Asia

On 11 December 2018, the official Weibo account of the US Embassy in China published a blog post entitled “American University Marxist Students Show Solidarity for Unionization and Strikes” (美国大学生马克思主义社团声援工人组织工会和罢工). In it, the embassy referred to the activities of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) comrades in the Marxist Student Association (MSA) and their political work in Madison, Wisconsin.

On 8-9 January, around 200 million workers went on a two-day strike across India, bringing the country to a grinding halt. The strike was called by 10 central trade unions of India against the anti-labour policies of the Modi government. BMS, affiliated with RSS-BJP, was the only central trade union that was against the strike and tried to sabotage it. All others supported the strike and made huge efforts to make it successful.

朱梅雪是华航企业工会现任秘书长。在2018年的桃园市长选举内,他以无党籍的身分参选,挑战台湾两大政党:国民党和民进党。朱梅雪的选战需求工人阶级应独立于两大财团政党,并以工人阶级观点提出多项政策,也推广了“工人不投蓝绿党!”、“百万劳工站出来!”、“为自己投一票!”等口号。

朱梅雪是華航企業工會現任秘書長。在2018年的桃園市長選舉內,他以無黨籍的身分參選,挑戰台灣兩大政黨:國民黨和民進黨。朱梅雪的選戰需求工人階級應獨立於兩大財團政黨,並以工人階級觀點提出多項政策,也推廣了“工人不投藍綠黨!”、“百萬勞工站出來!”、“為自己投一票!”等口號。

Zhu Meixue is the current Secretary General of Taiwan’s China Airlines Employees’ Union (CAEU). In 2018, he ran for mayor of Taoyuan as an independent against the candidates of both the KMT and the DPP, the two major bourgeois parties of Taiwan. In his campaign he called for the political independence of the working class from the two parties of the bosses, proposing policies from a working class perspective, with slogans such as “Workers don’t vote for the KMT or DPP!,” “The laboring millions come forward!,” and “Vote for yourselves!”

Marxists recognise the enormous achievements of the 1949 Chinese Revolution. Unsurprisingly, many slogans by Mao Zedong found an echo across the world as an alternative to the bureaucratised USSR after the Sino-Soviet split. However, there are significant political differences between the ideas of genuine Marxism and those of Maoism, which should be clarified.

The marvellous national convention of the Progressive Youth Alliance was held in Lahore on 15 December, with the main demands of free education for all and restoration of student unions. Revolutionary students and unemployed youth from across the country gathered to discuss problems faced by the youth and how to organise to overcome them.

在台湾执政的民主进步党在近期的九合一大选中惨败。民进党的大败立即导致了总统蔡英文请辞民进党党主席一职,而行政院长赖清德和总统府秘书长陈菊也照样请辞。在选举同时举办的公投中,社会保守势力得以大举进击。然而,虽然表面上选票回到了现在在野的中国国民党,台湾的资本主义危机也正在准备将阶级斗争推向新一个阶段。

在台灣執政的民主進步黨在近期的九合一大選中慘敗。民進黨的大敗立即導致了總統蔡英文請辭民進黨黨主席一職,而行政院長賴清德和總統府秘書長陳菊也照樣請辭。在選舉同時舉辦的公投中,社會保守勢力得以大舉進擊。然而,雖然表面上選票回到了現在在野的中國國民黨,台灣的資本主義危機也正在準備將階級鬥爭推向新一個階段。

In Taiwan, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered a severe defeat in the recent midterm municipal elections, forcing the party leader and current President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, to resign as party chair, as well as top officials such as Premier William Lai and Secretary-General to President Chen Chu. The concurrently held referendum on a number of social issues saw a mobilisation of conservative votes. However, beneath the surface of this seemingly expected swing back to the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), the ongoing capitalist crisis of Taiwan is preparing a new phase of class struggle.

(譯者按:本文是國際馬克思主義趨勢(IMT)在中國共產黨召開第十九次全國代表大會後,於2017年11月30日發表的評論。文中討論了關於中國經濟性質從斯大林主義計劃經濟轉變為朝向帝國主義發展的資本主義系統,並在這個基礎上解釋了習近平的強權。編譯團隊決定不更動發表時的原文,以便讀者們比較我們當時的預測和後來的發展。)

(译者按:本文是国际马克思主义趋势(IMT)在中国共产党召开第十九次全国代表大会后,于2017年11月30日发表的评论。文中讨论了关于中国经济性质从斯大林主义计划经济转变为朝向帝国主义发展的资本主义系统,并在这个基础上解释了习近平的强权。编译团队决定不更动发表时的原文,以便读者们比较我们当时的预测和后来的发展。)

On 15 November, the Sri Lankan parliament erupted in a brawl over a no-confidence motion passed against the newly appointed prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa. Punches were exchanged in a factional fight between opposition parties that supported the no-confidence vote and Rajapaksa's supporters.

近几个月来,一场工人和学生对抗中国资本主义政权的持久战正在展开。中国政府对支援工人的学生们施加的残暴镇压,也凸显了这场抗争的火爆性。

近幾個月來,一場工人和學生對抗中國資本主義政權的持久戰正在展開。中國政府對支援工人的學生們施加的殘暴鎮壓,也凸顯了這場抗爭的火爆性。

In recent months, a protracted struggle has been underway in China, with workers and students standing in solidarity against the pro-capitalist regime. This is highlighted by the recent, brutal clampdown on student activists involved in worker solidarity.

Ted Sprague explains how the mighty Indonesian Communist Party was defeated and destroyed in 1965 by Suharto's forces of reaction, resulting in the murder of millions of communists and their sympathisers. This historical tragedy, the consequence of the political and theoretical errors of the Communist Party's Stalinist leadership, is rich with lessons for Marxists today.

Two weeks ago, Trump announced tariffs on another $200bn worth of imports from China. The announcement was met with protests from the Chinese, as well as big business in the US. China responded with tariffs on another $60bn of imports from the US. This trade war reveals the frictions that have been developing for some time between the imperialist powers, and threatens to plunge the world into a new recession.

On 20 September, an open letter from a representative of the Peking University (PKU) Marxist Society (MS) in Beijing, China began circulating on Chinese social media. The letter detailed the significant difficulty that the society faced this month in finding a faculty advisor required to re-register as a recognised student club on the campus.

In early June of this year, the workers of the Chinese welding equipment manufacturer Jasic Technologies in Shenzhen attempted to legally unionise to protect themselves from chronically poor working conditions and brutal treatment by the management.

Kashmir Marxist School

A two-day Marxist School was held in Rawalakot, Kashmir in which over one-hundred comrades participated from across Pakistan and Kashmir. Despite difficult economic conditions, long distances and sweltering heat, comrades arrived with great enthusiasm to take part in these discussions demonstrating their commitment to the ideas of Marxism. Preparatory schools were also held in various cities in which all the suggested topics were discussed in detail.

On Monday 13 August, just as Pakistan’s new parliament were taking oath after the recent elections, fourteen workers died in a coal mine near Quetta. The miners were trapped by a gas explosion inside the mine on Sunday.

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.

随着中国共产党在国际舞台上表现越发得自信,中国的工人阶级也开始对资本主义残酷的现实表现不满。从五月开始,卡车司机、送餐工人和吊车司机举行了三起高曝光率的全国范围的罢工行动。这些罢工的规模,虽然跟整个工人阶级相比较还算是小的,但是工人在多个重点城市联合组织的能力展示了阶级的一层正被推向更深的抗争。

As the Chinese Communist Party acts more confidently on the international stage than ever before, the Chinese working class is starting to chafe against the harsh realities of capitalism. Since May, there have been three high-profile, cross-country strikes started by crane operators, fast food delivery workers, and most recently truckers. Although the strikes were small in relation to the general working class, the workers’ ability to organize across several major cities indicates that a layer of the Chinese working class is being pushed into struggle.

20 years ago, a regime that seemed unmoveable, that had ruled for decades, while standing on the bones of millions of people massacred between 1965-66 and with its police and soldiers present at every corner, collapsed in the blink of an eye. On 21 May 1998, all over Indonesia, on TV and radio, a voice familiar to the ears of 200 million people proclaimed: “I have decided to declare that I have ceased to be the president of the Republic of Indonesia.” The people cheered and a new chapter in the modern history of Indonesia opened.

Dozens of peaceful demonstrators have been massacred by the state authorities in Tamil Nadu, India, after organising to demand the closure of a plant that is wreaking havoc on the environment and causing health issues for the locals. Louis Thomas reports from Tamil Nadu.

On a bright Sunday morning, Indonesian people were shocked by a string of bombings in Surabaya, the second largest city in the country. But there was something different this time compared to past bombings, which made the tragedy difficult to fathom. The perpetrators were three families, with parents who brought along their young children in a string of suicide bombings. The involvement of innocent children in such a barbaric act has multiplied people’s natural anger and disgust towards terrorism. Many feel we are entering into a 'bizarre' epoch – and they are not far from the truth.

The serious representatives of capitalism are petrified that the ongoing trade dispute between China and America could erupt into a full-blown economic war. In a recent editorial for the Financial Times, associate editor Martin Wolf described US President Donald Trump’s latest plan to reduce the $337bn US-China trade imbalance by imposing $200bn worth of tariffs on Chinese goods (over two years) as a “crazy” act of “fiscal irresponsibility”. But there is method in Trump’s madness. He is predictably applying his particular art of negotiation: threaten, bully and bluster – then strike a deal. However,

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Kim Jong-un, recent bogeyman of the international press, has suddenly become its darling. The new diplomatic offensive took the ‘international community’ by surprise, with the prospect of an end to a 70-year conflict. Although Trump is attempting to bask in the glow of success, the latest turn, in reality, demonstrates the relative weakening of US imperialism.

As reported yesterday, all of our abducted comrades have now been released from custody in Karachi, following pressure from our international solidarity campaign. Leading comrade of the Red Workers' Front, Aftab Ashraf, has recorded a video statement after being released by the Rangers. We publish it here. Lal Salaam!

It has been confirmed that the last of our abducted Pakistani comrades have been released by the Rangers. We are relieved to have them back safely and grateful to all of our comrades and supporters who participated in our solidarity campaign, which was instrumental in securing the abductees. We publish the following message from the Progressive Youth Alliance, celebrating the safe return of our comrades, and the victory of our international campaign.

In the bourgeois media today, Afghanistan is portrayed only in relation to Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, warlords and drug cartels. While these ills are a sad fact of life in Afghanistan today, that was not always the case. 40 years ago, a revolution almost shook the country out of its backwardness, only to be thrown back after the imperialist-backed, fundamentalist counter-revolution. To understand the current situation in the Middle East, as well as the rise of the reactionary forces, it is necessary to understand the rise and fall of the Saur revolution in Afghanistan in 1978.

The international campaign demanding the release of our comrades, who were abducted by the Rangers in Karachi on 22 April, continues to build. There have been demonstrations at Pakistani embassies all over the world, and our official petition has acquired thousands of signatories, including from some prominent figures from the political left and trade union movement. Here, we provide an update on the solidarity campaign's latest activities.

Yesterday, we had a fantastic response from comrades around the world, protesting the abductions in Pakistan. The good news is that three of our comrades were released today: Aftab Ashraf, Karim Parhar and Zain ul Abidin. However, the Rangers are refusing to release the other three comrades, who remain in custody in their headquarters in Karachi. Comrades must step up the campaign of protest for Bilawal Baloch, Umer Riaz and Mohammed Gulbaz. We demand the immediate release of all of our comrades.

Pakistan is a country of over 200m people, but at least 40 percent live in poverty. Life expectancy is low, at an average of 66 years and infant mortality is high, with about about 64.2 deaths per 1,000 live births. For a large part of the population life is a living hell. But on top of this there is also the impact of imperialist intervention in Afghanistan, the effects of which have spilled across the border, and the repressive operations of the state security forces.

Update 11:34 - we have received reports that these two comrades have now been released. Yesterday in Karachi two more supporters of the Lal Salaam group were abducted by the Rangers. They were protesting peacefully, together with other left activists and groups in front of the Karachi Press Club, against the previous abductions when there was crackdown by the military and four protesters were taken away. Later two of them were released. The two that were not released are Yasir Irshad and Shay Razai, who are presently being held by the Rangers. See this Reuters report, ...

The seven socialist activists abducted by the Rangers in Pakistan are still being held. Their whereabouts remain unknown. All possible measures are being taken to locate them. As yet, no charges have been made and the reason is that no crime has been committed. They have been abducted because of their solidarity activities with the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM): a mass movement of immense proportions of the Pashtun people, who are demanding to know where the 30,000 people who have disappeared over recent years are, whether they are being held in prison or whether they have been killed.

Today, protests were held in Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Rawlakot and other cities to demand the release of comrades abducted in Karachi by the army and Sindh Rangers. They were disappeared because they joined a protest in front of the Karachi Press Club that was called by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM). Nobody has been informed of their whereabouts so far and no case has been registered against them. Their family members are experiencing extreme shock and worry, but still don’t know the location of their loved ones.

A number of prominent youth and trade union activists have been disappeared in Karachi by the Army and Sindh Rangers, a paramilitary state department notorious for extra-judicial killings. No case has been registered against them. Those remaining in custody are being held at the Rangers' headquarters in Karachi.

Comrade Bilawal Baloch from Quetta is suspected to have been abducted by the armed forces of Pakistan. He attended the protest held yesterday in front of the Karachi Press Club, which was called by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), and was heading back from there to his home in Quetta. But his mobile phone is permanently off and nobody has been able to contact him.

Six comrades of the IMT were abducted today in Karachi by the Army and Sindh Rangers, a paramilitary state department notorious for extra-judicial killings. We need to raise this in the labour and student movements around the world. We need messages of protest and of solidarity. Act now!

A new Pashtun movement has erupted in Pakistan, mobilizing hundreds-of-thousands of people across the country, with tens-of-thousands attending its public meetings. The state apparatus and the entire ruling class, including all establishment political parties, are trembling at the sight of this huge movement, which originated from the most backward areas of the country – where it was least expected.

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