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Socialism of a new kind...
In the past two months in Perth we have received visits from three representatives of successful movements for social and political change; Alvaro Guzman who is the National Director of the Bolivarian Student Front in Venezuela, Nidia Diaz who is an elected parliamentary representative of the Farabundi Marti Liberation Front (FMLN) in El Salvador and Kassim Abood of the Iraqi Migrant Council based in Sydney. Alvaro Guzman spoke of the rise of Bolivarian Democracy and the government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela which have given hope and power to many sectors of Venezuelan society which had previously been marginalised and excluded from the running of the government in that country. Nidia Diaz of the FMLN in El Salvador, was previously a guerrilla commander in the armed struggle against the US backed military right wing dictatorship in that country and through this struggle gave the people hope and courage to win back the control of their country. When elections were held in the 1990s, the FMLN won enough seats to become a major force for social and political change and for defending the rights and the interests of ordinary and working class Salvadoreans. They have spoken out on the privatisation of state run industries and infrastructure and the Dollarisation of the Salvadorean economy. In March 2004, the FMLN will have their best opportunity yet to win sufficient seats to be able to form a government in their own right. Kassim Abood who though he resides in Australia is in regular and direct contact with the Iraqi Communist Party, spoke of the challenges and successes which confront the people and the Communist Party of Iraq in the aftermath of the US invasion and now occupation of that country. There are members of the party who are on the interim governing council and they also hold two important ministerial positions on the "cabinet" of this council. There has also been a great resurgence of people wanting to join the Communist Party in Iraq with there being 17 branches in Bagdad alone. In each of these three contexts there has been the development of a political force which has sought to challenge the politics of the status quo with its direct links to big business and US imperialism. Each of these movements for social and political change also confront traditional ideas for socialist revolutionary change that are considered doctrinaire in the West, where Lenin, Stalin and Mao are followed unquestionably, notwithstanding the revolutions in Russia, China, North Korea and Eastern Europe which have become stagnant or the bright lights of capitalism have overtaken them. In the progressive movements for social and political change mentioned above and also in Cuba, they successfully utilise an anti-imperialist and socialist/Marxist spirit as a vehicle for challenging the liberal democratic capitalist ideal that the West would like the world to see as the unquestioned model. In addition, the key to the success of the movements for change in each of these three countries is that they pay very careful attention to local conditions, are mass movements because ordinary people want to join them and they forge close links with other progressive forces which have political power (both nationally and internationally). If the CPA wishes to survive and more importantly, to GROW, it needs to look at the success of the movements for social and political change in these countries and reflect on how it can rise from obscurity and capture the popular will of the people. Richard Titelius
efer to Peter Mac's story "Asbestos compensation funds falling short" (The Guardian -03). I personally feel nothing but contempt for the system that machinates to swindle sick and dying people from fair resolution. I know, as I too, furtively fell prey to the insurance hounds. Since mine is a very long story I dare not go into detail. But suffice to say that after nine years of judicial process, all I've ended up with is a paltry $10,000 as a settlement, plus a modest pension from the "Dust Diseases Board". As the battle line is drawn, and years drag on, one is bound by their compulsion to seeing countless doctors in partnership with the insurance industry. These doctors know how to strip you of what's left of your dignity, and make you feel as though you are the culprit rather than the sufferer. All of this is to the detriment of your sanity, especially when your defence is ebbing, as the mind is being tortured with the knowledge of being very sick, and finally becoming polarised with worry! How you are expected to comply with their demands is beyond my comprehension. I conclude by saying it's hard to prove false what is evident on cat-scans and X-rays! But they try until they wear you down to sign. A Attard
December next year will be the 150th Anniversary of the Eureka Stockade when Ballarat miners conducted their famous armed rebellion. That great thinker and advocate of the working class, Karl Marx, had a high opinion of Eureka. Marx wrote: "The revolutionary movement in Victoria arises from the following important circumstances. The gold prospectors demanded the abolition of the Licences, i.e. the abolition of a direct tax on labour; secondly, they insisted on the abolition of the property qualifications for members of Parliament, and in this way they would themselves receive the right to control taxes and legislation. It is not difficult to notice that these in reality are the same reasons which led to the declaration of independence of the United States of America, but with this difference, that in Australia the opposition against the monopolies united with the colonial bureaucrats arises from the workers." I think the Communist Party of Australia should plan an appropriate celebration of the Anniversary showing the significance of Eureka in Australian history. Alan Miller
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking of the latest bombings in Istanbul, said that the fanatics of terror showed themselves to be callous, brutal murderers of the innocent. (ABC AM, 21/11/2003) So they did, and so they are. A few days earlier, the United States launched a rain of air attacks on civilian areas in Iraq, including the use of 500 kg bombs and the total destruction of a mansion said to be owned by a resistance leader. Not a word of criticism from any world leader for this atrocity. As Sir Isaac Newton said, "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Col FrielBack to index page