Tag Archives | civil disobedience

Revolution vs. Rationalization: The Militarization of the Police and The Death of Rebellion

DonkeyHotey (CC by-sa 2.0)

DonkeyHotey (CC by-sa 2.0)

[Editor’s note: For future reference, Willis Gordon will be running a column on Disinfo.com: “Photobombing Salman Rushdie.”]

I initially wrote this to be presented to a crowd of highbrow poets and writers in the aftermath of the Brooklyn Book Festival. Considering my audience, I started reading up on classic poets and philosophers and found myself revisiting some of my favorite English Philosophers to get a handle on America’s current events. One of these sages, the Philosopher Jagger once said in 1968 that “in sleepy London town there’s just no place for a street fighting man.”

That was 44 years ago. That sleepy London Town is now the entire American landscape, and the street fighting man has not been displaced by some massively oppressive police force, totalitarian government, private death squad or even overfunded espionage tactics. It was us. We are so afraid of true revolution, or even change, that we have conditioned ourselves to shrink back from any indication of it.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Sick-Outs and Walk-Outs: Students and Teachers Escalate Fight Against Censorship of History

Students from Columbine High School protest proposed changes to AP History curriculum last week. (Photo: John Lebya/@presto89/Twitter)

Students from Columbine High School protest proposed changes to AP History curriculum last week. (Photo: John Lebya/@presto89/Twitter)

More updates on the attempted censorship of history in school districts Jefferson County, Colorado.

via Deirdre Fulton at Common Dreams:

A passionate coalition of teachers and students in Jefferson County, Colorado are continuing their fight against censorship this week, employing some of the very tactics the conservative school board wants to eliminate from history textbooks.

Seventy-two of 102 teachers at Golden and Jefferson high schools called in absent on Monday, forcing both schools to close for the day; teacher “sick-outs” also closed two high schools on September 19.

Meanwhile, several dozen students from Carmody Middle School walked out of classes on Tuesday morning, marking the first time younger students have joined an ongoing protest by teachers and high schoolers against proposed changes to the district’s history curriculum. Hundreds of students from the majority of the county’s 17 high schools have staged walk-outs and protests over the last two weeks.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Protests in Pakistan: Curiously Underreported by International News

Thanks to a Facebook commenter on this post, the underreporting of the protests in Pakistan has been brought to my attention. While some of the mainstream media has covered these protests, their narrative has been dwarfed by other, more popular stories. Here’s a short recap from different sources.

551px-Konferenz_Pakistan_und_der_Westen_-_Imran_Khan_(4155877864)_cropped

Imran Khan, Pakistani politician and former cricketer.

“Imran Khan vows to carry on protest till Pakistan PM resigns” via Arab News:
(September 28)

LAHORE: Opposition politician Imran Khan has vowed to continue his protest against Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif until the leader resigns over allegations of election rigging.

Khan, along with populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, has been staging a sit-in in capital Islamabad since August 15.

Last week he took his protest to Pakistan’s largest city Karachi and on Sunday he addressed thousands of people in his home town and Pakistan’s second largest city — Lahore, which is also the home town of Sharif.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Colorado students host walkout to protest censorship in AP history curriculum

Vitruvian by Mr.Enjoy via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Vitruvian by Mr.Enjoy via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Students in Colorado are fighting “the removal of all mentions of civil disobedience from texts” with some good ol’ civil disobedience.

via The Raw Story:

On Tuesday, hundreds of high school students in Jefferson County, Colorado walked out of classes this week to protest conservative censorship of the national Advanced Placement U.S. history class curriculum.

According to the Denver Post, students and teachers are protesting the removal of all mentions of civil disobedience from texts and classroom materials intended for the teaching of AP U.S. history.

Tuesday’s protests were an extension of a Monday walkout, in which 250 students at Evergreen High School in Golden walked out of morning classes to protest at Jefferson County School District headquarters.

“I want honesty in my classroom. Teachers want honesty in the classroom,” said a letter that students presented to school Superintendent Dan McMinimee on Monday.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

‘They’re Right': Citing Climate, Prosecutor Drops Charges Against Coal Blockaders

Ken Ward (left) and Jay O’Hara on the boat they used to block the delivery of 40,000 tons of coal to a power plant in Somerset. (Photo: 350Mass)

Ken Ward (left) and Jay O’Hara on the boat they used to block the delivery of 40,000 tons of coal to a power plant in Somerset. (Photo: 350Mass)

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

A local district attorney in Massachusetts surprised parties on all sides on Monday after he sided with two climate justice activists who employed a “necessity defense” to justify their use of a small lobster boat to block the path of an enormous coal freighter trying to dock at the Brayton Point Power Station in the town of Somerset last year.

Several serious charges were brought against two men, Jay O’Hara and Ken Ward, for their attempt to wedge their boat, the Henry David T., between the dock and an approaching coal freighter, the Energy Enterprise, on May 13, 2013. (Read Common Dreams original reporting on the action here.)

For the brazen act of civil disobedience both O’Hara and Ward faced many thousands of dollars in fines and as much as two years in jail, but it was Bristol County DA Sam Sutter who decided that all charges in the case would be dropped after he determined that their expressed purpose—to put an end to the carbon-spewing pollution directly related to the current climate change crisis—was an adequate and defensible position.  Sutter dropped all charges against the two.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Keystone XL Protest You Weren’t Mean to See

Pic: Casey J. Aldridge (C)

Pic: Casey J. Aldridge (C)

In a mass act of civil disobedience, hundreds of students attempted to chain themselves to the White House fence to protest Keystone XL. Many were arrested, but the mainstream media was MIA.

Via addicting Information:

Hundreds of college students marched through Georgetown and up Pennsylvania Ave. on Sunday, then tied themselves to the White House fence. They were protesting the Keystone XL pipeline and its dark threat to their futures. The group was prepared for 500 activists to be arrested. It could well turn out to be the largest act of civil disobedience by students during the Obama administration. Estimates of the size of the crowd reached as high as 1,000.

The protesters spread a 40 × 60-foot black plastic banner on the sidewalk and out onto Pennsylvania Ave., in front of the White House. The banner represented an oil spill. Some of the students sat on the ‘spill’  and then staged a ‘die-in’ on its surface while others used plastic ziplocs to fasten their wrists to the fence.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Game Of Surveillance Camera Destruction Hits The United States

The previously discussed trend of making a game out of breaking as many public surveillance cameras as possible, known as Camover, appears to have crossed the Atlantic, with a team calling themselves the Barefoot Bandit Brigade claiming a score of 17 in Washington state:

17 Security Cameras Disabled and Destroyed in Puget Sound Region — In the opening weeks of February, 2013, we have removed and destroyed 17 security cameras throughout the Puget Sound region. This act is concrete sabotage against the system of surveillance and control. It is also a message of solidarity and a wish of strength to the Seattle Grand Jury Resisters, those currently incarcerated and those not. Finally, this act announces our participation in the game of CAMOVER, called for by comrades in Germany.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Guerrilla Urban Planners Redo Mexico City By Painting Bike Lanes, Sidewalks, And Crosswalks

This Big City talks to Camina, Haz Ciudad, a group which extralegally redesigns public space to benefit ordinary residents:

Camina, Haz Ciudad started as a project to recover space for pedestrians. It was inspired by a modern development that happened here in Mexico City in an area called El Puente de los Poetas. Amazingly, there was no pedestrian infrastructure at all, the whole place seemed to be designed for cars. A group of citizens decided that couldn’t be, so they painted a sidewalk in an area where lots of people walked but had no safety. But the sidewalk was erased, and the people who painted it were really mad.

With our first painted bike lane [which is 5km and ends at Congress in Mexico City] we were trying to make a political point. We didn’t have any expectation of how long it would last. But the bike lane is still in place.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Blocking Prison Construction With A Makeshift Schoolhouse

Decarcerate PA creates a surreal scene in its effort to impede the construction of a new state correctional facility:
Early morning November 19, seven members of Decarcerate PA set up school desks, banners, and a little red schoolhouse to block the entrance to the prison construction site in Montgomery County. They then sat at the desks, linking arms and refusing to move or allow construction vehicles onto the sight. Construction was delayed for over an hour before all seven protesters were arrested and taken away. The new prisons are being built on the grounds of SCI Graterford in Montgomery County. If completed, they will cost $400 million and house 4,100 people. We believe these prisons must be stopped, and that the money should be reinvested in our schools and communities.
Continue Reading

Hurricane Sandy Robin Hoods Steal From NYC Luxury Sites To Aid The Poor

Last month’s hurricane further widened the massive economic inequality of New York City — Manhattan has recovered, while poorer outer-borough areas affected remain seriously damaged. Via Grist, an anonymous civic group has taken it upon themselves to correct matters, as their press release explains:

Over the past two weeks, a group of concerned New Yorkers has been expropriating thousands of dollars worth of tools and materials from luxury residential developments across Manhattan and delivering them to neighborhoods devastated by Superstorm Sandy. Confiscated materials, some of them never even used, include: shovels, wheelbarrows, hand trucks, hard bristle brooms, industrial rope, contractor trash bags, work lights, work gloves, flashlights, heat lamps, and gasoline.

Liberated from their role in building multimillion-dollar pieds-à-terre for wealthy CEOs and Hollywood celebrities, these tools are now in the collective hands of some of the hardest-hit communities in the city where they are now being allocated and shared among the people who need them most.

Read the rest
Continue Reading