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McGraw-Hill’s Geography Textbook Says African Slaves Were Paid “Workers”

Revolution News -

In a “World Geography” textbook, McGraw Hill Books re-wrote history in an egregious manner by referring to the African victims of the chattel slave trade in the US as “workers.” Yes, a US textbook given to children in Texas is framing the slave trade as a “pattern of immigration” and implying that African slaves received wages. This all came to light after Read More

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Japanese Protest Against PM Abe & ‘War Law’

Revolution News -

Smash Fascism! Abe Out! Japan – Around 20,000 protesters rallied in Hibiya Park before marching around the Ginza district of Tokyo, Friday, to protest against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the ‘security’ bills citizens deem unconstitutional. The new legislation allows the Japanese military to deploy troops abroad for the first time since World War 2. Read More

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Italian Students March Against Education Reforms

Revolution News -

We don’t ask for our future, we take it! Italy – High school students self-organized under the hashtag #nobuonascuola (No Good School) are adamantly opposed to the education and job act reforms the Renzi government tries to impose. Students accuse the government of intending to privatize the currently free public education system and turn schools into Read More

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Citizen's prosecutions of the British secretary of state for defence for conspiring to commit a war crime

Peace News -

Teaser: 

A new Trident Ploughshares project to involve local magistrates' courts throughout Britain in the struggle against the Trident nuclear weapon system

Trident Ploughshares has today, 1 October 2015, launched a project to encourage groups around England and Wales to go to their local magistrates court to try and initiate a citizen's prosecution against the secretary of state for defence for conspiring to commit a war crime.

read more

Montreal’s Francophone teachers strike against austerity

Waging Nonviolence -

by Ashoka Jegroo

The banner at front of the teachers march in Montreal on September 30 read “The government is abandoning public schools.” (Twitter/Hélène Bauer)

Thousands of Francophone teachers, along with students, parents, and other supporters, flooded Montreal’s streets for a one-day strike on September 30. The strike is the first of six planned by the Federation Autonome de l’Enseignement, or FAE, a coalition of eight of Quebec’s French-speaking teachers unions, as part of their negotiations with the provincial government over proposed cuts to education.

“We are taking the streets today to tell the population and the parents that we are with them, and that their schools, teachers and their students, deserve more,” Nathalie Morel, vice president of the FAE, told CTV Montreal. “We deserve better.”

Sylvain Mallette, head of the FAE, first announced the strike on September 8, and on Wednesday, around 34,000 French-language teachers walked off the job and marched on the streets of Montreal. The FAE usually gives seven business days notice before it strikes, but Mallette said they wanted to give parents enough time to make alternate plans for their kids. More than 270,000 students across Quebec were also given the day off by the strike.

The Quebec provincial government has been engaged in a series of collective negotiations with public sector employees. Teachers are one group of workers who have been renegotiating their contracts with the government and have been working without a contract since April.

In March, the government announced that it would be increasing its education budget by only 0.2 percent, which actually amounts to a decrease once inflation is taken into account. The government has proposed increasing class sizes for older elementary and high school students and increasing the work week for teachers from 32 to 35 hours without any immediate increase in pay. When it comes to teachers’ salaries, the government wants to freeze wages until 2016 and then increase teachers’ pay by 1 percent each year for three years after that. The teachers, on the other hand, want a 13.5 percent raise over the next three years.

“In the last few years, public schools have been hurt by budget restraints and cuts,” Mallette told CBC News back when the strike was announced. “We’re at more than $1 billion in budget restraints and we’re asking teachers to do more with less.”

The government has also proposed cutting pension plans, cutting funds for programs for special-needs children, getting rid of 800 resource teacher and special education teacher jobs, and no longer taking into account whether a child has a learning disability when calculating class sizes.

“We are seeing cuts in remedial teachers and special education teachers who work with students who need help or those with behavioral problems,” Chantal Gagnon, a primary school teacher, told the Montreal Gazette. “They want to integrate the kids in the classroom but they are not giving us the support.”

Education Minister Francois Blais has denied that the government wants to increase teachers’ workloads or cut special education programs and insists that “it isn’t possible to ask taxpayers to pay” for a 13.5 percent wage increase for teachers.

The strike began a little before noon with protesters rallying at Square Victoria. At around 12:30 p.m., after a few speeches, protesters began to march starting from Boulevard Robert-Bourassa and Avenue Viger O. At the head of the march was a black banner reading “The government is abandoning public schools.” Music blasted at the front of the march as protesters shut down downtown Montreal and disrupted traffic. The protesters eventually made their way to Square Dorchester where they rallied and ended with a few more speeches. After a few hours, the thousands of marchers finally made their way to end without any arrests being made.

English-speaking teachers in Quebec have also vowed to go on strike this fall. On September 24, Anglophone teachers unions voted to hold six strike days sometime after the federal elections on October 19.

“We’re probably looking at October 26 to October 28 at the earliest,” John Donnelly, president of the Pearson Teachers Union, told CBC News.

Meanwhile, the FAE has announced that its next strike day will be between October 14 and October 30. The teachers, along with students and parents, can only hope that these strike days helps out with the negotiations, which are set to continue on October 1.

“I wanted to send a message that enough is enough,” Jean-Philippe Lajeunesse, a parent who took his two daughters to the march, told the Montreal Gazette. “They want teachers to do more with less. We have to make a choice as a society, do we want austerity and a balanced budget or do we want good public education?”

Manchester anti-austerity protest: share your stories and photos

The Guardian | Protest -

The Conservative party conference in Manchester is the backdrop to a series of anti-austerity protests that get underway this weekend. Are you taking part?

A large anti-austerity national demonstration is taking place in Manchester this weekend. The “Take Back Manchester” demonstrations has been planned to coincide with the Conversative party conference, which gets underway in the city on Saturday.

The main event is a mass demonstration march on Sunday, organised by the TUC and the People’s Assembly.

Related: Manchester anti-austerity protest: share your stories and photos

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Forest of Dean: Callout for support at Yorkley Court Community Farm

House Occupation News -

This morning (Sept29) two council officials entered the farm (previously on S!N) asking questions about the number of pregnant women and children on-site. We recognise this as a sign that an eviction attempt is likely to happen in the near future.

We are strengthening our defences and preparing ourselves for what may come.

We need support.

It would be great to have even more people on site in the coming days .. there are lots of practical and other jobs to help with, including building, cooking, climbing, first aid, legal observation and moral support. Come and learn and share skills and get stuck in!

We also need support with getting materials onto site, including:

-building materials
-climbing materials and polyprop rope
-spare bedding, tents and tarpaulins
-tinned food
-any other useful materials/tools (list will be updated/added to)

This piece of land means everything to us. It is our home, it is the source of our water, food, fuel and shelter. It is an open space where people from the wider local community of the Forest of Dean meet, make friends and share skills. It also provides habitat for a rare diversity of plant and animal life, which if destroyed would be irreplaceable.

We will not allow this land to be taken by someone to whom it means nothing but extra millions in their pocket. Someone who plans to build multiple housing developments that will urbanise this quiet rural area.

If you feel as we do then we urge you to get in touch or just come down. Visitors, as ever, are always welcome.

We will keep you posted on any news.

If you wish to join our emergency contact list, please send a text to: 07522 025 889

To contact us,

Email: yorkleycourt [at] gmail [dot] com
Phone: 07522025889
Website: yorkleycourt.wordpress.com
Facebook: YorkleyCourtCF

Yorkley Court Community Farm
Yorkley
GL15 4TZ

Respect existence or expect resistance!

https://yorkleycourt.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/callout-for-support-at-yccf/

Staines: Four seasons wins in court

House Occupation News -

Victory!

Application for Interim Possesion by Surrey County Council rejected!

Four Seasons Community Co-operative is an off-shoot group of (the recently evicted) Runnymede Eco Village residents aka. Diggers2012 , Love Activists and Action Factory Collective.

We have renewed a space in Staines-Upon-Thames.

The Oast House Adult Learning Centre
Kingston Road
Staines-upon-Thames
TW18 4LN
England

We believe the premises has been closed since 2005; leaving the Grade 2 listed community asset out of the hands of the locals for 10 years!

It’s all hands on deck!

We are creating a wonderful and vibrant social centre. We want to welcome anyone who would like to be a part of our community!

We have 4 goals for the next week.

1. Build a library built from 100% recycled/upcycled materials

2. Establish the beginnings of an ‘Incredible Edible’ network, urban garden.

3. We are creating a Staines-Upon-Thames transition network.

4. Invite all of our friends to a grass roots open afternoon. Full of creative entertainment.

Four Seasons Community Co-operative

Teen Beaten to Death when Juvenile Detention Guards use Bribes to Start Fights

Revolution News -

Originally posted by SHAUN KING Four days after being arrested this past August, teenager Elord Revolte left the Miami lockup on a stretcher, beaten to a bloody pulp by as many as 20 other incarcerated teens. He died with too many injuries to name here. Now, we’ve just learned that five officers (including supervisors) inside Read More

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Westboro Baptist Church Run Out of Town by High School Students in Missouri

Revolution News -

People in Gladstone, MO to counter protest Westboro Church, for protesting a Trans homecoming queen at Oak Park High pic.twitter.com/NtO8K0CPb9 — Revolution News (@NewsRevo) October 1, 2015 Today, the infamous hate mongers from the Westboro Baptist Church were run out of town by high school students and various activists when they tried to protest the Read More

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Australian medics refuse to be silenced over refugee abuse at detention centers

Waging Nonviolence -

by Brian Martin

(Facebook / Doctors Against the Border Force Act)

Earlier this year, the Australian parliament passed a law concerning workers at the detention centers. It is now a criminal offense for them to reveal to outsiders what is happening to asylum seekers, with a potential penalty of job loss and two years in prison.

Why is the government so afraid of workers speaking out? And why, in particular, is the treatment of refugees such a sensitive topic?

The detention story

Australia has no land borders with any other country, so asylum seekers outside the humanitarian quota can only arrive by air or sea. Although relatively few undertake the perilous sea voyage, successive governments have raised the alarm about asylum seekers arriving by boat, while maintaining a massive planned immigration program.

In the early 1990s, the government set up detention facilities for asylum seekers, and for years 90 percent of them were eventually officially classified as refugees. In following years, refugee policies became ever more draconian. These policies have been supported by both major political parties, seemingly trying to outbid each other in being tough on those who are most vulnerable.

The effects of long-term detention are horrific: After months or years in isolated camps in unhealthy conditions — with uncertain futures, limited opportunities for self-development and incidents of sexual abuse — many detainees suffer physical and mental problems. Traumatized in their home countries, they are additionally traumatized by their life in the camps. Children — some of them born in the camps — are especially badly affected.

Harsh, punitive treatment of asylum seekers is a scandal. Australian politicians cultivate a fear of “boat people” for electoral purposes. Each major party has tried to outflank its opponent by being tough in the hope of causing splits in the other party, a process called “wedging.” However, the government, whichever party is in power, also needs to reduce public outrage from its policies.

Outrage management

When governments break the law, harm people or do something else that might generate concern, they typically use several methods to reduce public outrage. One common method is cover-up: If people don’t know about an abuse, they won’t be worried. Most detention centers were set up in remote parts of Australia. In recent years, they have been set up outside the Australian mainland, in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Most journalists are prevented from gaining access to the camps.

Another key method to reduce outrage is devaluation of asylum seekers. They have been persistently called “illegals,” even though seeking asylum is legal, and “queue jumpers,” even though there is no formal queue for refugees. Some politicians suggest, without any evidence, that asylum seekers might be terrorists, though actually most are fleeing wars and terrorism.

The government provides numerous rationalizations for its policy. “Stopping the boats” has been reinterpreted as a matter of national security, to be handled by the Australian Navy, rather than a humanitarian issue. The government has undertaken legal manipulations that are ingenious in getting around refugee commitments. For example, in 2013 parliament excised the Australian mainland from “Australia” for the purposes of the refugee convention, so that arriving at Darwin or Sydney by boat does not count as arriving in Australia and thus triggering treaty commitments. It is now impossible for asylum seekers arriving by boat to be permanently resettled in Australia.

Then there is intimidation, a technique used for several purposes. The idea of detention and, in some cases, indefinite imprisonment in harsh conditions is to send a message to potential asylum seekers not to come to Australia. Intimidation is also applied to those seeking to expose the government’s actions. This brings us to the 2015 Border Force Act, criminalizing the reporting of conditions in camps.

The perils of speaking out

The Border Force Act shows the synergy of the techniques of intimidation and cover-up. By threatening criminal sanctions, the act seeks to hide what is happening in the camps from the general public. The sanctions apparently apply to teachers, healthcare workers, humanitarian volunteers and perhaps even guards.

Another law passed this year requires that telecommunications and Internet service providers retain metadata on electronic communications for two years. This act, supposedly introduced to enable detection of criminals and terrorists, will almost certainly be used for surveillance of whistleblowers.

A worker at a detention facility is thus in a precarious position. The telephone numbers and email addresses of anyone contacted might be traced and used to identify a leak. Criminal penalties loom large. In essence, the Australian government has created a system for monitoring and penalizing dissent characteristic of a repressive regime.

Resistance

For decades, Australian refugee supporters have opposed the political panic about asylum seekers arriving by boat and have made persistent efforts to advocate on behalf of refugees and provide support for them. Some Australians have made regular visits to detention centers, providing personal support to individuals. Whistleblowers have exposed conditions in the camps and journalists have written powerful stories. Lawyers, many of them pro bono, have supported asylum seekers through the maze of regulations that serve to delay and block official approval of permanent settlement in Australia. Campaigners have written innumerable letters, held meetings, organized rallies and used other forms of protest. Asylum seekers themselves, in the camps, have protested in various ways, including by the drastic step of sewing their lips together to symbolize how their voices are muzzled.

When refugees are released into the community, many Australian communities have accepted them wholeheartedly, helping them with learning English, learning to drive and getting jobs. The generosity of the Australian people provides a stark contrast with the hard-hearted policies implemented by successive Australian governments. Most politicians seem to believe there are more votes in appearing tough than in being compassionate or in respecting the spirit of treaty obligations.

The Border Force Act is the latest installment in the government’s attempts to shut down exposure of the consequences of its policies. But it may be a step too far.

Most of the workers at detention centers, for example cooks and cleaners, do not have any special obligation to report problems. When they leak information about the adverse effects of detention, they are acting on the basis of their general humanity. However, the parliament, in passing the Border Force Act, included teachers and health professionals who feel a professional duty to report on conditions affecting their students and patients.

Health professionals have been expressing their opposition to the act. The Royal Australasian College of Physicians has called for mandatory detention to be stopped. Groups of health professionals, outraged by the act, have taken various initiatives, including organizing petitions and rallies. A few have spoken out about camp conditions, challenging the law. There are plans to develop a statement challenging the law, as a form of civil disobedience.

In practice, it is very unlikely that a doctor would be sentenced to prison for reporting on the health of asylum seekers: This would generate too much adverse publicity. Even so, the threat of criminal penalties for doing what many professionals would believe is in the best interests of their patients is a powerful stimulus to express opposition.

Government apologists have long dismissed refugee advocates as “bleeding hearts” whose concerns should not dictate policy. Doctors and other health professionals are not so easy to dismiss. The Border Force Act has actually weakened the government’s position in two important ways: It has turned refugee policy into a free speech issue, and it has mobilized sections of the powerful medical profession to oppose the government’s policy more strongly. This case shows the value to a social justice campaign of drawing in a wide variety of groups.

The fact that the government is taking extreme measures to hide the way asylum seekers are treated in detention centers is a good indication that it is afraid of public scrutiny. Making injustice visible is a powerful technique. The Border Force Act is not the end of the story, but rather the beginning of a new stage in the struggle.

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