Maritime, construction unions stand up for Venezuela

Brian Parker, CFMEU sate secretary, addressing the Sydney rally. Photo: Peter Boyle

Activists rallied outside the Sydney Town Hall on July 29 in solidarity with the people of Venezuela who were voting in their Constituent Assembly elections amid a wave of right-wing terror attacks.

The rally was called by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN), the Latin America Social Forum (LASF) and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Sydney branch. It had the support of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) construction branch and formed part of the nationwide actions supporting the assembly elections in Venezuela.

There was considerable interest from passersby and delegates to the NSW ALP conference which was being held inside the Sydney Town Hall. An informative broadsheet outlining the facts regarding the Constituent Assembly and the need for international solidarity with Venezuela were distributed to passers-by.

CFMEU state secretary Brian Parker expressed his union’s solidarity with the struggle of the progressive forces in Venezuela. Given that US President Donald Trump had threatened “strong and swift economic actions” if the election went ahead, Parker said solidarity was urgent.

Deputy secretary of the Sydney branch of the MUA Paul Keating emphasised the maritime union’s history of solidarity with working-class movements around the world.

Two MUA militants, Craig and Kerry, read out a recently adopted a motion from a MUA Sydney meeting which called on “the Australian labour movement to express solidarity with the Venezuelan people and against right-wing attacks on Venezuelan democracy”.

MUA Sydney assistant branch secretary Joe Deakin affirmed the union’s support for revolutionary movements in Latin America and quoted from a resolution passed recently by the Maritime branch of the Communist Party of Australia.

Rachel Evans, representing Socialist Alliance, spoke about the gains of the Venezuelan revolution and stressed her party’s support for building stronger international solidarity.

Other speakers included Giovanni Ortiz from the LASF; Coral Wynter from the AVSN; Denis Doherty from the CPA; and Linda Harris from the Communist League.

Check AVSN FB page to find out more.

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