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Activists have held solidarity actions against right-wing violence in Venezuela in several Australian cities, as part of an international campaign of solidarity with the Bolivarian revolution.

About 20 people rallied outside Sydney Town Hall on February 19. Holding banners and placards expressing support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian revolution, the protesters handed out leaflets explaining to passersby the need to defend the people of Venezuela and their government against extreme right attacks, backed by the US government.

When refugees are being killed and injured by thugs hired by the Australian government to run its offshore refugee detention camp in Manus Island, PNG; when Australia's foreign minister Julie Bishop pressures Cambodia (one of the poorest countries in the world) to take asylum seekers off Australia (one of the world's richest countries) surely it is time to say: NOT IN OUR NAME!

And this is what thousands of people did over the weekend of February 22-23 in more than 750 vigils, called by internet campaigning network GetUp.

It stands to reason that the perpetrators of crimes against humanity have a vested interest in silencing those who speak out against them.

So it is not surprising there has been an intensified campaign of repression in Pakistan against those speaking out against the US bombing campaign in Pakistan's north-west.

The US drone war in tribal areas of Pakistan, initiated by the George Bush Jr administration and dramatically escalated under Barack Obama, is reported to have claimed about 3500 lives since 2004. This includes nearly 1000 civilians unconnected to militant activities.

The Kansas Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill on February 11 that makes it legal to discriminate against LGBTIQ people in the mid-western US state.

This caused outrage across the US. If passed by the Senate, the law would make it legal for private businesses to discriminate against LGBTIQ people and allow public servants to deny LGBTIQ people basic services — so long as their reasoning is motivated by “sincerely held religious beliefs”.

Hip Hop, White Supremacy & Capitalism: Why Corporations Infiltrated RAP Music
Solomon Comissiong
Released November 2013
www.solomoncomissiong.com

The politics in early hip-hop music inspired Solomon Comissiong to become an activist, author, lecturer and film-maker. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to him about his work, which uses rap music as a tool to educate and organise.

***

Celebrity deaths from drug overdoses always garner heavy mainstream media coverage.

Last year, it was the death of Cory Monteith, a star of the popular TV show Glee — a lethal combination of heroin and alcohol killed him. This month, it was the gifted actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died of an apparent overdose of heroin.

Since the 1990s, many critics of the United States have accused Washington of promoting the dismemberment of nations such as Yugoslavia, in accordance with neoliberalism’s drive to weaken central governments and nation states.

Today, Washington’s official policy in nations like Syria and now the Ukraine has been support for rebels seeking to overthrow the government, even though their chances of success are minimal.

Alexis Tsipras speaks in a debate organised by the Dutch Socialist Party in Amersfoort on January 18.

In December, Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza), was elected as lead candidate of the Party of the European Left for the May 25 European elections.

Bolivia's Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera, a veteran left activist and Marxist academic, spoke at the December 13-15 congress of the Party of the European Left (PEL).

The PEL unites left groups from across Europe and is running Alexis Tsipras for president of the European Commission. Tsipras is president of the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which nearly won elections last year on an anti-austerity, pro-people platform.

Actress Ellen Page, best known for her work in the 2007 film Juno came out as gay in her speech at a Human Rights Campaign conference on February 14.

The conference itself was aimed at LGBTIQ youth where, during an emotional speech, Page said she was “tired of hiding” and “lying by omission”.

“I'm here today because I am gay,” Page said. “And because maybe I can make a difference.”

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