Trade unions in Italy continue mobilizations against government’s labor policies, support to Ukraine war

Working class sections have demanded an increase in wages and pensions at par with inflation, including raising the minimum wages to 10 euros (10.87 US$) per hour, and additional investment in public health, education, transport, and infrastructure

Peoples Dispatch | May 16, 2023

Mobilization in Milan. (Photo: via CGIL)

Mainstream trade unions in Italy, including the Italian General Confederation of Labor (CGIL), the Italian Confederation of Workers’ Trade Unions (CISL), and the Italian Labor Union (UIL), organized a major demonstration in Milan on Saturday, May 13. The unions denounced the economic policies of the right-wing government led by Giorgia Meloni, including proposed cuts to public services and social welfare programs, along with lack of investment in job creation. Cadres from various political groups including the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) also participated and expressed solidarity with workers. According to the unions, around 40,000 people participated in the demonstration. Earlier, on May 6, a major mobilization was held in Bologna. Another round of mobilization is scheduled in Naples on May 20. 

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The United States of America and its Failed Democracy

Darío Machado Rodríguez

RESUMEN | May 16, 2023

That the history of the United States of America can be told by the common thread of violence is something few dispute. This characteristic of U.S. society is a constant threat to the country’s own citizens, but it also spills over its borders and is expressed in its foreign policy. Financing for violence, arms shipments, covert troops, open wars, unilateral sanctions, have made this a more insecure world in the name of U.S. national security.

Last Sunday, President Biden declared five days of national mourning for the victims of a mass shooting that took place on Saturday, May 6, in a shopping mall in Allen, Texas, in which 8 people were killed and the attacker, who fired indiscriminately with an assault rifle of which -according to data from the last 5 years- more than one and a half million have been sold in the country, was shot and killed. The shooting killed a five year old child, as confirmed by the President himself, who lamented that the greatest cause of death of children in the United States is precisely gun violence.

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Mr. Guaidó Goes to Washington

Roger Harris

Counterpunch | May 05, 2023

Photograph Source: Leo Alvarez – CC BY-SA 4.0

Juan Guaidó continues to advocate punishing the Venezuelan people with US coercive economic measures. Recently shipped to Washington DC, the former “interim president” of Venezuela pleaded, “You can’t use a kind or soft approach,” such as easing the suffering, because it would “normalize dictatorship.”

Guaidó was livestreamed May 3 from the quasi-governmental Wilson Center. Located in the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington DC, the Wilson Center is a think tank established by the US Congress, which “conducts research to inform public policy” in service of the US empire.

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International Diplomatic Rules Tested in Alex Saab Case

The Alex Saab case highlights changing international norms regarding diplomatic immunity, as the U.S. government has decided not to recognize his professed immunity, despite being designated a special envoy by the Venezuelan government.

L. Todd Wood

New Thinking | May 04, 2023

As war continues to rage in Ukraine and conflict in the Pacific cannot be ruled out, it is obvious that our geopolitical institutions are being tested. Many wise men have asked in recent years—where are the diplomats during times of war? The case of Alex Saab is a perfect example of changing international norms, as the U.S. government has made a decision not to recognize professed diplomatic immunity in the case.

Saab was designated a diplomatic special envoy by the Venezuelan government to travel to Iran to discuss a series of commercial transactions. While en route to Iran, his aircraft stopped for fuel in Cape Verde. There, Saab was detained and extradited to the United States to stand trial on one federal count. Many current and former members of diplomatic circles believe Saab was entitled to diplomatic immunity as a designated Venezuelan special envoy, no matter his lack of a diplomatic passport, the stop in a third-party country, or the commercial nature of his travel.

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Air pollution is a hidden pandemic in Africa — tips on how to reduce your exposure and help combat it

Most strategies being used to tackle air pollution focus on household air pollution compared to outdoor air pollution, study found

Gabriel Okello, Meelan Thondoo

Down To Earth | May 11, 2023

Children and elderly people are vulnerable to air pollution. Photo by Pius Utomi Ekpei / AFP from Children and elderly people are vulnerable to air pollution. Photo by Pius Utomi Ekpei / AFP from

Rapid urbanisation in Africa is worsening air pollution levels. There are economic as well as health consequences.

Air pollution threatens human health, health systems and economic activity. It is the second leading risk factor for death across Africa, contributing to an estimated 1.1 million deaths on the continent in 2019.

The continent has an urban population of over 500 million. This is projected to be over 700 million by 2026. In the face of such enormous numbers and a seemingly insurmountable problem, it can feel difficult for ordinary people to protect themselves or make a difference.

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Quarter of a billion people are facing acute hunger: Report

Key drivers of this crisis were economic shocks, conflicts & climate extremes


Down To Earth | May 03, 2023

The number of people facing acute food insecurity in 58 countries and territories in 2022 — 258 million —  was the highest in the seven-year history of the report. Representative photo: iStock. The number of people facing acute food insecurity in 58 countries and territories in 2022 — 258 million — was the highest in the seven-year history of the report. Representative photo: iStock.

The number of people experiencing acute hunger and requiring urgent food, nutrition and livelihood assistance increased to 258 million in 2022 from 193 million in 2021, a 34 per cent jump in just one year, according to a new report.

Besides, people in seven countries were on the brink of starvation, found the Global Report on Food Crisis, produced by the Food Security Information Network. The report was launched on May 2, 2023, by the Global Network Against Food Crisis — an international alliance of the United Nations, the European Union and other agencies working to tackle food crises.

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Unusually long La Niña displaced record number of people in 2022

In India, disasters were mostly weather-related and displaced 2.5 million people in 2022, according to the Global Report on Internal Displacement

Richard Mahapatra

Down To Earth | May 11, 2023

La Niña also caused the worst drought on record in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, triggering 2.1 million movements. Photo: iStock La Niña also caused the worst drought on record in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, triggering 2.1 million movements. Photo: iStock

The number of people displaced by disasters rose by 40 per cent in 2022 than 2021. The Global Report on Internal Displacement 2023 (GRID-2023), the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s flagship annual report published May 11, 2023 said 32.6 million people were displaced due to disasters.

Of the total disaster displacement, 98 per cent were triggered by weather-related events like floods and storms. According to GRID-2023, “6 out of 10 disaster displacements were triggered by floods, suppressing storms for the first time since 2016.”

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Defiant Cuba celebrates May Day

Farooque Chowdhury

Countercurrents | May 06, 2023

Cuba President Miguel Diaz-Canel (left) and former president Raul Castro (2nd from left) take part in the 2023 May Day celebration.

Defiant Cuba celebrates May Day.

An AFP report (“Communist Cuba celebrates Worker’s Day, four days late”), datelined May 5, 2023, said:

“Cuba finally celebrated May Day on Friday, four days late, after the original celebration of workers was postponed due to the risk of rain and trimmed down as a result of a fuel shortage.

“The May 1 celebration is usually a grandstand event in the communist island nation.”

According to the report, thousands of people from all over the country descend on the capital by bus to congregate at Revolution Square before beginning a parade.

This year, the report said, the Havana residents were asked to instead head on foot to the parade along the iconic Malecon promenade, while smaller festivities were organized in other neighborhoods. The only buses to bring workers to the event came from nearby municipalities. Instead of putting on a massive commemoration on the central square that marks the highest point in the city, a much more low-key celebration took place by the coast.

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May Day in Havana: International Solidarity to Resist the U.S. Blockade

Walter Smolarek

Countercurrents | May 06, 2023

This year’s May Day celebration in Cuba was interrupted by severe storms that knocked out electricity in much of the country. Authorities had no choice but to postpone the traditional mass marches. But for over 150 young grassroots organizers from the United States who had traveled to the country to mark the holiday, this turn of events was just more reason to deepen their efforts to end the U.S.-imposed blockade of the country.

Miya Tada, a brigade participant from New York, explained how this showed that “the biggest obstacle the Cuban people are facing is the repression and economic warfare of our own government, and that just inspires me to further the struggle against the blockade back in the United States.”

This wide range of activists from nearly 30 states and dozens of organizations was brought together by the International Peoples’ Assembly, a network of left movements and parties around the globe. Members of the solidarity brigade had spent the preceding week taking part in educational panels, discussions with Cuban activists, and youth exchanges as they sought to deepen their understanding of the Cuban Revolution.

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