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Pacific

Philippines: On Duterte's strategy - Why diplomacy can't be a one-man show

 

 

Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte and Japan's Prime MInister Shinzo Abe 
offer a toast to the two countries' relations in Oct. 26, 2016,

 

By Walden Bello

 

October 30, 2016 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from InterAksyon – Just into his fourth month as head of state, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has managed to become one of the most controversial actors on the global stage, rivalling if not eclipsing Donald Trump. His war on drugs, marred by the extra-judicial execution of drug users and peddlers, won him the title of “serial killer” on French television. More recently, his telling US President Obama to “go to hell” and his declaration of “separation” from the United States and “alignment”with China and Russia during a state visit to Beijing has alarmed and befuddled governments in the East Asian region.

 

Atomic bombings of Japan were a crime against humanity

Doves were released over the Hiroshima peace memorial park during the August 6, 2015, ceremony. Photograph: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images. 

By Rupen Savoulian

August 9, 2015 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- This month marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States in August 1945.

Venezuela: (Updated March 17) Asia-Pacific socialists pledge continuing solidarity with revolution

If your organisation would like to sign this statement, please email: international@socialist-alliance.org

March 11, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialists in Asia-Pacific pledge support for Venezuela’s socialist revolution, a year after Chavez’s death.

March 5 marked one year since the death of Venezuela's president and revolutionary Hugo Chavez. An outspoken fighter for the oppressed in Venezuela and Latin America, the loss of Chavez is still felt keenly by socialists and anti-imperialists globally.

But the Bolivarian revolution that Chavez led is a mass movement of millions of people that lives on in the barrios and workplaces in Venezuela. This process, led by the government of President Nicolas Maduro, is facing fresh attacks by right-wing forces backed by the United States.

The recent violent protests by a minority that has repeatedly been defeated at the ballot box has caused widespread destruction and terror. Along with at least 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries, public buildings and government-run, pro-poor social missions have been attacked by opposition protesters, at the estimated cost of up to 10 million bolivars.

The international media has presented this fascist violence as a peaceful democracy struggle that has been repressed by a dictatorial Maduro government. This turns reality on its head.

Australia’s national interest versus Timor-Leste, 1941-2006

For more on East Timor, click HERE.

By Gaetano Greco, Francesco Faraci and Michael Cooke

In our Manichaean enthusiasms we in the West made haste to dispense whenever possible with the economic, intellectual and institutional baggage of the twentieth century and encouraged others to do so likewise... Not only did we fail to learn very much from the past – this would hardly have been remarkable. But we have become stridently insistent – in our economic calculations, our political practices, our international strategies, even our educational priorities – that the past has nothing of interest to teach us. Ours, we insist, is a new world; its risks and opportunities are without precedent. -- Tony Judt[1]

Uncle Sam's UN blues: Washington's anti-Cuba policy isolated -- again

Voting board for the 2012 General Assembly 2012 on resolution calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba. This year, the vote was 188 in favour, two against, with three abstentions. UN Photo.

By Ike Nahem

November 10, 2013 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Annually, a near ritual unfolds in the Autumn session of the United Nations General Assembly: the assembled states and governments dutifully, in near-unanimous consensus, vote in favour of a Resolution on the "Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial, and Financial Embargo by the United States of America Against Cuba".

Brian Manning (1932-2013): Charlie India Echo Tango calling Timor Leste

On November 3, 2013, Brian Manning -- veteran Northern Territory communist, trade unionist, campaigner against racism, long-time activist for Indigenous people's rights and solidarity campaigner with the East Timorese people (among many other causes) -- died in Darwin, aged 81. Brian won enormous respect for his commitment to human rights and his unstinting dedication to changing the system.

As a tribute to Brian, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal highlights another important chapter in his inspiring political life: his important role in the building solidarity the struggle of the East Timorese people for national self-determination. (See also "Brian Manning and the Gurindji `walk offs’".)

The following chapter appeared in the 2003 book,  A Few Rough Reds: Stories of Rank and File Organising, published by the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History. This and others chapters are available at http://roughreds.com/rrone/index.html.

[Click HERE for more on Timor Leste. For more on the Communist Party of Australia, click HERE. ]

* * *

By Brian Manning

Solomon Islands: 10 years since the Australian-led occupation -- the politics of fantasy

Riots in Honiara in 2006.

For more on the Solomon Islands, click HERE and HERE.

By Scott Hamilton

July 30, 2013 -- Reading the Maps, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Back in 1989 a schoolmate of mine showed me some copies of Tribune, the newspaper of New Zealand’s Socialist Unity Party. The SUP had for decades been convinced of the infallibility of the leadership of the Soviet Union, and the pages of Tribune were full of recycled press releases from the Kremlin and large airbrushed photographs of crumbling Soviet leaders like Leonid Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov.

Cuba's unsung medical training helps develop Timor Leste and Pacific island countries

August 3, 2013 -- Australia-Cuba Friendship Society -- Excerpts from some longer documentaries by Tim Anderson on Cuban health cooperation with Timor Leste, Vanuatu, Nauru and the Solomon Islands. Also a short excerpt from Nauru Television. For more on Cuba's health system and its assistance to other countries, click HERE.

Kanaky: Politics heats up as independence supporters mobilise for 2014 election

Celebrating Kanak identity ... the Mwa Ka statue in Noumea. Image: Nic Maclellan.

Celebrating Kanak identity -- the Mwa Ka statue in Noumea. Photo by Nic Maclellan.

Click here for more on Kanaky.

By Nic Maclellan

February 25, 2013 -- Islands Business, posted at Links Intenational Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- New Caledonia's (Kanaky) next congressional elections will not be held until May 2014, but it seems like the electoral campaign has already begun. In recent months, politics in the French Pacific colony has been hotting up as supporters and opponents of independence prepare for next year’s electoral contest.

Since the Noumea Accord was signed in May 1998, there has been a gradual transfer of authority from Paris to Noumea. But the congress elected in 2014 will have a major decision.

Fiji: New workers' party formed

Fijian Trade Union Congress secretary Felix Anthony.

By Byron Clark

February 7, 2013 -- The Spark (Fightback, New Zealand), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- After a conference in Nadi last month attended by more than 400 delegates from all affiliates of the Fijian Trade Union Congress (FTUC), Fiji’s trade unionists have begun forming a new political party. Felix Anthony, secretary of the FTUC and a one time a Fiji Labour Party MP who left the party last year citing a lack of internal democracy told Radio Australia;

“The people of Fiji and the workers of Fiji have little choice and what we need really is a political voice that represents a cross section of people and more so the workers of Fiji. It’s really a necessity that drives the trade unions at this time to consider a political movement and a political party.”

Aotearoa/New Zealand: Mana, a movement of the people

Grant Brookes.

By Grant Brookes

November 7, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – The following talk was presented to a Socialist Alliance public meeting in Melbourne.

Tihei mauriora!
Ko Ranginui kei runga
Ko Papatūanuku kei raro
Ko nga tangata kei waenganui

Ko Grant Brookes ahau
Ko Helen toku mama
Ko Don toku papa
Na Ōtepoti ahau
Na Koterana oku tipuna
Ko nga kaimahi o te ao taku iwi.

When a Maori person rises to talk in formal occasions, they often announce their speech, with tihei mauriora! – translated literally, “sneeze of the life spirit”. It is then customary to recount one's ancestry and tribal connections. So I said, Ranginui the sky father above, Papatūanuku the earth mother below, the people in between. I am Grant Brookes. My mother is Helen, my father is Don. I am originally from Ōtepoti/Dunedin. My ancestors are from Scotland. Being Pakeha, or a New Zealand European, I have no Maori tribal connections, so I say, the workers of the world are my tribe.

Solomon Islands: Ethnic conflict a legacy of imperialist exploitation

By Norm Dixon

July 2, 2003 -- Green Left Weekly -- Australian military intervention into the Solomon Islands, announced by Prime Minister John Howard on June 25, will not solve problems that are the legacy of more than a century of imperialist economic and political domination and the inability of the capitalist system to bring economic development to poor Pacific island societies in a socially just and democratic way.

The Solomon Islands has a population of around 450,000 and a gross domestic product of US$400 million. Its per capita GDP, $900 in 1997, is now around $600, with most of the population living on subsistence farming.

Australia is the principal source of the Solomons' imports — mainly fuel, manufactured goods and processed foods — accounting for almost 42% of all imports (worth A$98 million in 1998-99). The Australian-owned Gold Ridge goldmine, opened in 1998, generated more than half the Solomon Islands' GDP before it was shut down by its owner, Delta Gold, in June 2000.

Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka, lecturer in history and politics at Fiji's University of the South Pacific, writing in the May 2000 Pacific News Bulletin, explained that when Britain granted the Solomon Islands independence in 1978, it was a group of largely undeveloped islands with an economy dependent almost entirely on the exploitation of natural resources for the world market by foreign companies.

International Women’s Day 2012: Women march against US military expansion in the Philippines and the Pacific

Unity statement by women in the Philippines

March 8, 2012 -- On the occasion of the International Women’s Day 2012, we, Filipino women declare in strongest terms possible, our opposition not only to increased presence but to US military presence per se on Philippines soil.

The United States is increasing its military presence in Asia-Pacific, in particular in the Philippines, and the Philippine government is showing no qualms in allowing this to happen.

A news account recently reported on the United States' plan to increase its military aid to “boost” Philippine defence; the promised aid will amount to US$144 million, reflecting an increase of more than $20 million on the previous amount. In another earlier news article, US ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas was quoted as saying his government had spent US$50 million for the upgrading of Philippine military facilities.

The Washington Post in January 2012 also reported that Philippine officials were in the United States to conduct initial talks with representatives of the Obama government "about expanding the American military presence in the island nation". More high-level and intense discussions will take place this March.

West Papua: Support workers at the Freeport-McMoRan Grasberg mine striking for a wage increase

Statement by Asia-Pacific left and workers’ organisations

December 11, 2011 -- The strike started on September 15, 2011, and it involves nearly 12,000 workers. It was called after the negotiations between the union and the management went into deadlock.

The striking workers want to be paid US$7.50 per hour (for grade F1) to $18 per hour (for grade A5) instead of the US$2.10 per hour to $3.50 per hour they are currently receiving.

Their demands are for increases of 250% to 500%, but these wage demands are still much lower than the amounts workers are paid in other Freeport-McMoRan mines such as those in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. In negotiations the union has offered solutions, but these have been rejected by the management.

Climate talks: 'Social movements must unite to cool the planet' -- 'Disastrous' Durban failure condemned

"Developed countries, led by the United States, accelerated the demolition of the world’s international framework for fair and urgent climate action.  And developing countries have been bullied and forced into accepting an agreement that could be a suicide pill for the world”, said Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International.

Indigenous peoples condemn climate talks fiasco and demand moratorium on REDD+

By the Global Justice Ecology Project

Photo essay: Thousands hit the streets of Durban to protest UN 'Conference of Polluters'; Small Island States join Occupy COP17

Overview of the march. Photo: Petermann/GJEP-GFC.

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

Photo essay by Orin Langelle (Global Justice Ecology Project) and Anne Petermann (Global Justice Ecology Project-Global Forest Coalition).

December 3, 2011 – Climate Connections -- Around 12,000 people from South Africa and around the world hit the streets of Durban, South Africa, to protest the UN Climate Conference of Polluters on December 3.

Photo: Petermann/GJEP-GFC.

Rapa Nui/Easter Island: Blaming the victims -- Jared Diamond's myth of ‘ecocide’

Sculpture of the flag of independence for Rapa Nui, featuring a representation of the rongorongo script, unique to the island, in the shape of a boomerang, and headstones of Moai at either end. Photo by Coral Wynter.

By Coral Wynter

November 5, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I have always been fascinated by the story of Easter Island, the European name for Rapa Nui, due to a complete accident in my childhood education, when at age 10, I did a school project on the strange, mysterious statues on the island, known as Moai.

[Please note: Rapa Nui refers to the island and Rapanui is used when it refers to the people or the language.]

My partner has always laughed at my obsession, referring to the Moai as those weird statues of Malcolm Fraser, adding why would you want to see that? (Fraser was the archetypal right-wing leader of Australian politics in the 1970s, who had dismissed a prominent Labour Party leader, Gough Whitlam, in shonky circumstances).

In fact, the 887 statues represent ancient and revered leaders of an ancient island society and the sculpture on top of their heads represents a hairstyle -- a red coloured topknot and not a hat. They bear little resemblance to Malcolm Fraser, wearing a hat.

Timor Leste and Australian activists reject Australian government's racist refugee policy

Statement by Luta Hamutuk, Timor-Leste Institute for Research, Advocacy and Campaigns

Dili, July 7, 2010 -- According to Australian foreign affairs policy announced by the Australian prime minister in Sydney recently and published by a range of media, including the Indonesian newspaper the Java Post, “Prime Minister (PM) Julia Gillard has tightened Australia immigration law. Not wanting to be bothered by the economic and social problems caused by asylum seekers, the Australian leader plans to build a detention center for asylum seekers in Timor-Leste” As quoted by Associated Press (Java Post, 07/07/2010).  

The above statement shows how Australian foreign policy contains “racist characteristics” toward Timor Leste and the region.

Luta Hamutuk's position

Luta Hamutuk, as a member of civil society in Timor Leste, would like to declare our position on this statement as follows:

Timor Leste: `Foreign soldiers should stay out of Timorese politics'

By La’o Hamutuk

March 11, 2010 -- La’o Hamutuk calls on the military and civilian commanders of Australian and other foreign soldiers in Timor-Leste to direct their soldiers to avoid involvement in local politics, including asking Timorese citizens their political views or encouraging them to identify with one political grouping or another.

We recently received the attached letter (also below) from Mr. Mateus Fernandes Sequeira, Chefe do Suco of Lore I (Lautem District), which describes Australian and New Zealand military observers inviting local residents to a community meeting on February 23. After arriving by helicopter, the soldiers asked the residents to raise their hands if they like the AMP [Alliance of the Parliamentary Majority coalition] government better than the previous one. In addition to this being none of Australia’s business, coercing people to publicly express their political leanings in this newly sovereign nation is dangerous and destructive. It can lead to violence or retaliation, undercutting the “stabilisation” that the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) is ostensibly here to secure.

Asia-Pacific calls for protests during Obama's visits to Guam, Indonesia and Australia

Statement by the Working Peoples Association (Indonesia), People's Democratic Party (Indonesia), Socialist Alliance (Australia), Socialist Worker (New Zealand), Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippines), Solidarity (Australia), Labour Party Pakistan, Socialist Alternative (Australia), Socialist Party of Malaysia and the Confederation Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance. Supported by James Petras

[If your organisation would like to add their names to the statement, please email international@prp-indonesia.org.]

March 8, 2010 -- We, the undersigned progressive, anti-war, anti-neoliberalism and anti-imperialist organisations in the Asia-Pacific region, call for a wave protests to meet US President Barack Obama's planned visits to Guam, Indonesia and Australia in March 2010.

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