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Ljubljana: Everyone on the streets. Against the social destruction of the city!

House Occupation News -

Dear residents of Ljubljana, the whole municipality and all that come here to work, study or because of other obligationas and free-time activities! All are witnesses to the violent intervention of Municipality of Ljubljana (MOL) in the space of Autonomous Factory Rog (AT Rog).

Protest, Friday 22.1.2021 at 18h at Prešernov trg

What happened to the community of AT Rog can happen to many of us. Especially if they do not belong to the rich and property-owning well-off part of society. What happened in Ljubljana can happen in any other town. Violent expulsion of less well-off individuals, families and other communities is written in the fabric of capitalist system of extraction. The so called legal order and the so called rule of law have been exposed many times as instruments that were established mainly in the interest of financial and political elites. Moreover, the state and municipal authorities chose to exploit exactly the moment, when many hardly manage to make ends meet due to changed living conditions as we deal with the issue of basic mental, physical and economic survival. They base themselves in repressive measures, financial punishments and the police apparatus. Any and all political activity outside the parliamentarian arena is forbidden. Schools are closed, rent and other living costs are rising constantly, the workers’ rights are being taken away. They declared war on the people and it is important to understand this.
What is happening to Rog is aggressive social cleansing. The people of Rog were thrown out on the street in socks, without their coats and were made homeless. Places and dreams were taken away from hundreds of creative individuals, sportists, circus artists, skaters, rollerskaters, bmx-ers, dancers, tattoo artist, activists, migrants – truly the people that represent a clear and present danger to the society!
It is obvious that the eviction was prepared well in advance and in secret as a joint effort of MOL, police and at least 2 private security companies. To achieve their goals they used intimidation, beatings, pepper-spray, they detained at least 13 people, 6 needed ER treatment. The police was violent and absolutely went far beyond its legal powers, which is also what it does every day on the borders of Fortress Europe. Whose laws are these? In whose name? It is clear that the present circumstances enable the rulers the imposition of a new paradigm of governance, that is not only temporary. It is clear that all this is taking place no matter the content of various political proclamations of those in charge. It is clear that the mayor Janković uses his seemingly leftist credentials to cover up his neoliberal management of the city. It is clear that both the mayor of Ljubljana and the prime minister of the government of Slovenia are neoliberal predators who destroy what people built collectively and with hope for a better future. Social devastation, destruction of the social and elitization of cities are the wishes of all the ruling authorities, of the municipal, state and also of those of the european masters.
For the sharply dressed gang from MOL our places represent just a commodity to be used for profit-driven trade that brings benefits only to “the mayor’s men and their companies”. On the symbolic level the violent evictions of squats point to the general social climate – they point to suppression of any and all critical expression and resistance to the ruling ideology and structures of authority.
True, maybe AT Rog and its communities were not everyone’s cup of tea, but the aggression that we are faced with, serves as a stage and a warning that is directed toward all of us with the express intent to intimidate and humiliate. In 15 years of its existence the community of AT Rog for sure did not have all the solutions at hand, but it did play an important role in the fight for the city that would be open for all. It put in enormous efforts so that Ljubljana would become more inclusive and accessible for many marginalized groups of people that struggle with finding their place in the city. Besides that the community of Rog represents one of the few obstacles to the process of capitalist destruction of the city – i.e. gentrification. It is this sense that AT Rog is important for the wider society also due to its long-lasting political and social engagement on the side of those that strive to establish conditions for decent living, work and creativity for all – also for those on minimal wage, for the precarious and for the unemployed. Autonomous spaces are places of encounters, joy, happiness and above all the growing of a social fabric beyond normative relations.

We will not bow our heads before the orchestrated force of the authorities and their mercenaries! We will not accept our expulsion – as in Ljubljana also in other places!
The coalition of Janković and Janša – fuck off, you and you uniformed thugs!

In light of recent protests and the experience of the destruction of Rog, police repression cannot be ruled out. This is why everyone should take care for each other! We are still in the midst of an epidemic, so we need to be safe from the virus as well – mask up!

Autonomous Factory Rog
Trubarjeva 72, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
skupscina-tovarne-rog [at] riseup [dot] net
https://squ.at/r/634
http://atrog.org/

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

source: Radar https://squ.at/r/86hx
Komunal http://komunal.org/teksti/618-vsi-na-ulice-proti-socialnemu-unicenju-mesta

Portland: leftwing protesters damage Oregon Democrats’ headquarters

The Guardian | Protest -

Eight arrests made in area, police said, while some smashed windows and spray-painted anarchist symbols on building

A group of mostly leftwing and anarchist protesters carrying signs against Joe Biden and police marched in Portland on inauguration day and damaged the headquarters of the Democratic party of Oregon, police said.

Portland has been the site of frequent protests, many involving violent clashes between officers and demonstrators, ever since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. Over the summer, there were demonstrations for more than 100 straight days.

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Here’s how to understand the politics of the US Capitol breach | Heinrich Geiselberger

The Guardian | Protest -

We witnessed what I call liquid authoritarianism: far-right politics for an age of instability and flux

“When fascism comes back, it will not say ‘I am fascism’; it will say ‘I am antifascism’.” This prophecy, attributed to the Italian writer Ignazio Silone, has been appropriated by the online right and become a tired Twitter meme. Users now replace “antifascism” with basically anything. Some attempts to come to grips with the storming of the US Capitol have adopted a similar syntax: it was an (attempted) coup disguised as something else. Others insisted it wasn’t a coup but a “venting of accumulated resentments” (Edward Luttwak), “a big biker gang dressed as circus performers” (Mike Davis), an “alt-right charivari” (Alex Callinicos), or a “re-enactment” of fantasies originally tested on social media (Wolfgang Ullrich).

Some of these interpretations have been accused of trivialising the events. But the semantic helplessness in face of the Washington events suggests a wider uncertainty about the more general phenomenon. The confusion about the event mirrors confusion about the movement as a whole. Is contemporary “rightwing populism” best described as “authoritarianism” or even “fascism”? The answer depends on which level one focuses on: the ideology, the structure of their institutions, the aesthetics, the supporters or the consequences of their actions. If we follow the Hungarian philosopher Gáspár Miklós Tamás, with his very broad definition of fascism as “a break with the enlightenment tradition of citizenship as a universal entitlement”, the similarities sharpen. A penchant for violence and machismo also points in that direction.

Heinrich Geiselberger is the editor of the 2017 anthology The Great Regression

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Putting the Trump baby balloon in a museum could help make his ideas history | Kirsty Major

The Guardian | Protest -

A display in London will share the spirit of the 2018 protests with a wider audience – and create new chances for change

No sooner had the Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi thrown his shoes in protest at the US president George Bush than people were calling for the offending items to be displayed in a national museum. They didn’t make it that far: US security forces destroyed them while checking for explosives. Luckily, the Trump baby balloon dodged a similar fate in July 2018, when it floated above crowds that had gathered to protest the president’s visit to the UK.

Ahead of Trump’s departure from the White House, the activists who designed and handled the blimp (its self-described “babysitters”) have decided to donate it to the Museum of London. The balloon will sit alongside ephemera from the movements led by the suffragettes and Chartists. Still, unlike these causes, the fight against Trump and everything he stands for – from rising inequality to the pollution of public discourse and the rise of the far-right – is far from over.

Related: Trump may be gone, but his big lie will linger. Here’s how we can fight it | Jonathan Freedland

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Ljubljana: Stop demolishing autonomous spaces, everyone come to ROG

House Occupation News -

Callout from ROG factory:

Today, on 19 January 2021 at 7 in the morning, employees of the security company Valina have forcefully entered the spaces of Autonomous factory Rog. Violently, using physical force, they injured some of its users and evicted everybody. Our personal belongings, pets and valuable equipment were left inside, together with 15 years of our dreams, activities, projects, adventures and common experiences. Police has erected fences around Rog and started to beat supporters gathering in support in front of the factory’s gate. In the inside of the complex workers have demolished majority of side structures and smashed windows on the main building that is protected as heritage. At the same time they are taking away, on the unknown location, all the equipment from Rog. More then 10 persons were held in custody, among them some of the injured that need medical help. We do not have access to them and we don’t have information on where all of them were taken.

In the last decade and a half hundreds of users have been using Autonomous factory Rog for their activities and thousands of persons have attended various events in its spaces. Migrants, persons on the edge of society, artists that haven’t succumb to the dictate of capitalistic culture, skaters, graffiti artists, circus artists and others, who despite the pressures of capital, municipal security and police, make this city alive and enable life worth living.

Since the opening of Autonomous factory Rog Municipality of Ljubljana does not tolerate a fact that we show mirror to their gentrifying politics. Their policies are transforming the city in a Disneyland for tourists and putting profit over people. This is a reason why they have announced a total war against us. After years of unsuccessful and publicly unpopular legal prosecutions of users the authorities today decided for a legally disputable, violent break-in and a complete demolishing of the space. Regardless of the fact that they don’t have any ideas or financial means for future development of the area. Even more, not long ago municipal authorities have publicly stated that they haven’t got any concrete plans for Rog in the current mandate. There were no information about this obviously carefully planned attack, not even on last night’s session of the municipal government. After all these years of activities and public promoting of the dialog that the municipality has long time ago abandoned, we would expect at least a decent deadline to conclude our current projects, protect our belongings and a constructive discussion on municipality’s plans on potential eviction of users. Instead, Ljubljana municipality was lying to the public, elected councilors and us.

The attack on Rog is not taking place in a political vacuum. In the last months we are witnessing various attacks on civil society, Radio Student, Metelkova 6 and other publicly critical actors. In times, when political engagement is reduced to a low-minded public exposure of disobedient individuals in right-wing media outlets, municipal authorities have as well decided to use deceitful means on the territory, which is propagating itself as safe sanctuary against the current governments’ phalanx. Today, Municipality of Ljubljana has clearly demonstrated on which side it really stands. Evicting people in the middle of a severe epidemics is preposterous for the municipality that is continuously selling its image as green, social, cultural and solidary capital. After its unsuccessful campaign for European capital of culture with a motto “Solidarity”, all masks have clearly finally fallen.

What can you do in support of Rog?

1. COME IN FRONT OF AUTONOMOUS FACTORY ROG. Let’s show them that we are not alone. We can’t let autonomous spaces fall one after another! Attack on one is attack on all!

2. SEND A PROTEST LETTER TO MUNICIPALITY AND POLICE! PUBLISH IT ONLINE!
They have to be made responsible for their crimes, violence, profiteering and corruption. We can’t enable that they sweep under the carpet their profiteering plans and contentious acts.

3. SHARE INFORMATION, INVITE FRIENDS AND COMRADES.
Right now we don’t fight only for our dignity. We fight for being able to exist in this city. We fight for everything that is not capitalistic, gentrified, privatized, polite, tidy; for everything that breathes freely and does not allow to be captured by the profit logic that manages our common city.

Against the opportunistic synergy of fascists, police, municipal profiteers and capital! Save Factory Rog!

Autonomous Factory Rog
Trubarjeva 72, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
skupscina-tovarne-rog [at] riseup [dot] net
https://squ.at/r/634
http://atrog.org/

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

‘People are hungry’: why Tunisia's youth are taking to the streets

The Guardian | Protest -

Unemployment – especially among the young – falling living standards and lockdowns have sparked riots across the country

Ettadhamen, a marginalised district on the outskirts of Tunis, wears unrest well. Over the weekend and into this week, violent protests have dominated life in this overlooked and restive place.

The district is not unique. Over the past few days, protests have erupted in working-class neighbourhoods in at least 15 locations across Tunisia, in response to declining living conditions, poverty and endemic unemployment, especially among the country’s young people.

I won’t lie about it, they want another revolution

Related: 'Entire families are arriving at our shores': Covid drives Tunisian exodus

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David Perry QC quits prosecution of Hong Kong activists

The Guardian | Protest -

British barrister was called ‘mercenary’ by UK foreign secretary for taking on case against pro-democracy figures

The British QC hired to run the prosecution of senior Hong Kong activists, including the media mogul Jimmy Lai, has pulled out of the case after widespread pressure, the territory’s government has said.

David Perry QC had been instructed by the Hong Kong justice department to prosecute 76-year-old Lai and eight others including the democracy figure Martin Lee and the veteran activist Lee Cheuk-yan. The group are charged with public order offences for organising and taking part in an unauthorised assembly. Lai, who is in jail on remand, is facing multiple separate charges including under the national security law.

Related: Dominic Raab calls QC acting for Hong Kong government 'mercenary'

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Greece: New Year’s Notes under Lockdown

House Occupation News -

At this time, we are reminded of our comrades through banners and graffiti, through brief encounters under the guise of getting exercise between curfews, and through the courageous actions of those who turn to the night to act as the day becomes too dangerous.
The anarchist movement in Greece is among the largest in the world, proportionate to the population. However, we are now experiencing unprecedented repression as a result of the pandemic and resulting political opportunism. We remain stagnated in lockdown, overwhelmed by the reign of the right and its defenders. Ecocide, social control, new crackdowns on universities, and general repression of those excluded from or deemed enemies of the Greek state continue to expand in the shadow of COVID-19.
We will highlight a few recent incidents of concern relating to the solidarity efforts essential for the global anarchist movement. We sometimes struggle to write these updates, not wishing to simply present a monthly bulletin on depression from Greece. We write from a perspective that many people here share, best summarized by this comment that captures the theme of so many interactions here: “Some days good, some days bad. Just feel stuck, and not even sure what I’m waiting for.”
During this enforced pause in our lives, those who hold power are rushing through policies and automation disguised as pandemic response. This is part of a broader effort to gentrify Greek society.

But don’t doubt for a moment that there is a broader tension growing here—whenever the state is forced to ease lockdown, people will awaken, broke and tired, and anger will be everywhere!
This is expanded from Radio Fragmata’s contribution to the Bad News report. You can read our reports from May, June, July, August, September, October, and December.

Refugee Crisis Continues, Compounded by the Coronavirus

Refugees and migrants still awaiting asylum and papers now face an ever more dangerous situation as COVID-19 threatens them and the notorious Greek bureaucracy keeps them in the cold, both metaphorically and literally, in refugee camps across the country. The situation has not changed since our prior report; if anything, it has worsened through the winter.

This is an ongoing tragedy. Greece is testing the limits regarding how low the European Union standards for refugees and immigrants can be pushed. The inevitable looming influx of refugees fleeing the ripple effects of lockdowns around the world will end up in these deteriorating conditions. Additionally, the xenophobic programs in which Greek nationalists have been attacking refugees and anyone who supports them will likely be expanded via informal collaboration with nationalists in other countries likely to be future destinations for refugees such as Malta, Spain, and Italy.

COVID-19

The government spent a million euros on Christmas decorations, while people are given peanuts to wait out the lockdown. The Greek state’s failures and opportunism during the pandemic have even caught the attention of mainstream press, with Bloomberg placing Greece 50th out of 53 countries with a GDP of over 200 billion dollars in terms of COVID-19 management.

This ranking for COVID-19 “resilience” is determined by weighing the extent of lockdown measures against the infection rate, economic consequences, and quality of life. For comparison, while the US clearly represents an extreme situation regarding death rates, the rates are aligned with the Trump administration’s refusal of any type of national lockdown or mask mandate. By contrast, Greece is experiencing one of the most stringent lockdowns in the Western world, yet the infection rate remains high compared to countries taking similar measures. Rampant double standards and circumstantial suspension of the measures point to the conclusion that the Greek government is exclusively concerned with pushing self-interested policies rather then mitigating medical and humanitarian crises.

For example, the government is permitting churches to remain open to appease its far-right base, lifted restrictions for people to purchase products leading up to Christmas, and is now going all-in to collaborate with biased media to blame ordinary people for the spike in infection rates.

Cops Everywhere, ICUs Nowhere

The lockdowns have also been militarized, especially in the poorer regions to the west of Athens and in the treatment of Roma communities across the country. Soldiers in armored vehicles enforce intensive lockdowns in these regions characterized by poverty, migrant labor, and Roma populations. It is no coincidence that the rebellious neighborhood of Exarchia and Roma communities outside the center of Athens are targeted with especially strict lockdowns, while in wealthy suburbs and neighborhoods like Athens’ Colonaki, groups gather outside coffee shops, people move freely without fear of being detained, and upscale business owners use a loophole intended for essential workers to make papers that permit their friends to hang out with them in bars and restaurants that are open for take away. It is truly dystopian when a boss’s signature is the next best justification for being out after curfew to a dog that needs walking.

Police gather in groups without masks; they stop nighttime medical and delivery workers out of sheer boredom, fingering their papers, searching them, spreading the virus in the name of prevention. If this isn’t enough entertainment, they turn to abusing homeless people. Even Politico, a corporate media source, has begun to cover the police abuse and political opportunism New Democracy has introduced during the pandemic.

The Sixth of December

On December 6, 2008, in Athens, Greece, police murdered 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos in the neighborhood of Exarcheia. In response, anarchists, young people, and other rebels from targeted populations rose in revolt, organizing countrywide riots and occupations that lasted for weeks. It has been an important anniversary ever since.

Much like the 17th of November, December 6, 2020 saw an assault on our movements under the excuse of pandemic precautions. Police set up a perimeter around the neighborhood of Exarcheia the day of the 6th, and an additional interior perimeter of extra security was set up directly around the memorial to Alexis Grigoropolous, blatantly disrespecting his memory. Police responded to elderly supporters’ peaceful attempts to leave flowers at the memorial with threats of violence; in one instance caught on video, a MAT officer is seen taking flowers and smashing them before dropping them on the street. Every attempt to march was attacked. Greek police made over a hundred arrests throughout the day. Despite this, in defiance of the draconian measures enforced by the state, people courageously participated in marches and demonstrations to recognize the memory of Alexis and the insurrection that followed his murder in December 2008.

Shortly before December 6, a group attempted to hold a banner in memory of Alexis in front of the parliament building in Athens, only to be attacked by delta police and tear gas. On the day of the 6th, another small group attempted to hold a banner and chant in Exarcheia. Police attacked them as well, throwing a flash-bang canister directly inside a building at some of them, which is extremely dangerous. Small marches faced similar responses across the country from Crete to Northern Greece as the state sought to suppress this defiant tradition. Still, autonomous marches took place outside the center of Athens and throughout Greece while banner drops and graffiti across the country asserted our passion for freedom.

A group—allegedly involving eighty people—attacked a police station in Colonos, Athens on December 6, sending a few officers to the hospital for minor injuries. Police arrested one individual, who faces felony charges; fortunately, she has been released pending trial. The following day, at the memorial of Alexis in Athens, about 100 people held banners, chanted, and laid flowers and candles. Riot police attacked the march shortly after it began, dispersing people throughout Exarcheia, but leaving a group of about 40 stuck inside a building surrounded on all sides by police. Fortunately—likely fearing reprisals for the brutality they had inflicted the previous day, and because nearby press were watching—the police allowed the group to leave unmolested.

Despite the brutality and repression on the 6th, they were unable to drown our voices, nor suppress the memory of Alexis. Our passion for freedom is more sincere than the mercenary mentality of those who serve the state and the ruling class. Every expression of celebration and rebellion, however big or small, was an act of courage at a time when simply leaving home involves risk. It was a hard and sad day in many ways, but no matter how intense the state’s repression grows, we will never forfeit our revolutionary convictions, never forget those who have been murdered or imprisoned, never forgive those responsible. Alexis lives on in our hearts and actions.

Repression

On December 6, a comrade from France known as Errol was also arrested. He had already been arrested repeatedly at various actions; however, this time, he was taken to the Petroralli detention facility as an immigrant, even though he is a citizen in the European Union. Initiating deportation proceedings against an anarchist like this is an unprecedented act—regardless of whether we care about the law, it is noteworthy that it is illegal according to EU policy. A few days later, without trial or notice, Errol was deported to France. Solidarity efforts, actions, and graffiti continue across the country, but the lengths to which the Greek state will go to send a message to non-Greeks in the movement is alarming.

From a statement by the solidarity assembly with anarchist comrade Errol:

The arrest of Errol signifies a new repressive escalation from the state, demonstrating that prosecution for misdemeanors can lead to the imprisonment and the deportation of political subjects. The state of paralysis and decimation of the social resistance must break and the struggle for the cessation of the prosecution of our comrade is another step towards this direction.

Eight people currently face felony charges for an action against the dean of the economics school, the one responsible for evicting a local social center and the squat Vancouver. A campaign to support the humiliated dean mobilized New Democracy supporters who were shocked to see a white man humiliated by being compelled to wear a sign that said “solidarity to the squats.” They offered a reward of a hundred thousand euros for information on who might be responsible—a considerable figure, especially in the midst of an economic crisis. The police have rounded up people at random, with very little evidence apart from claiming that they have connections to the movement. Regardless, the charges are very significant and a long-term support and anti-repression campaign is likely to follow. Please refer to this link for ways to donate, support, learn about the case, and show solidarity.

Prison Conditions

Prisoners remain defiant across the country amid continued degraded hygiene and conditions that leave many at risk of contracting COVID-19. The Ministry of Prisons continues to invest resources in everything relating to prison except the health of the prisoners themselves.

Long-term political prisoner Dimitris Koufontinas of the November 17th group has been on hunger strike, demanding better conditions and to be moved to Korydallos prison in Athens in order to be closer to his family and friends. As of January 16 2021, in parallel with a broader support campaign from the prisoner solidarity movement, Nikos Maziotis of the group Revolutionary Struggle and Giannis Dimitrakis have declared a hunger strike in solidarity with Dimitris until his demands are met. Polykarpos Georgiadis and Vaggelis Stathopoylos joined them on January 18, 2021. Hunger strikes are becoming more frequent in Greek prisons as conditions worsen due to COVID-19.

Universities

Police raided a student dorm building the movement has been using as assembling is not only illegal, but logistically more and more complicated amid the lockdown and the eviction of squats. This isn’t the first time police have raided a dormitory, but this time they used drones and various other technology in the raid that have not been seen before. They flew drones from window to window of the student housing, demanding that the residents evacuate the building. Even corporate press described the police as experimenting with their new toys.

Students and teachers have already attempted to demonstrate against the deployment of new police forces on campuses, only to be kettled and threatened with arrest for assembly and lockdown violations. The kettling of hundreds of people in the name of preventing virus transmission is yet another absurd example of the Orwellian situation here.

Entering 2021

New Year’s Eve typically sees massive noise demonstrations at prisons across Greece, but these were rescheduled due to curfew and inevitable fines and repression, since the neighborhoods and regions where prisons are located are generally inhospitable to anarchists and anti-fascists. However, just minutes before the new year, an explosion caused significant damage to the police headquarters building in the Kipseli region of Athens.

Happy new fear from Greece!

Please take a moment to donate to the ongoing solidarity fund for persecuted and imprisoned revolutionaries in Greece.

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

source: CrimethInc. https://crimethinc.com/2021/01/19/new-years-notes-from-greece-under-lockdown-december-2020-and-january-2021

Ljubljana: Autonomous factory Rog evicted

House Occupation News -

Ljubljana. Slovenia. January 19. 2021. In the early morning hours riot cops showed up at the autonomous factory Rog. They started to evict the squatted facilities without an announcement and without a legal basis.

In 2002 the Municipality of Ljubljana bought the 7,000 square-metres complex with several buildings in “downtown” Ljubljana but never used it. The former bicyle factory was occupied in 2006 and since then it was used as an autonomous social center.

This morning Valina secutity arrived at 07:00am and started to evict the Rog and injured several people during the eviction. The cops started to install fences around the Rog and started to beat people in front of the premises. At least nine people were arrested. Three injured people had to be treated in a hospital.

In a statement Rog wrote: „Hundreds of users work in the Rog Autonomous Factory, and over the years it has become ours“. Thousands of people visited the Rog. Migrants, and other people pushed by society had found their place. Artists who do not agree with the dictates of capitalist culture, skaters, graffiti artists, circus artists, people who keep Ljubljana alive and who are working in it, despite the pressures of capital, politicians and police.

City authorities want to continue their gentrification policy, which turns Ljubljana into a tourist Disneyland to make profit. The Rog users wrote: “That is why they have declared war on us.”

The attack on Rog does not take place in a political vacuum, as there have been a number of attacks on Rog, civil society, Radio Študent, Metelkova 6 and other socially critical actors in recent months.

The far right government of Janez Janša is going after our comrades, the anti-authoritarian movement in Slovenia need our solidarity and support.

Published by Enough 14

New Year’s Notes from Greece under Lockdown : December 2020 and January 2021

Crimethink -

At this time, we are reminded of our comrades through banners and graffiti, through brief encounters under the guise of getting exercise between curfews, and through the courageous actions of those who turn to the night to act as the day becomes too dangerous.

The anarchist movement in Greece is among the largest in the world, proportionate to the population. However, we are now experiencing unprecedented repression as a result of the pandemic and resulting political opportunism. We remain stagnated in lockdown, overwhelmed by the reign of the right and its defenders. Ecocide, social control, new crackdowns on universities, and general repression of those excluded from or deemed enemies of the Greek state continue to expand in the shadow of COVID-19.

We will highlight a few recent incidents of concern relating to the solidarity efforts essential for the global anarchist movement. We sometimes struggle to write these updates, not wishing to simply present a monthly bulletin on depression from Greece. We write from a perspective that many people here share, best summarized by this comment that captures the theme of so many interactions here: “Some days good, some days bad. Just feel stuck, and not even sure what I’m waiting for.”

During this enforced pause in our lives, those who hold power are rushing through policies and automation disguised as pandemic response. This is part of a broader effort to gentrify Greek society.

But don’t doubt for a moment that there is a broader tension growing here—whenever the state is forced to ease lockdown, people will awaken, broke and tired, and anger will be everywhere!

This is expanded from Radio Fragmata’s contribution to the Bad News report. You can read our reports from May, June, July, August, September, October, and December.

Refugee Crisis Continues, Compounded by the Coronavirus

Refugees and migrants still awaiting asylum and papers now face an ever more dangerous situation as COVID-19 threatens them and the notorious Greek bureaucracy keeps them in the cold, both metaphorically and literally, in refugee camps across the country. The situation has not changed since our prior report; if anything, it has worsened through the winter.

This is an ongoing tragedy. Greece is testing the limits regarding how low the European Union standards for refugees and immigrants can be pushed. The inevitable looming influx of refugees fleeing the ripple effects of lockdowns around the world will end up in these deteriorating conditions. Additionally, the xenophobic programs in which Greek nationalists have been attacking refugees and anyone who supports them will likely be expanded via informal collaboration with nationalists in other countries likely to be future destinations for refugees such as Malta, Spain, and Italy.

COVID-19

The government spent a million euros on Christmas decorations, while people are given peanuts to wait out the lockdown. The Greek state’s failures and opportunism during the pandemic have even caught the attention of mainstream press, with Bloomberg placing Greece 50th out of 53 countries with a GDP of over 200 billion dollars in terms of COVID-19 management.

This ranking for COVID-19 “resilience” is determined by weighing the extent of lockdown measures against the infection rate, economic consequences, and quality of life. For comparison, while the US clearly represents an extreme situation regarding death rates, the rates are aligned with the Trump administration’s refusal of any type of national lockdown or mask mandate. By contrast, Greece is experiencing one of the most stringent lockdowns in the Western world, yet the infection rate remains high compared to countries taking similar measures. Rampant double standards and circumstantial suspension of the measures point to the conclusion that the Greek government is exclusively concerned with pushing self-interested policies rather then mitigating medical and humanitarian crises.

For example, the government is permitting churches to remain open to appease its far-right base, lifted restrictions for people to purchase products leading up to Christmas, and is now going all-in to collaborate with biased media to blame ordinary people for the spike in infection rates.

Police tolerating crowds outside waiting for McDonalds.

Cops Everywhere, ICUs Nowhere

The lockdowns have also been militarized, especially in the poorer regions to the west of Athens and in the treatment of Roma communities across the country. Soldiers in armored vehicles enforce intensive lockdowns in these regions characterized by poverty, migrant labor, and Roma populations. It is no coincidence that the rebellious neighborhood of Exarchia and Roma communities outside the center of Athens are targeted with especially strict lockdowns, while in wealthy suburbs and neighborhoods like Athens’ Colonaki, groups gather outside coffee shops, people move freely without fear of being detained, and upscale business owners use a loophole intended for essential workers to make papers that permit their friends to hang out with them in bars and restaurants that are open for take away. It is truly dystopian when a boss’s signature is the next best justification for being out after curfew to a dog that needs walking.

Police gather in groups without masks; they stop nighttime medical and delivery workers out of sheer boredom, fingering their papers, searching them, spreading the virus in the name of prevention. If this isn’t enough entertainment, they turn to abusing homeless people. Even Politico, a corporate media source, has begun to cover the police abuse and political opportunism New Democracy has introduced during the pandemic.

Graffiti in memory of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a fifteen-year-old Greek child who was murdered by police in the neighborhood of Exarchia.

The Sixth of December

On December 6, 2008, in Athens, Greece, police murdered 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos in the neighborhood of Exarchia. In response, anarchists, young people, and other rebels from targeted populations rose in revolt, organizing countrywide riots and occupations that lasted for weeks. It has been an important anniversary ever since.

Much like the 17th of November, December 6, 2020 saw an assault on our movements under the excuse of pandemic precautions. Police set up a perimeter around the neighborhood of Exarchia the day of the 6th, and an additional interior perimeter of extra security was set up directly around the memorial to Alexis Grigoropolous, blatantly disrespecting his memory. Police responded to elderly supporters’ peaceful attempts to leave flowers at the memorial with threats of violence; in one instance caught on video, a MAT officer is seen taking flowers and smashing them before dropping them on the street. Every attempt to march was attacked. Greek police made over a hundred arrests throughout the day. Despite this, in defiance of the draconian measures enforced by the state, people courageously participated in marches and demonstrations to recognize the memory of Alexis and the insurrection that followed his murder in December 2008.

A police officer mockingly destroying flowers left by mourners at the memorial for Alexis Grigoropoulos, the child murdered by police in 2008.

Shortly before December 6, a group attempted to hold a banner in memory of Alexis in front of the parliament building in Athens, only to be attacked by delta police and tear gas. On the day of the 6th, another small group attempted to hold a banner and chant in Exarchia. Police attacked them as well, throwing a flash-bang canister directly inside a building at some of them, which is extremely dangerous. Small marches faced similar responses across the country from Crete to Northern Greece as the state sought to suppress this defiant tradition. Still, autonomous marches took place outside the center of Athens and throughout Greece while banner drops and graffiti across the country asserted our passion for freedom.

A group—allegedly involving eighty people—attacked a police station in Colonos, Athens on December 6, sending a few officers to the hospital for minor injuries. Police arrested one individual, who faces felony charges; fortunately, she has been released pending trial. The following day, at the memorial of Alexis in Athens, about 100 people held banners, chanted, and laid flowers and candles. Riot police attacked the march shortly after it began, dispersing people throughout Exarchia, but leaving a group of about 40 stuck inside a building surrounded on all sides by police. Fortunately—likely fearing reprisals for the brutality they had inflicted the previous day, and because nearby press were watching—the police allowed the group to leave unmolested.

Despite the brutality and repression on the 6th, they were unable to drown our voices, nor suppress the memory of Alexis. Our passion for freedom is more sincere than the mercenary mentality of those who serve the state and the ruling class. Every expression of celebration and rebellion, however big or small, was an act of courage at a time when simply leaving home involves risk. It was a hard and sad day in many ways, but no matter how intense the state’s repression grows, we will never forfeit our revolutionary convictions, never forget those who have been murdered or imprisoned, never forgive those responsible. Alexis lives on in our hearts and actions.

The memorial to Alexis, deserted in December thanks to targeted police repression taking advantage of the lockdown.

Repression

On December 6, a comrade from France known as Errol was also arrested. He had already been arrested repeatedly at various actions; however, this time, he was taken to the Petroralli detention facility as an immigrant, even though he is a citizen in the European Union. Initiating deportation proceedings against an anarchist like this is an unprecedented act—regardless of whether we care about the law, it is noteworthy that it is illegal according to EU policy. A few days later, without trial or notice, Errol was deported to France. Solidarity efforts, actions, and graffiti continue across the country, but the lengths to which the Greek state will go to send a message to non-Greeks in the movement is alarming.

From a statement by the solidarity assembly with anarchist comrade Errol:

The arrest of Errol signifies a new repressive escalation from the state, demonstrating that prosecution for misdemeanors can lead to the imprisonment and the deportation of political subjects. The state of paralysis and decimation of the social resistance must break and the struggle for the cessation of the prosecution of our comrade is another step towards this direction.

Graffiti reading “Get your hands off of the anarchist Errol.”

Eight people currently face felony charges for an action against the dean of the economics school, the one responsible for evicting a local social center and the squat Vancouver. A campaign to support the humiliated dean mobilized New Democracy supporters who were shocked to see a white man humiliated by being compelled to wear a sign that said “solidarity to the squats.” They offered a reward of a hundred thousand euros for information on who might be responsible—a considerable figure, especially in the midst of an economic crisis. The police have rounded up people at random, with very little evidence apart from claiming that they have connections to the movement. Regardless, the charges are very significant and a long-term support and anti-repression campaign is likely to follow. Please refer to this link for ways to donate, support, learn about the case, and show solidarity.

Prison Conditions

Prisoners remain defiant across the country amid continued degraded hygiene and conditions that leave many at risk of contracting COVID-19. The Ministry of Prisons continues to invest resources in everything relating to prison except the health of the prisoners themselves.

Long-term political prisoner Dimitris Koufontinas of the November 17th group has been on hunger strike, demanding better conditions and to be moved to Korydallos prison in Athens in order to be closer to his family and friends. As of January 16 2021, in parallel with a broader support campaign from the prisoner solidarity movement, Nikos Maziotis of the group Revolutionary Struggle and Giannis Dimitrakis have declared a hunger strike in solidarity with Dimitris until his demands are met. [Polykarpos Georgiadis and Vaggelis Stathopoylos] (https://athens.indymedia.org/post/1609694/) joined them on January 18, 2021. Hunger strikes are becoming more frequent in Greek prisons as conditions worsen due to COVID-19.

Universities

Police raided a student dorm building the movement has been using as assembling is not only illegal, but logistically more and more complicated amid the lockdown and the eviction of squats. This isn’t the first time police have raided a dormitory, but this time they used drones and various other technology in the raid that have not been seen before. They flew drones from window to window of the student housing, demanding that the residents evacuate the building. Even corporate press described the police as experimenting with their new toys.

Students and teachers have already attempted to demonstrate against the deployment of new police forces on campuses, only to be kettled and threatened with arrest for assembly and lockdown violations. The kettling of hundreds of people in the name of preventing virus transmission is yet another absurd example of the Orwellian situation here.

Police tolerating crowds on Ermou Street, the part of Athens most comparable to Times Square in New York City. Such crowds are only tolerated when they are engaging in consumerism.

Entering 2021

New Year’s Eve typically sees massive noise demonstrations at prisons across Greece, but these were rescheduled due to curfew and inevitable fines and repression, since the neighborhoods and regions where prisons are located are generally inhospitable to anarchists and anti-fascists. However, just minutes before the new year, an explosion caused significant damage to the police headquarters building in the Kipseli region of Athens.

Happy new fear from Greece!

Please take a moment to donate to the ongoing solidarity fund for persecuted and imprisoned revolutionaries in Greece.

Belarus axed as host of ice hockey tournament over 'security concerns'

The Guardian | Protest -

Sponsors of IIHF championships had begun to drop out after violent government crackdown on protests

The international ice hockey federation (IIHF) has said it will not hold this summer’s world championship in Belarus, amid concerns that it would be a propaganda coup for the country’s hockey-mad dictator, Alexander Lukashenko.

In a statement, the federation said it had made the decision “in the face of the growing safety and security concerns related to both the rising political unrest and Covid-19”. Minsk and the Latvian capital, Riga, were due to co-host the tournament in May and June.

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Inflated ego: Trump baby blimp joins Museum of London collection

The Guardian | Protest -

The 6-metre-high orange inflatable became a symbol of British protest against the outgoing US president

The the Donald Trump baby blimp, a 6-metre-high inflatable caricature that became a symbol of UK protest against the US president, has secured its place in history at a leading museum.

The helium-filled balloon, paid for through crowdfunding, depicts the outgoing president as a snarling orange baby wearing a nappy, with its tiny hands clutching a smartphone. It first took to the skies above Parliament Square during protests over Trump’s first presidential visit to the UK in 2018.

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Forty years on from the New Cross fire, what has changed for black Britons?

The Guardian | Protest -

In 1981, a blaze killed 13 black teenagers at a London house party in a suspected racist attack. What can be learned from the legacy of the outcry and activism that followed?

Although it happened before I was born, the New Cross fire in 1981 and the National Black People’s Day of Action that followed are landmarks in my identity; growing up in a Caribbean family in the 1980s, they are part of our collective memory. New Cross is fundamental because it contains all the features of racism that black people in Britain have long suffered: the racial violence, police abuse, neglect by the state; in turn, it tells us of the community’s resistance. Forty years on, recalling the events seems vital, especially in this moment of renewed optimism after the Black Lives Matter protests, because the legacies of New Cross still resonate.

On 18 January 1981, a fire tore through 439 New Cross Road in south-east London, where Yvonne Ruddock was celebrating her 16th birthday with about 60 guests. Wayne Hayes, who was 17 at the time, recalled the carnage in an interview for HuffPost last year. He described how dozens of teenagers and young people, trapped upstairs in the house after the stairs collapsed, resorted to jumping out of second-floor windows, how it was so hot “people’s skin was peeling back” and how in the aftermath he had 140 skin grafts. He shattered 163 bones and has been classed as disabled ever since. Thirteen young people were killed, more than 50 injured and one guest – Anthony Berbeck – died two years later at the age of 20. Many believe he took his own life as a result of the trauma of that night.

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America is broken – can Biden and Harris put it back together?

The Guardian | Protest -

The US is riven with stark inequalities, rising white supremacist terror and large numbers who believe the election was stolen. The new administration faces a truly daunting challenge

In another age, Joe Biden’s promise to heal the nation might have been regarded as the kind of blandishment expected from any new leader taking power after the divisive cut and thrust of an American election.

Related: Biden must find words for a wounded nation in inauguration like no other

Polarisation is not going to go away no matter what he does in the short term

Related: History-maker Kamala Harris will wield real power as vice-president

Biden gave several speeches targeted towards Obama-to-Trump voters. He acknowledged that they were forgotten

The structural inequality that is rooted deep within our society must be addressed

Related: Can Joe Biden make America great again?

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Lecturers warn they will strike if forced to resume 'unsafe' teaching

The Guardian | Protest -

University and College Union warns any attempt to send members back to campuses too early will lead to ballot

University lecturers will not resume “unsafe” face-to-face teaching this academic year, and any attempt by the government or vice-chancellors to reopen campuses in February will fail, the UK’s largest academic union has warned.

The University and College Union will ballot its members to strike against the resumption of in-person teaching, should any university attempt to organise the return of its staff to campuses over the next six months while staff feel it is unsafe.

Related: The government has failed thousands of students in England. They deserve a refund | Sonia Sodha

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Washington: man arrested with fake inaugural ID and loaded gun

The Guardian | Protest -

Officers in Washington DC arrested a Virginia man who tried to pass through a Capitol police checkpoint carrying fake inaugural credentials, a loaded handgun and more than 500 rounds of ammunition.

Related: 'I’m facing a prison sentence': US Capitol rioters plead with Trump for pardons

Related: US Capitol riot: police have long history of aiding neo-Nazis and extremists

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Martin Luther King’s vision of a interconnected world is more relevant than ever

Waging Nonviolence -

We are facing converging global crises — a horrific pandemic, worsening economic inequality both in the United States and globally, climate change and the continuing scourge of systemic racism around the world. What would Martin Luther King Jr. think or advise if he were alive today? What might he say in these days after the Capitol Building was attacked by a primarily white mob that was seeking to usurp the results of a free and fair election and implement an America First agenda through violent force?

To get to these answers, we need to consider one of King’s most important and overlooked pieces of writing, The World House, a chapter in the last book he wrote, “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” This chapter was taken largely from the acceptance speech he gave when he received his Nobel Peace Prize. It is one that he pored over for more than a month, as he prepared to use his platform on a global stage to make a call for a radical new world.

The metaphor of the “World House” came to King when he read a newspaper article about a famous novelist who had died. “Among his papers was found a list of suggested plots for future stories, the most prominently underscored being this one: ‘A widely separated family inherits a house in which they have to live together,'” King wrote. “This is the great new problem of mankind. We have inherited a large house, a great ‘world house’ in which we have to live together — Black and white, easterner and westerner, gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Muslim and Hindu — a family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.”

Previous Coverage
  • Why we need to move closer to King’s understanding of nonviolence
  • King’s writing came with a promise: we could be on the edge of an important philosophical and systemic breakthrough, where the understanding and solidarity of a more connected world leads us to build systems that more effectively satisfy the full human needs of all. It also came with a warning though. If we do not dismantle white supremacy and systemic racism, if we continue to invest in the military at far greater rates than we invest in the poor and other vulnerable people, if we fail to take seriously the wealth gap at home and between the richest nations and our neighbors we will, like so many before us, descend into the “junk heaps” of history, not from external threats but from our own “internal decay.”

    Sadly, much of that decay has only worsened in the United States and the response to it requires the continued growth of disciplined nonviolent social movements that continue to push for change without falling into the America First trap. This required in King’s eyes a major shift in our worldview. One of the greatest shortcomings of modernity he saw was the tragic delusion that we are more separate than we are. King believed that a sense of radical interconnectivity must be a cornerstone of movement analysis and social justice. What are the barriers to this sense of solidarity? In the World House he focuses on racism, greed and systematic economic exploitation, as well as nationalism and militaristic ambition, as major forces that continue to push us apart and toward the brink of annihilation.

    COVID-19 is a dramatic and painful reminder of how things work when they go awry in the World House. In the World House what affects one can affect all indirectly eventually, but not all people are impacted equally. Under one roof, in the World House, if someone is sick, then you may catch it. If someone is poor, they can be hidden away, banished into the basement with little light or access to that which helps sustain life, but they are still there. In the World House today, the disenfranchised increasingly are aware of what the master bedroom looks like, that those with privilege sit at the dinner table and enjoy the finest food while they are left with so little. Our housemates, “essential workers” as they are called currently, grow the food, serve the coffee and tend to the sick, often with far too little financial support.

    When King said that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere it was not a moralistic platitude encouraging us to be nice to each other.

    There is an unavoidable resentment that comes with that but also a tremendous loss well before any pitchforks are raised or mops set on fire or protests planned. The creativity, the dignity, the safety that comes from sharing a home in a way that allows for us to be fully human together is not possible in this setting. Our relationships in this state of inequality are twisted, stunted, as the privileged in the World House look to barricade themselves and are protected and shielded from many of life’s hardships. This creates a false sense of separation and security, and it reinforces a false superiority.

    In this way, America has a long history of social distancing. We have in our society been social distancing from the beginning. When European colonists killed Indigenous people and forced them onto reservations, the government made genocide followed by social distancing (the reservation) an official policy. When white people violently forced Black people into bondage for 400 years this ensured distancing. We cannot remain intimately connected while denying people basic freedoms and enforcing that exploitation through physical, sexual, psychological and spiritual violence.

    Today we are at a distance when the gap between the poor and rich increases so dramatically that 90 percent of the wealth is in the hands of 1 percent of the population, when a Black mother has to worry about the fact that, during childbirth, she is five times more likely to die or lose her child than a white mother. We are creating social distance and reinforcing it when we accept schools that are more racially segregated today than when King died.

    King was calling for an end to the pain of this kind of social distancing long before COVID-19 shined a light on the destructive impacts of this separation. He offered three main areas to work on.

    First, we must work all over the world with “unshakable determination to wipe out the last vestiges of racism.” We have seen this work return to the forefront of global struggles for justice again with the Movement for Black Lives. There has been a global outpouring of support and love for this movement, with people from Palestine to South Korea stepping up to show support. Equally inspiring, Black people around the world have led their own movements in their countries challenging systemic racism.

    Second, there needs to be what King called a “global war on poverty” that invests heavily in the education and health of people living in poverty. We need to make sure that people receive a living wage and that the excesses of the richest are curbed so resources can be more equitably distributed. Importantly, he called for large sustained government initiatives like the New Deal and an updated Marshall Plan to build or rebuild the infrastructure in communities impacted by poverty and systemic racism. This could be done from Baltimore and rural West Virginia to Mogadishu — and here too we have seen global movements demanding more equitable distribution of resources and opportunity.

    While many are rightly calling for healing, I think King would remind us that healing is forged in the fire of struggling together for justice.

    Finally, when King said that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere — or that we are tied together in a single garment of destiny — it was not a moralistic platitude encouraging us to be nice to each other. This was a statement about the fundamental nature of our world and what it will take to survive and thrive together.

    “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values,” King said. He saw a society that too easily justified the murder of people halfway around the world, not just in his time but for generations. The use of the U.S. military abroad was, to him, part of a legacy of European colonialism that was deeply rooted in racism and white supremacy, with the primary goals not to promote democracy but domination and economic exploitation.

    This analysis led to a scathing critique of the Vietnam War, which was even criticized by many of his allies at the time. “Whether we realize it or not our participation in the war in Vietnam is an ominous expression of our lack of sympathy for the oppressed, our paranoid anti-communism, our failure to feel the ache and anguish of the have-nots,” he said. “It reveals our willingness to continue participating in neo-colonialist adventures.”

    King knew that a history of racial and economic exploitation and violence influenced the everyday lives of Black people, having stood side by side with Black veterans as police and white hoodlums attacked them and other Black activists across the country. Reminding people of the brutal poverty of America’s ghettos, King on other occasions described these connections as “a system of internal colonialism not unlike the exploitation of the Congo by Belgium.” War, then, was just the spectacular projection of that violence to people abroad — and as we see with the militarization of police today, that violence inevitably returns home.

    King’s recognition of profound interconnectivity demanded that human security be grounded in the quality of our relationships, the systems we have in place to support people when things get hard, and by creating international frameworks to guarantee equity and human dignity over profit.

    We are as deeply polarized as we have ever been in the United States. The Trump presidency was the antithesis of King’s vision, as it sought to build power by stoking white racial anxiety and rage — as well as fear about economic inequality — by pitting people against each other. While many are rightly calling for healing, I think King would remind us that healing is forged in the fire of struggling together for justice. In other words, this can only occur when we engage in truth-telling about these underlying conditions and push for bold systemic changes.

    Fortunately, radical interconnectivity also implies new possibilities for movements in terms of building power from the ground up globally — and for pushing for national and international policies that impact systemic change. We still have barely scratched the surface of that power and what is possible when people organize to fight together around the world. While there have been global economic boycotts and strikes for climate action and racial justice, COVID-19 showed us how profound the economic impact of a global shutdown can be even if sustained for just a few short weeks.

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    The outpouring for Black Lives Matter is extraordinary, but that broad base will need to continue to expand, if we are to make the bold changes that King called for over 50 years ago, and are still desperately needed today.

    What does this kind of work — to advance systemic rather than piecemeal change — look like in practice? In part, it entails finding and supporting those activists who are already building bridges in their work. We can see the power of this kind of cross-pollination in the rich history of Black women organizers, from Harriet Tubman to Ella Baker. It also exists with contemporary activists and peacebuilders such as the Black Lives Matter activists in Ferguson, Missouri, who connected with and formed alliances with other activists around the world, including Palestinians.

    In King’s time, this bringing together of the racial justice movement with the antiwar and postcolonial movements — and broad calls for redistribution and workers’ rights — was shaking the foundations of U.S. society when he was assassinated. It is that solidarity that the World House demands of us today. Black Lives Matter and many other visionary social movements are already moving the world in that direction — and this is just the beginning.

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