BlacKkKlansman: an excellent anti-racist film.

Directed by Spike Lee
Starring John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier & Topher Grace.
2018, in cinemas now

BlacKkKlansman is now one of my all time favourite movies. As a film it works masterfully. There is tension, suspense and comedy. The film is directed by Spike Lee, the black filmmaker whose films always contemplate political issues and in particular racial injustice. The acting is great and the story – based on a true story -  is also great. But, there are some interesting political questions that it raises.

Syria: Assad threatens Idlib while Afrin resists Turkish occupation

The Assad regime and its allies have been building up their forces around the rebel-held Idlib province, in Syria’s north-west, in preparation for a major offensive. Some bombing raids have already been carried out in the south and west of the province.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are carrying out guerrilla resistance against the occupying Turkish army and its militia allies in the Afrin canton, a predominantly Kurdish area of northern Syria.

The SDF is the military alliance of forces that supports a secular, democratic and federal Syria, based on the revolutionary model of “democratic confederalism” practiced in SDF-held areas of northern Syria.

Idlib and Afrin are two battlefields in the multi-sided conflict in Syria.

In 2011, Syria experienced a popular uprising against the brutal dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad. Peaceful mass protests demanded democratic rights. The regime responded with violent repression. 

Malaysia: Unions, socialists slam new govt over minimum wage decision

The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), several other trade unions and the Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) have slammed as “humiliating” and “beggarly” the new Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) federal government's announcement that it would increase the country's minimum wage by just RM50 (A$17) a month to RM1050 ($350) from January 2019.

Unions are considering calling a mass workers' protest.

Pakatan Harapan had promised to raise the minimum wage to RM1500 if it won the May 9 general election. This promise was listed as one of those it would meet within its first 100 days in office.

After Pakatan Harapan won the election, Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran let it be known that this was a good as done as soon as the tripartite National Wages Consultation Council delivered its recommendation on a new minimum wage.

Tamils demand return of land, international investigation of disappearances

About 4000 Tamils rallied in Mullaitheevu on the northeast coast of the island of Sri Lanka on August 28, Tamilnet reported.

They demanded the return of land previously confiscated from its Tamil owners and given to settlers from Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese ethnic majority, as well as the abandonment of irrigation projects that will result in further Sinhalese settlements in Tamil areas.

Other demands included an end to “nature reserves” that prevent Tamil fisherpeople from fishing in lagoons.

On August 30, the relatives of people who disappeared during the war rallied in Mannaar and Ampaarai. They demanded international investigation of the disappearances, rejecting the Sri Lankan government's Office of Missing Persons.

Protesters said the Sri Lankan government, which was responsible for the disappearances, could not be trusted to investigate itself.

Venezuelan commune activists vow to 'take the offensive'

Representatives of 74 communes — institutions of popular power elected from grassroots communal councils — from across Venezuela gathered in Lara state late last month to participate in the inaugural National Assembly of Communes, writes Paul Dobson.

The meeting of more than 300 commune activists was held to try to strengthen the connections between different communes in a range of areas. This includes linking up productive micro-projects, communicational initiatives and educational networks.

It also discussed current challenges to the communal movement, territorial defence plans and the push to build a “communal state” — as called for by the late socialist president Hugo Chavez). Given recent widespread problems in state-run public services, the discussions included how to incorporate public services such as water, electricity and rubbish collection under the communes’ purview.

New collection of essays look at crucial links in class and gender theory

Social Reproduction Theory
Edited by Tithi Bhattacharya
Pluto Press $45

The rise of #MeToo, the anti-rape culture movement in India, the global women’s strike and the pro-choice movements that have rocked Ireland and Argentina reveal a new generation of feminist activists organising for change. Many of the new activists may not have heard the debates from the previous upsurge — the “second wave” of feminism.

The new generation are fighting because their hopes and aspirations for a better, more equal life are being thwarted: they experience oppression as women and as workers (and potentially other oppressions related to race and sexuality).

They may not all identify as feminist (thanks to establishment liberal feminism), but they are fighting against women’s oppression.


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