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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #93 -- International Left and Labour News

With news from India, France, the USA, Zambia, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Greece, the UK and elsewhere.

There is also a section related to the 5th National Congress of the Communist Party of Swaziland.

Image from a massive rally of farmers in New Delhi, India April 5 -- Image via the CPI(M) on Facebook

April 2:

Protests are taking place across Greece against a new law enacted by the conservative New Democracy (ND)-led government that includes water and waste management utilities under the regulatory authority for energy. Critics note that the move is in compliance with the EU directives to privatize water utilities in the country.

On Sunday, April 2, a massive demonstration followed by a music concert titled ‘Defend Water’ was organized by workers of the Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewage Company SA (EYATH SA) and other trade unions at Aristotle Square in the city to denounce the legislation. Earlier, on March 20 and 21, protests were held in Athens and other cities across Greece against attempts to further privatize water utilities, like EYATH SA in Thessaloniki and EYDAP in Athens, along with other municipal utilities.

According to the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) "The Central Committee of the PCP, meeting on April 2, assessed the national and international situation, the struggle of the workers, the communities and the peoples, examined the work ahead and assessed the activity which was decided at the PCP National Conference “Take the initiative, strengthen the party, respond to new demands”, indicating lines for immediate work."

On April 2 they issued a political statement flowing out of this assessment which included an excellent and incisive look at the international situation and the role that the US and its imperialist allies are playing in it. We republish that part of the statement in full.

April 3:

According to the SACP, the "South African Communist Party (SACP) held its Annual Augmented Central Committee meeting over the weekend of 31 March to 2 April in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. The meeting included expanded representation from SACP provinces and districts, as well as from the Young Communist League of South Africa."

On April 3 they issued a political statement flowing out of the meeting that, of course, looked at a number of domestic issues but also had a very comprehensive and excellent section related to international affairs.

It touches on the imperialist war machine, the upcoming BRICS summit, their rejection of the ICC's agenda, Cuba, Western Sahara and Swaziland. We republish that portion in full.

On Monday, over 6,000 Sri Lankan Telecom (SLT) workers held a one-day strike against privatisation. The national walkout, which also involved Tamil-speaking Telecom workers from the Northern Province, included a demonstration outside the corporation’s head office in Colombo.

On 3 April 2023, the results of the parliamentary elections in Canton Ticino, the southern, Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, were published. In 2019, the Communists had won a full seat and only thanks to the remnants did we barely reach the second seat. The goal we had set ourselves for this election round was to maintain and consolidate the two Communist seats. The Communist Party had proposed an alliance with the regional section of the canton of Ticino of the Swiss Labour Party and had campaigned on three issues in particular: the defence of Swiss neutrality against sanctions against Russia and rapprochement with NATO; the promotion of workers' rights and the protection of public service and the role of the state in the economy against all forms of privatisation and economic liberalisation.

The votes for the renewal of the parliament were positive for us: we won new voters and the communist list came close to 2 per cent of the vote, which allowed us to secure our second seat in parliament. The consensus for the Communists increased in all urban centres in Italian-speaking Switzerland: in the city of Lugano, compared to 2019, it rose from 1.3% to 1.8%. In Bellinzona - the capital of the canton of Ticino - we rise from 1.45% to 2.2%. In the city of Locarno the Communists increase from 1.9% four years ago to 3.3%. Even better in Chiasso, on the Italian border, where it is rising from 1.5% to 3.4%.

Those elected were the two outgoing MPs: Comrade Massimiliano Ay, Secretary General of the Communist Party (Switzerland) and Lea Ferrari, member of the Communist Party Political Bureau. On the wave of the collective, compact and determined militant commitment carried out over the last few months, we can therefore say with great satisfaction that we have achieved all the goals we set ourselves at the beginning of the election campaign!

April 4:

Workers are striking today over what they say are unsafe working conditions. . Customer service employees in Georgia, North Carolina as well as here in South Carolina spent the day protesting for change.

Around noon on Tuesday afternoon, people stood outside the entrance to a local supply chain management facility. They say they are part of the Union of Southern Service Workers (USSW).

April 5:

On Wednesday, April 5, thousands of farmers and workers from across India came to the capital New Delhi to protest the central government and its anti-farmer and anti-labor policies. The rally, organized under the banner ‘Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally’ was held at the Ramlila Maidan grounds.

Protesters demanded relief from inflation, a legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP) on main crops, minimum wage for all workers at Rs 26,000 (USD 317) per month, debt relief, pension for all farmers above the age of 60, repeal of the four anti-labor codes, and withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020, among other demands. Protesters accused the Narendra Modi-led government of creating a crisis of livelihood for all sections of the working class.

“The only worthy vote for the people and the young generation is the vote for the KKE, which expresses the consistency of words and works; which will not lead to disappointment; which the people and the youth will find by their side in every struggle; which exerts pressure for a sigh of relief; which sheds a light and paves the way for the real way out”, stresses KNE, presenting its first pre-election video ahead of the elections that will be held on 21 May.

April 6:

Thursday 6 April 2013: The South African Communist Party (SACP) conveys its deepest condolences to the family, friends, comrades, former combatants of MK and colleagues of Comrade Mbulelo Musi, a committed activist and a tried and tested peace and freedom loving patriot. The SACP also conveys its condolences to the entire liberation movement which he served diligently and selflessly throughout his life.

Comrade Musi joined the people’s camp for national liberation following the June 16 Soweto students’ uprisings against the apartheid bantu education system. The historic protests spread across many black townships and led to him and scores of his peers and comrades leaving the county for exile in order to seek military training to come back and fight militarily against the racist regime. He formed part of a special generation of South African youth of his time who were prepared to pay the ultimate sacrifice and lived to see the dislodging of the apartheid system and ultimate liberation of his people.

April 8:

On Saturday, April 8, members of the Socialist Party of Zambia (SP) were targets of a violent attack by alleged cadres of the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) in the district of Serenje, Central Province. Shortly after, Zambian police arrested SP president Dr. Fred M’membe, even as the attackers remained at large.

According to the Zambian police and local media, violence had been reported in the district’s Mwalilima and Kamalamba areas on Saturday as political parties campaigned ahead of a by-election for the Muchinda ward on April 20.

Speaking to Peoples Dispatch, M’membe described how SP members had been attacked in Kamalamba on Saturday afternoon. As per the timetable prepared by the Electoral Commission of Zambia, April 8 had been allocated to the SP for campaigning in the area.

However, just as SP members were about to begin their public meeting, two vehicles with UNDP cadres pulled up, “they descended upon us with stones and sticks. At least one person was carrying a catapult. We tried to evade the situation, and eventually the police arrived. We were being attacked, kicked, and punched in front of the police, they were incapable of doing anything,” M’membe said.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation strongly condemns the brutal attack on April 8 against a public meeting organized by the Socialist Party of Zambia, and the subsequent arrest of party president Dr. Fred M’membe on false charges. The assault, carried out by members of the ruling United Party for National Development, came amid an election campaign. This is a cowardly attempt to suppress the rising popularity of the Socialist Party of Zambia, which fights for the rights of workers and the poor.

The U.S. government views Zambia as an arena to conduct its strategy of “great power competition” against China. This includes using Zambia as its base for the recent “Summit for Democracy” – a soft-power tool designed to sharpen the new Cold War atmosphere around the globe. The “World Liberty Congress”, a regime-change operation with ties to Western intelligence circles, is also attempting to use Zambia as a base to train activists to overthrow anti-imperialist governments in Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. As long as the UPND government is on its side in this perilous new Cold War, the United States is happy to turn a blind eye to the violent political repression it carries out despite its empty rhetoric about “human rights.”

The Socialist Party has been a resolute voice against Zambia becoming a pawn in the game of U.S. imperialism to control the world for a tiny elite. Their clear voice is undoubtedly dangerous to the ruling party, who hopes to confuse the working class and peasantry.

Absurdly, the police arrested the victims of the attack, not the attackers. The day after the assault, police announced that M’membe along with Saili Chita and Daniel Mumba would be charged with assault, with an additional bogus firearm charge leveled against M’membe.

I thank the French communists for their support for a people who are facing the longest US blockade, an unjust, inhumane, genocidal, and illegal policy by successive governments that have deprived us of life, development, and peace, Vaillant said when addressing the 39th FCP Congress, which is taking place in Marseille from April 7 to 10.

Dozens of protestors gathered in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to protest for abortion rights in light of a recent judge's decision to invalidate the Federal Drug Administration's approval of the nation's most popular abortion pill — Mifepristone.

This isn't the only court ruling regarding the pill, as another judge ordered that they do nothing to limit the production despite the contradictory ruling.

The rally, hosted by the Freedom Socialist Party and riseup4abortionrights took place outside of the Federal Courthouse before protestors marched the streets holding signs supporting their cause.

Leaders and cadre of Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Saturday led demonstrations and rallies titled ‘Go back Modi’, protesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Hyderabad.

They said the visit was part of the political drama to further mislead people. The parties alleged that the BJP-led Centre under Mr. Narendra Modi’s leadership did not deliver on the promises made to Telangana as per bifurcation legislation.

The cadre wearing black and holding placards, flexis and flags marched through cities and towns.

April 9:

The French Communist Party (PCF) expressed solidarity for the victims of the building collapse that injured several people in Marseille, on Sunday, April 9.

At least four people were believed to be trapped under the rubble, local media reported, citing French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.

The four-storey building on Rue de Tivoli collapsed followed an explosion, fire officials said. The city’s mayor, Benoit Payan, told local media an investigation into the cause of the collapse would take place. He added, “the violent explosion is probably the cause of the collapse.”

The collapse occurred at approximately 12:40 am local time, and caused the partial collapse of two neighboring buildings, Le Parisien reported, citing Payan.

At least six people were injured and 179 were evacuated following the collapse, Le Parisien reported.

The footage posted to Twitter by PCF shows party members holding banners that spelled out the word ‘solidarite.’ The party’s national congress was gathering in Marseille this weekend, according to the PCF.

April 10:

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, on Monday inspected south China's Guangdong Province.

He first went to the city of Zhanjiang, where he visited a mariculture base, an area of mangrove forests, a port, and a water resource allocation project.

Xi learned about efforts in developing marine aquaculture, strengthening the protection of mangrove forests, boosting transportation infrastructure connectivity, advancing the collaborative development of Guangdong with its neighboring island province of Hainan, and optimizing water resource allocation.

The 6th Enlarged Meeting of the 8th Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) which is of another great military significance was held at the office building of the WPK Central Committee on April 10 in the turning period of the development of our armed forces in which the powerful strategic measures are being carried out to expand and strengthen the war deterrent of the country in every way to cope with the escalating moves of the U.S. imperialists and the south Korean puppet traitors to unleash a war of aggression.

Kim Jong Un , general secretary of the WPK, chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK and president of the State Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, guided the enlarged meeting.

Present at the meeting were major members of the Central Military Commission of the WPK and commanding officers of the large combined units of the Korean People's Army on the front.

Three unions representing 9,000 teachers and staff are on strike at Rutgers University Monday amid a stalemate in negotiations on compensation and other issues.

It's the first strike in the school's 257-year history.

About 150 employees of a Tyson Foods Inc (TSN.N) chicken plant in Arkansas went on strike on Monday for better treatment before the company shuts the facility, an organizer said.

Tyson plans to close the plant in Van Buren, Arkansas, on May 12, eliminating jobs for 969 non-union employees, as it seeks to improve performance in its chicken business.

Employees refused to work in part because Tyson said they would not receive full payouts for vacation time they accrued, said Magaly Licolli, director of Venceremos, an organization that advocates for poultry workers in Arkansas. She said the strike may continue on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Following months of labor unrest, employees of Flying Food Group launched an unfair labor practice strike Monday, April 10, claiming they’re underpaid and in danger of losing their health benefits.

The catering workers provide in-flight airline meals at Los Angeles International Airport and are represented by Unite Here Local 11.

They also allege the Flying Food Group hasn’t taken action to protect female workers from sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination.

Cooks, porters and drivers walked out at 3 a.m. and began marching in front of the company’s facility at 901 W. Hillcrest Blvd. in Inglewood. They plan to remain on strike until they reach an agreement they’re happy with.

April 11:

A delegation of the KKE, consisting of Giorgos Marinos, member of the PB of the CC of the KKE and MP and Elias Nazir, member of the International Relations Section of the CC, visited the Palestinian Embassy and met with Yussef Dorkhom, Chargé d’Affaires and head of Diplomatic Representation of Palestine to the Hellenic Republic.

During the meeting, there was an exchange of views on developments in the region and the escalation of the Israeli state's aggression against the Palestinians, which is currently assuming dangerous proportions.

Yussef Dorkhom thanked the KKE for its firm solidarity and support for the struggles of the Palestinian people.

Junior doctors across England have launched a four-day strike over pay that is likely to cause unprecedented disruption to the health service, leaving up to a quarter of a million appointments postponed.

Doctors mounted picket lines outside hospitals from 7am on Tuesday to run until Saturday morning in the longest stoppage of the wave of unrest, which has seen nurses, ambulance crews and other health workers take action since last year.

April 12:

Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS):

The CPS held its 5th National Congress from April 6-9 in South Africa. For full updates from the Congress see their Facebook page.

On Saturday 7 April 2023, SACP First Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Madala Masuku, called for the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) and South African Communist Party (SACP) to strengthen their ties and unite the working class in the struggle for socialism.

Comrade Masuku made this call when he presented the SACP’s message of support to the CPS 5th National Congress. He went on to state that the SACP is particularly impressed by the CPS’s work on running consistent political education schools since the Party’s birth in 2011, in addition to organisational work in Swaziland.

He elaborated, “The SACP and CPS must strengthen and support each other in the context of the struggle to build socialism. Socialism takes power from individuals, places it in the hands of the people, and places responsibility upon democratic state to build capacity for production in the interests of all. Our struggles are very important because we want to emancipate the people of South Africa and Swaziland.”

The CPS holds its 5th National Congress about a week after the SACP Augmented Central Committee meeting, held in Johannesburg.

“In our Augmented Central Committee meeting, we reaffirmed our position as the party that we will wholeheartedly support the struggle of the people of Swaziland”, Masuku assured delegates.

Masuku pointed out that there were some forces in South Africa that support the Mswati regime in Swaziland and as the SACP they have always informed those forces that they will not stop the revolution; the revolution will succeed no matter what the counter-revolutionaries do to sabotage it.


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