Democracy

Brazil's Dance With the Devil Dave Zirin Haymarket Books, 2014 200 pages, US$16 With World Cup fever sweeping the world, mainstream media outlets faced a problem: how to relate to the fierce political battle taking place on the streets of Brazil over the future of their society. The media has been flooded with idealised caricatures of Brazilian society, complete with pristine white-sand beaches, a hypersexual citizenry and a rich, happy tapestry of cultural diversity.
New red-green electoral alliances, a turn to ecosocialism and a deepening of the US International Socialist Organization's rethink on feminism were key features of its well-attended Socialism 2014 conference in Chicago. The gap between rich and poor in the US is large and growing. It has sparked a popular campaign for a minimum wage of US$15 an hour for low-paid workers, and in defence of jobs of teachers and other social service providers.
Days of Israeli bombings had killed more than 100 people in the Gaza Strip by July 11, ElectronicIntifada.net said that day. The dead included many children. It comes after large-scale raids and many arrests in the occupied West Bank. In response to this drastic escalation in “collective punishment” of the Palestinian people, the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) national committee issued the statement below.
The official results of the July 9 Indonesian presidential elections are not expected till at least July 22, but many unofficial “quick count” surveys and exit polls have proclaimed a winner. Most of these unofficial polls have declared that former Jakarta governor Joko Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi) has defeated his sole challenger — sacked Suharto dictatorship general Prabowo Subianto — by a margin of up to 4%.
Less than two weeks after concluding its largest military assault on the occupied West Bank in more than a decade, Israel has relentlessly pounded the besieged Gaza Strip since July 7. The ongoing bombing campaign is the most severe violence inflicted by Israel on Gaza since its eight-day assault in November 2012, during which more than 150 Palestinians were killed, 33 of them children. More than 1400 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, including 350 children, during Israel’s three consecutive weeks of attacks from air, land and sea during winter 2008-09.
Australian environmental and international solidarity campaigner Natalie Lowrey was arrested and detained for six days in Kuantan, Malaysia for standing with Malaysian activists campaigning against Australian company Lynas Corp's toxic rare earth refinery near that city. At a peaceful protest of more than 1000 people outside the Lynas plant on June 22, 16 protesters were arrested and a number were injured by police, one very severely. Lowrey was released with no charge on June 27, the other 15 protesters faced court on July 8 on a variety of charges. She has since returned to Australia.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas challenged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 2 to condemn the abduction and murder of teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir in east Jerusalem. Abbas accused extremist Jewish settlers of “killing and burning a little boy” and demanded Israel “hold the killers accountable”. Just hours after Israel buried three teenagers recently murdered in the West Bank, relatives of Khdeir said the 17-year-old had been forced into a car in east Jerusalem before it sped off. His burned body was found shortly afterward in a Jerusalem woodland beauty spot.
The Party of the European Left is a European-wide political grouping that unites 26 parties to the left of social democracy, such as SYRIZA in Greece. It released the statement below on July 2. For more information visit Europe-Left.org. * * * We consider the main factors in the Ukraine crisis to be the imperial atttitude towards the country, as shown by all major powers involved: the deliberately provocative and bellicose moves by the US, NATO and European Union, as well as the aggressive steps taken by Russia.
Venezuela: Social programs expanded in poorest communities The Venezuelan government has initiated its policy of expanding social programs in the country’s most deprived areas in a bid to eradicate extreme poverty, Venezuelanalysis.com said on June 30. The initiative, called “Red Sundays”, involves teams of social program workers visiting poorer communities every Sunday to diagnose which households are deprived of certain basic needs and which social programs are required to attend to these needs.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on July 1 the need for “a complete and profound revolution within public administration”. Maduro appointed planning minister Ricardo Menendez and vice-president Jorge Arreaza to facilitate a “restructuring” of the government system, to take place until July 15. “From July 1 to 15, we’re going to shake-up the revolutionary government entirely, to change everything and authentically improve socialist efficiency in the Homeland Plan’s development,” Maduro said from the Caracas working-class neighbourhood Los Magallanes de Catia.

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