Tag Archives | Activism

NSA’s Big Defenders Cash Big NSA Checks

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

via Lee Fang at The Intercept:

The debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.

The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest.

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Amnesty International: Whitewashing Another Massacre

Richard Potts (CC BY 2.0)

Richard Potts (CC BY 2.0)

Paul de Rooij writes at CounterPunch:

Amnesty International has issued four reports on the Massacre in Gaza in 2014 [1]. Given the scale of the destruction and the number of fatalities, any attempt to document the crimes committed should be welcomed. But these reports are problematic, and raise questions about this organization [2], including why they were written at all. It also raises questions about the broader human rights industry that are worth considering.

Basic Background

July 2014 marked the onset of the Israeli massacre in Gaza (I will dispense with the Israeli sugar-coated operation names). The Israeli army trained for this attack for several months before finding a pretext to attack Gaza, shattering an existing ceasefire; this was the third such post-“disengagement” (2004) attack, and possibly the worst so far. At least 2,215 were killed and 10,000+ wounded, most of them civilians. The scale of destruction was staggering: tens of thousands of houses rendered uninhabitable; several high-rise buildings struck by huge American-supplied bombs; schools and hospitals targeted; 61 mosques totally destroyed; water purification and sewage treatment plants damaged; Gaza’s main flour mill bombed; all chicken farms ravaged; an incalculable devastation [3].

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‘Our Demand Is Simple: Stop Killing Us’

Jay Caspian Kang tells the story of how ” the first 21st-century civil rights movement” was built by DeRay Mckesson, a 29-year-old former school administrator who has spent much of the past nine months attending and catalyzing civil rights protests such as those in Baltimore, for the New York Times Magazine:

… Since Aug. 9, 2014, when Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department shot and killed Michael Brown, Mckesson and a core group of other activists have built the most formidable American protest movement of the 21st century to date. Their innovation has been to marry the strengths of social media — the swift, morally blunt consensus that can be created by hashtags; the personal connection that a charismatic online persona can make with followers; the broad networks that allow for the easy distribution of documentary photos and videos — with an effort to quickly mobilize protests in each new city where a police shooting occurs.

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Brutality is Our Society’s Trademark—From the Justice System to Healthcare

Protesters hold a banner that reads, "Health Care is a Human Right." (Photo: Jobs With Justice/cc/flickr)

Protesters hold a banner that reads, “Health Care is a Human Right.” (Photo: Jobs With Justice/cc/flickr)

Donna Smith writes at Common Dreams:

Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen so many examples of brutality played out in our cities — and mostly our most impoverished areas — that it isn’t difficult to see why so many people are in the streets.  Many say white people cannot truly understand the deep racial issues that target African American people and their communities, and that is no doubt true.  But that sort of thinking also keeps groups of people apart who might otherwise band together to exert powerful forces on the corruption that manifests itself in so many places in our society.

Since I advocate for transformation of our health care system, I see brutality — economic and physical — exerted on patients all the time.  Yet patients often do not speak up or gather enough support to wage even a small protest. 

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Artists In Residence Inc.

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A.I.R. Gallery’s new residence at 155 Plymouth Street DUMBO Brooklyn

A.I.R. Gallery, also known as Artists in Residence, Inc., first opened to the public in 1972.  Since then, the gallery has established itself as one of the unsung and under acknowledged cultural gems of New York City.

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Frustrated by the dearth of opportunities for women artists, and the wealth of quality work by their peers, 20 women artists established the first gallery for women artists in the United States at 97 Wooster Street in Soho, New York.

After forty-three years, A.I.R. Gallery remains a dynamic presence in the art world. As DUMBO has changed, with more galleries and arts organizations moving to (and leaving) Brooklyn, A.I.R.’s programming has grown to provide a wide range of exhibition opportunities, as well as career building, networking, and professional support for emerging and mid-career women artists.

The gallery’s new location, 155 Plymouth Street, will provide interior galleries and will showcase diverse artistic visions and artistic practices, a hallmark of A.I.R.’s artist-run model.… Read the rest

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“Why I Want Class War” by Lee Camp of Redacted Tonight

We’re already in the middle of a class war perpetrated by the top .01% against the bottom 99.9%. And the riots in Baltimore are only a symptom of that. It’s even worse in the Black community because they’re impacted not only by crippling wealth inequality — but also decades of systemic racism in a society that claims to be free and democratic. Redacted Tonight’s Lee Camp explains how a class war is already underway — but we need to fight back against the powerful rich minority, not with violence, but with class warfare of the mind. (And somehow he makes it funny too.)

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May Day Occupation at Guggenheim Closes Museum #GuggOccupied

Photo from Twitter.

Photo from Twitter.

Benjamin Sutton writes at Hyperallergic:

At noon today, a group of artists and activists including members of the Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction (known as G.U.L.F.) unfurled a large parachute in the atrium of the Guggenheim Museum, demanding to meet with a member of the institution’s board of trustees to discuss the labor conditions at its Abu Dhabi site. At the appointed time, members of the collective threw leaflets inspired by the current On Kawara exhibition from the museum’s upper levels and the protesters articulated their demands through a human microphone chant.

“It’s the most beautiful piece in the show,” remarked a French tourist watching from the top of the museum’s rotunda.

Though the protesters’ banner was swiftly destroyed by a guard wielding scissors, the group was allowed to remain seated in the museum atrium. As many as six NYPD officers arrived on the scene but, an hour after the protest began, they were called off by the museum administration.

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Ann Lewis GILF activist artist’s SHATTERING catharsis

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Ann Lewis (gilf) “They don’t realize we are seeds”, Mixed Media

Joseph Gross Gallery is pleased to present SHATTERING, a solo exhibition of new work by Ann Lewis, also known as gilf!,

Opening Reception:
Thursday, May 7th | 6-9 PM
in Chelsea at 548 W 28th Street, suite 232.

Exhibition Dates: May 7-May 30, 2015 April 16, 2015 (New York, NY)

Based in Brooklyn, Ann Lewis (gilf!) is one of NYC’s most recognized and provocative female street and activist artists. She creates bold public work and gallery work that inspire thoughtfulness, while simultaneously motivating progressive change within communities. Earlier this year, the artist garnered national media attention when she installed a colossal banner resembling police caution tape that read ‘GENTRIFICATION IN PROGRESS’  at the former graffiti mecca 5 Pointz in Queens, New York. Since receiving her bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of Wisconsin Madison, her work has been reviewed in Blouin Art Info, New York Magazine, New York Daily News, Brooklyn Street Art, Gothamist, and Wooster Collective.

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Ten Shocking Facts About Baltimore

English: Riot police form a line to push back protesters and media, Baltimore, April 28, 2015. via VOA

English: Riot police form a line to push back protesters and media, Baltimore, April 28, 2015. via VOA

Bill Quigley writes at CounterPunch:

Were you shocked at the disruption in Baltimore?  What is more shocking is daily life in Baltimore, a city of 622,000 which is 63 percent African American.  Here are ten numbers that tell some of the story.

1:  Blacks in Baltimore are more than 5.6 times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than whites even though marijuana use among the races is similar.   In fact, Baltimore county has the fifth highest arrest rate for marijuana possessions in the USA.

2: Over $5.7 million has been paid out by Baltimore since 2011 in over 100 police brutality lawsuits.   Victims of severe police brutality were mostly people of color and included a pregnant woman, a 65 year old church deacon, children, and an 87 year old grandmother.

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Turning Passion into Achievement

How can film set a mission into motion and result in broadened awareness of something important?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “Activism” is “a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue.”

There are numerous approaches to being an activist. One could go door-to-door in support of an issue. With the internet and the likes of Twitter and Facebook(among other social media networks), getting your passion and mission position in front of eyeballs has become easier, though the clutter can be daunting. In a search on Twitter alone, if you search #getmoneyout (an activist hashtag devoted to getting big money out of politics and the election process), the number of Tweets is endless. On LinkedIn, if you search for groups related to Climate Change, the results are well more than 10 pages long. Yes… the clutter can be daunting.… Read the rest

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