Bangladesh

Massive student protests have been ongoing in Dhaka, Bangladesh related to road safety demands. On 29 July, two buses, with unlicensed drivers, crossed a footpath and collided, killing two students and injuring dozens of people. Since then, various neighbourhoods in Dhaka and neighbouring highways to other towns, such as Tangail and Narayanganj, have seen protests by students demanding justice and safer roads.

Forty-four years ago on 16 and 17 December 1971, Dacca fell and the Pakistani army surrendered East Pakistan in a humiliating defeat. Lieutenant-General A. A. K Niazi, Martial Law Administrator of East Pakistan, surrendered to Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, Joint Commander of the Bangladesh-India Allied Forces.

Since 21st September 2013 up to 200,000 Bangladeshi garment workers have been demonstrating and taking strike action to demand an increase in the minimum wage from $38 to $100. As the protests entered their fourth day the militant mood of the workers was apparent and the weakness of the politicians, the bosses and the trade union leaders in the face of a mass workers’ movement is being revealed.

Following the collapse of the nine-storey Rana Plaza at Savar near Dhaka last week, the death toll of workers killed in the disaster had reached 501 by the morning of Friday 3rd May. Many people fear that the death toll will rise above 1000. While a large number of workers are still missing and feared dead, their relatives have taken to the streets to protest against the brutality of the Capitalist economic system that caused this tragedy. This latest incident took place just five months after the Ashulia tragedy near Dhaka in which more than 110 garment workers were burnt to death in a Tazreen Fashions factory after a fire broke out. No-one has yet been held responsible, let

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Ever since a recently established war crimes tribunal came to the verdict of a life sentence against the Jamaat-a-Islami chief, Abdul Qadir Mullah, on 5th of February for crimes against humanity during the civil war in 1971, Bangladesh has been embroiled in clashes and unrest in which several people have been killed and wounded.

With two-thirds of its work force in the rural sector, Bangladesh’s agriculture contributes just 19 percent to its GDP. Sixty-six percent of exports are from the garment industry that makes it the third largest clothes exporting country in the world. It is perhaps the cheapest and most profitable place for garment manufacturers. However, the conditions of the workers, mainly women, are atrocious.

Forty years ago last month [16 December 1971] Dhaka fell. The laying down of arms by the Pakistan Army to the Indian Lieutenant-General Jagjit Singh Aurora was the biggest military surrender in post-Second World War history. It was in the period when a revolutionary storm swept across the planet in the years 1967-74.

The episode of the signing of the instrument of surrender on 16 December 1971, at Paltan Maidan, Dacca and the subsequent breakup of Pakistan has been the subjection of controversial historical interpretations for the last thirty-nine years. A vast majority of this analysis reflects the interests of the different wings of the ruling classes of the south Asian subcontinent. Hence the official historians have grossly distorted the events and the real aspirations of the oppressed masses during the social blizzard that swept across the region between 1968 and 1972.

Bangladesh has attracted investment from multinational corporations, particularly in the textile industry, because of its supply of very cheap labour. Now, however, this new working class is starting to flex its muscles and a wave of militant strikes has spread across the country. The conditions have been created where the left could unite and struggle for the overthrow of capitalism.

In breaking away from Pakistan, the founders of Bangladesh in 1971 proceeded top set up a “Bengali” state, but this ignored the fact that there were other peoples also living within the borders of the country. The tribes of the Chittagong Hill Tracts are an example of this. They have suffered terribly with tens of thousands being killed over the years, fighting back against national oppression.


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One of the issues confronting the G20, and one the official communiqué is likely to duck, is the threat of climate change making parts of the globe uninhabitable. Nowhere is the peril more present and manifest than Bangladesh, home to more than 130 million people. The G20 leaders may smile for the cameras as their conflab closes, but the working people of Bangladesh are at the sharp end of capitalism’s failure to deal with threat of climate change.

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Faced with mutiny at the Bangladesh Rifles Pilkhana barracks, and its spreading to many other areas, the government of Bangladesh, terrified at the consequences of such a sudden eruption of anger of the troops, initially offered to accept their demands, confirming its own weakness. Now the manhunt for the rebels is on, but the open challenge to their superior officers revealed by the ranks is an indication of how weak the state is and underlines the enormous revolutionary potential within society.

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The price of rice in Bangladesh has a correlation with poverty, economic and political stability. In 2000, a wage labourer could buy 6-7 kg of rice with his daily income (about US$0.80). Now, less than half of that can be bought, even though the income has risen over time. Rising food prices could derail all political predictions and spell disaster for the country in 2008.

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On January 30, 2008 two workers in World Dresses Ltd, Mirpur, Dhaka, (Bangladesh) were attacked and beaten by management staff at the end of an evening shift. One died, the other was hospitalised with broken limbs. Fearing unrest management closed the factory. When knowledge of the attack reached the company's workers, hundreds demonstrated outside the factory.

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What started as an argument and scuffle between a group of army officers and students watching a football match has ended up as a widespread movement of the youth in Bangladesh, followed by curfew and sever repression, which has only served to spread the movement throughout the whole country.

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On the surface, the conflict that has erupted in Bangladesh is over the make-up of the caretaker government that according to the constitution is supposed to run the country in the three months up to a general election. The conflict apparently is between two bourgeois fronts. But underlying this political crisis is the extreme poverty of the masses who have reached the limits of human endurance.

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Peace has broken down completely in the country of Muhammad Younis, the Nobel Peace prize-winner for the year 2006. The New Year started in Bangladesh with riots, strikes, political unrest, turmoil, confusion and disorder. After weeks of street violence, which has taken 40 lives, the President of Bangladesh, Iajuddin Ahmed, has been forced to step down from his post appointing Fakhruddin as the head of a state in total disarray.

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The Bangladeshi government is pushing through measures that would give the World Bank and IMF immunity in its operations within the country. These measures show graphically the real relationship between the underdeveloped countries and their imperialist masters.

A countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal (Generel Strike) called by the left to protest against the government's certain wrongdoing and US war preparation against Iraq passed off by and large peacefully today Monday, March 10, in Bangladesh.


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Land reform is a well-discussed issue in Bangladesh, yet a solution to the problem has proved elusive. Over the last few hundred years the toiling masses have repeatedly tried to build movements to overthrow the landowners, which for lack of political ideology and organisation have ended mostly in defeat. The rare instances of success have led merely to a reconstitution of the rural tyranny. By the Bangladeshi Trotskyist organisation, Democratic Workers Party, (Gonotantrik Mazdur Party).

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An analysis of the historical development of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, sent to us by the Bangladeshi Trotskyist organisation, Democratic Workers Party (Gonotantrik Mazdur Party).

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The minority peoples of Bangladesh have been systematically evicted from their land or displaced by settlers. They face state repression, social discrimination and harassment on a daily basis. The latest government strategy to throw ethnic minorities off their traditional lands is the creation of ten "eco-parks" around the country.

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In Bangladesh garment workers change jobs frequently because of wage arrears, lay-offs, ill health or harassment from the bosses. The level of unionisation among workers is very low. However, sometimes the workers do stand up for their rights. By the Bangladeshi Trotskyist organisation, Democratic Workers Party, Gonotantrik Mazdur Party).

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