democracy

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a warm welcome in Riyadh on October 23 during his surprise visit to the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference.

The conference has yielded investment deals worth an estimated US$50 billion, despite calls for a boycott by activists and some countries over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. However, Saudi Arabia is proving to be too tempting an investment opportunity for many businesses despite the large public outcry.

From Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square, about 700,000 people filled central London on October 20 protesting against the Tory Brexit, writes Andy Stowe. It was the largest demonstration the city had seen since the march against the Iraq war in 2003.

Five hundred academics, Nobel prize winners, human rights activists and celebrities have released an international statement against the rise of fascism in Brazil.

Among the initial signatories are: Argentine Nobel Peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, African-American rights activist Angela Davis, US Senator Bernie Sanders, US actor Danny Glover, Chilean socialist academic Marta Harnecker, US academic Noam Chomsky, British-Pakistani writer Tariq Ali and economist Thomas Piketty.

The far right in Britain has the wind in its sails in a way that it hasn’t since the 1930s, writes Phil Hearse.

Brazilians vote on October 28 in an election that will be critical for the future of Latin America. Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who topped the first round of the presidential election on October 7, faces off against the Workers’ Party (PT) candidate Fernando Haddad in the second round vote.

Facing the real prospect of a Bolsonaro win, the country’s social movements are stepping up their efforts to confront fascism, at the polls and on the streets.

The rise of the far right around the world, with fascist candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil close to joining the growing ranks of authoritarian far right leaders, many on the left are wondering how to respond.

The parallels with the rise of fascism in Europe in the early 20th century are clear.

In July, Canadian Marxist academic and activist John Riddell gave a speech, abridged below, at a York University seminar entitled “Historical perspectives on united fronts against fascism and the far right”.

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The unexpected strength of far-right demagogue Jair Bolsonaro in the October 7 Brazilian presidential elections sent shockwaves throughout the country, writes James N Green.

“I do not consent! I do not consent! Where is my representation?”

Those desperate words rang out in the Senate galley on October 6 as protesters tried to make the US Senate listen to the majority of people across the country opposed to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

But the elected leaders of the “world’s greatest democracy” ignored the objections of protesters inside the Senate gallery — as 13 women were arrested for interrupting the vote over the angry shouts of Vice President Mike Pence, who repeatedly had to bring the process back to order.

Quebec’s October 1 general election campaign in Quebec unfolded as two distinct contests, writes Richard Fidler.

One contest was the competition between the Liberals and Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) for control of the government.

The other contest in the predominantly French speaking province of Canada, with a long history of struggling for national sovereignty, was between the Parti québécois (PQ) and Québec solidaire (QS) for hegemony within the pro-sovereignty movement.

Russian president Vladimir Putin, the main backer of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has supported the rebels seeking to overthrow Assad, in the southern Russian town of Sochi on September 17.

After the meeting, it was announced that Putin and Erdogan had reached an agreement on the future of Idlib, a province in northern Syria.

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