First published at CPI (ML) Liberation.
Today, we stand at a critical moment in history. Fascism is on the rise globally with the consolidation of fascist regimes in a number of countries across the world accompanied by intense resistance movements, some of which, like the struggle against the Bolsonaro regime in Brazil, have been successful. The tragic destruction caused by neoliberalism is on display and the contradictions of the international capitalist system are ever more visible. The countries that implemented neoliberal experiments in previous decades, such as Ghana, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are experiencing complete economic collapse, while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the US are continuing to aggressively push the same ‘magic pill’ of structural reforms and austerity. The international economy, which was already in decline is now almost visibly moving towards global recession.
At the same time there has been a shift towards a relatively multi-polar world with a crisis-ridden US and its allies facing an aggressively expansionist Russia and economically powerful China. A major war is being fought in Europe with the fascistic Putin regime in Russia invading and mercilessly attacking civilian areas in Ukraine, and Ukrainian forces fighting back armed with modern weapons supplied extensively by Western governments.
The global crisis of capitalism – which is also a climate crisis, has led to deep insecurity and deprivation which has been fertile ground for the rise of fascist and authoritarian forces all over the world, that have blamed inequality and insecurity, not on neoliberal policies but on minorities and immigrants. Where these forces have achieved power, the resulting regimes have been marked by organised racial/communal violence by fascist groups; attacks on dissent, civil liberties, and freedom of speech; intensified anti-feminist politics and attacks on women’s rights and LGBTQ rights; the use of fake news to whip up hatred and prejudice; as well as personality cults and centralisation of power in the figure of a single powerful leader
The global Covid19 pandemic of 2020 has brought to the forefront the horrors of the capitalist system that put profit above lives. After decades of austerity and privatisation of healthcare and other essential services, in India as in a number of other countries of the Global South more people were killed because of the lack of affordable medical services and products than by the virus itself. Meanwhile, countries with stronger public health systems have been successfully able to deal with the health crisis during the pandemic. The direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic have everywhere exposed and deepened inequalities along lines of class, gender, race and other social divisions. After vaccines were developed, the stark global inequalities in access to vaccines or ‘vaccine apartheid’ have further underlined the injustice of a market driven, corporate dominated global health regime
While the pandemic has contributed to the economic slowdown, we witness a steep rise in the global wealth of the super-rich. In 2022 the world’s ten richest men doubled their fortunes from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion —at a rate of $15,000 per second. In other words, a new billionaire is produced every 26 hours and at the same time inequality contributes to the death of one person every four seconds. Despite the exponential rise of wealth, we are witnessing a spree of layoff, job-losses, wage stagnation and axing of social security measures and labour rights across the world under the false flag of ‘profit-loss.’ The governments across the world are using public money to bailout ‘loss-making’ corporate sectors, while imposing harsh austerity measures on the working people.
Globally, inequality, hunger and unemployment continue to rise as global capitalist forces continue to push for neo-liberal and austerity measures. Countries in the Global South that were once hailed as success stories of ‘Washington Consensus' experiments are now at verge of complete collapse, with no protection for the common people from the extreme hardship and suffering. In countries like Lebanon, which implemented neoliberalism as a ‘miracle pill’ of economic prosperity, people are now forced to rob banks to withdraw their hard earned money even for their daily spending.
Though the imperialist US-led wars of the previous decade ended up in military (though often, as in the case of Iraq not economic) withdrawal of the US and the NATO forces, the imperialist core continues to expand its clout though covert and overt operations and alliances across the world. With the rise of China as a major economic powerhouse, the US led imperialist bloc is searching for new avenues to counter-China in an attempt to maintain and strengthen a unipolar world order.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the defeat of Donald Trump led to him organising an insurrection against the election results, a script that was re-enacted by fascist Bolsonaro supporters in Brazil. Though Trump was defeated, the white supremacist movement continues to gain strength in the US, and Trump’s appointment of right wing conservatives to the judiciary has led to fresh victories for the far-right, notably the overturning of the right to abortion enshrined in the Roe vs Wade ruling. While the Biden government has attempted to undo some of Trump's anti-people domestic policies, his government continues backing anti-immigrant policies and imperialist and hawkish foreign policies, including support to apartheid Israel.
Latin America and victories against US imperialism
With the recent victory of Lula da Silva in Brazil defeating the fascist Bolsonaro, the electoral defeat of the US backed interim regime in Bolivia and the return to power of MAS, and the coming to power of left-wing governments in Chile and in Colombia, Latin America is witnessing a revival of left-wing and progressive governments. The popular and people’s movements in the region played a historic role in organising and fighting against the various right-wing regimes in Latin America that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s with the support and intervention by the United States. The initiatives of regional cooperation and solidarity spearheaded by Cuba and Venezuela, like the Bolivarian Alternative for Our Americas (ALBA) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), continue to play a vital role along with popular movements in ensuring the revival of progressive movements across the region.
The US continues to consider the Latin America region as its ‘backyard.’ Inhuman embargo and sanctions imposed by the US continue against Venezuela and Cuba. Cuba, in the aftermath of the passing away of Fidel Castro, continues to assert its independence from and defiance of US imperialism. At the same time as a result of the shortage of crude oil from Russia, the US has most recently started communicating with Maduro.
During the Covid 19 pandemic, while the global pharma industry was attempting to monopolise the Covid vaccines, the public biotechnology sector in Cuba successfully led research, development and production of affordable and public Covid vaccines. This adds another feather in the hat for the Cuban medical internationalism that had already been deploying famously known ‘Cuban Doctors’ to various countries across the world, to provide primary healthcare in the poorest areas and in emergency situations.
In Venezuela, the US continues to support anti-Chavista and right-wing forces in an attempt to destabilise the Bolivarian revolution. The people’s movement and communes are playing a vital role in resisting the right-wing coup attempts and are also defying the economic hardship caused by the US imposed embargo. While the people unitedly continue to defend the Bolivarian revolution with the nationalisation of the private sector at its core, there had been attempts by the Nicolás Maduro government to initiate partial privatisation of public sectors.
In Bolivia, after the coup in 2019 against Evo Morales of the Movement For Socialism (MAS), a protracted popular and indigenous movement defeated the US backed coup regime and ensured the return of MAS. The coup was an attempt to undo the achievements of Morales government, including policies to decrease poverty rate and Constitutional provisions ensuring the participation of indigenous people in governance and decision-making. The indigenous people were earlier completely excluded from power with power being concentrated in the hands of the European-origin white, racist elite. Morales' tenure also saw an enormous surge in respect for indigenous culture and attire, including adoption of the Wiphala flag - ancestral flag of the indigenous peoples - as the second national flag.
In 2019, Chile witnessed a historic mass uprising by students and workers against the increasing inequality, right-wing violence and privatisation of public resources. This 2019 movement further consolidated the “social processes,” and in the 2021 General Elections held in November, Chileans vehemently rejected the right-wing forces and elected progressive candidate Gabriel Boric as the next President of Chile. The popular demand for changes to the current Constitution of Chile, which was inherited from Pinochet's bloody dictatorship passed the first referendum, but unfortunately failed to see through the ratification process. Boric and the left wing alliance has a historic task ahead to stop Chile from sliding back to Pinochet era barbarism.
Battered after the debacle and withdrawal from Afghanistan, the US imperialist tentacles are rising again and this time the target is - Haiti. The US and the CORE group ( Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, the European Union, and the Organization of American States) is attempting to organise a military intervention in Haiti, a country which had faced three US led interventions, with the first one in 1915.
The people of Latin America are however quite vigilant. The constitutional coup by right wing oligarchs in Peru against the democratically elected government of Pedro Castillo and the attempts by Bolsonaro supporters to sabotage people’s verdict in Brazil shows us that right-wing forces are trying to reorganise. And the threat from US imperialism has not abated.
The on-going Leftward shift in Latin America is rooted in a long legacy of anti-imperialist and socialist mobilisation. Trade unions, peasant organisations, women’s organisations, and social movements of Afro-Latin Americans and indigenous people are organising and mobilising against the oligarchies and imperialism.
Riding on anti-immigrant and economic crisis rhetoric, the far-right is on the rise in a number of countries of Europe. In Italy, the Brothers of Italy, which traces its origin to Mussolini’s Blackshirts and whose membership include neo-fascists, have managed to come to power in the recent elections. Poland, Hungary, Austria and Sweden have elected right-wing governments and far-right political parties are on the rise in Spain, France, Finland and other countries in the region.
In Russia, the Putin regime is not only embracing a far-right politics with attacks on women’s and LGBT rights supported by an increasingly powerful Russian orthodox church, suppression of dissent, and a macho cult of personality, but as its brutal actions in Ukraine reflect, is increasingly pursuing an imperialist agenda based on the notion of Greater Russia. Anti-war protests that broke out in various cities were brutally suppressed by the Putin regime.
In Ukraine the war continues with Russian invading forces being pushed back from some occupied regions, but no end to the war currently in sight. With the threat of nuclear war ever-present, there has so far been no direct intervention or imposition of a no-fly zone by NATO forces. The US is by far the biggest supplier of arms to Ukraine, followed by the UK and other Western countries. This is also the first time that the European Union as an entity has armed a non-member country. The Ukrainian government has meanwhile introduced a raft of anti-worker laws, banning of trade unions, and deregulations, which are seen as further creating conditions for foreign corporate investment. The fight in defence of self-determination naturally has the support of the people, including the left in Ukraine, and Putin’s claim to be ‘de-Nazifying’ Ukraine is clearly propaganda. At the same time it should be noted that Ukraine’s armed forces include significant fascist elements such as the Azov Battalion among others, and it seems that both sides are attracting and training foreign mercenaries affiliated with the European far-right, thus ominously strengthening the latter for the future.
The UK ruled by the Conservative Party has seen two new Prime Ministers, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, in the short period between 6 September when Boris Johnson quit and now. As the UK faces a deepening cost of living crisis intensified by ongoing policies of austerity, waves of strikes indicate growing labour militancy, even as the Labour Party has moved to the Centre-right under Keir Starmer, often seeking to match the Conservatives on anti-worker, and anti-migrant policies in particular. Meanwhile the Conservatives with their open racism and Islamophobia are increasingly occupying the traditional space of the far-right. Sunak has declared that the discredited counter terrorism policy of PREVENT is to be ‘focussed’ on ‘Islamic Terrorism’ and Boris Johnson and Priti Patel’s plan of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda is to remain in place reinforced by a plan to deport victims of modern slavery before their asylum claims are heard. Small boats on which refugees cross the English Channel are to be ruthlessly turned away, no matter how many lives are lost. Under Sunak, the links with Hindutva are likely to be strengthened with his parents-in-law, once somewhat distanced from the Modi regime, now openly embracing the RSS. Sunak is signing a trade deal with the Modi regime which has been condemned by both the British Trades Union Congress and Indian trade unions because it is likely to increase the most exploitative kinds of outsourcing and legitimise the Modi government’s new Labour Codes.
As Europe witnesses a rise in far-right movements, the Mediterranean sea is increasingly becoming the graveyard of thousands of immigrants from Africa and Asia who are seeking to flee the conflicts which are a result of the policies of the US and European imperialism. An estimated 25,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean while attempting to reach the shores of Europe since 2014.
In Turkey, Erdogan's authoritarian regime has intensified its grip on the country in recent years - dismantling secularism, suppressing dissent, controlling the media, and rewriting the constitution. In the northern Kurdish area of Syria, Erdogan’s military along with the mercenaries from Syria launched a brutal military campaign in 2019. Meanwhile, the Kurdish population in Turkey continue to face discriminatory policies and Kurdish voices for self-determination are brutally suppressed.
Morocco and Western Sahara: In Morocco, state repression and surveillance on democratic voices continues unabated. In recent years, journalists, activists, labour unions, Amazigh speaking minorities and Sahrawi people have been arrested for criticism of the Moroccan government and security services. Inspired by repressive measures deployed by apartheid Israel, the Moroccan government has created an ecosystem of repression involving deep surveillance and state violence. Morocco continues to annex the West Sahara region, which is divided by a Moroccan wall (known locally as the ‘wall of shame’), similar to the West Bank wall built by Israel.
In Egypt, the 2019 constitutional change extended President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi Presidency from 2022 to 2030. Since coming to power in 2014 after inflicting the horrific Rabaa massacre as the army chief and ousting the erstwhile Morsi government, Fattah-el-Sisi has unleashed a reign of harsh austerity and brutal repression.
Libya continues to face a severe political chaos since the 2011 US-NATO intervention and killing of President Muammar Gaddafi. Only a provisional government exists in the country, with political violence continuing unabated. Libya falls at the juncture of the Mediterranean migration route to Europe and is the home for one of largest migrant detention centres in the region. The European Union countries have created a shadow immigration system that captures them before they reach its shores, and sends them to brutal Libyan detention centres run by militias.
Central and South Africa
Today, the United States’s imperialist vehicle in Africa AFRICOM has penetrated as many as 35 countries in Africa. The US pursues this aggressive strategy in active collaboration with France and Britain. Military power and extraction go hand in hand as these countries grab Africa’s rich resources - cobalt, diamonds, platinum and uranium while attempting to counter China’s growing economic ties with African countries.
In Sudan, the people’s mobilisation in 2019 led to resignation of country’s long ruling president Omar al-Bashir whose regime had seen not only economic mismanagement, corruption and violence against democratic movements but the removal of food and fuel subsidies at the behest of the IMF leading to astronomical rises in the prices of food, medicine, and transport. In 2021, a coup by the Sudanese military overthrew the civilian government of Abdalla Hamdok leading to massive protests and a civil disobedience movement across the country against the coup.The military regime was forced to step down and reinstate Hamdok as the PM. However, economic hardship continues as the new government is removing subsidies in order to be eligible for the debt relief program of the IMF.
In the north central African country of Chad, France (the former colonial power) continues to meddle in the country’s politics, including backing of the Transitional Military Council that seized power following the battlefield death of President Idriss Deby in April 2021. This led to a series of protests against the French role and its military presence in the country. France’s neo-colonial ambition in the region is also visible with its military presence in Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR).
In South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa was recently elected President of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) with the support of the South African Communist Party SACP, replacing corrupt Jacob Zuma as the new President of South Africa. Under Cyril Ramaphosa, crony capitalism, repression and racism are likely to continue to beset the South African Government. When striking mine-workers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine were massacred by South African security forces in 2012, Ramaphosa notoriously called for even more repression.
The ruling ANC had long promised reforms to redress racial disparities in land ownership but even two decades after the end of apartheid, whites still own most of South Africa’s land following centuries of brutal colonial dispossession. Despite rising inflation and economic hardship, the Ramaphosa government is intensifying privatisation and austerity measures.
The uprising in Syria against the Bashar-al-Assad regime began as part of the Arab Spring. Assad unleashed brutal repression on the uprising, resulting in a civil war and humanitarian crisis, forcing lakhs of refugees to flee Syria. While the Russian military backed the Assad regime against the opposition, the US backed some of the opposition forces including al-Qaeda and al-Nusra, its former affiliate, and resorted to bombing Syria and seemed hell-bent on forcing a regime change. We oppose imperialist wars and US and Russian meddling in the region. What is needed is a United Nations (UN)-monitored process for a political solution to the civil war in Syria.
In Yemen, the civil war has continued since 2014 and the country’s vital infrastructures is on the verge of complete collapse. The Saudi-led military offensive in Yemen, which is backed by the US, France and Britain has led to the death of 20,000 civilians. With the Cholera outbreaks and on-going famine, the UN puts the death toll in the Yemen war at 150,000. More than 50,000 children have died due to diseases and starvation and destruction of health infrastructure.
Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and its war against the Palestinian people has continued to escalate, with the 2014 siege of Gaza taking a horrendous toll of Palestinian lives. Gaza is still blockaded by Israel with no medical supplies and continuous shortages of food and essential necessities. The Israeli military aggression in Gaza in 2021 and 2022 led to the killing of more than hundreds of Palestinians (including more than 100 children). Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, including several children are currently behind bars in Israeli prisons for defending the Palestinian struggle for freedom.
Following the November 2022 election Netanyahu has returned to power, this time in coalition with two far-right Israeli parties. As a number of commentators have noted the Israeli state must now be seen as not only an apartheid, settler-colonial state but a fascist regime. It is continuing to pursue a policy of ethnic cleansing, annexing Palestinian land and expanding settlements.
The Palestinian resistance movement appears to be reorganising and consolidating itself in preparation for a third Intifada taking on both the occupation and the security cooperation with Israel by the Mohammed Abbas led Palestinian Authority. It has been almost three decades since the signing of the Oslo accords. They have failed totally to achieve any form of justice and peace for the people. Meanwhile, a number of countries in Arab region that once stood for the Palestinian cause have betrayed it and are now engaging in rapprochement with Israel.
Despite Israel’s ceaseless attempts to discredit its critics by falsely conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is growing in strength internationally and there is now very widespread recognition that Israel, like pre-1994 South Africa, is an apartheid state which must be opposed outright by anti-imperialist and anti-racist forces. Given India’s growing strategic ties with Israel, it is important for us in India to strengthen the BDS movement.
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain remain the strongest allies of the US imperialism in the region other than Israel, with these authoritarian countries hosting US military facilities and assets used in the wars in the region and across. These bases play a vital role in the US covert operations against Iran. The Arab Spring protests in these countries calling for democracy were brutally repressed - the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) deploying troops to quell the protests. In UAE, recently many Indian and other foreign-national workers were arrested and deported for demanding better working conditions.
The death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran's morality police for alleged 'dress code' violation has sparked off a veritable rebellion in Iran. The simmering anger among Iran's women and the working people against the repressive theocratic regime and worsening conditions of life is now exploding in protests across Iran. Hundreds of people have been killed by the regime, but defying brutal repression protests continue to spread. We must extend warm and unconditional support to the fighting women of Iran to secure their full rights and freedom from theocracy and patriarchy. We also support the Iranian people's right to chart their own course free from any kind of Western intervention.
In Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh, a fallout of the US invasion of Iraq and the ‘de-Ba’athification’ process has now fallen apart after being defeated on various fronts, including Syrian and Iraqi Kurdistan areas. Evidence has now emerged that the US and Saudi Arabia had funded Daesh while Israel is among those countries which had armed it. Though the US occupation forces finally completed its withdrawal in 2021, the political situation continues to be volatile with dominant forces attempting to monopolise political power and impose their control over the political process.
The dramatic capture of state power by the Taliban has plunged Afghanistan into tremendous chaos and uncertainty amidst reports of violent crimes against civilians, oppression of women and systematic assault on human rights and liberties. Minority populations like Hazaras and Skihs face increased threat of violence. American foreign policy is squarely responsible for the current mess. From the days of facilitating the rise of the Taliban in the 1980 and 1990s through the post-9/11 invasion and occupation of Afghanistan to the current juncture of unplanned exit of American forces, it is the American design of military intervention and occupation which has brought Afghanistan to this sorry pass. The Taliban takeover also led to freezing of Afghan foreign reserves- $3.5 billion by the US. This will only exacerbate the hardship and economic crisis for the people of Afghanistan, who are already facing severe levels of poverty and hunger.
Pakistan has been passing through extremely tough and turbulent times. The country is in the midst of an unprecedented climate catastrophe caused by rich nations. Pakistan has 7253 glaciers the most outside of the arctic polar region - they’re all reportedly melting fast. Monsoon rains in the country are 2.87 times higher than the national 30-year average. It is estimated that the widespread destitution and devastation caused by the floods will cost Pakistan at least 10 billion dollars. Yet, while some countries and companies in the Global North are wreaking havoc on the planet, countries like Pakistan are bearing the brunt of others’ criminal recklessness and unfettered greed.
Currently, the country’s military is at the helm of political decision making. The attack on Imran Khan, who was deposed as the Prime Minister in April 2022 after a no-confidence motion, signals a renewed phase of political instability in Pakistan.
After a brief ceasefire with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and mediation with Pakistan, the TTP has relaunched its terrorist activities in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Meanhile, many people, especially from the minority communities, including Ahmadis continue to face the brunt of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws that have provided a potent excuse for mob lynchings and murders of religious minorities as well as secular and rational voices. Pakistan has also unleashed severe repression against the nationality movement in Balochistan, with disappearances and bombing of civilian areas. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan have also witnessed resistance by the Pashtuns against repression, disappearances, and human rights violations. Ali Wazir, a Member of the National Assembly (MNA) and co-founder of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) continues to be behind bars on treason charges for his activism demanding the rights and justice for the Pashtun community.
Kashmir remains the biggest long-standing dispute between India and Pakistan. Rather than making any serious efforts towards resolving the dispute, both Governments have only been busy perpetuating and aggravating it. In fact, India with its abrogation of Article 370 move in Kashmir has further exaggerated the conflict and attempted to push for a military resolution of the political question of Kashmir. The Kashmir dispute can achieve a permanent and peaceful resolution only through dialogue between representatives of the various sections of Kashmiri peoples as well as the Governments of India and Pakistan. Such a resolution must be in keeping with the aspirations of the Kashmiris to determine their own destiny.
In Sri Lanka, a powerful people's uprising triggered by a massive economic crisis and food and fuel scarcity forced President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to quit and flee the country. Ranil Wickremesinghe has been appointed as the president with the promise that his government will take the country out of the current economic crisis. Despite these promises, the Wickremesinghe government seems to be walking the same path, looking to the IMF for a solution and following the same heavy handed tactics, including use of the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act, which the Rajapaksas used to silence any dissenting and democratic voices. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of mass crimes committed by Sri Lankan forces on the Tamil population during the civil war continue to walk free as the successive governments refuse to take any action and discrimination against Tamil and Muslim populations continues. At the same time there is an increasing militarisation of all aspects of civilian life. Meanwhile India is playing a hegemonic big brother role and shopping for PM Modi’s corporate friends, causing further harm to Sri Lanka’s beleaguered economy and environment.
The Rajapaksa regime represented the disastrous combination of rabid Sinhala chauvinism, unbridled neoliberalism and nepotism. The recent people’s upsurge however witnessed hopeful signs of unity among all sections of the population and an increasing realisation that along with key economic demands, the issue of dignity and rights for Tamil and Muslim communities are essential for a future democratic Sri Lanka.
In Bangladesh, democracy is in a crisis, with the ruling party mounting a neoliberal offensive, subverting democratic institutions, muzzling opposition parties and curtailing democratic rights in the name of ‘fighting corruption’. In this vitiated climate, fundamentalist forces are also gaining ground and waging war on secular, progressive, and rationalist voices.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Bangladesh in their resistance to various environmentally destructive Indian projects and in their struggle for democracy and against fundamentalism and neoliberalism. For domestic political benefit, the BJP keeps making wild allegations about alleged illegal immigration or infiltration from Bangladesh and the BSF has been granted extended powers over fifty kilometres into the Indian territory from the Indo-Bangla border. Bangladeshis and Rohingyas are used as dog whistles against India's own Muslim population even as discriminatory amendment has been made to India's citizenship law ostensibly to protect non-Muslim minorities within Bangladesh from persecution and ill treatment. Such vitriolic narrative and discriminatory measures have adverse implications for bilateral ties based on mutual trust and accommodation.
In Nepal, the recent parliamentary elections produced a fractured mandate with the Nepali Congress emerging as the largest party in terms of seats and the CPN(UML) as the largest party in terms of vote share. After talks broke down over power-sharing between pre-poll allies Nepali Congress and CPN(Maoist), the latter stitched a post-poll alliance with CPN(UML). However, between them, the two parties did not have enough numbers to form government and they had to rope in five more parties including a newly formed outfit called the Rashtriya Swatantra Party and the old conservative pro-monarchy party called the Rashtriya Prajatantra Party and three independent MPs. CPN(Maoist) leader Prachanda has become the new Prime Minister even though his party finished a distant third after the Nepali Congress and UML. This post-poll coalition is pretty disparate and its stability is naturally quite uncertain.
The communist movement had played the leading role in bringing about the abolition of the 240-year-old monarchy. The Maoists and the UML had emerged as the leading political parties in post-monarchy federal democratic Nepal giving Nepal's politics a clear leftward thrust. At one point, the two leading communist parties even merged to form a single communist party called Nepal Communist Party. But as the parties split while being in power, the old Nepali Congress regained political initiative and took advantage of the situation and came to power. More recently, the UML suffered another split with the rise of a new Communist party called Unified Socialist Party. The split and realignment in the Left camp has not only enabled the Nepali Congress to revive but also created space for new parties like the Rashtriya Swatantra Party. While the abolition of monarchy has become a settled fact, debate continues over the secular and federal character of republican Nepal. We wish the communist movement of Nepal continued success in consolidating democracy and leading the forward march of this Himalayan nation.
China and South East Asia
In Myanmar, the military coup in February 2021 deposed the civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi leading to massive protests across the country. The military junta claimed that the coup was a response to Suu Kyi government’s closeness to China and the junta wanted to strengthen ties with the United State. The Myanmar military forces imposed complete internet and media blackout and unleashed brutal repression against the anti-coup protesters killing more than 2000 people. In response to violent repression, the protests in Myanmar have taken the shape of an armed resistance movement under the banner of People's Defense Force with various existing armed liberation movements allying with PDF against the military junta.
The long-standing racial discrimination, denial of citizenship, and violence against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar had reached genocidal proportions in 2017. A large number of Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh, where they live in deplorable conditions in camps. Some also fled to India, and under the Modi regime they now face assault, harassment and deportation. Those Rohingya refugees already deported to Myanmar by the Indian government face immense danger to their lives.
India continues to refuse to sign the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol: India must do so at the earliest and treat all refugees, including Rohingya refugees, in keeping with international protocol and norms. There are also underlying geopolitical and economic factors underpinning the eviction of Rohingyas from the Rakhine region: including oil exploration projects, oil pipelines and other infrastructure projects like roads and ports, in which Chinese and Indian corporations have interests. We demand that the Indian Government ensure safety, dignity and refugee status for Rohingya refugees in India, and use all diplomatic initiatives to ensure full citizenship and safe repatriation of the Rohingya people returning to Myanmar.
For the Communist Party of China which recently observed its centenary and concluded its 20th Party Congress, socialism is increasingly being defined primarily in terms of communist party leadership over the state, which in turn is reduced increasingly to the centrality of the ‘core’ leader, and capitalism predominating over aspects of socialism in the economy. This has been accompanied by increasingly repressive majoritarian Han nationalist approaches to religious and cultural diversity. In short, the Chinese claim of building socialism with Chinese characteristics is increasingly becoming a euphemism for what should be described as capitalism with Chinese characteristics.
Meanwhile inequality continues to grow and oppressive working conditions in factories producing for the global market are increasingly visible. At the same time employment is increasingly shifting away from manufacturing and towards informal and precarious urban service-sector jobs. China is leading the way globally on surveillance technologies which not only monitor multiple forms of dissent and nonconformity but can lock those identified out of the basic means of survival. While it initially appeared to address Covid-19 much more effectively than many Western countries with health services depleted by neoliberalism, the pandemic then became a pretext for increasingly repressive lockdowns and targeting of dissidents generating extensive protests. The violent majoritarian oppression of the Muslim Uyghur minority has escalated further.
China is playing an increasing economic and geopolitical role internationally. While in many African countries it was initially viewed as an alternative source of investment to the imperialist West, increasingly its use of exclusively Chinese skilled workers and management and their racism towards Africans has come to light, as well as its use of debt to create dependency. China has spent a trillion dollars on its Belt and Road/New Silk Road initiative which seeks to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and sea trade networks and increase Chinese influence and dependency on China.
The result of the presidential elections in the Philippines in May 2022 was an unimaginable tragedy for many who survived the decade long brutal dictatorship regime of Ferdinand Marcos (Marcos Sr). Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr or simply known as Marcos Jr, son of Marcos Sr managed to win the elections by securing nearly 30 million votes in his favour. He received backing from the outgoing authoritarian regime of Rodrigo Duterte through his daughter Sara Duterte who has been elected as the vice president. The United States-backed Marcos Sr’s regime from 1965 to 1986 (with martial law in place from 1972 until 1981) had been one of the most brutal periods in the history of the Philippines. According to observers, for three decades the family have been taking advantage of the information vacuums left by uncritical history textbooks about the martial law period. Marcos Jr’s campaign was focused on historical negation of the dictatorship crimes and whitewashing his fathers’ brutal regime. The Philippines under the outgoing Duterte regime has already been witnessing rampant state sponsored attacks on democratic voices, red-tagging (term of witch-hunt against communists) and widespread extrajudicial killings under the name of ‘war on drugs’ campaign. The emergence of the Marcos-Duterte regime in the Philippines now threatens to push the country back to dictatorship.
In February 2019, Thailand witnessed massive student-initiated pro-democracy protests demanding immediate release of the pro-democracy movement activists and all political prisoners, ending the military-dominated rule and for free and fair elections for a democratic government, abolishing feudal powers and stop the use of repressive laws including the lese-majeste laws to silence dissent and initiation of democratic constitutional change. The movement was met with brutal crackdown and arrest of several leading members of the protest movement.
In Indonesia, President Joko Widodo’s regime is attempting to tighten his grip around the country's political landscape by dismantling existing labour laws and bringing in new criminal codes that include penalisation in defamation against the president. The criminal codes thats puts ban on premarital sex, living together outside of marriage, and abortion led to massive protests by students in 2019. Widodo had also been attempting to bring an Omnibus Labour Law proposal to change the existing labour laws in the country. A series of protests were organised across Indonesia against the attempts by the government to trample workers’ rights and guarantee corporate profits.
Communism / Marxism–Leninism symbols and identification continue to be banned in Indonesia. Fifty-three years ago, in 1965-66, Indonesia witnessed the massacre of more than 10 lakh people in a brutal purge of communists and communist sympathisers by the Suharto regime. Indonesia’s communist party, then the third largest in the world, was destroyed and crushed. Recently declassified files of the US embassy in Jakarta prove that the US Government and CIA not only had detailed knowledge of the massacre while it was ongoing but approved of it.
In the West Papua region of Indonesia, that is demanding self-determination, the Indonesian military is responsible for mass killings and extrajudicial murders. The 2019 protest in Indonesia also called for an end to militarisation in West Papua and release of all Papuan political prisoners.
The American administration, using racist propaganda to demonise North Korea, is justifying its economic war on and military encirclement of North Korea. The 2018 North and South Korea peace process has come to a halt, with the US restarting its military exercise in the region aimed against North Korea. The recent escalation in the region marks a major threat to global peace. The peace process between the two countries needs to be reestablished and the massive US military infrastructure deployed in the region must be withdrawn to ensure stability in the Korean peninsula. In Japan, people on the island of Okinawa have been continuously demanding removal of US military personnel and bases from the country. In February 2019, a referendum for the citizens of Okinawa, over 70% of voters - about 434,000 people - voted against the construction of the new Henoko base.
In Australia, a Labour party government was formed in the elections held May 2022 with mammoth challenges ahead. The decade-long centre-right coalition government had led to worsening of rights of workers and indigenous population. The previous coalition government had been aggressively pushing its pro-big corporate and anti-immigrant policies. Australia continues to detain refugees in inhuman detention camps based in Nauru and Manus Island (handed over to Papua New Guinea) centres. Accords to reports, more than 20 refugees have committed suicides in these camps till 2021.
Meanwhile, indigenous population of Queensland in Australia continue to protest against Gautam Adani’s Carmichael coal mine, which has become operational. The mine is a threat to the local habitat, including the Great Barrier Reef and the company has been accused of water table depletion around the mine area.
BRICS never lived up to its potential to promote multipolarity either against unilateral political domination by the US or the economic stranglehold of IMF-World Bank-WTO. Even within BRICS there is very little development of economic cooperation among the member countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). India is also a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), but its role has remained largely low-key and it has made no effort to use this to promote better ties with China or other Asian countries. By contrast India has stepped up its military relation with the United States forming Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), which also comprises Japan and Australia. This Quad dialogue is just another name for the US military alliance in the region aimed at countering China in the "Indo-Pacific" region. India’s involvement is against the sovereign interests of the country and the alliance is an attempt by the US to deploy its military personnel and assets in India to target China.
The growing identification of Indian foreign policy with the strategic priorities of the United States is accompanied by India's worsening relations and growing isolation with almost all its neighbours resulting in a major setback to the prospects of regional cooperation and friendly ties with neighbours. India's regional hegemonic attitude, the growing push for promotion of Indian corporate interests in the region and the attempt to define Indian nationalism in Hindu supremacist terms create a counter-productive environment deepening mistrust and tension in South Asia. The recent past has also witnessed border clashes between China and India with reports of Chinese incursion into areas hitherto under Indian control. The Modi government has refused to come clear with the actual state of affairs in the border region, stepping up anti-China rhetoric for domestic political calculations even as India's imports from China reached a record high in 2022 and trade deficit surged beyond 100 billion dollars.
As revolutionary communists, we cherish shared global peace and planetary survival. To this end, we shall continue to fight for reversal of policies of neo-colonial domination, imperialist intervention, military aggression and environmental degradation and climate crisis, while insisting on a suitable reorientation of Indian foreign policy and India's global role. We remain committed to developing closer ties with communist parties as well as progressive movements and forces all over the world and strengthening international solidarity against war and for freedom and human rights, against fascism, racism and Islamophobia. We must strengthen our solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and develop closer cooperation and coordination with movements resisting fascism and predatory global capital. In South Asia we must aim to achieve closer cooperation among progressive forces – for peace and democracy, against war, terrorism, religious extremism, and the politics of hate and bigotry.