International Notes: September 28, 2016

 
BY:Emile Schepers And CPUSA International Department| September 28, 2016
International Notes: September 28, 2016

Austrian Communists support justice for refugees

The Communist Party of Austria (Komunistische Partei Österreichs) is defending the rights of refugees who have been arriving in Austria from the Iraq and Syria conflicts.  The ultra-right has been using fear of Muslim refugees as a springboard to elect neo-fascist politicians to power, including the semi-ceremonial presidency which is being sought by the neo-fascist Norbert Hofer of the Austrian Freedom Party.      In July Hofer did exceptionally well in the first round of the presidential election, and is in a runoff with an independent Green named Alexander vander Bellen on December 4.  To the idea heard on the right that immigrants are taking away money needed for social welfare, the Communists reply that ‘what’s good for the refugees is good for all of us”, the Austrian Communists  “everything else goes off in the wrong direction”.

 

Canada: Communists fight for the environment and indigenous rights

The Communist Party of Canada is criticizing the provincial government of British Colombia, headed by Prime Minister Christy Clark (Liberal Party) for failing to stop a dam construction project that is the focus of protests by First Nations (indigenous) communities.   The indigenous communities are in court trying to stop the construction of the Site C dam being built by BC Hydro.  The Communists complain that indigenous people who have objected to the dam construction have been subjected to threats. They accuse both federal and provincial governments of failing to uphold Treaty 8 which promised that a large area of the provinces of British Colombia, Saskatchewan and Northwest Territories would be permanently available to the indigenous population for their traditional practices of hunting, fishing and collecting medicinal plants.  The stated purpose of the dam is to generate electricity for economic development, but the Communist Party says “the real purpose of the dam is to provide electrical power to expand fracking on a massive scale” which will cause severe harm to the environment and to farmland as well as to First Nations communities.   For this reason the Communist Party calls for solidarity with protests against the dam.

France and Europe: French Communists support women’s rights

The French Communist Party is denouncing reactionary moves to roll back the progress of the struggle for women’s rights worldwide.  In an article on the website of the Party, Author Laurence Cohen singles out Poland and Italy for this danger to women’s rights. In Poland, restrictive abortion laws already exist but the far right government is now proposing legislation to forbid abortion even in cases of rape, severe malformations of the fetus and even danger to the mother’s life. Simultaneously in Italy, a “fertility day” is being prepared to encourage young women to procreate more.  The Italian minister of health explains that women’s priorities should go back to giving birth and raising children.   The right in France is promoting similar things. The article concludes “the members of the French Communist Party stand by the women of Poland, Italy and France …to sweep away these retrograde attempts..”

Colombia: Santos’ recognizes government atrocities

The Colombian Communist Party has hailed the declaration by the country’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, of government responsibility for the massacre of thousands of members and leaders of the left wing Patriotic Union Party (Unión Patriótica) in the  1980s and 1990s.  Two Patriotic Union presidential candidates and many other political activists were among the people murdered by drug cartels, right wing paramilitaries and security forces at that time—facts which the Colombian government has now recognized.  In a statement, the Communist Party hails this recognition as a fundamental turnaround in the democratic opening made possible by the peace agreement between Santos’ government and the Armed Forces of the Colombian Revolutin—People’s Army (FARC-EP) which came into full force at the beginning of this week.  Referring to the referendum about the agreement on Sunday October 2, the Communist Party statement continued:  “With the Patriotic Union we say that no blood has been in vain, and that the drama of war must never be repeated” nor the past practice of governments creating and sponsoring right wing paramilitary murder squads.  Recently the Patriotic Union has reemerged.

 

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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