Features

An Interview with Mohammed Bamyeh
protests in Jordan
by Joshua Stephens, Toward Freedom

Spontaneity, largely horizontal organization, and a suspicion toward explicit political leadership have all been signature components of what's referred to as the Arab Spring. This has been the case since the outbreak of the Tunisian revolution—regardless of the regimes that have resulted from the power vacuums left in their wake. Yet very little of the particularities or the historical forces driving these uprisings captured the imagination of or spoke to left anti-authoritarians in the west, until the appearance of a western-style black bloc in Cairo on the two-year anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. That contradiction, and a sudden gaze cast—particularly on Egypt—pose rather unsettling questions about representation, and a slouch toward Orientalism.

protests in Ecuadorby Joan Martínez Alier, EcoPortal.net

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador asks when and where Marx criticizes mega-mining. In various interviews, Correa, the mouthpiece of mega-mining and the expansion of oil exploitation, has asked, "Let's see, señores marxistas, where was Marx opposed to the exploitation of non-renewable resources?" The response is easy. Marx and Engels criticized predatory capitalism, even if (in my opinion) we cannot make a proto-ecologist critique a fundamental pillar of their work, which was more focused in an analysis of the exploitation of salaried workers and its consequences for the dynamics of capitalism.

Ayutlaby Dudley Althaus, Global Post

AYUTLA DE LOS LIBRES, Mexico — For almost a month now, hundreds of masked men wielding old shotguns, rifles, revolvers and machetes have claimed to be the law in the rugged mountains outside the faded resort of Acapulco.

Manning roadblocks and patrolling by the truckload, these citizen posses have been rounding up accused drug dealers, rapists, killers and rustlers under the wincing but winking watch of state and federal security forces.

After the Assassination of Chokri Belaid
Tunisiaby Kevin Anderson, International Marxist-Humanists

The assassination of leftist leader Chokri Belaid on February 6, apparently by Islamists, has brought into the open the long-simmering conflict that has pitted the ruling Islamist Ennahda Party against progressives, trade unionists, and secularists, who have staged the first general strike in 40 years and the largest street demonstrations since the 2011 revolution.  – Editors

Campesinos Stand Up to the Mineral Oligarchy
Conga

by Bill Weinberg, WIN Magazine

In what has become an emblematic struggle against government plans to open peasant lands to mineral interests throughout the sierras of Peru, local campesinos continue to hold strikes and protests in the northern region of Cajamarca—in defiance of a state of emergency and a heavy presence of army and National Police troops.

The months-long campaign to halt the mega-scale Conga gold mine high in Cajamarca's alpine zone—which Colorado-based Newmont Mining hopes to develop with Peruvian partners and investment from the World Bank—cost five lives last July 3 and 4, when government troops opened fire on protesters in the rural towns of Celendín and Bambamarca. The youngest of the fallen was only 17 years old.

US Marines and the Drug War in Guatemala


by Dawn Paley, Toward Freedom

GUATEMALA CITY — The news broke in the United States during the lazy summer days of late August: 200 US Marines were stationed in Guatemala as part of the war on drugs. The deployment of US combat troops to Guatemala was part of Operation Martillo, a military plan meant to disrupt cocaine trafficking routes that pass through Central America on their way from Colombia to the United States.

from IRIN

BAQUBA — Near a swamp of sewage in a slum in eastern Iraq, six-year-old Amir plays soccer with friends, unaware of a fact that may continue to affect him for the rest of his life: His father—killed four months before he was born—was a senior leader within al-Qaeda.

Like dozens of other children of insurgents in Diyala province, Amir's birth was not registered. He has no documentation, no citizenship, no access to government services and, his mother fears, no future.


by Andy Morgan, Jan. 11

The situation along the demarcation line that separates Islamist-held northern Mali from the south of the country is agonizingly confusing.  The Malian army claim to have recaptured the strategic town of Douentza, while the Islamist claim the complete opposite. According their spokesperson, the bearded Sanda ould Boumama, the combined forces of AQIM, Ansar ud-Dine and MUJAO have pushed the Malian army back at least as far as the small town of Konna, if not further. Meanwhile France has mobilized some elite troops from a base in Chad and sent them to Sevaré, the town on the main east-west highway that serves as a transport hub for the Mopti region. The idea of Islamists capturing Mopti itself, Mali’s second largest city which is now dangerously close to the frontline, would be an A-grade nightmare not only for Mali but also for France and the international community. France has spent the last few months trying to persuade the US and the UN that need for action in northern Mali is urgent, without a great deal of success. There are also reports of an aerial bombardment of Konna although whether it was carried out by France or by Ukranian mercenaries isn't entirely clear.