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.
The Heavy Toll COVID-19 Takes on Undocumented Immigrants
by Allyssa M.G. Scheyer, Jurist
By now, the effects of COVID-19 on American life and society are widespread and deeply felt, almost regardless of one's socioeconomic status. However, for undocumented immigrants in the United States, the COVID-19 crisis compounds issues that have existed for years, exposing immigrants to a barrage of political, social, and economic storm fronts that have disastrously collided at once. News outlets have reported on the real consequences of the near-national shutdown across the country. However, many recent news articles that cover the effects of COVID-19 on immigrants run the risk of understating the uniquely devastating effects that the virus has on undocumented immigrants and their families.
by Nava Thakuria, CounterVortex
As an unprecedented lockdown imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues across India, the country's newspaper groups face an uphill battle to maintain their devoted readership. The complete shutdown, to last at least through April 14, instantly prevented deliveries of morning papers to readers' doorsteps, and rumors spread that a paper itself could carry the novel coronavirus. Many publishers have been forced to drastically reduce their circulation figure.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the lockdown in a televised address to the billion-plus nation on March 24. The death toll from COVID-19 in India now stands at 275.
That Putin Wants You to Forget
by James Oliver, Euromaidan Press
On February 23, the Chechen and Ingush peoples of Russia's North Caucasus commemorated a tragedy in their history—the start of the Soviet deportation in 1944. Initiated by Stalin and supervised by his intelligence chief Lavrentiy Beria, it was carried out by a force of approximately 120,000 NKVD officers that would round up and expel 478,479 people. Today, Vladimir Putin is trying to suppress this history.
Exploring the Caucasus is akin to exploring a mini-continent with its many diverse ethnic groups and cultures all contained within a small geographic region. Here the historical forces of East, North and South collide.