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(DV) O'Keefe: Year in Review -- Seven Highlights from 2005







Year in Review: Seven Highlights from 2005
by Derrick O'Keefe
December 31, 2005
First Published in Seven Oaks Magazine

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Despite 2005 having been replete with natural disasters whose social and environmental ravages were exacerbated by capitalism -- that rarely spoken of dominant global system -- Seven Oaks has identified 7 acts of resistance to injustice to fuel your “optimism of the will” for 2006.

7) Hugo Chavez and Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution. That Pat Robertson’s wish remains unfulfilled is enough to make the list, short of one defining event in 2005. The launching of Telesur, “Latin America’s Al-Jazeera,” and Chavez’s historic speeches at the World Social Forum in Brazil and at the anti-FTAA mobilizations in Argentina were key moments this year in the continued transformation of both Venezuela and the political landscape of Latin America.

6) George Clooney’s Hollywood. Elia Kazan must be rolling in his finking grave, as the hunky former Dr. Ross surgically exposes the hypocrisy of America’s rulers through big screen gems like Good Night, and Good Luck and Syriana.

5) Camp Casey. In the dog days of summer, one grieving mother almost single-handedly revived and re-invigorated the U.S. anti-war movement. A month after her courageous protest at the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas, three hundred thousand rallied with her in Washington D.C. to call for U.S. troops out of Iraq. We all owe Cindy Sheehan a big thank you.

4) “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people.” Only days after the shockingly callous abandonment of the poor of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, boisterous hip hop star Kanye West expressed what the whole world was thinking. That Kanye made his statement while standing next to the aghast-looking Mike Myers made it all the sweeter.

3) Rebellion in the French suburbs. The righteous indignation that exploded from the poor suburbs of Paris and other French cities effectively exploded the myth of a harmonious and tolerant France, or Europe for that matter. The racism and ghettos endured by the immigrant poor is the ugly home front of France’s ongoing colonial arrogance in places like Haiti and West Africa.

2) Victory for the indigenous peoples of Bolivia. The landslide election of Evo Morales, a socialist and avowed friend of Hugo and Fidel, in Bolivia’s recent election not only adds to the momentum of the Left in Latin America, it also represents an amazing historic victory for the long-suffering indigenous peoples of that continent.

1) Equal marriage in Canada. This one, as all but a few crusty and dogmatic souls understood, was not about the merits of the ‘bourgeois institution’ of marriage, but about the struggle for universal civil and human rights. For years NDP MP Svend Robinson would use Valentine’s Day to call for marriage benefits for gays and lesbians in the House of Commons. Then, it was considered a joke. Now, it’s the law, and -- Stephen Harper’s dreams notwithstanding -- it’s here to stay.

Derrick O'Keefe is a founding editor of Seven Oaks, an on-line journal of politics, culture and resistance, where this article first appeared.

Other Articles by Derrick O’Keefe

* Bolivia, Venezuela, and the Struggle Against Neoliberalism
* The Constant Gardener Captures Le Carre's Anti-Corporate Anger
* Not Buying the Rebel Sell
* Harboring a Terrorist: The Case of Luis Posada Carriles
* Haiti Yesterday and Today: An Interview with Laura Flynn
* The Political Challenge of the 21st Century: Building a Democratic, Humanist Socialism
* An Interview With Dahr Jamail on Occupied Iraq
* It Takes a Comic: The Appeal of Lewis Black
* MLK Day and Bush’s Inauguration

* An Interview with Allan Nairn on Aceh, the Tsunamis, and Indonesian Military Abuses
* Generals, and War Criminals, Die in Bed
* Colombia and Venezuela: Labor in Canada Builds Solidarity
* An Interview with Anthony Fenton on Haiti