International workers' movement news

Labour Party of Pakistan organises in Sindh The struggles of workers and peasants in the southern Pakistani province of Sindh have taken a big step forward with the formation of the Labour Party of Pakistan (lpp) in the province. The lpp’s first Sindh conference was held in the rural town of Birt Shah, outside of Hyderabad, on August 15. The conference was the culmination of 12 months’ work in building and consolidating an activist base in the region. It was attended by 300 people from 17 cities and towns throughout Sindh, including peasant leaders, prominent trade unionists and students. The new Sindh organisation also brings together activists from a range of political backgrounds, including members and leaders of the former Communist Party of Pakistan as well as layers new to socialist politics. Prospects for the lpp are good. The party’s name and message are spreading rapidly. In the interior of Sindh, the party has set up committees in many areas, all of which are growing rapidly. In Karachi, the party has established an extensive network, including among the oppressed religious minorities, in the Karachi Municipal Corporation and even at Karachi University, a stronghold of the rightist fundamentalists. The spirit of the conference was euphoric. “At last, we have a party of our own”, was a much-repeated comment from the participants. “The conference definitely showed both the rapid gains made so far and the possibilities for further big steps forward in the near future”, said Farooq Sulheria, editor of the party’s newspaper Mazdoor Jeddojuhd (Workers’ Struggle). “It has given hope to all of us.” For more information see Green Left Weekly, Issue 330, page 22 , or contact the lpp at . To top pds election successes The Social-Democratic Party (spd—Sozial-Demokratische Partei Deutschlands) won the September 27 German elections with 40.9 per cent of the vote and 298 of the 669 seats (an increase of 4.5 per cent and 46 seats). They have formed a government with Alliance 90–The Greens, who won 6.7 per cent of the vote and 47 seats, down by 0.6 per cent and two seats from the previous poll. The Party of Democratic Socialism (pds—Partei des Demokratische nSozialismus) is the only party besides the spd which won 500,000 new votes25 per cent of its total. For the first time, the party overcame the 5 per cent barrier across Germany. With 5.1 per cent of the vote (an increase of 0.7 per cent), the pds will re-enter the Bundestag with a group of 35 deputies (up by five). In East Berlin, the party defended the four constituencies it won in 1994. Among them, the victory of the young chairperson of the pde’s Berlin organisation, Petra Pau, has special weight. In a hard campaign, she beat spd vice-chairperson Wolfgang Thierse, despite support for him from many Green voters. The pds once again won a disproportionate share of support from young people. Six per cent of first-time voters across Germany voted pde. The pde’ electoral success is especially precious because it was despite attacks from all other political parties. As well, the concept of open lists has proven effective. The pds Bundestag group will consist of 28 party members and seven non-party members. Sixty per cent are women. On September 27, there was also an election for the regional parliament, the Landtag, of the northeast area of Mecklenburg–Vorpommern. This election was won by the spd, with 34.3 per cent of the vote (up 4. 8 per cent) and 27 of the 71 seats (up by 4 per cent). Then followed by the Christian Democratic Union, which again suffered a dramatic decline, winning only 30.2 per cent of the vote (down 7.5 per cent) and 24 seats (down 6 per cent). The pds scored 24.4 per cent (up 1.7 per cent) and 20 seats (up 2 per cent). A very important result of these elections is that the parties of the extreme right did not succeed in entering either the Bundestag nor the Landtag of Mecklenburg–Vorpommern. The German People’s Union (dvu—Deutsche Voles Union) and the National Democratic Party (ndp—Nazionaldemokratische Partei) received only 3.3 per cent of the vote between them across Germany. In Mecklenburg–Vorpommern, the dvu reached 2.9 per cent (against 12.9 per cent in the April Saxony–Anhalt election). For more information see Green Left Weekly Issue 336, page 14, , or visit the pds web site at <80>80>