Are you sitting down? After months of anti-government protests, over 300 civilian deaths and, more recently, the rounding up of protesters and intellectuals who were designated as terrorists or linked to risks to Nicaragua’s sovereignty, the country’s president-cum-dictator Daniel Ortega announced today that he refuses to step down from his post. On the bright side, Ortega told Fox News (the preferred network of dictators and kleptocrats, apparently) that he has fabulous news: the violence that's plagued his nation for months is over! Just like that!
Except, it isn’t.
From CBS News:
Thousands of people marched yesterday in Nicaragua to demand that President Daniel Ortega step down. The demonstrations over proposed benefit cuts, which began three months ago, are expected to continue today.
CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez reports an eerie quiet during much of the day in the capital city of Managua, as people stay home and business owners close up shop for their own safety.
But after the calm, the sounds of protest pierce the air, and the fear of bloody confrontations returns.
Within minutes of arriving in the capital, Bojorquez encountered an anti-government protest and the sound of mortar fire.
It didn’t take long for Bojorquez to find the source of the mortar fire. He spoke with a group of young men who’d DIY’d their mortars, firing them off as a warning that government forces and para-militaries were drawing near. The mortar crews provide the warning with good reason: over the past few weeks, violent attacks against protestors by loyalist paramilitaries and Nicaraguan police have intensified. Read the rest
Protestors in San Franciscos Mission District don't like instant-rent electric scooters, and they also don't like tech workers who have moved into the neighborhood. So they decided to toss the scooters in front of the buses used to transport tech workers to their offices in Silicon Valley this morning. SF Gate has a photo gallery.
The activists, blocking buses at the intersection of 24th and Valencia streets, set off smoke bombs and carried signs that read “Techsploitation Is Toxic,” and “Sweep Tech Not Tents,” in reference to the city’s recent efforts to clear homeless encampments.
Image: Vimeo/Abraham Rodriguez Read the rest
As posted to YouTube by Nate Gowdy, this gentleman appropriates a counter-protestor's sign and makes strenuous efforts to rip it up. But it's a fancy thick one and he lacks the strength or technique to do the job. Watching him wither under the sarcastic commentary and recording cameras of nearby libs will never not be funny.
You've worked so hard, you're so close," a woman filming the painful failure is heard saying. "You've been doing a lot of arm work at the gym, right? You know, this is a very educated city, there are a lot of engineers in this city… you can get a lot of help."
He's definely not mad online about his experience, too.
And to think he'd spent so much time building up the strength that failed him! [via emotional support turtle]
Antifa was indeed watching. Read the rest
When Massachusetts GOP Senator Scott Brown was elected in a 2010 special election, Senate Democrats agreed to delay a key vote on health care reform until he could be seated, so that the vote would be held by elected officials, not the appointed lame duck who was sitting in the seat that Brown was about to occupy.
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Tomorrow, people across America will stand in front of Verizon stores, calling on the FCC -- whose chairman, the Neutracidal Maniac Ajit Pai, is a recovering Verizon lawyer -- is determined to rollback the Net Neutrality rules Americans cherish. Find a protest near you.
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We are all familiar with the marquee protests in American history: the 1963 March on Washington, the 1969 anti-Vietnam War protest, and the 2017 post-inaugural Women's March. This weekend in Los Angeles, the #MeTooMarch will be protesting the normalizing of rape culture. With the recent bizarre acceptance by many Republicans of Roy Moore, who has a well-sourced history of pedophilia, issue-responsive protests like this are growing more urgent, frequent, and necessary.
With all of this renewed activism in the U.S. and recent Democratic victories in off-year elections, it's important to remember and learn from what has worked in the past. Brittany Shoot wrote a great piece in Atlas Obscura on an often overlooked but highly impactful protest that involved no marching at all. The fact that the protestors were disabled –some physically, some mentally – didn't stop them from conducting the longest non-violent occupation of a federal building in United States history, the 504 Sit-In.
What they accomplished bettered millions of lives to this day. If you're interested in understanding what it takes to effect major changes in policy, or get inspired to do something, this well-written piece about the 26-day long sit-in is worth a few minutes of your time:
(Read Brittany Shoot's full article here)
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The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 included the little-noticed Section 504, which was based on the 1964 Civil Rights Act and mandated integration of people with disabilities into mainstream institutions. But the language was broad, only noting that “no qualified individual with a disability should, only by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” By 1977, disability rights activists weary of asking nicely for their civil rights, decided to move—into the HEW offices [Health, Education, and Welfare], that is.
A protestor named Ryan Clayton tossed Russian flags at Trump today as the president was walking to a Capitol Hill lunch. The president appeared to respond with a thumbs up.
"Trump is treason!" Clayton yelled. "Why are you talking about tax cuts when you should be talking about treason?"
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Cedric Ingram-Lewis and Larry McCullough were removed from Victory & Praise Christian Academy's football team after protesting during the national anthem this week. Ingram-Lewis raised his fist, recalling the salute of John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Olympics, while McCullough kneeled. Head coach Ronnie Mitchem immediately removed them from the team, declaring their actions "offensive to veterans and others."
Ingram-Lewis, a sophomore, said the topic of protesting had come up in the locker room before and his cousin McCullough, a senior, even announced he would kneel via social media. The coach had told players he did not want anyone to kneel, citing his service in the military.
"He told us that disrespect will not be tolerated," Lewis said, recalling the moments after the anthem ended. "He told us to take off our uniform and leave it there."
The school's private, so it can do what it pleases; the boys' recourse is to leave or do as they are ordered.
There's no shots of the protest, so I've included the classic photo of Carlos and Smith to remind us of the sort of transgression Mitchem (right) has a problem with. This man describes himself as a "former" marine. One wonders: what was he fighting for, if not freedom? Read the rest
On August 24, 1967, guerilla theater activist Abbie Hoffman and his pals dropped a slew of dollar bills off the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange onto the trading floor below. As Hoffman later said, "“If you don’t like the news, why not go out and make your own?” From Smithsonian:
Participant Bruce Dancis recalled, “At first people on the floor were stunned. They didn’t know what was happening. They looked up and when they saw money was being thrown they started to cheer, and there was a big scramble for the dollars.”
The protesters exited the Stock Exchange and were immediately beset by reporters, who wanted to know who they were and what they’d done. Hoffman supplied nonsense answers, calling himself Cardinal Spellman and claiming his group didn’t exist. He then burned a five-dollar bill, solidifying the point of the message. As Bruce Eric France writes, “Abbie believed it was more important to burn money [than] draft cards… To burn a draft card meant one refused to participate in the war. To burn money meant one refused to participate in society.”
For Hoffman himself, the success of the stunt was obvious. “Guerrilla theater is probably the oldest form of political commentary,” he wrote in his autobiography. “Showering money on the Wall Street brokers was the TV-age version of driving the money changers from the temple… Was it a real threat to the Empire? Two weeks after our band of mind-terrorists raided the stock exchange, 20,000 dollars was spent to enclose the gallery with bullet-proof glass.”
"How the New York Stock Exchange Gave Abbie Hoffman His Start in Guerrilla Theater" (Smithsonian) Read the rest
The first time I traveled outside of the United States, I was twelve years old. The destination was that mysterious place my immigrant parents fondly referred to as “back home” whenever they told us childhood stories: Lebanon. We were vacationing there for the summer of 2006 and meeting our extended family. I don’t recall much about the first few days of the trip other than how new and exciting everything had seemed to me. And how quickly it all would change.
Zeynep Tufekci (previously) is one of the most consistently astute, nuanced commenters on networked politics and revolutions, someone who's been literally on the front lines around the world. In a new book called Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest, she sets out a thesis that (as the title suggests) explores the trade offs that political movements make when they use fluid, improvisational networks to organize themselves, instead of hierarchical, traditional organizations. Read the rest
On inauguration day, 214 protesters were arrested in DC on felony riot charges, and now they face up to $25,000 in fines and up to 10 years in prison, though no one -- not the cops, not the prosecutors -- believes that more than a handful were involved in property damage or disorderly conduct. Read the rest
Are you an urban police force thinking about how to control your fellow humans? Look no farther! Your pals at Bozena have an all-new RIOT system, a crowd-control killdozer for all your protest-suppressing needs! Read the rest
Scabby the Rat is a giant, inflatable rat that joins New York union workers on the picket line, an enduring symbol of the power of workers against rapacious capital. Read the rest
When the government of Romanian PM Sorin Grindeanu announced that they would gut the country's anticorruption statutes, removing criminal sanctions for official corruption, the country erupted into mass protests. Read the rest
Milo as “Ivana Wall,” speaking at Louisiana State University on Sep. 21, 2016. Say the name out loud and you'll get the joke. “Right about now your dick is probably confused,” read one of the slides on stage during the performance. Image: Reddit.
Pro-Trump and extremist right wing/white supremacist personality Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to deliver a speech at U.C. Berkeley, but his appearance was canceled by university officials tonight after big protests on campus that got out of hand with some people setting some objects on fire. No arrests or injuries reported.
Yiannopoulos is doing a speaking tour on college campuses to promote his male "Privilege" scholarship fund.
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It's only been a handful of days since Donald Trump took office, but we're already getting strong signals about the sort of administration he intends to run: workers at US government agencies have been banned from making any public disclosures of the research they conduct at public expense until new political minders can be installed to ensure that these facts don't contradict Trump's official narrative; and six journalists have been charged with felonies for covering the protests during the inauguration. Read the rest