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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #102 -- International Left and Labour News

With news from India, Cuba, Germany, Spain, Austria, the UK and elsewhere.

Thousands march to submit Left Front nominations in West Bengal, India -- Image via CPI(M)

June 9:

DeSantis and his anti-union allies thought their legislation had dealt a death blow to Florida public unions. Many unions were worried that they would lose tens of thousands of members as they struggled to get members to give their bank account information so that unions could manually deduct dues.

However, Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar says the attacks have backfired.

The Florida Education Association says that it actually gained 5,000 members in the month since DeSantis signed the bill in May. Indeed, many non-union teachers, particularly younger teachers, startled by DeSantis’s attacks on gays, immigrants, and minorities, have sought to join the union to fight back against the governor’s attacks.

“We have people coming in who are saying, ‘Hey, how do I join the union? I want to join the union,'” says Andrew Spar, President of Florida Education. “Teachers are saying ‘I can’t believe what’s happening in the state of Florida; we need to have a voice. How can I get involved in the union?'”

June 10:

On June 10, hundreds of activists from various anti-imperialist and anti-war groups as well as the Communist Party of Germany (DKP) marched to the Wunstorf Air Base in Hannover to protest the NATO’s Air Defender 2023 exercise scheduled from June 12-June 23. A vigil was also held at the Spangdahlem Air Base near Trier, which will also serve as a base for the exercise. Die Linke organized protests against the NATO exercise on June 11. The protestors denounced war-mongering and projection of military might by NATO amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and demanded a ceasefire and peace negotiations in Ukraine, as well as removal of US nuclear weapons from Germany. The airpower drill is likely to cause civil aviation delays in Germany.

A last-minute decision by over a dozen leftist parties to run together in Spain’s snap elections in July could improve the likelihood of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez being confirmed at the ballot box.

The deal between the leftist alliance Sumar — which is helmed by Labor Minister Yolanda Díaz — and left-wing party Podemos is designed to create a united front against the conservative People’s Party (PP), which polling data indicate is heading for victory, as reflected in POLITICO’s Poll of Polls.

That means that Podemos would join 14 other small leftist groups in the Sumar alliance.

A protest was carried out in the Kachari locality of Guwahati on Saturday by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), complaining against the inadequate drinking water supply, increasing prices of electricity and the increment in property taxes in the city.

June 11:

The Communist parties have launched a protest rally in Visakhapatnam ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah visit to the port city in the evening against the privatisation of the Visakhapatnam steel plant. The communist party leaders are demanding that the decision to privatise the Steel plant be revoked One of the leaders who headed the protest had lashed out state BJP leaders for not taking any steps to stop privatisation as promised.

On Sunday, Bolivian President Luis Arce took part in a ceremony in honor of the 79th anniversary of the Bolivian Federation of Mine Workers Union (FSTMB).

“We celebrate the 79th anniversary of the glorious Bolivian Mining Workers Union Federation, the vanguard of the workers' struggle," he said.

"Our mining brothers' revolutionary lucidity has always guided our steps. Thank you for training us in the union struggle. Congratulations!"

June 12:

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Venezuela on Monday, June 12, on the first leg of his five-day visit to three Latin American countries. He is also slated to visit Cuba and Nicaragua. The visit is significant since these countries, like Iran, are affected by unilateral sanctions imposed by the US.

Underlining the significance of his visit, Raisi claimed before leaving for Latin America that relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and independent countries are “strategic.” He said that “our common position with these three countries is opposition to the [world’s] hegemonic system and unilateralism.”

Raisi is traveling with a large delegation which includes the foreign, defense, petroleum and health ministers, along with other high officials. He is expected to sign bilateral agreements in all three countries to increase trade and cooperation bypassing US sanctions.

The Teamsters’ organizing drive among Amazon drivers and other workers is speeding up in Southern California, with a second success there in the last two months and the third overall since February.

Those wins are important not just for the Teamsters, who have launched an all-out campaign to organize Amazon’s half-million-plus workers, but for labor as a whole. Amazon has become the nation’s low-pay, unsafe-conditions poster child. Unionization changes that scenario.

The win among 300 workers at the Smart & Final Distribution Center in Riverside comes on the heels of a victory shortly before. The 84 contract drivers at Battle Tested Strategies (BTS) in Palmdale won card check recognition, quickly reached a first collective bargaining agreement, and unanimously ratified it. They’re with Local 396. Enforcing their contract, though, is another matter.

June 13:

Keir Starmer’s Labour Party continues to get its betrayals in early. It’s determined to prove to the bosses and the right wing media that it can be trusted to be a safe pair of hands for the ruling class.

On Tuesday night Labour’s members in the House of Lords refused to back a motion to block the Tories’ assault on the right to protest.

The Green’s Jenny Jones had put forward a “fatal motion” against the Public Order Bill, which will gut protest rights. It’s a rare parliamentary procedure which can effectively kill off the passage of the law.

The KKE denounces the dangerous games that New Democracy, SYRIZA and PASOK are playing with the Muslim minority of Thrace. All the more so at a time when serious unfavourable settlements in Greek-Turkish relations are in the pipeline, with the direct intervention of the US–NATO, which have established their presence in Thrace with the responsibility of both the New Democracy and the SYRIZA government.

The acute problems faced by the minority in Thrace have the same cause as those faced by the entire Greek people; therefore the struggle must be joint within the framework of the labour and popular movement. This struggle must be directed against the plans of both the Greek and Turkish bourgeois classes, which intervene by blackmailing the people and by other methods because they want the minority to be a rubber stamp for their plans.

Another element of this intervention over time is the activity of the Turkish consulate in favour of candidates from all bourgeois parties and especially the attempt to establish the conception of “collective self-definition” as a “Turkish minority” which opposes the Treaty of Lausanne and opens up very dangerous paths. Those who pretend to have just found out about such intervention are hypocrites.

Minorities should be bridges of friendship and solidarity between the peoples. This is the necessity expressed by the KKE and its candidates from the Muslim minority of Thrace. We address the minority on the sole criterion of common class interests, free from any division on the grounds of religion, language or ethnic origin. That is why the people need to join forces with the KKE in the run-up to the elections, against the anti-popular policy of the governments and the plans of the bourgeois classes and imperialist organizations.

June 14:

The 95th anniversary of Ernesto Guevara's birth and the 178th of Antonio Maceo's will be commemorated in the central Cuban city of Santa Clara, this June 14, in the national activity for both anniversaries.

The tribute will begin in the Escambray neighborhood, in front of the bust of the patriot of the Cuban Independence War in the 19th century, who fell in combat on December 7, 1896 with the rank of Lieutenant General of the Liberation Army.

Then, young people, students and all the people will make a pilgrimage through the main arteries of the city to the Plaza de la Revolución 'Ernesto Che Guevara' which holds the remains of the Argentine-Cuban commander, who fell in the guerrilla in Bolivia in 1967 along with a group of internationalist fighters.

The Communist Party of Austria (KPO) has intensified its campaign demanding immediate government action to tackle the housing crisis in the country. The party protested the insensitive and inadequate response of the government under the Austrian People’s Party (FPO)-Greens coalition in tackling homelessness and the soaring rent crisis. Last week, the KPO launched a petition demanding a freeze on rents until 2029. The party claimed that the housing subsidy of €250 million (USD 269.50 million) announced by the government earlier this year instead of a rent break will fizzle out and only end up in the pockets of property owners.

According to the KPO, the category interest rates in Austria increased by 5.5% for 140,000 tenants from July 2023—the fourth increase in just 15 months. “Since the start of this government in 2019, we have been paying an average of almost two months’ rent per year. Even though a rent cap guideline is envisaged in the Austrian tenancy law already, this applies to fewer and fewer apartments on the market,” KPO stated.


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