International Notes: December 1, 2016

 
International Notes: December 1, 2016

 

CPI (M) oppose legislation allowing foreign corporations to finance candidates

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is opposing a proposed amendment to India’s election law, which, they assert, will make it possible for foreign based multinational corporations to interfere in India’s elections.

Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary of the CPI (M) and the head of its parliamentary delegation criticized a statement by the country’s finance minister of giving out false information about a proposed amendment to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).  The amendment was put through in February of this year.  The ruling party of Prime Minister Modi, the Bharatiya Janati Party, or BJP, had been accused of illegally receiving money from the Indian community in Britain.  But, Yechury pointed out, even with the amendment, foreign corporate partners of many Indian companies could still contribute money to Indian political candidates.  “Effectively, therefore” Yechury complained, “foreign companies can fund Indian political parties….”

Objections raised to new anti-communist law in Bulgaria

On November 6, with a runoff on November 13, voters in Bulgaria’s presidential election chose Rumen Radev, an independent allied with the Bulgarian Socialist Party, as president.  The vote in the runoff was 59.35 percent for Radev versus 36.17 percent for right-wing candidate Tsetska Tsacheva of the  pro-European Union GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) Party.

The campaign was characterized by red-baiting attacks against Radev, in spite of the fact that the Socialist Party is social democratic and not communist.

Now the right wing in the Bulgarian Parliament is pushing legislation to declare the Communist Party which governed the country from 1944 to 1989 to have been a “criminal” regime.  The law, which passed first reading, forbids the use of communist symbols and ideas, and also the forbids anyone to deny that the socialist government was “criminal”. Violators may face fines and perhaps other penalties.  Attempts to declare former communist governments to be “criminal” and to prohibit the use of communist slogans and symbols have been passed or proposed in other Eastern European countries. The delegation of the Communist Party of Greece in the European Parliament has raised the issue as one of freedom of expression in that body.

Colombian Communists denounce threats to left

While Colombia’s parliament debates a revised version between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP), threats against people’s  organizations, emanating from the ultra right, are mounting.   Left-wing organizations such as the Union Patriotica, the Marcha Patriotica and the Communist Party itself are receiving many death threats.

People and organizations involved in environmental defense struggles are particularly targeted, and there have been deaths under mysterious circumstances.  In the town of Ibagué in Tolima state, Augusto Benjumea, a member of the local environmental defense committee,  was accosted and threatened by three men and his life threatened on November 27.  The Communist Party denounced this and other threats, and raised the possibility that they may be emanating from transnational extractive industries, such as Anglo-Ashanti Gold, which the party accuses of having ties to right wing paramilitary groups.

Sudan: Communists, Allies versus Al Bashir government  

On Wednesday, November 29, Sudanese government security forces laid siege to the headquarters of the Sudanese Communist Party in Khartoum, the country’s capital.  Later in the same day, it was reported that protests had caused the security forces to end the siege.

The Communist Party is one of a number of parties and political organizations in Sudan which have been pushing for several years for the country’s president, Omar Hassan Al Bashir, to leave power and be replaced by a democratically elected government. In recent weeks, there have been major strikes, including one by medical doctors, against the Al Bashir regime.   On November 23, the government arrested a number of opposition figures, including Communist Party member Siddiq Yousif.  The increased mass protests against the government have been stimulated in part by a large hike in fuel prices.

Author

    Emile Schepers is a veteran civil and immigrant rights activist. Emile Schepers was born in South Africa and has a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Northwestern University. He has worked as a researcher and activist in urban, working-class communities in Chicago since 1966. He is active in the struggle for immigrant rights, in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and a number of other issues. He now writes from Northern Virginia.

     

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