Water also at issue in France protests
Amid nationwide protests over the government's pension reform in France, clashes between demonstrators and police are reported from the rural commune of Saite-Soline, in the western department of Deux-Sèvres. Thousands defied an official ban March 25 to mobilize against the construction of new water storage "basins" for crop irrigation. In the ensuing fracas, security forces deployed helicopters and tear-gas, and several protesters were wounded, some seriously. Authorities said that gendarmes were injured as well, and patrol cars set ablaze. Some protesters reportedly dug up and dismantled a section of pipe that had been laid to feed the reservoir, and marched with the severed segments held aloft. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin described the scene as "eco-terrorism."
'Indefinite' general strike declared in Peru
After a pause for the holidays, protests over the ouster of president Pedro Castillo remobilized in Peru Jan. 4. Roadblocks and barricades have halted traffic on major arteries through the southern regions of Arequipa, Apurímac, Puno and Cuzco, while in the city of Cuzco public transportation and the markets have all been shut down. The new protests have been strongest in the south of the country. A year-end summit of Defense Fronts of the Southern Macro-Region was held in the city of Arequipa, where a call was issued for an "indefinite" nationwide general strike.
China: nationwide protests challenge dictatorship
Following weeks of sporadic protests against the recurrent draconian COVID-19 lockdowns in China, spontaneous demonstrations broke out in cities across the country Nov. 27. Street demos were reported from Shanghai, Nanjing, Chengdu and Wuhan as well as Beijing. In addition to slogans against the lockdowns and for freedom of speech and assembly, such verboten chants were heard as "Xi Jinping, step down" and "Communist Party, step down." Some called Xi a "dictator" and "traitor." Images have been circulating on social media despite the best efforts of authorities to contain them. Many images show demonstrators holding blank sheets of paper as an ironic protest against censorship.
Podcast: state capitalism and the Uyghur genocide
In Episode 149 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes that the UN Human Rights Office determination that China may be guilty of "crimes against humanity" in its mass detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang province is dismissed by the tankie-left ANSWER Coalition as "propagandistic." Meanwhile, it falls to Radio Free Asia, media arm of the US State Department, to aggressively cover the very real conditions of forced labor faced by the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples of Xinjiang—and how Western corporations benefit from it. While the Western pseudo-left betrays the Uyghurs, US imperialism exploits their suffering for propaganda against a rising China in the Great Game for the Asia-Pacific region. Figures such as Australia's Kevin Rudd incorrectly portray a "Return of Red China," blaming the PRC's increasingly totalitarian direction on a supposed neo-Marxism. Fortunately, the new anthology Xinjiang Year Zero offers a corrective perspective, placing the industrial-detention complex and techno-security state in the context of global capitalism and settler colonialism.
Xi Jinping consolidates self-coup —amid repression
After years of centralizing power in his own person, China's president and party secretary Xi Jinping secured a third leadership term Oct. 23 at the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. The new seven-member Politburo Standing Committee is stacked with loyalists, abandoning the practice of balancing rival tendencies within the body. This cements Xi's place as China's "paramount leader" in the autocratic tradition of Mao Zedong. Premier Li Keqiang is to step down, replaced by Shanghai party chief Li Qiang, who followed Xi onto the stage at the Great Hall of the People as the new Standing Committee was introduced. A new party doctrine has been promulgated under the banner of "Two Establishes"—establishing Xi's place as the core of the CCP, and establishing Xi Jinping Thought as guiding the CCP. For the first time in a generation, there are to be no women sitting on the 25-member Politburo. Xi's third term as party leader is unprecedented since Deng Xiaoping. (Reuters, NYT, CHRD, Bloomberg, Bloomberg, BBC News)
Iran: oil workers strike, join protests
The national uprising in Iran continued to spread over the past week, with petrochemical workers walking off the job at the major Asalouyeh plant on the Persian Gulf coast of Bushehr province—shortly followed by a similar wildcat strike at Abadan refinery in the neighboring restive province of Khuzestan. Videos posted to social media show workers at the Asalouyeh complex chanting "This year is the year of blood, Seyed Ali Khamenei is done!" and "Down with the dictator!"—both references to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. (Iran International) Security forces fired on protesters in Sanandaj, capital of Kordestan, another traditionally restive province, killing at least five. (BBC News) Lawyers in Tehran gathered in front of the Iranian Central Bar Association to protest the repression, and were themselves dispersed by tear-gas. (Jurist) In scenes across the country, schoolgirls held protests in which they removed their hijabs in defiance of authorities. In the southern city of Shiraz, Fars province, dozens of schoolgirls blocked traffic on a main road while waving their headscarves in the air and shouting "Death to the dictator!" (BBC News)
Ukraine: anarchists reject Moscow propaganda
The British anarchist journal Freedom features an interview Oct. 4 with Ukraine's Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists (RKAS), challenging the hegemony of Russian propaganda on the supposed anti-war left in the West, entitled "'Leftists' outside Ukraine are used to listening only to people from Moscow." The two longtime RKAS militants interviewed are Anatoliy Dubovik, born in Russia but now living in Dnipro, and Sergiy Shevchenko, from Donetsk but forced to relocate to Kyiv after the Russian-backed separatists seized power in Donbas. Both have been involved in protests against the Ukrainian government's gutting of labor protections and other "neoliberal" reforms. But they strenuously reject the flirtation between elements of the international left and the authoritarian Donbas separatists and their Russian sponsors. They especially protest Western lecturing to Ukrainians that they must "negotiate"—which inevitably means ceding territory to Russia in exchange for "peace."
UN report confirms forced labor in Xinjiang, Tibet
United Nations Special Rapporteur on slavery Tomoya Obokata released a report Aug. 16 on contemporary forms of slavery, which found that it is "reasonable to conclude" that forced labor "among Uygur, Kazakh and other ethnic minorities in sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing" is taking place in China's Xinjiang region. Obokata's assessment was made "based on an independent assessment of available information, including submissions by stakeholders, independent academic research, open sources, testimonies of victims, consultations with stakeholders, and accounts provided by the Government."
6 hours 24 min ago
6 hours 38 min ago
7 hours 5 min ago
4 days 5 hours ago
6 days 5 hours ago
1 week 34 min ago
1 week 49 min ago
1 week 5 hours ago
1 week 5 hours ago
1 week 23 hours ago