International Notes: October 3, 2016

 
International Notes: October 3, 2016

 

Spanish Communists say a government can be formed after 2 hung elections

The general  secretary of the Communist Party of Spain, José Luis Centella Gómez, has said that a government can still be formed on the basis of agreement on pro-working class principles, in spite of the failure of two elections this year to produce a majority in the lower house of the Spanish legislature, the Cortes.  In a statement on September 29, Centella pointed out that in the second of those elections, last June, a majority of the popular vote went to political parties opposed to the right wing, neo-liberal policies of caretaker Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the People’s Party (PP).

Nevertheless, it has so far proved impossible to put together the parliamentary majority needed either for Rajoy to continue in office, or to create a different coalition without him.  In Spain specifically, the need to deal with parties in Catalonia and the Basque countries that support regional independence is a complicating factor.  The biggest opposition party, the centrist Socialist Workers’ Party, is also deeply split on ideological and personal lines and just voted its own secretary general, Pedro Sanchez, out of power.  There had been talk, at one point or another, of either forming a left-center coalition of Socialist Workers, United Left (Communist Party and others) and PODEMOS, or alternatively of a center right coalition of Socialist Workers, PP and another rightist party, CIUDADANOS, but all talks have failed so far.

Centella said that “Today there exist 176 (parliamentary) deputies who have committed themselves to the electorate to repeal the People’s Party’s labor reforms, the LOMCE (Rajoy’s “education reform”), the gag law (which restricts the rights of demonstrators), etc. and there are enough votes to open a parliamentary investigating commission to look into the funding of the PP, which is more and more clearly irregular”.

 

 

Moldova:  Communist backed censure vote fails

An attempt by parliamentarians of the opposition, including the Party of the Communists of the Republic of Moldova, to censure the government, failed on Monday October 3 because of a lack of a quorum.

The Moldovan government has come under heavy criticism since close to $1 billion mysteriously disappeared from three banks in late 2014, on the eve of parliamentary elections.  The matter came to public attention in May of 2015, leading to uproar in the government and on the streets. The government of this small Eastern European country (3.5 million inhabitants) decided to make good much of the loss with a secret transfer of public funds, but this created a huge deficit problem.  Investigations suggested massive conflicts of interest involving state officials.

The backers of the censure motion complained that the government is planning to institute dubious measures proposed by the International Monetary Fund to deal with the problems created by the bank fraud, as a condition for financial help that Moldova has been hoping to get.  The motion was initially presented by the Socialist Party and was signed on to by the communists and others. Presidential elections will take place on October 30.

Burkina Faso:  A new memorial to Thomas Sankara

Sunday October 2 saw the official announcement of work toward a permanent monument to former President Thomas Sankara, a left-wing leader sometimes referred to as the “Che Guevara of Burkina Faso”.   The announcement was made at a meeting at the Place of the Revolution in the capital, Ouagadougou.  Important figures from neighboring countries, included former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings and delegates from Senegal, Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo and Cameroun.

Sankara, who took power in 1983, is revered by many Burkinabe people for having instituted policies that helped the poor majority in this landlocked country while steering away from reliance on international lending agencies and keeping his distance from France, the former colonial power.  Another of his achievements was changing the name of the country from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which means “land of the upright”. However, Sankara was overthrown and murdered by military personnel in 1987.  An army officer, Blaise Compoare, suspected by many of being responsible for Sankara’s death, quickly replaced Sankara in power, which he held on to until overthrown by a popular uprising in 2014. Compoare is now in exile in Ivory Coast, and the Burkinabe government has been carrying out investigations of the circumstances of Sankara’s death.

Left leaders gather in Ecuador

A large group of communist, socialist and other left-wing leaders gathered in Quito, Ecuador on Wednesday, September 28, in Quito, Ecuador, to compare notes and plan joint cooperation.

The political parties present included the Communist parties of Cuba and Chile, as well as the Workers’ Party of Brazil, the Movement toward Socialism of Bolivia, the Alternative Democratic Pole of Colombia and the PODEMOS Party of Spain, among others.  Distinguished participants included former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, former Uruguayan President Pepe Mujica, Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez.   There were also representatives from the Dominican Republic, Armenia, Belgium, Brazil,  China, El Salvador, the United States, France, Paraguay, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Palestine and the Saharui Democratic Republic.

The major interest of the Latin American participants was the regional turn to the right exemplified by the removal of left wing governments in Argentina and Brazil and the current difficulties in Venezuela, the issue of imperialist interference, the peace process in Colombia and the need to deal with the problem of offshore tax havens which rich people use to avoid paying their fair share of taxes to meet their countries’ social needs.

Photo: Facebook

 

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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