The twelfth edition of our weekly review of international left and labour news with stories from China, Sweden, Vietnam, Venezuela and elsewhere. There is also a section devoted to news from the ongoing democratic uprising in Swaziland.
A scene from celebrations in China of the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Communist Party of China - Image via Twitter
At the beginning of 2021, Metrorex, a state-owned company that runs the Bucharest metro, fully backed by the Romanian government, started a union-busting campaign, announced pay cuts and lay-offs, revealing plans to put the subway system into insolvency. Metrorex and the Romanian government completely ignored USLM’s repeated requests to enter into dialogue. Instead, the company retaliated with a series of intimidation tactics: Union leader Ion Radoi received death threats on social media. The company sued Metro workers who participated in the spontaneous March protest, and police raided the trade union premises. And now: Metrorex -- against trade union law -- illegally refuses to collect monthly membership fees, cutting off the union's resources. The company demands the annulment of the CBA in court and summons USLM to vacate its premises. Join us in telling Metrorex and the Romanian government they must respect basic labour rights: collective bargaining and social dialogue. Say no to union busting in Bucharest metro!
On June 25, the workers at General Mills celebrated a remarkable victory. The company had stubbornly refused to countenance their claims, offering them an average pay rise of just 1.5 percent, offset by cuts to their conditions and new clauses that could see them having to take on more weekend work.
After three weeks on strike, the global food giant backed down, offering a wage rise of 9 percent over three years without any trade off in conditions. The workers also won a $1,500 bonus and protection for all labor hire casuals and contractors who participated in the strike.
In a spectacular show of strength, farmers’ organizations on Saturday protested in front of the houses of governors [Raj Bhavans] and observed ‘Save Agriculture, Save Constitution Day’ in more than 20 States and union territories in India against the three controversial central Farm Laws, and for a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP). The leaders maintained that the protest enjoyed the support of all sections of society with people protesting at the district level as well. The farmers, who have been protesting at Delhi’s borders, maintain that the farm laws will compromise the food security of the country by bringing contract farming into effect. Similarly, a significant population of farmers maintain that they will lose their income security as one of the bills proposes the formation of private grain markets.
On Sunday, over 35,000 militants of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) took part as pre-candidates in the nomination process for those who will compete in the August 8 primary elections.
On June 28, hundreds of thousands took to the streets across Colombia to mark two months since the beginning of the national strike in the country. The national strike, which began in rejection of a tax reform bill, has transformed into a national struggle against the far-right government of President Ivan Duque and his neoliberal and oppressive policies.
The First Vice President of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, Diosdado Cabello, described the process nominating candidates for the primaries as 'successful'.
The Party closed a partial nomination by midnight Sunday with more than 27 thousand proposals, which will be presented on August 8th to the internal elections of the organization for the November 21st elections. There are many more to be announced.
Löfven’s fragile minority coalition with the Greens had been propped up by informal support from the centre-right Centre and Liberal parties and the once-communist Left party, which withdrew its backing over plans to ease rent controls on new apartments.
The Communist Party of China (CPC) has received more than 1,300 congratulatory letters from foreign political parties and state leaders over the CPC's upcoming 100th founding anniversary, said an official from the International Department of the CPC Central Committee. In those letters, parties and state leaders expressed their expectations for the CPC, including hopes to share its governance experience and lead international society in dealing with current challenges, such as climate change and imbalanced development.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Lao Party General Secretary and State President Thongloun Sisoulith reached consensus on cooperation orientations between the two countries in the time ahead during their meeting in Hanoi on June 28.
An open letter set up to support his re-entry into the party has been signed by more than 80 Labour and trade union activists.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro highlighted the brotherly ties between his country and China during an event to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations.
The Venezuelan National Electoral Council (CNE) president, Pedro Calzadilla, confirmed this Monday the registration of 20 new political organizations for the mega-elections to be held on November 21.
Calzadilla stated that of the new registered organizations, eight are national and 12 regional, "they will be active to participate in the mega-elections of November 21", he added.
The Alliance for Global Justice called on citizens of the world to sign a letter of solidarity with the Nicaraguan people. This independent NGO also calls to reject the attempts of the U.S. government and the corporate media to disqualify the elections that this Central American country will hold in November.
Starbucks employees at one store in Victoria will see increased wages and other benefits after unanimously ratifying a three-year collective agreement.
UFCW Canada Local 1288P members working at Atlantic Superstore in New Brunswick have achieved a new collective agreement with several gains that will help members and their families build a better life.
Ancillary staff at government hospitals in Israel are taking strike action after three years of negotiations with the ministry of finance.
Agreement was not reached over the question of workloads. The finance ministry totally ignored the demands of the workers leading the negotiations to a dead end.
Members of Unifor Local 1999 have voted to ratify a new collective agreement that will end the 49-day lockout by Reliance Home Comfort of 830 members at 14 locations across Ontario.
"Reliance's workers are the reason this company is successful. Our members' contribution needed to be recognized in this new collective agreement," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
The ratification ends the Ontario-wide boycott campaign launched by Unifor after the employer chose to use scabs to do the work of Local 1999 members.
More than 150,000 workers at the public sector plant Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) went on strike on 30 June after negotiations to solve a deadlock over wages failed.
We must continue to adapt Marxism to the Chinese context. Marxism is the fundamental guiding ideology upon which our party and country are founded; it is the very soul of our party and the banner under which it strives. The Communist Party of China upholds the basic tenets of Marxism and the principle of seeking truth from facts. Based on China’s realities, we have developed keen insights into the trends of the day, seized the initiative in history, and made painstaking explorations. We have thus been able to keep adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of our times, and to guide the Chinese people in advancing our great social revolution. At the fundamental level, the capability of our party and the strengths of socialism with Chinese characteristics are attributable to the fact that Marxism works.
On the journey ahead, we must continue to uphold Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development, and fully implement the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. We must continue to adapt the basic tenets of Marxism to China’s specific realities and its fine traditional culture. We will use Marxism to observe, understand, and steer the trends of our times, and continue to develop the Marxism of contemporary China and in the 21st century.
We must uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. We must follow our own path-this is the bedrock that underpins all the theories and practices of our Party. More than that, it is the historical conclusion our party has drawn from its struggles over the past century. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is a fundamental achievement of the party and the people, forged through innumerable hardships and great sacrifices, and it is the right path for us to achieve national rejuvenation. As we have upheld and developed socialism with Chinese characteristics and driven coordinated progress in material, political, cultural-ethical, social, and ecological terms, we have pioneered a new and uniquely Chinese path to modernization, and created a new model for human advancement."
By 2025, China will become a “high-income” economy by World Bank international standards, according to Justin Lin Yifu (a standing committee member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, and dean and professor at the Institute of New Structural Economics of Peking University). That is, in about 75 years, a single lifetime, China will have gone from almost the world’s poorest country to a high-income economy—with all the enormous improvement in human living standards, life expectancy, education, culture, and numerous other dimensions of human welfare this results in.
July 1 saw the release of two powerful statements initiated by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA) condemning NATO, imperialism and plans for a new Cold War against China and Russia. To date the letters have been endorsed by 45 Communist and Workers' parties around the world..
The scheme should tackle shortcomings in existing laws and take into consideration the harmonisation between Vietnamese and international laws, they said.
They highlighted the viewpoint that the scheme must follow the principle of putting the Constitution and laws first, and harmoniously handle relations between the State and citizens, and between collectives and individuals on the basis of respect and equality.
Participating in this meeting were the chairperson of the National Political Committee of the DSA, members of the International Committee, and members of the organization's Political Formation, Foreign Policy and Bilateral Relations sections.
In spite of the militarized crackdown, people across urban and rural Swaziland are taking to the streets against Africa’s last absolute monarch. The Communist Party calls for sustained uprising on a country-wide scale in order to “exhaust the army and police.”
While the government has denied reports about the King fleeing from the country, it has not convinced the banned opposition political parties who have been mobilizing over the last couple of weeks in an unprecedented wave of protests against the last absolute monarch in Africa.
Yesterday, Tuesday 29 June 2021, Mswati’s government intensified its censorship drive by shutting down the internet in Swaziland and unleashed its military on the masses, aiming to quell the Democracy Now protests in the country.
The regime used the internet blackout to invade people’s homes, randomly assault, shoot and kill people, hoping the attacks would not be detected.
By late last night, at least five people were certified dead at the Mbabane Government Hospital. Over 50 were admitted with gunshot wounds inflicted by the police and military.
Amnesty International has call upon eSwatini authorities to allow independent pathologists and medical doctors access to those who have been killed in the midst of the political unrest.
Eswatini, a tiny Kingdom situated in Southern Africa and ruled by Africa's last absolute Monarch King Mswati, is facing series of protests, citizens are demanding democratic reforms and the King responded by banning delivery of petitions triggering political chaos that has seen dozens killed by security forces. The King's Government subsequently shut down the internet to block the flow of information to the international community regarding the ongoing killing of civilians.
The Swaziland government has threatened to expel workers at Nkalashane Farm in the Lubombo region if they do not return to work without personal protective equipment (PPE). The farmworkers have been on strike since 20 April 2021, demanding PPE. The PPE they last received six years ago is now worn out.
Communities all over Swaziland have defied the Mswati autocracy’s ban of pro-democracy protests. At least 16 constituencies are protesting across Swaziland today in demand for democracy.
The South African Communist Party (SACP) stands in solidarity with and supports the people of Swaziland struggling for democracy, human rights, and inclusive development. The violence unleashed by the absolute monarch through the military and other organs of the security apparatus against the people is outrageous. The SACP conveys its deepest condolences to the families of protesters who have been killed by the autocracy and sends wishes of speedy recovery to those who have been injured.