International News

HDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag

Thousands of opposition supporters chanted, “We know we won, we know they lost, we are not afraid”, in the streets of major cities after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed victory in the April 16 referendum to strengthen presidential power. 

Late in the evening police attacked opposition demonstrators outside the headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Shock followed by surprise followed by upset. The French presidential election, whose first round is April 23, is yet another expression of the political volatility produced by the aftershocks of the biggest economic recession since the 1930s and the incapacity of both neo-liberalism and social democracy to maintain support for their pro-austerity governments.

Trump doubles US air strikes on Yemen

The United States administration of Donald Trump has so far carried out at least 70 air strikes in Yemen, TeleSUR English said on April 4, more than twice as many as those carried out last year under the Barck Obama administration, according to data provided by the Pentagon.

In January last year, many thousands of academics around the world signed the statement “We will not be a party to this crime”, which called for peace in Turkey.

The statement was issued in solidarity with courageous academics in Turkey who had formed the Academics for Peace group and were working for an end to state terror in Turkish Kurdistan. The group pushed for the resumption of peace talks between the Turkish government and the Kurdish liberation movement, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

As Venezuela and its elected left-wing government faces a series of violent right-wing protests, attacks from the right across the region and threats from the United states, a range of left-wing and solidarity groups in the Asia-Pacific region released the statement below on April 19.

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In defence of the Bolivarian process against right-wing counterrevolution: No to foreign intervention in Venezuela!

In light of the latest extreme attacks on the LGBTIQ+ community in Chechnya, Russia, which United Nations human rights experts have called “unprecedented”, English group Left Unity released the following statement on April 14.

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Participants at the Party of the European Left's Third Mediterranean conference in Malaga.

The Party of the European Left (PEL), which is made up of left groups across Europe, held its Third Mediterranean conference in Malaga, on the southern coast of Spain, from March 31 to April 2.

The three-day gathering brought together left-wing, socialist, anti-imperialist and anti-austerity parties from across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

Presenting himself as a genuine alternative to the far-right candidate National Front and free-market candidates Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron, left-winger Jean-Luc Melenchon who has surged into third sport in France's presidential race, whose first round is set for April 23. The Left Party's Melenchon pitched himself as the candidate for peace and solidarity across borders at a mass meeting on April 8 attended by 70,000 supporters in Marseille.

A March 10 trial court judgement acquitted 117 workers from Maruti Suzuki’s automobile factory in Manesar, Gurgaon, India of charges of murder. Eighteen workers were convicted of minor offences.

However, 13 workers – all leaders of the Maruti union – were found guilty of murder. The Maruti workers plan to appeal the verdict in the High Court.

Why are workers being jailed for murder? The story at Maruti is a familiar one in India’s industrial scene.

Where unionisation is a crime

The African National Congress (ANC), which led the struggle against Apartheid, has become the key political vehicle, both in party and state form, of corporate capital.

This applies to all capital — domestic and international, black and white, local and national, and includes a range of different “fractions” of capital.

Over the past two decades, it has been the fight on and over this terrain — with some for, some against, some in the middle — that has defined the ANC’s journey since the end of Apartheid in 1994.

US president Donald Trump has said an April 4 chemical weapon attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s Idlib province that killed more than 70 people with air strikes against Syrian military targets.

Written days before the Idlib atrocity and the US air strikes, The Intercept co-editor Glenn Greenwald looks at Trump’s escalation of the “war on terror” in the region.

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The US military’s top official for Latin America presented an ominous report to the US Senate on April 6 warning that Venezuela could be a “destabilising” factor in Latin America.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro offered on April 1 to send rescuers and other disaster relief experts to Colombia to help victims of a mudslide that has killed at least 154 people.

The mudslide, which overtook the small city of Mocoa in southern Colombia, left about 400 people injured and 220 missing. Mocoa was left in almost total ruin, as buildings, trees and infrastructure were toppled by muddy water and debris.

“We’re brotherly people who are there to be together and show respect for one another in trying times,” Maduro said. 

The Bolivarian government of Venezuela, together with its allies in Latin America, have repelled a serious attack on its sovereignty within the Organisation of American Unity (OAS). The attack was led by right-wing OAS secretary-general Luis Almagro, and backed to the hilt by the US government.

After a lengthy debate triggered by Almagro’s call to suspend Venezuela from the body, an extraordinary session of the OAS in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, ended on March 28 without a formal vote on the issue.

Ecuador’s Citizens’ Revolution is set to continue for another four years after the candidate for the socialist-leaning ruling party, Alianza Pais, Lenin Moreno, won the April 2 presidential elections run off.

With 51.16% of the vote, Moreno defeated Guillermo Lasso, managing director of Ecuador’s third-largest bank and unsuccessful candidate in the 2013 elections.

United States warships in the Mediterranean Sea launched a large cruise missile strike against government-held airfields in Syria on April 7. They fired about 60 Tomahawk missiles on the Shayrat air base near Homs in central Syria as the US government called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be removed from power.

The attacks were a response to a chemical weapons attack three days earlier in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Province that killed more than 70 civilians, including at least 27 children. 

Newly elected President Lenin Moreno and his Vice-President Jorge Glass.

Progressive candidate and renowned disability activist from the ruling Alianza Pais of outgoing President Rafael Correa, Lenin Moreno has won the Ecuadorian presidential election Sunday.

Snam Rete Gas, a leading Italian company in the transporting and dispatching of natural gases, announced in 2004 a planned pipeline extending from Massafra (Puglia) to Minerbio (Emilia-Romagna).

Named “The Adriatic Line” (in Italian: “Rete Adriatica”), it aims to export natural gases (methane, in this case) to Northern Europe.

After months of fierce opposition from Native Americans and environmentalists, the controversial Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) is finally carrying oil under Lake Oahe in North and South Dakota, as preparations are made to bring the project into full service.

Owned by Energy Transfer Partners, the 1886 kilometre-long pipeline threatens water supplies and sacred sites on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, and violates multiple treaties signed with First Nations tribes.

When you think of Western capitalism and imperialism, what usually comes to mind are aggressive superpowers such as the US, Britain, France or Germany. Northern European nations such as Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden, on the other hand, are seen as good-natured and insular, often used as examples of the way governments around the world should treat their citizens.

Riots swelled in Paris for a third night on March 29, with hundreds of people protesting against police brutality and the recent killing of a Chinese man, Shaoyo Liu, on March 23 by police.

Riot police hurled tear gas at the crowd as demonstrations continued, with a police car firebombed, three officers injured and 35 people arrested.

El Salvador's Congress approved a law on March 29 that prohibits all metal mining projects, in a bid to protect the Central American nation's environment and natural resources.

The new law, which enjoyed cross-party support, blocks all exploration, extraction and processing of metals, whether in open pits or underground. It also prohibits the use of toxic chemicals like cyanide and mercury.

In the Andean Parliament as a member of PAIS Alliance, President Rafael Correa’s left-wing party, Rosa Mireya Cardenas, a member of Alfaro Vive Carajo, a former Marxist guerrilla group, will be working to promote gender equality, fair trade and the work of social organisations, among other initiatives.

But with Ecuador’s second round of presidential elections slated to take place on April 2, the country stands at a critical crossroads.

Veteran Canadian-based socialist and activist Ernie Tate has been writing to English group Left Unity on the struggles in Canada provoked by the rise of Donald Trump south of the border.

A lifelong revolutionary who migrated to Canada from Northern Ireland as a young man, Tate was one of the most important activists of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign in the 1960s and has recently produced a two volume memoir, Revolutionary Activism of the 1950s and 1960s.

US President Donald Trump promised to cut through the disarray in the two parties of capitalism in the US by forcing on them a new strongman – himself – who knows how to get things done and make deals.

But the Republican health insurance debacle, with Trump’s replacement to Obamacare being withdrawn due to lack of support in Congress, not only cut him down to size, but represented the triumph of that very disarray over the new president. The strongman proved to be not so strong and the dealmaker could not close the deal.

US President Donald Trump is seeking to eliminate more than US$18 billion worth of health and education social programs to fund his anti-immigrant wall along the border with Mexico, documents submitted to the US Congress on March 28 showed.

One hundred years ago, on March 27, 1917 the Petrograd Soviet issued the following appeal, “To the Peoples of the World,” calling for a restoration of workers’ unity in the cause of peace: "....We call upon you to throw off the yoke of your semi-autocratic order just as the Russian people shook off tsarist despotism. You should refuse to serve as a weapon of invasion and violence in the hands of kings, gentry landowners, and bankers.

"Together in friendship we will put a stop to the terrible slaughter, which disgraces humankind and casts a shadow over the great days of the birth of Russian freedom...."

Bolivia’s government and social movements have announced they will host a global people’s summit on migrants and refugee rights. The "People’s Conference for a World without Walls and Universal Citizenship", set for June 20 and 21, is expected to draw together immigration experts and pro-migrant and refugee rights organisations and activists from around the world.

After hours of debate, the Organization of American States (OAS) extraordinary session on March 28 came to a close with member-states failing to reach a consensus over Venezuela’s suspension.

Despite OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro’s insistent attempts to push for Venezuela’s expulsion, the 35 member-states expressed mixed opinions regarding the application of the regional body’s Democratic Charter against the South American country. Needing a two-thirds majority to invoke the charter, the session ended without a vote. 

Mexico’s Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) has announced it will begin selling organic coffee from Chiapas to help migrants persecuted by US President Donald Trump.

Working alongside allied international distributors, the EZLN will use coffee sale funds to provide financial assistance to US deportees in Mexico. They will also use funds to support pro-immigrant resistance groups around the world protesting anti-immigrant governments.

One year after European Union leaders signed a deal with the Turkish government to cut off the wave of desperate refugees seeking to reach Europe’s shores, the policy has caused even more death and suffering.

One hundred years ago, on March 14, 1917, the Social Democratic Interdistrict Committee (Mezhrayonka), supported by the Petersburg Committee of Socialist Revolutionaries, issued the following appeal to soldiers to elect representative committees all along the chain of command, for officers to treat soldiers respectfully and asserted the Soviet's primary influence over soldiers by stating that they should obey only Duma commands that did not contradict Soviet resolutions.

Massive mobilisations involving 1 million people across Brazil and a mood for general strike unlike anything seen in some time marked March 15, as various organised sectors came onto the streets to protest a packet of pension and labour reforms proposed by the government of President Michel Temer.

“The world’s poorest countries, those with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions, will be the most severely affected by extreme temperatures brought on by global warming.”

Statements such as that appear in virtually every report and article on climate change. A feature of most such statements is use of the future tense: the poorest countries will be worse-hit than the rich ones.

A new report released on March 22 found President Donald Trump has broken his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” at every turn. Instead, he has turned the government over to corporate interests and enriched his bottom line.

“Water is Life” was the slogan behind one of the most important mobilisations involving water last year where Native American tribes, calling themselves “water protectors”, fought against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline for fear of it contaminating their main water source, as well as it destroying their sacred lands.

On the tail of its damning CIA hacking bombshell, WikiLeaks published another trove of documents on March 23 outlining how the spy agency has been uploading secret software to Apple devices as far back as 2008.

About 230 people were reported killed in what was thought to be a US-led coalition air strike on an ISIS-held neighbourhood in Mosul, The Independent said on March 22.  

This month marks two years since the start of the Saudi-led, US-supported war on Yemen. Involving a blockade of Yemen and the consequent collapse of the nation’s economy, the war has made the prospect of famine very real.

You know how it is when you go to the movies. Sometimes the sequel has a bigger impact than the original.

The announcement by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that she would bring forward proposals for a second referendum on Scottish independence may prove another example of this phenomenon.

There is a real feeling across Scotland, in Westminster and the media, that this time the Yes side could win and Scotland could break from the “United Kingdom”.

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