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Can’t make the protest? Here are eight small acts of resistance | Harrison Jones

The Guardian | Protest -

Even if you can’t attend every march against Donald Trump, Brexit or human rights abuses, you can still engage in the counter-revolution

By the end of last year, each new celebrity death or political upheaval was greeted with, “Urgh, so 2016!” For many, though, the dawn of 2017 brought some hope.

Aside, of course, from 2016’s delightful hangovers: the election of Donald Trump, the rise of the far right, Brexit, terrorism, foreign wars, human rights abuses and numerous other calamities. The point is that last month saw more progressive unity and grit than the previous 12 combined: the west’s counter-revolution may be creeping into view.

Related: With this victory Romania’s protesters have truly proved their mettle | Claudia Ciobanu

Related: The Women's March reminded us: we are not alone | Jessica Valenti

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Protests as Melbourne council considers removing homeless people's belongings from street

The Guardian | Protest -

About 250 people attended a council meeting discussing opening proposed bylaw changes that would affect homeless people to public consultation

About two dozen protesters gathered outside Melbourne’s Town Hall on Tuesday night ahead of a volatile council meeting to discuss homelessness and proposed changes to council laws that would see the belongings of homeless people removed from the streets.

The meeting of the Melbourne City Council’s future committee was moved from its usual location to accommodate a crowd of about 250 people. On the agenda was a proposal to open public consultation on a new public amenity law.

Related: 'I'm a beautiful person': Melbourne's pilloried homeless people speak

Related: Advocates for homeless people say media coverage 'fuelling fear' in Melbourne

Related: Flinders Street homeless protest reveals ugly side of Melbourne's activist scene | Melissa Davey

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'27 years of corruption is enough': Romanians on why they are protesting

The Guardian | Protest -

Thousands of Romanians have spent six nights marching in towns and cities across the country. We asked them why

After six nights on the streets, Romanian protesters appear to have won after the government scrapped corruption legislation that ignited the country’s largest demonstrations since the fall of communism. But those who responded to a Guardian callout say it is not enough, and are demanding that the government step down.

“They are profoundly corrupt. Their first priority after taking office is to alter the most important work that has been done in Romania in the past 28 years: the anti-corruption fight,” says Andrei, a 28-year-old air traffic controller, who protested in Bucharest. “Nobody wants a reversal to the period of the early noughties where there was no consequences for organised fraud.”

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Open Internet advocates prepare for new battle over net neutrality

Waging Nonviolence -

by Shane Burley

Hundreds of activists, allies and volunteers rallied for net neutrality in Los Angeles on July 23, 2014. (Flickr/Free Press)

For many on the left, the string of appointments that have made up the president’s new administration have been discussed as a horror show. While many have been sent reeling by major appointments like Jeff Sessions and Steve Bannon, they are eclipsing others that could have significant policy effects.

Trump’s selection of Mark Jamison, a former lobbyist for the telecomm giant Sprint, and Jeffrey Eisenach, a consultant for Verizon, to the Federal Communications Commission has made many advocates of “net neutrality” nervous. The fear is that they may represent the interests of telecommunications companies, which have a vested interest in going after the “open Internet.” As FCC chairman Tom Wheeler stepped down and Ajit Pai — a high-ranking Republican and a fierce critic of the net neutrality rule — replaced him, the rules that cemented net neutrality into current policy are likely to be threatened. This move has put the issue of net neutrality back on the forefront of social discussions, and with any changes to the current policies there could be a catastrophic shift in the culture of media and e-commerce.

Both detractors and advocates of net neutrality often note that we currently live in the “wild west” of the Internet. While major media and commercial corporations dominate traffic on the web, someone with an idea and a little web ingenuity can create a website that has equal access to users as major platforms like Google or Amazon. No website is privileged in access and the only difference in the speed of load times or the quality of service comes from the website themselves, not the Internet Service Providers, or ISPs. In many countries that have more restrictions on speech and information, ISPs in a given area can limit access to certain sites and search topics, or just allow certain websites to load more quickly.

Without net neutrality rules, which are a set of regulations that require ISPs to treat all websites the same, ISPs could create a paid “fast lane” for some websites that would allow them to have much faster load times and easier access. In a number of recent studies, these load times mean everything for websites struggling to compete. Milliseconds can change a purchasing decision from one company to a competitor and has a special effect on the use of video and streaming audio, where even a small reduction in speed makes load times unbearable.

If load speeds could essentially be purchased through an ISP determined “fast lane,” then this could create a strong barrier to entry for small start-ups, new online retailers, and alternative and independent media sources. This could also have a devastating effect on American commerce, as the platforms would be stacked heavily in favor of massive companies — thereby lowering the opportunities for small businesses, which are still the largest type of employer in the country.

For journalists, this could lead to the shuddering of more news websites that will not be able to compete with these new rules. Meanwhile, the voices involved in civic discourse will further centralize into communications mega-corporations.

While companies like Google and Netflix have voiced opposition to this, they may end up getting in line with the new rules as a matter of business, essentially setting a tone of acceptance for the rest of the web.

As a new Republican administration gets comfortable in Washington, the issue of net neutrality is being newly politicized. Trump himself has tweeted that net neutrality is a top-down “power grab,” a talking point that critics argue is disconnected from the actual issue. The further politicization of this issue comes, in large part, from the heavy lobbying that telecommunications companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast have been conducting, amplifying the already dominant voices of communications mega-corporations that see net neutrality as meddling regulation.

While the money being thrown around by the telecommunications industry has been deafening, open Internet advocacy organizations are relying on the power of mass support to be the critical weapon. When the Stop Internet Privacy Act, or SOPA, was being debated, the entire country revolted. Many major Internet-based companies voiced their horror at the legislation — which would have increased the ability of law enforcement to go after digital file sharing — and participated in the American Censorship Day, a coalition effort of organizations and companies protesting against government intrusion into web access.

Sue Gardner at the Wikimedia Foundation on the evening of January 17, 2012, discussing the English Wikipedia blackout to protest SOPA. (Wikipedia)

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, or EFF, an advocacy organization known for defending consumers and developers against government overreach in the digital landscape, was one of the organizations leading this charge. On January 18, 2012, some 75,000 websites went completely black in an effort to bring the Internet to a complete standstill. This bold action was heard clearly in Washington and resulted in those censorship bills being scrapped. As net neutrality heads back into Washington’s crosshairs, the EFF is again taking a lead in confronting this possibility head on.

“[Abandoning net neutrality] would distort what we are used to, which is an open platform where we can go anywhere to something that looks more like cable television,” said Ernesto Falcon, legislative council for the EFF.

Right now the FCC is the primary body where these rules could get changed, and it is this point that the EFF is staying focused on. This starts by making sure the voice of the people is sent directly to the FCC if those decisions begin to be reconsidered, making sure that the arguments made by the telecom industry are not considered without a challenge.

“Our effort is mainly to get the word out,” Falcon said. “There were millions of people who already wrote to the FCC in favor of net neutrality… If politicians think that people want their Internet run by cable companies, they have another thing coming.”

Their approach relies on the public commenting period that the FCC rules require. The EFF can then organize to flood the FCC with oppositional messages so that those voices in favor of Internet restriction will appear minuscule. If the net neutrality rules are then successfully repealed, the EFF will shift back into its legal role, challenging the FCC’s decisions in the courts.

They have used this tactic to great effect before. After an action called “Occupy the FCC” began in May of 2014, which was a public encampment of multiple tents in front of the commission, the FCC’s website was flooded by 3.7 million public comments supporting net neutrality. This voice of concern did not happen in a vacuum, as the Center for Media Justice organized a coalition of over a hundred organizations from a variety of backgrounds to confront the FCC and treat net neutrality as a social justice issue with an intersectional analysis. Rallies and protests targeting Comcast and Verizon were held across the country, uniting grassroots action with concerted and focused messaging about what was at stake if the Internet was consolidated by massive telecomm companies. This multifaceted campaign pushed Wheeler to establish the rules.

While the EFF has been fighting for digital rights for years, the enigmatic Fight for the Future project may be the best-known organization confronting the issue of net neutrality specifically. Starting in 2011, they created a model that uses tech tools to expand the voices of activists confronting encroachments on digital freedom. Not only were they key organizers in the world’s largest digital protest around the SOPA, they were instrumental in having the net neutrality rules passed in the first place after they organized four million people to contact the FCC.

“[The] economic effects are huge,” said Holmes Wilson, the co-director and co-founder of Fight for the Future. “If we lose net neutrality entire businesses will never happen.”

Like the EFF, Fight for the Future is starting the battle at the FCC, since they see it as easier to challenge that body than confront Congress. “If we lose at the FCC, a new FCC can fix it. If we lose at Congress, every future FCC has their hands tied,” Holmes said.

Legislation coming out of Congress would have a much more lasting effect on the issue, so if the FCC repeals net neutrality it would be much easier to correct than some type of binding legislation. Fight for the Future will be organizing a large contingent of stake-holders to contact senators and congress people who may have wavered on their commitment to an open Internet, focusing heavily on tech workers, small business owners, digital activists and those who would be intimately affected by a change in Internet oversight.

“We need to convince them, and if we can’t convince them we need to pressure them,” Holmes said.

This effort entails connecting with local groups to pressure legislators at a regional level, focusing on specific districts at a time. They are relying on an information campaign that will explain an issue that is rarely discussed and has been subject to misinformation and misunderstanding from large segments of the country.

The challenge for both organizations, and an increasing number of tech companies, journalists, and Internet advocates will be to replicate the success that earlier digital campaigns had. As Trump sets priorities for his new administration, telecommunications companies are continuing to flood money in to shift FCC policy to favor the largest media companies, putting an entire generation of Internet users at risk. While Trump has promised to pass through a number of controversial policies, organizations like the EFF and Fight for the Future are going to have to continue their public information campaign to explain why the issue of net neutrality is increasingly relevant.

The argument that telecommunications companies are now trying to make is that these regulations are prohibiting the expansion of high-speed Internet, and this strategy may have traction in an FCC built on the corporate-friendly attitude of the new president. Whether or not these types of counter-arguments are able to sway decisions will depend on how effectively these open Internet advocates are able to mobilize people, and to demonstrate how seemingly complex rules covering technology have intimate effects on the lives of everyday people.

Romanians create sea of light with phones at anti-government protest – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Romanian demonstrators light up their phones in the centre of Bucharest on Sunday night. Protests in Romania have continued despite the government halting plans to decriminalise corruption. Many are calling on their government to quit

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Women: let's strike. Then Trump will see our power

The Guardian | Protest -

The ‘lean-in’ variety of feminism won’t defeat this administration. But a mobilization of the 99% will

The massive women’s marches of 21 January may mark the beginning of a new wave of militant feminist struggle. But what exactly will be its focus? In our view, it is not enough to oppose Trump and his aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies. We also need to target the ongoing neoliberal attack on social provision and labor rights.

While Trump’s blatant misogyny was the immediate trigger for the massive response on 21 January, the attack on women (and all working people) long predates his administration. Women’s conditions of life, especially those of women of color and of working, unemployed and migrant women, have steadily deteriorated over the last 30 years, thanks to financialization and corporate globalization.

Related: Forget protest. Trump's actions warrant a general national strike | Francine Prose

Related: Polish women strike over planned abortion ban

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There must be free speech, even for Milo Yiannopoulos | Matthew d’Ancona

The Guardian | Protest -

Despise the alt-right controversialist all you like, but banning him is doing the work of the far right

No civilised society supports absolute freedom of speech: as the great American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes argued in 1919: “The most stringent protection … would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre, and causing a panic.”

Instead there is a fluid, rancorous, necessarily insoluble argument in every democratic system about where the border should lie. Libel, slander, false advertising, incitement to violence, pornography, the leaking of official secrets: these and other forms of expression are subject to varying degrees of restriction at different times.

Related: UC Berkeley cancels 'alt-right' speaker Milo Yiannopoulos as thousands protest

If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?

Related: Milo Yiannopoulos peddles hate. It’s not censorship to refuse to publish it | Sam Sedgman

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With this victory Romania’s protesters have truly proved their mettle | Claudia Ciobanu

The Guardian | Protest -

The retraction of the ‘pro-corruption’ decree is a reward for the creativity and solidarity of the biggest demonstrations since the fall of communism

Sorin Grindeanu, the Romanian prime minister, announced last night that the government will “find a legal way” to withdraw decrees that protesters say will decriminalise and shield corruption.

An executive order that reduces penalties for abuse of power prompted hundreds of thousands of people across Romania to come out in protest, when it was adopted last Tuesday.

Related: Thousands march against prison pardons in Romania

Romania’s streets are the main guardians of democracy in this country

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Romanian government scraps corruption decree as opposition continues

The Guardian | Protest -

Demonstrators vow to ‘stay vigilant’ after government’s attempt to decriminalise some corruption offences

Romania scrapped a contentious corruption decree on Sunday, in a climbdown after the biggest mass demonstrations since 1989, but protesters kept up pressure by taking to the streets for a sixth straight day.

As thousands of people gathered in Bucharest and elsewhere, the government announced it had approved a repeal of the decree that would have decriminalised certain corruption offences.

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After the Women's March: six mass US demonstrations to join this spring

The Guardian | Protest -

Organizers across the US are riding the momentum of the post-inauguration march to mobilize in solidarity with scientists, immigrants, LGBT people and more

Hope your feet aren’t sore yet, because come spring, thereare major nationwide marches planned for nearly every weekend.

After the success of the Women’s March on Washington, activists are preparing for mass mobilizations throughout the year.

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Romanian government retracts decree following protests – video report

The Guardian | Protest -

Romania’s prime minister Sorin Grindeanu announces the repeal of a controversial decree to decriminalise official abuse-of-power offences on Saturday night. The announcement of the decree led to days of protests and clashes between police and demonstrators in Bucharest. The news of the repeal was received well be Romanians protesting against the bill, but many remain unhappy with the current government

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The Place Is Here review – an art of protest, declaration, revelation

The Guardian | Protest -

Nottingham Contemporary
The social upheaval of the Thatcher years saw an explosion of work by black and Asian artists. This compelling show recaptures a pivotal era

Confronted by a black man in Handsworth in the West Midlands, the home secretary is bewildered. Douglas Hurd has come to see the riots and will soon pronounce them entirely criminal in origin. But right now, trailed by camera crews in this dire September of 1985, he is attempting a form of royal empathy, nodding sympathetically with a confused smile on his lips. He seems to have no idea what the man is saying.

Caribbean accents, Pakistani voices, jeering rioters and screeching police brakes, the Six O’Clock News and Margaret Thatcher, Mark Stewart and the Maffia: the soundtrack of Handsworth Songs (1986) by the Black Audio Film Collective is almost as famous as the film itself. Once heard, Stewart’s spectacular dub-refracted version of Blake’s Jerusalem, with steel drums fading in and out, is not forgotten. How could Blake’s Jerusalem ever be built in England, it seems to ask, without the inclusion of black people?

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Romania: government retracts controversial decree after protests

The Guardian | Protest -

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu announces repeal of decree as protests around the country continue for fifth day

Romania’s government is to scrap a decree decriminalising some corruption offences, Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu said on Saturday, after an estimated 140,000 demonstrators protested against the law a stone’s throw from his office.

“We’ll hold an extraordinary meeting on Sunday to repeal the decree, withdraw, cancel it … you understand, and find a legal way to make sure it does not take effect,” Grindeanu said in televised speech from the cabinet’s headquarters.

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Tens of thousands join marches across UK against Trump's travel ban

The Guardian | Protest -

Chants of ‘Theresa May, shame on you’ and ‘Donald Trump is not welcome here’ as protesters descend on Downing Street

Tens of thousands of protesters have taken part in marches across the country condemning Theresa May’s state visit invitation to Donald Trump. Demonstrators urged the prime minister to withdraw the invitation and denounced the American president’s travel ban as “racist”.

Some of the UK’s most prominent Muslim organisations organised the event awith leftwing organisations including Stand Up to Racism, Stop the War and the People’s Assembly.

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LGBT protest at Stonewall Inn takes on edge amid possible blow to gay rights

The Guardian | Protest -

Crowds head to the gay rights landmark as fears mounts over a leaked executive order draft that would enable discrimination in the name of religious freedom

Australia Kimbrough planned to go to the Stonewall Inn in New York twice this weekend.

The first time was Friday night for a casual drink with her girlfriend as it is, after all, a bar.

Now I’m so nervous about the next four years, even here in New York City I’m scared

Related: Stonewall Inn regulars applaud Obama amid monument plans: 'It's about time'

Related: Queer Muslim women from the south: 'We exist and we’re fierce'

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Protesters against Trump travel ban gather outside US embassy in London – video

The Guardian | Protest -

People gather in front of the US embassy in London on Saturday to march against President Trump’s ban on admitting travellers and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries to the US. Lindsey German from ‘Stop the Coalition’ says people worldwide are ‘disgusted at Trump’

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The Super Bowl is America's biggest stage for play-acting as a united nation

The Guardian | Protest -

The country may be starkly divided off the field, but you would be hard-pressed to find anyone associated with the NFL acknowledging that fact – the show, after all, must go on

What has the potential to be the most politically charged Super Bowl in history will be anything but if the pathologically apolitical National Football League has anything to do with it.

The two-week build-up for Sunday’s championship tilt at Houston’s NRG Stadium between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons has, by twist of fate, been cast against the backdrop of the first two weeks of the Trump administration. The game itself has been dwarfed by a torrent of headlines – the ban on refugee admission and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, the subsequent establishment of domestic “black sites”, the proposal to build a wall on the United States’ southern border – that threaten a country’s very identity as a refuge for the oppressed.

Related: Will Lady Gaga's Super Bowl half-time show get political? 'I believe in inclusion'

Related: Is hosting the Super Bowl worth the NFL's ransom? | Les Carpenter

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London protest against Donald Trump travel ban - live coverage

The Guardian | Protest -

Protesters to congregate near US embassy in UK capital to demonstrate against US ban on travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries

10.17am GMT

Thousands are set to take to the streets of central London today in protest at Donald Trump’s suspension of the US refugee admissions system and a ban on travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Demonstrators will gather outside the US embassy in Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, from 11am, to hear speeches, before marching to 10 Downing Street, where more stages will be set up.

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Romania crisis deepens as anti-corruption protest enters fourth day

The Guardian | Protest -

Emergency government decree to decriminalise official misconduct ‘not constitutional’, say key government allies

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Bucharest and other Romanian cities on Friday, blowing whistles, waving giant national flags and booing at giant puppets of politicians they hold responsible for a decree to dilute the country’s anti-corruption fight.

People of all ages, some carrying children, took part in protests around the country for the fourth consecutive evening. The atmosphere was one of anger against the government, but also of solidarity and hope for change. Some carried banners saying: “I came for my future.”

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Are you protesting in Romania? Tell us why

The Guardian | Protest -

Thousands of protesters marched against a decree which they say pardons officials facing corruption charges. We’d like to know why you’re taking part

Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in cities across Romania for a third night in a row, to protest a decree which they say pardons officials facing corruption charges.

Critics say the order, which decriminalises misconduct if the funds involved are less than 200,000 lei ($47,800), will help government officials facing corruption charges stay out of prison, clear their records and even encourage more corruption whilst in office.

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