

        On fire: A dialectical heritage

         

         

        By Jason Devine

         

        February 24, 2019 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?— Heraclitus has come down to us as the philosopher of Π?ντα ?ε?, of the view that everything flows. This immediately calls to mind the image of water. Indeed, a saying of his that most commonly attends discussions of his philosophy is the following: “Upon those who step into the same rivers, different and again different waters flow.”[1] However, this can only lead to false impressions. For fire plays a far greater and more fundamental role for Heraclitus, as both an element and a metaphor, than water ever did. Fire expresses and is the eternal alteration between life and death, movement and rest, between uniformity and diversity viz. what has come to be known as the dialectic.

         

        Revolution, capitalist restoration and class struggle in China

         

         

        By Chris Slee

         

        February 24, 2019 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?— In 1949 the Chinese Communist Party (CP), led by Mao Zedong, came to power after more than 20 years of war.? They had fought against the reactionary Chiang Kai-shek regime, and against the Japanese invasion of China.

         

        For a time there was an alliance between the CP and Chiang Kai-shek against Japan, but this ended when Japan was defeated.? The CP, based in rural areas, won the support of the peasants through land reform and other progressive measures.? This enabled them to win the war, despite US military aid to Chiang Kai-shek.

         

        Initially, the revolution was intended to be democratic, not socialist.? Those capitalists who had not been closely associated with Chiang Kai-shek were allowed to continue in business.

         

        But after the outbreak of the Korean war in 1950 there was a change.? The party’s policy became more radical

         

        Revolution and revolutionary strategy in Latin America

         

         

        By G.LL. Williams

         

        February 24, 2019 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?— The need for social revolution and socialist revolution is rather obvious in Latin America — a need that stretches from Mexico to Argentina. While this need is different in the various countries of Latin America, the overall nature of the struggle for social revolution and socialist revolution in Latin America is very similar. The history of the revolutionary struggle in Latin America, since the twentieth-century, shows the necessity of such a social revolution and socialist revolution. For the Latin American Left that struggle continues today.

         

        Venezuela: Taking a look at the anti-Maduro narrative

         

         

        By Steve Ellner

         

        February 19, 2019??—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?—?The recognition by Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden of Juan Guaidó as Venezuelan president is the latest demonstration of the consensus in Washington over the nefariousness of the Nicolás Maduro government. Not since Fidel Castro’s early years in power has a Latin American head of state been so consistently demonized. But the 1960s was the peak of the Cold War polarization that placed Cuba plainly in the enemy camp, and unlike Venezuela of today that nation had a one-party system in the absence of political pluralism.

         

        The scope of the consensus was put in evidence by the recent faceoff between two figures as far apart as Donald Trump and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In his State of the Union address, Trump attributed Venezuela’s economic crisis to the failed system of socialism. Ocasio-Cortez responded by arguing that the Venezuelan case is “an issue of authoritarian regime versus democracy.”

         

        Zimbabwe: Capitalist crisis + ultra-neoliberal policy = “Mugabesque” authoritarianism

         

         

        By Patrick Bond

         

        February 14, 2019 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?— Once again, a formidable burst of state brutality against Zimbabwe’s citizenry has left at least a dozen corpses, scores of serious injuries, mass arrests, Internet suspension and a furious citizenry. The 14-17 January nationwide protests were called by trade unions against an unprecedented fuel price hike, leading to repression reminiscent of former leader Robert Mugabe’s iron fist.

         

         

        Most of the country’s economy ground to a halt. For more than a week, the cities remained ghost towns, as army troops continued attacking even ordinary civilians who are desperate to earn a living in what often seems to be the country’s main occupation these days: street vending of cheap imported commodities. A national strike of 500,000 civil service workers has been called. Most essential commodities are now vastly overpriced or in very short supply. This is what a full-on capitalist crisis looks like.

         

        Venezuela and disaster capitalism

         

         

        By Reinaldo Iturriza López, translation by Nicolas Allen

         

        February 10, 2019
        —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Verso Blog?— On Monday, January 28, the Department of the Treasury of the United States announced it was placing a “block” on all of Petróleos de Venezuela’s (PDVSA) assets under US jurisdiction, prohibiting its citizens from engaging in any type of transaction with the Venezuelan state-owned oil company.[1]?Secretary Steve Mnuchin added that “if the people of Venezuela want to continue to sell us oil”, we will only accept it on the condition that our money goes to “blocked accounts”, which would later be made available for the “transition government”.[2]

         

        Venezuela defines the future of the region

         

         

        By Claudio Katz, translation by Nicolas Allen

         

        February 10, 2019
        —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Verso Blog?— Guaidó’s self-proclamation as Venezuelan president is the most ridiculous?and dangerous?coup attempt in recent years. With the shameless backing of Washington, the Venezuelan rightwing intends to place a complete stranger at the helm of the state.

         

        This time around, the starting signal was neither a terrorist attack nor an assassination attempt directed against Maduro. Trump has chosen a group of conspiracy experts (Abrams, Pence, Bolton, Rubio) to pursue escalation and has opted to seize the Venezuelan oil enterprise operating in the United States (CITGO). He has brushed aside all principles of legal guarantee in his quest to appropriate the world’s largest concentration of crude oil reserves.

         

        British politics today

         

         

        By G.LL. Williams
        ?

        February 10, 2019 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?— Britain’s politics is in crisis. Today there is a need to think about British politics to develop a better Left politics in Britain. Britain is faced with a simple choice today: capitalism or socialism, barbarism or socialism. British politics needs to lead to a better Britain — a socialist Britain.

         

        Regime change in Venezuela: “Made in the USA”

         

         

         

        By Steve Ellner

         

        February 9, 2019 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal? republished from NACLA: Report on the Americas —? Since its outset, the Trump administration has ratcheted up pressure on Venezuela and radicalized its positions. In the process, the Venezuelan opposition has become more and more associated with—and dependent on—Washington and its allies. An example is the opposition protests slated for February 4. The actions were timed to coincide with the European Union’s “ultimatum” stating that they would recognize the shadow government of Juan Guaidó if President Nicolás Maduro did not call elections within a week’s time.

         

        Spain’s ‘socialist’ government to US: ‘Coup against Maduro? We’re in!’

         

        ?

         

        By Dick Nichols

         

        February 9, 2019 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?— On February 15, 2003, in the face of the looming US-led war against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, the Spanish state saw the biggest demonstrations in its history. Part of a worldwide anti-war outpouring, about four million people turned out on the day, with 1.3 million in Barcelona, a million in Madrid and half-a-million in Valencia.

         

        Leaders of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) were among those at the head of these oceanic demonstrations, which directly targeted the conservative Spanish People’s Party (PP) government of prime minister José María Aznar.