Asian Marxist Review, Autumn 2004 - Editor's note

As the continuing Iraqi resistance defies the might of US imperialism, cracks are beginning to widen between the various imperialist powers. Once again it is being proved in the alleys of Baghdad, Falluja and other cities of Iraq, that no power on earth, however strong it might be, can crush the masses in revolt. The ghost of Vietnam is once again haunting America.

As the continuing Iraqi resistance defies the might of US imperialism, cracks are beginning to widen between the various imperialist powers. Once again it is being proved in the alleys of Baghdad, Falluja and other cities of Iraq, that no power on earth, however strong it might be, can crush the masses in revolt. The ghost of Vietnam is once again haunting America. The rhetoric and shallow bravado of US politicians cannot conceal the inner worries, desperation and frustrations of the American ruling class. The courage and determination of the Iraqi masses is beginning to take its toll on the mightiest power on earth.

The aggravating instability in the Middle East, the seemingly endless conflagration in Palestine and Israel, the unstable regime of the Saudi reactionary monarchs, and the raging terror in the whole region are no solace for the imperialists. The more they try to resolve things through might and diplomacy the more they get distorted, messy and chaotic.

In Iran the mullahs are now feeling the heat of the simmering lava that has been accumulating for decades under the relentless oppression of the obscurantist clergy. In spite of the facade of rhetoric the mullahs and the imperialists are equally terrified at the prospects of a revolutionary explosion in Iran.

Stability in Afghanistan has proved to be a mere pipe dream. The imperialist invasion has only led to the further devastation and destruction of this tragic country. In a primitive violent and fragmented Afghanistan all this talk of democracy and stability is so farcical that even the authors of this imperialist doctrine don’t really believe in it. The sale of women, drugs and weapons smuggling are still the basis of its battered economy. Karazai’s helicopter survived yet another missile attack in Gardez and he rushed back to his rat hole in Kabul guarded by imperialist mercenaries. Osama bin Ladin and Mullah Omar are at large and the Taliban are far from defeated. The brutalities of the pre-medieval warlords have intensified; violence, bloodshed and destitution stalk the land.

The massacre of innocent children in Beslan, Russia shows the virulent nature of capitalist revival. Terrorism is a symptom of a diseased society. It is the distilled essence of a decaying system. The actions of the Russian Special Forces expose their demoralisation, brutality and professional incompetence. None of the ex-Soviet states is stable nor do they have any semblance of a genuine democratic set up.

A civil war is raging in Pakistan’s North West frontier. The Pakistani army has been forced into a mess it can’t solve. Paradoxically the so-called war against Islamic insurgents is creating fissures within the army itself. Armed forces personnel are under arrest for attempting to assassinate Musharraf. He might have survived at least three close hits, but his safety is far from secure. In spite of the accumulation of enormous powers Musharraf is a besieged person whose life is facing continuous threats and few would envy him. Pakistan lurches from one crisis to another and its future is bleaker than ever before. The economy is in shambles, the state in disarray and society in turmoil and anarchy.

The change of regime in India is in reality no change at all. The oligarchy of finance capital has denied the will of the masses by imposing their stooge as prime minister. The new Congress led government is continuing the policy of “market reforms”; hence there is no respite in the plight of teeming millions who dared to challenge capitalism through the ballet box.

Their quest for change has been rejected. But they cannot wait for long. If their electoral expression has been ignored then they will have no choice but to move on to the path of more militant forms of struggle. Vigorous protests, demonstrations, strikes, general strikes and revolutionary upheavals loom large on India’s horizon.

The misery being inflicted by capitalist exploitation, violence and natural disasters upon the masses of Bangladesh is a vicious cycle that has engulfed the country in spite of its national independence more than three decades ago. The new independent state has failed to put and end to the poverty and deprivation of Bengal.

The Asian tigers have yet to recover from the shock of the 1997 crash. Perhaps they will never do so, under the rule of capital. In spite of the tight controls by the bureaucracy, the capitalist intrusion into China has given rise to contradictions that have now started to explode. It has brought with it corruption, exploitation, prostitution and all the other ills inherent to capitalism. The inequalities are perhaps the worst in the world under the rule of the so-called Communist Party. This uneven and combined development has brought China to the brink of unprecedented convulsions, turmoil and mass upsurge.

Across Asia instability has worsened. Terrorism rocks one country after another. State oppression is becoming more and more brutal and vicious. Poverty, misery, disease and unemployment are growing at a rapid pace. The whole continent has become a quagmire of human degradation — the masses are yearning for a way out. There is no way forward under capitalism. Sooner rather than later a mass movement can erupt in any country of Asia. A revolutionary leadership and the socialist character of such a movement can transform it into a red blizzard that will sweep across the planet smashing the shackles of capitalist strangulation. The pain is so intense, the misery so agonising and the exploitation so tormenting that life itself has become an intolerable suffering for billions of Asians. This monstrosity can’t go on forever. The only way out of this hell is on the road to a socialist revolution. If there is a socialist victory in just one country then the oppressed billions will storm the heavens and move to take their destiny into their own hands. This will begin the process of building a communist future, the only guarantee for the emancipation of the human race.

October 2004