Ferguson Protest Leaders: ‘We’ll take our anger out on people who failed us’
[In California, several mass protests of the Israeli attack have grown in size and spirit, and sizable numbers of Palestinian youth have taken the lead. The Arab Resource and Organizing Center has been an important part of these developments. An AROC speaker at the July 26, 2014 demonstration in San Francisco detailed their views at this crucial juncture. — Frontlines ed.]
[The New York Times reports the Brazilian power elite’s attempts to attribute “blunders” — not mass resentment at religious and political arrogance, extravagance, and brutal repression — for the obvious breakdown of bourgeois authority and credibility in social and political life. — Frontlines ed.]
Pope Francis with Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff. Pope Francis, with a long history of support for repressive powers in Latin America, became an object of the ongoing mass protests against Dilma Rousseff’s corrupt and repressive regime — an unintended consequence of a visit planned to “fan the fervor of the faithful” and to distract the anger of the oppressed.
By SIMON ROMERO, New York Times, July 24, 2013
RIO DE JANEIRO — Pope Francis celebrated his first public Mass on Wednesday at one of Latin America’s largest shrines, asking Catholics to shun the “ephemeral idols” of material success, power and pleasure, but his visit to Brazil continued to be marked by tension over blunders by its Brazilian organizers.
The missteps began minutes after Francis arrived in Rio on Monday, when his small motorcade got stuck on a crowded thoroughfare, exposing the pope to a mob scene of people trying to touch him through the open window of his car. On Tuesday, Rio’s subway system broke down for two hours, leaving thousands gathered here for a conference of Catholic youth scrambling to reach a seaside Mass.
Rio’s political authorities have also faced scrutiny over their handling of street demonstrations around the pope’s visit. They acknowledged using undercover agents to infiltrate the protests but denied claims that their intelligence officers were to blame for violence, including the throwing of firebombs. Continue reading
CHEGA — Enough!
(Não é pelos vinte centavos) — (We will arrive, but Not by twenty cents)
Cada um fazendo a sua parte, vamos construir um país melhor. Uma homenagem de Seu Jorge, Gabriel Moura e Pretinho da Serrinha a todos os Brasileiros……(Each one doing its part, we are going to build a better country.)
Brazilian Music in New York
Brazil Summerfest opened in New York City this past weekend. This is the third summer that lovers of Brazilian music have organized the festival to celebrate it in New York. The annual festival is a treat for the tens of thousands of Brazilians who live in and near New York City, not to mention the millions of international tourists who come to New York every summer.
This year’s festival includes performances by Gaby Amarantos, Marcelo D2, Toninho Horta, Tulipa Ruiz, and others. They will perform at outdoor locations like Central Park’s SummerStage and the South Street Seaport, as well as clubs like Joe’s Pub.
Certainly the biggest name on the list of performers is Jorge Mário da Silva, the 43-year-old singer and songwriter known as Seu Jorge. When asked about this year’s festival and what makes it special, Seu Jorge was quick to point out that all the musicians and artists from Brazil have been affected by the mass demonstrations that have erupted recently in Brazil. The street protests have inspired him to write a song.
“If this thing had happened in Jamaica, certainly Bob Marley would do something, wouldn’t he? And if something like this were happening in Nigeria, wouldn’t Fela Kuti have written some song?” Seu Jorge remarked. “The idea was to write a song that would lead people to sing for their rights,” continued Seu Jorge, who is known in the US not only as an international ambassador of Brazilian music, but also as an actor in the Wes Anderson film, Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Continue reading
What the Protesting Brazilians Learnt from Their BRICS Compatriots
The legendary Pele got an earful from the hundreds of thousands of protestors on the streets of Brazil who refused to heed his appeal to “forget” the protests and support the national football team. Unthinkable as it is, does it indicate that popular protests have finally overcome their inability to challenge the sporting mega event, that the modern-day “circus” is now seen for what it is: a scam of massive proportions?
This article was published last week in the Web Exclusives section of the EPW website. This article is the expanded and revised version of what appeared on the Quartz.com website, http://qz.com/98428/deceit-fraudand- fi rst-world-problems-brics-graduated-tothe- sports-big-leagues-and-now-regret-it/
On the night Brazil beat current world champions Spain to win the Confederations Cup football final, Brazilian coach Luis Felipe Scolari was asked a loaded question. About what it was like playing football at a time Brazil was shaken by street protests, some violent, against institutional corruption and lopsided public expenditure. Scolari responded with fury. “Not my area”, he said and, after asking the journalist if he was English (which he was) barked, “So what happened before the Olympics over there? Maybe you want to take a look at your own country before saying there’s something wrong with mine.”
The Confederations Cup victory aside, June 2013 will go down as the winter of Brazil’s discontent, sweeping along in the heart of its anger, football and the Rio Olympic Games of 2016, the two events expected to pitch-fork the country into global acclaim. These two Brazilian sporting showpieces, the 2014 football World Cup and the 2016 Olympics have, however, turned into something else.
Putting Futebol in Its Place
A crowd of 5,000-odd that protested near the Maracana Stadium on the night of the Confederations Cup final, was drowned out by cheering fans and street parties that followed the victory. The days leading up to the final, though, had been different: 50,000 clashed with police a few miles from the stadium in Belo Horizonte where Brazil and Uruguay were playing their semi-final. In the capital Brasilia, there were peaceful yet more symbolic protests on the day, where the crowds kicked footballs over a police cordon towards the Brazilian parliament, the Congress.
Scolari’s churlish reply about the London Olympics and “not my area” was his instant retort following his team’s emphatic and impressive win. Until that, Brazil’s players had been far more sympathetic to the protestors with its rising star Neymar, saying in his Instagram microblog, “I want a Brazil that is fair and safe and healthier and more honest”. Once the flush of the Confederations Cup victory has died down (along with Scolari’s anger), the questions asked by Brazilians throughout June are bound to return. The first protest had centred around bus and metro fare hikes in Sao Paulo, but in the space of three weeks, the outcry around the country grew over failing social services, rampant corruption and misplaced expenditure. The crowds grew from tens of thousands to those totalling a million-strong on 20 June in many cities, with the World Cup and the Olympics turning into symbols of everything wrong with the government and the country’s elite. Continue reading
Reading Marx in Tehran
By MANSOUR OSANLOO
IRAN’S presidential election on June 14 will be neither free nor fair. The candidates on the ballot have been preselected in a politically motivated vetting process that has little purpose other than ensuring the election of a compliant president who will be loyal to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Regardless of the outcome of the vote, the most urgent challenge for both the next president and Ayatollah Khamenei will be to confront a rising tide of discontent resulting from a rapidly deteriorating economic situation.
The outside world is primarily focused on whether the election will signal a shift in the Iranian regime’s stand on the nuclear issue. But for the average Iranian the most important issue is the impact of this election on her pocketbook — especially for the hardworking masses, whose purchasing power has drastically decreased as they struggle to provide the most basic necessities for their families.
Iran’s industrial workers, teachers, nurses, government and service-sector employees have been hit hard. The profound mismanagement of the economy by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government, coupled with stringent international sanctions, has made these workers’ plight the most important aspect of Iran’s domestic politics. Continue reading
As the government tries again to push for foreign direct investment, we ask what is spurring massive social resistance.
|Inside Story, al Jazeera, 21 September 2012
|India’s coalition government is once again facing political turmoil over new economic reforms approved last week.The plan includes opening up the country’s aviation and lucrative retail sectors to international investors.|
The reform plan has sparked nationwide strikes supported by opposition parties and trade unions who say the move is a “betrayal of democracy”.Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, has justified the decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retailers.
He said: “I believe that these steps will help strengthen our growth process and generate employment in these difficult times… I urge all segments of public opinion to support the steps we have taken in the national interest.”
India has taken a number of steps to curb its rising budget deficit, starting with efforts to reform the retail sector.
The government wants to allow foreign investment in retail trade, allowing chain-stores like Tesco and Walmart to open megastores. Continue reading
May 1, 2012
We Demand Proper Rehabilitation That is Fit for Human Survival for Slum Dwellers of Nonadanga
as well as of Majdur Palli, Shramik Colony, Subhaspalli, Lakepalli, Bhai-Bhai Colony, Bastuhara Colony.
We demand immediate release of the 11 arrested along with all other activists.
The slum dwellers of Nonadanga, evicted on 30th of March, have rebuilt their shanties. After the rallies, demonstrations, mass-protests and the 12 day long hunger strike movement, right when the slum dwellers under the guidance of eviction-resistance committee (Uchchhed Protirodh Committee) have built the shades over their head, the government came down again with its brutality on the slum dwellers on the 28th of April. Eleven people were arrested including 5 women on fabricated charges. Till date two of the previously arrested supporters of the movement has not been released by the state.
This movement of Nonadanga has brought to the forefront the demands related to the condition of schools, hospitals, and drinking water along with the general developmental needs of the entire Nonadanga region. Nonadanga’s movement has brought to the forefront the demands – of the slumdwellers, hawkers and small shop owners – for the right to livelihood and right to shelter of those evicted from the fringes of Kolkata. Nonadanga’s movement has challenged the much-touted plan of converting Kolkata to London; it has put a big question mark on the pro-poor image of the government of “Ma-Mati-Manush”. Continue reading
Feb 21 2012
More importantly, a year after the initial mass protests, we need to assess the record of the movement in terms of appeal and success in Morocco. The Feb. 20 movement has undoubtedly sparked a national discussion for institutional changes, but fell short in exercising enough pressure for deeper structural changes to both the political system dominated by the king, and a system of crony-capitalism that has for decades crippled the national economy. The new constitution is an impressive exercise in state management of dissent. Groundbreaking only in its style and cosmetic in terms of real effective change, the constitution allows for greater executive power for the Prime Minister, but falls short in tackling the vast discretionary powers of the monarchy.
The constitution does not address aspects of direly needed reforms. Kleptocracy and nepotism are endemic in the Moroccan administration and economy. No matter how inchoate institutional reforms are, they have to be complemented with stringent, implementable guarantees against abuse of power, corruption, and inequality of the laws. Individual freedom and liberty of the press are guaranteed in the constitution, but have to be safeguarded from the arbitrary abuses of the state. The result is the same maladies of yesteryear: a regime suffering from institutional schizophrenia, promoting inconsequential reforms, and tightening its grip on power and individual freedom. Continue reading
[As the Syrian rebellion against the murderous Bashar al-Assad regime continues to grow in size and determination, many in Syria and internationally are challenging the “anti-imperialist” and “liberatory” claims of the Islamic Republic of Iran and of Lebanon’s Hizbullah, which have pledged and delivered much support to Assad’s bloody repression of the people’s struggles (and have even claimed that the repression is, in fact, reform!) All the while, the US is beginning to maneuver into position to influence or control the outcome. The people have a difficult, but increasingly clear, revolutionary road to create. — Frontlines ed.]
Bashar al-Assad’s regime also cuts internet access across most of country in attempt to quell popular uprising
Associated Press in Beirut, Friday 3 June 2011
Syrian security forces opened fire during one of the largest anti-government protests so far in the 10-week uprising, and activists said at least 34 people were killed on Friday in a city where thousands died in a failed 1982 revolt against the regime.
President Bashar Assad’s forces renewed their assault on towns seen as key to the demonstrations, calling for an end to his family’s 40-year rule. The regime also cut internet access across most of the country, a blow for a movement that motivates people using YouTube videos and organises protests on Facebook. Continue reading
May 26, 2011
First the Arab world, then Madrid, now Athens
Outraged Greek youth has taken its lead from the Arab spring and Spanish protests over unemployment.
Thousands of mostly young people have heeded a Facebook campaign and demonstrated for a second night in Constitution Square, in front of the Greek parliament.
Other cities saw similar if smaller protests.
It follows the Greek government’s announcement of a new wave of cost cutting reforms to tackle the debt crisis. Continue reading
Maria Carrion & Ivan Martinoz on Pro-Democracy, Toma la Plaza!, Protests Spreading Across Spain
May 27, 2011
Tens of thousands of Spanish protesters are demonstrating across the country calling for better economic opportunities, a more representative electoral system, and an end to political corruption. Democracy Now! speaks with independent journalist Maria Carrion and protest spokesperson Ivan Martinoz in Madrid. Continue reading
4 April 2011
Mobile phones and social connectivity sites are offering marginalized groups a new voice, and have become the primary medium behind waves of democratic revolution surging throughout the Middle East.
“Social media played an essential role to mobilize youths, and they were the engine of this revolution,” Nihad Abu El-Komsan, head of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights told MediaGlobal, “They took their freedom from the internet to the street; community now is freedom for the whole nation.”
Amateur photographers have used their mobile phones to record protests and their aftermath, with streams of graphic images depicting the wounded and dead posted to YouTube and Twitter. The Facebook group, The Syrian Revolution 2011, called for a “Week of the Martyrs,” a country-wide protest, to honor the recently slain and oppose the al-Assad government. Continue reading
Anti-landfill protest leads to confrontation with riot officers
Two people were injured in clashes with police in Keratea, southeast of Athens, on Wednesday.
Locals have been protesting since the start of December against the construction of a waste management center in their area.
This has often led to clashes with police and Wednesday saw a prolonged confrontation between protestors and riot officers who have been drafted in to help guard the site of the proposed facility.
It is not clear how the two local residents, a 65-year-old man and a younger man, were injured.
|Thursday February 24, 2011