Links returns with a bang

January 21, 1998

Links. Number 9

Review by Allen Myers

After an irregular publication over the past year or so, Links, the international journal of socialist renewal, has been relaunched on a three-times-a-year schedule. Issue number 9 leads with the mass struggle in Indonesia, a particularly timely choice given the turmoil in that country created by the unfolding economic crisis.

In an interview, Marlin, a leader of the People's Democratic Party (PRD), ranges over many aspects of the struggle against the Suharto dictatorship, and discusses the relationships and interactions between the different class forces and their political organisations.

Marlin's explanations will be a very useful tool for anyone wanting to understand political events as they unfold in Indonesia in the coming months.

The other articles in Links number 9 literally circle the globe.

Contributions from Portugal and India take up different aspects of capital's internationalisation. The international theses of the main resolution for the Portuguese Communist Party's most recent congress emphasise the continuing imperialist drive to dominate the world and to prescribe a sort of universal neo-liberalism to guarantee and increase its profits.

From India, Dipankar Bhattacharya, a leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) provides a very interesting discussion of economic nationalism and the Indian left, demonstrating at the same time the continuing relevance of the Communist Manifesto to questions of revolutionary strategy.

Regular readers of Green Left, familiar with Renfrey Clarke's discerning reports from Moscow, will equally appreciate his overview of the experiences of the last six years in Russia, summed up in the title "Why Russia needs another revolution".

Clarke writes that the dilemma confronting Russian workers is a stark one: "Russians in coming years will have to choose whether to make a revolution for democracy, social justice and economic progress, or to live out their days in mafia-ridden poverty and stagnation".

An interview with Peter Taaffe, national secretary of the Socialist Party in Britain, discusses "new" Labour and its leader Tony Blair. In view of the complete marginalisation of the left within the Labour Party, British socialists confront the challenge of finding ways to construct a viable socialist alternative to Labour. Taaffe discusses both the lessons which the Socialist Party has drawn from its own experiences inside and outside the Labour Party, and such efforts as Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party.

Two other articles deal with quite different aspects of reality in Latin America. Cuban economist Carlos Tablada discusses the different ways in which the revolutionary government has sought to organise the economy as circumstances have changed in Cuba and internationally. This is a fascinating look at the efforts to find forms of socialist economic organisation that maximise both involvement of the working people and economic "efficiency" in the more traditional sense.

Links contributing editor James Petras provides a solid and polemical Marxist critique of "post-Marxism", especially as it shows itself in the activities of many non-government organisations in Latin America.

Also in a polemical vein is a debate between Irwin Silber, author of Socialism: What Went Wrong?, and Phil Hearse, who critically reviewed Silber's book in the previous Links. The debate here focuses on such questions as the accuracy or otherwise of Lenin's views of revolutionary possibilities after 1914 and the capacity of international capitalism to continue developing society's productive forces.

This is a thoroughly intriguing and useful issue, confirming the importance of Links' return to regular publication.

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