From: Newry, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.
A critique of ‘Revolutionary Democracy’ must not only cover an analysis of its theoretical underpinnings but also recognise the global conditions in which it operates.
As a journal it represents something of an oasis–concerned with socialist history (including the publication of newly available archival material), theory and present day analysis from a range of theorists. It is released into a world largely dominated by a global media dedicated to the ruthless pursuit of neo-liberalism.
Oh and my critique – two issues a year is not enough!
From: South Korea.
The workers of South Korea have suffered yet another violent and brutal crackdown at the hands of Nobel Peace Prize-winner President Kim Dae-jung.
On the afternoon of February 20, over 4,000 armed riot cops stormed Daewoo Motors’ Bupyong plant, which was being peacefully occupied by several hundred striking workers and their families. Many were viciously beaten and 76 were taken in for questioning. The cops have detained 7 union leaders and are out to arrest 29 more. The very next day, on February 21, Daewoo’s creditor banks gave the company a pat on the head for the crackdown by extending the credit period and providing it with even more funds.
This shows whom this is all basically for, whose interests the whole vile affair is all about. As this is being written, arrest warrants are also being drawn up for the top leaders of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.
The Bupyong workers had begun a strike on February 16, in opposition to the company and regime’s mass sacking of 1,750 workers. What’s more, many of this 1,750 are the key union activists and militant workers in the plant – an open attempt to destroy the union in Bupyong. This sacking comes on top of some 3,500 that have been laid off since last November, and thousands more since the collapse of the Daewoo empire in late 1998. The completion of Daewoo Motors’ restructuring and its sell-off overseas is vital for the onward march of the regime’s neo-liberal 'reforms', which are nothing but a desperate bid to salvage a deeply crisis-ridden capitalist economy at the enormous expense of working people’s living conditions and democratic rights. Its result is billions of dollars of handouts to the corporate robbers, while working people suffer more and more unbearable hardships. And when workers resort to mass struggle to defend even the little they still have, the regime thunders down with batons and boots. It is nothing short of a war on the South Korean working people.
However, since the crackdown, the workers have courageously begun to regroup. They are holding daily rallies in Bupyong and attracting the support of other workers and organisations. In response, the regime has deployed even more cops and is attempting to suppress any attempts at protest. It is almost like a return to the days of military rule when we had to converge at pre-arranged locations to hold surprise demonstrations.
We urgently call on the international workers movement to take immediate solidarity action to place international pressure on the vicious Kim Dae-jung regime. We request protests and industrial action to target the South Korean government’s embassies and consulates, Daewoo Motors outlets and service centres, as well as any other South Korean government representative institutions and figures.
Power of the Working Class
From: Wroclaw, Poland.
Thank you for sending issues of ‘Revolutionary Democracy’ regularly.
Many, many greetings and wishes from Poland.
From: Kandy, Sri Lanka.
Only today I came across your website. I was happy to see a website defending the teachings of Stalin. I was the editor of Samaja Addiyana (Social Studies) a Sinhala journal published in 1976 to propagate Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism. Our theoretical journal published articles exposing the anti-Marxist-Leninist contents of Trotskyism. After the publication of a synopsis (booklet) titled Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism we organised the Communist Labour Movement. A few years later we had to stop activities.
In your articles I did not see that you have referred to Stalin's Speech at the 19th Congress. Along with 'Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR' and 'Marxism and Linguistics' this speech opens a new methodology in deciding the stage of the revolution.
But do not forget the Reply to Yan-sky (J.V. Stalin, Works Vol. 9, Moscow, 1954, pp. 207-22). This speech is now added to the marx2mao Internet collection at my request.
Comrade Le Duan in his writings had formulated the theoretical contribution of Stalin in this Speech. I think he was one of the first leaders to recognise this.
Comrade Appan of CPI(M) is engaged in writing a Stalin biography after collecting various sources. I have published only Part 1 of my book in 1980, in Sinhala. Unfortunately our writings have not been translated to English.
We have to gather forces to build a common programme to defend Stalinism. Without this the future of the Communist movement is in grave danger. I am happy to see that you have recognised the theoretical blunders put forward by the Chinese comrades in the two articles On the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat (unfortunately Mao has accepted the authorship of these). Can you send me the article 'J.V. Stalin and the Theory of Socialist Reproduction', by ‘Inter’?
Thank you comrades for raising high the banner of Marx and Engels, Lenin and Stalin.
I wish the journal a grand success.
From: Ohio, United States of America.
American imperialists and their mouthpieces love to call certain countries ‘rogue states’. What someone needs to do is compile and post a list of all the United Nations votes that have occurred in the last ten years clearly showing the United States and a couple of its puppets voting against virtually the entire world. 160 versus 3, 180 versus 2, etc. votes are becoming more and more common. Such a compilation should vividly demonstrate beyond any question who is, and who is not, the ‘Rogue State’ on this planet.
For the cause,
From: United States of America.
The importance of the political development of the US working class breaking from the bourgeoisie is not to be underestimated. This is why the mobilization with the youth and with workers from around the world was a very important development. As I said in the article, the WTO and the WB cannot be reformed and the working class has to organize itself independently for power. ('Revolutionary Democracy' Vol. VI, No. 1, pp. 26-30.) The first step is a break with the political parties of the bourgeoisie and the labour allies in the bureaucracy that in the US have openly supported imperialism and capitalism.
It is this potential development that frightens Sweeney and the rest of the bureaucracy. It is interesting but not surprising that Ray O. Light has nothing to say about the US or even Indian trade union bureaucracy.
The failure to deal with this parasitic bureaucracy that misleads the trade unions while issuing calls for the revolutionary party is characteristic of idealists and sectarians.
From: New Delhi.
T. Puroshottam, Joint Secretary of Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) was brutally murdered at Hyderabad on 23rd November in broad daylight. He was attacked when he went to a local grocery shop by a group of unidentified men who came in an unmarked Tata Sumo and were lying in wait for him close to his house. Puroshottam was attacked with long knives. His head was virtually severed from the body. There is every reason to believe that the AP police or vigilante gangs sponsored by them are responsible for this killing.
This fatal attack was not the first one on him. In May 1997, Puroshottam was attacked, grievously wounded and left for dead in front of a police station in Mahboobnagar district by policeman in plain clothes. Later, a group calling itself ‘Green Tigers’, a mercenary outfit created by the police, owned up to it. Despite demands for an enquiry, no enquiry was ordered by the government. After three years, the writ petition (No. 11363 of 1997) against this attack is still pending in A.P. High Court.
Why has Puroshottam, a popular lawyer been targeted? Puroshottam was representing a large number of poor people implicated by the police in criminal cases and was filing cases for criminal action against policemen involved in crimes. As a leader in the APCLC, Puroshottam was involved in regular investigations into instances of fake encounters and police torture and publishing the criminal acts of the police. It was his involvement on both these fronts that had earned him the wrath of the police.
The A.P. government and police has been actively involved in organising and supporting vigilante gangs in many districts to conduct killings and attacks on such people who it is difficult for the police to kill in ‘encounters’. In April 1997, the popular cultural activist of Jan Natya Mandali, Gaddar, was shot at by unidentified gunmen. The so-called ‘Green Tigers’ owned up to this attack as well. Over the past three years police has organised many more such gangs from the surrendered militants and local criminals.
In this context it needs to be noted that the unmarked vehicles used by the attackers resembles those used by the Special Task Force (STF) in Andhra Pradesh which bear no number plates or other markings to identify them as police vehicles. Such practice of the police is useful in concealing the identity of the attackers. It is also strange that the police along with the Superintendent of Police of Ranga Reddy district arrived on the scene within minutes of the killing and immediately forcibly took away the dead body despite the protests of his wife Jyothi. They also tried to remove all evidence from the spot. These point to the police having prior knowledge and involvement in the killing.
Puroshottam is the fifth activist from APCLC to be killed by the state and gangs fostered by it in the last fifteen years. The state’s criminal record of killing civil libertarians started in January 1985 when Gopi Rajanna, an advocate and vice president of APCLC, Jagityal Taluq (Karimnagar district) was shot dead by the BJP activists. The police did not initiate any action against the culprits thus showing their complicity in the crime. Later, Dr. Ramanatham, a popular pediatrician in Warangal and state vice president of APCLC was killed in his clinic in September 1985 by some policemen who came from a procession that was passing by. Japa Lakshma Reddy, a senior civil libertarian and state executive committee member of APCLC was killed in his home in Karimnagar by plainclothes policemen in November 1986. Later the convener of Warangal district committee of APCLC, secretary of Warangal Bar Association and a popular Advocate Narra Prabhakar Reddy was killed in his home in Warangal.
PUDR demands an immediate judicial enquiry into the killing of Puroshottam and an enquiry into the operations of vigilante gangs and their nexus with the police.
People’s Union for Democratic Rights
Click here to return to the April 2001 index.