History at the Barricades: Evo Morales and the Power of the Past in Bolivian Politics

The following excerpt from my new book, The Five Hundred Year Rebellion: Indigenous Movements and the Decolonization of History in Bolivia, looks at the roots, rise and presidency of Evo Morales, who was overthrown in what is widely understood as a coup on November 10th. The book excerpt, written before this month of violence and state repression, describes how histories and symbols of indigenous resistance have been wielded as tools for liberation and political power in Bolivia, from the government palace to the street barricades. read more

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Toward Freedom: a progressive perspective on world events.

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1 day 12 hours ago

Sharing a reflection by Rene Wadlow on the significance of the World Court's recent ruling regarding the commission of genocide against Rohingya people in Myanmar.

"When the Convention was being drafted, the competent organs of the United Nations was thought to be the Security Council. However, despite factual evidence of mass killings, some with an intent to destroy "in whole or in part" an ethnic group in Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and Sudan, no Contracting Party to the Genocide Convention has ever called for an action under Article VIII of the Convention. Now Gambia has acted, with a focus on the highest legal body within the U.N. system."

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2 days 11 hours ago

Reposting ANTIFA, a powerful documentary by Global Uprisings. It was first released in 2018, and remains as important as ever to understanding fascism and resistance to it in the US today.

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3 days 13 hours ago

Sharing an article on lingering uncertainties in Afghanistan, four months after September's elections. Originally posted by The Conversation UK.

"It’s been nearly four months since Afghans went to the polls in an election fraught with security threats and overshadowed by the faltering progress of US-Taliban peace talks. Although the preliminary results of the election were announced in late December, the final results are yet to be confirmed.

The incumbent, President Ashraf Ghani, was declared the winner of the preliminary results with 50.6% of the vote – a paper-thin majority. His main opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, chief executive in the national unity government led by Ghani since 2014, came second.

The introduction of biometric voting machines that used fingerprint scans and photographs in the 2019 election was expected to overcome past allegations of fraud and manipulation. But this did not stop similar allegations emerging over the 2019 election, leading to the eruption of protests and warnings of a crisis."

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5 days 9 hours ago

Sharing a story by Ramzy Baroud on the 2020 US funding package for Israel.

"Billions of US tax-payers’ money will continue to be funnelled into Israel in the next fiscal year, and for many years in the foreseeable future. Republican and Democratic Senators have recently achieved just that, passing a bill aimed at providing Israel with $3.3 billion in annual aid.

The bill, co-sponsored by Democratic Senator, Chris Coons and Republican Senator, Marco Rubio, passed on January 9, only one day after Iran struck US positions in Iraq. Enthusiasm to push the Bill forward was meant as an assurance to Tel Aviv from Washington, that the US is committed to Israel’s security and military superiority in the Middle East.

Despite a palpable sense of war fatigue among all Americans, regardless of their political leaning, the US continues to sink deeper into Middle East conflicts simply because it is unable – or, perhaps, unwilling – to challenge Israel’s benefactors in all facets of the American government."

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6 days 9 hours ago

Sharing a new report on ongoing conflicts related to a Canadian-Australian-British mining megaproject in Mongolia.

"A coalition of herders, represented by the Mongolian NGOs Gobi Soil and Oyu Tolgoi Watch, submitted a complaint to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in 2012, during the mine’s open-pit phase.

The complaint describes the mine’s destructive impacts, including the forced relocation of herding communities. Herders raised the alarm that diversion of the Undai River and the sacred Bor Ovoo spring would 'deplete local water sources, deteriorate pastureland, and threaten the community’s spiritual practices.' Access to fresh water in Khanbogd remains limited, as much of it is prioritized for use by the mine.

Oyu Tolgoi’s expropriation of land and construction of fences for the mining license area has forced herders onto one another’s pastures, which are now tight and overpopulated. Soil and vegetation are covered by dust from the mine, and are no longer able to naturally regenerate with the healthy migration of herds. This has also caused horses, camels, goats and sheep on which the herders rely to become sick, creating a vicious cycle of intergenerational impacts for families.

Since the 2012 complaint to Oyu Tolgoi’s lenders, the mine’s owners have failed to deliver on promises of remediation, despite negotiating two agreements in March 2019 with the IFC’s Compliance Advisor Ombudsman. Sukhgerel Dugersuren, the head of Oyu Tolgoi Watch, described the early negotiation process as tainted by conflicts of interest, with local business owners acting as 'elected herder representatives.'

A report published last year by the Accountability Council found that only about a third of the mine’s commitments can be considered “complete or well underway.” "

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1 week 2 days ago

Sharing an interview from The Conversation that examines political developments in Russia earlier this week.

"On Jan. 15, Putin gave his annual state of the nation address and unveiled 'serious changes to the political system.' In response to the proposed constitutional amendments, which Putin is promoting as 'reforms,' Prime Minister Medvedev and his government resigned.

This move should not be seen as protest, although it might be useful for Medvedev, a longtime ally of Putin’s, to feign independence and appear as if he made the move in dissent. He and Putin orchestrated similar actions in 2008 and again in 2011.

The goal of Putin and his allies is to forestall popular protest among those tired of Putin’s long reign.

Putin’s proposal to redefine the separation of power between the Duma, presidency and prime minister would allow parliament to select the prime minister, a power now in the hands of the president. Together with an agreement to impose strict two-term limits on future presidents, this change suggests that Putin will leave the presidency.

Future presidents would retain control of the security forces and the military but must consult the State Council."

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1 week 3 days ago

Great news out of Vermont thanks to the efforts of our comrades at Migrant Justice / Justicia Migrante. Activism works!

"'With this settlement, the state of Vermont makes good on its promise to guarantee access to driver’s licenses without discrimination,' said Migrant Justice leader and suit plaintiff Enrique Balcazar. 'Though justice delayed is justice denied for the many whose lives have been ruined by the DMV’s harmful collaboration with ICE, we firmly believe that this settlement will put an end to that abuse of power going forward. Vermont’s immigrant community can now safely exercise this hard-fought right.'"

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1 week 4 days ago

INVASION is a 20 minute film about 10 years of resistance to pipelines in Wet'suwet'en territory, in central "British Columbia," Canada.

Tensions are running especially high this week. If you're not already, follow Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en Territory for realtime updates.

Toward Freedom

1 week 4 days ago

Sharing a collection of our coverage of the post-electoral crisis in Bolivia, with a short introduction by TF editor Dawn Marie Paley.

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1 week 5 days ago

Sharing a series of images from last week's protest inside and outside governor Phil Scott's State of the State address in Montpellier, Vermont.