Tag Archives | protest

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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U.S. Coast Guard Creates ‘Protest-Free Zone’ Surrounding Shell Oil Drilling Area In Alaska

Odd how these protest-free zones always happen to coincide with where protest would be most necessary. PressTV writes:

The United States Coast Guard will establish and enforce “a 500-meter safety zone” around the Shell Oil Company’s drilling vessel Noble Discoverer as it drills exploratory offshore wells in the sensitive Arctic waters off the coast of Alaska beginning this July.

The ‘buffer zone’ would apply to all vessels, but the ‘special rules’ are clearly designed to make it more difficult for those trying to protest against the Shell’s oil drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas this summer.

“For any group or individual intending to conduct lawful demonstrations in the vicinity of the Noble Discoverer,” reads the USCG memo, “These demonstrations must be conducted outside the safety zone.” While acknowledging the negative impact on the “environment and indigenous people” a mid-ocean collision caused by environmental activists attempting to block or board the ship could have in the Arctic, the USCG report made no mention of what impact a massive oil spill in the area would have on the same.

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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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Protest Criminalized At ‘Pepper Spray University’

Via the New Statesman, on the Davis Dozen, who face ten year prison sentences for peacefully protesting the bank that paid for control over their school:

Sometime in July, eleven students and one professor at the University of California Davis will stand trial, accused of the “willful” and “malicious” act of protesting peacefully in front of a bank branch situated on their University campus.

There has been in recent months a great deal of online coverage of the brutality of public order policing at Davis. The treatment of the Davis Dozen, however, promises more longstanding injury. If found guilty, each faces charges of up to eleven years in prison and $1 million in fines.

As the collapse of the US banking sector caused the State of California to withdraw its funding for its public Universities, those same Universities turned to the banking sector for financial support. On 3 November 2009, just two weeks before riot police would end a student occupation at UC Berkeley by firing rubber bullets and tear gas at the students and faculty gathered outside, the University of California Davis announced on its website a new deal with US Bank, the high street banking division of U.S Bancor, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States.

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