The Yellow Vests are Back in the Streets – With New Force!

Yellow Vest actions hit cities all over France

by Charlie Kimber – Mon 14 Sep 2020 – socialistworker.co.uk


Rising class feeling - Ibis hotel strikers picketed their bosses last week in Issy-les-Moulineaux

Rising class feeling – Ibis hotel strikers picketed their bosses last week in Issy-les-Moulineaux (Pic: Phototheque Rouge/ Martin Noda / Hans Lucas)


Thousands of Yellow Vests returned to the streets of France on Saturday—and were met with harsh repression.

Police fired volleys of teargas and arrested more than 250 people in Paris.

Anne, a teacher, told Socialist Worker, “You have to overcome the fear of Covid-19 and the threats of the police to go on the streets.

“I could not stay at home. President Macron rules for the rich, and he has put the corporations before our health during the pandemic.

“Now he is stepping up the talk of security and giving presents to the bosses.”

Several areas of the capital were barred to demonstrators.

But protesters gathered at the starting points of two authorised marches.

Assaults

One set off without incident, but at the other police launched repeated assaults.

They made scores of arrests for “carrying items that could be used as weapons”—including an empty bottle of Jack Daniel’s whisky.

Delphine, an intensive care nurse, told the Revolution Permanente website, “I am a white coat but above all a Yellow Vest.

“The common enemy is the government.”

The Yellow Vest movement emerged in 2018 as a focus for deep ­bitterness over inequality.

Its return to large scale protest is a sign of developing class anger.

One protester, a 50 year old civil servant, said, “social and economic robbery” and “our fundamental freedoms under attack” drove him onto the streets.

Pensioners Pascale and Patrick, who had travelled to Paris from Crolles in south east France, said “the movement isn’t running out of steam.”

“We don’t want this world for our children and grandchildren. We’re anti-capitalist, anti-system, former hippies and now Yellow Vests.” Elsewhere hundreds of ­protesters gathered in the southwestern city Toulouse, despite a ban.

After a year of the Yellow Vests - a new chance for united struggle in France
After a year of the Yellow Vests – a new chance for united struggle in France
  Read More

Police tried to disperse the group with tear gas, as they did in Lyon.

People also gathered in cities including Marseille, Lille, Nantes, Nice, Bordeaux and Strasbourg.

“I didn’t back the yellow vests at first but things have only got worse for people in poverty,” said a ­protester in Toulouse.

There are diverse politics among the Yellow Vests.

But there were signs of a ­generally radical mood.

Right wing “comedian” Jean-Marie Bigard tried to join the Paris march.

He was met with shouts of “sexist” and “homophobe” and was forced to seek refuge in a pizzeria before fleeing.

A national strike and dozens of demonstrations called by several trade union and student ­federations were set for Thursday this week.

It will be an important test of whether workers and protest ­movements can develop the strength to defeat Macron and the bosses.


Lukashenko looks to Russia for help

Belarusian protesters humiliated Aleksander Lukashenko ahead of a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday.

At least 100,000 people came out onto the streets of Minsk, the sixth week of monster marches since a rigged election.

Video footage showed masked, unmarked cops grabbing female protesters out of the crowd and throwing them into vans.

As the movement shows no sign of abating despite repression, Lukashenko is hoping to gain support from Russia.

The price for Putin’s support would be a closer “state union” between the two countries, a proposal that Lukashenko rejected in January.

The Russian state also wants to loot Belarus’s state-owned companies.

Meanwhile, liberal opposition leaders look to the West for support.

But Western states had been willing to build closer economic and military ties with the Lukashenko regime.

Unofficial strikes by thousands of workers could break the stalemate, force out Lukashenko and open the possibility of a genuine alternative.

Tomáš Tengely-Evans


Protests against cop murder

brutal police murder has sparked furious protests in Colombia.

Javier Ordonez was tasered more than ten times and then strangled by police.

He was allegedly found drinking alcohol outdoors in Colombia’s capital Bogota last Wednesday.

In a video shared on social media, Ordonez is shown begging for his life and shouting, “Please, no more, I’m suffocating.”

He was rushed to hospital where he later died.

Colombia’s defence minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said, “The national police apologise for any violation of the law or ignorance of regulations by any members of the institution.”

Over 300 protesters gathered outside the police station where Ordonez was taken last Thursday night.

Chants of “Cerdos asesinos” meaning “murderer pigs” rang out.

At least seven people are reported to have died at the hands of the police since protests began.

Sophie Squire

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The Inhumanization of Moria Migrants by EU – What a Disgrace!

Opinion: Moria migrant camp in Greece is the EU’s flaming failure

The Moria refugee camp on Lesbos is in flames — as is the European Union’s asylum concept. It is time for the EU to provide sustainable infrastructure for displaced people, DW’s Jannis Papadimitriou writes.

Moria (Reuters/E. Marcou) 

The Moria camp for displaced people on the Greek island of Lesbos had already caught fire twice, in 2016 and in 2019, but this time, fanned by winds that topped 70 kilometers per hour (40 mph), the camp has burned to the ground. Firefighters were distracted by a blaze in a regional forest.

We do know yet know whether it was arson, neglect or simply another cruel twist of fate for the thousands of people who have been made to call the camp their home. But we have always known that cramming 13,000 people into a space made for a maximum of 2,500 was bound to end in disaster.

Jannis Papadimitriou Blog (Privat)DW’s Jannis Papadimitriou

Displaced people and their allies have long called Moria «Europe’s shame»; it is also Greece’s shame. Moria has been the bane of governments in Athens. But to have shut Moria down would have required them to place the camp’s displaced people elsewhere. Apparently, there was no will for that — though Greece has received billions in aid from the European Union to be used to support displaced people who arrive to the country.

Read more: Greece exploits coronavirus in refugee dispute with Turkey

Despite various promises, no government in Athens has managed to fix the asylum procedure. New arrivals have to wait about a year before getting an appointment with the asylum authorities.

Read more: German state offers to take in 1,000 refugees from Greece

The EU’s failure

Greece does not bear the blame alone. The rest of the European Union has looked on passively for too long. One might ask: what exactly the EU does. At the moment, despite some direction from the European Commission, member states are refusing to comply with decisions agreed to by the rest of the bloc. The effect is that the governments of member states can simply ignore EU-level decisions and rulings by the European Court of Justice, claim successes as their own and blame the failures on Brussels.

Read more: Lack of EU unity on asylum keeps refugees at the margins

Though the pictures transmitted from Moria over the years have been shocking, anyone who has spent time in this hell on Earth knows that what was worse than the images was the smell. The tench of Moria was composed of rotting garbage, smoke, sweat and vomit; it is the smell of death. And it is a smell that thousands of people were forced to put up with.

Read more:MSF called the Moria refugee camp «an ideal breeding ground for a rapid spread» of coronavirus

Was this perhaps the plan? Perhaps EU officials intended for the camp to act as a deterrent for displaced people who were considering the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea: These cramped conditions are what awaits.

Read more: In Greece, refugees are painted as the enemy

If it was meant to be a deterrent, it did not work. People caught in the wars of Syria, Afghanistan or elsewhere had no other option than an endless wait on a Greek island — however cramped, however awful it smelled.

Article from dw.com

See also:

New fire at overcrowded migrant camp on Greek island of Lesbos …

A Fire Has Decimated Europe’s Largest Refugee Camp. Here’s How …

Greece’s tale of two crises: «EU shame on you» – FRANCE 24

Greece’s Moria Refugee Camp: A European Failure – The Atlantic

Greece’s Moria Refugee Camp Is a European Failure – MSN.com

Greece Fire in Moria camp highlights abject failure of government …

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The Insane Costs of Nuclear Weapons!

The cost of nuclear weapons

Environmental costs:

Nuclear weapons are the only devices ever created that have the capacity to destroy all complex life forms on Earth. It would take less than 0.1% of the explosive yield of the current global nuclear arsenal to bring about devastating agricultural collapse and widespread famine. The smoke and dust from fewer than 100 Hiroshima-sized nuclear explosions would cause an abrupt drop in global temperatures and rainfall.

Climate disruption and nuclear famine →

“Climate change may be the global policy issue that has captured most attention in the last decade, but the problem of nuclear weapons is at least its equal in terms of gravity – and much more immediate in its potential impact.” – International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, 2009

Economic costs:

Nuclear weapons programmes divert public funds from health care, education, disaster relief and other vital services. The nine nuclear-armed nations spend many tens of billions of dollars each year maintaining and modernizing their nuclear arsenals. Funding allocated to disarmament efforts is minuscule by comparison. It is time to redirect money towards meeting human needs.

Nuclear weapons spending →

PUBLICATION

Enough is Enough: 2019 Global Nuclear Weapons Spending

In its report «Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons Spending 2020» the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has produced the first estimate in nearly a decade of global nuclear weapon spending, taking into account costs to maintain and build new nuclear weapons. ICAN estimates that the nine nuclear-armed countries spent $72.9 billion on their 13,000+ nuclear weapons in 2019, equalling $138,699 every minute of 2019 on nuclear weapons, and a $7.1 billion increase from 2018.

Report Cover Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons Spending 2020

Download the report here 

These estimates (rounded to one decimal point) include nuclear warhead and nuclear-capable delivery systems operating costs and development where these expenditures are publically available and are based on a reasonable percentage of total military spending on nuclear weapons when more detailed budget data is not available. ICAN urges all nuclear-armed states to be transparent about nuclear weapons expenditures to allow for more accurate reporting on global nuclear expenditures and better government accountability.

Article from icanw.org

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Støtt arbeidarar i Indonesia – Stopp regjeringa sine åtak!

Indonesia: Stopp regjeringens nye arbeidslivslover!

I partnerskap med disse fagforeningene — FPPI, SP JICT and FBTPI — som sammen med andre folkebevegelser har dannet Indonesian Labor with the People Movement (GEBRAK)

 

Arbeiderne i Indonesia står opp mot forsøk fra myndighetene på å introdusere nye arbeidslivslover (the Omnibus Bill on Job Creation) som prøver å utnytte covid-19 krisa til å redusere lønningene, fjerne goder og uthule arbeidstakerrettigheter. President Joko Widodo hevder at denne loven som innebærer endring i 79 lover, skal føre til større utenlandske investeringer, øke den økonomiske veksten og skape jobber for indonesere.

Virkeligheten er at denne omfattende lovendringen bare vil ramme arbeidsfolk og miljøet. Den må stoppes!

Støtt kampanja på labourstartcampaigns.netlabourstartcampaigns.net

Posta under Asia, Fagrørsle og kamp, Politikk, samfunn, Vår globale verd | Merkt , , , | Kommenter innlegget

Krig er forakt mot liv – Velkomen til ANTIKRIGSFESTIVAL!

INVITASJON TIL ANTIKRIGSFESTIVAL- OG UTSTILLING PÅ USF VERFTET 3.-20.SEPTEMBER

3-20 Sep 2020

ANTI-KRIG Festivalen | Visningsrommet USF

Festivalen består av ulike typer foredrag, filmvisning, performance, omvisninger og workshops for skoleelever samt en ANTI-KRIG utstilling med verk av 26 kunstnere, der alle handler om krig og fred. Vi håper at utstillingen og festivalen vil fange allmennhetens interesse. Utstillingen samler et veldig bredt spekter av lokale og internasjonale kunstnere; fra Street Art til politisk forestilling, fra ekspressivt figurativt maleri til dokumentarfotografering, fra poetisk videokunst til ren propaganda.

Kuratert av Antikrigsinitiativet og Internasjonal kvinneliga for fred og frihet.

Kunstnere:

Ca Conrad, JINWAR/Womans Village, Masoud Alireza, Savas Boyraz, Peter Voss-Knude, Kwestan Jamal Bawan, AFK, Herbert Wiegand, Ida C. Maardhed, Sonja Krohn, Ivar Jørdre, Simone Hooymans, Roger Gjerstad, Bjørg Taranger, Thomas Kruse, Ninjas of Bergen, Frans Jacobi, Gitte Sætre, Laurie Grundt, Naeem Searle, Kirsten Merete Hestnes, Living Unliving Surveillance Poet, ALTKey, Gabriel Kvendseth, Kari Elisabet Svare, Miss Printed, Amos Keppler.

Utstillingen samler et veldig bredt spekter av lokale og internasjonale kunstnere; fra Street Art til politisk forestilling, fra ekspressivt figurativt maleri til dokumentarfotografering, fra poetisk videokunst til ren propaganda. (Mer kommer snart)

Utstillingen er åpen for alle: tirsdag til fredag kl. 14 -19  |  lørdag og søndag kl 12-17

NB! Onsdag 16. sept stenger utstillingen kl 17.


Festivalprogram

Posta under Imperialisme, Kapitalisme, Noreg - Norway, Politikk, samfunn, Vår globale verd | Merkt , , , , , | Kommenter innlegget

The Heinous Racism Continues in Trump-land – Another Shooting

Kenosha shooting: One officer fired all seven shots into Jacob Blake’s back; Teen arrested in killing of protesters

One police officer fired all seven shots that hit Jacob Blake in the back, law enforcement officials announced Wednesday. They also named the officer and said the results of their investigation will be turned over to a prosecutor.

The description of the shooting by the Wisconsin Department of Justice is the first official accounting of what happened in the Sunday shooting in Kenosha that has since spawned nightly protests and public outrage.

Authorities identified the officer as Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department. Sheskey fired his weapon seven times into Blake’s back as Blake leaned into his car. No other officer at the scene fired a weapon.

Blake was also tased, according to DOJ.

The account said Blake told officers he had a knife in his possession, although it is unclear whether Sheskey knew of the knife when he pulled the trigger of his gun.

Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigations officers found a knife in the driver-side floorboard of Blake’s car and no other weapons were recovered, according to Wisconsin officials. The department’s statement does not say if Blake threatened the officer with the knife.

Earlier in the day, a 17-year-old suspected of fatally shooting two people and wounding a third during Tuesday’s protests in Kenosha was arrested on a homicide charge.

Court records show Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, faces a first-degree intentional homicide charge in Kenosha County. He is now jailed in Lake County, Illinois, and has been charged there as a fugitive from justice. He will appear for extradition hearing on Friday.

Authorities did not release the victims» names but said the two killed were a 26-year-old man from Kenosha County and a 36-year-old Kenosha man.

Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, was shot in the arm and is expected to survive. Grosskreutz was in Kenosha with the social justice reform group the People’s Revolution Movement of Milwaukee.

Based on Wisconsin law, Rittenhouse would be charged as an adult.

For three nights, violent protests have torn through Kenosha. Buildings have been burned, windows smashed out and stores looted.

Anger over the shooting has spilled into the streets of other cities, including Los Angeles and Minneapolis, the epicenter of the Black Lives Matter movement this summer following George Floyd’s death.

Wednesday evening, protests had historic implications for the sports world as NBA playoff games were postponed after the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t take the floor for Wednesday’s playoff game against the Orlando Magic. Standing in solidarity with the Bucks, Major League Baseball’s Brewers decided not to play Wednesday night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds. Several Major League Soccer matches were postponed, too.

DOJ releases its timeline of events

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the Kenosha Police Department was called out to a residence «after a female caller reported that her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises.»

Officers tried to arrest Blake, deploying a Taser, which was unsuccessful in stopping Blake. Blake » walked around his vehicle, opened the driver’s side door, and leaned forward.»

«While holding onto Mr. Blake’s shirt, Officer Rusten Sheskey fired his service weapon 7 times,» DOJ said in a statement. «Officer Sheskey fired the weapon into Mr. Blake’s back. No other officer fired their weapon. Kenosha Police Department does not have body cameras, therefore the officers were not wearing body cameras.»

DOJ said during the investigation following the initial incident, Blake told officers he had a knife. The knife was found in the driver’s side floorboard of Blake’s car and no other weapons were found.

«When DCI is the lead investigating agency of a shooting involving a law enforcement officer, DCI aims to provide a report of the incident to the prosecutor within 30 days,» DOJ said in a statement.

«The prosecutor then reviews the report and makes a determination about what charges, if any, are appropriate. If the prosecutor determines there is no basis for prosecution of the law enforcement officer, DCI will thereafter make the report available to the public.»

It was previously announced the officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave.

What is expected to happen Wednesday night?

Anticipating continuing unrest, local authorities said a curfew will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday — earlier than the previous night’s curfew. The new nightly curfew is effective through Sunday.

At a press conference Wednesday, local officials expressed support for peaceful protests. Beth said law enforcement will be “very assertive” with enforcing the curfew and that they would be arresting violators.

That comes as President Donald Trump promised increased federal involvement and decried «looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness.»

FBI agents and U.S. Marshals will be deployed in response to the city’s unrest, U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec tweeted. The White House authorized sending 2,000 National Guard troops from other states to Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has also doubled the number of Wisconsin National Guard service members deploying to Kenosha to 500. U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec announced more than 200 federal agents have been deployed to Kenosha.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, accused Trump of “making matters worse” in Kenosha and elsewhere by encouraging vigilantes. «What we saw in Kenosha breaks your heart; it does pierce the soul, as was said,” Pelosi said when asked about the unrest.

What happened in Tuesday night’s shooting?

Tuesday’s shooting happened at about 11:45 p.m., Kenosha police said. Many people were still on the streets in protest just before the shooting, walking up and down Sheridan Road, where protesters had been driven after being expelled from Civic Center Park.

Authorities did not release the victims» names but at a press conference Wednesday afternoon said the two killed were a 26-year-old man from Silver Lake and a 36-year-old Kenosha man. A 26-year-old West Allis man was wounded.

Earlier Wednesday, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that one victim had been shot in the head and another in the chest late Tuesday, just before midnight. Beth didn’t know where the other person was shot, but video posted on social media showed someone had been shot in the arm.

Bystanders watch outside boarded-up shops as protesters clash with police late Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis.
David Goldman, AP

Although police have provided few details about what occurred, there are dozens of videos posted to social media that appear to portray the incident. Those videos show a male opening fire in the middle of the street with a semi-automatic rifle and a person being shot in a car lot.

In the car lot incident, a young white man is being pursued by someone who tosses an object. Soon, shots ring out, and the pursuer drops.

Several other videos show what seems to be the same person being chased by a handful of people in a street. Someone asks, «What he’d do?» and someone yells, «Hey, he shot him!»

The male with the gun trips and falls onto his back. A few people begin to run at him. Amid a scuffle, shots ring out after someone attempts to grabs the shooter’s gun.

That person crumples to the pavement a few feet away and lies still. Another person rushes at the shooter, who appears to strike that person in the arm with another shot.

Then, police appear to allow the young man responsible for the shootings — still carrying a gun — to walk past them, while people in the crowd yell for him to be arrested.

Beth blamed a chaotic, high-stress scene for that inaction. He said those conditions can cause “tunnel vision” among law officers.

Social media videos: Much of Kenosha’s deadly protest shooting was captured on video

A city truck burns outside the Kenosha County courthouse in Kenosha on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020.
Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Alleged shooter considered himself militia, social media posts show

Rittenhouse thought of himself as a militia member trying to protect life and property, according to videos, interviews and social media posts.

Video taken in the hours before the shooting shows Rittenhouse hanging out with older armed men, who tell the reporter they’re protecting a car lot. Rittenhouse then introduces himself as Kyle.

He also did a video interview with the Daily Caller in front of a boarded up building.

«People are getting injured and our job is to protect this business,» Rittenhouse says in the clip. «And my job also is to protect people. If someone is hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle; I’ve gotta protect myself obviously. But I also have my med kit.»

In another video clip, Rittenhouse is shown with members of the group shown earlier, getting bottles of water from a law enforcement officer in an armored vehicle. The officer thanks them for their help, though they are clearly civilians in violation of the city’s 8 p.m. curfew.

Asked about the interaction during a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said, «our deputies would toss water to anybody.»

Body camera footage: Kenosha officials delayed police body cameras for years before Jacob Blake shooting

What are local and national authorities saying?

Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian joined other local law enforcement officials on Wednesday afternoon in pleading for protests to remain peaceful.

«People have differences of opinion. We have different concepts on how things should be done, but violence in the community is not acceptable … Violence to property, violence to people is absolutely unacceptable.»

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul condemned «armed vigilantes, arsonists, and other opportunists» in a Wednesday statement.

«The heavily armed vigilantes, arsonists, and other opportunists who have come to Kenosha to attempt to spur chaos have interfered with that and caused drastic harm to people,» Kaul said in the statement. «If those engaging in violence and destruction of property believe they are furthering some broader goal, they are wrong. They should leave Kenosha.»

Evers — who was criticized by conservatives after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Tuesday the governor had turned down an offer of federal help from Trump — tweeted condolences for the victims of Tuesday’s shooting.

«We cannot let the hateful actions of a few designed to create chaos distract us from our pursuit for a more fair, equitable, and accountable state and country for Jacob Blake and the many others who deserve justice,» Evers tweeted.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivered his first remarks Wednesday on the shooting of Jacob Blake, saying, «What I saw in that video makes me sick.»

«Once again, a Black man – Jacob Blake – has been shot by the police in broad daylight with the whole world watching,» Biden said in a 90-second video released by his presidential campaign.

The former vice president said he spoke by phone to Blake’s mother, father, sister and other family members earlier in the day. Vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris was on the call as well, she said.

«I told them, «Justice must and will be done,'» Biden said. «Our hearts are with his family, especially his children.»

Jacob Blake’s case: Dispatch audio provides timeline, Wisconsin DOJ investigating

The shooting of Blake on Sunday happened quickly, with less than three minutes elapsing between the time the first officer arrived and shots being fired, according to dispatch audio.

Here is a timeline of the shooting pieced together from police radio transmissions, Kenosha police, video and witnesses. The police radio traffic is from Broadcastify, a platform for streaming live audio of public safety, aircraft, rail and marine-related communications.

The Journal Sentinel, a part of the USA TODAY Network, typically does not rely on radio traffic to report on breaking news, as the information can change or be inaccurate. But this audio reveals some of what police officers were hearing, and the time stamps provide a general time frame of the shooting.

Dispatch audio: Jacob Blake was shot less than 3 minutes after Wisconsin police arrived at the scene

Stars are calling for justice and weighing in on Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot in the back multiple times by police in Wisconsin.
Getty

Officers have dashboard cameras in their squad cars but authorities did not say if any part of the shooting had been captured on those cameras.

The incident is being investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, which has said it will attempt to present its findings to prosecutors within 30 days.

Jacob Blake, Sr., (L) and Julia Jackson, parents of Jacob Blake, Jr., arrive with family members outside of the County Courthouse for the press conference in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, 2020. – Jacob Blake, Jr., was shot several times by police may be permanently paralyzed, his family said on August 25. Blake was shot August 23 by a white policeman while getting into a car that held his three children after trying to break up a domestic dispute, according to civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Blake family. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP) (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 0 ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1WR0NO.jpg
KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI, AFP via Getty Images

Contributing: Nick Penzenstadler, USA TODAY; Meg Jones and Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Hayes Gardner, Emma Austin, Lucas Aulbach, Louisville Courier Journal; The Associated Press

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Rasistar på «vitjing» i Bergen – Slike vil me ikkje ha her!

Brev skreve til den politiske leiinga i Bergen Kommune, byråkratane deira, og politiet, sundag 23.08.20.:

«Det var ei sælsam oppleving eg og mange opplevde på Festplassen laurdag. At det «svatna» for mange (mange veldig unge) ungdomar er jammen meg forståeleg etter den valdsamste nedsablinga av ein religion eg har høyrt på veldig lenge. Vald er eg i mot, også mot folk som Sian-leiaren. Men, å forventa at dette til slutt kom til å ga fredeleg føre seg, etter denne mest inhumane teikning av eit heilt samfunnslag i Noreg, er stor naivitet for å nemne det mildt. Som eg skreiv til dykk og som eg skreiv i innlegg på BT Meninger på nett fredag, så kunne kommunen og politiet løyst dette på ein heilt annan måte: Gove organisert tillating til LO i å halde ein demo (kanskje også demonstrasjon i gatene). Då kunne dette ha utspelt seg annleis. På Festplassen var det ingen leiing, ingen organisering, alle kom der som individuelle personar, også desse ungdomane som storma podiet. Kjære vene, kan de ikkje læra av dette til ei annan gong? Eg var der sjølv og såg at det ikkje er rett det innsatsleiar sa til BT: «..at politiet valgte en «passiv framgangsmåte» under demonstrasjonen». Dei møtte opp med hundar, tåregass og peparspray. Er det å velje ein «passiv framgangsmåte», kva? Etter at flesteparten av dei ungdomane som sprang over sperringane kom attende (nokon vart teken fast av politiet), fekk unge folk og mange av oss andre tåregass og peparspray rett i «trynet». Ingen av oss hadde gjort noko som helst gale. Slik oppførsel frå politiet går rett og slett ikkje an. Dette gorde stemninga endå meir kokande. Eg fekk sjølv smake tåregassen. Du Roger Valhammer seier til BT at «Sian fikk akkurat det de ønsker seg», det gjorde dei ikkje! Provokasjonar og bråk, ja det vil dei, men til og med dei vil truleg ikkje ha leiaren sin nedslegen og skadd. Nei Roger, diverre fekk kommunen og me borgarar det me ikkje ville ha: At ungdomane våre vart arrestert og spraya på, at politiet overreagerte og at ein organisert og leia demo ikkje vart noko av.»

Nedanfor finn de innlegget eg hadde på BT meiningar, fredag 21.08.20 (I innlegget står det 1,5 kilometer, det rette er 0,5 kilometer):

Sian må ikkje skjermast frå motstanden

Kva tyder fridomsomgrepet og ytringsfridomen for Bergen kommune?

Publisert

Ivar Jørdre er provosert over at motdemonstrasjonen mot Sian må finne stad 1,5 kilometer unna. Foto: Tor Høvik (arkiv)

Debattinnlegg

  • Ivar Jørdre

    Medlem i Tilgjengeutvalet i Handikapforbundet Sør-Vest og medlem i Rødt.

Som antirasistisk borgar i Bergen er eg, og mange med meg, djupt skuffa over at Bergen kommune og politiet saman har avslått organisert demonstrasjon og motstand mot Sian-markeringa på Festplassen laurdag 22. august.

Når Sian skal demonstrera på Festplassen, vert altså motdemonstrantane plasserte på Tårnplassen. 1,5 kilometer unna!

Slik har kommunen konkludert etter innspel frå politiet. Då forstår eg det slik at kommunen let seg meir påverke av politiet enn av ytringsfridomen.

«At vi har gitt motdemonstrantene et sted å stå på Tårnplass, er noe vi har gjort tidligere, med suksess», seier Tord Holgernes i Bymiljøetaten i Bergen kommune til Nettavisen.

Suksess for kven, må eg då spørje? For Sian eller kommunen? Ikkje ytringsfridomen i alle fall!

Ein ting eg opplever veldig typisk og samstundes tragisk, er at veldig ofte vert folk som demonstrerer mot eit syn som inneber eit diametralt anna samfunn, likestilte med rasistar som eit tryggleiksproblem. Kva for logikk er dette?

Kva for by vil me ha – den mangfaldige byen, som også er uttala i kommunen sin eigen visjon, eller ein by der mangfaldet vert mindre og rasistiske grupper får stå uimotsagde i byen sine offentlege rom?

Kva tyder fridomsomgrepet og ytringsfridomen for Bergen kommune? Det er vanskeleg å forstå at det vert teke vare på 1,5 kilometer unna dei som vil det totalitært motsette.

bt.no
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Mali – A Peoples Revolution or Not?

For weeks, Malians protested for change. Then a coup happened

Mali enters «phase of uncertainties» as regional bloc imposes blockade and coup leaders promise transition to elections.

by

For weeks, Malians protested for change. Then a coup happened
The mutinying soldiers who forced Keita out of office and detained several senior officials promised to oversee a transition to the election [John Kalapo/Getty]

It was around midnight, hours after his seizure at gunpoint by soldiers in Mali’s capital, when Ibrahim Boubacar Keita finally appeared on national television.

«I would like at this precise moment, while thanking the Malian people for their support throughout these long years and the warmth of their affection, to tell you of my decision to relinquish my duties,» the 75-year-old president said behind a mask worn amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Capping a dramatic day of confusion and turmoil, Keita said he had been left with no choice but to declare the dissolution of the government and parliament.

«If it pleased certain elements of our military to decide this should end with their intervention, do I really have a choice?» he said. «[I must] submit to it because I don’t want any bloodshed.»

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announcing his resignation on national television
Keita announcing his resignation on national television [ORTM/AFP]

In the early hours of Wednesday, it was time for the mutinying soldiers who had forced Keita out of office and detained several senior government officials to make an appearance on state television.

Dressed in military fatigues, the coup-makers – who called themselves the National Committee for the Salvation of the People – promised to oversee a transition to election within a «reasonable» period and restore stability in a country struggling to contain a series of urgent crises, including a worsening conflict with armed groups that has spilled into the wider Sahel region.

«We are not holding on to power, but we are holding on to the stability of the country,» Colonel-Major Ismael Wague said in his address to Malians. «This will allow us to organise, within an agreed reasonable timeframe, general elections to equip Mali with strong institutions, which are able to better manage our daily lives and restore confidence between the government and the governed.»

International condemnation of the military coup was swift. Even before Keita’s statement, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – a regional bloc that in recent weeks tried without success to mediate an escalating political impasse between the president and an opposition coalition staging mass rallies demanding his resignation – said it «utterly condemns» his «overthrowing».

In a statement, it announced a series of sanctions, including stopping trade and imposing land and air border closures. ECOWAS also said it was suspending Mali’s membership, a move followed by the African Union (AU) on Wednesday.

Amid demands for the release of the detained politicians, including by former colonial ruler France, the United Nations general-secretary, Antonio Guterres, also called «for the immediate restoration of constitutional order and rule of law in Mali».

Manu Lekunze, a lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, said both ECOWAS and the UN were selective in their condemnations and should have listened to the Malians who have been taking to the streets for weeks.

«Malians are not happy. The army is coming out to do what the protesters were demanding. The protesters were demanding for Keita to resign for a very long time. His removal is an opportunity for the country to take a new path,» Lekunze told Al Jazeera.

«France, ECOWAS, UN and the AU have come out and said, «we don’t want unconstitutional change» but you see unconstitutional activities going on across Africa. In Ivory Coast, you have a president seeking a third term and the UN is saying nothing about it. In Guinea-Conakry, not far from Mali, the president is seeking a third term. So, the constitutional argument is not really an argument,» he added.

Supporters of the Imam Mahmoud Dicko and other opposition political parties attend a mass protest demanding the resignation of Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in Bamako, Mali August 11, 2020.
Opposition supporters attend a mass protest in Bamako demanding the resignation of Keita [Rey Byhre/Reuters]

Tens of thousands of protesters, unhappy with rampant corruption, alleged election irregularities and worsening insecurity that has rendered large parts of Mali ungovernable, have rallied in Bamako since June calling for Keita’s departure.

Although anger over the country’s woes has been simmering for a while, the spark for the political crisis was a decision by the Constitutional Court in April to overturn the results of parliamentary polls for 31 seats, in a move that handed 10 more seats to Keita’s party.

The protests turned violent in July when a crackdown by security forces during three days of unrest killed at least 14 protesters and bystanders, according to rights groups.

Marie-Roger Biloa, an analyst at Africa International Media Group, said Keita’s removal by the army did not come as a surprise.

«The situation has been deteriorating for years in Mali and the country has been in an open crisis for weeks now,» Biloa told Al Jazeera.

«The situation was ripe for the military to take advantage of. The army is not happy because they are ill-equipped to fight the jihadists and they have lost many soldiers. There is also communal violence,» she said. «The situation was getting out of hand.»

Alleged coup attempt in Mali
Tuesday’s coup came amid opposition protests calling for Keita’s arrest that have rocked the crisis-torn country since June [Anadolu]

Keita came to power after winning a 2013 election held the following year after another military coup forced the then-government of Amadou Toumani Toure out of office.

«He was a unifying figure in a fractured country when he came to power. Keita was able to quell the discontent in the military,» William Lawrence, professor of political science at the American University in Washington, DC, told Al Jazeera.

The president was re-elected in 2018, but frustration grew amid a failure to lift living standards for most Malians and contain the conflict engulfing the country’s northern and central regions.

«There is severe political crisis that grew out of the botched March 2020 election; there is severe economic crisis complicated by COVID-19; and there is also severe security crisis which has led to the arrest of the one of the major opposition leaders held by terrorists in the north of the country,» Lawrence said, referring to the abduction of veteran politician Soumaila Cisse while campaigning in the volatile centre of the country days before the March 29 parliamentary election.

The overthrow of Keita «opens a phase of uncertainties», according to Boubacar Sangare, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) think-tank.

«The apparent support of the coup by a section of the population says a lot about how they perceive state institutions and the constitution. It also showcases the depth of disarray and decay in which those institutions find themselves,» Sangare told Al Jazeera.

Sahel countries such as Niger and Burkina Faso that have long suffered cross-border attacks are also watching closely the events unfolding in Bamako. Countries in West Africa fear the violence could further spread into the generally more stable coastal states if the unrest in Mali creates further instability.

«Neighbouring countries are particularly concerned about the consequences of instability in Mali in the context of upcoming elections … and a deepening and expanding instability,» Sangare added.

Follow Hamza Mohamed on Twitter: @Hamza_Africa

SOURCE: Al Jazeera News

more on Mali

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The Fascist President in Brazil Destroys the Rainforest

Amazon rainforest the size of Sao Paulo cleared in July in Brazil

See also:

Brazil: Amazon rainforest fires surge in July | News | DW | 02.08.2020

Outcry from environmentalists as Brazil fires official monitoring data

Amazon Deforestation Soars as Pandemic Hobbles Enforcement …

Amazon fires may be worse in 2020 as deforestation and land …

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Is a Revolution in Lebanon in Sight, Now?

For Lebanon, the only way out is either revolution or reform

Mon, Aug 10, 2020 – atlanticcouncil.org

MENASource by Nabeel Khoury

Lebanon Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

A demonstrator waves a Lebanese flag during a protest following Tuesday’s blast in Beirut, Lebanon August 10, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

According to the old Phoenician legend, Lebanon dies but repeatedly rises from the ashes. After historic fires, foreign invasions, and civil wars, this adage seems to ring true, especially for the Lebanese who have always thought of themselves as survivors. However, when you add the deep-seated corruption and criminal negligence—evidenced by the deadly and destructive explosion on August 4—to all the calamities, it is hard to see Lebanon rising again.

With hyper-inflation knocking at the door, electricity to residences rationed like never before, and the coronavirus already testing national hospital capacities, Lebanon’s economic crisis is unprecedented in its eighty years of existence as a modern state. One would have to go back prior to its 1943 independence—to World War I and the final days of the Ottoman Empire—to find a similar record of starvation and deprivation. A small country with a population of over 6 million, Lebanon hosts close to a million and a half Syrian refugees as well as approximately 300,000 Palestinians still classified as refugees by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Basic services, such as water, electricity, and sanitation have dwindled at an alarming rate, not to mention public education and public health. On top of all of these challenges, a financial crisis, precipitated by burgeoning international and domestic debt, has siphoned off the country’s hard currency. This has placed nearly two-thirds of the population in a situation where they have limited access to their bank accounts—many Lebanese, be it dual national or not, have US dollar accounts—and therefore must pay for food and other necessities with the much depreciated Lebanese Lira.

It has become clear, at least since the uprising that started in October 2019, that what the Lebanese are protesting is not a simple case of financial mismanagement, but a fundamentally flawed system that superimposes sectarianism, feudalism, and corruption on every decision made at every level of government. This system, dating back to the National Pact of 1943, has historically led to stalled government-formation, failed governments, and violent clashes—the most protracted of which was the fifteen-year civil war from 1975 to 1990.

The Pact was a grand compromise between Lebanese who wanted to be part of the greater Arab world and those who wanted to remain isolated from regional disputes, preferably under the wing of France, which ruled the country under a mandate until its independence. This demanded consensus on major decisions—whether domestic or foreign policy issues—in order to maintain a no-victor-no-vanquished formula and preserve Lebanese unity. The problems inherent in this system grew over the years instead of being gradually phased out. Practically every position in government had to be apportioned according to sect, which meant patronage to parties both religious and secular over job allocation, government-awarded contracts, and the importation of all goods and services. The corrupt allocation of this bounty worked—albeit at the expense of comprehensive economic development and the efficient provision of basic services to all citizens—as long as consensus prevailed over the division of the spoils of governance

Rampant corruption

The rebuilding of Beirut in 1990, largely the initiative of the late prime minister Rafik Hariri, had a stellar impact on the revival of downtown Beirut, which was devastated by fifteen years of bloody civil war. However, the rebuilding was and has remained controversial in Lebanon and many even blame the current crisis, at least in its fiscal dimensions, on the means used to revive downtown Beirut. The reconstruction projects, mostly undertaken via Solidaire (though it was open to small investors), was largely owned by the Hariris and wealthy investors from the Gulf. The Lebanese state obtained large domestic and international loans, causing public debt to balloon to $40 billion by the end of the decade—a figure that doubled by 2015. The reconstructed downtown Beirut became a protest battle zone when the garbage crisis erupted in 2015 (trash was not picked up for months because there was no consensus on who would assign the contract to which company).

Furthermore, the reconstruction did not extend far beyond Beirut city limits, drawing criticism that regional favoritism was being practiced. The controversy also set off fierce competition by various Lebanese factions for contracts and percentages of investments in foreign companies that were invited for other modernization projects. Solidaire essentially opened up new avenues for corruption to a country already burdened by it. Transparency International ranked Lebanon 137th out of 180 countries on a corruption matrix for 2019. The International Monetary Fund and the European Union are currently considering helping Lebanon out of its fiscal crisis and have stipulated serious reforms, especially with the aim of ending corruption.

There are two logical pathways out of the current chaos in Lebanon: revolution or reform. The first option requires strong leadership, organization and, even if a non-violent strategy is adopted, preparing for the risk of protracted violence. The second option requires an agreement by Lebanon’s powerful elite to start a new chapter, gradually developing the ability to conduct business without corruption. This could possibly occur on the basis of forgiving past transgressions—something that would require consensus around a truth and reconciliation approach to transitional justice.

The revolution option

The popular movement that started in October 2019 aspires to totally uproot the Lebanese system of governance. It is most often referred to as a hirak or “movement,” although their preferred slogan is thawra or “revolution”. Various groups quickly coalesced in what eventually came to be known as the Revolutionary Coordination Committee, eventually totaling over sixty groups. Nevertheless, the Revolutionary Coordination Committee’s spokespeople have been clear that they do not represent all those demonstrating or even all those who are members of the committee.

The protesting groups have been largely from professional or syndicate groups, such as retired military officers and teachers unions, regionally based groups, such as The Pulse of Nabatiyeh and Hirak Sour of Tyre, and civil society organizations. Only minor political parties have joined, like the regional branch of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) from Nabatiyeh and the Green Party. Their demands range from specific goals, such as the resignation of the Saad Hariri government and the formation of a non-political cabinet, to broader ones, such as “dealing with economic and fiscal pressures and rooting out corruption.” In the case of the latter goal, the Hirak demanded the recovery of stolen funds “from all those in authority since 1990.”

The revolutionary potential of the protestors remains minimal, due to the lack of unity around a single vision and the lack of specificity on overall strategy. So far, none of the major parties have committed to the cause and the sectarian-based parties, in particular, retain a large enough following to thwart any movement of consequence that threatens their power base.

Reform from above

The Taif Agreement, which ended the Lebanese civil war in 1989, included legislative, financial, and sectarian reform suggestions. The sectarian balance between Christians and Muslims in public office was changed from a 6:5 formula in favor of Christian representation to a more equal 6:6 formula. The powers of the presidency were shaved to become co-equal with those of the prime minister. In recognition of the negative impact of corruption, the agreement recommended the institution of an investment board to oversee large contracts awarded by the state. Ironically, the sectarian reforms were the only ones that were implemented without hesitation. What stood out in later years was the lack of movement on a second chamber of parliament, which was suggested in the agreement as a way of phasing out sectarian representation by relegating it to an upper house that included few actual powers.

It is essential to linger further on this point because it is obvious that sectarian representation not only stifles government when consensus is unavailable, but also lends the power of patronage to sectarian-based parties and, thus, solidifies their hold on power. A lower chamber with real powers unfettered by the need to equally represent the sects would open the way for forces truly vested in reform; i.e. secular political parties and independents representing civil society activists.

The protesters have repeatedly demanded the “repatriation of stolen money” and the punishment of those who have blatantly used their public office for private gain. The problem, as the activists well know, is that practically everybody in public office has been involved in the theft of public funds to varying degrees as early as 1990, but likely since the inception of the republic. Therefore, it is simply impossible to expect public officials to try one another. Nor could you even begin with one token official, since the “why me” cry would go out and that official’s sect would feel victimized.

Another option would be to let bygones be bygones, issuing a blanket amnesty for financial crimes of the past, after a truth and reconciliation commission conducts a thorough investigation to expose the crimes committed rather than the criminals. A fresh start would then be made via an independent investment board—preferably of international stature and composition—to oversee and actually award all state contracts. In order to satisfy international donors, the state could simply demonstrate their commitment to a clean start with one major infrastructure project. For example, this could be the rebuilding of the electric grid of Lebanon, which an international board could verify as fairly executed under the new system. Contracts for other major services would follow, starting with the proper collection and treatment of garbage.

If revolution requires leadership and unity behind a common strategy, reform from above also requires vision and strategy on the part of a leader or a leading party that must then convince other parties to support the measures needed to implement reform. To that end, pressure from the street is as instrumental as pressure from the international community. The would-be reformer must be convinced that holding on to power is conditional upon carrying out the needed reforms. The ingredients for this approach to Lebanese reform are there. However, it remains a cause that awaits the right champion.

Nabeel Khoury is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

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