How can climbing a flagpole or hanging from a bridge reform society or improve our political system? How can marching down the street with a cardboard sign that reads “Black Lives Matter” do anything other than disrupt traffic? Why do activists do what they do?
A standoff between Greenpeace and Shell Oil is happening right now high above the Willamette River in Portland, Ore. Yesterday, using mountaineering equipment, thirteen protestors lowered themselves down from the magestically large St. Johns Bridge in a bid to prevent the passage of Shell's icebreaking ship MSV Fennica, which had been undergoing repairs in Portland and was scheduled to depart to assist Shell's oil drilling activities in the Arctic. The protesters have supplies to stay awhile. For now, the ship has turned around and a judge has ruled that Greenpeace will be charged $2500 for every hour the protest continues.
The nine foot tall, 1 ton statue of Baphomet (discussed previously) has, at long last, been unveiled in Detroit! [more inside]
A program at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts inviting visitors to don a replica kimono from a Monet work has sparked protests over appropriation. Boston Art blog Big, Red & Shiny also has a write-up. [more inside]
Yesterday, the organizers of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival announced that this summer's festival will be their last. [more inside]
What’s a student strike? Can the education minister cancel the semester? How many students are in the streets? Though it may have appeared spontaneous, the student strike of 2012 took a year and a half of preparation. Since last fall, Quebec students, along with other elements of civil society such as unions and NGOs, have been mobilizing against Liberal premier Philippe Couillard’s austerity policies, typified by deep cuts to public services. That mobilization led to this week’s strike. [more inside]
Anti-Ukip protesters in fancy dress forced Nigel Farage to flee his local pub where he was dining with his family on Sunday afternoon. 'The Ukip leader called the demonstrators “scum”, claiming they had caused his children distress. The group, however, said they were holding a “cabaret of diversity” in support of those Ukip was seeking to marginalise.' Journalist Stuart Jeffries signs up for the 'Farage fracas.' Suzanne Moore has something to say about Ukip's progress as we near the UK general election. Al Murray's Pub Landlord joins in the fun (from last January.) Farage and the breastfeeding conundrum (from last December.) All links from The Guardian.
A couple of years ago a mother / daughter author team wrote a book for dependent kids with parents in the military, in which they decided to replace the traditional "Military Brat" identifier with "CHAMPS" ( Child Heroes Attached to Military Personnel). The book spawned a non-profit called Operation Champs, which provided support services to military dependents and their families. [more inside]
Why were people sitting on other people's faces outside the UK parliament recently? A variety of specific sexual acts were banned from UK-filmed online porn videos under the 2014 Audiovisual Media Services Regulation, which came into effect this month. Protesters say some acts that show women enjoying sex are now banned while similar restrictions do not apply to men. [more inside]
On April 9th, 1961, eighteen year old Dan Drasin exited his apartment on MacDougal street and headed to Washington Square Park. He and hundreds of others went to speak out against a recent ban on the performance of music there on Sundays. The NYC Police showed up as well, and the peaceful protest (which the press inexplicably called “The Beatnik Riot”) was captured by Drasin’s camera. He later turned it into the seventeen minute documentary “Sunday”, which can be viewed in its entirety on YouTube. Drasin was recently interviewed and asked to share his thoughts on the protest some fifty years later.
Energy giant Kinder Morgan subsidiary Trans Mountain filed a Facilities Application for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project in December 2013. This would twin an existing pipeline for diluted bitumen from northern Alberta (previously) to the Pacific, increasing its nominal capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. Protesters under the banner Caretakers of Burnaby Mountain are obstructing surveying in a conservation area in metro Vancouver, and Trans Mountain (represented by lawyer and author William Kaplan) has been granted an injunction against the group as a warmup to a multimillion-dollar civil lawsuit over claims of trespass, assault and intimidation. The assault? Making funny faces. [more inside]
Atlanta's graffiti filled Krog Street tunnel erased in protest. Artists and residents of Atlanta's Cabbagetown neighborhood, angry about an upcoming ticket-holders only masquerade ball (promising a "sultry underground experience" where "taboo will be the norm" for $40 not including drinks) have, in protest, painted over all the graffiti art that made Krog street tunnel remarkable to begin with.
"Hong Kong police have used tear gas to disperse thousands of pro-democracy protesters near the government complex, after a week of escalating tensions." Hong Kong: Tear gas and clashes at democracy protest. Hong Kong's unprecedented protests and police crackdown, explained. South China Morning Post Topics: Occupy Central [Paywall after a few free articles]. Occupy Central with Love and Peace is on Twitter, and there is a live thread on Reddit.
Exhibit B is a performance art piece by white South African Brett Bailey. The piece features black actors in still images depicting scenes of slavery and as asylum seekers in living installations that recall the human zoos (previously) of the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The piece has been highly controversial, it has attracted significant critical acclaim, being described by art critics as unbearable and essential and "hugely powerful, deeply unsettling, but vital viewing". [more inside]
Disruption is a 52-minute film by 350.0rg as a promotion for the upcoming People's Climate March billed as the largest climate protest march in history, on September 21. Major cities include New York, Paris, Berlin, and Rio de Janeiro though there are over 1000 others. The march is calling for immediate action on the climate and is directed at the U.N. Climate Summit in New York City on September 23.(via)
In honour of Labour day, enjoy a documentary on Jewish anarchism at the turn of the 20th century, and the story of The Free Voice of Labour, their Yiddish newspaper that ran from 1890-1977. [more inside]
March in August: thousands rally against Tony Abbott by taking to streets:
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets for the latest wave of protests against the federal government.[more inside]
Demonstrations were held in cities across the country, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, to protest against a range of of social and economic policies being implemented by the Abbott government.
About 3,000 protesters marched through Sydney, voicing their concerns on a range of issues, from Australia's asylum seeker policies, to education cuts and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The Victoria & Albert Museum is hosting Disobedient Objects, an exhibit on 'out-designing authority.' [more inside]
Award-winning Austin lingerie shop Petticoat Fair specializes in hard-to-fit bra sizes. Recently a trans woman was turned away from the shop and started social media protest and boycott campaign, swamping the store's Yelp page with negative reviews. The owner issued a controversial apology and plans to meet with the Transgender Education Network Of Texas to work out a better policy. The story started to percolate through national news and commentary and sites. Meanwhile, the original complainant has called off the official boycott and the store has promised to issue a new policy in the near future. [more inside]
Caveirão (SLVimeo) It's 3:33 AM! Do you know where the spirits of your city are? In honor of the Brazilian World Cup - and the sacrifices made for it - an animated short feature in the tradition of Ghost Busters and Night Watch, with a decidedly modern, Brazilian take.
In Russia today, it's illegal to engage in "homosexual propaganda", and "anti-Russian propaganda" can attract ugly attention. So on May 1, there was a "Monstration" in St Petersburg. Absurd signs and costumes had no prosecutable meaning, but the message was unmistakable. In Novosibirsk, a little further from the Kremlin, the message was more direct. [more inside]
TechCrunch's Kim-Mai Cutler delivers a 12,000-word deep-dive on San Francisco's Housing Crisis. Touching on: rent control, the Ellis Act, Dianne Feinstein, the mission, the Fillmore, Angelo Sangiacomo, Howard Jarvis, the failure of the Greater San Francisco movement, the perfidy if the Mountain View city council, and the Byzantine machinations behind the Twitter tax. If some of those names are unfamiliar to you, strap in: the story of San Francisco's property law may have found its Gibbon.
Students take over Taiwan's Legislature amid massive protests against a trade bill with China. Student protesters stormed Taiwan's Legislative Yuan last week, overwhelming police, and have occupied it since as protests grew outside. Last night, another group of students stormed the Executive Yuan, but were removed, sometimes violently, by riot police. The Presidential Office is surrounded by barricades and police checkpoints. The protests began after the ruling party, the Kuomintang, declared a review of a China trade pact to be concluded after months of wrangling between it and the opposition in the Legislature. The students originally wanted the review to continue, but they're now demanding that it be scrapped altogether.
Turkey: The Erdogan-Gulen showdown - "A political fight to the death had just broken out between Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, and his former allies in the movement of Mr Gulen... The prime minister argues that the Gulenists have set up a 'parallel state' within the bureaucracy, following orders from Pennsylvania and pursuing an agenda of their own." [more inside]
Factcheck: The Keystone XL Project. An evenhanded summary of the controversy around the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
But if Urdu is the refined language of power and privilege, Punjabi is the powerful words of the streets. And the streets are where lyrics overwhelmingly situate rap. Pakistani rap positions Punjabi as Ebonics is positioned in the U.S.
Venezuela opposition's Leopoldo Lopez hands himself in as police crack down on protestors. Students have been rioting on rising inflation and shortages. Pictures from Caracas. "I present myself before an unjust justice, before a corrupt justice,"
Dakh Daughters are a band/theatrical performance art group from the Dakh Theatre in Ukraine, based around "rapid merging of styles and unexpected sound collages". A handful of songs on youtube: Rozy/Donbass, Gannusya, Papirosy, Блудница, Доля (a performance at/in support of the Euromaidan protests in Kiev).
The Day We Fight Back is a protest against mass surveillance. "The SOPA and PIPA protests were successful because we all took part, as a community. As Aaron Swartz put it, everybody "made themselves the hero of their own story." We can set a date, but we need all of you, the users of the Internet, to make it a movement. [more inside]
In possibly the largest Southern progressive protest since Selma in 1965, 75,000 to 100,000 people marched on Raleigh, North Carolina this Sunday in protest against the recently elected conservative government’s radical agenda. Once a comparatively moderate Southern state, the government North Carolina elected in 2010 has begun a systematic campaign [previously] to remove 50 years of progressive legislation from the state. Weekly Moral Mondays protests [previously], beginning in April 2013, have been ongoing, but this march represents the biggest gathering so far in protest of the NC government. [more inside]
What Does Pussy Riot Mean Now? "With all eyes on Russia, two members of the country’s most notorious band of shit-stirrers are free after nearly two years of political imprisonment and enjoying the rock-star treatment during their first trip to the U.S. But the group’s unlikely journey from art-school project to international icons shows just how rotten Russia has become and how much the mission has changed."
Want to get away with not paying taxes but don't have the money to make your own offshore company in the Cayman Islands? Fret not - you can hijack an existing offshore company starting from the low low price of 99 cents! [more inside]
In China, there are certain "bad notes" that frighten people and are refused as legal tender. Why?
Franklin McCain, one of the Greensboro Four, has died. McCain was a freshman at North Carolina A&T College when he, along with fellow students Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair Jr. (later Jibreel Khazan), and David Richmond (who died in 1990), walked into their local Woolworth's on February 1, 1960, and sat down at a whites-only lunch counter. This spontaneous act of civil disobedience (previously) sparked what would come to be known as the sit-in movement to dismantle Jim Crow.
Protesters blocked a private Google shuttle in the Mission District of San Francisco today. "In the video, a Google employee who hopped off the bus shouts down Erin McElroy, a protester who also heads the eviction mapping project. 'How long have you lived in this city?' McElroy asked him. He shouted back 'Why don't you go to a city that can afford it? This is a city for the right people who can afford it. You can't afford it? You can leave. I'm sorry, get a better job.'" Concern over increases in cost of living in San Francisco are becoming more of a focal point for discussion, as seen in a recent NYT blog post, Dystopia by the Bay.
With 53 self-immolations since 2009, these Chinese villagers might bring to mind the self-immolation by Tibetans, but the Chinese villagers are highlighting a different issue. The rapid urbanization of China is having a number of impacts across the country, with rural communities being demolished to build new urban centers. While many people are moving from rural farms to cities to find more lucrative jobs, some are fighting back to keep their rural communities intact, or to retain their family farms. When other options are gone, desperate villagers turn to self-immolation (NPR). [more inside]
Women in Saudi Arabia may not drive. Today, many take to the road in protest, despite grave risks. Even cyber support may be grounds for arrest and the movement's primary website has been blocked. It's been an issue for decades; here's a writer remembering women donning disguises to drive and the sad case of a mother unable to take her injured child to the hospital. Driving may be the point of a sword aimed at securing other freedoms and attaining more autonomy.
On Tuesday, a court in India convicted four men of "rape, unnatural sex, murder, conspiracy and destruction of evidence" after they brutally gang-raped a woman on a bus in Delhi last December. The woman died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital. When news broke, it sparked protests (previously) and raised awareness worldwide about the plight of many women in India. Now that the verdict is in, the Guardian analyzes the incident to see how "the nation's surge to superpower status has left millions behind struggling on the margins." (Links in this post contain descriptions of rape and assault which some may find disturbing.) [more inside]
From Protest to Politics by Bayard Rustin, the civil rights leader almost erased from history. "From Protest to Politics" talks about the difficulty of moving beyond symbolic victories into lasting justice for the Civil Rights Movement.
A map of every protest everywhere since 1979 (some caveats are noted in the accompanying article).
It became necessary to finish this thing. A U.S.-funded 'ally' has carried out one of the largest massacres of protesters since the 1989 assault on Tiananmen Square. At least 525 people (and counting and counting) have been killed since Egypt's police and army attacked two sit-ins in support of ousted president Muhammad Morsi on August 14th. Armored cars, police officers, and soldiers marched on the protests in Nasr City and Giza, opening fire with birdshot, tear gas, and live ammunition. It only gets worse from here. [more inside]
The point being, an angry song about a political prisoner in South Africa, held captive for 21 years (at the time of writing), and written and performed by a bunch of chippy former pop stars who appeared hellbent on throwing their success back in the faces of their fans, has no business being this happy, this celebratory, and this powerful.
In 1985, McDonalds sued left-wing activists in the UK for libel over a pamphlet accusing the multinational food giant of environmental destruction, abuses of workers' rights and selling junk food. The ensuing trial became the longest-running civil trial in English history, ending in 1997 in a Pyrrhic victory for McDonalds, who had lost millions of pounds in pursuing the case, and won £40,000 for their trouble. (The judgment was later overturned in the European Court of Human Rights.) Now, it has been revealed that the leaflet in question had been co-written by an undercover police officer assigned to infiltrate Greenpeace. The officer in question, Bob Lambert, had previously spent years infiltrating environmental groups, even fathering children with activists before disappearing. [more inside]
Let Us Dot the ‘i’ and Cross the ‘t’: Insurgence and the End of ‘Tough Love’ Politics in Turkey: As I type out these words, it is the tenth day of the anti-government protests in Turkey. Beginning at that rather inconspicuous and under-visited park, protests have gone viral and spread to more than twenty provinces. For now, activists occupy the park and most of Taksim Square. Despite relentless police brutality aiming to subdue the blessedly unruly crowds, thousands of citizens remain in the streets. Activist youth have already come up with a whole new series of tear gas-related jokes. Abdullah Cömert, a young activist in Hatay,,was killed when shot by a tear gas canister in the head. Another young worker from Ankara, Ethem Sarısülük, is in a coma from a riot police officer that shot a bullet which ricocheted and hit Sarısülük in the head. There were protesters who lost their eyes to tear gas or to canisters shot in their face. In general, riot police deliberately targeted individuals by means of gas grenade launchers. Whatever the political prospects of Turkey’s “Occupy moment” will be, the Ministry of the Interior has a lot to answer for. [more inside]