The left in the New World Order


Links: International Journal of Socialist Renewal
Issue number 4
New Course Publications
Reviewed by Salim Muktar

While the promise that the New World Order would usher in an era of peace lies in tatters, the claim by neo-liberal economists that economic deregulation offers the only solution to global poverty still rattles many on the left. The hollowness of this boast is demonstrated in the lead article, by James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer, on the "Economic 'recovery' in Latin America", in the latest issue of Links.

Petras, a well-known writer on Latin American affairs, proves with the latest economic data that the decade "lost to development" (the 1980s) is not being followed by a decade of recovery. Neo-liberal economics has proved to be no solution to Latin America's woes. Petras' conclusions are mirrored in articles by Hungarian leftists Laszlo Andor and Tamas Krausz on the process unfolding in eastern Europe.

Links also continues its coverage of the discussion in the South African left about what is possible in the current situation. South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Jeremy Cronin outlines a response to the neo-liberal agenda, while Russian dissident (under the current and previous regimes) Boris Kagarlitsky joins in the debate. He criticises those in the South African left who are paralysed by their pessimism into a stance of "social responsibility" (to the capitalists) or are deluded by "completely absurd theories in the spirit of 'stateless socialism'".

"Where does the border lie between radical reformism and elementary opportunism on the one side, and between radical reforms and revolution on the other? In my view, an obvious and rigid dividing line does not exist. However, there are differences of principle. These differences need to be clearly formulated, especially now, when in many countries revolutionary organisations are proclaiming the slogan of a 'turn to reformism' while in fact rejecting serious reforms", writes Kagarlitsky.

These serious reforms, according to Kagarlitsky, involve trying to unite the "movement from below" with the "transformations from above". Similar issues emerge in post-election discussion papers from the Brazilian Workers Party (PT) published in this issue of Links.

From Asia, Jomo K. Sundaram, a Malaysian writer and publisher, opens a controversial debate on the lessons for the left from the newly industrialising countries of East Asia, while Vickramabahu Karunarathne, a leader of the New Socialist Party of Sri Lanka (NSSP), examines the left's approach to nationalism and fundamentalism. Max Lane outlines further developments in the reviving Indonesian left.

The first contributions from Cuba, by Juan Antonio Blanco, appear in this issue. One looks at the Cuba-US relationship and the other at the challenges for the left in the approaching third millennium.

The fourth issue of Links underlines the growing success of this project, initiated last year by the Democratic Socialist Party of Australia. It now involves activists from a diverse range of left movements around the world, including the SACP, the Communist Party of Cuba, the Brazilian PT, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, the FMLN, the Communist Party of the Philippines (Manila-Rizal), the Party of Democratic Socialism (Germany), the Party of Communist Refoundation of Italy, the NSSP of Sri Lanka and the US Committees of Correspondence. (To subscribe, see page 18.)

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