More than 2000 workers marched to the National Assembly in Caracas on July 26 in support of increased workers’ control. Handing over a document with more than 45,000 signatures, the workers demanded that the legislative body approve the Special Law for Socialist Worker Councils and begin an immediate discussion of a “new and revolutionary” Organic Work Law (LOT). Both demands were submitted under article 240 of the Venezuelan constitution, which allows the people the right to legislate.
The Tunisian Communist Workers’ Party (PCOT) held the first session of its first party congress as a legal organisation on July 22. The congress was held over July 22-24 in Tunis. It featured foreign delegates and guests from Europe, Latin America and the Arab world. Estimates of attendees ranged from 1700 to 2000 people. PCOT leader Hamma Hammami gave a speech in which he defended the party from accusations of involvement in violence.
Ireland’s seven-month-old United Left Alliance (ULA) is the “new kid on the block” of European anti-capitalist parties. Launched in November last year, it won five TDs (members of the Irish parliament, the Dail) in February elections, despite its name not appearing on the ballot paper. To date the ULA has also won 20 positions in local councils and one seat in the European parliament. In the Dail, the ULA TDs have already had successes, such as stopping the abolition of the Joint Labour Committees that set wages and conditions in some industries.
The six Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) members detained under the Malaysian government's emergency ordinance since June 25, have been deprived of all creature comforts. They are locked up in 2-by-2.5 metre cells, in solitary confinement. The lights are on in the cells day and night and one-way mirrors ensure there is no privacy.
Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, a federal member of Malaysia's parliament, is one of six activsts from the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) being held without trial since June 25. The arrests, under Malaysia's draconian Internal Security Act, were part of a crackdown ahead of the 50,000-strong march through Kuala Lumpar on July 9 for democracy. Protest letters still are urgently needed to be sent to be Malaysian government. Please visit here for details of where they can be sent. See also:
The path for Maori liberation, debates on left perspectives and the 30th anniversary since the 1981 Springbok tour were some of the discussions at “Workers Power”, the national conference of the Workers Party held in Hamilton over June 3 to 5. The recent formation of the Mana Party was a focus of the discussions. Prominent Maori leader and MP Hone Harawira initiated Mana after leaving the Maori Party, frustrated over its deals while in coalition with the right-wing National Party. Harawira resigned his seat to force a by-election and stand again as a Mana candidate.
The debate over the Western military intervention into Libya that has swept sections of the world’s left since it began in March were concentrated into one passionate session at the annual congress of Denmark’s Red-Green Alliance (RGA), held in Copenhagen over May 20-22. The 300 congress delegates, representing 5900 members, were asked by a majority of the RGA’s National Board to endorse the March 18 vote of its four MPs in support of the “no-fly zone” imposed on Libya by NATO powers including Denmark ― acting in the name of United Nations resolution 1973.
Resistance held its 40th national conference on the weekend of May 6 -8. One-hundred-and-fifty people came over the three days and took part in diverse workshops and panel sessions. One major session featured Matthew Cassel, former assistant editor of Electronic Intifada and an independent journalist, gave an eyewitness account of the overthrow of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. He said: “Something common among dictatorships in the Arab world and so-called democracies in the West and elsewhere is the lack of accurate information available to most people through the mainstream media.
Bob Gould was a veteran of the labour left in Australia. He died on May 22, at the age of 74, of injuries suffered after a fall in his well-known bookshop, Gould's Book Arcade, in Newtown, Sydney. He had been unwell for some time, but his accidental death was untimely. Gould was a member of the early Australian Trotskyist group active in the 1950s and 1960s, along with Nick Origlass and others, who fought for socialist politics within the Australian Labor Party and against the Stalinism of the Communist Party of Australia.
The crowd at Harry Black’s funeral, on May 23, filled the South Chapel in Rookwood Garden Cemetery, the overflow room and the upstairs gallery. Family, comrades, wharfies, seafarers and even a few old fellow soldiers from World War II were there to say goodbye. It was a fitting reflection on the life of a treasured comrade. Harry was born in Rylstone, NSW, the son of a butcher in a small rural town, said Jim Donovan, the president of the Retired Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Members, in his eulogy at the funeral.