TeleSUR: 2022 Leaves Europe in Grip of Energy Crisis

WSWS: UK trade union bureaucracy tries to sabotage mounting strike wave

Britain’s trade union bureaucracy is making desperate efforts to sabotage the fight of millions of workers against attacks by the employers and government on wages, conditions, pensions and jobs.

Last Friday, the GMB union called off a planned strike by thousands of ambulance workers, set to go ahead on December 28. This followed a successful strike last Wednesday of ambulance staff, including paramedics, technicians, emergency care assistants and call handlers at 10 of the 11 regional ambulance services in England and Wales. GMB, Unison and Unite union members are opposing a pay award imposed by the Conservative government of just 4 percent, with RPI inflation running at 14 percent.

WSWS: COVID hospitalisations up almost 30 percent in Britain

COVID cases are rising sharply, with hundreds of deaths still reported weekly. Latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures published this week but based on the situation nearly three weeks ago in the seven days to December 9, estimate 1.4 million people in private UK households testing positive for the virus. This is up from 1.1 million infections a week previous.

Monthly Review: Germany could become ‘bankrupt state’ due to energy spending

Germany could soon become a dysfunctional, bankrupt state if it stays on the same path it is currently on and fails to deal with the ongoing energy crisis in light of its imbalanced financial policies, Bundestag Vice-President Wolfgang Kubicki said Saturday.

“If we continue that way and want to provide energy assistance for years, then we could face state bankruptcy rather than state socialism,” Kubicki told the German Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

TeleSUR: German Hospitals Fear Wave of Insolvencies in 2023: Survey

Only 6 percent of hospitals rate their current economic situation as “good,” whereas more than one in two hospitals expect their economic situation to deteriorate further in 2023.

TeleSUR: Skyrocketing Energy Prices Cost Danish Business Blns in 2022

On Tuesday, the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) published a report showing that the energy bills of businesses in Denmark have increased by a total of 45.8 billion Danish kroner (DKK) (US$6.56 billion) in 2022.

“In 2022, the prices of electricity and gas have reached levels that we have never seen before,” Industry Director at DI’s Energy Department Troels Ranis said.

TeleSUR: Kosovo Serbs Agree to Remove Road Barricades: Serbian President

Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija Province agreed to start removing road barricades, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced to media after meeting their representatives in the town of Raska on Wednesday evening.

East Asia and Oceania

TeleSUR: China’s COVID-19 Response Shift is Correct, NHC says

How unexpected!

China’s latest policy adjustment on COVID-19 response is appropriate, scientific and law-based, and suits the country’s epidemic prevention and control realities, said Liang Wannian, head of the COVID-19 response expert panel under the National Health Commission.

WSWS: Australian central bank rate rises target working-class households

The year 2022 has already seen the sharpest reversal in working-class living conditions in Australia and globally since World War II, driven by sky-rocketing inflation and interest rates.

Internal documents from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) show that this economic and cost-of-living crisis will intensify in 2023, with a deliberate policy to inflict the suffering primarily on workers and their families.

WSWS: Australia: Labor government delays pay rise for aged care workers

Australian aged care workers will wait another 18 months for a 15 percent increase in minimum award rates, after the federal Labor government urged the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to “phase in” the pay rise.

Central Asia and the Middle East

Anti War: Biden Says Iran Deal Is Dead and That He Won’t Say Iran Deal Is Dead

Sometimes the worst gaffes President Biden makes are not the ones in which he forgets the truth, but the ones in which he forgets not to tell the truth, or worse, when he forgets not to tell that he is not going to tell the truth.

That’s what Biden did on November 4. A just released video shows Biden being asked if he would announce that the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran is dead. Biden answers, “No.” When asked, “Why not?” Biden says, “A lot of reasons. It is dead, but we’re not going to announce it.” He then says of the leaders of Iran that “they’ll have a nuclear weapon.”

TeleSUR: Turkish, Syrian FMs to Meet as 2nd-Stage Normalization Contact

On Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the next contact with the Syrian government as part of a road map for dialogue between the two countries will be between the foreign ministers.

Responsible Statecraft: US quietly forges a new military alliance with Israel

The Biden administration appears to be moving the United States into an ever-closer de facto military alliance with Israel, even though the two countries have never had a mutual security treaty. 

Sources in the Biden administration told Newsweek’s William Arkin that the bureaucratic realignment of unified commands was “the most profound change” for the U.S. military regarding relations with Israel since that state’s founding. The expressed hope was that this would eventually lead to a NATO-like alliance in the Middle East that would be directed against Iran, Russia, and China.


TeleSUR: South Sudan Sends Peacekeeping Troops to DR Congo

On Wednesday, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir bid farewell to 720 peacekeepers to be deployed in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

“I want you to maintain discipline. There are forces that go for peacekeeping mission in another country and cause problems; they rape women and girls. Don’t do it. Don’t take anything from shops or civilians, and that is not what you have gone for; instead, protect the lives of the civilians from danger,” Kiir told the soldiers in Juba.

North America

WSWS: Jackson, Mississippi water crisis continues with thousands of residents left without water after winter freeze

The city of Jackson, Mississippi, remains under a boil water advisory as crews struggled to restore water pressure to thousands of residents in the wake of a deep freeze over the holiday weekend that caused pipes to break and leak.

TeleSUR: US Gun Violence Left Over 43,500 Victims in 2022

On Wednesday, the Gun Violence Archive’s latest report showed that the United States has suffered roughly 640 mass shootings and lost over 43,500 lives to gun violence in 2022.

Inside Climate News: A 3M Plant in Illinois Was The Country’s Worst Emitter of a Climate-Killing ‘Immortal’ Chemical in 2021

The company was also sued this year by the state’s attorney general for discharging PFAS, contaminating groundwater and the Mississippi River. It says it will stop manufacturing and using PFAS in its products by 2025.

Jacobin: Workers at Pittsburgh’s Biggest Newspaper Have Been on Strike for Nearly Three Months

Multiple unions representing Pittsburgh Post-Gazette employees have been on strike since October. Workers say they’ve been without a contract for six years, and many are being denied health care by the company. Jacobin spoke with two workers about the strike.

South America

TeleSUR: Haitian Migrants Receive Assistance in Cuba

Authorities received 253 Haitian migrants who were given medical and humanitarian attention after arriving at night at the port of Kasasa, in Cayo Coco, Jardines del Rey, in the north of the central Cuban province.

TeleSUR: Russia and Cuba to Strengthen Energy, Industrial Collaboration

“I had a fraternal telephone exchange with President Vladimir Putin. We reviewed the excellent results of our recent visit to Russia and ratified the common will to deepen political dialogue and economic, commercial, financial and cooperation ties,” Diaz-Canel tweeted.

Circle of Blue: The Stream, December 28, 2022: Mercury Pollution of Waterways Spoils Bolivia’s Gold Mining Boom

TeleSUR: Bolivian Conservatives Set Fire to Buildings in Santa Cruz

On Wednesday, the residence of Public Works Minister Edgar Montaño, six public buildings, and dozens of cars were set on fire by far-right militants who support Santa Cruz Governor Luis Fernando Camacho, who was detained for investigations in the “Coup I” case.

WSWS: US-backed coup regime in Peru extends emergency rule and military repression

The Peruvian regime installed with the connivance of US imperialism in a parliamentary coup against president Pedro Castillo is moving to consolidate dictatorial forms of rule behind the “constitutional” façade of the Congress and Castillo’s former vice-president Dina Boluarte.

Curfews have expired, but a national state of emergency continues, suspending basic democratic rights like the right to assembly and authorizing the military to remain deployed across the country.

TeleSUR: Right-Wingers Who Threatened VP Fernandez Not to Be Arrested

On Thursday, Argentine Criminal Judge Marcelo Martinez rejected Vice President Cristina Fernandez-Kirchner’s request  to arrest militants of the Federal Revolution group for their alleged involvement in a plan to attack her.

Specifically, Martinez declined the request to arrest Jonathan Morel, Gaston Guerra, and Leonardo Sosa, who are members of a group known for their performances against President Alberto Fernandez and their threats to Cristina.

TeleSUR: Bolsonaro Might Leave for the US Before Lula’s Inauguration

On Wednesday, a publication in the Brazilian Official Gazette gave the first indications that President Jair Bolsonaro might be planning to travel to the United States to avoid Lula da Silva’s inauguration ceremony on Sunday, January 1, 2023.

For days, Brazilian public opinion has been conjecturing about what the far-right politician will do. Bolsonaro has remained completely silent and practically isolated since his defeat in the presidential elections on October 30, which he has not yet publicly acknowledged.

The Ukraine Proxy Conflict

Multipolarista: CIA and NATO are waging sabotage attacks inside Russia

The CIA is using the spy agencies of a European NATO ally in order to launch sabotage attacks in Russian territory, according to journalist Jack Murphy.

Murphy is a former US special operations officer who has extensive contacts inside the military and intelligence services.

Citing multiple US government sources, Murphy reported that the CIA and the European state spent years developing “sleeper cells that the allied spy service has activated to hinder Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine by waging a secret war behind Russian lines.”

Grayzone: Zelensky appoints sexologist pyramid schemer as ambassador to Bulgaria

Since her December 23 appointment by Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelensky as Bulgarian ambassador, Olesya Ilashchuk has locked her Facebook account. At the time this report was filed, only the “intro” section of her Facebook page was visible. It listed some educational experience and contained the following professional fields: “Clinical psychologist, Systemic family therapist, Gestalt therapist, sexologist-consultant.” Ilashchuk was reportedly posting updates to her page on subjects related to gestalt therapy and sexology “until recently.”

Ilashchuk’s dearth of diplomatic qualifications is so glaring that even the British government-funded BBC has branded her appointment “scandalous.” As the mockery grows, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has fired off a statement defending the political novice as an expert in international relations and noting her fluency in English – not the official language of Bulgaria.


Retrospectives, History, and Theory

Michael Roberts: Forecast 2023: the impending slump

His predictions for 2022 were approximately right, though it’s difficult to blame him for some of his inaccuracies given that the impacts of the conflict in Ukraine were, if not unpredictable, at least difficult to model. Things will continue to get worse next year, even if an event of similar magnitude doesn’t occur (and given what’s happened since the beginning of 2020, I don’t feel comfortable making that assumption). I’m just going to highlight the last couple paragraphs:

While central banks and governments are reluctant to admit a slump is coming, especially in the US, financial investors are not so sanguine. Another strong and reliable sign of impending recession has been so-called ‘inverted bond yield’ curve. An inverted bond yield curve is when the yield on long-term bonds (10yr) is lower than short-term interest rates (3m or 1yr). I have explained why this is a good indicator of a coming slump in various posts. Currently, the US bond yield curve is really, really inverted, which really, really predicts a recession. All four of the other times this curve broke below the zero line, a recession followed in short order.

So for a change, it seems that the consensus will be proven right and the world economy will see a sharp drop in real GDP growth with many major economies going into recession – with all the dire consequences for the living standards of the many. After ‘the cost of living crisis’ will come the crisis of living.

Jacobin: Today, We Remember the Women Who Liberated Yugoslavia From Fascism

Eighty years ago, the Women’s Antifascist Front of Yugoslavia was founded to help resist the Axis powers and their local collaborators. Working-class women played a decisive role in fighting fascism — and claimed their place in building a new socialist society.

Counterpunch: The Future of Korean Democracy

I don’t know how well this article does on reporting on Korean democracy because I stopped reading at this point:

The present threat to democracy is the product of 16 consecutive years of decline in global freedom. A total of 60 countries suffered declines over the past year, while only 25 improved. As of today, some 38 percent of the global population live in Not Free countries, the highest proportion since 1997.

The Freedom House report came out just before Russia invaded Ukraine, which is perhaps the most frightening example of this trend away from democracy. In what was once the Soviet Union, an authoritarian state (Russia) aligned with other authoritarian countries (Belarus, North Korea) is waging war on a democratic state (Ukraine) allied with other democratic countries (Europe, the United States). There is no starker picture of the challenges that democracy faces in the world today.

The Left and the Right

Counterpunch: FBI Cointelpro is Back and Worse Than Ever

Elon Musk has opened the floodgates to expose the FBI’s latest war on Americans’ freedom of speech. The FBI massively intervened to pressure Twitter to suppress accounts and tweets from individuals the FBI disapproved, including parody accounts. The FBI and other federal agencies also browbeat Facebook, Instagram, and many other tech companies.

Thus far, most of the American media has ignored or downplayed the story, known as the Twitter Files. Since many of the individuals who the FBI got squelched were pro-Trump, the violation of their rights is a non-issue – or a cause for quiet celebration. At this point, it is difficult to know whether the scant reaction to the Twitter Files is the result of political bias, collective amnesia, or simply a total ignorance of American history.

Counterpunch: Two Barrels Aimed at African People’s Socialist Party 

With new FBI and Department of “Justice” (DOJ) attacks expected in early January, a defense, mobilization and information session attracted hundreds of allies of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP). On Friday, December 23 they zoomed into the “Emergency Mass Meeting: Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa!” The APSP told its supporters that it expects indictments in early January 2023 and possibly sooner.

Indictments could include many more than the four names listed as “unindicted co-conspirators” during raids of July 29, 2022: Chairman Omali Yeshitela, Party Director of Agitation and Propaganda Akilé Anai, African People’s Solidarity Committee Chair Penny Hess and Uhuru Solidarity Movement Chair Jesse Nevel.

Inside the Imperial Core

Anti War: Ottawa Cheers Rather Than Mourns End of Japanese Pacifism

The Liberals are celebrating the demise of one of the more positive outcomes of WWII. And, in pushing conflict with China, they are ignoring Canada’s ignoble role in some horrible history.

Canadian Dimension: Why did the Ottawa Citizen publish Holocaust revisionism?

On the second night of Hanukkah, the Postmedia-owned Ottawa Citizen published a crude piece of gross Holocaust revisionism from a Ukrainian nationalist academic.

This comes during a year that has been a boon for rehabilitating Nazi collaborators and neo-Nazis as a result of Russia’s criminal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Jacobin: Why Sweden’s Social Democrats U-Turned on NATO

Sweden’s left has historically been opposed to joining NATO. But as the war in Ukraine made joining the alliance popular, Sweden’s Social Democrats changed tack, alienating many of their supporters and exposing deep divisions among the Left in the process.

For our Scandivanian viewers out there. I can’t imagine it’s a great article but hey, sometimes Jacobin surprises.

Outside the Imperial Core

Mint Press News: The Rise of The Multipolar World, with Economist Richard Wolff

Climate Change

Common Dreams: The Future of the Amazon Rainforest Under Lula

Luiz Inácio da Silva, the progressive politician popularly known as Lula, is poised to take office as the president of Brazil on January 1. His administration is set to embrace a return to environmental protection following the destructive policies of outgoing president Jair Bolsonaro. Key to these efforts is slowing the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest,more than half of which is in Brazil.

“There is no climate security for the world without a protected Amazon,” Lula said in aspeech at the United Nations COP27 meeting in Egypt in November. “We will do whatever it takes to have zero deforestation and the degradation of our biomes.”

He hadexclaimed at the meeting ahead of his speech, “You all know that we are going to undertake a big fight against deforestation.”