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Campaigners for Scottish independence have received another boost as a branch of the public sector trade union Unison sided “positively with the Yes side” in a debate on Scotland's September 18 referendum on whether to remain part of Britain.

Before Hugo Chavez became president of Venezuela in 1999, the barrios of Caracas, built provisionally on the hills surrounding the capital, did not even appear on the city map. Officially they did not exist, so neither the city nor the state maintained their infrastructure. The poor inhabitants of these neighbourhoods obtained water and electricity by tapping pipes and cables themselves. They lacked access to services such as garbage collection, health care and education.
During the six years of economic crisis in Europe, its elites have not just attacked the living standards of workers, unemployed and poor. They’ve also been engaged in a three-and-a-half year scrap among themselves. Their fight is over a financial transactions tax (FTT), first mooted by the European Commission (EC) in October 2010 for all 28 members states of the European Union. It was finally agreed to in January last year by 11 Eurozone members ― Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and Slovakia (the “EU11”). Aims
The project is called “The Different Europe with Alexis Tsipras”. It name is written on a red background. Predictions indicate it could surpass, maybe easily, the 4% electoral threshold needed to win seats in the coming European elections. In 2009, this threshold prevented both left lists, the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) and the Left Ecology Freedom (SEL), both of which received only a little more than 3%, from winning seats. This new project, however, is not a mere electoral coalition set up to clear this hurdle. In its foundation and structure it is something very different.
A four-day sit-in by brick kiln workers in Lahore in late April ended after successful negotiations held with the labour minister over their demand of implementation of a minimum rate of 740 rupee (about $8.1) per thousand bricks. Workers from all over the Punjab took part in this sit-in. After daily threats by government and police, the labour minster finally agreed to negotiate with leaders of the workers. Brick kiln workers are among the most exploited in Pakistan. There is widespread use of child labour and debt bondage ― both against the law in Pakistan.
In his May Day speech at a large rally in Caracas, President Nicolas Maduro announced the extension of social programs and benefits to workers and the population in general. The opposition held its own march to criticise the state of the economy. Some of Maduo's announcements to thousands of workers included: a new fund to protect and increase the value of workers’ social security savings, the extension of social programs to workplaces, and the introduction of free wifi in many public parks and urban spaces.
A new book exposing the reality of the Nauru detention centre was launched in Melbourne of April 28. The Undesirables, written by former Salvation Army worker Mark Isaacs, details what he witnessed while stationed at the camp. Isaacs said: “When we first went to the camp … it was purposely disorganised, supposedly to meet these men’s needs. When the government sent several hundreds of people to Nauru, we expected it to be ready.”
On my wall in London is my favourite photograph from South Africa. Always thrilling to behold, it is Paul Weinberg's image of a lone woman standing between two armoured vehicles, the infamous “hippos”, as they rolled into Soweto. Her arms are raised, fists clenched, her thin body both beckoning and defiant of the enemy.

Boots Riley is lead singer of US-based hip-hop group The Coup and a radical activist, heavily involved in Occupy Oakland and other struggles. He was a featured speaker at the Marxism 2014 conference in Melbourne over April 17-20 where Green Left Weekly's Gemma Weedall spoke to him.

Long-time Socialist Alliance member Zoltan Torrey — a gentle, thoughtful, uplifting and inspiring man — died suddenly at home on January 16. He wrote two extraordinary books. Out of Darkness is his memoir. He describes his youth in Hungary when it was occupied by Nazi Germany, and his arrival in Australia post World War II.
Millions of workers across the globe hit the streets on May 1 for mass rallies marking International Workers' Day. The day was chosen in 1889 as a global day to mark the struggle of the working class by representatives of socialist parties in the Second International. It was held to commemorate the Haymarket Martyrs, anarchists executed in Chicago for their role in the struggle for an eight-hour day in 1886.
Youth unemployment has risen to double the national unemployment rate, a new report by the Brotherhood of St Laurence has found. The overall unemployment rate is 6%. But for 15 to 24 year olds it is 12.5% and in some areas as high as 20%. The rates of youth unemployment have risen for the past two years. The length of time young people are unemployed is also rising. Young people who choose to study at university are also facing a life of poverty.