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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Historic Amazon union win: Red Review #51 -- International Left and Labour News

With news from India, Venezuela, Bolivia, the UK and elsewhere.

There are also sections about the historic Amazon union win in New York and the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Communist Party of Brazil.

Amazon workers and union organizers celebrate their historic victory on April 1 -- image via Twitter

March 29:

Unions demanded universal social security coverage, a higher minimum wage, a halt to the sale of state assets, and no more privatisation of public sector banks. The workers also want the controversial, newly passed labor codes to be repealed. On the day these codes were passed in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the Opposition was not present as they were boycotting the Parliament. Furthermore, these codes are pro employer as well. According to this code, the definition of a company that must seek permission from the government before closing down has been expanded to include businesses with more than 300 employees. Previously, companies with more than 100 employees had to obtain a license from the state to close. Moreover, under the new code, companies employing up to 300 people will no longer be required to create standing orders for their employees. Standing orders are essentially the rules of behaviour for workers in industrial establishments. People want employment as well. As of now, 53 million Indians remain unemployed.

Students are returning to school today in Minneapolis after one of the longest educators’ strikes in decades. After nearly three weeks on the picket line, the teachers and educational support professionals chapters of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) Local 59 have overwhelmingly voted — with yes votes of 76 and 79 percent of the two chapters — to approve the proposed tentative agreements.

The strike won significant gains on many fronts.

"Good sense, responsibility, and democracy prevailed," Pedro Castillo said after the vote and called on everyone to "close this page and work together for the country's great challenges."

On Tuesday, Peru's President Pedro Castillo thanked Congress for laying down "the foundations of this democratic space" in the country by rejecting the impeachment motion against him.

Momentum, the grassroots leftwing movement set up under Corbyn, condemned the latest decision to ban the groups. “As a democratic socialist party, Labour has a proud tradition of welcoming socialists of all traditions, while disciplinary procedures already exist for individual members that behave inappropriately,” it said.

“These factional proscriptions will create hundreds of time-consuming and pointless investigations into members for simply liking tweets or signing petitions. This has absolutely nothing to do with winning elections. Instead, it is yet another example of a Labour leadership obsessing over purging the left at a time when socialist ideas are more popular and urgent than ever.”

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has stressed pushing forward with the ongoing campaign against women and children trafficking and stepping up efforts to protect these groups' legitimate rights and interests and safeguard social justice.

Li, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks in an instruction on a teleconference about combating human trafficking held on Tuesday.

The crackdown on human trafficking concerns family happiness and social tranquility, the instruction noted. It requires thorough investigations into related cases, rescuing the victims timeously, and ensuring proper follow-up settlement.

In a statement issued on Tuesday morning the Communist Party of Sweden (SKP) denounces the vandalism of its offices in the city of Malmö. The vandals graffitied the phrase “Weapons for the Ukrainian people” in the premises' entrance adding the anarchist symbol.

According to the Party's newspaper Riktpunkt the attack, which took place on Monday night, is a reaction to the SKP's consistent refusal to take sides in Ukraine's inter-imperialist conflict between the Euro-Atlantic forces and Russia. “In a war between thieves, we don't choose sides”, a party statement reads.

On Tuesday 29/3, the Organizations of the KKE and the KNE in the region of Thrace threw red paint at the armoured vehicles of the US-NATO war machine that are being transported through the region for awar rehearsal on the NATO border with Russia.

For weeks now, the port of Alexandroupolis has become a key hub for the deployment of US-NATO troops in Eastern Europe. The armoured and other combat vehicles of the US Army arrive by ship and are then transported by road and rail to Romania and Poland.

With this symbolic action, the Organizations of the KKE and KNE sent a message condemning the imperialist war in Ukraine and our country’s involvement in it, which escalates the danger posed to the people and turns Alexandroupolis into a launching pad against the peoples.

March 30:

On Wednesday, Venezuela's Foreign Affairs Minister Felix Plasencia congratulated Nicaragua for being elected as co-chair of the FAO Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Venezuela is happy to be out of the SWIFT system and President Nicolas Maduro says they aren’t looking back.

Instead, Venezuela stands ready to adopt a new financial and monetary system and is looking to BRICS countries and others will be responding to the United States and Europe and their use of the banking system for geopolitical blackmail and regime change.

President Maduro touched on the subject at a Wednesday evening event in which he hosted accredited ambassadors at the Miraflores palace.

The Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) denounced the killing of a second member of the political organization in the southern border state of Apure.

“Less than three months after the murder of communist militant and popular communicator José Urbina in Apure, our comrade and PCV social leader Juan de Dios Hernández has been kidnapped and murdered,” stated the party’s secretary-general Óscar Figuera on Tuesday via Twitter.

THE Communist Party of Greece (KKE) is boycotting next month’s special parliamentary session due to be addressed by Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky.

It said that he “represents a reactionary government backed by the US-Nato-EU camp and like Russia is responsible for the drama of the Ukrainian people.”

KKE accused the Ukrainian government for supporting neonazi groups, and said it had persecuted and imprisoned communists and banned the Communist Party of Ukraine.

Senior figures in the KKE, including the vice-president of the Greek parliament Giorgos Lambroulis and former MEP Sotris Zarianopoulos, have been blacklisted by Kiev because of their support for Ukrainian communists, the party said.

“The invitation of the Greek government to Zelensky has nothing to do with solidarity with the people of Ukraine,” a KKE statement said.

The party’s stance would be the same if parliament was to be addressed by US President Joe Biden or Russian President Vladimir Putin, it added.

Police removed Ukrainian flags from two Russian tanks at the Soviet Memorial in the German capital Berlin today, the second such incident so far this week.

It is believed that the yellow and blue ensigns had been draped over the iconic T-34 tanks in protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began last month.

No damage had been caused, a police spokesman said, and the flags were easily removed. No further action will be taken, a statement added.

March 31:

Vice Minister Basanta presented investment opportunities in Venezuela in activities related to forestry production, textiles, plastics, glass, and metalworking.

On Thursday, Vice Minister of Industrial Development Cesar Basanta reported that Venezuela evaluated different areas of cooperation and industry with Indonesia and Lebanon, with the aim of finalizing a list of products with potential for export and trade.

April 1:

Russia is a large consumer of the Latin American banana—but western sanctions have dealt a devastating blow to farmers who can no longer get their products to market.

For Ecuador, the world’s largest exporter of bananas, the setback has been disastrous. Around 25% of Ecuador’s banana exports go to Russia and 90% of all bananas consumed in Russia come from Ecuador. However, commercial ships carrying the bananas can no longer reach the port of St. Petersburg due to sanctions imposed by the US and EU. The sudden drop in demand has left producers with excess supply. Prices have collapsed as a result.

The latest figures show that the MAS government’s economic policies are working and have produced concrete results in a very short time span.

Under the import substitution policies of socialist economist-turned-president, Luis Arce, Bolivia is seeing a marked decrease in imports, while exports rose by 22.4% in February of this year compared to 2021. Data from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) also shows an increase in non-traditional exports, both in volume and value.

Close to one thousand healthcare workers in Swaziland have had their short-term contracts not renewed by the Mswati’s government. Their contracts expired on 31 March 2022, and more are expected to face the chop.

Among the healthcare workers who have had their contracts not renewed are those whom the government targeted with victimisation for daring to stand up in defence of their rights and the rights of patients.

25,000 health care workers from six hospital districts represented by the Finnish Union of Practical Nurses (SuPer) and the Union of Health and Social Care Professionals (TEHY) are all set to go on strike starting on April 1. Unions are demanding immediate staff recruitments to solve an acute staff shortage in the social and healthcare services (Sote) sector, and a 3.6% increase on top of the annual pay raise over the next five years. On March 30, A national mediator presented a proposed settlement but it was rejected by unions who declared that the settlement did not address workers’ primary concern of staffing shortages. If the union’s demands are not met after two weeks of striking, 15,000 more health workers from other seven hospital districts also will join the strike.

According to Finnish public sector trade unions such as the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL) and Confederation of Skilled Workers in the Public Sector (JUKO), and others, workers are dissatisfied with wages and working conditions. Along with the workers in the social and health care sectors, welfare and education workers have also been planning to take industrial action. As Perttu Mukkala of JUKO stated, “It is often mentioned how important public sector work, for example in the social welfare sector, is. However, this is not really reflected anywhere. The appreciation should also be evident in our pay slips.”

The MEPs of the KKE condemn the unacceptable statements of the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Z. Borel against Cuba. In a crude intervention in its internal affairs, he makes threats and "wags his finger" at the Cuban government, raising concerns about the individual and political rights of the Cuban people, freedom of assembly, etc.

It is well known that the Cuban government has made public a wealth of evidence documenting that the persons who led the counter-revolutionary actions last summer are directly linked and directed by mechanisms in the United States, with the aim of creating destabilizing conditions by orchestrating another coup attempt against the Cuban people.

Who's really talking? The EU and the governments of the savage repression, the ban on demonstrations, strikes, the savage repression against demonstrators, the ban on Communist Parties, the imprisonment of refugees and even unaccompanied refugee children, which is keeping track of and multiplying its reactionary surveillance mechanisms of demonstrators, trade unionists and other militants?

This stance of the EU has obvious geopolitical motives as it develops its own plans against Cuba and its people, attempting to take advantage of the long-standing, criminal US blockade of the island.

Confronting the imperialist plans that the EU and the USA are working against Cuba, the best response of the Greek people, of other peoples, is to strengthen solidarity with the Cuban people in order to prevent any subversive plan against them.

Amazon Union Win:

In a huge win for Amazon workers in the United States and US workers generally, workers at Amazon’s massive warehouse on Staten Island, New York voted by a large margin to join the Amazon Labor Union in results released April 1. They are the first US Amazon workers to unionize and they did so in spite of relentless efforts by the company to prevent it.

The celebrations of this incredibly important victory have been widespread.

On April 1, Amazon workers could be seen celebrating and embracing amongst shouts of “ALU!” in front of the JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island, New York City. These workers had just won the first union at Amazon in the US: the Amazon Labor Union (ALU).

The union has been fighting to organize workers in the Staten Island warehouse since April 2021. After a year battling vicious union-busting on the part of Amazon and gathering support of agitated workers, union organizers won their union election with a ​​2,654–2,131 vote. 67 ballots remain contested.

It’s the magical stuff of Disney movies. But yesterday, the improbable became the most probable when the scrappy band of workers who make up the Amazon Labor Union took the lead in a union election at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, putting within reach a historic labor win at the corporate behemoth.

Before the vote count most reporters had dismissed the independent union’s chances, treating the organizing as a curiosity at best. “I think we have been overlooked,” said ALU Treasurer Madeline Wesley Thursday night. “And I think that that ends tomorrow when we are victorious.”

The ALU clinched a decisive victory today, winning by a wide margin to create the first unionized workplace in Amazon’s extensive network of fulfillment, delivery, and sortation centers across the U.S. The company’s facilities are concentrated in metropolitan areas like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, opening a path for more organizing.

Communist Party of Brazil at 100

The participation of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was the highlight, this Saturday (26), the program of the Red Festival – the main event commemorating the one hundred years of the PCdoB.

The installation was divided into two sections. In the first, the visitor accompanies, in large banners, the "timeline" of the Communist Party of Brazil, also founded in Niterói, on March 22, 1922. The itinerary is full of photos and data that help contextualize the various historical moments experienced by the PCdoB.

The second has projections of about 500 images on the walls of the dome. Subtitles can be read or heard, as the organizers provided audio descriptions. Between the two sections, the audience watches an animation with PCdoB militants, establishing a link between the parts of the exhibition and establishing the idea of a continuous trajectory.

Cuban communists today congratulated the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) on the occasion of its one hundred years of history and thanked that organization for its solidarity with the Cuban people.


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