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Asia

May Day 2010: `Workers will win!'

Graphic by Ashley Cecil.
 

Statements from left organisations around the world to mark international workers' day.

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Joint May Day 2010 statement from Asia

Click here to endorse the joint May Day statement 

All over the world workers are organising ...

We are organising to demand a living wage. For health and safety at work. For compensation and  rehabilitation. For the  rights of migrant workers and refugees, for citizenship rights for migrant workers and their families. For the right to employment on equal terms. Workers are organising against deportations, against racism, against discrimination. Workers are organising against wars that are a disaster to millions of workers.

Nepal: Bracing for `high noon' after May 1

The New Power

By Jed Brandt, Kathmandu

April 21, 2010 — JedBrandt.net — There are moments when Kathmandu does not feel like a city on the edge of revolution. People go about all the normal business of life. Venders sell vegetables, nail clippers and bootleg Bollywood films from the dirt, cramping the already crowded streets. Uniformed kids tumble out of schools with neat ties in the hot weather. Municipal police loiter at the intersections while traffic ignores them, their armed counterparts patrol in platoons through the city with wood-stocked rifles and dust masks as they have for years. New slogans are painted over the old, almost all in Maoist red. Daily blackouts and dry-season water shortages are normal for Nepal’s primitive infrastructure, not the sign of crisis. Revolutions don’t happen outside of life, like an asteroid from space – but from right up the middle, out of the people themselves.

Pakistan: A credible alternative to the parties of the rich

Mian Abdul Qayum.

By Farooq Tariq

On April 10, 2010, Mian Abdul Qayum, a labour leader in Faisalabad, submitted his nomination papers as candidate for the Punjab Assembly constituency 63 by-election on May 15. The other candidates are from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) and the National Muslim League. We need your support to contest this by-election.

Tailandia: Resolver la crisis a través de la democracia, no con la represion

Tailandia se encuentra en una profunda crisis. Las cargas policiales y militares han matado a 21 personas y herido a unas 900. Los “camisas rojas” protestan por la falta de libertades en el país. Os envío la declaración solidaria con la lucha del pueblo tailandés suscrita por organizaciones de Malasia, Indonesia, Tailandia, Filipinas y Australia. (Gracias G. Buster.)

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Declaración regional conjunta de Partido Socialista de Malasia (PSM), Asociación de Trabajadores de Indonesia (PRP), Partido Democrático del Pueblo (PRD), Giro a la Izquierda de Tailandia, Alianza Socialista de Australia, Partido Lakas ng Masa Filipinas

Estamos profundamente preocupados por la actual situación en Tailandia donde el primer ministro que está apoyado por los militares Ahbisit Vejjajiva ha declarado el estado de emergencia y ha empezado una sangrienta campaña en medio de una escalada de protestas pidiendo nuevas elecciones.

Thais in Australia: `Oppose human rights abuses by Thai military and government'


Australian Thais protest in Sydney, April 12, 2010. Photos by Thai Red Australia Group.

ต่อต้านการใช้ความรุนแรงต่อประชาชนและการละเมิด สิทธิมนุษยชนของกองทัพไทยและรัฐบาล

The following statement by Thai Red Australia Group for Democracy was released at a protest rally in Sydney on April 12, 2010.

“At least 19 people have died and 825 injured as a result of violent clashes in Bangkok Thailand, as troops tried to retake areas from anti-government protesters on 10th of April 2010.”

อภิสิทธิต้องลาออก ต้องยุบสภาเพื่อให้มีการเลือกตั้ง!! ต้องเคารพสิทธิในการประท้วง ต้องหยุดควบคุมสื่อ!!

แถลงการณ์พรรคสังคมนิยมมาเลยเซียและองค์กรสังคมนิยมอื่นๆ ในเอเชียตะวันออกเฉียงใต้

เรา องค์กรสังคมนิยมในประเทศเพื่อนบ้าน มีความเป็นห่วงอย่างยิ่งเกี่ยวกับสถานการณ์ในประเทศไทย เนื่องจากรัฐบาลของ อภิสิทธิ เวชชาชีวะที่มีทหารหนุนหลัง ได้มีการประกาศภาวะฉุกเฉินท่ามกลางการประท้วงของประชาชนเพื่อเรียกร้องให้มี การเลือกตั้ง
สถานการณ์ปัจจุบันในประเทศไทย ยิ่งน่าเป็นห่วงเพราะรัฐบาลปิดกั้นสื่อเสรีและใช้อำนาจตาม พรก.ฉุกเฉินที่สามารถใช้ความรุนแรงต่อผู้ประท้วงได้

Thailand: Asia-Pacific left statement -- `Resolve crisis through democracy, not crackdown!'

April 10, 2010 -- News footage of Thailand's security forces opening fire on Red Shirt pro-democracy protesters.

By Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), Working People's Association (PRP) of Indonesia, People’s Democratic Party (PRD) of Indonesia, Turn Left Thailand, Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) of the Philippines, Socialist Alliance of Australia, Solidarity (Australia)

April 10, 2010 -- We are deeply concerned over the current situation in Thailand where military-backed Prime Minister Ahbisit Vejjajiva has declared a state of emergency and started a bloody crackdown amidst escalating protests calling for a fresh election.

(Updated April 11) Thailand: Tyrants shoot the people to cling to power; Time for immediate fresh elections!

Pro-democracy protesters demand the reopening of the Thaicom TV station. Photos by Sarot Meksophawannakul Thiti Wannamontha Chanat Katanyu Thapanan Thongsubhiran/Bangkok Post.

STOP PRESS -- April 10, 2010

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Soldiers armed with live and rubber bullets and CS gas have attacked the peaceful pro-democracy Red Shirts at various spots in the centre of Bangkok. At least 12 people, Red Shirts and one Japanese Reuters reporter, have been shot dead by armed troops using automatic weapons, and tanks [were used] against peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators. Hundreds more people have been injured. The military-backed government of Abhisit Vejjajiva has blood on its hands and should resign immediately. Some soldiers have been taken prisoner and weapons seized. Red Shirts outside Bangkok have seized many provincial headquarters.

Tonight at 10pm in Bangkok, a ceasefire has been announced. The questions is... what happens tomorrow?

Philippines: Ric Reyes for Pasig mayor -- a model electoral campaign for the left

By Reihana Mohideen

April 7, 2010 -- Socialist Feminist -- Ric Reyes' campaign for mayor of the city Pasig was formally launched at a 5000-strong local rally on March 26. The march, the biggest to be held in that city for many years, snaked its way on a "long march" through the working-class sections of Pasig. Ric Reyes' campaign is a model campaign for the left – an example of how to conduct a united, principled and effective electoral intervention.

The campaign unites local mass leaders and activists of Akbayan and the Partido Lakas ng Masa, in a tactical alliance with the local "yellow forces" of the Liberal Party, whose national presidential candidate is Noynoy Aquino. The local chapter of the Magdalo, one of the political formations formed by military rebels who attempted to lead a military mutiny against President Gloria Macapagal Aorroyo, is also supporting the campaign.

Indonesia: Working People's Association's (PRP) goal is a new workers' party

PRP members protest against the Indonesia president, October 20, 2009. Photo by PRP international department.

March 31, 2010 -- Socialist Alliance national convenor Peter Boyle interviews Ignatius Mahendra Kusumawardhana, the international relations officer for the Working People's Association (Perhimpunian Rakyat Pekerja – PRP) of Indonesia, who was in Australia to speak at Socialist Alternative's "Marxism 2010" conference in Melbourne, April 2-5, 2010.

In 2003, Mahendra was imprisoned for two years for “insulting the government” of President Megawati Sukarnoputri. He was a member of the People's Democratic Party (PRD) at the time of his arrest.

Over the last six months, the PRP has initiated a number of joint statements issued by left groups from various political traditions in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Fourth International: Report on international situation to the 16th World Congress; Role and tasks of the FI

By Laurent Carasso

February 2010 -- This report will not attempt a detailed survey of the world but will try to stress what is most significant, what, in our view, should come under a common understanding of events and tasks. On many regional situations, the comrades will broadly enrich the discussion through their interventions.

(I) The world situation is marked by crisis

For the first time in history, this crisis is located is explained by capitalist globalisation. No territory is immune. All the economic, social and political factors are interrelated worldwide. The economic crisis is not a conjunctural crisis. This is a systemic, structural crisis: this is the most serious crisis since 1929. The United States has lost 35% of its financial wealth and the Euro zone 25%. And, when governments speak of “emerging from crisis” we do not agree. There may be short-term recoveries, related to policies in support of activity in this or that country, but the countries of the centre -- the USA and Europe -- are not emerging from crisis. The explosion of public debt in southern Europe -- in Greece, Spain -- and the banking and financial uncertainty demonstrate the instability of the situation and a new phase of the crisis, at least in Europe.

The crisis is not over!

The electoral debacle of the Philippines left

By Reihana Mohideen

[The first two in a series of commentaries in the lead-up to the May 10, 2010 elections in the Philippines.]

March 12, 2010 -- Socialist Feminist -- While Latin America has opened up a new socialist front for the 21st century and we have the most recent victory of the united left coalition in Uruguay, the Frente Amplio (FA – Broad Front), led by a former leader of the Tupamaros Jose "Pepe" Mujica, winning thep residency in November 2009, the Philippines left, by contrast, is a tragic and even horrible spectacle going into the May 2010 elections.

While the left is undeniably present in the electoral arena, the main tactic pursued is to vie for positions in the Senate tickets of pro-capitalist trapo (traditional politicians) presidential candidates who are the frontrunners in the polls, i.e. the tickets of Noynoy Aquino, the presidential candidate of the Liberal Party (which is carrying an Akbayan Senate candidate), Manny Villar, the presidential candidate of the Nacionalista Party (which is carrying two senators for the Bayan bloc), and the previously ousted former president Joseph Estrada of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (which is running a Sanlakas Senate candidate).

Malaysia's Socialist Party: `People's power politics in practice'

PSM member of the national parliament, Dr. Jeyakumar (far right), its national chairperson and Selangor state assemblyperson, Dr. Nasir Hashim (second from right) , and the party’s three municipal councillors publicly declare their assets.

By Peter Boyle

March 24, 2010 -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) is extraordinary in many ways and on March 18 its member of the national parliament, Dr Jeyakumar, its national chairperson and Selangor state assemblyperson, Dr. Nasir Hashim, and the party’s three municipal councillors became the only politicians in Malaysia to publicly declare their assets. The declaration of assets and presentation of annual performance reports has become a routine for the party since 2008 when the PSM had its first electoral victories.

The PSM's political representatives are also obliged to give 40% of their income to the party but have been doing more than that. “This is people's power politics in practice. We come in poor and we go out poor”, explained Dr Nasir.

In addition, the PSM's representatives stick by the following principles:

Nepal: Ben Peterson, eyewitness to Nepal’s revolution, tours New Zealand

March 21, 2010 -- UNITYblog -- Ben Peterson is a young Australian socialist who spent four and half months in Nepal last year. Ben is crossing the Tasman for a speaking tour of New Zealand from March 21-26. Ben was kind enough to answer some questions for UNITYblog about his experiences in Nepal.

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When did you go to Nepal? How long were you there for?

I was in Nepal last year from the beginning of March to July, about four and half months in total.

Why did you go to Nepal?

Afghanistan: Exiled members of the former People's Democratic Party return to refound party

By John Bachtell

March 17, 2010 -- People's World -- In a potentially important development, exiled members of the former People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan are returning to the country to re-found the organisation. They plan to hold a congress in Kabul later this year and rename the organisation the Democratic Party of Afghanistan.

The PDPA was the ruling party that led the country on a path of socialism before being ousted from power in 1992 by the US government-backed Taliban. Thousands of PDPA members were slaughtered or driven into exile where they have functioned over the years as scattered groups.

Exiled members met recently in Germany to unite their ranks and agree on an approach to reestablishing a legal political party on Afghanistan soil.

"The main goal is to return to Afghanistan and bring a situation of peace and stability in the region", said Dr. Zalmay Gulzad, professor of social sciences at Harold Washington Community College in Chicago. Gulzad was born in Afghanistan and came to the US as a student in 1971 and stayed. "Once peace is achieved the movement will evolve into different stages."

Indonesia: Slum dwellers protest against eviction order


Made with Slideshow Embed Tool

[See "The Peoples Democratic Party and Indonesia's poor majority" for background to this story.]

By Peter Boyle, photos by Ulfa Ilyas

March 19, 2010 -- Hundreds residents of the urban slum village of Kampung Guji Baru in West Jakarta besieged office of Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo from early in the morning on March 18 to reject the planned their eviction of their settlement. The residents demanded that the governor immediately stop the eviction plans which would rob the poor residents of their rights of occupancy and ownership.

Sri Lanka: Left-Tamil alliance to contest elections

Vickramabahu Karunaratne, the presidential candidate for the NSSP.

By Chris Slee

March 20, 2010 -- The Left Liberation Front (LFF) is contesting 19 seats in the April 8 parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka. The LLF, an electoral coalition comprising the Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP, New Socialist Party), the Tamil National Liberation Alliance (TNLA) and the Socialist Party, stands for the right of self-determination for the oppressed Tamil people of Sri Lanka, freedom for political prisoners and an end to the state of emergency.

The NSSP and the Socialist Party are Marxist parties based in the predominantly Sinhalese south of the island of Sri Lanka. The TNLA is a Tamil nationalist party based amongst the Tamil people of the north and east of the island.

The Peoples Democratic Party and Indonesia's poor majority

Kampung Guji Baru is just one of the many shanty settlements in the megacity of Jakarta, where an estimated 3 million poor people try to survive. Now its residents face forced eviction after greedy developers, corrupt government officials and the "land mafia" conspired to get the courts to do their bidding through fraudulent claims and documents. The developers want to build multistorey luxury apartments and more shopping malls for the rich. The residents and the Poor People's Union (Serikat Rakyat Miskin Indonesia, SRMI) are resisting and they ask for your solidarity. 

[See also Indonesia: People's Democratic Party relaunched as `open, mass-based cadre party'.]

By Peter Boyle

Thailand's `class war': Hundreds of thousands take to the streets to demand democracy


Bangkok, March 14, 2010

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

March 15, 2010 -- Hundreds of thousands of Thai Red Shirt pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets of Bangkok and other cities over the weekend of March 13-14. This was a show of force to prove the strength of the movement and to dispel any lies by the royalist government and the media that the Red Shirts are not representative of the majority.

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