International Notes: September 16


Colombian CP calls for “yes” vote for peace and social justice

The Communist Party of Colombia  is campaigning for a massive “yes”  vote in the October second   referendum on the peace agreements reached in Havana, Cuba, earlier this year.  The agreements have been fully ratified by the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC-EPR (Armed Forces of the Colombian Revolution-Revolutionary People’s Army), the largest left wing guerrilla group, potentially ending decades of bloody fighting.

The party newspaper “Voz” reports on activities of labor unions, students and other organizations throughout the country, who are seeking not just an end to the fighting but “a peace with work and social justice”.  A “Voz” article continues:  “In the campaign for the “yes” vote, it is essential not to let ourselves be boxed in by the pretensions of the government to legitimize its neo-liberal policies, or by the pretensions of the ultra-right [which wants to make us see] that if we support the “Si” we are supporting President Santos”.  The solution to this is to see the achievement of peace as a starting  point in a large scale struggle for social justice.

Public opinion surveys are suggesting that the “yes” vote is gaining support as the referendum date approaches.

German Communists demonstrate to reverse Cold War ban

The German Communist Party (Deutsche Kommunistische Partei, or DKP) held a demonstration in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg State, in Southeastern Germany on Saturday September 10, to protest against a 1951 ban on the use of the name “Communist Party of Germany” (Komunistische Partei Deutschlands, or KPD) and demand this ban be lifted.  The ban had been instituted by the Constitutional Court of the (West) German Federal Republic, Deutsche Bundesrepublik, at the height of the cold war, because the communists in West Germany had been actively opposing German remilitarization during the chancellorship of conservative Konrad Adenauer.   At the same time, the West German government had imposed the notorious “Berufsverbot” which closed many jobs, including teaching positions, to communists.  Similar things were going on in the United States at the same time, in the period we  call “McCarthyism”.  German communists were forced to work underground by these repressive policies, but managed to do so anyway.

Former activists and leaders of the old KPD spoke at the event, as did representatives of the Communist Party of Ukraine, which is itself facing banning and repression today.  Karen Binder, a federal legislator from “Die Linke”, “the Left” political party also called for the ban to be lifted.


Israeli Communists denounce Netenyahu’s “ethnic cleansing”  speech

The Communist Party of Israel (Maki) is sharply denouncing a speech made by Prime MinisterBenjamin Netenyahu on Friday Sept 9, given in English, in which he accused the Palestinian Authority of wanting to “ethnically cleanse” Jews from the West Bank of the Jordan River because of its opposition to Israeli settlement building there.  Not only the PA but many governments, including that of the United States, have denounced the settlements as a major obstacle to the achievement of a peaceful settlement of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict on the basis of a “two state solution”.   Netenyahu’s statement suggested that these other countries also were supporting a policy of “ethnic cleansing” of Jews.

In response, the Israeli communists said “of course, Netenyahu, a master in the art of obfuscation and blaming the victim, does not at all see as outrageous the nearly half century of military occupation of the West Bank, during which the lives [of Palestinians] are subject to the whims of the Israeli army and the government to which it is subordinate”.


Canadian Communists reject Ontario electoral “reform”

The Communist Party of Canada  is denouncing  planned legislation in the province of Ontario that would forbid both corporations and labor unions from contributing  money to election campaigns.  Ontario Communist Party leader Dave McKee, writing in the party newspaper People’s Voice, states that it is wrong to lump corporate and union donations together in this way.  “Unions  are not corporations, and pretending that they are and applying the same rules places a serious limit on the ability of working people – the vast majority of the population—to participate fully in the electoral process.  This is especially true in a class society, in which the political marginalization of the working class is a constant and growing feature”.

The legislation in question was proposed by Ontario Prime Minister Kathleen Wynne of the Ontario Liberal Party as a response to an influence peddling scandal.

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