International News

After 60 days of discussions, negotiations for a new governing coalition have failed in Germany, leaving the country without a government.

Last September’s general election – in which the far-right obtained an unprecedented and alarming result – left no party with an absolute majority, forcing incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel to look for partners to form a new government.

More than 1000 students marched through the streets of Jaffna demanding freedom for Tamil political prisoners on November 14.

An appeal issued by the Jaffna Universty Students Union read: "At least 132 Tamil political prisoners are languishing in the prisons of Sri Lankan state across the island. Many of them have been detained for years without trial".

In the weeks since evidence of film producer Harvey Weinstein’s decades-long pattern of sexual abuse surfaced, millions of women, trans and gender nonconforming people, even men around the world, have exposed the scale of sexual violence in our society, using the #MeToo hashtag to tell their stories.

#MeToo set off a profound moment of collective bravery, which would have been impossible without the broad sense of solidarity and support for those coming forward.

Los Angeles streets were swarmed by the thousands of protesters on November 12 as Hollywood was taken by storm by a march inspired by the #MeToo Twitter campaign.

In support of victims of sexual assault and harassment, thousands of demonstrators marched, pausing in front of CNN’s headquarters.

Since Chile’s return to democracy in 1990 after the fall of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, the South American nation has maintained a largely stable and predictable political system. However, the stability of this post-Pinochet political set up has seemingly come to an end.

A clear expression of this was the results of the presidential and parliamentary elections held on November 19.

St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said climate change could devastate Caribbean islands if global leaders do not act now to stop its extreme effect on the small islands.

It is no secret that in today’s corporate-dominated media landscape, Venezuela appears almost ubiquitously as a synonym of “dictatorship”.

This is why many may be surprised that Venezuela will hold its 23rd election in 18 years on December 10 when Venezuelans go to the polls to elect local mayors.

The new #UnitedIreland campaign has released the video below, narrated by actor Irish actor John Connors. The video says it is time to build a new, democratic, inclusive and United Ireland.

In Harare, Bulawayo and smaller Zimbabwean cities, hundreds of thousands of citizens joyfully took to the streets on Saturday, November 18, approving a Zimbabwe Defence Force (ZDF) military semi-coup that resolves a long-simmering faction fight within the ruling party and ends the extraordinary career of Robert Mugabe at the age of 93.

More than 100,000 people took part in a three-day sit-in outside the national parliament in New Delhi over November 9-11 against the “anti-worker, anti-farmer and anti-national policies” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, Inuth.com said November 13.

Ten national trade unions and many other workers’ organisations from across India took part to campaign for a 12-point workers’ rights charter.

Members of left-wing trade union federation Solidarity of Filipino Workers (BMP) and the socialist  Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM) held a public commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution on November 7 in Quezon City, Manila. Photo by Gregorio Bituin, Jr.

The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico continues after almost two months after the hurricanes hit. The imperialist center in Washington continues to refuse to provide anything like adequate aid to its Caribbean colony.

The destruction caused by the two hurricanes that hit the island in September was worsened by a long history of imperialist exploitation, which has devastated the economy and infrastructure. This has greatly deepened over the past decade.

Australia’s behaviour at the UN Climate Conference in Bonn (COP23) has been described as that of a bully. Australia has collected a swag of “Fossil of the Day” awards — given daily by climate activists to the country or group doing its best to stop effective action on climate change.

Australia, along with the US, has been disgracing itself in one of the most contentious areas of the climate talks, known as Loss and Damage. Other developed countries, particularly the European Union and Canada, have not been very helpful either.

The Untied States is now the only country trying to undermine the Paris Agreement on climate change. While other countries are pledging to cut their emissions — often inadequately, but at least accepting the need — the US intends to raise them.

Meanwhile, the US is taking a step forward on the geoengineering path. Geoengineering, specifically Solar Radiation Management (SRM), refers to large-scale human interventions into the Earth’s climate. These aim to cut the levels of solar radiation that reach the Earth’s surface to artificially cool the planet.

La Via Campesina is a global social movement that unites 148 groups representing small farmers, peasants, rural workers and indigenous communities around the world. It fights for food sovereignty and ecologically sustainable agriculture. At the COP23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany, La Via Campesina released the statement that is slightly abridged below on November 9.

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The December 21 election in Catalonia will not only decide if pro-independence forces can return to administer this region of the Spanish state: it will also decide if the Spanish state’s own underlying crisis of legitimacy intensifies or starts to fade.

In essence, the election will be a plebiscite on the central Spanish government’s takeover of the Catalan government under article 155 of the Spanish constitution and whether a majority think Catalonia has a right to decide its relation to the Spanish state.

Some of the worst fears and dire predictions of opponents of the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline came true on November 16 when pipeline owner TransCanada announced that more than 200,000 gallons of oil had spilled from the existing portion of the Keystone system in Marshall County, South Dakota.

Peasants, small farmers and Indigenous peoples “feed the world and cool the planet”. This is what the global peasant movement, La Via Campesina, has come to Bonn to put onto the agenda at the COP23 climate meetings — both in the official space and at the People’s Climate Summit where social movements met to strategise for alternatives to capitalism and its climate crisis.

The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico continues almost two months after two hurricanes hit. The imperialist centre in Washington continues to refuse to provide anything like adequate aid to its Caribbean colony.

The destruction caused by the two hurricanes that hit the island in September was worsened by a long history of imperialist exploitation, which has devastated the economy and infrastructure. This has greatly deepened over the past decade.

Although the media spends a lot of time portraying Cuba as a “dictatorship”, it has barely covered the fact that Cubans have once again begun a process of electing officials, starting from the local and going all the way up to the national parliament.

Cuba has rejected outright new US restrictions that took effect on November 8, describing them as confirming an "upsurge" of the blockade imposed by Washington since 1962.

Cuba's top diplomat for the Americas, Josefina Vidal, said during a press conference on November 7 that the new measures to prevent US trade with and travel to the Caribbean island were "arbitrary."

It is important to understand the context and the intended (as well as likely) effects of the US administration's actions. With encouragement from Florida Senator Marco Rubio and other Republicans, US President Donald Trump has been trying to help topple the elected government of Venezuela.

Venezuelan foreign minister Jorge Arreaza met with diplomatic representatives from the European Union and rejected the sanctions imposed by the EU against the South American country, on November 14.

"EU sanctions seek to intervene in Venezuela," Arreaza said during the meeting.

Thousands of Filipinos took to the streets to protest the five-day visit of US President Donald Trump. One of the largest protests was the November 13 rally and march by Laban ng Masa, a new coalition of trade unionists, community activists, urban poor organisations, feminists and socialists formed in September to oppose the authoritarian and violent policies of President Rodrigo Duterte. Laban ng Masa released the statement below in response to Trump's visit.

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Statement on the Trump Visit to the Philippines

Live coverage of the struggle for independence in Catalonia from Dick Nichols, European correspondent of Green Left Weekly and Links--International Journal of Socialist Renewal, based in Barcelona.

Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink has just spent a year with Kurdish forces in northern Syria observing the democratic and feminist revolution unfolding in the region. During her recent visit to Australia, she spoke to Green Left Radio about her experience. Below is an edited and abridged transcript of the interview.

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Two years of the U.S.-backed Saudi war in Yemen has caused a disastrous humanitarian situation in the poorest Arab country. The conflict is increasingly stoking anti-American sentiment among Yemenis, many of whom see the U.S. government as a killer using Saudi hands. 

The conflict began in 2015, when President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi resigned and went into exile, and Saudi Arabia led an armed coalition allegedly to restore Hadi’s legitimacy. Hadi now leads a government-in-exile while the rebel Houthi movement surges in Yemen.

Venezuela’s Revolutionary Sex and Gender Diversity Alliance (ASGDRe) was set up in 2009 as a collective to fight for gender diversity rights and against discrimination based on sexuality.

What separated ASGDRe from other similar groups was that they openly supported the revolutionary process taking place in Venezuela.

Speaking with members of ASGDRe, as part of the international solidarity delegation organised by Venezuela Analysis in August, they told us that the group began with about 10 members, mainly friends.

The 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the first socialist revolution in world history, was marked on October 25 — the date the Bolsheviks led the revolutionary seizure of power by the soviets (elected councils of workers, peasants and soldiers).

The waving of the rainbow pride flag at a concert on the outskirts of Cairo has triggered a backlash of state repression against the LGBTI community.

Several flags were raised at a performance to 35,000 people by the Lebanese indie-rock band Mashrou’ Leila on 22 September. Mashrou’ Leila is fronted by lead singer Hamed Sinno, one of few openly gay musicians in the Middle East. Sinno paid tribute at the concert to the late gay icon Freddie Mercury.

A high profile member of the ultra right-wing Popular Will (VP) party, Yon Goicoechea, was freed by Venezuelan authorities on November 4 after more than a year behind bars.

Goicoechea was arrested last August by national security forces for the alleged possession of explosive devices, just two days before an opposition march. 

Since being granted conditional release, Goicoechea has confirmed his candidacy for the mayoralty of the wealthy municipality of El Hatillo, despite his party calling for a boycott of upcoming elections. 

I have a question about offshore tax havens that no one has ever been able to answer. Can you name one legitimate reason to keep your money in a tax haven? 

The media keeps implying that there must be one. They keep pointing out (mostly to avoid the libel laws) that using a tax haven does not necessarily involve illegality or “wrongdoing”.

But what form of activity that isn’t wrong could possibly involve stashing your cash offshore? And why should we shy away from saying that starving the public purse of money is itself wrongdoing?

Three Tamil political prisoners, who had been on hunger strike for 38 days, ended it on November 4.

The decision came after a delegation of Jaffna University Student Union leaders promised to build a grassroots campaign for the freedom of all political prisoners.

Tamilnet said the students and their supporters pledged to organise a “village to village information campaign”. By “mobilising the masses”, they aim to pressure Tamil members of parliament to make freedom for political prisoners a condition of support for the Sri Lankan government’s budget.

Road and rail blockades organised by the Committees in Defence of the Republic (CDR) paralysed traffic movement across Catalonia on November 8.

The blockades were part of a day of protest action aimed against the Spanish government’s takeover of the Catalan government and parliament, and the detention of eight Catalan government ministers.

Democrat Danica Roem beat Republican Bob Marshall in elections for Virginia’s general assembly in Virginia, The Intercept reported on November 8, to become the state’s first-ever elected transgender official.

Climate activists awarded Australia the very first “Fossil of the Day” at the UN Climate Conference in Bonn, being held from November 6-17. This award is given daily to the country judged to be doing the best to block effective progress on climate change.

Australia got the award for actively supporting the development of coal mining in the Galilee Basin, particularly the Adani project. Fittingly, Australia was presented the award by Pacific Islanders, who are very vulnerable to climate change impacts.

It’s that time of year again when countries get together to discuss taking action on climate change. Progress is painfully slow at these United Nations Climate Change Conferences (known as COPs). We are up to number 23 — hence it is called COP23.

COP23, held in Bonn, Germany from November 6-17, is not as significant as COP21 in 2015, when the Paris Agreement was negotiated. Much of this year’s conference is concerned with fleshing out details of the Paris Agreement, the so called rulebook, for adoption in 2018.

Speaking to a huge march on November 7, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said that, during the Russian Revolution, the workers took political power into their hands for the first time. "In Revolution, all times are a battle and they are a struggle!", Maduro told the popular celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik-led revolution on the outskirts of the Miraflores Palace Caracas.

The president recalled that the Revolution showed for the first time that workers could take political power in their hands to build a state.

Britain's socialist Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Paradise Papers, 13 million files leaked files that expose how the rich and powerful systematically evade tax, shows “one rule for the super-rich and another for the rest". 

The November 5 shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, was one of the deadliest mass shootings in Texas state history. It comes only a month after the shooting massacre in Las Vegas, where another white man, Stephen Paddock, opened fire on concertgoers, killing 59 people, including himself.

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