On 15 October, Indigenous Australians grieved the collapse of a landmark push for Indigenous rights and recognition that was spurned by the country’s white majority in a binding constitutional referendum. Indigenous leaders called for a “week of silence” to mourn the bitter outcome of Saturday 14’s landside vote. The defeat has called into question decades-long reconciliation efforts. Aboriginal advocacy groups stated that millions of Australians had ignored the chance to atone for the country’s colonial past and the “brutal dispossession of our people”.
This is remarkable given the world-historic events in Ukraine. Eight months of the war have now passed, tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed, with many more severely injured and millions displaced. The Western press has been relentless in its uncritical support of the US/NATO effort in Ukraine, including near daily accounts of Russian atrocities while ignoring all reports that refute them, and ignoring as well many reports of Ukrainian atrocities and war crimes. The US and the EU have placed severe sanctions on Russia, which, curiously, seem to be harming Western Europeans and the people of the Global South more than the ostensible target.  Most important, perhaps, for the nations of the UNGA, is that the October 12 resolution concerns the most significant events in Ukraine since February 24: the accession to Russia of Ukrainian territory.
The hope for reunification was based on the fact that Russia is a stable state governed by the rule of law, with fully-fledged institutions and an established civil society. Living their lives on the frontline of a geopolitical confrontation, Russians in Donbass dreamed that one day war would disappear. They hoped that Donbass would become an ordinary, peaceful region of Russia, like neighboring Rostov. They hoped that they would be able to put away their weapons and return to the mines and factories, and they could teach their children without regular shelling. Or that they could sweep the streets for leaves instead of scrubbing away blood from the pavement. Joining Russia offered hope and was synonymous with victory. After all, this is why the struggle started.
Cuba dawned today with great expectation for the long-awaited news: The Family Code will be law, after the majority of Cubans supported the document during the popular Referendum held on Sunday. Early this morning, the president of the National Electoral Council (CEN), Alina Balseiro Gutiérrez, announced in a live broadcast that the preliminary results of the vote count has affirmed that the Code will be law. The count at this point has determined that 3,936,790 of the 6,251,786 Cubans who went to the polls voted Yes for the document (66.87 percent). With most of the ballots counted, the electoral authority assured that 1,950,090 people voted NO, (33.13 percent).
The referendum on September 23-27 in the Donbass and southern Kherson and Zaporozhye regions of Ukraine on their accession to Russian Federation is, prima facie, an exercise of the right of self-determination by the native population who reject the Western-backed regime change in Kiev in 2014 and the ascendancy of extreme nationalist forces with neo-Nazi leanings in the power structure. But it has other dimensions, too. In all probability, the referendum will overwhelmingly opt for accession to Russian Federation. In Donbass, it is a straightforward question: “Do you support the entry of the DPR into the Russian Federation as a subject of the Russian Federation?” For Kherson and the Zaporozhye, the referendum ascertains three sequential decisions: secession of these territories from Ukraine; formation of an independent state; and its entry into the Russian Federation as a subject.
Just one week ago, people went to the polls in Chile for the historic constitutional referendum, where the social forces supporting the idea of a new constitution were swept away. The negative vote exceeded 61%, while the draft constitution go just a little more than 38%. Many may think such a result speaks for itself, but it goes deeper than that. Understanding what happened in Chile is not only an exercise for politicians and analysts, but an obligation for progressive movements throughout the region. Just the day before the vote, we analyzed the situation and concluded the new Constitution could pass. We based our analysis on two studies elaborated by two recognized teams, which contradicted all the opinion polls spread by Chile’s mainstream media.