Denis Rogatyuk

More than 500 participants gathered at the Trade Union Congress headquarters in London on November 26 for the annual Latin America Adelante conference, now in its 12th year.

With more than 70 different speakers and 30 different workshops and plenary sessions, plus the concurrent Alborada film festival, Latin America Adelante has become one of the most important and well-known gatherings of solidarity with a continent that is increasingly facing a right-wing neoliberal backlash.

The end of October brought an end to the deadlock within Spanish congress with the re-election of Mariano Rajoy of the Popular Party (PP) as prime minister with the support of the neoliberal Citizens and the abstention of the traditional social democratic Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE).

But while the political and economic elites breathed a temporary sigh of relief in Madrid and Brussels, almost 100,000 opponents of the new right-wing government gathered to protest in Puerta del Sol, in the heart of the capital.

Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos held a series of internal elections over November 7–9 throughout seven regions across Spain  — Madrid, Andalusia, Extremadura, La Rioja, Castilla y Leon, Navarra y Aragón — and 12 different cities.

The elections were centred around the positions of the general secretaries in each region and territory, as well as the Autonomous Citizens’ Councils that form an integral part of the relatively new party’s political direction and organisation.

Although fit and healthy until near the end of his life, Stan Hilton, the 98-year old veteran of the Spanish Civil War as one of the almost 60,000 International Brigade members who travelled from around the world to join the fight against fascism who passed away on October 21, could no longer recall his four-month adventure in Spain in 1937 and 1938. Thankfully, his son, Gordon, and grandson, Adam, still keep alive the stories and recollections he told them over many years.

Regional elections took place in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country on September 25, registering an overall rise in support of parties that favour Basque self-determination at the expense of Spanish centralists. At the same time, the combined vote of broad left forces rose.

The elections were meant to decide whether the incumbent centre-right Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) would continue to govern in the Basque Country, an autonomous region in the Spanish state where a long campaign for self-determination has been waged.

International solidarity with the 55 Carlton United Brewery workers sacked by the company and replaced with scab labour has grown.

On September 8, coinciding with the mass rallies in support of the CUB 55 in Melbourne, trade union activists tried to confront the company management of SAB Miller at their headquarters in London. SAB Miller is the parent company of CUB, with a total operating profit of $4.4 billion.

National Union of Workers (NUW) members at Polar Fresh, Coles' cold storage warehouse in Truganina, in Melbourne's west, have voted for a new workplace agreement after striking for three days.

The industrial action by Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) maintenance workers in Abbotsford has entered its seventh week. The company is refusing to back down from its decision to sack the workers and then offer to rehire them with a 65% pay cut.

The dispute started on June 10 when 55 fitters, electricians and maintenance workers backed by the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) were told by management that they would be sacked, only to be then “invited” to re-apply for their job through a third-party contractor, Catalyst Recruitment.


Bolivian Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera and President Evo Morales.

The “no” vote narrowly won with 51.3% of the vote in a February 21 referendum in Bolivia held to resolve whether left-wing President Evo Morales could run again in 2019.

The vote, involving an unprecedented participation rate of 90% of registered voters, was over whether to change the constitution to allow a president and vice-president to stand for re-election twice.

The 2016 summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) began on January 26 with the meeting of foreign ministers and chancellors of the Latin American nations at the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in Mitad del Mundo, Quito, Ecuador.

CELAC, a regional body involving all nations in the Americas except for the United States and Canada, was officially created in Caracas in 2011 under the leadership of then-Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

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