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Austria/Slovenia Border: Thousands of Refugees Packed in Small Holding Area

Revolution News -

A group of a couple thousand refugees broke through the fence in Šentilj on the border between Slovenia and Austria, clashing with the special police forces. Previously refugees had waited for hours in very low temperature, bottled up in a small space. Croatian national television HRT reports that there were so many refugees that they couldn’t fit in Read More

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Manchester chief constable airs fears of ‘thought police’ over counter-extremism

The Guardian | Protest -

Ian Hopkins says freedom could be threatened if police enforce measures too aggressively, as he confirms force’s numbers will be dramatically cut

The new chief constable of Greater Manchester police has warned that forces risk being seen as the “thought police” if they do not tread carefully under the government’s new counter-extremism strategy.

Ian Hopkins, who replaced the retiring Sir Peter Fahy this week, said there would be a threat to free speech if police enforced too aggressively measures that include banning orders on non-violent extremists.

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Environmentalists appeal to Spanish parties ahead of December elections

The Guardian | Protest -

Spanish NGOs, incensed at the controversial ‘sun tax’ that charges citizens for creating their own energy, have called for a new ‘vice-presidency’ on sustainability, reports El Pais

The five main green organisations operating in Spain have launched an environmental appeal to political parties in the run-up to December’s general elections. 

Friends of the Earth, Ecologists in Action, Greenpeace, SEO/BirdLife and WWF have stressed the urgent need for any new government to create a vice-presidency for sustainability, that would be able to coordinate and oversee cross-sector policy making. 

Related: Costa's last stand: climate change could see tourists swap the Med for the Baltics

Related: Climate change lays waste to Spain's glaciers

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Raif Badawi wins Sakharov human rights prize

The Guardian | Protest -

Saudi Arabia urged by EU lawmakers to free blogger jailed for ‘insulting Islam’ amid international criticism of its airstrikes in Yemen

Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger and activist sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam, has won the EU’s Sakharov prize for human rights.

The announcement was greeted on Thursday with a standing ovation at the European parliament in Strasbourg, France, but will be seen by Saudi Arabia as another diplomatic slight at a time when its domestic and international policies are coming under growing criticism.

Related: A look at the writings of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi – sentenced to 1,000 lashes

Related: Saudi blogger’s wife: I feel destroyed but I will not sit in a corner and cry

Urgent: Flogging of Raif Badawi will Resume , I Hope That Mr. @JustinTrudeau Will stand for Raif Like Before! pic.twitter.com/kDfjePTA11

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President Erdogan might be surprised by who is protesting against him | Alev Scott

The Guardian | Protest -

The Turkish government’s pre-election media crackdown has been so unpopular it has created unlikely alliances on the streets

Today is the 92nd anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic, which promised rule of law and democracy for future generations of Turkish citizens. Yesterday, a media company critical of the Turkish government broadcast its own demise. Viewers watched in disbelief as plain-clothed police stormed the control room of Bugün TV, while besieged journalists provided a tense, Titanic-like commentary of the mother ship going down: “The police are coming … They’re here …They have no injunction … And we’re going dark.” Footage of the raid froze on a blurred, split-screen image of swarming police and a huddled group of anchors. Channel: off-air.

This surreal event has a complex backstory, but it essentially shows – in forensic, immortalised detail – the latest step in a crackdown on the media in Turkey ahead of snap elections on Sunday. The summary reads like an Islamic episode of the Sopranos spliced with House of Cards: Bugün TV is part of Koza Ipek, a company with links to the Islamic cleric Fetullah Gülen, once a close friend of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan but now wanted by police for heading a “terrorist organisation”.

Related: Turkey election 2015: a guide to the parties, polls and electoral system

Related: Turkey used to be a model state. So what went wrong? | Natalie Nougayrède

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9 Arrested During Continued Repression of Spanish Anarchists

Revolution News -

Second phase of #OperacionPandora today in #Barcelona arrests 9 allegedly “terrorists anarchists” pic.twitter.com/UPfMB5mdbO — 15MBcn_int (@15MBcn_int) October 28, 2015 In their third major raid this year, the Catalan police force Mossos d’Esquadra arrested at least nine people early this morning in Barcelona during what seems to be a new phase of the “Pandora” and “Piñata” initiatives, which have involved Read More

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China protesters in 'heavy-handed' arrest released without charge

The Guardian | Protest -

Question raised in parliament over treatment of Tiananmen Square survivor Shao Jiang

A Tiananmen Square survivor whom police were accused of manhandling during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK will face no further action after his arrest.

Related: Xi Jinping protesters arrested and homes searched over London demonstrations

It was quite a physical, violent attack by the police and he was just standing there holding pieces of paper

Related: Wife of Xi Jinping protester criticises Met police over arrests

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Israel demolishes Bedouin village of Al Araqib — for the 90th time

Revolution News -

This piece has been re-posted with permission from the author, Avi Blecherman from +972 Mag. Related Reading: Southern Israel: Bedouin Village Al Arakib Demolished Today for the 64th Time Things have been quiet in the Negev lately. So the authorities decided to take advantage of this period of relative calm and, while everybody’s attention was elsewhere, sent the bulldozers Read More

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Surveillance State Run Amok; US Army Loses Blimp

Revolution News -

A giant unmanned US military blimp broke loose in Maryland today and reeked havoc on central Pennsylvania, knocking out power to over 35,000 businesses, homes and schools. The JLENS or “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System” was part of a $2.8 billion dollar US Army project to defend against cruise missiles. Read More

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Inside the indigenous movement to protect India’s commons

Waging Nonviolence -

by Pushpa Achanta

Dongria Kondh women (Sadai Huika on the far right) involved in resisting mining in Niyamgiri, Raygada district, in March 2015 (WNV/Pushpa Achanta)

In early October, news emerged that India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change was blocking the implementation of a high-level government panel’s report on tribal rights that recommended the creation of stringent rules to safeguard indigenous people from displacement.

Meanwhile, two state governments have begun implementing a much different set of guidelines — issued in August without any interference — that allow the private sector to manage 40 percent of forests for profit at the expense of indigenous forest dwellers. In addition, another ordinance passed this year will permit private corporations to easily acquire land and forests from indigenous communities and carry out ecologically harmful mining. These legislative and policy decisions are usually made without the knowledge of indigenous communities whose lives, livelihoods and ecosystems will be worsened by these irresponsible actions of the government.

Hence, indigenous communities in Uttar Pradesh, a northern state and Odisha, in the east, are strengthening their organizing to protect their rivers, lands, forests and hills from “development” that would displace thousands of local residents and destroy the environment.

“People from my community and I were beaten, detained or jailed unnecessarily for opposing tree felling in our forests, some years ago,” said Nivada Debi, a feisty 38-year-old woman from the Tharu Adivasi community in Uttar Pradesh. “We visited the police station multiple times for their release. The government did not assist the injured. Despite the police and government indifference, we will fight for our land and environment.”

A mother of four children subsisting on the forests, Debi is active in grassroots resistance that started nearly 20 years ago and has grown into the All India Union of Forest Working People, or AIUFWP. The group is made up of many indigenous people who subsist on forests and are collectively protecting forests from poachers and encroachers.

Nivada Debi at the Lucknow rally against the imprisonment of the opponents of the Kanhar dam in July 2015. (WNV/Pushpa Achanta)

Debi was among hundreds — from the AIUFWP, the allied Save Kanhar Movement and other resistance groups — who traveled to Lucknow in July 2015 for a rally protesting the continued incarceration of their comrades fighting land grabbing in other districts of Uttar Pradesh. Roma Malik, the AIUFWP deputy general secretary, and Sukalo Gond, an Adivasi, which means original inhabitant, were among those arrested on June 30, before they were to address a large public gathering about the illegal land acquisition for the Kanhar dam and the violent repression of its opponents by the state. Another member of AIUFWP, Rajkumari, who prefers to go by her first name, was jailed on April 21, after 39 Adivasis and Dalits, who are considered outside the caste hierarchy, were brutally shot at by the police during a peaceful protest on April 18. The demonstration, which began on April 14 — the birthday of B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian constitution and an icon for many Indians, particularly Dalits — was opposing the construction of a dam across the Kanhar river in the Sonbhadra district of southeastern Uttar Pradesh.

Rajkumari was released toward the end of July while Gond and Malik were freed in September. However, others are still imprisoned on fabricated charges. Courts are delaying hearing their cases or denying them bail.

AIUFWP members, some of whom were previously involved with other local resistance movements, have been actively opposing the construction of the Kanhar dam for years. It would submerge over 10,000 acres of land from more than 110 villages in Uttar Pradesh and the neighboring states of Chattisgarh and Jharkhand, displacing thousands of local people and disrupting their lives and livelihoods. The dam was approved by the Central Water Commission of India in 1976, but was abandoned in 1989 after facing fierce opposition, especially from the local people whose lives and ecosystem would be destroyed by the proposed dam. However, construction resumed in December 2014, violating orders to stop it from the National Green Tribunal — a government body that adjudicates on environmental protection, forest conservation and natural resource disputes. No social impact assessment was done, nor were the necessary environmental or forest clearances — mandated by the Forest Conservation Act — obtained by the state government.

“Since this dam can destroy our survival and also adversely impact the surroundings, we have been opposing its construction and related land acquisition for many years,” said Shobha, a determined 42-year-old Dalit. “On December 23, 2014, the police caned some of our comrades when we were peacefully protesting the revival of building the dam earlier that month. However, the police falsely accused some leaders of our struggle of attacking the sub-divisional magistrate.” Shobha, who also prefers to go only by her first name, is among the vocal leaders of a women’s agricultural laborers union, which has allied with AIUFWP, in the village of Bada.

Shobha (center) with daughter Deepika (left) and associate Rekha (right) before the Lucknow rally against the incarceration of the opponents of the Kanhar dam in July 2015. (WNV/Pushpa Achanta)

Around 400 miles from Sonbhadra, in the Kalahandi and Rayagada districts of southern Odisha, live the Dongria Kondhs, an indigenous community of over 8,000 people. They have been fighting tirelessly to protect their sacred mountain, the nearly 5,000-foot high Niyamgiri, from large private corporations — like Vedanta Limited — that are trying to mine bauxite in the area to produce aluminum. Supporters of the Dongria Kondhs were arrested in Delhi on August 9 outside the Reserve Bank of India, as they peacefully highlighted Vedanta’s illegitimate and harmful mining in the Niyamgiri. Vedanta’s mining would violate the Forest Rights Act, which states that indigenous communities are entitled to remain in the forests — and utilize the produce, land and water in the forests — while conserving and protecting them.

“The Niyamgiri symbolizes a parent to our community,” said Sadai Huika, a steadfast 45-year-old Dongria Kondh woman from Tikoripada village. “While the streams that originate from it help our farming, the plants and grass that grows on it feed our cattle and goats. We cannot exist without it and will safeguard it from anyone trying to harm it.”

Huika and people from hundreds of villages near the Niyamgiri are active members of the Niyamgiri Protection Forum, which originated around 2003 to resist attempts by Vedanta to begin mining where the Kondhs live, with the support of the Odisha state government. At every one of the 12 village council meetings with government officers held in 2013 atop the Niyamgari, community members stated that they would not allow mining nearby.

Kumuti Majhi, an elderly Dongria Kondh man and one of the forum’s leaders, is among the few people who have traveled within and outside Odisha to advocate against mining and garner vital support for their struggle. He has met ministers to explain how significant the Niyamgiri is to his community and their reasons for safeguarding it.

By organizing protests locally and with allies around the world — and meetings with Vedanta’s shareholders and empathetic government officials, who the forum has enlightened about the need to protect the Niyamgiri — the group has stalled the mining.

“We know that extracting bauxite from the Niyamgiri will pollute our environment and also affect all living beings here,” Majhi said. “Hence, we will stop anyone coming to plunder the Niyamgiri, despite police harassment and false charges against us and our families.”

Greenpeace and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall launch John West tuna protest

The Guardian | Protest -

Art installation accuses Britain’s largest tuna importer of broken sustainability promises and human rights abuses by parent company

Greenpeace and the TV presenter and environmental campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have launched a protest targeting Britain’s largest tuna importer John West and its parent company Thai Union Frozen Products over the firm’s alleged backtracking on promises to source its fish more sustainably.

A group of around 30 people erected a sculpture of a talking can of tuna fish outside John West’s headquarters in Liverpool early on Wednesday.

Related: John West and Princes accused of backtracking on tuna commitments

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FBI Creates Halloween Revolt Hoax

Revolution News -

The New York post reports that there is an alert being sent out to various police departments, including the NYPD, of a “Halloween Revolt” planned by a supposed Anarchist group called the “National Liberation Militia” – who the FBI says are suggesting people should wear Guy Fawkes masks and randomly attack police officers with bricks and Read More

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Dashcam Video Shows the Killing of Zachary Hammond – No Charges for Officer

Revolution News -

Seneca, SC — On July 26, Seneca Police Lt. Mark Tiller ran towards 19-year-old Zachary Hammond’s car with his gun drawn as Hammond’s date, Tori Morton, had allegedly just sold a few grams of marijuana to an officer during an undercover sting operation. Hammond died at the scene. 10th Judicial Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams announced along Read More

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Activists need to realize that most Americans actually agree with them

Waging Nonviolence -

by George Lakey

View image | gettyimages.com

I admit to following the shenanigans of mainstream politicians, so much so that I sometimes slip into their assumptions even though I know I shouldn’t. One of their more seductive assumptions is that U.S. public attitudes over the years have moved to the right, an assumption I often hear echoed even among concerned people on the left.

As a hobby I’ve been collecting public opinion poll numbers to try to stay centered. My sociological training taught me to be skeptical about opinion polls, but the consistent results of polls are actually better than who wins elections for learning what the public thinks about issues. I abruptly encountered that contrast in the 1980s when the Jobs with Peace Campaign was running referenda asking voters if they would like to have tax money taken out of military spending and devoted instead to education, transportation, housing, health care and the like. The referenda were not binding, but they gave people a voice.

In Pennsylvania, we ran some of those referenda when Ronald Reagan sought re-election as president. Reagan had spent his first term shifting the budget from civilian needs to the military sector. However, in every county where we ran our referendum, our ballot question won overwhelmingly even though Reagan also won.

In exit polls we asked voters how they voted and why. The Reagan voters who voted “Yes” to Jobs with Peace typically responded this way: “Well, President Reagan is a wonderful leader for our country, but even fine leaders need guidance on issues and he does have it wrong on prioritizing the military.”

Because votes on candidates tell us far less about public opinion than polls do, finding out what the pollsters are reporting helps to ground my political analysis.

For example, a large majority of Americans, 68 percent, said in a recent ABC/Washington Post poll that our economic system favors the rich rather than the majority. About half of those who said they were Republicans agreed. Economist Joseph Stiglitz has been following opinion research over time and consistently found that the percentages of those who see too much wealth inequality were high among men and women, Democrats and Republicans, people with lower incomes and even those with higher incomes.

Over a 30-year period the Gallup opinion polls have seen a steady majority responding positively to the question: “Do you think our government should or should not redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich?” The Pew Research Center found 69 percent agreeing that the federal government should do something, or should do a lot to reduce the income gap.

For the past couple of decades elected officials have been cutting taxes for the wealthy, but a Washington Post poll in 2014 showed a majority of people in favor of tax increases. A Gallup poll showed that even among Republicans, 45 percent believed upper income people paid too little in taxes.

In 2014, national polls revealed that a majority of Americans want to address climate change. A year later, the Senate appointed its leading climate denier to be head of the Senate’s committee on the environment.

For decades the airwaves have been full of anti-government rhetoric insisting only private business can be “job creators.” Then a poll in 2014 found almost half those asked wanted the government to provide a job to any citizen who cannot find work in the private sector.

I could go on and on with poll results like these that place the American majority considerably to the left of the Democratic Party on most issues, although there are exceptions. Bottom line, the evidence shows that the political class is wrong to assert that, as it moves rightward, it is “following the American people.”

Billionaire Warren Buffett revealed as long ago as 2006 who the political class is actually following. He told the New York Times, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

What does this mean for us?

Revising our understanding of how much the majority agrees with us has a couple of obvious implications, and also some not so obvious. Knowing what’s really going on helps us challenge our despair, freeing energy for action. I notice I feel better and walk down the street with the body language of openness when I’ve read yet another poll in the daily paper revealing that many of the people on the sidewalk see the world as I do.

A deeper implication arises at the identity level. This is a personal issue for me, and I don’t think I’m alone. In high school I became a chronic differentiator. I fiercely wanted to be an independent thinker rather than to “follow the crowd,” and so I built my identity partly around my ability to emphasize my uniqueness.

Training for Change facilitators often point out that there are two fundamental motions an individual chooses between in social life: to join or to differentiate. We make those choices moment to moment. Coming out of a movie theater with a friend we might join in raving about the sound track and then disagree about the star’s performance. Most of us easily swing back and forth, joining and differentiating depending on how we see the issue at hand: “Do I want a beer? Not really – I’d rather have tea at the moment.”

Some of us, though, get the choice-making wrapped up in our identity. You might lean strongly toward conformity, “going along to get along,” usually joining even at times when, in your heart of hearts, you might prefer to differentiate.

Or, like me, you might lean strongly toward differentiating and have to think twice to realize it really is OK to join. At my worst, I’ve been a “Yes, but…” person, having to agree with someone’s political point but then quickly finding some way to differentiate, as if reassuring myself that I truly am a unique being.

This fundamental joining/differentiating dynamic of social life can operate when we form our political identity. One way to stabilize a set of political values and convictions is to contrast them with some “other,” which originally might be that annoying uncle or teacher. I was brought up by my blue-collar family to differentiate from the Republicans, and I still enjoy doing that. Then, as a young adult, I grew to see how often the Democrats also supported racial and other injustices. That’s when the obvious “other” to contrast myself with became a vague “mainstream” or “majority.” The socialization of graduate school cemented that, encouraging me to believe I was part of an intellectual elite forever “above” the opinions of those who don’t use big words in conversation.

My political life since then has been one long series of opportunities to eat humble pie. Learning that a far higher percentage of Americans who had not finished high school saw through the Vietnam war than did college graduates — that was a big one. Realizing that professors, with graduate degrees, were usually slower to figure out the justice implications of issues and act on them than were undergrads, who in turn had a lot to learn from the service workers on the university staffs — that was another one.

When I woke up to my chronic disposition to differentiate, I began to pay attention to my internal coach, who often needed to say to me at everyday moments of choice, “George, What’s your problem? Join!” I also began to notice the alternative reality reflected in easily available information. The polls I’ve reported in this column are only a small sample of what’s in the daily newspaper and widely-available magazines. Now, at last, I am allowing myself to enjoy holding some of the same convictions as those of a majority of my nation, and to join them. As a radical, I  know I’m unique and not about to fall into mindless conformity — so I can relax about that. I’m therefore free to enjoy the connection with a multitude of strangers with whom I now know how to join.

Freeing ourselves to build mass movements

Jonathan Matthew Smucker keeps urging us to “go beyond the choir.” Letting go of the link between identity and either differentiating or joining makes that possible. Those of us who are activists don’t even need to fixate on the ways our particular group is different from “that other group.” Activists who are chronic conformers can reach for a new degree of independent thinking within the group that we belong to.

We can enjoy a new freedom to make our choices based on the merits, rather than identity; strategizing can become far more interesting because we’re less worried about “what others will think.” Freedom supports creativity, which in turn supports new ways of relating to the tens of millions of people out there who are being oppressed and have ideas about change that we might happen to agree with.

White People Are Still Wearing Blackface for Halloween

Revolution News -

It’s almost Halloween and once again, some white people dressed up in blackface. So far there are 2 contestants in the most racist costume contest for Halloween 2015. Heath Morrow, elementary school teacher from Alabama who wore Kanye West blackface and Florida high school student, @Emmajohns129 who dressed as Nicki Minaj, also wearing blackface. Contestant Read More

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Wife of Xi Jinping protester criticises Met police over arrests

The Guardian | Protest -

Johanna Zhang, who is married to Chinese dissident Shao Jiang, says she has no idea why he was held or when confiscated computers will be returned

The wife of a UK-based Chinese dissident arrested last week for waving placards at the visiting Chinese president has said the couple still do not know why he was detained or when computer equipment seized from their home will be returned.

Johanna Zhang, who is married to Shao Jiang, a survivor of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre who left China in 2003, said she had been unable to even make contact with the Metropolitan police detectives who searched their home after Shao’s arrest.

Related: Xi Jinping protesters arrested and homes searched over London demonstrations

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Refugees Welcome: Call for international meeting, manifestation and solidarity action in Slovenia

Revolution News -

Call for international meeting, manifestation and solidarity action in Slovenia For more than a week the so-called Balkan Route is passing through Slovenia. The Slovenian government intended to impose the entrance quota of 2500 refugees per day. Croatia answered by sending the refugees and migrants over the so-called “Green” border. This controversy between Slovenia and Read More

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Shocking Video Shows School Cop Body Slam and Drag a Female Student

Revolution News -

South Carolina – Spring Valley High School officials and Richland County sheriff’s deputies are investigating after a video supposedly taken at the high school shows an abusive confrontation between the school’s resource officer and a female student who was reportedly being verbally disruptive. In a statement to local media, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Read More

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Air France executive: shirt-shredding attack was 'price to pay for democracy'

The Guardian | Protest -

Xavier Broseta says he bears no grudges over Paris attack by airline workers but insists redundancy plans must go ahead

An Air France executive who was forced to flee shirtless from a staff meeting after he was attacked by protesting workers has described his ordeal as “the price to pay for democracy”.

Xavier Broseta, the airline’s vice president of human resources, was pushed to safety over a fence – minus his shirt and jacket – at the airline’s offices in Paris on 5 October after 100 workers angered by a redundancy programme forced their way into a meeting of the airline’s senior management.

Related: The Air France protesters were desperate, frightened people, not a violent mob | Philippe Marlière

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Albert Hunt 31 December 1928 - 21 September 2015

Peace News -

Teaser: 

A tribute to Peace News's ground-breaking drama critic 

Albert Hunt, critic, playwright and educator, and former staff member and drama critic of Peace News, was part of the wave of innovators that transformed the British theatrical scene in the 1960s and 1970s and pioneered an approach to adult education based on the active participation of students in games and creative improvisation.

 

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