Tony Iltis

A population of 800,000 makes Mansa a small town by Indian standards. The main market town of the agricultural Malwa region of Punjab, it has a long history of peasant struggle.

A stronghold of the revolutionary peasant movement since the 1920s, and the communist movement since the 1930s, within a few years of Indian independence left-wing peasants’ struggles had expropriated the region’s large feudal landowners.

The defeat of ISIS in Syria last year raised hopes that the long-running war that has displaced more than two-thirds of the population might be coming to an end. However, the attempted Turkish invasion of the Afrin region of Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan), which began on January 20, has underlined that the war is in fact intensifying.

Three years after Kurdish-led forces liberated the northern Syrian city of Kobane from ISIS — after a months-long siege that captured the world’s imagination — the democratic, multi-ethnic and feminist revolution in Syria’s north is facing a new assault.

This time, it is coming directly from the virulently anti-Kurdish Turkish state, which had supported ISIS’s siege of Kobane.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of cities and towns throughout Iran since December 28 in militant protests against the theocratic regime that has ruled the country since the 1979 revolution. 

That revolution overthrew a pro-Western monarchy. But while the working class was its driving force, and trade unions and socialist organisations played a decisive role, it was hijacked by the Shia religious establishment. The new regime was as brutal and committed to capitalism as the overthrown monarchy — although with a foreign policy generally hostile to the West.

Adam Mayer’s book on Marxist currents in Nigeria is what it says on the cover — a rich history of Marxist and revolutionary thought and struggles that are little known outside the West African nation.

Three things stand out about the October 14 truck bomb attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

First is the huge number of casualties. The detonation of a large truck packed with explosives created an apocalyptic scene of carnage. It levelled nearby buildings, killing at least 327 people and injuring more than 400 others.

Many of the bodies were burned beyond recognition, 160 being buried without even an attempt at identification being made.

The flags of the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) and Shengal Women's Units (YJS) were planted in the city centre of Raqqa, which had been the capital city of ISIS, on September 14.

ISIS still controls about 20% of the city, but the symbolic importance of this event reflects a very real change in the situation in Syria.

The threat of nuclear annihilation is closer than at any time since the end of the Cold War as two heads of state use nuclear weapons as props in what looks like a fight between two adolescent boys.

On one side is a narcissistic bully, born to inherit great power and with credible reports that his personal life includes indulging in acts of sadism, whose policies in government are driven by a combination of xenophobia, ego and whim and who is threatening nuclear Armageddon if he doesn't get his way.

On the other side is North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Flanked by military commanders, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was in the nation’s second-largest city, Mosul, on July 10 to announce the city’s liberation from ISIS.

An end to the three-year-long rule by the extremely violent and authoritarian terrorist group is obviously good news for the city's residents. But it seems unlikely the group’s defeat will mean an end to their suffering, which began long before ISIS captured the city in June 2014.

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s annual State of the Nation (SONA) address on July 24 reflected his government’s increasing trajectory towards dictatorship. Outside, protest marches converged on the parliamentary complex at Batasan, reflecting the growing grassroots opposition to the worsening dictatorial trend.

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