All News Feeds

Brighton’s angry mothers are further proof: we’re in the golden age of dissent | Alice O’Keeffe

The Guardian | Protest -

The Save Our Schools campaign is just one example, but all across the UK an ever-increasing range of people are being driven to protest

• Alice O’Keeffe is a book reviewer and SOS campaigner

It’s a surreal to see an idea dreamed up in the pub by a bunch of your mates make national news. So I discovered yesterday, when the leaders of the Save Our Schools (SOS) campaign, accompanied by the actor Steve Coogan, delivered their “message in a bottle” to Downing Street in protest at the Tories’ proposed cuts to education. Anna Cole and Alison Ali, two of the women who founded the campaign in Brighton only a few months ago, handed in thousands of messages of love for their schools written by children from across the country, including contributions from Birmingham, Manchester and the Isle of Wight.

As the parent of a child at a Brighton primary school, I have watched in admiration as a group of mums whom I bump into on the school run transformed their outrage about the planned £3bn education cuts into a nimble, creative and highly effective political campaign.

Related: Vivienne Westwood drives tank to Cameron's home in fracking protest

The SOS-ers have used WhatsApp and video conferencing to organise around work and family commitments

Continue reading...

Riot police clash with G20 demonstrators in Hamburg – video

The Guardian | Protest -

German police clash with anti-G20 protesters on Thursday. Police used water cannon and pepper spray to disperse the demonstrators gathered in Hamburg to protest against the G20 summit. Police said a group of black-clad demonstrators threw bottles and other objects at riot police causing the intervention

G20: police and demonstrators clash at protest in Hamburg

Continue reading...

Why labor and campus organizing are not a zero sum game

Waging Nonviolence -

by Will Meyer

Popular left magazines have recently published articles that pit campus organizing against labor organizing. The broad stroke thinking by Amber A’Lee Frost in The Baffler and Freddie DeBoer in Jacobin suggests campus politics isn’t going to win material gains and that serious leftists should wage strategic labor battles as opposed to organizing students. While DeBoer does concede that organizing “absolutely should” happen on campus, he lists the pitfalls of student organizing — summer vacation, graduation, how busy students are and their need to get jobs, among other problems — to argue that campus organizing “isn’t going to work” as a movement’s primary organizing strategy. Frost, on the other hand, warns of rhetorical battles without demands that lack strategy and power. Her piece, titled “All Worked Up and Nowhere to Go,” paints a picture of academic writer-types bickering on Twitter and showing up to rallies that raise morale “but little else.”

This approach marks a stark contrast to that of the radical right, which — over the last generation — has weaponized campuses to serve their ideological agenda, dismantling public education using very effective organizing techniques. It’s no doubt important to understand the drawbacks of campus organizing and invest resources in organizing and unionizing staff, faculty and students, as Frost and DeBoer recommend. But instead of framing campus organizing as a zero sum game, where the organization of students and workers are in direct conflict, why don’t we ask: How can campus organizing build a stronger, more strategic movement not only at universities but beyond?

To attempt to answer that question, it is worth noting that public education is both a public good and — at its best — a democratic institution that is the result of movement victories. As funding gets cut and tuition rises, the idealistic notion that universities can help students — or our country — get ahead withers away and everyone is at a loss for it. Even if, as DeBoer notes, campuses only reach about 7 percent of the population, someone is still going to need to defend higher education and organize to make it better. For better or worse, that will likely fall on the shoulders of students, as it has in Quebec or at Cooper Union. Furthermore, the power universities hold as both landowners and employers is also significant and it cannot be understated that when employees organize that helps students, and when students organize that helps employees.

The Koch brothers clearly understand the power that exists on campus, and that is why they have invested so thoroughly in challenging it. Their massive donor network of billionaires, religious fanatics and others have waged a whole host of proxy wars — over safe spaces, free speech, climate denial and academic freedom — not only to slant science and boost fascists, but perhaps most importantly, to do away with public education, which they believe is a threat to their future profits. But if they can’t dismantle it completely, taking it over and starving it of dissent will do.

One Koch-affiliated historian, Leonard Liggio, has cited the success of the Nazi model of campus organizing as critical to building the “National Socialist Party” and taking over the German state. The Kochs and their partners have also funded academic centers, curriculum, organizations, fellowship programs and individual professors in the hopes that the academy will then better serve their agenda. And it’s working. One such professor appointed to a Koch-funded “academic center,” Russell Sobel, wrote a book called “Unleashing Capitalism: Why Prosperity Stops at the West Virginia Border and How to Fix It,” in which he argued that safety and environmental standards hurt workers. According to Jane Mayer, in her book Dark Money, it became the basis for state policy making in West Virginia. “Sobel was briefing West Virginia’s governor and cabinet, as well as a joint session of the Senate and the House Finance Committees,” Mayer writes. “The state Republican Party chairman declared Sobel’s anti-regulatory book the blueprint for its party platform.”

But in addition to using the academy to influence policy, they have also used it to build power. As Frost noted, the left has become “single-mindedly obsessed with purifying our own ranks and weeding out the problematic among us,” while the right is becoming “bigger and stronger.” A new report from Generation Progress, the campus wing of the Center for American Progress, notes that, in 2014, conservative youth groups outspent progressive ones three to one. They have built infrastructure on campuses and recruited students into their organizations, creating ties that not only extend well beyond their four years on campus, but also feed directly into a pipeline designed to create Tea Party congressmen and industry lobbyists.

A deeper understanding of the strategy, infrastructure, and intention of how the right has approached campus organizing, will better position the left to fight back and win. We must not pit campus organizing and labor against one another, but rather understand how they are related and how they are different.

Students have helped build unions on their campuses; they’ve fought tuition hikes, sweatshops, racism and fossil fuel investment. Writing off students won’t do. Instead, students will have to continue to defend this critical public good. They will need to see labor organizing on campus and the fight for public education as complementary rather than in opposition with one another. Groups that embrace both labor and student issues, as well as have a presence on campuses and in “real world” — like The Movement for Black Lives or the Democratic Socialists of America — will be critical in the years ahead.

At the University of Tennessee, for example, student organizers with the Young Democratic Socialists have been working with United Food and Commercial Workers to thwart outsourcing and privatization on their campus. According to DSA national youth organizer Ryan Mosgrove, “No other student group was organizing around the issue of privatization. In fact, no other organization was actively engaged in any student-labor solidarity campaign.”

We must continue to encourage, foster and build power on campus. When students show solidarity with labor and vice versa, our movements will win.

We are marching to halt Turkey’s slide into authoritarianism | Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

The Guardian | Protest -

The only way to fight the rise of illiberal populism is to stand united in defence of democratic values. This is the message of our justice march

• Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is Turkey’s opposition leader

Every day, tens of thousands of Turkish citizens are walking to demand justice. We began in Ankara on 15 June and we are marching to Istanbul, walking for almost 20km (13 miles) every day. We are demanding justice and the rule of law for everyone living in Turkey.

This is a long journey – 432km. The walkers have endured heavy rains on the mountains and scorching heat along the plains. Our numbers have already exceeded 40,000, and we expect tens of thousands more to join us over the coming days. A chant resonates in my ear all day long: “Hak, hukuk, adalet” – rights, law and justice.

There is no precedent for this in our republic's history, brought on by a regime which seeks mainly to protect itself

Related: 'We've lost democracy': on the road with Turkey's justice marchers

Continue reading...

'A sign to the Trumps, Erdoğans and Putins': Hamburg residents on the G20 protests

The Guardian | Protest -

Thousands are preparing to protest against world leaders at the G20 summit. We asked people why they are taking part

Tell us why you’re protesting

Thousands of demonstrators, including anarchist groups and extremist elements, are expected to descend on Hamburg to voice their grievances against world leaders at the two-day G20 summit this week. But residents of Germany’s second most populous city say they are using this unique opportunity to peacefully protest, and that the threat of violence and increased police presence is not a deterrent.

“Protest is being demonised,” says George Letts, a 52-year-old communications consultant from Hamburg. “It is very disturbing to know that some of the worst and most antidemocratic politicians will be coming to my city.” Letts plans to take part in the protest on Saturday, where 100,000 people are expected to join in the “G20 not welcome” march, which promises to be peaceful.

Continue reading...

US-based Asia Society accused of kowtowing to China over Hong Kong activist

The Guardian | Protest -

Congressman says New York charity ‘has some explaining to do’ after refusal to host event featuring democracy campaigner Joshua Wong

A US congressman has accused the prominent New York-based charitable institute the Asia Society of kowtowing to China after it refused to host an event featuring the Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong.

Wong had been due to appear last week at the launch of a book published by the local chapter of writers group PEN to mark 20 years since the UK handed Hong Kong back to China.

Continue reading...

Liu Xiaobo, China's most famous political prisoner, 'close to death'

The Guardian | Protest -

Nobel laureate and democracy campaigner was released from jail last month on medical parole after liver cancer diagnosis

The condition of China’s most famous political prisoner, the democracy campaigner and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, has worsened, family friends and local reports have said.

Liu, 61, was jailed in 2009 for allegedly trying to topple China’s one-party state. He was given medical parole last month after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.


Continue reading...

Two jobs just to eat: that’s life for workers in low-wage Britain | Frances Ryan

The Guardian | Protest -

The strike by cleaners at four hospitals speaks to their plight, and the terrible cost of outsourcing

• Frances Ryan writes the Guardian’s Hardworking Britain series

On paper, it’s a David and Goliath battle: Serco, a multibillion-pound outsourcing giant, versus a group of cleaners – largely migrant women – hired on a pittance to scrub toilets and hospital beds. But look closer at the strikes taking place across four London hospitals this week and it’s clear that something incredible is happening: a storm of over 700 cleaners, porters, and security guards downing tools to take on their bosses – and with it, Britain’s low-wage culture.

Last year, Serco won a £600m facilities management contract for Barts health NHS trust. Its first act at the trust’s Royal London hospital? To take away cleaners’ paid 15-minute breaks. “When we were about to finish our shift at 3pm, they handed us letters,” Abigail, a cleaner and strike organiser tells me. The next day, she and almost 150 of her fellow cleaners walked to the fifth-floor canteen to tell their managers they wouldn’t restart work until they had their breaks. After two days, Serco restored their paid breaks. Serco told me that it wasn’t aware the cleaners had paid breaks, and that any change was made by a local manager for which it later apologised.

When public services become a source for profit alone, workers begin to look like easy pickings

Related: The Grenfell Tower fire is the fatal legacy of extensive outsourcing | Peter Hetherington

Continue reading...

Activists cry cowardice as Republican senators shut doors to healthcare town halls

The Guardian | Protest -

Pat Toomey’s closed-door talk saw him accused of ‘not having the courage’ to speak to those affected, while Ted Cruz also faced dissent at his ticket-only event

At a town hall in Pennsylvania on Wednesday night, Republican senator Pat Toomey faced an angry protest over his role in the GOP healthcare bill, while Ted Cruz was heckled over his suggested amendment to the legislation at an event in Texas.

Scores of people gathered outside the ABC27 studio in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where Toomey was holding what had been billed as a town hall meeting.

Related: 'I don't think it's civil to kill people': rage continues over Republican health bill

Related: Billionaires dream of immortality. The rest of us worry about healthcare | Jill Abramson

Continue reading...

Are you protesting at the G20 summit in Hamburg? Tell us why

The Guardian | Protest -

If you’re taking part in this year’s G20 protests, we’d like you to tell us why

Thousands of protesters are expected to disrupt the G20 summit this week to voice their grievances against the annual meeting of world leaders – which, this year, includes Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Police say they expect 5,000 protesters to take part in a “Welcome to Hell” march as delegates arrive in Hamburg airport on Thursday afternoon. A “G20 not welcome” march on Saturday is expected to attract up to 100,000 members of anti-fascist, feminist and climate activist groups. A separate march, “Hamburg Shows Attitude”, has been organised by a collection of non-profit organisations.

Continue reading...

Hamburg braced for huge, violent protests in run-up to G20 summit

The Guardian | Protest -

Police chief predicts ‘not just sit-in protests but massive assaults’ with 5,000 expected to gather for a ‘Welcome to Hell’ march

Hamburg is bracing itself for an escalation of violence on the eve of Friday and Saturday’s G20 summit after a fleet of hi-tech water cannons was used to disperse crowds partying near the conference venue, and police warned that protesters could be hoarding weapons at secret locations across the city.

Authorities in Germany’s second-largest city are preparing for the arrival of an unprecedented lineup of controversial world leaders including Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as well as thousands of international protesters ranging from anti-capitalist activists to middle-class families keen to voice dissent.

Related: Protesters plan to 'kettle' leaders at G20 summit in Hamburg

Continue reading...

Hunger strikers' time is running out, lawyers tell Turkish government

The Guardian | Protest -

Health of pair who have stopped eating after losing jobs in post-coup crackdown said to be deteriorating rapidly in custody

The health of two hunger strikers held in Turkish government custody who have not eaten for 118 days is rapidly deteriorating, according to their lawyers, who have urged the authorities to respond to their demands before the damage to their bodies becomes irreversible.

Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, two teachers who were dismissed from their jobs in a broad government crackdown after a coup attempt last year, launched the hunger strike nearly four months ago and were taken into custody in May because of fears their protest could escalate into broader street demonstrations.

Related: One-armed Turkish protester denounces investigation against him

Continue reading...

What will it take for the US to eradicate racist ideas?

The Guardian | Protest -

Protests will never be enough to bring about lasting change. To overcome racist thinking, anti-racists must take hold of power – and not let go. By Ibram X Kendi

In his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston on 27 July 2004, before 9 million viewers, Barack Obama presented himself as the embodiment of racial reconciliation and American exceptionalism. He had humble beginnings and a lofty ascent, and in him both native and immigrant ancestry and African and European ancestry came together. “I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story … and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible,” he declared. “America, tonight, if you feel the same energy that I do, if you feel the same urgency that I do, if you feel the same passion that I do, if you feel the same hopefulness that I do, if we do what we must do, then I have no doubt that all across the country … the people will rise up in November, and John Kerry will be sworn in as president.”

Kerry lost the election, of course, and Bush seemed poised to embody the future of the Republican party. But Barack Obama seemed poised to embody the future of the Democratic party.

Continue reading...

The founding myth of the United States

Waging Nonviolence -

by Benjamin Naimark-Rowse

The Boston Tea Party (Wikimedia Commons)

This article was originally published on Political Violence @ a Glance.

Tomorrow, cities and towns from coast-to-coast will host fireworks, concerts and parades to celebrate our independence from Britain. Those celebrations will invariably highlight the soldiers who pushed the British from our shores. But the lesson we learn of a democracy forged in the crucible of revolutionary war tends to ignore how a decade of nonviolent resistance before the shot-heard-round-the-world shaped the founding of the United States, strengthened our sense of political identity, and laid the foundation of our democracy.

We’re taught that we won our independence from Britain through bloody battles. We recite poetry about the midnight ride of Paul Revere that warned of a British attack. And we’re shown depictions of Minutemen in battle with Redcoats in Lexington and Concord.

I grew up in Boston where our veneration for revolutionary battles against the British extends far beyond the Fourth of July. We celebrate Patriots’ Day to commemorate the anniversary of the first battles of the Revolution and Evacuation Day to commemorate the day British troops finally fled Boston. And at the start of every Red Sox game we stand, take off our hats and sing — 33,000 strong — about the perilous fight, the rockets’ red glare, and the bombs bursting in air that gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

Yet, founding father, John Adams wrote that, “A history of military operations … is not a history of the American Revolution.”

American revolutionaries led not one, but three nonviolent resistance campaigns in the decade before the Revolutionary War. These campaigns were coordinated. They were primarily nonviolent. They helped politicize American society. And they allowed colonists to replace colonial political institutions with parallel institutions of self-government that help form the foundation of the democracy that we rely on today.

The first nonviolent resistance campaign was in 1765 against the Stamp Act. Tens of thousands of our forbearers refused to pay the British king a tax simply to print legal documents and newspapers, by collectively deciding to halt consumption of British goods. The ports of Boston, New York and Philadelphia signed pacts against importing British products; women made homespun yarn to replace British cloth; and eligible bachelorettes in Rhode Island even refused to accept the addresses of any man who supported the Stamp Act.

The Stamp Act is put to rest in a funeral procession on a London quay. (Wikimedia Commons)

Colonists organized the Stamp Act Congress. It passed statements of colonial rights and limits on British authority, and sent copies to every colony as well as one copy to Britain thereby demonstrating a united front. This mass political mobilization and economic boycott meant the Stamp Act would cost the British more money than it was worth to enforce, leaving it dead on arrival. This victory also demonstrated the power of nonviolent non-cooperation: people-powered defiance of unjust social, political or economic authority.

The second nonviolent resistance campaign started in 1767 against the Townshend Acts. These acts taxed paper, glass, tea and other commodities imported from Britain. When the Townsend Acts went into effect, merchants in Boston, New York and Philadelphia again stopped importing British goods. They declared that anyone continuing to trade with the British should be labeled “enemies of their country.” A sense of a new political identity detached from Britain grew across the colonies.

By 1770, colonists developed the Committees of Correspondence, a new political institution detached from British authority. The committees allowed colonists to share information and coordinate their opposition. The British Parliament reacted by doubling down and taxing tea, which led enraged members of the Sons of Liberty to carry out the infamous Boston Tea Party.

The British Parliament countered with the Coercive Acts, which effectively cloistered Massachusetts. The port of Boston was closed until the British East India Company was repaid for their Tea Party loses. Freedom of assembly was officially limited. And court trials were moved from Massachusetts.

In defiance of the British, colonists organized the First Continental Congress. Not only did they articulate their grievances against the British, colonists also created provincial congresses to enforce the rights they declared unto themselves. A newspaper at the time reported that these parallel legal institutions effectively took government out of the hands of British-appointed authorities and placed it in the hands of the colonists so much so that some scholars assert that, “independence in many of the colonies had essentially been achieved prior to the commencement of military hostilities in Lexington and Concord.”

King George III felt that this level of political organization had gone too far, noting that; “The New England governments are in a state of rebellion; blows must decide whether they are to be subject to this country or independent.” In response, colonists organized the Second Continental Congress, appointed George Washington commander in chief and so began eight years of violent conflict.

The Revolutionary War may have physically kicked the British off our shores, but tomorrow’s focus on war obscures the contributions that nonviolent resistance made to the founding of our country.

During the decade leading up to the war, colonists articulated and debated political decisions in public assemblies. In so doing, they politicized society and strengthened their sense of a new political identity free from the British. They legislated policy, enforced rights, and even collected taxes. In so doing, they practiced self-governance outside of wartime. And they experienced the power of nonviolent political action across the broad stretches of land that were to become the United States of America.

So on future Independence Days, let us celebrate our forefathers’ and mothers’ nonviolent resistance to British colonial rule. And every day as we deliberate the myriad challenges facing our democracy, let us draw on our nonviolent history just as John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington did over two centuries ago.

Local councillors and protesters blockade Lancashire fracking site

The Guardian | Protest -

Group of 13 people lock themselves to objects to stop vehicles entering Cuadrilla site at Fylde, as part of month of action

Protesters have blockaded the entrance to a fracking site as part of a month of action to resist the controversial drilling process.

The group of 13 protesters, including three local councillors, arrived at the site on Preston New Road in Fylde, Lancashire, in the early hours of Monday morning and locked themselves to objects in an attempt to prevent vehicles entering the site.

Related: Fracking activists in Lancashire lose high court bid to stop drilling

Continue reading...

Protesters plan to 'kettle' leaders at G20 summit in Hamburg

The Guardian | Protest -

Police say choice of inner-city venue is ‘incomprehensible’, as protesters prepare to block access routes

Protesters plan to take advantage of the decision to hold this week’s G20 summit in a crowded inner-city area of Hamburg and copy police crowd control tactics to “kettle Trump, Putin and Erdoğan”.

Authorities in Germany’s second-largest city are preparing for the arrival of an unprecedented line-up of controversial world leaders, as well as protest groups eager to voice dissent on 7 and 8 July.

Continue reading...

Donald Trump may make 'sneak' visit to UK within fortnight

The Guardian | Protest -

Anti-Trump protesters on high alert after it emerges that Downing Street is braced for snap presidential visit

Anti-Donald Trump protesters are preparing to spring into action at short notice, after it emerged that Downing Street is braced for a snap visit from the US president in the next two weeks.

A formal state visit, which was expected to take place over the summer, was postponed last month, amid fears that it could be disrupted by mass protests, despite Theresa May extending the invitation personally when she visited the White House late last year.

Continue reading...

Portland Republicans to use militia for security as far-right rallies continue

The Guardian | Protest -

Controversial move to enlist armed militia groups for public events comes amid tension between far-right and anti-fascist protesters

Brawls and verbal confrontations punctuated the latest in a series of far-right “patriot movement” events in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, as around 100 attendees clashed verbally and occasionally physically with “anti-fascist” protesters.

In such an atmosphere of tension and violence, Portland Republicans voted this week to invite heavily armed militia groups to provide security at public events.

Related: Member of Portland militia-style group helps police arrest anti-fascist protester

Related: Portland's dark history of white supremacy

Continue reading...