International Notes: Communist to lead group in Israel Parliament

International Notes: Communist to lead group in Israel Parliament


Israel: Communist elected head of  Hadash faction in the Knesset

Knesset (Israeli Parliament) member Ayman Odeh was re-elected on February 1 as chairman of the parliamentary faction of Hadash (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality-Communist Party of Israel), an Israeli Arab and Jewish party in which the Communist Party, or Maki, plays an important role.   Hadash is also part of a wider coalition, the Joint List, which will be fielding candidates in Israeli elections on April 9, in opposition to the right wing chauvinistic government of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

After his re-election, Odeh said “Citizens must ask themselves: are we heading toward democracy or towards apartheid?”  and “In the face of incitement, the “Nation-State” law, racism, desperation, Hadash and the Joint List will lead values of peace, equality, democracy and justice”


Japan:  Communists in a United Front

The Japanese Communist Party supports the formation of  a united electoral front with five other opposition parties, to challenge the right-wing government headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of the Liberal Democratic Party in this summer’s elections to the House of Counsellors, the upper house of the Japanese Parliament.  The agreement would aim at winning 32 single-seat districts in the House of Counsellors.

The agreement to work toward the united front, announced on January 28, includes, besides the Communist Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party, the Democratic Party for the People, the Liberal Party and the Reviewing Group for Social Security Policy.  The plan is to create a joint approach to opposing the government on both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Brazilian Communist Party (PTB)  on dam disaster

The Brazilian Communist Party (Partido Comunista Brasileiro, or PCB), one of two major communist parties in that country, is blaming the disastrous January 25 collapse of a dam in Brumadinho, in the Southeastern state of Minas Gerais, which has killed at least 134 people with many more missing, on the rapacious practices of the transnational mining industry.  The disaster resulted when a dam containing tailings from from the “Corrego de Feijão” iron mine gave way, covering everything and everybody in its path with contaminated mud.

The Brazilian Communist Party says that the major blame should be placed on the Vale S.A. mining company.  The existence of this private operation was the result of the partial privatization of a state owned operation during the presidency of Fernando Henrique Cardozo in 1997.  Brazilian in Origin, Vale, said to be the largest producer of iron ore and nickel in the world, now operates all over Latin America and in several African countries as well, and has been sharply criticized for its irresponsible environmental actions.

According to the PCB, Vale is a “cross between a vampire and a vulture” which sucks dry both its workers and the natural environment. But government officials who fail to control such companies are also blameworthy.


Ukraine: Communist Party blocked

On February 2, Ukraine’s Electoral Commission decided not to allow Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko to run as his party’s candidate in the March 31 presidential elections, on the basis of anti-communist laws enacted after the incidents of 2014.

The Communist Party of Ukraine has strongly objected to the denial of candidacy,  pointing out that the Constitutional Court of Ukraine is currently considering whether this anti-communist ban is legal or not.  In a statement, the Communist Party said that “We are the only party that offers an alternative to predatory capitalism, a course for the development of Ukraine”, namely socialism.

Spain:  Communist Party Suspends all Cooperation with Government

The Communist Party of Spain (PCE) has announced it is suspending all cooperation with the government headed by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of the social-democratic Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE).  The move comes because the Sánchez government has genuflected to U.S. imperialism by recognizing Juan Guaidó as “interim president of Venezuela”.

The communists denounced the Spanish government’s action as coming from “an interventionist attitude in the national sovereignty of a of a fraternal country, and an open contempt for international law”.   Moreover, the communists see Sánchez’s action in recognizing Guaidó as one of “dancing to the beat of the war drums which the United States is beating again”.





    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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