Hunger strikes spread in 2013 global resistance campaigns – here’s the latest
June 30, 2013

In Occupied Palestine
We recently posted coverage of 170 Eritrean migrants hunger striking in occupied Palestine. Now an additional 230 asylum seekers being held in the Saharonim prison in the south have returned their breakfasts and announced that they are beginning a hunger strike.

More than 1,700 African migrants are jailed in Israel. Most are waiting for their refugee requests to be processed or to file such requests. The migrants can be detained for up to three years without a trial.

At Guantamo Bay
Increasingly brutal tactics are being used in an attempt to break the hunger strike by detainees at Guantánamo Bay, according to fresh testimony from the last British resident still held in the camp. Techniques include making cells “freezing cold” to accentuate the discomfort of those on hunger strike and the introduction of “metal-tipped” feeding tubes, which were forced into inmates’ stomachs twice a day and caused detainees to vomit over themselves.

Although the military initially denied that there was a hunger strike inside Guantanámo, it now concedes that, of the 166 detainees, 104 are on hunger strike and 44 are being force-fed.

In Munich, Germany
Police in Munich moved in early Sunday morning to clear a camp of asylum seekers who have been on hunger strike for a week. Talks broke down late on Saturday night after it emerged the protesters would not be granted residence permits. 

The group, camped out on the city’s central Rindermarkt square, had originally been demanding the right to asylum in Germany but signaled they would be prepared to accept residence permits issued on humanitarian grounds instead. 

When this was not offered to them during negotiations, the group said they would continue the protest. Many said they were prepared to die. 

Doctors had previously warned that many of the protesters were in a critical condition. Forty-four of the protesters were admitted to 12 hospitals, according to city spokesman Stefan Hauf.

In Pontville, Tasmania
The Immigration Department has confirmed a detainee is on a hunger strike at Tasmania’s Pontville Detention Centre, after ABC was contacted by a teenager claiming to be an inmate at the centre.

The 16-year-old from Afghanistan contacted ABC News last night, saying he had been refusing food for four days. He arrived at Christmas Island on a boat seven months ago and has since spent five months in detention at Pontville.

The teenager believes other asylum seekers from the boat have been released and he does not know why he is still in detention.

His condition was very bad and he wanted to draw attention to his case.

In Philadelphia, United States
The fight over public education in Philadelphia escalated last Monday, when two local parents and two school district employees initiated a hunger strike to protest the closure of 23 schools and firing of 3,783 education professionals. The hunger strike is ongoing.

In Nawalparasi, Nepal
Inmates of Parasi prison in Nawalparasi, who began agitating on Friday when they released their seven-point demands, have started a hunger strike today, on Sunday, to apply pressure to the authorities to respond to their demands.

Of the 102 inmates, 78 are on strike. Their demands include: freedom to visit the market, facility of food prepared in the pressure cooker, return of their money stolen by the jail security guard and officials, opportunity to meet their kin on the prison premises freely, and decent food portions. 

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South African protests “spiralling”
June 17, 2012
Municipal IQ, a local government data and intelligence service institution, has warned that 2012 could be remembered as the year of service delivery protests if South Africans continue to take to the streets at their current rate.In fact, the country is set to record the highest number of delivery-linked protests by citizens since 1994.
Source

South African protests “spiralling”

June 17, 2012

Municipal IQ, a local government data and intelligence service institution, has warned that 2012 could be remembered as the year of service delivery protests if South Africans continue to take to the streets at their current rate.

In fact, the country is set to record the highest number of delivery-linked protests by citizens since 1994.

Source

A Mexican Student Movement begins to boilMay 29, 2012
As corruption in the government & the media grows, the youth of Mexico is beginning to mobilize into its own student movement, similar to those in Spain & Quebec. Protests began on May 23 to protest an ineffective, propaganda-driven media system & manipulations in the current electoral campaigns. 
20,000 students marched for four hours throughout Mexico City that night, while demonstrations continue centered around the Estela de Luz (Pillar of Light). 
“We are at a historical breaking point, a crisis of the world’s civilization. We are coming through the cracks in the state and the crumbling economy to build something new.” - Javier Sicilia, the poet, journalist and leader of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD), whose son was assassinated last year. 

A Mexican Student Movement begins to boil
May 29, 2012

As corruption in the government & the media grows, the youth of Mexico is beginning to mobilize into its own student movement, similar to those in Spain & Quebec. Protests began on May 23 to protest an ineffective, propaganda-driven media system & manipulations in the current electoral campaigns. 

20,000 students marched for four hours throughout Mexico City that night, while demonstrations continue centered around the Estela de Luz (Pillar of Light). 

“We are at a historical breaking point, a crisis of the world’s civilization. We are coming through the cracks in the state and the crumbling economy to build something new.” - Javier Sicilia, the poet, journalist and leader of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD), whose son was assassinated last year. 

The Occupy movement needs to be seen in relative terms. I don’t know of a movement that unfolds in less than a decade. People are impatient, and some of them are too quick to pass judgment. But it’s the beginning, I think, of a great movement. One of a series of movement that has episodically changed history, which is not the way we tell the story of American history.
Frances Fox Piven - eminent sociologist, co-author of Poor People’s Movements
Chief Counter-Terrorism Adviser John Brennan’s new power - Who will American drones kill? 
In November, 2008, media reports strongly suggested that President Obama intended to name John Brennan as CIA Director. Butcontroversy over Brennan’s recent history — he was a Bush-era CIA official who expressly advocated “enhanced interrogation techniques” and rendition — forced him to “withdraw” from consideration, as he publicly issued a letter citing “strong criticism in some quarters” of his CIA advocacy.
Undeterred by any of that unpleasantness, President Obama instead named Brennan to be his chief counter-Terrorism adviser, a position with arguably more influence that he would have had as CIA chief. Since then, Brennan has been caught peddling serious falsehoods in highly consequential cases, including falsely telling the world that Osama bin Laden “engaged in a firefight” with U.S. forces entering his house and “used his wife as a human shield,” and then outright lying when he claimed about the prior year of drone attacks in Pakistan: “there hasn’t been a single collateral death.” Given his history, it is unsurprising that Brennan has been at the heart of many of the administration’s most radical acts, including claiming the power to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA without due process and the more general policy of secretly targeting people for death by drone.
Now, Brennan’s power has increased even more: he’s on his way to becoming the sole arbiter of life and death, the unchecked judge, jury and executioner of whomever he wants dead (of course, when Associated Press in this report uses the words “Terrorist” or “al-Qaida operative,” what they actually mean is: a person accused by the U.S. Government, with no due process, of involvement in Terrorism).
Full article 

Chief Counter-Terrorism Adviser John Brennan’s new power - Who will American drones kill? 

In November, 2008, media reports strongly suggested that President Obama intended to name John Brennan as CIA Director. Butcontroversy over Brennan’s recent history — he was a Bush-era CIA official who expressly advocated “enhanced interrogation techniques” and rendition — forced him to “withdraw” from consideration, as he publicly issued a letter citing “strong criticism in some quarters” of his CIA advocacy.

Undeterred by any of that unpleasantness, President Obama instead named Brennan to be his chief counter-Terrorism adviser, a position with arguably more influence that he would have had as CIA chief. Since then, Brennan has been caught peddling serious falsehoods in highly consequential cases, including falsely telling the world that Osama bin Laden “engaged in a firefight” with U.S. forces entering his house and “used his wife as a human shield,” and then outright lying when he claimed about the prior year of drone attacks in Pakistan: “there hasn’t been a single collateral death.” Given his history, it is unsurprising that Brennan has been at the heart of many of the administration’s most radical acts, including claiming the power to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA without due process and the more general policy of secretly targeting people for death by drone.

Now, Brennan’s power has increased even more: he’s on his way to becoming the sole arbiter of life and death, the unchecked judge, jury and executioner of whomever he wants dead (of course, when Associated Press in this report uses the words “Terrorist” or “al-Qaida operative,” what they actually mean is: a person accused by the U.S. Government, with no due process, of involvement in Terrorism).

Full article 

Hundreds of students marched through the streets of Mexico City today, protesting against the Mexican mass media and the possible return of the country’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico for 71 consecutive years, to the presidential palace. The PRI’s candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, is leading key polls for the July 1 election, according to mass media reports. Under its rule, the PRI was known for its repression and political corruption. via

Hundreds of students marched through the streets of Mexico City today, protesting against the Mexican mass media and the possible return of the country’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico for 71 consecutive years, to the presidential palace. The PRI’s candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, is leading key polls for the July 1 election, according to mass media reports. Under its rule, the PRI was known for its repression and political corruption. via


Victory at NATO Summit demonstrations

Chicago protesters held impressive ground this past weekend at the NATO Summit demonstrations. Despite militaristic intimidation tactics used by the Chicago Police Department, demonstrators’ voices were heard loud and strong: fuck the NATO war machine.

Arrests totaled up to 60, including the “NATO 3” - Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly – who are facing terrorist charges and being held on a $1.5 million bond. They are currently in solitary confinement in Chicago and could face up to 85 years in prison.

While arrest numbers stayed relatively low, especially compared to the 700 arrested over the past few days in Quebec student protests, brutality incidents were much larger. Ruthless CPD officers swung their bikes and batons at protesters and beat several journalists bloody. Reports of protesters being admitted to the hospital for stitches and possible concussions painted the picture of the war zone against free speech in the streets of Chicago.

But the protesters’ voices rang louder than the blood running down their foreheads. Veterans hurling their medals of honor in disgust and in apology for their participation in corrupt wars spoke volumes higher than the imperialistic ongoings inside of the Summit.

The weekend events in Chicago sent a vibrant message of unity to the world, proving to the ruling class that the people are awake and ready for a radical change. Activists must be aware of the experiences of the NATO Summit demonstrations, and use them to rally forward.

Building a necessary solidarity

From the nurses unions and the Free Bradley Manning Contingent to Occupy groups and veteran organizations, activists swarmed Chicago to condemn the NATO warmongers and their deathly exploitation of people across the world. These resistance groups linked together to become a force more potent than the police. Not only does this massive display of solidarity boast numbers in the tens of thousands, it also churns out ideas that will change the status quo.

This unrest is only making the capitalist ruling class more and more nervous. We can see the counterattacks taking on different forms: a militarized police force, laws condemning whistleblowers, online surveillance and a backlash against unions. But this is only the beginning. Resistance groups must bind together to build a strong solidarity and cooperation with one another to continue to shake the grip the corrupt American government.

Our enemy is one in the same and must be recognized as so. The United States is no longer run by the people, but by profit-gorging capitalists. But in a united fight, the system can be toppled by the might of these working class groups.

Ditching ineffective media

As mainstream media coverage has proven these past few days, it no longer belongs to the people and only acts in the interests of its capitalist ownership. Headlines splashed across front pages read that protesters “clashed” with police, instead of showing the true police violence. News articles focused on the police officer who was stabbed, while giving only brief mentions to protesters who were beaten until their blood splattered on the asphalt. Comparisons were made between police in riot gear standing off against protesters who wore black and ski masks, when there was no comparison to be made.

The mainstream corporate-owned media has continued to uphold the capitalist agenda by perpetually stripping validity away from demonstrators. Protest stories are tarnished with an underlining sense of violence – not by the police forces who spent millions on weapons and armed officers, but by protesters merely exercising their right to march.

However, a strong media system is not dead, but evolving. Democracy Now, Truth-out, Socialist Worker, AlterNet and livestream channels are just a few alternative media sources that gave true coverage of the NATO protests this weekend. These democratic outlets continue to expose the government threat to First Amendment liberties and to give spotlight to the working class uprisings transforming their world.

The NATO Summit demonstrations injected energy into the American and global spring. Even though government repression continues to strengthen, this vitality cannot fizzle. NATO represents a foundation of capitalist oppression, suffocating the life out of the international working class. But a much larger system has strangled the world for long enough, and it is the time to fight back.

- G. Razo

International Uprising Pushes Onward

The global working class is continuing to feed off of one another’s momentum to endure the wave of international protest. Momentous protests have propelled international social movements to continue the plight for human rights, educational opportunities and for an end to all wars.

The historical significance of the surge of political protests throughout the world is immense. In times of upheaval, we have seen great social and political changes during the aftermath. This progress is not because of any given political party in office at that time, but because of the people in the streets demanding a change. The international working class is no longer putting up with corrupt capitalist agendas, environmental degradation, crashing economies or skyrocketing poverty.

As the mainstream media remains nearly silent, these activist communities must not be ignored, and their causes must be recognizd as one world struggle.

The May Day protests on May 1 gave a fresh spqark to the spring offensive across the world. These are the events that marked the international surge of resistance in the past few weeks:  

  • More than 1,500 Palestinian prisoners have participated in a mass hunger strike in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza to oppose the wrongful imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians, horrific prison conditions and inhumane treatment during their incarceration without formal charges. Ten hunger-strikers were hospitalized by the end of the hunger strike. Israeli officials compromised a deal to allow solitary confinement prisoners to be returned to the other areas of the prison as well as to allow family visits.
  • 106 activists were arrested outside of Quebec’s liberal party headquarters demanding an end to tuition hikes. Three were hospitalized, and one protester lost the use of an eye as police shot rubber bullets and fired tear gas at protesters.
  • Inspired by the student movement in Canada, hundreds of Czech students mobilized on the streets to protest tuition hikes and education budget cuts, as well.
  • On May 16, hundreds of protesters took the streets of Chile as a part of the Chilean Student Movement to demand free education.
  • Student movements continue with momentum as dozens of California public university students go on a hunger strike until their demands – including a five-year moratorium on student fees and a decrease executive salaries – are met.
  • Los Indignados of Spain celebrated their one-year anniversary with tens of thousands filling the streets to stand up against poverty and unemployment rates throughout the country in the anti-austerity movement.
  • About 20 protesters were arrested in Nepal after the Nepali government decided to forcefully evict residents in Katmandu. Dozens were injured as riot police demolished homes and forced families to relocate.
  • Thousands marched in Tahrir Square in Cairo to oppose the country’s brutal military rule as police violence left at least nine dead in the streets of Egypt.
  • Hundreds marched outside of the Bank of America shareholders meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina to protest foreclosures across the country. Four people were arrested.
  • A dozen Russian writers led a protest of more than 10,000 people to oppose the Putin regime. The march stopped traffic for miles, and no arrests were made.
  • Hundreds mobilized in Addison, Texas to fight against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which some say is a revised version of the NATO treaty.
  • Thousands of Palestinians commemorated Nakba Day, which marks the day in 1948 when the state of Israel was established and began the displacement, murder and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinian families.
  • More than 30 activists were arrested after police evicted Occupy Moscow earlier this week. About 10,000 people joined in the march as a part of the anti-austerity movement throughout Europe.
  • Houston activists gathered at the county court house to demand justice for black 15-year-old teenager Chad Holley, who was beaten to death by a white former police officer who was acquitted of all charges earlier this week.
  • Countless protests stormed Chicago as NATO negotiations took place over the weekend. Tens of thousands of activists descended upon the city to protest the Afghanistan war, immigration practices and in support of worker unions. Upwards of 15,000 people reclaimed Chicago’s streets from the brutal police forces of the Chicago Police Department on May 20 alone.

- Graciela Razo