International News

The Australian captain of a women-crewed boat, which tried to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza last month, firmly believes the mission was worthwhile.

“The Women’s Boat to Gaza managed to reignite the spotlight on Gaza and on the terrible conditions that the Gazan people suffer”, Madeline Habib told Green Left Weekly.

The systematic police repression of African Americans that Black Lives Matter (BLM) has exposed has prompted Black athletes to express their solidarity. The latest has been the silent protests at sporting events initiated by Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers.

His protest is simple. He kneels when the national anthem is played before games. In spite of attacks against him, other professional athletes have emulated his protest. Perhaps most significant has been the many high school players across the country who have joined in.

A new investigation by In These Times has revealed that, by percentage of population, Native Americans are more likely to be killed by police than any other sector — including African Americans.

It also found that while cases of African-American police deaths tend to dominate headlines, killings of Native people go almost entirely unreported by mainstream US media.

At least 2000 Seattle teachers sported Black Lives Matter shirts at schools across the city on October 19, TeleSUR English said. The action was part of several rallies under the banner of “Black Lives Matter at School” to push for racial justice in education in the United States.

The protests were organised by Social Equality Educators, a group of educators within the Seattle teachers union.

Tens of thousands of women across Argentina walked off the job on October 19 to “make noise” against gender violence and economic inequalities in the first women’s national strike in the country’s history.

The strike came in the wake of a brutal gang rape and murder of a teenage girl that has reinvigorated the fight against femicide and gender violence across the continent. Protesters showed signs with the stories of missing or murdered women, chanting “We won't forgive, we won't forget”.

Protesters against the Temer government's extreme austerity plans in Rio on October 17

Riot police cracked down and fired tear gas on thousands of protesters in central Rio de Janeiro on October 17 as marches flooded the streets to reject unelected President Michel Temer’s proposed 20-year freeze on public spending, which critics say will spell disaster in the cash-strapped country.

Students peacefully end their occupation of the Caetano de Campos school in Sao Paulo to avoid confrontations with military police.

Brazilian high school students occupied schools across the country – mostly in the southern state of Parana – to protest against the unelected government of President Michel Temer and his administration's assault on public education in a wave of protests launched on October 3, TeleSUR English said on October 9.

US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's full remarks to several Wall Street audiences became public pn October 15 when the transparency group WikiLeaks dumped its latest batch of emails obtained from the account of John Podesta, Clinton's campaign chairman. WikiLeaks called the latest release a “holy grail” for journalism.

Thousands marched in Venezuela’s capital of Caracas on October 12 to commemorate the Day of Indigenous Resistance — previously known as “Colombus Day”. The march also sought to counter opposition mobilisations in favour of the recall referendum against socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

A little-known but controversial World Bank tribunal has bucked tradition and ruled against corporate power on October 14.

The tribunal rejected Canadian-Australian gold mining giant OceanaGold’s claim that El Salvador interfered with its profits when the government pulled the plug on a proposed gold mine.

The seven-year, multi-million dollar, largely secretive court battle had pitted mining-affected Salvadoran communities — supported by international human rights groups — against the deep pockets of OceanaGold.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced his proposal for the country’s federal budget for 2017 on October 14 — indicating that a staggering 73.6% would be dedicated toward social investment. It comes in a context of an economic crisis, including shortages of some goods.

In the days leading up to the announcement, the governing Untied Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) held street assemblies with thousands of Venezuelans to discuss and debate the proposed budget.

“In a democracy like ours, the budget is debated by the people,” Maduro said on October 12.

During a debate in Miami earlier this year between the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders came out against the Monroe Doctrine.

This doctrine dictates that the United States government could intervene throughout the hemisphere and overthrow whatever government does not suit Washington.

Ernesto “Che” Guevara was executed by a Bolivian soldier in the village of La Higuera, Bolivia, on October 9, 1967. The soldier was acting on orders that came directly from Bolivia’s then-president Rene Barrientos.

Guevara was summarily executed for fear that a trial would become a public spectacle and garner sympathy for Guevara and his revolutionary socialist cause.

Thailand’s King Pumipon Adulyadej died on October 13 aged 88, after more than 70 years on the throne. Thai socialist Giles Ji Ungpakorn has been in exile since he was charged with lese majeste (insulting the monarch) over a 2006 book criticising the king’s support for a military coup. Below he assesses the monarch’s role as a block to democracy and social justice.

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King Pumipon was a weak and characterless monarch who spent his useless and privileged life in a bubble, surrounded by fawning, grovelling toadies who claimed that he was a “god”.

US naval forces fired cruise missiles at targets in Yemen on October 12. This was the first direct Western involvement in the war in Yemen. However, Western powers — in particular the US and Britain — have been arming and bankrolling Saudi Arabia throughout the war.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia, along with its Gulf State allies, has pursued a relentless bombing campaign and siege of the nation of Yemen. It aims to influence its neighbour’s political order.

A flotilla bound for Gaza carrying food, medicine and other humanitarian aid was intercepted and seized by the Israeli Navy on October 5. The Women’s Boat to Gaza had set sail from the Spanish port city of Barcelona in mid-September in an effort to break the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza, Democracy Now! said on October 12.

Sixty million people are on the run worldwide, most from countries in the global South. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says one third of the refugees originate from Africa.

Wars, human rights violations, political instability, discrimination, poverty and the consequences of climate change and natural disasters are often named as causes for flight. But there is also ecocide — the destruction of livelihoods through the ruthless exploitation of raw materials and the subsidy politics of industrialised countries in the West.

There is a very sinister, hellish thing behind the tepid concern that rears its head when a country like Haiti suffers a tragedy.

As 800 people died and 90% of parts of southern Haiti were destroyed by Hurricane Matthew earlier this month, leaving whole towns flattened, and people homeless and without basic infrastructure, the trending hashtag was #PrayForFlorida.

The images and accounts of Haiti’s devastation following Hurricane Matthew’s passage on October 4 are gut-wrenching. The death toll is in the hundreds and continues to rise. Entire villages in the country's southwest were obliterated. The response of a Haitian government, left besieged and without resources by decades of foreign plunder, is anaemic. The victims’ anguished appeals for help are heart-rending. The United Nations now says 1.4 million people are in need of assistance, urgent and immediate for half of them.

My heart breaks over Category 4 Hurricane Matthew’s slamming of Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba.

When Hurricane Sandy struck New York City where I live, our entire neighbourhood was destroyed — every single house was uninhabitable.

Ten climate activists were arrested on October 11 for trying to shut down all tar sands oil coming into the United States from Canada by manually turning off pipelines in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and Washington state Democracy Now! said.

Apparently, the universe does have a sense of humour.

After blaming his poor showing in the first presidential debate on problems with his microphone, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s candidacy is swirling around the toilet bowl due to comments that a different microphone did pick up.

Trump went into the second debate on October 9 with Hillary Clinton needing the impossible — for millions of people to forget the revulsion they felt when they learned about his casual misogyny unearthed in a 2005 recording.

Nearly 1000 Native American youth from the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe are seeking to raise US$100,000 to join month-long protests against the North Dakota Access Pipeline project.

Indigenous and environmental activists say the pipeline will ruin sacred burial grounds and pollute local water supplies — as well as transport oil that will contribute to global warming.

The youths are from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, which is among the poorest areas in the US.

Venezuelan foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez called on the United States to pull out of its military bases across Latin America on October 6.

In a fierce speech, Rodriguez labelled the US military presence across the region as a threat to peace and stability.

“We denounce the presence of 70 US bases in our region, we have to unite and demand the closing of these bases,” said Rodriguez.

The comments were made while Rodriguez addressed the Latin American Summit of Progressive Movements in Quito, Ecuador.

Venezuela confirmed shipments of humanitarian aid to the island nation of Haiti on October 5 after category four Hurricane Matthew made its way through Haiti. On October 8, the death toll fro the hurricane, which caused widespread devastation, was put at more than 800.

President Nicolas Maduro made the announcement of aid on his weekly television program In Contact with Maduro on the evening of October 4.


Another round of international talks on Syria, and a ceasefire, have come and gone. The five-and-a-half-year-old civil war continues unabated, as do the competing military interventions — all ostensibly targeting ISIS — by various regional and global powers.

In late September and early October, two big political explosions shook the already unstable foundations of the Spanish state.

On September 25, Carles Puigdemont, premier of Catalonia and head of the pro-independence Together For The Yes (JPS) regional government, told the Catalan parliament that the country would decide its political status by September next year through “a referendum or a referendum”.

Hundreds of thousands of Colombians marched in silence in cities across the country holding candles and torches on October 5 in support of a peace deal that only just lost a plebiscite on October 2, Morning Star said.

The huge marches came after the shock victory of the “No” vote in a plebiscite on whether to accept the peace deal negotiated between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Poland’s ruling far-right Law and Justice party has reversed its support for a draconian abortion ban after women across the country went on strike to protest the proposed law.

Jarosław Gowin, the minister of science and higher education, said that large protests and strikes on October 3 had “caused us to think and taught us humility,” The Guardian reported.

Regional elections took place in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country on September 25, registering an overall rise in support of parties that favour Basque self-determination at the expense of Spanish centralists. At the same time, the combined vote of broad left forces rose.

The elections were meant to decide whether the incumbent centre-right Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) would continue to govern in the Basque Country, an autonomous region in the Spanish state where a long campaign for self-determination has been waged.

New reports of police murdering Black people seem to occur daily. Three recent police killings that have sparked huge protests took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Charlotte, North Carolina; and El Cajon, California.

The Charlotte murder and demonstrations have received the most coverage. Before he was shot dead on September 20, Keith Scott, a 43-year-old African American, was sitting in his car waiting for his child to come home from school.

Thousands of people took to the streets on October 3 against plans for a total ban on abortion in Warsaw, Poland.

Peace supporters react to the plebiscite result.

The "No" vote was won by a half of a percentage point in a Colombian plebiscite on October 2 on a peace deal between the government and the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which aims to end more than five decades of civil war.

Left to right: President Rafael Correa, Pais aliance presidential candidate Lenin Moreno andhis vice presidential running mate Jorge Glas.

Attendees at a conference of Momentum, a group of grassroots supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, in Liverpool to coincide with Labours' national conference.

It wasn’t a surprise, but that didn’t make it any less historic.

WELL, THAT was pretty much what we all thought having to spend 90 minutes with Donald Trump would be like.

After 18 months of hype and anticipation, an expected record number of viewers watched the first presidential debate to find out what most of them already knew: Donald Trump is an egomaniac who expresses his love for the American people by how many buildings he owns in their cities.

Tens of thousands marched through Dublin on September 24 calling for abortion rights, Morning Star reported the next day. Marchers carried banners calling on the Irish government to “repeal the 8th,” the amendment to the Irish constitution which gives foetuses a “right to life” deemed equal with that of pregnant women, rendering almost all abortions illegal.

In a rare move, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called out Saudi Arabia on September 22 for airstrikes in Yemen that killed dozens of civilians, including children.

The US-backed Saudi coalition, which has been bombing Yemen since last year, struck a house in a residential area in western Yemen on September 21, killing 26 people, according to medics and residents.

The Green Party of England and Wales has welcomed the news that Jeremy Corbyn has been re-elected as leader of the Labour Party.and called for him to form a grssroots-led progressive alliance with other left forces.