French workers take to streets against privatisations

From Green Left Weekly

GrerveFrench police and protesters clashed in Paris on May 22 after unions — angered by years of public-sector pay cuts and President Emmanuel Macron’s economic reforms — urged state employees to stop work and join nationwide street protests.

Riot police charged at protesters with batons in central Paris, firing stun grenades and tear gas. Police said 20 demonstrators were arrested.

The demonstration was called by the large labour unions plus many smaller ones, and involved the organisation of street rallies in about 140 cities, towns and villages across France.

Postal workers, air traffic controllers, state teachers and public administration workers joined marches to denounce an erosion of spending power and public services under Macron.

French electricity grid operator RTE said the strike reduced nuclear electricity generation by 2 gigawatts as several nuclear reactors operated by state-controlled utility EDF were forced to cut production.

A spokesperson for state energy company EDF said about 15.5% of the company’s staff took part in the strike.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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Brazil and Mexico – Crossroads elections in Latin Amewrica

By Nicolas Cunningham, Znet via NACLA

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Latin America is home to seven presidential elections and transitions this year, including its two largest economies, Mexico and Brazil. Both countries suffer from chronic inequality, the militarization of domestic security, high levels of violence, and economic policies that favor the wealthy. But as two highly corrupt and thoroughly unpopular governments reach the end of their terms, voters also have an opportunity to halt the rightward shift in the region’s politics. While much is at stake, both countries are at a crossroads over their respective energy policies. Both Mexico and Brazil have pursued some form of privatization in their energy sectors in recent years, selling off oil reserves to the highest bidders. Could viable leftist candidates in both countries offer alternatives visions to the fossil-fueled status quo?

AMLO—Not Quite Lázaro Cardenas

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO, a former mayor of Mexico City who is running for president for the third time, is the frontrunner in Mexico’s July presidential election. He leads the break-off group Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (Morena), after leaving the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) in 2012.

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Trump’s New Militarism

During the 2016 US election campaign Donald Trump promised an end to pointless foreign wars and attacked “useless” and massively expensive new military equipment, like the $1.5 trillion Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter. But the Trump presidency has ushered in a new era of militarism, as the United States prepares for high tech, massively violent wars against Russia and China, argues Phil Hearse.

March 26, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On April 27, 2016, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump used an invitation-only event at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel to argue that presidents of both parties had been responsible for getting the United States into pointless and hugely costly foreign wars. That, Trump promised, would change once he moved into the White House:

I will never send our finest into battle unless necessary, and I mean absolutely necessary, and will only do so if we have a plan for victory with a capital V … The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies.

Alongside his promise to reign back on foreign wars Trump also promised a major funding boost for the military. The first promise has not been kept, to the infuriation of some of his “alt-right” outriders, like Steve Bannon and Ann Coulter; the second one has been kept – big time. In late 2017 and early 2018 two major announcements confirmed the turn towards a new era of hyper-militarism and preparation for war – the new defence budget that went up from a headline figure of about $600 billion in 2017 to over $700 billion in 2018, and a new 10-year defence strategy announced by Secretary of Defence, former marine general James T Mattis. These announcements went together with the prior outlining of a new nuclear strategy, aimed at upgrading the US nuclear arsenal and lowering the threshold for the use of these weapons.[1]
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Marxism, anti-capitalism, ecosocialism