News of struggles and conflicts from Africa, Asia and Latin America is not always easy to find. A general strike in India is not reported in the corporate press, neither is the murder of a human rights activist in Central America nor indeed is news of great humanitarian interest from the multilateral organisations (such as the agencies of the United Nations). As the world’s media gets more and more homogenised by the interests of corporate ideology, more and more news about the world’s peoples vanish. There is so little basic information, for instance, about world hunger and about the fights to feed the hungry. We are not interested merely in the conflicts and the suffering. We are equally interested in the struggles of people to address these broad challenges.

We, at the Tricontinental, will send out a weekly newsletter, a curated note with information from one part of the world, that will offer a window into some of the struggles and conflicts of our time. The newsletter will be available by subscription – and it is free.

To find out more about the newsletter, or to send us stories that you believe we should cover in it, please write to [email protected]. We do not promise to use each and every one of your suggestions, but we do welcome them. If you have objections to anything we run, please let us know. There might be times when we might publish your criticism as part of our mandate to stimulate debate.

 


On 8 and 9 January, over 160 million workers went on strike in India from a broad range of sectors, from industrial workers to health care workers. This has been one of the largest general strikes in the world. This two-day strike comes as workers around the world greeted 2019 with a wave of demonstrations – from the ‘month of anger’ launched in Morocco by trade unions to the protests in Sudan over rising prices, from the potential strikes of teachers in Los Angeles (USA) to the potential general strike in Nigeria over wages. As Bolsonaro takes office in Brazil, he has not hesitated to slash minimum wage and begin his attack against indigenous communities. It will remain to brave people to follow the example of resistance fighters like Shadia Abu Ghazaleh of Palestine and fight for a future that benefits the people, not the global elite and today’s neo-fascists. Their struggles will be struggles to make their land proud.


On January 1 in India, 5.5 million women formed a 620-kilometer wall across the length of the state of Kerala to fight for women’s rights to the Sabrimala temple. On the same day, Cuba celebrated 60 years since the 1959 revolution, which has been a persistent thorn in the side of global capital ever since. Haiti celebrated 215 years since the January 1 revolution in 1804, in which the small island defeated slavery and became the first anti-colonial republic in the world. In Mexico, the EZLN commemorated 25 years since the January 1 Zapatista uprising, a show of strength against all odds in an era of globalisation. These battles are not without consequences, as global capital has bled Haiti and Cuba dry, cut them off from access to finance, and sought to make an example of any strongholds from the left. Today, in the first newsletter of 2019, we join the zapatistas and people across the world- from Haiti to India to Cuba to Mexico-  in saying ‘we will not allow any project that destroys the life of humanity and the death of our mother earth’. Ya basta. 


Once you have organised people to push for a new world system, what is the policy framework that needs to be adopted? It is here that intellectuals must put their heart and soul into action. We need to think hard about the many creative ways to use our social wealth to solve the immediate problems of humanity – hunger, sickness, climate catastrophe. It is cruel to think of these hopes as naïve. It tells us a lot that it is easier to imagine the end of the earth than to imagine the end of capitalism, to imagine the polar ice cap flooding us into extinction than to imagine a world where our productive capacity enriches all of us. In our last newsletter of 2018, we bring you an overview of how we see and understand the world we live in today, and of the ideas and concepts we have developed as we begin to build a framework to imagine, and build, a new world system.


In France, the yellow vests— in their fifth week of demonstrations—  want their grievances and hopes to structure the political landscape, not the avarice of corporations and the cynicism of the political class. We want cash, they say, as a prelude to a radical emancipation. An assessment of China is also more complicated than the commonly presented narrative. All revolutionary processes lose their energy, get sucked into the everyday problems of resource distribution and the bureaucracy of power. Channelling aspirations from individual gain to social development is not a simple matter, especially as there is a global cultural push to reduce the human personality to that of a consumer. But despite the obstacles, people know that capitalism’s destructive impulses will not benefit them. No wonder the yellow vests in France and the farmers in India take to the streets. No wonder that the young in the DRC want to join them.


One in eight people across the world live in informal settlements. This, despite the “right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family” as declared by the International Declaration of Human Rights. Reality, however, is very far from this.  This is why movements of the world’s poor and dispossessed fight tooth and nail to protect the rights and dignity of the workers and the poor. Because, in the words of Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) president S’bu Zikode, “we have no choice but to live like human beings.” Recent victories of the left, from Morocco and India, and the tireless organizing and bravery of movements like AbM, provide glimpses of inspiration and hope against the bulldozer of capitalism and its accomplices.