Americas

Image: La Riposte sindicale

After a five–day strike that began on April 26, the Trudeau government deprived the dockers of CUPE 375 of their right to strike through passing back–to–work legislation. The union executive chose not to defy the law and agreed to return to work on Sunday, May 2. Even if the dispute is not settled, this government of the bosses has taken away these workers’ best weapon. At some point, someone, somewhere, will have to dare to challenge the use of unjust and undemocratic back–to–work legislation.

Yesterday, on 3 May, Alberto Carrasquilla, the main proponent of the Tax Reform, exited through the back door, resigning with Vice Ministers Juan Alberto Londoño (Finance) and Juan Pablo Zárate (Treasury). The pressure from the national strike – which has now gone on for six days – and the total bankruptcy of the Duque-Uribe government, have put these pen-pushing officials to the test. In underestimating the power of the masses, they have been utterly scorched by it.

After five days of furious protests across 23 cities in Colombia against Ivan Duque’s tax bill (an austerity package meant to make the workers pay for the results of the pandemic), the government has withdrawn the bill. This is an overwhelming victory for the working class. For five days, more than 50,000 protestors took to the streets of Bogotá (these are official numbers and are probably an underestimation), with the rest of the nation following suit, in protest against a law that would worsen the conditions of daily life.

The national strike movement of 21 November 2019 has resurfaced like a revived giant as of 28 April, initiating what is becoming one of the greatest struggles of this period: the National Strike against the Tax Reform. The principle demand arose from exasperation caused by this obnoxious law presented by the Ministry of Finance. But behind it, there runs a deep discontent fomented by a long list of abuses against the ever–more impoverished masses at the hands of the Duque government. With each passing day, the strikers are adding new demands, whether or not they appear on the official list of demands.

The mobilization of the dockers at the Port of Montreal is reaching a critical point. With the strike only beginning, the Trudeau Liberals, with the full support of the CAQ at the provincial level, are moving to take away the democratic right to strike. We cannot let another strike be crushed through the use of back-to-work legislation.

Normally, the monarchy is the least of the concerns of working-class Canadians and Quebecers. But occasionally, a new scandal reminds us that this archaic, useless, and anti-democratic institution continues to be at the heart of the Canadian political system. It goes without saying that Marxists are the strongest advocates of the abolition of the monarchy and the Senate. But how can this be done?

The province of Ontario in Canada is experiencing a massive spike in COVID-19 infections as a direct result of the right-wing, pro-business policies of the regional Doug Ford administration. Working-class people are overwhelmingly bearing the brunt of the suffering. The comrades of Fightback – the Canadian section of the International Marxist Tendency – and other supporters of the Ontario Coalition Against Ford, have co–authored an appeal to the mass labor organizations in the province to organize a mass work refusal. The campaign is developing a head of steam in the labour movement, including the support of senior labour movement activists, and will be holding its Action Launch

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Last summer, tens of millions of people in the US participated in the Black Lives Matter movement sparked by the racist police murder of George Floyd. Nearly one year later, on 20 April 2021, his killer Derek Chauvin was convicted of three charges: second-degree unintentional felony murder; third-degree “depraved mind” murder; and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin’s conviction is a far cry from justice for George Floyd and all those constantly facing police brutality.

On 19 April, the Venezuelan People’s Revolutionary Alternative (APR) organised the public launch of its founding congress period. This is an important step forward for the APR, which was established in August last year by socialist and revolutionary organisations, in response to the anti-working class course taken by the Venezuelan government of president Maduro. The congress will discuss the APR’s programme, a political document and its organisational structures.

A failed attempt to unionise Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama is a lesson in the need for a bold and effective strategy by the US labour leaders. Even a goliath like Amazon is no match for the power of the working class when effectively organised. The battle goes on!

The second round of Ecuador’s presidential election has produced a victory for the right-wing candidate, the banker Lasso, and a defeat for the left-wing candidate, Andrés Arauz. It is important to try to understand the reasons why this happened, and the perspectives for the workers’ movement in the Andean country.

On Sunday 11 April, the first round of the presidential elections in Peru produced a major surprise: the victory, against all the odds, of Pedro Castillo, the leader of the 2017 teachers' strike. In the second round, he will face the reactionary, right-wing candidate of Fuerza Popular, Keiko Fujimori, in a clear expression of enormous political polarisation in a country ravaged by the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is a debate in the US left about building a mass workers' party. Some argue for the so-called dirty break, in which left-wingers within the Democrats split off at some point in the future. Others argue that socialist candidates should remain with the Democrats and establish a surrogate "party within a party". Our US comrades argue that the party of Wall Street is a dead end. Only a mass, independent political party of labour presents any road forward for the working class.

The electoral campaign for the second round of the presidential elections in Ecuador on Sunday, 11 April has come to an end. The second round pits the banker Guillermo Lasso, the candidate of the capitalist oligarchy, against the candidate of the left-wing UNES, Andrés Arauz, who represents correísmo and who came first in the first round on 7 February. So far, the polls do not suggest a clear winner. 

Jose del Paso and Tom Trottier from Socialist Revolution (the IMT in the USA) interviewed former Amazon employee, Chris Smalls, who was fired following his attempt to organize a strike at one of the company’s Staten Island facilities over health concerns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. After terminating his job, Amazon attempted to use him as a scapegoat to tarnish organizing efforts by Amazon workers nationwide. Chris went on to found the Congress of Essential Workers, an alliance of workers who fight for higher wages and better working conditions for essential workers.