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The Mike Brown Story: A Young Man Murdered, A Community Terrorized #NMOS14

15 Aug

 

Father of Mike Brown, 9 Aug 2014

Father of Mike Brown, 9 Aug 2014

On the afternoon of Saturday, August 9th, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown was murdered in cold blood by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The black community of Ferguson rallied in protest, and was met with a fully militarized police force with tanks, riot gear and sniper rifles using tear gas, stun grenades, and smoke bombs to disperse crowds, techniques taken directly from the military arsenal.

Most traditional media sources were silent about the shooting and the violent police response to the peaceful protests. Media outlets that did attempt to cover the story were threatened and tear-gassed, as was a state senator. Journalists and the St Louis Alderman were arrested without cause, and released without charge. Thus, people took to Twitter to provide coverage of the events.

The people’s outrage at these latest acts of terrorism by the state against its own citizens is palpable and justified. Black Americans are disproportionately harassed, intimidated, incarcerated, and murdered at the hands of the police in the United States. Yet when the people show collective anger in response, they are demonized and portrayed one-dimensionally as rioters and looters, which in turn is used to further reinforce racist narratives and justify the use of more force against them.

Vigils were held all over the US tonight to mourn Michael Brown and the many other recent black victims of racist police brutality, including Eric Garner, John Crawford, and Ezell Ford.  Thank you to Feminista Jones who began the #NMOS14 Twitter campaign that was used to organize the vigils, the journalists who shared their accounts of the events, the bloggers who put the Ferguson events in historical and social context, the countless members of the public who used social media to signal-boost coverage of the story as well as of the nationwide vigils, and to members of Anonymous who hacked the city of Ferguson website (and will likely do more than that before this is through).

We salute the residents of Ferguson and St. Louis who in these past few days have shown tremendous courage and stood up to the veritable army that is the St. Louis police force, and we share our outrage, sorrow, and solidarity with all those around the world who have been victimized by state and police violence.

UPDATE: ColorofChange.org is calling for the immediate prosecution and firing of all officers involved in the killing of Michael Brown. Sign the petition here.

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We would also like to commemorate today the 1-year anniversary of the Rabaa Massacre in Egypt, in which Egyptian forces committed a crime against humanity by murdering nearly 900 people in what may be one of the worst ever violations of international law. We remember those who were killed, while at the same time we condemn the colonialist and imperialist forces that through their tactic of divide-and-conquer created the foundation for civil unrest in Egypt and throughout the Middle East.

Demonstrate for Gaza

8 Aug

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Gather in London on Saturday if you can and demonstrate for Gaza!

Saturday 9 August 2014
Assemble 12 noon
BBC Broadcasting House
Portland Place
London
W1A 1AA

End the occupation!
No to settler colonialism,
No to apartheid!
Long live Palestine,
Long live Gaza!

Warwick University Students Occupy Council Chambers

14 Jun

We express our solidarity with students at Warwick University who have just released a statement confirming that they have occupied the Council Chamber in protest of the marketization of the public university. An excerpt from the statement is below; the statement can be read in full here. They can be contacted at PPUWarwick on Facebook or warwickagainstprivatization@gmail.com.

While fees climb to £9,000 a year, bursaries are either cancelled or transferred to ‘fee waivers’; meanwhile, in universities like Warwick, maintenance costs are driven up by the construction of ever-more expensive accommodation. The vast post-university debt (£43,500) now facing less privileged students whose families cannot afford to pay up-front makes university education seem both risky and undesirable for many. This process is changing the perception of higher education from a public good to a private investment, from a communal right to an individual privilege, accessible only by the few, as demonstrated by falling applications from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The widening gap in pay between senior managers and frontline staff, and the debt forced on students, means that the university now reproduces social inequalities rather than contesting them. This undermines the university’s democratic function as a space in which free thought, debate and critical inquiry is fostered in order to give people the tools to challenge social hierarchies and play an active role in the public sphere.

Our opposition to the rising salary of the Vice-Chancellor speaks to a deeper opposition to the continuing marketization and privatization of higher education. The problems at Warwick University are problems for the entire university system under market logic. The management of this university is failing to make the case for the protection and promotion of the public university, so we must do it. The government’s radical restructuring of higher education has crept up on us, and we must act now if we are to resist – before it’s too late.

***TEACH-IN UPDATE: Tuesday June 18th at 16:45 there will be a teach-in held outside Senate House at Warwick University to discuss the future of higher education. Speakers include 2 co-founders of the Campaign for the Public University. More details here.***

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International Women’s Day 2013 – Feminist Activist Vandana Shiva on Democracy Now!

8 Mar

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Vandana Shiva on International Women’s Day: “Capitalist Patriarchy Has Aggravated Violence Against Women” [Democracy Now!]

“The liberation of the earth, the liberation of women, the liberation of all humanity is the next step of freedom we need to work for, and it’s the next step of peace that we need to create.” – Vandana Shiva

Women We Admire – Arundhati Roy

4 Feb

Arundhati Roy

“I only write when I can’t not.” – Arundhati Roy

WHO SHE IS: Indian writer and political activist, best known for her 1997 Booker Prize-winning book, The God of Small Things.

WHAT SHE HAS ACCOMPLISHED: An outspoken critic of globalization, she promotes social justice, sustainability, feminist principles and the preservation of traditional ways of life. In the past decade, she has been increasingly critical of the Indian state’s policy towards Kashmir, nuclear weapons program, and the environmental destruction and corruption caused by domestic mega-corporations, government organizations and officials.

She works tirelessly to bring to light the issues facing poor and marginalized communities across India and wrought by globalization, such as the dams and mineral quarries that displace peasants and destroy the environment under the guise of progress and development.

She has lived with revolutionary armies fighting in the Indian jungle and written about her time there, calling attention to the circumstances they face. When asked why she supports their armed resistance and does not argue for a non-violent solution, she succinctly illustrates the lack of alternatives:

“If you’re an adivasi [tribal Indian] living in a forest village and 800 CRP [Central Reserve Police] come and surround your village and start burning it, what are you supposed to do? Are you supposed to go on hunger strike? Can the hungry go on a hunger strike? Non-violence is a piece of theatre. You need an audience. What can you do when you have no audience? People have the right to resist annihilation.”

WHY WE LOVE HER: She is the embodiment of speaking truth to power. She articulately and passionately speaks out against the structural conditions and entities that maintain systemic injustice in her homeland and beyond. She critiques the realities of so-called “democracies” that have been co-opted in support of neoliberal market ideology and globalization. Despite threats to her own safety, she exhibits a matter-of-fact courage in the face of attacks by those who wish to maintain the status quo. Aware that “anybody who says anything is in danger,” she presses on with her radical agenda. She does not ask to be celebrated and she will not back down.

She refused a deal to turn The God of Small Things, her incredibly moving and original novel, into a film because she wanted each reader to be able to maintain their own vision of the story. Although she earned a substantial amount of money from its worldwide publication (it was translated into 40 languages) and sale, she has given most of her money away to political causes. She says she “is not in sacrificial mode” and does not claim to be a saint, but that as a political person, she would rather not keep it, but instead “deploy” it appropriately.

Her person, her work and her fearlessness “ignites our political imagination.” An incredible writer and public speaker, she tours not only large metropolitan areas but across India, reaching out to those in country towns and small cities, speaking on a wide range of issues related to the misdeeds of the Indian state and the policies of marketized globalization. Although she continues to write essays and political articles and has recently published an essay collection entitled “Broken Republic,” she says doesn’t care if she ever finishes a second novel, as she never intended to be a novel factory. In fact, she says in some ways she wishes she could “do as little as possible,” but that she only writes “when she can’t not.” Considering the multitude of grave injustices she challenges with her writing, we are genuinely grateful that she answers the call.

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We do not own the photos above, nor do we intend any copyright infringement. Quotations taken from interviews with Ms. Roy by The Guardian. Links are below. We highly recommend these articles for further reading.

Arundhati Roy: ‘They are trying to keep me destabilised. Anybody who says anything is in danger’ [Stephen Moss, The Guardian]

Arundhati Roy: India’s bold and brilliant daughter [Ian Jack, The Guardian]

Arundhati Roy: ‘The people who created the crisis will not be the ones that come up with a solution’ [Arun Gupta, The Guardian]