Donate to Links


Click on Links masthead to clear previous query from search box

GLW Radio on 3CR



Recent comments



Syndicate

Syndicate content

Asia

Philippines socialists: `Moratorium on foreign debt to pay for a modern weather forecasting service'

Scenes from Manila in the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy. Photos: Vitamin OC.

By Partido Lakas ng Masa

Moratorium on foreign debt servicing to pay for essential and basic services! Upgrade Pagasa’s equipment now!

Thailand: Comparing the 1976 and 2006 coups

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

October 5, 2009 -- People like to say that “history repeats itself, but not in exactly the same way”. In some ways, and not others, the military coup of the September 19, 2006, was a repeat of the bloodbath and coup on October 6, 1976. Circumstances are different, some actors are different and some have changed sides. But there are interesting comparisons to make.

Both the October 6 and the September 19 coups were actions which destroyed democracy because the conservative elites felt that “too much democracy” would lead to “too much equality”. In 1976, students, intellectuals, workers and farmers were talking of socialism, redistribution of wealth and a welfare state. In 2006, then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thai party (TRT) government was providing village funds and had set up a universal healthcare system. His popularity as a result of these genuine pro-poor policies threatened the conservatives. In both cases the conservatives claimed that welfare would make people lazy and that pro-poor policies threatened to destroy the country.

India: Lalgarh’s battle for dignity and justice

By the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation

September 27, 2009 -- The following appeared as the editorial in the July 2009 issue of Liberation, the central organ of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) – CPI (ML). Since then, while the paramilitary campaign in Lalgarh has ended, repression against the adivasi (tribal) people of Lalgarh continues, with incidents of rape and violence reported. It must be remembered that the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) began in Lalgarh after adivasi women were sexually assaulted by police during an anti-Maoist raid; one woman was blinded. The state government of West Bengal [formed by the pro-business Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front] initiated an enquiry that established the assaults had taken place – but only offered some monetary ``compensation’’ to some of the victims, refusing to meet their demand of punishment for, and a public apology by, the police authorities concerned.

East Timor: The struggle for full independence — 10 years on

Oil rig in the Timor Sea. Timor Leste's oil wealth has not benefitted the people.

By Mericio Akara, translated by Vannessa Hearman

September 30, 2009 -- Dili -- What is commemorated as Timor Leste’s (East Timor) “liberation” is the United Nations-facilitated referendum on August 30, 1999. 

East Timor, which had been a Portugese colony, was already an independent country, as a result of the pro-independence political party Fretilin declaring East Timor independent on November 28, 1975. But barely days after the independence proclamation, on December 7, 1975, the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia used all its military firepower to invade Timor Leste.

The invasion was brutal and the occupation lasted 24 years before the UN referendum in 1999. During the occupation, the Indonesian military tortured and slaughtered our people. Such terrible acts became an everyday spectacle in Timor Leste.

Philippines: Flood relief appeal from Partido Lakas ng Masa

By Reihana Mohideen, international desk, Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses)

September, 28, 2009 -- Typhoon Ondoy swept through the Philippines on September 26, displacing some 250,000 people and, according to the most recent reports, has left some 86 people dead. Urban centres, such as Metro Manila, were also badly affected with more than 80% of the city under water. In some areas the water was around 4'-5' deep. Apparently one month’s rainfall poured down in a matter of a few hours.

We are conducting relief operations through our own networks and we are appealing for funds to support our relief work. The typhoon has now cleared and today we will be assessing the situation based on reports from our organisers on the ground. This will also include getting information on the state of the government's disaster management response. Reports are coming in about the inadequacy of the government's response -- in some areas people are still waiting for rescue operations to get to them and in other cases people are still waiting for food assistance.

Thailand: When King Pumipon dies ...

Souvenir clock featuring King Pumipon Adunyadet and his mother.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

September 25, 2009 -- Many Thais, whether they are royalist ``Yellow Shirts'' or pro-democracy ``Red Shirts'', are waiting for King Pumipon Adunyadet [often spelled Bhumipol Adulyadej in the Western press] to die. It may take years. Their feelings will be different, either positive or negative. This is because Pumipon has influenced Thai society for years. But the issue to discuss is whether this influence is created by others or based on the king's own power?

Most Thais, both Yellow and Red, believe that Pumipon is the most powerful political actor. Many academics like Paul Handley believe this too. But it is not the case. If Pumipon was powerful, like an absolute monarch, when he dies there would be a civil war between those who want to become the next king. That is unlikely.

There will be a power struggle and rivalries, but it will be a struggle among the elites, including former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, to see who can use the monarchy for their own ends. After the 2006 coup, Thaksin lost this battle. Maybe he might return to the fight. Among the Yellow Shirts there will also be such rivalries.

People's Republic of China at 60: socialist revolution, capitalist restoration

[Click HERE for more analysis of the Chinese Revolution and its evolution.]

By Chris Slee

September 23, 2009 -- October 1 will mark 60 years since Mao Zedong proclaimed the creation of the People's Republic of China. This followed the victory of the People’s Liberation Army, led by the Communist Party of China (CCP), over the US-backed Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party, KMT). 

In 1921, when the CCP was founded, China was in chaos. Western intervention — military, economic, political and cultural — had destroyed or undermined traditional Chinese institutions. New, stable institutions had not been created. Various imperialist powers grabbed pieces of Chinese territory.

Some modern industry was established, mainly in the coastal cities. But most Chinese people were peasants, heavily exploited by big landowners.

People's Republic of China at 60: Maoism and popular power, 1949–1969


Youth demonstrate during the Cultural Revolution.

[Click HERE for more analysis of the Chinese Revolution and its evolution.]

By Pierre Rousset

With the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) found itself at the head of a country three times larger than Western Europe, with a population of some 500 million. The internal situation was favourable to the revolutionary regime. At the end of a long series of civil and foreign wars, the population sought and relied on the new leaders to achieve peace while the ongoing people’s mobilisation opened the way for a deep reform of society.

People's Republic of China at 60: 1925–1949 -- Origins of the Chinese revolution

Mao Zedong (on horse) during the Long March.

[Click HERE for more analysis of the Chinese Revolution and its evolution.]

By Pierre Rousset

Retrospectively, we know the importance of the period opened in China by the overthrow in 1911 of the Qing Dynasty: it concluded, nearly four decades later, with the victory of the Communist revolution on October 1, 1949 – an event of historical scope. However, at the time, the future of the country looked very uncertain. Power was fragmenting in China, but the European states were not in a position to seize this opportunity to impose their colonial domination on the Middle Kingdom and were soon going to be at war with each other. The new imperialist powers (the United States and Japan) were not yet ready to replace them and claim for themselves the conquest of China. But it was only a matter of time. China seemed to be condemned to be dismembered into Japamese and Western zones of influence.

Los! Hau Bele! -- `Yo! Si Puedo' comes to Timor Leste: Cuba assists the eradication of illiteracy

By Bob Boughton

In Timor Leste [East Timor], which is one of the world’s newest countries and Australia’s poorest Asia-Pacific neighbour, Cuba is delivering an educational aid program which aims to eradicate illiteracy, currently affecting nearly 50% of the adult population, within a period of less than 10 years. The Timor Leste national literacy campaign, utilising the Cuban-developed Yo! Si Puedo (Yes! I can) audiovisual teaching method, opened its first classes in the capital Dili in June 2007.

Eighteen months later, by December 2008, nearly 18,000 adults had completed a course of 65 lessons, led by local village monitors who work under the close supervision of 36 Cuban education advisers deployed throughout the country. If it continues at this rate, the literacy campaign can be expected to have a major impact on the stabilisation and development of Timor Leste, providing a model for other Pacific countries struggling to overcome their educational disadvantage.

Coup anniversary reveals two faces of Thailand

PAD organised a demonstration on September 19 to attack Cambodian villagers at the ancient Kao Prawiharn [Preah Vihear] temple inside Cambodia. Here a knife-weilding Thai chauvinist attempts to attack the villagers while riot cops look on. Photo: AP.

[See also ``Thailand: The September 19 coup, three years on''.]

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

September 21, 2009 -- On the September 19, 2009, the third anniversary of the military coup that wrecked Thai democracy, two demonstrations took place. They sum up the two faces of Thailand.

One demonstration, by tens of thousands of ``Red Shirts'' in Bangkok, was organised in order to continue the demand full democracy. It was a peaceful and friendly demonstration. Yet the military-backed Democrat Party government, headed by Abhisit Vejjajiva, declared a state of emergency and lined up thousands of police and soldiers to deal with the demonstrators. Previously, in April, Abhisit had urged soldiers to fire on the Red Shirts. Two people were subsequently killed and 70 injured by government soldiers.

Thailand: The September 19 coup, three years on

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

On September 19, 2006, the Thai army staged a coup toppling the elected government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Soldiers sported yellow royal ribbons and the military junta claimed that it was staging the coup to protect ``democracy with the king as the head of state’’. It certainly was not protecting democracy, but most Thais believed that this was indeed a “royal coup”.

The coup came after mass street demonstrations against the elected government by the royalist and conservative Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD), in which many PAD members and leaders of the so-called Democrat Party had called for the king to sack the elected prime minister and appoint another one. Later, the yellow-shirted PAD took on a semi-fascist nature, using extreme nationalism and having its own armed guard. The PAD used violence on the streets of Bangkok.

The rise and fall of the Communist Party of Thailand

By Pierre Rousset

September 9, 2009 -- ESSF -- The communist movement was first established in Siam (renamed Thailand in 1939) mostly in the Chinese ethnic migrant communities, then proliferated in the seemingly disparate surrounding regions in the north, northeast and south of the country. Following a long, difficult period of transition, the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT), once an urban party, retreated to the jungle and engaged in armed struggle. Its national expansion, during the 1970s, occurred while the kingdom was transformed into a US base for military intervention in the Vietnam War. The party eventually saw its decline during the Sino-Indochinese conflict of 1978–9 and disappeared from sight in the mid-1980s.

Suffering and struggle in rural China

Will the Boat Sink the Water? The Life of Chinese Peasants.
By Chen Guidi and Wu Chuntao.
New York: Public Affairs 2006

Review by John Riddell

Is China killing the goose whose golden eggs have financed its economic upsurge? Chen Guidi and Wu Chuntao pose this question in their gripping portrayal of the suffering and struggles of Chinese peasants today.

Their book’s title refers to a 1400-year-old Chinese saying, attributed to Emporer Taizong: “Water holds up the boat; water may also sink the boat.” That is, the peasantry that sustains the state may also rise up and overturn it. Chen and Wu argue that in China today, the weight of the state is suffocating the peasantry: the boat may sink the water.

A media and publishing sensation

For people to people solidarity with Vietnam

RAAF Canberra bombers flew 11,963 sorties during the Vietnam War, dropping 76,389 bombs.

By Peter Boyle

September 1, 2009 -- There has been a lot of media coverage in Australia around the August 31 return of the remains of the last two Australian armed forces personnel – Canberra bomber pilots – who were missing in action in the Vietnam War. But none of the articles put this in the context of the death and damage inflicted on the Vietnamese people by the United States and its ally Australia.

Operating as part of the US Air Force's 35th Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Canberra bombers flew 6% of the wing's sorties but inflicted 16% of the damage. Overall, 11,963 sorties were flown by the Canberra bombers in Vietnam and 76,389 bombs were dropped. Two Canberra bombers were lost in the process.

Total Australian military casualties in the Vietnam War were 521 killed and 2398 wounded, but the numerous high-altitude bombing raids carried out by Australia's Canberra bombers alone would have inflicted much higher casualties.

Thailand: Time for democracy movement to be clear about how to fight (Da Torpedo คุณดา Redshirt strategy แนวทางเสื้อแดง)

Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul (`Da Torpedo').

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

September 3, 2009 -- On August 28, Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul (known by her nickname as “Da Torpedo”) was sentenced to 18 years in prison for lese majeste (insulting the royal family) after a secret trial in Bangkok. This is another example of how Thailand is rapidly coming to resemble authoritarian countries like North Korea. Other examples are the use of the Internal Security Law to prevent peaceful demonstrations by the pro-democracy ``Redshirts'' and the way that the unelected prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, urged the military to kill demonstrators in April. What is also shocking is the way that there has been complete silence from so-called “human rights activists” and NGOs and academics in Thailand about what has been going on. This can only be described as shameful. Amnesty International's long-term policy of turning its back on Thai prisoners of conscience, jailed over lese majeste, is also appalling. It throws into question the role of that organisation.

* * *

Indonesia: Parliament of the Streets demands free education and health care, housing for the poor


Made with Slideshow Embed Tool

Photos and text by Ulfa Ilyas

On August 25, 2009, a demonstration was held in Jakarta, Indonesia, organised by the Parliament of the Streets Alliance at the inauguration of newly elected members of parliament. The protesters demanded free education for all citizens, free health programs, employment and housing programs for poor people.

Henri Anggoro, a leader of the Poor People’s Union (Serikat Rakyat Miskin Indonesia, SRMI), which organises in the sprawling shanty towns, said that experience has shown that parliament ignores the interests of the people. "They only represent the interests of a handful of people, rather than representing the people who elected them", he said.

Industrial action for peace: The Communist Party of Australia and antiwar activity before 1960

[Douglas Jordan was politicised in England in the late 1960s. After arriving in Australia he joined the Socialist Youth Alliance/Socialist Workers League/Socialist Workers Party, in which where he remained a member for 14 years. Today he is a community activist and co-presenter of the City Limits radio program on Melbourne's 3CR.

[After working as a tram conductor in Melbourne and Adelaide he was replaced by a ticket machine in 1998 and so lost his lifetime profession. He returned to study and is now writing his PhD thesis. The thesis -- of which this article is an excerpt -- is a detailed examination of the extent to which Communist Party of Australia union activists raised political issues in their unions.

[In particular it looks at the peace movement, attitudes to the post-war migration program and the Aboriginal struggle for human rights. There was been a general perception that Communist Party union activists were nothing more than industrial militants. The thesis aims to challenge this and show that CPA members often raised political issues and sought support for them from their co-workers.]

* * *

By Douglas Jordan

The Philippines left and Corazon Aquino

Corazon Aquino (far right) in 1986.

By Reihana Mohideen

August 14, 2009 – Former president of the Philippines Corazon Aquino died on August 1. Following the 1983 assassination of Benigno Aquino, her husband, Cory Aquino became the Philippine’s leading bourgeois opposition figure to the US-backed dictator Ferdinand Marcos. She stood against Marcos in the 1986 presidential election. After Marcos was proclaimed the winner of the blatantly rigged election, a mass uprising – dubbed the ``people power revolution’’ -- overthrew Marcos and Aquino became president. She was in office from 1986 to 1992.

The Philippines left’s reaction to the death of Corazon Aquino has been intriguing. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) did a complete about-turn, recanting its previous position that Cory Aquino was a representative of the reactionary classes.

Pakistan: Farooq Tariq's new book `Facing the Musharraf Dictatorship' (free download)

Farooq Tariq (centre) with members of the DSP.

Below is spokesperson for the Labour Party Pakistan Farooq Tariq's introduction to his new book, Facing the Musharraf Dictatorship: An Activist's Narrative. Following that is the preface by Peter Boyle, national secretary of the Democratic Socialist Perspective of Australia. Facing the Musharraf Dictatorship is available from Good Books Lahore. Email goodbooks_1 [at] yahoo.com to order a hard copy. You can also download the entire 300-page PDF file at the end of the two articles below.

* * *

Introduction

By Farooq Tariq

It was October 12, 1999. As usual, I was at the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) secretariat in Lahore. Around 6pm, Farooq Sulehria called me to break the news that Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif had removed the army chief General Pervez Musharraf who was flying back to Pakistan from a visit to Sri Lanka. Sulehria asked me to issue a press statement to explain the LPP's point of view. "Wait and see the response of the army", I told him.

Syndicate content

Powered by Drupal - Design by Artinet