Untouchable Freedom

Submitted by Vijay Prashad on Mon, 08/21/2017 - 00:17
Strike

 

A few nights ago, Ravish Kumar on NDTV (Khabar) did a few stories on the inhumanity in India that drives a million people - all Dalits - to manually deal with sewage and human refuse. It is a brutal part of the Indian landscape. When we lived in Chennai a decade ago, I remember the 'manual scavengers' who worked the drains near the Cancer Institute.

 

Manual Scavening

 

It was already illegal for the city to have hired human beings to go into the sewer (the legal basis in the 1993 Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines [Prohibition] Act and the 2013 Prohibition of Employment as M

Refugees, Documenta

Submitted by admin on Fri, 08/18/2017 - 21:02
a mural at the Hamar Weyne Police Station in Mogadishu

 

Dear Friends,

Certainly those in the United States are seized by the confrontation provoked by the Nazis and other assorted toxicities in Charlottesville, Virginia. I recall walking past what is now Emancipation Park when last in that town a few months ago. It always seems awkward to be faced directly with the commemoration of the dark side of history.

Today I drove by the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta. At the heart of the grounds is a bronze statue of Victoria wearing the Star of India robes. This was produced in 1901. That year, the radical British writer William Digby looked back at the

Yemen & Iran

Submitted by admin on Fri, 08/11/2017 - 03:20
Yemen
Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

 

Dear Friends,

Saudi Arabia's war against Yemen continues. By August 9, the main airport in northern Yemen - Sana'a International Airport - had been out of commission for the past year. This has meant great hardship for people as humanitarian relief could not reach the country easily and as those with medical problems could not exit the country. Relief agencies released a letter pointing out that more people died this past year because the airport has been closed by the Saudi bombardment than have died from the actual fighting. This, essentially, was the main f

Yemen, Iran, Books

Submitted by admin on Thu, 08/03/2017 - 08:30

 

Dear Friends,

On Wednesday morning - at around 1am - I got the news that Save the Children had just released a brief report suggesting a horrific finding: that a million children in Yemen are at the threshold of cholera, which is a death sentence for them. I made some calls right then, waking some friends up who work diligently in the world of relief. The UN had suggested that two million children are in the zone of cholera that is growing in Yemen. This is an unmitigated war-made disaster.

The UN and the human

The Revolution of Ordinary People: Russia, 1917.

Submitted by Vijay Prashad on Sun, 07/30/2017 - 14:11
Moscow, February 1917

 

Lenin did not make the Revolution in 1917. Nor did Stalin. Nor Trotsky. They each provided crucial leadership, with Lenin’s role being essential from April 1917 onwards. But they were part of a tidal wave that had first risen in 1905, crested and then rose again during the Great War. This tidal wave was lifted by ordinary people – factory workers, landless peasants, housewives, soldiers, students and those who barely found the means to survive. It is they who made the Revolution happen in February – with the overthrow of the Tsar and Tsarism – and then again in October – with the push again

West Asia and Comrade Charlie Chaplin

Submitted by admin on Wed, 07/26/2017 - 22:09
Tell Rifaat, Syria

 

Dear Friends,

Bad news comes from the eastern Saudi city of Qatif, where the National Guard has been running rampage through the city in the name of counter-terrorism. The police has been going after young dissenters, but also migrant workers who are mainly from South Asia. I have seen pictures of Indian and Bangladesh men lying naked on the sidewalk, being held in place by heavily armed Saudi guardsmen. There is also a photograph of a South Asian man lying dead in a side-street. I am trying to get as much information as possible from contacts in the region, but little has come out beyond

Comrade Charlie Chaplin

Submitted by Vijay Prashad on Tue, 07/25/2017 - 05:27
Charlie Chaplin

 

In September 1952, Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) looked back at New York on board the Queen Elizabeth. He was bound for Europe, to introduce the continent to his latest film Mousieur Verdoux. On the ship, Chaplin learned that the United States government would only let him return to the USA – where he had lived for the past three decades – if he subjected himself to an Immigration and Naturalization inquiry into his moral and political character. ‘Goodbye’, Chaplin said from the deck of the ship. He refused to submit to the inquiry. He would not return to the USA until 1972, when the Academy

Syria's Wars, Yemen's Wars, Trump's Wars, & Soviet Children's Books

Submitted by admin on Fri, 07/21/2017 - 15:49

 

Dear Friends,

News comes from Washington - actually from an off the cuff remark from US President Donald Trump - that the United States will no longer support the Syrian rebels. The fear, Trump says, is that they are - in one way or another - allied with some variant of al-Qaeda. There is, of course, some truth to that. But it is not true that the United States is actually going to cut off its intervention in Syria. That is a fundamental misreading of the Trump statement.

First, the United States will continue to back the Syrian Defense Forces in north-easte

How the East Was Read, or Hooligan Communism.

Submitted by Vijay Prashad on Mon, 07/17/2017 - 08:57
Back page of How the Revolution Triumphed (1930)

 

As I work on the LeftWord Books edition of How the East Was Read, on reading Soviet books and on being surrounded by Soviet letters, I encountered Alisa Poret's thirteen delightful pictures for the 1930 book - How the Revolution Triumphed (see the back page, above).

The book was intended for children who were born after the 1917 Revolution and who would not have felt the urgency of Red October. There is no author's name with the book, which you can read in full here. The main show are the images. The text was likely written by someone in the editorial department of the publishing house. Th