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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

For Peace and Socialism!: Red Review #47 -- International Left and Labour News

With news from Swaziland, the Philippines, the USA, Canada, India, the UK, the DPRK and elsewhere.

There is also an extensive special section related to news about and statements by Communist and Workers' parties related to the war in Ukraine. This includes statements from the KKE, AKEL, CPI, CPI(M), Hungarian Workers' Party, Communist Party of Venezuela and others.

Communist Party of Swaziland march in support of socialism and democracy in Swaziland, March 4, 2022 -- image via Twitter

February 27:

On Sunday, February 27, tens of thousands of people protested in Belgian capital Brussels denouncing the anti-people policies pursued by the coalition government in the country. The protest was called by the Workers Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA). Protesters denounced the government’s inaction on higher energy costs and on the long pending demand for increase in salaries and pensions.

February 28:

Local 973 has ratified a new three-year contract with Coca-Cola in Brampton, Ont.

“The bargaining committee stayed focused on the members priority’s during these talks and were very pleased to bring back a tentative agreement that has increases across the board in wages, pension, health care improvements and many language improvements,” said Deb Tveit, Assistant to Unifor’s National President.

A resolution was filed in the Philippines Congress after social movements raised questions over a violent encounter by the military that killed five people last week in the southern part of the country. On February 28, legislators of the left-wing Makabayan bloc filed the resolution in the Philippines House of Representatives demanding an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the killings.

On February 24, two volunteer teachers, a community health worker, and two Indigenous people were killed in New Bataan town in Davao De Oro province in Mindanao in an alleged shootout with the army. Makabayan has called on the house committee on human rights for an “immediate” and “impartial” probe into the killings.

Senior officials of the Communist Party of China (CPC) have recently submitted reports on their work to the CPC Central Committee and Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.

The officials are members of the Political Bureau and the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, and members of the leading Party members groups of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the State Council and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, as well as secretaries of the leading Party members groups of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Inc. was recently hit with unfair labor practice allegations that could give the National Labor Relations Board’s Democratic majority a chance to ban one of the most potent weapons used by employers to repel union campaigns.

The unions attempting to represent Amazon workers at facilities in Bessemer, Ala., and Staten Island, N.Y., filed separate charges this month claiming federal labor law violations arising from the company convening mandatory anti-union meetings.

Such “captive audience meetings,” which critics call inherently coercive, have been legal under board precedent dating back to the 1940s.

Kim Jong Un, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, made an important conclusion "Secretaries of Primary Party Committees Should Become Genuine Political Workers of the Motherly Party" at the 2nd Conference of Secretaries of Primary Committees of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) on February 28.

Saying that the entire Party and all the people pin very great expectations on the current conference of secretaries of the primary Party committees, the second of its kind in the history of the WPK, the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un referred to the significance of the conference convened at a crucial time of our revolution.

March 1:

The upcoming State conference of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] will come out with a vision document for the development of Kerala for the next 25 years.

The document will be discussed at the State conference, which will begin in Kochi on March 1, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, party State secretary has said.

The BEST workers' union has threatened a series of massive agitations at 27 bus depots across the city to oppose 'handing over depots' to private contractors.

The first demonstration will be held outside Wadala depot on Wednesday.

The union alleged that full-time BEST workers were transferred out of Pratiksha Nagar depot recently to another depot in order to 'favour private contractors'.

They fear that Santacruz depot could be next and gradually, all depots will be taken over by the private agencies.

The government is facing calls to take action and close the gender pay gap, as a new report finds Australian women are earning nearly $500 less than men every week.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions’ report has urged the Morrison government to enshrine equal wages into law, pay super on parental leave, and make child care effectively free for most families.

In response, a government spokesperson said the gender pay gap fell to 13.4 per cent in 2020 under its watch – the lowest level on record.

But The Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work senior economist Alison Pennington rubbished this claim, saying the COVID-affected 2020 data distracts from its “colossal failure” on equity for female workers.

The Communist Party of Australia (CPA), in the framework of its XIV Congress, today reaffirmed its solidarity with the Cuban people and government in their confrontation with the economic blockade imposed by the United States.

The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “Sadiq Khan should be standing up to Tory ministers who want to needlessly attack jobs, pensions and conditions of key transport workers.

“It is this political failure that has left tube workers with no choice but to strike this week. Our members have been left paying the price for a turf war between City Hall and the government and they are not having it, as can be seen right across London today.”

"We are happy not to operate a banking system dominated by countries that promote destabilizing actions in other nations," Maduro stated, stressing that Venezuela runs bank transactions with its digital currency the "Bolivar."

The 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top political advisory body, closed its 20th standing committee session on Wednesday in Beijing.

Wang Yang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC, presided over the closing meeting and delivered a speech.

More than 3,000 Teamsters union members who work as engineers, conductors, trainpersons, and yardpersons for Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) have voted in favour of a strike mandate.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), in a notice to members following the end of a 17-day electronic voting period on Monday (Feb 28), said 96.7 per cent of votes were in favour of strike action.

Quebec’s civil servants are unhappy and ready to vote in favour of a strike mandate, the head of their union said on Tuesday.

The Ford government introduced legislation yesterday, Bill 88 or the Working for Workers Act, with sub-standard rights and conditions for app-based gig workers. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers sees this legislation as a setback for workers who are organizing to use collective strength to improve their work lives.

CUPW supports Gig Workers United, app-based delivery workers who are organizing in Toronto and the GTA.

Just last week, gig workers received a decision from a Ministry of Labour officer that confirms they are employees, and orders Uber to start complying with the Employment Standards Act with things including minimum wage – real minimum wage, for all time at work – breaks, vacation pay, and other basic rights of employees in this province.

“This legislation comes just when it’s clear to the Ford government and Uber that gig workers are winning, and that we’re on track to achieve the full employment rights they’re entitled to,” says Jan Simpson, CUPW National President. “The Conservatives misrepresent this legislation as a step forward, but it’s really designed as a barrier to unionization and a distraction from the fight for equal rights and employee status.”

CUPW believes that the Ontario Conservative government will seek to railroad the bill through before there is adequate public debate – which would shake the pro-worker image they’re trying to create heading into the 2022 election. Simpson adds, “While the Ford government tells the public they’re working for workers, we see from this move that though the workers have made their demands very clear, this government has instead chosen to listen to what a few giant multinational employers want.”

REI’s SoHo location made history Wednesday with a historic 88-14 vote to form the co-op’s first union.

In an in-person vote conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), workers at REI’s SoHo, N.Y., store overwhelmingly voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Once the vote is certified, the RWDSU will represent approximately 116 workers at the outdoor sports equipment company in contract negotiations, which will commence this year.

Workers at Starbucks stores in Buffalo are accusing the company of retaliating against union supporters by telling some of them they may have to leave the company if they cannot increase their work availability.

At least five of the cases have arisen at a store that unionized in December, though union supporters at other Buffalo-area stores report similar conversations with managers, frequently but not always involving pro-union employees. The company denies any connection between the scheduling issues and union activities and says the matter is strictly logistical.

The tensions indicate how labor relations are playing out after initial successes in unionizing company stores. None of Starbucks’s roughly 9,000 corporate-owned stores in the United States were unionized before early December, but three have unionized since then, and workers at more than 100 stores across the country have filed for union elections.

Labor unions in Maine say they have a lot of ideas on how the state can combat climate change and create clean energy jobs.

More than a dozen unions have created a new Maine Labor Climate Council, which they officially launched Tuesday. The unions say Maine has an opportunity to tackle climate change, the economic fallout from the pandemic and income inequality all at once.

The unions partnered with Cornell University to study climate change and have set 11 goals for creating clean-energy jobs in Maine.

The Second Conference of Secretaries of Primary Committees of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) closed on Monday amid great interest and expectations of all Party members and other people across the country. The conference marked a fresh milestone in strengthening the whole Party.

Kim Jong Un, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, guided the conference.

The conference proceeded amid the display of all the participants' steadfast will to further consolidate the primary organizations of the Party to be a lively harmonious whole sharing the idea and will with the Party Central Committee and acting in concert with it and to devotedly serve and strive for the prosperity and development of the country and wellbeing of the people, true to the Party's idea of giving foremost importance to primary Party committees and its policy of strengthening them.

Speeches were made by Choe Song Bok, secretary of the Junghung-ri Party committee of Samjiyon City, Kim Myong Chan, secretary of the Primary Party Committee of the Central Mining Research Institute of the State Academy of Sciences, Kim Jong Hun, secretary of the Primary Party Committee of the Namdok Youth Coal Mine, and others.

March 2:

Kim Jong Un, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and president of the State Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, planted memorial trees together with the participants in the 2nd Conference of Secretaries of Primary Committees of the WPK on March 2, the Tree-planting Day.

Attending the tree-planting ceremony were Jo Yong Won, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau and secretary for Organizational Affairs of the WPK Central Committee, RiIl Hwan, Kim Jae Ryong, O Il Jong, Kim Yong Hwan, Ju Chang Il and Kim Yo Jong.

The primary Party committee secretaries were filled with great excitement and delight as they came to plant memorial trees in the presence of the respected General Secretary in the Hwasong area where another ideal street symbolic of our Party's political idea of the people-first principle is being built.

March 3:

The city of El Alto has its first charging station for electric vehicles, inaugurated today by President Luis Arce and Energy Minister, Franklin Molina. The electric station will recharge vehicles free of charge for a year.

“Today, the city of El Alto is inaugurating the first electro-power station. Just as there are gas stations, now we have electro-power stations because it is important to be aware that little by little the planet needs to change the energy matrix in all countries,” said the President.

The New York Times Tech Guild has won their union vote, making them the largest majority union of software workers in the United States so far. The Tech Guild went public with their unionization efforts in April 2021, and faced an enormous amount of union-busting from New York Times management. At time of writing, the Tech Guild had counted an overwhelming majority of “yes” votes, with over 80% of the bargaining unit voting yes.

Workers at two Kansas City-area Starbucks locations accused the international coffee shop chain on Thursday of union-busting tactics, but they insisted that won’t deter a push for collective bargaining.

“All we’re asking for is a seat at the table,” Chris Fielder, a barista at the Country Club Plaza location, said. “If they're not going to give it to us, we’re just gonna stand up and take it.” Inc workers at a Staten Island sortation center have been given the greenlight to hold a vote on whether to unionize, according to a labor advocate, in what would be a second potential union election for the retailer in New York.

The Amazon Labor Union has been notified by the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that it had a sufficient showing of interest to hold a vote, said Christian Smalls, the group's leader and a former Amazon employee.

Smalls said at least 30% of about 1,500 people at the facility had signed cards delivered to the NLRB.

Library workers in Whitby became the newest members of CUPE, following a strong vote Thursday.

“Library workers are all very passionate about what they do. They bring tremendous creativity to their communities, but don’t always feel supported by management,” said Daniela Scarpelli, a CUPE representative who has been involved in the organizing drive. “They’re looking forward to having support in raising issues with management and working together to strengthen the Whitby Public Library.”

More than 22,000 library workers are CUPE members, and the historic vote in Whitby follows the trend of recent votes by library workers in Bradford West Gwillimbury, Georgina, Aurora, and Whitchurch-Stoufville.

Unionized professors and librarians at Nova Scotia's only French language post-secondary institution walked off the job Thursday.

In an online post, the Association of Professors and Librarians of Université Sainte-Anne said it's seeking to "rebalance the workload" to meet requirements of the new strategic plan announced by the university.

It also wants pay equity with professors in English-speaking institutions.

The struggle of the people of Swaziland for democracy, peace and freedom is rapidly intensifying, as frustration with the growing oppression of the Mswati regime and its opposition to any form of meaningful change increases.

The regime stubbornly adheres to the absolute rule of the monarch and continues to ban political parties, free media, and freedom of association. Over 100 people have been killed and many more wounded, tortured and detained during police and army clampdowns on freedom protests over the past year.

The CPS’s “Democracy Now” campaign has gained much headway and has been boosted by the “Turning Up the Heat” campaign, launched October 2021. The aim is to keep the momentum of defiance and protest buoyant and to channel the high-pressure frustrations that the people feel at the continued existence of the Mswati dictatorship.

The CPS is especially focusing on taking the “Turning Up the Heat” campaign to urban and rural communities hardest hit by poverty, oppression, exploitation and underdevelopment. It is these communities that have the most to gain from the liberation of the country from dictatorship and from empowerment through democracy.

March 4:

People Before Profit have announced a second candidate for the 2024 Carlow County Council elections.

The socialist party have one elected member already in Councillor Adrienne Wallace.

They’ve now announced that John Cahill from Ardattin will run in the Tullow district in the next local elections.

Workers at Amatola Water, in the Eastern Cape, say they will continue their strike next Wednesday if they don’t get a satisfactory response to their grievances from Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu.

They downed tools on Wednesday saying the management of the bulk water supplier was failing to address their complaints.

The workers have given management Wednesday next week as the deadline for addressing their complaints.

UCU today said that 68 universities across the UK will face a further five days of strike action beginning this month unless vice chancellors revoke pension cuts and meet staff demands over pay and working conditions.

Over 50,000 staff are taking five further days of strike action over two weeks in both the USS pension dispute and the pay and working conditions dispute. In the first week 39 universities will take five days of action from Monday 21 March to Friday 25 March. In the second week of action 29 universities will take five days of action from Monday 28 March to Friday 1 April. Well over a million students will be impacted. As part of the ongoing dispute, all branches will also be reballoted soon in preparation for potential industrial action next term.

More than 90 workers at Dowty Propellers have walked out following a dispute over pay.

The strike at the Gloucester firm, which is a subsidiary of GE Aviation, started earlier with further action planned on subsequent Fridays.

Members of the Unite Union are taking the action after rejecting a 4.5% two year pay deal.

A group of nurses gathered at the office of Conservative MPP Jeremy Roberts to protest Bill 124, the “unfair wage cut law.”

Protesters marched back and forth in front of the Ottawa West-Nepean MPP’s office on Merivale Road on Friday, March 4 in the afternoon.

Signs were held high and workers braved the 20 km/h winds and 40 km/h wind gusts to get their message heard.

On Friday, Boilermakers Local 146 issued a strongly worded plea to members of Teamsters Local 362, urging them to refuse work moving a large pressure vessel from CESSCO Fabrication and Engineering to an Inter Pipeline petrochemical facility in Fort Saskatchewan.

“It is abhorrent that anyone would cross a picket line, thereby enabling an employer to continue mistreating workers,” Local 146 spokesman Hugh MacDonald said in a news release. “That fellow union brothers would do so is shocking, shameful and disgusting.”

March 5:

March 6:

Ukraine War:

Opposing NATO, US and western imperialism, aggression, hypocrisy and warmongering is always a must and a duty of every leftist in the west.

Canada's Deputy PM and her defenders claim "Russian disinformation" after she is photographed holding a far right scarf. This is not the first time they have done that.

We the undersigned political parties welcome the statement of the World Peace Council of February 25, 2022, which:

  • Calls on all sides to the Russia-Ukraine conflict to restore and secure peace and international security through constructive political dialogue, noting that the Russian and Ukrainian people, as well as the peoples of the region, have nothing to gain from this military conflict.

  • Condemns the political and military manoeuvers of the USA, NATO and the European Union since the Euromaidan coup of 2014 after which reactionary forces took power in Kyiv with the open support of the Western imperialist powers.

  • Reiterates opposition to NATO's eastward expansion, its military build-up in Eastern Europe and the encirclement of the Russian Federation.

  • Declares that the unilateral recognition of the independence of the Ukrainian provinces by Russia not only undermines the founding principles of the Charter of the United Nations, but also creates justification for the future abuse of such methods by the imperialist powers against other nations.

  • Recognises that this conflict is related to the control of energy resources, pipelines, markets and spheres of influence.

On 27/2/22, the CC of the KKE organized an event in the city of Lamia in honour of the 80 years of the Greek People’s Liberation Army (ELAS), which was the military wing of the National Liberation Front (EAM). Both EAM and ELAS were founded following a decision of the KKE and fought against the fascist triple foreign occupation (German, Italian, and Bulgarian) of Greece during the imperialist Second World War.

The event took place in Lamia, the native city of Aris Velouchiotis, leader of ELAS and cadre of the KKE.

The event included a speech by Dimitris Koutsoumbas, GS of the CC of the KKE, and a concert. A march to the statue of Aris Velouchiotis was held right after.

During his speech, the GS of the CC of the KKE referred to the imperialist war in Ukraine, highlighting the following:

“Here, from the city of Lamia, at this great celebration for the 80th anniversary of the foundation of ELAS, we are shouting out loud: No to imperialist war! Any involvement of Greece must stop immediately! The bases must be immediately closed down!

This is the crucial issue for our people these moments when the sirens of war are being heard and Russia’s intervention and invasion of Ukraine is underway.

The sirens of war are heard for the second time on European soil, 30 years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the overthrow of socialism. The peoples futilely seek the “peaceful” and “safe” world that they were promised back then!

The only thing we are seeing now is permanent insecurity, poverty, and wars.

The government of the right-wing ND party with the support of the other bourgeois parties of the social-democratic “left” SYRIZA and the also social-democratic KINAL/PASOK proceeds with the deeper involvement of Greece in the ongoing imperialist war in Ukraine, always on the side of the USA–NATO–EU. This was apparent in the discussion between the leaders of the political parties in the Plenary Session of the Parliament on 1 March 2022.

In his speech, Dimitris Koutsoumbas, GS of the CC of the KKE, stressed, among other things, the following:

“Another drama, a tragedy is unfolding before our eyes targeting the peoples, women and children. This is another imperialist war and another war on European soil”.

Addressing the Greek Prime minister, he noted: “Mr Mitsotakis, during your recent meeting with the President of Democracy you stated and repeated today that, word by word, this is the first time since the Second World War that there was an organized and mass invasion of a European state!

Are you serious, Mr Mitsotakis? What about the war in Yugoslavia? What about the NATO intervention in Yugoslavia in 1999, with the participation of the then Greek government of PASOK? By the way, since we heard the representative of PASOK/KINAL saying that the Helsinki Final Act was violated now for the first time, let me tell you that it was violated for the first time with the break up of Yugoslavia in 1999.

In addition, what about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974? Weren't’ these wars and invasions on European soil? Not to mention the dozens of other wars and interventions in the wider region.

You reached the point —together with other forces— to silence the US-NATO crimes in Yugoslavia, Cyprus, and elsewhere only to support the NATO narrative regarding history in Eastern Europe.

Oh, the things we have heard these past days. Hypocrisy and Pharisaism abound!

Crocodile tears and statements ostensibly replete with indignation by NATO, USA, and EU representatives for the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine and the “inviolability of borders”!

We did not see them displaying the same sensitivity when they trampled on the territorial integrity of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.

They used different pretexts back then.

The dramatic developments that are taking place in Ukraine in recent times, particularly after Russia's invasion of the territory of Ukraine, have already caused great human and material losses and threaten to assume the dimensions of a generalised confrontation with unforeseeable consequences for the whole of humanity. In the face of these developments, AKEL:

  1. Condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine and calls for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Russian troops from Ukrainian territories.

  2. Calls on all involved parties to put an end to any action that may lead to a generalisation of the armed conflict and to return immediately to the path of dialogue and diplomacy and to commit themselves to the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which can still provide a peaceful way out.

  3. Expresses its solidarity with the Ukrainian people and its support for the families of the victims and the refugees.

  4. Stresses that the Russian Federation's action in recognising the Donetsk and Luhansk regions constitutes a violation of the principle of the territorial integrity of states, a backtracking from the Minsk Agreements, and underlines that the respect for the independence and territorial integrity of states and the non-interference in their internal affairs constitute a cornerstone of international law.

  5. Stresses that the continuing and systematic violation of human rights in the regions in question over the last seven years, of which the responsibility lies with the Ukrainian government, also constitutes a substantiveviolation of the Minsk package of measures.

  6. Underlines that the decisions of the European Union to send substantial military aid to Ukraine, as well as for unprecedented increases in military spending by both the EU and its member states, using the war as a pretext, threatens to make it part of the conflict. Instead of seeking further military escalation, the EU should have been playing a peacekeeping role for de-escalation.

  7. The sanctions that have been decided will have knock-on effects and consequences of unpredictable dimensions in terms of both extent and depth, not only for Russia, but for the whole of humanity and especially for Europe too. The heavy price will be paid by the peoples. As far as Cyprus is concerned, the war and thesanctions will hit the economy (tourism, services, livestock farming), which is precisely why the government must take immediate measures to address the consequences.

  8. The international community must abandon the double standards policy and the one-sidedinvoking of international law, which undermines international legality and permits the will of the mighty to prevail.

The responsibility for the war lies with the capitalist system. Among the capitalist forces of the world, there is a relentless struggle for sales markets, for resources.

Lasting peaceful coexistence of peoples will bring only the victory of socialism throughout the world, and we all strive to ensure that this victory comes as soon as possible.

The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) expresses its concern over the escalation of the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine. This conflict is being stimulated and used by Western capitalist powers to justify the deployment and expansion of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces in the region, as well as to deepen economic sanctions against Russia which come in the framework of fierce global competition between imperialist and capitalist powers for the control of markets, natural resources, trade routes and scientific and technological advances.

Both NATO's aggressive expansion into Eastern Europe following the triumph of the counterrevolution in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the growing drive of capitalist Russia to regain control over its former zone of influence, are political manifestations of this sharpening of the competition and dispute between the different capitals and national bourgeoisies represented by their respective nation-states: Russia on the one hand, and Ukraine and NATO countries, led by the United States, on the other.

The National Secretariat of the Communist Party of India issued today (on March 01, 2022) the following statement:

Last few days marked with the advance of Russian forces in different parts of Ukraine resulting in huge human and material loss. The CPI denounces the military action and demands stop the further advance of Russian forces in Ukraine, immediate ceasefire and restoration of peace and return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue.

For last few months, the world has witnessed how the US and its NATO allies sent hi-tech armaments to Ukraine and its partners in Eastern Europe as well as deployment of Missiles across the Russian border thus aggravating the hostilities between two countries and posing great threats to peace and stability in the region.

CPI believes that these military conflicts will not bring solution to the both countries rather it will help the US to use this as “pretext” for its further intervention in the region aiming at control of the market of oil, natural gas and raw materials.

CPI demands that US, EU and NATO should stop further expansion of NATO towards East with their agenda of “Balkanization of Russia“, should address the Russian Security concerns, withdraw all unilateral inhuman sanctions against Russia and respect the “Minsk agreement of 2014” which was agreed by both the Ukraine and Russia.

The CPI respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and expects mutual trust and friendly neighbourly relations between the two countries.

CPI welcomes the initiative of the governments of Russia and Ukraine holding talks to find solutions to the present conflicts without outside interference and hope that just and amicable peace will be achieved through dialogue.

The events in Ukraine have occupied the center-stage on the world platform for now. Russian military action in major Ukrainian cities and heated exchanges from both the sides indicate that this can blow into a full-scale war with belligerents coming from regions far away from the war theater in Ukraine. In India too, people are expressing their apprehensions regarding the conflict. In the intertwined world we live in, it is impossible for us to remain insulated from this clash between geopolitical forces of this magnitude. Thus, it is imperative for us to look back and trace the roots of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and what position we should take.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has set in motion developments that will have long term implications on European and world affairs. A full-fledged military operation on such a big scale mounted by Russia, whatever may be the provocations and perceived security threats, is not the way to resolve issues. An immediate ceasefire and recourse to diplomatic talks and negotiations must be undertaken.

The South African Communist Party (SACP) strongly condemns the racism and racial prejudice and disrespectful attitudes unleashed against Africans by state actors and others in Ukraine and its borders with some countries. The reality of racism and racial discrimination meted against Africans in favour of whites being prioritised in the evacuation from the situation in Ukraine involves Africans being maltreated, viewed with distain, approached as if they are criminals and rightless, pushed back, among others, is sickening, to say the least. This should be considered as the tip of the iceberg after pretentions broke loose, exposing the Nazi and white supremacist tendencies that prevail in Ukraine and the countries bordering it in which Africans experienced the contemptuous, racist discrimination and maltreatment. The SACP expresses its solidarity with the affected African people and their families and calls on the African Union and African governments to take active steps within the framework of international law to secure the safety of the African people and ensure that they arrive home alive. The United Nations must not be silent about the racist conduct but must investigate and deal with it in pursuit of its “Fight Racism” programme towards eliminating racism and its material basis.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is the primary aggressor that has caused the conflict in Ukraine through its expansion eastwards, towards Russia. The United States-led imperialist instrument of militarism, NATO, considers Russia to be its strategic adversary. Through its expansion and use of Ukraine as its expansionist ground towards Russia, NATO has engendered the reaction by Russia. The SACP reiterates its call to NATO to stop its expansionism altogether and reverse it, and to all whom it may concern, including Russia and Ukraine, to de-escalate and stop the military confrontation and revert to peaceful means of resolving the dispute. The SACP says no to imperialist war in Ukraine and any other part of the world.

In the same vein, the regime in Ukraine must stop the human rights violations it has systematically been carrying out against the people, more so in the eastern regions. The regime banned the Communist Party of Ukraine and communist symbols in 2015 as part of its so-called “de-communisation” and its human rights violations depriving the affected people of their rights to participate in elections, to express their freedoms of association and expression, and to practice other political rights.

An international coalition of renowned human rights lawyers has launched an urgent appeal to the United Nations to act over “abominable” racism in Ukraine.

Africans living, working, and studying in Ukraine have been held up in that country by racist Ukrainian cops who have forced them to remain out in the cold, without food and shelter, in Western Ukraine locations near the borders of other European countries to which they have tried to flee.

Black people and other ethnic minorities fleeing Ukraine are facing “two wars”—one inflicted by the Russians and another over racial discrimination by Ukrainian officials, the new coalition said today.

“They treat us not like humans,” said Tunisian medical student Ebtyssem about some of the Ukrainian authorities. “Worse than animals.”

The 28-year-old and her fiancé — who donned a Toronto Maple Leafs hat, but said he had no idea who or what they were — backed up some of the allegations that had been circulating on social media in recent days about the treatment of those crossing the border who didn’t hold Ukrainian passports. These refugees, who notably weren’t white, were being discriminated against by Ukrainian authorities and were, in some cases, hindered from leaving.

The Nigerian government has condemned the treatment of thousands of its students and citizens fleeing the war in Ukraine, amid growing concerns that African students are facing discrimination by security officials and being denied entry into Poland.

A deluge of reports and footage posted on social media in the past week has shown acts of discrimination and violence against African, Asian and Caribbean citizens – many of them studying in Ukraine – while fleeing Ukrainian cities and at some of the country’s border posts.

Scrolling through my social media and news feeds, “I stand with Ukraine” is the dominant statement of support for a country that undeniably needs it at this time. But this stance is not as black and white as Western liberals like to think. It is not a simple exercise of picking sides between the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’.

Not for Africans, anyway. Some even see President Putin’s war in Ukraine as one man’s resistance to Western hegemony.

The rest of the world has experienced NATO, Europe and the US in other ways than ‘good’ – and we are allowed to express the anger and scepticism that highlights hypocrisy and calls for caution about Western solutions.

I stand with the Ukrainian people (who are wholly deserving of sympathy and are not synonymous with the Ukrainian state), but as the ever-increasing outcry on social media and press reports show, even now we must talk about anti-Black racism. The racist treatment that Africans are facing as they flee Ukraine is proof that white supremacy never takes a day off, not even in war time.

So neither can an African’s vigilance in understanding and interpreting Western narratives of dominance.

“I believe that the war should be stopped immediately. By voting for recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, I voted for peace, not war. For Russia to become a shield, not to bomb Donbass, not to bomb Kiev.”

Over 400 people joined a rally against the war in Ukraine in Conway Hall, central London, on Wednesday. The meeting was a show of defiance against the Tories’, Labour Party’s and mainstream media’s attempts to smear the left as apologists for Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The message from the hall was clear—no to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, no to Western escalation of the conflict. Organised by the Stop The War Coalition, it came ahead of a global day of action against the war on Sunday.

Lindsey German, Stop The War co-convenor, said, “I want to extend Stop The War’s solidarity to the people of Ukraine. And, speaking of the anti-war protests, she added, “I would also like to send solidarity to people in Russia who are showing tremendous bravery.” She said the demonstrations in Russian cities “send a message around the world for peace and against war”.


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