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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).

    This site is best viewed with the Firefox internet browser.

    Could coronavirus spark a popular uprising in Venezuela?

     

     

    By?Ociel Alí López

    May 2, 2020 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Venezuela Analysis?— Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s bump in his approval rating – a result of his effective early response to the COVID-19 pandemic –?is rapidly fading. The government’s overemphasis of the threat posed by the virus as a means of lowering tensions in the face of the deep crisis of gasoline shortages is losing popular support.

    The economic situation has reverted to the worst years of the crisis in 2017 and 2018. The public is demanding a normalization of activities in order to minimize the economic fallout of the pandemic, which has revived the scourge of hunger and is becoming a catalyst for unrest.

    And the worst part is that after two months the coronavirus is becoming a tangible threat due to the mass return of Venezuelans from many countries hard hit by the pandemic, including Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil. The Venezuelan popular classes’ main source of income – remittances – has been severely reduced and will remain so until economic activity resumes in those countries. Trump and Bolsonaro are definitely not the only world leaders in dire straits. The Venezuelan government has stepped into a minefield that could explode even without US military intervention, which now seems like a more distant possibility.

    COVID capitalism: General tendencies, possible 'leaps'

     

     

    By Tithi Bhattacharya & Gareth Dale

    May 2, 2020 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Spectre?—?Never has the global economy faced such a thorough challenge from a virus. Previous epidemics scythed through populations and ravaged livelihoods, but they remained contained on a regional scale or, where global, impacted the world economy less precipitously.?Noteworthy too is the fact that never in recent memory have Euro-American countries, whose governments and media still dominate global public discourse, been so affected by a health crisis. Pandemics that kill people in Asia and Africa do not create quite the same reverberations in media conglomerates as they do when they hit the hearts of imperial hegemons.

    Covid-19 has starkly revealed not only the brutal systemic priorities of capitalism—profit-making over life-making—but also the relationship between capital and the capitalist state form. We should be attentive to this relationship in order to face a darker truth about this crisis: that it is far from an anomaly and that lacking a body blow to the system, we should prepare for a world where such crises and its effects become part of our daily lives.

    Asian Left May Day 2020 statement: Build a better future for working people in times of multiple crises

     

    May 1, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?—?In recent months, the world has been severely affected and paralysed by the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The countries of Southeast Asia are not spared. This health crisis affecting the masses, is part and parcel of the deeper crisis of global capitalism which has bred social inequalities and injustices in all areas of life. The pandemic has erupted in the midst of the climate crisis, and is set to unleash another crisis —?an economic crisis with possibly the worst recession in our time.

    Remembering George Shriver (1936-2020)

     

     

    By Paul?Le Blanc

    May 2, 2020 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?— I knew about George Shriver (who used the party name George Saunders) long before I got to know him.?Since the early 1960s he had been part of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), which I joined in 1973. Shortly after I joined a very important book was published that he edited and which I hungrily devoured, Samizdat: Voices of the Soviet Opposition.? This was an eye-opening and inspiring collection of primary sources on resistance, inside the Soviet Union, to Stalinist and bureaucratic oppression, ranging from heroic and ill-fated struggles of Left Oppositionists in the 1930s to articles and documents from dissidents of the 1960s and 1970s.?

    A reasoned counter to Peter Singer and Michael Plant’s 'When Will the Pandemic Cure Be Worse Than the Disease?'

     

     

    By Gwenael Velge

    April 28, 2020 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?—?On April 6, the well-known Australian ethicist Peter Singer (author of?Animal Libertion?and other influential philosophical texts) and Michael Plant, a?research fellow at Oxford’s?Wellbeing Research Centre?and Director of the?Happier Lives Institute?published an article in the on-line journal, Project Syndicate. They weighed up the competing benefits of using society-wide lockdowns to control Covid19 against the costs of unemployment, social isolation, and widespread bankruptcies.

    Although Peter Singer and Michael Plant, spend the second part of their article on ‘well-being’ – which, as good utilitarians, they nevertheless frame as a measurable ‘currency’ that can be maximised in abstract – they knowingly and provokingly introduce it with the more common argument of pitting lives against the economy, going as far as stating that Trump is right: “the cure cannot be worse than the decease”.?

    United States: Are deaths from COVID-19 just more unintended, but acceptable, collateral damage for the capitalist state?

     

     

    By Vince Montes

    April 27, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The concept of collateral damage is the death and injury to civilians, or other damage inflicted, as the unintended result of military operations. In this conceptualization, collateral damage, similar to the military euphemism for the killing of civilians, is the idea that there is unintentional, but acceptable death, injury, and damage associated with the carrying out a stated goal. However, unlike the goal of winning a war or when this concept is used in an Orwellian way to describe the “unintended” deaths of non-combatants killed in counterinsurgency operations, designed to kill, injury, and ultimately terrorize a people into submission, the death, injury, and destruction of COVID-19 can be see as collateral damage because it is unintended, yet deemed acceptable for the continuation of U.S. capitalism.?

    Lenin, 150 years on

     

     

    By Julian Coppens

    April 27, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — For Stalinists and liberals, Vladimir Lenin has been useful both as a myth and as a scapegoat. For the former, a myth selectively cited and distorted to justify the terror of bureaucratic rule and the theory of socialism in one country that undermined the international communist movement; for the latter, a scapegoat on which to attribute the Stalinist degeneration of the Soviet Union and, therefore, of Marxist practice.

    However, the lessons and legacy of one of the most prominent and influential figures in the history of the labour movement and revolutionary praxis, despite deliberate discredit, remain valid 150 years after his birth on April 22, 1870.

    Coronavirus: a return to normal is not good enough

     

     

    By Marty Hart-Landsberg

    April 27, 2020 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Reports from the Economic Front?— We shouldn’t be satisfied with a return to normalcy. We need a “new normal.”

    We are now in a recession, one triggered by government ordered closures of businesses producing nonessential goods and services, an action taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus. In response, Congress has approved three stimulus measures which legislators hope will keep the economy afloat until the virus is contained and companies can resume business as usual.

    Many people, rightly criticizing the size, speed, and aims of these measures, have called for a new, improved stimulus package.? But what is getting far less attention, and may be the most important thing to criticize, is the notion that we should view a return to normalcy as our desired goal. ?The fact is we also need a new economy.

    Capitalism & the pandemic

     

     

    By Dave Holmes

    April 25, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?—?The scale and scope of government measures to deal with the COVID-19 crisis have surprised many people. Long-held neoliberal dogmas have been pushed aside. Government action is clearly decisive: The bourgeois fetish of the budget surplus has been junked and huge deficits run up; after being frozen for 20 years, the dole rate has been doubled; economic sectors and firms are everywhere putting their hands out for government support; firms are being encouraged and even directed to produce vital medical supplies.

    The political will and funds were never available for climate action, health or welfare. But suddenly huge amounts of money — hundred of billions of dollars — have been committed to the pandemic problem.

    COVID-19: Charting the way forward for Malaysia

     

     

    By Jeyakumar Devaraj?

    April 19, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Human society is going through an extraordinary period. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the global economy to its knees.

    It has upended our normal consumerist way of life. Economists expect a?severe recession this year and the next. Some economists say it could be as bad as the Great Depression of the late 1920s–1930s. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 death rates are mounting rapidly in many parts of the world, and the richest country in the world continues to underestimate and mishandle this health crisis.

    Cuba: From AIDS, dengue, and ebola to COVID-19

     

     

     

    By Don Fitz

    April 18, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?—?Preparing for a pandemic requires understanding that a change in the relationship between people is primary and the production of things is secondary and flows from social factors.? Investors in profit-based medicine cannot comprehend this concept. Nothing could exemplify it more clearly than Cuba’s response to the corona virus (COVID-19).

    The US dawdled for months before reacting.? Cuba’s preparation for COVID-19 began on January 1, 1959.? On that day, over sixty years before the pandemic, Cuba laid the foundations for what would become the discovery of novel drugs, bringing patients to the island, and sending medical aid abroad.

    The role of planning in the ecosocialist transition – a contribution to the debate

     

     

    By Michael L?wy.?Introduction by?Richard Fidler

    April 18, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Life on the Left?—?The semiannual French review?Les Possibles, a publication of Attac France, in its most recent issue (23) features a number of articles on planning for the ecological and social transition. Most are addressed to the issue of socialist planning vs. capitalist markets that was prominent in the debates of 20th?century socialism. The?contribution by Michael L?wy?puts this debate in the ecosocialist framework that has emerged in this century. My translation of it is published below.

    Another impeachment and the collapse of the conservative opposition: South Korea holds general elections amid COVID-19 crisis

     

     

    By Youngsu Won

    April 17, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?—?South Korea held its 21st general election to elect MPs on April 15. The final result was pretty decisive: the ruling Together Democratic Party (TDP) won an absolute majority of 163 seats on the constituency ballot, plus another 17 seats on the party list ballot, for a total of 180 seats in the 300-member parliament.?

    In contrast, the main opposition United Future Party (UFP), a new party formed out of a merger of various parties including that of former president Park Geun-hye who was impeached in 2017, won 84 constituency seats and 19 party list seats for a total of 103 seats. This represented a huge defeat for the UFP, and led to party leader Hwang Gyo-ahn resigning even before the final vote was published.

    Governance and social conflict in a time of pandemic

     

     

    By?Cinzia Arruzza?& Felice Mometti

    April 17, 2020 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Viewpoint Magazine?— On Monday March 29th,?General Electric factory workers?staged a protest against the thousands of layoffs announced by the company’s management, demanding the reconversion of production and asking a simple?question: “If GE trusts us to build, maintain, and test engines which go on a variety of aircraft where millions of lives are at stake, why wouldn’t they trust us to build ventilators?”

    COVID-19 and circuits of capital

     

     

    By?Rob Wallace,?Alex Liebman,?Luis Fernando Chaves?& Rodrick Wallace

    April 17, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?monthly Review?—?COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the second severe acute respiratory syndrome virus since 2002, is now officially a pandemic. As of late March, whole cities are sheltered in place and, one by one, hospitals are lighting up in medical gridlock brought about by surges in patients.

    Brazil: Emergency platform to confront the coronavirus pandemic and crisis

     

     

    By?Brasil Popular Front & Povo Sem Medo

    April 16, 2020 — The Brasil Popular Front and Povo Sem Medo (People Without Fear) along with the social, people’s and student movements, central unions, political parties, traditional religions and entities of civil society, signatories to this document, concerned with the life of the Brazilian people, present and defend an emergency platform, in order to save our people from the tragedy of the new coronavirus pandemic, the economic crisis, the lack of income and the irresponsible policy of the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, which can kill thousands of Brazilians.

    The moment we are going through is unprecedented in recent history. Humanity has come to know the enemy and its own weaknesses during the battle. We don't have, nor does anyone else have, the magic recipe for overcoming this situation. All exits involve the submission of private interests to those of the whole of society, collective action, unity and popular solidarity.

    Four socialist movies to watch during quarantine

     

     

    By Shalon van Tine

    April 16, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Left Voice?—?Since millions of workers around the world are currently under quarantine, now is the perfect time for socialists to catch up on the classics of leftwing cinema. Here are four?movies?for the lockdown that focus on themes of antifascism, labor, capitalism, and imperialism.?

    Ten revolutionary books to read under quarantine

     

     

    By Doug Enaa Greene

    April 16, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Left Voice?—?Many people can’t leave the house to COVID-19. But we can prepare for coming struggles. Here are 10 books to learn about Marxism.?

    This pandemic is ecological breakdown: different tempo, same song

     

     

    By Vijay Kolinjivadi

    April 13, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Uneven Earth?—?In late 2019, a novel coronavirus (SARS CoV-2) emerged from a wet market in Wuhan in the province of Hubei in China. At the time of?writing, it has resulted in cases approaching 1 million and the deaths of over 42,000 people worldwide. Only a couple months ago, the world was taken aback by unprecedented bushfires in Australia, massive youth movements striking for stronger action to tackle climate change, and a groundswell of protests across the world demanding greater democracy, an end to state oppression, and against debilitating economic austerity in places ranging from Hong Kong, to India, to Chile, respectively.

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