The Guardian November 26, 2003

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Letters to the Editor:

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 

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 

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
Perth, WA

Asbestos victims treated like culprits
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

150th Anniversary of Eureka Stockade
December next year will be the 150th Anniversary of the Eureka 
Stockade when Ballarat miners conducted their famous armed 

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
Marden, SA

Only half the truth
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 Friel
Alawa, NT
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