democracy

The regime of Muammar Gaddafi has escalated its violence against rebel forces seeking to bring it down. On March 6, opponents of the regime were reported to be in control of several cities, especially in Libya’s east. AlJazeera.net said on March 4 that anti-government protests in the capital, Tripoli, had been met with tear gas by security forces. Opponents said Az Zawiyah, a town just 40 kilometres from Tripoli that is home to an oil refinery, was mostly under rebel control.
The US Army announced on March 2 that it has charged 22-year-old Private First Class Bradley Manning with a further 22 charges. Manning is being held on suspicion of having leaked classified information to WikiLeaks. One of the new charges is “aiding the enemy”. This means Manning could face the death penalty if convicted. So far, Pentagon and military officials have found no direct link between Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
In the face of renewed protests in Tunisia's capital, Tunis, Tunisian prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi resigned on February 27. This was one of the key demands of the popular movement, which has continued to push for democracy in the aftermath of the January 14 toppling of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. In another concession to the mass movement, the interim government announced that elections for a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution would be held on July 24, AlJazeera.net said on March 4.
To win socialism — a society democratically owned and run by and for the majority of people — we have to get rid of the capitalist system that stands in our way. But who is going to do this? The capitalists aren’t going to give up their privileges. It's those who are exploited and oppressed by the system that have an interest in changing it. Capitalism can't permanently satisfy the needs of the majority — the working class, farmers, women, ethnic and racial minorities and so on.
Stop the massacre in Libya! Power to the people A February 26 statement by the Socialist Alliance in solidarity with the people's uprisings in Libya and the Arab world * * * The Socialist Alliance extends its full solidarity to the people of Libya now being brutally repressed for demanding an end to the corrupt and unjust regime of dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Forty-five pro-democracy activists, students and trade unionists were arrested in Harare on February 19 at a meeting to discuss the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. On February 23, the activists were charged with treason, which risks the death penalty. It is believed that security forces loyal to President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF infiltrated the meeting at the Labour Law Centre in Harare, which was themed “Revolt in Egypt and Tunisia: What lessons can be learnt by Zimbabwe and Africa?”
More than 100,000 protesters packed Pearl Roundabout in Bahrain's capital, Manama, on February 22, demanding an end to the regime of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. Protester Muhammad Abdullah told The New York Times: “This is the first time in the history of Bahrain that the majority of people, of Bahraini people, got together with one message: this regime must fall.” If the Khalifa family — which has ruled the tiny island nation for 200 years — falls, it could have major implications for the region and world politics.
With revolts taking place in 15 countries across the Arab world, those with stakes in maintaining the status quo — especially the United States — are getting worried. From Morocco all the way to Iran, people are standing up for their long-denied rights. See also: Libya: Western-backed ruler turns on the people Libya: From nationalism to neoliberalism Bahrain: 'The regime must fall'
The article below is based on a December 16 speech by Canberra-based freelance historian Humphrey McQueen. McQueen spoke at a Canberra rally organised to defend WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange. * * * By what right are we here today? Why are we confident that we can protest and not be shot at by the political police on the fringes of this crowd? We take it for granted that we won’t be arrested as we leave. We do not expect to lose our jobs by speaking out for WikiLeaks.
As the wave of popular uprisings has spread across the Arab world, a flurry of articles have appeared suggesting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez could be the next “dictator” to be overthrown. Such arguments follow a pattern in the corporate media of slandering the Chavez government and the revolutionary process it leads. They aim to conceal the real threat that haunts imperialism: that the Arab world may follow the example of Venezuela and other countries in Latin America — and break away from Western hegemony.

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