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New Internationalist

New Internationalist

July - August 2021

New Internationalist tackles today's most challenging global issues, confronts inequality and injustice and reports on positive changes happening around the world. Well-known for writing about topics before they reach the wider media, it is an essential read for those who want to explore progressive ideas.

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United States
New Internationalist Publications
6 Issues

in this issue

1 min
bank job

It’s not often that you get an activist documentary that leans on the side of wit and humour to score its political points, but Edelstyn and Powell’s Bank Job hits the spot. The pair present themselves as a quirky young couple, surviving in the low-income London suburb of Walthamstow, who decide to take on financial capital and its profitable system of ‘creditocracy’. They mobilize their own community by setting up a people’s bank that creates its own currency, replacing the face of the Queen with those of community activists and selling the bills to raise cash for the community and to pay off the ‘underperforming’ debts of poverty. The film plays with various cinematic ‘bank heist’ tropes and includes snippets of interviews with critics of the money system such as…

1 min
the big scary ‘s’ word

This doc takes on the myth that socialism has no place on the political landscape of the US. Bridge hangs his film on a couple of dramatic stories from unlikely parts of the country: a teacher fighting education cuts in Oklahoma and the lone socialist legislator in the Virginia House of Assembly. But he doesn’t stop there, cramming the film with fascinating interview footage (Cornel West, Naomi Klein and many others) as well as revealing historical footage showing the ways in which without the US Left democracy and welfare provision would barely exist. Particularly revealing are the clips of Martin Luther King as the civil-rights icon moved decisively to the Left, remarking, shortly before his assassination, that ‘America already has socialism for the rich and preserves rugged pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps for the…

2 min
eritrea no respite

When the President of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki, and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, signed a peace agreement on 9 July 2018, there was jubilation. Full restoration of diplomatic relations was promised; the border would be open to trade. Families and friends would be reunited and the fear of war would become a distant memory. Eritrea has been no stranger to war. The 30-year ‘liberation struggle’ took 100,000 lives, and led to effective independence from Ethiopia in May 1991. But peace was short-lived. Two years later, 100,000 more people died in a border dispute. That was followed by an 18-year ceasefire during which readiness for war remained constant. To this day, every Eritrean citizen over 18 is subject to indefinite military conscription. Out of a total population of about five million,…

2 min
chile a new horizon

Grassroots activists have scored a shining victory for the Left in Chile, in elections which have proved pivotal for the country’s political future. Local and constitutional candidate elections were held on the weekend of 14 May, and the outcome spelled bad news for the centre-right ruling coalition. After it failed to secure one-third of the votes needed to block progressive reforms, the newly elected 155-member assembly, which includes 47 independent candidates – half of whom are women – will together rewrite the constitution left over from Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. A win that has long been fought for by popular movements and dissident voices. All this despite a low turnout of 42.5 per cent – thought to be connected to the heavy police and military presence, including 37,000 troops deployed to polling stations. As…

3 min
view from africa

In April 2021, Chadian president Idriss Déby was reportedly killed in an ambush by rebel soldiers while he was visiting the frontline against a surging rebellion. The day before he was killed, Déby had been announced the winner of his fifth presidential election, marking the 30th year of his presidency. News of his election win had been met with ambivalence – Déby was one of Africa’s most notorious strongmen. He had used violence, intimidation and lengthy internet shutdowns against critics of his rule. News of his death, on the other hand, sent shockwaves throughout the world – not because of how he died, but because of what came next. Almost as soon as Déby’s death was announced, his 37-year-old son, Mahamat, also a soldier, was declared the interim or caretaker president. This…

3 min
temperature check

IS THERE SUCH A THING AS A ‘GOOD’ CARBON OFFSET? Lately there’s been a lot of attention on the ‘net zero’ targets of big corporations – both in this column and elsewhere.1 Too often, the targets don’t stand up to scrutiny because they rely heavily on carbon offsets – spending money to reduce or absorb emissions elsewhere – rather than cutting the company’s own pollution. It’s starting to get farcical. The offsetting plans of just three companies – Nestlé, Eni and Shell – would require new forests three times the size of Malaysia.2 If you add the tree-planting commitments to date of energy firms BP, Equinor and all the other corporates, there literally isn’t enough room on the planet.3 But carbon offsets aren’t only being purchased for greenwash purposes. Growing numbers of well-meaning…