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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #17 -- International Left and Labour News

The seventeenth edition of our weekly review of international left and labour news with stories from Cuba, Kenya, South Africa, Venezuela and elsewhere.

Thousands of Cubans rally in support of the Revolution in Havana, August 5 -- image via You Tube

July 31:

Despite attacks and repression of their Party by the government, the Communist Party of Kenya held its first-ever Women’s League Convention July 31. The convention began with a hoisting of the Party’s flag, the singing of The Internationale and other revolutionary songs being performed.

August 1:

On Sunday, Cuba's Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez thanked the Venezuelan government for shipping 30 food containers and 20 tons of rice in bags to help the Island tackling the U.S blockade amid the pandemic.

The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) congratulates the South African Communist Party (SACP) for its 100 years of revolutionary life since its founding on 30 July 1921.

August 2:

On 2 August, with the Indian parliament in session, national trade union leaders joined hundreds of workers in the “Chalo Parliament” (“Let’s go to parliament)” protest in Delhi against the privatization of the Visakhapatnam steel plant in Andhra Pradesh.

It is a privilege to deliver the Central Committee Statement on this important occasion, the 100th founding anniversary of the SACP as the Communist Party of South Africa. The formation of the Communist Party took place on July 30th, 1921, at its founding conference held in Cape Town from July 30th to August 1st, 1921. This is an abridged Central Committee Statement prepared for delivery on the Centenary of the SACP. We will make both the abridged and full statements publicly available.

The Communist Party of Australia, CPA, salutes the centenary of unbroken struggle by the South African Communist Party.

Founded in 1921, the SACP has fought alongside the people of South Africa as they faced the horrible attacks by the ruling class. We share with you a history of anti-communism. During the 50’s the Liberal Menzies government in Australia banned the CPA but the Australian people voted on the right of the Communist party to exist in a national referendum in 1951. We see that the SACP never gave up despite being the first organisation made illegal by the apartheid regime in 1950.

August 3:

Amazon’s labor law-breaking during the widely watched unionization vote at its giant Bessemer, Ala., warehouse earlier this year should lead to a rerun of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union’s election try there, a National Labor Relations Board hearing officer ruled.

August 4:

The National Electoral Council (CNE) endorsed the primaries of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) towards the November elections, the first vice president of the political organization, Diosdado Cabello, reported Tuesday.

In statements to the press, the socialist leader highlighted the democratic and participatory character activated by the party entity to elect its candidates for governors, mayors and members of regional and municipal legislative bodies.

AMWU organizer Mick Wickham received word that McCain had refused the workers’ demands for a modest pay raise and improved conditions to bring them in line with McCain workers in Victoria. According to Mickham, the union at the plant is strong: it was unionized before McCain took it over. Management’s counteroffer was below inflation: it would have left maintenance workers around $91 per week worse off, and production line workers at least $72 per week worse off.

When the AMWU members rejected this proposal, McCain ordered a lockout. The workers responded by planning a series of measures including refusing overtime, taking breaks at the same time to disrupt production, and declining to take calls during breaks.

On Friday, July 30, McCain further upped the stakes by ordering an indefinite lockout. The workers and their delegates were united and disciplined, and they countered the lockout with protests at the factory’s gates. Following a groundswell of community support for the strikers, McCain ended the lockout on August 4. The dispute, however, is ongoing.

The agreement ensures wage increases of six per cent over five years and maintains post-retirement benefits for new hires, one of the key sticking points that led to the strike.

The new five-year tentative agreement comes with a $2,500 recognition payment in recognition for efforts during the pandemic, to be paid this month.

It also comes with a $3,500 signing bonus, to be paid in September.

The so-called Lima Group and its attempts to force regime change in Venezuela seems to have now come to an end with the arrival of Pedro Castillo to the presidency of Peru. Upon assuming office, Castillo’s new minister for foreign affairs, Héctor Béjar, has highlighted that Peru’s new foreign policy will be based on non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and particularly respect for Venezuelan sovereignty and rejection of the United States-imposed blockade.

After more than a year of unresolved unfair labor practice charges, bad faith bargaining, contract violations and refusal to arbitrate disputes, Teamsters Local 533 members employed by Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) Washoe have begun striking to hold RTC's for-profit operator, Keolis Corporation, accountable for their employee mistreatment.

The Central Committee of the Party of Labour of Austria (PdA) condemns and denounces the joint statement elaborated and initiated by the US and signed by 21 Foreign Ministers, including the Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg. The statement includes all the false accusations that serve as a pretext for US imperialism’s intervention plans against the people and the government of Cuba.

The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) has condemned the acts of the African Union Commission to grant observer status to the apartheid state of Israel in the African Union.

In a continent that is still ravaged by the legacy of colonialism, the African peoples cannot afford to have a colonialist force being afforded any quarter in the continent to spread its influence.

August 5:

Thousands of people convened by the Union of Young Communists (UJC) hit the streets of Cuban capital Havana on August 5 in support of the Cuban Revolution, the Communist Party and the government.

August 6:

“Solidarity forever, for the union makes us strong!” sang the young activists attending the 2021 Little Red Schoolhouse in Manhattan at a rally in support of striking Alabama mine workers last Wednesday. The school was hosted by the New York District of the Communist Party and the Chelsea Fund for Education.

A total of 47 young Communists representing CPUSA districts and Young Communist League clubs in Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, Washington, D.C., California, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Michigan, Massachusetts, New York, and Arizona attended the 10-day school. Morning and afternoon course topics ranged from Dialectical and Historical Materialism and the U.S. labor movement today to the struggle for women’s equality and the fight against racism. Guest lecturers included Marxist scholar Vijay Prashad and World Federation of Democratic Youth President Aritz Rodriguez.

The donation will be distributed among 3.8 million Cuban families and campaign hospitals installed by the Cuban government to assist COVID-19 patients.

Today, women leaders from B.C.’s largest labour unions and across Canada joined women hotel workers to lead a mass sit-in that brought Burnaby traffic to a halt. They led hundreds of protestors into the streets to occupy the intersection of Kingsway and Willingdon to demand the hotel industry return long-term staff to their jobs. Hotel housekeepers, front desk agents, and other women hotel workers from Hilton Metrotown and Pacific Gateway, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, took over the street with union leaders to protest the hotel industry’s treatment of workers during the pandemic and called for more action on the part of industry and government to protect workers’ jobs. The demonstration kicked-off at Hilton Metrotown in Burnaby where workers have been locked out for 112 days.

August 8:

PSUV primary elections are open not only to militants but also to people registered in the electoral roll.

So far, the election day is taking place with no incidents and in a peaceful and secure environment. Electoral authorities took all necessary health measures to avoid COVID-19 infections.

Saint Lucia's External Affairs Minister Alva Baptiste reaffirmed the new administration commitment to restore bilateral ties with the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro.


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