Workers’ Party (PT) candidate, former president Lula da Silva, won the Brazilian presidency with just over 50 percent of the vote in the runoff election held on October 30. Incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing nationalist, received 49.10%. With a clear chain of ballot custody, the required presentation of government issued identification (ID), same-day voting at documented residential locations, site-specific paper tallies of ballots delivered in real-time (highly functional exit polls), no hackable internet connection for its electronic voting machines, open-source programming and no mail-in ballots, Bolsonaro’s repeated claims of election fraud remained unsubstantiated–even by the military that conducted an investigation at his urging in October during and after the first round of voting and found “nothing irregular.”
The poet Gerald Stern, who died last Friday at the age of 97, spent his life thundering against the mendacity and abuse of power; rebelling against all forms of authority, big and small; defying social conventions; and wielding his finely honed writing on behalf of the demonized, forgotten and oppressed. He was one of our great political poets. Poetry, he believed, had to speak to the grand and minute issues that define our lives. He was outrageous and profane, often in choice Yiddish, French and German. He was incredibly funny, but most of all brave. Rules were there, in his mind, to be broken. Power, no matter who held it, was an evil to be fought. Artists should be eternal heretics and rebels. He strung together obscenities to describe poets and artists who diluted their talent and sold out for status, grants, prizes, the blandness demanded by poetry journals and magazines like The New Yorker, and the death trap of tenured professorships.
Just a few minutes ago, Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced Lula da Silva’s victory by over 2 million votes or 1.5%. Undoubtedly it was a tight race with many obstacles for the progressive candidate, but in the end, the people’s will to leave behind 4 years of a disastrous government prevailed. With over 99% of the voting stations counted, Lula won almost 51% of the votes, while his rival, the ultra-right-wing Jair Bolsonaro, achieved a concerning 49% of the votes. This runoff was similar to the first round’s turnout. In other words, neither of the two candidates managed to significantly mobilize those who did not take part in the political process in the first round. Apparently, Bolsonaro achieved better results as his numbers shrank from the first round’s difference by almost three million votes.al process in the first round.
That neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are offering anything to alleviate the problems working people face is illustrated by their campaign fear-mongering – the former over “fascism” and the latter over “socialists” and “radicals.” No matter which party dominates the midterm elections, do not expect either will herald in fascism or socialism. Actual socialists in Congress would demand we stop instigating war with Russia, (now topping $66 billion), and instead eliminate homelessness (costing $20 billion) and hunger ($25 billion) as emergency first steps. Those swayed by Republican propaganda need not fear impending socialism: 100% of the Democrats including Bernie, AOC and the Squad voted like neo-cons for tens of billions in handouts to military contractors to further war in Ukraine.
Academics Benny Morris of Ben-Gurion University and Benjamin Z. Kedar of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem have produced an extraordinary paper based on a welter of archival material, exposing in disturbing detail the hitherto obfuscated dimensions of an operation by Zionist forces to use chemical and biological weapons against both invading Arab armies and local civilians during the 1948 war. That brutal conflict created the state of Israel, and led to permanent displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, known as the “Nakba” – Arabic for disaster, catastrophe, or cataclysm. Morris and Kedar offer a highly granular timeline of events, starting in the initial months of that year, as Britain prepared to evacuate Mandatory Palestine on May 15.
This October marks the third anniversary of the 2019 popular protests in Iraq. On Tuesday, October 25, a large number of people gathered in the Tahrir square in capital Baghdad and paid homage to the people who were killed in the protests. They raised slogans in support of what has been termed by the protesters as the Tishreen movement. The countrywide protests in 2019, rooted in the long-term grievances of people against successive governments, went on for months. Before the global COVID-19 outbreak forced them to end, the protests were successful in forcing the then government led by Adil Abdul Mahdi to resign, putting the ruling classes on the defensive and pressing for reforms.
Large demonstrations on the east and west coasts of the US took place yesterday calling for the end of the Blockade of Cuba as the annual vote in the General Assembly of the UN approaches this week. This will mark the 30th occasion when the overwhelming majority of countries of the world will stand up together in solidarity with the people of Cuba in their defiant struggle and dignified struggle against US imperialism. In New York over 200 people marched from Times Square, across busy 42nd Street, to the US-UN office on 1st Avenue demanding that Cuba be taken off Washington’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, a measure designed to suffocate every aspect of Cuba’s ability to access the world market, to end all trade and travel restrictions and to end the over 62-year-old illegal blockade of the island.
In recent months, federal antitrust regulators have notched some notable achievements, blocking four hospital mergers. Those actions follow the announcement of a major change in antitrust philosophy, embodied by President Joe Biden’s executive order last year aimed at promoting competition. That order criticized hospital consolidation for the ways in which it has left “many areas, particularly rural communities, with inadequate or more expensive healthcare options.” Suddenly, antitrust regulators seem to have swagger. News articles have described the Federal Trade Commission, whose job is to stop anti-competitive behavior, as being “unleashed” under its aggressive new chief, Lina Khan. Republicans have responded with complaints of “radical” policies.
Nearly two million public sector workers are thinking about quitting their jobs, with nearly half saying it’s because of pay. These are the results of new research from the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which says the Tories are causing a “mass exodus” of workers from the public sector. And it’s the NHS which will be the biggest casualty of over a decade of Tory-led pay cuts. However, public sector workers aren’t taking the Tories’ pay assault lying down. As we’ve seen in recent months, strike action in the private sector has taken off. Now, in the public sector, the Royal Colleges of Nurses and Midwives, the National Education Union (NEU) and Unison have been balloting members on strike action.
Los Angeles, California - In the coming weeks, Los Angelenos will vote on a ballot measure to hike taxes on the sale of multimillion dollar properties, with the expected near-billion dollars in annual revenue going towards addressing the housing crisis in the second-largest city in America. The initiative has been strongly opposed by real estate interests — from huge corporate landlords to realtor lobbying groups and pro-business groups — who have so far poured more than $5 million into efforts to defeat the measure. Measure ULA, which would increase real estate transfer taxes on properties in the city of Los Angeles valued at $5 million or more, would only apply to an estimated four percent of real estate transactions annually.
New York City, New York - Workers at the New York City Starbucks Reserve Roastery in the Meatpacking District have been on strike since the beginning of last week against unsafe work conditions and the multi-billion dollar corporation’s refusal to bargain in good faith with the union for a first contract. The striking workers note how managers at one of Starbucks’s flagship stores refuse to address work conditions that are proving to be health hazards: the store had a recent outbreak of bedbugs in the break room and there has been black mold in the ice machines for months. Two workers who spoke with Left Voice under conditions of anonymity described how management instructed them to discard any ice with mold in it and carry on, without addressing the root of the problem.
As economies tumble, inflation surges and global food prices soar to critically high levels, two sectors seem to have hit the jackpot in 2022 – energy giants and grain traders. An estimated 345 million people may now be in acute food insecurity, compared with 135 million before the pandemic. Vulnerable populations face destitution in poorer food-importing countries such as Lebanon, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. Poor consumers in rich countries are struggling to put food on the table. Supply shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have been the spark for this inferno of hunger. But the kindling for the fire was already stoked: the severe, underlying weaknesses in our food system. These include many countries’ heavy reliance on food imports, entrenched production systems, financial speculation, and cycles of poverty and debt.
Moisés Mendes, a Brazilian journalist, recently wrote that the dissemination of fake news by the Bolsonaro camp had reached a level such that voters will miss the ‘mamadeira de piroca’. The reference is to the penis-shaped baby bottles with which Bolsonaro’s campaign inundated social media in 2018, falsely charging the Workers’ Party (PT) presidential candidate, Fernando Haddad, with distributing them in schools along with ‘gay kits’ to teach homosexuality. Film director Wagner Moura is convinced the ‘mamadeira’ won Bolsonaro the 2018 election. Mendes is right; since 2 October (the date Lula won the first round with 48%), the defeated Jair Bolsonaro and his supporters have spewed a huge amount of fake news against the PT presidential candidate and his supporters.
World-renowned linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, essayist, and political activist Noam Chomsky returns to The Chris Hedges Report to continue their discussion on contemporary fascism, the war in Ukraine, and the tasks of the left in a time of ecological and political crisis. Noam Chomsky is the author of more than 150 books on topics that include linguistics, the press, the inner workings of empire, and the war industry. He is a Laureate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona and an Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His books include Hegemony or Survival, For Reasons of State, American Power and the New Mandarins, Understanding Power, The Chomsky-Foucault Debate: On Human Nature, On Language, Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship, The Fateful Triangle, and many others.