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Malaysia: 'Ini kalilah' -- Socialists seek opposition cooperation to defeat Barisan Nasional regime

Socialist Party of  Malaysia's secretary-general S. Arutchelvan (“Arul”, third from left) is running for the Selangor state assembly seat.

By Peter Boyle

April 29, 2013 --  Green Left Weekly -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) is contesting four seats in the May 5 general elections, one federal parliamentary seat and three state assembly seats.

The PSM won two of these seats in the 2008 election: Jeyakumar Devaraj, or “Kumar” as he is better known, won the federal parliamentary seat of Sungai Siput from a high-profile former minister. PSM chairperson Nasir Hashim won the Selangor state assembly seat of Kota Damansara.

Also, the PSM is standing its secretary-general S. Arutchelvan (“Arul”) for the Selangor state assembly seat of Semenyih and its deputy chairperson M. Sarasvathy (“Saras”) for the Perak state assembly seat of Jelapang.

In the lead-up to the election, the PSM painstakingly sought to negotiate with other opposition parties to avoid a three-corner contest with the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) in these seats.

Behind the crisis: US tightens chokehold on North Korea

US and South Korean soldiers take part in joint military exercises in Pohang, South Korea.

By David Whitehouse

April 22, 2013 -- Socialist Worker (USA) -- In the 60 years since the end of the Korean War, US policy toward North Korea has fluctuated between the options of "containment" and "rollback".

Sometimes, the policy has shifted in the course of one presidency. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both started out as advocates of rollback -- regime change, either by military force or by provoking an internal collapse -- but ended as caretakers of containment.

Barack Obama -- who campaigned for the White House in 2008 on a promise to conduct direct talks with North Korea, in contrast to the belligerent rhetoric of the Bush years -- seems to have followed an opposite trajectory since his first months in office. Though you wouldn't know it to judge from the US media, this aggressive posture in Washington is a driving factor in the escalating tensions that have landed the Korean conflict on the front pages in recent weeks.

Thailand: Puppets on a string, dancing to the tune of the military

For more on Thailand and the Red Shirt movement, click HERE.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

April 21, 2013 -- Links International journal of Socialist Renewal -- As Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra posed, smiling and holding hands with the butcher of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Thai foreign minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul was acting out an extreme nationalist game with Cambodia over the Preah Vihear Temple.

The Preah Vihear Temple was built by the Khmer, in Khmer style, when the Khmers ruled a large empire covering the area that is now Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. It belongs to Cambodia. Almost everything that the Thai ruling class claim to be “Thai” was copied from the Khmer, including royal language and so-called Thai-style architecture. Sukotai was a Khmer city with a Khmer king. Ayuttaya also had some Khmer kings. Therefore when the Yellow Shirt nationalists and the military demand that “Thai territory” be returned they are merely playing out an imbecilic myth. It is a myth to divert attention from the inequality, exploitation and repression within Thai society.

Dock workers defy Hong Kong's richest person, seek solidarity, attract huge support

Striking Hong Kong dockworkers and supporters march at the world's third-busiest port. The two-week-old strike has bottlenecked cargo and gained enormous public sympathy. Photo: Left 21.

By the Union of Hong Kong Dockers

April 9, 2013 -- Text via ESSF -- Hundred members of the Union of Hong Kong Dockers (UHKD) are striking to demand pay rise while their wages have not risen in the past 15 years. Moreover they are also fighting for the collective bargaining right to negotiate with the management.

We ask you to send protest letters to the Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT) as well as its parent companies Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPHT), Hutchison Whampoa Ltd (HWL) and the Hong Kong SAR government to support the dockers.

For this purpose we attach a template which you can adapt and send, with a copy to the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (hkctu@hkctu.org.hk).

Socialist Party of Malaysia's 2013 general election manifesto: Enough! Reject 56 years of UMNO-BN

April 9, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Malaysians soon go to the polls in state and federal elections, expected to be held on April 27. The ruling Front National, or Barisan Nasional (BN), coalition is dominated by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), and has traditionally attracted votes from the 50% of the population of Malay descent. The coalition has controlled  Malaysia's parliament since the country's independence from Britain in 1957.

However, many predict that in this election BN dominance will be shaken by gains by the Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition coalition led by Anwar Ibrahim.

The Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM, Socialist Party of Malaysia) is also standing in a number of state and federal seats, seeking to retain its two sitting MPs and increase its representation of the country's working classes and poor. The party's election manifesto is below. It can also be downloaded HERE.

For more on the PSM, click HERE.

Philippines socialists on the Korean crisis: 'Halt all war preparations! Stop US provocations and intervention!

US sailors aboard the aircraft carrier George Washington prepare to leave for joint military exercises at the port in Busan, South Korea, in 2010.

By Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses), Philippines

Direct political negotiations to defuse Korean crisis! Halt all war preparations!

Stop US provocations and intervention!

Philippines government act responsibly! Halt joint US military exercises! Protect overseas Filipino workers!

For a unified Korea without US and big power interference!

Fidel Castro: The duty to avoid a war in Korea

"Now that [the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] has demonstrated its technical and scientific achievements, we remind her of her duties to the countries which have been her great friends, and it would be unjust to forget that such a war would particularly affect more than 70% of the population of the planet." -- Fidel Castro

By Fidel Castro

April 4, 2013 -- Granma International -- A few days ago I mentioned the great challenges humanity is currently facing. Intelligent life emerged on our planet approximately 200,000 years ago, although new discoveries demonstrate something else.

This is not to confuse intelligent life with the existence of life which, from its elemental forms in our solar system, emerged millions of years ago.

Statement of the ‘Politics and women going together’ international women’s conference, March 25-28, 2013, Kathmandu, Nepal

April 4, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This gathering of left women’s organisations and activists from Afghanistan, Indonesia, Kurdistan, Nepal, Philippines and Sweden thanks the Nepalese women’s movement, especially the All Nepal Women’s Association, for hosting this historic event. We have participated in three days of intense discussions about the issues confronting the struggle for women’s rights and gender equality in our countries. While we are aware that there are important differences in our specific country contexts, nevertheless, we are also united by the common problems and challenges that we face.

We are deeply concerned with the rise in religious fundamentalism of all varieties, as they seek to impose extremist forms of religious codes and conducts upon women and girls, which savagely oppress and contribute to extreme forms of violence against them.

We condemn all feudal cultural practices, such as honour crimes and witch burnings, that target women. We call on our governments to take all possible measures to implement laws and legislation to protect women from such practices. We also condemn practices such as sex-selective abortions, which are gender biased to the detriment of girl children and undermine the status of women in our societies.

Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka crimes provokes huge protests

 

Student demonstration in Mathurai, Tamil Nadu, March 14, 2013.

By Ron Ridenour

March 21, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The United Nation’s Human Rights Council passed a resolution on March 21, 2013, the third in four years, concerning Sri Lanka’s conduct towards Tamils. The vote was 25 for, 13 against with eight abstentions. Those opposed rejected any criticism of Sri Lanka as “foreign meddling”.[1]

The problem of relative privilege in the working class

"Waterside worker', by Noel Counihan, 1963.

By Chris Slee

March 18, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In his article entitled “Is there a labour aristocracy in Australia? (published in the Socialist Alternative magazine, Marxist Left Review) Tom Bramble criticises the concept of the “labour aristocracy” on a number of grounds.

Hugo Chavez Frias – visionary, fighter, companero (Asia-Pacific left statements) (updated Mar. 17)

[Below are statements issued by socialist and progressive organisations in the Asia-Pacific region. More will be posted as they come to hand.]

* * *

Statement of the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

March 6, 2013 -- The Socialist Alliance in Australia expresses its deepest sympathies with the people and government of Venezuela on the death of Companero Hugo Chavez Frias on March 5. His passing is a huge loss for all peoples, across Latin America and the globe, struggling for a world free of inequality, exploitation and oppression.

It is testament to Hugo Chavez’s great leadership that, while mourning his death, we are also confident that the Bolivarian Revolution and the new movement for socialism of the 21st century that Chavez inspired will be continued by the mass of people, to whom he worked so hard to give power.

Philippines: Socialist party supports Australian workers' blockade

February 12, 2013 -- Radio Australia -- A Philippine socialist party has thrown its support behind the Australian workers blockading the Werribee Water Treatment plant south-west of Melbourne.

Unemployed local tradespeople have been blockading the Werribee Water Treatment plant for the past week to protest against the employment of Filipino workers on special 457 visas [for guest workers].

Earlier this week, the Federal Court reserved decision on the Fair Work Building and Construction Inspectorate's bid to end the eight-day blockade.

On Monday, a group of 12 men, including Filipino workers, were helicoptered into the water treatment plant to avoid the blockade.

The chairperson of the Party of the Laboring Masses (PLM), Sonny Melencio, has told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific program he's concerned Filipino workers are being used to break picket lines.

Indonesia: Solidarity needed for trade unionists

January 30, 20133 -- Solidarity -- Trade union activist Sulthoni Farras, a leader of the Indonesian union federation Progresip, union alliance Sekber Buruh, and member of Indonesian political organisation KPO PRP, is in danger of arrest for leading a strike in 2012. Another activist, Bona Ventura, may also face charges.

The Indonesian government and bosses are using these kinds of tactics against a growing workers’ movement in Indonesia. Solidarity is asking for messages of support and for signatures to a letter we will give at the Indonesian Consulate this Friday 1 February, 2013. More details below.

* * *

Dear Comrade/Friend,

We are writing to ask your solidarity for a number of unionists in Indonesia presently in danger of being arrested and charged for taking part in lawful industrial action.

Below is some background to their situation in Indonesia. We would ask you to sign the letter (text below) that we intend to hand to the Indonesian consulate this Friday, 1 February following a solidarity protest at the consulate.

Socialist Alliance: Free Somyot and all political prisoners! Democracy for Thailand!

[Please continue to send protest notes to the addresses contained in this link. For more on Thailand and the Red Shirt movement, click HERE.]

Socialist Alliance (Australia) statement

  • Free Somyot Prueksakasemsuk and all political prisoners in Thailand!
  • Abolish the anti-democratic lese majeste law!
  • Democracy for Thailand!

January 24, 2013 – The Socialist Alliance of Australia condemns in the strongest possible terms the January 23 sentencing of workers’ rights and free speech advocate Somyot Prueksakasemsuk to a total of 11 years’ jail under Thailand’s draconian anti-democratic “lese majeste” law (Article 112 of the Criminal Code). Somyot and all political prisoners in Thailand should be released immediately and unconditionally.

Conviction of Thai labour activist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk condemned

Please continue to send protest notes to the addresses contained in this link.

By the Socialist Party of Malaysia

January 23, 2012 -- Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) is deeply concerned and disappointed over the verdict of Thai court today that sentenceed labour activist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk to 10 years of imprisonment for charges under the Article 112 of the Criminal Code (the lèse-majesté law) and another year of imprisonment for a violation of printing act in 2009, totaling 11 years of jail terms.

The PSM is of the view that those charges and convictions of Somyot are politically motivated, with the aim to suppress the right to freedom of expression and activism of political dissidents who not adhere to the will of ruling elite in Thailand.

The prosecution and conviction of Somyot are regressive and push the country back to the Middle Ages. Such persecution against a political activist is devastating to the democratic process in Thailand.

India: Kavita Krishnan on the new movement against gender violence

January 22, 2013 -- Green Left TV -- Indian socialist feminist Kavita Krishnan spoke to Green Left TV's Pip Hinman about the new movement against gender violence in India. Kavita is secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA). Filmed and edited by Pip Hinman and Peter Boyle for Green Left TV.

For more discussion on the upsurge in feminism, click HERE. For more on India, click HERE.

Thailand: Protest letter demands: 'Free Somyot'!

Somyot Prueksakasemsuk.

January 17, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following protest letter, signed by 381 organisations and individuals inside and outside Thailand, was submitted to Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and other Thai authorities on January 17. The letter was organised by the Thai Labour Campaign. Many more individual letters are due to be delivered on and before January 23, organised by Amnesty International, Australia Asia Workers Links and Clean Clothes Campaign. Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to send their own letters to the addresses below. Please cc a copy to freesomyot@gmail.com

Radical Socialist organisation (India) on anti-rape upsurge: Solidarity with the protesters in Delhi!

By the Radical Socialist organisation

December 26, 2012 -- Radical Socialist -- There have been sustained protests in Delhi against the rape of a young woman of 23 in a bus, and the callous attitude of police, administration and politicians until the protesters forced their hands. This has been taken up across India. Protests have been heard in Kolkata, in Srinagar and in many other places. This issue must be put in its proper perspective in order to understand why there has been such a massive outpouring.

It is not because this is just an incidence of unusual violence that people are angry. And it is not that this is a middle-class issue, and that is why the middle class is angry. The former detaches the particular issue from the general, while the latter is a very one-sided presentation.

In 2010, there were 22,000 recorded cases of rape in India, which means the actual number or rapes was around 130,000 (given the ratio of five unreported rapes to every reported case that is widely admitted, while one study of the Punjab for 1995 suggested it was as high as 68:1). In Delhi, the national capital, there have been more than 560 cases of recorded rapes in 2012 so far. In West Bengal, there are several thousand rape cases that have been recorded by the police yet have not started moving in the courts.

India: Power of protest in the ‘rape capital’

Protesters from the All India Progressive Women's Association in Delhi, December 22-23.

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

December 27, 2012 -- ML Update -- If the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year old paramedical student in a moving Delhi bus on the night of December 16 had shocked the entire country, the unprecedented protests that have erupted since then, most prominently in Delhi itself, have come as a most encouraging sign of a growing democratic awakening and assertion in the country.

The year 2012 could not possibly end on a more rousing note. Never before did Delhi, or for that matter any other Indian metropolis, see a protest of this magnitude and intensity on an issue of gender violence. The protests have been remarkable for the scale and range of popular participation -- mostly spontaneous but also unmistakably aided and encouraged by the spirited participation of organised progressive groups of students, women and workers -- as well as for the bold display of courage and determination in the face of water cannons, tear-gas shells, repeated raining of lathis [police batons] and, above all, the monumental apathy and arrogance of the rulers.

India: 'Defend women’s right to freedom without fear! Ensure swift and sure punishment for rape!'

Demonstration in Jammu, December 20, 2012, in protest at the rape and brutalisation of a young woman in the Delhi. Photo: Press TV.

See also "Why socialists need feminism". For more discussion of feminism, click HERE.

By Kavita Krishnan, Delhi

[This is the cover story of the forthcoming January 2013 issue of Liberation, magazine of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Kavita Krishan's permission. Kavita Krisnan is secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA).]

December 24, 2012 -- In the midst of the unspeakable horror of a rape and attempted murder in Delhi is a spark of hope that we nurture, cradling it with our hands lest it be snuffed out, helping the spark to grow into a steadier flame – and then spread into a forest fire.

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