Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thousands Occupy Wall Street: All Entry Points to New York Stock Exchange Blockaded

November 17 Day of Action Underway
Marking 2-Months Since Birth of the 99% Movement

Thousands marched on Wall Street this morning, blockading all entry points to the New York LinkStock Exchange. 'People's mics' have been breaking out at barricades, with participants sharing stories of struggling in an unfair economy.

"I paid taxes and took care of my responsibility, and I'm struggling," said participant, Leah Lackner, 27, who had taken the day off work as a mental health counselor to join the protest. Her sign read: "I played by the rules."

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Protests in Italy, and Greece:

Greece battles video: Clashes, firebombs as thousands march in Athens

Greece: Gatherings/Demonstrations for the November 17th

Then with the tanks, now with the banks: Live coverage of commemorative demonstrations for the Nov 17 uprising in Athens

Reports of seriously injured demonstrator in today’s demo in Athens

Israel arrests "Freedom Riders" challenging apartheid road system

I’m a Freedom Rider! I’m just trying to go to Jerusalem!” shouted Palestinian activist Huwaida Arraf Tuesday evening as a live Internet video feed showed Israeli police officers dragging her off a bus linking Israeli settlements in the West Bank to Jerusalem.

Arraf and five other Palestinian activists boarded segregated Israeli public bus number 148 — which connects the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel to Jerusalem — on Tuesday in an act of civil disobedience aimed to draw attention to Israeli colonial and apartheid policies and the lack of basic human rights Palestinians are afforded under this system.

After sitting peacefully on the bus at Israel’s Hizma checkpoint, just outside the northern entrance to Jerusalem, and nonviolently resisting attempts by the Israeli authorities to get them off the bus, all six “Freedom Riders” were eventually removed by force and arrested for illegally entering Israel without permits.

Another Palestinian Freedom Rider was also arrested while attempting to ride the segregated buses, and according to a Freedom Riders press release, was taken with the six other activists to Atarot police station (“Palestinian Freedom Riders On Their Way to Jerusalem Violently Arrested on Israeli Settler Bus”).

Their protest action was inspired by the Freedom Riders of the civil rights movement in the United States, who nonviolently challenged segregation in the American South in the 1950s and 1960s.

It’s going to be a challenge for Palestinians and for every human being for their morality. It’s going to be a challenge for the whole world to really take action against the Israeli crimes,” Palestinian Freedom Riders spokesperson Hurriyah Ziada told The Electronic Intifada on Monday.
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Civil Disobedience & #OWS
Given Mayor Bloomberg’s clearing of Zuccotti Park just shy of the OWS two-month anniversary, and the escalating tensions between police and protesters at Occupy sites across the country, a cluster of questions surrounding the meaning and uses of civil disobedience come once again to the fore. In particular the violent altercations at the University of California, Berkeley--a campus with a long legacy of civil disobedience—force us to reconsider the role of this specific form of dissent.

Hannah Arendt considered civil disobedience an essential part of the United States’ political system. By revisiting some of her main ideas on the issue we can more fully appreciate how the civil disobedience carried out by the OWS movement both harnesses and re-imbues the public realm with political energy.

Berkeley Professor Celeste Langan, participated in a civil disobedience action on the university campus, and was treated harshly, to say the least. Her description of the encounter reminds us just what can be involved in this form of protest:

"I knew, both before and after the police gave orders to disperse, that I was engaged in an act of civil disobedience. I want to stress both of those words: I knew I would be disobeying the police order, and therefore subject to arrest; I also understood that simply standing, occupying ground, and linking arms with others who were similarly standing, was a form of non-violent, hence civil, resistance. I therefore anticipated that the police might arrest us, but in a similarly non-violent manner. When the student in front of me was forcibly removed, I held out my wrist and said "Arrest me! Arrest me!" But rather than take my wrist or arm, the police grabbed me by my hair and yanked me forward to the ground, where I was told to lie on my stomach and was handcuffed. The injuries I sustained were relatively minor--a fat lip, a few scrapes to the back of my palms, a sore scalp--but also unnecessary and unjustified. "

Egyptians March Against Military Trials For Civilians

The face of Egyptian blogger Alaa Abd El-Fattah appeared on signs at protests around the world last Saturday. In Cairo, the faces of detained activists could be seen sprayed on many walls. Abd El-Fattah is being held in Torah Prison for refusing to answer questions from Egypt's military prosecution regarding clashes Oct. 9. At least 24 mostly Coptic Christians were killed during the protest, when the military police opened fire and ran people over with tanks.

Abd El-Fattah's prominent detention has gained international attention after activists here from the No Military Trials campaign, which his sister founded, asked Occupy Wall Street and other activists to rally in solidarity with Egypt on Nov. 12. In an open letter posted on their website, activists wrote, "Since the military junta took power, at least 12,000 of us have been tried by military courts, unable to call witnesses and with limited access to lawyers. Minors are serving in adult prisons, death sentences have been handed down, torture runs rampant. Women demonstrators have been subjected to sexual assault in the form of "virginity tests" by the Army."

The letter concluded by listing connections between the Egyptian government and countries including the U.S. and Britain: "The G8, IMF and Gulf states are promising the regime loans of $35 billion. The US gives the Egyptian military $1.3 billion in aid every year. Governments the world over continue their long-term support and alliance with the military rulers of Egypt. The bullets they kill us with are made in America. The tear gas that burns from Oakland to Palestine is made in Wyoming. David Cameron's first visit to post-revolutionary Egypt was to close a weapons deal. These are only a few examples. People's lives, freedoms and futures must stop being trafficked for strategic assets. We must unite against governments who do not share their people's interests."

Activists in Oakland, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Austin, Boston, Budapest, Chicago, Dusseldorf, Eugene, Frankfurt, Geneva, Lincoln, London, Manila, Michigan, Montreal, New York, Orlando, Oslo, Paris, Stockholm, Toronto and Washington D.C. vowed to take up the call. Photographs and videos were posted by the next day, with footage from San Francisco showing confrontations between police and protestors. Other demonstrations shared on the "Defend the Egyptian Revolution" Facebook page appeared peaceful.

The following evening in Cairo, activists gathered for a march and "stand" on Qasr al-Nil Bridge in solidarity with civilians who have been tried in military court. A list of detainees is available here in Arabic: One young woman I interviewed said Egyptian activists were "really glad to see the demonstrations in San Francisco and in Oakland," and added, "I was personally very glad to see pictures of Alaa Abd El-Fattah."

Abd El-Fattah's mother has been on a hunger strike since November 6 to protest his detention. He has sent a message to his supporters asking them to celebrate his 30th birthday on Nov. 18 by joining a planned million-man march in Tahrir Square.

"I really got used to spending the feast and my birthday away from my family," Abd El-Fattah wrote in a message published in an Egyptian newspaper, "but the birth of my first son, how will I miss this? How will I bear being separated from Manal [his wife] at this moment? How will I tolerate waiting for news about them to learn if they are okay? How will I put up with not seeing my son's face or his mother's face when she first sees him? How will I look at him when I am released knowing that I promised he would be born a free person?"

Civil Disobedience in Pakistan. Do it for youself. Do it for your Kids. Do it for Pakistan.

Mario Savio on Civil Disobedience

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all! ... That doesn't mean that you have to break anything. One thousand people sitting down some place, not letting anybody by, not [letting] anything happen, can stop any machine, including this machine! And it will stop!"

2 December 1964, UC Berkeley, Sproul Hall Sit-In

Colombia's military continues to kill civilians: NGO

A Colombian NGO has made new allegations of 'false positive' killings, some as recent as June this year.

In a report due to be released November 21, the Center of Investigation and Popular Education (Cinep) recounts details of 961 new allegations of 'false positives' - a term used to describe the Colombian military killing civilians then passing them off as guerrillas to inflate their success rate.

Nine are reported to have taken place since Juan Manuel Santos assumed the Colombian presidency.

Santos told media in March that the "issue of false positives was gone," and that "there has not been a single false positive case since October 2008."

But Cinep says of the 961 new allegations it has documented, which took place between 1988 and 2011, nine happened since Santos took office.

In the most recent case, army and police units bombed near Cerro de Azul village, in the San Pablo municipality of the Bolivar department, while villagers were sleeping on June 20, 2011. It is alleged that 17-year-old Adinson Vaquero Valencia, who died in the attack, was then passed off as a militant in a FARC camp.

The report, 'Debt to Humanity 2: 23 Year of False Positives,' which will be released by Cinep on Monday, also cites the case of 17-year-old Luis Esteban Campo, who died in an army shooting near the main square in the municipality El Tarra, Norte de Santander department on August 2010.

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A Medical Marijuana Trial Countdown - 12 Days To Go

Joe Grumbine faces a Jury Trial on November 28th.

Delhi Tibetan People's Solidarity Movement on 16th Nov, 2011

Mass gathering organized by Delhi Tibetan People's Solidarity Committee at Teen Murti near Chinese Embassy on 16th Nov 2011.

Garbage truck in solidarity with #OWS Jacksonville

SoliDive (Solidarity Diving)

Spanish promo:

Arrested Development - Mr. Wendal

Arrested Development - Mr. Wendal.
From the album - 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days In The Life Of... (1992)

Kurt Vonnegut’s letter to a grieving widow, 1989


You may alo be interested in:

Kurt Vonnegut - The story behind the legendary author’s Cape Cod dealership

War tax resisters arrested at construction site of new Kansas City nuclear weapons plant

Boil it down and war tax resisters have a simple strategy: Without taxes, the government can’t buy guns and fight wars. And, capping their annual conference this weekend with a protest outside the nation’s first new nuclear weapons manufacturing facility in three decades, some 60 war tax resisters said yesterday that the government shouldn’t be able to build such facilities either.

The protest, which saw five resisters arrested for acts of civil disobedience, was the latest in a series of actions organized to oppose construction of the some $1.2 billion nuclear weapons plant, known simply as the Kansas City Plant. 53 people were arrested last May in a similar action.

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Resisting war taxes
Five Mennonites participated in the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Council’s conference on redirecting income taxes to humanitarian causes on Nov. 4-6 in Kansas City. About 50 percent of income taxes are used for wars, past and present. Some shared of dealing with tax courts, threatening letters from the IRS and one person’s revelation that the phrase “unilateral disarmament” meant that ending the support of war (with taxes) starts with me.

Military Resistance a Strong Brew
Near the gates of Fort Lewis, anti-war veterans serve up support and solidarity (along with double-tall lattes) to their friends in uniform.

What Do Democracy, Civil Disobedience and Police Brutality Look Like? A Photo Essay and Quiz.

In NYPD spying, a Yippie legal battle echoes again

Steven Tullberg, a law student at Columbia University, said he was baffled when the New York Bar Association's Committee on Character and Fitness questioned him in February 1971 about his membership in the Coalition for an Anti-Imperialist Movement - a group he had never heard of. The allegation was leaked from his secret NYPD file, the lawsuit alleged.

"I was stunned," says Tullberg, now living in Maryland. "You're getting on with your life, and then you get hit by something like this."

The leftists argued that police surveillance was so oppressive that it was threatening free speech.

One NYPD informant joined Veterans and Reservists Against the War in Vietnam, known as V&R, and began urging group members to break the law during demonstrations. Detectives visited the homes of two members and warned one that he should drop out of the group.

The infiltration "created such fear among the members of V&R, and so chilled their interest in the exercise of their rights of free expression and association, that V&R disbanded as a group shortly thereafter," the Handschu lawsuit alleged.

"They had so much going on, so much surveillance of us," says Keith Lampe, a Korean war veteran and one of the group's organizers.

In 1985 the police and plaintiffs reached a settlement: The NYPD agreed to a set of surveillance rules and oversight by a three-member panel. In return, Handschu and the others dropped their lawsuit.

"We thought we had accomplished something," Handschu said. "Everybody felt like it was a good thing we had been able to do."

The Handschu Guidelines, as the rules were known, barred police from starting a surveillance file purely because of the religion or political leanings of a person or group. It also required detectives to have "specific information" about a future crime and barred them from keeping notes on political or religious activities.

The lawsuit was declared closed. The court files were packed into boxes and sent to a vault deep inside a former mine in Lee's Summit, Mo.

Then came the attacks on the World Trade Center.

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We refused to go: The antiwar movement in Canada and the US

Broadcast Date: Oct. 23, 1967

One by one, young men throw their draft cards into a large bag in Washington, D.C. As the bag becomes heavier and heavier their defiance grows stronger and cheers erupt from the antiwar crowd. Their message is clear — we will not fight. Two years earlier, in 1965, the first combat troops arrived in Vietnam to curb what they believed was the spread of communism in Southeast Asia, and to retaliate against the attack on US destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin Crisis.

The brutal and bloody war divides the nation. In Toronto, Americans who have already evaded the draft by moving to Canada march in an antiwar protest at City Hall. They receive supportive cheers from the crowd. A counter-movement also takes to the streets, however, and the two expect to clash over their separate notions of conscience. This CBC Television report documents the protest movements in Canada and the United States.
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Occupy Movement - an opportunity for demilitarisation

The 15-M movement - which began occupying city squares on May 15 - has not emerged as a movement with necessarily overt antimilitarist, pacifist or nonviolent overtones. It has, however, from its very inception declared itself as “pacifist”, and conducted its protests through “peaceful means” and “without violence”. Without having carried out a detailed analysis of what this means exactly I can say that the many thousands of people in the squares of the Spanish State, have opted to carry out actions and raise their voices without using violence.


The development of this element has led to the 15-M movement as nonviolent, but it does not necessarily embrace the nonviolent logic which promotes the rejection of violence in a holistic way, in all areas of life and society, as the coherent path to follow, in order to create a culture of peace.

Nonviolence is mainly understood as a strategy, as a way of ensuring that their protest actions are embraced by the society and the media. But it is also true that there are many people who are indignadxs who consciously or subconsciously, are questioning militarization by simply defining themselves as nonviolent. This organic questioning of militarization, one of the basic pillars of the oppressive system which they are criticising and attempting to change is evident throughout the 15-M movement. The ways in which the use of machista and discriminatory language are avoided or rejected in the 15-M assemblies, the use of horizontal methodology, the rejection of imposed leadership and the use of consensus based decision making are all part of a strategy which de-legitimises militarist practices.

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Javier Garate Talk

Javier Garate of War Resisters International spoke on ‘Effective Non Violence in the 21st Century’ on Thursday 13 October 2011 at the Irish School of Ecumenics in Belfast. The event was co-sponsored by ISE and INNATE (Irish Network for Nonviolent Action Training & Education).
You can listen to Garate’s talk here.

War Profiteer of the Month: Samsung

Samsumg Techwin is a major military industry in South Korea, producing mainly K55, K9 self-propelled gun Thunder, artillery weaponry including K-77 Fire Direction Centre Vehicles, other ground combat equipment such as combat mobile vehicles, Korea Amphibious Assault Vehicle and engines for a F16 fighter and helicopter. They have sold K9 Thunder to Turkey and have been subjected to a flood of criticism for supporting Turkey's brutal treatment of the Kurdish population.

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13 arrested in protest against Alabama's immigration law

One of the most dramatic protests against Alabama's tough illegal immigration law unfolded here Tuesday as 13 activists, most of them from out of state, were arrested for blocking a street near the Capitol and refusing to leave a legislative office building as a crowd chanted, "Undocumented, unafraid!"

The acts of civil disobedience were the culmination of a rally organized by the Dream is Coming project, a group of young illegal immigrants calling for passage of the DREAM Act, the proposed federal legislation that would create a path to citizenship for qualifying illegal immigrants who attend college or enroll in the military.

But the organizers were also targeting the Alabama law, which is considered the nation's strictest, and which has drawn activists into the state to organize and protest to a degree rarely seen here since the civil rights turmoil of the 1960s.

In recent weeks, organizers have been teaching illegal immigrants around the state how to form "neighborhood defense committees" to inform and support one another about the way the law is being applied. On Wednesday, the AFL-CIO plans to send a group of African American labor leaders to Birmingham to observe the law's effects. On Monday, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) is among those scheduled to appear at a rally at Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church, where a bombing in 1963 killed four young black girls and helped fuel the civil rights movement.

As it has in other states, the Dream is Coming group hoped to show other illegal immigrants that they would be safer if they came out of the shadows and declared their undocumented status. The Obama administration's policy is to avoid deporting noncriminals; as an apparent result, group activists who were arrested in Atlanta this year were released by immigration authorities, even after publicly declaring their immigration status.

Sam Brooke, staff attorney with Montgomery's Southern Poverty Law Center, said the strategy carried "a real risk" in Alabama, where the new law requires that police report to federal authorities anyone they detain if they have a "reasonable suspicion" the person may be in the country illegally. Coming out at a public rally, he said, might "make it easier to identify you when you go home."

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Illegal immigrants arrested at protest identified; 12 remain jailed (videos)

The 13 protesters arrested yesterday after a demonstration outside legislative headquarters have been identified on a website by their supporters, who have now set up a fund to help bail them out of jail.

HB56: Civil Rights Movement & Civil Disobedience


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