Welcome Links Malik Miah reports on the International Green Left Conference and the launching of a new international magazine of socialist renewal. The International Green Left Conference, held in Sydney, Australia, March 31-April 4, brought together a wide range of activists and concerned individuals to discuss and debate the ecological and social problems currently facing the world. During the meeting, a new international discussion journal, Links, a quarterly magazine for socialist renewal, was launched. The highly successful conference grew out of an initiative of the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) of Australia, the main left formation in that country. Carl Bloice, national co-chair of the Committees of Correspondence, Mike Wyman, editor of CrossRoads' recent El Salvador Presente! issue, Peter Camejo, a member of Committees of Correspondence national executive and the board of the Environmental Federation of America, and I were among over 800 participants from all over Australia and around the world. NEW APPROACHES EXPLORED Panels, workshops and plenary sessions explored new approaches to increasingly complex challenges. Major themes included socialism, feminism, environmental politics, labor struggles and international solidarity. International guests spoke of political developments in their countries and how they are organizing in new parties and formations. Jeanette Fitzsimons, Green Party member and deputy co-leader of the New Zealand Alliance, described the Alliance's improved electoral chances under the new, more democratic, proportional representation system in that country. Black activist, feminist and alternate senator for the Workers Party (PT), Dulce Maria Pereira, described the history and development of the PT, and discussed the potential for an electoral victory in Brazil's presidential election later this year. Hassan, from the People's Committee of Indonesia, outlined the growing links between workers, peasants and students in the democratic movement, despite the brutal repression of the Suharto regime. Tony Carbado and Sonny Melencio from SANLAKAS and MAKABAYAN, respectively, spoke of the new mass-based groups that have broken away from the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines. (Carbado will be touring the U.S. this summer to discuss the situation in the Philippines.) The debate of the Philippines left is of interests to socialists and progressives internationally. The issues include party democracy, democratic centralism, the role of the trade unions and mass organizations in a semi-colonial country, and questions of strategy where democratic openings exist. Ideas for dealing with the international environmental crisis were put forward by a diverse range of speakers. A lively discussion occurred on the different paths towards sustainable development and environmental justice. The panel, "How can we build a sustainable society," was one of the best attended and included Peter Camejo, Jeanette Fitzsimons, Graham Mathews from the Australian Democratic Socialist Party, and Dr. Nguyen Khac Kinh, deputy director of Vietnam's National Environment Agency. The broad and open views discussed highlighted the importance of linking green and socialist perspectives in reaching common strategies and goals. The conference's opening public meeting was addressed by author Susan George. George is a researcher for the Transnational Institute, a green think-tank in Amsterdam, and a member of the international board of Greenpeace. Speaking on the global economy and the concentration of power and capital by transnational corporations, George described the situation as a globalized system of apartheid. She outlined the further impoverishment of poor nations resulting from the structural adjustment programs imposed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. George noted that "the global market is rapidly becoming an excuse for attempting to remove a great many of the gains of workers, farmers and women." World Bank programs have also increased destruction of the environment. "Although the market can do many things extremely well," George said, "it is absolutely incapable of telling us the costs of anything in either ecological or social terms. To rely on the market in a globalized world is suicidal." WELCOME LINKS A highlight of the conference was the launching of Links, a new international journal of socialist renewal and discussion. Among the speakers at the kick-off dinner on April 2 were Dulce Maria Pereira, Carl Bloice, Peter Camejo, and Sonny Melencio. The magazine is aimed at promoting discussion and greater understanding between the forces for socialism that are actively involved in building parties and organizations. An exclusive interview with Sandinista leader and former Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is the lead article in the first issue. Also in the first issue are an article on Russia's trade union movement by Renfrey Clarke and prominent dissident (under both the previous and current regimes) Boris Kagarlitsky; two articles on socialist renewal in the Communist Party of the Philippines; a report on left unity in South Africa; an article on left regroupment in the U.S.; and an evaluation of current politics in Australia. There are also two important documents: one on the Brazilian Workers Party election strategy and a call for left regroupment by the Committees of Correspondence. In addition to the groups represented on the speaking platform at the launch, the editorial board includes Jeremy Cronin, a leader of the South African Communist Party (SACP) and editor of The African Communist; Langa Zita from the SACP and the South African metalworkers union; Dr. Francisco Nemenzo from the Philippines; Baddegama Samitha from the New Socialist Party of Sri Lanka; and leading members from the New Zealand Alliance, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), the Farabundo Mart¡ National Liberation Front (FMLN) and the Fourth International. "The range of groups involved in Links is proof of a new climate of collaboration in the international left," explained Links managing editor Peter Boyle. "This is a project involving the left from the Communist Party, the Trotskyist, Maoist, ex-Social Democratic, independent left and liberation theology traditions. We all have in common a desire for socialist renewal based on support for democracy, feminism, ecological sustainability and internationalism." The magazine was initiated by the Democratic Socialist Party of Australia but has become an international project. As the introduction to the inaugural issue explains, Links is a magazine for the post-Cold War left. It is not a project for those who want to moan about the collapse of the Stalinized regimes in eastern and central Europe or to drown in demoralization. It is also not just another magazine for academics. It is a magazine for those building parties and organizations seeking to bring about fundamental change in their countries. "The magazine," the opening statement explains, "will not present a single line. It will be pluralist, open, and very much a discussion forum. There will not be a regular editorial, but there will be certain parameters. Links will be developing and marking out the space for genuine socialism." A meeting of the editorial committee and other supporters occurred after the conference. It discussed promotion and distribution, and the need to expand the editorial body to include representatives of more groups as well as to bring onto the editorial board more women leaders. (See accompanying ad to subscribe.) SUMMER TOUR OF FILIPINO LEADER The first project of U.S. supporters of Links is to help organize a tour for Tony Cabardo of the Philippines in July and August. Cabardo is Vice-President for External Affairs of SANLAKAS, a federation of mass organizations with a membership of 250,000 in the Philippines' National Capital Region. Affiliates of SANLAKAS come from organizations of labor, urban poor, women, transport workers, youth and students, consumers, municipal alliances for promotion of people's welfare and protection of environment, and from religious and non-governmental groups. Cabardo is one of the convenors of the "Rollback Movement" (KRB), a broad coalition which forced the Ramos government to rollback the price increases it had announced in January of this year on oil, electricity and transport. He is also a member of the convenor group of the Asia Pacific Conference on East Timor to be held in Manila in May-June. The aim of the tour is to allow Cabardo to meet with activists in the Filipino community and U.S. progressives, and to give forums to the America public on the socio- political crisis of Philippine society and the activity of the trade unions and mass organizations in response to that crisis. Those interested in working on the tour should contact Links at P.O. Box 8402, Berkeley, CA 94707 or call 510-489-8554.