got a nice blog? reach out! |

December 10, 2019


Ecosia’s gift guide for not shopping this Christmas

Ecosia’s gift guide for not shopping this Christmas

‘Tis the season to be shopping... but this year, the climate crisis weighs heavily on our minds. Global emissions from retail are set to double by 2050, but a counter-movement is emerging as events like Buy Nothing Day and White Monday become more popular.

A boom in zero-waste products has inspired a flurry of gift guides that suggest bamboo toothbrushes and reusable cups. While these items can reduce waste, they still bear resource and manufacturing costs for our overburdened planet.

Rather than buying new items, we can choose to stop shopping altogether or reuse existing products in a creative way through the circular economy. So, if you have decided to take the plunge and stop buying so much stuff, here are some gift ideas that don’t require shopping.

Memories, not things

Sometimes considered a cop-out, an “experience gift” can be thoughtful and good for the planet if done right. Explore your city or town by choosing a dinner, spa break or theatre. Or think outside the box and find a workshop, language class or walking tour. Staying local doesn’t just reduce travel emissions, it’s a great way to find appreciation for where you live.

Swap til you drop

Why not find something that you don’t want and give it away? The benefits are plenty; it’s free, zero waste and clears out clutter. Organize a swap party with friends and exchange unwanted items. The Ecosia team does this for our Christmas party each year, with unexpected and often entertaining results.

Do it yourself

Making your own gifts can seem daunting, but it could also be a chance to refine or try a new skill. Pick something you are good at or enjoy; it could be writing a poem, curating a Spotify playlist, knitting a scarf, making homemade truffles or infusing your own gin. Most importantly, have fun and be realistic with yourself about your time and resources.

Make do and lend

Borrow, don’t buy. Many communities have started their own grassroots borrowing sites, where everyday items are available for people as required. Examples include London’s Library of Things, where you can borrow a pasta maker or home speakers, or Oregon’s Sacramento Public Library, which stocks a projector and a ukulele. Many cities have one, so do some research and see if you can lend a friend a unique item.

Donate to a non-profit that supports a cause your loved one is passionate about; whether it’s a homeless charity or environmental conservation organization. Clothing brand Patagonia has launched a campaign that matches donations to grassroots activism groups. And if you’d like to help plant more trees, many of Ecosia’s tree-planting partners accept donations, too. Check out a list of them here.

And if you must shop…

Get it secondhand. From fashion to tech, there are many good options out there; look for thrift clothing on Depop and eBay, and try CEX for electronics that come with a warranty. You could also buy items that are made from scrap or recycled materials.  

Have an idea for a shopping-free gift? Let us know in the comments below!

by Trudie at December 10, 2019 08:58 AM


(en) Czech, AFED: Exarchia: a little different celebrated anniversary -- International Student Day in Greek [machine translation]

On Sunday, November 17, it was 46 years since the uprising at the Polytechnic University of Athens against the military junta regime and against "state and capital". This year's anniversary was marked by demonstrations in various cities in Greece and clashes of anarchists with the police. ---- The ruling clique was prepared for demonstrations in the capital by sending more than 5,000 cops to the streets, leaving garbage containers around Athens's Exrachia neighborhood to prevent the demonstrators from burning burning barricades. It also closed three metro stations and introduced a 'special regime' on the main avenues. The atmosphere was aggravated by the previous evacuation of the sqaars in Exarchy, especially those for refugees, and the placement of heavy-armored men at the University of Economics. Two large demonstrations took place in Athens on Sunday: one at noon and one in the evening. The exarchy was almost entirely occupied by robocopes and water cannons, and under the supervision of helicopters and drones. After the demonstrations, clashes occurred not only in Athens, but also in Thessaloniki and Patras. ...

by A-infos ( at December 10, 2019 08:51 AM

InterPressService (global south)

The World had an ‘Unprecedented’ Number of People in Humanitarian Need this Year

Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall on Mar. 14 and 15, destroying some 90 percent of Beria, the capital of Sofala province, Mozambique, according to reports. A majority of those affected are living in makeshift camps as they try to rebuild. A Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO) 2020 report claimed climate change, “unexpected spread of infectious disease” and regional conflicts were the main reasons pushing millions of people into spaces for humanitarian needs, and why the numbers of those in need was “unprecedented”.  Credit: Andre Catuera/IPS

By Samira Sadeque

The world had an unexpected number of people in crisis this year, which exceeded projected numbers the United Nations had expected, with climate change being one of the key crises that led to “needs to unprecedented levels” according to a new report. 

The observations were made in Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO) 2020, which was released last week by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). According to the report, at the time of the GHO 2019 launch, 93.6 million people were targeted for assistance, despite 131.7 million being in need. By November 2019, the 117.4 million were targeted as opposed to the 166.5 million in need.   

The report claimed climate change, “unexpected spread of infectious disease” and regional conflicts were the main reasons pushing millions of people into spaces for humanitarian needs, and why the numbers of those in need was “unprecedented”.  

“Climatic shocks, the unexpected spread of infectious disease, and the impact of protracted and often intensifying conflicts have combined to drive needs to unprecedented levels this year,” Zoe Paxton, with the Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, told IPS. 

“The current state of geopolitics means conflicts are becoming more protracted and intense. Combatants display growing disregard for international humanitarian law,” said Paxton, adding that a combination of issues affecting those caught in conflict situations: displacement, hunger, psychosocial trauma, and loss of their livelihoods, education facilities and health services. 

“That’s in addition to the direct impact of fighting, bombing and other violence affecting their physical safety and security,” she said. 

Perhaps one of the crucial ones remains the issue of climate change, with more frequent drought, floods, and tropical cyclones. Paxton says these concerns disproportionately affect already poor and vulnerable populations.

“Eleven of the 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change have appealed for humanitarian aid in each of the past seven years,” she told IPS. “We need to do better in prioritising climate change adaptation as part of humanitarian response.”

Paxton added that other factors that contribute to climate concerns are slow economic growth and debts of countries.  In 2019, she said, almost 60 million people in need of humanitarian assistance were from 12 of the 33 countries “in, or at risk of, debt distress,” she said. 

Mental health concerns 

One of the other pressing issues that appeared in the report is the mental health concern of those in need. The report says one in five people in conflict areas have some kind of a mental health condition. 

An increase in “highly violent conflicts” — from 36 last year to 41 this year — is leading to humanitarian concerns such as loss of livelihoods, sexual violence, hunger, while exacerbating mental health concerns.  According to a World Health Organisation report from June, of people who have lived in conflict for the past 10 years, about 11% are expected to have moderate or severe mental conditions. 

While mental health is mentioned in the report, it remains underreported or under-documented in some regions. For example, in Afghanistan, the report noted that “at least 11 percent of the population is estimated to have a physical disability, while an unknown number of people are suffering from mental health issues as a result of their constant exposure to conflict”.

Meanwhile, children are likely to bear the brunt of it the most. The report estimates that 24 million children currently living in some kind of conflict will experience some variation of a mental health condition which would require support. However, challenges remain in addressing this need. 

“Though there is increasing focus on mental health, the vast majority of survivors do not have access to care,” Dr. Mark van Ommeren, who authored an analysis of mental disorders in conflict settings, told IPS. “Whether or not support is made available is often dependent on the interest of individuals within donor agencies or individuals within agencies on the ground.”

In his foreword, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock acknowledged the importance of addressing mental trauma as an issue. “We increasingly understand the need to deal with mental trauma as well as people’s physical health,” he wrote. “We are getting ahead of more crises by taking anticipatory action.”

The post The World had an ‘Unprecedented’ Number of People in Humanitarian Need this Year appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Samira Sadeque at December 10, 2019 08:50 AM


Peasant seeds, the heart of the struggle for Food Sovereignty

The new edition of the Nyéléni Newsletter is now online

In 2018 the United Nations (UN) adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants, recognising at the highest level of international governance the strategic role played by the peasants of the world. (…) The Declaration highlights the role of peasant seeds in achieving Food Sovereignty, and in developing agrarian policies which favour peasant farmers.

(…) It is vital to guarantee the right of peoples to “Maintain, control, protect and develop their own seeds and traditional knowledge”.  (…) In this edition of the newsletter, we are inviting you to return to the debate on Peasant seeds, the heart of the struggle for Food Sovereignty, which guarantees full Peasant Rights. We are sharing a series of articles which seek to raise awareness and improve organisation for Peasant Seeds in all territories and providing information about how to join the “Adopt a Seed” action. You will also find testimonies of the actions of resistance people are engaged in to keep peasant seeds in the hands of those who feed populations in a fair and healthy way. 

Click here to download the English edition or read it directly on the website at ! For any further information, please contact Please circulate it to your contacts!

The post Peasant seeds, the heart of the struggle for Food Sovereignty appeared first on Via Campesina English.

by nyoni at December 10, 2019 08:31 AM

H2020 Courses & Funding Services

@Xavier_Dubois wrote:

Unable to view? Read it Online

** Please circulate this mail to your Researchers’, Research Administrators, Principal Investigators’, EU Grants & Funding Offices or any interested third parties**

                                [About EFMC](

                                [Our Services](
                                  [Trainings](                                     | [Our Team]( | [Contact](

                                                                H2020 Training Courses

EC Audit Seminar
A 1-day seminar on the legal and technical aspects of EU funding & EC audits in partnership with EFMC; the leading consultancy firm in EU grants and a Brussels based law firm.
Brussels: 15th January 2020

								[Register now!](

** H2020 Financial Management Training**

                              14-16 Jan 2020 - **[Amsterdam, the Netherlands](**

                              18-20 Feb 2020 - [**Rome, Italy**](

                              03-05 Mar 2020 - [**Amsterdam, the Netherlands**](

                              07-09 Apr 2020 - [**Tel Aviv, Israel**](

                              05-07 May 2020 - [ **Rome, Italy**](

                              19-21 May 2020 - [**Budapest, Hungary**](

                              16-18 Jun 2020 - [**Valletta, Malta**](

Read More

** H2020 Proposal Writing

                            29-30 Jan 2020 - [**Lisbon, Portugal**](

                              04-06 Feb 2020 - [**Vienna, Austria**](

                              10-12 Mar 2020 - [**Barcelona, Spain**](

                              24-26 Mar 2020 - [**Casablanca, Morocco**](

                              21-23 April 2020 - [**Brussels, Belgium**](

                              12-14 May 2020 - [**Amsterdam, the Netherlands**](

                              26-28/ May 2020 - [**Vienna, Austria**](

                              09-11 June 2020 - [**Valletta, Malta**](

                            *Our H2020 Proposal Writing training will now be a 3 day event which will now include guidance & information on how the new Horizon Europe programme is shaping up to look like plus a day dedicated to the management of the Funding & Tenders Portal (SEDIA)

Read More

Posts: 1

Participants: 1

Read full topic

by @Xavier_Dubois Xavier Dubois at December 10, 2019 07:25 AM


(en) freedom news: French anarchists on the strike for pensions

The following statement from France's anarchist CNT-AIT union analyses the nature of yesterday's general strike, which has brought out millions of people and affected everything from schools and transport to legal services and hospitals. ---- The battle for pensions begins. But this is not a simple union battle for the defence of social gains, let alone a corporatist conflict between certain sectors of "privileged" workers - it is a crucial battle for a choice of society, for a choice of life. ---- Retirement is not only the worker's right after a life of hard work, it is a time removed from work, its hierarchical constraints, its rhythms, the oppression of others, hardship. Unfortunately, access to this just reward, this inalienable right, seems impossible for workers in many countries of the world. Today in France, pensions are financed by capitalist wealth (sales of industrial production) created by labour (employee contributions and so-called "employer" contributions, a usurped name only representing part of the strength of the labour force's collective work). But recent technological developments - automation, robotisation, computerisation, etc - mean these riches are more and more produced by the "work" of the machines, minimising human activity. The latter becomes an inessential element to the reproduction of capital and therefore, the number ...

by A-infos ( at December 10, 2019 06:34 AM

(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire UCL - State of the fights n ° 1, Balance sheet and outlook for December 5 (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

It's a successful December 5, very promising, with massive demonstrations, including in small and medium cities. Sometimes with participations never reached since 2010 or 2003. the interior declares 800 000 protesters, the CGT 1.5 million. ---- We are clearly at the beginning of a major social movement and scale. Nothing is done yet, but we will do everything to make this month of December hot. ---- This state of struggle, produced by the UCL on the basis of feedback from its groups, will feed all and all the activists of the strike in information and analysis to share, discuss on the workplaces, in the GA, the meetings. He is public. Make it happen ! _________________________________________ A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E ...

by A-infos ( at December 10, 2019 06:34 AM

(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire AL #299 - Climate: What political posture to the theories of collapse ? (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

The previous issue of Alternative Libertaire gave some pointers on the theories of collapse that are flourishing right now. How to answer it? On the left, the temptation of denigration, even of denial, is strong. But is this the best way to deal with the subject? ---- Anti-capitalists have been saying for decades now that in a finite world the illusion of infinite growth will sooner or later lead to disaster. "Human activity is approaching limits sustainable by the ecosystem" Earth " , wrote Alternative libertarian in his manifesto of 1991. Very heavy threats weigh on the planet. There is a contradiction between the maintenance of a productivist capitalist economy and the survival of humanity." ---- Thirty years later, this radical statement has become perfectly commonplace. The accumulation of scientific reports on resource depletion, species extinction and global warming gives reason to anticapitalists, but paradoxically can also embarrass them. For if the idea that capitalism must be destroyed before it destroys the planet is easy to sustain, the urgency of the situation leads ...

by A-infos ( at December 10, 2019 06:30 AM

(en) [Spain] What happens in Catalonia? Anarchopurists Go Home...! By ANA (pt) [machine translation]

I just read in November's CGT magazine " Catalunya " two articles that fit nicely with the tone the newspaper has maintained since the "Government decided to call a referendum on independence in October 2017". ---- These articles commemorate the spectacular and vigorous response that was given on the streets to the condemnatory sentence of a part of the Government, the President of Parliament and the two main leaders of the two great Catalan nationalist organizations. ---- Both welcome the courage, the strength, the determination of this popular response to the Spanish state and the repressive forces that depend on it and the Generalitat. Not only is the anarchist presence justified in these mobilizations, but participation is celebrated, it is called to intensify it, and the supposed inhibition of anarchists enclosing themselves in "their ivory tower" is disqualified, who do not assume the contradictions of all struggles. and taking refuge in "anarchist purity": Anarchopurists Go Home conclude one of two texts with a certain residual flavor to Yankee Go Home of bygone times. ...

by A-infos ( at December 10, 2019 06:30 AM

(en) Greece, Announcement & Call of APO on March 6th in Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras [machine translation]

The flame of rebellion is always alive in the struggles against the beast of power, in the struggles for emancipation and the social revolution ---- Eleven years later ... on December 6, 2008, the day of the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos by the special guards E. Corconea and V. Saraliotis in Exarchia and the outbreak of the December social and class uprising. ---- Eleven years later... civil justice, through the release of the cop-murderer Corconea and the acquittal of Saraliotis's accomplice in the murder of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos, turns a blind eye to state repression by attempting to impunity of the repressive forces while at the same time the state sends clear messages on terrorism and disarmament of society. 11 years later... state repression and terrorism, the murderous repressive mechanisms of the state continue to be the spearhead of state policies for disciplining those who fight and subjugate the whole of society. From the dozens of labor-related murders to wage labor, anti-union laws, vicious assaults on struggling youth and university asylum to invasions and evacuations of self-organized and occupied places of life and struggles, endings - refugee and migrant concentration camps. ...

by A-infos ( at December 10, 2019 05:51 AM

(en) Canada, ucl-saguenay, Collectif Emma Goldman - [France]Lentillères Free District: Victory is just beginning (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

The free district of Les Lentillères was born from a demonstration fork in hand in 2010, in Dijon, after which hundreds of people cleared and cultivated abandoned quality land threatened by a real estate project. From there was born the Pot'Col'Le, an open and collective gardening dynamic based on the exchange of knowledge. The Jardin des Maraichères, managed in an unpaid way, allows to feed non-profit weekly markets at free price. At the crossroads of these two large parcels, dozens of small allotment gardens intermingle. In the middle of all this, busy farms, a dynamic of building cabins and maintenance of places open to all for the walk, for workshops of exchange of various and varied knowledge, concerts or atypical festivals . From all this is born a colorful district, Communiqué of the Lentillères ...

by A-infos ( at December 10, 2019 05:49 AM

(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire UCL - On the 5th, the 6th on the 7th and then after ! (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

On December 5, an inter-union CGT, Solidaires, FSU and FO called to strike to refuse the pension reform. In several sectors (transport, chemistry, energy, education, etc.), union federations propose the renewal of the strike the next day. ---- For 30 years, capitalists, with the help of governments and the state, have been cutting off social protection. This has created misery and precariousness for the workers. ---- Reform to break social protection ---- The pension reform promoted by the government, such as the unemployment insurance reform, is a new stage in the social breakdown. It undermines the basic principles of a pension system still functioning, despite the latest reforms, thanks to inter-generational solidarity and strengthens the logic of individualization, that is to say, everyone for himself. This project will break the few mechanisms for correcting the inequalities, insufficient, that exist in the current system. And the pension amounts, with a point system, will be at the mercy of the economic decisions of the next governments, and will inevitably fall significantly. ...

by A-infos ( at December 10, 2019 05:49 AM

Channel Zero

Episode 65: “The Revolt of the Guards”

This post was originally published on this site

In this week’s episode of Coffee with Comrades, we sit down with Jack and Brett to chat about veterans on the left. We talk about healthcare, horror stories, toxic masculine machismo, winning over allies, and the unique ways late-stage capitalism compels young folks to enter the armed forces. What’s more, Jack and Brett talk about the unfortunate ways certain segments of the left twist legitimate anti-war and anti-imperialist sentiment into hatred for veterans.


  • Intro: “I Ain’t Got No Home in this World” by Woody Guthrie
  • Interlude: “Hero of War” by Rise Against
  • Outro: “Panic Room” by Silent Planet



by Coffee with Comrades at December 10, 2019 05:00 AM


What Trump has done to the courts, explained

What Trump has done to the courts, explained
No president in recent memory has done more to change the judiciary than Donald Trump.
By Ian Millhise
Dec 9 2019

In less than three years as president, President Trump has done nearly as much to shape the courts as President Obama did in eight years.

Trump hasn’t simply given lots of lifetime appointments to lots of lawyers. He’s filled the bench with some of the smartest, and some of the most ideologically reliable, men and women to be found in the conservative movement. Long after Trump leaves office, these judges will shape American law — pushing it further and further to the right even if the voters soundly reject Trumpism in 2020.

Let’s start with some raw numbers. Both Obama and Trump appointed two justices to the Supreme Court but Trump’s impact on the highest Court far exceeds Obama’s, because Trump replaced the relatively moderate conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy with the hardline conservative Brett Kavanaugh (that was after appointing conservative Neil Gorsuch to fill Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat). Obama’s appointees — Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — largely maintained the balance of power on a conservative Court, while Trump has shoved that Court even further to the right.

On the courts of appeal, the final word in the overwhelming majority of federal cases, more than one-quarter of active judges are Trump appointees. In less than three years, Trump has named a total of 48 judges to these courts — compared to the 55 Obama appointed during his entire presidency. 

At this point in the Obama presidency, Obama had appointed only 24 court of appeals judges, meaning that Trump is appointing appellate judges twice as fast as Obama. At a similar point in their presidencies, President George W. Bush had filled only 30 seats on the federal appellate bench; President Clinton, 27; President George H.W. Bush, 31; and President Reagan, 23.

On the district courts, the lowest level of federal courts, Trump’s impact has been less significant. Obama appointed 268 federal trial judges in eight years, while Trump’s only appointed 112 so far. But district judges deal far more often with routine matters like individual criminal sentences and trial schedules, and far less often with the kind of blockbuster cases that shape thousands of lives. As Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in a candid moment while she was still a lower court judge, “the court of appeals is where policy is made.”

It’s tempting to assume that Trump’s judicial appointees share the goonish incompetence of the man who placed them on the bench, but this assumption could not be more wrong. His picks include leading academics, Supreme Court litigators, and already prominent judges who now enjoy even more power within the judiciary.

Before he became president, Trump promised to delegate the judicial selection process to the Federalist Society, a powerful group of conservative lawyers that counts at least four Supreme Court justices among its members. “We’re going to have great judges, conservative, all picked by the Federalist Society,” Trump told a radio show hosted by the right-wing site Breitbart while he was still a candidate. 

The Federalist Society spent decades preparing for this moment, and they’ve helped Trump identify many of the most talented conservative stalwarts in the entire legal profession to place on the bench.

There’s no completely objective way to measure legal ability, but a common metric used by legal employers to identify the most gifted lawyers is whether those lawyers secured a federal clerkship, including the most prestigious clerkships at the Supreme Court. Approximately 40 percent of Trump’s appellate nominees clerked for a Supreme Court justice, and about 80 percent clerked on a federal court of appeals. That compares to less than a quarter of Obama’s nominees who clerked on the Supreme Court, and less than half with a federal appellate clerkship.

In other words, based solely on objective legal credentials, the average Trump appointee has a far more impressive résumé than any past president’s nominees. 

And they’re young, too. “The average age of circuit judges appointed by President Trump is less than 50 years old,” the Trump White House bragged in early November, “a full 10 years younger than the average age of President Obama’s circuit nominees.”

Trump’s nominees will serve for years or even decades after being appointed. Even if Democrats crush the 2020 elections and win majorities in both houses of Congress, these judges will have broad authority to sabotage the new president’s agenda. 

There is simply no recent precedent for one president having such a transformative impact on the courts. 

How Trump’s judges will change America

In an age of legislative dysfunction, whoever controls the courts controls the country. In the past decade or so — or more precisely, since Republicans took over the House in 2011 — Congress has been barely functional. You can count on one hand — and possibly on just a few fingers — the major legislation it has enacted. 

Judges, by contrast, have become the most consequential policymakers in the nation. They have gutted America’s campaign finance law and dismantled much of the Voting Rights Act. They have allowed states to deny health coverage to millions of Americans. They’ve held that religion can be wielded as a sword to cut away the rights of others. They’ve drastically watered down the federal ban on sexual harassment. And that barely scratches the surface.

The judiciary is where policy is made in the United States. And that policy is likely to be made by Republican judges for the foreseeable future.

There are likely now five votes on the Supreme Court, for example, to effectively give the judiciary a veto power over all federal regulations. Similarly, the Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014) signals that religious conservatives may now ask the judiciary for an exemption from any law — and courts are likely to become quite generous in passing out such exemptions in the coming years. Republicans spent most of 2017 trying and failing to repeal Obamacare — but that failure means little to a federal appeals court that is expected to strike down the Affordable Care Act any day now.

And that’s not all. In the coming months, the courts are poised to gut abortion rights, eviscerate gun control, and neuter landmark environmental laws. Federal judges have already stripped workers of their ability to assert many of their rights against their employers, and this process is likely to accelerate in the near future. Many of our voting rights lay in tatters, thanks to conservative judicial appointments, and this process is likely to accelerate as well.

When Congress has been unable to function, the executive branch has relied on existing federal laws that delegate some policymaking authority to federal agencies, in order to deal with many of the nation’s pressing needs. But with the Supreme Court poised to give judges a veto power over these agencies’ actions, the courts could in effect strike down any regulation they dislike. In a Republican-controlled judiciary, this likely means that Republican administrations will retain broad discretionary authority, but Democratic administrations will be hobbled.

And here’s the thing: We probably will not fully understand just how much power Trump’s judges will wield until after Trump leaves office. Right now, the executive branch is ideologically aligned with Trump’s judges, so those judges are less likely to object to the Trump administration’s actions than more liberal jurists. But it’s a fairly safe bet that Trump’s judges would spend an Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden administration wreaking havoc on the new president’s agenda — and that any future Democratic president will face similar opposition.


by wa8dzp at December 10, 2019 03:57 AM

Summer in Smoke

via chuang

The following article was submitted to Chuang by Vitalist International. It is an account of events in Hong Kong over the summer and early fall of 2019, much of it from a firsthand perspective. We provided minor edits and designed the layout, but otherwise reproduce the piece here in more or less its original form. While the main thrust of the article is in agreement with our own views of events in Hong Kong, the piece is an intake and the opinions expressed here belong to its authors. At the bottom, we’ve included a gallery (provided by the authors) of 70+ posters, memes, graffiti and other graphics used in the movement.

Report from the World’s Biggest Black Block

für Sandra in liebendem Angedenken

by Vitalist International

It was only a matter of time before it happened. The protesters and the cops both knew it. On October 1st, a teenager was shot point-blank in the chest by police. The bullet missed his heart by approximately three centimeters.

Thousands of Hong Kongers gathered the next evening at a playground to fold paper cranes and wish the young protester a speedy recovery. They held banners saying “stop shooting our children!” and used the flashlights on their smartphones as torches to light up the night. In the center of the playground, a thousand origami cranes spelled out “Hong Kongers, Add oil!”, a Chinese expression which has come to define the movement, meaning roughly: don’t stop, keep going, add fuel to the fire. Within an hour, the protesters were setting up barricades in the streets and throwing molotovs at the nearest police headquarters.

The movement that began as a protest against a proposed extradition agreement with China has now entered its fourth month of unrest, with no end in sight. The bill — now withdrawn — would have granted the Chinese State unprecedented authority to extradite dissidents, criminals, and refugees to be processed in the shadowy court system of the mainland. Coming on the heels of 2012’s Moral and National Education Law and 2014’s Electoral Reform Bill,[i] this amendment was only the latest attempt at slowly dismantling the region’s tenuous political arrangement of “One Country, Two Systems.” With the movement rapidly evolving into widespread resistance against Chinese control, and the Hong Kong government declaring a State of Emergency, the situation has reached a political stalemate, with violence escalating on both sides.

In what follows we lay out a brief timeline of the movement’s defining moments, why tensions are so high in the Pearl River Delta, and what tactical and strategic lessons protesters elsewhere can take from this. We will not evaluate the movement based on its ideology, but instead describe how it has provided the basic arsenal and grammar for the future of struggles against the techno-authoritarian surveillance systems to come.

The first major protest against the extradition bill, 9 June 2019. [Thomas Peter, Reuters]


The first major demonstration against the proposed Extradition Law Amendment Bill took place on June 9, with more than a million people taking the streets. On June 15, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that the bill had been “suspended,” a move widely perceived as a political ruse, buying time for Hong Kong’s Legislative Council to pass the bill quietly at a later date.

A few hours after the announcement, a young man in a bright yellow rain jacket, his face concealed under a surgical mask and sunglasses, climbed the bamboo scaffolding of a famous shopping mall in the city’s central business district. A few days earlier, a peaceful demonstration at the mall was characterized by Lam as a riot. When the man unfurled banners from the rooftop demanding the government retract its designation of protesters as rioters and release those arrested, it became clear the movement was turning into something much bigger than a demand to withdraw the bill.

Thousands live streamed the stand-off, as police negotiators and members of parliament tried to persuade the man to step down. He kept his back to the cameras, displaying the message painted on his jacket: “Carrie Lam is killing Hong Kong.” After a grueling five hours, the man jumped from the seven story building, intentionally missing the inflatable cushion firefighters had set below. His anonymity allowed everyone to see themselves reflected in his anguish. Marco Leung Ling-Kit, the man in the yellow rain jacket, became the first martyr of the protests. The movement was now no longer about the bill, but about Hong Kong’s absent future. Millions took the streets the next day to fight and grieve, adopting black as their uniform-in-mourning. Headlines tallied the number of protesters that day: “Two Million Plus One.”

With Marco Leung’s final testament as a baseline, the movement consolidated around five core demands: 1) the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill, 2) the retraction of the legal classification of protests as “riots”, 3) the immediate release of all arrestees, 4) an independent investigation into the Hong Kong Police Force, and 5) universal suffrage.

Protestors storm the Legislative Council, July 1st, 2019. [Sam Tsang, SCMP]

Three more suicides, on June 29th, June 30th, and July 3rd were punctuated by the spectacular storming of the Legislative Council on July 1st. Faced with a leaderless, diffuse struggle across every corner of the city, the police grew desperate. By mid-July they were tear gassing train stations, pepper-spraying and clubbing anyone wearing black, and indiscriminately arresting both children and the elderly. When neighborhoods began resembling police occupations, residents started coming down from their apartments to heckle the police, calling them “terrorists” and “criminals.” Some began sharing on Telegram the gate codes to their apartments to provide shelter to youth fleeing the police. On July 21, a hundred suspected triads, wearing masks and wielding lead pipes, attacked protesters at a Metro station on the outskirts of the city. Protesters were trapped in the station after the City canceled all trains leaving the demonstration. Police, for the first time, were nowhere to be found. The government was collaborating with the gangs to suppress the movement.

A general strike took place on August 5th, with seven different assemblies rallying across the city. Police stations were surrounded by demonstrators every night, and protests began regularly escalating into dangerous clashes with gangsters. Two days in a row, on August 12 and 13, Hong Kong’s only airport was shut down after a young medic lost her eye to a police bean bag. August was punctuated by three more days of mass action: a peaceful demonstration on August 18th, with 1.7 million people in the streets, and the formation on August 23rd of a two hundred thousand person human chain stretching from the city to the mountains, modeled after protests in the Baltic Countries precipitating the fall of the Soviet Union. Clashes culminated on August 31, only to be overshadowed that night by a horrifying incident of police violence on a halted train in Prince Edward Station. Three protesters have since disappeared and are widely believed to have been killed by police.


Hong Kong has been an international free market haven since its occupation by the British in 1842. Under the Qing dynasty in the 18th century, most of China’s foreign trade was limited to a small port system in the upper Pearl River Delta. This arrangement, known as the Canton System, confined foreign merchants to the riverbanks outside city walls and forbade them access to the interior. Trade was subject to a litany of regulations, and much of Britain’s imperial motivations for Hong Kong lay in bypassing these laws so that the Empire could gain easy access to goods such as tea, silk, and porcelain. To balance their resulting trade deficit, Britain began importing massive quantities of opium from India into Chinese markets, and after two Opium Wars, Hong Kong was formally ceded to the British. By 1864 it was the leading center for finance on the South China Sea.

Over the years people flocked to Hong Kong not only in pursuit of economic opportunity, but also to escape the floods, famines, and wars that characterized the collapse of the Qing Dynasty. Under British occupation, merchants were no longer subject to the same confinement under the Canton system and could conduct trade without the interference of Chinese law. The already vibrant commercial hub was then given yet another influx of capital when many of the wealthiest capitalists fled the revolution on the mainland, settling in the city. These factors contributed to making Hong Kong a strange oasis, home to a blend of merchants, financiers, and proletarian families, but also to refugees, criminals, and rebels fleeing persecution by Chinese authorities.

Hong Kong remained a model port city up through the 20th century, becoming an indispensable trade hub for Mainland exports as China began opening its industries to international markets in the late 1970’s. Given its history as a hyper-capitalist grayzone, Hong Kong is unsurprisingly one of the world’s most unequal cities in terms of wealth. It also has one of the world’s most overvalued real estate markets, leaving those at the bottom—and young people in particular—with few options for social mobility, and a sense of foreboding about the future.

After the 1997 British handover of Hong Kong to China, these problems have been compacted by a slew of legislation which aims to gradually incorporate Hong Kong under mainland rule before the official 2047 deadline, when the “One Country, Two Systems” policy will legally expire. It is this foreclosure of the future that has animated Hong Kong’s summer of discontent.

August 31st. Somehow everyone knew that today will be big. Maybe it was the triad attacks early in the morning, or the arrests of movement celebrities the day before. In any case, the government revoked the permit for the march at the last minute. To circumvent this, a church took up organizing the march, since the government can’t legally ban religious gatherings. All the MTR stations near the meeting point are shut down, so we take a ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Islandthis was before they started raiding the ferries. We exchange knowing glances with another group of conspicuous youth at the other end of the boat. We arrive late, a little after 2 PM. It’s raining, and the crowd had already started to march. Tens of thousands of umbrellas deftly maneuver over, under, and around each other beneath the gunmetal skies. Along the route we encounter riot cops guarding police stations, but the march i just getting started, and now is not the time. The procession really did feel religious: silent and somber, everyone wearing black, occasionally breaking out into lamentful hymn whenever we passed by police, with the words “sing hallelujah” chanted in multiple languages until they all ran together into a single, ominous melody.

When the march officially ends we check Telegram to find the next meetup point and make our way to a large shopping district. We sit on the curb with our friends, watching an endless stream of protesters spill through the street in front of us. People gear up slowly, adjusting each other’s helmets and gas masks. The crowd swells over the course of an hour, we watch as thousands of people transform from a religious congregation into the largest black bloc we’ve ever seen. The mood is tense with anticipation.

The “democracy” the movement advocates is best understood as an umbrella term for civil liberties including freedom of speech and freedom of the press, as well as other reforms won during the 1967 anti-British riots. The fear of having these freedoms revoked motivates a large portion of youth, many of whom have spent their entire lives watching the Communist Party’s authoritarian grasp slowly envelope their home. The movement’s ecstatic, creative power could be considered the production of the participants’ non-identity with the Communist Party’s omnipotent model of governance, a dazzling display of what people can do in defiance of mass surveillance and state terrorism.

It is no accident that the most intense clashes with police are not taking place on Hong Kong Island—the Manhattan of Hong Kong—but across the water in the proletarian districts of Kowloon. Mong Kok, site of the Fishball Riots in 2016, “the intersection of triad activities, prostitution, cheap eats, and hawkers,”[i] resembles a nightly war zone as flash mobs play cat-and-mouse with frantic police squadrons for weeks on end. Local teenagers in balaclavas and Yeezys build barricades shoulder to shoulder with Pakistani migrant workers as police fire tear gas indiscriminately, poisoning the thousands of residents living in cramped high-rises above. It would be naive to assume that there are no people in the movement who have set their sights on creating a new ethno-nationalist identity, but the fact that the movement’s partisans have made defending these neighborhoods a central strategy demonstrates that the “Hong Kong Way” could offer belonging to all who participate in the movement.

Tear gas canisters scattered on Nathan Road, Mong Kok. [Sam Tsang, SCMP]

Teenagers and migrants are not the only ones fighting for Hong Kong: the movement is thawing many formerly unbridgeable social divides. In response to Chinese state propaganda pitting the undisciplined youth against the more “rational” adults, brigades of elders formed in mid-July to show their sympathy for the struggle. These formations of the “Silver Haired”—some in their 70s and 80s— don yellow vests and stand in front of charging riot police, attempting to delay their advance and buying time for the young frontline protesters to escape. A #MeToo rally on August 28th brought over a hundred thousand women into the streets to protest widespread reports of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of the police. There was even a demonstration honoring wildlife and pets who have suffered from prolonged exposure to tear gas.

The march makes its way from the shopping district towards the Chinese military’s Hong Kong headquarters. The mood switches from ominous to electrified. Everyone is in full gear. A friend runs to catch a tag on a giant bridge and a dozen strangers with umbrellas swarm around them, shielding them from surveillance. As we near the headquarters, a few protesters climb up a building and start tearing down a billboard advertising the Chinese government’s upcoming 70th anniversary. The crowd cheers as the symbols of domination are torn down and tossed to the streets below. We arrive in front of the barracks via a highway overpass, with even more protesters filling the streets below us. We know viscerally what is about to happen, and everyone is ready. Below, the police have set up water barricades and are readying their weapons. A few cops look out from the rooftops high above. The cops raise the orange flag, indicating that they’re about to start shooting. Volley after volley of tear gas canisters bounce across the bridge, each one calmly neutralized by one of several teams armed simply with traffic cones and water. Frontliners to the left of the building advance slowly in staggered formation behind a shield wall of repurposed traffic signs, and the police start shooting at them. To the right of the building, other frontliners take advantage of the distraction and rush in, throwing rocks at the police and molotovs at the building itself. Behind us, logistics teams are lining the guard rail with supplies of freshly refilled water bottles and broken bricks. We find ourselves in rows and rows of faces crouched behind masks, umbrellas and yellow helmets.

August 31 2019 from Bureau Spectacular on Vimeo.

The movement’s insistence on having “no divisions, no denunciations, and no betrayals” was formulated on July 1st, when people stormed the Legislative Council. That day, a debate ensued between some who were in favor of occupying the building, as was done in Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement, and those who argued that there was no need to fill its vacant halls waiting for arrest. Moments before the Raptors—elite units of riot police—arrived, some protesters ran back into the LegCo to physically carry away those who remained, saving them from the inevitable beatings and arrests. From this point on, “we come together, we leave together” became a core value.

The movement is united behind five seemingly impossible demands, standing firm against relentless police repression. The government’s refusal to negotiate has preserved the practical unity of the movement and staved off any moment where splits could emerge. This unity is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it has created strong bonds between frontline fighters and peaceful protesters, referred to respectively as the movement’s “hands and feet.” On the other, the movement risks adopting a romantic view of unity that obscures the very real divisions nascent within the movement offering different conceptions of what it could mean to truly “Liberate Hong Kong.”

A recent graphic protesting the deportation of migrant domestic worker, Yuli. The Chinese characters on the sign read: “Immigration Department and the Police are Equally Corrupt” and the text on the bottom: “Domestic workers are comrades too”


We can look to how the movement is organized to determine its ethical consistency, and look to its targets to get a sense of its strategic intelligence and limitations.


The worst nightmare of many Hong Kongers is the apartheid system in China’s Xinjiang region, where the native Muslim population is subject to constant surveillance. Government checkpoints are set up throughout the region to hold people in place through face scans and assessments of the on-line activities of Uighurs and other Muslim groups. These checkpoints are supported by a biodata collection program that forced the population of the region to submit DNA, fingerprints, blood samples, voice signatures and iris scans and, in some cases, face prints at local police stations. Government-mandated GPS units are installed on cars and people are required to carry smart phones so that their movement can be tracked. Surveillance systems are used to monitor children’s behavior in school where they are told they must identify as “Chinese before anything else.” Devout Muslims are disappeared into “re-education camps” where they are told that if they renounce their past religious practice, learn Chinese and embrace state ideology they have a better chance of being released.

The militarized surveillance and mass incarceration system being implemented in Xinjiang has been developed jointly with major Western companies, justified in the language of a “War on Terror.” This includes the participation of players such as Erik Prince, brother of US Secretary of Education Betsy Davos and founder of the notorious private army, Blackwater. Prince’s company has since been wrapped into the Frontier Services Group, based in Hong Kong and funded by the mainland CITIC conglomerate, a major state-owned enterprise. Rather than simply rebranding Blackwater’s mercenary market, Frontier Services instead emphasizes total logistics and supply chain management, and recently signed a large contract for a training base in Xinjiang. The group thereby represents the Chinese joint-venture expansion of the global military-surveillance complex, working to funnel Chinese capital into natural resources in Africa via private equity investments, and securing the interests of Chinese capital across Asia via the establishment of militarized logistics bases in Xinjiang and Yunnan.

In this context, local Chinese companies have been able to build on the global expansion of surveillance and incarceration to develop a series of advances in facial recognition, population tracking and, of course, internet censorship. These technologies are now the basis for major export contracts, as Chinese firms train foreign companies in poor countries dealing with the strain of rapid growth to implement similar technologies—in Uganda, where the state is moving to curtail in the internet, in Zimbabwe, where Chinese surveillance technology is being incorporated into new urban development, and in Pakistan, where the Chinese military has a number of bilateral training and coordination agreements. Among the protestors, the involvement of Hong Kong capitalists in the same projects remains unmentioned, but the fear of having the most extreme of these surveillance systems applied to the city became more and more salient as arrest numbers began to climb.

Unable to see or hear much, let alone communicate verbally amidst the tear gas, we primarily synchronize our actions. This chaos is not determined by disorder, but by its speed; symbiosis and mindfulness create order. Suddenly, a water cannon emerges from the road behind the military headquarters and begins spraying straight into the air. A momentary confusion takes over the crowdnobody expected that the water would be laced with ultraviolet blue dye. We get word that a band of riot cops is advancing from behind us, and despite totally outnumbering the police, we decide to move on. We escape down a side street. Feeling secure in numbers, we parade at a leisurely pace, removing our gear for a second: everyone is exhausted. We walk past someone who hands us sausage egg mcmuffins from McDonalds. By the time we regroup outside the police headquarters, kids have built an enormous barricade with an entire construction site’s worth of looted materials. After about an hour of baiting the police with sporadic projectiles, the cops charge and the barricade magically becomes a wall of fire. The march disperses, and thousands of zoomers in motorcycle armor are running in every direction. It’s already 10 pm, but the night is far from over.


We will now identify a few of the essential tools used by the protesters to outmaneuver these advanced forms of control.

The frontlines are organized anonymously. People pay cash for SIM cards to register temporary phone numbers on encrypted messaging apps like Telegram, where individuals sign up for tasks like building barricades or disabling traffic lights. In contrast to black blocs in America, where affinity groups are based around trusted friendship networks, nobody on the frontlines in Hong Kong knows each other outside the protests. This ensures a degree of security: if someone is caught, they will be unable to inform against other protesters, who they only ever meet behind masks and screen names. Labor is specialized, and tasks are voluntarily coordinated via Telegram groups containing thousands of people. Some groups organize to bear colored flags, so that people in the back of the demonstration can know what’s happening on the frontlines, while other groups are “smoke extinguishers,” tasked with using steamed fish plates and water jugs to contain and neutralize tear gas. Those who can’t risk being in the frontlines run communications networks from home, synthesizing information from people on the ground and disseminating it to tens of thousands of people via live mapping websites. Online forums such as LIHKG provide a platform for long-format discussion and voting on the strategic direction of the movement.

When the frontline protesters use “fire magic” (slang for throwing molotovs or burning barricades), “light mages” use laser pointers to keep the cops from advancing, giving crucial distance for the protest to breathe. Shined directly at the lens, a blue laser will permanently disable police cameras. On nights after big demonstrations, people flood online message boards with stories about how they “dreamed” of using “magic” while “shopping.” Metaphor and euphemism allow participants to discuss tactics openly while retaining a degree of opacity. Umbrellas and sunglasses, disposable rain ponchos, cheap surgical masks, traffic cones, a surplus of mass produced electronic goods: these are simply the objects at hand, the basic components of life in Hong Kong. Like the ubiquitous yellow safety vests in rural France, protesters have turned their everyday surroundings into an arsenal.

During a demonstration on August 24th, protesters used a portable angle grinder to fell a surveillance tower. In a form of proletarian research, they dismantled the tower, and quickly examined the parts inside. After confirming that the towers were constructed using the same components as the surveillance systems in Xinjiang, more than twenty towers were attacked that day. That evening, we asked an older comrade what he thought about the action: “This was the smartest thing people could have done. The government said they were not going to be used for facial recognition. The only way to verify that is to tear the thing down.” The next day, the company that supplied the parts for the towers announced it was canceling its contract to install an additional 350 of the same “smart lamp posts” throughout the city.

An hour later, a flash mob pops up in a major shopping district of Kowloon and quickly begins barricading the narrow streets. We get word of the action and make our way as fast as we can. The police have the same idea. As we walk, we are overtaken by a caravan of approximately fifty riot vans making their way through traffic on the two-lane road. By the time the ‘dogs’ (slang for police) arrive, the flash mob has dispersed, headed elsewhere to do exactly the same thing. The dogs exit their vans, in full riot gear and armed to the teeth, but there are no “protesters” to be seen. The composition of the crowd has changed dramatically, and the cops are fucked. There are fewer youth in masks, and residents from the area are pouring out into the streets to see what’s happening. They heckle the cops: “What are you even doing here? There’s no demonstration!” The cops awkwardly dismantle the barricades at a turtle pace, hindered by the angry mob of residents. After about an hour, the police climb back in their vans and leave. We split as well, taking the long route home to avoid the trains and catch some more tags. By the time we arrive in Mong Kok, an almost identical situation has played out. The police are again surrounded by thousands of angry citizens, cursing at them in colorful Cantonese. We see a contingent of Raptors rush out of the police station and into Prince Edward Stationonly later did we find out why.

August 31 2019 from Bureau Spectacular on Vimeo.

A second example of this type of targeted sabotage is the widespread destruction of the Metro stations. The Metro (Mass Transit Railway, MTR) is vital to the protesters’ “be water” strategy, which requires demonstrators to have access to quick transportation to move spontaneously from one district to another, decentralizing and regrouping. By August 25th, the MTR began cancelling all stops at the stations where the demonstrations were scheduled to happen, forcing people to walk long distances, and stranding people in unsafe areas. A sentiment developed that the state was using public infrastructure against them. Posts online described the MTR as part of CCP’s “national pacifying machine.” Memes and propaganda videos emerged encouraging people to “Join the Fare Dodging Movement.” This is a major shift from the earlier practice of ordered civility, where sympathetic people would leave coins for protesters to buy tickets anonymously.

This distrust of the MTR was confirmed on August 31st, when the MTR halted all trains and allowed police to enter the closed Prince Edward station, where they savagely beat both protesters and civilians. The following day, 32 stations, one third of the total in Hong Kong, were vandalized: CCTV cameras and turnstiles were dismantled, stations were flooded with fire hoses, and ticket machines were smashed by teams of “engineers” (movement slang for skilled saboteurs). Soon the police would begin raiding all forms of public transportation, checking IDs and searching backpacks on busses and ferries. In response to the danger of using public transportation, “School Bus” groups emerged on Telegram where thousands coordinated to pick up protesters safely by car.

A poster advertising “saam baa” (“three strikes”, advocating the closure of businesses, mass boycotting, and strikes by workers) in protest of the MTR’s collaboration with the police.


Now that the extradition bill is in the process of being withdrawn, the demands for police accountability have taken center stage. This is now one of the largest movements against police brutality that has ever existed. But this also represents a limit: the movement is stuck in a reactive cycle of provoking the police and responding with indignation at police violence. Revolts stuck in this type of revenge cycle are “fated, over and above the consciousness of the rebels, not so much to vanquish the demonic adversary as to counter it with heroic victims.”[ii] The popular slogan taken from Hunger Games “if we burn, you burn with us” is a perfect demonstration of this policy of mutually assured destruction. Demonstrations are regularly pitched as responses to specific triad or police attacks. The unfortunate consequence of this cycle is that the movement appears stuck in an endgame scenario, waiting to see who can hold out longer, or—tragically—who will shoot first. Only opportunist revolutions can occur within the framework of forming a new government to “restore law and order.” There is no “just” democratic society that Hong Kongers can call upon to save them. To truly end this cycle of violence would mean abolishing the police force itself, and by proxy, capitalism. For a western audience it is worth elaborating the “be water” strategy, which developed in response to the failures of the Umbrella Movement. With its permanent occupations, pacifist discourse, and political leaders, the lessons from this movement created a culture where tactics that do not work are quickly abandoned. The strategy is simple: disrupt and desert. People are still organizing long term in their neighborhoods or coordinating the maintenance and defense of Lennon Walls (message boards spread throughout the city) for example, but the emphasis is on spontaneity, unpredictability, and adaptation.

One of many anti-police graphics distributed in the movement.

We’ve talked about ‘Flash Mobbing the Doghouse’ from August 5 until today, but when the fuck have we actually flash mobbed? Every time it becomes a standoff, waiting for the dogs to surround us, does everybody understand that we’ve already fucked the dogs over the moment they put on shields and gear. Once we lure the dogs out, we should know to scatter immediately, they have to hold the road for 3-4 hours before they can reenter the doghouse, and then have to de-gear, write reports, that’s what’s fucking meant by fucking over dogs: mental torture! Once it becomes a standoff, once someone gets arrested, they will bring him into the doghouse to work off their anger; fucking over dogs is about keeping them pent-up without release[…] Being without organization or leadership is our greatest strength. All we need is to ‘genuinely Be Water’, not be impulsive, scatter immediately once the dogs gear up, that is the highest level of fucking over dogs.

Lure them into attack, then leave them behind. This is the simple physics used to block the economy and tie up police resources.

It’s late by now, and we’ve been in the streets all day. We go home to take a breather and crack open a beer. When we enter the apartment: a group of older comrades has gathered inside to watch the events of the night on livestream; they cheer loudly as we enter. As the momentum heats back up, we decide to hit the streets again. This time, we don’t have to go far. We walk about one block when we see a group of youth running in our direction. We advance cautiously in the direction they were running away from, confident that we pass as innocent tourists. We go up a little bit further and the situation is tense: a first aider is being arrested, and the dogs are brandishing their batons against a small crowd. When the Raptors charge in, the small crowd chaotically breaks off down multiple dangerous streets. As we run, a comrade pulls us off the street and into an apartment stairwell. We run ten stories up and exit onto the rooftop. Here we can relax and enjoy an aerial view of the revolution unfolding all around us. From this perspective, we can see that every road leading into the neighborhood has been blocked. Cars are honking incessantly, and many people have left their cars in the middle of the street to join the crowds. From the ledge of the rooftop we shine lasers at the cops below and laugh when they look to find its source. The mood is ecstatic and fearless, it is the hour of revolt, and everyone can taste it. The cops are forced to retreat behind giant shields into their doghouse by 4 am. At a press conference two days later, police superintendent Yu Hoi-Kwan says that “some protestors were pretending to be civilians.” She later admitted, however, that “it was difficult for police to differentiate between reporters, civilians, and protestors.” That night the police barricaded themselves inside, and we controlled the streets.

Another poster produced by the protestors, the bottom text reads: “The entire world connected, opposing totalitarianism”


The movement in Hong Kong shows us something very essential about the future of revolution: not everyone will be there for the same reasons. We will find ourselves in Unholy Alliance. Movements like this, which challenge the traditional categories of left and right, will continue to happen as the present organization of the world collapses. We need to develop partisan procedures for engaging with these movements and cultivating discursive, technical, and infrastructural leadership. If we’re not engaged from the beginning, we run a very real risk of ceding the popular impulse to reactionaries.

We are undergoing a long-term transition into an era of disruptive technology and shifting geopolitical arrangements, compacted by a climate emergency which promises to alter the way we live our lives forever. Whatever comes next will be much, much different than the revolutions leftists nostalgize. We are still in the beginning of this shift. The age of anarchy is far from over; it has always been here, sequestered beneath a thousand failed nation-states, those vacant constituencies of aging industrial behemoths, or techno-feudalist warlords dreaming of blasting off into space. In the face of this we understand that everything really is up for grabs.

The techniques used in the protests in Hong Kong must surpass the need to fight against the police and be used to build a different way of living entirely. There can never be a revolution “inside” Hong Kong, only out of it. China controls its resources. This is the ultimate contradiction of the struggle in Hong Kong: the revolution can only be completed with the help of people in the mainland. The movement’s inward focus is its biggest weakness, which “prevents them from looking across the border to find their natural allies in the rioting migrant laborers of the Pearl River Delta.”[iii] We need to be able to see our situations nonlocally. Communists fighting against democracies in the West should be able to identify with pro-democracy activists fighting “Communism” in the East, recognizing each other as partisans of the same struggle. Places at the edge of the former Socialist Bloc, like Hong Kong, or Ukraine before it, are especially important for international partisans to engage with. Movements that unfold in these contexts are susceptible to nationalist impulses as a means of counter-identifying with totalitarianism. Revolutionaries fighting against borders and nation states must find ways of identifying with these struggles to prevent opportunistic right wing forces from establishing even more repressive regimes.

As with the Arab Spring, leftists may dismiss the movement in Hong Kong as merely a struggle for “democracy.” But movements will not always fit neatly into established discourses. As friends wrote at the beginning of the Yellow Vest movement, “whoever satisfies themselves with their political ideology is condemned to perish. This is the terrible lesson of the twenty-first century.”[iv] Nineteenth and twentieth century ideologies will instruct but not determine the content or the form of the emerging disarray. From the margins of proletarian life, new hypotheses will emerge for resolving the impasses of the present, and in most places they will be rolled out in unrecognizable costumes and empty slogans. If we are always looking for what we expect, evaluating these movements based on preconceived ideological criteria, we will never be privy to their most unique and singular advancements. We will miss that which is entirely new and unbelievably complex, born of singular circumstances.



Hong Kongers: you are so brave, and we stand with you in your fight for liberation. But we come bearing a message of caution. The American government – the ‘democracy’ it supposedly represents – is as bankrupt as the CCP. In our country, you will find no justice, as so many of us discovered during Occupy Wall Street, in Black Lives Matter, and on the plains of Standing Rock. We too are gathering our forces. Like you, we have risen against an absent future, been tear gassed in the shopping malls we grew up in, been tortured and humiliated in police dungeons. We too have tasted victory, if only for an instant. We have built barricades and freed our friends, set fires and made history. We admire your determination and your relentlessness, your capacity to care for one another so thoroughly. Your courage gives us hope and momentum, clarity and confirmation. The scale of your movement, its technical ingenuity and its creative joy will continue to amaze us for years to come, and we will share its secret tactics to revolutionaries here. You have shown what is possible when millions of people collaborate amidst emergency, defeat and catastrophe to fight for their lives against all odds.

We stand at your side against all police and all governments, whether capitalist or socialist, fascist or democratic. From Chile to West Papua, from Sudan to Hong Kong, from Puerto Rico to Okinawa, in Kurdistan and Chiapas: the people have chosen. Hong Kongers, your fight is not over yet, this will not be your last battle. There is no way to regain the Empire’s grace that would restore Hong Kong to glory. Western democracies are collapsing, and America has certainly never been ‘great.’ Let’s keep our sights set forward and steer our hearts past the truths we believed in yesterday.

As for all of us, it seems our revolutionary imagination is trapped in an anachronistic framework which, ironically, doesn’t go back far enough. As the sea rises in the Pearl River Delta, your struggles, like all others, will become ecological struggles, fighting for access to food, shelter, medicine and water. We will not struggle to win negotiations with governments but rather to fashion collective forms of living that are not catastrophic, and which offer us a vision of the good life: We must fight and we must win. Youth of Hong Kong, you’ve taken us to the furthestmost place, and we look to you in the struggles to come.

And if you burn, we burn with you.

Written 7-14 September with updates on 3 October

In memory of the martyrs of the movement.

Mr. Leung Tsun Kit (35 years old) – June 15th, 2019

Ms. Lou Yan (21 years old) – June 29th, 2019

Zhita Wu (29 years old) – June 30th, 2019

Mrs. Mak (28 years old) – July 3rd, 2019

Mr. Mui (32 years old) – July 5th, 2019

Mr. Fan (26 years old) – July 22nd, 2019

Mr. Kwok (25 years old) – August 27th, 2019

Mr Gei (16 years old) – September 2nd, 2019

Chan Yin-Lam (15 years old) – September 19, 2019

Chow Tsz-Lok (22 years old) – November 8, 2019

And all those unnamed


[i]The Moral and National Education Law saw the reformatting of Hong Kong’s school curriculum to emphasize national unity and the mainland political system, while disparaging Hong Kong’s tradition of liberal democracy. The Electoral Reform began the process of restructuring the Hong Kong political system. While many hoped that it might open the door to “universal suffrage” (i.e. full general elections with no seats appointed by the mainland and no process of mainland approval of candidates), in fact the reform process only saw Beijing harden its control over the upper echelons of Hong Kong politics. Both were important precursors leading up to the 2014 Umbrella Movement.

[i]Lo Mei Wa, “Letter to a Future Daughter on the Occasion of the “Fishball Revolution”, Guernica, 29 February 2016. <>

[ii] “The Symbology of Revolt” Furio Jesi. Seagull books, 2014

[iii] “Black Versus Yellow,” Ultra, Oct 3, 2014. <>

[iv] “Paris / November 30, 2018,” Liaisons, 20 February 2019. <>

by thecollective at December 10, 2019 02:51 AM

December 09, 2019


Spain: Chilean anarchist Rodrigo Lanza Sentenced to five years in prison

Spain: Chilean anarchist Rodrigo Lanza Sentenced to five years in prison
Chilean anarchist Rodrigo Lanza was sentenced to five years in prison in Spain on November 26. He was accused of homicide in the death of a fascist in 2017. The following is a statement on Rodrigo’s sentencing, orginially published in Spanish on the anarchist website Todo Por Hacer. Exactly two years ago, at dawn on […]


by InNero at December 09, 2019 09:59 PM

Anathema (A Philadelphia Anarchist Periodical): Volume 5 Issue 7

Anathema (A Philadelphia Anarchist Periodical): Volume 5 Issue 7
Volume 5 Issue 7 (PDF for reading 8.5×11) Volume 5 Issue 7 (PDF for printing 11×17) In this issue: Global Insurrection Pink Wave What Went Down Ring And The New Policing Lasers!!! During The Quiet Sean Bonney Poem (Confessions 2) Interview: 10 Years After The UC Occupations Response to “Property Destruction Is Not Enough” Pinkerton Bomb Scares […]


by InNero at December 09, 2019 09:24 PM

Athens Greece: Info about the solidarity march with the insurgents of Chile

Αθήνα: Ενημέρωση για την πορεία αλληλεγγύης στους εξερμένους της Χιλής
On Thursday 28/11/19, a solidarity march with the Chilean rebels took place in the centre of Athens. About 350+ comrades participated in this protest shouting slogans against repression, squat evictions and for solidarity with the insurgents of Chile. The presence of the cops was particularly provocative and vulgar especially when the march passed in front […]


by InNero at December 09, 2019 08:56 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Social Summit Demands Stronger Commitments in Climate Talks

One of the continuous protests staged at the Social Summit for Climate Action, meeting Dec. 7-13 parallel to the official 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) on climate change. The Summit, hosted by the Complutense University of Madrid, is tackling issues such as the controversial trading of carbon credits, human rights in the climate struggle and opposition to the growing production of hydrocarbons. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

One of the continuous protests staged at the Social Summit for Climate Action, meeting Dec. 7-13 parallel to the official 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) on climate change. The Summit, hosted by the Complutense University of Madrid, is tackling issues such as the controversial trading of carbon credits, human rights in the climate struggle and opposition to the growing production of hydrocarbons. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

By Emilio Godoy
MADRID, Dec 9 2019 (IPS)

As the COP25 deliberations enter the decisive final week, representatives of environmental and social organisations gathered in a parallel summit are pressing the governments to adopt stronger commitments in the face of a worsening climate emergency.

In the debates in the week-long Social Summit for Climate Action, which began Dec. 7 parallel to the Dec. 2-13 United Nations 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) on climate change taking place in Madrid, skepticism has been expressed with respect to the results to come out of the official meeting.

“Nothing good is going to come out of it for Central America, only proposals that are going to make it more vulnerable. The damage is going to become more serious,” Carolina Amaya, representative of the Salvadoran Ecological Unit, told IPS, pointing out that the region is one of the most exposed to the climate crisis, facing persistent droughts, intense storms, rising sea levels and climate migrants.

The social summit is taking place at the public Complutense University, in the west of the Spanish capital, about 15 km from the IFEMA fairgrounds which are hosting COP25 after Chile pulled out on Oct. 30 from holding the event due to massive anti-government protests and social unrest.

The alternative activities, which also end on Friday Dec. 13, include a varied menu of issues, such as free trade and its socioenvironmental impacts, oil drilling in indigenous territories, the protection of forests, and opposition to trading reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which cause global warming.

They are also discussing the monetisation of environmental services, increased funding for the most vulnerable nations, climate justice and attacks against land rights activists.

The Madrid Social Summit is also holding sessions in Santiago de Chile, under the same slogan, “Beyond COP25: People for Climate”, although there are fewer representatives of organised civil society than at previous COPs because of the last minute change of venue.

Civil society groups are also organising activities at their green pavilion within the official COP25 compound of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where their participation is more formal and ceremonious.

The demands of civil society gained visibility thanks to the mass demonstration held in Madrid on Friday Dec. 6, with the participation of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, the reluctant star of the official conference and social summit.

COP25 is the third consecutive COP held in Europe, this time under the motto “Time to act”.

The deliberations, which enter the crucial phase of the adoption of agreements Tuesday Dec. 10, are focusing on financing national climate policies, rules for emission reduction markets, and the preparation of the update of emissions reductions and funding of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage, designed to assist regions particularly affected by climate change.

COP25 is the climate summit that directly precedes the 2020 entrance into effect of the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, adopted in the French capital in 2015, which left key areas to be hashed out at the current conference, such as the controversial emissions market.

In their statement to the COP, the organisations criticise the economic model based on the extraction of natural resources and mass consumption, blaming it for the climate crisis, and complaining about the lack of results in the UNFCCC meetings.

“The scientific diagnosis is clear regarding the seriousness and urgency of the moment. Economic growth happens at the expense of the most vulnerable people,” says the statement, which defends climate justice “as the backbone of the social fights of our time” and “the broadest umbrella that exists to protect all the diversity of struggles for another possible world.”

At the social summit, the first “Latin American Climate Manifesto was presented on Monday Dec. 9, which lashes out at carbon credit trading, the role of corporations in climate change and the increase in production of hydrocarbons, while expressing support for the growth of agroecology, the defence of human rights and the demand for climate justice.

In addition, indigenous peoples are holding their own meeting, the “indigenous Minga“, with the message “Traditional knowledge at the service of humanity in the face of climate change.” They are demanding respect for their rights, participation in the negotiations and recognition of their role as guardians of ecosystems such as forests.

“We are here to raise our voices and offer our contribution to fight” against the climate emergency, Jozileia Kaingang, a chief of the Kaingang people and a representative of the non-governmental Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, told IPS.

Brazilian indigenous groups are in conflict with the government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro because of its attempts to undermine their rights and encourage the commercial exploitation of their territories. In fact, the Brazilian government delegation does not include a single indigenous member – unprecedented in the recent history of the COPs.

Faced with this dispute and the critical situation of the Amazon jungle, Brazil’s indigenous people have sent representatives to Madrid to speak out and seek solidarity.

The murder of two leaders of the Guajajara people in northeastern Brazil on Saturday Dec. 7 shook the indigenous delegation. Two murders had already occurred in that native community in the last two months.

In 2017, the States Parties to the UNFCCC adopted at COP23 the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform for the exchange of experiences and best practices, thereby ensuring the participation of these groups in the negotiations of the convention.

The Platform’s facilitative working group, composed of delegates from seven States Parties and seven indigenous peoples, is currently developing its plan for the period 2020-2021.

Martín Vilela, a representative of the Bolivian Platform for Climate Change umbrella group of local organisations, questioned the effectiveness of the climate summits.

“The agreements are only paper. Emissions continue to rise and countries’ voluntary targets are insufficient. The countries have to be more ambitious if they really want to avoid major disasters,” he told IPS.

Social organizations fear that the Paris Agreement, when it replaces the Kyoto Protocol next year, will be stillborn, because countries are failing to keep their promises, even though scientists are warning that the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is insufficient.

The Agreement sets mandatory emission reduction targets for industrialised countries and voluntary targets for developing countries in the South.

“The countries need to know that we’re monitoring them. We, the organisations, must prepare ourselves to demand better action,” said Amaya from El Salvador.

For her part, Brazil’s Kaingang argued that the climate struggle would only be effective if it includes indigenous peoples.

COP26 will be hosted by Glasgow, Scotland in November 2020, after pre-conference meetings in Germany and Italy.

This article was supported by the COP25 Latin American Journalistic Coverage Programme.

The post Social Summit Demands Stronger Commitments in Climate Talks appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Emilio Godoy at December 09, 2019 07:48 PM


When Being a Red Meant Risking Your Life

This year marks a century since the First Red Scare, which decimated the ranks of the US left. One of the worst episodes was the Centralia incident — where a reactionary mob tortured and killed a group of IWW members to drive them out of the Washington town.

alt The burial of Wesley Everest, with armed National Guard unit. Wikipedia

“To be a red in the summer of 1919 was worse than being a Hun in the summer of 1917,” wrote John Dos Passos in 1919, his novel of the war years. The nation was war-weary as the year began, still reeling from the deadly influenza — the “Spanish flu.” It yearned and deserved “normalcy,” politicians argued — a return to the familiar, to a rural America, to a country of farms, small towns, and the leafy prosperity of the new suburbs. It wanted to leave behind the battlefields and bloody revolutions of the old world.

Yet the Armistice celebrations — enormous and near universal in the United States — had hardly stilled when that “normal” was erased and new disputes emerged, exposing deep fissures that presaged an extraordinary year to come. On November 11, 1918, clothing workers in New York began a general strike, demanding a forty-four-hour workweek and wage increases. They were joined on picket lines by returning soldiers and sailors. Scarcely a month had passed, and far across the continent, shipyard workers in Seattle voted to strike, rejecting the wage offers of wartime government regulators.

And strike they did, clearing the way for the Seattle General Strike, the first and only one of its kind in the United States, challenging not just managerial authority but civil as well. For a full week in February, committees of ordinary workers saw to it that the sick were cared for, that the garbage was collected, that babies got their milk, and that there was order on the streets.

Seattle was just the beginning. Workers’ moods had shifted steadily to the left. They were moved by the new radicalism of the times, not just in the United States but internationally. New solidarities had been constructed, ethnic isolation had diminished, and appetites had enlarged. Conflicts spilled out of the workplace and into working-class neighborhoods. At the same time, the mainstream American Federation of Labor was confronted as increasing numbers of workers came to reject its traditions and practice — conservatism, collaboration with employers and the state, and strict insistence on the sanctity of contracts and the authority of trade union leaders.

All this came to a head in 1919, a year like none other. Some3,630 strikes were recorded, involving 4.6 million workers. In the wake of the Seattle walkout, four harbor-wide longshoremen’s strikes broke out in New York, the last tying up shipping for six weeks. The year ended with national walkouts of coal miners and steel workers, the latter one of the largest US strikes ever: 375,000. The Open Shop Review, an organ of the employers’ associations, insisted it was an attempt by foreigners, “Bolsheviks and anarchists,” to destroy the government. In Pittsburgh, representatives of the Interchurch World Movement investigating the steel strike indeed found “the Slavic workers were radical and impatient with the conservative pleas of their leaders,” though they were neither Wobblies nor anarchists. The national coal strike was settled in November, but conflict continued in southern coalfields, culminating in insurrection in the armed march of 10,000 miners into Logan County, West Virginia — the “Battle of Blair Mountain.”

This was not what employers wanted, not what they had fought for, even as, for the most part, they were still winning. There were cracks in American society in 1919 — perhaps even large enough to be expected — but this was a chasm, and a living affront in the boardrooms and residential districts of the Babbitts of the land.

Employers were intent on rolling back wartime concessions to workers — above all, wherever they had won the eight-hour day and the union shop. Countless employers’ associations were reborn or rebounded, and myriad employment plans were produced, all of which came under the umbrella of the “American Plan.” The American Plan revived the “open shop” strategies of the 1910s, based on the idea that strikes were illegal and trade unions were “un-American.” In 1919, this was revised: now it was the reds. The “Red Scare” and the Palmer Raids would follow — along with the infamous Centralia incident.

The Wobblies

Dos Passos was quite right to point out the lumbermen and their war with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, or Wobblies). The Wobblies, always a minority within the labor movement, were in many ways the heart and soul of that movement. They believed that when the day came, “control of industry would pass from the capitalists to the masses and the capitalists will vanish from the face of the earth.” The workers would then possess the machinery of production and distribution, enabling them to create “a new society without poverty, police, jails, armies, churches . . . blessed with freedom and abundance.”

But they were trade unionists as well. They championed industrial unions, direct action, the strike; they savaged “business unionism” and the racism of the AFL unions. They organized Mexican copper miners in Arizona and black Louisiana timber workers; their leadership included Ben Fletcher, the black Philadelphia longshoreman, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, the Irish firebrand, and Frank Little, the western organizer who self-identified as American Indian.

The Wobblies gave as good as they got. Their victory in the Spokane free speech fight helped make the Pacific Northwest a stronghold, with Seattle as base camp. They fought on dozens of fronts, leading many of the biggest strikes of the period despite numbering about 200,000. One of their greatest victories came in the 1917 strike in timber — some 50,000 loggers and mill workers struck for and won the eight-hour day.

But they always paid a price. Frank Little was lynched in Butte, Montana. The socialist Helen Keller, writing for the Liberator, reported: “In Washington State . . . ‘IWW’ members have been arrested without warrants, thrown into ‘bull-pens’ without access to attorney, denied bail and trial by jury, and some of them shot.” In 1917, local authorities placed Spokane under martial law, and the lumber owners insisted on more of the same, above all from the federal government. They demanded that the IWW be outlawed. “Syndicalism” (a form of workplace radicalism, it was what the employers called militant trade unionism) was criminalized. Wobblies were beaten in the streets, their halls were smashed, and their publications were banned. The federal Bureau of Immigration joined in to arrest and deport “IWW aliens” who were deemed “undesirable” or “pro-German in their activity.” The roundup quickly filled the Bureau’s own detention centers, forcing it to scatter prisoners throughout the county jails of western Washington.

The lumbermen had been humiliated in the great timber strike that year. In 1919, they got their revenge, with the help of the federal government. On the morning of September 5, US attorney general Thomas Watt Gregory ordered federal action against the IWW. John Reed, the radical journalist just back from Moscow, described what was at stake.

One Big Union—that is their crime. That is why the IWW is on trial. In the end, just such an ideal shall sap and crumble down capitalist society. If there were a way to kill these men, capitalist society would clearly do it; as it killed Frank Little, for example — and before him, Joe Hill . . . So, the outcry of the jackal press, “German agents! Treason!” — that the IWW may be lynched on a grand scale.

Coast to coast, federal agents raided IWW offices and homes, seizing tons of material. The national offices of the IWW in Chicago were raided, its records seized. Not mincing words, Gregory explained, “Our purpose being, as I understand it, is very largely to put the IWW out of business.” The Justice Department organized a Chicago grand jury that proceeded to indict 166 Wobblies, accusing them of “interfering with congressional acts and presidential proclamations, conducting strikes which constituted criminal conspiracy, influencing members to refuse to register or to desert the armed forces, causing insubordination with the armed forces and lastly conspiring to defraud employers.”

Roger Baldwin, a founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU),  later explained that the IWW “wrote a chapter in the history of American liberties like that of the struggle of the Quakers for freedom to meet and worship, of the militant suffragettes to carry their propaganda to the seats of government, and of the Abolitionists to be heard.” He insisted that in no case did the IWW resort to violence, but the “violence used against them was colossal.” He estimated that ten Wobblies were killed and two thousand jailed in the free speech fights alone.

Even before the raids, more than one hundred IWW leaders had been convicted and sent to the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. Eugene Debs, the symbol of American socialism, had been incarcerated in the Atlanta penitentiary, found guilty of opposing war. Thousands had been jailed, others deported. The IWW was, in practice, extinct. The strikers of 1919 would fight on, but without their best-known leaders, with no center and the odds overwhelmingly against them. Industrial unions, the hallmark of the IWW — unions for the unskilled, for immigrants, for blacks and Mexicans — were stillborn.

But this was not enough. Dos Passos:

On Memorial Day, 1918, the boys of the American Legion in Centralia led by a group from the Chamber of Commerce wrecked the I.W.W. hall, beat up everybody they found in it, jailed some and piled the rest in a truck and dumped them over the county line, burned the papers and pamphlets and auctioned off the fittings for the Red Cross.

The Centralia Incident

Centralia, Washington was a mill town of seven thousand that sat on the mainline rails from Portland to Seattle. As with so many other towns in southwest Washington, Centralia was a backwater, but one with its own reactionary, small-town elite and an active branch of the American Legion. A small group of individual IWW members had nonetheless held on; they refused to work the twelve-hour day and encouraged others to do the same. Many were youngsters, some veterans, men of “uncommon courage,” thought Harvey O’Connor, their contemporary, then a writer in Seattle.

The Centralia Wobblies were determined to reopen their hall and had found space among the flophouses and shacks in an out-of-the-way section of town. They soon learned of a not-so-secret cabal led by the lumbermen and the American Legion to use the Armistice Day parade as cover to raid the hall. It was typical of their utter decentralization and local autonomy that apparently it did not occur to any of the Wobblies to get in touch with the western headquarters in Seattle on a matter that was to prove important to the entire IWW movement. Their only question was whether they had a right to defend their hall; they were advised that they did. More to the point, they believed it would be cowardly to run. So they armed themselves and made plans to defend the hall. Several would be stationed inside, others (some armed) would assemble across the street on Seminary Hill. “Prudent men,” remembered O’Connor, “would not have done this, but prudence was not a Wobbly trait. Rather their shining glory stood out in audacity, courage, and stubbornness in defense of their rights, and for that they are remembered in history.”

On a dreary, drizzly November afternoon, the patriots’ march set off from the town center, led by the American Legion, all in fine regalia. The Legionnaires passed the IWW hall, held back, then reversed, returning to the hall, where they joined the town’s postmaster and a minister, each dangling a noose in his hands. Shouts came from the mob: “Come on boys! Let’s get them!” The marchers paused, then dashed toward the hall and rushed the door, pushing their way in. They were met with gunfire, first from inside the hall, then from the hill across the road. Four Legionnaires were killed and several more wounded.

In a fury, the Legionnaires swarmed the hall, overcame the IWWs, and dragged them out — all except Wesley Everest, an ex-serviceman, a sharpshooter. Everest escaped, killing two of the invaders on his way, but was chased by the mob, some firing. They caught him as he attempted to ford the nearby Skookumchuck River. They knocked his teeth out, then dragged him through the streets to jail with a belt around his neck.

That night, the town lights went out. A group of men forced their way into the jail and wrested Everest from his cell. They threw him into the back of a car and castrated him there. “For Christ’s sake, men,” Everest appealed, “shoot me, don’t let me suffer this way.” At the bridge, he was dragged out and hanged, but he still was not dead. He was then hanged again until dead. The killers amused themselves by shooting at the swaying body. In the morning, they retrieved the body and displayed it in front of the prisoners to terrorize them.

Another contemporary, Walker Smith, wrote:

A grisly kind of perverted humor marked the coroner’s report of Everest’s death. Everest had broken out of jail, the coroner said, and taken a rope with him to the bridge. There he tied the knot around his neck, jumped off, but failing to kill himself, climbed back up and jumped off a second time; still alive he climbed back up, shot himself in the neck and jumped off the bridge again; woke up at seven in the morning, cut the rope, fell in the river and was drowned.

Centralia was overwhelmed with angry, “patriotic” mobs, demanding vengeance. Those imprisoned were tortured. The authorities scoured the surrounding hills, looking for anyone who might have escaped. Across the state, more than a thousand were arrested; the plan was to use the criminal syndicalism statutes to try them all at once. The hysteria spread, and calls rang out: “exterminate the IWW”; “forget due process.” Senator Miles Poindexter and representative Albert Johnson, both of Washington state, were received with wild applause when they asked Congress how much longer the government would wait before crushing “‘this miserable human vermin which seeks to destroy civilization.” Johnson demanded all-out war on “these damnable traitors and curs.” The shots that killed the heroes of Centralia had, he said, “been aimed at the heart of the nation.”

Trial and Legacy

In the wake of the Centralia massacre, the governor of Nebraska declared it a crime to be a member of the IWW. On November 15, in a violent police raid on the IWW headquarters in New York — authorized by the Lusk Committee (a federal panel formed in 1919 to investigate seditious activity) — Wobblies were bludgeoned and hurled into the street, their premises wrecked. In Seattle, the labor council’s widely read Union Record bravely defended the Centralia prisoners. In retaliation, on November 13, the Justice Department raided the paper, seizing the plant and arresting its editorial staff, all on sedition charges. Barrels of documents were carted off to the Federal Building. The hearing judge ordered the paper and its equipment returned, though back in print the post office refused to deliver it. Still, Seattle was not Centralia.

The trial of the Centralia Wobblies was held in the Grays Harbor County town of Montesano, where the courthouse was surrounded by infantrymen from nearby Camp Lewis. Fifty Legionnaires assembled each morning to occupy the courtroom’s benches. George Vanderveer, the Seattle lawyer who won the Everett case but lost in Chicago, made the defense in vain. Three of his witnesses were arrested for perjury immediately upon stepping down from the stand. On April 5, 1920, the jury found seven of the nine defendants guilty of second-degree murder, though none were found to have fired the shots that killed the invaders.

Eleven Wobblies had been charged with murder. Two were acquitted, one was found not guilty by reason of insanity, two were found guilty of third-degree murder, and the other five were convicted of second-degree murder. While the jury recommended leniency, the judge refused to accept this verdict since Washington state law did not recognize a charge of third-degree murder. After a few more hours of deliberation, the jury changed its verdict for those two prisoners. Those convicted were sentenced to prison terms of twenty-five to forty years, a sentence that shocked both the jury and the prisoners. The seven convicted IWW members appealed their lengthy sentences to the state Supreme Court, which unanimously affirmed Wilson’s judgment in April 1921.Six of the jurors would later testify under oath that they had been terrorized into finding the verdict of guilty.

“The Centralia incident,” the historian Melvyn Dubofsky later wrote, “was of little intrinsic importance to the IWW. It affected no strike, involved no important leaders, destroyed no affiliate. And brought about no real change in IWW attitudes or policies.” What it did do was reveal the lengths to which public authorities and private citizens would go to destroy the organization. In the days just after Centralia, prominent Washington state lumberman T. Jerome wrote to an associate: “Ordinarily I do not believe in mob law but the action taken by the citizens of Centralia in hanging the leader of the ‘Reds’ [Everest] was the only right and proper thing. . . . I sincerely trust that . . . the people of the state will take such action as will result in the wiping out of the entire Red gang.”

The Centralia Wobblies had their supporters, and they joined the long list of “class-war prisoners” still held in the ’20s. The “lynchers,” so called, were identified but never charged. It was not until the new decade and the new normalcy of the ’30s that the prisoners were released, though with little fanfare.

In 1930, one of the prisoners died in jail, and another was let out. In 1931, three prisoners were paroled. 1933, the newly elected Democratic governor commuted or pardoned the sentences of three of the prisoners. The last prisoner, Ray Becker, continued to maintain his innocence and refused to be paroled. In 1939, his sentence was commuted to time served.

by Cal Winslow at December 09, 2019 06:54 PM

The Speech

Literature is about the deep stories that we tell ourselves, about the paradigms by which we structure our understanding of the world we live in.  These deep stories are the framework by which we tell ourselves why we do what we do.

Agriculture is one of those deep stories that we live within,  It is a story that we make and a set of practices and a way of life. 

by Michelle Galimba at December 09, 2019 06:53 PM

Peak Oil Review: 9 December 2019

Oil prices rose on Friday, closing at $59.08 in N.Y. and $64.31 in London, up about 7 percent for the week. The surge came as a meeting of OPEC and its allies agreed to deepen output cuts by 500,000 b/d in early 2020.

by Tom Whipple at December 09, 2019 06:38 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Fostering Sustainable Urbanization and Rural-Urban Linkages

Karim Hussein (Senior International Development Specialist and Strategic Advisor)

David Suttie (International Fund for Agricultural Development)

By Karim Hussein and David Suttie
ROME and ACCRA, Dec 9 2019 (IPS)

As urbanization continues apace, coupled with rapid population growth and rural to urban migration, the challenges for inclusive rural transformation continue, and the importance of fostering improved rural-urban linkages for better food systems becomes increasingly important.. According to the UN, by 2050 some 66% of the world’s population of 9 billion is expected to live in urban areas. Such rapid urbanization is increasingly shaping the rural space and rural livelihoods (through markets, demand for agricultural goods and labour, migration, and through the provision of services to rural areas). It is therefore critical for the increasing emphasis on urban development to take into account the importance of rural development.

Karim Hussein

Given the major transitions this rapid urbanization entails, the roles that rural economies and societies will play in creating sustainable and inclusive food systems require more attention in the years ahead. Rural-based populations are increasingly connected to urban areas and markets, but many are primarily engaged in informal sector economic activities – – mostly agriculture, mainly smallholder farming – with lack of access to basic service impacting productivity levels. The incentives for people in rural areas and for those engaged in agriculture to migrate to towns, cities and abroad in search of better jobs and income earning opportunities are very powerful, particularly for young people.

We were delighted to speak at the first International Forum on Rural Urban Linkages, held in Lishui City, Zhejiang Province, China from November 11 to 13th, 2019. Our contributions drew on work we have led in IFAD and GFRAS on sustainable urbanization, rural-urban transformations and food systems [see, the IFAD Research Paper on ‘Rural-urban linkages and food systems in sub-Saharan Africa’].

The theme of the forum was “Rural Revitalization through Innovations and Valorisation”.

The forum probed topics of rural architecture, innovations in tourism, agriculture culture and heritage, rural economic development, among others, focusing on systems thinking and innovative practices of rural revitalization in the context of ecological conservation.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda highlight the need to “leave no one and no place behind”. This includes promoting the inclusive transformation of rural areas, allowing rural and urban areas alike to simultaneously share the fruits of development..

In the session on ‘Innovation in Agriculture; Culture and Heritage’, Karim Hussein discussed the importance of agricultural innovation and fostering mutually beneficial rural–urban linkages to contribute to a more sustainable urbanization process, strengthened food systems and ultimately the achievement of the 2030 Development Agenda.

David Suttie

The role of agriculture and agricultural innovation is even more important in the context of global population growth. To feed the expected population of 9 billion people in 2050, agricultural production and productivity will have to increase dramatically. Innovation in agriculture is the only way to meet this challenge. Innovation – in science, technology, institutions, farming practices and policies – is essential to address the challenges faced in food systems at the global, regional and national/local levels, particularly in low and middle income countries, thus particularly for sub-Saharan Africa whose economies remain highly dependent on agriculture. Experience has demonstrated that effective dissemination and sharing of agricultural innovations requires the engagement of and partnerships between research, advisory services, public and private sector players (e.g. GFRAS).

The pace of innovation needs to increase to overcome the challenges faced by agriculture in the 21st century. The negative effects of climate change on agriculture, food and productivity have become increasingly visible and demand to be addressed address as a priority, particularly in the regions that will be affected the most – arid and semi-arid countries, such as those in Africa.

Innovation is fundamental to revitalising rural areas, creating attractive job opportunities and bringing prosperity to communities. Innovation is central to lifting smallholder and family farmers out of poverty, tackling unemployment for youth and rural women, and helping the world to achieve food security and the Sustainable Development Goals. Key innovations since the 1960s that have contributed to the transformation of food, agriculture and rural development issues have been summarised elsewhere (e.g. see Hussein 2019, ‘Key changes in international agriculture and rural development issues: priorities for tropical agriculture professionals’ in Ag4Dev 37 (Summer))

The potential of digital approaches to agricultural and rural development and ICTs, and the increased productivity, incomes and sustainability possible through their application have raised much interest. This is a frontier area through which urban and rural areas and people are increasingly connected. Digital approaches that enable automation, e-agriculture and ‘smart farming’, are increasingly using for example robotics, drones, self-driving machinery, sensors, digital imagery of fields and better weather and soil analysis to undertake precision farming must now be integrated into work on tropical agriculture at all levels from research through to extension and advisory services. Nonetheless, there are opportunities, challenges and risks that digital transformations bring to agriculture and rural areas that need to be constantly examined, particularly whether poor smallholders will be able to access such innovations and equally benefit from their application.

Strengthening demand driven approaches and empowering producer organisations have proven vital in all efforts to foster effective innovation development, dissemination and sharing, and uptake of innovations by producers – particularly smallholders and family farmers that constitute the vast majority of rural producers. The roles of social entrepreneurs, social and institutional innovation and public-private-producer partnerships to foster innovation are also key.

In the side event on “Innovation in the Rural Economy”, David Suttie highlighted IFAD’s work with rural youth to help them promote innovation and dynamism in rural economies. IFAD’s Youth Action Plan, commits to ensuring that 50% of future projects demonstrate benefits for young people, particularly developing youth capacities through vocational and technical training and business development services. For example: the Songhai Centre in Porto Novo, Benin, in partnership with IFAD carries out training, production and research by combining traditional and modern learning methods.

The Songhai model is based on an integrated system of production where agriculture, animal husbandry and fish farming interact with agroindustry and services, such as extension and advisory services. Young trainees learn about the importance of key values such as creativity, innovation taking initiative, competitiveness and building organizational capacity.

Social innovation is also important. For example: promoting women’s empowerment though the use of household methodologies; addressing land access and tenure issues in rural communities based on a better understanding of local institutions and customary systems of tenure; and the need to work in partnership with indigenous peoples and their communities.

One of the most effective means to ensure inclusive outcomes from growth and transformation processes is to create decent jobs that are accessible to groups who are often overrepresented among the poor, particularly rural people, women, young unemployed, migrants and disable people. This need is particularly pressing in SSA, where it has been projected that by 2025, 25 million young people will enter the labour force annually.

In conclusion, the goal of sustainable urbanization requires us to maximise the potential of agriculture and food systems as a normal part of a balanced development process.

Development policies need to systematically take into account urban-rural interdependencies. Cities, towns and other urban centres have key roles in stimulating rural development, but the connectivity of these cities and towns to their rural hinterlands and surrounding areas is often weak. Given urban dependence on rural areas and the roles of rural development in the broader process of economic transformation, development policies need to systematically integrate the rural dimensions of urbanization.

The multi-stakeholder approach and process of IFURL is timely and will prove to be of critical importance to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda over the long term in order to leave no-one, and no place, behind. We look forward to the next IFURL, planned for 2 years’ time!

The post Fostering Sustainable Urbanization and Rural-Urban Linkages appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Karim Hussein (Senior International Development Specialist and Strategic Advisor)

David Suttie (International Fund for Agricultural Development)

The post Fostering Sustainable Urbanization and Rural-Urban Linkages appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Karim Hussein and David Suttie at December 09, 2019 06:28 PM


Rise of SUVs ‘makes mockery’ of electric car push

Rise of SUVs ‘makes mockery’ of electric car push
The “immense” rise in sales of high-emission sports utility vehicles means they now outsell electric cars in the UK by 37 to one, research has found.
By BBC News
Dec 9 2019

As a result, overall exhaust emissions from new cars have been increasing, not declining, for the past three years, says the UK Energy Research Centre.

SUV sales are jeopardising the UK transport sector’s ability to meet EU emissions targets, it said.

Prof Jillian Anable of the UKERC said this made “a mockery” of UK policy.

“Effectively, we have been sleepwalking into the issue,” she said.

“The decarbonisation of the passenger car market can no longer rely on a distant target to stop the sales of conventional engines. We must start to phase out the most polluting vehicles immediately. 

“It is time to enact a strong set of regulations to transform the entire car market towards ultra-low carbon, rather than focusing solely on the uptake of electric vehicles.”

UKERC was founded in 2004 and is funded by UK Research and Innovation, the UK government’s research and innovation funding agency.

It carries out research into sustainable future energy systems.

Over the past four years, there have been 1.8 million SUV sales, compared to a total of 47,000 for battery electric vehicles (BEV). 

In 2018, SUVs accounted for 21.2% of new car sales, up from 13.5% three years earlier.

However, BEV sales are coming from a low base, as the technology is still relatively new.

“SUVs are larger and heavier than a standard car, emitting about a quarter more CO2 than a medium-size car and nearly four times more than a medium-sized battery electric vehicle,” said the UKERC. 

“Assuming the majority of these SUVs will be on UK roads for at least a decade, it is estimated the extra cumulative emissions to total around 8.2 million tons of CO2.”

The UKERC said the “extraordinary leap” in SUV sales over the past four years seemed to be due to “attractive car financing packages which divert attention from running costs”.

Although vehicle excise duty is higher for gas-guzzlers, more than 90% of new cars in the UK are now sold by way of deals that wrap the excise duty into the monthly cost, “rendering the only clear policy signal to discourage high-carbon vehicles somewhat useless,” it said.

All-electric vehicles still represent only a fraction of total car sales. The UKERC said they remained at less than 1% of new car sales in 2019.

There are also challenges to uptake, including a lack of charging points on roads and too few low-cost models.


by wa8dzp at December 09, 2019 05:12 PM


Paul Volcker Was a Hero of the Ruling Class

Paul Adolph Volcker is dead at the age of ninety-two. (Most accounts of the man suppress the middle name, though it was often pointed out with bitter glee by builders and others who were undone by his high-interest-rate policies in the early 1980s.) As I wrote in Left Business Observer when he left office in […]

by Doug Henwood at December 09, 2019 04:55 PM

Anews Podcast 143 – 12.6.19

From Anews Podcast

Welcome to the anews podcast. This podcast covers anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations from the previous week on

TOTW- endings, with Aragorn! and Ariel
sound editing by Linn O’Mable
no editorial
what’s new was written by Jackie, and narrated by Chisel all alone, as we all are, ultimately, in the void that is existence.
1) J Dilla – So Far To Go
2) The Millenium – Prelude

by thecollective at December 09, 2019 04:20 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Climate Refugees Refused UN Protection & Denied Rights Under International Law

Credit: UNHCR

By Miles Young
MADRID, Spain, Dec 9 2019 (IPS)

The term “environmental refugee” has gained prominence in recent years as climate change and desertification have threatened the livelihoods of millions of people, causing many to re-locate.

Despite the growing use of the term, there is no universally accepted definition for “environmental refugee”.

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) uses the term to describe people forced to leave their traditional habitat, temporarily or permanently, because of a marked environmental disruption that jeopardizes their existence and / or seriously effects their quality of life”.

A problem for those who fall within the UNEP definition is that it does not bring them within the definition of a “refugee” as articulated in the 1951 Refugee Convention, and therefore does not qualify them for the rights and protections that a refugee has under international law.

A case in point is Mr Ioane Teitiota from Kiribati who in 2013 applied for asylum in New Zealand on the basis that he was a climate refugee. The High Court of New Zealand rejected this argument and relied on the definition of “refugee” as set out in the Refugee Convention in its judgment.

There have been at least 10 other cases where people have tried to claim refugee status in New Zealand, based on climate change, with all failing.

The Refugee Convention defines a refugee as “Any person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country.”

Those who come within this definition are afforded certain rights under international law, such as the right to safe asylum, the same rights and basic help as any other foreigner who is a legal resident in the country, including freedom of thought, of movement, and freedom from torture and degrading treatment, as well as economic and social rights like the right to access to medical care and schooling and the right to work.

At this time, there has been no compelling case made for the international community to accept that persons forced to leave their countries because of environmental reasons fall within the Convention’s definition of a refugee.

Credit: UNHCR

Under the current legal framework, those forced to leave their countries because of climate change would only be able to legally enter and settle in another country if they satisfy immigration laws which are often themselves narrow and restrictive.

Given the status quo, it is very much within the legal rights of countries to turn away environmental refugees at the border, or deport them (as in the case of Mr Teitiota) or confine them in camps within their jurisdictions, with extremely limited legal rights.

Thankfully, there is an appreciation amongst Pacific Island Countries that climate change is a common threat which must be addressed collectively. In 2017, for example, Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama announced that he would allow the populations of Kiribati and Tuvalu to settle in his country, should they be forced to re-locate due to climate change.

Because of this lack of legal protection for climate refugees, former Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga prepared a draft United Nations General Assembly resolution on developing a legal regime to protect people displaced by climate change.

However, this initiative appears to have stalled after Mr Sopoaga losing the prime ministership in September 2019. Further, the discussion around climate change in the Pacific has shifted away from re-location and refugee status and focused more on adaption.

This reflects the desire of Pacific peoples to avoid association with refugee status – which is linked to images of homeless, stateless people forced give up their land, and eventually culture – and to remain in their countries.

In Kiribati, for example, the current government has pushed back on the concept of “migration with dignity” which an earlier government had promoted.

Nonetheless, given the alarming increases in sea levels, displacement is a real possibility for Pacific Island Countries and remains at the forefront of many working in the climate change space, even if the term “climate refugee” has lost favour in public discourse.

The New Zealand Government, for example, has supporting Pacific Islands Countries to avert and delay climate-related displacement as its immediate aims, and the absorption of their peoples as a medium to longer term aim, including through a climate change humanitarian visa scheme.

The prospect of a nation of people having to move to another country raises complex questions around self-determination, governance and statehood, including their ongoing rights with respect to the ownership and exploitation of resources within the maritime boundaries of their physically abandoned country.

Culture and identity are at risk if people with intimate ties to their lands move to another area or country. And there is always the possibility of violence when communities are moved on a large scale into already crowded areas or areas with different cultures.

The post Climate Refugees Refused UN Protection & Denied Rights Under International Law appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Miles Young is Director of the Social Development Program, Pacific Community (SPC)

The post Climate Refugees Refused UN Protection & Denied Rights Under International Law appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Miles Young at December 09, 2019 04:16 PM

Children Risk Early Marriage: Climate Change One of the Factors

Credit: United Nations

By Nayema Nusrat

Filomena (15), a fisherman’s daughter from a village in Nampula Province, Mozambique was married to a 21-year-old from the same village.

Although her father, Antonio (50) felt that she was still too young to marry, it was very difficult for him to pass up what was offered in exchange for his daughter: 2000 Mozambican Metical (31.2 USD) and a promise to let Filomena continue her education after marriage.

Antonio had been in the fishing business since 1985; profit from his business started to decline dramatically as climate changes started to become more apparent.

In a report published by The Guardian he said “ We see that it’s too hot. We talk about that and we all agree that it’s difficult to catch enough fish because of these high temperatures.” “In the areas where we used to go, the sea level is rising, and the waves are much stronger”.

Besides Filomena, Antonio has five other kids to take care of and she firmly believes that her father would not agree on her early marriage if his fishing business was running well.

Child marriage is a global phenomenon happening for many socioeconomic reasons, but in this particular case it is evident that the already existing global trend of child marriage is further exacerbated because of climate change.

Climate change leads to rising temperature, shifting precipitation patterns and increasing extreme events; people whose livelihoods are intrinsically connected specially to natural resources, livestock, fisheries and agriculture suffer without attention to adaptation.

In Zimbabwe for example, extreme drought is one of the most common phenomena inflicted by climate change; “drought left Emmanuel struggling to feed his family. He agreed to a dowry of a few goats for his 15-year-old daughter.

It meant one less mouth to feed, and food and livestock for the family” – stated in a report by UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) , which explored different ways that climate change endangers the lives and futures of our children and how we must integrate climate risks into various policies and services.

Similarly, in Kenya, a dramatic rise in child marriage is seen due to severe droughts, diminishing the number of cattle at an alarming rate and child marriage is enforced in exchange of goats.

Roughly 82 percent of Afghan girls drop out of school before the sixth grade, partly due to early child marriages. Credit: Najibullah Musafer/Killid

Workers from AMREF Health Africa (African Medical and Research Foundation), the largest Africa based healthcare non-profit organization aim to convince parents to stop child marriages and send them to secondary school -“when she is done with schooling, she will get a job and she will be able to buy you more than four goats”.

Meanwhile in poverty-stricken South Sudan, the majority of parents are marrying their daughters off in exchange for livestock using the bidding process, “Whoever bids with the highest number of cows will take the girl” said Dorcas Acen, a gender protection expert at CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere).

In South Asian countries, families who face financial difficulties from the likelihood of natural disasters like floods, droughts, river erosion, and storms resort to marry off their daughters.

Heather Barr of Human Rights Watch (HRW) told IPS that climate change is one of the reasons that is pushing girls in South Asian countries into getting married before the age of 18.

Barr shares her view about climate change and unpredictable natural disasters seen in Bangladesh and their linkage to early marriage, “Drawing a link between natural disasters and climate change is complex, of course, but we know that Bangladesh—and other countries in South Asia—are among those most affected by climate change. This is qualitative research, not quantitative, but the links were striking”.

HRW interviewed families who had been affected by three types of disasters— flooding, cyclones, and river erosion. Many of the families they interviewed had been barely surviving dealing with inadequate nutrition even before the disaster strikes; and one coping mechanism is that when a disaster pushed them from barely surviving to at risk of not surviving, they reduced their family size by arranging marriages for young daughters.

Barr says, “We saw this link most clearly in the families dealing with river erosion, and it seemed to be the combination of river erosion being both predictable and cataclysmic that created that link” adding, “Flooding was predictable and devastating but not cataclysmic”.

The families HRW interviewed were very accustomed to having to replant their crops. “Cyclones were cataclysmic but not predictable”—so families had to respond afterwards but had very little ability to plan beforehand.

“With river erosion, however, families would see the fields and homes of their neighbors closer to the river be washed away and those families permanently displaced, and they would know that within two or three or five years the river was coming for them. One of the ways they coped with the fact that they knew they would be displaced was by trying to find a marriage for their daughter that they hoped would ensure her safety and that would reduce their family size”.

Recent UNICEF data shows that 59% of girls in Bangladesh are married by 18 and 22% are married by 15. This is one of the highest rates in the world, and the highest in Asia. Globally a girl is married almost every 2 seconds, among which 21% of girls marry before 18 and 5% before 15.

However, the UNICEF report also shows that the custom of child marriage has decreased globally in the past decade. The most progress has been observed in South Asia where a girl’s risk of marrying in childhood has dropped from approximately 50% to 30%. The practice is more common among girls than boys, 4% of boys in Bangladesh marry before age 18.

Child marriage is still widespread across the globe where the total number of girls married in their childhood accounts for 12 million per year. One of the targets set in United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 5.3) is to end child marriage by 2030, but without increasing the rate of progress “more than 150 million additional girls will marry before their 18th birthday by 2030”.

Barr told IPS that child marriage issue in regards to climate change and natural disaster should be addressed by governments by ensuring the agencies responsible for addressing climate change and natural disasters participate in developing and implementing the national action plan to end child marriage by 2030.

And the plan plays specific attention to how climate change and natural disasters (and other disasters such as conflict, displacement) can increase the risk of child marriage and includes steps to mitigate that risk; she also asks for the governments to “Integrate child marriage prevention into all government planning in relation to disaster risk reduction and climate change mitigation”.

“Taking baby steps like boosting the sense of awareness among the individuals and community to exercise the common best practices to preserve the environment might dramatically increase the progress of the bigger change we want to see at the global level.”

An inspiring story from UNICEF is about a Bangladeshi young woman Smriti (19) from Barisal district, who is working with YouthNet for Climate Justice, a UNICEF-supported network, spreading awareness about global warming to her community discusses about climate change and its connection to the increased rates of child marriage.

Smriti says “It is hard to gather people to talk about this, but so often, I’ll stop in a tea shop, or stop a group of people, and engage them that way”.

While talking to IPS about child bride issue from a broad perspective regardless of the effect of climate change, Barr stressed that in terms of every other country where child marriage continues, one of the most fundamental driver of child marriage is gender inequality and valuing girls less than boys.

Research shows, secondary education for girls must continue to be encouraged; it opens up doors for their future careers with vocational advancement, making them highly likely to achieve economic empowerment; and as a result they are able to pull themselves and their family out of poverty, as well as act as an encouragement for their next generation to continue to narrow the gender inequality gap which in turn will create fewer child brides.

The post Children Risk Early Marriage: Climate Change One of the Factors appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Nayema Nusrat at December 09, 2019 03:56 PM

Anathema Volume 5 Issue 7

Volume 5 Issue 7 (PDF for reading 8.5×11)

Volume 5 Issue 7 (PDF for printing 11×17)

In this issue:

Global Insurrection
Pink Wave
What Went Down
Ring And The New Policing
During The Quiet
Sean Bonney Poem (Confessions 2)
Interview: 10 Years After The UC Occupations
Response to “Property Destruction Is Not Enough”
Bomb Scares
End The Abatement?

by anon at December 09, 2019 03:15 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Saved Seeds are Seeds of Resilience

Farmers planting sweet potato seedlings at the Seed Savers Bene Bank. Credit: Seed Savers.

By Nout van der Vaart
Rotterdam/The Hague, Dec 9 2019 (IPS)

People have a right to define their own food system. This includes which seeds they use. Last week, farmers in Nakuru County, Kenya, celebrated the launch of “Ten rich, underutilized crops,” a publication and documentary that capture their efforts to promote and sustain the varieties they grow.


Farmers’ diminishing access to seeds

Access to seeds for smallholder farmers has become an issue of concern in Eastern Africa. Mirroring the trend in which control of global food production is falling into ever fewer private hands, it’s getting increasingly difficult for farmers to use and exchange their own, farm-saved seeds. Eighty percent of seeds used by smallholder farmers are sourced through farmer-managed seed systems. But these systems are largely ignored by governments whose agricultural budgets are mostly used to promote hybrid or improved seeds through the commercial or formal seed system.

African governments are also pressured by regional, international and bilateral trade agreements to adopt discriminatory policy and legal frameworks that are very unfavorable to smallholder farmers. These seed laws protect exclusive ownership rights – like patents and breeders’ rights – while overlooking farmers’ rights. The resulting privatization of seeds greatly restricts the majority of smallholder farmers, who depend on the free and open use, reuse, saving, and exchange of (farmer-managed) seeds.


Food security, climate resilience, biodiversity – and seeds

There are three reasons why farmer-managed seeds help solve problems like food scarcity, climate change and loss of plant species.

  1. In the face of a rapidly worsening climate crisis, smallholder farmers need seeds that are resilient to changing and unpredictable weather conditions, like prolonged periods of drought or heavy rains. Free seed exchange increases resilient sorts of seeds, and therefore farmer’s own resilience to climate change.
  2. Farmer-managed seed systems provide the majority of food produced in sub-Saharan Africa. Smallholder farmers as such play a considerable role in keeping themselves and their communities food secure.
  3. By growing, breeding, and fostering farmer varieties (“underutilized varieties”), farmers greatly help preserve agricultural biodiversity in their countries.


Delicacies made from the 10 rich, underutilized crops. Credit: Seed Savers.

Delicacies made from the 10 rich, underutilized crops. Credit: Seed Savers.


Documenting and registering farmer seed varieties

The Kenyan Seed Savers network, with support from Hivos and our Sustainable Diets for All partners, has documented and characterized 60 underutilized varieties grown by smallholder farmers in Nakuru county. Ten of these varieties are described in the publication “Ten rich, underutilized crops.” They are considered most promising in terms of nutritional value, climate resilience, and popular taste. The next step is for them to be produced and marketed on a larger and more commercial scale by the farmers themselves.

As put by Francis Ngiri, a farmer in Nakuru involved in the documentation project, “These varieties will allow us to grow and diversify our production and eat more healthy.”

Hivos and Seed Savers’ booklet demonstrates the rich diversity that grows in farmers’ fields in Kenya. More importantly though, it’s part of a direct appeal to Kenyan authorities to recognize that these varieties exist, that they belong to farmers, and hence should never be subject to private control.

There is an urgent need for countries like Kenya to adopt legal frameworks on seed and intellectual property rights that allow farmers’ varieties to be registered as such, protecting them from privatization. One way to avoid corporate control of seeds is to have them  registered as open source, which would grant them the status of protected commons. This would not only safeguard national agrobiodiversity, farmers’ own food security and ensure their ability to adapt to climate change, but would clearly recognize farmers’ own vital contributions to these efforts.

The time for Open Source Seeds has come!



This opinion piece was originally published here

The post Saved Seeds are Seeds of Resilience appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Nout van der Vaart is advocacy officer for sustainable food at Hivos

The post Saved Seeds are Seeds of Resilience appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Nout van der Vaart at December 09, 2019 02:08 PM


Bernie Sanders Is the Disability Rights Candidate

It’s clear from his platform that Bernie Sanders understands that people with disabilities are confronted with daily acts of discrimination and oppression in the United States. A Sanders presidency would offer an unprecedented chance to improve the lives of disabled people across the country.

alt Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Teamsters Vote 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum December 7, 2019 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Win McNamee / Getty Images

To live in the United States as a person with disabilities is to encounter daily acts of abuse and oppression. Working disabled people can legally be paid less than $1 an hour under federal law, an appalling exemption to already inadequate minimum-wage standards. Disabled people on Social Security Income (SSI) must report any income, including gifts, every month to maintain meager amounts of coverage, and can lose their benefits by marrying. We are more likely to be poor, and more likely to become homeless — more than 40 percent of homeless people are disabled.

For the first time in awhile, several of the candidates in the Democratic presidential primary have outlined proposals to address this. Last month, Julián Castro made a big splash by releasing a platform that, among other things, would scrap discriminatory wage laws and allow disabled SSI recipients to wed without penalty. Even Pete Buttigieg, in a long document brimming with 1990s-style Clintonite rhetoric, has laid out an agenda to take the disabled community on a glide path to equality.

But there’s only one candidate with a comprehensive set of policies that would directly enhance the lives of disabled people in the United States: Senator Bernie Sanders.

Disability rights issues are woven directly into the proposals of almost every single policy document the campaign has released to date. The Sanders campaign clearly understands that disability is not simply a set of special interests to be siloed off, but a common aspect of everyday life affecting a key group of people that US policy routinely degrades, diminishes, and often oppresses.

Housing is a disability issue. Labor is a disability issue. Health care is a disability issue. Disabled people are on the front lines of climate change. And the agenda that Sanders is advancing not only recognizes that all of these issues greatly affect disabled people; it recognizes that no program or policy is good enough if it does not work for the most marginalized among us — the disabled very much included.

What Bernie’s Disability Rights Platform Looks Like

First, there’s the baseline policy. Bernie’s “Fight for Disability Rights” proposal page includes some of the essentials, like ending sub–minimum wage hiring and ratifying the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The latter — which the GOP-controlled Senate rejected in 2012, over Sanders’s opposition — asks pledging nations to pass legislation that secures equal rights for people with disabilities.

Where things get really strong is when you open up almost any other policy document on the Sanders website. Bernie’s Housing for All program targets the physical inaccessibility of housing and public transit in the United States with a set of sweeping changes. He pledges $1.48 trillion to create a national affordable housing trust fund to build, rehabilitate, and preserve 7.4 million accessible housing units. A further $70 billion would go to the long-overdue project of ensuring that the United States’ entire public-housing stock is fully accessible to people with disabilities (a goal so obviously morally necessary that many of my able-bodied friends have a hard time believing that all public housing isn’t already ADA compliant). On top of that, Sanders’s housing blueprint would push states to end exclusionary zoning practices that limit affordable, accessible housing and to make sure that more residential communities are closer to public transit.

As with most of Sanders’s policy proposals, to talk about one is frequently to talk about the goals of another. Picking up where the Housing for All platform leaves off, Sanders’s iteration of the Green New Deal proposes $2.18 trillion in grants for people to weatherize and retrofit their homes, a program that would explicitly prioritize the disabled, seniors, and the poor first. It’s the kind of policy that reads like an inverse of the status quo: rather than offering meager, means-tested programs to a few, under a Sanders presidency, the priority would be to meet the needs of the poorest and most marginalized — and then deliver universal goods for everyone else, too.

Sanders’s plan lays out a $40 billion Climate Justice Resilience Fund (CJRF) to oversee much of the preparation for future climate events and recovery from those that have already taken place. The fund would “issue block grants to states, territories, tribes, municipalities, counties, localities, and nonprofit community organizations” to carry out this work. And within the new agency, an Office of Climate Resiliency for People with Disabilities would be established — staffed and led by people with disabilities — to oversee the CJRF’s work with the disabled community and interactions with other federal agencies tasked with climate-related remits.

Finally, Sanders’s Green New Deal proposes $300 billion to boost public transportation ridership by 65 percent within ten years and make public transit more accessible. Jobs created under the Green New Deal, it says, would be made available first to a number of marginalized groups, including people with disabilities.

Justice for People With Disabilities

Disabled people know that our justice system is extremely punitive and byzantine, particularly for people with mental disabilities. Sanders’s proposals attack this head-on. In his “Justice and Safety for All” platform, the Vermont senator begins by pledging to put laws in place that require police to take training on how to interact with people with mental and physical disabilities.

Sanders vows to “reverse the criminalization of disability,” in part by directing the Justice Department’s Civil Rights division to make cases of law enforcement discrimination against disabled people a top priority. His proposal would create an Office of Disability within the Department of Justice, focused on ensuring ADA compliance throughout the criminal justice system. The Office of Disability would also oversee changes throughout the justice system, like expanding “compassionate release” for prisoners with disabilities, investing in diversion programs as alternatives to the court and prison system for disabled people, reforming prisons to ensure accessibility, and guaranteeing free medical care throughout the prison system.

These changes would begin to undo the decades of policies that have punished people simply for having disabilities. While decarceration must still be the ultimate goal, Sanders’s platform is the most robust of any candidate when it comes to safeguarding the rights of disabled people facing the justice system.

Medicare for All and Abolishing Medical Debt

The United States’ main public health-care programs, Medicare and Medicaid, throw up barriers to enrollment that leave many disabled people excluded and consign them to the private insurance market.

If you were born disabled, chances are that it will take you an incredible amount of time to attain the work credits needed to qualify for SSDI Medicare — leaving you at the mercy of the Medicaid standards of the state you live in (if you can even qualify for that). Say you are able to get onto Medicare or Medicaid. Countless services still aren’t covered — principally Long-Term Care, a term for a variety of assistive and home-based care services that many disabled people need just to live. And for those on the private market, many people with disabilities are often the very definition of what insurers call a “high-risk pool” — and, as a result, are even more likely than the average person to shoulder huge sums of medical debt.

Sanders’s Medicare for All Act of 2019 would knock down each of these barriers. His bill would create a single, universal payer, eliminating the need for private insurance for those currently on it and eliminating the need for supplemental long-term care coverage or payments for those on public programs. Instead of onerous and eccentric annual enrollment periods, we would have one program that covers every resident of the United States, with no premiums, co-pays, or deductibles.

Disabled people on SSI or SSDI would no longer have to worry that going back to work might jeopardize their Medicaid or Medicare. They, and everyone else, would simply be covered. The current maze of plans, programs, middlemen, and interlocutors, all adding endless administrative time and endless confusion and work to the lives of many disabled and ill people, would come to a halt. And if groups like ADAPT or ACT UP needed to mobilize to expand the program or its coverage, they would have countless potential allies, all unified under the same program.

Sanders’s bill does opt for a four-year transition period, rather than the two-year language in Pramila Jayapal’s House legislation. But Sanders’s bill would still offer a number of immediate benefits to disabled people if passed.

Currently, new SSDI applicants must wait two years from the date the government certifies they are disabled before they can enroll in Medicare — an unconscionable policy that can literally be a death sentence. Supporters praised Julián Castro’s plan for its pledge to end this waiting period. But those same supporters may be surprised to learn another, already existing piece of legislation does the same thing: Sanders’s Medicare for All Act.

The Best Candidate on Disability Rights

Last month, prominent disability rights activist Ady Barkan made headlines for endorsing Senator Elizabeth Warren in the primary, principally due to his belief that Warren supports his vision of Medicare for All. As a disabled woman and a staunch supporter of Medicare for All, I respectfully but absolutely disagree with Barkan’s assessment.

Recently, Warren released a document admitting she would fight for a public option before Medicare for All — placing her health-care policy closer to Pete Buttigieg’s or Joe Biden’s than Sanders’s. This is a pattern for Warren — and I have yet to see her truly take any of the political demands of the disabled seriously.

A Sanders presidency offers an unprecedented possibility for the rights and equality of disabled people in America. Not only is Sanders offering what so many of us demand — a seat at the table, and a chance to directly change the policies and programs that oppress us — he is demonstrating, with every new policy detail, an absolute commitment to making sure we’re treated as true members of society, not the hidden-away public charges that US policy usually regards us as.

There is more to be done, and there will always be more to win. But the only candidate that appears to care — the only candidate that really, truly appears to be listening to us — is Bernie Sanders.

by Beatrice Adler-Bolton at December 09, 2019 01:53 PM


Confidential documents reveal U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan

Confidential documents reveal U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan
By Craig Whitlock
Dec 9 2019

The documents were generated by a federal project examining the root failures of the longest armed conflict in U.S. history. They include more than 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war, from generals and diplomats to aid workers and Afghan officials.

In the interviews, more than 400 insiders offered unrestrained criticism of what went wrong in Afghanistan and how the United States became mired in nearly two decades of warfare.

With a bluntness rarely expressed in public, the interviews lay bare pent-up complaints, frustrations and confessions, along with second-guessing and backbiting.

“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

“If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction . . . 2,400 lives lost,” Lute added, blaming the deaths of U.S. military personnel on bureaucratic breakdowns among Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department. “Who will say this was in vain?”

Since 2001, more than 775,000 U.S. troops have deployed to Afghanistan, many repeatedly. Of those, 2,300 died there and 20,589 were wounded in action, according to Defense Department figures.

The interviews, through an extensive array of voices, bring into sharp relief the core failings of the war that persist to this day. They underscore how three presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump — and their military commanders have been unable to deliver on their promises to prevail in Afghanistan.

With most speaking on the assumption that their remarks would not become public, U.S. officials acknowledged that their warfighting strategies were fatally flawed and that Washington wasted enormous sums of money trying to remake Afghanistan into a modern nation.

The interviews also highlight the U.S. government’s botched attempts to curtail runaway corruption, build a competent Afghan army and police force, and put a dent in Afghanistan’s thriving opium trade.

The U.S. government has not carried out a comprehensive accounting of how much it has spent on the war in Afghanistan, but the costs are staggering.

Since 2001, the Defense Department, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development have spent or appropriated between $934 billion and $978 billion, according to an inflation-adjusted estimate calculated by Neta Crawford, a political science professor and co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University.

Those figures do not include money spent by other agencies such as the CIA and the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is responsible for medical care for wounded veterans.

“What did we get for this $1 trillion effort? Was it worth $1 trillion?” Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House staffer for Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. He added, “After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan.”

The documents also contradict a long chorus of public statements from U.S. presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting.

Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul — and at the White House — to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.

“Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,”Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. “Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone.”

John Sopko, the head of the federal agency that conducted the interviews, acknowledged to The Post that the documents show “the American people have constantly been lied to.”

The interviews are the byproduct of a project led by Sopko’s agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Known as SIGAR, the agency was created by Congress in 2008 to investigate waste and fraud in the war zone.

In 2014, at Sopko’s direction, SIGAR departed from its usual mission of performing audits and launched a side venture. Titled “Lessons Learned,” the $11 million project was meant to diagnose policy failures in Afghanistan so the United States would not repeat the mistakes the next time it invaded a country or tried to rebuild a shattered one.

The Lessons Learned staff interviewed more than 600 people with firsthand experience in the war. Most were Americans, but SIGAR analysts also traveled to London, Brussels and Berlin to interview NATO allies. In addition, they interviewed about 20 Afghan officials, discussing reconstruction and development programs.

Drawing partly on the interviews, as well as other government records and statistics, SIGAR has published seven Lessons Learned reports since 2016 that highlight problems in Afghanistan and recommend changes to stabilize the country.

But the reports, written in dense bureaucratic prose and focused on an alphabet soup of government initiatives, left out the harshest and most frank criticisms from the interviews.

“We found the stabilization strategy and the programs used to achieve it were not properly tailored to the Afghan context, and successes in stabilizing Afghan districts rarely lasted longer than the physical presence of coalition troops and civilians,” read the introduction to one report released in May 2018.

The reports also omitted the names of more than 90 percent of the people who were interviewed for the project. While a few officials agreed to speak on the record to SIGAR, the agency said it promised anonymity to everyone else it interviewed to avoid controversy over politically sensitive matters.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, The Post began seeking Lessons Learned interview records in August 2016. SIGAR refused, arguing that the documents were privileged and that the public had no right to see them.


by wa8dzp at December 09, 2019 01:08 PM

InterPressService (global south)

The Economic & Humanitarian Catastrophe Threatening Pacific Island Communities

Credit: The Pacific Community – Sustainable Pacific Development Through Science, Knowledge & Innovation

By Thalif Deen

When UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) last month, he pointed out the dramatic impact of climate change triggering natural disasters around the world— from glaciers that melt, ice caps that disappear and corals that bleach.

But more and more, he said, the devastating impacts are on the life of the people and in the health of people around the world.

According to the results of a report published in Nature Communications, sea-level is rising much faster than what was expected and forecasted in the past.

“If we are not able to defeat climate change”, Guterres warned “we will have in 2050 an impact of the sea-level rise on over 300 million people”.

Of these 300 million people, 70% are in countries in the Asia-Pacific region where coastal cities could be “wiped out” if there aren’t enough sea defences in place.

The most vulnerable include the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs), plus eight Asian countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan, according to the report.

Dr Benjamin Straus, president and CEO of Climate Central, who along with Scott Kulp, co-authored the report, was quoted by Cable News Network (CNN) as saying: “The results indicate that, yes, a great deal more people are on vulnerable land than we thought.”

And they need to take immediate action to avoid the impending “economic and humanitarian catastrophe.”

As the sea-level continues to rise, the world’s low-lying countries, mostly in the Pacific, will be the worst affected by the climate crisis, which is not of their own creation.

At the ongoing COP25 climate change conference in Madrid, which is expected to conclude December 13, the future of the “Blue Planet, where water covers around 75 percent of the earth’s surface, will be a major part of the discussion.

In an interview with IPS, Andrew Jones, Director, Geoscience, Energy and Maritime Division at the Pacific Community (SPC), a principal scientific and technical organization in the Pacific region, provided a worst-case scenario for Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs).

Excerpts from the interview:

IPS: The countries singled out as the most vulnerable to climate change are the 57 small island developing states (SIDS)—some of whom like the Maldives, Tuvalu and Kiribati, may be wiped off the face of the earth due to sea level rise and natural disasters. Do you think the international community is adequately responding to these dangers with concrete actions on climate resilience and funding for adaptation?

JONES: An important point in there is that the countries most vulnerable to climate change are the atoll nations, of which there are four: Maldives, Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu.

These countries are mere meters above sea level and have no higher ground to which they can retreat (unlike other countries which have populated atoll islands but also volcanic islands, or which are territories of another country).

Another important point is that these countries will become uninhabitable long before they are “wiped off the face of the earth” by sea level rise and disasters.

The picture of seas rising like a bathtub, so that we can wait until the high ground goes under, is too simplistic (and dangerous thinking).

Even relatively small increases in sea level will lead to more wave flooding (raising up the ‘base level’ of the natural wave variation in the Pacific) and this wave flooding will poison fresh water supplies and crops.

Safeguarding the World’s Largest Tuna Fishery. Credit: Siosifa Fukofuka (SPC)

IPS: Is the UN’s Decade for Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) a step in the right direction?

JONES: The UN Decade is definitely a step in the right direction, because the more detailed, rigorous scientific data that we have, the more certainty we will have in forward models, and the better we will be able to inform mitigation and adaptation decision making.”

However not enough is being done to respond to the climate change crisis facing our Pacific Island Nations (the Leaders used the term ‘crisis’ at the last Forum Meeting).

Ambitious adaptation actions are needed within PICTs to prevent them from becoming uninhabitable. For example, countries like the Marshall Islands may look to build higher islands.

However, the future of the Pacific depends on the international focus remaining on mitigation; the international community must commit to progressing the Paris Agreement.

In this context, the UN Decade for Ocean Science is also not enough. PICTs cannot wait ten years to build a better database before commencing ambitious adaptation measures.

A large factor is that we currently have a window in which the Pacific needs to focus on adaptation while the international community needs to focus on mitigation. If in the future the international focus shifts, then much less adaptation funding will be available for the Pacific.

IPS: What are the specific threats facing PICTs?

JONES: The Pacific is heavily reliant on the ocean as a source of protein, but the changing climate is impacting fisheries and opening new debates on what is considered international waters- and what is not.

Firstly, what is considered international waters – Pacific’s position on this is very clear – the sovereignty of their nations is not in question regardless of geographic changes that may occur due to changing climate.

Pacific Leaders have stated that once maritime boundaries are de-limited they cannot be challenged or reduced as a result of sea-level rise and climate change. The Pacific has stated that anything which is currently sovereign waters will remain that way and will not become international waters in the future.

However, the international legal instrument through which these maritime boundaries are defined (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) is not clear on this point.

Therefore, SPC is undertaking a regional technical study to understand which ‘base points’ (the points of land from which the maritime boundaries are defined) are vulnerable to change through sea level rise.

At the same time, the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner (OPOC) is looking at international legal instruments to understand which avenues will be open to PICTs to ensure they retain their sovereign rights into the future.

IPS: What’s the future of coastal fisheries? How will they be impacted by climate change?

JONES: In terms of fisheries, it’s probably worth noting that the coastal fisheries which are a primary source of protein for PICTs may be impacted by climate change but these are separate from any debate over international waters.

Oceanic fisheries are the transboundary resource most likely to be affected by any climate change in this context, and while they are a source of protein they are also cornerstone of Pacific export economies.

The latest scientific modelling suggests that the geographic distribution of tuna populations may change in the future, which may result in decreasing tuna stocks in the exclusive economic zones of some countries and may also result in an increase in the relative proportion of the tuna resource within international waters (as defined by current maritime boundaries).

This could have significant implications for the narrow and fragile economies of some PICTs, and therefore all aspects of development, although FFA are working with PICTs to reassess how they distribute rights to the tuna resource under future climate scenarios.

The Pacific Community (SPC) is a regional development organisation owned and governed by 26 Pacific island country and territory members. The organization is focused on development issues within the context of the region, including climate change, disaster risk management, food security, gender equality, human rights, non-communicable diseases and youth employment.

The writer can be contacted at

The post The Economic & Humanitarian Catastrophe Threatening Pacific Island Communities appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Thalif Deen at December 09, 2019 12:36 PM

Deep Green Resistance News Service

When The Lights Go Out

Dreaming of a power outage that lasts forever.

By Max Wilbert / Earth Island Journal

Each winter, storms knock out the electricity to my home. I live in the country, over hills and past muddy pastures and brown meadows. Snow and ice grip the trees, pulling them towards the breaking point, and the lights flicker and die.

The first thing I notice is the quiet. The hum of the refrigerator, the ticking of the hot water heater, the barely perceptible vibration of the electrical system itself. The sounds drop away. That is how I awoke this February morning; to silence, just the murmur of a million wet snowflakes settling onto the trees, the grass, the cabin roof.

As a child, I craved power outages. School canceled, all obligations swept aside — an excuse to bypass the siren song of television, jobs, routine, and to instead place candles on the table and sit together around the flickering light. All this, of course, after the obligatory snowball fight.

Luck and privilege underlie my experience; the luck of living in a temperate climate, where a small fire and sweatshirt keep us warm inside; the privilege of a family with just enough money to relax and enjoy power outages despite not being able to work.

Power outages are still magical times for me. Now, grown, I live far enough away from the city that outages can last many days. We sit around the wood stove after a day of chores, cooking dinner slowly on the stovetop, snow melting in a pot for tea. Nothing is fast. There is no rush, and nowhere to go, and nothing to be done beyond: talk, read, cook, wash dishes in a tub with fire-warmed water. It is a balm to a soul chafed by the demands of modernity — speed, productivity, constant connectivity.

These days, I dream of power outages that last forever. I dream of hydroelectric dams crumbling and salmon leaping upstream, coming home. I dream of coal power plants going dark and rusting away, and of our atmosphere breathing a deep, clean sigh of relief. I even dream of wind turbines creaking to a halt and solar panels gathering dust, eventually buried by shifting Mojave sands, and of the birds and bats and our slow-moving kin, the desert tortoises, moving freely again through their desert home. I dream of power lines toppling beneath thick layers of ice and snow.

It has been said that the electric grid is the biggest machine in the world. What would it mean to turn off that machine, to throw a wrench in its gears? What would it mean to the living Earth? What would it mean to us?

I have heard that, years ago, the city of Los Angeles lost power, and darkness reigned, and frightened people called the police to report strange lights in the sky: the stars. We are far along the wrong path when we no longer recognize the stars, our billion-year-old companions in the night.

When the power comes back on, as it did tonight, it is a bitter transition for me. Yes, power does make life easier. It washes our clothes and our dishes. It provides our entertainment and our light. It prepares our food and offers heat. It powers the production of life-saving medicines and hospitals. But these benefits of the grid accrue only to the wealthy, to the first world. And power corrupts, too. For countless people, the coming of power is a disaster: displacement, genocide, privatization, proletarianization. The World Commission on Dams estimates that at least 40 to 80 million people have been displaced by hydroelectric dams alone — many of them Indigenous and poor.

Perhaps it is time for us to have no power again. And not just for a day or a week, but for as long as it takes for the salmon to come home, for the desert tortoises to reclaim their dens, for us to remember our place in the world.

I dream of standing on a hill above a vast metro-necropolis, and watching the lights go out in a wave, watching darkness reclaim her land, watching night return to life.

The salmon, the tortoises, and I — we will all be ready.

Featured image by Chris Richmond / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

by Deep Green Resistance Great Basin at December 09, 2019 12:00 PM


Labour Is Combatting Cynicism With Hope

While Boris Johnson’s Conservatives rely on a narrative that nothing could possibly get better, the transformative project of Corbynism rebuffs this cynicism — and isn’t afraid to speak in terms of hope.

alt Supporters listen to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during an election campaign event at Colwyn Bay Leisure Centre on December 08, 2019 in Llanfairfechan, Wales. Christopher Furlong / Getty

When Jeremy Corbyn launched the Labour manifesto in Birmingham last month, he referred to it as “a manifesto of hope.” If you live in the UK in 2019, and earn less than, say . . . £80k a year, then hope must feel in short supply. A decade of Tory rule has seen a fall in living standards through the implementation of a destructive — and often deadly — program of austerity. The bungled aftermath of the Brexit referendum has helped give power to the Tory far right; their victory at the upcoming election directly threatens the future of the NHS and the environment. Meanwhile, the left-wing alternative, represented by Corbyn, has been constantly monstered in both broadcast and print media — despite the transparently monstrous figures who comprise the current Tory government.

It was in the last election in 2017 that the Labour Party, which had been half-expecting a heavy defeat, began to surge in the polls over the course of the campaign — and ultimately succeeded in depriving the Tories of their majority. A sudden outburst of hope, driven by grassroots activists, conquered the dominant narrative of despair.

“Hope” has become a powerful message for Labour to be running on. If nothing else, it contrasts strongly with what’s on offer from the Tories, whose most ambitious policy beyond the vacuous promise to “Get Brexit done” — something they’ve failed to do during more than three years in office — is the launch of a £2 billion “pothole fund” to help fix the country’s horribly maintained roads. (The fund is apparently only sufficient to fill one-fifth of the holes.)

The Tories are the party of a cynicism that has become dominant in British politics for decades — a cynicism that allows people like Boris Johnson to get away with constantly lying and plotting to make people’s lives worse, relying on a belief that “all politicians are the same,” and all we can ever do is grimly joke about them.

For the cynic, better things just aren’t possible: they are a childish delusion that must be purged from the horizons of our imagination. This cynicism is thus closely related to what Mark Fisher called capitalist realism: “the widespread sense that not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but also that it is now impossible even to imagine a coherent alternative to it.” One way of viewing such cynicism is as a sort of defense mechanism: the cynic is never disappointed in their hopes, because any hopes they once possessed have already been disavowed. This disenchantment extends across much of British society, and it is certainly pervasive among mainstream journalists: take, for example, this Sky News anchor’s incredulous response to the Labour manifesto’s use of poetry (“you can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep the spring from coming”), in which he appears to deny even the possibility of metaphor.

Much of Corbyn’s campaign relies on igniting hope and pitting it against cynicism, which is the attitude that benefits the ruling class. But to what extent should we trust politicians who speak in the language of hope? Perhaps the politician most strongly associated with hope in the Anglosphere is Barack Obama. The word appeared under the image of Obama, illuminated in red and blue, on that iconic 2008 presidential campaign poster by Shepard Fairey. “That’s what this election is about,” the then–Illinois state senator Obama told the Democratic National Convention in his 2004 keynote address, the speech that launched him to national prominence. Referring to the upcoming presidential contest between John Kerry and George W. Bush, Obama asked his audience, “Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or do we participate in a politics of hope?” He continued:

I’m not talking about blind optimism here — the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don’t think about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it . . . I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores . . . Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!

But was Obama ever really offering anything more substantial than wishful thinking? As president, Obama embraced drone warfare in the Middle East; deported more people than any other president before him; missed the opportunity to take real action on climate change; and betrayed the fight for abortion rights by failing to appoint a liberal replacement for the ultra-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. All these decisions were made with a strange, stoic detachment, as if capitulating to evil was just something sensible adults are supposed to do. Undoubtedly, the election of the United States’ first African-American president was historically significant — but he was ultimately succeeded by a nakedly open racist. More recently, Obama has appeared willing to act to undermine the Democratic left — who plausibly have the best hopes of beating Trump in 2020.

Originally, Fairey’s poster was captioned “Progress,” but he changed it to “Hope” after the Obama campaign said they wanted to push the latter message instead (apparently Obama’s team considered Progress to be too Marxist a sentiment). In Obama’s 2004 speech, “hope” is a maximally inclusive principle that can be identified with a belief in an ideal America where class and race are no barriers to success, and where voters in red states and blue states can be united in patriotism, regardless of their views on whether or not the United States ought to be in the business of lying its way into being allowed to start pointless, endlessly destructive wars.

Given the failures of “hopeful” politicians like Obama, it might seem tempting to subscribe instead to the line pushed by Greta Thunberg, who, in her breakthrough speech at Davos earlier this year, declared to the assembled superrich movers and shakers that, in the context of the climate emergency, “hope” was little more than an empty substitute for real action. “Adults keep saying,” she told them, “‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope.’ But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic.”

For Thunberg, it is only through this panic that the ruling class can be stirred into real action. But it should be emphasized that Thunberg was not speaking out against hope as such. Rather, she was arguing against hope as an excuse for inaction. In regards to climate change, the hopes of the global superrich are toxic to the rest of humanity, who face a future of floods, fires, and storms. We have to be clear that our hopes are directly opposed to theirs.

The hope that Corbyn heralds is different. His hope is a hope that really can be transformative, because it opposes: it dares to oppose the cynicism, complacency, and casual violence of a ruling class whose legitimacy ought to have been eclipsed a long time ago. With this opposition, a more general cynicism can be dissolved into solidarity. “Ignore the wealthy and powerful,” Corbyn pleads, “who tell you” that our hopes aren’t possible. “The future is ours to make, together.”

by Tom Whyman at December 09, 2019 11:49 AM

Islands in the Flood

When I step from the timeless present to time again, the horror would overwhelm me, but for the utopian light, the other side of darkness. Utopia is not fanciful. Our lives are that. It is imaginative and true. Utopia is possible. It is our weakness which makes it apparently impossible.

by Patrick Noble at December 09, 2019 11:38 AM

By Claiming to be ‘Beyond Politics’, Extinction Rebellion is Undermining its Own Cause

XR has tried to put itself ‘beyond politics’, steering clear of parliamentary machinations, in a bid to broaden its appeal and express the urgency and scale of the crisis to as many people as possible. But with the most important election of a generation looming in the UK, is it now time for XR to use its reach to grapple directly with the workings of this country?

by Paddy Bettington at December 09, 2019 11:16 AM

Big Oil Needs to Pay for the Damage It Caused

Put another way, those who made their money peddling fossil fuels—the executives and shareholders holding funds—owe something to those who got hurt. It’s not, in the bigger picture, all that different from the demand for reparations by African American descendants of slaves—claims that in recent months more than a few institutions have begun to pay, among a growing number of faith denominations, universities and politicians, including presidential candidates, have begun to publicly endorse.

by Bill McKibben at December 09, 2019 11:07 AM


No, Finland Is Not a “Capitalist Paradise”

In Finland, the government owns nearly one-third of the nation's wealth, and 90 percent of workers are covered by a union contract. That may not be socialism, but it's also not a “capitalist paradise,” as the New York Times ridiculously claimed over the weekend.

alt Helsinki, Finland around midnight on June 20, 2011. Jennifer Woodard Maderazo / Flickr

Over the weekend, Anu Partanen and Trevor Corson published a piece in the New York Times that argues Finland is actually a “capitalist paradise.” The article is a very familiar one to those who keep track of this debate. It notes that Finland has high taxes and a generous welfare state, but then says that the country is otherwise quite capitalist and perhaps even more capitalist than America.

Unlike most people who write this sort of piece, the authors here are not being malicious. Partanen is trying to open Americans up to the glories of a comprehensive welfare state and thinks that downplaying the other socialized aspects of the Finnish economy is a good way to do that. She might very well be right about her rhetorical strategy, but ultimately it is simply not true that Finland’s economic model is just ordinary capitalism with generous social benefits.

For starters, the Finnish government owns nearly one-third of the nation’s wealth. For the United States to match that amount, the US government would need to move about $35 trillion of assets into public ownership.


The Finns also have a large public sector, meaning that it’s not just wealth that is much more socialized but also production. Around one-fourth of Finnish workers are employed in general government services like child care, education, and health care. Another 7 percent are employed in state-owned enterprises like the country’s nationalized airliner, Finnair.

The United States would need to shift 24.7 million workers out of the private sector and into the public sector to match Finland. It would also need to expand its state-owned enterprise portfolio beyond the postal service, Amtrak, and the Tennessee Valley Authority to include things like American Airlines, Exxon Mobil, and Verizon.

Outside of the explicitly socialized areas of public ownership and public production, Finland also has a large and powerful labor movement that clearly gives Finnish workers significant power over the economy. Around 90 percent of Finnish workers are covered by a union contract. To get America up to Finnish levels, it would need to unionize an additional 119 million workers.

As we learned a couple of weeks ago, unionized Finns are not mere paper members either. In November, as a response to 700 postal workers receiving a pay cut, as many as 60,000 workers (in a nation of 2.2 million workers) went out on strike in solidarity, shutting down ports, railroads, buses, and airlines. The pay cuts were cancelled, and the prime minister resigned after misleading the public about the matter. Another 100,000 Finnish workers are expected to go on strike this week, causing production losses of hundreds of millions of euros, as part of contract negotiations in the industrial sector.

None of this is to say that Finland is a full-blown socialist society, whatever that might look like. It definitely could and should be more socialized and left wing than it is. But in saying this, we should not lose sight of how different Finland really is from the United States. To match the Finnish economic model, the United States would need to not only build a social-democratic welfare state, but also socialize $35 trillion of assets, unionize 120 million workers, and move 25 million workers into the public sector.

As much as moderates like to posture as admirers of Finland and the Nordic model more generally, they never seem much interested in proposals to move the US in these socializing directions.

by Matt Bruenig at December 09, 2019 10:55 AM

An Educational Manifesto

Education over the last two centuries has had the unprecedented and noble goal of reaching everyone, of every race, gender, and economic class. That’s a good thing and shouldn’t be lost; but we have to ask ourselves: Is the universal public . . . experience . . . we foist on our children actually education, and is it any good?

by Damaris Zehner at December 09, 2019 10:47 AM


In Marseille, the French Left is Finally Uniting

For years, divisions on France’s left have helped Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen dominate the political terrain. But in the country’s second city, grassroots pressure has forced them to put aside their differences — and ahead of March 2020’s elections, they’re promising to launch a “Marseille Spring.”

alt The Marseille harbor. Andy Wright / flickr

The working-class port city of Marseille has always had something of an independent streak — and today, that extends to politics.

Galvanized by fears of being crowded out by the competition, left-wing activists in this age-old melting pot on the shores of the Mediterranean are setting aside their differences — and working together. Ahead of municipal elections set for March, the Socialist Party (PS), La France Insoumise, the French Communist Party, and former presidential candidate Benoît Hamon’s Génération.s. are all running under a single ticket: Le Printemps Marseillais, or Marseille Spring.

Such an alliance stands in stark contrast to the main forces at the national level, a landscape dominated by Emmanuel Macron’s centrist La République en Marche! and Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National. But Marseille Spring isn’t just hoping to make a good showing. Indeed, if the city’s past voting patterns are any indication, this brand-new coalition stands a decent chance of actually taking over municipal government.

“We’re in this to win it,” Jean-Marc Coppola, a Communist member of the city’s municipal council and prominent backer of Marseille Spring, tells Jacobin. “We’re in this to really change things in this city. That means having a new team and a new, more democratic way of running the city.”

Marseille has long suffered from its rough-and-tumble image, caricatured as a beacon of crime and corruption. The reputation is unfair, no doubt, but it hasn’t been helped by the city’s current mayor, Jean-Claude Gaudin, an eighty-year-old member of the right-wing Republicans finally stepping down in spring after twenty-five years at the helm. Gaudin has faced well-documented accusations of clientelism — with his administration allegedly doling out services like social housing and public-sector jobs on the basis of personal relationships. (Last month, government auditors accused Gaudin of mismanaging the city’s civil service, authorizing relatively short working hours and keeping certain employees on above the retirement age, including his seventy-nine-year-old chief of staff.)

This situation has helped to fuel widespread cynicism about local politics, as economic hardship runs rampant for many residents: the unemployment rate for Marseille and the nearby suburb of Aubagne, for example, stands at 11 percent (nearly three percentage points above the figure for metropolitan France as a whole) while poverty rates in some neighborhoods hover around a whopping 70 percent. Backers of the Left coalition say all of that can change.

“My grandmother has an image that’s very easy to understand,” says Benoît Payan, the head of the Socialist opposition in city council and a supporter of Marseille Spring. “When you want to start cleaning a staircase, you start at the top and you finish at the bottom. Getting the city back on track means attacking those promoters and bankers doing business on the backs of the poor. These people shouldn’t benefit from public money.”

As the Communist representative Coppola puts it, “Marseille isn’t a poor city, it’s a very unequal city.”

“A New Actor in the Game”

The bid for unity on the Left may seem surprising. National leaders of the Socialist Party and La France Insoumise (LFI) remain far apart from one another in both ideology and practice. One is seen as tainted by the presidency of François Hollande and decades of opportunistic compromise; the other as a pack of sectarians who consistently overestimate their public support. The Communists, too, have a complicated relationship with LFI. While they backed Mélenchon’s presidential campaign in 2017, they maintain a separate parliamentary group and ran their own list in this year’s European elections.

However, these distinctions tend to matter less on the local level — but especially when, as in Marseille, all three parties are in opposition, and perhaps even more so when they need one another’s support to win. (The Marseille Spring coalition has also earned backing from Ensemble!, a small group on the left flank of LFI, while the more movement-oriented New Anticapitalist Party has not thrown in its support.)

Still, Marseille’s left alliance isn’t the mere product of good will between rival political parties. Above all, it’s the result of grassroots pressure, spurred on by fatal tragedy. As the thirty-seven-year-old community activist Mathilde Chaboche explains over coffee at downtown Place Stalingrad, Mayor Gaudin’s increasingly unpopular tenure has helped push people into action, but a major turning point came with the so-called “drama of the Rue d’Aubagne.” Last November, two dilapidated buildings collapsed in the heart of the city, killing six people. The disaster shined light on the city’s housing crisis — and, more broadly, public neglect for Marseille’s least well-off. “It led many come to terms with the depth of the crisis faced by our city, and including people who were not politicized, people who were interested in the public sphere, but weren’t practicing politics on a daily basis,” Chaboche says of the building collapses.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Mathilde Chaboche and others formed the Mad Mars collective. Their founding goal was simple, she says: to put the Left in a position to win the next municipal elections, and therefore, to build the largest possible coalition. In late 2018, Mad Mars began working with other groups of left-wing activists called “Reinventing the Left” and “Marseille and Me.” Through conversations and public forums, they sought to build popular demand for a united left-wing ticket in 2020.

“At the beginning, a year ago, it maybe seemed a bit crazy. People would say ‘this a nice idea,’ but given the divisions, the quarrels between parties, everyone’s egos, it seemed an insurmountable task,” Chaboche says. “We said maybe we need a new actor in the game — citizens without partisan hats who just share the idea of taking back their city back. This happened to echo what was happening with the Yellow Vests in terms of reappropriating the public sphere and thinking about public policies by grassroots citizens who aren’t necessarily affiliated with a party.”

In the early months of 2019, the coalition of activist groups grew larger and ramped up conversations with political parties, dubbing itself the “Movement Without Precedent.” Then, in July, it published an op-ed in national daily Libération, calling for a united left ticket in Marseille. The group has since settled on a much snappier name — and won support from the local General Confederation of Labour (CGT) trade union — but has maintained its unique structure: decisions are approved by a coalition “parliament” divided equally between a “citizens’” branch and a “political” branch, giving founding grassroots members as much sway as the political parties they’ve rallied to the cause.

That hasn’t dissuaded political parties from coming on board. “The situation demands it,” says the Socialist Benoît Payan. “When we’re the second biggest city in the world’s fifth largest power faced with major crises — when 250,000 people live in precarity, when 100,000 people live in housing that’s dangerous to their health or security, when 2,600 people die each year from pollution . . . when everything is lacking in this city, we step up and take our responsibilities.”

The Path to Victory

Assuming no single list wins an outright majority in the first round, Marseille’s municipal election — as in other major French cities — will head to a runoff round. That final round will feature every list that has received at least 10 percent of the first-round vote, while lists with at least 5 percent of the vote will be authorized to lend their support to another list. In the runoff round, it pays heavily to come in first. In addition to capturing city hall, the winning ticket earns a bonus share of city council members.

The idea behind forming Marseille Spring months ahead of the election — as opposed to throwing together a haphazard, last-minute alliance after the first-round — is to put the Left in a position of power for the runoff round. And the stakes are high: in Marseille, the right-wing Republicans and far-right National Rally (the former National Front) are also both expected to qualify for the second round. By securing a strong first-round showing for the Left, supporters of Marseille Spring aim to prevent a scenario in which voters feel pressure to support the mainstream right in order to deny control of the city to the far right: in other words, to avoid a grim showdown between the city’s tainted establishment and something that could be far worse.

There are still some obstacles, though. While the Left coalition can point to an impressive amount of unity thus far, it’s nevertheless marked by a major absence: the Green Party. While some Green activists have broken from party leadership and chosen to support Marseille Spring, the party has officially voted to run its own list in March — at least for now.

“They’ve decided to play a more electoral game, where they can make alliances in the second round to gain power,” says Théo Challande, a dissident member of the Greens who’s closely involved in Marseille Spring. “I think there’s a complete disconnect from Marseille and the reality of people’s daily lives.”

The Left coalition is still hoping to win over formal Green support — and a recent poll helps explain why. It found various hypothetical candidates for Le Pen’s Rassemblement National and the right-wing Republicans leading the pack, followed by around 13–14 percent for each of Marseille Spring and the Greens. (At the same time, observers caution against reading too much into these figures — indeed, the left-wing coalition has yet to name its mayoral candidate and the survey also included another Socialist who would only run in a single part of the city.)

No matter what, the fortunes of Marseille Spring will hinge heavily on voter turnout. Marseille is a solidly left-wing city — but only when people show up at the polls. For example, in the first round of the last presidential election, marked by 75 percent participation, voters preferred Jean-Luc Mélenchon of La France Insoumise to any other candidate. In contrast, European elections this May saw turnout drop to 43 percent, resulting in a first-place finish for Marine Le Pen’s National Rally. The swing was especially staggering in the city’s low-income northern neighborhoods, where less than a third of voters showed up to the polls.

The current administration has thrived on voter apathy — especially among the working class — and it’s exactly what Marseille Spring hopes to reverse.

“We can create popular energy, which is to say, we want to go talk to the 50 percent of Marseille residents who didn’t vote, not because they’re against civic engagement, but because they don’t think politics gives them anything,” says Communist city councilor Copolla. “Marseille is still a city that is majority working class and a majority left-wing.”

With the exception of Paris — which the Socialists, Communists, and Greens govern together — arguably no other left-wing electoral coalition is operating on quite the same scale as in Marseille. In the southwestern city of Toulouse, the “Citizens’ Archipelago” list has united Greens and La France Insoumise, but the Socialists and Communists have opted to run their own separate list. Varying left-wing coalitions are also active in medium-size cities like Grenoble (currently held by the Greens) and in Villeurbanne, a suburb of Lyon. But in many other large cities that the Left either hopes to win or hold on to—Nantes, Lille, Montpellier, Rennes, and Le Havre, among others—parties have yet to firm up plans. As campaign season heats up, it could be hard for them to ignore what’s happening in Marseille.

“I don’t think we should have the pretention to say what we’re doing needs to be perfectly replicated elsewhere,” says Théo Challande. But he acknowledges there’s growing attention — from the press and from left-wingers nationwide. “They’re saying something is happening in Marseille.”

by Cole Stangler at December 09, 2019 10:01 AM


Strengthening horizontal learning among KPL farmers

On 19 April 2019, two days after the First Peasants Agroecology Summer School at Mariwa Village in Migori County, members of Kenyan Peasants League (KPL) Mulo and Mariwa Clusters visited the Kurutyange Cluster as part of KPL Farmer to Farmer Exchange visits to enhance horizontal learning among the farmers. Kurutyange Cluster being a new Cluster benefited from the experience of Mulo and Mariwa Clusters.

Six homesteads were visited during the exchange after which a joint meeting was held at Marwa Chacha’s homestead. One of the homesteads visited was mzee Ibrahim’s home that has integrated use of medicinal trees and herbs to cure local diseases including livestock diseases.

The main food crops grown in Kurutyange Cluster include Sorghum, millet, maize, beans and sweet potatoes. Members also rear chicken, goats, cows and sheep.

Effects of climate change

The delegates had an opportunity to witness how climate change is affecting peasant agriculture due to weather shift. Many farmers relying on the local farming calendar had ploughed their land but had not planted as they were still waiting for the rains. The rains have delayed in this season and it is worrying the local farmers. The farmers proposed the development of integrated rain Water Harvesting in the area including adopting drought resistant crops like millet and sorghum.

Developing local markets

“People don’t buy eggs instead they get it from their chicken. Trade can also be done through farmers” This was in reference to a discussion on creating alternative markets and self-sufficiency of farmers in Kurutyange Cluster. According to Rhobi Susan a member of KPL Women Collective and also from Kurutyange Cluster, the farmers have reduced buying products like eggs as each homestead has to rear chicken. Those who don’t have enough buy from fellow cluster members in a bid to create an alternative market.

Other land uses in Kurutyange cluster

Kurutyange is located in a hilly area that has strong winds especially during dry seasons and according to Marwa the local Convener of KPL, each homestead in Kurutyange cluster has grown trees to break the wind. Euphorbia candelabrum known locally as “Bondo” and Ficus capensis known as “Bongu” in Luo dialect is some of the trees grown by the farmers in Kurutyange. The trees are grown during the long rain season through propagating cuttings and seedlings. 

Mzee Chacha demonstrated to the delegates how to propagate Bondo which has a variety of uses including use as firewood, roofing, making beehives and also a bee forage among others. Mzee Chacha shared some cuttings with the delegates. Bongu is a large deciduous tree growing to up to twenty meters and has several uses including making furniture, beehives, utensils, boat building, edible fruits and also a bee forage.

Future challenges to peasant farming: Food Crops Regulation

Recently the Kenyan government proposed Food Crops Regulations 2019 that prohibits the use of animal manure and rearing of animals and growing of crops on the same piece of land. Such regulations will destroy the peasant farming system which relies on mixed farming practices. It would be an affront against the farmers in Kurutyange Cluster who rear chicken, goats, sheep, cattle and also grow crops.

Furthermore, the regulations also prohibit farming along the roads and KPL wonders how the rural farmers living along the roads would survive.

KPL believes that the regulations are aimed at promoting the interests of agribusiness. Some provisions of the regulation require farmers to use chemical fertilizers from specific companies expose the county governments to manipulations by the private companies. KPL has petitioned the Nairobi County Assembly, the Senate and the National Assembly on the regulations.

By Michal Awuor, KPL Youth Collective and David Otieno

The post Strengthening horizontal learning among KPL farmers appeared first on Via Campesina English.

by nyoni at December 09, 2019 09:50 AM

Athens,Greece: Belgian Anarchist comrade accused for ‘Possession of explosives’

Belgian comrade accused for ‘Possession of explosives’
On the evening of 5th of December, in the neighborhood of Holargos,
Athens, a Belgian anarchist got intercepted by two uniformed cops in a
patrol car, seemingly carrying out a random ID check and search. Seeing that the comrade appeared in the police database and the cops found some items on him which they considered suspicious, he was taken to Holargos police station. After some fruitless attempts of interrogation by the local cops, cops from state security arrived and laid on more pressure, again without results. The state security cops took the comrade to their offices on the 6th floor of the main police station (Gada), in the center of Athens.
At 4 in the morning he got transferred from there to the cell complex one floor up. Some hours later a house search was carried out on the comrades house, as well as on the house where his comrade and partner is staying, and the house of her parents. In all cases the cops left empty-handed. The partner was taken to the state security offices and was released after two hours. Later that day the arrested comrade appeared in front of a prosecutor which confirmed the accusation of ‘Possession of explosives’ formulated by the state security, referring to the items found on the comrade at the time of his arrest (fire starters, a bottle of cleaning product and anti-mosquito spiral). The next day, Saturday 7th of December, the comrade appeared in front of court where it was decided to postpone the trial until upcoming Thursday 12th of December. After the hearing, the comrade was released from custody.

The eagerness with which the media spoke about this case, regurgitating the lies of the cops or creating new ones as they went, doesn’t surprise us. Like this they fulfill their everlasting role of servants of power, reproducing and enforcing its words and its image at any possible occasion.
The eagerness with which the cops communicated to the media to give the basis to create this whole spectacle, of course doesn’t surprise us
either. Besides the fact that every state will seize any moment it sees
fit to show off with repressive blows against its enemies, the current
Greek government is particularly intensifying this whenever and wherever it can since it came to power in July this year. It goes hand in hand with the rather aggressive restructuring of its repressive presence in daily life.
As is known they are waging a general war against immigrants, anarchists, squatters, thieves, drug addicts and whoever
else who is unwanted, against or just useless to this system. It goes
without saying that every state is waging this war, although it seems
this government has made it into the spear tip of its existence.
In these changing times we stay who we are, armed with our anarchist
ideas and with the will to destroy what seeks to destroy any possible
We were and will always be on the side of those who choose to fight, to
sabotage and to attack power in all its forms and colors, wherever its
tentacles can be found.
Athens, December 8th 2019
Received on 8/12/19

by actforfreedom at December 09, 2019 08:25 AM

Canada : Fare Distribution Machines Disabled in Montreal Metro

 Over the past several days, motivated by an international call for transit fare strikes, the fare distribution machines in several metro stations were disabled by blocking the debit/credit card readers and coin slots.
The STM is continually hiking fares and deploying squads of wannabe-cop “inspectors” to harass, fine, and assault people over $3.50. Currently, the STM is even seeking to give its inspectors expanded powers to detain and arrest people and access police databases. Every effort to maintain and expand policing of people’s movements deserves to be met with resistance. Fortunately, there is no shortage of inspiration from around the world, above all the ongoing revolt in Chile.

These actions were experiments with some simple, effective, and fairly discreet means of sabotageing fare collection and enforcement. At this point in time, the method that gives us the most confidence is to apply super glue to both sides of a random unactivated gift card and insert it fully in the debit/credit card slot, and put more super glue in the coin slot after causing it to open by operating the machine as though you want to pay for a ticket with cash. We hope this technique can be reproduced widely alongside other tactics for taking these machines out of service.
Live free, ride free.
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

by actforfreedom at December 09, 2019 08:17 AM

Italy: “Prometeo” operation – Robert was released from prison (December 2nd, 2019)

As published by, we learn that Robert, an anarchist arrested on May 21st of this year for the “Prometeo” operation, was released from prison:
We learn that on 2 December 2019 they released Robert!
He is free and without measures and he is fine!
Beppe and Nat instead still remain in prison, respectively in Pavia and Piacenza.
Further updates coming soon!
Natascia, Giuseppe and Robert were arrested on May 21st, 2019, in the context of a repressive operation called “Prometeo” (“Prometheus”) and carried out by the ROS of carabinieri (“Special Operational Grouping”). Some searches have also been carried out. The main accusation is of “attack with terrorist or subversive purposes”, as they were held responsible for sending three bomb packages arrived in June 2017 to the prosecutors Rinaudo (prosecutor in several trials against the antagonist movement and the anarchists) and Sparagna (prosecutor in the trial for the “Scripta Manent” operation) and to Santi Consolo, at the time director of the DAP (“Department of Penitentiary Administration”), in Rome.

They are not accused of any “associative” crime (such as articles 270 or 270bis of Italian penal code). Natascia was arrested in France and was transferred to Italy, to the Rebibbia prison in Rome. Between July and August 2019, on several occasions, with the clear intention of weakening the conditions and aggravating the isolation, they were transferred to the prisons of Alessandria, L’Aquila, Terni, Sassari, Rossano Calabro, Piacenza and Pavia. In June, Natascia participated in the hunger strike against the restrictions and conditions of the women’s AS2 section of the prison of L’Aquila, which was destined to lock up the anarchists.
These are the addresses of Natascia and Giuseppe:
Natascia Savio
C. C. di Piacenza
strada delle Novate 65
29122 Piacenza
Italia – Italy
Giuseppe Bruna
C. C. di Pavia
via Vigentina 85
27100 Pavia
Italia – Italy

These are the coordinates of the bank accounts to use to support Natascia, Giuseppe and Robert (anarchist comrades arrested on May 21st, 2019, due to the repressive operation called “Prometeo”) and to contribute to their procedural expenses:
– Postepay evolution
Accountholder: Vanessa Ferrara.
N° 5333 1710 9103 5440
Iban: IT89U3608105138251086351095
– Postepay evolution
Accountholder: Ilaria Benedetta Pasini.
N° 5333 1710 8931 9699
Iban: IT43K3608105138213368613377
via: insuscettibilediravvedimento

by actforfreedom at December 09, 2019 08:12 AM

Athens ,Greece : Attack against surveillance systems company in Kaisariani area

While the garbage in uniforms occupied for another night Exarchia and the center of Athens, to fulfill the dreams of Mr. Chryssochidis of a dead and safe city, our ways lead to a soft target.
The image of George Orwell „1984“ is already reality. The internet of things implements televisions, refrigerators and other electronic stuff in our homes, in order to collect our data, to surveil our habits, to transform human life in digital algorithem. They call it Smart City, we call it a totalitarean society.
A company which sells the hard ware of the smart city and also its ideologie, is the security company „alphacom“. Alphacom not only provides this, but also cctv technology and other equipment for the rich and for authorities, to protect their interests. And last but not least, alphacom is selling and installing the products of Tyco. Tyco is a mulitinational company, which produces surveillance technologie for prisons worldwide and other security forces.

In the early hours of December 2, we burned the van of alphacom  in front of their shop in Kaisariani.
This fire was lit for anarchist prisoner Dino Giagtzoglou, who wrote a letter to the International Meeting against the Techno-Sciences in Italy (July 2019) *
in which he mentions many reasons to fight this part of the capitalist powersystem. We welcome the upcoming researches about the players in this game. **
This fire was also lit for Loic, still in prison in Hamburg.
Finally, this attack was made in solidarity and sympathy with those persecuted for the Revolutionary Self-Defense case, as well as those persecuted for good intentions, kinship or friendship. Our strength and solidarity are superior to the politics and repressive operations.
Strength to the comrades Michailidis, Athanassopoulou, Chatzivasileiadis, who are in illegality.



(translation, source

Received 06/12/2019

by actforfreedom at December 09, 2019 07:50 AM


(en) Czech, AFED: Memories across the Soviet dictatorship -- Review of the latest book from AF Publishing House [machine translation]

In October, the AF publishing house published another book depicting the history of the Soviet Union on the Tabook 2019 festival in Tabor. After a study of social resistance in the Soviet Union Steel Century by Vadim Damian, this is a highly personal memory. Andrei Nikitin, who is also the author of the foreword, managed to put together a book composed of the memories of the most interesting woman, Anna Mikhailovna Garasjov (1902-1994). ---- We will learn about her childhood and adolescence in Ryazan governorate and her father, who was responsible for shaping her later views. "Today I believe that the secretly tapped conversations from the beginning of the century played a part in our education, perhaps even the most important ones." she played a very important role in her life and with whom she also spent the last years of her life in a shared apartment. Have they been accused of belonging to a terrorist group (doesn't it remind you of anything in less than a hundred years?). Another narrative brings life closer to the Soviet repressive system that breathes on man even when he is finally "free". Describes how the Bolsheviks triggered a "mechanism of destruction of all with a different opinion", life in Chimkent, Kazakhstan, ...

by A-infos ( at December 09, 2019 07:43 AM

(en) [Spain] Madrid: Black Block at the Climate Demonstration By ANA (pt) [machine translation]

" All bullets will be returned " resonates in the streets of Chile. A territory that exploded in the face of misery and social inequalities. Meanwhile, his government presides over the summit from which we are supposed to wait for the definitive change to stem the devastation. ---- The owners of the world who allowed, managed and took advantage of global capitalism are now promising us salvation. Meanwhile, people wait. It took years, some a lifetime, waiting. But change will not come if we keep hoping that they will grant us the same ones who trample us. ---- Because we believe that only direct action can bring about change, because we want to take the future into our own hands; we carry out this call of active and offensive character, this call to attack and take change of action. The indignation was never enough. The same companies that sponsor COP25, the same political representatives who participate in it, are to blame. Our future depends on our being able to face them. ...

by A-infos ( at December 09, 2019 07:42 AM

(en) Union Communiste Libertaire Nantes - Tomorrow, the crowd! (fr) [machine translation]

Two months that the ucl militant.e.s, with their unions and collective struggles, are doing everything they can on their modest scale so that December 5th is the beginning of a renewable and general strike, able to turn this government back. ---- Two months that we are planning tours in the services or workshops, which we discuss every day with our colleagues at work, that we share the releases of flyers and Poster Collages, exchange with our comrades in meetings that often end up Late. ---- Finally, here we are. Last preparations, last exchanges at the coffee break, last brush on the banner... ---- On our shoulders we all have the weight of past defeats, in the face of powers ready to everything to break our social class. ---- But for a few weeks we also have hope, a little song that goes up slowly and that we recognize. A Black December? Trains at the stop? Closed Schools? What do you think? The mood is excited on bfmtv. And then there's all the earth shaking under our feet: Hong Kong, Chile, Lebanon, Ecuador, Colombia... how not to look to them and hope. ...

by A-infos ( at December 09, 2019 07:41 AM

(en) Greece, liberta salonica: Anarchist Federation calls on marches for December 6th [machine translation]

On the streets of the struggle to break the climate of terrorism that the state power is trying to impose. ---- On December 6, 2008, 15-year-old anarchist student Alexandros Grigoropoulos is cold-blooded in Exarchia by the ELAS special guard. Epaminondas Corconea. Then, for a month, the whole of Greece was overwhelmed by a pervasive wave of social uprising, which manifested itself as a spontaneous and angry response to the state's unpredictable and violent repression. December 2008 was the time when the glass overflowed, triggering a social explosion. There has been one of the many moments in the continuing history of human history, in which the world of the sovereigns has been stripped down, thus demonstrating to the wider social majority that the reproduction of the system of human exploitation by man is based solely on violence. The state assassination of Alexander Grigoropoulos was not a bad moment either, not a single incident of police arbitrariness. After December 2008 there was a long period of increased repression, the "release" of the cops, who were daily harassed on the streets, beaten and dragged ... Obviously, when you release the dogs of repression, you should expect some time "They will also reach the level of depriving human life. ...

by A-infos ( at December 09, 2019 07:41 AM

(en) ait russia: Chronicle of protests in Chile: 40 and 42 days of protests and the statement of the anarchist group Germinal [machine translation]

November 27, the 40th day of the uprising. President Pinhera, whose support in society has fallen to 9%, still does not advance a centimeter in accepting the demands of a protesting street. And the parliamentary commission rejected the charge of violating human rights against the Minister of Internal Affairs Chadwick, one of the main organizers of the repression. Meanwhile, the general strike scheduled for this day received massive support, although not as massive as the November 12 strike. However, in the morning, 100,000 people gathered in Santiago on Dignity Square and marched along Alameda to Las Heroes, demanding improvements in pensions, salaries, healthcare and education. By evening, the number of protesters decreased: someone was tired, someone got home early on foot due to lack of transport, someone was unhappy with the monotony of the protest ... Others remained in place. From the speakers are the music of Kenny Arkana and Molotov. Anarchists hand out leaflets and brochures, and front line activists confront the police. Police officers seize four people in hoods for throwing incendiary bombs. They were tracked down by drones and police dignitaries. Right in the middle of Alameda, the police take out weapons and threaten the demonstrators from a distance of just a few meters. In the evening, one of the agents was beaten and hung right on ...

by A-infos ( at December 09, 2019 07:40 AM

Athens, Greece : Info about the solidarity march with the insurgents of Chile

On Thursday 28/11/19, a solidarity march with the Chilean rebels took place in the centre of Athens. About 350+ comrades participated in this protest shouting slogans against repression, squat evictions and for solidarity with the insurgents of Chile.
The presence of the cops was particularly provocative and vulgar especially when the march passed in front of the town hall. The general impression was that this provocation was aiming at the repression of the demonstration. Also evident was the presence of the Delta cops in the nearby streets.
The demo ended in Messolongiou and Tzavela Street in Exarchia at the monument of the anarchist student Alexandros Grigoropoulos where the main banner entitled  ”December 2008 Greece – October 2019
Chile – To connect the insurrections of yesterday and today – Dignity,
Resistance, Solidarity” was hung.
Solidarity to the Chilean insurgents.
To spread the seeds of insurrection on our terraces.
Everyone on the streets.
Assembly of Solidarity with the insurrection in Chile
 Photos of the demonstration :
Translated by Act for freedom now!

by actforfreedom at December 09, 2019 07:37 AM


(en) anarchist communist group ACG: Chile update

Since the uprising in Chile that began on October 18th (see our previous article, Chile - Rebellion and Repression, many have been tortured and murdered by the police and military with thousands of arrests. Many have been blinded by rubber bullets and there have been cases of rape and sexual abuse by the forces of the State, including a 14-year-old girl. Bodies have been dumped in supermarkets or set on fire to dispose of evidence of murder. Just as with the Pinochet coup, centres have been set up for the detention of protestors, the principal one being the Baquedano Metro station in Santiago. Twenty-six deaths have so far been reported, with 1,100 claims of torture and 70 reports of sexual abuse. There was a two-day national strike that brought Chile to a halt, accompanied by huge demonstrations in Santiago and other major cities. The union bureaucrats tried to have a rolling programme of strikes in order to defuse the situation, starting with dockers and State employees but hundreds of thousands, including education workers and transport workers, joined the strike movement in late November. This followed two previous strike movements on October 23rd and November 12th. ...

by A-infos ( at December 09, 2019 07:27 AM

(en) [Greece] Video | In Pasaran: Anarchists Turn Night into Solidarity with Okupas Under Greek State Attack - ANA (pt) [machine translation]

On Tuesday, December 3, 2019, okupas in Thessalonica sent their own message to the 15-day ultimatum issued by the Ministry of Public Order to dozens of political and refugee okupations across Greece (some over 30) to evacuate the buildings or face violent evictions by riot police and special police forces. The deadline ends Thursday night, December 5, 2019, a political decision by the Greek state to provoke and create an "explosive atmosphere", while December 6 is a day of memory for 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos. which was killed by police in Exarchia, Athens in 2008. If the mass evictions take place on December 5, they will coincide with dozens of protests in Greece on this day against police brutality and political repression. Indeed, no squatting or self-organizing space in Greece accepted the state ultimatum. Instead, we witnessed movements like the one described in the video, where anarchists in Thessalonica hung a huge banner in solidarity with the okupas at the top of the Thessaloniki Workers Center building, in the red light of the blazing fire at night, sending a message that this will not be an easy fight for the Greek state and the Greek police. ...

by A-infos ( at December 09, 2019 07:27 AM

(en) cnt-ait: CHILE: Some news from Germinal Anarquist Group (2019-12-04). " just know it's not Marx. It's more like Bakunin." (fr)

[After one month of harsh struggle]here in Concepción we have not yet had detained companions, or prisoners, even if some have been wounded with pellets in the first weeks of struggle. ---- Here a strong presence has been maintained in the street and also in some neighborhoods organizing or participating in self-convened assemblies, where the way of organizing has been very interesting, very anarchist style. It has been possible to maintain a strong fight until today December 3 without lowering our arms, everywhere in the same way, this in Santiago, Valparaiso, Iquique, Tocopilla, Puerto monte, that is to say in almost the entire national territory. ---- I send you a text, which we sent at the beginning of the popular uprising and which is still very valid. Especially today, that the government has pointed out that the enemies that started the fires, looting and that today maintain the streets taken are the Anarchists, therefore, they seek to initiate a repressive campaign against groups and individuals. ...

by A-infos ( at December 09, 2019 07:25 AM

(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire AL #299 - Essay: State Enemies, Rogue Laws, Anarchists to Terrorists (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

May 1, 1891. A procession of twenty anarchists parade, red flag fluttering in the wind from Levallois to Clichy, goes after the demonstration at a wine merchant. A troop of gendarmes burst to call them. ---- It has been forbidden since 1872 to belong to the International Workers' Association (AIT), and a red or black flag can drive you to prison. Shots go off, three anarchists are seriously wounded and arrested. They are raped at the police station and refuse to treat them. Two of them will be sentenced to several years in prison. ---- In response, Ravachol poses a few months later three bombs. One at the president's office, one at the general's office and one in front of a barracks. This is the first in a long series of anarchist attacks, born from this episode of police violence. It lasts two years, until the assassination of President Sadi Carnot, through the bomb Vaillant exploding in the House of Representatives by making only a few minor injuries. ...

by A-infos ( at December 09, 2019 07:25 AM

TOTW: Islands in the Stream

My entry to anarchy had everything to do with attraction to the people I met who shared core values, and to whom I was personally attracted, sometimes romantically, sometimes just by affinity, often it was all mixed up.

I recently had the opportunity to see a screening of the film Animal People, a documentary about the SHAC USA campaign, which was, arguably, organized on anarchic, decentralized methods. I was reminded of how much face-to-face interactions played a critical role in finding my comrades. In particular, I was struck b the way face-to-face relations led to the SHAC 7 not snitching eachother out, which was not universal to the Green Scare.

Members of SHAC USA present for the panel discussion spoke to why they didn't turn on each other. It seemed both intuitive to me, and also like an echo of some nostalgic memory. This type of (counter?) socialization now feels largely moribund, and I wonder how younger anarchists today make those same connections.

I am an anarchist of a certain (middle) age, and a lot of the anarchists I found initially are now socialists, democratic socialists, or just boring liberals.
This Topic of the Week is geared towards younger set: How do you find your Islands in the Stream?

by ingrate at December 09, 2019 03:42 AM


Political Prisoner Antonio Nieto Galindo: The Constitution is a Farce

Antonio Nieto Galindo has been demanding his freedom after more than 40 years of imprisonment in prisons in Spain and France. He is imprisoned for bank expropriations. After several years in prison in Spain, and now they are preparing to transfer him to France where he was sentenced to two life sentences without attending the trial His statement: Today, December 6, 2019, a holiday in the Spanish state, to celebrate 41 years of the approval of the Constitution, I, Antonio Nieto Galindo, known as Antoine, imprisoned since February 9, 1979, serving a limited penalty of one total of 50 years, 7 months and 7 days, which I will leave on January 3, 2020.

December 09, 2019 12:00 AM

Participants Speak About Notara 26 Squat in Exarchia

“Lonewolf” I was working with an American NGO for refugees. A few Notara residents were participating in workshops the NGO was running and they told me about their lives. I had never heard of such things as squats before. I said – “ok, I’m a refugee too, I’ll go and see what’s going on there”. I saw a different vision of the world. It was so different to everything else I’d found in Europe.

December 09, 2019 12:00 AM