Opening session of HM Online 2021: Marxism, State, Politics

Is a Strong State all that it takes? The State, Coercion and Social Transformation
Pangiotis Sotiris

The Dominant Political Cultures of the British State
Mike Wayne

From Neoliberalism to Neostatism: Transformations in the Post-Pandemic Ideological Horizon
Paolo Gerbaudo


Panagiotis Sotiris teaches for the Hellenic Open University, Greece, and is a member of the Historical Materialism Editorial Board. He is the author of numerous articles and books on Marxist theory and politics.

Michael Wayne (Brunel University UK)

Paolo Gerdaudo (Kings College, UK)

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Mapping of the Main Violations of International Law Directly or Indirectly Attributable to the United States of America in the Context of the Arrest and Arbitrary Detention of Alex Saab in Cape Verde

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Venezuela Denounces Violations in US Case Against Alex Saab

teleSUR | November 02, 2021

Alex Saab, a victim of the U.S. empire, continues to advocate for his defense.
Alex Saab, a victim of the U.S. empire, continues to advocate for his defense. | Photo: Twitter/@Angei476

The defense of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab today denounced the multiple violations of international law in the process brought against him by the U.S. government.

In a press release, the jurists stated that all the irregularities presented since the arbitrary detention of the ambassador on June 12, 2020, are “the result of a joint interstate and illegal operation” between Washington and Cape Verde, under the guise of a judicial cooperation procedure.

The team of defense lawyers recalled Alex Saab’s status as Venezuela’s special envoy and its deputy permanent representative to the African Union. He remained in arbitrary detention until October 16, 2021, when he was illegally transferred to Miami.

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Why are most charges against Alex Saab dropped?

Laila Tajeldine

Últimas Noticias | November 02, 2021

A scandal that has no similar precedents is the one executed on October 16, 2021 by the United States Government, who in its desperation to overthrow the legitimately constituted government in Venezuela, dared to kidnap the Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab Morán, clearly identified with diplomatic passport no. 045778720, accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as “Special Envoy” of Venezuela since April 9, 2018, accreditation that automatically grants diplomatic immunity as established by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations regarding to the inviolability of the figure of the Special Envoy (arts. 14, 29 and 40).

The truth is that once they identify from the United States the role that Alex Saab played in the projects that allowed the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to avoid sanctions, importing food, medicine and other products into the country, a persecution against the diplomat and in July 2019, Saab being Special Envoy, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury, imposed sanctions on Saab and several financial entities to block the commercial activity of importing food and medicines to Venezuela .

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Documents Show How the US Government Used Social Media to Intervene in Venezuela

Tim Gill and Christian Lewelling

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro speaks during a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela, August 2021. (Manaure Quintero / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In recent months, US lawmakers have condemned Facebook for harming children’s health, amplifying violence from Washington to India, and disseminating misinformation surrounding COVID-19 and its vaccine. The criticisms follow a leak of thousands of internal company documents known as the Facebook Papers, which reveal that despite knowledge of its products’ role in fueling a range of toxic behaviors, Facebook has refused to take any meaningful action in response, putting its profits before social health.

Yet while lawmakers are exploiting the leak’s political fallout to ramp up ongoing attacks on the tech giant, taxpayers might also be interested to know that the US government has funded programs to assist opposition political parties and activists in using Facebook to undermine foreign governments. Venezuela is a case in point.

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The Latin American Swing

Emir Sader

RESUMEN | October 30, 2021

Since the emergence of anti-neoliberal governments in Latin America, the continent has become the epicenter of the great political struggles of the 21st century and, at the same time, a seesaw, in which governments are installed and defeated, return and experience great instability, some reassert themselves.

Is it a symptom of the strength or weakness of neoliberalism? Is it a symptom of the strength or weakness of the left? Among these changes, which tendencies are strengthening and projecting the future of the continent? Is there any predominant tendency?

Since the victory of Hugo Chavez, anti-neoliberal governments have been continuously installed in Latin America: in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, between 2003 and 2006.

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Facebook Censors Sandinistas in Nicaragua Days Before Presidential Elections

Daniela Jimenez

Orinoco Tribune | November 02, 2021

Facebook corporation is known for censoring content by left activists and organizations. In the composition Facebook hands are blocking mouth and eyes in a face sketch. Photo courtesy of Adhocnews (Italy).

Social media corporation Facebook, now called Meta, reported that it eliminated an alleged network of trolling accounts aimed at national audiences in Nicaragua. However, activists and supporters of Daniel Ortega’s government allege that their accounts were closed without prior notice and clarified that they are not trolls.

This was stated by Sandinista activist Ligia Sevilla, who reported that she was censored by the social media platform due to content she posted in support of the government of Daniel Ortega, and against the interests of the right-wing opposition in the Central American country, but above all in favor and in defense of the rights won during the Revolution.

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Effects of covid-19 pandemic on life expectancy and premature mortality in 2020: time series analysis in 37 countries

Nazrul Islam, research fellow1,  Dmitri A Jdanov, head of laboratory of demographic data23,  Vladimir M Shkolnikov, research scientist23,  Kamlesh Khunti, professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine45,  Ichiro Kawachi, professor of social epidemiology6,  Martin White, professor of population health research7,  Sarah Lewington, professor of epidemiology and medical statistics18,  Ben Lacey, associate professor1

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 03 November 2021)


Objective To estimate the changes in life expectancy and years of life lost in 2020 associated with the covid-19 pandemic.

Design Time series analysis.

Setting 37 upper-middle and high income countries or regions with reliable and complete mortality data.

Participants Annual all cause mortality data from the Human Mortality Database for 2005-20, harmonised and disaggregated by age and sex.

Main outcome measures Reduction in life expectancy was estimated as the difference between observed and expected life expectancy in 2020 using the Lee-Carter model. Excess years of life lost were estimated as the difference between the observed and expected years of life lost in 2020 using the World Health Organization standard life table.

Results Reduction in life expectancy in men and women was observed in all the countries studied except New Zealand, Taiwan, and Norway, where there was a gain in life expectancy in 2020. No evidence was found of a change in life expectancy in Denmark, Iceland, and South Korea. The highest reduction in life expectancy was observed in Russia (men: −2.33, 95% confidence interval −2.50 to −2.17; women: −2.14, −2.25 to −2.03), the United States (men: −2.27, −2.39 to −2.15; women: −1.61, −1.70 to −1.51), Bulgaria (men: −1.96, −2.11 to −1.81; women: −1.37, −1.74 to −1.01), Lithuania (men: −1.83, −2.07 to −1.59; women: −1.21, −1.36 to −1.05), Chile (men: −1.64, −1.97 to −1.32; women: −0.88, −1.28 to −0.50), and Spain (men: −1.35, −1.53 to −1.18; women: −1.13, −1.37 to −0.90). Years of life lost in 2020 were higher than expected in all countries except Taiwan, New Zealand, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and South Korea. In the remaining 31 countries, more than 222 million years of life were lost in 2020, which is 28.1 million (95% confidence interval 26.8m to 29.5m) years of life lost more than expected (17.3 million (16.8m to 17.8m) in men and 10.8 million (10.4m to 11.3m) in women). The highest excess years of life lost per 100 000 population were observed in Bulgaria (men: 7260, 95% confidence interval 6820 to 7710; women: 3730, 2740 to 4730), Russia (men: 7020, 6550 to 7480; women: 4760, 4530 to 4990), Lithuania (men: 5430, 4750 to 6070; women: 2640, 2310 to 2980), the US (men: 4350, 4170 to 4530; women: 2430, 2320 to 2550), Poland (men: 3830, 3540 to 4120; women: 1830, 1630 to 2040), and Hungary (men: 2770, 2490 to 3040; women: 1920, 1590 to 2240). The excess years of life lost were relatively low in people younger than 65 years, except in Russia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, and the US where the excess years of life lost was >2000 per 100 000.

Conclusion More than 28 million excess years of life were lost in 2020 in 31 countries, with a higher rate in men than women. Excess years of life lost associated with the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 were more than five times higher than those associated with the seasonal influenza epidemic in 2015.

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Carbon emissions rapidly rebounded following COVID pandemic dip

Jeff Tollefson

Nature | November 04, 2021

An angler is seen fishing along the Huangpu river across the Wujing Coal-Electricity Power Station in Shanghai.
China is a large consumer of coal, which is used to run power stations such as this one in Shanghai.Credit: Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty

The abrupt decline in global carbon dioxide emissions during the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by government-mandated lockdowns, will be all but erased by the end of this year, a consortium of scientists reports this week. It predicts that carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels will rise to 36.4 billion tonnes — an increase of 4.9% — in 2021 compared with last year (see ‘Pandemic rebound’). That’s a faster recovery than many scientists expected. The rapid rebound, driven in part by the increasing demand for coal in China and India, suggests that emissions will begin to rise anew next year without substantial government efforts to bend the curve, the researchers warn.

“This is a reality check,” says Corinne Le Quéré, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, and a member of the Global Carbon Project, which presented the report this week at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, UK, where nations are debating the pledges they will make to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. “I’m expecting that it will really hit home with the negotiators and make it very obvious that action is needed.”

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