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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #38: International Left and Labour News

The thirty-eighth edition of our weekly review of international left and labour news with stories from China, Nicaragua, India, the DPRK, Cuba, Venezuela and elsewhere.

The flag of the People's Republic of China is raised outside the Chinese embassy as it reopens on December 31. Nicaragua resumed diplomatic relations with the PRC for the first time since 1990 in December. -- photo via Twitter

December 26:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday he will soon visit Iran to finalise new agreements on cooperation with the Middle Eastern country, which has become Venezuela's top ally in boosting oil output amid US sanctions.

Venezuela and Iran have strengthened their ties since last year.

Throughout the holiday season, branches of the Party for Socialism and Liberation have been distributing food, clothing, household essentials and toys and gifts to working people and children around the country.

These actions included coat and clothing distributions, toy and gift drives, serving breakfast in homeless shelters, and providing household essentials to working-class residents. In many cities, the areas where PSL organizers distributed essentials are neighborhoods where they have actively been engaged in eviction defense efforts, tenant organizing, community building and other work.

A shipment of 3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine has landed in Bolivia Sunday. The batch of the Sinopharm drug is China's largest donation ever to the South American country and will be used particularly on children aged between 5 and 11 years old.

“This adds up to 3.5 million doses donated by the Chinese government. With this batch we have 12 million Sinopharm vaccines, which represents 58% of all vaccines that have reached Bolivia. These are exclusively for people between 5 and 11 years old,” Deputy Foreign Trade Minister Benjamin Blanco said.

China and Cuba have signed a cooperation plan to promote construction of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), injecting momentum for further collaboration by leveraging the complementary advantages of both parties and for cooperation between China and Latin America.

He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, and Cuban Deputy Prime Minister Ricardo Cabrisas, signed the document, marking the effective implementation of the memorandum of understanding signed in 2018, when Cuba officially joined the BRI.

"Until the 1990s, Petroperu produced up to 187,000 barrels per day, but privatization policies paralyzed its development to the detriment of the country," the Peruvian president said.

On Monday, Peru’s President Pedro Castillo announced that Petroperu assumed the exploitation of the Block I field. This allowed this public company to return to producing oil after 25 years, in which it remained limited to fuel refining, distribution, and marketing.

CPI celebrated its 97th anniversary of foundation on 26 December here in CPI headquarters, Ajoy Bhavan in New Delhi. It was a hugely attended meeting in the Ghate Hall of Ajoy Bhavan in which large numbers of men, women, children and families took part in a festive manner. The whole Ajoy Bhavan was colourfully decorated. It began with beautiful cultural program presented by the young group of the cultural wing of Delhi CPI. Young children, boys and girls were in the forefront , presenting songs and small drama kits.

Ninety-six years back, on December 26, 1925, the Communist Party of India was born. The CPI is intrinsically and organically linked to the country and has given leadership to some of the proudest and most progressive movements in the modern history of our Republic. It all started with the coming together of highly motivated and ideologicallydriven comrades, who were not fully satisfied with the Gandhian movement and wanted to make the agenda more radical and progressive. These comrades, from all parts of the country, came together for the first time in the historic Kanpur conference.

Through this conference the sapling of organised communist movement was planted in the Indian soil. The party was to take the country by storm, growing in popularity and influence, and dealing with the issues of class, caste and gender-based contradictions in the society. The most progressive ideals of our freedom movement have their roots in the leftist movement and the annals of history have some of its most golden pages dedicated to us. Let’s flip some of those pages to take inspiration for our future struggles on the occasion of the 97th Foundation Day of the CPI.

December 27:

Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK), Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India-Marxist and a few other political parties and outfits staged a protest here on Monday condemning the Indian Railways for ignoring people’s needs.

SPAIN today passed labour reforms hailed by its communist Employment Minister Yolanda Diaz as the “beginning of the end of labour market anomalies involving temporary and precarious work.”

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s cabinet adopted the labour legislation on the same day his budget — the biggest-spending in Spain’s history — passed in the Senate.

It revokes 2012 “reforms” that cut redundancy pay and limited the rights of trade unions, and restores sectoral collective bargaining in law.

December 28:

CPC leadership stresses enhancing historical confidence, unity, fighting spirit A meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee has stressed strengthening the Party members' historical confidence, unity and their fighting spirit.

The two-day meeting of criticism and self-criticism stressed carrying forward the Party's great founding spirit and upholding its historical experience from the endeavors over the past century.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, presided over the meeting that ended on Tuesday and delivered an important speech.

Besides not requiring deep-freezing, this protein-based vaccine gives upwards of 90 percent protection against symptomatic COVID-19 when offered in three-dose schemes.

On Monday, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG) became the first country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to authorize the use of Abdala, a COVID-19 vaccine made in Cuba.

The First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, expressed his condolences for the death yesterday of Reserve Brigadier General Humberto Francis Pardo.

"Heartfelt farewell to a brave fighter of the Personal Security, Brigadier General Humberto Francis Pardo, who was Chief of that troop of loyalists during 30 of his 56 years of service in the Ministry of the Interior, under the orders of Commander in Chief Fidel and Army General Raúl," the Cuban leader said on Twitter.

The so-called Lima Group has been officially buried and Peru has normalized relations with Venezuela.

Peru’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Oscar Maúrtua de Romaña, received the credentials of Alexander Yánez Deleuze, which accredit him as the new Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Peru.

National Nurses United (NNU) today condemned the Biden administration's latest moves to rip away protections from health care workers and the public, saying the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) weakening Covid isolation guidelines and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announcing that it will rescind critical Covid protections for health care workers—right when the Omicron variant is exploding across the country during a winter surge–puts countless lives at risk.

December 29:

Politburo member and permanent member of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee’s Secretariat Vo Van Thuong held online talks with Chairman of the Presidium of the Communist Party of Japan (CPJ) Central Committee Shii Kazuo in Hanoi on December 29.

Protesting Anganwadi workers and helpers in Haryana on Thursday said that the state-wide strike that forced the state Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to announce a slew of financial incentives for the all-women workforce a day earlier, will continue in the coming days.

The decision was taken in an online meeting held on Thursday morning, which saw the participation of the representatives of the unions that are spearheading the ongoing strike. Waged since December 8, the strike action has resulted in the operations of almost 26,000 Anganwadi centres in 22 districts across the state to come to a grinding halt.

December 31:

In the wake of mass protests "in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, Omdurman and other cities against military rule" on December 30, the Sudanese Communist party has issued an urgent appeal for international solidarity.

The protests were met with severe repression that resulted in the deaths of at least five and the wounding of hundreds more. The protests are part of an ongoing wave of mass demonstrations in opposition to the military coup that occurred in the country on October 25. 53 people in total have been killed since then.

As China strides toward the second centenary goal of building a great modern socialist country in all respects, 2022 will be another important year.

"To ensure that everyone leads a better life, we must never rest on what we have achieved, and there is still a long way to go," said Chinese President Xi Jinping on the last day of 2021.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday addressed a gathering organized by the country's top political advisory body to ring in the year of 2022.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivered an important speech at the gathering of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) concluded a key ruling party meeting on Friday, state media Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

The 4th Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) reviewed the implementation of a major party and state policies for 2021 and mapped out work plans for 2022, according to KCNA.

A federal labor judge ruled that a McDonald’s restaurant owner used coronavirus pandemic layoffs as a “scheme” to permanently dump four workers who were active in unionizing efforts.

Administrative Law Judge Donna N. Dawson found that the workers, who had been employed at the McDonald’s at the service plaza on I-95 in Darien, were targeted by owner Michell Enterprises for protected activities. Lawson ordered Michell to reinstate the workers and compensate them for back wages and other losses.

January 1:

China has officially reopened its embassy in Nicaragua after the two countries resumed diplomatic relations on Dec. 10.

The national flag of the People's Republic of China was re-raised at the ceremony with the national anthem being played on the scene after 31 years. Video:

The Communist Party of Canada has expressed concern about the fate of Palestinian prisoner Hesham Abu Hawash, after completing more than 138 days of hunger strike, calling for his immediate release from Israeli jails and for an end of Israel’s administrative detention policy.

“Given the urgency of the situation, we urge Minister Mélanie Joly to put immediate pressure on the Israeli authorities to demand the immediate release of Mr. Abu Hawash,” said the party in a statement.

The members of the Popular Vanguard Party (PVP, communist) of Costa Rica on Saturday greeted the people and government of Cuba on the 63rd anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution.

Some 3,000 workers at Finnish forestry group UPM went on strike on Saturday, shutting plants, the company said on Saturday.

Three unions representing paper workers, managerial staff and electricians had previously warned they would strike if a new agreement about wages and working conditions was not reached before the previous agreement ended on Dec. 31.

Workers in Skycity Hamilton become the world's first strikers of 2022 at midnight tonight as they walk off the job for a Living Wage, and equality of pay with their colleagues in the Auckland site.

A large section of those who have joined Unite union and voted for strike action are hospo workers tired of low pay and miniscule differentials for skill and service. "The pandemic over the last few years has led to huge changes in how we work, and hospo workers are no longer willing to work long hours without living wages when they can start on a living wage elsewhere. Endemic staff shortages in this sector mean that many workers are missing their breaks and other entitlements, and are under serious pressure for minimum wages. Unite hopes to unionise and lead strikes across this sector in 2022- we believe its time for a fair pay agreement in the hospitality sector." said Unite organiser Joe Carolan

"Skycity is one of the wealthiest companies in Aotearoa today, yet pays its workers in Hamilton less than its Auckland crew. We believe, like most people, in equal pay for equal work, and the costs to Skycity are not astronomical to achieve this pay justice."

January 2:

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May 20, 2022

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