8 [delete] 9 Reflections on New International(ism)s
By Peter Waterman at May 05, 2010
ManyNewInternationalisms Words: 6,720 Updated: 300410
Five, Six, Many New Internationalisms!
Eight Nine Reflections on a Fifth International)
At the turn of 2009-10 proposals for and public interest in a new Left International seemed to come to a head.
The initial and major initiative was that of Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela. This was widely endorsed at an international conference of Left parties in
The second initiative was that of Michael Albert, the theorist of Parecon (Participatory Economics) and coordinator of the humungous Left Znet website in the
In the spirit of Gramsci’s ‘scepticism of the intellect, optimism of the will’, I wish (in reverse order) to both welcome and challenge these interrelated projects. My response follows that some of us accorded an earlier such project, that of the Neo-Marxist and Thirdworldist political-economist, Samir Amin (Jai Sen, et. al. 2007).
Like Samir Amin’s initiative, those of Hugo Chavez and Michael Albert relate not only to the World Social Forum (founded 2001) but also to a long history of left internationals, going back to the International Working Men’s Association (the so-called First International), founded 1866, with the notable contribution of Karl Marx.
The Chavez project evidently emanates from a radical-nationalist state(sman) with socialist aspirations. It combines features of a socialist and thirdworldist international, being apparently open to states - or at to state-aligned or state-sponsored parties such as that created by Chavez - as well as to other Left parties and social movements. Whilst recognizing that the current crisis of global capitalism touches all spheres of life, and the necessity for diversity, a
The international encounter of Left-wing Political parties held in Caracas on November 19, 20 and 21, 2009, received the proposal made by Commander Hugo Chavez Frias to convoke the Fifth Socialist International as a space for socialist-oriented parties, movements and currents in which we can harmonise a common strategy for the struggle against imperialism, the overthrow of capitalism by socialism and solidarity-based economic integration of a new type.
There was here a notable silence on the state nature (the subject-position?) of the initiator. But the non-state socialist project of Michael Albert is equally silent on the role of the state (or states?) in his ‘participatory-socialist’ international. On the other hand he is explicit on the issues and forces familiar from the WSF and the global justice and solidarity movement more broadly:
· economic production, consumption, and allocation should be classless - which of course includes equitable access for all to quality and accessible education, health care and the requisites of health like food, water, and sanitation, housing, meaningful and dignified work, and the instruments and conditions of personal fulfilment
· gender/kinship, sexual, and family relations should not privilege by age, sexual preference, or gender any one group above others - which of course includes ending all forms of oppression of women, providing daycare, recreation, health care, etc
· culture and community relations among races, ethnic groups, religions, and other cultural communities should protect the rights and identity of each community up to equally respecting those of all other communities as well - which of course includes an end to racist, ethnocentric, and otherwise bigoted structures as well as securing the prosperity and rights of indigenous people
· political decision making, adjudication of disputes and implementation of shared programs should deliver people’s power in ways that do not elevate any one sector or constituency to power above others - which of course includes participation and justice for all
· international trade, communication, and other interactions should attain and protect peace and justice while dismantling all vestiges of colonialism and imperialism - which of course includes cancelling the debt of nations of the global south and reconstructing international norms and relations to move toward an equitable and just community of equally endowed nations
· ecological choices should not only be sustainable, but should care for the environment in accord with our highest aspirations for ourselves and our world - which of course includes climate justice and energy renovation
I do not here wish to debate with either the Hugo Chavez or Michael Albert projects, which I have already done on the Znet site. Nor, for that matter, to respond to the growing number of contributions to discussion on the one project or the other. Some of these are well worth reading. They can be traced in the Resources below, in which I have concentrated references. I wish, rather, to make nine points I consider relevant to a new kind of international/ism that surpasses the limitations of past ones and that is relevant to the era of a globalised and networked capitalism.
1. Let a hundred flowers bloom!
One can mouth this slogan with either enthusiasm or resignation (or, in the case of Mao, cynicism). The era in which it was possible for one international or internationalism to gain or be granted primacy is over. I nonetheless incline to welcome any new internationalist project because of a) the long dearth of discussion on internationalism and the absence of the necessary renewal, b) their thought-provoking effect, c) because these latest ones are themselves marked by the rising wave of the ‘global solidarity and justice movement’ and because, d) in an increasingly interconnected and informatised world, such other movements or networks are likely to be or become aware of and respond to them.
2. The old left internationalisms are confronted and challenged by the new
The notion of a new Left international/ism is evidently dependent on the old Left – whether this goes back to the Third World internationalisms of the 1960s, the First, Second, Third and Fourth labour or socialist internationals, or to the French Revolution itself. The Left is ‘the Left’ because of the position occupied by the radical and populist wing of the Constituent Assembly of that revolution. The ‘Left’ is inevitably relational to a Right or Centre. This means that it was and is a part, as well as a critic, of that first great modern, national, liberal, but also militarist, commercial, bureaucratic, racist and problematically-democratic project. (Its ‘fraternity’ was not only machista but also nationalist and therefore compatible with French state centralism and imperialism). Something similar goes for the labour and socialist internationals, profound critics and opponents of the political-economy of capitalism yet in part also prisoners of its Eurocentred national, industrial, productivist and centralising notion of modernity.
The newest global social movements often only pose themselves against neo-liberalism and globalization – as suggested by the adoption of such names as ‘anti-globalisation’ or ‘alter-globalisation’. But increasingly they have been criticizing and taking action in and against the economy, politics, social relations and cultural and communication practices of capitalism more generally. Moreover, their internal and external articulations (articulation = both connection and expression) commonly go beyond those traditional to an industrial-national-colonial capitalism.
At a time of crisis for both capitalism and its Left, these newest global social movements, ideas or expressions, are surpassing the limits of both of these entwined opponents and reviving the utopian thinking lost by the Left as capitalism over the centuries normalised itself.
The newest movements, thinkers and activists tend to surpass old Left ways of being, doing and proposing. They are surely better thought of as ‘global social emancipatory movements’. And the fact that this new emancipatory movement has so far only been sketched out is to its (and our) advantage. It is still inventing itself. We can all take part in this invention.
That the historical or traditional international Left is now trying to reinvent itself is surely to be welcomed. Its major – sometimes overwhelming - stress on the political-economy of capitalism, on the import of class and class struggle, as well as more recent reflections on a post-capitalist political economy, all these make a welcome contribution to a new movement that may be weak on one or all of these. But the Left has not only to reinvent itself. It has also – given past crimes and misdemeanors in its name – to reassure once-burned publics, particularly in societies that experienced this. And this would in turn seem to argue for maximum modesty in the face of the new global social movements that have in large part inherited the Left’s own original emancipatory appeal and role.
3. Beyond the privileged emancipatory subject, an expanding universe of underprivileged ones
Historical internationalisms/ists have depended on a privileged revolutionary subject (the proletariat, the peasantry, the lumpen-proletariat) or a privileged place (
The new global solidarity movements may be sympathetic to or even positive about such priorities and may themselves appear to be ‘single-issue’ movements, but they are also commonly ‘fundamental-issue movements’ (ecology, health, gender, housing, ethnicity), they obviously identify with their partners globally and, increasingly, with the global justice and solidarity movement more generally.
The new movements are, however, highly sensitive about attempts to incorporate them into some universalistic (a particularistic universalism) project. Particularly when this is identified by or with a particular state or statesperson, a particular party, theory or ideology. True, new political parties or tendencies, new states and statespeople (as well as elderly clergy in the tradition of liberation theology), have been effected by and are cognizant of the necessity of allowing for many or all emancipatory movements. As have certain projects for a New International. But until and unless the Left a) seriously recognises its traditional limitations, b) prioritises social movement internationalisms over those of parties and states, and c) acts as rearguards to such, it may not be considered as trustworthy partners in creating a new kind of international/ism.
4. From a Left International (singular) to the global solidarity and justice movements (plural)
Enthusiasm for any new internationalism needs to be tempered by reflection on its etymology and history.
International suggests a relationship between nations, nationals, nationalisms, nationalists. It is self-evidently dependent on the word ‘national’. There has been a tendency - even amongst some on the Left - to side-step the problematic implications of the historical internationalisms by using the concept ‘transnational’. This, however, is a descriptive category, still dependent on the ‘national’ and carrying no necessary implication of solidarity. I propose we talk, rather, of ‘the new global solidarity’ or ‘the new global solidarities’.
There were ‘internationalisms’ before internationalism (and the nation), such as the religious universalisms, bourgeois and liberal cosmopolitanism, and the radical-democratic universalism of the French revolutionary epoch. ‘Internationalism’, however, came into its own as the universalistic aspiration of the 19th century labour and socialist movement. Each of the previous ‘internationalisms’ carried its own particularism, not only inviting but often imposing its universalism (Christendom, the Islamic Ummah, Western Modernity).
Labour and socialist internationalisms stood on the shoulders of these giants - and reproduced various of their limitations. These 19th century internationalisms, too, were Eurocentred and often Eurocentric, hierarchical, mutually-competitive, dogmatic, and reproductive of the very nationalisms and state-isms they originally aspired to surpass. The universalistic (or ethnic, or regional) third-world internationalisms that followed World War II were linked to and commonly became dependent upon the post-colonial or anti-imperialist states. This does not imply denying or repressing national, regional or ethnic identities but of relativising them in the light of both globalization and other more-local or cross-cutting identities (as is anyway happening with the concept of ‘plurinationality’ promoted by the indigenous movements).
The name ‘Global Justice and Solidarity Movement’ (GJ&SM) comes out of the Assembly of Social Movements at an early WSF. It still seems to fit. The idea of ‘global solidarity’ as ethic, theory and movement opens a way beyond the historical internationals. ‘Global’ obviously implies ‘worldwide’, but also encompasses that ever-expanding arena, cyberspace. ‘Global’ moreover, suggests ‘holistic’ and therefore allows for a surpassing of the single-subject, privileged-subject, regionally-biased or one-sided internationalisms of the past.
The GJ&SM could and should be the developing expression of radical-democratic social movements themselves, rather than the states or inter-state organs that claim to encompass or represent ‘We the Peoples…’, or the partisan politics/parties/politicians that have previously mediated between the variously-alienated, exploited, marginalised social collectives and the capitalist, patriarchal, fundamentalist, military, polluting, racist hegemons.
Finally, both a diachronic (historical) and synchronic (social) perspective suggest the necessity for specifying the much too easily-used concept of ‘solidarity’. It has long been an under-theorised term, thus allowing for the most contradictory and counter-productive practices – of paternalism, of group self-interest, of political manipulation, militarism, and of social, cultural and regional/racial domination.
Solidarity needs to be specified in terms of such possible different and partial elements or aspects as: Identity (Workers of the World Unite!), Substitution (standing in for the other), Reciprocity (exchange of equal qualities over time), Restitution (compensation for past wrongs). It also needs to be specified in relation to the different parties involved (worker to worker? worker to indigenous?). And in terms of its Axis (North-South?), Direction (South to North?), Reach (EU? Europe including…
5. Beyond institutionalization, networking
Is a Fifth (or other Left) institutionalised internationalism either appropriate or possible today? The various bureaucratised and/or sectarian splinters of such abound.
There is still an International Trade Union Confederation, its allied Global Unions and – a recent pragmatic innovation – union-sponsored or union-friendly international NGOs, mostly headquartered at the core of the globalised capitalist European Union. Some of these are heavily dependent on EU funding (for the climate case, see Footnote 5 below).
There are various internationals of Left, Socialist, Communist, Maoist, Anarchist or Marxist political parties or tendencies. There is a Sao Paulo Forum of Latin American Left political parties. There are the remains of various state-sponsored and state-funded Thirdworldist internationals. There is even a (Trotskyist?) League for a Fifth International!
None of these has a particularly high profile either internationally or regionally. None is an evident source of innovation. None of them seem relevant to the epoch of a globalised networked capitalism and the rich but complex struggles against and beyond such.
The temptation to create or endorse a Fifth International, in either explicit or implicit reference to previous such, is comprehensible. But the promoters of these seem to make only superficial reference to the transformed – the revolutionised - nature of global capitalism, to the crisis of the state and inter-state system, of the political parties, of worker internationals or to the relational principles (it would be limiting to say organizational principles) of the multiple global solidarity movements - the way they operate internally or externally. The new relational principles here surely prefigure a ‘democratization of democracy’ that the world just as surely needs.
Within and against a globalised, informatised capitalism, increasingly networked and operating in the cultural and cyberspace, we see the newest global solidarity movements operating at all levels (local to cyberspatial). They are developing a cultural/communicational internationalism that goes both beneath and beyond the state-defined nation, the ‘world of nation states’ and their literally international relations.
Whilst commonly provoked by and addressed to the excesses of capital, state, inter-state agencies or strategies, the new global movements are at least implicitly aware that the power of the enemy lies in the weakness of (global) civil society (here understood as in increasing tension with state, capital, industrialism, racism, fundamentalisms). The increasingly common orientation is not to ‘capture’ the ‘commanding heights’ of capital, state, the military or culture, but to disempower these by reference to the principles of peace, justice, equality, the commons, the local, the popular, the radically-democratic, the extension and deepening of self-determination, self-management, the environmentally-responsible and climate-friendly.
Whilst the New International projects, prophets or sponsors show awareness, to differing degrees, of Manuel Castell’s ‘real virtuality’ (cyberspace) it is hardly seen as either the foundation stone (an admittedly too-concrete metaphor) of their projects nor even a building block for such. This despite the New International projects being overwhelmingly known through and discussed on the web!
If the past was that of place-fixated and institutional internationals - connected by the press, rail, telegraph, later by phone, radio and film – the present is surely the age of a communications and cultural internationalism, an increasingly networked and horizontal movement, operating in infinite space, re-inventing itself according to a computer logic (horizontality and feedback) and as powerful new applications develop. Increasing millions of workers, women, citizens and the indigenous have some kind of computerised access (if only a cell phone), often in their own language. Billions have computer communication and millions have growing programming skills.
Information and communication technology (ICT) is not simply a tool (a hammer, a sickle, a gun, a vaccine), nor simply an existing community (
6. Not beyond the World Social Forum but alongside
There are certain things that the World Social Forum will not do, cannot do and even should not do. Projects for a New or a Fifth International have been informed by WSF achievements, tend to pay it homage – sometimes grudging – and to present themselves as complementary to rather than competitive with the WSF. Others may consider their project as superior to this. The areas or issues of struggle globalised by the WSF may even find recognition in the charters or programmes of these new projects.
But the question must arise of whether the new projects go forward from or back before the WSF and the global justice and solidarity movement of which it forms a part. The two latest projects highlighted above seem open to the presence within their particular internationals of states, statespersons, and state-created or state-dependent political parties. The WSF distances itself in principle from such participants. But in practice it has made concessions to such, and even to commercial interests. Are we now to go back to the future?
However decisions might be taken in such a New International, it must be recognised that state-like instances, state-subordinated parties and self-proclaimed vanguard parties with anti- or simply counter-hegemonic claims, are going to carry disproportionate institutional weight and - particularly where state-linked - financial power. They have historically been ideologically heavy and democratically light. (Many development funding agencies, foundations and NGOs carry heavy financial weight and disguise their Euro- or Atlantic-centrism behind developmentalist jargon or technological funding criteria).
It thus behooves proponents of any New International to take this into account and to prioritise – with all the problems and ambiguities this might itself imply – social movements of a radical-democratic nature. This can be done by foundational charter, by definition of membership (collective and individual) and by rules of procedure. It is, surely, one thing to have states or their substitutes within an international, something quite different for an autonomous international to enter into openly negotiated relationships with such.
7. The labour movement: internationalism’s 800-pound gorilla?
An 800-pound gorilla is not like a bull in a china-shop. It is simply an awkward, worrying and somewhat threatening presence…or absence? Given the extent to which the latest projects for a New International refer back to the socialist internationals of the past, their failure to make more than passing or rhetorical reference to the international working class and the organised labour movement is, well, striking. Admitting the existence of this 800-pound gorilla requires surpassing ritualistic chants and rhetorical appeals and then responding to contemporary social-movement realities. Whether in the room or outside the house, labour is going to represent a major challenge for any Fifth International (as well as for any socially-emancipatory internationalist project).
It may well be that an implicit invitation to all (revolutionary? participatory? social-democratic?) Leftists to join a Fifth International would result in a considerable number of national, sectoral or regional unions (or shopfloor organisations, or autonomous labour networks) joining. It could have the effect of stimulating discussion amongst trade unions more generally. These have for decades seen little or no consideration of the meaning of international labour – as distinguished from union - solidarity. Yet, given the common destruction or reduction of unionism consequent on capitalist globalization, given the world-wide informalisation or precarisation of labour, such discussion is more urgently needed than ever.
This has, however, not notably occurred within the World Social Forum, despite its openness. Traditional trade unions, national or international, have increasingly joined, and the Brussels- or Geneva-based and Euro-centred International Trade Union Confederation/Global Unions and some of their members are members of its International Council. The ITUC has used the WSF largely as a friendly global civil society space in which to propagate its ‘Decent Work’ campaign (which actually originates with the UN’s inter-state labour agency, the International Labour Organisation). An ‘alternative’ Labour and Globalisation network within the WSF has represented a union-oriented pressure group rather than an alternative pole of emancipatory orientation. The earlier New International project – that of Samir Amin – had a short but serious chapter on labour and has organised some dialogue on its internationalism, but has little to show for its efforts.
The profound dependency of the international trade union movement’s internationalism is revealed in its tail-ending of any new social movement initiative. The latest is the climate issue, with the unions tagging along, creating special departments or sponsoring NGOs (with their activities, I suspect, either totally or partially dependent on state or foundation funding agencies). Such dependency is revealed by the non-attendance and almost total lack of response by the ITUC itself to the Cochabamba Climate Change conference dealt with in Point 9 below.
Given the weight and complexity of globalisation – both within capitalism and for emancipation from it – it would seem essential to have a wide-ranging, geographically-universal, deep-going dialogue on a new labour internationalism and its relation to the global justice and solidarity movement. And this before any pronouncement or institutionalization takes decisions over the heads – out of the hands - of the organizations, the networks, the support bodies and the workers concerned!
8. Let’s speak before we leap!
Simple pronouncement of a Fifth or New International, so far subject more to endorsement than dialogue, and with a foundation to occur within months – this is to risk, if not invite, failure. Such proposals carry with them the scent of individual or group vanguardism - of a self-proclaimed elite or individual prophet substituting for a specified constituency, for all ‘real’ or ‘revolutionary’ socialists, ‘the working class’, ‘the people’, or even humankind.
Yet, given the very internet that these projects might gesture toward, the coordination of an open-access worldwide dialogue – or several such – would seem not only more democratic and more likely to mobilise but also cheaper, more ecologically friendly, more flexible, more sustainable and, of course, less manipulable.
Such discussion as is occurring on the matter might even lead to the conclusion that what we first need is a website, or a web portal drawing attention and giving access to the growing number of those concerned with a New International/ism (such as the Australia-based Links, for which see below). It is less with an authoritarian or even authoritative international structure and leadership that the road to global social emancipation starts, it is in virtuous spirals of dialogue, coordination, reflection, proposition, action and evaluation – as well as forms of cultural expression and exchange reaching parts of the human psyche that politics cannot touch.
Now: this paper was first written before the amazing…umm…non-occurrence?...of the Fifth International, announced by Hugo Chavez for April 2010. Even more astounding was the silence of the lambs who had previously reacted to, enthusiastically endorsed, and (one has to suppose) eagerly awaited this Fifth Coming. The silent patience speaks of dependence of followers on a prophet to show them the way (if not necessarily one capable of providing air-tickets and accommodation?). The only compensation for these unusually silent socialists must be the rumour (so far unconfirmed) that this year in Caracas April will occur in September – after Venezuelan parliamentary elections in September But perhaps they do not even expect a fifth-and-a-half coming? Perhaps their aspirations are at such a low level that such socialists are accustomed to having their hopes disappointed, their existence depreciated or ignored?
9. An international(ist) state initiative informed by the newest social movements
So, there can be a statist initiative for a New Socialist International which does not take place as announced. And then, apparently, there can be a state initiative informed by the new internationalisms which does take place! Even within the same continent and the same inter-state alliance (ALBA - the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America).
This second initiative was, of course, that of the government of Evo Morales in the poverty-stricken, landlocked, but new ‘plurinational’ (multi-ethnic) state of
The PWCCC represents a radical innovation in state-initiated international conferences. Two of these can be found in the title itself. The first is the address to ‘peoples’ rather than to states or nations, thus assuming the attendance of ‘peoples’ existing within or across states; participation was numerically dominated by the indigenous, these coming not only from Bolivia but also from the region and the world. Another radical innovation was, of course, the address to the ‘rights of mother earth’, a notion originating with neither the West, Modernity, Socialists or the Proletariat but coming directly out of the experience and cosmovisión (worldview) of indigenous peoples. Yet another innovation was the decision to organize a referendum or plebiscite of the world’s peoples on the issue. Finally, and in self-evident contrast to the invisible Fifth International, the PWCCC not only had its own professional website but was accessible worldwide, due to the use of the full range of web applications. Such broadcasting was not only of a ‘one to many’ kind since numerous participant or observing entities were carrying out their own activities here.
Despite its innovatory address to Mother Earth (Pachamama to Andeans), to peoples rather than states or nations, some of my above-expressed doubts about the Hugo Chavez International re-appeared with respect to the Evo Morales project. These came first from the Uruguayan ecological activist, Eduardo Gudynas and had to do, firstly, with the ambiguity of the regime with respect to the conference itself (Gudynas 2010a), secondly to the ‘new extractivism’of the new left governments of
That such doubts were grounded was literally demonstrated when the WPCCC took place. Community groups elsewhere in
I am dependent for my impressions of the conference on the internet. What came over to me was the extent to which this state-sponsored conference appeared to be influenced by the model of the World Social Forum, right down to the official ‘self-organised’ workshops, and the unofficial self-organised workshops on the periphery. As also, according to at least one participant, of the chaotic programming. I further note the postponement of the planned global referendum on climate change, though this time to a fixed date in 2011 (it being argued that this could not be organised effectively before the next inter-state conference on climate change, Cancun, Mexico, late-2010).
In some ways, however, it seemed to me that the conference was more radical than the World Social Forum in clearly condemning capitalism and its civilisation (not just ‘neo-liberalism’ or ‘imperialism’, or ‘the North), in its many nefarious aspects. And in calling for an alternative model. This is not called ‘socialism’, presumably since it is inspired by pre-capitalist and, indeed, pre-class socio-ecological models and worldviews. In at least one other way, however, it reflected the statist preference for a (UN-approved? inter-state?) climate change tribunal, rather than one modelled on, for example, the non-state model of the Russell Tribunal on the Vietnam War, and its successors http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_Tribunal. It is difficult to imagine the polluting states, complicit with global capital, agreeing to such a tribunal, with powers (like the World Trade Organisation) to not only judge but punish. And the energy any social movements devote to this effort would inevitably be at the cost of an autonomous tribunal, formed from and oriented toward social movements and civil society.
Whilst there were clearly tendencies on the part of the state to dismiss or delegitimize the critical social movements (local, national, global), and, possibly, for some opposition movements to demonise the state, this was not the dominant impression I received online. Here, it seemed to me, the ‘autonomy from/engagement with’ relationship of the social movements to the state or states had moved to a more advanced level. And the state was recognising the sometimes bothersome social movements as a legitimate and even helpful or necessary presence.
Greater scepticism about the prospects opened by
If I started with two explicit projects for a Fifth Socialist International, why do I finish with a state-sponsored conference on climate change, which social movements both motivated and attended, but in which the concept of internationalism did not even figure? This may be because of a feeling that the two initiatives with which I began, one state-initiated and one proposed by a libertarian socialist, belong to the 20th century, either in language, relational form (how they imagine their own immediate community, how they relate to a wider public) or both. And that the radically innovatory
There simply are more things in the ether and on earth than were dreamed of in your First International, Karl Marx!
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Znet. 2010. ‘Proposal for a Participatory Socialist International’,
 Originally, as the title of this piece suggests, there were only eight points. But internationalist inititiatives seem to be developing thick and fast. So in this update, I feel obliged to also address the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change,
 A sobering footnote: my own five-year effort to launch discussion on a Global Labour Charter has so far failed to interest even Left union or labour activists. I would like to put this down to labour’s profound continuing incorporation into a previous era of capitalism, social struggle and compromise (for which see, most powerfully, Green 2008). It may be that the Fifth Internationals of either Hugo Chavez of Michael Albert will have more appeal to labour than my own apparently too-individual or too-utopian project. It may, however, also be that any such endorsement would reproduce the history of party and ideological divisions between labour movements.
 A more cheering footnote: Peter Hall-Jones (2009) - no Marxist or Autonomist but rather someone with an international union background and of social-democratic orientation - has written a piece on the precariat and the necessity for a radically transformed international labour movement. He here goes way beyond what considers itself to be the international trade union(-oriented) Left. The piece requires translation, distribution and extensive discussion. And, also, for its implications for a new labour internationalism to be spelt out.
 Late April 2010 the ITUC’s climate change webpage, http://climate.ituc-csi.org/?lang=en, still had no coverage of the
 I am enlightened here by ‘In Defence of Marxism’, the British supporters of which apparently sent a delegation to
 We are here standing on a moving escalator. April 28, 2010, I discover that two Australians of the newest left, energetically involved with the Venezuelan revolution, have finally managed to interview Julio Chavez from the International Commission of the on-going ‘ideological congress’ of the PSUV. Their polite, even diplomatic, questioning elicited from him only that the Fifth International would eventually be founded, but that it would now be called the ‘First International of the 21st Century’, so as to take account of local Communist sensitivities. For the rest, I have to say that Julio Chavez so conflates the Venezuelan party with its state, the national with the international, and the proposed international institution with the international movement, that my confidence in the project has dropped even lower. I encourage readers to check out the interview at http://links.org.au/node/1646. And to pay particular attention to the ambiguities expressed with respect to such anti-imperialist but possibly less-than-socialist states, as
 Possibly the least interactive of these activities was for me, simultaneously, not only the most interesting but the most useful. This was the presence in
 Thanks, also, to a half-dozen compañer@s, mostly involved in the climate movement or participants in the conference, who I consulted whilst drafting Point 9. You know who you are. And I need not embarrass you by mentioning your names, even with the customary disclaimer.