United States

The United States Senate passed a Bill on December 2 that will allow oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) – an area which has been protected since 1960. Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Lisa Murkowski, managed to get a narrow 52-48 vote for the Bill – a part of the tax reform legislation – to pass.

The threatened 19.6-million acre refuge is located in northeastern Alaska and is home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife, but also billions of barrels of crude oil underground.

Hardly a day goes by without much of the mainstream media concentrating on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections. This includes any news about the various investigations into the question, much blowhard opinionating by talking heads, charges that Russia sought to collude with Donald Trump’s campaign, and more.

It is probably true that Russia would seek to influence US politics to the extent it thought it could. But to keep a sense of proportion, we should recall that the world’s foremost “meddler” in other people’s politics and elections is Washington itself.

Open internet advocates warned that “we’re running out of time” to save the web from corporate control. The call to action came after United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairperson Ajit Pai unveiled his long-awaited plan to scrap net neutrality on November 21.

After an announcement from the Donald Trump administration that it is terminating temporary protections for about 59,000 Haitians who fled to the United States after a devastating 2010 earthquake, journalist Naomi Klein warns decisions by the United States and Canadian governments indicate how wealthy nations may handle climate refugees in the years to come.

In the weeks since evidence of film producer Harvey Weinstein’s decades-long pattern of sexual abuse surfaced, millions of women, trans and gender nonconforming people, even men around the world, have exposed the scale of sexual violence in our society, using the #MeToo hashtag to tell their stories.

#MeToo set off a profound moment of collective bravery, which would have been impossible without the broad sense of solidarity and support for those coming forward.

Los Angeles streets were swarmed by the thousands of protesters on November 12 as Hollywood was taken by storm by a march inspired by the #MeToo Twitter campaign.

In support of victims of sexual assault and harassment, thousands of demonstrators marched, pausing in front of CNN’s headquarters.

The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico continues after almost two months after the hurricanes hit. The imperialist center in Washington continues to refuse to provide anything like adequate aid to its Caribbean colony.

The destruction caused by the two hurricanes that hit the island in September was worsened by a long history of imperialist exploitation, which has devastated the economy and infrastructure. This has greatly deepened over the past decade.

Some of the worst fears and dire predictions of opponents of the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline came true on November 16 when pipeline owner TransCanada announced that more than 200,000 gallons of oil had spilled from the existing portion of the Keystone system in Marshall County, South Dakota.

Thousands of Filipinos took to the streets to protest the five-day visit of US President Donald Trump. One of the largest protests was the November 13 rally and march by Laban ng Masa, a new coalition of trade unionists, community activists, urban poor organisations, feminists and socialists formed in September to oppose the authoritarian and violent policies of President Rodrigo Duterte. Laban ng Masa released the statement below in response to Trump's visit.

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Statement on the Trump Visit to the Philippines

Of Mice & Men
By John Steinbeck
First published 1937

This year marks the 80th anniversary of John Steinbeck’s great mythic novel of alienation under US capitalism, Of Mice and Men.

On Google Earth, you can see where the Salinas River “drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green”, a few miles “south of Soledad”, the novella’s opening lines.  Clearly, John Steinbeck knew this area intimately to be able to describe it so strikingly.

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