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Eye on Civil Society


Showdown on the Syrian border
Vijay Prashad 26 November 2015

Impossible to ignore the grave implications of this event – a Russian jet shot down by the Turks around the Syrian-Turkish border.

UKZN: a den of snakes
University of KwaZulu Natal Vice Chancellor Dr Albert van Jaarsveld has willingly walked into a ‘den of snakes’.
Oliver Meth 22 November 2015

The latest “toxic race row” in the Sunday Times, November 22, 2015 that’s rocked management has left many squabbling. It’s a divide and rule tactic by senior members part of a faction and power-struggle in management to paint and discredit van Jaarsveld as a racist White man.

Russia: Attempting a bridge to Africa
Kester Kenn Klomegah First Published in Pambazuka 23 November 2015

While Russia's interest in sub-Saharan Africa is nothing new, Russian authorities have realized that it’s time to move back primarily to reclaim its economic footprints and to find old Soviet-era allies, but that step comes with new challenges especially from other foreign players and the changing internal political and economic conditions in Africa.

Romania: Nightclub fire leaves 45 dead
Protests over worst tragedy in 25 years triggers government’s fall
Vladimir Bortun, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) 17 November 2015

On 30 October, the Colectiv nightclub in District 4 of Bucharest caught fire during a rock concert attended by nearly 400 people. The blaze began when fireworks were used, which ignited, in less than a minute, the ceiling which was covered in inflammable soundproof foam. The fire, toxic smoke and general mayhem that resulted as people rushed out through the door, caused, so far, 45 deaths, with many more remaining in hospital with severe burns. This is the biggest single human tragedy in Romania since the fall or Stalinism in 1989.

What will housing megaprojects do to our cities?
Ivan Turuk19 November 2015

The building of large numbers of housing units in isolated greenfield locations has had detrimental side effects on our cities over the last two decades. Yet a series of new megaprojects, designed to accelerate the delivery of housing, is now on the cards. Because they are to be built on cheap peripheral land, these schemes threaten to reinforce urban fragmentation, inefficiency and exclusion.

From Pol Pot to ISIS
John Pilger 17 November 2015

In transmitting President Richard Nixon’s orders for a “massive” bombing of Cambodia in 1969, Henry Kissinger said, “Anything that flies on everything that moves”. As Barack Obama wages his seventh war against the Muslim world since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and Francois Hollande promises a “merciless” attack on that ruined country, the orchestrated hysteria and lies make one almost nostalgic for Kissinger’s murderous honesty.

How Brazil’s War on Drugs Replicates Failed U.S Policies

The Real News Network 14 November 2015

Wind out of Brics sails, says analyst
News24 13 November 2015

Davies says we have been living in artificial economic times with currency manipulations and the demand for commodities. (SABC)

Narendra Modi: the divisive manipulator who charmed the world
The Guardian 11 November

This week the Indian prime minister makes a triumphant visit to the UK after cosying up to everyone from Silicon Valley CEOs to Rupert Murdoch. What’s behind the uncritical embrace of a man who has presided over a rising tide of assassinations and religious zealotry, and driven the country’s writers and artists into revolt?

Politics by Other Means
Arundhati Roy 7 November 2015

Although I do not believe that awards are a measure of the work we do, I would like to add the National Award for the Best Screenplay that I won in 1989 to the growing pile of returned awards. Also, I want to make it clear that I am not returning this award because I am “shocked” by what is being called the “growing intolerance” being fostered by the present government.

COP 21: movements rally to Paris for climate justice
Skye Bougsty-Marshall 10 November 2015

We know how it all started — colonialism was the original metabolic rift in our history, which has been profoundly extended and deepened by industrial capitalism. Yet as we enter the 6th mass extinction, there is an ambient sense that there is no alternative to this way of life.

Nigeria's Economic Crisis Deepens
Peluola Adewale 9 November 2015

The Nigerian economy is not yet out of the woods. Though the official report from the third quarter has not been released, nothing suggests we have already seen the worst with the last quarter report. More than anything, it appears that high oil price, the major driver of the growth of the last 16 years, will remain a pipe dream for a longtime. The Chinese economy has continued to experience a slowdown and financial instability while the shale oil technology has come to stay even when the continued low price makes it expensive, a further advancement could help get round such a new challenge.

Beijing Pushing Ahead With 'Yuanization' of World Economy
Sputnik News 6 November 2015

While Washington continues to vex China over the South China Sea disputes, Beijing is pushing ahead with the yuanization of the world economy, Mexican economist Ariel Noyola Rodriguez notes.

South African Students Demand Free University Education While Building a Broad Front

Vishwas Satgar of The University of the Witwatersrand says peaceful and deciplined student protests over several weeks have brought about a concession from the ANC on tuition fees, yet the demands for labor rights on campus remain
The Real News Network 4 November 2015

Brazil: Can the Workers’ Party Surmount Its Current Crisis?
Cecilia Lero and Walden Bello (teleSUR English)
3 November 2015

The 13-year-reign of the Workers’ Party (PT) in Brazil hangs by a thread. More accurately, it hangs on 342 members of the lower legislative house, the number of votes needed to accept any one of a seemingly constant stream of impeachment requests, and begin the trial of President Dilma Rousseff. An impeachment trial would immediately suspend President Rousseff and place Vice President Michel Temer of the catchall, non-ideological Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) in power. As the PMDB also has the most members in the senate, where the impeachment trial would take place, this would also almost certainly lead to a guilty verdict and the end of the PT in power.

Lessons from #FeesMustFall protest
Wole Olubanji First Published in Pambazuka 2 November 2015

The problem of increment of fees or commercialisation of education is taking a global character. The capitalist political class and policy makers are offloading the problems of the economy on the workers and working class youth, students inclusive. Yet in Africa, everyone keeps talking about the youth being the future of the continent and about the need to offer them the opportunities they need to succeed.

Erdoðan and the AKP get majority back amid climate of violence and fear
Bahar Baser and Ahmet Erdi Öztürk 2 November 2015

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayip Erdoðan, appears to have strengthened his grip on the country after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) won an outright majority in a snap election just five months after an inconclusive poll. It is a result that will shock and frighten many in the country.

Be Resilient
Vandana Shiva 27 October 2015

I met Vandana Shiva in the airport. When the automatic sliding doors at the arrivals gate revealed her luggage cart and her orange sari, I half expected a beam of light to illuminate her, such is the legend that surrounds her. Of course none did because Vandana Shiva is just a human being and not a saint. But what a human being she is.

South African Student Protests
Patrick Bond (teleSUR English) 26 October 2015

An historic victory over South African neoliberalism was just won through the most intense three-week burst of activist mobilization since liberation from apartheid in 1994.

Culture of Cruelty: the Age of Neoliberal Authoritarianism
Henry A. Giroux (Counterpunch) 24 October 2015

George Orwell’s nightmarish vision of a totalitarian society casts a dark shadow over the United States. As American society has moved from a welfare to a warfare state, the institutions that were once meant to limit human suffering and misfortune and protect the public from the excesses of the market have been either weakened or abolished.[1] With the withering, if not evisceration, of the social contract, the discourse of social responsibility has been removed from the principles of democratic reform. Relegated to an object of disdain by right-wing extremists, the legacy of democratic principles now withers under a social order marked by a hardening of the culture and the emergence of an unprecedented survival-of-the fittest ethos. This is a mean-spirited ethos that rails against any notion of solidarity and compassion that embraces a respect for others. The consequences of this emerging authoritarianism speak to a different experience of total terror in the 21st century.

SA: Students shut down universities across the country
Ben Morken 22 October 2015

On Wednesday, 21 October, students shut down all major universities across the country in extraordinary scenes last witnessed in the 1980’s.

student-movemement2Wednesday’s events marked a qualitative change in the entire situation.It represents the early winds which precede a coming hurricane which is on course to make a direct hit. The immediate catalyst for the protests is the recently announced increase in university fees, and more generally the exorbitant cost of higher education, which exclude the poor and mostly black students from the higher education system.

Turkey’s Election: A Plague Upon the House of Erdogan
Conn Hallinan 21 October 2015

As Turkey gears up for one of the most important elections in its recent history, the country appears, as one analyst noted, to be coming apart at the “seams”:

Longstanding tensions with the country’s Kurdish population have broken out into open war.

Israeli colonisation is at the root of the violence
Ilan Pappe 20 October 2015

In the midst of what has become known in Israel as the “knifers’ Intifada”, an unusual scene unfolded in Ramat Gan, where many of the residents are Iraqi Jews. A small slender woman was protecting a man lying on the ground who was being pursued by a mob of 40 people, including a few soldiers, who wanted to lynch him.

Big Agri’ Doesn’t Serve Us
Reflections on World Food Day
Vandana Shiva 17 October 2015

During the last half-century, agriculture and food systems lost their way, in the darkness and fog created by corporations that made chemicals for warfare, through myths and paid propaganda – that poisons and synthetic chemicals are necessary to feed the world. For the industry it was a matter of extending their sources of profits long after the war was over.

Police terror in Brazil
Jaime A. Alves 15 October 2015

How many deaths of black youth are necessary before they are considered ‘genocide’ or political assassinations? No one seems to care. After all, the majority of the victims are black residents in the favelas.

Brics in crisis and new middle classes will bear the greatest costs
Jan Hofmeyr 13 October 2015

These are trying times for Brazil and South Africa, the southern members of the Brics grouping of emerging nations that also include China, Russia and India. After years of robust growth their economies are in the doldrums, and their governments lack latitude in the options to revive them. It is not only the erosion of macro-level gains that should concern policy makers in Brasilia and Pretoria; increasingly they also need to worry about the backlash of citizenries, particularly the new, vulnerable middle classes, against the abruptness with which the brakes have been put on the wheels of progress.

Did the UN Meet Its 2015 Water & Sanitation Goals for Sub-Saharan Africa?

UMass-Amherst PERI's Leonce Ndikumana says resource-rich economies like Nigeria need to reform tax codes to make real impacts on poverty
The Real News Network 13 October 2015

China’s economic downturn and its implications for the world
Daouda Cissé First Published in Pambazuka 12 October 2015

As China’s growth begins to slow following decades of fast development, what are the impacts on the resource-rich countries whose economies recorded impressive growth thanks to high levels of export to China?

It’s all about power and money: The present state of the ANC
Dale T. McKinley First Published in Pambazuka 12 October 2015

The ANC has morphed from its earlier transition days as a ‘modern’ bourgeois political party designed to consolidate a class-based system of power overlaid with narrow racial interests to an inveterately factionalised, patronage-centred, corrupt, rent seeking and increasingly undemocratic ex-liberation movement.

One of the favourite sayings of ANC leaders over the years, and most often directed at those of its members who have departed the organisation for various reasons, is that “it is cold outside the ANC”. It doesn’t take a political analyst or life-long movement activist to figure out the metaphorical meaning.

The Lynchings
Badri Raina (Mainstream Weekly) 11 October 2015

A quickly assembled loud speaker atop a make-shift temple first blared the rumour that, allegedly, a cow had been slaughtered in the village and that Hindus must gather apace. Simultaneously, that wonder from Silicon Valley called Whatsapp helped spread the good word within minutes, enabling a large mob to collect in front of the only two Muslim families in the village of Bisada in Dadri, Western Uttar Pradesh.

Piketty’s silence
Brenden Gray (Media for Justice) 5 October 2015

On Saturday afternoon I attended the 2015 Annual Nelson Mandela lecture at the UJ Soweto campus, which was delivered by Thomas Piketty, the French economist and author of Capital in the 21st Century. Here is a loose summary, and few off-the-cuff observations and impressions (developing into a more substantial piece).

Can World’s Worst Case of Inequality be Fixed by Pikettian Posturing?
Patrick Bond 4 October 2015

Entering South Africa this week, stage left, is the celebrated economist Thomas Piketty, whose ideas are already much used and abused. Indeed at the initial University of Cape Town event on September 30, his talk (broadcast on a malfunctioning video feed anyhow) was disrupted by #RhodesMustFall activists with powerful class and race analysis of the host institution.

Killing US for Profit: Big ‘Pharma’ Out of Control
Jack Rasmus (teleSUR English) 2 October 2015

Pharmaceutical drug companies in the US are out of control, raising their prices for potentially life saving drugs to astronomical levels, in the process condemning millions of US citizens to suffering and earlier death.

Why inequality won't be fixed with Pikettian distorted data
Patrick Bond, University of the Witwatersrand
1 October 2015

In the hot ideological wars South Africans wage, perhaps none is as violent to the truth as the rejigging of the Gini coefficient measuring income inequality.

This number is zero if everyone shares income perfectly equally and one if only a sole person gets it all. Before state redistribution kicks in, South Africa’s Gini, as measured last November by the World Bank, is a shocking 0.77. This is the highest of any major country. But a curious strategy of revising the Gini downwards was recently adopted by the World Bank and its local allies.

China’s Stock Market Crash: Symptom of a Bigger Crisis
Walden Bello (teleSUR English) 1 October 2015

It is always amazing how the stock market pulls big surprises over those who should know better. The momentous rise in share prices in the Shanghai stock exchange from mid-2014 to the middle of this year, when the bourse’s composite index shot up by 150 per cent, should have been a strong indication of what Alan Greenspan labeled “irrational exuberance,” of an impending collapse in stock prices owing to their severe deviation from the real value of assets being traded. But, like Greenspan during the 2008 Wall Street crisis, neither the Chinese investors, nor foreign investors, nor the Chinese government seemed prepared when the market cratered beginning mid-June and the Shanghai composite index plunged by 40 per cent in a few weeks’ time, triggering a global collapse of stock prices, forcing Beijing to intervene and buy up market shares, and when that failed, prompting it to devalue the yuan.

UN Millennium Development Goals replaced by new ‘distraction gimmicks’
Patrick Bond (teleSUR English) 27 September 2015

The ubiquitous ‘development goals’ chosen by the United Nations – first Millennium (MDGs) in 2000 and now Sustainable (SDGs) – were and are and will be a distraction from the real work of fighting poverty done by social justice activists.

Not getting off the needle
Oil and gas account for 98% of Russian corporate profits
Pavel Miledin 24 September 2015

RBC’s rating of the 500 largest Russian companies shows the real value of the oil and gas industry to the domestic economy. The contribution of all other companies to total gains—46 billion rubles in 2014—amounted to less than two percent

According to Rosstat, Russia exported almost 500 billion dollars’ worth of goods in 2014; oil and natural gas accounted for 42% of this sum. In 2014, oil and gas revenues accounted for 7.4 trillion rubles or 51.3% of the country’s budget. If you look inside the corporate sector, the dependence on the oil and gas sector is even more impressive.

Durban 2022 Commonwealth Games: A poisoned chalice?
Brij Maharaj 23 September 2015

No one has the foggiest idea about the cost of hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Durban. This is basically gambling with the public purse – and the overburdened taxpayer will bear this risk. South Africa and Durban not be making such a gamble and have not learnt the lessons from the Fifa 2010 World Cup.

So Durban has been selected (as with most things South African, by default) as the city to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Since it was a one-horse race, one has to assume that, unlike the Fifa 2010 World Cup bid, no bribes were necessary.

The 21st century plague
Mandi Smallhorne 21 September 2015

WIDENING gaps between the haves and the have-nots is a plague of the 21st century, a problem that is even beginning to gain attention from the plutocrats (see Nick Hanauer’s famous letter to his fellow rich Americans: “The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. […]

The United States Wins In Brazil
Raúl Zibechi 21 September 2015

The right and the financial sector got the Workers’ Party (PT) and Dilma Rousseff’s government to agree to advance its neoliberal program and its close alliance with Washington.

There is something worse than defeat: assuming the enemy’s program without resistance. As history’s greatest strategist, Sun Tzu, wrote in The Art of War, “the greatest victory is that which requires no battle.” Brazil is experiencing a profound political crisis in which the PT government has not only lost the initiative, but also the morale, of battle. Dilma Rousseff is moving to the right, and taking on much of its program.

Thick as BRICS: an Illusory Alternative to Neoliberalism
Louis Proyect 18 September 2015

Author of Revitalizing Marxist Theory for Today’s Capitalism and other books written in defense of classical Marxism, University of Manitoba professor Radhika Desai probably spoke for the majority of the left when she wrote a Guardian op-ed piece titled “The Brics are building a challenge to western economic supremacy”. Key to this challenge was the creation of a Development Bank that can serve as an alternative to the IMF and the World Bank. As she put it:

The Brics countries do have a mortar that binds them: their common experience, and rejection, of the neoliberal development model of the past several decades and the western-dominated IMF and the World Bank that still advocate it. Their rapid development over the previous couple of decades was despite, not because of, this. Countries whose governments were able and willing to resist this model developed faster.

Cizre cries for help: “Turkey’s Kobane” under siege
Joris Leverink ( 18 September 2015

Tanks shelling the city center. No-one allowed in or out. Electricity and water have been cut, as well as phone lines and internet access. The people have dug trenches to stop armored vehicles from entering their neighborhoods and have hung sheets in the streets to prevent being seen and shot by snipers.

World economy:Growth engines becoming brakes
Sharp downturn in BRIC countries
Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden) 15 September 2015

The most recent engines of the world economy - the BRIC countries - have turned into brakes and triggers of new crises. “What is going on is a great unravelling of the market conditions of the past 15 years”, one analyst commented in the Financial Times.

Koch Brothers' Funds Backs Anti-Dilma Protests in Brazil

Author Michael Fox discusses their motivations and how the Workers' Party is attempting to regain its footing (The Real News Network) 14 September 2015

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

The super-exploitation of Chinese student-workers
In Defence of Marxism 11 September 2015

We received this interview from a supporter who has worked in China in the recent period. It highlights the terrible conditions that many Chinese workers face today.

For the past couple of years I have been fortunate enough to work abroad in China. Living here gave me a chance to directly experience conditions after over twenty years of market “reforms”. Near my workplace every day I went past an Olympic Stadium from the 2008 games, while just a couple of hundred metres away was a shantytown that people called their home. Such a massive contrast characterises Chinese society as a whole, and the consequences of the “reforms”.

Quit, stopped.
Joaquim Aristaeus 10 September 2015

This should be the motto of the workers before the layoffs that have been taking place in the country.

With the economic, social and political crisis that plagues the Brazil, as part of a global crisis of capitalism, once again who's footing the Bill are workers.

Egypt: Workers start to take action again
Independent workers’ organisation needed to resist state repression and to fight for a socialist future
David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) 9 September 2015

Egypt’s workers are starting to take action again, after a year when few struggles took place. The past few weeks have seen a number of strikes and protests. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s regime has brought back repressive measures used by former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. Workers taking industrial action are labelled as terrorists and subject to sackings and imprisonment. However there are signs that workers are beginning to have had enough.

Resistance to an erroneous ‘development’ model
A critique of ProSavana in Mozambique
Boaventura Monjane First Published in Pambazuka 9 September 2015

The people of Mozambique are resisting the controversial agricultural development programme ProSavana, fearing it will cause environmental degradation and social displacement. Protest is targeting the neoliberal model of development that fails to spread benefits beyond elites and investors and instead deepens poverty and exploitation.
Resistance to ProSavana [1], the controversial agricultural development programme in the Nacala corridor located north of Mozambique, is not isolated. This resistance is part of the broader forms of resistance sweeping across the country particularly in the metropolises. Recent years have seen a number of popular revolts and demonstrations, ranging from campaigns organised by civil society groups to spontaneous demonstrations breaking out across Mozambican cities. Some of these have been linked to the food riots that have broken out in response to rising costs for basic food commodities such as bread, as well as for public transport. If these waves of protests had persisted, a fall or destabilisation of the system would have been inevitable.

South Africa’s Deal with the Devil, Revisited
New controversy emerges over Mandela’s ‘Faustian Pact’ with world capital.
Patrick Bond Telesur English 7 September 2015

The ‘Faustian Pact’ metaphor as explanation for the South African liberation movement’s 1990s capitulation to neoliberal capitalism is offered by Ronnie Kasrils. As Africa’s most revered white revolutionary, Kasrils served the new democracy as its Minister of National Intelligence from 2004-08, after a decade as water minister and deputy defence minister, following three decades in the armed struggle against apartheid. Last year he joined the interim leadership of the United Front civil society network to fight for his old ideals of socialism, leaving his lifelong political home in the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

India: 150 million workers strike
Modi government faces growing opposition
Jagadish G Chandra, New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India) 8 September 2015

It is no exaggeration to say that the nation-wide strike on September 2nd was the biggest ever that India has seen since independence from direct colonial rule.

Headlines in the western media declared: ‘World’s Biggest General Strike involves 150 million Workers!’ and the BBC, Al Jazeera and CNN carried exclusive reports on the strike. In India, the press and T V channels tried their level best to play down the impact and make it look inconsequential.

Even if Modi is running out of steam, there are many dangers for India ahead
Justin Podur 2 September 2015

Since Narendra Modi began campaigning to be Prime Minister of India in 2013, he and his party, the BJP, gave the impression of an unstoppable march, culminating in a massive electoral victory in 2014. The BJP’s story went like this: Anti-incumbency was strong, and the people were sick of Congress corruption. As Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi had administered the Gujarat miracle, reaching developmental heights unheard of elsewhere in India. Given the chance, he could do the same for the entire country. If there were accusations that he had also been Chief Minister during an organized massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, well, was there any proof? Hadn’t the courts given him a clean chit? And anyway, with so many terrorist threats facing India, maybe a tougher hand like Modi’s was needed: to keep Kashmir in line, to fight the Maoist rebels in central India, and, of course, to stand up to Pakistan.

Sow Extractivism, Reap Violence
Eduardo Gudynas Translated by Danica Jorden 31 August 2015

It is slowly becoming evident that today’s extractivism [economy based upon the extraction and export of natural resources such as oil, gas and minerals] is advancing in a context of increasing violence. This is not an exaggeration: distinct forms of violence are being employed to impose and protect extractivism, a situation in which popular mobilization also and ever more frequently finds itself entrapped.

Resource-Cursed South Africa Suffers More Mining Massacres
Patrick Bond 28 August 2015

The undermining of the African economy and society by minerals tycoons never ceases. When times were good and the commodity super-cycle raised prices to all-time highs from 2002-11, the natural resources boom could have been channelled into benefits for the citizenry, perhaps through a sovereign wealth fund or nationalised mines.

“We’ll die for this land”: when slum dwellers revolt
J.J. Goldberg 27 August 2015

In the aftermath of deadly communal violence that rocked the Cape Town township of Philippi East, where dozens of homes were destroyed and four killed, I meet a young man named Raymond in the new shack settlement of Old Marikana.

South Africa's 5-million working poor
Gilad Isaacs (GroundUp) 27 August 2015

A study by University of Cape Town economist Arden Finn to determine the wage level at which a worker and his or her family could be brought up to the poverty line found R4,125 was the carefully qualified answer. Unsurprisingly, 95% of those employed in domestic services and 90% of those in agriculture earn less than this. About half of those employed in manufacturing and transport also earn below the working-poor line.

Russia and the Depression That Wasn't
Anatoly Karlin 21 August 2015

Nearly every other day brings another scary headline about Russia’s economic apocalypse. Inflation is robbing Russians of buying power and Putin propagandists are denying it. The “wheels are coming off” the regime according to our friends at the RFERL, the end of the regime is nigh according to Bill Browder, and Putin’s days are numbered, at least in the creative imagination of Ukrainian nationalist academic Alexander Motyl.

Tianjin Explosion Highlights Profits over People
Preeti Kaur 25 August 2015

The toxic dust is still settling in Tianjin, China. At the time of writing, at least 114 people have lost their lives, 70 are missing, and more than 700 are injured. It will take lengthy investigations to discover what exactly happened.

Rio’s Olympic preparations under the spotlight
Adam Talbot 23 August 2015

In August 2016, Rio de Janeiro will host the 31st summer Olympic Games. Preparations have been underway for the past six years. With one year to go, it is time to look at how these preparations are shaping up compared to recent mega-events, which, as a rule, often serve to ensure the continued dominance of neoliberal capitalism.

China vs. the IMF
Jack Rasmus 21 August 2015

The global economy is slowing, and with it the volume of world trade. In response to the negative effect of the global trade slowdown on its own exports and economic growth, last week China introduced a 2.8% reduction in its currency exchange rate, the Renminbi-Yuan.

Why the United Front must immediately form a party
William Gumede First Published in Pambazuka 19 August 2015

South Africa’s democratic system, heavily dominated by the ANC, could best be served by a genuinely democratic, mainstream trade union-based party, like Brazil’s Socialist Party. The time for Zwelinzima Vavi's United Front lobby to transform into such a party is now.

In politics, like in life generally, a window of opportunity suddenly opens up, to rapidly close thereafter. Unless, one grabs it, the moment and the opportunity pass with astonishing speed.

So what exploded in China on 12 August?
Pravda 18 August 2015

So what exploded in China on 12 August?. China AP PhotoChina silences the reasons and consequences of the country's largest industrial disaster that happened in the city port of Tianjin on Wednesday, 12th of August. The blasts are still going on, residents take to the streets for spontaneous protests. And there occurs a parallel with Chernobyl - not only given the facts of concealment, but also the extent of the tragedy. So, what exploded in China?

BRICS and Africa
Why south-south co-operation is a myth when it comes to BRICS and Africa
The Conversation 17 August 2015

Brazil, Russia, India and China have shown tremendous determination and co-operation on global issues in recent years. Their alliance epitomises south-south co-operation in the contemporary era. This is the notion of solidarity among developing countries through the exchange of goods, resources, technology and knowledge to meet their development goals.

Gaming, naming and shaming ‘licit financial flows
Patrick Bond 12 August 2015

“Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is always prefaced with the two words ‘much needed,’” my colleague Sarah Bracking insisted this week at a Zimbabwe NGO conference. “Have you ever heard FDI referenced without those two words?” We all shook our heads. The FDI mantra is this century’s cargo cult.

Mass protests shake Iraq
Hamid Alizadeh and Akram Nadir (Vice President of the FWCUI) 12 August 2015

On Friday up to 500,000 protesters took to the streets of Baghdad after a full week of escalating protests all across the southern and central areas of Iraq.

On Friday hundreds of thousands of Iraqis gathered on Baghdad’s Tahrir square, with Iraqi flags, protesting against the widespread corruption and sectarianism within the Iraqi regime. One popular slogan was “Secularism, secularism, no to Sunni, no to Shia” which was aimed at removing the sectarian representation system which was put into effect by the US occupation forces. Others called for the firing of the energy ministers while some called for the downfall of the whole government. Other slogans were, “All of you together to the court, all of you are thieves,” and “Friday after Friday, we’ll get the corrupt out.”

China’s devaluation: Currency war escalates
Sudden reversal of Beijing’s previous exchange rate policy underlines seriousness of China’s economic woes
China Worker 11 August 2015

On Tuesday 11 August the Chinese central bank PBOC (People’s Bank of China) jolted global markets with the announcement of a devaluation of the yuan – by the widest margin for 21 years under its controlled exchange rate regime. The decision effectively marks China’s entry into the global currency war. This is a form of economic protectionism involving beggar-thy-neighbour devaluations by governments as they attempt to gain trade advantages at each other’s expense and shake off deflation, or falling prices, which locks economies into a low or zero growth mode. “China’s decision to devalue the renminbi [as the yuan is also known] is a big one, not just in terms of its potential implications but in magnitude,” commented the Financial Times.

Incidence of Birth
Thando Manzi 7 August 2015

I remember growing up in a township household without a father figure; surrounded by poverty and stigma towards my HIV-positive mother. So I questioned myself: “Should I play victim of my fate or become the custodian of my future?”. South Africa, having 14 percent of its population households headed by females; with Kwazulu-Natal and Eastern Cape leading. This questions the natural growth of a child growing in an unstable environment, faced with numerous challenges especially towards a child’s psychological growth. As a young man that grew up under this feminization of poverty, it had become a virtual orthodoxy in my childhood. I find myself reluctant to believe that the youth of today is indolent but rather that they suffer the victimization of incidence of birth.

High-tech Exploitation Is Still Exploitation
Pete Dolack 6 August 2015

In the so-called “sharing economy,” it isn’t the profits that are being shared. What is being shared are ways of putting old models of weakening labor protections in new “high tech” wrapping.

“Sharing economy” enterprises designating employees as “independent contractors” so that workers are left without legal protections, and undercutting competition through insisting that laws and regulations don’t apply to them, really aren’t new or “innovative.” But it’s Silicon Valley companies that are doing this — so, hurray!, it’s now exciting and, oh yes, disruptive! Quaint, archaic standards such as minimum wages and labor- and consumer-law protections are so old-fashioned that Silicon Valley billionaires are doing us all a favor by disrupting our ability to keep them.

China’s market rout is a turning point
Failure to stop stock market plunge has shaken the image of a ‘strong’ regime
Vincent Kolo, 4 August 2015

“The big news here isn’t about the Chinese economy; it’s about China’s leaders. Forget everything you’ve heard about their brilliance and foresightedness. Judging by their current flailing, they have no clue what they’re doing.”

This is the blunt verdict of Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winning economist, on China’s stock market crash and the Chinese regime’s attempts to contain it. A staggering $4 trillion has been wiped off share values since the middle of June, as the stock markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen have fallen by 30 percent. This is a sum greater than Germany’s annual output (GDP). It also exceeds the value of China’s foreign exchange reserves ($3.7 trillion), the world’s largest, which are often described as a war chest to meet financial emergencies.

Collaborators and the riven truth behind Zuma’s Nkandla
Jacob Dlamini (Business Day) 31 July 2015

IN 1879, the British destroyed the Zulu kingdom, putting paid to one of the last major precolonial polities in southern Africa. To hear white supremacists and apologists for the British Empire tell it, the defeat of King Cetshwayo’s army marked the triumph of European enlightenment over African barbarism; to hear Zulu and African nationalists tell it, the destruction of the Zulu kingdom signalled not the end of Zulu political sovereignty but the beginning of a pan-African struggle against white rule.

In Turkey, Kurds See Airstrikes and Protest Crackdowns as Political Revenge

Scholar and activist Sardar Saadi discusses the political context of the recent airstrikes launched by Turkey against the Islamic State and Kurds in Iraq and Syria.
The Real News Network 28 July 2015

Bonded to a stupid economy

Patrick Bond 24 July 2015

Resistance is rising to the liberalising ideology of South African state and corporate elites.

Was the most banal political meme ever generated the one James Carville hammered home to Bill Clinton in the 1992 United States presidential campaign: “The economy, stupid”?

The Eurasian Big Bang
Pepe Escobar 24 July 2015

Let’s start with the geopolitical Big Bang you know nothing about, the one that occurred just two weeks ago. Here are its results: from now on, any possible future attack on Iran threatened by the Pentagon (in conjunction with NATO) would essentially be an assault on the planning of an interlocking set of organizations — the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), the EEU (Eurasian Economic Union), the AIIB (the new Chinese-founded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), and the NDB (the BRICS’ New Development Bank) — whose acronyms you’re unlikely to recognize either. Still, they represent an emerging new order in Eurasia.

Big Games, Bigger Scandals! A Look at Toronto's Pan-Am Games

Award-winning journalist Nick Fillmore discusses his latest reporting into the "gross public over-spending" associated with the Pan-Am games.

Nick Fillmore interviewed by Jared Ball on the Real News Network 22 July 2015

India may easily cut the wings of Chinese dragon
Interview conducted by Leyla Mamedova
Pravda.Ru 23 July 2015

India may easily cut the wings of Chinese dragon. Indian economy developingChina may face competition in the Asian region. India has been showing very good economic and social development lately, following the USA and China in some points. The prospects of Russia's relations with India are very promising, especially in the field of defense and in the pharmaceutical industry. Pravda.Ru discussed the subject with leading researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Economics, Elena Bragina.

China Bails Out Stock Market with $209 Billion Stimulus, but Who's Getting Saved?

Political economist Zhun Xu of Beijing's Remnin University says China is bailing out its own public enterprises as part of a flawed plan to jumpstart the economy through the stock market 20 July 2015

The Government crisis Dilma and the alternative that workers need to build

Zé Maria 20 July 2015

Worsened in recent weeks the Government crisis of PT. Their low levels of popularity, his lack of social support, their extreme fragility, do to balance a tightrope, is before the new allegations of corruption, now reaching directly financing the campaign of the President of the Republic, is before the revealing next depth the crisis in the economy. The lack of social support stimulates the political crisis and makes his base of political support and thinner in the National Congress, given its opportunistic and conservative nature, generating recurrent crises, which in turn end up leading to the possibility of uncontrolled management of crisis of the capitalist economy.

The myth and delusion of development
Lennon Chido Mhishi First Published in Pambazuka 17 July 2015

The system of development is broken. The concept remains a shell that hides wasted time, effort and sentiment. Those espousing the development system as it currently exists should carefully consider whether their efforts are bringing around the promised goals.

There is never going to be development. Not in Africa, at least not in Zimbabwe where I come from, or in any other place that we continue to define as developing, less developed, underdeveloped. Someone needs to say it. Even in the language of state building, of failed states, of good governance and democracy. All there is really is power, ideology and its language and the constant thrashing and thriving.

Iran Nuclear Deal
A new period opens up in the Middle East
Hamid Alizadeh 15 July 2015

Yesterday, the long-awaited nuclear deal between Iran and six major world powers was signed. After 18 days of straight negotiations the parties announced a 100-page agreement which is to set in motion the scaling back of the Iranian nuclear agreement and the lifting of harsh sanctions on Iran. This brings to an end more than three decades of harsh economic sanctions imposed on Iran by US imperialism and marks a complete defeat of the US strategy of intimidation, blackmail and coercion of Iran.

Neoliberals dominate. How will this affect Brics' bank?
Patrick Bond (The Star, Johannesburg) 15 July 2015

The RussiaToday tv interview by President Jacob Zuma and the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (Brics) summit’s Ufa declaration last week together left no doubt about the New Development Bank (NDB) mandate, with $50 billion in capital, of which South Africa’s immediate $5 billion (R62.5 bn) contribution will strain the budget not inconsiderably. “The NDB shall serve as a powerful instrument for financing infrastructure investment and sustainable development projects.”

Rio’s Student Resistance
Ian Steinman 13 July 2015

Nearly a year after the World Cup Final, hundreds of students assembled in the shadow of Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium to debate a student strike at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ). Like nearly all of Brazil’s public universities, UERJ is facing a financial crisis that the administration is attempting to resolve through sweeping attacks on the conditions of students and workers.

Bricks Challenges the "Double Standard" of the West

Newsclick talks to Vijay Prashad about the Declaration of the 7th Summit of the BRICS countries held in Ufa, Russia. 13 July 2015

Expect the Barometer to Rise in Mexico
Laura Carlsen 7 July 2015

After the polls closed in Mexico on June 7, embattled President Enrique Peña Nieto stepped up to claim a victory that he didn’t win.

“In Mexico, democracy advances,” he declared triumphantly in a polished television address. He announced that the Mexican people had expressed their will through institutions and channeled their differences through the democratic system.

Sino-Russian Alliance Acquires New Meaning in Face of New Global Conflict
Ekaterina Blinova (Sputnik News) 7 July 2015

The West seems to be hellbent on pursing a new global conflict at all costs, US geopolitical analyst Eric Draitser told Sputnik, adding that for that very reason, the emerging alliance between Russia and China becomes all the more important.

Greece rejects Euro-austerity and social terrorism
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey (Pravda) 6 July 2015

Greece rejects Euro-austerity and social terrorism. 55671.jpegAt least there is one country in Europe with a spine and some courage and that country is called Greece; at least there is one people in Europe who stand for Democracy and those people are the Greeks. On the other side of the fence, the endemic misery, social terrorism and subservience to Germany practiced by Eurocrats and preached by Euro-austerity.

Tsipras and the Vampires
Boris Kagarlitsky Translation: Renfrey Clarke 3 July 2015

For five years now Europe has been troubled by the problem of the Greek debt. It all began with a relatively modest sum estimated at 15-20 billion euros, though at the time coping even with this debt seemed beyond the country’s capacity. Instead of simply writing off the debt, the “Troika” consisting of the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) offered Greece a program of economic assistance in exchange for carrying out “urgent reforms”.

Legacy of the World Cup, a year after
Carlos Melo Translation Bing Translator 2 July 2015

On 12 June, completed a year of the start of the 2014 World Cup. Both Governments Lula and Dilma as FIFA used the term "legacy of the World Cup" to refer to the benefits that Brazil would win on the completion of the tournament. This "legacy", however, proved to be very different from what had been promised.

Buhari, ‘legislooters’ and the change agenda
Chido Onumah and Godwin Onyeacholem First Published in Pambazuka 1 July 2015

NH Nigerian lawmakers will soon pocket $45 million as “wardrobe allowance.” All that - and a lot more - in a country with a minimum wage of about $80 and where more than half the states have not paid workers for months. Pathological greed!

SA: The Marikana Report – a whitewash
Not a stone has been left unturned on the political landscape
Weizmann Hamilton, Workers’ and Socialist Party (WASP) 30 June 2015

Under severe pressure from the families of the victims of the families of the Marikana massacre and threats of legal action, president Jacob Zuma has released the report of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

Is China’s stock market bubble bursting?
Billions wiped off share values in June – only the Greek stock market is more volatile
China Worker 27 June 2015

“Before leaving the world, I wish to say I concede defeat. With capital of 1.7 million yuan and four-times margin, I bet the entirety on China Railway Rolling Stock Corp (CRRC). I have only myself to blame, nobody else.”

So reads the suicide note left by a 32-year-old stock market speculator from Hunan who jumped to his death in early June after losing his life savings within two days. The man took out a huge loan worth four times his own capital from a ‘grey market’ lender. Believing the government’s gargantuan ‘One Belt, One Road’ plan was a sure fire bet, he staked everything on the state-owned railway carriage builder.

Praful Bidwai’s final book examines whether the Left can rise again in India
‘A pertinent question is why left-wing politics has not flourished in India as a vital source of legitimacy for parties to the extent that might be expected in a society with a million injustices and growing inequalities.’
Praful Bidwai 27 June 2015

India has long been a social-political oddity: a country with widespread poverty and wretched deprivation, but where the underprivileged find no voice in most political parties; one of the world’s fastest growing economies, where less than a tenth of the population has regular jobs and where a quarter-million farmers have recently committed suicide; a democracy with largely free and fair elections, which has failed to establish the rule of law and where human-rights violations are rampant amidst caste- and religion- driven hatred and vicious discrimination against women.

Great Power Rivalry Threatens Smaller States in W Pacific
Walden Bello (teleSUR English) 26 June 2015

Tensions in the Asia Pacific are escalating. The latest chapter in the superpower collision is Washington’s strategy of holding low altitude aircraft passes on spots in the South China Sea where China is building military structures over reclaimed land.

‘World Political Economy’ Meets South Africa’s Many Marxisms
Patrick Bond 26 June 2015

With around 100 books of progressive political economy and political ecology penned about South Africa since 2000, the Marxist intellectual project here is utterly chaotic, but by no means in tatters.

Egypt: Counter-revolution continues
Recent strikes show workers will resist
David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) 25 June 2015

The death sentences passed on former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and over a hundred other Muslim Brotherhood members have been reported around the world. The widespread clampdown on all opposition to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime has been less reported.

Greece – five pictures of a troubled country
Paul Mason 22 June 2015

A divided population?
As the crunch approaches the atmosphere has changed. For six months the centre right in Greece was prepared to wait and let Alexis Tsipras try – and fail – to secure a letup on austerity. Now the old political establishment has understood he intends to take this to the bitter end: a default on Greece’s June payment to the IMF, with possible dire consequences for the banks as early as Monday night.

Climate Change Is a Crisis We Can Only Solve Together
Naomi Klein (The Nation) 21 June 2015

This speech was delivered on June 6, 2015, in Bar Harbor, Maine, as the College of the Atlantic commencement address.

First of all, a huge congratulations to all the graduates—and to the parents who raised you, and the teachers who guided you. It’s a true privilege to be included in this special day.

Mine is not going to be your average commencement address, for the simple reason that College of the Atlantic is not your average college. I mean, what kind of college lets students vote on their commencement speaker—as if this is their day or something? What’s next? Women choosing whom they are going to marry?

The crisis of Petrobras and the Brazilian working class challenge
A vile campaign to discredit the Petrobrás and privatize it
Nazarene Godeiro, national coordination ILAESE 19 June 2015

Article dedicated to 344 dead in industrial accident of 1995 until 2014, i.e. more than 1 per month, being the most outsourced.

Avaaz’s Climate Vanity
Patrick Bond 18 June 2015

Who’s not heard the great African revolutionary Amilcar Cabral’s injunction, fifty years ago, “Tell no lies and claim no easy victories”? If, like me, you’re a petit bourgeois who is hopeful for social progress, then let’s be frank: this advice hits at our greatest weakness, the temptation of back-slapping vanity.

Children of Smog in Delhi

Professor James K. Boyce of PERI says there are solutions to the urgent problem of air pollution in Delhi that has put over 2.2 million school children at risk of irreversible lung damage
The Real News Network 16 June 2015

''Social warfare'' keeps Johann Rupert awake at night
Ben Morken 16 June 2015

Recent comments by South Africa’s most powerful business tycoon, Johann Rupert, gives interesting and penetrating insights into the current state of mind of the bourgeoisie. Rupert is clearly very disturbed by the current state of affairs, even admitting that they are keeping him awake at night.

Congratulations, Busy Flasko Factory!
12 years of struggle by nationalization under workers ' control.
Marxist Left 15 June 2015

The day June 12, 2015, factory workers busy Flasko 12 years of completed historic decision taken Assembly, to occupy the factory and resume production under workers ' control, adding to the workers of Cipla and/Interfibras, in Joinville/SC, building the movement of Occupied Factories. The Marxist Left feels direct part of these achievements, this historic fight. Congratulations to fight the factory Busy Flasko!

Will Zhou Yongkang be Xi’s last ‘tiger’?
Former security boss handed life sentence at secret trial
Vincent Kolo, 13 June 2015

Xi Jinping finally got his man, but not the way he would have chosen. Zhou Yongkang is the 72-year-old former chief of China’s internal security behemoth. Not only was he tried in secret, overturning an earlier official statement that the trial would be ‘open’, but the trial and guilty verdict were not announced for three weeks.

Qatar: World cup of corruption and exploitation
Paddy Meehan 12 June 2015

Sepp Blatter’s decision to resign as FIFA President didn’t come as a result of the horrifying conditions migrant workers face in building the new stadiums in Qatar, but as a final attempt to save the corrupt elite at the top of the federation.

Germany: Multiple strikes mark changed situation
Strikes in numerous sectors as workers fail to benefit from “recovery”
Sascha Stanicic from Sozialistische Alternative (CWI in Germany) 10 June 2015

It is only June, but the number of days “lost” to strikes in Germany has already doubled in comparison to the whole year of 2014 and at its highest since 2003. After bigger warning strikes of public sector and metal workers earlier this year, we have seen a three week-long strike of Kindergarten nurses and social workers and the biggest ever train drivers’ strike in the country’s history, well as warning strikes of postal, retail and insurance workers. This week, postal workers have started an unlimited strike while Siemens workers held a day of protest against job cuts. Also the trade union ver.di is, after a ballot, likely to soon begin unlimited strike action at Europe’s biggest university hospital, the Charité in Berlin. This marks a new situation in Europe’s powerhouse.

US to Lose Its Ground Under BRICS Pressure
Bremer Landesbank (Sputnik News) 11 June 2015

Blind adherence to US policies and the introduction of anti-Russian sanctions have turned fatal for Europe; the axis of Russia-China-BRICS is set to overturn the global economic system and to prevail over the hegemony of the US, according to the chief economist of the German Bremer Landesbank.

Water Is Scarce, But the Profits Aren’t
Jens Erik Gould 11 June 2015

Water shortages are hardly unusual in the developing world. Consider China, which holds 7 percent of the world’s water resources but uses 16 percent of the planet’s water. But in India, the problem is even worse. The country contains about 18 percent of the world’s population but only 3 percent of the planet’s fresh water. That, combined with poor resource management, has yielded a situation in which the per capita availability of water is one-fifth of the global average: 1,200 cubic meters per year compared with 6,000 cubic meters worldwide.

Left Divided as Violence and Protests Derail Mexican Elections
Dan La Botz 8 June 2015

A hurricane is barreling down on Baja California threatening to interfere with Mexico’s June 7 elections on the peninsula, but the far greater storm is the combination of criminal violence and widespread social protests, which could disrupt and possibly prevent the election in several states.

FIFA Fraud, Africa’s Corruption and Elite Silence
Patrick Bond 3 June 2015

The last week has provided extraordinary examples of how corruption erodes the resources and morals of an entire continent – Africa – in part because villains in South Africa made alliances with wicked brothers in Switzerland, Latin America, the Caribbean and especially the United States. We now know more about offshore centers of both reactionary finance and corrupt-corporate soccer. It’s long overdue they are exposed to a spotlight, even if those pointing that light want to leave certain features in the shadows.

FIFA Exposes a Chink in the ANC's Control of Government
Alexander O'Riordan 3 June 2015

Last night Sepp Blatter resigned after seventeen years in the position, as president of football's global governing body, FIFA. The resignation was to be expected since American criminal investigators last week indicted a host of FIFA executives on charges related to corruption and wire fraud.

Notably, these charges allege that South Africa paid over a hundred million rand in bribes to secure its 2010 World Cup Bid.

Unresolved Economic and Geopolitical Issues in India-China Relations


FIFA: Winner of the World Cup of Corruption

Steve Jones 2 June 2015

We live in a time when the whole establishment is not only corrupt and rotten to the core but is seen as such by a large section of the working class, both in Britain and throughout the rest of the world. Bankers and financiers are manipulating the markets for short-term gain; politicians are pocketing whatever they can whilst demanding that the poor accept pay cuts and declining services; rich and powerful individuals are exposed as having carried out acts of extreme depravity right under our eyes with nothing being done about it; bosses carry out illegal blacklisting aided by the state...the list goes on. However, if you were to ask the average person in the street to come up with something that defined, above everything else, corruption, bribery and general fiddling, many would answer with one word: FIFA.

Stop sugarcoating Russia’s economic situation
Gilbert Doctorow (Russia Insider) 1 June 2015

Whitewashing Russia’s economic hardships is counter-productive. It would be better if the economic pain so many Russians are experiencing were given due coverage — and promptly addressed.

Brazil: Is there the possibility of a right-wing coup?
Serge Georges 1 June 2015

The general political situation can be summed up by the support of PT and PCdoB attacks against government workers while the CUT calls members of traitors and summons the May 29 with "strikes and mobilisations towards general strike".

The assault on health care in Russia
David Levine 28 May 2015

According to a document recently leaked to the Russian news outlet RBC, an agreement has been reached between the Russian Ministry of Health and the Moscow city government to lay off approximately 14,000 doctors in 2015-2017. This follows the axing of 9,500 health care jobs in the Russian capital in 2014.

Is China heading for a new Tiananmen?
China Worker (Vincent Kolo) 28 May 2015

26th anniversary of the Beijing massacre on June 4, 1989, is also a warning of revolutionary shocks ahead

The Chinese dictatorship (CCP) is facing one of its most difficult years as economic growth stalls and a top-level power struggle intensifies. The anniversary of June 4, the culmination of the ‘Beijing Spring’ and a day that will always be remembered for one of the most barbaric massacres ever perpetrated against peaceful protesters, is a cause for much official unease, and this year more than ever. The Chinese regime is grappling with unprecedented problems with a debt-laden economy, burst real estate bubble, and growing unease among workers and poor farmers.

Nigieria: Buhari Government takes power
Working People Must Prepare to Struggle for improvement and Real Change
Segun Sango, Socialist Party Nigeria, National Chairperson 29 May 2015

Today 29 May, 2015 is historic in Nigeria being the first time an elected opposition takes over the mantle of government. The high expectation among the large layers of the populace from the new government of Muhammadu Buhari is palpable. Many people could not wait to see the back of Goodluck Jonathan government who proved to be a monumental failure, something that was excruciatingly manifested with an unprecedented total shutdown of the country in the last weeks of his outgoing government.

Why India is captured by carbon
The Guardian 28 May 2015

India’s leaders are determined to restore economic growth and lift the country’s 1.3 billion citizens out of poverty. But rapid development will require India to double or triple its production of coal – and make it the world’s second largest carbon emitter. Is there any alternative?

Ukraine war leaves a long shadow of pollution, ill-health and ravaged industries
By Nickolai Denisov and Otto Simonett, with Doug Weir & Dmytro Averin (The Ecologist) 24 May 2015

Over one year after violent conflict began in East Ukraine, indications are emerging of its severe environmental impacts in the highly industrialised Donbas region, and the grave health risks to civilians that will endure long into the future. The area will need international assistance both to reduce the hazards, and to ‘green’ the region’s often polluting industries.

China resets Latin America
Lyuba Lulko (Pravda.Ru) 26 May 2015

China is busy doing the things that Russia can not do for economic reasons - the Celestial Empire is changing the world order. One can say that China is conquering the world with loans. Latin America is of special importance for China at this point. Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang is touring South America and signed landmark agreements with Brazil.

Fortress South Africa
Jane Duncan First Published in Pambazuka 22 May 2015

Like the richer countries of the North that are adopting tougher controls to stem the migration of people from the more impoverished, conflict-ridden South, South Africa is employing similar tactics. But this approach is futile, unsustainable and anti-people.

The Mandela Complex
Harry Stopes 17 April 2015

In December 2013, a group of people living in shack settlements in Newlands West, Durban, entered and squatted a development of 16 nearly complete apartment blocks on Castle Hill, about ten miles north-west of the city centre. They stayed for more than a year before they were evicted on 17 December 2014. The developer calls the site Hilldale; the squatters called it the Mandela Complex.

Since 1994 the main government policy for housing the poor in South Africa has been to provide free homes, for private ownership, through the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). To be eligible for an RDP home, your total household income mut be less than 3500 Rand a month. That isn’t much (currently around £200), but there are millions of South Africans who earn less, or nothing at all – a quarter of the workforce is unemployed. Around 180,000 RDP units have been built in Durban since 1994.

TRNN Debate: Are GMOs Safe?

Dr. Thierry Vrain and Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam discuss the science behind genetically engineered crops and the significance of GMO restrictions in more than 60 countries
The Real News Network 22 May 2015

Ukraine's Soil Changes Hands
Foreign Investors Grabbing Arable Lands
Sputnik News 21 May 2015

Ukraine's rich black soil is changing hands: foreign corporations and Ukrainian tycoons continue "grabbing" the country's arable lands; the question remains open whether such a policy can benefit the Ukrainian people, Elizabeth Fraser stressed.

China: violent protests reveal instability
Jack Rising 20 May 2015

Thousands of protesters violently clashed with authorities last Saturday in Linshui County, located in eastern Sichuan province. The protesters demanded that a proposed high speed railway pass through Linshui. They were met with batons and rubber bullets, with hundreds reportedly being injured by the police and tactical units. The heavy handed response of the Chinese state to these protests reveals the instability and weakness of the regime.

India: No place for dissent in world’s biggest democracy
RTCC News 19 May 2015

Is Greenpeace crackdown a plan of Modi government to stifle alternative voices under the cover of national interest?

India prime minister Narendra Modi addresses the 2014 General Assembly (Pic: UN photos)
By Avik Roy in New Delhi

“You can’t muzzle dissent in a democracy”, said the Delhi High Court while delivering a verdict against the federal government’s attitude towards civil society.

India Gangrened!
Jagadish G Chandra 16 May 2015

India’s capitalist democracy has surely turned a page in the 21st century. A thousand headed Cobra has come-off its age and has started vexing its fangs, spewing out the deadly venom of communalism in all directions.

Fifteen Years of Community Controlled Water in Cochabamba
Marina Sitrin (teleSUR English) 15 May 2015

Marina Sitrin interviews Marcela Olivera, an activist in Bolivia’s water wars of 2000 and their ongoing legacy.

This year marks fifteen years of the victory of the communities of Bolivia over private water corporations. Not only did popular power reverse the plan to privatize the water, but the many hundreds of communities surrounding Cochabamba managed to keep their water as a common, controlled and managed by the community directly and democratically.

Countries Around the World Are Revoking Freedom of Assembly
Willie Osterweil (Aljazeera America) 15 May 2015

On March 26, without much fanfare or attention from U.S. media, the Spanish government ended freedom of assembly. In the face of popular opposition (80 percent of Spaniards oppose it), the upper house passed the Citizens’ Security Law. Under the provision, which goes into effect on July 1, police will have the discretionary ability to hand out fines up to $650,000 to unauthorized demonstrators who protest near a transport hub or nuclear power plant. They will be allowed to issue fines of up to $30,000 for taking pictures of police during protest, failing to show police ID or just gathering in an unauthorized way near government buildings.

Mexico: Socialism or Barbarism? - part one
Carlos Ricardo Marquez, Izquierda Socialista, Mexico 11 May 2015

Over the past couple of years Peña Nieto's government in Mexico has taken giant steps in carrying out reforms which the big bourgeoisie for a long time could only dream of. It presented itself as an unstoppable government which the workers' movement could not confront in a serious manner. But decades of such attacks and struggles have led to a build-up of pressure below the surface that constitutes a great challenge to the system and the regime that supports it. A feeling that things are not going well and that we must act to radically transform the system is taking root in Mexican society.

Zwelithini's lice comment only deflects attention for parasitic royal households
Alexander O'Riordan 12 May 2015

The real parasites in South Africa are institutions such as the moribund royal households that are maintained in luxury by taxpayers without delivering any meaningful public good.

Will the world remain silent with Rwanda and Uganda in DR Congo again?
An interview with international criminal defense attorney and former law professor Peter Erlinder
Ann Garrison First Published in Pambazuka 5 May 2015

While international attention is focused on the constitutional crisis in Burundi, Rwandan and Ugandan soldiers have again violated the territorial integrity of DR Congo by sending troops into the country. What are they up to?

Widen the Circle, Broaden the Left
Badri Raina 10 May 2015

The Communist Party of India-Marxist has a new helmsman. Sitaram Yechury, a less forbidding man than his predecessor, carries with him the sunny goodwill of many inside and outside the Party. Many among the general middle classes, who view politics rather exclusively in terms of “leadership”, even those who are more familiar with the structures of Left politics than most, sense some sort of a paradigm shift in the offing with regard to both the substance and the style of the Party’s operations and intervention in the coming years. To the best of my acquaintance and education, such a climate of anticipation might flatter and forewarn, if not scare, the new General Secretary in equal measure. Communist Parties, after all, subordinate individuals to collective decisions (remember Jyoti Basu?) and any change of leadership there does not carry the same probabilities as it may and usually does in what are called bourgeois formations.

Britain: Tories win, but Scotland turns left
Stuart Munckton 11 May 2015

Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party won a clear victory in Britain’s May 7 general elections. In Scotland, however, the Scottish National Party dramatically rose from six seats to 56 out of 59, in a clear sign of opposition to the brutal austerity backed by the major parties in Westminster.

Burundi: mass protests shake the regime
Ben Morken 5 May 2015

The fragile Great Lakes region of central Africa has been thrown into turmoil over the the past few days. Police unleashed violence against protesters in Burundi after the current president, Pierre Nkurunziza announced on Saturday, 25 April, that he intends to run for a third term as president. This unconstitutional move is undermining the Arusha Peace Agreement, which ended the 13 year civil war. It risks pushing the entire Great Lakes region into chaos and instability, and a possible return to another war.

Angela Merkel’s NSA Nightmare Just Got A Lot Worse
Don Quijones 4 May 2015

Angela Merkel, Germany’s most successful and popular politician, could be in serious trouble, after revelations that Germany’s national intelligence agency, the BND, has been spying on key European assets on behalf of US intelligence. Those “assets” include top French officials, the EU’s headquarters, the European defense corporation EADS, the helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter and even German companies.

“China is in a hard landing now”
Stock market frenzy and fabricated GDP figures cannot hide the reality of an economy in deep trouble
China Worker 3 May 2015

For China’s one-party dictatorship (CCP), 2015 is turning into quite a dangerous year. After years of rapid debt-driven growth and the world’s biggest construction boom, China’s economy faces a multitude of serious problems. Overcapacity, deflation, a housing slump and local government debt crisis are all acting as a drag on economic growth which by several measures has slowed to a crawl.

Zuma’s son is a bitter boy who shames his father and his people
Bandile Mdlalose 29 April 2015

For two weeks, I have been sitting back and watching one of our country’s most prominent children. What impact does raising one of more than 20 kids, many before 1994 in exile, have on their morality? It is quite overwhelming to see the grown son of the most powerful man in South Africa act like a child that grew up in a home without discipline or education.

South Africa and the DRC: Has Rhodes passed on the baton?
Shawn Hattingh 29 April 2015

In the heat of the struggle for statues like that of Rhodes – the arch-symbol of British imperialism – to be pulled down, and in the midst of the horror of the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa, few people seemed to notice an announcement by Jacob Zuma that South African troops will remain at war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for another year.

No more war on the poor!
Raphael Mota Translation Bing 29 April 2015

In the middle of Holy week, the community of Complexo do Alemão returned to mourn the death of innocents. Four people, among them a municipal network educator, Elizabeth Francisco de Moura, of 40 years, dead inside the House, and Eduardo Jesus, of 10 years who died brutally while playing. The Governor's response to these crimes is Bigfoot promise to increase the occupation in the community. In the neighboring community, the tide, the military occupation Government Dilma plaguing residents with violence in approaches.

Xenophobia requires root-cause critique and strategic resistance
Patrick Bond 28 April 2015

Political symbols in South Africa are here today, gone tomorrow, but oppressive political economy endures. At surface level, an explosion of anti-racist activism amongst the most enlightened South Africans – up-and-coming black scholars trying to break various ceilings of residual apartheid power – is occurring at the same time a xenophobic implosion is wreaking havoc on the bottom socio-economic ranks.

“China-Pakistan friendship”: between whom?
Lal Khan 27 April 2015

There was a great pomp and show. There was a din of “eternal Pakistan-China friendship” broadcast from every media channel and newspaper incessantly for almost two days. A Chinese head of state was paying a desperately awaited visit to Pakistan for the first time in many years.

Durban and the 2022 Commonwealth Games?
Is Durban capable – and deserving – of hosting 2022 Commonwealth Games?
Bandile Mdlalose First Published in Pambazuka 25 April 2015

Durban has made a bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. However, the city is built on a foundation of race and class inequality, leading to xenophobic attacks and unrest. Before Durban is ready to host any international events, it must become the strong African citizen it has promised to be by treating all of its citizens equally.

The past and the present have drawn us into a future of unfortunate and incalculable depth. How low will our society go?

Crushing dreams will not stop the rush from Africa
Vijay Prashad 23 April 2015

Two sides of Africa plunge migrants into deep despair. Thousands from the continent’s central belt head to Libya, load themselves on boats bound for Europe, and never reach their destination.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State group abducts Ethiopian migrants and murders them. The militants of the IS do the work of European fascists, who would rather see these forlorn men and women dead than on their shores.

Alone, With Nowhere To Go
The Con 22 April 2015

“I don’t agree with violence, but I did participate because there was the safety of a group situation,” says Kabelo* last week in Durban.

Standing near a peach-coloured house recently defiled in Chatsworth’s Bottlebrush area, Kabelo says the house was previously inhabited by Zimbabwean nationals before they were violently hounded out. Kabelo surveys people attempting to fix the damage that he admits to being a part of, his Figaro gold chain resting high on his T-shirted sternum.

Mandela Led Fight Against Apartheid, But Not Against Extreme Inequality
Patrick Bond (The Real News Network) 20 April 2015

Patrick Bond is the director of the Center for Civil Society and a professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Bond is the author of the recently released books, South Africa – The Present as History (with John Saul) and the 3rd edition of Elite Transition.

Debt sentences
Almost 50 million people in the U.S. are carrying student debt. The level of debt is vast, now over $1 trillion, and is a drag on the entire economy.
Vijay Prashad 21 April 2015

IN FEBRUARY, 15 students of Corinthian Colleges, a private education company in the United States, decided to refuse to pay back their student debt. Within a month, the students on debt strike swelled to 100. These are among the 400 students who took out predatory loans to attend the for-profit Corinthian Colleges—part of a landscape of moneymaking private institutions.

Depoliticization and False Polarization in Brazil
Sabrina Fernandes (The Bullet) 13 April 2015

In a recent essay (see “Brazil: The Débâcle of the PT”), Alfredo Saad-Filho writes of the dilemmas the Workers' Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores – PT) now faces in Brazil. His analysis helps decipher some of the dynamics that have led to the current crisis of the PT regime and President Dilma Rousseff. This essay complements Saad-Filho's contribution by further contextualizing the radical Left in relation to the PT; and by identifying where the right-wing opposition stands (beyond its relation to the failure of the PT to maintain hegemony through neoliberal conciliation).

Mass strike in Paraná: the limits of trade unionism
Fabiano Stoiev Translation Bing 1 April 2015

The expectation was rain. But the day 19 February dawned sunny. Only on praça Rui Barbosa, began to leak here and there, educators (as) on strike. In a short time, the square overflowing of teachers and employees of Curitiba and Metropolitan Region. A recurring speech among the associated (as) the APP-Union is that the people of the interior is that ensures, with its presence, mass mobilizations of category. But on this day, the people of the capital shattered the myth and showed all its value. The narrow streets leading to the Tiradentes square, channeled this human torrent. In waves of colorful umbrellas and parasols, which protected the marchers from the Sun, the demonstration progressed slowly through the city accompanied by an improvised Safety Commission by protesters, in the absence of the police escort to latch onto the busy streets.

Washington Frets as Beijing Steps Up Multilateral Initiatives
Walden Bello 1 April 2015

“With friends like this, who needs enemies.” This must be what Washington policymakers muttered to themselves following the decision of London, Paris, Rome, and Berlin to join a new development bank proposed by Beijing.

The anger in Washington most likely mounted when its main Pacific allies, Japan, Australia, and South Korea, also gave strong indications that they would join the bandwagon. By the end of March, more than 35 countries are expected to be enlisted as founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Saudi war on Yemen
Rising tensions in the Middle East and the crisis of Imperialism
Hamid Alizadeh 31 March 2015

Since early Thursday morning hundreds of fighter jets from Saudi Arabia and a wide coalition of Arab states have been bombing targets across Yemen, killing dozens, destroying all major runways and much of the key infrastructure of the country. Yet again Yemen, which is the poorest Arab country, has become a target for savage attacks by the Saudi regime.

China’s Bank & Waning USA Hegemony
Jack Rasmus 29 March 2015

Two events occurred last week that mark a further phase in the waning of US global economic hegemony: China introduced its own Economic Development Bank, the ‘Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’ (AIIB); and the IMF simultaneously announced it will decide in May to include the Chinese currency as a global reserve-trading currency alongside the dollar, pound, and euro—an almost certainly ‘done deal’ as well.

What’s South Africa’s anti-human rights game at the UN?
Rebecca Davis 29 March 2015

This week, the United Nations human rights council announced the establishment of a special new role to look into issues pertaining to privacy, in the wake of the Edward Snowden surveillance revelations. Information activists argue that such an individual could play a vital role in protecting citizens’ right to privacy. Guess which country said it couldn’t support such a resolution? South Africa.

Nigerians Head to the Polls Amid Rising Tensions

With several court challenges in the works, the elections are highly contested and posses a threat to the PDP rule, says Associate Professor Zachariah Mampilly of Vassar College
The Real News Network 27 March 2015

A Multi-Faceted Crisis Surrounding Turkey
Taylan Tosun 26 March 2015

A multi-faceted crisis has been emerging and has begun to surround Turkey for the last few months. There is a growing crisis on the political scene, i.e., concerning the classical political parties and representative system. There is a growing social crisis underlying the one on the political level. The Kurdish question is exerting an increasing pressure on the political scene. And lastly a very serious economic crisis is on the horizon. Indeed this has been a familiar pattern in Turkey, at least in recent history. Political and economic crises have been always overlapped and triggered each other.

Secretive and seedy: how aid donors are opening the agribusiness flood gates
When big agribusiness teams up with international aid organisations to corner the market on seeds, everyone loses.
Ian Fitzpatrick 23 March 2015

A secretive conference, co-organised by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), one of the world’s largest donors, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) takes place in London today, 23 March 2015.

Real unemployment is double the ‘official’ unemployment rate
Pete Dolack 23 March 2015

How many people are really out of work? The answer is surprisingly difficult to ascertain. For reasons that are likely ideological at least in part, official unemployment figures greatly under-report the true number of people lacking necessary full-time work.

Can You Say “Blowback” in Spanish?
Rebecca Gordon 23 March 2015

They behead people by the hundreds. They heap headless, handless bodies along roadsides as warnings to those who would resist their power. They have penetrated the local, state, and national governments and control entire sections of the country. They provide employment and services to an impoverished public, which distrusts their actual government with its bitter record of corruption, repression, and torture. They seduce young people from several countries, including the United States, into their murderous activities.

Call to Impeach Dilma Not As Popular As Portrayed
Danica Jorden 20 March 2015

Reminiscent of the popular movement that led to the resignation of former Brazilian president Fernando Collor de Mello in 1992, instead of “Fora Collor,” (“Get Out Collor”) protestors are now waving banners with the words “Fora Dilma” and favouring the same English word “impeachment” in a bid to oust the South American country’ current president, Dilma Rousseff. Both leaders were accused of mismanagement and corruption, with Petrobras, the national petroleum company, at the centre of the criticism against Dilma. Likewise, protestors are numbering at least a million. But the similarity is deceptive. Collor was a member of the wealthy élite who ostensibly ran afoul of the interests controlling Brazil at the time, whereas Dilma, the former revolutionary now at the helm of the country as head of the PT, the leftist Workers Party, is a populist who continues to inspire more wide-spread, albeit less reported, manifestations of support outside of the country’s affluent city centres.

Netanyahu's victory - what does it mean?
Francesco Merli 19 March 2015

With a defiant right-wing turn promising that no Palestinian state would be established as long as he remained in power, Israeli prime minister Netanyahu has managed to overturn unfavourable opinion polls at the last minute and emerge as the winner of the Israeli elections on Tuesday. His appeal was aimed - and successfully so - at rallying the right wing around his figure and firm leadership by appealing once again to the historically deeply rooted fears of ordinary Israeli citizens over external threats to Israel. What are going to be the consequences of his victory within Israel and internationally?

N Ireland: Public sector workers strike against austerity
For a second day of strike action in the run-up to the May general election!
Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast 18 March 2015

Friday 13 March saw tens of thousands of workers in education, health, civil services and, importantly, public transport, take part in coordinated strike action against a Stormont austerity agenda.

USA orchestrates mass demonstrations in Brazil
Pravda 17 March 2015

On Sunday, March 15, flames of mass protests started burning in several Brazilian cities. Thousands of people took part in demonstrations against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and government corruption. The rallies were held in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais), Salvador (Bahia), Recife (Pernambuco) and many other cities.

The Failure of Modern Industrial Agriculture
John Ikerd 17 March 2015

Americans are being subjected to an ongoing multimillion-dollar propaganda campaign designed to “increase confidence and trust in today’s agriculture.” Food Dialogues, just one example of this broader trend, is a campaign sponsored by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance—an industry organization whose funders and board members include Monsanto, DuPont, and John Deere. The campaign features the “faces of farming and ranching”—articulate, attractive young farmers, obviously chosen to put the best possible face on the increasingly ugly business of industrial agriculture, which dominates our food- production system.

Brazil 2015: crises, attacks and fights
LSR - Liberdade, Socialismo e Revolução, Translation Bing 16 March 2015

The Finance Minister, Joaquim Levy, admits that Brazil's GDP should have shrunk last year. But the austerity policy of the Government, along with the crisis of Petrobras and hydro electric and crises, can lead to a 2015 much worse. Who no doubt will come out losing, if you don't set up a strong resistance, are workers and young people.

Disconnecting the minerals-energy-climate dots
Patrick Bond 13 March 2015

Sometimes a single event reveals crucial stories about our strengths and weaknesses in advancing progressive social change and ecological sanity. Early last month I sought out intersections between three simple phenomena: the predatory extractive industries now looting Africa; our energy access crises (especially here in South Africa); and climate change.

Caught in the Middle
Boko Haram Insurgency Highlights the Vulnerable Condition of Women and the Girl - Child in Nigeria
H.T Soweto 13 March 2015

A few years ago, precisely in 2013, the Ejigbo Sodomy (a shocking case of brutalization of three women in the Ejigbo community of Lagos for allegedly stealing pepper) hallmarked the gender inequality and the unspeakable violence the female gender experience in a patriarchal Nigeria.

Why the UN climate talks have wasted 23 years
George Monbiot (The Guardian) 11 March 2015

If you visit the website of the UN body that oversees the world’s climate negotiations(1), you will find dozens of pictures, taken across 20 years, of people clapping. These photos should be of interest to anthropologists and psychologists. For they show hundreds of intelligent, educated, well-paid and elegantly-dressed people wasting their lives.

The celebratory nature of the images testifies to the world of make-believe these people inhabit. They are surrounded by objectives, principles, commitments, instruments and protocols, which create a reassuring phantasm of progress while the ship on which they travel slowly founders. Leafing through these photos, I imagine I can almost hear what the delegates are saying through their expensive dentistry. “Darling you’ve re-arranged the deckchairs beautifully. It’s a breakthrough!

We’ll have to invent a mechanism for holding them in place, as the deck has developed a bit of a tilt, but we’ll do that at the next conference.”

Community protest levels reach new record highs
D.D. de Bruyn 10 March 2015

The number of civic protests in South Africa has skyrocketed to new record highs. New figures which were released by the Civic Protest Barometer of the University of the Western Cape on 19 February 2015 show that the number of protests by communities, so-called ‘’service delivery’’ protests, more than doubled between 2007 and 2014. The researchers also show that 2014 was the year with the highest number of these protests on record.

Are Inter-Capitalist Rivalries Intensifying?
Jack Rasmus 10 March 2015

Capitalism is by nature based on intense, and often destructive, competition. Not only between capital and labor, but between capitalists themselves. But not all competition is the same. There is competition when the global economic pie is growing; and there is competition when it is stagnating or declining. And in recent months signs are growing that new forms of more intense, aggressive inter-capitalist competition are emerging as the global economy continues to slow in general, and even stagnant and slide into recession in a growing number of countries.

We don't want flowers, we demand rights!
The women's struggle is the struggle of the working class!
Flávia Ribeiro and Juliana Meatus Translation with Bing 8 March 2015

Currently we live a world crisis, in which, in several places of the planet we see how the capitalist system has explored further the working class from the austerity measures. We women are the first to suffer with the investment cuts in public policies, we have the worst wages, and we're at the top of the list of discarded from the labour market, with unemployment.

India: Kashmir - Betrayal through coalition
Lal Khan 6 March 2015

If the armed struggle, religious fundamentalism, nationalism and other such notions of people’s freedom in Indian occupied Kashmir have failed to deliver any respite to the oppressed masses, the rhetoric of ‘democracy’ and ‘development’ are equally no solution. In reality they are mere deceptions. The PDP’s coalition with BJP is nothing but a blatant betrayal and an insult added to injury for the Kashmiri masses that voted for the PDP in the recent elections, making it the largest party in the Kashmir state assembly.

China: Capitalism is pushing back women's rights
Wage gap has widened and sex discrimination in the job market is rampant
Vincent Kolo ( 4 March 2015

China Central Television's gala to celebrate the Lunar New Year is reportedly the most watched television programme in the world. It is broadcast live on 189 state-run channels and the viewing audience, despite falling in recent years, is more than 600 million people. The four-and-half hour spectacle is also shamelessly sexist, with this year¡¯s programme aired on 18 February hitting a new low in the opinion of women¡¯s rights activists and many others who have spoken out on China¡¯s vast but tightly policed social media.

Occupations mark the beginning of a new wave of Dutch student struggle
Zowi Milanovi 4 March 2015

The student struggle has flared up in Amsterdam. In a period of a few weeks, two university buildings have been occupied. At the moment of writing, the building of the executive board of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the famous Maagdenhuis, is being occupied by students. Their struggle is against the efficiency-oriented top-down management, for which the profit motive is more important than the interests of students and lecturers.

Boris Nemtsov – a symbol of the Right
Artem Kirpichenok 2 March 2015

Mainstream media have presented Boris Nemtsov as an anti-Putin “liberal” oppositionist. In reality he was part of the oligarchy that began to emerge after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but had fallen out of grace with the main clique that took over. Here Artem Kirpichenok in St. Petersburg gives a very different point of view from within Russia.

China’s NPC meets with the super-rich in the spotlight
More than a third of China’s top 100 billionaires sit in the national ‘parliament’
David Hundorf (China Worker) 3 March 2015

China’s ornamental ‘parliament’ the National People’s Congress (NPC) opens its annual session on Thursday in Beijing. The meeting will be followed assiduously by global media for signals about future economic policy as the world’s second largest economy slows down amid mounting debt problems and industrial overcapacity. Rather than real debates and deliberations, the NPC and its ‘twin’ chamber the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) will merely rubber stamp decisions already thrashed out in the inner circles of the ‘Communist’ (CCP) dictatorship.

South Africa's Austerity Meets Opposition
Patrick Bond 3 March 2015

Twenty-five years ago this month, Nelson Mandela was freed from jail. But his party, the African National Congress (ANC), is having a miserable time. On February 12, President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address was heckled – “Pay back the money”, referring to state subsidies to his rural mansion – by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) opposition party. In the melee, police goons broke the jaw of one EFF member of parliament.

Nemtsov’s death: ‘Putin is the last person to be interested’
Interview with Dmitry Babick, ( 28 February 2015

Dmitry Babich: It’s clearly a huge tragedy. It’s a very cruel murder. But certainly I would not say that Mr. Nemtsov was in any way a threat to President Putin. He had absolutely zero chances of winning any elections at least since the 1990s, when he had some electoral successes. So to say that Nemtsov was killed in order to influence Russian policy on Ukraine, I think it’s clearly an exaggeration.

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.

Egypt: Regime brutality on fourth anniversary of revolution
Masses will regain confidence and willingness to fight
David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) 11 February 2015

January 25th marked the fourth anniversary of the start of the revolutionary uprising in Egypt in 2011. Demonstrations of a few thousand quickly grew into a mighty nationwide movement of hundreds of thousands and then millions that swept aside Hosni Mubarak’s corrupt dictatorial rule.

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…

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.

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.

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.

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.

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