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Duelo de movimientos rivales sobre el futuro de Brasil

Waging Nonviolence -

by Marianna Olinger

Mujeres en la V Marcha Anual de Margarida en Brasil el 13 de agosto (Mídia NINJA)

This article is also available in English.

En las últimas semanas, los principales medios de comunicación han reproducido la narrativa de que la crisis política en Brasil es el resultado de la corrupción interna y la falta de crecimiento económico en el último año, cuestión que se ha atribuído al Partido de los Trabajadores, o PT. Las acusaciones de corrupción fueron vertidas por una investigación — conocida como Lava Jato, o Limpieza de Coche — que mantiene que existe un número de directores de la compañía petrolera estatal Petrobras acusados de aceptar sobornos de empresas constructoras y de canalizar fondos a los partidos de la coalición gobernante. Sin embargo, lo que rara vez se menciona es que Brasil está viviendo, una vez más, una división histórica. Una parte de la población quiere girar a la izquierda y otra a la derecha.

La compleja situación es mucho más ideológica que la mayoría de los comentaristas reconocen. Algunos creen que la presidenta Dilma Rousseff y el Partido de los Trabajadores no han estado siguiendo los dictados del neoliberalismo con suficiente atención, mientras que otros sostienen lo contrario — que las corporaciones tienen demasiado poder.

Las últimas elecciones presidenciales brasileñas tuvieron lugar en Octubre de 2014. La presidenta Rousseff fue reelegida en una segunda vuelta contra su contrincario Aécio Neves — líder del PSDB, el partido del ex presidente Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Este partido se originó como un partido de izquierda socialdemócrata pero llegó a ser uno de los principales representantes del lobby bancario y de las políticas de consenso de Washington en el país. La elección fue una victoria estrecha para Rousseff, y algunos sostienen que no habría sido reelegida si los movimientos sociales de izquierda no se hubiesen decidido a apoyarla en el último minuto — como lo hicieron — cuando se enfrentaban a la posibilidad de tener retrocesos neoliberales a su cargo.

Mientras los movimientos sociales tuvieron éxito ayudando a reelegir a la presidenta Rousseff, los resultados de las elecciones legislativas fueron un desastre para los que luchan por la justicia social. Brasil eligió al Congreso más conservador y a favor de la empresa desde el fin de la dictadura militar en la década de 1980. En sus primeros seis meses la cámara baja ultraconservadora ha votado en contra de poner fin a la financiación de campañas políticas por parte de empresas, y en favor del aumento de la externalización de servicios, la reducción de la edad penal de 18 a 16 años de edad, y finalmente, el 12 de agosto, una ley antiterrorista que abre el camino a una mayor criminalización de los movimientos sociales. Pero todavía no han terminado: han conseguido pasar dos proyectos de ley contra los que los movimientos sociales han luchado durante años: uno en relación a la neutralidad de la red y otro en relación a la limitación de la venta y uso de armas por parte de civiles. Ambos son los siguientes a revisar en la legislatura.

La situación no es sencilla. Si bien es cierto que los gobiernos del Partido de los Trabajadores han sido los responsables de importantes avances relacionados con la justicia social desde el primer mandato el ex presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, iniciado en 2002, también han seguido recetas neoliberales en materia económica y financiera. Los movimientos sociales no se encuentran particularmente satisfechos de que los beneficios empresariales se hayan disparado mientras que muchas personas todavía luchan por la comida, la educación básica, la vivienda, el transporte y la salud. Además, los conflictos por la tierra, que de manera desproporcionada victimizan a los más vulnerables — poblaciones pobres, negros e indígenas — tanto en las zonas rurales como en las urbanas se están intensificando.

Un enfrentamiento ideológico

Hay un montón de razones para que los brasileños se sientan descontentos con el estado actual de las cosas. Ambos grupos, de derecha y de izquierda, han llevado sus reclamos a las calles. La izquierda en Brasil — como en la mayoría de las partes del mundo — es diversa, fragmentada y, a menudo, está bastante en desacuerdo con las tácticas y estrategias a seguir. Movimientos sociales organizados — incluyendo sindicatos, estudiantes, Movimiento de los Trabajadores Sin Tierra, o MST, y los Sin Hogar, o MTST — han estado protestando sin parar desde junio de 2013, cuando las protestas por el transporte gratuíto llevaron a millones de personas a las calles. Estas marchas predominantemente de color rojo atrayeron menos atención de los medios de comunicación. Aunque no sean necesariamente a favor del gobierno, sin duda están en contra del proceso de prevaricación que ha sido demandado por la oposición conservadora amiga de las corporaciones.

A pesar de no estar siempre de acuerdo sobre la forma de posicionarse en relación con el presidente o la coalición de gobierno, los movimientos tienden a ponerse de acuerdo sobre cuestiones relacionadas con la justicia social, la necesidad de una mejor distribución de la riqueza, la reforma agraria, la desmilitarización de la policía, la democratización de los medios de comunicación, y el fin de la financiación corporativa de las campañas políticas — cuestiones que podríamos decir contribuirían a un país más de izquierdas. Ni que decir tiene que los bancos de propiedad privada y la mayoría de las corporaciones multinacionales no apoyan tal giro.

Una marcha a favor de la destitución en São Paulo el 15 de agosto (Mídia NINJA / Jornalistas Livres)(WNV/Mídia NINJA)

Por otro lado, las protestas a favor de la destitución, que a menudo exigen el retorno del régimen militar, han llamado la atención por su uso nacionalista de los colores verde y amarillo de la bandera de Brasil y por cómo sus militantes llevan camisetas de la selección nacional de fútbol. Estos eventos han sido liderados por grupos de derecha ultraconservadora, aunque hay grupos contrarios al gobierno que no se ajustan a esta descripción. Las protestas parecen ser una respuesta al crecimiento de los movimientos sociales de izquierda en las calles y las políticas dirigidas directamente a los más necesitados.

Si se analizan detenidamente los números y frecuencia de las acciones, es difícil decir si las protestas rojas son más pequeñas o más grandes que las de sus contrapartes verdes y amarillos. En cuanto al perfil socioeconómico de los participantes, los que están en las protestas contra el gobierno son predominantemente gente blanca y de clase media o media alta, mientras que los participantes anti-destitución y pro-protestas sociales tienden a ser predominantemente de clase trabajadora, con muchos participantes negros, de raza mixta e indígenas. Quizás sea por ello que las protestas parecen estar haciéndose eco de los resultados ajustados de las últimas elecciones nacionales. Algunos de los puntos clave en disputa en las elecciones están, una vez más, debatiéndose.

Lo que la cobertura nacional e internacional convencional no ha reconocido es que las marchas pro-destitución a menudo se asemejan demasiado a las manifestaciones pro-fascistas y dictatoriales en la medida en que alaban discursos racistas, misóginos y agresivos. El número de personas que piden un golpe militar está minimizado aunque los grupos más prominentes que lideran estas marchas abiertamente defiendan este enfoque. Algunos de ellos se han puesto en contacto muy de cerca con la Asociación Nacional del Rifle en los Estados Unidos en su cruzada por aumentar la militarización y el uso de armas de fuego entre la población civil en Brasil.

En una marcha a favor de la destitución, en São Paulo, el 15 de marzo, un hombre sostiene un cartel que dice: “Prefiero limpiar aseos que venderme a mí mismo por un mísero subsidio” refiriéndose a la Bolsa Familia, programa de renta básica del gobierno. (Jornalistas Livres / Alice Vergueiro)

Brasil ha sido reconocida internacionalmente por su programa de transferencia condicional de dinero — principal logro del Partido de los Trabajadores desde 2002 — que rescató de la pobreza extrema a más de 20 millones de personas desde sus inicios. Independientemente de este hecho, existe una opinión generalizada entre las clases media y media-alta acerca que el programa es un intento populista de garantizar que el Partido de los Trabajadores se mantenga en el poder. Para los sectores más conservadores de la sociedad, que han encontrado un espacio para expresar sus preocupaciones en las marchas verdes y amarillas, el Partido de los Trabajadores destruyó Brasil dando dinero fácil a los pobres perezosos y lo inundó con la corrupción — ambos son algunos de los carteles que se encuentran en sus marchas.

A menudo también argumentan que “los únicos criminales buenos son los que están muertos,” y que el número de policías — vergonzosamente conocidos por ser de los más violentos del mundo, responsables de miles de muertes cada año — debe aumentarse para proteger a los “buenos ciudadanos.”  Signos de advertencia contra la “amenaza comunista” pueden encontrarse regularmente en las manifestaciones a favor de la destitución. Otras consignas racistas, misóginas y fascistas también se observan en varias ocasiones en las marchas descritas por The Guardian como eventos familiares “de buen humor.” La cobertura del New York Times de la misma marcha “carnavalesca” reconoció los discursos violentos — que incluían un llamado para que la presidenta “se suicidase” y regresase el gobierno militar — pero retrató esos discursos como excepcionales.

Esperanza, pero no garantía

El 13 de agosto, pocos días antes de las dos manifestaciones nacionales más recientes a favor y en contra de la destitución, 100.000 mujeres campesinas junto a la Coalición Nacional de los Trabajadores de la Agricultura y otros 12 movimientos asociados organizaron su quinta manifestación anual en Brasilia sin contar con cobertura en los principales medios de comunicación. Durante el evento — llamado “La marcha de Margarida,” como un homenaje a Margarida Maria Alves, ex activista sindical asesinada en 1983 por un cacique en la región norte del país — los movimientos sociales manifestaron su apoyo a la presidenta Rousseff y el Partido de los Trabajadores, en la medida que se estaba impulsando su propia agenda.

“La marcha de las Margaritas” acercándose al Congreso en Brasilia el 13 de agosto (Mídia NINJA)

En particular, activistas de derechos humanos se han asustado con la ola conservadora en el Congreso, que — impulsada por los lobbies de armas y seguridad privada — han estado trabajando duro para garantizar que su agenda consiga prioridad en el gobierno. Los movimientos sociales y activistas han estado buscando constantemente maneras más creativas de involucrar a la población mediante la construcción de narrativas que apunten a posibles maneras de salir de la crisis actual, demandando una cultura de la solidaridad y apoyo colectivo. Festivales de arte y cultura también han sido organizados por los movimientos sociales que han hecho salir a decenas de miles de personas en ciudades de todo el país, como se ha visto en las últimas semanas, con poca o ninguna cobertura en los medios de comunicación del país.

El 13 de agosto, por primera vez desde que la presidenta Rousseff comenzó su segundo mandato, tuvo una reunión abierta con los dirigentes de diversos movimientos sociales. La reunión fue parte de un esfuerzo para ampliar el diálogo con los movimientos sociales, que expresaron su descontento con la falta de comunicación con la presidenta. Los movimientos quieren el programa que se les prometió durante su campaña. “Fue esa agenda la que hemos elegido,” dijo Alexandre Conceição, uno de los coordinadores del Movimiento de los Trabajadores Sin Tierra cuando se dirigió a la presidenta durante la reunión. “Las políticas de ajuste actuales que han sido presentadas por su gobierno no son lo que hemos votado a favor. Este programa económico es neoliberal.”

Vagner Freitas, presidente de la Coalición del Sindicato de Trabajadores, o CUT, la mayor confederación de sindicatos del país, fue enfático en que la única forma para que la economía se recuperare es mediante la ampliación de la asistencia social. “El ajuste fiscal debería reducir los impuestos de los pobres y aumentar los de los más ricos,” dijo, cuando se dirigió a la presidenta. “Las personas en esta sala son las que tienen el poder de transformar este país; el mercado no es el que va a garantizar la gobernabilidad.”

Banderas de la Coalición del Sindicato de los Trabajadores o CUT ondean en la multitud cuando el portavoz de la facción de jóvenes del Movimiento de los Sin Tierra, Levante Popular, habla en la marcha en contra de la destitución en Río de Janeiro el 20 de agosto (Mídia NINJA)

El presidente de la Coalición Nacional de Estudiantes, o UNE, Carina Vitral, expresó la preocupación de los movimientos con la ley antiterrorista aprobada recientemente, que — entre otras cosas — legaliza encarcelar a personas por “bloquear el tráfico” en las calles. Eleonice Sacramento, un representante de la Coalición Nacional de Pescadoras Artesanales habló por la protección de las comunidades tradicionales, incluídos los grupos indígenas y sus territorios, el conocimiento y la cultura. Ellos están siendo cada vez mas atacados por las industrias agroalimentarias y mineras, lo que supone un aumento significativo de los conflictos por la tierra en el norte de Brasil.

“Las personas que están pidiendo la destitución no representan al pueblo brasileño,” dijo Guilherme Boulos, el coordinador del Movimiento de los Trabajadores sin Techo, que ha sido responsable de algunas de las mayores protestas desde 2013 basándose en las ocupaciones de tierras baldías y edificios organizadas en las zonas urbanas. “Los pobres no pagarán por la crisis económica.” Luego hizo un llamado por la tributación del 1 por ciento y advirtió a la presidenta Rousseff que la única manera de salir de la crisis es “a través de la izquierda.”

¿Qué se viene?

El 20 de agosto, como respuesta a las protestas a favor de la destitución, más de dos docenas de movimientos sociales salieron a las calles de nuevo. Los organizadores de la marcha estimaron que más de 100.000 personas participaron en manifestaciones en una docena de ciudades. São Paulo presenció la manifestación más grande, con aproximadamente 60.000 personas en las calles. En contraste con la Marcha de la Margarida de la semana anterior, estas acciones no se unificaron en torno a la presidenta. Incluso la UNE, a la que a menudo se la acusa de defender ciegamente gobierno del Partido de los Trabajadores, expresó: “Hemos venido aquí para decir que este gobierno tiene que estar más conectado con la gente y no estamos de acuerdo con los ajustes que dieron lugar a recortes en el presupuesto de la educación,” señaló Vitral en su discurso durante la protesta.

Además de los movimientos más grandes que llevaron estas manifestaciones, grupos comunitarios más pequeños se unieron a las marchas. En São Paulo, un grupo de Osasco en escena un espectáculo de llamar la atención sobre la violencia policial persistente, que dejó 18 muertos el 13 de agosto en otra masacre llevada a cabo por agentes de la policía en las afueras de la capital del estado.

Los manifestantes llevan carteles en homenaje a las personas que murieron en la masacre dirigida por agentes de la policía en la marcha contra la destitución de São Paulo el 20 de agosto (Midia NINJA)

Adriana Magalhães, portavoz de prensa de la CUT en São Paulo, describe la organización de las manifestaciones del 20 de agosto como un ejercicio para encontrar la unidad entre los grupos con diferentes puntos de vista en una entrevista recién creada de la red de periodistas independientes Jornalistas Livres. “Lo que nos une es la idea de que otra política económica es posible, una que no afecte negativamente a los trabajadores, como las políticas de ajuste propuestas por el ministro Levy,” explicó. Levy, actual ministro de Finanzas, fue el presidente del segundo banco privado más grande de Brasil antes de unirse al gobierno, y que había sido blanco de los movimientos sociales.

Si bien los reclamos de corrupción procedentes de la investigación de Lava Jato siguen dominando los medios de comunicación, es poco probable que lleven a la destitución de la presidenta ya que 28 de los 32 partidos políticos en Brasil recibieron fondos de corporaciones acusadas de corrupción en este caso, incluyendo los principales partidos de la oposición de la derecha.

En este punto, la gran pregunta para la izquierda es cómo sumar en torno a un proyecto democrático que está orientado hacia la justicia social y la distribución razonable de la riqueza en un país que está dividido por el prejuicio, el elitismo y el racismo — además de enfrentar la corrupción sistémica alimentada por intereses privados de las corporaciones.

Una Conferencia Nacional de los Pueblos, convocada por los movimientos sociales, partidos y activistas independientes de izquierdas, se llevará a cabo en Belo Horizonte el 5 de septiembre. La conferencia pretende ser el lanzamiento nacional de un frente de izquierdas para construir una agenda positiva que contrarreste a los movimientos de derecha, de acuerdo con un comunicado de prensa anunciando el evento.

La realidad es que nadie parece tener la respuesta. Mientras que los artistas, activistas y otros progresistas siguen buscando maneras creativas para resolver el rompecabezas actual, la naturaleza cuasi esquizofrénica de la actual coalición de gobierno — que pretende gobernar para los menos privilegiados, pero sigue facilitando beneficios sin precedentes para los bancos y otros poderes corporativos — no está haciendo que esto sea una tarea fácil.

Como el mundo está siendo testigo, hay un montón de gente en las calles de Brasil en este momento, pero no hay unidad en torno a lo que quieren. Si Rousseff no se compromete seriamente con la izquierda — que garantizó su reelección — en última instancia, será más vulnerable a las maniobras de destitución del Congreso más conservador en la historia reciente de Brasil.

Illegal torture equipment – right on your doorstep! The adverts shaming Britain’s arms trade

The Guardian | Protest -

Brightly coloured posters and cheery animations highlight a huge international arms fair in London. But these campaigns are not all that they seem at first glance

“Horrific killer drones! Ankle-shattering leg irons! Cluster bombs! And electric stun batons that cause excruciating pain but leave no trace!” The cheery voice and cartoon imagery leave no doubt that this advert for the world’s biggest arms fair is a sharp spoof, produced for Amnesty International to highlight the British government’s willingness to flog weapons to repressive regimes via the Defence and Security Equipment International’s jamboree at the ExCeL Centre in London’s Docklands.

Related: DSEI weapons fair: authoritarian regimes descend on London

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Facebook doesn’t understand that there’s no one-click shortcut to empathy | Roman Krznaric

The Guardian | Protest -

Mark Zuckerberg’s latest innovation, an ‘empathy’ button, represents the worst kind of digital slacktivism and is no substitute for genuine action

Mark Zuckerberg has just announced Facebook’s latest innovation: the introduction of an “empathy” button as an alternative to the thumbs-up “Like” icon that accompanies every post. The plan, he says, is to create “a quick way to emote” so people can register their response to anything from personal tragedies such as a death in the family to political tragedies such as the refugee crisis.

Related: Forget 'Dislike' – here are 12 new buttons Facebook really needs

There’s evidence that the more Facebook interactions people have, the more narcissistic they’re likely to be

Related: Social media’s a trap, but I can’t bear to get out | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

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Can Donald Trump help spark a progressive movement?

Waging Nonviolence -

by Kate Aronoff

A rally at the Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C., in July. (Flickr / Elvert Barnes)

The two front-runners for the GOP nomination are men without any governing experience to their names. Along with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, real estate magnate and reigning media gadfly Donald Trump has for the last several weeks enjoyed a solid margin in the polls among Republicans. Now holding 40 percent support among Republicans in New Hampshire, Trump is galvanizing an unlikely cadre of right-wing nationalists, formal white supremacist organizations and ordinary, working-class whites under an inspiring call to “make America great again.” Beyond the clearly toxic implications of a Trump presidency on poor communities and communities of color the world over, what can his rise teach progressives?

Dutch political scientist Cas Mudde rightly compared Trump to Europe’s emergent right-wing nationalists, people such as France’s Marine Le Pen and the UK Independence Party in Britain. Like other xenophobic populists, Trump’s ideology is schizophrenic: an advocate of both higher taxes for Wall Street and a draconian immigration plan to deport virtually anyone guilty of being brown north of the Rio Grande. Part of his ability to ruffle even the Tea Party establishment’s feathers is his near-complete disregard for convention. According to Mudde, “Trumpismo can be seen as a functional equivalent of the European populist radical right, but it is a very American equivalent. Trump himself doesn’t hold a populist radical right ideology, but his political campaign clearly caters to populist radical right attitudes.” Mudde also contends that Trump can’t fully claim the populist label for one important reason: He doesn’t actually like people. Mudde reasons that, “In contrast to the rich history of U.S. populism” — people like George Wallace and William Jennings Bryan — “Trump is an anti-establishment elitist. He is better than everyone, i.e. both the elite and the people!”

Ernesto Laclau, a deceased and semi-obscure Argentine critical theorist, wrote extensively on the dynamics of populism, which he describes not as an ideology so much as “a set of resources available to a plurality of actors, in a more or less systematic way.” While Mudde notes that Trump breaks some of the rules of populism, its real power is the fact that there are no rules. Rather, Trump has simply picked up a set of tools available to the rest of us.

Leaders of the European populist parties Syriza and Podemos each studied his work extensively in building their electoral might, lifting his theories into the realm of practice to confront plutocracy. For a U.S. audience, Laclau’s writing can help explain populism in our own country — from Trumpismo to whatever rising left populism progressives might hope to foment. Whereas in Spain and Greece populist outfits defined their enemy as austerity-friendly elites (La Casta, for Podemos), Trump has most notably riled his devotees against immigrants and the U.S. political establishment and toward a shared desire of “making America great again,” using the kind of victimizing narrative reactionary right forces have come to love. As New Republic writer Elizabeth Stocker Bruenig wrote on Twitter last week, “So much of Trump’s appeal seems to be that he’s rich enough to be mean to the people suburban dads would like to be mean to.”

Laclau grounds his theories in dusting off crowd theory, a literature that emerged in the century after the French Revolution to explain what happens when massive numbers of people come together — in that case, to overthrow the country’s aristocracy. Often, crowd theorists treat their subjects like a disorderly band of children. Nineteenth-century French sociologist Gabriel Tarde described them as “excessively emotional, impulsive, violent, fickle, inconsistent, irresolute and extreme in action, displaying only the coarser emotions and the less refined sentiments,” and so on. Reflecting on the same period, a contemporary thinker wrote that “crowds, as described by late-nineteenth century French men, resembled alcoholics or women.”

Although populism might seem to hold an obvious appeal for progressives, liberal and far-left forces have fallen into their own brand of crowd-hating. Socialist organizations even decried Occupy for its populism. A “Marxist assessment of Occupy Wall Street” released by the League of the Revolutionary Party in 2012 moaned that the movement “put forward a populist view of the crisis, which failed to identify the capitalist system as a whole, including its state, as the enemy; nor did it promote any clear understanding of the class forces at work.” Writing around the same time, the Socialist Alternative lamented “the limitations of populism and the need for clear working-class and socialist policies.” For shame!

Contra both, the 99 percent versus the 1 percent might be the most endearing frame progressives have produced in the last half-century. And while the movement did yield concrete victories, its far-right counterpart was what ultimately shifted America’s electoral context toward an anti-establishment pole.

Writing in 2004 — well before the Tea Party captured the heart of the GOP — Laclau warned that it would be “pure illusion” to assume that the Republican party’s “long-term defeat could take place without some kind of drastic rearticulation of the political imaginary.” While insurgent energy from both the left (Occupy) and the right (the Tea Party) cropped up in response to a botched bipartisan response to the financial crisis, only the latter diverted a major party’s political make-up toward its fringe. Look, for instance, at the frontrunners from the 2008 presidential race at this time in 2007: Mike Huckabee stood out as the far-right radical of a bunch that included long-time governor Mitt Romney, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and seasoned Congressmen John McCain. His pick for vice president, Mama Grizzly cum-(former) Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, was a woman ahead of her time in terms of crass, homespun appeal.

Better than any extra-institutional force, the Tea Party has provided the “drastic rearticulation” of American electoral politics Laclau called for. Importantly, this was stoked not only by charismatic candidates, but a thriving, genuinely grassroots movement propped up by more than just hearty checks from the Koch Brothers. In their study of the Tea Party, researchers Theda Skocpol, Venessa Williamson and John Coggin linked its rise to three key factors: grassroots mobilization networks, organized through churches and other community institutions; the support of funders and older, institutionalized players outside of the Republican establishment, in think tanks such as the CATO Institute; as well as a conservative media positioned to “inspire a shared identity.”

Drawing from sociologist Debra Minkoff, they wrote, “Rather than serving a journalistic, or even propagandistic function, Fox News in effect acts as a national social movement organization.” With regular, favorable coverage, Fox “provid[ed] a venue for the leading voices, articulating a sense of pride and power among conservatives … and spreading information about how people could get involved in national occasions to display solidarity and collective voice.” While Trump is hardly a strict Tea Party candidate, his emergence would have been impossible without it, and — to focus on one factor — the formation of a shared identity that holds collective action at its core. However reactionary it may be, Trump is capitalizing on an identity category big enough not only to hold backwoods neo-Nazis and suburban soccer moms, but invite them out to the same rallies to wear the same silly hats, be they tri-cornered or Trump’s signature baseball caps.

It’s the sort of seemingly vague universalism that progressives have shied away from, fearing an imprecise analysis of the problem at hand. Trump’s populist discourse might even be more effective than the Tea Party precisely because it lacks a strict ideology. “The language of a populist discourse — whether of left or right — is always going to be imprecise and fluctuating,” Laclau wrote, “because it tries to operate performatively within a social reality, which is to a large extent heterogenous and fluctuating. I see this moment of vagueness and imprecision … as an essential component of any populist operation.”

The Tea Party may have laid the groundwork for Trump, but there’s a deeper crisis of legitimacy felt as much among progressives as reactionary whites. In some ways, Bernie Sanders has been the left’s answer to Trump in taking on America’s entrenched political class, all the way down to his charmingly unpolished Brooklyn accent. But it would be hard to argue that left-of-Hillary Democrats have undergone the same complex process of consolidation as their right-leaning counterparts. Nor are they operating from the same complex infrastructure that Trump has built his support on.

Still, given the success and legacy of the 99 percent framing, it’s not as if we’re starting from scratch. From Occupy to the movement for black lives, young American progressives — self-identified or not — are coalescing against extreme racial and economic inequality, and a loss of control over the political agenda. Uniting these and other millennial movements around a shared and politically forceful identity may yet mean getting comfortable with a certain amount of analytical imprecision, and talking seriously about shared values rather than ideology. Identity formation included, there are more than a few steps between here and a left-leaning answer to the Tea Party and Trump, but a growing impulse toward collective action is giving us a head start toward building a real, militant progressive movement in the United States.

Refugees Cross Croatia Border in Search of New Route

Revolution News -

First bus with refugees arrived at the Serbo -Croatian border at around 4 AM (local time). In the hours after that more buses arrived, all from Preševo, a city close to the border of Serbia and Macedonia. During the night around 140 refugees crossed to Croatia from Serbia. Until 13 hours (local time) at least 320 Read More

The post Refugees Cross Croatia Border in Search of New Route appeared first on revolution-news.com.

Femen protesters target 'women in Islam' conference in France – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Two topless Femen activists with slogans on their bodies disrupt the speech of two imams during a Muslim conference focused on women in Islam, held in Pontoise, north-west Paris, on Saturday. The two women are dragged from the stage and kicked at one point by security guards. Both activists are in custody according to Femen

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Femen's topless condescension towards Muslim women only helps sexism | Susan Carland

The Guardian | Protest -

Islam doesn’t require women to love misogyny as a religious duty – not that Femen would know. Muslim women are capable of standing up for ourselves

In an old parable, some people gather in a dark room in which there’s an elephant. They’re asked to describe it. One, who can touch only the elephant’s trunk, argues the elephant is like a tree branch. The one who can only feel its tail claims the elephant is like a rope. The people begin to argue amongst themselves about what is correct, and the parable reveals its wisdom when someone lights a candle and all see the elephant – and their incomplete perception – for what it really was.

Related: A gloriously crude topless 'jihad' from a Femen activist | Jonathan Jones

Related: If Femen was set up by a man, where does that leave its topless protests? | Bim Adewunmi

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Lecce: Binario68 evicted, ex post office occupied

House Occupation News -

Binario 68, an eclectic squat born in March 2014 in a huge disused tobacco factory in the suburbs of Lecce, was evicted by cops and Digos in the early hours of Wednesday 2nd September. After a year and a half of initiatives, meetings, talks, concerts, parties, exhibitions, tattoo circuses and other activities, the occupiers were thrown out of their home by the usual bastards in uniform, but not before resisting till the end.

A spontaneous demo through the centre of the town, a confrontation with the mayor of Lecce in the corridors of the town hall, a lot of noise and rubbish bins upturned on pavements following the intervention of the cops, as many people arrived in solidarity from all over the province. The day ended with the occupation of another abandoned building, just to show how the Binario 68 squatters, however varied a group they are, don’t like the city of Lecce, its luxury shops and restaurants, prudish citizens, political leaders, radical chic leftists, historic centre transformed into a disgusting shop window for rich shoppers, cops, cameras, fascists, and so on.

That’s why they had decided to occupy the tobacco factory and lift it from the state of degradation characteristic of the city suburbs, a place where their desires and ideas could be expressed and experienced in ways quite different to those of the wealthy bourgeoisie, characteristic of Lecce’s high streets. The Binario 68 squatters didn’t waste time: they occupied another place on the very day that the authorities evicted them; and two days later they moved to a bigger and brighter squat.

Here is what the squatters themselves say:

After the eviction of Binario68, our immediate response to the heinous police repression was to occupy an ex post office situated on Via Leuca. During the two days we occupied the building we had a lot of discussion, trying to imagine a place where it would be possible to create some long-term projectuality.
Taking these days as a temporary stage, we made an effort to find a place that suited our needs and those of the city. We feel the urge to stay close to it so as to involve everyone, be they people in solidarity with us or just curious about In order to be a presence in the area.
So we identified a new place, this one also long abandoned and forgotten. It is an ex slaughter house situated in Via San Nicola, the same site that had caused widespread indignation for being a real open air rubbish dump. It is important to be many to collaborate in sorting out the space, so we invite anyone willing to bring solidarity to help us with the work.
There will be cleaning up inside the place the whole day.
At 1.30pm collective lunch, at 7pm open meeting and from 9pm DJ sets.

WE ARE OCCUPYING YET AGAIN, CONTINUING TO DO WHAT WE’VE ALWAYS DONE AGAINST AUTHORITY AND REPRESSION.
FOR SELF-MANAGEMENT AND FOR THE STRUGGLE!

http://actforfree.nostate.net/?p=21052

39 Refugees Including 15 Children and 4 Babies Drown in Mediterranean

Revolution News -

GENEVA, Sept 15 (UNHCR) – Tragedy marked the Mediterranean again this past weekend as two more boats capsized in Greek waters, killing 39 people, including 15 children and four babies. The boats, which capsized on Saturday and Sunday off the coast of Farmakonisi and Samos, had Syrians, Iraqis and other people fleeing war and conflict Read More

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What does a book have to do with a movement?

Waging Nonviolence -

by Victoria Law

View image | gettyimages.com

California prisoners are calling it a victory. Their attorneys and family members are calling it a “landmark settlement.” Even the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, or CDCR, is calling it a step in the right direction.

On September 1, advocates announced that there was a settlement in the class-action lawsuit Ashker v. Governor of California. Filed in 2012, the lawsuit followed two mass prison hunger strikes which rocked California’s prison system. Both the strikes and the ensuing lawsuit challenged the CDCR’s policy of sending people to the Security Housing Unit, or SHU, for indefinite periods of time on allegations of gang affiliation. Until recently, one of the few ways to be released from the SHU was to debrief, or provide information about the gang in question and incriminate others, who were then placed in the SHU. The other ways were to parole or to die.

The same year that Ashker was filed, CDCR began changing its criteria for SHU placement. It also unveiled its Step Down Program, which served as an alternative to debriefing. Under Step Down, each person imprisoned in the SHU for gang affiliation is reviewed and assigned to one of five steps, with each step allowing more privileges and contact with other people.

The following year, dissatisfied with the changes, prisoners again went on hunger strike. On July 8, 2013, over 30,000 people in California’s prison system refused meals. The strike lasted for 60 days, although the number of participants decreased sharply over those two months. Two years later, they are declaring victory with a settlement that agrees to place people who have spent 10 or more years in the SHU in either general population or a new restrictive custody general population facility which, although more restrictive, will still allow for in-person interaction, group programming and contact visits with loved ones. The settlement also places a five-year limit on placement in the SHU at Pelican Bay State Prison, where many had spent years, and sometimes decades, in isolation. Under the settlement, CDCR has one year to implement these changes, but attorneys predict that changes will come quicker than that.

What does a book have to do with all of these changes?

Todd Ashker is one of the leaders of the Pelican Bay hunger strikers. He is also the lead plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit. He has spent more than 20 years in Pelican Bay’s SHU and was placed there in 1990, less than one year after the prison opened. He had already been in isolation for four years before that.

Sometime between 2008 and 2009, Ashker managed to get his hands on “Nothing But an Unfinished Song: Bobby Sands, the Irish Hunger Striker Who Inspired a Generation.” Sands, an Irish political prisoner, died in 1981 after a 66-day hunger strike protesting British rule in northern Ireland. The following year, despite being kept in separate 11-by-7 foot cells, Ashker discussed the idea of a hunger strike and the rights of man with others along the prison’s corridor. Based on those conversations, he compiled what he called a “formal complaint,” which he sent to legislators and the CDCR. “It received very little response,” he recalled in a 2011 letter. “CDCR’s response was ‘File a grievance, if you haven’t already.'”

From their isolated cells, they followed the work strike erupting throughout Georgia’s prison system and the hunger strike on Ohio’s death row. They shouted down the corridor to the others locked in their isolated cells. “They soon agreed, something had to be done,” described Ashker. “It was agreed, a peaceful protest via hunger strike was our best option, the goal being to expose the illegal policies and practices to the mainstream media (and thereby masses of people), and with outside support, pressure, force meaningful change.”

On July 1, 2011, they launched the first of three hunger strikes, demanding an end to California’s SHU policies and better prison conditions. That first strike spread to 13 prisons and, at its height, had 6,600 participants. The rest, as they say, is history.

Books have always made a difference, particularly to those behind bars. The most famous example is that of Malcolm X who attributes his transformation to reading first the dictionary and then anything he could get his hands on in his prison cell. “Anyone who has read a great deal can imagine the new world that opened. Let me tell you something: from then until I left that prison, in every free moment I had, if I was not reading in the library, I was reading on my bunk. You couldn’t have gotten me out of books with a wedge,” he recalled in his autobiography. “In fact, up to then, I never had been so truly free in my life.”

More recently, the Huffington Post profiled poet Reginald Dwayne Betts, who was placed in solitary confinement because the jail lacked space for incoming adolescents. A book by James Baldwin sustained him through his 10 days in isolation. Two years later, while in solitary confinement (again), someone slid Dudley Randall’s “The Black Poets” under his cell door. Betts was 18 years old. The book changed his life. “From that point on, I decided that I was going to be a poet.” Now age 34, he has since published a memoir about coming of age in prison, written two books of poetry, gone on to get his undergraduate and MFA degrees, and is finishing law school.

Books can be a lifeline to people in prison. That lifeline doesn’t always get profiled — not every person becomes an award-winning poet or writer, stages headline-grabbing mass hunger strikes, or becomes a legacy. But for people locked away, sometimes without human contact and sometimes with all-too-much human contact, books can provide a pathway to possibilities.

When I was a teenager, I saw this happen again and again. Several of my friends had joined gangs and, with easy access to money, dropped out of the high schools that weren’t doing very much for them anyway. They were scornful of reading and anything that smacked of formal education. If I tried to read around them, they would literally smack the book out of my hand.

But then, they got arrested and, lacking the thousands necessary for bail, were sent to Rikers Island, New York City’s island jail complex. They spent months behind bars waiting for their day in court. In the meantime, there was very little to do and so these same friends, who had not too long ago made fun of me for reading and discouraged their girlfriends from applying to college, were now asking me for reading material. I brought books with me each time I went to visit, waiting the extra 20 minutes between being processed as a visitor and leaving the paperbacks at the package window. These same friends, who had seen formal education as a waste of time, went on to get their GEDs and, before President Bill Clinton and Congress cut Pell grants to prisoners, started taking college courses.

Seeing the impact that books had behind jail and prison walls, I spent nearly every Sunday for the next 14 years sending books to people in prison across the nation. It started in 1996 when people involved with the Lower East Side anarchist bookstore Blackout Books and the Nightcrawlers Anarchist Black Cross (not to be confused with the present-day Anarchist Black Cross based in Brooklyn) invited me to help them set up Books Through Bars — NYC. The group would send free books and other reading material to people imprisoned in the tri-state area as well as women and juveniles across the country.

A volunteer with Books Through Bars wrapping a dictionary to be sent to a prisoner. (Facebook)

The original intent was to send history and political materials that would probably not be found on the shelves of prison libraries. But demand for books was huge and, despite our announcements specifying that the group’s focus was on women, juveniles and people in the tri-state area, we were soon receiving mountains of mail from adult men incarcerated in California and Texas, which have the nation’s largest prison population.

Over those 14 years, Books Through Bars grew into its own organization, partially because the Nightcrawlers disappeared within a year and Blackout Books closed its doors in 2000. As prison populations continued to grow and budgets for luxuries such as books shrank (if they even existed in the first place), more and more requests came in. People wanted reading material — some to temporarily escape the walls, some to learn more about their heritage, history and culture, some to educate themselves about the social and political forces that impacted their lives.

Dictionaries were the most popular request. They never stayed on the shelves for more than a few hours and there was often a manila envelope stuffed with letters from people whose sole request was a dictionary. It was not unusual to get a request for a dictionary with a postscript from his cellmate who actually wrote the letter because the person was unable to read or write. It was heartbreaking to open a letter from a person who had been locked up for years and no longer had contact with the outside world. It was horrifying to find letters in the four-month backlog from women who were seven months pregnant and needed a pregnancy book because no one told them what to expect.

Most of the time, the other volunteers and I searched the shelves for the appropriate books, wrapped them in brown paper, addressed them and sent them off. Sometimes we received thank you letters. I remember sending a memoir of a Muslim girl growing up post-9/11 to a white woman incarcerated in Oklahoma. She wrote back, thanking us for the book and explaining that it had made her think beyond the anti-Muslim hysteria that the news had been broadcasting. Another woman, who had requested material on HIV/AIDS, was using them to strengthen a peer education program to not only prevent the spread of HIV, but also to combat the prevailing stigma. One letter was particularly chilling — in 2002, a volunteer responded to a request by Stan Baker, then on death row in Texas. “I’m going to be executed May 30, but I’d like you to know that those books will give me much pleasure in the days remaining to me,” he wrote. By the time we opened the letter, it was summer; we immediately raced to the computer and searched the internet. He had been dead for several weeks.

Sending a book to someone in prison always makes a difference. At the very least, it allows them to escape their surroundings for a few hours or gives them relief in their remaining hours. Sometimes it inspires people to explore opportunities they had never known existed. And sometimes, as both Malcolm X and Todd Ashker have demonstrated, a book can spark a movement.

California Fire Rages at a Devastating Rate

Revolution News -

CommonDreams California Governor Jerry Brown declares states of emergency in several counties as uncontained blazes devastate communities California Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday declared a state of emergency in two counties over some of the fastest-burning wildfires in decades which have overtaken several communities in California’s northern Valley and Butte areas, forcing thousands to flee Read More

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Tens of Thousands at Anti-war Rally in Japan over looming ‘War Law’

Revolution News -

戦争協力法制に反対する全国総がかり行動の1日目、「報道ステーション」のビデオは秀逸でした。 Twitterの制限で30秒までなので2つに分かれます。前半です。 pic.twitter.com/jwu1cxVgjn — sig_yok (@yoksig) September 14, 2015 Tokyo – Tens of Thousands of anti-war protesters rally outside parliament to oppose new laws that could see Japanese troops engaged in combat overseas for the first time since WWII. The legislation, which is now under debate in the Upper House, is aimed at allowing the Japanese Read More

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The sun as the center of a new campaign for economic and racial justice

Waging Nonviolence -

by George Lakey

PowerUp NY in stalled solar panels in Brooklyn on October 10, 2010, as part of 350.org’s Global Work Party. (Flickr / 350)

Another indication of how crazy this country has become: Some people are coming out against solar energy. Solar technology has dropped in cost to become competitive with other sources for electricity. Some energy companies are apparently worried that their fossil fuel and nuclear sources will become financial liabilities; coal already is with the new EPA regulations.

Instead of welcoming the opportunity to come into the new age of renewable energy, the dinosaurs among us are resisting the change. In over 20 states there is push-back, reportedly coordinated by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, supported by fossil fuel kings the Koch Brothers.

One method is to take away subsidies given to homeowners who want to solarize their roofs. Another is to charge an additional fee for homeowners who succeed.

To support these measures, the message is being circulated among low-income households that their electricity rates will need to be raised in order to subsidize the higher income people who can afford rooftop solar. In a racialized society, this effort is also coded: “You people of color are being charged more so the white folks can get away with paying less.”

The utilities’ rationale is that they need to pay for transmission lines even when an increasing number of people are using “distributed energy” — that is, electricity from their roofs. The maintenance money for the lines needs to come from somewhere, so people without solar panels have to pay extra to cover the system. It sounds reasonable, but it is also completely contradicted by studies that find that other advantages of rooftop solar compensate the utilities just fine, especially by increasing the resilience of the grid.

Not everyone wants to get into this climate justice struggle, but some activist Quakers have decided to make it their next campaign. Earth Quaker Action Team, or EQAT (pronounced “equate”), succeeded — after 125 actions in five years of campaigning — in pushing PNC Bank out of financing mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. On September 16, EQAT launches its next campaign, challenging energy corporations to take responsibility for creating jobs and benefiting poor communities by making a major shift to locally-generated solar power. EQAT plans to keep jobs and racial/economic equity in the forefront of all campaign strategy.

This is EQAT’s second campaign that works the related issues of climate and economic justice, but the new campaign adds racial justice to the mix. Using a campaign format to connect those dots is not easy. Bernie Sanders struggles to relate racism to economic justice within an electoral campaign, for example. A book can show relationships more clearly, as Naomi Klein does brilliantly in “This Changes Everything,” and EQAT chair Eileen Flanagan does in her moving memoir “Renewable: One Woman’s Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope.”

EQAT spent months researching and discerning, in small groups and retreats. The group ended up finding that the sun was its center of gravity. Its new campaign identifies choices that an energy company must make, then confronts the company’s leaders until they make a choice that reduces poverty, benefits people of color and slows climate change.

Launching a new campaign

Installation of rooftop solar panels is a high job-producer for a range of skills, can be focused on particular neighborhoods,and reduce energy costs for poor people. Solar panels have dropped in price. Coops and small businesses can mount them on suitable roofs. EQAT networkers have been told by black ministers that homes and churches can be saved by this simple program with multiple impacts. What’s missing is capital. So, why not look for that from the investor-owned companies whose fossil fuel plants have led our country to a carbon crisis?

On Wednesday, EQAT starts its Power Local Green Jobs campaign with PECO, the utility that serves Southeast Pennsylvania. PECO transmits most of its electricity after buying a traditional mix of oil, gas and nuclear-generated power. The state legislature has said that Pennsylvania utilities must increase the (presently tiny) proportion of solar generation in their mix of sources. The next increase is slated for 2016.

In August, EQAT met with PECO managers and proposed a first step: to meet the required 2016 increment with solar generated from suitable rooftops in North Philadelphia, and get the solar panels installed by people from the area, as well as unionized workers. North Philadelphia is widely known for historic disinvestment and racist marginalization, as well as a base for resistance expressed in many ways, including successful nonviolent campaigns.

While networking with grassroots leaders in North Philadelphia, EQAT members heard not only about the desperate need for jobs and reduction of energy bills, but also that solar is already on people’s radar. Some rooftop panels have been placed and individuals have been trained for installation. The area includes roughly 200,000 African-Americans and 100,000 Latinos. For me, there is a personal stake; for decades I’ve had African-American family members who lived in North Philly, and I still do.

PECO will decide soon whether to accept EQAT’s urging to obtain electricity from North Philly’s rooftops, but it already knows the next phase in EQAT’s campaign. The group’s second demand is that PECO change its energy mix away from fossil fuels much more substantially, deriving solar from suitable rooftops in other high unemployment areas in its service area, as well as from North Philly.

An electric utility must get its electricity from somewhere, and therefore must take responsibility for its choices. If it chooses, it can invite bids from solar producers who will get their energy from suitable rooftops in a particular neighborhood, and offer “seed grants” that enable such producers to build the capacity to follow through. The choice whether or not to do that will be influenced by the utility’s bottom line, of course. The choice can also be influenced by an appeal to the common good, backed by a steady campaign of nonviolent pressure. That’s where groups like EQAT come in.

Recently a group of Philadelphia-area labor leaders held a public meeting with labor activists from New York City, at the union hall of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The goal was to explore ideas for reaching Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s goal of “the greenest city in America.” EQAT members were there in strength, knowing that resistant energy companies in other parts of the country are already playing the familiar card of divide-and-rule, trying to set communities of color and whites against each other. The historically white craft unions, as well as middle-class white suburbanites, remain vulnerable to this racist script.

EQAT held several mini-actions in Philadelphia this summer to prepare for the launch of its new campaign. (EQAT)

Racism: Who, us?

EQAT membership, while successful in generational diversity and attracting people who are not Quakers, is still largely white, like much of the environmental movement. While preparing for a campaign that has white activists networking with people of color, EQAT is reaching for the next level of training. Facilitators from Training for Change, as well as from within EQAT, have been leading a series of workshops that assist members to loosen up racist and classist baggage. The goal is to evolve an organizational culture where whites are allies of each other as well as of people of color. Training for Change consultant Erika Thorne reminded us that white middle-class people tend to avoid conflict and to privilege one communication style, so we aim to engage more easily in conflict within EQAT and to embrace a wider diversity of communication styles.

Three contributions to the national movement

EQAT’s new strategy might be useful to the national struggle in three ways. One is to confront the “solar divide” that follows class lines in the rooftop panel industry. Middle and owning-class homeowners are solarizing at a far more rapid rate than working-class people, even though the relief from high energy bills is needed more among the working class and poor. Without criticizing the smart decision of increasing numbers of people who can afford to solarize their houses, EQAT’s campaign calls attention to those whose need is greatest. It also shows individuals who have solarized their own houses how they can go beyond their own privilege to be part of the larger struggle for justice.

Another strategic gambit is to use the technique of a direct action campaign to make progress. All the education in the world cannot move institutions whose wealth depends on the status quo, nor the politicians who they control. EQAT demonstrates a successful alternative, which focuses activist energy just as a magnifying glass gathers the sun’s rays into power that can ignite a piece of paper. For scattered and tired activists, the focus of a campaign is a blessing.

The third use of EQAT’s campaign is to encourage others to go on the offensive and increase their chances of winning. In too many states, the solar activists are on the defensive, fighting to keep their subsidies up and costs down. Folk wisdom is clear and it is backed by no less a strategist than Gandhi: “The best defense is an offense.” Campaigners can set far-reaching goals for energy companies, and act as if the climate crisis is as urgent as we say it is. Most importantly, we can do it in a way that shows solidarity with the working-class communities of color that are now being sent the message by the utilities that, when environmentalists win solar, working people pay.

As I heard civil rights strategist Bayard Rustin say over and over, there really is an integrity that unites racial and economic justice. Expressing it in action is not easy, but express it we must.

Exile, arrest and torture: why Brazil's pop artists risked everything

The Guardian | Protest -

Forget Warhol’s electric chairs: Brazilian pop artists in the 60s showed the most extreme violence – and they fought the dictatorship’s tightening grip when the stakes could not have been higher

The banner is stark – a silkscreen of a corpse, and beneath it just four words. Seja marginal, seja herói, it reads in Portuguese: “Be an outlaw, be a hero.” Hélio Oiticica’s 1967 work of a bank robber who committed suicide before the police could apprehend him became, in the first years of Brazil’s dictatorship, a national symbol. You would see it evereyywhere, from art galleries to spontaneous street demonstrations, and at concerts by dissident Tropicália stars, where it fluttered over the stage. In Brazil in the 1960s, being an outlaw was not a delinquency but a mark of bravery.

This week Tate Modern opens The World Goes Pop, the second of two major exhibitions this year to look at pop art from a global perspective. (The first, International Pop, recently closed at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and tours to the Dallas Museum of Art in October.) The Tate show demolishes the misconception that pop was an entirely American affair – it started in Britain, after all, and arose in Germany, Japan, Hungary, Argentina. Pop was an ethos more than a movement, and it morphed as it migrated across borders and oceans. But nowhere was it more engaged than in Brazil, where artists opposed both American hegemony and their own country’s military regime.

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Hungary: Refugee Camp Profiles & Maps

Revolution News -

Recently filmed videos and a scathing report from Human Rights Watch on the inhumane conditions inside the Roszke border detention facilities have garnered badly needed attention to human rights violations at the Roszke camps however there are several other refugee detention camps in Hungary. Below are images and videos (some old, a few new) that Read More

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Activists occupy British Museum over BP sponsorship

The Guardian | Protest -

Protesters say the petroleum company is trying to ‘artwash its image’ by sponsoring cultural establishments such as Tate Modern and the British Museum

Activists occupied part of the British Museum on Sunday as part of a day of demonstrations against sponsorship of Britain’s cultural institutions by BP.

Hollywood actor Ezra Miler joined members of 15 different groups in the London museum’s Great Court to sing songs and make statements calling for the current deal with the oil firm not to be renewed.

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Den Haag: De Vloek evicted: Convict the repression! Freedom for the ‘Vloek 5’!

House Occupation News -

Five of the 10 activist who have been arrested last Wednesday for defending De Vloek against eviction will be held in custody until their court case on the 23th of September. Yesterday they have been spread over five different jails throughout the country.

The ‘Vloek 5’ are suspected of violating the anti-squatting law (art. 138a) and of public violence (art. 141). A sixth anonymous person eventually got identified and was brought before the ‘super-fast-court’ and got a 500 euro fine (of which 250 euro conditionally and 100 euro deduction because of its detention of 2 days) for breaking the anti-squatting law, and has now been released. The other people were released Thursday evening with a summons, just in time for them to join the noise demonstration which was held in front of the police station for those still in custody.

Bottom-up initiative evicted by capital-serving, strikebreaking cops.
De Vloek, situated in the harbor of Scheveningen was squatted 13 years ago. De Vloek has fought against it’s demolition and against the yuppification of the harbor in an action campaign that lasted for more than a year. The Vloek offered space to artists and non-profit initiatives and was visited by hundreds of people every week. A DIY, anti-capitalist social center. This initiative was evicted last Wednesday, to make way for a prestige project for the elite, by capital-serving, strikebreaking cops. [1]

On Thursday September 3rd, De Vloek declared its independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands and founded the Independent Autonomous Zone De Vloek. The following days, by use of barricades and paint, De Vloek made clear that it would defend itself against the eviction, and that it would not just give way to the rich. The eviction of the Vloek began on Wednesday morning with an invasion of the harbor. Just on the hellingweg (street of De Vloek) alone there were 15 ME-buses, 2 BRATRA (‘fire and teargas-unit’) vans, 2 watercannons, a SWAT-unit and all kinds of other police equipment driving towards the Vloek, where they were welcomed with paint and slogans. After resisting on the roof, activists went inside the barricaded building, where eventually 5 activists got cut out of and got arrested.

On top of the roof of the former ‘Piratenbar’ (concert hall of De Vloek) two pirates with flares held up in a crows nest. It took two hours and a displacement of the hoisting crane before the BRATRA could reach the crows nest.

After the removal of the pirates, the police reported triumphantly that the building was empty… however, they did not anticipate that 3 meters underground, two more activists where in a lock-on. Over 12 hours and a few dozen grinding wheels later the last activist was arrested.

Violence comes from the State
We want to emphasize that no glass or stones have been thrown at the cops, and that whatever may be claimed by the police is a lie. For us it’s perfectly clear that these lies are intended to justify the absurd police presence.
From at least a week before the eviction the police manned a permanent observation post in the apartment building across from De Vloek. During the eviction, the activists in the crows nest clearly saw a sniper on the roof of that same building. To those who were being arrested in the front side of the building the police shouted that they would ‘shoot immediately if anyone resisted’. Furthermore the police threw a 1,5 meter iron rod through a roof, while they knew there were people underneath.

False reports by the police as well as the spreading of the ‘Vloek 5’ throughout different jails in the country is a repressive tactic. This criminalization and breaking up of the group is used with the intent of breaking solidarity. But we will not be intimidated and we will continue our fight. We regard the resistance against the eviction of De Vloek and against a project for the elite as legitimate and necessary.

Solidarity = Forever
We will not let those in power break our solidarity. We fully support the ‘Vloek 5’ and demand their immediate release. Until then, we will call on everyone to show their solidarity and let it be heard on the streets and at the prisons. Very soon we will announce actions to support the ‘Vloek 5’. We will continue our fight against top-down urban development projects!

You can’t evict ideas!

We want to express our thanks to everyone who for the last 13 years and especially in these last weeks stood by De Vloek, for freedom and autonomy.

Scheveningen, we will miss you.

De Vloek, Saturday 12 september 2015

Notes:
[1] Dutch police have been on ‘strike’ because they feel they deserve a higher pay. The so called ‘strike’ includes not writing fines below 200€ and not assisting bailiffs for house evictions.

http://devloek.nl/de-vloek-evicted-convict-the-repression-freedom-for-the-vloek-5/

Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters want to bring protest on to the street, says Gove

The Guardian | Protest -

Justice secretary says new Labour leader represents threat to national security by giving up Trident and leaving Nato

Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters want to bring protest on to the street, Michael Gove has said, as the Conservatives stepped up their warnings that he represents a threat to national security.

Related: Labour's new deputy leader Tom Watson says he opposes Corbyn over scrapping Trident - Politics live

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