The Kurdish town of Kobane in northern Syria was attacked on June 25 by forces from the self-styled Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, which crossed from Turkey. This was the first significant IS attack on the town since a five-month siege was repulsed in January. The attack appears to be a Turkish-backed response to recent military gains made by the Kurdish-led forces of the Women's Defence Units (YPJ) and People's Defence Units (YPG).
Protest against Guarimba, Caracas, January 21. Photo: Cory Fischer-Hoffman. Leftists in Venezuela have put forward several explanations for the pressing economic difficulties and growing discontent that have beset the nation recently. These difficulties raise the possibility of an opposition takeover of the National Assembly in this year’s elections.
Condolences and tributes to legendary revolutionary and champion of women’s rights Nora Castaneda have been pouring in from across Venezuela after news of the activist’s death on May 16. An economist, university lecturer and much-loved revolutionary, Castaneda is renowned for having founded and presided over Venezuela’s internationally celebrated Women’s Development Bank, “Banmujer” since 2001. She was also one of the chief protagonists of Venezuela's working-class women’s movement that emerged in the 1980s.
Thomas Sankara: An African Revolutionary By Ernest Harsch Ohio University Press, 2014 163 pages, $18.56. A popular uprising in 1983 in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), a small and poor land-locked country in western Africa, had led to an obscure, but charismatic army officer becoming head of state. This was inspiring news for those looking for a new breakthrough against imperialism. It had come after the depressing news that Margaret Thatcher's Britain had defeated Argentina in the Malvinas and Ronald Reagan's United States had crushed Grenada's revolution.
Khury Petersen-Smith is a 32-year-old African American activist based in Boston, who is actively involved in the growing “Black Lives matter” struggle sweeping the US. I was able to speak with Petersen-Smith, a member of the International Socialist Organization, at the Marxism 2015 conference organised by Socialist Alternative in Melbourne over Easter, at which he was a featured guest.
I’ve never been much of a morning person but some mornings it can be a struggle to get out of bed. Crippling depression aside, peeking at what passes for news in the mainstream media to find out what is going on in the world can be enough to send me running for the covers. Just last week there was the announcement that after his latest pay rise, the Macquarie Bank CEO Nicholas Moore “earned” $1586 every 12 minutes. That’s roughly the same amount the average Australian worker takes home in a week.
Photo: CISPES.org. Hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets of San Salvador on May 1 to celebrate May Day and the victories of the working class. Marchers raised demands for justice, equality and self-determination, CISPES.org said on May 4.
Evo Morales. Photo: ABI — Agencia Boliviana de Información. Bolivia's left-wing president Evo Morales announced various salary rises on May 1 in honour of International Workers’ Day, TeleSUR English said. The national minimum wage will increase by 15% from US$208 to $239 a month and the general salary by 8.5%.
War planes from the US and its allies bombed the village of Birmehli in northern Syria on the night of April 30. US Central Command spokesperson Major Curtis Kellogg claimed that at least 50 fighters from the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group were killed and there was “no indication that any civilians were killed”. However, human rights groups, including the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), have reported that all the casualties were civilians: 64 people, including 31 children.