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250,000 in Berlin Say No to Transatlantic Trade Agreements

Revolution News -

Berlin – Organizers estimate 250,000 attended the massive protest against the proposed trade agreements with North America, including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US, and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada. More than 30 organizations – including trade unions, civil rights groups, Germany’s opposition Green and Left parties, Read More

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Berlin anti-TTIP trade deal protest attracts hundreds of thousands

The Guardian | Protest -

Environmental groups, charities and opposition parties who organised protest against free trade deal between the EU and US say 250,000 people took part

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Berlin on Saturday to oppose a planned free trade deal between the European Union and the United States that is claimed to be anti-democratic and to threaten food safety and environmental standards.

The environmental groups, charities and opposition parties that organised the protest claimed 250,000 people took part, while a police spokesman said 100,000 attended. Smaller protests were also held in other cities, including Amsterdam, with a rally due to be held in London on Saturday night at which shadow chancellor John McDonnell is scheduled to speak.

Related: What is TTIP and why should we be angry about it?

Related: Obama defends controversial TPP deal and dismisses secrecy concerns

Related: TPP or not TPP? What's the Trans-Pacific Partnership and should we support it?

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Should we still bother with street protests?

The Guardian | Protest -

Recent demonstrations against Air France executives and London’s Cereal Killer Café turned ugly, but past marches have achieved great things. Or have they?

Anne McElvoy, senior editor at the Economist I left the Tory party conference last week and a gauntlet of protesters shouting hate-you-very-much messages at everyone who passed through security. To the protestors, any other human beings, whether journalists, policy wonks or charity workers, were simply “scum”, “heartless” or some other full-spectrum bad adjective, by virtue of being there.

Street protest has a place in democracies, but also limits in a civil society.

A thug in uniform grappling with a protester … it is a measure of who you are when you decide whose side you are on

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Turkey: Two Explosions at Ankara Peace Rally (GRAPHIC)

Revolution News -

  WARNING: Very graphic images & videos Two explosions occurred at a peace rally in Ankara today. Initial reports stated 20 dead. The Attorney General just updated the death toll to 30 with many severely wounded in critical condition. According to HDP 52 were killed on the scene, 17 more died in hospitals for total Read More

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Is it really OK to call him ‘Tory scum’?

The Guardian | Protest -

Conservatives, cereal magnates and Owen Jones have one thing in common: they’ve all come under fire from leftwing activists. So is it fair to damn a 60,000-strong protest with the actions of a few? And will the new brand of ‘contentious politics’ do its cause more harm than good?

More than 60,000 people thronged the streets of Manchester last Sunday to participate in a protest outside the Conservative party conference, organised primarily by anti-austerity group the People’s Assembly. Throughout the week there were speeches, marches, debates and performances by the likes of Frankie Boyle and the Super Furry Animals. Chief superintendent John O’Hare of Greater Manchester police praised most of the demonstrators for their “good grace”.

None of this activity, however, received half as much attention as the behaviour of a small number of people directly outside the convention centre. One young delegate was struck on the head by an egg. Some journalists were spat on. Anyone entering the building was condemned as “Tory scum!”, even journalists and third-sector representatives. (Even Owen Jones.) There were reports of a rape threat and a vile antisemitic slur. Nobody was hurt and only a handful arrested – but the scene was ugly enough to make headline news and allow Iain Duncan Smith to tar the whole protest as “the left ranting and screaming at us”.

Related: ​Ruling – but trying not to look smug: Owen Jones ​on the mood at Tory conference

Related: So you hate the Tories – but what comes next? | John Harris

Related: Why I protested at the Tory party conference | Sue Hagerty

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Charlotte Church: pop star turned reluctant champion of the left

The Guardian | Protest -

Singer said she didn’t want to be a poster girl for the anti-austerity movement after marching against Tory cuts in May. But that is exactly what she has become

On Saturday 9 May two days after the general election, Charlotte Church joined about 250 others at the statue of Aneurin Bevan in Cardiff, close to her home, to protest at the further cuts planned by the new Conservative government.

The singer turned presenter and actor has rarely been, in the 18 years in which she has been globally famous, shy about voicing her opinions. But until then she had largely stayed away from direct party-political involvement, short of a blogpost written the day before the election urging Ed Miliband, “when you get into Downing Street”, to show that the new Labour-governed Britain could be “a trailblazer for progressive politics”.

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Pro-diversity and anti-mosque protesters in standoff in Bendigo park

The Guardian | Protest -

A heavy police presence keeps rival demonstrations apart in Bendigo as hundreds gather, either to oppose a mosque development or support it

Related: Anti-mosque protesters 'bringing hate and bigotry' to Bendigo, says premier

Rival protest groups have converged on a park in central Bendigo, Victoria where a standoff was under way on Saturday afternoon.

Related: Victoria police will guard mosques after warnings about rightwing protests

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Two Different School Shootings in One Day in the US

Revolution News -

Two school shootings occurred within hours of each other today in Arizona and Texas, bringing the total number of school shootings in the United States since 2013, to 149. Today’s shootings bring the total number in 2015 alone to 48. 149 school shootings since 2013 is an average of one per week. Early Friday morning, Steven Read More

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“Heavy-handed police tactics” used against Ayotzinapa students in 2011 – US Embassy Cable

Revolution News -

Mexico – A newly declassified cable obtained by the National Security Archive and published this week by Aristegui Noticias reveals the US government reaction to a 2011 attack by Mexican police against the students of Raul Isidro Burgos Normal school in Ayotzinapa in which 2 students were shot and killed. The cable sent by the Read More

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9 Dead, 100 Injured by Israeli Gunfire as Violence Increases

Revolution News -

The death toll climbs with every new report as violence increases in Jerusalem. At least 9 dead, 100 injured by Israeli gunfire today and at least 11 of the injured are under the age of 18. Osama al Jaro, Public Relations head at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza stated that Israeli forces are using exploding bullets, Read More

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Fire the potato cannon! The Sisters of Perpetual Resistance take their art to the streets

The Guardian | Protest -

At Sisters HQ, anarcho-artist Alannah Currie has challenged a crew of women to take on the establishment. Expect anti-rape cloaks, arm wrestles and tuba interventions

A century ago, Mary Richardson lurked in Trafalgar Square’s National Gallery, avoiding the scrutiny of security guards. When the time was right, she released the last of a procession of safety pins up her left sleeve and pulled out an axe. Lunging at the Rokeby Venus, she slashed Velazquez’s work five times before being dragged off. As a protest against the arrest of fellow suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, it immortalised “Slasher Mary” as an art activist – albeit through the destruction of art, not its creation.

Modern-day anarcho-artist Alannah Currie approves. “I like acts of destruction in order to create something new,” she says. Her Sisters HQ workshop, named after her own shadowy umbrella group the Sisters of Perpetual Resistance, is in Southwark, just a few tube stops from the National Gallery. Currie came of age in this neighbourhood: in the late 1970s, she frequented the squat scene and started all-female band The Unfuckables. In keeping with their punk ethos, they’d fill eggs with black paint and launch them at the Pretty Polly billboards that greeted commuters every day.

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Why the TPP should shake up environmentalism’s big tent

Waging Nonviolence -

by Kate Aronoff

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Suppose for a moment that the Trans-Pacific Partnership — “NAFTA on steroids” — would not spell colossal disaster for the environment. Pretend that it wouldn’t empower unelected corporate tribunals to gut basic regulations in the name of “investors’ rights,” open the floodgates to near-unlimited fossil fuel export and extraction or, very likely, block subsidies for renewable energy development. Imagine that it even offered a few benefits for the environment — crumbs, sure, but crumbs in an otherwise crumb-less world, policy-wise. Those benefits could be a couple thousand acres of wildlife protection, an expansion on safeguards for endangered species or maybe even a guarantee not to drill on public lands. In terms of the trees, air, water and wildlife, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP — in this aggressively fictional scenario — is a win for the planet.

Like I said, pretend.

Now, keep everything else about today’s situation the same. Having been agreed to in Atlanta on Monday by the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations, the TPP has drawn the ire of just about every major labor union in the country. United Steelworkers’ President Leo Gerard has predicted the pact could deal a “final blow to manufacturing in America.” His counterpart at the Communications Workers of America, Chris Shelton, has called it “a bad deal for working families and communities … a corporate dream but a nightmare for those of us on Main Street.” Leading legal experts and economist Joseph Stigltiz express their “grave concern” about its penchant for extra-legal judicial channels, while Paul Krugman (a “lukewarm opponent”) pragmatically explains that “the big beneficiaries” of the TPP “are likely to be pharma companies and firms that want to sue governments.” Given all this — as someone who cares deeply about the environment — would you support it?

Wooed by an even more watered down version of this fantasy, the Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund did just that. As the New York Times dutifully reported earlier this week, they “praised” the deal for supposedly limiting wildlife trafficking and illegal fishing, rendering animals just about one of the only things protected under the agreement aside from corporate profits — and even that’s debatable. The Obama administration has been eager to use the support of these environmental groups as a tool to bolster public opinion for the TPP, writing in a White House blog post that it represented “a once-in-a-generation chance to protect our oceans, wildlife and the environment.” Similar tactics were used to pass NAFTA in the early 1990s, when Bill Clinton “greened” the trade agreement to eek through a deal with Canada, Mexico and his more skeptical colleagues in the United States.

Thankfully, these Big Greens are in the minority when it comes to the TPP. The majority of environmental organizations — the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, — have come out against the deal, citing that it would “[hand] even more power to Big Oil, letting massive corporations throw tantrum lawsuits at governments that dare to scale back emissions.” The interests of workers and environmentalists here are indubitably aligned, along with those of Internet freedom activists and myriad other grassroots outfits that have fought the TPP these last few years.

Despite this week’s news, the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is still far from a done deal. Its full text won’t be publicly available for another month. From there, it will take Congress at least three to four months to introduce legislation that would implement it. In driving forward the next phase of resisting the TPP, the Fight for the Future has assembled over 100 groups, ranging from Code Pink to the ACLU to Food & Water Watch, to oppose the deal as it moves through the House and Senate.

In its sheer awfulness, the TPP has created an alliance powerful enough to force Hillary Clinton into backing down from her support of the deal, which CNN counts she went to bat for some 45 times as secretary of state. Importantly, this fight has also alienated Big Greens from the rest of the movement, helping further define the boundaries of environmentalism’s mythical big tent.

An environmentalism that stands behind the TPP is no environmentalism at all. And it certainly isn’t helping build the broad-based movement needed to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and carve out some chance at averting the kind of catastrophic warming climate scientist Kevin Anderson calls “incompatible with an organized global community.” Horrible as it is, the TPP offers a sickly elegant argument for why green groups can’t work in a vacuum. The same deals that strangle democracy also give corporations near-unlimited access to countries’ fossil fuels, which, of course, can’t be profitably extracted without workers “free” to slog through long hours at poverty wages. While hardly in its strongest or most progressive phase, this past week has proven that labor can be a better friend to climate activists than corporate Big Greens.

In 2015, it’s not necessarily groundbreaking to say the Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund aren’t society’s best hope for climate justice. In the next several years, however, the fault lines are likely to become less clear than they are with the TPP. In the case of proposals for a revenue-neutral carbon tax, for instance, or tax subsidies for non-unionized solar companies, the calculation moving forward for environmentalists needs to be less about the strictly transactional benefits of a given policy (e.g. how much carbon it will keep in the ground) and more about its movement-building benefits. As the People’s Climate March announced just over a year ago, “To change everything, we need everyone.”

Why I protested at the Tory party conference | Sue Hagerty

The Guardian | Protest -

Working with homeless people means I deal with the consequences of cuts to services. I wanted to make Conservatives think about the reality of their policies

When Michael Ashcroft’s biography of David Cameron hit the news, I read up on the culture of dining societies, which the prime minister is said to have been part of. Forget pigs. To me the real obscenity was the Bullingdon Club’s apparent initiation rite of burning a £50 note in front of a homeless person.

I work with homeless young people and have been dealing with the consequences of cut upon cut in support services, along with benefit sanctions that leave people destitute, tear families apart and push those with fragile mental health towards suicide. It got to the stage where shouting at the TV wasn’t enough. I decided to use my annual leave to go to Manchester and become part of the protests against austerity outside of the Conservative party conference.

Related: Conservative party conference hit by protest for third day

Related: -The DWP’s fit-for-work tests are a national catastrophe | Clare Allan

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California bans captive breeding of SeaWorld killer whales

The Guardian | Protest -

California Coastal Commission approves a $100 million expansion of tanks SeaWorld uses to hold killer whales in San Diego, but attaches ban on breeding

The California Coastal Commission on Thursday approved a $100 million expansion of the tanks SeaWorld uses to hold killer whales in San Diego — but it banned breeding of the captive orcas that would live in them.

Animal rights activists praised the decision as a death blow to the use of killer whales at the California ocean park.

Related: California agency sides with SeaWorld on expansion of killer whale tanks

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Charleston S.C. to Pay 6.5M for the Police Murder of Walter Scott

Revolution News -

South Carolina – The family of Walter Scott, a black South Carolina man shot and killed by a police officer who is now facing murder charges, has reached a $6.5 million settlement with city officials. The North Charleston, S.C. city council approved the settlement Thursday night at a hearing attended by Scott’s family and their Read More

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Anti-mosque protesters 'bringing hate and bigotry' to Bendigo, says premier

The Guardian | Protest -

Daniel Andrews says ‘fringe groups’ are travelling to regional Victorian city for protest on Saturday ‘to cause trouble and not much more’

Anti-mosque protesters are travelling from interstate to bring hate and bigotry to Bendigo, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has warned.

The far-right group United Patriots Front is holding another protest on Saturday to object against the building of a mosque in the regional Victorian city.

Related: Bendigo mosque: court throws out bid to have development halted

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Tear Gas and Water Cannons Injure Dozens at Beirut Corruption Protest

Revolution News -

Lebanon – Hundreds of people took to the streets of downtown Beirut on Thursday evening to protest government corruption and inaction over the country’s rubbish crisis. Lebanon’s parliament speaker cancelled Thursday’s session aimed at discussing ways out of the political crisis after politicians made no progress on what was to be a three-day “national dialogue” Read More

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Blackface Party at UCLA Crashed by Black Students

Revolution News -

While America has been in a very public dialogue about race, at UCLA on Monday night Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Alpha Phi sorority decided to throw a “Kanye Western” themed party. Alicia Frison, a third year Philosophy major at UCLA, told Revolution News that she heard about the party after a fellow student had seen other female Read More

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An overlooked source of hope, in book form

Waging Nonviolence -

by George Lakey

A woman reads “A Guide to Civil Resistance” during a protest against the Thai coup in June 2014. (Zuma Press)

I first encountered Gene Sharp when he was a young man in jeans and sneakers, working in a research institute affiliated with the University of Oslo. Not guessing that he would become a mentor of mine, I met him because one of my Norwegian professors sent me to him. Gene had already served time in U.S. federal prison for draft resistance and then joined the Peace News staff to report on activism in the United Kingdom. Now he was in a small cubicle with a typewriter, analyzing the Norwegian resistance to Nazi German occupation during World War II.

A half century later, in 2011, Foreign Policy would list Gene among the 100 most influential thinkers in the world.

Gene told me that even in his young adult years with the radical A.J. Muste in New York and then working with Peace News in London, he’d heard amazing stories about people’s nonviolent resistance to oppression. The stories fed his intense curiosity: How can people coerce an opponent nonviolently, when we all know that “only violence can be powerful.” Happily, Gene then studied political science at Oxford University and there he nailed part of the answer to his question, arguably the hardest part. His answer included channeling Machiavelli, and he’s been quoting Machiavelli ever since.

In the meantime, April Carter was getting herself arrested in the direct action wing of Britain’s 1950s Ban the Bomb movement. Michael Randle was helping that movement go to a mass level by organizing the influential Easter Aldermaston marches. They were curious about impact, so along with the thrill of participating in their country’s primary social movement, they were asking themselves the question asked by all real craftspeople: How does this thing work and how can it work better?

When April and Michael connected with Gene Sharp they recognized common ground: There’s nothing so practical as a good theory.

Guatemala’s history illustrates this old maxim. In 1944 university students initiated a national nonviolent uprising against Jorge Ubico, “the Iron Dictator of the Caribbean.” They were playing catch-up with the Salvadorean students next door, who earlier nonviolently overthrew their own dictator after others, using armed struggle, had failed. The Guatemalans succeeded in sending Ubico packing, and ushered in a new era of democracy. What they did not do was to “make theory” out of their experience and that of their Salvadorean comrades; they didn’t make new generalizations about what we now can call “a force more powerful.”

The Guatemalans were therefore unable to prepare a nonviolent defense against threats to their new democracy. The United Fruit Corporation, a U.S. corporation with extensive operations in Guatemala, became unhappy with the government’s decision to force the company to sell its unused plantation lands to the government, at the tax-assessed value of the land. The government’s plan was to distribute the land to hungry farmers.

CIA director Allen Dulles, with the support of his brother who headed the U.S. State Department and had a financial interest in United Fruit, organized a military coup to overthrow the democratic government of Guatemala. Facing no organized nonviolent resistance, in 1954 the coup succeeded and led to decades of terrible suffering for the people.

I caught up with the nonviolent story of the Guatemalan students in the late 1960s, the period when young Howard Clark was starting his own activism in Britain. Over time, Howard gravitated toward activist journalism, as well as edgy nonviolent projects. Howard found that he, too, wanted to hurry up the research that would help all activists to become more effective. I knew Howard and Michael Randle mostly through our work with War Resisters International.

In 2006, Howard and Michael teamed up with April Carter to produce what they (and Gene Sharp and I) all wished we’d had as young activists — a book called “People Power and Protest Since 1945: A Bibliography of Nonviolent Action.” At last there were, in one place, leads to literature that can help everyone make maximum sense out of their experience. The book invites the learning curve of our dreams, an overlooked source of hope.

Carter, Clark and Randle’s book came just in time to support a new generation of activists and scholars who were wondering why the global economic justice movement unveiled in the 1999 Battle of Seattle didn’t reveal more of a learning curve. The sources their book points to also help us understand the complex “color revolutions” of the early 2000s and the mass struggles in the Global South.

When I first met Gene Sharp he was the only person in the world full-time researching nonviolent action. Since then a host of scholars and writers have covered struggles from environmental to human rights to economic justice to the Arab Awakening. The usefulness of the new literature moved April, Howard, and Michael to enlist help and publish a new edition of their 2006 book, this time called “A Guide to Civil Resistance: A Bibliography of People Power and Nonviolent Protest.” It took two volumes to take account of the accelerating use of nonviolent action all over the world, so they released the first volume in 2013 and the second in 2015. Because the guide’s primary interest is in movements rather than specific campaigns, it includes literature sometimes left out by the campaign-specific Global Nonviolent Action Database.

The compilers give a huge boost to the readers by annotating all of the books and articles. The reader wanting to know more about opposition to the Palestinian occupation within Israel, for example, or Africans’ resistance to authoritarian governments, can choose where to plunge in without wandering in the weeds of the Internet with its frequent appearance of unreliable or just plain wrong accounts. The first volume of the guide has been made available for free online.

The compilers also give helpful background paragraphs before each national struggle and even before particular movements like the Spanish and Greek Indignados, the anti-corruption campaigns in India, and the LGBT movement in the West.

If you wish to catch up with an overview of nonviolent struggle on multiple continents, you can skip over the sources in the book and get an amazing big picture by reading the contextualizing paragraphs that begin each section. No one ever again has to imagine that nonviolent action is simply “about Gandhi and King.”

Thanks to Howard Clark, who unexpectedly died in 2013, and April Carter and Michael Randle, it has never been so easy for us to think globally, while acting locally.

Who are you wearing out? Hollywood's history of red carpet commotion

The Guardian | Protest -

The feminist protest at this week’s Suffragette premiere is a rare example of a mutually beneficial protest, but things haven’t always been this way …

Despite the proliferation of online, VOD and television premieres, there’s still something about a tangible red carpet that rarely fails to make headlines. Even if your guest list peaks with that girl who was from that thing or a dog in a suit.

It’s therefore an obvious place for theatrics and those wishing to convey a message of protest. This week has seen one of the more successful examples in recent memory, at least in terms of media coverage, with the invasion of Suffragette’s London film festival premiere by feminist group Sisters Uncut. The red carpet was infiltrated by women who wanted to bring attention to recent cuts to domestic violence services. Purple and green smoke bombs were set off as stars were interviewed nearby.

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