International Notes: October 20, 2016

October 20, 2016
International Notes: October 20, 2016


Turkish Labor Party calls struggle one year after terror attack

On October 10 2015, terrorists set off a bomb in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, killing 101 people who were participating in a peace, democracy and justice demonstration.  The dead included 16 members of the Turkish Labor Party, or EMEP (Emek Partisi in Turkish).

EMEP reminds the Turkish public that the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan set the stage for this terrible event by its interventions in the Syrian Civil War.  Not only that, Erdogan has taken advantage of the Ankara bombing and subsequent violent incidents to consolidate policies that are anti-democratic, militaristic and repressive.  Especially after last month’s coup attempt, Erdogan has seized these precedents to jail , fire and otherwise harass hundreds of thousands of people, while shutting down newspapers and other media outlets.  Furthermore, according to EMEP, documents have shown that the government knew in advance about the Ankara terrorist attack, and did nothing to stop it.

For these reasons, EMEP sees the government’s prohibition of a commemoration of the bombing in Ankara as unacceptable.  EMEP calls for October 10 to become an occasion for demands to end the repression and for the punishment of people responsible for allowing the terrorist attack to happen. “We have made a promise to the brave friends we lost on October 10:  We will vehemently struggle for democracy, peace and freedom….We call on all the labor, peace and democracy forces to unite for this purpose”.

Australian Communists demand justice for East Timor

The Communist Party of Australia is denouncing that country’s conservative government for the latest episode in its abusive, imperialistic behavior toward its tiny, impoverished neighbor, East Timor (Timor L’Este).  An article by Tom Pearson in the Guardian, the newspaper of the Australian Communist Party, we read that the Permanent Court of Arbitration rejects the Australian government’s contention that it (the court) has no jurisdiction to conciliate a long running dispute between Australia and East Timor over offshore oil deposits.

Currently there is drilling going on in the part of the sea which, according to the International Law of the Sea, belongs to East Timor.  However, Australia has pressured East Timor to accept a state of affairs whereby major profits from the oil and gas fields go to far bigger and wealthier Australia rather than East Timor, which is one of the poorest countries in the region.  Australia and the United States had connived with the former right wing dictator of Indonesia, Suharto, to

perpetrate this situation, starting during the days when East Timor was still a Portuguese colony but continuing since its independence.  According to Pearson’s article, very underhanded methods were used to break down Timorese resistance to this state of affairs.

Belgium:  Belgian Workers’ Party calls trade pact  a “Trojan Horse

The Workers Party of Belgium, one of that country’s two communist parties, is urging action to block the approval and implementation of the CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement linking Canada and the European Union.   Although the larger Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) , which would link the European Union with the United States, is now shaky, having been subjected to mass protest generations in  many countries and for several months, the Belgian Workers’ Party points out that the CETA deal is further along and due to be finalized toward the end of October.  But it is a “Trojan Horse at our gates” which would empower the same multinational corporations that the TTIP would because of the close relations between the U.S. and Canadian monopolies.  Furthermore, the same objections that have been raised against the TTIP obtain aga9inst the CETA.  It would not only suppress import tariffs but also set up “a series of mechanisms to suppress ‘non tariff barriers to trade’”. These endanger social, environmental and public health regulations that transnational monopolies could construe as interfering with their future profits.  Disputes about these things would be decided by special private tribunals substantially controlled by the corporations.

But there is strong support for these neo-liberal, so-called “free” trade treaties within the ruling class and political leadership of the European Union countries. “…the European Union is once more in the process of showing its true face, as an authoritarian union at the service of big capital.”  The outcome of the issue will depend on the mobilization of opposition in Belgium and elsewhere.
South African labor leader to head World Federation of Trade Unions

The 17th Congress of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), meeting in Durban, South Africa, October 5 to 8, has elected Michael Mzwandile Makwayiba as its new president.

Comrade Makwayiba is has been the President of NEHAWU, South Africa’s  National Education and Health Workers Union , since 2013 and has a long trajectory of fighting for service industry workers’ rights in his homeland; he will be sure to carry this fight to the international scene.

The WFTU’s incumbent secretary general, George Mavrikos, was re-elected to that post, in which he has served since 2005.


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