Baba Jan, a federal committee member of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), surrendered himself to an "anti-terrorist court" in Gilgit Baltestan in early September. He had been on the run after police opened fire on a demonstration demanding compensation for those affected by the Atta Abad Lake floods last year, killing two Jan has since been taken from jail and the LPP fears the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is torturing him. Jan’s “crime” was to organise rallies and demonstrations against the police killings.
Last year's floods were the worst in Pakistan's history. Twenty million people were affected and about 2000 lost their lives. Now there is record flooding for the second year in a row. “This is not a natural disaster”, Farooq Tariq , the national spokesperson for the Labour Party Pakistan, told Green Left Weekly. He was referring to widespread and unprecedented monsoonal flooding that has hit Pakistan over the last few days, already killing hundreds of people and making nearly a million homeless. And this is just the beginning of the monsoon season.
Tens of thousands of Egyptians reclaimed Tahrir square from police on September 9, demanding an end to military trials of civilians and for judicial freedom. Security forces withdrew from the square on the day before. It had been under guard since a sit-in was broken up on August 1. Groups of youth immediately started organising the September 9 rally. They marched through the streets of downtown Cairo demanding an end to the rule of the military council and calling for Cairo's residents to join the protest.
You can see that western Sydney Aboriginal rapper Sesk has turned his life around when he holds his head up high. Not only does it give him an air of self-esteem - it also reveals that the large tattoo across his neck reading "GUILTY" has another word inked above it: "NOT". "It was actually just 'GUILTY' first," he says. "I was getting a few weird looks, so I put a 'NOT' there. "I don’t really have regrets, but if I had the chance to rewrite my life, I would. I would focus more on my schooling and would not treat my parents and family the way I did."
Downfall: The Tommy Sheridan Story By Alan McCombes, Birlinn 2011 326 pages, pb £9.99 In the elections to the Scottish parliament in May 2003, the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) polled just under a quarter of a million votes and won six seats. By any stretch of the imagination this was a remarkable achievement for a party well to the left of Labour. It was a beacon of hope and inspiration for socialists the world over. By 2011, the SSP’s vote had slumped to below 9000. It failed to regain any of the six seats it had lost in 2007.
Thousands of Swazi people marched through Mbabane on September 5, burning images of Swaziland's absolute monarch King Mswati III. Protesters sung freedom songs and chanting slogans against his agenda of pay freezes and cuts to student allowances. Striking public-sector staff, who took part in the rally, called for increased taxes on the monarch and his wealthy cronies instead of welfare cuts. The rally kicked off the Swaziland United Democratic Front's Global Week of Action. Over the next six days, workers planned to stage a series of strikes.
Elections in the eastern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on September 4 resulted in another humiliating defeat for the conservative government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel's centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) had already suffered five election defeats this year. The Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania defeat was particularly galling for Merkel because the state includes her own constituency.
After the overthrow of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak in February, a new chapter in Egyptian history is being written and its authors are the people themselves. Anything could happen and everything is up for grabs given the profound political, social and economic crisis in which Egypt's neoliberal system finds itself in. See also: Cairo eyewitness: Fresh protests demand real change
In Spain the signs are unmistakable: a “hot autumn” of political and social conflict is brewing in the run-up to the November 20 general election. Polling night will reveal how much the growing social resistance, brought onto the streets since May largely by the 15-M movement of “indignants”, has shaken up the political scene. As things stand, the most likely result is a repeat of the wipe-out suffered by the governing Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) at the May elections for local council and regional governments (known as “autonomous communities”).
Since May, Chile has been rocked by sustained protests, occupations and strikes by students and their supporters in a huge struggle for free, public education. The fight is part of the struggle to overturn the legacy of the 1973-'90 Pinochet dictatorship. From the very beginning, students and educators were an important target for the dictatorship. General Augusto Pinochet led a US-backed military coup against the elected left-wing government of president Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973.
While the mainstream media have focused on the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya, democracy movements in Yemen, Syria and Bahrain have deepened despite severe repression. Hundreds of thousands of people rallied in Yemen's capital Sana'a on September 4, MorningStarOnline.co.uk said the next day. They demanded the removal of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Thousands were prevented from rallying by military roadblocks. Five protesters were wounded when government troops opened fire on the rally.
The article below is an abridged editorial from US progressive magazine Against The Current. * * * The decade opened with the attacks of September 11, 2001 may have symbolically closed with the elite US death-squad assassination of Osama bin Laden. But the turmoil of these post-9/11 years, notably the self-inflicted wounds of US capitalism, have exceeded the terrorist mastermind’s wildest dreams. There are the wars that George W Bush, with the support of congressional Democrats, launched in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Despite widespread condemnation of Israeli policies by the United Nations, other international bodies, human rights organisations and internationally respected lawyers Israel continues to deprive Palestinians of their rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination. Israel’s ethnic cleansing, racial discrimination and aggressive expansion through colonisation are well documented. See also: Rallies say you 'can't sweeten apartheid'
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will take place in Perth at the end of next month. It is a gathering of the government leaders of the 54 Commonwealth countries. The Commonwealth today has direct links to the earlier structures of the British Empire in which colonialists of a previous era used to boast that the “sun never sets” on the places where they were killing and oppressing people.
British-based multinational corporation Serco Group is bidding for more contracts with Australian federal and state governments. Worth £4.3 billion ($6.6 billion), Serco markets itself as a “solution to government”, which takes over government services and runs them for profit. It has run Australia’s disastrous and increasingly unstable refugee detention centres since 2009, owns two Australian super-prisons and took over Western Australia’s court security and custodial services in June.
Australian Solicitor-General Stephen Gageler, who defended the government’s Malaysia solution in the High Court, confirmed the court’s decision “cast doubt” on all offshore processing, immigration minister Chris Bowen said on September 4. Bowen and Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s response has been to seek support for changing the Migration Act to circumvent the ruling. See also: Protests, suicide attempts shake Darwin detention centre