International Notes: December 22, 2016

International Notes: December 22, 2016

Chile:  Communists call for labor reforms

Communist Party member of Congress Camila Vallejo, writing in the December 16 edition of the party newspaper “El Siglo” (the Century), points out that the rights  of both private sector and government workers should be defended, including their right to union representation.  “From the major media, at every moment the spokespersons of neoliberalism constantly repeat that our labor market needs to be very flexible, because the most important thing is to generate jobs, without regard to their quality.

“This seems to me to be nothing but ideology, which has a concrete expression in the daily life of the workers of our country”.  Vallejo points out the situation of workers at the highly profitable Homecenter company, where 8,300 workers struck for 20 days asking for a 7 percent raise.  Homecenter refused to negotiate but reverted to union-busting tactics. Meanwhile company’s owners, the wealthy Solari family, spent $52 million in buying up a mining company.  The workers finally had to settle for a 2 percent raise on already very low wages.  Vallejo sums up by saying “Every union that is organized is a light of hope”.


Czech Republic:  Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia criticizes Social Democrats

As the Czech Republic prepares for the October 2017 legislative elections, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia is criticizing the failure of the Social Democratic Party to live up to campaign promises of previous election cycles.

A statement from the Communist Party’s Central Committee notes that the Social Democrats fear that they are losing support, as evidenced by losses in the regional elections earlier this year.   Therefore, the movement of the Social Democratic discourse in a leftward direction must be seen in the context of their past tendency to make campaign promises to the people but then not follow through.  The Central Committee urges Czech voters to choose the Communist Party as a more trustworthy option, and  calls for citizen input in the development of their party’s program.

Cyprus: AKEL (Communist Party of Cyprus) satisfied with election results

AKEL, which is the Communist Party of Cyprus, expresses the view that the results of December 17th local elections show an increased level of trust for their party.   In May national parliamentary elections, AKEL lost ground, and at that time set itself the goal of “rebuild[ing] the trust of the people”.  “We sought to forge these relations of trust by discussing with the people and taking their own views about the formation of our candidate lists.”

As a result, the local elections gave AKEL at least 10 mayoral victors, along with 4 more from other tendencies whom AKEL supported.   “We are pleased because in a very short period of time, we have stopped the downward trend and the Party is recovering its strength”.

Swaziland:  CP holds school for activists

The Communist Party of Swaziland has announced that it will be holding a summer school for opposition activists in Mpumalanga, South Africa, on December 20-30 (South Africa and Swaziland are south of the equator, so it is summer there now).  The Swazi Communists, along with other political, labor and social groups, are fighting against the despotic monarchy of King Mswati III, so some of their activities are carried out in neighboring South Africa.

The party school will “combine theory with practice to sharpen our comrades’ theoretical understanding of the new main currents of Marxist-Leninist thought, and….how such an understanding plays out in our practical work.

The Swazi Communists see Mswati III’s regime as combining the feudal characteristics of an archaic  monarchy with 21st century neoliberal capitalism.



    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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