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The first Activist Report for 2020 focuses on the huge climate rallies across Australia on January 10, instigated by University Students for Climate Justice.

As the country has been engulfed in catastrophic bushfires for weeks with lives lost, homes and businesses destroyed and air quality readings in cities reaching toxic levels it was no surprise that so many people attended.

There was palpable anger towards Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his refusal to take action on the climate emergency. Anti-Morrison chants spread through the marches like wildfire.

The United States military strike on January 3 that assassinated Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, Quds Brigade commander Qasem Soleimani and deputy commander of the Iraqi government-affiliated Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Iran’s retaliation against two US military bases in Iraq on January 8 brought the World to the brink of war.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido installed a “parallel” parliament in Caracas on January 7.

Former veterans, labour organisations and leftists in the United States have come out against a US war on Iran. Anti-war rallies will be taking place across the US and Canada on January 25, as part of a global day of action.

By the narrowest of margins (167 votes to 165 with 18 abstentions), the 350-seat Spanish Congress invested a coalition government of the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and the more radical Unidas Podemos (UP) on January 7.

No Spanish prime minister has ever been elected by so low and so close a vote: eight of the parliament’s eighteen parties voted in favour, eight against and two abstained.

Cuba is the most sustainably developed country in the world, according to a new report launched on November 29.

The socialist island outperforms advanced capitalist countries including Britain and the United States, which has subjected Cuba to a punitive six-decades-long economic blockade.

By limiting the impeachment charges against US President Donald Trump, the Democratic establishment has left aside the major crimes Trump has committed — against humanity worldwide as well as the great majority of the US population, writes Barry Sheppard.

As the bushfire emergency drags on, with large parts of the country devastated, unions are demanding the government provide greater support for the firefighters, more assistance to the affected communities and to confront the climate change reality.

Anti-war networks and progressive parties have urged the federal Coalition not to support the Donald Trump administration’s latest attack on Iran, that began with the illegal assassination in Iraq of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and deputy commander of the Iraqi government-affiliated Popular Mobilisation Forces Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis on January 3.

Australia Institute poll Jan 2020

released on January 9 by the Australia Institute think tank show that even before the bush fire emergency peak around the week following New Year's eve,  66% of people in Australia believe the country "is facing a climate change emergency and should take emergency action".

There are two positive things to come out of the horrific bushfire crisis ripping through our country: recognition of the connection between global warming and more frequent and intense bush fires; and the inspiring courage and generosity of volunteers and emergency service personnel to protect their communities, despite being hugely under-resourced.

limate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus takes a look at seven new titles for an ecosocialist bookshelf. 

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference
By Greta Thunberg
Allen Lane/Penguin Books, 2019

On August 20, 2018, rather than go to school, Greta Thunberg sat outside the Swedish parliament to protest inaction on climate change. The then-15-year-old Swedish school student had with her some flyers and a hand-painted wooden sign that read Skolstrejk för klimatet (school strike for the climate).

Around 100 people formed a circle at the Queen Victoria Building on January 5 to call for urgent government intervention on the fire emergency, support for the firefighters, and real action to combat climate change. The vigil was organised by Extinction Rebellion Sydney.

XR vigil outside NSW Parliament

Sydney Extinction rebellion began an indefinite vigil outside NSW Parliament House on January 6 to demand that the NSW and federal governments declare a climate and ecological emergency.

"Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the fire crisis had escalated to an unprecedented level.

East Gippsland is one region among many affected by disastrous bushfires. Three quarters of it — stretching about 250 km from west to east and 150 km from south to north — has been burned as I write this: about 700,000 hectares.

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