[It was a rare moment in people’s movements, some 16 months ago, and we just came across it and wanted to share it, with words of caution: this was not a movement aimed at revolutionary overthrow of the Thai monarchy, or a severance of relations with capitalists or imperialism everywhere. It was a militant struggle against corruption and abuse, over local grievances, perceived inequalities, and many collective frustrations. The videos above show the intensity of the struggle when protesters confronted the police. And the picture below shows how remarkable this peaceful protest was, briefly, when the police took off their helmets and dropped their shields in a show of solidarity. But we urge our readers in the US and internationally: don’t expect the police to act like this, anywhere, ever, again. If the instruments of state power ever defect to the people’s side, it will rarely be all at once, and never all together, even for a brief moment. — Frontlines ed.]
December 6, 2013
In Thailand, riot police laid down their helmets and shields, yielding to the peaceful protesters which they had been commanded to arrest.
In a showing of solidarity, police stood aside and allowed protesters to continue on.
Those who had rallied to protest explained that their goal was to confront and overcome the political apparatus of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Shinawatra is accused of widespread corruption and abuse of power, leaving him with few sympathizers among the police.
[In the US in recent years, the prominence of the repressive arm of the state has grown to a larger scope than ever before. The occupation of Black and Brown communities, migrant communities, of increasingly and permanently vulnerable communities of occasional and unstable work, of displaced and homeless communities, youth castaways from schools and jobs, from broken families and internally abusive communities, have all suffered from repeated rounds of criminalization, police violence and mass incarceration. Such attacks have been endorsed, promoted and justified in daily hysterical media accounts, in political and religious and cultural campaigns for ever-enlarging police forces, for overt and covert racist profiling, for militarization of police, and for multiplying the surveillance and snitch networks. Opposition to these measures has also grown, and protest movements have also become major targets for political suppression and for beatings, arrests, and killings by cops, all reaching epidemic levels.
Not only does this repression hit at the increasingly re-proletarianized sections of the so-called “middle class” but many from the most oppressed peoples have joined the new and recurrent protest movements, at great personal risk. Those who have histories of arrests and imprisonment and participation in many illegal and semi-legal pursuits have along with other sectors become politicized and have joined together to change the system. In a number of cities, gang members have pointedly and significantly stood together, in de facto truces with each other, to defend their communities from attack – a pattern rarely, if ever, reported. If anything, the twisted reports which occur in the media, are always of the horrifying and frightening “thuggishness” of protest movements. This is a central ingredient of the media assault on all militant protest movements which now terms such protests as “terrorist.”
The following article from revolution-news.com, describes these features as they have been seen in Ferguson, Missouri, and in the protest movements that have grown nationwide in recent months. A largely untold story, we appreciate the courage of revolution-news in bringing it to light. — Frontlines ed.]
“The revolution won’t be televised ya’ll know that.
And if it does get televised they gonna make it look as bad as possible.” – Shoota
The nationwide protests after the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson have brought much needed attention to issues of institutional racism, police brutality and the killing of unarmed black men across the US. The #BlackLivesMatter protests have also brought people together and created unity in black communities throughout the country.
Mainstream media (MSM) broadcast images from Ferguson of stores being looted and buildings up in flames. The images shown in MSM succeeded in creating a massive media spectacle. MSM combined with some elements in social media also managed to push false narratives into the public discourse regarding who exactly was in the Ferguson streets and what they were doing there. The narrative that “thugs” were causing destruction and mayhem in Ferguson was amplified in MSM in attempts to smear and discredit the #BlackLivesMatter protests. But who are these so-called “thugs” running amok in Missouri? Continue reading →
[The New York Times is not starting this discussion, but noting that many are raising the question of mass violence (and a challenge to the “non-violent” mantra) in the wake of repeated state violence against oppressed people and popular protests. This is a discussion long held, but growing and intensifying, as growing numbers of revolutionary activists discard polite appeals to an oppresive system, and take more active and determined steps. — Frontlines ed.]
Some observers noted a chance congruence between those words and a quotation from the influential Martinique-born philosopher of anti-colonialism Frantz Fanon: “We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.”
The demonstrations last week coincided with the New York release of “Concerning Violence,” a film by the Swedish documentarian Goran Hugo Olsson that serves as a sort of introduction to Fanon’s ideas. To Mr. Olsson, who was in New York promoting the film last week and who took the opportunity to participate in several marches, the similarity between the protesters’ chant and Fanon’s text was not a coincidence, he told Op-Talk.
Saudi court sentences lawyers for public criticisms
A court in Saudi Arabia on Oct. 27 sentenced three lawyers to between five and eight years in prison for criticizing the justice system on the social networking website Twitter by accusing authorities of carrying out arbitrary detentions. The Saudi Press Agency reported that the lawyers were each convicted of different crimes, including using the social media outlet to propagate against the Saudi judiciary, criticize Islamic Sharia law and interfere in the independence of the judiciary. The lawyers are also banned from using social media and traveling. The court also warned other social media users that they could face similar punishment for similar offenses and that they were being monitored.
[As mentioned earlier, the Hong Kong protests against the Capitalist rulers of China, are focused on the semi-colonial relationship that Hong Kong has with Beijing ever since the HK break in formal colonial relations with Capitalist-Imperialist Britain. The following news article repeats the misstaken characterization of China as “Communist” even years after it restored capitalism and remained “Communist” in name only. — Frontlines ed.]
Hong Kong activists hold ‘umbrella protest’
ITV, 29 September 2014
Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong held an “umbrella protest” as police sprayed pepper spray at them.
After three days thousands of protesters would not be moved despite the Hong Kong government saying they were withdrawing riot police.
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters remain on the streets of Hong Kong after police used tear gas and batons in an attempt to disperse them yesterday.
Bangladeshi garment workers calling for a minimum wage increase clashed with police outside Dhaka. Source: AAP
The Australian, September 23, 2013
ANGRY Bangladeshi garment workers have blocked roads, set factories alight and clashed with police for a third day as protests demanding a minimum monthly wage of $US100 spread outside the capital Dhaka.
Abdul Baten, police chief of the Gazipur industrial district near Dhaka, which is home to hundreds of factories, said on Monday “up to 200,000 workers” had joined the latest demonstrations.
His deputy Mustafizur Rahman said about 300 factories, which make clothing for top Western retailers such as Walmart, were shut on Monday to contain the violence as protesting workers attacked plants that stayed open. Continue reading →