democracy

When Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai succumbed to cancer on February 14, he left his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in turmoil without an obvious successor.

Tributes are pouring in for this “hero of the nation”, according to Zimbabwe Standard. Its editorial said: “Tsvangirai is an undoubted hero whose commitment to democracy and human rights will inspire many generations to come.”

Asma Jahangir was a Pakistani social activist and world-renowned human rights lawyer, who died on February 11, aged 66. Below is a statement released by the Awami Workers’ Party (AWP), a socialist party in Pakistan formed by the merger of several left parties in 2012.

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The leaders and workers of the AWP are shocked and grieved at the devastating news of the demise of Asma Jahangir, who passed away from cardiac arrest on February 11. It is hard to put into words the tragedy that her loss represents.

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.

Pacha Guzman, a leading activist with the Venezuelan-based Ezequiel Zamora National Campesino Front (FNCEZ), is touring Australia in March. Guzman will be visiting various cities where she will address public forums and meet with trade unions, politicians and solidarity organisations.

The FNCEZ is Venezuela’s largest peasant-based organisation and a member of La Via Campesina and the Latin American Coordinator of Campesino Organisations.

Late last year, amid the ongoing citizenship crisis engulfing several federal MPs and Senators, Labor MP David Feeney revealed that he was unable to produce documentation confirming he had renounced his citizenship of either Britain or Ireland. On February 1, Feeney announced his resignation and did not recontest the seat.

Alex Bhathal, who has run for the seat before and went close to winning from Feeney at the last federal election, is the Greens candidate.

Yet again, the federal Coalition government has launched a broadside in favour of its plan to cut company tax for big corporations from 30% to 25%, while slashing spending on social welfare and the public sector.

The catalyst for the latest controversy on the issue was a February 14 article on the ABC website by chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici, entitled, “There's no case for a corporate tax cut when one in five of Australia's top companies don't pay it.”

The British government sold spying equipment worth more than £300,000 to the right-wing Honduran regime implicated in mass human rights abuses, including the assassination of high-profile environmental activist Berta Caceres.

The sale of the spyware came in the year preceding Honduras’s November 2017 presidential election, which was widely seen as stolen by the incumbent government of Juan Orlando Hernandez.

As Venezuelans get ready for April’s presidential election, US Senator Marco Rubio claimed via Twitter the world would support Venezuela’s military if it decided to orchestrate a coup against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who is up for re-election.

The Republican lawmaker from Florida tweeted on February 9: “The world would support the Armed Forces in #Venezuela if they decide to protect the people & restore democracy by removing a dictator.”

New Greens MP Michael Berkman is looking forward to the opportunity to put Greens policies and values forward as the new member for Maiwar.

He told Green Left Weekly that it was a “hugely significant result” for the Greens to win their first seat in Queensland and a significant increase in their vote in other seats.

“One of the common myths about the Greens is that it is a wasted vote,” he said. And that is a myth he is keen to bust.

The federal government’s building industry watchdog, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), has issued new Building Code rules that specifically ban the Eureka Flag from being displayed on building sites. If an employer breaches the code, they become ineligible to compete for government work.

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