THE ATMOSPHERE in Venezuela today is very much like what it must have been in Chile in the middle of 1973. That was when General Pinochet, backed by the US, organised a coup to crush a democratically elected left wing government.
IN THE week before the bombing of Gaza City, a delegation of health workers, students and academics from Britain visited the West Bank and Gaza to show solidarity with the Palestinians. Nothing quite prepared our delegation for the everyday oppression. The bombing of civilians and children in Gaza was a consequence of the collective punishment Israel metes out to Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
OVER 150,000 anti-capitalists rallied in Genoa in Italy last Saturday, marking a year since the protests against the G8 summit when Carlo Giuliani was killed by the police
Council workers in South Africa have won big concessions over pay after a national strike lasting almost three weeks. The Samwu municipal workers' union won a £14 a month increase in the minimum wage and a 9 percent increase for most of its members. The employers' body had earlier refused to budge from 8 percent.
AROUND 150,000 people marched through the Italian city of Genoa last weekend to mark the first anniversary of the anti-capitalist protests against world leaders at the G8 summit. In a moving show of defiance and solidarity, protesters commemorated the police killing of protester Carlo Giuliani last year. "Carlo is alive and fighting through us," was one of the march's slogans. Students occupied the Diaz school, where police viciously attacked sleeping protesters last year, for three days before the protest.
THE HEAD of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) sensationally admitted last week that international bankers had forced a desperately poor African country to sell grain just as a famine began. They demanded that the life-saving grain was sold in order to repay debts.
OVER 100,000 South African council workers started their second week on all-out strike on Tuesday. They are fighting for a minimum wage of £150 a month. At present the minimum wage is £125 a month.
THE GOVERNMENT of Turkey, a key US ally, stands on the brink of collapse. A string of cabinet ministers and leading MPs have resigned from the Democratic Left-the party of Turkey's prime minister, Bulent Ecevit-over the last two weeks. Now a group of nine dissident party members are demanding radical change and the removal of Ecevit, its veteran leader.
THE DEBATE at a Tower Hamlets council meeting in east London last week took an unusual turn. Campaigners took advantage of a little used procedure to table a motion calling for the council to officially "twin" with the Palestinian town of Jenin.
IN RECENT months metal workers, postal workers, print workers, construction workers, bank workers, telecoms workers and others have been on strike. It is amazing that these strikes are happening just months before a general election, with an SPD (Labour-type) government in office and the Tories ahead in the polls.
WE ARE going to help the US arm Israel. That was the message from the government this week. New Labour caused outrage by admitting it is bypassing its own arms embargo on Israel by selling military equipment via the US. Vital component parts for US F-16 fighter jets, which are used against the Palestinian people, are made in Britain.
TWO YOUNG protesters were shot dead in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, on Wednesday of last week. Dario Santillan and Maximiliano Kosteki were part of a demonstration of unemployed workers protesting at the effects of the huge economic crisis gripping the country.
THE KILLING of six Palestinian children, 700,000 Palestinians trapped in their homes, the assassination of Palestinian leaders, the rounding up of Palestinian men, the reoccupation of Palestinian land. This is what George Bush's vision for the Middle East means-Israel's freedom to do whatever the hell it wants to the Palestinians.
THE US president George Bush's plan for "reform" in the Middle East announced this week will not bring about peace. He gave his complete backing to Israel and its brutal repression of the Palestinians. Right wing prime minister Ariel Sharon sent his troops and tanks to "indefinitely" reoccupy the main Palestinian areas in the West Bank in the days before Bush made his speech.
THE CITY of Seville in southern Spain was shut down on the eve of the European leaders' summit there last week. A general strike of workers saw militant pickets defy the law and shut down major industrial and transport centres. Most shops, bars and restaurants were also closed down for the day.
The government has been forced to halt its sell-off of the state electricity companies after last week's near-uprisings in the southern Peruvian cities of Arequipa and Tacna. This was the most violent confrontation in Arequipa since a rising against a military dictator in the 1950s.
THE FRENCH Tories won a big majority in the parliamentary elections on Monday. The right will have around 400 seats in the new parliament, while the Socialist Party (equivalent of the Labour Party) and its allies will have around 175. After the recent presidential elections John Monks of the TUC and newspapers like the Guardian blamed the far left for the fact that the Nazi Le Pen beat the Socialist Party.
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.