Chin Peng 21 October 1924-16 September 2013

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 235 October/November 2013

Chin Peng - Revolutionary Communist

21 October 1924-16 September 2013

I make no apologies for seeking to replace such an odious system with a form of Marxist socialism…If you saw how the returning British functioned the way I did, you would know why I chose arms.’

Chin Peng, former leader of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP), died on 16 September aged 88. A ferocious fighter for socialism and national liberation, he died in exile in Bangkok, having been banned from his homeland in 1989.

 

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General Vo Nguyen Giap: 25 August 1911 – 4 October 2013

‘We fight for the liberty and independence of our country, for the people’s liberation, for socialism and peace. Our cause is just; we shall win.’

Vo Nguyen Giap, general of the Vietnam People’s Army, died on 4 October aged 102. The bourgeois press called him the Red Napoleon, to the Vietnamese he was Ge Luo, Volcano under the Snow. General Giap was a legendary hero of the resistance to Japanese, French, British and US imperialism, he died in hospital in Hanoi. On 13 October hundreds of thousands of people lined the route from the National Funeral House in Hanoi to the airport to bid farewell to and salute General Giap as his coffin passed by, en route to his home province of Quang Binh in central Vietnam.

 

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Genocide Against Sri Lankan Tamils Continues – British ruling class complicit

sri_lanka_killing_fieldsTwo years after the Sri Lankan government with British and US support defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the British government continues to be complicit in the oppression of the Tamil people. On 16 June the UK Borders Agency (UKBA) plans to deport around 60 Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka by charter flight, and a second charter flight has been booked for 21 June. London Law firm Ravi Solicitors have compiled evidence that in at least 14 cases, the names and documents submitted by a Tamil asylum seeker as part of their asylum claim have been handed to the Sri Lankan High Commission.  UKBA have not denied this accusation.

On 14 June Channel 4 aired a documentary ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’, featuring devastating video evidence of horrific war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan government in the final stages of its war against the LTTE. The documentary was shown to diplomats at the UN on 3 June, and has been cited by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heyns, as evidence of ‘definitive war crimes’. This follows a report published in April by the UN Secretary General concluding that as many as 40,000 people were killed in the final weeks of the Sri Lankan army’s offensive, double previous UN estimates.

 

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Southeast Asian crisis: gnawing away at the foundations

First published in FRFI 141, February / March 1998

The smugness of international bankers and US government officials that they have contained the southeast Asian economic crisis should deceive no one. While the world's major stockmarkets may, for the time being, have recovered from the dramatic falls of last autumn, the southeast Asian crisis is gnawing away at the foundations of the international capitalist system.

The massive $100bn IMF-led rescue operation has prevented an immediate collapse of the major southeast Asian economies and delayed the impact of the crisis on the dominant imperialist nations. In the third week of January, IMF managing director Michel Camdessus felt able to reject fears that the Asian crisis would unleash a deflationary wave throughout the world economy. The US economy, he said, was well able to absorb the shocks, the impact on the European Union would be marginal, and the threat to the emerging markets in Latin America and eastern Europe was limited. Confidence is everything when the foundations are rotten and it was, after all, what investors on the stockmarkets needed to hear.

 

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Tamils held in camps

FRFI 210 August / September 2009

Since 18 May, when the Sri Lankan government claimed a total defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), 300,000 Tamil refugees have been held in camps throughout Sri Lanka. President Rajapakse’s government banned the media from reporting on the conditions in these camps. However, on 10 July senior international aid workers reported an average of 1,400 people dying every week in the giant Manik Farm camp alone.

In FRFI 209 we reported the barbaric assault on the Tamil people of Sri Lanka. This came after unprecedented global demonstrations that MPs and politicians worldwide paid lip service to, then ignored as thousands were slaughtered. David Miliband, the Labour government’s Foreign Secretary said he was ‘gravely concerned’ by the conflict. However, Britain continues to license sales of arms and military equipment to the Sri Lankan state and the UN Security Council agreed to a $1.9 billion loan which will aid the genocide further.

 

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Barbarous assault on the Tamils

FRFI 209 June / July 2009

The last stronghold of the leadership of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was overrun by Sri Lankan government forces on 18 May. The Sri Lankan state fought a war of extermination. The scale of the slaughter inflicted is intended to confirm the completeness of victory for Sinhalese chauvinism and total defeat of Tamil national liberation. The Times (29 May 2009), citing UN sources, reported over 20,000 Tamil civilians killed, 45% of them children, in the last three weeks of fighting. Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa said no civilians were killed. Three doctors who worked in the war zone are under arrest, charged with fabricating casualty figures. 300,000 refugees are held in 42 camps surrounded by razor-wire and armed guards. This murderous operation copied the attacks in Jenin, 2002, Fallujah, 2004 and Gaza, 2008-09. The same methods were deployed.

 

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Indonesia into the vortex

FRFI 143 June / July 1998

A vortex of imploding debt is swallowing up entire economies and governments. Indonesia's financial crisis ignited the fires that burnt down Jakarta. The complacency with which capitalist commentators greeted last year's Asian currency and stock market falls - talk of necessary adjustments, temporary aberrations - has given way to grim mutterings of a global crash. They are right. Trevor Rayne describes the context of the Indonesian uprising.

'For miles the streets of Jakarta look like the set of a disaster film. Hundreds of shops, houses, public buildings, police stations, hotels, discos, shopping centres and markets were burnt.' Richard Lloyd Parry, The Independent, 15 May, 1998

Tanks and armoured cars criss-crossed the city, squadrons of troops on motorbikes raced around looking for targets, but the anger of the workers and the poor could not be suppressed. The official tally of the 15 May outpouring is 3,000 buildings destroyed, including 500 banks, 1,000 cars and 500 motorbikes, at a cost of $230 million. The National Commission on Human Rights say 1,188 people were killed.

 

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East Timor: a fire fuelled by imperialism

FRFI 151 October / November 1999

On 30 August, after 23 years of bloody repression by Indonesia, 98.6 per cent of the people of East Timor turned out to vote in a UN-sponsored referendum. Despite intimidation by Indonesian-backed militia, the result was a massive vote for independence and freedom and against limited autonomy under Indonesian rule. Within two weeks, East Timor had been destroyed, its cities reduced to smoking shells, hundreds of East Timorese murdered and almost the entire population driven from their homes. Only then did the United Nations send in peace-keeping troops. One of the first acts of the their commander, Major-General Peter Cosgrove, was to shake hands with the Indonesian military -- who actively participated in the carnage -- and praise them for their 'first-class assistance'. But a willingness to ignore Indonesian crimes, however heinous, has always been the hallmark of the west's attitude to East Timor.

 

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Bhopal – still waiting for justice

In the early hours of the morning on 3 December 1984, methyl isocyanate (MIC), a lethal toxic gas, leaked from a chemical plant in Bhopal, India. Within the next 24 hours 8,000 people had died. A further 15,000 were to die over the next few years with an estimated 500,000 left with chronic and debilitating injuries. Twenty years on and a person still dies every single day from the effects of the accident.

It was quite possibly the biggest industrial accident in history. An avoidable accident, resulting from the relentless pursuit of profit that capitalism has spread around the world. Throughout the 1970s India increased its exposure to the free-market and sought more foreign direct investment. A lot of it was found through the transformation of world agriculture labelled as the ‘Green Revolution’, which brought to India agricultural multinationals such as a company called Union Carbide.

 

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Burma: people on the march

FRFI 199 October / November 2007

As we go to press, the outcome of the mass uprising against the tyrannical military junta in Burma remains unclear. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in protest against a regime infamous for its brutality against the poor and the indigenous populations of the country.

 

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Maoist party wins election

‘This victory is a command by the Nepali people to establish lasting peace’ Prachanda, April 2008

On 10 April, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN(M)) won elections for a Constituent Assembly with 31% of the vote: they gained 120 of the 240 directly-elected seats and 100 of the seats allotted through proportional representation. The Maoists’ spectacular victory was a shock for the regional and global powers who presumed that the bourgeois Nepali Congress Party and its allies would form the government. The Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (UML) had 110 and 103 seats respectively. The US embassy in Kathmandu had scornfully predicted that the CPN(M) would garner a mere 10% of the vote.

 

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EDITORIAL / FRFI 141 Feb / Mar 1998

FRFI 141 February / March 1998

Southeast Asian crisis: gnawing away at the foundations

The smugness of international bankers and US government officials that they have contained the southeast Asian economic crisis should deceive no one. While the world's major stockmarkets may, for the time being, have recovered from the dramatic falls of last autumn, the southeast Asian crisis is gnawing away at the foundations of the international capitalist system.

The massive $100bn IMF-led rescue operation has prevented an immediate collapse of the major southeast Asian economies and delayed the impact of the crisis on the dominant imperialist nations. In the third week of January, IMF managing director Michel Camdessus felt able to reject fears that the Asian crisis would unleash a deflationary wave throughout the world economy. The US economy, he said, was well able to absorb the shocks, the impact on the European Union would be marginal, and the threat to the emerging markets in Latin America and eastern Europe was limited. Confidence is everything when the foundations are rotten and it was, after all, what investors on the stockmarkets needed to hear.

 

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