The November 4 congressional mid-term elections in the US reflect the further shift to the right in capitalist politics. The obvious aspect of this is the fact that the Republicans won control of the Senate, increased their majority in the House, and won more state governorships. There has been speculation in the media about how this result came about.
It is arguably the most important political development of South Africa’s post-1994 era. In the early hours of November 8, South Africa’s largest union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), was expelled from South Africa’s largest union federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). The political significance of NUMSA’s expulsion derives from three key, interrelated areas of impact. ANC-led alliance
How does capitalism survive? This was the question that greeted the 11th annual Historical Materialism conference in London. Held from November 6 to 9 at the Vernon Square Campus, it was a four-day long broad marriage of global leftist activists and academics run by the Marxist journal of the same name. Posed as a simple question, it quickly developed into as many answers and narratives as there are positions within the left.
This week, by law, I have to deride Russell Brand as a self-obsessed, annoying idiot. No article or comment on Twitter can legally be written now unless it does this, so by the weekend the Sunday magazine recipes will go, “Goose and marmalade paella, serves six ― unless one of the six is Russell Brand in which case he can make his own dinner as he’s such a rebel I suppose he doesn’t agree with ovens”.
When Thomas Eric Duncan died on October 8, shortly after his arrival from Liberia, west Africa, the Ebola crisis burst onto millions of news screens in the United States, generating deep levels of fear and xenophobia. To be sure, Ebola is a serious health concern, for it has a 70% mortality rate. But, to beat back the fear, public officials have been playing down the threats posed by the virus, often armed with little more than hope and false confidence. For politics, often more imagery than reality, is a poor barrier against the seriousness of viruses, disease and death.
Saleh Muslim Mohamed is co-president of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), representing the independent communities of Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) and its armed wings, the People’s Defence Units (YPG) and Women’s Defence Units (YPJ). In an interview with Dutch site Tenk, Muslim spoke to Jonas Staal about the fight of Rojava against the Islamic State (IS) and the development of democratic autonomy during the Rojava revolution. * * *
The Israeli parliament has voted overwhelmingly to suspend Haneen Zoabi, a legislator representing the state’s large Palestinian minority, for six months as a campaign to silence political dissent intensified. The Israeli parliament, or Knesset, voted by 68 to 16 to endorse a decision in late July by its ethics committee to bar Zoabi from the chamber for what it termed “incitement”. It is the longest suspension in the Knesset’s history and the maximum punishment allowed under Israeli law. At a press conference, Zoabi denounced her treatment as “political persecution”.
A national strike for November 20 to protest the government’s ineffective investigation in the case of 43 missing Ayotzinapa students was announced on November 12 by the Mexican Inter-university Students Assembly, chaired by the Ayotzinapa Teacher Training School “Isidro Burgos”. The assembly, attended by students from 79 schools, decided to support the national strike summoned by the parents of the missing students.
Gerry Adams on 'Good Old IRA' hypocrisy “It is right that we remember those from previous generations who fought and died or were imprisoned or exiled for their efforts to liberate Ireland of British rule,” Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams writes over attempts to contrast the early IRA with its later incarnation. “But if there is a wilful amnesia, it is within the Dublin establishment parties.” Rojava's autonomous cantons: what a revolution looks like
To mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, a direct action took place in Beit Hanina, a neighbourhood in Jerusalem.
The Greatest Traitor: The Secret Lives of Agent George Blake Roger Hermiston Aurum, 2013 362 pages, $39.99 (hb) George Blake was smart, resourceful and committed. A teenage courier with the Dutch anti-Nazi resistance during the war and a British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) spy after it, Blake then picked the wrong cause, says Roger Hermiston in The Greatest Traitor, converting to Marxism and becoming a Soviet mole in the SIS.
Images of rioting protesters and burning cars in Brussels were published in mainstream media across the globe on November 7. The previous day’s protest in Brussels did end in violent clashes, with 50 injured and 30 arrested, but it was the spirited but peaceful demonstration of 120,000 Belgians that was the key aspect of the day.
Stasi Hell or Workers’ Paradise? Socialism in the German Democratic Republic ― What Can We Learn From It? John Green & Bruni de la Motte Artery Publications, 2009 50 pp., $7.25 Red Love: The Story of an East German Family Maxim Leo Pushkin Press, 2013 272 pp., $31.60 The German Democratic Republic (GDR) disappeared a quarter of a century ago after 41 years’ existence. The East German state is mostly remembered as “Stasiland”, as Anna Funder’s history of its secret police is called.
Going round in circles Like the fans overhead His mind can’t get the words out And the spirit weighs like lead Join the team, Recurring dream, Kill Team, Kill Team The heat it has no ending And the isolation stings Is this what they call ‘R&R’, A bird with shattered wings? Join the team, Recurring dream, Kill Team, Kill Team The face of that civilian Lurks in fragile fits of sleep They murdered him for sport And laughed to hear his widow weep Join the team, Recurring dream, Kill Team, Kill Team Routine operation, Chopper dust-off, village street,
Nineteen demonstrators have been arrested since October 21 in protests against the recent approval of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Gloucester Valley, New South Wales. Police figures obtained by Green Left Weekly said charges range from trepassing, to individuals locking on to machinery or the buses transporting workers to the site. Fracking is the controversial process of extracting gas from underground coal seams and shale deposits by using high pressure to inject it with a chemical-water mixture.
In the 2010 Victorian elections the Greens scored about 30% of the vote in each of the Labor-held inner-city seats of Brunswick, Richmond and Melbourne. They are campaigning hard to break into the Legislative Assembly in all three in the November 29 election. A poll reported in the November 7 Age predicted Greens wins in Richmond and Melbourne, but was not conducted in Brunswick. Tim Read, a medical doctor and researcher, is the Greens candidate for Brunswick. He believes that parliament should stand up to big business.