News from movements around the world

Compiled by James O’Nions

December 22, 2016
4 min read

Iceland

The Pirate Party, whose platform included the introduction of forms of direct democracy, more than tripled its representation in Iceland’s elections, coming third with almost 15 per cent of the vote. The Green Left came second with 16 per cent. Although the right-wing Independence Party came first, its previous coalition partner, the rightist Progressive Party, saw its vote collapse. The election had been called early after the Progressive Party leader and prime minister was embroiled in a financial scandal emerging from the release of the Panama Papers. The Social Democrats, who were the lead party in government as recently as 2013, barely scraped past the 5 per cent threshold.

El Salvador

A claim for $250 million brought by a mining company against El Salvador has finally been dismissed by the World Bank’s investment court. OceanaGold claimed that El Salvador had unfairly refused to grant it a gold mining concession, and brought the case under the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system contained in an investment treaty between Canada and El Salvador. After seven years and $12 million spent by the Salvadorean government (only part of which was awarded in costs against the company), the court agreed that the government had the right to refuse the concession on environmental and other grounds.

Mexico

The Zapatista National Liberation Army and the National Indigenous Congress have announced they will field an indigenous woman as an independent candidate in the 2018 Mexican presidential elections. The move was announced at the conclusion of the fifth National Indigenous Congress in San Cristobal, Chiapas. The Zapatistas also called for indigenous unity against the ‘slavery of capitalism’ and runaway environmental destruction. It is not yet known who the presidential candidate will be.

The Zapatistas and National Indigenous Congress agree to nominate an indigenous woman as a candidate for the presidency of Mexico

Poland

The Polish parliament rejected a draconian new anti-abortion law after an estimated six million women went on strike against it in October. Poland already has some of Europe’s most restrictive abortion legislation, but the ruling Law and Justice Party had proposed to ban abortions even when the mother’s life was in danger and in cases of rape, with prison sentences for both the women and doctors involved. Government ministers explicitly said they had been swayed by the enormous protests in over 60 cities.

Poland’s government backed down over new abortion laws two days after millions of women went on strike

Turkey

The co-leaders of the leftist, pro‑Kurdish party HDP were arrested as part of Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan’s ongoing wave of repression against opponents. Arrest warrants were issued for all 59 of the party’s MPs and protests against the arrests have been violently repressed by the police. The HDP is the third largest party in the parliament and is currently blocking Erdoğan’s attempts to dramatically increase his presidential powers. The editor and other journalists of the centre-left daily Cumhuriyet were also arrested.

Romania

Europe’s largest-ever food sovereignty gathering took place in Romania in October. The five-day Nyéléni Europe forum saw hundreds of participants from over 40 countries discuss agroecology, farmworker rights, democratising the food system and the fightback against corporate control. The forum was particularly important for better establishing the food sovereignty movement in eastern Europe.

Saudi Arabia

A growing protest movement has seen dozens of women driving cars in Saudi Arabia, something they are currently forbidden from doing. Thousands of people in the repressive state have also signed a petition for the end of the guardianship laws. The laws require women to have permission from a male relative before travelling, marrying or even in some cases accessing healthcare or taking up employment. Dissenters have been using the hashtag #IAmMyOwnGuardian.


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Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 19 April
On April 19th, we’ll be holding the second of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.

Changing our attitude to Climate Change
Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Technology spells out what we need to do to break through the inaction over climate change

Introducing Trump’s Inner Circle
Donald Trump’s key allies are as alarming as the man himself

Secrets and spies of Scotland Yard
A new Espionage Act threatens whistleblowers and journalists, writes Sarah Kavanagh

#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part II: a discussion of power and privilege
In the second article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the silencing of black women and the flaws in safe spaces

How progressive is the ‘progressive alliance’?
We need an anti-austerity alliance, not a vaguely progressive alliance, argues Michael Calderbank

The YPJ: Fighting Isis on the frontline
Rahila Gupta talks to Kimmie Taylor about life on the frontline in Rojava

Joint statement on George Osborne’s appointment to the Evening Standard
'We have come together to denounce this brazen conflict of interest and to champion the growing need for independent, truthful and representative media'

Confronting Brexit
Paul O’Connell and Michael Calderbank consider the conditions that led to the Brexit vote, and how the left in Britain should respond

On the right side of history: an interview with Mijente
Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Reyna Wences, co-founder of Mijente, a radical Latinx and Chincanx organising network

Disrupting the City of London Corporation elections
The City of London Corporation is one of the most secretive and least understood institutions in the world, writes Luke Walter

#AndABlackWomanAtThat: a discussion of power and privilege
In the first article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the oppression of her early life and how we must fight it, even in our own movement

Corbyn understands the needs of our communities
Ian Hodson reflects on the Copeland by-election and explains why Corbyn has the full support of The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union

Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 15 March
On 15 March, we’ll be holding the first of Red Pepper’s Race Section open editorial meetings.

Social Workers Without Borders
Jenny Nelson speaks to Lauren Wroe about a group combining activism and social work with refugees

Growing up married
Laura Nicholson interviews Dr Eylem Atakav about her new film, Growing Up Married, which tells the stories of Turkey’s child brides

The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari

Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next

Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace

Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill

Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility

Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports

From the frontlines
Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices

How can we make the left sexy?
Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed

In pictures: designing for change
Sana Iqbal, the designer behind the identity of The World Transformed festival and the accompanying cover of Red Pepper, talks about the importance of good design

Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
As well as protesting against Trump we have a lot of work to get on with here in the UK. Here's a list started by Platform

Who owns our land?
Guy Shrubsole gives some tips for finding out

Don’t delay – ditch coal
Take action this month with the Coal Action Network. By Anne Harris

Utopia: Work less play more
A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen

Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant


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