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Global Left Midweek – November 22, 2023

Living through a historic moment

Labor union leaders protest in Dhaka, asking for compensation for garment workers who died in clashes with police. Credit, Nazmul Islam
  1. Living Through a Historic Moment
  2. US/China Tension and the South Korean Left
  3. The Fate of Guatemala’s President-Elect
  4. Garment Workers Shake Bangladesh
  5. Italy’s Center Leader Pushing Left
  6. Wine and Fela: Politics and Stardom in Africa
  7. Marxism in Nepal: Dead or Alive?
  8. Sinn Féin Readies for a New Ireland
  9. Temp Health Workers in Cameroon
  10. The USSR Without Tears or Glorification


Living Through a Historic Moment

Haggai Matar / +972 (Tel Aviv)

It can sometimes be difficult to recognize a historic moment as you are living through it, but this time it is plain to see: the power balance has changed between Israelis and Palestinians, and will change the course of events from here on. 

US/China Tension and the South Korean Left

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Youngsu Won and Federico Fuentes / Links (Sydney)

Many on the South Korean left have strong concerns regarding so-called “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”, even if some still regard China as a socialist country. Some suggest that within China’s hybrid regime, the existence of state-owned enterprises and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) tight grip on power represent “socialist characteristics”. 

The Fate of Guatemala’s President-Elect

Sonia Pérez D. / Associated Press (New York)

Guatemalan prosecutors said they will seek to strip President-elect Bernardo Arévalo and several members of his party of their immunity for allegedly making social media posts that encouraged students to take over a public university in 2022. Arévalo is an anti-corruption crusader who shocked the nation by winning the presidential election in August. 

Garment Workers Shake Bangladesh

Faisal Mahmud / Nikkei Asia (Tokyo)

A prolonged wage dispute in Bangladesh's garment industry risks damaging a critical economic engine while adding to political turmoil that has rocked the country in recent weeks. At least 130 factories have been forced to shut down because of worker walkouts. Police have responded with brute force to suppress the demonstrators: A total of four workers have died in the clashes so far.

Italy’s Center Leader Pushing Left

Andrea Carugati / il manifesto Global (Rome)

Elly Schlein had passed the test of leading her first rally as Partito Democratico secretary with flying colors. She was very intent on calling it, not only to counter the government’s budget law, but to show with a vivid example that the new direction of the PD, led by her, has a popular base of party members and activists, not only primary voters.

Wine and Fela: Politics and Stardom in Africa

Yusuf Serunkuma / Review of African Political Economy (London)

Bobi Wine of Uganda and Fela Kuti of Nigeria are both recognized as among Africa’s most creative artists and courageous political activists for their resistance against dictatorship. Despite the possibility that Bobi Wine’s music and activism may have surpassed Fela Kuti’s, he remains underappreciated by Western observers.

Marxism in Nepal: Dead or Alive?

Khagendra Prasai / Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (Berlin)

Despite popular support and frequently winning elections at different levels of government, the Nepalese Left parties have not been able to push forward socialist construction in Nepal. They fail to address the dominance of finance capitalism, the class question, the character of parliamentary left-wing parties, and the current global system and geopolitics.

Sinn Féin Readies for a New Ireland

Enda McClafferty / BBC News (London)

Sinn Féin is the biggest party in Northern Ireland, and its popularity has grown in the Republic of Ireland where it aims for a place in government for the first time. Sinn Féin's leader, Mary Lou McDonald, said the Irish government must plan for "democratic constitutional change" by creating a Citizens' Assembly on Irish unity.

Temp Hospital Workers in Cameroon

Yannick Kenné / Equal Times (Brussels)

The demands of medical and health workers are generally for improvements in their socio-professional conditions. The Syndicat National des Personnels Médico-Sanitaires du Cameroun (SYNPEMS) has been defending the interests of these workers for two decades and regularly lobbies the Cameroonian government to regularise the status of temporary workers in the sector.

The USSR Without Tears or Glorification

Aleksandr Nogovishchev / LeftEast

We still have something to say about the Soviet past as a socialist project. We need to return to this question again because the possibilities for answering it are much wider than they were 60-70 years ago. The collapse of the USSR has brought a large number of historical sources into circulation, and the distance from Soviet society makes it possible to approach the question less emotionally.