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Date: Fri, 5 Nov 1999 23:34:52 -0500
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Subject: [Fwd: [SALT-L] Kazakhstan strike update and elections]

Date: 5 Nov 1999 23:54:06 -0000
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Subject: [SALT-L] Kazakhstan strike update and elections

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Kazakhstan strike update and elections

By Ionur Kurmanov, 5 November 1999

The following report contains an update on the Kazakh Metallist strike we reported on earlier. It comes through the Committee for a Workers' International. The world revolutionary body to which Socialist Alternative belongs. For more information on the CWI please check the Socialist Alternative website at http://www.angelfire.com/on2/socresist :

Elections to the Kazakhstan Parliament were marked by widespread fraud and intimidation. In Uralsk the left candidate gained 69% of the vote according to local observers but the official result registered only 48%. This means he requires a second vote as the 50% barrier had not been exceeded.

Although the Parliament has 110 deputies, opposition parties were only allowed ten candidates on their lists. The main opposition party, the communist party even according to official statistics won 18% of the vote and has been given 2 deputies. It won a third in the first past the post constituency elections in Uralsk.The CP also won control of the Uralsk and Ust Kamenogorsk local parliaments, cities in which members and sympathisers of the CWI played a big role in the election campaigns.

Against the background of the elections, the strike at the Mettalist factory in Uralsk has been continuing. Workers there have not been paid for 3 years.After new orders were gained by the factory after the Kosova conflict the factory makes rifles, the workers decided to strike. 5000 took part in the factory meetings. Since the strike started there have been practically daily street protests and road blockades.

Workers prevented a shareholders meeting from going ahead. They are demanding the complete nationalisation of the factory with the sacking of the current management and the establishement of workers control. Privatisation, of the factory, they argue should not be allowed and the state should finance production.

These demands are in contrast to those raised at a number of other recent disputes in neighbouring Russia (ie in Vyborg) where the Communist Party has demanded the creation of "people's enterprises". This slogan is in reality a cover for the commercial interests who are struggling for control of these plants.

Comrades and supporters of the CWI are leading the strike committee at the Metallist factory and ask for meassages of solidarity to be sent to:

417000 Republic of Kazakhstan,
Uralsk, ul. Udrinskaya d.1/1 kv. 9.
Pozhidaevy VT

Ionur Kurmanov
Co-President of Strike Committee