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Blood for oil in Nigeria: Military launches massive attack on Niger Delta villages

May 21, 2009 -- Democracy Now! -- The Nigerian military has been accused of killing hundreds, maybe thousands, of civilians in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The military offensive began eight days ago (May 13, 2009) but has received little international attention. We go to Nigeria to speak with Denzil Amagbe Kentebe of the Ijaw National Congress. We’re also joined by Sandy Cioffi, director of the new documentary Sweet Crude about the Niger Delta. The village of Oporoza, where much of the film was shot, has just been burned down.

International Day against Homophobia celebrated in Cuba -- three reports from Havana

Havana, 16 May, 2009 -- Prensa Latina -- International Day against Homophobia was observed here today, with the participation of a diverse, largely youthful public.

In the early hours of the morning, the day's activities began at the headquarters of the Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC) and the Pabellón Cuba, in the central district of El Vedado.

Mariela Castro Espín, the director of the National Center of Sex Education (CENESEX), presided over the inauguration of the day's events with a parade and the opening of the panel on "Sexual diversity in the Cuban family."

Nepal: The people resist elite coup

May Day rally in Kathmandu, May 1, 2009.

By Stuart Munckton

May 9, 2009 -- “This is not just a Maoist movement”, said Green Left Weekly’s correspondent in Kathmandu, Ben Peterson. “This is threatening to become a new people’s movement, like the one that swept away the monarchy.” 

Peterson was commenting on the large number of daily demonstrations across the country to demand respect for the people’s will. They have come in the aftermath of the May 3 resignation of Prime Minister Prachanda and other members of the government belonging to the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M).

Peterson described the events as a “soft coup”.

The resignations were forced by the insubordination by the military high command, backed by the president and sections the coalition government. The UCPN (M), which had led the coalition government until its members walked out on May 3, had tried to use constitutional means to sack the chief of the army, General Kul Bahadur Katwal.

Former elite resists the `New Nepal'

Supporters of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) demand the sacking of army chief of staff Rookmangud Katawal on April 28.

* * *

STOP PRESS -- Ben Peterson from Kathmandu reports on May 3, 2009, at 3pm:

This morning the Maoists in government made the decision to remove General Katawal from his position of chief of army staff after his repeated political insubordination. This follows 10 days of trying to reach consensus with the other political parties, up until a final cross-party meeting this morning. Failing to achieve consenus, the goverment ordered Katawal's retirement.

Ronnie Kasrils -- South Africa and Palestine: Long roads to freedom

Ronnie Kasrils spoke at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow on March 20, 2009, at a talk organised by Pulsemedia.org and the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. During the years of apartheid rule in South Africa, Ronnie Kasrils was a leader in the banned South African Communist Party and African National Congress, and its military wing Umkonto we Sizwe. Hunted by the security police, he was described as ``armed and dangerous''. Kasrils served as a government minister in post-spartheid South Africa until 2008.

Today Kasrils is an activist in the Palestine Solidarity Committee in South Africa, which recently won support from Durban dock workers to adopt a policy of boycotting Israeli ships that dock in South African ports.

`Worse than South African apartheid'

Who are the real pirates in Africa's waters?

By Tony Iltis

April 18, 2009 -- The report in the Times of London began: ``Pirates caught redhanded by one of Her Majesty’s warships after trying to hijack a cargo ship off Somalia made the grave mistake of opening fire on two Royal Navy assault craft packed with commandos armed with machineguns and SA80 rifles.’’ The references to modern weapons and the use of the modern term ``hijacking’’, indicate that this is a recent article (from the November 12, 2008, online edition). In other respects it could have been written 300 years ago.

Iqbal Bano: The subcontinent's voice of defiance against tyranny

By the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation

April 22, 2009 -- Iqbal Bano, the subcontinent’s beloved ghazal singer, born in India and trained in the Dilli Gharana by the legendary Ustad Chand Khan, passed away on April 21, 2009, in Lahore at the age of 74.

(Updated May 27, 2009) Wiwa versus Shell: Oil company to stand trial for complicity in repression of the Ogoni people

Shell on trial: Landmark trial set to begin over Shell’s role in 1995 execution of Nigerian human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa

May 26, 2009 -- Democracy Now! -- A landmark trial against oil giant Royal Dutch Shell’s alleged involvement in human rights violations in the Niger Delta begins this Wednesday in a federal court in New York. Fourteen years after the widely condemned execution of the acclaimed Nigerian writer and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, the court will hear allegations that Shell was complicit in his torture and execution.

Guests:

Steve Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International. He was at Shell’s annual shareholder meeting in London earlier this month and has been following the case against Shell. He also worked closely with Ken Saro-Wiwa in the last two years before Saro-Wiwa’s death.

Michael Lebowitz: Venezuela's socialism of the 21st century

April 16, 2009 -- Michael Lebowitz has recently been in Australia as a featured guest of the World at a Crossroads conference, held in Sydney April 10-12, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective and Green Left Weekly. Lebowitz is professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. He is a program coordinator with the Centro International

Michael Lebowitz: What would Marx say today?

Michael Lebowitz addresses the World at a Crossroads conference. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.

Is it time to dust off a copy of Das Kapital and revisit Marx's analysis of capitalism's ills?

Michael Lebowitz has recently been in Australia as a featured guest of the World at a Crossroads conference, held in Sydney April 10-12, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective and Green Left Weekly. He was interviewed by the ABC Radio's Late Night Live on April 14, 2009.

Audio: Capitalism and Climate Change -- Ian Angus

Left Click -- Ian Angus is the editor of climateandcapitalism.com and a founder of the Eco-socialist International Network. He is also associate editor of Canada's Socialist Voice and the director of the Socialist History Project. Ian toured Australia (Perth poster, left) in the run up to the World at a Crossroads conference held in Sydney on April 10-12, 2009, which was organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective.

Thailand: Red Shirt democratic movement faces armed might of the ruling elites

[For the latest on developments in Thailand, please click HERE.]

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn, Turn Left Thailand

April 13, 2009 -- For the fourth time in forty years, troops have opened fire on pro-democracy demonstrators in Bangkok. Each time, the aim has been the same: to protect the interests of the conservative elites who have run Thailand for the past 70 years.

For those watching the cold-blooded murder by soldiers on the streets of Bangkok, it may be tempting just to assume that the present chaos is merely about different coloured T-shirts and supporters of different political parties, as though they were mirror images of each other. This is not the case.

(Updated May 3) Ireland & Britain: Car workers occupy plants over jobs -- Support Visteon workers!

May 3, 2009 -- Workers at Visteon, following a four-week battle, have gained a victory. After the occupation of the Visteon plants and 24-hour picketing when the company announced its liquidation, Ford/Visteon bosses were finally forced to concede to the workers' demands. Workers in Enfield and Basildon have already voted in favour of the deal, while those at Belfast will be voting soon. Below are reports and videos that recount events as they unfolded.

* * *

John Bellamy Foster on the economic and ecological crises: `The common denominator is capitalism'

John Bellamy Foster interviewed by Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly's Ruth Ratcliffe

A 20-minute interview recorded with a handheld cam in Oregon, USA, in February 2009. John Bellamy Foster is editor of Monthy Review and professor of sociology at the University of Oregon. He is co-author, with Fred Magdoff, of The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences (Monthly Review Press, January 2009) among numerous other works. Foster discusses the global economic crisis, its implications for the world and particularly the Australian economy. He also discusses the ecological crisis and the potential for revolutionary change.

Animation: `Closed Zone', by Yoni Goldman, the animator of `Waltz with Bashir'

Despite declarations that it has "disengaged" from the Gaza Strip, Israel maintains control of the Strip’s overland border crossings, territorial waters and air space. This includes substantial, albeit indirect, control of the Rafah Crossing.

During the past 18 months, Israel tightened its closure of Gaza, almost completely restricting the passage of goods and people both to and from the Strip.

These policies punish innocent civilians with the goal of exerting pressure on the [elected] Hamas government, violating the rights of 1.5 million people who seek only to live ordinary lives –- to be reunited with family, to pursue higher education, to receive quality medical treatment and to earn a living.

Birth of the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France: a reportback from participants

Toronto, February 18, 2009 -- Left Streamed -- The founding conference of the Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste (NPA, New Anti-Capitalist Party) was held just outside Paris over the weekend of February 6-8, 2009.

[For more analysis of the NPA, click HERE.]

The conference marks the conclusion of a process initiated following the encouraging election results (1.5 million votes) of the Ligue communiste révolutionnaire's (LCR, Revolutionary Communist League) candidate in the 2007 presidential elections, 34-year-old postal worker Olivier Besancenot.

This process has involved thousands of activists and interested individuals organised in hundreds of committees across France. The new party begins its life with some 10,000 members and in a context of deepening economic crisis and a big wave of strikes and protests against the hard-right government of president Nicolas Sarkozy.

New left party -- Power of the Masses Party -- formed in Philippines


Part 1: Interview with Sonny Melencio, chairperson of Partido Lakas ng Masa of the Philippines. Conducted by Peter Boyle for Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewalin Manila on February 1, 2009. (Parts 2 and 3 below).
 
[Reihana Mohideen, a representative of Partido Lakas ng Masa, will be a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads conference, to be held in Sydney, Australia, on April 10-12, 2009, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective, Resistance and Green Left Weekly. Visit http://www.worldATACrossroads.org for full agenda and to book your tickets.]

By Peter Boyle

San Francisco trade unionists support boycott of apartheid Israel


San Francisco trade unionists support boycott of apartheid Israel, protest in soldarity with the Palestinian people, January 10, 2009.
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