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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #58 -- International Left and Labour News

With news from India, Greece, Swaziland, Sudan, Cuba, Vietnam, the USA and elsewhere.

Women agricultural workers of the Karnataka Agricultural Workers Union rally at the 4th women Agri workers conference in Yadgir, India, May 22 -- Image via Twitter

May 14:

Five Left parties in India this past weekend (May 14) issued a joint call for nationwide mass protests between May 25-31 against rising prices and unemployment.

The statement was signed by Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist), D Raja, General Secretary, Communist Party of India, Debabrata Biswas, General Secretary, All India Forward Bloc, Manoj Bhattacharya, General Secretary, Revolutionary Socialist Party and Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)- Liberation.

May 15:

On Sunday, May 15, activists from the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) and Communist Youth of Turkey (TKP) organized a protest in Adana, demanding the ouster of NATO and the US military from the Incirlik air base in the city. The protest march was blocked by riot police before it reached the air base. The protesters asserted that they will not leave Turkey to imperialists and colonizers. From May 12 to May 15, the TKP organized anti-imperialist meetings in the cities of Istanbul, Antalya, Ankara and Adana, in which delegates from the leadership of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) also participated.

Congress of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia

Congress of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia took place on May, 14.-15. 2022 in Brno. Three hundred delegates from all over the Czech Republic participated in the proceedings of the Congress. This regular Congress was a continuation of the extraordinary Congress of the party which took place after the usuccesfull performance in the parliamentary elections in October, 2021.

The Congress paid an attention not only to the discussions over the further orientation of the CPB&M, but to the outcomes of the actual problems of the Czech Republic. The Czech communists have presented series of concrete suggestions how to overcome from marxist perspective the ongoing crisis of the capitalist system and its impacts on the majority of the Czech population. At the same time the Congress has unanimously rejected the efforts for military presence of the USA on the soil of the Czech Republic and a long-time appeal for the termination in the aggresive pact of NATO has been confirmed.

May 16:

On May 16, the government of US President Joe Biden announced the easing of some of the sanctions imposed on Cuba by former President Donald Trump. The measures include the elimination of the $1,000 limit on family remittances, speeding up the processing of US visas for Cuban citizens, resumption of regular and charter flights to Cuban provinces, and adjustments to the regulations governing transactions with the non-state sector.

The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) described the US government’s announcement as “a limited step in the right direction.”

“Today, the government of the United States announced several measures, which are positive but of a very limited scope,” said the Ministry in a statement.

May 17:

The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) called on "consistent mobilisation of the youth for total democracy", against the backdrop of the assault of a student union leader by the military and police on Tuesday.

In a statement, the CPS said: "The youth must not be hoodwinked into participating in the backward Tinkhundla elections. These elections, no matter how many so-called 'radicals' partake, are meant to legitimise the ruling absolute monarchy and deepen the autocracy."

Swaziland’s soldiers on Tuesday 17 May 2022 viciously assaulted the president of the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS), Comrade Colani Maseko.

The military and the police also assaulted many other students who had been protesting for scholarships for all, allowances, better learning conditions, and democracy.

The assault of the student union’s president first took place at Kwaluseni campus of the University of Swaziland and later near a river just a few metres from one of Mswati's palaces (Engabezweni) and subsequently dumped at Sigodvweni police station in Matsapha. The royal police at Sigodvweni police station denied him access to medical attention.

The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) condemns this latest attack on students. The regime is desperate to cling to power as it continues to resort to extreme violence in its bid to stop the democracy wave. In its attempts to stop the democracy wave, the regime has primarily focused on working-class youth and students, the most resolute in the “Democracy Now” campaign, abducting and brutalising them.

The CPS calls for consistent mobilisation of the youth for total democracy. The youth must not be hoodwinked into participating in the backward tinkhundla elections. These elections, no matter how many so-called “radicals” partake, are meant to legitimise the ruling absolute monarchy and deepen the autocracy. The CPS calls for the total boycott and disruption of the tinkhundla elections process, to make the country ungovernable by the Mswati autocracy to usher the country to total democracy.

The decision by a Ukrainian court to ban the Communist Party in this country came into force, the Gordon website reported on Tuesday, quoting the representative of the SupremeS Rada (Parliament) Olga Sovguiria.

Communists in both Sweden and Finland have come out in strong opposition to the announcements by the governments of their respective countries that they intend to apply for membership in the U.S.-led NATO military alliance.

The Swedish Communist Party (SKP) has slammed the decision of the ruling Social Democratic Party to back their country’s membership bid. It said the stunning policy reversal, which ends 200 years of neutrality, is linked to the aspirations of Swedish capital to secure its sphere of influence and defend its investments abroad.

The Communist Workers’ Party for Peace and Socialism (KTP) of Finland, meanwhile, said NATO expansion would “widen the conflict between Russia and the United States and increase the division of the world into two alliances more and more clearly—as happened before the first world war.”

'The Queen’s Speech confirms the Conservative government’s turn in a deeply authoritarian direction', Ben Chacko told the Communist Party's political committee on Tuesday evening.

Pointing to the powers already given to the police, courts and immigration and intelligence officers to target protestors, asylum seekers and refugees, he warned that new repressive measures were being planned.

The government's legislative programme seeks to replace the Human Rights Act and ban local authorities and other public bodies from adopting boycott and divestment policies against repressive regimes in Israel and elsewhere.

'Furthermore, Home Secretary Priti Patel is pushing for wider deployment of tasers to volunteer police and for greater stop and search powers which we know have been deployed in a racist manner', he informed the political committee.

May 18:

University student elections in Greece resulted in a big upsurge and victory for Panspoudastiki KS (All Student Cooperation Movement), the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) backed list of candidates. The KNE is the youth wing of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

Held May 18 the elections saw the list come in first with 16,684 votes or 33.43% of the vote. This was well ahead of the second place DAP list which was backed by the youth wing of the governing right-wing New Democracy party which took 13,807 votes or 27.66%.

BLOCO, the list backed by the youth wing of the social democratic former governing party SYRIZA took just 2.54%.

The people will pay for the “Greece-US all-time high relationship” with deeper involvement in war plans

The Press Office of the CC of the KKE issued the following comment on the Mitsotakis-Biden meeting:

“Mr Mitsotakis presents to the US the role of the Greek state as a “good egg” in NATO and an intermediary for the energy business that is being promoted —with the dominant role of the US— against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine.

However, the big loser ofthis “transaction”will be the Greek people who will pay for the “Greece-US all time-high relationship” with deeper involvement in war plans, greater energy poverty, a new NATO armsrace, and new great dangers for the sovereign rights of the country. The winners will be the so-called investors, i.e. the business groups on both sides who will benefit from the risky plans at the expense of the people.

As for the alleged protection against Turkish provocation, it is enough to see the bargaining that is currently being conducted between NATO–the USA and Turkey on the occasion of the accession of Sweden and Finland to the Euro-Atlantic alliance. The factor thatleads to the undermining of sovereign rights and “co-exploitation” solutions is the safeguarding of NATO’s cohesion, which also permeates Greek-Turkish relations.

The runner-up in the 2020 Green leadership race says he won’t join this year’s contest, in part because he sees former leader Elizabeth May’s continued presence in the party as an obstacle to its future success after a year of fierce infighting.

Dimitri Lascaris, an avowed “eco-socialist” who placed a strong second when Annamie Paul won the federal Green leadership in 2020, told the Star this week that he won’t run in the upcoming race to replace her, after she resigned last fall amid bitter tensions over her tenure in the role.

May 19:

French parliament would vote on the country’s membership in NATO if radical left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon wins the June legislative elections and is nominated prime minister, the France Insoumise chief suggested on Thursday (19 May).

Sudanese security forces arrested leading anti-coup figures on Thursday, their party said, during protests by thousands against last year’s military takeover.

“Security forces raided the house of the political secretary of the Sudanese Communist Party Mohammed Mukhtar al-Khatib,” the party said in a statement.

Another leading party member was also arrested at Khartoum airport, and the two men were taken to an “unknown location,” the party said.

A delegation of the Party Central Committee, State President, National Assembly (NA), Government and Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee on May 19 paid tribute to late President Ho Chi Minh at his Mausoleum on the occasion of his 132nd birth anniversary (May 19).

The delegation includes State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, Permanent member of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat Vo Van Thuong, and President of the VFF Central Committee Do Van Chien, among others.

They expressed their profound gratitude towards the late leader who had devoted his whole life to the country’s liberation and reunification.

The youth from Methula constituency in the Shiselweni region of Swaziland have once again fallen victims to the ruthless repression of the royal police.

The area's youth was woken up in the crack of dawn by a police battalion armed to the teeth who invaded various homesteads in the area and subsequently kidnapped four youths.

The police broke down doors, confiscated mobile phones and harassed the youth members. Their crime was protesting against evictions, fighting off a TLB bulldozer that was parked at the area's constituency, deployed there to demolish homesteads marked for demolishing.

The Starbucks union wave in the United States shows no signs of slowing down and has now seen successful votes by workers in at least 80 stores.

The remarkable milestone -- especially given that not a single Starbucks had unionized before last December -- was reached with wins for the union at five locations in Massachusetts, Colorado and Virginia on May 19.

May 20:

Unite has secured OCS Group workers based at Glasgow Airport a one-year pay deal, the UK’s leading aviation trade union confirmed today (20 May).

Up to 100 workers are set to benefit from a 10.2 per cent wage rise backdated to the beginning of May after Unite members accepted the latest offer from the company. The wage deal also means that the OCS Group is the latest employer at Glasgow Airport to pay as a minimum the real living wage of £9.90 per hour.

Warehouse strikes at the Oxford MINI plant have ended after workers employed by logistics firm Rudolph & Hellman secured a pay deal worth 21 per cent over two years.

Around 225 workers, made up of warehouse staff and shunter drivers handling components for the factory, will receive a 19 per cent pay rise over two years.

In addition, the workers will receive a lump sum worth 2 per cent, bringing the total increase to 21 per cent – worth around £4,000 per year for a dayshift worker.

The deal also includes increases to overtime rates and more working time protections.

May 21:

The Communist Party of Sudan (CPoS) has confirmed that security authorities in Khartoum released its political secretary Mohamed Mukhtar El Khateeb, and central committee member Saleh Mahmoud, who were detained on Thursday after their return from Juba, capital of South Sudan, earlier that day. Their detention prompted a chorus of condemnation from across the political spectrum.

Australia’s center-left opposition party toppled the conservative government after almost a decade in power, and Prime Minister-elect Anthony Albanese in his Saturday election victory speech promised sharper reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while he faces an early foreign policy test.

Despite apprehensions voiced by some leaders, the Communist Party of India (CPI) has decided to go ahead and implement the decision taken by the national council to make an upper age limit for party posts mandatory. The introduction of this age-cap criteria from the central leadership to the grassroots is to give more representation to the youth, women, Dalits and backward classes in the party.

The national council guidelines state that party members above 75 years cannot be part of the state council or executive, while 65 years is the upper age limit for district secretaries. For years, the CPI has had silver-haired politicians at the helm running the affairs of the party.

May 22:

Politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Brinda Karat on Sunday expressed disappointment over the comments of the Supreme Court on the pending case of Gyanvapi mosque and said that the SC had gone against its own judgment in the Ayodhya case.

Addressing presspersons in Kalaburagi on Sunday, she said: “We are disappointed with the comments made by the Supreme Court in the pending case on the Gyanvapi mosque. We had expected that the SC would clearly, and unambiguously uphold, the law of 1991 concerning the protection of places of religious worship Act,” she said.

A mass rally was held on Sunday 22/5/2022 at the Ministry of National Defence of Greece, the finishing line of the 40th Marathon Peace March, which had started at 8 am from the Marathon Tomb, conveying the message of opposition to the imperialist war, Greece’sinvolvement in it, and the country’s entanglementin the dangerous plans of NATO.

The march was organized by the Greek Committee for International Détente and Peace (EEDYE), which on the same day organized other mass anti-imperialist demonstrations in Thessaloniki as well as in cities in the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Epirus, Creta, Macedonia, and Thrace. Many demonstrations ended outside the military camps and US-NATO bases, thus underlining the people’s message that the military bases should close, that the country must have no involvement in NATO’s war, that we refuse to choose a camp between thieves.

The GS of the CC of the KKE, Dimitris Koutsoumbas, attended the massrally at the Ministry of National Defence and made the following statement to the media outlets: “Greece’s growing alignment with the US-NATO plans, under the responsibility of the government and the other parties, is leading our people to further energy poverty, high prices, and a food crisis. It is leading to a deeper entanglement in the imperialist war and, of course, increase the risks to the country’s sovereign rights. Their notorious ‘western values’ are completely rotten. The only solution, the only way out, the only hope lies in the coordinated struggle of the peoples.”

The Sunday Telegraph and Mail on Sunday are reporting the government has said it would bring new legislation “outlawing any strikes that did not provide a guaranteed ‘minimum service’ to limit disruption to passengers”. The papers also says union leaders could be made liable for damages if they failed to honour such a requirement.

The announcement is in response to planned rail strikes in June.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Ministers have spectacularly failed to deal with the cost of living crisis. Now they are trying to distract from their failure by picking a fight with unions. The right to strike is crucial in a free society.

“Threatening the right to strike tilts the balance in the workplace too far towards the employers. And it means workers can’t stand up for decent services and safety at work – or defend their jobs or pay. We will fight these unfair and unworkable proposals to undermine unions and undermine the right to strike. And we will win.”

May 23:

The National Union of Government and Federated Workers (NUGFW) has called on public-sector workers to stay away from work and come out in a mass protest on Friday in Port of Spain.

This move is part of NUGFW’s plan to shut the country down as a sign that it rejects the two per cent wage increase offer by the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) for the negotiating period 2014-2021.

Last Thursday CPO Dr Daryl Dindial's counterproposal saw no increase for 2014-2017, one per cent for 2018, no increase for 2019-2020 and one per cent for 2021.

On Friday unions vowed to teach the government a lesson for what they described as total disrespect for the working class.


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