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November 15, 2019

InterPressService (global south)

Summary Report on the event of GGGW2019

GGGW2019 was held in InterContinental Seoul COEX from Oct. 21 – 24

By Ha Young Kim
Nov 15 2019 (IPS-Partners)

It has been a great experience for me to attend the Global Green Growth Week (GGGW) 2019 hosted by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), a treaty-based international, inter-governmental organization dedicated to supporting and promoting strong, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth. Through this year’s event, I had the opportunity to learn more about green growth and listen to diverse opinions from policymakers, researchers, environmental experts, and representatives of the private sector from all over the world. Even though I had attended only two days of the one week event, I gained valuable knowledge from many interesting seminars and informative specialized sessions on topics regarding green growth and renewable energy,. I realized the importance of GGGI as a leading institute to implement a new development paradigm on a model of economic growth that is both environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the event, GGGW2019 is GGGI’s flagship conference to accelerate and scale-up the transition toward renewable energy in support of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement. This year was the 3rd instance event under the banner of “Unlocking Renewable Energy Potential” and it was held in InterContinental Seoul COEX from Oct. 21 – 25.

GGGW2019 Schedule at a Glance

On October 21, GGGW2019 began with the welcoming and opening remarks by the Director-General of GGGI, Dr. Frank Rijsberman, and the President and Chair, Mr. Ban Ki-moon. In his recorded address, President and Chair Ban Ki-moon emphasized the importance of the green energy transformation. He stated that it is important for the international community to adopt resolute measures to transform fossil fuel-based energy systems. He added that, “This transition towards renewable energy sources is not only about challenges. It presents new opportunities to modernize our energy systems, accelerate and diversify their economies, create green jobs, increase productivity and competitiveness and reduce poverty.”

Dr. Frank Rijsberman, the Director-General of GGGI, delivers his welcome and opening remarks

Chair and President Ban Ki-moon calls for international effort to achieve transition toward the sustainable development in his recorded address

Arthouros Zervos, Chair of REN21 presents his keynote on the first day of GGGW2019

After the opening remarks and keynote, there was a high-level panel moderated under GGGI Director-General, Frank Rijsberman. The panelists discussed the key approaches used in countries to support new clean energy systems and infrastructure as well as country experiences and their perspectives on approaches in achieving national economic growth and energy security objectives.

A special session on ‘Youth and Entrepreneurship in the 2030 Agenda’ organized by the Deputy Director-General, Hyoeun Jenny Kim.

In the afternoon, I attended the Parallel Session: Integrated Approaches to Clean Energy Infrastructure (GGKP Partner Presentations), during which panelists discussed to what extent energy infrastructure is significant for achieving the SDGs and how integrated approaches could be practiced to accelerate the action for the social, environmental, and economic aspects of sustainability. The speakers emphasized the role of the government to optimize the outcome by implementing policy and imposing subsidy.

GGGW2019 also offered the platform for the announcement of many new milestones for GGGI; the launch of GGGI’s Green Growth Index, the adoption of the GGGI Strategy 2030, and the announcement of Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s re-election as GGGI Assembly President and Council Chair were momentous proceedings of the event.

The Green Growth Index is the first benchmarked composite index designed to track and assess the performance of green growth based on efficient use of sustainable resources, natural capital protection, green economic opportunities, and social inclusion. Through this launch event, I could learn how the new index can be used to measure countries’ green growth performance and what the index means regarding their current green growth progress. Even though, at the regional level, some countries scored moderate in the index, considerable efforts are still needed to improve the performance at a global level. As a student majoring in Economics, I realized that there is a correlation between the environment and the country’s economy. It was interesting to observe how the concepts and theories that I learned in class were applied in the real-world situation to make the world a greener place.

Ms. Hyo-jung Go from the University of Utah Asia Campus delivers her speech on the role of youth in achieving the SDGs

I would like to express my sincere thanks to people who made the GGGW2019 possible and those who shared their experiences, knowledges, and perspectives during this event.

To learn more about GGGI, please visit

The post Summary Report on the event of GGGW2019 appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Ha Young Kim at November 15, 2019 03:13 PM


Your trees in Spain

trees planted 45,000
hectares restored 50
since 2017

Race against desertification

Your trees in Spain

Spain is home to 54% of Europe’s plant and animal species and it produces 12% of Europe’s fruits and vegetables. Europe’s food security is directly linked to Spain’s soil and water resources. Yet the country is quickly desertifying – a process your trees help counter.


Asociación Alvelal

Planting method

Seeding, nurseries

Planting season


Main threats

Desertification as a result of bad land use

Wildlife protected

Blue Jay, Ocellated Lizard, Iberian Lynx, Cinereous Vulture, Golden Eagle


Factory farming and industrial agriculture
Artboard 2

Top trees species

Pinus halepensis
Native Species
Juniperus phoenicea
Native Species
Juniperus oxycedrus
Native Species
Quercus ilex
Native Species
Quercus coccifera
Native Species
Rhamnus lycioides
Native Species

Restoring Europe's orchard

Millennials go farming
Your trees in Spain
More information about our work in Spain

by Fátima at November 15, 2019 02:27 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Los Angeles Joins a Global Movement to Protect Human Right to Water

Credit: Council of Canadians

By Vi Bui
OTTAWA, Canada, Nov 15 2019 (IPS)

On November 6, Los Angeles became the first major city in the United States to earn the designation of “Blue Community” – a bold move that will keep water protected from privatization.

Situated in the heart of the most water stressed region in the country, this is a historic move for LA, and signals the growing movement globally of communities standing up to protect their water.

The Blue Communities Project encourages municipalities and Indigenous communities to support the idea of a water commons framework, recognizing that water is a shared resource for all, by passing resolutions that:

    1. Recognize water and sanitation as human rights.
    2. Ban or phase out the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities and at municipal events.
    3. Promote publicly financed, owned and operated water and wastewater services.

Around the world, our water is under threat from over-extraction, pollution, industrial agriculture, and other projects. The looming climate crisis further intensifies all these risks. In fact, the New York Times recently reported that a quarter of the world’s population is facing a looming water crisis.

Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians calls our situation “the myth of abundance.” We take water for granted. Communities are going thirsty due to dried up rivers, lakes are being turned into tailing ponds, oceans are filling up with plastics, and yet governments are welcoming corporations to privatize their water with open arms.

The Blue Communities Project has resonated with water activists and communities across the world. Working to safeguard the human right to water from the ground up, the project promotes the water commons framework, shifting the view of water from a resource to extract and exploit, to a public trust and a commons to protect and promote.

Credit: Council of Canadians

We are fighting everyday against corporate water takings, new pipeline projects, and government austerity. Turning our communities “blue” presents an opportunity to reimagine a different kind of relationship to the resource that nourishes us.

Blue Communities around the world are also inoculating themselves against any risks threatening our water, like privatization, by building community resilience and grassroots power.

That is exactly why Los Angeles becoming a Blue Community was such a historic moment for the global water justice movement. Angelenos, as well as residents of surrounding regions, are no strangers to the water shortage and other threats facing their water.

A hot and dry climate and growing population quickly forced LA to look for other sources of water. Today, its residents get their water from a mix of groundwater, the nearby lakes and rivers, snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada, and imported water from the Colorado River through the Colorado River Aqueduct.

The region regularly experiences severe droughts, and access to water source has been a main source of conflict. Climate change has exacerbated the dry conditions through prolonged droughts, reduced rainfalls, and limits to the amount of snowpack available that feeds the many lakes and rivers in the region.

These threats put tremendous pressure on LA’s water and wastewater infrastructure, and putting many residents’ access to safe drinking water and sewer system at risk. Black and Hispanic communities in the Los Angeles – Long Beach area, are more likely to distrust the quality of their drinking water, according to the American Housing Survey in 2015.

Lower income communities are also more likely to experience negative health outcomes due to exposure to poorly treated coastal waters. To receive the Blue Communities designation, the LA Department of Power and Water has committed to assisting residents who need help paying their bill and avoiding shutting off water.

More than that, the city has guaranteed access to safe, clean drinking water and sanitation to its most vulnerable communities.

The City of Los Angeles has embraced an integrated water management system, and a mix of public education, innovative water recycling, and new technologies to deliver drinking water to its residents. This complex and vulnerable system requires a publicly owned and operated water and wastewater systems and services to survive crises and make sure it serves the communities first.

Recently, Californians recently got a taste of what its private utility does under a time of crisis during wildfires. The state private utility, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), was found to have caused past fires and cut off electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes to avoid liability from its equipment as the blazes spread.

PG&E’s many cost-cutting practices have put millions at risk, and reveals the danger of having essential services owned and operated by private companies, which put their shareholders’ interests above the public’s.

When the climate crisis is unravelling, letting corporate control run free could put vulnerable communities at risk. As the call to nationalize PG&E grows, we must work to keep our water and wastewater services public, and in the case of a vulnerable water sphere in Los Angeles, it is critical. Becoming a Blue Community s commits to just that.

Since the Blue Communities Project started in 2009, communities and water justice activists have brought the made-in-Canada vision around the world. Faith-based communities, universities and school boards joined the fight, and the movement has resonated in Europe, a hotbed of privatization and home to many multinational private water companies.

Paris, Berlin, Bern, and Munich have become Blue Communities after decades fighting privatization to solidify their commitment to protect their water in public hands. With Los Angeles on board, 23 million people around the world have embraced the water commons ethics.

As the first major U.S city to turn “blue”, LA is leading by example that protecting our water is a fight anyone can take up. We look forward to many other American communities joining this growing movement.

If you are looking for a handbook of where to start, read Maude Barlow’s latest book, Whose Water Is It Anyway: Keeping Water Protection in Public Hands (ECW Press). You can find out more about our project at

The post Los Angeles Joins a Global Movement to Protect Human Right to Water appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Vi Bui is Water Campaigner with the Council of Canadians

The post Los Angeles Joins a Global Movement to Protect Human Right to Water appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Vi Bui at November 15, 2019 02:24 PM


20 firms are behind a third of all carbon emissions. They're now highlighted on Ecosia.

20 firms are behind a third of all carbon emissions. They're now highlighted on Ecosia.

The Guardian, in collaboration with the Climate Accountability Institute, has revealed that 20 fossil fuel companies have been at the center of the climate crisis. Ecosia will highlight these firms (along with several other culprits) with a fossil fuel plant icon:

20 firms are behind a third of all carbon emissions. They're now highlighted on Ecosia.

Planet-friendly organizations, meanwhile, are highlighted with a green leaf.

We talked to Jonathan Watts, the Guardian’s global environment editor. He recently published an article revealing the 20 companies that are driving the climate emergency.

Ecosia: You revealed that only 20 companies are behind a third of all carbon emissions. What went through your mind when you made that discovery?

Jonathan Watts: I think it's horrifying that a third of all energy-related carbon emissions can be traced back to just 20 companies. It's horrifying because you see how the problem is concentrated in one area and how much some of these corporations knew fifty years or more ago.

And yet, at the same time, it's encouraging, because it reveals these pressure points, the source of the problem. Dealing with the problem at source, dealing with 20 companies, is surely more efficient than saying that all the world's 7+ billion people must do something. It's like trying to deal with a fire: you can never put out a fire unless you get to its source. And I think in this case the fire is the climate crisis and it's these 20 companies that are right there at the center of it.

How did you figure out who should be on this list?

We worked with an academic, Richard Heede, of the US-based Climate Accountability Institute. This institute does an incredible job in trying to tally which emissions originated where. And that's no easy feat. Richard Heede has been looking at this for a very long time, and he has a big team, many of them volunteers. They have to trawl through libraries around the world to try to find old company prospectuses, to see what companies said and did what in which year in the past. So it's an extraordinarily complex exercise involving many, many data points. Heede has dedicated himself to this and has come up with this unique list which recalibrates the responsibility for the climate crisis. It doesn't mean that consumers and end users are not responsible – we're all responsible. But it means that the onus should be more on the companies that have profited the most and known about the problem the longest.

Do the companies on the list have much in common?

I think you can separate the companies into two main groups, and some sub-groups. Of the top 20, 17 of them are oil and gas companies. Three of them are more involved in coal. So the type of fuel is one dividing line. In the petrochemical sector, you first have the private companies from the capitalist West. There the big historical culprits are Chevron and ExxonMobil of the USA, Shell of the Netherlands, and BP of the UK. Historically, they have a huge responsibility. And then – and rising the fastest at the moment – are the nationally owned oil and gas corporations. So there you've got companies like Saudi Aramco, the Iranian Oil Company, oil companies in Venezuela, Kuwait, and elsewhere. They operate in a different way.

In a sense, it's easier to put pressure on the private companies, because they tend to operate in democratic countries, so you can pressure them through the free media, through shareholders, and through the political system. It's harder to put pressure on the nationally owned companies, because they don't tend to operate in democracies, and with far less transparency, especially in places like China or Russia, where it's harder to use the levers that work on the likes of BP and Shell.

When we looked forward we found a whole new set of players who are operating in shale gas and shale oil. Particularly in the US, and particularly in the Permian Basin in Texas. This will be the area in the world that will see the fasted growth in the next 10 years. By some calculations, Texas oil production will be bigger than all of Saudi Arabia's by 2030.

You published this information in The Guardian, and we'll publish it on our search engine. Why should we all know about this?

I think it's important that people talk about it, that they don't just think that something terrible is happening with nothing they can do. Yes, it's important to know that something terrible is happening – it's important to be concerned, fearful even. But then it's important not just to panic and run away, but to think about what can be done.

And I think that focussing on the politics, focussing on particular companies and particular parts of the financial, legal, and media sectors, is going to be a much more effective way of dealing with the climate crisis than only blaming yourself. Deciding to eat less meat and to fly less is important and useful, but those things will be completely futile unless we have political change causing transformations in the energy sector, the financial sector, and other parts of society.

by Joshi at November 15, 2019 02:12 PM

Ecosia on Campus: Meet the students planting 100k trees

Ecosia on Campus: Meet the students planting 100k trees

Ecosia on Campus is growing and reaching even more universities this academic term. Here are some stories from our student ambassadors who are striving to make their universities more sustainable by campaigning for Ecosia to become the default search engine on campus.

What happens when a university switches to Ecosia?

When Ecosia is installed as the primary search engine on student computers, this can lead to the planting of many thousands of trees over the years, depending on the university’s size.

The University of Sunderland in the UK switched to Ecosia in September and students’ searches have already financed the planting of 4,214 trees. At Ohio State University in the US, students have funded more than 40,000 trees this year, and this figure is only going to increase over time.

So far Sussex, Sunderland, Swansea and Ohio State University have acted on their students’ demands and switched to Ecosia.

But behind every success story is an environmentally conscious student wanting to make change happen.

Who are the new faces?

Surfing onto the scene this term is biomedical engineer Álvaro Guardiola from the University of Glasgow, UK. After creating a petition and gathering support from 20 societies, he’s caught the attention of the head of IT and is working with them to roll out Ecosia to 26,000 students.

Student engagement officer Matthew Mckenna launched the successful Sunderland on Ecosia campaign in February 2019. Now studying for a PhD in politics, Matthew is campaigning at the University of Birmingham as a postgraduate too.

What’s been happening this term?

Campaigners at Aarhus University hosted “lunch with Ecosia” to answer questions from students and staff about their campaign.

“We asked people to guess how many trees we have financed so far since the start of the campaign. The winners received prizes such as bamboo toothbrushes, beeswax food wrappers and metal straws.” - Faye Tahamtani, AU Foulum on Ecosia.

Warwick on Ecosia has taken big steps this term too. They tabled a motion with their student union and are navigating their way through the university’s formal processes for acting on student-led campaigns. Warwick’s sustainability champion David Chapman (that’s his actual job title) said "we are proud to see so many students taking action across campus. The sustainability team at the University of Warwick supports students and staff using Ecosia to plant carbon-capturing trees around the world."


As Ecosia’s partnerships and collaborations manager I couldn’t miss the chance to visit our student campaigners. I started Ecosia on Campus while I was at university and love meeting students who are passionate about making an environmental difference.

During the first week of the academic term, I took the train to the UK, stopping off in Paris to meet some of the Ecosia on Campus campaigners on the continent.

It was great to help out veterinary medicine students Hannah and Elsepth at the University of Bristol’s freshers fair. Their campaign has really grown since last year and has attracted interest from Bristol's sustainability officer as well as the student press.

At a café in Paris I met law student Hélèna to discuss all aspects of campaigning, from raising awareness among students to negotiating with the university. As well as running ASSAS on Ecosia, Hélèna is president of the law school’s environmental society. Check out this interview to hear more about her campaign.

You can also watch the #EcosiaFreshersTour highlights by following @ecosiaoncampus on Instagram.

Can schools get involved, too?

University students are not the only ones driving environmental change. High school students globally are also leading truly inspirational campaigns.

This group of students in the Philippines is raising awareness of environmental issues. Campaign manager Clark Naces also addressed crowds during the #GlobalClimateStrike in September 2019.

Help us plant 100,000 trees

Together, Ecosia on Campus campaigns have planted 64,000 trees this year, getting close to our ambitious goal of planting 100,000 trees by the end of 2019!

In order to reach this goal, Ecosia needs you to join this global movement and launch your own Ecosia on Campus campaign. Start by reading our 8 step guide and learn how to persuade your university to make the switch to Ecosia and help us plant thousands of trees!

Looking for inspiration? Follow Ecosia on Campus on Facebook and Instagram to see what our student ambassadors are up to around the globe.

by Fred at November 15, 2019 02:09 PM


Trento, Italy: “Renata” operation – Update about the trial

Italy: Collective Text of Anarchists Arrested in Operation Renata
Received 14/11/2019 Trento, Italy: “Renata” operation – Update about the trial (november 2019) The hearing of the “Renata” repressive operation which sees accused and defendants Stecco, Sasha, Giulio, Poza, Agnese, Nico and Rupert and which was supposed to be November 26th was postponed to December 5th. It is likely that the sentence will be issued just […]


by InNero at November 15, 2019 01:52 PM

Farm Hack Shows Us Everything that is Wrong with UK Agricultural Training and Research

Farm Hack is a response to a need – not only for access to often fundamental agricultural knowledge, but also for a different way of organising, relating, and owning in UK farming systems. It is almost entirely in opposition to the agricultural research and educational mainstream, which is predicated on large-scale technologies, top down knowledge transmission, and intellectual property regimes.

by Agroecology Now Staff at November 15, 2019 01:48 PM

Nitrogen Glut: Too Much of a Good Thing is Deadly for the Biosphere

Climate change deniers often claim that carbon dioxide cannot be harmful because plants need it to grow. The same false argument can be made about nitrogen, and our reply is the same: too much of a good thing can be deadly. Organisms and ecosystems that evolved in a world where the supply of reactive nitrogen was strictly limited are now being disrupted, in many cases destroyed, by an unprecedented nitrogen glut.

by Ian Angus at November 15, 2019 01:17 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Empower Young People to Sustain Our Planet, and Let Peace and Prosperity Thrive

Young people at ICPD25 youth session. Credit: Mantoe Phakathi / IPS

By Crystal Orderson
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 15 2019 (IPS)

Q: At ICPD25 we heard that women and girls are still waiting for the unmet promises to be met? DO you think this time around there is a commitment to ensure that these promises are met?

The Nairobi Summit is about the Future of Humanity and Human Prosperity.

We all have an opportunity to repeat the message that women’s empowerment will move at snail-pace unless we bolster reproductive health and rights across the world. This is no longer a fleeting concern, but a 21st century socio-economic reality.

We can choose to take a range of actions, such as empowering women and girls by providing access to good health, education and job training. Or we can choose paths such as domestic abuse, female genital mutilation and child marriages, which, according to a 2016 Africa Human Development Report by UNDP, costs sub-Saharan Africa $95 billion per year on average due to gender inequality and lack of women’s empowerment.

Fortunately, the world has made real progress in the fight to take the right path. There is no lack of women trailblazers in all aspects of human endeavour. It has taken courage to make those choices, with current milestones being the result of decades of often frustrating work by unheralded people, politics and agencies.

Leaders like the indefatigable Dr. Natalia Kanem the Executive Director of UNFPA and her predecessors, are pushing the global change of paradigm to ensure we demolish the silo of “women’s issues” and begin to see the linkages between reproductive rights and human prosperity.

Siddharth Chatterjee

Numerous studies have shown the multi-generation impact of the formative years of women. A woman’s reproductive years directly overlap with her time in school and the workforce, she must be able to prevent unintended pregnancy in order to complete her education, maintain employment, and achieve economic security.

Denial of reproductive health information and services places a women at risk of an unintended pregnancy, which in turn is one of the most likely routes for upending the financial security of a woman and her family.

As the UN Resident Coordinator to Kenya, I am privileged to serve in a country, which has shown leadership to advance the cause of women’s right-from criminalizing female genital mutilation to stepping up the fight to end child marriage and pushing hard on improving reproductive, maternal and child health.

Q: At ICPD25 we heard that innovative partnerships are needed to ensure commitments to women and girls. 25 years on do you think this will happen? Can you site an example in Kenya or Africa on this?

Achieving the SDGs will be as much about the effectiveness of development cooperation as it will be about the scale and form that such co-operation takes. There is a lot of talk about partnership, but not enough practical, on-the-ground support to make partnerships effective in practice, especially not at scale.

Under the leadership of the Government of Kenya therefore, the UN System in Kenya in 2017 helped to spearhead the SDG Partnership Platform in collaboration with development partners, private sector, philanthropy, academia and civil society including faith-based stakeholders.

The Platform was formally launched by the Government of Kenya at the UN General Assembly in 2017 and has become a flagship initiative under Kenya’s new UN Development Assistance Framework 2018-2022 (UNDAF). As the entire UNDAF, the Platform is geared to contribute to the implementation of Kenya’s Big Four agenda in order to accelerate the attainment of the Country’s Vision2030.

In 2018, the Platform has received global recognition from UNDCO and the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation as a best practice to accelerate SDG financing. This clearly implies that we are on the right track, and as you can read in this report are developing a blueprint for how 21st Century SDG Partnerships can be forged and made impactful, but much more needs to be done.

Primary Healthcare (PHC) – in the SDG 3 cluster – has been the first SDG Partnership Platform window contributing to the attainment of the Universal Health Coverage as a key pillar of the Big Four agenda. We are living in a day and age where we have the expertise, technology and means to advance everyone’s health and wellbeing. It is our moral obligation to support Kenya in forging partnerships, find the right modalities to harness the potential out there and make it work for everyone, everywhere.

With leadership as from my co-chairs, Hon. Sicily Kariuki, Cabinet Secretary for Health in Kenya, and H.E Kuti, Chair of the Council of Governors Health Committee and Governor of Isiolo, and the strong political commitment, policy environment, and support of our partners we have in Kenya, I am convinced that Kenya can lead the way in attaining UHC in Africa, and accelerate the implementation of the ICPD25 agenda.

Q: Funding remains a crucial challenge- do you think there is a commitment to fund the initiatives?

Yes, there is a clear commitment to fund the ICPD Plan of Action.

I applaud partners whom have been doing so for long as the governments of Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and UK, and Foundations as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

But increasingly there is also the recognition that we cannot reach our ambitions through aid and grants.

At the global scale we need to let better regulation evolve for advancing greater equality and support to those furthest left behind.

Especially within middle-income-countries / emerging economies, our ICPD25 funding models need to be underpinned by shared-value approaches, and financed through domestic and blended financing.

I feel encouraged therefore by the Private Sector committing eight (8) billion fresh support to the acceleration of the ICPD Plan of Action.

Considering the trillions of dollars being transacted however by the private sector, this should be only the start and we should continue to advocate for bigger and better partnership between public and private sector targeting the communities furthest left behind to realize ICPD25.

Q: What do you think should be done to ensure young people’s participation?

Africa’s youth population is growing rapidly and is expected to reach over 830 million by 2050. Whether this spells promise or peril depends on how the continent manages its “youth bulge”.

Many of Africa’s young people remain trapped in poverty that is reflected in multiple dimensions, blighted by poor education, access to quality health care, malnutrition and lack of job opportunities.

For many young people–and especially girls– the lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services is depriving them of their rights and the ability to make decisions about their bodies and plan their families. This is adversely affecting their education and employment opportunities.

According to UNDP’s Africa Human Development Report for 2016, gender inequalities cost sub-Saharan Africa US$ 95 billion annually in lost revenue. Women’s empowerment and gender equality needs to be at the top of national development plans.

Between 10 and 12 million people join the African labour force each year, yet the continent creates only 3.7 million jobs annually. Without urgent and sustained action, the spectre of a migration crisis looms that no wall, navy or coastguard can hope to stop.

Africa’s population is expected to reach around 2.3 billion by 2050. The accompanying increase in its working age population creates a window of opportunity, which if properly harnessed, can translate into higher growth and yield a demographic dividend.

In the wake of the Second World War, the Marshall Plan helped to rebuild shattered European economies in the interests of growth and stability. We need a plan of similar ambition that places youth employment in Africa at the centre of development.

In the meantime, the aging demographic in many Western and Asian Tiger economies means increasing demand for skilled labour from regions with younger populations. It also means larger markets for economies seeking to benefit from the growth of a rapidly expanding African middle class.

Whether the future of Africa is promising or perilous will depend on how the continent and the international community moves from stated intent to urgent action and must give special priority to those SDGs that will give the continent a competitive edge through its youth.

The core SDGs of ending poverty, ensuring healthy lives and ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education all have particular resonance with the challenge of empowering youth and making them effective economic citizens.

Many young people in Africa are taking charge of their futures. There is a rising tide of entrepreneurship sweeping across Africa spanning technology, IT, innovation, small and medium enterprises.

They are creating jobs for themselves and their communities.

We need to empower young people to sustain our planet, and let peace and prosperity thrive.

Q: Lastly, we heard strong commitments from President Uhuru Kenyatta on the issue of FGM- do you think it will really happen by 2022?

President Uhuru Kenyatta needs to be lauded for his strong commitment to ending FGM.

Despite being internationally recognized as a human rights violation, some 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM, and if current rates persist, an estimated 68 million more will be cut between 2015 and 2030.

We cannot accept this any longer and should step up for this cause.

Without leaders as H.E Kenyatta championing the fight to address cultural harmful practices as FGM – rapid strides will never be made.

The post Empower Young People to Sustain Our Planet, and Let Peace and Prosperity Thrive appeared first on Inter Press Service.


We need to empower young people to sustain our planet, and let peace and prosperity thrive says UN's Resident Co-ordinator in Kenya, Siddharth Chatterjee speaks to IPS on reflections on the ICPD25 Summit.

The post Empower Young People to Sustain Our Planet, and Let Peace and Prosperity Thrive appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Crystal Orderson at November 15, 2019 01:14 PM

The Role of Innovative Monetary Policies in Supporting a Green New Deal and a More Sustainable Future for Europe and the World

Ideally, in the context of implementing a Green New Deal, the state would work with civil society and business and in partnership with other states to design, plan and activate the systemic transition to steady state sustainability. A culture and mindset that value sufficiency, limits, sharing, justice and care should be encouraged.

by Deirdre De Burca at November 15, 2019 01:02 PM


Greece, Chania: Antifascist intervention for the recent racist attacks

Χανιά: Αντιφασιστική παρέμβαση για τις πρόσφατες ρατσιστικές επιθέσεις
Received 14/11/2019 Following the call for anti-fascist action after recent racist attacks in Chania, a poster and counter-information campaign was arranged and carried out on Friday 25/10 by about 30-40 comrades in one of the neighbourhoods where most of the attacks took place. The intervention took place without any problems, slogans were written and several […]


by InNero at November 15, 2019 12:56 PM

Deep Green Resistance News Service

Talinis Ultramarathon Met With Protest

Editors note: this piece comes from allies in the Arkipelago (decolonized term for the Philippines) who are engaged in ecological struggles and wish to highlight the detrimental effects of mass culture in outdoor recreation.

By Aidalyn IAmMoutara

This is what happened during the #TalinisUltramarathon this morning, October 6. Protesters blocked the entrance of Apolong trail when two truckloads (dumptruck) of participants started to arrived for the 25k and 17k category since other categories have started the previous night.

The blockade lasted for two hours. The blocking group is not an organization nor any entity. They were individuals who believed that a single race event composing of 333 runners going up in a span of less than 24 hours is too much for Mt. Talinis.

However, the race continued after a peaceful resolution with the blocking protesters.

Meanwhile on the other side, LGU Dauin was also blocking their jurisdiction (trails inside Dauin) since the organizers fail to coordinate with them for the said race event.

I believe this is the first of its kind. A race event met with protest. This sends out a powerful message to everyone, that we are serious in our convictions to protect Mt. Talinis Range and uphold the rights of the locals.

Events like this should benefit the host communities and not the other way around.

by Deep Green Resistance Great Basin at November 15, 2019 12:00 PM

Material for ---(archaelogy of gynecology)----

@klau wrote:

here I post a link with an avalanche of links :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
in this list there’s the core of the work I being doing around the history of gynecology… hope is useful

in any case, I can be available this weekend for talk or any other interaction…
all the best!!

Posts: 8

Participants: 2

Read full topic

by @klau at November 15, 2019 11:17 AM

Nurturing Vital Diversity & Resilience: Scaling Out, Rather than Scaling-Up!

Of course we need to find a way that regenerative practice and careful restoration of healthy ecosystems functions spreads from community to community and bioregion to bioregion to reach global impact as quickly as possible. We need to reach scale, but not by scaling-up!

by Daniel Christian Wahl at November 15, 2019 11:04 AM

Power Shutoffs: Playing with Fire

The new normal requires new strategies, new technologies and new partnerships with America’s caregivers to ensure the sick, the elderly and the most vulnerable are climate and energy resilient. Let’s be clear: power shutoffs without energy resilience strategies is still playing with fire.

by Denise Fairchild at November 15, 2019 10:44 AM


Russia Tests New Disinformation Tactics in Africa to Expand Influence

[Note:  This item comes from friend Desire Banse.  DLH]

Russia Tests New Disinformation Tactics in Africa to Expand Influence
Facebook said it removed three Russian-backed influence networks aimed at African countries. The activity by the networks suggested Russia’s approach was evolving.
By Davey Alba and Sheera Frenkel
Oct 30 2019

Russia has been testing new disinformation tactics in an enormous Facebook campaign in parts of Africa, as part of an evolution of its manipulation techniques ahead of the 2020 American presidential election.

Facebook said on Wednesday that it removed three Russian-backed influence networks on its site that were aimed at African countries including Mozambique, Cameroon, Sudan and Libya. The company said the online networks were linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch who was indicted by the United States and accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential election. 

Unlike past influence campaigns from Russia, the networks targeted several countries through Arabic-language posts, according to the Stanford Internet Observatory, which collaborated with Facebook to unravel the effort. Russians also worked with locals in the African countries to set up Facebook accounts that were disguised as authentic to avoid detection.

Some of the posts promoted Russian policies, while others criticized French and American policies in Africa. A Facebook page set up by the Russians in Sudan that masqueraded as a news network, called Sudan Daily, regularly reposted articles from Russia’s state-owned Sputnik news organization.

The effort was at times larger in volume than what the Russians deployed in the United States in 2016. While the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency posted on Facebook 2,442 times a month on average in 2016, one of the networks in Africa posted 8,900 times in October alone, according to the Stanford researchers. 

“They are trying to make it harder for us and civil society to try and detect their operations,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said of the Russian actions.

The campaign underlined how Russia is continuing to aggressively try different disinformation techniques, even as it has come under scrutiny for its online interference methods. By spreading the use of its tactics to a region that is less closely monitored than the United States and Europe, researchers said Russia appeared to be trying to expand its sphere of influence in Africa, where it has started distributing propaganda and building a political infrastructure.

Alex Stamos, director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and a former Facebook executive, said the campaign had implications for the United States ahead of next year’s presidential election. 

He said it was highly likely that Russian groups were already using the same model of working with locals in the United States to post inflammatory messages on Facebook. By employing locals, he said, Russians did not need to set up fake accounts or create accounts that originated in Russia, making it easier to sidestep being noticed.

“We will see a model where American groups are used as proxies, where all the content is published under their accounts and their pages,” Mr. Stamos said.

For Facebook, the evolution of Russia’s disinformation techniques means it cannot afford to lose vigilance. The Silicon Valley company faced a barrage of criticism after Russians abused the social network in 2016 to plant divisive content to influence the American electorate. Since then, Facebook has set up war rooms and hired more security experts to head off foreign interference in elections.

But Russia has kept up a steady stream of influence efforts on Facebook. Last week, the company revealed it had taken down four state-backed disinformation campaigns, three from Iran and one of which started in Russia.


by wa8dzp at November 15, 2019 10:37 AM

This Week at Index: Fears for freedom of the media move closer to home


Friday 15 November 2019

Fears for freedom of the media move closer to home

   Photo: Society of Editors

Restrictions on the media were once something seen as a problem for other countries but now these concerns are front and centre in the UK, Index CEO Jodie Ginsberg told the Society of Editors’ conference this week.
After chairing a panel on press freedom, which discussed self-censorship, online trolling and possible legislation, she said: “For me it was good to hear that people are thinking critically about the upcoming Online Harms plans and its implications for free speech and it was sobering to hear Martin Breen [the editor of Sunday Life, in Belfast]
talk about some of his staff in Northern Ireland needing security measures like bullet proof glass.”
More news and features from Index on Censorship

Hitting back at Slapps

Around the world, the rich and powerful are using Slapp lawsuits to silence their critics.
Slapps – Strategic Litigations Against Public Participation – are cases that the plaintiffs know they have little chance of winning, but which they also know can end in financial ruin for the journalists and media outlets they target.
Last year, Index published guidelines on how to tackle these lawsuits and Index’s advocacy director, Joy Hyvarinen, was in Brussels this week as part of an Anti-Slapp expert meeting at the European Parliament, organised by our partner organisation, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom.
The meeting, co-sponsored by Index, was attended by journalists, lawyers and MEPs.

Index condemns Turkish journalist's re-arrest

Index has condemned the re-arrest of Turkish journalist Ahmet Altan,
who was released from prison last week after three years of pre-trial
detention. Altan, who has written for Index, was arrested at his home.
Earlier this year he spoke to Index from his prison cell about how knowing he had support kept him going.

Ginsberg on hate speech laws

In an era of hate, how do we protect free speech? This was the topic under discussion at the University of Essex’s THINK! Debate series this week.
In a lively and thoughtful debate, Index CEO Jodie Ginsberg explored the importance of free speech in democratic societies and why hate speech laws were actually a poor solution for dealing with hate.
She said afterwards: “Students wanted to discuss how we could protect minorities if we allowed hate speech to take place, whether we should be concerned about a rise in the use of sedition laws and whether safe spaces were compatible with free speech.”

Free Speech is for Me mentors are chosen

Index is pleased to announce some of the mentors for its new Free Speech is for Me project.
They include Chinese author Xinran, pictured, former Independent executive editor Will Gore and Kenan Malik.
Through training and mentoring, FSIFM is equipping people from all backgrounds and beliefs to speak out against censorship. The mentors will work with 12 new advocates, who are from the UK and the USA, to help them defend and champion the issue of free speech.
Donate to Index on Censorship today
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We rely on donations from readers and supporters. By donating to Index you help us to protect freedom of expression and to support those who are denied that right.
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The post This Week at Index: Fears for freedom of the media move closer to home appeared first on Index on Censorship.

by Index on Censorship at November 15, 2019 10:32 AM

Terra Firma #1: The Best Story Ever

Regeneration is the foundation of hope, in my opinion, and it extends well beyond agriculture. That’s because life is a force that can’t be denied, not if we give it a chance. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career it is this: nature still has the best ideas. This will be a major theme of Terra Firma.

by Courtney White at November 15, 2019 10:25 AM


Recently, the state’s repressive campaign against squatted houses has become almost a normality. The pattern is obvious, migrant squats and spaces with diverse political activity and anti authoritarian characteristics are evicted one after the other.
Within this context, on Sunday 10/11/19 the ASOEE steki was attacked by cops and evicted early in the morning while the university was still empty. This move was followed by police orders to lock out the entire school until November 17, in an attempt by the cops to suppress political action generally within the university. The dean of the school, Emmanuel Yakoumakis, has once again shown, after the eviction of the Vancouver squat, how much he defends the state and its minions.
As long as the cops try through a series of repressive actions to terrorize the struggling part of society, the dominant propaganda on its part is trying in every way to demonize it in the public sphere. Their attitude is does not come as a surprise to us.
For us every squatted house and every “steki” is a space of ​​struggle, a space where we can defend ourselves politically by building relationships of solidarity, trust and resistance, far from individualism and capitalistic misery. It is within these squats and places that our ideas become materialized. As for our “demonization” the only thing we have to say is that we are and intend to remain dangerous for the state,the property,  all the business interests and the normality of Greek society in general.
Open assembly of squats, collectives, internationalists, migrants and solidarians

by actforfreedom at November 15, 2019 09:23 AM

Athens and Thessaloniki ,Greece :Updates on the battle to defend Exarchia: for freedom, self-organisation and solidarity

Demo in Heraklion, Crete against evictions
The past few weeks have seen an intensification of the Nea Demokratia government’s efforts to subdue the Greek anarchist movement and crush initiatives that offer alternatives to prison society. In particular, the anarchist neighbourhood of Exarchia in Athens has been a focal point for its aggression. A rough chronology of this repression as well as actions of solidarity and resistance taken by comrades in Athens is listed below.
The current rumour is that the State wants to evict ‘all squats’ by 17th November. Another rumour puts the deadline at 6th December. Both are significant dates in the history of the Greek anarchist movement, which are marked by annual riots. What ‘all squats’ means is not entirely clear. What is clear from the past few weeks however, is that attacks have been made on squats both inside and outside Exarchia, and as well as in cities in other parts of the country.
Evictions of migrant housing squats
The State’s first focus for attack on occupied spaces has targetted the numerous squats that offered alternative housing to the dire state-run camps for migrants. These were self-managed spaces inhabited by migrants, anarchists and anti-authoritarians, often of considerable size. They were largely concentrated in Exarchia.
In August, a month after the new government came into power, cops evicted four Exarchia squats (Spirou Trikoupi 17, Transito, Rosa de Foc and Gare).
This was followed by three more evictions in September (5th School in Exarchia, the Jasmine squat in nearby Archarnon street and another one near Jasmine).
Most recently in October, they evicted another Exarchia occupation, Oniro. Residents were loaded onto buses and taken to camps; their belongings were thrown away. In all, hundreds of refugees have been removed from these self-organised spaces and taken to state run camps and prisons. There are still a few migrant housing squats still standing in Exarchia, but they remain on high alert of eviction.
Legal and policy changes
As well as evictions, serious legal and policy developments have been made which attack rebels across the country.
These include:
– The abolition of the university asylum law. This law had largely prevented the cops from entering university campuses since the 1973 uprising against the dictatorship. The uprising was centred around the Politechnic University and resulted in a massacre by state forces there. Occupied spaces have been a traditional feature of many Greek universities and key infrastructure of the country’s anarchist and anti-authoritarian movements. The law had been much contested in recent years, until it was abolished in August, which is expected to make it a lot easier for the state to evict many squats.
– The reintroduction of the ‘Delta’ cops, rebranded as DRASI (‘action’). This notorious and particularly vicious gang of biker cops was disbanded in 2015, but has been brought back by the new government and is now back on the streets.
– New laws to further criminalise resistance. For instance, a maximum 10 year prison sentence for being found in possession of a molotov, and the creation of penalties for inciting riot or illegal acts, and for making interventions in state buildings.
Brief chronology from the past few weeks
Wednesday 30th October:
Riots break out on Patission near ASOEE university in solidarity with the insurrection in Chile.
Thursday 31st October:
A student demo takes place against the abolition of the university asylum law and education reforms. Students attack cops with flagpoles.
Friday 1st November:
A demo in solidarity with the insurrection in Chile starts at the Chilean embassy and winds back to Exarchia.
Saturday 2nd November:
• Eviction of Vancouver Apartment squat in central Athens, which had been occupied for the past 13 years. The squat was on property belonging to ASOEE, the Economics and Business university.
The cops take the unusual move of doing the eviction on a Saturday, when the university is closed and many students are not around to intervene. The move also comes on the morning of a significant demo against attacks on squats and migrants, which Vancouver had been publicly supporting. During the eviction 4 comrades are arrested, while one of the cats is killed by a police dog. The other 3 cat residents are effectively buried alive as the building is then knowingly sealed with the cats trapped inside.
There are ongoing legal efforts to free the remaining cats, since a squadron of riot cops have been guarding the building and all entrances are bricked up.
• The same morning, some of the riot cops permanently stationed around Exarchia attempt to smash down the door of Notara, one of the largest and few remaining migrant squats in Athens. This follows threats and insults which were shouted by cops in the preceding days, including shouting “Raus!” (reference to ‘Juden Raus’ a phrase used by Nazis meaning ‘Jews out’).
• A demo of around 1000 people takes place in solidarity with migrants & in defence of squats and self-organised spaces, called by the open assembly of squats, migrants, internationalists and solidarians. The demo winds through migrant neighbourhoods and is characterised by multilingual banners, leaflets, stencils and chants. Following the demo, there are molotov attacks on the police in Exarchia as an immediate response to the eviction of Vancouver. The police respond with teargas and flashbangs, and two people are arrested at random in the neighbourhood.
• In the migrant prison of Petrou Ralli, Athens, 16 female detainees start a hunger and thirst strike for their release and transfer back to the islands
Monday 4th November:
• Another student demo takes place in central Athens. Students attack the cops with molotovs and the police fire tear gas.
• The media reports that riot cops are attacked on three separate occasions in different locations throughout the day.
Tuesday 5th November:
Palmares squat is evicted in Larissa, central Greece. 16 people are arrested.
Wednesday 6th November:
• Several hundred people protest in solidarity with Notara squat, a prominent migrant squat in Exarchia that is home to up to 100 refugees, including many kids, and is under threat of immediate eviction. Notara is a large building that has been occupied since 2015.
Thursday 7th November:
• Clashes with the police take place in Exarchia which results in damage to one cop’s bike and the cop being sent to hospital. The police then rampage through Exarchia and besiege people in a popular cafe. 16 people are reported arrested.
Friday 8th November:
• Attack on Libertatia squat in Thessaloniki. Libertatia was significantly burnt down after being firebombed by fascists in 2018. At least four people are arrested.
Saturday 9th November:
• Police carry out an operation which results in (according to the media) searches on 13 homes and the detention of 15 people, 3 of which end up with charges. The press reports that it is an ‘anti-terrorist’ operation related to historical incidents and that weapons have been seized. Numerous people report being followed, harassed or raided by anti-terror cops.
• A demo in central Athens in defence of squats called by No Pasaran assembly is attended by hundreds of people.
Sunday 10th November:
• Dozens of people hold a demo in solidarity with the Petrou Ralli hunger strikers at the migrant prison, shouting slogans in different languages for the detainees.
• The polce raid ASOEE, the university of economics and business, and evict a steki. Images of seized helmets, sticks and bottles are shared widely by the media and used as a pretext by the academic council to shut down the university until 17th November.
Monday 11th November:
• A group of around 100 leftists break the lockout and enter the university. The police enter the premises, attacking people, firing gas and besieging the group of students. A stand off ensues as a crowd of many hundreds gathered on the busy road outside, forcing its partial closure. The police eventually leave, and a spontaneous march of 1000+ students follows.
• Some people are arrested during the siege. One of the students who was apparently outside ASOEE during the clashes was later arrested outside his home and his house was raided.
Tuesday 12th November:
• Police evict Bouboulinas squat in Exarchia, home to dozens of refugees. They are initially taken to Petrou Ralli detention centre, where a solidarity demo is held outside. Most are then bussed off to Amygdaleza migrant camp, but many occupants refuse to get off the buses. Some of the residents of Bouboulinas resist attempts to be split up and divided into ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’ migrants.
• At a solidarity gathering at court for arrestees, the cops fire tear gas and flashbangs in an unprovoked attack.
• A demo winds through the residential neighbourhood of Kypseli in defence of squats and against the state repression. The demo is called by Lelas Karagianni 37 squat which has been occupied for 31 years.
Needless to say, acts of international solidarity would be very welcome. Developments continue to unfold quickly. For further updates see or for frequent English updates check out @exiledarizona on Twitter.
Evictions in August
Eviction of migrant squats
Chile Solidarity riots

Vancouver squat, post-eviction

2nd November demo

Multilingual slogans on 2nd November demo

Attack on the cops in Exarchia following Vancouver eviction

Cop bike following clashes in Exarchia on 7th November

Encircled at ASOEE

Lelas Karagianni demo on 12th November
Lelas Karagianni squat

by actforfreedom at November 15, 2019 09:15 AM


Boris Johnson Should Be Thanking the Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats’ hypocritical “Remain Alliance” betrays their own voters and threatens to hand Boris Johnson a majority. It should be called what it is — a pathway to a Tory majority.

alt Lib Dem politician Heidi Allen with Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato, Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville-Roberts, and president of the UK Liberal Democrats Sal Brinton at a press conference announcing a "remain alliance pact" with the Liberal Democrats, Green and Plaid Cymru on November 7, 2019 in London, England. Chris J Ratcliffe / Getty Images

In the UK, polls are narrowing slowly in the still early days of the election campaign. Most survey trackers put the Conservatives at around 39–40 percent of the vote, while Labour have risen to eight to ten percentage points behind them. The Liberal Democrats and Greens have both fallen, after much hype. The “Remain Alliance,” the electoral pact in which the Green Party, Liberal Democrats, and Welsh nationalists Plaid Cymru have agreed not to run candidates against one another in sixty districts, aims to coalesce the vote around these small parties, on the grounds that they are the true anti-Brexiteers: Plaid Cymru and the Greens argue for a second referendum on European Union membership, while the Liberal Democrats promise to revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU without a public vote if they emerge as the biggest party.

The fact that the Liberal Democrats definitely won’t win a majority swiftly caused some dissent within the new alliance: Labour’s policy is to negotiate a new Brexit deal if it wins, and then put that deal to a second referendum alongside the option to Remain. This has left some Green and Liberal Democrat candidates and local parties uneasy: if they split the anticipated Remain vote, they risk letting Conservative candidates beat Labour in marginal districts, and would thus be responsible for ensuring a Brexit delivered by Boris Johnson’s party.

In Northern Ireland, the electoral pacts were simpler and met with little consternation. In a handful of seats, the Remain parties — Sinn Féin, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, the Alliance Party, and the Greens — stood aside for the candidate most likely to beat the Democratic Unionist Party, the hard-line pro-Brexit party that entered into a confidence-and-supply deal with Theresa May’s Conservatives immediately after the 2017 election saw the then prime minister lose her majority in a fit of hubris.

Forging such an alliance in Britain was tougher: Labour’s constitution means standing down for Liberal Democrats or Greens would break the party’s own rules. Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson was bullish and outspoken in her total opposition and antipathy to Jeremy Corbyn, stating she would never engage in any pact that would see him enter power. In Canterbury, a marginal seat that Labour gained from the Conservatives in a surprise victory in 2017, the Lib Dem candidate Tim Walker stood down after his selection was announced, stating it was a personal rather than party decision. Immediately, the Lib Dems began disciplinary proceedings against him, prompting another Lib Dem candidate in High Peak, Guy Kiddey, to threaten to quit the party unless they issued an apology to Walker. Kiddey urged voters to back Labour and “do the noble thing” before being dropped as a candidate.

Meanwhile, the Brexit Party announced they would not field candidates in 317 seats held by the Conservatives, to prevent Labour winning Tory seats by peeling away the incumbents’ votes. This provoked fury among many Brexit candidates, who had paid £100 to run and were unclear whether those fees would be refunded or pocketed as donations. The Conservatives fought harder to formalize the pact, with Nigel Farage claiming he had been offered several jobs and seats in the House of Lords in return for standing down in even more seats with close Labour/Tory vote tallies, an offer that is probably illegal and that Number 10 vociferously denied. For Brexit Party voters, it seemed a clear betrayal: after endlessly decrying Johnson’s deal as weak and pushing for a “harder Brexit,” Farage appeared happy to climb down. The move doesn’t necessarily ensure the Conservatives return to power: all electoral scenarios are still volatile, and both Labour and Conservative 2017 voters could still turn elsewhere, or not vote at all.

All parties are facing the hard fact that one of two outcomes is inevitable: the UK leaves the EU, or it remains. All have different preferences on the final outcome but would prefer one of the two final endpoints. But forging electoral pacts risks alienating core voters by publicly allying with parties that diverge widely on many other policies, on education, health, economic, social, and foreign policy. Openly standing aside risks being seen as depriving voters of a choice, while also, in the case of the Remain Alliance, being seen to deliver the least desired Brexit outcome to their voters.

Discussion on pacts has focused near exclusively on Brexit. Now, with the deadline for nominations passed, campaigning on manifesto issues will begin in earnest. Here the election becomes less predictable: public responses to manifesto pledges will be key, and the policies parties choose, and how they fare in the media, will be key to how public support shifts for each party as polling day approaches. The Conservatives will want to focus keenly on Brexit and immigration, while Labour will be seeking to hammer the Tories on their record on health and education after a decade of austerity, promising a better National Health Service, a Green New Deal, and better funded education at all ages.

Talk of pacts will fade into the background for now — but if, as remains likely, the election returns a hung parliament, these fraught conversations and compromises will come to the fore again.

by Dawn Foster at November 15, 2019 08:29 AM

InterPressService (global south)

World’s Sewage Workers ‘Underpaid, Sidelined and Risking their Lives’

(L-R) Somappa, 52, Muniraju, 37, and Kaverappa, 54, finish manually emptying a pit, in Bangalore, India in August 2019. Courtesy: WaterAid/ CS Sharada Prasad/ Safai Karmachari Kavalu Samiti

By James Reinl

People who empty out sewage tanks and scrub down latrines doubtless perform a vital, thankless and even undesirable task. A new report, however, shows that doing such jobs could also cost workers their lives.

A study from the World Health Organization (WHO) and others has revealed that millions of sanitation workers in low-income countries are routinely exposed to contagious bugs, powerful chemicals and filthy conditions that can turn out to be deadly.

The 61-page study titled ‘Health, safety and dignity of sanitation workers‘ holds up the world’s sanitation workers as unsung heroes who risk their lives cleaning other people’s muck, saying they should at the very least get protective clothing and basic employment rights.

Speaking with reporters in New York on Thursday, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric described the “unsafe and undignified working conditions of sanitation workers” across nine developing countries.

Researchers focussed on muck-cleaners in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Haiti, India, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda who typically toiled in an “informal economy” lacking basic “rights and protection,” added Dujarric.

The report by WHO, together with the International Labour Organization, the World Bank, and WaterAid, a charity, described people around the world emptying pits and septic tanks, cleaning sewers and manholes and handling fecal sludge at treatment and disposal works. 

Researchers shone a spotlight on the case of Wendgoundi Sawadogo, a sanitation worker in Ouagadougou, capital of the landlocked West African country, Burkina Faso, a city of some 2.4 million people.

The 45-year was photographed climbing into latrines and open pits, holding muck-smeared ropes without gloves. In a statement accompanying the report, he described finding discarded syringes and broken calls in fetid pits. 

Sawadogo spoke of colleagues struggling to lift the concrete slabs that cover pits, occasionally breaking fingers, toes, and feet. The work is “really dangerous” and some of his co-workers have perished in such trenches, he added.  

“You have no paper to show that this is your profession. When you die, you die,” said Sawadogo.

“You go with your bucket and your hoe without recognition, without leaving a trace anywhere or a document that shows your offspring that you have practiced such a job. When I think of that, I’m sad. I do not wish any of my children to do the work I do.” 

Another emptier in the same country, Inoussa Ouedraogo, described a slab crushing his finger in an injury that cost the 48-year-old about $100 in local currency during 11 months of “painful”  treatment, in which time he had to carry on working. 

Researchers described sanitation workers toiling in sewage pits around the world without safety gear — risking exposure to cholera, dysentery and other killer bugs. Some 432,000 people perish from diarrhoeal deaths each year, the report said.

They also have to work in tanks amid fumes of ammonia, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and other toxic gases that can cause workers to lose consciousness and die, or face long-term breathing and eyesight problems.

Few low-income countries have health and safety guidelines to protect sanitation workers, researchers said. There are no reliable global statistics, but it is estimated that one manhole worker dies unblocking sewers by hand in India every five days.

Dr Maria Neira, a public health director at WHO, called for much sanitation work to be mechanised so that workers do not have to touch human waste with bare hands. She called for better health and safety laws, training, protective gear, insurance, and health checks.

“Sanitation workers make a key contribution to public health around the world – but in so doing, put their own health at risk. This is unacceptable,” said Neira. “We must improve working conditions for these people.”

The post World’s Sewage Workers ‘Underpaid, Sidelined and Risking their Lives’ appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by James Reinl at November 15, 2019 08:08 AM


The Green New Deal for Public Housing Has Arrived

New legislation from Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will fight climate change, transform the lives of public housing residents, and model the promise of the Green New Deal.

alt Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hold a news conference to introduce legislation to transform public housing as part of their Green New Deal proposal outside the US Capitol November 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The Green New Deal proposes a national and international mobilization to stop climate change, undertaken with all the gravity and urgency that the crisis necessitates.

But what makes it different from many past environmental efforts — and more likely to develop and sustain mass popular support — is not just its scale. It’s that the Green New Deal refuses to counterpose economic and environmental well-being. In fact, it explicitly makes economic justice a focal point. And there can be no economic justice without good homes for all.

In this spirit, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have just introduced the first infrastructure bill proposed under the Green New Deal umbrella. The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act invests in a green overhaul of the nation’s public housing stock. Its objective is to make all public housing in the United States both high quality and zero carbon.

“Our public housing stock has been neglected for far too long,” said Sanders. “In fact, unbelievably, in the midst of a national housing crisis, we are losing ten thousand units of public housing every year.”

“What we’re going to do in this legislation is nothing less than decarbonize the entire public housing stock in the United States of America, and in the process put hundreds of thousands of people to work in good-paying jobs,” said Ocasio-Cortez.

“This is a win-win-win piece of legislation,” added Sanders.

The passage and implementation of the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act would be transformational for public housing residents. For decades, public housing has been starved of resources by austerity-minded lawmakers who begrudgingly treat it as a burdensome necessity when they’re not outright slandering it. Many of the nation’s 2 million public housing residents live in subpar and often unsafe conditions. Yesterday, a broken boiler left nearly 2,500 New York City public housing residents without heat in frigid temperatures.

Public housing units across the country are already long overdue for major upgrades. The bill proposes to invest $180 billion over ten years to repair and retrofit units and complexes to make them comfortable, safe, beautiful, and sustainable. Energy-efficient developments — including the installation of on-site renewable energy sources — will cut energy costs in public housing by 70 percent and overall public housing costs by 30 percent. “This will pay for itself,” Sanders said.

Data for Progress estimates that the initiative would create nearly 250,000 jobs per year across multiple sectors. This would include tens of thousands of good-paying, unionized construction and maintenance jobs. Public housing residents themselves would be given priority for these jobs. The initiative would reduce underemployment and low pay among public housing residents, but that’s not all: the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act would also develop grocery stores and community gardens on premises to eliminate food deserts. The bill would invest in on-site childcare services that would improve safety, reduce financial burdens on public housing residents, and build a sense of community.

And, of course, the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act would represent a significant step in combating climate change. Data for Progress estimates that public housing is responsible for about 5.6 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. The decarbonization efforts stipulated by the bill would be equivalent to taking more than a million cars off the road.

Earlier this year, Daniel Aldana Cohen, who contributed research to the new legislative effort, wrote in Jacobin about the need to merge the Green New Deal with a bold housing vision. “A huge build-out of high quality, beautifully designed, meticulously financed public housing,” he wrote, “would meet millions of people’s housing needs and create tens of thousands of skilled jobs in the no-carbon construction sector for decades.” Taking cues from the People’s Policy Project’s social housing plan, Cohen proposed that we aim to build 10 million new public, no-carbon homes in ten years, and then do it again over the next ten years, and so on, until we’ve effectively implemented “a low-carbon housing guarantee.”

If that’s the North Star, then Sanders’s and Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal for Public Housing Act is a step in that direction. The decarbonization and renovation of existing public housing will serve as a model for what safe, sustainable, and desirable public housing can look like. And by showing how we can fight climate change and economic hardship at the same time, it models the type of non-housing legislation we can expect to comprise a Green New Deal.

by Meagan Day at November 15, 2019 08:01 AM



From Libertarian Gorges, we share this statement and we stand in solidarity with those voices that the traditional media and partisan propaganda make invisible, those social movements that embrace the struggles from below, from autonomy and dissent, and that do not bend to looting policies and State exploiters who say they are indigenist, ecologist, worker and feminist, who have rather dedicated themselves to agreeing with the transnational business sectors. In addition, we join his call against the ultra-conservative Messiahs who intend to assume the historical struggle of those below as their own, to seize power and carry out equally anti-popular and extractive policies. In Venezuela we know that history, we also live in our own flesh that malaise that this statement refers to, ...

by A-infos ( at November 15, 2019 07:05 AM

(en) [Chile] Santiago: 24th Day of Social Uprising By ANA (pt) [machine translation]

The government's strategy of wearing down the protests had no effect, now they call for division among the exploited. By all means, they try to raise awareness with the talk that if the protests continue, wages will decline and labor will be lost. That the Uprising is a dangerous thing for microenterprises... Power and the media encourage "job protection" and private property. They want to pressure the poor out of fear and make them question their neighbors to silence the protests. The psychosis of "yellow vests" to protect their homes from invisible enemies shifts to business districts, where workers as oppressed as protesters stare at them with sticks, stones and even machetes. Performing a job for the police that serves only the powerful and their interests. ...

by A-infos ( at November 15, 2019 07:02 AM

(en) Czech, AFED, From the memories of a Jewish anarchist: The story of Moshe Gonchararo about anarchist youth in the Soviet Union [machine translation]

I have never written memoirs and I assume that it is not necessary to do this to perpetuate the author's personality in the memory of the offspring, but only so that the reader can learn specific historical facts from the time when the author lived and worked. of the time he was interested in, he felt the so-called "smell of the time." In this particular case of the era of "developed socialism" in the Soviet Union, which - as is to be believed - has gone back in history and will never return. ---- I write these brief memories of the suggestion of my friend Anatoly Dubovik, a historian and one of the ideologues of contemporary anarchism in Ukraine. Tolja believes that texts of this type will help historians and young enthusiasts of the movement to better understand the times in which we, the older followers of anarchism, lived. ...

by A-infos ( at November 15, 2019 07:01 AM

(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire - Vincenzo Vecchi Case: Automating State Vengeance (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Vincenzo Vecchi was arrested on August 8 in Brittany under the terms of two European arrest warrants (MAE) for convictions of thirteen and four years in prison in Italy. Sentences without evidence and totally disproportionate to the alleged facts. ---- Vincenzo participated in Genoa in 2001 in the demonstration against the G8 and in 2006 in Milan in an unauthorized anti-fascist demonstration. The latter was opposed to a parade of the extreme right party, Fiamma tricolor, authorized despite the Scelba law that prohibits the apology of fascism. ---- The MAE, a weapon of repression ---- Like many other Italians, he was the victim of repression by the "Code Rocco", inherited from the fascist years of Mussolini, under the title of "sacking and looting" which is based on the notion of "moral competition". It is a principle of collective guilt totally contrary to the ...

by A-infos ( at November 15, 2019 06:55 AM

[NO COP25] All Bullets Will Be Returned

from anarchists worldwide

December 2nd, the rulers of the world are coming to Madrid. Some of the biggest murderers of this planet, of the biggest responsible for its devastation. They come to fill their mouths and calendars with the next plans of “fight against climate change”. While global capitalism continues intact and most of the CO2 emissions emanate from industrial production, while their companies keep devastating forests and mountains to extract its natural resources.

And if that wasn’t enough, at the same time, Chile burns and their streets are still covered by the ammunition caps from the security forces. But Piñera couldn’t see his political planning disturbed by the revolt, he couldn’t admit the media focus questioning his dictation before such a social explosion. And thanks to the kindness of Spanish government, now he will be able to continue with his plans without getting disheveled.

But in Chile, normality couldn’t be held anymore, and we don’t want to hold it here. We won’t allow the world leaders to meet and design the destruction under the look of sustainability and respect, as if everything continues to go normally. As if they haven’t been destroying all this time, as if they wouldn’t carry thousands of corpses on their backs. We won’t give them such legitimacy. Also, because we know, that the best way to show solidarity with the rebels is nothing but extend the revolt. Like in Hamburg, we want this summit to become hell.

Therefore, we encourage the system enemies to meet in Madrid, on the dates when the world owners have their appointment in this city. Stay aware to the next calls and infos. There will be enabled spaces to host those coming from other places.

On the other hand, neither do we trust that politics gestated in parliaments and offices will stop the destruction or stop the way to the collapse, that is increasingly inevitable. But we trust in the ability of every one to act, individually or in groups. That’s why we want to make a call for decentralized action directed at those responsible for environmental destruction. Politicians won’t act against the Capitalism interests, but we do. Against climate change; direct action.

Attack those who destroy the Earth.

by thecollective at November 15, 2019 03:19 AM

Sabotage of Wind Measurement Mats in the Grand Est Regions

from anarchists worldwide.

Grand Est: They Must Fall…

During the night of Sunday to Monday, November 3, 10 masts of wind measurements were taken in the far east. We dropped 6 and damaged 3 that have not yet fallen (surpriiiiiise!). These masts are 100m high, they are all made of metal, they have cables aligned everywhere on three axes to ensure their stability and even if you cut the cables it makes BADABOUM. What’s also nice is that they are in the countryside and often well insulated… To cut the steel cables you can cut all the wires with a cutting pliers or a pliers (or whatever you think is appropriate that hangs in your toolbox) from the furthest away to the nearest mast until everything collapses (usually after 3-4 cut cables). Cut them all in the same axis because the mast will fall in the opposite direction (think in advance in which direction you want to run away, smart guy). Be brave because depending on the size of the cables you have to work hard. Don’t hesitate to move away a little when it falls because it makes a hell of a mess! (certainly it’s very funny but it’s a little scary too).

We didn’t go after the wind just because we like to do stupid things. But also for what it is: fields of white machines that grow massively on all the hills where we like to play and that colonize spaces outside cities. These same spaces, which are increasingly exploited to feed the insatiable appetite of cities for energy and other consumables.

Tackling wind power is also about tackling nuclear power. To attack its respectable window. Indeed, we do not believe in the myth that “green energies” are trying to replace nuclear power. They add up to it. We are not living in a time of transition but of constant growth, requiring an ever-increasing production of energy. If energy drives the world, then it seems very important to us to take it on. And the illusions of consuming differently that go with it.

Ecology seems to be in fashion right now. More and more protest movements are taking up environmental issues. We can undoubtedly be pleased about this. However, many of these movements seem to be depriving themselves of radical means of reflection placing things in a more global context or losing themselves in an endless list of demands to advance for a system that is a little more sustainable, a little less worse. They also seem to be depriving themselves of means of action as well – the ideology of non-violence continues its misdeeds and nothing changes either in or around us – the means of action that, for us, allow us to have taken over the world that devours us and therefore that we attack in return.

Yet we know that there are individuals in these groups with boiling blood. Let the nets of politics get stuck. Who are not satisfied with this “crisis” that turns into a “catastrophe” and that always announces the inevitable end of this civilization for tomorrow. Who can no longer wait wisely between small work and activism….

We hope that this attack will please you and make you want to participate in this great game with us.

We do not claim to understand everything, to hold the truth or to know what is THE right strategy to tackle this world. We just make attempts. The attempt of the attack this time. The action as a pretext for reflection. A thought for the people who struggle with bure and amassada. A thought for the people who continue to attack and question.

We do not want to wait for disaster. We want to be the disaster.

by thecollective at November 15, 2019 03:13 AM

Anti-Terror Operation Leads to 3 Comrades Arrested, 1 Comrade Wanted

from anarchists worldwide.

In an operation that began on Friday, November 8th, Greek counter-terrorism police raided 13 homes and took 15 people in for questioning. According to Greek corporate media, two men aged 41 and 45 were subsequently arrested on charges of carrying out terrorist acts, possession of explosives, violation of the weapons law and tampering with official documents. A 39 year old woman was also arrested for violation of the weapons law. Counter-terrorism police are still seeking a 46 year old man.

According to the police, the arrested comrades were involved in a break-in at an electronics store in the Holargos suburb of Athens on October 21st. The counter-terrorism investigation began shortly after the break-in. They say that the arrested 41 year old comrade was jailed in 2010 for membership of Revolutionary Struggle, and was released in February 2018.

They allege that they found the following items in the raided homes:

5 Kalashnikov rifles
4 hand grenades with CS gas fillers
17 detonators (9 of them remote-controlled)
various explosives

Police are alleging that ballistics examination of the weapons showed that one Kalashnikov had been used in an attack for which the group Revolutionary Self-Defense had assumed responsibility.

Below are two short reports from Act For Freedom Now, including a brief statement from the comrade Vangelis Stathopoulos, one of the arrestees who is now detained at GADA police headquarters in Athens. An Italian translation of these two texts is available here, courtesy of Insuscettibile di Ravvedimento blog…


Athens, Greece: Anti-terrorist operation leads to three comrades arrested and one wanted (November 9th, 2019)

On November 9th, 2019, an anti-terrorist operation led to two arrests, charging them with robbery and involvement in a terrorist organization. At the same time, authorities are looking for another comrade in order to give him the same accusations, while arresting a close female comrade on lesser charges.



Message from anarchist comrade Vangelis Stathopoulos from the GADA central anti-terrorist headquarters:

Once again I find myself in GADA accused of acts that do not concern me and in fact it is because I have not stopped fighting against the state and power. The scenarios elaborated by the counter-terrorism do not bother me. I will continue to fight steadfast either outside or inside the prisons.

Vangelis Stathopoulos – GADA dungeon

by thecollective at November 15, 2019 03:11 AM

November 14, 2019

InterPressService (global south)

The Global Economy of Pulses: Impressive Gains and the Way Forward

By Boubaker Ben Belhassen and Vikas Rawal
ROME, Nov 14 2019 (IPS)

Pulses are highly nutritious and their consumption is associated with many health benefits. They are rich in proteins and minerals, high in fibre and have a low fat content. Pulses are produced by plants of the Leguminosae family. These plants have root nodules that absorb inert nitrogen from soil air and convert it into biologically useful ammonia, a process referred to as biological nitrogen fixation. Consequently, the pulse crops do not need any additional nitrogen as fertilizer and help reduce the requirement of fossil fuel-based chemical nitrogen fertilization for other crops. Expansion of pulse production, therefore, can play a vital role in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Boubaker Ben Belhassen

Between 2001 and 2014, the global production of pulses increased by over 20 million tonnes. This increase came about primarily on account of an increase in the production of common beans, chickpeas, cowpeas and lentils. Globally, between 2001 and 2014, the annual production of dry beans increased by about 7 million tonnes. In the same period, the annual production of chickpeas went up by about 5 million tonnes, that of cowpeas by about 3.8 million tonnes and that of lentils by about 1.6 million tonnes.

While pulses are produced in all regions of the world, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa together account for about half of global production. Cultivation of dry bean, a category comprising many different types of beans, is the most widespread across different regions of the world. In 2012-14, sub- Saharan Africa accounted for 24 percent of global production of dry beans, Latin America and the Caribbean for about 24 percent, Southeast Asia for about 18 percent, and South Asia for about 17 percent. South Asia accounts for about 74 percent of chickpea production and 68 percent of pigeonpea production. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 96 per cent of the production of cowpea, a legume specific to arid regions. North America is the biggest producer of lentils and dry peas.

India is the biggest producer and consumer of pulses. Indian demand for pulses is a major driver of the global economy of pulses: India accounts for about 24 percent of global production of pulses and 30 percent of global imports. In contrast with stagnation of production of pulses from 1960s through 1990s, the last 15 years have seen a doubling of production of pulses in India. In 2017, India produced about 23 million tonnes of pulses.

Concerted efforts of agricultural scientists and breeders under the aegis of CGIAR institutions and national agricultural research systems (NARS) have played a critical role in facilitating the growth of pulse production over the last fifteen years. Research on pulses under CGIAR is led by ICRISAT, ICARDA and CIAT. Significant work has been done by these institutions to conserve genetic resources of pulse crops and also develop new cultivars. Currently, ICRISAT holds 20 764 accessions of chickpeas and 13 783 accessions of pigeonpeas, ICARDA has 11 877 accessions of lentils and CIAT holds 37 938 accessions of Phaseolus beans. In addition, many national gene banks hold substantial repositories of genetic resources. For example, national gene banks in India have over 63 000 accessions of different pulse crops. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, adopted by the 31st Session of the Conference of FAO in 2001, has provided the institutional framework for international collaboration in using these genetic resources. These genetic resources have been used to develop short-duration and disease-resistant varieties, and varieties that can be grown in diverse climatic conditions across the world.

Vikas Rawal

With the increase in globalization and trade liberalization across the world, the last two decades have seen a particularly large increase in international trade of pulses. Between 2001 and 2013, the quantity of pulses exported went up from about 9 million tonnes to about 14 million tonnes. There has been a considerable increase in Asia’s dependence on imports of pulses, primarily on account of an increasing shortfall in domestic supply in India and China’s transformation from being a net exporter of pulses to being a net importer. On the other hand, Canada, Australia and Myanmar have emerged as major exporters of pulses. High prices of pulses in the past decade have made farming of pulses attractive in these countries.

Experience of many countries over the last two decades shows that considerable improvement in the yields of pulses can be achieved with greater adoption of improved varieties and scientific agronomic practices. Large, industrial-scale farms in developed countries like Canada and Australia benefit from economies of scale, particularly in the deployment of machines, and higher use of improved varieties of seeds, inoculants and plant protection chemicals. On the other hand, pulse production on smallholder farms in most countries continues to be characterized by low yields and high risk. Given the low and uncertain returns from pulses, most of the smallholder production takes place on marginal soils, on land without irrigation facilities and with little access to technological improvements. Smallholder producers of pulses in developing countries lack access to improved varieties of seeds, knowledge about appropriate agronomic practices, and resources for buying modern inputs. Consequently, yield gaps on smallholder farms are high. In countries marked by smallholder production, pulse crops remain unremunerative compared with other competing crops. Low levels of per hectare margins act as a double disadvantage for smallholder producers of pulses: given the small sizes of their farms, low per hectare margins result in abysmal levels of per worker and per farm incomes.

The growth of pulse production over the last decade-and-a-half has been a result of concerted public action towards developing improved varieties and identifying suitable agronomic varieties, to make cultivation of pulses attractive for farmers under diverse agro-climatic conditions and economic contexts across the world. Increasing support to smallholder pulse production in the form of public extension services, provision of improved technologies and inputs, and availability of credit and insurance facilities can go a long way towards closing yield gaps on smallholder farms and making production of pulses more remunerative. The key lies in simultaneously ensuring that production of pulses is remunerative for smallholder producers and prices of pulses are affordable for consumers.

Boubaker Ben Belhassen is Director, Trade and Markets Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Vikas Rawal is Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University. The Trade and Markets Division of FAO recently released a report titled The Global Economy of Pulses that can be accessed here:

The post The Global Economy of Pulses: Impressive Gains and the Way Forward appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Boubaker Ben Belhassen and Vikas Rawal at November 14, 2019 06:50 PM

Radio Rageuse Autodéfense féministe pour les Sourdes

@natacha wrote:

23m Sapito Verde

Trop trop heureuse et fière de voir ce projet bientôt se concrétiser !

Autodéfense féministe pour les Sourdes

Une émission de radio en langue des signes enregistrée avec Radiorageuses à la caravane mobile-bulle au festival de Douarnenez 2018

Posts: 1

Participants: 1

Read full topic

by @natacha at November 14, 2019 06:15 PM

Art Helping Women to Highlight Gender-based Violence at ICPD25

Ann Kihii (25) spends time with other young women from poor communities in Nairobi and use embroidery to create images that tell a story about the daily challenges they face. They also get a chance to discuss the issues among themselves in a safe space. Credit: Mantoe Phakathi / IPS

By Mantoe Phakathi
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 14 2019 (IPS)

While women find it hard to talk about their painful experiences, some have found a way of expressing themselves through art. Women, trained as artists, from Nairobi’s informal settlements Kibera and Kangemi, have produced a beautiful quilt that tells stories about their daily challenges.

Displayed at the Pamoja Zone of ICPD25, the quilt is used to lobby delegates to rally behind girls and women by ensuring that they enjoy sexual reproductive rights and end gender-based violence.

Being able to express yourself through art

While the embroidered quilt is a beautiful piece of work, each square that forms part of it it is sewn by different women who are expressing their sad experiences.

“I live in a community where violence against women is the order of the day,” she told IPS. “Unfortunately, women find it hard to talk about it.” Ann Kihiis (25) is one of the young women who have turned out to be a fine quilt maker. Using small square pieces of fabric, she sewed an image of a woman who was experiencing violence in her marriage.

In the same image, there is a shadow which she says symbolises the anger and hurt that an abused woman carries with her all the time unless she is able to talk about it and heal from the experience. Although she has never been in an abusive relationship, she said observing it from a young age in her family and community has traumatised her.

Ann Kihii showcases the quilt that she contributed in making where she designed an image of a woman in an abusive relationship who always carries the anger and hurt. Credit: Mantoe Phakathi / IPS

“I love art and this is a way of creating awareness about gender-based violence and letting people know that it’s okay to talk about it,” said Kihiis.

She said she is aware that women who are abused end up believing that they do not deserve to be loved, something that is not true.

Art brings women together

On the same quilt, other artists made images depicting crime, drugs and teenage pregnancy. For example, there is an image of a young girl who is sitting on a desk with a baby on her back. This, according to Bobbi Fitzsimmons, a quilter from the Advocacy Project is the story of a young girl who was abandoned by her father after falling pregnant. When she fell pregnant for the second time, she decided to take control of her life and returned to school even if it meant studying with much younger learners.

Bobbi Fitzsimmons, a quilter from The Advocacy Project, trains women groups across the world to express the challenges they face by using embroidery, painting and applique to raising awareness so as to get support in addressing gender-based violence and sexual reproductive health rights. Credit: Mantoe Phakathi / IPS

“Art is a very effective way of expressing oneself,” she said. “What’s more, the women came together while working on the quilt and discussed their issues, in what was a safe space for them to talk.”

The Kenyan women artists are trained by the Kenya Quilt Guild under Fitzsimmons’ directorship.

The United National Population Fund (UNFPA) funded The Advocacy Project to train the women. They also funded the exhibition of quilts from women in other parts of the world. For example, there is a quilt from Nepal on display with squares of paintings through which a group of women from the Eastern part of the country expresses themselves after they were treated for uterine prolapse, a painful condition affecting 600 000 women in Nepal. Another quilt donning the walls of the Pamoja Zone is one from survivors of sexual violence from the Democratic Republic of Congo, while another depicts child marriages in Zimbabwe.

In total, 18 quilts are on display at the exhibition, where delegates are fascinated by the stories.

Karen Delaney, the deputy director of The Advocacy Project believes that through this initiative, women do not only come together to talk about their issues but they also get a lifetime skill for income generation. Credit: Mantoe Phakathi / IPS

In making the quilts the artists are trained to use the following skills: beadwork, painting and applique.

“Apart from the opportunity of bringing together the women, they gain skills that they can use to generate income for the rest of their lives,” said Karen Delaney, the deputy director at The Advocacy Project.

The post Art Helping Women to Highlight Gender-based Violence at ICPD25 appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Mantoe Phakathi at November 14, 2019 05:59 PM


France’s Left Is Finally Fighting Islamophobia

The recent mosque shooting in Bayonne was just the latest violent attack against France’s Muslims. The secularist left has long rejected the idea of “Islamophobia” — but as the far right goes mainstream, Muslims’ calls for solidarity have become impossible to ignore.

alt Demonstrators against Islamophobia and anti-Muslim discrimination gathered in Paris on November 10, 2019. Lisa Bryant / VOA

For decades, Islamophobia has been central to the exercise of political power in France. Now, after years of paralysis, the Left is finally starting to fight it.

On October 28, two elderly Muslim men were badly wounded when a gunman attacked a mosque in Bayonne in southwest France. In recent years, French mosques have been defaced, rammed, and burned down, and their congregations harassed and targeted. Bayonne represented a dangerous new escalation. The response in Paris last Sunday — as 25,000 people took to the streets demanding an end to Islamophobia — offers hope that the anti-Muslim consensus may finally have splintered.

The Bayonne attack’s political motivations were immediately clear. The alleged perpetrator, eighty-four-year-old Claude Sinké, wanted “revenge” on Muslims, whom he baselessly blamed for April’s fire at Paris’s Notre-Dame Cathedral. Sinké was not just some lone crank: in 2015, he had stood in regional elections for Marine Le Pen’s far-right Front National (in mid-2018 renamed the Rassemblement National).

In the wake of the attack, the Rassemblement National (RN) condemned Sinké and tried to distance itself from him. But it was far from the first time that the party had been implicated in murderous violence, often targeted against immigrants. A party with origins in neofascist groups, its first president, Jean-Marie Le Pen (himself once convicted for assaulting a political rival), thought that “a respectable Front National doesn’t attract anyone.” Just this year, the lead RN candidate for the 2020 council elections in Strasbourg had to stand down after revelations that he had committed racist attacks on individuals and kebab shops in 2011 and 2012. Le Pen’s party has made Islamophobia one of its central platforms — and it demands a response.

The Normalization of Anti-Muslim Racism

Islamophobia is a fixture of “Republicanism,” the supposedly unchanging set of national values that emerged from the 1789 revolution that constitutes the ideology of the French political mainstream. Like hostility to immigration, it is particularly central to French conservatism.

This centrality was illustrated by a recent right-wing convention hosted by Marion Maréchal-Le Pen — the great hope of the far right — and opened by commentator Éric Zemmour. Maréchal had invited Zemmour as part of her bid to win traditional right-leaning voters to her own more radical positions. A highly paid celebrity commentator, Zemmour’s inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric recycles many of the tropes historically used against Jews (four years ago, he called for the bombing of Molenbeek, the Brussels suburb where some of the terrorists responsible for the 2015 Paris attacks lived). Zemmour delivered exactly what Maréchal wanted, offering a sickening mixture of Islamophobia, attacks on other minorities, and red-baiting against the Left. In a perfect example of the acceptability of Islamophobia and the media’s complicity with right-wing extremism, his tirade was broadcast live on a top news channel.

But this Islamophobia isn’t limited to the Le Pen family or its friends. Although some voters backed him in the 2017 election as a bulwark against the far right, Emmanuel Macron’s government has, in fact, rarely stopped kowtowing to the RN’s politics. Barely a week goes by without a new Islamophobic frenzy. On October 8, following the attack in the Paris police headquarters, the president called for a “society of vigilance” against Islamist terror, inviting the public to spot and denounce what he called “the little gestures which indicate distance from the laws and values of the Republic,” whether they occur at work, during religious worship, or at school.

Macron’s intention was clearly to legitimate a witch hunt against Muslims — and even Muslim schoolchildren. A few days after his declaration, a university in the Paris area issued a circular inviting its staff to raise the alarm if they noticed signs of potential terrorist sympathies. Among possible danger signals, the university listed starting to eat halal, growing a beard, or adopting the headscarf: for the university, the mere fact of converting to Islam represented a risk of “radicalization.”

As usual, women are the foremost victims of Islamophobic scapegoating. On October 11, a headscarf-wearing mother accompanying a field trip to a session of the regional council in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté was forced by RN members to leave the chamber and then aggressively harassed. Nothing in the formal rules of the assembly prohibited headscarves being worn, but the fact that someone was doing so was enough, in the eyes of the far right, to disqualify her from even observing regional government in action. In the days after this incident, there were eighty-five debates on the question on French news channels — even though opinion surveys show that Islam is not a major preoccupation for the French public. Not a single headscarf-wearing woman was invited to participate.

Far-right voters are the principal obstacles to Macron’s reelection in 2022, and he is determined to attract them to his side. Indeed, his government has just announced harsh new immigration and refugee policies to show them there’s no need to turn to Le Pen. Signaling his Islamophobia is part of this same approach. In a long interview controversially granted to the far-right Valeurs actuelles magazine, Macron said that women sometimes wear the headscarf as a sign of their desire to “secede” from the Republic and claimed, entirely falsely, that the woman attacked in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté council was associated with political Islam and had deliberately set the incident up.

With anti-Muslim flare-ups all around, it would have been reasonable not to throw more fuel on the fire. But the very day after the headscarf incident, the French Senate voted for a bill, sponsored by the right-wing Les Républicains, to ban parents accompanying school excursions from displaying religious symbols — a measure targeting the headscarf first and foremost. The bill is unlikely to become law, since the education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, is opposed to it: he knows that, given the current climate, there’s no actual need for such a law. He certainly isn’t a friend of Muslims — he has said that “the headscarf quite simply isn’t desirable in our society” and criticized parents’ groups that defend women’s right to wear what they want during field trips.

The regular and insolent endorsements of Islamophobia from France’s most powerful politicians inevitably fuel anti-Muslim racism. The Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) noted a rise of almost 50 percent in Islamophobic incidents in 2018, most of which targeted women. More than half were committed by state institutions, a consequence of repressive policing, anti-terror, and anti-radicalization practices. Among the many forms of discrimination in 2018, the CCIF reported excessive delays in the processing of Muslim people’s passports and identity cards and a very significant rise in the number of “S forms” issued, a prerequisite for surveillance by state security services. In a recently released report, the Fondation Jean-Jaurès found that 42 percent of Muslims have been the target of discrimination on the basis of their religion, mostly at the hands of the police.

A Shift on the Left

The intensity of Islamophobic racism and its centrality to the ideology of the French ruling class make it an urgent priority for left-wing political forces. But the French left, strongly committed to France’s secularist tradition, has historically not been up to the task.

Just after the November 2015 attacks, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, 2017 presidential candidate and popular figurehead of the left-nationalist La France Insoumise party, said that he disputed the very term “Islamophobia.” Mélenchon, who has consistently called for the prohibition of public displays of religion like Muslim street prayers, gave an explanation widespread across the political spectrum: “For my part,” he said, “I defend the idea that we have the right not to like Islam, we have the right not to like the Catholic religion, and that is one of our freedoms.”

In fact, Mélenchon was attacking a straw man here. Left-wing groups fighting Islamophobia have never wanted to stifle critique of religion as such: Mélenchon’s declaration served only to discredit the campaign against anti-Muslim racism. It was a sign of how things have changed for the better that, at the party’s summer school this August, a similar statement by a different speaker caused a furor.

Sunday’s march, with its demand to put an end to discrimination, hate speech, and “liberticidal” laws directed against Muslim people, may be the start of a major realignment. Initiated by Madjid Messaoudene, a local politician in the Saint-Denis suburb north of Paris, the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA), the CCIF, and activist groups fighting racist police violence, among others, the march was endorsed by the largest coalition of left-wing individuals and organizations ever assembled against Islamophobia. The Greens, Générations (a left split from the Socialists led by its unsuccessful presidential candidate, Benoît Hamon), Mélenchon’s France Insoumise, and the Communists were all on board, as were the Solidaires union, the general secretary of the important CGT union confederation, the UNEF (the French students’ union), and organizations like the French Jewish Union for Peace and the Human Rights League.

The call for the march was even signed by Lutte Ouvrière, a Trotskyist party historically unsympathetic to Islamophobia as an issue — indeed, some of its leading members played a major role in the process leading to the 2004 law that banned the headscarf in schools. As activist Houria Bouteldja commented, the march was a “victory in itself for political antiracism since it took fifteen years of preparatory work to get this result.”

There was controversy both within and outside the groups supporting the march. A government spokesperson called it an “attack on the state,” and numerous politicians and commentators joined in the denunciation. Several people who signed the initial call to march recanted. The national political bureau of the Socialist Party (PS) declined to support the march at all: the head of the Socialist group, Olivier Faure, who recently told national radio that some areas of France were experiencing “colonization in reverse” by immigrants and their descendants, described it as “anti-secular and anti-Republican.” Socialist senator Laurence Rossignol said that while opposition to anti-Muslim racism is necessary, the march drew the anti-racist left onto the terrain of “political Islam” — a reference to the fact that the CCIF, one of the organizers, is sometimes claimed to have connections to the Muslim Brotherhood (the CCIF describes itself as a non-religious organization, explicitly opposes radicalization, and calls in its 2019 report for better training on the meaning of secularism).

Political hostility toward the fight against Islamophobia has also drawn legitimacy from years of work by public intellectuals. The sociologist Manuel Boucher condemned Sunday’s march as a “major political mistake for the Left”; others, including prominent philosopher Pascal Bruckner, attacked it as a concession to political extremism. Thanks to his 2017 book An Imaginary Racism: Islamophobia and Guilt, Bruckner is one of the most important intellectual apologists for French state racism. For Bruckner, Muslim religious signs like headscarves are mere “instruments for the conquest of the public space, tracts calling for sedition.”

As the anti-colonial Parti des Indigènes de la République put it, people like Bruckner “want to confiscate from Muslims the meaning of their own religion.” Bruckner and other public intellectuals’ refusal to consider that a “sign” like a headscarf might have many meanings, different for different people, is characteristic of the reductive simplifications with which Islam is approached, and a major regression from the philosophical culture once dominant in France that championed the idea that symbols can  take on a variety of contextually determined meanings.

Opposition to the march was also motivated by  revelations of reactionary statements by two signatories who added their names to the call, along with 300 others, after its initial publication in the newspaper Libération. In an old video exhumed by the far right in order to discredit the march, the imam Nader Abou Anas tells women that they should stay at home and not deny their husbands sex. As soon as this was revealed, the imam’s signature was withdrawn from the appeal. Another signatory, the Brest imam Rachid Eljay, was criticized for an old video excusing sexual abuse. Eljay, once a Salafist, has subsequently taken a government-endorsed course for imams, opposes the jihad in Syria and attacks in France, and is now seen as a moderate and, as a result, is targeted by the Islamic State. As a number of signatories observed, refusing to take part in a demonstration because of disagreements with other participants makes the very principle of mobilization by different political actors around clearly defined goals impossible.

The evolution in attitudes toward Islamophobia was particularly clear in Mélenchon. While some members of his own party, initially supportive of the march, hedged and backtracked, Mélenchon maintained his strong support, regardless of his reservations about the term “Islamophobia.” He noted that no concrete alternative was being offered by the march’s opponents, and he criticized the fact that “on the basis of a disagreement about a word, people are managing to refuse Muslims the right to be defended by people who aren’t Muslim and who want to put an end to the current atmosphere against them.”

Even the electorally decimated Socialist Party, whose refusal to participate on Sunday was read by some organizers as an attempt to sabotage the march, may have been somewhat influenced. The fact that the most venomously Islamophobic Socialists, like former prime minister Manuel Valls, are no longer in the party (many having gone over to Macron’s La République En Marche! movement) has played a role here. Seeking to give the impression that they are committed to fighting racism, the PS says it will call for a different demonstration against anti-Muslim hatred in the coming weeks. How serious it is remains to be seen.

States Within the State

In the sixteenth century, France’s Catholic kings went to war against the country’s Protestant minority. Today, state authority is embodied not in Catholicism, but in an obligatory and violent secularism, justified by a willful misinterpretation of the foundational 1905 law on the separation of church and state, intended to ensure the religious neutrality of the state and guarantee the free exercise of religion. Just before the Bayonne attack, Macron told Muslim community representatives that “in some places in our Republic, there is a separatism that has become established.” Statements like this, along with the widespread references to housing estates “taken over” by Islam strongly recall the historic anxieties about Protestants constituting a menacing “state within the state.”

Under the cover of a danger to the French state, elites fear the emergence of a bloc that might directly challenge their decades-long politics of neoliberal immiseration and foreign military intervention, in both of which Muslims are prime targets. François Baroin, one of the originators of the 2004 law prohibiting the headscarf in school and a current favorite for Les Républicain’s presidential candidacy for 2022, even describes organizations that fight discrimination against specific groups as an “assault on the Republic” and its supposed homogeneity.

So normalized is Islamophobic sentiment that its expression can be completely uninhibited: the assistant editor of the major right-wing newspaper Le Figaro stated on national television that he “hates the Muslim religion” and that he has “taken buses and boats in France where there was someone wearing a headscarf, and I’ve got off.”

The vicious attack on Muslims is a perfect diversion from the political crisis faced by the French ruling class. In the last year, Macron has been weakened by the gilets jaunes movement, to which he has offered a brutally repressive response, with more than 10,000 protesters taken into custody (a figure unprecedented for any social movement), and allegations that the tear gas lavished on demonstrators contains dangerous levels of cyanide. He also faces an indefinite rail strike from December 5 in protest against his plans to reform pensions. In such a context of social struggle, scapegoating Muslims and reinforcing repressive immigration policies are reflex distractions, which have the added advantage of sowing division among different sectors of the public — Muslims and non-Muslims, immigrants and non-immigrants. The success of Sunday’s march lays the groundwork for a united political response. As well as slogans of solidarity with Muslims, parts of Sunday’s crowd also chanted slogans associated with the gilets jaunes protests. The unification of these two struggles is a precondition of an effective Left challenge to Macron.

Muslims, Solidarity, and the Left

Islamophobes claim that Muslims want to “secede” from the French state. But for many of those protesting on Sunday, their greatest wish was in fact to be recognized by it. This confirms sociological studies that suggest that the headscarf is not a sign of a rejection of French society, but of its wearers’ successful integration into it, and simply the result of a desire not to lose all contact with their heritage. On Sunday, women in headscarves brandished their French identity cards as signs that they, too, are French citizens, insisting that the marginalization, discrimination, and state violence to which they are subject has to end.

Some will never listen to this, seeking to impute other motives to the protesters. In his 2017 charter for state Islamophobia, Pascal Bruckner offers puerile conjecture on the far left’s reasons for fighting Islamophobia, claiming that Islam provides “the substitute for a Marxism and a third-worldism in their death-throes” and “incarnates a power of devotion” that the Left has lost. At the same time, he thinks that leftists hope to use Islam as the “spearhead of a new insurrection,” and therefore see the fight against Islamophobia as an opportunity for entry into Muslim communities, with whom they also feel a “losers’ solidarity.”

But Bruckner’s sorry psychologizing is wide of the mark. As the placards and slogans at Sunday’s march made clear, France’s systematic, state-sanctioned abuse of Muslims makes them feel rejected, threatened, and disenfranchised. The brutality of the hostility they encounter, whether physical or ideological, sets a standard for how the French ruling class responds to other groups it sees as a political threat: immigrants, gilets jaunes, disaffected residents of outer suburbs, environmentalists. Whether with these groups or with Muslims, standing together should be a basic instinct of solidarity for the Left. Sunday’s march is a necessary and long-awaited first step in this direction.

by Nick Riemer at November 14, 2019 04:27 PM

New research focus : The surveillance industry

From Ears & Eyes:

When cops decide to spy on us using surveillance devices such as hidden microphones and cameras or GPS trackers, they need to get the devices from somewhere. It seems that they often buy these devices from private companies. The companies that manufacture and market those devices are part of what we call the surveillance industry.

We think that understanding how the surveillance industry works, who sells the surveillance devices to the cops and what the devices look like will help us to oppose this surveillance. So we have started a research work focused on this industry, and particularly on the companies that participate in it.

On our website you will find an overview of the surveillance industry, a list of companies that sell surveillance devices to cops worldwide, a list of the trade shows and other events where you are likely to find these companies, a glossary of the specific terms of the industry, and a list of other resources on the subject. All this is available in english and french.

Our list currently includes 81 companies. For each of them, we have gathered information about the company contact information, legal status, clients, and products. We intend to continue this work and expand the list.

We also want to establish links between these companies and the devices that are found after being used to spy on anti-authoritarian spaces or individuals doing subversive actions. This has already been done in three cases:

The Italian company Elkron/Urmet, based in Turin, sells miniature surveillance cameras that were used to spy on a squat in Genoa in 2014.
The company Reconyx, based in the United States, sells video surveillance devices that were used to spy on an anti-nuclear gathering in France in 2018.
The Italian company DSE or “Digital Surveillance Equipment”, based in Turin, sells video surveillance devices that were used to spy on a gathering in front of a jail in Cuneo in 2019.

We want to continue this research work. We want to build knowledge in order to oppose the State, the cops, and their allies. If you have comments or criticism, or if you want to contribute informations, you can contact us.

by admin at November 14, 2019 03:59 PM

Thessaloniki, Greece: Responsibility claim for the arson of a diplomatic vehicle

IT/EN (October 31st, 2019)

Social peace in Chile is now a thing of the past. And tolerance and consensus for State and capitalist barbarism also belongs to the past. Submission to the modern version of the Pinochet dictatorship, represented by the Piniera government. Chile is burning with the insurrectional proletarian flame of the oppressed.

It all started on October 19 when a student protest against an increase in public transport ticket prices was met with violent repression from the police forces. From then on, everything took its course. Day by day millions of insurgents flood the streets, attack the police forces, burn and plunder the symbols of wealth and power. They are burning their past, marching on the insurgent horizons of tomorrow. 11 years after the uprising in the Greek territories, these rebels remind us of what we loved most: the refusal to return to normality.

Insurrection is no longer a dead word. It is the dying breath of order and safety within a society that has been choking from the misery and barbarism of capitalism. And the result of the persistent labour of all those who work so consistently and stubbornly to question and destabilize the regime’s social consensus. Against the first retreat of the regime which hastily went to negotiations, proposing new, more favourable measures, the rebels respond without repentance: Tomorrow starts a new day of class war. Let’s take everything!

The Chilean uprising knows an unprecedented wave of repression years after the dictatorship of Pinochet. A state of emergency has been declared across the country with the army taking over order enforcement at the same time as the insurgents report dozens of killings by the State and its repressive forces while we are already counting over 7,000 arrests. There are countless allegations of torture of those arrested mostly rape attacks, sexual violation and sexual assaults.
At the same time there are hundreds injured by the riots and clashes that are increasing day by day. But stubbornly day by day the rebels are taking back their stolen space and time that was taken from them daily until today.

Chile is now another flame in the international mosaic of insurrectional events taking place in different parts of the globe. These are not single events. The world is set aflame by our sparks. In Chile, in Ecuador against IMF austerity measures, in Iraq, Lebanon, Hong Kong to the Kurdish resistance and the revolutionary experiment of democratic confederation, the oppressed are looking for the drop that will overflow the cup. Let’s make the next step then collectively, passing from regional uprisings to the global social and class revolution. We take responsibility for the arson of a diplomat vehicle in Makrigianni street in Thessaloniki on Thursday morning, October 31, in the country-wide three-day solidarity call with the Chilean rebels.

We send our fiery solidarity to the rebel consciousnesses of Chile and all around the globe.

Our days have already come…

Arsonists of the Chile-Millenium

[From, originally published at].

by admin at November 14, 2019 03:46 PM

Milan, Italy: Arson attack against five cars of Metropolitane Milanesi


On the night of November 6, 2019, we burned 5 cars of MM [Metropolitane Milanesi] in Forze Armate street in Milan because MM is one of those responsible for the evictions of houses.

This action is in solidarity with all those arrested and investigated after the eviction of Asilo Occupato in Turin.
In solidarity with those affected by the repression at Barona in Milan.
In solidarity with all prisoners.

Note: Metropolitane Milanesi, the company that manages underground transport in Milan, since some years is managing a part of the residential popular housing in Milan; while the remaining part is managed by Aler. Barona is a neighborhood in Milan; the repressive fact referred to in the text happened on October 30, when some members of the Comitato Autonomo Abitanti Barona (“Autonomous Committee of Barona Inhabitants”, an antagonistic group related to the struggle for the house in the neighborhood) received some “divieti di dimora” (bans) from Milan.

by admin at November 14, 2019 03:40 PM

Turin, Italy: Arrests of September 20 – Amma, Uzzo and Patrick were transferred to house arrest


On November 12, 2019, Amma, Uzzo and Patrick were transferred from the “Le Vallette” prison (in Turin) to house arrest, with no other special restrictions. They had been arrested on September 20, 2019, in the context of a repressive operation aimed at carrying out some precautionary measures (in particular, in addition to their arrests, about a dozen “divieti di dimora” from Turin – a measure that requires the accused not to reside in a particular place and not to access it without the authorization of the proceeding judge) and some searches, referring to a investigation by the prosecutor’s office of Turin over charges relating to the conflictual demonstration of February 9, this year in Turin, against the eviction of Asilo Occupato and the repressive operation “Scintilla” (February 7), for which currently only Silvia is imprisoned (since a few months under house arrest with all the restrictions). On September 20, to arrest a comrade the police had surrounded the Casa Brancaleone occupation (in Milan, also the home of anarchist space L’Accerchiata), threatening to evict the squat – an attempt that not happened because the comrade was arrested.

We recall that on October 8, Amma, returning to prison following a judicial hearing concerning the arrest, was beaten and threatened by some prison police officers; a serious physical consequence of this beating was the perforation and damage of an eardrum.

We also recall what happened on February 9: a demonstration in response to the “Scintilla” operation moved through the streets of Turin, trying also to approach the Asilo (completely surrounded by police and carabinieri, and in the meantime devastated by the police and the workers in charge of closing the building), subsequently going against the police, the city and things that are daily the frame of the existence of the oppressed. During the demonstration some people were arrested and detained in “Le Vallette” prison – and then released a few days later.

Those arrested and under investigation on September 20 are accused of “aggravated injuries”, “resistance to a public official”, “damage” and “dirtying”.

by admin at November 14, 2019 03:31 PM

Ukraine: Two cell towers of Life/Turk-cell destroyed in Kyiv region – Solidarity with struggle in Kurdistan

In October 2019 the Turkish state invaded Northern Syria. The target of their aggression was Democratic Federation of Northern and Eastern Syria (Rojava). By the fault of rulers blood is being shed again and peacful people are suffering and dying. The goal of the president of Turkey Erdogan is to destroy revolutionary Autonomy of Syrian Kurds. Revolutionaries of Kurdistan build a society of stateless popular self-management. And Rojava became an example and model for Kurds in Turkey. That is why «Turkish sultan» started a war.

In the night of November 11 we destroyed two cell phone network towers of the Lifecell company settled by the Zahaltsy and Piskivka settlements in Kyiv region. Lifecell is fully owned by Turkish giant TURKCELL, the largest mobile provider of the State of Turkey. As a large corporate tax payer Turkcell appears as the indirect sponsor of the aggression of Erdogan`s regime. There are also widely known connections of the provider with the ruling «Justice and Development Party» which construct the basis of the current system in the country. These are the reasons why we consider the property of Lifecell as a legitimate target for the sabotage.

We stay in solidarity with revolutionaries and people of Kurdistan. They fight the occupation and oppression — for the liberty and social justice. We call to everyone who cares about the situation to participate in the resistance in a manner according to their abilities.

Freedom to the peoples — death to the Empires!

Сell of Revolutionary Solidarity

by admin at November 14, 2019 03:26 PM

Transition as Wildfire Adaptation in California

We are fortunate to have Michael Wara as our guest in this episode—a bona fide expert on the subject who is a member of the state-appointed wildfire commission in California—to help us think through this complex web of issues and understand how to start plotting a new path into the future.

by Chris Nelder at November 14, 2019 03:23 PM

Updates on the battle to defend Exarchia: For freedom, self-organisation and solidarity (Greece)

The past few weeks have seen an intensification of the Nea Demokratia government’s efforts to subdue the Greek anarchist movement and crush initiatives that offer alternatives to prison society. In particular, the anarchist neighbourhood of Exarchia in Athens has been a focal point for its aggression. A rough chronology of this repression as well as actions of solidarity and resistance taken by comrades in Athens is listed below.

The current rumour is that the State wants to evict ‘all squats’ by 17th November. Another rumour puts the deadline at 6th December. Both are significant dates in the history of the Greek anarchist movement, which are marked by annual riots. What ‘all squats’ means is not entirely clear. What is clear from the past few weeks however, is that attacks have been made on squats both inside and outside Exarchia, and as well as in cities in other parts of the country.

Evictions of migrant housing squats

The State’s first focus for attack on occupied spaces has targetted the numerous squats that offered alternative housing to the dire state-run camps for migrants. These were self-managed spaces inhabited by migrants, anarchists and anti-authoritarians, often of considerable size. They were largely concentrated in Exarchia.

In August, a month after the new government came into power, cops evicted four Exarchia squats (Spirou Trikoupi 17, Transito, Rosa de Foc and Gare).

This was followed by three more evictions in September (5th School in Exarchia, the Jasmine squat in nearby Archarnon street and another one near Jasmine).

Most recently in October, they evicted another Exarchia occupation, Oniro. Residents were loaded onto buses and taken to camps; their belongings were thrown away. In all, hundreds of refugees have been removed from these self-organised spaces and taken to state run camps and prisons. There are still a few migrant housing squats still standing in Exarchia, but they remain on high alert of eviction.

Legal and policy changes

As well as evictions, serious legal and policy developments have been made which attack rebels across the country.

These include:

– The abolition of the university asylum law. This law had largely prevented the cops from entering university campuses since the 1973 uprising against the dictatorship. The uprising was centred around the Politechnic University and resulted in a massacre by state forces there. Occupied spaces have been a traditional feature of many Greek universities and key infrastructure of the country’s anarchist and anti-authoritarian movements. The law had been much contested in recent years, until it was abolished in August, which is expected to make it a lot easier for the state to evict many squats.

– The reintroduction of the ‘Delta’ cops, rebranded as DRASI (‘action’). This notorious and particularly vicious gang of biker cops was disbanded in 2015, but has been brought back by the new government and is now back on the streets.

– New laws to further criminalise resistance. For instance, a maximum 10 year prison sentence for being found in possession of a molotov, and the creation of penalties for inciting riot or illegal acts, and for making interventions in state buildings.

Brief chronology from the past few weeks

Wednesday 30th October:

Riots break out on Patission near ASOEE university in solidarity with the insurrection in Chile.

Thursday 31st October:

A student demo takes place against the abolition of the university asylum law and education reforms. Students attack cops with flagpoles.

Friday 1st November:

A demo in solidarity with the insurrection in Chile starts at the Chilean embassy and winds back to Exarchia.

Saturday 2nd November:

• Eviction of Vancouver Apartment squat in central Athens, which had been occupied for the past 13 years. The squat was on property belonging to ASOEE, the Economics and Business university.

The cops take the unusual move of doing the eviction on a Saturday, when the university is closed and many students are not around to intervene. The move also comes on the morning of a significant demo against attacks on squats and migrants, which Vancouver had been publicly supporting. During the eviction 4 comrades are arrested, while one of the cats is killed by a police dog. The other 3 cat residents are effectively buried alive as the building is then knowingly sealed with the cats trapped inside.

There are ongoing legal efforts to free the remaining cats, since a squadron of riot cops have been guarding the building and all entrances are bricked up.

• The same morning, some of the riot cops permanently stationed around Exarchia attempt to smash down the door of Notara, one of the largest and few remaining migrant squats in Athens. This follows threats and insults which were shouted by cops in the preceding days, including shouting “Raus!” (reference to ‘Juden Raus’ a phrase used by Nazis meaning ‘Jews out’).

• A demo of around 1000 people takes place in solidarity with migrants & in defence of squats and self-organised spaces, called by the open assembly of squats, migrants, internationalists and solidarians. The demo winds through migrant neighbourhoods and is characterised by multilingual banners, leaflets, stencils and chants. Following the demo, there are molotov attacks on the police in Exarchia as an immediate response to the eviction of Vancouver. The police respond with teargas and flashbangs, and two people are arrested at random in the neighbourhood.

• In the migrant prison of Petrou Ralli, Athens, 16 female detainees start a hunger and thirst strike for their release and transfer back to the islands

Monday 4th November:

• Another student demo takes place in central Athens. Students attack the cops with molotovs and the police fire tear gas.

• The media reports that riot cops are attacked on three separate occasions in different locations throughout the day.

Tuesday 5th November:

Palmares squat is evicted in Larissa, central Greece. 16 people are arrested.

Wednesday 6th November:

• Several hundred people protest in solidarity with Notara squat, a prominent migrant squat in Exarchia that is home to up to 100 refugees, including many kids, and is under threat of immediate eviction. Notara is a large building that has been occupied since 2015.

Thursday 7th November:

• Clashes with the police take place in Exarchia which results in damage to one cop’s bike and the cop being sent to hospital. The police then rampage through Exarchia and besiege people in a popular cafe. 16 people are reported arrested.

Friday 8th November:

• Attack on Libertatia squat in Thessaloniki. Libertatia was significantly burnt down after being firebombed by fascists in 2018. At least four people are arrested.

Saturday 9th November:

• Police carry out an operation which results in (according to the media) searches on 13 homes and the detention of 15 people, 3 of which end up with charges. The press reports that it is an ‘anti-terrorist’ operation related to historical incidents and that weapons have been seized. Numerous people report being followed, harassed or raided by anti-terror cops.

• A demo in central Athens in defence of squats called by No Pasaran assembly is attended by hundreds of people.

Sunday 10th November:

• Dozens of people hold a demo in solidarity with the Petrou Ralli hunger strikers at the migrant prison, shouting slogans in different languages for the detainees.

• The polce raid ASOEE, the university of economics and business, and evict a steki. Images of seized helmets, sticks and bottles are shared widely by the media and used as a pretext by the academic council to shut down the university until 17th November.

Monday 11th November:

• A group of around 100 leftists break the lockout and enter the university. The police enter the premises, attacking people, firing gas and besieging the group of students. A stand off ensues as a crowd of many hundreds gathered on the busy road outside, forcing its partial closure. The police eventually leave, and a spontaneous march of 1000+ students follows.

• Some people are arrested during the siege. One of the students who was apparently outside ASOEE during the clashes was later arrested outside his home and his house was raided.

Tuesday 12th November:

• Police evict Bouboulinas squat in Exarchia, home to dozens of refugees. They are initially taken to Petrou Ralli detention centre, where a solidarity demo is held outside. Most are then bussed off to Amygdaleza migrant camp, but many occupants refuse to get off the buses. Some of the residents of Bouboulinas resist attempts to be split up and divided into ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’ migrants.

• At a solidarity gathering at court for arrestees, the cops fire tear gas and flashbangs in an unprovoked attack.

• A demo winds through the residential neighbourhood of Kypseli in defence of squats and against the state repression. The demo is called by Lelas Karagianni 37 squat which has been occupied for 31 years.

Needless to say, acts of international solidarity would be very welcome. Developments continue to unfold quickly. For further updates see or for frequent English updates check out @exiledarizona on Twitter.

Source + Pics

by admin at November 14, 2019 03:18 PM

Trade Governance will Make or Break the Green New Deal

‘The food that you buy will all be grown locally,’ says policy director at New Consensus, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, in a Vox video. This is stated simply, as an aspect of what it will be like to live in the time of a Green New Deal (GND). Yet it represents a fundamental challenge to international trade governance in ways that must be addressed if the GND is to be successful.

by Shaun Sellars at November 14, 2019 03:14 PM

InterPressService (global south)

This Time Around ICPD25 Commitments Will Be Met Says UNFPA …

Bettina Maas / UNFPA Ethiopia. Credit: Crystal Orderson / IPS

By Crystal Orderson
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 14 2019 (IPS)

The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA Ethiopia country representative, Bettina Maas speaks to IPS at the ICPD25 Nairobi Summit and she says she is optimistic that this time around that the three critical commitments; bringing preventable maternal deaths, gender based violence and harmful practices, as well as unmet need for family planning to zero will be realized.

Crystal Orderson spoke to Maas at the Nairobi Summit.

The post This Time Around ICPD25 Commitments Will Be Met Says UNFPA … appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Crystal Orderson at November 14, 2019 03:02 PM


Podemos Is Finally in Government

After a failed early election gambit, Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has finally accepted Podemos into his government. It’s a huge achievement for the Left — and a way to free Spain of its sharpening nationalist tensions.

alt Pablo Iglesias (R), Irene Montero (2R), and other members of Podemos celebrate the result of the no-confidence motion at the Lower House of the Spanish Parliament on June 1, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

“We are dismayed . . . We would prefer a centrist [grand coalition] between the [right-wing] Partido Popular and the Socialist Party, without extremes.” Such were the words of Spain’s association of corporate heads, Círculo de Empresarios, this Tuesday, when news filtered through of an agreement for a left-wing coalition uniting the center-left Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) and the radical-left Unidas Podemos.

For such business chiefs, the mere presence of Podemos’s thirty-five MPs in government inspires fear. As Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias put it, the policy concessions it forced from Pedro Sánchez’s PSOE minority government in last year’s budget deal — including a 22 percent minimum wage hike, rent controls, and restoration of slashed pensions — demonstrated its threat to commercial elites. Iglesias took aim at these faceless economic powers during the run-up to Sunday’s general election, making it a pillar of his campaign.

With news of a deal, Spain’s corporate and financial interests have reason to come out fighting. Over the summer, they successfully prevented a coalition between the two parties, applying sufficient pressure on acting prime minister Sánchez — aided by efforts from Brussels — to force him to walk away from negotiations. This triggered last Sunday’s repeat general election, the second in six months and the fourth in as many years. The aim of all this was to avoid Spain’s first left-wing coalition since the Second Republic of the 1930s.

Indeed, the talks over summer gave some insight into the hostility to such an arrangement. Then-acting deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo Poyato even told Podemos that it could not take up the Labor Ministry in any prospective government because this would “unnerve” the Association of Business Leaders. As Spanish media reported this week, this same corporate-political machine has “already [been] set into motion” following the news that the two parties have brokered an agreement.

Even for Sánchez, a leader whose career has been marked by constant tactical pivots and zigzagging, this move came out of the blue. The election had been counterproductive, with PSOE losing 750,000 votes and three seats compared to April’s result, while the far-right Vox more than doubled its seat share. Yet the proverbial dust had barely begun to settle on the result before the coalition deal was announced.

There are clear limits to Sánchez’s progressive credentials, from his only hesitant budget deal with Podemos last year (which, in the end, could not find parliamentary backing) to his scuttling of this summer’s negotiations. However, the Socialist leader has demonstrated in the past that he is willing to make concessions to the Left’s agenda and even to “name the enemy,” as Iglesias would have it, when forced to by political necessity. Today, circumstances brought about by his failed electoral gambit mean that by Christmas he could be heading a left-leaning coalition — with Pablo Iglesias as his deputy prime minister, along with figures like Izquierda Unida chief Alberto Garzón and former housing activist Irene Montero in his cabinet.

Yet there are also clear dangers to this government and its capacity to bring change. This “Frankenstein coalition” is born unstable and without a parliamentary majority — a problem set to be exacerbated by the fallout of the the trial of nine pro-independence Catalan leaders, and the far-right reaction it has unleashed. Ever since left-wing and regionalist parties first aided Sánchez’s ascension to the Moncloa Palace in June 2018, he has been reluctant to make this heterogeneous coalition a viable governing option. Today, we are about to see if it can survive.

A Game Changer

The dangers of such a government are owed particularly to the broader context that led to Sánchez’s rapid change of direction. One such factor is the Francoite Vox party’s arrival as a major force of national politics — with the potential this has to reshape the wider political field. The far-right party’s surge to 15.3 percent in Sunday’s election — proving its ability to channel part of the nationalist rage around the Catalan issue into an extremist vote — is clearly a game changer.

Indeed, the election handed renewed initiative to the Right. The conservative Partido Popular (PP) and Vox each secured poor results in the last general election in April — with the former losing more than half its seats and Vox failing to hit the numbers projected by many polls. Going into the campaign for the November 10 repeat vote, Vox was polling in single figures, while the PP was forecast to claw back a significant number of the seats it had lost in April.

Ultimately, the impact of the sentencing in the Catalan trial undoubtedly galvanized Vox. Yet equally as important was the normalization process it underwent in the campaign, together with the results for rival parties within the fragmented right-wing bloc. Even at the outset of the campaign, as Vox’s poll ratings remained in single figures, party leader Santiago Abascal received significant airtime on TV shows that previously did not dare to approach the party for interviews. Meanwhile, the liberal rightist Ciudadanos’s ratings continued to drop after its refusal to negotiate a centrist pact with Sánchez after April.

The right-wing Spanish nationalist reaction to the mass protests and riots across Catalonia was clearly at the heart of Vox’s surge in the final weeks of the campaign. As images of burning vehicles and pitched battles between youths and police were broadcast across the country — with Spanish television framing the demonstrations largely as a kind of breakdown in public order — Vox’s hard-line calls for a state of emergency gained considerable traction.

Vox also exploited the changing nature of political campaigns, with a number of effective PR stunts and a campaign strategy centered largely on social media. Abascal’s aggressive, culture-war-esque rhetorical style made him difficult to counter in the televised leaders’ debate — and a number of bare-faced lies, such as his claim that 70 percent of gang rapes are committed by foreigners, went unchallenged. The stunt carried out earlier the same day by Vox’s Madrid leader, Rocío Monasterio, similarly managed to place Vox at the center of the debate. She declared that “menas” (unaccompanied foreign minors) posed a threat to public safety, right in front of a center for such minors.

Having copied this Trumpian playbook during much of April’s campaign, this time around, the PP found itself caught between taking a hard line on issues like the national question and keeping hold of its traditional conservative base. Vox had no such balancing act to perform. And the raised stakes generated by the polarizing Catalan conflict meant its message chimed with an increasing number of right-wing voters. It, like the PP to a lesser degree, also benefited considerably from the collapse of Ciudadanos’s vote.

At Vox’s election night celebrations, chants of “Go get them! [¡a por ellos!]” rang out — a refrain that fits with its bellicose discourse toward the so-called “enemies of Spain.” Primary targets of this far-right offensive include Catalan independentists and immigrants, but also feminists, gay-rights activists, and progressives more generally.  Such is the climate in which the new government is born.

Against the Clock

On election night, the jubilation among Vox supporters stood in stark contrast to scenes outside PSOE headquarters, where the frustration among the party faithful was palpable. As Sánchez attempted to give his victory speech, he was drowned out by chants of “with [Pablo] Iglesias, yes!” and “with [PP leader] Casado, no!” — forcing him to cut celebrations short. This was an incredible act of defiance from activists who had watched as the party leadership disregarded its clear electoral mandate of cooperation with Unidas Podemos in the months after last April’s poll.

Surveying the post-electoral landscape, Sánchez believed he had to act quickly if events were not to get away from him. Six months previously, he had chosen to sit back after topping the polls, looking to force his rivals into a slow war of attrition — with the hope that either Ciudadanos or Unidas Podemos would eventually concede to backing a minority PSOE government. Now a series of factors led him toward the opposite conclusion — that only a swift coalition deal with Iglesias’s party could ensure a route out of the impasse.

After Sunday’s vote, PSOE’s options in terms of potential coalition partners had narrowed after Ciudadanos was wiped out as a major national force. In the run-up to the election, there had been much talk about a potential agreement with the conservative PP — it being supposed that the two historic adversaries could come to a one-off agreement to enable Sánchez’s investiture. Yet Vox’s surge complicated such a scenario. With Abascal’s party now breathing down its neck — and poised to declare any potential concession a gross betrayal — the PP were determined to extract a heavy price for any such deal. Its deputy leader even suggested it would require Sánchez to step aside for another PSOE candidate.

To go down that route would have risked months of further deadlock, and even a possible third election, which an increasingly indignant electorate would not have accepted. A sense of dismay and outright depression at Vox’s surge was evident among large parts of Spanish society — creating a new political urgency. Another reason for the haste was Sánchez’s desire to do a deal before the ruling in a highprofile corruption case involving two former PSOE regional premiers in Andalusia — which could have further complicated talks.

Finally, there was also a recognition that Pablo Iglesias had emerged from the election reinforced. Part of the initial calculation for opting for repeat elections was its potential to reduce Unidas Podemos to a marginal force in Spanish politics. The left vote would be split due to a new rival party headed by Podemos’s former deputy leader Íñigo Errejón — with initial polling suggesting his Más País platform could take as many as fifteen to twenty seats.

Yet the new party never managed to articulate a distinct political profile, with Errejón’s attempts to position Más País resembling something along the lines of the German Greens, which — along with other factors — ultimately prevented it gaining traction over the last month. Its paltry total of three MPs means its future viability is now unclear — in truth, Más País’s principal accomplishment was to split Podemos’s own vote and deny it four MPs.

Nonetheless, Podemos’s thirty-five MPs proved essential to Sánchez if he wanted to make good on his promise of a swift government formation. Having survived a year of internal splits and two grueling general elections, Iglesias was not going to now relinquish his demand for cabinet seats. Instead, on the eve of the election, he signaled to Sánchez that he was willing to take up negotiations from the point where they had left off in July.

Fait Accompli

The negotiations began Monday after lunch and were completed in a matter of hours. What had been impossible to achieve throughout months of on-off talks during the summer was made possible by Sánchez’s newfound engagement. He had not informed his party’s executive of his plans when it met that morning — wanting to present it with a fait accompli, which he would then put to a vote of party activists, rather than allow the PSOE machine and the party’s corporate allies an opportunity to push back.

The initial pre-agreement announced on Tuesday — a more detailed deal will be hammered out in the coming days — represents a certain balancing act. Unlike in July, Sánchez has not placed a veto on Iglesias’s presence in cabinet — the Podemos leader is probably the most likely candidate to take up the post of deputy prime minister, with a portfolio in social policies. Unidas Podemos are likely to take up three further cabinet seats, but the specific ministries are yet to be announced.

In July, Podemos sought to target portfolios with a strong social dimension that had clear spending powers. Accepting that the PSOE was not going to relinquish either the so-called “ministries of state” (defense, interior, justice, and foreign affairs), or the powerful economy and development ministries, it identified the Labor Ministry and the Ministry of Environment and Ecological Transition as its priorities. This time around, Iglesias and Sánchez have agreed not to disclose the exact seats the left-wing force will take until after the coalition government is voted in by a fragmented parliament.

The document signed by the two leaders on Monday sets out a series of priorities for the new government that seem in line with the programmatic agreement reached last July before talks broke down — though exact policy proposals were largely absent from the text and will be announced in the coming days. These commitments include tackling precarious labor conditions, boosting public services, guaranteeing housing as a basic right, progressive tax reform, fighting climate change, and promoting gender equality.

Two other priorities, however, in the text point to the likely limits of Unidas Podemos’s influence. The document commits the new government to a “balanced budgetary” policy, with new social programs having to be paid for out of increased revenue. This is obviously a major concession on the part of Iglesias — as his party’s economic policy has largely been centered on the need for expansive governmental budgets so as to counter the results of a decade of austerity.

Yet with the European Union demanding belt-tightening, and Spain undergoing an economic slowdown, fiscal rigor was a red line for Sánchez. Indeed, to placate Brussels and sell the idea of a left-leaning coalition to other European heads, he insisted on installing Nadia Calviño — a former high official in the European Commission — as the economic deputy prime minister.

These two deputy premiers — Iglesias in Social Affairs and Calviño in Economy — point to what will probably be the struggle that defines the coalition. One of Unidas Podemos’s slogans from the election campaign was that their presence in government would “guarantee the cuts are not forced on those at the bottom, but rather those at the top” — via new taxes on the financial and high-tech sector, a 1-percent increase on large fortunes, and strict policing of the effective corporate tax rate.

The other major concession on the part of Unidas Podemos was to accept PSOE’s leadership on the Catalan crisis — with Iglesias spelling out that he and the other ministers from his formation would be bound by cabinet discipline. Yet with the two parties’ 155 MPs falling short of the 176 needed for a majority, PSOE will also need to secure at least the abstention of Esquerra Republicana (the Republic Left of Catalonia party), whose leader, Oriol Junqueras, is serving a thirteen-year sentence for sedition. Esquerra has called for roundtable talks on the territorial crisis as a condition for facilitating the coalition — its necessary cooperation should force Sánchez to take a softer line on the Catalan issue than he has in recent months.

A Party of Government

Over the last year, as the pressure mounting to back a minority PSOE government continued to rise from several sectors, Iglesias has continued to insist that a full coalition was essential. In part, this reflects the fact that Unidas Podemos was burned on a number of occasions during its year of cooperation with Sánchez’s minority government formed in June 2018. When jointly agreed proposals for rent controls or public spending increases met with pushback from elites, Sánchez’s default position was to retreat.

Accordingly, Iglesias argued that only Podemos’s presence in cabinet could ensure a PSOE government would actually force through the raft of social policies on the table — such as the repeal of neoliberal labor reforms, further increases in the minimum wage, rent controls, and an anti-eviction law. Moreover, once Podemos was in cabinet, the PSOE would have no choice but to seek agreements with it in all legislative areas. This would block off the prospect of “variable alliances” and Sánchez attempting to play the Right and the Left against each other.

There were also party political interests at play in Iglesias’s insistence. Since Podemos was launched five years ago, with the promise of “storming the heavens” of the state, its “clear will to govern — not simply be a party of opposition” has been a cornerstone of its identity. For Iglesias, to relinquish its claim to power risked condemning Unidas Podemos to marginality — a second-tier actor, supporting the “natural” party of government on the Left, namely the PSOE.

Yet others within the party, such as its Andalusian leader Teresa Rodríguez, believe the conditions are not there for Podemos to exercise meaningful leverage in cabinet. In a tweet on Tuesday, party cofounder and member of European Parliament Miguel Urbán echoed these doubts, writing that “a sense of relief must not lead us to lower our guard. To normalize those of us who came to politics to change everything, to provide cover to those who have always impeded such change and to hand the Right a monopoly on [anti-establishment] contestation — these are the risks we need to spell out so as to combat them each day.”

Such concerns will have to remain central to any arrangement that can deliver the change Unidas Podemos seeks, as it opens a new chapter in terms of both its own political evolution and its relationship with PSOE. Even if (unlike in the Portuguese case) the Left’s leaders will be directly present in cabinet, there are also major doubts regarding the durability of this prospective coalition. Born of the most unlikely circumstances, amid sharp nationalist polarization, the Left should be under no illusions as to the enormity of the tasks facing the new administration.

by Tommy Greene at November 14, 2019 02:43 PM

Zürich (Switzerland): Voices from the occupied Juch

We, and all of us who have entered this space in the last few weeks, have seen what this was and must never be again: a prison. What is clear to all of us is that no one who has seen this space can allow it to be used again for the administration and imprisonment of people. It is inhumane that traumatised people who have fled in the Juch should again be crammed together and monitored.

The SVP says about this occupation at the local council meeting on 6 november 2019: “Apparently some people enjoy more privileges and are not equal before the law, according to the motto: for a few instead of for all”. We say: exactly, talking about tolerance, what about people who are categorized, imprisoned and administered. This state is so far for a few instead of for all – the camps in which people in exile are imprisoned are clear proof of this. The problem isn’t that the repression against a few people who are appropriating space isn’t big enough, the problem is that this system grants some rights that it denies others. The distinction is based solely on where the persons were born.

A former resident tells the following: “When I applied for asylum in Switzerland, they put me in a camp. We call it Juchhof. Then I discovered that it was not a camp, but a prison, disguised as a camp. The rules were the same as in a prison. We were prisoners and not fugitives. I can tell you some of the rules: We couldn’t get out after 5 pm, we didn’t have a kitchen where we could cook for ourselves. They fed us like animals and the food was inedible. We lived together in 4m2 rooms and they sold us everything we needed. I remember that once I wanted to repair a piece of clothing. They had a sewing machine and rented it to me for 1.- per 5min. The safety system was very strict. There were many alarms and cameras. The police came at least 3 times a day. All the personal problems and problems with the people running the place and the daily threat from the police were horrible for me and I will never advise anyone to go to a camp”.

This place can and wants to counter this. All the events that have taken place here so far have been a time of reflection. In two weeks, we have created a collectively administered space on this site, met, grown, organized exchanges, performances, exhibitions and concerts – we are reviving this space in a self-determined way. We are here, we stay here. We will continue to meet, organize and make the space what it should be: in solidarity, open to all, free from control.

We oppose every administration of people, every prison, every inequality. It will take a lot to turn this prison into a place of encounter – only an overthrow of spatial conditions, who controls it and for what purpose – can make this possible at all.

Juchstrasse 27
8048 Zürich, Switzerland

Some squats in Switzerland:
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in Switzerland:
Events in Switzerland:


by fawda at November 14, 2019 02:38 PM

Scenario Planning for Climate Change: Review

Climate change is not about short-term changes in the weather but long-term systemic environmental shifts in response to warming temperatures. Scenario planning is about the efforts of an organization to stay relevant in relation to a host of external factors beyond climate including the enactment of government policies and shifts in population.

by Joel Stronberg at November 14, 2019 02:34 PM


The Incredible Shrinking Overton Window

The Incredible Shrinking Overton Window
By Caitlin Johnstone
Nov 3 2019

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum — even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”
~ Noam Chomsky

The plutocrat-owned narrative managers of the political/media class work constantly to shrink the Overton window, the spectrum of debate that is considered socially acceptable. They do this by framing more and more debates in terms of how the oligarchic empire should be sustained and supported, steering them away from debates about whether that empire should be permitted to exist at all.

They get people debating whether there should be some moderate changes made or no meaningful changes at all, rather than the massive, sweeping changes we all know need to be made to the entire system.

They get people debating whether they should elect a crook in a red hat or a crook in a blue hat, rather than whether or not they should be forced to elect crooks.

They get people debating violations of government secrecy laws, not whether the government has any business keeping those secrets from its citizenry in the first place.

They get people debating how internet censorship should take place and whom should be censored, rather than whether any internet censorship should occur.

They get people debating how and to what extent government surveillance should occur, not whether the government has any business spying on its citizens.

They get people debating how subservient and compliant someone needs to be in order to not get shot by a police officer, rather than whether a police officer should be shooting people for those reasons at all.

They get people debating whether or not a group of protesters are sufficiently polite, rather than debating the thing those protesters are demonstrating against.

They get people debating about whether this thing or that thing is a “conspiracy theory”, rather than discussing the known fact that powerful people conspire.

They get people debating whether Tulsi Gabbard is a dangerous lunatic, a Russian asset, a Republican asset gearing up for a third party run, or just a harmless Democratic Party crackpot, rather than discussing the fact that her foreign policy would have been considered perfectly normal prior to 9/11.

They get people debating whether Bernie Sanders is electable or too radical, rather than discussing what it says about the status quo that his extremely modest proposals which every other major country already implements are treated as something outlandish in the United States.

They get people debating whether Jeremy Corbyn has done enough to address the Labour antisemitism crisis, rather than whether that “crisis” ever existed at all outside of the imaginations of establishment smear merchants.

They get people debating whether Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren would win against Trump, rather than whether either of those establishment lackeys is a worthy nominee.

They get people debating whether politicians should have corporate sponsors, rather than whether corporations should be allowed to interfere in the electoral process at all.

They get people debating if the US should be pursuing regime change in Iran or Syria, rather than whether the US has any business overthrowing the governments of sovereign nations to begin with.

They get people debating how many US troops should be in Syria, rather than whether that illegal invasion and occupation was ever legitimate in the first place.

They get people debating whether to kill people slowly by sanctions or kill them quickly with bombs, rather than whether they should be killed at all.

They get people debating whether or not some other country’s leader is an evil dictator, rather than whether it’s any of your business.

They get people debating the extent to which Russia and Trump were involved in the Democratic Party’s 2016 email leaks, rather than the contents of those leaks.

They get people debating what the response should be to Russian interference in the election, rather than whether that interference took place at all, and whether it would really matter if it did.

They get people debating how much government support the poor should be allowed to have, rather than whether the rich should be allowed to keep what they’ve stolen from the poor.

They get people debating what kind of taxes billionaires should have to pay, rather than whether it makes sense for billionaires to exist at all.

They get people impotently debating the bad things other countries do, rather than the bad things their own country does which they can actually do something about.


by wa8dzp at November 14, 2019 02:32 PM

The Internet Dream Became a Nightmare.

The Internet Dream Became a Nightmare.
What Will Become of It Now?
By Bill Wasik
Nov 14 2019

“Hey, everyone!” the world’s eighth-richest man said, with a bit too much brio, as he waved to the crowd at Gaston Hall in Washington. “It’s really great to be at Georgetown with all of you today.” But then the smile fell away from Mark Zuckerberg’s face, and there was an awkward pause as he licked his lips and looked at the crowd. 

With his next lines — an acknowledgment of the death, earlier that day, of the longtime House of Representatives member Elijah Cummings — he settled into a more sober mood, which he sustained for the remainder of his speech. It was clear that Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, knew the message he had come to deliver, bearing the awkward title “Standing for Voice and Free Expression,” would not be an especially popular one on a college campus in deep-blue Washington, and that indeed he himself might not be an especially popular man.

Over the course of just five or so years, and accelerating significantly in November 2016 with the election of Donald Trump, there had been a sea change in how Americans, especially liberal Americans, regarded Facebook. If, during the Obama era, there was a nagging suspicion among critics of Silicon Valley that Zuckerberg’s company and its fellow internet giants had become too large — their market power too great, their sway over the political and cultural discourse too absolute — the election left millions of people convinced that those suspicions were absolutely correct. Now there were calls among prominent Democratic politicians for tough regulation, even for “breaking up” the company. One of the most vocal among them, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, had recently surged to a near-lead in the presidential primary race; in leaked audio from a Facebook town hall, Zuckerberg lamented her ascent and vowed, in the event she were elected president, to “go to the mat” and fight.

All of it — the fierce criticism in the media, the political maneuvering among Democrats, the leak from his own staff — had fostered a sense of a company under siege, and it was easy to hear this Georgetown speech in October as a simple and defiant response, a middle finger raised to the haters. To those eager to regulate speech on his platform or hold Facebook legally accountable for misinformation, Zuckerberg offered reminders of the First Amendment and the American tradition of free expression more broadly. He pointed out how that tradition benefited movements the audience seemed likely to support (#BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo) and contrasted Facebook’s approach with that of Chinese-owned services like TikTok, the new sensation among teenagers in the United States and elsewhere, which has been accused of censoring mentions of anti-China protests in Hong Kong.

Afterward, observers analyzing the speech were unimpressed, seeing it as at best a reiteration of Facebook’s perennial self-serving arguments and at worst a vacuous word salad. (Zuckerberg “doubles down on free speech,” as Wired put it, while Recode sniffed that he offered “a lot of nothing.”) By the following week, the appearance at Gaston Hall had been filed away as just one more maneuver in Zuckerberg’s continuing charm offensive toward the political class, his sole goal being to maintain the status quo.

But whether Zuckerberg intended it or not, his speech showed glimmers of something else. There were hints of a more profound sense of threat and dislocation — perhaps, even, a signal of Zuckerberg’s understanding, conscious or not, that the status quo might no longer be sustainable.

Despite all his efforts at optimism, Zuckerberg acknowledged some basic problems with Facebook that had become impossible to ignore. Having built a machine to connect the world and let everyone have a say — thereby giving rise to a new social reality in which, as he put it at Georgetown, “people no longer have to rely on traditional gatekeepers in politics or media to make their voices heard” — Facebook now had to concede that there was no foolproof way to stop those voices from saying things that were unfactual or malevolent, or to stop their friends and followers from believing them. In part, this was because of a genuine Catch-22 involving scale: Phenomenal size had allowed Facebook and its fellow American tech giants to become the center of online life, but now they could not correct the most toxic problems of online spaces without wielding even more unsettling levels of power. “While I certainly worry about an erosion of truth,” Zuckerberg said, “I don’t think most people want to live in a world where you can only post things that tech companies judge to be 100 percent true.”

Also revealing was his take on his Chinese competitors, which went well beyond just criticizing them on free-expression grounds. “China is building its own internet focused on very different values, and it’s now exporting their vision of the internet to other countries,” he said, informing his American audience that its sense of an internet dominated utterly by Facebook was by now a parochial notion. “A decade ago, almost all of the major internet platforms were American,” he said. “Today, six of the top 10 are Chinese.” This remark was directed at his antitrust-minded critics, but it was also a reminder that however bad Facebook might be for democracy, the alternatives might be worse.

For a decade, the story of Facebook’s growth seemed like a positive (for Facebook) feedback loop: More users meant more conversation, which meant more relevance, which meant more users. The service became a kind of social power grid, a platform that you simply couldn’t not be on. It became fashionable among tech writers to claim that Facebook was subsuming the entire internet, if it hadn’t done so already.

Optimism about Facebook’s impact on the world was an important part of the cycle. Everything about its sunny rhetoric, its design (clean and spare), its policies (real names, no pseudonyms), was finely calibrated to make people embrace it as the safe and upbeat alternative to the seedy world of the open web. When Facebook became a publicly held company in 2012, its I.P.O. prospectus included a long letter from Zuckerberg about Facebook’s values, in which he declared that the company was “built to accomplish a social mission” and that connecting the world would ultimately bring about “better solutions to some of the biggest problems of our time.”

It wasn’t hard to glimpse, lurking behind the strained smiles and flag-draping of the Georgetown speech, the death throes of that Facebook dream. The chief executive was forced to admit that his platform, far from solving social problems, had given rise to some thorny ones of its own. In his bracing rhetoric about the rise of the Chinese internet, you could even see the contours of Zuckerberg’s nightmare — of the virtuous cycle becoming a vicious one, with the gravitational pull of Facebook reversing, spinning its billions of users and their monetizable conversations out of his platform and inexorably toward China, toward despotism, toward dystopia: a TikTok of a boot stamping on a human face, forever.


by wa8dzp at November 14, 2019 02:31 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Will Artificial Intelligence Help Resolve the Food Crisis?

Credit: Food Tank

By Thalif Deen

When UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a global appeal for “zero hunger” on World Food Day last month, he provided some grim statistics rich in irony: more than 820 million people do not have enough to eat, he said, while two billion people are overweight or obese.

“It is unacceptable that hunger is on the rise at a time when the world wastes more than one billion tonnes of food every year.”
Still, the United Nations is hoping for the eradication of extreme hunger by 2030 as part of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

How realistic is this? And can Artificial Intelligence (AI), touted as the new panacea for some of the world’s ills, help facilitate increased agricultural crops and farm output?

In a New York Times article titled “Harvesting Corn, Wheat and a Profit” October 13, Tim Gray points out that as the world’s population rises, from the current 7.6 billion to nearly 10 billion in 2050, the United Nations has estimated that 70 percent more food will be needed by then, but it will have to be produced on just five percent of arable land.

But AI, meanwhile, is on the move with farmers operating self-guided tractors guided by GPS navigation systems, drones being used to monitor crops, AI being employed in irrigation and robots likely to take cow hands’ jobs.

Asked if there is a role for AI in agriculture, Sonja Vermeulen, Director of Programs, CGIAR System Organization, told IPS: “Absolutely. CGIAR’s role in this is creating and scaling up affordable AI and big data solutions – so they are relevant and accessible to a wide diversity of farmers regardless of gender, culture, wealth or literacy.

For example, CGIAR (described as a global partnership that unites international organizations engaged in research for a food-secured future and formerly known as the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research ) won former UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon’s innovation prize for work using big data to better predict rice harvests from weather patterns so farmers can match planting places and times (and save a lot of money), she said.

Danielle Nierenberg, President, Food Tank, described as a think tank for food, told IPS while AI, Big Data, and other technologies can hold a lot of potential for farmers of all sizes, they are not a silver bullet for solving hunger.”

“The question we need to ask with all technologies is what problem are they trying to solve and who will they help?”

Unfortunately, she said, many high-tech innovations are not helping farmers who need it the most—the world’s small and medium sized farmers who produce much of the food on the globe.

Those farmers need to be part of the research and development of new technologies so that they actually solve the challenges those farmers face, she added.

And there needs to be an emphasis on combining “high” and “low” tech innovations and making sure that farmers indigenous and traditional knowledge is respected, said Nierenberg.

An article titled “Artificial Intelligence: What AI Can do for Smallholder Farmers” in the Food Tank website, says “Imagine one hundred years ago if farmers had access to huge volumes of information about the soil profile of their land, the varieties of crops they were growing, and even the fluctuations of their local climate?. This kind of information could have prevented an environmental crisis like the Dust Bowl of the 1920s in the American Midwest. But even ten years ago, the idea that farmers could have access to this kind of information was unrealistic.”

For the team behind the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, farming is the next frontier for using artificial intelligence (AI) to efficiently solve complex problems. The team—which includes biologists, agronomists, nutritionists, and policy analysts working with data scientists—is using Big Data tools to create AI systems that can predict the potential outcomes of future scenarios for farmers.

By leveraging massive amounts of data and using innovative computational analysis, the CGIAR Platform is working to help farmers increase their efficiency and reduce the risks that are inherent in farming, according to the article.

Asked for her comments, Ruth Richardson, Executive Director, Global Alliance for the Future of Food, told IPS: “When it comes to the future of food in the climate emergency, we need to go beyond just looking to “technology” as a silver bullet solution. Instead, we need to broaden the discussion to be about wider food system transformation and interrogate whether technology is the end or a means to an end?”

After all, she said, some farmers operate using advanced technology but many globally are still reliant on small scale operations and tools. It’s important to also note that technology and innovation, more broadly, are important tools to achieve sustainable food systems but technology itself – especially the access to it — is not neutral.

Richardson pointed out that one of the biggest challenges related to technology is related to governance.

“A concentration of power and highly unequal power relations are a deep problem in today’s broken food system so we need to ensure that technology and its implementation is managed in a way that promotes equity and environmental sustainability. Any developments need to be assessed holistically with a focus on risks and trade-offs,” she declared.

Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director at the San Francisco-based Oakland Institute, told IPS today nearly 800 million people are hungry and this number is expected to grow, despite grand declarations by the governments at UN summits.

“But we already produce enough food to feed at least 10 billion people (the current population is around 7.6 billion). It is therefore essential to understand the true causes of hunger—when there is no shortage of food.”

Focus on technology driven industrial agricultural system as a solution to hunger, has created a food system that is upside down and backwards. Denying family farmers their basic rights to land, seeds, markets, and food sovereignty has rendered food producers hungry, argued Mittal.

Take the case of India – primarily an agrarian economy with 60% of its population employed in agriculture. India is world’s 14th largest agricultural, fishery, and forestry product exporter – in 2018, India accrued a $14.6 billion trade surplus of agricultural, fishery, and forestry goods.

And yet, she pointed out, farmer suicides continue to dominate newspaper headlines nationally while the country is home to the largest number of hungry people in the world. In 2017 Global Hunger Index, India ranked 100 out of 119 ranked countries.

The last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report focused on climate change and land, makes it clear that fixing our food system is imperative. Industrial food production has led to increased greenhouse gas emissions; monopoly of a few corporations over seeds to chemical inputs; monoculture production which threatens biodiversity globally; and more.

“This has made our agricultural system both a major driver of climate change—and majorly vulnerable to its effects.”.

“Instead of seeing artificial intelligence as the next silver bullet solution to hunger, we need a food system that respects and protects the intelligence of family farmers, traditional knowledge and agroecological principles of farming,” declared Mittal..

The post Will Artificial Intelligence Help Resolve the Food Crisis? appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Thalif Deen at November 14, 2019 02:15 PM

Mayfirst News

About May First

May First Movement Technology is a non-profit membership organization that engages in building movements by advancing the strategic use and collective control of technology for local struggles, global transformation, and emancipation without borders. Who are you? We are a democratically-run, not-for-profit cooperative of movement organizations and activists in the United States and Mexico. We've been around since 2005 and our 850 members (mostly organizations and mainly in the U.S. and Mexico) host over 10,000 email address and over 2,000 web sites on our collectively owned and secured hardware that run exclusively on encrypted disks.

November 14, 2019 01:52 PM


The Far-Right Coup in Bolivia

In Bolivia, the military, police, and right-wing extremists have carried out a coup against the elected government. They intend to remain in power by violently suppressing the country's indigenous and poor.

alt Interim president of Bolivia Jeanine Áñez talks during a conference at the presidential palace on November 13, 2019 in La Paz, Bolivia. Javier Mamani / Getty Images

Recent days have seen the tragic aftermath of the coup against Evo Morales and his government in Bolivia: protestors defending democracy in El Alto shot down, supporters of Morales’s Movement for Socialism (MAS) party rounded up in their homes, public officials paraded in front of television cameras by masked police, and the army sent onto the streets.

At the time of writing, right-wing provocateur Jeanine Áñez has declared herself the president of Bolivia. Áñez is a white supremacist who has tweeted of how she “dreams of a Bolivia free of indigenous satanic rites,” and how the capital city “is not for the Indians — [they] belong in the high plateau or el Chaco.” She was approved yesterday by a parliament without the majority of its elected representatives, meaning it failed to meet constitutional requirements in terms of a quorum. The line of succession was also ignored. But none of this really matters to the army, which now runs Bolivia.

These maneuvers show that, whatever those in the “liberal” media are claiming, recent events in Bolivia amount to a coup. It was a seizure of power against democratic norms organized by a hard-right elite who have rejected any processes of dialogue or even Morales’s offer of a new election. This reality has been recognized by progressive forces across the Western hemisphere, from Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard to Argentina’s president-elect, Alberto Fernández, from the recently released Lula in Brazil to American politician Ilhan Omar, who chose her words succinctly: “There’s a word for the President of a country being pushed out by the military. It’s called a coup.”

The Bolivian military’s forcing of Morales from office has followed a wave of opposition violence that has lashed out at supporters of Bolivia’s progressive government, and in particular at the country’s indigenous and peasant population. Strikingly, this has involved the ransacking of Morales’s presidential home and the burning down of his sister’s house. But it has also involved security forces working with right-wing gangs to arrest MAS supporters from the poorer neighborhoods of Bolivia’s cities.

A particularly shocking case was that of Patricia Arce, the mayor of Vinto, in the MAS heartland of Cochabamba. Putchist mobs detained her, shaved her hair, doused her in red paint ‚ the color of the right wing in Bolivia — and forced her to walk barefoot through Vinto, kneel down, and beg for forgiveness for supporting Morales. It is understood that she refused to apologize and was eventually rescued by pro-Morales demonstrators, but this could not stop Vinto town hall from being set alight. 

Meanwhile, police and military patrols have taken over the streets of La Paz, setting up barricades to block pro-Morales protesters marching into the city. Today, violent clashes between coup forces and indigenous protesters resulted in at least six citizens being shot and approximately thirty people injured. The Bolivian police have uploaded social media videos of themselves removing the indigenous Wiphala flag from their uniforms and public buildings, and videos show them standing together with armed far-right gangs issuing threats to MAS supporters across the country.

The coup was prompted by Bolivia’s right wing losing the October 20 election, where MAS won 47.8 percent, ahead of the Right’s leading candidate, Carlos Mesa, who gained 36.5 percent. Additionally, MAS won majorities in both the Congress and Senate. The US-friendly Organization of American States (OAS) claimed that vote contained irregularities — but the US-based Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) think tank has presented a detailed paper on the election that concludes there is “no evidence that irregularities or fraud effected the official result that gave [Morales] a first-round victory.”

This situation is only likely to intensify in the coming days, and to further illustrate that this is a coup that is set to lead to a far-right government supported by a minority. What’s more is that these developments have been welcomed by the Trump administration, which has close ties to those leading the coup. The United States had been pushing for a coup in Bolivia for some time, backing extreme right-wing elements in the country, and it has now welcomed the outcome as a victory for democracy.

On April 12, the US Senate approved a resolution expressing “concern” over Morales’s bid for a fourth term to the presidency. They cited a referendum the president had narrowly lost in 2016 on changing the constitution — but ignored the decision of Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) in January 2019 decreeing Morales could stand. Amazingly, on the same day, a group of fifteen Bolivian right-wing opposition legislators published a letter to Donald Trump, asking the United States “to intercede in Latin America and prevent Evo Morales from running again for the presidency of Bolivia.”

It is increasingly clear that American corporations have designs on Bolivia’s lithium reserves, which are the largest held by any individual country. Morales had already signaled his plans to nationalize the lithium industry — which will become an even more serious market as electric cars begin to become more widely used — and compete on the international market rather than offer the resource up at bargain prices to multinational corporations.

Despite the forces arrayed against progressives in Bolivia, the fight is not over. Right now, in La Paz, thousands of supporters of Evo Morales are mobilizing in rejection of the coup d’état’s violence and racism. Internationally, opposition to the coup is also building. Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn, and Pablo Iglesias, among leaders of the European left, have condemned the coup, with Britain’s potential future prime minister tweeting that he stands with the Bolivian people’s fight for “democracy, social justice and independence.” 

We must offer solidarity to those resisting the coup in Bolivia by taking to the streets and joining rallies and demonstrations in support of Morales and the progressive and indigenous movements in Bolivia. Now a political refugee in Mexico, Evo Morales has sworn that he will return to Bolivia to confront the forces of authoritarianism. On his way to exile, he wrote that he is “very grateful to the solidarity of the people, brothers from Bolivia and the world who reach out with recommendations, suggestions and expressions of recognition that give us encouragement, strength and energy. They moved me to tears. They never abandoned me; I will never abandon them.”

Progressives across the world should watch developments in Bolivia closely as they escalate in the coming days. It is time to fight to ensure that there is no return to the dark days of the 1970s and ’80s in Latin America.

by Matt Wilgress at November 14, 2019 01:29 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Young People at ICPD25: ‘ We Have the Right to Sexual and Reproductive Rights’

ICPD25 Youth delegates: Michele Simon (left) and Botho Mahlunge. Credit: Joyce Chimbi / IPS

By Joyce Chimbi
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 14 2019 (IPS)

Every day in developing countries it is estimated that 20,000 girls under the age of 18 give birth. This amounts to 7.3 million births a year.

Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are still the leading cause of death among adolescent girls, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) statistics.

Let us be heard

Born long after the Cairo Promise, the 18-year-old Michelle Simon and the 19-year-old Botho Mahlunge both youth representatives from Botswana, lament that years later a world where girls can enrol and stay in school is far from the lived reality for millions of adolescents across the globe.

“When I was 13 years old I started to see the connection between girls getting pregnant and dropping out of school. “These girls were very bright but when they left school they never returned.

I started to talk about preventing these pregnancies at that young age,” Simon tells IPS.

Simon says that 25 years after the promise, “it is very sad because those who should be protecting us have failed us. Parents cannot even close the gap between them and their adolescent”.

She argues that parents have abdicated their responsibility to the education system and the entire society. “But where is the parent’s responsibility towards adolescent health?” she asks.

Simon says that in this era of technology and information, adolescent health should not be the problem area that it is. “We cannot hide behind culture and say that ours is a conservative society.

Culture should reflect problems

“Culture evolves and it must so that it can reflect the problems we are facing,” she says.

Mahlunge says that failure to educate our young people on sexuality “is the reason so many girls are getting pregnant and infected with HIV.”

She says the continued exclusion of young people in rural areas from sexual and reproductive health and rights discussion is also to blame for the prevailing state of affairs.

“Young people in rural areas are completely vulnerable. They are so far removed from the little information and services available to young people in urban areas,” Mahlunge observes.

We need sexual health education

Denis Otundo from the Network for Adolescent and Youth of Africa says that the ICPD25 conference has a lot in store to offer adolescents.

He notes that the stigma attached to providing adolescents with comprehensive sexuality education in many African countries is unfounded.

“This Summit is very clear on what needs to be done. As early as at the age of 15 years, adolescents should start receiving information on sexuality. The focus is to provide the right information, at the right time so that adolescents can make the right decisions,” he says.

Otundo says that this information includes life skills “on how to say no to sex because this is part of promoting adolescent health. It is also about training them on identifying all forms of violence, teaching them about available channels to report violence, and how to report”.

Experts at UNFPA argue that if laws support access to adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights, this could delay early sexual debut because such rights encourage and enable young people to make sound decisions.

He says that when young people lack access to proper information, they turn to fellow adolescents for information.

Invest in young people says the Asian Population and Development Association

Dr Osamu Kusumoto from the Asian Population and Development Association (APDA) says that the capacity of countries to accelerate and achieve ICPD25 commitments is dependent on the extent to which countries invest in their young people.

“Unplanned pregnancies are a big problem in developing countries. When you have a large population of young people pregnant while they should be in school, this is a problem for the economy too,” he says.

In Kenya alone, UNFPA statistics show that many young girls are likely to have repeated pregnancies.

As many as one in five girls give birth before the age of 18 years, even worse, as a majority of then will get married. Girls between 15 to 19 years are particularly at risk of acquiring HIV.

Kusumoto says that interventions must address young people’s most pressing problems. In this way, they can stay in school and acquire the skills needed to participate in the economy.

Young people are the heart of this Summit

“Adolescents are at the heart of the Summit. All the commitments that have been made, in one way or another, touch on adolescents,” says Otundo.

He says that adolescents are the most affected by sexual and gender-based violence, and harmful practices including female genital mutilation and child marriages.

Among the private sector partners who have committed funds to deliver the Cairo promise include Plan International who will allocate $500 million to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and adolescents by 2025.

“I speak out about unwanted pregnancies and violence against young people. I also speak out about the need to stay in school because I believe this is what we need to accelerate the promise made to us even before we were born,” Simon says.

Botho encourages young people wherever they may be “to engage and to dialogue. If you see an opportunity to hold government accountable, do not hold back.”

The post Young People at ICPD25: ‘ We Have the Right to Sexual and Reproductive Rights’ appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Joyce Chimbi at November 14, 2019 01:11 PM

California Cotton Fields: Sally Fox Reinvented Cotton — by Going Back to its Roots

In 1989, she brought naturally colored cotton back to the market. The iconic image of a white cotton ball had become pervasive. Yet Sally Fox had been looking at ancient, pest-resistant (by nature) varieties that came in shades of the Earth like greens and browns.

by Esha Chhabra at November 14, 2019 12:16 PM

Are Community Land Trusts a Way Out of the System?

This autumn, builders will start work on Oakfield Road in Anfield. Many houses in this part of Liverpool have remained empty since the government’s failed ‘housing market renewal’ policy shipped people out, then stalled in 2008. Seven years ago, a group of residents formed a community land trust to bring nine terraces on Oakfield Road into community ownership. Now, instead of being demolished, they have been reimagined as cosy, energy-efficient homes, with space for local businesses, winter gardens, a market and a cafe.

by Hazel Sheffield at November 14, 2019 11:45 AM

Madrid: La Ingobernable social centre evicted

Yesterday (November 13) at 03:20 over 100 cops evicted La Ingobernable social centre in Madrid. Mainstream media recorded events (video link) as hundreds of people gathered to protest. Madrid’s new rightwing administration was executing an eviction order issued last year by a leftwing coalition.

Since the occupation in May 2017, the centre had housed many activities for social movements in Madrid.

In a statement published on their website La Ingobernable said that it had been closed by brute force of the state. The centre regretted that Madrid is more classist, racist and sexist than before. It closed by calling for 10, 100, 1000 centros sociales

by sisulscz at November 14, 2019 11:41 AM

Berlin: Announcement to the court hearing of Liebig34

On Friday, November 15, Liebig34’s eviction trial will be brought to the Court on Tegeler Weg. [Previously on S!N] We are very pleased about the large number of participants, both in and in front of the courthouse.

The trial starts at 9 am in room 100 and will probably not take long, so punctuality is important. Around 8:30 am the doors to the courthouse will be opened. It is possible that there will be a lot of time left at the entrance and so as few people as possible will be tried to gain access to the trial. But let us not be discouraged! From 7:30 am there will be a rally in front of the courthouse, which will be legally accompanied. There will be music and speeches. So please come by between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 am, come with us to the building or stay in front of it.

When you enter the court, your things will be searched as “security precautions”, you will be scanned and sent through a metal detector. Bring a valid identity card with you. Security requirements have been changed to NOT copy identity cards.

We are looking forward to seeing you!

<3 Liebig34 <3 Hard facts: Berlin Regional Court Tegeler Way 17-21, 10589 Berlin, Germany Negotiation Siganadia Grundbesitz GmbH & CO. KG ./. Raduga e.V. 9:00 am Rally starting at 7:30 am Admission to the court from 8:30 am Indymedia

by sisulscz at November 14, 2019 11:29 AM

Athens: Statement from residents of Bouboulinas squat

Bouboulinas squat [previously on S!N]was evicted on Tuesday 12/11/19 around 6 in the morning, we were transferred to Petrou Ralli and at evening they split us up in 4 buses and let one family and a single woman “free”, homeless in Athens.

Rejection to end up in a concentration camp

The 4 buses were going to Amygdaleza detention center. When we realised where we were taken, we refused to get off the buses, all of us. We refuse because We know the conditions there, nobody would want to stay more than 24 hours in that place. We spent the night without good and water, in the dark.

Rejection to be deported to remote areas

At morning, the cops said they found an agreement and would put us in camps far away from Athens. We who where in 2 buses supposed to drive to Thessaloniki area refused to be deported and ask them why we should go there. They said that they had to put us in a kind of jail anyway because we had stolen electricity and that it will be 5 hours from Athens. We stood up altogether against this decision. They said they would drive us back to Athens but actually they left us in the middle of nowhere 10 km from the closest metro and told us to walk under the rain.

Back to Athens

Here in Athens we have a life, some of us study, go to school, we know people. Anyway life is better here than there, here it’s the capital we have more opportunities.

We want to fight for our life. We don’t want pity. We don’t want to be treated like animals. We don’t want them to cook for us shitty food, we don’t need it. Our only way to decide about our lives is to be here in Athens.

Urgent support needed

We lived in squats because the money the state give us is not enough to rent places and feed ourselves, and in the places the state propose to take us worst conditions are expecting us. However, before they live us, the cops promised to us that if they find us in a squat again they will take us to prison.

Now we are back in Athens, we have no house and we came to polytechnic university because we know we would find people there who would support us. We need support now as we don’t know what will happen next, specially if the cops come to catch us we don’t know what they would do to us.






by sisulscz at November 14, 2019 11:26 AM

Gathering in Groups as Society Falls Apart

“Everyone wants community. Unfortunately, it involves other people.” I used that line in lectures on frugal living when talking of the loneliness of consumerism and the benefits of sharing resources. We idealize the good old days of people helping people out. But can we live them, given who we have become?

by Vicki Robin at November 14, 2019 10:49 AM


Michael Bloomberg? Now They’re Just Fucking with Us

Michael Bloomberg’s rumored run for the Democratic nomination is about as cartoonish an indictment of America’s two-party system as can possibly be imagined.

alt Michael Bloomberg, billionaire and former mayor of New York City, speaks at CityLab Detroit, a global city summit, on October 29, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

Suppose you were a Republican operative looking to promote your party’s transparently fraudulent image as a vehicle for representing the interests of ordinary Americans against the dark forces of elite liberal paternalism. And suppose you somehow had the ability to boost a single candidate on the Democratic side who might best help you achieve this objective. Given the current state of America’s twenty-first-century political hellscape, there’s certainly no dearth of unfathomably wealthy liberals who might consider aiding your cause by launching a vanity run for president. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to imagine anyone who would be better suited for the role than Michael Bloomberg.

Particularly now, Bloomberg’s rumored run for the Democratic nomination is about as cartoonish an indictment of America’s two-party system as can possibly be imagined: a case study in the calamitous groupthink of well-heeled pundits and consultants who witnessed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 electoral train wreck and collectively murmured, “Hold my beer,” like a sacred mantra. In truth, a hypothetical matchup between Bloomberg and Donald Trump would almost certainly yield a victory for the latter so decisive that the contest would come to rank alongside the Charge of the Light Brigade and Muhammad Ali’s famous first-round drubbing of Sonny Liston in the annals of history’s most lopsided defeats. If the infamously Wall Street–friendly Clinton proved vulnerable to Trump’s faux-populist bromides, a man worth more than $50 billion and practically synonymous with the phrase “soda taxes” in the national psyche would doubtless prove even more so, whatever a handful of op-ed writers and cable news anchors say to convince us otherwise.

Mercifully, such a scenario is unlikely to occur, given that enthusiasm for a Bloomberg candidacy seems mostly limited to a handful of pundits and fellow billionaires — a recent Morning Consult poll found the fabled centrist maverick with a meager 4 percent among Democratic primary voters, barely ahead of such electoral dynamos as Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar.

But the circumstances surrounding Bloomberg’s expected candidacy — and now that of former foreclosure mogul Deval Patrick — nevertheless underscore a deep rot in the culture of American liberalism: one that, among other things, has now inspired no less than two billionaires and a multimillionaire to run for the Democratic nomination and the race’s apparent front-runner to obsequiously inform a room full of wealthy donors at a swanky Upper East Side fundraiser that “I need you very badly” without even a hint of irony.

As presently constituted, the party that occupies the nominal center left of US politics is a self-professed vehicle for the middle class and the underprivileged that in practice functions more like a giant corporate consultancy firm doing the odd bit of charity and community outreach for branding purposes: fronted by white-collar patricians, managerial in outlook, and utterly determined never to rock the boats of the extremely wealthy or cause them even a modicum of discomfort.

The official case for a Bloomberg nomination, such as it is, hinges on the ludicrous idea that the current Democratic field needs yet another business-friendly centrist touting some form of compromise between the ordinarily and extraordinarily wealthy. Those most enthusiastic about his candidacy relatedly believe Bloomberg’s status as a “real” billionaire would be some kind of kryptonite against his former golf buddy Donald Trump — a man who, as the insufferable expression runs, “just plays one on TV.” Among other things, this analysis is virtually identical to that of Clinton’s campaign in 2016 — which proudly touted her support among the supposedly more virtuous elements of the very rich (including, amusingly, Bloomberg himself) in the patently absurd belief that such an alliance would have genuine popular resonance.

The far more obvious and actual reason for Bloomberg’s run, of course, has less to do with this dubious view of electability than it does with stopping decidedly non-billionaire-friendly policies like wealth taxes, national rent control, and Medicare for All dead in their tracks. Bloomberg, alongside much of the rest of the field, is campaigning with the more or less explicit goal of soothing anxious donors and ensuring that no one named Bernie Sanders comes anywhere near the Democratic nomination. That he was reportedly asked to run by none other than the richest man in human history makes his candidacy a particularly vivid illustration of American liberalism’s contemptibly gilded character and ongoing refusal to meaningfully factor the needs of the majority into its political calculus.

Bloomberg’s forthcoming entry into the race aside, virtually the entire Democratic field exhibits in varying degrees the symptoms of a party that considers the tyranny of extreme wealth a perfectly natural and acceptable state of affairs. Most candidates are all too happy to accept donations and endorsements from the exorbitantly rich and, besides Sanders, none seems willing to adopt the kind of confrontational approach that might actually give anyone in the top 0.1 percent valid cause for alarm. Even Elizabeth Warren (who, to her credit, does actually want to raise rich people’s taxes) strikes a conciliatory posture toward people with extreme wealth, emphasizing the ultimately moderate spirit of her proposals and taking care to say that billionaires are still a perfectly legitimate outcome of the American economy.

The Republican Party is arguably the most extreme right-wing political formation anywhere in the developed world. Mixing together a noxious cocktail of plutocrats, religious fanatics, and white nationalists, the party and its leadership openly associate themselves with the most malevolent of America’s robber barons and, since 2016, have been proudly fronted by one. As the current state of play makes clear, what’s ultimately at stake in the Democratic presidential race is whether the force standing opposed to conservative plunder is going to represent its genuine antithesis or just the somewhat kinder wing of American plutocracy.

by Luke Savage at November 14, 2019 10:32 AM

InterPressService (global south)

The UN at 75: Time to Give Citizens a Voice

Credit: UN photo, Mark Garten

By Andreas Bummel, Lysa John and Bruno Kaufmann

Next year the United Nations will commemorate its 75th anniversary. The General Assembly determined that all the UN’s activities in 2020 shall be guided by the theme “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism”.

In January the Secretariat plans1 to launch “the biggest-ever global conversation” on the role of global cooperation and to build a “global vision of 2045.”

The UN Charter begins with the words: “We the Peoples”. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights clearly states in article 21.1. that everyone has the right to take part in the government of their country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

Thus, it should not come as a surprise that this right to participation will now also extend to the forthcoming “global conversation”, as the UN has stated that anybody who wishes to, will be able to join.

At the same time, this is a bold statement in times of deep divides on not just the role of the UN but even more so about the role of citizens and civil society in shaping its affairs. It was only after contentious debates among member states, for instance, that a minor role for civil society was included in the formal resolution on UN75 adopted earlier this year.

The problem is well known.

Fifteen years ago, the Cardoso panel on the relations between the UN and civil society established by then Secretary-General Kofi Annan outlined2 the democratic deficit of global governance in clear terms.

They argued among other things that the UN should help “strengthen democracy for the twenty-first century” by emphasizing participatory democracy and deeper accountability of institutions to the global public.

Unfortunately, most member states had no appetite to look into this further. Despite all efforts to include non-state actors, the UN’s democratic deficit remains critical and undermines the world organization’s credibility.

The alternative People’s Assembly that was held in parallel to the UN’s summit on the Sustainable Development Goals in September in New York concluded3 that the “world is on fire” not least due to a dramatic “crisis of accountability and governance” that extends to the UN.

As well-intentioned it may be, the UN’s global PR campaign that will be rolled out in the course of next year on the occasion of the 75th anniversary will not be able to alleviate the problem unless it leads to tangible institutional change.

From our point of view the UN is an indispensable centre for global deliberation, collaboration and action. The role of the UN as conscience keeper and upholder of universal norms and values remains steadfast.

However, the notion of multilateralism needs to evolve beyond purely intergovernmental engagement and open up to avenues for public and civil society participation. In itself this is a challenging task when “civic space” remains constrained for large swathes of the globe’s population.4

A commitment to multilateralism at present should acknowledge more than ever that the UN’s success depends on strong partnerships with major groups and stakeholders across the world.

As the Earth Summit 2012 stated, sustainable development requires their meaningful involvement and active participation in processes that contribute to decision-making, planning and implementation of policies and programmes at all levels.

A global civic participation campaign5 launched today by a broad alliance of citizens’ initiatives, civil society groups and networks from across the world, jointly coordinated by Democracy Without Borders, Democracy International and CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, calls on the UN and its member states to go a step further.

The UN we need and the UN we want welcomes and seeks the input of “We the Peoples” in whose name it was established 75 years ago. Yet, there is no formal and well-structured UN instrument that enables individual citizens to influence the world organization’s work and this has to change.

A global organization that wishes to leave no one behind – as member states pledged when they adopted the Agenda 2030 – needs to include everyone.

In fact, the General Assembly has repeatedly stated the “right to equitable participation of all, without any discrimination, in domestic and global decision-making”. Informal consultations and public relations exercises to polish the UN’s image are not enough. The UN needs to lead by example through innovations in participation.

Our campaign calls for the creation of a World Citizens’ Initiative on the occasion of the UN’s 75th anniversary. This new and innovative instrument will enable global citizens to submit proposals to the General Assembly or the Security Council if they manage to collect sufficient support from fellow citizens across the world within a specified time.

Similar participatory mechanisms already exist in many cities, regions and countries worldwide. A powerful example is the European Citizens’ Initiative, the first transnational tool of modern direct democracy. It helps to understand how a World Citizens’ Initiative could function.

Certainly, many technical details need to be discussed and political will mobilized. Still, we emphasize that a World Citizens’ Initiative is feasible and that the UN and member states will be able to overcome all challenges if they are actually interested in the participation of “We the Peoples.”

We are convinced that the UN, member states, civil society and global citizens alike will benefit from the direct link a World Citizens’ Initiative will establish, and that its creation will represent an important step forward for the UN.

Clearly, a World Citizens’ Initiative is a proposal that is complementary to other important efforts such as the inclusion of major groups and civil society in the UN’s work or the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.

The World Citizens’ Initiative is a proposal that is in line with the concept of people-centered multilateral cooperation in a spirit of global citizenship and it is in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, among others6 . It may be a key element in the long-sought revitalization of the General Assembly.

We urge the UN and member states to study the proposal and to launch open and inclusive preparations for the creation of a UN World Citizens’ Initiative. Civil society groups and individual citizens are invited to join the campaign and help us build the necessary political momentum and public pressure for transformation.

2 P. 9:

The post The UN at 75: Time to Give Citizens a Voice appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Andreas Bummel is Executive Director of Democracy Without Borders. Lysa John is Secretary-General of CIVICUS. Bruno Kaufmann is co-president of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy and board member of Democracy International.

The post The UN at 75: Time to Give Citizens a Voice appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Bummel at November 14, 2019 09:57 AM