UPDATE October 1, 12.30 AEST: Troops loyal to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa have freed him from the military hospital where he was previously held hostage by right-wing coup police. He is now addressing a large number of triumphant supporters gathered at the Plaza of Independence in Quito who are chanting: "El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!". See livestreamed coverage by Telesur below.
Mérida, September 30th 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – As a coup attempt takes place in Ecuador, Venezuela and regional organisations of Latin America have come out in solidarity with Ecuador, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called on the people and military of Ecuador to defend President Rafael Correa and their country’s democracy. Ecuador is a close ally of Venezuela, and a fellow member of the progressive Bolivarian Alliance of the People of Our America (ALBA).
A protest by "anti-corporate pirates", organised by the Socialist Alliance, took place outside a global corporate CEO's conference organised by Forbes at the luxury Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney on September 29. Corporate pirates were plundering and destroying the earth and exploiting the world's majority, said Pirate Paul Benedek. "Them scurvy corporate dogs be giving us grassroots pirates a bad name, arrrgh!" Watch Channel Ten News coverage of the protest:
In the parliamentary elections on Sunday 26 September, the PSUV [United Socialist Party of Venezuela] won a volume and distribution of votes that gave it a simple majority of deputies in the National Assembly. The triumph of socialist candidates preserves the political continuity of the democratic process led by President Hugo Chavez, and shows that the bulk of the population prefers the anti-capitalist and socialist path.
As if straight out of a Cold War era movie, US corporate media outlets such as the Miami Herald ran headlines on September 18 claiming scientists from Albuquerque “tried to sell classified nuclear data to Venezuela”. Readers were no doubt shocked to read in the Miami Herald that “an elderly maverick scientist who battled the scientific community for decades over laser fusion was indicted Friday in New Mexico, charged with trying to sell classified nuclear weapons data to Venezuela”.
The call to put "a price on carbon" has gained wide support in Australia. It has also gained new currency in the context of a minority Labor government formed with support from the Greens and three independents. Support for a price on carbon has come from across the political spectrum — from the Liberal Party's Malcolm Turnbull through to grassroots climate activists. Green Left Weekly’s Simon Butler asked five Australian climate activists if they thought a carbon price was good policy and should be supported by climate action movement.
When I heard about the strike that was planned by Italian Football players in Serie A league on September 25 and 26 (but has been postponed), I wondered what familiar refrains would be used to attack it. The inevitable “millionaires complaining about their conditions” line was put by Yahoo Sports football blogger Brooks Peck in a September 12 piece. Peck’s article mocks the idea that the “rights” of “lavishly paid” players are being violated: “This is Cambodian sweatshop type stuff.”
On September 19, about tens of thousands of protesters from Thailand’s resurgent Red Shirt movement (popular name for the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship), took to the streets of Bangkok to defy the regime. Klaus Crimson, whose photographs of this historic rally can be seen at www.links.org.au, told Green Left Weekly: “It was truly an amazing experience. By 9am it was pretty clear to me that it might grow into something big.
Prominent Australian writer and climate action advocate Clive Hamilton will speak in a feature session at the October 2-3 Sydney Festival of Dangerous Ideas on the topic: “We are all climate change deniers.” He spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Simon Butler about climate denial, carbon pricing, population levels, and that “Oh shit” moment about climate change. * * *
Ten years after the United Nations general assembly adopted the Millennium Development Goals, “the fulfillment of these goals are under serious threat”, Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations Jorge Valero told the general assembly on September 21. The goals include cutting world hunger and the number of people living in extreme poverty by half Bolivian President Evo Morales said they would not be reached unless “we put an end to the unjust distribution of wealth”. He noted that 40% of the world’s poorest people own 5% of the wealth, while the richest 20% control 75%.
The counting of votes in the September 19 Swedish parliamentary elections sent out shock waves. The far right won its first parliamentary seats, and for the first time in modern Swedish political history, an incumbent non-Social Democrats government has been able to win a national election. As such, the process of dismantling the Swedish welfare state is set to continue unabated. The governing right-wing Alliance emerged as the largest bloc, but failed to keep its majority. With 173 seats, it is two seats short of controlling the assembly on its own.
Protests against an attempt to stifle student participation in elections for representatives to faculty boards have triggered one of the most important student occupations seen in Central America in recent years. The occupation, which began in August, has shut down Guatemala’s sole public university, the University of San Carlos (USC). It has become a direct challenge to the privatising agenda of successive governments and university administrations.
More than three million people took part in strikes and protests across France on September 23. They were demanding the withdrawal of laws that will dramatically reduce the right of workers to access pensions. The protests, which had been called by a coalition of seven of France’s union confederations, showed that the passage of the Pension Bill through France’s lower house of parliament had done nothing to weaken opposition to the attack on pensions.
The announcement by the Cuban Trade Union Confederation (CTC) on September 13 about plans to reduce the state sector workforce by half a million was greeted by jeering headlines from journalists outside the island. Cuba is rarely of interest to the corporate press unless they believe there is some crisis to celebrate or that new measures can be interpreted as evidence of a shift from socialism to capitalism.
Campaigners for women’s reproductive rights are gearing up for a day of protest on October 9. A young woman and her partner from Cairns face charges under Queensland’s 19th century criminal code for procuring an abortion. The trial date is set for October 12. A National Day of Action (NDA) will be marked by protests around the country, demanding that all charges against the couple be dropped. The NDA is the initiative of three organisations: the Pro-Choice Action Collective in Brisbane, the Women’s Abortion Action Campaign in Sydney and Radical Women in Melbourne.
The 2008 election of Barack Obama appeared to herald a new dawn for 12 million undocumented immigrants, many of them laboring in the US’s most exhausting and underpaid workplaces. The president’s own aunt, 58-year-old Zeituni Onyango, was forced to live “without papers” in Boston when a judge rejected her original petition for asylum in 2004. So it seemed Obama would be sympathetic to the plight of immigrants at least. However, mounting evidence indicates life is becoming increasingly miserable for the undocumented population in the US.