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April 2023

The IMF Debt Trap And How To Get Out Of It

Political Economist Grieve Chelwa explains the reasons why countries of the Global South are forced to go time and again to the International Monetary Fund for aid. He talks about how the IMF is essentially a tool of US imperialism and how its policies are designed to keep countries in debt. He also talks about the changing nature of debt and the role of private players such as BlackRock. Grieve Chelwa also explains some of the ways countries in Asia and Africa can get out of this situation, and the kind of international frameworks and policies that will have to be constructed. Grieve Chelwa is the Director of Research at the Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy of the The New School, a member of the Collective on African Political Economy, and one of the authors of the dossier, Life or Debt: The Stranglehold of Neocolonialism and Africa’s Search for Alternatives, published by Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

The Toxic Legacy Of US Foreign Policy In Vieques, Puerto Rico

Puerto Ricans had no say in the U.S. war of conquest with Spain over its colonial possessions or in the Treaty of Paris that dictated they were to become the property of a new empire. The United States acted according to a well-crafted strategic narrative  of white saviorism and American exceptionalism without concern for the people whose land it stole. It wanted to further its control to the south and east via its expansionist foreign policy – and it needed to extend military power beyond its violently acquired borders to do so; the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, known as the cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy, provided the impetus.

Southern Worker School Charts Path For Building Workers Movement

“We heard from the rail workers. We heard from the truckers. We’ve got the longshoremen in the house, too,” said Leonard Riley, a longshore worker with the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1422 and member of the SWA Coordinating Committee, addressing a packed house at the Teamsters Local 71 union hall during the opening program of the 2023 Southern Worker School.  “The reason I bring that up is because of the power that’s in this room. We’ve got bus drivers over there, teachers over here. There’s power in this room. It’s going to take strategy, planning, coming together, and finding out where the power connectors are to mobilize and exercise it.”

Striking Workers At U. Michigan Are Building Powerful Solidarity

The morning of April 28, I was stumbling around making coffee, checking the strike news on Twitter. It’s been about a month now since my graduate student instructor colleagues voted overwhelmingly to strike, facing down the legal and financial powerhouses at the University of Michigan. I only had to scroll for a second, then I just sorta had to sit down.  There was a picture of about 20-30 people in a beer garden on a gray springy afternoon, fists raised and smiling. The message was from grad students, lecturers, and faculty from UC Santa-Cruz; they had held a fundraiser and were donating $600 to the University of Michigan grad student strike fund. 

More Older Workers Are Trapped In Crummy Jobs, Unable To Retire

Over the past two decades, older workers have become an increasingly significant share of the labor force. In the economic recovery after the Great Recession of 2008–2009, four in 10 Americans ages 55 or older were in the labor force—the highest participation rate in half a century. As of 2020, these older workers made up 23.6% of the total U.S. workforce, the highest portion on record. Why are so many older Americans unable to retire and so many working into old age to survive? For many, the answer isn’t “because they want to.” Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 50% of low-income older households ages 55–64 were financially fragile—up dramatically from the 35% at risk in 1992.

Nonprofit Shows How To Create An ‘Aboveground Railroad’ For Migrants

In the 1980s, when Sendy Soto and her family left Guatemala for the United States in search of a better life, they followed in a long American immigrant tradition by making Chicago’s Logan Square their home. There, among her Mexican, Central American, Polish and other immigrant neighbors, Soto was instilled with a sense of community and a desire to help and work with Chicago’s growing migrant population. A 2020 report from the Vera Institute of Justice showed that 1.7 million migrants reside in Chicago, about 18% of the population, and 842,000 are at risk of deportation.

The State And The Future Of Socialism

We are in the midst of a class war. That’s not unusual. There is always class war in capitalism – although sometimes it is hidden and sometimes there is the interlude of an apparent Carthaginian Peace. But the class war has intensified now because of the crisis in capitalism – a crisis rooted in the over-accumulation of capital. And, in this crisis, capital has intensified the class war against the working class. Austerity, cutbacks, the need to sacrifice – these are the demands of capital as it calls upon workers to bear the burden of capital’s own failures. This is a war conducted by capitalist states against workers to compel them to give up their achievements from past struggles.

Report: US Liquefied Gas Flooding Europe

The oil and gas industry has moved quickly to take advantage of the disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In 2022, a surge of shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States was redirected to Europe in order to replace Russian pipeline gas and secure supplies for the European winter. By taking advantage of this short-term energy crisis, the industry has also secured financing and begun construction on numerous LNG terminals on both sides of the Atlantic that are designed to operate for decades to come.

Workers Who Have Occupied An Italian Factory Are Close To Owning It

The longest-ever factory in Italian history is taking place in Florence where the 300 workers are now making progress at turning it into a worker-owned non-profit that would pay the employees and produce products that would benefit the community. Should the workers succeed, it could provide an inspiration for others. For three years workers at the former automotive parts factory, GKN Florence, were in limbo. According to Investigative Reporting Project Italy, in 2018 GKN was purchased by the British hedge fund Melrose, which went about enacting its motto of “buy, improve, sell.”

Unions Say Share Buybacks Should Stop Until Safety Improves

Washington — A coalition of railroad labor unions today called on the Class I systems to pause their stock buyback programs and abandon the low-cost Precision Scheduled Railroading operating model until safety improves. The 14 unions, which combined represent more than 100,000 railroad workers, claim that since 2015 the six publicly-traded freight railroads spent more than $165 billion in stock buybacks, which is $46 billion more than they invested in safety. “For years, rail workers have been sounding the alarm about safety issues. It’s time to listen to rail workers, not rail CEOs,” the union coalition said on their new website.

Statement On The Ninth Anniversary Of The Odessa Massacre

Each year, the Odessa Solidarity Campaign has promoted actions on May 2 to mark the date in 2014 when a right-wing mob led by openly fascist organizations murdered at least 42 anti-fascists at the House of Trade Unions in Odessa, Ukraine. The Odessa Massacre took place just a few months after the violent coup that replaced a pro-Russian president with a pro-U.S. one. Not surprisingly, the U.S. was heavily involved in promoting the coup. Today Ukraine has an authoritarian government that openly collaborates with neo-Nazi organizations, incorporating them into its military and promoting the memory of Ukrainian fascists who shamefully collaborated with the World War II Nazi occupation of their country.

BlackRock Security, NYPD ‘Brutalize’ Climate Protesters

BlackRock security guards and NYPD officers "brutalized" climate campaigners this morning, according to organizers, after activists succeeded in shuttering the entrance to the headquarters of the world's largest fossil fuel investor for three hours. Alice Hu, the senior climate campaigner for New York Communities for Change (NYCC), told Common Dreams that 11 out of 75 activists were arrested after storming the building with pitchforks and pouring fake oil to demand that the asset-management firm stop investing in fossil fuels. The advocacy group posted several videos on Twitter of first BlackRock security and then police officers "roughing up" the activists, including one elderly protester who they say was manhandled by police.

‘This Is Not A War Story’ Explores Emotional Wounds Of War Veterans

War in film is a staple genre in a tremendously lucrative industry. Hollywood inundates our culture with glamorous depictions of wars, both fictional and real. Yet the truth of America’s forever wars, both for the countries invaded and veterans who return home, are rarely explored in depth in popular culture. This Is Not a War Story explores one part of the human toll of US wars through the lens of veterans who return with physical and mental wounds. Writer-director and star Talia Lugacy and actor Eli Wright join The Chris Hedges Report to discuss the film. This is Not a War Story is available to stream and purchase on DVD.

Peruvian Coup Regime Approves Lithium Mining As Puno Rejects Plan

The Peruvian coup regime remains entrenched in power more than four months after the parliamentary coup that ousted democratically elected President Pedro Castillo. On April 10th, the de facto Minister of Energy and Mines Óscar Vera announced the coup government would grant permits to Macusani Yellowcake , subsidiary of Canadian mining company Plateau Energy Metals, which as of 2021 is a subsidiary of American Lithium in the Macusani town of the Puno region. This comes in the wake of the anti-coup protests that placed lithium as one of the main resources the coup government, serving its transnational corporate interests, would move swiftly to privatize.

Chinese Readout Of Xi-Zelensky Phone Conversation

China and Ukraine have just said that Xi Jinping and Volodymyr Zelenskyy talked over the phone. Below is our English translation of the Chinese official readout reported by China Central Television. In the afternoon of April 26, President Xi Jinping spoke by phone with President Zelensky of Ukraine by appointment. The two sides exchanged views on China-Ukraine relations and the crisis in Ukraine. Xi noted that China-Ukraine relations have gone through 31 years of development and reached the level of strategic partnership, which has provided a boost to the development and revitalization of each country.
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