In late March, Green Left Weekly’s Jim McIlroy spoke to Farooq Tariq, general secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan, in Lahore. The LPP is a revolutionary socialist organisation working with other forces to end the dictatorship of General Pervez Musharraf, and seeking to unite workers, peasants, women and youth in the struggle to bring about socialism in Pakistan. The interview took place amidst the campaign by lawyers and their supporters to reinstate the suspended Chief Justice of the Pakistan High Court, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.
Around 5000 lawyers protesting on March 21 vowed not to rest until they succeed in removing General Pervez Musharraf from office, forcing the withdrawal of the reference against Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and gaining assurance of a full independent judiciary capable of protecting the constitution. They called for the establishment of a truly democratic government through free and fair elections. The dispute was sparked on March 9 when Musharraf suspended Chaudhry.
Today was a victory for democratic forces, not only for the Labour Party Pakistan, but for all the other parties who were able to go onto the streets in support of democratic rights, LPP general secretary Farooq Tariq told Green Left Weeklys Jim McIlroy in Lahore on March 26, following a round of demonstrations.
In Venezuela, after decades of class polarisation, neglect of the needs of the majority, corruption on a massive scale and unbridled bureaucracy, the magnitude of problems that Venezuelas Bolivarian revolution led by socialist president Hugo Chavez is attempting to tackle is enormous.
The Howard government’s Work Choices laws “have had an overall negative effect for women in the work force”, Griffith University Professor David Peetz told Green Left Weekly on February 27. “The slow trend toward improvement in female compared to male levels of pay and conditions has been reversed under Work Choices, threatening much of the gains of the previous 10 years”, said Peetz.
“Brilliant, fantastic, inspiring … Never shaken so many hands in one day”, commented Pat Rogers, a Brisbane staff member of the Electrical Trades Union, after experiencing the May Day march of more than 1 million workers in Caracas during the Australian trade union solidarity brigade to Venezuela in April-May last year. People in Australia will have the opportunity to join a May Day brigade to Venezuela again this year, from April 30 to May 9, organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN).
One of the best-known and most successful aspects of Venezuelas Bolivarian revolution has been the social missions social programs funded by Venezuelas oil wealth aiming to solve the most pressing problems of the nations poor majority. One of the best known and most successful social missions was one of the first to be established, the health program Mision Bario Adentro (Into the Neighbourghood). Established in April 2003, the mission has brought free quality health care via the establishment of popular health clinics in poor neighbourhoods across Venezuela. Before Barrio Adentro, health care was out of reach for many of the poor, as private health care was too expensive and the public health system was in a state of disrepair.
Mision Vuelvan Caras, literally about-face, is a social project or mission launched by the revolutionary government of Venezuela in 2004 to train and offer employment to thousands of people. It is changing the lives of a large number of the countrys citizens, many of whom previously had no formal education or jobs to rely on.
December 3 Wild celebrations have broken out here as the National Electoral Council (CNE) has announced that left-wing incumbent Hugo Chavez has won the Venezuelan presidential elections with a vote of over 60%. In pouring rain, thousands of cheering supporters have flocked to the Miraflores presidential palace to applaud the president, who has spoken to the people from the balcony of the palace.
Marta Harnecker, a Chilean-born author, intellectual and participant in Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution, spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Coral Wynter and Jim McIlroy about the significance of Venezuela’s December 3 elections, in which socialist incumbent Hugo Chavez faces right-wing, US-backed candidate Manuel Rosales.