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Trump protesters plan to open 'movement house' in Washington DC

The Guardian | Protest -

Young organizers hope to raise funds to create ‘space for the best kinds of troublemakers’ near White House to quickly mobilize against incoming president

A group of millennial activists from across the country plan to open a “movement house” in Washington DC next month, which will serve as a permanent base to protest Donald Trump’s presidency.

The organizers are mostly women of color, many of whom campaigned for Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary.

Related: Ripples of a revolution: what will Bernie Sanders' supporters do next?

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Take back control – the slogan the left should make its own | Steve Richards

The Guardian | Protest -

The right seized power with that ingenious mantra, but the true beneficiaries aren’t ordinary people. The real winner is the state

The slogan of the year, and perhaps the century, is the one about the need to “take back control”. Those intoxicating words took centre stage in the EU referendum and won the vote for the Brexiteers. Donald Trump noted the potency of the slogan and made it a central theme of his victorious campaign. This is a slogan that triggers tumultuous change.

But it does so with little or no scrutiny. One of the oddities about vote-winning slogans is that they become so familiar there is little curiosity as to precise meaning. Repetition is an alternative to clarity. In this case, the ubiquitous words are much more interesting than they seem. What form will “control” take? Who or what will be the mediating agencies? Presumably the advocates in the UK do not mean they want a private company to “take back control”. They are not calling for the likes of Southern trains to have more control over our lives.

Related: What should Jeremy Corbyn’s brand of leftwing populism look like? | Yanis Varoufakis and others

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Amsterdam: Update on arrests of today’s squatting action

House Occupation News -

Today (17/12/2016) in the afternoon we attempted to squat an apartment in the city centre of Amsterdam. Unfortunately, the people from the neighbouring bar became excessively violent leading to the situation escalating. As a result, 9 people were arrested as far we know, and all of them have been released without charges. However if you do have any information about someone still being held, please get in contact with Jebbink Soeteman.

Indymedia: https://www.indymedia.nl/node/37500

If our protests against Donald Trump aren't strategic, they will fail | Stephen Crowley

The Guardian | Protest -

Taking to the streets, blocking traffic or marching on Washington will not be enough. What we must do is unite single-issue protests under a broader banner

Related: Donald Trump's presidential transition is basically reality television | Richard Wolffe

The US is now more politically divided than at anytime since the civil war. And yet, as of next month, America will be much like a one-party state. With a new US supreme court justice, the party will effectively control all three branches of government. Say goodbye to the famous checks and balances of the US political system. Now the balance, and those checks, will have to come from the streets.

Related: Protests won't stop Trump. We need a movement that transforms into a party | Micah White

Related: My dad's Reagan protests inspire me to stand up to Donald Trump | Steven W Thrasher

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Marti Friedlander obituary

The Guardian | Protest -

Leading New Zealand photographer inspired by her adopted homeland

Marti Friedlander, who has died aged 88, moved from London to New Zealand in the 1950s for love and became her adopted country’s leading photographer. She first gained attention with Moko (1972), a collection of photographs of Māori women and their tā moko tattoos that she considered the highlight of her career. An earlier image shows students protesting against the exclusion of Māori players from a 1960 rugby tour of apartheid South Africa, to which New Zealand sent an all-white All Blacks team.

Protests – against Vietnam, nuclear weapons, apartheid and sexism – offered Friedlander a route to understanding her new home and what struck her as its conservatism compared to London. But so did capturing images of Māori people. On photographing a Parihaka Māori elder, Rauwha Tamaiparea, she said: “I discovered a history that I hadn’t been aware of before. I felt an affinity with her. She reminded me of the matriarchs of my Jewish youth.”

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Muslims waste no time building opposition to Trump’s proposed registry

Waging Nonviolence -

by Sarah Aziza

Embed from Getty Images

With just over a month to go before the inauguration of Donald Trump, Muslim activists are working to block the president-elect’s long-standing pledge to crack down on their community. Trump has proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States, voiced his support for the surveillance of mosques and has indicated he will create a nationwide registry of Muslim individuals. On Monday, 200 Muslims and allies in Washington, D.C. marched from the Department of Justice to the White House, bearing signs reading “No Muslim Registry, Not Now, Not Ever” and “End the War on Islam,” while chanting “we wanna live safe, we wanna live free, we don’t want no registry.”

Monday’s gathering voiced a specific demand that is now endorsed by a coalition of grassroots organizations and 130,000 signatories: They want President Obama to permanently shut down the George W. Bush-era National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, or NSEERS. Created in 2002 in response to 9/11, NSEERS was used to target Muslims and Arabs for surveillance and detention. It ran until 2011, but was harshly criticized by many for being both discriminatory and ineffective. The Department of Homeland Security, which oversaw NSEERS, brought a total of 93,000 cases but failed to reach a single terrorism conviction.

Iram Ali of organizing group Move On recalled the impact NSEERS had on her family, saying, “My family was abused and humiliated. We were put into deportation proceedings, and later my home was raided by immigration authorities, who took me, my husband and my daughter into detention even though we had a pending asylum claim. My daughter and I were detained for 11 days, and my husband was detained for six months.”

After the program was suspended, many were still worried that it could provide a template for future targeting of Muslims, Arabs and those associated with these communities. Since the election, Trump has met with Kris Kobach, one of the architects of NSEERS. On November 20, Kobach, in a meeting with Trump, brought a document that — according to a leaked photo — appeared to be a proposal to “[u]pdate and reintroduce” NSEERS.

Ali says there’s no time to waste. “It’s so important for President Obama to shut [NSEERS] down now, because it will give us an upper hand going into the next administration.” Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block of Bend The Arc, a Jewish social justice organization, underscored the importance of the strategy by saying, “We have very specific things we need to do right now to dismantle [NSEERS] and prevent it from being amped up.”

Organizers are also calling on the tech sector to take a stand. A coalition of organizers issued a call to major tech and social media companies to “ensure their resources are not used to support bigotry and discrimination.” While most companies have declined to take a definitive stand, Twitter has pledged to abstain from any creation of a Muslim registry. Leaders of the companies, including Facebook, Google and IBM are reported to be meeting with Trump in New York today. At the same time, scores of employees at major tech companies, including Google, IBM and Slack have pledged their personal refusal to help build any future registry. Online, supporters are using the #NoMuslimRegistry hashtag to register their own rejection of the proposed database.

Brazil senate approves austerity package to freeze social spending for 20 years

The Guardian | Protest -

Lawmakers expected to reject requests to exempt education and health spending from measure UN official calls the most socially regressive in the world

Brazilian senators have approved a 20-year social spending freeze described by a senior UN official as the most socially regressive austerity package in the world.

The senate approved the cap on Tuesday by a 53-16 margin, though leftist opponents of the austerity measure sought to delay the vote as long as possible.

Related: Brazil's austerity package decried by UN as attack on poor people

Related: Brazil is in crisis. And once again, the poorest will bear the burden | Mariana Prandini Assis

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Amsterdam: We Are Here claims government building

House Occupation News -

The We Are Here group asks for support at Hoogte Kadijk 401 where they have a sit-in / sleep-in in front of a building that is owned by the governement and where a few anti-squatters live. The police stated that they will tolerate the action till 9 pm tonight. Warm drinks, warm food en warm blankets are very welcome!

We are here, we are refugees & we need a solution.
Again our building was evicted on December 13. Our group We Are Here is struggling for over 4 years now and building after building has been evicted, over 20 times in 4 years now. Staying on the street is no solution, nightshelter for a few of us is no solution. We need a real solution and this is permission to stay and building our lives. We are people. We would like to study, we would like to work, we would like to be with the ones we love. Just like you! We are no different. We are refugees and asked for asylum in the Netherlands. We went through a lot in our countries of origin and in our travel to a safe Europe. We told our stories but they are not believed. In order to get asylum we have to come with new proof of our stories, that are hard or even impossible to get or would put our lives even in more danger. We do not get any housing but are also not allowed to work, therefore we are out on the street. We didn’t expect to find ourselves in this situation when we came here as a refugee. That is why we started our action. First in a tent camp, followed by many different squatted buildings. Vluchtkerk, Vluchtkerkluchtflat, Vluchtkantoor, Vluchtgarage, Vluchtgemeente, etc.
Today we are on the streets again. Still we didn’t find a permanent solution. That is a shame, we deserve human dignity and we like to do something useful and feel healthy. We are sitting in front of Hoogte Kadijk 401 because this is a building from the government, its big and only 5 anti-squatters live here. We heard that state-secretary Dijkhoff said before that this building could be for refugees. That’s why we are here, we would like to move in and have some peace.
Welcome to meet us and support us in our fight for a normal life.

We Are Here http://wijzijnhier.org/


Indymedia https://www.indymedia.nl/node/37421

Cameroon urged to investigate clashes in anglophone regions

The Guardian | Protest -

Four protesters killed during clashes with police amid unrest in English-speaking areas over perceived discrimination

International organisations are calling for an investigation in Cameroon after four protesters were killed during clashes with police amid unrest in the country’s English-speaking regions.

Tensions have been brewing in Cameroon’s two anglophone regions for the past month where citizens say they are being treated as second class to French-speaking neighbours.

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What ‘Star Wars’ can teach the climate movement about winning

Waging Nonviolence -

by Cam Fenton

David Koch dressed as Darth Vader not just once, but twice, for Halloween. (Twitter/Koch Industries)

Right now, there are two forces at play in our world. One of them is swirling into a mess of ecological collapse, rising neo-fascist ideologies and economic instability. The other is the amazing fact that we have new “Star Wars” movies.

Maybe these forces don’t seem remotely similar, but — as an organizer who can trace his own history of resistance to an early affinity for the Rebel Alliance — I think there’s an important lesson we need to learn from Han, Luke and Leia in a moment like this: Rebellions win, even against impossible odds, when they fight in unexpected ways. Conversely, they lose when they fight on their opponent’s terms.

The greatest Rebel victories in the original “Star Wars” trilogy were the Battle of Yavin and the Battle of Endor (or to those not versed in the military history of a fictional universe, the times they blew up the first Death Star and the time they blew up the second Death Star). The Rebellion’s greatest defeat, on the other hand, was the Battle of Hoth, where the Empire discovered the hidden Rebel base on an ice planet and proceeded to wipe it out in a ground assault.

In the first two examples, the Rebellion used clever tactics, exploiting a fundamental weakness in the Imperial design. The first Death Star was taken out when Luke Skywalker made a “one-in-a-million” shot, using his space wizard powers, to send a torpedo down a narrow exhaust port that was, apparently, the size of a “womp rat.” The second Death Star was defeated when the Rebels managed to take out its shields, overcoming the trap set by the big bad Emperor — but only after they allied with the Ewoks, a local population oppressed and denigrated by the Imperial occupation on the forest moon of Endor.

Alternately, the Battle of Hoth is one of the few times in the movies that the Rebellion gets thoroughly trounced by the Empire. It also happens to the be only on-screen example of the Rebels and the Empire engaged in conventional warfare — in a battlefield severely weighted in favor of the Imperial juggernaut. In fact, you could argue that the Battle of Hoth’s would have been worse had the space wizardry of young Skywalker not taken out a series of Imperial Walkers single-handedly.

Social movements, like the Rebellion, are different than the forces they go up against. They never have the resources or the dominance of force held by their opponents and oppressors. Knowing this, it seems ridiculous to engage in a conventional confrontation with said opponent because, much like the Rebellion on Hoth, the Imperial forces are just stronger in that kind of fight. Yet, many activists, whether intentionally or not, seem hell-bent on a ground war with their opponent. The rise of a “blockadia” strategy in the climate movement is a case in point.

Popularized in Naomi Klein’s book “This Changes Everything,” the term blockadia was a clever descriptor for the localized resistance to fossil fuel extraction that had blossomed around the globe. The term originally seemed to describe a plethora of campaigns against fossil fuel projects, be they a coal mine in Germany, a pipeline in Canada or any number of fossil fuel export projects in the northwestern United States. Although they were focused on infrastructure, these campaigns were largely using on-the-ground conflict to spark moral outrage that would motivate political or social action to stop the project. They weren’t, by and large, attempting to actually blockade the project out of existence.

While such action has been romanticized by some on the left, it’s not a very strategic idea. The fossil fuel industry has more money than most people can even imagine, myself included —  and my imagination led me to write “Star Wars” fan fiction. They have direct access to decision makers at nearly every level and, with that, often direct influence over law enforcement and other manifestations of state power. The few times they don’t have the ability to deploy police or military to enforce injunctions or impede efforts to stop their operations, they have the ability to hire out private security and intelligence contractors. They are, in short, a sort of Empire. Seriously, remember when David Koch dressed up as Darth Vader for Halloween not just once, but two years running?

Up against this reality, the idea that a small band of dedicated rebels can confront the fossil fuel industry head-on — and somehow chip away at it’s billions-deep coffers thousands, or even millions, of dollars at a time — and send the oil barons running to the hills just doesn’t add up. In fact, it puts our movements into a Battle of Hoth-type situation rather than the kind of scenario where the Rebellion won.

We need to find the veritable “exhaust ports” in the plans for building new fossil fuel projects. We need to identify weaknesses, like a project’s social license, or reputation within a community — something that has mired tar sands pipelines in Canada in years of delays. We need more restrictive measures, like local permitting, which have denied oil train projects in California and effectively blocked a pipeline in Portland, Maine. There are creative examples to draw from, like the artist in Alberta who stymied a pipeline company by copyrighting the top six inches of his property as artwork.

Even the Keystone XL campaign — Trump’s plans to reverse the victory notwithstanding — was a kind of exhaust port strategy. Rather than try to just physically stop the project, the campaign focused in on a singular decision by a president who was vulnerable on climate. And, rather than trying to just financially outlast the project’s wealthy proponents, organizers united an unprecedented alliance in Nebraska, which will continue to be a thorn in the side of pipeline company TransCanada, should the project be resurrected.

On top of all this, there is the ever powerful force of indigenous rights struggles that continue to stop and stall projects — like Standing Rock or the indigenous-led legal fight that overturned the approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline in Canada earlier this year. In fact, a study looking at oil, gas and mining sites operated by 52 U.S.-based companies found that a staggering 92 percent of these operations were exposed to “medium to high [shareholder] risk” because of indigenous rights and empowerment struggles.

The fossil fuel empire doesn’t know how to fight on these fronts. Much like the Rebel victories that were able to draw more star systems into their cause, every permit that gets revoked, every community that rejects the industry’s presence, and every other small win will serve as inspiration to others.

The key, however, is that we avoid fighting the fossil fuel empire on its terms. We have to find its weak points, strategize and take advantage of those moments where we have a clear shot. It won’t always be clear, and sometimes we’re going to miss, but like Jynn Erso says in the trailer for the upcoming “Rogue One” movie, “Rebellions are built on hope.”

Muslims to march on White House in bid to dismantle discriminatory registry

The Guardian | Protest -

Thousands plan protest in Washington in last-ditch effort to persuade Barack Obama to scrap NSEERs before Donald Trump takes office

Thousands of American Muslims and activists from progressive groups will march on the White House on Monday in a last-ditch effort to persuade Barack Obama to dismantle a discriminatory program that singled out Arabs and Muslims for surveillance, before it falls into the hands of Donald Trump.

Obama has less than six weeks to rescind the regulatory framework of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERs), an openly discriminatory registry that was introduced in the wake of 9/11 and mothballed in 2011. Civil rights groups fear that should the program still be in place when Trump enters the White House on 20 January he could revive it very quickly, making his threat to impose a database of Muslims a reality.

Related: Muslims in Trump's America: realities of Islamophobic presidency begin to sink in

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How to Survive a Plague by David France – review

The Guardian | Protest -

An eyewitness of the remarkable 1980s campaign to help Aids sufferers reports straight from the heart of the action

On 11 October 1988, a fleet of chartered buses drew up alongside the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Rockville, Maryland, and disgorged 1,200 Aids activists on to the pavement. Some were dressed as corpses and carried mock tombstones. Others brought effigies of Ronald Reagan, the then Republican president. Facing them were a two-deep line of police officers wearing rubber gloves and, as David France recalls, an assortment of “slack-jawed” locals appalled by the sight of groups with names such as the Delta Queens and Queer and Present Danger within spitting distance of their homes. It is fair to say that suburban Rockville had never seen anything like it, and neither had the bureaucrats holed up inside the FDA.

The brainchild of a newly formed group called Aids Coalition to Unleash Power (Act Up), the protest was an inspired act of civil disobedience, the moment when people with Aids lost their patience with federal drug regulators and stormed the citadels of American science to demand access to life-prolonging medications other than AZT, the only treatment approved at that point. Or as the signs brandished by protesters put it, “FDA – Fucking Disaster Area”, and “AZT is not enough – give us all the other stuff”.

Knowing next to nothing, the campaigners mastered the complexities of HIV and the clinical trials process

Related: Under Donald Trump, the scourge of HIV/Aids is going to get worse | Steven Thrasher

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Amsterdam: De Rooie Nies, Lange Niezel 25 squatted

House Occupation News -

Neighbourhood letter:

Hello!

Lange Niezel 25 has been squatted as of Sunday December 4th. This means that the squatters are the new official residents. The reasons for this action are:
- the shortage of housing in Amsterdam, particularly social housing
- corrupt housing corporations with waiting lists years long
- a house that’s been out of use for more than 8 years
- a street that hasn’t actually been improved by Project 1012
- the simple reason that a few people want to live there

We can imagine that you’re worried about this, probably because of the bad reputation squatters have. We have absolutely no plan to make this house into a den of thieves.  We’ve chosen a select group of people to live here and we want to fit into the neighborhood as much as possible.  This means that we want to avoid creating nuisances such as trash and noise problems.  More importantly, we’d like to give the building a presentable appearance and finally, to restore its monumental value.

“…Some of the floors above shops are currently standing empty, and are ideal for residential space. Having people living in a neighbourhood makes it a safer and more pleasant area to be in, residents make it more liveable and lively, providing social control and cohesion. Having tenants living in a building also prevents it falling into disrepair….”  (http://www.amsterdam-red-light-district-maps.com/Project1012.html)

We also hope to actively contribute to the livability of the neighborhood, because we believe that squatters have a particular moral responsibility in cultural and social areas. The presence of squatters in the neighborhood is very useful.  We can contribute to protecting the area from the gentrification of Project 1012.  Our intentions are good.  We’d like to invite you for a cup of coffee (once the house is presentable), then we can also talk about your concerns, opinions and ideas.

Thanks in advance!

Sincerely,

Your New Neighbors

De Rooie Nies
Lange Niezel 25
derooienies [at] squat [dot] net

Standing Rock 'water protectors' use break to help other indigenous causes

The Guardian | Protest -

Some protesters plan to lend solidarity to campaigns, including fight against meth addiction, a proposed telescope in Hawaii and other oil pipelines

For months, Julie Richards has been planning for the battles that would come the moment that she was no longer needed at the Standing Rock encampments. When that day came, the 43-year-old Oglala Lakota woman knew that she needed to take the fight back home.

“I have a crew ready to go back to my homeland, to set up a camp like this, and move against meth,” she said in November.

Related: 'This is an awakening': Native Americans find new hope after Standing Rock

Related: Standing Rock activists stay in place, fearing pipeline victory was a 'trick'

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The 50 best TV shows of 2016: No 10 Hypernormalisation

The Guardian | Protest -

As our countdown of the year’s best TV continues, Adam Curtis’s dissection of ‘post-truth’ politics and the manipulation of global power made uncomfortable, provocative viewing – especially when it came to Colonel Gaddafi

More on the best culture of 2016

It’s difficult to know where to start with Adam Curtis’s latest film. At nearly three hours in length, HyperNormalisation contains a hyperabundance of images and ideas. There are montages of monster movies mixed with home video grabs and bits from BBC Breakfast. There are observations about the nature of reality, the limits of data and the dextrous nature of Jane Fonda’s career. It’s less a documentary than an experience.

Curtis knows where to start, of course. He always does. There’s always one moment, one telling event that will go on to assume central significance in an argument that encompasses the globe and decades of history. In HyperNormalisation, that inciting incident is a local government meeting in New York City in 1975. The meeting was called with the purpose of restructuring an enormous public debt. Except the creditors never turned up. Instead, they demanded the city authorities restructure themselves. And put the creditors in charge. From that, Curtis argues, came a new fiscal policy – “austerity” – and a sense that politics was no longer the art of the possible but the art of the deal. Soon Donald Trump was buying up substantial slices of Manhattan on terms that were laughably favourable to the real estate developer, sorry, president-elect.

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Japan builds a Fight for $15 movement of its own

Waging Nonviolence -

by Lisa Torio

Protesters take part in an Aequitas march in December 2015. (Twitter/@_natsukik)

On Sunday afternoon, some 400 protesters — comprised of workers, students and retirees — poured into the streets of Tokyo’s bustling commercial center. At the front of the line were members of AEQUITAS, a group of young labor activists who have taken on Japan’s Fight for $15 living wage movement.

“We don’t need poverty wages,” they shouted, as shoppers and tourists took out their phones to capture the rare spectacle. “If you’re struggling, raise your voice.”

In Japan, where demonstrations are still few and far between, gathering a crowd can be tricky. When Fight for $15 organizers in the United States called for a global day of action last May, about 50 protesters showed up to the rally in Tokyo, most of them union organizers. Since its formation in September 2015, however, AEQUITAS — which means “justice” in Latin — has staged several demonstrations that have amassed hundreds of protesters calling for a nationwide minimum wage of 1,500 yen, which amounts to roughly $15.

“We saw the movement in the United States and thought we could do it here, too,” said Harada Niki, a 27-year-old labor activist and one of the group’s founding members. “We knew the movement could be global.”

Like so many of Japan’s new generation of activists, Harada became an organizer during the anti-nuclear protests in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, which has become a kind of Occupy moment in Japan. “The anti-nuclear protests radically changed the way we organize,” he said. “It created a network of people who wanted to work for social justice.”

But for Harada, the nuclear disaster also laid bare the country’s class tensions, pushing him toward labor organizing and union activity. “The government imposes nuclear power plants on poor, rural communities,” Harada said. “I realized that labor lies at the core of all our struggles. If we don’t fix the structural problem that underlies all these issues, we can’t move forward.”

Aequitas protesters marching in Tokyo in June. (Twitter/@miiyanMan38)

After meeting with organizers taking part in the living wage movement in the United States, Harada banded together with friends — many of whom he met during the anti-nuclear protests — to launch AEQUITAS as an organization committed to democratizing the country’s gargantuan economy.

Since the 1950s, Japan’s labor movement has been in perpetual decline. The participation rate of Japanese workers in labor unions has continued to diminish, down from 55.8 percent in 1959 to a mere 17.5 percent today. Given the fact that 90 percent of unions in Japan are enterprise unions limited to long-term, salaried employees, the rising proportion of contract workers and part-time employees has left more and more workers out of the equation. AEQUITAS seeks to change all that.

Saito Michiaki, a 22-year-old college student who joined the group last year, says many people who come out to the meetings and demonstrations are often unfamiliar with labor activism. “When labor unions put up flags at their events, they tend to scare away people who don’t really know what they’re about.” Although some of the group’s 30 core members participate in union organizing, the group has made a point to work independently of labor unions in an effort to remain a movement of ordinary workers, relying on donations and social media to garner support. “Our goal is to galvanize people who have never really thought of themselves as workers,” Saito explained.

Rather than protesting outside government buildings or financial districts, AEQUITAS almost always hosts its demonstrations in bustling commercial districts where many low-wage workers toil. “When we protest in these spaces,” Saito said, “we show people that it’s OK to speak up and say you’re suffering.” More than anything, the protests provide grounds for building communities of struggle in a society bent on silencing workers.

An Aequitas march in June featured a pickup truck carrying speakers and a DJ. (Twitter/@CurryGraphy)

Fujikawa Rie, a 24-year-old activist who joined AEQUITAS last December, says the hostility and stigma against low-wage workers often keep people from speaking up about their experiences. In August, Katayama Satsuki, a politician of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, or LDP, posted a tweet bashing a high school student for “exaggerating” her experience of poverty in an interview on national television. “If you can’t afford to go to college,” Satsuki said. “Support yourself with scholarships and loans!” Her comments were followed by hundreds of similar tweets attacking the high school senior, including memes mocking her “poor looks.”

“As an activist, I get told that I should be working instead of protesting,” said Fujikawa, who often shares her own experience with poverty at events. “I mean, this country bashes children for simply being poor.”

Since the 1990s, the number of non-permanent contract workers has seen a steady increase, while — at the same time — poverty rates have reached an all-time high. Japan has some of the highest levels of child poverty among the wealthiest nations in the world, according to a UNICEF report released this year. Despite their relative financial stability compared to contract workers, many permanent employees also fall victim to debilitating working conditions. Recently, the suicide death of a young woman at an advertising firm sparked controversy when it was revealed that her overtime hours exceeded 100 hours per month. “The system pits workers against workers,” Fujikawa said. “We’re pushed to turn on each other because so many of us are struggling.”

According to Takasu Hirohiko, the director of Fair Labor Center in Tokyo, the deepening divide between permanent employees and contract workers has fueled the bashing of welfare recipients, who constitute approximately 20 percent of the population. “For permanent employees and workers just above the welfare cut-off, they feel that the system is built to only support low-wage workers,” Takasu explained. “Instead of demanding an expansion of labor rights and a social safety net, people turn on those at the bottom — and, like in the United States, the government capitalizes on this sentiment to cut welfare spending.”

In July, a former employee went on a killing spree at a facility for people with disabilities in Sagamihara, a suburb of Tokyo, stabbing 19 people to death and injuring many more. The man justified his killings by calling people with disabilities “useless” and a “waste of taxpayers’ money.” While government officials and media outlets have dismissed the perpetrator as mentally ill, disability rights activists say the mass murder was not an isolated event. “For years, government officials have spread harmful rhetoric against welfare recipients and those of us who cannot work,” disability rights activist Onoe Yusuke said at an anti-poverty rally in October. “They have created a society in which people are disposed of.”

Aequitas protesters calling for voters to raise the minimum wage. (Twitter/@_BTMup1500)

For AEQUITAS, raising the minimum wage is not the end goal, but rather a crucial step in building resistance against forces that seek to exploit and divide people. As if to capitalize on the growing economic anxiety, the “Neto-uyo,” or “internet right-wing,” — Japan’s equivalent of the alt-right in the United States — has taken to bashing immigrant workers, who often bear the brunt of poor working conditions. “The number of foreigners in Japan who receive welfare is three times that of Japanese workers,” one post reads. “Our hard-earned money is wasted on Chinese and Korean garbage.” (In reality, 97 percent of welfare recipients are Japanese nationals.)

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a fierce proponent of neoliberal policies at home and abroad, it is likely that economic instability for workers will only continue to grow. But that won’t deter Japan’s living wage movement, which has already achieved several milestones. Since AEQUITAS began calling for a 1,500 yen minimum wage, a number of opposition politicians and unions have joined them in their fight — including some who initially only called for a minimum of 1,000 yen.

Just as low-wage workers across the United States changed the course of politics through asserting their space in American society, Japan’s Fight for $15 is also a fight for visibility. “I think many people in this country see their struggle in isolation,” Fujikawa said. “We’re out in the streets to show we’re here and we’re angry.”

Calls for American unity are misplaced. We must fight on for justice | Jessica Valenti

The Guardian | Protest -

It’s hard to know where to start when faced with the prospect of Donald Trump’s presidency. The answer is not seeking alliance with those who devalue our lives

As the majority of Americans who didn’t vote for Donald Trump come to terms with having elected a shameless bigot and liar as our next president, there’s been quite a bit of pontificating about how best to make progress under his administration. Do we pay attention to tweets or cabinet appointments? Focus on making sure the white supremacists celebrating Trump’s win aren’t normalized in the media? Take on fake news?

Related: Time magazine didn't give Trump devil horns. God did | Jonathan Jones

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The future is in our hands

Peace News -

Teaser: 

A report from the Movement Against War youth delegation to the International Peace Bureau Congress on demilitarisation.

 

Young delegates stop nuclear missile launch at the IPB Congress!

From the 30 September – 3 October, MAW Youth (Jen Harrison, Becky Garnault, Maddy Ridgley) plus 2 competition winners (Ella Johnson and Khem Rogaly) attended the International Peace Bureau world congress in Berlin.

For 4 days we were immersed in fascinating panel discussions and workshops delivered by an impressive collection of academics, activists, writers, politicians and economists. In our spare time we engaged in stimulating, nuanced and informative discussions with fellow attendees of diverse ages and nationalities. Together, we created a breeding ground for progressive ideas and fostered a community intent on building a climate of peace, reducing military spending and challenging the destructive power structures pervasive to our world.

A theme common to many of the plenaries and workshops was the effects and causes of global military spending. Though the strapline to the conference was the “the world is over armed and peace is underfunded” (Ban-ki Moon), the economist Samir Amin pointed out that it would be more appropriate to say that “the West is over armed”, as Western countries account for 75% of the total global military spending ($1.7trillion). This shocking figure is made worse when the huge cuts to social and public services across Europe and the USA in recent years are considered. The speakers emphasised the extent to which war is a systemic problem intimately connected to global capitalism, European colonialism and patriarchy. Over the course of the conference, the nature of militarism as a metastatic cancer, infecting different levels of thought became ever clearer.

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Women's March on Washington won't have access to Lincoln Memorial

The Guardian | Protest -

National Park Service documents bar access to key sites aroud time of inauguration, including those celebrated for their role in 1960s protests

For the thousands hoping to echo the civil rights and anti-Vietnam rallies at Lincoln Memorial by joining the women’s march on Washington the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration: time to readjust your expectations.

The Women’s March won’t be held at the Lincoln Memorial.

Related: How to stop Donald Trump: women may hold the solution

Related: Women’s rights groups brace for Trump: ‘We are used to fighting impossible odds’

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