Heavily armed officers, weapons drawn, move across a bridge draped with a banner reading “No war for oil” and “We are the 99%." One corner of the banner sports the A anarchist symbol. Shortly after, they capture their targets: protesters. This scene may be all too familiar to protesters. But it’s actually a staged police training put on by Urban Shield, a SWAT team training program and weapons expo that has taken place in the Bay Area for the past seven years. This year, as last, Urban Shield’s weapon show takes place in the Oakland Marriot Convention Center in downtown Oakland, CA, September 4-8.
A scene from an Urban Shield training in 2012. Photo Credit: http://YouTube.com screenshot
Last week at Hong Kong’s Chinese University, a crowd gathered around a replica of the statue Goddess of Democracy, a key symbol of the 1989 student occupation of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Beneath hand-lettered banners calling on fellow students to “shoulder their historic mission,” several generations of student union presidents discussed a proposal to boycott classes, a measure adopted by a federation of Hong Kong students over the weekend and slated to begin on September 22. The student boycott supports a wider democracy movement; as a leaflet circulating yesterday (September 10) explained, it is a “prelude to a student civil disobedience move…that will lead various social groups to their own civil disobedience movement, together opposing unjust political power.”
Are the police departments of Ferguson and St. Louis County, Missouri, involved in a conspiracy to obstruct justice in the case of Michael Brown’s murder? It seems disturbingly possible, given their actions over the past month, hiding basic evidentiary information from the public in direct violation of the state’s sunshine laws—and perhaps not even gathering it in the first place. This raises the further possibly that evidence is being hidden from criminal investigators as well, particularly since the investigators have shown no great interest, much less zeal, in getting to the truth of the matter.
Israel started the attack on the Hamas to sabotage the Hamas compromise with the west bank authority, and restore a weakened Hamas independent rule in the Gaza strip. Hamas compromise was a response to Egyptian closer intended to dismantle the Hamas. The failed Israeli attack will force it to contribute its share to significantly open the closer of the border between Israel and the Gaza strip which was till the attack based on the bare minimal on the margin of humanitarian catastrophe. Whatever the details of the new cease fire and arrangements, the failure of Israel vicious assault to stop the Hamas from firing rockets on Israel is a significant "game changer". The failed attack on Gaza and the continuing popular struggle in the west bank are hastening the international pressures to end the occupation of the West bank and the closer of the Gaza strip.
It is clear that nationalism is a tool used against the exploited classes. In the Balkans, (especially in the region of ex-Yugoslavia) the rise of nationalist ideology in the 1990’s helped enable the brutal capitalist attack against society. It further atomized the population and destroyed established networks of cooperation and solidarity.
Librarians in Massachusetts are working to give their patrons a chance to opt-out of pervasive surveillance. Partnering with the ACLU of Massachusetts, area librarians have been teaching and taking workshops on how freedom of speech and the right to privacy are compromised by the surveillance of online and digital communications -- and what new privacy-protecting services they can offer patrons to shield them from unwanted spying of their library activity.
For the past two years, ever since a group of Roman school pupils and university students started an occupation aimed at reclaiming abandoned buildings in the city centre and fighting property speculation, that battle took place from within the building next door: the Cinema America, a gem of 1950s Italian architecture which, in its heyday, would open its doors to streams of filmgoers and wow them with a roof that could be pulled aside to make way for the sky in the intermission.
Anyone who underwent a liberal-arts education in recent decades probably encountered the thorny theorists associated with the Institute for Social Research, better known as the Frankfurt School. Their minatory titles, filled with dark talk of “Negative Dialectics” and “One-Dimensional Man,” were once proudly displayed on college-dorm shelves, as markers of seriousness; now they are probably consigned to taped-up boxes in garages, if they have not been discarded altogether. Once in a while, the present-day Web designer or business editor may open the books and see in the margins the excited queries of a younger self, next to pronouncements on the order of “There is no document of culture which is not at the same time a document of barbarism” (Walter Benjamin) or “The whole is the false” (Adorno).
Demonstrators from Trans and/or Women’s Action Camp (TWAC) and the Gender Alliance of the South Sound (GASS) have staged a dance party at a billboard along I-5 (Northbound, Exit 72). The billboard’s former advertisement was replaced with a massive banner with the message “Transgender Health, Not Fossil Fuel Wealth.”
Saturday September 6th was the 9 Year and 11 Month Anniversary of the Carrboro Really Really Free Market. That’s 119 Really Really Free Markets. We celebrated by making piñatas for the 120th Really Really Free Market, the 10 year Anniversary next month on OCTOBER 4th at 2PM. Did we mention we’re having a pinata contest? And a birthday cake contest!
After a month-long moratorium, water shut-offs in Detroit have started again this week, leaving indebted households across the city with no access to running water. Part of the emergency measures to respond to Detroit's bankruptcy, over 46,000 shut-off notices were issued in May 2014, with over 17,000 homes having their water supply halted between May and July.
Last Friday, the Ninth Circuit published its opinion about our ongoing fight with the federal government over how secret its grand jury proceedings should be. The short version: They wanted automatic and almost total secrecy and opacity, we wanted transparency—or at least some clearly argued standards about why certain documents should be sealed and kept away from the public. On Friday, the court found in our favor. We won. Mostly.
As the event to raise funds for Ryan Ronquillo’s family drew to a close and the banner reading “Justice for Ryan Ronquillo” was lowered, the crowd seemed anxious. There were about 60 people left of the 250 who came through the door for the event that was co-organized with the family and their friends, along with local hip hop artists Brer Rabbit, Sole, Molina Speaks, Stay Tuned, Jonny 5, and Time. Maybe anxiety wasn’t really the feeling going around that night. People were on edge, sure. But mostly people. The District Attorney Mitch Morrissey had just made the decision to close the “investigation”—If you can call it that—of Ryan’s assassination at the Romero Funeral home on July 2nd of this year (2014).
Following the second major report this year about the failure of the Missouri football team and the athletic department to properly respond to a series of sexual assault allegations, perhaps someone should ask: Why does Mike Alden, athletic director at Missouri since 1998, still have a job?