Asia

With the impending partial withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan looming closer, some sections of the liberal intelligentsia and the ex-left civil society in Pakistan are tacitly trying to portray US imperialism as a lesser evil in comparison with the Taliban and the fundamentalist terror groups who have wreaked havoc in the region.

Luxury goods brands such as Louis Vuitton, Remy Martin and Bentley have posted falls both in growth and profits in the recent period, down from record highs. That the sales of luxuries have been booming in a period of global recession for the past few years appears remarkable in itself. This contradictory phenomenon, and its more recent decline, gives an insight into one aspect of the capitalist crisis.

As with numerous other political decisions of the present regime, the local bodies’ polls (Local Government Elections) have ended up in a quagmire and once again judicial activism has jumped into the fray exposing the utter indecisiveness and failure of the political elite to resolve anything at all.

Inflation and the prices of basic commodities under the incumbent Pakistani Muslim League (Nawaz) [PML(N)] government have risen enormously wreaking havoc on the lives of ordinary people. Purchasing power is declining rapidly with the depreciating value of incomes and salaries.

The crisis is spiralling out of control at tremendous speed. The strategists of capital have no clue how to address and find a way out of this economic and social catastrophe.

Today is the third day of strike action by workers at the Master Tiles factory in Gujranwala. After more than 15 years of repression, torture and violation of labour laws at the hands of the owners and management, workers finally managed to get their union registered by the Labour Department.

The incumbent PML (N) regime in Pakistan has announced the biggest ever privatisation of state assets in the history of Pakistan. Sixty eight State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) have been identified to be sacrificed on the altar of aggressive “neo-liberal” capitalism.

Today is the beginning of a week of strikes and general strikes in Indonesia. During the past month the call for a general strike has been heard in every major factory in the country. The 28th of October has been in the mind of every worker, as it has been in the mind of every capitalist and politician – of course for different reasons.

Six months into China’s new Politburo Standing Committee under Xi Jinping’s Presidency, it has become abundantly clear that the next ten years under his rule will not resemble the relative social stability and rapid growth of the past ten years. The cart will not keep on rolling down the same path.  Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party stand at a crossroads, facing that classic dilemma of all ruling classes - either to open up to democratic reform or clamp down on growing dissent?

There is hardly a day when the news coming out of Pakistan does not have some form of a calamity or trauma with harrowing footage splashing across television screens. Terrorist attacks or suicide bombings, earthquakes, floods, other natural disasters, unbearable price hikes, collective suicides of impoverished families, selling of children and human organs and so many other horrific events have become a norm in this tragic land. It has been years if not decades that the beleaguered masses of this country have had any blissful respite.

As if there were not already excruciating misery for the working classes in Pakistan, the massive rise in electricity tariffs and the prices of petroleum products will wreak havoc on an already impoverished populace of this tragic country.

October 9th marked one year since the serene valley of Swat was suddenly overcome with pain and anguish at the bestial attack on Malala Yousafzai and other schoolgirls in the van taking them home as it rounded at an army checkpoint in the midst of a fundamentalist insurgency.

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.

Within months of coming to power the right-wing government of the Muslim League announced their intentions of privatizing the state owned enterprises. On 13th September it was announced that 26% of the shares of Pakistan International Airline’s would be privatized along with the control of the management of the company. Pakistan Post, Railways, WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority) and many others are also on the list for privatisation.

One of the cruellest features of the present period of lull and social stagnation in the Indian subcontinent is how economic and social conditions are seen from the standpoint of the bosses who have a total disregard for the pain and misery inflicted by this economic development on the heaving masses.

Introduction: In June this year, Shahrukh Jatoi the son of a Sindhi feudal landlord, was handed the death penalty after being found guilty of shooting dead university student Shahzeb Khan last December. The case raised furore all over Pakistan as it was a clear example of the corruption and cronyism that exists within Paksitani society. As Khan's father said: “This is the brutal reign of the feudals. They don’t spare anyone.”. Despite being found guilty and sentenced to death Jatoi was pardoned last week after paying Khan's family a sum of 350 million Rs ($3.3m).

The killing of five Indian military personnel in firing across the line-of-control (LOC)  in Kashmir has once again laid bare the underlying tensions and the ongoing crisis that have become a festering wound for the people of Kashmir for the last sixty six years.

The maiden speech by the third time prime minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif, was no different from the ones we have heard from the rulers of this tragic land ever since its creation.

“In terms of the numbers killed, the anti-PKI massacres in Indonesia rank as one of the worst mass murders of the twentieth century". (CIA study in 1968)

On July the 1st at Mavalankar Hall, New Delhi, a historic convention was held. At this convention, leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India, the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) and the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) agreed on the text of a declaration, an alternative policy platform, with which they will approach “all democratic parties and mass organisations” in the lead up to next year’s Lok Sabha elections.

In this period of world economic crisis, Indonesia has been hailed as a miracle economy, registering a solid 6% annual growth for the past few years amid a sputtering world economy. However, despite this impressive growth, Indonesia cannot escape from the clutches of austerity that is gripping the whole world.

Over the past few weeks Indian politics has been rife with talk of a new electoral front being built to challenge the political hegemony of the currently ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by the Congress Party, and its rival National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP). But, what does this discussion actually represent?

Since the 2008 financial crisis there has been no respite for world capitalism. Its crisis has been deepening on a daily basis. The European Union, the world second largest economy is back in recession. Stocks and bonds have fallen sharply across world capitals.

Just hours before the beginning of the peace talks between the Taliban and the US delegation in Qatar the mercurial Afghan President Karzai suspended talks on a long-term security deal to keep US troops in Afghanistan after NATO leaves in 2014.

Imran Khan’s Tsunami that was supposed to sweep across the political landscape of Pakistan failed to materialise. As the election results started to pour in, the heightened hopes of the supporters of the PTI were dashed. In a period where ideological politics was forced into oblivion by the forces of finance capital and the betrayal of the opportunist leaders of the PPP at the helm there was a yawning vacuum for the rise of a new political formation that could challenge the status quo.

There is immense euphoria mainly in the Pakistani media, the political superstructure, “civil society” and the political outfits serving as umbrella organisations for diverse NGO’s on the appointment of Dr. Abdul Maalik as the chief minister of Baluchistan by Nawaz Sharif. What lies behind this euphoria?

Although the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) bagged more seats in the May 2013 election compared to the 1997 elections the impact of last month’s defeat is far greater. This undoubtedly will have profound repercussions as PPP activists may succumb to pessimism. Questions over the PPP’s future haunt its supporters. The chattering classes are incestuously debating the PPP defeat, albeit superficially.

Most of the elitist actors at the helm of the political edifice personify the social, moral, ethical, and cultural decay through which the country is passing presently

The WAPDA workers union, the largest organized force in Pakistan is have a referendum in two days. The comrades of the PTUDC are intervening in the referendum with a revolutionary programme. Here we provide our readers with the English translation of their main leaflet. WAPDA  - Water & Power Distribution Authority – is a key department in Pakistan, responsible for the generation, transmission and distribution of Power in whole country.

The situation in Nepal is rapidly deteriorating. The living forces of the revolution are witnessing the withering away of a process that abolished one of the worst symbols of feudalism in the world, the monarchy. The hopes of millions of Nepalis have been put on hold. As yet there has been no meaningful land reform, poverty is still a major problem and the country’s economy is being taken over by foreign capitalists; all this with the former insurgency leaders in the government!

The repolling at four polling stations in South Waziristan was blatantly rigged. Ali Wazir the Marxist candidate for Parliament had his victory stolen. But while the Parliament is the final goal for corrupt career politicians, for the Marxists the campaign was just a step in the struggle against the rotten Capitalist system.

Since the Pakistani general elections on 11 May this year, the forces of reaction have been manoeuvring to try to deny a democratically elected candidate his rightful place as an elected representative of the people of Pakistan. Tomorrow is an important day in this process as it will witness these reactionary forces doing everything they can to steal the victory of the Marxists.

The PML-N government will find itself in quicksand with so many adversaries fighting in so many directions on so many fronts

Pakistan is a country that is literally falling apart in every sense of these words. Its already weak infrastructure is in a state of decay, with power shortages, water shortages, a transport system in a state of collapse, unemployment ever rising and with widespread poverty. This generalised state of decay is now eating away at the state itself, with national and religious conflicts widespread. The ruling elite see no other way of holding on to power than to provoke division after division among the people in the hope of weakening the impoverished masses. It is within this nightmare situation that the Pakistani Marxists are building a force that can offer the masses a way out.

The campaign for the 2013 elections is perhaps the worst ever from the point of view of the oppressed classes of this country. There is hardly any party that addresses the most burning issue in society – the class contradiction and exploitation. Not even a single mainstream party claims to be a ‘party of the poor’.

Here we publish the excerpt of Militan Indonesia’s perspective document which was passed at its 3rd National Conference in March 2013.

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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More than 500,000 took to the streets on May Day in what was in effect the second largest general strike in the history of Indonesia. The working class of the 4th largest country in the world is starting to move in a very radical manner as the workers are imbued with confidence from their recent successes.

On the morning of Monday, 22 April, police attacked the protest camp of Unilever workers outside the factory gate in Rahim Yar Khan. Nine were arrested and tortured. They had been protesting for their reinstatement for the last nine days, a struggle that has been ongoing for the past few years.

There are many forgotten heroes of the Liberation movement against the British Raj in the Subcontinent. Bhagat Singh and his comrades were some of those who stood against imperialism on a programme of Socialist Revolution. On 23rd March 1931, Bhagat Singh along with his comrades Raj Guru and Sukh Dev were hanged by British Imperialism at the Central Jail in Lahore.

We bring to the attention of our readers an article written in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn about Malala Yousufzai and the work of the Marxists in the Swat area in Pakistan.

Pakistan Post Office Directorate General Employees Union elections were held on 11 March 2013. The revolutionary group of PTUDC comrades won a landslide victory and got 70% of the votes.

On the 23rd of March 1931, twenty-three year old Bhagat Singh, the legendary revolutionary icon in the struggle for liberation and emancipation of the masses in the Indian subcontinent and his comrades in arms, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru, were hanged at Lahore’s central jail.

The arson and burning down of 178 houses in the night of 8th and 9th March in Joseph Colony, a Christian neighbourhood near Badami Bagh, in the heart of Lahore is yet another fanatical incident that reflects the malaise afflicting the Pakistani society. A vigilante mob carried out this act of savagery on the pretext of allegedly blasphemous remarks made by a Christian youth in a drunken fracas with a Muslim friend.

The political debate in the ruling elite is shrouded with the issue of corruption. It is dubbed as the most serious threat to the system and eradication of this menace is being portrayed as the recipe for the social and economic salvation of this country.

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