Economy

As expected, once Brazil’s October regional elections were over, the Michel Temer government launched a large-scale offensive against workers, youth and the people in general.

At the heart of this offensive is Constitutional Amendment Proposal (PEC) 241, which essentially imposes a freeze on government expenditure for the next 20 years.

A group of right-wing extremists stormed the chamber of the lower house of the Brazilian Congress on November 16 demanding the military stage a coup to root out “institutionalised communism” in the country.

According to the BBC, the right-wing demonstrators pushed past guards, injuring some, before breaking a glass door to gain entry to the chamber.

Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis
By John Smith
Monthly Review Press, 2016

On April 24, 2013 a clothing factory in Rana Plaza, Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1133 workers and injuring 2500 others.

This image of super-exploited, fatally-trapped workers, hemmed in by national borders and racist migration policies preventing them from moving to safer, better-paid work opens John Smith’s book — and illustrates his outrage.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association Maina Kiai issued a blistering condemnation on November 15 of the militarised response to the Standing Rock water protectors’ peaceful protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos held a series of internal elections over November 7–9 throughout seven regions across Spain  — Madrid, Andalusia, Extremadura, La Rioja, Castilla y Leon, Navarra y Aragón — and 12 different cities.

The elections were centred around the positions of the general secretaries in each region and territory, as well as the Autonomous Citizens’ Councils that form an integral part of the relatively new party’s political direction and organisation.

Social movements across Asia, Latin America, Oceania, and North America celebrated on November 15 the fact that their seven-year strategic campaign had successfully derailed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a controversial trade deal widely condemned for privileging corporate profits over international public interest.

Moroccan protesters have taken to the streets in recent days, taking advantage of the global spotlight provided by the November 7-18 United Nations COP22 climate talks in Marrakech. Mouhcine Fikri could have been any one of them.

Fikri was the fishmonger whose awful death in the back of a garbage collection truck was caught on mobile phone footage that subsequently spread across social media to ignite large demonstrations in Morocco.

BHP Billiton executives faced dissident shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting in Brisbane on November 17 over its responsibility for the Samarco tailings dam disaster in Brazil last year.

The protesters want Australia’s biggest company to compensate the victims. BHP jointly owns the iron ore mine with Brazilian mining giant, Vale.

A protester holds a 'No Trump' sign.

The news that the White House and Republican congressional leaders have given up on passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is welcome.

That the TPP would be defeated by Congress if brought to a vote signals that the Trojan-horse “trade” agreements that expand corporate power are simply no longer politically viable. People power beat the united forces of a US president, the Republican congressional leaders and the entire corporate lobby.

“We know that elections and individuals alone don’t create change — movements do.”

This is the maxim that guided the huge United States-wide action that took place on November 15. There were nearly 200 protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, the largest since the US government requested the project be temporarily halted in September.

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