Author Archive | aaroncynic

The Increased Criminalization of Dissent

Jason Wilson (CC)

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

American law enforcement agencies continue to increase their surveillance on an otherwise fairly complacent citizenry, logging an incredible amount of requests for information regarding cell phone and social media use.

Last week, a judge in New York ruled that Twitter must give a court close to three months of information from a user in a pending case involving an Occupy Wall Street protester arrested at a demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge in October. In February, a subpoena from the New York City District Attorney’s office demanded the microblogging site, often used by protesters to update their followers on events happening on the street in real time, give up “any and all user information, including email address, as well as any and all tweets posted for the period of 9/15/2011-12/31/2011” from user Malcolm Harris.” Harris (@destructuremal), managing editor for the New Inquiry online magazine was arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge with 700 other demonstrators.… Read the rest

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If This Country Is So Free, I Can Burn Your Flag Wherever I Please

Debra Sweet (CC)

Natalie Solidarity and Aaron Cynic write at Diatribe Media:

The Fourth of July celebrates of the birth of the United States, its act of finally breaking free from tyrannical England, represented by a reenactment of bombs exploding in the sky. As a nation, we fetishize the loss of life on both sides while we devour factory-farmed meats, consume liquids bottled in poor countries, and with fireworks, literally burn the money we sweat and toil for. We yearn for a respite from our jobs, the right to liberate ourselves for a day from the chains of our work. We are free to trade our bodies, complete with aches and pains, for money. We consider our country the freest on the Earth, with civil liberties we celebrate and cherish like free speech and assembly shrink wrapped to our right to dissent.

Yet, as the bombs made by laborers cheaply in other countries for our enjoyment burst in the air, the feeling of true liberation dissipates as quickly as the smoke from a municipal fireworks show.

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Jail Solidarity, Part Two: Until The Prison Walls Are Rubble

Natalie Solidarity writes at Diatribe Media:

In the depressing afternoon of June 14th, I watched the same tactics from prosecutors regarding freedoms of the remaining NATO5 “terrorists.” After dejectedly exiting 26th and California, my comrades and I drove across Chicago to support another prisoner. In a different courtroom with similar ridiculous charges levied against yet another gentle comrade whose only crime was daring to stand up to the bully state, I watched an Occupier stand in front of a judge. This time, instead of shackles, he entered the room with his right arm heavily bandaged and in a sling, and his body was in disrepair. The bruised, battered and shocked accounts from that horrible night of his brutal and unnecessarily forceful arrest at the Quebec Solidarité rally and Casserole march showed his arm was fine before incarceration. He’s being charged with a crime against police that he did not commit.

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Strategic Missives for Agitation and Occupation

Ralgis (CC)

“The proliferation of political demonstrations and resistance that gained traction under the moniker “Occupy” breathed new life into experimental political practice.

We feel that this development is poised to reinvigorate critical and political theory. Gilles Deleuze once remarked in a conversation with Michel Foucault that, “No theory can develop without eventually encountering a wall, and practice is necessary for piercing this wall.” Deleuze also emphasized that the reverse holds equally true, “Practice is a set of relays from one theoretical point to another, and theory is a relay from one practice to another.”

The arrival of the Occupy movement has broken down barriers encountered in the realm of critical theory. But as it endures and grows, it will continually encounter barriers that will only be overcome by theoretical interventions. The Supplement serves as a cartographer of experimental practices and a depository for theoretical tools.”

Download the PDF at Diatribe MediaRead the rest

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Occupy Chicago: Camaraderie In The Streets; Tenderness In Between Struggles

JeremyA (CC)

Natalie Solidarity writes at Diatribe Media:

Boots on the ground is one aspect of protest, arguably the most fun, most invigorating, and proffers the sentiment that our voices and bodies are transforming the system. With our manic dancing to the song of our unified voices singing, “Ah! Anteee! Anteee-capeeetalista!” in the streets under the ruling class’s nose, how could the public remain unmoved? How can they not join in and support us, even for a moment?

With our energy, spirit, dedication, and words, we are altering reality. We are unstoppable. We are building a better world with every step forward towards the heart of downtown Chicago. When we stand in the streets, screaming for social change, educating and empowering our sisters, brothers and the masses, governing power structures do their best to remove us. Police step in and attempt to silence our voices on behalf of the state by making arrests.… Read the rest

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Stop-and-Frisk and New York’s Freedom Deficit

Gregory Malandrucco writes at USCop.org:

The NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program has created two very distinct sets of experiences for the residents of New York City. One portion of the population’s experience embodies relative freedom as we legally and culturally understand it. However, for minority residents of the city, the experience is part of a larger ongoing relationship to the state as potential crime-suspects and targets of surveillance and harassment. One city, two radically different experiences.

For those of you who have never had the displeasure of experiencing the city as a potential crime-suspect, stop-and-frisk is a tactic that essentially allows police to conduct a search of any person of their choosing at any time. So what defines “a person of their choosing?” Reasonable suspicion can be based on something as simple as “movement” or “clothing.” In 2011, so-called “furtive movements” provided the justification for a stop in more than 50% of 685,724 cases, while “clothes commonly used in a crime” was cited in more than 30,000 instances.

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NATO Chicago: Congratulations for Subversively Preventing Free Speech

Photo: Kate Harnedy

Kate Harnedy writes at Diatribe Media:

I was born and raised in Chicago, and lived here twenty-five years. The past four years, I have been away from my city, lead by my camera to have and document new life experiences. I traveled throughout the west coast and lived in rural Oregon, which included a couple years of communal living. Even while working in a small café/bookstore in rural Oregon, people would often comment on my accent, and knew I was a Chicagoan.

On hearing Chicago would host the NATO/G8 summits this year, I decided I had work to do back home. I needed to get back in touch with people who were connected to what was happening in preparation for the summits, and I contacted an old friend, Aaron Cynic. We met at Columbia College Chicago, during the 2003 Iraq war protests, so I knew he would be active on the ground in Chicago.… Read the rest

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Solidarity During Wartime in the Streets of Chicago

No NATO

Photo: Aaron Cynic

Aaron Cynic writes at Shareable.net:

My feet are completely blistered, my bones are sore. I’m dehydrated, bruised and beyond exhausted. I’ve spent four days on the streets of Chicago, running through streets and alleys, cameras strapped to my body, frantically trying to take in as much information about the protests surrounding the NATO summit on Sunday and Monday.

For two days, world leaders gathered in Chicago to discuss what tens of thousands of activists described as the world’s largest game of Risk, where the stakes amount to life and death for citizens around the globe.

Some might accuse me of hyperbole, but considering the massive amount of civilian casualties (including women and children) in countries like Libya and Kosovo, bombed by NATO forces, the silent voices of the dead would probably disagree.

For the average Chicago resident, hosting the NATO summit fell short of what Mayor Rahm Emanuel predicted in nearly every way.… Read the rest

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Chicago #NoNATO Dispatch Day 1

NoNATO Chicago

Photo: Aaron Cynic

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

The day kicked off in a tame but at least celebratory manner at a rally held in Daley Plaza by National Nurses United. After two hours of speeches and wandering around a square grabbing random flyers and other literature, there was no way that at least part of the 3,000 plus people standing on the square were simply going to go home. Everyone knew it, and one could feel a nervous sense of excitement wafting on the air while the last few chords of Tom Morello’s performance rang out.

As people still milled about and I waited to see exactly when an unpermitted march would begin, the Chicago police made what appeared to be a very targeted snatch and grab of a masked protester. According to reports, the police attempted to ask the man a few questions, he refused to answer and was immediately led away in handcuffs.… Read the rest

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#NoNATO: Breaking The Cycle And Building A Better World

Truman Signing North Atlantic Treaty

The North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington, DC on 4 April 1949.

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

After assuming command of NATO in 1950, then General Eisenhower said “If in 10 years, all American troops stationed in Europe for national defense purposes have not been returned to the United States, then this whole project will have failed.” The Cold War is over. NATO has long outlived its original purpose.The old system of alliances does little to do to protect sovereign nations, and instead gives more ability to industrialized, wealthier nations to exploit weaker States. Even NATO actions that are done under the guise of “humanitarian intervention” often have catastrophic consequences for the local population. As so many of these interventions have included bombing campaigns, civilian casualties are high. Often, NATO forces have used weapons banned by the Geneva Conventions, including depleted uranium and cluster bombs. Both of these weapons have long lasting and disastrous consequences for a local civilian population long after combat ends and forces withdraw.… Read the rest

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