Saturday, November 16, 2019

Postal workers issue ‘call to arms’ after court bars workers from their right to strike

The Communication Workers' Union says the judgment is a ‘genuine outrage’

The Royal Courts of Justice
Photo: David Castor/Creative Commons

POSTAL workers issued a “call to arms” to the trade union movement today after a court barred workers from striking against the casualisation of the Royal Mail.
After a two-day hearing at the Royal Court of Justice, Mr Justice Swift ruled today in favour of a Royal Mail application to stop Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) members from going on strike.
The CWU sent out a brief tweet immediately after the ruling, saying: “Genuinely this is an utter outrage. 110,000 workers vs the establishment.”
Mr Justice Swift said the CWU’s actions amounted to “improper interference” with the vote on strike action.
He said: “What the CWU did in this case was … a form of subversion of the ballot process.”
The judge said the union “took advantage” of members’ employment as postal workers to “encourage” them to take their voting papers from work before they were delivered to their homes and vote while in the workplace.
CWU members overwhelmingly supported taking action, with 97 per cent voting to strike on a turnout of 75 per cent.
It was one of the largest votes for industrial action in history and was only the third time that the threshold for national strike action set by the 2016 Trade Union Act was met.
The dispute is related to concerns amongst Royal Mail employees about the 2018 Four Pillars Agreement.
The agreement established a common understanding between workers and management over securing the future of the postal service, preserving decent pensions and working conditions and to move towards a 35-hour working week.
CWU members have expressed serious concerns that their management are not respecting the agreement and that a culture of bullying is being cultivated in depots and sorting offices across the country.
But Royal Mail claimed in court that the ballot was unlawful and has said that CWU officials “planned and orchestrated” breaches of industrial-relations law during the balloting process.
Royal Mail’s lawyers told the court that CWU officials and activists encouraged their members to intercept their ballot papers at work, vote immediately, then share footage and images of themselves sending off their votes on social media.
They also accused union officials of interfering with the ballot and alleged that there was a “de facto workplace ballot” — which would go against industrial actions law requiring that ballots must be cast in a worker’s home.
A Royal Mail statement admitted last week that it launched the challenge “because of the damage industrial action would do to the company and its customers in the run-up to Christmas.”
Following the result, CWU general secretary Dave Ward said that postal workers are “extremely angry” and “bitterly disappointed that one judge has granted Royal Mail an injunction to invalidate our ballot for strike action.”
Pointing out that not a single one of the 110,000 workers who were balloted complained to Royal Mail or independent scrutineers about the ballot, Mr Ward said: “This injunction is not only a massive injustice to our members — it’s also an injustice to every worker in the country.
“We all need to wake up and recognise that this Tory government has deliberately stacked the rules against workers in favour of the constituency they were born to serve — which is big business and the establishment.
“We appeal to the TUC and workers everywhere — in what is a call to arms — that it’s time for us to fundamentally shift the balance of forces in this country back to working people and remove these draconian laws once and for all.”
Mr Ward also told Royal Mail CEO Rico Back that this is not the end of the CWU’s fight, warning him: “You cannot face away from the reality that your victory in this court will be short-lived.
“You cannot face away from the reality that you have completely lost the confidence of the workforce and as a result there is no way you will ever be able to fully implement your plans for the future.”
He reassured CWU members that the union will be “doing everything” in its power to oppose both the decision and the company’s plans to casualise Royal Mail and will not only appeal the judgement but will launch a campaign against the company.
Royal Mail’s managing director of regulation and corporate affairs Shane O’Riordain said: “We are very pleased with the outcome today.”

Labour backs Living Rent's campaign to end universal credit evictions

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and 
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard

LABOUR became the first major political party to pledge support for Living Rent’s campaign against evictions caused by universal credit tonight.
British party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his Scottish counterpart Richard Leonard joined the Scottish tenants’ union in calling on housing associations to ensure no tenant faces eviction due to arrears caused by the benefit.
Mr Leonard said the campaign had Labour’s “unwavering support.”
“The fact that people suffering under the cruel policy of universal credit are being forced into debt and threatened with eviction is absolutely shocking,” he said.
“In power, Labour will immediately scrap this inhumane policy that has seen poverty and rent arrears soar across local authorities.
“The Living Rent campaign has Labour’s unwavering support on this matter and we call on Nicola Sturgeon to do all she can to help those tenants threatened with eviction.
“When elected, Labour will tackle the substandard state of housing in this country and eradicate the poverty that goes hand in hand with it.
“We will implement a Mary Barbour law to regulate our overpriced private renting sector and we will commit to build 12,000 social homes a year in Scotland.
“Labour will stand up for tenants in the face of profit-hungry private landlords because Labour is on the side of the many, not the few.”
Living Rent argues that the controversial benefit scheme disproportionately affects tenants and leads to arrears resulting in eviction and destitution.
Research from four federations of housing associations across the UK revealed that 73 per cent of tenants in receipt of universal credit are in debt.
And a survey by the Unite union found 42 per cent of universal credit claimants had used foodbanks due to deprivation caused by the benefit and 70 per cent had skipped meals.
Living Rent organiser David Hanson told the Star the group was “overwhelmed that, in just a few short weeks since our campaign began, it has already been recognised by the leader of the Labour Party.”
He said: “The scourge of universal credit and its accompanying miseries of debt, eviction and destitution is a UK-wide problem, one that in Glasgow we are fighting against in the heart of our communities.
“While we don’t know if or when universal credit will be scrapped, it is clear now that if housing associations plan to tackle its worst effects, they must commit to a policy of no universal credit evictions.”
The Labour Party has already pledged to scrap universal credit as part of an overhaul of Britain’s benefit system.
Living Rent outreach liaison officer Enas Magzoub said: “It’s great to see the Labour Party backing us in this. It really goes to show that, just because there’s an election on, we can’t put the grassroots campaigns on the back burner.
“We still need to work for immediate change now, not just in four weeks’ time.
“Labour’s support of Living Rent demonstrates their commitment to ordinary, struggling people, instead of rogue landlords and greedy letting agents.
“Universal credit has been proven to be a complete disaster.
“We face the very real prospect that people will be forced from their homes due to rent arrears caused by a poorly thought-out system.
“These people cannot afford to wait for weeks while their payments come in.”

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Tudeh Party of Iran condemns the right-wing coup d’état in Bolivia: Bolivian President Evo Morales resigns following right-wing coup

Last Sunday, Evo Morales, Bolivia's leftist president, announced that he was stepping down from his position to calm down the political climate in the country. Violent demonstrations and riots have been taking place in Bolivia since the general election of MPs, Senators, President and his deputy on 20th October. The opposition have alleged that electoral fraud and vote-rigging took place. The country’s Electoral Monitoring Committee announced that Evo Morales won the election with 47.1% of the votes and there was no need for a second round.Morales secured more than 40% of the electorate’s vote and there was also more than a 10% margin between him and his nearest challenger (who secured 36.5% of the vote) as stipulated under the electoral rules in Bolivia.
However, supporters of Morales’s main rival, the former Bolivian President, Carlos Mesa, claimed even before the announcement of the final result that the election had been rigged and should be taken to the second round and began to whip-up public protest demonstrations. The Western and especially American media also began to report on election fraud and ballot rigging on the day of the General Election.
Following the escalation of the protests, Morales first called for talks with the opposition parties,but they rejected negotiation. He then accepted the recommendation of the Organisation of American States to null and void the results and hold the election again. However, following continuing violence against activists and leaders of the Movement towards Socialism (Morales's own political organisation), kidnapping, intimidation of journalists, and the damaging and burning down of the homes of government officials and their families (including Morales’s sister) by the protesters, together with the request from the Commander of the Bolivian Armed Forces, Morales announced last Sunday night that both he and his deputy would step down to prevent further violence and for the restoration of peace and calm.
"I decided to resign so that Carlos Mesa ... stopped harassing thousands of people ... My job is to keep the peace and the conflict between Bolivians hurts me" he said in a press statement. “We will fight for equality and peace.”“Struggle continues. This is not the end. If the IMF policies return to Bolivia, it will be worse for Bolivia" he wrote in a tweet released the same day. Along with the resignation of Evo Morales and his deputy, the Speaker of the Senate (who would be acting president under the constitution) resigned. A number of ministers and MPs also resigned. As such, a vacuum has formed in the Bolivian state apparatus that is likely to be seized upon by the opposition.

Evo Morales said in a tweet early Monday morning: "Mesa and Camacho, opposition leaders, conspirators and agitators for sowing division, will go down in history as racists and coup plotters...they bear full responsibility to calm the country and guarantee and ensure political stability and peaceful co-existence between the people. The world and the patriots of Bolivia reject the coup... They [the coup plotters] are lying when they blame us for the turmoil and violence that they themselves have created. "

Evo Morales was first elected as to the presidency in 2005, and then re-elected three times in subsequent elections, serving as the Bolivian President for a total of 13 years. He was the first Bolivian president to hail from the indigenous (or so-called Indian) population of the country.

He regarded himself and his government at the service of the toiling masses and was oriented towards socialism. Morales has carried out many socio-economic projects during his presidency since 2006 for the benefit of the working and poor people. Bolivia's economy improved greatly in a variety of areas, including in the transportation industry, industrialisation and energy production, so much so that its GDP had tripled by 2013. During Morales' presidency, poverty fell by 42% and extreme poverty was reduced by 60%. By implementing popular economic policies, Morales’ governments increased the public services expenditure by 750% in the first nine years of his presidency, resulting in the construction of large numbers of schools, gymnasiums and medical clinics.

Bolivia is one of the countries with the highest increases in real minimum wage in Latin America and its per-capita income growth rate is twice that of Latin America’s average. The food security policies of the Morales governments, providing the people with their needs, is exemplary among Latin American countries. During Morales’ presidency, these domestic policies, as well as Bolivia's foreign policy in defence of peace and national sovereignty, did not please the right-wing forces inside and outside Bolivia. Diplomatic relations between the United States and Bolivia have also been cut at ambassadorial level since 2009.

A number of leaders and international organisations have expressed their solidarity with Morales. Alberto Fernandez, the Argentine president elect, called Morales' resignation "a coup against the president". And he said: "We, the defenders of democratic institutions, condemn the blatant violence that altered the electoral process and prevented Evo Morales' presidency to complete its course”.

Former Brazilian President, Lula, who was recently released from prison, condemned the coup against Morales which forced him to resign. The governments of Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, and Mexico and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America also issued messages condemning the coup by the right-wing forces and stating their support for the Morales government.

The Cuban foreign minister, while expressing solidarity with Morales, also called for "a global mobilisation to defend the life and liberty of Evo Morales". In Europe, both Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the British Labour Party, and Jean-Luc Melanchon, the left-wing leader of France Unbowed Party, condemned what had taken place as a coup against the people of Bolivia and Morales.

According to the “Entekhab” news portal in Iran, referring to recent events in his country, the Bolivian ambassador in Tehran, said that "the coup in Bolivia has fascistic colours and that Evo Morales’s life is in danger”. Meanwhile, the right-wing forces in Brazil and Chile and their American counterparts have welcomed what is happening in Bolivia.

In a Twitter message on Monday morning, Evo Morales thanked his supporters in Bolivia and abroad for their solidarity and wrote: "Very grateful to the solidarity of the people, brothers from Bolivia and the world who communicate with recommendations, suggestions and expressions of recognition that give us encouragement, strength and energy. These messages have deeply affected me and brought tears to my eyes. They never abandoned me, and I will never abandon them”.

The Tudeh Party of Iran, alongside progressive forces from around the world, condemns this new coup attempt undertaken by the right-wing force in Latin America, this time against the president Evo Morales, the elected president of Bolivia's people, and his government.The Party expressesits solidarity with the people of Bolivia, the Communist Party of Bolivia, and other Bolivian and Latin American progressives in their struggle to continue the process for the realisation of democracy, social justice and independence.

The Tudeh Party of Iran
Monday 11 November 2019


Nov 11, 2019
The Communist Party of Canada condemns the coup d’état against Bolivian President Evo Morales and the MAS government, and demands that the attacks on Morales and other MAS leaders, by right-wing gangs must stop. These include an attack on Evo Morales’ home, the fire-bombing of the homes of other MAS Ministers, and holding their relatives hostage in order to force their resignations. This is terror.
We also demand an end to targeted attacks on the Communist Party of Bolivia which has consistently supported the MAS government and its progressive policies.
The Communist Party demands that the safety of President Morales and other MAS leaders is protected by Bolivian authorities, and that the Canadian government and the international community must add their voices to this demand.
President Morales’ decision to hold new elections was aimed to prevent bloodshed by the coup plotters, who have declared the October 20 re-election of Evo Morales ‘fraudulent’ after 13 years of their unsuccessful opposition to Morales’ popular government and policies benefiting the poor, the Indigenous Peoples, the working class and small farmers. Morales led the first Indigenous led government in the Americas since colonization.
The opposition did not accept new elections and the military then told Morales he had to resign. This is a coup backed by the military, the violent anti-democratic and racist opposition, the corporations and the wealthy, actively aided and abetted by the United States and Canada.
The coup against President Morales and the MAS government is a virtual carbon copy of the attempted coup against the Maduro government in Venezuela last January.
Given Canada’s support for the pretender Guaido and the coup plotters in Venezuela, we demand the Canadian government end – and make public- any Canadian involvement in the coup d’état in Bolivia, and that the government and Parliament unconditionally condemn the coup against President Morales and the MAS government.
Global Affairs Canada issued a statement immediately following the October 20th election stating that they were “deeply concerned by additional reports of serious election irregularities.” This, and similar statements from the United States helped to fuel the violence from opposition forces. Yesterday, during the coup, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland issued a statement noting “the resignation of President Morales” and saying Canada would “support Bolivia during this transition and the new elections”. This recognizes and legitimizes a clearly unconstitutional coup in Bolivia.
The blood covered fingerprints of US imperialism, the Organization of American States, and the Lima Group are all over these attempts to roll back and defeat progressive governments in Latin America. How many more coups will there be against progressive governments elected in Latin America? How many more will Chrystia Freeland and Justin Trudeau support?
Canada must end its support for and involvement in US regime change and covert operations around the world. Working people in Canada want no part of this.
Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada


11 nov 2019
Le Parti communiste du Canada condamne le coup d’État perpétré contre le président bolivien Evo Morales et le gouvernement du MAS (Movimiento Al Socialismo – Mouvement pour le socialisme) et exige que cessent les attaques des bandes de droite contre Morales et d’autres dirigeant-e-s du MAS. Il s’agit notamment d’une attaque contre la maison d’Evo Morales, de bombes-incendiaires lancées contre les maisons d’autres ministres du MAS, et de la prise en otage de leurs proches afin de forcer leur démission. C’est la terreur.
Nous exigeons également la fin des attaques dirigées contre le Parti communiste bolivien qui a toujours soutenu le gouvernement du MAS et ses politiques progressistes.
Le Parti communiste exige des autorités boliviennes qu’elles assurent la sécurité du président Morales et des autres dirigeant-e-s du MAS et que le gouvernement canadien et la communauté internationale se joignent à cette demande.
La décision du président Morales d’organiser de nouvelles élections visait à empêcher que celles et ceux qui ont fomenté le coup d’État se livrent à une effusion de sang. Ces comploteurs-euse-s avaient déclaré « frauduleuse » la réélection d’Evo Morales le 20 octobre, après s’être opposés sans succès à son gouvernement populaire et à ses politiques au profit des pauvres, des peuples autochtones, de la classe ouvrière et des petits agriculteur-trice-s. Morales était à la tête du premier gouvernement des Amériques dirigé par des Autochtones depuis la colonisation.
L’opposition a refusé la tenue de nouvelles élections et l’armée a alors dit à Morales qu’il devait démissionner. Il s’agit d’un coup d’État soutenu par l’armée, par une opposition violente, antidémocratique et raciste, par les compagnies et les plus riches, activement aidé et encouragé par les États-Unis et le Canada.
Le coup d’État contre le président Morales et le gouvernement du MAS est une copie carbone de la tentative de coup d’État contre le gouvernement Maduro au Venezuela en janvier dernier.
Étant donné l’appui du Canada au prétendant Guaido et aux comploteur-euse-s au Venezuela, nous exigeons que le gouvernement canadien cesse – et rende publique – toute participation canadienne au coup d’État en Bolivie, et que le gouvernement et le Parlement condamnent sans condition le coup d’État contre le président Morales et le gouvernement du MAS.
Affaires mondiales Canada a publié une déclaration immédiatement après l’élection du 20 octobre dans laquelle il déclarait qu’il était « profondément préoccupé par d’autres rapports faisant état d’irrégularités électorales graves ». Cette déclaration et de semblables de la part des États-Unis ont contribué à alimenter la violence des forces de l’opposition. Hier, lors du coup d’État, la ministre des Affaires étrangères, Chrystia Freeland, a publié une déclaration soulignant « la démission du président Morales » et affirmant que le Canada « appuierait la Bolivie pendant cette transition et les nouvelles élections ». Cela revient à reconnaître et légitimer un coup d’État clairement inconstitutionnel en Bolivie.
Les empreintes digitales couvertes de sang de l’impérialisme américain, de l’Organisation des États américains et du Groupe de Lima se retrouvent partout dans ces tentatives de faire reculer et de renverser les gouvernements progressistes en Amérique latine. Combien de coups d’État encore y aura-t-il contre les gouvernements progressistes élus en Amérique latine? Combien d’autres Chrystia Freeland et Justin Trudeau appuieront-ils?
Le Canada doit cesser d’appuyer et de participer aux changements de régime et aux opérations secrètes menées par les États-Unis partout dans le monde. Les travailleuse-eur-s canadiens ne veulent pas en faire partie.
Comité exécutif central, Parti communiste du Canada

Thursday, November 14, 2019

CPA condemns coup d’état against President Morales

CPA International Department
November 2019
The Communist Party of Australia (CPA) condemns in the strongest possible terms the US-backed right-wing military coup against the democratically elected President of the Pluri-national Republic of Bolivia, Evo Morales. We note that the anti-patriotic forces involved in the coup d’état in Bolivia were backed by foreign interests and preparations for it began well before the presidential elections held on 20th October.
The CPA expresses its solidarity with President Evo Morales, his family, his government and supporters as well as the Communist Party of Bolivia who are now victims of fascist like repression inside Bolivia.
The CPA also expresses its solidarity with Cuba, Venezuela and China whose diplomatic missions have been victims of attacks and were given 48 hours to leave Bolivia.
Who benefits from the coup d’état? The mining conglomerates whose interests were nationalised and put in the service of the once abandoned Bolivian people.
Many of the supporters of President Evo Morales are indigenous people who have resisted for more than 500 years oppression and institutionalised racism.
President Morales and his Movement towards Socialism (MAS) managed over almost 14 years in government to transform the economy of the country, creating thousands of jobs, providing education and health and opening the possibility of a new Bolivia for all.
President Evo Morales’ latest project was to nationalise and put into the service of the people the vast reserves of lithium and other national resources, infuriating the mining conglomerates who are hungry for private profits. These highly valued minerals are used in batteries to power new hi-tech cars and smartphones. He aimed to improve the manufacturing sector of his country rather than just extracting raw materials.
It is clear that the coup leader Luis Fernando Camacho, whose family has links with the mining sector, would not allow another electoral victory of President Morales. The coup leaders have sold their country out to foreign interests by refusing to recognise the will of the people in the recent presidential elections.
The Communist Party of Australia views with concern recent events in Latin America, with right-wing forces backed by US interests and supported by the Organisation of American States aiming to remove progressive governments and so heralding a return to the worst years of military-backed governments.
The attack on progressive governments in the region is an attack on workers and the popular strata. It raises big questions about the right to win government and the struggle for political power capable of working in the interest of the people.
We call on the Australian government to reject the coup d’état against Evo Morales and for the re-establishment of the democratic process as expressed by the Bolivian people on 20th October 2019.
Long live working-class internationalism!
In socialism,
International Department, CPA

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

AKEL condemns the coup d’état in Bolivia

AKEL C.C. Press Office, 11th November 2019, Nicosia

AKEL condemns the new coup d’état underway in Latin America – this time in Bolivia – with the blessings of the US, as well as the direct intervention of the Organization of American States in the country’s internal affairs. The  conservative opposition and the far-right of he country, together with police and military divisions, are turning against the democratically-elected government of Evo Morales, who in the face of a wave of violence, kidnappings and looting that has been launched, has opted to resign in order to avoid further bloodshed.
Evo Morales is Bolivia’s first indigenous President and represents a symbol of the struggle of the indigenous peoples across the American continent. Since 2006, his government has implemented a policy of nationalizations in the economy to tackle extreme poverty, redistributed the land and implemented numerous demands from his country’s people, one of the poorest on the continent. That is precisely the reason why the US – which is demanding that it gains full control over Bolivia’s rich energy and natural resources – has from the very beginning sought to overthrow the government.
The coup d’état in Bolivia is a product of Trump’s aggression against the peoples of Latin America. Throughout the whole of Latin America, the confrontation between the governments and movements that express demands for social justice and national sovereignty on the one hand and the oligarchy and far-right forces that have the backing of the US on the other is intensifying. In Brazil and Chile, far-right governments have already shown to the whole world their brutal anti-social face.

AKEL expresses its solidarity with Evo Morales, the Communist Party of Bolivia (PCB), the Movement for Socialism–Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (MAS) and the people of Bolivia, as well as all with the struggling peoples of Latin America.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Grandson of Holocaust survivor banned from Israel

22-year-old Austrian Jew Edmond Sichrovsky says family's horrific past inspired activism

Israeli border police secure a road leading to a newly established Israeli settlers outpost, seen in the background, during clashes with Palestinian protesters in the West Bank village of Tormusayya, northeast of Ramallah


The grandson of Holocaust survivors has been banned and deported from Israel for supporting the people of Palestine.
Edmond Sichrovsky, 22, who is Austrian and of Jewish origin, has been a human rights observer in Palestine and has opposed the demolition of Palestinian homes by Israel.
He was detained when he landed at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv on Thursday last week, October 24.
Mr Sichrovsky was interrogated and searched at the airport after arriving from Amman in Jordan before being forcibly returned to the Jordanian capital.
He has been told to pay the US$500 (£390) price of his flight back to Amman.
Mr Sichrovsky’s past activities in Palestine have included volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and documenting and reporting on human rights abuses by Israeli forces in Occupied Palestine.
In the past he was assaulted in Wadi al-Hummus by officers from the notorious Israeli riot police unit Yassam while opposing demolitions of Palestinian homes.
He is the grandson of Harry Sichrovsky, a renowned Austrian Jewish writer and journalist.
Mr Sichrovsky said: “Growing up, my grandparents being some of the only ones in their entire family to survive the Holocaust in Austria. ‘Never again’ is something I heard a lot and resonate strongly with.
“To me, ‘Never again’ isn’t just for Jews, it means never again should anyone in the world have to suffer because of their religion, race, or what they were born into.
“That’s why I came to volunteer in Palestine.
“Israel claims to be ‘a homeland for Jewish people around the world,’ yet by banning and deporting me and other Jews with differing political opinions, they have shown that Israel is a home for Jews only if they don’t question or speak up about the government’s apartheid policies.
“My ban and deportation from Israel only confirms what I have seen again and again in Palestine: that the Israeli government will do anything to keep people from seeing its brutal occupation, ethnic cleansing, and daily violations of Palestinians’ basic human rights.”
Mr Sichrovsky said he had called on Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg to make a public statement on Israel’s detention and deportation of an Austrian citizen who had not violated any Israeli law.
He called the Austrian embassy in Tel Aviv while being held in Ben Gurion airport, but was told that they “could not provide any assistance.”
The ISM said that it “condemns the Israeli government’s banning and deportation of Edmond Sichrovsky.
“By forbidding entry to people with differing political views Israel is acting like the anti-democratic state it really is.
“Governments whose citizens have been banned must call out Israel on these blatant attempts to hide its crimes from the world.
“Failing to do so condones Israel’s abuse of human rights and silencing of those who expose them.”
Israel routinely bans and deports volunteers, activists, human rights observers and academics suspected of anti-occupation views or of activities in anti-occupation or Palestinian organisations.
Prominent Jews banned from Israel due to their political views include American-Jewish academics Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky.
In 2017, Israel passed a law permitting foreign nationals to be banned from Israel for calling for the boycott of Israel or Israeli illegal settlements.