International News

Hundreds of Haiti's factory workers protested in Port-au-Prince on July 10 against the government’s proposed paltry rise in the minimum wage.

Currently paid US$4.75 a day, workers mainly from factories outsourced to foreign companies are demanding wages rise to US$12.75 dollars for eight hours of work.

However, the government has said the minimum wage should only rise by 55 cents.

In February, a video filmed in the village of Mwanza Lomba in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa, went viral.

It showed unarmed civilians — including children — being massacred by soldiers of the state army. The clip quickly moved from the social networks onto television news channels around the world. But then it vanished again without any further debate about what it meant and what it revealed.

Nearly one in five frontline firefighter jobs have been cut since 2010, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said, the Morning Star Online reported on July 6.

The union has warned that continued “savage” cuts seriously threaten public safety. It said a post-war record of 11,000 jobs had gone in the past seven years. The cuts include almost 8000 full-time firefighters and nearly 3000 “retained” (on-call) workers.

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster are not being offered suitable accommodation by Kensington and Chelsea Council, Morning Star Online reported on July 6, as British Communities Secretary Sajid Javid announced yet another taskforce would be sent in to cover the calamitous Tory local authority’s failings.

In Northern Ireland — the partitioned statelet made up of the six Irish counties still claimed by Britain — the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is the largest unionist party (supporters of an ongoing “union” with Britain).

As the European Union called on member countries to contribute more to the effort to resettle refugees, Amnesty International released a blistering report on July 5 that said EU policies have made the Mediterranean route from Africa to Europe more deadly than ever for the tens of thousands of refugees who attempt the crossing.

The cycle of belligerency and threat making on both sides is intensifying. And it is always possible that a miscalculation could trigger a new war, with devastating consequences. 

But even if a new war is averted, the ongoing embargo against North Korea and continual threats of war are themselves costly: they promote and legitimise greater military spending and militarisation more generally, at the expense of needed social programs, in Japan, China, the US, and the two Koreas.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe recently won a major legal victory in federal court which may have the power to force the shutdown of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline.

After burying former dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ remains at the national heroes’ cemetery and helping Ferdinand’s son Bongbong Marcos in his bid to become vice president, Duterte has now placed all of Mindanao — and threatened to place the entire country — under martial law. 

Today, we may now be just one “security crisis” away from outright military rule.

South Africa is at crossroads, facing its biggest upheavals since independence in 1994. Globally, since the 2008 Great Recession there are growing explosive class and social conflicts due to the deepening crisis of capitalism.

With the focus on dramatic images of German riot police using tear gas and high-powered water cannons to disperse G20 protesters in Hamburg on July 6, the message from those demonstrating in the streets was clear for those willing to listen: a better world is possible.

Workers at a PepsiCo factory in Argentina have occupied the plant following its closure on June 20, which left 600 workers without a job.

The company claims the closure is due to an “economic crisis”, despite making millions of dollar in profits last year. However workers at the factory, which is located in Vicente Lopez, in Greater Buenos Aires Province, see the move as part of a broader anti-worker offensive by bosses and the pro-corporate government of President Mauricio Macri.

Police brutally repressed thousands of Brazilians who took the streets on June 30 to oppose austerity measures and the Michel Temer government. The actions were part of the second general strike in three months.

The “general strike” included work stoppages by teachers and workers in the banking, metals, health care and oil refinery sector, among others.

Revolutionary activist and sociologist Reinaldo Iturriza has spent many years working with popular movements in Venezuela and writing on the rise of Chavismo as a political movement of the poor. He also served as Minister for the Communes and Social Movements, and then Minister for Culture in President Nicolas Maduro’s cabinet between 2013 and 2016.

Together with activists from a range of grassroots revolutionary organisations and social movements, he is standing as a candidate for the Popular Constituent Platform in the July 30 elections for a Constituent Assembly that will seek to find a political way out of the current turmoil gripping Venezuela through the drafting of a new constitution.

PepsiCo is a multinational that owns nearly all the brands we expect to see in any general store around the world, including Pepsi, Lay’s, Quaker, Dorito, Starbuck’s Ready-to-Drink, 7UP, Cheetos, Aquafina, Mountain Dew, Gatorade and Tropicana. The sheer corporate strength of the second largest food and beverage company in the world makes the struggle of over 600 workers in Buenos Aires against a PepsiCo snack factory both an uprising against great odds and an inspiring stand against corporate dominance.

Tens of thousands marched through central London on July 1 to protest privatisation and austerity that has led to cuts in spending for education and public services.

Many carried signs reading: "Austerity Kills," "Cuts Cost Lives," "Not One Day More," and "Tories Out."

After holding a minute's silence in honor of the victims of the deadly Grenfell Tower fire in London, which killed at least 80 people, those in the crowd also staged a round of applause for the emergency services.

In a little-discussed move that could spell disaster for unions and workers, US President Donald Trump announced on June 27 the nomination of William Emanuel — a lawyer for a firm that represents large corporations — to fill a vacant seat on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Emanuel is a member of the Federalist Society, an ultra-right-wing group of lawyers and donors. If Emanuel and Trump’s other nominee — Washington attorney Marvin Kaplan — are confirmed by the Senate, Republicans will control the NLRB for the first time in nearly a decade.

Donald Trump never missed a chance during his presidential campaign to rail against reproductive freedom, including women’s rights to abortion and birth control.

He is now doing his best to make good on these promises. In the process, he is helping to create a climate where women's right to decide what she does with her body is in peril.

During one moment of Election 2016, Trump shocked even other anti-choicers at a town-hall-style forum with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews when he said he believed women who have abortions should face “some form of punishment”.

“Fearless Cities” was the name of the inaugural international municipalist meeting that took place in Barcelona on June 9-11. It was hosted by Barcelona en Comu (Barcelona Together, the radical citizen-based coalition which runs Barcelona Council in alliance with the Party of Socialists of Catalonia).

One hundred years ago, the Russia Revolution rocked the world, first with the overthrow of the Tsar in February and then with the Bolshevik-led taking of full power by the soviets (elected councils of workers, soldiers and peasants) in October.

Convened by the Bolivian government and social movements, a global peoples’ summit on migrant and refugee rights attracted more than 4000 pro-migrant and refugee rights activists from 43 countries. Dubbed the World People’s Conference “For a World without Borders Towards Universal Citizenship”, it was held in the town of Tiquipaya, on June 20-21.

One National Guardsperson was killed and three people set on fire across Venezuela as violent anti-government protests continue. 

In Aragua, National Guard Sergeant Ronny Alberto Parra Araujo died on June 27 of wounds sustained during what the Public Prosecution (MP) described as an “irregular situation” the day before.

Journalist Ramon Camacho has reported that Parra was shot while attempting to prevent looting at the Walio Supermarket in Maracay on the evening on June 26.

The parliamentary majority President Emmanuel Macron’s coalition won in the second round of legislative elections held on June 18 was reported as a triumph against the weakened forces of both the left and the traditional right.

But questions have emerged over the real strength of the government as it prepares an assault on the rights of workers and their unions.

Ireland is poised to ban onshore hydraulic fracturing (fracking) after its Senate passed a bill on June 28 outlawing the destructive oil and gas extraction method.

Anti-fracking campaigning group Love Leitrim celebrated the development as a “victory for people power”.

Few would have predicted, until recent times, that the biggest act at the Glastonbury music festival would be a 68-year-old socialist reciting a 200-year-old poem.

Yet Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s June 24 speech at Glastonbury attracted what was likely the largest crowd in the festival’s history, NME said.

The media crackdown in Turkey by the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has grown in the aftermath of a failed coup in July last year.

Jailed reporters find themselves caught in a quagmire as they face legal limbo and deal with made-up charges, inhumane treatment and solitary confinement. 

A new campaign, #Notinmyname, is sweeping India and some major international cities, with protests breaking out against a recent streak of Muslim killings near the capital, New Delhi.

The movement has been fuelled by crimes such as those against three brothers who went to New Delhi to shop for the Islamic festival of Eid. A small argument over a seat on a train turned to religious slurs as the boys were taunted for being beef-eaters, one of the brothers, Shabir, 23, told The Indian Express from a hospital bed.

The right-wing opposition has put its foot down on the accelerator, it is moving all of its pieces at once, and aims to shatter the balance of forces through a coup. It has made it clear: the opposition has June and July to achieve its objective.

It has declared that, backed by article 350 of the constitution, it does not recognise the government. Nor does it recognise the call for a National Constituent Assembly and it is organising to impede the elections for the assembly going ahead on July 30.

Bolivian President Evo Morales offered to “free” Organization of American States, OAS, Secretary General Luis Almagro from the “North American empire” on June 24

“I offer to free brother Luis Almagro from submission to the North American empire,” Morales said in a tweet. “All for the dignity and sovereignty of our peoples.”

The message came only hours after Almargo declared that he would resign “for freedom in Venezuela.”

After winning 30 extra seats in the general elections three weeks ago and leading in polls, the socialist leader of Britain's Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn has received a rapturous welcome at Europe's largest greenfield music festival in the southwest of England.

The Labour party's Jeremy Corbyn took to the main Pyramid stage on the second day of the event to address the largely young crowds. Tens of thousands of people turned up to see the 68 year old, making him one of Glastonbury's most anticipated headliners this year along with Radiohead and the Foo Fighters.

Zimbabwe is facing elections next year, with the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Popular Front (ZANU-PF) government likely to be returned despite its huge unpopularity.

The 93-year-old Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s first and only president, plans to seek re-election for another five years. But there is a bitter scramble within his party to find his successor. The scramble is purely for power — policy is irrelevant to the struggle.

At the closing of the World Peoples' Conference on June 21 in Tiquipaya, Bolivia, social movements called for a “world without walls,” while Bolivian President Evo Morales urged social movements to adopt the progressive proposals of the gathering's final declaration, which dubbed the migration crisis as just one symptom of neoliberal globalisation. 

Raqqa, the de facto ISIS capital in Syria, is on the verge of falling. The rapid advance of the left-wing Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) since they entered the city on June 6 contrasts with the slower advance of forces of the Iraqi and Iraqi Kurdistan governments in Mosul, the ISIS capital in Iraq, which the pro-government forces entered in February.

However, the June 18 downing of a Syrian fighter jet by a US war plane, after the former attacked SDF positions near Raqqa, is just one indication that eliminating ISIS will not end the violent multi-sided war in Syria that spawned it.

The idea that every eurozone country should adopt an export-led growth model should not only be rejected because it is based on exploitation, but also because it is economically impossible.

It is important to note that while the vitriolic right-wing government opposition is concentrated among the white and economically elite elements of the population, the barrios, shanty towns and rural areas that are home to the poor, Indigenous communities and the Afro-Venezuelans have not erupted into protest for the most part because they support the government. In order to understand the roots of the elite opposition's hate and racism toward Black and Indigenous government supporters, one has to understand the history of the presidency that preceded Maduro's – that of Hugo Chavez.

Theresa May is now Britain’s prime minister in name only. Leading a government that may collapse within days, propped up (she hopes) by the homophobes of the Democratic Unionist Party, it is clear her time is nearly up.

So while May is in office but not in power, who has stepped into the vacuum of leadership she has left? Jeremy Corbyn.

In his new book A Redder Shade of Green, Canadian ecosocialist activist and Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus says ecosocialism must be based on a careful and deliberate synthesis of Marxist social science and Earth system science — a 21st century rebirth of scientific socialism.

Cuba’s Council of Ministers approved “Life Task” (Tarea Vida) on April 25, a plan for confronting climate change.

It is the latest manifestation of Cuba’s sustained endeavour to contain the impact of climate change. The Cuban government has dedicated resources and talent to the project for many years. Policymakers have relied on facts, data, and ongoing research.

You can read more of Mark Steel's articles in The Independent.

It is too early yet to write about the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower on June 14 without being overcome by a mixture of sorrow and anger. This not just could, but should have been avoided.

The residents, including through the Grenfell Action Group, have been raising concerns about the safety of the block and the refurbishment for several years. In October, the London Fire Brigade wrote to Kensington and Chelsea Council expressing concerns about the insulation used at Grenfell. They were all ignored.

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