Red Review #114 -- International Left and Labour Report
With reports from the USA, India, Cuba, Mexico, Chile, Gaza, the DPRK, Greece, Portugal and elsewhere.
Striking UAW workers in Detroit, September 15 -- image via Twitter
The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) held its 3 day Festa do Avante! (Avante! Festival) this past weekend ending on Sunday, September 3. Thousands of people attended to participate in a wide variety of cultural, artistic and political events.
Speaking on Sunday PCP General Secretary Paulo Raimundo said of socialism that "There is no more beautiful ideal".
"Rain or shine, we communists will be here with the conviction that there is no ideal more beautiful, more just and more necessary than ours, that of building a new society to which the future belongs."
The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) held its 3 day Festa do Avante! (Avante! Festival) over the weekend of Sunday, September 3. Thousands of people attended to participate in a wide variety of cultural, artistic and political events.
PCP General Secretary Paulo Raimundo gave a remarkable speech on the last day of the festival in which he touched on international and domestic issues, the unfulfilled legacy of the Carnation Revolution, the role of the PCP and the fight for socialism.
The PCP has released a translation of the speech which we reprint here in full.
“Today, the countries of the South do not have to submit to the dynamics of the world economy organized by the North,” declared Peruvian political scientist Monica Bruckmann at the opening panel of the Regional Dilemmas of Humanity Conference in the Recoleta municipality of Santiago, Chile, which took place from September 2 to September 4. Referring to the recent expansion of the BRICS block, Bruckmann added, “At this moment, the emerging powers and countries are in a position to modify the world economy and geopolitical power relations.”
The concluding date of the conference, September 4, marked the 53rd anniversary of the victory of the Popular Unity alliance led by former Chilean President Salvador Allende.
Veteran communist militant and thinker Héctor Béjar, who spoke at the first panel of the conference highlighted the importance of the date, stating, “On this anniversary, we must also celebrate the failure of the policy of extermination [of the left]. We are here, they tried to exterminate us, but we are here, the sons and daughters are here, and that shows that this policy failed.”
On September 6, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that federal laws criminalizing abortion are unconstitutional, reported The Guardian. Congress must now pass laws that remove the procedure from the penal code before the measure takes effect, but those who seek abortions and abortion providers will immediately be protected from prosecution. People seeking abortions will also now be able to get them at federal health facilities throughout the country right away.
“Today is a day of victory and justice for Mexican women!” said the National Institute for Women, a government agency.
Chile’s current president Gabriel Boric and former presidents Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, Ricardo Lagos, Michelle Bachelet, and Sebastián Piñera signed a document on September 7 titled “Commitment: For Democracy, Always” as a part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1973 US-backed coup d’état against the socialist government of President Salvador Allende.
In the document, the leaders committed despite political differences to care for and defend democracy, face the challenges of democracy, defend and promote human rights, and strengthen spaces for collaboration among nations.
Israeli security forces fired at Gazan fishermen and poured sewer water to stop them from fishing off the Gaza coast on September 8. This is the latest such incident of harassment that the people of Gaza have been facing since the blockade of the Kerem Shalom border crossing on September 4.
The densely-populated Gaza Strip has been under a total blockade imposed by Israel since 2006. The closing of the Kerem Shalom crossing is likely to have an adverse impact on the livelihood of Palestinians in Gaza and its economy. This is because it was the last remaining crossing from where transport of goods was allowed in and out of the territory.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Monday attended a concert held at the Basilica of the San Francisco de Asis Convent on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the military coup in Chile, which took the life of Salvador Allende and thousands of other Chileans.
The program included the participation of troubadour Silvio Rodriguez, the National Choir of the Caribbean nation, directed by maestro Digna Guerra; flutist Niurka Gonzalez with pianist Malva Rodriguez and the Chamber Orchestra of Havana, according to the Presidency of the Republic on the social network X, formerly Twitter.
Chile's ambassador to Cuba, Patricia Esquenazi, thanked the Caribbean nation, its people, the historic leader, Fidel Castro, and President Miguel Díaz-Canel, for being Cuba "the country that opened its arms to those who arrived sad when the coup took place, thank you for accompanying us".
A devastating earthquake hit Morocco on Friday, the death toll had risen thousands, with thousands more injured, including many in critical condition. The toll is expected to rise further as rescuers dig through the rubble of collapsed houses.
The WFTU expresses its full solidarity with the people of Morrocco, who are in need of urgent assistance after the devastating disaster.
We demand the implementation of immediate and adequate measures to ensure that no other lives will be lost and we demand the restoration and financial support of the affected areas and people.
WFTU expresses its full and unconditional solidarity with the Greek people and the workers for the recent devastating floods, which have so far resulted in deaths and incalculable damage.
The WFTU, representing 105 million workers on 5 continents, joins its voice with the class trade union movement, which is fighting for immediate measures for the safety and protection of the people.
We salute the initiatives and actions of PAME, for immediate material solidarity with the affected people and the affected areas, such as rescue operations and the collection of food and essentials.
It is once again proven that always ordinary people are left unprotected from natural phenomena due to the poor infrastructure and the lack of efficient protective measures. The international class-oriented trade union movement intensifies its struggles for adequate protective measures in all aspects of people’s lives all over the world.
In its statement of 12/9/23, on the occasion of the meeting between the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in Strasbourg, the Press Office of the CC of the KKE stressed the responsibility of the EU for the floods, since the latter has systematically rejected the expenditure on flood protection projects as ineligible.
The statement reads as follows:
"The European Union, together with the government and local authorities, is part of the problem and the main perpetrator of the crime committed in Thessaly and other regions of the country, as it has systematically rejected expenditure on flood protection as ineligible. At the same time, its Directive stipulated that Member States should implement plans ‘not entailing excessive costs in the field of flood risk management’, referring to areas ‘considered not to be significant, for example in thinly populated or unpopulated areas or in areas with limited economic assets’.
For this reason, the MEPs of the KKE submitted an urgent question to the European Commission, demanding that Community funds be made available, without conditions and restrictions, as is usually the case, in order to fully compensate the affected population, to restore infrastructure, to meet the increased needs of health structures and to implement an integrated flood protection plan”.
Approximately 20,000 community health workers in the Indian state of Haryana have been on strike for the past three weeks. Known as Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), they are part of a workforce of over one million women across India who are at the frontlines of public health care in both rural and urban areas.
Despite performing critical tasks related to community care, including preventive, reproductive, maternal and child health measures, ASHAs are not recognized by the government as public sector workers. Instead, they are classified as “volunteers,” a precarious category that does not afford these women basic labor rights, including a minimum wage, sick leave, and pensions.
The ongoing strike in Haryana is part of a lengthy struggle waged by ASHA workers for recognition and fair compensation. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have mobilized and participated in five countrywide labor actions and several state- and local-level protests and strikes.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, president of the Russian Federation, hosted a reception on Wednesday in welcome of the Russia visit by Kim Jong Un , general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and president of the State Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Before the reception President Putin presented the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un with a gift as a token of the meeting.
Kim Jong Un expressed thanks for it and offered his gift to Putin.
Invited to the reception were DPRK Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, Marshals of the Korean People's Army RiPyongChol and Pak Jong Chon, Minister of National Defence of the DPRK Kang Sun Nam, O Su Yong and Pak Thae Song, secretaries of the WPK Central Committee, and other accompanying officials.
Attending the reception on the Russian side were Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister and concurrently Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Mantrov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk, Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far East Federal Region Yuri Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration and Press Secretary of the President Dmitri Peskov, AlexandrKozlov, minister of Natural Resources and Ecology and chairman of the Russian side to the DPRK-Russia Inter-Governmental Committee for Cooperation in Trade, Economy, Science and Technology, Minister of Transport VitalySaveliev and other leading officials, officials concerned and AlexandrMatsegora, Russian ambassador to the DPRK.
When the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un appeared at the reception hall, guided by President Putin, all the participant warmly greeted with a loud applause the top leaders of the two countries who are further strengthening the firm and true DPRK-Russia friendly bonds.
President Putin made a congratulatory speech at the reception.
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, had a historic meeting with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, president of the Russian Federation, at the Vostochny Spaceport in Amur Oblast of the Far Eastern Region on September 13.
The traditional relations of friendship between the DPRK and the Russian Federation, consolidated in trials of history generation after generation and century after century, are further developing into the invincible comrade-in-arms relations and the ever-lasting strategic relations amid the deep friendship and special fellowship between Comrades Kim Jong Un and Putin.
The Vostochny Spaceport was in a warm welcoming atmosphere to greet Kim Jong Un paying an official goodwill visit to the Russian Federation for the new development of the DPRK-Russia friendly and cooperative relations with proudly excellent history and tradition.
The private train of Kim Jong Un arrived at the Vostochny Spaceport at 13:00 local time.
When he got off the train, the guard of honor of the three services of the armed forces of the Russian Federation courteously received him with deepest respect.
He exchanged greetings with AlexandrKozlov, minister of Natural Resources and Ecology, and other Russian leading officials and headed for the venue of the meeting with President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
He was accompanied by Choe Son Hui, foreign minister of the DPRK, Marshals of the Korean People's Army RiPyongChol and Pak Jong Chon, Kang Sun Nam, minister of National Defence of the DPRK, O Su Yong and Pak Thae Song, secretaries of the C.C., WPK, and other senior party, government and military officials and suite members.
The national flags of the DPRK and the Russian Federation were fluttering before the carrier rocket assembly and test complex where the top leaders of the DPRK and Russia would meet.
Against the backdrop of a threatened strike by nearly 150,000 autoworkers, more than 1,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan employees represented by the UAW walked off the job overnight after failing to negotiate a new contract.
The strike means longer wait times for customer service at the health care giant.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel on Thursday reaffirmed his country's unconditional support for the right of Palestine to be a free and sovereign State, the Cuban leader said during official talks with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas who is visiting Cuba to attend the G77+China Summit.
The Summit, with a high presence of representatives from several nations and organizations, focuses on today´s development challenges including the role of science, technology and innovation.
Made up of 134 member States, the G77+China accounts for 80 % of the world’s population and more than two thirds of the UN membership.
Israeli troops occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem back in the 1967 war, and have since refused to withdraw despite UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
In 1980 the Israeli authorities declared the entire city as the eternal and indivisible capital of the country, a stance rejected by the international community, which considers the eastern area as part of the future Palestinian state.
Thousands of people were killed in Libya in floods caused by a huge Mediterranean storm that burst dams, swept away buildings and wiped out as much as a quarter of the eastern coastal city of Derna.
Two dams and four bridges collapsed in Derna, submerging much of the city when Storm Daniel hit on Sunday. About 10,000 people are reported missing, and the death toll is expected to rise further.
The WFTU sends it condolences to the family’s that lost their loved ones, and expresses its solidarity and support to the people of Libya in light of this catastrophe.
The WFTU demands implementation of immediate and adequate measures to ensure that no more lives will be lost and we demand the restoration and financial support of the affected areas and people.
The United Auto Workers union kicked off historic strikes against the Big Three U.S. car manufacturers early Friday morning after the companies failed to meet workers' demands for adequate pay increases and benefit improvements.
The initial wave of strikes hit select Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis facilities, with the union deploying a tactic it has described as a "stand-up strike."
UAW members at General Motors' Wentzville Assembly in Missouri, Ford's Michigan Assembly, and Stellantis' Toledo Assembly in Ohio were the first to walk off the job on Friday, and additional locals will be called on to strike in the coming days as negotiations continue.
Those who remain on the job will be working under an expired collective bargaining agreement, though they still have status quo protections.
The labor actions mark the first time the UAW has ever gone on strike against all three major automakers simultaneously.
The Summit of the Group of 77 and China, convened by Cuba, beginning this Friday, will meet until Saturday, September 16th, and will be focused on the "Current Development Challenges: Role of Science, Technology and Innovation".
The Summit, which will see the participation of over a hundred delegations from the member states of the bloc and functionaries from international organizations, will promote high-level debates on the most pressing political and economic issues for developing nations.
As part of the agenda, attendees are expected to continue the Group’s historical demands, particularly in relation to the new international economic order, the reform of the global financial architecture, the rejection of unilateral coercive measures, concentration of wealth and the weight of the external debt.
According to Cuban ambassador Pedro Luis Pedroso, special representative for the coordination of the presidency of the bloc, the Summit should contribute to enhance the voice of the G77 and China in the current intergovernmental processes within the context of the United Nations, in particular, the Summit of Sustainable Development Goals and the Future Summit, in which circumstances the so-called Digital Global Pact must be developed and agreed upon.
The Summit of the Group of 77 (G77) and China kicked off at the Palace of Conventions in Havana, Cuba, on Friday.
The meeting, running through Saturday, gathers delegations from more than 100 countries.
The opening ceremony was attended by Cuba's socialist revolution Army General Raul Castro.
During his welcoming speech, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel highlighted China's efforts to promote international cooperation worldwide.
He said that cooperation, solidarity, and human progress without exclusions are vital to helping tackle today's world challenges.
"Thanks for accepting the invitation that unites us today in defense of the future and the large majorities that comprise such a vast concept of humanity," he said.
China has sent its most senior official in recent years to a gathering of the Group of 77 as Beijing presses ahead with its bid to have a bigger say in global institutions.
Li Xi, the Communist Party’s seventh-ranked member and the chief of the top corruption watchdog, is attending the two-day meeting of the G77 Plus China in the Cuban capital Havana, which started on Friday.
Li said China wanted to work with developing countries to make global governance fairer, as “certain countries” imposed unilateral sanctions and jeopardised the interests of the Global South.
“[We should] adhere to the original intention of being independent, self-reliant and uniting for our own strength, uphold common values for all humanity, and firmly [stand] against group confrontation and a cold war mentality,” state news agency Xinhua quoted Li as saying.
Cuba’s leader says the Global South must “change the rules of the game” of the international order after centuries of dominance by wealthy Western nations putting their own interests first.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel said developing countries were the main victims of a “multidimensional crisis” in the world today from “abusive unequal trade” to devastating climate change.
“After all this time that the North has organised the world according to its interests, it is now up to the South to change the rules of the game,” Diaz-Canel said at the opening of the G77+China summit in Havana.
Emerging countries represent 80 percent of the world’s population. The meeting comes at a time of growing frustration with the Western-led world order because of widening differences over the Russian war in Ukraine, the fight against climate change and the global economic system.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres joined 30 heads of state and government from Africa, Asia and Latin America at the two-day gathering.
We, the Heads of State and Government of the member countries of the Group of 77 and China, meeting in Havana, Cuba, on September 15 and 16, 2023, for the Group's Summit on Current Development Challenges: The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation, convinced of the urgent need to act together, reaffirm our full adherence to the spirit, principles and objectives of the Group of 77 and China.