- October 3rd 2022: International Action Day of the World Federation of Trade Unions
- REVEALED:Police plotting to raid PUDEMO President’s home plant explosives as a cover-up for State bombing.
- TUCOSWA NATIONAL SHUTDOWN: SNAT President urges teachers to participate in numbers, Minister says schools to operate normally.
- King Mswati’s State agents petrol bomb PUDEMO President Mlungisi Makhanya’s home.
- Angola: MPLA Vice President in Maputo to Attend Frelimo Congress
- Nicolas Maduro: Imperialism Continues To Threaten Venezuela
- Venezuela Demands the US Not to Manipulate the Migration Issue
- US to Increase Havana Embassy Staff, Expand Consular Services
- UN: Latin American Leaders Call For End to US Blockade of Cuba
- Cuba Boosts Cigar Exports to Facilitate Recovery Amid Sanctions
- Palestine Seeks UNGA Support for Saving Two-State Solution
- Russia and Ukraine Swap Prisoners
- Russian FM at UN Security Council Meeting on Ukraine Conflict
- Cuba Rejects Imposition of Unilateral Sanctions Against Russia
- Polarization, Economic Crisis, and Class Struggle: The Contradictions of the Political Moment
October 3rd 2022: International Action Day of the World Federation of Trade Unions
19 September 2022
Under the general slogan:
- We will not pay for the capitalist crisis and the imperialist wars
- Wage and pensions increase Now
- Struggle in solidarity – Internationalism
77 years since the founding of the WFTU on 3 October 1945, the need to strengthen, to escalate the struggles, the demands of workers around the world is a one-way path.
We call on workers and their unions in all countries together to contribute in the organization, to strengthen and massify the unions. The struggles taking place in several countries are our hope and our future. Solidarity is our weapon. We build a wall of protection for the working class and demand a society without exploitation.
As it is known that on the 6th,7th and 8th of May in Rome the 18th World Trade Union Congress took place under the slogan “United we continue for the satisfaction of our contemporary needs. Against Imperialist-Capitalist barbarity”
This historic congress has reiterated the anti-imperialist and antifascist character of the WFTU and its commitment to the struggle for the liberation of the working class from the capitalist shackles.
The world is facing a phase of extreme intensification of political, economic, and military rivalries, aiming at controlling and exploiting the economic resources of our planet.
The peoples pay the cost of the Imperialist rivalries with death, refugees, and also with the deterioration of their living and working conditions.
Τhe dangers and threats to world peace, have dangerously escalated after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. At the same time the imperialists are attacking the people of Palestine, Cuba, Afghanistan for their own interests, continuing their interventions and sanctions against Syria, Venezuela and elsewhere. That is why it is necessary to continue our internationalist action.
In the period we live in, the economic crises of capitalism follow one another. The pandemic has not only dramatically widened social inequalities but has also been used for new attacks on democratic rights and trade union freedoms.
For us, it is clear that only through the struggles and with organized militant demands the goals of the labor movement are realized and social progress achieved. Struggles for the satisfaction of the contemporary needs of the workers at all levels: salary, employment, security, culture, and mental. To defense of the democratic and trade union freedoms, collective bargaining, and the stable, permanent, and agreements-regulated labor and protect the autonomy of the Trade Unions and their class orientation away from bureaucracy, corruption, and manipulation by the capital and employers.
Against all forms of discrimination based on race, color, religion, or gender of the people.
The today dominant issue on the agenda of trade unions is the dramatic deterioration of workers’ living standards due to the sharp rise in prices. The sharp and uncontrollable increase in prices of all basic necessities, essentially dissipates the purchasing power of wages, which not only are not increased, but in many cases, have been reduced under the pretext of the crisis and the pandemic.
A beacon of hope during this time of pandemic was the struggles and mobilizations of trade unions that stood in the way of anti-peoples’ policies that wanted workers with their mouths shut and health workers voiceless and submissive. Thousands of workers including health workers took to the streets fighting and giving strength and optimism to all to break fear, intimidations and repression. For free and exclusively public health and healthcare for all. Health is a social good, not a commodity, and patents on medicines must be abolished.
-NO WAITING, NO TOLERANCE –
IN THE STRENGTH OF THE ORGANIZED STRUGGLE LIES HOPE AND PERSPECTIVE
The WFTU is present everywhere for the workers to fight with their class unity, for the interests of their own class, and not to wait for the monopolies, the business interests, and their political representatives to save them and solve their problems.
The WFTU Secretariat calls on all trade unions to organize mass and militant mobilizations ahead of October 3, highlighting the demands concerning health, collective bargaining, trade union freedoms and rights, protection of the environment, elimination of racism and xenophobia, solidarity of the workers.
REVEALED:Police plotting to raid PUDEMO President’s home plant explosives as a cover-up for State bombing.
22 September 2022
Senior police officers held a meeting on Thursday at Lubombo- Siteki Regional Headquarters and plotted to raid PUDEMO President Mlungisi Makhanya’s home, plant bombs and or explosives and cover-up for the recent State bombing that attracted the attention of the international community.
Before the bombing of the PUDEMO President’s home, this publication exposed King Mswati’s Indvuna Themba Ginindza’s ‘intercepted’ cellphone conversations, where disclosed a plot to bomb political activists and their properties.
Now, insiders within the security forces told this Swaziland News that the police were desperate to link Mlungisi Makhanya to the explosives as if they belonged to him.
Reached for comments,Mlungisi Makhanya, the President of the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) confirmed that the State was planning to raid his home and plant explosives.
“I have been reliably informed of a plot by the Royal supremacists Tinkhundla murderous regime to secure a search and seizure warrant on my home.This is intended to give credence to a desperate conspiracy theory that the mortar bombs that ruined my home were mine and stored there.I am not surprised because this regime has always sustained itself through lies and where possible planting of evidence against democracy and peace seeking revolutionaries. My clarion call to the democracy aspiring people of our country is not to be despondent but to be motivated by such trials and tribulations for they are character building.This terrorist act may have demolished my property but it has mobilised thousands of emaSwati into the people's camp, for they have seen that this backward regime is anti progress,” said the PUDEMO President.
A questionnaire was sent to Superintendent Phindile Vilakati, the police Spokesperson, however, she had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
It has been disclosed that an attempt was made by the State to apply for a search warrant on Thursday.
Maxwell Nkambule, the lawyer representing the PUDEMO President confirmed the plot to raid his client’s home.
“Yes, the information has been confirmed and it is being said that they are looking for explosives which they suspect my client keeps in his home. Obviously it is a deflection on the bombing of his home wherein strong suspicions points to the state
The home of the PUDEMO President was allegedly bombed by the State in the early hours on Tuesday, before the bombing, an army helicopter was seen patrolling the home last weekend.
PUDEMO President Mlungisi Makhanya told this Swaziland News on Wednesday that the explosives would be examined by military experts to gather more evidence about their origins.
TUCOSWA NATIONAL SHUTDOWN: SNAT President urges teachers to participate in numbers, Minister says schools to operate normally.
21 September, 2022
Lady-Howard Mabuza, the Minister of Education says schools will be operating normally on Thursday and Friday amid a protest organized by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland(TUCOSWA).
“The Ministry of Education and Training is not aware of calls to close schools on Thursday 22nd and 23 September 2022. Therefore, teachers are expected to be at school and schools are expected to operate normally during these two days,” reads a statement released by the Ministry of Education on Wednesday.
But Mbongwa Dlamini, the President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers(SNAT) told this Swaziland News that teachers would participate in the mass protest organised by TUCOSWA.
“SNAT is affiliated to TUCOSWA so teachers will participate in the protest on Thursday and Friday,”said the SNAT President.
On another note, Bheki Mamba, the TUCOSWA President confirmed that on Thursday there would be a stay-away adding that on Friday there would be protests across the country.
“On Thursday there would be a stay away, people will stay-away, they are expected to be at home and there will be no transport. Then on Friday, there will be protests across the country,” said the TUCOSWA President.
King Mswati’s State agents petrol bomb PUDEMO President Mlungisi Makhanya’s home.
20 September 2022
In the early morning hours on Tuesday, King Mswati’s State agents allegedly petrol bombed the home of Mlungisi Makhanya, the President of the People’s United Democratic Movement Movement(PUDEMO).
This comes a few days after this publication released ‘intercepted’ cellphone conversations where King Mswati’s Indvuna Themba Ginindza,revealed that they training a squad to burn political activists and their homes.
Reached for comments, PUDEMO President Mlungisi Makhanya confirmed the burning of his home. He said to prove that the mission was sponsored by the State, electricity was switched-off.
“It’s true, they bombed by home but there’s nothing we can do, it’s part of the journey to democracy, mafutsa endlela,” said the PUDEMO President.
Police Spokesperson Superintendent Phindile Vilakati had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
Ludzidzini Governor Themba Ginindza was exposed by this Swaziland News confirming that the State was training a squad to burn political activists and their properties, this is contained in an electronic evidence and or ‘intercepted’ cellphone conversations.
PUDEMO National Organiser Panuel Malinga who rushed to Makhanya’s home said two bedrooms, a dining room and the kitchen was completely destroyed.
“I am here at the home of the President and we can confirm that two bedrooms, a dining room and the kitchen was completely destroyed,” said the PUDEMO National Organiser.
Angola: MPLA Vice President in Maputo to Attend Frelimo Congress
22 September 2022
The vice-president of the ruling MPLA party Luísa Damião arrived Thursday in the Maputo, Mozambique, to participate in the 12th congress of the FRELIMO party, slated for 23 - 28 Sept.
Luísa Damião is in the Mozambican capital representing the MPLA president João Lourenço, invited by FRELIMO's counterpart, Filipe Nyusi.
At Mavalane airport, Luísa Damião was received by Coceita Sortane, a member of the FRELIMO Political Commission, and by the Angolan ambassador to Mozambique, José João Manuel.
The delegation of the ruling party in Angola includes ten members, who will be at the opening and closing of the conclave taking place in the Matola region on the outskirts of the Mozambican capital.
The Angolan delegation is integrated by MPLA secretary for International Relations Manuel Augusto, General Secretary of the party's women wing (OMA) Joana Tomás, and the first national secretary of the party's youth wing (JMPLA) Crispiniano dos Santos.
In addition to the MPLA delegation, the event will also be attended by other parties, such as ANC (South Africa), Chama Cha Mapinduzi (Tanzania), Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), Socialist Party (PS) of Portugal, as well as the Communist Party of China.
FRELIMO, the ruling party in Mozambique, was founded on June 25, 1962 in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
Nicolas Maduro: Imperialism Continues To Threaten Venezuela
22 September 2022
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro denounced on Thursday that the United States continues to threaten his country and also seeks to manipulate the citizens of this Caribbean nation.
"Imperialism continues threatening our homeland, imperialism continues arrogantly and arrogantly manipulating, trying to manipulate Venezuela and Venezuelans," Maduro said during a speech broadcast through the state-run Venezolana de Televisión channel.
The president said that despite the threats, his country is still standing and that 2022 has been a year of progress.
"I call on you compatriot of the deepest Venezuela to consolidate 2022 as a great year of economic growth, economic expansion, social recovery and consolidation of the greatest political force that exists in Venezuela and Latin America," he stressed.
On September 15, Joe Biden's administration threatened Maduro's administration with intensified sanctions if it did not return to negotiations with the opposition in Mexico, suspended in October 2021 following the extradition of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab from Cape Verde to the United States.
On Tuesday, Maduro demanded Biden not manipulate the issue of migration from Latin America and The Caribbean.
"We demand that President Joe Biden not manipulate with the issue of migration from Latin America and the Caribbean, and even less with the issue of Venezuela, a victim of the cruelest sanctions of the U.S. empire," he said.
Maduro stated that the United States lies about the number of migrants and said that his country suffered attacks and sanctions, which is why part of the population decided to migrate.
The president also said that more than half of the population that migrated between 2018 and 2021 returned to Venezuela.
Venezuela Demands the US Not to Manipulate the Migration Issue
21 September 2022
"More than half of the people who migrated from 2018 to 2021 has returned to Venezuela," President Nicolas Maduro pointed out.
On Tuesday, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro demanded the U.S. President Joe Biden to refrain from politically manipulating the issue of Latin American migration.
"We demand that President Joe Biden not manipulate the issue of Latin American and Caribbean migration, and even less so with the issue of Venezuela, a country victim of the cruelest sanctions of the North American empire," Maduro said.
"The campaign against Venezuela is brutal," he recalled, referring to the transnational media misinformation about what really happens inside this South American country.
"After they squeezed our country to the max seeking to destroy it, they launch global campaigns on migration to manipulate politically, instrumentalizing the migration issue and criminalizing it as they do in the United States."
The Bolivarian leader thus responded to statements made by President Biden, who argued that "it was not rational" to deport Venezuelan, Cuban, and Nicaraguan migrants to their countries of origin.
Maduro also explained that many Venezuelans who migrated over the last five years have returned to their homeland, where they find better living conditions than those they had in the countries to which they traveled.
"More than half of the people who migrated from 2018 to 2021 has returned to Venezuela," he said, highlighting that their voluntary repatriation has been facilitated by the "Return to the Homeland," a program that the Bolivarian government has to assist its citizens.
US to Increase Havana Embassy Staff, Expand Consular Services
22 September 2022
The decision comes in the wake of migration talks between U.S. and Cuban officials in April, when the two sides discussed the implementation of the U.S.-Cuba Migration Accords.
The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is set to resume full immigrant visa processing for Cubans for the first time since 2017, at the beginning of 2023, saying it hopes to facilitate “orderly migration” into the United States and help reunite families separated by national borders.
The move was announced Wednesday, reversing a 2017 decision by former President Donald Trump to pause full visa processing for Cuban citizens.
“Consistent with our commitments under the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection to facilitate safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration, the United States is today announcing an expansion of regular pathways available to Cubans wishing to come to the United States and an increase in personnel at the US embassy in Havana,” it said in a statement, noting that visa processing will begin again sometime in early 2023.
The decision comes in the wake of immigration talks between U.S. and Cuban officials in April, when the two sides discussed the implementation of the Cuba Migration Accords, with Washington agreeing to accept a minimum of 20,000 Cuban migrants per year, not counting immediate relatives of U.S. citizens.
Additionally, Cubans looking to reunite with family members will no longer be required to travel to Guyana for their interviews, as was required by the Trump White House.
Relations between the two countries have vacillated in recent years, with former President Barack Obama easing a decades-old blockade on Cuba before Trump’s term, which was much more hostile toward the communist-ruled island.
Cuba's government had welcomed the announcements, saying they "were a small step in the right direction," despite them still not changing the fact that Cuba has been under a U.S embargo since 1962, which the island nation considers to be the main reason behind its economic troubles.
UN: Latin American Leaders Call For End to US Blockade of Cuba
21 September 2022
The presidents of Argentina, Honduras, and Bolivia raised their voices advocating respect for the peoples' self-determination.
At the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Alberto Fernández of Argentina, Xiomara Castro of Honduras, and Luis Arce of Bolivia demanded an end to the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. on Cuba for over half a century.
The President of Argentina said that "according to the UN Charter, the only legitimate sanctions are those imposed by the Security Council to enforce its decisions on the maintenance of peace and security."
"Argentina joins the demand of the peoples of Cuba and Venezuela for the lifting of the blockades that those nations are suffering," Fernandez added.
Honduras's President Xiomara Castro said: "We proclaim the return to respect for the self-determination of the peoples, rejecting the infamous and brutal blockade of the people of the sister Republic of Cuba."
"A clear example of the application of unilateral measures is the inhumane and criminal commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, which endangers the lives of millions of citizens," said Bolivian President Luis Arce.
After describing the blockade as a crime against humanity, together with Cuba's inclusion on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, Arce added that "it is a regrettable example that should make us reflect on how most of the decisions taken every year in this Assembly are not complied with by some countries."
On this occasion, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez demanded President Joe Biden comply with Cuba's demand, which he said included autonomy for small states, freedom of navigation and respect for political differences.
Cuba Boosts Cigar Exports to Facilitate Recovery Amid Sanctions
20 September 2022
In the first 14 months of the Biden administration, the blockade has caused Cuba economic losses of around US$6.3 billion.
Cuba continues to promote cigar exports for economic recovery as the country braves the headwinds from the COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S. trade embargo.
Situated on the outskirts of the Cuban capital city of Havana, the El Laguito cigar factory is well known for producing Cohiba cigars over the past five decades.The factory, one of the five making cigars for exports in Havana, has some 250 workers, with 70 percent being women.
Among them is Nelsa Leonard, a 75-year-old roller, who started working at El Laguito in 1968. She expects Cuban cigar production to help the Caribbean nation's economy recover amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"These are the best cigars in the world and Cohiba is our top brand," she said. "We are doing our best to sell as many Cuban cigars as possible to the world."
Official data showed that in 2021, the Caribbean nation reported record sales of its hand-rolled cigars worth over US$507 million, as the tobacco industry is one of the four core sectors that contribute most to Cuba's GDP.
Oscar Rodriguez, director of El Laguito cigar factory, said that they are now making some 9,000 Cuban cigars a day.
"We continued to work despite the COVID-19 pandemic as this is a critical sector for the performance of the economy," he said. "This factory is projected to deliver 2 million Cuban cigars by the end of the year."
The upcoming Cuban tobacco harvest is scheduled to start in October this year, said the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture. It comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the intensification of the U.S. trade embargo on the Caribbean nation.
Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez said that in the first 14 months of U.S. President Joe Biden's administration, the blockade has caused Cuba economic losses of around US$6.3 billion. First imposed in 1962, the embargo was tightened by Biden's predecessor Donald Trump, who imposed more than 240 sanctions against the island.
The island's economy started to see a slight recovery during the first half of the year. However, "the U.S. blockade, which remains almost invariable, continues to be the main obstacle to the development of Cuba," said Cuban economist Jose Luis Rodriguez.
Palestine Seeks UNGA Support for Saving Two-State Solution
22 September 2022
President Abbas calls on the international community to assume its responsibilities towards the continuation of the Israeli occupation.
Palestine is counting on mobilizing the support of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) for its cause and saving the two-state solution, which is threatened by Israeli policies.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently in New York to participate in the 77th session of the UNGA, has held a series of meetings with UN Secretary Antonio Guterres, Jordan's King Abdullah II, Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, and Norway's Foreign Minister Anken Hoetfeldt.
The meetings "are an important opportunity to explain the Palestinian cause and the difficult situation in the Palestinian territories," Ziad Abu Amr, member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and deputy Prime Minister, told "Voice of Palestine," a radio station based in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Abu Amr, who accompanied Abbas, said the meetings discussed the Palestinian people's demand to end the Israeli occupation, recognize a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and preserve the two-state solution.
"In his meetings, President Abbas calls on the international community to assume its responsibilities towards the continuation of the Israeli occupation and to provide international protection for the Palestinian people," said Abu Amr, who is scheduled to address the UNGA on Friday.
"President Abbas's speech before the UN General Assembly will be important and decisive and entail serious measures on the ground," Abu Amr said.
Abbas had earlier stated that the Palestinian side is ready to work during the year to demarcate borders and end all final status issues under the auspices of the International Quartet under the UN resolutions.
Palestine's envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour said that President Abbas's speech will include "justified Palestinian anger after prolonging the occupation." Mansour added that the speech would address the Palestinian endeavors at the UN to preserve the two-state solution.
The Palestinians want to establish an independent state alongside Israel on the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Since 2014, when the direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians had stopped, the Palestinian cause was marginalized amid the refusal of the Israeli government to sit at the negotiating table to revive the stalled peace process.
The Palestinians are looking for a different approach from the international community towards finding a serious and quick solution to dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
On Tuesday, Guterres and leaders of many countries delivered speeches during the UNGA, emphasizing the importance of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry called on the international community to take measures to end the Israeli settlements and occupation of Palestinian state territories, including East Jerusalem.
Enabling the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination in their homeland "is the key to achieving security, peace, and stability in the region... The existence and continuation of the occupation is the main reason for all the existing tensions and escalation campaigns in the conflict arena," the Ministry said.
Russia and Ukraine Swap Prisoners
22 September 2022
The Zelensky regime also released Viktor Medvedchuk, an opposition politician who was charged with treason against the State and violation of the rules of war.
On Thursday, Russia's Defense Ministry spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov confirmed the reception of 55 Russian servicemen after a prisoner swap with Ukraine.
The regime of Volodymyr Zelensky freed Russian soldiers and military personnel belonging to the Armed Forces of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. They received medical and psychological care in Russian facilities, where they were able to contact their relatives.
Ukrainian authorities also released former Ukrainian lawmaker Viktor Medvedchuk, an opposition politician who was charged with treason against the State and violation of the rules of war.
For their part, the Russian authorities returned 215 Ukrainian soldiers who were captured when Russian troops seized the port of Mariupol in May.
Five Britons, two Americans, two Moroccans, one Swede, and one Croat were also freed by the Russian authorities and sent to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
Türkiye President Recep Tayyip Ergodan, who mediated the prisoner swap negotiations, agreed to keep the Ukrainian commanders on Turkish soil until the conflict is over.
So far, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been involved in 27 prisoner swaps between Russia and Ukraine.
Russian FM at UN Security Council Meeting on Ukraine Conflict
22 September 2022
The term "impunity reflects what has been going on in that country since 2014," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, referring to Ukraine.
Lavrov's remarks came Thursday at a UN Security Council ministerial meeting on Ukraine, which he called "very, very timely." "As far as I understand it, today's meeting was prompted by some delegations' wish to discuss the issue of impunity in Ukraine."
On this occasion, the Russian diplomat said, "The nationalist radical forces, outright Russophobes and neo-Nazis then came to power as a result of an armed coup with direct support from the Western countries."
What followed: "lawlessness and utter disregard for human rights and fundamental freedoms: the right to life, freedom of expression, access to information, freedom of conscience, and the right to use one's mother tongue," Lavrov said.
In Ukraine, laws were passed "aimed at displacing Russian and, in fact, banning it," Lavrov said. "In recent years, the Kiev regime has been conducting an all-out assault on the Russian language, infringing on the rights of the Russian and Russian-speaking population in Ukraine with impunity."
Sergey Lavrov's speech at the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine. We have no doubt that Ukraine has finally turned into a Nazi totalitarian state.
In this regard, the foreign minister said Russia's special military operation was "inevitable." Lavrov said that Moscow has presented a "large number of facts showing how Ukraine was being prepared to play the role of anti-Russian, the role of a springboard for the creation and implementation of threats against Russian security."
Lavrov said that Russia would not allow Ukraine to establish a platform for setting up threats to Russian security.
Cuba Rejects Imposition of Unilateral Sanctions Against Russia
21 September 2022
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez reaffirmed on Wednesday before the United Nations General Assembly his country's rejection of the sanctions against Russia, unilaterally imposed by the West since the beginning of the year for its special military operation in Ukraine.
"We reaffirm our rejection of the imposition of unilateral sanctions against the Russian Federation," said Rodriguez, who advocated a diplomatic and realistic solution to the conflict in Ukraine.
The head of Cuban diplomacy specified that such a solution must be peaceful and in accordance with the norms of international law, in addition to guaranteeing the sovereignty of all.
On February 24, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, claiming that the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, recognized by Moscow as sovereign states, needed help in the face of attacks by Kiev.
Numerous countries condemned the operation and supported Kiev with arms supplies, donations, humanitarian aid and sanctions against Moscow, which has led to higher electricity, fuel and food prices in Europe and the United States.
Polarization, Economic Crisis, and Class Struggle: The Contradictions of the Political Moment
18 September 2022
From the resurgence of the Democratic party to the advance of the Right to the potential of Generation U, it is evident that we are in a moment of instability and heightened polarization in the midst of a burgeoning economic crisis and rising labor movement. The Left must take the opportunities presented by the current moment and turn them into advances for our movement.
Today, the political situation in the U.S. is defined by its contradictions. On the one hand, we are in a moment of instability and heightened polarization — seen primarily in the increasing radicalization of the Republican Party. An economic crisis seems to be brewing — one that, as the Biden government has made clear, the working class will pay for. This, combined with a rising tide of unionization being led by “Generation U,” could spell class struggle on the horizon. In addition, there has been a steep decline of public faith in institutions — a phenomenon that has both left-wing and right-wing expressions — which destabilizes the situation more broadly.
On the other hand, however, the Democratic Party is on the advance, promising stability and a strong response to the right-wing attacks. At the beginning of the year, the Democrats were in a political freefall, having been unable to pass any meaningful legislation amid massive inflation. Biden’s approval rating bottomed out, and it seemed as if the Democrats were poised to be massacred in the midterms. But then the Supreme Court overturned Roe and the Democrats did what they do best: use the right wing to fearmonger their way into raising money and winning votes. Even though the Democrats did nothing to reestablish the right to an abortion, they still were able to rhetorically position themselves as the only alternative to the advance of the Right. So, thanks in large part to Democratic Party–affiliated NGOs like Planned Parenthood, they emerged from the outrage over the overturning of Roe in a much stronger position.
This has had ripple effects on the national situation more broadly. Biden was able to bring Joe Manchin in line and pass the Inflation Reduction Act (more commonly known as the climate bill), which gave Democrats a much-needed legislative win and allows them to pretend to be working to address climate change. Meanwhile, gas prices have also dropped, giving some economic relief to working people, which, in turn, helps stabilize the political situation — though high inflation and low wages continue to decimate the working class. This has all bolstered the Democrats’ position, and it seems increasingly likely that they will be able to hold the Senate and potentially minimize the Republican wave in the House, both reversals of previous assumptions about the midterms.
All in all, the national situation remains contradictory, with new developments shifting the situation almost weekly. But, amid all this, we can pull out a few key tendencies that are defining the current moment in politics.
Advance of the Right
One of those strongest tendencies in the national situation is the advance of the Far Right and the escalating attacks on democratic rights — most notably the right to bodily autonomy and the right to vote. This right wing advance has echoes of the “culture wars” of the 1990s and early aughts, but it has some differences. First, this round of right-wing attacks on civil rights is successfully rolling back rights that were already legally enshrined. In other words, rather than just preventing the oppressed from winning more concessions from the state, the Right is successfully taking back concessions already won — such as the right to an abortion.
Second, the Right’s attack is more radicalized than before, as reflected in its goals. For example, the last wave of anti-trans bills was focused on banning trans people — but, as is almost always the case, specifically transfeminine people — from using the public bathroom associated with their gender. This is, of course, a heinous and right-wing attack on basic rights, but it is primarily aimed to restrict trans people’s ability to integrate into public life. Put another way, the attacks sought to restrict which public spaces trans people have access to.
These new attacks, however, go further and attempt to attack trans people’s right to transition at all. From attempting to make gender-affirming health care for youth a felony, to designating gender transitions as child abuse, to removing trans health care from Medicaid coverage — the current wave of right-wing attacks on trans health care seek to forcibly detransition people or stop them from ever transitioning in the first place. In this sense, these attacks are aimed at restricting trans people not only in public spaces but also in private ones.
If previous right-wing cultural movements had hoped to aggressively restrict bodily autonomy to this degree, they were unable to get very far. But now the Right is advancing past the bounds of what is commonly expected in liberal democracy. The neoliberal era was defined, in part, by greater integration of the oppressed (including queer people, women, people of color, etc.) into the mainstream of capitalist society, which went along with the concession of some legal rights. For the first time since the onset of the neoliberal era, we are seeing that process rolled back.
In terms of reproductive rights, we can see that the Right won one of its biggest victories in decades. With the overturning of Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court undemocratically removed not only a key victory of the feminist movement but also barriers for further right-wing advances. Now Republican lawmakers in various states are seeking to outlaw birth control and contraceptives outside married couples. This victory is a result of a combination of factors. First, the shift of the situation to the right and relatively depoliticization. In a different moment, overturning the right to an abortion could have led to a mass mobilization of people who rejected the decision and the court’s legitimacy. While there were some marches in the days leading up to and after the decision, no movement emerged. This is, in large part, because Biden’s election had such a demobilizing effect. Biden and the Democrats successfully contained the anger of the masses and turned it away from street organizing and toward electoral politics. As the meme went, Biden was elected and a huge sector of his base went “back to brunch” and abandoned the heightened politicization of the Trump era. This cleared the field and allowed for the advance of the Right without much resistance.
Another key factor is the decades-long strategy of the evangelical wing of the Republican Party, which seeks to integrate into the state by installing right-wing judges. This strategy to “pack the court” with right wingers led the evangelicals to support political candidates whom they may otherwise have great political differences with (such as Trump). There have also been attempts to run candidates for office specifically to advance this judicial agenda. For example, the Federalist Society essentially helped pick Trump’s judges for him. This strategy has paid off for the Right, not just in the overturning of Roe but also in a litany of other right-wing decisions that were handed down this term.
The Right’s victory in Roe both validates the strategy of the Republican establishment (which has always included sectors of the evangelical wing) and opens the door for further advance from the “new Republicans,” who are now advancing in. Contradictorily, however, it also helps the Democrats, who are capitalizing on contained public outrage over the decision to boost their electoral hopes in the midterms — leading some Democrats to call the midterms “Roevember.”
Reorientation of the Republican Party
Overall, the Republican Party is shifting to the right — embracing elements of Trumpism, Christian nationalism, and national conservatism — and becoming increasingly radicalized. The first signs of this shift came in 2008 with Sarah Palin and then intensified with the Tea Party movement. The economic crisis of 2008 destabilized the political situation and led to a polarization toward both the right and left. While the Democrats were able to (more or less) successfully contain their left-wing elements, the Republicans leaned into their right-wing elements. As a symptom of the polarization, Trump took control of the party. The Republican Party that nominated John McCain (or, for that matter, Mitt Romney) seems very distant from the Republican Party that has made Ron DeSantis a figurehead. This right-wing shift of the Republican Party must be understood as, in large part, its way of responding to the broader trends of loss of faith in institutions, unhappiness with the status quo, increasing polarization, and anger at the failings of neoliberalism.
Trump himself, however, is now in a contradictory position. Originally seen by many as the political representation of the Far Right, Trump is facing more challenges to this mantle from figures such as DeSantis. While Trump is still, in many important ways, the political leader of the Republican Party and the figurehead of the greater Right surrounding it, cracks in his armor are emerging.
On the one hand, the attempt to legally discipline Trump seems to be ramping up, the clearest example being the FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago. While the outcome of the investigation will be decided by a variety of factors — most notably the balance of forces and the response to this raid from the Right — it is clear that Trump is in a more precarious position than he was even a few months ago. This is a result of his loss of support from within the Republican Party. While the majority of Republicans — both the base and the elected officials — support Trump, we are seeing some notable defections. Most notably, Trump’s own vice president, Mike Pence, spoke in defense of the FBI and said he’d consider testifying in the January 6 hearings. In addition, about half of Republicans are ready to move on from Trump in 2024, according to recent polling — a sign of Trump’s declining support within his party.
Pence’s positioning is especially interesting since it reveals both his almost certain intention to run for president — representing a more traditional evangelical wing of the Republican Party, which is less tied to Trumpism — and that sectors of the Republican establishment are jumping ship from Trump. Never a popular figure among the Republican establishment, Trump’s intention to run again in 2024 is certainly unsettling members of the Republican leadership, especially around the question of foreign policy, where Trump’s America First, light-isolationist approach is out of step with traditional Republican policies. Increasingly, it seems as if taking Trump off the board for 2024 is in the best interests of both parties, which leaves political space for a stronger legal discipline than was possible before.
Contradictorily, however, Trump has also been strengthened (in the short term) by the Mar-a-Lago raid. The raid has reenergized sectors of his base, as can be seen in the protests of the FBI buildings by Trump supporters and the extreme example of a Trump supporter trying to attack an FBI office. Trump can now reassert himself as an anti-establishment force by pointing to the political targeting he is facing. In addition, in the battle of the primaries — a battle that involved George W. Bush and Mitch McConnell traveling the country trying to defeat Trumpist candidates — Trump has done very well. Consistently, Trump has proved himself a major force within the Republican Party, one who can rally support behind candidates of his choosing.
The Democrats: Strengthened in the Short Term, but Unable to Solve Contradictions
The Democrats also had an expression of increased polarization within their party, seen in the emergence of Sanderism and the DSA. But the Democratic establishment was better able to minimize and co-opt those elements into their establishment. So, while the Republicans are polarizing to the right, the Democrats are trying to hold the center, which means, essentially, that they are also shifting to the right in an attempt to keep up as the “center” of political discourse shifts rightward due to the Republicans. So, while the Democrats may claim to be standing up for progressive values or to be fighting the Right, in reality they helping shift the overall political discourse to the right — both by spending tens of millions to support the furthest-right candidates in Republican primaries in hopes that they will be easier to beat. But they are also disciplining the left-wing elements of their base.
Despite their challenges in the long run, however, the Democrats are in the best political place that they’ve been in all year — which is still not the strongest or most ideal, from their perspective. After months of legislative gridlock and public infighting between the party right and center, Biden has finally gotten something passed. The Inflation Reduction Act (more commonly known as the climate bill) is wildly insufficient and riddled with concessions to energy companies, but it does represent some movement on Biden’s agenda. For the first time in over a year, Biden got a “landmark” piece of legislation through Congress.
To do so, Biden needed to bring the Democratic right — namely Joe Manchin — into the fold. Manchin, who had publicly declared his opposition to the bill, reversed his position and supported the bill after securing several concessions for the coal industry. This does represent, however, a major win for Biden. At long last, he was able to lead his party on the domestic front and get some of his agenda passed. He followed that up with forgiving some student loan debt — though far, far less than the complete forgiveness that is what is sorely needed — partially making good on a campaign promise. All this has breathed new life into the congressional Democrats, who were seemingly dead in the water only a few weeks ago. For his part, Biden’s approval rating is climbing, although he remains remarkably unpopular.
The other major factor buoying the Democrats’ electoral hopes is the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe. In doing this, they handed the Democrats their best pitch to voters: that they are what stands between the voting public and even more right-wing attacks on reproductive rights. One Democrat — who won his special election — went so far as to put “choice is on the ballot” on his campaign signs. Since the Supreme Court decision dropped, the Democrats have been performing better in special elections and a majority of registered voters say that abortion will be “very important” to their midterm vote — interestingly, that same poll shows that today fewer voters than in the spring are saying Biden will be a major factor in their midterm votes. It’s looking increasingly likely that the Democrats will hold the Senate, keeping at least partial control of Congress.
This would have seemed almost unthinkable a few months ago. We can see how well the Democrats were able to seize on the advance of the Right — an advance they have aided — and attacks on democratic rights to strengthen their political position. If they defeat the far-right candidates, the Democrats will be able to, as they did after 2020, point to themselves as the answer to the Far Right. Biden’s dramatic speech on “protecting democracy” from Trumpism is further evidence of the Democrats’ plan: stoke legitimate fear of the Right to boost themselves — both in the short term, with the coming midterms, and in response to the more generalized loss of faith in the Democrats. By framing themselves as the defenders of democracy, the Democrats are, essentially, playing the hits. Once again we are being told that this is the most important election of our lives, that freedom and democracy hang in the balance, that we need to vote for a party we don’t particularly like to stop the Far Right from taking power. It’s the same line the Democrats have been using for years, but this time it seems truer. That’s because the Far Right is advancing and is threatening basic democratic rights. But the Democrats haven’t fought them. Rather, they’ve spent over $30 million to platform and advance the political ambitions of the most monstrous examples of the Far Right within the Republican Party so that they can stand in this moment and beat the podium about the danger of the Far Right. The Democrats are playing on our fear to win votes. They want us to believe that liberalism is enough to defeat the Right, but history has shown us countless times that it isn’t.
The Huge (and Largely Untapped) Potential of Generation U
The ongoing Generation U phenomena is, perhaps, the most promising development of the last few months. While there are some limitations of how this trend is developing, it is incredibly important that there is a dynamic unionization movement for the first time in decades and that it is being led by predominately young people who are Black, Brown, queer, immigrants, etc. It represents a huge jump forward for the labor movement, both in terms of dynamism and in terms of the sheer number of workplaces that are unionized.
More and more workplaces continue to be organized — typically by young, grassroots organizers who are organic to the workplace. An Amazon facility in Albany, New York, has filed to unionize with the ALU. If this effort is successful, it would represent the second major victory for the Amazon Labor Union. The struggle to unionize Starbucks is ongoing as workers bear the brunt of intense and potentially illegal union-busting — including store closures and firings.
Importantly, this week saw the first major teacher strike of the new school year. Teachers and education workers in Columbus, Ohio, went on strike two days before what was supposed to be the first day of school. They are demanding better school facilities, a more well-rounded curriculum, and smaller class sizes. The Columbus school district — the largest in the state — is attempting to coerce families to cross the virtual picket line with threats of truancy for families who don’t comply, but some students have already joined the teachers on the picket lines. This strike could inspire other education workers around the country as the school year begins.
Also, the UPS teamsters are beginning their contract fight — which will come to a head in 2023 — which many believe will lead to a strike. This would mean more than 350,000 workers — organized with the teamsters — in the logistics sector would be on strike, a more disruptive strike than we have seen in recent months. This, combined with the broader unionization phenomena, sets the stage for a potentially combative period.
How combative will the coming period of class struggle be? It depends on how Generation U develops politically. Currently, they are relatively latent politically — acting in the workplace but not intervening significantly in the overall political situation as workers. There weren’t strikes or work stoppages to protect abortion rights, for example. Indeed, even the union busting isn’t being combated — with some notable exceptions — with workplace actions. Rather, faith is being placed in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to resolve disputes. This is a dangerous strategy because, fundamentally, it relies on the state rather than worker power. In this, it limits the development of a workers’ movement and sows false faith in the Democratic Party (which is pointing to the NLRB as a positive example of how Democrats can help workers).
Generation U could be incredibly disruptive. Workers make society run, which means that, if workers choose to, we can grind the entire capitalist economy to a halt. This is an immensely powerful tool that the capitalists and their politicians are terrified of. That’s why Biden is creating special “emergency teams” to help avoid a railway strike; the capitalists want to maintain their profits. If Generation U chooses to use this power to affect the political situation — for example, a strike for abortion or trans rights — that will represent a major development.
Perspectives Going Forward
Given the contradictions and polarization of the current moment, it is vital that the Left have a clear analysis and strategy. From the advance of the Right to the potential of Generation U, the Left has many challenges and opportunities. The attacks by the Far Right on our basic democratic rights demand an organized and militant movement in the streets and in workplaces. This movement will be able to not only defend the rights we already have but also create a force for the conquest of more concessions. We cannot simply fight to protect what we have already won; we must demand and fight for more. Both in terms of reforms that will make life a little better and organizing a little easier but also, eventually, for the total conquest of power and overthrow of this wretched system.
This, of course, will be difficult. And it will not happen overnight. But it is urgent, because the Right is advancing and the establishment is showing again that it is unwilling and unable to meaningfully combat it. The Democrats are advancing the worst sectors of the Republican Party because they believe it will help their political chances in the midterms. To put any faith in them is foolhardy and irresponsible. Rather than fall into that trap, we need to take it upon ourselves to organize a movement to protect ourselves. Socialist feminist organizations like Bread and Roses will be vital in organizing and deepening the fight against the right.
We must not, however, forget that it is the working class alone that can overthrow capitalism. By using our power as workers, we can stop the capitalist machine from operating, which is the most powerful tool in our arsenal. In this sense, we must not view the growing labor movement as separate from fighting the Right. One can and should build the other. We must take the opportunities presented by the current moment and turn them into advances for our movement.
Issued by NEHAWU International Service Centre
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