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BRAZIL 45 Million on General Strike

2019-06-23

No fewer than 45 million workers and young people went on strike on 14 June, throughout Brazil, while massive demonstrations were held in nearly 380 cities and towns,. All demanded the withdrawal of the « Prêvidencia » retirement pension reform, and the cancellation of the 30% reduction of the public education budget that the far-right Bolsonaro-Mourao government means to decree. The depth of the labour revolt had imposed the united call from all the trade union confederations to strike for the withdrawal of the retirement pension reform, which is nothing but the implementation of the International Monetary Fund’s plans and obedience to financial market demands. The day before, the government had attempted a manoeuvre by presenting Congress (Parliament) with a slightly sugar-coated version of the counter-reform by Minister Paulo Guedes. This did nothing to reduce the determination of the workers and the young people, which led Wagner Freitas, secretary of the CUT (Unified [...]

GERMANY “Nahles is gone: the Grand Coalition must go!” An interview with Heinz-Werner Schuster, president of the Dusseldorf Workers Commission of the SPD (Social-Democrat Party)

2019-06-14

On the 26th of May, in the European and regional elections, the SPD labour voters refused to give their votes to the Social-Democrat Party, thus expressing their rejection of the SPD’s participation in the “Grand Coalition” government with Merkel. The head of the SPD, Andreas Nahles, has just resigned.  This resignation has resolved nothing, because what revolted the SPD labour voters was the participation in the Grand Coalition government along with the main party of the bourgeoisie, Merkel’s. As of the very evening of the elections, I addressed my comrades in a letter – with copy to the Dusseldorf press. Workers and young people have the right to their own party, one that caters only to their interests, and not the interests of big capital, as is the case of the “Grand Coalition”. That is why the letter said, “We must leave the Grand Coalition!” We address the national leadership of the SPD Workers Commission and we ask them to commit to the combat for labour [...]

ALGERIA Appeal from United States endorsed by representatives of the labour and democratic movement

2019-06-02

Dear friends and comrades The repression in Algeria against activists from all political backgrounds is being stepped up, while at the same time the movement of millions of Algerians to get rid of the regime is continuing and gaining momentum. On 28 May, we received the news of the tragic death of democratic rights activist Dr Kameleddine Fekhar, whom the Algerian authorities left to die in prison after more than fifty days of hunger strike. In Algeria, more and more initiatives are being taken for the release of all those who have been detained for their opinions. We have just received from the United States the appeal which you will find below. It was widely endorsed by representatives of the labour and democratic movement. We fully share the content of this appeal, and we invite you to circulate it as widely as possible, to endorse it, and to take any initiative in a form that you think useful to support the demand to release all those who have been detained for their political [...]

ALGERIA The Independent and Democratic Workers Party of France (POID) is forwarding a message received from Algeria

2019-05-31

Dr. Kameleddine Fekhar. The POID (Independent and Democratic Workers Party of France) is hereby forwarding this message received from Algeria: “On this 28th of May, at midday, we were saddened and angry to learn of the death in jail of Dr. Kameleddine Fekhar. An activist in defence of the democratic rights of the Mozabite population of the Algerian province of Ghardaïa and a member of the FFS (Socialist Forces Front), he had been arrested with his comrades on March31st and then convicted and jailed for the so-called ‘crime’ of having publicly denounced discrimination against the Mozabites. “He and his comrade Aouf Hadj Brahim had gone on a hunger strike that has lasted for 56 days. Despite his deteriorating state of health and the many protests demanding their release, the authorities allowed the situation to worsen. Even yesterday, his lawyer, Salah Debbouze, once again warned the authorities, saying that Dr. Fekhar’s life was in danger. He died several hours after having [...]

FRANCE After the 26 May European elections Communiqué of the Independent and Democratic Workers Party (POID) « the only kind of unity that makes any sense is unity for the defence of the workers’ interests, 
in their class struggle and through their class struggle »

2019-05-31

On this 26 May, a majority of registered voters (over 52%) either abstained or handed in blank or void votes. This rejection by the majority — though it was indeed a lesser proportion than had been announced in the polls — was higher in the popular and working-class neighbourhoods. It was 60% in the French department of Seine-Saint-Denis, over 70% in the working class cities and towns of the Rhone department, nearly 80% in Val-Fourré in the Yvelines department and 85% in some of the polling places in the Mirail neighbourhood of Toulouse! And this is not counting those who are excluded from voting: the millions of unregistered voters and “non-European” workers who are perfectly acceptable for being exploited, but not enough so for voting. This is a clear and massive “no” to the European Union and to Macron, whose list was rejected by nearly 9 registered voters out of 10 (89.3%). From the point of view of democracy, Macron and his policies — more illegitimate than ever [...]

BRAZIL Massive  Strike  of  Teachers  and   Students

2019-05-25

Hundreds of thousands of strikers in Brazilian K-12 schools and universities answered to the call from trade union organisations on 15 May. They invaded the streets in over 2000 cities and towns across the country (see photo), against the brutal measures that the Bolsonaro government has just announced: a 30% reduction of the public education budget and massive cuts to scholarships for PhD and Masters degrees.  Hundreds of thousands of strikers in Brazilian K-12 schools and universities answered to the call from trade union organisations on 15 May. Five months after his election, Bolsonaro is today facing an unprecedented mobilisation that has tacked itself on to the mobilisation against the reform of the retirement pensios. On the 1st of May, all the trade unions launched a call to general strike for next 14 June, for the withdrawal of the retirement reform.  Bolsonaro’s declarations are full of hate against the strikers; calling the demonstrations “stupid things” and [...]

UNITED STATES war drums are beating louder and louder

2019-05-25

We are reprinting herewith excerpts from the editorial of the May 2019 issue of The Organizer, published in the United States by supporters of the campaigns of the International Workers Committee Against War and Exploitation, For the Workers International (IWC). As part of a mounting series of U.S. provocations against Iran, the U.S. State Department has ordered all « non-critical government employees » to leave Iraq on the grounds that, « U.S. intelligence has learned that Iran is planning strikes on U.S. forces in Iraq. »  These statements come shortly after the U.S. government deployed four B-52 bombers and the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier-strike group to the Persian Gulf amid « indications that Iran was transporting short-range ballistic missiles to the region ».  This declaration was accompanied by an announcement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the United States is readying to send 120,000 troops to the region to « counter Iran’s terrorist [...]

AZANIA/SOUTH AFRICA Black Voters Punish the ANC

2019-05-25

One of the key lessons from the 8 May General Elections was that the ANC, which has been in power since 1994 in alliance with the Communist Party and the COSATU trade union federation, has lost 1.4 million votes [1]. This was the ANC’s lowest vote share since 1994; it lost votes in every province. The votes that were lost did not go to the main party defending the white capitalist minority, the Democratic Alliance, which itself lost 470,000 votes.  So what happened to the 1.4 million voters who defected from the ANC?  In a country where the Black majority won the right to vote through bloodshed, barely 25 years ago, a large number did not turn out. Almost 10 million voting-age citizens did not register. The number of people who did not vote has also gone up. Those who did not register and did not vote are mostly the youth who live in the townships [the suburban areas earmarked for Black people during Apartheid Ed. Note] and informal settlements  The Economic Freedom [...]