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.

 


Lockdowns, quarantines, social distancing – these words mean nothing for the billions of people who work hard each day to socially reproduce the world and to produce the millions of commodities; they have not benefited from their work, but they have certainly enriched the few who are now hiding with their wealth behind their curtains, afraid of the reality that made them rich. A hasty show of compassion as they form long lines on the roads that leave the cities is not enough; the system that uses them, keeps them barely alive, and then throws them out must be struggled against, another system put in its place.


The current crisis is shaped not only by the danger of the coronavirus itself, but also of an economic system that favours the financial sector and the plutocracy and that has lead to the sheer collapse of State institutions in most of the capitalist world, where the health care system – eaten away by austerity measures – is incapable of handling the crisis. Hope stems, rather, from places like Kerala (India), China, and Cuba, where intact State institutions have been able to handle the pandemic.


Even in the wake of austerity measures that have eaten away at workers’ rights for medical staff, these heroes work beyond exhaustion to stem the tide against the virus. In this mutilated world, those who hold us together by the bonds of love and fellowship are our heroes, marvellous people who are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect their fellow humans. Care givers – whether in families or in institutions – never get sufficient credit for the enormous burden they have shouldered as politicians have gutted the State and society. We must imagine a planet of nurses rather than a planet of bankers.


In the times that we live in – in which far too many people are faced with hunger, deprivation and suffering – radical hope flourishes and emancipatory ideas, forged in the vortex of struggle, take on a certain brightness. In our world, civility is not just a matter of attitude; it is also a matter of resources. If we used our considerable global social treasure to ensure a decent livelihood for each other and to ensure that we tackle our pressing problems in a collective way, there would be the leisure time to rest amongst friends, to volunteer in our communities, to get to know one another, and to be less stressed and angry. Neither is ‘hope’ an individual feeling; it has to be produced by people doing things together, building communities, fighting for their values.


On 8 March 1917, a hundred women in the textile factories in Petrograd decided to go on strike. Before long, around 200,000 workers – led by the women – marched through the streets. This strike set in motion a cascade of protests which eventually broke the Tsarist state and inaugurated the Russian Revolution. In 1920, the Bolshevik leader Alexandra Kollontai wrote that women in the Soviet Republic had rights and the vote, but that ‘life itself has not absolutely changed. We are only in the process of struggling for communism and we are surrounded by the world we have inherited from the dark and repressive past’. What was ahead was the struggle. Over a century later, that struggle continues. Four years ago, on 3 March 2016, Berta Cáceres was assassinated for her role fighting against the building of a dam in western Honduras. Her assassination came two years after gunmen burst into the home of Thuli Ndlovu, a leader of South Africa’s Abahlali baseMjondolo, who had the audacity to organise working women into a political organisation to confront their economic and political power. Facing brutal oppression and violence, women – as the first and hardest hit by the economic exploitation driven by the crisis of capitalism – continue to be at the forefront of the growing social upheaval across the globe today.