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We need a people’s response to coronavirus — and the Sanders campaign is uniquely poised to lead

Waging Nonviolence -

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The eve of Super Tuesday was just 12 days ago, a moment when many of us in the progressive left were feeling the possibility of a strong path for Bernie Sanders’ Democratic nomination. Today, leading up to tonight’s debate, many polls show that we are in a weak position to get a plurality of delegates that can lead us to a Sanders victory at the convention.

However, as of the past week, election conversations have given way to a major national dialogue around the coronavirus. America is experiencing a stark encounter with its health care and economic systems — where its shortcomings are brought to the surface and exacerbated by the inadequate response of the government, as well as the massive amount of needs during a pandemic.

Elections aren’t just fought in the voting booth and Bernie Sanders’ campaign is uniquely positioned to rise to this nationally unprecedented crisis and address the coronavirus pandemic in ways that can manifest concretely the vision of his campaign beyond the electoral arena. 

Together, we can mobilize a people’s movement that can, during this void of leadership, transform its national campaign infrastructure of volunteers towards the development of mutual aid networks and advocate for concrete policy wins during this emergency.

As community organizers, crises like these have propelled us and others to study what we refer to as “moments of the whirlwind,” or moments where the conditions and events are volatile enough that the rules of engagement change. We’ve witnessed similar moments to these in the past, like in 2006 when the “sleeping giant” woke up and millions of immigrants were in the streets responding to proposed anti-immigrant legislation. We also saw this during the financial crisis of 2008 and during Trump’s Muslim ban when there were hundreds of unprecedented airport mobilizations.

The current conditions might allow us to do considerably more things that we weren’t able to do just 11 days ago, when the results of Super Tuesday were announced. 

Repurposing our objectives 

As observers, we know that there have been three major objectives that the Sanders campaign has been seeking to achieve. One is to polarize and bolster support for policies that can benefit the widest range of people and centers the issues of marginalized communities in this country. Another is to elect and endorse candidates like Sanders that support progressive issues across various congressional races in the country like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and more. And last, but not least, to build a political revolution beyond Bernie’s election, that’s about a movement of people who hold a similar vision for this country and can build a mandate for strong progressive policies.

The difficulty of the moment we’re in is reflected in the fact that these objectives are being tested all at the same time. As we see the diminishing chances of a Sanders election, we begin to see a schism between Democrats largely supporting Bernie Sanders’ agenda while not seeing him as electable as Biden. Meanwhile, due to the coronavirus, the movement is undergoing a tremendous test as people and volunteers who share this progressive vision are unable to go out on the streets to gain more support for Sanders. Even more so, continuing to campaign is contradictory to the reality people are facing.

The volatility and uncertainty that arises from our circumstances obfuscates us from seeing all the possibilities that we actually have to meet our objectives in a variety of ways. It’s important to understand that moments of the whirlwind have the potential to be transformative, where the population is finding themselves at odds with their situation. We need to understand what this moment requires and the new possibilities it opens for all of us. In particular, we see three new possibilities that this crisis presents for the Bernie campaign. 

1. Becoming electable in the vacuum of presidentialism 

Our collective uncertainty and our government’s inadequate and piecemeal responses have led many to take actions that directly and indirectly harm others. In the past week we’ve seen countless stories of people panic shopping and hoarding supplies leaving many who are unable to easily shop to be greeted with empty shelves; low-income families asking for schools to stay open so that their kids can receive a meal; college students being told to move out of their dorms without having a place to go or stay; workers in hospitality sectors being laid off or told to go home without pay. This does not even reflect the effects of the February public charge rule, which punishes immigrants by making them ineligible for legalization if they seek public services.

We need Sanders to rise up to the occasion and show — in a vacuum of presidentialism — what is possible.

As organizer and scholar Marshall Ganz has explained, “Leadership is accepting responsibility to create conditions that enable others to achieve shared purpose in the face of uncertainty.” We need a leader who can provide certainty. This does not mean delivering all the answers but rather an understanding of what is taking place and the emotional fortitude to lead us through it. We need a leader whose scope is beyond electoral politics and is transformational enough to, as Ganz said, “engage followers in the risky and often exhilarating work of changing the world.” 

During these troubling times we need to demonstrate leadership, to guide us as a nation through this uncertainty. Who we decide to be in this moment of transition will lead us to who we’ll become in the future. As Malcolm X said, “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” So this isn’t just about issues on paper; we need Bernie and our campaign to show that there’s a greater moral to the story — to be there for us, to guide us through the difficulty of this time and to remind us that there will be lessons learned. 

If the biggest hindrance to Sanders’ executive trajectory is voters questioning his electability, then we need Sanders to rise up to the occasion and show — in a vacuum of presidentialism — what is possible. Moments where normalcy is questioned are the instances where we seek a resilient, certain and guiding force. Who is better poised than someone who has a track record and vision of a better government approach to our health and economy?

2. Not me. Us: Towards a national culture of solidarity

We are all paying attention to the same issues, going through very similar problems, all at the same time. In our age of social media and perpetual distractions, this is a very special moment. Right now, there are public debates about hoarding versus sharing resources, about the role of our government in providing to its people (within our health care system or the role of schools in providing food to children, etc), and about the role of corporations in how they treat our social welfare (providing paid leave, etc). These are essential debates between “me” and “us,” a key distinction in Bernie’s campaign narrative about the country we want to see. A country that is not just about an individual or a set of wealthy individuals, but about the country as a whole, and especially the most marginalized — like those who will be most impacted by the virus.

From washing our hands to staying at home, people all over the country are experiencing day-to-day the strengths and weaknesses of our collective culture, in every single act of reciprocity and selfishness. In this moment where the elderly and the immunocompromised are most at risk, it’s important for us to understand that our choices are more than just for ourselves. We’re living in a defining moment for our culture. 

We must embody democratic socialism by creating massive numbers of local mutual aid support networks and taking care of each other.

This is our time to organize and bring people towards an experience of what Bernie means when he says “democratic socialism.” Whether our return to some form of normalcy takes place in six months, like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on “The Daily Show,” or whether it’s a year, this is our time to dramatically increase support for the progressive issues we are fighting for. 

There are so many ways to fight. The 198 methods of nonviolent action that scholar Gene Sharp documented reminds us that even from home we can organize and protest for “us.” We can use social media to polarize more people to join our cause. We can put signs, posters and banners on our windows and homes for paid sick leave, Medicare for All and an eviction moratorium. We can make noise with our pots and pans at our doorfronts at noon every day to remind everyone of the aliveness of our in-home mass protest. We can even chant “Not me. Us.” every night at 8 p.m. to remind our neighbors that we are here for each other. We must liberate ourselves from the thinking that the primaries and elections are the only way to build a movement for “us” so that we can use all the organizing and protest tools at our disposal.

We must embody democratic socialism by creating massive numbers of local mutual aid support networks, taking care of each other, and being the line of defense of our welfare system and our culture of solidarity. What better way for Sanders to demonstrate the slogan “Not me. Us.” than by encouraging his thousands of supporters and campaign volunteers to do just that?

3. The revolution takes on the pandemic 

The greatest test we are facing in our country (and globally) is the strength and support of our social welfare system. A key issue with the virus is the core message of why people should physically distance in order to avoid infection; it is because of the inability of our health care system to respond to a mass contracting of the disease instead of manageable rates over a longer period of time. At the core of this idea is that we as a society must protect and strengthen our health care system.

We are seeing the private sector and the government trying to respond to this crisis, but that won’t be enough without a civic society that can take leadership to protect its social welfare institutions. We have to be a second line of defense.

There are many needs that we need to meet. For example, an elderly couple in Oregon waited in their car for 45 minutes outside of a supermarket because they were too afraid to get out. They asked for help from a young woman nearby who gladly got them their groceries. Now, imagine if our community consciousness was acute enough to notice an elderly couple in their car, to reach out to them, and to ask how to support them in this moment? This is why we need mutual aid networks. 

Our political revolution has an incredible opportunity because of our infrastructure, culture and leadership to seize this moment.

We need an army of volunteers across the country, in every block and every neighborhood that can create mutual aid networks; that can track each other’s health; support one another with food, resources, information; and to be with each other while physically distanced to show solidarity and emotional strength. We have some examples recently in Siena, Italy and Wuhan, China of neighbors doing just that.

However, as more localized mutual aid networks keep bubbling up, we’ll also need more robust national infrastructure. The infrastructure of our campaign — livestream capabilities, volunteer networks, staff structure, texting technologies, etc. — can provide the resources millions need.

Examples include creating a national emergency database — we already have millions on our list — that can help us address the need of testing and seeing who in our localities has symptoms and needs. Bernie volunteers and staff have built up and demonstrated their capacity to lead for years and have an infrastructure that shouldn’t be in limbo or feel disheartened because of the state of the primaries. 

We have hundreds of thousands of volunteers who can embody the culture of solidarity through creating and supporting their local mutual aid networks. The impact of our involvement en masse, coupled with politicians advocating for changes, will set us up to withstand the storm that is coming. 

Our political revolution has an incredible opportunity because of our infrastructure, culture and leadership to seize this moment. This will also be a test for all of us, to see whether our organization can be nimble enough to generate effectiveness and resiliency beyond the election cycle.

While we are all trying to make sense of the moment of the whirlwind we are in, there are many variables and important decisions ahead of us. The work of believing in a new country and working for it is difficult, and it comes with a huge share of disappointment. 

In times where everything seems to feel closed and unmoving, we must be reminded that there is a real opportunity to push for transformational change right now, that there is still organizing to do, and that we have the resources, the creativity and the will to bring forward this political revolution.

We should have the right to challenge drone use | Letter

The Guardian | Protest -

The public must be able to debate and protest issues of defence policy, writes Richard Bickle – which they can’t do if drone testing is kept quiet

It was concerning to read your story concerning MoD lobbying for reduced public notice of any UK drone testing (MoD clashed with civil regulator about drone flight warning to pilots, 10 March). The evolution of drones and the continued automation of weapons of war raise ethical and moral questions. It is a vital part of any democracy to have the right to protest. It is particularly important that issues of defence and security can be explored via public debate and challenged via, among other things, peaceful protest. After all, the purpose of any defence force is to keep the public safe, and so the public should be able to engage and interrogate the ways the state acts in its name.
Richard Bickle
Chair of trustees, The Fellowship of Reconciliation

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

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Los Angeles: Reclaiming Our Homes

House Occupation News -

No one should be homeless when homes are sitting empty. Housing is a human right!

There are more vacant homes than people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. Some of these vacant properties are even owned by the state. We are taking this housing back for our community.
Impacted by the housing crisis, and feeling even more urgency in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, we are reclaiming vacant houses owned by the state to fight for housing as a human right. We the Reclaimers are calling on the city and state to immediately use all vacant properties to house people. We need all levels of government to make a massive investment in public and social housing so that everyone has a home during this housing and public health crisis.
In California, a person needs to earn $32.68 an hour to afford an average two bedroom apartment. It’s an outrage that the state and city are leaving homes and property unused when so many people need housing. We are holding them accountable and demanding immediate action.

Reclaim Our Homes is organizing a fundraiser with this statement:

Governor Gavin Newsom,

This is to notify you that we, Reclaimers, members of Reclaiming Our Homes, less than an hour ago, have peacefully moved into a State-owned empty house in Los Angeles on the now defunct 710 corridor. We, the Reclaimers, are homeless families that include children as young as 9 months old and elders over 70 that have been living in cars and encampments. We ask that you quickly call Caltrans officials and direct them not to use violence or arrest to resolve this homeless issue.

As you should know, over the last 30 years, Caltrans has preferred to follow an unwritten policy of depopulating the corridor using various means such as; harassment, intimidation, no cause evictions, neglect and rent raises at the rate of 10% every six months to evict tenants. This State Agency, now under your authority, would rather have empty houses than tenants who have been demanding their rights. The result is that over 200 out of 500 original rentals are now empty. This particular State Agency has been part of creating the housing crisis. We instead are occupying several houses, in accordance to your spoken and written policy.

And this is not just about the Caltrans properties. Up and down the state, there is unused public land and property while tens of thousands sleep on our streets each night. We, Reclaimers, demand that all unused and empty State, County, City and School District buildings and properties be immediately used to house the thousands of homeless individuals and families.

The present coronavirus is bringing out the best and worse in us all. It is common knowledge that the public is safer if people have the ability to self-quarantine and safely self-isolate in a home. Also, the State of Michigan is correct in making sure that all families have running water and have reversed a long-time policy of turning off water for non-payment. We ask that you, as Governor, direct Caltrans to allow the new families to immediately turn on their utilities. Heat and electricity are also essential to the well being of the Reclaimers.

Lastly, it is important that you take direct authority over this matter because the Reclaimers have broad support from a community that is fed up with the housing crisis that has millions in California struggling every day just to keep a roof over their heads. In addition to demanding that all publicly-owned vacant housing and property to become homes for people who need them, NOW!, we are calling for the following:

o Housing should be homes for those who need it, not investments for Wall Street speculators.

o Housing must be recognized as a human right in our state constitution.

o We need all levels of government to make a massive investment in public and social housing so that everyone has a home.

The Reclaimers and their vast support networks are ready to help rebuild these homes and this community. However, the Reclaimers are also ready to defend what we consider ours. If the police are called by Caltrans there will potentially be hundreds of arrests, all because we are carrying out your policy in practice.

Although 1 Billion dollars is a good start that we appreciate, we all know that is not nearly sufficient. We want to thank you, in advance, for your policy on homelessness, affordable housing and for any positive intervention such as direct talks, no police violence, allowing the turning on of indispensable utilities, and immediately accepting new tenants into the Caltrans tenant rolls.

Reclaimers,

Housing is a Human Right—El Techo es Un Derecho
All Vacant Public Properties for Affordable Housing

Our Stories

Ruby Gordillo, Reclaimer: “At this new house, everything will be different. My kids will have space to play in a yard for the first time, like the one at the house I grew up in not far from here. I want to garden, and get to know my neighbors, go for walks, and be a part of this beautiful community here in El Sereno.”

Martha Escudero, Reclaimer: “I was born and raised in California mostly in the Los Angeles area and it saddens me to see the state in such a horrific housing crisis. I am a mother of two daughters and we have been in unstable housing for a year and a half. Not having a place of our own and having to move so much has affected us in a deeply emotional way.”

Benito Flores, Reclaimer: “I had to start living in a van because I couldn’t pay the rent. I think there are a lot of us in the same situation living in the streets living in their cars. And I think we should do something, we must do something. The rent is too high and salaries too low.”

Reclaiming Our Homes
reclaimingourhomes [at] gmail [dot] com
https://reclaimingourhomes.org/
Sign up to get updates on our action and how to support, sign up using the form here or text RECLAIM to (323) 214-3761

Groups in the US: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/US
Events in the US: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/US

https://www.gofundme.com/f/reclaiming-our-homes
https:// youtu.be/eq6WqPB9224

Ealing rape victim's family donate £10,000 to legal claim against CPS

The Guardian | Protest -

Jill Saward’s widower backs challenge alleging prosecutors are more risk-averse in rape cases

The family of Jill Saward, the Ealing rape victim who became a leading figure in the fight against sexual violence, has donated thousands of pounds to a legal challenge against the Crown Prosecution Service.

Saward’s family have donated £10,000 to a crowd justice campaign to fund a legal challenge brought by the End Violence against Women’s Coalition (Evaw), which accuses the CPS of covertly changing its policy and practice on prosecuting rape, and becoming more risk-averse.

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John Liebenberg obituary

The Guardian | Protest -

My friend John Liebenberg, who has died aged 61 of complications following surgery, was a photojournalist on the frontline of the fight for Namibian liberation in the 1970s and 80s. He also went into Angola from 1989, documenting its 27-year civil war.

John was born in Johannesburg, in South Africa. He and his two sisters were placed in St Mary’s orphanage by his father, after his mother left the family home when he was two. He was eventually fostered by a German couple, Petra and Ernst Kahle, and went to high school in the city. Aged 18, he was conscripted as a soldier and sent to Namibia in 1976. After his national service he settled in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, and earned a living by taking family photographs.

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Samone di Guiglia (Modena): Eviction of an anarchist squat and arrests

House Occupation News -

On 28th February a group of people occupied a country house in the Samone countryside, in the province of Modena. There was no welcoming, already in the early afternoon cops, firemen and ROS threatened the eviction. Some went up on the roof and others barricaded themselves in the house, resisting the constant pressure and insistent threats, until the shits went away. The following day they came back calling all their friends over. They managed to storm the house beating and hitting with truncheons. Meantime some of the squatters went up the roof. Ten people were taken to the prison in Modena and arrested on charges of resistance, violence and insulting, some were handcuffed. Five squatters resisted on the roof for eight hours, they took it well in spite of the cold and the Apennine landscape obfuscated by the shits in uniform threatening to arrest everybody as soon as they came down. After they were granted permission to take their personal belongings they came down from the roof. As soon as they got down, however, they were taken to police headquarters in Sassuolo to be charged but once there they were photographed and fingerprinted. After the usual, long disgusting hours waiting, the noise made by people in solidarity at the gates made the cops release the five – not before physical and verbal threats to them, even before there were any charges for resistance, occupation and trespassing.

04/03/2020 Samone – All the comrades arrested during the resistance against the eviction were released
We learn that yesterday, 3rd March, all those arrested following the events in Samone were released after the hearing for the confirmation of the arrests. As for now 15 people, including 10 who had been arrested, are on bail.

01/03/2020 – From the regime media, we learn that on 28th February a farmhouse was occupied in Samone di Guiglia, in the province of Modena. As soon as the police arrived, some squatters went up the roof to resist. Yesterday, following clashes with the cops, 11 people were arrested and the house was evicted.

02/03/2020 – On the eviction in Samone di Guiglia – Appointments and updates
Tomorrow tuesday 3rd March, arrests will be confirmed. The investigating judge has demanded aggravating circumstances relating to the charge of resistance.

TODAY’S APPOINTMENT [Monday 2nd March]: at 3:30pm at Ligera di Modena, via Pomposa 8, in order to go all together outside the prison and try to greet our comrades.
Following the eviction in Samone, we are waiting for the confirmation of the hearing, which is due tomorrow morning; in any case we’ll meet at the Delfini library in Modena. We are preparing parcels to be sent inside, if you have something that can be sent bring it over. The arrested people are 10.

Some squats in Italy: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/IT/squated/squat
Directory of groups (social centers, collectives, squats) in Italy: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/IT
Events in Italy: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/IT

Act For Freedom https://actforfree.nostate.net/?p=36733

The Guardian view on Putin’s power games: fake democracy | Editorial

The Guardian | Protest -

The Russian president cements his rule by simulating public choice, but he cannot extinguish hope of the real thing

Vladimir Putin has been Russia’s president since 2012, but he has been running the country continuously for two decades. The arithmetic works because there was an interval, after Mr Putin’s first two terms, when he took the role of prime minister. He ceded the presidency to Dmitry Medvedev, a puppet who kept the seat warm until his boss reclaimed it. That pantomime revealed an attachment to the forms of democracy, when in practice they have been hollowed out by a campaign against political pluralism and civil society. Mr Putin has this week launched the sequel: constitutional reforms that would confirm the limit on any president serving more than two consecutive terms, but would start counting those terms from the document’s ratification. The incumbent’s record would not count, so he could run in 2024. Since the term length has already been extended from four to six years, Mr Putin could feasibly still be in the Kremlin in 2036. By then he would be 83 years old and have led the country longer than Joseph Stalin.

Many Russians already find it hard to imagine government under anyone but Mr Putin. State propaganda cultivates that passivity, casting the president as a stabilising figure and the embodiment of a self-confident nation. That message resonates with some people who remember the chaotic period after communist rule when – as the official narrative has it – Russia was humiliated by the west and needlessly surrendered territory to newly independent former Soviet republics. There are more complex reasons why the 1990s were unhappy for many Russians, but Mr Putin exploited the trauma to construct a nationalist doctrine. This provides cover for endemic corruption. The state tells its citizens their dignity is being restored, while picking their pockets. The trick has not gone unnoticed.

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Alcázar De San Juan (Spanish state): CSOA La Idea attacked and trashed

House Occupation News -

Since our beginning as a CSOA (self-managed occupied social centre) on 23rd May 2017, we announce with much sadness and resignation, that the collective LA IDEA ceases its activity in the current premises.

In the early morning of last Thursday 5th March, the social center suffered an extremely serious attack for the development of the activities we had been carrying out. The social center has suffered irreparable damage, they have destroyed all the infrastructure we built: windows, doors, solar energy, water tanks, furniture and much more seriously, they have stolen and destroyed all the electrical installation that made it possible to hold events and activities. They have opened the fences that delimit the space and have destroyed all the material that we had, such as cleaning products, refrigerators, stoves, tables, chairs, kitchens, bathrooms, lighting and a long etc…

This situation, has been repeated in the following days during the weekend. Looting, stealing and destruction went on.
With much sacrifice we have only managed to save some objects of sentimental value for us.

During these almost 3 years, we have managed to recover and overcome innumerable attacks from the institutions and other entities, we have overcome the initial state of ruin of the social center, not depending on the electricity and water networks, and even an important legal process against our social center, but unfortunately the plundering and destruction of everything built so far, makes it impossible for us to continue using these facilities.

Of course, the collective LA IDEA continues, we do not know where, but we leave with a learning that makes us stronger, and with an experience for the future that has changed our lives forever.

We would like to thank, without exception, all the people who have been involved in the social center, in whatever way, placing a door, planting a tomato, proposing events or attending the innumerable activities that we have carried out uninterruptedly, with an enormous success of attendance, which is for us the most important thing of all.

CULTURE FOR ALL IN FREE SPACES.

CSOA La Idea
Alcázar De San Juan,
Castille La Mancha, Spanish state
csoalaidea [at] gmail [dot] com
https://squ.at/r/3yrd

Directory of squats in the Iberian Peninsula:
Spanish State: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/ES/squated/squat
Catalonia: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XC/squated/squat
Basque Country: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XE/squated/squat

Directory of groups (social centers, collectives, squats) in the Iberian Peninsula:
Spanish State: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/ES
Catalonia: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XC
Basque Country: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XE

Events in the Iberian Peninsula:
Spanish State: : https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/ES
Catalonia: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/XC
Basque Country: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/XE

La Haine https://www.lahaine.org/est_espanol.php/el-csoa-la-idea-en

Women protesting India’s anti-Muslim citizenship law are undeterred by violence

Waging Nonviolence -

Starting in the early morning of Feb. 24, sectarian violence between Hindus and Muslims broke out in several neighborhoods in northeast New Delhi — all while Donald Trump was on a visit to India. Videos emerged on social media of Hindus chanting “Jai Shri Ram,” or “Hail Lord Ram,” pelting Muslims with stones, attacking them with bricks and bats, destroying mosques, and setting homes and shops on fire. Over 100 have been reported dead so far and several hundreds were injured.

The violence was sparked when protesters staging a sit-in protest against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act were confronted by government supporters, who had gathered there after a call to action by Kapil Mishra, a local leader from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Allegations over the complicity of the state and anger over police inaction remains, but protests have not stopped around the country.

Situated in the southwest part of New Delhi, a peaceful, indefinite sit-in driven by the women of the Muslim neighborhood of Shaheen Bagh first caught the country’s attention in December. It has since become a new front of resistance against India’s increasingly authoritative government. Chants for freedom, passionate speeches calling on leaders to uphold the Indian Constitution and sloganeering on the rights of the marginalized — as well as poetry and music — can be heard throughout the day at this protest site, which is strategically located on a busy highway between Delhi and the nearby city of Noida.

Women can be seen carrying posters calling for safeguarding the Indian constitution at Shaheen Bagh. (WNV/Mehk Chakraborty)

The protest comes in the face of the recently introduced Citizenship Amendment Act, or CAA, a law dealing with citizenship provisions for refugees in India from neighboring countries, including Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The law would grant citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Jain, Christian and Buddhist minorities, who migrated to India by the end of 2014. It has been criticized for its deliberate exclusion of persecuted Muslim refugees. At the same time, many people perceive it as violating India’s constitutionally safeguarded Fundamental Right to Equality, which guarantees equality to all persons before the law, irrespective of factors such as religion.

What’s more, the CAA is linked to two other processes — the creation of the National Population Register, or NPR, and consequently the National Registry of Citizens, or NRC. The NPR is meant to compile data regarding the population inhabiting the country, and the NRC is supposed to be a list of bonafide citizens of the country, building on data from the NPR as well as the collecting of documents. Those not included in the NRC have a chance to fight their case before a Foreigner’s Tribunal, which is where the CAA would provide immunity to the specified communities.

The NRC has already proven dangerous for minorities and marginalized communities in the state of Assam, where over 1.9 million people were excluded when it was first implemented. It is quite commonplace in India for people of a lower economic background to not have the necessary documents to prove their citizenship. There have also been other glaring examples of people not included in the NRC — from government officials and military veterans to even family members of a former president of India — showcasing how arbitrary the registry has been in practice.

This protest began in mid-December after the then-proposed CAA began to be discussed widely across the country. Police brutality against students at a protest at the Jamia Millia Islamia, a prominent university in New Delhi, served as the ultimate trigger. Anti-CAA protests were ongoing for several days at the university and on Dec. 15, during a massive peaceful protest, the Delhi police blocked entry and exit gates to the campus, fired teargas shells, beat up students with lathis (batons) and went through the library, bathrooms and the mosque on campus to clear out students. Several students were injured and over 50 were detained for participating in these protests.

“Several legal changes and judgements in India, which have been clearly xenophobic, were passed and we made peace with it,” said a woman in her 50s, who referred to herself as a grandmother of Shaheen Bagh. “But, with this kaala kanoon [or black law], and some of our own children being beaten up for merely raising their voices, we have been forced to speak up.”

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The women who are present at the protest every single day have served as an inspiration for similar protests throughout the country. Sit-ins led by Muslim women can be seen in several major cities, including Mumbai, as well as smaller cities like Kanpur. Since December, when the law was initially proposed, protests have intensified with hundreds of strikes, sit-ins, gatherings and marches taking place across the country. The CAA, however, has been opposed by only a handful of political figures.

The state response to the ongoing protests has also exacerbated people’s concerns surrounding the law and its implications, with violence by law enforcement and inflammatory speeches by politicians affiliated with the Bharatiya Janata Party becoming the standard response. Measures employed to suppress the protests have ranged from shutting off the internet, mass arrests and police brutality to charging protesters with rioting and sedition. Even with protests continuing for over two months, the government has shown no inclination to revisit or reshape the law, let alone have meaningful dialogue over legitimate concerns.

Muslim women as the new voice

Women are increasingly becoming visible in the movements across India’s deeply patriarchal landscape, but in the case of Shaheen Bagh, the fact that Muslim women have taken the lead has been both revolutionary and inspirational. Saba, a homemaker from Shaheen Bagh, has been attending the protests since the beginning and says that there were initially 10-15 women who would gather together and stay the night. All they had was a makeshift plastic roof with mattresses and blankets spread out at night to sleep on. But the numbers began to swell as women were encouraged by their neighbors to join. “And now here we are creating a buzz, staying out through the night!” she gleefully said. “I wouldn’t have imagined doing this in any context!”

The women of Shaheen Bagh have not only been inspiring each other though. Prerona Sanyal, a 29-year-old volunteer at Shaheen Bagh, says the image of Muslim women organizing is enough to rattle a lot of people, and admits to being personally very affected by this fact. “As someone from an urban, privileged background, seeing these women fearlessly speak up has shaken me and given me the courage to participate in the protest.” On average, there are now hundreds of women at the main sit-in site during the day, surrounded by supporters around the area, with numbers swelling to thousands on some occasions.

Cutting across class and caste

As the protests go on, the women of Shaheen Bagh have been subject to endless accusations by the ruling right-wing government. Sometimes they are accused of being paid to protest. In others they are labeled as “anti-national” and “Pakistani sympathizers.” The women of Shaheen Bagh, however, have pushed back against these attacks. “We urge everyone to not be influenced by conflicting narratives of any single individual being the ‘mastermind’ of Shaheen Bagh or any claims made of representing this non-partisan citizen’s movement,” the women said in an official statement. “[We] establish yet again that there is no organizing committee at Shaheen Bagh, no leader, not any one particular organizer.”

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Sanyal, who has been spending most of her evenings at the main protest site since mid-December, confirmed the accuracy of this statement. “The permanent volunteer base has about 20 people who have been present regularly since the beginning, with two to three elders coordinating speakers and events. But it would be grossly incorrect to call them a core committee,” she explained.

The pluralistic nature of the protest is evident through its participants, who cut across class barriers and, in several instances even caste. Farmers from neighboring states, activists from urban spaces, prominent musicians and even filmmakers have come in to extend their support. This has led to their message being carried far and wide.

“I don’t think this movement would have sustained itself unless the women of the area had remained as resolute as they are in this stance,” Saba said. “The momentum has definitely been built up because of the variety of supporters and allies.”

The road ahead

Even though the CAA triggered this wave of protests, it’s clear that the general discontent and anger towards India’s increasingly authoritative government has kept the fire going, with many inspired by calls to defend the country’s tradition of multiculturalism.

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To evoke a sense of patriotic duty among Indians, people don tricolor caps, children paint the national flag on their faces, artwork is created rejecting divisive and hateful statements by political leaders, and it is common to hear direct references made to the Indian constitution and historical leaders like B.R. Ambedkar. The protesters have identified safeguarding secularism and democracy as central to the political identity of the country — or the ideal of it, at the very least.

“Our path is completely opposite to the regime’s close affiliation to the Hindutva ideology, which is trying to define an Indian identity based on hatred and exclusion,” the grandmother of Shaheen Bagh said.

While a legal proceeding to shift protesters from the site is ongoing, the women of Shaheen Bagh are committed to staying put. Despite the biased media coverage and even physical threats from a right-wing shooter, protesters at the site — and those who are in solidarity with them around the country — are clear that their struggle will continue until the government rolls back the law.

The strong resistance from the government and its supporters is only drawing more people into the movement. The women are aware that their fight is not merely for them, but for future generations, which only furthers their resolve.

“For us, the CAA has brought forth an existential threat — so we will oppose it even if it means police repression, arrest, or in the worst instance, death,” said one homemaker in her 40s, who has been attending the sit-in protest since the beginning. “We are not moving. This is our home, and we have nowhere else to go. We will not be kicked out of where we rightfully belong.”

Zwolle: 17 squatters arrested

House Occupation News -

Sunday night March 8th (technically Monday morning March 9th) 17 squatters were arrested in Zwolle, Netherlands.

The building was occupied by squatters after 5 years of vacancy. Unfortunately the police got wind of the situation and after a while they were at the door with all their might and power. Not soon after the police entered and the squatters were summoned to get down on their knees, with hands on their heads. The squatters were handcuffed and taken to the police station, where they were all detained for more than 16 hours. During the arrest, breaking tools were also found by the police.

All squatters are now free. They have all received a fine (€225) for trespassing, which is a strange situation for people who are homeless or barely able to pay their rent. During the arrest the squatters were not given the opportunity to pack their belongings, these things are still in the building.

After Sunday night there are two losers and only one winner: The police had to use violence and some of the squatters are still homeless. The winner is Janssen Vastgoed: his building (one of many vacant premises) is still empty and as far as we know the company is not being bothered by the municipality.

Some squats in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL/squated/squat
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL
Events in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/NL

Source: https://www.indymedia.nl/node/47541

How the killing of an abusive father fuelled Russia's war over family values

The Guardian | Protest -

The notorious case of three teenage sisters inspired a campaign for change – and a backlash from the patriarchy. By Matthew Luxmoore

At about 3pm on 27 July 2018, the day of his death, Mikhail Khachaturyan scolded his three teenage daughters, Krestina, Angelina and Maria. The apartment they shared – in a Soviet-era housing block near the huge ring road that encircles Moscow – was a mess, he told them, and they would pay for having left it that way. A large, irascible man in his late 50s with a firm Orthodox faith, Khachaturyan had run his household despotically since he allegedly forced his wife to leave in 2015.

That afternoon, his daughters would later tell investigators, he punished them in his customary sadistic way. Calling them one by one into his bedroom, he cursed and yelled at them, then pepper sprayed each one in the face. The oldest sister, Krestina, 19, began to choke from the effects of the spray. Retreating to the bedroom she shared with her sisters, Krestina collapsed on the bed and lost consciousness. Her sister Maria, then 17, the youngest of the three, would later describe this moment as “the final straw”.

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'If you don't want us, we'll disappear': thousands of Mexican women protest violence

The Guardian | Protest -

Day Without Women protesters aim to shine a light on government inaction as more than ten women are murdered every day

As rush-hour began on Monday morning, there were no ticket-sellers in Mexico City subway stations.

Nor were there female tellers at many of the banks. Nail salons, massage parlors, and hairdressers closed. And in cities across the country, far fewer women were on the streets than on an ordinary day.

Related: Mexico: activists voice anger at Amlo's failure to tackle 'femicide emergency'

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Amsterdam: Sarphatipark 87-H squatted

House Occupation News -

This afternoon a vacant building in Amsterdam got new inhabitants

The vacant building, Sarphatipark 87-H, has been empty for a while now. It is owned by the recently deceased real estate owner van Zijl. An owner that had a lot of buildings in Amsterdam, known for being vacant for a long time.
At this moment there are no concrete plans for the building.
The action went smooth, cops came verified the house was indeed squatted, and left. Some hours later, some other cops showed up, told the squatters that they were caught red handed and that there was no house peace. They told the squatters to immediately leave the house.
The squatters did not comply. You can’t really say they are caught in the act, several hours after their colleges already verified that people are living there. Also, the lack of house peace is being disputed by the squatters. By that time there has been a nice dinner, people took showers, some took a nap. Pretty homy.
The police insisted that they want to evict the place. It looks like tonight that it is not going to happen. They drove by a few times but that was it.
The squatters welcome everyone to come and help with the occupation

Fight for your rights!
Houses for everybody!

Some squats in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL/squated/squat
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL
Events in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/NL

Source: https://www.indymedia.nl/node/47530

International Women's Day: asylum seekers protest at Turkish border

The Guardian | Protest -

Women and children part of thousands who took to streets around world as some protests turn violent

Female asylum seekers have staged a demonstration at the Turkish border demanding to be let in to the EU as part of protests around the world on International Women’s Day.

All over the globe, thousands of women took to the streets, including South Americans campaigning for access to abortions and topless demonstrations in London and Paris.

Related: International Women's Day 2020 around the world - in pictures

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Women's rights activists detained in Kyrgyzstan after hooligans attack IWD rally – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Police detained dozens of protesters on Sunday shortly after journalists witnessed them being attacked. The activists gathered in one of the squares of the capital, Bishkek, when masked men, some of whom wore traditional Kyrgyz white felt hats, attacked the protesters, grabbing and tearing apart their banners. The attackers left as soon as police arrived on the scene. Officers detained about 50 activists, mostly women.

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International Women's Day risks becoming 'corporate Mother's Day', feminists say

The Guardian | Protest -

Campaigners call on companies to do more than use day as promotional opportunity

International Women’s Day is in danger of becoming little more than a corporate Valentine’s Day, with companies jumping on the bandwagon to whitewash their brands rather than promote women’s equality, leading feminists have said.

With International Women’s Day products on offer from red roses to hipster T-shirts emblazoned with slogans such as “Woman Up”, leading equal rights campaigners have called on companies to take action and donate to grassroots causes on International Women’s Day, which takes place on Sunday, rather than using it as a promotion opportunity.

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Athens: Cops inside the University of Economics. Vancouver squat symbolically reoccupied

House Occupation News -

It all started on Monday 24 February inside the grounds of Athens University of Economics, when an off duty cop in plain clothes got off his bike and began harassing an immigrant street vendor outside the front gate. The policeman was spotted by anarchist students due to his boots and his helmet that bore the police insignia and was immediately confronted. In his panic, he began running inside the university grounds and managed to trap himself in a dead end corridor, pulled a gun on students and with his finger on the trigger threatened to shoot them while pointing the gun at them for at least 5 minutes, while desperately calling his colleagues on the phone to come and rescue him. The students, not losing their cool, but at the same time not taking a step back demanded he puts the gun down and exits the university grounds. Few minutes later scores of riot policemen stormed the university and attacked students during school hours with flash bang grenades and asphyxiating gas creating chaos because of one imbecile cop that thought he was a cowboy.

Following these events, that shook the academic community, a protest was called by students on Wednesday 26 February from Athens University of Economics, that the incident took place, to the greek police headquarters, (2.5 km away). Thousands of people took part in the protest, demanding the university asylum to be reinstated (forbidding the police to enter any university grounds, as it was the case for decades, until few months ago, when the new right wing government abolished it).

When the protest reached the police headquarters and after the main body of the demo had passed in front of the building, several anarchists attacked it with stones, using fire extinguishers to fog the policemen’s vision. Riot police brigades and police bikers charged into the crowd with their bikes, ramming people with them as a weapon and throwing them to the ground, chasing, attacking and arresting anyone they could. Many students managed to get into the metro subway station nearby but the police started to throw asphyxiating gas grenades inside the station and while they gave an order for the passing trains not to make a stop, in order to trap hundreds of people down there, in a horrific atmosphere of people breathing with difficulty due to the gas, while at the same time, disrupting the public transport by creating a problem to hundreds more passengers that were planning to get off the tube at that specific metro station.

Following the events the students decided to occupy the Athens University of Economics on Thursday and Friday, 27 and 28 of February 2020. On Thursday, February 27, 2020, along with many people in solidarity from the occupied “Athens University of Economics” the squatters of “Vancouver Squat” that was evacuated by the greek riot police on November 2, 2019, took the riot police by surprise and symbolically reoccupied the squat lighting flares on the rooftop.

Some squats in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR/squated/squat
Groups in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR
Events in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/GR

Sources: Perseus999 & Act for Revolution https://actforfree.nostate.net/?p=36671

Madrid: La Ingobernable, we are still in the heart of Madrid

House Occupation News -

For our friends.
For the ones who fight every day.
For those who are gone.
In this month of feminist revolt, of organized rage, of joy and of struggle, we, the neighbors of Madrid, make public the recovery of the building in Calle Alberto Bosch 4, as a new common and open space in the heart of Madrid. Now, in this week more than ever, we must remember the role that social centers have had, have and will have for the feminist movement, as a space for convergence, construction and self-organisation. The attack on social centers is undoubtedly a direct attack on feminism, which we are not prepared to tolerate.
In recent years we have witnessed a lamentable spectacle in which a few people share out the city, selling it to the highest bidder or handing it over to friends while others are thrown out of our neighbourhoods. Recently we learned that the building of La Ingobernable (Paseo del Prado 30) was once again being given, in the style of the PP, to a foundation directed by the former mayor Gallardón to build a museum instead of the so promised endowments for the neighborhood that the current mayor, Martínez-Almeida, was advocating during the electoral campaign. This story is very familiar to us because some years ago the also ex-mayor Botella already gave it, for 1 euro and at 75 years old, to a foundation friend of the PP.

Spaces that should serve to articulate strong communities are becoming non-places impossible to inhabit. The logic of the market demands that the city be stripped of everything that makes it alive and leave only the skeleton of that which can be profitable: a showcase that tries to imitate places full of life but without the inconvenience of people actually living in them. That is why it is the responsibility of all of us to respond to these attacks by recovering new social spaces from which to organize anger and defend joy.
Why do we think spaces like this are necessary? Social centers are key to counteract unbridled consumerism, the commodification of leisure and the unsustainable proposals of the system. They promote collective awareness of situations of injustice, open up spaces for learning and disseminating critical thinking, weave networks of solidarity, and make alternative ways of life visible. In short, these spaces constitute citizen platforms from which to understand, but above all to live the social struggles.
We claim the recovery of empty buildings for the common good as a legitimate practice. Legitimate in the name of the feminist movement, which will continue to defend us from the patriarchy and the neofascist drift of machismo present in the institutions. Legitimate in the name of the ecological movement that defends our planet every day against the ecological policies of capitalism. Legitimate in the name of the housing movement, which fights for the neighbors expelled from their neighborhoods by the predatory action of vulture funds and gentrification. It is legitimate in the name of the LGTBIQ+ collective, which fights daily to ensure that we never again have to hide our sexual and emotional diversity. Legitimate in the name of the anti-racist and anti-fascist movement, which will continue to fight alongside migrants and racialised people in the face of their criminalisation by institutions and the media. Legitimate in the name of a multitude of social movements that do not conform to the aggressions and discriminations normalized by the system.

From this moment, we call on all our friends and invite you to participate in the creation of the structure of this new social center. We were born with the desire to include all those people and groups that seek to transform the unjust model of the system and the city that we live in. In the face of authoritarian policies that seek to dismantle and criminalize networks of solidarity, cooperation and mutual support, we will remain united to create places of encounter and collective construction. We remain in the heart of Madrid.

For a life in common, we were, are and will be INGOBERNABLE.

La Ingobernable
https://squ.at/r/3ar6
https://ingobernable.net/

Some squats in Madrid: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/madrid/squated/squat
Groups (social centres, collectives, squats) in Madrid: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/madrid
Events in Madrid: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/city/Madrid

Directory of squats in the Iberian Peninsula:
Spanish State: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/ES/squated/squat
Catalonia: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XC/squated/squat
Basque Country: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XE/squated/squat

Directory of groups (social centers, collectives, squats) in the Iberian Peninsula:
Spanish State: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/ES
Catalonia: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XC
Basque Country: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XE

Events in the Iberian Peninsula:
Spanish State: : https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/ES
Catalonia: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/XC
Basque Country: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/XE

Original statement in Spanish published by la Ingobernable

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