Red Review #106 -- International Left and Labour News
With news from the USA, India, Cuba, Venezuela, Italy, South Africa, South Korea and elsewhere.
There is also a special section of statements related to the NATO Summit being held in Vilnius.
Hotel workers in Los Angeles, USA on strike July 10
On Thursday 6 July, the Lower House adopted a motion by the coalition parties VVD, D66, CDA and Christian Union regarding the famine in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s. Against all historical facts, the famine is labelled a ‘genocide’ of the Ukrainian people. The motion claims that the famine was deliberately “planned and carried out by the then Soviet regime to oppress the Ukrainian people and identity.” The purpose of this unprecedented falsification of history is nothing but to further demonise communism.
This falsification of history from the Dutch state comes in the wake of a European Union anti-communist resolution with roughly the same content from 15 December 2022. However, this is not the first attempt to distort the history of the early 1930s famine. The first such attempts were made by the Nazis, who began a propaganda campaign about the famine in 1933, with the aim of preparing public opinion for the ‘liberation’ of Ukraine by Nazi Germany. The first publication about an alleged ‘genocide’ appeared in 1933 in the NSDAP’s party newspaper, the Volkischer Beobachter.The Nazi propaganda was adopted by American media, mainly those owned by media magnate and Nazi sympathiser William Randolph Hearst.
The famine – which affected not only Ukraine but also other parts of the Soviet Union – hadnothing to do with a conspiracy to “oppress the Ukrainian people and identity,” as the motion states. The real causes were of a very different nature.
The South African Communist Party (SACP) stands in solidarity with our esteemed ally, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), on its National Day of Action, Thursday, 6 July 2023. This protected protest, authorised under Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act, serves as a vital platform to advocate for and safeguard the socio-economic interests of workers across South Africa.
The SACP endorses the progressive demands put forth by COSATU during this National Day of Action. We recognise the pressing need to address the many challenges faced by workers and the broader South African society. Therefore, we pledge our unwavering support for the following critical issues.
The President of the Republic and First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, began today a tour of economic and social sites in the province of Villa Clara, as a deputy to the National Assembly of People's Power (parliament).
According to the Presidency, the president, together with other parliamentarians, visited economic and social sites in the territory, following up on the province's integral development and fulfilling his constitutional mandate to represent his Santa Clara constituents.
Díaz-Canel began his visit at the Los Cueto farm, a family project that unites four generations, the outstanding cattle producer Alfonso Cueto explains to the deputies the results of their productions.
About 12 kilometers north of Santa Clara is the productive emporium of Los Cueto, which shows excellent results in the production of milk and beef.
A protest on July 8 called on the federal Labor government to ban all military exports to Israel. The rally and march was organised by the Palestine Action Group Sydney to protest Israel's brutal military assault on the Jenin Palestinian refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian activist Amal Naser told the rally that military weapons designed for war were used against unarmed civilians, including children.
Greens Senator David Shoebridge called on Anthony Albanese to condemn the attack on Jenin and to ban all military exports to Israel.
The Irish government has been challenged to publicly state that it will not allow Shannon, or any other Irish airport, to be used in the transportation of Cluster Bombs to Ukraine.
The call, from Workers Party President Cllr Ted Tynan, came as US President Joe Biden announced that the United Sates is going to supply Ukraine with Cluster Bombs, which are banned by over 100 countries worldwide.
They are a particularly vicious and indiscriminate weapon known for having caused hundreds of civilian deaths and leaving many thousands more maimed and disfigured.
In the morning of July 8, workers at a Waffle House in Columbia, South Carolina walked out of the popular breakfast stop and picked up signs to protest their working conditions. The strike is set to last for three days, as employees protest a variety of issues regarding their safety and wages they feel management undermines.
The walkout is supported by the locally-founded Union of Southern Service Workers, created to uplift low wage workers across the food and service industries. They are urging for more frequent on-sight security, regulated scheduling, and the suspension of mandatory check deductions for meals eaten, or not eaten, during shifts.
On July 8 and 9, the 3-Party Conference of the DKP, the NCPN and the KPL took place once again, on the topic "Imperialist war and capitalist crisis, the role of NATO and the EU and the respective governments. The role of communists in the struggle against war and crisis".
Representatives of the three parties intensively discussed issues of imperialism and war and the task of communists, a discussion that was conducted in solidarity. The participants are aware that the parties have different positions on certain issues, but the discussions were constructive and aimed at joint action and offered important ideas for further debate.
They informed about concrete effects of war and crisis in their countries and how the EU and the respective governments pass on the burdens of war and crisis to the working people, as well as about the different forms of struggle against this policy.
There is agreement that the common struggle against the imperialist alliances NATO and EU, for the dissolution of all NATO and US bases in our countries, against sanctions and economic war and against foreign deployments and arms deliveries, especially to Ukraine, must be strengthened.
Thousands of workers at hotels in the Los Angeles International Airport area walked off the job Monday morning in a second wave of strikes that has hit Southern California’s hospitality sector this summer.
Starting at 5 a.m., workers from eight El Segundo and Los Angeles hotels walked out demanding higher pay and better benefits. The list of hotels on strike include the Aloft El Segundo Los Angeles Airport, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Los Angeles LAX/El Segundo, Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles International Airport, Hilton Garden Inn LAX/El Segundo, Holiday Inn Los Angeles-LAX Airport, Hotel June, Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel and Westin Los Angeles Airport.
“Sheraton, escucha! Estamos en la lucha,” (“Sheraton, listen! We’re in the fight!”) yelled workers in red shirts at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel as they blew whistles and banged on an array of drums, buckets, pots and pans.
Sega of America workers voted “yes” to officially form a union. The National Labor Relations Board counted the group’s mailed-in votes on Monday, with the Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega, or AEGIS, winning the vote.
One hundred seventeen votes were counted, 91 votes for the union and 26 votes against. (Several votes were challenged and not counted.) The unit will include more than 200 roles at Sega of America’s Irvine, California office, Communications Workers of America said in a news release.
The union spans several different departments: marketing, games as a service, localization, product development, and quality assurance. The Irvine office, which opened in 2022, houses up to 235 workers. With this win, AEGIS-CWA is the first video game industry union at a major company that spans multiple departments. Boston-based Activision Blizzard studio Proletariat attempted this earlier in 2023, but ultimately pulled its union petition. Next, the NLRB will have to certify the union before moving into bargaining.
Leinenkugel’s Brewing Company workers represented by Teamsters Local 662 went on strike July 10 after rejecting the meager wage increases offered by the beermaker, which is owned by the global brewery giant Molson Coors.
“Leinenkugel’s has been brewing beer in Chippewa Falls for over 150 years, which is a point of pride for both the facility’s workers and the entire community,” said Tom Strickland, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 662. “That storied history of success wouldn’t have been possible without the hardworking Teamsters who keep this operation running. Molson Coors needs to respect these workers by agreeing to a fair contract.”
“We are sick of the corporate greed and want a fair and equitable pay increase,” said Dann Jackson, a maintenance technician who has worked at the brewery for 16 years. “We are underpaid given our qualifications and the number of different jobs that we do.”
On July 10, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel condemned the US for denying the Cuban people oxygen as the Delta variant of COVID-19 ran rampant across the country in 2021. Cuba’s only oxygen plant had to cease production because it could not acquire spare parts due to the US blockade against Cuba.
“We will never forget the genocidal act of the US Government when, with its blockade policy, it denied and hindered the acquisition of oxygen for the people of Cuba, in the midst of the worst moment of the pandemic, when our only plant broke down,” wrote Díaz-Canel on Twitter on Monday. “That’s how real and criminal the [blockade] is.”
The blockade also made it impossible for Cuba to import medical oxygen. “Anyone having any doubts about our assertion that the blockade, as established by Article II (b) and (c) of the Convention on the Crime of Genocide, qualifies as an act of genocide, because it intended to cause deliberate mental and physical damage to a community and jeopardize its living conditions, should have dispelled all of them during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez in an intervention in Cuba’s National Assembly on May 25, 2023. “The initial measure was to ban imports of any sort by Cuba, particularly to prevent the import of mechanical ventilators. There were measures against the scaling-up of Cuban vaccine production, because for that we required equipment, spare parts, supplies, and products. There were measures to prevent importation of oxygen from third countries.”
Young Communist League leader Johnnie Hunter has slammed calls by the Bank of England and government ministers for pay restraint in order to combat inflation.
'People everywhere should treat this ruling-class attempt to shift the blame and the burden onto working people. It's the energy companies, banks and retail giants who have driven up fuel, food and housing costs in their greed for greater profits', he told the Communist Party's political committee on Tuesday evening (July 10).
'Workers and their families have suffered real cuts in their incomes and living standards, while the fat cats continue to enjoy the cream', he argued.
Mr Hunter, a delegate to the recent Unison conference, urged the labour movement to uphold the essential role of unions to fight and when necessary strike for higher wages.
Instead, Labour leader Keir Starmer and his officials continue to pull their party to the right, purging socialists and gerrymandering selection processes to fill the Parliamentary Labour Party with 'tame stooges'.
Italian trade unions FIM-CISL, FIOM-CGIL and UILM held a national strike on 7 and 10 July, urging the government to take action to help the struggling manufacturing sector.
Italian metal unions FIM, FIOM and UILM are demanding a national strategy for a better future for key sectors where tens of thousands of jobs are at risk of being lost through downsizing, closure or relocation. This is the tragic situation in a cost-of-living crisis where at least half of working families are struggling.
The Communist Party of Ireland joins communist parties and other leftist and progressive forces around the world in condemning the death threats, persecution and other forms of ongoing intimidation against communist youth leaders Aleksander Kononovich and his brother Mikhail Kononovich who are under house arrest in Ukraine.
Following the onset of the proxy NATO war against Russia in Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) arrested the Kononovich brothers, leaders of the Leninist Communist Youth Union of Ukraine (LKSMU), from the capital Kiev on March 6, 2022, and put them in jail. The arrest triggered widespread protests from progressive and communist groups in Europe and abroad, who denounced the move as part of the purge initiated by EU-NATO-backed Ukranian authorities against communists, socialists, and other critics of the Zelensky regime in the name of 'national security'.
In July 2022, a show trial of the Kononovich brothers started in the Solomensky District Court in Kiev. They were placed under house arrest in Kiev - although they have committed no crime, other than opposition to the genocidal war and the destruction of their country to serve US imperial interests.
Earlier this week, the Kononovich brothers, in an appeal, stated that President Volodymyr Zelensky’s regime was trying to assassinate them. They reported that a police officer, Yevgen Kravchuk, had repeatedly come to their home and threatened to murder them. The same officer also made a Facebook post issuing a public call for their murder and revealing the address of their house. In the wake of such threats, the CPI reiterates the demand for the immediate release of the brothers.
Cuba rejects presence of U.S. nuclear submarine in Guantanamo Bay (Statement July 11)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs categorically rejects the entry into Guantanamo Bay, on July 5, 2023, of a nuclear-powered submarine that remained until July 8 at the U.S. military base located there, which constitutes a provocative escalation by the United States, whose political or strategic motives are unknown.
As is known, the U.S. military base has occupied that territory of 117 square kilometers for 121 years, against the will of the Cuban people and as a colonial remnant of the illegitimate military occupation of our country that began in 1898, after the expansionist intervention in the war of independence of the Cubans against the Spanish colonial power.
It is an enclave that for many years has lacked strategic or military importance for the United States. Its permanence only responds to the political objective of trying to outrage the sovereign rights of Cuba. Its practical use in recent decades has been reduced to serving as a center for detention, torture and systematic violation of the human rights of dozens of citizens from various countries.
The presence of a nuclear submarine there at this time forces us to question what is the military reason for its presence in this peaceful region of the world, against what objective it is directed and what strategic purpose it is pursuing.
South African CP, SACP urges Orlando Pirates to reconsider its stance, withdraw from a pre-season friendly match with the Israeli Maccabi Tel Aviv, in solidarity with the dispossessed and oppressed Palestinian people
The South African Communist Party (SACP) urges Orlando Pirates Football Club to reconsider its stance, withdraw from playing Israeli’s Maccabi Tel Aviv in a pre-season friendly match, in solidarity with the people of Palestine who are under apartheid occupation and oppression by the Israeli regime. “On behalf of the SACP, I will ask for an urgent meeting with Orlando Pirates FC to discuss this important call”, said SACP General Secretary Solly Mapaila.
In its statement responding to among others the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the blood-thirsty, murderous apartheid Israeli regime, Orlando Pirates asserts that heeding the call “would create a conflict within Orlando Pirates that would undermine the club’s values and history irreparably.”
Choe Son Hui, foreign minister of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, released the following press statement on Tuesday:
The U.S., which has finally plunged the security of the European continent into a crisis of war through NATO's illegal ever-escalating eastward expansion, is going to perpetrate an unethical crime imperiling even innocent peaceable citizens.
On July 7 the U.S. president announced a decision to offer cluster ammunitions to Ukraine, sparking off serious international uproar.
As cluster bombs are recognized as very dangerous WMD, their use is internationally banned. Even now the damage by the cluster ammunitions dropped by the U.S. forces is unabated across the world.
The U.S. has made a very dangerous choice by deciding to offer such lethal weapons to Ukraine, which brings to light once again its true colors as destroyer of peace regarding aggression and massacre as its national policy and mode of existence.
No wonder, even the UN secretary general expressed his opposition to the U.S. choice immediately, and the international community is getting increasingly vocal in its criticism of it.
Marxistindia, Greeting the People of West Bengal (Statement July 12)
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) congratulates the people of West Bengal, the Left Front and other democratic forces who have shown extreme courage and resilience in fighting back the unprecedented violence unleashed by the TMC and the obnoxious partisan role played by the state administration and the state Election Commission during the panchayat elections held on July 8 across the state. Sixty people have been killed and hundreds injured in course of the electoral battle.
The violence was specifically aimed at denying the people the democratic right of exercising their choice in a free and fair poll. The horrific terror span across all stages of the election starting with preventing filing of nominations, forcing withdrawals, manipulating the process of scrutiny and on the day of voting itself. The ordeal has continued even today on the date of counting where the counting centres were left inadequately manned with security personnel, not to speak of deployment of Central security forces as ordered by the Kolkata High Court. There are widespread instances of driving out opposition counting agents from the counting centre, breaking the ballot boxes and throwing out ballot papers stamped in favour of the opposition particularly the Left and its allies, forcibly taking away certificates issued to winning candidates with MLAs and other unauthorized people leading large number of TMC goons in the counting centre.
The targeting of the opposition by the ruling party and the administration was concentrated against the Left, the Congress and other electoral allies, while showing a kid glove treatment for the BJP. It has become obvious that it is the Left, Congress and other anti-BJP, anti-TMC forces who have frontally confronted this hooliganism of the ruling dispensation.
The Polit Bureau particularly congratulates the people for ensuring the victory of large number of candidates belonging to Left and other secular allies. The resistance of the people is the new feature of the struggle for democracy, unity and peace in West Bengal.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) is outraged at the developments in West Bengal in the wake of the counting process of the votes cast by the people for the three-tier panchayats in the state. The state administration and the state Election Commission, acting in complicity with the ruling party, engaged in large-scale falsification of the choice exercised by the people, violating the orders of the State Election Commission. There was open violation of directions of the High Court.
In a zilla parishad seat in the Bhangar area, the election officials reversed the result where the Left supported opposition ISF candidate won with a huge margin and announced a TMC candidate as elected. This led to a massive popular protest, upon which the police resorted to indiscriminate firing resulting in the death of four people. Subsequently, a reign of terror has been unleashed by the police and the entire area is virtually inaccessible.
The Bhangar incident symbolizes the large-scale vitiation of results. The state Election Commission website was deactivated and the counting process was slowed down facilitating such reversal of results. The results for the panchayat samiti and zilla parishad have no legitimacy because the counting was held in the dead of the night forcing the counting agents of Left and the other secular forces out of the counting centre. Such is the scale of irregularity that large number of ballots stamped in favour of the CPI(M) have been recovered outside counting centres which, obviously, were not considered in the counting process.
The pattern of manipulation clearly establishes that the vitiation of the process was undertaken to ensure the victory of the TMC and push the BJP to the second position despite a completely different ground reality.
This farce of elections making a mockery of democracy has led the Calcutta High Court which issued an interim order, today, to stay the publication of results.
The Polit Bureau expresses its solidarity with the Left, Congress, ISF and other secular forces who are engaged in a life and death battle for restoring democracy against the TMC and the BJP and urges the democratic-minded people of the country to stand with the people of West Bengal at this grim juncture.
Engineers, clerical staff and production operatives working for Unipart Rail are on strike today in a row over pay.
RMT members were offered a derisory 4.75% which they flatly rejected.
However, Unipart bosses have failed to send a representative of senior management to meet with the union, demonstrating their contempt of the collective bargaining process.
This is the second day of strike action Unipart rail workers have taken following a 24-hour stoppage last week.
Unipart Group scored a 27.1 percent increase in profits for 2022 financial year.
The Korean Health and Medical Workers’ Union (KHMU) has announced a nationwide strike starting Thursday, July 13, unless the government responds to their demands. The trade union has been concerned about staff shortages and low wages for years and is now prepared to escalate action as President Yoon Seok-yeol’s administration continues to ignore the issues faced by health workers.
In a recent press release, the KHMU emphasized that the strike aims to defend the lives and health of the people, in collaboration with citizens. Trade union officials also stated that during the strike, they would address the existing problems in the healthcare system, emphasizing the danger of a collapse in essential and public healthcare due to a lack of health workers.
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the World Federation of Trade Unions have issued statements ahead of the upcoming NATO Summit being held in Vilnius, Lithuania July 11-12 condemning plans that include expanding the imperialist alliance, raising the numbers of NATO troops deployed in Eastern Europe, pushing for increased military spending in member countries and deepening involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.
As the NATO summit in Vilnius starts Eden Haythornthwaite of the Freedom from War Coalition writes of how Canada must become a zone of peace by rejecting NATO:
From July 11th to 12th, NATO will hold its annual summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. Whatever they have to discuss during this event, you can be certain Ukraine will be at the top of the list. Not mind you -- to explore peace talks or a negotiated ceasefire -- but to assure the world this war will continue relentlessly.
This will be what it always is -- the showroom for prosecuting endless war wherever people are even thinking about seeking a solution to the poverty crisis and the existential threat of climate damage.
NATO -- once charged with securing peace in Europe and promoting cooperation among its members at the end of WW2 -- has gone on to become the chief aggressor and most prolific apologist for conquest across our shiny blue dot. NATO has been peddled as a humanitarian organisation that is a positive force in the world. Its past time we in Canada gave some hard thought to stepping away from this military alliance -- in fact we must demand NATO be dismantled. If we are to be the truly peace loving country we have always said we were; if we are to contribute to the end of wars and the beginning of thoughtful international solidarity then leaving NATO behind will be vital. One thing is certain -- if there is anywhere on earth where peace is in danger of breaking out, NATO will be planning to circumvent that prospect. It is a double standard to condemn other countries for crimes which NATO with Canada’s enthusiastic assistance has committed.
Communists in Sweden have criticized the likely accession of Sweden to the US-led NATO war alliance as its 32nd member.
On July 10, ahead of the opening of the 2023 NATO summit in Vilnius, in a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that he would lift the veto on Sweden’s accession to NATO provided talks were resumed for his country’s EU membership. Turkey’s parliament now has to validate Erdoğan’s decision. Subsequently, the Hungarian government also indicated it no longer had objections to Sweden’s accession.
Following the talks in Vilnius on Monday, Ulf Kristersson said that it was a good day for Sweden, to which the Communist Party (K) in Sweden responded, “It is a dark day for all friends of peace, who do not want to be part of the US war alliance, it is now time to strengthen the resistance against NATO.”
It is only a matter of time before NATO, the world’s largest terrorist organisation, expands to include one more country.
We cannot be expected to remain indifferent to Sweden’s membership of NATO. Our interest does not only come from our responsibility to fight against the role of our own government in the oppression of the peoples of other countries.
We cannot remain indifferent because, whichever geography NATO expands into, a stronger NATO with a wider presence in a wider area means, first and foremost, more attacks to intimidate the workers of the member countries. And a growing threat of war all over the world.
We are not curious about the grounds for Erdoğan’s assurance that Sweden’s membership will be approved by the parliament. We have already said that this is the most counter-revolutionary parliament in the history of Turkey… We will not be surprised by the outcome.
But we will fulfil our increasing responsibility. We will not allow NATO, which threatens the peoples of the whole world with its existence, to gain legitimacy while NATO expands and all the actors of the bourgeois politics in our country pave the way for this expansion by settling in a pro-NATO position. We will continue to remind the anti-imperialism and anti-NATOism, which have stronger roots in these lands than it is thought to be, and we will continue to work for the strengthening of this resistance that is trying to be taken over. Without postponing. Because the necessity to remove NATO from our country with all its bases and soldiers is as urgent as the need to establish an equal, independent and secular country.
World Federation of Democratic Youth: In Vilnius and elsewhere: Yes to Peace, No to NATO!
During these days of July of 2023, a NATO Summit is taking place in Vilnius (Lithuania).
As expected, one of the central elements of the discussion will be NATO's role in the imperialist war in Ukraine, but they will also address other issues such as the budget increase for the escalation of armaments and warmongering, nuclear weapons, the confrontation with other international forces that are emerging and consolidating, or the proposals for "green capitalism", among others.
As capitalism's incurable contradictions and crises become more acute and as the reconfiguration of the world with major changes and the emergence of new regional and international forces consolidates, the character of imperialist alliances such as NATO is becoming more evident. NATO is a tool founded to defend the interests of the USA and which nowadays plays a key role to seek to maintain its dominance in the current escalation of imperialist tensions, aggressions, occupation and wars over the redistribution of the world and natural resources, being the armed hand of the USA and European Union, protector of the interests of the ruling classes and monopolies.
For all this, while they sit down to discuss and decide on the war, the World Federation of Democratic Youth must raise the flag of peace and anti-imperialism high. Following the work done for the previous NATO summit, we must keep alive and strengthen the campaign "Yes to Peace, No to NATO: the anti-imperialist youth against their imperialist wars, exploitation and oppression".
We call on all member organisations and anti-imperialist youth to join in the strengthening of this campaign. May this campaign and all the actions we take help us to articulate the appeal to the youth to organise, mobilize and struggle: until we have built a world free of exploitation and any kind of oppression!