The Tunisia effect: where next?

Submitted by Mark. on January 29, 2011

On twitter

Syrians inspired by both tunisia and Egypt are planning a collective protest against their corrupt Government on #Feb5

Calls for anti-regime protests in #Algeria on 12 February http://bit.ly/fUx1SZ (in Arabic)

The Syrian and Sudanese have set their revolution dates already?! Four down, eighteen more to go! #ArabRevolutions

Spanish TV TVE just reported troops in #Morocco were mobilised from Sahara to #Rabat & #Casablanca.

The first of these protests will be in the Sudan

KHARTOUM, SUDAN —

A group of young Sudanese activists proclaim January 30, 2011 to be the beginning of peaceful demonstrations to bring down the military regime in Sudan. This campaign is calling on all sectors of Sudanese to get out January 30th and demonstrate in the streets of Sudan's most populated cities. The largest assembly and demonstration will take place on Palace Street, which is located a few meters from the presidential palace of Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir. The invitation for the demonstration excludes the leaders of the traditional opposition parties who are not willing to confront the Islamic military regime, which has been ruling Sudan since 1989.

The call for this action came one day after the leader of the Umma Party, Mr. Alsadiq Al-mahdi, announced that he would continue peaceful dialogue with the current government. His speech is widely regarded by most young Sudanese, including members of the Umma party, as disappointing and lacking insight into the systematic destruction of the country by Al-Bashir`s government. His political views show that he continues to disengage himself from the issues vital to Sudanese activists.  This call for demonstrations coincides with the 116th anniversary of the liberation of Khartoum by Imam Mohammed Ahmed al-Mahdi on January 26, 1885, great grandfather of Mr. Alsadiq Al-Mahdi. Their intent is to peacefully express anger at the decades of corruption, violence, and human right violations, which led to the separation of the South and which could lead to the potential separation of the West.

It is no secret that the young people who have called for the demonstration have seen what has happened in Tunisia and Egypt, where young generations have loudly spoken against unemployment and political marginalization.

We would like to be clear that this is a call for removal of this government.

In a statement, on its Facebook page, the Liberal Democratic Party, represented by Mr. Adel Abd Atti and Ms. Noor Tour, invite all members to participate in the demonstration, planned for January 30th.

It is time to change the face of Sudan and to end decades of injustice, marginalization, and corruption.

Yesterday there was a demo in Mauritania in support of the uprising in Egypt.

Plusieurs centaines de Mauritaniens ont manifesté vendredi soir à Nouakchott pour exprimer leur soutien aux manifestants égyptiens, a constaté un correspondant de Xinhua.

Deux marches piétonne et motorisée ont parcouru l’avenue Nasser, principal artère de la capitale mauritanienne, scandant des slogans hostiles au président égyptien Hosni Moubarak.

Les manifestants ont également appelé le président Moubarak à "quitter le pouvoir et à laisser au peuple égyptien la liberté de choisir ses dirigeants". Les marcheurs qui se sont rassemblés devant l’ambassade d’Egypte à Nouakchott ont condamné la répression policière, dont ont été victimes les manifestants égyptiens avec lesquels ils ont exprimé toute leur solidarité.

Ces marches, qui se sont déroulées dans la discipline, étaient suivies par les forces de l’ordre.

rooieravotr

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think it would be wise to open a new forum thread for Syria. Tomorrow appears to become a big day, after the at least 25, but may be more than 100, demonstrators killed yesterday, and the 20.000 mourners/ demonstrators today, on the streets of Daraa, one fifth of the population of this city with 100.000 inhabitants. This is not a copycat protest, or a small beginning, to be dropped in a list together with Armenia and Swaziland and so on. This is, in my impression, becoming the sixth big one, after Tunesia, Egypt, Bahrein, Yemen and Libya.

Mark.

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've started a thread for Syria here

Samotnaf

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rooieravotr

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

@Mark: thanks, seen it: -)

Samotnaf

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Iraqi Kurdistan - Sulaimaniyah. This seems like a significant attack on the Kurdish parties: for example, 2 peshmergas, operating nowadays as official security forces, have been killed. For a critique of the Kurdish parties up to 1991 see this.

Mark.

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Iraq

On March 22nd, 5 Iraqi grassroots organizations announced an initiative that will target “the occupier and its agents”, that’s to say: US military bases and Iraq’s Maliki-led government. Riding the recent wave of sizable Iraqi demonstrations against, among other things: government corruption, lack of social services, Iraq’s prison industrial complex and a broken sectarian political system, the sit-ins planned for on April 9th are the first to call out the US occupation as a central cause, and sustainer of the shattered social reality that millions of Iraqis face every day. A new zeal and organizational drive inspired by the recent Arab uprisings has allowed the grievances laid out during the past month of weekly protests to coalesce. Two communiques co-signed by “The Popular Movement to Save Iraq”, “The Popular Front to Save Kirkuk”, “The Student and Youth Organization of a Free Iraq”, “The Movement in Steadfast Basra to Liberate the South” and “The Iraqi Association of the Tribes of Southern and Central Iraq”outline their demands and the means by which they hope to achieve them.

The communique continues by announcing  “the launch of a long-term sit-in in all Iraqi provinces to mark the eighth anniversary of the brutal American occupation of our precious Iraq on Saturday, 4/9/2011 [. . .] This sit-in will not last hours or days, but will continue night and day until the protesters demands are met [ . . . ] For our sit-ins we will set up tents in front of US military bases, which are located in every Iraqi province. We ask all patriotic individuals and forces that oppose the occupation to participate in this demonstration.”...

Mark.

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Morocco

Thousands of disgruntled teachers are expected to descend on Rabat, Morocco's capital, on Wednesday to protest the outcome of an earlier demonstration -- in which they claim 65 colleagues were seriously injured in a battle with police.

The teachers union of Morocco claims that one injured protester died on Monday after "arriving in hospital on Saturday in a coma."

They also claim that at least five suffered very serious injuries, including broken limbs.

Video from Saturday's demo - warning: graphic footage

Report from CGT North Africa (in Spanish)

Samotnaf

11 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just found this about Malawi (which students in Europe could study and learn a thing or two about), from 2 weeks ago:

Blantyre, Malawi - There was tension at the Polytechnic, the Blantyre-based constituent college of the University of Malawi, when irate students ran amok after their lecturers voted to end their two-week old class boycott. Polytechnic lecturers had joined their colleagues at Chancellor College, the Zomba-based constituent college, who have been boycotting classes for six weeks now protesting Inspector-General of Police Peter Mukhito's summoning of a political science lecturer over a classroom example he gave. Dr. Blessings Chinsinga had reportedly said crises like Malawi's persistent fuel crisis could lead to insurrections that had toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt. One or some of the students reported him to the police chief thereby angering the lecturers who are demanding an apology and assurances of academic freedom. Mukhito has since put his foot down saying academic freedom must be balanced with state security.
President Bingu wa Mutharika, who is Chancellor of the University of Malawi, has since thrown his weight behind his police chief urging him not to apologise to 'people who are teaching revolutions'.
The Polytechnic lecturers, after failing to reach a consensus whether to continue boycotting classes or not, voted 34 to 29 in favour of the resumption of classes. Polytechnic Academic Staff Committee on Welfare (PASCOW) chairman Griffin Salima, however, said the decision had been taken under protest.
But this angered the student community who said their lecturers had betrayed their trust.
'We have all along been behind you but you choose to be cowards!' shouted one student as the lecturers tried to explain their case. 'How can you end the battle prematurely?' he asked.
Things quickly got out of hand as the students started burning tyres and pelting the lecturers with stones. The lecturers rushed to their cars and fled the campus in a huff.
The students then held an impromptu meeting where they resolved not to go back to class until Mukhito apologises and assures the university community of academic freedom.
'How can we go to a classroom where our lecturers will be gagged?' asked one student who did not want to be named for fear of being singled out as ring leader. 'We want quality education and quality education demands unfettered academic freedom.'
To further vent their anger the students broke into the Senior Common Room where the lecturers congregate to relax. They broke doors and window panes and raided the bar.
'We have looted all the whiskies and beers to console ourselves for our lecturers' betrayal,'
said one of the students.
The students have warned the lecturers not to return to the campus unless and until they assure them they will not be cowed into submission.
'We have lost confidence in our Chancellor, we have lost confidence in the Inspector General of Police, we have lost confidence in the University Council and now the lecturers want to lose our confidence as well?' said another student.
Meanwhile, students from both the Polytechnic and Chancellor College have planned a joint street demonstration in Blantyre this week. Police sources, however, said Mukhito has issued instructions to erect roadblocks between Zomba and Blantyre to prevent Chancellor College students from joining their Blantyre colleagues.

(my emphases)

Samotnaf

11 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Burkina Faso:

Soldiers have shot into the air, stolen cars and looted shops in the western part of Burkina Faso's capital as protests by military guards against unpaid housing allowances spread, witnesses said.
The presidential compound in Ouagadougou was calm on Friday after gunfire erupted there overnight. President Blaise Compaoré was apparently not in the presidential compound at the time, a source there said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press.
Unrest that started from two presidential guard barracks spread to camp Lamizana in western Ouagadougou.
Scattered looting had begun overnight in the capital of one of the world's poorest countries and soldiers looted and burned the homes of Compaoré aides.
A presidential security source, who spoke on condition on anonymity for security reasons, told the Associated Press that the soldiers were expressing their discontent after promises to pay their housing allowances were not kept....
Burkina Faso has been hit by unrest recently. On 8 April people took to the streets of Ouagadougou to protest against the soaring prices of basic foods.
In March, students torched government buildings in several cities to protest against a young man's death in custody. The government said he had meningitis, but accusations of mistreatment have fuelled protests, resulting in the deaths of at least six others....

from here

Samotnaf

11 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not sure if this goes here or not, but:

On April 18, the stage from which daily speeches at the demonstration were made was burnt to the ground. Over 1000 demonstrators and many pedestrians caught up in the square trying to flee the tear gas were shot at with live ammunition and rubber bullets, tear gassed, beaten, arrested, and threatened....
Since Tuesday, April 19, 2011 the city of Suleimaniya has been occupied by well over 10,000 armed soldiers. Azadi Square and the surrounding streets and alleys are filled with soldiers and rings of soldiers are spread out throughout much of the city. The markets close to Azadi Square are open to citizens but people must keep walking and if anyone appears to group together and approach the square, they are immediately subject to beating by clubs and arrest.
During the day of April 21, thousands more soldiers were called in and a ring of military bases and some tanks formed around the outskirts of Suleimaniya city. Jalal Talabani, president of Iraq and head of the PUK party appealed to Nouri Al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister for 3000 more Iraqi troops to be sent to the Suleimaniya province...
There have been hundreds of arrests in Suleimaniya city these past four days and most people have been released quickly but only after having been beaten and threatened by the security police. Many women have been arrested in this sweep. Journalists have been targeted for arrest and torture and one of the opposition party's TV channel KNN has been tampered with causing it to shut down for periods of time.
According to a reliable source, the teachers of Suleimaniya city submitted a demand for the forces to leave the city within 48 hours or they would strike beginning midnight Saturday, April 23.

- from here: Military Occupation in Suleimaniya Iraq. Should say that the characterisation of this movement as just "non-violent" by this site ("Common Dreams") is an ideological distortion of the facts: a few weeks ago 2 peshmergas (now acting as cops for the Kurdish nationalist State) were killed. Don't know much about it, but it could be that what seems to be the more non-violent development of the movement has given the State the green light for military occupation.
The following, however, claims that recent rock-throwing is mostly State-provoked, but then liberal/Left critics of State brutality tend to always say that and it's always hard to sort the truth from the ideology:

A new song was playing on Iraqi Kurdistan radio today, 18 April, 2011.
Two lines stick out: "Don't kill this generation" and "don't kill the
future". While the song played, guns were blasting and tear gas filled
the streets in both Suleimaniya and the KRG capital city, Hawler.
Day 61 of Suleimaniya's daily demonstrations against corruption and
tribal rule in Iraqi Kurdistan started early this morning. The CPT
team arrived at 11AM. Music was playing from the stage and small
groups of people were gathering. Two CPTers decided to use the quiet
time to grab a cup of coffee and juice in a cafe next to the square. A
few of the demonstration organizers were doing the same.
Meanwhile, the armed soldiers, anti-terrorism unit and police were
positioning themselves around the square. They actually formed a ring
about 500 meters back from the square. They were waiting, armed with
guns, tear gas, water cannons and riot gear.
When the two CPTers and organizers left the cafe, a group of about 20
young men were talking about confronting the soldiers and police. Some
were talking about throwing rocks. Others told us the soldiers would
throw the first round of rocks to provoke a fight. Still others told
us that the government pays some of these young men to throw the first
stones in order to provoke an escalation of violence. The organizers
and CPTers gave an impromptu workshop on nonviolence. Some of the
young men decided to stay in the square. Others were having no part of
it and were ready to confront the soldiers. One young man said he
needed the money.
By now, the demonstration was beggining to grow. The speakers gathered
around the stage. An announcement was made that Hawler's first large
public demonstration took off like wildfire. Maybe a thousand took to
the streets. The Suleimaniya crowd cheered. They have been carrying
these demonstrations for 2 months because the repression in Hawler has
been so much worse.
Next, news came to the square that the Suleimaniya University students
were sitting in the street. For the second day, they were stopped by a
ring of soldiers. Today, they were not able to enter into the square.
A crowd gathered on one of the streets exiting the northeast corner of
the square. And then the mayhem began. It started with tear gas. The
people who were closest to it came running back towards the square
with swollen eyes and faces. Some couldn't breath. Ambulances were
nearby and ready to treat them. News came that the soldiers were
moving closer to the square. The stench of the tear gas permeated the
streets. The demonstrators set up barricades on the street and began
burning tires in order to keep the soldiers from breaking into the
square.
The sound of gunfire was prolonged and getting closer to the square.
Shops along the street began to close down. Pedestrians ran towards
the square to get away from the worst of the tear gas and the
shooting. The team made contact with the US Consulate by phone and
stayed in contact throughout the day.
The organizers appealed to the people to stay in the square and to
remain nonviolent. Most of the people listened. Then the shooting
began on the other side of the square and soldiers were set up in
sniper positions on rooftops. Nobody knew where to go as the shooting
was coming from all sides. People crouched down behind stone walls.
Others began breaking up huge blocks of cement to make baseball-sized
rocks. The organizers appealed to the people to sit down. Many did and
all the while shooting was going on from all sides. Again, the team
kept in constant contact with the US Consulate. The representative
could hear the shooting over the phone and said they were in contact
with the highest level of KRG authority. Nobody seemed to know who was
giving the orders to shoot.
There was a call for the demonstration to end. Many people, including
the CPT team left although it was difficult to find a safe exit. At
6PM, the team received a report that approximately 500 to 700 people
were still in the square. The soldiers and police came in with guns,
batons and tear gas. 81 people were injured and taken to the hospital.
The armed forces set the stage on fire and also burned down all the
art displays set up on the wall in the back of the square.
At 9PM, 200 young people went back to the square and were immediately
surrounded by armed forces. The young people chanted, "you broke the
square, but you can't break us".

- from National Catholic Worker.

Mark.

11 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The following is a dialogue held on April 3rd with comrade Sinan Çiftyürek, spokesman of MESOP (Mesopotamian Socialist Party), a revolutionary Kurdish organisation, in relation to the deep significance of the Arab Spring but also on its impact on the Kurdish people. We discussed the roots of the mass movement but also, its prospects in the medium term.

http://www.anarkismo.net/article/19377

Samotnaf

11 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

More on the movement in Iraqi Kurdistan (there seem to be a few errors in the English, but it's mostly very clear):

Sulaimaniya, April 24 - A spokesman said over 50 schools in Sulaimaniya province have declared strike “against military deployment” in the province. Officials also demand the campaigners keep educational establishments out of the political disputes.
Xopeshandan , Dargai SaraRebwar Ali, a spokesman for the so-called campaign of “Defending Teachers Rights” said the campaign organizers have been informed that since Sunday morning in Sulaimaniya city 21 schools and in its suburbs 32 schools have staged strike.
The teachers and students of the morning rotation of these schools have walked out of the classes, chanting national songs in the school yards to signal their protest and strike.
The two months public anti-government protests in Sulaimaniya (one of the three provinces of the Kurdistan Region) were intercepted by a decision from the security committee of the province on Monday when in one day 100 protesters and security forces were wounded in clashes between the two sides. The major squares across the province are swarming with military and security forces that are ordered to quench any unauthorized public rally.
The deployment is receiving rising discontent from the residents of the province from various walks of life.
The strike follows a 48-hour respite the campaign organizers declared for the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region authority (in northern Iraq) to clear the heavy military presence in the city.
Last night the deadline ended and the campaigners called on the students and teachers declare strike.
Citing to AKnews, Ali said critically that as opposition and independent lists the campaigners run for Teachers Union elections recently and won the majority in Sulaimaniya, whereas teachers affiliated with the ruling parties and also Sulaimaniya Education Directorate have put the teachers under pressure not to join the strike of a “minority.”
Jabbar Mohammed, education director general in Sulaimaniya, called on all the political parties and teachers to keep educational institutions away from the political disputes.
This is a disservice only to students, especially now that the final exams are approaching, he warned.
Ata Abdul-Jabbar, a teacher, also believed staging the strike now will be a disadvantage for the students. “It should have been staged before,” he told AKnews.
“Attendance will be regally in our university and any student or teacher declining to attend the classes will face up with legal consequences,” Ali Said, the president for Sulaimaniya University said in a press conference Saturday night.
Students formed a vital faction in the recent demonstrations in the province. Reports suggest some were arrested, abused and tortured.
Said the president said the university council underlines its impartiality and independence as a scientific and educational institution and will not allow for “any transgression against university’s sanctuary”.
The university in the past week was besieged by the security forces who forced the students into buses, leading them to unpopulated areas around the city. Inside the bus, where the students were held for hours, they were forced to say in front of cameras that the opposition parties asked them to protest against their own will, an opposition TV channel, KNN said.
Since Feb.17, the outset of confrontations between security and anti-government protesters, 10 people have been killed, over 700 wounded, and tens arrested.
The crisis is mounting as the protesters are banned from public rallies by the military and security while the opposition forces are pushing for replacing the government with a transitional one.

Samotnaf

11 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oman.:

Demonstrations in three Omani cities
Muscat: Activists in Oman have pledged not to relax till reforms are implemented in the country.
After Friday prayers, people staging sit-ins in three cities took out marches in Muscat, Salalah and Sur. "Like in the past weeks, the peaceful march in Salalah was very strong in presence of people," an activist, who preferred anonymity, told Gulf News on Friday....
The protests have generally been peaceful and security agencies have avoided interference right from the start.
However, the protests in Sohar did turn violent on more than two occasions, forcing army to use force, including firing. Two people have so far died in action by the security agencies to quell violent protests in Sohar.
Since the last violent protest on April 1, Sohar has been peaceful as the army took charge of the Industrial Port town and forced out all activists from staging sit-ins and blocking roads.
Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed has taken several decisions that satisfied the demands raised by the activists but they are demanding more reforms, including freedom of speech and freedom of the media.
The Omani monarch raised minimum wages for Omani citizens in private sector, raised pension for retired civil service employees, ordered creation of 50,000 jobs for the Omani nationals and also sanctioned 150 Omani riyals as the unemployment allowance besides making series of changes......
For the last three weeks, rallies after Friday prayers has become regular in Salalah and this week people in Sur and Muscat also took out similar rallies.

Mark.

11 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spain

[youtube]BzC-PkacKGs[/youtube]

[youtube]Xg8MZA1nel4[/youtube]

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Molly's Blog on the arab revolutions

All that being said how do I view the 'Arab Revolutions' ? Unlike some I don't expect any great "libertarian upsurge" from them though I am sure that anarchist groups will be formed in the countries where the revolution has been "successful". The independent actions of the working class will be suppressed as they are today in Egypt.

The Arab revolutions have, however, shaken the forces of international imperialism. As such I personally support them even if I am sure that the resulting polity will be not even close to what I might want. THAT is the message that I would like to leave with people. Support what you can, but don't expect miracles. Revolutions are only possible in the modern world when certain conditions are met. These conditions simultaneously both make the revolution possible and also limit the amount of change that one can expect from such events. In the end I am just as firmly convinced that a libertarian society can only come about gradually, but I also feel that anarchists/libertarian socialists cannot divorce themselves from revolutionary events if they occur as some outcomes are infinitely better than others for a "slow march" to a free society to take place.

In previous posts on this blog I have mentioned how revolutions, being as they are essentially unpredictable movements of large segments of the population, cannot be "planned" or called into being by "revolutionary conspiracy". The efforts of Leninist groupuscles or so-called "insurrectionists" are nothing but magical thinking. The forces behind revolutionary moments are as far outside of the farcical plotting of such groups as is the movement of the planets. Even the "Model-T of Revolutions", the Russian Revolution was not produced by the Bolsheviks. What that party actually did was take advantage of a revolution already in process to achieve a coup-d'etat, and later they created their own managerial rule as the original revolution was defeated.

While revolutions cannot be conjured out of the ground there are, however, certain conditions that are necessary before any such event can occur. First of all there has to be mass disbelief in a given sociopolitical economic system. This doesn't necessarily mean that the majority of people suddenly join the revolutionaries, merely that the majority are more than content to at least "stand aside" in the conflict between the old order and the revolution, having no overwhelming loyalty to the regime. As a matter of fact it is quite rare (though not non-existent) that an actual majority join the revolution from day 1, except perhaps in restricted locales. The fact that revolutions rarely have the participation of a majority, only their passive acquiescence, is already a "snake in Eden" for the Revolution as the active minority must of necessity act boldly in order to avoid defeat, and they thereby act in a relationship of power vis-a-vis the inactive majority. Great dictatorships from many such little acts grow.

As unfavourable as such necessities may be for actually resulting in a truly more equal and free society the problem is not insurmountable. What is insurmountable is the fact that revolutions are inevitably pluralistic. All sorts of people come to oppose the dying regime because of all sorts of different reasons. This has sometimes included those such as Leninist groupuscles or Islamist ideologues in the Arab world who think this pluralism is a Very Bad Thing. Those to whom the whole idea of pluralism is anathema. Whether these people will be "compromisers" as the Egyptian Islamists appear to be or those who hope to advance their own cause by pushing the revolution as far ahead of the majority as possible depends upon circumstance. A lot depends upon the exact level of another condition for revolution...the ruling class must be divided. At least a large segment of this class must be willing to see the old order crumble and either stand passively by or actively help to tear it down. Lacking this the inevitable military realities that led me to first discount the possibility of revolution still hold true.

Revolutions are carried out, at least initially, by minorities. Military necessity requires this minority to carry out actions without any sanction from the majority. Revolutions are inevitably pluralistic and inevitably are open to the influence both of parts of the old ruling class and to would be ruling classes whose rule is often far worse than the old order. Where does this leave those who style themselves anarchists or libertarian socialists ? Many (almost all ?) of those who want to retain what I call the "romance of revolution" respond by imagining a non-pluralistic revolution, one more purely "anarchist". This is maintained by having, against all historical evidence, what may be unbounded faith in the "libertarian instincts of the masses". No doubt revolutions, by their very nature, develop instances of self-management. This is necessary if the revolution is to survive and grow. Or at least if the population is to fed. Yet even in the most fertile historical ground, Spain of the 1930s, the anarchists attracted the participation or approval of only 1/3rd of the population. The Spanish Revolution was inevitably pluralistic, and all appeals to greater militancy simply ignore this inevitable fact of both then and even more now.

This almost inevitable fact of pluralism sets natural limits as to what can be accomplished by a revolution. What this means in actuality is being demonstrated these days in both Tunisia and Egypt. Also in both cases what is usually a military necessity of a successful revolution ie the desertion of at least sizable chunks of the military and police hamstrings that revolution in terms of how far it can go. In other words all these factors together could be summed up as, "the conditions necessary for a revolution to succeed inevitably lead to restricting what it can achieve". Thermidor is the Siamese twin of revolutions, sharing the same vital organs.

Any thoughts on this?

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From The Free Association

What follows are some random (and rambling) thoughts on the power of events or acts to inspire whole movements – in part provoked by Paul Mason’s Twenty reasons why it’s kicking off everywhere

The events in north Africa sparked Paul Mason’s comments but obviously the question is a lot wider. How do isolated acts of resistance gel to become mass rebellions? And what conditions make them more likely to succeed (even if only for a short time)? …

which has a link to this article

So, I want to look at the materials that are available to us to flesh out a 'new model commune', and it seems to me that the best starting point is to look at the tendencies immanent in recent struggles in the Middle East. Here, for example, are some of the features of the revolutionary movement that overthrew Mubarak, and even now is still fermenting in Egypt. First of all, they took over a nominally public space which the state wished to exclude them from access to, Tahrir Square. Having taken it over, and affirmed that they wouldn't simply go home at the end of the day - something we might want to think about - they saw off wave after wave of assault on the protests, from police and plain clothes thugs. They set up committees to keep watch for government men. They set up barricades, and routine ID checks for everyone attempting to enter the square. They set up a network of tents for people to sleep in - it's freezing overnight, so some of them jog round the square to get their temperature up. There are toilet arrangements - no small logistical matter when there are routinely hundreds of thousands of people occupying the capital's main intersection. They rig up street lamps to provide electricity. They set up garbage collection, medical stops - they occupy a well-known fast food outlet and turn it into somewhere that people shot at or beaten by police can get treated.

They set up a city within a city, and collectively coped with many more challenges than the average city would have to face in an average day. There was of course commerce, people hawking food and cigarettes, confident that the whole system of exchange wasn't being overthrown. Yet, far more of their actions were driven by solidarity, collective decision-making, and democratic delegation, than is ever usual for a city. Tahrir Square was the beginnings of a commune. Beyond that spectacular exercise in the capital, the labour movement that had been kicking since the 2006 strikes in Mahalla, was doing something that labour movement's usually don't do. It was starting to strike to demand a change in management. It was striking over the exercise of authority. This had happened in Tunisia, and usually it was because the CEO was some ruling party stooge. But it was the people who normally have no say in the running of the company - and Egypt's private sector economy is overwhelmingly informal, and insecure - seeking to exercise a sort of limited franchise. They did not seek to replace the management of the company with themselves, which would have been the ultimate statement of their confidence in their ability to rule themselves. But they were trying to have a say, and usually succeeded in that. And when the government withdrew the police from local communities and encouraged looting and thuggish behaviour, the people - instead of panicking, and deciding that we can't do without the police after all, please send the uniformed thugs back in Mr Mubarak - organised self-defence committees. Just as in Tahrir, they set up checkpoints, ID checks, and they made decisions about how their community would be run.

Now, this isn't socialism. Socialists were a current in the revolution, but not a big one. The major currents were Nasserists, Islamists, and liberals. And there are all sorts of political struggles that still have to continue - the horrible attacks on women in Tahrir Square on international womens' day shows that this fight has to occur within the revolution. And there's now the prospect that the army leadership will seek to consolidate a conservative ruling bloc with the assistance of the Muslim Brothers, who were an invaluable part of the revolutionary coalition but always the most right-wing element of it. While many Brothers will have been shaken up, radicalised and blasted with ecstasy by this revolution, their core base of small businessmen are probably anxious to get back to making money, and leave the commune behind. Still, the utopian moment of Tahrir Square and beyond showed us some of the lineaments of what a commune might look like. It demonstrated that with opportunity comes competence: that we can, if given the chance, quickly learn and apply the techniques of cooperation, solidarity and self-government.

Again any thoughts?

_________________________________________

Edit: To pick up on a passage from the article above:

Beyond that spectacular exercise in the capital, the labour movement that had been kicking since the 2006 strikes in Mahalla, was doing something that labour movement's usually don't do. It was starting to strike to demand a change in management. It was striking over the exercise of authority. This had happened in Tunisia, and usually it was because the CEO was some ruling party stooge. But it was the people who normally have no say in the running of the company - and Egypt's private sector economy is overwhelmingly informal, and insecure - seeking to exercise a sort of limited franchise. They did not seek to replace the management of the company with themselves, which would have been the ultimate statement of their confidence in their ability to rule themselves.

This sounds accurate and I haven't heard of any attempts or calls for workers to take over their workplaces, in Egypt, Tunisia or elsewhere. To me this is one of the things that calls out for explanation. Why were workplaces taken over in Portugal in 1974, for example, but not in North Africa in 2011?

Samotnaf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry - don't have any answers to your interesting questions, Mark - partly because I'm too tired, but there's this news from Uganda:

Riots have swept across Uganda's capital, Kampala, in the biggest anti-government protest in sub-Saharan Africa this year.
Security forces have launched a brutal crackdown, firing at unarmed civilians with live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas. Two people have been killed, more than 120 wounded and about 360 arrested. Women and girls have been among those beaten, according to witnesses.
The growing unrest -- triggered by rising food and fuel prices -- has gained fresh impetus after the violent arrest of the opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, last week. ...
Some point to the political earthquakes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and wonder if the aftershocks could reach south of the Sahara. Already there are pockets of unrest from Burkina Faso to Senegal to Swaziland. Even South Africa, reputed anchor of the continent, is tormented by deadly protests over poor public services.
In Uganda there is an inchoate revolution struggling to be born. Protests have spread to several towns, leaving seven people dead and hundreds in jail. The riots, in which roads have been barricaded with burning tyres, mark a new level of defiance. Facebook and Twitter, which the government unsuccessfully tried to block, are reverberating with dissent. Museveni's heavy-handed attempts to put out the fire appear only to be fanning its flames.
The subversion here began on April 11 with a defeated politician and half a dozen allies walking down a street. The "walk to work" campaign is intended to highlight the soaring food and fuel prices, which leave many unable to afford public transport.
If Besigye, who has lost three elections to Museveni, had been ignored the protest might have fizzled out. But instead riot police blocked the group, used tear gas and arrested him. At a stroke this waning figure was reborn as a hero of resistance.
Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, an MP-elect for Besigye's Forum for Democratic Change, said: "We never intended to have a Tahrir Square to remove Museveni. We just wanted a reawakening of the people. We started walking, the simplest thing on Earth, and Museveni said, 'You can't.'"
At the third protest Besigye was hit in the hand by a rubber bullet. Images of him with his hand bandaged and in a sling gave the opposition a publicity coup. With each walk he has attracted more followers.
Nganda, who was jailed for five days for taking part in a walk, said: "When you start a campaign, you never know what the response will be. Museveni's brutal reaction is what raised its profile beyond our expectations. It's dominating the media, the opposition, even Museveni himself."
The 37-year-old said Ugandans would prove as determined as their North African counterparts. "I don't think when the Tunisians started they knew it would be the end of Ben Ali, or when the Egyptians started they knew they would get rid of Mubarak. Nobody can be sure what shape it will take in Uganda, but we are going to continue until Museveni leaves."
Besigye (54), who was Museveni's doctor during the bush war against former president Milton Obote, was detained again in Kampala last week after police smashed their way into his vehicle and shot pepper spray into his eyes.
An hour earlier he had admitted that he was hesitant to draw comparisons with Egypt and Tunisia. "The only parallel goes to the extent that people are discontented with what is going on and their governments are non-responsive. How this popular discontent is channelled is always governed by the unique qualities of governments."
Asked if he was prepared to die for the cause, Besigye said: "I am not setting out to become a martyr of anything. I am simply asserting my citizen's rights, which are inherent, which are not offered by the state and which I am determined to defend at all costs."
Commodity prices could be the spark in a Ugandan tinderbox of resentment over corruption and neglected public services. Museveni has refused to copy neighbouring Kenya by cutting fuel taxes, while his re-election campaign is estimated to have cost $350-million, with a further $1,3-million allotted to his inauguration ceremony.
Public anger was burning on a street where no car was safe from flying stones. Robert Mayanja, a self-described activist, said: "What they are doing now shows that Museveni rigged the last election. If you look at Uganda, why should we vote for him after 25 years? We have high prices; we have hospitals without medicine."
Mayanja (31) said a repeat of the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia was "definitely" possible. "People are ready. We know they are going to arrest many people and put them in torture chambers. We know this regime has expired. These are the signs."
In Ntinda district youths shouted and hurled stones and chunks of concrete at passing cars. On one corner a man ran up to a passing council vehicle and smashed the driver's window with a rock.
A teacher, who gave his name only as Nixon (32), said he could not imagine an Egypt-like revolt in the short term. "But in the long term I believe it can happen," he said. "The military is still strong and many of the soldiers are unwilling to turn to the side of the people. But in time they might get tired of beating the people."
A young population, often seen as politically apathetic, has reached unexpected levels of activism. People who used to bolt at the first whiff of tear gas are losing their fear. But there are serious doubts about whether a critical mass of Ugandans has the will or the means to drive out the president, who retains a vice-like hold on the military and police.
Rosebell Kagumire, a journalist who is blogging and tweeting about the political crisis, said: "It's hard to get people to believe going to the streets will change anything, especially when they know the government is prepared to kill half of them. Ugandans have not reached that level yet."
Museveni, whose election victory has been denounced as fraudulent, is confident he can avoid the fate of Arab leaders. "Nobody can take over power through an uprising," he said recently. "Whoever thinks like that, I pity such a person."
His spokesperson, Tamale Mirundi, said: "In Tunisia and Egypt democracy was lacking; in Uganda we elect our leaders at every level. Besigye cannot say he was cheated and that is why he is jumping on oil prices."
Mirundi played down the power of the internet. "Go to the villages. How many people can access Facebook? Very few." Yet every day in Uganda new people are connecting and interacting for the first time. "Uganda is sitting on a time bomb," tweeted Richo Nuwagaba. "It's just a matter of time. I am scared."

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

More on the situation in Uganda on Rosebell's Blog

rooieravotr

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Demonstrations and police repression in Morocco

Samotnaf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

More on Morocco:

Rabat...Those who managed to assemble chanted "We want our rights, even if we are condemned to death," before fleeing down sidestreets in the face of charging policemen. Demonstrators also complained about the high cost of living and lack of jobs.
Dozens of members of the movement later attempted to regroup in front of parliament, but were again violently dispersed by police.
By sunset, activists had taken refuge inside the headquarters of the main labor union while a heavy police presence waited outside.
Activists also reported that police violently dispersed similar protest marches in the northern city of Tangiers and Agadir, in the south. Many were arrested and injured, but the movement did not have an official count....
While the movement in Morocco is not calling for abolishing the monarchy, it is for reducing its powers, strengthening the prime minister, reforming the judiciary and combatting the corruption they say is rife in the country.
On March 9, the king promised constitutional amendments to address many of these concerns and a handpicked committee is expected to present its recommendations in June.
As the committee deliberates, however, the government appears to have instituted a new zero tolerance policy for demonstrations, which previously had been allowed.
On May 15, an attempt to hold a rally outside the intelligence headquarters in a suburb of Rabat was violently dispersed, with at least one protest leader severely beaten.
An attempt on Friday to hold a protest over the expense of Rabat's prestigious Mawazine world music festival was also charged by police and dispersed.

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Reuters

In Fes, three leading members of the city's protest movement were in "very critical condition," said demonstrator Fathallah al-Hamdani. Injured were also reported in Tangier and elsewhere.

[…]

Protesters wanted to camp in front of the parliament in Rabat, but authorities were anxious to avoid a repeat of the events in Cairo earlier this year when protesters occupying Tahrir Square eventually helped to topple the government.

In major cities, police armed with batons and shields moved people off the streets wherever they gathered. Protesters broke off into smaller groups, often with police chasing behind.

One protest leader in Rabat who had already been beaten a week ago suffered severe concussion on Sunday, said protester Jalal Makhfi.

Some human rights activists were beaten in front of police headquarters where they had tried to win the release of 13 members of the AMDH human rights group, said Khadija Riyadi, another member of the group.

Demonstrators said police beat dozens in Casablanca...

Samotnaf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Togo:

Togo's government has ordered the indefinite closure of the country's largest university days after students started riots demanding better conditions and food.
Policemen and paramilitary guards patrolled the University of Lome campus on Friday. The university's vice chancellor says the rampaging protests began Wednesday and escalated Thursday on the campus in the capital of the tiny West African nation. Koffi Ahadzi Nonon says students damaged university property and tried to force others to join their protests at the university of some 12,000 students.
He says the students were upset about their food and about the introduction of a new curriculum for which they said they were not prepared.

Samotnaf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yemen again (though this might be called the "Mossos Effect").

redsdisease

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Seems like there's a civil war brewing in Yemen between some of the tribes and the government.

Apparently the president was injured on an attack at his compound today. It's being blamed on the tribes.

There were also apparently huge demonstrations today after friday prayers.

Yemen seems to be something of a mess right now.

ocelot

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OK, this news about the rescheduling of the Bahrain Formula 1 race is significant. It's an opportunity to anarchists in the UK to make a symbolic, but meaningful intervention of solidarity into this process.

Bahrain is the other pole to Libya. Libya represents Western imperialism's attempt (clumsy and so far bungled) attempt to regain the initiative in this wave of revolt, through "hard power" intervention, in defence of material interests on one level (oil) and at another political (attempt to regain the appearance of dominance in the era of their decline). Bahrain was the blood price paid to the Saudis for the support of the Arab League for the intervention. A quid pro quo. The Saudis got to crush the Bahraini movement for the right of 90% of its population to throw off subjugation with the blessing (through silence) of the US and its Western allies.

This is common coin in today's Arab media. The traditional trope of the duplicity of the West is given new witness through the spectacle of the Libya - Bahrain double standard that is plain to all (at least in North Africa and the Middle East).

In this context, even token solidarity actions in support of the Bahrain struggle, have the potential to make a political difference.

Formula 1 is one of the most disgusting sports on the planet, the price for tickets for spectators is in the thousands, not the hundreds. It has the highest organic composition of capital of any sport, the manufacturers even get trophies, in recognition. Formula 1 is also, beneath it's carefully constructed guise of international or world sport, almost entirely a UK production. It is the private cash-cow of one UK "non-resident", and virtually all of the teams have their engineering in the UK.

This rescheduling of the Bahrain F1 race is a perfect storm. It represents everything that is sick and degenerate about both Bahrain and the UK. It also represents, thanks to their stupidity, a gift-horse in terms of international solidarity - a chance to defy/expose not only US-EU compliance with the Saudi line, but also to challenge the populist image in the bourgeois Arab media of western proles as gormless puppets of their state's media, and finally to intervene on the disruptive side of the sectarian composition of the Arabian peninsular and the Gulf region - that is on the minoritarian, Shi'ite side - in the Bahraini case, a minority distinct from the dominant Shia sect of Iran as well (contrary to ignorant or opportunistic Israeli/US propaganda).

Bahrain may not appear to be a big issue by the metrics of armchair generals who measure everything by weight of population and media coverage, but political judgement is based on awareness of the totality of interrelations and current processes. In that light I propose that this is a fault line worth attacking.

ludd

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's a report of brutal repression in Yemen. Warning, horrible pictures there: http://janenovak.wordpress.com/yemen-protesters-burnt-alive-buried-in-mass-graves/

Obama administration "condemned" Yemen repression. They say "several" people have been killed, while it's been hundreds, including children who were burned alive!

Samotnaf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot: Not quite sure what you're proposing here. Everyone go off to Bahrain and build burning barricades out of racing cars across the track ? I realise you can't be too specific, but I seriously can't see how those outside Bahrain can make a "meaningful intervention of solidarity ".

Formula One Is Criticized After Rescheduling Grand Prix in Bahrain
June 3rd.
Formula One’s ruling body was criticized by human-rights groups after rescheduling a race in Bahrain amid anti-government protests.....
“This decision reflects the spirit of reconciliation in Bahrain, which is evident from the strong support the race receives from the government and all major parties in Bahrain, including the largest opposition group,” the racing body said.
It said the move was a “means of helping to unite people.”
The race had been slated to open the season on March 13. Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa suspended it on Feb. 21, three days after five people were killed as police broke up demonstrations by activists seeking democratic changes. At least 30 people have died since the protests began, the Associated Press reported.
“It seems like a highly questionable decision by Formula One,” Joe Stork, the deputy director of the region for New York-based Human Rights Watch, said in a telephone interview.
Teams and drivers now have to make a decision “influenced by financial reasons and personal feelings,” Stork said.
Lost Money
Canceling the event would have cost Formula One, owned by London-based buyout firm CVC Capital Partners Ltd., the $40 million fee it charges Bahraini authorities, the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph reported March 15, citing series Chief Executive Officer Bernie Ecclestone.
Human-rights activists in Bahrain said they would use the publicity of the most-watched motor sport to show their discontent with the government.
“On the one hand, Formula One isn’t respecting human rights, but on the other, it’s a good chance for the people to express how they feel on television worldwide,” Mohamed Al- Maskati, head of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, said from Manama, the capital.
On June 1, Bahrain lifted a state of emergency, warning in a statement carried by the official Bahrain News Agency against activities that could “affect security or harm the national peace and safety.”
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets as hundreds of protesters marched towards Pearl Square in Manama today following the funeral of an elderly woman who died yesterday from the effects of tear gas, Al-Maskati said.
Bahrain has hosted Formula One since 2004 at a $150 million racetrack in the desert south of Manama.

From here

ocelot

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf

ocelot: Not quite sure what you're proposing here. Everyone go off to Bahrain and build burning barricades out of racing cars across the track ? I realise you can't be too specific, but I seriously can't see how those outside Bahrain can make a "meaningful intervention of solidarity ".

No I wasn't suggesting anyone travel to Bahrain. I was pointing out that appropriate foci were available a few tube stops away for Londoners, for e.g.

Contact & Company details

Our contact details are as follows:
Postal address: Formula1.com, Formula One Management Ltd, 6 Princes Gate, Knightsbridge, London. SW7 1QJ. England.
Email: Due to the extremely high volume of traffic we receive, we regret to inform you that we are unable to respond to emails which are not specifically related to the two categories below:
For business enquiries, click here .
For editorial enquiries, click here .
Company details: 'FORMULA ONE MANAGEMENT LIMITED' is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 01545332 and with a registered office as above. VAT number: 391582332

from here

from the same page:

Formula One Management Limited ('FOM') is a wholly owned subsidiary of Formula One World Championship Limited ('FOWC') and acts as its agent and business manager and together with Formula One Licensing BV and Formula One Administration Limited, these companies form the Formula One group of companies ('Formula One Group').

The parent company of FOM, FOWC is also registered at 6 Princes Gate:

Company Name: FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP LIMITED
Company Number: 04174493
Company Address: 6 PRINCES GATE
LONDON
SW7 1QJ
Company Type: Private Limited Company
Company Status: Active

from here

So the immediate companies are handily located in central(ish) London. Above that level we get into a Jersey tax haven:

The Formula One Group is a group of companies responsible for the promotion of the FIA Formula One World Championship and exploitation of the sport's commercial rights.[1] The Group is owned ultimately by Delta Topco, a Jersey–based company owned by CVC Capital Partners' funds (approximately 70%) and JPMorgan (approximately 20%). Bernie Ecclestone's family trust owns the remainder apart from small shares held by financial advisers and Ecclestone himself.[2]

"Formula One Group" strictly refers to Formula One Management, Formula One Administration and Formula One Licensing BV,[3] which are subsidiaries of the Formula One Holdings holding company. However Delta Topco owns other Formula One businesses which are referred to in the same way.

from WP

And Bernie "Hitler got bad press" Ecclestone is also London based, but of course he'll be in Bahrain at the time of the race.

Samotnaf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

DAKAR, Senegal — Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Senegal’s capital to protest frequent power cuts.
Angry mobs attacked and destroyed government buildings across the city Monday, including the national electricity company’s offices. In some parts of Dakar, people claim they now go regularly without electricity for 24 hours or more.
Riot police fought back in some areas with tear gas and water cannons.

- http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/thousands-launch-demonstrations-across-senegals-capital-protesting-increased-power-cuts/2011/06/28/AGVpZroH_story.html

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Malaysia Protests: Over 1,400 Arrested During Demonstrations
7/9/11
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian police fired repeated rounds of tear gas and detained over 1,400 people in the capital on Saturday as thousands of activists evaded roadblocks and barbed wire to hold a street protest against Prime Minister Najib Razak's government.

- here.

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Iraq drafts harsh anti-protest law as Baghdad gets Tahrir Square movement
In a July 13 statement, Human Rights Watch called on the Iraqi government to revise a draft law it said would limit freedom of assembly and expression, in contravention both of international standards and Iraq's own constitution. The bill contains provisions that would curtail the right to protest hold demonstrations that are seen to violate the "public interest" or the "general order or public morals"—without providing any definition of those terms. Those provisions, as well as the proposed criminalization of speech that "insults" a "sacred" symbol or person, clearly violate international law, Human Rights Watch said. “This law will undermine Iraqis’ right to demonstrate and express themselves freely,” the watchdog’s deputy Middle East director, Joe Stork, said. (AFP, HRW, July 13)
The proposed law comes just as opposition groups have launched a campaign of Friday protests in Baghdad's Tahrir Square to demand the ouster of Prime Minister Nuri Maliki. At least seven protesters were arrested and beaten by Iraqi security forces as hundreds of angry demonstrators gathered last Friday July 8 in the capital's central square. Protesters chanted: "Friday after Friday until we get rid of al-Maliki," referring to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. (CNN, July 8)

http://ww4report.com/node/10124

baboon

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The working class in Senegal has a long and noble history in the class struggle, including self-organisation and extension in extremely difficult circumstances and as a part of the global revolutionary wave following World War One, including here joint struggles with European workers and mutinies.

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chile student riots get out of control
SANTIAGO: At least 32 officers were wounded and 54 demonstrators were arrested here Thursday in a mass protest demanding more funds for public education, police said. Riot police used water cannons and fired tear gas to disperse the tens of thousands of demonstrators, who fought back by hurling rocks, sticks, and plastic bottles filled with paint. Santiago Police Chief Sergio Gajardo told reporters that 32 officers were wounded "as a result of the extremely violent actions that took place at the end of the march.
A police spokesperson separately told AFP that 54 protesters had been arrested. One of the officers, who was guarding the nearby Brazilian embassy, was seriously burned when an "incendiary artifact" burst on his shield and burning liquid spilled onto his legs, Gajardo said. Officials said that some 30,000 people joined the march down La Alameda, a main downtown thoroughfare, though organizers said the number was closer to 80,000, the same number that marched in similar demonstrations on June 14 and June 30.
The protesters-students, teachers, parents and children-swarmed several blocks of the avenue in a noisy, festive and colorful protest. The clash began when police moved in to stop the crowd from turning towards the Palacio de la Moneda, the presidential palace, where unlike the previous times organizers did not have a permit to demonstrate. "They are playing with fire. That march was not authorized," Deputy Interior Minister Rodrigo Ubilla told reporters.
"The students must understand that the street is not theirs," added Ena von Baer, a spokeswoman for President Sebastian Pinera. Students want the national government to take over the public school system, where 90 percent of the country's 3.5 million students are educated. The nationwide school system was broken up during the 1973-1990 military regime and handed over to municipal authorities. Protesters say the current system results in deep inequalities and is underfunded.
Protests have been mounting since Pinera, the first center-right president to govern Chile since the country returned to democracy in 1990, earlier in the year announced wide-ranging education spending cuts. Pinera has said the cuts are needed to trim the government's bloated bureaucracy, even as the country's economy is experiencing a six percent annual growth rate.
The government currently dedicates 4.4 percent of the country's gross national product to education, far below the seven percent recommended by UNESCO. The demonstration comes 10 days after Pinera proposed a "grand accord" that includes a $4 billion fund, but no systemic reform. In the June 30 protest, 13 people were detained and one police officer wounded.

http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=OTAyMTMyMTAzNQ==

Entdinglichung

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://labourstart-fr.posterous.com/algeria-assassination-attempt-on-snapap-leade

Algeria. Assassination attempt on SNAPAP leader Rachid Malaoui fails

Yesterday evening, 15th of July, an assassination attempt on Rachid Malaoui was foiled when the sabotaged brakes of his vehicle were discovered by chance. Chairman of the independent union of public service employees and human rights activist, friends now fear for his life. Brutally assaulted during a demonstration in Algiers on February 19, requiring hospitalization, Rachid Malaoui is also victim of a travel ban plot, preventing him from building solidarity with European and international trade unions. SNAPAP is one of the most active organizations in Algeria gathering the sympathy of unemployed and private sector workers who find it's action more adapted to their needs than that of the monopolistic UGTA. Last nights act sparks fears that the Algerian government, inspired by embattled "democratic transition" in neighbouring countries including Libya and Syria, might abandon constrained reforms in favor of stepped-up repression of the movement for social change.

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Don't know if it is appropriate to use this as a catch-all for political protests that turn into more social forms of contestation, but didn't think it was worth putting this up as a separate news item (same with a lot of my previous posts on this thread):

Death toll in Malawi riots rises to 6
Death toll from the riots on Wednesday in Malawi rises to 6 as local media Joy Radio of Malawi reported another 2 died in the southern commercial city of Blantyre during the chaotic event.
Four people were previously reported dead following the riots that ensued in the cities of Malawi following the police's failure to contain the situation where protesters vandalized shops, offices and vehicles.
The violence ensued following an eleventh-hour court injunction obtained by one lawyer at 1 a.m. local time on Wednesday stopping the nationwide peaceful demonstrations organized by the civil society and the opposition parties in protest of President Mutharika's leadership.
The court order was issued despite the fact that President Mutharika had given a go ahead to the event on Monday.
The situation got out of hand when the police, following the court order, tried to stop the march.
It all started in Mzuzu, a city up north where, according to the local media, protesters overpowered the police and went on rampage and set ablaze the ruling party's vehicle, vandalized the party's offices and tore off all President Mutharika's billboards in the city.
A local radio, Zodiak, confirmed death of four people in Mzuzu city while unconfirmed reports indicated one death in the capital following police shootout.
In Lilongwe violence took root from early in the morning as the civil society and the opposition officials were negotiating with the court to have the injunction lifted.
The local media reports said one of the civil society leaders, Undule Mwakasungula, and a dozen local journalists were severely beaten by police while elsewhere in the city protesters overpowered the police, looted and vandalized banks, offices and shops.
Included on the list of the vandalized structures in Lilongwe and Blantyre are police vehicles and houses and ruling party officials' property.

In Zomba, however, the march was conducted peacefully and the police are reported to have handled the situation professionally.
Meanwhile, the protestors in all the Blantyre and Lilongwe succeed in presenting their petition to the authorities following the lifting of the injunction late in the afternoon.
Among other things the protestors are calling upon President Mutharika to address issues of critical shortage of fuel, forex, and poor governance.
As the riots carried the day throughout the country, elsewhere at State House in the capital, President Mutharika was presenting a public lecture on issues of sovereignty, political independence, forex, good governance and human rights, where he emphasized that Malawi will never dance to the donors' tune.

http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90855/7447045.html

And more:

Troops were deployed in the southern African country’s commercial capital, Blantyre, and police fired tear gas at protesters who had gathered outside the stock exchange in defiance of a court order banning protests in Malawi, according to Reuters.
In Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, protesters burnt cars, offices and shops belonging to politicians from Mutharika's ruling Democratic Progressive Party and their allies, Reuters says. In the northern city of Mzuzu, demonstrators ransacked the DPP’s offices.....
Malawi is a landlocked nation sandwiched between Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania, and is heavily reliant on foreign aid. The country relies on handouts for 40 percent of its budget.
Mutharika, a former World Bank economist, was first elected in 2004, but recently has been embroiled in a diplomatic spat with Britain, Malawi’s biggest aid donor, over a leaked embassy cable that referred to him as "autocratic and intolerant of criticism.”
Mutharika's recent policies have included a ban on publications deemed "contrary to the public interest,” AFP says.
Malawi ejected Britain’s ambassador in Lilongwe over the leaked cable, and in response Britain kicked out Malawi’s representative in London and suspended aid worth $550 million over the next four years, Reuters says.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/110720/africa-malawi-anti-government-riots-lilongwe-protests-aid

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

More on Malawi (doesn't say much except that rioting and looting continued yesterday):

Malawi president calls for clam amid continued riots
July 22, 2011
Malawi President Bingu Mutharika on Thursday appealed to the opposition and civil society organizations to come forward for a dialogue rather than going into the streets.
The president made the remarks during his State of the Nation Address on Thursday afternoon, as more riots were seen in the capital Lilongwe where more shops were looted.
In the address beamed on the state controlled broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, Mutharika condemned the Wednesday riots where property, houses, vehicles and lives were lost.
He said it was very sad that some innocent people lost their lives.
"I know all the perpetrators of yesterday's riots and as the state president of this country I have the responsibility of bringing them to book," he said.
"It would be better if the opposition and the civil society organizations came forward for a dialogue," he added.
Mutharika accused the opposition and the civil society organization leaders of fuelling the riots by hiring the rioters to cause havoc in the cities.
Riots continued Thursday in many parts of the country. Uniformed and heavily armed Malawi Defense Force officers could be spotted in some locations where the riots were evident.
President Mutharika is expected to respond to the petition delivered Wednesday by the civil society organizations and the opposition through the city and town councils.
Local media quoted the country's health ministry as saying that nine people have died in Wednesday's riots among whom were two police officers killed in Mzuzu city by angry protesters.
The civil society in Malawi had planned to take to the streets in peaceful protest against what they call economic hardships and was granted by Mutharika on Monday. However a court injunction obtained by a lawyer early Wednesday denied the legitimacy of the demonstration.
Protesters rushed into streets in major cities early in the morning on Wednesday and clashed with police.
The injunction was lifted Wednesday afternoon when all demonstrators successfully presented their petitions to the president. However, the riots carried on Thursday when demonstrations became robbery and other forms of violence.
ZODIAK, a Malawi local radio said civil society organizations have called on the nation to be calm and the Malawi police has described the behavior of some misguided demonstrators as barbaric and condemned such acts in its strongest terms.

http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90855/7448154.html

Mark.

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]IiGne-k4ROQ[/youtube]

Israel

Israeli consumers, frustrated after years of spiralling food and housing prices, burst on to the streets of Tel Aviv this week with a popular protest that has transformed one of the city's smartest neighbourhoods into a hippie-style campsite.

Students and other demonstrators pitched hundreds of tents along Rothschild Boulevard, more famous for its Unesco-protected Bauhaus-style architecture and European-style cafes, to protest about rising prices that they claim are forcing young people out of the city.

The organisers are demanding government action to calm the inflated housing market that has seen rents rise in Tel Aviv by more than 60 per cent in four years. Protestors have also starting camping out in Jerusalem with other tent cities springing up from Beersheba in the south to Haifa and Kiryat Shemona in the north.

News of the protests spread through social media, echoing a successful Facebook campaign last month when consumers forced down the spiralling price of dairy products.

Critics have accused the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being in thrall to a handful of economic oligarchs who effectively control much of Israel's economy.

"The Israeli public – in all fields – is captive to forces with narrow interests," said an editorial in the daily Maariv newspaper.

In Jerusalem, 40 demonstrators occupied the garden of a home in the exclusive Kfar David neighbourhood. One focus of the protests is the large number of city-centre dwellings built for and bought by wealthy foreigners who leave them empty for most of the year.

A rally on Saturday near the Habima Theatre in Tel Aviv will be the first test of the movement's political muscle. "Israel's government continues to disappoint us, and we feel betrayed," said Daphni Leef, the founder of the protest movement. "The struggle is moving on to the next level. We call on all the tent cities to arrive at Habima Square for a rally that will make the upper echelon shake."

"It's our nation, and it's time to give it back to the people," she added.

Israelis earn on average about 100,000 shekels (£18,000) a year and spend between a half and one-third of their salaries on housing. Food and other costs have also spiralled in recent years, making Tel Aviv the most expensive city in the Middle East.

Many politicians visited the tent cities to show support for the protest but were turned away. Police intervened after one demonstrator poured a bottle of beer over Ron Huldai, the mayor of Tel Aviv.

Mark.

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

More on the Israeli housing protests

For the past week, hundreds  of people have been gathering on the uppermost edge of the Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, close to the recently renovated national theatre plaza. Starting with a tiny group of friends who pitched their tents there in protest of Tel Aviv’s exorbitant rent prices, the movement has grown exponentially, both on the original protest site – every day, several more tents spring up as more and more people move in – and throughout the country. Camps have been struck not only in the big cities – Jerusalem, Haifa and Be’er Sheva – but in the forever-struggling border town of Kiryat Shmona, the tiny community of Tel Hai, and elsewhere.

The protest has struck a chord with hundreds, if not thousands, of Israelis. My generation (people in their late 20’s) constitute the first, second or third generation of complete indebtedness. Most of our parents bought the homes we grew up in with mortgages, taken out before we were born and still unreturned. Those of us planning to buy homes and raise families are likely to become similarly enslaved to the banking system, because very few of us are likely to make enough money by the time we are, say, 30, to actually buy a home ourselves – even in the most remote and punishing suburb.

Moreover, Israel’s extremely lax credit rules and remorseless credit card spending culture means most Israeli households are regularly overdrawn on their bank accounts; I know that most of my friends – educated young professionals, many working for top media organisations, academia, the arts, or even high-tech – usually hold their head above the zero line in their bank accounts for the first week or two of every month. Many of those who can boast a positive balance in their running accounts are thousands, if not tens of thousands of shekels in debt – whenever you go above, say, NIS 10k in your running account or get about NIS 5k overdrawn, despite earning well enough, you get a call from an extremely nice banker who offers you a 20 or 30k loan, spread out over several lifetimes with an intimidating interest rate. Accumulating the hundreds of thousands of shekels requested to buy a modest young family flat in said suburbia is therefore out of the question for most of us, and most of us, indeed, gave up on the idea long ago.

But what’s pushing people now onto the street is nothing as fanciful as one’s own property; it’s the rent and overall living costs. Mercer ranked Tel Aviv as the most expensive city in the Middle East already three years ago, and since then rent prices have been soaring. According to Ynet, since 2008, rent in Tel Aviv has risen by at between 17 and 20 percent; in Be’er Sheva, by 40 percent. Jerusalem, with its expansionist construction and the municipality’s subsidies scheme, was affected far less, but the cost of living anywhere within easy access to university campuses or middle-class working places is still preposterously high. I myself hardly know anyone in my peer group, in either of the big cities, who spends less than 40 to 50 percent of their mean income on rent if they live alone, and about 30 percent if they share with flatmates.

I’m typing this at the protest camp on Rothschild Boulevard (aptly renamed by a makeshift sign “If I Were a Rothschild” Boulevard). The scene is at once warm (26c) and chaotic; a motley crowd of starry-eyed young people with signs proclaiming their support love for everyone wander among the tents; someone is grilling meat; someone else is preaching vegetarianism; a bit off, a busker with a rusty saxophone and a young girl engage in some Billy Holidayesque music making; playgrounds and playpens for the young children have been sprung up; the boulevard’s regular chess club has seen an utter explosion of membership.

At the site where the protest started, the very top of the boulevard, the protesters are trying to hold a popular assembly. They are using the by-now universal heckling-free language – twist your palms instead of applauding loudly, raise blocked arms to signal you disagree, make a rolling motion with both hands if you want the speaker to get on with it. In the crowd are members of Zionist youth movements, Israeli Palestinians, proud LGBT activists and ultra-Orthodox from Bnei Brak.

One of the speakers says the discussion will deal with the question of whether the protest should stay focused on the rent issue or tackle the issues that cause the rent to rise. As a first step, he asks the assembly’s approval: Shall we hold this discussion now, or postpone it until tomorrow? A quick and passionate discussion of whether to hold a discussion erupts, but people quickly catch up with the recursion and vote, in a blurry forest of twisting palms, to hold the discussion. Various strategies are proposed, stories are told, poems are read, and the facilitators move the discussion along quickly, pleading with people to make constructive propositions but never shutting anybody up, barring time constraints. The entire thing feels, strangely, organic, open-ended, and effective; the recurring theme is not just the rent, but that the whole system is rotten, the parliament is out of touch, the ministers are unrepresentative, the sovereign people has very little idea of how and by whom fateful decisions are actually being made.

There have been three major criticisms of the protest from the left: That it insists calling itself apolitical; that it’s unfocused; and that it wouldn’t touch the occupation issue with a stick. Each of these charges merit a separate post...

Does anyone who knows more about Israel than me have any thoughts on this? Tojiah?

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

More about this in Ha'aretz, Wed, 20 Jul 2011

Tent protests spread in Israel as far north as Lebanese border
The protest against high housing costs spread yesterday to additional cities, with local residents coming out in support of the mostly young protesters. Tents went up yesterday in the northern city of Kiryat Shmona.
protest.
The first protest in the Arab sector appeared yesterday, with a single tent outside of Tamra in Western Galilee.
Tents are also expected to go up today at Beit Berl College near Kfar Sava.
The protesters who spent the night in 10 tents near the Kfar Sava municipality, woke up yesterday morning to find the media waiting for them, but later on, local residents began to stop by. "People in their 50s, 60s and 70s are taking part in the protest," said Merav Raymond, 24, who organized the "tent city" protest in Kfar Sava.
Tents are expected to go up today at Beit Berl College, where students are fighting the rising cost of dorm rental. Chen Sharabi-Cohen, 31, a student of public administration at Beit Berl College, who had also spent time at Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard protest site, said: "We've had it; I'm living with my parents because I have nowhere else to live," he said.
Two-year-old Romi Shapira was running around among the tents. Her father, Shahar Shapira, came from nearby Hod Hasharon, where he said a tent protest would be starting soon.
"There are a lot of couples like us, with one or two children, who are struggling with living expenses... There's the term nouveau riche; well, we're the nouveau poor" - educated, intelligent, contributing to the state and still living like poor people," he said.
Muhammed Abu-Alhija, 25, a bachelor and informal educator, put up a tent at the entrance to the Western Galilee town of Tamra.
"We young Arabs also have to make our voice heard," he said. "I hope my cry will bring more and more young couples to support the struggle," he said.
According to a survey by the databank Rikaz, established by the NGO Galilee Society, half of the 55.2 percent of Arab families in Israel that will need housing in the coming decade, will will not be able to afford a place to live.
The group's director general, Baker Awawdy, said the situation in Arab communities is a lot worse because of the high percentage of poor people and lack of land for building.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acceded to a demand yesterday by MK Hanna Swaid (Hadash ) to halve the size requirement regarding a minimal planned number of dwellings in the new bill to streamline housing construction, from 200 to 100. Netanyahu also agreed to change the requirement that at least 80 percent of the new dwellings had to be built on state-owned land. Under the amendment, construction can be on privately-owned land. The original requirements had, in practice, eliminated Arab towns from eligibility.
In Jerusalem, there was barely room yesterday afternoon for the 10 tents that were taking up the little patch of grass near the Old City wall opposite IDF Square. Still, a big sign called on passersby to "bring a tent and join."
"This is only the beginning," the chairman of the Hebrew University Student Union, Itai Gutler, said. "Rental prices are almost as high in Jerusalem as in Tel Aviv, which is absurd, because there's nowhere near the quality of life in Jerusalem," he said.
Jerusalem Councilwoman Merav Cohen, 27, one of the protest's organizers in the capital said: "There is a mixture of people and movements who are partners to the struggle." Cohen said the government should stop trying to maximize its profits on state lands and offer lower-cost housing to young people.
Tents also went up yesterday in the northern city of Kiryat Shmona, About 100 students from Tel Hai Academic College set up some 25 tents in the city's IDF Square, and said they would stay for as long as it took to advance the fight for affordable housing.
A number of the town's long-time residents joined the students.
Protesters sat in a large circle on the ground throughout most of Monday evening, discussing possible solutions.
Student Union chairman Aviad Rosenfeld said the monthly salary a student earned in Kiryat Shmona was about what a month's rent cost. "On the one hand they tell you it's expensive in Tel Aviv, come study in the outlying areas, but when you get here you find out there's no public transportation, housing is expensive and its hard to find a job," he said. Kiryat Shmona Mayor Nissim Malka remarks to protesters at the site were greeted with applause. "It's important to me for students to live in Kiryat Shmona," Malka said. He pledged to move ahead housing solutions for young people. He said contractors were waiting to build in the city, but his hands were tied because the Israel Lands Administration was delaying things.

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not sure if this is appropriate here but.........

Chile Union Will 'Indefinitely' Extend Strike At Escondida
Published July 22, 2011

--Union votes to "indefinitely" extend strike at Escondida copper mine

--Minera Escondida to likely lose 3,000 metric tons of copper production every day workers are on strike

--Escondida is the world's largest copper mine

The largest union at Chile's Escondida copper mine voted to "indefinitely" extend a strike at the mine, which is controlled by global diversified miner BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP, BHP.AU), union leader Jose Vidal said Friday.

Members of 2,350-strong Escondida Mine Workers Union No. 1 "unanimously voted" to extend the work stoppage, which began Thursday night and was initially slated to end 24 hours later at 8 p.m. EDT on Friday, Vidal told Dow Jones Newswires.

Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2011/07/22/chile-union-will-indefinitely-extend-strike-at-escondida/#ixzz1StHwZLbq

Tojiah

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I have nothing more to add about that, really. What I know through my friends is more or less what is up there. There are complaints that it's not political enough, praise that it's grass-roots, etc.

Another thing that I'm not sure if you're aware of is that the medical interns went on hunger strike, as well as checking in to emergency rooms complaining of exhaustion, thus crowding them and bringing many hospitals to a standstill over wages and conditions. Tunisia effect? I don't know. Sure does seem to be acting up over there, though.

Mark.

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

After huge rally, social justice protesters block central streets Tel Aviv

Hundreds of protesters for social justice clashed with police in central Tel Aviv tonight under chants of revolution and signs reading “Mubarak. Assad. Netanyahu.” Some 42 people were arrested, a rare if not unprecedented number for a Tel Aviv demonstration on any issue.

After a huge turnout to a well-organized march (estimates vary between the 20 and the 40 thousand ), a clash began as the demonstrators were dispersing. Eyewitnesses said one person was detained, which prompted several dozen people to block the Kaplan-Ibn Gvirol intersection, a major junction in central Tel Aviv. The crowd quickly grew into hundreds, who camped out in the middle of the intersection, barricading it with barriers “borrowed” from nearby repair works. The crowd chanted slogans in favour of the police, pointing out they, too, can’t afford decent housing with their miserly salaries. Others spoke to policemen, encouraging them to fight for the right to unionise (which policemen in Israel are banned from by law). Eventually, police cleaned up the junction using selective arrests, mounted police and motorcycles. This assault was met with indignation by the crowd, who briefly lodged beer cans at the police, but the protesters quickly regained their composure and began singing pro-police and pro social justice slogans, punctuated with “Revolution! Revolution! Revolution” and “Non-violence! Non-violence!”. At one point, protesters went among the huge mounted police and offered them lollipops, which the policemen hesitatingly declined, pressing their hands to their hearts.

The protesters then attempted to march back up Dizengoff street to the nearest police station, in solidarity with their detained comrades. Police repeatedly blocked and gently thinned out the march, using very limited force and selective arrests, before the protesters eventually got tired and returned to camp. Many of the protesters were very clearly new to all this and did not have any background in demonstrations. For some of the ordinary Tel Avivis, this was clearly the first time they blocked a street in their lives...

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Interesting development, despite the obvious contradictions. Worth looking at Mark's link - leads to things like:

A sign that seemed ubiquitous said: “the market is free – are you?” Here were some others, signs and chants and slogans:

Danger, construction – for the rich
[.......]
The answer to privatization? Revolution!

(my favourites)

and to this informative article:

http://972mag.com/understanding-the-tent-protest/

Mark.

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Photos

Out of 43 activists arrested late Saturday night with the charge of “illegal gathering,” 32 signed agreed to conditions for their release which include banishment from the tent protest location on Rothschild Boulevard for 30 days and a prohibition from taking part in protests for that period. The remaining 11, all reportedly associated with Anarchists Against the Wall, have been banned from the area for 7 days, 1 being charged with assault and one being charged with throwing a smoke grenade at a police officer

[...]

According to reports from activestills.org photographer Oren Ziv, who was at the protest and is now at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s court, arrested protesters were separated into small groups, questioned and then 32 of them were released early morning on Sunday after signing extreme restrictions that include banishment from a large area surrounding Rothschild Boulevard (site of the tent protest) for 30 days, prohibition from attending future tent protests for 30 days and no contact with protest organizers (ridiculous as among those were protest organizers themselves). However, 11 protesters, all active in the Palestinian solidarity group Anarchists Against the Wall, were held overnight and were released this afternoon (14:00 Sunday) after signing conditions that they too are banned from central Tel Aviv and from attending the tent protests, but for 7 days.

[...]

Since those 11 held overnight all have police records from being arrested in the Occupied Territories, it is fair to assume the police gave them “special treatment” and allowed the 32 others to be released earlier…

http://972mag.com/43-arrests-in-tel-aviv-protest-all-banned-from-protest-site/

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The attitude of the cops here seems strangely contradictory: though these anarchists were held in custody longer, they've only been banned from the tent cities for 7 days, as opposed to 30 days for the others. Anybody have any idea why?

Tojiah

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf

The attitude of the cops here seems strangely contradictory: though these anarchists were held in custody longer, they've only been banned from the tent cities for 7 days, as opposed to 30 days for the others. Anybody have any idea why?

I speculate that it's basically the results of haggling. Those who caved in earlier found themselves under worse restrictions than those who were willing to spend the night in jail and see what kind of demand would hold up in front of a judge. Since these were AAW members, the police could still find a way of convincing a judge to put some restriction on them, but not as much as they initially demanded from the rest.

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, that clarifies it. Thanks.

Mark.

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tojiah

Tunisia effect? I don't know. Sure does seem to be acting up over there, though.

Puerta del Ha’bima: The Spanish revolution reaches Israel

The people were ecstatic. The energy was left. The air – and the crowds – were hot. It was one of the most uplifting demonstrations I’ve ever participated in. And, it was quite clear: it could never happen here in Israel.

Five weeks ago in Madrid, my vacation there happened to run into one of those demonstrations. So powerful, energetic and passionate, one simply couldn’t walk away. Only one thought, though, clouded the spirit: the sense of how demonstrations in Israel are so different, so dispirited. How long will it take, if ever, for something like that to happen here?

Well, it took five weeks.

Yes, the messages on the signs echoed each other: from “politica economica al servicio del pueblo, no al del mercado” (“economic policy to serve the people, not the market”) to the Hebrew “anashim li’fney re’vahim” (“people before profits”), from “urgencia social” five weeks ago to Saturday’s “state of emergency” – and, for a change, not in the usual Israeli sense of security emergency, as is legally declared here for decades on. But what echoed was much deeper than the words, it was the passion, the energy. Not just the lyrics, but the music itself.

I do not know where the recent demonstration will lead to. It was spectacular, but left many questions lingering. There was not a single mention of the occupation, nor a single non-Jewish speaker. Seeing as how so much of the socioeconomic gaps are concentrated among Arab citizens: from health services to housing, from education to employment, from infrastructure to social services, these issues should be dealt with. If the leaders of Saturday’s rally are true to their stated vision, they will have to show how sincerely everyone is part of their future of dignity, equality and social justice.

And yet, now, the lyrics of the rally remain strong: protest is the basis for hope; we desire a future that will not only support basic living, but also the possibility of writing poetry; to dream. I listened to the lyrics, and heard the music, and smiled.

The coverage in the Spanish press is also playing up the comparison between the Israeli protests and the plaza occupations in Spain (try googling Israel + indignados)

------

200 housing protesters block road opposite Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem

Tojiah

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry I don't really post much up here. You cover what I would have been uploading, and the rest is in Hebrew and doesn't seem to add much.

Mark.

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tojiah - that's fair enough

------

A new thread has been started on the Israeli protests here

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I tend to use this thread as a catch-all for interesting events that are not really worth starting a new thread over:

Niger police intervene after demonstrations
August 2 2011 at 12:25am
Niamey - Security forces broke up demonstrations by hundreds of people after weeks of electricity cuts in Niger, with several protesters wounded and arrested on Monday, radio reports and police said.
Police fired teargas to disperse demonstrators who took to the streets of the central town of Tanout after a first day of protests on Sunday, private Anfani radio said.
Several people were hurt and about 20 were detained over both days, it said.
Demonstrators vandalised the premises of electricity provider Nigelec as well as the home of its main representative, a policeman told reporters by telephone.
“To demand the release of some of their friends detained on Sunday during a similar demonstration, the residents again took to the streets of Tanout on Monday,” he said.
A Nigelec official said on Anfani radio that the crowd had “badly beaten” another employee.
The impoverished country, much of it in the Sahara desert, regularly suffers power outages.
Since April the capital Niamey has suffered several long electricity cuts that Nigelec mostly blames on disruptions in Nigeria, which provides about 80 percent of Niger's power supply. - Sapa-AFP

http://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/niger-police-intervene-after-demonstrations-1.1109948

subprole

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2011-08-10/the-unfinished-business-of-the-arab-spring

Samotnaf

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Bahrain:

Police Injured During Demonstrations in Manama
MANAMA, Bahrain, Aug. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The General Director of Bahrain's Capital Governorate Police announced Thursday night that eight members of the security forces were injured after attempting to control demonstrators that vandalized public property and created roadblocks in Bahrain.
One policeman sustained a serious head injury and seven others were treated for minor injuries. Security forces warned protesters that acts of vandalism and disturbing the peace would not be tolerated.
Freedom of expression and opinion are guaranteed by Bahrain's constitution. Peaceful gatherings are allowed for those that seek appropriate authorization to demonstrate or gather publicly. Protests Thursday night in Manama lacked the proper permits.
Security forces in Bahrain follow strict protocol to avoid physical contact with protesters.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/police-injured-during-demonstrations-in-manama-127577738.html

(doesn't even attempt to say what the demo was about)

Mark.

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Morocco: A January of revolt and repression for the new government

The struggles of the Moroccan people have continued with force during the month of January. Labour struggles, peasant struggles, the unemployed, the Amazigh [Berber] movement, the struggle in support of political prisoners and against the impunity of the dictatorship, all over Morocco, people are expressing their unease over the situation and the need for profound, real change. The February 20 Movement is demonstrating in the streets and preparing the first anniversary.

What follows is a short overview of some of the struggles...

http://www.anarkismo.net/article/21982

Mark.

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sudan protests

http://www.urban75.net/forums/threads/revolution-in-sudan-starts.295218/

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/06/22/sudanrevolts-in-wake-of-austerity-anger/

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/06/22/sudan-netizens-verify-internet-blackout-rumours/

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/06/23/sudan-police-denies-use-of-bullets-all-injuries-are-imaginary/

http://crowdvoice.org/sudan-protests

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2012/06/2012622222342156.html

AJE

Anti-austerity protests in Sudan have entered its sixth day amid reported crackdown on Sudanese and foreign journalists.

Riot police have fired tear gas and civilians armed with machetes and swords attacked protesters during demonstrations sweeping Khartoum to demand the resignation of Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, a Sudanese opposition leader said on Thursday.

The protests are in response to austerity measures that will cut government jobs and raise fuel prices.

Saata Ahmed al-Haj, head of the opposition Sudanese Commission for Defense of Freedoms and Rights, said hundreds of protesters have been detained over the past five days.

He said they were later released but were badly mistreated.

Al-Haj said security forces shaved off the protesters' hair, stripped them naked, flogged them and then left them outside in the scorching sun for hours.
[…]
The demonstrations started on Saturday night at the University of Khartoum. Students protesting transportation fare hikes took to the streets outside the downtown campus, where security forces fired tear gas and rounded up dozens of them.

Since then, Khartoum has been the scene of daily protests, spilling out to different of the capital.

Echoing calls heard in Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria, protesters chanted, "The people demand to bring down the regime."
[…]

AJE Inside Story on the protests, though tbh the talking heads discussion part of this doesn't help much in understanding what's going on and features a hopeless regime apologist:

[youtube]MbKeFLUVuHA[/youtube]

Mark.

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]1E0dmXRvTyI[/youtube]

[youtube]-pNKrCl7g7A[/youtube]

jonthom

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm not sure of its political stance but Sahel Blog has some coverage of the Sudan protests - mostly links to other media but I've found it interesting.

Mark.

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Reuters: Sudan says no retreat on cuts despite protests

Sudanese police used teargas to disperse the latest demonstration which took place in an impoverished eastern region, where witnesses said protesters also set fire to a local office of the ruling party.
[…]
about 200 protesters gathered in the eastern town of Gedaref, near the border with Eritrea, chanting "No, no to high prices" and "the people want to overthrow the regime", witnesses and activists said.

Protesters later set fire to a local office of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), burning part of it before fire trucks put out the blaze, witnesses told Reuters.
[…]
The most widespread protests so far broke out on Friday in neighborhoods across Khartoum, expanding beyond the core of student activists who had dominated them.
[…]
The capital has been relatively quiet since a security crackdown on Saturday, but activists have continued to try to use discontent to build a broader "Arab Spring"-style movement against Bashir's 23-year rule.

Later on Monday, more than 100 supporters of the opposition Popular Congress Party burned tires and blocked a road after a meeting in Khartoum. They threw rocks at the police, who threw rocks back and then fired teargas, a Reuters witness said.

Late on Sunday, police used batons and teargas to break up a protest in the al-Jerief area in eastern Khartoum after demonstrators blocked a road and burned tires, witnesses said.

Mark.

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Girifna: Sudan revolts - a situation analysis

Yousif Mubarak and Sarah Al Hassan

June 20, 2012 (Khartoum)
The last four days bore witness to continuous anti-regime protests in Sudan.

The struggles of the Sudanese people are well documented: oppressed by a totalitarian regime, bereft of basic rights, and plagued with poverty; the Sudanese have protested since the onset of the Arab Spring. Protests, which started on January 30, 2011, and have continued over the last year and a half, have not been sustained largely due to the uncertainty surrounding the separation of South Sudan, as well as poor organization and ruthless government crackdowns.

This latest wave of protests, however, feels different. Motivated by economic shocks, protestors, youth and university students, are vowing to continue until the regime is toppled, even in the face of brutal resistance by security forces. A mass protest to do just that (and announced mostly on Facebook) has been planned for June 30, 2012, the 23rd anniversary of the National Congress Party’s (NCP) rise to power. Grappling with an annual inflation rate that reached 30.4 percent as of May 2012, the Sudanese can wait no longer. 

The latest round of protest began on the evening of June 16, 2012, when female residents at the University of Khartoum staged an impromptu demonstration in opposition to increased meal and transportation prices. A week earlier the Khartoum State Governor had increased transport prices by 35 percent.

The male students quickly joined forces and together they moved the protest off-campus, marching up to Jamhuriya Street where they were met by police forces. After dispersing the protest, the police raided the university dorms, beating and harassing female occupants. News of these events spread across the University the following morning, sparking a university-wide protest in solidarity. This demonstration was similarly quelled, with the police raiding and for a short time invading the main campus and dormitories.

Since then, protests have continued without end. Today (June 20, 2012), the University of Khartoum entered its fifth day of demonstrations, across its three branches in the Khartoum tri-state area. Over these five days, the revolt has spread to other universities, notably the Southern wing of the University of Sudan, Al-Ahliya University in Omdurman, and Bahri (previously Juba) University in Khartoum North. As well as several universities outside of Khartoum State including in Shendi, Obeid and Gezira. In all these protests, loyalist NCP students joined with the security forces and assaulting protesters with metal rods, machetes, knives, and even swords.

Locals have now joined the revolt, spurred by the student uprising, fueled by economic hardship, and provoked by the government’s ‘fiscal austerity’ program. The program, which was announced on Monday June 18, 2012 by President Omar al Bashir, includes a 60 percent and 40 percent increase in the respective prices of fuel and sugar and yet another tax hike. Protests by locals have taken place over the last few days in several of Khartoum’s districts including AlKalakla (AlQubba), Kober, Burri, Riyad, Al-Manshiya and in Omdurman, where on Monday huge protests erupted in the main market. Merchants and locals unwavering in their chants of “till when will we live in debt” were met by the sourest police brutality and mass arrests to date.

Today, protests markedly intensified encompassing more universities – AlTighana, Western wing of University of Sudan, the Higher Banking Institute and Blue Nile University; as well as major streets in Khartoum – AlAarda, AlArbaeen, Mak Nimir, Jamhuriya. Othman Digna and Atbara; and districts – AlThawra and Soba.

Many have debated Sudan’s perceived reluctance to join the Arab Spring, particularly since the country’s situation has arguably been the most conducive to a revolution. Many theories have been proposed and range from hopelessness and helplessness to disillusionment with the country’s weak opposition.

In reality, the Sudanese people are resilient; continuous hardships and difficult experiences have given them the ability to endure, and their strong social fabric equips them to absorb more than most. As history has shown, when they decide that “enough is enough” then it overwhelmingly is; and it seems that decision has now been made.

The country’s economic condition, which has made for a dismal standard of living, has been the primary breaking point. The majority of Sudanese will not willingly continue subsidizing a regime that has plundered 60 billion US dollars in oil revenue during the current self-inflicted fiscal crisis. They are unwilling to make sacrifices while the government uses exorbitant taxation and fees to finance ethnically and racially motivated civil wars at the cost of 4 million US dollars per day.

The government’s now defaulted 2012 budget included 82 percent spending on the security and political sectors, while 49 percent of total cross sector expenditures went to public wages and salaries, of which 88 percent was for these two sectors alone. The agricultural sector, which is the main source of livelihood for 80 percent of the population, received just 3 percent of the total expenditure with health and education respectively receiving 2.4 percent and 2.3 percent.

Even the beleaguered opposition, weakened by two decades of suppression and fragmentation, has started to come around. Tonight, a political rally is to be held by opposition forces at the headquarters of the National Umma Party, and will be followed by a demonstration. Regardless of their weaknesses, the mobilization of these political forces and their followers will help bring ordinary citizens to the ongoing youth protests and help generate more momentum and energy for continuing the demonstrations.

It is uplifting to note that the momentum gained so far has continued despite the media blackout on Sudan’s revolt. The government has censored local coverage of protests and has detained all journalists attempting to report on the demonstrations, including AFP’s resident correspondent, Simon Martelli, who was arrested outside the University of Khartoum on Tuesday.

The international media has also been slow to cover the recent wave of protests. As a result, many members of the youth movements believe the international media harbors a pro-Government stance. One prominent news station, in particular, has drawn staunch criticism for its perceived lack of integrity, as it gives extreme focus to events taking place in some countries, while completely developments emerging in other states.

The Sudanese have, however, soldiered on, using social media to communicate and document events. As one blogger proclaimed, “Dear Media, just as we’ll uproot the tyrants ourselves we’ll report it ourselves”.  Indeed, Sudan is home to both the first and second Arab Springs in 1964 and 1985, achieved long before revolutions, like these, were televised.

The force used by the security apparatus (and loyalist students) to quell this latest round of dissent has been excessive even by the regime’s brutal standards, revealing its fears about the significance and potential of these demonstrations. Around 40 prominent youth activists, including representatives of the GIRIFNA movement were arrested on Monday at an aborted meeting at the headquarters of the Haq Party on Monday.  Tear gas fired at congregations has become increasingly toxic causing asthma attacks and nosebleeds, with many hospitalized. Reports have surfaced that the government recently commissioned mass procurement of this new type of tear gas from Russia.

The government’s armed retaliation has served not only to disperse but also to injure, and has specifically targeted women. So far, there has been at least one report of live ammunition fired in the vicinity of protestors. Security forces are arresting anyone within sight of the protest. Photographs of released detainees can be found on social media websites showing marks and bruises as well as shaved eyebrows and heads – all tactics of derision and ridicule. The systematic targeting by security forces has intensified, with the arrest of prominent activists Naglaa Sidahmed and Mohamed Boushi Alim from their homes this morning. 

Developments during the coming days will determine whether this is indeed a revolution as many hope, or just another set of protests similar to ones Sudan has witnessed over the last 18 months. While the University of Khartoum and the student population have been the heartbeat of this current mobilization, the protests have now spread to markets, districts, and other governorates. The numbers and frequency of protests have steadily grown over the last four days. The protestors remain resilient, bravely fighting back, unarmed, against the oppressor’s brutality, and returning for more the next day. Whatever the outcome may be, the situation in Sudan has become untenable and the ‘fiscal austerity’ program, approved in parliament today, will make it terminal. There will be no escape from the tidal wave of popular uprising.

It’s long overdue, but change will come.

jonthom

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Egypt: Protest at Sudan Embassy against Bashir regime

Sudanese residents in Egypt hold protest at their embassy in solidarity with popular home revolt

Tens of Sudanese protested at their embassy Saturday in Cairo in solidarity with an ongoing revolt in their home country against President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, demanding democratic change.

"We are here in solidarity with the Sudan movement demanding democratic change, a peaceful transition of power, an end to Bashir's austerity policies, and the release of 250 political prisoners in
Khartoum," said Ahmed Essam, a Sudanese student residing in Egypt.

Protests, according to Essam, are taking place simultaneously in 14 different countries, all upholding the same demands. The invitation was spread on Facebook, initiated by members of the Sudan student movement. The call was for expat Sudanese around the world to demonstrate at their respective embassies.

Protests were witnessed in Dallas, New York, Washington DC, Toronto, London, Paris, New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Canberra and Cairo, among other cities.

"The call was made to coincide with the Sudanese government's celebration of the 1989 coup that brought Bashir to power, also dating 30 June," explained Essam.

Demonstrations in Sudan against Bashir are now entering their third week. In recent days demonstrators were mobilised in "unprecedented" numbers, despite the arrest of hundreds by the regime's security forces, according to activists.

jonthom

10 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://sahelblog.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/anti-government-protests-in-darfur/

It’s worth keeping an eye on the anti-government, anti-austerity protests that occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday in Darfur, Sudan:

Some 400 people gathered in the main market and two other areas of the western city of Nyala [on Wednesday] to protest against the government and rising inflation, but were dispersed by the baton-wielding police, a journalist and witness said.
[...]
More than 1,000 demonstrators clashed with police in Nyala on Tuesday, according to witnesses. Activists published a list of 12 people they said had been killed in Tuesday’s clashes, countering the official death toll of eight.

Map of Nyala here, and more on Tuesday’s protests here.

A wave of anti-austerity protests began in the capital Khartoum and elsewhere in mid-June. These protests in Darfur remind us that people are dissatisfied with the economic situation in various parts of the country, not just at the center. The protests are also a reminder that not all politics in Darfur revolve around rebel movements – though government officials have accused rebel groups of stirring up these protests. I was surprised to learn that Nyala has an estimated population of 500,000, a population is certainly large enough to support a movement of dissent.

In what may be an unrelated incident, a local government official and his driver were shot by unknown gunmen this week in Kutum, Darfur (map). Two similar incidents have occurred in recent months, with gunmen seizing land cruisers (Arabic).

Entdinglichung

9 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

the revolt is back in Tunisia after a well-known left-wing and secularist MP was killed:

- http://juralib.noblogs.org/category/la-liberte-est-le-crime-qui-contient-tous-les-crimes/linsurrection-tunisienne-et-ses-suites/

- http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/07/tunisia-general-strike-assassination-crisis

- http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article2885