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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #69 -- International Left and Labour News

With news from Colombia, Cuba, India, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, the United States and elsewhere.

The is also a section of international solidarity statements with the People's Republic of China

Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez of the leftist Historic Pact are inaugurated as President and Vice-President of Colombia, August 7 -- Image via Twitter

August 1:

A bust in honor of the Vietnamese communist revolutionary and statesman Ho Chi Minh will be erected in the northern Greek town of Edessa, Greece's Foreign Minister announced on Monday during an official visit in Hanoi.

In a major victory, the University and College Union (UCU) in the UK secured permanent contracts for 4,800 previously casualized associate lecturers of the Open University (OU). UCU’s extensive negotiations with the university authorities concluded successfully and from August 1, 2022, the staff will benefit from enhanced job security, a pay upgrade between 10-15%, additional annual leave and staff development allowances. This is being hailed as the biggest decasualization win in the history of higher education in the UK. The UCU has also called on other universities to end casual contracts and offer permanent contracts and full rights to the academic staff.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) has strongly opposed the Union Government's decision to impose 5 per cent GST on pre-packed, labelled food items. In this context, the Lakhimpur District Council of the political party on Tuesday submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding him to withdraw the notification served regarding the issue.

August 2:

Seeking fulfilment of their pending demands with the state government, around 9,000 talati-cum-mantri (clerks) of Panchayat department in Gujarat have been on an indefinite strike since August 2.

According to sources, the talatis have been making several demands related to their service and salary with the state government but they were not met and hence launched the strike.

August 3:

Workers at the Mockingbird Station Starbucks voted to form a labor union.

The vote was held July 29, and every employee who voted cast a vote to move forward with the unionization effort.

A top Sri Lankan trade union leader in the forefront of protests which led to the ousting of Gotabaya Rajapaksa from the presidency was arrested Wednesday, witnesses and officials said.

August 4:

Workers at warehouse in Tilbury, Essex walkout over poor pay offer

Last night and today (Wednesday and Thursday) workers downed tools in the depot over a 35p pay offer.

Workers are seeking a £2ph rise to better match the demands of the role and cope with the cost of living crisis.

August 5:

The Operation Support Service Unit (OSSU), a militarized police unit of King Mswati III in Swaziland, opened fire in the crowded working-class township of Matsapha and assaulted members of Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) on the evening of Friday, August 5.

“I was held face down at gunpoint with my arms and legs bound behind for half an hour as they fired shots and chased down my comrades,” CPS central committee member Vuyiswa Maseko told Peoples Dispatch. Maseko was forced to the ground after resisting the police with his hands up in the air, along with another member Gcinizwi Lukhele.

On Friday afternoon at around 16:00hrs, a heavy battalion of Mswati's riot police, a paramilitary wing known as the Swaziland Support Service Unit (OSSU) unleashed violence against activists of the Communist Party of Swaziland in Matsapha. The activists were on their activist duties destined to Mbabane.

The approximately 20 police terrorised and detained 3 CPS comrades near the traffic circle in Matsapha. They intimidated and threatened them with more violence if they ever participated in radical steps to overthrow the ruling system in Swaziland. They fired gun shots to intimidate them.

In a landslide 15-1 vote, the Niskayuna Starbucks located in ShopRite Plaza now becomes the next local store to pass a union election. Co-organizer and supervisor, Jordan Perez, says change may not come right away, but it’s a relieving step in the right direction.

“I just want everything to be civil the way it’s supposed to be and just for all of us little guys to have some sort of say in what happens to us,” Perez says to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

There will be additional union votes coming throughout August to Starbucks in Malta, Clifton Park, East Greenbush, and Crossgates Mall. However, even those that have successfully passed their votes say business is still as usual.

Employees at yet another San Antonio Starbucks store have unionized as part of the push sweeping the Seattle-based coffee chain.

Workers at the Starbucks at Wurzbach and Blanco roads voted 10-2 to join the Starbucks Workers United, according to a Twitter announcement from the labor organization's San Antonio chapter.

At least four other Alamo City Starbucks locations have unionized since April. Others have also filed paperwork to do so.

Around 20 organizers and community members gathered at noon on August 5 for a press conference, organized by The December 12th Movement, to denounce the FBI raids on African Socialist Party.

The press conference included powerful speakers from December 12, Black is Back, Struggle La Lucha, the Panthers, and a few openly socialist elected officials.

Wharfies are walking off the job in five states this morning, with fears of major disruption at Australian ports.

There will be 24 hour strikes at five ports in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia.

The industrial action has been sparked by a long-running dispute with towage company Svitzer Australia.

August 6:

August 7:

Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez of the Historic Pact coalition were sworn in as the first left-wing president and vice president of Colombia on August 7, the day that marked the 203rd anniversary of the country’s independence from Spain.

Petro and Márquez have vowed to work for true and lasting peace, fight inequalities and protect the most marginalized and excluded in society, protect the environment, defend human rights, develop the national economy and engage in dialogue with all sectors to build a better Colombia. For many, their inauguration marked the beginning of a new era of peace, and social justice in Colombia.

August 8:

Extensive efforts are underway in Cuba to control a major fire that broke out at an oil storage facility in the city of Matanzas last week. Around 7pm local time on August 5, a lightning strike set off a blaze in crude oil storage tank 52 at the Matanzas Supertanker Base. As of the morning of August 8, three out of the eight tanks at the site had collapsed.

Containment operations have been ongoing for over three days, with critical on-ground assistance and aid provided by Mexico and Venezuela.

Solidarity Statements with the PRC

Political parties of various countries have in recent days lashed out at the visit by Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to China's Taiwan region and voiced oppositions to U.S. attempts to connive at "Taiwan independence" separatist forces.

In messages addressed to the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the political parties also voiced their firm commitments to the one-China principle as well as support for China's efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Venezuela's ruling party and parliament recently expressed strong condemnation of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, saying the visit is a serious provocation.

Carmen Melendez, vice president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and mayor of Caracas, on Thursday delivered a statement from the party's national leadership committee to Chinese Ambassador to Venezuela Li Baorong, strongly condemning the visit.

Pelosi's visit to Taiwan is a serious violation of China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, the statement said, adding the United States has become the biggest threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

The militants of the People's Vanguard Party (PVP) in Costa Rica on Wednesday affirmed that China is one, unique and indivisible, and criticized the presence of Nancy Pelosi in Chinese Taipei.

The PCP expresses deep concern about the latest developments in the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and condemns the provocation staged by the US with the trip of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, to Taiwan

While being associated to the internal situation of the US and the upcoming elections, this provocation, in the context of a visit by the US Congress to several countries in the region and which invokes that one of the objectives is to discuss “security”, is part of imperialism's growing confrontation strategy against the People's Republic of China, instrumentalizing Taiwan and promoting separatism to challenge the “one China principle”, which the US has been following.


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