Journalist and livestreamer, Avi Blecherman from Mekomit spent last week in Hungary and had the opportunity to walk awhile with a Syrian refugee. The following interview was filmed on September 11 while walking towards the Austrian border with Mahmud (name changed for anonymity) Mahmud is a 21 year old refugee from Damascus. He left Read More
EU (European Union) corporations are selling more arms than ever before, and EU states don’t like to be confronted with the results of this deadly industry. As more and more people are forced to flee from their countries because of war and bloody dictatorships, several EU countries besides just Hungary have started to build more fences, even higher Read More
The post Inhumane Treatment of Refugees at EU Borders Shows Europe’s Ugly Face appeared first on revolution-news.com.
RIGHT TO A SOCIAL HOUSING POLICY
The city belongs to all of us, including to the poor and to the refugees. The city council needs to focus on making the biggest medley so not only people or organizations with money, but everyone has a chance to settle at their place of choice. The heart of a city is essential part of making a city livable and therefore cheap rents for housing and shops should be preserved.
RIGHT TO COMMONALTY
A city exists out of neighborhoods. This should be neighborhoods made able by its inhabitants, neighborhoods where the grocery store, bakery and local tailor should have a place. Amsterdam is no brand, but a city where people cohabit.
RIGHT TO KNOWLEDGE AND EDUCATION
The city is a hub of knowledge acquisition and dissemination. The city needs to stand firm for its students and point universities to their role: focussing on quality of education and phase out real estate speculation! Less power to the management and more power to teachers and students!
RIGHT TO AUTONOMY & CULTURE
The city is a thousand villages. The city is nothing without her inhabitants. The City is alive! It doesn’t survive by sweeping and encapsulating, but by letting her fray and bloom! The city needs to scale down and support autonomous folks and local organisations that take care of their neighbourhood. This will bring a faster and more direct result than regulation and criminalization will ever amount to. The city remains vital by giving space to experiment and to fail. And give everyone a chance to try again.
RIGHT TO DEMONSTRATE AND RESIST
The right to demonstrate; especially the city needs to be a space where one can express their beliefs, without fear of repression. Government and law enforcement should not be able to criminalize occupations and squatting. They have to understand that resistance is a natural right and evictions of squats and demonstrators should not harshly be beaten down and arrested.
RIGHT TO A RIGHTEOUS AMSTERDAM
In short: Right to City = Right to a righteous city with an eye for culture, activism, diversity and fair chances for all!
by George LakeyView image | gettyimages.com
Japanese legislators broke into a physical struggle for control of the microphone in a committee meeting on September 17. The emotions reflected the depth of controversy over amending the nation’s security policy. Japan’s constitution has up until now prevented sending soldiers overseas to assist allies in combat; the military can act only in self-defense. On September 18, the ruling coalition gained a majority in Parliament to expand its military’s role, despite the opposition of a majority of the people.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the Democratic Party contenders for president, including Bernie Sanders, have equally failed to break out of the doubtful assumption that nations are made most secure by relying on the military. In the late 1960s, I met a couple of junior Israeli diplomats in an off-the-record conference. I acknowledged that Israel had a security problem and asked for their thinking. They said their strong military defense could take care of it, so I pressed them. I pointed out the demographic trends in the Middle East and to the Jewish Israelis’dependency on the United States, which contradicts their dream of an independent land of their own. “Why not create a Plan B?” I asked. “Why not look into the possibilities of a nonviolent defense strategy that might offer more security?”
They brushed the idea aside. “You’ll see,” they said. “We have made it utterly clear that we are invulnerable, so the Palestinians will give up their resistance. They’ll accept the situation and we will have peace.”
Since then I’ve referred to military defense as “Israel’s insecurity policy” and noted its lack of pragmatism. Real pragmatists, in Israel then or in Japan and the United States now, do the research necessary to create the strongest possible case for several options, and then choose among those.
Does Japan have a security problem? Of course — to be a nation or community in this world is to have a security problem. Climate change renders security an even greater challenge. Real pragmatists ask, “Where can we go for fresh alternatives?”
Asymmetric warfare offers a clue
In the 18th century, British Redcoats knew how to wage a “proper war” with the American colonists. Despite the might of the British Empire, they met defeat, partly because the Americans didn’t make war “properly.” The colonists responded with guerrilla tactics. In the 20th century, it was the American empire that was humbled, when its B-52’s were met in Vietnam by guerrilla war.
Even an apparently overpowering aggression can be defeated by resisters who, instead of meeting the opponent on its own terms, resist by using different weapons. The economy is not the only arena where creativity pays off.
The fundamental step required in Japan, Israel and nearly all countries is to break out of conventional thinking and look for innovative power sources. That’s what the German government did when the Ruhr Valley was invaded by the French and Belgian armies in 1923. If the German Social Democrats had been stuck in the old paradigm, they would have given up and the French and Belgians could have had their way with the coal and iron-rich Ruhr Valley. Fortunately, the party’s working class members do know the value of the strike: Germany mounted a nonviolent resistance in the Ruhr that defeated the aims of the aggressors.
The Czechs and Slovaks innovated in 1968, when their country was invaded by the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact nations. Czechoslovakian President Alexander Dubcek was a Communist politician who was pragmatic enough to lock his troops in the barracks to minimize futile violent resistance, and used his time before the attackers arrested him to prepare a legal defense before the United Nations. It was the civilians who mounted the nonviolent resistance, an astonishing effective display of creativity and courage. In a matter of days invading troops were melting like butter in the sun, and troops had to be rotated back to their home countries because they were becoming unreliable.
In a week, the Soviets were forced to bring Dubcek back from Moscow to Prague and compromise their aims in the short-run. Dubcek tamped down the direct action while Czechs still resisted cooperation. It took many months before Moscow could gain a degree of compliance it could live with.
Defense ministries elsewhere in Europe sat up in wonder: How could the people of Czechoslovakia even for a short period stop half a million soldiers from taking control of them, with zero preparation, prior training, overall leadership or strategic plan?
If a people can do so much with so little, what might a prepared and trained population do with a clear plan of nonviolent resistance?
Can a nation plan to use alternative means for security?
In 1964, four years before the Czechs and Slovaks acted, I joined a study conference at Oxford University pulled together by Gene Sharp, April Carter and others. Sir Basil Liddell Hart, one of the leading military strategists of the day, told us that when consulted by the Danish government he already had urged the Danes to “transarm” to civil resistance for their national defense policy. Adam Roberts turned the study conference into a book chapter published in 1968, called “The Strategy of Civilian Defence.” Princeton later followed up, in 1990, with Gene Sharp’s remarkable book “Civilian-Based Defense: A Post-military Weapons System.”
Around the same time as the Oxford study conference, the American Friends Service Committee convened a group to outline what a nonviolent security policy might look like for the United States. The group included the famously anti-imperialist Quaker A.J. Muste, so we spent hours debating whether there was even any point in writing a book for the United States, considering that it uses its military chiefly to police its empire. The Japanese today see that reality, which is one reason a majority oppose a new enhancement of its own military.View image | gettyimages.com
Our U.S. group agreed with Muste that nonviolent struggle cannot be bent to defend an empire, but decided to go ahead with the study anyway. Most of our fellow Americans naively believe that the military defends us rather than far-flung corporate interests. They cling to that illusion out of a concern for security, and we agreed that humans have a legitimate need for security.
What if the peace movement had a vision of a more effective, nonviolent and less expensive security policy that in fact defended our people? What if the movement advocated for that alternative and (of course) found that the government was utterly uninterested? At that point, the broader citizenry might smell the hidden agenda, and realize that their pockets were being picked by the IRS to protect the multinationals’ exploitive relationships with the Global South. “Imperialism” becomes not a rhetorical catchword, but an expensive scam that hurts us in the pocketbook.
Our group published “In Place of War” in 1967 but the U.S. peace movement was not ready to think about an alternative vision: the Vietnam war preoccupied us. In Europe, however, the 1968 Czechoslovakian resistance provided the drama. The defense ministries of the Nordics, the Netherlands, and Austria opened their checkbooks for research programs on nonviolent struggle as a means for national defense, hiring as consultants some of those who had been in our Oxford study conference.
In 1970, I was invited to the University of Uppsala to speak at Sweden’s national conference on civilian-based defense, or CBD. A top official of the Swedish defense ministry told me that their research focused on potential threats from the Soviet Union. If the Soviets wanted to annex Sweden’s rich economy, the researchers were confident that Sweden could resist effectively with CBD. If the Soviets tried to coerce Sweden into the Warsaw Pact, he believed CBD could also be effective. The sticking point, he said, was how to counter a territorial grab of the far Swedish North, as part of a World War II situation where territory was strategic. I asked him how likely a World War II scenario was, and he smiled and admitted, “Very unlikely.”
All this happened in the early days of nonviolent research, comparable perhaps to early studies of electric cars and wind generators. Since the 1970s, a small tribe of researchers has investigated the power of civil resistance in many different settings — resisting occupation and aggression and going on the offensive against dictatorship and economic exploitation.
The most decisive findings yet came out of the database of over 300 large-scale cases of violent and nonviolent struggles between 1900 and 2006, compiled by political scientists Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan. The team wanted to know which technique was more effective and found that movements that chose nonviolent struggle doubled their chance of winning compared with movements that chose violence. Their book, “Why Civil Resistance Works,” suggests how this could be true, since it contradicts conventional wisdom.
I find the study’s results even more remarkable, considering that most of the movements using civil resistance were operating without use of mass training and only a minimum of preparation and knowledge-based strategy. If the peace movements of Japan, Israel and the United States choose to build on a half century of strategy work and devise a serious alternative to war, they will certainly build in preparation and training and gain the attention of pragmatists in their societies.
Five Activists who had occupied Liverpool’s old Bank of England building to provide shelter and feed the city’s homeless people have been jailed for almost 3 months each [see prisoner details at bottom of article].
The Love Activists moved into the unoccupied building in the middle of April to set up a support centre for Liverpool’s homeless people, incorporating places to sleep, an advice centre and a street kitchen, from where they were evicted in the early hours of 12 May and the homeless activists arrested.
The defendants were charged in relation to the occupation of the old bank building in Castle Street, Liverpool city centre, as part of a protest over lack of support for the homeless and government austerity.
John Hall, 50; John Rice, 22; Chelsea Stafford, 19; James Jones, 20, and James Allanson, 20, all pleaded guilty to trespass while a possession order was in place.
The court also heard a minimum of £91,573 was spent in policing the protest, while the operation to arrest the protesters cost around £27,000. Almost all this budget was used in paying overtime to officers so as to create a heavy oppressive police presence around the building where they used a dispersal order to clear supporters away from the building and, the activists said, were refusing to allow supplies to be taken into the building.
The Love Activists’ occupation had growing support among residents and businesses of Liverpool. A poll on the Liverpool Echo website at that time gave a majority of those asked believing the group should stand firm against their eviction order.
The five defendants, who were all of ‘no fixed abode’, were part of a much larger group trying to assist the local community, many of which who were also homeless, who had occupied the bank, using the law that ‘squatting’ or using empty commercial premises to live in is still not a crime.
Prosecutor Miss Rowan said during the protest large numbers of people congregated outside, which led to an “influx of vagrants and rough sleeping” in the area.
A defending lawyer said in their favour “In a time of austerity when billions have been spent on banks, services for the homeless are being cut… these are conscionable people who have chosen to engage in an act of civil disobedience”
Though it appears the appeals for clemency fell on deaf ears as District Judge Andrew Shaw in summing up declared:
“Their selfish actions cost this community highly both financially and also by disrupting the day to day life of the city and its people.“
Supporters of the men were further incensed when it was revealed that earlier in the same court a paedophile John Evans, 35, on whose computer and external hard drives were found a “colossal” total of 28,000 child porn images was just sentenced to a three year community order.
There were disturbances inside and outside the court as the mens sentences were handed down.
One man in his late fifties was dressed in a superman costume as he shouted at officers: “Feeding the homeless is not a crime! Homeless not banks!”
They waved hand-painted banners saying: “Resisting homelessness” and “Homes not Banks”.
Two further people were arrested during the protest which spilled over from the court area onto the Strand behind, and at once point blocked the southbound carriageway during rush hour.
During their short time in the building they managed to create mass attention locally and nationally to the spiralling homeless situation in the City, whilst trying trying to provide basic essential items to Liverpool’s homeless such as shelter, food and companionship.
Leading Liverpool charity the Whitechapel Centre said whilst the occupiers were resisting attempts to move them on, provision for the city’s homeless was “stretched”. David Carter, chief executive of The Whitechapel Centre, told the Liverpool ECHO the number of beds for those without homes in the city was “stretched”
The Whitechapel Centre alone had seen a 32% increase over the last three years in those needing its help and in the previous year worked with 2,485 people who were either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
Mr Carter said: “Our outreach team have been in regular, daily contact with the Love Activists at the former Bank of England building on Castle Street, offering our services to anyone who is homeless or concerned about their housing situation. The Love Activists have provided access so that we have been able to undertake assessments of need and offer appropriate support and accommodation solutions.”
The Whitechapel Centre is an independent charity working with people who are homeless, socially excluded or in housing poverty.
A statement released from the Love Activists: after the jailing of the five sadly recognised “It is a difficult time for all Love Activists, and the family and friends of our activists in custody tonight.
Love Activists are outraged and disgusted by the sentences handed out to the Love Bank Five today. The judge today showed a clear prejudice against the activists, as they openly applied their personal opinions to legislative law: they declared that it is ‘selfish’ for someone to openly help homeless people or indeed be homeless yourself.
They took into account the alleged damage caused to the building, of which, of course, there was no evidence that the Love Bank Five had anything to do with. All five did, in fact, state that they were ‘appalled’ by the damage others caused in the building. The Judge implied that they were somehow responsible by daring to provide a sanctuary and safe haven for damaged and vulnerable people in society.
We, Love Activists, stand in full solidarity with the Love Bank Five, and strongly oppose the harsh sentencing imposed today by a judge clearly lacking impartiality. We fully support any campaign to see the unjust sentences overturned.”
We at Streets Kitchen agree with their sentiment.
From Manchester to London and now in Liverpool, it’s very evident that there is what can be seen as a class war on the poor and activists. Homeless activists who are just merely trying to assist others, helping those that they can who are just that little less fortunate than them.
In Manchester we are seeing people facing criminal charges and potential custody for living in or supporting and assisting homeless camps, in London we have seen people facing prosecutions just for feeding homeless people.
Now in Liverpool we have the situation where five decent innocent people who utilised a longtime empty building just to shelter people from the streets and feed them are in jail. It’s insane.
There are over one million empty properties that overnight could easily house everyone who needs or wants shelter. Theres billions and billions of pounds that are owed by the tax avoiding companies, there’s an economic crisis created by the real criminals in the banking system and those in power who let them ride roughshod freely over any country they wish to. The real criminals are those in power who allowed this, whilst people die on our streets and children go hungry.
If we are to be criminalised for being ‘selfish’ and demanding the impossible, so be it..
We know there is a simple solution to homelessness.. Housing First is a successful proven model.
We encourage more people to get involved now in helping others, after all they can’t jail us all!
There will be further details of solidarity actions and urgent prisoner support coming soon with those whose only crime was to care and do something about it… You can show your support by emailing them details below…
[From Streets Kitchen on September 18th]
On Tuesday September 15 the cops and security guards from local security company Arlia and G4S started to evict the protesters on Fennovoima´s planned nuclear construction site on Hanhikivi Cape in Pyhäjoki. 4 arrests where made but people where released the day after. Updates from a treehouse tell us that by 11 o´clock Wednesday evening the cops have not yet succeeded to empty the area, but the destruction is in progress.
Eviction of Squat Venetsia
On the same day that the eviction in Pyhäjoki started, Squat Venetsia in Helsinki showed solidarity with the occupation in Pyhäjoki. The day after, on wednesday, Venetsia was evicted.
Squat Venetsia had been planning solidarity events for the Pyhäjoki occupation and was also going to play an important role in housing people during the major strikes, protests and anti-government activities planned in Finland on friday.
The resistance on Hanhikivi Cape, Pyhäjoki
The protest camp, which has been around since April, is now moved to a different location in the remaining forest. The diverse activities that has taken place in Hanhikivi Cape – ranging from blockades, occupied trees and acts of sabotage- have significantly delayed Fennovoima´s plans to start the construction of the nuclear power plant together with energy company Fortum and Rosatom – Russian state owned company that specialises in the manufacturing of nuclear arms. Since the start of the occupation the situation on Hanhikivi cape has become more and more oppressive. A couple of weeks ago guards from the security company Arlia entered the camp in the night, armed with knives. A person was dragged away by the hair and two occupants were arrested by the police.
Both the camp on Hanhikivi Cape and Squat Venetsia – as part of the finnish squatting scene – have lately played important roles in spreading autonomous culture of active resistance and direct action against state and capital, in Finland. It is no coincidence they have been targeted now, on the verge of the protests taking place on Friday.
A small act of solidarity from London for Rumah Api (KL): Banner drop outside the Malaysian Embassy on the same day as a massive ‘Malaysia Night’ event takes place in nearby Trafalgar Square. Rumah Api is a Kuala Lumpur based anarcho-punk social centre and gig space, and was raided by armed police on August 28th. This resulted in 160 people being arrested.
SOLIDARITY IS OUR WEAPON
On 28th August (Friday), over a dozen police with automatic weapons and K-9 unit attacked Rumah Api (social center/house project in Kuala Lumpur) during a concert on that night. The police raided the house project and raid everybody during the concert and also trashed the living space of people who live there without any warrant or solid reason for the raid.
We all believe the raid were conducted due to the connection of Bersih 4 Rally which happen on the next days (29 and 30th) which is totally insane since the organizer of the concert, participants, and Rumah Api have little interest to join or even support the rally, due to our political stance on the issue of election and voting system.
The state use Rumah Api as the scapegoat of recent event of attack on banks and multinational corporations in KL for the past 2 years. So far, they found nothing to link us with that events. The police seize all the musical equipment at the concert hall, seize 2 computers of people who live there, one smart phone, artwork, and books belonging to people who live there. The police said they search the building for any weapons or explosives that can link us to terrorism.
All 160 people who got arrested were remanded for 3 days. Among the arrestees, there are comrades from United States, Germany, Spain, Phillipines and Indonesia who attended the concert. According to the detainees, during the interrogation, the police ask about their participation with Rumah Api and what knowledge they had about Rumah Api and terrorism. They were given very little food or water and there are issues of mistreating the detainees, especially womyn detainees.
The police released all of the detainees on 31st August except two comrades, one from Manila and one from Bandung. The police mention that they still under detention due to the process of checking their status in Malaysia and because both comrades have records for entering this country without legal permit. [The two comrades have now been released - 3/9/15].
At the moment, they still held the computers and a smartphone until further notice to help their investigation. 2 comrades are now facing court charges of Section 143 of the Penal Code, Section (4)(1)(b) of the Sedition Act and Section 6 of the Selangor Entertainment and Places of Entertainment Enactment and are facing fines and prison sentence of 20 years.
We are asking for solidarity from all over the world to spread the news. This is a brutal tactic used by the state to clamp down on the movement. With current political and economic instability in this country, and also the uprising of the anti-government sentiments, they are trying to put down any action or any lifestyle that doesn’t go along with what they want.
On the Rumah Api side, the gig that night titled is Party Tonight, Revolution Tomorrow is nothing more than just a normal friday night gig with no intention to relate it with Bersih 4 rally. We at Rumah Api are critical with the popular struggle in Malaysia. Bersih 4 which is a demonstration for free and clean election is a so-called first world problem and it has a middle upper class agenda. Bersih 4 is being supported and joined by liberals and Islamists with their partisan politics that we are all against. We focus more on the grassroots level and are more interested to put our energy into strengthening our own and surrounding community. We see, by supporting Bersih 4 and it’s agenda, that we would be on the wrong side of our struggle. In Malaysia, by changing the government, it will not make the problems goes away. Issues of xenophobia, homophobia, racism and religion are still the serious problems the politicians failed to address.
Now, people still gathering outside of Ampang Police Station to pressure them to release two of our comrades.
Syrian-American film director, Elias Matar, from Los Angeles has traveled to the Serbian-Croatian border to show solidarity with refugees marching from Greece to Germany. In an interview with WienTV he said, “My parents come from Syria and for me to see the Syrians coming this way, it’s really painful for me because they struggled Read More
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The number of refugees seeking asylum in Europe continues to climb. Over 20,000 refugees crossed into Croatia since Hungary closed its border with Serbia on September 17. The statistics are overwhelming. Citizens from around the world are organizing direct assistance to help refugees. People power is providing immediate relief as government bureaucracies trip over Read More
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By Johnny Liberty – Free Thought Project Boston, MA — A video uploaded to YouTube Friday shows a Boston police officer attempting to arrest a woman on a city bus in Dudley Square. The woman was allegedly under arrest for a petty theft, according to the video’s description. During the incident, the woman begins to resist Read More
The post VIDEO: Citizens Order Officer to “Drop the Gun” He Draws on Unarmed Woman – It Works appeared first on revolution-news.com.
About ten years ago, a friend and I went to the Clinique counter at Saks Fifth Avenue for makeovers. We thought it would be fun. On the way, I rehearsed my answer to what I imagined would be the makeup artist’s first question: “How do you describe your look?”
“Benign neglect” was going to be my answer. Cute, right? Also, true. I never wear makeup and don’t often put too much time into my appearance. I aspire to effortless elegance and settle for effortless.
The question never came and the whole experience was sort of disappointing. I got covered in goo as he talked about my uneven skin tone and unkempt eyebrows. “Don’t you pluck them?” he asked, incredulous and judgey. I love my naturally shapely eyebrows, but I was too sheepish to stand up for them. “I’m afraid of hurting them, I guess,” I mumbled.
When I looked in the mirror after he was done, I found a brighter and vaguer version of myself. I was still in there somewhere, but my inner self was having a hard time breathing under all that hypoallergenic, dermatologist-approved, never-tested-on-rabbits, very-expensive makeup. I could barely hold on long enough for my friend to take snapshot next to the makeup counter before wiping it all off in relief. I bought a $40 bottle of moisturizer as a consolation to the makeup guy and thanked him profusely as I obliterated all his hard work. My friend hated her new dramatic look, but she had the poise and tact to wait until we were in menswear to start wiping it off.
The ads promise that with a swipe of this and a smear of that, we can be our most beautiful, polished and powerful selves, but that was not my experience. I did not feel more confident. I did not feel more attractive. I did not feel better. I felt painted, unreal, hyper-self-conscious.
That was my big makeup moment. Here are a few others: In college, I wore eyeliner to parties until a friend told me she thought I “didn’t look as smart” when I was wearing it. Living in New York after college, I bought lipstick because I thought I should (I had all this extra money rattling around in my pocket looking for a new home) but I never wore it. After another friend told me that her New Year’s resolution was to wear mascara every day, I decided to do that too — much easier than my usual resolutions of not eating cheese, sending everyone I know birthday cards and being a nicer person. I tried, but just like all other resolutions, I forgot after a week or so.
Yet, I still have the mascara, and put it on every once in a while (even though you’re supposed to throw it out after a year or so). When I do, there is always a fervor in our very crowded bathroom.
“What are you doing?”
“Can I do that, Mama?”
“Why why why why?”
I tell my kids that I am putting on mascara because my eyes feel tired and I am trying to wake them up. That seemed to make sense until Seamus learned how to open it, decided his eyes were tired too and put the brown waterproof goo on his own eyes. He did a pretty good job and he rocked a very mod Russell Brand look for half the day, while I rubbed at his eyes with baby wipes for hours.
They call it the “Makeup Tax.” The average woman spends $15,000 over her lifetime on makeup. And then there is the time, about 20 minutes a day — or two weeks each year — spent smoothing and blending and smearing. All this primping and preparing is worth it, we are told. Women who invest time and energy on their appearance reap generous returns in the form of higher paying jobs and more prestigious promotions. They are prettier and people like them more. Made-up waitresses get tipped more. Cheyenne Haslett, an intern for the radio show The Takeaway, and a waitress, experimented by spending an hour and $50 at a beauty salon before heading to her Saturday evening restaurant shift. She made a little more money, felt a lot more self-confident (and self-conscious) and concluded that “Even if I didn’t think I needed it, I had bought confidence. Even if at the end of the night I was thrilled to go home and wipe it off, I would do it all over again.”
As Olga Khazan writes in The Atlantic, “Women invest time and money into doing their makeup because it impacts their relationships and their paychecks. And while both genders tend to buy haircuts, shaving cream, and moisturizer, the price of makeup is something men never have to worry about.” We can see this in the presidential race, where Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders’ appearance are treated so differently. It is okay for him to be rumpled and wooly, but every aspect of Clinton’s appearance is subjected to scrutiny and every time she gets a haircut, the coif gets a full-court press.
I just watched a YouTube video of a woman named Nikkie applying “full on glam” makeup to one side of her face, while her other side remains untouched “just plain me.” Her hand was expert, her use of color bold, her technique (to my untrained eye) flawless. The video is about six minutes long, though I am sure it took her longer. As I watched — in awe and admiration — I kept thinking: Her left side is lovely. All that she covered up and said she didn’t like — her small eyes, full cheeks and pink skin — was what made her unique and human (to me, anyway). At the end, both sides looked incredible, but I could only relate to her left side. Her makeup tutorials get millions of views. But this video — “The Power of Makeup” — has sparked an Internet “protest” on Instagram, where women are making up half their face and leaving the other side untouched. The photos are dramatic and the women definitely project a kick-ass, “don’t-call-me-shallow-for-loving-makeup” kind of empowerment that I admired.
Still, as the mother of two girls, I was much more moved by a Tasmanian woman’s transformation of Bratz dolls from pint-sized painted ladies to bare-faced little girl dolls. Sonia Singh upcycles the used dolls and sells them on Etsy (she had 12 when she put them online and has been completely inundated with interest). It seems like they are worth the effort and/or expense. In a video about her work, a group of girls play with the dolls, which are dressed in hand-crocheted play outfits and have been given new feet so they can wear tiny sneakers. One girl says, “They are nicer to play with. You can kind of think they’re the same age as you.” Sonia Singh hopes that doll manufacturers pay attention.
Now, as close readers of this column know, I don’t have a job, I don’t suffer from a surfeit of confidence and I have spent most of my life squarely out of the mainstream. But I do like feeling pretty and I am susceptible to the magazine covers, television ads and the pixelated perfection of our consumer-driven society. I do wonder if this or that product is the magic elixir to make me feel (or at least look) like I slept more than four hours last night and was closer to 30 than 40. But, in the end, I choose to spend my allotted beauty regimen time (i.e. the two minutes I have the bathroom to myself in the morning) doing something practical and healthy like flossing my teeth and putting on a moisturizer with sunscreen.
As I do, I remind myself that beauty is like happiness — fleeting and abundant, precious and free, subjective and uncaptured, and best appreciated while focused on something more important. They can’t tax that.
Students, public and private schools, universities and teachers showed that the Paraguayans want a better quality education without discrimination. Between 6,000 and 10,000 high school students, supported by their principals, teachers and parents mobilized in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion. In somewhat smaller amounts demonstrations were reported in dozens of cities and towns under the Read More
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Finland – People fed up with the constant rundown of education and research have occupied the University of Helsinki, Porthania building today. This politically independent occupation is a message from within the university community against austerity politics. At the same time, it is an entry into a broader front against cuts and a show of Read More
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Helsinki’s working class turns out in staunch opposition to proposed cuts to workers rights, as 30,000 gathered at the Central Railway Station to demonstrate despite inclement weather. The strike began early on Friday morning and was planned to last one working day. All railroad and bus lines, as well as servicing of aircrafts at the Read More
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Hundreds of protesters in New York City took to the streets on September 17 in a variety of actions against racism, gentrification and police brutality. The day marked the fourth anniversary of Occupy Wall Street with actions taking place in at least three boroughs.
“We had a day of action that was around racism, police brutality and anti-gentrification specifically because we needed to have a way to be very intersectional about all of what’s happening in our communities,” said Imani Henry, an organizer with Equality For Flatbush. “Gentrification is about landlords, corporations, the de Blasio administration, [Brooklyn Borough President] Eric Adams, and every borough president who is allowing developers into our neighborhood. It’s about community boards, re-zoning issues and struggles that we never ask for. And it’s also about the cops occupying our neighborhoods.”
According to a study by the Community Service Society of New York released in June, rents citywide rose by 32 percent from 2002 to 2014 even after removing the effects of inflation. Many of the biggest increases in rent occurred in communities of color in central Brooklyn and uptown Manhattan. These drastic rent increases, coupled with more aggressive policing, are what often lead to the displacement of poorer communities of color in favor of more affluent, young white residents. The amount of apartments that are affordable to low-income households has also decreased by 44 percent citywide since 2002. These trends have made much of New York City simply unaffordable for poor and working people.
“I organize because I recognize that, as I walk into a neighborhood that I’m actively gentrifying, there are people who have lived there long before I have lived there who have been suffering and struggling in that neighborhood who I need to be actively struggling with and supporting,” said Jose Garcia, an organizer with the Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network. “The way that I support that is by fighting against police brutality, fighting against corporations, and fighting against the New York City developers who are actively involved in pushing and shoving a lot of communities of color out.”
While a small group of former Occupy Wall Street protesters gathered at Zuccotti Park in the afternoon to reminisce, activists with the Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network, a coalition of dozens of grassroots groups, were up early in the morning handing out fliers in Brooklyn for the day’s events. Along with a full day of actions, the group put out a list of 10 demands concerning housing and inequality. At around noon, Families United for Racial and Economic Equality protested in front of the New York City Housing Authority management office at the Farragut Houses.
At 2:30 p.m., the Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network held a press conference at City Hall, where speakers criticized the mayor and other elected officials for their participation in the future gentrification of New York City. The protesters then protested outside the New York City Department of City Planning.
At 5:30 p.m., the protesters began to rally at Canal Street and Bowery near the Manhattan Bridge. The New York City Police Department, particularly its anti-protest Strategic Response Group, was also waiting at that spot in full force and surrounded the protesters on all sides. Meanwhile, in Staten Island, activists protested and chanted “I Can’t Breathe” outside a softball game between Mayor de Blasio’s administration and members of the New York City Council, blocks away from where Eric Garner was killed by police last year.
Back at the Manhattan Bridge, at around 7 p.m., 100 or so protesters began to march on the pedestrian walkway over the bridge to Brooklyn with NYPD above and behind them. Chants went back and forth from being anti-landlord to anti-rent to anti-police, as the protesters made their way across the bridge and toward the Barclays Center, a sports arena that has become a symbol of Brooklyn’s gentrification. Once they arrived at Barclays, the protesters had a rally and speakout.
“We came to Barclays because I would love to see our community here,” Henry said. “Downtown Brooklyn was a black and brown area. I’ve lived here 20 years, and when I walk, I have to waive at black people like ‘Hi! How are you? I have not seen you in so long!’ in downtown Brooklyn because at this point they’re like ‘Get out!’”
Multiple speakers then addressed the protesters in front of Barclays, as they discussed ways that people, especially gentrifiers themselves, could aid the struggle. Some of the methods people suggested to fight back against gentrification included shopping at local stores and restaurants, interacting more with veterans of the community, and even moving out completely. After some speeches and chants, the protesters held hands in a circle and wrapped up the night with a chant from Assata Shakur. They also began making plans for even better actions in the near-future.
“What’s next is really making sure that whatever action we plan, whatever demonstration we hold, we have more people, more organizations to truly help us uplift the message,” Garcia said. “There’s a lot of talk of white people who are gentrifying Brooklyn, which is really true, but that’s not it. There’s other people, other communities that are also coming in, pushing out more impoverished people of color and so we really need to be held accountable for that. And people need to make sure that, as we live in the system we’re forced to live under, we ask, ‘What are some ways that we can fight it and resist it?”
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