International News

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.

The second vice-president of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC) has been removed after he publicly criticised the body’s inaction in the face of the country’s deepening economic crisis.

Former Attorney- General Isaias Rodriguez penned an op-ed in Venezuela’s centre-left newspaper Ultimas Noticias on October 23 in which he warned Chavismo could lose next year’s presidential elections, “if the government and the National Constituent Assembly do not offer timely responses to this problem [of inflation]”.

The Canaima Industries factory in Caracas is the assembly point for computers that are given to students for free across Venezuela. Its name comes from the huge Canaima National Park in the south of Venezuela, home to extraordinary landscapes and the highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls.

We visited the small computer factory, located in the middle of a military base in the east of the capital, as part of the international solidarity delegation organised by Venezuela Analysis in August.

Police in the southern Indian state of Kerala unleashed brutal force against people protesting against the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline of Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) at Mukkom, near Calicut, CounterCurrents.org said on November 2. Dozens of protesters were injured.

The demonstrators blocked rural roads with burning tyres and threw stones at police vehicles. Tension prevailed in the area as the police resorted to a baton-charge and fired tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. Media representatives were injured in the police action.

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).

A hydroelectric company that environmental activist Berta Caceres had fought, plotted with Honduran military and security forces to kill the Indigenous leader in March 2016, an independent commission has found.

The investigation was carried out by the International Group of Advisors and Expert Persons (GAIPE), comprised of several lawyers from Guatemala, Colombia, Holland and the United States. Its findings were based on dozens of interviews, court records and partial access to evidence provided by government investigators.

When the time came for Miss Peru 2018 contestants to reveal their most intimate measurements on stage, the 23 beauty pageant hopefuls elected instead to deliver statistics of an altogether more shocking nature.

“I represent the constitutional province of Callaomy and my measurements are 3114 women victims of trafficking up until 2014,” declared Romina Lozano, later crowned Miss Peru on October 29.

Camila Canicoba, Miss Peru Lima, told the judges: “My measurements are 2202 cases of femicide reported in the last nine years in my country.”

It is an understatement to say that relations between the US and North Korea are very tense.

The US government continues to threaten to further tighten economic sanctions on North Korea, and launch a military attack to destroy the country’s missiles and nuclear weapons infrastructure. For its part, the North says it will respond to any attack with its own strikes against US bases in the region and even the US itself.

The Che Guevara stamp produced by the Irish republic’s postal service (An Post) has sold out its initial 120,000 print run. The stamp was released to mark the 50th anniversary of the Latin American freedom fighter’s murder on October 9, 1967 by CIA-backed Bolivian state.

The announcement confounds right-wing critics, who opposed the stamp.  An Post has described the demand for the €1 stamp — using Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick’s image of the revolutionary icon — as “unprecedented”.

Writing in the October 28 New York Times, conservative columnist David Brooks said the preceding week was “when Donald Trump and Steve Bannon solidified their grip on the Republican Party and America’s national government”.

Brooks speaks for the Republican establishment — and sorely deplores this development.

New Zealand Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, who says capitalism has been a “blatant failure”, became the country’s new, and youngest ever, prime minister on October 19.

Asked a few days after becoming PM if capitalism had failed New Zealanders, 37-year-old Ardern responded: “If you have hundreds of thousands of children living in homes without enough to survive, that’s a blatant failure. What else could you describe it as?”

Judge Carmen Lamela of Spain’s National High Court — direct descendant of the fascist Franco-era Court of Public Order — took the war of the Spanish state against the Catalan pro-independence government to a new level of judicial violence on November 2.

Just after 3pm on October 27, the Catalan parliament voted to ratify the results of the country’s October 1 referendum on self-determination, proclaiming Catalonia “an independent state in the form of a republic”.

Outside parliament the vote was greeted with cheers from the tens of thousands of people who had gathered for this historic moment.

Argentina went to the polls on October 22, in what many saw as a crucial mid-term test for President Mauricio Macri and the right-wing coalition behind him, Cambiemos (Let’s Change).

In the end, Cambiemos came out strengthened, while the Left and Workers Front – an alliance of revolutionary parties – continued to build on its previous electoral successes, winning 1.2 million votes.

Ahead of the crucial Gujarat elections, the chinks in the propaganda armour of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Gujarat model of development continue to get brutally exposed. Indeed, the popular narrative on development that has emerged from within Gujarat – where Modi was chief minister prior to becoming PM – and that has taken social media by storm is that “vikas gando thayo chhe” – “development has gone crazy”.

United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss China’s growing influence in Asia on October 25.

Tillerson recently gave a speech regarding the US’s desire to "dramatically deepen" ties with India to combat what he described as a negative Chinese influence in the region.

One of France's largest union confederations, the General Confederation of Workers (CGT), held a strike on October 19 as part of the campaign against the anti-worker and anti-union ordinances adopted by the Emmanuel Macron government.

The mobilisations were far smaller than the previous three days of protests and have further fuelled discussion within the movement over how to overcome divisions and weaknesses and mobilise the widespread latent public opposition to the government's attacks.

Outraged by government failures to honour a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), rural communities across Colombia have initiated a “national strike” demanding widespread solutions to poverty, violence and drug trafficking.

The strike is the most far-reaching since 2013, when farmers took to the streets decrying abject poverty and negative economic effects of a free trade agreement with the United State

I was in Honduras last October visiting Azacualpa, a municipality under threat from Canadian corporate mining giant Aura Minerals and its San Andres mine in La Union, Copan.

At the time, residents from the rural municipality were successfully holding off the combined forces of the mine management, its security forces, the regional police, the local mayor, the provincial governor, the regional military commander and the Minister for Homeland Security (who arrived in the community by helicopter with his own entourage of state security bodyguards).

A year on, Aura Minerals, with the collusion of the post-coup Honduran regime, is moving to break the stalemate.

Colombian indigenous leader Aulio Isamara Forastero was assassinated on October 24, close to the Catru Dubaza Ancoso shelter, shortly after armed assassins reportedly forced him out of his home.

Forastero, from the Pacific province of Choco, is among more than 150 activists killed in Colombia since the beginning of the year.

Socialists organised mass protest rallies in Petrograd (as Saint Petersburg was renamed after the outbreak of World War I in 1914) in February 1917. These protests took place on March 8 (February 23 according to the Russian calendar used at the time), International Women’s Day, rallying women workers to demand bread, peace, and liberty. But, as a contemporary police report stated, the women workers “got out of hand.”

They attracted the support of large numbers of male workers as well. The police proved unable to contain the growing and increasingly volatile protests. Soon 385,000 workers were on strike and many engaged in confrontations with the police in the streets.

More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar (also known as Burma) to Bangladesh since August 25. With about 300,000 Rohingya refugees already in Bangladesh, tens of thousands in hiding in northern parts of Rakhine State and about 100,000 detained in Internal Displacement Camps, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described this mass exodus as “the world fastest-developing refugee emergency and a humanitarian and human rights nightmare.”

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