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For more coverage of the Philippines, click HERE
By Partido Lakas ng Masa international desk
Philippines must open bilateral talks with China to ease tensions, now!
US butt out, stop intervening in the dispute!
May 28, 2015 -- Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Laboring Masses), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Given the renewed sabre rattling and war cries between the US and China, over the West Philippine Sea and disputed territories, we call on the Philippine government to immediately open bilateral talks with China in order to ease tensions. While we condemn China's aggressive bullying tactics, we firmly believe that the government must take immediate steps towards a negotiated political settlement to this long-running dispute.
However, we also think that the government has to be sincere about pursuing a political settlement, in order to move towards a peaceful resolution of the conflicting claims. This means that the Philippine government disassociate itself from any actions that makes it a proxy for US interests, that is it must be committed to pursuing a truly independent policy in the region.
Click HERE for more on Pakistan.
By Farooq Tariq, Lahore
May 25, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Baba Jan, a federal committee member of the Awami Workers Party (AWP), is contesting the election for the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly seat (Hunza-6) from behind bars. He is in jail serving a life sentence handed down by an anti-terrorism court last year for raising his voice against police brutality and for the rights of Atabad disaster hit people.
This is the first time in the history of Gilgit-Baltistan, a disputed territory administered by Pakistan, that an election campaign has been run from prison..
Elections for the 34-seat rubber-stamp assembly is going to be held on June 8, 2015. The provincial election commission’s decision to allow him to contest the poll has surprised many and triggered an enthusiasm among the youth, who consider Baba Jan a symbol of resistance.
Baba Jan and his group had boycotted the last general elections in 2009. The Pakistan People’s Party won the seat but has lost most of its credibility during its five years in power, because of corruption.
May 16, 2015 -- Socialist Party of Malaysia, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Together with all concerned Malaysians, the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM, Socialist Party of Malaysia) would asserts that for the 8000 or so Rohingya [refugees] at our doorstep, pushing back the boats into the sea should never be considered an option. Instead they should be allowed onto Malaysian shores while negotiations take place at ASEAN level on how best to resolve this humanitarian crisis.
Though the sad and bitter truth is that the sea seems to be the only place willing to host them now, it would be completely inhuman to push back the boats and abandon 8000 lives to the vagaries of weather and sea.
Malaysia and other ASEAN countries need to accept that they are dealing with 8000 lives, mostly victims of the barbarism of the genocidal Myanmar regime that has taken away their citizenship, and their right to life. Instead of criminalising the victims, ASEAN nations must resolve to find permanent solutions to the situation. Turning them away or deporting them back to Myanmar are not only unacceptable, but such actions also do not address the crisis or prevent its recurrence.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4407]
Por Reihana Mohideen
10/05/2015 -- Sinpermiso -- Si bien la renuncia de Walden Bello como representante en el Congreso de Akbayan debe ser bienvenida, también ha puesto de manifiesto la crisis y el fracaso del movimiento de izquierda y progresista y su incapacidad para construir una alternativa viable al actual régimen de las élites. Además, ha puesto de manifiesto el fracaso de las políticas electorales pragmáticas de la izquierda filipina.
Una pregunta importante que se plantea es, ¿cómo puede la izquierda responder a la reciente crisis política y darle una salida progresista, a fin de que beneficie a la Masa (masas) y no a una de las facciones de la elite gobernante? Teniendo en cuenta que las principales facciones de la élite no son capaces de presentar una alternativa creíble, ello proporciona la izquierda una oportunidad única, para defender y ganar apoyo popular a una alternativa de izquierda al gobierno de las elites filipinas.
Philippine police commandos unload body bags containing the remains of their comrades killed as a result of the "Mamasapano debacle".
For more coverage of the Philippine left, click HERE.
An important discussion is taking place in the Philippine left about its intervention in the 2016 elections, the revival of the mass movement and the coalition of a section of the progressive movement, the Akbayan party, with the governing Liberal Party.
Several leaders of Akbayan have called for an end to this alliance, including Walden Bello, who recently resigned as Akbayan's leader in parliament, former chairperson of Akbayan Ric Reyes, who has now resigned from the party after its congress in April voted to continue as a coalition partner of the government, and SENTRO, the labour organisation aligned with Akbayan.
The following paper is a contribution to the discussion. Other papers and statements can be found at www.lakasngmasa.wordpress.com.
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By Reihana Mohideen
Socialist Party of Malaysia secretary-general S. Arutchelvan was among those arrested at an anti-GST protest on May Day in Kuala Lumpar.
May 2, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Malaysian police have arrested Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S. Arutchelvan, formal president of Malaysian Bar Council Ambiga Sreenevasan and member of parliament for Seremban Anthony Loke at a May Day demonstration on May 1, 2015.
The arrests are part of the recent wave of crackdown on anti-GST (goods and services tax) and aim to further curtail dissent in the country.
Another 29 young people were arrested soon after the May Day rally. More people have been call to report themselves to the police otherwise will be subjected to arrest.
About 20,000 people took part in the May Day rally this year in the capital city Kuala Lumpur, with the theme to demand for the cancellation of the newly introduced GST. The protest was largely peaceful, but the police reacted with arrests after the rally and intended to punish the protesters by remanding them in lock-up.
April 30, 1975: a North Vietnamese tank rolls through the gate of the Presidential Palace in Saigon.
By Jon Mitchell
April 30, 2015 -- Asia-Pacific Journal, Japan Focus, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On April 30, 1975, North Vietnamese troops and their supporters entered Saigon. Their arrival ended three decades of conflict -- including 10 years of direct US- intervention -- which left as many as 3 million dead and countless others suffering from the legacy of PTSD, unexploded ordnance and Agent Orange.1
As the world remembers this 40th anniversary, all too often forgotten is the role of the Pentagon’s most important launch pad for this failed war: Okinawa.
The Vietnam War wrought massive changes on the lives of the island’s 900,000 residents. Many of Okinawa’s current problems date back to this era and, if the history of the Vietnam War there continues to be ignored, the island’s wounds -- in many ways as raw as those in South-east Asia and the US -- will continue to fester long into the future.
* * *
By Bharat Nepal, Sydney
April 28, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As you all know a very devastating earthquake hit Nepal on April 25. More than 5000 people were killed and more than 6000 are still missing. Outside of Kathmandu is also badly affected, however due to remoteness damage has still not been fully appraised.
There is great need for health care, food and water. I am coordinating to raise funds in Australia to address this crisis.
If you can please support by donating to the following account, all money raised will be sent to National Disaster Relief Fund in Nepal.
Organisation name: Australia Nepal Public Link Inc.
National Australia Bank
BSB 082 342
A/c. no. 83 719 7693
Please state: Earthquake support as transaction ID
Thank you so much.
Bharat Nepal, president Australia Nepal Public Link Inc. (http://www.anpl.org.au/)
By Giles Ji Ungpakorn
April 19, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Thailand's military junta’s new draft constitution is a pathetic, backward, anti-democratic and infantile document.
Just like the rantings of generalissimo Prayut Chan-ocha (pictured above), it is full of tub-thumping and shouting about the “duties” and “responsibilities” of Thai people to grovel to “Nation, Religion and King”. It is infantile in this because it is written by conservative idiots who think that by bullying the population into conforming to elite beliefs they can actually change peoples’ attitudes.
The infantilism gets worse when we get to part 2 of the constitution, which is headed; “Good Political Leaders and Good Representatives”. It doesn’t take much brain power to guess what the junta’s definition of “good” might be. High up on the list is loyalty to “Nation, Religion and King” and not being corrupt … blah blah blah. The whole thing sounds like some moral tale designed for a bad kindergarten.
The Crab Cannery Ship: and Other Novels of Struggle
By Kobayashi Takiji
Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2013, 328 pages
[Scroll to the end for a video presentation of this article, and to Note 1 for Takiji Memorial: February 20, 2009, a three-part documentary tribute to Kobayashi Takiji, produced by Heather Bowen-Struyk.]
By Doug Enaa Greene
April 15, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In 2008, one of the best-selling novels in Japan was an 80-year-old novel, Kanikosen (Crab Cannery Ship) by the communist author Kobayashi Takiji, detailing the wretched working conditions on a fishing ship and the crew's strike and determination to overthrow their oppressors. The novel, previously selling a moderate 5000 copies per year, shot up to sales of 500,000, along with the release of four manga versions reaching many more readers.
The left-wing People's Democratic Party (PRD) held its eighth congress in Jakarta from March 24-26. This was the first time its congress was held openly.
By Alex Bainbridge, Jakarta
April 13, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The left-wing People's Democratic Party (PRD) held its eighth congress in Jakarta from March 24-26, 2015. This was the first time its congress was held openly. The open congress marks an important new stage of development for the party, which has a history of underground organising dating back to the era of the Suharto dictatorship that was overthrown in 1998.
The congress launched a large-scale campaign for the PRD to achieve the stringent requirements of electoral registration in time for the 2019 elections. It also emphasised politics designed to forge national unity in the struggle against imperialism.
The PRD was formed out of — and helped lead — a resurgence of struggle against the Suharto regime in the 1990s. Suharto came to power in a 1965 military coup that involved massacres that killed an estimated 1 million leftists.
PSM MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj.
By Peter Boyle
April 8, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the early hours of the morning on April 7, the Malaysian parliament reintroduced powers of indefinite detention without trial in the form of a new Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). Such powers, previously under the Internal Security Act and Emergency Ordinance — which were repealed in 2012 under popular pressure — have a notorious history of being used by British colonial and, after independence, Malaysian authorities to detain political dissidents.
The official justification for POTA was the alleged threat faced from "terrorists" influenced by the so-called “Islamic State” group in Iraq and Syria. Just as the law was being rushed through the parliament, the police announced that it had arrested 17 people accused of planning terrorist acts.
“The new law gives the authorities very wide powers and does not have sufficient checks and balances”, Malaysia's sole socialist MP and long-time campaigner against the ISA Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj (pictured) told Green Left Weekly in an exclusive interview.
By Socialist Party of Malaysia/Parti Sosialis Malaysia(PSM)
UPDATE March 26, 2015 -- All the Malaysian anti-GST protesters who were detained on March 23 have now been released on RM3000 bail. They are to appear in court again on May 14. Thanks for all the protest letters!
* * *
March 24, 2015 -- PSM, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Police used excessive force in the recent crackdown on protesters against the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is scheduled to be implemented on 1 April 2015.
On March 23, 2015, the Coalition Against GST, which is led by the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), the Oppressed People’s Network (JERIT) and a number of civil society groups, staged a sit-in protest at the Customs Office in Kelana Jaya, to demand answers to more than 100 questions raised by many Malaysians regarding the GST. The director of the Customs Office refused to answer these questions and the police reacted violently against the peaceful sit-in.
Eighty people were arrested during the police violence at the Customs Office. More than 50 protesters were later released but another 31 anti-GST protesters and those arrested for protesting against the clampdown are still being detained by the police. The police have even applied for a further remand of these 31 anti-GST protesters.
The 31 detainees are:
By Peter Boyle
February 27, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On February 19, 15 policemen descended on the home of Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) general secretary S. Arutchelvan (Arul) in Kajang, a suburban satellite of the capital city Kuala Lumpur.
They detained him under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act for a statement he issued by the PSM on February 10 after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction on a sodomy charge.
Demonstrations for his release began immediately outside the police station where he was held and late in the evening on February 20 he was released on the orders of a magistrate. The PSM and others are campaigning for the repeal of the colonial-era Sedition Act and for the release of Anwar Ibrahim.
Arul gave Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal this interview via email on February 26.
* * *
What is your legal situation now? Are you charged with sedition or only still being investigated?
I am not charged yet. The police want two weeks to process the information on my mobile phone, modem and laptop -- which they confiscated -- before they decide. It will again be a political decision, I believe.
To endorse please send email to: email@example.com
February 21, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The undersigned organisations add our voices to those in Malaysia now calling for the immediate release of Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PSM) secretary general S. Arutchelvan (Arul), who was arrested on the evening of February 19, 2015, on charges of "sedition".
These charges, and the arrest of Arul, are a travesty of justice and democracy.
We believe Arul has been arrested for his press statement on behalf of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia on Anwar Ibrahim’s "sodomy 2" guilty verdict. In this statement Arul criticised Malaysia's Federal Court judgement, saying the courts are not independent and are politically driven.
We call for the:
1. That the sedition charges be dropped and Arul be freed immediately.
2. The repeal of the Sedition Act , a notoriously anti-democratic law dating back to British colonial rule which has and continues to be used to suppress and intimidate dissent.
By Jeyakumar Deveraj
February 20, 2015 -- PSM, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- At about 6 pm, February 19, 15 policemen from the Dang Wangi police station descended on the house of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (Socialist Party of Malaysia, PSM) secretary general S. Arutchelvan [Arul] in Kajang, and arrested him. According to the arresting officer, Arul was being arrested under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act, which reads: "Any person who prints, publishes ... or reproduces any seditious publication shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM5000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years."
Supporters of Anwar Ibrahim rally outside the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya, February 10, 2015.
By S. Arutchelvan, secretary general, PSM
February 10, 2015 -- Socialist Party of Malaysia, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Parti Sosialis Malaysia (Socialist Party of Malaysia, PSM) is appalled at the disgraceful judgement by the highest court in the nation on [opposition leader] Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy II case. Any person following the trial in the Federal Court would have made a overwhelmingly foregone conclusion that Anwar is innocent and he should be free man today. This hope was dashed and now in shambles.
The judgement today further deepens our convictions that the courts are not independent and are politically driven. The prime minister's department, which in normal circumstances responds late to any issues, has issued a statement very promptly and efficiently. Was this statement ready before the judgement? One would not need to be a genius to answer this.
The highest court has unanimously put to shame our criminal justice system and judiciary beyond repair. It is time people wake up that something is seriously wrong.
Yingluck Shinawatra leaves the final impeachment hearing at parliament in Bangkok. Photograph: Vichan Poti/Demotix/Corbis.
By Giles Ji Ungpakorn
January 28, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Let us be clear. The impeachment motion passed by the puppet parliament on January 23 against former Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, submitted to the military junta’s appointed Assembly by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, over her role in the rice price support scheme for farmers, is a total farce and a red herring. It is a deliberate part of the anti-reforms designed to destroy democracy. It has nothing to do with the rice scheme.
Yingluck is accused of “allowing corruption to take place” in this rice scheme and of presiding over financial losses to the government.
For more coverage of Sri Lanka, click HERE.
By Chris Slee
January 12, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Maithripala Sirisena has taken office as president of Sri Lanka, after winning the election held on January 8. Sirisena obtained 51.28% of the vote, defeating incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who got 47.58%.
Seventeen other candidates got a total of 1.14% of the votes between them. Duminda Nagamuwa, representing the Frontline Socialist Party, got 0.08%; Siritunga Jayasuriya of the United Socialist Party got 0.07%; and Sundaram Mahendran of the NSSP (New Socialist Party) got 0.03%.
Rajapaksa had been elected president in 2005, and re-elected in 2010. In his first term he presided over the most brutal phase of the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The LTTE was formed in the 1970s to fight for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka. It was created by Tamil youth in response to discrimination against Tamils and the violent repression of peaceful protests. From small beginnings it grew into a powerful armed force.
Sri Lanka’s newly elected president Maithripala Sirisena. Photograph: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images.
For more coverage of Sri Lanka, click HERE.
By the Tamil Refugee Council
Melbourne, January 9, 2015 --The Tamil Refugee Council urges the Australian government to use the change of leadership in Sri Lanka to push for a resolution to the country’s most pressing issue – the long-standing oppression and persecution of Tamils.