Struggles across the world today invoke the West African proverb – if you think you’re too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito. Our newsletter is an homage to our tribe of mosquitos, from farmers in India demanding liberation from debt to the feminist movement in Argentina demanding legal and safe abortion. To be a mosquito in today’s world is no small task, as we have seen with the recent assassination attempt of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the imprisonment of journalist Shahidul Alam in Bangladesh, and the bombing of school children in Yemen. For more, read our newsletter here.
One cannot look at Trump and his policies in isolation from the crisis of ‘trade wars’. Trump promised to ‘make America great again’. He wants to resolve the crisis for America caused by neo-liberalism without violating its core characteristic, which is free global mobility of finance. At Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, we have wondered about the essential nature of these ‘trade wars’ that have broken out between key allies. We turned to Prabhat Patnaik, Professor Emeritus at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi (India), for assistance.
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.
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.