International News

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.

The burial of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery (Libingan ng mga Bayani — LNMB) was hurriedly and secretively carried out, with military-style logistical support.

Marcos ruled the Philippines from 1965 until he was overthrown in the Peoples Power EDSA Uprising of 1986. He died in exile in the US three years later.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association Maina Kiai issued a blistering condemnation on November 15 of the militarised response to the Standing Rock water protectors’ peaceful protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

A placard condemns Obama's drone wars.

Powers that went largely unchallenged during the Obama administration are now in the hands of President-elect Donald Trump — and that’s a frightening prospect.

Tamil and Muslim fisherpeople marched on the Musali Divisional Secretariat on November 9. They were protesting against plans to establish a settlement by the Sinhalese ethnic majority in their coastal area of Sri Lanka's Northern Province.

A group of right-wing extremists stormed the chamber of the lower house of the Brazilian Congress on November 16 demanding the military stage a coup to root out “institutionalised communism” in the country.

According to the BBC, the right-wing demonstrators pushed past guards, injuring some, before breaking a glass door to gain entry to the chamber.

As expected, once Brazil’s October regional elections were over, the Michel Temer government launched a large-scale offensive against workers, youth and the people in general.

At the heart of this offensive is Constitutional Amendment Proposal (PEC) 241, which essentially imposes a freeze on government expenditure for the next 20 years.

More than 100 Honduran and international human rights and social justice groups have thrown their support behind a newly launched independent investigation, led by international legal experts, into the murder of renowned indigenous environmental activist Berta Caceres.

The Bersih 5.0 demonstration for clean elections in Malaysia made a huge splash despite threats of serious repression. The night before the demonstration at least ten prominent figures (including key organisers of the rally) were arrested.

The leadup to the Bersih 5.0 was also characterised by threats of violence from the pro-government Red Shirts. Although nominally independent, the government was clearly turning a blind eye to these threats. Some figures associated with the Najib regime were also promising to march with the Red Shirts.

Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos held a series of internal elections over November 7–9 throughout seven regions across Spain  — Madrid, Andalusia, Extremadura, La Rioja, Castilla y Leon, Navarra y Aragón — and 12 different cities.

The elections were centred around the positions of the general secretaries in each region and territory, as well as the Autonomous Citizens’ Councils that form an integral part of the relatively new party’s political direction and organisation.

Each day after the November 8 presidential elections won by Donald Trump, the streets of cities across the United States have pulsed with anger, outrage, fear and solidarity in opposition to Trump, US Socialist Worker reported.

“The response was immediate, with spontaneous mobilisations forming as the election results came in,” it said.

“We know that elections and individuals alone don’t create change — movements do.”

This is the maxim that guided the huge United States-wide action that took place on November 15. There were nearly 200 protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, the largest since the US government requested the project be temporarily halted in September.

A protester holds a 'No Trump' sign.

The news that the White House and Republican congressional leaders have given up on passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is welcome.

That the TPP would be defeated by Congress if brought to a vote signals that the Trojan-horse “trade” agreements that expand corporate power are simply no longer politically viable. People power beat the united forces of a US president, the Republican congressional leaders and the entire corporate lobby.

BHP Billiton executives faced dissident shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting in Brisbane on November 17 over its responsibility for the Samarco tailings dam disaster in Brazil last year.

The protesters want Australia’s biggest company to compensate the victims. BHP jointly owns the iron ore mine with Brazilian mining giant, Vale.

Moroccan protesters have taken to the streets in recent days, taking advantage of the global spotlight provided by the November 7-18 United Nations COP22 climate talks in Marrakech. Mouhcine Fikri could have been any one of them.

Fikri was the fishmonger whose awful death in the back of a garbage collection truck was caught on mobile phone footage that subsequently spread across social media to ignite large demonstrations in Morocco.

Social movements across Asia, Latin America, Oceania, and North America celebrated on November 15 the fact that their seven-year strategic campaign had successfully derailed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a controversial trade deal widely condemned for privileging corporate profits over international public interest.

“We will resist and resist until we win!” chants Sebahat Tuncel before her mouth is forcibly shut by half a dozen police officers who drag her along the floor and detain her in early November.

The World Meteorological Organisation has warned that 2016 was set to be the hottest year on record by a significant margin livescience.com said.

WMO scientists told diplomats gathered in Marrakech, Morocco, for the November 7–18 United Nations COP22 climate talks that temperatures are 1.2˚C above pre-industrial times.

Black Lives Matter Global Network released the following statement to Mic.com on November 15.

*  *  *

Our mandate has not changed: organise and end all state-sanctioned violence until all Black Lives Matter.

A protester demands raising the minimum wage.

“Voters in four states — Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington — said yes on November 8 to ballot initiatives that will boost their state’s minimum hourly wage, offering hope, advocates say, of an increased standard of living for roughly 2.1 million workers,” Common Dreams said on November 9.

Sarah Palin.

As President-elect Donald Trump began his transition to power on Thursday, early reporting has opened a window into what the nation can expect as his "cabinet of horrors," as AFP put it, takes shape.

Hannah Holleman is a US activist and assistant professor of sociology at Amherst College in Massachusetts.

Her recent articles include “De-naturalizing Ecological Disaster: Colonialism, Racism and the Global Dust Bowl of the 1930s” in The Journal of Peasant Studies.

She was interviewed by David Kiely on the legacy of imperialism in relation to the fight for climate justice. It is abridged from LeftVoice.org.

Leonard Cohen, the Canadian singer-songwriter who died just two days after Donald Trump seized the White House, seemed to predict this moment.

In his dystopian song “The Future”, from the 1992 album of the same name, Cohen sang: “I've seen the future, brother: it is murder.”

“Things are gonna slide,” the famously dark singer suggested, “slide in all directions ... the blizzard of the world has crossed the threshold.”

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