Solidarity Appeals

The comrades of the IMT in Italy, Sinistra Classe Rivoluzione launched a campaign, “Workers are not cannon fodder” for the closure of all non-essential production, with the workers to be sent home on full pay, and where work is deemed essential for full protective equipment to be provided and safety procedures strictly adhered to. Their campaign appeal saw over 200 trade union shop stewards and activists sign up immediately, and more workers are signing every day. Add your name to show your support!

On Friday 28 February, comrades Alfredo Chirinos, PDVSA’s Special Operations Manager, and his wife, Aryenis Torrealba, PDVSA’s Crude Operations Manager, were arrested in the company’s administrative headquarters in Caracas by the intelligence corps of the state. Up until now, their whereabouts remain unknown. At the time of writing this article, they haven’t been allowed to communicate with a family member, nor to see a lawyer.

Members of the Sutrabfogade union (including the general secretary) are facing dismissal from the state company Fogade, following a slew of false allegations from the management. These attacks on unionists are evidence of the anti-labour drift of the Maduro government. The IMT sends its solidarity to the comrades affected by the case.

On 5 February, two trade union leaders at the Bank Deposit Social Protection Fund - FOGADE, a state institution, received a notification of prohibition of entry into their workplace, a request for qualification of dismissal and a summons before the Labour Inspectorate for today, 7 February. This is a clear case of trade union repression that affects the general secretary of the Sutrabfogade union, William Prieto, and the health and safety delegate William Guzmán. We appeal to all our readers and supporters to send protest messages.

The protest movement of Jawaharlal Nehru University students against indiscriminate fee hikes and reactionary discipline policies for hostels have entered a new stage. The university administration has astronomically increased the fees by 999 percent, meaning hostel room rent has increased from INR10 ($0.14) to INR600 ($8.35). In addition to this, there are newly implemented service charges of INR1700 ($23.67), and the mess fee has increased from INR5000 ($69.61) to INR12000 ($167.07).

The Fourth Panamerican Cadre School of the International Marxist Tendency will take place in Mexico from 28 November to 2 December. The school will gather comrades from all over the American continent, from Canada, to the US, Cuba, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina. The main theme will be the centenary of the Communist International, which will be marked with an opening rally at the Trotsky House Museum in Mexico City.

The new labour minister, Rolando Castro – a former unionist – has started a crusade against the Salvadoran Institute of Social Security Workers’ Union STISSS. Using the state apparatus and with “legal” manoeuvres, he has organised a coup d'etat against the union's leadership. The leadership that was elected in a general assembly in 2018 has been dismissed and expelled from the organisation. Based on an “assembly” that never took place, and with the backing of “legal” accreditations from the Ministry of Labour, a gang of puppets commanded by Ricardo Monge (an old trade union bureaucrat) has arbitrarily taken control of the union's leadership.

The military has entered the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) to brutally repress students who protested against the illegitimate government of Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH). At least eight students have been injured. This attack comes a few days after a group of US Marines entered the Central American country, evidencing the support of US imperialism for this coup government. The authorities of the university, similarly, have been accomplices of the coup government, but the repression has taken shape in such a brutal way that even the University Council has had to condemn it.

We have now reached and exceeded the $1,300 target of our campaign to raise money for the El Salvadoran comrades. In total, we raised $2,700. This, together with the fundraising effort the comrades have made themselves, will mean that they will be able to purchase the duplicator they need. It will be an important step forward for the work of spreading Marxism in El Salvador in the coming years.

Algerian Workers' Party (PT) President, Louisa Hanoune, was arrested by a military court charged with conspiracy against the state and military authorities. Louisa appeared in court as a "witness" to a lawsuit concerning the former president's brother and, after giving her testimony, was jailed. The accusation of "conspiracy" or "rebellion" is fanciful, as millions of Algerians, every week, protest against the continuation of the military regime. In addition to Louisa, who has been imprisoned since 9 May, Hadj Ghermoud, a human rights activist, has also been in custody since January. Dozens of activists are being threatened and arrested in Algeria.

Three political activists who had fled Thailand for their safety have disappeared. Chucheep Chivasut, Siam Theerawut and Kritsana Thapthai were wanted for the crime of insulting the monarchy. In Thailand, under Article 112 of the country’s criminal code, anyone who is deemed to have committed this crime faces up to 15 years in prison.

On 1 May 2019, IMT comrades in El Salvador were very proud to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Militante - BPJ, the paper of the revolutionaries of the BPJ (Popular Youth Bloc). The enormous amount of work that has maintained our publication on a more-or-less regular basis over these past 10 years would not have been possible without the invaluable collaboration of sellers, writers, designers, correspondents, but above all, the help of all our readers. We can say proudly, and without exaggeration, that they are spread all over the country.

The Salvadoran section of the International Marxist Tendency, Bloque Popular Juvenil, has marked 10 years of publication of its paper BPJ – Militante. From a modest first issue in February 2009, when it was a quarterly three-page tabloid, the paper has improved into a regular monthly paper with a print run of 600 copies, which doubles for the May Day edition.

Today (6 March), the judge of the Multan High Court granted bail to Rawal Asad after hearing his case. This has proved once again that the decisions of the lower courts were illegal and biased. It also clearly reveals that they were subject to external influence.

The solidarity campaign for Rawal Asad (who has been held in custody since February on the scandalous charge of sedition after attending a peaceful protest in Multan, Pakistan) shows no sign of slowing down. On 4 March, comrades and supporters of the International Marxist Tendency coordinated a day of pressure against the Pakistani state by picketing, protesting and telephoning Pakistan's embassies all over the world, so the regime knows the world is watching, and we will not stop until our comrade is released. 

Comrades and supporters from around the world are continuing to put pressure on the Pakistani state to release the Marxist student activist, Rawal Asad, who is still being held on the scandalous charge of sedition and has been denied bail. Meanwhile, protests are ongoing in Pakistan, where comrades, students and workers are demanding that Rawal be immediately released.