THE BIGGEST general strike for 15 years in Argentina's neighbour Uruguay, in South America, took place last week. There was an almost total stoppage by public sector workers, and a very strong response in private industry.
MORE THAN 70 people were arrested and beaten in Harare, Zimbabwe, last weekend. They were taking part in a peaceful commemoration of the Soweto anti-apartheid uprising in South Africa in 1976. Socialist MP Munyaradzi Gwisai, who is due to speak at Marxism 2002 in London, was singled out for special treatment by the riot police. He was severely beaten and needed urgent medical treatment.
UP TO 200,000 people demonstrated in the Spanish city of Seville last Sunday against government attacks on unemployment benefits and workers' rights. The protest was the biggest seen since 1979 in the Andalucia region in the south of Spain.
MAJOR STRIKES over pay could hit Germany after postal and telecoms workers staged "warning" stoppages on Monday. Unions are demanding a 6.5 percent rise for 250,000 workers. Inflation is just over 1 percent.
FRANCE'S TORIES look set to win a large majority in parliament after the second round of voting in the country's elections takes place this Sunday. In the first round of voting last Sunday the Tories led by the UPM coalition of France's president Jacques Chirac had around 44 percent of votes. Chirac managed to unite almost all of France's traditionally fractious Tory parties behind him.
MASS protests greeted US president George W Bush as he began his tour of Europe last week. Over 100,000 people demonstrated in the German capital, Berlin, on Tuesday. The following day 50,000 marched.
THE CYNICAL territorial ambitions of the rulers of India and Pakistan lie behind the threat of war between them. Their conflicting claims over Kashmir and its 12 million people have sparked hostilities since the end of British rule in 1947.
THE EUROPEAN Social Forum will be a massive gathering of activists from many different movements. It will be held in the Italian city of Florence from 7 to 10 November this year. The alliance between Tony Blair, Spanish leader Aznar and Italian prime minister Berlusconi aims to drive Europe further to the right.
"IT WASN'T a surprise to anyone, certainly not to the people of Jenin, that the United Nations fact-finding mission did not come to investigate. People had been told not to move anything until the team came, just in case valuable evidence disappeared into the trucks that carried away the rubble that was once their homes.
WHAT LIES behind the support for the far right?
THE SECOND round of the French presidential election on Sunday saw the expected landslide victory for the Tory Jacques Chirac. He got 82 percent of the votes against 18 percent for the Nazi Jean-Marie Le Pen. The election result shows the limits of Le Pen's support.
MASS PROTEST against the Nazi Jean-Marie Le Pen is sweeping France. Every single day for over a week, hundreds of thousands of people, millions in all, have taken to the streets-and the movement is growing. Le Pen, the leader of the fascist National Front, got 17 percent of votes in the first round of the country's presidential election. He faces a run-off on Sunday against the French president, the Tory and crook Jacques Chirac.
The first questions were put to Daniel Bensaid:
WHAT DOES the result mean?
THE ISRAELI government is trying to cover up its horrific war crime in the Jenin Palestinian refugee camp. Israeli troops sealed Jenin off for 13 days last month and attacked the camp. Three times Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has refused to allow a United Nations (UN) fact finding group into the camp. Socialist Worker spoke to Palestinians from Jenin.
SHOCK AT the election result in France has been quickly matched by a huge explosion of anger on the streets. The wave of demonstrations, hardly reported in British newspapers, shows how the Nazi Le Pen can be crushed. Established politicians were merely telling people to vote for the right wing Chirac.
FRANCE'S PRESIDENTIAL election was the result of mass disillusionment with five years of government by the Socialist Party and its coalition allies, the Greens and the Communists. The vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen was terrible, with just over four and a half million people backing the Nazi leader. But it was almost exactly the same vote Le Pen got in the last presidential election in 1995.
THE POOR of Venezuela defeated an attempted coup against the country's president, Hugo Chavez, last weekend. The attempt to remove Chavez was the work of the head of the employers' organisation, with the connivance of army generals, the head of the Catholic church, and even a corrupt trade union leader.
One lasting memory of last July's massive protests at the G8 summit in Genoa, Italy, was the sheer number of supporters of Rifondazione Comunista, the Refounded Communist Party. After the police killing of Carlo Guiliani the party's general secretary, Fausto Bertinotti, issued an appeal for every party member to get to the city to join the protest. Tens of thousands responded.
WITH BREATHTAKING gall, George W Bush last week declared that the election in Zimbabwe was a "flawed process". He added, "We do not recognise the outcome of this election." Only a man as stupid and arrogant as Bush could criticise the vote a year after he stole the US presidential election.
The only certainty about politics in Zimbabwe is that there is a stormy time ahead. Socialist Worker went to press before any voting figures had been announced for the presidential election. Whatever result is finally announced will be hotly contested by the losing side.