Red Review #112 -- International Left and Labour Report
With reports from Cuba, Angola, BRICS, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Greece, Bulgaria, Zambia and elsewhere .
Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez pays his respects at the memorial to Angolan revolutionary leader Dr. Agostinho Neto in Luanda, August 21
Leftist and anti-fascist groups in Bulgaria have protested the vandalization of the Soviet Army monument in the capital Sofia last week. On August 18, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and its youth union protested the attack on the monument and the tent camps of people defending it. The attack was allegedly perpetrated by far-right fans of a football club. The BSP has accused the ‘Euro-Atlanticist’ government in the country of moving towards a revival of fascism and a denial of everything progressive.
The Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia was built in 1954 to mark the role of the Soviet Red Army in the liberation of Bulgaria from the sphere of Nazi Germany’s influence during World War II. The Kingdom of Bulgaria was a part of the Nazi Germany-led Axis forces during the War. In September 1944, the Fatherland Front formed by communist partisans captured power in the country with the support of the Soviet Union by overthrowing the monarchy. Bulgaria joined the Allies immediately after, and the Bulgarian army operated alongside the 3rd Ukrainian Front of the Soviet Red Army and fought against the remaining Nazis in Eastern Europe.
In a blow to Guatemala's right-wing political establishment, former diplomat Bernardo Arévalo won the nation's presidential election on Sunday, pledging to fight corruption that has eroded the country's institutions and entrenched massive levels of inequality and poverty.
Voters chose Arévalo over former first lady Sandra Torres in a landslide, putting the anti-corruption advocate on track to become the most progressive Guatemalan leader since Jacobo Árbenz, who was ousted in a U.S.-sponsored coup in 1954.
As The Washington Post noted, "Arévalo's father, Juan José, is widely known as a leader of the 'Guatemalan spring,' a period of democratic rule that began in 1944 when he was elected president." The ouster of Árbenz, Juan José's successor, marked the start of decades of brutal military rule bolstered by U.S. support.
The question now is whether Arévalo will be permitted to take office. Ahead of Sunday's contest, Guatemalan authorities barred several candidates from the ballot, including leftist Indigenous leader Thelma Cabrera.
Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of Cuba arrived in Angola Sunday, August 20 to begin a tour of several African countries before his participation in the upcoming BRICS Summit in South Africa.
Upon landing in Luanda he posted "Cuba and Angola are united by unbreakable bonds of blood, solidarity and brotherhood. We are guided by the imperishable legacy of our historical leaders: Dr. Agostinho Neto and Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz."
Malaysia’s National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW) is urging Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to provide remedy for the five unionists unfairly dismissed by Hicom Automotive Manufacturers.
The IndustriALL Global Union affiliate held a protest outside the Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya and submitted a memorandum urging the anti-union discrimination at HICOM Automotive to stop and the five unionists reinstated to their original positions with back pay.
The Press Office of the CC of the KKE issued a statement on the developments in Cyprus, which reads as follows:
"The arbitrary decision of the occupying authorities in northern Cyprus to proceed with “unauthorized construction works” for the opening of a road connecting the occupied village of Arsos to the village of Pyla (inhabited by Greek and Turkish Cypriots) and the attack on UN forces is aimed at creating a fait accompli, encroaching on territory in the “buffer zone and upgrading the pseudo-state”, while triggering dangerous tension in the region as well.
The decision of the occupying authorities takes place at a time when there are ongoing multiform “bargains” promoted by the US, NATO and the EU with the participation of the Greek, Cypriot and Turkish bourgeoisie in the Aegean, the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus.
The expectations raised about the role of the US, NATO and the EU are false. In practice, under their responsibility, the Turkish occupation continues for 50 years in Cyprus which remains dividedand the opening of the enclosed city of Famagusta goes on.
The struggle for the end of the occupation, for an independent, united Cyprus, i.e. one and not two states with one and only sovereignty, citizenship and international personality, highlights the importance of rejecting the plans of the bourgeois classes and the imperialist unions, the dichotomous machinations in Cyprus and the imperialist arrangements in the Aegean and the EasternMediterranean and stresses the necessity of the joint struggle of the peoples".
"We are already in the homeland of our dear friend Nelson Mandela," Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel wrote on Tuesday on his Ex account, after arriving in South Africa.
In his message, the Cuban leader recalled that Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz described Nelson Mandela as a brilliant and extraordinary leader, symbol of the freedom of Africa and the world.
The president also recalled the feelings of brotherhood and solidarity that inspire relations between South Africa and the largest Antillean island.
Diaz-Canel arrived Tuesday in South Africa from Angola, where he has been on an official visit since Sunday, leading a delegation of his country.
The year-long Teamster mobilization at UPS included a contract unity pledge, parking lot rallies, a strike authorization vote of 97 percent, and practice picketing.
“We showed UPS that we were ready to strike if we had to. That's how we ended a generation of givebacks under Hoffa and put our union back on the offense against UPS,” said TDU Co-chair and Local 804 shop steward Eugene Braswell.
The contract won record pay increases, ended two-tier 22.4, eliminated forced sixth punches, won thousands of full-time jobs, established MLK Day as a paid holiday, boosted substandard pensions for over 60,000 members, stopped driver-facing cameras, tightened restrictions on subcontracting, increased part-time wages, and more.
Now, UPSers are looking to the future—from contract enforcement to organizing Amazon.
The president of the Socialist Party (SP) of Zambia, Dr. Fred M’membe, was arrested yet again on Tuesday, August 22, amid an escalating campaign of repression against the party and its leadership. While M’membe was released late on Tuesday evening, the arrest took place barely two weeks after he was charged and jailed for the offense of libel.
On the morning of August 22, M’membe arrived at the Ibex Hill police station in Lusaka in response to a call-out notice (or summons). M’membe reported on his social media that in an effort to prevent SP members from reaching the station in solidarity, all roads leading to the police station were blocked and hundreds of officers with crowd control vehicles were stationed.
On the occasion of the informal EU-Western Balkans meeting held in Athens on 21/08/23, the Press Office of the CC of the KKE notes in its statement:
"The government's drumbeat accompanying the informal EU-Western Balkans meeting in Athens cannot hide the harsh reality of the intensifying anti-people policy and the brutal exploitation experienced by the peoples of the countries of the region.
Whether participating in the EU or being in a process of accession, the workers of the Balkan countries are facing the heavy consequences of the opening of new "avenues" of profitability for business groups in the framework of the so-called "Euro-Atlantic integration". This detrimental path for the peoples of the region was marked by the imperialist intervention of the EU and NATO that led to the dismemberment of the former Yugoslavia, with rivalries today becoming dangerously acute, making the government’s and the EU’s proclamations of “peace, stability and energy security” sound out of place.
The main goal of the meeting is the deeper and more active involvement of the Balkan countries in the imperialist plans and antagonisms and especially in the imperialist war in Ukraine. The New Democracy government is leading the way in achieving this goal by signing NATO "contracts" with Ukraine a few days ago regarding armaments and support with bases, enjoying the consent of all bourgeois parties. Moreover, it is in the context of these dangerous plans that the head of Ukraine's reactionary government, Zelenskiy, is taking part in the meeting.
Faced with these dangerous plans that the EU - NATO and the USA are preparing in competition with Russia and China, the peoples of the Balkans can oppose their independent struggle against any involvement and participation in the war plans of the imperialists, against any change of borders. They must strengthen their struggle against the exploiters and their system."
USA: Cheers for Union Beer! Workers at the Elysian Brewing Co Vote to Join Teamsters 117 - Teamsters 117 Workers at the Elysian Brewing Co. have voted overwhelmingly to join Teamsters Local 117. The group of 33 brewery, packaging, quality assurance, and warehouse workers, employed at the company’s Georgetown production facility, cast their ballots in favor of the Union in an election with the National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday, August 22.
Workers at the Elysian came together three months ago to discuss how to win a voice over issues like equitable wages, job security, and favorable working conditions. For many, the love of producing quality craft beer and perfecting recipes were driving factors in choosing Teamsters.
The Press Office of the CC of the KKE issued the following statement on the joint declaration of Mitsotakis and Zelenskiy:
"Even if Mr. Mitsotakis hypocritically invokes "international law", he cannot hide the real goal of his government, which is the deeper and more active involvement of our country in the imperialist war in Ukraine and more generally in the NATO plans in the region. In fact, the New Democracy government has fueled those factors that led both to the NATO-Russia conflict in Ukraine and to the aggravation of the problems in the Balkan countries.
These dangerous goals are also served by the joint declaration of Mitsotakis and Zelenskiy, which, on the basis of NATO directions, provides for the further sending of materiel to the reactionary Zelenskiy government, the provision of "security guarantees", the accession and integration of Ukraine into NATO, the transformation of Alexandroupolis and other parts of our country into military-war bases, involving the people in risky adventures.
The Prime Minister hypocritically invokes "international law", as we can also deduce from the fact that the meeting he organized in Athens was attended by the representative of Kosovo, which is a protectorate and a product of the flagrant violation of "international law". This confirms that the imperialist alliances, as well as all Greek governments, are tailoring "international law" to their own interests.
The prime minister himself revealed who will benefit from the government's agreements, speaking essentially as a "dealer" of those sections of Greek capital that he intends that they participate in the "reconstruction" of Ukraine and in the future energy business, in a fierce competition with other sections of big business interests of states of the Euro-Atlantic camp."
The first day of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg saw calls for a more democratic global economic order with greater participation of countries from the Global South. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa set the tone by underlining that BRICS stands for inclusiveness and transparency in its development agenda and must continue to do so.
Speaking on the second day, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said that India fully supports the expansion of the bloc, adding that it welcomed “moving forward with consensus on this.” India also reiterated its proposal for the African Union’s membership in the G20.
The 15th BRICS summit is being held under the chairmanship of Ramaphosa on the theme ‘BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development, and inclusive multilateralism.’ Apart from the heads of states/governments of the existing BRICS members—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—over 60 other countries are participating in the summit. Certain crucial decisions are expected during the summit related to the expansion of the group and its objective of creating a non-hegemonic global economic order.
Striking grocery workers have begun secondary picket lines at two Metro distribution warehouses in Toronto, in the fourth week of ongoing job action by 3,700 Unifor members.
“Frontline grocery workers are tired of being ignored and underpaid by Metro during an affordability crisis,” says Lana Payne, Unifor National President. “Metro can expect secondary picket lines at more of their properties until they come back to the table with a serious wage offer for these brave workers who are forgoing their paycheques to take a stand against corporate greed. Workers are rightfully demanding more from one of Canada’s richest grocers—whose historic profits aren’t being fairly shared with the workforce responsible for their success.”
The union recently rejected Metro’s offer to come back to the table with the assistance of a Ministry-appointed conciliation officer. The Unifor Local 414 Metro bargaining committee, comprised of frontline Metro workers, unanimously voted against going back to the table until Metro returns with an improved offer.