International Notes

Greek workers plan strike April 3 Thousands of workers, youth and retirees from throughout Greece are readying a 24-hour strike on April 3, to protest the government’s attempt to destroy the social security system. The government was forced to withdraw the same proposals last spring under pressure of popular discontent and large strikes.

Labor federations, unions and other labor organizations participating in the All Workers’ Militant Front (PAME) have initiated the action, and are being joined by others. Among workers’ demands are increased pensions, improvement of the public health system and improvement of relief services.



India protests demand end to violence Among many protests this month against the wholesale slaughter in India’s Gujarat State, hundreds of leading journalists marched in New Delhi demanding a ban on the extremist Vishwa Hindu Parishad and resignation of the Gujarat state government.

Participating were senior editors of mainstream papers including the Times of India and Hindustan Times as well as authors such as Arundathi Roy. In Kolkata thousands carried placards in a silent march to protest the killings, organized by youth and student federations, the Democratic Writers and Artists Organization and others.

Over 600 people have been killed in violence sparked late last month over renewed attempts by ultra-right Hindu extremists to build a temple at Ayodhya on the site of a mosque they destroyed in 1992. The Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist), together with other left parties, are demanding immediate national and state government intervention to stop the extremists and uphold the rule of law.



China-Viet Nam cooperation stronger In a letter of thanks to government and Communist Party leaders in Viet Nam, whom he visited recently, Chinese President Jiang Zemin said that bilateral friendly and cooperative relations will be “developed stronger, healthier and stably,” bringing benefits to both countries.

President Jiang, who is also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, concluded a three-day official friendship visit to Viet Nam on March 1. In the letter, he expressed his wish for an “evergreen friendship” between the peoples of the two countries.



Cuba protests remarks by U.S. official On the front page of its daily newspaper Granma, Cuba’s Communist Party last week published a communique sharply critizing Bush administration Assistant Secretary of State Otto Reich following Reich’s exceptionally harsh condemnation of the Cuban government.

“Right from the start of his activities in such an important position,” said the communique,” he has begun pouring out his sick and visceral hatred of the Cuban Revolution. The statement linked Reich to the worst anti-Castro extremists and called attention to Reich’s appointment by the Bush administration during a Congressional break.

President Bush made the so-called “recess appointment” to sidestep bitter opposition from senior Congressional Democrats. Reich, an ultra-right Cuban American, earlier was a leading participant in President Reagan’s vicious covert and proxy war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. His current appointment was widely protested by progressive forces in the U.S.



British postal workers march vs. privatization Thousands of angry postal workers marched through London last week, protesting government plans to increase “competition” in the postal service. Over 3,000 workers came from as far away as Scotland to participate in the March 16 demonstration. Unions and post office bosses have both warned that the competition scheme will cost thousands of jobs and end universal postal service.

CWU postal union deputy general secretary John Keagle told the crowd, “You only have to look at the railways and the health service to see that privatization has failed ... We will drop a letter in every single household, so everyone will know that this union will not stand back and watch privatization slip in the back door.”