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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #7 -- International Left and Labour News

The seventh edition of our weekly review of international left and labour news with stories from Greece, Canada, Vietnam, Cuba and elsewhere.

Mass KKE rally in Athens, May 27, opposing the the anti-labour draft bill being proposed by Greece's right wing government

May 22:

On May 21 and 22, progressive sections in Italy demonstrated at the opening of the Global Health Summit in Rome. Their demand was for free and universal vaccination against COVID-19. Many organizations, including Potere al Popolo, Communist Refoundation Party (PRC), Giovani Comuniste e Comunisti (GC), Front of Communist Youth (FGC), Unione Sindacale di Base (USB), Italian Communist Party (PCI) took part in the demonstrations. Progressive trade unions also marked a health workers’ strike on May 21, demanding an end to profiteering from pandemic and precarious working conditions. Potere al Popolo organized protests across the country on Saturday, May 22, highlighting the demands of vaccines for all, public healthcare, social justice and the right to work and dignity of life.

Two former Brazilian presidents overcame decades of political rivalry on Friday with a public show of common purpose: blocking Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro from gaining a second term next year.

Former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met with centrist Fernando Henrique Cardoso, also a two-term former president, for lunch last week, in a move bringing Brazil's left and center closer to joining forces to oppose Bolsonaro.

May 23:

May 24:

The Secretary General of the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS), Comrade Bafanabakhe Sacolo, together with other comrades will be spending their second night in jail, with the Mswati autocracy refusing to release them. It has emerged that the regime intends to present them to court on Monday and keep them behind bars on trumped up charges. Meanwhile, the police still refuse them access to a lawyer, a right they should not be denied.

The comrades were arrested on Friday 21 May 2021, following the royal police’s violent disruption of an otherwise peaceful memorial service mourning a young university student, Thabani Nkomonye, who fell at the hands of the royal police last week. The police sprayed teargas at the mourners, assaulted and thereafter abducted many others, including Comrade Sacolo.

May 25:

The United Communist Party of Georgia, the Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan, the Communist Party of Pakistan and the Socialist Party of Latvia call on the Communist and workers ' parties to support and sign this joint statement against the growth of military spending and the development of new types of biological weapons.

May 26:

While some national labor groups remain silent, union locals across the country are speaking out to defend Palestinians from Israeli aggression.

Thousands of Ontarians may face disruptions to their health care unless management at Black Creek Community health centre stop trying to back their front-line staff into a corner by demanding unfair concessions.

After numerous attempts to reason with their employer, the front-line health care workers will go on strike as of 12:01 a.m. on June 11th.

Locked out Reliance Home Comfort workers on Short- and Long-Term Disability across Ontario have been cut off from their extended health and dental benefits, says Unifor.

"Reliance is sending their customers a message: the owners will be as cruel as it takes to force a deal on their workers," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. "Customers aren't sheep. If they think Reliance is a ruthless corporation obsessed with profit at any cost, they won't hesitate to go elsewhere."

The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) in celebration of Africa Day 2021 salutes all our African liberation stalwarts for the gallant contributions they made in the anti-colonial struggles over the years. The CPS also salutes all the revolutionaries daily engaged in taking the African liberation struggle forward, particularly struggles against the subjugation of the African continent to imperialist forces. The CPS calls for working-class unity against imperialism, but also targeted at the overthrow of African dictators.

The role of imperialism in subjugating Africa must be confronted by a united African people, particularly the working class, consciously aimed at asserting Africa’s right to self-determination. The economies of the various African countries must benefit Africans, but also be led by Africans themselves. This calls for Africans to no longer accede to the dictatorship of international imperialist agents such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, among others. These institutions have chained many African states under perpetual loan burdens. Consequently, our African economies remain largely underdeveloped, with the inequality between Africa and the West, in particular, widening further. These crippling loans will haunt many generations to come, long after the puppets of imperialism have disappeared.

It is time the working class and revolutionary forces in Africa began to set the stage for a comprehensive anti-imperialism programme and defeat neo-colonialism through massive class consciousness building. In these battles, the communist and workers’ parties in the continent must practicalise organisational work, which is the pillar of working-class power.

The Communist Party of India under the leadership of party general secretary D Raja staged a standing protest on May 26, 2021 as part of the nation wide support and solidarity to the all India ‘Black Day’ protest by the farmers, demanding immediate withdrawal of anti-people and anti-farmer black laws. The protesters were raising the slogans, which include ‘Resume Dialogue’, ‘Withdraw Farm Laws’ and others.

May 27:

An agreement in principle was reached yesterday between representatives of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the union, which represents some 40 consultants working in Quebec.

They had been without a labour contract since May 2019.

Unifor National President Jerry Dias told a media conference in Mexico City today that immediate and strong action is needed to ensure free and transparent union votes for Mexican workers.

"Destroying ballots is denying them a voice. It's stealing from them their dignity. It's criminal. It's the worst form of exploitation. And it must be punished," Dias told the media conference by Zoom.

Unifor is urging the federal government to send Canadian observers to oversee a union vote at the General Motors plant in Silao, Mexico in June, after a previous contract legitimization vote was marred by corruption and alleged criminal interference by their current union.

Reports out of Mexico include allegations of illegal vote tampering, ballot destruction and worker intimidation by the CTM union, halting a long-awaited ratification vote for roughly 6,000 workers at GM's truck plant in Central Mexico.

We will not become slaves in the 21st century! Exploitation cannot be “regulated”, it must be abolished! This was the message of unrelenting struggle conveyed by the mass rally of the KKE in Athens against the anti-labour draft bill that the ND government will introduce to Parliament. The GS of the CC of the Party, Dimitris Koutsoumbas, addressed a speech at the rally in Syntagma square.

Corresponding rallies of the KKE were held in Thessaloniki and other cities in Greece.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel traveled to western Pinar del Rio province, where the debates that continue after the 8th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) began.

Diaz-Canel, who is also the PCC first secretary, noted on on his Twitter account that he, along with the Secretariat of the Central Committee, will travel to Artemisa province after the meeting with Pinar del Rio authorities.

May 28:

Last week, the New York Times reported that nearly two hundred employees at the Whitney Museum of American filed a petition for a unionization vote with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), joining a number of museums across the city and country that have organized in recent years. The proposed bargaining unit would include visitor services and gallery assistants, porters, curators, conservators, editors, educators, and other employees.

Yesterday, the Whitney informed the NLRB of its intent to waive the need for an election, thereby voluntarily recognizing the union — a huge win for its workers, who had been in contact with United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2110 since the museum’s reopening in the fall. Local 2110 represents other prominent New York arts institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

The Co-op Refinery Complex in Regina says it provided formal notice to Unifor local 594 that it intends to make layoffs. Talks between the two began early Thursday morning.

The news comes just under a year after a bitter, six-month labour dispute lockout at the refinery ended in June, 2020.

The number of official layoffs was not settled on yet, but Unifor says they were told that 87 jobs needed to be "reduced."

Confronting gender inequality and promoting a transformative agenda for women in the mining industry are some of the issues discussed at the IndustriALL’s first global network meeting for women in mining, which brought together 100 participants, mainly women miners, from 16 countries.

The CPI(M) condemns the BJP government’s partisan use of the IT Ministry and the police raids on Twitter’s offices as acts of blatant intimidation.

Undermining security protocols to provide government access to peoples messages is a dangerous and retrograde measure. These strengthen the architecture of a surveillance State violating the right to privacy of citizens. The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands the withdrawal of these provisions.

A new petition to Canada's parliament calls on the Canadian government to take a more robust stance in opposition to the continuing US economic blockade of Cuba. The decades long blockade -- which is opposed by almost every country in the world, including ostensibly Canada -- was intensified under the Trump administration who, in a grotesque parting shot, even designated Cuba as a "state sponsor of terrorism".

There were initially high hopes that the new Biden administration would ease the sanctions and reverse the absurd designation.



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