The world economic crisis has sparked the beginnings of a fightback against poverty and austerity enforced by the pro-capitalist regime of Nursultan Nazarbayev. Nazarbayev, the former Communist Party head of Kazakhstan when it was a Soviet Republic, has presided over a repressive capitalist-restorationist regime. This regime has allied itself with the US “war on terror” and engaged in repression of oppositionists and Muslims. Opposition figures have been beaten, jailed, intimidated and even assassinated. The emergence of social movements and independent trade unions in the recent period has meant that finally a challenge to the regime can come from a left and anti-capitalist alternative.
The Kazakhstan regime faces a left challenge in 2012 elections.
Kazakhstan 2012 was formed as an alliance of socialist and other working class forces to challenge the regime in the upcoming elections. It’s program calls for the nationalization of the banking and construction sectors, for full democratic rights, and for capitalism to be replaced with socialism. The response of the regime has been intimidation of activists and to try to postpone elections to 2020.
This past May Day members of Kazakstan 2012, social movement activists and supporters of Socialist Resistance (Kazakh section of the Committee for a Workers International), having been denied permission to hold their own May Day event, decided to join the official festivities.
When they unfurled their red flags and banners, cops waded in attacking the protesters. Ainur Kurmanov, a leader of the CWI section, and Bakhytgul Ukteshbaeva, a leader of the Leave People;’s Homes Alone campaign were injured. Kurmanov was hospitalized with a concussion and is faced with possible criminal charges stemming from the scuffle. Another activist was attacked after the incident by cops intent on getting a camera away from him. One of the organizers of the protest contingent, Dmitry Tikhonov, is already on trial for “organizing an unauthorized protest.”
Socialist Action, the US organization in fraternal solidarity with the Fourth International, condemns all police attacks and intimidation of the social movements inKazakhstan. We call for an end to the firing of workers who organize independent unions and build resistance to wage and job cuts.
We call for an end to any trials of activists and for the immediate and unconditional release of Dmitry Tikhonov. We oppose any criminal or civil charges against Ainur Kurmanov or any other activists.
We condemn the attempts of the regime to stifle the opposition press. Hands off the Respublika and Vremya newspapers! We offer our full solidarity to the workers of Kazakhstan in their struggle for democracy, justice and socialism.