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Den Haag: De Vloek declares independence!

House Occupation News -

According to the judge’s verdict, social centre De Vloek [previously on S!N] can be evicted as early as this Monday [TODAY]. For this reason, we find it necessary to declare our independence on this day, September 3rd, 2015! An autonomous zone where equality rules, where refugees are welcome and where capitalism is a thing of the past.

We are calling on everyone to come to the autonomous zone, join us! Read our declaration of independence below, completely in the style of the US Declaration of Independence, written in 1776. This declaration will also be sent to King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands, President Mark Rutte, all members of the Dutch parliament, and all of The Hague city council members.

Viva la Independencia y la Libertad, Viva el Lokal Pirata, Viva De Vloek!

Declaration of Independence: De Vloek, a Free Space, a Free Community

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for a community of people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which they are entitled, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are born equal; that they are by this fact endowed with inalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, political institutions are created, deriving their just powers from the consent of those for whom the institutions make decisions.

That whenever any political institution becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new form of governance, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object of profit and power, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

That is the painful situation of social center De Vloek. Herein lies the root of the necessity which is now forcing the occupants of De Vloek to change the political system. The history of the present and consecutive government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is a history of repeated injustices and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over our social centers and communities, in particular against De Vloek. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

De Vloek is a place where people found living space. The right to shelter, even if continually threatened by landlords, speculators and commerce, was provided here. Court rulings, blackmail and forced evictions by police are a fundamental violation of this right to shelter, a violation that is not insignificant, but fundamental.

De Vloek is a place where people can find an outlet for their creativity, and where other people can learn from these expressions. A society that values freedom encourages these kinds of places. It is not without reason that these places are known as ”free spaces”. A system that denies this is not worthy of being called a free society. No free space owes its loyalty and obedience to such a despotic political system.

De Vloek is a place where people actively strive for precisely the world of equality, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness that even the Kingdom of the Netherlands considers to be inalienable and fundamental rights. By attempting to put an end to this free space, it is in violation of its professed fundamental principles.

For these reasons, De Vloek wishes to no longer in any manner be connected to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which answers its call for freedom with despotism, extortion, and tyranny. De Vloek hereby declares itself to be an independent free space, and extends a hand to all those who share her goals.

De Vloek will regulate her relations with other political entities on the basis of equality, including with the Kingdom of The Netherlands. To begin, we offer the aforementioned Kingdom mutual diplomatic recognition, including an exchange of ambassadors. De Vloek is not looking for a fight. But her members – equal and free citizens of an autonomous community based on solidarity – will defend their independence, by any means necessary. We are calling on every freedom and solidarity loving person to support us in this struggle.


De Vloek Independent and Autonomous zone

Bristol: Direct Action against Estate Agents

House Occupation News -

Award giving in recognition of services to landlords and their rights. We proudly presented bricks through windows of CJA estate agents in Southville on the night of 31st August. All windows smashed and the international squatter symbol painted on their wall. Because despite the ban on squatting houses everyone should have a decent home.

CJA have showed real resilience and single mindedness to make a stand for maximum profit regardless of the tough conditions faced by tenants everywhere. In a letter to Bristol landlords in March this year they encouraged landlords to hike their rents and cynically take advantage of the housing crisis. Because the crisis is for landlords and property developers another business opportunity. They then arrogantly ignored a campaign by a local community union to hold them to account. So we found another way to encourage them to see the costs of their actions.

Thousands of us are trapped in overcrowded, over priced and chronically undermaintained and decaying rented houses. We constantly struggle to pay the rent under the ever present threat of eviction and homelessness. Gentrification and colonisation of our areas pushes rents ever higher and forces us further out. This is social cleansing and it is a very profitable business. For greedy landlords and estate agents like CJA, decent, affordable homes don’t come into their sums. It’s all about investment opportunities and ruthless profiteering. Meanwhile, there is a huge increase in homelessness and the hostels are full to bursting. We don’t have to take this. Let’s fight for a world without landlords, where people’s homes are not for the profit of the rich.

Toulouse: The recently repainted Socialist Party premises

House Occupation News -

Tuesday, August 25 2015 The building of the Departmental Federation of the Socialist Party of Haute-Garonne, in rue Lancefoc, Toulouse, was again the target of damage on the night of Monday to Tuesday.
When they arrived on Tuesday morning, the staff of SP 31, discovered the facade stained with blackish oily liquid and several inscriptions on the walls and gate, including “no evictions” and “solidarity with no papers”. [...]

The SP lodged a complaint. The police were present on site on Tuesday morning. Almost two months to the day, the front of SP 31 had already been the target of waste oil. It had since been repainted.


Hamburg: New case of cop infiltrating ‘Rote Flora’

House Occupation News -

This is far from being a first … We learn in a statement of August 26, 2015, that a police agent infiltrated the autonomous area and ‘Rote Flora’ between 2009 and 2012. The undercover cop Maria Böhmichen rubbed shoulders with anti-capitalist activists / anarchists during this period and embedded herself in their private spaces. Under the name of “Maria Block”, she has participated in several international mobilizations over recent years, such as during the protests against the UN climate conference in Copenhagen (Denmark) in 2009, during the ‘No Border’ camps on the island of Lesbos (Greece) in 2009 and in Brussels (Belgium) in 2010.

Besides having created bonds of “friendship” and having had at least one sexual relationship within the community, she was able to gain access to private areas of activists and infiltrate the organization and execution of direct actions (not penalised). She also participated actively in meetings, demonstrations and events concerning anti-fascism and anti-racism, as well as in anti-nuclear and environmentalist struggles.

This new case of an undercover cop comes less than a year after comrades exposed the infiltration of cop Iris Plate into the autonomous milieu in Hamburg in December 2014. This one had been embedded for six years, between 2000 and 2006, under the name of Iris Schneider. So this is the second case of spookery under the leadership of Senator of the Interior Neumann of the Social Democratic Party (SPD).


London: Update from Sweets Way eviction resistance

House Occupation News -

There was a second night of clashes between occupiers and security thugs “Dorman & Co” on Saturday night / Sunday morning. One occupier was arrested early on Sunday morning, but released on Sunday afternoon without charge. The situation is tense and occupiers are still expecting a major eviction attempt with riot police that could come any time (from Monday 7 September). More support is welcome.

Meanwhile, Sweets Way campaigners will also accompany Mostafa, the last remaining tenant, to a meeting with the council (Barnet Homes) today at 1PM. See here for details.

Thousands of Refugees Arrive in Austria, Germany as Marches Continue Across Hungary

Revolution News -

Thousands of refugees from Hungary finally arrived to Nickelsdorf receiving area in Austria after days of delays in Budapest and a desperate 30km #MarchOfHope on foot towards the border. VIDEO: Drone footage shows refugees walking to Austrian border Nickelsdorf, Austria early Sat, despite the pouring rain, "I feel I've reached Europe" a Syrian refugee tells Read More

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Moldova protesters take to streets criticising 'mafia' government

The Guardian | Protest -

Demonstrators attempt to occupy central square in capital Chișinău after mass embezzlement scandal of missing $1bn

Several protesters have been detained after tens of thousands of protesters in Moldova took to the streets of the capital to demand the dissolution of the new government following corruption scandals.

Demonstrators gathered on Great National Assembly Square in downtown Chișinău on Sunday to call for the resignation of the president, Nicolae Timofti, early elections and punishment for those responsible for widespread embezzlement. Organisers claimed 100,000 people had attended the demonstrations, which were ongoing on Sunday evening, while police put the number at 35,000-40,000. The protest is the largest such action in the former Soviet republic, which has been one of the poorest countries in Europe since its independence movement in the early 1990s.

Related: Vanishing act: how global auditor failed to spot theft of 15% of Moldova's wealth

Continue reading...

Mexico: GIEI Forensic Experts Report Disputes Government Version of Cocula Landfill Fire

Revolution News -

The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (“GIEI” Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos Independientes) of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) submitted its final report today on what exactly happened in Iguala on 26 September 2014. Their main conclusion is that there was no fire in the Cocula landfill where, according to the government’s official version Read More

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French spy who sank Greenpeace ship apologises for lethal bombing

The Guardian | Protest -

Jean-Luc Kister was one of a team which planted mines on the Rainbow Warrior in 1985, killing photographer Fernando Pereira

A French secret service diver who took part in the operation to sink Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior 30 years ago has spoken publicly for the first time to apologise for his actions.

Jean-Luc Kister, who attached a mine to the ship’s hull, says the guilt of the bombing, which killed a photographer, still weighs heavily on his mind.

Related: French inquiry into bombing of Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior: from the archive, 24 September 1985

Related: Don’t Trust, Don’t Fear, Don’t Beg: The Extraordinary Story of the Arctic Thirty review – frustrating account of Greenpeace activists

Continue reading...

This Labor Day, stand with working women

Waging Nonviolence -

by Frida Berrigan

(Twitter / Fight for 15)

I do not have a job. I haven’t had one in years. But, as mom of three little ones, I feel like I am working harder than I ever have before.

Today, I woke up before the sun came up, nursed Madeline, enduring her karate chops to my bladder for almost an hour. Then, I got three kids ready for the day, winning (just barely) a major fight with Seamus about how it’s too hot to wear sweatpants, and engaging in high-level negotiations with Rosena about an outfit that would cover (but not itch) the bug bites on her legs. Then we ate breakfast, and I cleaned the dishes before getting the laundry started. Finally, I hitched up the bike trailer and rode Seamus and Madeline to pre-school about three miles away. It was difficult, terrifying, fun and totally unnecessary because the bus stops in front of our house, but Seamus loves it.

All that was before 9 a.m. And it’s hard work for sure, but I know I’m lucky. I did it all in a nice home, in a safe community, for kids who are healthy, and alongside a husband who is working just as hard as I am.

I am also lucky because I have loved almost all my jobs: In my decades of paid work, I have felt valued, stimulated and challenged in flexible, humane, collegial environments, where I was respected and relatively well paid. Not your everyday American work experience. In fact, I disliked only one job in my whole career. For my first work study job in college, I cleaned the second floor of the Hampshire College library (including bathrooms that were always filthy but never busy). But even that job was fun in a behind-the-scenes kind of way, in that I got to know and care about the janitorial staff. I saw and respected work that is too often invisible if done well.

I am thinking about my old jobs and my current (hardworking) joblessness now because Labor Day is almost upon us. The U.S. Department of Labor notes on its website that the holiday was established in the 1880s to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of workers and to give working people a day of rest and relaxation — parades, picnics and community celebrations. One of those credited with founding the holiday, union organizer Peter McGuire paid homage to working people as those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

That sounds amazing, but today, it seems like Labor Day is more about shopping than relaxing, which means that lots of workers are working this weekend and they are not carving grandeur from rude nature. I’m talking about people like the workers at Walmart, where shoppers are being offered deep discounts on a huge array of products and workers are fighting for a living wage. Fierce battles, courageous work and old school organizing by Walmart workers and supporters have resulted in a win. The country’s largest private employer company announced in February that it will raise its starting wages to $9 and then $10 an hour. This is great, but Americans for Tax Fairness found that even with these increases, Walmart will continue to benefit from billions in federal subsidies. Workers being paid $10 an hour for Walmart’s 34-hour work week bring home $17,680, qualifying them for food stamps, Section 8 housing, school lunch program, Medicaid and other public support programs. Basically people are working full time, but not making a living.

Then there are workers like Adriana Alvarez from Chicago. She writes, “I’ve worked at McDonald’s for five years, but still make only $10.50 an hour. The only way my son and I can make it is with food stamps, Medicaid and a childcare subsidy. Most of my coworkers are in the same boat, no matter how long they’ve held their jobs.” Alvarez and her three-year-old son Manny live in a basement apartment that leaks when it rains. She is a national organizer with the Fight for 15 movement. She says that when they win $15 an hour, the first thing she’ll do is “move to a decent place to live and be in a neighborhood with good schools.” Alvarez isn’t alone; the $15 an hour living wage movement is gaining traction, but there is a long way to go before I can in good conscience consume their buttermilk crispy chicken sandwich.

One of the great things about not having a job is that I didn’t have to leave my little ones and go back to work when they were small. I knew I was in a privileged position, but I didn’t know how good I had it until I read Sharon Lerner’s groundbreaking (as well as heartbreaking and rage inducing) study for In These Times. Lerner, who also wrote “The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation,” looks at Department of Labor and Census data to try and figure out how much (if any) time women take off when they give birth. Only 13 percent of full-time workers in the United States had access to paid family leave in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so everyone else has to cobble something together. Here is what she found, looking at DOL data on women who took time off to care for newborns in the last year: “Nearly 12 percent of those women took off only a week or less. Another 11 percent took between one and two weeks off. That means that about 23 percent — nearly one in four — of the women interviewed were back at work within two weeks of having a child.” Two weeks! It took me almost a week to walk down the stairs and two weeks to fix myself a sandwich.

Lerner talked with women at many points along the economic spectrum. Low-income women without access to paid leave spoke of being afraid of losing their (multiple) jobs if they stayed home to care for newborns. Raven Osbourne, a single mother in Mississippi, went back to waitressing at IHOP a week after her son was born and added overnight shifts at a gas station when he was a month old. She was also going to school full time. IHOP would have given her unpaid time off, but she couldn’t afford to not earn a wage. Professional, middle-class women who worked for companies (and nonprofits) that promise decent benefits packages spoke of being afraid of taking advantage of leave packages because they might lose out on promotions.

Lerner talked to Tracy Malloy-Curtis, a fundraiser at a nonprofit in New York City, who went back to work “five-and-a-half weeks after having a son — and a complicated C-section — for fear she otherwise could not afford to pay her mortgage and cover the other basic costs of her life.” She told Lerner, “Physically, I was a wreck … I was still bleeding, my incision wasn’t closed.” Her C-section wound was infected and “pus dripped down her leg under her work clothes.”

Lerner didn’t talk with Marissa Meyer, CEO of Yahoo, about her plan to only take limited time off after the birth of her twins in December. The company has generous parental and medical leave policies, but the fact that the CEO won’t avail herself of them and has assured board members that she’ll be “working throughout” sends a message to the families who work under her that work comes first. I read all of this and thought, “What is the point of being worth $300 million if you can’t spend time with your newborns?”

The White House is working on an executive order on paid sick leave for federal contractors (but we just need to look at Guantanamo to see how President Obama’s executive orders are faring). The Democratic contenders for the White House in 2016 are campaigning on paid family leave. The Democrats and Republicans in Congress are talking about the issue and trading proposals.

In the meantime, women are trying to plan their pregnancies around their employer’s leave policies, pumping breast milk in their cars before their shifts at the factory, getting home just in time to tuck their kids in before they go to sleep, patching together multiple jobs while their infant is in the neonatal intensive-care unit, and working through crushing depression, acute physical pain and almost physical longing for their small children.

Is this what I am missing out on by not having a career? If so, I might never go back to work. I do wear many metaphorical hats and name tags: cook, janitor, book keeper, grounds keeper, laundry machine operator, psychologist and more. has a Mom Salary Calculator. Based on my zip code, the number of kids I have, and that I stay at home with them, I should be earning something like $127,459. I could even print out a paycheck for myself from their site.

That is more money (like twice as much) as I ever made back when I was a working stiff, so that made me feel really good. That figure is also about four times what our household actually brings in, underlining just how fantastical these numbers are. But when you are feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated, it is worth a few clicks to have a computer screen tell you what your work is worth.

The massive fictional salary notwithstanding, I feel really lucky to not have a job right now. It takes a lot of work, though. It takes a lot of work to live and live well on one modest salary. It takes a lot of work to inoculate my kids against the consumer bug — the dreaded chant of “I want, I need, I want” products with Disney’s Olaf on everything from breakfast cereal to bed sheets to underpants. It takes a lot of work to be on food stamps, state health care and Women, Infants and Children, or WIC — the government-funded supplemental nutrition program. Then I need to resist the urge to be stigmatized by my subsidies. But if Walmart can get billions in federal subsidies, maybe it’s okay for me too (with a lot fewer zeroes).

So, job or not, this Labor Day, I stand with working women — with Tracy and Raven and Adriana — who are fighting for the most basic right of all, the right to have a life and make a living.

Black Lives Matter Activists Confront KKK in Washington, DC

Revolution News -

Washington DC – Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement activists and supporters confronted a White Supremacy Southern Heritage group which rallied at Upper Senate Park next to the U.S. Capitol Saturday, September 5. The White Supremacist group displayed two dozen Confederate flags while BLM activists held signs reading “Smash Racism and Bigotry,” “White Supremacists Go Home” Read More

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Refugee baby dies on Greek island, as confrontation erupts on Lesbos

Revolution News -

Confrontation, between police and refugees have erupted Saturday on the Greek island of Lesbos as a two-month old baby died on Agathonisi. Reportedly, the baby died just a few hours after the family arrived to Agathonisi, south of Lesbos, and the cause of death is now yet known. Mayor Evangelos Kottoros told public TV network Read More

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Popular movement takes down Guatemala’s president

Waging Nonviolence -

by Jeff Abbott

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After nearly 21 weeks, the Guatemalans that have taken to the streets in protest to demand that the country’s president, Otto Pérez Molina, resign have won a major victory. Early in the morning on September 3, news broke that the president had officially resigned.

The president’s spokesman, made the announcement at 1 a.m. The president had previously refused to resign, but faced with growing protests, plummeting support and the filing of criminal charges, Pérez Molina could not continue.

This is an historic development in the history of Guatemala: a peaceful movement in a country that has been plagued by violence that managed to nonviolently take down a government of ex-military figures.

The Guatemalan Congress quickly ratified the president’s resignation, and recognized the country’s interim vice president, Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre as the new president.

Pérez Molina’s decision to resign came the day after the Guatemalan Congress voted to strip him of his immunity. The decision was made unanimously, with only 24 congressional deputies abstaining.

Following the decision, representatives from the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, or CICIG, a United Nations-sponsored anti-corruption and impunity organization that has operated in Guatemala since 2007, and the Guatemalan Public Ministry filed an arrest warrant for the president.

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The anti-corruption movement began in April following revelations by CICIG of a criminal network, referred to as “The Line,” that operated in the administration and was linked to the president and vice president.

Over four dozen public officials were forced to resign following accusations of corruption, including the president, vice president, minister of the interior and the minister of defense, among others. The president and vice president have both been arrested and face prosecution.

The announcement comes as a vindication for the few politicians who had fought against corruption in the government, including Congressional Deputy Amilcar Pop, who was the first to file a denouncement against the president following the accusation of corruption. Pop has received death threats for his campaign against the president.

Furthermore, the resignation and arrest of the president strengthens and justifies the wider movement against corruption.

Beyond Pérez Molina

It was a festive atmosphere in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala’s second largest city, following the news of the president’s resignation. Protesters celebrated with music and fireworks. Similar celebrations were held across the country. But organizers know and acknowledge that this isn’t the end of the struggle; there is still a long way to go.

“The struggle continues,” said Donald Urizar, an organizer with the Quetzaltenango branch of the “Resign Already” movement. “We have removed the military to a certain point, but it will return through the same system and the same power. Right now comes the real work. We need the CICIG and the Guatemalan Public Ministry to remove the current candidates that have charges against them following the election; and to articulate that the citizenry know and understand that this was never just about Otto Pérez Molina, but rather about changing the system into something that benefits all Guatemalans.”

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He added that there is further concern created by the interim president, “who wasn’t elected by the people and comes from the ideology of the extreme right.”

Also according to Urizar, the movement has discussed different scenarios of the results of the presidential election, and what the outcome will mean for the movement. Specifically they are preparing for the likelihood of voting manipulation by the large political parties, such as LIDER, a pseudo-populist party with known connection to criminal organizations.

Demanding the resignation of now ex-President Otto Pérez Molina was just one part of the movement against corruption. As the movement grew and evolved, it brought in other demands, including reforms to Guatemala’s laws governing political parties and elections.

Another report by CICIG released in July echoed these concerns of protesters. The anti-corruption institution uncovered the presence of illicit financing in this and past election cycles, stating that narco-traffickers, and national and international companies were illegally participating in the peddling of influence in the electoral campaigns.

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The pending elections on September 6 have already been discredited. Increasingly, protesters have called for a delay of the presidential elections, arguing, “In these conditions of crisis, we do not want elections.”

The need to delay elections has spurred the new phase of the movement.

On September 4, protesters associated with the Popular and Social Assemblies, an organization of over 72 indigenous, campesino and women’s organizations that emerged at the beginning of the movement, began an encampment outside the Guatemalan Electoral Council demanding the delay of elections. The electoral council building has increasingly been the site of protests with participants also calling for the suspension of the campaigns of the LIDER party.

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The Popular and Social Assemblies have become an integral part in the organizing during these protests. The assemblies organized a three-day “general strike” between August 25 and 27. Campesinos shut down highways and students marched through the cities. The protests culminated in a massive and historic day of protest on August 27, when over 100,000 people protested in the Guatemala City, and tens of thousands more in rural areas.

More than just an urban movement

The “Resign Already” movement against the president and corruption in Guatemala extended well beyond just the capital. It stretched to every corner of the country, and encompassed almost every sector of Guatemalan society.

One of the major regions for organizing was Quetzaltenango, or Xela, as it is commonly known. A unique branch of the movement developed there, and grew from the anger over corruption in those communities and in the country.

“Guatemala City has always been the center of power, and Quetzaltenango has been outside of this sphere of influence,” Urizar said. “We decided to start a replica of the march demanding the resignation of Otto Pérez Molina and [former Vice President] Roxana Baldetti, because we knew that there were people here who were angry as well, and couldn’t travel to the city.”

In Xela a movement formed that is a little different than the one in the city. The leadership and organizers in Xela are openly known, whereas there are still questions about several leaders of the movement in the capital. And the organizing in Xela has extended beyond the streets to other projects. On August 13, the movement organized an open forum for voters to hear from and to know the various mayoral candidates in Xela.

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“We have been working with this dynamic as a movement,” Urizar said. “We have been marching through the streets demanding reforms and real change of the political climate we have in Guatemala. We are creating a conscious citizenry.”

But this project and movement has brought more backlash from supporters of the administration than in the movement in the capital. Beside accusations of being affiliated with a political party, Xela was the site of some of the only violence and intimidation against organizers when the property of organizer Tony Pérez was burned to the ground.

In the rural areas the protests took on another form. On multiple occasions campesinos blocked highways to demand the resignation of the president.

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Through all of this, Guatemalans have learned from the short history of the movement that led to this victory.

“We have learned that a movement of people can change things and that blocking the highway and strikes work,” said Griselda Pocop, an activist from Sololá.

But throughout the whole movement, the dedication to nonviolence in the face of a system that is known for violence stood out. The leaders have stated that they will continue to follow this philosophy.

“The people have the power right now,” Urizar said. “But we are still in the process of creating a new Guatemala from the small communities. And we are doing this without violence and without weapons.”

Urgent: your help needed: Sweets Way to the barricades!

House Occupation News - A big showdown is brewing at the Sweets Way estate in Barnet, North London. High court bailiffs and cop reinforcements are preparing to swoop on the estate in a major operation to clear those defending the homes and fighting social cleansing. Already things have started getting heavy, as a new firm of security thugs (“Dorman & Co”) arrived yesterday and starting attacking people last night. But the squatters are ready to resist. Numbers are growing, and the heart of the estate is now barricaded off. They are calling for support: get down this weekend to build and reinforce the barricades and prepare for action. The eviction is expected any time from Monday. Below we post a new call-out from the occupiers. See also thesweetswayresists blog and you can check their twitter account for updates.  Continue reading →

Europe Faces a Moment of Truth on Refugee Crisis – UNHCR Statement

Revolution News -

Statement by UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres on refugee crisis in Europe The European Union is preparing key emergency meetings to take decisions in its response to the present refugee and migration crisis. The situation requires a massive common effort that is not possible with the current fragmented approach. Europe is facing its Read More

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Gardai Stalk Irish Protesters Under #OperationMizen

Revolution News -

Ireland – On Friday, August 28th the Irish Daily Mail reported on its front page that the Irish Police, An Gardaí have been tracking the whereabouts and online activity of Irish Water protesters. Under the code name Operation Mizen a number of Gardaí have been gathering intelligence and building profiles on a large number of Read More

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After Rentboy raid, protesters in Brooklyn demand sex work decriminalization

Waging Nonviolence -

by Ashoka Jegroo

A protest in front of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in downtown Brooklyn for the legalization of sex work on September 3. (WNV/Ashoka Jegroo)

In response to the recent raid on the New York City headquarters for escort website, activists protested in front of a Brooklyn courthouse on September 3 to demand the decriminalization of sex work.

“[We’re] demanding US Attorney [Kelly T.] Currie for the Eastern district stop the prosecutions. Drop the charges,” Bill Dobbs, one of the protest’s organizers, said. “And because there are so many thousands of arrests in this town that result in prostitution or prostitution-related charges, it’s time to decriminalize sex work.”

Starting at around 12 p.m., dozens of activists, many of them sex workers themselves, rallied and chanted outside of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in downtown Brooklyn. Though the demonstration was relatively small and consisted mostly of protesters marching in a circle and chanting, the demonstration attracted mainstream media as well as militarized police equipped with bulletproof vests and rifles.

With the raid of, an escort site that largely caters to gay men, and the arrest of seven current and former executives from the site, many LGBTQ activists have come out to condemn a modern version of pre-Stonewall raids on gay clubs and bars and once again call for the legalization of sex work.

“Sex workers deserve protection. They deserve the same protection any banker on Wall Street would get. They’re not even getting that,” Janice Thom, the director of operations at the National LGBTQ Task Force, said. “Protecting sex workers and making sure that it’s considered real work will save lives.”

The raid took place on August 25 at the site’s offices on 14th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Officers with the Department of Homeland Security and New York City Police Department stormed into the offices and seized documents and computers. The site’s CEO, Jeffrey Hurant, and six other employees were arrested at their homes, which were also seized by the feds, along with their bank accounts and money. According to a Department of Justice press release, everyone arrested was charged with “conspiring to violate the Travel Act by promoting prostitution.”

Protesters march in a circle and chant for the legalization of sex work in front of a courthouse in downtown Brooklyn on September 3. (WNV/Ashoka Jegroo)

But along with the people who run the site, the raid also affected the people who advertise on the site. The site described itself as “the world’s largest male escort site” and, for many young queer men, it was a vital source of revenue that helped pay bills, buy clothes, and put food on the table. It also provided a much safer alternative than trying to do sex work on the streets.

“In a lot of ways it was difficult to get a job, especially with me moving around a lot and not really having stable rent, and so advertising allows that safety tool to happen, and also, it’s not this biweekly pay thing, it’s really instantaneous money cause I needed it to move,” Michael, a 22-year-old former advertiser on who refused to give his last name, said. “It’s a screening tool. You’re able to filter out a lot of individuals. Also, they provided various resources to STI treatments, how to stay safe.”

Michael, who had advertised on for over a year, said that even though his income wasn’t always stable, the site provided him with a stable place to advertise. His ad was always up, and he knew that he was visible on the site. Now, with the shutdown of the site, that source of income is gone. When later asked how the raid of affected him personally, Michael replied with an uneasy laugh, “Well, right now I can’t pay rent!”

Other sex workers at the protest voiced the same concerns about how the criminalization of sex work affects the lives of so many people, particularly trans people of color, who are often denied jobs with livable wages and are just trying to provide for themselves and their families. The protest lasted about two hours and ended with organizers determined to carry on the fight in the near future.

“What we’re thinking next is a town meeting about the war on sex and also going after City Hall because there are thousands of arrests every year of people for sex work and for wanting to engage with sex work,” Dobbs said at the end of the protest. “And some of it, like Prospect Park targeting for cruisers, doesn’t involve money at all. So all that stuff has to be addressed and the buck stops with Mayor [Bill] de Blasio.”

Calais: demos every day against the border

House Occupation News -

Across Europe, people without papers are refusing to suffer the brutal border regime. From Hungary to France, people are cutting the fences, blocking trains and roads, occupying train stations and public buildings, self-organising and fighting. In Calais, the pace of struggle is picking up with large scale actions now happening on an every day basis, as well of course as individuals and groups taking on the fences every night. Here are reports from the last two days reposted from Calais Migrant Solidarity. Yesterday (Thursday) a crowd of hundreds blockaded the government’s aid distribution centre, demanding free movement not rotten crumbs of aid. Today the crowd marched into town to confront the politicians. Another big action is planned for tomorrow.

Friday 4 September: demo at Calais town hall

Today a demonstration organised by people in the camp, of approximately two hundred people took place. The protesters met outside the food distribution centre as with the previous day’s protest. It was then agreed that the crowd would march into Calais. Moving through the jungle, the demonstration was met with smiles, cries of support and people pumping their fists in the air. There were members of most nationalities in the jungle present. Walking down the road into the town, it was expected that the protest would be blocked by police at any moment. The march, however, was able to continue into the town. The people were chanting “liberté!”, “freedom!”, “no borders, no nations, stop deportations!”, “Hurreeya!” and “azadi!” Once the march entered the town the chanting and clapping intensified so that the inhabitants of Calais would definitely hear the message of the oppressed.

Eventually the march arrived at the Town Hall. Once there, they sat down and held up their banners so that the message could be clearly visible. The gathering was peaceful, with some singing and a little chanting. Then, to the utter surprise of all present, Natasha Bouchart, the Mayor of Calais, arrived to speak to the migrants, along with Phillipe Mignonet and Emmanuel Agius! This has never happened before in Calais to the best of our knowledge.

Bouchart was cynically trying to appear humane and open by talking with the people. However, the politicians were deaf to the migrants demands, only repeating the same tired lines that the people must claim asylum in France in order to receive any assistance, and that the border was a European problem and a British problem, and out of their hands. They suggested that the people go to the sub Prefecture to protest there.

Nobody was taken in by the bullshit of the politicians. The people have called for continued action and protest. The demands are clear even if the politicians cannot understand them. The people will continue to fight and to take to the streets until the borders are no more. Another demonstration is planned for tomorrow with the intent of having as much support as possible: for people to come to the demonstration and to march with them. There has never been a better time to come and to show active solidarity with the people who are fighting for freedom.

Thursday 3 September: demo and picket at “Jules Ferry” state distribution centre

The statement quoted below was given by the protesters today. They began their sit-in at 11 AM, and are refusing to enter the Jules Ferry center for any of its services. They do not want more humanitarian aid, but rather are demanding their rights to move where they wish and live in dignity where they are.

“There is a big protest happening here at the Salam distribution centre in the jungle and the government have cut the satellite signal so there can be no broadcast.

People are blockading the government distribution centre because they no longer want to live in worse conditions than those they left behind. It’s not enough to receive one badly cooked meal per day. People seeking asylum in France are being given nothing and forced to live in the jungle. People have a right to dignity and many people are badly injured and left with no medical provisions to die in the jungle. La Vie Active who run the Salam centre profit from justifying people’s prolonged stay in the jungle. Today the demonstration will continue at the gates of the centre and everyone informed why and asked not to go inside. If people want to go in they can and will not be subject to abuse. It is not good enough that racism exists in the camp and today we are one voice, one hand to stop the injustice of this border.

People of the jungle are not treated as human beings but numbers in system. We are not allowed the right to protest in the town but hidden away, they try to silence us. We will not accept this system and we will provide our own solution. The European governments made this problem and it is their responsibility to solve it in a way that gives us a better life. We did not risk our lives to suffer this inhumanity. We must stand together, this protest is the start and we will continue until our situation is resolved. We want to remain peaceful even when the police use violence against us.”

200,000 March in Vigo, Spain Against Privatization of Health Care

Revolution News -

Spain – Vigo comes alive with the largest demonstration of its history to demand a “public healthcare system,” which is now endangered with the opening of the first privately owned hospital. With public opinion on the matter kept out of the decision-making process so far, citizens make their voices heard by taking to the streets in Read More

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Refugees Set Out from Hungary on Foot, Headed to Austria – #MarchOfHope

Revolution News -

Refugees that were blocked and stuck in Kaleti train station in Budapest for the past two days have set out on foot to make the journey out of Hungary, with hopes of being allowed entry into Austria. With the justifiable fear of being sent to be held in caged cells at refugee camps in Hungary, Read More

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