International Notes

International Notes


Philippines: Communists assess first 100 days of Duterte’s government

On October 20, the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Philippine Communist Party (PKP30, Partido Komunista Ng Pilipinas) issued an assessment of the “First 100 days of the [President Rodrigo] Duterte Administration”.

The document notes that Duterte’s current popularity arises in part from the hard line he has taken with alleged drug dealers and other criminals, including corrupt officials, but notes that legal presumptions of innocence and other matters of due process have been cast aside in the president’s anti-crime campaign, which also has encouraged frequently violent vigilantism, and “rising body counts” and thousands of deaths. Duterte has said he would happily kill millions of methamphetamine users who he thinks are incorrigible, “the way Hitler massacred the Jews”.  These actions and statements raise grave worries about human rights in the Philippines, says the statement.

However, the PKP30 statement sees as positive the efforts of Duterte to normalize relations with China, to expel U.S. military bases from Filipino territory and in general to move the country away from U.S. hegemony.  Also seen as positive are the Duterte government’s actions to protect the rights of small farmers as well as some other measures that have annoyed the Catholic hierarchy and the oligarchy. However, the document notes that so far Duterte has not really challenged the oligarchy, and has promoted policies like privatization that no true socialist would support.  What will happen with Filipino membership in the Transpacific Partnership (which the PKP30 opposes) is as yet unclear.

There are two communist parties in the Philippines, a division which is ultimately rooted in the old Sino-Soviet split.  The other one, which the PKP30 calls “the Maoists”, has been associated with the New People’s Army which has carried out armed struggle against the Filipino government.  Duterte has given it several positions in his government and is working on a peace agreement.  The PKP30 is hardly ever mentioned in accounts of Filipino affairs in the corporate press in the United States.

Ukraine:  Communists denounce new anti-communist legislation

The Communist Party of Ukraine has denounced new legislation in the right wing dominated Verkhovna Rada, or national parliament.  The legislation, passed on October 20, bans the import from outside the country of printed materials that try to create a positive image about former officials of the Soviet Union. There is emphasis on keeping out materials printed in Russia or in the dissident regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine, and punishments are specified for violators.

The Ukrainian communists, who have been subject to a repressive campaign which seeks the destruction of their party, say that this new law is “one more step of the current Ukrainian government to attack freedom of speech, freedom of media and general human rights”.

Spain: Communist Party of Spain supports teachers’ and students’ strike

The Communist Party of Spain has announced its full support for an education workers’ strike scheduled for October 26.  In its statement, the Communist Party called for united struggle against neo-liberal educational reforms that the right wing parties wish to impose on Spanish teachers and students.

Other organizations supporting the strike, besides labor unions, are the national Student Union, the Union of Progressive Students, and the main parents’ organization.

Among the demands are:  The elimination of the LOMCE (Organic Law to Improve the Quality of Education), which the opposition accuses of promoting educational inequality through earlier separation of students into different tracks and through excessive use of standardized tests, the removal of organized religion from the public schools, and increases in government support for education.


Chile: Communist Party denounces inadequate raises

The  is supporting massive protests, including a national strike, in protest against what it and unions consider an inadequate proposal for wage and bonus increases which is being pushed by the government of President Michelle Bachalet (Socialist Party).  Unions representing government employees find the proposed 3.2 percent increase in wages and only a small increase in traditional bonuses to be inadequate, which is the reason for the strike.

Communist Party parliamentarian Daniel Núñez said that his party and its allies of the “Citizen Left” reject the proposal because “the real [wage] increase is 2 percent while the economy is growing at [a rate of] 1.7 percent.  This seems inadequate to us.  Therefore the delegations of the Communist Party and the Citizen Left [in the parliament] are not in a situation to approve [it], that is to say, we are going to reject the figure of 3.2 percent.”  He added that “growth, however modest, also has to go to [benefit] public sector workers.”




    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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