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Detroit’s Fiscal Budget: A Case Study In Corporate Domination

A recent debate over the fiscal budget for 2022-2023 for the City of Detroit revealed the political character of the current administration and City Council. The budget was approved for $2.4 billion in a municipality where a majority of the population are African American, working class and impoverished. There were efforts by grassroots community organizations to influence the entire budget process. The Moratorium NOW! Coalition (MNC) in a public letter urged the City Council to include a $1400 “booster” check to retired municipal employees impacted by the more than 8% rate of inflation in the United States. In addition, to the booster campaign for retirees, the MNC in another correspondence to the City Council, demanded that the budget presented by the white corporate-imposed Mayor Mike Duggan be rejected due to its lack of consideration for the 80% African American population in Detroit.

Honduras Repeals Colonialist ZEDEs

President Xiomara Castro fulfilled a major campaign promise last week when she signed the decree to repeal the ZEDEs law. We spoke to Honduran Vice Minister for Agrarian Reform, Rafael Alegría, on this important victory for the campesinos and social movements of Honduras. Rafael is a historic leader of the international peasants movement, La Vía Campesina. Having been at the forefront of years of struggles in Latin America, he’s now a strong anti-imperialist voice with the Partido Libre administration. Kawsachun News’ Camila Escalante sat down with Rafael in Managua, where he and other movement leaders participated in commemorative events marking the 30th anniversary of the founding of La Vía Campesina.

The Real Zelensky: From Celebrity Populist To Unpopular Neoliberal

A comedic actor who rose to the country’s highest office in 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky was virtually unknown to the average American, except perhaps as a bit player in the Trump impeachment theater. But when Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Zelensky was suddenly transformed to an A-list celebrity in US media. American news consumers were bombarded with images of a man who appeared overcome by the tragic events, possibly in over his head, but ultimately sympathetic.  It didn’t take long for that image to evolve into the khaki-clad, tireless hero governing over a scrappy little democracy and single-handedly staving off the barbarians of autocracy from the east.

Poor People’s Campaign Marches On Wall Street

Demanding a new political discourse in which the poor are no longer blamed for their poverty in the wealthiest nation in history, hundreds of impoverished and low-income activists on Monday rallied in New York City and marched on Wall Street to take their demands directly to the center of U.S. wealth.

Millions Strike In India Against Modi Government’s Policies

The last two years have seen a further deterioration of the living standards of working people in India due to the pandemic and the lack of enough policy interventions by the Modi government. Around 200 million industrial workers, employees, farmers and agricultural laborers observed a two-day general strike in India on March 28 and 29. The strike is a challenge by working people to the far-right Narendra Modi government as well as a fight to save the people’s future and save the country.

Cuba Prepares For Disaster

The September 2021 Scientific American included a description by the editors of the deplorable state of disaster relief in the US.  They traced the root cause of problems with relief programs as their “focus on restoring private property,” which results in little attention to those “with the least capacity to deal with disasters.”  The book Disaster Preparedness and Climate Change in Cuba: Adaptation and Management (2021) came out the next month. It traced the highly successful source of the island nation’s efforts to the way it put human welfare above property.  This collection of 14 essays by Emily J. Kirk, Isabel Story, and Anna Clayfield is an extraordinary assemblage of articles, each addressing specific issues.  Writers are well aware that Cuban approaches are adapted to the unique geography and history of the island.

Costa Rica: A Paradise For The Few After First Round Of Elections

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.

Peru Is Engaged In A Political War

The political landscape in Peru is pretty complicated these days. The country has been living a political crisis for years due to the desire of a small minority to control the country both economically and politically. From 2016 until today, five people have occupied the presidential chair. All of them have faced tremendous resistance from Congress, which impeached two of them and threatened to do it with the other two, including the current President Pedro Castillo. The last remarkable event of these tireless attempts by Congress to impeach Castillo was unveiled by the weekly “Hildebrandt en sus Trece”. According to the outlet, two politicians, together with some Congress members from the opposition, including the Congress President Maria del Carmen Alba, gathered in the hotel “Casa Andina de Miraflores” to discuss the best way to get President Castillo out of the way.

Chicago Parking Meters: Harbingers Of Neoliberal Privatization

Chicago, IL - Parking on most streets in Chicago will cost you at least $2 an hour. In some busier areas that jumps up to $4.50, and the downtown Loop area can run as high as $7. You’d be hard pressed to find pricier street parking in the United States. A 2019 study by the parking services company Parkopedia found only Miami Beach and New York City are more expensive.  But this wasn’t always in the case. Before 2008, parking in the Windy City was a relatively reasonable 50 cents per hour, no matter where in town you were. But 14 years ago the City Council, at the urging of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley, sold the entirety of the city’s street parking system to a private company for a cool $1.15 billion.

Honduran Campesina Wendy Cruz On Challenges For Xiomara Castro

Wendy Cruz of La Via Campesina speaks about the challenges facing Honduran women and women of the peasant movement ahead of the inauguration of President Xiomara Castro of the left-wing Libre party.

Deepening The Higher Education Divide

American mythology promises upward mobility, and college can provide an important first step up the class ladder. With the rise of the “knowledge economy” and the decline of industrial jobs and unions, some insisted that education is the answer to economic displacement. If you can’t earn a stable, living wage as a steelworker, go to college and become a nurse or a computer programmer. And if you didn’t make that choice, it’s your own fault that you’re struggling. After all, college was affordable, accessible, and varied. You could commute to campus, take evening classes, cover tuition with loans and grants, and work part-time or even full-time while you completed the degree that would transform your life.

When Revolutionary Moments Arise Again — What Will We Do?

The world is in a prolonged period of global unrest. Since the financial crisis of 2008, every region of the planet has experienced levels of mass protest unprecedented in recent history, from the Arab Spring in the Middle East and Black Lives Matter in the U.S., to the farmers’ protests in India and the recent upheaval in Kazakhstan. Yet decades of social movement struggle haven’t produced a break from capitalist domination, and in most places they have failed to even accomplish the more modest aims of reform. Meanwhile, the global climate crisis has added another layer of urgency to the task of social transformation. What can past struggles teach us about the possibility of achieving a liberated world?

Covid Fueled By Neoliberal Austerity

On December 31, 2019 Chinese media told the world about a newly discovered disease cluster in the city of Wuhan. What was thought to be a viral pneumonia came to be known as SARS-CoV-2, Covid-19. Two weeks later Chinese scientists sequenced its genome and gave the world the ability to test and trace the disease. Covid continued to spread and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020. China didn’t wait for a WHO declaration in order to take action. The government immediately adopted a zero covid strategy. They dispatched health care workers to Wuhan and built new hospitals to care for the sick. The sick were isolated and the healthy were supported in a variety of ways.

The WTO Threatens The Farmers’ Victory — Unless We Resist

The ministerial level meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will take place from November 30 to December 3. Generally, during such meetings, imperialist countries pressure developing countries to abolish their agricultural subsidies according to the policies of “free trade.” The new agricultural laws [the BJP’s neoliberalizing reforms against which the farmers’ movement struggled] were a result of the dictates of such meetings. Even now, the [farmers’ movement’s] demands pertaining to the legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP), the state purchase of crops, and the legal guarantee of the Public Distribution System (PDS) stand in direct contradiction to the dictates of the WTO. Indian rulers have already committed there, in writing, not to guarantee MSP, and the coming meeting is destined to bring more of the same.

A For-Profit Company Is Trying To Privatize Public Libraries

"Even if we don’t see a written-out master plan, the banning of books, the attacks on teaching real US history, the efforts to push out professors with views that transgress official US policy: In their myriad forms, these actions tell us that it’s important to powerful people to restrict what ideas people can access. It’s the land of the free and the home of the brave—except if you want to know what’s happened, and happens, here, or to tell people about it. It all shows us the power of ideas. As infuriating and sad and enervating as it all is, it reminds us that knowledge is power."
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