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Asia

China and the global capitalist economic meltdown

By Peter Boyle

Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific (ASAP) -- As the US, Japan and Europe slide into recession, the leaders of many smaller countries are desperately hoping that continued strong growth in the Chinese economy, which has contributed about 15 per cent of world economic growth in recent years, might save them from this meltdown.

There's hope and then there's hard facts. Recently the latter has replaced those desperate hopes with terror. A measure of this was the November 4 decision of Australia's Reserve Bank to make a bigger than expected interest rate cut. Any temptation by holders of large mortgages and other debts in Australia to reach for the champagne was killed by the realisation that this decision, in the words of one business correspondent, "was a recognition by Australia's top policymakers that the Chinese economy is no longer providing a firewall to insulate the Australian economy from the international crisis".

 

Socialist Party of Malaysia: Building socialism while capitalism crumbles


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

By Choo Chon Kai, International Bureau, PSM

November 13, 2008 -- Kajang, Malaysia -- It was timely for the Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia -- PSM) to host the ``Socialism 2008 –- Malaysia'' conference, when the world is caught in a deep crisis that is considered the worst since World War II. The conference showed that capitalism, during its 18-year term as the dominant ideology of the world, had wreaked havoc on the lives of people and the planet, and that there was an urgent need to put forward a socialist alternative.

Realities of China today

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

Against the Current -- Interest in the post-1978 Chinese market reform experience remains high and for an obvious reason: China is widely considered to be one of the most successful developing countries in modern times. The Chinese economy has recorded record rates of growth over an extended time period, in concert with a massive industrial transformation. Adding to the interest is the Chinese government's claim that this success demonstrates both the workability and superiority of "market socialism."

There are those on the left who share this celebratory view of the Chinese experience, believing that it stands as an effective rebuttal to the neoliberal mantra that still dominates economic thinking. Therefore, they encourage other countries to learn from China's gradual, state controlled process of marketization, privatization, and deregulation of economic activity. A small but significant number share the Chinese government's view that China has indeed pioneered a new type of socialism.

Philippines: Militant workers demand `big-time rollback' of labour export policy

By Partido ng Manggagawa (Labor Party Philippines)

October 27, 2008 -- The militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) called for a historic reversal of the strategy of labour export as the government-sponsored Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) opened its first day.

"A one-time, big-time rollback of the failed policy of labour export is just as urgent and necessary as the bloated prices of oil. It is time to think out of the box and shift to domestic full employment instead of promoting overseas employment", declared Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson at a big rally led by Solidarity Action of labour Against GFMD (SALAG).

PM opposes the GFMD since it alleges that the main problem it is trying to solve is how to profit from remittances not how to protect migrants. "It would have been funny if it were not tragic that the GFMD is steadfastly fascinated with the neoliberal agenda even though the bankruptcy of globalisation has been exposed by the financial meltdown and economic recession in the US and the world", Magtubo asserted.

Nepal: The struggle intensifies; interview with Prachanda

Editorial, Red Star, newspaper of the CPN (Maoist), October 24-November 7, 2008

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is going to hold a party congress at the beginning of 2009. The decision to hold a party congress has created much interest among the common people as well as party leaders, cadres, sympathisers and well wishers.

Malaysian opposition stands up to racialism and intimidation

By Peter Boyle

October 25, 2008 -- Some parties in Malaysia’s ruling National Front (BN) government are trying to intimidate opposition parties and social activists, Socialist Party Malaysia (PSM) secretary general S.Arutchelvan told Green Left Weekly, a few days after the PSM’s sole federal MP, Dr D. Jeyakumar, had his car torched by thugs on October 17.

The previous day, a 26-year-old human rights activist, Cheng Lee Whee, was arrested under the notorious Internal Security Act (ISA) after she made a report accusing the police of abuse of power in an eviction of a poor squatter colony in the state of Johor. She was charged with “spreading false information”.

Cheng had complained that about the violent eviction of 27 squatters and their supporters who were attempting to stop the demolition of a predominantly Malay village Kampung Baru Plentong Tengah on October 16.

Choo Shinn Chei, a PSM activist, also had her laptop confiscated by police in this incident.

This follows mounting arrests and detentions of other activists — and even bloggers — under the ISA. This has provoked thousands to demonstrate in recent months for repeal of this colonial-era detention-without-trial law.

Thailand: Prison sentence for ex-PM Thaksin. What does it mean?

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

October 22, 2008 -- The prison sentence handed down to ex-Thai prime minister Thaksin is just one part of the present Thai political crisis. I write this short piece because I have been contacted by both the BBC TV and radio to give a telephone interview, but on both occasions the telephone line went dead during the interview. Times like this can make us paranoid. It was probably a technical fault which just happened to occur twice.

Thaksin was found guilty of a ``conflict of interest'' because he was prime minister at the time when his wife bought a piece of land at a knock-down price from the Thai state. The land originated from bankruptcies due to the 1997 economic crisis. Earlier Prime Minister Samak was found guilty of appearing on a TV cooking program and forced to resign. Samak was head of the Peoples Power Party (PPP), the descendant of Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party (TRT) which was dissolved by the courts during the time of the military junta.

It is interesting to note that Thaksin's wife was not found guilty of any corruption by the courts, nor was the organisation that held the land auction. This means that there is no evidence that the price paid for the land was below market rates or artificially depressed.

Nuke deal a conduit to import US crisis into India

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with US President George Bush

By Dipankar Bhattacharya, general secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation

October 14, 2008 -- India's United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government finally sealed the nuclear deal with the US on October 10. For the Congress Party and the coalition of ``Unashamed Partners of America'' headed by it, the nuclear deal is the supreme achievement of the government. On the eve of signing the deal, India's external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee reiterated India's commercial commitment to the US nuclear energy industry: "We look forward to working with US companies on the commercial steps that will follow to implement this landmark Agreement." In a second statement issued after the agreement's signing he also reiterated India's commitment to implement the agreement in good faith even though no such reciprocal assurance was made by the US to confirm New Delhi's claim regarding the so-called US ``guarantee'' on uninterrupted fuel supply.

The Tamil question in Sri Lanka

By Chris Slee

October 5, 2008 -- On January 2, 2008, the Sri Lankan government formally renounced the ceasefire agreement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which a previous government had signed in February 2002. But by the beginning of 2008 the ceasefire already existed only on paper. Violence, which had been escalating for several years, had by then reached the level of full-scale war.

Nepal: Interview with Prachanda (April 18, 2008)

An interview With Prachanda Part 1


An interview With Prachanda Part 2

On April 18, 2008, three days following the surprising victory of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) for representation in that country's Constitutional Assembly, the chairman of the party, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, known by his nom du guerre, PRACHANDA, granted Regenerate Film's documentary team this unprecedented interview at 6 am.

The global financial crisis: implications for Asia

By Reihana Mohideen

The Wall Street crisis seems light years away from the side streets of Manila’s urban poor slums. For the labouring masses in the Philippines the capitalist system has been in crisis for some time now, unable to deliver life’s basic necessities: jobs and a living wage; affordable quality healthcare and education; and food security.

According to official National Statistics Office data poverty levels have increased between 2003 and 2006, and 2008 is expected to be the worst year since the 1998 Asian economic crisis. Between April 2007 and April 2008 the labour force grew by only 81,000, while the number of unemployed rose by 249,000, i.e. triple the increase in the labour force. In 2008 the number of employed persons fell by 168,000 and there was no employment generation in April of this year. Jobs were being lost at a time when prices and inflation were skyrocketing.

India: What happens to a dream deferred? Does it explode?

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over--

like a syrupy sweet?


Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.


Or does it explode?

-- Langston Hughes, 1951

By Kavita Krishnan

Nepal: Prachanda in New York -- A Maoist vision for a new Nepal

`A Maoist Vision for a New Nepal' -- MP3 recordings of a talk by Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda), followed by questions and answers, presented to the India China Institute of New School University, New York City, on September 26, 2008. The MP3 audio clips were first presented on the Hegemonik site, and are posted here with permission

Philippines: Towards a memorandum for self-determination for the Moro people

By Herbert Docena

Force has kept the Moro people within the Philippines. Against their will, beginning in the early twentieth century, the Moros, who were already living in their own states in the south, were incorporated into what became the nation-state of the Philippines by US colonisers and their Filipino partners from the north. [i]

Nepal: Prachanda -- `No illusions on the ultimate goal of socialist communism'

September 3, 2008 -- In his first interview since he became Nepal's prime minister, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal ``Prachanda'' spoke to Rabindra Mishra of BBC's Nepali Service about the strategies of his new government.

BBC: In the past Maoist leaders had vowed not to keep any private property. They handed over their private properties to the party. Now, what will you do to your salary that you will be drawing as prime minister?

That (money) will go to the country and the people. It will be deposited in the party treasury. Except some amount for the general upkeep, the salary will be deposited in the party treasury.

Then, how can one be assured of the right to private property under your government when you are yourself are not keeping private property?

Thailand: Democracy lost in shuffle between royalist `opposition' and Thaksin government

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

September 2, 2008, Bangkok -- For the past two or more years, especially since the September 2006 coup, Thai society has been hypnotised into forgetting about the real social and political issues. Instead, the whole of society and, most tragically, the social movements have been entranced by a fight between two factions of the Thai ruling class.

On the one side are the deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his disbanded Thai Rak Thai Party, its successor the Peoples Power Party government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. Opposing them are a loose collection of authoritarian royalists comprising the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the pro-coup royalist military, the pro-coup judiciary and the Democrat Party. The authoritarian royalists are not a unified body. They only share a collective interest in wiping out Thaksin’s party.

Nepal: CPN (M) -- Present situation and our challenges

By Basanta

August 12, 2008 -- This is an era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. It is known also as the Leninist era. The specificity of this era has been the spread by imperialism through exploitation and robbery of the world, through the economic base of feudalism and the superstructure of bureaucrat and comprador bourgeois in the oppressed countries.

CPN (M) leader Prachanda

Behind the communal flare-up in Jammu and Kashmir

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

August 18, 2008 -- The communally and politically motivated May 26 decision of the Congress Party-People's Democratic Party (PDP) government of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir to transfer forest land [in Muslim-majority Kashmir] to the Hindu Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) [for use as a pilgrimage site near a sacred Hindu cave] is having costly repercussions, with the added danger that it may emerge as a communal [flashpoint] nationally.

The land transfer, taken in the context of irresponsible official remarks recommending changes in the demography and “culture” of the region as a “solution” to the Kashmir “problem”, was like a spark to the tinderbox of pent-up resentment in the Kashmir Valley. Lives were lost when police opened fire on protesters; the PDP tried to distance itself from its ministers’ decision in favour of the land transfer by pulling out of the government; and the government on July 1 was belatedly forced to roll back the land transfer decision.

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