Thinking on How to Move Outa Hell

[As the first days of the Trump regime take shape, the lurch from the ways things have been is shocking and angering many who have never considered the path now unfolding.  Old plans and assumptions have been tossed into irrelevance.  As the great revolutionary Karl Marx once noted about earlier crises, “All that is solid melts into air . . . . and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.”  Anxiety has spilled into the streets across the US and around the world, and millions discuss and debate the situation and what to do about it.  A powerful analysis begins to dissect what is happening, and chart the contours of the pathways out of the hell that the majority of people face–for many, a continuation and intensification of ago-old nightmares, now joined by many millions more whose lives have been roughly and rudely interrupted, with no prospect of returning to an idealized past.  Moving forward against this tide is the challenge that fills the air. We have received, and share, this article as a first step in joining the debate at hand. — Frontlines ed.]

Build and Fight: Beyond Trump and the Limitations of the United Front

by Kali Akuno and Doug Norberg

On Inauguration Day, we note the considerable range of the opposition to Trump, from traditional activists to very mainstream folks. In many respects the opposition mounted was unprecedented, on a day where patriotic and jingoistic hyperbole is typically concentrated and loudly broadcast more than at any other time, and when, traditionally, new Presidents make appeals to the heart and to democratic unity while all who know how false the claims are, bite their lips, party, and hope for the best. The opposition struggling to find expression is broad and deep. But, nearly all expressions of opposition are resorting to traditional methods of reformist oriented protest while millions of people throughout the United States and the world are discussing and debating how they are going to survive and resist the emerging Presidential regime of Donald Trump and the rise of right-wing populism and a resurgent “America first” white nationalism. Continue reading

Democratic Illusions Infect Judiciary in India’s Repressive State

[The Indian state, thoroughly repressive toward over 90% of the people in India, has often claimed, since being “granted” independence by the British Empire, that it is democratic, even “the world’s largest democracy.”  This claim is belied by the brutal displacement and oppression of the majority of the people–the adivasis, dalits, the peasantry, the women of the oppressed castes and classes, Muslims, political opponents of the neo-colonial, semi-feudal state and their imperialist masters, and the Maoists (and all other opponents loosely, and falsely, labelled “Maoists”).  As the opposition continues to grow against the oppressive police state, the contradiction with the democratic myth has grown sharply, infecting even the ranks of the repressive judiary.  The rebellious people will carefully study how these “democratic dissidents in high places” will be dealt with by the repressive “powers-that-be”.  —  Frontlines ed.]

Person can’t be taken into custody just because he is a Maoist, Kerala HC rules

Person can’t be taken into custody just because he is a Maoist, Kerala HC rules

Justice AM Muhammed Mushtaq said that a Maoist can be arrested and put behind the bars only if he or she indulges in unlawful or anti-national activities.

KOCHI: In a significant development, the Kerala high court made it clear that a Maoist cannot be taken into police custody just because of his political leanings.  Justice A M Muhammed Mushtaq, in his order on Friday, said that a Maoist can be arrested and put behind bars only if he or she indulges in unlawful or anti-national activities.  “Being a Maoist is no crime, though the political ideology of Maoists would not synchronise with our constitutional polity. It is a basic human right to think in terms of human aspirations,” Justice Mushtaq said in his order.The court was hearing a petition filed by Shyam Balakrishnan of Wayanad stating that he was arrested and harassed by the Thunderbolt team — a special police unit – for alleged Maoist links. The court ordered a compensation of Rs one lakh for the petitioner and also asked to state to pay litigation costs of Rs 10, 000. Continue reading

Mexico and US actions link Ayotzinapa, Ferguson, Garner

Weekly News Update on the Americas, December 9, 2014

Hundreds of Mexican immigrants and other activists held actions in at least 47 US towns and cities on Dec. 3 to protest the abduction of 43 teachers’ college students by police and gang members in Mexico’s Guerrero state in September; each of the 43 students had one of the actions dedicated to him.

The protests were organized by UStired2, a group taking its name from #YaMeCansé (“I’m tired now,” or “I’ve had it”), a Mexican hashtag used in response to the violence against the students, who attended the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in the Guerrero town of Ayotzinapa. The protesters focused on US government financing for the Mexican government—especially funding for the “war on drugs” through the 2008 Mérida Initiative—but they also expressed outrage over the US court system’s failure to indict US police agents in two recent police killings of unarmed African Americans. Continue reading

The System That Failed Eric Garner and Michael Brown Cannot Be Reformed

 by Mychal Denzel Smith, The Nation blog, December 3, 2014

 

That a grand jury decided not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing 43-year-old Eric Garner the same week that President Obama proposed spending $75 million in federal money to outfit 50,000 police officers across the country with body cameras would seem to be hack Hollywood writing with neatly applied plot points. Garner’s death was caught on video—video that the police were aware was being taken—and it still was not enough to indict anyone, least of all the man responsible for choking Garner to death, for any type of wrongdoing. It’s as if this decision was handed to us at this time in order to get us to say, “Now what?”

Continue reading

Attention Americans: This is What Street Harassment ACTUALLY Looks Like

A recent viral video of a woman walking down the street in New York, posted by Hollaback, sets out to expose the evils of catcalling. The video quickly went viral and Hollaback is using this viral exposure to push for legislation to “end catcalling.”

This sounds all fine and dandy to someone who doesn’t think past their own self-serving single layer government protected bubble of happiness. However, in reality, responding to someone’s speech with government force is horrific.

Sure, catcalling can be offensive, rude, derogatory, (insert negative connotation here) and it should most definitely be stigmatized and frowned upon by society.

However, non-violent speech does not directly violate or threaten the rights of any individual. Those who call for quelling the free speech of another person through the initiation of government force, are far more dangerous to society than a homeless drunk man vomiting up whatever lewd thoughts pop into his head as a pretty woman walks by. Continue reading

When Art Speaks Truth about the Police State, It Is Criminalized and Destroyed

 [Whether banning or burning books, or destroying truth-telling murals, repressive systems reveal their fear of informed people.  —  Frontlines ed.]

Ferguson-inspired ‘Sagging pants is not probable cause’ mural in Trenton removed after police request

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A mural depicting Ferguson teen Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by police earlier this year, was removed from a gate on the corner of North Broad and Hanover Streets on Monday Oct. 20, 2014 after concerns from police. (Jenna Pizzi / Times of Trenton)
By Jenna Pizzi | Times of Trentoon October 20, 2014


TRENTON – A mural was painted over Monday afternoon after Trenton police expressed concern that the painting, depicting Michael Brown, a Ferguson, Mo., teen who was fatally shot by police in August, sent the wrong message about community and police relations.
The painting depicted Brown’s face with the caption “Sagging pants … is not probable cause.” Will “Kasso” Condry, the artist behind the mural, said he wanted to start a conversation about racial profiling.
The Trenton Downtown Association elected to remove the image after hearing concern from police officers that the mural sends a negative message about the relationship between police and the community.

Continue reading

Brazil: Police War on Favelas Trained by Brazil’s UN “Peacekeepers”

Brazil: Haiti mission shaped Rio police unit

Weekly News Update, WW4 Report, Tuesday, 08/26/2014

The UN mission in Haiti influenced the creation of special urban police units in Brazil—and helped the Brazilian military make up for shortfalls in its training budget.

Two Brazilian experts in police work have confirmed longstanding claims that the Brazilian military and police used their leading role in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH [5]) as a way to train their forces for operations in Brazil’s own cities. According to Lt. Col. Carlos Cavalcanti, of the Brazilian Peace Operations Joint Training Center (CCOPAB [6]), the Brazilians were especially interested in the concept of permanent “strong points” in urban areas, which MINUSTAH forces used to “pacify” Port-au-Prince’s huge Cité Soleil section in 2005 and the Cité Militaire neighborhood in 2007. “Rio de Janeiro’s Militarized Police even sent a group to Haiti while these operations were still being carried out, with the object of taking in the Brazilian army’s experiences,” Cavalcanti said.

Police officers during a shootout with drug traffickers in the Vila Cruzeiro favela in Rio de Janeiro in 2010. (Reuters/Bruno Domingos)

Brazil police in the Villa Cruzeiro favela in Rio de Janeiro in 2010

These experiences inspired the use of special police groups known as Pacifying Police Units (UPPs [7]) in controlling the impoverished urban areas in Brazil known as favelas, according to Claudio Silveira, a defense specialist at Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ). The UPP in Rio was the target of repeated protests in the summer of 2013 because of unit members’ alleged torture and murder of construction worker Amarildo de Souza Lima [8]. One advantage of MINUSTAH for the Brazilian military is apparently that it helps make up for what top officers feel is an inadequate budget for training soldiers. In Haiti the soldiers get real-life training, for which the Brazilian government has paid out 2.11 billion reais (US$923 million) since the mission’s start in June 2004; the United Nations has reimbursed it with 741 million reais (US$324 million). (Adital [9], Brazil, Aug. 13) Continue reading