International Notes: January 18th

International Notes: January 18th


Germany:  Communists disapprove ruling on fascists

The German Communist Party (Deutsche Kommunistische Partei) has responded to Tuesday’s ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court that the extreme right wing National Democratic Party (NPD, or Nationaldemokratisches Partei Deutschlands) will not be banned.

The NDP is a ferociously anti-Semitic, racist and nationalist organization whose leaders’ rhetoric often resembles those of the old National Socialists.  It has no federal parliamentary representation  but has elected people at the state level and has a representative in the European Parliament.

After the Second World War, both Germanies banned all racist and fascist parties, and the case against the NDP was brought by the Ministry of Justice on this basis.  The German Federal Republic (West Germany) also banned the Communist Party of those times, the Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, and that ban remains in place.  Nor has Germany lifted the prohibition on communists holding certain government jobs.  Patrik Köbele, the Chairman of the  Communist Party, pointed out the hypocrisy of the Court’s stance and said the fight to ban fascist and racist groups must continue.

Italian Communists weign in on “Operation Condor”

Italy’s Communist Refoundation Party (Refondazione Comunista) finds the ruling by the Third Court of Assizes, sitting in Rome, on the case of people indicted for crimes against humanity under “Operation Condor” to be unsatisfactory, because it permits impunity for some of the criminals.

Operation Condor was a U.S. supported murder and terror network, established among the Latin American military dictatorships in the late 1960s and the 1970s.  Its purpose was to coordinate work to hunt down and kill opponents of the regimes of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.  Up to 80,000 leftists, trade unionists, students and others, including ex President  Juan José Torres of Bolivia, ex President João Goulart of Brazil, and the former commander of the Chilean army, General Carlos Prats, were murdered as a result.  Former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier was murdered by a car bomb in the middle of Embassy Row in Washington DC.  Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is widely suspected of complicity in the operation.

The Italian trial of people  implicated in Operation Condor has gone on for 23 months, but only eight of the 27 accused were eventually found guilty and sentenced to life; all eight were already in prison. The Communist Refoundation Party says that particularly shameful is the case of the Uruguayan of Italian descent Jorge Nestor Fernandez Troccoli, who, in his capacity as an Uruguayan naval officer, was called “the torturer” and suspected of murdering a number of Italian citizens as well as Uruguayans and other Latin American.  The communists raise the “clamor for justice, truth and ‘Never Again’”.

French Communist Party prepares for election

The French Communist Party reported on January 14 that it has compiled an initial list of 253 candidates for parliamentary seats in the national elections which are to take place on April 23 of this year.  The National Council of the Communist Party approved this slate with a 91 percent vote. Nearly half of the candidates are women.  Some slating is yet to take place.

The Communist Party has decided, also, to once more back Jean-Luc Melenchon, who belongs to the “Unsubmissive France” grouping and not the Communist Party, for President.  Melenchon also was the Communist Party’s presidential candidate in the last elections, in 2012, and got 11.01 percent of the vote.  This year, the ruling Socialist Party of President Francois Hollande is in deep trouble with the public, while the far right National Party’s star is rising.

Brazil: Communists in Congress take on the right government

The Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB, Partido Comunista do Brasil) caucus in the the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Brazilian national Congress, is working to strengthen the left wing presence in the chamber so as to oppose the right wing policies of President Michel Temer.  A metalworker’s union activist, Assis Melo, who is also a communist member the Chamber,  Assis Melo points out the large number of  direct attacks on workers’ rights currently being carried out Temer’s drastic right wing program.

Assis Melo emphasizes his experience on the factory floor as a leader of the Metalworkers’ Union in his hometown of Caixas do Sul in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.  The PC do B’s newspaper, Vermelho: A Esquerda Bem Informada, quotes Assis Melo as saying:   “We have returned to quite an adverse scenario for ourselves and for the democratic and progressive forces of our country.  Today we are experiencing a recession and an attack on workers’ rights.”  He also expresses concern about the government’s attempts to criminalize protest, and the draconian 20 year cap it has put on social spending, as things that need to be opposed.



    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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