United States

The persecution of Julian Assange must end. Or it will end in tragedy.

The Australian government and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull have an historic opportunity to decide which it will be.

They can remain silent, for which history will be unforgiving. Or they can act in the interests of justice and humanity and bring this remarkable Australian citizen home.

Overcoming a flood of corporate money and New York’s powerful establishment machine, 28-year-old democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez toppled Democratic Representative Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th congressional district on June 26 with tireless grassroots organising and an ambitious progressive agenda of Medicare for All, housing as a human right, and abolishing the hated Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The result is being hailed as the biggest political upset of 2018.

In response to huge public outcry against his policy of forcibly separating children from immigrant parents seeking asylum, United States President Donald Trump issued an executive order on July 20 to halt the separations.

A victory? Not so fast, writes Barry Sheppard from San Francisco.

Donald Trump has partly backed down on the most extreme aspects of his cruel policy towards migrants seeking safety — but Shaun King writes that separating migrant families is something the US has been doing for centuries.

Washington has a long history of using deportations to strike fear among undocumented workers. In recent years, deportations have multiplied — previous president Barack Obama became known as “Deporter in Chief”.

But President Donald Trump has greatly stepped up the drive, mainly against Latinos without papers. He has unleashed Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) to carry out indiscriminate raids where Latinos congregate, deporting the undocumented. These include those without criminal records or who are guilty of only minor offensives, often separating families.

While the May 14 massacre of protesters by Israeli snipers was occurring in Gaza, United States President Donald Trump was symbolically opening the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was there, heaping praise on Trump.

There were also two pastors present, one to give the opening prayer, the other the closing one. Both pastors were from the extreme rightist, white Christian evangelical community and are well known for their outspoken anti-Semitism and support for Israel.

Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza responded forcefully to the latest round of US sanctions, which follow hard on the heels of socialist candidate Nicolas Maduro’s electoral victory on May 20.

“There is no unilateral measure, no pressure from any foreign power that can intimidate the Venezuelan people,” the top diplomat stated.

As the United States’ largest corporations continue their unprecedented stock buyback spree in the wake of President Donald Trump’s US$1.5 trillion tax cut, new government data published on May 22 shows that US banks are also smashing records thanks to the Republican tax law. They raked in $56 billion in net profits during the first quarter of 2018 — an all-time high.

Large-scale teacher-led rebellions against cuts and for workers’ rights have broken out in US states such as West Virginia, Arizona, Oklahoma and Colorado. Although it has received less publicity, teachers are also rebelling in the US’s Caribbean colony of Puerto Rico.

Fighting to keep the island’s public schools open in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria last year, teachers are boycotting standardised tests and even teaming up with parents to occupy their schools.

A new round of United States sanctions against Venezuela, this time directed against three individuals and their businesses, was rebuffed on May 7 by Samuel Moncada, the Bolivarian Republic’s Vice Minister for Foreign Relations.

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