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UberEats drivers plan protest against cuts in pay rate per delivery

The Guardian | Protest -

Riders for group’s food delivery service follow Deliveroo couriers in expressing discontent with gig economy pay structure

Drivers for Uber’s food delivery service are planning a protest in the latest sign of discontent within the gig economy.

UberEats riders will demonstrate outside the group’s London headquarters on Friday after the company cut the amount it pays per delivery, which some drivers say leaves them at risk of earning less than the minimum wage. They are calling on the company to pay the independently backed London living wage of £9.40 an hour.

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In historic victory, grad students at private universities win right to unionize

Waging Nonviolence -

by Sarah Aziza

Following yesterday’s historic NLRB decision, the Graduate Workers of Columbia sent a delegation to university President Lee Bollinger’s office to protest the administration’s opposition to their right to unionize. (Facebook / GWC-UAW)

Yesterday brought a major victory for organizers at private universities across the country, as the National Labor Relations Board ruled that students working as teaching and research assistants have the right to unionize. The decision came in response to an appeal from the Graduate Workers of Columbia and the United Auto Workers, overturning a 2004 decision by the NLRB which ruled graduate students at Brown University weren’t employees and not entitled to collective bargaining. Rather, wrote the board in 2004, these individuals were “primarily students and have a primarily educational, not economic, relationship with their university.” Tuesday’s ruling also reversed a 1974 decision that declared research assistants at Stanford University ineligible to unionize.

The decision has many opponents, including Columbia University itself, which issued its objections in a statement yesterday, saying, “Columbia — along with many of our peer institutions — disagrees with this outcome because we believe the academic relationship students have with faculty members and departments as part of their studies is not the same as between employer and employee.” Others argue that graduate student unionization could interfere with academic freedom.

Yet student organizers have argued for years that they provide vital services to their institutions, which should be recognized as labor. Paul Katz, a fourth-year Ph.D. student at Columbia University told Mother Jones that the roles of student and worker are not mutually exclusive. “When I am working on my own research I clearly am a student, but when I am at the front of the room teaching 15 students about, say, the history of ancient Greece, there is no doubt in my mind that I am a worker, doing work that makes Columbia University great.”

Long before this historic win, student organizers at some universities have been finding ways to unionize. New York University students voted to join the UAW in 2000, and made history in 2002 as the first graduate student union to negotiate a contract with a private institution. Later, following the 2004 decision of the NLRB at Brown, the university reversed its decision to recognize the graduate students’ union. The struggle resumed years later, and — in 2015 — graduate students successfully reestablished their union at NYU.

Now it is possible for many more to follow suit with fewer legal obstacles. Just hours after the NLRB decision, the Service Employees International Union reported that graduate assistants at Duke, Northwestern, St. Louis University and American University were planning to join the union.

In addition to improved conditions for graduate students, many see Tuesday’s victory as part of a larger movement to empower faculty and staff in higher education. SEIU also partners with over 120,000 faculty at American universities, supporting collective efforts among educators, and joined Fight for $15’s national convention in Richmond last week. The UAW is another strong proponent of graduate student unionization and oversaw the Columbia case. Julie Kushner, director of the northeast chapter of the UAW, said “There are tens of thousands of workers at private universities across the United States that will reap the benefits of unionization.”

The NLRB’s jurisdiction is limited to the private sector, but a small number of the approximately one million graduate students at public universities also belong to unions.

Olympic medallist Feyisa Lilesa’s gesture was a plea for justice for his people | Henok Gabisa

The Guardian | Protest -

Ethiopia’s Oromo people are systematically targeted and oppressed by its ruling regime. The athlete’s crossed arms protest shouldn’t be ignored

When the Ethiopian Olympic marathon medallist Feyisa Lilesa crossed his arms at the finish line, the world asked what the symbol stood for. Little is known about the historical marginalisation and collective persecution of Lilesa’s people, the Oromo of north-east Africa.

Almost all Ethiopian runners come from the Oromia region; but the Ethiopian athletics federation is highly scornful of their Oromo identity. Perhaps the federation’s imperious attitude towards the athletes emanates from its paranoia and mistrust of the people, and fear that one day Oromo athletes might open Ethiopia’s Pandora’s box and spill the beans at an international sports event. Exactly what Lilesa did in Rio - and now he has not returned to Ethiopia.

Related: Medallist Feyisa Lilesa fails to return to Ethiopia after Olympics protest

The UN has highlighted how Ethiopian military and police forces systematically targeted certain ethnic groups

Related: My activist partner is on death row in Ethiopia. The UK needs to intervene | Yemi Hailemariam

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Balkan countries unite in a war on waste

The Guardian | Protest -

Trash activists from former war-torn countries formed some of the world’s largest cross-border civic movements against rubbish and pollution

Balkan countries once divided by war, nationalism and religion have been quietly uniting to confront a common foe: rubbish.

Under the rubric of the Let’s Do It campaign, Albanian and Kosovar activists jointly cleared their border area and the polluted Lake Vermica last April, in a Wombles-style campaign that has involved more than 5% of Albania’s population, and 7% of Kosovo’s.

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A look at the newest additions to the nonviolence canon

Waging Nonviolence -

by Brian Martin

Peace Abbey archives at University of Massachusetts Boston. (Peace Abbey)

Interest in nonviolent action is greater today than it ever has been. This is reflected in the number and sophistication of nonviolent campaigns, in media coverage and popular understanding — as well as a spate of new books, several of which were published last year.

Decades ago, really good books in the area were uncommon. There was Gandhi’s autobiography, Richard Gregg’s 1934 “The Power of Nonviolence” and Joan Bondurant’s 1958 “Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict.” These classic treatments are all in the Gandhian tradition, and each one is still worth reading today. Another favorite of mine is Bart de Ligt’s 1937 “The Conquest of Violence: An Essay on War and Revolution.”

Then came Gene Sharp’s 1973 epic “The Politics of Nonviolent Action.” Each of its three parts is available separately and is a book in itself. Back in the 1970s, I read it from beginning to end, but these days many just look at Sharp’s list of 198 methods of nonviolent action. Sharp put so-called pragmatic nonviolent action on the agenda as an alternative or complement to the Gandhian tradition.

Here I comment on four books published in 2015 that make important contributions to the field. I should mention that I’m not a neutral commentator. For each of the first three books, I either commented on drafts of the text or on the book proposal. As you’ll see, I think they are all excellent and worth reading.

‘Nonviolent Struggle’

Sharon Erickson Nepstad is a prominent figure in the field, noted for her book “Nonviolent Revolutions.” She has a new book simply titled “Nonviolent Struggle.” It’s intended as a textbook and covers the field systematically. It is clear and logically organized. More than clear, it is engaging, with a combination of analysis and case studies serving very effectively to convey ideas in a way that will stick with readers and no doubt inspire a few.

The scholarship behind the text is impressive, with coverage of Gandhian, Sharpian and other frameworks. The references show an up-to-date familiarity with the literature. One of the strongest aspects of the book, one easily missed, is the use of simple categories in nearly every chapter to give structure to the discussion. Some of these categories are standard ones in the literature; others are — so far as I know — original. A critical scholar might quibble with some of the categories, but I think they will work very well pedagogically, and therefore are superior to more complicated frameworks. “Nonviolent Struggle” deserves to become the recommended reading for anyone starting out to understand the field of nonviolence.

The first chapter is an excellent overview of meanings and misconceptions concerning nonviolence, beginning with pacifism and misconceptions about it, then moving to principled and pragmatic nonviolence. The book goes on to demonstrate how the teachings of major religions are compatible with or encourage nonviolence, as well as provide informative overviews of perspectives on power, methods of nonviolent action and nonviolent campaigns. There’s also a nice summary of Otpor — the Serbian movement against Slobodan Milosevic.

Nempstad cites nine types of nonviolent action, giving a sense of varieties of goals and circumstances in which nonviolent action can be used. The case studies illustrating each type give sufficient detail to provide a good sense of what is involved. The range of types, from hidden acts of individual resistance to regime change, is a special strength. At the same time, she also explains the features of nonviolent struggles in a straightforward, understandable way, via a series of stages and facets. Overall, this is quite an effective treatment of the key issues, using good sources to back up the arguments.

In a chapter called “Outcomes and consequences of nonviolent struggles,” Nempstad provides a lucid survey of research and arguments about the results of nonviolent struggles. Especially good is the sensitivity to the limits of current research, with some questions left open.

A later chapter addresses the crucial issue of the role of armed forces in nonviolent movements seeking regime change, an area of special interest to Nepstad. The analysis here is well structured with a table of factors influencing loyalty and defections providing a guide to the subsequent discussion. The case studies from the Arab Spring are clearly explained and provide an excellent avenue for understanding the role of different factors.

Nempstad ends the book with a useful discussion on the future of nonviolence and civil resistance research, showing students that there are still plenty of things worth investigating.

“Nonviolent Struggle” is knowledgeable and up-to-date. Yet, what really makes it stand out is its readability. Telling stories about nonviolent campaigns is always a winner — that’s why Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall’s book “A Force More Powerful” remains so worthwhile — but Nepstad also makes theory interesting through her engaging style. This is the ideal text for many introductory nonviolence classes: Students will find it appealing while they are carried through key concepts in the field.

‘Civil Resistance Today’

No single textbook is perfect for every reader, and it’s definitely worth checking out another excellent text just published by leading researcher Kurt Schock. His earlier book “Unarmed Insurrections” is a pioneering contribution, linking nonviolence and social movement theory. His new book, “Civil Resistance Today,” is suitable for upper level undergraduates, but is readable by anyone with an interest in the topics, as it is filled with examples.

Shock covers the field systematically. The book begins with an overview of key concepts, specifically to answer the question “What is civil resistance?” The first chapter also includes careful discussions of responses to some of the most difficult questions in the field, for example, “Can civil resistance be effective in extremely repressive contexts?” Schock is eminently qualified to address misconceptions about nonviolent action, having written a widely cited article addressing 19 common misconceptions.

“Civil Resistance Today” addresses both practice and theory. The practice of civil resistance includes struggles centuries and even millennia ago — from democratic freedoms to workers’ rights to opposing war, among others. Then there is theory, including approaches inspired by Gandhi and Gene Sharp. Schock gives special attention to connections between civil resistance research and social movement studies, showing similarities and differences.

In surveying the expanding use of civil resistance, Schock employs a range of case studies. These include social movements — such as the feminist and anti-racist movements — struggles against repressive governments, national liberation movements, and campaigns against economic inequality. When it comes to theories for explaining resistance, Schock introduces standard ideas from social movement theory, such as example collective action frames, mobilizing structures, and political opportunities. Also covered is the way that struggles — both nonviolent and violent — reflect the social context. Movements typically draw from a standard repertoire of methods, depending on beliefs, circumstances and strategies.

In one of the chapters, Schock addresses the conflict or contest between governments and protesters. Authorities can use repression, such as arrests, beatings and killings. But sometimes, when repression is too blatant, it can trigger greater resistance. Then there is the question of how challengers should respond to repression — for example, by switching from concentrated forms of resistance like rallies to dispersed forms like boycotts.

“Civil Resistance Today” also offers insight into transnational activism, including organizations, training and campaigns. An international or transnational perspective is vital because there is considerable sharing of ideas, as well as providing of assistance among states and nonviolent campaigners.

In a later chapter, Schock discusses mechanisms for social change via nonviolent action, using Sharp’s categories of conversion, accommodation, nonviolent coercion and disintegration. This includes a description of the three factors that help determine the outcome of campaigns: mobilizing of mass support, surviving repression and undermining the authorities’ pillars of support. In the final chapter, Schock summarizes key points and debates, and looks at possible future research.

“Civil Resistance Today” — much like Nepstad’s book — has a lot to offer. Both beginners and anyone already in the field can benefit from their knowledgeable expositions and coverage of concepts, approaches and the latest research. The publication of these two books, by leading researchers, suggests that the field of nonviolence studies is gaining more credibility and visibility. Since the publication of Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan’s path-breaking book “Why Civil Resistance Works,” there has been a huge upsurge of interest in nonviolent action within the research community.

‘A Theory of Nonviolent Action’

It’s not often that there’s a significant new contribution to theory in the field of nonviolence studies. You could cite Richard Gregg and Gene Sharp, but not a lot of others. Stella Vinthagen, author of “A Theory of Nonviolent Action” has joined their ranks.

Vinthagen proposes that nonviolent action has four dimensions, which he calls dialogue facilitation, power breaking, utopian enactment and normative regulation. The point is that there are several things going on in nonviolent struggles, and you can better understand these struggles via the four dimensions. This analysis goes beyond the usual measures of being ethical and being effective.

Vinthagen begins with a definition of nonviolence as being without violence and against violence. This sounds simple, yet it is remarkably useful for distinguishing nonviolence from neighboring domains. Activities like going for a walk or growing vegetables are without violence, but they are not actively against violence, whereas holding a vigil at an arms fair satisfies both conditions in the definition.

After reviewing prior nonviolence theorizing, including the work of Gandhi, Gene Sharp, feminists, and nonviolent movements (which demonstrate a type of theory-in-action), Vinthagen returns to his definition, showing its complications, tensions and possibilities. If nonviolence is without and against violence, then what it involves depends on the type of violence involved, whether this be physical attack, exploitation (a type of structural violence), or denial of opportunities for expressing one’s capacities. Through his careful discussion, Vinthagen argues that a full expression of the ultimate possibilities for nonviolence is necessarily an aspiration impossible to achieve, yet one worth pursuing.

To motivate the identification of four dimensions of nonviolence, Vinthagen starts with a general conception of nonviolence, following Gandhi, as a way to reach a truth, in the sense of a common understanding. He then looks at the rationality of nonviolent action through the lens of social theorist Jürgen Habermas’ classification of actions into four types: rational goal-directed, norm-setting, expressive and communicative. Vinthagen identifies four analogous dimensions of nonviolent action, and shows how each one was expressed in the sit-ins used in the U.S. civil rights movement. This is a move away from the Sharpian methods-oriented approach, which reflects the single dimension of strategically achieving goals.

Vinthagen calls the first of the four dimensions “dialogue facilitation.” Dialogue is the core of Habermas’ communicative rationality: It is the seeking of truth, or of a resolution of differences, through rational argument according to agreed premises of how to conduct the argument. One arena for dialogue is within social movements. In the nonviolence, feminist and other movements, efforts have been made for decades to develop respectful, egalitarian, and efficient ways for discussion and decision-making within groups, often built around formalized consensus-seeking processes. These processes are participatory, but seeking dialogue with opponents is another matter, because of power differences and often the refusal of opponents to engage in open and honest discussions. Hence, methods of nonviolent action, such as rallies, strikes and boycotts, may be used to encourage opponents to enter into dialogue. In South Africa, for example, decades of resistance to the apartheid state, within the country and internationally, led eventually to a genuine dialogue between anti-apartheid campaigners and the country’s rulers, which in turn laid the basis for a peaceful end to apartheid.

The second dimension of nonviolence is “power breaking.” In many cases, power-holders do not willingly engage in dialogue, and may use force against challengers. The question then arises: What is the source of social power? In contrast to the traditional (and still common) monolithic view of power as something possessed by rulers, Sharp proposed a consent theory of power according to which the acquiescence or cooperation of subjects is the basis for the power of rulers. Withdrawing consent, for example through protests, strikes, or setting up alternative communication systems, then becomes a way to challenge and bring down rulers. Vinthagen counterposes Sharp’s consent theory with Michel Foucault’s picture of power as built into social structures and relationships, as produced through everyone’s actions. For Foucault, no one is outside of power and so the idea of resistance has to be modified, because everyone is shaped by power systems even as they seek to change them. Vinthagen blends ideas from Sharp and Foucault and proposes the concept of “cooperative subordination” to capture insights from each of their perspectives. The usual methods of nonviolent action serve to challenge power-over and replace it with power-with, a cooperative alternative to systems of domination. Vinthagen classifies nonviolent methods into six categories: counter-discourse, alternative institutions, non-cooperation, withdrawal, hindrance and dramatizing of injustice.

Vinthagen’s third dimension of nonviolence is “utopian enactment,” which refers to behaving in a way that embodies desirable future relationships. In a conflict situation where there is a risk of being harmed, nonviolent activists, rather than fighting or fleeing, continue with respectful action that ideally clashes with opponents’ expectations. In polarized conflicts, the other side is seen as the enemy and is demonized. Nonviolent action confounds the usual image of the enemy.

In Gandhi’s perspective, self-suffering is an important part of satyagraha, but this is easy to misrepresent as adopting a victim role. Vinthagen closely analyzes the arguments about suffering and concludes that in nonviolent action, a key point is that activists accept the risk of suffering: they are aware of being in danger and do not attempt to forcibly resist or to escape.

Vinthagen examines the dimension of utopian enactment through the lens of social roles and looking at human behavior as a type of performance in a drama, drawing on social theorist Erving Goffman. In this framework, nonviolent action involves playing an unexpected role, for example in behaving openly and honestly and expressing friendship. In this way nonviolent action models a different sort of relationship, a utopian alternative to domination.

Vinthagen’s fourth dimension of nonviolence is “normative regulation.” In many domains today, there is an assumption that violence is needed to protect order and freedom, as exemplified by police, militaries, prisons and arms manufacture, as well as media portrayals of wars and policing. In place of this normalization of violence, the promise of nonviolence is to bring about an alternative set of norms, and it does this in part through nonviolent action exemplifying or prefiguring social relations without violence. This is closely related to Gandhi’s constructive program, which aims to create an alternative society based on equality, self-reliance and solidarity.

An important way that activists promote an alternative moral order is through nonviolence training, involving exercises for fostering cooperative group dynamics, role plays of conflict situations, and games and brainstorming to build understanding. Vinthagen relates nonviolence training to social theorist Pierre Bourdieu’s idea of habitus, acquired sets of habits and ways of thinking that shape people’s behavior. Whereas Bourdieu saw little scope for individual agency to change habitus, Vinthagen sees nonviolence training as one means to do this. However, such training is usually short and episodic; for a more sustained development of nonviolent social norms, intentional communities are valuable, following the example of Gandhi and ashrams.

Vinthagen’s four dimensions are ways of thinking about nonviolence, of understanding its implications, possibilities and shortcomings. No action can ever fulfill the promise of all four dimensions, but by looking at them and their interactions and implications, it is possible to gain a greater understanding of how to achieve the potential of nonviolence for creating a different world.

In “A Theory of Nonviolent Action,” Vinthagen draws on insights from his many years as an activist, as well as his formidable knowledge as a theorist. Fortunately, his book is filled with examples; considering the level of theory presented, the book is quite readable. For anyone interested in nonviolence research, I’d recommend putting this at the top of your reading list, because I think it will become a classic, and knowing Vinthagen’s four dimensions will be as important as knowing Sharp’s main types of nonviolent action.

‘Blueprint for Revolution’

If you know activists who have no patience for academic treatments, and you want to get them thinking more from a nonviolence perspective, try suggesting “Blueprint for Revolution” by Srdja Popovic with Matthew Miller. It’s light on theory and referencing, but it’s a page-turner filled with practical insights. The subtitle gives an indication of its style: “How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Nonviolent Techniques to Galvanize Communities, Overthrow Dictators, or Simply Change the World.”

This entertaining introduction to nonviolent action is told through stories about struggles, including Popovic’s meetings with activists in Egypt and Syria. The stories include Gandhi’s campaigns, the U.S. civil rights movement, the Philippines, Ukraine, Israel (a boycott of cottage cheese), and various others. There are many stories about Serbia, as Popovic was a key figure in the Otpor movement. “Blueprint for Revolution” covers the need to imagine the world being different (to counter the common attitude of defeatism), having a vision of an alternative, pillars of power and how to undermine them, the use of humor (an important part of Otpor’s approach), how violence against peaceful protesters can backfire, movement unity, planning, the problem of violence and finishing the job.

The book has only a few references, especially to Gene Sharp’s work, but nothing systematic. This is Popovic speaking from his experience as an activist and as a teacher of nonviolent strategy. The text breezes along in a way unusual in the field.

Final thoughts

These books should be enough to keep most readers occupied, but they do not exhaust the offerings, even just in 2015. Three others worth reading are Todd May’s “Nonviolent Resistance: A Philosophical Introduction,” Janjira Sombatpoonsiri’s “Humor and Nonviolent Struggle in Serbia” and Jason MacLeod’s “Merdeka and the Morning Star: Civil Resistance in West Papua,” each offering deep insights.

Keeping up with good writing about nonviolence is becoming ever more difficult, which undoubtedly is a good thing. Still, the body of writing in the field is limited when compared to the voluminous writing about wars, past and present. There are as yet many untapped areas for nonviolence research and writing. The inspiration of much of this work will continue to be the courageous efforts of activists throughout the world.

Sea Shepherd will keep harassing Japanese whaling boats despite US court ruling

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Conservation group says it is committed to upholding Australian federal court ruling banning the slaughter of whales in the Australian sanctuary

A United States court ruling preventing conservationists from attacking Japanese whaling boats will not stop the annual protection campaign in the Southern Ocean.

The Japanese Times newspaper reported on Tuesday that a settlement declaring the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was “permanently enjoined from physically attacking the [Japanese] research vessels and crew and from navigating in a manner that is likely to endanger their safe navigation”.

Related: Australia considers legal action against Japan's decision to resume whaling

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Collective action via social media brings hope to gig economy workers

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Campaigners hope Deliveroo couriers’ victory over pay will rally more temporary, self-employed workers to organise

Campaigners against low pay are hoping that a victory for Deliveroo couriers this week will encourage further action by gig economy workers. One of the biggest barriers to a repeat, however, is the very nature of the work Britain’s part-time, self-employed army carries out.

Workers at Deliveroo, the online food delivery firm, won a rare victory in seeing off an attempt to force them to sign up to new pay terms. Deliveroo’s change of heart followed several days of protests by its drivers.

Related: Deliveroo announces it will not force new contracts on workers

Related: Deliveroo couriers are right to strike: the company’s claims of freedom are a sham | Mags Dewhurst

Related: Why has Britain stopped striking? Workers no longer feel empowered to act | Gregor Gall

Related: ‘Love the job, hate the way we’re treated’: life on the frontline of UK’s delivery army

Although this kind of tech has been designed to isolate individuals and atomise work, deskilling the industry and driving down wages, the very platform it uses to do that is hugely vulnerable to ad-hoc collective action by groups of individuals,” she said.

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Ending private prisons at the federal level marks a major movement victory

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by Sarah Aziza

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When the U.S. Department of Justice announced its intentions to begin phasing out its use of private contractors in federal prisons, many welcomed this as a significant step in the dismantling of a profit-driven model of mass incarceration. The decision will affect over 20,000 inmates in 14 facilities across the country, and follows a slew of incriminating reports by Mother Jones, The Nation, and the DOJ itself, all of which noted serious security and human rights breaches in privately administered prisons.

While the announcement caused a major shake-up around the country — not least of which on Wall Street, where the stocks of the two largest private corrections companies plummeted — activists recognize years of tedious work that preceded the DOJ decision.

Alex Friedmann, associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center, says those familiar with the private prison system were not surprised with the DOJ’s findings, such as the higher incidences of violence and contraband in private prisons. “The [DOJ] report included things that activists opposing the for-profit prison industry have known for a long time,” Friedmann said, but conceded that the decision of higher-ups to “do something about it” is a welcome turn of events. Opposition to private prisons has been ongoing for over 30 years, said Friedmann, whose own organization has worked on the issue since 1990.

Over the years, a broad coalition of activists have joined the movement, many taking aim at private prison companies’ bottom line. The National Private Prison Divestment Campaign, launched in 2011, has been a unifying force for groups as diverse as campus organizers, immigration advocates, labor unions, and Black Lives Matter. Over 200 partner groups have joined the Campaign to lobby for divestment from the nation’s two largest private prison companies, Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group. Over the years, these companies have made billions of dollars of taxpayer-funded profits, said Daniel Carrillo, executive director of the campaign, and have contributed to a system that disproportionately criminalizes immigrants and people of color.

The prison divestment campaign modeled many of its tactics after the anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s, noting the success of its broad, collaborative base and clear, pragmatic demands. Since its formal work began, the campaign has provided a framework for local organizers to bring the movement to their university campuses, workplaces, legislatures and religious congregations. The campaign has also overseen large-scale coordinated actions, such as a Divestment Week of Action and three national conventions, most recently in Boca Raton, the home of GEO Group. After years of strategic work, which has included its share of victories as well as setbacks, Carrillo saw the DOJ’s decision as the “fruit of this multiracial organizing.”

Yet, organizers agree that much work remains. The vast majority of inmates in America are administered by local and state authorities or by the Department of Homeland Security — all of which remain unaffected by Thursday’s decision. Institutions such as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement operate a greater number of privatized detention facilities, which have enjoyed millions in profit by detaining undocumented immigrants. “We hope that ICE and the states will follow the lead of the Justice Department,” said David Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project.

In the meantime, the question of implementation remains. The DOJ has called for a five-year transition period. “A lot can happen in five years,” Friedmann said. “Whoever is sitting in the White House after the November elections will decide whether the DOJ’s decision will go forward, or not.” Therefore, Friedmann said, “it’s time to crank up opposition to private prisons [through] more protests, more calls to lawmakers at all levels of government, [and] more social media sharing.”

The prison population is still staggeringly high, and it was overwhelming demand that prompted the trend towards privatization in the first place. The abuse and neglect now associated with private prisons will only be solved by reforming immigration and criminal justice laws directly, say many organizers.

Carrillo notes that private prison companies still enjoy a disproportionate amount of lobbying power in Washington, where they continue to push for “pro-mass incarceration and pro mass-criminalization” policies.

Friedmann agrees. “The DOJ’s announcement is certainly not a knock-out blow for private prison firms,” he said. “That will require more people to get involved in the fight against the for-profit prison industry.”

In the long run, Carrillo and his colleagues hope to see funds shift towards restorative, rather than punitive, measures. Profit has no place in the justice system, said Carrillo, but rather, “rehabilitating people should be done by and for the community.”

‘A Vision for Black Lives’ is a vision for everyone

Waging Nonviolence -

by George Lakey

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On August 1, the Movement for Black Lives, with support from dozens of related organizations, issued its vision of a transformed United States that could realize racial justice. The vision is a major step forward in coherence and clarity for a still-young grassroots insurgency, and deserves the attention of allies everywhere.

As you would expect from the movement’s origins, the document leads with the need to stop the institutionalized practices and justifications for violence against black people. The writers place black queer women, trans, unemployed and incarcerated youth at the center since those groups are a margin within the marginalized black community.

Thoughtful visionaries know that stopping historic injustice requires creating alternatives. The document outlines a set of specific alternatives. Although in this brief column I won’t try to summarize the multi-dimensional Movement for Black Lives vision, I am struck by how powerfully the main features make sense not only on their own, but also how they interact with each other.

The wisdom of the reparations section of the platform lies in its acknowledgement that, as Martin Luther King, Jr. never tired of saying, “justice delayed is justice denied.” Additional steps need to be taken to make up for the century-and-a-half interval since the federal government broke its promise to an enslaved people, the promise of a fresh start.

The reparations emphasize grassroots economic development, including co-ops. These confidence-building measures interact with a separate section on economic justice and another called “Invest-Divest.” When the assortment of tools is put together the result is greater than the sum of the parts. The vision offers what is most prized in a design: synergy.

For example, the vision calls for using tax codes to redistribute wealth and starting jobs programs that provide a living wage and offering free training and education and allowing enhanced freedom for workers to organize unions. It’s easy to see the synergy, and the resulting re-weaving of a community battered by racism and joblessness.

What the mass media miss

The boldest thing about the vision is that it is for all of us. Those who portray this as special pleading by “an “interest group” are wrong; it is not Lyndon Johnson’s so-called War on Poverty or a renewed call for affirmative action. The document urges what non-black people also need, for example to oppose privatization of publicly owned institutions and to set aside the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade deal. It demands democratic control of natural resources and public schools.

The vision will benefit all of us; we must beware of the subtle tendency to reduce the impact of the vision by reducing it to the color of its origins. Note The Guardian’s August 1 coverage of the vision: “Alongside the race-specific measures are also progressive wish list items such as forgoing fossil fuels for renewables, universal healthcare, cuts in military spending and public election financing.” The condescending journalist’s separating out a “progressive wish list” reveals the lack of understanding of what a vision is, and of who is entitled to envision. King had the same problem when he came out against the Vietnam War and was criticized by white liberals who hinted that he should stay “in his place” as a “race leader” and not poke his nose into matters better handled by the people suited to take wider responsibility — the white people.

I see the document as highly integrated, rather than a segregated set of race-specific proposals with a wish list “alongside” it. Why create jobs and alternative institutions that cannot be sustained after passage of the TPP? Why demand billions from the federal budget for community development if that money is already reserved for the military-industrial complex? How is poverty to be abolished if billions are wasted on our inefficient private health care system? The “wish list” is in fact necessary for the whole.

The mainstream media also miss the full value of a vision to a social movement. Vision is only partly public relations for a young movement; more importantly, it serves to guide the movement itself and support it to grow.

How vision helps movements grow

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there,” as the saying goes. We choose more effective everyday tactics when we know where we’re headed. Strategy’s job is to put tactics together over time to increase the movement’s growth and power, so it’s even more important to know our destination when we choose a strategy.

An example of vision’s importance is in Earth Quaker Action Team’s new campaign, which demands increased use of solar energy. The easy strategy for EQAT would have been to encourage middle-class suburban white folks to solarize their houses.

The likely destination of that strategy, however, would be a “solar divide” — something like the “digital divide” generated decades ago: People with money get benefits poor people can’t access. The destination would increase the class divide.

Instead, EQAT’s strategy is to use direct action to push the electrical utility to invest in solarizing suitable roofs in poor communities of color — a strategy in line with EQAT’s vision of racial, economic and climate justice.

Vision also protects against burn-out. Many activists dwell on what we’re against — white supremacy, capitalist exploitation, war. I’ve known plenty of people who burned out while working against something. A negative posture doesn’t protect against the inevitable hurts and disappointments that go along with justice work. The initiators of the Movement for Black Lives’ vision clearly know that this struggle will go on for a while. Positive vision helps sustain us for the longer run.

Vision also helps by supporting unity. Activists may disagree about this or that tactic, or an organization’s style, but if we agree on our aims, we have reason to “agree to disagree” and accept a diversity that’s uncomfortable. Shared, big-picture goals encourage us to work together.

Vision has been pivotal in some of the most successful mass movements in history. I realize we can draw inspiration from current movements that haven’t yet reached their goals, and even movements that had potential but were tragically defeated. In addition, I am fascinated by movements that were successful in establishing “the big three” — democracy, economic justice and individual freedom.

I’ve been researching success stories of the latter kind, a cluster of movements that started small in the midst of poverty and oppression, and after struggle and sacrifice achieved more of “the big three” than anyone I know. Two of the movements faced repression by their own economic elites, including troops called out and nonviolent demonstrators killed. In two of the countries progress was interrupted by armed invasion and occupation by Nazi Germany, with the setbacks you would expect.

I tell the stories in my new book, “Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians got it right and how we can, too.” There’s a striking parallel between those countries and the platform of the Movement for Black Lives.

Meeting the critics of the Movement for Black Lives

Critics will dismiss the new vision as “idealistic and impractical,” but I meet critics on their own ground by citing the practical superiority of the Scandinavians’ achievements in jobs and justice. The Scandinavians’ policies are like those proposed by the vision of the Movement for Black Lives.

Norway has the lowest rates in Europe of repeat offenders and the least punitive correctional system. Scandinavian police don’t carry guns. People there have free higher education, including trade and professional schools. Pensions and virtually free health care are universal. They have full employment policies and “vocational rehabilitation” for people who need training, just as the Movement for Black Lives demands.

Despite their history of great poverty, the Scandinavians now have almost none. And despite Sweden’s history of ethnic homogeneity, the country has been racially diversifying for the past half century, recently accepting more refugees from Syria per capita than any other country in Europe. Scandinavians I interviewed for my book acknowledged that they have many problems remaining. Still, the fact remains that their decades of struggle pushed the economic elite out of dominance and opened the space to create what economists call the “Nordic economic model.” Their top-of-the-charts achievements were the result of putting in place the kind of vision that is now being urged for the United States by the Movement for Black Lives.

I don’t know if white allies are willing to see the necessity for economic change as part of the struggle for racial justice. Bayard Rustin, the gay black civil rights leader who personally influenced me the most, told me half a century ago that until our country tackled economic justice with what is essentially a socialist program, racism would continue its vicious hold on our country.

Clearly, Rustin was right. He would, I think, be pleased to see a possible convergence happening now: the white youths and people of color resonating with Bernie Sanders joining with the inspiring vision of the Movement for Black Lives, both movements deeply aware of the crisis and opportunity given by climate change.

Now we have tools, resources and knowledge we have not had before in my lifetime. These we can use while seeking unity, as the crisis deepens.

"For as long as it takes”: Native American protesters defy North Dakota Pipeline construction

The Guardian | Protest -

Hundreds of Native American and environmental activists descend on the site where a $3.7bn pipeline is being constructed, and 18 have been arrested so far

Joey Montoya, like other protesters near Cannon Ball, at the northern boundary of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota, sees himself as not just protecting the local community from a new oil pipeline – but also the country and the earth.

“Native communities are always just the first to be affected. We’re always at the front lines when oil companies come in.”

Related: 'We are protectors, not protesters': why I'm fighting the North Dakota pipeline

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Narrm / Melbourne (Australia): Attempt to evict homeless family successfully resisted

House Occupation News -

August 2nd, 2016: For the second time in as many days victoria police have attempted to illegally enter the home of a formally homeless family now residing in one of over a dozen formally empty state government owned houses acquired for the East-West link.

Twice police arrived unannounced at the home, applying physical force to the door, drilling the door lock and threatening to release “dogs and gas” into the family’s home. Neighbors, passers by and supporters surrounded police, forcing them to back down.

Police, security and the managing real estate agent then met in a neighboring house before police left the area. The Andrews government have hired private security to occupy the neighboring apartments and houses in the area to spy on residents. Security have threatened and assaulted residents several times.

The incidents have all been captured on film and document the shocking way the Andrews labor government is treating homeless people amidst Melbourne’s housing and homelessness crisis in which 25,000 are homeless despite over 1,000 state government owned houses lying empty (including 300+ empty east-west link dwellings) and 80,000 private dwellings empty.

Daniel Andrews and Martin Foley are bullying homeless families onto the streets and out in the cold. The Andrews state government, security companies and real estate agents Noble Knight and Compton Green, seem to care more about profiting from these properties than they do about fullfilling their obligation to ensure all victorians have safe, secure, long term housing.

Contact Compton Green and the minister for housing Martin Foley to let them know that what they’re doing is not okay.

[Posted on August 6, 2016 by .]

Greece: Lets destroy them first! Statement after evictions in Thessaloniki

House Occupation News -

This is an individual statement after the trial that followed an action against the Orthodox Church in Thessaloniki. Although this statement doesn’t represent anybody except myself and may include an uncompleted picture, I decided that it should be spread. Never trust the media!

Unsurprisingly, the three evictions in Thessaloniki on 27th of July resulted in furious actions. The squats were evicted by a coordinated police operation to do the Church a favor and satisfy their thirst for revenge. The Church is in this case not only an agitator but also responsible for the eviction and demolition of Orfanotrofio squat (a selforganized space and housing squat for immigrants since December 2015).

On 31st July, 25 people in solidarity have been arrested at the Metropolitan Church in the center of Thessaloniki. Thanks to the authorities of the Orthodox Church, everybody had to stand trial on 1st of August, for an action that interrupted the Sunday Mass. Most of the arrested people refused to provide fingerprints, considering the consequence that they will get an additional accusation. During the trial a big crowd expressed their solidarity and full-throated support. After some hours in the court the show was over and only those who didn’t participated in the procedure of fingerprints/photographs got sentenced. Everyone got released, but this trial is just a tiny chapter of the script that the court performs every day. And we know as well that the court fulfills the cruel interests of the state and the bosses.

Apart from that, we do not intend to make the authority by the Church look harmless. The Church has the same pillars as any other institution: obedience, modern serfdom and punishment, among others. Everybody who despise their authoritarian, patriarchal and colonial ideology becomes an enemy. Of course, we are their enemy as well. That the passion for freedom is not compromisable with conservative values and the duty to obey authority should be clear.

When it comes to religion it isn’t very clear for everybody, sometimes not even between those who fight together. To demand free exercise of religion or to dream of an utopia without religious conflicts is not a neutral position. It is a position which is taking for granted that religion is just an idea. Religion is not an idea everybody can create, transform and use, it is an instrument of power. The meanings are given by those who have the power to define values, laws and unwritten laws. It is likely that believers become an agent for their religion, but power is in any case a precondition to reframe the ruling definitions. For centuries the Church is seeking domination without knowing any limits and gained power by expanding their beliefs. Therefore an anarchist perspective must be against religion and not (only) against religion used as a vehicle for propaganda or conflicts motivated by religion.

Anarchy is something that we cannot break down to an ideology or a single idea. That’s why anarchism has many different tendencies, but there are of course practices that we can count as fully contradictory. Support for political parties and elections is for example undermining anarchist basics. We should definitely discuss more about an anarchist approach regarding religion. The indoctrinated habit to question any kind of attack against religion, is something that needs to be reconsidered and understood as belittlement. From my point of view „freedom of religion“ as a law and a concept is just victim blaming.

If we enter the courthouse it becomes obvious that the state and the Church build the same repressive organism. A painting of Jesus Christ (Fuck the Artist!) above the judge and the holy bubblegum in front of the judge symbolize the power of the Church and the strong interconnection with the state institutions. Wherever people pay in to religious beliefs, authorities will try to use them for their adventure of a giant-empire.

It was not the first time that the Church attacked selforganized structures of unconditional solidarity and resistance. Knowing that it was neither the last eviction, as a minimum response we have to confront Syriza with our rage and fight for the continuity of rebellious communities. If the caricatures in the parliament, in the church and in the media want to feed us with lies about humanitarian war-zones/borders/military camps: Lets destroy them first!

Finally, I must say that I refused to give my fingerprints because there are absolutely no reasons why I should help the armed dogs doing their filthy job. I made my decision. It is a decision against the law that represents the state and the capital. Laws that protect fascist murderers and police officers who kill unarmed people. This time we were all successful in the crucial moments, when they wanted to take our fingerprints. While this time they took only fingerprints from few people who agreed in the procedure, there have been many times before, where the police took them by force, being extremely violent.

If they try to break the solidarity between us – Lets destroy them first!
Nothing is over, everything continues!
Fuck charity! Squat the world!

Recently two anarchist comrades, Marios Seisidis and Kostas Sakkas, were arrested in the area of Sparta and beaten by police because they refused to provide fingerprints and photographs.

Strength to Marios Seisidis and Kostas Sakkas!

Latest update concerning M. Seisidis and K. Sakkas here.

https://en-contrainfo.espiv.net/2016/08/17/greece-lets-destroy-them-first-statement-after-evictions-in-thessaloniki/

The Netherlands: The area ban against anarchists in a broader context of repression in The Hague

House Occupation News -

On August 3, several anarchists in The Hague, the Netherlands, and one from outside the city received a letter from Mayor Van Aartsen with the intention of imposing a two month area ban for the Schilderswijk, a working class and immigrant neighborhood in the center of the city. The mayor wants to use the so-called “Football Law,” which is now being used against political activists for the first time. In recent times, anarchists in The Hague have dealt with much repression, much of it directly from the mayor’s office.

50,000 euro damage claim for De Vloek eviction
On September 9, 2015, during the eviction of social center De Vloek which had been squatted for 13 years, ten people were arrested. Five of them remained in prison for two weeks after being accused of committing violence against the police. Several months after their release, the ten people who had been arrested received a letter from the mayor of The Hague with a 50,000 euro damage claim. Upon further investigation into the specifics of the amount of the claim, it was apparent that it was largely based on costs that had nothing to do with the eviction: the removal of containers full of rubble that was allegedly used to make barricades, guarding the terrain after the eviction (De Vloek was demolished directly after the eviction) and cleaning paint from paint bombs off of the street (the street wasn’t even cleaned, but repaved a few weeks after the eviction in accordance with scheduled maintenance).

This huge sum was not payed, which has resulted in a lawsuit that is still ongoing. The demand for such a high compensation doesn’t happen so often but is also not new. Earlier, after the eviction of the Ubica, a squat in Utrecht, an exorbitant sum for compensation was also demanded. The punishment of those who resist is not only accomplished through prison terms; they also try to drive the “guilty” to financial ruin. In this case, the punishment of people who resist against eviction is also the catalyst: The VVD, the political party of van Aartsen asked the city council to claim all of the “damage”.

Closing the Autonomous Center
The mayor however didn’t stop at the damage claim for the eviction of De Vloek. The Autonomous Center (AC) also had to pay the price. The AC was evicted from its location in the Bezuidenhout neighborhood after more than five years. Afterwards, three buildings were squatted on the Harstenhoekweg in order to continue with the activities of the AC.

The mayor tried to plan a scheme with the owner of one of the buildings to evict it because of alleged danger of asbestos. A lawsuit followed, which the mayor lost, and the building was not allowed to be evicted. A few months later, a letter arrived saying that the mayor intended to shut down the building where the AC is located because it would be housing an illegal cafe. This is how the mayor has tried to close places that are structurally important for the anarchist movement. The procedure to close AC is still ongoing.

Insurrection in the Schilderswijk
When Mitch Henriquez was choked to death by the police in 2015, thousands of people in the Schilderswijk rose up against the police and the state. Hundreds of people attacked the police station and there were four nights of clashes with the police. The insurrection was an expected reaction to the latest police murder and to the years of racist police brutality in the neighborhood.

For years, anarchists and anti-fascists have been taking action against racist police brutality in the neighborhood, and that is a thorn in the mayor’s side. Several neighborhood organizations tried to deal with the problem of police brutality, but all of these groups worked together with the police and the municipality, or they wanted to join them around the table. Anti-fascists and anarchists are always without compromise in the struggle against the police and their violent practices, and they will not work together with police or the municipal government. The mayor and police have devoted a lot of time to attempting to break the connection between anarchists and the neighborhood, and their protest. Officers went to community centers where flyers were spread to intimidate people into not working with anti-fascists and anarchists; otherwise it could have consequences for their subsidies. Police officers were also sent out to remove posters and demonstrations were prohibited by the mayor. During and before demonstrations, officers kept young people at a distance through intimidation.

This however did not yield the desired result. At several demonstrations, many residents of the neighborhood were present and after the murder of Mitch Henriquez the neighborhood rebelled en masse. Afterwards, the mayor in conjunction with the police tried to place the guilt on the anarchists, using them as a scapegoat while trying to break the solidarity of the neighborhood. This witch-hunt against anarchists continued at the end of April when an anarchist was arrested in the Schilderswijk on suspicion of having spread the Anarchist Newspaper, with a text about the insurrection in the Schilderswijk. The comrade was held for four days at the police station and accused of instigation against authority. Later on, a prison term of eight weeks was demanded, but acquittal followed. The Home Office has gone into appeals.

Besides the previous examples, anarchists and anti-fascists in The Hague can expect structural “special” attention from the police and the mayor. Demonstrations are prohibited, individual anarchists are intimidated on the street, there have been attempts by the police to win informants, and actions where anarchists are involved can expect a huge police presence.

Bureaucratic Repression
Besides the traditional forms of repression such as raids, arrests, and prison sentences, about which there is much anger in the anarchist movement, lately repression has manifested itself in a more subtle, bureaucratic and administrative form during the last period. This makes it more abstract and less susceptible to solidarity. If the walls of repression are clearly visible in the case of an imprisoned comrade, then in this form of repression, one gets caught in a web of ongoing lawsuits and appeals. In the case of the area ban, they are trying to break the active area of the struggle by forbidding certain people from stepping foot in a neighborhood where social struggle is happening and where it is being fought together.

We Are Not Victims
We don’t expect the repression to end here. The mayor and police will stick to the charted course. But we don’t feel in the least as if we are victims of repression. The police and mayor must decide for themselves if they want to have it out for a group of anarchists. Repression will not turn us into sitting ducks and apathetic victims. For every hit one of us takes, we will hit back. It only makes us more resolute to continue the struggle for unconditional freedom. Because we have nothing to lose but only to win, because we are like weeds that keep growing between the bricks of the stifling state, because their time has passed and the time for anarchy has come, and no police officer or mayor will stop us!

Our struggle for freedom is stronger than their repression!

Some Anarchists from The Hague

https://en-contrainfo.espiv.net/2016/08/17/the-netherlands-the-area-ban-against-anarchists-in-a-broader-context-of-repression-in-the-hague/

The grouse shooters aim to kill: the first casualty is the truth | George Monbiot

The Guardian | Protest -

Their campaign against the RSPB is a shameful example of ‘astroturfing’. The public should beware

This is how, in a democracy, you win when you are outnumbered: you purchase the results. It’s how politics now works. The very rich throw money at the parties, lobby groups and thinktanks that project their demands. If they are clever, they keep their names out of it.

Here’s an example: a campaign fronted by the former England cricket captain Sir Ian Botham, called You Forgot the Birds. It appears to have two purposes: to bring down the RSPB – the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – and to get the natural history presenter Chris Packham sacked from the BBC.

Through the efforts of wildlife campaigners like Chris Packham, the grouse industry is now being called to account

Related: This flood was not only foretold – it was publicly subsidised | George Monbiot

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Fight for $15 plans next steps forward at national convention

Waging Nonviolence -

by Sarah Aziza

Rev. William Barber speaking speaking in front of Confederate monument in Richmond, Virginia. (Twitter / Fight for $15)

Thousands converged in Richmond, Virginia over the weekend to participate in the Fight For $15’s first-ever national convention. Central to the two-day gathering was the historic Richmond Resolution, a statement of purpose and strategy that members approved unanimously on August 13. The convention culminated on Saturday, as 8,000 people marched in sweltering heat to demonstrate their support for the resolution and their determination to see their agenda through the remainder of election season.

From the start, it was clear that organizers would emphasize the intersectionality of racial and economic justice. According to Fight for $15 national organizer Kendall Fells, the choice of Richmond for the convention underscored this framework. “We chose Richmond because it’s the onetime capital of the Confederacy,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “and we want to draw links between the way workers are treated today and the racist history of the United States.”

There was a strong showing from religious leaders, as well, who likewise saw a connection between morality and economic justice. As Rev. William Barber of Repairers of the Breach and the North Carolina NAACP noted, “If the racial, social and economic inequalities that plague our nation are all linked, so too are the fights to address them. The battle for civil rights and the battle for living wages are interconnected. These battles are moral battles.”

Organizers were eager to leverage this moral energy towards tangible goals. In its nearly-four years of operation, the campaign has grown from a New York-based collective of fast food workers to an international network representing industries from healthcare to education to retail. At the Richmond gathering, members discussed strategies to elevate their cause among political candidates. Earlier this summer, the group scored a victory when Bernie Sanders moved to include a $15 minimum wage in the Democratic National Platform, but organizers see this as one step on a long road to fair pay. With 64 million Americans still making less than $15 an hour, organizers looked to “take the next steps forward.”

By the end of the convention, Fight for $15 members and allies pledged to mount further demonstrations at upcoming presidential debates, and planned a national day of action for September 12. On that date, Fight for $15 advocates plan to demonstrate at capitol buildings around the country alongside partners from the Moral Revival Movement.

The #FightFor15 convention passed a resolution to participate in the moral revival movement this September pic.twitter.com/amAQjnVG6c

— Fight For 15 (@fightfor15) August 15, 2016

Leaving Richmond, members of the coalition appeared buoyed by the broad show of support, and eager to resume local organizing.

“I was never outspoken. But it changed with Fight for $15” Sam Santana, BK worker #FightFor15 pic.twitter.com/FezVKPYA5M

— Fight For 15 Chicago (@chifightfor15) August 14, 2016

“This year, underpaid Americans will show elected leaders in every state in America that they are a voting bloc that cannot be ignored and will not be denied,” said Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry.

Young Londoners launch independent air pollution billboard campaign

The Guardian | Protest -

Artists teamed with photographer and volunteers to produce posters that will warn young people of air quality on some of the capital’s most polluted streets

Young Londoners concerned about air pollution from traffic have launched an independent billboard campaign to warn their peers of the dangers of diesel fumes.

Artists Vasilisa Forbes and Claire Matthews, together with photographer Terry Paul and a group of 16 to 25-year-old volunteers, have printed 12 large 20 x 12-foot posters which will appear for months on some of London’s most polluted streets.

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Amazon chiefs visit British Museum as part of dam-building protest

The Guardian | Protest -

Leaders of the Munduruku people will be shown the storeroom’s head-dresses and other objects made by their tribe more than 150 years ago

Amazonian leaders, in Britain to protest against the construction of several large dams which they say will destroy the lives of thousands of indigenous people, will on Tuesday be shown head-dresses and other objects made by their tribe more than 150 years ago.

The two chiefs of the Munduruku civilisation, which has flourished peacefully for centuries by fishing and farming along the banks of the great Tapajós river and its tributaries in the rainforests of central Brazil, will visit the massive storeroom of the British Museum in London, where a collection of 50 objects brought to Britain by a Victorian merchant are kept.

Related: Paul McCartney and Ranulph Fiennes back Amazon tribe threatened by dams

Related: Major Amazon dam opposed by tribes fails to get environmental licence

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Dublin: Prison squatted

House Occupation News -

The Debtors Prison on Halston Street has recently been occupied by a collective of artists. The prison has been left empty and has fallen into disrepair. The occupants are currently seeking support and cooperation from the organisation responsible for the maintenance of the building, the Office of Public Works, as well as the local community. The occupants have stated that their intention is to restore the building and open the ground floor for exhibitions and walking tours which would highlight social injustices from the past until today. The occupants are hard at work preparing the space and launching projects.

[Note mainstream media is reporting the squat has already been given a week’s notice of eviction]

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