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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #53 -- International Left and Labour News

With news from France, Venezuela, the USA, Cuba, Mexico and elsewhere.

Thousands demonstrate against far right candidate Le Pen in Paris, April 16 -- image via Twitter. Others leftists demonstrated against both options, Macron and Le Pen.

April 10:

The outcome was never in doubt: Andrés Manuel López Obrador was going to win Mexico’s historic recall election on Sunday, April 10. And he did, with 91.86 percent of the vote — or 15.1 million out of 16.5 million votes cast. The election is important on two counts. In addition to ensuring that AMLO will remain in office until the conclusion of his term in September of 2024, the election also establishes an important precedent that Mexican presidents and governors, once considered untouchable, can be subject to removal from office before their terms are over.

April 11:

On 11 April 2022, Kemal Okuyan, General Secretary of the CC of the Communist Party of Turkey, visited Athens. Comrade K. Okuyan held bilateral meetings with a delegation of the KKE, headed by the General Secretary of the CC of the KKE, Dimitris Koutsoumbas.

During the meeting, the delegations discussed on the situation and the activities of the two parties in the two countries, as well as their joint actions and initiatives.

After the meeting, comrades Dimitris Koutsoumbas and Kemal Okuyan issued the following Joint Statement:

April 12:

Communist party of Kenya signs cooperation MOU with Kenya Kwanza:

On Tuesday, April 12, activists of Palestine Action in UK defaced the London headquarters of Israel’s largest military and arms company, Elbit Systems, whose weapons and surveillance technology has been systematically used against Palestinians in occupied territories. Four activists have been arrested after they halted the operations at this site using a body ‘lock-on.’

“The lock was on the cylinder tube which they were tied on to, blocking the entrance to Elbit’s HQ, hence closing them down,” a spokesperson of Palestine Action told Peoples Dispatch. “The police had to cut through the tubes before the activists could be moved and arrested.”

On Tuesday, April 12, hundreds of citizens took to the streets in different parts of Mexico in support of the electricity reform promoted by president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). In the capital Mexico City, members of various civil society organizations, social movements, and trade unions held a march from the Zócalo to the Chamber of Deputies. They demonstrated outside the Legislative Palace of San Lázaro, calling on the legislators of the opposition parties to approve the reform to the Electricity Industry Law (LIE), which allows nationalization of the energy industry.

The protesters chanted anti-privatization slogans such as “Join people, today is your day, nationalize energy. Fight by night, fight by day, nationalize energy”, “Free energy is what the people need; private energy can go to hell”, and “No no no, we don’t want to be a North American colony. Yes, yes, yes, we want to be a free and sovereign nation,” among others.

President Xi Jinping has called on the Wenchang Space Launch Center in the southern island province of Hainan to build itself into a world-class spaceport.

Xi made the remark on Tuesday afternoon as he visited the launch complex, the newest and southernmost of its kind in China.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said that the Wenchang center must uphold a spirit of hard work and perseverance, research the latest developments in the global space field and the strategic needs of China's space industry, strengthen its sense of mission and responsibility, take the lead in innovation and comprehensively boost its space launch capabilities.

As the United States' unionization movement elevates criticism of Amazon's labor conditions, an analysis published Tuesday exposed a 20% rise in injuries among company warehouse workers last year while a pandemic-related increase in online shopping led the e-commerce giant's profits to soar.

The report—entitled The Injury Machine: How Amazon's Production System Hurts Workers—was published by the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), a democratic coalition that includes the Communications Workers of America, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Service Employees International Union, and United Farmworkers of America.

April 13:

April 13, 2022, marked 20 years since the people of Venezuela defeated the US-backed right-wing coup against the democratically elected socialist president Hugo Chávez in a record time of less than two days.

On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans flooded the streets of the capital Caracas to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the historic victory of the people against the imperialist coup. Multitudes of citizens, members of political organizations, social movements and trade unions gathered in various parts of Caracas and marched to the Miraflores presidential palace to pay tribute to the civic-military uprising that beat the coup, rescued Commander Chávez and reinstated constitutional order in the country.

US-based organizations and mass movements are joining together to build a People’s Summit in opposition to the OAS-organized Summit of the Americas. The People’s Summit is set to take place for three days on June 8, 9, and 10, in Los Angeles, in the same city as the Summit of the Americas. As described by the organizers of the People’s Summit, “We will be hosting three days of workshops, panels, cultural performances and mobilizations, concurrent with the Summit of the Americas to create a space and opportunity to discuss these dire needs of our region.”

Thousands of porters, doorpersons, superintendents, concierges, and handypersons with SEIU Local 32BJ gathered on Park Avenue in Manhattan on Wednesday for a rally to demand a fair contract. These essential residential workers are currently in contract negotiations with the Real Estate Advisory Board and are demanding wage increases and fully employer-paid health insurance for their families.

The workers also raised the slogan of “no givebacks,” in response to bosses demanding they pay into their own health insurance and take cuts to paid time off. These workers deserve what they have already — and far more.

April 14:

Grocery store employees overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new three-year contract with Ralphs and Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union announced Thursday evening.

Wage increases include $4.25 per hour over the contract for most workers while some classifications will receive higher pay raises, according to Bertha Rodríguez, a communications coordinator with UFCW Local 770.

Venezuela's oil production continues on a steady uptrend amidst ongoing uncertainty concerning US sanctions relief.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) placed Caracas’ March output at 697,000 barrels per day (bpd), according to secondary sources, 8,000 bpd more than in February. For its part, state oil company PDVSA announced a 728,000 bpd output, 60,000 bpd less than the previous month.

April 15:

On Friday, Starbucks workers from coast to coast protested against the company’s anti-union campaign, which is becoming increasingly aggressive as the movement rapidly spreads across the country.

Communists, socialists and other anti-fascist sections in the post-Soviet republic of Moldova have strongly protested the liberal government’s decision to ban the St. George’s Ribbon and other Soviet/Russian symbols representing the Great Patriotic War in the country. On April 14, the Moldovan parliament dominated by the incumbent pro-European Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) voted in favor of banning the public display of St George’s Ribbon despite strong objection from the opposition bloc of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) and Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM). On April 15, in Balti, the second largest city of Moldova, activists from communist and socialist parties organized a demonstration protesting the government’s decision. The protesters claimed that the decision was a bid to appease the European Union (EU) in the backdrop of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, and one of the most shameful steps taken by the current government as it was a betrayal of historical traditions.

In honour of the 110th anniversary of the birth of Korean revolutionary leader Kim Il Sung, the Foreign Languages Publishing House of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has published two new books full of amazing historical photographs. These look at the long friendship between the the People's Republic of China, the former USSR and the DPRK.

Both of the books outline all of the visits of Kim Il Sung of the DPRK to the leaders and people of the PRC and USSR and vice-versa as well as outlining the context and achievements of each visit.

Most notable, however, are the dozens of remarkable, full colour photographs. Exceptional archives that should be of great interest to anyone studying the history of any of the three Communist countries.

April 16:


Two of the most exciting union organizing efforts that the United States has seen in decades -- Starbucks Workers United and the Amazon Labor Union -- have issued a joint statement "calling on our communities, friends, allies, neighbors — the whole working class — to join together in solidarity this May Day 2022 and mobilize against the union busting of Starbucks, Amazon, and every other company engaged in repressing its workers."

Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel tweeted that on April 16, 1961, the Cuban people “proclaimed their Revolution was socialist before going to defend the homeland in the sands of Bay of Pigs.”

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Saturday recalled the proclamation of the socialist nature of the Revolution, 61 years after the event, which took place a day before the mercenary Bay of Pigs invasion, orchestrated by the United States.

Through a statement issued on Saturday, the Bolivian Foreign Ministry denounced the report of the U.S. State Department on the legal situation of Áñez as an interference in the internal affairs of the Andean country.

Communist organizations in Finland and Sweden have urged their respective governments to maintain neutrality in foreign policy and refrain from pursuing NATO membership in the backdrop of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The Communist Party of Finland (SKP) and the Communist Party of Sweden (SKP), raised concerns over their governments’ intent to join the NATO war alliance. On April 13, in a joint press meet in the Swedish capital Stockholm, Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin and Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson had stated that Europe’s security landscape has drastically changed following the start of the war in Ukraine, and that a decision to apply for NATO membership can be expected sooner.

Some 22 000 people have demonstrated this Saturday in the streets of numerous cities in France against the leader of the extreme right, Marine Le Pen, who is competing for the presidency of the country with the current head of state, Emmanuel Macron.

The protest has been called by the League of Human Rights, SOS Racism, the trade union General Confederation of Workers (CGT) or the Union of the Magistracy, among about thirty entities, under the slogan "against the extreme right and for justice and equality", as well as "not a vote for Le Pen"

April 17:

Workers at one of Apple’s flagship retail locations in New York City are taking the first steps to unionize. As first reported by The Washington Post this weekend, workers at the Apple Store located in Grand Central Terminal are now collecting signatures to begin the unionization process. If successful, this would mark the first time that Apple Store employees have unionized.


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