Belgian Worker’s Benefits Shredded by Capitalist Rulers

100k Protest Austerity in Brussels, Police Repression Sparks Riot

11/06/2014 —  Brussels, Belgium

Belgian riot police fired tear gas and water cannon’s repressing the demonstrators on Thursday, at the first of what’s to be a series of anti-austerity demonstrations and strikes planned for the coming weeks. More than 100,000 people were on the streets of Brussels where they marched peacefully for almost two hours before violence broke out.

Car windows were smashed, other vehicles were overturned or set alight, and protsetors threw paving stones and fireworks. There were also reports of serious injuries among police as well as demonstrators. 14 demonstrators were reportedly taken to area hospitals, Brussels newspaper De Morgen reports.

B1ww7eCIYAAedFSFor two hours, the demonstrators peacefully marched down the main thoroughfares of central Brussels to protest government policies that will raise the pension age, contain wages and cut into public services.
“They are hitting the workers, the unemployed. They are not looking for money where it is, I mean, people with a lot of money,” said Philippe Dubois, who came from the industrial rust belt of Liege.
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Belgium has a long postwar tradition of collective bargaining between employers and workers, and successive coalition governments representing a full scale of public opinion often have been able to contain social disagreements. But the current coalition, made up of three pro-business parties and the centrist Christian Democrats, is the first in decades that has been able to set such a clear free-market agenda.

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Hong Kong: Mass Rebellion on Highest Level Ever

[Before the capitalist coup and restoration in China in the late 70’s, when the working class was in command and struggling to transform every aspect of society, one important goal of Chinese people was the re-unification of Hong Kong with China, and to end British colonial rule.  And in that time, there were massive protests in Hong Kong against British rule.  But when the British were forced out in 1997, it was not in the direction of a working-class, unified-with-China Hong Kong.  No, it was captured by the rising capitalist-imperialist rulers of China, and the suffering of the workers and people of Hong Kong continued under the new set of bosses.  Rebellion has continued and grown in recent years, against what people in Hong Kong have come to see as Chinese neo-colonialism.  The rebellion is now reaching new levels, hampered by the lack of serious working class revolutionary organization, but growing nonetheless.  —  Frontlines ed.]

Alan Wong, zerohedge.com, 27 September 2014

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No, this is not Ferguson: it is, according to many, the world’s most capitalist city, Hong Kong, where over the past few hours, around 50,000 students are said to have massed on late Saturday, demanding more democracy, as tensions grew over Beijing’s decision to rule out free elections in the former British colony.
According to Reuters, the crowds swelled less than 24 hours after riot police used pepper spray to disperse protesters around government headquarters, arresting more than 60 people opposed to the Chinese government’s tightening grip on the city. The unrest underscores the obstacles China faces in Hong Kong as a restive younger generation challenges its influence over the densely-populated financial hub.

Tempers flared and there were scenes of chaos before dawn on Saturday when protesters used umbrellas to shield themselves from the pepper spray. Those who got hit used water to rinse their eyes. “I paid my highest respect to every soldier who defends till the last moment… Civil disobedience – it continues to happen,” said student leader Lester Shum on his Facebook page. Continue reading

India: When the State is indifferent to rape, the people take the streets

[Increasingly, acts of protest and resistance are denounced or dismissed as “Maoist” by the the state.  —  Frontlines ed.]

When the ‘Maoists’ Took Over the Streets of Kolkata

Why did the Kamduni incident – the rape and murder of a young college student and the utterly insensitive handling of the issue by the West Bengal government and the ruling Trinamool Congress – spark off such a huge reaction to bring together a wide spectrum of civil society under one umbrella in Kolkata on 21 June?

Vol – XLVIII No. 29, July 20, 2013 Rajashri Dasgupta, EPW

Rajashri Dasgupta (rajashridasgupta@gmail.com) is an independent Kolkata-based journalist specialising on issues related to gender, health, democratic rights and social movements.Civil society members take out a procession in Kolkata to protest the rise in crime against women and recent incidents of rape in West Bengal. Photo: Sushanta Patronobish

It was a hot and muggy afternoon on 21 June, when in an incredible display of public solidarity and defiance, thousands of people marched through the streets of Kolkata in silent protest. There were no political parties to manage the swelling numbers, no brandishing of political flags to claim victory for any organisation. Led by respected intellectuals, people poured in from all corners of the city as well as its outskirts to show their support and solidarity – elderly people, some with sticks and crutches; homemakers, for many of whom it was their first rally; working people who spontaneously got off buses or skipped work. There were students in large numbers with banners and placards, teachers, villagers holding hands for safety in an unfamiliar place, rights activists distributing leaflets, feminists with colourful posters, non-governmental organisation workers, actors, academics and journalists – all came together to protest the spurt in crimes against women in the state.

The protest was triggered by the gang-rape and murder of a young college girl Sheila (not her real name) in Kamduni village, Barasat district on 7 June and the insensitive handling of the incident by the state government. It was for the first time that the city, famous for its processions, witnessed an outpouring from such a wide cross-section of society, about an issue generally left to women’s groups and feminists to battle: the safety and security of women.

The rally of more than 10,000 strong was also a political expression of indignation against the constant bogey of “the other” raised by the ruling party to gag dissent. Suddenly, from one section of the rally, young men and women raised slogans demanding azaadi (freedom), startling this reporter since the word is usually associated with the Kashmir issue. For the people of Bengal that afternoon, however, the rallying cry of azaadi snowballed to take on a larger significance. It not only meant freedom of women from violence, but also implied the freedom of citizens to live without fear, the freedom to speak up, to question, and the freedom to protest. Since 2011, with the promise of paribartan (change) that had swept Mamata Banerjee to power in West Bengal, defeating an almost invincible Left Front (LF) rule of 34 years, the chief minister has silenced every question, protest or any whiff of dissent, real or imaginary, by dismissing it as a conspiracy against her from her opponents, whom she dubbed the “Maoists”. Continue reading

Brazil Needs a Great Revolution!

[The statement by the Revolutionary Front for the Defense of the People – Brazil (Frente Revolucionária de Defesa dos Direitos do Povo – Brasil), has now been translated into English.  It provides important background on the current rebellion, as well as clarifying the revolutionary program and strategy to move forward. — Frontlines ed.]

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Proletarians and oppressed peoples of the world, unite!
“The law of the people is to fight, fail, fight again, fail again, fight again until victory!” — Chairman Mao Tsetung

Massive protests explode across the country and a spontaneous mass movement  of hundreds of thousands takes the center of large cities and spreads everywhere, shaking and panicking all the old order. A new phase of the developments of the revolutionary situation is seen in protest and rebellion!Major storms are approaching.

The final straw was the brutal repression of the just and peaceful demonstration against the increase of the bus fares in the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The outrage spread across the country and released popular anger no longer stifled by decades of political demagoguery and constant barrage of misleading government propaganda of a Brazil of great progress and improvement. When even television networks, radio and newspapers trumpeted the popularity of President Dilma as the one bringing full employment, creation of a new middle class, the development of the country with a sound economy against the global crisis that sinks the world’s largest economies – this suddenly exploded with the upheavals that arose as a tsunami.

Amid the deep and prolonged general crisis of the imperialist system that causes suffering worldwide, hitting hard working masses with mass unemployment, making brutal cuts in hard-won rights, pushing them to the streets by the millions, in a desperate fight for survival and resistance,  repression launched by the capitalist governments in client countries has been unrelenting.

As a direct result of the contradictions and weaknesses of the economy of our country, dominated and plundered by imperialism, the popular revolt is the release of decades of screams stifled by the ‘eternal’ deception of fraudulent elections and false left demagoguery (PT/Workers Party; PSB/Brazilian Socialist Party; PCdoB/Communist Party of Brazil, etc). What happened? A snap broke the charm of a truth found to be a lie repeated a thousand times, and backfired, no longer the social anesthetic of bread and circuses. Continue reading

Biggest protests in 20 years sweep Brazil

Hundreds of thousands march in Brazil

By Todd Benson and Asher Levine, Reuters | SAO PAULO | Tuesday June 18, 2013

(Reuters) – As many as 200,000 demonstrators marched through the streets of Brazil’s biggest cities on Monday in a swelling wave of protest tapping into widespread anger at poor public services, police violence and government corruption.

The marches, organized mostly through snowballing social media campaigns, blocked streets and halted traffic in more than a half-dozen cities, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia, where demonstrators climbed onto the roof of Brazil’s Congress building and then stormed it.

Monday’s demonstrations were the latest in a flurry of protests in the past two weeks that have added to growing unease over Brazil’s sluggish economy, high inflation and a spurt in violent crime.

While most of the protests unfolded as a festive display of dissent, some demonstrators in Rio threw rocks at police, set fire to a parked car and vandalized the state assembly building. Vandals also destroyed property in the southern city of Porto Alegre. Continue reading

Turkish protesters have long list of complaints

02 Jun 2013
ANKARA (AFP)turkey 6-1-13  What started as a small group opposed to an development project in Istanbul has become an outpouring of national anger over how the Islamist-rooted government treats its citizens, testing Ankara’s quest to be a model country in its neighbourhood.Turks are increasingly frustrated about what they see as restrictions on their freedom after a series of last-minute reforms were rushed through parliament by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which enjoys an overwhelming majority.”This is a movement which is a result of growing frustration and disappointment among secular segments of society who could not influence politics over the last decade,” said Sinan Ulgen, visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe.

“This is an unprecedented, abrupt and unplanned public movement that has not been manipulated by any political party. It is a big surprise,” he told AFP.

A small park and its 600 trees at Istanbul’s iconic Taksim square was the spark for the protests that snowballed into one of the biggest nationwide campaigns against the ruling party’s tturkey taksimen-year rule.

Critics say that Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan’s rule has left Turkish society more polarised than ever, with opponents of the AKP government openly voicing concerns that Turkey is moving toward conservative Islam.

The ruling party has passed a series of reforms which have outraged many citizens who complain of a “fait accompli” and say it shows a slide toward an authoritarian and conservative agenda.

In 2004, the party attempted to submit a controversial amendment on banning adultery but had to back down amid criticism from opposition parties and women’s groups.

Last year, Erdogan provoked outrage when he likened abortion to murder, and his contentious education reform allowing clerical schools for the raising of what he described a “pious generation” was approved by the parliament in 2012, spreading fears among secularists.

More recently, Turkey’s parliament passed legislation curbing alcohol sales and advertising, which would be the toughest in the republic’s history if the president, a former AKP member, signs it into law.

In April, an Istanbul court ordered a retrial for world-renowned pianist Fazil Say, who was convicted earlier to 10 months in prison for blasphemy over a series of social media posts. The 43-year-old virtuoso has accused the AKP of being behind the case against him.

Critics accuse Erdogan’s government of using courts to silence dissenting voices.

Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists worldwide, imprisoning even more than China or Iran, according to rights groups.

Hundreds of military officers, academics and lawyers are also in detention — most of them accused of plotting against the government. Continue reading

India: New Delhi police fire water cannon at rape protest

[In the capital of India, which the government has claimed is “the world’s largest democracy,” a brutal rape of a young woman has brought thousands of outraged protestors into the streets.  Rape is a common terror that women face in Delhi and throughout India.  What brought these massive protests to the streets, this time?  As the following articles point out, “Police figures show that, in Delhi, a rape is reported on average every 18 hours and some form of sexual attack every 14 hours….Indian novelist Arundhati Roy said rape is seen as a ‘matter of feudal entitlement’ in many parts of the country, and the reason this case had come to light is because the woman victim belongs to the affluent middle class“…..She said attitudes towards women need to change in India, because a change in the law only will protect middle class women, but ‘the violence against other women who are not entitled will continue’.” — Frontlines ed.]

[Tear gas and water cannon were used against protesters marching on the presidential palace]

Indian police have used tear gas and water cannons to keep back thousands of protesters marching in Delhi over the gang rape of a young woman.

Violence broke out as the protesters, mainly college students, tried to break through police barricades to march on the presidential palace.

There has been outrage in India over the attack on a bus last Sunday that has left the 23-year-old woman in a critical condition in hospital.

Six people have been arrested.

The government has tried to halt the rising anger over the attack by announcing a series of measures intended to make Delhi safer for women.

They include more police night patrols, checks on bus drivers and their assistants and the banning of buses with tinted windows or curtains.

But the protesters say the government’s pledge to seek life sentences for the attackers is not enough – many are calling for the death penalty.

Some carried placards reading “Hang the Rapists” and “Save women. Save India” as they marched on Saturday. Continue reading