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Syria airstrikes: anti-war protesters stage ‘die-in’ outside parliament

The Guardian | Protest -

Thousands of people gather in Parliament Square to call on MPs to oppose extending airstrikes against Isis into Syria

Illuminated under the glare of Westminster’s Christmas tree and the lights of dozens of cameras, anti-war protesters delivered a symbolic message to MPs debating airstrikes on Syria by lying down to “die” in Parliament Square.

From an initial trickle earlier in the day, the protest grew into thousands of people over the evening and, although nothing in comparison to the 2003 Iraq war protests, was at least comparable to previous gatherings against interventions in Libya and Iraq.

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Active Shooter in San Bernardino

Revolution News -

Preliminary information states that as many as 20 people have been injured and 12 confirmed fatalities have occurred in an ongoing active shooter situation at Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. The suspect or suspects have not been captured. Police are still securing the area. Police currently looking for 1 to 3 white males Read More

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Don't Bomb Syria!

Peace News -


Pictures from 3 demos against UK airstrikes on Syria and further information and actions you can take.

2 December Syria Vote: die-in outside Parliament

All images © indyrikki

For here more images and a full report












A die-in

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Anti-war protesters urge MPs to vote against Syria airstrikes – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Anti-war protesters are present outside parliament while MPs debate whether the UK should join airstrikes against Isis in Syria. Belinda from Brighton says she is protesting because “no one should be voting” until more facts about the situation are known, while Jill from Surrey says the justification for airstrikes is reminiscent of citing WMDs as a reason to go to war in Iraq

Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/REX

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Christian climate protesters arrested in Whitehall, London

Peace News -


The department for energy and climate change was renamed the 'department for extreme climate change' as COP21, the UN climate negotiations, opened in Paris.

Five Christian climate protestors were arrested in Whitehall on 30 November for protesting against government hypocrisy on climate change, which they called a 'climate whitewash'. The five, from Christian Climate Action, were arrested for criminal damage after writing in whitewash and black paint on the wall of the DECC (department for energy and climate change). They said 'underneath the hypocritical whitewash of fine talk on climate, are DECC policies that lead to death.'


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Navigating paths to personal and social transformation — A conversation with Agustina Vidal

Waging Nonviolence -

by Nina Packebush

The Icarus Project is a mutual aid community, support network and media project for people who experience the world in ways that are often diagnosed as mental illness. It began over 10 years ago as the wild idea of Sascha Altman DuBrul and Jacks McNamara and has blossomed into an online community of thousands with in-person groups scattered throughout the world. Icarus views emotional sensitivities, voice hearing and visions, not as mental illness that must be cured, but rather as dangerous gifts that can be managed in ways that help individuals thrive. Icarus is unique in that it is entirely made up of people with lived experiences of madness who help each other and their communities to navigate emotional distress by looking at things like oppression and trauma and their effects on emotional health.

Over the years Icarus has put out several books, zines and handouts including “Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness” (now in its 10th printing), “The Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Medications,” and “Friends Make the Best Medicine” — all of which can be downloaded for free from their website. The Icarus Project recently came out with the first in a series of interactive guides called “Mad Maps,” which can be purchased in print or downloaded for free. Originally inspired by the idea of Advanced Directives (legal documents to share with doctors and friends in the event of being hospitalized), “Mad Maps” were intended to help individuals identify and map their own personal emotional paths, but over time evolved to include the idea of transformative liberation of the community and society as a whole. Icarus believes in the simple idea that in order to have emotionally healthy individuals we must have healthy communities.

I recently sat down with “Mad Maps” coordinator Agustina Vidal to talk about this project.

What exactly is “Mad Maps?”

“Mad Maps” are documents that those of us who identify as mad create to help remind ourselves of our goals, what wellness is to us, and also what it means to be unwell, so we can chart paths to get back to emotional health when we are struggling. In other words, when we are feeling lost in our sometimes tricky emotional landscape, “Mad Maps” can help us get back to ourselves. It takes us step by step through the process of creating our own physical wellness documents that we can refer to when we are feeling emotionally lost. “Mad Maps” also help us identify and document ways in which those around us can best support us when we are struggling. In addition, through “Mad Maps” we trace societal forces like oppression and intergenerational trauma and how they impact our past, present and future journey.

“Mad Maps” is about personal transformation as well as collective liberation. That’s the mission of the Icarus Project to transform ourselves by transforming the world. We can’t be healthy if we have a system that is forcing people into sickness by means of oppression and trauma.

Can you describe how someone would use these guides?

There are four different “Mad Maps” guides. The first one is “Madness and Oppression,” the second one is “Intergenerational Trauma,” the third is “Our Own Personal Maps,” and the fourth one is “Collective Liberation.” So, for example, in the first book, “Madness and Oppression,” which was just released, we have an explanation of how to use the guide, short descriptions for each section within the book, and then a series of check-boxes to help the user really identify the things that apply to them. The guides also contain blank pages where the user can write down their own notes and ideas.

We developed the check-box questions by asking our community what was important to them. What kind of oppression was affecting them? How did they cope with that? And when they gave us back the answers, we assembled the central themes. Then we returned to the community, and we said, “This is what your community wants to know, do you have any tips for them?” We compiled their answers and put them into these guides. It’s kind of like a workbook. For example, it says, “How can people support you?” and then you get 20 different check boxes with all the things that people with these experiences have found that help them, so you can draw inspiration and see what works for you. And if something doesn’t appeal to you, you can choose something else. In that sense it’s like a choose your own adventure book because you navigate the journey and see where it takes you until you find your own individual path.

How are “Mad Maps” different from other self-help workbooks?

I think the first important difference is that “Mad Maps” resources are made by people with lived experience of, what many would call, mental illness. When you come to our “Mad Maps” you’re trying resources that have actually worked for people like you. It’s a way of connecting with your peers and it’s not a treatment, it’s not an institutional treatment. There’s not an authority or professional telling you how you should do it. It’s people like you, your peers, your mad ones, all struggling and fighting together helping us to be better. And the second difference is that we take a very deep look at the way that the system affects someone’s mental health. We do not think that mental illness resides solely in the brain. We believe that the circumstance around us impact us a lot. It’s very hard to be happy if you have somebody yelling racial slurs at you every morning. You cannot be happy if, when you go out, you face catcalling or street harassment. Things like that really impact the way that you see yourself in connection with society and how you can relate to each other.

So until we’re free from these oppressions then we’re not going to be able to say that we as a community are emotionally healthy.

How did the “Mad Maps” guides come together?

Many, many years ago Seven, who was a member of the Icarus Project, coined the term “Mad Maps.” The people in the Icarus Project community started helping and supporting each other and as they did this they began charting their journeys, and this is what came to be known as “Mad Maps.” Most of this mutual aid support took place on the Icarus Project message boards. When I came to the Icarus Project a couple years ago I realized that the only way you could access such important knowledge was to navigate thousands and thousands of forum posts. So basically there was all of this really important information that was completely inaccessible unless you were already in the community and knew where it was and how to get there. The idea of the book was to take that as inspiration to create a tool that everybody could download from the Internet. Something that could work for everyone and would be accessible and easy to do whether someone is alone at their computer or with friends in the community, “Mad Maps” can be used in many ways.

I didn’t take anything specifically from the message boards because some of the conversations were many years old and I didn’t feel that I had the permission to take other people’s words and put them out there outside the forums. What I used as inspiration were the conversations that people were having, the things that they were touching on. And then I reached out to our current community with surveys and questionnaires to talk about these conversations again, so I could get proper permission to use their words.

Can you talk a little bit about the next three guides that will be coming out?

The “Intergenerational Trauma” guide is a book that will trace the legacies of abuse that we’re born into. We all have intergenerational trauma. The most common one is gender imbalance. We are all born into a world where people are assigned a gender at birth that matches their reproductive organs. If we do not perform the gender that we have been assigned we are discriminated against, persecuted and criminalized and if we do perform it we have these messages, such as women are the weak sex and woman are at the service of men. At least from that point of view we all have at least some intergenerational trauma. There’s also the trauma of war that so many people have lived through and colonization, racism. Anti-blackness is rooted in the very deep trauma of slavery which is transmitted from generation to generation. Not only can this deeply impact the emotional health of individuals, but also society which keeps transmitting these anti-black feelings again and again. We need to look at this and find a way to stop these cycles. We need to get to the root of why we behave and think and are treated the way we are so that we can discover other ways of being. The “Intergenerational Trauma” guide helps people identify and work through the specific traumas that they face.

The third one, “Our Own Personal Maps,” explores the landscapes of our own terrains. It explores how we see ourselves, what language do we use for ourselves, how do we label our emotions. The mental health systems gives us language that is not our own, so your personal map is a call to recover our own narratives, to recover language and the self determination to tell our stories and the tools that work for each individual, specifically when someone might be in different states of consciousness or going through different situations in life. This guide looks at us as individuals.

The fourth guide, “Collective Liberation,” is a collection of all of these conversations that we’ve been having. It will help transform them into starting dialogues and collecting tools and skills. It will help us to transform the things that are so damaged in our communities.

Are you against UK airstrikes on Syria but not protesting? Tell us why

The Guardian | Protest -

Thousands of people have attended protests against UK air strikes in Syria. Do you share their views but not protest? Tell us why

Thousands of people have taken to the streets across the UK, to protest against the government’s plans to bomb Islamic State targets in Syria. But is this the extent of anti-airstrike sentiment? How many more people hold a similar position but don’t attend protest? Tell us if you’re against airstrikes but haven’t attended a protest.

Protests outside Downing Street and across the UK on Saturday, and in Parliament Square on Tuesday, were both organised by the Stop the War Coalition who have been campaigning against what it calls ‘unjust wars’ since 2001.

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Woman fined €1,000 for refusing to be fingerprinted at Paris climate rally

The Guardian | Protest -

Lawyer for 25-year-old says legal proceedings ‘verged on the ridiculous’ after two people appear in court following clashes with police at climate protest

A court in Paris has fined a woman €1,000 ($1,060) for refusing to have her fingerprints taken at a rally where clashes erupted between protesters and security forces ahead of a UN climate summit.

The lawyer for the 25-year-old woman said legal proceedings against her “verged on the ridiculous”, pointing out that out of the hundreds arrested at the demonstration only two people had appeared before the court.

Related: Peaceful Paris climate gathering descends into clashes with police

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Paris: 600 Fake Ads Denounce Climate Conference Hypocrisy

Revolution News -

Over 600 artworks critiquing the corporate takeover of the COP21 climate talks were installed in advertising spaces across Paris during the United Nations climate summit. Amidst the French state of emergency banning all public gatherings following the terrorist attacks on 13 November in Paris, the ‘Brandalism’ project has worked with Parisians to insert unauthorised artworks Read More

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White Terrorism, Planned Parenthood and a Call to Fight Back

Revolution News -

White, conservative, extremist Christian terrorism killed three people at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood last Friday, wounded several more, and indefinitely shut down the primary access to affordable healthcare for many women across Southern Colorado. Terrorism can be difficult to define. But power dynamics often determine who’s labeled a terrorist and why. In a country Read More

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Emergency Anti-War Demo Demands #DontBombSyria

Revolution News -

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of London Tuesday night in response to PM David Cameron’s plan to begin airstrikes on Syria gaining approval by the British Cabinet earlier in the day. The Commons is scheduled to vote on Wednesday to approve or deny military action against the Islamic State in Syria. Cameron Read More

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Trolls’ Racist Comments get a Billboard Near their Homes

Revolution News -

Brazil – The billboard campaign is called “Virtual racism, real consequences” and it’s backed by Criola, a civil rights organisation run by Afro-Brazilian women. Afro-Brazilian civil rights group Criola is taking racist comments posted on Twitter or Facebook, identifying the location of the commenter, and then buying billboard space near that person’s home in order to display Read More

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The beauty of COP21 is in the street

Waging Nonviolence -

by Kate Aronoff

A human chain took the place of the giant march that was planned and prohibited in Paris on Sunday. (Flickr / Mona Caron)

This week, an estimated 40,000 people have descended on Paris for the 21st Conference of Parties, or COP21, a gathering of world leaders, civil society organizations and bureaucrats that will attempt to hash out the details of an international agreement on climate change. The nearly 140 diplomats converging in the French capital’s outskirts are bringing their own national commitments, with eyes on top polluters from the United States, China, Canada and India to adopt hearty, binding resolutions.

On the table are a number of different scenarios, none of them a quick-fix for worsening storms. Grassroots movements, Global South nations and indigenous groups have coalesced around the demand for a 1.5 degrees Celsius cap on emissions. “That’s what our appeal is,” Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga said in his opening remarks yesterday, “simply to ask that the future of our children be assured.” But, as journalist Mark Hertsgaard pointed out in The Nation, even a best-case scenario — in which countries integrate their predetermined pledges — will still increase temperatures anywhere between 2.7 to 3.5 degrees Celsius.

To make matters worse, the United States and Canada are championing a fully non-binding international agreement to codify countries’ plans in Paris, on the grounds that it could supersede our Republican-controlled Congress. Pakistani COP veteran and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author Dr. Adil Najam wrote that “Without a binding agreement, without a relentless focus on limiting climate change to 1.5 Celsius, all that Paris offers is more talk. For that, it is already too late.”

After 25 years of botched COPs, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s assertion that this month’s talks are a “new starting point” comes with a sting. Well before the close of day one yesterday, many commentators had already stuck a pre-emptive fork in COP21. But is the best we can hope for from Paris really only a pyrrhic victory?

The talks are also happening just weeks after the deadly November 13 attacks on the same city that claimed 130 lives. French legislators have extended the state of emergency President Francois Hollande declared in its aftermath, giving police free reign to act without judicial oversight — and block dissent. While more than 2,000 homes have been raided under state of emergency provisions, 24 climate organizers have been preemptively placed under house arrest and 120,000 French police have been deployed around the country. All “outside events” and public demonstrations have been banned, including the Global Climate March that had been planned for last Sunday.

The ban means that we’re likely to see an increased focus on events happening outside of conference rooms, even if there are likely to be less of them. Defying Hollande’s protest prohibition, as many have already done, could leave movements in the position of presenting a more hopeful and ambitious vision of the future than any likely to emerge from official proceedings.

But entrusting faith in the people outside La Bourget doesn’t mean giving negotiators license to walk away without a clear plan; the stakes — especially for those already suffering from drought and displacement — are much too high for that. It means being realistic about what can be reasonably expected to happen in the next two weeks, and making sure negotiators know that — in Paris and when they get home — they’ll have to answer to a militant, global movement that can ramp up pressure locally, and extends well beyond one nation’s borders, however militarized.

Many came to Paris with the intention to do just that. Kicking-off this week’s talks, a record-breaking 775,000 people marched in some 175 countries on Sunday. Indigenous groups held a small healing ceremony in solidarity with victims of both recent terrorist attacks and the ongoing tragedy of climate change. More than 10,000 took part in a human chain spanning the three-kilometer march route, and 11,000 donated shoes and messages in defiance of the state-imposed ban on protests. By the end of the day, an estimated 280 people had been placed in police custody.

Shoes left symbolically after the French government banned the Paris Global Climate March on Sunday. (Flickr / Ian Bremmer)

As the human chain was in progress, police began clashing with protesters, trampling candles and other tributes Parisians had left for those lost in the attacks in Place de la Republique. Predictably, the fracas captured the lions’ share of the mainstream media’s attention. Without a shred of evidence, MSNBC’s Alex Witt took it upon herself to suggest that it might have been terrorists behind the clashes. “Have you heard any mention by authorities there that there’s concern that potential terrorists could be among the havoc of those protesting now?” she asked a correspondent on the ground. He responded that it was “unclear.”

The question and answer alike are absurd, but highlight an important point about what’s at stake these next two weeks: Who gets to frame what happens in Paris, in the streets or around the negotiating table? A metric that might be every bit as critical as how many parts per million countries keep out of the atmosphere is how much faith people place in movements — the people who will make sure anything that happens at La Bourget is worth a damn after diplomats fly home.

Declaring an early defeat leaves room for little apart from nihilism. Investing too much hope in the COP’s flawed process, on the other hand, threatens to repeat the post-failure “climate trauma” that trailed the collapse of talks in Denmark in 2009. What happens in Paris matters. What happens afterward is every bit as important.

For better or for worse, the onus now is on movements to be as bold, defiant and creative as ever, and tell a more compelling story than any born of bureaucratic jargon. Coalition Climate 21, comprised of some 130 groups from around the world, the Climate Games, and a host of other organizations will be planning ongoing protests throughout the week. The Climate Action Zone, in the Centquatre-Paris, promises to be a hub of activity in the lead-up to D12, a day of mobilization to close out the talks and a renewed intention to target fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction the world over.

As we’ve seen these past few months in the United States, the only leadership our government has displayed on climate has been a result of movements making business as usual harder to conduct. There was no magical change of heart, after all, that took Obama’s administration from advocating an “all of the above” energy policy last May to rejecting both the Keystone XL pipeline and Shell’s arctic drilling exploration in recent months.

While there are plenty of policies and backroom politics to be analyzed over the next two weeks, what matters more is what’s being done outside the conference rooms, where demands that actually meet the crisis at hand are being made. As with the French workers’ uprising in 1968, the beauty at COP21 is in the street.

Paris climate summit: Survey reveals 'greenwash' of corporate sponsors

The Guardian | Protest -

COP21 advertisers criticised for lack of transparency, monitoring and emissions reduction as series of spoof adverts appear across Paris

A survey of 10 sponsors of the Paris climate summit has found that most do not publish data on their CO2 emissions, half don’t track their lifetime carbon footprint, and only one is reducing its emissions in line with the EU’s targets.

Full details of the summit’s sponsorship deals will not be made public until after its close, although campaigners say that the €16.9m raised so far represents barely 10% of overall costs, and half of what was expected.

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World's first computer-generated musical to debut in London

The Guardian | Protest -

Beyond the Fence, the story of a family at Greenham Common, will incorporate machine-generated plot and music

They have become brilliant at chess, had music performed by one of the world’s leading orchestras and seen their art enter major collections. But could a computer also generate a hit West End musical?

The answer may be provided next year with the announcement of the world’s first computer musical, getting a run at the Arts Theatre accompanied by a TV series on Sky Arts.

Related: From online dating to driverless cars, machine learning is everywhere

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Climate activists stage tattoo protest against BP at Tate Britain – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Liberate Tate are the artists’ collective who for five years have campaigned against BP’s sponsorship of the Tate. In this performance at Tate Britain in London, held two days before the opening of the Paris summit on climate change, 35 protesters take part in a project called Birthmark. Protestors tattoo each other with a number that represents the parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the year of each person’s birth

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40 years ago: Expensive production a big flop

Peace News -


PN produced an issue devoted to the verdicts and the aftermath of the two-and-a-half-month Old Bailey trial in London of 14 pacifists and anti-militarists including PN staff involved in a campaign to give leaflets to soldiers about leaving the army; the conspiracy charges brought against them meant there was no upper limit to the prison sentences they faced if convicted.

‘Some Information for Discontented Soldiers’, a leaflet produced by the British Withdrawal from Northern Ireland Campaign, is not an incitement to disaffection; that’s official....

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