Democracy

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.

The stadium in Phokeng outside Rustenburg in South Africa's North West Province exploded in jubilation when the end of the longest strike in South Africa's history was announced on June 23. Men and women waved their arms victoriously in the air and resounding ululations and cheering reverberated as a great burden of domestic hardship lifted. Workers had changed history.
In the early hours of July 1, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) bombed dozens of sites across Gaza, hours after three missing teenage Israeli settlers were found dead. The Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, predictably seized on the boys' disappearance and death as the pretext to raid Palestinian territory, attack Hamas and expand illegal settlements.
When I was in Brazil for those first days of the World Cup, I was ― with many other journalists ― tear gassed by military police. I saw sleek, urban-outfitted tanks in the streets and I felt concussion grenades send subsonic shrapnel crashing into my eardrums. I didn’t see the drones flying overhead, but then again, no one without a Hubble telescope is supposed to see the drones.
As the autocratic rule of Big Brother Generalissimo Prayut Chan-ocha trundles forward, we are seeing the militarisation of politics, economics and society in Thailand. All government ministries are controlled by military personnel. Civil servants who were in their posts before the May 23 military coup are being replaced by loyal lapdogs or cronies of the junta.
If anyone can get the different forces of the Catalan left to unite in support of a common cause, it is Ada Colau. The spokesperson of the anti-eviction Mortgage Victims Platform (PAH) until early May, Colau is almost certainly the most popular and respected social activist in the Spanish state. On June 26, Colau launched Let’s Win Barcelona platform for next year's May municipal elections in the Catalan capital.
Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives in Sri Lanka, gave a talk on “The challenge of moving from post-war to post-conflict in Sri Lanka” at a June 21 meeting held in the Darebin Intercultural Centre in Melbourne. The following is a summary of his talk compiled by Michael Cooke. *** The end of the war [between the Sri Lankan state and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009] does not mean the end of conflict. The guns are silent, but the sources of conflict remain, and are being reproduced.
Kavita Krishnan is a socialist activist and a well-known international spokesperson for the movement against sexual violence in India. A Communist Party of India―Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) Liberation leader, Krishnan was a featured guest at the Socialist Alliance's national conference held in Sydney from June 7 to 9. An abridged version of the speech she gave to the conference is published below the Green Left TV video of her ful speech.
Sri Lanka has confirmed plans for asylum seekers from its persecuted Tamil ethnic minority to be directly handed over by Australia at sea. Although the Australian government has refused to confirm or deny such plans, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on July 3 that Sri Lanka was “a society at peace” that had made “much progress” on human rights. That day, the Tamil Refugee Council released a statement explaining the true situation in Sri Lanka that included the ive points below. * * *
Official statistics from the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Information have revealed that 1518 Palestinian children were killed by Israel's occupation forces from the outbreak of the second intifada ("uprising") in September 2000 up to April last year. That's the equivalent of one Palestinian child killed by Israel every three days for almost 13 years.

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