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No to sexual assault! Socialist Alliance statement in solidarity with the international movement against violence against women

Mass protest against violence against women, India Gate, Delhi, December 23, 2012. Photo by Rakesh Kumar Meena.

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

January 5, 2013 -- The Socialist Alliance (Australia) stands in solidarity with the growing movement in India fighting violence against women. Progressive forces in that country have braved police brutality and repression, mobilising massive turnouts at protests against gender violence.

The wave of protests was sparked by the horrific rape on December 15, and the consequent death, of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi.

Indian activists report that a significant new movement against sexual violence has risen up and is putting serious pressure on the government to eliminate the institutionalised gender bias in laws and investigation mechanisms. Young and old people, women and men, who have never before participated in public protests are taking to the streets to demand gender justice.

United States: An ascending trajectory? Ten of the most important social conflicts in 2012

Striking Chicago teachers rally, October 2012.

By Dan La Botz

December 31, 2012 -- New Politics -- The most important social conflict in the United States in 2012—the Chicago Teachers Union strike—suggests that the rising trajectory of social struggle in the United States that began at the beginning of 2011 may be continuing. While the United States has a much lower level of class struggle and social struggle than virtually any other industrial nation—few US workers are unionised (only 11.8%) and unionised workers engage in few strikes and those involve a very small numbers of workers—still, the economic crisis and the demand for austerity by both major political parties, Republican and Democrat, have led to increased economic and political activity and resistance by trade unions, particularly in the public sector.[1]

Self-guided tours of revolutionary history: Fourth Congress of the Communist International (1922)

Toward the United Front, Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922
Edited and translated by John Riddell
Brill, 2011 (hard back), 1310 pages, 200 euros
Haymarket Books, 2012 (paper back) US$55

In Australia, Toward the United Front is also be available from Resistance Books

To recommend the Brill hardcover edition to your favourite library, go to Brill Academic Publishers and click on “recommend”.

For more on the Communist International, click HERE; for more study guides of socialist history and theory, click HERE.

By John Riddell

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.

Why socialists need feminism

Audio of the talk, "Marxism and Women's Liberation", presented by US International Socialist Organization leader Sharon Smith at Socialism 2012, on June 28, 2012.

See "Left debate: Organising women against sexist violence". For more discussion of feminism, click HERE.

By Rosa Louverture

Left debate: Organising women against sexist violence

Socialist Alliance member Margarita Windisch addresses the 2012 Melbourne Reclaim the Night rally. Transcript HERE.

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

December 9, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- An article that appeared on the website of the magazine of the Socialist Alternative organisation on November 22, 2012, has sparked an interesting debate across the Australian left on merits of socialists organising against violence against women.

Grassroots interviews from Venezuela: Developing the power of the community

Ana Marin talks about her revolutionary activity.

October 21, 2012 -- The British Revolutionary Communist Group, publishers of the newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, sent a delegation to Venezuela to cover the October 7, 2012, presidential election. The following interviews, published at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission, were conducted in the lead-up and the aftermath of the poll. More interviews and articles can be found at the delegation's website. The delegation collaborated with the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network brigade that was visiting Venezuela at the same time.

* * *

Ana Marin interviewed by Sam McGill

La campaña contra Wikileaks debilita las campañas contra violaciones

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3000.]

Por Ash Pemberton, traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Germán Leyens

29-08-2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- La odisea personal del jefe de WikiLeaks Julian Assange se ha utilizado para eclipsar el innovador periodismo de WikiLeaks que sacó a la luz los secretos de gobiernos y corporaciones de todo el mundo.

Unos cables diplomáticos australianos obtenidos por el Sydney Morning Herald en diciembre revelaron: “WikiLeaks es objetivo de una investigación criminal ‘sin precedentes’ por parte del gobierno de EE.UU.” A pesar de esto, el gobierno australiano sigue argumentando públicamente que no tiene conocimiento de una campaña estadounidense contra Assange –editor y fundador del sitio– e incluso argumentó que era muy improbable.

No es sorprendente que el mayor incriminado por las publicaciones de WikiLeaks –el gobierno de EE.UU.– se proponga estatuir un ejemplo con los involucrados. Uno de los miles de correos electrónicos hackeados de la firma de espionaje privada Stratfor publicados por WikiLeaks en febrero dice que EE.UU. tiene una acusación en firme contra Assange.

Anti-Wikileaks crusade undermines anti-rape campaigns; George Galloway wrong on rape

By Ash Pemberton

August 24, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- The personal saga of Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange has been used to overshadow the ground-breaking journalism of Wikileaks in exposing the secrets of governments and corporations around the world.

Australian diplomatic cables obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald in December revealed, “WikiLeaks is the target of an 'unprecedented' US government criminal investigation.” Despite this, the Australian government continues to argue publicly that it has no knowledge of a US campaign against Assange — the site's editor in chief and founder — and even argued it was highly unlikely.

It is unsurprising that the main party incriminated by Wikileaks' releases — the United States government — is out to make an example of those involved. One of thousands of hacked emails from private spy firm Stratfor released by Wikileaks in February said the US had a sealed indictment against Assange.

Assange was granted political asylum by Ecuador on August 16 after staying in Ecuador's British embassy since June to avoid extradition to Sweden. He remains in the embassy in a stand-off with British police who have backed down on their threat to raid the embassy.

Adam Hanieh on Egypt: The Muslim Brotherhood, the military and the continuing revolution

Thousands of Egyptian protesters cross the Kasr al-Nile bridge to attend a rally in Cairo on January 27, 2012, to demand democratic change, a year after the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

[For more analysis and discussion on Egypt, click HERE.]

By Adam Hanieh

August 12, 2012 -- Socialist Resistance -- Eighteen months after mass protests and strikes ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak from power, the basic aspirations that drove Egypt’s uprising remain largely unfulfilled. The vast majority of the population has seen little substantive improvement in living conditions. Political decision making continues to be dominated by a military junta closely tied to the United States.

Thomas Sankara: Revolution and the emancipation of women

"The revolution and women’s liberation go together. We do not talk of women’s emancipation as an act of charity or out of a surge of human compassion. It is a basic necessity for the revolution to triumph." -- Thomas Sankara

By Amber Murrey

August 2, 2012 -- Pambazuka News -- The life and work of Thomas Sankara can be taken as a reminder of both the power and potential for human agency to enact transformation. I would like to situate my ideas within the geopolitical context of the popular uprisings that continue to take place around the world as people organise against neoliberal policies of advanced capitalism and their resultant gross inequalities in wealth, health and education.

Accompanying the intensifying neoliberal crises -- manifested through the financial crisis, food security crisis, and struggles over land reform and landed property -- is an ever expanding militarisation. The US military now has more bases and more personnel stations in more countries than ever in its history. The US Africa Command is one component of the US military’s current phase of expansion, including millions of dollars of military equipment, arms and training in African nations.

Mauritius: Victory in struggle for decriminalisation of abortion

By Lindsey Collen

July 20, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Victories, even partial, are rare in these times. The revolutionary socialist party LALIT ("Lalit" means "struggle" in Kreol) would like to share with you an important development in the class struggle and struggle for women’s emancipation in Mauritius. LALIT is the only political party in Mauritius that has, over the decades, campaigned for abortion decriminalisation, and finally last month parliament passed a new abortion law to replace the 1838 total ban on any abortion. Everyone in the country knows that this is a LALIT struggle, as our stand on abortion decriminalisation had often been used “against” us. So, it is like getting accumulated “support”.

This victory comes less than a year after another victory accredited to LALIT: the introduction into schools of the mother tongues, Kreol and Bhojpuri, for the very first time in 2012.

Royal Society’s tunnel vision on population and poverty

People and the Planet
Royal Society Science Policy Centre Report
April 2012

Review by Ian Angus

May 23, 2012 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the Ian Angus' permission -- The radical ecologist Murray Bookchin once compared populationism to a phoenix, the mythical bird that periodically burns up and is reborn from its own ashes. No matter how often the “too many people” argument is refuted, it always returns, making the same claim that people are breeding too much and consuming too much, devouring the Earth like a plague of locusts.[1]

Afghanistan: Amnesty International lauds war and occupation as 'progress' for women


The bitter reality for Afghan women: an address by Malalai Joya.

By Tim Anderson

May 20, 2012 -- Stop the War Coalition, Sydney -- Amnesty International has muddied the waters over the occupation of Afghanistan with its latest campaign urging NATO to “keep the progress going” on women’s rights. The campaign was aimed at a NATO summit in Chicago and drew on one of the few remaining arguments for continued military occupation of that war-ravaged country.

The idea that a military occupation would somehow help Afghan women was promoted by Laura Bush, wife of the former US president who ordered the October 2001 invasion. It is an argument that been rejected by the Afghan women’s group, Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) and by activist and former Afghan MP Malalai Joya (see video above). They say that the NATO occupation has simply added a third enemy, on top of the Taliban and the NATO-backed warlords.

Pakistan: Stop the kidnapping, forced religious conversion and forced 'marriage' of women!

April 20, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On April 17, the Sindh Progressive Committee (SPC), which brings togetther activists from the Labour Party Pakistan, Workers Party, Communist Party, Jeay Sindh Mahaz, National Party, Awami Party and Watan Dost Inquilaabi Party, held a rally outside the Hyderabad Press Club (photo above by Irfan Ali/Express Tribune) protesting against the kidnapping, forced conversion and forced marriage of young Hindu women.

The rally was violently attacked by thugs belonging to the Sunni Tehreek party. Police intervened on the side the aggressors and detained 22 SPC activists who have since been released but are still facing charges being pressed by the Sunni Tehreek.

Pakistani mainstream press reports: http://tribune.com.pk/story/366193/forced-conversions-as-leftists-protest-st-takes-offence/

http://dawn.com/2012/04/18/escalation-of-clash-between-rallies-averted

Below is a statement from Pakistani progressive organisations.

Malalai Joya: Foreign troops must leave Afghanistan

Malalai Joya.

March 25, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Malalai Joya, a former MP and one of Afghanistan’s best-known democratic leaders, recently survived the sixth attempt on her life. Taliban gunmen attacked her office at 3 am on March 10, wounding two of her guards. In an exclusive interview, she told Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal’s Pip Hinman that “such terrorist acts will never stop my fight for freedom, democracy and justice”.

Joya will visit Australia in April to speak at the Marxism 2012 conference in Melbourne and a Stop the War Coalition public meeting in Sydney on April 11.

* * *

Malaysian socialists on IWD: For women's liberation, equality and freedom

By Nazreen Nizam, PSM women's desk coordinator

March 8, 2012 -- In conjunction with International Women’s Day 2012, Parti Sosialis Malaysia [PSM, the Socialist Party of Malaysia] would like to commemorate women’s pursuit of liberation, real justice, equality and freedom.

This year is the 101st year we are celebrating International Women’s Day. Thanks to our leftist and progressive comrades who proposed such an idea, back in 1910. The United Nations theme for the Women’s Day celebration this year is "Empower rural women – End hunger and poverty’.

While it is true that majority of our rural women, especially in East Malaysia, are living in poverty, the urban women too are deeply distressed with their low income jobs, lack of social security, discrimination at the workplace and home, long work hours, lack of child-care facilities at the workplace, and the list could go on. The women are further burdened with the government’s neoliberal policies which led to privatisation of all basic needs that keeps the cost of living high. There are still many girls and women out there, both in rural and urban areas, who are illiterate.

No doubt, there has been much remarkable progress among Malaysian women in self-advancement and capitalism did contribute to that, but as a working class, we are still the oppressed class.

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