Naked Capitalism: Bankruptcies Soar Across EU, As Companies Hit Wall At Fastest Rate Since Records Began in 2015

In the EU as a whole the number of bankruptcy declarations initiated by businesses increased substantially (26.8%) quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2022, reaching the highest levels on record since Eurostat began collecting EU-wide bankruptcy data in 2015. The number of bankruptcy declarations increased during all four quarters of 2022. As the Eurostat graph below shows, at the current rate of business destruction it won’t be long before businesses are closing at a faster rate than they are opening.

TeleSUR: US Financial Collapse Drags Down European Banks

TeleSUR: Belgian Public Workers Strike Over Better Wages & Conditions

The state-owned National Railway Company (SNCB) reported that the strike strongly disrupted the public transport networks. Only one metro line ran in Brussels, and 1 out of 3 trains worked while workers held this initiative. The strike affected the opening hours of some public services like town halls and recycling parks.

Jacobin: The NHS Is Slowly Dying of Privatization

Jacobin: England’s North Has Been Crushed by Thatcherism and Austerity

Open Democracy: How spying on campaigners became mainstream in the UK

MEE: Israelis and British Jews hold rally in London against judicial overhaul

Around 1,500 British Jews and Israelis marched in London on Sunday against the controversial judicial overhaul plan by the Israeli government that critics say undermines checks and balances in the country.

MEMO: UK to pay $577m to help France clamp down on migrants crossing Channel

Monthly Review: 26 arrested, 4000 searched on 7th day of protests in France

Jacobin: Small-Town France Is in Revolt Against Emmanuel Macron’s Pension Reform

Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the pension age has stirred mass opposition. The labor minister pushing the bill is an ex-Socialist — and the huge protests in his hometown show how the neoliberalized center left has sold out working-class France.

WSWS: Greek government and opposition parties fall in polls due to mass revulsion at train deaths

East Asia and Oceania

People’s Daily: Bangladesh’s inflation leaps to 8.78 pct in February

WSWS: Australia, India deepen military ties against China

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has arrived in the US, where he will shortly announce a deal with the American and British governments for Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines. The purchase, expected to cost far more than $200 billion, is the centerpiece of a vast military build-up in Australia, explicitly directed towards preparing for war in the Indo-Pacific.

The aggressive character of this program was underscored by Albanese’s tour of India immediately preceding his trip to the US. There the Australian prime minister met with his counterpart Narendra Modi and proclaimed India to be a “top-tier strategic partner.” It was the first time an Australian leader has used that designation in relation to India.

Central Asia and the Middle East

MEMO: Turkiye officially starts presidential, parliamentary election race

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Friday, officially set Turkiye’s presidential and parliamentary elections for 14 May, local media reports.

MEE: Turkey halts shipment of sanctioned goods to Russia, says report

The Russian Kommersant FM radio station reported the news on Thursday, citing managers of a Russian logistics company and saying that Turkish customs is rejecting the transit of goods to Russia and Belarus that have been designated under the EU as sanctioned.

Bloomberg News cited a senior Turkish official on Friday, saying that Ankara had blocked the transit of sanctioned goods starting 1 March to comply with western sanctions.

The White House dispatched a treasury official to both Turkey and the UAE in February this year to pressure them to cut commercial ties with Russia.

MEMO: Iran arrests more than 100 people ‘linked to schoolgirl poisonings’

MEE: Iran says deal reached to buy Russia’s Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets

According to reports earlier in the year, Iran had placed an order for 24 of Russia’s most advanced jets along with other military hardware, including air defence systems, missile systems and helicopters.

MEMO: Anti-government protests resume in Israel for 10th straight week

MEMO: UAE suspending purchase of Israel defence systems until gov’t under control, media reports claim

MEMO: Israel startups panic after Silicon Valley Bank collapse

Over 100 Israeli startups have gone into a state of panic following the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank Financial Group, the biggest lender to startups in Israel and the United States, the Israel’s Calcalist business newspaper reported.


Common Dreams: Nearly 130,000 People ‘Looking Death in the Eyes’ in Horn of Africa, WHO Official Warns

“I’ve been working on and off in this region for almost 25 years now—and in terms of accumulated emergencies, this is bad as I’ve ever seen it,” the expert said.

Africa News: US trains West African militaries as jihadi threat spreads

MEMO: Iran to build 50 passenger ships for Ivory Coast

Iran, which wields the ISOICO as reportedly the largest shipbuilding complex in West Asia, has set its sights on Africa over the past decade as one of its primary targets to expand its influence beyond the Middle East.

Africa News: Gambia: opposition holds rally against corruption

Africa News: Senegalese opposition supporters denounce President Macky Sall

Opponents and civil rights defenders claim that civil liberties in Senegal are coming under pressure in the run-up to the February 2024 presidential election.

People’s Daily: Algeria, Uganda sign pacts to boost economic cooperation

Africa News: South Africa’s university students denounce increasing cost of education

North America

Naked Capitalism: US Officials Make Non-Bailout Bailout of Silicon Valley and Signature Bank and Continue Class Warfare

People’s Daily: U.S. regulators close New York’s Signature Bank following Silicon Valley Bank collapse

Common Dreams: Resistance to Atlanta’s Cop City Is Rising

A week of action in Atlanta this March showcases widespread opposition to a planned police training center, which would be the largest in the nation. An organizer explains what’s at stake.

Jacobin: Will Joe Biden Debate Marianne Williamson?

No. Next question.

South America

TeleSUR: Colombian Government and ELN Guerrillas Agree to Ceasefire

Ecuador: Ecuador: 80 Thousand Affected in Manabí Due to Rains

Monthly Review: The heinous instrumentalisation of Human Rights against Nicaragua

Last week saw the advance release of a summary of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s still-pending detailed report on Nicaragua. The report supposedly results from an investigation by a group of experts of “all alleged human rights violations and abuses committed in Nicaragua since April 2018.” This procedure and the document so far presented confirm in the most categorical way possible that the United Nations human rights system is complicit in the terrorism of the countries of the West against nations and peoples who resist their will, in this case Nicaragua.

The War Against The West

People’s Daily: Venezuelan president says U.S. imperialism in decline

“The U.S. empire is in historical decline and no longer has anything to offer for the good of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean, nothing. On the contrary, all its policies are backward,” Maduro said in an interview with Argentine media from Caracas.

However, “there is still an expansive wave” of ultra-right groups promoted by the White House that seeks to finance and push ahead with “anti-democratic, totalitarian, exclusionary and ideologized projects to generate intolerance and hatred in Latin American societies,” he warned.

People’s Daily: Latest Nord Stream theory “fake, dumb, improbable”: Swedish expert

“How stupid do they think we are? A small pro-Ukrainian group in a yacht did what?” questioned Jan Oberg, director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, in a recent opinion article on his personal portal.

“Western ‘intelligence’ and the New York Times (are) in deeper waters than usual, offering us a devious spin and fake story,” said Oberg, adding that he did not “hesitate to call (the claimed theory) fake and invention and simply so dumb, improbable and unlikely.”


Retrospectives, History, Theory, and Technology

Jacobin: From Slavery Abolition to Public Education, German Radicals Made American History

The United States has forgotten the radical German American immigrant socialists who spilled blood for antislavery and other liberatory causes.

Current Affairs: How Capitalism Is Killing Our Attention Spans

Johann Hari, author of ‘Stolen Focus,’ discusses the many ways in which tech companies are siphoning our attention for profit.

The Left and the Right

Monthly Review: ‘Siblings’: An East German novella reminds us of what had once been possible

Monthly Review: Six war mongering think tanks and the military contractors that fund them

The Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Center for a New American Security, the Hudson Institute, the Atlantic Council, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Inside the Imperial Core

Common Dreams: US ‘Imperial Anxieties’ Mount Over China-Brokered Iran-Saudi Arabia Diplomatic Deal

While advocates of peace and a multipolar world order welcomed Friday’s China-brokered agreement reestablishing diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, U.S. press, pundits, and politicians expressed what one observer called “imperial anxieties” over the deal and growing Chinese influence in a region dominated by the United States for decades.

The deal struck between the two countries—which are fighting a proxy war in Yemen—to normalize relations after seven years of severance was hailed by Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, as “a victory of dialogue and peace.”

Amy Hawthorne, deputy director for research at the Project on Middle East Democracy, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group, toldThe New York Times that “China’s prestigious accomplishment vaults it into a new league diplomatically and outshines anything the U.S. has been able to achieve in the region since [President Joe] Biden came to office.”

Yun Sun, director of the China program at the Stimson Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C., called the deal a sign of “a battle of narratives for the future of the international order.”

CNN’s Tamara Qiblawi called the agreement “the start of a new era, with China front and center.”

Meanwhile, Ahmed Aboudouh, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council, another D.C. think tank, wrote that “China just left the U.S. with a bloody nose in the Gulf.”

At the Carnegie Endowment, yet another think tank located in the nation’s capital, senior fellow Aaron David Miller tweeted that the deal “boosts Beijing and legitimizes Tehran. It’s a middle finger to Biden and a practical calculation of Saudi interests”

“This is not a regime that typically does honor its word, so we hope that they do,” White House National Security Council Strategic Coordinator John Kirby told reporters on Friday—apparently without any sense of irony over the fact that the United States unilaterally abrogated the Iran nuclear deal during the Trump administration.

Monthly Review: Imperialism and natural resources

There is an overwhelming asymmetry between the level of “development” and the possession of natural resources among countries of the world. Take the group of most advanced countries, the G-7 comprising the U.S., the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Canada. This group, while accounting for only 10 per cent of the world’s population, possessed over half of global net wealth as of 2020, and roughly two-fifths of the gross domestic product of the world (I have taken for convenience the mid-point of a range of estimates that lie between 32 and 46 per cent). Its economic might is indubitable; and yet in terms of reserves of natural resources it is quite poorly endowed.

Monthly Review: Eight contradictions of the imperialist ‘rules-based order’

The contradiction between moribund imperialism and an emerging successful socialism led by China.

The contradiction between the ruling classes of the narrow band of imperialist G7 countries and the political and economic elite of capitalist countries in the Global South.

The contradiction between the broad urban and rural working class and sections of the lower petty bourgeoisie (collectively known as the popular classes) of the Global South versus the U.S.-led imperial power elite.

The contradiction between advanced rent-seeking finance capital versus the needs of the popular classes, and even some sections of capital in non-socialist countries, regarding the organisation of societies’ requirements for investment in industry, environmentally sustainable agriculture, employment, and development.

The contradiction between the popular classes of the Global South and their domestic political and economic power elites.

The contradiction between U.S.-led imperialism versus nations strongly defending national sovereignty.

The contradiction between the millions of discarded working-class poor in the Global North versus the bourgeoisie who dominate these countries.

The contradiction between Western capitalism versus the planet and human life.

Outside the Imperial Core

Valdai Club: From Syria to Nagorno-Karabakh: Assessing Russian-Turkish ‘Co-opetition’

On a diplomatic level, Turkey tried to launch “Astana style” diplomatic measures to address Nagorno-Karabakh. However, given the fact that the conflict was taking place in the post-Soviet space, Russia failed to see much incentive in engaging in a bilateral track with Turkey in the form of a new “Astana style” process where Turkey and Russia were going to be equal partners, addressing a conflict in Russia’s “backyard”.

Indian Punchline: Foreign devils on the road to Afghanistan