Links 08: Editor's introduction

Class struggle in South-East Asia

In this issue of Links we continue debates begun in former numbers, as well as focussing on a new theme—the rise of the movement for democracy and socialism in South-East Asia. Our coverage of the globalisation debate continues with the second part of Samir Amin’s article on the new capitalist globalisation. The first half appeared in Links No. 7. David Bacon analyses one major feature of globalisation—immigration, particularly of Latin and Central American workers into the United States. This essay provides a cogent analysis of the function of this internal “Third World” in boosting the competitiveness of the US leg of the Triad of imperialism. Globalisation naturally permeates debates on more immediate strategic and even tactical issues. This is very clear from our feature on the Third Congress of Italy’s Party of Communist Refoundation, which took place in December last year and saw a vigorous debate on such key issues as Maastricht, tactics towards capitalist governments and the transition to socialism under contemporary conditions. We publish major excerpts from both sides at this important congress. Chou Wei Cheng challenges the contention of Jomo K. Sundaram (see Links No. 4) that the Newly Industrialising Countries (NICs) of South-East Asia can in any way be a model for socialists. Basing himself on an analysis of the roots of South Korea’s high growth, Cheng seeks to show that replication of a South Korea would be very difficult under today’s conditions. Our coverage of developments in South-East Asia focuses on the Philippines. Sonny Melencio analyses the 25-year long, often tortuous, development of the Philippine revolutionary left, locating in the Maoist equation of revolution with war the source of many problems that continue to beset the movement. The last Links launched for international readers the debate within South Africa over the course of the Government of National Unity and the attitude socialists should take towards it. Here Dale McKinley deepens his critique of the “left and the macro- economic battle” in that country. Finally, Phil Hearse takes up the cudgels against Irwin Silber’s influential book Socialism: What Went Wrong?, a work which locates the degeneration and fall of the Soviet Union in the attempts of Lenin and the Bolsheviks to “force the pace of history”. Hearse takes up the case for the defence on the main controversial issues-imperialism as capitalism’s stagnation phase, the failure of revolutions in the advanced capitalist countries and the “vanguard party”. Our apologies to all readers for the delay in producing this issue of Links, due most of all to an unforeseen increase in class struggle in Australia! We have increased the size of this issue and will make every effort to get back on schedule.