More than half a million soldiers and civilian militia members took to the streets of Venezuela over May 20 and 21 to defend their national sovereignty amid rumours of international intervention and a potential coup, Venezuela Analysis said on May 23. The drills featured troops, military boats and planes deployed to seven coastal states in Venezuela. They came after President Nicolas Maduro called on the military to rally around the defence of the country’s constitution in the face of foreign aggression.
There is a growing tide running against the major parties in this federal election, helped by five Labor and Liberal candidates who have resigned or been forced out, including now former Labor Senator Nova Peris in the Northern Territory. In the seat of Whitlam (formerly Throsby) in the Illawarra, this tide has become painfully clear. Carolyn Currie, the Liberal candidate for the safe Labor seat, quit during an interview on ABC Local Radio Illawarra.
Sydney University campus came alive with political discussion, talks and workshops for three days during the Socialism for the 21st Century Conference, held over May 13–15. The conference had more than 30 sessions and 50 speakers, including international special guests Marta Harnecker, Michael Lebowitz and Ian Angus. Local and international activists shared their experiences of struggle and discussed the necessity of building alternatives to capitalism today. Up to 400 conference-goers faced the task of choosing from a range of stimulating sessions on offer.
Right-wing protests hit the streets of Caracas and other cities across Venezuela — and in some cases turned violent, attacking police and other targets. The protests were part of a May 18 national day of action to demand that electoral authorities speed up the process of scheduling a recall referendum against left-wing President Nicolas Maduro. The national mobilisation came after right-wing leader Henrique Capriles gave a press conference on May 17 in which he invoked violence and called for the country's armed forces to “pick a side”.
Leon Trotsky By Paul Le Blanc Reaktion Books, 2015 224 pp, $39.99 Trotsky & the Problem of Soviet Bureaucracy By Thomas M. Twiss Brill, 2014 502 pp., $205.00 Leon Trotsky was one of the central leaders of the Russian Revolution. As the organiser and Commissar of the Red Army that saved the Soviet power and as the leading light of the struggle against Stalinism, he is surely one of the great heroic — and tragic — figures of the 20th century.
In the wake of Obama's historic visit, the Cuban Communist Party held its 7th Congress on April 16-19 in the Havana Convention Centre. Beneath a backdrop featuring a huge likeness of Fidel Castro, PCC secretary Raul Castro delivered the main report on behalf of the Central Committee. Fidel being Fidel, many Cubans would have been reassured by his surprise appearance at the closing session on the eve of his 90th birthday. Traditionally, PCC congresses are the culmination of a months-long process of consultation with the Party's activist base and the wider Cuban society.
John Bellamy Foster is the editor of US-based Marxist journal Monthly Review. His most recent book, written with Paul Burkett, is Marx and the Earth: An Anti-Critique (Brill, 2016). The French magazine La Revue du Projet asked him to reply to three questions on ecology and Marxism. A translated version below is reprinted, slightly abridged, from Climate & Capitalism.
Since a “cessation in hostilities” in Syria's multi-sided civil war was declared on February 27, about 6000 people have been killed in the conflict. This “cessation in hostilities” was brokered by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), made up of the United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League and the governments of Britain, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the United States. The ISSG is co-chaired by the US and Russia.
Fighters in the Rojava-based Women's Protection Units (YPJ) militia. Since a “cessation in hostilities” in Syria's multi-sided civil war was declared on February 27, about 6000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Supporters of British Labour Party's socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn. Despite his insurgent campaign scoring a string of impressive against-all-expectations wins, Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination was declared all but dead-and-buried after Hillary Clinton won a clear victory in a controversial New York primary marred by irregularities on April 19.