The authoritarian military regime of Burma has recently shown signs of thaw: human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi has been freed and the country appears to be moving toward a more open electoral process. Some restrictions on press freedom have been lifted. Secretary of State Clinton recently made a well-orchestrated diplomatic visit to the country. But this is hardly a revolution: oppression and violence against ethnic minority groups remains rampant, the military still largely controls both political and economic institutions, and Washington’s so-called “two-prong” approach to engaging Burma seems more a matter of geopolitical strategy than commitment to seeing through sustainable reforms.
We speak with Kyi May Kaung, a US-based Burmese dissident, and Thelma Young of the US Campaign for Burma.
Kyi May Kaung is a Burmese independent political analyst based in the U.S.
Thelma Young is a human rights activist and communications coordinator for the US Campaign for Burma. She is the assistant editor of the recent book Nowhere to be Home: Narratives from Survivor's of Burma's Military Regime.
India’s cabinet recently moved to allow multinational mass chain stores like Wal-Mart to expand their presence in local retail markets. This would allow an unprecedented degree of foreign-direct investment in a sector long dominated by small traders. Although the policy was touted as a boost for India’s rising middle-class consumers, shopkeepers didn’t buy Wal-Mart’s sales pitch. Thousands have protested and even shuttered their stores to oppose the measure. It appears the activists were well aware of Wal-Mart’s track record in the U.S., where it’s known for eroding labor rights and local small businesses. And the Indian government has now actually backpedaled on the measure, keeping mom-and-pop stores shielded, for now, from big box hegemony.
We speak with Philip Jennings, General Secretary of the international labor group UNI Global Union.
As India surges forward with breakneck economic development, a radical movement has emerged to defend marginalized landless tribal communities from a dual assault by mining corporations and the military.
Activist and author Arundhati Roy spent weeks with the Maoist fighters in the conflict zone. Her new book about her time there, Walking with the Comrades a stunning first-hand account of an often misunderstood movement challenging the global economic order.