Modi: Behind the Mask

ImageSajeev Kumar, a Socialist Review reader, offers his thoughts on the recent elections in India:

Saffron is the colour of hindutva, but for quite some time, it is also the colour of death or shivering fear for the religious minorities of India. For some of them, it is the colour that made their life colourless, it is the colour that brings back chilling memories of those days they ran for life, leaving behind everything and everyone they thought precious till that moment, it is the colour that made them refugees in their own land.

 

The streets were full of blood. People with Trishuls and swords ran amok like blood-thirsty devils, looking for Muslims or non-Hindus. Within 72 hours there were more than 2000 corpse on the streets, including children and pregnant women. No one was spared, and nothing but religion was considered. Nobody was there to hear their heart-breaking screams. Nobody was there to save them, because, all these were well planned and arranged.  [Read more...]

Tokyo Elections and the Future of the Anti-Nuclear Movement

NoNukes2011What to make of the Tokyo gubernatorial election results? How can we organize a campaign to stop reactivating nuclear power plants that connects the whole country? How effective is the “single-issue” focus?

 

On 9 February, amidst the biggest snowfall in 45 years Tokyo held its gubernatorial election. Only 46.14% of eligible voters turned out, the third lowest turnout on record. The winner was former Health and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe who won with 2, 112,979 votes, with the backing of the ruling Liberal Democratic (LDP) and the New Komeito parties.

 

Kenji Utsunomiya, an attorney and former President of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, came second. Utsunomiya came second the last time he ran for governor, in 2012, winning some 970 000 votes. The 2012 gubernatorial election was held on the same day as the general election due to the then Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s abrupt resignation. Despite the 16% drop in voter turnout – 140,000 fewer votes were cast than in the 2012 election – this time round Utsunomiya still managed to win 982,594 votes and exceed his 2012 efforts. Former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, backed by former Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro, ran on a single-issue platform of eliminating nuclear power. He came a close third receiving 956,063 votes. [Read more...]

Syria: No to Assad, No to US Imperialism

Syria-Civil-WarThe Syrian civil war has come about as a response to the rule of Bashar al-Assad who succeeded his father in the year 2000, coming into presidency with strong support of the people and with aspirations of democracy and secularism. However, as his presidency unfolded, not much changed for the Syrian people. The economy was still strongly controlled by the authorities and any signs of uprising or Arab Spring type movements were not met “democratically”.

This crackdown began by heavy monitoring of the internet, which led to nationwide detainment, torturing and killing of political dissidents. The official civil war didn’t begin until early 2011. Many people, inspired by the Arab Spring, felt it was time to protest for reform and demanded Assad resign. The regime was met with the biggest protests in decades – their response was to mow these unarmed protesters down right across the country. [Read more...]

Hezbollah and the Syrian Revolution

SyriaImageHezbollah fought on the front lines against Israeli aggression against Lebanon in 2006, winning respect from Sunni and Shia in Lebanon and all opponents of Zionism. But Hezbollah fighters have now turned their fire on the rebels fighting to overthrow Assad’s regime in Syria, raising the risk of the Arab Spring becoming a sectarian war in Syria and Lebanon. Sam Campbell reports from Lebanon. [Read more...]

The Legacy of Hugo Chavez: Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution

hugo_chavez_by_drunahHugo Chavez was a figure that had the neoliberals of the world worried. He led a democratic sweep of changes across his country, appropriating businesses, nationalizing oil wealth and providing services for the people and the poor, something that, according to the logic of the market’s apologists, cannot work. For all that Time magazine called him ‘garrulous and pugnacious’, workers and the poor in Venezuela voted for him time and again, in elections that have been declared some of the freest in the world. Chavez’s mandate was real, his achievements – from healthcare to welfare – notable, and his networks of support substantial. And this is to say nothing of the support he gathered internationally when he spoke out against Bush and Blair’s War on Terror. He became a leader for progressive people worldwide.

However, Venezuela is still part of the capitalist world; it is no socialist paradise. The inherent contradictions of world capitalism still have their vicious effects in Venezuelan society. So what is Hugo Chavez’s legacy? [Read more...]

The Arab Revolutions Two Years On

Arab-Spring-women-EgyptWhat has come in the West to be called the ‘Arab spring’ was one of the largest outpourings of anger at corruption and injustice in the Arab world in many decades. It saw dictators forced from their palaces, and the people of many nations embrace their ability to make this change. It saw the resurgence of strikes and protests in countries that had not seen such things in years, or even decades, and inspired similar actions in other countries all over the globe from Europe to the Americas and everywhere in between. [Read more...]

Lies, damned lies and weapons of mass destruction

9b96c62ca0003d7b5cd056b82275efb0_XLMarch 19-20 marks 10 years since the beginning of the war on Iraq. Before the war, Socialist Alternative argued, along with other opponents of US imperialism, that the war was predicated upon lies and would bring nothing but death and carnage to Iraq.

There are times you would love to be proven wrong. This was one of them. But the reality of the destruction of Iraq was significantly worse than most people expected. Ten years on, the country has not even begun to recover.

Every war is based on lies – whether it be lies that German soldiers bayonetted babies and raped nuns in Belgium, or lies that Iraqi soldiers removed premature Kuwaiti babies from incubators. No empire is ever honest about its plans to dominate other countries. Here are the lies they told 10 years ago. [Read more...]

Public meeting: Close these hell holes – Australia’s ‘Nauru solution’ and the struggle for refugee rights

Socialist Alternative member Colleen Bolger has been active in the refugee rights campaign in Australia for the past decade, protesting at Woomera Detention Centre in 2002 and now building protests in solidarity with refugee hunger strikers.

In this talk she outlines Julia Gillard’s revival of the Howard-era offshore processing nightmare and describes the dynamics of the unfolding campaign to let the refugees in.

Thursday 22nd November, 6.30pm
MacKenzie Room, St Johns in the City, Willis Street, Wellington

China’s leaders have no solutions

by Charlie Hore

The 18th congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) closes in Beijing this week. Its main purpose was to demonstrate an orderly transition of power at the heart of China’s ruling class.

Under Mao Zedong such meetings were rare—just two took place between 1949 and 1969. Leadership and policy issues were settled by brute force.

The post-Mao leadership has been determined to establish clear rules for settling disputes and changing personnel. These include CCP congresses every five years and compulsory retirement from central leadership posts at 70 years old.

The Congress brings together CCP members from across China, supposedly to represent all the organisation’s members. Apparently some need more representation than others. This year six of China’s 100 billionaires are in attendance, but just 26 migrant workers out of 200 million. [Read more...]

Obama victory: We don’t want “four more-of-the-same years”

The following is an editorial piece that appeared at SocialistWorker.org in the US.

Barack Obama has won re-election, thanks to a strong turnout by the Democratic Party’s core supporters in every place the president needed to win.

Obama was only barely ahead of Mitt Romney in the national popular vote as this article was being written, with more ballots still to be counted.

[Read more...]

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