If All Refugees Lived in One Place, It Would Be the 17th Most Populous Country in the World: The Forty-Second Newsletter (2021)

21 October 2021 — Tricontinental

Jaime de Guzman Philippines Metamorfosis II 1970Jaime de Guzman (Philippines), Metamorphosis II, 1970.

Dear friends,

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

On 5 October, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a historic, non-legally binding resolution that ‘recognises the right to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as a human right that is important for the enjoyment of human rights’. Such a right should force governments who sit at the table at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow later this month to think about the grievous harm caused by the polluted system that shapes our lives. In 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) pointed out that 92% of the world’s population breathes toxic air quality; in the developing world, 98% of children under five are inflicted with such bad air. Polluted air, mostly from carbon emissions, results in 13 deaths per minute globally.

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Women Hold Up More Than Half the Sky: The Forty-First Newsletter (2021)

14 October 2021 — Tricontinental

01102021 SAVE 20211001 155121Junaina Muhammed (India) / Young Socialist Artists, A woman working in the korai fields, where women often work from a young age to earn a living.

Dear friends,

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

Reminder: Indian peasants and agricultural workers remain in the midst of a country-wide agitation sparked by the proposal of three farm bills that were then signed into law by the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party government in September 2020. In June 2021, our dossier summarised the situation plainly:

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A World Without Hunger: The Fortieth Newsletter (2021)

7 October 2021 — Tricontinental

Ang Kiukok Philippines Harvest 2004Ang Kiukok (Philippines), Harvest, 2004.

Dear friends,

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

On 1 October, the International Peoples’ Assembly (IPA), a network of over 200 social and political movements, had its public launch. The IPA owes its origin to a meeting held in Brazil in 2015 where movement leaders gathered to talk about the perilous situation facing the world. At this meeting – called the Dilemmas of Humanity – the idea was born to create the IPA and three partner processes: a media network (Peoples Dispatch), a network of political schools (the International Collective of Political Education), and a research institute (Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research). Over the course of the next few months, I will be writing more about the history of the IPA and its general orientation. For now, we welcome its launch.

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If the United Nations Charter Was Put To a Vote Today, Would It Pass?: The Thirty-Ninth Newsletter (2021)

30 September 2021 — Tricontinental

Rafael Tufino Figueroa Puerto Rico La Plena 1952 54Rafael Tufiño Figueroa (Puerto Rico), La plena, 1952-54.

Dear friends,

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

Each year in September, the heads of governments come to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City to inaugurate a new session of the General Assembly. The area surrounding the headquarters becomes colourful, delegates from each of the 193 member states milling about the UN building and then going out to lunch in the array of restaurants in its vicinity that scraped through the pandemic. Depending on the conflicts that abound, certain speeches are taken seriously; conflicts in this or that part of the world demand attention to the statements made by their leaders, but otherwise there is a queue of speeches that are made and then forgotten.

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Where Flowers Find No Peace Enough to Grow: The Thirty-Eighth Newsletter (2021)

23 September 2021 — Tricontinental

George Pamba South Africa New Brighton Port Elizabeth 1977 2Milwa Mnyaluza ‘George’ Pemba (South Africa), New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, 1977.

Dear friends,

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

On 13 July 2021, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopteda landmark resolution on the prevalence of racism and for the creation of an independent mechanism made up of three experts to investigate the root cause of deeply embedded racism and intolerance. The Group of African States pushed for this resolution, which had emerged out of global anger over the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police on 25 May 2020. The discussions in the UNHRC considered the problems of police brutality and went back to the formation of our modern system in the crucible of slavery and colonialism. A number of Western countries – such as the United States and the United Kingdom – hesitated over both the assessment of the past and the question of reparations; these governments were able to remove the requirement to investigate systematic racism in US law enforcement.

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The Sound of His Approaching Step Wakes Me and I See My Land’s Deprivation: The Thirty-Seventh Newsletter (2021)

16 September 2021 — Tricontinental

Mrinmoy Debbarma Tripura India Once a Jungle 2015 1Mrinmoy Debbarma (Tripura, India), Once a Jungle, 2015.

Dear friends,

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

On Wednesday, 8 September, party workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), India’s ruling political party, attacked three buildings in the Melarmath area of Agartala (Tripura). These attacks targeted the offices of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the communist newspaper Daily Deshar Katha, and two private media houses Pratibadi Kalam and PN-24. The violence took place in broad daylight as the police stood by and watched. Across Tripura, fifty-four other offices of the communists were attacked.

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Solely Because of the Increasing Disorder: The Thirty-Sixth Newsletter (2021)

9 September 2021 — Tricontinental

Tshibumba Kanda Matulu DRC The Martyrs of the Union Miniere du Haut Katanga at the Stadium Formerly Called Albert I now Mobutu Kenia Township Lubumbashi 1975 1Tshibumba Kanda-Matulu (DRC), The Martyrs of the Union Minière du Haut Katanga at the Stadium Formerly Called ‘Albert I’, now ‘Mobutu’, Kenia Township, Lubumbashi, 1975.

Dear friends,

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

A few days ago, I spoke to a senior official at the World Health Organisation (WHO). I asked her if she knew how many people lived their lives on our planet without shoes. The reason I asked her this question is because I was wondering about Tungiasis, an ailment caused by the infection that results from the entry of a female sand flea (Tunga penetrans) into the skin. This problem has a variety of names in many different languages – from jigger or chigoe to niguá (Spanish) or bicho do pé (Portuguese) to funza (Kiswahili) or tukutuku (Zande). It is a terrible problem that disfigures the feet and makes mobility difficult. Shoes prevent these fleas from burrowing into the skin. She was not sure about the number but presumed that at least a billion people must live without shoes. Tungiasis is only one malady amongst many caused by a lack of access to shoes, with others such as Podoconiosis afflicting people who walk on red volcanic clay soil that inflames their feet in Central America, the African highlands, and India.

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Africa’s Uprising is Frozen, Its Cry Swollen with Hope: The Thirty-Fifth Newsletter (2021)

2 September 2021 — Tricontinental

Bertina Lopes Mozambique Dimensao 1972Bertina Lopes (Mozambique), Dimensão (‘Dimension’), 1972.

Dear friends,

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

On 26 August, two deadly attacks on the perimeter of Kabul’s international airport killed over a hundred people, including a dozen US soldiers. The bombings struck people desperate to enter the airport and flee Afghanistan. Not long afterwards, the Islamic State of Khorasan (IS-K) took credit for the attack. Ten days before this attack, Taliban fighters had entered Kabul’s Pul-i-Charkhi prison and executed the IS-K leader Abu Umar Khorasani, also known as Zia ul Haq. Two days before his execution, as the Taliban advanced into Kabul, Abu Umar told the Wall Street Journal, ‘They will let me free if they are good Muslims’. Instead, the Taliban killed him and eight other IS-K leaders.

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I Awakened Here When the Earth Was New: The Thirty-Fourth Newsletter (2021)

26 August 2021 — Tricontinental

ChangingAlisa Singer (USA), Changing, 2021. Source: IPCC.

Dear friends,

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

In late March 2021, 120 traditional owners from 40 different First People’s groups spent five days at the National First People’s Gathering on Climate Change in Cairns (Australia). Speaking on the impact of the climate crisis on First People, Gavin Singleton from the Yirrganydji traditional owners explainedthat ‘From changing weather patterns to shifts in natural ecosystems, climate change is a clear and present threat to our people and our culture’.

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Create Two, Three, Many Saigons. That Is the Watchword: The Thirty-Third Newsletter (2021)

19 August 2021 — Tricontinental

Malina Suliman Afghanistan Girl in the Ice Cube 2013Malina Suliman (Afghanistan), Girl in the Ice Box, 2013.

Dear friends,

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

On Sunday, 15 August, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani fled his country for Uzbekistan. He left behind a capital city, Kabul, which had already fallen into the hands of the advancing Taliban forces. Former President Hamid Karzai announced that he had formed a coordination council with Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the National Reconciliation Committee, and jihadi leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Karzai called on the Taliban to be prudent as they entered Kabul’s presidential palace and took charge of the state.

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Show the Children the Green Fields and Let the Sunshine into Their Minds: The Thirty-Second Newsletter (2021)

12 August 2021 — Tricontinental

Dossier 43 web feature 1

Dear friends,

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

Exactly two years ago, I walked with my colleagues from Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research through the Camp Marielle Vive (‘Marielle Lives’) outside of Valinhos in the state of São Paulo, Brazil with a great sense of déjà vu. The camp resembles so many other communities of the desperately poor on our planet. The United Nations calculates that one in eight people on our planet – one billion human beings – live in such precariousness. The homes are made of a jumble of materials: blue tarpaulin sheets and bits of wood, corrugated iron sheets and old bricks. A thousand families live in Camp Marielle Vive, named after the Brazilian socialist Marielle Franco, who was assassinated in March 2018.

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China Eradicates Absolute Poverty While Billionaires Go for a Joyride to Space: The Thirty-First Newsletter (2021)

5 August 2021 — Tricontinental

01 Women who migrated to the Wangjia community participate in local activities at the community centre in Tongren City Guizhou Province April 2021 e1628099072688Women who migrated to the Wangjia community participate in local activities at the community centre in Tongren City, Guizhou Province, April 2021.

Dear friends,

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

Confounding news comes from the flagship World Economic Outlook report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The report highlights many of the pressing issues facing our planet: disruptions in the global supply chain, rising shipping costs, shortages of intermediate goods, rising commodity prices, and inflationary pressures in many economies. Global growth rates are expected to touch 6% in 2021 and 4.9% in 2022, driven by higher global government debt. According to the report, this debt ‘reached an unprecedented level of close to 100% of the global GDP in 2020 and is projected to remain around that level in 2021 and 2022’. Developing countries’ external debt will remain high, with little expectation of relief.

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