Just a week after the midterm elections, the Senate voted to end the National Emergency Declaration on Covid-19. This vote, in which Democrats joined Republicans 62-36, comes after the U.S. handled the Covid-19 pandemic in impressively pitiful fashion, with over 1 million dead and millions more grappling with long Covid-19 symptoms. It also comes as winter months approach and respiratory illnesses are on the rise, particularly among children as pediatric intensive care units reach capacity. Ending the National Covid-19 Emergency declaration could affect anything from the access to medical supplies to helping cover costs of Covid-19 testing. Its end could also help pave the way to restart student loan payments. Ironically, the vote comes with the help of the Democrats, members of the same party who claimed just a week earlier that they needed the public’s support at the ballot box so they that could keep protecting the public interest, from Covid-19 policies to protecting abortion rights.
The U.S. has entered a dark period. Economic crisis wracks its capitalist system. Military instability and chaos reign supreme over its imperialist ventures. Political illegitimacy worsens by the year, at times by the month. These conditions sound favorable to the growth of revolutionary possibilities within the citadel of imperialism. But such is not the case at the moment. Discipline and organization are at perhaps their weakest point in generations. Young people are moving toward socialist politics. However, a similar number of people have embraced the politics of a U.S.-led New Cold War against Russia and China which seek to destroy any alternative to imperialism. Little clarity has been developed on the question of what socialism would look like in the United States, an obvious indication that a century of Red Scare politics has made a decisive impact on the political direction of the so-called Left.
If in the electoral year of 2018, the fake-news which circulated the most on social media platforms were related to the candidates themselves, the current misinformation questions the electoral process itself, according to the specialists interviewed by Brasil de Fato. The recent and constant mudslinging by the president and his allies about the alleged unreliability of electronic voting machines illustrates this. It’s no coincidence that this agenda is also prevalent in the far-right groups of the deeper layers of Telegram. In these more underground platforms, the far-right has complete dominance. “And the most shared [content], the topics and narratives that have the most prominence in the groups that we analyze are not those directly connected with the allegation of frauds in the electronic voting machines, but with those that question the legitimacy of the institutions that guarantee the result of the election."
36 years after a popular revolution overthrew the regime of Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippines on May 9 elected the former dictator’s son to the presidency. According to the partial vote count released by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) at 98% reporting, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, also known as Bongbong Marcos, is set to win the presidency by securing around 60% of the popular votes counted so far. Bongbong’s running mate Sara Duterte, daughter of outgoing president Rodrigo Duterte, also won the vice-president’s post with over 61% of the popular votes in total. The marathon round of elections had a turnout of over 80% from among the 67 million eligible voters, electing thousands of officials and legislatures at the national, state and local levels.
The Colombian Inspector General’s Office, on May 10, suspended the mayor of Medellín, Daniel Quintero, from his position for his alleged political participation in the upcoming presidential elections. The decision provoked a widespread political uproar. Several progressive leaders condemned the decision and accused the Inspector General of siding with the ruling right-wing party and breaking the American Convention on Human Rights that states that an administrative entity cannot suspend an official elected by citizens’ votes. The Inspector General’s Office suspended Quintero for a video that he published on Twitter on May 10, in which he pushes the gear lever of a car towards first and says “the change in first.”
In recent years, both major parties in the U.S. have been recruiting former members of the military, the foreign service, or national security agencies to run for Congress. Almost all of these so-called “service candidates” are either conservative Republicans or corporate Democrats, who quickly become part of the bi-partisan majority on Capitol Hill which rubber-stamps ever larger Pentagon budgets and fails to get big money out of politics. Two years ago, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) bet heavily on four ex- military officers running for US Senate seats against right-wing Republicans in Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Despite much Super-PAC spending on their behalf, only one of them, former astronaut Mark Kelly, actually got elected.
I think the Obamas are playing their role as the most elite Black figures in the Democratic establishment, which is to control any form of protest so that it does not get “out of hand”. To be out of hand means to go beyond voting as a mechanism of social change – to actually get involved in direct democracy, like mass protest, direct action, and/or rebellions. To also build structures outside of the official electoral process for decision making. Doing these things are not easy, particularly when you have operatives like the Obamas telling you not to, or you have established systems of control like the police and the surveillance state, the use of private capital to control your finances and economic stability, the derailments of mass entertainment. All of these things make organizing outside of voting a difficult task. All of these institutions are lined up to get us all back in line, back in the pocket and back in hand.
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil – Former Brazilian president, and frontrunner in the upcoming October 2022 presidential election, Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva is putting four of his one-time accusers of corruption and money laundering in the dock. The initial charges and inquiries — all 25 of them — were completely dismissed earlier this month. Lula’s legal battles — including his sentence of 12 years and 11 months in prison, a sentence that was later increased to 17 years — are part of the infamous and multifaceted “Car Wash” investigations into corruption at state and private companies, such as Petrobras and Odebrecht, as well as among businessmen and politicians. In fact, it was during Lula’s administration that Brazil’s federal police were provided with the legal tools and mechanisms to initiate the Car Wash operations.
Francia Márquez Mina, a 40-year-old Black female activist from the predominantly Black and forgotten region of the Colombian Pacific coast, is shifting the terms of political debate in the second 'Blackest' nation in South America. Francia, the first Black woman to run for the Colombian presidency, is leading a collective effort by women, LGBTQ+ communities, Black youth, peasants, and the poor in general to transform Colombia's insidious patterns of violence and socio-racial inequalities. According to Infobae , as many as 54.2% of Colombia’s population face food insecurity, 42% are under the poverty line, and 10.8% of children are under chronic malnutrition. The country has one of the largest internally-displaced populations and the longest armed conflict in the hemisphere.
St. Louis, Missouri - “What is the delay in closing the Workhouse?” moderator Maquis Govan asks Mayor Tishaura Jones at a virtual town hall on “re-envisioning public safety” February 8. The event was co-organized by Action St. Louis, an affiliate of the Movement for Black Lives. The group’s 501©4 arm, Action St. Louis Power Project, endorsed Jones during her 2021 mayoral run. The Rev. Michelle Higgins opened the event by thanking Jones warmly for “valuing and loving the constituents of this city in this way: taking the time to listen to our questions directly.” Now, activists want clarification on when the mayor will fulfill her campaign promise to close the St. Louis Medium Security Institution, more commonly known as the Workhouse, which activists have been trying to shut down for years.
It seems that hard times indeed are coming for the working class, micro- and small-business owners, and small-scale farmers of Costa Rica after the first round of presidential voting on February 6. The two candidates that will go on to the runoff, José María Figueres Olsen and Rodrigo Chaves, have clearly neoliberal proposals: more free trade, more taxes on wage earners, and more cuts to university budgets and social spending. They offer no specific proposals to address the serious crisis of tax evasion and tax avoidance, nor anything to curtail the use of tax havens to hide people’s fortunes. The new Legislative Assembly, far from being a counterbalance, will serve as a conveyor belt transmitting these policies that will finish the job of dismantling what has been called the Social Rule of Law in Costa Rica.
The Latin American and Caribbean electoral calendar for 2022 promises to be no less hectic than that of the previous year. Among the upcoming elections and referendums that are slated for this year—Costa Rica, Mexico, Chile, Peru, perhaps Haiti—two contests that are expected to attract the most attention, due to the specific geopolitical weight of these respective countries, are the general elections in Brazil, which are supposed to take place in October, and the Colombian parliamentary and presidential elections, slated for the first half of 2022. After 20 years of governments that have supported the Uribism movement—named after Álvaro Uribe Vélez, who was president of Colombia from 2002 to 2010—and with the eternal backdrop of the armed conflict, Colombia is not only playing for change but also for the future of an unfinished peace process.
The elected president of Honduras, Xiomara Castro (Libertad y Refundación, Libre), denounced this Sunday, outside the National Congress, that a dictatorship is trying to hijack the Legislative Branch in a bid not to respond to the popular mandate. Hundreds of people continue to mobilize in the vicinity of the Parliament in defense of democracy and respect for the popular vote. Addressing the crowds of her supporters, Castro recalled that the elections of November 2021 were to remove from power the dictatorship of the current president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, and banish its unlawful practices. She stressed that on November 28, the people cast their votes and that their will must be respected.