The election pits challenger Shawn Fain, an electrician from Kokomo, Indiana, and an international rep, against incumbent president Ray Curry. The 400,000-member union represents workers at the Big Three auto plants, auto parts factories, and other sectors including heavy equipment manufacturing and higher education. Curry picked up 38.2 percent in the first round of voting late last year, to Fain’s 37.6 percent. Three other candidates split the rest. Since no candidate received a majority, the election went to a run-off. Fain’s Members United slate notes that 62 percent of voters picked candidates other than the incumbent. Fain has pledged to build a fighting union that will take on the big auto companies and reverse decades of concessions, while Curry has emphasized his experience in leading the union; he was appointed president by the Executive Board in 2021 after being elected secretary-treasurer in 2018.
The indefinite national strike in Peru, called by various social movements of the country, has been continuing since January 4, in demand of a constituent assembly, the release of President Pedro Castillo from prison, and the resignation of de facto President Dina Boluarte and her illegitimate government. The strike has spread through the country, with the greatest presence in the departments of Apurimac, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Puno, Cusco, and Tacna. The protesters demand the closing of the Congress, dominated by the ultra-right, which removed the democratically elected president, Pedro Castillo on December 7, 2022, and imposed his vice president, Dina Boluarte, as the de facto head of state of Peru.
Even before the new Israeli government was officially sworn in on December 29, angry reactions began emerging, not only among Palestinians and other Middle Eastern governments but also among Israel’s historic allies in the West. As early as November 2, top US officials conveyed to Axios that the Joe Biden Administration is “unlikely to engage with Jewish supremacist politician, Itamar Ben-Gvir.” In fact, the US government’s apprehensions surpassed Ben-Gvir, who was convicted by Israel’s own court in 2007 for supporting a terrorist organization and inciting racism. US Secretary of State Tony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan reportedly “hinted” that the US government would also boycott “other right-wing extremists” in Netanyahu’s government.
Republican Kevin McCarthy lost a vote to be Speaker of the House. Then he lost again. And again. Then Donald Trump called for all Republican congresspeople to support McCarthy. Then McCarthy lost three more times. This is the chaotic scene that unfolded on the floor of the House of Representatives on Tuesday and Wednesday. The wafer-thin Republican majority — their spoils from the aborted red wave — split itself apart at the first possible juncture. Despite (and perhaps because of) being the hand-picked leader of the Republican establishment, McCarthy was unable to win the support of the right of his party. So, for six consecutive votes, McCarthy was defeated due to spoiler candidates run by the Republican right wing. It doesn’t even seem like the GOP Right — primarily organized as “the Freedom Caucus” — is trying to win speakership with a candidate of their choice — three different candidates have been put forward by the right-wing over the past two days, none gaining more than 25 votes — but rather that they are trying to show that, with such a tight majority, their bloc is able to exert disproportionate political power.
Unfulfilled campaign promises, accusations of corruption, and even an attempted self-coup cannot turn the many supporters of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo against him. The president has probably ceased to represent hopes for change, but he still symbolizes —perhaps more now than ever— structural discrimination in Peru. In Lima, the political, economic, and intellectual elites are intrigued. They wonder why the majority of Peruvians in the streets are demanding Castillo’s release. They are even more disconcerted by the minority that insists he be reinstated. It is not surprising that the ruling class is disoriented. For decades they have been isolated from the rest of the country, moving about comfortably in Lima’s de facto Apartheid, perpetuating a dynamic that tends to dehumanize Indigenous, working-class Peruvians.
The decision to change the electoral calendar came following the call for further intensification of nationwide protests demanding the release and reinstatement of ousted left-wing President Pedro Castillo, the resignation of the de-facto President Dina Boluarte, the dissolution of the right-wing dominated unicameral Congress, fresh parliamentary elections, and the establishment of a Constituent Assembly to change the country’s 1993 Constitution. On Monday, December 19, several Indigenous, peasant, and social movements from Apurímac, Arequipa, Ayacucho, and Puno regions, among others, called on the citizens to strengthen strikes and reinforce roadblocks across the country, beginning December 20. The legislators of the left-wing Free Peru party, which sponsored Castillo’s presidential candidacy in 2021, voted against the bill and insisted on their demand to call for Constituent Assembly elections alongside the next general elections.
Continuing the wave of progressive wins in 2021, Latin America saw two new critical electoral victories: Gustavo Petro in Colombia and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Brazil. When President Biden’s June Summit of the Americas excluded Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, several Latin American leaders declined to attend, while others used the opportunity to push the United States to respect the sovereignty of the countries in the region.
On November 26, local elections were held throughout Taiwan, an island that has always been part of China, but since 1949 has been ruled by a fascist leadership driven out of the mainland by the victorious Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Taiwan has since been “protected” by the military U.S. fleet, while Taiwan’s rulers maintained 48 years of martial law and a brutal regime of “White Terror”. In 1987, the regime allowed bourgeois elections. Before the 2022 elections, Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, had campaigned for her ruling “Democratic Progressive Party” (DPP) candidates with the assertion that Taiwan is an independent nation, and should prepare to wage war. As a Nov. 25th CNN article describes: Polls opened in Taiwan on Saturday in local elections that President Tsai Ing-wen has framed as being about sending a message to the world about the island’s determination to defend its democracy in the face of China’s rising bellicosity.
After a brief hiatus in the opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party won the November 1 election and are now in talks with the other right-wing parties to form a coalition government. Netanyahu, considered center-right in Israeli politics, has a history of working with far-right politicians, including those openly calling for genocide. However, his sixth government is shaping up to be the most racist, extremist government in Isdraeli history, in large part due to his inclusion of Itamar Ben-Gvir, a notorious legal defender of far-right terrorists. Until 2020, Ben-Gvir hung a photo of Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 29 Palestinians in a Hebron mosque in 1994, in his living room. Ben-Gvir leads the Otzma Yehudit party, the ideological descendants of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane.After a brief hiatus in the opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party won the November 1 election and are now in talks with the other right-wing parties to form a coalition government. Netanyahu, considered center-right in Israeli politics, has a history of working with far-right politicians, including those openly calling for genocide. However, his sixth government is shaping up to be the most racist, extremist government in Isdraeli history, in large part due to his inclusion of Itamar Ben-Gvir, a notorious legal defender of far-right terrorists. Until 2020, Ben-Gvir hung a photo of Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 29 Palestinians in a Hebron mosque in 1994, in his living room. Ben-Gvir leads the Otzma Yehudit party, the ideological descendants of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane.
Illinois - On election day, Illinois voters approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing all workers organizing and collective bargaining rights, setting a new high bar for state labor policy at a moment when policymakers should prioritize empowering workers to address historic levels of income inequality and unequal power in our economy. The Illinois Workers’ Rights Amendment adds language to the state constitution affirming that “employees shall have the fundamental right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing for the purpose of negotiating wages, hours, and working conditions, and to protect their economic welfare and safety at work.” The new clause also specifies that “no law shall be passed that interferes with, negates, or diminishes the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively.”
On June 30, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, son of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was elected in the presidential election in the Philippines. His coming to power raised concerns about the status of human rights in the country, especially when it comes to red-tagging and other forms of repression of human rights activists. Viva Salud, a Belgian organization working to protect and promote the right to health, met with Tinay Palabay, secretary-general of Karapatan, an alliance that conducts research and advocacy of human rights, to discuss what the new government will bring to health activists. I fear that Marcos will reinforce President Duterte’s culture of impunity. For instance, the new president has promised Duterte protection from international legal proceedings. This means that he cannot be sued for the human rights violations he committed during his time in office. Perpetrators among the state actors are emboldened to continue violating human rights because they’re not held accountable for previous violations.
In the early hours of Monday, Peru's president Dina Boluarte decreed a state of emergency in "the areas of high social conflict" where thousands of citizens have taken to the streets to demand her resignation and the advancement of general elections. "I have ordered that control of the internal order be recovered peacefully, without affecting the fundamental rights of the citizenry," she said after a brutal police repression left two citizens dead in the city of Andahuaylas. Boluarte assumed the presidency on Dec. 7, replacing Pedro Castillo, who was removed by the Peruvian lawmakers after he ordered the dissolution of Congress, announced the formation of an "Emergency Government," and called a constituent assembly.
On December 7, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the case Moore v. Harper, a case which could effectively eliminate the influence of the popular vote in presidential elections. In Moore, a case which the Court, now dominated by a far-right majority, will likely decide before July 2023, it is possible that justices will rule in favor of allowing state legislatures the authority to decide the outcome of presidential elections, regardless of the popular vote. Peoples Dispatch spoke to Brian Becker, founding member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and part of the PSL’s central committee, about a pamphlet he authored, titled “The Supreme Court vs. Democracy.” In our conversation, Becker outlined what is at stake regarding the future of democracy in the United States.
Cuba held elections for its organs of local government, the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power, on November 27. A delegation of youth from the United States observed the vote first-hand as part of the US-Cuba Youth Friendship Meeting. Coming from the fundamentally undemocratic US Empire, it was the first time that many participants saw a functional electoral system in which the masses actually participate, and in which the majority truly rules. We observed voting in La Corbata, a neighborhood in La Habana currently undergoing transformation. The polling site was inside a newly constructed cultural-technological center, which also houses arts programs, classes, a computer lab, school graduations, and community events. At first arrival, we were surprised by how efficiently the voting process moved.
Every mainstream media outlet described the referenda in September in the Donetsk, Lugansk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR), Kherson Region and part of Zaporozhye as a “sham” and therefore “rigged.” The results were certainly not what one finds in Western style party political contestations. So, it is very easy to pass these results off as “rigged” to an audience that has not investigated beyond what main stream Western media choose to report. But to equate what was going on there with what is going on in the West is sheer idiocy. To see why the vote went the way it did, follow the reports of Patrick Lancaster, Eva Bartlett, Graham Phillips, or others on the ground; or if you don’t trust them just consider how deeply entrenched in 2010 the support for Yanukovych was in these areas (around 90%), and how ethnic Russians had been treated since the Maidan, and who therefore fled Eastward into these regions (a million or so fled to Russia).