International Notes: Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June 14, 2016
International Notes: Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Portuguese Communists hail victory on work week

The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) has hailed the passage of national legislation which restores the work week for public sector workers to 35 hours.   The previous government, of right-wing Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, had raised the work week to 40 hours in deference to the wishes of Portuguese and transnational capital.   In a speech to the parliament, PCP member Rita Rato pointed out that it was struggle by the workers themselves that made this triumph possible, and will soon also return the work week of private sector workers to 35 hours.   The legislation was supported by Prime Minister Antonio Costa (Socialist Party) as well as the Communists, the Greens and the Left Bloc.  The communists and the other left parties support Costa’s government “from outside” (i.e. without being in his cabinet) on the basis of an agreement that the government will roll back neo-liberal policies of the previous administration.


Venezuelan Communists call for ouster of Luis Almagro as head of the Organization of American States

The Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) has issued a call for Luis Almagro to be removed as Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS).  The call, issued by Political Bureau member Pedro Eusse, accuses Almagro of partisanship because of his campaign to have Venezuela suspended because of supposed violations of democratic norms.   Though the objections of other Latin American and Caribbean states have blocked Almagro’s campaign for the moment, Eusse pointed out that he has now become a source of divisiveness and not unity in the hemisphere and therefore should be dismissed or pressured to resign.  Eusse added that anyway, the OAS has acted, since its inception, as a sort of “Ministry of Colonies” for the United States, and emphasis needs to be placed on more authentic vehicles of expressing the interests of Latin America and the Caribbean, such as UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) and CELAC (Community of States of Latin America and the Caribbean). Eusse called on communist, left and progressive organizations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to work toward the removal of Almagro as Secretary General.
Left victory in Kerala, India

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) won a smashing victory in legislative elections in Kerala State in India on May 19.  The LDF includes both of India’s communist parties, the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) plus other left wing groups.  The LDF bagged 91 of the 140 legislative seats in contention, a gain of 24 seats over the last elections in 2011.  The centrist Congress Party and its coalition allies lost seats.  This victory was in contrast to the defeat of the left in West Bengal earlier this year, in which the right wing Trinamool Congress Party defeated the left in an atmosphere of great violence.  The Politbureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) hailed the Kerala victory, saying in a statement:  “The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) salutes the people of Kerala for reposing faith in the LDF in a resounding manner in these assembly elections.  The LDF government has assumed office with a resolve to fulfill the commitments that it made to the people of Kerala during the polls.”   At the same time, the Party denounced the violence unleashed during the elections which it blames on the right wing government of Prime Minister Modi.


SACP hails miners’ occupational health lawsuit decision

The South African Communist Party (SACP) has hailed a decision by the High Court in Johannesburg to allow a major class action lawsuit against 78 mining companies to go forward.  The suit alleges that the mining companies, including Anglo American and Anglo Gold Ashanti,  knowingly permitted dangerous conditions at work to continue for decades, leading thousands of miners to get sick and die from occupational diseases such as silicosis, or from tuberculosis which invaded their weakened lungs.   Plaintiffs are asking for full payment for lost wages.  The SACP statement, issued by the party’s Central Committee, reads:  “The SACP welcomes the decision of the High Court in Johannesburg to certify a class action by mine-workers against gold mining companies in South Africa. This landmark judgment paves the way for tens of thousands of mine-workers and former mine-workers suffering from silicosis and TB to sue mining companies for damages. This judgment follows the R500m settlements in London for compensation of former Anglo American and Anglogold Ashanti workers. Let us never forget that the accumulated wealth and present powers of monopoly capital has been secured at a deadly cost for hundreds of thousands of workers from throughout Southern Africa. “




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