democracy


Ating Guro vigil outside Comelec office. Manila, May 27. Photo: Partido Lakas ng Masa.

Supporters of the Ating Guro (Teachers Dignity) partylist held a three-night vigil outside the offices of the Philippines Commission on Election (Comelec) on May 24, to protest apparent irregularities in counting votes after the May 9 general election.

Socialist governments in Latin America must relaunch “democratic revolutions” in order to combat the strategies pushed by the United States to regain control of the region, Bolivian President Evo Morales said in an interview on May 23.

“In some countries it should be like a wake-up call where [governments] must start permanent conferences to relaunch democratic and cultural revolutions for Latin America and the Caribbean [region],” Morales said in an interview with Cubavision.


United Left's Alberto Garzon and Podemos' Pablo Iglesias.

Five months after the December 20 election in Spain failed to produce a government, the country is returning to the polls in the most polarised contest since the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1977.

More than half a million soldiers and civilian militia members took to the streets of Venezuela over May 20 and 21 to defend their national sovereignty amid rumours of international intervention and a potential coup, Venezuela Analysis said on May 23.

The drills featured troops, military boats and planes deployed to seven coastal states in Venezuela. They came after President Nicolas Maduro called on the military to rally around the defence of the country’s constitution in the face of foreign aggression.

Portuguese politics is in limbo. It has been since elections last October failed to give any party an outright majority.

The Socialist Party (PS) was eventually able to form a minority government after forming an agreement with forces to its left: the Left Bloc, the Portuguese Communist Party and the Greens.

The good news is that this limbo, the thin ice on which this agreement is skating, also presents an opportunity for the left to engage in clear and clean politics with room for actual negotiation.

The overthrow of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff in an institutional coup by right-wing forces has been justified by allegations of corruption — even though issue Dilma is being impeached on is use of a relatively normal government spending mechanism.

The three remaining presidential candidates — Republican candidate Donald Trump, and Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — have all come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in varying degrees.

The TPP, a “free trade agreement” involving 16 Pacific Rim nations (including Australia), is an undisguised corporate power grab. However, all candidates in the US presidential election stress a reactionary argument against it.

A report released by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis on May 19 has said that the $800 million gas pipeline planned for the Northern Territory is economically unviable, to the extent that it is described as the “whitest of white elephants”.

The pipeline, known as the North East Gas Interconnector (NEGI), has been the crown of the NT Country Liberal Party’s economic strategy in the lead-up to the August election. The pipeline is designed to transport the vast shale gas reserves in the NT from Tennant Creek to Mt Isa for sale to the rest of the world.

Students gathered outside the Wesley College gate at the University of Sydney on May 16, with their mouths taped shut, demanding the names of the editors of the 2014 Wesley Journal, which included a page called the “Rackweb”.

The “Rackweb” featured in the journal as a spider diagram of intercollegiate campus “hookups”, complete with the full names of students who had reportedly had sex with other students, and referred to women named in it as “Biggest Pornstar” or “Best Ass”.

About 200 residents of inner western Sydney suburbs crowded into the Marrickville Council Chambers on May 24 to protest the undemocratic sacking of three local councils — Leichhardt, Ashfield and Marrickville — by the state government and the appointment of an administrator to run the new, forcibly amalgamated "Inner West Council".

Angry residents drowned out Premier Mike Baird's appointed administrator of the new council Richard Pearson forcing him to abandon the first meeting of the new one-person body.

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