democracy

All three competing blocs in the intensely polarised December 21 Catalan election are working feverishly to win in a battle shaped by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s October 27 sacking of the Catalan government.

As it is often the case, dictators use ideologies to control people and impose their own views, depriving the electorate from thinking, expressing, acting or reacting. Hitler did it, Stalin did, Tito did, Saddam Hussein did it. And Robert Mugabe did it.

The struggle in Catalonia for self determination has shaken the whole Spanish state. It has forced all political forces to take a stance.

Much of the left across the Spanish state, while not supporting the repression of the right-wing government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, have also not supported Catalonia’s independence process.

In a hotly contested byelection on November 18, Lidia Thorpe became the first indigenous woman to be elected to the Victorian Parliament.

Thorpe, standing for the Greens, won 45% of first preferences. She was trailed by Labor, which has held the seat since it was created 100 years ago, with 35% of first preferences. Thorpe won 56% on a two party preferred vote.

In Harare, Bulawayo and smaller Zimbabwean cities, hundreds of thousands of citizens joyfully took to the streets on Saturday, November 18, approving a Zimbabwe Defence Force (ZDF) military semi-coup that resolves a long-simmering faction fight within the ruling party and ends the extraordinary career of Robert Mugabe at the age of 93.

The Coalition government of Malcolm Turnbull is in deep, possibly terminal, crisis.

The combination of the dual citizenship fiasco, the widespread resistance to the government's attempts to push its neoliberal agenda through a maverick Senate and the constant undermining of Turnbull by the right wing of the Liberal Party under the leadership of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has sapped any public confidence the government was given when Turnbull replaced Abbott only two years ago.

It is difficult to predict the result of the Queensland election on November 25.

Polls continue to indicate a close result between the major parties with a likelihood that preferences will determine the outcome in many seats. Most likely, whichever party forms government will need the support of independents or minor parties.

When this debacle around Section 44 of the Australian Constitution started becoming apparent, I found myself amused.

The fact that a group of white politicians were falling victim to a section I believed was inherently xenophobic, particularly when some of those same politicians have been integral in fanning xenophobia to win votes, contained a delicious irony.

The second vice-president of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC) has been removed after he publicly criticised the body’s inaction in the face of the country’s deepening economic crisis.

Former Attorney- General Isaias Rodriguez penned an op-ed in Venezuela’s centre-left newspaper Ultimas Noticias on October 23 in which he warned Chavismo could lose next year’s presidential elections, “if the government and the National Constituent Assembly do not offer timely responses to this problem [of inflation]”.

Judge Carmen Lamela of Spain’s National High Court — direct descendant of the fascist Franco-era Court of Public Order — took the war of the Spanish state against the Catalan pro-independence government to a new level of judicial violence on November 2.

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