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.
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
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
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.
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.
by Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info
On June 15, the National Bureau of Statistics cancelled its press conference in Beijing. It was due to present May's economic data, showing that China's economy continues to "gain momentum" following the shocking crash of the first quarter.
The cancellation was forced by the new wave of coronavirus infections in Beijing, which caused authorities to sharply reverse plans to fully re-open the city. Schools, which only re-opened the previous week, were again closed and 40 percent of flights from the capital's two airports were cancelled. Over 90,000 residents near the outbreak's center were put under strict lockdown with armed police cordoning off the area.
The new outbreak, with almost 200 confirmed cases in one week, is linked to the city's biggest wholesale food market at Xinfandi. It came like a lightning bolt from a clear blue sky. Beijing had not reported a single new case of COVID-19 for 55 days. That this has happened in the capital, the Chinese dictatorship's seat of power, is both chilling and embarrassing for Xi Jinping following months of propaganda claiming China's "victory" over the pandemic.
Guerillas, Smugglers and Militarization on Colombia-Venezuela Frontier
by Joshua Collins, The New Humanitarian
Even against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, a war is being waged along the vast and porous Venezuela-Colombia border, across which people, narcotics, black market gasoline, food, and medicine are smuggled, and where criminals and guerrillas find refuge.
The low-intensity conflict has been simmering for years, but border closures have had a habit of driving up the violence. In 2019, when the frontier was closed for three months on the Venezuelan side, violence, kidnappings, forced recruitment by armed groups, and disappearances of migrants fleeing Venezuela spiked.