On Thursday, at 4pm, a march across Rio took place under the banner – Quanto mais tem que morrer pra essa guerra acabar? (How Many More Have to Die for This War to End?). It referred to the murder of the Brazilian politician Marielle Franco. But it could very well have referred to the Colombian militant Ana María Cortés, the South African shack dwellers’ leader S’bu Zikode or the hundreds of militants from West Bengal and Tripura who have been attacked over the past few years. Some have been killed, others have been threatened. They are victims of a war on the Left that is gruesome. But these acts of violence, often unpunished, do not deter people from their anti-austerity protests from Haiti to Tunisia. These continue. Protests are a sign of hope, a sign that surrender is not on the cards. Our newsletter this week, the twentieth from Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, is on Assassinations – killings and attempted killings, but also the impossibility to assassinate hope. You can read it here.
The women beedi (thin cigarette) workers of Solapur, a city in the Indian State of Maharashtra, used to live in tiny shanties on rent in slums. The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) organised them and led a prolonged struggle to construct houses for them. The result: the government was forced to allocate funds for the purpose and 15,000 houses have been constructed for the workers. Another 30,000 houses are being built for informal sector workers from various industries. With their united struggle and sustained movement, the workers of Solapur are building a city of their own.
A ‘soft coup’ is underway in Brazil. The United States has become increasingly emboldened in tightening their grip on protecting their interests in the region at the expense of democracy and the people’s sovereignty to choose their own governments. Accusations of corruption with no evidence and the imprisonment of the leading candidate, Lula of the Workers’ Party, have cast a somber cloud over the upcoming October elections. Through a variety of tactics, Brazil’s democracy is under siege.
In the Ruins of the Present traces the challenges posed by globalization and what these challenges produce for our society. The first attempt to address the problems of globalization was neo-liberalism. It failed. Next came cruel populism, which expresses itself in narrow, hateful terms. It will also fail. The Left is weak – decomposed by globalization. The need of the hour is for the Left to recompose itself, to become a vital force for a fragile humanity.