Nepal votes for radical change

April 26, 2008

- Daphna Whitmore

Some walked for miles to cast their vote. It was soon clear millions had voted for radical change in Nepal. The Maoists are by far the largest party in the Constituent Assembly and have promised to end the feudal-monarchy and to mobilise against poverty and repression.

The groundswell began in 1996 with a Maoist-led armed struggle in the rural areas. Within a decade they had established Red Zones in 80 percent of the countryside. Land reforms, campaigns for women’s equality, literacy drives and new infrastructure projects changed the physical and political landscape.

Jared Phillips from the Workers Party travelled to Nepal in 2003 and was one of the first Westerners to visit the Red Zones. He was impressed by what he saw and spoke of the women’s movement there. “It is one of the most advanced in the world today” he said. “The difference between the situation of women in the liberated areas and women in old Nepal was mind-blowing. In Kathmandu women were like slaves to the men; waiting on them hand and foot. Walking along the street women would have their eyes to the ground. What a contrast it was in the Red Zones. Women would come up and give the clench-fist salute and shake my hand saying ‘Lal Salaam’, which means red salute. They were very confident, and self-assured.”

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Workers Party welcomes Maoist electoral success in Nepal

April 16, 2008

Press Release

The Workers Party (NZ) welcomes the victory of the Maoists in the
Nepalese elections. Jared Phillips, a Workers Party activist who
spent four weeks in the Red Zones of Nepal in 2003, meeting with
activists and leaders of the Maoist movement and witnessing first-
hand the progressive reforms being implemented in the rural areas
led by the Maoists, says the election victory is “a blow against
under-development, poverty, and repression, and is a stride forward
for liberation everywhere.”

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After Mugabe, what next for Zimbabwe?

April 15, 2008

The following article is taken from the April 3 issue of the Weekly Worker, paper of the Communist Party of Great Britain:

After the Mugabe era

James Turley asks what MDC rule would mean for Zimbabwe’s workers.

On April 2 the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which had been claiming victory since the polls closed, was finally confirmed as the largest party in Zimbabwe’s March 29 general election.

In a desperate attempt to delay the inevitable, the Zimbabwe election commission - no doubt under orders from president Robert Mugabe - is still refusing at the time of writing to release results for the presidential election, where MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has certainly won most votes. Even if he has not passed the 50% mark, necessitating a run-off, it is clear that the era of the Mugabe regime is over.

Hebson Makuvise, the MDC spokesman in London, claimed that Mugabe will “unleash violence”. The claim is not simply rhetorical - Mugabe has used his control of the security services as a rough instrument in such situations before. However, all the signs are that Mugabe and his cohorts are preparing to exit the scene of their crimes, taking as much booty with them as they can manage.

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Maoists lead in Nepal elections

April 13, 2008

- Daphna Whitmore

In Nepal Maoists have won a huge vote in historic elections. In the lead up to the polls bourgeois commentators forecast a poor showing for the Maoists. They were victims of their own propaganda and completely out of touch with the situation. The polls reveal mass support for the revolutionaries.

Prachanda, the chairman of the Maoist party, won a seat in the heart of Kathmandu with nearly double the vote of his nearest rival. In Gorka, Babburam Bhattarai, the party’s other top leader, took the biggest majority in the country with a 40,000 vote lead on his nearest rival. The defeat for the establishment has been humiliating. Their leaders have lost seats: such as Madhav Kumar Nepal, General Secretary of the United Marxist Leninists (UML - a conservative party, despite the name); Shusil Koirala, acting president of Nepal Congress Party; Bam Dev Gautam, senior leader of UML and Khum Bhadur Khadka, senior leader of the Nepal Congress Party the main feudal party.

Observers say the elections have been conducted well. There were 100,000 election observers posted around Nepal. Out of a total of 20,889 polling stations only 75 reported irregularities and will be polling again. Over 60 percent turned out to vote which is pretty impressive for a country with 50 percent illiteracy.

Results are being announced as the votes are counted; even remote villages are getting progress reports on the hour through PA systems. Around the country people are tuning in to FM stations to hear the latest count. A website www.election.gov.np is being regularly updated as the counting goes on. Some violence was reported and, as usual, the establishment tried to put the blame on the Maoists. But the facts speak louder: in the month leading up to the elections 6 Maoist candidates were killed by opposition forces. The Maoists did not retaliate, they insisted they were committed to a peaceful election.

The election results will take some days to be finalised but the signs are that Nepal will have a radical new government.


The first Black president? Barack Obama: The talk and the walk

March 1, 2008

Don Franks

“The presidential nomination of the Republican Party is up for grabs among a motley collection of mean-spirited law-and-order fanatics, anti-immigrant bigots and warmongers,” commented the US Socialist Worker of January 11. “This is the consequence of the crisis of the Bush administration - mired in Iraq, distrusted for its shredding of the Constitution and responsible for the steadily worsening mess of an economy.”

Socialist Worker argued that ” voters’ desire to see political change has become the undisputed theme of the 2008 US presidential elections”.

As this article is being written, the frontrunner for the Democratic Party nomination and possibly the US presidency is black Illinois senator Barack Obama.

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Australian elections: ­ Howard’s out, but it’s still the same old bullshit

February 4, 2008

Alastair Reith

In the recent Australian General Elections, the eleven year reign of John Howard and his Liberal-National Coalition government was ended with a victory for the Labor Party and its leader Kevin Rudd.

The elections saw a significant voter shift towards Labor, with Howard even losing his own seat in the election to Labor challenger Maxine McKew.

While no one is sorry to see Howard and his Coalition thrown out, the facts are that “Kevin07″ and Labor will be no better than Howard was.

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