Malaysia: Left Coalition formed to promote class politics

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
S. Arutchelvan

The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), together with other groups and individuals, is forming a body called Left Coalition to bring class politics to Malaysia.

PSM secretary general S. Arutchelvan said it is looking to form the coalition with Parti Rakyat Malaysia, Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia and other activists and individuals.

“We are trying to bring back class politics,” he told FZ.com. “We feel the younger generations are actually more receptive to more radical and progressive ideologies ...

“The 1969 racial riot and the Cold War have not corrupted their minds. They don’t have this fear of communism because they live in a different era.

“And when the government said communism is evil, there were a lot of counter arguments in the social media. We think it’s the time for the left to grow.”

Arutchelvan said that after the 1969 race riots, Malaysian politics had moved from class politics based on left or right ideologies to racial and religious politics.

He said the Barisan Nasional (BN) and opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalitions differed in the good governance practices implemented by the PR to tackle corruption. However, both coalitions did not see the problem in capitalism system.

“In the long run, the growth-orientated system of capitalism will have an impact on the environment,” he said. “For example for Malaysia, we cannot hope to improve our environment when we have a car-selling government.”

The PSM, which focused on class struggle and economic issues, was seen as the alternative by some people.

Arutchelvan said the Left Coalition was a crucial development for the Malaysian political landscape at this point of time.

Under the coalition, five sub-committees will be formed to focus on different areas, namely Ideological School and Education, Mass Action and Mass Movement, Draft Left Policy, Union Related and Social Media and Publication.

“It will be based on class struggle,” Arutchelvan added. “It is an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-feudal movement. It will be against the patriarchal system and oppression against women. It will talk about green environmental movement and oppose privatisation of public services.

“And there are other questions we are working on, like the state and federal relationship, deepening participatory democracy and local government.”

Those keen on forming the coalition have met twice already.

“At this point of time, this is not an electoral coalition, it is just a left coalition based on ideology,” Arutchelvan said, adding the coalition will finalise its manifesto by April.

The PSM is still committed to working with the opposition PR on the basis of mutual respect and fighting BN.

PSM had asked to join PR last year, but the coalition is yet to decide on the matter.

[Abridged from FZ.com.]

From GLW issue 998