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Malaysia: Charges against socialists discharged, but no acquittal

Once the judge announced his decision, the courtroom erupted to cheers of Hidup Rakyat, Hidup Perjuangan' (Long live the people, long live the fight).

By Susan Loone

October 10, 2011 -- Malaysiakini -- The 24 Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia) activists facing charges under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and Societies Act were given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) by a Butterworth sessions court. The decision on six other activists, who were absent today, was put off to October 28.

Those who were absent were Sungai Siput MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, M. Sukumaran, M. Santhana Devi, M. Ravindran, M. Kavitha and S. Thivya Kumar.

Judge Ikmal Hishan Mohd Tajuddin delivered the ruling after deliberating on it for almost two hours

China: 'Smashing the iron rice bowl' -- expropriation of workers and capitalist transformation

"Managers have powerful market-based incentives that their predecessors did not—fines, bonuses and the threat of termination." Graphic by Jon Berkeley.

By Joel Andreas

October 2011 -- China Left Review, #4 -- In debates about whether the economic order that is emerging in China after three decades of market reforms can be called capitalist, the main focus has been about trends in the relative importance of private and state enterprises and the role of the state in the economy. These are important issues, of course, involving fundamental features of capitalism. Much less attention, however, has been given to employment relations.

In this paper, which focuses on the restructuring of urban enterprises beginning in the early 1990s, I argue that the dismantling of the old “work unit” system and the elimination of permanent job tenure have effectively severed ties between labour and the means of production. This has changed not only the nature of employment relations, but the fundamental goals of economic enterprise, establishing the foundations for a capitalist economic order.

Solidarity statement: Free Baba Jan and all political prisoners!

[If your organisation can sign this statement, please send your name/organisation to politic.ofthepoor@gmail.com to support this statement. Follow updates of the struggle in https://www.facebook.com/groups/124069531026580/?ref=ts. Click here for more background.]

Free Baba Jan and all political prisoners!

Reparations for the victims of police violence!

Reparations for the victims of the landslide of July 4!

September 22, 2011 -- Last August 11, Pakistan police used live bullets against people demanding payment of compensation allowances following a devastating landslide which had happened a year before in the valley of Hunza, on July 4, 2010. This landslide, in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan, destroyed several houses and important roads. The local administration abandoned the affected community and pocketed compensation payments intended for several affected families.

Thailand: Why aren’t the generals in jail?

Thai soldier during the September 19, 2006, coup sports the monarchy's colour, yellow.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

[For more on Thailand and the Red Shirt movement, click HERE.]

September 19, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On the fifth anniversary of the September  19, 2006, military coup in Thailand, General Sonti Boonyaratgalin should be facing charges for staging an illegal coup and tearing up a democratic constitution. General Prayut Junocha should also be facing charges for ordering the killings of nearly 90 unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators last year. But this is not happening because we do not have equality, freedom and justice in Thailand, and we do not have a government that respects the Red Shirts who voted for it in the first place.

The Pheu Thai Party may have won the election in July, but the repressive ruling class is still all powerful. The army continues to intervene in politics and society, the judiciary has not been reformed and the king still acts as the figurehead to give legitimacy to those opposing real democracy, with the draconian lèse majesté law as back-up. Pheu Thai is clearly in the process of reconciling its differences with the military.

Thailand: Free Somyot Prueksakasemsuk!

September 17, 2011 -- Australia Asia Worker Links reports that jailed trade union activist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was denied bail on September 12. Somyot is in jail for allegedly insulting the Thai king, under the country's notorious lèse majesté law.

The new Thai government, headed by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of the Pheu Thai Party, has jailed three people under lèse majesté law since coming to power two months ago. The Pheu Thai Party campaigned in the recent election campaign as the party of democracy and freedom,.

The campaign to free Somyot and all other Thai political prisoners continues. The background to the case is explained by the following article, gleaned from the posts at The Librarian of Bangkok Prison.

Pakistan: Arrested, tortured for assisting climate change victims

Baba Jan speaking at a demonstration for the flood affected earlier this year.

[Urgent: Please send messages calling for the release of Baba Jan and his comrades c/- farooqtariq@hotmail.com. Farooq Tariq will be a guest speaker at the Climate Change Social Change activist conference in Melbourne, over September 30 to October 3.]

By Farooq Tariq

September 15, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Baba Jan, a federal committee member of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), has been taken from jail ... and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is torturing him on the name of investigation”, fears the LPP. Baba Jan, surrendered himself to an "anti-terrorist court" in Gilgit Baltestan last week, had been on the run after police opened fire on a demonstration demanding compensation for those affected by the Atta Abad Lake floods last year, killing two.

Baba Jan’s “crime” was that he organised rallies and demonstrations against the police killings.

Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin: 'Agent Orange in Vietnam was a crime against humanity'

Appeal of the Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin

Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

August 9, 2011 -- The Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin, held in Hanoi from August 8 to 9, 2011, included participants from around the world: Agent Orange victims, victims of other toxic chemicals, scientists, lawyers and social activists. The conference is a significant and important historic event, marking the 50th anniversary of the first spraying of the toxic chemical Agent Orange (1961-1971) by the US forces in Vietnam and Indochina.

The delegates to the conference agree that:

During the Vietnam War, from 1961 to 1971, US forces through Operation Ranch Hand sprayed nearly 80 million litrrs of herbicides over South Vietnam, of which 61% was Agent Orange containing at least 366kg of dioxin, the most toxic substance known to science.

Thailand: A new 'settlement' between Yingluck Shinawatra's government and the elites?

Thai MPs elected Yingluck Shinawatra on August 5 as the country's first female prime minister.

[For more on Thailand and the Red Shirt movement, click HERE.]

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

August 14, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We are starting to see the results of a “new settlement” between the Pheu Thai party [led by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra] and the elites, in order to “resolve” the Thai crisis in the interests of the latter. This may or may not be a formal agreement, but we are already seeing the effects.

Following the last crisis during the Cold War conflict with the Communist Party of Thailand, the elites crafted a settlement in which parliamentary democracy was tolerated so long as elections could be dominated by money politics and there was no challenge to the ruling class. Today’s “settlement” is designed to allow the Pheu Thai party to form a government and to bring its leaders, including deposed PM Thaksin Shinawatra, back into the elite’s exclusive club. We must remember that previous to the 2006 crisis, Thaksin and his Thai Rak Thai party were a recognised part of the ruling elites.

Thailand: Red Shirts and the new cabinet

[For more on Thailand and the Red Shirt movement, click HERE.] 

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

August 11, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Most politicians in the Pheu Thai party no doubt believe that having Red Shirts in Yingluck Shinawatra's cabinet would create a “bad image”. This is true if you believe that a “good image” is one of doing absolutely nothing to solve the crisis of democracy and social justice in Thailand.

The new cabinet contains people like Chalerm Yubamrung, a thuggish politician who sums up the term “legal double standards” from when his son was charged with murdering a police officer in a pub brawl. He is also
suspected by some of having profited from drug dealing. This is a “good image” for the new government.

'New Nepal' still waiting to be born

August 10, 2011 -- Winter Has Its End -- Former soldiers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), many of whom are organised as the Young Communist League (YCL), a mass fighting organisation, stepped out politically against schemes to disperse them. On August 8, they held a disciplined and militant demonstration in Kathmandu -- putting themselves and their demands squarely into the crisis gripping Nepal. -- Eric Ribellarsi

By Jim Weill and Eric Ribellarsi

Vietnam: Extraordinary petition by 'patriotic personalities'

By Michael Karadjis

July 29, 2011 -- Vietnam from the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Below is an extraordinary document initiated by some 20 prominent Vietnamese academics, former military figures, former officials, writers etc, who express great unease about the current situation for Vietnam, faced on the one hand by increasingly aggressive Chinese actions in the East Sea (also known as the South China Sea), and on the other by an economic situation characterised over the last few years by mounting crisis and severe inflation, which is hammering people’s living standards.

Malaysia: Socialists had no case to answer

PSM deputy president M. Sarasvathy celebrates her release. Photo by Alex Cheong.

By the Socialist Party of Malaysia

August 2, 2011 -- Parti Sosialis Malaysia -- The release of six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM, Socialist Party of Malaysia) detainees five days ago does not signal the return of sanity and goodwill to the government. It was a calculated move to minimise the damage done to the country’s image at home and abroad.

Should China create a law on workers' strikes?

State-backed "trade union" officers (in yellow caps) harrass striking workers at the Nanhai Honda plant in 2010.

July 20, 2011 -- China Labor News Translations, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Even though strikes frequently occur across China, the country actually has no law regulating labour strikes. There is no law permitting strikes, but at the same time there is no law banning them.

Malaysian socialists released! 'Freeing us was definitely due to public pressure', says Jeyakumar

Dr Jeyakumar MP is greeted upon his release by PSM members and supporters. Photo by Alex Cheong.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal would like to thank all its readers who sent solidarity and protest messages, and participated in the pickets and vigils around the world, that helped win the release of the PSM's "EO6". Together with protests in Malaysia, solidarity actions were held in the Philippines, Thailand, South Korea, Australia and other parts of Asia.

* * *

By K. Pragalath and Tarani Palani

Philippines: A challenge to the left in the Aquino government

President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III displays his first paycheque.

By the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, Philippines)

July 21, 2011 -- The election of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III brought with it increased mass expectations. The president’s campaign slogan of ridding the country of corruption and the wanton displays of greed and abuses of power was welcomed with cheers and hope by a population sick and tired of the graft-ridden regime of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA).

With the entry of the [parts of the] left into to government -- the ascent of the Akbayan party list as a coalition partner of the Noynoy government -- the expectations of some sections of the left were also heightened. Akbayan sees the strategy of working with the presidency as an alliance with a “reforming section” of the bourgeoisie, and through such an alliance it expected a number of reforms to be put in place.

What standards?

Nationality’s role in social liberation: the Soviet legacy

Painting slogans for the Congress of the Peoples of the East, September 1920, Baku. Photo from IISG.

By John Riddell

July 21, 2011 -- http://johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Just under a century ago, the newly founded Soviet republic embarked on the world’s first concerted attempt to unite diverse nations in a federation that acknowledged the right to self-determination and encouraged the development of national culture, consciousness and governmental structures. Previous major national-democratic revolutions – in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the United States – had been made in the name of a hegemonic nation and had assimilated, marginalised or crushed rival nationalities. The early Soviet regime, by contrast, sought to encourage, rather than deny, internal national distinctiveness.

From a Malaysian police cell: 'Why I am a socialist and intend to remain so', explains Jeyakumar Devaraj

[Jeyakumar Devaraj, a federal member of parliament, is one of six Malaysian socialists being held without trial since June 25. Protest letters still are urgently needed to be sent to the Malaysian government, please visit http://www.parti-sosialis.org/en/en/articles/1585 for details of where they can be sent. See also "Malaysia: Protests demand release of democracy activists" and "Asia-Pacific socialists demand: 'Free all political prisoners! Democracy for the Malaysian people!'".]

By Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, written in detention

Malaysia: Free the PSM 6!

By Peter Boyle

July 17, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- A week after Malaysian authorities failed to stop people taking to the streets of the capital Kuala Lumpur on July 9 to demand free and fair elections, six activists from the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) remained in detention without trial. The detainees include federal member of parliament Dr Jeyakumar Deveraj, who has been hailed by a prominent local writer as “the Malaysian saint of the poor”.

PSM secretary general S. Arutchelvan told Green Left Weekly that he agreed with the civil society organisers of the July 9 Bersih 2.0 (“bersih” means clean in Malay) that the number of people who defied incredible police repression to come out in the streets that day was about 50,000. Police reportedly detained up to 1600 people and repeatedly fired teargas into peaceful groups of people.

Malaysia: Free Jeyakumar Devaraj, activist doctor

Jeyakumar Devaraj, Sungai Siput MP, is currently detained without trial under the Emergency Ordinance, together with five other Socialist Party members, on suspicion of “causing civil unrest by any means”.

[Protest letters still are urgently needed to be sent to the Malaysian government, please visit http://www.parti-sosialis.org/en/en/articles/1585 for details of where they can be sent. See also "Malaysia: Protests demand release of democracy activists" and "Asia-Pacific socialists demand: 'Free all political prisoners! Democracy for the Malaysian people!'"]

By Khoo Boo Teik

Malaysia's pro-democracy Bersih 2.0: It’s 50k and a big success; Support in Australia

Statement by Bersih 2.0 organisers: Malaysians show great bravery, the struggle for clean and fair elections continues

July 9, 2011 -- Bersih 2.0 -- Bersih 2.0 is proud that in spite of all the obstacles and hindrances that we were forced to face, Malaysians of all walks of life overcame the oppressive acts of the police to come out peacefully and in incredibly large numbers to show their love for their country and for the principles of justice.

We are nonetheless horrified that several hundred people have been detained, many of them without any justification whatsoever. We particularly condemn the arrests of Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevesan and Maria Chin Abdullah, two members of the Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee.

The only violence witnessed was perpetrated by the police, who unleashed immense amounts of tear gas and chemical laced water on innocent members of the public. Police also baton charged those who gathered, injuring many and some very seriously.

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