Tag Archives | protest

The Political Psychology of Self-Immolation

Picture: Sensei Sam (CC)

Costica Bradatan writes for the New Statesman:

Here he is. Matches in one hand, petrol bottle in the other. He removes the bottle cap, drops it to the ground and douses himself in liquid. He does everything slowly, methodically, as if it were part of a routine he has practiced for years. Then he stops, looks around, and strikes a match.

At this moment nothing in the world can bridge the gap that separates the self-immolator from the others. His total defiance of the survival and self-preservation instincts, his determination to trample on what everybody else finds precious, the ease with which he seems to dispose of his own life, all these place him not only beyond our capacity of understanding, but also outside of human society. He now inhabits a place that most of us find inhabitable. Yet, from there he does not cease to dominate us.

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On Fighting Against Hegemonic Urban Development

BayOfRage reveals infrastructure and redevelopment projects in Oakland (and beyond) as a means of reshaping cities for social control:

Further development will not open space for meaningful social activity and will only constrict it — In the slew of development projects coming down the pipe, residents will be free to consume, travel to and from work, or stay inside to not bother anyone.

Mistakes in architecture will never be repeated in future developments. The UC system learned the danger in building large plazas where dissident students could gather during the free speech movement at Berkeley. University of California campuses built since the sixties are subdivided into a number to smaller campuses, to better contain and neutralize student revolt. Housing projects are built to make the space transparent and easily surveillable, often by the administrators of social services. Likewise, we can be entirely sure that the city of Oakland will never allow the construction of another space like Oscar Grant Plaza, where thousands of people were able to gather, meet their needs and organize an assault against capitalism.

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Slutty Feminist = Determining One’s Own Sexuality

Natalie Solidarity writes at Diatribe Media:

SlutWalk centers on empowerment of women to own their sexuality, to reconstruct or destroy traditional gender roles in which women who enjoy sex are criminalized as “sluts” and even worse, asking for rape.

“We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault [as Toronto Police have in 2011],” (via SlutWalk Toronto)

SlutWalk stomps past raising awareness to cast off the shackles of accepted misogyny, normalized patriarchy and rape culture. Feminists (whose ranks include men, too!) are joining forces to deny their consent to this domination and seek to build a world without sexual double standards and victim blaming.

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Wal-Mart Worker Strikes Expand To 28 Stores In 12 States

There’s trouble in paradise, the New York Times reports:

Protests against Wal-Mart expanded on Tuesday, spreading to 28 stores in 12 states, a union spokesman said.

Mr. Schlademan, director of the union-backed Making Change at Walmart campaign, added that more than 200 employees were traveling to Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., to stage a protest on during the company’s annual meeting with financial analysts. He warned that disgruntled Wal-Mart employees, joined by labor unions and community groups, might stage a combined protest and educational campaign the Friday after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

Colby Harris, who earns $8.90 an hour after three years at a Walmart in Lancaster, Tex., said, “We’re protesting because we want better working conditions and better wages and because we want them to stop retaliating against associates who exercise their right to talk about what’s going on in their stores.”

Wal-Mart officials insisted that the protests were publicity stunts rather than strikes, carried out by a tiny fraction of the nation’s 1.4 million Wal-Mart workers.

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Free Speech Scores A Hat Trick

Picture: NARA (PD)

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Freedom of speech had a hat trick of victories last week, proving that despite the interest of law enforcement and other machinations of the state to put down protesters, ultimately, the law still sides with activists. On Wednesday, the University of California settled with 21 students who sued after campus police hosed them with pepper spray during a demonstration. Images from UC Davis became iconic, particularly the photo showing an officer casually spraying peacefully sitting demonstrators as if he were watering a lawn. Each student will receive $30,000 and a written apology from the chancellor, according to the agreement. Additionally, the San Francisco Chronicle reports the settlement calls for UC Davis officials to work with civil liberties advocates on police policies.

The incident had a chilling effect on some students, but galvanized others to holding police accountable for their actions. One sophomore told the Chronicle that he avoided demonstrations after the event, saying “they had silenced me.” Another student of the University who recently graduated said that she hoped the suit would keep police clad in riot gear away from demonstrations.

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Street Politics And The Quebec Student Movement

A short dissection of the great success recently achieved by the student protest movement in Quebec:
For over 4 months, students and their allies, took over the streets of Montreal every day, to protest a tuition hike imposed by the liberal party in Quebec. On September 21st, the newly elected Premier of Quebec scrapped the tuition hike and repealed a controversial law that effectively banned public demonstrations. While this is being touted as a victory by many in the student movement, one element that made this success possible is already being overshadowed. How the the movement's militant street politics transformed the student strike from a single issue campaign to an uncompromising social insurrection.
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German Pussy Riot Copycats Face Jail For Church Protest

The two-year prison sentences handed down to Pussy Riot supposedly revealed how oppressive and backwards Putin's Russia is, in contrast to our Western democracies. But now three colorfully ski-masked Germans who tried to stir a commotion at the historic Cologne Cathedral earlier this week are staring at the possibility of three years behind bars. Any guesses on what would happen to a U.S. Pussy Riot, assuming some sort of terrorism charges would be thrown at them?
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House Panel Seeks To Silence Journalists


Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Recently, House of Representatives panel discussed potentially amending the Espionage Act to prosecute journalists who report leaked information. In response to several instances where reporters have used information leaked to them by confidential sources to write stories, the panel suggested amending the law, which was enacted in 1917 to prosecute spies and others who divulge information considered sensitive, to punish journalists who do not reveal their sources. According to the LA Times, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R – SC) said “Put them in front of the grand jury. You either answer the question or you’re going to be held in contempt and go to jail, which is what I thought all reporters aspire to do anyway.”

No journalist has been prosecuted under the Espionage Act before, and the idea is more than chilling towards those who believe that one of the major functions of media should be to hold government accountable for its actions.… Read the rest

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Jail Solidarity, Part Three

ryan griffis (CC)

“As his face faded from the television screen, the light in my eyes dimmed.”

Natalie Solidarity writes at Diatribe Media:

My gentle friend was returned to state custody even as I willed otherwise. Three days later, my Occupy Chicago brothers and I sat on cold stone benches, watching families visit their fathers for the hallmark holiday. We drove together to visit our comrade together because that’s what families do. It was a hot Sunday, and I had finally entered the waiting area after being reminded my tank top was not welcome and I had to cover my body in a tee-shirt. At our comrade’s cellblock division, the guards did not perform the vigorous pat-down we found in other sections, even though they’re all part of the same Cook County system. In this division, number 6, my brothers and I simply dumped our nearly-empty pockets into bins and walked through metal detectors.… Read the rest

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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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