Salient. Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 25. October 4, 1976
'The Review will comprise articles openly presenting a Marxist analysts..... and aim to build towards a solid understanding of the dialectical nature of the progressive forces in Malaysian society in preparation for the coming Malaysian revolution".
Thus, concludes the editorial of the first issue of the Malayan Socialist Review. This bimonthly Review is published by a group of Malaysian socialists obviously in sympathy with the Fourth International, founded by Leon Trotsky in 1938.
It could perhaps be considered that the concept of the battle for the hearts and minds of the people is not the concern of reactionary government alone. It has traditionally been raged amongst the splintered leftist forces too. The publication of the Trotskyite-orientated Malaysian Socialist Review means an extension of this struggle into areas usually monopolised by publications having Maosit inclinations, like the Malaya News Service. Both these periodicals are published in Australia where the student movement of both native and overseas students is relatively more progressive.
Understandably, it would be difficult to appraise the quality of the very first issue of any publication. However, the intentions of the Review seems to be clear from the fact that out of the five major articles two of them: 'Asean and China's Dual Diplomacy' and 'The Current Crisis of the Chinese Bureaucracy' are aimed at countering Maoist ideology. It also contains an article by Peng Shu Tse, one of the founders of the Communist Party of China and today a member of the Fourth International, entitled, The Theory of Permanent Revolution and the Underdeveloped Countries'.
Whether, true to their editorial conclusion, they are presenting a Marxist analysis is open to question. In fact, the Review promises under the heading 'A Question of Line', to set aside two pages of the next issue for an open discussion of topics in the current issue. The Maoists, no doubt, will be delighted to point out the correct line. Personally, I'd rather sit back in my lotus posture and exercise my mind on mental parallel bars than attempt to unravel the theory of contradiction with a Maoist. I thank Lord Brahma it is not my headache!
Whereas the Malaya News Service basically provides good information about the going-ons within Malaysia it has not, as far as I can recollect, endeavoured to provide a theoretical analysis of the revolutionary struggle in Malaysia. It does not emphasise Marxist theories generally. The Review on the other hand seems committed to emphasising this aspect.
I am not however, particularly impressed with Osman China's 'Malaysia: On the National Question.' It appears to scatty in its appraisal of the historical developments between the periods 1948 to 1963 and seems to dangerously [unclear: underrate] the chronic state of racial antagonisms existing in Malaysia. The feudal structure that allows the Malay bourgeoisie to control and oppress the Malay peasantry is also given only a token commentary. Perhaps part two of his article in the next issue may see some improvements.
If you are worried about the price of this publication, you might as well know now that if ever there is a revolution in New Zealand it could be reduced to a particular economic aspect (i.e. the cheap leftist publications). You can get Lenin on the colonial question for only twenty cents! The Review costs only thirty, cents and can be picked up at the Young Socialist Headquarters, 76 Dixon Street.
I would commit myself enough to say that it looks like very promising material.