YPJ resistance fighter, Rojava. Picture: The Rojava Report.
Battlers & Billionaires: The Story of Inequality in Australia Andrew Leigh Black Inc. Books, 2013 210 pages, $19.99 (pb) In Australia, notes economist and Labor MP Andrew Leigh, the poorest 20% of the population own just 1% of total household wealth. The top 20%, however, hog a fat 62%.
Three huge free trade deals are being negotiated right now, that will sacrifice workers' rights, health care and the environment across much of the world on the altar of corporate profits. The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are being negotiated in secret, with privileged access for selected corporations.
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.”
What Happened, Miss Simone? Directed by Liz Garbus Distributed by Netflix Liz Garbus' beautifully composed and riveting documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? honours the African American musician and civil rights activist who came to be known as “The High Priestess of Soul”.
When Bolivian President Evo Morales announced in May that his government was allowing oil and gas drilling in national parks, mainstream and progressive media outlets alike were quick to condemn his supposed hypocrisy on environmental issues. Writing for the Associated Press, Frank Bajak argued that although Morales is known internationally for his outspoken campaigning on climate change, at home he faces constant criticism from conservationists “who say he puts extraction ahead of clean water and forests”.
An event of profound importance took place in Brussels on July 12. The significance of the European summit negotiations extends well beyond the immediate — and devastating — consequences for the people of Greece. The fallout will not just affect the stability of the Greek government and the political future of SYRIZA and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
There has been a huge rise in asylum seekers in Bulgaria as a direct result of instability in North Africa and the Middle East. They use Bulgaria as a land entry into the European Union. The Bulgarian tabloid press has coined the phrase “wave”, which has now entered political and popular language. In 2009, the newly-elected government greatly changed the way the law was interpreted and enforced. Before 2010, there was not a single “illegal immigrant” convicted and jailed in the criminal prisons.
Supporters of Die Linke (The Left) demonstrate in front of the Federal Chancellery, Berlin. Protests took place in 14 cities in Germany on July 16 against the German government’s aggressive treatment of the Greek crisis and in solidarity with their European Mediterranean neighbours.