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Beyond Paris and the temptation to despair

Waging Nonviolence -

by George Lakey

Embed from Getty Images

I’m no stranger to despair — it almost killed me. At age 39, I was diagnosed with a kind of lymphoma that was usually fatal. I’m exactly twice that age now. The healing took an extraordinary mobilization of resources from inside me and from my community. But first I had to learn the biggest lesson of all.

I remember that challenging time now, as I read the news from the Paris climate talks. Many of us, frankly, did not hold high expectations for the gathering. In 1973, I published my prediction that governmental leaders would fail us on fundamental environmental issues. I proposed an alternative strategy that would not rely on politicians to take care of us and called it a “living revolution.”

Still, when heads of state gather in the bright lights of mass media, there’s often hope against hope. Against our better judgment, we can set ourselves up for discouragement and worse.

When facing the prospect of my dying, I found an approach that went beyond both despair and desperate hope. I remember groaning in a hospital bed after massive surgery when the surgeon came in. He explained, “We couldn’t get it all, so radiation and chemo will be next.” I noticed the surgeon would no longer meet my eyes. Today’s analogy to his ominous message might be the environmentalists who tell us that it’s already too late — we can’t really save ourselves from climate calamity.

As I digested my grim diagnosis I began to feel a complete victim. I asked myself, why me? I’m young and chose a healthy lifestyle. I have children to care for, and I work for a better world.

My primary community, Movement for a New Society, organized a care team for me in the hospital. MNS member Ellen Deacon invited her dad to visit me. When he walked into my room, the pain was roaring and tubes were coming in and out of me. Ellen’s dad simply said, “My daughter told you I’d drop by in case you needed anything. Not very long ago I was where you are now.”

That got my attention.

“I realize we’re all different,” he said, “but what turned me around was when I decided to take responsibility for the cancer I had grown.”

Every fiber within me shouted “No!”

“I’m not talking about blame, here,” he said. “I’m simply talking about owning my situation, realizing that the rest of me had something to do with the cancer cells multiplying. You might want to consider it.”

I said as graceful a goodbye as I could under the circumstances, and went back to feeling sorry for myself. Later, though, his words came back to me, along with his healthy vibrancy. I began to consider what he said. If I somehow had the power to cooperate with the growth of the cancer cells, would that imply that I had the power to non-cooperate as well? If I can grow tumors, could I also shrink them?”

The idea was too far-fetched for me to believe it. Yet, as a working hypothesis, it was very attractive. I like being powerful. I felt powerless at the moment, pathetically so. I could choose to stay with pathos (I do like opera), or I could choose power.

Ellen and the others in the Movement for a New Society community put me in a love bath, 24/7. To the alarm of the supervising nurse, they wouldn’t let me alone. They sat beside me while I slept, sang and held me while I shook with fear. My dad had reared me to be a stoical individualist, but even his influence couldn’t prevent my surrender to the love. I could tell it was surrender because I so often became a blubbering idiot with them, pouring out decades of stored-up pain and disappointment and, yes, despair.

I was unprepared to strategize my healing, so my comrades helped out. They researched, helped me examine my lifestyle with a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), pointed me toward resources I’d never heard of. They wisely left each decision to me — this was about empowerment, after all. I kept in mind the very real chance of dying, reading books about it and building into my life qualities that I wanted to enjoy on my way out, if that’s how it went. My strategy also included new disciplines and new forms of struggle, to support a renewal of life. Even if the probability is low, I asked myself over and over in the middle of the night, why not go for it?

Dealing with our collective threat

Afterward, I looked back on that year of mobilization, painful as it was, as one of the best of my life. I realized that, because of my stubborn denial, I needed the death threat to get myself together. My growth curve transformed limiting beliefs and gave me glimpses of what the mystics and saints have long been getting at. I did know of people who resigned themselves to their cancer, turned on the television, and sank into oblivion. I chose love and possibility and reached for a new degree of liberation. Maybe our society’s denial also needs the death threat to get itself together and make its own breakthrough.

Already in the late 1960s I “got the memo” about environmental crisis. I did little activism for the cause, however, because the movement’s mainstream was so determined to bark up the wrong tree. Most environmentalists’ belief in a middle school civics version of American politics kept groups to the right of Greenpeace unwilling to tap their full power.

In the past five years I see environmentalists shifting. Global conferences in Kyoto and Copenhagen revealed the truth to some, and Paris is revealing it to more: Politicians will not — and can not — save us, any more than I could have healed from cancer with band-aids. The environmental/economic crisis is way too fundamental to be handled by masses of people who ignore the source of their own power, which is literally called “people power.”

As with my cancer, the turn-around begins by taking responsibility, by accepting that somehow or other we’ve been avoiding operating from our true, life-affirming selves. Once we accept that we gave our power away to politicians and the corporate heads who control them, we can choose to take our power back.

As with my cancer recovery, a self-assessment will be useful. We’ll find we need to love each other instead of playing identity politics one-upmanship. If we’re on the oppressed end of one of the many “isms,” we’ll need to root our action in self-respect rather than attacking our comrades. We’ll need to interrogate class in ourselves, and become blubbering idiots, as we let go of the superiority moves that divide our efforts. By understanding class we’ll see how white supremacy, economic injustice and climate chaos are all maintained by the 1 percent and the institutions they control, such as the university and the Democratic Party.

We’ll also need to accept some good news, which is that the pace of change is not even. Predictions of doom usually assume a steady pace, but in fact there is often acceleration when masses go into motion. The four years between the Montgomery bus boycott and the 1960 sit-ins seemed like an eternity to civil rights organizers, but the years following 1960 were like a speeding train, almost impossible to keep up with. Nor would our SWOT analysis be complete if we overlook the positive indicators that showed up in Paris.

Strategically, the main lesson I learned in getting the goods on cancer was to be holistic. Let’s live the revolution now, even while we engage in the earlier stages that build the revolutionary movement. Let the timid ones see our affirmative organizational cultures that accept the emotional highs and lows that go with the struggle. Let’s act with awareness that a broad social movement includes diverse roles (advocacy, building alternative institutions, and so on), then affirm each role while enhancing the direct action that, in the United States, has suffered decades of neglect.

As environmental activist Joanna Macy teaches in her books and workshops, denial of despair doesn’t make it go away. In fact, in my life, despair was killing me. Post-Paris is our opportunity to get with friends, and do the raging, grieving and anguishing that might be coming up. Children are right to have tantrums, and we grown-ups are too — without needing to overturn police cars to be all drama-queen about it. When we choose to express our emotions safely and with each other, we send a subtle but clear message to our own selves that we are powerful indeed. By releasing our own emotions in a responsible way we free our agency and restore our sense of confidence.
Will humankind succeed in taking on the unjustly organized economies that are propelling the crisis? No one can really know for certain. I personally know what it means to look at slim odds. And I know I can choose to go for it.

Protesters mark red lines in Paris climate demo – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Thousands of protesters gather in central Paris on Saturday for what was dubbed a ‘red line protest’, while in the suburbs of the French capital a draft climate deal was announced. Groups of climate activists at the demonstration carried giant red banners to symbolise ‘the red lines’ that they don’t want negotiators to cross in trying to reach an international accord to fight global warming

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Cronulla riots: tension rises as protestors gatecrash 10th anniversary memorial – in pictures

The Guardian | Protest -

A group of about 40 people gathered in Cronulla, Sydney, to mark the 10th anniversary of the riots which blighted the neighbourhood. In 2005, some 5,000 people were involved in violent clashes as patriotic Australians sought to ‘reclaim the beach’ from people perceived to be from immigrant backgrounds. The so-called memorial gathering on Saturday was heavily attended by police and press, while anti-racism protesters made clear their opposition

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Massive Methane Leak Blowing into Los Angeles Community

Revolution News -

Los Angeles, CA — Shocking footage shot with a Forward Looking InfraRed (FLIR) Gasfinder 320 camera shows the massive methane plume leaking from SoCalGas’s Aliso Canyon Storage Facility in Los Angeles County. The footage, taken from several vantage points by an ITC-certified thermographer, makes visible the heretofore invisible pollution blowing into residential areas in the Porter Read More

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SEC Proposes Rules Requiring Resource Corporations to Disclose Gov Payments

Revolution News -

  Today the US Securities and Exchange Commission  SEC announced a strong proposed rule to implement a landmark transparency law which requires US-listed oil, gas and mining companies to publish details of their payments to governments, broken down per country and per project, with no exemptions. This is a critical step in deterring corrupt natural Read More

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San Francisco: Student Walkouts for Mario Woods

Revolution News -

High school students in San Francisco walked out of school today and marched to City Hall in protest of the police shooting of Mario Woods. Woods, 26, was shot more than 20 times by 5 police officers on December 2 in the Bayview neighborhood. New footage of the police shooting was released today during a Read More

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Climate Games challenge Paris protest ban with peer-to-peer disobedience

Waging Nonviolence -

by Kate Aronoff

An activist makes moss graffiti in Bordeaux with the slogan of the Climate Games. (Twitter/@JEBA_JE)

The 21st Conference of Parties, or COP21, has taken place under unusual circumstances, which is saying a lot given the history of international climate negotiations. Following the attacks on Paris on November 13, French President Francois Hollande declared a nationwide state of emergency that the French legislature then extended to three months. Relevant to COP21, that includes a wholesale ban on protests and “outside events.” Tomorrow, thousands in Paris are planning to defy it.

At D12 — “D” standing for both December and disobedience — activists plan to form a massive “red line” with their bodies, symbolizing how they and others around the world will hold governments accountable to the climate commitments negotiators will theoretically agree to tomorrow.

Plans to mobilize around this year’s talks had been brewing for months before November’s attacks, if not since the last landmark climate talks collapsed in Copenhagen in 2009. When the Global Climate March, planned for November 29, was canceled, an umbrella coalition of NGOs, unions and social movement representatives called Coalition Climat 21 went into deep negotiations to figure out their next steps. Long beforehand, however, a small group of European climate activists had been planning a series of demonstrations called the Climate Games, which seemed ready-made to defy the government’s protest ban prohibiting public gatherings of more than two people. Their plan was for creative, decentralized direct actions organized in small groups with no discernible nexus beyond shared messaging: “We Are Nature Defending Itself.”

Over 100 Climate Games actions have rolled within and without France for the last two weeks, and its originators are part of the network of seasoned organizers determining next steps on an hour-by-hour basis. With the penultimate public briefing on tomorrow’s action happening yards behind us, I spoke with Climate Games co-organizer Selj Balamir to hear more about the state of emergency, the strategy behind the games and what organizers plan to do next.

How did the Climate Games come together?

The Climate Games started in Amsterdam to target the coal plant and harbor there. The Netherlands, as you might known, is home to two of Europe’s major coal ports. After some disappointing actions that nobody showed up to, we reconsidered our mode of action. From that came the idea of games: Something that brings together different tactics and people with different levels of experience, presenting different styles of actions rather than imposing one type that we choose as organizers.

Games are universal, and so is disobedience. The shift worked fantastically: On the one hand, we had experienced, Earth First!-style direct action groups doing blockades. Next to them were flashmobs by new divestment groups. All of that being together in the same space at the same time showed the physical presence of the larger array of movements acting together. That presence is proof that we are a rich and diverse convergence of movements that support one another, not just people saying “we are a big climate movement.”

What was the plan for mobilizations in Paris before the attacks on November 13?

There is a big coalition (Coalition Climat 21) containing more than 150 organizations — an unprecedented feat — that came together to figure out the choreography of the two weeks of COP. To a certain extent, it also exists to support disobedient action at the end of the talks. Some elements that took charge of the disobedient acts had agreed on having a broad, accessible mass civil disobedience which would be many people’s entry point to those types of actions.

We were very inspired by the Ende Gelande action last summer, when 1,000 people entered the Lignite mines in Germany and stopped digging for a day. Eight hundred people were arrested, all of them released and most of them first timers. We were also inspired by the history of so many rights not being granted, but earned through disobedient acts. At that point, the Games were still planning to overlap with this massive action.

What happened after November 13?

We started from scratch. From my understanding, what happened was that a recombination of actors within Coalition Climat 21 repositioned themselves in the state of emergency, not stepping back at all. In fact, in moments where everything is forbidden everyone is disobedient, so actually it becomes much easier to organize a disobedient act. And yet — given the general mood and changing sensibilities — it seemed unwise to go for La Bourget and a traditional mass action.

It was a moment with a lot of creative thinking: How, in a very short period of time, do you reimagine what was promised to be the largest-ever civil disobedience around climate? And here we are now, one day before D12, having the redlines briefed and revealed as a complete plan right behind us. I think the emphasis on those strong, creative visual elements have taken center stage as a way to inspire, empower and communicate some of the elements of the action that have been present the whole time.

Ultimately, the movements’s goal in Paris was not to influence the COP. It wasn’t to stop the COP, or force negotiators to do something. It was supposed to be a moment for the movements to come together to reinforce and consummate their efforts, and to launch — most importantly — the escalation of their actions in the spring. In that sense, nothing has changed. It will be an attempt — a successful one — to steal the spotlight from leaders shaking hands and pretending to save a world in a state of emergency at an airport. We’ll make it clear that that’s not where the solutions are. The solutions will be in those mass actions next year.

What has the state of emergency been like for you?

For organizers in Paris, the situation was tense. Knowing history, those kinds of crises are never missed as an opportunity for states and the powerful to act against people. The state of emergency was absolutely deployed as a shock doctrine against climate mobilizations in Paris.

The attacks gave the government the legitimacy, legal grounds and power to target the organizers of the climate movement, to place them under house arrest and to raid squats as an intimidation tactic. And, of course, to attack the unauthorized march in Place de la République before the first day of the COP.

But this is the superficial level of what the state of emergency means. What the attacks have revealed — or rather reinforced — is our commitment to climate justice being about deepening conversations about security, about safety, about freedom and about emergencies.

This is supposed to be a civil society-driven two week summit, not a NATO meeting where cities get locked down and become a playground for the military. The sheer disjuncture between the social movements’ calling, “It takes everyone to change everything,” and the state of emergency declaring that you can’t convene more than two people is absurd.

How do you think the design of the Climate Games lends itself to doing confrontational action within a state of emergency, where these big demonstrations that police are trained to look for are officially prohibited?

It’s ambiguous. On the one hand, since the state of emergency bans any mass public gatherings, it means that there is more space for affinity group-led decentralized actions. The space for Climate Games-type actions has been increased. But at the same time, of course, surprise acts made by little groups carry connotations that are closer to terrorist attacks. We encouraged teams to revise their plans in light of recent events.

We also realized that big organizations tend to break down when they are hit by a shock. As a small affinity group, you can revise your plans over a bottle of wine in the evening. In terms of plasticity and response to situations, we find that small groups are much more resilient because you don’t need to reinvent everything in a short amount of time. Something we observed in these two weeks is that there is even more interest and reason to pursue those types of actions. If this is the shadow of a future that we want to avoid, but that is creeping, nonetheless, we can reinvent our modes of actions and our tactics while maintaining elements of broad support.

What kinds of instruction do potential Climate Games participants need to have before they can go out and plan and participate in an action?

The first step is becoming an affinity group and starting to make decisions, deciding what kind of actions you want to do and what kind of team you are. The second is to consult a map, and the points of interest of all the “manifestations of the mesh,” as we call it — capitalism, authoritarianism, colonialism — and all the manifestations of fossil fuel industries: lobbyists, false solutions, greenwashers and so on. After picking your targets, you are encouraged to design and realize your own adventure.

The beauty of it is that we have no idea who is planning actions, what kinds of actions they are planning and when they are going to happen. You can’t just stop us and stop the Games from happening. It is truly distributed through network-based politics — it’s peer-to-peer disobedience. Our job as organizers is ultimately to channel and amplify those messages, and create the understanding that these are not isolated acts happening in little bubbles, but global blockadia happening everywhere and taking so many different forms.

What have the Climate Games looked like so far?

We have seen three main typologies of action. The first are blockades of concrete sites of emissions or extraction, the most significant of those being in Germany. The second type would be softer and very creative disruptions; exposures of false solutions like those happening in Belgium. The third I would call “poetic resistance”: All the culture jamming, banner drops, anything that has messaging content applied in a public space. The major one of these was from Brandalism, taking over 600 billboards across Paris.

What have the conversations been like among different organization in figuring out how to plan actions in the state of emergency?

My impression is that because of the influence of big NGOs, the mission the coalition set for itself from the beginning was to build up numbers: to have the largest march in history with 500,000 people marching in Paris. That made the coalition a bit too large for my taste, with pro-nuclear unions, and NGOs that collaborate with corporations. But as a construction effort the coalition is definitely admirable.

We have seen that this strategy — of only going for numbers — meant that after the first shock (the state of emergency) it fell apart. The reason it fell apart was because the unions didn’t want to do security for the march. Therefore, there wasn’t enough counter-power in the hands of the coalition to go forward with their plans. That gave the authorities the legitimate grounds to ban it. From there, it already seemed like there would be a splinter into three actions on November 29: a very clicktivist shoes photo-op; an interesting but limited human chain; and a clear, bold call-out for disobeying the ban with a rally, which was still overwhelmed by the police and gave them the grounds to point to good protesters and bad protesters.

It was an indication that if you don’t bring groups together with a deeper agenda and political common ground, you can’t adapt to situations that will be thrown at you. And if we are talking about the climate we should be prepared for all kinds of instabilities, political or environmental. As the slogan goes, “it takes roots to weather the storm.” And the coalition wasn’t really strengthening those roots, from my understanding.

Still, there wasn’t a total breakdown of the coalition, which is very admirable and respectable. We’ll see how that process will go in the long-term. We will see which actors we have been able to trust in this process and build upon those relationships in the next year. It doesn’t have to be under the coalition. I’ve been following the groups organizing disobedient RedLines actions around D12 more closely, and I can say that, there, links have been strengthened. It has been a remarkably constructive and respectful process.

Why do you think it’s important for people to defy the ban tomorrow?

I like the twisted version of the People’s Climate March slogan: “To change everything, we have to step out of line.” True progress has only been achieved by disobedient acts. There is no better moment than moments of emergency to declare counter-emergencies. In other words, it’s not only up to states to declare states of emergency. It’s really up to people. You cannot really declare a people’s emergency — a climate emergency — simply with marching and petitions.

We are more committed to empowering movements to take those steps, not only in symbolic and temporary spaces or events like the COP, but — most importantly — where the problems lie and where the solutions lie: at the grassroots and on the frontlines, and all the sites of global blockadia. This is only a moment of coming together, where we reinforce each other, share our experience and take a common stance as the eyes of the world are on Paris. Any deal they produce cannot go unchallenged, and we will achieve the deal we need with peaceful yet determined means.

Syrian refugees welcomed outside Trump Tower

Waging Nonviolence -

by Ashoka Jegroo

A sign welcoming Syrian refugees at a rally outside Trump Tower in New York City on Dec. 10. (WNV/Ashoka Jegroo)

Hundreds of people gathered in New York City’s Columbus Circle on December 10 to show solidarity with Middle Eastern refugees and to demand that the United States government allow entry to as many refugees as possible.

“This gathering is in reaction to the recent hearing that took place on November 19, 2015, where the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015 or the American SAFE Act of 2015 (H.R. 4038),” organizers stated in a press release. “This bill makes it harder for refugees to enter the U.S. by requiring background checks by not just the Department of Homeland Security but also the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Director of National Intelligence. Since the aftermath of 9/11 – increased ‘security’ has only left the Muslim/Arab community in fear of government officials.”

Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, people from conflict-ridden areas in Syria and Iraq have fled their countries seeking safety from the violence. To date, over four million people have left Syria, with most staying in nearby countries like Turkey and Jordan. Others have sought asylum in Europe and the United States. This, along with fear and anti-Muslim bigotry provoked by recent attacks by ISIS-affiliated shooters in Paris and San Bernardino, has caused many right-wing parties and politicians in Western countries to gain in popularity. The right-wing reaction has also become more extreme.

Even more so than the passing of the American SAFE Act of 2015, people at Thursday’s protest seemed to have been drawn out in response to recent statements by Republican presidential front-runner, Donald Trump, in which he called “for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Throughout the rally, the crowd shouted chants like “There is no debate! Trump equals hate!” and “Donald Trump, don’t you hear? Refugees are welcome here!” The rally took place in the middle of Columbus Circle right across the street from Trump Tower.

“While people say that Trump is a problem, is it really Trump that’s the problem?” asked Jamila Hammami, one of the organizers and a member of the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project. “I think it’s a systemic issue of America.”

Activists from over 50 organizations were present and spoke about increased xenophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry since the Paris attacks, why it’s important to show solidarity with refugees, and the need for the United States government to both stop its interventions in the Middle East and accept even more refugees.

“At present, the U.S. government has agreed to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. This is not enough. We demand that the US government accept more refugees from Syria and Iraq without intense background checks and to provide adequate resources and social services to these newly resettled refugees,” organizers stated in the press release. “Further, we demand that the U.S. and all other governments cease their interventions in the Middle East and North Africa and their support of human rights abuses by repressive regimes.”

Regarding recent incidents of anti-Muslim bigotry, including a sixth grade girl in the Bronx being attacked by other students who called her “ISIS” and a severed pig’s head being thrown at the door of a Philadelphia mosque, Hammami stated that she hoped that the rally would also help combat the fear currently being felt by Muslims.

“These are repetitions of what happened after 9/11, but everyone in the Muslim community has all agreed that this is actually significantly worse than what it was after 9/11, and there’s a lot of fear that we have,” she said. “So our hope is for there not to be fear amongst us.”

The rally lasted for about two hours and ended with the words of Assata Shakur and songs by the Peace Poets. Organizers also announced that another protest would be held the following day outside the Plaza Hotel where Trump will be speaking to raise funds for Pennsylvania’s Republican Party. Before all of that though, a Syrian refugee, a middle-aged man wrapped in the Syrian Independence flag, thanked the crowd with the help of a translator.

“I’m Muslim. I’m Sunni. I’m not a terrorist! We suffered a lot at the hands of ISIS and the [Bashar al-Assad] regime,” he said. “Yes we left Syria, but we will go back. I left because of my kids, to guarantee a better future for them, but Syria will always stay in my heart and the revolution will always stay in my heart. Thank you for your solidarity with Syrians and the Syrian revolution!”

Jeremy Corbyn praises Stop the War Coalition as vital democratic force

The Guardian | Protest -

Corbyn defends anti-war group as its chairman hits out at suggestion that Labour leader needs to distance himself

Jeremy Corbyn will hail Stop the War as “one of the most important democratic campaigns of modern times”, while accusing the coalition’s critics of trying to close down debate.

The Labour leader will give a staunch defence of Stop the War at its Christmas fundraising dinner on Friday night, after calls from some figures within the party for him to withdraw from the event and cut links with the group.

Related: Stop the War chair Andrew Murray: ‘Everyone sees friends at Christmas. But Jeremy, apparently, has a problem’

Related: Jeremy Corbyn wins parliamentary beard of the year by a whisker

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Accidental? No Charges for Unwarranted Police Shooting

Revolution News -

California – Butte County District Attorney District Attorney Mike Ramsey announced Thursday that his office would not be pressing charges against Paradise Police Officer Patrick Feaster in the officer-involved-shooting on Thanksgiving day, saying that the shooting was accidental. Officer Patrick Feaster saw a Toyota Four-Runner speeding out of the Canteena Bar parking lot without headlights Read More

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Stop the War chair Andrew Murray: ‘Everyone sees friends at Christmas. But Jeremy, apparently, has a problem’

The Guardian | Protest -

Tristram Hunt’s definitely not going, Brian Eno definitely is – but it’s Jeremy Corbyn’s planned attendance at Stop the War’s party that has churned up the most fuss. As the pressure group comes back into the spotlight, its chair explains how it needs to adjust – and why airstrikes on Syria are wrong

The morning I sit down for a long chat with Andrew Murray, the chair of the Stop the War coalition, British politics is a mere 36 hours away from what some people would have you believe is one of the most controversial events of 2015.

It is scheduled to happen at a Turkish restaurant near Southwark tube station, and will involve food, the presence of the former Roxy Music member Brian Eno, and music from one Dmitri van Zwanenberg – according to the promotional blurb, a “busker with a yellow violin”. But what has sent certain MPs and journalists into a lather is the joint fact that all the fun is aimed at raising funds for Stop the War, and that the guest of honour is Jeremy Corbyn – until recently the holder of Murray’s role in Stop the War, but now leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition.

Related: Jeremy Corbyn determined to attend Stop the War event

Related: Stop the War faces a coalition of critics | Letters from Peter Tatchell and others

Related: Green MP Caroline Lucas steps down from Stop the War Coalition role

Related: UK's 'biggest peace rally'

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South Africa says #ZumaMustFall after shock sacking of finance minister

The Guardian | Protest -

Petition calling for president to resign has gone viral as people voice fury at the sudden decision to fire Nhlanhla Nene, Daily Maverick reports

South African president Jacob Zuma is facing growing calls to resign after his shock decision to remove the country’s popular finance minister from office.

On Friday, more than 66,000 people had signed a petition telling Zuma to step down, with thousands taking to social media to voice their support for ousted Nhlanhla Nene.

BREAKING!! South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has been "Re-Deployed" and is replaced by David van Rooyen.

The silver lining in government has always been the Finance Minister, and now even that is gone. Sad.

I never agreed with Nene policies inherited from GEAR framework but one thing I know about him is that he an honest man - not a thief

So Nhlanhla Nene has been fired! Hope there no connection with a strong stance he took on SAA saga - can't help but speculate about that

Roll on #Zuma's corrupt #nuclear deal & #SAA corruption and incompetence will reach new heights.

A declaration of a crises indeed, his party must now remove him. #ZumaMustFall

In conclusion: it's time that we fire Jacob Zuma. #ZumaMustFall

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Violent clashes in Ethiopia over 'master plan' to expand Addis

The Guardian | Protest -

Extending capital into surrounding farmland is part of ongoing discrimination against Oromo people, say protesters. Global Voices reports

At least 10 students are said to have been killed and hundreds injured during protests against the Ethiopian government’s plans to expand the capital city into surrounding farmland.

According to Human Rights Watch, the students were killed this week when security forces used excessive force and live ammunition to disperse the crowds.

Related: 'Ethiopia's media crackdown is bad news for Africa'

Students of Haramaya University, Harar Campus stage a mourning protest today Dec 9, 2015. # OromoProtests # Ethiopia

The sad state of press in #Ethiopia , no media can give us information about #OromoProtests, social media is the only existing source.

Justice for massacred #Oromo students. #OromoProtests @WhiteHouse @StateDept #Ethiopia

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China prepares to gag free speech champion Pu Zhiqiang

The Guardian | Protest -

After 19 months behind bars, one of China’s most admired civil rights lawyers set to go on trial accused of sending irreverent tweets

In another era, Pu Zhiqiang might have live-tweeted the Tiananmen massacre. Instead, as the bloodbath unfolded around him on that pre-smartphone night in the early summer of 1989, the student leader took a solemn vow: if he made it out with his life he would use it to give voice to those who had died.

“That was unquestionably a pivotal moment for him,” said William J Dobson, an American writer who spent time with the Tiananmen survivor while writing a book on 21st century dictatorships. “I don’t think that it is necessarily guilt as much as it is a real commitment to see through what had motivated students and workers and so many others to gather there in 1989.”

Related: Ai Weiwei interview: 'In human history, there's never been a moment like this'

Related: Authors urge China to release Nobel prize winner on seventh anniversary of his arrest

Related: Xi Jinping 'resigns', according to typo in Chinese state media report

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Daniel Holtzclaw Guilty on 18 of 36 Charges of Raping, Assaulting 13 Black Women

Revolution News -

Oklahoma – A jury has found ex-Oklahoma police officer Daniel Holtzclaw guilty on 18 of the 36 charges he faced for sexually assaulting at least 13 black women. For each of the 36 counts, the jurors, who were all white, were tasked with both determining the verdict and, in the case of a guilty verdict, Read More

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Mexico: The Others Missing from Iguala

Revolution News -

The search for the 43 missing normalista students continues in Iguala, Guerrero but little new information is known as to their whereabouts. The latest news in the case came earlier this week when the GIEI (Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos Independientes) released a new report on Monday December 7. The forensic experts determined that no fire Read More

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The Warrior for Babies and the Hypocrisy of “Pro-lifers”

Revolution News -

At a recent appearance in court, the Planned Parenthood terrorist called himself a “warrior for the babies” in one of several outbursts. Take heed everyone, this man’s version of being a “warrior for the babies” meant killing three parents with two children each and destroying a facility that provides family planning services. While his fringe Read More

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Seattle Rallying for Somali-American Teen Who Mysteriously Died Falling Off Roof

Revolution News -

We out here with the people for #Hamza his life mattered… #SayHisName #Justice4Hamza #UHM #JusticeForHamza #JusticeOrElse Posted by United Hood Movement on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 A dedicated student aspring to major in Computer Science at MIT, 16-year-old Hamza Warsame left to study with another student last Saturday afternoon. Around 4pm, only an hour after he Read More

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Delhi Police Attack #OccupyUGC Student Protest

Revolution News -

Delhi – On Wednesday about 500 hundred students participated in a protest against the University Grants Commission (UGC). The students, who intended to march to the Parliament, were stopped by the police in central Delhi. What followed was a brutal attack on the student protestors, several students were taken to RML and LNJP Hospital. Police Read More

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