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Global News and Analysis

China’s Latest Crackdown on Workers Is Unprecedented

Source: The Nation

Seven worker-activists involved in the independent labor organizations known as “worker centers” have been arrested.

In an unprecedented crackdown on some of China’s most effective independent labor organizations, known as worker centers, seven worker-activists have been detained and held virtually incommunicado in detention facilities in Foshan and Guangzhou.

The detainees include Panyu Dagongzu Service Center staffers Zeng Feiyang and Zhu Xiaomei; former Dagongzu staffers Tang Jian (a k a Beiguo) and Meng Han; Peng Jiayong of the Panyu-based Laborer Mutual Aid Group; He Xiaobo, director of Foshan Nanfeiyan Social Work Services Organization; and Deng Xiaoming of the Haige Workers Center. Beiguo reportedly remains detained, but his whereabouts are unconfirmed as of December 16. read more

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Global News and Analysis

 The Global Fight Over Our Drinking Water Is Just Getting Started

Source: The Nation

And already, people are figuring out successful ways of pushing back against privatization.

ater is an essential natural element, but around the world, it’s also an artificially endangered resource.

That would explain why the nations represented at a recent international conference on water rights in Lagos ranged from remote desert towns with hand-pumped wells to modern public utilities in European cities. Precisely because water is universally in demand, it faces boundless threats of exploitation, in countries rich and poor.

As we reported previously, Lagos has become ground zero for the global water-justice movement, as the city’s residents battle against a pending so-called Public-Private Partnership (PPP). This “development” model, promoted globally by neoliberal policymakers, lets governments contract with private companies to finance investment in water infrastructure, and then funnel them proceeds from future operating revenues. read more

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Global News and Analysis

Baltimore’s Inescapable Inequality

Source: The Nation

Freddie Gray died after he tried to run from the police. Some might think he was wrong for provoking a chase, but the thousands of people now protesting across the country know that getting killed as a consequence of running away is like getting killed for trying to breathe: you can’t be blamed for wanting to bolt when the system is stacked against you at every turn.

But in the wake of the massive uprisings, many are still standing together, not just against the ongoing police terror, but against what they see as a broad assault on the city’s working-class and black communities. Activists on the ground understand why a kid might want to run from the system, and some are seeking a new path to “development,” one that intertwines resistance to state violence and economic justice activism. read more

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Global News and Analysis

620,000 Military Families Rely on Food Pantries to Meet Basic Needs

Source: The Nation

This month, the US military announced that the air force had delivered more than 110,000 meal rations to stranded Yazidi refugees in Iraq, in a mission that prompted President Obama to hail “the skill and professionalism of our military, and the generosity of our people.”

Also this month, a new report found that the nation’s food pantries serve 620,000 families with a member in the military—another troubling indication that service members battling against poverty must often rely on the generosity of our charities. read more

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Global News and Analysis

Haiti’s Women Need More Than a Trickle of Aid Money

Source: The Nation

Preventing further sexual and economic violence will require a more equitable distribution of resources within the country and the hemisphere.

It’s been four years since Port-au-Prince collapsed, and Haiti’s women are still working through the damage—both physical and mental—left by the catastrophic 2010 earthquake and its aftermath. The cameras and reporters have gone, but the twinned scourges of violence and exploitation continue to haunt Haiti’s ruins.

In the days after the January 12 earthquake, as survivors flooded into cramped displaced people’s camps, sexual assault emerged as a second wave of trauma in the devastated capital city. Though violence against women had been prevalent long before the quake, the disaster left women deeply vulnerable, with little security in the shelters and already-anemic legal protections for victims obliterated. Four years on, despite initial media coverage of Haiti’s “rape epidemic” and overtures of legal reforms, the crumbled social infrastructure has left victims with little recourse and bleak futures. Aid money has washed in and out, but now the spasm of global compassion has ebbed into a stream of predatory “development” schemes. And still, the social fabric continues to corrode under the pressure of entrenched global inequalities, both within the country and across the wealth divide between Global North and South. read more

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Global News and Analysis

Egypt’s Arab Spring Pushes Forth

Source: In These Times

From the military crackdown in Libya to the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, the events of the past week shook up the so-called Muslim world. And they sadly overshadowed a bigger story unfolding in the region, one with far more resonance than boilerplate narratives of counterterrorism and never-ending conflict. Interspersed with the bombast of gun battles was the steady rhythm of May Day amidst the “Arab Spring.”

As the weather warms, the Western media lens has drifted onto hotter and bloodier clashes in the Middle East and North Africa. But the May Day protests in Cairo revealed that the coalescence of labor and human rights are at the crux of the unfolding revolution and continues to serve as a barometer for monitoring the progress, or precariousness, of the transition to democracy. read more