The mid-Atlantic US state of Virginia has moved to abolish the death penalty. This will make it the 23rd US state to consign executions to the history books. Perhaps of even greater historical importance, it’ll also become the first state in the US South – a historically conservative region – to end capital punishment.
This should serve as a wake-up call to the UK, which shows ominous signs of growing support for returning to capital punishment. Alongside the human rights problems, historical analysis shows that capital punishment has a chequered past of leading to corruption of the judicial system. And there have also been numerous miscarriages of justice.
Anti-death penalty campaigners must take this opportunity to double down their resistance against calls for its reintroduction in the UK.
Recently elected US president Joe Biden is claiming that his administration will herald a new era following the disastrous and reactionary Trump presidency. And he’s also claiming to listen to the progressive wing in his party’s base that supported the candidacy of Democratic primary runner-up Bernie Sanders. But though he has followed through on some of these promises, he’s also left several of Trump’s worst policies completely untouched.
We shouldn’t be surprised, though. Because, as The Canary has argued on many occasions, the Democratic Party to which he belongs has long been little more than a slightly watered-down version of the Republicans. And that leaves open the question about whether the US needs a third political force to challenge the bipartisan status quo.
Ecuador’s election finished without a decisive winner and is therefore set to go to a run-off between the candidates with the top two vote tallies. But who those two candidates will be is not yet clear. In a surprise upset, the center-right candidate failed to win a comfortable second-place showing and is neck-and-neck with an insurgent indigenous candidate who ran on an ‘eco-socialist’ platform.
The result is therefore a decisive and unequivocal rejection of neoliberal austerity imposed by former president Lenin Moreno. But some serious questions surround the credibility of the self-described ‘eco-socialist’ candidate. Progressive journalists have pointed out that his candidacy might be a trojan horse to implement sinister reactionary policies through the backdoor.
The Canary has consistently reported on the multiple crimes and abuses of the far-right government of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. Now, a short but devastating documentary film has summarized his government’s lowest points.