In Malay, Orangutans Means ‘People of the Forest’, but Those Forests Are Disappearing: The Forty-Seventh Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 24 November 2022 — The Tricontinental

Cheri Samba Democratic Republic of the Congo Reorganisation 2002Chéri Samba (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Reorganisation, 2002.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

The dust has settled at the resorts in Sharm el-Shaikh, Egypt, as delegates of countries and corporations leave the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The only advance made in the final agreement was for the creation of a ‘loss and damage fund’ for ‘vulnerable countries’. However, despite being hailed as a breakthrough, the deal is little more than the financing of the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage agreed upon at the COP25 in 2019. It also remains to be seen whether this new financing will in fact be realised. Under previous agreements, such as the Green Climate Fund established at the COP15 in 2009, developed countries promised to provide developing countries $100 billion per year in financing by 2020, but have failed to meet their stated goals. At the conclusion of COP27, the United Nations expressed ‘serious concern’ that those past pledges have ‘not yet been met’. More importantly, the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan notes that a ‘global transformation to a low-carbon economy is expected to require investment of at least $4–6 trillion a year’ – a commitment that is nowhere in sight. The International Energy Agency said that, in 2022, annual global clean energy investment will remain below $1.5 trillion. This is ‘record clean energy spending’, they announced, and yet, it is far below the amounts that are required for a necessary transition.

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Those Who Struggle to Change the World Know It Well: The Forty-Sixth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 17 November 2022 — The Tricontinental

KCS Paniker India Words and Symbols 1968K.C.S. Paniker (India), Words and Symbols, 1968.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

In 1845, Karl Marx jotted down some notes for The German Ideology, a book that he wrote with his close friend Friedrich Engels. Engels found these notes in 1888, five years after Marx’s death, and published them under the title Theses on Feuerbach. The eleventh thesis is the most famous: ‘philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it’.

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The Attack on Nature Is Putting Humanity at Risk: The Forty-Fifth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 10 November 2022 — The Tricontinental

Heloisa Hariadne Brazil Com uma gota já se faz oceano pra sede se matar em mergulho 2021Heloisa Hariadne (Brazil), Com uma gota já se faz oceano pra sede se matar em mergulho (‘A drop of water becomes an ocean to quench a diver’s thirst’), 2021.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

In the last week of October, João Pedro Stedile, a leader of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) in Brazil and the global peasants’ organisation La Via Campesina, went to the Vatican to attend the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, organised by the Community of Sant’Egídio. On 30 October, Brazil held a presidential election, which was won by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, affectionately known as Lula. A key part of his campaign addressed the reckless endangerment and destruction of the Amazon by his opponent, the incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro. Lula’s victory, helped along by vigorous campaigning by the MST, provides hope for our chance to save the planet. This week’s newsletter contains the speech that Stedile gave at the Vatican. We hope you find it as useful as we do.
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Africa Does Not Want to Be a Breeding Ground for the New Cold War: The Forty-Fourth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 3 November 2022 — The Tricontinental

Chaibia Talal Morocco Mon Village Chtouka 1990Chaïbia Talal (Morocco), Mon Village, Chtouka, 1990.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

On 17 October, the head of US Africa Command (AFRICOM), US Marine Corps General Michael Langley visited Morocco. Langley met with senior Moroccan military leaders, including Inspector General of the Moroccan Armed Forces Belkhir El Farouk. Since 2004, AFRICOM has held its ‘largest and premier annual exercise’, African Lion, partly on Moroccan soil. This past June, ten countries participated in the African Lion 2022, with observers from Israel (for the first time) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
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We Need a New Trade Union of the Poor Rooted in the Global South: The Forty-Third Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 27 October 2022 — The Tricontinental

Raquel Forner Argentina Fin Principio End Beginning 1980 1 768x612Raquel Forner (Argentina), Fin-Principio (‘End-Beginning’), 1980.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

Chaos reigns in the United Kingdom, where the prime minister’s residence in London – 10 Downing Street – prepares for the entry of Rishi Sunak, one of the richest men in the country. Liz Truss remained in office for a mere 45 days, convulsed as her government was by a cycle of workers’ strikes and the mediocrity of her policies. In her mini budget, which doomed her government, Truss opted for a full-scale neoliberal assault on the British public with both tax cuts and unacknowledged cuts to social benefits. The policies startled the international financial class, whose political role emerged clearly as wealthy bondholders indicated their loss of faith in the UK by junking government bonds, thereby increasing the cost of government borrowing and raising the mortgage payments for homeowners. It was this wealthy bondholder class that acted as the real opposition to the Truss government. Even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) weighed in with a strong statement, saying that ‘the nature of the UK measures will likely increase inequality’.

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The Last Thing Haiti Needs Is Another Military Intervention: The Forty-Second Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 20 October 2022 — The Tricontinental

Gélin Buteau Haiti Guede with drum 1995Gélin Buteau (Haiti), Guede with Drum, ca. 1995.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

At the United Nations General Assembly on 24 September 2022, Haiti’s Foreign Minister Jean Victor Geneus admitted that his country faces a serious crisis, which he said ‘can only be solved with the effective support of our partners’. To many close observers of the situation unfolding in Haiti, the phrase ‘effective support’ sounded like Geneus was signalling that another military intervention by Western powers was imminent. Indeed, two days prior to Geneus’s comments, The Washington Post published an editorial on the situation in Haiti in which it called for ‘muscular action by outside actors’. On 15 October, the United States and Canada issued a joint statement announcing that they had sent military aircraft to Haiti to deliver weapons to Haitian security services. That same day, the United States submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council calling for the ‘immediate deployment of a multinational rapid action force’ into Haiti.

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When Will the Stars Shine Again in Burkina Faso?: The Forty-First Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 13 October 2022 — The Tricontinental

Wilifried Balima Burkina Faso Les Trois Camarades 2018 768x768Wilfried Balima (Burkina Faso), Les Trois Camarades (‘The Three Comrades’), 2018.

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Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

On 30 September 2022, Captain Ibrahim Traoré led a section of the Burkina Faso military to depose Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who had seized power in a coup d’état in January. The second coup was swift, with brief clashes in Burkina Faso’s capital of Ouagadougou at the president’s residence, Kosyam Palace, and at Camp Baba Sy, the military administration’s headquarters. Captain Kiswendsida Farouk Azaria Sorgho declared on Radiodiffusion Télévision du Burkina (RTB), the national broadcast, that his fellow captain, Traoré, was now the head of state and the armed forces. ‘Things are gradually returning to order’, he said as Damiba went into exile in Togo.

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The Most Dangerous Situation That Humanity Has Ever Faced: The Fortieth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 6 October 2022 — The Tricontinental

Leon Ferrari Argentina Sermon of the Blood Sermon de la sangre 1962León Ferrari (Argentina), Untitled (Sermon of the Blood), 1962.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

Since 1947, the Doomsday Clock has measured the likelihood of a human-made catastrophe, namely to warn the world against the possibility of a nuclear holocaust. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, who attend to this clock, originally set the device at seven minutes to midnight, with midnight being, essentially, the end of the world. The farthest that the clock has been from midnight was in 1991, when it was set at 17 minutes from midnight. The closest to midnight that the clock has been is now. Since 2020, the clock has sat at ‘doom’s doorstep’ – 100 seconds from midnight. The motivation for this alarming setting was the unilateral withdrawal by the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019. This is the ‘most dangerous situation that humanity has faced’, said former President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson.

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From Wounded Latin America, a Demand Comes to Put an End to the Irrational War on Drugs: The Thirty-Ninth Newsletter (2022)

Tuesday, 4 October 2022 — The Tricontinental

Oscar Munoz Colombia Linea del destino 2006Óscar Muñoz (Colombia), Línea del destino (‘Line of Destiny’), 2006.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

Each year, in the last weeks of September, the world’s leaders gather in New York City to speak at the podium of the United Nations General Assembly. The speeches can usually be forecasted well in advance, either tired articulations of values that do not get acted upon or belligerent voices that threaten war in an institution built to prevent war.

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Without Culture, Freedom Is Impossible: The Thirty-Eighth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 22 September 2022 — The Tricontinental

01 Roberto Matta Chile webRoberto Matta (Chile), Cuba es la capital (‘Cuba Is the Capital’), 1963.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

In 2002, Cuba’s President Fidel Castro Ruz visited the country’s National Ballet School to inaugurate the 18th Havana International Ballet Festival. Founded in 1948 by the prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso (1920–2019), the school struggled financially until the Cuban Revolution decided that ballet – like other art forms – must be available to everyone and so must be socially financed. At the school in 2002, Castro remembered that the first festival, held in 1960, ‘asserted Cuba’s cultural vocation, identity, and nationality, even under the most adverse circumstances, when major dangers and threats loomed over the country’.

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War Is Not the Answer to Deep Planetary Insecurity: The Thirty-Seventh Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 15 September 2022 — The Tricontinental

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Iran Sunrise Sunrise 2018 768x621Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (Iran), Sunset, 2015.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

Grave news comes to us from the United Nations (UN). The latest Human Development Report (2021–22) records that for the first time in thirty-two years, the Human Development Index has registered a second consecutive year of decline. The previous five years of gains in areas such as health and education have been negated by this reversal. ‘Billions of people face the greatest cost-of-living crisis in a generation’, says the report. ‘Billions already grapple with food insecurity, owing largely to inequalities in wealth and power that determine entitlements to food. A global food crisis will hit them hardest’.

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We Will March, Even If We Have to Wade through the Pakistani Floodwaters: The Thirty-Sixth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 8 September 2022 — The Tricontinental

Ali Imam Pakistan Untitled 1956Ali Imam (Pakistan), Untitled (Deserted Town with a Black Sun), 1956.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

Calamities are familiar to the people of Pakistan who have struggled through several catastrophic earthquakes, including those in 2005, 2013, and 2015 (to name the most damaging), as well as the horrendous floods of 2010. However, nothing could prepare the fifth most populated country in the world for this summer’s devastating events, which began with high temperatures and political chaos followed by unimaginable flooding.

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Capitalism Created the Climate Catastrophe; Socialism Can Avert Disaster. The Thirty-Fifth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 1 September 2022 — The Tricontinental

George Bahgoury Egypt Untitled 2015George Bahgoury (Egypt), Untitled, 2015.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

In November 2022, most member states of the United Nations (UN) will gather in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El Sheikh for the annual UN Climate Change Conference. This is the 27th conference of the parties to assess the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, commonly referred to as COP 27. The international environmental treaty was established in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, with the first conference held in Berlin in 1995; the agreements were extended in the Kyoto Protocol of 2005 and supplemented by the Paris Agreement of 2015. No more needs to be said of the climate catastrophe, which threatens mass species extinction. The move away from carbon-based fuel has been stalled by three main impediments:
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Indian Workers Defend Their Steel with Their Lives: The Thirty-Fourth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 25 August 2022 — The Tricontinental

20220818 D55 Web Feature

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Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

The long and distant epoch of pre-history, dated to the time before the start of the Common Era, is conventionally divided into three periods: the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age. Subsequently, in the era of written history, we generally have not relied upon specific metals or minerals to define our periods. Too many metals and minerals, harnessed by new production techniques and new labour patterns, have contributed to our immense capacity to generate large surpluses. There is the Age of Industry but not, for instance, the Age of Steel, the core metal of our period.

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When People Want Housing in India, They Build It: The Thirty-Third Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 18 August 2022 — The Tricontinental

Communist Party of India Marxist protest in Khila Warangal 10 May 2022Communist Party of India (Marxist) protest in Khila Warangal, 10 May 2022.

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Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

It all started with a survey. In April 2022, members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI(M), went door to door in the town of Warangal in Telangana state. The party was already aware of challenges in the community but wanted to collect data before working on a plan of action. Thirty-five teams of three to four CPI(M) members and supporters went to 45,000 homes and learned how people were suffering from a range of issues, such as the lack of pensions and subsidised food. Many expressed anxieties around the absence of permanent housing, with a third saying that they were not homeowners and could not pay their rents. The government had promised to build two-bedroom apartments for the poor, but these promises evaporated. With inflation eating into their meagre incomes and serious unemployment due to the collapse of the local bidi (cigarette) industry, desperation marked the people the communists met.

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Can We Please Have an Adult Conversation about China?: The Thirty-Second Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 11 August 2022 — The Tricontinental

Wang Bingxiu of the Shuanglang Farmer Painting Club Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture China Untitled 2018Wang Bingxiu of the Shuanglang Farmer Painting Club (Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, China), Untitled, 2018.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

As the US legislative leader Nancy Pelosi swept into Taipei, people around the world held their breath. Her visit was an act of provocation. In December 1978, the US government – following a United Nations General Assembly decision in 1971 – recognised the People’s Republic of China, setting aside its previous treaty obligations to Taiwan. Despite this, US President Jimmy Carter signed the Taiwan Relations Act (1979), which allowed US officials to maintain intimate contact with Taiwan, including through the sale of weapons. This decision is noteworthy as Taiwan was under martial law from 1949 to 1987, requiring a regular weapons supplier.

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Sri Lankans Seek a World in Which They Can Find Laughter Together: The Thirty-First Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 4 August 2022 — The Tricontinental

Anoli Perera Sri Lanka Dream 1 2017Anoli Perera (Sri Lanka), Dream 1, 2017

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Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

On 9 July 2022, remarkable images floated across social media from Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. Thousands of people rushed into the presidential palace and chased out former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, forcing him to flee to Singapore. In early May, Gotabaya’s brother Mahinda, also a former president, resigned from his post as prime minister and fled with his family to the Trincomalee naval base. The public’s raw anger toward the Rajapaksa family could no longer be contained, and the tentacles of Rajapaksas, which had ensnared the state for years, were withdrawn.

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All That I Ask Is That You Fight for Peace Today: The Thirtieth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 28 July 2022 — The Tricontinental

Fuyuko Matsui Japan Becoming Friends With All the Children of the World 2004Fuyuko Matsui (Japan), Becoming Friends with All the Children of the World, 2004.

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Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

The fragility of Europe’s energy supply has once again been on display in recent months. Gas shipments through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which runs from Russia to Germany, were reduced to 40% of capacity in June, a cut that Moscow said was due to delays in the servicing of a turbine by the German firm Siemens. Shortly thereafter, on 11 July, the pipeline was taken offline for ten days for annual routine maintenance. Despite receiving assurances from Moscow that the supply would resume as scheduled, European leaders expressed feared that the shutdown would continue indefinitely in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. On 21 July, the flow of Russian gas into Europe resumed. Klaus Müller, the head Germany’s energy regulator, said that gas flows through Nord Stream 1 were below pre-maintenance levels during the first few hours of resumption, though they have now returned to 40% capacity.

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It Is Dark, but I Sing Because the Morning Will Come: The Twenty-Ninth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 22 July 2022 — The Tricontinental

D54 Images comida dom e bruno 768x512Photograph by Wellington Lenon / MST-PR

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Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

In the chilly Brazilian winter of 2019, Renata Porto Bugni (deputy director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research), André Cardoso (coordinator of our office in Brazil), and I went to the Lula Livre (‘Free Lula’) camp in Curitiba, set up just across the road from the penitentiary where former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva sat in a 15-square metre cell. Lula had been in prison for 500 days. Hundreds of people gathered each day at the Lula Livre camp to wish him good morning, good day, and good night – a greeting that sought both to keep his spirits up and to offer a spirited protest of his incarceration. Eighty days later, Lula walked out of prison, free from charges that most observers rightly condemned as absurd. He is now the front-runner in the country’s presidential elections that will take place on 2 October 2022.

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Will Our Children Be Literate? Will They Look Forward to the Future with Dignity?: The Twenty-Eighth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 14 July 2022 — The Tricontinental

Nu Barreto Guinea Bissau Vultos 2019 768x766Nú Barreto (Guinea-Bissau), A Esperar (‘Waiting’), 2019.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

The world is adrift in the tides of hunger and desolation. It is difficult to think about education, or anything else, when your children are not able to eat. And yet, the sharp attack on education during this past decade forces us to consider the kind of future that young people will inherit. In 2018, before the pandemic, the United Nations calculated that 258 million, or one in six, school age children were out of school. By March 2020, the start of the pandemic, UNESCO estimated that 1.5 billion children and youth were affected by school closures; a staggering 91% of students worldwide had their education disrupted by the lockdowns.

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