Barry Sheppard

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign to become the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate for next year's race has broken into the mainstream.

Pitching left, Sanders consistently draws far larger crowds to hear him speak than any other aspirant in either the Democratic or Republican parties. Polls show his support is climbing, and in one state, New Hampshire, he has moved ahead of the Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton. He may win some states in the Democratic primaries.

Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old African American woman, has joined the growing list of Black people killed by police whose case has become a national issue.

Bland was active in the Black Lives Matter movement, posting a series of videos in defence of the movement.

The world has been focused on the spectacle of the “Troika” of the International Monetary Fund, European Union and the European Central Bank crushing the Greek people, but it is far from the only example of strong nations using a “debt crisis” to extract more wealth from those that are weaker.

A case in point is the US colony of Puerto Rico. In a June 28 New York Times interview, the governor of the Caribbean archipelago nation declared its debt of US$73 billion “is not payable. There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics. This is math.”

In the wake of the political assassination of nine African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17 by a white supremacist, racial tensions remain high.

Since that incident, seven Black churches in the South have suffered fires, recalling many such incidents in the past.


The original African Methodist Episcopal church, Charleston, which was burned down by a white mob after Denmark Vesey's planned slave uprising in 1822.

The mass murder of nine African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white racist on June 17 has been widely denounced. But to understand this hate crime — a terrorist attack — it has to be put into the broader political context.


A Black Lives Matter protest last August in New York. Photo by Edward Leavy.

The mass murder of nine African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina by a white racist has been widely denounced. But to understand this hate crime – a terrorist attack – it has to be put into a broader political context.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being negotiated between the US and 11 other Pacific Rim nations — including Australia — is a treaty covering regulations and investments.

It is being negotiated in secret from the peoples of the affected nations, but not from the corporations that are set to benefit from the deal — as chapters leaked by WikiLeaks reveal. For the US side alone, about 600 corporate representatives are neck deep in the negotiations.

Since the 1973 United States Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision in legalising most abortions, there has been a steady erosion of women’s abortion rights in the US - with the complicity of both major capitalist parties.

A new wave of restrictions spearheaded by Republicans has developed in the past three years, gaining more traction in the past year.

In an atypical move in cases of police killings of unarmed African Americans,‭ ‬six police officers in Baltimore have been charged with serious crimes over the‭ ‬death of‭ ‬25-year-old African American man Freddie Gray last month.

Baltimore state attorney Marilyn Mosby announced the charges on May‭ ‬1,‭ ‬which include second-degree murder against one officer.

Khury Petersen-Smith is a 32-year-old African American activist based in Boston, who is actively involved in the growing “Black Lives matter” struggle sweeping the US.

I was able to speak with Petersen-Smith, a member of the International Socialist Organization, at the Marxism 2015 conference organised by Socialist Alternative in Melbourne over Easter, at which he was a featured guest.

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