Asia

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.

Unilever is extracting huge profits in Pakistan through brutal exploitation of workers. Most of the products of Unilever are now manufactured through Third Party contracts in which workers are given starvation wages and no other benefits at all.

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.

There has been an aggressive campaign in the media that the recipe for growth and the solution to the economic crisis is privatisation and not the nationalisation of industry, agriculture, finance capital and the economy. Nationalisation has been dubbed as a failure and an economic disaster.

Today marks the beginning of a two- day general strike in which the working class of the whole of India will rise with one voice to declare their dissatisfaction at the horrible conditions being imposed upon them by the crisis of capitalism. This unprecedented action should not be seen as a one off event or as simply a demonstration. Rather, it is indicative of the pressure that has been building up within Indian society over the last period and is symptomatic of the on-going fight within the trade unions to force the leadership to come up with a fighting solution to the problems which are faced by the workers on a day to day basis.

On December 16, 2012 Jyoti Singh Panday along with a male friend boarded a bus in South Delhi. When Jyoti and her friend boarded the bus, they expected to be transported to their destination. They could not have known of the horror that was awaiting them. The victim, Jyoti, was gang raped and brutally tortured by a group of six men in the bus. Jyoti and her friend were then thrown out of the moving bus and she was taken to hospital in a critical condition. She was later flown to Singapore for better treatment but unfortunately she died there on December 29.

Coca Cola International is one of the most famous monopolies in the world’s beverage sector. The company has expanded its network of business to all parts of world. The company earns more profits than the total GDP of many so-called “third world countries”. However, these huge profits are based on the exploitation of workers. In order to enhance their rate of profit, the management of Coca Cola uses anti-labour measures and the forces of repression to attack the rights of the workers.

The recent criminalization case of comrade Sultoni Farras, a worker activist from Progresif Union and Sekber Buruh, who is being sued with “Unpleasant Action” law by the bosses, puts forward a question that at first seems petty but if we look further turns out to be quite fundamental in the workers’ struggle. This relates to the question of “pleasantness” and “unpleasantness”. (Note: in Indonesia, the word “pleasantness” can also mean “happiness”)

The grotesque, remorseless and relentless slaughter of the Shiite Hazaras in Baluchistan is yet another grim episode that lays bare the escalating conflagration in the region, the extreme complexity of the national question and the sectarian strife that is prevalent. This was an act of barbarity that is the outcome of a rotten state and a system that has failed miserably to bring any peace, prosperity or stability to the region. Rather, there is mounting evidence that sections of the state are involved in perpetuating this catastrophe. The Hazaras have been systematically targeted and killed for almost a decade now. None of the perpetrators have been arrested or prosecuted. The

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Islamabad has been witnessing “anti-corruption” protests led by Tahir ul Qadri recently returned from his long residence in Canada. He leads a reactionary movement that is actually being fomented by a section of the Pakistani ruling elite. Here we publish a comment on this phenomenon by Lal Khan that was first published in the Pakistan Daily Times.

The general elections in Japan, held on December 16, 2012, led to the victory of the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), amidst the lowest voter turn-out in Japanese history. The ruling Democratic Party (DPJ) lost 173 seats and is now down to only 57. It only got 22.81 percent in the electoral districts around the country, a reduction of about 25 percent compared to the 47.43 percent it won in 2009. The LDP, on the other hand, got only slightly more votes than last time (43.01 percent compared to 38.68 percent) while it increased its number of seats from 176 to 294.

Bhutto’s legacy is relevant today in Pakistani politics mainly because what the oppressed masses in general see to the left of the rightwing parties and obscurantist outfits is the PPP.

The upheaval that led to the eventual breakup of Pakistan started not on the national question but on the basis of class struggle

نومبر1967ء کی دھندلی صبح پاکستان کے مختلف علاقوں سے تین سوکے قریب افراد ہر طرح کی مشکلات اور سماج کے جمود کا مقابلہ کرتے ہوئے سماجی و معاشی انصاف کی جدوجہد میں لاہور میں اکٹھے ہوئے۔ موسم خزاں کی فضا میں انقلاب کی مہک تھی۔ پارٹی کی تاسیسی دستاویزات غیر مبہم تھیں، ’’پارٹی کے پروگرام کا حتمی مقصد طبقات سے پاک معاشرے کا قیام ہے جو صرف سوشلزم کے ذریعے ہی ممکن ہے‘‘۔ لیکن پی پی پی کو عوامی قوت بنانے والے واقعات کا نکتہ آغاز راولپنڈی میں طلباء کی بغاوت سے ہوا جس نے ملکی تاریخ کے سب سے طاقتور انقلاب کا آغاز کیا۔ ...

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