International News

Left-wing British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s relaunch of his campaign since the start of the year has seen him take a more combative and pro-active approach in putting forward his anti-austerity, anti-war agenda. In doing so, he has engaged more with the media.

Veteran Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) leader Comrade Srilata Swaminathan passed away in Udaipur (Rajasthan) in the early morning of February 5. She was 74.

Comrade Srilata suffered a stroke on January 28 and was rushed to a hospital in Udaipur where she breathed her last following a cardiac arrest.

Jose Almudéver.

February 6 marked the 80th anniversary of the start of the “Battle of Jarama” during the Spanish Civil War, as left-wing and democratic forces fought to stop the fascist forces of General Franco taking power.

Alongside the Battle of Madrid, the Battle of Jarama is commonly associated with the participation of the International Brigades — volunteers, often organised by communist parties, who travelled from around the world to Spain to join the anti-fascist fight.

Huge pro-choice counter-protests overwhelm 'Defund Planned Parenthood' actions

Anti-abortion groups called for 'Defund Planned Parenthood' demonstrations at more than 200 Planned Parenthood locations throughout the United States on February 11 to pressure President Donald Trump to strip the women's health provider of federal funding.

Donald Trump came roaring out of the starting gate after his inauguration, doubling down on the main themes of his election campaign. He moved quickly to initiate a slew of executive orders, tweets and rulings.

One major aspect of this is his drive to progressively concentrate ever more power in his own hands. Since the start of his campaign for president, Trump has maintained that the establishments of both the Democratic and Republican parties have failed to deal with the problems facing US people at home, and the decline in US power globally.

This call for a “militant international strike” on International Women’s Day on March 8 was written by US activists and academics Linda Martin Alcoff, Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, Nancy Fraser, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Rasmea Yousef Odeh, Angela Davis and Barbara Ransby. It first appeared in Viewpoint Magazine.

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The left-wing anti-austerity party Podemos is planning to hold its second country-wide citizens’ assembly (Vistalegre II) on February 11th-12th to decide the political direction, organisational structure and its electoral strategy for the next regional and general elections.

First Nations-led water protectors have called for mass protests after the US Army Corps of Engineers granted the final approval on February 7 for Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) to resume building the widely opposed Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL).

The approval came after President Donald Trump overturned an Obama administration order to halt construction under Lake Oahe, a large reservoir connected to the Missouri River that provides water to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota.

The Conservative party government’s plan to slash unemployment benefits for disabled people making new claims could leave some unable to afford the essentials of life, opponents warned on February 2.

Under government plans, from April new claimants assessed as fit for work will have their benefits cut by £29.05 to £73.10 a week, the same rate as the jobseeker’s allowance. The government claims the changes will help halve the “disability employment gap” and save the Treasury an estimated £1 billion by 2020-21.

A trade union leader who has been in the forefront of industrial action for more than a month against Sri Lanka’s main telecommunications provider has gone missing after court orders banning protests led by his union.

The wife of M Sujeewa Mangala, the vice-president of the All Ceylon Telecommunication Employees’ Union, has lodged a complaint at a police station in the Colombo suburbs that her husband did not come home on December 29 as expected.

Uprooted Tamil families from Keappaa-pulavu in the predominantly Tamil north-east province of Mullaiththeevu have accused the Sri Lankan military of genocide for depriving them of their land.

Following a series of protests by Tamils, who face systematic discrimination and oppression, Sri Lankan President Maithiripala Sirisena was supposed to release 234 acres of lands to Tamil families last month as a temporary measure.

Farmers, fisherfolk and students across the Indian state of Tamil Nadu have been protesting since January 16 to protect the region’s tradition of Jallikattu (bull taming).

Usually conducted in January during Pongal (harvest) festival, it creates economic gains for farmers across the state of 70.5 million people.

Jallikattu is a 2000-year-old cultural practice in Tamil Nadu, where youth seek to hold on to the hump of a bull as a display of courage. There is evidence of this sport in the ancient literature and in sculptures across the temples in Tamil Nadu.

Marta Harnecker is a Chilean-born socialist activist and intellectual. A former advisor to Venezuela’s late revolutionary president Hugo Chavez, she has written dozens of books on popular struggles and socialist theory.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said on January 30 that Latin America needed to respond with a strong, united front against the anti-immigration measures of US President Donald Trump, TeleSUR English said.

An anti-Trump protest placard.
Momentum for general strike call against Trump grows

“Activists are calling for people to stop working and buying things for a day to bring down Donald Trump,” The Independent reported on February 2. A nation-wide general strike has been called for February 17 to protest the Trump administration.

A young, white, French-speaking, Quebec-born man opened fire inside a Quebec City mosque on January 29, killing six Muslim worshipers — Azzeddine Soufiane, Abdelkrim (Karim) Hassane, Khaled Belkacemi, Aboubaker Thabti, Mamadou Tanou Barry and Ibrahima Barry — and injuring 25.

The six victims were first-generation immigrants who had lived in Quebec for years, some for decades. The shooter, Alexandre Bissonnette, had expressed anti-immigrant positions online and was a fan of US President Donald Trump and France’s far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

Police in North Dakota arrested 76 people at the Standing Rock protest camp on February 1 as the Army Corp of Engineers cleared the way to continue construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) through Native American land.

The US$3.78 billion DAPL project involves building a 1886-kilometre long pipeline to shift almost half-a-million barrels of oil a day. Its route passes through Native American land on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, threatening water supplies and sacred sites.

Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.

Since the January 21 inauguration of US President Donald Trump, Israel has approved the construction of 8000 new homes for Jewish Israeli settlers in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967. This represents a significant rise in the rate of illegal settlement building.

There has also been a rise in the rate of demolitions of Palestinian homes and land confiscations, both in the territories occupied in 1967 and in those that have been within the Israeli state since 1948.

It did not take Donald Trump long to begin the war on immigrants, refugees and Muslims that he promised during his presidential campaign.

On January 27, he signed an executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for at least 90 days and suspending the admission ofallrefugees from any country for at least four months, among other measures.

It also did not take long for many thousands of people to send a loud message in response: No ban, no wall, let them in!

Vincent Emanuele is a writer, activist and radio host who lives in the United States. He's a member of Veterans for Peace and the National Writers Union. A former US marine and Iraq War veteran, he spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Pip Hinman about the first days of the Trump administration and the mass protests that have broken out.

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How would you describe the political atmosphere in the US after the Trump inauguration?

London protest against Trump's visit.

Pressure has mounted on Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May to pull the plug on a planned state visit to Britain by far right US President Donald Trump On January 30,  a petition to bar her new pal from Britain sailed past the one million mark.

The petition, which within hours smashed the 100,000 figure required to trigger a debate in Parliament , came as May faces a backlash, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn leading calls for the invitation to be withdrawn.

Sidi Ahmed Eddia, secretary-general of the Confederated Union of Saharawi Workers (CSTS) was born in El Aaiun in 1948 and died there on January 3, aged 68.

He was well known for his activism, not only for workers’ rights, but also for many other causes supporting Saharawi rights in general. Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, has largely been occupied by Morocco since the 1970s, and many Saharawis live in refugee camps in Algeria.

Printing plant workers in Buenos Aires showed up for their 6am shift as usual on January 16, only to find locked doors, police, and private security blocking their way. Grupo Clarín, the biggest media group in Argentina, had locked them out.

The 380 workers were sacked, with management planning to replace well-paid union workers with cheaper, non-union replacements.

The new US administration of President Donald Trump publicly declared it will seek regime change in Venezuela. The call, disguised in “transition to democracy” rhetoric, was made by Trump’s proposed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“If confirmed,” the ex-Exxonmobil CEO told Latin America Goes Global, “I would urge close cooperation with our friends in the hemisphere, particularly Venezuela’s neighbours Brazil and Colombia, as well as multilateral bodies such as the OAS, to seek a negotiated transition to democratic rule in Venezuela.”

Thirty-four students of the Cavite State University (CvSU) in Silang, in the Filipino province of Cavite, have been sued for libel by school administrators. In response, the start of the second semester was met with a mass protest against harassment, irregularities and the deterioration of the educational system.

Five Orang Asli (indigenous) activists from Gua Musang in Malaysia who were blockading forests from illegal logging operations were arrested on January 23.

Forestry officials from the state of Kelantan — which is governed by the opposition Islamic Party (PAS) — destroyed several Orang Asli blockades. This was despite the fact that on January 17 a magistrate court had cancelled the application by the logging company concerned and declared that Orang Asli have rights over their customary native land.

Huge crowds gathering at JFK airport in New York on January 28.

Protesters have gathered at airports in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Dallas and other cities as immigration authorities begin to block entry to all refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations, Democracy Now! has reported on January 28.

Basque political prisoner and Sortu secretary-general Arnaldo Otegi after his release from prison in March last year.

In Bilbao’s hyper-modern Euskalduna Conference Centre on January 21, the Basque left pro-independence party Sortu concluded its refoundation congress by finalising the election of its 29-strong national council.

The congress brought together Sortu members from all parts of the divided Basque Country: its four southern districts in the Spanish state, presently covered by the regional administrations of Navarra and the Basque Autonomous Community (Euskadi), and its three northern districts in the French coastal department of Pyrenees-Atlantiques.

Protesters in New York on January 25 in response to Trump's immigration restrictions.

In his first week as president Donald Trump has imposed a large number of attacks, from the unbearably cruel (restricting abortion access, closing the borders to migrants and refugees from seven nations) to the destructive (restarting the Keystone and DAPL pilelines) to the absurdly petty (deleting the White House's Spanish language home page) .

Donald Trump’s move to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines sparked a number of emergency protests on January 24 in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia and other cities, Democracy Now! reported the next day.

On January 24, Trump issued executive orders that revived the two mega-pipeline projects, which the Obama administration had blocked in the face of huge protests.

The Women’s March Guiding Vision and Definition of Principles was released by the organisers of the Women’s March on Washington, which drew 500,000 people onto the streets.

The day after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, January 21, more than 4 million people joined “Women’s Marches” across the United States to protest the new Commander in Chief’s promised attacks on women’s rights.

Hundreds of thousands more took to the streets around the world, with protests on every continent, including Antarctica. In London alone, about 100,000 marched on the day.

The re-foundation congress of Sortu, the left-wing independence Basque party, drew together hundreds of militants from the Basque Country, as well as dozens of guests and international representatives of revolutionary and national liberation struggles from around the world.

The Basque Country is divided between the Spanish and French states. Most is within the Spanish state and a struggle for self-determination from the Spanish state has been waged for decades.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and supporters have said they will resist US President Donald Trump's executive order to allow construction of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) that threatens to destroy water supply of the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, as well as Native American sacred sites.

Protesters in Bangkok, Thailand hold women's rights placards as part of the global marches against Trump on January 21

Just two days after millions of people poured into the streets of Washington, D.C., and cities around the world for the historic Women’s March on Washington, President Trump has reinstated the controversial anti-abortion "global gag rule", which denies US funds to any international health care group involved in any activity in support of women’s rights to choose. 

On January 19 six Canadian and two French activists travelling from Montreal, Quebec to Washington, DC to attend the Women’s March on Washington were stopped, questioned, and ultimately refused entry at a land border crossing near Champlain, New York.

“We said we were going to the Women’s March on Saturday and they said, ‘Well, you’re going to have to pull over’,” Sasha Dyck, told the Guardian.

For the next two hours, US border agents searched their cars, examined their cell phones, and fingerprinted each of the eight-person contingent.

Dedicated to the legendary Polish-born socialist revolutionary and anti-war activist executed for her role in the 1919 German Revolution, the 22nd International “Rosa Luxemburg Conference” took place in Berlin on January 14.

The annual conference has become an annual gathering of revolutionaries, activists, academics, freedom fighters and politicians of the left.

Over 2,800 guests, were present at the event organised by the socialist daily newspaper Junge Welt (“Young World”), and more than 30 supporting organisations.

New York anti-Trump protest.

"President Donald Trump wound up fulfilling his promise that his inauguration would break records, just probably not in the way he had in mind," US Uncut noted on January 22. "The Women’s March, an anti-Trump protest aimed at standing up for women’s rights, is now estimated to be the largest one-day protest in United States history."

Workers across the country walked off their jobs and staged actions on January 20 to protest the inauguration of one of the most anti-worker presidents in modern history, Donald Trump.

As he was being sworn in around midday, dining hall workers at Northeastern University walked out. The one-day strike was planned with support from students, some of whom walked with workers in a sign of solidarity.

Above: Democracy Now's full coverage of Donald Trump's inauguration and protests from January 20. Below: A special broadcast live from the huge Women's March on Washington on January 21.

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