Burma protest

by Nava Thakuria, CounterVortex

Burma is once again in the international headlines as the Southeast Asian nation has lost another opportunity to sustain its credibility as a multi-party democracy. A one-year state of emergency and period of military rule was announced in the early hours of February 1,  when the generals again seized power. Many of the newly elected lawmakers were detained just hours before Parliament was to convene its fresh session.

But over a hundred thousand Burmese citizens have taken to the streets across the country in the days since then, demanding restoration of democratic rule and release of all detained political leaders—including pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, known to her followers by the honorific Daw, or aunt. The spontaneous demonstrations across Burma bring back memories of the 2007 Saffron Revolution, led by Buddhist monks, which paved the way for the democratic transition four years later.


by Henry "Chip" Carey and Jennifer McCoy, Jurist

Americans were shocked by the January 6 storming of the US Capitol by the Proud Boys and other right-wing mobs and militia. International observers and some US politicians began referring to the country as a "banana republic"—a derogatory statement referring to banana-producing countries in Central America with histories of unstable and corrupt governments. Latin Americans generally have had more experience with and can more easily recognize thuggish behavior and its danger right away, be it from the left or the right. They therefore have been at the forefront in taking multilateral and region-wide action to promote and protect democracy.

The Western hemisphere in fact designed a process to collectively defend against threats to democracy like the one just faced by the US: the Inter-American Democratic Charter. This Charter could be invoked now to warn about the dangerous precedent set by an elected president refusing to accept the results of an electoral defeat and inciting violence to distort or prevent a peaceful transfer of power.


by Nava Thakuria, CounterVortex

In an industry already hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s media this year also saw an alarming increase in the slaying of journalists. As 2020 approaches its end, India emerges as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for working journalists—second only to Mexico. While Mexico has seen 12 journo-murders this year, the world’s largest democracy has registered 12.

The latest gloomy news broke from Tamil Nadu, where Telugu-language scribe G. Nagaraj, 45, fell prey to the assailants on November 22. Working for regional newspaper Villangam, Nagaraj was attacked by a group of goons with sharp weapons in full public view at Hosur locality. Seriously injured, Nagaraj was taken to a nearby government hospital where the doctors declared him brought dead. Acording to local accounts, he had recently been reporting on land-grabbing by Tamil Nadu’s “real estate mafia.”

Seventy-five years after Japan atomic bombings, a nuclear weapons ban treaty is finally realized


by Gwyn McClelland, The Conversation

The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will finally come into force after the 50th country (Honduras) ratified it October 25. The treaty will make the development, testing, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons illegal for those countries that have signed it.

This is an extraordinary achievement for those who have suffered the most from these weapons—including the hibakusha (survivors) of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the islanders who lived through nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific.

Since 1956, the hibakusha in Japan, South Korea, Brazil and elsewhere have been some of the most strident campaigners against the use of these weapons. Among them is a group of Japanese Catholics from Nagasaki whom I interviewed as part of my research collecting the oral histories of atomic bomb survivors.

Shinminby Francesco Dalessandro, Fifth Estate

By the official version of history, World War II started in Poland in 1939, but cases can also be made that it really began in Austria in 1938, Spain in 1936, Abyssinia in 1935—or Manchuria in 1931. All of these harbingers of the coming storm are well known to students of the era.

However, it is nearly forgotten that the Japanese invasion and occupation of Manchuria that year was partially aimed at crushing a self-governing anarchist "autonomous prefecture" that had been established in the region by exiles from Korea, which had already been occupied and annexed by the Japanese Empire. This critical episode demands more attention from historians.

Both the COVID-19 'New Normal' and Trump Exploitation of the Backlash Pose Grave Threats to Freedom

It Can't Happen Here

by Bill Weinberg, Fifth Estate

Around Lower Manhattan, storefronts have been boarded up with plywood since the looting of early June. The plywood has now all been covered with murals and graffiti art on the theme of Black Lives Matter. Throughout June, angry protests were a daily affair, as in cities across the country, and continue intermittently as I write.

There is a sense that the United States is poised at a razor's edge. The moment is ripe with potential for long overdue leaps of social progress—perhaps even a truly revolutionary situation. Anarchist ideas like abolishing the police are entering mainstream discourse with astonishing rapidity.

But as with gains for anarchist forces in Italy in the early 1920s, there is also the potential for a ultra-reactionary backlash—a descent into some kind of updated American variant of fascism.

Explaining Canada's Determination

Tijuana campe

by Shaurya Shukla, Jurist

Recently a Canadian court threw out the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) with the USA, finding that the detention centers in the United States violate the human rights of refugees. This pact compels refugees seeking asylum in Canada through the US-Canadian border to first seek asylum in the USA. The pact was challenged last year by Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees and the Canadian Council of Churches. A lawyer for the refugees stated that the USA does not qualify as a "Safe Third Country" under the administration of Donald Trump, as refugees are subjected to family separation and illegal pushbacks. The judge in the case, Ann Marie McDonald, pronounced that the STCA violates the Canadian Constitution guarantees of life, liberty, and security.

Washington Square

by Bill Weinberg, The Village Sun

The sight of statues of Confederate generals and slavocrat politicians coming down in several states across the country is a long-overdue correction. There is no ambiguity on what those monuments to Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, John Calhoun represented. These men stood in life for the most oppressive white supremacy, and their images were raised after their deaths as proud signifiers that the fundamentals of white supremacy remained intact despite the Civil War and Reconstruction. These monuments were raised as ritual intimidation and humiliation of African Americans.

Now, things are being taken to the next level, with statues targeted for removal that have racist content or historical associations but are not of figures who fought for slavery or the Confederacy, and were not raised as an intentionally threatening message to Blacks. And the question has reached New York City.