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PAKISTAN APTUF (All Pakistan Trade Union Federation) India’s decision to revoke Article 370 is just another chapter in Kashmir’s long history of imperial oppression.

2019-09-13

All Pakistan Trade Union Federation hold a protest rally to liberate Kashmiris by the attack extremist political party BJP. More than 500 workers gathered and raised slogans against the Modi government brutality on Kashmiris Children’s, women’s and youth and issued a surprise executive decree stripping away the autonomy that the state of Jammu and Kashmir was granted in exchange for joining the Indian union after independence in 1947.  While speaking to the workers gathering Rubina Jamil, Anwer Gujjar, Mirza Zafar, Malik Humanyun, M. Ilyas, Saeed Gujjar, Ashraf said that we protestors condemned Indian authorities imposed an unprecedented lockdown in the region, cutting off all communication lines, restricting movement and putting prominent Kashmiri politicians under house arrest.  The government’s decision to revoke Article 370 of India’s constitution, which ensured the Muslim-majority state its own constitution and independence over all matters except foreign affairs, defence and communications, was undoubtedly the most far-reaching political move on the disputed region in the last seven decades. However, neither the Indian government’s decision to impose direct rule from New Delhi, nor its attempts to silence the Kashmiri cries for freedom and dignity is anything new.  Speakers further narrated that the discrimination Kashmir’s Muslim majority is still [...]

AZANIA Xenophobia: An outcome of narrow nationalism   Black Republic Newspaper  

2019-09-13

In the June 2018 issue number 10 of the Black Republic editorial, we raised the question “What levels of barbarism are they prepared to go to?”, in reference to the migration of people from war ravaged states in Africa and the Middle East, to Europe. The Mediterranean had at that time, become the graveyard of migrants.  Devastation in other parts of Africa and Middle East, by drought and wars, has also forced these people to migrate to South Africa/Azania. This brings us to the current climate in SA/Azania, in the past few weeks. And the same question arises; “What levels of barbarism are they prepared to go to?”  A situation that did not arise only now, but that has been going on for a number of years.  We vehemently condemn any and all attacks on immigrants that have been taking place in the country. We also understand that extreme poverty makes our poor vulnerable to manipulation by those who lead them.  The impression is created that the last 9 years of the Zuma administration, was responsible for the woes of the South African citizens, and that the new administration under Ramaphosa will “rescue” the country, its economy and its moral [...]

ALGERIA Yes to the Sovereign Constituent Assembly! No to Presidential Elections!

2019-09-07

An interview with Abdelkader Bentaleb, activist of the Organisation Committee of the Internationalist Socialists of Algeria (COSI) The last issue of you publication, Minbar el Oummel, asserts that the alternative is “presidential elections or Constituent Assembly”. Why?  The head of the army, who is exercising the “real power”, has just announced that presidential elections will be set for “15 September at the latest”. He has got the backing of the “panel” of personalities that he has named for “dialogue”. The main organisations and parties of the country that have come together in three distinct alliances (the “civil society”, the Forces of Change” and the “Pact for a Democratic Alternative”) put a liaison committee in place on 24 August, the objective of which is to harmonise their road maps for “coming out of the crisis”.  The only way to oppose these so-called “solutions”, which preserve the regime, would be the immediate election of a sovereign Constituent Assembly. But this path is being blocked by the very active participation in the process of “dialogue” with the regime by both trade unions (notably the Autonomous Trade Union Confederation, CSA) and the parties claiming to be workers’ parties.  Yet the determination of the Algerian [...]

MOROCCO After the Tragic Death of 8 People in Taroudant Natural or Political Disaster?

2019-09-07

In this country, every time there is a flood or an earthquake, every time there is a “natural” incident or disaster, poor people – often young people – lose their lives.  But are these really natural disasters, or are they political disasters?  Several weeks after the tragic deaths of 40 young “clandestine” immigration seekers in the sea at Kenitra, this week there has been another (natural) tragedy in the Taroudant region in the south of the country, which has caused the deaths of at least 8 people, with several others missing.  Anger reigns among the population  On Wednesday 29 August 2019, the sudden rise of a river resulted in the death of at least seven persons (eight according to the latest information) and several persons missing, local authorities say. The incident happened at the end of the day in the community of Imi Ntirayet, in the douar of Tizert, province of Taroudant (South), where several families were gathered near a stadium built on the riverbed, according to press agency MAP.  Among the victims of this drama is a 17-year- old young man. According, again, to MAP, one of those surviving the flood was taken to the municipal hospital of Igherm, [...]

INDIA « Kashmiris’ legitimate rights must be restored ! » A letter from Nambiath Vasudevan

2019-08-31

A letter from Nambiath Vasudevan, trade-union activist and coordinator of the International Committee against War and Exploitation, for the Workers’ International (IWC). Kashmir became a part of India through an instrument of accession signed between the then Kashmir King and the government of India. India had agreed to a special status for Kashmir and this was guaranteed under Article 370 of the Indian constitution. On August 5 this year the special status has been withdrawn by an act of parliament, the federal government claiming that since Kashmir legislative assembly has been dissolved some months ago it is the inherent right of the national parliament to revoke Article 370. Thus the withdrawal of special status to Kashmir did not have the sanction of the people of Kashmir or their elected representatives as provided in the constitution.  The sudden abrogation of Article 370, similar to imposition of the national emergency in 1975, has raised doubts in the minds of non-BJP political parties, that using authoritarian power and control in the parliament any other state in India can be reduced to the status of Union Territory which will amount to the death of constitutionalism.  India is a union of states. Kashmir was a [...]

PAKISTAN « Trade unions should play their important role to unionize home based workers » An article by Samina Fayyaz, Joint Secretary, Home based workers’ union

2019-08-31

The women working as home-based workers are working in very difficult situations. There are hundreds of women workers engaged in industrial labor from their homes on an informal and piece-rate basis. The labor outsourced to women includes producing bangles, garments, envelopes, plastic toys, shoe making, stitching suits, embroidery, food items, etc., as well as packaging and cleaning batteries. Since years and years a long struggle for their rights.  Women organizations and trade unions organizing and mobilizing these women and give them voice that the work which they are doing is not recognizing, so let’s mobilize and struggle to pressurize government to make laws for home based workers.  Sindh Provincial government to enact a law enabling their access to social security benefits. This is a step is in the right direction but the only way to ensure that the law is implemented effectively. To implement this law trade unions and home based women worker’s union should play their effective role, meetings with labor ministry, secretary labor, writing letters to implement this law on home based workers, and home based workers should aware about their rights.  We received a lot of complaints by home based workers are constantly working on different work, [...]

CHINA “The Strike as an Efficient Means for Imposing Social Change” Ming Lam, head of international relations at the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), speaks out

2019-08-17

The current situation is the result of the government’s will not to respond to the demands of the population, and particularly not to withdraw the draft bill on extradition. From that point, the citizens called for the organisation of another general strike. Being the largest independent trade union confederation, the HKCTU has totally supported this call. On August 5th, we called on all our trade unions and all our members to organise the strike.  There have been 7 demonstrations: approximately 350,000 workers were on strike. 290,000 participated in the demonstrations.  The civil aviation union organised the strike. Over 200 flights were cancelled.  The social services union, the bus drivers’ union and the teachers’ union all called for the strike, as did the underground employees union. Seven of the nine Hong Kong underground lines were paralysed by the movement of the demonstrators, and also by the striking workers. Even the Hong Kong Disneyland union succeeded in disrupting service.  This is the first political strike in many years. Many rank-and-file workers were on strike, or stopped working. And that is an important success. It has put significant pressure on the government, which was forced to call a press conference in the afternoon. [...]

UNITED STATES Appeal to Free All Political Prisoners in Algeria

2019-08-17

(updated on August 8, 2019) For close to six months, across Algeria, millions of people have taken to the streets in weekly protest actions to express their deep aspiration for change, chanting: « System Clear Out! Popular Sovereignty! » And as the mobilizations increased in numbers, so, too, the repression intensified against political activists of all political backgrounds. In our initial appeal of June 3, 2019 to « free all political prisoners in Algeria » [see first list of U.S. endorsers below], we highlighted three victims of repression: • Kamel Eddine Fekhar, an activist in defense of the rights of the Mozabite (Berber) people in the northern Sahara region of Algeria. Fekhar died in detention on May 28 after more than 50 days of a hunger strike; • Hadj Ghermoul, an activist with the National Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the Unemployed who was the first person to hold up a sign in January that read, « No to the Fifth Mandate [of Bouteflika]! » He was released on July 20 after serving his full six-month prison sentence; and * Louisa Hanoune, the general secretary of the Workers Party (PT), who was imprisoned in connection with the case involving Saïd Bouteflika (the brother [...]

GREECE Elections: a pyrrhic victory for the right-wing New Democracy party

2019-07-13

Pensioners demonstrate in Athens against the decline of pensions. Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his right-wing New Democracy (ND) party will be able to be alone at the helm thanks to the advantage given to the party which made it first at the post at the first round of the general elections on July 7th. Indeed, ND reaps almost 40 % of the votes (and 158 deputies out of 300). The turnout stood at 58 %, lower than the one at the EU elections last May.  During his ten weeks’ campaigning, Mitsotakis multiplied electoral promises towards the “middle class” (a hackneyed phrase used to avoid mentioning social classes!): attracting more investments, stepping up privatisations, promoting entrepreneurship.  Numerous discussions sprouted everywhere in the recent weeks on the question: Should one vote for Tsipras to prevent Mitsotakis from winning?  The Tsipras government recently enacted several measures to ease the poverty of some layers of society: access to hospital care even for those who lack health insurance; lower contributions for self-employed people who, by the thousands, have been led to ruin; a promise to hire 5,000 teachers in the coming years; and a €50 raise of the minimum wage. But all those promises were conditioned [...]

The European Union-Mercosul free trade treaty: A threat to the environment and social rights

2019-07-13

The free trade treaty recently announced by the Mercosul governments (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay) and the European Union (EU) during the G20 meeting in Japan will have a disastrous impact on the industries of the southern cone, while it will increase the opportunities of offshoring Europe’s industries.  According to this treaty, which still has to be ratified within the next five to ten years by the parliaments of these South American countries and by those of EU member countries, those countries will become members of the EU-Mercosul bloc with import-tax exemptions. This concerns auto industries (today paying 35 % import taxes), spare parts (now paying between 14 % and 18 % taxes), industrial equipments (from 14 % to 20 %), chemicals (up to 18 %), textile industries (up to 15 %) and pharmaceuticals (14 %).  Besides, the European industries will introduce sophisticated agri-food products such as wine (today paying 27 %), chocolates (20 %), alcoholic drinks (20 % to 30 %), cheeses (28 %), biscuits (16 % to 18 %), tinned fish (55 %) and even soft drinks (20 % to 35 %) without tariffs and excise duties.  It will be the same with service industries: the doors will be [...]