Welcome to part two of our discussion about Charlie Chaplin with film director, screen writer, and producer, Martin Brest. Few individuals did more to shake modern cinema than the actor, director and producer, Charlie Chaplin. One of the greatest of all comic mimes, he also pioneered cinematic techniques and story telling. His films were this iconic roles as the belligerent Little Tramp with baggy trousers, mustache, cane, and bowler hat were not only comic masterpieces, but unflinching looks at poverty, unemployment, capitalist exploitation, the callousness of authority, the search for meaning and dignity in a hostile world, and the yearning for love and acceptance.
Gaza’s Ministry of Health announced on Sunday morning that 21,822 Palestinian martyrs were killed and 56,451 injured in the 86 days of Israel’s aggression in the Gaza Strip. Hundreds remain missing under the rubble and are believed to be dead. In the past 24 hours, Israeli airstrikes and artillery shelling killed at least 50 martyrs in 12 massacres; according to the Ministry of Health, 64 of them were killed in Israeli attacks in central Gaza. Yousef Salama, the former Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs, was killed in an Israeli raid on his home in Al-Maghzai refugee camp on Sunday morning.
Roger Waters and Vijay Prashad reflect on the major developments of 2023 which they term one of the worst years in the history of humanity due to Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza. Waters spent several months of this year touring Europe and the Americas in his “This is Not a Drill” tour and was met with backlash from the right-wing and zionist lobbies in most countries.
Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, who was recently liberated from illegal imprisonment in the US, was interviewed by President Nicolás Maduro on the third episode of Maduro Podcast. In the interview, aired on Thursday, December 28, Saab shared details of his experiences during his illegal imprisonment of more than three years, first in Cape Verde and afterwards in the US. Saab, accompanied by his wife Camila Fabri de Saab, expressed his gratitude to the Bolivarian government “for not getting tired when it was easy to get tired” and achieving his release from an unjust kidnapping of more than 1,280 days in a U.S. prison.
Most Important Stories Of 2023: Gaza, Ukraine, China, BRICS, Dedollarization, Bank Crises, Inflation
These were the most important geopolitical and economic issues of 2023, including the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, US-China tensions, BRICS expansion, growing de-dollarization, inflation crisis, crypto fraud, bank crashes, European de-industrialization, and more.
“No other activity is so continuously or universally bound up with chance,” wrote the great Prussian strategist Carl von Clausewitz in his book On War. To Clausewitz, war resembled a “game of cards,” full of uncertainty. Endless little things (“friction” in Clausewitz’s terminology) interfered in the best laid plans, rendering them null and void. There’s one thing you should never be surprised by in war—the fact that you’ve been surprised. Writing in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, Clausewitz was reacting to the Enlightenment thinking of the previous century. This had tended to the view that reason could determine scientific laws for every form of human activity.
This year, thanks to the tireless efforts of dedicated advocates and organizations, we’re witnessing a remarkable shift in the political landscape when it comes to expanding and protecting the right to vote for justice-impacted people. Advocacy Based on Lived Experience (ABLE) – an organization dedicated to working to engage people in the democratic process – held several community events across Kentucky, allowing attendees and lawmakers to hold discussions on pertinent issues in their communities, regardless of their political affiliation. Participants frequently discussed state legislation that would restore the right to vote to over 160,000 Kentuckians who are disenfranchised due to their history with the criminal legal system.
I board the transport in an orange jumpsuit, shackled and cuffed at the waist, one of many prisoners in exodus from the Washington State Reformatory. The rattling of our chains fills the cabin as we find places to sit. I slide into a seat with a small window high on the wall next to me—the coveted seat with a “view.” Nervous chatter ensues as we wait to be shipped to the next prison. In 2021, during the pandemic, the Washington Department of Corrections (WDOC), experienced a steep decrease in prison admissions (and therefore a great loss of revenue). In response, the department announced it would close the Washington State Reformatory (WSR), the oldest unit in the Monroe Correctional Complex in Monroe, Washington.
Strikes and threats of strikes extracted contracts ranging from good to excellent from employers across the country this year. Half a million U.S. workers walked out — machinists, teachers, baristas, nurses, hotel housekeepers and autoworkers — with much of the motion coming from unions led by reformers. The year started out with a squeaker of an election victory that turned out to be momentous. In late 2022, the Members United slate swept most top offices at the United Auto Workers (UAW) on a platform of “No Concessions, No Corruption, No Tiers.” March saw a presidential runoff pitting the old guard incumbent against an obscure Kokomo, Indiana, electrician and union rep named Shawn Fain.
Twelve weeks into the Israeli rampage in the Gaza Strip, airstrikes continue to flatten the small Palestinian territory, killing dozens as fighting rages on between Israeli ground forces and Palestinian resistance fighters. Deadly Israeli airstrikes were reported since Thursday afternoon in Rafah and Khan Younis in southern Gaza, as well as in the Nuseirat, al-Bureij, and al-Maghazi refugee camps in central Gaza, and in Beit Hanoun and the Gaza City neighborhood of Sheikh Radwan in northern Gaza. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza reported at midday on Friday that at least 187 people had been killed and 312 wounded in the span of 24 hours, raising the total toll to at least 21,507 killed and at least 55,915 wounded in the Gaza Strip since October 7.
On Thursday, December 28, anti-imperialists in Greece protested the docking of the US Navy’s aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford at the Souda Port in Chania. The mobilization, called by the Peace Committee and labor unions in Chania, saw participation from activists of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the Greek Committee for International Détente and Peace (EEDYE), the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE), and All Workers Militant Front (PAME), among others. Activists held a banner that read “There is no place here for murderers! US and NATO soldiers are not welcome!” The aircraft carrier docked at the port on December 26 and is scheduled to leave on December 30.
The horrors that have been visited on the people of Gaza and increasingly the West Bank by the Israeli forces and by illegal settlers have been playing out in international media outlets. More than 20,000 people in Gaza, mostly non-combatants, have been killed. This includes more than 8,000 children and 6,200 women. The war crimes and crimes against humanity are obvious. They are not disputable. More ominous, a textbook case of genocide is unfolding before us all. The response by the “West”? “Israel has a right to defend itself”. It’s a settled fact of international law that an occupying power cannot use military force to attack a civilian population that it generally has complete control over.
South Africa has invoked the Genocide Convention, formally launching a case at the UN’s international court of justice accusing Israel of genocide for its mass atrocities in the Gaza Strip. Israel immediately responded by (deep sigh) accusing South Africa of “blood libel”. Blood libel, for those who don’t know, refers to the way medieval Europeans would falsely accuse Jews of murdering Christians in blood sacrifices in order to justify persecuting them. Which is to say, Israel has responded to South Africa’s accusations by accusing South Africa of anti-semitism.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said his government is “heading towards” ending the presence of international forces in Iraq, which includes about 2,500 US troops, the largest foreign contingent. Al-Sudani’s comments came after his government strongly condemned several rounds of US airstrikes in Iraq as a violation of sovereignty and a hostile act. In the latest strikes, the US said it targeted the Shia militia Kataib Hezbollah in retaliation for an attack on a US base, but al-Sudani’s government said civilians were also wounded in the US bombing. “We are in the process of rearranging the relationship with the international coalition, as in light of the presence of capable Iraqi forces, the Iraqi government is moving towards ending the presence of the international coalition forces,” al-Sudani said at a press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.