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Ferment in Nepal: A dynamic vortex of revolutionary change

CPN (Maoist) mass meeting in Kathmandu

By Bill Templer

January 3, 2009 -- One remarkable laboratory that discussion in much of the world’s progressive press tends to neglect is the dynamic vortex of revolutionary change in Nepal. Since spring, Nepal has something that may be making genuine history: a Maoist people’s movement, that, led by the CPN (Maoist), and the struggle of the People’s Liberation Army over a decade, has come to state power through the ballot box. As Tufts University historian Gary Leupp wrote last April: “It ought to be the ballot heard 'round the world. It ought to be front page news. […] This moment may in the not distant future be seen as another 1917, another 1949.”[1]

World economic crisis: No room for band-aid solutions in the Third World

By Reihana Mohideen

December 29, 2008 -- According to recent Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) figures, another 40 million people have been pushed into poverty and hunger so far this year as a result of spiralling food prices, and the total number of people suffering hunger and malnutrition has reached 963 million worldwide.

While the prices of major cereals have fallen by more than 50per cent of their peak in 2008, they still remain high compared to previous years.[1] Nearly two-thirds of the world's hungry live in Asia (583 million in 2007). In sub-Saharan Africa, one in three people -- or 236 million (2007) -- are chronically hungry. Most of the increase in the number of hungry occurred in a single country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, as a result of widespread and persistent conflict. The FAO predicts that the impact of the economic crisis, on the heels of the food price crisis and oil price increases, could further exacerbate malnutrition and hunger levels.

A government in pandemonium: The first nine month of Pakistan Peoples Party rule

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari (left)

By Farooq Tariq

December 22, 2008 -- Instability, price hikes, growing unemployment and rising debts are the hallmarks of the first nine months of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government. There are daily demonstrations across Pakistan around one or another of these issues.

There is a real danger of a war between Pakistan and India after the Mumbai terrorist attack on November 26. The statement by Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari about the doubtful Pakistani identity of Ajmal Qasab, the only terrorist captured alive, did not go down very well within the Indian establishment. The joint war-room meeting of all the Indian government's important officials is a very serious matter.

Spend the trillions on climate!

Sydney, October 2, 2008. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.

By Martin Khor

December 15, 2008 -- The two crises of our times — economic recession and global warming — should be tackled together. The trillions of dollars earmarked for economic recovery can be spent to fight climate change. The economic crisis should not stop governments from serious action to combat climate change, but should instead be an opportunity to fund climate-related activities.

This was a clear message that came out of the last days of the United Nations climate talks at Poznan in Poland.

The two major crises of our times – the economic recession and global warming – were addressed by the UN secretary-general and some world leaders at the opening ceremony of the ministerial segment of the two-week talks.

If the US and Europe can come up with so many trillions of dollars to save their financial institutions within a few months, surely there is money to tackle the climate crisis, which is a far bigger problem involving the world’s survival.

Indonesia: Protest napalm bomb attack on farmers' settlement!

By Papernas (National Liberation Party of Unity, Indonesia)

December 18, 2008 -- About 1000 thugs sent by PT Arara Abadi and directly led by 500 police, under Riau regional police commander Alex Mandalika, unsparingly attacked, destroyed and burned houses using napalm bombs in Suluk Bongkal village, Riau Province, Indonesia. A two-year-old girl died in the attack.

The attackers said the villagers were newcomers who must be evicted. They were also falsely accused of having ilegally cleared state-owned forest. According to our information, Suluk Bongkal village has been legally acknowledged in the state map made after the Dutch cooperated with the Siak kingdom (around 1940), and in 1959 (after independence) the area was designated as customary rights forest (for Sakal tribe); Suluk Bongkal was included in it. Suluk Bongkal villagers have lived peacefully with the other citizens and surrounding tribes.

Malaysia: Victory as `cyclists for change' reach parliament after massive police repression

Jerit activists arrive at Malaysia's national parliament

By Oppressed People’s Movement (Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas, Jerit)

December 18, 2008 -- Jerit, Suaram -- People's power has spoken once again! With the roars from a strong crowd of 500 people, the young militant cyclists, who from December 3 conducted their ``Cycle for Change'' campaign throughout Malaysia, pedalled bravely into the grounds of the parliment, which definitely belongs to them, ``THE PEOPLE". After almost 16 days' journey through the states of Malaysia, they brought the people's demands to the ears of their representitives!

The six demands were: 1. Legislate a Minimum Wage Act; 2. Abolish draconian laws; 3. Adequate housing for the people; 4. Control prices; 5. Stop the privatisation of public services; 6. Revive local municipal council elections. The was one of the Jerit's ways of raising awareness about issues like food shortages, global food shortage, environmental problems, draconian laws and the financial crisis -- in an eco-friendly way to boot.

India must not succumb to the US strategy of proliferation of terror

By Dipankar Bhattacharya

December 15, 2008 -- The recent siege of Mumbai for nearly three days by a small band of well-trained terrorists has almost universally come to be described as ``India’s 9/11’’. In terms of sheer audacity of planning and execution, the places targeted and the scale and range of people killed and injured, the Mumbai terror siege can surely be bracketed with the original 9/11, and in terms of the duration of the skirmish it can also claim to have left the original way behind.

The analogy between New York 9/11 and Mumbai 26/11 must not however be confined to these operational details. What is most important is to recognise the Mumbai attack was an extension of the same terror trajectory that struck New York seven years ago. What should we learn from this?

Thailand: `Cockroaches' take over

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Bangkok, December 15, 2008 -- The appointment of ``Democrat'' Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva as the new Prime Minister of Thailand is the final stage of the second coup against an elected government. After the deliberate chaos created by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) seizure of the airports, the courts stepped in to dissolve the hugely popular governing Thai Rak Thai (Peoples Power Party) for the second time. [The constitutional court dissolved the party for fraud in the 2007 election that brought it to power.] The army chief then called a meeting of Democrat Party parliamentarians, along with some of the most corrupt elements of the governing coalition parties. It is widely believed that the army chief and others threatened and bribed MPs to change sides. Chief among them is ``Newin Chitchorp'', who was named by his father after the infamous Burmese dictator.

India: West Bengal Left Front government sides with big capital, attacks peasants

By Satya Sivaraman

Nandigram and Beyond, edited by Gautam Ray,
Gangchil Publications, Kolkata, 2008, pp 224, Rs395.

In recent times there has been no greater rupture within the Indian left movement than that precipitated by peasant struggles in Singur and Nandigram against forced acquisition of land for industrial purposes. The spectacle of West Bengal’s Left Front regime, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) --(CPI (M) -- sending police and party cadre to gun down poor peasants fighting to protect their land not only earned it the wrath of ordinary Indian citizens everywhere but also left large sections among its own supporters deeply divided.

Nepal: CPN (Maoist) national convention -- beginning the `great debate'; Split avoided

By Indra Mohan Sigdel ``Basanta''

December 5, 2008 -- The Nepalese people’s revolution is now at a crucial juncture, full of opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, the possibilities are so great that the party’s success in developing a scientific ideological and political line consistent with the present objective conditions could lead the Nepalese people’s revolution to a victorious accomplishment. And also, it could be a new opening of the world proletarian revolution in the beginning of the 21st century. While on the other hand, its failure to do so would lead to disastrous consequences, leading to an extensive demoralisation of the oppressed classes not only in Nepal but the world over. Therefore, in short, the November 17-26, 2008, national convention of our party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), had an international dimension.

Malaysia: Bicycle protesters for workers' rights defy police intimidation

Cycle protesters in Penang, December 5

By Oppressed People’s Movement (Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas, Jerit)

December 6, 2008 -- The Oppressed People’s Movement (Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas, Jerit) is conducting a cycling campaign throughout Malaysia to highlight demands for workers' right, which will be presented to the prime minister of Malaysia. The campaign officially began on December 3 at Wisma Darul Aman Kedah, where 50 cyclists were flagged off. They will cycle for 16 days through Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor. On December 18, they will hand a memorandum to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, at the national parliament in Kuala Lumpur.

Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist): The differences of opinion within our party

By Netra Bikram Chand ‘Biplap’

We should say honestly that there is a difference of opinion on how to accomplish the Nepalese Revolution. Mainly, the difference of opinion is about the party line, political program and tactics in our party. This clearly justifies that a serious u-turn has occurred before the Nepalese Revolution. The responsibility of carrying the revolution ahead successfully has fallen upon the shoulders of the revolutionary communists of Nepal and the revolutionary communists of the world. We all should direct our attention to it.

Thailand und der Coup für die Reichen

Von Giles Ji Ungpakorn.

(http://www.schoenes-thailand.de/) Thailands Verfassungsgericht löste am Dienstag die demokratisch gewählten Regierungsparteien des Landes zum zweiten mal auf, und zwang dadurch die Regierung zum Rücktritt. Dies folgte der Weigerung der Streitkräfte und der Polizei, den Befehlen der Regierung zu folgen, die Regierungsgebäude und die zwei, von bewaffneten Faschisten der People's Alliance for Democracy besetzten Flughäfen, zu räumen.

Indonesia: Activists debate electoral tactic

Dita Sari will stand in the 2009 election

Indonesia: Tracing a path towards parliament

By Kelik Ismunanto

November 29, 2008 -- After such a long period of time in a vacuum, uncertain of how to respond to changes caused by neoliberal economic policies, little by little, democracy movement activists have been able to wrest back the political podium.

In the last few months, several national television stations provided a political stage for activists such as Dita Sari, Budiman Sujatmiko, Pius Lustrilanang and other young activists who are contesting the 2009 elections, to explain their reasons for choosing the parliamentary tactic.

Among young activists, there are opinions in favour and against this tactic.

Malaysia: Detention without trial -- Abolish the Internal Security Act 1960!

By Enalini Elumalai, general coordinator Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)

November 27, 2008 -- While Malaysia celebrated its 51st anniversary of Merdeka (independence) from Britain in 2008, the Malaysian government continued to arrest and detain individuals without charging them or putting them on trial under the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA), the legacy of a colonial legislation enacted to combat the communist insurgency in Malaya in the 1940s and 1950s. 

The ISA was originally enacted to succeed emergency laws aimed at combating the communist insurgency in the 1940s and 1950s. It was also used against political dissidents, students and labour activists. Since then, the ISA has been used against those who commit acts deemed to be “prejudicial to the security of Malaysia” or threatening to the “maintenance of essential services” or “economic life”. The government determines which acts fall into these categories and, using a strained interpretation of the legislation, has detained scores of individuals under the ISA in cases that would normally require prosecution.

Thailand: A second `coup for the rich'

The `Red Shirts' have become a `genuine pro-democracy mass movement of the poor'

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn, Bangkok

December 2, 2008 -- Today the constitutional court dissolved the democratically elected governing party, the People Power Party, in Thailand for the second time, forcing the government to resign. This follows the refusal of the armed forces and the police to follow government instructions to clear the two international airports blocked by armed People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) fascists. [The constitutional court dissolved Thailand's top three ruling parties for electoral fraud in the 2007 election that brought them to power. Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat has been banned from politics for five years.]

Socialist Party of Malaysia: The left in coalition politics (+ interview with PSM MP)

Jeyakumar (`Kumar') Devaraj (third from right) with PSM supporters.

By Jeyakumar Devaraj

November 8, 2008 -- Ever since the First International, building and working within coalitions with other groups has been one of the strategies used by the left to attempt to advance its political agenda. This practice has continued up until the present.

However the strategy of working in coalitions with other groups has, fairly often, led to controversy, disagreements and even acrimonious splits, both of the coalitions as well as within the left parties involved themselves.

Why does this happen? Is the strategy of coalition work worth the effort and trouble? What are the benefits of coalition building? What are measures a socialist party can take to avoid some of the negative consequences of coalition political work?

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: December 13, 2008 -- `Get up! Stand up! Stand up for your rights!' Human Rights Concert

Let's party in "Get up! Stand up! Stand up for your rights!" Human Rights Concert 

in conjunction with 60th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights!

 

Date: 13 December 2008 (Saturday)

Time: 3.00pm – 6.00pm

Venue: KLSCAH-MCPA Hall

Que paguen los pobres del mundo La crisis económica y del Sur del globo

Por Adam Hanieh

Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Germán Leyens

La actual crisis económica global tiene todas las características de un evento trascendental. Economistas de la corriente dominante – no conocidos normalmente por su lenguaje exagerado – emplean ahora abiertamente frases como "catástrofe sistémica" y "mirando hacia el abismo." El 29 de octubre, por ejemplo, Martin Wolf, uno de los principales comentaristas financieros del Financial Times, advirtió que la crisis augura "bancarrotas masivas," "desempleo en alza" y una "catástrofe" que amenaza "la legitimidad de la propia economía de libre mercado... el peligro sigue siendo inmenso y queda poco tiempo."

Cabe poca duda de que esta crisis ya tiene un impacto devastador en los hogares estadounidenses fuertemente endeudados. Pero una de las características impactantes del análisis hasta la fecha – tanto de los medios de izquierdas como los dominantes – es el enfoque casi exclusivo en los países ricos de Norteamérica, Europa y del Este Asiático. De las ejecuciones hipotecarias en California a la bancarrota de Islandia, el impacto del colapso financiero es raramente examinado más allá del núcleo capitalista avanzado.

Making the world's poor pay: The economic crisis and the Global South

[This article is available in Spanish: `Que paguen los pobres del mundo La crisis económica y del Sur del glob'.]

By Adam Hanieh

November 22, 2008 -- The current global economic crisis has all the earmarks of an epoch-defining event. Mainstream economists – not usually known for their exaggerated language – now openly employ phrases like ``systemic meltdown'' and ``peering into the abyss''. On October 29, for example, Martin Wolf, one of the top financial commentators of the Financial Times, warned that the crisis portends “mass bankruptcy”, “soaring unemployment” and a “catastrophe” that threatens “the legitimacy of the open market economy itself... the danger remains huge and time is short”.

There is little doubt that this crisis is already having a devastating impact on heavily indebted American households. But one of the striking characteristics of analysis to date – by both the left and the mainstream media – is the almost exclusive focus on the wealthy countries of North America, Europe and East Asia. From foreclosures in California to the bankruptcy of Iceland, the impact of financial collapse is rarely examined beyond the advanced capitalist core.

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