Fifty years ago, the Vietnamese resistance turned the tide against the United States war on their nation.


On January 20, Turkey launched an invasion of Afrin, one of the three cantons that make up the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (also known as Rojava), the site of a profound, Kurdish-led social revolution based on multi-ethnic participatory democracy and women’s liberation.

The invasion has killed dozens of civilians in an area that has welcomed hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria’s conflict. Turkey’s actions would be impossible without at least passive acceptance from several great powers active in Syria. Cihad Hammy looks at the motivations for various major players.

In Tokyo on January 24, 11 Pacific Rim countries including Australia reached an agreement to sign a revived Trans-Pacific Partnership (rebranded the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, CPTPP).

The huge free trade deal almost fell into oblivion last year when US President Donald Trump pulled his country out, citing concerns for the loss of US jobs.

Ecuadorians will head to the polls on February 4 to cast their vote in a referendum that could prove to be decisive for the government of President Lenin Moreno and the political direction of the country.

Moreno was elected president last April as the candidate of PAIS Alliance, the party of former left-wing president Rafael Correa. However, less than year on from the election, Correa – together with a majority of PAIS Alliance activists – now view Moreno as a “traitor” for failing to honour his commitment to continue the policies of the Citizens’ Revolution, which was kick-started by Correa’s election in 2007.

In the face of a campaign by supports of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel in protest against its apartheid policies, New Zealand superstar singer Lorde cancelled a planned Tel Aviv concert in December. The BDS call was first issued in 2005 by dozens of Palestinian civil society organisations, and has been heeded by many cultural figures, including musicians.

Frieda Afary is a US-based Iranian socialist and a member of the recently formed Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists. She spoke to Green Left Radio’s January 26 show on Melbourne community radio station 3CR, on the significance of the recent protests in Iran. Her comments are abridged below and edited for clarity.


Early on January 30, Roger Torrent, speaker of the Catalan parliament elected on December 21, suspended that day’s session, which had been set to elect outgoing president Carles Puigdemont as head of the new Catalan government.

The decision of Torrent, leading member of the pro-independence Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), came after the Spanish Constitutional Court ruled two days earlier that electing the exiled Puigdemont could not take place in absentia.

The dark clouds of 21st-century fascism are once again hanging over the heads of the people of northern Syria. As if the inhabitants of the region often referred to as Rojava haven’t suffered enough over the course of the past 7 years of war, the Turkish state has come to the conclusion that the time is ripe to pick up the fallen, bloodied sword from the corpse that is Islamic State.

Together with Salafist mercenaries carrying flags of the Syrian ‘rebels’ – one of the many components of what at one historical juncture seemingly all so long ago was a cohesive ‘Free Syrian Army’ – Erdogan’s regime vows a ‘swift operation’ to destroy ‘terrorism’ in Afrin.

As Turkey’s air force bombed the Afrin canton in northern Syria, causing growing civilian casualties in a region that is home to hundreds of thousands of refugees, British Prime Minister Theresa May signed a new deal worth £100 million with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on January 28 to help Turkey develop new fighter jets.

By contrast, the socialist leader of the Labour Party opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, sent a message to a protest against Turkey’s invasion that expressed his solidarity with Afrin and the Kurdish people.

The left-wing Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has condemned Turkey’s invasion of the Afrin region in northern Syria (known as Rojava in Kurdish) in collaboration with mostly jihadi Syrian militias.

The HDP, with strong roots in Turkey’s Kurdish minority, has itself faced worsening repression from the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


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