Pensioners demand a say
DSP Australia Inc, an organisation representing invalid pensioners, is very concerned about proposed changes to the Disability Support Pension (DSP) and its effects on pensioners who are vulnerable and open to abuse. We advocate that the “Welfare Reform” process in Australia is itself reformed. The consumer at the grassroots level must be heard. Listen to our concerns, act upon them and stop listening only to those who purport to represent us. These “representatives” don’t directly experience the things we do — inability to pay our bills, the worry of bulk-billing being under threat, lack of access to nutritional food and having to rely on eating cheap, out-of-date food. When the consultation happened around the McClure Report, we were shut up. Now look at the mess we are in, with proposed changes which will disadvantage so many. We must have our say!
DSP Australia Inc
I recently attended a Radical Women meeting, titled “Uncensored Journalism” about the media. At this meeting, we analysed the April-June 2003 issue of the Freedom Socialist. We discussed four articles, but it was the one on North Korea by John Glansbeek which really took my attention.
All along, the mainstream media has reported the outrageous lies of the U.S. The Left press, in general, has done little to clarify the situation at all. That is why the article in the Freedom Socialist is so timely. It not only reported this serious confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea, but explained how North Korea has been double-crossed by the U.S.
Finally, I am continually inspired by the Australian Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women comrades’ optimism and honest commitment to the revolution. The North Korean proletariat couldn’t have better solidarity.
Craig R Hall
Whose Axis of Evil?
All we hear from the U.S media is that North Korea violated the treaty signed in 1994 by building nuclear reactors. The focus is exclusively on the alleged violation of that treaty by the government of North Korea and on demonising Kim Jong Il.
The main points of this “treaty” or “agreed framework” between the U.S. and North Korea are: (1) both sides will cooperate to replace North Korea’s graphite-moderated reactors and related facilities with light-water reactor (LWR) power plants, and (2) the U.S. will organise an international consortium to finance and supply the LWR project to be provided to North Korea. The U.S. will serve as the principal point of contact with North Korea for the LWR project.
But never covered in the media is the fact that the U.S. has failed to produce and deliver, after 8 years, the two nuclear LWRs promised to North Korea as a central part of the “agreed framework” treaty. That, and the fact that the U.S. was the first to violate the 1994 treaty by cutting off the supply of oil according to the terms of the agreement, which is desperately needed. These violations and U.S. arrogance in trying to make the victim the criminal has strengthened the solidarity between North and South Korea.
The Korean people, North and South, have suffered greatly at the hands of imperialism. A priority for them is reunification, and U.S. propaganda will not isolate North Korea. There is starvation and poverty because of U.S. food and energy sanctions. The presence of U.S. military bases has caused thoughtless brutality against South Korean citizens, including the murder of two women.
Is it any wonder that Koreans have become anti-American?
San Francisco, USA
No hope of unity
In Freedom Socialist Bulletin # 28 there is an article “Socialist Alliance debate sparks discussion about Revolutionary Regroupment.” It states: “Of course, the Russian Revolution was defeated, although it took 74 years for capitalism to do so. Yet this, too, validates Permanent Revolution. The flip side of a Stalinist ‘staged theory’ of revolution is that there can be no socialism in one country. The fact that the Soviet Workers’ State is no longer there gives the lie to that dead-end ideology.”
Lenin died in January 1924 and Stalin became the dictator of the USSR, this dictatorship continuing long after his death in 1953 until the defeat of the Eastern Bloc countries after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989/1990.
These countries were not communist, and indeed nor was the Soviet Union soon after Lenin’s death. To insult those workers, so ruthlessly exploited and murdered by the USSR dictatorship, by calling it a Soviet Workers’ State is to deny the fact of the non-communist regime in which they toiled.
It is a distortion of the facts to state that it took capitalism 74 years to defeat the Russian Revolution. It was defeated by Stalin by the end of the 1920s and was never to return. Permanent Revolution is what socialists aspire to and would hope one day to achieve.
The socialist Left in Australia has no hope of making any progress with its schismatic splits and ongoing arguments with different sects. The growth in Left organisations in Australia has gone backwards, and there will be no progress towards a strong movement until all groups see their way clear to forming a workable alliance. Unfortunately, this will not occur in my lifetime, and I fear not in the lifetime of many of those one or two generations younger than me.
Mannie De Saxe
Lesbian and Gay Solidarity
Preston South, Vic
Editors note: We thank Mannie De Saxe for his letter. The Freedom Socialist Bulletin has never argued that the Soviet Union achieved communism — nor did Lenin. A bureaucracy arose in the Soviet Union because the revolution was almost strangled by counter-revolutionary forces, ended up isolated and faced extreme scarcity. We recommend Red Letter Press Pamphlet, A Workers Guide to the 20th Century, for those new to this argument. This is available for $5.50 from Solidarity Salon or by mail.
Mannie’s letter is interesting because it highlights the very real political differences that exist among socialists about important questions. However, unlike Mannie, we are optimistic about the ability of the Left to unite in action around limited but agreed goals.
We respect the independent existence of organisations which share Mannie’s view about the class nature of the Soviet Union as well as those which share our own. But we advocate all of us uniting in action around agreed goals, such as standing as proud socialists in elections or defending militant trade unions which are under attack. Socialist Alliance has achieved just that sort of unity between politically diverse forces. We will work for it to continue to do so. We invite Mannie to join Socialist Alliance — he will be very welcome.
Malaysian Socialists fight on
The Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s (PSM) application to quash the Home Ministry’s rejection of our application to register as a political party has been dismissed. This disgraceful decision by the High Court Judge continues the mockery surrounding PSM’s application to be registered as a political party, which started way back on 30 April 1998.
PSM fulfilled all legal conditions and requirements necessary to register as a political party. Only when additional conditions were put up to frustrate the party’s registration did PSM challenge them.
The High Court ruled that the Societies Registration Department has the powers to impose such additional conditions from time to time. The second reason cited for the dismissal was that the Home Minister is the rightful person to interpret issues of National Security. The court saw that it has no reason to intervene in the Minister’s decision.
The Minister in his affidavit had conveniently called PSM a threat to national security but didn’t reveal any substance to prove his claim. The High Court today stood by these cowardly grounds.
It is a mockery that, when pro-government parties can be formed and registered in 48 hours, a party like PSM has to go through four years of rejection. Rejected first by the Registrar of Society, then by the Home Ministry and now by the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
The decision comes as no surprise to us. PSM will definitely take this historical legal battle a step higher to the Appeals Court to further test and expose the system.
Parti Sosialis Malaysia will not be disheartened and discouraged by this small setback. The High Court decision will further strengthen our conviction that this corrupt system needs to be revamped in toto. Ultimately it is the people who will decide the destiny of the party and not any bureaucratic office nor any court. We will fight on!
Secretary General Parti Sosialis Malaysia