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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #52 -- International Left and Labour News

With news from India, Bolivia, Canada, Cuba, Venezuela, the UK and elsewhere.

There are also a number of links related to the ongoing union wave in the US and a section of statements in solidarity with the Communist Party of Greece after the events of April 6 in Thessaloniki.

Scene from the Flag March in the lead-up to the launch of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) 23rd Party Congress in Kerala this week -- Image via Twitter

April 3:

The late translator of the first English version of the Communist Manifesto, Helen Macfarlane, was commemorated by members of the British Communist Party on Sunday.

WORLD Peace Council president Socorro Gomes has denounced the six-decade-long US blockade against Cuba and said that its continuation is costing lives.

“The blockade kills, it is criminal, it is unilateral and it must end. The United States must let Cuba live in peace,” she said on Sunday.

She was speaking as part of a Europe for Cuba online “media marathon” held in solidarity with the socialist island.

April 4:

Currently, 10 million out of 11.2 million inhabitants of Cuba have received all doses with nationally manufactured COVID-19 vaccines.

On Monday, the Health Ministry (MINSAP) announced that Cuba will no longer request a negative PCR test or a vaccination certificate as requirements for travelers wishing to enter the country.

April 5:

Bolivia’s state-owned fertilizer plant will massively boost sales to Peru as President Pedro Castillo faces strikes and mobilizations over fertilizer shortages. The urea and ammonia plant in the Trópico of Cochabamba is set to cover half of what Peru has lost since Western sanctions on Russia began.

Peru’s Agriculture Minister, Oscar Zea, told the press on Sunday that, “We need 1.4 billion Soles [worth of fertilizer]; we have talked with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, where it was agreed that we are going to purchase this from Bolivia. They are close, and they now have 700 million Soles [worth of fertilizer] in available stock.”

Peruvian campesino unions are taking strike action across the country over the rising costs of fuel and fertilizer. Peru imports almost all its fertilizer from Russia which is now sanctioned by the US and the EU.

On Tuesday, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro received members of the Civic Forum and lawmakers from the Democratic Alliance coalition in meetings aimed at reactivating the national dialogue process.

Members of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Communist Youth (KNE) set up a blockade on a train carrying US-NATO military equipment and combat vehicles at the exist of the port of Alexandroupolis. .

Shouting anti-imperialist slogans, the protesters blocked the railroad and with demanded an end to Greece's involvement in the ongoing imperialist war in Ukraine, as well as in the transformation of Alexandroupolis into a hub of NATO aggression.

April 7:

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (or RWDSU) has filed objections against Amazon to the National Labor Relations Board, saying that the company has again interfered with its election in Bessemer, Alabama (via CNBC).

In a press release, the union alleges that the company “threatened an employee with plant closure if the Union was voted in,” barred employees from posting pro-union literature, and “engaged in surveillance and / or created the impression of surveillance of employees engaged in protected concerted activities,” among many other things. The union is asking the NLRB to schedule a hearing on its objections to determine whether the results of the second Bessemer election should be set aside and a new election held.

China votes against Russia’s suspension from the UN Human Rights Council

Nicaragua says the exclusion and suspension of Russia’s membership from the Human Right Council constitutes an aggression and a violation of international law. The Ministry of Foreign Relations of Nicaragua released the following statement following Thursday’s vote in the UN General Assembly.

Several countries have taken to the General Assembly to warn against the suspension mechanism which was used to oust Russia from the Human Rights Council on Thursday when a resolution was adopted in the General Assembly despite only being supported by a minority of United Nations member states.

93 of 193 members voted for the resolution titled, Suspension of the rights of membership of the Russian Federation in the Human Rights Council.

Of the remaining 100 members: 24 voted against the resolution; 58 abstained; and 18 countries, among them Venezuela, did not vote.

Argentina has secured a supply of gas from Bolivia and the two countries have decided to sign an agreement for the development of lithium in the region.

The poorly set up and provocative fiesta prepared by the ND government in participation with the other pro-NATO parties, i.e. SYRIZA, KINAL/PASOK, and MERA25 to extend their warm welcome to the President of Ukraine, V. Zelenskiy, who addressed the Greek Parliament via teleconference on 07/04,turned into a deceitful effort to whitewash not only the reactionary government of Ukraine but also the Nazi criminals of the AzovBattalion.

The highlight of the provocation was a video shown during Zelenskiy’s speech including statements by “two Greek-Ukrainians from Mariupol” whom he described as “heroic fighters”, who, as they clearly stated, are participating “in the Ukrainian defence through the Azov Battalion”.

The KKE raised in the Greek Parliament the issue of the unjustified arrest, imprisonment, and abuse of the First Secretary of the Leninist Communist Youth Union of Ukraine, Mikhail Kononovich, and his brother, Aleksander, by the Ukrainian government, in the form of a Question to the Foreign Minister.

Unite the union has today (Thursday 7 April) announced that it has secured union recognition and a 13 per cent pay increase over two years at DHL Aberdeen.

Around 30 logistics drivers will benefit from a two year pay deal of 8 per cent this year on all rates of pay, and 5 per cent in 2023.

The agreement also ensures that DHL Aberdeen will recognise Unite for purposes of collective bargaining and negotiation following an organising campaign which has seen trade union membership grow by a third since the beginning of the year.

There will be thousands of New South Wales healthcare workers walking off the job today as a wage row intensifies with the state government.

Health care workers, backed by the union, are lobbying the government to scrap its 2.5 per cent public sector wage increase cap.

They want a pay increase that considers rising inflation and the stress on the health system – and are calling for better working conditions.

The planned industrial action will take place over a four hour period at major metro hospitals – and two hours in regional locations.

Dear Comrades and Friends,

On behalf of the Communist Party of India, I extend REVOLUTIONARY greetings to the 23rd Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). I express my sincere thanks for inviting me to the inaugural session.

The 23rd Congress of the CPI(M) is taking place in Kerala, which made historyfor democratically electing a communist government six decades back in 1957. Since then, all through these years, Kerala has remained a unique centre of the left and democratic movement in our country. The pre-eminence that Kerala achieved on this score is based on the innumerable struggles and movements launched by the people, which immensely contributed to the freedom movement and subsequently, during the post-Independence period, for creating an alternative Communists-led model of development,which is people-centric.

April 8:

More than a dozen Heine Brothers' Coffee workers gathered in front of the chain's downtown Louisville location Friday afternoon to rally in support of their plan to unionize.

Employees at more than 100 U.S.-based Amazon (AMZN) facilities have contacted Amazon Labor Union (ALU) President Chris Smalls about unionizing their workplaces since a historic union victory at a warehouse on Staten Island a week ago, Smalls told Yahoo Finance on Friday.

Smalls, a former Amazon warehouse worker who led the organizing campaign on Staten Island, said he plans to hold a "national call" with employees at the Amazon facilities within the next two weeks.

When asked whether he intends to visit some facilities in person and assist them with organizing, Smalls said, "Absolutely."

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the Workers' Party (PT, left) Friday announced in an official manner that his former rival in the 2006 elections, Geraldo Alckmin, will be his running mate Oct. 2.

Alckmin's candidacy for the vice-presidency is the result of most leaders agreeing on the need to form an alliance to defeat the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.

Washington controls black sites in at least 54 countries. Over 100,000 people have been detained at these sites, including Muslims, women, and children.

On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian lashed out at the United States for prisoner abuse at "black sites," calling its "enhanced interrogation techniques" brutal and horrifying.

April 9:

The CPI(M) in Kerala is creating a model for communist parties in other states to emulate as the party celebrates winning a second consecutive term of the Left Democratic Front at the ongoing party congress in Kannur.

The first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), Miguel Díaz-Canel, today heads the balance assembly of that political organization in this capital, with an analysis focused on socioeconomic activity.

Teamsters Canada has brought back a union drive for workers in an Amazon fulfillment centre in south Edmonton, planning to build on the momentum raised by the first successful organizing effort in the company’s history in New York.

A trade union of more than a million members in the United States and Canada, The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, has made organizing Amazon a top priority, says Bernie Haggerty, an agent with the Teamsters Local Union 362.

This is Teamsters 362’s second attempt at forming a union at the Nisku, Alta., warehouse after failing to secure a 40 per cent base for a union vote in 2021.

Unifor members at Metro Distribution Centre warehouses have negotiated significant wage gains in a new collective agreement, ending a seven-day strike action.

“This collective agreement achieves the best maximum pay rate and fastest progression in the industry. There is no doubt that it will raise the bar for warehouse workers across Ontario,” said Unifor Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi. “Unifor has negotiated an inflation beating increase of more than 8% on average in the first year in addition to pension and benefit wins.”

The more than 900 full-time workers at the Metro warehouse distribution centre locations in Etobicoke, Ontario will receive an average wage increase of 15.8% over the lifetime of the new 4.5-year collective agreement.

Members of the Directors Guild of Canada, B.C. District Council (DGC BC), which represents thousands of workers in B.C.’s film industry has voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.

The vote held by DGC BC resulted in 92.2 per cent voting in favour with 86.2 per cent of the 1,700 members casting a ballot. This is the first time in the history of the union that a strike vote has been held.

April 10:

The 23rd Party Congress of the CPI(M) held in Kannur re-elected Sitaram Yechury as its general secretary to lead the communist party in the country for another tenure of three years. The vanguard party of the working class in India has also elected an 85-member central committee with 17 new members, and a 17-member Politburo to lead the party at the national level.

Yechury, who enters his third tenure as the general secretary of the CPI(M), has been leading the party since 2015. He was first elected as the commander in chief of the cadre party at the 21st Party Congress held in Visakhapatnam, in 2015. The former student leader from JNU has also served as a member of Rajya Sabha from 2005 to 2017. A prominent face at the forefront of struggles against the anti-people, anti-worker policies and the Hindutva offensive of the BJP-RSS, Yechury has played a significant role in bringing together the opposition parties at the national level.

The National Secretariat of the Communist Party of India strongly condemns the violent and vicious attacks let loose by RSS-BJP-ABVP goons on the innocent unarmed students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) over their eating food of their choice on April 10 in the campus.

This is another glaring example of RSS hatred and contempt for diversity of the country. It wants to dictate as to what one should eat, wear and the language in which one should speak.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday received the backing of the defeated Socialist, Communist, Green and conservative candidates in his second-round election battle later this month against far-right leader Marine Le Pen. Her only endorsement has come from her hard-right challenger Éric Zemmour.

April 11:

Croydon council grounds maintenance workers will strike over an ‘unacceptable’ 1.75 per cent pay offer, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Monday 11 April).

More than 20 staff responsible for maintaining parks and open spaces in the borough will strike between 25 and 27 April and 3 May and 5 May. The workers will strike at the same time as Hackney council staff take industrial action on the same issue.

Solidarity with the KKE!:

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated on Wednesday 6/4 in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, and several other major cities in Greece, responding to the call of the class-oriented trade unions that rally in All Workers’ Militant Front (PAME), the mass organizations of the self-employed, women, and the youth.

Both the strike rally in Athens, which flooded Syntagma Square outside the Greek parliament, and the other rallies in the rest of the country, raised demands against high prices, for collective labour agreements, for salary increases, and against Greece’s involvement in the imperialist war. Large workplaces and important sectors such as public transportation and logistics were brought to a standstill, cancelling in practice a recent monstrous law introduced by the ND government, which poses obstacles to the right to strike, enriching a similar law enacted by the previous SYRIZA government.

The general secretary of the Federation of Builders, V. Syrigos, delivered a speech at the rally in Athens, expressing the will to continue and escalate the struggle for a dignified life, noting that “The upcoming Workers’ May Day is very important because our people are being severely tested in conditions of a new imperialist war and paying dearly for the profits of business groups. However, we do not choose a camp between thieves. We are on the side of the peoples; against poverty, war, refugees, and exploitation.”


Below are links to solidarity messages sent by Communist parties around the world to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) after police attacked some of its members during a protest in Thessaloniki on April 6.

This one from the Communist Party of Swaziland is quoted in full:

The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) expresses its solidarity with the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) facing persecution by the police in Greece.

The CPS also conveys its message of solidarity with the mass strikers who were attacked by the police on 6 April 2022 in Thessaloniki, where a NATO ship had docked in order to transfer military equipment to Eastern Europe.

State attacks of the working class in Greece led to the arrest of eight protesters, among them two members of the Central Committee of the KKE and a member of the Central Council of the KKE’s youth wing, Communist Youth of Greece. Further, a journalist of “Rizospastis”, the daily newspaper–organ of the CC of the KKE, was also subjected to attack.

The CPS wishes speedy recovery for the Central Committee member of the KKE who was severely injured and hospitalised following the attacks and calls for the dropping of all the trumped-up charges against the protesters.

Further statements:


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