Iraq: CP calls for solidarity

The Iraqi people are caught between a dictatorial regime striving to remain in power at any cost, and a U.S. administration determined to make Iraq the first victim in its “pre-emptive strikes” doctrine, the Iraqi Communist Party said in a statement last weekend.

Besides the horrific consequences for innocent civilians, the ICP said, “war and military intervention cannot bring about democracy and peace for Iraq.” War will also give Israeli rulers the chance to commit more massacres against the Palestinian people, the ICP said.

All political and diplomatic means must be exhausted, the statement emphasized, and the government of Saddam Hussein must be pressed to stop its brinksmanship and comply with relevant UN resolutions.

The ICP urged the UN and people around the world to call for lifting the blockade against the Iraqi people, implementing the relevant UN resolutions, tightening the isolation of the Iraqi regime, eliminating mass destruction weapons under proper UN supervision, and sending UN human rights monitors to Iraq.

Australia: Unions vs. war

The trade union movement of New South Wales, speaking for 900,000 workers and their families, has unanimously passed a resolution rejecting any military action without UN endorsement.

“The Australian union movement has long supported the cause of peace and the use of diplomacy and discussion through the international community to resolve conflict between nations,” the resolution said. “The Labor Council does not believe any nation has the right to decide ‘regime change’ of any other nation by external force.”

Therefore, the Labor Council said, it supports unequivocally the calls in Australia and the wider international community that no military action be taken against Iraq without the backing of a specific UN Security Council resolution. The Council also called on Iraq to fully and unconditionally cooperate with UN resolutions and to allow the resumption of weapons inspections.

Gov’t attacks vs. protesters denounced

The Colombian Communist Party last week protested the newly inaugurated Uribe government’s repression of the Sept. 16 student and labor protests, and ongoing campesino marches around the country. The CP said students were met with clubbings, arrests, attempted “disappearances” and legal charges. “In the case of the campesinos, the marchers’ just demands have been ignored, and marchers have been beaten.” The CP also charged that in several regions, paramilitary elements have conducted repressive actions with full knowledge of the government.

Some 800,000 Colombians participated in the Sept. 16 actions. The CP called the protests “a mass people’s mobilization of social discontent, one month after the inauguration of the new administration.”

“We demand an end to violent reprisals, freedom for all those arrested, a resolution to the campesinos’ demands, and an explanation before the international community for the mistreatment of workers, campesinos, students, and international volunteer observers during the day of protest,” the CP statement said.

China: U.S. ship troubles the waters

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is protesting the incursion of the U.S. naval vessel, Dowditch, into the waters of China’s Exclusive Economic Zone without government approval. China said its military aircraft and naval vessels had frequently confronted the Dowditch in the Yellow Sea, sometimes at a distance of only 60 meters.

The U.S. contends the vessel is on a hydrographic mission, but China says U.S. official documents identify the Dowditch as a “special task” (i.e. intelligence) ship.

The U.S. also contends the vessel was outside Chinese territorial waters. But China points out that the international law on the sea, agreed to in 1982, demands advance permission for “innocent passage” of vessels through another country’s Exclusive Economic Zones.

Union aids family of slain Colombian

Working with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and other agencies, Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Local 707 members are raising the estimated $30,000 needed to bring the widow and two children of a slain Colombian miners’ union leader to Canada from their hiding place in El Salvador.

The labor leader was hauled off a public bus by a death squad and murdered. He left behind his wife, who would not be silenced, and two children, now 8 and 11 years old. Local 707 will settle the family in Hamilton and sponsor them for a year. The CLC has already resettled two Colombian families in other communities.

At its June membership meeting, the local voted overwhemingly to sponsor the family. More fundraising events are planned, and the local is working to educate the community about the reasons Colombia is the world’s most dangerous country for organized labor.