International Notes: Iraq CP and others stage election upset

International Notes: Iraq CP and others stage election upset

Communists and allies advance in Iraq Parliamentary elections

An alliance in which the Communist Party of Iraq plays a major role got the largest number of seats in parliamentary elections held in that country on Saturday, May 12.

The “Alliance of Revolutionaries for Reform”, or Sairoun, which is headed by Shite cleric Muqtada al Sadr and includes the Communists and other reform groups, surprised many observers by picking up at least 54 of the 329 seats in the Iraqi Parliament.  It outdistanced Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi’s “Victory Alliance” which got only 42 seats. The Fatah Alliance, which has close Iranian ties, got 47 seats.

The first woman communist ever, Suhad Al Khateeb, won a seat in the “holy city” of Najaf, a center of Shiite theology.

The Communists and others in the Alliance of Revolutionaries for Reform share opposition to poverty and corruption, and to continued interference in Iraq of both the United States and Iran.  They also strongly oppose the present system whereby government posts are shared out on religious and ethnic bases.

Now the lengthy process of forming parliamentary blocs to try to constitute a new government gets underway.


Japan: Communist Party hails progress in negotiations between the two Koreas

The Japanese Communist Party stresses the vital international importance of the meetings between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) President Kim Jong-un in Panmunjom.  The Japanese communists particularly praise the ideas of an official end to the Korean War and the commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula which have emerged from these meetings. The party statement adds that the success of the planned summit meeting between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump will also be of “decisive importance”.

The Japanese Communist Party points out that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has explained its movement to develop nuclear weapons as necessary given the reality of the continuation of the Korean War and the likelihood of a U.S. attack.  At the same time, right-wing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has used the supposed threat of North Korean nuclear weapons as a pretext for his efforts to scrap the aspects of the post World War II Japanese constitution which prohibit development of the capacity to wage overseas war.   The Japanese Communist Party calls for a comprehensive multinational agreement to settle all remaining issues in the area.


Costa Rica:  People’s Vanguard Party decries neo-liberal policies

The People’s Vanguard Party (Partido Vanguardia Popular), which is the communist party of Costa Rica, warns that the election of a new president on April 1 of this year does not mean a movement away from anti-worker neoliberal policies that the country has followed in recent years.   The new president, Carlos Alvarado, was elected as the candidate of “national unity”, but the People’s Vanguard warns that this is fake unity as it encompasses only the ruling class and transnational monopolies and leaves the working class and poor farmers out completely, as did the previous government of ex-President Luis Guillermo Solis.

The new government is faced by an immediate fiscal crisis caused by irresponsible actions of the ruling class including tax evasion and smuggling, which have cut into government revenues.  The probability is that the resulting crisis will be “resolved” on the backs of the workers and rural poor, many of whom are already paid below the legal minimum wage. For them also, mere mention of union representation leads to immediate firing by their employers. Another crisis is the health crisis of workers in rural industries such as banana cultivation, where kidney failure is a huge problem due to exposure to pesticides.  International monopoly capital, which dominates the rural economy, and the straightjacket imposed on Costa Rica by the U.S. dominated Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement impede action by Costa Rica to do anything about these things. The People’s Vanguard Party calls for strengthened labor and people’s organizing. “The right to organize unions for all the workers should be the main point of the struggle for true democracy”.


Ukraine:  Communists in the cross hairs

The Communist Party of Ukraine is raising the alarm about increasingly repressive behavior which the government in Kiev is directing toward their leaders and institutions.  There have been several incidents related to the celebrations of May First and of the victory over Hitler’s Germany in World War II. This is happening in the context of renewed threats of military action by government troops in the Eastern part of the country.

In April Ukrainian security police carried out illegal raids and searches on some party offices. Publications authored or co-authored by Communist Party members have been banned from libraries, and Communist Party members have been harassed and detained for distributing their party’s literature.  Neo-Nazi groups have also assaulted communists and other opponents of the right-wing government.  Then on May 8, the day before the celebration of the defeat of Hitler, authorities searched the home of the Communist Party Secretary General, Petro Simonenko. The Communist Party warns that while this is going on, in Ukraine “Nazism and fascism have become a state ideology”, with World War II era Ukrainian Nazi collaborators being hailed as national heroes.  The Communist Party of Ukraine is asking for worldwide solidarity and support at this dangerous moment. A letter is being circulated for sign on by communist and workers’ parties.


Madagascar:  Communists criticize government

The Party of the Congress for the Independence of Madagascar (AKFM) which is that country’s communist party, has issued an analysis of the practices of the government of president Hery Rajaoarimampianina, in power since 2013.  Madagascar is supposed to have presidential and parliamentary elections this year, with the first round on November 24 and the second round on December 24.

According to the AKFM document, Rajaoarimampianina quickly broke his electoral promise to govern democratically once installed in power.  “In effect, there have been 4 years in which Madagascar’s people have been subjected to dictatorship, nepotism, corruption at the top, the pillage of our national resources by [Malagasy] nationals close to the regime and by foreigners, land grabbing and the imposition of [exploitative neoliberal] social economic zones.”

The AKFM warns of efforts afoot to rig the end of year elections.

Photo: Vijay Prashad




    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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