Events


Globally


TeleSUR: IMF Director Georgieva Rules Out a Global Recession


Europe


WSWS: Liberty Steel plans to cut 450 UK jobs and downscale production

MEMO: Report: UK Labour could drop recognition of Palestine in new manifesto

Why do we even continue to pretend the UK has two parties anymore? This is just getting ridiculous. Imagine how many elections they could win if they merged bases!

WSWS: Millions march in France against Macron’s pension cuts

People’s Daily: Over 1 mln French demonstrate against controversial pension reform

France’s Ministry of the Interior said that an estimated 1.12 million French people took to the streets across the country on Thursday to protest against the government’s controversial pension reform plan.

The CGT, France’s largest union, estimated the nationwide protest number at 2 million. According to the ministry, in Paris alone, 80,000 demonstrators expressed their discontent.

RT: Huge gold deposit discovered in Serbia – official

The find was made by Canadian-based international gold mining company Dundee Precious Metals, which operates projects in the Balkan country. The company said it discovered a high-grade deposit at the Coka Rakita exploration prospect in eastern Serbia and expects “exceptional results” from recent drilling.

MEMO: Greek PM Mitsotakis: ‘We will not go to war with Turkiye’

Sounds good.


East Asia and Oceania


WSWS: Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

Reuters: Saudi Arabia stays top crude supplier to China in 2022, Russian barrels surge

Russia remained China’s second-largest source of crude oil in 2022, following repeat top supplier Saudi Arabia, as Chinese refiners snapped up low-cost Russian barrels while Western countries shunned them after the Ukraine crisis.

Monthly Review: South Korea prosecutes its citizens for screening North Korean drama

The Western Corporate Media often claims that “North Korea prosecutes (or even executes) its people for watching South Korean dramas.”

It’s hard to ascertain if that’s actually the case, as fake news about North Korea is the norm. The only allegations of this phenomena come from unreliable defector testimony of known liars (like Park Yeon Mi), who are rewarded for telling hyperbolic lies; or from dubious South Korean sources like the rightwing Chosun Ilbo.

These hyperbolic claims are then amplified by right wing anti-communist organizations (like Liberty in North Korea) and the US MSM.

However, contrary to these dubious claims, we can ascertain with certainty that South Korea does prosecute people for screening North Korean films.

In fact, it’s not an exaggeration to say that much of what South Korea accuses North Korea of doing can actually be attributed right back to South Korea. In other words, these claims are projection—not cinematic, but psychological.


Central Asia and the Middle East


Responsible Statecraft: Surprise! Arab public gives Abraham Accords a big thumbs down

Arab citizens across the Middle East and North Africa continue to view Israel and the United States as the primary threats to their country’s security, and opposition to normalization with the Jewish state remains high, according to the 2022 Arab Opinion Index released Thursday by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Qatar.

Approximately 80 percent of respondents said that U.S. and Israeli policies “threaten the security and stability of the region.” By contrast, 57 percent said the same about Iran and Russia, an almost 15-point improvement for both countries since 2016. Turkey and China were the only countries that earned a positive approval rating for their policies in the Arab world.

MEMO: Lebanon opposition lawmakers stage sit-in to demand new president

Independent lawmakers in Lebanon are staging a sit-in at Parliament to pile pressure on dominant factions to elect a new president nearly three months since the post fell vacant with the country in the throes of an economic crisis, Reuters reports.

MEMO: Kuwait signs $370m deal to buy Turkish Bayraktar drones

Even drones can fail upwards! Inspiring!

People’s Daily: Iranian president says energy, transportation agreements with Russia “constructive”

WSWS: Mass protests against Israel’s far-right government: A harbinger of revolutionary struggle

MEE: Israel’s supreme court is taking on the government. It might not survive


Africa


Africa News: Demonstrators demand France withdrawal from Burkina Faso

Africa News: Mali gets more warplanes, helicopters from Russia

Africa News: Sierra Leone: a new law imposes 30% of positions for women

Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio on Thursday signed into law a law requiring all public or private organizations to reserve 30% of their jobs for women, including in leadership positions, in a society that traditionally favours men.

TeleSUR: Saharawi Liberation Front To Deepen Fight Against Moroccan Army

On Thursday, the Polisario Liberation Front members approved intensifying their armed struggle against the Moroccan troops that occupy Western Sahara.

“This meeting must constitute a break with the past. From now on, all our efforts must focus on armed struggle, as this is the only way to achieve Independence,” said Dahba Mohamed, a participant in the Polisario Front’s 2023 Congress held at the Dakhla city refugee camp.

WSWS: South Africa: Electricity outages compound ANC government crisis

African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa was forced to abandon his planned trip to the World Economic Forum’s (EEF) annual meeting in Davos. His government faces growing anger over the widespread power outages by Eskom, the state-owned electricity company that generates that 90 percent of South Africa’s power.

Last week, Eskom announced its worst ever power cuts are set to last indefinitely, surpassing last year’s record when it imposed at least 100 days of rolling blackouts that left factories, workplaces, schools, hospitals and households without electricity for up to 11 hours a day. The power cuts are believed to be costing around $235 million a year.


North America


Reuters: Biden’s approval at 40%, near lowest of his presidency - Reuters/Ipsos poll

People’s Daily: Record 38 pct of U.S. adults delay medical treatment due to costs in 2022: Gallup

Common Dreams: Low Union Numbers Amid Organizing Wave Spark Calls for US Labor Law Fixes

WSWS: US unions suffer further decline in membership rate

The US unionization rate declined again in 2022 to 10.1 percent, the lowest rate since records have been kept, according to numbers released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unionization rate fell from 10.3 percent in 2021 and is down from 20.1 percent in 1983, when the figure was first compiled in the wake of the President Reagan’s smashing of 1981’s PATCO air traffic controllers strike.

The number of union members rose by 273,000 in 2022, but this was eclipsed by the nearly 4 percent growth in overall employment, or 5.3 million more workers. The rate of private sector unionization is just 6 percent or 7.2 million workers out of 120.36 million private sector workers. The public sector unionization rate was 33.1 percent, 7.1 million workers. The unionization rate for young workers aged 16 to 24 was less than half that of workers aged 45 to 54.

Jacobin: Northwestern University Graduate Student Workers Won a Union Last Week

Last week, graduate student workers at Northwestern University voted to unionize by a landslide margin. We spoke to some of the worker-organizers about why they wanted to unionize and how they won.

Reuters: Google parent to lay off 12,000 workers - memo

Naked Capitalism: British NGO Index on Censorship Just Named Mexico’s President AMLO “Tyrant of the Year 2022”

Index on Censorship is a London-based NGO that has been around since the Cold War and bashfully describes itself as “the global voice of free expression.” It publishes a quarterly magazine of the same name that features articles on free speech and the restrictions placed on it by certain governments around the world. At the end of each year, it conducts a curious exercise: it asks its readers to vote for whom they believe was “Tyrant of the Year.” For 2022, despite apparentlu “tough” competition, “one leader surged ahead, by a mile,” the NGO says. That leader was Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (aka AMLO).

Weirdly, the NGO did not disclose how many people had actually voted for AMLO, or for any of the other contenders in the poll. This year’s “rogues’ gallery” included Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Nicaragua’s left-wing President Daniel Ortega, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un, Egypt’s brutal strongman, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, China’s Xi Jinping, and, of course, Vladimir Putin (no list of authoritarian world leaders would be complete without him).


South America


Common Dreams: 250+ Groups Call On El Salvador to Drop Charges Against Water Defenders

Critics warn that the Salvadoran government is “desperate for revenues” and trying to “demobilize potential grassroots opposition” to reversing a historic nationwide ban on environmentally destructive metal mining.

Climate Change News: Brazil launches first raids against Amazon tree-cutters under Lula’s new government

TeleSUR: Lula’s Visit to Argentina to Strengthen Integration: Cerruti

TeleSUR: A ELN Truce Will Favor Colombia & Venezuela: Rodriguez-Zapatero

On Thursday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro received Spain’s former President Jose Rodriguez-Zapatero, who arrived in Caracas to back the dialogue process between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN).


The Ukraine Proxy Conflict


RT: US to label Russia’s Wagner Group a ‘criminal organization’

TeleSUR: US Asks LATAM Countries to Donate Russian Weapons to Ukraine

On Thursday, Gen. Laura Richardson, the head of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), acknowledged that Washington has asked several Latin American countries to donate military equipment purchased from Russia to Ukraine.

“Speaking to the Atlantic Council, a think tank backed by NATO and funded by the U.S. weapons industry, Richardson stated that a total of nine Latin American countries have Russian equipment,” outlet RT reported.

Reuters: Finland promises 400 million euros of aid to Ukraine, could add Leopards

Finland announced on Friday a new donation of more than 400 million euros ($434 million) worth of defence equipment for Ukraine, not including Leopard 2 heavy tanks which it said it could also send if there is an agreement with allies.

Responsible Statecraft: Germans remain adamantly opposed to sending any Leopard tanks to Ukraine

The Ukrainian government will be deeply disappointed that the meeting of Western defense chiefs at Ramstein air base in Germany did not agree to give German-made Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine. The countries represented at the meeting, however, did promise to send a disparate collection of other arms. The United States has pledged an extra 59 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and 90 Stryker light armored personnel carriers. Other countries are supplying artillery, ammunition, and anti-aircraft weapons.

Moon of Alabama: Ukraine - Pressing For Tanks

This covers the saga pretty nicely.


Analysis

Retrospectives, History, Theory, and Technology


Monthly Review: How not to deal with a debt crisis

Mint Press News: How British Intelligence Sabotaged Cambridge Analytica Scandal

On December 23, it was announced Facebook’s parent company Meta would pay $725 million to U.S.-based users whose personal information was harvested by Cambridge Analytica, the largest ever data privacy class action settlement in history.

The development represents the culmination of a global scandal that erupted in the initial months of 2017, led to official investigations into Cambridge Analytica and Facebook in multiple countries, triggered widespread public debates about online privacy and the malign influence of behavioral advertising and microtargeting in the democratic process, precipitated the abrupt collapse of the company and its parent, Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) Group, and dominated mainstream headlines for years.

Yet, for all the relentless coverage and hype over so long, there is a dimension to the farrago that has never previously been explored. Now, it must be. MintPress can reveal a secret British intelligence network fed top journalists — and the world — lies and misinformation about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, distorting perceptions, misdirecting attention and public anger, amping up tensions with Russia, and paving the way for World War Three.

Mint Press News: NATO Creating Plans For Mass Mind Control

NATO has begun plans to make the “human mind” their new “domain of war.” And yes, that’s as horrifying as it sounds.

No mainstream media outlet has covered NATO’s new “domain of war” declaration, leading press freedom group Project Censored to include it in its 25 most-censored stories of the year. As Project Censored wrote:

“On October 5, 2021, the NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) sponsored a forum on what panelists described as the ‘weaponization of brain sciences’ to exploit ‘vulnerabilities of the human brain’ in service of more sophisticated forms of social engineering and control. As Ben Norton reported for The Grayzone, ‘with its development of cognitive warfare strategies,’ NATO has added a new, sixth level to the five operational domains—air, land, sea, space, and cyber…”

Epstein-brain is now a defence mechanism against NATO mind control rays, not just me reading too much into random events that could be connected!


The Left and the Right


Jacobin: François Ruffin: It’s Time to Put an End to the Neoliberal Era

Filmmaker François Ruffin has become a leading critic of the destruction of France’s welfare model. Today an MP, Ruffin told Jacobin how the Left can rediscover its purpose — and again rally the discontent of rural and peripheral France.

Jacobin: Elite Universities Gave Us Effective Altruism, the Dumbest Idea of the Century

Actually quite an interesting article on the various mass psychoses affecting the rich nowadays as they drift further and further away from reality.


Inside the Imperial Core


Monthly Review: The Realities of Capitalist Denmark

It is not uncommon for me to see U.S. citizens point to Denmark as a socialist alternative. With this article, I would like to correct this misconception and demonstrate that capital accumulation is the guiding principle in Danish society.

Although the working class in Denmark has succeeded over generations in collectivizing a number of social services, such as childcare, care for the elderly, and education, and in wresting parts of the housing stock from the clutches of the market. Despite having won victories in fighting for a relatively progressive taxation structure—according to the social democratic motto, “the broadest shoulders carry the greatest burdens”—Denmark is permeated by the mutecompulsion of capital, and no Danish government would ever use the term socialism to refer to Danish society.

When the capitalist class in Denmark has conceded to the working class what we (on festive occasions) call “the Danish model,” it is only partly because of the fear that their employees would be too inspired by their socialist neighbors to the south and east. Without belittling the trade union movement and the influence of proletarian political parties, the main argument behind the employers’ benevolence towards the much-vaunted “Danish model” is that it strengthens the labor market with what we call flexicurity—a conflation of flexibility and security.


Outside the Imperial Core


Geopolitical Economy: Peru’s natural resources: CIA-linked US ambassador meets with mining and energy ministers to talk ‘investments’

Peru has large reserves of copper, gold, zinc, silver, lead, iron, and natural gas. After a coup overthrew left-wing President Pedro Castillo, the US ambassador, CIA veteran Lisa Kenna, met with mining and energy ministers to discuss “investments”. Europe is importing Peruvian LNG to replace Russian energy.

Valdai Club: Conflicts in East Asia: How Are They Different From Europe?

Valdai Club: Valdai Club to Discuss Russia-South Africa Relations

Bilateral relations between Russia and the Republic of South Africa have evolved into a partnership characterised by mutual respect in recent years. Cooperation between the two countries is being implemented on all tracks - both at the official diplomatic level, and through NGOs and in the economic sphere. Although the trade turnover between the two countries is relatively limited (it was about $375 million in 2021), the countries have great potential for expanding cooperation. For example, in January, for the first time in 30 years, direct deliveries of fruit from South Africa to Russia by sea resumed.

South Africa is a key partner for Russia in the broader African context as well. One of the priorities for Russia’s foreign policy strategy is to7 strengthen dialogue and cooperation with the African Union and the countries of the continent. In July, St. Petersburg will host the second Russia-Africa summit, in which South Africa has already confirmed its participation.

The potential for bilateral cooperation remains significant amid the new geopolitical conditions. Despite the fact that a number of companies in South Africa have refused to cooperate with Russia due to Western sanctions, Pretoria has repeatedly stated that it is pursuing an independent policy and does not intend to implement anti-Russian sanctions at the state level. South Africa has taken a balanced position on the Ukrainian crisis.

An important aspect of cooperation between Russia and South Africa is interaction in international organisations operating in the global space. An example of such cooperation is BRICS, where Russia and South Africa are developing common approaches to a value policy aimed at building a just world based on the principles of non-discrimination and equality between all participants, against neo-colonialism. Also, Russia and South Africa cooperate in other global international platforms, such as the UN and G20.


I Love My Trans Comrades!

Open Democracy: ‘Workers, renters and queers, it’s time to build a mass movement’

It’s time to build a mass movement, joining workers’ and tenants’ rights with our movements for queer and trans liberation, said activist Alice Martin, addressing a crowd of trans people and allies outside Downing Street on Wednesday 18 January.

Hundreds of demonstrators had gathered to march through central London in protest against Westminster’s decision to block Scottish gender reforms.

“With the NHS in the worst crisis of its history, and with working people finding their voice for the first time in generations, we see the same old playbook: sow division and inspire fear,” Martin said, explaining that the government cannot be relied on to bring about the changes the UK needs.

She continued: “Brothers, sisters, siblings, it’s time to join your trade union, your tenants’ union and build power independently.”

The emergency rally had been announced by London Trans Pride the day before, after the Conservative Scottish secretary, Alister Jack, made an unprecedented Section 35 order under the Scotland Act 1998 to block Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill from becoming law.