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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #74 -- International Left and Labour News

With news from Ireland, Ukraine, Cuba, Tunisia, the USA, Colombia, Venezuela, China, Brazil and more.

Opposition Leftist parties and trade unions march in Dublin, Ireland demanding radical action on the cost-of-living and housing crises in the country, September 24 -- Image via Twitter

September 18:

On Sunday, September 18, High Commissioner for Peace of the Colombian national government, Iván Danilo Rueda, met with representatives of dissidents in the demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia–People’s Army (FARC-EP) guerilla group. The meeting took place in the Caquetá department, and was also attended by the representatives of the Norwegian government and the UN Mission II in Colombia. The purpose of the meeting was to assess the possibility of initiating dialogues to forward the goals of President Gustavo Petro’s “Total Peace” policy.

According to a statement issued by Colombian authorities, “both parties expressed their willingness and need for these dialogues to be set by a bilateral ceasefire, the execution of which will be verified (in the near future).”

September 19:

The Colombian government recognized on September 19 the new management of the Venezuelan company Monómeros, located in Colombia, which had been appointed by the Venezuelan government. This decision marks the return of the company to the Venezuelan state after it spent the last three years controlled by opposition members linked to former deputy Juan Guaidó, with protection from former Colombian President Iván Duque.

The new directors had been appointed by Caracas in August. However, these appointments were awaiting the judgment on an appeal filed by Guaidó’s officials in order to be ratified. According to the decision issued by the Colombian Companies Superintendence, “no appeal is possible against the present resolution.”

The head of Colombia’s Superintendence of Societies, Billy Escobar, said that the body’s resolution confirms, “the will of the Venezuelan government to designate a board of directors, and this corresponds to the legality of the Colombian state in relation to the owners of a company.”

On September 19, 2022 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Wang Yi said that China and Cuba are good friends, good comrades, and good brothers with mutual trust and a shared future. The heads of state of the two countries have built their friendship and maintained close communication. The Chinese side stands ready to work with Cuba to follow the guidance of the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, deepen unity and cooperation, and consolidate and develop the special friendship between China and Cuba. The Chinese side thanks the Cuban side for its firm support for China in safeguarding China's core interests, and the Chinese side also firmly supports Cuba in safeguarding its sovereignty and independence, and firmly supports the country in accelerating development and rejuvenation, and believes that Cuba will make new and greater achievements on its path of socialist development.

On September 19, 2022 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada on the sidelines of the General Debate of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The two sides agreed to take the first anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations between China and Nicaragua as an opportunity to elevate bilateral relations to a new level.

Wang Yi said, President Xi Jinping and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega have drawn a blueprint for bilateral relations since the two countries resumed diplomatic relations in December last year. Bilateral relations have seen rapid development and yielded fruitful "early harvests". Facts have proved that restoring diplomatic relations between China and Nicaragua fully conforms to the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples. China is firmly committed to developing its relationship with Nicaragua and supporting Nicaragua's efforts to safeguard its sovereignty, independence and national dignity and Nicaragua's independent choice of development path, and will continue to uphold justice on issues related to Nicaragua. China appreciates Nicaragua for its unwavering support for the one-China principle, and believes that Nicaragua will continue its support for China's just stance on issues related to China's core interests. The Chinese side is willing to strengthen cooperation with Nicaragua under the Belt and Road Initiative and the synergy of respective development strategies, so as to translate the political mutual trust into momentum for comprehensive cooperation. Noting that the arrangement for "early harvests" under a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) has been signed by the two sides, Wang Yi expressed the hope to reach an agreement as soon as possible on a comprehensive FTA, of which the negotiation process has already been initiated. China will continue to support Nicaragua in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic until the virus is completely defeated.

Home Depot Inc. employees based in Philadelphia have filed a petition to unionize, according to a National Labor Relations Board filing, a rare move at the home-improvement retailer amid a growing nationwide labor movement.

The 274 employees included in the petition work in merchandising, specialty and operations associates, according to the NLRB filing. The petition was originally filed on Monday, and the union is listed as “Home Depot Workers United.”

September 20:

With less than two weeks remaining until the first round of Brazil's presidential election, new polling figures show democratic socialist frontrunner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has slightly widened his double-digit lead over far-right incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro.

Brazilian pollster IPEC's latest survey shows da Silva leading Bolsonaro 47% to 31% in the first-round contest, which will take place on October 2. That's a one-point boost from the previous week's polling.

A compilation of discourses by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, on socialist cultural and ethical advancement has been published by the Central Party Literature Press and released nationwide.

Compiled by the Institute of Party History and Literature of the CPC Central Committee, the book brings together 512 relevant parts falling under 10 themes, excerpted from 240 important spoken and written works that Xi made between Nov. 17, 2012 and June 8, 2022. Some content has been made public for the first time.

Huang Kunming, a senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official, on Tuesday called for efforts to open new horizons for ideological and political work in the new era.

Huang, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks while addressing a convention of the Chinese Society of Ideological and Political Work in Beijing.

Huang listed progress in the area since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, recognizing important contributions to the cause of the Party and the country.

Ideological questions and practical problems should be solved in an integrated manner, Huang said, asking for efforts to inspire officials and the public to write a new chapter in building China into a modern socialist country in all respects.

Federal labor regulators have moved to force Amazon to scrap a rule that governs employees’ use of nonwork areas, accusing the company of illegally singling out union supporters in enforcing the policy.

A complaint issued on Tuesday by the National Labor Relations Board’s Brooklyn office said Amazon “selectively and disparately enforced the rule,” which applied to distributing materials and to solicitation activities, “by discriminatorily applying it against employees who engaged in union activity.”

The World Federation of Trade Unions, the militant voice of more than 105 million workers all over the globe, expresses its internationalist solidarity with the just struggle of the dock workers at the Port of Liverpool who follow the path of dignity and struggle, and since yesterday they are on a 2-week strike.

The demand of the strikers is just and is heard from the mouths of millions of workers in every corner of the world: Wage Increase for a dignified life. This is the non-negotiable precondition for no further deterioration of the workers’ living conditions due to inflation and the price rise. The wave of struggles and strikes in Europe and globally grows bigger and bigger. The workers will not pay again for the capitalist crisis.

On 10 September in the oil port of Barrancabermeja, comrade Sibares Lamprea, a trade union leader of the USO (UNIÓN SINDICAL OBRERA), an affiliated organisation of the WFTU, was assassinated.

His loss is a tragedy for the social movement and peace in Colombia. The WFTU Colombia demands the Colombian Government and the management of ECOPETROL to implement effective measures to safeguard the life of the workers’ leadership and to provide guarantees for the trade union freedoms. The USO decrees a week of national mourning and protests to demand the above.

The WFTU calls upon on the trade unions to respond to the request of the coordination of the WFTU COLOMBIA and to show their solidarity on a global level.

Read the following statement of the WFTU COLOMBIA:

The United Workers Union and the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union announced this morning that advanced manufacturing workers at Mayne Pharma began strike action at 6am today in response to a “below-inflation pay offer”.

The stop work, which includes a rally outside Mayne Pharma’s Salisbury South headquarters, will last for 24 hours.

September 21:

National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members took strike action on September 21 at the University of Newcastle (UoN) and UTS as part of a rolling campaign across New South Wales in support of a 7% pay rise.

They are also campaigning for job security, manageable workloads, fair pay and for casuals to be given permanent contracts — the best way of being able to deliver the quality education.

As we meet in Congress the world faces the real danger of global war arising from the conflict in Ukraine, where NATO is funding, arming and training its proxy and facilitating mercenaries and fascist paramilitaries. We condemn the escalation of violence in the region since the US-orchestrated coup of 2014, including the killing of 14,000 people in the Donbass by Ukrainian forces and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February 2022, which has resulted in the death and displacement of countless civilians. The proximate cause of this situation has been the expansion of NATO and its project to constrict its imperial competitor, Russia, by establishing large bases of troops and mass destructive weapons along its western and southern borders. We oppose the active collaboration of the Irish political establishment

in NATO/EU strategy to escalate the war in Ukraine.

Our solidarity is with the working-class of Ukraine and Russia, who are the immediate victims of this war, especially with the soldiers and civilians who are cannon fodder in an inter-imperialist rivalry. We join with the peace forces of the world in demanding a ceasefire and for an end to sanctions. Sanctions that are having the greatest impact, not on the ruling classes, but on the working-class of Russia and of Europe.

The 48th festival of the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) continues with a wide range of political and cultural activities. On Saturday 17/9/22, the GS of the CC of the KKE, Dimitris Koutsoumbas, addressed a speech at the events in Thessaloniki. In his speech, he highlighted the strategic identification of the parties supporting Euro-Atlanticism and the choices of capital and referred in detail to the struggle of the KKE and its political proposal. He devoted an important part of his speech to international developments and the KKE’s assessments of them, an extensive excerpt of which reads as follows:

September 22:

The imperialist conflict is escalating - Greece must immediately disengage from the dangerous EU-NATO plans!

The imperialist war being waged in Ukraine between the Euro-Atlanticforces and capitalist Russia is heading for a new devastating escalation. It is confirmed that the build-up of military forces and materiel on both sides does not lead to the end of the war, but instead feeds the vicious circle of the continuation and intensification of the conflict.

In recent months,the USA, NATO, and the EU have embarked on an unprecedented political, military, and financial support of the reactionary Zelenskiy government, with the aim of reversing the balance of power on the battlefields, which now extend over 1,300 km. Modern warfare systems, military advisers, mercenaries, and the stocks of NATO countries’military depots have been generously providedfor the continuation and escalation of the war, which is being waged not for ‘freedom’ and the right of the Ukrainian people to ‘self-determination’ in choosing allies, as they claim, but for the interests of the Western monopolies.

On the other hand, the Russian leadership, which proceeded with the unacceptable and reprehensible military invasion of Ukraine, is taking additional measuresconsidering that it isdrifting away from its objectives. Putin’s address on 21 September provides for the beginning of the annexation process of 20% of Ukraine’s territoryto Russia, which will be carried out both by political means, such as referendums set up in those regions, and by military means, such as the legalization of paramilitary ‘voluntary’groups, the ‘partial mobilization’ of 300 thousand reservists, and the threat of the use of nuclear weapons. The Russian leadership, seeking to conceal the aims of its own monopolies, once again invokes the so-called denazification of Ukraine and the ‘self-determination’ of the Russian-speaking populations, adding the risk of the disintegration of Russia in the event of a military defeat.

The Greek people, as well as all peoples, must reject the false pretexts used by both sides and target the real causes of the imperialist war, which concern the division of mineral wealth, energy, territories and labour force, pipelines and commodity transport networks, geopolitical supports, and market shares. That is what the bourgeois classes and their imperialist alliances are clashing over.

On September 22, Thursday, health workers and those working in associated sectors in France organized mobilizations and protests as part of a national day of action in different cities across the country. The protesters demanded increased salaries, more staff, improved and safe working conditions, job security, and sufficient funds and other resources for hospitals. The call for the mobilization was given by several groups in health sector, including the Association des Médecins Urgentistes de France (AMUF), CGT Santé Action Sociale, the CFE CGC Santé-Social, Printemps de la psychiatrie and Collectif Inter-Urgences. Mobilizations took place in the cities of Paris, Marseille, Nancy, Tours, Poitiers, Angers, Lille, and Nantes, among others. The French Communist Party (PCF) and La France Insoumise (LFI) extended support and solidarity to the protesting workers.

September 23:

The Socialist Party (SP) in the Netherlands has intensified its campaign demanding effective measures from the government to tackle the ongoing cost of living crisis. On September 23, in the House of Representatives, socialist leader Lilian Marijnissen demanded that the government lower energy prices, increase minimum wages, and tax corporate profits. She said that the energy sector should be in public hands.

On September 17, SP had organized a massive demonstration in Hague under the banner: ‘Enough is enough! Lower the energy bill and grab the corporate profits.’ Due to widespread protests and public outrage, the Mark Rutte-led center-right government is considering a cap on energy prices. Meanwhile, major energy companies in the Netherlands have announced an increase in tariffs that will come into effect from October.

September 24:

A delegation from the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) led by Bui Thi Minh Hoai, Secretary of the CPV Central Committee and head of its Commission for Mass Mobilisation made a working trip to Turkey from September 20-24.

During their stay, the delegation had a working sessions with General Secretary of the Communist Party of Turkey Kemal Okuyan, leaders of the external relations committee of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), head of the Turkish delegation to the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) Asuman Erdogan, and officials of the Turkish Ministry of Interior.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Dublin to protest against the cost-of-living crisis.

The demonstration, organised by the Cost Of Living Coalition, comes before the Government’s budget on Tuesday.

The group, made up of 30 organisations including trade unionists, student and pensioner bodies and opposition political parties, is urging the Government to take radical action on the cost-of-living and housing crises.

September 25:

A total of 2,296 delegates were elected to attend the upcoming 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), an official statement said Sunday.

Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the delegates were elected in accordance with the Party Constitution, the CPC Central Committee's requirements, adopting methods required by the CPC Central Committee, the statement said.

September 26:

On Monday, the National Electoral Council (CEN) President Alida Balseiro confirmed that the new Family Code was approved by the Cubans who participated in the referendum that took place on Sept. 25.

The option in favor of the approval obtained 3,936,790 votes, that is, 66.87 percent of the votes cast. The option against the Family Code, on the other hand, received 33.13 percent.

What makes Cuba’s new Family Code the most progressive in the world?

The new code enacts sweeping advances in the rights of women, LGBTQ people, children, elderly people, and people with disabilities.

The new code guarantees the right of all people to form a family without discrimination, legalizing same sex marriage and allowing same sex couples to adopt children. Under the new code, parental rights will be shared among extended and non-traditional family structures that could include grandparents, step parents and surrogate mothers. The code also adds novelties such as prenuptial agreements and assisted reproduction.

The Code promotes equal distribution of domestic responsibilities amongst men and women and extends labor rights to those who care full-time for children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. The code establishes the right to a family life free from violence, one that values ​​love, affection, solidarity and responsibility. It codifies domestic violence penalties, and promotes comprehensive policies to address gender-based violence.

The Code also outlaws child marriage and corporal punishment, stating that parents will have “responsibility” instead of “custody” of children, and will be required to be “respectful of the dignity and physical and mental integrity of children and adolescents.” It also asserts that parents should grant maturing offspring more say over their lives.

The new code also expands the rights of the elderly and people with disabilities. It recognizes the role of grandfathers and grandmothers in the transmission of values, culture, traditions and care.

During the meeting of the United Nations General Assambly on Monday, Nicaragua's Foreign Affairs Minister Denis Moncada asked multilateral institutions to respect the sovereignty of the countries and remain independent from the interests of the hegemonic powers.

“We come to speak on behalf of a heroic, dignified, sovereign, free People, who, together with so many other heroic, dignified, sovereign and free Peoples of the planet, have been demonstrating and exercising our national dignity and sovereignty, faced over centuries with the avarice, the colonial and imperial greed,” Moncada said.

On Monday, Colombia and Venezuela officially reopened their common land border through a ceremony that included Colombian President Gustavo Petro and the governor of the Venezuelan state of Tachira Freddy Bernal.

Public employees across Tunisia won a five percent wage increase over three years and financial benefits through revisions of the tax code, following a general strike and weeks of difficult negotiations, according to the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT). The agreement also increases the guaranteed minimum wage by seven percent.

Workers at TotalEnergies' three refineries in France will start a three-day strike over pay from tomorrow, according to the CGT union. Meanwhile, strikes at ExxonMobil's French refining and petrochemical sites face a "pivotal" day.

The union said all of TotalEnergies' "industrial refining and petrochemical sites will be on strike 27-29 September". Workers are downing tools in an argument over pay. TotalEnergies had one-day strikes at all its French sites, including subsidiaries, in July and August.

Statement of the Tudeh Party of Iran: The widespread and courageous uprising of the people against oppression and tyranny

Following the murder of Ms. Mahsa Amini by the mercenary thugs of the Supreme Leader’s regime, widespread popular protests have spread [like wildfire] across the cities of Iranian Kurdistan and throughout Iran.Reliable reports have been received indicating an intensification of protestsbythe people in the cities of Sanandaj, Mahabad, Oshnoye, Saqqez, Marivan, Bukan, Piranshahr, Kamyaran, Tehran, Isfahan, Rasht, Mashhad, Hamedan, Kermanshah, Tabriz, Shiraz, Qom, Kerman, Zanjan, Qazvin, Arak, Urmia, Gohardasht,amongst other locations in the country. In many cities of Iranian Kurdistan, shopkeepers and bazaar merchants have also ceased trading. These protests have also extended to university campuses, including Tehran University, Tarbiat Moalem, Allameh Tabatabai, Amir Kabir, and Kharazmi [universities]as well as the Medical Science Facultyat Tabriz University.

The leadership of the regime and its security organisations, who initially claimed that Mahsa Amini had not been murdered at the hands of the "Guidance Patrol" mercenaries, but had died due to a cardiac arrest [natural causes], have once again underlined- through days of brutal and bloody attacks upon the crowds of protesters, as well asa large number of arrests - that they[the ruling regime]are the main cause of repression, violence, and terror in our country. According to the reports, at least four compatriots have been killed and 75 protestors injured after the regime's security forces opened fire on them. The regime, afraid of the spread of these protests and following the trends of previous protests, has seriously disrupted all internet and mobile phone connections, and has effectively set up a state of martial law in many cities in Iranian Kurdistan.

Our Party, in its statement of 17 September 2022, emphasised that the tragic death of Mahsa Amini, at the hands of the criminals of the Islamic Republic government, once more amply demonstrated the clear reality that with the continuation of the current unpopular regime, there can be no hope of ending the repression and the violent and bloody suppression of [the Iranian] people’s rights and freedoms.


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