By Susana Hurlich

September 17, 2008 -- Havana -- The TV coverage here in Cuba on the impact of hurricanes Gustav and Ike is very instructive, not just in showing clearly the extent of damage, but in giving a sense of the feelings and spirit of the people through many, many different testimonies. I notice that in much of the reporting outside the country, there's not much commentary on this aspect, which is as important -- if not more so in the long run -- as the statistics on damage.

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Cuban workers work with heavy machines to remove debris infront of a house in Havana, Cuba on September 9, 2008, after the passing of Hurricane Ike. EPA/ALEJANDRO ERNESTO.

A conversation between Eric Hobsbawm and Marcello Musto. Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the permission of Marcello Musto.

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September 20, 2008 -- At the end of the background information below (and HERE) is a link to an open letter to the national and international community sent by imprisoned Colombian trade unionist and human rights campaigner Liliana Obando.

Background

Colombian trade union and human rights activist Liliana Obando was arrested and detained in a maximum security prison on August 8 by the anti-terrorism unit of the Colombian National Police. She was charged with “rebellion” against the state, a catch-all charge that is regularly used to imprison those who speak out against the government of President Alvaro Uribe Velez, the largest recipient of US military aid in the region.

At the time of her arrest, Obando, the sole breadwinner in her family of two young sons and her mother, was carrying out a study on assassinations of Agricultural Workers Union Federation (Fensuagro) members by paramilitary death squads and government security forces.

September 23, 2008 -- Venezuelanalysis -- The following is a translation of a document produced by the Venezuela's Ministry for Communication and Information. It is a summary of the content of the 26 laws passed by the Venezuelan executive and also seeks to debunk some of the myths spread by the right-wing opposition. The actual laws are 30-60 pages each, so it is an accessible way to learn what they are. The Venezuelan government is distributing this summary across Venezuela.

From Democracy Now!

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September 23, 2008 -- In South Africa, the deputy leader of the African National Congress has been chosen to serve as interim president following the resignation of South African President Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki resigned on Sunday over allegations of interference in a corruption case against political rival and current ANC party president Jacob Zuma. We speak to South African poet and activist Dennis Brutus.

Below are number left tributes to Peter Camejo, who died on September 13: from Green Left Weekly (Australia); Ralph Nader, US presidential candidate; veteran US socialist Barry Sheppard; Socialist Worker (USA) and Louis Proyect, moderator of the Marxism List (USA).

As a tribute, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has also republished two of Peter's most influential and enduring lectures (at http://links.org.au/node/625), talks that continue to educate young revolutionary socialists to this day. 

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Peter Camejo.

By Farooq Sulehria

September 17, 2008 -- Washington's next war is already on the go. It is as yet undeclared. However, it is not unapproved. ``Classified orders'', according to September 11 New York Times, were passed by President Bush last July. And surprise of surprises! The target is not ``axis of evil''-fame Iran. It is Washington's close ally in the ``war on terror'', Pakistan.

At the time of writing, news is pouring in from the Waziristan (tribal areas) region of Pakistan of yet another US attack that has left another five ``Taliban'' dead. Only a week ago, 20 ``Taliban'' were killed in another US attack. Between August 13 and September 12, at least 79 ``Taliban'' have been killed in nine US attacks on Pakistan's tribal areas. Since January 29 (the year's first attack claimed 12 lives), more than 150 people have been killed.

By Dick Nichols

September 20, 2008 -- “Will my superannuation [pension] fund be next?” “Are my savings safe?” As working people in the developed economies watch the assets of one financial institution after another vaporise into nothingness, tens of millions are asking these dreadful questions.

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Yesterday’s AAA assets are now junk and yesterday’s “risk-free” investments are losing money. No-one, not even the world’s central bankers, who are spending sleepless nights arranging rescue bailouts and emergency injections of trillions of dollars into a financial system frozen with fear and distrust, can answer them with 100% certainty.

By Patrick Bond

September 21, 2008 -- The past week has been a wild roller-coaster ride in and out of Southern African ruling-party politics, down the troughs of world capitalism, and up the peaks of radical social activism. Glancing around the region and the world from those peaks, we can see quite a way further than usual.

Looking first to South Africa, September 20's dumping of state president Thabo Mbeki by Jacob Zuma -- president of the African National Congress (ANC) -- and his temporary replacement (until next April 2009's election) by ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, was an excellent reflection of ruling elite fragility in neoliberal regimes. Some of Mbeki's main supporters, including Mbhazima Shilowa, the former trade union leader and now premier of Gauteng province, in the economic heartland of Johannesburg -- are apparently considering the launch of a competing party.

By Wellington Chibebe

September 20, 2008 -- The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions' General Council today met in Harare to deliberate on the recent signing of the power-sharing deal between the Zimbabwe African Nation Union-Patroitic Front (ZANU-PF) and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which was held on September 15, 2008.

After deliberating on the issue and taking a closer look at the deal, the General Council noted that the deal is a far cry from the ZCTU's expectations and that it is an outcome of a flawed process.

Instead, the General Council noted, the deal is all about power-sharing between ZANU-PF and MDC, leaving out primary causes of the dispute which has created the current political and economic impasse currently prevailing in the country.

It also noted that the process used in coming up with the deal was not all-inclusive as the civic society was not given an opportunity to participate.

The exclusion of such critical sectors as labour, the General Council noted, and the secretive manner in which issues were discussed, do not give credence to the outcome of the deal.

Scenes from Howard's Zinn's Marx in Soho (Bob Weick of the Iron Age Theatre appears in videos 2 & 5). For the latest on the play, go to http://www.marxinsoho.com/ Four more scenes follow: click HERE.

Marx on capitalism

By the Venezuela Information Office

On September 18, 2008 Human Rights Watch released a report entitled "Venezuela: Rights Suffer Under Chávez." The report contains biases and inaccuracies, and wrongly purports that human rights guarantees are lacking or not properly enforced in Venezuela. In addition, while criticising Venezuela's human rights in the political context, it fails to mention the many significant advancements made by the government on other essential human rights, such as access to education, healthcare, nutritious food, clean water and housing.

MYTH: "Discrimination on political grounds has been a defining feature of the Chávez presidency."