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.

 


War is the logical outcome of a system premised on structured inequality. If the vast majority of the world’s people are not permitted to make lives of dignity, then they will rebel against their conditions. Even the most modest protests (a march) for what appear to be reasonable demands (land reform) are met by what Franz Fanon called ‘the old granite block’ and by asymmetrical violence. It is far more expensive to manage a state of repression than to create a state of equality, but for the oligarchy – the old granite block – money spent on war is far more efficacious than money spent on peace. In his monumental notes – Grundrisse (1857) – Karl Marx wrote, ‘The impact of war is self-evident, since economically it is exactly the same as if the nation were to drop a part of its capital into the ocean’. From the standpoint of society, war and repression are illogical; from the standpoint of the capitalists, war prevents social revolution and war-making produces opportunities for profit. A synonym for capitalism is the ‘permanent war economy’, whose goal is not to create security but to freeze class relations in perpetuity.


Ivana Kurniawati, Rest in Power,

On 25 November 1960, three of four of the Mirabal sisters – María Teresa, Minerva, and Patria – of the Dominican Republic were assassinated for their resistance against the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. In Santiago (Chile) this year, women gathered on 25 November to protest not only the historical patriarchy in their country but also the police’s behaviour – including rape – during the ongoing protests across Chile. In Tamil Nadu (India), the All-India Democratic Women’s Association is organising a Long March to raise awareness about violence against women. Women in every country on the planet have raised the issue of violence against women – from sexual harassment to rape to femicide. What divides these women is geography; what unites them is politics. As the tide of neoliberalism continues to wash over the world, and as it engulfs societies in anxiety and heartache, it is women who have been the most active in the fight for a different world.


On 18 November, students at India’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) marched to the parliament in New Delhi as part of their broad protest against the hike in student fees. The JNU Students Union (JNUSU) – which has been leading the campaign against the destruction of public education – showed that enormous amounts of money have been gifted to large corporate houses as tax rebates and as loans which have not been paid back, while the students are being forced to take money from their families, go into debt to banks, or quit their education. The closing statement of the People’s BRICS summit, held in Brasília (Brazil) a week before the Indian students’ march to parliament, captures the heart of what the students were saying – we demand changes, so we can have a future. To fight for the future – revolution – requires constant fights for the present – reforms. When reforms edge towards the calcified boundaries of what is permissible – such as nationalisation of resources – then the shutters of civility go down. The coup against the government in Bolivia on 11 November was conducted through the strategy of hybrid war. There was a long-term fight to undermine the government’s resource nationalism policy, some of this directly conducted by the US Embassy.


Muath Amarneh

On 13 November 2019, as part of its deadly attack on the people of Gaza, Israeli armed forces bombed a building in the Deir al-Balah neighbourhood of Gaza City. The strike killed eight people. For six decades, the people of Palestine have been under constant assault by the cruelty of history to being refugees and an occupied people. What Israel is saying is that it is content with being an apartheid state and with the annexation of five million Palestinians in the occupied territory who will become second-class residents inside Greater Israel. That is apartheid, as a United Nations report put it two years ago. The thread of viciousness runs from the Israeli jails to the homes of militants of the Movement for Socialism in Bolivia, where the violence incited by the illegal coup has intensified. Whether it is the Israeli government or the neo-fascist racist evangelical political forces in South America, they prefer violence to humanity. Meanwhile, attempts by the Indian government continue to dismantle whatever labour legislation remains in place. India’s government seeks to increase growth by attacking labour, a clear demonstration of the Marxist view that wealth is created from the extraction of surplus value.


On November 10, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales Ayma was removed from office. Technically Morales resigned, but the conditions for his resignation had been set by the Bolivian oligarchy. A team from the openly hostile Organisation of American States arrived and provided legitimacy for the coup with a report on the elections that was long on accusations and short on facts. Using this OAS report – fully backed by the United States – as justification, the police mutinied, and then the army (which had remained neutral) told Morales he had to resign. There was no choice. The aims of the coup are many, though none center around a concern for democracy. Rather, the coup seeks to reverse Morales’s nationalisation policies, to remove one more pole of the ‘turn to the left’ in South America, and to gain control of Bolivia’s natural resources. Such events as a coup are merely events of a longer-term structure, a long struggle between the forces of imperialism and of decolonisation. Better to let the Generals do the dirty work, while the US embassy remains unblemished, and as the aims of international capital are eventually met.