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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.

                          Socialist Party of Malaysia: We need to call-out the dangerous myth of "mitigation" when it comes to COVID-19



                          By?Dr. Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj

                          March 24, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?—?I just received a video this morning featuring an Israeli Minister making an argument supporting “mitigation” as a strategy for combating COVID-19. He explained that since mortality rates are lower than 1% for the young, society just needs to isolate those above 70 years of age, and allow the infection to spread through the rest of the population so that after about 80% of the total population have recovered from being infected by COVID-19, one has herd immunity in the population and this will protect the older members from getting infected.

                          Philippines: The Duterte regime and the COVID-19 pandemic — the case of a weak but authoritarian state



                          By Reihana Mohideen and Tony Iltis

                          Update: On March 23, Duterte put to Congress the erroneously titled “Bayanihan Act of 2020”.?The word?‘bayanihan’?means community assistance or ‘communitarian’ and the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ means assistance given voluntarily and without any monetary consideration by a member of the community.?The title itself is fake, a lie. Nowhere in the bill does the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ prevail. The doctors, nurses, health workers, grocery employees, transport workers and all the frontliners who are heading the fight against COVID19 are not empowered in this bill — instead it extends more power to Duterte, the bureaucracy and his minions. This bill is sinister in many ways, as it aims to give wide powers to a president who’s proven to being incompetent in dealing with the pandemic.?

                          Pakistan: Politics in times of emergencies



                          By Ammar Ali Jan

                          March 20, 2020??—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?The News?—?We are living through an era where emergencies appear more regularly than the norm. The ‘war on terror’ from 2001, the financial crisis of 2008, civil wars in the Middle East, followed by the ‘refugee crisis’ and the ongoing ‘climate crisis’ that threatens the obliteration of the planet, are all manifestations of the extraordinary times we live in.

                          These socio-economic crises have been supplemented by health emergencies that frequently threaten our social fabric. The AIDS epidemic has affected people throughout the world, particularly in Africa, where a large percentage of the population suffered the debilitating effects of this deadly virus. The Ebola epidemic and Dengue fever also induced mass fear in the public, even if their geographical reach was limited to specific regions of the Global South.

                          Italy's COVID-19 pandemic: From health emergency to social crisis



                          By Marta Autore & Salvatore Corizzo

                          March 18, 2020 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?International Viewpoint?— The emergency that we have experienced in recent weeks in Italy has a health, economic and social nature in a broad sense, which could soon turn into a real crisis, with security implications. As we write (data updated on the afternoon of 11 March 2020) in Italy there are 12,462 infected, with 827 deaths. Unfortunately, these numbers are constantly increasing, seeming to follow an exponential trend. But to understand where we are today and where we could be in a few hours, days or weeks, it is necessary to take a step back to define the characteristics of the particular political-social phase that we are going through.

                          Faced with the coronavirus pandemic, solidarity is our only chance



                          By Jane Slaughter

                          March 18, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Labor Notes?—?If there were ever a time to say, “I'll fight for someone I don't know,” this is it. If we ever meant it when we said “an injury to one is an injury to all,” now we're seeing why that's so.

                          The labor movement's cherished values of solidarity and siblinghood are our only chance if we don't want to see our elders die before their time.

                          Projecting from Italy, if half the U.S. population catches the coronavirus, and our unpreparedness is not addressed,?we could see 1.6 million deaths.

                          The thing is, our natural human impulse to reach out to our neighbors is counterproductive because the virus is so contagious. Any piecemeal, private, personal efforts will be washed aside like the levees were by Hurricane Katrina. We need solidarity?as a whole society.

                          COVID-19: The politics of the pandemic



                          By Neil Faulkner?

                          March 18, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Mutiny?—?Anyone who trusts the Tories to respond to the coronavirus crisis in a rational and socially responsible way is a fool. Their response will reflect the class interests they represent.

                          Moreover, the present regime – a regime of the Hard Right, not the Centre Right – will use the opportunity to test-run the more authoritarian forms of state control they favour.

                          This may prove very necessary for them. There is every possibility that the pandemic will trigger a worldwide economic collapse and a massive intensification of the social tensions created by 40 years of neoliberalism and 10 years of austerity. Expect forms of police power trialled in the context of the pandemic then to be deployed again and again as the global crisis deepens in other ways.

                          Coronavirus pandemic: Eight theses on Covid-19



                          By?Daniel Tanuro

                          March 18, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?International Viewpoint?—?1. The fact that the economic slowdown preceded Covid-19 should not lead to denying either the economic impact of the epidemic (interruption of some production processes, disruption of supply chains, sectoral impacts on air transport and tourism, etc.) or the seriousness of the threat it poses as such. A disruptive phenomenon with exponential dynamics, this epidemic is a specific amplifier of the economic and social crisis. It also reveals the fragility of the capitalist system and the dangers it poses for the working classes, in particular through its congenital fossil-based productivism, the fundamental cause of the ecological and climate crisis.

                          Cuba’s contribution to combating COVID-19



                          By?Helen Yaffe

                          March 14, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Yale University Press Blog?—?COVID-19 surged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019, and by January 2020 it had hit Hubei province like a tidal wave, swirling over China and rippling out overseas. The Chinese state rolled into action to combat the spread and to care for those infected. Among the thirty medicines the Chinese National Health Commission selected to fight the virus was a Cuban anti-viral drug, Interferon Alpha 2b. This drug has been produced in China since 2003, by the enterprise ChangHeber, a Cuban-Chinese joint venture.?

                          Spain: An emergency social and political plan against COVID-19




                          March 13, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?International Viewpoint?—?The Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic is showing up the inadequacy of capitalist governments in dealing with such a crisis, and pointing to the responsibility of their policies regarding a public health service. It also raises broader ecological questions. These all merit broad discussion on the radical anticapitalist left, This statement from Anticapitalistas in the Spanish state indicates the guidelines to an initial response.?

                          Britain: On the Coronavirus and the social crisis - An open letter to the Trade Union movement from Labour Transformed



                          March 12, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Labour Transformed?—?Labour Transformed are extremely concerned about the situation presented by the Coronavirus and the inadequate responses from both the Conservative government and the organised Labour/Union movement. We appreciate a lot is going on, ‘behind the scenes,’ but believe a collective? response from the union movement is long overdue. Hopefully such a response can help to quell social anxiety and provide the leadership necessary to deal with the crisis as it unfolds over the coming weeks.?

                          All current modelling regarding the spread of the coronavirus suggests that the UK is currently two weeks ‘behind’ Italy in terms of infection rates, although some modelling has already suggested the UK will suffer a larger number of cases given the current rate at which the virus is spreading here. If we end up with a 20% infection rate in the UK, with only 5% of those needing ICU care –? we would need 600,000 ICU beds.There are only 4000 ICU beds across the whole of the NHS, and these are already 90% occupied.?

                          United States: Now is the time for solidarity - Democratic Socialists of America statement on COVID-2019



                          March 12, 2020??—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from?Democratic Socialists of America?—?From the 2008 global financial collapse to the natural disasters caused by climate change that rocked Northern California, New Orleans, New York, and Puerto Rico, capitalism is causing devastating human crises. During each of these crises, it has been poor, working-class, and already marginalized people who have suffered the most —?while banks, energy companies, and the real estate industry have been bailed out.

                          New Zealand: Banking must be a public utility to solve the housing crisis



                          By?Mike Treen

                          March 13, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Daily Blog?—?Housing availability and affordability are in a crisis in New Zealand.

                          31 percent of households spent 30 percent or more of their income on housing costs. This number was only 11% in the late 1980s.

                          For renters, 28% spend 40% or more of income on housing. Average rents have increased from $400 to $580 a week since 2008.

                          Over the last decade, average housing costs increased by 43%. This was similar to the growth of average incomes but the poorest housing incomes only increased by 29%.

                          The has been a decline in floating mortgage rates from 10% to 3% at the same time as median house prices have doubled.

                          Mortgage debt is now at $266 billion (May 2019) – up 38% in the last five years. Overall household debt has gone from the equivalent of 50% of GDP in the late 1970s to over 160% today. Household debt to income ratios is also extremely high and dangerous at 165% double the level of the mid-1990s.

                          Inoculating against globalization: Coronavirus and the search for alternatives



                          By Sam Gindin

                          March 12, 2020??—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Socialist Project?—?Social developments constantly surprise. The latest anxieties over the economic contradictions of extreme globalization haven’t been triggered by a trade war, inter-imperial rivalry, a financial meltdown or riots in the streets. They’ve rather been sparked by an apparently non-economic and contingent event: the?coronavirus outbreak. As precautionary measures send workers home in a place few of us have ever heard of and the ramifications shut workplaces in places most of us never knew were connected, a business panic has set in. Grown men (and women) stare in horror at stock market screens and the business press fretfully anticipates an imminent recession.

                          Mike Davis on COVID-19: The monster is finally at the door


                          By Mike Davis?

                          March 12, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?—?COVID-19 is finally the monster at the door. Researchers are working night and day to characterize the outbreak but they are faced with three huge challenges.

                          First the continuing shortage or unavailability of test kits has vanquished all hope of containment. Moreover it is preventing accurate estimates of key parameters such as reproduction rate, size of infected population and number of benign infections. The result is a chaos of numbers.

                          There is, however, more reliable data on the virus’s impact on certain groups in a few countries. It is very scary. Italy and Britain, for example, are reporting a much higher death rate among those over 65. The ‘corona flu’ that Trump waves off is an unprecedented danger to geriatric populations, with a potential death toll in the millions.

                          Canada: Fight against COVID-19 should focus on most vulnerable, including First Nations



                          By?Karl Nerenberg

                          March 12, 2020 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Rabble?—?Health-care experts and public health officials are expressing a high degree of concern over the potential impact of the COVID-19 virus on poor and vulnerable populations.

                          From the onset of this disease, the rich have made sure to take care of themselves, as the?New York Times?reported last week. Those for whom money is not an object are using private jets rather than commercial flights, vacationing in remote and isolated tropical paradises, stocking up on costly designer masks, and signing up for concierge medical services (or, as the?Times?calls them, "VIP emergency rooms").?

                          The picture for poor and marginalised communities is the opposite.?

                          Coronavirus: "Agribusiness risks millions of deaths"



                          Yaak Pabst interviews?Rob Wallace

                          March 12, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Marx21?—?The coronavirus is keeping the world in a state of shock. But instead of fighting the structural causes of the pandemic, the government is focusing on emergency measures. A talk with Rob Wallace (Evolutionary Biologist) about the dangers of Covid-19, the responsibility of agribusiness and sustainable solutions to combat infectious diseases

                          Philippines: Partido Lakas ng Masa statement on Duterte's declaration of a state of public health emergency over COVID-19



                          UPDATE March 12, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?—?We are now being informed the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police have started preparations to enforce any lockdown in the capital once health authorities raised Code Red sub-level 2, deploying thousands of troops as the coronavirus disease spreads. The authoritarian Duterte regime, responsible for the killing of tens of thousands of urban poor youth in a war against the poor, is resorting to a military solution to a health emergency. We need to deploy tens of thousands of health workers into the barangays and public health system, not troops. Once again the urban poor, who are still suffering the trauma of Duterte’s killing fields, will be the most vulnerable and endangered by these measures. PLM calls on all progressive forces to join us in resisting Duterte’s lockdown.


                          United States: Demands from grassroots organizers concerning COVID-19



                          March 10, 2020 —?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Transformative Spaces?— The Trump administration has botched its response to COVID-19. Due to incompetence and an unwillingness to acknowledge mistakes, the administration has worsened an already serious situation. COVID-19 is a deadly public health threat that must be taken seriously. We are a group of organizers whose work addresses a variety of issues, and we recognize that there is no organizing community or area of our work that will not be touched by this crisis. We hope this list of demands will serve as a tool for organizers and activists who are crafting their own responses to COVID-19. Panic is dangerous and often accompanied by violence against marginalized people. We believe responsible, productive dialogues about the needs of our communities must be initiated throughout the country.

                          Coronavirus – Apocalypse Now?



                          By Phil Hearse

                          March 9, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?Socialist Resistance?—?Pentecostal Christians – and probably many others – believe that at the ‘end of days’, which precedes the second coming of Christ, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will ride out. The four horsemen are generally interpreted as being pestilence, death, famine and war. If Pentecostals are thinking logically (as if) they should be expecting to see the Lamb of God some time soon. In the wake of wars that have killed more than 500,000 since 2001 and an accelerating environmental crisis dramatised by the Australian firestorms, the current Covid-19 outstrips dystopian science fiction stories like?Outbreak. What American Marxist author Mike Davis described as?The Monster at our Door?has, in a rather different form, burst through the door. At the time of writing (6 March) more than 100,000 people globally are now thought to have the virus, and 3,400 or more have died. There seems little hope now of significant containment, especially as many states lack the health infrastructure or social organisation to impose Chinese-style restrictions. In Britain the full horror of the virus is yet to be unleashed. But it is coming.

                          Feminists, internationalists, anticapitalists



                          By?Penelope Duggan

                          March 8, 2020?—?Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal?reposted from?International Viewpoint?—?The new rise of the women’s movement in recent years has been propelled largely by the issue of violence. Since the first manifesto of?Ni Una Menos?in Argentina in 2015, the challenge has been to violence against women in its economic, social, state, domestic and gender forms. In 2016?Polish women?mobilized on the issue of abortion and the first feminist women’s strikes took place.

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