International Notes: “European way of life” a code for racism says AKEL

International Notes: “European way of life” a code for racism says AKEL


Cyprus: Communists decry anti-immigrant  language in EU document

AKEL, which is the communist party of the island nation of Cyprus, has joined with a wide variety of left, center and even conservative organizations and individuals in rejecting  a shocking statement by the new president of the European Commission, former German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen. Von der Leyen has decided to integrate immigration, asylum and security issues into a new portfolio entitled “Protecting the European Way of Life”.

The combination of all these things under a “security” rubric is part of the problem, but what really shocked AKEL and the others was the title of the thing, because it obviously “refers to the rhetoric and logic of the extreme right, which considers immigrants and refugees as a threat to the way of life, culture and security of Europe.  This is a xenophobic logic that is contrary to multiculturalism, solidarity and anti-racism that should characterize Europe”.

AKEL also criticized the conservative government of Cyprus for going along with von der Leyen’s proposal.


Swaziland:  Communists denounce harassment of unions 

On Monday September 23, there was a strike by public sector workers in the small African kingdom of Swaziland, also known as eSwatini.   But the Communist Party of Swaziland warns that harassment of labor leaders by officials of the government of King Mswati III is picking up as the strike approaches.

Communist Party of Swaziland Deputy Chairman Mcolisi Ngcamaphalala is playing a key role in the labor mobilization of schoolteachers.  He is also a member of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers, and a regional chairman of that union. The Communist Party complains that comrade Ngcamphalala is being subjected to threats both by security forces and by school administrators, who are trying to get him dismissed from his teaching position for his union activism.  The Communist Party of Swaziland has called for support for their struggle against the Mswati regime, and an end to the Tinkhundla regime of government by royal patronage.


Israel:  Maki salutes electoral triumph but warns of future peril

The Communist Party of Israel, or Maki, is glad that the Joint List, in which it is one of the participating parties, did well in the national elections on Tuesday September 17.  The Joint List got 10.62 percent of the popular vote, which translates into 13 seats in the Knesset, the Israeli national legislature. This duplicates results in the last election, in 2015, and makes the Joint List the third largest bloc in the Knesset.  According to the Communist Party’s analysis, the vicious racist attacks of Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu launched against Israeli Arabs during the electoral campaign might have stimulated greater turnout of Israeli Arabs who gave their vote to the Joint List.

But the communists warn that another result of the election was the increase in seats for the most reactionary parties, including especially Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu (Israel is our Home).  They think that there is little chance that the Joint List will be asked to be part of a coalition government, and this is bad news for the interests of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians.


Argentina: Communist push for agrarian reform

The Communist Party of Argentina points out that under the current system of neoliberal capitalist agriculture in their country, applied by the right-wing President, Mauricio Macri, has intensified the decades old pattern of driving family farmers, small-scale producers, peasants and indigenous people off the land.

Argentine and foreign capitalists invested in the country’s agricultural production are driving this dynamic. The Communist Party of Argentina “has fought, is fighting and will fight for an agrarian reform until it is achieved, to the point that a ‘ a comprehensive agrarian reform is a fundamental part of the programmatic proposals of our party”.  Such a reform is also an essential part of meeting the nutritional needs of the people.




    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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