Luigi Preiti, a 49-year old unemployed man from the Calabria region of southern Italy, walked towards Palazzo Chigi on April 28, the seat of the Italian government in Rome, holding a gun. As the military police patrolling the palace tried to stop him, Preiti went on a shooting spree. He wounded two policemen before the he was restrained and arrested by the Carabinieri. Apparently, Preiti’s intended plan was “to kill a politician” and then commit suicide.
The Ecosocialist Conference, a broad and enthusiastic all-day meeting in New York April 20, took a big step toward creating an anti-capitalist wing of the environmental movement. The conference was arranged in just six weeks by organizers of the Ecosocialist Contingent in the mass demonstration against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in Washington February 17. It was supported by 29 groups who subscribed to the Ecosocialist Contingent statement for “system change, not climate change.”
A selection of this week's politically-relevant entertainment news... Snoop Lion Defaces Defenceless Barack Obama With New Snoopify App http://bit.ly/12ff9gy Unmanned Drones To Deliver Delicious Beverage Relief To Punters At Music Festival http://bit.ly/12fcLGz As I Lay Dying Singer Arrested Under Suspicion Of Hiring Hitman To Kill Wife http://bit.ly/10ocsaz Rapper Lauryn Hill Sentenced To 3 Months Jail For Unpaid Taxes http://bit.ly/13eJQEY Singer Charli XCX Says Sexism Makes Collaborations Tough http://bit.ly/18qGIrC
Hearing the news made me feel like I'd accidentally walked into a wind tunnel. For as long as I had written about this issue and as many times as I had said in recent years that this will happen in a matter of months if not weeks, it still hit me like a triple shot of espresso cut with a teaspoon of Adderall. Thanks to the courage of 34-year-old NBA veteran Jason Collins, we can no longer repeat endlessly that no active male athlete in North America has ever come out of the closet.
Jailed WikiLeaks whistleblower and US soldier, Bradley Manning, was named on April 25 as the grand marshal in this year’s LGBTI Pride Parade in San Francisco. But, amid controversy and pressure, San Francisco Pride president Lisa Williams issued a statement the next day rescinding the honour. Manning was elected by former grand marshals, who form an electoral college to choose a grand marshal each year. Other grand marshals are appointed by the SF Pride board and by a community vote. Grand marshals are chosen for making significant contributions to the LGBTI community.
The biggest Labour Day march in Australia took place in Brisbane on May 5, as thousands of unionists marched through the city in celebration. More than 30,000 took to the streets across the state over the past weekend, expressing their anger towards the Campbell Newman government. Workers from a wide range of trade unions proudly participated, with large contingents from the Builders’ Labourers Federation and the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union.
Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, veteran Irish civil rights leader, said in response to the case of Irish republican Marian Price, who was returned to jail in 2011: “It is a clear signal to everyone who is not 'on board' and who is not of the same mind as the government that no dissent will be tolerated. “No dissent will be tolerated and you challenge the status quo at your peril.”.
Australian politicians often describe India as “the world’s biggest democracy”. The reality is somewhat different. I found this out when I attended the ninth congress of the Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML) from April 2-7. Two CPI-ML members were killed in the lead-up to the congress.
I received a knock on the door on April 16 from two members of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, better known as ASIO. The two told me they would like to have a conversation. When I asked what they wanted to speak about, they told me they were doing their job — protecting “national security” — and had a few questions about my involvement in political campaigns in Sydney. Apparently the latest threat to “national security” is “political violence” in the activist community.
More than 800 people rallied in Thellippazhai on April 29, a town in the north of the island of Sri Lanka. They marched towards the entrance of a nearby military zone. The Tamilnet website said the rally organisers had been warned by police that a march would not be permitted, but rally participants spontaneously decided to march regardless. They were blocked from reaching the military zone by the army and police. They were protesting against the confiscation of their land by the Sri Lankan army.
Lately it seems that we can’t get away from the hard, simple fact that art requires labour — both in the actual creation and in the conditions that make it possible. Where there’s labour there’s normally a lot of hard work and sacrifice. And where there’s hard work and sacrifice, there’s normally some bastard at the top looking to squeeze as much as they can out of those of us who actually work. Much as some of us would love to act like art exists in a separate realm from all of this, it doesn’t.
Eleven miles by ferry from Perth is Western Australia's "premier tourist destination". This is Rottnest Island, whose scabrous wild beauty and isolation evoked for me Robben Island in South Africa. Empires are never short of devil's islands; what makes Rottnest different, indeed what makes Australia different, is a silence and denial on an epic scale.
May Day this year in Spain was not built as a special mobilisation against austerity, poverty and unemployment, and did not coincide with a general strike. Despite that, this was not a ritualistic May Day.
When East Timor won its independence from Indonesia in 1999, the country's medical infrastructure in rural areas was almost non-existent. When then-Cuban President Fidel Castro heard about the problem at a regional summit, he offered to send Cuban doctors free of charge — as many as were needed. So began the largest Cuban medical assistance program outside Latin America. In 2010, after a six year program of study in Cuba, the first of nearly 500 East Timorese medical students graduated and took up their posts in East Timorese villages and towns.
There’s a new president in Latin America, and his name isn’t Nicolas Maduro. The election that brought him to power was called by an illegitimate regime following a coup d’etat, and his name isn’t Porfirio Lobo. He’s a wealthy, conservative businessman, and his name isn’t Sebastian Pinera. His party ruled for over 60 years, and his name isn’t Enrique Pena Nieto.
It would be hard to find somewhere that celebrates May Day more enthusiastically than Venezuela. But this year celebrations were marred by claims made in a document that could easily be mistaken for a lift-out from a UFO enthusiasts' magazine.