Strike spreads at Chinese supplier to Nike & AdidasApril 24, 2014
A strike at a Chinese factory that manufactures shoes for Adidas and Nike has spread to a sister factory in a neighbouring province, as thousands of workers gathered to protest against what they said were unfair pay and benefits.
About 2,000 workers clocked in on Monday, but did not work, at the Yue Yuen factory complex in Jiangxi province, southern China, joining at least 10,000 employees at another Yue Yuen factory complex in Dongguan, Guangdong province, who have been on strike since 14 April.
Up to 30,000 employees have stopped working in the strike – China’s largest in recent memory, according to the New York-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) China Labour Watch.
"The issue that [the workers] are concerned about is very widespread," said Geoff Crothall of the Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin, another NGO. "In this case, at least the company was paying something, it just wasn’t the full amount. In other cases we’ve seen, workers are getting nothing at all.
"A lot of this has to do with the fact that a lot of factories are closing down or relocating, or changing ownership … Five years ago, [strikes] were all about wage increases. But the focus of workers’ concerns now is very much on what happens if the factory closes down. What kind of payments do we get? Do we get the social insurance that we’re legally entitled to?"
The Dongguan complex, which is operated by the Taiwan-based Pou Chen Group, has at least 40,000 employees and produces footwear for Reebok, Nike, and more than 20 other brands. The Jiangxi complex mainly produces shoes for Adidas.
Chinese authorities have deployed riot police and warned strikers against gathering at the factory. Last week the state newswire Xinhua reported that dozens of workers had been taken away by police. According to the China Labour Bulletin four workers were taken to hospital on the first day of the strike. Chinese state media has claimed that no one was injured.
“We’re continuing the strike,” a worker in Dongguan surnamed Zhou told Reuters on Monday. “We swiped our cards and then went back [home]. The other production lines in the same network are striking too.”
Images online show massive crowds gathered in front of an eight-storey building, many apparently taking pictures with their mobile phones. In one, protesters carry a large banner, which reads: “Give me back my social insurance, give me back my housing benefits!”
Yue Yuen’s spokesman, George Liu, told Chinese media that the firm had offered to raise workers’ living allowance at its southern Chinese factories by 230 yuan (£22) a month, beginning on 1 May. It also promised to introduce a social security benefit plan next month. On Tuesday, Yue Yuen’s management could not be reached for comment.
One worker, Xiang Feng, 28, said at least 80% of the workers were likely to refuse the offer. “Workers may end up with a take-home salary almost unchanged or maybe even lower than before,” she told Bloomberg.
The government of Guobao, the city in which the factory complex in Jiangxi province is located, has urged Yue Yuen to assuage the workers’ concerns without bending the law. “Company and worker representatives are urged to strengthen communication and consultation … and guide the rational expression of the aspirations of the workers,” it said on Monday.
China’s wages have risen in recent years and international companies such as Adidas and Nike have begun moving their manufacturing operations to lower-cost countries including Vietnam.
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Strike spreads at Chinese supplier to Nike & Adidas
April 24, 2014

A strike at a Chinese factory that manufactures shoes for Adidas and Nike has spread to a sister factory in a neighbouring province, as thousands of workers gathered to protest against what they said were unfair pay and benefits.

About 2,000 workers clocked in on Monday, but did not work, at the Yue Yuen factory complex in Jiangxi province, southern China, joining at least 10,000 employees at another Yue Yuen factory complex in Dongguan, Guangdong province, who have been on strike since 14 April.

Up to 30,000 employees have stopped working in the strike – China’s largest in recent memory, according to the New York-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) China Labour Watch.

"The issue that [the workers] are concerned about is very widespread," said Geoff Crothall of the Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin, another NGO. "In this case, at least the company was paying something, it just wasn’t the full amount. In other cases we’ve seen, workers are getting nothing at all.

"A lot of this has to do with the fact that a lot of factories are closing down or relocating, or changing ownership … Five years ago, [strikes] were all about wage increases. But the focus of workers’ concerns now is very much on what happens if the factory closes down. What kind of payments do we get? Do we get the social insurance that we’re legally entitled to?"

The Dongguan complex, which is operated by the Taiwan-based Pou Chen Group, has at least 40,000 employees and produces footwear for Reebok, Nike, and more than 20 other brands. The Jiangxi complex mainly produces shoes for Adidas.

Chinese authorities have deployed riot police and warned strikers against gathering at the factory. Last week the state newswire Xinhua reported that dozens of workers had been taken away by police. According to the China Labour Bulletin four workers were taken to hospital on the first day of the strike. Chinese state media has claimed that no one was injured.

We’re continuing the strike,” a worker in Dongguan surnamed Zhou told Reuters on Monday. “We swiped our cards and then went back [home]. The other production lines in the same network are striking too.”

Images online show massive crowds gathered in front of an eight-storey building, many apparently taking pictures with their mobile phones. In one, protesters carry a large banner, which reads: “Give me back my social insurance, give me back my housing benefits!”

Yue Yuen’s spokesman, George Liu, told Chinese media that the firm had offered to raise workers’ living allowance at its southern Chinese factories by 230 yuan (£22) a month, beginning on 1 May. It also promised to introduce a social security benefit plan next month. On Tuesday, Yue Yuen’s management could not be reached for comment.

One worker, Xiang Feng, 28, said at least 80% of the workers were likely to refuse the offer. “Workers may end up with a take-home salary almost unchanged or maybe even lower than before,” she told Bloomberg.

The government of Guobao, the city in which the factory complex in Jiangxi province is located, has urged Yue Yuen to assuage the workers’ concerns without bending the law. “Company and worker representatives are urged to strengthen communication and consultation … and guide the rational expression of the aspirations of the workers,” it said on Monday.

China’s wages have risen in recent years and international companies such as Adidas and Nike have begun moving their manufacturing operations to lower-cost countries including Vietnam.

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Palestinian prisoners ready for mass hunger strikeApril 24, 2014
Nearly two hundred Palestinian administrative detainees, held indefinitely without charge or trial on Israeli military court orders, have announced plans to launch a mass hunger strikefor their freedom this Thursday.
The news came as demonstrations across Palestine and events worldwide commemorated the 40th annual Palestinian Prisoners’ Day
Thousands marched from an exhibition at Saraya square, the former site of Israel’s Gaza central prison, to rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Gaza office.
After the demonstrations, Ibrahim Baroud, freed from Israeli captivity a year ago, spoke with The Electronic Intifada at his home in the northern Gaza Strip’s Jabaliya refugee camp.
Among hundreds of thousands of former Palestinian prisoners in the Gaza Strip, Baroud is notable not only because of his 27-year detention, which makes him one of the longest-held Palestinians, but also because of his mother’s efforts during his absence.
In 1995, nine years after her son’s capture by Israeli forces, Ghalia — also known as Um Ibrahim — held a sit-in at the courtyard of the International Committee of the Red Cross office with Handoumeh Wishah, or Um Jaber, who had four sons in prison at the time.
Initially small, their presence persisted week after week, year after year, persevering through political transitions and military offensives, and growing into the core of prisoner support activities in Gaza. The sit-ins have now become a local focus of political unity.
Women protest
Over the years, Um Ibrahim led women from the courtyard in a series of protests, many of them confrontational, to highlight the prisoners’ issue. These ranged from disrupting Palestinian Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Al Qidwa with a fiery speech in 2005 to pelting United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s convoy with shoes and stones as he entered the Gaza Strip in 2012.
The sit-ins continue today as relatives and supporters of prisoners, many of them mothers and wives of detainees, pack the Red Cross courtyard every Monday morning. Their numbers swell with efforts to free prisoners — whether through political negotiations, hunger strikes or prisoner exchanges — or offenses against them by the Israeli Prison Service.
Um Ibrahim remains a constant presence, sitting in the front row and often leading the crowd in chants.
“Prisoners were never mentioned in the Oslo accords,” Ibrahim Baroud said Saturday, referring to the peace agreement signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization twenty years ago. “This was a disappointment to us, and a failure of the Palestinian leadership.”
Now 51, Ibrahim, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, was freed on 8 April 2013 after completing an Israeli military court’s 27-year sentence for armed resistance to the occupation.
“According to the Geneva conventions, when a conflict ends, the first thing that should happen is the release of prisoners by both sides,” he said.
“In the prisons, we knew this, so we expected to be freed. How can a leader leave his soldiers in the prisons of the enemy?”
Sit-ins and strikes
The exclusion of the rights of prisoners from the Oslo accords sparked a rise in activities to support them, including the launch of the sit-ins in 1995, he said.
Additionally, Israeli forces had blocked his mother from visiting him earlier that year, Ma’an News Agency reported in 2010.
The prohibition, which cited unspecified “security concerns,” ended only after the massKarameh (“Dignity”) hunger strike in 2012.
To settle the strike, Israel agreed to allow the resumption of prison visits by families of Palestinian prisoners from the Gaza Strip, all of them banned for more than six years.
“Me and my fellow prisoners would follow the sit-ins every Monday,” Baroud said. “We would watch for our families on television.”
“The sit-in was a tool for communication between prisoners and our families, especially during the six years we were deprived of seeing them.”
Because of his mother’s long absence, he said, “I was more curious than the others to see her.”
Baroud’s father died three years before his release, during the ban on visits from the Gaza Strip.
Full article

Palestinian prisoners ready for mass hunger strike
April 24, 2014

Nearly two hundred Palestinian administrative detainees, held indefinitely without charge or trial on Israeli military court orders, have announced plans to launch a mass hunger strikefor their freedom this Thursday.

The news came as demonstrations across Palestine and events worldwide commemorated the 40th annual Palestinian Prisoners’ Day

Thousands marched from an exhibition at Saraya square, the former site of Israel’s Gaza central prison, to rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Gaza office.

After the demonstrations, Ibrahim Baroud, freed from Israeli captivity a year ago, spoke with The Electronic Intifada at his home in the northern Gaza Strip’s Jabaliya refugee camp.

Among hundreds of thousands of former Palestinian prisoners in the Gaza Strip, Baroud is notable not only because of his 27-year detention, which makes him one of the longest-held Palestinians, but also because of his mother’s efforts during his absence.

In 1995, nine years after her son’s capture by Israeli forces, Ghalia — also known as Um Ibrahim — held a sit-in at the courtyard of the International Committee of the Red Cross office with Handoumeh Wishah, or Um Jaber, who had four sons in prison at the time.

Initially small, their presence persisted week after week, year after year, persevering through political transitions and military offensives, and growing into the core of prisoner support activities in Gaza. The sit-ins have now become a local focus of political unity.

Women protest

Over the years, Um Ibrahim led women from the courtyard in a series of protests, many of them confrontational, to highlight the prisoners’ issue. These ranged from disrupting Palestinian Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Al Qidwa with a fiery speech in 2005 to pelting United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s convoy with shoes and stones as he entered the Gaza Strip in 2012.

The sit-ins continue today as relatives and supporters of prisoners, many of them mothers and wives of detainees, pack the Red Cross courtyard every Monday morning. Their numbers swell with efforts to free prisoners — whether through political negotiations, hunger strikes or prisoner exchanges — or offenses against them by the Israeli Prison Service.

Um Ibrahim remains a constant presence, sitting in the front row and often leading the crowd in chants.

“Prisoners were never mentioned in the Oslo accords,” Ibrahim Baroud said Saturday, referring to the peace agreement signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization twenty years ago. “This was a disappointment to us, and a failure of the Palestinian leadership.”

Now 51, Ibrahim, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, was freed on 8 April 2013 after completing an Israeli military court’s 27-year sentence for armed resistance to the occupation.

“According to the Geneva conventions, when a conflict ends, the first thing that should happen is the release of prisoners by both sides,” he said.

“In the prisons, we knew this, so we expected to be freed. How can a leader leave his soldiers in the prisons of the enemy?”

Sit-ins and strikes

The exclusion of the rights of prisoners from the Oslo accords sparked a rise in activities to support them, including the launch of the sit-ins in 1995, he said.

Additionally, Israeli forces had blocked his mother from visiting him earlier that year, Ma’an News Agency reported in 2010.

The prohibition, which cited unspecified “security concerns,” ended only after the massKarameh (“Dignity”) hunger strike in 2012.

To settle the strike, Israel agreed to allow the resumption of prison visits by families of Palestinian prisoners from the Gaza Strip, all of them banned for more than six years.

“Me and my fellow prisoners would follow the sit-ins every Monday,” Baroud said. “We would watch for our families on television.”

“The sit-in was a tool for communication between prisoners and our families, especially during the six years we were deprived of seeing them.”

Because of his mother’s long absence, he said, “I was more curious than the others to see her.”

Baroud’s father died three years before his release, during the ban on visits from the Gaza Strip.

Full article

Report: Hundreds killed while defending environment, land rights
April 16, 2014

Hundreds of people have been killed while defending the environment and land rights around the world, international monitors said in a report released Tuesday, highlighting what they called a culture of impunity surrounding the deaths.

At least 908 people were killed in 35 countries from 2002 to 2013 during disputes over industrial logging, mining, and land rights – with Latin America and Asia-Pacific being particularly hard-hit – according to the study from Global Witness, a London-based nongovernmental organization that says it works to expose economic networks behind conflict, corruption and environmental destruction.

Only 10 people have ever been convicted over the hundreds of deaths, the report said.

The rate of such deaths has risen sharply – with an average of two activists killed each week – over the past four years as competition for the world’s natural resources has accelerated, Global Witness said in the report titled “Deadly Environment.”

“There can be few starker or more obvious symptoms of the global environmental crisis than a dramatic upturn in the killings of ordinary people defending rights to their land or environment,” said Oliver Courtney, a senior campaigner for Global Witness.

“This rapidly worsening problem is going largely unnoticed, and those responsible almost always get away with it,” Courtney said.

The report’s release followed a dire warning by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said global warming is driving humanity toward unprecedented risk due to factors such as food and water insecurity. Global Witness said this puts environmental activists in more danger than ever before.

Land rights are central to the violence, as “companies and governments routinely strike secretive deals for large chunks of land and forests to grow cash crops,” the report said. When residents refuse to give up their land rights to mining operations and the timber trade, they are often forced from their homes, or worse, it said.

The study ranked Brazil as the most dangerous place to be an environmentalist, with at least 448 killings recorded.

One case that especially shocked the country and the global environmental movement involved the 2011 killings of environmentalists Jose Claudio Ribeira da Silva and his wife, Maria do Espirito Santo da Silva.

“The couple had denounced the encroachment of illegal loggers in the reserve and had previously received threats against their lives,” the report said.

Masked men gunned down the couple near a sustainable reserve where they had worked for decades producing nuts and natural oils. The killers tore off one of Jose Claudio’s ears as proof of his execution.

Full article

Los Angeles students protesting neglect of poorer schools took to the streets, and brought their desks with them.
Some 375 empty desks blocked a downtown street, blocking traffic for several hours Tuesday outside the Los Angeles Unified School District offices.
Organizers say the number represents the count of students who drop out of district schools each week.
Protesters want a student voice on the school board, and more funding for English language learners, foster children and low income students.
District officials declined comment on the protest.
Source

Los Angeles students protesting neglect of poorer schools took to the streets, and brought their desks with them.

Some 375 empty desks blocked a downtown street, blocking traffic for several hours Tuesday outside the Los Angeles Unified School District offices.

Organizers say the number represents the count of students who drop out of district schools each week.

Protesters want a student voice on the school board, and more funding for English language learners, foster children and low income students.

District officials declined comment on the protest.

Source

Ride for Freedom: An anti-deportation internationalist motorcade demonstration in NYC
April 8, 2014

A caravan of NYC activists –in solidarity with immigration resistance– rode in “Ride for Freedom: an Anti-deportation Internationalist motorcade”, to arrive to the Immigration and Costumes Enforcement Detention Facility at 182-22 150Avenue, Queens, NY for a noise demonstration on Sunday.

The demo was a success, there were no arrests and we made our voices heard loud and clear against the cruelty of the prison complex and against the massive deportations taking place recently. The demonstration was also in solidarity with the hunger strikes: “This month alone, 1,000 immigrant detainees in Washington state launched a hunger strike against inhuman conditions and deportation. Demonstrators outside chained themselves together and blocked deportation busses bound for the border.”

We were joined by class traitors such as: the riot police from the prison, the prison guards (who in their confusion and not knowing what to do started filming us, even though we were fully aware there is CCTV everywhere outside the prison in plane sight.) There was also a white van apparently used for prison transport, a few cop cars and a police van to carry arrestees.

This is the call for the noise demo:

“Immigrants across the country are standing up. This month alone, 1,000 immigrant detainees in Washington State launched a hunger strike against inhuman conditions and deportation. Demonstrators outside chained themselves together and blocked deportation busses bound for the border. In San Diego, 150 previously deported Mexican immigrants re-crossed the U.S-Mexico border to rejoin their families in an act of civil disobedience. And in Texas, immigrant detainees have declared a second hunger strike against detention and deportation.

In New York City, the American Dream remains a nightmare. After crossing militarized borders, immigrants arrive to find only brutal exploitation, racist cops, cruel bosses, and dilapidated housing. The state government refuses to provide financial aid for undocumented college students, robbing immigrant youth of a future.

Against these obscenities, the recent wave of immigrant resistance offers hope to everyone who is poor, exploited, policed or incarcerated. Stand with the rebels in Washington, California and Texas! Together we can demolish every jail and every border, and share the wealth and freedom that belongs to us all.”

Source

US marshals shoot unarmed man in Albuquerque, seize cell phone cameras from witnesses April 2, 2014
As Albuquerque residents take to the streets to protest against the ongoing slayings of citizens by their local police department, federal agents got into the act by opening fire on an unarmed man Tuesday morning, then seizing cameras from witnesses.
But more citizens with cameras arrived on the scene as a group of U.S. Marshals stood around the victim, Gilberto Angelo Serrano, proving unafraid to voice their displeasure at the trigger-happy culture that apparently has seeped into all levels of law enforcement in Albuquerque.
Realizing they were outnumbered by cameras, the U.S. Marshals could only ask people to stand back, not bothering to try and stop them from recording as they tried to wrap a bandage around the head of the man they had just shot, who was laying on the sidewalk bleeding.
But a witness named Gabriel Valdez said the Marshals confiscated his cell phone camera as well as his mother’s camera as “evidence,” when he did not even start recording until after the shooting.
The incident took place around 10 a.m. when a group of Marshals were trying to apprehend a fugitive who was driving his truck.
According to KRQE:

“Get out of the car! Get out of the vehicle! And then boom! She shot like right away. She just shot right away,” Gabriel Valdez said.
That’s how one witness describes the gunfire that rang out in the South Valley Tuesday morning.
“He never pulled out a gun, nothing,” one witness told KRQE News 13. “His hands were on the steering wheel.”
“This is enough! This is ridiculous!” another witness said.
KRQE News 13 talked to one witness who says he had his cell phone taken away from him.
“I have evidence on there they said because I have video on there, not video of the actual shooting, but of everything else,” Valdez said.

In an interview with a New Mexico live streamer, Valdez said that the Marshals first asked to see what he had recorded, so he handed them the phone.
Then once they had the phone in their hands, they refused to return it to him, not even to allow him to write down telephone numbers he had on the phone. That segment of the interview begins at 5:16 in this video.
Full article

US marshals shoot unarmed man in Albuquerque, seize cell phone cameras from witnesses 
April 2, 2014

As Albuquerque residents take to the streets to protest against the ongoing slayings of citizens by their local police department, federal agents got into the act by opening fire on an unarmed man Tuesday morning, then seizing cameras from witnesses.

But more citizens with cameras arrived on the scene as a group of U.S. Marshals stood around the victim, Gilberto Angelo Serrano, proving unafraid to voice their displeasure at the trigger-happy culture that apparently has seeped into all levels of law enforcement in Albuquerque.

Realizing they were outnumbered by cameras, the U.S. Marshals could only ask people to stand back, not bothering to try and stop them from recording as they tried to wrap a bandage around the head of the man they had just shot, who was laying on the sidewalk bleeding.

But a witness named Gabriel Valdez said the Marshals confiscated his cell phone camera as well as his mother’s camera as “evidence,” when he did not even start recording until after the shooting.

The incident took place around 10 a.m. when a group of Marshals were trying to apprehend a fugitive who was driving his truck.

According to KRQE:

“Get out of the car! Get out of the vehicle! And then boom! She shot like right away. She just shot right away,” Gabriel Valdez said.

That’s how one witness describes the gunfire that rang out in the South Valley Tuesday morning.

“He never pulled out a gun, nothing,” one witness told KRQE News 13. “His hands were on the steering wheel.”

“This is enough! This is ridiculous!” another witness said.

KRQE News 13 talked to one witness who says he had his cell phone taken away from him.

“I have evidence on there they said because I have video on there, not video of the actual shooting, but of everything else,” Valdez said.

In an interview with a New Mexico live streamer, Valdez said that the Marshals first asked to see what he had recorded, so he handed them the phone.

Then once they had the phone in their hands, they refused to return it to him, not even to allow him to write down telephone numbers he had on the phone. That segment of the interview begins at 5:16 in this video.

Full article

500 African migrants enter Spanish enclave in major border stormingMarch 19, 2014
Some 500 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa forced their way into the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco on Tuesday in one of the biggest illegal border-crossings of recent years, Spanish and Moroccan officials said.
Moroccan police said they arrested some 250 people in two attempts by migrants to charge the border before 8 a.m., when the group of about 500 scrambled over the barbed-wire fences that separate the Mediterranean coastal city enclave from Morocco.
The Spanish Interior Ministry delegate in Melilla, Abdelmalik El Barkani, announced police reinforcements for the border, saying there was still a great number of migrants waiting for a chance to try to scale the fences. Thousands of sub-Saharan migrants seeking a better life in Europe are living illegally in Morocco and try to enter Melilla and Spain’s other Mediterranean coastal enclave, Ceuta.
More than a thousand are estimated to have made it across since the beginning of the year — roughly equal to the total for all of last year.
In the past month, assaults on the enclave have picked up pace, sometimes happening twice a week.
At least 15 migrants drowned in Moroccan waters Feb. 6 while trying to swim to Ceuta — located about 400 kilometres (250 miles) by road west of Melilla — after several hundred tried to storm the enclave’s border by land. El Barkani said 29 of those that made it across Tuesday were treated for injuries, mostly cuts.
Morocco’s Interior Ministry said 28 migrants were injured by the barbed wire and were treated at the Nador hospital. It said five members of the Moroccan security forces were injured by rocks thrown by the migrants.
Those that get into the enclaves are normally placed in temporary centres while authorities try to repatriate them. Many are eventually released and simply told to leave Spain.
Source

500 African migrants enter Spanish enclave in major border storming
March 19, 2014

Some 500 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa forced their way into the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco on Tuesday in one of the biggest illegal border-crossings of recent years, Spanish and Moroccan officials said.

Moroccan police said they arrested some 250 people in two attempts by migrants to charge the border before 8 a.m., when the group of about 500 scrambled over the barbed-wire fences that separate the Mediterranean coastal city enclave from Morocco.

The Spanish Interior Ministry delegate in Melilla, Abdelmalik El Barkani, announced police reinforcements for the border, saying there was still a great number of migrants waiting for a chance to try to scale the fences. Thousands of sub-Saharan migrants seeking a better life in Europe are living illegally in Morocco and try to enter Melilla and Spain’s other Mediterranean coastal enclave, Ceuta.

More than a thousand are estimated to have made it across since the beginning of the year — roughly equal to the total for all of last year.

In the past month, assaults on the enclave have picked up pace, sometimes happening twice a week.

At least 15 migrants drowned in Moroccan waters Feb. 6 while trying to swim to Ceuta — located about 400 kilometres (250 miles) by road west of Melilla — after several hundred tried to storm the enclave’s border by land. El Barkani said 29 of those that made it across Tuesday were treated for injuries, mostly cuts.

Morocco’s Interior Ministry said 28 migrants were injured by the barbed wire and were treated at the Nador hospital. It said five members of the Moroccan security forces were injured by rocks thrown by the migrants.

Those that get into the enclaves are normally placed in temporary centres while authorities try to repatriate them. Many are eventually released and simply told to leave Spain.

Source

Largest anti-fracking rally in California history draws thousands
March 17, 2014

They came in their thousands from across the Golden State. On Saturday, the largest anti-fracking rally and protest in California’s history took place in the state capital of Sacramento.

The message to California Gov. Jerry Brown was simple: act now to ban fracking.

The rally, which was organized by Californians Against Fracking and some 80 environmental and health organizations, such as Oil Change International (OCI) and 350.org.

Protestors were young and old, united in their opposition to fracking. One group of grandmothers sang: “We don’t want your fracking turning all our water brown, Take your freakin’ frackin’ drills or we will shut you down! Hydro-FRAC-turing just sucks.”

“Governor Brown has positioned himself as a climate champion, and we want to make it clear that as he decides whether to green light a massive expansion of fracking in California, his legacy is on the line,” said rally organizer Zack Malitz

David Turnbull, campaigns director at OCI warned Gov. Brown he would be “foolish to ignore,” the growing movement against fracking in the State. “The Governor can choose to stand with these concerned Californians and stop fracking in our state, or he can continue to stand with Big Oil,” Turnbull said.

Two days previously environmental groups had released a report warning that oil companies areincreasing California’s earthquake risk by fracking, which is especially pertinent given the active fault lines of California.

The report concluded that a boom in fracking in California would worsen the danger of earthquakes, by greatly increasing oil wastewater production and underground injection. Extracting the Monterey Shale’s oil in the state could produce almost 9 trillion gallons of contaminated wastewater, the report estimates. That could expose California to a surge in damaging earthquakes like those seen in other states. (Last week I blogged about how one frack well in Ohio has been suspended due to small quakes.)

“This isn’t rocket science,” said one of the report’s authors, Jhon Arbelaez from EarthWorks. “We’ve known for decades that wastewater injection increases earthquake risk. Since Gov. Brown resolutely refuses to learn from other communities’ experience with fracking across the country, our only option to protect California families is to prevent fracking altogether.”

And that certainly was the message at Saturday’s rally.

“People need to know what fracking looks like,” said Rodrigo Romo, one activist from the heavily fracked region of Shafter, CA. “In the Central Valley there is no buffer between fracking sites and our community; there are wells next-door to schools and agricultural land. It is time for our decision makers to listen to us and stop fracking.”

Source
PhotosCorrine Koster and Rae Breaux

288 protesters detained at anti-police brutality march in Montreal
March 16, 2014

Police gave protesters at the annual demonstration against police brutality just minutes before the riot squad encircled the crowd and detained 288 people on Saturday.

Lines of riot police blocked the streets around the protest at Jean-Talon St. and Chateaubriand Ave., funnelling protesters to the south down Chateaubriand, where they were immediately encircled.

The protesters were charged under municipal bylaw P-6, which requires organizers of a protest to provide their itinerary to police.

Two people suffered minor injuries during the police intervention, police spokesperson Ian Lafrenière said.  

The protest began under a heavy police presence, including cavalry, a helicopter and dozens of riot police from the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal and the Sûreté du Québec.

“It was a veritable army of police … who occupied the area surrounding the Jean-Talon métro when the protest was to start,” the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality, which organizes the annual protest, said in a written statement issued after the protest.

The COBP organized this year’s march to protest what it called “social cleansing” of homeless and marginalized citizens by police.

“The COBP denounces the fact that the SPVM has yet again demonstrated that it is incapable of tolerating protests against its brutality and police impunity,” the organization said.

The police had a different view.

“They refused to share their itinerary, and they refused to give us any details. When we got there, we asked them not to jump onto the street, and they answered by going into the street and yelling at us that they were not cooperating,” Lafrenière said. (LOL)

Police made several arrests over the next few hours as small groups of protesters moved through the neighbourhood, occasionally blocking traffic.

“The reason we apply P-6 is to prevent problems. In a case like this, with the history that we have — that protest has been going on for 18 years and unfortunately 15 years of that it went wrong,” Lafrenière said.

In past years, the protest has often devolved into vandalism and rioting, but this year police reported only two major acts of mischief. Both a police van and a CBC/Radio-Canada truck were damaged and spray-painted.

“We are still conducting investigations in regard to the mischief,” Lafrenière said.

The 288 people detained under bylaw P-6 will receive a ticket for participating in an illegal protest.

“It looks good in the media — the police can say (all of these) people were arrested, were breaking windows and stuff, but it’s not true. They were doing nothing,” said Claudine Lamothe, who narrowly escaped arrest when police surrounded the demonstration.

The first arrested protesters were released after about an hour, while others were still in police custody and waiting to be processed as of 7 p.m. The four who may face criminal charges will be held for longer, Lafrenière said.

Tamim Sujat, a McGill student and photo editor at The McGill Daily, one of the university’s campus newspapers, was among the group arrested at the beginning of the protest.

“(The police) said ‘You’re not supposed to be loitering around with cameras where you’re not supposed to be,’” Sujat said.

Sujat said he plans to contest the $638 fine with the help of the newspaper’s lawyer. Police did not recognize his student press credentials, he added.

“They said the only thing we can do is let you out before other people,” Sujat said. 

Source

The Turkish Uprising: What’s happening in Turkey right now
March 14, 2014

A fresh new wave of protests is rocking Turkey, as tens of thousands march on the streets to demonstrate against the government. But unlike what’s going on in Ukraine and Venezuela, the protests in Turkey mark a second, renewed round of protests that began last summer. 

Protests began with the death of a teenager named Berkin Elvan, who was in a nine-month coma after being injured during last year’s government rallies. Thousands attended his funeral in Istanbul and marched in the streets afterwards.

Tens of thousands are also protesting across Turkey, especially in big cities such as Ankara and Izmir. 

The government’s response has been to send riot police to clash with the protesters. The tactics have mostly been restricted to tear gas, water cannons and beatings. It seems that police may have forgotten that’s how Elvan died — he suffered a head injury when he was hit in the head with a tear gas canister. He was passing by the protests to go buy bread for his family.

On Wednesday, a protester died from a head injury while a police officer also passed away from a heart attack.

Around 36 children were arrested in Ankara for protesting on the streets. Over a hundred people were also arrested in Izmir. Students across the country are also organizing school boycotts and sit-ins.

Elvan’s death marks the eighth casualty resulting from last year’s protests. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has yet to comment on Elvan’s death.

Protests began last year over the development of Gezi Park in Istanbul, although it quickly spread into a widespread anti-government demonstration.

Turkey will hold local elections on Mar. 30. Erdogan has promised to step down if his ruling AK Party loses power.

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All I want is what President Obama promised – my liberty, and fair treatment for others. I have been cleared for five years, and I have been force-fed for seven years. This is not a life worth living, it is a life of constant pain and suffering. While I do not want to die, it is surely my right to protest peacefully without being degraded and abused every day

Emad Abdullah Hassan, a 34-year-old Guantanamo Bay prisoner who has been force-fed more than 5,000 times since 2007 as part of the military’s efforts to break his hunger strike. 

He is the plaintiff in a landmark lawsuit challenging the practice of force-feeding at the US military prison camp. The case represents the first time a US court will hear allegations of detainee abuse at Gitmo.

Full families challenge US-Mexico border with mass reentryMarch 11, 2014
Any day now, President Obama, whom immigrant groups call the “deporter in chief,” will make history by surpassing the two million mark — separating two million families through deportation during the course of his administration’s five-year reign.

In response, migrant families are making history of their own.
On March 10, 250 migrants, who have lived in the United States most of their lives, attempted to reenter the country after being deported. Many entire families are returning, while others are coming to rejoin family members still living in the United States. The group is chanting “undocumented and unafraid” as they cross through the U.S. portal that separates Tijuana from San Diego. This action, part of the #not1more campaign, marks the third mass border crossing organized by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance. The action comes as immigrant justice groups are increasingly moving beyond advocating for legislative reform and are instead turning to direct action to protest the record deportations. The group says that these actions are calling attention to the immigration crisis and the way millions of families are separated by an arbitrary boarder.
Last year, 150,000 U.S.- born children were separated from at least one parent. The majority were under the age of 10. One of these stories is that of Manuel, who spent 10 years living in Ohio with his U.S.-born children and wife. According to the National Immigrant Youth Alliance’s Facebook page, “Manuel was placed in deportation proceedings after he hired an immigration attorney who he later found out was a fraud.”
All 250 families participating in yesterday’s action have lived in the United States for a large portion of their lives, creating homes and community in this country.
Source

Full families challenge US-Mexico border with mass reentry
March 11, 2014

Any day now, President Obama, whom immigrant groups call the “deporter in chief,” will make history by surpassing the two million mark — separating two million families through deportation during the course of his administration’s five-year reign.

In response, migrant families are making history of their own.

On March 10, 250 migrants, who have lived in the United States most of their lives, attempted to reenter the country after being deported. Many entire families are returning, while others are coming to rejoin family members still living in the United States. The group is chanting “undocumented and unafraid” as they cross through the U.S. portal that separates Tijuana from San Diego. This action, part of the #not1more campaign, marks the third mass border crossing organized by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance. The action comes as immigrant justice groups are increasingly moving beyond advocating for legislative reform and are instead turning to direct action to protest the record deportations. The group says that these actions are calling attention to the immigration crisis and the way millions of families are separated by an arbitrary boarder.

Last year, 150,000 U.S.- born children were separated from at least one parent. The majority were under the age of 10. One of these stories is that of Manuel, who spent 10 years living in Ohio with his U.S.-born children and wife. According to the National Immigrant Youth Alliance’s Facebook page, “Manuel was placed in deportation proceedings after he hired an immigration attorney who he later found out was a fraud.”

All 250 families participating in yesterday’s action have lived in the United States for a large portion of their lives, creating homes and community in this country.

Source

20+ arrested protesting Keystone XL at Philly Federal BuildingMarch 11, 2014
Today, protesters in Philadelphia, PA, targeted the corrupt process that produced the U.S. State Department’s final analysis claiming the Keystone XL pipeline would not cause any “significant” climate damage.
The formal public comment period on the pipeline decision came to a close Friday, so today Keystone XL opponents turned from words to actions, saying “No” to the pipeline by putting their bodies on the line.
In front of the Federal Building activists brought brooms, to “sweep out” the corruption of the State Department’s Final Environmental Impact Statement, underwritten by a firm with close ties to TransCanada and the oil industry.
“A few years ago I realized that all the things I do to secure my children’s future—from bringing them to the doctor for annual checkups to helping them with their homework—won’t mean anything if the climate they inherit is destroyed,” said Eileen Flanagan, Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) board member and mother of two. ”I’m willing to risk being arrested to show President Obama that this issue is this important.”
As the time draws closer for President Obama to decide whether or not to allow the pipeline that would carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, hundreds of thousands of Americans have already opposed the pipeline in multiple ways—and the movement is growing.
“We’re in a deep hole with the climate,” said Jonathan Lipman with 350 Philadelphia. “The President says he wants to help us climb out. But approving this pipeline would just dig the hole deeper. If we are serious about changing course on climate change, we must start reducing oil consumption and oil production now.”
President Obama ran on a promise of “ending the tyranny of oil.” Today’s protestors reminded him that he would betray both his campaign promise and his commitment to battling climate change if he caves to Big Oil and approves the pipeline.
Source

20+ arrested protesting Keystone XL at Philly Federal Building
March 11, 2014

Today, protesters in Philadelphia, PA, targeted the corrupt process that produced the U.S. State Department’s final analysis claiming the Keystone XL pipeline would not cause any “significant” climate damage.

The formal public comment period on the pipeline decision came to a close Friday, so today Keystone XL opponents turned from words to actions, saying “No” to the pipeline by putting their bodies on the line.

In front of the Federal Building activists brought brooms, to “sweep out” the corruption of the State Department’s Final Environmental Impact Statement, underwritten by a firm with close ties to TransCanada and the oil industry.

“A few years ago I realized that all the things I do to secure my children’s future—from bringing them to the doctor for annual checkups to helping them with their homework—won’t mean anything if the climate they inherit is destroyed,” said Eileen Flanagan, Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) board member and mother of two. ”I’m willing to risk being arrested to show President Obama that this issue is this important.”

As the time draws closer for President Obama to decide whether or not to allow the pipeline that would carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, hundreds of thousands of Americans have already opposed the pipeline in multiple ways—and the movement is growing.

“We’re in a deep hole with the climate,” said Jonathan Lipman with 350 Philadelphia. “The President says he wants to help us climb out. But approving this pipeline would just dig the hole deeper. If we are serious about changing course on climate change, we must start reducing oil consumption and oil production now.”

President Obama ran on a promise of “ending the tyranny of oil.” Today’s protestors reminded him that he would betray both his campaign promise and his commitment to battling climate change if he caves to Big Oil and approves the pipeline.

Source

Why women have the biggest stake in $15/hour minimum wageMarch 8, 2014
Raising the minimum wage is actually a women’s rights issue. This year’s celebration of International Women’s Day would be incomplete without contextualizing it within the ongoing minimum wage battles across the U.S., which have already won victories in many cities, the largest win hopefully to come from Seattle’s fight for $15/hr. Women like Socialist Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant have arisen as the pillars of the movement, because as in so many other social justice struggles, women will be the ones with the most to gain.
The gender pay gap in the U.S. is a full-blown crisis.  We rank 67th out of 133 countries in pay equity, just below Yemen (World Economic Forum, 2013). Over the course of a lifetime, women will actually need an extra degree in order to earn equal pay to men with a lower degree. This is especially bad news for the 53% of women graduates who are paying a much higher portion of their income towards student loan debt than any typical worker could afford, as opposed to 39% of men in the same situation (American Association of University Women, 2009).
The current wage structure, coupled with racial discrimination, keeps women of color particularly in perpetual poverty, with Black American women earning 64% and Latinas earning 55% of the wages of white men (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012).
The Seattle metropolitan area, where the fight for $15 is strongest, has the worst gender pay gap of any major metropolitan area in the country. Seattle women are paid only 73 cents for each  dollar that men earn for full-time work, which translates to a total loss for women of $7.9 billion every year. As a result, 23% of Seattle households where women are primary breadwinners fall below the poverty line (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012).
Women have a major stake in building the $15 minimum wage movement, not least becausewomen make up two-thirds of minimum wage workers (National Women’s Law Center, 2012). Women are also 60% of the primary or co-bread winners in their households (thinkprogress.org) and 70% of the restaurant servers that earn a tipped minimum wage of only $2.13/hr on average (Restaurant Opportunities Center United, 2012). So women especially have an interest in fighting for a minimum wage increase that has no tip penalties or other exemptions. (The Seattle mayor and most the city council are trying to include a tip penalty and multiple exemptions in the minimum wage ordinance, which Socialist Councilmember Sawant strongly disagrees with.)
A higher national minimum wage would significantly shrink the gender wage gap, and would benefit 13.1 million women. 8.9 million of women would receive a direct benefit; the other 4.2 million would benefit from what the Economic Policy Institute (2012) calls a “spillover effect,” where wages across the board are increased as the wage floor is lifted.
Unfortunately the implementation of a higher minimum wage is by no means guaranteed without a real fight, even after progressive legislation is enacted. One example is the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which most people don’t even know exists because equal pay still remains elusive 50 years after its passage. The Paycheck Fairness Act, meant to strengthen the 1963 legislation, has been twice introduced and twice rejected in Congress.
It has become glaringly clear in recent years that Congress is a place where working-class priorities are ignored. That’s why the minimum wage movement needs to be independent of the two corporate parties, and must be willing to demand more than just legislative reforms. This means pushing beyond the realm of what the owners of capital tell us is possible, because as long as the current global wage system continues, women will never see pay parity.
Just look at how public-sector jobs, which are mostly filled by women, were first to be gutted during the economic recession, and continue to disappear despite this “recovery” period. These middle-income jobs have been replaced by low-wage jobs in the private sector, such as in retail and service work, further emaciating the income base of women. This is a big reason why the gender pay gap has actually widened since the start of this so-called “recovery.”
In this crisis-prone system of capitalism, women and people of color will always be the first to suffer when the economy tanks, and jobs, wages, and social services are cut to protect profitability. And they will continue to suffer even after corporate profits have rebounded– unless we join together, organize unions, and demand a living wage through campaigns such as 15Now.org.
At the rate of current efforts to close the gender pay gap, it would be year 2056 before women earned as much as men (Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2012). Now that it is a Congressional election year, Obama and the Democrats are talking about gradually raising the minimum wage to $10.10 over a few years.  In Seattle Mayor Murray and most the City Council claim they want to move toward $15, but not until 2017 (with many loopholes and exemptions). Any increase is a step in the right direction, but we need to demand $15 for all workers NOW.
We also need to rethink the viability of an economic structure that cannot provide a decent standard of living for the women that make up half of its population, to say the least. Something different is needed. On this International Women’s Day, women will find that their liberation is inextricably linked not only to the movement for higher wages but also the struggle against the capitalist system of wage-slavery itself.
We need to fundamentally change the structure of our society that allows a corporate elite to super-exploit women and workers of color – a system with a ruling elite that promotes sexism, racism, and homophobia to divide the working class. It is in the interest of women and oppressed groups to unite all workers – women and men, black, brown and white – to fight the capitalist elite who are exploiting and dividing all of us.
In order to guarantee equal pay for equal work and dignified work and pay for all, we need to take the top 500 corporations into public ownership. We need to establish a democratically planned socialist economy where corporations are run by councils of representatives who are paid the same as the average skilled worker – representatives who are elected by the workers and the wider public and subject to recall.
Source

Why women have the biggest stake in $15/hour minimum wage
March 8, 2014

Raising the minimum wage is actually a women’s rights issue. This year’s celebration of International Women’s Day would be incomplete without contextualizing it within the ongoing minimum wage battles across the U.S., which have already won victories in many cities, the largest win hopefully to come from Seattle’s fight for $15/hr. Women like Socialist Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant have arisen as the pillars of the movement, because as in so many other social justice struggles, women will be the ones with the most to gain.

The gender pay gap in the U.S. is a full-blown crisis.  We rank 67th out of 133 countries in pay equity, just below Yemen (World Economic Forum, 2013). Over the course of a lifetime, women will actually need an extra degree in order to earn equal pay to men with a lower degree. This is especially bad news for the 53% of women graduates who are paying a much higher portion of their income towards student loan debt than any typical worker could afford, as opposed to 39% of men in the same situation (American Association of University Women, 2009).

The current wage structure, coupled with racial discrimination, keeps women of color particularly in perpetual poverty, with Black American women earning 64% and Latinas earning 55% of the wages of white men (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012).

The Seattle metropolitan area, where the fight for $15 is strongest, has the worst gender pay gap of any major metropolitan area in the country. Seattle women are paid only 73 cents for each  dollar that men earn for full-time work, which translates to a total loss for women of $7.9 billion every year. As a result, 23% of Seattle households where women are primary breadwinners fall below the poverty line (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012).

Women have a major stake in building the $15 minimum wage movement, not least becausewomen make up two-thirds of minimum wage workers (National Women’s Law Center, 2012). Women are also 60% of the primary or co-bread winners in their households (thinkprogress.org) and 70% of the restaurant servers that earn a tipped minimum wage of only $2.13/hr on average (Restaurant Opportunities Center United, 2012). So women especially have an interest in fighting for a minimum wage increase that has no tip penalties or other exemptions. (The Seattle mayor and most the city council are trying to include a tip penalty and multiple exemptions in the minimum wage ordinance, which Socialist Councilmember Sawant strongly disagrees with.)

A higher national minimum wage would significantly shrink the gender wage gap, and would benefit 13.1 million women. 8.9 million of women would receive a direct benefit; the other 4.2 million would benefit from what the Economic Policy Institute (2012) calls a “spillover effect,” where wages across the board are increased as the wage floor is lifted.

Unfortunately the implementation of a higher minimum wage is by no means guaranteed without a real fight, even after progressive legislation is enacted. One example is the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which most people don’t even know exists because equal pay still remains elusive 50 years after its passage. The Paycheck Fairness Act, meant to strengthen the 1963 legislation, has been twice introduced and twice rejected in Congress.

It has become glaringly clear in recent years that Congress is a place where working-class priorities are ignored. That’s why the minimum wage movement needs to be independent of the two corporate parties, and must be willing to demand more than just legislative reforms. This means pushing beyond the realm of what the owners of capital tell us is possible, because as long as the current global wage system continues, women will never see pay parity.

Just look at how public-sector jobs, which are mostly filled by women, were first to be gutted during the economic recession, and continue to disappear despite this “recovery” period. These middle-income jobs have been replaced by low-wage jobs in the private sector, such as in retail and service work, further emaciating the income base of women. This is a big reason why the gender pay gap has actually widened since the start of this so-called “recovery.”

In this crisis-prone system of capitalism, women and people of color will always be the first to suffer when the economy tanks, and jobs, wages, and social services are cut to protect profitability. And they will continue to suffer even after corporate profits have rebounded– unless we join together, organize unions, and demand a living wage through campaigns such as 15Now.org.

At the rate of current efforts to close the gender pay gap, it would be year 2056 before women earned as much as men (Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2012). Now that it is a Congressional election year, Obama and the Democrats are talking about gradually raising the minimum wage to $10.10 over a few years.  In Seattle Mayor Murray and most the City Council claim they want to move toward $15, but not until 2017 (with many loopholes and exemptions). Any increase is a step in the right direction, but we need to demand $15 for all workers NOW.

We also need to rethink the viability of an economic structure that cannot provide a decent standard of living for the women that make up half of its population, to say the least. Something different is needed. On this International Women’s Day, women will find that their liberation is inextricably linked not only to the movement for higher wages but also the struggle against the capitalist system of wage-slavery itself.

We need to fundamentally change the structure of our society that allows a corporate elite to super-exploit women and workers of color – a system with a ruling elite that promotes sexism, racism, and homophobia to divide the working class. It is in the interest of women and oppressed groups to unite all workers – women and men, black, brown and white – to fight the capitalist elite who are exploiting and dividing all of us.

In order to guarantee equal pay for equal work and dignified work and pay for all, we need to take the top 500 corporations into public ownership. We need to establish a democratically planned socialist economy where corporations are run by councils of representatives who are paid the same as the average skilled worker – representatives who are elected by the workers and the wider public and subject to recall.

Source

#XLDissent: Students overtake DC to demand climate action
March 2, 2014

Over 500 students are risking arrest Sunday as they handcuff themselves to the White House fence, placing their bodies on the line in what many say may be a “watershed” moment for a generation. Under the banner XL Dissent, over one thousand college students are descending on the White House to force President Obama to face the individuals whose future is imperiled by current U.S. climate policy.

"Our generation is going to be stuck with the reality of decisions made now about whether to invest in destruction or the future," Smith College student Aly Johnson-Kurts told Common Dreams ahead of the demonstration. “We are realizing we cannot sit idly by, or we will not have a future to fight for.”

Beginning at 10 AM with a rally in Georgetown, the demonstrators will march to Lafayette Park, beside the White House, where they will hold a rally. En route, the protest will stop in front of Secretary of State John Kerry’s house to display a banner that reads “Sec. Kerry: Don’t Tar Your Legacy,” in reference to the pending Keystone XL tar sands pipeline decision, which has become a major flashpoint for the climate movement.

During the protest, demonstrators will also drop a 40 by 60 foot banner, cut to look like an oil spill, right on Pennsylvania Ave.

According to Jamie Henn, a co-founder of 350.org, upwards of 500 people are preparing to get arrested for handcuffing themselves to the White House fence. In preparation, many of the demonstrators took part in a mass civil disobedience training Saturday night.

In what promises to be the largest student-led civil disobedience action at the White House in a generation, many are saying that XL Dissent could become a watershed moment for a generation whose lives are guaranteed to be impacted by current climate change inaction.

“We’re building a culture of resistance,” Tufts University junior Evan Bell told Todd Zimmer of the Rainforest Action Network.

"The students taking part here in XL Dissent see their democratic responsibilities as extending beyond the voting booth," Henn wrote on the eve of the action. “If anything, the Obama administration seems to have solidified the impression that even the most youth-friendly candidates need to be pushed, protested, and forced into living up to their rhetoric.”

According to organizers, XL Dissent was not an initiative of the major environmental groups—though many have pledged their support. Instead, it was completely conceived and organized “from below,” by the students themselves. Many see it as a way to connect with the disparate groups, including First Nations, refining communities, ranchers and farmers, who—much like young people—are most directly impacted by climate change and energy policy.

"More and more, these young people are placing their hope in distributed networks of resistance, rather than in a president who ran on hope as a platform," wrote Zimmer. “They’re hovering in a space between fear, anger, and radical hope. They know their futures are on the line and feel more accountable to each other and frontline communities than elected politicians.”

Though the President’s pending approval of the Keystone pipeline has catalyzed many of the protesters, the demonstration Sunday “is about so much more than just one pipeline,” as Michael Greenberg, a 20-year-old sophomore at Columbia University, told Common Dreams.

"For me XL Dissent is about young people standing together and engaging in a bold act of civil disobedience, and through this, demonstrating our commitment to making this world a more humane, peaceful, and inclusive place to live," Greenberg continued.

"President Obama and D.C. policymakers need to take a hard look at who police will arrest this Sunday," Zimmer continued. "Some of those arrested will still be in high school. XL Dissent should give Obama pause, and force the president to consider who loses if Big Oil wins. He should see his own daughters in the faces of those who are arrested at his doorstep this weekend."

Source
Photos by Jenna Pope