The student loan industry's parasitism is matched by the Democratic Party's unwillingness to take them on. Martin Scorsese’s classic 1991 film Goodfellas lays bare the basic operations of the mafia. In a classic scene, narrator and mobster Henry Hill describes the fate that befalls those who partner with the mob.

The economic situation facing the masses in Venezuela has suffered a sharp turn for the worse over the Christmas period. The problems that already existed have worsened, with prices spiralling out of control, a further collapse of the transport system and an aggravation of scarcity (of food, fuel and cash). This has led to scattered protests and incidents of looting.

 Neither taxation nor privatization will keep our water clean, bridges safe, or roads intact. Taking control over these essentials means a fight against those who hold them–and us–hostage under a failing system.

Following huge protests against counter-reform of the pensions system in Argentina in December, the right-wing Macri government has launched an offensive of repression and criminalisation against left-wing organisations and activists. Two members of the Partido Obrero (Workers’ Party) have been arrested, and several activists from other organisations (including members of parliament) have been indicted. The International Marxist Tendency expresses its solidarity with the comrades, demands the end to all repression and calls on working-class and solidarity activists internationally to show their support.

As was expected, Venezuela’s municipal elections on December 10 produced a landslide victory for the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV). It won 308 out of 335 local councils winning in 23 out 25 state capitals. The opposition, which stood divided and largely boycotted the election, only managed to win two significant local councils, those of San Cristobal, the capital of Táchira and Libertador, the capital of Mérida.

Salvador Nasralla, the opposition candidate, travelled to Washington on Monday, 18 December, to meet with representatives of the OAS, the State Department and human rights organisations, to look for a solution to the post-electoral conflict in Honduras. In another clumsy move, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), on Sunday afternoon, 17 December, declared right-wing candidate Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH) of the National Party (and current president) as the winner. Clearly this has been a fraudulent election.

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