World Perspectives 2017: XI. The Class Struggle in Asia

 

1.                   South Korea, an imperialist state, is currently undergoing a major political crisis. Its president, Park Geun-hye, leader of the extremely conservative Saenuri party and daughter of the country’s former dictator, who ruled between 1961 and 1979, has been involved in a major corruption scandal making her the country’s most publically despised person. After a series of mass protests of up to one million participants, Park was suspended by the parliament and – depending of the decision of the constitutional court – may be impeached in the next three months. While revolutionaries obviously support these mass protests, they had to explain that corruption in South Korea is not the personal flaw of of President Park Geun-hye, but is systemic in a country dominated by the large chaebols – the huge monopoly capitalist conglomerates.

 

2.                   The reactionary offensive of the right-wing BJP government of India has provoked several important political conflicts. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for greater privatization was met with a massive one-day general strike in which about 180 million workers participated. Another attack has been the governments’ demonetization reform which removed all 500 and 1,000 rupee notes from circulation. This has lead to public outcry, as it is a frontal attack on India’s poor who face enormous difficulties in exchanging their money at banks. Another important mass struggle in India is the protests of the Dalit – the lowest caste in the country – against their outright discrimination. In response, the Dalits have stopped picking up the carcasses of dead animals and cleaning the city’s sewers. Furthermore, the killing of Burhan Wani, a guerilla leader in Kashmiri, by the Indian army has provoked the outbreak of another Intifada with the Kashmiri youth in the vanguard. [1] Revolutionaries in India must advocate the organization of the masses in action committees so that they can control their leadership and continue the struggle when the latter betray it. Furthermore, it is crucial to unite the struggle of the workers, the Dalit, women and the Muslim minority into a political struggle for a workers’ government.

 

3.                   The mass unrest in Kashmir has provoked a skirmish along the border of India and Pakistan. The government in Delhi accuses Pakistan of lending financial and military support to guerilla organizations in Kashmir. As India’s only province with a Muslim majority population, the Kashmiri people have fought for many years against the Indian occupation and for independence. Revolutionaries in India and Pakistan support the national liberation struggle of Kashmir, but oppose the war-mongering of both governments. In any war between the two states, revolutionaries in either country will take a defeatist position, calling for the defeat of the state in which they themselves live.

 

4.                   As mentioned above, the Philippines new president, Rodrigo Duterte, has initiated a rupture in the decades-long status of the country as a loyal ally of US imperialism and has re-orientated the country towards closer collaboration with China. At the same time, Duterte is attempting to create a semi-Bonapartist rule by launching a campaign of vicious reactionary killings against alleged drug-dealers and drug-addicts – modeled on his campaign of deploying extra-legal death squads against suspected drug dealers and Maoist guerillas when he was mayor of Davao City. Duerte also initiated peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), headed by Jose Maria Sison, and even unofficially offered the CPP cabinet posts. While revolutionaries do not join the hypocritical campaign of the West in ridiculing Duerte, they also reject the organic opportunism of the Maoists who have already expressed their willingness to join a government with this right-wing Bonapartist. The task of revolutionaries is to build a mass workers’ party independent of all factions of the bourgeoisie – both the liberals as well as the populists.

 

5.                   The appointment of Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun as the new king of Thailand after the death of his father, Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October 2016 has been accompanied with a reactionary upsurge of extreme monarchism by the state apparatus and the media. The regime has initiated public demonstrations of loyalty to the monarch, and people who supposedly do not express sufficient admiration for the king are beaten up in the streets. The new king has also named an 11-member council of advisers, bringing in three new officials, including a former army chief and two representatives of the ruling junta. In short, we see a consolidation of the reactionary military dictatorship which took power in a coup in 2014, ousting Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's elected government. The RCIT reaffirms its assessment from that time that this coup had a thoroughly reactionary character and revolutionaries had to side with the bourgeois-populist Red Shirt movement dominated by workers and poor peasants which opposed the coup without giving political support to its bourgeois-populist leadership. [2]

 



[1] RCIT: After the Killing of Burhan Wani: Long Live the Kashmiri Intifada! 21.07.2016, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/kashmir-uprising/

[2] See e.g. RCIT: Thailand: Smash the Developing Military Coup! No Trust in the pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai PartyLeadership! Mobilize the Working Class and Poor Peasants to Defeat the “Yellow Shirts”, Army Command, and Monarchy! 21.5.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/thailand-coup/; Michael Pröbsting: Thailand: How Should Socialists Fight Against the Military Coup? A Critique of the Statement “Oppose the coup regime!” by several Asian Left Organizations, 27.5.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/thailand-coup-critique/; Michael Pröbsting: Thailand: Shall Socialists Defend the Government Against the Military Coup? Reply to a Neo-Bordigist Polemic of the “Liaison Committee of Communists”, 24.5.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/thailand-coup-reply/; Thailand: Defeat the looming reactionary Coup D’état! Mobilize the Working Class and Poor Peasants as an independent force against the “Yellow Shirts”, Army Command and Monarchy! 4.12.2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/thailand-looming-coup-d-%C3%A9tat/; Michael Pröbsting: Thailand: CWI’s Disgraceful Support for the Bosses’ “Yellow Shirts”, RCIT, 15.1.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/cwi-on-thailand/