When a democratic uprising broke out against the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad in 2011, the regime responded with brutal repression. Aided by defections from the Syrian Army, this helped turn the mass protest movement into the armed conflict that wracks Syria today.

The People’s Democratic Party (HDP), a broad-based left-wing group largely initiated by Kurdish forces in Turkey, has faced the full brunt of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian crackdown.

More than 10,000 HDP members have been arrested, along with its leaders and dozens of elected officials — often on trumped-up charges of “supporting terrorism” in retaliation for the HDP’s support for the struggle of the Kurdish community for democratic rights.

The defeat of ISIS in Syria last year raised hopes that the long-running war that has displaced more than two-thirds of the population might be coming to an end. However, the attempted Turkish invasion of the Afrin region of Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan), which began on January 20, has underlined that the war is in fact intensifying.

A final version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal, which will reduce tariffs and other trade barriers between 11 countries in Asia and Latin America that amount to 13% of global GDP, was released on February 21.

The Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions (ATTAC) is an international movement for social, environmental and democratic alternatives that organises against free trade policies that grant huge powers to corporations at the expense of people and the planet.

“The steps of the Florida State Capitol building were crowded with thousands of students, teachers, parents, and advocates on Wednesday as survivors of last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School led a rally to demand gun control reforms including a ban on military-style firearms,” Common Dreams

The rise of Cyril Ramaphosa, from the ruling African National Congress (ANC), to South African president following a February 15 vote by the National Assembly was largely greeted with sighs of relief and expressions of joy.

However, jubilation over Ramaphosa’s election obscures a murky past and stormy future.

The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre, which  formed a new coalition government after winning elections late last year, now plan to unify the two parties.

The situation was bleak for Venezuela’s pro-poor Bolivarian Revolution in the first half of last year.

With a dire economic situation and a growing wave of violent opposition protests, President Nicolas Maduro turned the tables by convening a National Constituent Assembly (ANC) in July.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador could become Mexico’s first progressive president in generations, but what would such a presidency actually look like? It is not an easy question to answer, though his time as leader of Mexico’s largest city could offer some insights.


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