Jim Crow alive and well in the US
Tens of thousands took to the streets nationwide across the US in response to the exposure of the depth of the structural racism embedded in US society through the impunity with which the US state kills black people.
The movement on the streets, triggered by the grand jury decision in St Louis not to prosecute the police killer of Michael Brown, took on a new dynamic following a similar decision in the New York case of Eric Garner. In New York the guilty were let off despite video evidence that this unarmed black man was choked to death by a police officer.
The following article by Jude Woodward, assessing the US 'Pacific pivot' strategy following Obama's recent visit to Asia, originally appeared on her New Cold War blog.
Obama’s November week-long, whistle stop tour of Asia – attending the Beijing APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation) summit, the ASEAN meeting in Myanmar and the G20 in Australia – was intended to re-launch America’s crucial Asia-Pacific (aka China) strategy, in the doldrums since Obama’s aborted 2013 trip cancelled in the context of the ‘fiscal cliff’ crisis. Instead the trip merely underlined how much ground the USA has to make up in order to trump China’s growing influence in the region.
US and Saudi Arabia collude to use oil price fall against Russia
The dramatic fall in world oil prices – down to around $70 a barrel from $95 earlier this year – is already having a profound economic effect, particularly on countries that are reliant on oil and gas exports. Venezuela’s budget deficit is accelerating, Iran is under increased pressure, but the most dramatic impact so far has been in Russia.
Russia is the world's second largest oil exporter with oil and gas accounting for 70 per cent of all exports and half of government revenues. The combined impact of the oil price fall and Western sanctions in response to developments in Ukraine have led to a huge tumble in the value of the rouble, which has fallen by 36 per cent so far, falling 6 per cent in one day on Monday 1st December.
Ferguson - the 'American dream' is revealed as a nightmare
America's post-crisis weak recovery has not led to any improvement in living standards particularly in its most impoverished and disenfranchised African American communities. On the contrary inequality has risen and in the most powerful country in the world its inner cities are riven with poverty and its communities criminalised. Facing growing disaffection the police have attempted to maintain control through increased use of violence and repression. After the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Fergusson, Missouri the response of the black community and progressives was that enough is enough. The grand jury decision not to charge the St Louis police officer who shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, will unleash another round of protest and struggle as the state is thrown back on violence alone and oppressed communities refuse to accept it and the deep-rooted racism that lies at its core.
By Tom O’Donnell
In stagnant waters all sorts of virulent organisms can grow. As Britain’s economy continues to stagnate racism is spreading and becoming more poisonous.
Cameron now says that the British economy is likely to deteriorate once more, prolonging the crisis, but none of the mainstream political parties offers any policy which would resolve it. The economic stagnation will continue and so too will the unrelenting racist propaganda campaign.
Thousand of students are expected to join the demonstration on Wednesday 19 November.
The Free Education protest is organised by a coalition, including: the Student Assembly Against Austerity, the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and the Young Greens.
The demo's Facebook event is here and it can be followed on twitter via the hashtags #Nov19 and #FreeEducation.
By Jane West
The storm that has swirled around Ed Miliband's head over recent days has been entirely the result of hostile media manufactures and the machinations of backbench uber-Blairites. But they have exploited the mistakes and terrible weaknesses of Labour's campaign for the general election.
By Bob Clarke
The political impact of the economic crisis in Europe has entered a new phase. When the economy was contracting virtually all parties implementing austerity policies were thrown out of office or at least experienced a large drop in their support. In the more recent period of economic stagnation, the same economic policies have the effect of shifting the burden of the crisis onto workers and the poor while capital benefits, boosting the incomes of the very rich and allied layers.
The question of devolution for Scotland has not been resolved by the outcome of the referendum. All three leading Westminster parties made a pledge just days before the vote, vowing fundamental reform of Scotland’s governance and a strict timetable for its implementation.
By Paul Roberts
The Western backed parliamentary coup in the Ukraine was a significant advance for the US-led project of advancing its sphere of influence and pushing Russia further back in Eastern Europe. The US’s goals in the country have nothing to do with greater self-determination for Ukraine and are all about bringing it under imperialist control. Moreover this objective is not new, but has been the long-term aim of the US since the collapse of the USSR in 1991, to which end, aided and abetted by the EU, it has been funding and orchestrating pro-Western movements and organisations in Ukraine.
By Nicky Dempsey
Vile attacks on immigrants and ethnic minorities are continuing all across Europe.
Reaction is being whipped up by the pro-austerity parties, who also lend support to each other’s agendas. The latest example, but by no means the worst, is Merkel’s support for Cameron on her recent visit to Britain. While she was completely unwilling and unable to offer any encouragement on his central demand for a European referendum, the consolation prize offered was support for yet another ‘clampdown on benefit tourism’.
There is no significant electoral threat to Labour from UKIP. The real danger arises from adaption to its politics.
The balance of support of Britain’s political parties, confirmed by opinion polls and actual voting, including last week’s Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election, indicates Labour remains on course to become the largest party at next year’s general election. This is being achieved on the back of divisions on the right between the Tories and UKIP plus disgust at Lib Dem acquiescence with the Tories.
This coming weekend the Women's Assembly Against Austerity will gather in London to discuss the impact of austerity specifically on women. The event is organised under the auspices of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and speakers will include representative from various unions as well as the TUC, women campaigners and activists, researchers and experts. It will be an unmissable opportunity for women in the movement to get together to get the facts and co-ordinate the fight-back. You can register here.
The Tory party is failing to even keep the few women it got elected to parliament in 2010. Amongst retiring MPs, Tory women on average only remain in parliament one fifth of the time of Labour women.
The Centre for Women & Democracy analysis of MP retirement rates (read here) reveals that:
Having recouped the setbacks it experienced in the Middle East in 2011/12, imperialism has now hit some problems. These have largely arisen because imperialism, facing obstacles in the form of the Russia-China veto in the UN, the failure of Britain to back a military strike against Syria and pressures on its own military budgets, has relied on proxy military forces, including al-Qaeda inspired groups, to pursue its campaign to overthrow Assad. These now pose a threat to the West.
As part of a campaign launched by Venezuela’s extreme right-wing opposition leaders, which they have called La Salida (The Ousting), groups of violent Venezuelan opposition thugs launched a wave of violent street disturbances in various parts of Venezuela on Wednesday 12 February. Tragically this has resulted in the death of at least two people with the authorities reporting that 23 people were also injured.
By Jennifer Nash
Last week students from more than 50 campuses took part in the Student Assembly Against Austerity’s national week of action to halt the government’s plans to sell off the student loan book to private companies.
Hundreds of militant activists and trade unionists gathered in central London to oppose concerted efforts to curb the power of the trade union movement. The People’s Assembly Against Austerity brought together a series of campaigning organisations, grassroots activists and union members to rally in support of ‘Hands off our unions’.
Countdown toEnd of Cameron's political career
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Fight austerity and racist scapegoating
Previous publications (PDF):
Revolution and Counter-revolution in the Middle East, pamphlet
Unite to fight the Tory attacks, leaflet
Investment not cuts, leaflet
Drop cuts not bombs, leaflet