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Showing posts from June, 2011

Revisiting Alleged 30 Million Famine Deaths during China’s Great Leap, Written by Utsa Patnaik, in People's Democracy, (Weekly Organ of the CPI(M), Vol. XXXV No. 26, June 26, 2011

THIRTY years ago, a highly successful vilification campaign was launched against Mao Zedong, saying that a massive famine in which 27 to 30 million people died in China took place during the Great Leap period, 1958 to 1961, which marked the formation of the people’s communes under his leadership. The main basis of this assertion was, first, the population deficit in China during 1958 to 1961 and, second, the work of two North American demographers, A J Coale (Rapid Population Change in China 1952-1982, 1982) and Judith Banister (China’s Changing Population, 1987). No one bothered to look at the highly dubious method through which these demographers had arrived at their apocalyptic figures.

The ‘estimate’ was later widely publicised by Amartya K Sen who built an entire theory, saying that democratic freedom, especially press freedom, in India meant that famine was avoided while its absence in China explains why the world did not know that such a massive famine had …

GREECE: Public Outrage over Austerity Plan, by Bego Astigarraga, IPS, 30 June, 2011

ATHENS, Jun 30 (IPS) - The mass protests in Greece swelled by the hour as parliament voted this Thursday to implement the social and economic adjustment plan approved Wednesday, including measures for privatisation, tax hikes, spending cuts and mass lay-offs in the state sector.
The increasingly disappointed and restless crowd continued to demonstrate in the streets of Athens against the new Medium Term Fiscal Strategy 2012-2015, that will seriously affect middle- and low-income families and was approved at the insistence of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

A prime target of the protestors' wrath is German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "She is to blame for handing Greece over to the speculators," said Nikiforos, one of the thousands of demonstrators gathered in front of the parliament building in Syntagma Square. "We must carry on demonstrating and organise a united social movement in Europe."

Konstantine, a physics…

Communist Party Israel condemns repression in Syria while opposing imperialist interference, by Uri Weltmann , Sunday, June 19 2011

CPI never backed oppression: Response to Yossi Gurvitz

This weekend, Yossi Gurvitz accused former MK Muhammad Naffa, secretary-general of the Communist Party of Israel of backing the suppression of the Syrian uprising. Uri Weltmann, a member of the Communist Party of Israel, denies these allegations and clarifies the party position below. Yossi Gurvitz replies to Uri Weltmann, here.

Reading Yossi Gurvitz’s article, which aims to “expose” the position of the Communist Party of Israel (CPI) on the developments in Syria, one is attacked by an eerie feeling of déjà vu. Suddenly, we are thrown back to the old days of the Cold War era, where facts need not stand in the way of finger pointing, and a truthful account of events is just a distraction from the fanning of anti-Communist hysteria.

The title of Gurvitz’s article – “Israeli Communist Party supports Bashar Assad (but only in Arabic)” – is doubly false: First, because the position of the CPI is not one of support f…