The inherent contradictions of neoliberal-corporate accumulation are accentuating the world over without any let up. And the recessionary trends that came to prominence since the 2008 meltdown a decade ago have now been characterised as the most prolonged during the entire post-war neo-colonial phase of imperialism. While the extra-ordinary profit and wealth concentration arising from super-exploitation and forced reduction in wages, speculation in stock and financial markets and direct channelling of public funds to corporate coffers have become the hallmark of economic trends everywhere, real economic growth rate as reported by neoliberal centres including the Bretton Woods as well as academic experts is declining. Negative GDP growth forecasts on major imperialist powers such as US, China, Japan and EU by IMF, OECD and ratings by imperialist-based credit rating agencies such as Standard and Poor’s Moody’s are now available in the public domain. Recently, this crisis has gripped the financial and stock markets too as corporate financiers now find it even difficult to extract surplus from the stagnating real economy. As a consequence, inequality, poverty, unemployment, corruption and environmental catastrophe linked with corporate plunder of nature have assumed horrific proportions.
This mounting economic crisis, in the absence of a revolutionary intervention from the ranks of the proletariat and oppressed, has yielded a firm basis to the financial oligarchs and their political representatives to resort to a well-defined far-right shift in politics that is now visible from the Americas to Asia. Thus the neo-fascist regimes in power and the dominant far-right forces in various countries have strengthened further giving rise to many reactionary political trends. A conspicuous example is Europe where the neo-fascist parties have further strengthened their position both in EU and in the European parliament.
Of particular significance is the ongoing attempt on the part of the neo-fascists to organise themselves in to a pan-European fascist power-bloc against workers, immigrants and refugees. In continuation of this and especially as part of their anti-communist offensive, in the second week of September, these parties have moved a Resolution in European Parliament equating Communism with the “monster of fascism”. This is to be viewed in the context of the emergence of what is called a “new history writing” or revision of history that is now widely prevalent among far-right research centres and neoliberal academics all over the world. A similar malicious intervention is now visible among the Indian saffron fascists to whitewash their betrayal of independence struggle and all historical misdeeds committed by them in the yesteryears. Underlying this ‘historical revisionism’ is an effort to impart a neoliberal legitimacy to fascism in general. At the same time, progressive sections exposing these heinous fascist moves are not rare. For instance, Italy witnessed one of the biggest people’s protests against the EU resolution against Communism and legitimisation of fascism.
Emergence of this far-right and chauvinistic trend has bred political instabilities too. For instance, the Brexit political project connected with the far-right sections of the financial oligarchy in UK has led to an utter failure of the British state itself which totally lacks even a proper plan to implement the departure process from EU. As its manifestation, Boris Johnson’s latest attempt to hold a new vote in British parliament on the Brexit divorce deal was totally rejected by the Speaker of the House of Commons. Meanwhile efforts to extend US-led NATO forces to the peripheries of Europe including Greece are also there even as the move to develop a pan-European military force on the part of EU quite independent of NATO is in full swing.
Political turbulence and instabilities are mounting elsewhere too. While US imperialist machinations against the Maduro govt. in Venezuela is unabatedly continuing, Bolsanoro in Brazil, an outright junior partner of Trump today, is engaged in destroying Amazon forests and extermination of indigenous tribes by unleashing corporate agribusiness and mining mafia over them backed by state machinery. In US, the centre of global neoliberal order, Trump is facing an official impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats for soliciting Ukraine interference against his rival Biden in the forthcoming 2020 presidential election. While new evidences of Trump’s alleged involvement related to this forthcoming, White House already declared its non-cooperation with the House’s Enquiry.
West Asian political situation interlinked with imperialist interests has become more complex and explosive. Followed by the British capture of Iranian oil tanker in the strait of Gibraltar and Iran’s capture of British oil tanker in Persian Gulf, a few days back, another missile attack on an Iranian ship (though none has taken its responsibility so far) has worsened the situation further. In the meanwhile, Houthi attacks on two major oil installations in Saudi Arabia as retaliation for the incessant Saudi bombing of Yemen have further escalated the tension there. According to an estimate made by UNDP in April 2019, the number of civilian deaths in Yemen due to US backed Saudi airstrikes since 2015 will reach 233000 by the end of 2019.
During the first week of September, Trump administration had abruptly cancelled its so called peace talks with the Afghan Taliban that was going on Qatar nearly a year. In continuation of the renewed military offensive in Afghanistan by the US-led coalition following the September 11, 2001 event, at present 14000 US and thousands of NATO forces are stationed in Afghanistan. It was the mounting economic crises in the US and EU which have imparted a heavy burden on the exchequer that prompted Trump to have direct negotiation with Taliban bypassing even the puppet Afghan regime. It was in continuation of this that Trump made a rapid about-turn on Syria by pulling out the US forces from there giving a free hand to Turkey to deal with the Syrian democratic forces including its core, the YPG and giving the field free for the resurgence of the IS on the one hand, and indirectly giving enough space for Russia’s role as a power broker in the region on the other. Turkish war codenamed “Operation Peace Spring” is primarily directed against YPG with a view to exterminate the national liberation movement of the Kurdish people(see, the ICOR Appeal), and, according to latest report, Turkish troops have intensified artillery strikes around Kobane, the YPG stronghold. In the context of US imperialism’s abrupt withdrawal of troops paving the way for the Turkish offensive has resulted in widespread international condemnation.
Coming to the Asia-Pacific, North Korea recently has ruled out resumption of talks with Trump regime calling it absolutely ‘sickening’. This was in the context of Washington’s suggestion to continue the bilateral talks in Stockholm. And challenging the US, North Korea has tested another ballistic missile with a range of more than 12000 KMs having its potential reach in almost all US cities. The 5 month-long Protest Movement in Hong Kong is continuing without any let up. Eruption of widespread protests was in the context of the Extradition Bill moved by the pro-Beijing Hong Kong regime that subjects both visitors and residents to Chinese jurisdiction thereby undermining the autonomy of the region based on the ‘one country two systems’ principle. Though the Extradition Bill was withdrawn, the movement with the support from CIA and such other US funding agencies as National Endowment for Democracy are unabatedly continuing. However, Trump administration is very cautiously refraining from any official comments on Hong Kong for fear of a derailment of all the US efforts to make a favourable trade deal with China.
Another development of particular importance is the Trade Ministers’ Summit in Bangkok during the past week representing 10 ASEAN countries together with China, Japan, Australia, India, New Zealand and South Korea to form the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), one of the biggest Free Trade Agreements in history. The meeting is in accordance with the WTO provisions that uphold regional trade agreements as “gateway”’ to global integration of market for goods and services and for international capital investment led by MNCs. According to the logic of neo-liberalism today, the biggest gainers from RCEP will be China and Japan, the leading imperialist powers of the region, whereas the other countries including India will be at the receiving end as dumping grounds or net importers from the imperialist powers of the region.
Amidst these imperialist offensives, the most encouraging development of the present time is the emergence of Climate Action as the biggest global social movement today. Inspired by the Swedish teenager climate activist Greta Thunberg, September 2019 witnessed largest demonstrations in recent times. On September 20 and 27, led by millions of children and youth climate strike took place across more than 2000 cities in 150 countries of the world. This has once again reinvigorated the climate issue getting unparalleled international attention on which so many reports have already been there.
At the same time, workers and oppressed peoples with their simmering discontent are rising up in different parts of the world. Among them the most advanced one is that from Ecuador led by workers, peasants and youth against the IMF-imposed package composed of stringent austerity measures against people and investor-friendly policies for corporate monopolies. Since October 2, 2019, this movement led by CONAIE (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador) has reached insurrectionary proportions forcing Moreno, the Ecuadorian president, to evacuate his presidential palace in Quito. As the general strike called by the workers has spread further, defying the presidential order, military and police forces have started sympathising with the workers and their families. Now Ecuador is in state of political and social turmoil. Similarly, for the first time since
Pinochet’s military dictatorship during 1973-90, Chile is facing the biggest people’s upsurge forcing its right-wing president Sebastian Pinera to admit that his country was “at war”.
Today Iraq is witnessing a big mass movement against the ruling regime, and more than a hundred people have already been killed and around 7000 wounded seriously. In Tunisia, following the fractured results of the latest parliament election, street fights between security forces and people are going on there. While several countries of EU are experiencing a shift towards the far right, and as communist parties as well as trade unions are facing even ban in many countries like Estonia, Latvia, Poland, etc., re-election of Antonio Costa, leader of the centre-left Socialist Party in Portugal who pursues a welfare-oriented policy is a positive trend. People’s movements against neoliberal and austerity policies are emerging in Indonesia, Poland and elsewhere too.
Of course, while neo-fascist and far-right forces of various hues are on the offensive at a global level, workers and oppressed peoples, the world over are also coming up against the ruling system and neoliberal policies in various ways. However, communist and revolutionary forces having a people’s alternative capable of resisting and overcoming the system are yet to come to the centre-stage of world-politics.
Of course, even though no socialist countries are there, and in spite of virulent propaganda backed by such post-modern prognoses as ‘end of ideology’ and ‘end of history’ are in full swing, for imperialists and their lackeys, Communism continues as the biggest threat as is evident from their ongoing anti-communist campaign all over the world-an aspect to be seriously noted by revolutionary forces. Revolutionary intervention as necessitated by the concrete realities of each nation and coordinated international action by Marxist-Leninist forces are the need of the hour. n
International Department, CPI(ML) Red Star
patrice Lumumba was the first Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo following its independence. On 17th January the DRC observes Heroes Day and honours its first democratically elected prime minister. Lumumba came into power after what was then the Republic of the Congo received its independence from its colonizer, Belgium. Whilst speculation and conspiracy promoted by the imperialist agencies still surrounds his assassination in 1961 till this day, it has long been an established fact that he was murdered by the US working together with Belgium.
The leadership of Lumumba was significant in the Republic of Congo securing its independence and eventually becoming what we now know as the DRC. Due to his considerable and understandable dislike for his Belgium colonizers, he joined the Liberal Party of Belgium in 1955. Following his arrest by the colonial government, he went on to co-found the Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) in 1958 and proceeded to win the elections in 1960 at the age of 34. Lumumba’s anniversary comes exactly a week after the DRC’s elections which saw the end of Joseph Kabila’s 17-year rule and ushered in what will hopefully be a brighter era under the leadership of Felix Tshisekedi. The victory by Tshisekedi and his political party Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDSP) came after international pressure succeeded in putting an end to the delay tactics in the announcing of the election results.
Many Congolese Twitter users and Africans alike, have taken to social media to commemorate the revolutionary’s anniversary as well as the DRC’s journey since colonial rule “Without dignity there is no liberty, without justice there is no dignity, and without independence there are no free men” said Patrice Lumumba. This leading Pan-Africanist and revolutionary, was assassinated in 1961 by the Belgian government, with US collusion. n
Defeating the Alexis Tsipras led Syriza (Coalition of Radical Left) in the elections, the Conservative New Democracy Party leader Kyriakose Mitsotakis has taken over as prime minister on 8th July in Greece. The communists have lot to learn from the last one decade’s experience from this country. In the post Second World War period when Greece experienced mass uprisings led by the communists, the US-British led imperialist forces had succeeded to defeat the Communists and impose rightist regime there. But following ever worsening severe economic crisis in 2014-15 once again, workers led people’s uprisings took place challenging the IMF- European Union imposed stringent economy measures on this highly indebted country. While the social democratic communist party remained as a mere spectator, the radical left forces formed a coalition, Syriza, led by Alexis Tsipras and led the uprising. Syriza challenged the Euro-zone dictates and IMF’s bail out conditions and called for a moratorium on the IMF-EU debt. It called for an alternative development paradigm including nationalization of core sectors. The Syriza led rebellion and its vision of a revolutionary alternative to imperialist led neoliberal regime inspired the people of Greece and the communist movement internationally. The spectre of a communist revolution once again haunted the forces of reaction in Europe.
As the workers’ led popular forces had occupied the streets and challenged the ruling class and their imperialist promoters, the Syriza won almost majority seats in 2015 elections and Tsipras took over as prime minister. But as the imperialists intensified pressure, instead of challenging it as the masses wanted, once again, as repeatedly happened in history, the leadership became weak-kneed and betrayed the revolutionary movement. Back-tracking from its stand of calling for a referendum to come out of Euro-zone, Alexis Tsipras compromised and started negotiations with IMF and EU agreeing to a shameful bail out dictated by them. The Tsipras leadership went on surrendering, once again making life more miserable for the masses. When the question of migrants from Syria and other neighbouring countries became serious, Tsipras government refused to take a progressive stand. In this situation, with a right populist agenda the conservative party has won the elections, Though the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party could not advance its position, the conservative victory shall move in the ultra rightist direction. Once again the revolutionary communists have lost the possibility for putting forward a socialist vision and to lead the struggling people forward. The communists should take lessons from it. n
DEar comrades, Congratulations on the holding of your 21st Annual Conference. We hope that this Conference will enable you to take bold steps forward in building a socialist movement in your country and the whole world. We look forward to getting the results and documents of the conference as soon as possible.
Today, the world is passing through a critical phase. On the one hand the crisis of international capitalism remains constant. The only solution seen by the world imperialist-capitalist system is the neo-liberal policies. As the crisis grows ever more acute, they have no further solutions other than even more of the neo-liberal policies. These consist of helping large capital and big corporate houses to make ever more profits. For this they have to be allowed to exploit workers and nature in a wanton and unbridled manner.
Though the masses are suffering the results of these neo-liberal policies and are fighting against their effects in the streets, the left today is in a very vulnerable position. The masses are more frequently turning to the right and the ultra-right in their search for a remedy. The ultra-right using ideas like religious fanaticism and national chauvinism is able to hoodwink the masses. The left has to come up with new ideas very fast to attract the youth and other oppressed masses of the world. We hope that your conference will be a long stride in this direction.
We have always seen the PSM as a close fraternal organisation and wish to further this relationship. As members of ICOR we are trying to build an international front of revolutionary organisations and, at present, we are engaged, with ILPS in trying to build up an anti-imperialist front. We hope that we will have an opportunity to talk to PSM about this very soon.
Congratulations once again and wishing the best success to your conference.
KN Ramachandran, GS, CPI(ML) Red Star
the 21st national congress of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PSM) took place from the 12th to the 14th of July 2019 in Kajang, Selangor. This congress featured the culmination of a leadership transition process that started five years ago. The original office-holders of top party leadership positions from PSM’s founding in 1998 have now all been replaced. This year, Dr. Nasir Hashim stepped down as Chairman, making way for Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj, former Member of Parliament for Sungai Siput. At the same time, former General Secretary S. Arulchelvan has been elected as Vice-Chairman, replacing M. Sarasvathy. PSM Secretary-General A. Sivarajan and Treasurer Soh Sook Hwa remain in their respective posts, which they have occupied since 2015.
This year’s party elections also featured the selection of several new faces to the PSM central committee, including social activist Chong Yee Shan, lawyer-activist Kohila, youth activist Sharan Raj and Teh Yee Cheu, the former Penang state assemblyperson for Tanjung Bungah. The central committee will serve a two-year term. A majority (8 members) of the 15-member committee consists of women. These women hold important positions such as Vice Secretary-General, Treasurer, and Assistant Treasurer.
Climate Change Policy
Given the increased importance of environmental issues resulting from unsustainable development in Malaysia, PSM has for the first time put forward and passed a policy paper entitled “Handling Climate Change: A Green Alternative for Malaysia”. This policy paper was accepted by the Congress delegation as a foundation for PSM’s approach to deal with the climate crisis. In keeping with the spirit of this policy paper, PSM Congress delegates also passed a resolution to launch a national campaign to urge the Pakatan Harapan government to declare a “Climate Emergency” so the necessary drastic actions to counter global warming can move forward.
Building a New Political Alliance
In keeping with the theme, “A Progressive Struggle in New Malaysia”, this congress featured for the first time the participation of representatives from Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia as observers in the opening of the Congress. Gerakan, which left the Barisan Nasional coalition, now acts independently and is interested in collaborating with other progressive movements. PSM hopes that their participation in this congress as observers will lead to opportunities for further discussion.
PSM is working toward forming a new political alliance to face the 15th General Election, which is why the opening of the congress was attended by observers from outside parties. Hopefully, their presence will open doors to healthy cooperation.
Formation of State Offices
This congress also resolved to start PSM State Liason Offices in every state. PSM State Liason Offices will scrutinize governmental policies and advocate for victims of unfair practices, whether by Pakatan Harapan or Barisan Nasional governments. The congress also aims for PSM to grow and fill the void in today’s politics, as Malaysia needs a credible and trustworthy opposition party.
Overcoming the Rise of the Right
A special session was held during the Congress to study the phenomenon of the rise of the populist right both internationally and in Malaysia. Discussion papers were put forward by PSM Central Committee member Choo Chon Kai and special guest Hj Zaid Kamaruddin from IKRAM. This year’s 21st PSM Congress in Kajang was an important historical moment in PSM’s struggle- a struggle that always progresses dynamically, launches new campaigns, tackles new issues, forms new partnerships, so we may become a country that is fair, just, and progressive.
International Bureau, PSM
Weapons of mass destruction by definition are weapons with the capacity to inflict death and destruction on such a massive scale and so indiscriminately that its very presence in the hands of a hostile power can be considered a grievous threat. Looking at the Crusades, the wars of jihadist conquest, or how evangelical climate denying oligarchs in America are destroying the planet, one realizes faith is fatal on a mass scale.
While many religious groups are up in arms regarding Iceland’s move, the North Atlantic country reassures the faithful their right to practice the faith of their fathers will not be impinged on. Mr. Kanard refers to the measure as a sort of public health warning. “We passed a similar measure regarding Christianity a little while ago,” he stated. “We in parliament felt it necessary to let people know all religion is a mental disorder and a dangerous one at that.” Iceland is also recommending those who are in a co-dependent relationship with religion to seek out a local chapter of Religion Anonymous (RA).
FOX News is leading the charge against what it sees as an attack on Christianity and civilization itself. In a strange twist of fate, the so-called news channel is inviting prominent Muslims on to discuss the matter. In a not so surprising twist, ICE agents were close by to make sure everyone present were in the country legally. “I came in to talk about Iceland, and it turns out it was a sting operation all along,” one anonymous Muslim pointed out. “I should’ve known better.”
President Trump is fuelling the frenzied fires of religious fear. While addressing red meat Republicans at a rally, he promised the United States will fight for Jesus, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny: Americans for America are Americans for God. We can’t let Iceland get away with this, folks. If we don’t do anything now, then White Walkers will destroy summer. We need to build walls. An anti-Mexican wall AND a wall around Iceland. In related news, a snap poll 85% of Republicans believe cutting benefits for the needy is necessary to build a Great Atlantic Wall
Women Rebel Against Sexual Violence of the Fascist Patriarchy Misogynist policies are one of the characteristic features of the fascist patriarchal state power. The fascist regime assaults on women every single day all around the country with an intense agenda. From the denial of gender equality to the usurpation of alimony rights of women, from the repeal of the women-protection law article 6284, to compulsory family settlement regulations, all the rights, which women gained by fighting for many years, have been tried to be stripped off. Yet, women stands up to all this pressure with women’s rebellions.
Turning the 8th of March into a day of resistance once again this year under the oppressive fascistic conditions, women continue to be the consistent, resistant and vanguard section of the mass movement which has beaten a retreat in the last years. While the practice of “women’s strike”, initiated by socialist women for the first time on 8 March, poses as an important experience for the upcoming years, it has become a sign that women raise their voice and take action for not only women’s issues but also all general political issues in terms of continuity of political activity.
Again, the action power of women’s mind on May Day allowed women’s demands to be heard at the highest volume. This year, at the May Day squares, women voiced the labour exploitation they suffer both at home and at work, being pushed more into flexible and insecure working conditions in the face of aggravating economical crisis, the hunger strike resistance which was initiated by Leyla Güven and spread with the participation of thousands of prisoners, their sexual freedom demands and women’s justice struggle against the violence against women and children.
At the beginning of April, when thousands of people taking to the streets after the political crisis brought up by the results of the 31 March municipality elections in Istanbul and the following re-election decision proved once more that mass movements have not yielded into a total graveyard silence despite all the brutal attacks of fascism, a sequence of numerous violence and sexual assault cases in such short time period was met by a women’s mass reaction on the streets again.
And the sexual abuse of a 5-year-old child on 23 April in Kanarya quarter in Küçükçekmece district in Istanbul turned into a massive outburst of rage. While the child was taken to the hospital, the toiling people of Kanarya quarter took to the streets under the leadership of women. The family and the neighbourhood were attacked by police. Immediately after the state brought a broadcast ban to the media on that incident. As a result of the actions the rapist has been captured. The women‘s organizations in the neighbourhood carried out awareness raising activities in order to prevent lynching and racist movements. Socialist women played an active role in demonstrating a political goal, concretising the demands of justice and carrying out actions in a de facto legitimate line.
After this terrible incidence in Istanbul, women‘s mass organizations also organized actions in many other cities of Turkey. In the actions, shields with the slogans “Raise your voice against child abuse”, “You have to be the voice that a child can not raise”, “Rebellion against harassment and rape”, “Sentence, arrest the perpetrator”, “The Ensar regime will be destroyed” and “I won’t be silent, you will be ashamed” have been carried. The Women shouted out slogans like “We aren’t silent, we have no fear, we don’t obey”, “Women, Life, Freedom”, “Children will be silent, but you shouldn’t”, and “Not the perpetrators, protect the victims”.
So what caused this outburst of anger? Let‘s look at some statistics of the social decay organized by the AKP. It showed a 700 percent increase of child abuse in the last 10 years in Turkey. One in every 4 rape cases in the country is about children. The judiciary does not conduct an effective and just investigation against the perpetrators of abuse and rape, and the perpetrators are protected from impunity. 26 percent of married women are married in Turkey under the age of 18, 10 percent get their first child before the age of 18. In the last 10 years 482 thousand 908 girls were married. Turkey fills worldwide the third rank when it comes to sexual abuse, harassment and rape against children. An average of 8,000 children are abused annually. These cases of sexual abuse affect the whole and the future of society, leaving children with various cognitive, emotional, physical and social consequences.
The women‘s movement has recently raised the struggle to fight against a bill, which is called the “marriage amnesty” and shall serve to legitimize child abuse, because it offers immunity from prosecution for child abusers, who marry the child they abused. This legalization and the language used by the ruling media legitimize and normalize child abuse. Contrary to the decisions of the decaying political system, consent cannot be discussed in case of sexual abuse of children. Justice can only be achieved by considering the abuse by an adult, not the consent of the child. The justice system has not the right to protect the abusers, but the responsibility to act in the interest of the children, it’s right to life and develop, it’s right to participate and grow in a safe environment. And women have to fight for this in every situation. While women are leading a political mass struggle against the patriarchal state and its male justice, which prefer to reduce sentences for rapists in case of “good behaviour and respectable attitude” instead of protecting women’s and children’s rights, they develop all their means and forms of struggle, including self-defence and write their own history. If there is hope for the future in the heavy political atmosphere of fascism, it lays in the resistance. What will undermine fascism is the growth of this hope, and women play this role today.
MLCP, International Bulletin n
Algerian protest leaders have vowed to take to the streets for the fourth Friday in succession as the country’s nascent democracy movement begins its search for representatives who can unite hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in advance of a national conference and elections. The ailing president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, on Monday withdrew his bid for a fifth term in office and postponed planned April elections to allow for consultation on reforms “for a new generation”. The move was condemned by civil society groups, who said it was intended to “trick and divide the popular movement”.
Habib Brahmia, from the Jil Jadid political party and the protest movement Mouwatana, said: “On Friday, we will all be in the streets to overthrow this system and its pawns.” Protesters have previously expressed pride in the movement’s leaderless nature, which was born of anonymous social media pages and seen in part as a rebuke to the official opposition, which is viewed as having been co-opted by the regime.
But after protesters succeeded in cancelling Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term, the movement is working to bring together union leaders, protesters and civil society leaders around potential candidates who can voice their demands as they push to overthrow the government.
“This is a broad and spontaneous movement – it’s not really possible to put forward a single figure who can represent all parts of it,” said Soufiane Djilali, a Mouwatana coordinator. “This is also a movement that won’t accept anyone without a vote or due process. No one has right to say the movement belongs to them.” Djilali suggested the opposition should instead hold a conference to nominate three or four figures who could act as the spokespeople for the opposition with an eye to the election. He declined to say whether he would put himself forward.
A group of developers launched 22Fevrier2019.org, a website where users can “upvote” political propositions by tapping on a heart or hit the thumbs-down button for those they dislike.mThe top suggestion reads: “I nominate Mustapha Bouchachi to oversee the transition period and organise the next elections.” A prominent human rights lawyer, Bouchachi told local site Tout Sur Algérie he was concerned that Bouteflika cancelling the election is a move for the regime to waste time and remain in power. “I fear they will destroy the country,” he said.
Algeria’s new prime minister Noureddine Bedoui and his deputy, Ramtane Lamamra, held a press conference intended to reassure Algerians that the political elite would listen to their demands. “We will take into account the messages of the protesters during the formation of the government,” said Bedoui, as he offered a new “technocratic” government in the coming weeks to usher in the national conference. Bedoui promised a short transition and independent commission to oversee the next election, an offer unlikely to satisfy protesters. “We hope that all will participate,” he said.
(The Guardian, 15th March 2019) n