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.
Newly elected US president Joe Biden had a phone call with Russian premier Vladimir Putin on 26 January. Much of the call’s items were fairly predictable – there were discussions about the Start treaty and how the US and Russia could improve relations going forward.
But the corporate-owned media has been glossing over one major piece of hypocrisy. It seems to be repeating unchallenged Biden’s implication that Russia has all the answering to do when it comes to electoral interference. But the reality is that it’s the US that has been the most flagrant offender when it comes to meddling in other countries’ elections. The corporate-owned media needs to be called out for failing to address this brazen hypocrisy in Washington’s narrative.
Far-right Brazilian politician Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency has been on a downward spiral ever since he assumed office on 1 January 2019. As The Canary has previously reported, his presidency has seen a sustained assault on Brazil’s indigenous and LGBTQI+ communities as well as a targeted campaign against political opponents and social and trade union organizers.
Now, Bolsonaro’s government seems on the verge of collapse as mass mobilizations calling for his impeachment have sprung up across the country – and from across the political spectrum. Evidently, like other far-right faux populist figures, his handling of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has been bumbling at best and homicidal at worst. And as Brazil’s coronavirus deaths keep rising, Bolsonaro’s hold on power might be shortly reaching the end of its tether.
The one-year anniversary of the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19) passed last December. But following the approval of multiple vaccinations from several different pharmaceutical companies, the end seemed within sight. Just as a return to normality begins to look possible, though, this notion seems increasingly threatened by the rise of a familiar foe of science, progress, and public health. The long-simmering anti-vaccination movement is going into overdrive in its attempts to portray mass vaccination as some kind of evil conspiracy.
The trump administration established a prolific record of opposing science and promoting all manner of conspiracy theories. But it has perhaps exceeded even its own standards, with one last dismal act of support of anti-vaxxer hysteria.
Exactly 60 years ago today, Congolese national liberation leader Patrice Lumumba was assassinated. Those responsible were most likely troops of a rival government acting on behalf of the Congo’s former colonial master, which had retained a presence in the Central African country. But there’s more to the assassination than initially meets the eye. There has been a gradual accumulation of credible evidence that the world’s post-WWII colonial superpower, the US, along with its sidekick the UK, played a hand in the events leading to Lumumba’s assassination.
The episode remains a bleak reminder of how the West continued to have a brutal role in the Global South, even after its former colonies gained independence. And this kind of self-interested meddling still continues to this very day.
The scenes of violence in Washington on 6 January have attracted a mountain of commentary in media from across the political spectrum. The general formula has been to heap condemnation on Trump for stoking the flames of insurrection. And to be sure, Trump’s behaviour has taken his presidency to new depths of depravity, even by its own standards. By openly encouraging the mob, he is himself complicit in the violence that has led to the deaths of five people, as well as scores of arrests and over 50 injured law enforcement personnel. Now, Trump has attained the dubious distinction of becoming the first president in US history to have been impeached by the House of Representatives twice.
But to focus solely on Trump is to miss a wider point. The idea that everything in the US was hunky-dory before Trump came along is just as dangerous as Trump himself. The Democrats’ failure to offer an alternative to endless war abroad and crushing austerity at home created the petri dish in which Trump’s brand of far-right faux populism could thrive.
The ongoing coup attempt against the democratically-elected government of Venezuela has been on a protracted downward spiral. It’s plunging into ever more desperate and pathetic depths. Coup leaders never seized the reins of the state apparatus, nor did they succeed in getting large swathes of the military to defect to their side.
Now the European Union (EU) is no longer even recognizing the US-appointed ‘interim president’ Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate head of government. This surely signals a pitiful new low point for his hard-right faction’s credibility, as well as their hopes of gaining power.
But despite this, there’s one European country – a recently departed former EU member – that continues to recognize Guaidó. No prizes for guessing which it is.