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Greetings from the people's revolution in Nepal


Photos by Jed Brandt

On May 28, 2008, an elected constituent assembly declared Nepal’s centuries-old semi-feudal monarchy finished. As Nepalese people celebrated in the streets, the Himalayan country was declared a republic.

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.

China, capitalist accumulation and the world crisis

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

[A version of this article appeared in the South Korean journal, Marxism 21. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Martin Hart-Landsberg’s permission.]

February 2010 -- The consensus among economists is that China’s post-1978 market reform policies have produced one of the world’s greatest economic success stories. Some believe that China is now capable of serving as an anchor for a new (non-US dominated) global economy. A few claim that the reform experience demonstrates the workability (and desirability) of market socialism. This paper is critical of these views.

Indonesia: People's Democratic Party relaunched as `open, mass-based cadre party'

PRD members at the January 28, 2010, Jakarta rally to protest the first 100 days of the  presidency of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Photo by Ulfa Ilyas.

By Peter Boyle

March 11, 2010 -- An historic decision to relaunch itself as an open party was made at the seventh congress of the People's Democratic Party (PRD) of Indonesia on March 1-3. The party's socialist politics will be expressed within the five principles laid out by Indonesia's first President Sukarno's June 1, 1945, speech on “Pancasila” (nationalism, internationalism, democracy, socialism and belief in god).

“For the last decade and a half we have organised both above and below ground because of repression”, the new Secretary-General of the PRD, Gede Sandra, explained to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal and Green Left Weekly. “But since the fall of the Suharto dictatorship there has been more democratic space and we need to maximise the opportunities this presents to build our party.”

The congress resolved to do this through:

Pakistan: Women workers march on International Women's Day

By Bushra Khaliq, general secretary, Women Workers Help Line

Lahore -- March 8, 2010 -- More than 1500 women marched on the Mall, from Nasir Bagh to the Punjab Assembly, under the banner of Women Workers Help Line (WWHL) to celebrate the International Women's Day on March 8, 2010. Despite prevailing fear among Lahorites after an early morning suicidal attack in Model Town, women workers, including home-based workers, domestic workers, brick kiln and embellishment workers, made their way to observe the IWD. To show solidarity with victims of the morning blast, WWHL cancelled its  musical program and decided to celebrate the day in a simple manner.

Participants reached Nasir Bagh in small groups from different areas of Lahore. The rally started around 1 o'clock from Nasir Bagh and ended in front of Punjab Assembly at 3 o'clock. Led by WWHL leaders Bushra Khaliq, Azra Shad, Riffat Maqsood and others, the participants were chanting full-throated slogans against repressive anti-women and anti-worker laws. They held placards and banners inscribed with demands in favour of women workers. Among the participants there were a large number of young girls, who were singing revolutionary songs.

IWD in the Philippines: `For a government of the women masses and a socialist feminist society'

Women dying from the Asian `miracle': System change a must to save women’s lives

By Reihana Mohideen

March 8, 2010 -- Despite the fanfare about Asia’s "miracle" economies, the problem of "missing women and girls" is actually growing, according to the United Nations Development Program-sponsored 2010 Asia-Pacific Human Development Report.

These "missing" girls and women are a result of the abortion of girl fetuses and women dying through sheer neglect – underfed and starved and not receiving adequate health care. The birth gender disparity is the highest in East Asia, home of the Asian "miracle" economies, where 119 boys are born for every 100 girls. China and India, much touted for their economic success, account for 85 million of these 100 million "missing" women. 

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.

Malaysian socialists lead protests against full-paying patient scheme

March 1, 2010 -- Malaysiakini -- The Malaysian government’s full-paying patient (FPP) scheme has again come under fire from the Coalition Against Health Service Privatisation, which held simultaneous pickets outside four public hospitals nationwide.

NONEIn the Klang Valley, short pickets by small groups were held at the Serdang and Sungai Buloh hospitals.

A similar protest took place outside the Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah Alor Setar, Kedah, and Hospital Sultan Ismail, Pandan, Johor.

At the Sungai Buloh hospital, Kota Damansara assemblyperson Dr Mohd Nasir Hasim, from the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM, Parti Sosialis Malaysia), led about a dozen people in denouncing the scheme which the government had initiated in 2007.

According to Nasir, the FPP scheme pilot project in Hospital Selayang has proven detrimental to both doctors and patients.

Thailand: Seize it all! The palaces, the shares, the diamonds, all the ill-gotten gains!

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

March 1, 2010 -- I don’t shed any tears about former Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s billions being seized by order of the Thai Supreme Court on February 26. I advocate that the billions of ill-gotten gains in the hands of the entire Thai rich: the politicians in this government, the generals, the businessmen and businesswomen, and of course the entire royal family and all their hangers-on, should be seized in the future. The rich do not have the right to accumulate wealth on the backs of the majority of hard-working Thais.

No public figures, including the king and the generals, or politicians, should hold shares or have special interests in business. This always leads to corruption. Just think about the corrupt benefits which the politicians around former US President George Bush enjoyed as a result of the illegal war in Iraq.

India: The legacy of Jyoti Basu

CPI (M) West Bengal leader Jyoti Basu.

By Dipankar Bhattacharya

February 2010 -- Jyoti Basu, arguably the most familiar face of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) -- CPI (M) -- in India and the last surviving member of the party’s founding polit bureau, passed away in Kolkata on January 17. In the course of his marathon political journey spanning nearly seven decades, he served for an unprecedented 23 consecutive years as the chief minister of the Indian state of West Bengal. Basu is also famously remembered as the only left leader who had been offered the prime ministership of the country, in 1996, an offer that was declined by his party even as Basu openly differed with the CPI (M), calling its decision an "historic blunder".

Basu stepped down from power in November 2000 when his health started failing, a graceful act which never really received the popular recognition it deserved. Yet, even as he relinquished his official responsibility as chief minister, he did not "retired" from his role as a leader of his party. “Communists never retire”, was his famous statement and he really lived it.

Malaysia: Two-party system – and a ‘third force’?

Socialist Party of Malaysia MP Jeyakumar Devaraj addresses a rally against the free trade agreement between Malaysia and the United States.

By Jeyakumar Devaraj

February 11, 2010 -- Aliran Monthly -- Malaysia has only known one ruling coalition in the past 52 years since independence. But the result of the March 2008 election has led to rising hope among many Malaysians that an enormous change might be around the corner – a two-party system under which the people are free to choose between two coalitions, which are both capable of governing the country.

The purpose of this paper is to locate the institution of a two-coalition system against a wider historical perspective.

The concept that every person has an equal right to select the government irrespective of his or her social status, wealth, education, religious affiliation or beliefs is a revolutionary idea. And it is relatively new.

LPP fifth congress: Bravura expression of growing left influence in Pakistan

By Farooq Tariq

February 8, 2010 -- The two-day Labour Party Pakistan fifth congress [held on on January 27-28] helped to advance the revolutionary process in Pakistan. It brought together comrades from different traditions and trends to discuss the central topic: “Building a mass working-class party independent of the influence of the capitalists and feudal elements.” The congress was a bravura expression of the growing influence and strength of emerging left-wing politics in Pakistan.

More than 140 delegates and observers representing 7263 members of the LPP discussed the political and organisational aspects of the party. For the first time in the LPP’s 13-year history, delegates representing Sindh, Punjab, Baluchistan, Gilgit Baltistan, Sareiki Waseeb, Pukhtoonkhawa and Kashmir attended. There were leaders of trade unions, of social movements, of peasants and from the labour movement -- all eager to learn from each other and discuss their future course of action.

Who is really avoiding justice in Thailand?

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

February 6, 2010, is the first anniversary of the day I had to leave Thailand and seek political exile in Britain. I left Thailand because it had become a dictatorship with no regard to international standards of justice, democracy or human rights. I was charged with lese majeste for writing a book which criticised the illegal military coup in 2006.

In the book I questioned the role of the king and the relationship between the army and the monarchy. I asked whether the monarchy should have defended the constitution and democracy. The perverse thing about the lese majeste law is that a person can still be “guilty” for telling the truth. It is a law which tries to prevent open discussion. Court cases are heard in camera in a kangaroo court. Human rights activist Da Torpedo was sentenced in such a court to 18 years in prison.

The Thai government has failed to show how I made any untrue statements in my book. Yet it accuses me of “avoiding justice”. The same accusation is made against Jakrapop Penkare. Yet, who are the real criminals in Thailand who avoid justice? They are the military and conservative elites who use bully-boy tactics to destroy justice.

No detention of asylum seekers in Indonesia and Australia!

Stop criminalisation of activists!

Reject the “Indonesian Solution”!

Free the refugees!

No detention of asylum seekers in Indonesia and Australia!

SBY-Budiono regime is an Australian puppet!

By Central Committee, Working Peoples Association (KP-PRP)

Pakistan: An historic gathering of workers and peasants

The Labour Party Pakistan's Farooq Tariq addresses the Faisalabad worker-peasant rally.

By Farooq Tariq

February 1, 2010 -- An historic gathering took place at Faisalabad, the third largest city in Pakistan, on January 29, 2010. The event was jointly organised by the Labour Qaumi (National) Movement (LQM) and the Anjuman Mozareen Punjab (AMP -- Punjab Tenants' Association), two movements of workers and peasants that, by their defiant activities in several Punjabi districts, have caught the imagination of thousands. For the first time, these two important movements of workers and peasants in Punjab shared a common platform.

The famous Dhobi Ghat parade ground was a sea of red flags that caught the attention of the incoming crowd. Several bookstalls by left-wing organisations and publishers reminded me of the 1960s. Many hundreds visited the stalls.

The high point of the conference was the arrival of peasants from areas including Lahore, Okara, Depalpur, Renala Khurd and Kulyana Military Estate. After travelling from different areas of the country, more than 3000 peasants joined one procession. They wore their traditional dress and carried Dhool Damaka (drums).

Malaysian socialist: `We are growing in influence, especially among the working class'

PSM activist Sivaranjani Manickam. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.

By Simon Butler

January 22, 2010 -- For decades, there was no socialist party of significance in Malaysia. But in 2009, the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) made some impressive gains. The party more than doubled in size and had members elected to state and national parliament for the first time. PSM activist Sivaranjani Manickam attended the Socialist Alliance national conference, held in Sydney in early January, 2010. She told Green Left Weekly that the recent growth in support for the party helped force the Malaysian government to finally grant it legal recognition after a 10-year battle.

Indonesia: Thousands protest Yudhoyono's 100th day in office


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Photos by Ulfa Ilyas (above) and PRP International (below)

Jakarta, Indonesia -- January 28, 2010 -- Thousands of Indonesians staged a mass protest in front of the presidential palace. The protesters criticised the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's neoliberal policies and corruption on its 100th day in office.

Haiti: `Cancel the debt!' -- Joint statement by Asian left organisations in solidarity with the people of Haiti

[To add your organisation's support, email: Ign Mahendra K at international@prp-indonesia.org.]

January 27, 2010 -- On January 12, 2010, a 7.3 Richter scale earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. The earthquake caused great destruction and 200,000 people are thought to be dead. Further, 3 million Haitians have been rendered homeless by the quake, which also damaged many public service buildings, such as hospitals and schools.

The quake has caused Haitians, who have struggled under decades of poverty and imperialist intervention and exploitation, even deeper suffering. Approximately 75% of Haitians earned less than US$2 per day and 56% of Haitians – around 4.5 million people – earned less than $1 per day. Most Haitians live in houses made of adobe and mud.

Building the Labour Party Pakistan

By Farooq Tariq

January 21, 2010 -- The political perspectives of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) have been put to the test several times in a rapidly changing political situation. From day one we opposed General Musharraf's military dictatorship. We oppose both US imperialism and religious fanaticism, while some feel they must support one side or the other.

Almost all of the present LPP leadership, including women leaders, were jailed under the Musharraf regime for demanding democratic rights or taking part in the struggle for workers’ and peasants’ rights. The LLP has worked to maintain its political space and refused to be driven underground.

Unlike the traditional left parties, who set up organisations controlled by the party, since its inception the LPP has put special emphasis on helping to develop independent social, labour and peasant organisations and other social movements. For example, there is no trade union wing of LPP. Instead we support the development of the National Trade Union Federation, formed in 1998, and also aided the Pakistan Workers Confederation from its beginning in 1994.

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