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Eye on Civil Society


Libya: War-torn country becoming new hub for IS activities
Libyan people bearing the brunt of NATO’s fiasco
Serge Jordan (CWI) 27 February 2015

On February 15, a Libyan group acting allegedly on behalf of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), released a gruesome video. It was of the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian workers held hostage by them since last December. While some technical experts have since argued that parts of the video, such as the backdrop of the beach of the port city of Sirte where these beheadings appear to have been staged, have been faked, the fate of these workers is likely sealed. Recent events have in any case brought to light how the Libyan territory has become a new ground for the IS project of geographical expansion.

Keep South Africa’s lights on with renewable energy
Patrick Bond, (Counterpunch )16 February 2015

After an explosive start to his State of the Nation Address last week, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma turned to nuclear, coal, fracking and offshore drilling projects – but what about the country’s free sunshine, wind and tides?

Our Cherished Freedom of Speech Myth

Daniel Morley 20 February 2015

On February 17th Peter Oborne, one of the UK's most respected journalists, resigned from the Daily Telegraph and publicly condemned its practice of placing advertisers interests above those of the truth. As a conservative liberal, Peter Oborne is concerned that our famed and cherished 'freedom of speech' is being undermined by business interests. Freedom of expression is routinely and uncritically heralded as our society's proudest achievement to be defended at all costs. It is always assumed that, essentially, we possess this freedom, and it is only necessary to preserve it in one way or another. In truth, under capitalism there is no such thing as free expression nor a free press, for capital decides everything.

#AAPSweeps Delhi
Anand Kumar (CWI-India) 19 February 2015

The hashtag in a way symbolizes AAP’s stunning victory in the Delhi Elections winning 67 out of 70 seats in the state assembly. It shows that neither corporate money nor media influence is a guarantee to victory, especially in times of heightened expectations amongst the working people. While opinion polls and critics alike clearly saw an AAP victory coming, but nobody expected such a near decimation of the BJP, left with just 3 seats and a duck for Congress!

Chinese New Year highlights extreme class divisions
Four billionaires ‘created’ every week while workers fight to collect their wages
China Worker 19 February 2015

The world’s biggest annual migration is under way with the majority of China’s 270 million migrant workers making their way home to provinces far from the cities where they live and work. According to official data more than 2.8 billion trips will be made in the next few weeks as China celebrates the arrival of the Year of the Goat. But while primarily a time of family reunions and celebrations, the holiday period also casts a light on social divisions and the extremes of wealth and poverty in modern China.

It’s the annual university strike season
The funding dilemma obscures the need for a road map towards free higher education
Lukhona Mnguni (The Mercury) 10 February 2015

STUDENTS and journalists alike are dusting off their sneakers as they prepare for strikes. This has become an annual ritual in many universities. Clearly, something is wrong. The issue is funding for students who come from underprivileged backgrounds but are academically capable of pursuing their studies.

It is easy to dismiss these students as hooligans. At times students do not exhaust internal options to get answers; however, there are no solutions coming from management in the different universities.

Ominous signs for the world economy as Chinese slowdown gathers pace

Guy Howie 9 February 2015

Newly released figures show that the Chinese economy in 2014 experienced its lowest economic growth since 1990. Furthermore, the International Monetary Fund downgraded its 2015 growth projection for China from 7.1% to 6.8%. According to the Financial Times, 30 out of China’s 31 provinces had missed their growth targets for 2014 – the only one which didn’t was Tibet, by far the country’s smallest regional economy.

The media landscape in Brazil through the lens of Ukraine
Pedro Marin, Editor-In-Chief of Opera Revista, article published in January 26, 2015

Fourth estate, watchdog, ideology perpetuator – there are many labels for “media.” In Brazil, the problem of the media is very similar to that in most countries. According to a Brazilian research study in 2014, about 65 per cent of Brazilians watch television every day. According to the same research, they watch about three and a half hours per day. We are the fourth highest country in per capita internet access; still, only 28 per cent trust websites. Twenty four per cent trust news shared in social media networks. Only 22 out of 100 trust blogs.

Syriza vs. the ‘Troika’: Greek Debt: Negotiations Heat Up
Jack Rasmus 5 February 2015

After barely a week following the Greek elections and Syriza’s victory, negotiations between the EU’s “Troika” of debt collectors — the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB), and the European Commission (EUC) — and Syriza’s representatives have already begun to intensify.

AP Under Naidu: Smart City Delusions
Vinay Chandra 3 February 2015

CWI-India Leave a comment TweetIn 2004, The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which was in power for nine years was utterly routed by the people. It managed to win just 47 out of 294 seats. The rout reflected the utter disenchantment of the electorate with Naidu’s policies and his neoliberal model of development. During Naidu’s misrule, rural Andhra Pradesh sunk into deeper depths and saw some of the highest rates of farm suicides in the country. Cutbacks in the public sector triggered massive loss of jobs in the state while Naidu played fiddle with his “IT revolution” in Hyderabad. After 10 years, riding on the back of discontentment of Andhra people with the partition of the state, an utterly discredited Congress, and the promise of a massive farm loan waiver (that won’t be kept), Naidu is back as the Chief Minister in the new divided Andhra Pradesh.

"Panic About Panic:Russia and the World-System Today
Immanuel Wallerstein 3 February 2015

Visiting Russia, which I recently did, is a strange experience for someone coming from the Global North. As we know, most Russians have an entirely different reading of recent world history from most persons in the Global North. In addition, however, they are concerned about things other than what visitors expect them to be concerned about.

From #Takethesquare to São Paulo’s #FreeYourPark
Bernardo Gutiérrez 1 February 2015

There was a time when the occupied square was the city. The initial camp of Spanish 15M Indignados in Puerta del Sol in Madrid became a city per se. In this square-city a kindergarten, libraries, clinics, and cultural spaces emerged.

DRC: Tensions boil over into mass student protests against Kabila
Ben Morken 29 January 2015

Over the last couple of days Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been rocked by a series of protests against the weak, reactionary and corrupt government of Joseph Kabila. Through mass mobilisations, the predominantly student movement has dispelled any notion of the democratic credentials of the Kabila regime and has exposed its true dictatorial nature.

China: Significant upsurge in workers’ strikes and protests in 2014
Congyue Dai 28 January 2015

Despite all the Keynesian experiments and the monetary stimulus, China has failed to escape the global economic crisis. In 2014 its economic growth dropped to 7.4%, the weakest in 24 years. For the first time in 16 years growth missed the government’s annual target (7.5%).

US-India Nuke Deal A Big Win for Corporations

Author and scholar Vijay Prashad says the US-India nuclear deal will protect US corporations from liability in case of an industrial disaster like India faced in the 1984 Bhopal gas leak

Vijay Prashad interviewed by Jaisal Noor on the Real News Network27 January 2015

JAISAL NOOR, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jaisal Noor in Baltimore.

The nuclear agreement reached between the U.S. and India during President Obama's visit this weekend is being hailed as a historic breakthrough. It follows up on the 2006 nuclear deal between the two countries that was stalled on the issue of liability for U.S. corporations. That hurdle was cleared by eliminating the financial responsibility for U.S. companies in case of a disaster like what happened to Japan at Fukushima. Obama's visit also witnessed the bolstering of defense ties with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

China’s GDP slowest since 1990
The Chinese economy has decelerated by 30 percent in the past five years
China Worker 23 January 2015

The release this week of official 2014 GDP data confirmed expectations that China’s economy recorded its slowest pace in 24 years. Most economic forecasters point to even slower growth in the coming years as China grapples with deflation, overcapacity, a surge in debt levels, and the increasing “zombification” of overinvested economic sectors including the housing market which has been the economy’s main engine of growth for the past decade.

The Greek Election
Leo Panitch 26 January 2015

As we enter the eighth year of the long-lingering global economic crisis, it is sobering indeed that it is only in Greece that a political party putting forward a clear, radical democratic alternative to the perverse policies of neoliberal austerity stands on the doorstep of entering the state.

Russia/Ukraine: Facing a turbulent 2015
As death toll rises, economies plunge into freefall
Rob Jones (CWI, Moscow) 22 January 2014

President Putin entered 2014 on a high: the movement against the falsification of elections in Moscow in 2012-3 was led into a political dead-end by the pro-western liberals, was finished off using minor concessions and more serious repression. Internationally, growing tension between the western imperialist powers and the Russian imperialism saw the latter winning tactical victories, particularly in Syria. The Sochi Olympics, the most expensive games in history, were used as a showcase to temporarily divert attention from the huge corruption eating away at the Russian economy.

Hindutva Attack on Science

Alok Laddha (CWI-India) 21 January 2015

Leave a comment TweetIndian Science Congress Association was formed in 1914, and holds it’s meet in the first week of January every year. However this year for the first time in its history it held a session on Scientific practices in ancient India, which roughly covers the period from 2000BC to 500AD. The session had talks on Engineering applications of ancient Indian Botany that rather remarkably started with an attack on contemporary medical research by claiming how ancient Indian doctors claimed cancer cells were present in every human body and how today we do not even understand diabetes properly!

Can Podemos Win in Spain?
Bécquer Seguín and Sebastiaan Faber 20 January 2015

If the current poll numbers hold, Spain’s next prime minister will be Pablo Iglesias, a pony-tailed 36-year-old political scientist who cut his teeth in the Communist Youth and the anti-globalization movement—but whose party, Podemos, wants “to change the rules of the political game,” Iglesias told the journalist Jacobo Rivero. Left and right, he added, are metaphors that are no longer “useful in political terms”: “the fundamental divide now [is] between oligarchy and democracy, between a social majority and a privileged minority.” Or, as Podemos likes to put it, between la gente and la casta, the people and the caste.

Nigeria:2015 general elections and the working masses
Boko Haram and the war in the north-east
Aj. Dagga Tolar and Kola Ibrahim, DSM (CWI in Nigeria) 17 January 2014

Elections have become a periodic ritual, mandated and made compulsory by law, at least to keep the pretence of the so called "civil rule" in motion. In 2015, there is a sharper division among the ruling elites who, despite current economic and social hardships, are turning to the poor working peoples for votes. Indeed, the 2015 general elections are taking place against the background of the past 16 years of civil rule which has meant nothing but worsening living conditions for the working masses.

Making Sense of Boko Haram Attacks on Nigerian Civilians

Nii Akuetteh, analyst of African and international affairs, says it is difficult to decipher what Boko Haram is expecting to achieve by mass killing of civilians (Part 1)
Nii Akuetteh interviewed on the Real News Network 15 January 2014

China, the CELAC, and Venezuela
Luis Britto Garcia ( 12 January 2015

In previous articles I observed how recent radical changes had occurred in the economic structure which in turn affected political and cultural spheres in the world. I pointed to the Popular Republic of China, who became the primary economy on the globe in October of 2014 with a GDP of 17.6 billion dollars, exceeding the 17.4 billion of the United States. I added that it had been predicted this would happen by the year of 2020, but the powerful socialist economy got six years ahead, causing the IMF to calculate that by 2019, the Chinese GDP will be USD$26.9 billion while that of the US will be $22.1 billion. Keeping in mind that for Anglo Saxons [and most anglophones], a billion is one thousand millions. Additionally, China systematically buys gold, in a possible attempt to free itself from the hegemonic dollar which has no other backing other than its value printed in green ink.

Silver Lining in Kashmir Elections
Lal Khan 13 January 2015

Some of the most deceitful forms of elections and ‘democracy’ are to be found these days in countries that are suffering direct or indirect military aggression and occupation by world and regional imperialist powers. The elections and governments in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries under imperialist occupation are, in the last analysis, a tragic farce. Indian-controlled Kashmir is no different because it is directly under the boot of the imperialist Indian military – an occupation enforced by the so-called ‘largest democracy’ in the world using one of the largest military deployments on earth and draconian laws like The Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA) to infringe the basic rights of the Kashmiri oppressed masses.

Transnet oil spill pollutes wealthy gated village

A suburban Durban disaster reveals wider planetary abuse and eco-racism
Patrick Bond 12 January 2015

Over the holiday season, the front pages of the newspapers in Durban screamed out again and again about a major diesel spill. In the suburb of Hillcrest on December 23, a Durban-Johannesburg pipeline operated by Transnet gushed 220 000 liters into wealthy white residents’ gardens.

Freedom of expression!
No to racism! no unity behind the Valls-Merkel-Cameron-Sarko, etc...
Gauche Revolutionnaire 12 January 2015

The attack and the murder of 12 people by heavily armed men in the premises of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo Wednesday 7 January is a dramatic event which we condemn firmly as a cowardly and barbaric attack.

Who profits from killing Charlie?
A pro-style jihadist commando attack in Europe’s heart. Cui bono?
Pepe Escobar (Russia Today) 10 January 2015

Careful planning and preparation, Kalashnikovs, rocket-propelled grenade launcher, balaclavas, sand-colored ammunition vest stuffed with spare magazines, army boots, easy escape in a black Citroen…

Repression as big business in pre-Olympic Rio de Janeiro
Jason O'Hara 11 January 2015

Editor’s note: For four years, Canadian documentary filmmaker Jason O’Hara has been working with communities in Brazil to document human rights abuses in advance of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, focusing specifically on the illegal forced evictions that have been taking place in Rio.

Caste-based Oppression and the Class Struggle
TU Senan CWI-India 24 December 2014

Leave a comment In 2013, the British government agreed to include caste-based discrimination as an amendment to the Equality Act (2010). An alliance of Tory MPs and caste-based ‘community leaders’, however, successfully stalled its implementation to after the general election. What is behind this opposition? What role does caste play, both in South Asia and Britain? Why is it an important issue for socialists today?

My pen is sword against injustice
Faith ka-Manzi (Daily News
) 31 December 2014

There is a need to recruit society to amplify awareness of rights of LGBTIs to exist, writes Faith ka-Manzi.

China: Hard landing in 2015?
China’s economic slowdown already being felt throughout world economy
Vincent Kolo,
21 December 2014

“The most important number in the world, for the past 30 years and next five years, is China’s growth rate,” declared BBC Economics Editor Robert Peston. With a stream of data confirming a pronounced slowdown in the Chinese economy, fears are rising that this will act as a drag rather than a motor for global capitalism. China’s housing market, which has been the main locomotive of growth for the past decade, is faltering, as is business investment and factory output. The Chinese regime is not only navigating the slowest GDP growth for a quarter century, but simultaneously trying to speed up neo-liberal restructuring in order to spur private investment and domestic consumption. This is part of its strategy to wean the economy off its addiction to debt, now running at over 250 percent of GDP, an exceptionally high level for a developing economy.

The Lima Accord: A Great Success or More Climate Catastrophe?'s Co-founder Jamie Henn says nations are not yet committing enough money to thwart climate change, and that next year's Paris conference will be a referendum on the planet's future
Jamie Henn interviewd on the Real News Network 16 December 2014

Patrick Bond on Ricardo Hausmann
Ricardo Hausmann’s confusion about South Africa’s current account crisis and worker prosperity
Patrick Bond 15 December 2014

South Africa’s class struggle generated two gold medals for performance in 2014. In February, the global consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers identified our Johannesburg bourgeoisie as, according to The Times, “the world leader in money-laundering, bribery and corruption, procurement fraud, asset misappropriation and cybercrime,” with 77% of all internal fraud committed by senior and middle management. (This may help explain South Africa’s 2013 rating as the third most profitable country for corporations among major economies, according to the International Monetary Fund.)

Renationalisation of the Power, Oil and Banking Sectors Under Workers Democratic Control can Guarantee Affordable and Uninterrupted Power.
Chinedu Bosah 9 December 2014

The scorecard of the one year of power privatization is epileptic power supply, constant unwarranted tariff hike and bailout for clueless private companies while the working masses groin in darkness. Federal Government's promise to improve electricity supply by June 2014 turned out to be one of those political grandstanding while the target to generate 6,000 MW has turned out to be a mirage. For some Nigerians who had illusions in the private companies had expected massive investment, development in the sector, guaranteeing steady improvement in power supply and affordable electricity in the long run, but the reverse is presently the case. Many communities continue to suffer load shedding and epileptic power supply.

‘Let’s win back Barcelona’: the rise of Guanyem
Kate Shea Baird 4 December 2014

When the indignados occupied the public squares of Spain on May 15, 2011, demanding ‘real democracy’, they changed the terms of public debate. They called for an end of elected officials’ excessive privileges, measures to tackle corruption in public life, the dismantling of the stale two-party system, and citizen participation in decision-making. Their decision-making chimed with the popular mood far beyond those who participated in the occupations, and indignados became the pillars of the so-called nueva política (‘new politics’). Post-May 15, the question became whether this protest movement was capable of being an electoral contender, and if so, how?

Philippines: ‘Economic miracle’
A neo-liberal nightmare for the masses: Forced evictions, poverty wages and repression is the reality for millions
CWI correspondent in Philippines 3 December 2014

There is a lot of hype about a Philippines ‘economic miracle’ and high GDP growth rates during the current Benigno Aquino presidency (since 2010). But this is nothing new. GDP grew at roughly the same rates under the previous Arroyo government, even after waves of corruption scandals and political crises that called her administration’s legitimacy into question. Countless governments and institutions like the World Bank have been harping on about the country’s economic growth since the 1970s, but rarely do they call our attention to the nature of that growth or the realities of growing inequality that GDP calculations too often gloss over.

Vedic Capitalism
CWI-India 2 December 2014

In a move that has taken no one, except the most gullible citizens, by surprise the public sector State Bank of India changed its name to the Seth Bank of India.

Mexico, a Criminal Country
Rafael Barajas and Pedro Miguel 28 November 2014

When a police force arrests 43 students and hands them over to narco-gangsters who kill them as a “lesson”, then the police work for a narco-state that entwines organised crime and political power. The same police force also machine-gunned students, killing six and seriously wounding six more; it seized a student, tore the skin from his face, ripped out his eyes and left him lying in the street. This is a narco-state that practises terrorism.

Austerity-mongering from Washington to South Africa
World Bank’s flawed inequality report reveals dangerous idea-contagion
Patrick Bond 27 November 2014

When a bad idea is politically convenient, it can travel especially fast. On November 5, the World Bank released its technical report, “Fiscal Policy and Redistribution in an Unequal Society,” to great back-slapping acclaim, even on the country’s main tv news channel eNews (albeit, recently tainted as a sunshine broadcaster).

Togo and Gabon: winds of revolution spread from Burkina Faso
Ben Morken 26 November 2014

A revolutionary situation is currently spreading across West Africa. Over the last few days and weeks, big movements of the masses have shaken the regimes of Togo and Gabon to their foundations. It is clear that these are not isolated events. Rather, it is part of a revolutionary wave which has the potential to engulf the entire region.

No decent life for women with violence and without rights
November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women
Flávia Ribeiro Translation Google Translate 25 November 2014

We live in a society in which thousands of women suffer different forms of violence every day. We can not discuss this separate violence of the historical moment in which we live. Women suffering lesbian "corrective rape" poor black women dying from unsafe abortion, women being downgraded in their work because they are women, women picking up his companions inside and outside the home. This is our reality!

Washington plays Russian roulette
Pepe Escobar 24 November 2014

These are bleak times. I’ve been in serious conversation with some deep sources and interlocutors – those who know but don’t need to show off, privileging discretion. They are all deeply worried. This is what one of them, a New York strategic planner, sent me:

The End of China’s Economic Miracle?
Debt and corruption are hobbling the Asian giant.
Bob Davis 21 November 2014

After four years in China, a reporter is pessimistic about its future.

On a trip to China in 2009, I climbed to the top of a 13-story pagoda in the industrial hub of Changzhou, not far from Shanghai, and scanned the surroundings. Construction cranes stretched across the smoggy horizon, which looked yellow in the sun. My son Daniel, who was teaching English at a local university, told me, “Yellow is the color of development.”

The World Bank blinks at South African inequality and corporate subsidies
Patrick Bond 20 November 2014

“South Africa is achieving a sizable reduction in poverty and inequality through its fiscal tools.”

This was the main claim by the World Bank’s Pretoria-based country director Asad Alam last week, in the foreword to the November 2014 report, “Fiscal Policy and Redistribution in an Unequal Society.”

Gujarat Model: A case of De-development

CWI-Indian 19 November 2014

One of the crucial factors which has led to BJP getting an absolute majority in this election has been the constant propaganda related to good governance of Narendra Modi in Gujarat. It has often been stated that under Modi’s governance, Gujarat has seen a remarkable infrastructure development, boost in the agricultural sector and boost in the manufacturing sector. What is so dangerous about this propaganda is that it is extremely deceptive.

Vital lessons of Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution

Mass struggle needs genuine internal democracy and a fighting working class programme to defeat the CCP dictatorship
China Worker 17 November 2014

The epic ¡®Umbrella Revolution¡¯ has raged for seven weeks, now holding out for longer even than the historic Tiananmen Square mass movement that was crushed in 1989. The current Hong Kong protests constitute the most serious challenge to the Chinese dictatorship (CCP) and the Hong Kong capitalist elite since the Beijing events of a quarter century ago.

Letter to Nehru, Fifty Years After
Badri Raina 18 November 2014

I don’t quite know how to address you, so I shall simply say hello, Chacha, happy birthday. Do always be well. I imagine there is no dearth of roses where you are, or of laughing children in the park, or of books that you always still wanted to read, or of pen and paper for the next one you wish to write.

Goodbye G8, Hello BRICS. Out with the old, in with the new
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey (Pravda.Ru) 12 November 2014

The love affair between the Russian Federation and the G7 lasted for precisely sixteen years, from 1998 to 2014, when the arrogance and disrespect of the other G7 members came to the fore and Russia was excluded for reacting to the anti-Constitutional Putsch in Ukraine in which the elected President was ousted. This was a favor they did to Russia.

Mexico: A country at breaking point
Alice Driver 11 November 2014

“Mexico, wake up, the Narco governs!”

“The School of Music repudiates the crimes and violence of the Narco-State!”

“You can bury us and disappear us, but you can’t kill the struggle or our ideas!”

Students carried these signs as they participated in some of the largest protests in Mexico’s history over the past month. On September 26, 43 students from the Ayozinapa Rural School in Iguala were on their way to a protest when they disappeared. Subsequent revelations allege the involvement of the mayor, who had ordered the police to turn the students over to Guerreros Unidos, a local drug gang. This pointed to the close relationship between government officials and “narcos”, a relationship that has been documented around the country and in human rights violations that implicate the army and police in cases of disappearance and murder.

Hong Kong: Spontaneity and the mass movement
Au Loong Yu 7 November 2014

Hong Kong's Occupy movement has inspired and engaged vast numbers of young people. Au Loong Yu, a revolutionary socialist, assesses its strengths and weaknesses following pitched battles with the police.
The retaking of the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong by occupiers on 18 October relied on the courage of protesters, most of whom have never been a member of a political party.

These new participants in the movement faced up to police violence with huge determination.

Of the class struggle and the things we eat
Esther Vivas 4 November 2014

Do the rich and poor eat the same? Do our incomes determine our diet? Today, who is overweight? Although often, and from certain quarters, the call for healthy and wholesome food is viewed with disdain, as “a fad” “posh”, “hippy” or “flower power” the reality is rather different than these short-sighted comments imply. To defend ecological, local, peasant food is most “revolutionary”.

The United States is on the Verge of Becoming an Oligarchy

Bernie Sanders and Amy Goodman (Democracy Now) 6 November 2014

The revolutionary reawakening of Burkina Faso

Ben Morken 2 November 2014

The West African country of Burkina Faso exploded into a full blown revolutionary situation on Thursday, October 30, with tens of thousands of people storming the parliament and other government buildings, setting them ablaze, ransacking government offices and sending politicians, including long serving president Blaise Compaoré fleeing.

As Things Stand
Badri Raina 31 October 2014

First principle of dialectic: things never remain the same. Thus, contrary to what you may think, there are important stirrings within the Indian Left.

Ukrainian parliamentary elections: if you don’t have anything nice to say
Peter Mikhailenko 29 October 2014

The expression “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” is the best way to describe the reaction in the Western media to the results of Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Ukraine.

Brazil: A Pyrric Victory and What Comes Afterwards
Atilio Boron 28 october 2014

Dilma's victory was distressing and difficult in yesterday's run-off, the closest ever in Brazilian history, according to several newspapers on their front pages. In the 2006 runoff Lula defeated the candidate of the PSDB, Geraldo Alckmin, by more than twenty points: 61 to 39 percent. In 2010 Dilma crushed the PSDB candidate Jose Serra in the second round by twelve points: 56 to 44 percent. Yesterday, she beat Aecio by only three points: 51.6 to 48.5 percent. Distressing and uncertain not so much though, not because of the tiny difference with which she defeated her rival but rather because of the agonizing three weeks of the campaign where, for a moment, the Workers' Party (PT) looked to be condemned to take on a humiliating return to the bench after 12 years in government. And if that was something that almost happened, it was due to their own errors rather than because of the merits of their very conservative opponent.

Media Meltdown
Emails Disclose Who Really Runs the South African Show
Patrick Bond 28 October 2014

The biggest credibility crisis ever to hit South Africa’s independent media is unfolding this week. There is a serious risk that fewer than a half-dozen power crazed managers will destroy the waning integrity – and at minimum, the ownership structure – of the country’s most popular TV news station, eNews, which had aspired to become Africa’s answer to Al-Jazeera.

Tunisia: Widespread scepticism over Parliamentary elections
Pro-capitalist parties teaming up for more of the same - urgent need to rebuild a political voice for the working class and youth
Election statement by the CWI Tunisia 27 October 2014

In just a few days, on Sunday 26 October, Tunisian people will vote in parliamentary elections. The MPs elected to the Assembly will have a mandate of five years.

However, many observers already anticipate a record rate of abstention, which was already at 50.4% in the last elections in October 2011. Another important element is the number of undecided voters, which varies between 40% and 60%, according to the polls.

Deadly economic violence of the big banks
Vanessa Burger 24 october 2014

Parasitic banks, unscrupulous credit providers and their leech-like attorneys, spawned by an obscenely bloated capitalist system, suck the life-blood from increasingly impoverished lower classes in South Africa with utter impunity. Some 11 million over-indebted people are victims of this economic violence

‘Twenty Years of Local Democracy in South Africa’
Presentation to the DDP Conference on ‘Twenty Years of Local Democracy in South Africa’
S'bu Zikode 23 October 2014

Twenty years of local democracy in South Africa has been very cruel for Abahlali baseMjondolo and for millions of other poor people. It has been twenty years of hell in shacks. It has been twenty years of living like pigs in the mud. It has been twenty years of living with rats, floods, fire and rotting rubbish. It has also been twenty years of evictions and forced removals to transit camps and other human dumping grounds. For those of us who have stood up for our humanity our reward has been lies, assault, torture, wrongful arrest, the destruction of our homes and even assassination.

Only mass social movements can save us’ from climate catastrophe
Review by John Riddell Naomi Klein's book
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by John Riddell 21 October 2014

Despite endless conferences, treaties and solemn promises, greenhouse gas emissions have risen 61% since 1990, and the rate of increase is accelerating. As Naomi Klein tells us in her new book, This Changes Everything, we are now experiencing an “early twenty-first century emissions explosion”.

Brazil and the Elections in the Second Round
Bruno Lima Rocha 20 October 2014

Latin America’s leading country, Mercosur (South America Common Market) and diplomatic agreements (like the BRICS) have found themselves at a crossroads. There is a consensus from the middle to the bottom of the social pyramid in Brazil. Middle class voters admit to step back in terms of political ideas and to not tolerate debates that try to weaken the State’s role in economic strategies and in its function to secure the material basis of everyday life for its inhabitants.

Behind China’s Wildcat Strike Wave
Jane Slaughter 20 October 2014

China is the world center of wildcat strikes—given that no strike in China is officially allowed under the law. The government doesn’t issue statistics, but one source found 1,171 strikes and worker protests from June 2011 through 2013.

Strikes are on the rise since 2008, but they all take place outside the official channels of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions. China labor scholar Eli Friedman, who speaks Mandarin and has spent a great deal of time in the country, shows us throughout Insurgency Trap how the ACFTU takes a “passive repressive” response to worker unrest—and sometimes not so passive. His case studies show how in even the supposed best examples—the ones that ACFTU officials show to visiting foreign unionists—workers find their union worthless and contracts go unenforced.

Maharashtra Assembly Elections 2014 – Real Issues Don’t Matter!
Socialist Alternative (CWI-India) 16 October 2014

In Maharashtra, election campaigns have risen to a fever pitch. Voting took place on 15th October with about 64% voter turnout and the results will be declared on the 19th itself. This elections is different from the past because both the major alliances, Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena-BJP have ended and all of them have decided to contest independently.

ISIS fighter in Kobanê: “Erdoðan has helped us a lot”
Iskender Doðu 16 October 2014

The last glimpse I catch of Kobanê, before we are forced off the hill overlooking the town by Turkish soldiers in their armored personnel carriers, are two pillars of smoke rising from the city center. Just minutes before, two loud explosions could be heard, after which clouds of dust and debris emerged from between the buildings in the town, just across the border from Turkey.

Accusing Hong Kong activists of being tools of US policy is ignorant and dangerous
Dave Lindorff (Links Internationla Journal of Socialist Renewal) 15 October 2014

The mass protests demanding democratic election of Hong Kong's chief executive are not the creation of US agencies.

This Can't Be Happening -- A number of progressive and left-leaning writers have jumped on a report by Wikileaks that the neocon-dominated National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and various other US-government linked organisations with a history of subversion and sowing discord abroad are operating in Hong Kong and on that basis are making the leap of “logic” that the democracy protests in Hong Kong must therefore be a creation of US policy makers.

Leave or fight: What tactics need LGBT movement
D. Markin, Moscow (Socialist world) translation Google Translate 14 October 2014

Every time when the regime restricts democratic rights, many activists once again talk about emigration - recall law "banning promotion of homosexuality among minors" and Swamp thing. Now the situation has worsened: the regime unleashed the conflict in Ukraine and used patriotic propaganda, and the few who try to resist it (including LGBT activists), suffer from the attacks of the ultra-right.

What does President Obama “know” about Ethiopia’s “election”?
Alemayehu G. Mariam First Published in Pambazuka 13 October 2014

Ethiopia will hold national elections next year. It is certain that the US-backed TPLF regime will rig the poll and proclaim a landslide victory. A look at the present repressive political climate shows clearly that there is not a chance for a free and fair election

The 'World Versus Bank' Seen from South Africa
Patrick Bond 9 October 2014

Is age 70 a dignified time for retirement, especially for policies and practices long considered destructive but now back in official favour at the World Bank

Babbling Obama injures BRICS but strengthens Putin
Current U.S. policy, however, is only driving Moscow and Beijing closer together.
Nicolas Bonnal (Pravda) 9 October 2014

The U.S. has clearly and imprudently declared war on Vladimir Putin and Russia, but since a year this havoc has only reinforced domestically the Russian president and strengthened his ties with the wise politicians who rule the great republic of China.

Why Brazil’s Elections Matter
Greg Gandin (The Nation) 8 October 2014

Wall Street woke up feeling a little sad this morning, for its favorite candidate in Brazil’s presidential election, Marina Silva, placed third. This means the second-round vote, scheduled later this month on October 26, will be between the incumbent Workers Party candidate Dilma Rousseff and the neoliberal technocrat Aécio Neves. Rousseff is, as of now, favored to win.

Can Hong Kong Trigger a Chinese Revolution?
Shamus Cooke 7 October 2014

“Power concedes nothing without a demand”
Frederick Douglas

A historic showdown is shaking Hong Kong’s core, between the Chinese government and the mass movement confronting it. The people demand the removal of the Beijing appointed Governor and insist that they vote on his replacement. The Chinese government has vowed zero concessions, creating an inevitable collision with potentially revolutionary effects.

Africa: Ebola crisis spreads
Consequence of profit before health
Andy Ford, health sector, and Tim Sandle, from Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website
7 October 2014

The news that the United States is to send 3,000 troops to Liberia to build isolation hospitals, while Sierra Leone has implemented a national lock-down to try to contain the Ebola virus underlines how serious the epidemic in West Africa has become.

Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution
A Game-Changing Social Movement?
Dorothy Grace Guerrero 2 October 2014

The protest in Hong Kong, which is now in its fifth day and was started by the Occupy Central with Love and Peace group that preceded the current mass mobilization, could turn out to be a game-changing social movement. Many local and foreign human rights groups fear that what began as a call for the right to independent suffrage could lead to a crackdown similar to what happened in Tiananmen Square in Beijing 25 years ago if it escalates and becomes violent.

“We are Humans and Not Dogs”
The South African government has delivered well over 3 million formal homes free of charge since the 1994 transition. But in post-apartheid Cape Town, many recipients of these houses are fed up. Rather than the endpoint of the post-apartheid urban crisis, deficient delivery reproduces it anew, accentuating discontent in the process.
Zachary Levenson 1 October 2014

Afghanistan: Democracy under imperialist bayonets
Lal Khan 30 September 2014

The final round of the presidential elections in Afghanistan, and the “deal” between the two “front runners”, on September 21, was so feeble, and the outcome so rotten, that even bourgeois analysts and reporters had to designate them as pathetic and repulsive.

Hong Kong: Massive anti-government protests

Anger over police violence fuels spontaneous ¡°umbrella revolution¡± and growing strike movement
Vincent Kolo, 30 September 2014

This was the weekend that changed everything in Hong Kong. Mass popular resistance on the streets, by night and day, with mass gatherings of 100,000 and up to 180,000, spearheaded by the youth and a weeklong student strike, has forced the unelected Hong Kong government and thousands of heavily armed riot police to beat a retreat.

SA: Climate alarm is ringing but ANC government is failing to act!
Signs nukes deal with Russia
Oliver Meth 24 September 2014

The climate alarm is ringing and until now the African National Congress (ANC) led government has failed to act.

Why Western capitalism misses good old times of Yeltsin
Nicolas Bonnal (Pravda) 23 September 2014

If there is nowadays so much western hatred against Vladimir Putin, why was there so much adoration and backing for Yeltsin in the nineties?

To hell with Economics
Leonard Gentle 23 September 2014

Economics was originally called political economy, concerned with scarce resources and how to ensure general welfare for everyone given that fact. But US President Nixon and UK Prime Minister Thatcher are responsible for launching the Age of Economist as God. President Jacob Zuma recently returned from Russia, a strange place to be for many when you’re in the middle of a crisis at home, as many a commentator here in South Africa has observed. Maybe he and Putin were swapping stories of a new series of Survivor. Putin certainly would have a lot to teach Zuma on that score.

The BRICS remix climate damage and corporate collusion
Patrick Bond first Published in Pambazuka 20 September 2014

As world leaders gather at the UN next week, the window to halt runaway climate change is closing fast this decade, with world-wide emissions cuts of 50 percent needed by 2020, and 90 percent by 2050. Not much can be expected to come out of the UN talk-shop. Emerging powers, on the other hand, are not pursuing any new strategies eitherThe movement from below to tackle climate change is gathering pace in South Africa, and elsewhere in the world, in advance of the September 21 mass march against the United Nations.

Nuclear ambition could cripple SA
Mail & Guardian Editorial 19 September 2014

Jacob Zuma's plan for a fleet of nuclear power stations has the potential to impose a burden under which the South African economy could buckle.

The warning signs are flashing that Zuma intends to push ahead with plans to purchase a fleet of nuclear power stations to generate 9 600MW of electricity. (Gallo)

Clean Water as an Impediment to Corporate Profits
Pete Dolack 19 September 2014

An Australian mining company insists its “right” to a guaranteed profit is superior to the right of El Salvador to clean drinking water — and an unappealable World Bank secret tribunal will decide if that is so.

Brazil: Marina Silva’s rise is a result of the left’s failures
Federico Fuentes 18 September 2014

A fortnight out from Brazil’s October 5 national election, the big news has been the significant surge in support for Marina Silva, a former Workers’ Party (PT) government minister and environmental activist, with some polls predicting she could end up winning the presidential race.

Scots in Their Own Words on Independence

More at The Real News


Thousands mobilise to oppose Project Terror in Scotland
"You will not take this opportunity away from us"
Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI Scotland) 17 September 2014

Project Terror – the unprecedented campaign of fear against Scottish independence by big business, the media and the capitalist political establishment – has produced a fight back. Ordinary working class people are increasingly taking the campaign for a Yes vote into their own hands.

Transnet: coughing canary in the climate coal mine

Patrick Bond 16 September 2014

Facing the most serious civilizational threat ever, what is the South African government doing? The new Infrastructure Development Act pushed into law by Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel will fast-track carbon-intensive mega-projects on behalf of mainly foreign corporate beneficiaries.

Breaking a Taboo
Naomi Klein and John Tarleton 16 September 2014

The fact that global warming is man-made and poses a grave threat to our future is widely accepted by progressives. Yet, the most commonly proposed solutions emphasize either personal responsibility for a global emergency (buy energy-efficient light bulbs, purchase a Prius), or rely on market-based schemes like cap-and-trade. These responses are not only inadequate, says best-selling author Naomi Klein, but represent a lost opportunity to confront climate change’s root cause: capitalism.

Authoritarianism for Beginners
The crisis of leadership in Samwu and the union movement
Dale T. McKinley 12 September 2014

The South African Municipal Workers Union is in crisis as ordinary members rebel against national office bearers they accuse of gross financial mismanagement and undermining their constitution. The officials have struck back with a purge of members who’ve asked difficult questions. The case heads to court on Monday.

In his crazed magnum opus Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler said, “… the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over...” While the national office bearers (NOBs) of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) or that of several other Cosatu affiliates are certainly no Nazis, they have most definitely been taking Hitler’s advice to heart.

End of the PT power cycle?
André Ferrari Translated by Google Translate 12 September 2014

Unlike recent years, the Brazilian elections of October 2014 are marked by a strong element of unpredictability. This results from the new political situation created from the mass mobilizations of June 2013, the worsening economic situation in the country and the consequent wear of the Workers Party (PT) who will complete 12 years in the federal government.

Majority of Chinese expect a war with Japan
Warmongering governments are ratcheting up national tensions in a struggle for regional dominance
Dikang (China Worker) 11 September 2014

53 percent of Chinese respondents and 29 percent of Japanese believe their countries will fight a war in the years ahead. This was the finding in a new poll by Genron/China Daily published on the second anniversary of the current Diaoyu-Senkaku Islands conflict between the world¡¯s second-largest (China) and third-largest (Japan) economies. The move by the previous Japanese government led by Yoshihiko Noda, on 11 September 2012, to ¡®nationalise¡¯ part of the contested island chain in the East China Sea, triggered a bitter diplomatic standoff, which has seen a rise in militaristic rhetoric and cat-and-mouse military manoeuvres by the two countries¡¯ air and sea forces in the disputed waters. Japan scrambled its fighter jets against Chinese planes on 415 occasions in the past year, compared with 306 times the year before.

Africa suffers from climate change
Changing weather conditions are a major threat to food security in Africa
Oliver Meth 10 September 2014

Rising temperatures and volatile weather conditions are not only affecting
agricultural production but also influencing farming methods and practices
in Africa. Many farmers are facing this challenge head on and are forced
to adapt to changing weather conditions.

Research by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
states that the southern region of Africa could be hit the hardest by
rising temperatures. This is a major threat to food security, particularly
in South Africa.

The inability of NATO to prop up global stability
Ben Gliniecki 9 September 2014

The main outcome of the NATO summit that took place in Newport, Wales on 4th-5th September appears to have been the decision to launch a new ‘spearhead’ rapid response task force. This ‘achievement’ is something that NATO’s political and military leaders seem to be very proud about. In reality this new project is yet another landmark in the weakening of US imperialism, the crisis in world relations and the decline of the global capitalist system as a whole.

An Idée Fixe and a Vicious Circle
Paul Street 9 September 2014

History has a nasty way of repeating itself when its lessons go unprocessed. Take the US Global War on Terror, formally sparked by the al Qaeda jetliner attacks of September 11, 2001. By early 1998, seven years after Washington inflicted a one-sided imperial slaughter of Iraqis known in US History texts as “The First Persian Gulf War” and seven years into a US-led campaign of “economic sanctions” that killed at least half a million Iraqi children, the Pentagon had installed 35,000 military personnel in the Persian Gulf region. US soldiers, Marines, and airmen stood ready for action in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Diego Garcia, and Turkey. The deployment included more than 300 combat aircraft and 30 ships. The US Fifth Fleet patrolled the Persian Gulf and the US naval presence included two giant aircraft carriers – the USS George Washington (with a crew of 5,500) and USS Independence (5,000), each loaded with more than 4.6 million pounds of “air launched missiles, laser-guided bombs, general purpose bombs and ammunition.” According to the Washington Post in February of 1998. “the 100 [US] aircraft based in Saudi Arabia for patrols over southern Iraq” included “two dozen F-15 and F-16 fighter jets [in] Bahrain…12 F-117 stealth fighter jets [in] Kuwait, three B-1 bombers [in] Bahrain and 14 B-52 bombers [on] the island of Diego Garcia.”


Karnataka Injustice, 100% reserved for Daliths
Kambalapalli Dalith Carnage Victims & Survivors, 14 years wait for Justice goes in Vain
New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India) 6 September 2014

After 14 years long wait, the denial of justice to Kambalapalli Dalith Carnage Victims & Survivors, is not only highly condemnable as a blatant Casteist verdict, but should be seen as an attack on the Human Rights discourse in this country.

Merkel and Putin: Ukrainian Diplomacy
Immanuel Wallerstein 4 September 2014

There is an immense amount of diplomacy going on these days concerning the quasi-civil war in Ukraine. But the only actors who really matter are Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. They are also the only two actors who are really trying to tamp down the conflict and come to some political settlement.

Water award mocks our suffering
Gcina Makoba (The Mercury) 2 September 2014

Basic services have got worse in Inanda since 1994, says Gcina Makoba. She argues that the poor have been left to face new miseries.

Does the eThekwini Municipality deserve to win the Stockholm Water Industry Award, which will be granted to its water and sanitation department this week?

Kenya a land of forceful evictions without dignity
Julius Okoth First Published in Pambazuka 13 August 2014

Forceful evictions are rampant in Kenya. The government has never addressed the question of landlessness. Nor has anyone been held accountable in cases where fake titles are issued by government officials

Will Brazil elect Marina Silva as the world’s first Green president?
Jonathan Watts 1 September 2014

It started with the national anthem and ended with a rap. In between came a poignant minute’s silence, politicised football chants and a call to action by the woman tipped to become the first Green national leader on the planet.

Impact of Marikana Massacre Still Felt
Federico Fuentes 30 August 2014

On August 16, activities were held across South Africa to mark the second anniversary of the Marikana massacre in which 34 striking mineworkers were slain by state security forces.

The killings occurred one week into a strike over pay by several thousand rock drill operators at the Lonmin-operated platinum mine in Marikana.

Climate change: The secrets of our collusion
The environment minister has cut funds to monitor climate change and contraventions, showing her tendency to collaborate with corporate power.
Patrick Bond 29 August 2014

For members of Parliament hearing testimony in Durban on climate change on Friday August 29, the critical baby step in the direction of a sane climate policy is relatively simple: measure how much South Africa’s major greenhouse gas polluters emit so they can be capped and cut.

The Traumas and Dramas of Post-Cup, Pre-Olympic Brazil
Christopher Gaffney 28 August 2014

Tied to a period of economic growth and political stability, Brazil has aggressively pursued a series of mega-events from the Pan-American Games in 2007 to the 2016 Rio Olympics. These events are used by the Brazilian national and local governments to showcase their economic prosperity and to promote the country as one that is on equal footing with global powers. However, with the comings and goings of the international sporting caravans, each requiring billions in public financing, the question remains: where is the benefit for the ordinary Brazilian that stays behind after the parade has moved on?’

The Corporate Free Trade Project Reloaded
Walden Bello 27 August 2014

Six years after the advent of the global financial crisis, and with no end in sight, one would have expected that global capitalism would be in a serious state of disarray. Yet neoliberalism, while discredited, retains its hold on policymakers as a default ideology. Finance capital has been able to roll back the initial attempts to reregulate it in Europe and the United States. And Washington and Brussels have resumed their aggressive efforts to create multilateral free trade regimes.

The Powers Behind The Islamic State

More at The Real News

Investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed gives specific examples of how Saudi, Qatari, and American interests have supported the group formerly known as ISIS, and what the global community can do now to reign them in

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed on the Real News Network 25 August 2014

SA: New liberation forces debate post-apartheid future
Federico Fuentes, Johannesburg 23 August 2014

August 23, 2014 -- A version of this article was first published at TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Around 30 guests from across the globe and 120 shop stewards from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) met August 7-10, 2014, in Johannesburg to discuss the prospects and challenges of building a new, left political alternative to the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the party of deceased national hero Nelson Mandela.

This call by the country’s largest trade union, with more than 400,000 members, has caused reverberations throughout the working class as a whole, and has led some in the media to describe the process as “likely to lead to the birth of a workers‘ party that will eventually challenge [the ANC] for power”.

Dreaming and Organizing After the World Cup
Yesenia Barragan 19 August 2014

As the dutiful daughter of soccer-crazed immigrants from Latin America, the World Cup was, and will always be, a sacred time of year for me. Early in the morning, before my father would head off to work a long day at the post office, before the games would begin, and before the scorching New Jersey summer sun would rise, he walked me over to the local park to teach me how to master a header or slick Carlos Valderrama’s latest moves. There were even family rumors that my father could’ve made some professional team had he remained in his native Ecuador, but they were nothing more than that: rumors—one of a myriad of “what if’s” circulated by immigrants trying to make sense of all the racism and poverty in the First World, now and then second-guessing their trek up north for the long awaited Better Life. Apart from the sheer thrill of the game, this is what the Copa Mundial and its global celebration of soccer elicited for my loved ones and me: diasporic dreaming of both belonging and returning. Mostly, though, it was just fun.

Russia’s investment in Africa: New challenges and prospects
Kester Kenn Klomegah First Published in Pambazuka 19 August 2014

Russia’s presence in Africa remains marginal, largely due to historical reasons. But this could soon change. Several delegations from African states have visited Moscow in recent months and the Russian government appears determined to strengthen ties with Africa

By ‘resetting’ some strategies, Russia and Africa have entered a new phase of growth in their economic diplomacy mainly due to rising interaction by high ranking government officials from some African countries with their Russian colleagues during the first half of 2014.

Obama, Zuma and the Washington-Pretoria-Tel Aviv Relay
Patrick Bond 15 August 2014

What, ultimately, was the importance of the Africa-US leadership summit at the White House last week? It came at a very decisive moment for geopolitical relations in the axis linking Washington, Pretoria and Tel Aviv. And surprising US-China economic connections were also revealed, potentially reaching deep into Africa. Mega-corporations of both US and African parentage revelled in the attention and repeated blasts of public subsidies, with deals alleged to have reached $37 billion over the three days.

We may never know the backroom Faustian Pacts done by African elites with these firms, but what public signals were sent? How dangerous is it that President Jacob Zuma is welcoming US military and corporate institutions back to Africa with open arms, as the continent’s aspirant gatekeeper?

Ignoring Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers
Robert Parry 14 August 2014

The U.S.-backed Ukrainian government is knowingly sending neo-Nazi paramilitaries into eastern Ukrainian neighborhoods to attack ethnic Russians who are regarded by some of these storm troopers as “Untermenschen” or subhuman, according to Western press reports.

Indonesian Election: New face; same problems
Conor Flynn, Socialist Party (CWI Australia) 13 August 2014

On July 9, for only the third time since the collapse of the totalitarian Suharto regime in 1998, Indonesians went to the polls to elect a new president. The previous incumbent, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, was constitutionally barred from seeking a third five-year term and the election was contested between Suharto-era general, Prabowo Subianto, and Jakarta governor, Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo.

Battlefield - Economy
Zheleznovsky Art E.Goldsteyn 9 August 2014

Previously, Western sanctions referred to specific officials and politicians are now limited for banking and commerce. Putin prepares responses.

Obama summons Africa to Washington to talk trade
Glen Ford 8 August 2014

The summit in Washington was supposed to be about trade, but it’s not. US imperialism does not sustain itself by competitive trade, but by force of arms. The real objective was to ensure that mutually beneficial African trade with China and Brazil results in no shift in African nations’ political orientation away from the US

Leaders from the vast bulk of Africa’s nations were summoned to Washington, this week, for a three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit under the theme “Investing in the Next Generation.” According to the White House, the guest list includes all those leaders who are “in good standing” with the United States, a definition that excludes Zimbabwe, Sudan and Eritrea. Not coincidentally, the three shunned states are the only African nations that have rejected any relationship with AFRICOM, the U.S. military command that now dominates the continent.

Operation Protective Edge and Israel's future
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey (Pravda) 7 August 2014

Israel's Palestinian policy is a cynical exercise in sheer brutality, primary knee-jerk savagery, a textbook study in stupidity and short-sightedness, does more damage to Jews collectively than the policies implemented in Europe last century and compromises the very existence of the State of Israel. The latest Zionist massacre was a game changer.

Rise of BRICS as new world order

Niall Reddy 6 August 2014

Unlike in Durban in March 2013, the conclusion of the BRICS summit in Fortaleza was greeted with massive international media attention. The ostensible source of this renewed interest, following months of bad press for emerging markets, was the birth of the New Development Bank (NDB) and a $100 billion Contingent Reserve Arrangement (“CRA”) between member nations.

Pakistan: Let there be light!
Lal Khan 3 August 2014

If it were only a matter of praying to Allah for the masses to end their woes and achieve their emancipation, how easy it would be!

The present right-wing regime of the PML-N came to power with a disputed, heavy mandate. This crisis-stricken state was grudgingly accepted by the battered imperialists, giving it the false legitimacy it craved for. The ongoing lull, fatigue and despair within society and the lack of movement and leadership to counteract the onslaught of reaction meant the masses accepted it as a fait accompli.

BRICS Bank challenges the exorbitant privilege of the US dollar
Horace G. Campbell First Published in Pambazuka 1 August 2014

Over 65 percent of the world’s nations keep their foreign exchange reserves in the US dollar, the dominant world currency. The creation of the BRICS Bank and other financial interventions will likely weaken the dollar’s dominance and contribute to the creation a new international economic order

In Fortaleza, BRICS Became Co-Dependent Upon Eco-Financial Imperialism
Patrick Bond 29 July 2014

Contrary to rumour, the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa alliance confirmed it would avoid challenging the unfair, chaotic world financial system at the Fortaleza summit on July 15. The BRICS “are actually meeting Western demands,” as China Daily bragged, “to finance development of developing nations and stabilize the global financial market.”

Electoral disaster for Indian Left: What is to be done? Part I
Major Singh, Hamid Alizadeh and Fred Weston
28 July 2014

India has seen two very powerful general strikes in the past two years, revealing a sharp class polarisation in the country, and yet we have the disastrous result in the recent Indian elections for the Communist and left parties. This apparent contradiction has brought into sharp focus the role of the leaders of these parties and their total inability to offer a way out of the impasse they themselves have been responsible for creating.

Wishful Thinking About Natural Gas
Naomi Oreskes 28 July 2014

Albert Einstein is rumored to have said that one cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that led to it. Yet this is precisely what we are now trying to do with climate change policy. The Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, many environmental groups, and the oil and gas industry all tell us that the way to solve the problem created by fossil fuels is with more fossils fuels. We can do this, they claim, by using more natural gas, which is touted as a “clean” fuel — even a “green” fuel.

China: The great slowdown
Signs the mammoth property bubble is finally bursting belie Beijing’s upbeat GDP data
Vincent Kolo, 25 July 2014

On July 16 the Chinese government released its GDP figures for the second quarter, causing global financial markets to heave a collective sigh of relief as 7.5 percent growth was announced. This figure (Beijing’s GDP data is notoriously prone to manipulation) does not signal that the world’s second largest economy has ‘stabilised’ however. This was “a recovery, on paper,” noted Keith Bradsher, Beijing correspondent for the New York Times (16 July 2014). As Bradsher’s report points out, “independent surveys of businesses across China show that in sector after sector, sales and confidence are still deteriorating.”

Stop criminal attack on Gaza!
Fred Weston 21 July 2014

Yesterday, the Israeli army embarked on a ground offensive into Gaza. Journalists on the ground have described the initial stages of the land invasion, recounting scenes of terror as Gaza is pounded by tank, cannons, airstrikes and missiles fired from Israeli warships off the coast. Israeli forces are bombing Gaza from the air, sea, and land.

BRICS: Progressive Rhetoric, Neoliberal Practice

More at The Real News

All the governments behind the New Development Bank practice intense neoliberalism
Patrick Bond interviewed on the Real News Network 21 July 2014

World Cup leaves Brazil bruised but the worst is yet to come
The World Cup has left a bitter taste in Brazil..
Alex Martin (Football News) 21 July 2014

FIFA brought a close to their 20th World Cup tournament on July 13. For football fans across the globe, it was the end of a month-long festival of world-class football. For Brazil's 200 million inhabitants, it was time to start thinking about the consequences of hosting the event.

Brazil's ability to host the World Cup has long been under scrutiny. Infamous delays, deaths during construction, and spiralling costs caused upheaval on the streets of major cities.

According to the CIA, over 21 per cent of people in Brazil are still living below the poverty line with 10 per cent struggling to live on less than $2 a day. Clearly Brazil have social issues that urgently need addressing. The economy is slowing, the population is booming yet the government still committed $12 billion to bring FIFA to South America.

Considering that bill equates to 61% of the country's annual education budget, something is not right. But Brazil is threatening to be just one of many hosts to suffer from hosting the World Cup.

The BRICS: A response to Yash Tandon
Mike Davies First Published in Pambazuka 17 July 2014

Wiki In the Pambazuka special edition on Revisiting the sub-imperialist BRICS,” Patrick Bond and other writers were critical of the role of BRICS . Later Yash Tandon wrote a rejoinder to such BRICS bashing. Below is a piece that calls progressive forces to address the agency of local elites in colluding with capitalism and imperialism and oppose both global imperialism and local tyranny

Yash Tandon opens with a semantic discussion, initially querying the credentials of the term “sub-imperialism”, but ending with an explicit and snide attack on theorists for having an “exuberance of their conceptual creation” to discredit the term. This is disingenuous at best – a term is useful or not, irrespective of its historical antecedents: a neologism may offer a clarity denied to worn-out words whose meaning is obscured by over-usage. The historical roots of the term ‘sub-imperialism’ may be of interest to lexicographers but irrelevant to the legitimacy or otherwise of an argument.[1]

Is the New BRICS Bank a Challenge to US Global Financial Power?

More at The Real News

Michael Hudson and Leo Panitch discuss and debate the significance of the new international development bank created by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa

The puzzle of productive and unproductive labour
Rob Sewell 17 July 2014

In their desperate search for profitable fields of investment, the capitalist class, especially the financial oligarchy, has presided over an explosive growth of unproductive expenditure that today threatens to undermine the very edifice of capitalism. As more and more surplus value is siphoned off into unproductive activities, the issue of “productive” and “unproductive” labour has once again resurfaced as a factor contributing to, and a reflection of, the present terminal decline of world capitalism.

WWI 100 years since the great slaughter
Ten million killed and more than ten million seriously injured
Tony Saunois, article originally published in special WWI edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) 17 July 2014

The first world war began 100 years ago, unleashing slaughter on an unprecedented scale. This anniversary has featured prominently in the capitalist media. Most fail, however, to explain why millions of working-class people were sent to their deaths in trench-warfare hellholes: capitalism’s drive for profit, exploitation, raw materials and markets. TONY SAUNOIS writes.

Ben Turok's insider account of the ANC in power
Andrew Donaldson 15 July 2014

Andrew Donaldson interviews the ANC stalwart on his new book With My Head Above the Parapet

Predators divide Southeast: Predators divide Southeast
Lily L. (CWI Moscow) Translation Google Translate 22 June 2014

It took six months from the beginning of Evromaydana. Then Yanukovych, after weighing all the pros and cons, renounced agreements with the EU decided that profitable export market of the Customs Union, and receive loans - in Russia. But many Ukrainians hoped that life will be better if the country will join the European Union. Took advantage of this right-wing politicians of Freedom, representing the European-oriented part of the capitalists. They stood at the head of the protest and made ​​their way to power. Their new laws discriminating against Russian-speaking, Russian imperialism helped justify intervention propaganda about defending their grab and Crimea. Kiev said anti-terrorist operation. The country is sinking deeper into the war.

Two wars: Ukraine and Israel
Artem Kirpichenok 15 July 2014

The first time I saw a comparison of the war in East Ukraine with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was three weeks ago in an article by the liberal journalist Vitaly Portnikov in portal Facets pv. Today, this analogy is already established in the Ukrainian and Russian liberal mainstream. Israel and the Ukrainian regime -are seen as the embodiment of European civilization, light and goodness. Palestinians and eastern Ukrainians are terrorists, quilted, scoops, and can only understand the language of bombs and missiles.

A dream deferred
Kristen McTighe First Published in Pambazuka
11 July 2014

The post-revolution governments in Egypt have done little to appease a disgruntled, restless and marginalised youth. The youth spearheaded the revolt that toppled the Mubarak dictatorship, but a largely ageing elite is still at the helm.

Twenty-First-Century Energy Wars
Michael T. Klare 9 July 2014

Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, South Sudan, Ukraine, the East and South China Seas: wherever you look, the world is aflame with new or intensifying conflicts. At first glance, these upheavals appear to be independent events, driven by their own unique and idiosyncratic circumstances. But look more closely and they share several key characteristics — notably, a witch’s brew of ethnic, religious, and national antagonisms that have been stirred to the boiling point by a fixation on energy.

220 Thousand Metal Workers Are on Strike in South Africa

More at The Real News

They are demanding higher wages and an end to neoliberal ANC policies

Patrick Bond interviewed on the Real News Network 8 July 2014

Is the Center of the Global Economic Crisis Shifting to Emerging Markets?
Jack Rasmus 8 July 2014

Since late 2012 the global economy has been in the process of a long term economic slowdown—in terms of real productive investment, global trade, productivity, as well as other key economic indicators. That slowdown appears irregular over the short run, with some months and quarters up and some down, but a longer term slowing trend is evident nonetheless.

Hong Kong: What next after massive July 1 demo?

Battle-lines hardening as masses push for democracy while government steps up repression
Vincent Kolo, China Worker 7 July 2014

This year’s ‘7.1’ (July 1) anti-government demonstration in Hong Kong was massive, one of the biggest protests in East Asia in the past decade. Demo organisers put the attendance at over 500,000, similar to the turnout in 2003 – a revolt against repressive national security legislation (‘Article 23’), which gave birth to ‘7.1’ as a day of anti-government protest. Many participants believe the turnout was even bigger, perhaps 700,000. With the march starting at 3.00pm, it was 11.00pm by the time the last ranks had reached the finishing point.

Chennai Building Collapse – Development or Destruction?
Socialist Alternative 6 July 2014

During the launch of PSLV rocket on June 30th, Prime Minister Narendra Modi boasted that India’s Mission to Mars is cheaper than the Hollywood movie Gravity. If there is one thing that is really cheap in India it’s the life of millions of workers who have migrated to urban Metropolitan cities from the rural areas in search of livelihood which the rural economy has failed to deliver as India is more and more adopting neo-liberal developmental model.

Rooi Gevaar

Ranjeni Munusamy 4 July 2014

You can almost see the thread of Jessie Duarte’s thought pattern. The ANC deputy general secretary said this week that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) were working together to “destabilise” the ANC government and the country. It’s the “you are either with us or against us” George W. Bush line of political logic. But Duarte might not be completely off the mark. A new Left coalition might in fact result, though this would hardly be a conspiracy. Or unexpected.

War is Our Business and Business Looks Good
Edward S. Herman 4 July 2014

It is enlightening to see how pugnacious the U.S. establishment, led by a Peace Laureate, has been in dealing with the Ukraine crisis. The crisis arguably began when the Yanukovich government rejected an EU bailout program in favor of one offered by Russia. The mainstream media (MSM) have virtually suppressed the fact that the EU proposal was not only less generous than the one offered by Russia, but that, whereas the Russian plan did not preclude further Ukrainian deals with the EU, the EU plan would have required a cut-off of further Russian arrangements.

SA: Two hundred thousand metal workers on strike
Ben Morken in South Africa 2 July 2014

On Tuesday, 1 July, hundreds of thousands of metalworkers went out on strike in the engineering and metals sectors, bringing the industry to a complete standstill. The strike involves small, medium and large companies, with more than 220,000 workers at about 10,500 workplaces. Some of the big companies that are affected includes Bell Equipment, Dorbyl, Murray and Roberts, Scaw Metals and Reunert.

Britain: The Rich List 2014: trickle up economics
Sean Forrest 26 June 2014

I’ve never seen such a phenomenal rise in personal wealth as the growth in the fortunes of Britain’s 1,000 richest people over the past year. (Phillip Beresford, compiler of The Sunday Times Rich List)

Illegal Durban evictions, and the meaning of emancipatory politics
Raymond Suttner 24 June 2014

The elections of 1994 inaugurated a rights-based society, with an inclusive democratic constitution, subject to oversight of a Constitutional court. But if the ANC’s respect for constitutionalism is now open to question, where should we be looking for defence of the law, the Constitution and the rights it enshrines? The issue is raised sharply in attacks on communities, which have been evicted in spite of court orders declaring these illegal.

Iraq falling apart: the forces behind the insurgency
Fred Weston 23 June 2014

The speed with which large swathes of Iraqi territory have fallen to a relatively small force of armed militias begs the question as to how this was possible. The Iraqi armed forces were numerically much superior to the groups who took over towns such as Mosul in the north. The army actually melted away. This cannot be explained simply by referring to armed Islamic groups. Something deeper is going on.

Hong Kong poverty is worse than stated
17 years since the handover the city’s wealth gap wider than ever
Dave Hundorf 20 June 2014

Teng is 78 years old and collects waste paper, which she has being doing for the past 14 years. For her hard labour, amid choking fumes in one of Mong Kok’s busiest streets, she gets paid 70 cents per kilogram. I ask her why she does it. “I have no choice,” is her instant reply. Like many elderly she gets no old age pension from the government, apart from ’fruit money’ of HK$1,180 per month. Tens of thousands of elderly people in Hong Kong collect junk in order to survive. “The number is on the rise as the poverty gap widens,” noted state-run China Daily in 2012.

India and Pakistan
Trapped in the duplicitous history of the two ruling classes
Lal Khan 17 June 2014

Ever since the reactionary and bloody partition of the South Asian subcontinent in 1947, any major incident, whether it be a terrorist outrage, a colossal accident or natural disaster on either side of the Radcliff line that divides the South Asian subcontinent, the drums of blame immediately start beating in full glare with fingers pointing across the other side of the border.

Dave Zirin: Abolish FIFA

More at The Real News

Sports journalist Dave Zirin says bribery and corruption are endemic to FIFA, and discusses what could take its place in the world of soccer

Can Russia become politically irrelevant state?
Justinas Valutis 14 June 2014

Without a shadow of doubt, the recently signed Sino-Russian gas deal was a perfect opportunity to clink glasses for champagne lovers of both delegations. While one side was happy with the price, the other one looked content with its new customer and volume of the order. This gas supply treaty, which on a surface may look like an ordinary business deal, albeit very massive, marks the beginning of closer cooperation between the two eastern heavyweights in almost every aspect. It also will have an impact for the major geopolitical and energy sector players globally.

WHOONGA PARK - the bigger picture
Vanessa Burger 12 June 2014

In the wake of the hysteria and sensationalism generated by the recent attack on Whoonga Park residents, allegedly by Dalton Hostel dwellers on the evening of Monday 9 June, I believe it would be helpful, in the interests of attempting to find a solution to what has become Durban's latest, greatest humanitarian disaster, to examine the issues surrounding, and leading up to this incident. Knee jerk condemnation, thoughtless comments, deep-rooted prejudice and the promotion of personal agendas, as has generally been seen across social media and community networks in response to this incident, will, instead, contribute considerably to an already highly volatile situation, spread further ignorance and prejudice, further divide an already polarised society, and likely lead the affected communities down a one-way street of violence, hate and social disintegration.

Football: a big deal for FIFA and the capitalists
Caca Melo 11 June 2014

Football, more than a sport, it is also part of the culture of the working class in Brazil and much of the world. However, several years ago, the sport goes through a thorough process of gentrification. Football today is just another way to generate gigantic profits for entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, the populace, who can not even afford the ticket, have to stay outside the stadium.

Brazil’s World Cup Protests?
Is a ‘Systematic Political Campaign’ Responsible for Brazil’s World Cup Protests?
Dave Zirin 12 June 2014

It is perfectly understandable why Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has come out swinging. Given that strikes, land occupations and protests are ripping out across the country in advance of the World Cup; given that, according to a Pew Research Poll, 67 percent of the country is dissatisfied with her handling of the tournament organizing; and given that Dilma faces an election later this year, she is fed up and ready to play the conspiracy card surrounding the turmoil gripping the country. As Agence France Presse reported in an article about the transportation strikes rocking São Paulo, “Rousseff charged Friday that there was a ‘systematic campaign’ against the World Cup and her government ahead of October 5 elections in which she is seeking re-election. A leftist political prisoner during the 1964-1985 military dictatorship, she said that even in the darkest days of regime abuses, ‘we did not confuse the World Cup with politics.’

Boko Haram a blessing for imperialism in Africa
Glen Ford First Published in Pambazuka 11 June 2014

The danger of America’s military assistance to Africa – whether it is in fighting Boko Haram or Al-Shabaab - lies in the fact that the US has a lethal history of training death squads around the world. These death squads are now coming to Africa via the blessing of Boko Haram

FIFA corruption and Brazil 2014: the ugly face of the beautiful game
Steve Jones 9 June 2014

The shocking revelations that certain officials from Qatar had allegedly bribed their way to a successful FIFA vote to stage the 2022 World Cup, football’s highest competition, will not come as a surprise to anyone.

The Education of Rio de Janeiro stopped!

CWI Brazil 8 June 2014

The unified strike of state and municipal education of Rio de Janeiro started last May 12 and increasingly professionals are joining the fight. After all, the educational reality is alarming.

Ukraine: New president escalates austerity, civil war; popular resistance deepens
Roger Annis 6 June 2014

The newly elected president of western Ukraine is deepening the disastrous course to civil war of his interim predecessor. Within hours of his election on May 25, Petro Poroshenko ordered jet fighters, helicopter gunships, artillery and snipers to back fascist stormtroopers from western Ukraine in attacking the airport and surrounding neighbourhoods in Donetsk in the east, the country’s fifth-largest city.

In the canopy of entrepreneurs , workers have no rights !

Thiago Macedo (Translation Google Translate) 2 June 2014

The General Law of the Cup , central document set of emergency laws , is a more serious element in the strengthening of a project exclusionary city and criminalization of social movements and poverty , where people's right to the city is suppressed in the name of private interests .

The astral inferno Rousseff and the weight of the streets
André Ferrari (Translation Google Translate) 1 June 2014

The crisis in Petrobras , the World Cup and the problems in the economy , amid a backdrop of resumption of fights , complicate the life of Dilma and open potential for a real left alternative space.

How Wealthy Elites Are Hijacking Democracy All Over the World
Sonali Kolhatkar 2 June 2014

Mass street protests are usually seen as a hallmark of democratic aspirations. And elections are meant to be a culmination of such aspirations, affording people the opportunity to choose their own leaders and system of government. But in country after country these days, the hallmarks of democracy are being dangerously subverted and co-opted by powerful elites. The question is, are we recognizing what is happening under our noses? Three examples unfolding right now are indicators of this trend: Thailand, Ukraine and Egypt.

Egypt: Apathy eclipses Sisi's “landslide victory”
Hamid Alizadeh 31 May 2014

The whole of the Egyptian establishment, from statesmen, to businessmen and TV presenters, are falling over each other as they praise the ‘landslide victory’ of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in the Egyptian presidential elections. However the stability that the bourgeois are craving for is further away than they think.

Indian Election: Modi’s victory
Celebrations by big business a warning to working class
CWI India 27 May 2014

A week ago today, it became clear that Narendra Modi would head a government of the right-wing Hindu nationalist BJP. It gained the largest number of seats of any party, though, for all the hype, received only 31% of the popular vote and remains in a weak position in the upper house where the BJP and its allies have 63 of the 250 seats..

University Presidents Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank
Lawrence Wittner 28 May 2014

Is economic inequality growing in American higher education?

A report just issued by the Institute for Policy Studies¯The One Percent at State U¯indicates that it is. Surveying public universities, the report finds that the 25 highest-paid presidents increased their income by a third between fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2012, bringing their average total compensation to nearly a million dollars each. Also, the number of these chief executives earning over a million dollars in 2012 more than doubled over the previous year. In 2013, the best-paid among them was E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University, who raked in $6,057,615 from this employment.

Pelé Said What?
Dave Zirin 27 May 2014

By criticizing the 2014 World Cup and the spending priorities of the Brazilian government, soccer legend Pelé has accomplished the rarest of feats in twenty-first-century sports media: he has shown the capacity to shock and surprise.

Kidnapped girls become tools of US imperial policy in Africa
Glen Ford First Published in Pambazuka 26 May 2014

The Nigerian military has been carrying out atrocious extra-judicial killings of Boko Haram suspects. The Chibok abductions are serving the same US foreign policy purposes as Joseph Kony sightings in central Africa and will better grow AFRICOM with client states in Nigeria and the West African region in a very long war

On sub-imperialism and BRICS-bashing
Yash Tandon First Published in Pambazuka 26 May 2014

Critics of the BRICS base their arguments on empirical observations. But they need to go further beyond this and provide a deeper analysis of their theory of sub-imperialism. Otherwise their critique is a distraction from real issues of concern to progressive forces

Pambazuka News 673 (April 2014) carried nine articles on ‘sub-imperialist’ BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Three of the articles are by Patrick Bond and four by his present or past students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre (UKNC) for Civil Society of which Bond is the Director. This essay focuses on the paper by Bond – ‘BRICS and the tendency to sub-imperialism’ - that is a little better grounded in theory than the others. I argue that Bond and his colleagues are inventing a category that simply does not exist. It is a distraction from real issues of concern to progressive forces everywhere. I write in the hope that others might feel inclined to join in this debate.

Seeds, Power and Imperialism
Julia Evelyn Martínez 21 May 2014

“Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.”
Henry Kissinger, United States Secretary of State 1973-1976.

Mari Carmen Aponte, ambassador of the United States to El Salvador, has just announced that the imperial authorities need more shows of loyalty on the part of the elected Salvadoran government, not only to receive a $277 million grant from FOMILENIO, but also to be considered a friend and ally of the United States.

UMalusi Gigaba ngabe usichomela ngba singenamandla futhi singabantukazana?
Faith ka-Manzi 21 May 2014

Ayangikhathaza amazwi kaNgqongqoshe woMnyango wePublic Entreprise uMalusi Gigaba okuthi “Nikhankasile nilwa neANC sanihlula. Sinihlulile”.

It was an anti-Congress wave, not a pro-Modi wave

More at The Real News

Right Wing Hindu Nationalist BJP wins a historic mandate in the Indian Elections
Vijay Prashad interviewed by Sharmini Peries on the Real News Network 20 May 2014

Modi's BJP a 'grave danger' to women and minorities
Kavita Krishnan 8 May 2014

If a new right-wing government is elected in India, with Narendra Modi as prime minister, what effect on sexual violence laws and their implementation do you envisage it will have, and generally what impact this election outcome could have on the future of the Indian women’s rights movement?

Labour support collapses in the polls
Daniel Morley 19 May 2014

Some recent opinion polls have put the Tories ahead of Labour for the first time since 2012. Does this mean that the public has made an historic shift to the right, at a time when the right wing is presiding over possibly the biggest ever fall in living standards and rise in inequality? Is the support for UKIP further evidence of this strange, irrational trend? No, the contradiction between the working class’ interests and their voting intentions is more apparent than real. In reality, the contradiction lies between the working class’ interests and the Labour leadership. This poll is a dire warning to Labour that they must fight on a pro-working class, socialist programme to win back support.

Yuhang mass protests shake Chinese regime
Massive police repression after thousands march against waste plant in Zhejiang province
Vincent Kolo, (China Worker) 17 May 2014

In March, to great fan fare, Premier Li Keqiang promised to launch a “war on pollution.” But after this weekend’s chaotic and bloody scenes in Yuhang, Zhejiang province, it seems the government has launched a “war on pollution protesters” rather than anything else. A massive crowd campaigning to stop a planned waste incinerator clashed with hundreds of riot police on Saturday 10 May. The demonstrators blocking a major highway numbered 5,000, or even 30,000 according to some accounts.

New strike wave hits China
The most recent strike, one of the largest in China in many years, is taking place at a Taiwanese-owned factory complex, Yue Yuen, in the city of Dongguan.
Peter Boyle spoke to Kevin Lin, who is doing research for his PhD at the University of Technology Sydney on the labour movement in China, about the background to a new wave of strikes in the country. 14 may 2014

There seems to be a new labour upsurge in China. What can you tell us about the recent strikes and their causes?

The real story of South Africa's national election
Dale McKinley 14 May 2014

May 11, 2014 -- South African Civil Society Information Service, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- No sooner had the final results of the just concluded 2014 national elections been announced than President Jacob Zuma gave a predictably self-congratulatory speech lauding the result as “the will of all the people”. The reality however is that the African National Congress’ victory came from a distinct minority of “the people”. The real winner, as has been the case since the 2004 elections, was the stay-away vote.

Eyewitness Greece: ‘They are stealing everything, even our homes’
Afrodity Giannakis 14 May 2014

“I wish I could leave Greece. I can’t go on living here. I work very long hours and live more frugally than ever, but I still can’t pay the bills, the income tax or the other taxes like the property poll tax. My tax debt keeps building up. I’ll end up losing my home. They are stealing our homes and they are not communists. And people are getting sadder and madder every day. I can’t go on like this.”

Boko Haram’s abduction of school girls horrifies the world
Can a solution to the insurgency be found under capitalism?
Hassan Taiwo Soweto, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI Nigeria), Lagos 13 May 2014

The abduction on 14 April by Boko Haram of over 200 girls from a public secondary school in Chibok – a small town in Borno State – has sparked global outrage. Widespread condemnation has come from far and near and almost the entire world is following the horrendous situation in Nigeria as a result of daily coverage by the international media. Together with a big campaign that has taken off on social media sites (twitter and facebook) under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, protests and demonstrations have been held in several cities within and outside Nigeria and they still continue.

Despite Growing Discontent, ANC Victorious in South African Elections
Patrick Bond interviewed by Anton Woronczuk on the Real News Network 12 may 2014

More at The Real News


Dumbo Democracies
“… There are too many idiots in this world. And having said it, I have the burden of proving it.”¯ Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

Vashna Jagarnath 8 May 2014

Had Frantz Fanon lived to see the candidates in our upcoming general elections, he would have had very little trouble proving correct his pessimism about the abundance of idiots in this world. The festival of idiocy that is relentlessly paraded on our screens during election season is not unique to our shores. Across the Indian Ocean the vast subcontinent of India is also in the throes of an election season, and, given its massive population, the accumulation of idiots on parade in India far exceeds those we have to confront day after day. As in South Africa, electoral politics in India, where the ballot paper at least carries a “None of the above” option, generally comes down to the predicament of having to decide which party is likely to be the lesser evil. The many wonderful aspects of India today, and there are many, have everything to do with its people and very little to do with its politicians.

Why Abahlali endorsed the DA
S’bu Zikode speaks to GroundUp
Sibusiso Tshabalala 6 May 2014

On 2 May 2014 Abahlali Basemjondolo (ABM) --a social movement of shack dwellers-- endorsed the Democratic Alliance (DA) for the 2014 general elections. Abahlali Basemjondolo are better known for their protests against unlawful evictions and their advocacy for public housing and urban land for the poor. Sibusiso Tshabalala of GroundUp spoke to S’bu Zikode, leader of Abahlali Basemjondolo, to find out why they took this decision.

SA: 20 years on, ‘very good story’ of ANC ‘social democracy’ needs tough questioning

Patrick Bond 2 May 2014

Two decades ago, liberation was won in South Africa. In two weeks, the May 7 election will confirm the popularity of the African National Congress (ANC) with a landslide victory.

But times are changing: a serious leftist party – the Economic Freedom Fighters founded by ousted ANC youth leader Julius Malema – has appeared on the landscape and the largest trade union, the 340,000-strong National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), has refused to support the ANC on grounds that it has sold out, especially in the wake of the August 2012 Marikana massacre of mineworkers by police on behalf of the platinum mining corporation Lonmin.

Gigaba’s pleasing infrastructure promises are soon to be broken in Durban
The minister says the ANC is preparing for a new economic transformation after the poll. But at least one project shows how it could all go very wrong
Patrick Bond 2 May 2014

Malusi Gigaba, the minister of public enterprises, has made election promises on infrastructure build. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)
The indefatigable eco-justice activist Des D’Sa of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) just won the Goldman Environmental Prize in San Francisco. It’s an extraordinary award, often described as the ecological Nobel; indeed, the late Wangari Maathei from Kenya’s Greenbelt movement became famous with the former, and later won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Britain: Figures reveal capitalism in crisis
No recovery for working people and poor
Editorial from The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) 29 April 2014

Desperate times call for desperate measures. That must have been the line of Chancellor George Osborne’s thinking when he went about claiming new jobs and wages figures proved that his austerity measures were yielding a recovery.

Far from bringing relief to ’hard-working families’, the Conservative/Liberal Democrat (Con-Dem) Coalition’s cuts and pro-capitalist policies are rapidly turning the clock back on living standards at a terrifying rate. Real growth can however be seen in workers’ anger.

Rwanda 20 years after the genocide
Alice Gatebuke First Published in Pambazuka 27 April 2014

It is 20 years since the genocide. The former rebels who ‘liberated’ the country now preside over Rwanda. But everywhere one sees evidence that the freedom they sought as rebels remains out of reach for the general population. An equal and just Rwanda is needed

I woke up on the morning of 7 April 1994, from a fretful slumber. I managed to walk to the gate of my house. I had to know if there were any other houses left standing. What were all of those screams I heard throughout the night? What would happen now that the President was dead? I was benumbed with fright, but I made it to the gate. I had to know what was left of our neighborhood.

30,000 Chinese Factory Workers Strike Against Maker of Nike Sneakers

More at The Real News

Editor Michelle Chen and instructor Xiaoming Chai discuss the workers' demands and whether the rise of strikes in signal a decline of cheap labor in China 25 April 2014

India: Poverty of the biggest democracy
Lal Khan 23 April 2014

India is hyped as being very modern, yet in the midst of the towering buildings and corporate plazas there are huge swathes of ghettos overflowing with intense poverty and misery, where human beings are forced to live in bestial conditions of unhygienic and filthy dwellings. The artificial glitter and the facade of modernity fails to conceal the primitive social and economic conditions that prevail across India. These conditions are reflected in politics, and particularly in the elections that are being held in nine stages from 7th April to 12th May this year.

We want Nigeria’s wealth, not its troubles
Patrick Bond ( Eye on Civil Society, The Mercury) 21 Apr 2014

THE Mercury editorial (April 7) on Nigeria’s overnight 57 percent increase in Gross Domestic Product using a “rebasing” technique misses the point: “Nigeria will attract more investment now that it is number one, probably diverting some of it from South Africa, which is struggling to get the investment it needs.”

SA Platinum Miner's Struggle Challenges ANC Leadership

More at The Real News

Patrick Bond: 2012 Marikana massacre and the militancy of the miners is changing the face of South African politics
Patrick Bond on the Real News Network 20 April 2014

British aid is helping agribusiness carve up Africa
Miriam Ross 20 April 2014

Shifting to production for export means relying on imported food, leaving people vulnerable to sudden price spikes. Food 'aid' is often the result. Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) under a Creative Commons Licence
Anxious to avoid the wrath of the anti-aid lobby, the British government has kept pretty quiet about finally meeting the target of spending 0.7 per cent of national income on international aid. Just as quietly, it is channelling millions of dollars of that aid money into a scheme to help the world’s most powerful agribusinesses carve up Africa.

What, really, did the ANC deliver? Tokenistic social policy
Patrick Bond 19 April 2014

What has the South African government delivered in 20 years? A massive welfare state with 16 million grant recipients (nearly a third of the population); 95 percent of the people served with clean water access; a rising rate of matriculation by 12th graders; a dramatic reduction in poverty?

Economia brasileira – dos “BRICs” aos “5 frágeis”
Marcus Kollbrunner 3 de Abril de 2014

O resultado do PIB (a soma de tudo que é produzido no país num ano) de 2013 registrou um crescimento de 2,3%, comparado com o 1% de 2012. Porém, vários outros indicadores apontaram para os piores resultados em uma década ou mais.

Privatization Is A Ramp For Corruption and Insouciance
Paul Craig Roberts 16 April 2014

Libertarian ideology favors privatization. However, in practice privatization is usually very different in result than libertarian ideology postulates. Almost always, privatization becomes a way for well-connected private interests to loot both the public purse and the general welfare.

Ikuphi ngempela okwenziwe nguKhongolose?
Ngaphandle kwemigomo yezenhlalakahle yokuthiba abantu
NguPatrick Bond Yahunyushwa nguFaith ka-Manzi 16 April 2014

Ikuphi okwenziwe nguhulumeni waseNingizimu Afrika eminyakeni engamashumi amabili? Izwe elikhulu elinabantu abathola imali yesibonelelo abayizigidi eziyishumi nesithupha (cishe ingxenye yesithathu kwizwelonke); abantu abafika kumaphesenti angu95 abathole amanzi ahlanzekile; ukunyuka kwamaphasa umatikuletsheni; ukwehla kakhulu kobuhlwempu?

China: 25 years since the mass democracy movement

China’s dictatorship is haunted by the prospect of a new mass revolt
Vincent Kolo (China Worker) 15 April 2014

On 15 April 1989 Hu Yaobang, the former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, died of a heart attack. This became the start signal for one of the biggest mass movements in modern history, a movement that soon grew beyond the wildest expectations of its initiators and came close to toppling the dictatorial regime of the so-called ‘communist’ party.

South Africa’s Resource Curses and Growing Social Resistance
Patrick Bond 15 April 2014

The African National Congress (ANC), led during the 1990s by the late Nelson Mandela, is projected to be reelected in South Africa’s May 7, 2014 national election by a wide margin, probably with between 50 and 60 percent of the vote. But underneath the ruling party’s apparent popularity, the society is seething with fury, partly at the mismanagement of vast mineral wealth. The political and economic rulers’ increasingly venal policies and practices are so bad that not only did ANC elites play a direct role in massacring striking mineworkers in August 2012, but corporate South Africa was soon rated by PriceWaterhouseCoopers as “world leader in money-laundering, bribery and corruption, procurement fraud, asset misappropriation and cybercrime,” with internal management responsible for more than three quarters of what was termed “mind-boggling” levels of theft.1

From the Maidan to the Revolution?
Boris Kagarlitsky Translated by Renfrey Clarke 15 April 2014

In Ukraine, a genuine revolution is unfolding. This may seem strange, but it is something very characteristic of the history of that country. In Ukraine in 1918, workers’ protests by the “Reds” took place solely in response to actions by the nationalist authorities that had installed themselves in Kiev. The question of how progressive the regime established by the supporters of the Donetsk Peoples Republic and other movements in Ukraine’s south-east will prove remains unanswered for the present simply for the reason that the very survival of these movements is far from guaranteed. But it can already be said with assurance that there is no road back. The point of no return has been passed, not only in in the political but above all in the social sense.

Russia’s investment in Africa: New challenges and prospects
Kester Kenn Klomegah First Published in Pambazuka 18 August 2014

Russia’s presence in Africa remains marginal, largely due to historical reasons. But this could soon change. Several delegations from African states have visited Moscow in recent months and the Russian government appears determined to strengthen ties with Africa
By ‘resetting’ some strategies, Russia and Africa have entered a new phase of growth in their economic diplomacy mainly due to rising interaction by high ranking government officials from some African countries with their Russian colleagues during the first half of 2014. Undoubtedly, Russia's intensified move to invite delegations has often been interpreted among academics and policy experts as a result of escalating competition and increasing economic influence by many foreign players in Africa.

Is India on a Totalitarian Path?

Arundhati Roy on Corporatism, Nationalism and World’s Largest Vote
Arundhati Roy interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now 14 April 2014

As voting begins in India in the largest elections the world has ever seen, we spend the hour with Indian novelist and essayist Arundhati Roy. Nearly 815 million Indians are eligible to vote, and results will be issued in May. One of India’s most famous authors — and one of its fiercest critics — Roy is out with a new book, "Capitalism: A Ghost Story," which dives into India’s transforming political landscape and makes the case that globalized capitalism has intensified the wealth divide, racism, and environmental degradation. "This new election is going to be [about] who the corporates choose," Roy says, "[about] who is not going to blink about deploying the Indian army against the poorest people in this country, and pushing them out to give over those lands, those rivers, those mountains, to the major mining corporations." Roy won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, "The God of Small Things." Her other books include "An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire" and "Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers."

China eyes the Congo River
Baruti Amisi First Published in Pambazuka 14 April 2014

New development projects along the Congo River are bound to restore colonialist structures and looting of resources in the DRC. These will benefit elite companies and countries, but fail to prioritise poverty and access by the poor - serving only as a repressive tool to locals.
The Congo River watershed feeds not only Africa’s second longest river (after the Nile), but is also a vital site of struggle over BRICS’ role in Africa. In coming decades, both western and BRICS multinational corporations will use hydropower at what will be the world’s largest dam, financed by the World Bank, London markets and China, to fuel intensified mineral extraction.

Which way forward for the BRICS in Africa ?
Patrick Bond First Published in Pambazuka 11 April 2014

This week’s special issue takes a gloomy look at the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and their subimperialist extractive tentacles around the African continent. Social justice movements must start with a common critical analysis of the BRICS in order to intensify South to South resistance and solidarity

The Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa bloc met in Durban at the end of March last year, expressing both continental and global ambitions. But things have not gone well since then. Extremely challenging financial, geopolitical, military and environmental problems emerged over the subsequent year – in Africa and across the world.

Higher education is not a market place
Hugh Muir (Mail and Guardian) 9 April 2014

Tweet Britain is paying the price for its controversial student loan scheme.

The highly contentious British student loans system is unravelling. Many predicted that it would, but the surprise, given its high profile and political toxicity, is that it is falling apart so fast: hopelessly flawed, it seems to be falling under its own weight.

Africa’s Number One Economy, For Wealth Evaporation
Patrick Bond 9 April 2014

Jim O’Neill – the Goldman Sachs banker who in 2001 coined the idea of a Brazil-Russia-India-China ‘BRIC’ serving as “building bricks of the 21st century world economy” – has another bright idea. He recently announced a new fascination with the Mexico-Indonesia-Nigeria-Turkey countries, which “all have very favourable demographics for at least the next 20 years, and their economic prospects are interesting.” O’Neill is now completing a BBC series on the MINTs, and no doubt will profit handsomely from investments made in these countries’ financial assets, the way any scurrilous marketer does when, brandishing an insider-trading portfolio, he draws naïve consumers to a product with limited shelf life.

Indian Parliamentary Elections

More at The Real News

Indians go to the polls discontent with the 10 year rule of Indian National Congress Party
Vijay Prashad interviewed by Sharmini Peries on the Real News Network 9 April 2014

The bosses’ demand for 33.9% increase in mining profits
Pay the workers and stop promising too much, Mr Cutifani.
Dick Forslund 7 April 2014

The strike in the platinum mines might go on for a month or more without any resolution. The workers are determined to hold on. Many of the workers have a home that produces incomes in kind, as well as support and sympathy from families and friends. Indeed, the workers have the sympathy of the broad public. Half of the employees in South Africa are paid R3300 or less per month (StatsSA). They and their families have a life to gain from the mine workers being successful in leading a wage revolution.

Egypt: Massive strike wave poses dilemma for Al-Sisi
Hamid Alizadeh 4 April 2014

The class struggle is once more heating up in Egypt. Al-Sisi’s “popular” image is starting to fade as five union leaders are arrested after 50,000 post office workers came out on strike.

Co-operatives on rise, but beware bogus initiatives
Sipho Chris Gina 4 April 2014

South Africa appears to be witnessing a surge in the growth of co-operatives. In this regard, only 1 444 were registered in the 72-year period between 1922 and 1994, yet the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission is now registering more than this number a month.

Indeed, the Registrar of Co-operatives reflected a little more than 20 000 total registered as at 2009, but by 2012 and last year, more than 20 000 new co-operatives were being registered each year.

Rustbelt Republican Governors Trample Democracy
Roger Bybee 3 April 2014

The 2010 mid-term election, during which the Republican Party captured a stunning 63 congressional seats and 8 governorships, instantly illuminated the political landscape that we have been facing since that moment. Nowhere have the anti-worker and anti-democratic consequences been more visible than in the industrial Midwest, the traditional bulwark of industrial unionism, where the Republicans added four rightist governors—Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Michigan’s Rick Snyder, Ohio’s John Kasich, and Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett—to the corporate-driven regime already established in Indiana, where Gov. Mike Pence, in 2013, succeeded the equally rightist Mitch Daniels, who signed “right-to-work” legislation in 2012 aimed at rolling back union rights. In each of these states, their actions have intensified the long-term trends for the highest levels of inequality in the U.S. since the Gilded Age.

Tuzla The unknown workers' capital of Europe
Hundreds participate in the democratic plenums.
Olivier Besancenot 1 April 2014

March 19, 2014 -- International Viewpoint -- Why does Bosnia-Herzegovina inspire so little interest and curiosity in the media and the political class when, on the contrary, Ukraine is front-page news? Is it because of its non-membership in the European Union? Is it because its name evokes the war that, 20 years ago, claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of men and women -- more than 200,000 dead and 600,000 exiles -- in the face of virtual indifference in the West as to what was happening one and a half hours by plane from Paris? Or because it often wakes up to the call of the muezzin?

Managing Disorder
Jérôme Roos 31 March 2014

When an Egyptian judge condemned 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death this week, he underlined in one fell swoop the terrifying reality in which the world finds itself today. The revolutionary euphoria and constituent impulse that shook the global order back in 2011 have long since given way to a re-established state of control. Violent repression of protest and dissent — whether progressive or reactionary — has become the new normal. The radical emancipatory and democratic space that was briefly opened up by recent uprisings is now being slammed shut. What remains are dispersed pockets of resistance under relentless assault by the constituted power.

When social activists become politicians
Business Standard 29 March 2014

The choice before social activist Medha Patkar and her National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) was not easy. She and other members of the NAPM had to abandon their movement to merge with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). They decided instead to support the AAP from outside and gave all members the choice of formally joining the party if they wished. A large number have joined politics and Medha Patkar herself is contesting the Lok Sabha elections as the AAP candidate from the Mumbai North East constituency.

Taiwan:Ma government rocked by mass protests and occupation of parliament

Down with undemocratic Kuomintang rule – for a Taiwan-wide student strike as the next step!
Sally Tang Mei-ching in Taipei and Vincent Kolo 28 March 2014

Tens of thousands of protesters have filled the streets around the occupied Taiwanese legislature for the past week. The Wall Street Journal calls this “the biggest student-led protest in Taiwan’s history.” After six years in power, a succession of crises and top-level splits, and a collapse in opinion poll ratings to 12.8 percent, Taiwan’s beleaguered president Ma Ying-jeou is fighting for his political survival.

Brazil despises anti-Russian Western cliches
Lyuba Lulko (Pravda) 26 March 2014

Russia's BRICS partners (Brazil, India, China and South Africa) expressed understanding of Russia's position in Crimea and rejected sanctions against Russia. If the position of the people of China and India was mentioned by Vladimir Putin in his speech on March 18, Brazil and South Africa were in the background for a while. What are Brazil's and Pretoria's arguments in support of the Russian Federation?

Equality at the heart of popular struggle to decriminalise dagga
Dale T. McKinley First Published in Pambazuka 25 March 2014

Public opinion is fast shifting in South Africa about the use of marijuana, which is criminalised. A key legal argument in the debate is that prohibiting dagga use while allowing tobacco and alcohol amounts to discrimination, which violates equality as guaranteed by the Constitution
In the spirit of John Lennon, imagine this near-future scenario.

Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?

More at The Real News

Economists Michael Hudson and Jeffrey Sommers discuss how provisions in an IMF deal like cuts to gas subsidies and pensions will hurt the average Ukrainian citizens and benefit kleptocrats

Hong Kong: The fight for women’s rights
Sexism, discriminatory laws and poverty hit women hard in China’s richest city
Sally Tang Mei-ching and Vincent Kolo 21 March 2014

For the fourth year in a row Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) took the initiative to organise a public rally on International Women’s Day (IWD), Saturday 8 March, to gather women from different nationalities. While this event in Times Square, a busy shopping area, was modest in size with around 40 participants, it is important as the only truly international IWD event in Hong Kong. The aim was to bring women together from the territory’s many ethnic communities and struggles in different sectors to mark the need for united struggle against discrimination and the oppression of women.

PMANE ties up with AAP! Is the road ahead slippery or thorny?
Arun Kaliraja (Socialist Alternative) 19 March 2014

As the parliamentary elections are nearing, the political parties have dumped their ideologies in the backyard and are busy working out their coalitions all for the sake of power. For all these years the masses have seen the drama helplessly but with a hope that their lives will get better with a regime change, a ray of false hope that bourgeoisie democracy throws every now and then at the masses. 28th Feb saw a strange coalition being sealed when SP Udayakumar, who has been leading the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) against the Kudankulam nuclear plant (Southern Tamil Nadu), announced his decision to join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

The Crisis of Croninism: A Response from the 9 COSATU Affiliates
Look in the Mirror Comrade Jeremy!
Numsa & Others 18 March 2014

Jeremy Cronin has once more done his masters bidding and published a further attack on the elected leadership of NUMSA entitled Irvin Gymnastics - the devious art of political contortionism. He has also attacked the Nine Affiliates calling for a Special National Congress. We are promised more from him to follow, and so we will wait to answer in detail, but cannot resist the opportunity to help clarify his muddled thinking on a few of the matters he raises.

The Strategy of the Venezuelan Opposition
Steve Ellner (Venezuelanalysis.Com) 17 March 2014

The strategy and tactics of the Venezuelan opposition is a replay of events that took place leading up to the coup against Hugo Chávez on April 11, 2002 and is similar (although in some ways quite different) from the script that has been used in the Ukraine and elsewhere. The blatant distortions and in some cases lies of the media (CNN in Spanish playing a lead role) represent an essential element in the strategy.

Brazil's World Cup and misplaced priorities

Antoinette Muller 13 March 2014

Just like South Africa back in 2010, unrest and panic continues to grow ahead of the World Cup in Brazil. In an economically divided country, there is increasing concern that public money being spent on satisfying Fifa is not going to benefit anyone in the long run.

When they come for you: Grassroots struggles and NGOs
Leila van Rinsum First Published in Pambazuka 14 March 2014

Civil society in Kenya is under pressure from the increasingly repressive regime of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. But these groups are themselves fragmented, with well-funded elite NGOs disconnected from the concerns of the grassroots. The best way for the groups to find strength is by connecting their struggles

Recently I came across a cartoon by Kenya’s celebrated caricaturist Gado (2013) addressing the ‘draconian’ Public Benefit Organisations and Media bills. In Gado’s version of a famous analogy the headings in four pictures are: ‘First they came for the opposition, but I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t opposition. Then they came for the media, but I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a journalist. Then they came for the NGOs, but I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t NGO. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.’

Chile’s Student Movement Leads the Way
Ben Dangl 13 March 2014

“I want to pay special homage to my father and to all those who gave their lives in the fight to recover democracy,” an emotional Isabel Allende said upon taking office as the Senate President this Tuesday. Allende is the daughter of Salvador Allende, the former socialist president of Chile who died during a US-backed military coup in 1973. “I know he’d be proud to see his daughter in this role.”

In India’s Democracy Highway – Accidents of Justice are common
Arun Kali Raja Bangalore 11 March 2014

In a system where Soni Sori’s are raped in custody and waiting for justice; Modi’s aquitted of massacres due to lack of evidences; Sheethal Sathe’s branded as enemy of states and left in jail; judges issuing verdicts after discovering spirituality from seeing a monkey in the court room; Afzal guru’s hanged over night to satisfy the carefully constructed collective conscience, justice in India is a sheer accident!!!

Parti de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon on Ukraine
Jean-Luc Melenchon (Translated by Dick Nichols
) 11 March 2014

I think it is useful to specify [my position on developments in Ukraine] in black and white. I’m doing it in broad brushstrokes so that the advanced minds in the newsrooms can understand. I’m doing it in their language, saying what “I support” and what “I condemn”. Please understand me: my comments here are an express warning sign for the Mickey Mouse minds of the media world.

Minister Gordhan, please splash water and financial relief on fast burning SA
Paterick Bond 9 March 2014

Within a year South Africa has degenerated from proud BRICS host to the leading basket case within the “Fragile Five” emerging markets. That leaves Pravin Gordhan very vulnerable this week: hounded not just by opposition politicians but also by bank economists, financiers, the international ratings agencies and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Ukraine Crisis Shows Urgency of Green Energy
Juan Cole 8 March 2014

Hawks are complaining that Europe has been insufficiently belligerent in its response to Russian moves in the Crimea, blaming the declining military budgets in most European countries. But this focus on military hardware is misleading, since there was never any prospect of a conventional military confrontation with the Russian Federation, given that France and Britain are nuclear powers and so is Russia. MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) rules here, and diplomacy and economic sanctions were always going to be the only realistic tools for resolution of the crisis.

The Emerging Global Perfect Storm
Jack Rasmus 7 March 2014

Much like a perfect storm at sea is the consequence of three converging bad weather fronts, three significant global economic trends have begun to intensify and converge in recent months: (1) a slowing of the China economy and a parallel growing financial instability in its shadow banking system; (2) a collapse in emerging markets currencies (India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, Indonesia, etc.), and their economic slowdown; (3) a continued drift toward deflation in the Eurozone economies, led by growing problems in Italy and economic stagnation now spreading to France, the Eurozone’s second largest economy.

Nigeria in Crisis: Perspectives for an Impending Revolution – Part 2
CWA (Campaign for a Workers’ Alternative) Nigerian section of the IMT 7 March 2014

The 2015 General election is expectedly taking the centre stage in the public discourse as the date approaches. For a significant section of the advanced layer of the youth and working class, the coming election is being awaited with lot of scepticism; but for the overwhelming majority of Nigerian masses, attention is being drawn gradually towards this electoral event, which has been slated to commence on February 14, 2015.

2015 General Election and the Crisis of Alternative
From all indications, it is going to be a battle between the ruling PDP and the new formed APC (from the mergers of most opposition parties), that is, an electoral battle between two wings of the Nigerian ruling elite. Having been in power for 15 years, which is the entire period of this bourgeois civilian rule, with 8 general strikes till date, coupled with the 2012 January uprising, the PDP has almost completely lost its social base and has suffered a major implosion that is getting more and more difficult for it to come out of. What is still sustaining the party is the lack of genuine working class political alternative for the mass of already restless Nigerians, and the fact that the APC is not fundamentally different from the PDP.

Massacre in Kunming risks new spiral of repression and violence

Shock and disbelief as 29 are hacked to death at railway station
China Worker Editorial Statement 5 March 2014

The massacre at Kunming’s railway station on March 1 –known as the ‘3.1 incident’ – must rank as one of the most shocking acts of terrorism in modern times. The media are calling this “China’s 9/11” and its clear the political impact will be huge. Using long knives and daggers a group of eight black-clad men and women went on a killing spree that lasted half an hour. “They were running and chopping whoever they could,” said a 16-year-old eyewitness. The smell of blood filled the air, according to another. In total, 29 people were killed and a further 143 injured.

Brazil’s World Cup State of Emergency
Renata Bessi and Santiago Navarro F 3 March 2014

More than 10,000 police with military training are poised to counter any disturbance or social unrest which may occur before and during this year’s World Cup.

On December 20, 2013, Brazil’s Defense Ministry published a manual entitled “How to Guarantee Law and Order.” It encourages using military action to ensure “public security.” It also lists individuals, groups, organizations, and movements considered “opposing forces”, highlighting those whose actions violate “public order or public security.”

Boris Kagarlitsky on Ukraine
These two commentaries were written in January and February 2014 – before the fall of the Viktor Yanukovich regime and subsequent events -- and have only just been translated into English. They are published at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal as they offer insights into the thinking of an important part of the revolutionary left in Russia.

India’s environmental crisis
Extreme weather events causing massive devastation
Pete Dickenson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) 1 March 2014

The effects of the environmental crisis are forcing workers and the poor to resist throughout the world, as the poorest states are hit hardest. This is particularly true in countries like India, where extreme weather events, most probably linked to climate change, are causing massive devastation. Data from the most recent report of the main climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and others confirms this.

The western state of Maharashtra has been particularly badly affected suffering the worst drought since 1972. This has led to a rapid depletion of the water table in the worst-hit areas like Marathwada. The mangrove forest cover in Maharashtra has been reduced by 40%, causing a further twist to the cycle pushing up temperatures since the forest absorbs the greenhouse gases that drive global warming.

Development or fraud?
Another coastal paradise to die for big oil
Ali Noor 28 February 2014

LPA new 32 berth port, to ship South Sudanese oil to China, is planned for the Lamu archipelago, a stunning green field heritage site in northern coastal Kenya, teeming with rare species, coral reefs and marine biodiversity and, of course, people. But none of this richness, or the indigenous people for whom this is home, seem to matter to the Government of Kenya and private developers

In April 2013 the Kenya government granted a $484 million contract to a Chinese firm to put up the first three berths for the new Lamu Port in the first phase implementation process of the project. This followed the uprooting of prime mangrove trees in February, to pave the way for the construction of the first three berths and port administration office at Kilalana, a clearance that is nearly complete. The land was created from the felling of mangrove trees, comprising 30% of tree cover in Kenya.

However, the developers and their government cronies paid scant regard to an environmental impact assessment, while those who lost their land are still waiting for compensation a year later. Indeed, only fraudsters are getting rich, while the port development has already made thousands of families destitute and hungry. With another 100,000 people potentially in the way of the gigantic development, the first phase portends badly for the rest of the development, since neither project affected persons nor the natural capital and biodiversity have been give the respect they are due by right, and by international law and convention.


Venezuela Beyond the Protests
Eva Golinger 26 February 2014

For those of you unfamiliar with Venezuelan issues, don’t let the title of this article fool you. The revolution referred to is not what most media outlets are showing taking place today in Caracas, with protestors calling for the ouster of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The revolution that is here to stay is the Bolivarian Revolution, which began in 1998 when Hugo Chavez was first elected president and has subsequently transformed the mega oil producing nation into a socially-focused, progressive country with a grassroots government. Demonstrations taking place over the past few days in Venezuela are attempts to undermine and destroy that transformation in order to return power to the hands of the elite who ruled the nation previously for over 40 years.

The Emerging 3rd Phase of Global Economic Crisis?
Jack Rasmus 24 January 2014

Much like a perfect storm at sea is the consequence of three converging bad weather fronts, three significant global economic trends have begun to intensify and converge in recent months: (1) a slowing of the China economy and a parallel growing financial instability in its shadow banking system; (2) a collapse in emerging markets currencies (India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, Indonesia, etc.) and their economic slowdown; (3) a continued drift toward deflation in the Eurozone economies, led by growing problems in Italy and economic stagnation now spreading to France, the Eurozone’s second largest economy. The problems in these three critical areas of the global economy, moreover, have begun to feed off of each other.


UK floods expose Tory hypocrisy and social tensions
Felix Lighter 21 February 2014

As the rain continues to fall and the storm winds continue to blow, in what has proved to be the wettest winter for decades, the Tories have continued to shout and bluster in the face of a crisis to which they can find no solution.

Burning South Africa needs immediate water relief
Patrick Bond 20 February 2014

“Smouldering discontent is becoming institutionalized,” worries a recent lead Mercury editorial. Worse, “economic hardship – which fuels most of the protest – seems likely to intensify in the short term, with a continuing weakness of the currency on the international markets and with labour disputes in the mining sector doing nothing to help.”

Bosnia: New revolt of workers and unemployed
“I think this is a genuine Bosnian spring. We have nothing to lose...”
J. Hird, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) 17 February 2014

Seething anger at the dire economic situation, political corruption, mass unemployment and poverty has boiled over in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In three days of lightening-speed struggle by workers and youth, the government has been shaken to its foundations.

Mozambique's 2013 elections
The end of liberation movement politics?
Fredson Guilengue 14 February 2014

A third force has emerged in Mozambican politics, the MDM party that is causing powerful ripples, especially in urban areas and the regions until now marginalised by the ruling FRELIMO party. RENAMO, the main opposition party, is dying. MDM is likely to put a strong showing in October's presidential election because of growing disaffection for the ruling party. But MDM is unlikely to trounce the still well-entrenched FRELIMO

SA: Struggles intensify as election draws closer
Campaigning for WASP socialist alternative at May polls
Liv Shange, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI South Africa) 13 February 2104

As South African President Jacob Zuma, last Friday, announced that the country’s next general elections will be held on May 7, this year, his regime was surrounded by dramatically intensifying class struggles. The same day, an AMCU (Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union – the union that replaced the ANC-aligned NUM in the platinum belt following the Marikana massacre in 2012) shop steward at Amplats’ Union Mine – was shot dead by police as workers were making their way to a mass meeting in the course of the strike for a R12 500 living wage which has shut down 40% of global platinum output for nearly three weeks. He became the latest on a long list of victims of extreme police brutality in the past few weeks alone.

Sochi Winter Olympics: Breaking all records!
Sporting excellence, yes...but also corruption, waste, atrocious workers’ conditions and anti-LGBT laws
Rob Jones, Moscow 12 February 2104

The 2014 Winter Olympic Games, held in Sochi, are being watched by millions around the world. Beyond the sporting excellence, however, the event is surrounded by controversy over corruption, huge waste, atrocious workers’ rights and anti-LGBT legislation.

Corruption: Escalating Habit of Neoliberal Savagery
Rolf Auer 11 February 2014

In Brazil, police have been going into poor neighbourhoods and murdering people. From 2003 to 2008, in Brazil’s two largest cities—Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro—more than 11,000 citizens were killed by police. Brazil’s leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 44 is homicide; many of those people were killed by police (1).

Propaganda: ‘The Dominant Grand Narrative Of Our Time’
David Cromwell 10 February 2014

'Propaganda' sounds like an old-fashioned word from a bygone era. It evokes images of the Nazis in WW2, particularly Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, or Soviet leaders in the Cold War and dictators in 'Third World' countries. Propaganda is something spewed out by official enemies of the West, and surely not a vile practice indulged by 'our' politicians and business leaders. This is a convenient illusion that serves powerful Western elites very well indeed.

Dispelling the myths of national minimum wages
Neil Coleman (The Mercury) 7 February 2014

Today Business Report is launching a series called The Labour Report. This series will see contributions from key stakeholders from the South African and international labour scene, as well as from business. The primary objective of the series is to open a platform for an in-depth debate on labour matters – the world of work and the economy. Here is our first instalment in this series: The introduction of a legislated national minimum wage in South Africa would create an economy-wide wage floor below which no one could fall.

Flipping the corruption myth
Jason Hickel 5 February 2014

Transparency International recently published their latest annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), laid out in an eye-catching map of the world with the least corrupt nations coded in happy yellow and the most corrupt nations smeared in stigmatising red. The CPI defines corruption as “the misuse of public power for private benefit,” and draws its data from 12 different institutions including the World Bank, Freedom House, and the World Economic Forum.

Spain: popular resistance delivers results
Victory against Madrid’s hospital privatisation – and other recent struggles in Spain – shows popular resistance delivers results.
Esther Vivas 2 February 2014

“Resisting is pointless,” we hear endlessly repeated. “So many years of protest but the crisis continues, why bother?” insist others, inoculating us with apathy and resignation. “Protests could lead to something that’s even worse,” whispers the machinery of fear. They want us submissive, heads bowed. Dreams of change are forbidden. However, history rebels, indomitable. And it shows us, despite the naysayers, that struggle is worth it. The victories against the privatisation of the Madrid’s public health system, of the Gamonal neighbourhood standing up to speculators and the corrupt, of the cleaners in their battle for jobs in the capital and the struggle against evictions and the banks, are good examples.

France: The need for a combative political force
More and more tensions develop in the Left Front
Leila Messaoudi, Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France) 1 February 2014

As economic crisis conditions hammer the lives of working people in France, a clear political alternative to the Socialist Party government in the local and European elections is vital. The alliance of the Communist Party of France (PCF) with the relatively new Left Party and some smaller forces is failing to build a cohesive, fighting force. carries an article by Leila Messaoudi, published in l’Egalite, the paper of Gauche Révolutionnaire.

No time for the masses when it comes to bucks
Patrick Bond Eye on Civil Society (The Mercury) 28 January 2014

SOUTH Africa’s “minerals-energy complex” keeps getting away with murder, including economic strangulation. Parliament is preparing to make matters worse.

The Infrastructure Development Bill could give fast-track approvals for mines, oil pipelines and refineries, coal-fired power plants, ports and new airports. Was the bill’s mention of water/sanitation, clinics and schools snuck in to make the mega-project bias more palatable?
The two types of project need to be separated, and the latter need a new sense of urgency, because installation of a R2 300 township sanitation connector pipe is rather easier than digging a R23 billion Durban to Johannesburg pipeline.

Tunisia: Three years on since the fall of Ben Ali

New ‘technocratic’ government no response to workers’ demands
Serge Jordan and CWI supporters in Tunis
31 January 2014

Three years ago, on the 14 January 2011, a new chapter opened in world politics. The overthrow of longtime dictator Ben Ali in Tunisia by a sweeping revolutionary movement marked the trigger and inspiration for mass movements across the world, and for a complete transformation of the political landscape of the Middle East and North Africa.

Forging a New Movement - Numsa and the Shift in SA Politics
Leonard Gentle ( 28 January 2014

The decision of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) to cut ties with the African National Congress (ANC) has received poor analysis. Comment has tended to focus on the possibility of a new political party in 2019 or whether all this means that Zwelenzima Vavi will get his job back. As such, the greater significance of the biggest trade union in the country throwing in its lot with a growing movement in opposition to the neo-liberal order, and thus to the left of the ANC, rather than the line up to the right (which includes the newly merged Agang and Democratic Alliance who want more of the same), is being missed.

Thailand: Prolonged political crisis
Working class and rural poor need party of their own
Ravichandran, CWI Malaysia 28 January 2014

The present political crisis in Thailand has been ongoing since the 2006 military coup which ousted Thaksin Shinawat - the billionaire tycoon turned politician. It has consisted of a now open, subdued clash between his party and its supporters and another wing of the political elite around the Democrat Party. While there has been a call to postpone the elections on 2nd February, the crisis remains without any sign of ending.

The Fukushima Secrecy Syndrome
From Japan to America
Ralph Nader 27 January 2014

Last month, the ruling Japanese coalition parties quickly rammed through Parliament a state secrets law. We Americans better take notice.

Under its provisions the government alone decides what are state secrets and any civil servants who divulge any “secrets” can be jailed for up to 10 years. Journalists caught in the web of this vaguely defined law can be jailed for up to 5 years.

Amilcar Cabral, imperialism and neo-colonialism
Chimusoro Kenneth Tafira First Published in Pambazuka 26 January 2014

To Cabral, the liberation struggle was a revolution to overthrow the oppressive system of domination and exploitation of one human being by another. This has not been fully achieved in Africa, despite the end of formal colonialism. The liberation movements and current regimes lack an astute ideology grounded in the history and aspirations of their own people

2014: Redrawing of the political landscape underway
DSM/WASP 23 January 2014

The strike wave in the mining sector in 2012 – which came to international attention in the atrocity of the Marikana massacre – was the opening battle in a new phase of the class struggle which is redrawing the social and political landscape of South Africa. If Marikana was the earthquake, then the decision at the recent special congress of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) to withdraw support for the governing African National Congress (ANC) was an aftershock at least equal in intensity to the original tremor.

The need for real media transformation
Terry Bell 22 January 2014

Transformation of the media in South Africa is essential. But we should be very clear about what we mean by such transformation.

Pembani Coal: Misdirected benefit?
Franz Fuls First Published in Pambazuka 21 January 2014

Since opencast coal mining started on this farm ten years ago, the lives of the people have gradually deteriorated. The mine replaced the previous agricultural business that employed them. A villager said that only one person in the village has a full time job

Where is Venezuela’s Economy Headed? 19 January 2014

What did President Nicolas Maduro’s announcements during Wednesday’s state of the nation address tell us about the Venezuelan government’s economic agenda for 2014?

December US Jobs Report: ‘False Positives’ Revisited
Jack Rasmus 15 January 2014

In a blog post this past November 2013, this writer offered a contrarian analysis of the October 2013 government jobs report. That report indicated a jobs gain of 204,000 for October. While others heralded the number, claiming it was evidence that the US jobs market had (yet again) ‘turned the corner’, this writer forewarned the October job gains would prove temporary. My contrarian view was that the October job gains reflected a temporary surge in 3rd quarter U.S. GDP, which was itself based largely on a short term surge in business inventory accumulation that Qtr., with a lagged October hiring effect. The October jobs numbers were therefore “nothing to get excited about” and “can disappear quickly from the economy and may in fact do so by December should consumer spending come in well below expectations” (see my ‘False Positives’ piece on this blog, of November 12, 2013).

Ariel Sharon dead
Ariel Sharon – transforming a war criminal into a national hero
Alon Lessel in Israel 17 January 2006

Sharon is seriously ill and may never return to active politics. This has thrown the whole of the Israeli establishment into turmoil, as now a question mark is being placed above the party he founded a few weeks ago, Kadima. Society is so polarized that one man can balance at the top. Without him the balancing game may not hold for long.

NAFTA: 20 Years of Regret for Mexico
Mark Weisbrot 7 January 2014

It was 20 years ago that the North American Free Trade Agreement between the US, Canada, and Mexico was implemented. In Washington, the date coincided with an outbreak of the bacteria cryptosporidium in the city's water supply, with residents having to boil their water before drinking it. The joke in town was, See what happens, NAFTA takes effect and you can't drink the water here.

2014 and the ghosts of 1914
Alan Woods 7 January 2014

As the New Year dawns, memories are reawakening of another New Year, exactly a century ago, the dawn of 1914 when millions of people were drifting towards the abyss as if in a dream.

On that New Year’s Day few people imagined what lay in store. One hundred years had passed since the Battle of Waterloo and the memory of war had faded – at least in Britain. The war in South Africa had been a mere skirmish and had ended in victory. The Empire upon which the sun never set seemed assured in its worldwide supremacy.

CAR France intervenes yet again in an African country
Vast wealth should be taken into common, democratic ownership
Leila Messaoudi, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France) 7 January 2014

On Thursday 5th December 2013 President Hollande announced the deployment of French troops to the Central African Republic, under UN mandate, to reinforce the local military presence. This is the 40th time France has intervened militarily in an African country since independence. What are the reasons for this resumption of military activity in Africa by French imperialism ? And what role does Hollande envisage after the intervention in Mali?

Editorial, Analysis Archive 2013
Editorial Archive January- March 2013
Editorial Archive April - June 2013
Editorial Archive July -September 2013
Editorial Archive October -December 2013


Editorial, Analysis Archive 2012
Editorial Archive January - March 2012
Editorial Archive April -June 2012
Editorial Archive July - September 2012
Editorial Archive October - December 2012

Editorial, Analysis Archive 2011
Editorial Archive September - December 2011
Editorial Archive May - August 2011
Editorial Archive January - April 2011

Editorial, Analysis Archive 2010
Editorial Archive October- December 2010
Editorial Archive July - September 2010
Editorial Archive April - June 2010
Editorial Archive January-March 2010

Editorial, Analysis Archive 2008 - 2009
Backup January - December 2009
Backup June - December 2008
Backup January- May 2008


 Australian-Venezuelan solidarity brigade 
 Center for Citizenship, Democratic Participation and Civil Society 
 Latin America Activism  
 groundWork (Pietermaritzburg) 
 Focus on the Global South 
 Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa 
 Miranda International Centre 
  Global Exchange 
 Pambazuka News 
 TransNational Institute 
 International Development Economics Associates 
 Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre 
 University of Mauritius Department of Social Development 
 SA National Energy Research Institute; 
 Diakonia Council of Churches 
 Institute for Social and Economic Research 
 International Labour Research and Information Group 
 Brazilian Institute for Social and Economic Research 
 El Colegio de Mexico 
 University of Alberta Parkland Institute 
 University of Ottawa 
 Michigan State University African Studies Center 
 Center for Democracy and Civil Society 
 London: School of Oriental and African Studies 
 University of Bologna 
 Free University of Berlin Department of Political Science 
 Rosa Luxemburg Foundation 
 Central European University Department of Sociology 

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