Ukraine government risks a whirlwind in efforts to halt protests in east of country

By Roger Annis, April 15, 2014 (also published on Rabble.ca, and see postscript at end of article)

Moves by the Ukraine government to crack down on protests against its rule in the east of the country appear to have quickly faltered and backfired. Protest actions are widening.

Demonstrators opposed to Ukraine government policies, in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, April 6, 2014

Demonstrators opposed to Ukraine government policies, in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, April 6, 2014

For several weeks, protests in eastern Ukraine have included occupations of government buildings and at least one regional declaration of pro-Russia secession. Late last week, the government in Kyiv called the occupations acts of “terrorism” and said it would take steps to forcibly end them. It gave occupiers until yesterday to end their actions, saying it would unleash police and special military units.

» Read more..

PQ crushed, Liberal Party returns to power in Quebec election

By Roger Annis, April 8, 2014
Quebec’s minority Parti québécois government suffered a crushing defeat in yesterday’s provincial election. Party leader Pauline Marois, she of the ‘charter of Quebec values’ initiative that sought to dictate the clothing that public service employees of religious faith may or may not wear at work, lost her seat.The Liberal Party regained the majority government that it lost to the PQ in 2012, increasing its share of the vote from 31 per cent to 40 per cent. The PQ vote dropped from 32 per cent to 25 per cent.
The right wing CAQ party lost three percentage points in the vote but increased its seats in the Quebec National Assembly from 19 to 22. The Liberals won 70 seats; the PQ 30. » Read more..

End UK silence on Egyptian human rights abuses

Letter published in The Guardian (UK daily), April 3, 2014

The death sentence handed down to 529 protesters by an Egyptian court (news report, March 24, 2014) should have produced much more than mumbled regret from the British government. This was a political show trial in which less than half the defendants were present in court. Their defence lawyers were not in the court either. The trial has been condemned by Amnesty International.

» Read more..

Global empire, or imperialism?

Ashley Smith has written an informative review of Sam Gindin’s and Leo Panitch’s book published last year, ‘The Making of Global Capitalism’. The review is published in the latest issue of the International Socialist Organization’s International Socialist Review. Read the review here. Text is below.

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Boris Kagarlitsky: Crimea annexes Russia

Article by Boris Kagarlitsky, translated by Renfrey Clarke and published on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Russian president Vladimir Putin signs law joining Crimea to Russian Federation.

Russian president Vladimir Putin signs law joining Crimea to Russian Federation.

Moscow, March 24, 2014 – No, that’s not a mistake in the headline. On March 18, Crimea annexed Russia. There were no insidious schemes or imperial ambitions involved. There was, however, a spontaneously developing situation, together with the usual, everyday willingness of the Crimean bosses, who saw a unique chance in the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.

See also: What the mainstream misses: Observations on the Ukraine crisis, by Allen Ruff, published in ‘Solidarity’, April 3, 2014

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BC governments and Port of Vancouver back down and settle truckers strike

By Roger Annis. March 31, 2014

The lengthy strike by truck drivers at the Port of Vancouver BC who move half of the port’s shipping containers has been settled. An agreement was reached on March 26 that will see an increase of 12 per cent to the rate paid to truckers to move each container.

Owner-operator and unionized truckers rally at Port of Vancouver offices March 21, 2014, photo Roger Annis

Owner-operator and unionized truckers rally at Port of Vancouver offices March 21, 2014, photo Roger Annis

The contentious issue of waiting times to pick up or offload shipments is also addressed in the agreement. Measures will be taken to reduce waiting times, and truckers will be paid modest amounts for the time they are kept waiting to load or offload.

The agreement covers some 250 truckers who drive company-owned rigs and are members of the Unifor union, and more than 1,000 owner-operator, ‘independent’ truckers.

» Read more..

Denouement of the conflict over Crimea?

By Roger Annis, March 30, 2014

Counterpunch writer Jack Rasmus has published an analysis of the agreement signed by the Ukraine government and the International Monetary fund several days ago. That country’s economic fortunes will

Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry, photo U.S. Dept of State

Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry, photo U.S. Dept of State

come under ever stricter control of the banksters of Europe and the United States. Many Ukrainians wishing for closer ties to Europe will re-examine their aspirations in the harsh light of day.

Rasmus begins his article, titled ‘Ukraine’s IMF deal’, with:

On March 27, 2014, the IMF released the broad outlines of its terms and conditions for loans and other measures for the Ukrainian economy. What those terms and conditions mean is less a rescue of the Ukrainian economy than the onset of a Greece-like economic depression for the Ukrainian populace…

The ‘IMF Standby Agreement with Ukraine’ text released on March 27 acknowledges the current, severe economic instability of the Ukrainian economy. What it fails to acknowledge, however, is how the IMF package will further adversely impact that economy.

Meanwhile, extensive talks between the governments of Russia and the United States are continuing over events in Crimea. The two governments » Read more..

Egypt news, late March, 2014

March 30, 2014–Enclosed are links to four key articles published recently and reporting on the political situation in Egypt. See also my recent report on the show trial of the three Al Jazeera journalists that has seen several sessions in March 2014.

Al Jazeera has published a report on mass protests that took place March 28 against the military coup regime that seized power last July 3. It says nearly 900 people have recently been arrested for being members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. This news coincides with the shocking ruling of an Egyptian court on March 24 condemning 529 people to death for the death of one policeman last August during a brutal police/military crackdown that killed hundreds of opponents of the military coup regime. Many of the 529 were convicted in absentia and none were allowed to present evidence. Please read an emergency appeal by Egypt Solidarity on this matter.

RA

* * *

​1. Egypt’s unprecedented instability by the numbers

By Scott Williamson, published on Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 24, 2014

Egyptians have suffered through the most intense human rights abuses and terrorism in their recent history in the eight months since the military ousted then-president Mohamed Morsi. The extent of this story » Read more..

Analyzing the North Korean revolution

Review by Gregory Elich, published in MRZine, March 26, 2014

Suzy Kim.  Everyday Life in the North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press.  Cloth, 45.00, pp 307  ISBN 978-0-8014-5213-0

With Everyday Life in the North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950, Suzy Kim has filled a major gap in the history of North Korea.  In the West, it has become customary to fixate on the top leadership in historical coverage of the subject.  That approach stems partly from lack of access to North Korean archives, but perhaps more strongly from an inclination to smooth over complexities in order to supply a simplified narrative that is easily digestible and harmonious with the imperatives of Western policy.

» Read more..

Take Back the Canadian Labour Congress with Hassan Husseini

(Read also a brief statement of the campaign, here on Rank and File.ca.)
Rally for striking truckers at Port of Vancouver, March 21, 2014, photo Roger Annis

Rally for striking truckers at Port of Vancouver, March 21, 2014, photo Roger Annis

March 2014

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

It’s time for a change. As workers and unions, we are facing a massive and unprecedented right wing attack. Labour & employment standards, collective bargaining rights, and the right of workers to organize and be politically active, are all targets of right wing governments at the federal and provincial levels.

» Read more..