The Americas

International news: Iran, Kuwait, Singapore, Qatar, Ecuador, New York

Iran’s official figures show new Covid-19 cases peaking there about 30 March and deaths peaking about 4 April, and 5,118 deaths so far. An Iranian activist told Solidarity: “The official figures are rubbish! What the true number is nobody can tell. Some people are saying there is going to be a second wave. Lots of workers have died.” Mohammad-Hossein Sepehri, a teacher jailed in Mashhad’s Vakilabad prison, has contracted coronavirus. He has been denied medical care. There are many teachers and hundreds of other labour and social rights activists languishing in the Iranian regime’s prisons and...

The split in SDS

Across the world large and radical student movements came into prominence in the 1960s, fighting on their campus and against university administrators but raising wider political questions: opposition to the Vietnam War, opposition to the police, and opposition to capitalism. Their politics were often muddled and contradictory. In America, students organised themselves on a national level into Students for a Democratic Society. This was a serious organisation, which had 30,000 supporters by the time of its collapse, and along with the black civil rights movement became a feared bogeyman for...

Candlelit solidarity with the Chilean uprising

Photos: Rocío Almuna Morales On Wednesday October 30, "Chilean students, academics and workers in Bristol" held a "Candelight gathering" in support of the general strike in Chile, on the same day. Around fifty people, mostly left-wingers of Chilean origin, gathered and chanted to show support for the strike's demands. This followed a similar sized demo a week prior. Three demands that the Bristol demo was raising of the Chilean government were: 1. Against the military on the streets, the "state of constitutional exception" (martial law) and the restriction of civil, political and social...

Chile: 29 years on from Pinochet

In Chile, heavily armed troops and police are out on streets again, exerting brutal repression against those demonstrating peacefully against one of the more brutal neoliberal policies, similar to those of Margaret Thatcher. Chile is the richest country in Latin America, but equally suffers from one of the worst income distributions in the region or beyond. However, carrying out these brutal economic measures forcing the population into a continuing impoverishment, has been only possible under the current Political Constitution, drafted – in a hurry, in 1980 – by two individuals, ideological...

Latin America, violence, and capitalism

Marielle Franco, the Brazilian socialist feminist and LGBT activist, was brutally gunned down in Rio de Janeiro in March this year. Franco was a member of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), a revolutionary split from the Workers’ Party (PT). She was an outspoken critic of police brutality and the Brazilian president’s use of the army to intervene in the favelas of the city. Franco’s death has been attributed to gangs, but many suspect it was an extra-judicial killing by militias closely linked to the state. Some 17 of the world’s 50 most violent cities are in Brazil, while Rio has 10...

A revolutionary left turned neoliberal

According to a local human rights group, at least 34 unarmed demonstrators have been killed, and hundreds injured, as the Nicaraguan government has attacked protests against pension changes which will make workers pay more from their wages to get less in pensions. The government has promised to consider changes, but only in discussion with Nicaragua’s bosses’ federation, its main social ally. Yet this government is headed by Daniel Ortega, leader of the Sandinista Liberation Front, which first won power in Nicaragua in 1979 as an avowedly revolutionary socialist force. Back then, some...

Conservatives derail Colombian peace process

In August, Colombian President Manuel Santos and Timochenko, leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), signed a peace accord. The agreement that had taken four years to negotiate would begin the voluntary disarmament of FARC guerillas by UN forces. On 2 October, voters in the referendum rejected the accord by a margin of 0.4% on a 30% turnout. The result was a shock to peace accord supporters. Santos and the FARC leaders have promised to honour the ceasefire to the end of the year, and to return to negotiations. The FARC twitter feed names companies who funded the “no”...

Chile: ex-prisoners fight for compensation

A group of ex-political prisoners in Chile are on hunger strike demanding better pensions and compensation for the torture they endured under Pinochet's dictatorship. Workers' Liberty activist Matt Weekes spoke to Ben Veraga-Carvello a Chilean refugee living in Britain. Ben arrived in Britain in 1976, he lived initially in a reception centre for Chilean refugees in London before moving to Sheffield. As a prominent student activist and a leading member of revolutionary group M.I.R. who had supported the left-wing President Salvador Allende, Ben had been targeted by Pinochet's regime. He had...

Black slavery in North America

History is rich in examples of the revival of institutions appropriate to more primitive civilizations in advanced societies. Mankind is infinitely ingenious in adapting old cultural forms to new uses under the changed conditions of a new social order. Like a thrifty housewife, humanity hesitates to discard familiar acquisitions, however outmoded; it prefers to store them in attics or cellars in the hope of finding a use for them in the future. The history of economics, no less than the history of philosophy, religion, and politics, shows that such expectations are often realized. The rise of...

Negro Slavery in North America

History is rich in examples of the revival of institutions appropriate to more primitive civilizations in advanced societies. Mankind is infinitely ingenious in adapting old cultural forms to new uses under the changed conditions of a new social order. Like a thrifty housewife, humanity hesitates to discard familiar acquisitions, however outmoded; it prefers to store them in attics or cellars in the hope of finding a use for them in the future. The history of economics, no less than the history of philosophy, religion, and politics, shows that such expectations are often realized. The rise of...

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