National Sections of the L5I:

Asia-Pacific

Chinese economy spirals downwards

China's exports in January were down 17.5 per cent on last year and imports were down by 43.1 per cent. Peter Main, just returned from China, looks at Beijing's response to the world recession. Read more...

Thai airport besieged by Royalist protesters

Protesters led by the right wing People's Alliance for Democracy have occupied Bangkok's main airport and demanded the resignation of prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, having brought down a government earlier this year and played a role in the 2006 coup that brought down former prime minister Thaksin. Read more...

China: Occupations and blockades force Chinese state onto defensive

The speed with which the economic downturn has hit China's export industries has led to a spate of company closures and layoffs. In the first half of the year, the Pearl River Delta is reported to have lost 67,000 small firms, those employing only a handful of workers and least able to survive even temporary drops in orders. Now, however, larger factories in the major industrial cities of Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou are facing difficulty and 9000 larger factories, from a total of 45,000, are expected to close by the end of January. The workers' response has been just as dramatic. Read more...

Downturn spreads to China

The third quarter of the year, July, August, September, should be the busiest time of the year for China's toy factories. That is when production reaches a peak so that the goods can be packed into the biggest container ships in the world in time for the Christmas markets in the US and Europe. But this year is different. Read more...

Olympics: Beijing's Festival of Reaction

The Beijing Olympic Games will showcase many feats of athletic achievement and physical prowess - but that is not their main purpose. Less than 20 years ago, the same city echoed to the sound of tanks as the Chinese Communist Party massacred its student and worker opponents. The capitalist powers were united in their condemnation and threatened sanctions and penalties, to bring the dictators down. But as soon as those dictators began to dismantle the planned economy and open the country to overseas capital, the criticism turned to praise. Read more...

Getting the measure of China

As the US economy moves into recession, Peter Main looks at the possible repercussions on China, a country that has become an icon of globalisation's dynamism in recent years. Rather than coming to the rescue of world capitalism, he argues that the coming year will see China face slackening export markets at a time when its domestic cycle is moving towards its peak. Read more...

Maoism and the Chinese Revolution

Exert from the Degenerated Revolution

The history of the CCP as the leadership of a peasant based and largely guerrilla army began with the historic defeats of the Chinese proletariat in the years 1926-30. The CCP had entered the Nationalist Party, the Kuomintang (KMT) in a subordinate role in 1923-24 having been under pressure to do so from representatives of the Communist International (CI) since 1922. On 20 March 1926 Chiang Kai-shek led a coup d'Ètat in Canton, at that time the centre of CCP influence. Through the coup Chiang, with communist compliance, disarmed the workers' militia controlled by the CCP-led Hong Kong-Canton General Strike Committee. Read more...

Vietnam: where the US lost its first war

This is the first in a series of articles about 1968. This year has gone down in history as one of the "mad years"  like 1848, 1919, 1936. In such years, conservatives of all political colours believe that some terrible infection takes hold, as a result of which unconnected issues and grievances spark off one another, producing a series of explosions. A second feature of such "mad years" is that they seem to fail to achieve what they promised  they are not years of successful revolutions, like 1789 or 1917. As such they are jeered and mocked by relieved reactionaries and patronising liberals. 1968 is no exception. Read more...