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Social Movement

Lessons From Colombia: A Victory For The People

On June 19, Colombians elected the first leftist president and the first Afro-Colombian vice president in history. This was possible, despite being in a repressive state, because of a strong national social movement that organized an effective national strike in the spring of 2021. Clearing the FOG speaks with Charo Mina Rojas, an Afro-Colombian human rights defender and leader in the 2016 peace process, about this victory, the obstacles they faced and how they will counter efforts by the wealthy class to prevent further progress. Activists in the United States have much to learn from the Colombian people's movement and an important role to play in preventing interference by the US government.

Eritrean Martyr’s Day

On June 20th, Eritrea celebrates Martyr’s Day, in honor of those who fell in the 30-year war for independence from Ethiopia, from 1961-1991, and those who have fallen in the ensuing off-and-on war with Ethiopia’s Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). A former Italian colony, Eritrea aspired to independence after the Italians suffered defeat in World War II, but it was instead drawn into the Cold War politics that dominated the Horn of Africa—and most of the world—once it was over. To reward Ethiopia for its service during the war, the United States pressured the United Nations to give Eritrea to Emperor Haile Selassie to administer and then to annex in 1962. In 1961, a group of students, professionals, and college professors founded the Eritrean Liberation Front and began the longest war for independence in Africa, in which ten percent of Eritrea’s population are thought to have died.

The ‘Insorgiamo!’ Movement In Italy

An interesting process of organization and struggle is taking place in Italy. Emerging from the fight to keep jobs in a closing factory and driven by debates in a democratic factory council structure, the “Insorgiamo!” (Let’s rise up!) movement was born. However, it went far beyond its own struggle and picked up the demands of the most neglected sectors of Florence, where the factory is located. This allowed it to carry out mobilizations of 30,000 people in September 2021 and last March 26 and to call for a National Public Assembly to discuss the problems, needs, and demands of the workers and the people on Sunday, May 15. To learn more about this process, Juan Andrés Gallardo spoke with Giacomo Turci, editor of La Voce delle Lotte — part of the La Izquierda Diario International Network — and leader of the Revolutionary Internationalist Fraction (FIR).

Attacks Against Shack Dwellers’ Movement Continue In South Africa

On May 5, Nokuthula Mabaso, a militant land rights activist in South Africa was assassinated. Mabaso was a leader of Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM), South Africa’s militant shack dwellers’ movement that fights for land rights of the urban poor. She was the third activist of the movement to be killed in less than two months.

Evo Morales And Social Groups Create ‘People’s General Staff’

"The social, union and indigenous organizations decided to form the General Staff of the People for the people as a space to defend the sovereignty and dignity of our democratic and multicultural revolution (...)," Morales announced on Monday after a meeting of leaders, held in Cochabamba in the center of the South American country. In this sense, the former president stressed that the "Estado Mayor" is made up of "national organizations affiliated and not affiliated to the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB)," including the peasant and indigenous confederations grouped in the Unity Pact, one of the pillars of the ruling Movement Towards Socialism (MAS). The founding declaration of the "Estado Mayor" has been disclosed by the media.

Defending The Legacy Of Chile’s 2019 Uprising

On July 5, after a tumultuous morning both inside and outside the former National Congress building, the inaugural meeting of Chile’s Constitutional Convention carried out its first act, electing Elisa Loncon Antileo as its president. Loncon, an Indigenous delegate representing the Mapuche people, made history as she addressed the assembly first in Mapudungun, her native tongue, and later in Spanish. Here we are, brothers and sisters, here we are, thanks to the support of the different coalitions that placed their trust in us, invested their dreams in the call made by the Mapuche nation to choose a Mapuche, a woman, to change the history of this country. As an activist and linguist, Loncon has advocated for the preservation of Indigenous languages and underscored the importance of the right to speak these languages in both public and private life.

Guatemalans Back On The Streets Demanding President’s Resignation

Guatemalan Ancestral Indigenous Authorities and advocate groups took to the streets on Thursday to demand the resignation of President Alejandro Giammattei Attorney and the General of the Public Ministry (MP), María Consuelo Porras. "The president Alejandro Giammattei and the Attorney General of the Public Ministry did not respond to the people that demand their resignation. In this scenario, the people as taken to the streets and several sectors have called for an indefinite strike," teleSUR´s correspondent in Guatemala Rolanda García reported. On the other hand, the Ancestral Indigenous Authorities denounced a campaign to attack Indigenous communities, social movements, and alternative media outlets.

As US Empire Declines, What Openings Exist For Progressive Movements?

The fall of Kabul with, once again, the hurried and chaotic departure of surprised Americans, has led to an abundance of hand-wringing from the U.S. political center, as well as the right. Its larger meaning is important for people who want progressive change in the United States. For well over a decade I’ve noted to activist audiences that the U.S. empire is in decline. At the same time, I’ve encouraged activists to see this as good news — even if it means there will be challenges like increasing polarization. For one thing, the decline won’t be causing centrists to re-evaluate their support for empire. They don’t even use the word “empire,” of course — but running an empire has been a fact of life for U.S. governments since the late 1800s when the left lost the vigorous national debate about imperialism.

Israel’s Arrest Campaign Aims To Destroy A New Palestinian Movement

Since late 2019, Israeli forces have been waging a campaign of mass arrests, targeting hundreds of young women and men in Palestine. They have been brutally arrested, their homes stormed at dawn, their belongings searched and confiscated. Detainees have been interrogated for weeks on end and prevented from meeting with lawyers, with their files and charges concealed. Families have been intimidated with pressure and threats, while detainees have undergone horrific physical and psychological torture, as documented by human rights groups. Many of these ordeals have ended in the release of the detainees, without charge or trial, after months of arbitrary imprisonment.

Bolivians Reject Postponement Of Elections With Massive Mobilizations

Organizations and trade unions from diverse sectors in Bolivia joined the call to mobilize today, on July 28, against the postponement of the general elections in Bolivia. The call for nationwide mobilizations was given by the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB), Bolivia’s trade union center, and the Pact of Unity, a national alliance of grassroots organizations in Bolivia. On July 23, the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE), which is under the direct control of the coup-installed government, postponed the elections scheduled for September 6 to October 18, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Stonewall Riots Didn’t Start The Gay Rights Movement

Despite what you may hear during this year’s fiftieth anniversary commemorations, Stonewall was not the spark that ignited the gay rights movement. The story is well known: A routine police raid of a mafia-owned gay bar in New York City sparked three nights of riots and, with them, the global gay rights movement. In fact it is conventional to date LGBTQ history into “before Stonewall” and “after Stonewall” periods—not just in the United States, but in Europe as well. British activists can join Stonewall UK, for example, while pride parades in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are called “Christopher Street Day,” after the street in New York City on which the Stonewall Inn still sits. But there were gay activists before that early morning of June 28, 1969, previous rebellions of LGBTQ people against police, earlier calls for “gay power,” and earlier riots.

What Can South Africa Teach Palestinians?

From April 1 to April 11, 2019, the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), in partnership with the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC), hosted a delegation of 20 Palestinian youth organizers in Johannesburg, South Africa. The delegation was driven by three goals: first, to deepen relations of joint-struggle between Palestinians and South Africans; second, to study how we, as Palestinians, can learn from the historic achievements of the South African struggle; and third, to strengthen working relationships among a new generation of Palestinian youths from various geographic and ideological backgrounds toward a unified national liberation project. The intensive study program featured lectures, seminar discussions, visits to landmark sites of historic struggle, and meetings with South African political figures, community leaders and youth activists.

Report: Inaugural People’s Congress Of Resistance

By Peoples Congress of Resistance. Washington, DC - On Sept. 16-17, the People’s Congress of Resistance movement was inaugurated with a mass convening of grassroots organizers and front line resistors at Howard University. All told, 727 delegates from 38 states and 160 towns and cities came to Washington, D.C., to discuss the People’s Congress of Resistance manifesto “Society for the Many: A Vision for Revolution,” to share organizing experiences to take back home, to express solidarity with each other and to resolve on common projects and actions for the future.

The Growing Movement For Social And Racial Justice

Now we can see that, indeed, a movement for social and racial justice has emerged from the Trayvon Martin murder and more recent events -- among them, the tragic killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in NYC, and the outrageous failings of our criminal justice system to indict their killers, and the murders of 19-year old Kendrec McDade in Pasadena and 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland. Protests around the country have escalated over the past two years. Activists have transformed the outrage into local community organizing projects, voter registration drives, and mass protest campaigns like the Moral Monday movement in North Carolina.

Bolivia’s Conamaq Indigenous Movement

Bolivia's Conamaq indigenous movement is currently a major grassroots critic of the policies of the Evo Morales government and its Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party. Because of this critical stance, the government helped to violently oust the Conamaq from their offices in La Paz this past December, and create a parallel, pro-MAS Conamaq. Mama Nilda Rojas is a leader of the dissident, or organic, Conamaq, and is interviewed here by Pablo Peralta M. of Bolivia's Página Siete newspaper. While ex-Conamaq leader Rafael Quispe is seeking to run for president against Morales, the current Conamaq of Nilda Rojas rejects all political parties and alliances with any governments, and remains one of the few critical social movements outside the umbrella of the MAS party, along with a radical base of followers and a progressive vision for the country.
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