International News

On April 25, 1945, the National Liberation Committee of Northern Italy (CLNAI), called for an insurrection against the Nazi-Fascist occupation of Italy.

Based in Milan, the Committee was led by (among others) Sandro Pertini, a key figure of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) who later became Italian president in 1978.

Pertini made the announcement to the “Italian citizens and workers”, declaring: “Nazi-Fascist occupation must be ended and Italy has to be liberated, so the invaders have to surrender or perish.”

Prime Minister Theresa May has called a general election for June 8.The Tory leader is hoping that Labour has been sufficiently weakened by the attacks of the right on Labour’s left-wing leadership around Jeremy Corbyn that she will be rewarded with a further five years in office.

It is, of course, a complete coincidence that rumours had started to emerge that the Crown Prosecution Service were about to move against 30 individuals for electoral fraud in the last general election, threatening the Conservative government.

The struggle to build a united left force with enough support to implement real social and environmental change took a crucial step forward in Barcelona on April 8.

On a bright spring day, the new Catalan “political subject” provisionally called Un Pais En Comu (“A Country Together”) held its founding congress.

The group, whose definitive name will be decided by membership referendum, is the third Catalan left unity project with “en comu” (“together”) in its title.

On April 25, 1945, the National Liberation Committee of Northern Italy (CLNAI), called for an insurrection against the Nazi-Fascist occupation of Italy.

Based in Milan, the Committee was led by (among others) Sandro Pertini, a key figure of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) who later became Italian president in 1978.

Pertini made the announcement to the “Italian citizens and workers”, declaring: “Nazi-Fascist occupation must be ended and Italy has to be liberated, so the invaders have to surrender or perish.”

One hundred years ago, on May 7, 1917, the following declaration appeared on the front page of the Bolshevik newspaper Pravda under the title, “Draft of a mandate for use in electing delegates to the Soviet of Worker and Soldier Deputies”. 

This “mandate” marked the first appearance of the slogan “All power to the Soviets” in an official party statement.

The Soviets emerged out of the February Revolution that year, which succeeded in overthrowing the Tsar. The Soviets were based on elected delegates of workers, soldiers and peasants.

Balochistan, in Pakistan’s south-west, is the site of an intense struggle for self-determination that has been met with violent repression from the Pakistani state. Baloch Students Organisation-Azad (BSO-A), which organises for Baloch self-determination, released the statement below calling for justice for Baloch activist Zahid Baloch, who was abducted in 2014.

***

Four years ago this month, a former bus driver with humble working-class origins became the president of Venezuela. 

Promising to continue the revolutionary legacy of deceased former president Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro pledged to advance the living standards of Venezuela’s poor and oppressed. 

But since taking office in 2013, Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution his government leads have faced non-stop attacks from Venezuela’s US-backed right-wing opposition, making advancements difficult.

“War aids capitalism, those who support capitalism support war, that is, the philosophy of death and destruction,” Boliva’s left-wing President Evo Morales said on April 18.

Morales warned that humanity was “at risk of disappearing in a nuclear holocaust,” as tensions mount worldwide after US military attacks in Syria and Afghanistan.

“Nuclear power in the United States and Western countries are getting us dangerously closer to a nuclear conflagration.”

Hundreds of cities took part in a worldwide “March for Science” to coincide with Earth Day on Saturday. Grouping together local and international environmental issues, the demonstrations championed science, research and evidence in the face of political inaction toward the environment and climate change and increasing steps by taken by Donald Trump’s attacks on science and planet.

The US is looking to increase support for the Saudi Arabia-led war on Yemen, officials said on April 19 — a move some see as another signal that President Donald Trump is itching to take the US to a new war.

KFC, Pizza Hut, Carls Jr and Starbucks workers wenton strike across new Zealand on April 22 after negotiations broke down over a new collective agreement.

“Yesterday Restaurant Brands announced  profits of $26 million and they have paid their CEO a million dollar bonus. Tomorrow the workers who actually make and sell their products have to go on strike to get a few cents above the minimum wage” said Unite National Secretary Gerard Hehir said on April 21. 

French Guiana, in South America, and the French West Indies, in the Caribbean, could join the anti-imperialist Bolivarian Alliance for the People’s of Our America (ALBA), if left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon were to win France’s presidential election.

ALBA was founded by Venezuela and Cuba in 2004 as an alternative to neoliberal free trade agreements, and now includes 11 Latin American and Caribbean nations.

The movement behind weeks of social unrest in French Guiana, a French colony in South America of about a quarter of a million people, said on April 17 it would extend protest actins until the government signs a draft accord on an emergency financial package and reopens talks on further funds.

The Collective to Get Guiana Moving summed up its demands in a seven-page draft sent to the government on April 16. If accepted the movement said it would “suspend the movement in its present form”.

During last year’s presidential election campaign, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump favoured a more militarised foreign policy. They differed on the main target: Clinton aimed at Russia, while Trump singled out China.

Clinton wanted to continue the policy of both Republican and Democratic administrations since the collapse of the Soviet Union of steadily expanding NATO up to Russia’s borders in Europe. She also proposed challenging Russia in Syria.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of the capital on April 19 in huge pro-government rallies marking the country’s independence day. 

Thousands of right-wing opposition also took to the streets in often violent protests. The day after the large pro- and anti-government marches, more right-wing violence broke out. The government accused opposition protesters of attacking public institutions, including a maternity hospital, on April 20. Ten people were also confirmed dead after a riot in Caracas.

A record number of Palestinian prisoners began a hunger strike to coincide with Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on April 16.

More than 1500 prisoners are taking part in the largest mass hunger strike in recent years. Marwan Barghouti, sentenced by Israel to five life sentences, is leading a renewed campaign to draw attention to the conditions Palestinian prisoners face.

It also aims to highlight the oppressive nature of Israel’s colonial occupation that makes arrests of Palestinian people all but inevitable.

HDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag

Thousands of opposition supporters chanted, “We know we won, we know they lost, we are not afraid”, in the streets of major cities after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed victory in the April 16 referendum to strengthen presidential power. 

Late in the evening police attacked opposition demonstrators outside the headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Shock followed by surprise followed by upset. The French presidential election, whose first round is April 23, is yet another expression of the political volatility produced by the aftershocks of the biggest economic recession since the 1930s and the incapacity of both neo-liberalism and social democracy to maintain support for their pro-austerity governments.

Trump doubles US air strikes on Yemen

The United States administration of Donald Trump has so far carried out at least 70 air strikes in Yemen, TeleSUR English said on April 4, more than twice as many as those carried out last year under the Barck Obama administration, according to data provided by the Pentagon.

In January last year, many thousands of academics around the world signed the statement “We will not be a party to this crime”, which called for peace in Turkey.

The statement was issued in solidarity with courageous academics in Turkey who had formed the Academics for Peace group and were working for an end to state terror in Turkish Kurdistan. The group pushed for the resumption of peace talks between the Turkish government and the Kurdish liberation movement, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

As Venezuela and its elected left-wing government faces a series of violent right-wing protests, attacks from the right across the region and threats from the United states, a range of left-wing and solidarity groups in the Asia-Pacific region released the statement below on April 19.

* * *

In defence of the Bolivarian process against right-wing counterrevolution: No to foreign intervention in Venezuela!

In light of the latest extreme attacks on the LGBTIQ+ community in Chechnya, Russia, which United Nations human rights experts have called “unprecedented”, English group Left Unity released the following statement on April 14.

***

Participants at the Party of the European Left's Third Mediterranean conference in Malaga.

The Party of the European Left (PEL), which is made up of left groups across Europe, held its Third Mediterranean conference in Malaga, on the southern coast of Spain, from March 31 to April 2.

The three-day gathering brought together left-wing, socialist, anti-imperialist and anti-austerity parties from across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

Presenting himself as a genuine alternative to the far-right candidate National Front and free-market candidates Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron, left-winger Jean-Luc Melenchon who has surged into third sport in France's presidential race, whose first round is set for April 23. The Left Party's Melenchon pitched himself as the candidate for peace and solidarity across borders at a mass meeting on April 8 attended by 70,000 supporters in Marseille.

A March 10 trial court judgement acquitted 117 workers from Maruti Suzuki’s automobile factory in Manesar, Gurgaon, India of charges of murder. Eighteen workers were convicted of minor offences.

However, 13 workers – all leaders of the Maruti union – were found guilty of murder. The Maruti workers plan to appeal the verdict in the High Court.

Why are workers being jailed for murder? The story at Maruti is a familiar one in India’s industrial scene.

Where unionisation is a crime

The African National Congress (ANC), which led the struggle against Apartheid, has become the key political vehicle, both in party and state form, of corporate capital.

This applies to all capital — domestic and international, black and white, local and national, and includes a range of different “fractions” of capital.

Over the past two decades, it has been the fight on and over this terrain — with some for, some against, some in the middle — that has defined the ANC’s journey since the end of Apartheid in 1994.

US president Donald Trump has said an April 4 chemical weapon attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s Idlib province that killed more than 70 people with air strikes against Syrian military targets.

Written days before the Idlib atrocity and the US air strikes, The Intercept co-editor Glenn Greenwald looks at Trump’s escalation of the “war on terror” in the region.

***

The US military’s top official for Latin America presented an ominous report to the US Senate on April 6 warning that Venezuela could be a “destabilising” factor in Latin America.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro offered on April 1 to send rescuers and other disaster relief experts to Colombia to help victims of a mudslide that has killed at least 154 people.

The mudslide, which overtook the small city of Mocoa in southern Colombia, left about 400 people injured and 220 missing. Mocoa was left in almost total ruin, as buildings, trees and infrastructure were toppled by muddy water and debris.

“We’re brotherly people who are there to be together and show respect for one another in trying times,” Maduro said. 

The Bolivarian government of Venezuela, together with its allies in Latin America, have repelled a serious attack on its sovereignty within the Organisation of American Unity (OAS). The attack was led by right-wing OAS secretary-general Luis Almagro, and backed to the hilt by the US government.

After a lengthy debate triggered by Almagro’s call to suspend Venezuela from the body, an extraordinary session of the OAS in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, ended on March 28 without a formal vote on the issue.

Ecuador’s Citizens’ Revolution is set to continue for another four years after the candidate for the socialist-leaning ruling party, Alianza Pais, Lenin Moreno, won the April 2 presidential elections run off.

With 51.16% of the vote, Moreno defeated Guillermo Lasso, managing director of Ecuador’s third-largest bank and unsuccessful candidate in the 2013 elections.

United States warships in the Mediterranean Sea launched a large cruise missile strike against government-held airfields in Syria on April 7. They fired about 60 Tomahawk missiles on the Shayrat air base near Homs in central Syria as the US government called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be removed from power.

The attacks were a response to a chemical weapons attack three days earlier in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Province that killed more than 70 civilians, including at least 27 children. 

Newly elected President Lenin Moreno and his Vice-President Jorge Glass.

Progressive candidate and renowned disability activist from the ruling Alianza Pais of outgoing President Rafael Correa, Lenin Moreno has won the Ecuadorian presidential election Sunday.

Snam Rete Gas, a leading Italian company in the transporting and dispatching of natural gases, announced in 2004 a planned pipeline extending from Massafra (Puglia) to Minerbio (Emilia-Romagna).

Named “The Adriatic Line” (in Italian: “Rete Adriatica”), it aims to export natural gases (methane, in this case) to Northern Europe.

After months of fierce opposition from Native Americans and environmentalists, the controversial Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) is finally carrying oil under Lake Oahe in North and South Dakota, as preparations are made to bring the project into full service.

Owned by Energy Transfer Partners, the 1886 kilometre-long pipeline threatens water supplies and sacred sites on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, and violates multiple treaties signed with First Nations tribes.

When you think of Western capitalism and imperialism, what usually comes to mind are aggressive superpowers such as the US, Britain, France or Germany. Northern European nations such as Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden, on the other hand, are seen as good-natured and insular, often used as examples of the way governments around the world should treat their citizens.

Riots swelled in Paris for a third night on March 29, with hundreds of people protesting against police brutality and the recent killing of a Chinese man, Shaoyo Liu, on March 23 by police.

Riot police hurled tear gas at the crowd as demonstrations continued, with a police car firebombed, three officers injured and 35 people arrested.

El Salvador's Congress approved a law on March 29 that prohibits all metal mining projects, in a bid to protect the Central American nation's environment and natural resources.

The new law, which enjoyed cross-party support, blocks all exploration, extraction and processing of metals, whether in open pits or underground. It also prohibits the use of toxic chemicals like cyanide and mercury.

In the Andean Parliament as a member of PAIS Alliance, President Rafael Correa’s left-wing party, Rosa Mireya Cardenas, a member of Alfaro Vive Carajo, a former Marxist guerrilla group, will be working to promote gender equality, fair trade and the work of social organisations, among other initiatives.

But with Ecuador’s second round of presidential elections slated to take place on April 2, the country stands at a critical crossroads.

Veteran Canadian-based socialist and activist Ernie Tate has been writing to English group Left Unity on the struggles in Canada provoked by the rise of Donald Trump south of the border.

A lifelong revolutionary who migrated to Canada from Northern Ireland as a young man, Tate was one of the most important activists of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign in the 1960s and has recently produced a two volume memoir, Revolutionary Activism of the 1950s and 1960s.

Pages