On 24 June 2023, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) Herzl Halevi, Chief of Shin Bet (Intelligence) Ronen Bar, and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai released a joint statement. They pointed to ‘violent attacks… by Israeli citizens against innocent Palestinians’, which they characterised as ‘nationalist terror in every sense’. Such a statement is rare, particularly the description of the violence as ‘nationalist terror’ and the rendering of Palestinian victims as ‘innocent’. Typically, high-ranking officials in the Israeli government portray such attacks as retaliation for terror attacks by Palestinians.
The International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled in 1986 that the US government had violated international law in its attacks on Nicaragua and that it owed the Central American nation reparations. June 27, 2023 was the 37th anniversary of this ruling, and Washington still to this day refuses to pay Nicaragua the money that it legally owes it. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the judicial arm of the United Nations. (It is not to be confused with the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is independent of the UN. The ICJ was founded in 1945, in order to settle disputes between states; whereas the ICC was only formed in 2002, in order to prosecute individuals.)
During a recent discussion with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Samantha Power, touted her organization’s push to guarantee transparency for US taxpayer funds sent to Ukraine. “We are involved in funding efforts at ensuring judicial integrity, which is intrinsically important to building Ukraine’s democracy and its integration plans to get into Europe,” Power declared, adding USAID’s work in Ukraine was “also really important in terms of assuring the taxpayer, the American taxpayer, that they’re resources are well spent.”
On June 22, nearly 200 workers, union leaders, progressive politicians, and other community members were arrested in a mass civil disobedience action. 200 demonstrators sat down in the middle of the road in Los Angeles, subjecting themselves to arrest to demand better wages, pensions, a housing fund, benefits, and safer workloads for UNITE HERE Local 11 workers in Los Angeles. Workers are gearing up to possibly strike after their contract with Hyatt, IHG, Hilton and Marriott hotels in LA expires on June 30. Local 11 workers authorized a strike on June 8 with 96% approval. This strike would involve over 15,000 union hotel workers, the largest hotel strike in modern US history.
The ‘Stop Cop City’ movement’s sixth week of action continued on Wednesday, with two events striking a more tense tone than the relatively calmer days earlier in the week. At around 10:30 a.m., a few dozen protesters held an unannounced noise demonstration outside Cadence Bank, which is providing the Atlanta Police Foundation with a construction loan for building ‘Cop City.’ They reportedly chanted at the bank for about 20 minutes, with some bacon apparently being tossed toward the mass of police guarding the bank, before leaving.
The ongoing attack on the network of environmental and abolitionist activists in Atlanta should make all people concerned with the right to protest, the future of the environment and the rise of militarized police forces take notice. At 5 am on June 6, after over 200 community members had spoken against moving forward with the facility, the Atlanta City Council voted to allocate $31 million in public funds toward construction of a militarized police training center dubbed “Cop City.” This was the most recent development in a fierce and violent struggle over police expansion and forest preservation in Georgia, and has repercussions well beyond the state.
When your union doesn’t permit direct election of national officers, hasn’t had a contested convention vote for union president since the 1950s, and has never had a presidential debate, how should an activist respond to an unprecedented three-way race for the top spot? AT&T call center worker Kieran Knutson, who is president of Communications Workers Local 7250 in Minneapolis, had two choices. He could treat the race as a matter of concern only to executive board members going to the convention in St. Louis where a new president will be picked—or as “an important opportunity for CWA members to take stock of where we are and where we need to go,” he said.
Several members of the EU’s Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee have proposed a resolution calling for the EU to assist the International Criminal Court (ICC) in investigating and prosecuting the Israeli government for its war crimes against Palestinians in the occupied territories. The resolution was pushed forward by Swedish Social Democrat Evin Incir, who is also the EU’s rapporteur for recommendations of relations with the Palestinian Authority (PA). The resolution was proposed on 27 June, with 41 votes in favor, 21 against, and nine abstentions, with a plenary vote scheduled for July.
London’s residents face the highest rents and have the lowest rate of homeownership in the U.K. today. One solution would be for local councils to expand public housing, known as “council housing.” However, the waitlist for these homes has jumped by 50,000 since 2020. This has happened partially because London councils have reduced their housing stock by 10 percent since the beginning of the pandemic, often due to privatization. Building complexes made up of only council housing, called council estates, are becoming increasingly rare sights in the capitol.
On June 19, a large Israeli military force raided the northern Palestinian town and refugee camp of Jenin from multiple directions. Not only did the raid fail, it backfired, and it also created a precedent in Israel’s decades-long war on the ever-rebellious Palestinian region. Israel killed eight Palestinians and wounded 91 more, following hours of clashes involving Israeli soldiers, on the one hand, and unified Palestinian Resistance groups, on the other. Israel only admitted to the wounding of eight of its soldiers, with some Israeli media outlets speaking of critical injuries among the invading troops and others claiming only moderate wounds.
Rising demand for metals like nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese to make batteries used in smartphones and electric vehicles, along with depleting land-based deposits, has led to increased interest in deep-sea mining. But research suggests that the process of extracting mineral deposits from the ocean floor could destroy habitats and decimate species. According to a new report from British nonprofit financial think tank Planet Tracker, mining the ocean’s depths could cause as much as 25 times more biodiversity loss than terrestrial mining, reported Reuters. And the financial cost of repairing that damage would be twice as much as extracting it.
Boston, MA - Indigenous activists in Boston reaffirm their commitment to overcome historic barriers to higher education for students in light of today’s ruling delivered by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) that guts Affirmative Action in college admissions at institutions of higher education across the country. The Indigenous activists demand the passage of two bills in the state legislature specifically addressing Native issues in public education. Today’s SCOTUS ruling overturns a longstanding precedent that had previously benefited Black, Indigenous, and Latine students in higher education due to a demonstrable historic lack of opportunities for those students.
The international press is again bludgeoning Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, this time accusing him of attacking the country’s democratic institutions. It’s a baseless charge intended to undermine a government that refuses total obedience to US hegemony. On February 23, an electoral reform bill received its final approval in the Mexican Senate en route to being signed into law. The National Electoral Institute (INE) is widely recognized to be riddled with excess expenditure and a top-heavy bureaucracy. The new law simply mandates similar cost-saving measures to those that the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has applied to other governmental departments.
The saga of the OceanGate Titan submersible was the sort of story that rivets millions of people. Not only was it revealed that passengers paid $250,000 to see the wreck of the Titanic, but the vessel was poorly built, and its creator ignored warnings about its defects and continued to use it. When the incompetence and arrogance of its creator was revealed, the jokes began in earnest, as the internet is the perfect place to make light of serious issues. The readiness to make fun of the feckless and arrogant is understandable. In fact, there is a positive side in the willingness to engage in schadenfreude over the deadly debacle. After all, no one should argue against hostility to rule by the wealthy.
The Biden administration had a glorious few days last weekend. The ongoing disaster in Ukraine slipped from the headlines to be replaced by the “revolt,” as a New York Times headline put it, of Yevgeny Prigozhin, chief of the mercenary Wagner Group. The focus slipped from Ukraine’s failing counter-offensive to Prigozhin’s threat to Putin’s control. As one headline in the Times put it, “Revolt Raises Searing Question: Could Putin Lose Power?” Washington Post columnist David Ignatius posed this assessment: “Putin looked into the abyss Saturday—and blinked.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken—the administration’s go-to wartime flack, who weeks ago spoke proudly of his commitment not to seek a ceasefire in Ukraine—appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation with his own version of reality.