International News

From Los Angeles to New York, tens of thousands of demonstrators are donning pink "pussy" hats and marching as one, demanding equal rights, justice and fair pay in the second annual Women's March.

Supporters swarmed the streets of 250 cities across the United States on January 20 in defence of women's rights as the political crises of the past year rose to the surface in a wave of sleazy politicians, violated immigration rights and families torn asunder.

The Turkish state has started bombing the Afrin center and Cindirêsê, Reco, Shera, Shêrawa and Mabeta districts in northern Syria with 72 fighter jets after getting approval from Russia, ANF News reported on .

The progressive forces from northern Syria (also known as Rojava), who support the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria and its system of democratic confederalism that Turkey is seeking to destroy, have called for urgent international solidarity.

Academics and international human rights activists launched a petition calling upon world powers to act against Turkish aggression against Afrin, ANF News reported.

The main war aim of the People’s Party (PP) government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for the December 21 Catalan elections was to stop the re-election of a pro-independence government.

During the election campaign, the Spanish political, economic and media establishment even dreamed of the election of a pro-unionist administration on the back of unprecedented participation from a «silent majority» supposedly in favour of continuing the tie with Spain.

A huge demonstration of 95,000 people took place in Bilbao in the Basque Country on January 13 in favour of human rights and peace, and to support the rights of Basque political prisoners, Basque Peace Process reported on January 16.

Every Friday for nearly a decade, the villagers of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank have gathered to walk across a road to a water spring.

The water spring has long been a part of Palestinian life, but the villagers of Nabi Saleh are prevented from accessing it by illegal Israeli settlers, who take more and more land every year.

As the water spring is now for settlers only, every Friday the soldiers prevent the villagers from walking across their own land to access what was their own water.

The umbrella organisation of political and social movements in northern Syria, Movement for Democratic Society (TEV-DEM), released a statement on recent attacks and threats by the Turkish state.

Turkey has attacked the Afrin district in northern Syria, which is part of the Northern Syria Democratic Federation that is seeking to create a new revolutionary system of “democratic confederalism”.

Iceland began the new year by becoming the first country in the world to mandate that all its companies must pay men and women equally.

Anti-Trump campaigners claimed victory on January 13 after the US president cancelled a planned visit to London in the face of planned mass protests.

Trump properties around the world are facing blowback after US President Donald Trump’s racist comments about why the US accepts migrants from “shithole countries” to members of Congress on January 11.

Trump reportedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations during an immigration meeting with lawmakers, saying, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

There can be no doubt that Haiti has many severe challenges, or that the cesspool of US power, and other dominant nations, are at their root.

Latin American leaders have strongly defended the world’s most impoverished migrants after US President Donald Trump reportedly referred to certain developing nations as “shithole countries”.

Bolivian President Evo Morales expressed his indignation on Twitter: “To insult African countries, El Salvador and Haiti, Trump insults the world and demonstrates his opinions and politics are contaminated by capitalist racism, fascism, arrogance, and ignorance.

“History has shown that those who offend like this end up eating their words.”

Venezuela has hit back at the United States after it issued fresh threats to impose new sanctions against Venezuelan officials while attempting to derail the dialogue between Venezuela’s government and opposition.

The demonstrations that erupted in Iran on December 28 and continued for days after appeared to have died down as of January 10. There have been clashes with the repressive forces, and more than 20 people have been killed and many arrested (there are widely divergent figures).

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of cities and towns throughout Iran since December 28 in militant protests against the theocratic regime that has ruled the country since the 1979 revolution. 

That revolution overthrew a pro-Western monarchy. But while the working class was its driving force, and trade unions and socialist organisations played a decisive role, it was hijacked by the Shia religious establishment. The new regime was as brutal and committed to capitalism as the overthrown monarchy — although with a foreign policy generally hostile to the West.

Nepal’s Communists have won a landslide victory in the elections for House of Representatives of Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal held in two phases on November 26 and December 7. In the 275-seat parliament, the elections were held for 165 seats under the first past the post system (FPTP), with the remaining 110 seats determined by a proportional system.

Venezuela’s socialists scored an overwhelming victory in mayoral elections on December 10, taking over 90% of the country's municipalities. 

President Nicolas Maduro’s United Venezuelan Socialist Party (PSUV), along with its allies, have secured victory in 308 of Venezuela’s 335 municipalities. According to preliminary results, the governing socialist party managed to take 21 out of the country’s 23 state capitals as well as the Caracas Capital District.

At least 22 people are dead and hundreds have been arrested, as Iranian authorities move to quell the largest anti-government protests since 2009. President Donald Trump responded to the protests on Monday in one of his first tweets of the new year, writing ”TIME FORCHANGE!” “This is the same president who, not more than three months ago, announced a ban on Iranians from coming to the United States,” Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Glenn Greenwald told Democracy Now!. “He’s somebody who has aligned with the world’s worst, most savage dictators.”

The statement below was released by the International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran on January 1. It is followed by a statement by the Tudeh Party of Iran, an Iranian socialist group, and an article from a supporter of the the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists. they are reposted via The Bullet. 

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The US State Department has endorsed the outcome of the November 26 elections in Honduras, which was surely the most farcical electoral process in recent history.

The elections were organized by US-backed dictator Juan Hernandez in hopes of polishing his image. He ran against Salvador Nasralla, the candidate of the Alliance to Oppose the Dictatorship.

At first glance, the result of the December 21 Catalan parliamentary election changed little.

In Rome on December 17, the first national meeting of Potere al Popolo (Power to the People), a new grassroots left-wing movement aiming at running for the March general elections. But the new group also aims at giving new lifeblood and a new perspective to Italy’s radical left.

As Israeli troops violently suppress Palestinian protests, the road forward for the Palestinian struggle is again being seriously discussed.

An article in the December 8 New York Times with a headline “Two State Option, a Mideast Keystone, Is Sent Askew,” begins: “President Trump, in formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday, declared that the United States still supported a two-state solution to settle the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, provided it was ‘agreed to by both sides.’

Donald Trump’s announcement that his adminstration would recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital will end decades of US policy that such recognition could come only after the status of the city is settled in negotiations.

Last month, US lawmakers held hearings to promote recognising Jerusalem and moving the embassy that only heard from members of the Israel lobby, and completely excluded Palestinians.

As it is often the case, dictators use ideologies to control people and impose their own views, depriving the electorate from thinking, expressing, acting or reacting. Hitler did it, Stalin did, Tito did, Saddam Hussein did it. And Robert Mugabe did it.

The United States Senate passed a Bill on December 2 that will allow oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) – an area which has been protected since 1960. Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Lisa Murkowski, managed to get a narrow 52-48 vote for the Bill – a part of the tax reform legislation – to pass.

The threatened 19.6-million acre refuge is located in northeastern Alaska and is home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife, but also billions of barrels of crude oil underground.

Protests on December 3 against balatant electoral fraud in Hondura's November 25 election marked the third day of mass mobilizations despite the government enforcing a 10-day curfew as of December 2, TeleSUR English said.

Hardly a day goes by without much of the mainstream media concentrating on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections. This includes any news about the various investigations into the question, much blowhard opinionating by talking heads, charges that Russia sought to collude with Donald Trump’s campaign, and more.

It is probably true that Russia would seek to influence US politics to the extent it thought it could. But to keep a sense of proportion, we should recall that the world’s foremost “meddler” in other people’s politics and elections is Washington itself.

All three competing blocs in the intensely polarised December 21 Catalan election are working feverishly to win in a battle shaped by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s October 27 sacking of the Catalan government.

The first round of Chile’s presidential election was held on November 19. The right-wing candidate, ex-president Sebastian Pinera, won with 36% of the votes. He will compete in the second round against centre-left candidate Alejandro Guiller.

But the big surprise was the result for the Broad Front (FA), a heterogeneous left coalition headed by Beatriz Sanchez. The FA candidate came in third, with 20% of the vote (just two points short of making the second round).

Crop varieties have been selected and reproduced over thousands of years by farmers, creating great diversity. India, for example, used to have 200,000 varieties of rice. Seeds were kept each year for replanting and exchanging in what was a free or low-cost system for many farmers.

Israel’s fight against the global boycott, divestments and sanctions campaign (BDS) has taken another turn with its attempt to prevent the publication of a database of companies operating in its illegal West Bank settlements.

More than 1600 delegates gathered for the third annual conference of La France Insoumise, the radical left political project that has stormed onto the stage of French politics, over November 25-26 in the city of Clermont-Ferrand.

The group’s name defies a neat translation, often rendered as France Unbowed, Unsubmissive or Untamed. Only launched in February last year, the group is widely seen as the only real and effective opposition to President Emmanuel Macron. Founding spokesperson and former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon is recognised in opinion polls as the effective leader of the opposition.

Will a verbal war between a senile dotard and a little rocket man result in an actual war? Probably not, but at the moment, the risk is unprecedented.

The reason it remains unlikely is simply because the consequences of any actions are so catastrophic. Right now, this is the only deterrent to war.

Riding the crest of a powerful Bersih (“clean”) democracy movement in the streets, Malaysia’s Pakatan Rakyat (People's Pact) opposition alliance won 53% of the popular vote in the 2013 general election. Gerrymandered electorates, however, ensured they took only 40% of the seats.

Yet as a new general election approaches, likely early next year, the incumbent Barisan Nasional (National Front, BN) government looks set to easily hold on the power.

On November 27, known to Tamils as Heroes Day, those who died fighting for an independent Tamil homeland were commemorated at ceremonies throughout the north and east of Sri Lanka.

In view of the December 10 municipal elections, communards and revolutionary activists closely associated with some of the most important initiatives in communal organisation in the country have been put forward as candidates for mayor.

Although we cannot say this is a mass phenomenon, it is undoubtedly a deeply significant event for various reasons.

Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC) has denied permission to one of its grassroots delegates to stand as a mayoral candidate in the upcoming December 10 municipal elections.

Angel Prado was elected to the ANC on July 30 as a territorial delegate for his municipality of Simon Planas. Prado is also a leading member of the El Maizal commune in Lara state.

Open internet advocates warned that “we’re running out of time” to save the web from corporate control. The call to action came after United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairperson Ajit Pai unveiled his long-awaited plan to scrap net neutrality on November 21.

After an announcement from the Donald Trump administration that it is terminating temporary protections for about 59,000 Haitians who fled to the United States after a devastating 2010 earthquake, journalist Naomi Klein warns decisions by the United States and Canadian governments indicate how wealthy nations may handle climate refugees in the years to come.

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