Communists on the front lines

BY:Emile Schepers And CPUSA International Department| September 26, 2017
Communists on the front lines


India: Communists denounce journalist’s murder

The Communist Party of  India (Marxist) is blaming the murder of veteran left-wing journalist Gauri Lankesh, and several similar killings, on the right wing “Hindutva” (Hindu chauvinist) government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his BJP political party and the RSS Hindutva organization.  Ms. Lankesh  was shot dead by three men at her home in Bengaluru (Bangalore) on September 5.

Lankesh had antagonized Hindutva extremists and various politicians by her muckraking style and for her advocating of religious and press freedom, as well as her opposition to the caste system and “superstition and obscurantism”.

The CPI (M) statement continues “This killing fits into a by now familiar pattern of eliminating voices that dare to speak out against the current climate of hate and intolerance [fomented[ by the RSS/BJP.

The CPI(M) calls upon the Left and democratic forces to lodge a strong protest against this heinous murder and against the growing intolerance and hatred in this country”.


Madagascar: Communists support closer ties with neighbors

On September 8, a meeting took place in St.Denis on the Island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, which is a French colonial possession of more than 800,000 inhabitants.  The topic was the development of closer ties between the people of Reunion, and those of Madagascar, itself a former French colony but now an independent Republic.

Among the participants in the encounter was Eric Rakotomanga, the president of the AKFM, the Congress Party for the Independence of Madagascar, which is Madagascar’s communist party.  At the meeting, Rakotamanga expressed that the exploration of closer relations between the two islands is long standing, going back to the earliest human settlement of the two islands, and the moment has come to advance it.   This is made urgent by the current global crises including climate change which is having an especially strong impact on island countries in the Indian Ocean, as well as insecurity, drug and human trafficking and smuggling.

Peru Communists draw lessons from teachers’  strike

The Peruvian Communist Party (Partido Comunista Peruano) has summed up lessons to be learned from the large-scale teachers’ strike which lasted, in an escalating form, from June 15 until last September 2.

An article signed by Gustavo Espinoza Montesinos, a senior communist activist who recently returned to the party after a hiatus, points out how the different neo-liberal regimes which have ruled Peru since the death of President Juan Velazco Alvarado have wrecked the nation’s school system with privatization schemes and other ill-considered policies.  The worst happened in 1993 when civilian dictator Alberto Fujimori’s government changed the constitution so that education would no longer be a “right” of the people, but rather a “service” doled out to the people.  The toleration of very shaky privatized institutions of teaching and especially of teacher training, retrenchment in government support for primary, secondary and higher education with resulting stagnation of teachers pay and the overcrowding of schools and institutions, have damaged the public education system. Now the International Monetary Fund is trying to impose a top-down scheme of teacher evaluations without giving the teachers and schools the means of improving their work.

The article sums up by praising the teachers’ organizations that led the strike, pointing out that the only guarantee for workers is active struggle, and that the left must never lose its links to its mass base or engage in mere pontificating or isolated actions.  Nothing can be expected from the current right-wing, neoliberal government, but that with the extreme right wing, led by dictator Fujimori’s daughter, Keiko Fujimori, only fiercer repression could be expected.

Spain / Catalonia:  Communists urge participation in the Catalan referendum

On October 1, inhabitants of the autonomous region of Catalonia in Spain will vote in a referendum on setting up their own republic.  The central Spanish government of right-wing Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has declared the vote to be illegal and is threatening punitive sanctions against a large number of Catalan officials who have been working to carry out the referendum.

Nevertheless, the Communist Party of Catalonia (Comunistes de Catalunya) is urging a big turnout in the referendum.  The communists see the vote as a break with the right-imposed monarchical constitution of 1978, approved following the death of long-time fascist dictator Francisco Franco.  The communists see the October 1 vote, also, as an act of protest in favor of free choice of the people’s future.  According to the Catalan communists “the party reaffirms the right of self-determination of the people of Catalonia” which they do not see as incompatible with the unity of the working class of Spain and Europe.  According to the communists, a Catalan Republic would freely associate with the rest of Spain.




    Emile Schepers is a veteran civil and immigrant rights activist. Emile Schepers was born in South Africa and has a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Northwestern University. He has worked as a researcher and activist in urban, working-class communities in Chicago since 1966. He is active in the struggle for immigrant rights, in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and a number of other issues. He now writes from Northern Virginia.


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