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New articles : Links - International journal of socialist renewal

Cuban VP: `Sustainable development requires a revolution in our values'

May 18, 2008

Address by José Ramón Machado Ventura, First Vice-President of Cuba’s Council of State, at a session on ``Sustainable Development: the Environment, Climate Change and Energy'', during the 5th EU/LAC (European Union/Latin America and Caribbean) summit meeting in Lima, Peru, May 16-17.

Your Excellency:

At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro 16 years ago, Fidel Castro issued a prophetic warning, stating that ``an important biological species is at risk of disappearing as a result of the rapid and progressive destruction of its natural living conditions: humanity''.

Time has proven him right.

Let us not mince our words: we won’t attain sustainable development, the negative impacts of climate change will not be halted or reversed, and the environment will not be preserved for future generations, if the irrational patterns of production, distribution and consumption imposed upon us by capitalism prevail. The globalisation of neoliberal policies has drastically exacerbated the crisis.

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A brief socialist history of the automobile

By Rob Rooke

No single commercial product in the history of capitalism has had a greater effect on the economy and politics than the automobile. No other product has been such a lever to increase consumption and increase markets in the developed world. It could be argued that the car, more than any other product, was at the very heart of the 20th century’s economic expansion. In US society, for over a century, the car has been raised on a cultural pedestal worshipping individuality and defining big business’ vision of freedom.

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Indonesia: Workers, poor reject petrol price rises imposed `on behalf of the poor’

May 15, 2008 -- ``Let’s seek the opportunity out of the world's crisis. In responding to the increase in global food prices, let us improve productivity. Amidst the oil crisis and price rises, let's be thrifty. Let's develop the energy resources.'' -- Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudoyono, May 1, 2008.

The poor will benefit from the increase in fuel prices rise, he said on May 7, 2008.

Meanwhile vice-president Yusuf Kalla said that so far the fuel subsidy has been benefiting the rich. He added ``The protesters who oppose this policy mean that they are helping the poor.''

Acting as if they are doing it ``on behalf of the poor'', the Indonesian government plans to impose a 30% rise on petroleum prices. It will be the third oil price rise under the Susilo Bambang Yudoyono government. To help the poor survive this unpopular policy, the government is granting direct cash transfers amounting 100,000 rupiah per month per family. The direct cash transfer ``gift'' was also implemented with the oil price rise in 2005.

Will this price rise benefit the poor?

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Our history: John Reed’s `Ten days that shook the world’

Ten Days That Shook The World
By John Reed
Penguin Books 351 pages
Paperback

Review by Alex Miller

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El movimiento obrero venezolano en la encrucijada

por Kiraz Janicke y Federico Fuentes
Rebelión

Primero vino la decisión del 9 de abril, cuando el presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez, tras una larga lucha de los trabajadores, renacionalizó la acería Sidor que un gobierno anterior había
privatizado en 1997.

Poco después la Fuerza Socialista Bolivariana de Trabajadores, una fracción de la Unión Nacional de Trabajadores (central chavista) se separó y lanzo una llamada a una nueva federación nacional.

A los dos días, el vicepresidente de la Asamblea Nacional, Roberto Hernández (miembro del Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, PSUV, que había formado parte del Partido Comunista de Venezuela, PCV) reemplazó como Ministro de Trabajo a José Ramón Rivero, miembro de la
FSBT a quien los trabajadores de Sidor acusaban de oponerse a su lucha.

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Michael A. Lebowitz: Socialism is the future -- Build it now

By Michael A. Lebowitz

Ideas become a material force when they grasp the minds of masses. This is true not only of ideas which can support revolutionary change. It is also true of those ideas which prevent change. An obvious example is the concept of TINA -- the idea that there is no alternative, no alternative to neoliberalism, no alternative to capitalism.

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Global food crisis: Capitalism, agribusiness and the food sovereignty alternative

By Ian Angus

[Second of two articles. Click here for part one.]

“Nowhere in the world, in no act of genocide, in no war, are so many people killed per minute, per hour and per day as those who are killed by hunger and poverty on our planet.” —Fidel Castro, 1998

May 11, 2008 -- When food riots broke out in Haiti last month, the first country to respond was Venezuela. Within days, planes were on their way from Caracas, carrying 364 tons of badly needed food.

The people of Haiti are “suffering from the attacks of the empire’s global capitalism,” Venezuela's President Hugo Chàvez said. “This calls for genuine and profound solidarity from all of us. It is the least we can do for Haiti.”

Venezuela’s action is in the finest tradition of human solidarity. When people are hungry, we should do our best to feed them. Venezuela’s example should be applauded and emulated.

But aid, however necessary, is only a stopgap. To truly address the problem of world hunger, we must understand and then change the system that causes it.

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