Tag Archives | Protests

Cornel West has already destroyed it again — This time at Harvard

With the month of April not yet over, once again Cornel West has proven that he is one of the contending voices in America.

After a stunning 20-minute speech filmed in a Manhattan church at the beginning of this month, which played prelude to another public address and subsequent march against police violence and the prison industrial complex (organized by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network), he has now lent his voice to a weeklong protest called Heat Week that has been occurring at Harvard University. So, after temporarily shutting down the Brooklyn Bridge, he went north where students launched the Divest Harvard campaign, as a call for the Ivy League University to unalign itself with fossil fuel interests. It turns out a few million dollars are tangled up in Harvard from coal, oil, and gas companies.

On the students’ website they’ve posted calls to:

  • immediately freeze any new investments in fossil fuel companies
  • immediately divest direct holdings (currently $19.6 million) from the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies
  • divest indirect holdings in the top 200 fossil fuel companies within 5 years, and reinvest in socially responsible funds.
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Fed Up With Austerity Policies, #Blockupy Storms Streets of Frankfurt

"Capitalism Kills" via @blockupy.

“Capitalism Kills” via @blockupy.

Deirdre Fulton writes at Common Dreams:

Anti-austerity protests boiled over near the new headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt on Wednesday, with hundreds of people arrested after an off-shoot from an otherwise peaceful march clashed with police.

Around 10,000 anti-austerity protesters reportedly gathered under the banner of #Blockupy—an alliance united against the so-called ‘Troika’ of the ECB, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund who oversee bailout packages in the eurozone. The alliance opposes the economic policies behind such packages, saying they harm the poor and middle class.

According to the German news service Deutsche Welle, the Blockupy network “is composed of more than 90 organizations from across Europe—some big, some small—that have united in opposition to what Blockupy calls ‘the European crisis regime’.”

As Deutsche Welle reported on Tuesday:

Some of the bigger member organizations include the activist groups Attac, founded in 1998 to advocate a financial transaction tax; the German political party ‘Die Linke’ (The Left), which currently has a little over ten percent of the seats in the national parliament; and even Germany’s second biggest union union, Verdi, which has over two million members.

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China: “Violent Government Thugs” Beaten To Death By Angry Crowds After They Killed A Man Documenting Their Brutality

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Via Revolution News:

At least 4 Chengguan, the most hated police-inspectors in China, were beaten to death by angry people in Cangnan County of Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province (located in the industrial southeast), after they killed a man with a hammer. The police-inspectors hit the man with a hammer until he started to vomit blood, because he was trying to take pictures of their violence towards a woman, a street vendor. The man was rushed to hospital, but died on the way.Thousands of angry people took to the streets, surrounded the police-inspectors in their van, attacked them with stones, bats, and beat them to death. People were shouting that the police-inspectors be killed on the spot for what they did: “Kill them! Kill them!”

These police-inspectors are notoriously violent, are rarely investigated or punished for their crimes, and are terrorizing people making a living. The Chengguan, which are a special combination between regular police and state inspectors, are called “violent government thugs” in China, thousands of them are on the state payroll in at least 656 cities.

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A Call to Militant Empathy

swong95765 (CC BY 2.0)

swong95765 (CC BY 2.0)

Peijman Kouretchian, writing at the Metta Center for Nonviolence, from December:

The streets look like war. Two NYPD police officers were just “assassinated” apparently as revenge for the Eric Garner chokehold death. This is the first major physical attack on actual police officers after the Ferguson riots ignited the #blacklivesmatter movement. Though this was just the act of one troubled person and doesn’t represent the mostly physically nonviolent movement that has been going on, it is absolutely paramount to be clear on what principles we are aligned with as we fight for justice.

Recently I became certified as a Kingian Nonviolence (a system of conflict reconciliation built on the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) trainer. The protests bring to mind two important principles from what I learned:  “Avoid internal violence of the spirit, as well as external physical violence,” and “Attack systems of injustice, not individuals within those systems.”

When protests breakout there is often an abundance of rage.

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Raw Footage of Front Lines at UC Berkeley Protest

One professor is offering essay extensions to students who were harmed or teargassed during the protests.

The professor did get a lot of backlash over that Tweet, with one woman claiming this is why our education system is a failure.

h/t Jerome P. for the video.

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Nobody’s Paying Us To Get Arrested: Low Wage Strikes Spread

via Common Dreams:

In a dismal week, a rare, under-reported shard of hope: Thursday’s strikes by thousands of low-wage workers spread to over 190 cities, jumped industrial divides – fast food to home care, convenience stores to airports – and merged issues of race and class, with many of the largely black and brown crowds demanding in the wake of Mike Brown and Eric Garner not just a living wage, but justice.

The often emotional Fight For $15campaign has already seen hourly wage successes around the country, with ten states passing higher wage bills, 22 establishing wage floors above the federal minimum, and Seattle passing a record-high $15 minimum wage. Fuelling the changes have been damning new reports from Walmart, the country’s biggest and most infamous employer, that its obscenely rich owners have ducked millions in taxes and given almost nothing away – except for Alice Walton’s hobby project of a $1.2 billion art museum holding a $500 million collection – while paying workers so little that taxpayers have to provide $6.2 billion a year in public assistance so they can survive.

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Another Black Friday Walmart workers strike

Walmart on Black Friday 2009. By Laurie (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0)

Walmart on Black Friday 2009. By Laurie (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0)

via Hotair:

If you’re heading out to go hunting for holiday deals on the day after Thanksgiving this year, there’s a possibility that you will run into some problems if you plan on looking for those early gifts at Walmart. Workers who are still trying to form a union among the chain store’s employees – and their supporters in “social justice” circles – are planning another walkout for the busiest shopping day of the year. The details, however, are still somewhat vague.

Walmart employees who are organizing as part of OUR Walmart are promising the biggest strikes ever on Black Friday, saying more employees will participate than the previous two years.

Barbara Gertz, an employee from Denver, Colorado, said organizers are expecting to see protests in 1,600 stores. While they don’t yet have a headcount of how many workers will strike or in how many cities, she said they’ve gotten calls “every day” from employees who want to join in.

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More Federal Agencies Are Using Undercover Operations

John Henderson (CC by 2.0)

John Henderson (CC by 2.0)

via The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers to ferret out wrongdoing, records and interviews show.

At the Supreme Court, small teams of undercover officers dress as students at large demonstrations outside the courthouse and join the protests to look for suspicious activity, according to officials familiar with the practice.

At the Internal Revenue Service, dozens of undercover agents chase suspected tax evaders worldwide, by posing as tax preparers, accountants drug dealers or yacht buyers and more, court records show.

At the Agriculture Department, more than 100 undercover agents pose as food stamp recipients at thousands of neighborhood stores to spot suspicious vendors and fraud, officials said.

Undercover work, inherently invasive and sometimes dangerous, was once largely the domain of the F.B.I.

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