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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).

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Catalonia: To stop Puigdemont, Spanish regime dives ever deeper into the sewer

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

February 7, 2018 
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Early on January 30, Roger Torrent, speaker of the Catalan parliament that was returned at the December 21 elections, suspended that day’s session. It had been set down to elect outgoing president Carles Puigdemont as head of the new Catalan government.

 

The decision of Torrent, a leading member of the pro-independence Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), came after the Spanish Constitutional Court had ruled two days earlier that the investiture of Puigdemont, in exile in Brussels, could not take place in absentia.

 

Moreover, as someone facing charges of “rebellion” and “sedition” he would have to get the permission of Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena—author of the preventive detention of other Catalan MPs—to actually attend the investiture session.

 

Wild Times: From the 1917 Russian Revolution to the Revolution of Our Times

 

 

By Álvaro García, Linera, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Crisis and Critique

 

Abstract: The present work is an attempt to locate the relevance of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. It takes as a premise the thesis that the previous century was announced by this event, which indeed brought the idea of Communism from the marginal debates into the center of political action. It then goes on to debate revolutions as a plebeian moment, all the way to the possibility and the nature of socialism today, by taking a detour through the meaning of the Bolshevik Revolution. The paper concludes with affirming the necessity of revolutions, as something which dignifies the human beings.

 

Contextualizing South Korea’s Winter Olympics

 

 

By Youngsu Won

 

February 6, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This winter has been extremely cold in South Korea, with temperatures regularly reaching well below -10oC – perhaps another sign of climate change. One of the coldest places has been Pyeongchang, a small town in Gangwon Province, which is just below the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and is set to host the Winter Olympics between February 9 to 25.

 

Blanqui and the Communist Enlightenment

 

 

Dedicated to my cousin, Finley William

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

February 6, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice with the author's permission — Currently, the principles of the Enlightenment are under attack on several fronts. On the one hand, there are fascists and religious fundamentalists who are opposed to secularism, democracy, and equality. On the other hand, large segments of the left have rejected Enlightenment-inspired “grand narratives” as inherently oppressive and totalitarian. Now that Enlightenment ideas are under attack, the left stands on the same philosophical ground as the right, making it ill-equipped to defend universalist principles. Other so-called defenders of the Enlightenment, whether liberals or social democrats, offer no positive alternative to reactionaries. They remain stalwart defenders of the status quo of capitalism, wars, and racism.

 

New evidence of Africa’s systematic looting from an increasingly schizophrenic World Bank

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

February 5, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal A brand new World Bank report, The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018, offers evidence of how much poorer Africa is becoming thanks to rampant minerals, oil and gas extraction. Yet Bank policies and practices remain oriented to enforcing foreign loan repayments and transnational corporate (TNC) profit repatriation, thus maintaining the looting.

Honduras: Free Edwin Espinal and all political prisoners (plus COPINH Updates on the Case of Berta Caceres and Gustavo Castro)

 

 

February 4, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Free Edwin Espinal Campaign — Long-time Honduran activist Edwin Espinal has been jailed on charges related to protests against election fraud in Honduras. Due to his activism, he has been subject to State harassment, violence, and threats since the 2009 coup d’état. Immediate action is required to push for Edwin’s release and to ensure his safety.

 

Ecuador: Referendum could decide fate of Correa’s Citizens’ Revolution

 

 

By Denis Rogatyuk

 

February 3, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Ecuadorians will head to the polls on February 4 to cast their vote in a referendum that could prove to be decisive for the government of President Lenin Moreno and the political direction of the country.

 

Moreno was elected president last April as the candidate of PAIS Alliance, the party of former left-wing president Rafael Correa. However, less than year on from the election, Correa – together with a majority of PAIS Alliance activists – now view Moreno as a “traitor” for failing to honour his commitment to continue the policies of the Citizens’ Revolution, which was kick-started by Correa’s election in 2007.

 

Rosa Luxemburg’s bloc with the SPD bureaucracy

 

 

By Eric Blanc

 

February 3. 2018 — 
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — Rosa Luxemburg’s contributions to the revolutionary movement and the development of Marxism are undeniably important. Yet many writers today uncritically romanticise Luxemburg as a humanistic, undogmatic, and democratic alternative to Social Democracy, Leninism, and/or Stalinism. Sobhanlal Datta Gupta, for example, argues that Luxemburg ‘inaugurated the heritage of an alternative understanding of Marxism with a revolutionary humanist face, as distinct from liberalism, social democratic revisionism as well as Stalinist authoritarianism. It is through the lens of Rosa Luxemburg that it is possible to understand what went wrong with Soviet socialism and how we can reposition our understanding of socialism in the twenty-first century.’[1]

 

David Harvey denies imperialism

 

 

By John Smith

 

February 2, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Review of African Political Economy — David Harvey, author of The New Imperialism and other acclaimed books on capitalism and Marxist political economy, not only believes that the age of imperialism is over, he thinks it has gone into reverse.

Afrin between the claws of the major powers

 

 

By Cihad Hammy

 

February 2, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Region In an article I wrote a day before the Turkish state's invasion of Afrin, I intended to scrutinize the underlying ideological structures of the Turkish ruling party (AKP) and the driving force behind the invasion of Afrin. This article will focus more on the role of major powers, mainly US and Russia, in the recent invasion of Afrin and the stances held by the Assad regime and Iran.

 

Socialist Party of Malaysia on upcoming elections: boycott or not?

 

 

By Mark Johnson

 

January 31, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières — As general elections approach, Malaysian leftists are hesitating between between a boycott, and voting for the liberal-social democrat opposition coalition as the lesser of two evils.

 

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) Central Committee member S Arutchelvan sympathises with those who propose spoliing their ballot papers in frustration with the lack of choice in Malaysia’s upcoming general election.

 

Women, nature, and capital in the Industrial Revolution

 

 

By John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark

 

January 30, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Monthly Review — The remarkable rise in recent years of “social reproduction theory” within the Marxist and revolutionary feminist traditions, identified with the studies of such figures as Johanna Brenner, Heather Brown, Paresh Chattopadhyay, Silvia Federici, Susan Ferguson, Leopoldina Fortunati, Nancy Fraser, Frigga Haug, David McNally, Maria Mies, Ariel Salleh, Lise Vogel, and Judith Whitehead—to name just a few—has significantly altered how we look at Karl Marx’s (and Frederick Engels’s) treatment of women and work in nineteenth-century Britain.[1] Three conclusions with respect to Marx’s analysis are now so well established by contemporary scholarship that they can be regarded as definitive facts: (1) Marx made an extensive, detailed examination of the exploitation of women as wage slaves within capitalist industry, in ways that were crucial to his overall critique of capital; (2) his assessment of women’s working conditions was seriously deficient with regard to housework or reproductive labor;[2] and (3) central to Marx’s (and Engels’s) outlook in the mid-nineteenth century was the severe crisis and threatened “dissolution” of the working-class family—to which the capitalist state in the late nineteenth century was compelled to respond with an ideology of protection, forcing women in large part back into the home.[3]

 

Dialectical logic in Plato’s ‘Parmenides’, Hegel’s ‘Logic’ and Marx’s ‘Critique of Political Economy’

 

 

By Jason Devine

 

January 29, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Leon Trotsky once contended that the “Dialectic training of the mind” was “as necessary to a revolutionary fighter as finger exercises to a pianist.”[1] Regardless of one’s appraisal of the man, his observation was incontestably correct. To be a revolutionary in our modern times is to be a Marxist, and to be the latter is to adhere to Marx’s dialectical method. This method, by its very nature, cannot be unconsciously absorbed: it must be consciously striven for and then put into practice. The essential path to beginning this process of “training” is the study of works of dialectical logic.[2] Of course, not all such works are equal or accessible. For example, to fully understand Marx’s dialectics, a study of the works of Hegel is necessary; but starting with Hegel is notoriously difficult. Nevertheless, one piece of writing which is generally accessible and, moreover, an exemplar, is Plato’s dialogue Parmenides.

 

It should be recalled that, as Hegel’s system is an organic integration and summation of all previous philosophy, any previous work could be said to be necessary for an understanding of his thought. Certainly this touches the very heart of the man’s philosophy, for he had already noted in 1807, in his famous preface to the Phenomenology, that,

 

Fruits and perils of the ‘bloc within’: The Comintern and Asia 1919-25 (Part 3)

 

 

Chen Duxiu

 

By John Riddell

 

January 28, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — The most advanced experience of Communist alliance with national revolutionists occurred in Indonesia (Dutch East Indies) prior to the Baku Congress. However, it was not mentioned at the congress, even though one of its architects – the Dutch Communist Maring (Henk Sneevliet) – was present in the hall. Maring had been a leader for many years of revolutionary socialist Dutch settlers in Indonesia, who had achieved the remarkable feat of transforming their group into one predominantly indigenous in leadership, membership, and programmatic orientation. The key to success had been a close alliance with a mass national-revolutionary organization of the type described by the Second Congress, called Sarekat Islam.

 

Their tactic, which they called a “bloc within,” involved building a Communist fraction within the Islamic organization both by sending comrades into the movement and recruiting from its ranks. The bloc with Sarekat Islam, which started up before the Comintern was formed, had resulted in consolidation of a small but viable Communist party in Indonesia.[1]

 

Should Communists ally with revolutionary nationalism? The Comintern and Asia 1919-25 (Part 2)

 

 

Turar Ryskulov (1894-1938)

 

By John Riddell

 

January 28, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — As described in part 1 of this series, the Comintern leadership concluded at the end of 1919 that “[T]he civil war of the working people against the imperialists and exploiters in all the advanced countries is beginning to be combined with national wars against international imperialism.”[1]

 

But how would the proposed alliance of workers’ and national uprisings be effected? This strategic issue was addressed in the Comintern’s Second Congress, held in Moscow 9 July-7 August 1920.

Toward a global strategic framework: The Comintern and Asia 1919-25 (Part 1)

 

 

Manabendra Nath Roy

 

By John Riddell

 

January 28, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — The revolutionary activists who founded the Communist International (Comintern) in 1919 had little contact with movements for national and colonial liberation outside Russia. Nonetheless, only a year later, in July 1920, the Comintern adopted a far-reaching strategy for national and social revolution in dependent countries, later termed the anti-imperialist united front.

 

Venezuelan people are prime victims of Ottawa’s sanctions

 

 

Introduction by Richard Fidler

 

January 27, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — “Since 2014,” writes a reporter in the online journal Venezuelanalysis, “Venezuela has been suffering from a deep economic crisis brought about by the drop in global oil prices, a dysfunctional exchange rate system, and a decrease in oil production levels.

 

“So far the crisis has been characterised by triple digit inflation, and a shortage of hard cash and everyday staples. Nonetheless, the situation has worsened since December 2017.”

 

The Maduro government is by no means exempt from responsibility for these deteriorating conditions. It has displayed a remarkable ineptness in its failure to overcome the economic crisis by tackling its underlying causes, notwithstanding some innovative maneuvering that has, for now, staved off the offensive by its right-wing political opponents and their foreign supporters.

 

Turkish socialists: In the face of nationalist consensus and militaristic unreason, we condemn Erdogan’s war on Afrin!

 

 

By Sosyalist Demokrasi icin Yeniyol

 

January 25, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International ViewpointAfter weeks of moral preparation, diplomatic pressure and massive disinformation, the Turkish state has finally attacked the predominantly Kurdish enclave of Afrin, located in north-western Syria. Skilfully playing on the cleavages between Washington and Moscow, the Turkish President has launched a major military operation involving air strikes, the deployment of Islamist militias and the incursion of Turkish troops on Syrian soil ready for the offensive.

 

We strongly condemn this war, cynically called “Olive Branch”, which will have no other consequence than to aggravate the tensions between the Turkish, Kurdish and Arab peoples, to postpone any hope of life together and whose ultimate objective is undoubtedly the consolidation of Erdogan’s dictatorial regime.

 

Vanguards of Humanity: Why I support Afrin & the Rojava Revolution

 

 

By Marcel Cartier

 

January 26, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Region — The dark clouds of 21st-century fascism are once again hanging over the heads of the people of northern Syria. As if the inhabitants of the region often referred to as Rojava haven’t suffered enough over the course of the past 7 years of war, the Turkish state has come to the conclusion that the time is ripe to pick up the fallen, bloodied sword from the corpse that is Islamic State. Together with Salafist mercenaries carrying flags of the Syrian ‘rebels’ – one of the many components of what at one historical juncture seemingly all so long ago was a cohesive ‘Free Syrian Army’ – Erdogan’s regime vows a ‘swift operation’ to destroy ‘terrorism’ in Afrin.

 

It is Afrin that has been a beacon of stability in Syria over the course of the war, not only taking in tens of thousands of refugees from elsewhere in the country, but establishing the principles of direct democracy, women’s liberation and ecology in the midst of an otherwise catastrophic and tumultuous period. It is precisely this model of a socialistic, multi-ethnic, feminist canton advocated by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that Erdogan’s AKP government sees as ‘terrorism’. The irony could not be more obvious.

 

Karl Korsch's Philosophical Bolshevism

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

January 25, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal When Karl Korsch is remembered, he is generally alongside Georg Lukács and Antonio Gramsci as one of the founders of “Western Marxism”. Western Marxism is typically viewed as a diverse trend that focuses more on issues of culture and ideology instead of political economy, and eschews political engagement. It is certainly the case that most of what we understand by Western Marxism, notably the Frankfurt School, falls under that broad definition.

 

After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Korsch believed that Marxism needed to be restored as a revolutionary philosophy. Korsch wrote his most famous work, Marxism and Philosophy, in 1923 when he was a leader in the Communist Party of Germany. Far from being a Western Marxist, Korsch like Gramsci and Lukács, is better characterized as a “Philosophical Bolshevik” who was committed to the theory and practice of socialist revolution.

 

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