Cuban President Raul Castro gave a speech on December 17 in which he said relations between Cuba and the United States would be reset. “We have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations, but this does not mean that the main issue has been resolved, the blockade that generates economic losses and humanitarian problems in our country must stop,” Castro said.
Latin America 2014 conference, in solidarity with the continent's progressive struggles, was held in London on November 29 and attracted hundreds of participants. Held in the Trade Union Congress building, it was jointly organised by several trade unions, Latin America solitary groups and other supporters of the progressive and revolutionary struggles in the region. The participants took part in more than 30 workshops across a broad range of topics surrounding the achievements and challenges of the various governments, social and political movements across the continent.
Revolution By Russel Brand Random House $26, 340 pages Russell Brand is on a mission to save the world. Since his impassioned advocacy for revolution in an interview with journalist Jeremy Paxman in October last year, Brand has waged, in his own inimitable style, a battle against the ruling class in the name of a peaceful, loving and ― above all ― a “fun” revolution. His YouTube program “The Trews” has excited and engaged people across the globe. His work is as unique as the man himself. He can be sensitive, funny, open, honest, warm and courageous.
Nearly four months in and the new US-led war in the Middle East is enjoying patchy progress at best. At an official briefing at defence headquarters in Canberra on November 25, Australian Defence Force Chief of Joint Operations Vice-Admiral David Johnston said Australian-led air strikes Iraq the previous week had killed about 100 fighters from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
On the world map, Kobane falls in the north of Syria, right on the border with Turkey. According to the Kurds, however, it is the west of Kurdistan or “Rojava” in Kurdish. There is a train line right by the town. This line determined the border between Syria and Turkey. The division of the Kurdish homeland in 1923 not only ensured a political loss for the Kurds, but also paved they way for many human tragedies. From Kobane to Qamislo, many families were divided into two. One brother remained on one side of the train tracks, the other fell to the other side.
How does capitalism survive? This was the question that greeted the 11th annual Historical Materialism conference in London. Held from November 6 to 9 at the Vernon Square Campus, it was a four-day long broad marriage of global leftist activists and academics run by the Marxist journal of the same name. Posed as a simple question, it quickly developed into as many answers and narratives as there are positions within the left.
This week, by law, I have to deride Russell Brand as a self-obsessed, annoying idiot. No article or comment on Twitter can legally be written now unless it does this, so by the weekend the Sunday magazine recipes will go, “Goose and marmalade paella, serves six ― unless one of the six is Russell Brand in which case he can make his own dinner as he’s such a rebel I suppose he doesn’t agree with ovens”.
An incredible political transformation has been taking shape in the “Land of the Upright or Incorruptible People”, Burkina Faso. Twenty-seven years after the assassination of revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, Burkinabes turned out in their hundreds of thousands, for several days of protest. Chanting “enough is enough”, it echoed a long history of trade union activism against political repression in the country, as well as protests staged through the Balai Citoyen collective. After four days of the popular anger, president Blaise Compaore vacated his post.
Melbourne solidarity rally with Kobani, October 23.
A young Kurdish woman called “Rehana” has garnered a great deal of media attention over the past few days, after reports emerged claiming she had killed more than 100 Islamic State (IS) fighters ― single-handedly ― in the struggle to defend predominantly Kurdish Rojava in Syria's north. A picture of the smiling beauty, wearing combat gear and toting a rifle, is still making the rounds of social media. Even as Rehana's circumstances remain uncorroborated, the overabundance of attention she has received raises several important questions.