International News

On December 4, celebrations erupted at Standing Rock after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it had denied the Dakota Access Pipeline Company a permit to build the final segment of the $3.8 billion project and would study a possible reroute of the pipeline. The announcement from the U.S.

While Fidel Castro is known as a committed internationalist, supporting independence movements in Angola to South Africa, Nicaragua and even French Polynesia, less is known about his support for the Irish struggle, TeleSUR English said on December 2.

But in 1981, when Irish Republican prisoners were in the midst of a historic hunger strike against the British state, it was Fidel who once again sided with the oppressed.

As thousands joined Cuban President Raul Castro to say goodbye to his brother, Fidel, the younger brother imparted one of Fidel's dying wishes: that his image and name never adorn public places, from streets and parks to government institutions.

"Fidel was always against the cult of personality until his dying days," said Raul Castro. "He was consistent with that attitude, insisting that after his death his name and figure never be used to name plazas, avenues, streets and other public places, as well as the building of statues."

Cemil Bayık, the co-chair of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK, the umbrella organisation of the Kurdish liberation movement), spoke to Firat News Agency about recent developments in Turkey.

Earlier this year, a poll found the British public were generally proud of their country’s role in colonialism and the British Empire. The YouGov poll from January found 44% were proud of Britain’s history of colonialism, while only 21% regretted it. The same poll also asked about whether the British Empire was a good thing or a bad thing: 43% said it was good, while only 19% said it was bad. 

Syria’s five-year-old war is reaching a turning point. In the north and west, ISIS is on the back foot. Its territory is declining, as it is in Iraq.

But as with Iraq, the defeat of ISIS is likely to create new conflict over what comes next.

The north-eastern Syrian city of Aleppo has since 2012 been divided between the city’s west, held by the regime of beleaguered dictator Bashar al-Assad, and its east, held by a fractious coalition of predominantly Islamist rebel groups.

Chavistas march against right-wing attacks in September.

The government of Hugo Chavez, who was first elected in 1998, helped lead the Bolivarian revolutionary process that made impressive social gains by redistributing oil wealth and promoting participatory democracy.

Since Chavez’s death in 2013, the Bolivarian government led by President Nicolas Maduro has faced mounting problems. In recent times, a worsening economic crisis has undermined the revolution’s gains and, along with political gains by the counter-revolutionary opposition, has raised questions about the survival of the revolution.

The statement below was released by socialist groups from around the Asia-Pacific region on December 1 to coincide with protests across Indonesia and elsewhere in solidarity with West Papua’s struggle for freedom.

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We, the undersigned organisations, express our support to the struggle of the people of West Papua for self-determination.

December 1 marks the West Papua’s Independence Day for Papuans when the Morning Star flag was raised in 1961 before annexed by Indonesia. The flag symbolised the aspiration of many Papuans for a Free West Papua.

President-elect Donald Trump announced on November 30 that former Goldman Sachs partner Steven Mnuchin — a man described as “the anti-populist from Hell” — is his pick for treasury secretary.

The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) Socialism 2016 conference, held over November 25-27, featured solidarity with Maria Chin, chairperson of the Bersih anti-government movement who was being held in solitary confinement under the anti-democratic Security Operations Special Measures Act.

A special candle light vigil was held before the solidarity night which opened the conference. Chin was released on November 28 after 10 days in detention.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi looks set to resign after the December 4 referendum on constitutional changes he backed is projected to be defeated. Ahead of the vote, Green Left Weekly's Dick Nichols looks at the issues behind the referendum and Yes and No campaigns.

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Angry protesters take to the streets of Vancouver after the approval of Kinder Morgan and other pipelines on November 29.

To widespread dismay, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on November 29 his government’s approval of the expansion of Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, which will transport tar sands oil from northern Alberta to the British Columbia coast.

A water protector at Standing Rock defies the militarised police.

Update: The US Army Corps of Engineers denied the Dakota Access pipeline company a permit to drill underneath the Missouri River on December 4 Democracy Now! reported. The decision officially halts construction of the US$3.8 billion oil pipeline that has faced months of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota and members of more than 200 indigenous nations from across the Americas, as well as their non-Native allies.

The US Army Corps of Engineers denied the Dakota Access pipeline company a permit to drill underneath the Missouri River on December 4 Democracy Now! reported. The decision officially halts construction of the US$3.8 billion oil pipeline that has faced months of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota and members of more than 200 indigenous nations from across the Americas, as well as their non-Native allies.

Hundreds of service workers were arrested while striking for a US$15 minimum wage and the right to form a union in cities across the United States on November 29. Organisers say the strikers remain undaunted.

South Korea is currently in a vortex of an unprecedented political crisis.

President Park Geun-hye is under huge pressure to resign after a series of exposures of her shameful scandals related to Choi Soonshil, her friend of 40 years and daughter of Reverend Choi Tae-min who allegedly dominated a young Park after the 1975 assassination of her mother.

Tamils throughout the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka have defied police harassment and threats from government ministers to remember those who died fighting for an independent Tamil homeland.

November 27 is Tamil Eelam Heroes Day. In past years, people have been arrested for taking part in commemorative events.

As the year draws to a close, Jeremy Corbyn, the left-wing British Labour Party leader, might give a short sigh of relief. After one of the stormiest year in British politics for generations, he is one of the few who will enter 2017 in a stronger position.

The spectrum of Palestinian groups have expressed gratitude to late Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro as a friend of Palestine’s struggle for liberation, TeleSUR English said on November 27.

For years, those who had hoped and prayed for his death were repeatedly disappointed by a photo, a news clip or a commentary in that unmistakable style.

The rumours always proved unfounded. Fidel Castro, who had dodged some 600 attempts on his life orchestrated by the CIA, was very much alive and making the most of his twilight years.

There were no rumours this time. His brother Raul, voice quavering with emotion, read out a brief statement on TV and a sombre stillness descended on the Cuban archipelago.

Fidel Castro meeting with Malcolm X.

Black Lives Matter, the US anti-police brutality group formed to oppose racist police killings, mourned the death of former Cuban president and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in a statement reflecting on his life. In it, the group discussed the lessons it has learned from his struggle against racism and imperialism.

Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) Executive Committee Member Duran Kalkan paid tribute to Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution at the PKK’s 38th anniversary celebrations in Medya Defence Zones, Firat News Agency reported on November 28.

The end of October brought an end to the deadlock within Spanish congress with the re-election of Mariano Rajoy of the Popular Party (PP) as prime minister with the support of the neoliberal Citizens and the abstention of the traditional social democratic Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE).

But while the political and economic elites breathed a temporary sigh of relief in Madrid and Brussels, almost 100,000 opponents of the new right-wing government gathered to protest in Puerta del Sol, in the heart of the capital.

Fidel Castro, former president and leader of the Cuban revolution, died on November 25 at age 90.

Legendary Cuban revolutioary Fidel Castro died aged 90 on November 25, leaving behind a legacy not just as a leader of Cuba's revolution that has achieved impressive social gains but a record of profound internationalism.

Fidel Castro.

Late Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro long warned that capitalism was threatening to destroy human civilisation through ecological destruction, with the poor of the global South its first victims.

The victory of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) in the November 2015 national elections in Burma (Myanmar) was hailed by Western leaders as heralding a new era of democracy and respect for human rights in the country.

Once isolated by sanctions imposed on the pretext of the widespread human rights abuses by previous military regimes, Burma is now a profitable destination for Western investment. By September, the US had lifted its last remaining sanctions.

Haitham Mohamedain is a prominent Egyptian labour lawyer and member of the Revolutionary Socialists who has been unjustly jailed repeatedly by the military regime led by President Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi.

In April, Mohamedain was detained again as part of a crackdown on a new wave of protests against the Sisi regime, including its transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

Despite facing one of the most oppressive atmospheres in its history, thousands of Turkish protesters took to the streets of Istanbul on November 20 against a crackdown on Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish party, its lawmakers and mayors in the country’s south-east, as well as on opposition media outlets following the July coup.

Hundreds of people protesting in front of Turkey’s parliament building in Ankara burst into celebrations on November 22 after the government announced the withdrawal of its proposal to exonerate child rapists.

Proposed legislation would have allowed men accused of sexually abusing underage girls to go free if they were married to their victims.

The Colombian government and the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed, for the second time, a peace agreement on November 24 that aims to end the country’s 52-year armed conflict. It comes after a previous peace deal was narrowly rejected in a popular vote in October.

Since being elected in November last year, Argentina’s right-wing President Mauricio Macri has pushed harsh neoliberal measures, including mass lay-offs. This provoked big protests and strikes, and the growing influence of the radical Left and Workers Front (FIT) reflects the push back by popular sectors against the right-wing offensive.

On November 19, more than 20,000 people filled a football stadium in Buenos Aires for a mass rally called by the FIT.

Come December, North Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protesters will likely be receiving support from hundreds of US veterans who have committed to their cause.

Organiser Wes Clark Jr, a former US army officer best known as co-host of the Young Turks show, called the Standing Rock resistance to DAPL “the most important event up to this time in human history”.

More than 50,000 donations have been made to Planned Parenthood, a US non-profit group promoting reproductive health, in the name of anti-choice Vice President-elect Mike Pence in a show of creative resistance and organising against the incoming Donald Trump administration.

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped for US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a conservative billionaire who “does not hide her contempt for the public schools,” according to historian Diane Ravitch.

There is growing resistance to President-elect Donald Trump’s vow to detain and deport millions of people from the United States, Democracy Now! reported on November 22.

Mayors from New York to Chicago to Seattle say they will refuse to cooperate even as Trump promises to cut funds from so-called sanctuary cities. Meanwhile, the movement is growing for “sanctuary campuses”.

Western Sahara.

Braodcasting from the November 7-18 United Nations climate talks in Marrakech, Morocco, Democracy Now! reported on an issue that is largely ignored: Morocco’s 41-year occupation of the Western Sahara, considered by many to be Africa’s last colony.

The US$3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), if completed, would carry up to 570,000 barrels of crude oil daily from the North Dakota to refineries in Illinois.

If built, it will cross the Missouri River, the main source of drinking water and irrigation for 8200 residents of the Standing Rock reservation.

Those facts have turned DAPL into a flashpoint in dual struggles for climate justice and Native rights.

The Bersih 5.0 demonstration for clean elections and against corruption in Malaysia made a huge splash on November 19 despite threats of serious repression. The night before the demonstration, at least 10 prominent figures (including key organisers of the rally) were arrested.

Proceedings in the latest in the United Nations’ ongoing conferences on Climate Change — the November 7–18 COP22 that just concluded in Marrakech, Morocco — were disturbed by the news of the US election result.

A belligerently anti-environmental president is set to take office in the world’s greatest greenhouse polluting nation at the same time a shaky international climate treaty is being pieced together that will need US involvement to be effective.

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