democracy

While Israel’s supporters in Australia have worked themselves up over stationary shop Typo selling a world globe naming the area inhabited by the state of Israel as “Palestine”, this year has already involved new injustices for those living in occupied Palestine.

The “new normal” of extrajudicial killings, set during the escalation of violence in Occupied Palestine last October, remains firmly in place. Israeli occupying forces have also accelerated their policy of housing demolitions.

There has been plenty of heat this Palestinian winter in the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

There have been some important victories, helped by the increased scrutiny of Israeli state violence since October. And equally, the hysteria from Israeli and Western political establishments over the “threat” posed by the BDS campaign has reached new levels.

When veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn was elected British Labour Party leader in September, many commentators in the corporate media and inside the Labour Party establishment warned his anti-austerity and anti-war positions would be a “disaster” for the party — rendering it “unelectable”.

Assumed to have no chance at the start of the campaign, his staunch opposition to austerity measures impoverishing millions helped generate a tidal wave of enthusiasm.

Britain: Austerity killing the poor

Cuts to social spending could be killing large numbers of vulnerable people in Britain, Public Health England said on February 16, as new figures show last year featured the largest rise in the national death rate for decades.

TeleSUR English said the next day that the new preliminary figures from the Office for National Statistics show mortality rates last year rose by 5.4% compared with 2014.

A whole packet of new economic initiatives are set to take effect in Venezuela after socialist President Nicolas Maduro announced a series of far-reaching measures in response to the country’s economic crisis on February 17.

In a televised five hour address to the nation, Maduro explained the extent of the economic crisis afflicting the country as well as his government’s plan to tackle it. Economic initiatives include changes to the country’s multi-tiered exchange rate, an increase in domestic petrol prices, a new tax system and expansion of community control over food distribution.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which involves 12 Pacific rim nations, seriously threatens indigenous land rights, as well as the natural resources they preserve, said United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.

In an interview with the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, Tauli-Corpuz said a major issue with the trade deal is “the clause of non-discrimination between a local and an international investor ... [it] grants more rights to transnational firms, often at the expense of indigenous rights”.

More than 100 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have launched a petition campaign for the removal of the Kurdistan Workers' Party from the EU list of terrorist groups, An Phoblacht said on February 18.

The PKK began an armed campaign for Kurdish liberation against the Turkish state in 1984, although it had been in a peace process until the Turkish government unilaterally ended talks and restarted the conflict last year.


Support for self-described socialist Bernie Sanders is based on his policies, such as supporting union campaigns for a $15 minimum wage.

It can be difficult to understand what capitalist elections say about the relation of class forces. This is especially true for the United States where there are no mass workers parties of any type. The two pro-capitalist parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, dominate.

When an all-female army of journalists, dressed as schoolgirls, burst into laughter at a “lunch party” with the Thailand's military junta chief Prayut Chan-o-cha at Government House on January 8, it became the talk of the town.

Commentators took to social media to lament the wretched state of Thai media. A senior Thai journalist, Pravit Rojanapuruk, labelled the journalists as “lapdogs” in a column in the progressive daily Khaosod English.

Students, journalists and teachers protested at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi on February 16, demanding the release of an arrested student leader and denouncing violence by Hindu supremacists.

The dispute has sparked new allegations that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are cracking down on political dissent in the name of patriotism.

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