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Venezuela's communication minister Delcy Rodriguez has condemned “racial discrimination” in the United States. Responding to the police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, Rodriguez said the incident was symptomatic of a broader problem. She said: “In the United States more than one third of the African American population has experienced some form of discrimination. The death of Michael Brown was not an isolated incident.”
Across Venezuela, commune activists are creating regional Presidential Councils of Communal Governance in order to play an greater role in the management of local and regional affairs in conjunction with national authorities. Communes in Venezuela are made up of representatives of groups of smaller communal councils. These councils are direct participatory organisations that help manage community affairs. Communes cover a larger territorial area than communal councils and can receive public funds for larger scale projects and responsibilities.
The morning after Lailat al-Qadr, the death toll in Gaza was approaching its first 1000. Al-Qadr ― the night before the last Friday in the holy month of Ramadan ― is believed to be the night when the Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. I spent this special night with friends in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah after taking part in the “48K March” for Gaza. The march began in Ramallah and went to Qalandiya checkpoint.
About 30 international guests and 120 shop stewards from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) met over August 7 to 10 in Johannesburg to discuss building a new, left alternative to the ruling African National Congress (ANC). This challenge to the ANC by the country’s largest trade union, with more than 440,000 members, has caused shockwaves throughout the country. An August 6 Times Live article said the process was “likely to lead to the birth of a workers' party that will eventually challenge [the ANC] for power”.
El Salvador approves progressive tax reforms El Salvador’s National Legislative Assembly passed a package of tax reforms on July 31, CISPES.org said on August 13. The laws aim to shifting the fiscal burden from the nation’s poor majority to the wealthy elite and ease the country’s dependence on international loans to finance important social investment. The bill was approved despite a fierce campaign against it in the nation’s conservative media.
As a Palestinian political activist living in present-day Israel, Tareq Yassin, 23, has grown accustomed to racist intimidation and threats of violence. Yassin, secretary of the left-wing Hadash political party’s student wing at the University of Haifa, has been repeatedly targeted for his activism. Yet last month was the first time he was subjected to vigilante violence by right-wing Israelis.
Since Ecuador's president Lucio Gutierrez was ousted from power in 2005, relations between Ecuador and the United States have deteriorated with the Andean nation’s increasing rejection of US hegemony. The government of Rafael Correa, first elected president in 2006, has embraced regional integration, moving closer to its neighbours ― in particular Venezuela and Bolivia ― and further away from the US. Economically, the Correa administration has pursued policies that break with the neoliberal doctrines Washington had imposed on Latin America.
Flashboys By Michael Lewis W. W. Norton, 2014 288 pp, $39.99 Michael Lewis's Flashboys has had a dramatic welcome in the United States. It swept to the top of the best seller list and was only knocked from its perch by Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century. It is revealing of the contemporary US mindset that Flashboys, which turns the machinations of Wall Street into a classic US-style morality play, should alternate with Piketty’s history of capitalist inequality. In reality, Lewis has not produced new information.
In the past few weeks, several large protest movements have rocked the Untied States political establishment and the elites it represents. These social explosions seem limited and separate, but they symbolise the growing contradictions of US society and the possibilities of mass struggles in the near future.
The thing that really gets me about Australian politics right now is not just that we are getting so severely screwed, it’s that we are getting screwed by such dingbats. I mean, you cannot check the news on any given day without being smacked in the face with the latest utter insanity from one, or frequently, multiple members of the Abbott government.
A group of women gathered in protest outside the Wicked Campers depot on August 16. Wicked Campers is a Brisbane-based company that rents out tourist camping vans. The company has been criticised for the misogynist, racist and homophobic slogans that are painted on its vans. The company has not responded well to the condemnation and has sought to punish those who have spoken out. In one case, it responded to a journalist by painting a slogan on a van that threatened physical violence.
The release of up to 150 children under the age of 10 from residential detention is not a humanitarian move by the government, in case you were wondering. Immigration minister Scott Morrison claimed that issuing bridging visas to 150 children and their families to live in the community was a “dividend of stopping the boats”.
Should Scotland’s people decide to separate from Britain in next month’s independence referendum, the English establishment may well be very unhappy with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whose recent ham-fisted attack on Scottish nationalism appears to have given the Yes campaign a boost.
Venezuelan ambassador to Egypt, Juan Antonio Hernandez, said on August 20 that an Israeli aircraft attacked the Venezuelan humanitarian delegation in Rafah along the border post between Egypt and Palestine, Venezuela Analysis said the next day. The delegation was delivering 12 tons of aid to the Palestinian people. No one was injured during the attack.
The Socialist Alternative club at the University of Western Australia had its “club privileges” suspended on August 13. In effect, this amounts to a suspension of the club's affiliation to the Student Guild, which could be a prelude to complete disaffiliation. The issue seems to have flared over posters produced for a campus forum on the topic “Why Israel is a terrorist state”. After initially approving the posters, and allowing them to be displayed in Guild areas on campus, on the day of the forum the Guild sent an email to the club saying that all the posters had been removed.
The total number of jobs now advertised across Australia is about 133,000. This is the labour market for the 790,000 unemployed looking for work — and it will get a lot worse before it ever gets better. In the financial year to June, private sector wages rose by just 2.4%, the lowest growth rate in 17 years. With consumer prices rising at 3% over the same period, the decline in real wages will continue as unemployment rises.

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