Nepal: Revolutionary Doubletalk from Prachanda

[In this interview, UCPNM Chairman Prachanda speaks of establishing a new democratic federal republic of the people and of a possible insurrection.  He also states that “the movement for civilian supremacy, national independence, peace, constitution and national government [a coalition government with the bourgeois-feudal Nepali Congress and UML parties led by the UCPNM] will continue until it achieves complete success.”

The latter formulation is taken almost word for word from the February 4 statement of the UCPNM Central Committee. Thus, Prachanda is talking out of both sides of his mouth. Also bear in mind that he is speaking to an international audience in this interview, which may account for its left verbiage.-ed]

This interview was published in the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)’s international journal, Maoist Information Bulletin (Vol. 04, No. 13).

Prachanda: It is quite clear that the current transitional political situation is very sensitive and delicate.

The ongoing peace process and the process of drafting a new constitution are in a critical situation. The domestic and foreign reactionary and regressive elements are continuously conspiring against the aspiration of the people’s peace and constitution.

But we think that politically conscious Nepalese people will be able to overcome all the challenges created by the reactionaries and ultimately people will be victorious. Continue reading

Egypt: Striking Workers Confront Government

Michael Slackman, The New York Times
CAIRO — Day after day, hundreds of workers from all over Egypt have staged demonstrations and sit-ins outside Parliament, turning sidewalks in the heart of the capital into makeshift camps and confounding government efforts to bring an end to the protests.

Nearly every day since February, protesters have chanted demands outside Parliament during daylight and laid out bedrolls along the pavement at night. The government and its allies have been unable to silence the workers, who are angry about a range of issues, including low salaries.

Using an emergency law that allows arrest without charge and restricts the ability to organize, the Egyptian government and the ruling National Democratic Party have for decades blocked development of an effective opposition while monopolizing the levers of power. The open question — one that analysts say the government fears — is whether the workers will connect their economic woes with virtual one-party rule and organize into a political force.

This week, with blankets stacked neatly behind them, at least four different groups were banging pots, pans and empty bottles and chanting slogans. There were factory workers, government workers, employees of a telephone company and handicapped men and women. The group of handicapped people said they had been there for 47 days, demanding jobs and housing. Continue reading

18 U.S. Veterans Commit Suicide Every Day

Army Times

Troubling new data show there are an average of 950 suicide attempts each month by veterans who are receiving some type of treatment from the Veterans Affairs Department. Seven percent of the attempts are successful, and 11 percent of those who don’t succeed on the first attempt try again within nine months.

The numbers, which come at a time when VA is strengthening its suicide prevention programs, show about 18 veteran suicides a day, about five by veterans who are receiving VA care.

Access to care appears to be a key factor, officials said, noting that once a veteran is inside the VA care program, screening programs are in place to identify those with problems, and special efforts are made to track those considered at high risk, such as monitoring whether they are keeping appointments. Continue reading

Schumer’s Anti-Immigrant Bill is No Substitute for Arizona Police State Law

Statement of Unity on May 1st April 27, 2010

Immigrant Communities in Action, New York City

“A Call to Immigrant Organizations & Workers Centers: Arizona’s Law Should NOT Be a Call for Schumer’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform Blueprint”

“We believe our blueprint is even stronger than the Arizona senators’ proposal in stopping the flow of illegal immigrants because our plan both increases border security and prevents employers from hiring illegal immigrants”

- Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/93077-schumer-slams-mccains-immigration-plan

Last week as Arizona became the focal point of the immigrant rights struggle, Senator Schumer clearly articulated the heart of his “blueprint” for Comprehensive Immigration Reform- more of the very same dangerous, anti-immigrant, criminalization passed as SB1070 in Arizona.

Across the nation, the last month has turned into of the most historic moments for the immigrant rights movement in the U.S.   As the worst anti-immigrant law was signed in Arizona, millions across the country are gearing up to pour out into the streets again on May 1st for real immigration reform. Continue reading

Philippines: NDF Exposes US-Arroyo Regime’s Plans to Stay in Power

Be prepared for looming political crisis and pave the way for strategic stalemate in the people’s war in five years

Fr. Santiago “Sanny” Salas, Spokesperson, NDF-Eastern Visayas

April 24, 2010

We celebrate today the 37th founding anniversary of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, a significant occasion for the revolutionary forces, the people, and their allies. The alliance of revolutionary organizations was formed immediately after the imposition of martial law to unite with other forces in fighting the Marcos fascist dictatorship and in striving for a society enjoying national sovereignty, genuine democracy, social justice, progress, and peace. Today, the reactionary ruling system once again faces political turmoil as the incumbent Arroyo regime plans to steal or derail the coming election on May 10 to remain in power.

While the reactionary ranks are in grave disarray, the revolutionary movement and the people must hold the political initiative and further advance the revolution. We are guided by the goal of achieving the strategic stalemate in the people’s war in the next five years.

It is highly possible that the Arroyo regime will sabotage the planned poll automation, which is in fact expected to have a failure rate of up to 30 percent as admitted by the Commission on Elections itself. Despite assurances for an alternative manual counting of ballots, the top positions of the presidency, vice-presidency and the senate may not be settled at all by the June 30 proclamation deadline.

This can be then taken advantage of by Gloria Arroyo who will insist on extending her rule as a “transition president”. Aside from that, Arroyo is also preparing to win a seat in the new Congress, become Speaker, and push for charter change and install herself as prime minister to remain in power. Continue reading

Take Back the Land Movement Calls for May Month of Action to House People All Over the U.S.

This article is excerpted from a 12 page brochure produced by the Land and Housing Action Group of the US Human Rights Network, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

The following report on ABC World News describes the reversal of an eviction in Miami, Florida by the Take Back the Land Movement. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skZgEEY1UWE&feature=player_embedded#!

The Housing Crisis

On the heels of a multi-billion dollar public bailout of the financial sector, major banks and financial institutions are enjoying near record profits, with executives taking home multi-million dollar bonuses.

At the same time, those very same banks continue to foreclose on and evict tens of thousands of families from their homes, families without access to federal bailouts and taxpayer subsidized bonuses. Families and, indeed, entire communities, are devastated by the deepening economic crisis and the impact of that crisis on housing security. Low income communities of color, particularly women in those communities, are disproportionately impacted. The financial industry, and the government which supports that industry, will not solve this crisis.

May 2010 Month of Action

To address the land and housing crisis, as well as the enormous transfer of wealth from the public to private financial institutions through the government bailout, the Take Back the Land Movement is calling for a May 2010 national month of action.

The objectives of the month of action are to:

• house people;

• stop evictions; and

• build momentum for the long term struggle to elevate housing to the level of a human right. Continue reading

People’s Democracy vs. Parliamentary Democracy in India

Mass meeting in Dandakaranya forest region

 

A Look into the Work of the People’s Governments in Dandakaranya Special Zone

Raago, in People’s March, September 2007

Parliamentary democracy in India is much hailed. India is said to be the biggest democracy in the world. This democracy is known to be ‘ for the people, by the people and of the people’. The past more than half a century proved this democracy to be sham.  People of India and all over the world are vexed with the ineffectiveness and misappropriation of the ‘democratic institutions’ like the court, police, jail and the administrative machinery. Essential services like water and electricity are a point of agitation in many parts of the country almost every day.

And it is inaccessible to the adivasi population who constitute one important section of the population of the country. The presence of the parliamentary democratic institutions and minimum medical services are not seen in most of the adivasi areas of the country. It is true that the people in these areas were at a loss, away from the ‘modern’ world.

But for the past few years, things took a different turn in some parts of the adivasi areas. While the North Eastern states and some other areas are fighting for the liberation of their nationalities from the domination of the Indian state, the adivasis of the central part of the country and a few other eastern states sought a different alternative. They started forming a people’s government of their own.

‘People’s democracy’ found birth in the most ‘backward’, ‘uncivilized’ areas of the country. It continued to develop in divergent ways and levels. The achievements of this people’s democracy prove that this is a real kind of democracy, a democracy of the people, by the people and for the people in its actual sense. The main principles of this democracy are collective functioning and democratic centralism, the Maoist principles. Continue reading

Review/Interview about New Book on India’s Maoist Movement

PLGA (People's Liberation Guerilla Army) in training

‘ddddReviewed by M.R. Narayan Swamy

This is undoubtedly India’s answer to ‘Red Star Over China’, the epoch-making story of what the then obscure Mao was up to in China’s rural areas at the head of a nascent Communist party that eventually took power in 1949. When American Edgar Snow came out with the classic of a book, the world sat up and took notice.

The Indian Maoists of Bastar are of course not an unknown commodity. Yet there has been no account of what they are doing in the huge, forested land of poverty amid plenty known as Bastar, a story as exhaustive and moving as this racy eye-opener of a book.

Unlike most books on Indian Maoism, this one does not dabble in ideology, party documents and polemics. Like Snow did decades ago, Satnam, a committed Leftwing writer-activist from Punjab, focuses on the impoverished people and the revolutionaries he meets in Bastar. He spent two months in the forests, living with his subjects to study why Maoists are on the ascendency in the mineral-rich region where governments have existed only in the form of greedy contractors and corrupt policemen, leaving the mass of tribals to wallow in poverty, disease and illiteracy while outsiders strip away Bastar’s minerals.

The book was originally published in Punjabi early this decade . What has been published now is an excellent English translation by Vishav Bharti. But readers need not worry. The story that unfolds may have been written yesterday, so vivid is the harshness of jungle life; and those jungles are still the same. If anything, some of what the guerrillas said about their plans for the future seems to be coming true. Continue reading

Philippines: New People’s Army Growing in Strength

The psywar experts of the puppet fascist regime are making fools of themselves as their claims of destroying or reducing the revolutionary movement to inconsequentiality before Gloria Arroyo steps down on June 30 are constantly belied by the successful tactical offensives of the New People’s Army (NPA).

On the whole, the NPA and the revolutionary people are growing in strength and capability as they confront the most brutal and longest counterrevolutionary campaign the enemy has waged since the fall of the Marcos dictatorship–Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL 1 and 2).

In Mindanao. Relentless concentrated attacks by the AFP and PNP have failed to prevent the NPA from launching more than 400 tactical offensives from March 2009 to the first quarter of 2010. The NPA seized more than 200 firearms from the enemy within the period, said NDF-Mindanao spokesperson Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos.

The Southern Mindanao Region’s (SMR) 15 guerrilla fronts have managed to sustain the momentum of guerrilla warfare in the face of massive military operations and the dirtiest propaganda campaigns of the enemy. Units under the NPA’s Merardo Arce Operational Command have launched at least 200 tactical offensives, seizing weapons enough to arm an undersized company of new recruits. Continue reading

India: Heightened Repression against Opponents of Operation Green Hunt

26 April 2010. A World to Win News Service.

As part of Operation Green Hunt, the Indian government is trying to instil fear among Indians inside and outside the areas where they intend to clear out the Maoists. Progressive forces of a variety of political opinions who have expressed opposition to this operation face threats, intimidation and arrests. Among them is the well-known author and activist Arundhati Roy, who created a major stir with her article “Walking with the Comrades” published online at Dawn.com.

Launched late last year, Operation Green Hunt is an unprecedented military offensive against the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the masses hungry for radical change who make up the army they lead. This war is being waged in the jungles and forests that are home to the tribal peoples known as Adivasis in central and eastern India (Chhattisgarh, Jharkand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal). For generations the Adivasis have had to fight to maintain use of this land, even though the Indian Constitution supposedly guarantees their rights to it. Laden with mineral resources, the land is coveted by national and international corporate exploiters.

In Dangs, Gujarat, several people have been arrested recently based on information from police in the state of Orissa. Among them was Avinash Kulkarni, a prominent follower of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy and forest rights activist taken into custody 26 March. He was preparing for a People’s Tribunal, a long-standing method for the basic masses who have no recourse to the legal system to expose government crimes against them. Kulkarni has been charged with “waging war against the state”,  and organising and participating in “unlawful” assemblies of people in Dangs and Surat.

Associates say Kulkarni has been arrested to “create a possibility of dividing” the Adivasi Maha Sabha (AMS) that he leads, an alliance of 40 tribal rights organisations comprising some 30,000 tribal people, part of a robust movement in Gujarat’s tribal areas seeking the implementation of the Forest Rights Act. The police say that Kulkarni was involved in organising a Maoist rebellion in the south of Gujarat. Continue reading

India: Appeal from Women of Dandakaranya against the State’s Military Offensive

Militant adivasi women in Lalgarh, West Bengal

An appeal by KAMS to fraternal mass organizations, progressive democratic women, intellectuals, students and all democrats

Dear friends,

Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sangathan [Revolutionary Adivasi Women’s Organization] is working in the Dandakaranya comprising seven districts of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh with a population of about 40 lakhs. Women comprise about 19 lakhs 88 thousands among them. It is working in an area where various tribes like Madia, Muria, Dorla, Rajgond, Halba, Bathara and many nationalities are residing. The women here work for about 16 hours everyday in the fields, homes, as labourers, gatherers of forest produce etc. Though they labor day and night, they are being exploited and are denied all rights.

Feudal patriarchy is exploiting women’s labour and is suppressing all their rights. It has relegated women to a secondary position in the society. The feudal, comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie ruling classes of our country, with the backing of the imperialists are directly responsible for the continuation of exploitation and oppression of women as they are the ones who are strongly entrenching patriarchy in our society. The revolutionary movement entered into DK in 1980 in such a social background.

KAMS is working since three decades in DK with the aim of liberating women. It mobilized and led women in the struggles against forest officers, paper mill managements, tendu leaf contractors and the exploitation, sexual harassment, atrocities and violence of traders from plains. It gave a helping hand to young women who stood against the tribal patriarchy oppressing them. It gave a call to theadivasi women to rise under the leadership of KAMS and fight for women’s liberation. It gave solid support to the fraternal organization, the DAKMS. It mobilized women to resist the police who came to attack their villages and chased them away. Continue reading

Filipino Students Successfully Foil Huge Tuition Fee Hikes

PUP students

Ang Bayan,  April 7, 2010

Students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) have successfully foiled planned tuition fee hikes at the university.

Protests have stopped the proposed 1,567% tuition fee increase (from P12 to P200 per unit) for incoming freshmen this coming school year. Among the courses that would have been affected are laboratory-intensive courses and those that require board examinations which include courses in the colleges of Engineering, Science, Arts, Computer Management and Information Technology, Education and Architecture. Fee increases are also planned in the College of Law from the current P500 to P1,000 per unit. Increases in miscellaneous fees were also proposed.

According to the Sandigan ng Mag-aaral para sa Sambayanan (SAMASA) which led the campaign against the tuition fee increase, the administration of Dr. Dante Guevarra continues to deny the youth their right to education at the so-called poor man’s university. Guevarra has asserted that tuition fee increases are necessary for the improvement of university facilities. But Central Student Council President Chaser Soriano said students seeking affordable education would have nowhere to go should the tuition fee hike be implemented. Continue reading

Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Report on War Crimes in Sri Lanka

Victims of government shelling and aerial bombing of Tamil refugee camps.

The Delhi Tamil Students Union and the Democratic Students Union jointly organized a convention titled “The Unspoken Genocide: War Crimes in Sri Lanka” in Delhi on the 15th of April. Focusing on the Dublin based Permanent People’s Tribunal report that indicted the Sri Lankan government of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the speakers charged the Sri Lankan government with genocide and criticized the international powers for their support to the war crimes committed by the Lankan state. The Indian English version of the report was released by Ajit Singh Bains, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Kolathur Mani.

Rajinder Sachar, former Chief Justice of High Court of Delhi, said that conditions in Sri Lanka cannot improve unless the Tamils are given a respectful place in society as equal citizens. “Unfortunately, that is not happening” he said. He also pointed out that the Tamils may be forced to take other courses of action if in the immediate future the Lankan government did not give them an equal and respectful place. VR Krishna Iyer, former Judge of the Indian Supreme Court, seconded Sachar’s point by adding that the concept of human rights was absent for the Tamils suffering in Sri Lanka. Mr. Iyer, who could not attend the convention owing to health reasons, had sent in a recorded video statement.

Prof. GN Saibaba, Vice-Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggles, drew a link between what is happening in Sri Lanka and what is happening in other parts of South Asia. He said that pressure must be put on the international community to prevent the extermination of the Tamils. Terming the war on the Tamils as “one of the biggest genocides of the 21st century,” he said that if the international community failed to save the Tamils, they would be unable to intervene in the case of repression in Kashmir, the North-Eastern states or on the Adivasis of the Indian heartland. “The most immediate task that all of us have to do is for all nationalities facing similar situations to come together and raise a voice.” Continue reading

Prachanda Assures US Assistant Secretary of State that May 1 Protests will be Peaceful

Nepal News, April 26, 2010

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Calls on PM Nepal, Maoist Chairman

United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O Blake Jr called on Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal at the latter’s residence in Baluwatar, Monday morning.  US assistant secretary Blake asked the PM about the ongoing peace process, constitution drafting, consensus politics, and constitutionalisation of democratic process during the meeting.

PM Nepal told Blake, army integration was key to successful completion of the peace process and that he was striving to bring the political parties to consensus for peace and constitution. Nepal also stressed the need for other political parties to reciprocate his efforts for consensus.  Blake told PM Nepal at the meeting, the US government wanted to see peace, stability and development in Nepal and that his government would support Nepal in this end.

Blake met Unified CPN (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal at the Maoist headquarters Parisdanda Koteshwar before meeting the PM.  At the meeting with Maoist chairman Dahal, Blake expressed concern over the Maoist agitation and urged him to seek solutions by means of dialogue rather than taking to the streets.

Maoist chairman Dahal assured Blake, the mass protest on May 1 would be peaceful and was not targeted at taking over state power as described. The mass protest is being organised for peace and new constitution, Dahal told Blake.

Tim Wise: Imagine if the Tea Party was Black

Let’s play a game, shall we?  The name of the game is called “Imagine.”

The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure – the ones who are driving the action – we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead.

The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Continue reading