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Do police treat Black Lives Matter and 'White Lives Matter' differently?

The Guardian | Protest -

The police killing of white teenager Dylan Noble in Fresno, California, led to protests that Black Lives Matter activists say authorities treated very differently

When Justice Medina left a Black Lives Matter protest in California last Wednesday, police followed him. At around 8pm, roughly a mile away from the protest in downtown Fresno, officers stopped the 20-year-old, who was in a car with his mother.

“They had trailed behind me, and they pulled me out of the car and handcuffed me,” recalled Medina, who is black and Mexican and grew up in the Central Valley city, 200 miles south-east of San Francisco.

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Zimbabwe approaches turning point after protests sparked by economic collapse

Waging Nonviolence -

by Phil Wilmot

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Three months ago, Pastor Evan Mawarire was just another preacher among the masses of charismatic Christians in Zimbabwe. Last week, he was met with a celebrity welcome, as he was released from police custody. The streets were filled with dancing, as thousands gathered to support the inspiring voice of the people.

The unlikely revolutionary leader had ascended to the international spotlight through a series of events in which he capitalized on moments of national despair.

On April 19, Mawarire, pained by his inability to afford his children’s school fees, posted a video of himself wearing the Zimbabwean flag around his neck and lamenting the national socio-political crisis. Little did he know that his heartfelt words would resound with so many citizens of his nation.

A movement organically converged around the hashtag #ThisFlag as people across the country shared their own hardships living under the 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe’s rule. The flag, worn as a scarf, has been a unifying symbol of the movement, reclaiming its meaning from the ruling ZANU-PF party.

But #ThisFlag was more than a clicktivist club. Its impact ventured offline on July 6, as angry Zimbabweans — organizing under the hashtag #ShutdownZim — undertook a mass stay-away, leaving streets in major cities like Harare and Bulawayo vacant. “Something has snapped in the national psyche,” Mawarire wrote. “The people are fed up, and tired of being afraid.”

There are turning points for organic protest movements — points at which the capacity of people to tolerate a given situation falls below their capacity to survive amidst it. During the Soweto Uprising, which just reached its 40th anniversary on June 16, this threshold was crossed when Afrikaans — the language of the oppressor — was introduced as the language of instruction in schools. About 20,000 pupils and their allies poured into the streets where they were met with abhorrent violence by South African police.

Perhaps the rapidly escalating economic crisis in Zimbabwe presents such an opportunity — a whirlwind moment — in which people are ready to do whatever it takes to put an end to the oppression they have long faced under Mugabe’s 36-year regime. He has been in power since Zimbabwe’s independence, despite his ever deteriorating physical condition and the extreme disdain afforded to him by most citizens.

Economic collapse presents challenges and opportunities

Following astronomical rates of inflation, Zimbabwe’s government legalized foreign currencies in 2009. Just five years later, the central bank announced the accepted use of foreign cash, offering $5 for every 175 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars.

Zimbabwe has been importing far more than it has been exporting, which is a major cause behind the recent cash shortage. To resolve the crisis, it has begun printing new Zimbabwean dollars roughly equivalent in value to the American dollar, though not certified as American currency. This has bred an atmosphere of distrust and a fear that the multi-currency system may soon be abandoned.

“The government has introduced fake money,” said Edknowledge Mandikwaza, research and training officer at peacebuilding organization Heal Zimbabwe.

Without foreign currency, life is incredibly hard for Zimbabweans. Civil servants began to feel the pinch, and the likes of Mawarire were able to bring them into their movement by appealing to their interests.

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Among the demands of #ShutdownZim participants was the immediate payment of government workers. Teachers and others had experienced delays – blamed by the government on the cash shortage – and could not stand another day without means to feed their families. As Harare became a financial ghost town, the government was pressured adequately enough to force the remittance of civil servant salaries.

“The economic collapse is what puts the most weight on us, but it’s a result of government incompetence and mismanagement,” said Dirk Frey of Occupy Africa Unity Square, a national activist group. “Hence the pressure is not primarily directed at the economy, but the source of the problem itself: the regime.”

The regime has plenty of cash in the pockets of its ruling individuals, despite being broke as a government. Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko has enjoyed a luxurious stay at the five-star Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare since December 2014. (His mansion is not good enough, apparently.) Frey was among five activists arrested eight months ago for protesting Mphoko’s lengthy visit to the hotel.

Cooperation within the system

Delayed payments to civil servants are not the only factor triggering cooperation among government employees. According to activist Vimbai Darikwa, who was among those making preparations for a June 23 demonstration in Mutare, “The police force is cooperating with the demonstrators [in the planning process]. They too are fed up.”

The local judiciary also played its part. “What we have seen are sympathetic people in the system who are also fed up with this dictatorship,” Darikwa explained. “These make sure our cases are assigned to the ‘right judges.’”

Darikwa believes these attempts to develop allies within the system have resulted in longer term progress. “The April 14 demonstrations in Harare set the mood for what is now happening,” he said. “[At that time] people had jobs to protect, but now with 80-plus percent unemployment, people have nothing to lose. Things have changed.”

Things may have changed, but ZANU-PF is fighting hard to see that the illusion of job security remains. By adhering to the movement’s demand to pay civil servants, a huge chunk of #ThisFlag participants have been effectively “bought off,” at least in the short term. Calls for fresh stay-aways by Mawarire — slated for last Wednesday and Thursday — were largely ignored by those working on government salaries.

“As the state had paid civil servants, police roadblocks disappeared, and there was no real stay-away,” said Jenni Williams, founder of Women of Zimbabwe Arise, an organization that has carried out over 200 nonviolent actions. “I don’t think another stay-away without civil servants and minibus operators will work.”

Although stay-aways as a tactic have seemed to lose momentum, one must remember the government is out of money, and its legitimacy is crumbling. Salaries may soon be delayed again and force key ally groups to repeat their stay-at-home strike.

It can’t be done without risks, however. As human rights lawyer Rumbidzai Dube noted, “Civil servants stated that on the day of the first stay-away, they were hunted down by the state and threatened with retrenchment if they were not at work.”

Embrace new stakeholders, escalate conflict

Although Zimbabwe may indeed find itself in a whirlwind moment, organizers must capitalize on the potential in their midst before the moment passes. Taking the conflict to the next level will mean greater sacrifice. The hundreds of arrests that have been made during recent stay-aways are likely to multiply.

“In the next month or two, I anticipate the government will react with the tools it knows best: shutting down spaces for civil society and avenues of communication,” said David Manyonga, civic space and governance advisor for Action Aid International, an NGO concerned with the rights of the poor around the world. “There will be a lot of blame getting passed around.”

As for the protesters, Manyonga said, “If other tactics are combined with the stay-aways, and if those participating can build broader coalitions with more moderate minds, laborers, political parties, and academia, the final punch can come from there.”

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While the stay-aways have their limitations, they have helped set the agenda. But agenda-setting is not enough. It is often the preliminary step civil society takes without any follow through.

“The #ShutdownZim campaign may lose steam because they are giving the government time to regroup and strategize,” Darikwa said. When Mawarire called for additional stay-aways which were to precede a pot-banging campaign by grieved housewives, he had wanted to keep the government on its toes.

The #Tajamuka campaign, a more radical campaign running parallel with #ThisFlag, is led by those Darikwa describes as “highly confrontational youths.” They have called upon Zimbabweans to demonstrate at the official residence of the president. Clearly, conflict is escalating, which presents new challenges and opportunities for those growing increasingly angry in Zimbabwe.

“What is likely to affect sustainability of these [shutdown] calls is competition by different movements to capture support,” Mandikwaza said. “Lack of a coordinative structure of different movements is likely to disrupt the power of the nonviolence strategy.”

Indeed, the two-day stay-aways this past week saw less participation than the July 6 mass strike, which was the biggest the nation had witnessed since 2005. Without coordination, a mass movement may easily be written off as a fad.

With intentional efforts to unify the various pressure groups, Zimbabweans undoubtedly stand a chance of unseating Mugabe. However, bigger alliances must be built, and stronger resistance to the regime must be plotted. It won’t happen on its own, no matter how massive the present whirlwind may seem.

“#ThisFlag has revived the voices of ordinary people, without being funded by a donor or having an NGO behind it,” Dube said. “It is not as easy for the state to dismiss or delegitimize the citizen’s voice.”

If Zimbabeans are able to mobilize more grassroots power and enhance their pressure on Mugabe, then — as Manyonga suggested — we are likely to see similar movements against other authoritarian regimes in the region. For that reason, he explained, “Dictators in Africa are trembling in their pants.”

Democrats struggle for unity as protesters swarm Netroots convention

The Guardian | Protest -

Despite Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton, the party faces fears of civil war: ‘It’s important for progressives not to be taken for granted’

No sooner had the question been posed of where angry young activists would go after the Bernie Sanders campaign than a group of angry young activists provided the answer: to the streets.

Related: 'Donald Trump was part of the problem': Cleveland's subprime lesson for Republicans

Related: The lies Trump told this week: from police deaths to Clinton's emails

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Jimmy Cauty: 'I'm an outsider artist'

The Guardian | Protest -

Infamous for flaming a million pounds in the KLF, Jimmy Cauty is now smashing miniature windows in model villages. As the artist tours his tiny riot scenes, we caught up with him in Tottenham to talk Stonehenge and substandard graffiti

“Makes you think, doesn’t it?” says a mechanic, nodding towards the graffiti-daubed shipping container parked in the road outside the Styx theatre. It’s clocking-off time on a muggy summer’s evening and passersby are milling about, peering through peepholes scattered like bulletholes along the container’s sides. Up close, the crackle of police radios can be heard, but the voices sound like they’re on helium, because they’ve been speeded up to make them fit in with the model-railway scale (1/87) of the scene inside.

The apocalyptic, post-riot townscape filling the 40ft-long container is part of an even bigger work, called Aftermath Dislocation Principle (ADP), by James Cauty. It’s hard to mention Cauty without raising the spectre of his former life as half of the KLF, who in 1992 deleted their back catalogue before burning a million quid they’d earned from it. However, there is no performance element to this. Dwarfed by his shipping container, Cauty cuts a quiet, humble figure in a raver’s bucket hat.

I think of myself as an outsider artist, not involved in the gallery system, not involved in anybody buying anything

Cauty points to some graffiti scrawled on the container - 'Damien Hirst is an Egg' - That's quite nice isn't it?

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Turkey coup: how defiant Turks chased soldiers from Bosphorus Bridge

The Guardian | Protest -

Jubilant demonstrators gather at site where military action began and denounce attempted uprising as a failure

At 8am on Saturday, there were still tanks on the Bosphorus bridge. They stood on the tarmac that links Istanbul’s Asian and European shores, their turrets pointing at jaunty angles – as they had since 9pm on Friday, when their sudden appearance gave the first hint that a coup was under way.

Related: Turkey's president says he remains in charge after attempted coup

Some people have climbed inside the army trucks to wave their flags. They think the coup has failed

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Activists win damages against City police for false imprisonment

The Guardian | Protest -

Protesters from Space Hijackers, which campaigns on public space issues, awarded up to £7,000 each after prosecutors drop case

Eleven activists who took part in G20 protests seven years ago have received more than £60,000 in damages from the City of London police for false imprisonment, assault and breaches of the Human Rights Act. The case has raised serious questions about who owns personal data collected by police.

The protesters, known as the Space Hijackers, took part in the April 2009 protests. The group, which disbanded in 2014, described itself as “anarchitects” who organised various protests highlighting public space issues. Its actions included a party on the Circle line of the underground with a mobile bar and sound system and restoring public benches to spaces they had been removed from.

Related: G20 protests erupt in London

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Serbs fight corruption with mass protest and a giant duck

Waging Nonviolence -

by Sarah Freeman-Woolpert

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On Wednesday, July 13, over 10,000 protesters in Serbia filled the streets of Belgrade, marching as part of a growing popular movement against political corruption and criminal acts surrounding the Belgrade Waterfront Project.

The march was the fifth so far in an ongoing movement that has gained momentum since April. Dubbed “Beograd NIJE MALI” or “Belgrade is not small,” the name of the march also carried a direct message to Belgrade mayor and project supporter Sinisa Mali that “Belgrade is not Mali.”

Opposition to the waterfront project began with a small group called Ne Da(vi)mo Beograd, or Don’t Let Belgrade D(r)own. It has since swelled to a mass movement denouncing government corruption and calling for the mayor’s resignation after a series of illegal demolitions were undertaken in late April to clear land along the Sava River for the new development.

Citizens in Wednesday’s march chanted “Whose city? Our city!” and carried banners with slogans like “Vucic you thief!” — in reference to Prime Minister Aleksander Vucicma — and “Facts and responsibility instead of never-ending press conferences.”

The crowd sang a Serbian translation of the song “Ay Carmela,” an iconic resistance song from the Spanish Civil War, according to Jovana Prusina, the coordinator of the activist network My Initiative, which was formed by the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia.

Protesters in the Ne Da(vi)mo Beograd movement marched behind a giant, inflatable yellow duck, now a symbolic image of the movement. The word for duck in Serbian, patka, also means fraud; so the cartoon denounces the Belgrade Waterfront Project as a “Belgrade Water-Fraud.”

Thousands of protesters marched through Belgrade on Wednesday, July 14. (Facebook / Ne Da(vi)mo Beograd)

The waterfront project, unveiled in the spring of 2012, is a plan to develop luxury hotels and apartments, a shopping mall and a new opera house along the Sava River, which runs through Belgrade. The project will take decades to complete and is expected to cost over $3.8 billion.

Protesters say it is unclear where the government will get the funds to complete the project, claiming that it is part of a dangerous trend of unregulated urban planning, gentrification of public space and the exclusion of public opinion — all while the government’s deficit peaks and public financing is cut from the budget.

According to Luka Knežević Strika, one of the protest’s organizers, the movement’s goal is to “stop the degradation and plunder of Belgrade on behalf of megalomaniacal urban and architectural projects.” The group aims to fight the city’s development by non-transparent private interests and to oppose the government’s disregard for the voices of ordinary citizens affected by the development.

“This city is our home,” Knežević Strika said. “We are responsible for each of its parts, processes and problems — both for the present and for the future.”

Organizers have mostly been employing social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to disseminate information about upcoming protests and to ask supporters for donations. “One of the main challenges has been drawing the attention of the public,” Knežević Strika said. “The Belgrade Waterfront Project is being promoted as a big investment and chance to change the economic destiny of the city. All the officials of the country and the city are acting as its PR team.”

Opposition has been growing since the development project was unveiled four years ago, in part due to the opaque process of selecting Eagle Hills, a developer from Abu Dhabi, to design the waterfront plan. The project would also lead to the destruction of important cultural hubs in the Savamala district, including art galleries and nightlife.

The Belgrade Waterfront Project has drawn harsh criticism from the opposition leader of Belgrade’s city assembly, Balša Božović, who calls the project a “scam” and alleges that Eagle Hills will only invest a fraction of the $3.8 billion necessary to complete development, leaving taxpayers to make up the deficit.

The waterfront project has also wreaked havoc on one of Belgrade’s newest and most vulnerable communities — the refugees fleeing violence in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and transiting through Serbia in an attempt to reach Western Europe.

On April 27, the Miksalište refugee center in Savamala was demolished to make room for waterfront development. According to Miksalište volunteer coordinator Alberto Grain, the staff did not know the building was going to be destroyed until the day before it happened.

“The stupid thing is we had already planned and informed of our plans to move to a new place on June 1,” Grain explained. “They demolished us in mid-May. They only had to wait three weeks and we would have moved anyways.”

Grain said the volunteers were able to move most of the equipment before the demolition, but the center lost over $5,000 in stock and infrastructure. The government provided no compensation and made false public statements that it had provided assistance for Miksalište to move to the new facility by supplying vans.

Neighboring buildings around Miksalište were also destroyed in secret the night before the refugee center was torn down. A group of roughly 30 unknown masked men, armed with baseball bats and daggers, destroyed buildings along the riverside and beat up residents. Police refused to respond to the locals’ calls, according to Serbian Ombudsman Sasa Jankovic.

The protests in Belgrade have swelled in the wake of these violent and illegal actions, and the movement now symbolizes a larger struggle against corruption and state-sanctioned crime.

Protesters threw watermelons on the steps of the Municipal Police Department to protest the arrest of a watermelon vendor. (Facebook / Ne Da(vi)mo Beograd)

On July 1, members of Ne Da(vi)mo Beograd threw watermelons on the steps of the Municipal Police Department in a symbolic act against recent arrests, including one woman who was arrested selling watermelons without a permit. The movement has thus grown beyond opposing the Belgrade Waterfront Project into expressing general unrest and opposition to unjust policing measures, corrupt political leadership and lack of transparency.

Although the organizers of Ne Da(vi)mo Beograd have been acting for two years, Knežević Strika said the state-sanctioned violence and lack of accountability for top political leaders has created pressure behind the movement. “We are now trying to channel this pressure into political and criminal responsibility for the organizers and perpetrators,” he explained.

While Serbian Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic has admitted that the “highest city officials” were behind the nighttime demolitions, he maintains that their “motives were pure.”

Nevertheless, the one eyewitness to the destruction in Savamala, Slobodan Tanaskovic, died mysteriously after a series of disturbing events. Tied up and robbed by the masked men, Tanaskovic was supposedly hospitalized for a heart condition, then treated for digestive issues and ultimately restrained in his hospital bed for “mental problems.”

The extreme nature of these circumstances has only caused support for the resistance movement to swell, as public outrage has increased over the failure to prosecute politicians who ordered these attacks and demolitions.

Until this week, the protests occurred once every two weeks. Now activists plan to escalate their demands by presenting Mayor Sinisa Mali with his letter of resignation during a rally outside the City Assembly on July 18.

“The only one giving statements is the prime minister,” activist Jovana Prusina explained. “Not the mayor, not the chief of police. The mayor has gone on several trips for business or pleasure in the past two months, watching tennis matches on the other side of the world. He’s not here, not giving any statements.”

Prusina said it was important for the movement to develop long-term goals for institutional change, instead of focusing solely on ousting corrupt political officials from office.

“That’s the main goal of the protest: to find the people who are responsible [for the demolitions in Savamala], to persecute who’s responsible, to ensure criminal and political responsibility,” Prusina said. “But if the only thing that happens is to switch him with another guy, that won’t solve the problem.”

What about the border between humans and the Earth?

Peace News -


A comic preacher from New York responds to the Brexit debate and vote - Earthalujah!

It sure is strong. Brexit pulls us in. My first response to the vote was to be glad – because we have been fighting for local power for decades here in New York. But Washington is not the same as Brussels. I got my localism confused with the complex struggle of the people the EU left out long ago.

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The Truth About Trident

Peace News -


A thoughtful review of The Truth About Trident: Disarming the Nuclear Argument by Tim Wallis

The Truth About Trident sets out a blow-by-blow detailed analysis in advance of the forthcoming parliamentary debate about the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons’ system known as the ‘main gate’ decision later this year.

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Alton Sterling's son: 'Everyone needs to protest the right way, with peace'

The Guardian | Protest -

Cameron Sterling, 15, asks those protesting over his father’s death to avoid ‘arguments, violence, crimes’ and decries shooting of five Dallas police officers

The son of a Louisiana man whose father was shot and killed at point-blank range by Baton Rouge police asked protesters for “peace” and “no violence, none whatsoever”.

Cameron Sterling, the 15-year-old son of Alton Sterling, whose death at the hands of police was caught on video, spoke about his father and protests.

Related: Alton Sterling death: 'I’ve been sick ever since they murdered him'

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Utrecht: Squatters protest against gentrification – New house squatted on Kanaleneiland

House Occupation News -

Wednesday July 13, there is a court case in Utrecht about the squatted houses on Monnetlaan. The buildings were squated in April out of protest against the gentrification of Kanaleneiland. Everyone who has affinity with this story, or is interested in the courtcase, is welcome to witness the courtcase itself. The squatters and supporters will be in front of the courthouse from 8.30, the courtcase itself begins at 9 o’ clock.
Utrecht is finishing a large scale gentrification project that has wiped out 9500 social houses. Kanaleneiland Centrum is one of these projects, where 1100 sociale houses have been demolished. This project is now ending, the squatted have occupied the building which will be the last to be renovated.
To illustrate, two foto’s. The first foto shows a block that has not been renovated. The second foto shows a recently renovated block. Doesn’t that look good? Whats wrong with that? Maybe it will clarify if we put a price tag on things. The left side of the photo is 100% sociale housing, prices are around 450,- Euros p/m. The houses in the photo on the right are fore sale for 95,000 to 170,000 thousand euro’s for a fixer upper.
To be more specific, the photo on the left has mainly non white people living there, the one on the right mainly white. The project Kanaleneiland Centrum has 1100 sociale houses and only brought back 138. That means 962 families have been forced to leave the city.
“Gentrifiction pushes non-white people out of the city” says Squatter Rogier.


Update 13/07/2016: New house squatted on Kanaleneiland

Yesterday there was another house squatted in Kanaleneiland, Utrecht. This house is part of a mass-scale renovation/gentrification project called Kanaleneiland Centrum. The squatters are protesting against gentrification and are in solidarity with the eight houses in the same neighborhood which have a court case today fighting the eviction.


The Baton Rouge protester: 'a Botticelli nymph attacked by Star Wars baddies'

The Guardian | Protest -

The photograph of Iesha Evans at a Black Lives Matter protest has become an instant classic. Art critic Jonathan Jones assesses the image’s impact, while photographer Jonathan Bachman recalls how he captured the shot

A great photograph is a moment liberated from time. If we could see what happened before and after this beautiful stillness and hear the cacophony of yells and arguments that must have filled reality’s soundtrack at a protest in Baton Rouge against the taking of black lives, the heroic stand of Iesha L Evans would just be a fragile glimpse of passing courage. It might even be entirely lost in the rush of images and noise. Instead, Reuters photographer Jonathan Bachman was able to preserve a simple human act of quiet bravery and give it an almost religious power.

It is not just that time has frozen but that, in stopping its stream, the camera has revealed a near-supernatural radiance protecting Evans, as if her goodness were a force field. The heavily armoured police officers inevitably look slightly inhuman. They may have good reason to wear such all-covering protective suits and helmets, so soon after a sniper killed five officers who were policing a protest in Dallas but, in their hi-tech riot gear, they unfortunately resemble futuristic insectoid robots, at once prosthetically dehumanised and squatly, massively, menacingly masculine.

Related: 'She was making her stand': image of Baton Rouge protester an instant classic

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How Brexit is an opportunity for a more just Britain

Waging Nonviolence -

by George Lakey

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The mainstream U.S. narrative about the British decision to leave the European Union includes hand-wringing and even scorn. Yet, I see it quite differently, because I know a European country that long ago decided not to join the European Union and since then has flourished, delivering even more justice and shared prosperity for its people.

This is another moment when we can’t understand a significant issue until we check in with the outliers. Conventional wisdom is occasionally correct, but is often significantly flawed.

The stunning choice of the Norwegian people to stay out of the European Union, against the advice of their own political class, challenges three questionable assumptions made by the doomsayers: The European Union is the path to shared prosperity, European economic integration is primarily about peace and democracy, and objecting to the European Union is being a nasty nationalist.

In 1972, the Norwegian national parliament decided, by a large majority, to enter the earlier version of the European Union, which was called the European Economic Community, or EEC. However, enormous protest erupted at the grassroots level. The government was forced to agree to a referendum, and a majority of the people voted “Nei!”

The Labor Party, which had been governing Norway for decades, was shocked. Because the nature of the issue went to the heart of Norway’s future direction, the party regarded the referendum as a vote of no-confidence and resigned. That resignation, however, led to chaos because no major party could step into its place. All had supported membership in the EEC.

Finally a governing coalition was patched together and an interim agreement was signed with the EEC, in lieu of membership, that supported a trading relationship for Norway. That relationship continued when the EEC transformed into the European Union.

The Labor Party hoped that, with further education, the grassroots opposition would wither. It therefore set up another referendum for 1994, but again the proposal for membership failed. 2013 polls showed about 70 percent of Norwegians still oppose joining the European Union, and the Socialist Left Party (a junior partner that joined the Labor Party in the governing coalition in 2005) went beyond that opposition, urging departure from participation in the European Economic Agreement that interfaces with the European Union.

Denmark and Sweden have differed from Norway and Iceland when it comes to this issue: The two Nordics whose boundaries meet the rest of Europe joined the European Union. Denmark and Sweden carefully avoided joining the Eurozone, however. They retained their own currencies, giving them flexibility that other E.U. countries lacked when facing the top-down controlling austerity measures that followed 2008.

For my new book “Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got It Right and How We Can, Too,” I interviewed Norwegians about what is now the European Union. Those who most opposed membership saw the E.U.’s member countries faltering in whatever loyalty they formerly had to social democratic ideals. In most E.U. countries the economic elite seemed to be in charge. Joining the European Union, the dissenters feared, would mean that their small country would be submerged in the domination of giant banks and corporations.

Norwegians had corrected their own errant banks in the early 1990s, but most countries did not. When the E.U. members’ financial sectors took a dive, would governments expect the resulting mess to be paid for by the workers rather than those who caused the disaster? The question was answered after 2008: Yes, make the workers pay for the elite’s irresponsibility.

Large corporations from elsewhere continue to make threats in Norway that add evidence to the case made by Norwegians concerned about being out-maneuvered. According to labor leader Asbjørn Wahl, the U.S.-based Kraft Corporation, which bought the iconic Norwegian chocolate firm Freia, pressed workers in Oslo to accept night shifts. If they refused, Kraft said, it would take the jobs to another European country.

Those suspicious of the European Union predict that high Norwegian standards would be pressed downward if it accepted membership, including worker protection and compensation, democratic participation, support for the weakest, and access to economic necessities such as public education.

E.U. opponents say Norwegian agricultural products get such high prices in other countries because they are reliably of high quality, which cannot be said any longer of most E.U. farmers’ products.

Since Denmark joined the European Union its farmers have become so specialized that the country has lost its food security. In contrast, Norway still meets its own needs for meat and dairy products despite its limited arable land base. Opponents ask: What will happen to food security, and the beauty of Norway’s landscape, if the country joins the European Union, loses its ability to subsidize its agricultural sector, and its farms are returned to logging trees?

Is the European Union the path to peace and democracy?

Labor Party consultant Dag Seierstad told me during our meeting in an office of Parliament that the growing trend toward a joint foreign policy in the European Union collides with the Norwegian vision of peace. When the people of Gaza in Palestine voted for Hamas to lead their government, the European Union reacted punitively, withholding previous financial support for the Gazan people. Norway stepped up its own aid to Palestinians in Gaza, aware of the increased suffering. “We must retain our independence,” Seierstad said, “in order to follow our own responsibilities as peacemakers.”

I know British voters who likewise want the chance for a foreign policy more peaceful than the European Union’s. When their peace campaigns bear fruit, they want Britain to be free to implement fresh policies rather than toe the line of the European Union (or, of course, the line of a militarist United States).

Just as important, Brits who have suffered from the post-2008 austerity program of massive cutbacks in health, education and other needs have an excellent reason to want freedom from the E.U.’s rule by the 1 percent. Their fight is with Britain’s own economic elite, and when they start winning again — as they did in the first half of the 20th century — they likewise want the freedom Norwegians have to implement social democracy.

For my book, I checked the international ratings that compare countries by measures of well-being like equality, poverty-prevention, health care, parental leave, elder care, individual freedom, etc. Typically, the ratings put the Nordic countries at the top. In the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development list of the richest countries in the world, the United States is typically at or near the bottom of the ratings, and the United Kingdom somewhere in the middle. Within living memory of older people, the United Kingdom placed higher. Their struggles had achieved more equality and shared prosperity. But the longer they stayed in the European Union, the farther down in the ratings they went.

In the light of that track record for E.U. membership, who can say it was irrational to vote for Brexit? And who can fail to notice that so much of the working class, which has fared the worst in this downward trend, rejected the advice of its Labour Party leadership and voted to get out?

What about nasty nationalism?

Of course when the British or Norwegians vote against the European Union some of them are motivated by racism and ethnocentrism. Mixtures of motivations are standard in politics. To reduce a whole electoral demographic to a disliked part, however, is that tired stereotyping we already get enough of when people do racist rants and indulge in Islamophobia.

An equally bogus claim is that Brexit means “leaving Europe.” As an Icelandic soccer player remarked on NPR the other day, Britain remains as much a part of Europe as ever, just as Iceland is, which is another non-member of the European Union. Many Canadians wish they were not a part of NAFTA, but scrapping NAFTA (a wish that many Americans also share) does not mean “leaving North America.”

My Nordic research tells the real story about “nationalist” behavior. Norwegians typically give the highest per-capita contribution to foreign-aid efforts like the U.N. Development Program; they are proud that the first general secretary of the United Nations was a Norwegian labor leader, Trygve Lie, and they supply volunteers and support for unarmed peacekeepers like Peace Brigades International and Nonviolent Peaceforce.  In Cambodia, I ran into a Norwegian military unit busily engaged in de-mining fields where mines had remained when the U.S. war on Cambodia was over.

When Norwegian journalists or travelers become aware of bad practices being done in some other country by a Norwegian company, they can go to a public agency funded by the government that forces the company to come in and account for what they are doing elsewhere that they would not be allowed to do under exacting, people- and nature-friendly Norwegian law. The agency has the power to ban that company’s behavior.

This is the other side of nationalism, a pride in the high standards they have achieved through decades of struggle and an insistent demand that those standards not be compromised outside the borders whether for exploitation or carelessness.

Contrast that collective self-respect that understands people-centered solidarity both inside and beyond national boundaries, with the elite-centered “unity” implemented by an undemocratic Brussels bureaucracy.

I’m on the side of the Brits — who, despite years of class war in which the rich have been winning — still hope to regain the offensive and put social democracy back on the agenda. Judging from the website of the Trades Union Congress, or TUC, labor leadership may have given up that hope. But that leadership is not reckoning with either the climate crisis that opens new opportunity for change – journalist Naomi Klein’s observation – or the yearning of the TUC’s own rank-and-file dramatized by the Brexit vote.

And who knows? Maybe in this next period of struggle, the Brits will go beyond implementing the social democratic model and invent a 2.0 version – a deeper step toward liberation.

Student launches legal action against IPCC over CS spray incident

The Guardian | Protest -

Lawrence Green says police watchdog’s investigation, which dismissed allegations of assault at Warwick student protest, was flawed

A student who alleges he was assaulted by police during a tuition fees demonstration has launched legal action against the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Lawyers for Lawrence Green told the high court on Tuesday that an investigation by the IPCC – the police watchdog – that dismissed his allegations was illogical, hasty and flawed.

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Zimbabwe protests leader charged with inciting public disorder

The Guardian | Protest -

Evan Mawarire, who has been in hiding since suspected abduction attempt, held after leading national shutdown last week

The leader of popular protests in Zimbabwe has been charged with inciting public disorder as authorities move to break up a wave of opposition in the unstable southern African state.

Evan Mawarire was summoned to a police station in the capital, Harare, on Tuesday morning and questioned. The 39-year-old pastor was then charged with public order offences. He will be held until he is brought before a magistrate on Wednesday.

Related: 'Now we are waking up': Zimbabwe protests leader seeks international help

Related: Armed with smartphones and memes, Zimbabwe's protesters find their voice online

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House Occupation News -

Rigaer 94 occupied center in Berlin symbolizes the struggle for a practical alternative to rampant insane predator capitalism

  via        Police complained that more than 120 officers were injured on Saturday (one had a bruise on his arm) and some 86 demonstrators were violently arrested during popular defence in the German capital which mercenary police complained was ‘the most aggressive and violent resistance in the last five years’.


Berlin state propaganda officials said in a statement Sunday that evil leftist protesters threw bottles, cobble stones and fireworks at the, attacking officers in full protective riot gear and hurt them with fists and kicks.

They declined to say how many brave demonstrators were hurt by the 1000’s of ‘overzealous’ fully armed hysterical police on overtime double-pay. The day’s headlines went planetwide on commercial media ..”Anarchist  terrorists hurt over 120 nice innocent Policemen’‘.

The ”terrorists” were protesting against a total gentrification of their area which is destroying their progressive culture which has occupied some abandoned property for community use.The  ‘filthy anti-system’ extremists in the neighbourhood are defending their coop culture, free schools and kindergartens, their anti property speculation, shared living experiments, anti patriarchy, music, art, bar and cafe collectives, refugee welcome initiatives, anti war and climate saving politics and degrowth movements……. etc

In short a confrontation between a heroic voluntary movement of humane common sense and the well paid agents of the insane capitalist machine rushing us all to the cliffs of war, economic collapse and planetary ecocide.

Police riot units, many of them inebriated and apparently drugged, were drafted into Berlin from all over of Germany. The agitated standoff resulted in multiple injuries and arrests. An estimated 7,000 amazingly brave people resisted the onslaught in the Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg neighborhoods on Saturday and during the night that followed. They were opposed by at least 1,800 attacking mercenaries all armed to the teeth. Police units came to the German capital from at least four different federal parts of Germany….. continue reading here, + photos :

Hong Kong museum commemorating Tiananmen Square protests closes

The Guardian | Protest -

Row with landlord comes amid concern about what activists see as growing restrictions on Hong Kong’s freedoms by China

China’s only museum commemorating the 1989 crackdown on protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square is to close temporarily after a long-running legal battle with the management and owners of the building it is housed in.

The museum opened in April 2014. Unlike in mainland China where the 1989 crackdown on student-led protests remains taboo, the museum – and an annual candlelight vigil attended by tens of thousands every year – is legal in Hong Kong.

Related: Tiananmen vigil ignored by some Hong Kong activists amid ideological split

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WNV is hiring a blogger!

Waging Nonviolence -

by The Editors

Waging Nonviolence is seeking a journalist or activist with writing experience to blog about movements focused on racial justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality.

We are a non-profit media organization devoted to providing original news and analysis about struggles for justice and peace around the world. Our core audience is comprised of activists, organizers, scholars and journalists, but we also reach a much wider, more general audience through the numerous larger outlets that republish our content — such as The Guardian, The Nation, Salon, Huffington Post, In These Times, Yes! Magazine and openDemocracy.

The ideal candidate has:

  • A demonstrated ability to produce multiple short pieces per week
  • Established connections to the groups, activists and communities working on the above mentioned issues
  • A passion for activism
  • The desire to understand and explain how it can affect change
  • The ability to be (constructively) critical when necessary
  • The skill to break down oftentimes complex issues, politics or organizing efforts and make them engaging for a broad audience

Waging Nonviolence is committed to diversity and is especially interested in hiring members of underrepresented communities, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities.

Job responsibilities include:

  • Working remotely, but maintaining regular correspondence with editors
  • Being on top of the news cycle and staying plugged into activist networks
  • Reliably pitching and producing two short blog posts (300-700 words each) per week

Posts can be either breaking news or movement-oriented analysis (for examples, here and here).

Compensation: We pay $50 per post.

What we offer aside from regular paid work:

  • A structured writing environment with deadlines
  • Direct communication with an editor who will help you improve your writing
  • The freedom to pursue stories of true substance (not clickbait)
  • The opportunity to hone an undercovered beat and generate a body of clips
  • The opportunity to contribute to a growing resource read by many of today’s leading activists and organizers — and help build an archive of the day-to-to work of the movements shaping our world.
  • Our writers have gone on to write and work for Democracy Now!, Vice, The Guardian, The Intercept, Rolling Stone and elsewhere.

How to apply:

Email with a short description of your professional background, the issues you have experience writing about (with links to published articles), and two story ideas for posts you would have written this week. Resume/CV is not necessary.

Application deadline: Sunday, July 24.

'She was making her stand': image of Baton Rouge protester an instant classic

The Guardian | Protest -

Photo which shows Iesha L Evans standing still in the face of two Louisiana state troopers in riot gear has drawn comparisons to other historic protest images

As tens of thousands of people protest with renewed vigor following the police shooting deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling and react to the five Dallas police officers that were killed by a sniper, one photograph has emerged from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as a symbol of the civil unrest that has spread across the nation.

The image, taken by Jonathan Bachman for Reuters, shows a woman, who has been identified as Iesha L Evans, standing in a long dress in the face of a line of Louisiana state troopers dressed in riot gear outside of police headquarters. Evans looks calm and poised and almost seems to repel the two officers who are charging towards her.

This photo was taken at the #BatonRouge protests. Wow.

extraordinary moment from Baton Rouge, photo by Jonathan Bachman @reuters #BlackLivesMatter

Powerful image of protester being detained near HQ of the Baton Rouge PD. via @reuters

Jonathan Bachman of @Reuters is doing such strong work in #BatonRouge. Powerful images.

This photo made by Jonathan Bachman of Reuters from the protests in Baton Rouge is incredible.

Mugshot released of Ieshia Evans, 35, whose Baton Rouge protest pic went viral (Jonathan Bachman of @Reuters)

@RohdeD @nprscottsimon @Reuters History and what we can bend at the root with love instead of fear humbles me

When you see this image you think thank God America won the Cold War and defeated tyranny


Behold Lady Liberty #LeshiaEvans

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