International News

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.

The Cuban government issued a statement on June 16 in response to US President Donald Trump’s announced change of policy toward the socialist-run island, reasserting the country’s sovereignty. 

In a speech that day in Miami, Trump said he will cancel former President Barack Obama’s "completely one-sided deal with Cuba."

Cuba defended its sovereign right to grant protection and asylum to US dissidents, civil rights fighters and persecuted persons, rebuffing the demand of US President Donald Trump that the Caribbean nation return so-called US "criminals" to the country as a precondition for the resumption of neighbourly relations between the long-time foes.

“In tune with the national legislation and international law, and Latin America's tradition, Cuba has granted political asylum or refuge to civil rights fighters from the United States,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez stated at a Havana press conference on June 19.

The Cuban Council of State has called for the holding of general elections to decide delegates to both municipal and provincial assemblies, and to choose deputies to the National Assembly of People's Power.

According to the Cuban newspaper Granma, the first round of elections for municipal representatives will be held on October 22, and the second round runoff for candidates who have not obtained at least 50% of the vote will be held on October 29.

The first round France’s National Assembly elections have been marked by record abstention of 51.29% of the electorate.

The abstentionism primarily impacted on the far-right and left parties. Meanwhile, recently elected President Emmanuel Macron’s The Republic on the March (LREM) and its allies look to secure a strong parliamentary majority in the second round of elections on June 18.

Hundreds of angry residents stormed council offices on June 16 as they demanded support, housing and answers over the Grenfell Tower disaster amid accusations of “mass murder.” They gathered outside the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea civic centre and entered the building to stage a sit-down protest. Council leaders refused to meet them.

Residents held placards demanding “Justice for Grenfell” and chanted “come downstairs” as they presented a list of immediate demands to the council.

The recent British general election delivered very different results in Scotland than those of England and Wales.

While the question of Scottish independence was still a major issue for voters, tactical errors by the Scottish National Party (SNP) and a muted Jeremy Corbyn-effect in Scottish Labour’s favour led to some unforeseen outcomes.

Under President Barack Obama, the US acknowledged killing between 2867 and 3138 people in strikes in countries like Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan.

In the waning days of his presidency, Obama took some steps to improve transparency about drone strikes, including providing the total estimated death toll. However, a new report by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies says that the US is still lagging in providing a full accounting of its drone program.

The US Senate voted on June 13 to approve a widely criticised $500 million sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, narrowly beating back a bipartisan effort to block the deal.

The final tally was 53-47 in favour of the sale, which is just part of a massive $100 billion arms package.

Just days after US President Donald Trump publicly scolded Qatar for being a "high level" exporter of regional terrorism in the Middle East, the Qatari government announced on June 14 it had signed a deal to buy $12 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets from US weapons makers.

Nothing alarms Spain’s establishment more than the prospect of the unity of the Spanish state being threatened by the desire for self-determination of the peoples that live within its borders.

Since opposition protests began in Venezuela in early April, much of the media coverage has focused on clashes in Caracas. However, the opposition’s campaign to bring down the government of Nicolas Maduro has not been limited to the country’s capital.

Marco Teruggi reports on a recent visit to the small, but strategic town of Socopo, in the largely rural state Barinas, which has been the site of a campaign of terror and an all-out struggle for power.

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