RT: Food will cost more this year – survey
Shoppers around the world will have to pay even more for groceries this year than they did in 2022, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing retailers, consumer goods firms and investors.
RT: Massive global oil and gas industry proceeds revealed
“The global oil and gas industry’s income jumped to almost $4 trillion in 2022, a huge rise from its recent average of $1.5 trillion,” Fatih Birol wrote on his Twitter account.
TeleSUR: Russia Holds Key Interest Rate at 7.5 Pct
WSWS: The mass strike movement, war and the revolutionary crisis in Europe
A mass strike movement has erupted in Europe, drawing in millions of workers from every corner of the continent. What is unfolding is not a series of national trade union struggles that can be resolved by isolated negotiations with one or other capitalist government. Rather, it is an international political struggle, as workers raise similar demands in every country and are met with police crackdowns and legal threats from governments that are discredited and widely despised.
I’m still unconvinced that this strikewave is going to result in anything substantial, I feel like this is stage-setting for future conflicts, but the mass unrest many of us predicted back in the spring and summer of 2022 has finally arrived, and despite the best possible case scenario for Europe happening over this winter.
WSWS: UK university workers speak from the picket lines during national strike
Over 70,000 university staff at 150 different institutions took strike action this Thursday-Friday in ongoing disputes over pensions, pay, and employment conditions. Members of the University and College Union (UCU), Educational Institute of Scotland, GMB, Unison and Unite unions took part.
WSWS: Public sector warning strikes in Germany: “We should be aware of our power”
On Thursday, the German United Services Union (Vereinigte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft, or Verdi) called for one-day warning strikes in the municipal public sectors. In the states of Berlin, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia, employees in public transport, municipal administrations, daycare, hospitals and waste disposal took part. On Friday, employees in the state of Baden-Württemberg were likewise on strike.
I’ll just call it Verdi.
RT: Hungary sees inflation smash 25%
East Asia and Oceania
RT: China prepares to shoot down UFO – state media
RT: US warns of North Korean cyber attacks
Central Asia and the Middle East
MEMO: Tens of thousands rally in sixth week of protests against Netanyahu government in Israel
People’s Daily: U.S. sanctions hugely erode purchasing power of Iranian middle, lower classes
RT: Iran drone-attack suspects arrested – security officials
RT: Russia and Iran to boost transactions in national currencies – official
RT: Russia-Türkiye trade doubles – diplomat
RT: Russian agricultural exports to Saudi Arabia surge – envoy
MEMO: Saudi Arabia downplays geologist’s warning of Red Sea quake
Saudi Arabian authorities have dismissed predictions about a potential quake in the Red Sea by a prominent Saudi geologist as “personal opinions.” The warning followed last week’s powerful earthquake which struck parts of Turkiye and Syria, leading to tens of thousands of deaths.
MEE: Turkey earthquake: Blinken to visit to show solidarity next week
MEMO: I am not Charlie: Satire and dehumanisation of Turkiye earthquake victims
People’s Daily: Sanctions removal contradicts U.S. previous claims of not targeting humanitarian effort – experts
The U.S. decision to lift sanctions on Syria in the wake of international condemnation contradicts what it has claimed, namely that the sanctions did not target humanitarian aid to the quake-hit country, Syrian experts have said.
This reminds me of when Russia claimed that Western sanctions were holding up grain and fertilizer shipments to developing countries, and the West simultaneously said “No, that’s untrue, we aren’t sanctioning your stuff” and THEN later went and actually unsanctioned at least some grain and fertilizer from moving through European ports. This shit would almost be comical if it didn’t directly result in starvation.
People’s Daily: Syrian gov’t approves aid delivery to rebel-held quake-hit areas
People’s Daily: Türkiye-Syria quakes “worst” disaster of region in century, says UN as more aid needed
TeleSUR: Quake Displaces 5.3 Mln People in Syria: UNHCR
An estimated 5.3 million people in Syria may have been left homeless by the earthquake that struck the country and Türkiye earlier this week, a United Nations (UN) official said on Friday.
MEMO: World Bank approves $120m Tunisia loan
Africa News: Rescue operations ongoing in Mozambique following heavy rains
RT: African country ‘clears’ concerns over Russian base deal – AP
The Sudanese military has resolved its concerns over an agreement with Moscow to set up a Russian naval base on the Red Sea coast, the Associated Press reported on Saturday, citing two Sudanese officials.
“They cleared all our concerns. The deal has become OK from the military side,” an official was quoted as saying. According to the sources, Russia has also agreed to demands, including the provision of “more weapons and equipment.”
The next step is the ratification of the agreement by Sudan’s yet-to-be-formed parliament.
RT: US shoots down another ‘unidentified object’
RT: Study warns of rise in US suicides
The number of Americans taking their own lives in 2021 came close to the peak seen in 2018, the CDC says
Monthly Review: SchoolStudents in Alabama walk out after told to limit Black history programme
Naked Capitalism: ‘We Ain’t Gonna Get It’: Why Bernie Sanders Says His ‘Medicare for All’ Dream Must Wait
Not even a hearing on single payer, apparently. It’s not just that the health care system is “dysfunctional”; our ruling and governing classes are dysfunctional, utterly, at all levels and across the board. Well, except for an orgy of looting and corruption. Adding, I’m generally pretty happy with KHN’s neutrality, but Allen’s second word: “railing.” What a scum-sucking tell. Hey, and how about some hearings on Biden’s Covid policy of mass infection without mitigation?
Common Dreams: House Republicans Prep for Debate on ‘Parent Rights,’ School Vouchers, and Trans Athletes
WSWS: Disney announces 7,000 layoffs after exceeding Wall Street profit estimates
WSWS: Sixty percent cut in benefits floated for Teamsters’ New England pension fund
TeleSUR: Canada Adds 150,000 Jobs in January
Monthly Review: Guatemala blocks leftist Indigenous leader from presidential race, in ‘electoral coup’
The Ukraine Proxy Conflict
RT: US officials basically admit they blew up Nord Stream – Russian FM
US officials are basically admitting that they were behind the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, which was perpetrated to prevent rapprochement between Moscow and Berlin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.
“The US decided that we [Russia] have been cooperating too well with Germany over the past 20 or 30 years; or rather, the Germans cooperated with us too well,” he said in an interview published on the Foreign Ministry’s website on Sunday.
The “powerful alliance” based on Russian energy resources and German technology “began to threaten the monopoly position of many American corporations,” Lavrov explained.
So, Washington decided to destroy this alliance between Moscow and Berlin, and did it “literally” by attacking the pipelines, which were built to deliver Russian gas to Europe through Germany, he added.
“American officials are basically admitting that the explosions that occurred at Nord Stream 1 and 2 were their doing. They even speak about it with joy,” the foreign minister stated.
RT: Polish leader warns of Russian victory
During an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro on Saturday, Duda was asked if he thought the Russians could achieve victory in Ukraine.
“Yes, they can, if Ukraine doesn’t receive help very urgently,” the Polish leader replied.
The Kiev authorities “don’t have modern military infrastructure, but they have people,” he explained.
Until the last Ukrainian!
Geopolitical Economy: Ukraine’s Zelensky admits he sabotaged Minsk peace deal with Russia, West blocked negotiations
Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky admitted to the newspaper Der Spiegel that he refused to implement the 2015 Minsk II peace deal with Russia. Germany and France said Kiev used the agreement to “buy time” to prepare for war.
They just keep doing it! Russian propagandists are having the easiest fucking time of their lives right now!
Retrospectives, History, Theory, and Technology
Jacobin: South Africa’s Communists Were Crucial to the Fight Against Apartheid
From its foundation in the 1920s, the South African Communist Party took up the fight against racism as a central part of its political vision. The party’s heroic record in the anti-apartheid movement has now received the historical treatment it deserves.
The Left and the Right
Naked Capitalism: What Happens When Progressives Tacitly Accept Reactionary and Authoritarian Identity Politics
Qui tacet consentire videtur, or “he who is silent is understood to agree” can apply in political as well as legal contexts. Here, Peter Dorman contends that progressives gave the Republicans a free shot by failing to oppose ideas like the human affect theory of human rights, that all people have the right to be free of psychic discomfort. Dorman says these notions went largely unchallenged basically because their promoters would have gotten ugly about it. And remember, the Democratic party uses tone enforcement as a way to suppress debate.
Current Affairs: I Have Now Destroyed All of The Right-Wing Arguments At Once
Why I believe the left needs to do a better job of engaging with conservative arguments, and introducing my own attempt at a definitive handbook for doing that.
I agree with the article’s contents about right wing arguments and how they can be convincing despite, and perhaps even because, of their blinding idiocy and simplicity, but I don’t really think that a way of fixing that is to write a book filled with ways to debunk right-wing arguments - presumably for well-meaning liberals and leftists to read and then use against friends and family, as the right isn’t gonna read it.
We’re all coming at the world with a series of axioms, some well-meaning and some terribly stupid and born of childish emotions and first impressions. Every single person on Earth does this. For example, one of my axioms is “Everybody deserves the right to regular, effective healthcare.” Another one is “I don’t really like the color grey.” Another might be “I think my friend is annoying when they do X.” When we use arguments to defend those axioms, all we’re doing is trying to provide outwardly sensible and maybe even ‘logical’ reasons for us to have those axioms. They are our minions that we throw out to fight other peoples' minions. We don’t actually care about the minions (the arguments), they can be freely disproven without changing our axioms in the least. And the fact that people are actively trying to defeat our minions makes us want to defend our axioms all the more, because they’re drilling closer to a potentially embarrassing truth about ourselves.
What this means is that trying to convince right-wing economists about how Marxism and centrally planned economics are superior systems, or a racist colleague about how Africa had civilizations with technology that rivalled their European counterparts, and so on, is difficult if all you’re doing is attacking their minions/arguments. There’s an axiom that they hold that will prevent them from accepting it. Most of the time, changing somebody’s axioms happens when they experience something that is outside of attempts to logically change their position, and usually an emotional experience that speaks to them on a deeper level. This doesn’t mean they have to like, go to an impoverished country and see the polluted rivers and sweatshops to see the evils of capitalism - it can be as simple as a drug experience, or even peer pressure if all their friends happen to be communists or libertarians or whathaveyou. Changing them on an individual level through persistent effort and argument with your friend is exhausting and certainly isn’t a theory for society-wide change. But this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t respond to right-wing arguments - we should, as the author of the article explains, because we must (as Sankara said), and because it can sometimes work:
I have always believed that if we’re going to fight the right’s ideas, we need to show clearly why they’re wrong. We can’t just say they’re wrong. Ben Shapiro gets a lot of mileage out of clips of him supposedly “destroying” left-wing arguments. Well, we need to be the ones doing the destroying.
When we don’t do this, we make it easier for the right to pull one of its favorite tricks: Saying that the left isn’t responding because it can’t respond, because we’re afraid of debate, and because they have uncovered the secret knowledge that we have to pretend doesn’t exist. Jason Riley’s hagiography of Thomas Sowell, Maverick, makes the case that Sowell is ignored because he has successfully exposed the illogical beliefs of leftist intellectuals and they cannot deal with the power of his criticism. Charles Murray suggests that the reason people reacted badly to the Bell Curve was that it challenged Politically Correct Shibboleths they didn’t like, when in fact its racist arguments were utterly incorrect.
So, over the course of Current Affairs’ six years of existence, I have made it part of my mission to publish clear and persuasive refutations of bad right-wing arguments. Some people think I’m “shooting fish in a barrel” or wasting my time. But I know that I’m not, because I have gotten plenty of letters from people who were once fans of Jordan Peterson or Ben Shapiro, but who came to see through reading Current Affairs that much of what these men believe is not well-grounded in facts or logic, even though they present themselves as factually and logically rigorous.
Outside the Imperial Core
Open Democracy: The West is wrong to assume it has global support in the war against Putin
Jacobin: The Global Exploitation of Congo Must End
Pope Francis’s recent visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo has focused world attention on a region long exploited by outsiders. But it should not require a visit from the pope for the ravages of colonialism and war to be taken seriously.
Jacobin: The West Is Ignoring the Nightmarish War in Ethiopia
The war in Ethiopia has largely been ignored by the outside world, and information has been hard to come by. But what we know about the conflict is horrific: at least 500,000 civilians have been killed, and 5 million have been displaced.
Inside Climate News: Antarctic Researchers Report an Extraordinary Marine Heatwave That Could Threaten Antarctica’s Ice Shelves