1161

Of Mice & Men
By John Steinbeck
First published 1937

This year marks the 80th anniversary of John Steinbeck’s great mythic novel of alienation under US capitalism, Of Mice and Men.

On Google Earth, you can see where the Salinas River “drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green”, a few miles “south of Soledad”, the novella’s opening lines.  Clearly, John Steinbeck knew this area intimately to be able to describe it so strikingly.

The renowned artist has died aged 78. A beloved singer-songwriter, Viglietti led a generation of great Uruguayan musicians and performers who emerged in the 1960s in creating a unique sound for the era. 

Along with musicians such as Alfredo Zitarrosa and Los Olimarenos, he introduced what became known as the “popular Uruguayan song”. This was linked to the widely popular “Nueva Cancion” — both a genre and a movement. 

Throughout his life, Viglietti remained committed to several causes. In 1972, the singer was jailed for opposing military rule in Uruguay.

Left-wing parties in Chile are pushing a plebiscite for a Constituent Assembly to address the main social issues affecting young people, workers and communities.

Activist Cristian Cuevas from the New Democracy Party, which forms part of the Broad Front (FA) alliance, said they are seeking a strong showing in the November 19 presidential and parliamentary elections to push forward on their proposal.

Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink has just spent a year with Kurdish forces in northern Syria observing the democratic and feminist revolution unfolding in the region. During her recent visit to Australia, she spoke to Green Left Radio about her experience. Below is an edited and abridged transcript of the interview.

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Two years of the U.S.-backed Saudi war in Yemen has caused a disastrous humanitarian situation in the poorest Arab country. The conflict is increasingly stoking anti-American sentiment among Yemenis, many of whom see the U.S. government as a killer using Saudi hands. 

The conflict began in 2015, when President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi resigned and went into exile, and Saudi Arabia led an armed coalition allegedly to restore Hadi’s legitimacy. Hadi now leads a government-in-exile while the rebel Houthi movement surges in Yemen.

Venezuela’s Revolutionary Sex and Gender Diversity Alliance (ASGDRe) was set up in 2009 as a collective to fight for gender diversity rights and against discrimination based on sexuality.

What separated ASGDRe from other similar groups was that they openly supported the revolutionary process taking place in Venezuela.

Speaking with members of ASGDRe, as part of the international solidarity delegation organised by Venezuela Analysis in August, they told us that the group began with about 10 members, mainly friends.

Malign Velocities: Accelerationism & Capitalism
Benjamin Noys
Zero Books, 117 pages

Benjamin Noys’ Malign Velocities is an attempt to catalogue and describe an intellectual movement within capitalism that’s gaining a new and disturbing influence lately.

The 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the first socialist revolution in world history, was marked on October 25 — the date the Bolsheviks led the revolutionary seizure of power by the soviets (elected councils of workers, peasants and soldiers).

The waving of the rainbow pride flag at a concert on the outskirts of Cairo has triggered a backlash of state repression against the LGBTI community.

Several flags were raised at a performance to 35,000 people by the Lebanese indie-rock band Mashrou’ Leila on 22 September. Mashrou’ Leila is fronted by lead singer Hamed Sinno, one of few openly gay musicians in the Middle East. Sinno paid tribute at the concert to the late gay icon Freddie Mercury.

A high profile member of the ultra right-wing Popular Will (VP) party, Yon Goicoechea, was freed by Venezuelan authorities on November 4 after more than a year behind bars.

Goicoechea was arrested last August by national security forces for the alleged possession of explosive devices, just two days before an opposition march. 

Since being granted conditional release, Goicoechea has confirmed his candidacy for the mayoralty of the wealthy municipality of El Hatillo, despite his party calling for a boycott of upcoming elections. 

I have a question about offshore tax havens that no one has ever been able to answer. Can you name one legitimate reason to keep your money in a tax haven? 

The media keeps implying that there must be one. They keep pointing out (mostly to avoid the libel laws) that using a tax haven does not necessarily involve illegality or “wrongdoing”.

But what form of activity that isn’t wrong could possibly involve stashing your cash offshore? And why should we shy away from saying that starving the public purse of money is itself wrongdoing?

Three Tamil political prisoners, who had been on hunger strike for 38 days, ended it on November 4.

Road and rail blockades organised by the Committees in Defence of the Republic (CDR) paralysed traffic movement across Catalonia on November 8.

The blockades were part of a day of protest action aimed against the Spanish government’s takeover of the Catalan government and parliament, and the detention of eight Catalan government ministers.

Tony Abbott was elected in 2013 on the “promise” that the Coalition’s proposed industrial relations legislation, Work Choices, was “dead, buried and cremated”.

Of course, few workers genuinely believed that an incoming Coalition government would keep its word. Certainly, construction workers knew it was only a matter of time before they were in the firing line.

In an astounding display of bureaucratic arrogance, the chief of the company building the controversial $17 billion WestConnex tollway complex described the reintroduction of tolls on the widened M4 motorway as "exciting", while dismissing concerns about the health impacts of exhaust ventilation stacks planned for the route of the WestConnex tunnels.

The future of Adani’s proposed Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin has become intertwined with the Queensland state elections called for November 25, with the mega coalmine confronting serious problems in obtaining finance for the project.

Over the past year, Adani has been increasingly unable to secure the $5 billion it needs from private sources, as various financial institutions have begun shifting investments away from coal and towards renewables.

Under pressure from grassroots campaigns, Australia’s Big Four banks have ruled out financing the project.

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