Archive for the International Affairs Category

American poverty at all-time high

Posted in International Affairs on September 14, 2011 by Umer

The number of Americans living in poverty rose to a record 46.2 million last year, official data has shown.

This is the highest figure since the US Census Bureau started collecting the data in 1959.

In percentage terms, the poverty rate rose to 15.1%, up from 14.3% in 2009.

The US definition of poverty is an annual income of $22,314 (£14,129) or less for a family of four and $11,139 for a single person.

The number of Americans living below the poverty line has now risen for four years in a row, while the poverty rate is the biggest since 1993.

Poverty among black and Hispanic people was much higher than for the overall US population last year, the figures also showed.

The Census Bureau data said 25.8% of black people were living in poverty and 25.3% of Hispanic people.

Its latest report also showed that the average annual US household income fell 2.3% in 2010 to $49,445.

Meanwhile, the number of Americans without health insurance remained about 50 million.

The data comes as the US unemployment rate remains above 9%.

President Barack Obama last week launched a new $450bn job creation plan.

He wants to fund huge construction projects, schools and services, while giving tax cuts to workers and small businesses to boost recruitment.

However, his plans require backing from Congress, where Republicans – who control the House of Representatives – have voiced their opposition.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14903732

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“The hope of a new dawn”

Posted in Communist Movement, Communist Workers & Peasants Party, Comrades, International Affairs, Marxism, marxist, Pakistan, Poetry, Literature, Art on August 13, 2011 by daanishkhan

by Danish Khan

Here comes another 14th august, a day celebrated by the state of Pakistan as its independence day, but for an average citizen of the country, it is just another day with ever-growing troubles and sorrows. During the last 64 years, lots of things have changed but the Independence Day
celebrations on official levels are still very much the same, the putrid display of militaristic insanity, which does not suit a state where poverty and hunger is spreading like a viral infection, fake and oblivious patriotic songs, which try to deny the existence of different nationalities in a federation of Pakistan, and try to patronize people with the Pakistani Nationalism by suffocating the rich and diverse culture and history of Balochis, Sindhis and the Pakhtuns. And to wrap up the celebrations prayers are offered at official level to please the theocracy of the country, and the ruling elite pardon for forgiveness from the omnipotent for all the crimes they have committed all year long against the people of Pakistan. But now days the lack of interest in the independence day celebrations among the common citizens is a mere reflection that  an average citizen is completely fed up of this onslaught of fake patriotism which has been continuously thrown upon him for last six decades to cover up the wrong deeds and doings of the ruling elites of this country.

“ yeh daag daag ujaala yeh shab-guzeda sahar,

woh intezaar tha jiska yeh woh sahar tu nahi”

On the eve of 14th august 1947, on the creation of the state of Pakistan, Faiz wrote one of the historical poem of its kind  titled as                    “Subah-e-Azaadi” (Dawn of Freedom), at that moment when everyone was celebrating the so called freedom, Faiz was not too much enthusiastic about it. In his poem he tried to raise a point that things would not change too much for an average citizen in this kind of Pakistan. Isn’t it turned out to be true after the long and bleak experiences of 64 years?

The existing state of Pakistan without any shadow of a doubt is a state which has been run by the military for last six decades. It is not surprised when people say that military is the most stable and strongest institution of the country, but I would rather say that military is such a hegemonic institution of the country which has not allowed any other institution to sustain and develop itself to challenge the hegemony of the military. Thus if this country has been a home of misery, poverty, hunger and darkness for last six decades, most of the credit goes to the military of the Pakistan. But wait a minute, what about the religious clergy (Mullahs), feudal landlords and the Bourgeois of the country?

Well military has been such a hegemonic force that, all these above mentioned forces of the society have been forced directly or indirectly to support and back the hegemony of the military. Furthermore, they all represent the reactionary and the privileged classes of the society, thus directly or indirectly their interests have been amalgamated with the interests of the military establishment. Thus the contemporary state of Pakistan is a state which defends and protects the interests of Military Generals, Religious clergy (Mullahs), feudal lords (jagirdaar) and the Bourgeois class.  So, if you do belong to the any of the above mentioned fragments of the society, you might have a reason to be joyous on this Independence Day, but if not, and odds are very much against you, then it is the time to realize and rationalize a change which can bring about necessary socio-economic changes to shackle this stranglehold of these monstrous forces.

All of these powerful forces have been very smart and clever, they have kept an average citizen in confusion by blaming each other for the economic and social troubles of the country, but in reality all of them are just different phases of the same rotating cycle. The military blames the political ruling elite as the reason for country’s dire situation, the Mullahs (religious clergy) blames music, dance, film, women in shirtsleeves as the reason behind all the troubles of the country including poverty, hunger and disparity among the people. While in very mellow and disguised words the Bourgeois class blames military (not as an institution, but just one general who turns out to be a dictator) and the feudal lords for the lack of democracy and prosperity in the country, and the feudal lords claim that it is only the media which is exaggerating things, otherwise
country is doing pretty good.

On contrary, an average citizen of Pakistan collectively blames and considers all these sects of the society responsbile for all the pain and misery of the people of Pakistan. The living conditions of the working class people of Pakistan tantamount to slavery. Even after the long 64 years, if a state is unable to provide the basic necessities of life, i.e. food, clean drinking water, electricity etc. then it would be crime to not ask those who have been in power to be accountable in the court of the people. But it is a tendency among the corporate mainstream media and in the Bourgeois culture to discourage such questions and debates which point out the real contradictions of the society. That is the primary reason, when anyone talks about the accountability of the military of Pakistan, the patriotism of that person is doubted upon. But we the youth of Pakistan opted to rebel against this norm and tradition, we are not going to stay silent, we are following the pathways of Sajad Zaheer, Hassan Nasir, Habib Jalib, Nazir Abbasi and Faiz Ahmad Faiz, and all those brave matrys who resisted against this system of oppression and exploitation.

Even in such miserable conditions, there is still a dawn of hope in the hearts of the people, for some reasons they have realized that things only get worsen to get better. After every dark night, there is a new dawn, which brings the hope of a better tomorrow for the people of Pakistan. The class consciousness among the people of Pakistan has been increasing steadily because of their harsh material experiences and realities, and due to the sound and consistent political activism by the revolutionaries of the country. Now the people have realized that being passive will not do them any better, instead of being reactionary they have to be proactive and revolutionary. The tales of French revolution, Russian revolution
and the Chinese revolution have been widely discussed among the intellects of the society, and now this debate is slowly but surely spreading among the youth and the working classes of the country. Now it is upon the people of Pakistan and on their class consciousness to learn from the histories of the great revolutions of the past, and try to relate and localize them according to their existing material conditions. It would be too early and speculative to say that when and which way the pendulum of revolution would swing, but the one thing is certain, the emancipation and the welfare of the majority of the population would be the center of the gravity of any coming change in Pakistan.

May Day in Nepal, 2010

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Uncategorized with tags , on May 19, 2010 by Umer

Maoism – A Critique From the Left

Posted in Books & Authors, Communist Movement, International Affairs, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2010 by Umer

Pragoti has had a number of contributors from the Left taking on the subject of Maoism and Maoist violence in India. Various articles such asthis or this have addressed the subject. One of the regular contributors to Pragoti, Prasenjit Bose, has now edited a volume of articles which critique the Maoists from the viewpoint of the organised Left in the country. The critique is organised on various lines – a theory/praxis critique by PMS Grewal and Nilotpal Basu and a comparative assessment of various extremist/Maoist movements across the world, particularly in Latin America by another Pragoti contributor Vijay Prashad. The book is rounded off with a telling ideological document that debated the viewpoints of the Naxalites before these left wing sectarians branched off from the CPI(M) in the late 1960s. The book is available for purchase here. With permission from Prasenjit Bose, we are carrying the introduction to the book (the first chapter) in this post.

Introduction — Prasenjit Bose

As the debate on leftwing extremist violence and the state’s offensive against it intensifies in India, opinion tends to get increasingly polarized. On the one side are those who consider the CPI (Maoist) as a destructive terrorist group, much like the Islamist Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) or the separatist United Liberation Force of Asom (ULFA), which has to be crushed through the military might of the state. On the other side are those who see the Maoists as a revolutionary force, fighting for the cause of the exploited and the marginalized, and justify their violent acts as a necessary evil in order to bring about radical social transformation. Little effort is made, however, from either end to delve deeper into the question of leftwing extremism, in India or elsewhere, in order to understand its current activities in terms of its ideological basis, social roots and historical origins. 

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National Democratic Revolution

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , on February 22, 2010 by Umer

by Danish Khan

When we try to investigate the region of South Asia, the conflict of the Jammu and Kashmir flashes our imagination. More than 100,000 lives have been lost in the bloodiest dispute of the Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan. It will not be wrong to say that the establishments of both India and Pakistan working on the agenda of Imperial powers have exploited the conflict of Kashmir as a popular tool to keep millions of people of the sub-continent under the clouds of darkness, poverty and misery. While during all this time the people who have been most affected by this ever lasting dispute are the unfortunate people of the Jammu and Kashmir. It is essential that the legacy of Kashmir dispute should be put to an end, and a new dawn should emerge from the beautiful mountains of Kashmir which will ensure a prosperous and peaceful future for the coming generations of sub continent.

The present status of the Jammu and Kashmir is similar to a neo-colony. When I will use the term Kashmir, I am referring to the whole region of the Jammu and Kashmir. The armed forces of both India and Pakistan have occupied the territory of the Kashmir. The people of Kashmir have been denied from their basic civic liberties. To make sure the status quo in the Kashmir, the India and Pakistan are spending almost three forth of their economic budget on the military. If we analyze the means of production of the Kashmir they are pre-capitalist in nature. In these harsh realities it is inevitable that only the scientific knowledge of Marxism-Leninism has a potential to emancipate the most oppressed and exploited people of the Kashmir. In the light of Marxism-Leninism a “National Democratic Revolution” can solve this conflict by emancipating the people of Kashmir from occupation, oppression and exploitation. National Democratic Revolution in Kashmir can also trickle starts the series of “people’s democratic revolution” in the sub-continent. Because the defeat of arm forces of India and Pakistan in Kashmir can only weaken their stranglehold in their own countries respectively. Thus it will be a huge opening for the people’s movement in India and Pakistan to take control of the state affairs and close all doors for Imperialism.

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The London Meet on Afghanistan

Posted in International Affairs with tags , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2010 by Umer

 by Yohannan Chemarapally

(People’s Democracy)

THE London Conference on Afghanistan held in the last week of January was supposed to plan out a coherent “exit strategy” for the West out of the quagmire it finds itself in. Instead, the conference has only succeeded in sending out confusing signals to the international community. While there was a lot of talk of engaging with the “good Taliban there was also a continued emphasis on a military solution to the conflict.

However, the desperation to get out of Afghanistan was tangible from the statements of most Western leaders present at the meeting. The willingness to open a dialogue with the “good Taliban” to find a political solution was an indication of the prevailing pessimistic mood. But with a political or military solution nowhere in sight it was evident that the military occupation of Afghanistan would continue for another five years at least. The Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, in fact wants foreign troops to be around for a minimum of 15 years. He reiterated this demand once again in London. More than 70 countries, along with the European Union, NATO and the UN attended the London Conference. The EU and NATO officials were critical about Karzai’s 15 year time line for withdrawal.

It is evident that the grandiose promise of President Barak Obama to withdraw all American troops by 2011 is no longer a feasible proposition. With the militarily ascendant Taliban refusing to be drawn into a dialogue, the conditions on the ground will mean that US troops will continue to be stationed in Afghanistan beyond the deadline set by President Obama. The 10,000 additional NATO troops from European countries that Washington expected to be deployed in Afghanistan as part of the military surge, does not seem to be materialising. France has announced that it will not be sending any more troops to Afghanistan. Germany has promised only 500 more troops while the Dutch are on the verge of pulling out all their 2000 soldiers out of Afghanistan.

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China and Socialism

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs with tags , , , , on December 11, 2009 by Umer

Speech by the represeantative of the Communist Party of China on the Eleventh International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties

Mr. Chairman, fellow delegates:

It’s an honor for me and my colleges to be delegated by the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to attend this gathering of the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties.

First of all, allow me to convey to you the warm greetings and best wishes of our minister Wang Jiarui and his deputies in the department. This IMCWP is an important platform for communist parties across the world to share information, exchange ideas and hold discussion on certain issues. So far, 10 conferences have been held successfully and today, we are gathered here in New Delhi to witness the opening of the eleventh IMCWP conference.

Secondly, I would like to take this opportunity to brief you on new development in China and recent endeavors of the CPC. The financial crisis originated from the United States last year has seriously affected the economy and the livelihood of countries in the world. Due to the bad impact of the crisis, the year 2009 has been the most difficult year for China’s economic development since the beginning of this century. In order to deal with this crisis and maintain the steady and rapid economic growth, the CPC and the Chinese government timely adjusted the macroeconomic policies by adopting a proactive fiscal policy and a moderately relaxed monetary policy, and formulated a package plan to expand domestic—demand and promote growth. A two-year investment plan with a total amount of 4 trillion Yuan is implemented involving greatly increased government spending to boost domestic demand and improve people’s livelihood. Structural tax relief policies were put in place bringing about several interest rate cuts to allow liquidity of the banking system and to stabilize external demand. A wide-ranging industrial restructuring and rejuvenation program was initiated to encourage innovation and enhance energy conservation, emission reduction and environment protection. Great efforts have been made to expand domestic market, especially the rural market, stabilize agricultural development and increase farmers’ income. Effective measures have been taken to reform the social security system to ensure access to basic medical service, free compulsory education as well as affordable housing for urban and rural residents so that they can be free of worries.

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