Democracy

Millions of dollars worth of damages to public property may have been caused by a wave of violence across Venezuela, according to government sources. The assessment comes after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for a “National Peace Conference” as a means of resolving the on-going violent opposition protests in Venezuela. Protests began two weeks ago after opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez called supporters onto the streets to force the “exit” of President Nicolas Maduro. Lopez is currently in custody and being investigated for inciting violent acts.
Celebrity deaths from drug overdoses always garner heavy mainstream media coverage. Last year, it was the death of Cory Monteith, a star of the popular TV show Glee — a lethal combination of heroin and alcohol killed him. This month, it was the gifted actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died of an apparent overdose of heroin.
It stands to reason that the perpetrators of crimes against humanity have a vested interest in silencing those who speak out against them. So it is not surprising there has been an intensified campaign of repression in Pakistan against those speaking out against the US bombing campaign in Pakistan's north-west. The US drone war in tribal areas of Pakistan, initiated by the George Bush Jr administration and dramatically escalated under Barack Obama, is reported to have claimed about 3500 lives since 2004. This includes nearly 1000 civilians unconnected to militant activities.
The Kansas Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill on February 11 that makes it legal to discriminate against LGBTIQ people in the mid-western US state. This caused outrage across the US. If passed by the Senate, the law would make it legal for private businesses to discriminate against LGBTIQ people and allow public servants to deny LGBTIQ people basic services — so long as their reasoning is motivated by “sincerely held religious beliefs”.
Alexis Tsipras speaks in a debate organised by the Dutch Socialist Party in Amersfoort on January 18. In December, Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza), was elected as lead candidate of the Party of the European Left for the May 25 European elections.
Bolivia's Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera, a veteran left activist and Marxist academic, spoke at the December 13-15 congress of the Party of the European Left (PEL). The PEL unites left groups from across Europe and is running Alexis Tsipras for president of the European Commission. Tsipras is president of the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which nearly won elections last year on an anti-austerity, pro-people platform.
Since the 1990s, many critics of the United States have accused Washington of promoting the dismemberment of nations such as Yugoslavia, in accordance with neoliberalism’s drive to weaken central governments and nation states. Today, Washington’s official policy in nations like Syria and now the Ukraine has been support for rebels seeking to overthrow the government, even though their chances of success are minimal.
All around the country this week there have been angry snap protests against Abbott Liberal-National Coalition government's cruel policies towards asylum seekers. This follows the death of one asylum seeker and several injuries in violence in an Australian offshore immigration detention camp on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
Many see Australia as a small power dependent on British and then US power for protection, but it is important to note that Australia has its own imperialist agenda it pushes the Pacific region. From the late 19th century to today, Australia's ruling class has been finding ways of extending its influence on nearby countries. It has even succeeded, if only temporarily, in gaining colonial possessions. This began even before federation in 1901, as the new capitalist class, having accumulated capital from the gold rushes in the mid-19th century, was looking for outlets for investment.
In what the Sydney Morning Herald described as the "darkest night" in Sydney Football Club's history, active supporters of the A-League football (soccer) club ― known as "the Cove" ― staged a walkout during the February 8 match against Adelaide United in protest against heavy-handed security tactics.

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