Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow

One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.

On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.

For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.

Edward Joseph Snowden

Monday 1st July 2013

Thousands gather at unsanctioned opposition protest against PutinDecember 15, 2012
Thousands of people challenged the administration of President Vladimir Putin in a defiant, unsanctioned gathering amid temperatures that hovered around minus 17 C.
“Respected citizens, this event is against Moscow laws, please walk to the Metro in order not to be detained,” repeated policemen — who numbered in the hundreds — over a megaphone throughout the meeting.
The crowd did not heed the call.
The gathering took place on Lubyanka Square, across the street from the headquarters of the FSB, the successor organization to the KGB. Protesters laid white flowers — the color of the opposition — on the Solovetsky stone, a memorial to victims of the Gulag, erected after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Police and special forces presence was significant, and officers numbered in the hundreds. Buses lined surrounding streets with buses waiting to be used for detained protesters, and a helicopter hovered low, apparently in an attempt to drown out noise from protesters.
Neither heavy security nor freezing cold temperatures deterred protesters, about 2,000 to 3,000, including families with children, and teenagers with iPads tweeting to pensioners. By attending an unsanctioned gathering, all of them were risking fines up to about $9,000, — or $18,000 for organizers — as the result of a law signed by Putin in June.
“I am not afraid to be here — Putin should be afraid of us,” said Lilia Sokolova of Moscow, who said that she had protested since the 1960s in the Soviet Union.
“This is the warmest place in Moscow!” quipped longtime opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, who was deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltsin.
Protesters did not only include liberal figures such as Nemtsov; nationalists, libertarians and gay rights activists also came to Lubyanka. (Communists, however, held their own sanctioned rally earlier Saturday in another part of Moscow where protests frequently occur.) The disparate groups share a deep desire to see Putin leave office after almost 13 years in power.
“I don’t want our freedom to depend on one person,” said Alexander Bolgov, a protester from Moscow. “That is stupidity.”
“The fish rots from the head,” said Valentina Ostak-Pengur of Moscow, who rejected that the so-called war on corruption waged by Putin — mostly involving sacking key officials such as Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov — was anything significant.
The most famous anti-corruption leader inside and outside of Russia — lawyer and blogger Alexei Navalny — came to the rally and was immediately swarmed by reporters, photographers and fans. He stood in a scrum and greeted the crowd before being detained by police. Russian investigators accused him and his brother, Oleg, of fraud and money laundering on Friday — charges that he rejects as politically motivated.
Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov was detained much more quickly, as was Ksenia Sobchak, who is the daughter of the late Anatoly Sobchak, the former St. Petersburg mayor and the mentor to both Putin and Dimitry Medvedev. All three of them were released later Saturday.
The rally was nowhere near the size of other protests that began after the Duma elections Dec. 4, 2011, tainted by widespread fraud. But unlike some of those protests, authorities did not approve the rally after negotiations broke down earlier this week.
“I am furious that our protest demonstration was not officially sanctioned despite the fact that we had applied for the permission to hold a rally in time. We have never been violent. So, they have no right to deny us permission,” said pensioner Tamara Kozhevnikova.
The police, after about an hour and a half of allowing the protesters to mill about, began to detain people, dragging them out the square. People chanted, “Shame! Shame!” and “Russia Without Putin!” But the protest only ended when officers, with their arms locked to form a chain, pushed the crowd out of the square and into the cold Moscow evening.
Source

Thousands gather at unsanctioned opposition protest against Putin
December 15, 2012

Thousands of people challenged the administration of President Vladimir Putin in a defiant, unsanctioned gathering amid temperatures that hovered around minus 17 C.

“Respected citizens, this event is against Moscow laws, please walk to the Metro in order not to be detained,” repeated policemen — who numbered in the hundreds — over a megaphone throughout the meeting.

The crowd did not heed the call.

The gathering took place on Lubyanka Square, across the street from the headquarters of the FSB, the successor organization to the KGB. Protesters laid white flowers — the color of the opposition — on the Solovetsky stone, a memorial to victims of the Gulag, erected after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Police and special forces presence was significant, and officers numbered in the hundreds. Buses lined surrounding streets with buses waiting to be used for detained protesters, and a helicopter hovered low, apparently in an attempt to drown out noise from protesters.

Neither heavy security nor freezing cold temperatures deterred protesters, about 2,000 to 3,000, including families with children, and teenagers with iPads tweeting to pensioners. By attending an unsanctioned gathering, all of them were risking fines up to about $9,000, — or $18,000 for organizers — as the result of a law signed by Putin in June.

“I am not afraid to be here — Putin should be afraid of us,” said Lilia Sokolova of Moscow, who said that she had protested since the 1960s in the Soviet Union.

“This is the warmest place in Moscow!” quipped longtime opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, who was deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltsin.

Protesters did not only include liberal figures such as Nemtsov; nationalists, libertarians and gay rights activists also came to Lubyanka. (Communists, however, held their own sanctioned rally earlier Saturday in another part of Moscow where protests frequently occur.) The disparate groups share a deep desire to see Putin leave office after almost 13 years in power.

“I don’t want our freedom to depend on one person,” said Alexander Bolgov, a protester from Moscow. “That is stupidity.”

“The fish rots from the head,” said Valentina Ostak-Pengur of Moscow, who rejected that the so-called war on corruption waged by Putin — mostly involving sacking key officials such as Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov — was anything significant.

The most famous anti-corruption leader inside and outside of Russia — lawyer and blogger Alexei Navalny — came to the rally and was immediately swarmed by reporters, photographers and fans. He stood in a scrum and greeted the crowd before being detained by police. Russian investigators accused him and his brother, Oleg, of fraud and money laundering on Friday — charges that he rejects as politically motivated.

Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov was detained much more quickly, as was Ksenia Sobchak, who is the daughter of the late Anatoly Sobchak, the former St. Petersburg mayor and the mentor to both Putin and Dimitry Medvedev. All three of them were released later Saturday.

The rally was nowhere near the size of other protests that began after the Duma elections Dec. 4, 2011, tainted by widespread fraud. But unlike some of those protests, authorities did not approve the rally after negotiations broke down earlier this week.

“I am furious that our protest demonstration was not officially sanctioned despite the fact that we had applied for the permission to hold a rally in time. We have never been violent. So, they have no right to deny us permission,” said pensioner Tamara Kozhevnikova.

The police, after about an hour and a half of allowing the protesters to mill about, began to detain people, dragging them out the square. People chanted, “Shame! Shame!” and “Russia Without Putin!” But the protest only ended when officers, with their arms locked to form a chain, pushed the crowd out of the square and into the cold Moscow evening.

Source

Moscow bans protest against political repressions ‘due to lack of political repressions’November 21, 2012
The Moscow authorities have refused to grant permission for a rally against “political repressions” and “violations of human rights,” saying that state law does not recognize such a phenomenon in the country.
The application to hold the event was rejected by the authorities on the grounds that the “current law does not provide any measures used by the state for repression based on political motives,” the official refusal letter reads.  
The letter further explained, “in accordance to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the government guarantees equal rights and freedom of the individual.” The letter also said that the constitution rejects any forms of violation of human rights based on “social, racial, national, language or religious affiliation.” The constitution also guarantees judicial protection. 
The petition was filed from an organizer’s address some 700 kilometers away from Moscow, in the capital city of the Mari El Republic.
The rally was to take place on Saturday near the Pushkinskaya Metro station to protest the prosecution of those who were detained in Moscow on May 6th this year.
The organizers refer to at least 18 people charged over the unrest at a protest on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s inauguration for a third presidential term. Only one person has faced trial so far, and was jailed for four and a half years after admitting to assaulting police.
The organizers planned to slowly reveal to the crowd a picture and a brief identity description of each of the eighteen arrested in the so-called “Bolotnaya” case.
The refusal letter confused the organizers, who posted on their Facebook page that they will brainstorm on how to arrange a meeting. Some of the suggestions already posted are to appeal the decision in court or to call a much larger rally and ask for a separate approval from the authorities. 
The confusion also emerged as the organizers used the same text and template that they used in a July application – which was approved.
“The entire text of the notification, which we submitted to the municipality, was copied from the notice which was served on July 26. The guys held their successful event then,” the post read. 
The Solidarity movement’s Sergei Davidis commented on the latest decision, saying that “you can only see the situation as absurd – both logically and from a legal point of view,” he wrote on an Ekho Moskvy blog.
Another post on the site showed full support for the authorities, stating, “they did the right thing. It’s time to stand up to these elements. Let the citizens live peacefully. Please get rid of these scoundrels and rascals on the streets.”
Source

Moscow bans protest against political repressions ‘due to lack of political repressions’
November 21, 2012

The Moscow authorities have refused to grant permission for a rally against “political repressions” and “violations of human rights,” saying that state law does not recognize such a phenomenon in the country.

The application to hold the event was rejected by the authorities on the grounds that the “current law does not provide any measures used by the state for repression based on political motives,” the official refusal letter reads.  

The letter further explained, “in accordance to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the government guarantees equal rights and freedom of the individual.” The letter also said that the constitution rejects any forms of violation of human rights based on “social, racial, national, language or religious affiliation.” The constitution also guarantees judicial protection. 

The petition was filed from an organizer’s address some 700 kilometers away from Moscow, in the capital city of the Mari El Republic.

The rally was to take place on Saturday near the Pushkinskaya Metro station to protest the prosecution of those who were detained in Moscow on May 6th this year.

The organizers refer to at least 18 people charged over the unrest at a protest on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s inauguration for a third presidential term. Only one person has faced trial so far, and was jailed for four and a half years after admitting to assaulting police.

The organizers planned to slowly reveal to the crowd a picture and a brief identity description of each of the eighteen arrested in the so-called “Bolotnaya” case.

The refusal letter confused the organizers, who posted on their Facebook page that they will brainstorm on how to arrange a meeting. Some of the suggestions already posted are to appeal the decision in court or to call a much larger rally and ask for a separate approval from the authorities. 

The confusion also emerged as the organizers used the same text and template that they used in a July application – which was approved.

“The entire text of the notification, which we submitted to the municipality, was copied from the notice which was served on July 26. The guys held their successful event then,” the post read. 

The Solidarity movement’s Sergei Davidis commented on the latest decision, saying that “you can only see the situation as absurd – both logically and from a legal point of view,” he wrote on an Ekho Moskvy blog.

Another post on the site showed full support for the authorities, stating, “they did the right thing. It’s time to stand up to these elements. Let the citizens live peacefully. Please get rid of these scoundrels and rascals on the streets.”

Source

The People’s Record Daily News Update

October 30, 2012 

Here are some stories you may not otherwise hear about today: 

Follow us on Tumblr or by RSS feed for more daily updates. 

Two Pussy Riot members sent to remote prison campsOctober 23, 2012
Maria Alyokhina, 24, will serve the rest of her two-year term at a women’s prison camp in Perm, a Siberian region notorious for hosting some of the Soviet Union’s harshest camps. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, has been sent to Mordovia, a region that also hosts a high number of prisons.
"These are the harshest camps of all the possible choices," the band said via its Twitter account on Monday.
Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for performing an anti-Putin “punk anthem” in a Moscow cathedral in February. They argued that their conviction was part of a growing crackdown on free speech and political activism in Russia.
They are expected to serve the rest of their sentences, which end in March 2014, in the camps, where conditions are reportedly dire.
A third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released earlier this month after being given a suspended sentence. Pussy Riot’s supporters have argued that her release was designed to give the appearance of mercy from the authorities.
Confusion reigned on Monday as relatives and lawyers tried to assess exactly where the women were sent. Both Perm and Mordovia host several prison camps, some of which comprised the Soviet-era gulag system. Prison authorities declined to comment on the women’s whereabouts.
Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova had petitioned to serve their sentences in Moscow, arguing that they wanted to be close to their children. Alyokhina has a five-year-old son named Filipp, while Tolokonnikova has a four-year-old daughter named Gera. 
Source

Two Pussy Riot members sent to remote prison camps
October 23, 2012

Maria Alyokhina, 24, will serve the rest of her two-year term at a women’s prison camp in Perm, a Siberian region notorious for hosting some of the Soviet Union’s harshest camps. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, has been sent to Mordovia, a region that also hosts a high number of prisons.

"These are the harshest camps of all the possible choices," the band said via its Twitter account on Monday.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for performing an anti-Putin “punk anthem” in a Moscow cathedral in February. They argued that their conviction was part of a growing crackdown on free speech and political activism in Russia.

They are expected to serve the rest of their sentences, which end in March 2014, in the camps, where conditions are reportedly dire.

A third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released earlier this month after being given a suspended sentence. Pussy Riot’s supporters have argued that her release was designed to give the appearance of mercy from the authorities.

Confusion reigned on Monday as relatives and lawyers tried to assess exactly where the women were sent. Both Perm and Mordovia host several prison camps, some of which comprised the Soviet-era gulag system. Prison authorities declined to comment on the women’s whereabouts.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova had petitioned to serve their sentences in Moscow, arguing that they wanted to be close to their children. Alyokhina has a five-year-old son named Filipp, while Tolokonnikova has a four-year-old daughter named Gera. 

Source

Pussy Riot trial in Moscow erupts in chaos 
August 5, 2012
The central Khamovniki court in Moscow erupted in chaos Friday when defense witnesses for Pussy Riot – the three feminist punk rockers charged in what many consider a political show trial – were denied the opportunity to testify on the musicians’ behalf.
After the prosecution read a statement from their absent last witness (the senior priest at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral), the Pussy Riot defense team demanded that Judge Marina Syrova order guards to let in their witnesses, who have been kept out of the building. Syrova repeatedly ignored motions for witness testimonies. A huge barking Rottweiler kept in the courtroom, and three men in balaclavas outside yelling “Free Pussy Riot,” escalated the mayhem.
Two of the girls’ college professors and a friend were allowed to testify on the defendants’ character. One noted that bandmember Maria Alyokhina, 24, is a poet who volunteers at a hospital run by a Christian Orthodox organization. Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, was characterized as a good student. A witness who was supposed to testify on the character of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, could not be found.
The prosecution questioned four other witnesses this week, including two women who cleaned the Bogoyavlensky Cathedral, where part of the video was filmed; a real estate agent who saw the video online and believes Pussy Riot declared war on God, Christianity and the government; and Samutsevich’s father, who called the arrest and trial absurd.
Syrova pushed some sessions this week up to 12 hours, which is a sign that the authorities want to close the case as soon as possible, according to Polozov. The longer the trial lasts, the more controversy it appears to be gathering.
On Thursday the Russian law association published an open letter, signed by 35 prominent lawyers, declaring that the Pussy Riot cathedral performance was no crime. President Vladimir Putin told journalists in London Thursday that although he believes there is nothing good about what the women have done, they should not be punished too severely.
But such statements have had no effect on the trial, Polozov said. “This isn’t a trial – it’s total chaos,” he said.
Source

Pussy Riot trial in Moscow erupts in chaos 

August 5, 2012

The central Khamovniki court in Moscow erupted in chaos Friday when defense witnesses for Pussy Riot – the three feminist punk rockers charged in what many consider a political show trial – were denied the opportunity to testify on the musicians’ behalf.

After the prosecution read a statement from their absent last witness (the senior priest at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral), the Pussy Riot defense team demanded that Judge Marina Syrova order guards to let in their witnesses, who have been kept out of the building. Syrova repeatedly ignored motions for witness testimonies. A huge barking Rottweiler kept in the courtroom, and three men in balaclavas outside yelling “Free Pussy Riot,” escalated the mayhem.

Two of the girls’ college professors and a friend were allowed to testify on the defendants’ character. One noted that bandmember Maria Alyokhina, 24, is a poet who volunteers at a hospital run by a Christian Orthodox organization. Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, was characterized as a good student. A witness who was supposed to testify on the character of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, could not be found.

The prosecution questioned four other witnesses this week, including two women who cleaned the Bogoyavlensky Cathedral, where part of the video was filmed; a real estate agent who saw the video online and believes Pussy Riot declared war on God, Christianity and the government; and Samutsevich’s father, who called the arrest and trial absurd.

Syrova pushed some sessions this week up to 12 hours, which is a sign that the authorities want to close the case as soon as possible, according to Polozov. The longer the trial lasts, the more controversy it appears to be gathering.

On Thursday the Russian law association published an open letter, signed by 35 prominent lawyers, declaring that the Pussy Riot cathedral performance was no crime. President Vladimir Putin told journalists in London Thursday that although he believes there is nothing good about what the women have done, they should not be punished too severely.

But such statements have had no effect on the trial, Polozov said. “This isn’t a trial – it’s total chaos,” he said.

Source

June 12, 2012
Tens of thousands of Russians marched through Moscow amid a stream of banners demanding President Vladimir Putin step down and challenging new laws designed to curb protest against his strongly centralized rule.
Protesters chanting “Russia without Putin!” and “Putin is a thief!” moved in pouring rain down a central boulevard and packed a square in the first big opposition rally since the former KGB officer’s return to the Kremlin for a six-year term on May 7.

"We propose to rid the country of this usurper who wants to rob us and rule for life," former deputy premier Boris Nemtsov told the crowd, repeating accusations that Putin, still unrivalled in popularity by any opposition figure, had ‘stolen’ March presidential elections by fraud.
Source

June 12, 2012

Tens of thousands of Russians marched through Moscow amid a stream of banners demanding President Vladimir Putin step down and challenging new laws designed to curb protest against his strongly centralized rule.

Protesters chanting “Russia without Putin!” and “Putin is a thief!” moved in pouring rain down a central boulevard and packed a square in the first big opposition rally since the former KGB officer’s return to the Kremlin for a six-year term on May 7.

"We propose to rid the country of this usurper who wants to rob us and rule for life," former deputy premier Boris Nemtsov told the crowd, repeating accusations that Putin, still unrivalled in popularity by any opposition figure, had ‘stolen’ March presidential elections by fraud.

Source

Russia terrified of the power of protest - cracks down on protest against crack-downs on protests

June 05, 2012.

Police detained some 20 activists protesting on Tuesday outside Russia’s parliament where deputies debated a Kremlin-backed bill to hike fines for violations during rallies, a proposal the opposition says is aimed at smothering dissent.

The controversial bill proposed by the ruling United Russia party following the biggest protests President Vladimir Putin’s 12-year-rule is all but guaranteed to be passed this week by the State Duma lower house, where United Russia holds a majority.

It would dramatically raise maximum fines to 1 million roubles ($30,000) for organizers and 300,000 roubles ($9,000) for citizens participating in demonstrations at which public order or city rules are deemed to have been violated.

Source


Walter Who? A Response to Claims that the Occupy Movement is Irrelevant and Dead
We were recently asked by chileanstudentmovement (a great blog, if you aren’t following already, I highly recommend it) about our thoughts on Walter Russel Mead ’s article: OWS RIP.  Admittedly, it required a wiki search for me to learn who Walter Russel Mead was. After reading Mead’s wiki page, it is utterly unsurprising that a hawkish, imperialist Democrat (strong supporter of the Iraq war) who works for such publications as the Washington Post, the Economist and the Financial Times would be so enthusiastically against the Occupy Movement.
Unfortunately, in this article Mead not only misses the point, he blatantly misrepresents facts to do so. Almost immediately in the article, Mead claims that the New York Times, a publication widely condemned for its negative, biased, anti-OWS coverage actually is the only thing propping up Occupy coverage. He claims that the movement has remained entirely irrelevant:
“It is not a significant presence on the streets; it is not a significant presence in Democratic Party politics; it is not a significant presence in the national conversation.”
It is difficult for me to accept that even a financial insider pseudo-journalist like Mead believes this nonsense. Surely, anyone who has even glanced at this blog has seen the wide sweeping affects that the Occupy Movement has had on grass roots organizing around this country AND internationally. Protests in countries across the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa have evoked the “Occupy” name and implemented the movement’s tactics to pursue their own political interests while maintaining international solidarity. Occupy Russia made the news this week for just that, in fact. NATO protests this week (which we’ve been covering extensively) have been heavily influenced by Occupy organizing. Leftist organizations and conferences (such as the International Socialist Organization and the Socialism 2012 Conference) are reporting unprecedented new numbers of registration and tremendous growth because of an international wave of radicalization that both allowed for the establishment of the Occupy Movement and has gained momentum because of the Occupy Movement. The President, Democrat senators, congressmen and Democrat-focused organizations have adopted the language of the movement in order to appropriate it. Mead even acknowledges this last point but only briefly and only in order to dismiss it as irrelevant and inconsequential.
But Mead’s perpetuation of ignorance isn’t the biggest problem with this article. In fact, he completely misses the point of the Occupy Movement, and in doing so circumvents the conversation that all ruling class intellectuals are terrified to have. The Occupy Movement, (whether it is called that a year from now or has evolved into something entirely different) is a result of the problems created by capitalism in crises. Until those problems go away, there will be Occupy-style grass roots organizing ready to combat them. Any individual movement will go through surges and lulls of activity, and will eventually either evolve or become irrelevant. I have no doubt that what is now the Occupy Movement may be something entirely different in a few years but I also know the impact of three months of Occupy was enough to permanently impact this nation and my life forever.
The Occupy Movement changed my life personally, radicalized my politics and enlightened me to the reality that capitalism must be dismantled and to the idea that I could devote my life to fighting for a better world. I am not alone in this – I have at least half a dozen people in my life (who I knew before the movement) who also radicalized BECAUSE of the Occupy Movement. And there is nothing exceptional about us. The impact of having dozens or hundreds of newly recruited life-long anti-capitalists is immeasurable. Mead also sort-of acknowledges this in his article but again only to reduce it to some right-of-passage, maybe-down-the-line, bullshit. It feeds directly into the propaganda-industrial-complex which Mead is clearly a part of. The fact of the matter is, we won’t even be able to assess the full impact of this (still breathing) movement for decades to come. Mead predicts that this movement is dead but as far as predictions go, Mead has a less-than-clairvoyant history. I couldn’t imagine taking what this man has to say about grass-roots activism seriously. 
 
-R.Cunningham

Walter Who? A Response to Claims that the Occupy Movement is Irrelevant and Dead

We were recently asked by chileanstudentmovement (a great blog, if you aren’t following already, I highly recommend it) about our thoughts on Walter Russel Mead ’s article: OWS RIP.  Admittedly, it required a wiki search for me to learn who Walter Russel Mead was. After reading Mead’s wiki page, it is utterly unsurprising that a hawkish, imperialist Democrat (strong supporter of the Iraq war) who works for such publications as the Washington Post, the Economist and the Financial Times would be so enthusiastically against the Occupy Movement.

Unfortunately, in this article Mead not only misses the point, he blatantly misrepresents facts to do so. Almost immediately in the article, Mead claims that the New York Times, a publication widely condemned for its negative, biased, anti-OWS coverage actually is the only thing propping up Occupy coverage. He claims that the movement has remained entirely irrelevant:

“It is not a significant presence on the streets; it is not a significant presence in Democratic Party politics; it is not a significant presence in the national conversation.”

It is difficult for me to accept that even a financial insider pseudo-journalist like Mead believes this nonsense. Surely, anyone who has even glanced at this blog has seen the wide sweeping affects that the Occupy Movement has had on grass roots organizing around this country AND internationally. Protests in countries across the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa have evoked the “Occupy” name and implemented the movement’s tactics to pursue their own political interests while maintaining international solidarity. Occupy Russia made the news this week for just that, in fact. NATO protests this week (which we’ve been covering extensively) have been heavily influenced by Occupy organizing. Leftist organizations and conferences (such as the International Socialist Organization and the Socialism 2012 Conference) are reporting unprecedented new numbers of registration and tremendous growth because of an international wave of radicalization that both allowed for the establishment of the Occupy Movement and has gained momentum because of the Occupy Movement. The President, Democrat senators, congressmen and Democrat-focused organizations have adopted the language of the movement in order to appropriate it. Mead even acknowledges this last point but only briefly and only in order to dismiss it as irrelevant and inconsequential.

But Mead’s perpetuation of ignorance isn’t the biggest problem with this article. In fact, he completely misses the point of the Occupy Movement, and in doing so circumvents the conversation that all ruling class intellectuals are terrified to have. The Occupy Movement, (whether it is called that a year from now or has evolved into something entirely different) is a result of the problems created by capitalism in crises. Until those problems go away, there will be Occupy-style grass roots organizing ready to combat them. Any individual movement will go through surges and lulls of activity, and will eventually either evolve or become irrelevant. I have no doubt that what is now the Occupy Movement may be something entirely different in a few years but I also know the impact of three months of Occupy was enough to permanently impact this nation and my life forever.

The Occupy Movement changed my life personally, radicalized my politics and enlightened me to the reality that capitalism must be dismantled and to the idea that I could devote my life to fighting for a better world. I am not alone in this – I have at least half a dozen people in my life (who I knew before the movement) who also radicalized BECAUSE of the Occupy Movement. And there is nothing exceptional about us. The impact of having dozens or hundreds of newly recruited life-long anti-capitalists is immeasurable. Mead also sort-of acknowledges this in his article but again only to reduce it to some right-of-passage, maybe-down-the-line, bullshit. It feeds directly into the propaganda-industrial-complex which Mead is clearly a part of. The fact of the matter is, we won’t even be able to assess the full impact of this (still breathing) movement for decades to come. Mead predicts that this movement is dead but as far as predictions go, Mead has a less-than-clairvoyant history. I couldn’t imagine taking what this man has to say about grass-roots activism seriously.

 

-R.Cunningham

The Spirit of Resistance Thrives in Occupy Moscow
An Occupy-related group in Moscow has caught international attention for their bravery and wherewithal against a notoriously oppressive Putin administration. A few days ago (May 16) police moved in to disperse a group of activists who were occupying an encampment on Moscow’s Kudrinskaya Square. When police were attempting to detain two of the protesters, a crowd gathered around a police bus and severely damaged it. Police detained more than 30 activists including the leader of the opposition Solidarnost group.
Outrage from the arrests has sparked a new wave of demonstrations among Russian activists, creating occupations that have swelled to the thousands. Laws preventing protesters from doing what many would consider to be normal protest activities (chants, signs, posters, tents, drums, etc.) are being enforced. In the past, Moscow police have broken up unauthorized political rallies with swift and extremely excessive force.
But working class activists are not lying down and allowing Putin to suppress their anger. More than 10,000 Russians of all ages joined a demonstration through a neighborhood near Chistye Prudy on Saturday in a clear bid to test the limits of the law. Moscow painters have voiced plans to conduct a similar stroll over the we.And the working class wherewithal in Russia is paying off big time! On Thursday (May 17) stories reporting wide-spread reaction in the business world to the Occupy Moscow protests were published: 
"Investors are fleeing Russia as demonstrators against President Vladimir Putin dig in, exacerbating the impact of Europe’s debt crisis on the country’s markets, money managers from Frankfurt to Moscow said.
Activists who clashed with police before Putin’s May 7 inauguration are protesting non-stop in Moscow, using the Occupy Wall Street movement’s tactics. As the benchmark RTS equity index entered a bear market, Russia-focused equity funds recorded $251 million of outflows in the seven days to May 9, the most this year, while China lost $127 million, India $148 million and Brazil $167 million, EPFR Global data show.”
Resistance in Russia grows in strength and relevance amid increasingly popular and prevalent anti-austerity movements in Europe. The circumstances in Greece are demonstrating to international activists everywhere that in 2012 a different kind of government is possible. We live in the era of revolution: from the Arab Spring to the Occupy Movement to new vibrant anti-austerity movement creating the potential for revolutionary situations in Europe. The world we used to live in does not exist anymore. Things are possible that were not possible before.And that means we ALL have a much heavier responsibility to our societies and to our world to engage in struggle now than ever before (certainly in our life times). 
 
—R.Cunningham
Source, Source and Source

The Spirit of Resistance Thrives in Occupy Moscow

An Occupy-related group in Moscow has caught international attention for their bravery and wherewithal against a notoriously oppressive Putin administration. A few days ago (May 16) police moved in to disperse a group of activists who were occupying an encampment on Moscow’s Kudrinskaya Square. When police were attempting to detain two of the protesters, a crowd gathered around a police bus and severely damaged it. Police detained more than 30 activists including the leader of the opposition Solidarnost group.

Outrage from the arrests has sparked a new wave of demonstrations among Russian activists, creating occupations that have swelled to the thousands. Laws preventing protesters from doing what many would consider to be normal protest activities (chants, signs, posters, tents, drums, etc.) are being enforced. In the past, Moscow police have broken up unauthorized political rallies with swift and extremely excessive force.

But working class activists are not lying down and allowing Putin to suppress their anger. More than 10,000 Russians of all ages joined a demonstration through a neighborhood near Chistye Prudy on Saturday in a clear bid to test the limits of the law. Moscow painters have voiced plans to conduct a similar stroll over the we.And the working class wherewithal in Russia is paying off big time! On Thursday (May 17) stories reporting wide-spread reaction in the business world to the Occupy Moscow protests were published:

"Investors are fleeing Russia as demonstrators against President Vladimir Putin dig in, exacerbating the impact of Europe’s debt crisis on the country’s markets, money managers from Frankfurt to Moscow said.

Activists who clashed with police before Putin’s May 7 inauguration are protesting non-stop in Moscow, using the Occupy Wall Street movement’s tactics. As the benchmark RTS equity index entered a bear market, Russia-focused equity funds recorded $251 million of outflows in the seven days to May 9, the most this year, while China lost $127 million, India $148 million and Brazil $167 million, EPFR Global data show.”

Resistance in Russia grows in strength and relevance amid increasingly popular and prevalent anti-austerity movements in Europe. The circumstances in Greece are demonstrating to international activists everywhere that in 2012 a different kind of government is possible. We live in the era of revolution: from the Arab Spring to the Occupy Movement to new vibrant anti-austerity movement creating the potential for revolutionary situations in Europe. The world we used to live in does not exist anymore. Things are possible that were not possible before.And that means we ALL have a much heavier responsibility to our societies and to our world to engage in struggle now than ever before (certainly in our life times).

 

—R.Cunningham

Source, Source and Source

The Scope of the Global Spring

In December 2010, Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi drenched himself in fuel in the middle of Sidi Bouzid’s town square and ignited himself on fire as a traditional form of protest. Eighteen days later, Bouazizi died and four days after that, President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali’s 23-year dictatorship crumbled. More than a year later, Bouazizi’s self-immolation has created a scourge of resistance across all corners of the world.

The people’s epoch of protest has not come easily, but no revolution ever has. Censorship, brutality, arrest and murder have greeted protesters to derail their struggle for liberation. But as last year’s Arab Spring has proved, once the oppressed have lost their fear and tolerance for tyranny, real revolution and change is possible.

An international uprising

Now that the people of the Middle East have paved the way for emancipation, the afflicted working classes across the world are stirring up mass waves of upheaval, each fighting for their own distinct struggles. So far, this Global Spring has activated thousands in nearly every country to take the streets, mobilize and launch an international revolution.

March brought the revitalization of resistance communities all over the world:

  • The Socialist Unity Centre of India has reclaimed the streets of New Delhi to rally against unemployment, lack of education opportunities and violence against women and children in India.
  • When the Indonesian government announced fuel price hikes of more than 30 percent, thousands invaded Jakarta to protest and were met with tear gas and water cannons.
  • On the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, protesters reignited the American uprising against capitalism in all areas of the country.
  • More than 200,000 Canadian students marched to protest tuition hikes in Montreal and awoke a student movement for accessible education.
  • Protesters in the Philippines have marched by the thousands to rally against the U.S. imperialist occupation of their country.
  • Portuguese protesters conducted a general strike against austerity measures after a 78-billion euro bailout last year.
  • More than 400 people gathered in Moscow after taking the streets to mobilize against state television propaganda programming condemning opposition rallies.
  • The Pakistan working class took over a petrol station to oppose power cuts in Lahore.
  • The Aysén Social Movement in Chile has made great strides against its government tormentors and has worked to provide the working class with better working conditions, healthcare, education and city infrastructure.
  • About 40 people were killed in this week alone in Syria as a continued backlash against the Arab Spring and activist groups. More than 9,000 have been killed in the year-long conflict, but protests and marches have continued.
  • Countless marches have sprung up in the United States to assemble against racism in the dozens of protests that fought for justice for murdered teenager Treyvon Martin.
  • Jamyang Palden set himself aflame in the town of Rongwo in China to protest the country’s occupation of Tibet where government officials have cut off Internet and international news access. Palden is the 27th person in the last year to self-immolate in protest.

…and this has only been in the month of March.

These are just a few of the communities of resistance that have assembled and organized against their oppressors to continue the legacy of revolution Bouazizi helped spark.

Solidarity in revolution

As the globalization of government and markets has come to be the way of the world, oppressive regimes and capitalist interests have terrorized working classes and distorted countries’ economies. But the working class is using internationalism to their benefit; one country’s struggle has become another’s struggle. This use of solidarity has acted as the fuel to enrage and motivate working class groups to begin their own emancipation. Globalization has forced us to see that revolution cannot just happen in one country; it must be an international effort to crush the oppressive forces of government control, greed, violence and war. Social justice and human rights cannot exist in one country and not in another. This conflagration of dissent is spreading purposefully and will continue a power shift from the oppressive to the oppressed.

Those maintaining the status quo are scared, too. The use of violence against protesters only demonstrates a government’s belief that uprisings can and will eventually topple them to dust. Brutality cannot and has not prevented activists all over the world from continuing their plight for basic human rights.

The Global Spring has arrived, but this is only the beginning of the emancipation of the world’s working class and oppressed.

-G. Razo