Conflicts, crises and struggles appear into the news media without much context. This is for two reasons. First, the compression of space – the brevity of a television news report or of the print media’s 300 word story – prevents any broad context from being offered to a readership which might not know how to assess a conflict, crisis or struggle. Second, the ideology of the governing class is one that proceeds with the premise that too much depth would give people too much understanding of how the world works. Far better to have a ‘free media’ that merely skims the surface, if it at all reports on a story. Shallow news reports saturated with corrosive ideological implications are what is on offer particularly when a crisis strikes. Events appear as a sudden crisis with no history.

From the Tricontinental, each month, we will produce a brief dossier on a current event that we believe requires some elaboration. These dossiers will provide a short anti-imperialist history of the crisis, offer interviews with key experts on the region and on the issue at stake and provide human stories of the people who are at the heart of the crisis.

To suggest crises that need elaboration or to offer information as well as stories for these events, please contact us at [email protected].

 


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.


The Venezuelan people will go to the polling stations across the country on Sunday, May 20th. This dossier looks at what is at stake in these elections. We provide an overview of the regional and national context in which the elections will take place and explore the forms and consequences that the U.S. intervention has had in Venezuela. Lastly, this dossier looks at the experiences, tensions, and alternatives that have developed in the past and that characterize today’s Bolivarian revolution and perspectives towards the future. 


What to make of the war in Syria? It is a bewilderingly terrible war – so many killed, so much destruction, so many thrown out of their homes and into a hostile world. An end seems unlikely. Peace negotiations open and then close. Our latest Tricontinental dossier provides some context for this war. It offers a window into how toxic the debate has been about this conflict, how difficult it has been to agree even on the basic facts. To enrich our discussion, we present an interview with Syrian economist Omar Dahi.


Tension remains across the Korean Peninsula. Despite moves to dissipate the dangerous rhetoric by both the North and South Koreans, the underlying threats remain in place. A reader of the mainstream – mostly Western – media would assume that the threats were all authored by North Korea, indeed that if the North simply gave up its nuclear weapons programme that all would be well. But this is not the whole story. Our Dossier no. 1: Crisis in the Korean Peninsula unravels the problems that bedevil the people of Korea.

 


Water is a class issue. Its distribution has never been equitable. What the residents of Cape Town will struggle with is what more than one billion residents of informal settlements across the planet deal with each day. They too have little access to piped water and no sanitation system. They have to fetch water from afar and have to rely upon open fields to relieve themselves. What has already a afflicted the very poorest on the planet has now become a grave peril as it inflicts itself upon a major city. Our Dossier #2 looks closely at cities without water.