• The recent release of militia leader Qassem Musleh arrested on murder charges against an anti-corruption campaigner, was a reminder to the Iraqi public of just how weak their central government in Baghdad is. When Musleh was arrested, his gun-waving supporters promptly occupied parts of the Green Zone, where Iraq’s central government is based. Rather than risk a bloody confrontation, the state released him.
(“Thirsting for Change,” Economist, June 19, 2021)
• Agricultural economists across the U.S have been tracking a major increase in agricultural land prices caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this new market, locals looking for their retirement property and out-of-staters looking for some peaceful country living or an easy investment, compete with, and often out-bid, a new generation of young farmers.
(“How the COVID Land Rush Is Hurting New Farmers,” In These Times, June 14, 2021)
• On June 22, primary night in Buffalo, New York India Walton, a member of the Buffalo chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, shocked the political establishment by defeating four-term Mayor Byron Brown, a close ally of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Walton, a nurse, union organizer and director of a community land trust ran on a platform advocating for tenant rights, affordable housing and reforming the Buffalo police department a year after major protests against the murder of George Floyd.
(“Socialist India Walton Will Be Buffalo’s Next Mayor,” Intercept, June 23, 2021; “Socialist Defeats Buffalo Mayor in Primary,” Associated Press, June 23, 2021)