Tag Archives: Protests

“There’s Gonna Be a Revolution, Don’t Ya Know?” . . . BEATLES

From Istanbul to Brasilia the people are rising up. The media would have us believe that the civic disturbances are merely disgruntled youth but in country after country and in the United States as well, while young people are prominent, the protests are intergenerational. The demonstrations in Turkey were guided by labor unions and the feminist movement objecting to sweatshop working conditions and the subjection of women. In Brazil, it is not a grievance about excess tuition or class scheduling but a deep criticism of a Government that has forgotten the common man and woman. This is not a mere rebellion, it is Revolution.

A guiding role has been assumed by an octogenarian philosopher, Gene Sharp —

Sharp, who has been described as “a revolutionary’s best friend, or, perhaps more accurately, as a dictatorship’s worst nightmare,” and “the Machiavelli of Nonviolence” in 1973 outlined “198 Methods of Nonviolent Action” in the first of many of his works that provide a road map for orchestrating protest movements around the world.

Beyond its discussion of tactics as basic as public speeches, petitions, picketing and vigils, Sharp’s list defines how to create a unique and recognizable identity for a movement. It recommends establishing“symbolic colors,” slogans, caricatures, sounds and symbols in service of the greater cause, and draws upon the myriad ways a political party or company creates an identity for voters or consumers to associate with its candidates or products, as McDonald’s has done with its red-and-yellow color scheme, Ronald McDonald and the Golden Arches.

Copies of Sharp’s works have been disseminated around the world despite government bans in nations from Myanmar to Venezuela, and the results are evident even in uprisings where individual protesters may not be familiar with his work, but whose leaders are.

When Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement was struggling to recover from a failed effort to force reform in 2005, its leaders tossed around “crazy ideas” about bringing down the government to achieve the movement’s aims, Ahmed Maher, a leading strategist who later played a key role in the successful overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, told the NY Times. Maher said the group stumbled upon Sharp’s writings while examining the Serbian movement OTPOR, which he had influenced, and used them in the Egyptian uprising.

Sharp’s recommendations were also evident in the successful ROSE REVOLUTION in the nation of Georgia in 2003 — an image of a red rose was used to rally supporters under one common symbol — and in the Iranian uprising, which followed the 2009 presidential election and grew out of the Green Movement remembered for its masterful appropriation of the color and for embracing the cry “We Are Neda”after a young girl was killed by government forces.

And, of course, they were evident in the Occupy Movement in the United States, which arose after the financial crash of 2008 to protest systemic financial inequities. Occupy relied on overarching slogans such as “Whose Streets? Our Streets. Occupy Wall Street” with a logo depicting a ballet dancer atop the New York City financial district’s iconic bull statue, as well as the catchy “Occupy [fill-in-the-blank]” franchise. The template for the Occupy Movement was replicated in countries across the world.

At 85, Sharp continues to actively guide young radicals who trek to London to meet with him. The difference, today, is that the tactics of branding have been amplified through the use of common accoutrement and global communications technology, the latter of which is beyond Sharp, who uses neither Facebook nor Twitter.

SOURCE: http://www.ibtimes.com/branding-global-dissent-occupy-wall-street-rio-de-janeiro-1315009

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Psst! American Workers Take a Look at Chinese Workers, Maybe They Have an Idea

Dozens of Chinese workers angry over a pay dispute have held their U.S. boss hostage for five days, the American businessman said.

Chip Starnes, co-founder and president of Specialty Medical Supplies China, has been trapped in the company’s suburban Beijing factory since Friday. He told CNN it’s all because of a misunderstanding about layoffs and severance packages.

“I tried to leave a day and a half ago, and there was like 60 or 70 of them here inside every entrance, and every exit was barricaded,” Starnes said Tuesday from behind the gates of the factory. “I can’t go anywhere.”

SOURCE: CNN (June 25, 2013)

Book Notes: Protest Politics in Minnesota

Rhoda Gilman, activist and historian, has released “Stand Up!” a brief account of protest politics in the North Star State. Published by the Minnesota Historical Society, the author provides a perfect orientation for the student or activist who would like to relate today’s events to what has gone on before.

Readers will learn that entrenched power can be overcome because it has been overcome. Business interests in Minneapolis dictated that city’s policy and maintained its own private army to enforce its will. Dissatisfied workers weren’t merely laid off, they were laid out — beaten or killed for opposing what was euphemously called the “Citizens Alliance”.

The most important lesson which today’s activists should learn from history is that those who seek massive amounts of money and the power that goes with such wealth will do anything to win. This means lying, stealing, bribing, election-fixing, physical violence and murder. Changing the world won’t be a picnic in the park.

Gilman’s STAND UP! is the hors d’ouvre for what should become a 12-course meal in reading. Bon appetit!

Carrement Dans le Rouge

Chris Hedges                 

TruthDig (June 3, 2012) excerpt

I gave a talk last week at Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University to the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Many in the audience had pinned small red squares of felt to their clothing. The carre rouge, or red square, has become the Canadian symbol of revolt. It comes from the French phrase carrement dans le rouge, or “squarely in the red,” referring to those crushed by debt.

The streets of Montreal are clogged nightly with as many as 100,000 protesters banging pots and pans and demanding that the old systems of power be replaced. The mass student strike in Quebec, the longest and largest student protest in Canadian history, began over the announcement of tuition hikes and has metamorphosed into what must swiftly build in the United States—a broad popular uprising. The debt obligation of Canadian university students, even with Quebec’s proposed 82 percent tuition hike over several years, is dwarfed by the huge university fees and the $1 trillion of debt faced by U.S. college students. The Canadian students have gathered widespread support because they linked their tuition protests to Quebec’s call for higher fees for health care, the firing of public sector employees, the closure of factories, the corporate exploitation of natural resources, new restrictions on union organizing, and an announced increase in the retirement age. Crowds in Montreal, now counting 110 days of protests, chant “On ne lâche pas”—“We’re not backing down.”

The Quebec government, which like the United States’ security and surveillance state is deaf to the pleas for justice and fearful of widespread unrest, has reacted by trying to stamp out the rebellion. It has arrested hundreds of protesters. The government passed Law 78, which makes demonstrations inside or near a college or university campus illegal and outlaws spontaneous demonstrations in the province. It forces those who protest to seek permission from the police and imposes fines of up to $125,000 for organizations that defy the new regulations. This, as with the international Occupy movement, has become a test of wills between a disaffected citizenry and the corporate state. The fight in Quebec is our fight. Their enemy is our enemy. And their victory is our victory.

This sustained resistance is far more effective than a May Day strike. If Canadians can continue to boycott university classrooms, continue to get crowds into the streets and continue to keep the mainstream behind the movement, the government will become weak and isolated. It is worth attempting in the United States. College graduates in Canada, the U.S., Spain, Greece, Ireland and Egypt, among other countries, cannot find jobs commensurate with their education. They are crippled by debt. Solidarity means joining forces with all those who are fighting to destroy global, corporate capitalism. It is the same struggle. A blow outside our borders weakens the corporate foe at home. And a boycott of our own would empower the boycott across the border.

The din of citizens beating pots and pans reverberates nightly in cities in Quebec. The protesters are part of what has been nicknamed the army of the cacerolazo, or the casseroles. I heard the same clanging of pots and pans when I covered the protests against Manuel Noriega in Panama and the street protests against Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Quebec Premier Jean Charest, who despite Law 78 has been unable to thwart the street demonstrations, is the latest victim. I hope the next is Barack Obama or Mitt Romney; they, and Charest, are puppets manipulated by corporate power.

The importance of the Occupy movement, and the reason I suspect its encampments were so brutally dismantled by the Obama administration, is that the corporate state understood and feared its potential to spark a popular rebellion. I do not think the state has won. All the injustices and grievances that drove people into the Occupy encampments and onto the streets have been ignored by the state and are getting worse. And we will see eruptions of discontent in the weeks and months ahead.

If these mass protests fail, opposition will inevitably take a frightening turn. The longer we endure political paralysis, the longer the formal mechanisms of power fail to respond, the more the extremists on the left and the right—those who venerate violence and are intolerant of ideological deviations—will be empowered. Under the steady breakdown of globalization, the political environment has become a mound of tinder waiting for a light.

250,000 in Canadian Protest

Beginning as a student protest against tuition hikes, Government suppression provoke 1000s more to join in opposition to Police-State attempt to quell dissent.

Chicago Cops Treating Protestors As Terrorists

Czar Rahm Emanuel, close personal friend of the Emperor Obama, using his Cossacks to suppress those protesting the NATO confab in Chicago

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) condemns a preemptivepolice raid that took place at approximately 11:30pm Wednesday in the Bridgeport neighborhood, and instances of harassment on the street, in which Chicago police are unlawfully detaining, searching, and questioning NATO protesters. The Bridgeport raid was apparently conducted by the Organized Crime Division of the Chicago Police Department and resulted inas many as 8 arrests.

According to witnesses in Bridgeport, police broke down a door to accessa 6-unit apartment building near 32nd & Morgan Streets without a search warrant. Police entered an apartment with guns drawn and tackle done of the tenants to the floor in his kitchen. Two tenants were handcuffed for more than 2 hours in their living room while police searched their apartment and a neighboring unit, repeatedly calling one of the tenants a “Commie faggot.” A search warrant produced 4hours after police broke into the apartment was missing a judge’s signature, according to witnesses. Among items seized by police in the Bridgeport raid were beer-making supplies and at least one cellphone.

“Preemptive raids like this are a hallmark of National Special Security Events,” said Sarah Gelsomino with the NLG and the People’s Law Office. “The Chicago police and other law enforcement agencies should be aware that this behavior will not be tolerated and will result in real consequences for the city.”

In another incident, 3 plainclothes police officers unlawfully stopped, handcuffed, and searched a NATO protester on Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive at approximately 2pm today. According to the protester, he did not consent to a search and there was no probable cause to detain him. The police also photographed and questioned him about where he was from, how he got to Chicago, how long it took, what he was doing here, where he was staying, who he was with, and how long he was planning to say in Chicago.The protester refused to answer any questions and was eventually released.

The NLG has received reports that at least 20 people have been arrestedso far this week, and two people are still in custody, not including the Bridgeport residents who are still unaccounted for. One of the protesters currently being detained, Danny Johnson of Los Angeles, has been accused of assaulting a police officer during an immigrant rights rally onTuesday afternoon. However, multiple witnesses on the scene, including an NLG Legal Observer, recorded a version of events that contradict the accusations of police.

During the week of NATO demonstrations, the NLG is staffing a legal office and answering calls from activists on the streets and in jail. The NLG will also be dispatching scores of Legal Observers to record police misconduct and representing arrestees in the event the city pursues criminal prosecutions

SOURCE: OccupyChicago

Indignados Take to the Streets In Spain

(Photo courtesy of WIKIPEDIA)

On the 15th of May 2011, thousands of “indignant ones” or indignados, demonstrated their opposition to government policies that bailed out bankers while imposing drastic budget cuts on ordinary people.

The motto of the Indignados is “We are not commodities in the hands of bankers and politicians”. The protests have much in common with similar popular demonstrations in Iceland, Greece and Portugal where Governments are being used to balance bank financial statements by stealing from the common people, again. The Indignados are united in telling the politicians and financial crooks, “NO MAS” !

The first anniversay of the 15th of May Movement will likely witness a revival of the demonstrations.