Tony Iltis

GLW author Tony Iltis

Philippines: Controversial populist's win a sign of crisis

The May 9 election of controversial populist Rodrigo Duterte as president of the Philippines is a sign that capitalism is in crisis in the Philippines, chairperson of the left-wing Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) Sonny Melencio told a conference in Sydney on May 14.

Melencio told the Socialism for the 21st Century conference: “People were fed up with the old 'trapo' [traditional politician] and elite forces that have long ruled the government since the overthrow of military dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

Pakistan: Socialist environmentalist runs election campaign from jail

Candidate for the socialist Awami Workers Party (AWP) Baba Jan will contest a May 28 by-election for the assembly of the Pakistani-administered Himalayan territory of Gilgit-Baltistan from his jail cell.

Baba Jan has been described as a climate justice prisoner. In 2010, his home area in Hunza was devastated by climate change-fuelled floods and landslides. A protest movement developed against the misappropriation of relief funds. Police responded with brutality and protesters were killed and arrested.

Police target teens with secret 'evidence'

Heavily armed “anti-terrorist” police raided homes in Melbourne and arrested a teenager in Sydney on May 17. This foiled two unrelated terror plots, according to saturation media coverage based on information from police and security agencies that is too secret to be heard in court.

In Sydney, 18-year-old Tamim Khaja was arrested in Parramatta and charged with planning a terrorist attack and preparing for “foreign incursions”.

Syrian talks fail to stop bloodshed, but Rojava example spreads

Since a “cessation in hostilities” in Syria's multi-sided civil war was declared on February 27, about 6000 people have been killed in the conflict.

This “cessation in hostilities” was brokered by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), made up of the United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League and the governments of Britain, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the United States.

The ISSG is co-chaired by the US and Russia.

Syria: Talks fail to stop bloodshed, but Rojava example spreads


Fighters in the Rojava-based Women's Protection Units (YPJ) militia.

Since a “cessation in hostilities” in Syria's multi-sided civil war was declared on February 27, about 6000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Why is Australia so slow to get fast trains?

There is a joke in Australia that there will be a high-speed rail service linking the major cities on the Eastern seaboard that will run about once in every three years — whenever there is an election looming. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has, like the previous Labor government, again floated the idea.

Pakistan: Peasants resist violent crackdown


Okara, April 17.

A gathering of thousands of peasants in the Okara District of Punjab, to mark International Peasants Day on April 17, went ahead despite a violent crackdown by the police, paramilitaries and the army. The gathering was organised by the Tenants Association of Punjab (AMP) and supported by the Awami Workers Party (AWP).

Philippines: Police shoot hungry protesters

On April 1, police opened fire on indigenous and rural poor protesters who were blocking the highway into Kidapawan in the landlocked province of Cotabato on the island of Mindanao, killing three protesters and injuring at least 116.

While no investigation of the police action has yet taken place, 71 protesters remain detained. On April 4 a police spokesperson announced that Cotabato police chief Alexander Tagum would be suspended pending an investigation.

After Brussels, putting terrorism in perspective

A series of suicide bombings in Brussels on March 22 killed 35 people, including 3 suicide bombers. Less than a week later, on March 27, a similar attack in Lahore, Pakistan, killed more than twice as many people — at least 75.

The response from media and politicians amply illustrated the truism that Western lives matter more to them than those of people in Third World countries. The amount of reporting and expressions of condolences was, as is the norm, in inverse proportion to the numbers killed.

Yemen: Behind Saudi Arabia's largely unreported brutal war

French President Francois Hollande awarded his country's most prestigious award, the Legion of Honour, to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef on March 4 for “countering extremism and fighting terrorism,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

This understandably received criticism from Human Rights Watch, but its grisly irony passed was largely shrugged off by the Western media and political establishment.

The HRW statement referenced Saudi Arabia's appalling human rights record. But it did not mention the year-long Saudi-led air war in neighbouring Yemen that has killed thousands.

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