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Global Left Midweek – February 1, 2023

Dig a little deeper with new international theory

Demonstrators take part in an anti-government protest after Peru's former President Pedro Castillo was ousted, in Lima, Peru January 23, 2023. Credit, REUTERS/Angela Ponce
  1. Alain Badiou: 13 Theses
  2. For New Internationalism
  3. The Forward March of the Left Compromised
  4. What is “Populism”?
  5. Canadian Socialists Confer
  6. The Assassination of Thulani Maseko
  7. Radicals in Israel
  8. South Korean Unions Attacked
  9. A Europe for the People and the Planet
  10. CELAC Meets in Buenos Aires


Alain Badiou: 13 Theses

Alain Badiou / Verso Books (London)

The current conjuncture demands rigorous analysis if we are to understand the political moment and develop a strategy to respond to it. The respected philosopher Badiou undertakes this task, offering thirteen theses on global politics today and suggesting an organizing strategy for the Left given those conditions.

For New Internationalism

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Daphne Lawless / Fightback (Auckland)

We understand that one imperialist power will only help those oppressed by another if by doing so it furthers its own selfish interests. But we do not consider these inter-imperialist wranglings to be the central issue. We do not assume the right to tell any peoples in struggle what forms of help they are permitted to receive. 

The Labour Party and the UK Left

Liam Payne / Labour Hub (London)

Local parties and organisations can provide a good vehicle for local community work and support, with the attendant benefit of promotion, and having a say in national political parties allows the left to maintain an important presence and build its base. This work can take place alongside engaging in the growing strength and militancy of the British trade unions.

Populism, Fascism, Neoliberalism

Prabhat Patnaik / NewsClick (New Delhi)

The neoliberal regime has developed its own discourse and vocabulary and a key concept in this vocabulary is “populism”. The term “populism” in its current use covers both fascist and semi-fascist appeals to the people on issues that deliberately camouflage their oppression, as well as all attempts to secure some gains for them to alleviate their oppression. 

Canadian Socialists Confer

Robert Hackett / Canadian Dimension (Winnipeg)

Globally, societies face intersecting crises of ecology and climate, democracy, inequality and international order. What then can socialism offer in response to the predicament in which we find ourselves? That was the theme of an online conference held by the Simon Fraser University Institute for the Humanities and others. That overarching question sparked many related ones.

The Assasination of Thulani Maseko

Pavan Kulkarni / Peoples Dispatch (New Delhi)

Activist and lawyer Thulani Maseko, who was at the forefront of Swaziland’s struggle for democracy, was gunned down hours after King Mswati’s threatening speech to pro-democracy activists. PUDEMO President Mlungisi Makhanya talks about Thulani’s struggle and what his killing means for the country.

Radicals in Israel

Ben Reiff / 972+ (Tel Aviv)

The “radical bloc”, composed of independent activists, established anti-occupation groups, and a contingent from the left-wing Hadash party, has grown larger with each demonstration over the past three weekends. They carried Palestinian flags and banners bearing slogans such as “There’s no democracy with apartheid,” and “A nation that occupies another nation will never be free.” 

South Korean Unions Attacked

Dae-Oup Chang / Asian Labour Review (Hong Kong)

On 18 January, the National Intelligence Service and police raided the headquarters of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), invoking the rarely used National Security Act. Within 48 hours, a number of other union offices were raided, and union officers arrested. Why did the government raid and attack the KCTU and other unions in such a concerted manner?

A Europe for the People and the Planet

Martin Schirdewan / transform! Europe (Vienna)

A speech at the 7th Party Congress of the European Left (EL) in Vienna in December 2022, by the Co-President of Germany’s Die Linke party as well as of the Left Group in the European Parliament.

CELAC Meets in Buenos Aires

Regarding the vigorous rebellion in Peru, I think it is essential to emphasize the decisive role of the peoples and their political and social struggles in the conception and advancement of progressive governments.

In the same way, this advance was indispensable to the generation of an architecture of regional or subregional organizations, including CELAC, which sought the unity and integration of Latin America and the Caribbean. With the emergence of Hugo Chávez, a first cycle of progressive governments and the aforementioned architecture in the transition from the twentieth to the 21st century had much to do with El Caracazo [the 1989 wave of violent protest in Venezuela] and, in general, a cycle of harsh Latin American and Caribbean popular resistance against neoliberal policies. These rebellions, through multifaceted popular mobilizations, came to impose their hegemony via the ballot. This was, with a few exceptions, unthinkable just a few years earlier. The role of armed and patriotic military movements in enabling revolutionary and progressive organizations to reach the government by electoral means has not yet been thoroughly discussed.

But the revolutionary, democratic and progressive forces today face new and serious challenges. The most important of them is the rise of the extreme right and neo-fascism, willing to use all means to overthrow or disparage the victories of progressive forces, as we have recently seen in Brazil or as observed in Argentina with such ominous acts as the attempted murder of Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and the onslaught against democracy by the judicial party [conservative judges and lawyers controlling the judiciary] allied with Macrismo [ex-president Mauricio Macri]. Or,  the provocations and acts of violence against President Nicolás Maduro in the days leading up to the VII CELAC Summit, prepared by the political forces linked to Macri and his friends in Miami, always associated with the embassies of the United States and Israel. The shooting backfired; they could not achieve their goal of disrupting the meeting, and although President Maduro very wisely did not make the trip, the Venezuelan and Bolivarian presence was very active.

Meanwhile, in Peru, the popular movement mobilized after political demands at the national level, the only such movement in its entire history, continued in full strength, as described by Hector Béjar, one of the most lucid intellectuals and social fighters in the country. And he added: we are in a process that pushes out the old system and ushers in a new one. And most likely, if this movement persists and grows, the demand for a Constituent Assembly and a new Constitution will continue to rise until it becomes hegemonic.

In other words, the far-right parliamentary-military-media dictatorship fully implemented in the Andean country after the coup détat against constitutional president Pedro Castillo has closed political paths. But the obvious political reality is that the creative Peruvian popular movement is demonstrating, with courage and intelligence, that, despite the fierce police and military repression of Mrs. Boluarte, it can reopen those paths and, eventually, impose its agenda through mass mobilization. After the regional extreme right was defeated in its attempt to abort the CELAC summit in Buenos Aires, it faced another great defeat in Peru, if the popular movement, once again, manages to make hegemonic its demands to convene a Constituent Assembly and the drafting of a new Constitution that revokes the current one bequeathed from Fujimori. They must have taken note of the resounding victory of their Bolivian brothers, against the coup and the dictatorship that tried to cut off their emancipatory process.

The VII CELAC Summit can be described as historic. With the Argentinian presidency, the path of resuscitation of Latin-Caribbean unity and integration, which was begun so brilliantly by Mexico, and relaunched with the very important reinstatement of Lula in Brazil, reached a very promising new stage of work. With the election of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as CELACs new pro tempore president, that responsibility is granted to the English-speaking Caribbean for the first time. That country’s prime minister, the experienced and capable Ralph Gonsalves, will surely give this process a new impetus. Very noteworthy statements, reiterated in several documents, rejected the criminal blockade of Cuba, and demanded that Cuba be freed from yet another terrible twist on the blockade, Washingtons spurious and harmful list of countries allegedly promoting terrorism.