socialism

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Hackney councillors quit Labour, form independent socialist group

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/05/2024 - 3:50am in

Trend seen across the country reaches East End of London. Shameless Labour demands they resign and fight by-elections, despite making no such demand of 3 Tory MPs who have defected

Hackney’s new Independent Socialists L-R: Penny Wrout, Claudia Turbet-Delof, Fliss Premru (image: Hackney Independent Socialist group)

Three Hackney councillors who had been suspended by Labour for voting in favour of debating a motion calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s genocide in Gaza have quit the Labour party and formed a new Independent Socialists group.

Claudia Turbet-Delof, Penny Wrout and Fliss Premru said their former party is:

stifled by a lack of internal democracy, transparency and scrutiny.



They went on:

We can no longer in good conscience continue campaigning for a Labour party which nationally refuses to call out the genocide in Gaza, continues to support arms sales to Israel, and seeks to clamp down on pro-Palestinian protests.

They also cited Keir Starmer’s abandonment of all his leadership campaign pledges and his u-turn to support NHS privatisation and Tory spending cuts to local government funding, his ‘kid starver’ commitment to keeping the cruel two-child benefit cap and his adoption of the blue Tories’ racist anti-immigrant narratives – and his treatment of Diane Abbott, Britain’s first Black woman MP, who remains suspended for commenting on anti-Black racism (on of many forms of racism which Starmer’s Labour is ridden) while Starmer has welcomed hard-right Tory MPs into the party.

A Labour spokesperson described the development as ‘disappointing’ and – with extreme but unsurprising hypocrisy – said the councillors should resign their seats and fight by-elections. The three Tory MPs to defect to Labour have not been told to do so.

Launch statement of Zabalaza for Socialism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/05/2024 - 10:11pm in

Tags 

socialism

Launch statement of Zabalaza for Socialism (ZASO), a new eco-socialist, feminist, and anti-racist organization in South Africa, which aims to unite the left and contribute to building a mass movement for socialism in response to the crisis and failures of capitalism in the country.

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The post Launch statement of Zabalaza for Socialism appeared first on New Politics.

Skwawkbox keeps ignoring ad requests and relies on its readers. If you’d like to help, read on

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 29/04/2024 - 8:00am in

Skwawkbox continues to receive almost daily requests from companies to carry advertising and sponsored posts. This site continues to ignore them, relying entirely on the support of its readers in order to keep articles free to all and free from clutter – and it continues to break exclusive news that many would prefer to keep hidden.


A selection of the regular ad requests Skwawkbox receives – and rejects

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Remembering the Portuguese Revolution

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 27/04/2024 - 10:06am in

The Portuguese revolution began 50 years ago. Labor historian Raquel Valera looks back at the events of 1974-75 and their legacy for the working class and left today.

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The post Remembering the Portuguese Revolution appeared first on New Politics.

Online Meeting: The Communist Manifesto

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 24/04/2024 - 4:48pm in

Join Phil Gasper, Sabrina Fernandes, and Vanessa Wills as they discuss the continued relevance of the Communist Manifesto in today's political landscape.

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The post Online Meeting: The Communist Manifesto appeared first on New Politics.

Threshold Dwelling in the Ruins of Llano del Rio

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 19/03/2024 - 11:00pm in

In the desert's shifting realms, mirages dance with possibility and impossibility. Amidst the stark expanse, a threshold-like bardo blurs distinctions between creation and collapse, thriving and weakness....

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Building Socialism: The Afterlife of East German Architecture in Urban Vietnam – review

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 13/03/2024 - 9:53pm in

In Building Socialism: The Afterlife of East German Architecture in Urban Vietnam, Christina Schwenkel unpacks how the city of Vinh was reconstructed with the aid of East Germany in the aftermath of its bombing by the US between 1964 and 1973. Schwenkel skilfully combines historical analysis and ethnography to explore Vinh’s urban evolution, highlighting the challenges created through socialist planning and the enduring societal impact of Cold War urbanisation, writes Xue Xuan. This post was originally published on the LSE Southeast Asia Blog.

Building Socialism: The Afterlife of East German Architecture in Urban Vietnam. Christina Schwenkel. Duke University Press. 2020.

In her book Building Socialism: The Afterlife of East German Architecture in Urban Vietnam, Christina Schwenkel tells of the neglected story of the Vietnamese city Vinh’s socialist reconstruction during the Cold War. This city was badly decimated by US air strikes between 1964 and 1973. To rescue Vinh from its ruins, East Germany provided substantial material and technological assistance that was designed to transform it into Vietnam’s model socialist city. However, this transformation was not without its challenges, as Vinh’s rapid ascendance was followed by a quick fall into “unplanned obsolescence”.

Schwenkel skilfully weaves historical records with ethnographic research to dissect the architectural forms and planning practices of postwar Vinh, while also capturing its residents’ lived experiences within this changing urban landscape.

Schwenkel skilfully weaves historical records with ethnographic research to dissect the architectural forms and planning practices of postwar Vinh, while also capturing its residents’ lived experiences within this changing urban landscape. This historical ethnography of Vinh’s postwar reconstruction offers an in-depth exploration of state-led socialist modernisation, its vision, implementation and subsequent impact. During the Cold War, information about these urban experiments among socialist countries was largely inaccessible and unknown to the external world. To expose these facts contributes to a better understanding of socialist modernisation. It also resonates with the “multiplicity of experienced modernities”, thereby shifting the focus away from the dominant narrative of capitalist spatial production.

Schwenkel contends that socialist planning was both a “utopian science” and a “fantastical art of projection”, often venturing into realms of impracticality.

Interestingly, the book does not dedicate a specific section to explain what socialist urbanism is. Instead, its unique characteristics are gradually revealed across several chapters through detailed documentation of historical events and objects. Schwenkel contends that socialist planning was both a “utopian science” and a “fantastical art of projection”, often venturing into realms of impracticality. She examines two visual devices in the service of modernist planning: figurative drawing and abstract blueprints, delving deep into how these visual renderings of rationalised spaces sought to represent a universal socialist future. However, when materialised in buildings and infrastructures, the rational planning was far from fulfilling its promise: it neither increased labour productivity nor moulded enlightened proletarians. The author employs the case of Quang Trung Housing Estate to concretise how practical problems like poor material conditions and conflicting spatial practices inhibited the rapid construction of mass housing and how residents’ uncivil behaviours serves to contest quotidian forms of urban governance, epitomising the dialectical relationship between civilization and backwardness. The ethnographic approach of this study offers the author an opportunity to deliver a nuanced understanding of the lived experiences associated with socialist urbanisation. This perspective underlines the agency of citizens, challenging prevailing views that often portray citizens as passive participants. Schwenkel traces manifold ways that residents in Quang Trung made the decayed buildings adapt to their changing needs and urban lifestyles. Such acts, as demonstrated in the book, were not arbitrary but planned, which serves as individualised ways to pursue the unfinished utopia.

When recounting the destruction of Vinh during the war with the US, Schwenkel pays particular attention to the contrasting visual techniques employed by the US and Vietnam in reporting and recording urban warfare.

A particularly fascinating aspect of Schwenkel’s analysis is the focus on affect. She skilfully draws together socialist planning and its afterlife in mass housing through the thread of affect, generating many thought-provoking ideas. When recounting the destruction of Vinh during the war with the US, Schwenkel pays particular attention to the contrasting visual techniques employed by the US and Vietnam in reporting and recording urban warfare. In contrast with the aerial photographs by the US military, those photos taken by Vietnamese photographers employ close-up shots in recording the architectural remains of everyday urban life. The intimate portraits of the destroyed buildings powerfully convey the sense of trauma perceived by the people. This sense of trauma further strengthened international solidarity between East Germany and Vietnam, as detailed in the chapter “Solidarity”. It also set the stage for East Germany’s involvement in Vinh’s postwar reconstruction, which is thoroughly explored in the chapter “Spirited Internationalism”. This international solidarity, as demonstrated in the book, was both political and affective, appearing on the surface as a form of brotherhood between East Germany and Vietnam, but at its core, it was characterised by an asymmetrical relationship. The middle part of the book elaborates how this international solidarity gave birth to socialist planning and architectural forms in Vinh.

The author delves into the complexities of international solidarity as affective practice, highlighting the challenge of cultural differences, misaligned expectations, and the difficult balance between altruism and self-interest. The last part of the book features voices from the people of Vinh, who inhabited and used modernist architecture. Their affective attachments to the modernist architecture of the city are reflected in the various modifications they made to their residences, which subverts the narrow understanding of seeing modernist architecture as the product of rationality. To examine this state-sponsored, nationalist project through the thread of affect is very intriguing. It also piques my curiosity: how does affect relate specifically to socialist urbanisation as opposed to capitalist urbanisation? While the author briefly addresses this aspect in certain chapters, a detailed exploration is not provided.

The book not only sheds light on a lesser-known chapter of Cold War history but also propels readers to think about the lasting impact of architectural and urban planning decisions in shaping societal narratives and experiences.

The book’s strength lies in its methodological approach. Schwenkel’s transnational perspective, underpinned by extensive use of both German archives and Vietnamese sources, allows for a nuanced understanding of this complex historical interplay. By engaging with key informants in Vinh and delving into local archives, Schwenkel brings to the fore voices that have long been marginalised in historical discourse.

Building Socialism is a compelling read for scholars and enthusiasts of socialist urban planning and architecture, Asian urbanisation, and postcolonial studies. The book offers a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the socialist modernisation in the postwar city of Vinh. It not only sheds light on a lesser-known chapter of Cold War history but also propels readers to think about the lasting impact of architectural and urban planning decisions in shaping societal narratives and experiences.

This book review is published by the LSE Southeast Asia blog and LSE Review of Books blog as part of a collaborative series focusing on timely and important social science books from and about Southeast Asia.

This post gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Image Credit: khuanchai photo on Shutterstock.

Lenin’s Revenge: Early Soviet Hidden Voices

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/03/2024 - 2:44pm in

A century after Lenin’s death, scholars and leftists continue to discuss the life and legacy of the leader of the Russian Revolution. But a fundamental question remains largely unanswered. What did Soviet citizens themselves think of Lenin?

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The post Lenin’s Revenge: Early Soviet Hidden Voices appeared first on New Politics.

Galloway makes ‘unity offer’ to Corbyn ‘to prevent socialist split’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 13/01/2024 - 2:05am in

George Galloway, left, at WPGB’s recent annual general meeting

Amid press speculation that Jeremy Corbyn may launch a new party or movement to challenge Starmer’s right wing, pro-Israel ‘Labour’ in this year’s general election, former Respect MP and pro-Palestine campaigner George Galloway is offering what insiders in his party are terming a ‘truce’ to Corbyn and his movement. Skwawkbox understands that Galloway is tabling a motion which, if passed, will raise the potential for Galloway and former Labour MP Chris Williamson’s Workers Party (WPGB) to cooperate with Corbyn’s project, in the hope of avoiding a split in the socialist vote at the General Election.

The motion will be tabled by Galloway at the party’s ‘Members Council’ in Birmingham on Saturday 20 January, reaffirming the party’s commitment to avoiding unnecessary electoral clashes with other left groups, a proposal the Workers Party originally put to TUSC (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition) in 2022 and which remains in place.

Keir Starmer’s extreme authoritarianism, commitment to expanding NHS privatisation and support for Israel’s genocidal policies make him as great a threat to the life and liberty of British people as the Tories – and many would argue greater.

Galloway’s supporters say the move is being made in the hope that a united socialist movement could dent Starmer’s chances of forming a majority at General Election 2024. According to the Labour right’s own workings, Starmer needs a 1997-scale swing from the Tories to secure a majority of 1 at the election. Starmer’s allies have also quietly admitted that they expect Labour to lose seats at the election over the issue of Palestine, while even mainstream pollsters are indicating that Labour’s “20 points ahead” lead is very likely to shrink, potentially thwarting Starmer’s hopes for a majority. Preventing a split amongst socialists could therefore prove decisive in stopping Starmer’s worrying and dishonest regime from taking power.

Previously, the best chance of ousting Starmer from the Labour leadership was in 2021’s Batley and Spen By Election, which was won by Starmer ally Kim Leadbetter by just three hundred votes after a disgracefully Islamophobic campaign. Leadbetter went on to vote against a ceasefire in Palestine during a parliamentary vote. Many in Labour’s left-leaning Socialist Campaign Group (SCG) chose to campaign for Leadbetter and Starmer’s victory. Had the result gone the other way, it’s likely that Starmer would have been forced out.

The Workers party is led by George Galloway, with former Labour MP Chris Williamson, Aslef Vice President Andy Hudd, and former Ambassador Peter Ford acting as Deputy Leaders. The party has announced its intention to stand in up to 50 seats in the forthcoming General Election. Galloway is the party candidate in the 2024 London Mayoral contest.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Can Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Model” Supplant Capitalist Democracies and Why Should Western Socialists Care? – Part 4

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/01/2024 - 7:36am in

Given China’s drivers, it’s difficult to imagine how this trend could be halted or reversed short of the collapse or overthrow of the CCP. That’s coming but of course it’s impossible to predict when.

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The post Can Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Model” Supplant Capitalist Democracies and Why Should Western Socialists Care? – Part 4 appeared first on New Politics.

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