Readers’ Views: facing far right’s threat; don’t scapegoat; Canadian strike; Transgender troops; women’s liberation; homeless in Los Angeles; defend dissidents; why read N&L.
Editorial on the situation in Venezuela including the deterioration of living conditions; the repression practiced by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and their attempt to gut Venezuela’s Bolivarian Constitution; and the personality cult built around Hugo Chávez, revealing contradictions in the movements for freedom. .
The lightning move by Republicans in Congress to prepare to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare—before Donald Trump even took office, with only the vaguest idea of what is to replace it, and with full knowledge that a large majority of Americans oppose the repeal of its most important provisions—gave a sign of how far the new single-party government intends to roll the clock back, with dizzying speed.
Prisoner and hunger striker Faruq looks at the way forward after the historic California prisoners’ hunger strike and emphasizes the importance of “the banner of our humanism that allowed the forging of a tremendous unification across the racial divides.”
Readers’ Views on Hate: Orlando to Brexit; Black Lives Matter; Muhammad Ali and Dr. King; Duterte in the Philippines; News & Letters Readers Unite!; and Deadly Assault on Women From the U.S. to Israel.
Indigenous people, mostly women, respond to a video about their community, the ejido of Tila, which struggled against the government who tried to take their land and are now an independent community.
Part I of the Draft Perspectives 2016: Discontent is seething in the U.S. among workers, youth, Blacks, women, LGBTQ, including elements of the new society. Fear of revolution is powering neo-fascism opposing the revolt.
A Review of “Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution” by Mona Eltahawy, reviewed by Adele an expert on the theocratic Right.
A statement of solidarity issued by Trust Women Partnership to Black Lives Matter that highlights the importance of reproductive justice in the struggle for freedom and self-determination.
A brief roundup of what women are doing worldwide including: a report to the UN about the appalling status of women in the U.S.; The Cupcake Girls organization that supports sex workers in two U.S. states; and the British group Mumsnet that fights against the gendered marketing of children’s toys, books and clothing.
A roundup of progressive legislation and legal victories involving LGBTQ people in Mozambique, Kenya, Botswana, and Zambia.
A review by Adele of “Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women’s Movements,” by Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.: New York, 2014). This book is a brief overview of the history of the feminist movement in the U.S. from the period after women’s right to vote was won in 1920 until the present.
A report of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, observed around the world each year on May 17 to raise awareness of human rights violations against LGBTI people and to advocate for our full human rights.
Worldwide, the refugee crisis is unprecedented and is fueled by war, terrorism and climate change. The worldwide response is paltry with country after country turning away or deporting frantic and desperate people in search of a safe haven.
Mohammed Al-Waleedi was killed by Houthi militants on the street in Taiz, Yemen, on June 26. This coldblooded senseless murder was met with a wide public outcry.
In cities across the world, the names of Transgender people who were murdered or committed suicide were read out at rallies on or around Nov. 20, the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Yemen’s Western-backed President, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, announced the long-awaited formation of a new, “technocratic” government Nov. 7. The country has been in upheaval since the 2012 overthrow of dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. The immediate background to the new agreement is the changed situation resulting from the occupation of large areas of the country by Houthi rebels, including the capital, Sana’a….
London—You could be forgiven for being surprised at the recent UK Parliament vote last month, with a sizable majority, to recognize Palestinian statehood. After all, when the Palestinians won a hard-fought campaign for recognition at the UN last year, Britain joined a chorus of nations ambivalent or hostile to their efforts. Look beneath the surface, however, and it becomes clear that the British government has little intention of putting words into action….
From the November-December 2014 issue of News & Letters
Oakland, Calif.—On Sept. 6 about 100 people in Mosswood Park commemorated one year since the suspension of the historic 60-day hunger strike, the third of its kind, by California prisoners opposing the torture of solitary confinement. The Security Housing Units (SHU) prisoners’ unprecedented cross-race [=>]
Spurred by racist responses to busloads of immigrant children from Central America, a 300-mile march from Merced, Calif., to the Mexican border was organized.
Protect Aminetou Mint El-Moctar in Mauritania; female genital mutilation in the U.S.; Maryam Mirzakhani is the first woman to win “Nobel Prize of mathematics.”
From the July-August 2014 issue of News & Letters
Germany recognizes a third gender on legal documents such as birth certificates. Australia’s Sex Discrimination Amendment Bill 2013 makes Intersex people a protected class, with no religious exemptions. In the U.S., Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital has a Gender Identity Clinic which provides physical and mental [=>]
From the July-August 2014 issue of News & Letters
Oakland, Calif.—On June 14 Critical Resistance (CR), an organization working for the abolition of the prison system, held a community forum on California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation (CDCr). (Prisoners refuse to capitalize the “R” because there is no “rehabilitation.”)
The forum took up new [=>]
“Sex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement from Stonewall to SlutWalk,” by Melinda Chateauvert, is a valuable history of the Sex Workers’ Rights Movement in the U.S. from its start in the 1960s to the present and its intersection with other social justice movements.
London, England–The UN’s own rapporteur for housing, Raquel Rolnik, has denounced UK government policy as creating a housing crisis for its most vulnerable citizens. Her findings were dismissed as a “misleading Marxist diatribe” by cabinet ministers. In a report detailing her investigation into the British housing sector, Rolnik specifically targets the government’s now infamous “bedroom tax.” She described it for Al Jazeera as having “an enormous impact on [a citizen’s] right to housing and also on other human rights, like the right to food [and] the right to education.”
“My decision to go on hunger strike points to the need for new forces to defend the idea of universal human rights. Although the number of inmates refusing to take food at Guantanamo has recently declined substantially, solidarity remains a vitally important factor.”
“If there was no revolution in Syria, I almost feel like there would be no reason for me to exist. You don’t get tired of it. Revolution is what brought us together, as Syrians, for the first time.”
London, England—Some found it strange that a man voluntarily stopped eating for over 20 days. I found it hard. After all, I like to eat as much as anyone else. Yet my decision to go on hunger strike in support of Guantanamo Bay prisoners had a deeper, political meaning.
I was in good company. The usually [=>]
The PBSP-SHU, Short Corridor Collective Representatives hereby serve notice upon all concerned parties that after nine weeks we have collectively decided to suspend our third hunger strike action on Sept. 5, 2013. To be clear, our Peaceful Protest of Resistance to our continuous subjection to decades of systemic state-sanctioned torture via the system’s solitary confinement units is far from over. Our decision to suspend our third hunger strike in two years does not come lightly. This decision is especially difficult considering that most of our demands have not been met (despite nearly universal agreement that they are reasonable).
Readers’ Views, September-October 2013, Part II
U.S. preacher and bigot Scott Lively will have to face charges of human rights violations in a Massachusetts courtroom. Lively is best known as promoter of Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill. His homophobic preaching has led to persecution and death among African Gays.
London, England–They gathered openly, in the streets, in the hundreds. They shouted. They cheered. Flags were waved, music was played. Yet this was not just another Belfast parade in the name of Republican pride. Far from death being a solemn occasion, the demise of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the so-called “Iron Lady,” was a [=>]
When highly lauded Burmese human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi doubted whether the Rohingya Muslims really belong in Burma, the incipient racism and ethnic chauvinism echoed personally. I consider myself, my family and many other ethnic minorities to be exiles, having fled persecution in Burma during the post-colonial era of national independence movements. In [=>]
by Gerry Emmett
In the remarkable documentary film, La Toma (2012), Afro-Colombian woman activist Francia Marquez Mina is threatened by government forces and forced to spend each night sleeping in a different place for her safety. (See “Afro-Colombians Throw Off Shackles,” Nov.-Dec. 2012 N&L.) She has described the experience of people in her community this [=>]
La Voz de los de Abajo (Voices from Below) sponsored a delegation to Honduras in September, three years after the 2009 coup which deposed the elected President Manuel Zelaya.
Under his successor President Lobo, violence escalated. Seventy Aguán campesinos (peasants) were murdered in three years.
Honduras’ homicide rate is the highest in the world. Lawyers, politicians, human [=>]
Below are excerpts of a Nov. 5, 2012, statement by Kurdish prisoners on hunger strike in Turkey since Sept. 12. Now thousands more prisoners are joining the hunger strike, making it one of the largest hunger strike protests in history. [On Nov. 18, after press time, the strike was called off. The strikers won the [=>]
by Suzanne Rose
Yaounde, Cameroon—Human rights leaders from Africa united to denounce “Gay Hate Day,” which took place on Aug. 21 in Cameroon, and the ongoing arrests of people suspected of being Gay. The Archbishop of Yaounde contributed to this homophobic backlash calling homosexuality “shameful” and “an affront to the family, enemy of women and [=>]
Los Angeles—Bok-dong Kim, an 87-year-old Korean “comfort woman,” came here as part of her U.S. speaking tour on the fifth anniversary of House Resolution 121, which acknowledged Japan’s war crimes against the comfort women. She met with Congressional representatives in Washington, D.C., spoke to 300 students at California [=>]
On the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian people, Nov. 29, we reflected on the [=>]
by Suzanne Rose
After six days of 24-hour-a-day activism, LGBT occupiers, activists, and human rights groups in Seoul, South Korea, won the Seoul Student Rights Ordinance, with all clauses in the original draft included. The draft that calls for non-discrimination against LGBT students as well as their active protection passed the council with a vote [=>]
I want people to know that we didn’t fail. As long as we keep hammering away at this thing, as long as we refuse to give up, we haven’t failed. We’ll be doing what Troy Davis wanted us to do. Our efforts made an impact and will continue to make an impact. —Martina Correia
A woman [=>]
Washington, D.C.—As President Obama unveiled his debt plan, which includes reduced spending for Medicare and Medicaid by $580 billion, hundreds of [=>]
by Gerry Emmett
Protests against deteriorating economic conditions, fuel shortages and government repression were met with brutal force by authorities in Malawi on June 20-21. Police fired on large crowds in a number of cities, attacking with tear gas, and forcing protest leaders into hiding. At least 19 people were killed in two days of clashes [=>]
Los Angeles–On Aug. 13, 30 youths, mostly young women, gathered at the County Twin Towers Prison to support the Pelican Bay prisoners’ hunger strike. With the drumbeat and the performance of Aztec dancers, the protesters held individually made signs that read: “Prisoners are human beings, give them their rights”; “We stand in solidarity for prisoners’ [=>]
From the July-August 2011 issue of News & Letters:
- AS REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION TAKE WORLD STAGE
- CHINESE ART PROJECT
- HEALTHCARE IN 2011
- NEW RIGHT=OLD LEFT?
- FREEDOM RIDES, 50 YEARS AFTER
- WOMEN’S LIBERATION SPEAKS IN MANY VOICES
- BURMA AND NORTH KOREA
- FIGHTING FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
- VOICES FROM BEHIND THE BARS
AS REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION TAKE WORLD STAGE
Congratulations on a fine May-June issue. Thanks especially for [=>]
The reactionary majority of the U.S. Supreme Court gutted all future class action suits by throwing out the case against Wal-Mart, which has discriminated against over 1.5 million women workers as well as implemented extreme anti-union policies. Not surprisingly, big business was delighted with the verdict.
The International Criminal Court at the Hague, Netherlands, issued [=>]
From the July-August 2011 issue of News & Letters:
On socialism and freedom in Morocco
by Richard Greeman
Morocco, where the Arab Spring has opened up a space of relative freedom to discuss and demonstrate, is an exciting place to be, where every day new groups are getting organized and putting forward their grievances. The Feb. [=>]
Editor’s note: This Manifesto, posted by Gaza youth on Facebook, spoke for so many that it spread all over the world and was translated into dozens of languages. For the full statement go to: http://www.facebook.com/notes.php?id=118914244840679¬es_tab=app_2347471856.
“Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN… Fuck USA!
“We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the [=>]
Participants at the 25th National Gathering of Women in Paraná, Argentina, denounced physical attacks on feminists by right-wing Catholics who infiltrated their workshops on “Women, Contraception, and Abortion,” resulting in injuries. Feminists shouting “No More!” physically ousted the anti-abortion fanatics. That same night, thousands of women marched, singing chants against the dictatorship of the [=>]
FBI RAIDS–AN ATTACK ON ALL OF US
On Sept. 24, teams of FBI agents from the “Joint Terrorism Task Force” served search warrants and grand jury subpoenas on anti-war and solidarity activists in Illinois and Minne-sota. This attack on the First Amend-ment rights of peaceful activists must be opposed and we should stand with them [=>]