Asia

After 14 years of "reform", with the introduction of the so-called "market economy under state control in a socialist direction", an economic boom is indeed taking place in Vietnam. However, its economy is obviously not immune from the financial crisis of its neighbours. Very few strikes have been reported, and most of them have attracted very few workers. However the strike of over 4,000 workers at the Hue Phong company (a joint-venture producing shoes) on 12-13th September may represent an important turning point in the workers' struggle in Vietnam.

Another General has completed another year of despotic military rule in Pakistan and the army has exposed itself even further.  A new wave of state repression is beginning to unfold, exhibiting the desperation of the Generals in their failure to solve anything. The patience of the masses is rapidly wearing thin. All the outlets for venting their anger and frustrations have been blocked. This means that the rage of the masses is building up very fast. The more their outburst is delayed the greater will be the explosion.

In this post cold war epoch one of the most significant phenomena which has come to the fore is Islamic fundamentalism. But what is Islamic fundamentalism and what are its real prospects? Although it is not a new phenomenon, in recent times it has attained a vicious and virulent character. Modern fundamentalism in reality is a reactionary culmination of the trends of Islamic revivalism in an epoch of modern world economy and politics.

In 1994, together with the other "Left" parties, including the "Communist Party", the leadership of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP, the traditional workers' party which was originally a Trotskyist party) entered the popular alliance (PA) government headed by Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (CBK) and have been carrying out an anti-working class policy of privatisation and cuts in line with the dictates of the IMF. This has led to the rapid rise of a left opposition inside the LSSP, associated with the well-known mass leader, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, the member of parliament for the Ratnapura district.

This article has been specially translated by one of our Vietnamese subscribers for "In Defence of Marxism" from the Vietnamese newspaper Lao Dong("Labour"), 11 August, 2000. It describes the conditions in which this section of toilers has to work in order to keep up with the demands put on this industry by world capitalism.

The conflict in Kashmir has become a flashpoint in South Asia. William Casey, the former CIA director has declared South Asia as the most dangerous area in the world. Three wars, between India and Pakistan, several agreements and years of negotiations have utterly failed to resolve this issue. Apart from the Indian and Pakistani ruling classes the UN and other imperialist agencies have prove their inability to bring about a settlement to the Kashmir conflict. In the last 50 years the Indian and the Pakistani ruling elites have used Kashmir as a political football. Now the chickens have come home to roost. The situation has worsened to such an extent that now this conflict...

A group of revolutionary socialists in Kashmir have decided to set up the Campaign for a Socialist Kashmir, arguing that the solution to national oppression in Kashmir lies in the struggle for socialism, and the extension of this struggle to the whole of the South Asian subcontinent.

"Fifty-three years after its inception the Pakistani state is teetering on the brink. The fissures opening up expose the internal decay of its rotting structures. The economy is in a shambles, society is in disarray and its domestic and foreign policies have hit rock bottom. Successive rulers are forced to admit this but are unable to avert the rapid decline of the state and society. All their efforts only further exacerbate the contradictions and intensity of the problems faced by a bewildered and shocked population." Lal Khan, editor of the fortnightly Marxist magazine Jeddo Judh (Class Struggle) analyses the current situation of the military regime.

This article presents a summary of the economic situation of capitalism in Indonesia today and in the future. It also looks at the implications for the struggle of the working class and develops the broad outlines of a programmatic and socialist response to the crisis of this system. It will serve as the introduction to the publication in book form of " Di atas mata pisau" , or "On a Knife's Edge", an analysis of the Asian and world economy after the meltdown of 1997. The book is part of the Indonesian Socialist Education Project.

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).

Phil Mitichinson reviews the increasing difficulties in the road to capitalism in China, the recent workers' uprisings and concludes that "in the next period internationalcapital will feel the ground quake under the impact of millions of Chinese workers on the move".

The arrogance of US imperialism is shown by its desire to dominate every area of the globe. Asia is of special importance to Washington's long-term economic and strategic interests. Alan Woods reviews the aims and results of Clinton's recent visit to Asia and its impact on India, Pakistan, Kashmir and Afghanistan.

The arrogance of US imperialism is shown by its desire to dominate every area of the globe. Asia is of special importance to Washington's long-term economic and strategic interests. Alan Woods reviews the aims and results of Clinton's recent visit to Asia and its impact on India, Pakistan, Kashmir and Afghanistan.

This document retraces the first period of the Indonesian Communist Party up to the ill-prepared insurrection of 1926. It contains vital lessons for the building of a Marxist political organisation today. The thousands of activists involved in organising workers, peasants, urban poor and students will find in this historical analysis a more thorough understanding of the strategy for socialism in Indonesia and of the necessary tools to achieve this goal. We must not only learn from the great achievements of this epoch but also from the fatal weaknesses of the PKI at that time. The new generation of young people in Indonesia will find here some very important...

On Monday the 20th March at PMA house in the centre of Karachi, Socialist Appeal editor Alan Woods addressed a packed meeting of workers and youth in Karachi. The subject was the crisis of world capitalism. In spite of the problems caused by the Eid holidays (many workers were out of town) 150 people attended the meeting, mostly leading trade union activists. These included the leaders of the Pakistan Steel Mill (65,000 workers) the Karachi Municipal Corporation, the Karachi Port Workers, the Karachi Electrical Supply Corporation, the Telecommunication workers, leaders of the Postal workers in Karachi, the PIA workers, leaders of the unions of several multinationals based in Karachi and

...

On Monday the 20th March, the editor of "In Defence of Marxism" Alan Woods spoke at a public meeting in Karachi organised by the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign. 150 people attended the meeting, mostly leading trade union activists. This is the report which appeared in one of the main English language dailies of Pakistan The Dawn.

"Swastanisasi" means privatisation in Bahasa Indonesia. Four important universities in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bandung and Bogor are on the menu for the voracious multinationals and the International Monetary Fund. But the students, encouraged by the successful overthrow of Suharto are moving into action against the imposed "otonomie versie rektor" (the rector's version of autonomy).

During the month of January we saw some very important strikes in India. The dock workers paralysed Indian ports for 5 days, The UP electricity workers went on strike for 11 days, etc. The state used harsh repression (including sending the army to the ports) against these movements. Yet very little of this was reported in other countries. Sara Glynn reports from Calcutta.