Since this is the time of year when so many of us choose to articulate goals and promise big changes, I say we transfer this concept to the realm of dissent. With that in mind, I offer an admittedly incomplete list of 20 activist resolutions for 2015.
- Join the struggle against patriarchy, sexism, and misogyny
- Don’t carry protest signs that bear the URL of self-promoting sectarian groups
Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
Jan. 5, 2014
Since this is the time of year when so many of us choose to articulate goals and promise big changes, I say we transfer this concept to the realm of dissent. With that in mind, I offer an admittedly incomplete list of 20 activist resolutions for 2015. (Feel free to add yer own!)
- Join the struggle against patriarchy, sexism, and misogyny
- Don’t carry protest signs that bear the URL of self-promoting sectarian groups
- Let this be the year you finally stop falling for the two-party deception
- Environmentalists: wherever and whenever possible, ditch the earth-killing food habits and move quickly and dramatically towards a plant-based way of living
- Vegans: stop bragging about how compassionate you are until you participate in much more than animal rights activism
- Join the struggle against racism and white supremacy
- White people: never again use words and/or phrases like “post-racial” and “play the race card” and “we’re all one” and “I don’t see color”
- Let this be the year you finally stop falling for corporate media propaganda
- Become your own fuckin’ media: write, sing, paint, livestream, blog, tweet, photograph, dance, spread the truth by whatever method works for you
- Get off social media and meet yer comrades face-to-face
- Join the struggle against ableism, ageism, and speciesism
- White people: learn how to be a better ally
- Men: stop being rapists, stop being rapey, stop being quiet in the presence of misogyny, stop blaming feminism for your failure or unwillingness to evolve
- Join the struggle against transphobia, homophobia, and hetero-normativity
- If your favorite tactics haven’t created change by now: Try. Something. New.
- White people: learn how to fuckin’ listen
- Join the struggle against capitalism
- Surrender any and all privileges bestowed upon you
- Choose solidarity, community, and intersectionality instead of ego
- Recognize that all our grievances and all our solutions are connected…
Bonus entry: Listen to Mr. Zinn: "As dogma disintegrates, hope appears. Because it seems that human beings, whatever their backgrounds, are more open than we think, that their behavior cannot be confidently predicted from their past, that we are all creatures vulnerable to new thoughts, new attitudes. And while such vulnerability creates all sorts of possibilities, both good and bad, its very existence is exciting. It means that no human being should be written off, no change in thinking deemed impossible."
Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.
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20 Activist Resolutions for 2015 by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Regime change in Cuba? Che rolling in his grave? The first shriek comes from a liberal, the latter a Marxist. With all due respect to both, I think the former quite confused if he thinks that Castroite Cuba more closely reflects his own Keynesian delusions, and the latter seems not to understand Che’s significant contribution to the normalization of relations between Cuba and the US (even though it occurs long after his death). Che was the Beard’s partner in the charade that was Cuban socialism, and his ally in the effort to rid that island of all forms of dissent and opposition.An Anarchist Critique of the Cuban “Revolution”
by Dave Fryett
December 29, 2014, Seattle
Sri Lanka Guardian
Regime change in Cuba? Che rolling in his grave? The first shriek comes from a liberal, the latter a Marxist. With all due respect to both, I think the former quite confused if he thinks that Castroite Cuba more closely reflects his own Keynesian delusions, and the latter seems not to understand Che’s significant contribution to the normalization of relations between Cuba and the US (even though it occurs long after his death). Che was the Beard’s partner in the charade that was Cuban socialism, and his ally in the effort to rid that island of all forms of dissent and opposition. This seeming capitulation by Raul Castro finds its theoretical justification in a teleology which slithers back through Che and Sankara and Deng and Ho and Lenin, and eventually to Marx and Engels in the First International. More specifically, this fiasco finds its provenance in a single, horrifying, insipid, enervating phrase: the dictatorship of the proletariat.
There will be no regime change in Cuba because the social revolution did not occur. There was instead a Leninist reorganization of capitalist social relations and the ascension of a new ruling class to enforce them. Was anyone quite so gullible as to think that that this would lead to socialism?!? How rich it is to see authoritarian socialists of various stripes hang their heads in holy despair as they try to figure out just where the Cuban Revolution went off the rails. Did anybody really think that this application of Leninist principles was going to produce a different result in Cuba than it had everywhere else? Did anyone really believe that a political party; a party which reproduces within its infrastructure the bourgeois disparities of empowered and powerless, bureaucrat and supplicant, rewarded and punished, rulers and ruled, benefactor and beneficiary; that a party so conceived and constituted could actually create proletarian democracy?
Was anyone quite so witless as to believe that a party whose organizing principle was centralism; a party which disenfranchises the toiling classes, which expunges all organs of worker management and control and utterly divorces the proletariat from public affairs, could at the same time emancipate it?
Well, if anyone had any doubt in their minds about whether this was really a revolution, or just some kind of window-dressing, I’d say the visit put that permanently to rest. There are still people talking like that: This is just a PKK (The Kurdistan Workers’ Party) front, they’re really a Stalinist authoritarian organization that’s just pretending to have adopted radical democracy. No. They’re totally for real. This is a genuine revolution.“No. This is a Genuine Revolution”
By David Graeber and Pinar Öğünç
December 26, 2014
Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics, activist, anarchist David Graeber had written an article for the Guardian in October, in the first weeks of the ISIS attacks to Kobane (North Syria), and asked why the world was ignoring the revolutionary Syrian Kurds.
Mentioning his father who volunteered to fight in the International Brigades in defence of the Spanish Republic in 1937, he asked: “If there is a parallel today to Franco’s superficially devout, murderous Falangists, who would it be but ISIS? If there is a parallel to the Mujeres Libres of Spain, who could it be but the courageous women defending the barricades in Kobane? Is the world -and this time most scandalously of all, the international left- really going to be complicit in letting history repeat itself?”
According to Graeber, the autonomous region of Rojava declared with a “social contract” in 2011 as three anti-state, anti-capitalist cantons, was also a remarkable democratic experiment of this era.
In early December, with a group of eight people, students, activists, academics from different parts of Europe and the US, he spent ten days in Cizire -one of the three cantons of Rojava. He had the chance to observe the practice of “democratic autonomy” on the spot, and to ask dozens of questions.
Now he tells his impressions of this trip with bigger questions and answers why this “experiment” of the Syrian Kurds is ignored by the whole world.
The Institute for the Study of Insurgent Warfare has released The Seemingly Quixotic, but Remarkably Effective, Journey of a Small Band of Extreme Islamists And Why It Seems As If They Are Winning, When They May Not Be, a report on the history and strategy of ISIL and its relevance to anarchist insurgents. Since the report was written ISIL have suffered major setbacks, and no longer seem as if they're winning, but these defeats support the analysis presented in the report. Keep checking our blog for updates on the situation.What We Can Learn From ISIL
The Institute for the Study of Insurgent Warfare has released The Seemingly Quixotic, but Remarkably Effective, Journey of a Small Band of Extreme Islamists And Why It Seems As If They Are Winning, When They May Not Be, a report on the history and strategy of ISIL and its relevance to anarchist insurgents. Since the report was written ISIL have suffered major setbacks, and no longer seem as if they're winning, but these defeats support the analysis presented in the report. Keep checking our blog for updates on the situation.
Over the past weeks the news has been dominated by the discussion of the advances of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS, The Islamic State of Iraq and asSham/Syria) through Iraq, the apparent ease with which this has occurred, and the virtual absence of any concerted resistance from an Iraqi military that was trained and armed through an expensive and arduous US military program. The common narrative in the Western media has been centered around the extremism of ISIL, their supposed military prowess, the “threat” that the organization poses domestically to the United States, and the potential for US military intervention in response. There have been other voices, largely in the think tank community, that have been attempting to inject an element of nuance, through a discussion of the constellation of fighting forces on the ground, a discussion of the political history behind the recent uprising, and some of the possible regional dynamics at work, but these have been largely ignored. This seems to be a result of the opacity of the entire discourse, the density of the recent history in the area, and the complexity of the situation on the ground. However, without this sort of background the current events seem to have sprung from nothingness.
As the dominant narrative goes, the US military drew down forces from Iraq in 2010 after succeeding in their mission to stabilize the political structure that resulted from the US invasion and occupation of the country in 2003. There are clearly issues with this narrative, issues that are clear to anyone that has been following events in Iraq closely for the past decade, but even where doubt about this narrative has persisted there is still a sense that the past few years have been relatively stable in Iraq. Hidden by this narrative is not only the political resentment that has been accelerating since 2010, culminating in a protest and occupation movement that was violently dispersed in the early part of 2014, but also the quiet reorganization that has been undertaken by a number of insurgent groups, as well as the dynamics of a region that is characterized by false borders that traverse vast swaths of open desert, a region that has been in a process of political upheaval for the past three years, particularly in Syria and bordering regions of Iraq. To really understand the media phenomena that is now termed ISIL we have to first be clear about some points. Primary among these is the multiplicity of forces that are arrayed within Iraq, specifically the tribal councils, most importantly in the rural north and east of the country, Kurdish groups, and the myriad of organizations participating in the current insurrection, which has largely, though inaccurately, been attributed completely to ISIL. But before discussing ISIL and the current array of forces around Iraq we will return to a period before ISIL or any of its previous incarnations existed, to May 22, 2003, when Paul Bremer signed Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2 disbanding the Iraqi military and placing 400,000 people with arms and military training out of work. This move is widely considered to have set the stage for the Iraqi insurgency against the US occupation forces, beginning a trajectory that would move from resistance to occupation through sectarian civil war, the founding of AlQaeda in Iraq and the sectarian militias, the collapse of AQI from US counterinsurgency, the Anbar Awakening (a movement which had much to do with American funding of employment) and the betrayal of the Awakening members by first the US and then the Maliki regime.
It is in this background that we can understand how a small organization, less than 5,000 fighters by most estimates, has come to be the most dominant military force in an area roughly the size of Indiana in which there are tens of thousands of insurgents and any number of regime forces, and how they could launch a lightning strike of such speed and ferocity. Without this background it would almost seem as if ISIL is an invincible force, impervious to defeat, with unlimited resources and numbers that vastly outweigh the actual levels of force that they are able to deploy. ISIL is very adept in the use of guerilla tactics, and many fighters within their ranks have previous experience in insurgent conflict in Iraq, Syria, or Chechnya, among other places, but it is not possible to understand the dynamics of the current conflict without examining their tactics through one essential lens; they are really good at projecting force, expanding capacity and moving through space quickly. This approach, though highly effective currently, generates a widely dispersed force dependent on other elements for its success. The strategy becomes difficult to maintain after a common objective dissipates, and makes impossible the inevitable attempt to move on to constitute the state. State building requires occupying, holding and policing space, and much higher concentrations of force than ISIL is currently able to mobilize. But before moving ahead in this analysis it is important to establish events starting from March 19, 2003, a day many of us who were active at the time remember, the day that Shock and Awe began in Iraq.
Perhaps this modest revolution is better than nothing. But it is hard to see how such a revolution could ever inspire the new Arab Spring that is needed to overthrow both ISIS and their Saudi, Gulf and Turkish backers. The Rojava revolution, with its ‘radical Kurdish identity’ and its bizarre semi-religious cult around Ocalan, will always have limited appeal to Arabs. Only a revolution that clearly offers the prospect of communising ALL the private and state capital of the Arab world (i.e. the vast oil wealth) could begin to compete with the appeal of Islam.Some Comments on the 'Rojava Revolution'
Recent eyewitness reports from Janet Biehl, David Graeber and others from Rojava confirm two things:
1) The economic revolution there is still rather modest. This is further confirmed by a RojavaReport interview with an economics minister in Rojava who wants any cooperatives to compete with private capital. He also admits that ‘with the beginning of the revolution … it was even forbidden to break open a cash box’.
2) The feminist revolution has also been modest. Men still predominate both in the streets and workplaces. And, as the PKK website shows, the organisation’s feminist theory derives more from the thoughts of its patriarch, Abdullah Ocalan, than from any independent feminist movement. Furthermore, any empowerment of women derived from joining - or from being forcibly conscripted into - the militia is unlikely to last. As in previous revolutionary wars, it will inevitably be contradicted by the disempowerment of obeying orders, combined with the brutalisation and trauma of war.
Perhaps this modest revolution is better than nothing. But it is hard to see how such a revolution could ever inspire the new Arab Spring that is needed to overthrow both ISIS and their Saudi, Gulf and Turkish backers. The Rojava revolution, with its ‘radical Kurdish identity’ and its bizarre semi-religious cult around Ocalan, will always have limited appeal to Arabs. Only a revolution that clearly offers the prospect of communising ALL the private and state capital of the Arab world (i.e. the vast oil wealth) could begin to compete with the appeal of Islam.
The PKK/PYD were reluctant to join the anti-Assad uprising in 2012 and are now equally hesitant to overthrow private property. Instead, having allied with Assad’s murderous dictatorship in the past, they are now allying with the US and its murderous bombing campaign. This campaign may have saved Kobane but it has also probably encouraged even more Arabs to distrust the Kurds and to join ISIS. And this is now pushing the region even further into an inter-imperialist bloodbath.
The Rojava delegation never met with the top PKK/PYD politician, Salih Muslim - perhaps because he was busy having a more important meeting with US diplomats. This meeting must have discussed the fact that the PKK/PYD are now trying to work with other more bourgeois Kurdish parties - an arrangement that may have been a condition of further US support.
Evidently, the only hope for the Kurdish proletariat is to overthrow ALL the Kurdish political parties - including the middle-class technocrats of the PKK/PYD. And any such genuine revolution will inevitably require inspiration from proletarian uprisings elsewhere.
Such a scenario may seem impossibly optimistic. But it is probably more realistic than David Graeber's apparent hope that the capitalist Rojava state and its police will somehow wither away once the people have been trained to police themselves!
Today in Bil'in demo 6 Israelis and about doze internationals joined dozens of Bil'iners. Due to changing wind many of us succeeded to resist the efforts of the Israeli armed tugs to disperse us for about an hour. However, when the wind changed to a western one most of us had to return to the village.
This 26-12-14 Friday in Bil'in demo. 5 Israelis and many international activists joined the Bil'iners in the march towards the lands returned and the new separation wall.
The Israeli armed forces stopped us with barrage of tear gas from even approaching the route of the dismantled separation fence. Taking advantage of the friendly northern wind many of us succeeded to around the armored cars and defied them in more than an hour of confrontation.
In our weekly demonstration in Turmus Aya near Ramalah today , in spite all the terror of the Israeli occupation, we have succeeded to plant the olive trees and to raise our voice .
Bil'in activists participated in the demo in Turmus Ayya (where two weeks ago a Palestinian minister was murdered). Two Palestinians, one Israeli, and one international activist were arrested by the Israeli army today (19.12.14 in the peaceful demonstration in Turmus Ayya - Mohammad Al-Khatib (and another 3 activists). Abdallah Abu Rahma. was injured by a direct hit of a sound bomb.
Dozen and the other Palestinian were released s of citizens from suffocation and hit by rubber coated still bullets, after prayers on Friday afternoon, during clashes near the village of "Turmus'ayya"...The Israeli and the International activist released few hours later, Mohammed and the other Palestinian were released on Monday.
Activestills were there to capture it: http://bit.ly/1AB2CF9
19-12-14 The weekly Friday demonstration in the village of Nabi Saleh launched this week from the center of the village, as protesters, villagers and solidarity activists a like marched together towards the expropriated spring. The IDF attempted to disperse the march with tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets. Soldiers raided the village, chasing after Palestinian teens. Several soldiers invaded a private residence, threatening to arrest the family’s children for throwing stones.
David Reeb http://youtu.be/dcS2DrMP038
Musical Marsh in Al Maasara and a settler replies with live bullets.
The Peaceful Demonstration started from the center of Al Maasara Village, South of Bethlehem. This time the demonstration was with Musicians without Borders group who played music in an initiative to feel the Christmas in a place that is far few kilometers from the Jesus cradle.
The participants were singing and holding the Palestinian flag, when the demonstration reached the Road “60” a settler started firing the protesters, he wanted to kill them.
Tens wounded due to the brutality of the Israeli army, locals and International supporters were attacked as they marched to the village's confiscated lands.
PSCC called for the activity to stand their ground and fight in honor of Ziad Abu Ain martyr.
Al Maasara, south of Bethlehem, is one of many villages that have developed Popular Committees to nonviolently resist construction of “apartheid wall.” And this time the popular committee in Al Maasara called for punishment for the settler who wanted to kill the peaceful protesters.
Friday weekly demonstration, 19.12.2014
As we reached the village - well before the march started a strong smell of gas.flooded us.
Tearfully we realized the falsify statement that the occupation army fires the means of dispersing "Rioting" gas only on "processions without permission" and "illegal demonstrations". They shoot just because they can.
On Friday, participated in the demonstration "a senior Fatah official of Qalqilya and Nablus" and the demonstration was Particularly festive. Less solemn and dignified was the conduct of the army of occupation. The army was waiting inside the village leaving far behind the lines the forbidden road.
The amount of gas that was fired yesterday in Qadum was unusual even to the experienced of us.The whole Village was shrouded in gas. Plenty of gas. They fired stun grenades, rubber.coated steel bullets and even the first time regular live ammunition (not the 22 kind). Several people were hurt after inhaling tear gas or heated by canisters and were treated on the spot. The http://leg.of one Palestinian youth was hit by a live bullet. The bullet entered on one side of the leg and came out on the other side. Non-lethal crowd-control measures? Not even their according to their claims. Do I meet the criminal shooter in Salem? Not likely. It seems that everything is possible these days.The tear gas clouds finally dissipated and it was probably the signal to use to spray the skunk stench water so its mark will remain for days.
In Qassum the Qadumians know to protect their home. Some older women moved forward and stood at the edge of the demonstration not far from the main crowd, one carrying a prayer. A group of girls cheerfully advanced with signs - advancing and retreating, back and forth. Will this be a feminist women's demonstration ? Not.But it was a pretty sight.
I wish recovery to the injured.And thanks to Abdullah Qadumi for this video.
Don't Say We Didn't Know 433
On Wednesday morning December 10th, 2014, Border Policemen in Hebron fired teargas near the Kiton Checkpoint (209), not far from the Palestinian elementary school Ibrahimiya. The gas penetrated the schoolhouse and the principal had to send the children home. One child was hospitalized. On the next day the Israeli forces repeated the action and fired teargas grenades. At Hadiya three teargas grenades landed at the entrance of the school, in Al Khalil four teargas grenades landed in the schoolyard. A child was physically hurt from a teargas grenade and hospitalized. Both schools were closed.
On Monday, December 8th, 2014, Israeli government agents escorted by police demolished the Bedouin village of Al Arakib in the Negev once more.
DON’T SAY WE DIDN’T KNOW #434
According to the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality’s home demolition statistics, there were 859 Negev Bedouin homes demolished between July 2013 and June 1014!
78% were demolished by the owners under threat by the inspectors that if they didn’t demolish their homes themselves, the State would demolish them, and the owners would have to pay the State’s demolition costs.
On Wednesday, government representatives escorted by police came to demolish homes in Bedouin localities in the Negev. In Tel Arad, north of Kseife, a large addition to a mosque was destroyed. In A-Zarnug, north of the Beer Sheva – Dimona highway, they demolished two structures. In Al-Ghara, west of Nevatim air force base, they demolished a structure, and in Laqiya, they demolished a structure.
For further information: email@example.com
* From my blog at: http://ilanisagainstwalls.blogspot.com
See at the blog previous reports about the joint struggles the Anarchists Against the Wall take part in.
See also: Stories from the year 2100 - 50 years after the revolution
Ahdut (Unity) blog: http://unityispa.wordpress.com/
Ahdut (Unity) Position paper about the Palestinian struggle
English - http://www.anarkismo.net/article/27019
Arabic - http://www.ahewar.org/debat/show.art....aid=430180
When Police Benevolent Association chief Patrick Lynch said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has the blood of two dead cops on his hands, he was issuing a physical threat to both the person of the mayor and the civil authority to which the police are subordinate and sworn to protect. In a nation under the rule of law, such a statement by a representative of an armed and enflamed constabulary – 35,000-strong, the equivalent of three light infantry divisions – would trigger an immediate defensive response from the State, to guard against mutiny. But, of course, no such thing happened.Cops Threaten a Blue Coup in New York City
by Glen Ford
Black Agenda Report
“The police union chief instructed his members to impose a martial law-type policing regime on the city.”
When Police Benevolent Association chief Patrick Lynch said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has the blood of two dead cops on his hands, he was issuing a physical threat to both the person of the mayor and the civil authority to which the police are subordinate and sworn to protect. In a nation under the rule of law, such a statement by a representative of an armed and enflamed constabulary – 35,000-strong, the equivalent of three light infantry divisions – would trigger an immediate defensive response from the State, to guard against mutiny. But, of course, no such thing happened.
When Lynch’s PBA declared, in a prepared statement, that “we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a ‘wartime’ police department” and “will act accordingly,” that constituted an instruction to union members to impose a martial law-type policing regime on the city – with no authorization other than the weapons they carry. Sounds very much like a coup.
On Internet message boards, police union activists instructed the rank and file to refuse to respond to incidents unless two units were dispatched to the scene, and to double up even if given orders to the contrary. Under this “wartime” footing, the police would simply seize the power to deploy and assign themselves, as they liked – and to hell with the chain of command and civilian authorities.
1964, at the height of the civil rights movement, the organizer Ella Baker said: "Until the killing of black men, black mothers' sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother's sons, we who believe in freedom cannot rest." Bernice Johnson Reagon later wrote “Ella's Song" based on those words, made famous by the a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock.What We Can Learn From Ella Baker In A Post-Ferguson Era
By Peter Dreier
Talking Points Memo
December 26, 2014
1964, at the height of the civil rights movement, the organizer Ella Baker said: "Until the killing of black men, black mothers' sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother's sons, we who believe in freedom cannot rest." Bernice Johnson Reagon later wrote “Ella's Song" based on those words, made famous by the a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock.
Baker's words continue to resonate today, as we witness the resurgence of a new civil rights movement, sparked by the police killings of young black men, but rooted in the underlying grievances of racial injustice around jobs, housing, schools, and the criminal justice system. As the protests spread from Ferguson to cities around the country, today's young activists can learn much from Baker's ideas. Working behind the scenes, she helped transform the Southern sit-in protests into a powerful movement for racial justice, led by young people with lots of anger and determination, but little political experience.
Late in the afternoon of February 1, 1960, four young black men—Ezell Blair Jr., David Richmond, Franklin McCain, and Joseph McNeil, all students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro—visited the local Woolworth's store. They purchased school supplies and toothpaste, and then they sat down at the store's lunch counter and ordered coffee. "I'm sorry," said the waitress. "We don't serve Negroes here."
It never fails. Every time there is critical resistance, an uprising and continued unrest people get dragged back to compliance (with permits) under the rhetoric of being peaceful or nonviolent. The movement gets dragged out of the street to sit attentively at the feet of the oppressors with speakers that tell us change will come if we are calm (and peaceful). Nevermind the normalized police escort, or the “security team”. We are just following the rules, nothing to see here.How Liberalism Infects Movement Building
by Against Fascism: LA in the Streets
It never fails. Every time there is critical resistance, an uprising and continued unrest people get dragged back to compliance (with permits) under the rhetoric of being peaceful or nonviolent. The movement gets dragged out of the street to sit attentively at the feet of the oppressors with speakers that tell us change will come if we are calm (and peaceful). Nevermind the normalized police escort, or the “security team”. We are just following the rules, nothing to see here.
Rhetoric about resistance and direct action becomes meaningless, lost in the symbolism of marching for civic change. Movement managers try to make the movement mainstream-popular, inviting celebrities and business leaders to come forward, while at the same time pushing out radical elements that released pressure valves to begin with. If not directly, through terrible tactical choices that alienate people (like working with the police who are critically engaged in counter insurgency and developing profiles on agitators to undermine the movement).
Never mind, that working with the city and police legitimizes those avenues, while making it easier for the police to knowingly divide and attack groups that take nonpermitted action or respond to their conditions without the permission of the state. Is this what solidarity looks like?
Instead of hearing about what groups are doing to sustain themselves during these uprisings, we hear more and more about demands. Police reforms that usually come with dangerous baggage, more technology and funding for the police. But the movement is so pressured by popular media and civic leaders to clarify its goals, policy change becomes a priority before much needed discussions can happen. Before policy change can be challenged not as a goal, but maybe a tactic to gain concessions in a larger fight to abolish the infrastructure that makes racial oppression profitable.
As I write, news comes that a man with a long psychiatric history has driven his car into several groups of pedestrians in Dijon, France, declaring himself to be “acting for the children of Palestine.” While the French prime minister mentioned “the ravages of propaganda on fragile minds,” no one has blamed the children of Palestine.Social Movements Didn’t Kill the NYPD Officers. A Man With Untreated Mental Illness and a Gun Did.
Patricia J. Williams
December 23, 2014
As I write, news comes that a man with a long psychiatric history has driven his car into several groups of pedestrians in Dijon, France, declaring himself to be “acting for the children of Palestine.” While the French prime minister mentioned “the ravages of propaganda on fragile minds,” no one has blamed the children of Palestine.
In the United States, news was still fresh that Ismaaiyl Brinsley, also a man with a history of untreated mental disease, shot his ex-girlfriend in the stomach, then took a bus to New York and executed two police officers, declaring himself to be acting on behalf of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Here, however, there were torrents of blame. Patrick Lynch, head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, announced that Mayor Bill de Blasio had “blood on his hands” for sympathizing with protesters against police misconduct. Former New York governor George Pataki called the killings the “predictable outcome of divisive, anti-cop rhetoric” by Attorney General Eric Holder. Former police commissioner Ray Kelly blamed “the reality” that stop-and-frisk policies had been an issue in the campaign, as though policing policy should never be a matter of electoral politics. Rudolph Giuliani, seeking higher moral ground, also blamed President Obama. And within hours of the tragedy, Fox News was furiously blaming its usual lineup of villains: Al Sharpton, soft-hearted liberals, soft-headed academics, outside agitators, and anyone who’d joined in any protest anywhere in the United States since last August, when Brown was shot in Ferguson.
On TV, a commentator asked with great earnestness if Brinsley’s rampage was “connected to national events.” There are, of course, many crimes committed in the name of national events—or Jodie Foster, or Andy Warhol, or space aliens. Jared Lee Loughner shot a congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, whom he reportedly despised from afar. Aurora, Colorado, mass shooter James Holmes was a Batman fan and carried out his rampage at a screening of the latest Dark Knight film. And in Adam Lanza’s horrific school shooting at Sandy Hook, no motive was ever established. So before we lay responsibility at the feet of any more politicians or movements or hip-hop or the pope, let’s acknowledge what these particular incidents have in common: “untreated mental illness” in our land of guns aplenty.
WASHINGTON, DC — A disturbing confession by John Elliot, a former Fairfax County police officer, illustrates exactly what happens when cops try to get away with murdering American citizens. Recall all of the cases you’ve heard of officers shooting someone and moments later conveniently “finding a gun” near the dead person’s body.Remember This When the Media Tells You “The Cop Had to Shoot Him Because He Was Armed”
WASHINGTON, DC — A disturbing confession by John Elliot, a former Fairfax County police officer, illustrates exactly what happens when cops try to get away with murdering American citizens.
Recall all of the cases you’ve heard of officers shooting someone and moments later conveniently “finding a gun” near the dead person’s body.
In these cases, the victim’s family will typically come forward and state that their dead loved one never had a gun and, in fact, never even owned any guns or knew how to use them.
But once the story of a gun being “found” on the victim is promulgated by the mainstream media, the family’s testimony gets drowned out.
How is it that these guns (sometimes knives) keep showing up on people after being shot by police?
The answer: throw-away weapons.
Throw-aways, or what are sometimes called drop weapons, became very popular in Iraq. Some US troops would carry a few throw-away AKs in their vehicles.
A man of the Co Tu nation prepares to fish in a river that likely supported humans long before historical records began. But this might be one of the last times. Small-scale, high-pollution gold mining is spreading across the lands of the Co Tu, in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, as well as larger corporate extractive industries."The Day When Change Will Come" – It's Time To Break the Vicious Circle of Capitalism
by Steve Rushton
December 23, 2014
A man of the Co Tu nation prepares to fish in a river that likely supported humans long before historical records began. But this might be one of the last times. Small-scale, high-pollution gold mining is spreading across the lands of the Co Tu, in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, as well as larger corporate extractive industries.
Around the fisherman, large diesel-powered sifting machines dredge the water, discoloring the wide river with a brown, oil-stained effluent. The discharge contains a high concentration of heavy metals including mercury, which will poison the fish and those who eat them. Further upstream, I walk around an open cast gold mine, a swathe of mud hills and tailings ponds. Until recently, this area was as rich in biodiversity as the tropical rainforest that surrounds it.
I discover that the workers extracting the gold are from different indigenous nations. Vietnam has 54 recognized indigenous groups distinct in language, culture and means of livelihood. These workers left their communities as their livelihoods became untenable due to a vast expansion of "economic development." A Vietnamese NGO worker accompanying me during my research makes it possible to interview the fisherman and gold prospectors.
Vicious Circle of Capitalism
Those who fished and relied on the river for their sustenance will be likely forced to shift their livelihood to become part of the global extractive economy. This is the vicious circle of capitalism, which is speeding up the destruction of the commons, driven by a world economy based on consumption and growth. The bigger the economy grows, the more that rich, bio-diverse areas shrink.
For months now I, along with leaders and staff from my organization, and other allies, have been part of the local and national BlackLivesMatters movement. We’ve, mobilized communities in demonstrations, advocated for police accountability legislation, conducted know-your-rights sessions, and led cop-watch trainings, among others things.Why I’m Still Protesting
By Mark Winston Griffith
December 26, 2014
For months now I, along with leaders and staff from my organization, and other allies, have been part of the local and national BlackLivesMatters movement. We’ve, mobilized communities in demonstrations, advocated for police accountability legislation, conducted know-your-rights sessions, and led cop-watch trainings, among others things.
In every instance, we have explicitly fought against acts of violence in our communities, whether practiced by police or civilians. And over the years, we've protested gun trafficking and mourned neighbor-on-neighbor crime. Which is why, in the wake of the recent killing of two police officers just blocks away from my organization’s office, preceded by the shooting of a young woman in Baltimore, my organization has continued our social justice and community healing work, despite calls by Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo and others to end it.
We fully appreciate the delicateness and solemnity of the moment. And we, of course, condemn Saturday’s shootings just like we do any other senseless violence in our neighborhoods. Our hearts go out to the families of Officers Liu and Ramos, as well as Shaneka Thompson, the woman who was shot by Ismaaiyl Brinsley. The coldhearted killings of officers Liu and Ramos are all the more shocking because these kinds of executions of police officers have become increasingly rare in New York City compared to twenty years ago, although they can never be rare enough. Gun play and the casual assaults of women, however, have unfortunately remained regular every day occurrences.