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Thailand: The farce of the Pitak Siam protests

Pitak Siam protesters.

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

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

November 24, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Karl Marx once wrote that “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce”. The tragedy was the 2006 military coup and the cold-blooded murder of unarmed Red Shirt protesters who were calling for democratic elections in 2010. The farce is the current protests by a motley collection of “dad’s army” generals, monarchist Yellow Shirt PAD [People'es Alliance for Democracy] supporters and other conservatives calling themselves Pitak Siam (Protect Thailand), whose declared aim is to "put Thai society into a deep freeze”.

Malaysian socialists condemn Israel's Gaza massacre

Released by Choo Chon Kai, International Bureau, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (Socialist Party of Malaysia)

November 21, 2012 -- Parti Sosialis Malaysia -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) condemns Israel for its latest brutal assault on the Palestinian people.

Israel has once again intensified its aggression against the Palestinian people of Gaza, by launching airstrikes since November 14, 2012. Israel has amassed troops on the border and threatened a ground invasion on the Gaza Strip. More than 100 Palestinians including at least 23 children have been killed since the new massacre called “Operation Pillar of Defense” began.

Israel escalated the assault on Gaza on the eve of its upcoming legislative election as its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is attempting to gain votes with Palestinian bodies.

The Zionist regime of Israel has attempted numerous times to destroy Hamas, the organisation that leads the struggle of the Palestinian people against oppression by Israel, since Hamas won the Palestinian election in January 2006. Such savage attempts include blockade of the Gaza Strip from 2007 until 2011, which turned Gaza into the largest concentration camp in the world imprisoning 1.5 million Palestinians living in dire conditions. The massacre by Israeli armed force in December 2008 to January 2009 killed more than 1400 people and wounded over 5300 people in a period of three weeks.

Sri Lanka to be 'tried' for genocide against Tamils

By Ron Ridenour

November 11, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- An unprecedented move by internationalists and activists for human rights and justice, one that could inspire controversy among left-oriented governments and peoples´ solidarity committees, will take place next spring.

In April 2013, a panel of international experts will be convened as"Judges of the Permanent People's Tribunal to examine reports submitted by many specialised working groups on the accusation of the crime of genocide against the government of Sri Lanka and on the accusations against various international actors who had supported and prepared the conditions for the Sri Lankan government to implement this alleged crime”, stated the Rome-based Permanent People's Tribunal (PPT) on November 3, 2012.[1]

This decision is supported organisationally by the Irish Forum for Peace in Sri Lanka (IFPSL), based in Dublin, and the International Human Rights Association (IMRV), based in Bremen.

In mid-January 2010 the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Sri Lankan held its sessions in Dublin. There were four findings:

1: That the Sri Lankan government and its military are guilty of war crimes;

2: That the Sri Lankan government and its military are guilty of crimes against humanity;

Indonesia: New governor of Jakarta raises hopes of the poor

Thousands celebrate the October 15, 2012, inauguration of Jakarta governor Joko Widodo (better known as Jokowi). Photo: Berdikari Online.

November 12, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It is an extraordinary thing for thousands of ordinary people to mob an inauguration ceremony for a new governor for Jakarta. And yet this is exactly what happened on October 15, 2012, according to the progressive Indonesian publication Berdikari Online. It reported that thousands of people -- many from Jakarta's urban poor communities -- braved the scorching heat to welcome the incoming governor Joko Widodo (better known as Jokowi) and his deputy Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.

Peter Boyle interviewed Dominggus Oktavanius, secretary-general of the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) of Indonesia about this development, which is being hotly debated in the Indonesian left. Translation by Rebecca Meckelberg.

* * *

Peter Boyle: Why is the Jokowi-Basuki team so popular? What were Jokowi's achievement as the previous mayor of Surakarta/Solo?

¿Socialismo del Siglo 21 en Pakistán?

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3089.]

El 11 de Noviembre nacerá un nuevo partido de la izquierda marxista en Pakistán. Un proceso novedoso de fusión de tres partidos de carácter marxista. Hace mucho que no se produce una experiencia así, sino lo contrario, divisiones y sectarismos.

Por Aasim Sajjad Akhtar

9 de Noviembre de 2012 -- La Aurora -- El artículo que presentamos invita a reflexionar sobre el proceso de fusión de los 3 partidos, sobre el papel que están jugando las jóvenes generaciones en esta lucha por la unidad, sobre el papel de las mujeres, sobre los retos de la izquierda revolucionaria ante la globalización económica, los nuevos auges de las religiones y sectas y muchas otras cuestiones. Sin duda hay aspectos específicamente asiática y pakistaní. Pero también hay en esas reflexiones la parte global, mundial, útil para toda la izquierda en cualquier parte del mundo, particularmente la marxista.

Tres partidos de la izquierda se unen para formar el Partido de los Trabajadores Awami.

Land grabbing: A new colonialism

A nascent oil palm plantation in southeastern Sierra Leone owed by Socfin Agriculture Company, which in March 2011 signed a 50-year lease with the government of Serra Leone. Photo by Felicity Thompson/IRIN.

By Alan Broughton

November 6, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Since the global financial crisis of 2008 and its associated food crisis that sent another 200 million people into malnutrition, there has been a massive grab for land by large corporations around the world. Worst hit has been Africa, where food security is already non-existent for many people. Governments, including the Australian government, welcome this “investment” in agriculture, some bizarrely claiming that food security will be increased.

China's 'bureaucratic capitalism'

Photo: Alex Mahan/Flickr.

November 7, 2012 -- Socialist Resistance -- Terry Conway interviews Au Loong Yu,author of the forthcoming book, China’s Rise: Strength and Fragility (Resistance Books, IIRE, Merlin Press).

* * *

Can you explain why you have developed the term bureaucratic capitalism to describe China today and what you mean by that term?

I did not invent the term. It was first used, ironically, by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the 1940s to depict the kind of capitalism that the Guomindang (Koumintang] had created under its rule.

Maurice Meisner defines bureaucratic capitalism in his book The Deng Xiaoping Era – An Inquiry into the Fate of Chinese Socialism 1978-1994 as a term to refer to the use of political power for private pecuniary gain through capitalistic or quasi-capitalist methods of economic activity. He adds that although this is not new in history, the form of this in China today is more prominent than the others.

Pakistan: Left parties unite to form Awami Workers Party; 21st century socialism in Pakistan?

By the Awami Workers Party

Islamabad, November 2, 2012 – Three leftist parties, Awami Party Pakistan, Labour Party Pakistan and Worker’s Party Pakistan, will formally merge into a new party called the Awami Workers Party on November 11 as a first step towards building an alternative to the status quo which has brought Pakistani state and society to the brink of collapse. This was stated by leaders of the three parties at a press conference held on Friday at the Islamabad Hotel.

Speaking to reporters, Workers Party leader Abid Hasan Minto said that the institutions of the state are fragmenting, and often completely at odds with one another. Democratic institutions remain weak and underdeveloped in comparison to the military establishment and civil bureaucracy. The increasingly untenable situation in Balochistan indicates a wider crisis of the federation, thus confirming that our ruling class has learnt little from the secession of east Pakistan in 1971. Finally, the state continues to maintain a confrontational and interventionist posture vis a vis neighbouring countries, which serves only to isolate Pakistan and exacerbate internal divisions.

Philippines: PLM welcomes roadmap for peace in Mindanao

Philippines government peace negotiator Marvic Leonen (bottom right) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal (bottom left) sign the framework agreement for peace at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on October 15, 2012.

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

October 15, 2012 -- Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses), a national political party of the marginalised sectors in The Philippines, welcomes the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement as a roadmap for peace in Mindanao. [The agreement was signed by the Philippines government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on October 15, 2012.] The agreement is also the first step to end the centuries-old oppression of the Moro people in Mindanao.

Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the PLM, said, “The signing of the agreement is just the first step towards peace. But to ensure that the fighting in Mindanao will really come to an end, the government has to ensure that the agreement is implemented at every step, and that democracy, based on people’s participation, is enhanced in the Bangsamoro government that will replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

India: ‘Nuclear energy is not a national issue – it is a global issue’ -- anti-nuclear movement gains momentum

More than 20,000 villagers protest at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant on September 9, 2012. Photos from Countercurrents. More photos below.

Neeraj Jain interviewed by B. Skanthakumar

October 5, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The anti-nuclear peoples’ movement in India has been gathering momentum in recent years. The courageous struggle of women, men and children of Idinthakarai village in South India, who are resisting the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, and are under siege by state security forces – with more than 56,000 of whom have been falsely charged, including 6000 for the offence of “sedition”, and 53 imprisoned – has highlighted the people’s movement against nuclear energy.

The revolutionary legacy of Bhagat Singh: the 'Che Guevara' of South Asia

September 28, 2012, marked the 105th anniversary of the birth of South Asian revolutionary Bhagat Singh. Revolutionaries across India and Pakistan marked this occasion with meetings and ceremonies. Below, Chaman Lal introduces readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to the life and work of Bhagat Singh. This article first appeared in the India-based Economic and Political Weekly to mark Singh's 100th birthday. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Chaman Lal's permission.

* * *

By Chaman Lal

Bhagat Singh’s life (September 28, 1907–March 23, 1931), work and thought were marked by an uncompromising struggle against colonialism and imperialism, together with radical opposition to capitalism, communalism and the caste system. This article is a spirited account of his life, his revolutionary activity, his ideals, his opinions and his legacy.

Philippines: PLM officially recognised as political party of the marginalised sectors

Statement by Sonny Melencio, chairperson, Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses)

September 23, 2012 -- Partido Lakas ng Masa -- The petition for certification of Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) as a national political party was approved by the Commission on Elections on September 19, 2012.  With this approval, the fight for a national political party representing the marginalised sectors has escalated to new heights.

This is a confirmation of the PLM’s three and half years of existence and its expansion as a political party with a mass constituency and grassroots chapter-formations.  PLM members belong to the basic sectors of the Filipino masses, which include workers, farmers, public transport drivers, vendors and the urban poor in the 12 administrative regions in the country. A majority of our members are women.

The PLM's growth and expansion is a validation of PLM’s unceasing struggle to dismantle the elite system of political and economic rule in the country, and replace it with full democracy under a government of the masa [masses].

This is an affirmation of the correctness of PLM’s advocacy for a socialist society to supplant the moribund and profit-oriented capitalist system today. PLM’s Plataporma ng Masa is also gaining support from the masses as a concrete and urgent platform for national survival and social justice.

Pakistan: Three left parties to unite

Statement by the Awami Party Pakistan, Labour Party Pakistan and the Workers Party Pakistan

September 19, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over the past few months, three left political parties have been holding meetings to discuss the possibility of a merger and creation of a new progressive force in Pakistan politics. Many of us have been striving for left unity for years, even decades.

The challenges that working people and progressive political forces face both within this country and in the form of imperialist intrigue cannot be meaningfully confronted without such unity. In the past, efforts to bring the left together have both succeeded and failed, and it is in the spirit of learning from such experiences that this present attempt is being made.

We do not expect to suddenly emerge as a "third" force in Pakistan politics, because we do not enjoy the kind of patronage of state and non-state powers as the right-wing parties. Yet we do believe that the people of Pakistan want to see new alternatives emerging and we expect that a merger of existing left groups will be a giant step forward in building such an alternative.

Pakistan: Baba Jan released from jail

Bab Jan leaves jail, September 17, 2012.

By Farooq Tariq

September 17, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Good news from Gilgit-Baltistan. We just got the confirmed reports that Baba Jan, federal youth secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) and chief organiser for the Progressive Youth Front, Gilgit, has been released after nearly a year in jail. His bail was accepted on September 15 in the last of the charges registered against him.

Baba Jan was warmly welcomed outside the jail gates by the supporters and members of LPP, who raised slogans like "Baba Jan, zinda bad", "Long live the struggle of the people", "Long live international solidarity.

Last week, the Pakistan Senate committee on human rights called the chief secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan to ask for an explanation of why Baba Jan was tortured and kept in jail. The chief secretary was rebuffed by Afrasayab Khatak, chair of the Senate committee, when he termed Baba Jan an "anti-state activist". Afrasayab Khatak told the chief secretary to stop telling bullshit to him. He told the top bureaucrat of Gilgit that he has heard a lot of these allegations and that he was himself at one time had been declared as being anti-state. Afrasayab Khatak asked for documentary proof of the allegations.

Within few days, Baba Jan got the bail.

Thailand's 'parallel war': Thaksin and the Red Shirts

A mobilisation by Thailand's Red Shirt democracy movement in September 2010.

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

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

September 9, 2012 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Six years after the September 19 coup d'état against the Thaksin Shinawatra government, it is possible to look back and assess the impact of the crisis on Thai politics and society.

One way of understanding the “dialectical” relationship between Thaksin Shinawatra and the Red Shirts democracy movement is to borrow the concept of a “parallel war” from Donny Gluckstein's book on the Second World War.[1] According to Gluckstein there were two parallel wars against the Axis powers. One was an imperialist war, waged by the ruling classes of Britain, the United States and Russia for their own interests, while the other war was a people's war against fascism, waged by ordinary working people, many of them socialists.

Brian Senewiratne: Deterioration of human rights in Sri Lanka

September 10, 2012 -- Green Left TV -- A 56-minute presentation by Brian Senewiratne at the Fremantle Town Hall, Western Australia, on September 1, 2012. Senewiratne is a veteran campaigner for the rights of the Ilankai (Sri Lankan) Tamils, and staunch advocate for the right of Tamil self-determination. He is a Socialist Alliance member in Queensland. The forum was organised by a new network called "Human Rights in Sri Lanka and Tamil Eelam".

There has been a surge of refugess fleeing repression in Sri Lanka, some attempting to make the entire crossing of the Indian Ocean to Australia without stopping. The genocidal violence of the government of Sri Lanka and the determination of the ruling Labor and opposition Liberal parties in Australia to "turn back the boats" go hand in glove.

Thailand: Urgent appeal -- please endorse open letter for the release of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk

[More background information is available here.]

By the Thai Labour Campaign

September 4, 2012 -- Somyot Prueksakasemsuk is to appear again on September 19 to hear the Criminal Court announce the date of the verdict of Somyot's criminal trial. At the same time,  it will await the decision of the Constitutional Court on the request forwarded by the Criminal Court of the Constitutional Court’s verdict as to whether or not the lèse majesté law is unconstitutional in response to a petition by him and his lawyers. Somyot, however, speculates that the decision of the Constitution Court will not be delivered on that day and the verdict in on his specific case will be further postponed until the constitutional verdict is reached.

This means that Somyot faces a further and potentially long period in prison.

Hence, we are again calling for your international solidarity to continue sending letters to the Thailand authorities  in order that Somyot can be released soon.  We need to ensure at least that Somyot be released on bail while he is waiting the verdict.

Act now! Please endorse this open letter to the Thai authoritiess before September 12. Please send the name of your organisation to:

Patchanee Kumnak, program coordinator, Thai Labour Campaign.

Email: patchanee@thailabour.org

The disappeared in Sri Lanka

Vigil to remember the disappeared in Sri Lanka, Melbourne, August 30, 2012. Photos by Tony Iltis.

By Lionel Bopage

A speech made on August 30, 2012, at a vigil to remember the disappeared in Sri Lanka on International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, at the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.

August 30, 2012 -- Groundviews -- I am honoured to have been asked to speak at this vigil, to remember the disappeared in Sri Lanka on this important occasion of International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

Sri Lanka is party to diverse declarations and conventions of the United Nations on human rights. Therefore, the main responsibility of protecting peoples’ rights lies with the government of the day.

Video: Class and climate catastrophe in the Philippines

August 30, 2012 -- GreenLeftTV/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring masses), reflects on the politics of class and catastrophic climate change in the wake of the 2012 Manila floods. Interview by Peter Boyle.

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