International News

Cuba moves to cut 'inflated payrolls'

Cuba’s trade union confederation, the CTC, announced in the September 13 edition of the Communist Party (PCC) daily Granma that half a million workers, one in 10 state employees, will be dismissed by May 1. This is downsizing on a vast scale: in Cuba’s post-capitalist, centrally planned economy, the socialist state currently employs 85% the workforce of 5.2 million.

Debunking the quiet lies about the Afghanistan war

The owners of corporations, their media and their parliamentary stooges have deliberately created many myths over many years in order to justify their wars for profit. A vile mix of racism, xenophobia and nationalism is added to an almost religious awe surrounding the military and war. This mystification is so pervasive that even among the 60% of people who oppose the Afghanistan war, many unwittingly base their arguments or reasoning on these fallacies. In order to properly understand the war, we need to look at the facts and expose the brutality of occupied Afghanistan.

The War on WikiLeaks

The attacks on WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, are a response to an information revolution that threatens old power orders in politics and journalism. The incitement to murder trumpeted by public figures in the United States, together with attempts by the Obama administration to corrupt the law and send Assange to a hell-hole prison for the rest of his life, are the reactions of a rapacious system exposed as never before.

Venezuelan election: Anti-Chavez forces fail again

“It is very clear: Venezuela said no to Cuban-like communism”, declared Maria Corina Machado, the main spokesperson for Venezuela’s opposition Democratic Unity Alliance (MUD), shortly after the September 26 nation-wide elections to the country’s 165-seat national parliament. She claimed that President Hugo Chavez had “turned the election to the National Assembly into a plebiscite and lost”. In reality, Chavez’s ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) and its allies had won 59% of the seats in the legislature — a result usually described as a “landslide victory”.

Tunisia: 'They cannot steal the revolution from us!'

Following the hasty departure of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on January 14, Tunisia’s uprising has continued to mobilise across the country against the fake “national unity” government imposed upon it by the dictator’s cronies, desperate to cling to power.

Spain's working class confronts Zapatero's austerity plan

Ten million workers — more than half of Spain’s workforce - joined a general strike on September 29, and around 1.5 million participated in street demonstrations, according to the Union Confederation of Workers’ Commissions (CCOO) and General Union of Workers (UGT), Spain’s two major trade union federations. In Madrid, between 100,000 people (according to the daily newspaper El Pais) and 500,000 people (according to the CCOO and UGT), mobilised in the city’s centre in the largest protest faced by the “centre-left” Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government, since the election of prime minister Jose Zapatero, in 2004.

New blogs translate the Cuban and Venezuelan revolutions

For more than 50 years, the Cuban revolution has been an inspiration to millions around the world. Since the successful 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro with his younger brother Raul and Ernesto Che Guevara, many have studied, commented and debated its significance in the struggle for socialism. Similarly, since the victory of Hugo Chavez in the Venezuelan presidential elections of 1998, a discussion has raged around a new socialism of the 21st century.

Indonesian rightists try to stop LGBT film festival

[The following is a slightly abridged version of a statement issued by the Perempuan Mahardhika (Free Women) National Network on September 28.]

Palestinians speak on growing boycott of Israel

In 2005, more than 170 Palestinian civil society organisations issued an international call for the boycott of Israel. Inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid, the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign is conducted in the framework of international solidarity and resistance to injustice and oppression. It calls for non-violent punitive measures to be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognise the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with international law. Over the past five years, the BDS campaign has gone from strength to strength internationally, with trade unions, student groups and other sectors announcing support. Kim Bullimore spoke with Omar Barghouti and Hind Awwad in Ramallah about the growing international campaign. Barghouti is a Palestinian political and cultural analyst and a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). Awwad is the national coordinator of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC).

The Silwan riots and 'peace negotiations'

On September 23, Samir Shirhan, a 34-year-old Palestinian father of five, was shot dead by an Israeli private security guard paid by the Israeli government to protect illegal settlers attempting to colonise the Silwan neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem.