Workers Vanguard No. 972
21 January 2011
Down With Bloody Repression of Red Shirts, Minorities!
Thailand: For a Workers and Peasants Government!
Abolish the Monarchy!
The following article is reprinted from Australasian Spartacist No. 211 (Summer 2010/11), newspaper of the Spartacist League of Australia, section of the International Communist League.
On 9 January, up to 40,000 demonstrators led by the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD—more popularly known as the Red Shirts) rallied in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, to commemorate supporters killed in the bloody crackdown on anti-government protests in mid-May. For weeks during April-May, tens of thousands had rallied behind the UDD, supporters of exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, in protests demanding new elections. Drawing in masses of urban and rural poor, demonstrators sustained repeated attacks by state forces against their occupation centred on Ratchaprasong intersection in the commercial heart of the capital. Then on 19 May, under the orders of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Thai military mobilised armoured vehicles and thousands of troops to brutally disperse the protest. Ninety-one people were killed and up to 1,900 injured in the bloody repression against the weeks-long demonstration. The slingshots, bamboo spears, Molotov cocktails and other more conventional weapons of the demonstrators were no match for the tanks and live ammunition of the Thai army, which, along with the police, has a long history of murderous suppression of worker and student protests, separatist and leftist insurgencies.
Following the crackdown, a pall of terror fell over Thailand. Hundreds of Red Shirt protesters were rounded up and imprisoned, many detained under an Emergency Decree imposed in early April. The government froze bank accounts of suspected Red Shirt supporters, raided and closed down radio stations and blocked over 100,000 websites. Twenty-five people, including the exiled Thaksin and other leaders were charged with terrorism-related offences that can carry the death penalty.
As revolutionary Marxists, the International Communist League defends the Red Shirt protesters against ongoing bloody state repression while at the same time standing in political opposition to this bourgeois-populist movement, which is defined by its support to, and from, Thaksin, a billionaire telecommunications mogul. Its aims and politics are counterposed to the interests of the workers and rural toilers who have rallied behind it. It is necessary to build a Leninist-Trotskyist party to mobilise the proletariat, standing at the head of all the downtrodden and oppressed, against all wings of the Thai bourgeoisie in the struggle to overthrow the exploitative capitalist system through socialist revolution.
Thaksin, who was ousted from government in a military coup in 2006, was the first Thai bourgeois political leader whose wealth and base of support lay outside the Bangkok elite. Describing themselves as phrai (serf), and sneeringly referred to as “savages” and “buffalos” by sections of the elite, many Red Shirt supporters are disenfranchised peasants from Thailand’s poverty-stricken north and northeast. Thaksin garnered his broad support among the urban and rural poor following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, which hit Thailand particularly hard. The crash saw real wages plummet by up to 40 percent and over two million workers lose their jobs in just a few months. Many were forced back to rural villages or into sweatshops and informal or casual work to survive. Before the year ended, the prime minister resigned in the face of the continuing economic turmoil and burgeoning street protests by workers, peasants and the middle classes. The following year Thaksin founded his Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) party. It put forward a nationalist, populist program that promised to ameliorate conditions for the masses, particularly in the rural areas. Elected prime minister in 2001, Thaksin delivered on many of his reform pledges, including a debt moratorium for peasants and a heavily subsidised universal healthcare system.
For Thaksin, these reforms served to co-opt and contain plebeian discontent within the framework of capitalism, ensuring the necessary social and economic stability to attract imperialist investment back to Thailand, and with it a smooth flow of profits for himself and his cronies. Corruption, nepotism and authoritarianism prospered while Thaksin was in power. A former police officer, he undermined the power of the entrenched bureaucracy by centralising management of government affairs in his own hands and that of his Thai Rak Thai party. He exercised tight control over the media and embarked on sweeping anti-union privatisations as well as repressive domestic campaigns especially targeting ethnic minorities. These measures were designed to suppress any restiveness among the population while mobilising the majority behind greater Thai nationalism.
Following Thaksin’s re-election in a second landslide victory in 2005, bourgeois opposition elements coalesced around the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD). This included support from Abhisit’s Democrat Party, sections of the military and bureaucracy, businessmen and others who felt threatened by Thaksin’s government including some public sector trade-union leaders. Known as the Yellow Shirts (the colour associated with the king), PAD seized on a tax scandal involving Thaksin in early 2006 to escalate protests against his regime. In September, while out of the country, Thaksin was deposed in a military coup—the eighteenth in the 60-plus year reign of King Bhumibol.
With the banning of Thai Rak Thai, its leaders regrouped as the People’s Power Party (PPP) and managed to form a coalition government after junta-approved elections in late 2007. The PAD Yellow Shirts launched a new round of protests, storming Government House [the prime minister’s office] and blockading two international airports, while security forces largely refrained from intervening. Clashes occurred with Red Shirts who had mobilised on the streets. In a December 2008 judicial coup, the Thai Constitutional Court dissolved the PPP, leading to the installation of Abhisit as prime minister. Branding the Red Shirt opposition “communists” and “destroyers of Thailand,” the government of the Oxford-educated Abhisit has ruled with an iron fist ever since. Abhisit immediately slashed Thaksin’s healthcare scheme by 23 percent and bolstered his regime with a paramilitary band of armed thugs, known as the Blue Shirts, who serve to intimidate government opponents.
Without giving any political support to Thaksin, it was necessary for the proletariat to oppose the 2006 military coup—which threatened the ability of the working class to organise in its own interests and struck a blow at all the oppressed—and to defend the reforms gained under Thaksin. Concretely this would have meant militarily siding with Thaksin and his supporters against the coup, and with the masses on the streets, while fighting for the proletariat to emerge under its own banner.
Thaksin Shinawatra: Blood-Drenched Bourgeois Nationalist
Bourgeois nationalists such as Thaksin are committed to defence of the capitalist order, which necessarily means enforcing the exploitation of the masses and the plunder of resources to enhance the power and the profits of the bourgeoisie and their imperialist masters. As prime minister, Thaksin launched two savage domestic campaigns. His “war on drugs” resulted in some 3,000 extrajudicial killings by the police and military. Many were also slaughtered in his bloody campaign against the Malay Muslim minority in the southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and parts of Songkhla, which he kept under martial law. The ferocity of the repression is captured by the events in Tak Bai on 25 October 2004. After firing on a demonstration in the town, killing at least seven people and wounding many more, Thai security forces then rounded up over 1,300 Muslims. With their hands bound behind their backs, the detainees were stacked on top of one another like cordwood in the back of trucks and driven to a military detention camp six hours away. By the end of the journey up to 85 prisoners had died of beatings, suffocation and kidney damage. Thaksin Shinawatra responded to this slaughter by praising the “good work” of the security forces.
While Thailand was never colonised by the imperialist powers, its borders nevertheless reflect the struggles between British and French colonialism in Southeast Asia. Thailand, or Siam as it was formerly known, emerged as an independent state in the late 19th century mainly as a buffer between French and British imperialism. The 1909 Anglo-Siamese Treaty handed several Malay states to the British while allowing Siam to retain the four states that it still holds today. The Malay state of Patani, which had been largely self-governing while paying tribute to Buddhist Siam, was forcibly incorporated into the state of Siam in the early 20th century. Once under Thai suzerainty the Malay Muslims suffered national and religious oppression and violent clashes occurred. In the period following the Second World War thousands migrated to the newly formed Federation of Malaya.
For decades Malay Muslims remaining in Southern Thailand have waged a sporadic insurgency against the Thai military and police. Making up about four percent of Thailand’s population, but comprising the overwhelming majority in the four southern provinces, the Malay Muslims are largely denied education in their native tongue (Yawi, a Malay dialect), and suffer religious oppression at the hands of the state and Buddhist elite. The Thai working class must defend the Muslim minority against state repression without giving one iota of political support to the Islamists. Fighting for full democratic and national rights, it must demand that the Thai military and security forces get out of the southern provinces.
Revolutionaries would seek to unite all nationalities behind the proletarian fight to overthrow the Thai capitalist rulers. This requires a sharp struggle against the monarchy, which acts as both symbol and purveyor of Thai nationalism. While the arch-monarchist PAD Yellow Shirts seek to paint Thaksin as eroding the authority of the king, Thaksin of course well understands the monarchy’s historical role and has no intention of undermining this important institution for capitalist class rule. The bourgeoisie has spent decades deifying the monarchy as a rallying point for capitalist reaction and national unity, codifying in the Thai constitution that “The King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated.”
Despite their best efforts, today the Thai rulers are increasingly fearful the country will fall apart when the aged and ailing King Bhumibol dies, particularly as his successor, the Crown Prince, is widely despised. In order to “protect the monarchy,” the Abhisit government seized on the April-May demonstrations to establish a new “Bureau of Prevention and Eradication of Computer Crime.” Two hundred people, including Giles Ji Ungpakorn, a leader of the Thai leftist group Turn Left/Workers Democracy which is linked to the Cliffite British Socialist Workers Party, have been blacklisted from posting to the Internet. In February 2009, Ungpakorn left Thailand to avoid facing a charge of lèse majesté over criticisms of the monarchy expressed in his book on the 2006 anti-Thaksin coup, A Coup for the Rich. The draconian lèse majesté law is defined by Article 112 of the Thai criminal code, which states that defamatory, insulting or threatening comments about the king, queen and regent are punishable by three to fifteen years in prison. Down with the blacklists! Drop the charges against Ungpakorn! Down with the lèse majesté law! Abolish the monarchy!
Opposition to the monarchy is intertwined with the struggle against religion, which deeply oppresses women and minorities. The overwhelming hold of Buddhism has a strong conservatising effect on the masses. Men are expected to join the monkhood for a period in order to “purify” their minds and become morally upright family leaders. For the rural poor, getting their sons into the monastery can be a means to ensure access to food, shelter and education. Barred from the monkhood, women are treated by the Buddhist elite as potentially greedy temptresses whose attractiveness is seen as a potential source of anarchy.
While women now represent close to 50 percent of the labour force they are locked into the informal economy, heavily exploited as home-workers, or toil long hours in low-paying factory jobs with virtually no rights. In the 1993 fire at the Kader toy factory just outside Bangkok, most of the 188 people killed were women workers, trapped because exits were locked as an “anti-theft measure.” Domestic violence against women is also rife. Thai women face sharp restrictions on abortion, which serves to keep them chained to the patriarchal family. In the poverty-stricken north and northeast rural areas many women have no choice but to join the thriving sex industry where unsafe practices abound and HIV can be a death sentence. We fight for the separation of religion and state, for full legal equality for women and for free abortion on demand as part of the struggle for free quality healthcare for all. Thai women workers will be in the forefront of the revolutionary struggle to shatter the stifling control of monarchy and religion as part of the struggle to overthrow the exploitative capitalist system as a whole, the only road to the liberation of women.
The Thai proletariat needs a Leninist-Trotskyist vanguard party to bring to the working class the understanding of its historic role as the leader of the dispossessed masses and gravedigger of the system of capitalist exploitation. Such a party must fight as a tribune of the people, combating all forms of discrimination and raising the banner of internationalist working-class struggle.
The Fight for Permanent Revolution
Thailand is a classic example of combined and uneven development, where modern capitalist industry coexists with deep backwardness. The workings of international capitalism since World War II have transformed Thailand from a predominantly agricultural country to an industrial one with manufacturing such as vehicle assembly, electronics and food processing. In particular, industrial growth came on the back of the massive shift of production to Thailand by Japanese corporations first in the 1980s and then again under Thaksin following 2001. These developments have created a modern industrial proletariat with immense potential social power. This was demonstrated in 2004 when over 200,000 workers rallied on the streets of Bangkok, thwarting Thaksin’s attempted anti-union privatisation of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.
The recent mass plebeian Red Shirt protests reflect the deep inequalities of Thai society. Millions of Thai workers eke out an existence often at below subsistence wage levels, with Burmese, Laotian and Cambodian unskilled and semi-skilled migrant workers having the worst conditions and pay. The sizable and deeply exploited internal migratory labour force, consisting largely of peasants seeking to escape impoverishment on the land, are a living link between urban workers and the countryside where over a third of Thailand’s labour force continues to toil in back-breaking labour-intensive agriculture.
While the oppressed Thai masses chafe under repressive capitalist rule, various fake-left and petty-bourgeois nationalist groups internationally have avidly promoted the bourgeois Red Shirts whose demands are limited to the dissolution of parliament and new bourgeois elections. The maximum demand of a 14 April 2010 statement by the reformist United Secretariat of the Fourth International (USec) was for solidarity with the “fight for social justice and democracy of the ‘Red Shirts’” (International Viewpoint online). A 10 April joint statement by various outfits in Asia, including the Socialist Party of Malaysia, Partido Lakas ng Masa of the Philippines, Turn Left Thailand and the Australian Socialist Alliance (to name a few), declares that the crisis in Thailand “only can be resolved through genuine democracy and people’s power.”
In his “Red Siam Manifesto” (2009), Ungpakorn explicitly promotes similar illusions, fatuously declaring:
“The red, white and blue Thai flag, copied from the West in order to indoctrinate us to be loyal to ‘Nation, Religion and King’, the same slogan which was recently last used by the PAD protesters who blocked the airports. Yet during the French revolution, the red white and blue meant, ‘Liberty Equality and Fraternity’. This is the slogan we must use to free Thailand from the ‘New Order’ which the PAD and the army have installed.”
Military rule and repression is the norm and necessary means by which the small bourgeois class in neocolonial countries, as agents of imperialist domination, keep the democratic and social aspirations of the masses in check. In stark contrast to Ungpakorn’s faith in bourgeois democracy, history has shown that in backward countries like Thailand, where economic and social development has been stunted by the global domination of the imperialist powers, basic democratic rights can only be achieved when the proletariat takes power through workers revolution and begins to carry out the tasks of socialist construction. As Leon Trotsky, co-leader of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution with V.I. Lenin, outlined in his “Basic Postulates” in The Permanent Revolution (1930):
“The dictatorship of the proletariat which has risen to power as the leader of the democratic revolution is inevitably and very quickly confronted with tasks, the fulfilment of which is bound up with deep inroads into the rights of bourgeois property. The democratic revolution grows over directly into the socialist revolution and thereby becomes a permanent revolution.”
In further developing this point Trotsky stressed that the conquest of power did not complete the socialist revolution but only opened it by changing the direction of social development. Such social development can only be consolidated through the international extension of the revolution, particularly to the advanced imperialist centres. Defence of those subjugated by imperialists around the globe demands the pursuit of class struggle in the imperialist centres pointing toward a proletarian struggle for power.
Our model is the October 1917 Revolution in Russia. Indeed it was the program of permanent revolution first developed by Trotsky for the Russian Revolution that points the way to national and social liberation in countries like Thailand. The October Revolution proved in life that only the proletariat, led by a revolutionary internationalist vanguard party like Lenin and Trotsky’s Bolsheviks and winning the support of the peasant and urban plebeian masses, can liberate societies in countries of belated capitalist development. In the imperialist epoch of decaying capitalism that began more than a century ago, all wings of the bourgeoisie in such countries are too dependent on their multiple ties to the imperialists, too fearful of independent working-class action to play any progressive role. They are incapable of solving bourgeois-democratic tasks, such as agrarian revolution and national independence, associated with the European revolutions of the 17th and 18th centuries.
The revolutionary internationalist perspective of permanent revolution is counterposed to Ungpakorn’s bourgeois- democratic musings and grovelling reliance on the capitalist state. In his article “Class Struggle between the Coloured T-Shirts in Thailand” (Journal of Asia Pacific Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2009), Ungpakorn argues, “We need to cut down the military’s influence in society, reform the judiciary and the police and to expand freedom and democracy from the grass-roots movement.” In contrast, Lenin explained that the capitalist state cannot be reformed or pressured to serve the interests of the working class and oppressed. Consisting at its core of armed bodies of men—the police, military and their auxiliaries—this state exists to defend the private property and rule of the bourgeoisie. There can be no overcoming the desperate plight of the working class and oppressed rural masses without overthrowing the capitalist social order and smashing its state, thus laying the basis, through a series of proletarian revolutions internationally, for a classless society of material abundance in which all forms of exploitation and oppression have been eliminated.
The proletariat is the only social force that can successfully lead such a struggle. It has vast potential power due to its central role in production—where its collective labour in industry is exploited by the bourgeoisie for profit. The peasants are incapable of cohering an independent social policy. They are part of a heterogeneous intermediate layer, the petty bourgeoisie. Their immediate felt interests are for the defence or acquisition of land. There are only two decisive classes in capitalist society: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. In countries like Thailand, the working class must win the support of the masses of poor and/or landless peasants, including through demands to expropriate the large landlords and for land to the tiller. A workers and peasants government in Thailand would give full, equal rights to women, immigrants and all oppressed minorities. It would seize the vast holdings of the imperialists and all the blood-sucking domestic capitalists, including Thaksin and Abhisit, and lay the basis for a centrally planned economy under workers rule.
Socialist revolution in Thailand would reverberate throughout the region and beyond. In the bureaucratically deformed workers states of Laos, Vietnam and China, the spark of proletarian internationalism could inspire workers political revolutions against the nationalist Stalinist misrulers, whose futile pursuit of “peaceful coexistence” with world imperialism undermines defence of these workers states. The road to the emancipation of Thai workers, and with them the peasantry and oppressed minorities, lies in the fight for a socialist federation of Southeast Asia, linked to the struggle for proletarian revolution in the imperialist heartlands. An insurgent Thai proletariat would find no shortage of allies in the imperialist centres such as Australia, Japan and the U.S. where today the various capitalist rulers seek to make working people pay for the deepening slump of the world economic crisis.
Down With U.S./Australian Imperialism!
Following World War II and with the advent of Cold War I, which particularly targeted the Soviet degenerated workers state, the U.S. built up the Thai military as a bastion for counterrevolutionary terror within Southeast Asia. The anti-communism of the U.S. and Thai leaders reinforced each other in the face of peasant guerrilla insurgencies throughout the region including social revolutions in North Korea and China. With the defeat of the French colonial power in Indochina in 1954, and following the slaughter of some three million Koreans during the Korean War, the U.S. increasingly used Thailand as a military base and launching pad for imperialist aggression against the revolutionary struggles of the workers and peasants in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. About three quarters of the bomb tonnage dropped on North Vietnam and Laos in 1965-68 alone was flown out of Eastern Thailand. By 1969, there were more than 45,000 U.S. troops stationed there. Thai troops fought in Laos and some 11,000 fought in South Vietnam as lackeys of the U.S.
The bloody Thai military was also mobilised against the guerrilla forces of the People’s Liberation Army of Thailand (PLAT), the military wing of the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT). Founded in 1942, the CPT had increasingly adopted a nationalist, peasant-based guerrilla strategy, not least under the impact of the 1949 Chinese Revolution, shifting its cadre from the cities, where they had some influence in the unions, to the countryside. This anti-Marxist strategy rejects the proletarian struggle for power. Ultimately the CPT/PLAT would fall victim not simply to military repression but also to its own class-collaborationist Stalinist-Maoist politics, compounded by the treachery of the ruling Stalinist bureaucracies in Vietnam and China. Committed to the anti-Marxist dogma of building “socialism in one country” and seeking peaceful coexistence with imperialism, the Vietnamese and Chinese Stalinists were not interested in fighting for the overthrow of the Thai ruling class.
Thus, following the 1975 victory of the Vietnamese Revolution and the destruction of capitalist class rule in South Vietnam, the Hanoi bureaucracy pledged not to interfere in the “internal affairs” of Thailand. For its part, the Beijing Stalinist regime, having already cemented its treacherous anti-Soviet alliance with U.S. imperialism, had assured the Thai military by late 1974 that “China had stopped supporting insurgents in Thailand” (“Thai Coup Follows Savage Slaughter of Students,” Young Spartacus No. 48, November 1976). By the end of the 1970s, the CPT/PLAT, isolated from the proletariat and kept isolated by Stalinist treachery abroad, had begun to collapse, surrendering its arms in 1982-83. Its remnants were arrested when they tried to hold a congress in 1987. The “people’s war,” as the CPT called it, was over, as was the CPT.
The collapse of the CPT is a powerful indictment of the nationalist, class-collaborationist Stalinist-Maoist doctrine on which it had always been based and which is hostile to a revolutionary proletarian and internationalist perspective. Following a military coup in late 1947, the CPT called for “a ‘truly democratic’ coalition government of the Communist Party and other democratic, patriotic, and peace-loving political forces,” to be achieved through a common struggle under a “United Front of the Thai nation...consisting of ‘the oppressed classes of workers, peasants, soldiers, students and merchants, including all democracy-oriented organizations, associations and political parties, as well as minorities and patriots’” (Kasian Tejapira, Commodifying Marxism, 2001). Seeking to ally with a mythical progressive wing of the Thai bourgeoisie, such calls push the false dogma of “two-stage revolution”—first “democracy” and later, socialism.
This schema was first peddled by the Mensheviks (the pro-capitalist wing of the Russian social democracy who opposed the 1917 Russian Revolution) and later by the Stalinist betrayers and all stripes of petty-bourgeois nationalists. A class-collaborationist trap for the proletariat, it has always meant tying the masses to the capitalist class enemy and has repeatedly resulted in the massacre of the communists and their supporters. This was exemplified in Indonesia, 1965-66.
In one of the most savage massacres in modern history, over a million Indonesian Communists, workers, peasants and ethnic Chinese were slaughtered. This bloodbath, a holy war against Communism, was the work of an alliance between the Indonesian army and Islamic fanatics directly aided by the American CIA and its Australian counterpart, ASIS. A catastrophe for the Indonesian working class, it was a direct product of the support by the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) to the capitalist government of then-president Sukarno. The pro-Beijing leadership of the PKI—the largest Communist party in the capitalist world—preached “joint unity” with the “progressive” Sukarno and his Indonesian Nationalist Party to form a “united national front, including the national bourgeoisie” to carry out “not socialist but democratic reforms.” Politically disarmed by this program of “two-stage revolution,” the proletariat was unable to defend itself when the Indonesian generals, led by Suharto and backed by imperialism, struck to behead the PKI (see “Lessons of Indonesia 1965,” Spartacist [English-language edition] No. 55, Autumn 1999).
The key lesson of Indonesia 1965 is that the proletariat and the bourgeoisie have no common interests. For a proletarian party to proceed otherwise is a betrayal. Against suicidal reliance on the imperialist-dependent bourgeoisie of countries like Indonesia and Thailand, the ICL uniquely stands on Trotsky’s program of permanent revolution. As for the class-collaborationist opponents of revolutionary Marxism such as Socialist Alliance in Australia, the USec and Giles Ji Ungpakorn, they reject this program and are thus obstacles to the liberation of the oppressed masses of neocolonial countries from Thailand to Indonesia, the Philippines and beyond.
Today, the U.S., with the aid of its Australian junior imperialist partner, continues to back the blood-drenched Thai generals. The U.S. has used the Utapao air base as one of its global “anti-terror” interrogation centres. Supporting Australia’s economic interests in Thailand, its eighth-largest trading partner, the Australian government has maintained formal ties with the Royal Thai police since 2003. Alongside enforcing exploitation in Thailand and the region, imperialist cooperation with the Thai military is part of a broader strategy to foment capitalist counterrevolution in the Chinese bureaucratically deformed workers state and a return to the untrammelled imperialist exploitation that existed prior to the 1949 Revolution. This they hope to achieve through a combination of economic penetration and military pressure.
Following the counterrevolutionary destruction of the Soviet Union in 1991-92, U.S. imperialism and its allies have increased pressure against the remaining deformed workers states. In particular, they have been surrounding China with military bases from South Korea to Central Asia. The growing U.S./Australian imperialist military presence in the region is also a profound threat to the North Korean, Laotian and Vietnamese deformed workers states where millions lost their lives in heroic struggles against imperialist terror. U.S./Australian troops/cops get out of Southeast Asia! We stand for the unconditional military defence of the Chinese, North Korean, Vietnamese, Laotian and Cuban bureaucratically deformed workers states against imperialist attack and internal counterrevolution and fight for proletarian political revolution to oust the Stalinist misleaders whose bureaucratic mismanagement and appeasement of imperialism paves the way for capitalist restoration.
Genuine communists, intransigent in their struggle for the political independence of the proletariat from all wings of the capitalist class, seek to unite workers everywhere around their historic class interests in sweeping away this system of imperialist war, exploitation and repression. The Thai proletariat and their class brothers and sisters throughout the region must look to the example of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution if they are to throw off the oppression and poverty enforced by the capitalist rulers and their imperialist patrons. Foremost is the need to build internationalist revolutionary workers parties committed to the Trotskyist program of permanent revolution. The International Communist League fights to build such Leninist-Trotskyist parties to lead the struggles for new October Revolutions from Australia to Indonesia and Thailand, to Japan and the U.S.