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Asia

Bangladesh: Climate change and neoliberal policies

By Danielle Sabai

May 9, 2011 -- Asia Left Observer, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Located in the largest delta at the world, where two Himalayan rivers, the Brahmaputra and the Ganges, converge and flow into the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh is used to climatic catastrophes. Half of the land area of Bangladesh is less than 10 metres above sea level. It consists mainly of silt deposited by the rivers that flow down from the Himalayan glaciers. When the snow melts it regularly causes large-scale floods. The coast is at the mercy of cyclones and giant waves which submerge the coastal areas.

Malaysian socialists: No to Australia's outsourcing of the violation of refugee rights to Malaysia

May 12, 2011 -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) denounces the recent agreement made between the governments of Malaysia and Australia, whereby Australia will send 800 asylum seekers who have been detained by Australian authorities to Malaysia in exchange for 4000 refugees currently in Malaysia.

The arrangement for this “Malaysian solution” to asylum seekers attempting to arrive in Australia clearly shows that the Australian government is washing its hands off its responsibility to protect refugees and is “off-shoring” or “outsourcing” the violation of refugees' rights to Malaysia, a country with no proper legal instruments to protect the rights of refugees.

Both the governments of Malaysia and Australia have not taken the plight of refugees and asylum seekers seriously, and only treat them like tradeable commodities.

Pakistan: Will Osama bin Laden's assassination end religious fundamentalist attacks?

By Farooq Tariq, Lahore

May 7, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the first four days after Osama Bin Laden’s assassination by US forces, the mass reaction in Pakistan is very mixed. In Punjab there is a general sympathy towards bin Laden, however not many are expressing it openly. In Sindh, the responses differ in different cities. For example, in Karachi there is more active commiseration for bin Laden and condemnation of the US attack.

Surprisingly, not much happened in Khaiber Pakhtoonkhawa, where bin Laden was killed. Similarly, Baluchistan responded meekly against the killings. However the reaction against the attack on the compound in Abbotabad is growing and it will spread to other areas. Many religious fundamentalists fled Afghanistan and took refuge in Baluchistan and Khaiber Pakhtoonkhawa. They ruled those provinces from 2002 to 2008.

Thailand: Lèse majesté, the monarchy and the military

Giles Ji Ungpakorn.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Paper given to Pax et Bellum, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, University of Uppsala, Sweden

April 29, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- There is a common thread running through the political crisis in Thailand and the regional political crises that exploded earlier this year in the Middle East. In Thailand, Egypt, Tunisia and many other “developing nations”, societies had been rapidly urbanising and changing over the last 30-40 years. Yet the ruling elites and the power structures which dominatethese societies, have not changed. Different events triggered uprisings and struggles, but the underlying tensions remained the same. Another appalling common thread that links Thailand to the Middle East is the way in which ruling elites are prepared to use live ammunition against pro-democracy demonstrators in order to cling to power.

May Day: Asia's socialists -- Intensify the struggle against poverty and neoliberalism

STOP PRESS: Socialist Party of Malaysia leaders, May Day marchers arrested

May 1, 2011 -- Malaysiakini -- PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan earlier tried to negotiate with the police near the Chow Kit monorail station before being taken away by police officers. Arutchelvan, one of the key members of the Labour Day organising committee, was supposed to have joined others in the march from Chow Kit to the Dataran Merdeka. In a a short press conference prior to his arrest, Arutchelvan told reporters that he considers the police obstruction to the peaceful march a "violation of basic rights". He also said that he had already informed the police prior to the march, and said such a notice is sufficient as opposed to a police permit.

* * *

Statement by the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Laboring Masses, Philippines)

Sobra na Kahirapan! Tama na ang Pagpapabaya ng Pamahalaan!

Enough of poverty! Enough of government inaction!

Global microfinance industry totters as Grameen Bank founder’s career ends in disgrace

Grameen Bank's Muhammad Yunus (right) with Bangladeshi women. The promised empowerment and poverty reduction failed to eventuate.

By Patrick Bond

April 27, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Bangladesh’s once-legendary banking environment is now fatally polluted. The rot is spreading so fast and far that the entire global microfinance industry is threatened. Controversy ranges far beyond poisonous local politics, the factor most often cited by those despondent about Grameen Bank’s worsening crisis.

Japan's nuclear history in perspective: atoms for war and peace

By Peter Kuznick

April 13, 2011 -- Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists -- It is tragic that Japan, the most fiercely anti-nuclear country on the planet, with its Peace Constitution, three non-nuclear principles, and commitment to nuclear disarmament, is being hit with the most dangerous and prolonged nuclear crisis in the past quarter-century -- one whose damage might still exceed that of Chernobyl 25 years ago. But Japan's anti-nuclearism has always rested upon a Faustian bargain, marked by dependence on the United States, which has been the most unabashedly pro-nuclear country on the planet for the past 66 years. It is in the strange relationship between these two oddly matched allies that the roots and meaning of the Fukushima crisis lay buried.

Tariq Ali's 2011 Robb Lectures: Empire and its futures -- Islam, US hegemony and China

Lecture 1: Islam and its discontents, March 17, 2011. Lectures 2 & 3, below.

A series of three lectures by Tariq Ali.

Renowned Marxist and anti-war campaigner Tariq Ali presented these three lectures as part of the University of Auckland's annual Sir Douglas Robb Lectures, delivered March 17-23, 2011. The videos have been made available to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal courtesy of the University of Auckland library.

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Philippines: Interview with Moro liberation movement leader

Ghazali Jaafar (left). Photo by Jolly Lais.

Ghazali Jaafar, vice-chairperson for political affairs of the central committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), interviewed by Tony Iltis in Barangay Simuay, Maguindanao province

Introduction by Tony Iltis

April 10, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- The Moro people of the Philippines’ southern Mindanao Islands have never considered themselves Filipinos. The Spanish colonisers never succeeded in subjugating the Moro sultanates. However, when Spain ceded the Philippines to the US in 1898, the Moro homeland, Bangsamoro, was included.

In the ensuing war, which lasted until 1913, 20,000 Moros — fighters and civilians — were killed. The US set about integrating Bangsamoro to the Philippines through land ownership laws that delegitimised the communal land tenure systems of the Muslim Moro tribes and the non-Muslim indigenous tribes (sometimes called Lumads).

Thailand: Military makes threats against pro-democracy Red Shirts

Thousands of Red Shirts commemorate the April-May 2010 killings of pro-democracy protesters by military forces.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

April 12, 2011 -- Red Thai Socialist -- One year after Thailand's military gunned down nearly 90 pro-democracy civilians in Bangkok and in the run-up to the promised first election since the 2006 coup, the military have been very active in increasing the obstacles to a free and fair election. They are seriously worried about the outcome of this election.

Sri Lanka: La 'Guerra de colonización' contra los tamiles

Por Chris Slee

[English at http://links.org.au/node/2210.]

El sitio de Internet Tamilnet acusó al gobierno de Sri Lanka de declarar la “guerra de colonización” contra los tamiles que viven en la isla de Sri Lanka. El gobierno ha establecido asentamientos singaleses en áreas tradicionalmente ocupadas por los tamiles. Dicho sitio compara esta situación con la política israelí de establecer asentamientos judíos en el “West Bank” e indica lo siguiente: “...Sri Lanka desea crear lo más rápido posible una situación similar al modelo israelí". [1]

Del mismo modo que Israel usa a los asentamientos judíos para separar las áreas habitadas por palestinos en pequeños fragmentos, intentando así imposibilitar un estado palestino, Sri Lanka utiliza los asentamientos singaleses para separar las áreas tamiles del norte y del este de Sri Lanka, con el objeto de imposibilitar un estado tamil independiente.

South Korea: Irregular and migrant workers continue their daily struggles

February 8 rally at Yonsei University by irregular cleaning staff.

By Roddy Quines

March 20, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This is to update my article published in Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal on January 14, 2011. There are a number of victories to report. These victories show the power of diligent action and solidarity in overcoming injustice. They also serve as evidence that direct action is an effective way to get results. There are some new struggles to report, and hopefully these struggles can also generate positive results. The struggles in this article are just a few of the many across the country being fought by “irregular” workers.

Japan: Left appeals for solidarity with victims and evacuees of the earthquake/tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster

Evacuees sit through an earthquake at a temporary shelter at a stadium in Koriyama. Photo: Reuters.

Appeal for financial solidarity with the victims and evacuees of the northeastern Japan earthquake/tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster

By the Japan Revolutionary Communist League (JRCL) and the National Council of Internationalist Workers (NCIW)

March 17, 2011 -- On March 11, at 2:30 PM (JST), the tremendously powerful earthquake of magnitude 9 hit the vast area of eastern Japan, comprised of northeast and Kanto regions. The earthquake gave rise to the formidable tsunami, which devastated numerous cities and towns all along the Pacific coast from the northernmost prefecture of Aomori to the southern Chiba prefecture. At the time of March 17, the number of deaths and missing persons is already close to 20,000, and the number continues to increase.

Sri Lanka: The ‘colonisation war’ against Tamils

Within the box is one of the Tamil areas targeted by the Sri Lankan government for Sinhalese settlements. Map from Tamilnet.

By Chris Slee

March 14, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  – The Tamilnet website has accused the Sri Lankan government of waging a "colonisation war" against the Tamil people of the island of Sri Lanka. The government has been establishing Sinhalese settlements in traditional Tamil areas. The website compares this to Israel’s policy of establishing Jewish settlements in the West Bank, saying: "Sri Lanka is aiming at creating an Israeli model situation as fast as possible".[1]

`Coolie revolts': exclusive excerpt from 'The Devil's Milk: A social history of rubber'

The Devil’s Milk: A social history of rubber
By John Tully
Monthly Review Press, 2011

March 13, 2011 -- With the kind permission of Monthly Review Press, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is honoured to be able to bring its readers an exclusive excerpt from Australian socialist John Tully's fascinating new book, The Devil’s Milk: A social history of rubber. The section below details how the peoples of the colonies exploited by the imperialist rubber barons fought back against their oppression. Links readers are urged to purchase a copy of this excellent new book. See also an interview with John Tully about his new book, "New book reveals the history of rubber: holocausts, environmental destruction and class struggle".

Thailand: Why the lese majeste law is an abomination

Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul (`Da Torpedo').

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

March 3, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The lese majeste law (which forbids "insulting" the monarchy) in Thailand represents a gross attack on the freedom of speech, freedom of expression and academic freedom. It is a fundamental attack on democracy carried out by the military, the palace and the elites. The practical impact is that Thailand has struggled for years to achieve a fully developed democracy, a free press and internationally accepted academic standards in our universities.

Today, Da Torpedo, Red Eagle, Surachai Darnwattanan-nusorn (Sa-Darn) and many others are in prison in Thailand for merely expressing their beliefs in a peaceful way. In recent days arrest warrants have been issued for five more people and the police have a list of 30 more people who face arrest.

Philippines: Veteran revolutionary reflects on stormy times and prospects for the left

Sonny Melencio.

Full Quarter Storms
By Sonny Melencio
2010, Transform Asia Inc.
Order from transform.asia1@gmail.com

Review by Tony Iltis

February 27, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- Veteran Filipino socialist activist Sonny Melencio’s political autobiography, Full Quarter Storms, covers a lot of history. The book tells the story of the “First Quarter Storm”, the student uprising in 1970 (from which the book draws its title) and the driving of this powerful movement underground by the declaration of martial law by then-president Ferdinand Marcos in 1972.

The book gives a first-hand view of the mass popular struggles followed by the difficult and dangerous experience of operating underground — one step away from Marcos’ brutal thugs.

In fact, the book opens with the story of Melencio’s detention and torture by the military in 1977 — and his dramatic escape, a tale worthy of any Hollywood thriller.

Melencio describes the guerrilla war waged by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) against the Marcos regime through to the 1986 “people’s power” uprising that brought down the dictator — scenes anyone watching the current Arab revolts will find familiar.

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