Crushing Dissent During India’s Lockdown

Admin

This is a glimpse into the conditions the Indian state machinery forces people to endure as it goes about filling overcrowded prisons, in violation of basic civil and legal rights, as the pandemic ridden situation further deteriorates. The situation has worsened because of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s use of a 54-year-old draconian law.

Sam Durant, Untitled (drone), 2016-2021 (rendering). Proposal for the High Line Plinth. Commissioned by High Line Art. Courtesy of the High Line.

Art Against Drones

Americas

In late May, a Predator drone replica, appearing suddenly above the High Line promenade at 30th Street, might seem to scrutinize people below. The “gaze” of the sleek, white sculpture by Sam Durant, called “Untitled, (drone),” in the shape of the U.S. military’s Predator killer drone, will sweep unpredictably over the people below, rotating atop its 25-foot-high steel pole, its direction guided by the wind. 

Oil, Cocoa, AFRICOM and a Dictator: Requiem for a Dream of Democracy

Admin

It should have been a democratic success story. The presidential election in Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa in October 2020 was expected to put an end to three decades of political unrest with the first peaceful transfer of power. Instead, though the constitution says the president can only stay in power for two terms, Alassane Ouattara ran for and won a third presidential term amid ethnic violence, extreme police brutality and the jailing of his opponent, thus barging his way to a presidency for life.

Art and Activism: Danai Gurira’s Play, “Eclipsed,” Is More Relevant Than Ever

Reviews

Activism and Art are a potent combination for addressing problems that are both enduring and unendurable. The play, Eclipsed, transports the audience into the intimate dwelling of women struggling to survive while living as sexual slaves in a rebel forces encampment at the end of the Liberian civil war in 2003. The story follows a 15-year-old African girl as she escapes from the encampment to become a child soldier in the rebel forces.

Uganda’s President Museveni’s Reign of Terror is Aided By US War on Terror in East Africa

Admin

Three months after Yoweri Museveni was re-elected president of Uganda for a sixth term, citizens of this strategic East African state are trying to come to terms with the dismal likelihood that he will never be unseated in free and fair elections.  Ever since 1986, when he came to power in the country’s first plural elections, this African strongman has enjoyed the continued and tacit support of successive US administrations. The fact that  Uganda discovered oil  in 2006 has also enhanced his value as a close ally to the West in a turbulent neighborhood. Today, Uganda is described as having the fourth largest onshore oil reserves in sub-Sahara Africa.

The World is My Country: A Stunning New Film about World Citizen Garry Davis

Admin

He was best known as “World Citizen # 1.”.He was a former WWII bomber pilot who was so pained about having bombed a civilian city that, in 1948, he gave up his US national citizenship and declared himself a citizen of the world.  Many more acts of defiance would follow, landing him in prison 34 times.  Now, the late Garry Davis (1921-2013), whose obituary appeared on the front page of the New York Times, is the subject of a newly released documentary by Arthur Kanegis and Melanie N. Bennett called The World is My Country. It is now airing on  public television stations across the country -- including Vermont broadcasts on May 2.

A spoiled ballot in Ecuador’s elections

Admin

Ecuador’s April 11 election that led to a 5-point victory by conservative banker Guillermo Lasso over progressive candidate Andrés Arauz was not what it appeared to be. On the surface, it was a surprisingly clean and professional election. But a fraud-free process for casting and counting ballots does not mean that the election was free and fair. Behind the scenes was a monumentally unequal playing field and dirty campaign designed to quash an Arauz win.

Hunting in Yemen, Hunger Striking in Washington DC

Admin

We all have a responsibility to listen for the screams of children gunned down as they flee in the darkness from the rubble of their homes. We all have a responsibility to listen for the gasps of little children breathing their last because starvation causes them to die from asphyxiation. “It’s not normal for people to live like this,” says Iman Saleh, now on her 17th day of a hunger strike demanding an end to war in Yemen.

Understanding the Fossil Fuel Industry’s Legacy of White Supremacy

Admin

Last October, reporter Hiroko Tabuchi tweeted that she’d “been thinking a lot about fossil fuels and white supremacy recently,” noting that nearly every oil industry official she’d encountered as a reporter was white and male. ExxonMobil complained the tweet was a “baseless claim alleging industry links to white supremacy,” and Tabuchi later deleted it. But according to University of Notre Dame historian Darren Douchuk, Tabuchi’s tweet reflected something real.

The Republican “Crisis” on the Mexican Border Is a Crisis of Weaponized Racism

Americas

Last week has seen the GOP triumph in focusing on making Black voters “ghosts” as far as voting rights and Brown migrants from south of the border as criminal marauders. Never mind that the “crisis” of massive attempted southern border crossings has existed through several Republican and Democratic administrations — with even the Obama administration having an aggressive deportation policy. Ted Cruz should be reminded that when the Civil War began, Texas joined the Confederacy as a slave state. The white settlers also extended their racism and land appropriation to Mexican and indigenous residents, some of whom owned land under charters from Spain.

Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement

Feminism

The title of this book describes its mission, which is to move beyond surviving abuse or assault, and to organize for the purpose of addressing violence and the root causes of violence. Transformative Justice , if implemented widely and over time, will build community safety systems that can function independently of the criminal justice system. The essays in this book are first-hand accounts describing approaches for responding to and preventing violence and abuse without police and prisons.

“Is This Who We Are?”: Gitmo is America’s Enduring Shame

Admin

“Is this who we are?” President Obama animatedly and passionately asked, as he made a case in favor of the closure of Guantánamo, speaking as if a human rights advocate, not a Commander-in-Chief who had direct authority to shut down the entire facility. The truth is that the Abu Ghraib tortures were not by ‘a few bad apples’ and Guantánamo is, indeed, a microcosm of exactly what the US is, or has become.

Fukushima at Ten: Aftershocks, Lies, and Failed Decontamination..

Admin

It ’s now 10 years since the catastrophic triple meltdowns of reactors at Fukushima in Japan. As Joseph Mangano of the Radiation and Public Health project put it three years ago,“Enormous amounts of radioactive chemicals, including cesium, strontium, plutonium, and iodine were emitted into the air, and releases of the same toxins into the Pacific have never stopped, as workers struggle to contain over 100 cancer-causing chemicals.”

 Tunisia’s Spring Has Not Delivered Real Change — Special Report

Admin

Throughout the month of January, nightly demonstrations rocked underprivileged neighborhoods in the capital and many cities across the country for more than a week. Scores of youths between the ages of 15 and 30 clashed with security forces. Some incidents of looting and vandalism were reported. The military and police responded with excessive use of force and mass arrests of over 1,600 mostly- young people, one third of whom are minors.

Zimbabwe Wildlife Authority Ditches Conservation for Gold Digging

Archives

The coronavirus lockdown has enabled hundreds of illegal gold diggers to swarm into the mountains of Chimanimani to tunnel their way to gold. They have vandalized traditional sites held sacred by local people, and hassled tourists who have ventured into the park, despite weapons being wantonly fired by rival digging groups. These marauders have turned the river brown with tailings from their gold digging, harming the ecosystem that sustains human life in two countries, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Erik Prince and the Failed Plot to Arm a Warlord in Libya

Admin

IN 2019, Erik Prince, the founder of the notorious mercenary firm Blackwater and a prominent Donald Trump supporter, aided a plot to move U.S.-made attack helicopters, weapons, and other military equipment from Jordan to a renegade commander fighting for control of war-torn Libya. A team of mercenaries planned to use the aircraft to help the commander, Khalifa Hifter, a U.S. citizen and former CIA asset, defeat Libya’s U.N.-recognized and U.S.-backed government. 

Cuba’s Critical Role in Defending Angola

Americas

“The Cuban people hold a special place in the hearts of the peoples of Africa. The Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African independence, freedom and justice, unparalleled for its principled and selfless character … Cubans came to our region as doctors, teachers, soldiers, agricultural experts, but never as colonizers. They have shared the same trenches with us in the struggle against colonialism, underdevelopment, and apartheid.” – Nelson Mandela

Killing Revolution in Bahrain, U.S.-UK Plotted Regime Change in Libya, Syria

Global News and Analysis

Ten years ago this month, the Middle East and North Africa were convulsed by uprisings and subterfuges. The Arab Spring is generally thought of as a single wave of pro-democracy movements that swept the vast region. Far from it, however, the events were a mixed bag in which Western powers were not on the right side of history, as Western media would portray. Indeed, these powers played a nefarious role to ensure that the Arab Spring was kneecapped in order to cripple any progressive potential.

Bolivia’s Five-Hundred-Year Rebellion

Americas

In 1781, the Bolivian indigenous leader Tupac Katari led a rebellion in which La Paz, the Spanish colonial capital of “Upper Peru,” was besieged for 109 days. The siege ended with the arrival of a Spanish army. Katari was captured, he and his wife, Bartolina Sisa, were gruesomely executed, and thousands of indigenous people were massacred. For many years this was treated as a minor event in history books, but in the latter half of the twentieth century Katari and Sisa have been celebrated as symbols of the resistance to oppression by the indigenous majority, and as martyrs in a national revolution whose time has finally come.

Biden’s Reckless Syria Bombing Is Not the Diplomacy He Promised

oil

Some Members of Congress are speaking out against the strikes. “We cannot stand up for Congressional authorization before military strikes only when there is a Republican President,” Congressman Ro Khanna tweeted, “The Administration should have sought Congressional authorization here. We need to work to extricate from the Middle East, not escalate.” Peace groups around the country are echoing that call. Rep. Barbara Lee and Senators Bernie Sanders, Tim Kaine and Chris Murphy also released statements either questioning or condemning the strikes.

Why Indian farmers are so angry about the Modi government’s agricultural reforms

Admin

India’s farmers have been protesting since the autumn, with a growing intensity that culminated in a violent breaching of barriers in the Red Fort in Delhi during India’s Republic Day celebrations on January 26. Although reforms introduced by the Modi government in September are ostensibly about empowering farmers, there is deep concern that they will largely boost private agribusiness to the detriment of the livelihoods of small farmers. The bills propose new market channels that are largely unregulated, potentially leaving farmers at the mercy of powerful private sector players.

Covid 19 and The Desperate Lives of India’s Sugarcane Workers

Admin

Devabai Valvi used to sharpen her sickle every month.  That changed when the pandemic swept through India. For the first time, she had to abandon her sickle and watch with dismay as agricultural workers like herself were forced to to be idle. On March 23rd, 2020, when India reported 618 COVID cases, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi hastily declared a lockdown – curbing the movement of 1.3 billion people. Sixty eight days later, when the lockdown was lifted, India had already registered 189,273 COVID cases, and today, nine months later, it has surpassed 10 million cases and reported over 155,000 deaths. India now has the highest number of COVID cases after the United States.

Admin

Crushing Dissent During India’s Lockdown

This is a glimpse into the conditions the Indian state machinery forces people to endure as it goes about filling overcrowded prisons, in violation of basic civil and legal rights, as the pandemic ridden situation further deteriorates. The situation has worsened because of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s use of a 54-year-old draconian law.

Sam Durant, Untitled (drone), 2016-2021 (rendering). Proposal for the High Line Plinth. Commissioned by High Line Art. Courtesy of the High Line.
Admin

Art Against Drones

In late May, a Predator drone replica, appearing suddenly above the High Line promenade at 30th Street, might seem to scrutinize people below. The “gaze” of the sleek, white sculpture by Sam Durant, called “Untitled, (drone),” in the shape of the U.S. military’s Predator killer drone, will sweep unpredictably over the people below, rotating atop its 25-foot-high steel pole, its direction guided by the wind. 

Admin

Oil, Cocoa, AFRICOM and a Dictator: Requiem for a Dream of Democracy

It should have been a democratic success story. The presidential election in Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa in October 2020 was expected to put an end to three decades of political unrest with the first peaceful transfer of power. Instead, though the constitution says the president can only stay in power for two terms, Alassane Ouattara ran for and won a third presidential term amid ethnic violence, extreme police brutality and the jailing of his opponent, thus barging his way to a presidency for life.

Activism

Art and Activism: Danai Gurira’s Play, “Eclipsed,” Is More Relevant Than Ever

Activism and Art are a potent combination for addressing problems that are both enduring and unendurable. The play, Eclipsed, transports the audience into the intimate dwelling of women struggling to survive while living as sexual slaves in a rebel forces encampment at the end of the Liberian civil war in 2003. The story follows a 15-year-old African girl as she escapes from the encampment to become a child soldier in the rebel forces.

Admin

Uganda’s President Museveni’s Reign of Terror is Aided By US War on Terror in East Africa

Three months after Yoweri Museveni was re-elected president of Uganda for a sixth term, citizens of this strategic East African state are trying to come to terms with the dismal likelihood that he will never be unseated in free and fair elections.  Ever since 1986, when he came to power in the country’s first plural elections, this African strongman has enjoyed the continued and tacit support of successive US administrations. The fact that  Uganda discovered oil  in 2006 has also enhanced his value as a close ally to the West in a turbulent neighborhood. Today, Uganda is described as having the fourth largest onshore oil reserves in sub-Sahara Africa.

Activism

The World is My Country: A Stunning New Film about World Citizen Garry Davis

He was best known as “World Citizen # 1.”.He was a former WWII bomber pilot who was so pained about having bombed a civilian city that, in 1948, he gave up his US national citizenship and declared himself a citizen of the world.  Many more acts of defiance would follow, landing him in prison 34 times.  Now, the late Garry Davis (1921-2013), whose obituary appeared on the front page of the New York Times, is the subject of a newly released documentary by Arthur Kanegis and Melanie N. Bennett called The World is My Country. It is now airing on  public television stations across the country -- including Vermont broadcasts on May 2.

Admin

A spoiled ballot in Ecuador’s elections

Ecuador’s April 11 election that led to a 5-point victory by conservative banker Guillermo Lasso over progressive candidate Andrés Arauz was not what it appeared to be. On the surface, it was a surprisingly clean and professional election. But a fraud-free process for casting and counting ballots does not mean that the election was free and fair. Behind the scenes was a monumentally unequal playing field and dirty campaign designed to quash an Arauz win.

Activism

Hunting in Yemen, Hunger Striking in Washington DC

We all have a responsibility to listen for the screams of children gunned down as they flee in the darkness from the rubble of their homes. We all have a responsibility to listen for the gasps of little children breathing their last because starvation causes them to die from asphyxiation. “It’s not normal for people to live like this,” says Iman Saleh, now on her 17th day of a hunger strike demanding an end to war in Yemen.

Admin

Understanding the Fossil Fuel Industry’s Legacy of White Supremacy

Last October, reporter Hiroko Tabuchi tweeted that she’d “been thinking a lot about fossil fuels and white supremacy recently,” noting that nearly every oil industry official she’d encountered as a reporter was white and male. ExxonMobil complained the tweet was a “baseless claim alleging industry links to white supremacy,” and Tabuchi later deleted it. But according to University of Notre Dame historian Darren Douchuk, Tabuchi’s tweet reflected something real.

Americas

The Republican “Crisis” on the Mexican Border Is a Crisis of Weaponized Racism

Last week has seen the GOP triumph in focusing on making Black voters “ghosts” as far as voting rights and Brown migrants from south of the border as criminal marauders. Never mind that the “crisis” of massive attempted southern border crossings has existed through several Republican and Democratic administrations — with even the Obama administration having an aggressive deportation policy. Ted Cruz should be reminded that when the Civil War began, Texas joined the Confederacy as a slave state. The white settlers also extended their racism and land appropriation to Mexican and indigenous residents, some of whom owned land under charters from Spain.

Archives

Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement

The title of this book describes its mission, which is to move beyond surviving abuse or assault, and to organize for the purpose of addressing violence and the root causes of violence. Transformative Justice , if implemented widely and over time, will build community safety systems that can function independently of the criminal justice system. The essays in this book are first-hand accounts describing approaches for responding to and preventing violence and abuse without police and prisons.

Admin

“Is This Who We Are?”: Gitmo is America’s Enduring Shame

“Is this who we are?” President Obama animatedly and passionately asked, as he made a case in favor of the closure of Guantánamo, speaking as if a human rights advocate, not a Commander-in-Chief who had direct authority to shut down the entire facility. The truth is that the Abu Ghraib tortures were not by ‘a few bad apples’ and Guantánamo is, indeed, a microcosm of exactly what the US is, or has become.

Admin

Fukushima at Ten: Aftershocks, Lies, and Failed Decontamination..

It ’s now 10 years since the catastrophic triple meltdowns of reactors at Fukushima in Japan. As Joseph Mangano of the Radiation and Public Health project put it three years ago,“Enormous amounts of radioactive chemicals, including cesium, strontium, plutonium, and iodine were emitted into the air, and releases of the same toxins into the Pacific have never stopped, as workers struggle to contain over 100 cancer-causing chemicals.”

Activism

 Tunisia’s Spring Has Not Delivered Real Change — Special Report

Throughout the month of January, nightly demonstrations rocked underprivileged neighborhoods in the capital and many cities across the country for more than a week. Scores of youths between the ages of 15 and 30 clashed with security forces. Some incidents of looting and vandalism were reported. The military and police responded with excessive use of force and mass arrests of over 1,600 mostly- young people, one third of whom are minors.

Africa

Zimbabwe Wildlife Authority Ditches Conservation for Gold Digging

The coronavirus lockdown has enabled hundreds of illegal gold diggers to swarm into the mountains of Chimanimani to tunnel their way to gold. They have vandalized traditional sites held sacred by local people, and hassled tourists who have ventured into the park, despite weapons being wantonly fired by rival digging groups. These marauders have turned the river brown with tailings from their gold digging, harming the ecosystem that sustains human life in two countries, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Admin

Erik Prince and the Failed Plot to Arm a Warlord in Libya

IN 2019, Erik Prince, the founder of the notorious mercenary firm Blackwater and a prominent Donald Trump supporter, aided a plot to move U.S.-made attack helicopters, weapons, and other military equipment from Jordan to a renegade commander fighting for control of war-torn Libya. A team of mercenaries planned to use the aircraft to help the commander, Khalifa Hifter, a U.S. citizen and former CIA asset, defeat Libya’s U.N.-recognized and U.S.-backed government. 

Africa

Cuba’s Critical Role in Defending Angola

“The Cuban people hold a special place in the hearts of the peoples of Africa. The Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African independence, freedom and justice, unparalleled for its principled and selfless character … Cubans came to our region as doctors, teachers, soldiers, agricultural experts, but never as colonizers. They have shared the same trenches with us in the struggle against colonialism, underdevelopment, and apartheid.” – Nelson Mandela

Admin

Killing Revolution in Bahrain, U.S.-UK Plotted Regime Change in Libya, Syria

Ten years ago this month, the Middle East and North Africa were convulsed by uprisings and subterfuges. The Arab Spring is generally thought of as a single wave of pro-democracy movements that swept the vast region. Far from it, however, the events were a mixed bag in which Western powers were not on the right side of history, as Western media would portray. Indeed, these powers played a nefarious role to ensure that the Arab Spring was kneecapped in order to cripple any progressive potential.

Activism

Bolivia’s Five-Hundred-Year Rebellion

In 1781, the Bolivian indigenous leader Tupac Katari led a rebellion in which La Paz, the Spanish colonial capital of “Upper Peru,” was besieged for 109 days. The siege ended with the arrival of a Spanish army. Katari was captured, he and his wife, Bartolina Sisa, were gruesomely executed, and thousands of indigenous people were massacred. For many years this was treated as a minor event in history books, but in the latter half of the twentieth century Katari and Sisa have been celebrated as symbols of the resistance to oppression by the indigenous majority, and as martyrs in a national revolution whose time has finally come.

Archives

Biden’s Reckless Syria Bombing Is Not the Diplomacy He Promised

Some Members of Congress are speaking out against the strikes. “We cannot stand up for Congressional authorization before military strikes only when there is a Republican President,” Congressman Ro Khanna tweeted, “The Administration should have sought Congressional authorization here. We need to work to extricate from the Middle East, not escalate.” Peace groups around the country are echoing that call. Rep. Barbara Lee and Senators Bernie Sanders, Tim Kaine and Chris Murphy also released statements either questioning or condemning the strikes.

Activism

Why Indian farmers are so angry about the Modi government’s agricultural reforms

India’s farmers have been protesting since the autumn, with a growing intensity that culminated in a violent breaching of barriers in the Red Fort in Delhi during India’s Republic Day celebrations on January 26. Although reforms introduced by the Modi government in September are ostensibly about empowering farmers, there is deep concern that they will largely boost private agribusiness to the detriment of the livelihoods of small farmers. The bills propose new market channels that are largely unregulated, potentially leaving farmers at the mercy of powerful private sector players.

Activism

Covid 19 and The Desperate Lives of India’s Sugarcane Workers

Devabai Valvi used to sharpen her sickle every month.  That changed when the pandemic swept through India. For the first time, she had to abandon her sickle and watch with dismay as agricultural workers like herself were forced to to be idle. On March 23rd, 2020, when India reported 618 COVID cases, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi hastily declared a lockdown – curbing the movement of 1.3 billion people. Sixty eight days later, when the lockdown was lifted, India had already registered 189,273 COVID cases, and today, nine months later, it has surpassed 10 million cases and reported over 155,000 deaths. India now has the highest number of COVID cases after the United States.

Archives

The Making of an American Coup

Who would have guessed that the world would be given a blow-by-blow televised account, complete with videotaped documentation and federally-released emails, of an American president desperately trying to stay in power after being soundly defeated in an election? Mark Karlin, the founder of BuzzFlash, has identified key players in the Republican party who helped seed the terrain that made the right wing attack on the Capitol possible.

Admin

How likely is a regime change in Russia?

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to face some serious challenges in 2021. The West has already started pressuring the Kremlin to release Alexey Navalny – the anti-corruption opposition figure who was arrested on January 17th upon his return from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from being poisoned by an alleged Russian nerve agent, Novichok. The West is aslso using the Navalny imprisonment to try -- once again -- to stop construction of the Nordstream II pipeline which is to carry Russian gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany. The US wants to limit European reliance on Russian gas and increase Europe's reliance on American gas.

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