Democracy

A spectre is haunting Venezuela ― the spectre of the colectivos. All the powers of old Venezuela have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise these colectivos: political parties, NGOs, the foreign press, and of course, Twitter users. “Armed thugs”, “vigilantes”, “paramilitaries” ― these are just a few of the hyperbolic terms attached to what has suddenly emerged as the central bogey of the Venezuelan opposition today: “los colectivos.”
United Nations experts warned the city of Detroit on June 26 that service cut-offs could constitute a violation of the human right to water. Several groups concerned about Detroit residents who had their water shut off for nonpayment had taken the unusual step of appealing to the UN for support in an effort to force the restoration of services.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro issued a call on June 7 to each grassroots unit of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) to submit 10 proposals for ways to improve how the government functions, Venezuelanalysis.com said on June 21. “In response,” the article said, “throughout Venezuela, local units of PSUV militants, known as Battle Units Bolivar-Chavez (UBCh), devoted their weekly meetings to lively debates analysing political problems and attempting to reach consensus on solutions.”
Giles Ji Ungpakorn is a Thai activist and writer who is a member of the socialist group Left Turn. He has lived in exile since 2009 after being charged with lese majeste (“insulting the monarch”) for opposing the 2006 military coup.
LIFE FOR MOST AUSTRALIANS IS GETTING HARDER, WHILE POLITICIANS SERVE THE WEALTHY. BUT PUBLIC BACKLASH IS BREWING INTO A MOVEMENT TO CHALLENGE THIS SYSTEM, WRITES SUSAN PRICE. In handing down its first budget, the Coalition government echoed its National Commission of Audit, warning that a “business as usual” scenario for public spending on welfare, pensions, public services, health and education is “unsustainable”, even “irresponsible” in Australia today.
In the Shadow of Gallipoli By Robert Bollard NewSouth, Sydney 2013 On April 25, 1915, Australian troops landed at Gallipoli on Turkey’s coast. They were part of a British imperial force aiming to capture Constantinople (now called Istanbul) and the land alongside the narrow waterway linking the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. It was hoped this would enable British ships to enter the Black Sea and bring supplies to allied Russia.
Nine days before the Senate changeover, the High Court ruled that immigration minister Scott Morrison’s cap on the number of protection visas he could grant was invalid. In March, using his arbitrary ministerial powers, Morrison limited the maximum number of protection visas to be granted in the financial year to 2773 — the exact number already given. This was in response to Labor and the Greens uniting in the Senate to block the reintroduction of temporary protection visas (TPVs).
The Summit of the Group of 77 plus China, marking the alliance’s 50th anniversary, closed in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on June 15 with the adoption of a declaration entitled “For a New World Order for Living Well”. There were delegates from 104 nations out of the 133 from the global South that now make up the Group of 77 plus China. Bolivia is chairing the alliance this year, and its president, Evo Morales, hosted the summit.
Dozens of Palestinians held without charge or trial by Israel ended their 63-day hunger strike protest on June 25. It was the longest hunger strike in the history of the Palestinian prisoners movement. Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups said on June 26 that about 80 of the hunger strikers were still hospitalised and shackled to their beds. Meanwhile, the Israeli government is set to push through laws to permit the force-feeding of hunger strikers. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu weilded this threat in a bid to break the two-month strike.
A 13-year-old boy from Brazil’s Guarani tribe makes a political stand in front of 70,000 football fans and what he thinks is an international audience. A movement led by indigenous women in the United States beats a billion-dollar brand of the big, bad NFL. These two stories share more than the fact that they took place during the same week. They share the ways that people in power have sought to combat their courage by trying to render them invisible.

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