The night before the elections, Gustavo Petro participated in a ceremony in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, where indigenous spiritual leaders--Arhuaco, Kankuamo, Kogui, and Yukpas peoples--from the "navel of the world", tuned him with ancestral and natural powers to be president. After the dynamic duo of the “Historic Pact”, Petro for President, and Francia Márquez for Vice President, obtained the highest number of votes in a first round in all of Colombian history, on May 29, with 8.5 million, the road to the final election turned into three weeks of high tension, of contending wills and sharp suspense. Immediately, the Colombian corporate media began a campaign in favor of presidential candidate Rodolfo Hernández. They presented him as the possible winner despite having obtained 2.5 million less than Petro, adding his 6 million to the 5 of Federico Gutiérrez, a right-wing candidate who quickly supported Hernández in the second round.
Managua, Nicaragua - Two years ago, COHA reported on the manufactured “refugee” crisis around Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica. Now the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is saying that “102,000 people fled Nicaragua and sought asylum in Costa Rica” in 2021. As this article shows, this statement is inaccurate, adding further to the myth that Nicaragua is suffering a refugee crisis. On June 20, a group called “SOSNicaragua” which is based in Costa Rica, held a conference to mark World Refugee Day. Called “Breaking down walls, building hope,” it was addressed by the head of the Costa Rican government’s Refugee Unit, Esther Núñez. She confirmed that, since 2018, Costa Rica had received 175,055 applications for asylum, the majority from Nicaragua.
Education is one of the few rehabilitative options available to incarcerated people, yet all across America prisoners are prevented from pursuing their education. “Atiba” Demetrius Brown, for instance, has been dedicated to improving himself and his post-incarceration prospects by taking correspondence courses while incarcerated in Maryland, but thanks to a draconian new decree by the Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services (DPSCS), Atiba can’t take his exams. In this installment of Rattling the Bars, Victor Wallis joins Mansa Musa to discuss the case of “Atiba” Demetrius Brown and the calculated cruelty of the prison-industrial complex. Victor Wallis is a professor in the Liberal Arts Department at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
As reported by The Canary, on 17 June, home secretary Priti Patel gave her approval to a court ruling to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the US. He will face 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act and one of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Assange’s lawyers are planning to appeal Patel’s approval of extradition and cross-appeal on other grounds – including a breach of client-lawyer confidentiality. But the High Court will have to approve those appeal requests. A judicial review of Patel’s decision is also possible. In addition, Assange may appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). However, proposed UK legislation could make such an appeal problematic – and not just for Assange.
If you had ventured down a dirt road running through remote marshland along the Gulf Coast in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, at just the right time back in late February, you might have come across a pit of gray muck. Down in that pit, you’d find a contractor welding a steel cap about the size of a dinner plate onto a stub of pipe jutting up from the mud below. That pipe was the last visible sign of an old oil and gas wastewater well that once dropped over a half-mile deep into the earth, now plugged up and sealed by contractors hired by the state. For decades, oil and gas companies disposed of millions of barrels of waste down that hole, ringed with cement and steel, dubbing the wastewater well Freshwater City SWD 01, according to state records. Experts told DeSmog the well was defective and that using it put underground supplies of drinking water in the area at risk.
The birthplace of bluegrass and home to the oldest mountain range east of the Mississippi River, Southern Appalachia is not only fertile soil for the sharing economy, but a co-op-driven movement known as the solidarity economy. Aimed at generating locally rooted wealth and ensuring its equitable distribution, the solidarity economy is fiercely democratic. For Sara Chester, co-executive director and founder of The Industrial Commons (TIC), a 501(c)3 organization that fosters employee ownership, in a solidarity economy “workers are appreciated not just for their labor but their ideas, insights, and innovations. Workers are not just a piece of the business, they are the reason the business exists.” Sometimes referred to as the co-op model, this approach is about creating prosperous and resilient communities by emphasizing worker agency and ownership, environmental sustainability, and the value of place.
The celebration of Pride month in June is in tribute to the Stonewall Rebellion which went on for three days, beginning on the night of June 28, 1969. This rebellion took place at the Stonewall Inn, a bar in New York City, which was and still is a gathering spot for LGBTQ people. At the time of Stonewall, being a member of working-class LGBTQ community in NYC was an act of courage; same-sex love was illegal in every state except Illinois, and police enforced laws mandating three pieces of “gender-appropriate” clothing. NYC Police raided LGBTQ bars constantly. In June 1969 alone, the NYPD raided 5 popular gay bars, 3 were shut down for good. It was during such a raid that the LGBTQ patrons of Stonewall began to physically fight back against police, sparking a nationwide LGBTQ liberation movement and a day of rebellion that is still celebrated today.
The most popular proposal is to give everyone 16 and up the right to vote. In the United States, 16-year-olds are working full-time, paying taxes and driving, so why not voting? And most live with their families, which may be a better time for them to cast their first vote — rather than when they’re in the midst of major life transitions a few years later. In countries like Scotland and Austria, where 16- and 17-year-olds can vote in some or all elections, the teens vote at higher rates than their slightly older cohorts — and research shows voters who begin earlier stick with the habit. Civically engaged teenagers at home might even boost the participation of parents and other family members. Enfranchising more young people could also combat what writer Astra Taylor has termed the “gerontocracy”: a generational cohort making long-term policy they won’t be around to deal with.
Since the end of Roe v. Wade, numerous European political leaders have lamented the decision. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson labeled the Dobbs decision a “big step backwards,” and French President Emmanuel Macron said abortion “must be protected,” as his country prepared to place a nationwide right to abortion in its constitution. In response, conservatives have cried hypocrisy, both to deflect criticism and to cast doubt on European institutions in general. “Many of the leaders who criticized the United States for the decision have laws that are either comparable to the Mississippi law at the center of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which outlawed abortion past the 15th week of pregnancy,” Charles Hilu writes at National Review. “Americans should be very skeptical of the opinions of leaders across the pond.”
An alliance of Indigenous organizations in Ecuador have held daily demonstrations after sharp increases in the costs for fuel and food. The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) began their general strike actions on June 13 after huge price hikes crippled the capacity of rural and urban communities to access transportation and food for their households. In response to the demonstrations and an assortment of other forms of resistance, President Guillermo Lasso has declared a state of emergency in several provinces of the South American state. The order reads in part that: "To declare a state of exception due to serious internal commotion in the provinces of Azuay (south), Imbabura (north), Sucumbios (east) and Orellana (east).”
As reported recently across the U.K., General Sir Patrick Sanders, the British Army’s new Chief of the General Staff, overall controller of the British Army, has stated that today’s generation of British soldiers must prepare "to fight in Europe once again" as the conflict in Ukraine continues. The Sun newspaper banner headline on 18th June had it thus: “UK army must get ready to fight the Russians and win in potential WW3, says Britain’s top general”. The newspaper added that “He vowed to forge an Army that can beat Russia in battle.” “There is now a burning imperative to forge an Army capable of fighting alongside our allies and defeating Russia in battle," Sir Patrick is reported to have said. "We are the generation that must prepare the Army to fight in Europe once again”.
The CIA and special operations forces from NATO members Britain, France, Canada, and Lithuania are physically in Ukraine, helping direct the proxy war on Russia, according to a report in The New York Times. These Western forces are on the ground training and advising Ukrainian fighters, overseeing weapons shipments, and managing intelligence. At least 20 countries are part of a US Army-led coalition, guiding Ukraine in its fight against Russian troops. Some Ukrainian combatants are even using US flag patches on their equipment. This is all according to a June 25 report in The New York Times, titled “Commando Network Coordinates Flow of Weapons in Ukraine, Officials Say.” The Times is a de facto organ of the US government. Although technically private, the paper closely follows the line of the CIA and Pentagon.
Last week the 14th BRICS Summit took place virtually, chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The BRICS bloc (Brasil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) represents a key political, economic, and scientific force in the international arena. These nations represent half of the world’s population and their collective GDP is greater that $20 trillion. In today’s context, the significance of the BRICS summit is increased to the extent that the bloc represents an alternative to the unipolar world of the decaying West. What follows are some of the key points from the Summit’s in Beijing: Multilateral compromise in the defense of international law, which includes being more inclusive with less developed countries. Promote peace and international security without compromising the environment. Support for a an open, multilateral, transparent, inclusive, rules-based, non-discriminatory commercial system.
President Biden kicked off his three-day visit to a NATO summit in Madrid by announcing that the US plans to increase its military presence in Europe. Speaking with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Biden said the US will increase the number of US Navy Destroyers stationed at a naval base in Rota, Spain, from four to six. The president said that this was the first of multiple announcements the US and NATO will make at the summit on increasing their forces in Europe, steps being taken in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “And as I said before the war started: If Putin attacked Ukraine, United States would enhance our force posture Europe and respond to the reality of a new European security environment,” Biden told reporters.
Between the lack of action around police brutality, the threats to Roe v. Wade, increasing mass shootings, and the ever looming threat of climate catastrophe, desperation and despair have become the emotions of the day. Polling shows most Americans still care about these issues, but they’ve long lost faith in mainstream institutions and their capacity for change. It can be difficult to know how to respond in moments of crisis like these. Besides panicking, one traditional approach is what is called the “ladder of engagement,” which relies on a series of actions that increase in intensity over time to win over supporters and apply pressure to people in power. This usually begins with gathering petition signatures and holding educational events while gradually building the support and capacity to move towards rallies and eventually, though rarely, more confrontational protests like occupations.