Tag Archives: Demonstrations

Why resistance is the shortest way to global justice

In a context of growing injustice, reclaiming the importance and the meaning of the word resistance is more urgent than ever.

By Alaa Tartir. Published 11-16-2016 by openDemocracy

Beautiful resistance – found in a Bethlehem refugee camp. Photo: HFOY

Beautiful resistance – found in a Bethlehem refugee camp. Photo: HFOY

The world dis-(order) continues to expand and take different shapes and forms, and so does injustice. The democratic norms are in crisis and the political representation gap continues to widen.

New conflicts keep erupting in this highly securitised world, and new technologies of oppression and aggression are deployed. Global citizens feel less empowered, and far from the core of their political systems. The answer to all of this is resistance.  Continue reading

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A Sharp Contrast

Over the last couple months, there’s been a worrisome trend happening in the German city of Dresden. Every Monday night for the last nine weeks, a group named PEGIDA, or Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West, has held a rally and a march through Dresden.

The rallies started in October in response to clashes between Kurds and Sunni Muslims over the West’s intervention in Syria. What started as a fairly small protest rally of 200 people the first week has grown over time. On Monday, 15,000 people marched through the streets carrying banners bearing slogans such as “Zero tolerance towards criminal asylum seekers”, “Protect our homeland” and “Stop the Islamization”.


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Not Your Mascot

Justice Lone Hill at the #NotYourMascot march and rally. Photo by Dana Lone Hill via Facebook

Justice Lone Hill at the #NotYourMascot march and rally. Photo by Dana Lone Hill via Facebook

Yesterday, thousands of people marched through Minneapolis and gathered outside the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium in the largest protest yet against the Washington NFL team’s name. By police estimates, 3,400 people gathered near the Tribal Nations Plaza, which was built as a tribute to eleven of the state’s tribes. Organizers say as many as 5,000 attended.

The protesters came from as far away as Oklahoma, Montana and New Mexico. More than two dozen speakers from across the country addressed the crowd. State Rep. Susan Allen, the first Native American woman elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, introduced the speakers; a mix of activists and politicians.

Clyde Bellecort, the co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM), told the crowd; “My heart soars like an eagle today, for 45 solid years we’ve been fighting this battle of racism and slurs.” Continue reading

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More AP Hysteria

Picture from Rachel Zenzinger (@Zenzinger_AtoZ)

Picture from Rachel Zenzinger (@Zenzinger_AtoZ)

Last week, we wrote a piece about the Jefferson County, Colorado school district and the teacher sick-ins/student walkouts taking place there over what they see as censorship and revisionist history.

To recap, the conservative school board thought that the new AP curriculum developed by the College Board – a private company that produces the AP tests, the SAT and other standardized exams – emphasized a “leftist” view of American history, and wasn’t teaching “American exceptionalism” as the board thought they should be. So, the district had proposed a curriculum review board.  This review board was supposed to ensure that U.S. history materials “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage. Content pertaining to political and social movements in U.S. history should present balanced and factual treatments of the positions.” They also scrapped the existing teacher pay system, putting in place one where teacher evaluations by the board determined the pay.

The teachers and students had issues with this blatant attempt to censor and rewrite history, as well as the new compensation package, so they acted. The teachers closed two schools by calling in sick one Friday, and the next week, the students began walking out. So, what’s happened since our last post?

The students have had daily walkouts over the last week. Then yesterday, Golden and Jefferson High Schools closed for the day as over three quarters of the teachers had called in sick the night before. A social studies teacher who didn’t take part in the sick-in said about the school board;s proposal: “My feeling is it’s an attack on teachers and public education, and a disregard for the needs of our students. It’s really, really scary to be a teacher in Jefferson County right now,”

The protests have divided the county. The three conservative board members and those who side with them say that the walkouts and sick-ins are a union plot. The union denies any involvement, saying that the protests are strictly a grassroots movement.

Dan McMinimee, the district superintendent, said that each teacher absence would be independently reviewed, and teachers could be docked a day’s pay if their absence falls outside of the collective bargaining agreement. The students for their part say they’re planning a district wide walkout this week.

Occupy World Writes stands in solidarity with the teachers and students of Jefferson County. We call on the school board to stop their attempt to rewrite history, and to negotiate with the teachers over compensation issues. Those children are our country’s future – they deserve the best education we can give them. Teaching revisionist history is not the way to give them that.

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Venezuela: Playing the Blame Game

By durdaneta from Caracas, Venezuela (Bravo Pueblo #venezuela #12F #plazavenezuela) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By durdaneta from Caracas, Venezuela (Bravo Pueblo #venezuela #12F #plazavenezuela) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Have you been to Caracas lately? Chances are, if you are an American, you will be expelled from Venezuela as a result.

On Monday, 2-17-2014, three US diplomats were expelled, following expulsion of three diplomats in October on charges of stirring up labor protests, and two were also expelled earlier in 2013 on the day former President Chavez died of cancer. The US diplomats are accused of recruiting students to lead protests in the country’s recent unrest.

The U.S. State Department called the allegations “baseless and false,” adding that Washington supported free expression and peaceful assembly in Venezuela and around the world.

Demonstrations began when students and other opposition to current President Maduro called for his ousting, citing high inflation, violent crime and the shortages of many staples.  An arrest warrant has been issued for opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who has pledged to lead a march in the capital Caracas on Tuesday, 2-18.

Since the demonstrations began, the reporters’ trade union said 11 journalists have been arrested, some of whom were beaten and had their equipment stolen while covering the unrest. Additionally, Reuters reports,”Opposition activists say some detained student demonstrators have been tortured, while videos and photos circulating online show uniformed men firing on protesters. Maduro insists police have been restrained in the face of provocation and attacks.”

The government has blocked Twitter, attempted to block other social media outlets, and controls all the television and broadcasting facilities within Venezuela.

Although it remains to be seen if Venezuelans in general will join the students as their demonstrations spread to other cities in Venezuela, it is highly unlikely Maduro will acquiesce to any of the demands, nor will he relinquish “even a millimeter” of his power.

Did you notice the price of gas rose? Don’t look at the Middle East this time – look south!

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