Consensus to combat the right wing counteroffensive

Granma | 29 August, 2016

The meeting took place August 26-28, in Lima. Photo: Atilio Borón

Lima.—During its closing session this Sunday, August 28, of the Meeting of Communist and Revolutionary Parties of Latin America, participants paid tribute to the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, and his concept of revolution, following his 90th birthday, celebrated August 13.

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Protests Across Brazil as Dilma Rousseff Defends Herself

Telesur | 29 August, 2016

“We are 54 million Dilmas,” people across the country chanted, alluding to Rousseff’s 2014 vote tally and demanding interim President Michel Temer resign.

Thousands of people and many social organizations protested in Brazil’s main cities on Monday, the same day suspended President Dilma Rousseff made her final pitch for staying in office to the Brazilian Senate.

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Dilma Warns of Democracy’s Death in Impeachment Testimony

Telesur | 29 August, 2016

In measured but blunt language, the suspended president proclaims her innocence and says Brazil is “one step away from a real coup d’etat.”

Suspended President Dilma Rousseff took the stand Monday morning in her impeachment trial, and in measured but blunt language denied any criminal wrongdoing in handling the country’s budget, and decried the effort to remove her from office as a “coup” orchestrated by Brazilian politicians to stop a federal investigation of allegations of bribery and influence-peddling.

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Expert Panel: The Anthropocene Epoch Has Definitely Begun

by Ian Angus

Mrzine | 29 August, 2016

Key conclusion of Anthropocene Working Group report to Geological Congress: the “Great Acceleration” in the second half of the 20th century marked the end of the Holocene and the beginning of a new geological epoch.

The evidence is overwhelming: earth entered a new geological epoch in about 1950.  In an official report to the International Geological Congress, the Anthropocene Working Group made that case, and proposed to move towards official adoption in the next 2-3 yearsRead More »

Brexit and the EU Implosion: National Sovereignty — For What Purpose?

by Samir Amin

Mrzine | 08 August, 2016

The defense of national sovereignty, like its critique, leads to serious misunderstandings once one detaches it from the social class content of the strategy in which it is embedded.  The leading social bloc in capitalist societies always conceives sovereignty as a necessary instrument for the promotion of its own interests based on both capitalist exploitation of labor and the consolidation of its international positions.

Today, in the globalized neoliberal system (which I prefer to call ordo-liberal, borrowing this excellent term from Bruno Odent) dominated by financialized monopolies of the imperialist triad (the United States, Europe, Japan), the political authorities in charge of the management of the system for the exclusive benefit of the monopolies in question conceive national sovereignty as an instrument enabling them to improve their “competitive” positions in the global system.  The economic and social means of the state (submission of labor to employer demands, organization of unemployment and job insecurity, segmentation of the labor market) and policy interventions (including military interventions) are associated and combined in the pursuit of one sole objective: maximizing the volume of rent captured by their “national” monopolies.Read More »

Brazil’s ‘Week of National Shame Begins’: Lula

Telesur | 25 August, 2016

Former President Lula da Silva criticized the final impeachment trial against Dilma Rousseff, which begins today in the Senate.

Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva branded the impeachment process against suspended President Dilma Rousseff “embarassing” on Thursday, the same day the final phase of the process began in the Senate.Read More »

International artists and intellectuals urge Brazilian senators to respect 2014 election results

No Coup in Brazil | 24 August , 2016


Before the imminent final vote in the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff, artists and intellectuals from the U.K., the U.S., Canada and India have released a statement exhorting Brazil’s senators to respect the result of the 2014 election, and criticizing the “politically motivated impeachment.” The statement warns that if this “sustained attack on [Brazil’s] democratic institutions” is successful then it could set Brazil back decades and have negative reverberations across the region.Read More »

Major U.S. Labor, Human Rights, Environmental and Women’s Organizations Denounce “Legislative Coup” Against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

By Maria Luisa Mendonça & Jovanna García Soto

Grassroots International | 24 August, 2016


As the Olympic Games come to a close in Rio de Janeiro, non-governmental organizations and unions in the United States are condemning the impeachment process against Brazil’s president. A public statement released today states: “We, the undersigned organizations, support democracy in Brazil and denounce the forced removal of Brazil’s elected president, Dilma Rousseff, as well as the criminalization and repression of Brazilian social movements.”
“The impeachment of Brazil’s legitimately elected president, Dilma Rousseff, is essentially a coup by a group of right-wing politicians who themselves are under investigation for massive corruption. It is intended to distract voters from the widespread corruption in the interim government and from the power grab by these politicians,” said Maria Luisa Mendonça, co-director of Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos (Network for Social Justice and Human Rights) in Brazil.
“In July, the independent federal prosecutor’s office concluded that President Rousseff was not responsible for violating fiscal laws, which constitutes the main charge against her in the impeachment proceedings,” the statement reads. The message has been endorsed by 44 organizations, including the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the United Steelworkers, Grassroots International, the Global Fund for Women, Amazon Watch, and the National Lawyers Guild, among other prominent labor unions, and human rights, environmental and women’s organizations.

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Questions following coup in Brazil

[Part VII: The incapacity]

By Farooque Chowdhury

Frontier | 22 August, 2016

[Parts I-V have been published here earlier]

Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson raise two questions: “Why does a nondemocratic elite ever democratize? Since democracy will bring a shift of power in favor of the citizens, why would the elite ever create such a set of institutions? […T]his only occurs because the disenfranchised citizens can threaten the elite and force it to make concessions. These threats can take the form of strikes, demonstrations, riots, and – in the limit – a revolution. Because these actions impose costs on the elite, it will try to prevent them. It can do so by making concessions, by using repression to stop social unrest and revolution, or by giving away its political power and democratizing. Nevertheless, repression is often sufficiently costly that it is not an attractive option for elites. Concessions may take several forms – particularly policies that are preferred by the citizens, such as asset or income redistribution – and are likely to be less costly for the elite than conceding democracy.” (op. cit.)Read More »

Questions following coup in Brazil

[PartVI: Grab back]

By Farooque Chowdhury

Frontier | 15 August, 2016


Along with the gains by the lower part of the population, another factor came forward: “When interest rates reached the lowest rate ever of 2% it became clear it was time to punish Dilma. By withholding their investments they forced a general increase in prices. Brazilian businesses argued that they were withholding their investment due to high risk levels. With low interest rates, rather than invest, as occurs in the United States, they decided to increase their prices – given the way the Brazilian economy is structured – starting in 2014 inflation rates quickly expanded.(Mello and Muniz, op. cit.)Read More »