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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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