29 September 2020

International Viewpoint

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International Viewpoint, the monthly English-language magazine of the Fourth International, is a window to radical alternatives world-wide, carrying reports, analysis and debates from all corners of the globe. Correspondents in over 50 countries report on popular struggles, and the debates that are shaping the left of tomorrow.
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Partisans or Workers? Figures of Belarusian Protest and Their Prospects

16/08/2020 - 14:04

These week's protests in Belarus have clearly overcome their initial electoral focus and morphed into an expanding dissident movement of urban middle class and workers. In a recent (August 4) article for Open Democracy platform on the presidential campaign in Belarus, I tried to explain why the opposition candidates from the ruling elite and the “creative class” attracted a record number of supporters, which led to mass demonstrations unseen in this country for decades. I argued that these were the culmination of a protest sentiment simmering in Belarusian society since the economic crisis of 2009, that found expression in 2017 in the form of grassroots populist protests challenging Lukashenka's degrading populist rhetoric. Before the most recent elections, his main opponent, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, began to articulate an anti-authoritarian populist discourse that appealed to a cross-classalliance of entrepreneurs, young professionals, and workers. In this article I reflect on the questions I asked two weeks ago, about the role of the leadership and the masses in the current protests, the forms of their organization and the reaction of the Belarusian state. My reflections are based on a six-day marathon of digesting shreds of information coming through the fog of censorship, Internet disruptions and propaganda, as well as from communications with my comrades in Belarus. I am also building on my fieldwork experience among Belarusian workers and trade union activists in 2015-2017, which I conducted as a social anthropologist.

- IV547 - August 2020

The Fight of LGBTQ Activists in Poland against Post-Election Repressions

15/08/2020 - 08:37

Only one day after the Polish National Electoral Commission announced the incumbent president Andrzej Duda as the winner of the close runoff elections, a queer activist was arrested in Warsaw. According to witnesses, Margot's arrest looked more like a kidnapping because ununiformed police officers handcuffed her with the use of force and dragged her out of her friend's flat. She is part of a queer collective “Stop Bzdurom” (Stop the Bullshit) that uses direct action to counter the persistent disinformation campaign targeting the LGBTQ community, sexual education, and reproductive justice.

- IV547 - August 2020 / ,

The International Aid the Lebanese People Urgently Need Must Not Be Used to Enforce Neoliberal Measures

14/08/2020 - 06:26

As activists in the international CADTM network we were deeply moved when hearing of the disastrous explosions that hit Beirut on Tuesday 4 August. In this press release we want to convey our solidarity to the Lebanese people who, for too many years, have had to suffer an unfair concatenation of murderous crises. We think that it is also important to expose political responsibilities and those who attempt to profit from the situation; it is even more important to try to find how the country can escape this vicious cycle.

- IV547 - August 2020 / , ,

The New Right Wing Triangle in the Trump-Orbán-Netanyahu Era

13/08/2020 - 09:32

On 8 July, 2020 a videoconference was broadcast by Viktor Orbán, Janez Janša and Aleksandar Vučić, respectively the heads of government of Hungary, Slovenia and Serbia. The moderator, François-Xavier Bellamy, was the leader in the European Parliament (EP) of the French right-wing party Les Républicains (LR), which. like the parties of the Hungarian and Slovenian leaders, is a member of the European People's Party (EPP) . They defended a Europe “without censorship” which protects itself from “foreigners” (and LGBT people).

- IV547 - August 2020 / , ,

Problems of unequal development in underdeveloped countries

12/08/2020 - 17:20

One of the basic teachings of Trotskyism is the theory of permanent revolution. It is an important theory put forward by Trotsky in the debate on socialist revolution in underdeveloped countries.

- IV547 - August 2020 / ,

Russian Socialist Movement on Belarus

12/08/2020 - 11:32

For three days since the presidential elections in Belarus, the streets of all major cities of the country have become the arena of heavy clashes between protesters and police. Despite the fact that by all independent exit polls and evidence of observers, the opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya gained a convincing victory, authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko announced his re-election. Faced with the opposition of the majority of the population, today he has to rely only on the police and secret services, who have been given carte blanche for the most brutal suppression of protests. Thousands of detainees, hundreds of injured and at least one killed - that's the price Lukashenko has already paid to preserve his regime. However, the resistance continues - not only in the form of street protests, but also in the political strikes that have already started at several big enterprises. We express our solidarity with workers and youth of Belarus in their struggle for a better future. We also demand for release of Belarussian left activists, such as Pavel Katarzhevski and Yury Glushakov, who were illegally arrested during these days. Below we publish the statement of the Russian Socialist Movement about the presidential elections in Belarus.

- News from around the world / ,

On “antisemitism”

12/08/2020 - 07:16

One specious argument that those of us active in Palestine solidarity hear time after time is the hoary line that “Jews are not really Semites, so why say that they are the victims of antisemitism”, or its many variants, such as “Palestinians are Semites too”.

- IV547 - August 2020 / ,

Solidarity with the people of Lebanon

11/08/2020 - 12:58

This statement was issued by the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA) following the 4 August explosion in Beirut and the visit of French president Emmanuel Macron.

- News from around the world / ,

China and the United States: A New Cold War

10/08/2020 - 08:29

The United States and China are locked in a spiraling conflict over everything from the pandemic to trade, investment, high tech, geopolitics, and military hegemony in Asia. “We're essentially in the beginnings of a Cold War,” declared Orville Schell, the director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society. “We are on a downward slide into something increasingly adversarial with China.”

- IV547 - August 2020 / ,

A triumph of ideology: John Hume and the defeat of Irish Republicanism

09/08/2020 - 21:47

The flurry of commemoration by the great and the good following the death of John Hume can be summarised as follows: Hume was the leader of the Irish Civil Rights Movement, he advocated non violence and peace through negotiation and argued for a shared Ireland that included all political currents. Decades of work saw eventual recognition of his arguments, movement towards peace, the peace process and Good Friday Agreement and eventually the Nobel prize, a celebration choreographed by Bono, and recognition as a world statesman.

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A Global View of Coronavirus, Medical Policy, and Research

08/08/2020 - 11:16

In 2019, a new virus of the coronavirus family emerged in Wuhan, China, and the disease that was caused by this virus was named COVID-19 to indicate both the virus associated with it and the year it began. “Patient Zero,” the initial patient, appears officially to have started the epidemic in early December 2019 (though there are some unsubstantiated claims of cases as early as November or even September). For one month, the local Communist Party authorities concealed and later minimized the outbreak and even organized a 4,000-person banquet in Wuhan as the epidemic emerged. This is interesting because it sheds some light on the Chinese state-capitalist bureaucracy as well as the issue of local corruption. This behavior certainly helped the initial spread, while a very active containment strategy, such as was performed in Vietnam, might have strangled the epidemic at its very beginning in China. There is, however, no evidence that the Chinese government intentionally created such a virus. The sequencing of the genome has revealed that the virus originated as a bat virus modified by hybridization in a pangolin. If it were intended for biological warfare, as some have suggested, it would have been much easier to work directly on a nonhybrid strain.

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Mandel and Capitalist Breakdown

08/08/2020 - 07:44

Using insights from Belgian Marxist thinker Ernest Mandel, economist George Kerevan argues capitalism will suffer profound breakdown this century.

- Ernest Mandel Archive / , , ,

“Martin Monath: A Jewish Resistance Fighter Among Nazi Soldiers”

08/08/2020 - 07:43

“Martin Monath: A Jewish Resistance Fighter Among Nazi Soldiers” – by Nathaniel Flakin, Pluto Press 2019.

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The Struggle Against Dalit Oppression in India

08/08/2020 - 07:43

Review of Anand Teltumbde, Republic of Caste: Thinking Equality in the Time of Neoliberal Hindutva (Navayana, 2018)

- Reviews section / ,

We denounce the renegotiation of the debt by Lenín Moreno's government

07/08/2020 - 11:17

This Open Letter by former members of the Ecuadorian Debt Audit Commission was released on 30 July 2020.

- IV547 - August 2020 / ,

‘A queer cry for freedom': Meet the LGBTQ Palestinians demanding liberation

06/08/2020 - 10:33

Hundreds of queer Palestinians protested last week following a tumultuous year for the community, which is forced to navigate between homophobia and anti-Palestinian racism.

- IV547 - August 2020 / , ,

A Marxist Guide to Understanding the Gulf States' Political Economy

05/08/2020 - 10:36

Western analysts often regard the Gulf as a strange anomaly among capitalist states. In fact, it has the same underlying dynamics as capitalist countries elsewhere, and it is powerfully shaping the politics of the Middle East.

For an analysis of the state of the Gulf's political economy, Hamza Culin spoke with Adam Hanieh. His most recent book, Money, Markets, and Monarchies, examines how the six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council are shaping the political economy of the wider Middle East. Here, he discusses the specific nature of Gulf capital, its role in regional and global markets, and its future in a post-COVID-19 world.

- IV547 - August 2020 / , , ,

“The people are active” – interview with Bolivian miners' leader Orlando Gutiérrez

04/08/2020 - 10:59

Orlando Gutiérrez spent fifteen years working in the depths of the mines of Colquiri, in the province of Inquisivi, in the department of La Paz. Today he is the highest reference point of the mineworkers' union, the Federación Sindical de Trabajadores Mineros de Bolivia (FSTMB). He is a key figure in the union's support for Luis Arce Catacora, the economist (and former minister of the economy who, on 6 September, 2020 – on condition the elections take place – will be the presidential candidate for the MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo) led by Evo Morales. He was interviewed by Gustavo Veiga for the Argentine daily newspaper Página 12. The interview took place before the interim government installed by the coup decided to postpone the presidential elections to 18 October, 2020.

- IV547 - August 2020 / ,

Mapping Social Reproduction Theory

03/08/2020 - 18:19

Tithi Bhattacharya offers an introduction to the methods, insights, and strategic implications of Social Reproduction Theory.

- Feminism / ,

U.S. Imperialism and Africa's “Perfect Storm”

03/08/2020 - 09:43

On December 24, 2019, the New York Times reported that U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper was weighing a reduction in troop levels in West Africa. Although the numbers involved were small, this news was met with official outcry and unleashed a fierce policy debate on the wisdom of such a drawdown. Military and elected officials have pushed back on the notion of a troop reduction as a “retreat” and a missed opportunity to counter both China's regional influence and terrorism. In fact, by the military establishment's own definition, “counter-terror” across the continent has failed: Attacks by militant groups have been sharply rising and have increased with foreign intervention. And devastating strikes by the United States have continued unabated: Somalia, for example, was the target of an unprecedented level of attacks in early 2020 alone.

- IV547 - August 2020 / , , ,