FAT ACTIVISM

Stellan Vinthagen October 30th, 2013

Written by Tova Crossler Ernström, student at the undergraduate course Power, Resistance and Change, University of Gothenburg

In What’s fat activism? (2008) Charlotte Cooper describes a dominant model for talking about and understanding fatness in the 21st century that she claims isn’t seen as a model at all in Western society, but simply as common sense, as the truth. This model poses fatness as a problem and links it to things like disease, greed, laziness, ugliness and underclass. Even though the model has it’s roots in medicine, it is maintained by several different power structures, and stakeholders such as drug companies, food retailers, the fashion industry, diet industries, advertising and government policymakers. Cooper describes fat activism as ways of challenging this model.

As the spread of the model is so extensive, it can be challenged at many different sites, and with a great varierty of methods. As Jennifer Lee puts it: ”There are different approaches to fat activism, from community building and trying to change fat people’s attitudes towards their own bodies, to changing institutional policies and getting voices heard in the media” (Lee, 2012).

Fat activism can be a fat person wearing a bikini in public or using the word fat without shame or any pejorative connotations (Revolting fatty, n.d.). It can be putting size acceptance bookmarks in magazines in the store, deciding not to make negative comments about other people’s bodies, or boycotting all diet products (either as an individual decision or by organizing a collective boycott) (Chastain, 2012, August 1st). It can also focus on legal rights, like working to pass an ordinance against height- and weight related discrimination (Schuyler, 2003).

What all of these things have in common is that they are done with the purpose of challenging the dominant way of thinking about fat and fat people – and/or the discrimination that follow from it.

Fat studies

Closely tied to fat activism is the academic field of fat studies. Within this field researchers and students use an interdisciplinary approach and take a ”questioning view of dominant paradigms relating to fat” (Cooper, 2008, p.18). It is also a field with a pronounced aim for social justice, and many of the people doing research in the field are also well-known fat activists. In fact, engaging in fat studies may itself be a type of fat activism. On her blog Obesity timebomb, Cooper describes a fat activist as someone who ”thinks about fat in ways that challenge, question and critique most mainstream thinking about fat” (Cooper, 2013, May 1st). As scholars of fat studies examine and question medical and other discourses on fat, they are doing the type of critical thinking (combined with expression and sharing of these thoughts) that is often described as central to fat activism.
References

Chastain, Ragen. (2012, August 1st). Three dangerous fat activism myths [Blog post].
Retrieved October 6, 2013, from http://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/three-dangerous-fat-activism-myths/

Cooper, C. (2008). What’s fat activism? (University of Limerick Department of Sociology Working Paper Series, WP2008-02). University of Limerick.

Cooper, C. (2013, May 1st). The Basics: What is a Fat Activist? [Blog post].

Retrieved October 7, 2013, from http://obesitytimebomb.blogspot.se/2013/05/the-basics-what-is-fat-activist.html

Lee, J. (2012). A big fat fight.

Retrieved September 29, 2013, from http://overland.org.au/previous-issues/issue-207/feature-jennifer-lee/

Revolting fatty. (n.d.) What revolution?

Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://revoltingfatty.com/about/

Schuyler, N. (2003). Living large. Stanford magazine, august/july 2003.

Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=36867

Lecture: The Art of Not Being Governed; A History of State Evasion

Stellan Vinthagen April 29th, 2013

Welcome to an unique opportunity

A world-leading resistance researcher gives a public lecture at the University of Gothenburg

The Art of Not Being Governed; A History of State Evasion

James C. Scott,
Professor of Political Science and Anthropology at Yale University

At 14.00-16.00, May 14, 2013, at room 220, Annedalsseminariet, School of Global Studies, Campus Linné, University of Gothenburg.

This lecture deals with the challenging reinterpretation Scott makes of Southeast Asian ‘ethnic’ groups or ‘indigenous’ as stateless resistance cultures, rather than fixed and traditional identities. In his book The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia (2009), Scott wrote: ‘Zomia’ is a new name for virtually all the lands lying above roughly 300 meters all the way from the Central Highlands of Vietnam to northeastern India and traversing six Southeast Asian nations. It is an expanse of 2.5 million square kilometers containing about 100 million minority peoples of truly bewildering ethnic and linguistic complexity. My thesis is simple, suggestive, and controversial. Zomia is the largest remaining region of the world whose peoples have not yet been fully incorporated into nation states. These hill peoples are best understood as runaway, fugitive, maroon communities who have, over the course of two millennia, been fleeing the oppressions of state-making projects in the valleys slavery, conscription, taxes, corvée labor, epidemics, and warfare. Virtually everything about these people’s livelihoods, social organization, ideologies, and even their illiteracy, can be read as strategic choices designed to keep the state at arms length. Their physical dispersion in rugged terrain, their mobility, their cropping practices, their kinship structure, their pliable ethnic identities, and their devotion to prophetic, millenarian leaders are designed to avoid incorporation into states.

A limited number of places will be available at a restaurant afterwards for the post-seminar social gathering from 16:30. Please register at stellan.vinthagen@resistancestudies.org

Map/info of the Campus area: http://www.globalstudies.gu.se/english/about+us/addresses- communication/

James C. Scott is Sterling Professor of Political Science, professor of anthropology, and codirector of the Agrarian Studies Program, Yale University, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. (For more info on Scott, see the next page)

All identities, without exception, have been socially constructed: the Han, the Burman, the American, the Danish, all of them…. To the degree that the identity is stigmatized by the larger state or society, it is likely to become for many a resistant and defiant identity. Here invented identities combine with self-making of a heroic kind, in which such identifications become a badge of honor. (pp. xii-iii.)

A short bio

James C. Scott is s Sterling Professor of Political Science and Anthropology at Yale University, and the director of the Program in Agrarian Studies. Scott’s work focuses on the ways that subaltern people resist dominance. His original interest was in peasants in the Kedah state of Malaysia. During the Vietnam War, he took an interest in Vietnam and wrote The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Subsistence and Rebellion in Southeast Asia (1976). In Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (1985) Scott expanded his theories to peasants in other parts of the world, and in Domination and the Arts of Resistance: The Hidden Transcript of Subordinate Groups (1990) he argued that all subordinate groups resist in ways similar to peasants. Scott’s theories are often contrasted with Gramscian ideas about hegemony. Against Gramsci, Scott argues that the everyday resistance of subalterns shows that they have not consented to dominance.

Selected bibliography:

  • Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play. Princeton University Press, 2012.
  • The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. Yale University Press, 2009.
  • Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Yale University Press, 1998.
  • Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. Yale University Press, 1990.
  • Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. Yale University Press,

    1985.

  • The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia. Yale

    University Press, 1979.

The Resistance Themes of The Dark Knight Rises

Stellan Vinthagen September 26th, 2012

Author: Christopher Sims
Doctoral Candidate
Department of War Studies
King’s College London

If Occupy Wall Street had made a Hollywood blockbuster, it may have been remarkably similar to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. Purportedly the final instalment of a Nolan trilogy, this film serves as a sometimes explicit, sometimes allegorical critique of those responsible for the crisis of Western capitalism. As such, Nolan unashamedly taps into the zeitgeist, throwing in his lot with the 99% over the 1%: the former who make up the bulk of the trilogy’s fan-base; the latter its financial base. Indeed, in one scene, Gotham city traders are strapped to the backs of motorcycles to be used as human shields; transformed from peerless architects of self-aggrandising financial systems into helpless slaves of the West’s violent arbiter.

In the film, art imitates life. The plot of The Dark Knight Rises would have had little resonance were it not for Occupy Wall Street or the atrocities of 9/11. The grand theme of the film, that of a disenfranchised majority serving an über-wealthy minority and a masked terrorist mastermind detonating considerable portions of the city, has its roots firmly in actual events, where Gotham is a thinly disguised New York City. Even the villainous Bane’s entry to Gotham may seem familiar, taking control of a US government-operated plane, ultimately using it for his own ends as he controls its mid-air disintegration, leaving one of his group members onboard who is quite prepared to sacrifice himself in order to enable the operation to advance.

Bane we are informed has been the only inmate of a notorious prison somewhere in the Global South to have escaped its confines. Thus he is in possession of the strength, conviction and guile necessary to confront the West. Bane’s continual articulation of the philosophical reasoning behind his actions brings to mind the French philosopher Michel Foucault’s comment in his conversation with Gilles Deleuze: ‘And when the prisoners began to speak, they possessed an individual theory of prisons, the penal system, and justice. It is this form of discourse which ultimately matters, a discourse against power’. It is this discourse against the status quo which is so unsettling – articulate and yet seemingly bereft of compassion. The idea of incarceration is an important one in the analysis of East/West binaries, as seen for example in the geographer Derek Gregory’s writing on the global war prison.

Emancipated, Bane comes to control Gotham, achieved by using the West’s – specifically Wayne Enterprises – technology against itself, acquiring cutting-edge military hardware in order to quell dissent. This is a prominent theme in contemporary counter-terrorism fictions: in one episode of 24, day 4, when a stealth fighter is stolen, Chloe O’Brian observes that the terrorists are using our own technology against us. There is an ensuing pause laden with implication. This idea if not entirely rooted in the events of 9/11 then resonates on that level. At the same time, paralleling the Occupy protests, Bane arrives in Gotham to occupy a key installation in the financial district. He brutalizes the security staff before taking hostages. It’s Occupy Wall Street, but with a rather more kinetic character.

When the first confrontation between Batman and Bane takes place, Bane concludes that ‘victory has made you weak’. Such must be the verdict upon the West itself; from its peerless position at the end of the Cold War to a new era in which it appears plagued by popular self-doubt, afraid of what resistance movements may evolve in the Global South amid the consequences of a War on Terror waged across continents and systemic economic violence. Capitalism is at risk, democracy is evidently a volatile and malleable system of government; many analyses conclude that world inequality is increasing. Is The Dark Knight Rises escapism or self-reflective voyeurism?

Where is the West’s redemption? It is in his support of the bottom billion that we find the heroic in the character of billionaire Bruce Wayne. At one charity fundraiser the character reaches his philosophical apogee, considering the banquet laid out for the charity supporters as a great irony. It is a tedious, trite dialogue, well-worn, but necessary in order to resonate with the audience, articulated simply to appeal to the 99 percent watching from their cinema seats whilst drinking soda and eating candy purchased from multinational corporations. The film’s importance is in what is absent; the military and the political are relegated to obscure sideshows: this is instead visceral physical violence combating systemic economic abuse. The Masters of the Universe, to borrow Tom Wolfe’s phrase from his 1987 novel Bonfire of the Vanities, are usurped by those who have come from nothing and consequentially have nothing to lose. It is a compelling narrative: compelling because the narrative resonates.

Bane has been bankrolled by a member of Gotham’s financial elite. In one scene, the pair is together, with orders being given to Bane, before Bane turns and kills his former master. It is a fearful image, and evokes Karl Marx and Friederich Engel’s argument in The Communist Manifesto that modern capitalism, ‘a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the underworld that he has called up by his spells.’ In Gotham too, there is an underclass no longer provided for by the state, instead, they find their best chance of work, and thus of hope, is found by mysterious employment deep in the sewer system, now working for those very powers of the underworld.

The analysis of the interplay between life and art, between popular culture and politics, is a burgeoning discipline gaining mainstream momentum; consider Kelly DeVries’ and Charli Carpenter’s recent assessments of the political and historical relevance of Game of Thrones, in the prestigious journal Foreign Affairs. In The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan has fused violent anti-Western resistance narratives to the Occupy Wall Street agenda, under a powerful Hans Zimmer score. Bane attempts to catalyse societal rebellion, enabled by self-aggrandising elite figures. Art may be the translation of personal experience into a universally resonant form, but this film is clearly the translation of universal experience into an artistic form. Bane represents our greatest fear – that Western hubris has spawned an eloquent and omnipotent arbiter intent on bringing the West its day of reckoning.

In the West today the interface between rich and poor has not reached the physical carnage played out in The Dark Knight Rises, but a discernible friction exists; witnessed in sporadic bubbles of discontent at bankers’ bonuses, the Occupy protests, Anonymous hacktivism, recent demonstrations in Spain and Greece. In the Global South where social deprivation is stark, these interfaces are more pronounced: systemic violence removes all attempts at social dignity and hope for future prosperity, resulting in the protests of the Arab Spring. Inequality in the West is ever-increasing too; for the average wage-earners, real income has not increased since the 1970s, this despite a sizeable recent increase in income for the top one-percent. In Germany, praised as a fiscal model to emulate, there has emerged a new stratum termed ‘the working poor’. Perhaps after all it is life which imitates art. Perhaps a storm is coming.

Image: Lego Bane. Photo credit anonymous, via lego.wikia.com.

Can architecture be a form of resistance?

jj June 9th, 2012

Thomas de Monchaux:

Toward a Dissident Architecture?

The Pritzker Prize, architecture’s would-be Nobel since 1979, generally takes on one of two assignments. The first, as with past winners Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Richard Meier, and Rem Koolhaas, is to confirm the status of long-established starchitects, and thereby also to affirm a certain popular enthusiasm about what architecture is and does. The second, somewhat more polemically, is to direct overdue attention to figures who by choice or by circumstance have mastered some geographical or discursive margin. Among them are past recipients Sverre Fehn, Glen Murcutt, Paolo Mendes de Rocha, and Eduardo Souto de Moura—all of whom adamantly mine seams that are distinct, narrow and deep.

This year’s selection of Wang Shu is something different. Wang is 48 (“young for an architect,” as the citation endearingly puts it) with a smallish body of work, albeit featuring biggish buildings, produced over only about a decade. His practice—Amateur Architecture Studio, founded with his wife Lu Wenyu in 1997—is based in Hangzhou, China, and his education was at the Nanjing Institute of Technology. That’s not the usual transatlantic résumé. Yet Wang’s work, whatever else it may be, does not belong to any margin, but is situated, in form and context, at a 21st-century center of wealth and power.

When a prize like a Nobel or a Pritzker isn’t an invitation to a victory lap or an effort to empower an ongoing mission, it’s an expression of hope, a question mark more than an exclamation point. The question posed by Wang’s Pritzker selection could be articulated like this: If you provide a particularly humane or humanist built environment within the context of occasionally inhumane political or economic conditions, to what extent are you reinforcing or resisting those conditions? Are you offering a tangible alternative or a mere respite? The answers aren’t easy, but the questions are necessary. “Architecture or Revolution” was the attention-grabbing title of an essay in Corbusier’s epochal Toward an Architecture (1926). The revolution in question was Industrial, but the drift of Corbusier’s argument was that through the correct deployment of high-tech materials and contemporary manufacturing procedures, architects could avert or divert the spiritual or social discord that result from technological change so that “revolution can be avoided.” There’s much that’s slippery in Corbusier’s own framing of the question—elsewhere in the very same essay he evokes “the modern era, gleaming and radiant . . . on the other side of the barricades”—but his phrase reinforces the necessity of asking whether any architecture’s contribution is substantially palliative or transformative.

Wang received his Pritzker medal on May 25th, in a ceremony at the Great Hall of the People on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. The complex, built in 1959, has a giganticism (some 1,850,000 square feet) and regionally inflected, stripped-down classicism that make it a commanding but unsubtle setting for the occasion.

That vast building famously took only a year to complete. Size and speed continue to be the story of China’s built environment, as well as the story of its economy as a whole. If architectural production can be measured in cubic feet of reinforced concrete, then more architecture is being manufactured today in China than anywhere else, now or ever. The scale and developmental pace of China’s new cities has diminished and displaced familiar understandings of the cosmopolitan and metropolitan. At a moment of acute global urbanization, when half of the world’s seven billion people (and a projected eight of nine billion by mid-century) live in cities, Wang’s Pritzker calls all architects to their daunting duty, in the coming years, to address this profound change in how we live.

Wang’s own buildings show big thinking and fine detailing. His 2004–07 Ningbo History Museum in Hangzhou especially appears to capture that strange combination of near-geological inevitability and willful felicity (in details like exterior wall planes that fold inward and outward toward the roof, simultaneously stabilizing and destabilizing conventional structural readings) that characterizes masterful design. Wang’s body of work, to the extent it’s comprehensible from the usual published images and descriptions, comes across as thoughtful and beautiful, and not unfamiliar in its techniques and formal vocabularies. There’s a pattern of irregular rectangular perforations proceeding Tetris-like across a façade, independent of interior floor levels, complicating readings of scale and function (as at the Ningbo Museum and the 2007 China Academy of Art Xiangshan Campus, also in Hangzhou), which has also been a signature feature of the work of Steven Holl and Thom Mayne. There’s the pairing of surprisingly dainty cladding and intricately textured masonry with a brooding formal mass (as at the Ningbo Museum), creating a play of lightness against heaviness that has been brought to an airless perfection by Peter Zumthor. There’s the robust blending of glassy, white-wall modernism with vernacular forms and details (as in the 1999 Wenzheng College library in Suzhou), which Alvaro Siza has made an admirable career of.

A significant counterbalance to this participation in modernist idioms, universal solutions and international styles comes from Wang’s distinctive material practice. “I think the material is not just about materials,” Wang recently told the New York Times. “Inside it has the people’s experience [and] memory.” The Xiangshang campus features some two million tiles reclaimed from demolished traditional houses. The Ningbo museum also deploys this kind of spolia, literally and perhaps also figuratively, in its formal evocation of sedimentation and fracture. The Pritzker jury’s citation picked out this material aspect: “[Wang] is able to send several messages on the careful use of resources and respect for tradition and context as well as give a frank appraisal of technology and the quality of construction today, particularly in China.”

One possible message of such careful use of resources is about reconfiguring the usual working relations between architects and builders. When you use old materials, which are irregular in ways that conventionally prescriptive design cannot anticipate, you require a cascade of onsite trial-and-error improvisations, inviting collaboration with the people actually building the project—workers whose knowledge of those materials’ vernacular uses may generate something spectacularly new. The result, in the words of the Pritzker jury’s citation, “sometimes has an element of unpredictability, which in [Wang’s] case gives the buildings a freshness and a spontaneity.” These qualities are remarkable and rare in the relentlessly foreseeable process of architectural construction, especially in the centrally planned development typical of China and increasingly envied and emulated elsewhere.

In the kind of rapid development we see in China, architecture as understood by architects can be seen as a nicety, not a necessity. It may be that, in such a context, Wang’s most instrumental building to date is his least precious: the Vertical Courtyard Apartments in Hangzhou, produced between 2002 and 2007. With an articulated plane that folds up and across the building’s façade and section, and slight alternating rotations to every other floor plate through that section, the building reads more like a stack of house-sized objects than a seamless monolith. In a recent interview with the Architect’s Newspaper, Wang recalled, “I wanted even those people living 30 meters high to still feel like they were living in a small house where they could live around a small courtyard and plant their own trees. From below they can tell people on the ground that ‘those are my trees and that’s my house.’ It provides an identity for people to feel like it’s their own house. It’s more than just blank windows in apartment buildings that can’t separate neighborhoods. It’s a basic right for people.”

What is the relationship between architecture and people’s basic rights? By the standards of human rights held to be universal by those who believe in them, much of what prevails in China falls short. What are the possibilities and responsibilities of design in such a context? We can see, perhaps latently, one possible answer in the language the Pritzker citation uses to describe Wang’s work: “frank,” “collaborative,” “message-sending,” “unpredictable,” “careful,” “spontaneous,” “responsible”—these are all qualities that one would want in, say, the lively and free citizenry of a functional democratic republic.

Whether or not you conclude that Wang’s work embodies such qualities, or prompts them among its users, the jury’s language enables something in addition to the usual ritual of aesthetic appreciation, namely a debate about the possibility of being a dissident architect. Dissidence as an aspect of creative practice would seem to depend on at least two qualities, unpredictability and mobility, that are beyond architecture’s usual abilities. Buildings can be unmade, but not made, overnight. They require elaborate representation before they actually exist, complicating the elements of surprise with which the powerless can perplex the powerful. Buildings cannot be produced in secrecy and then displaced to some freer setting in which they might be more instrumental. They require infrastructure (and patronage). And yet, conversely, they are themselves a kind of necessary infrastructure: unlike other media in which dissident practitioners might work, the built environment has a peculiar immunity to censorship. Regardless of how much Architecture there is to be found in them, you can’t stop buildings: it’s as if people actually needed to live inside movies or poems. And if you believe that the built environment is capable of influencing the events it witnesses, then small interventions in the characteristics of those inevitable buildings, or one offbeat building at the scale of an entire city’s rhythm, can have widespread and uncannily influential effects downstream.

One of the vital contributions of the notable architect (and longtime Pritzker candidate) Peter Eisenman, informed by his conception of the architect as a public intellectual, is the notion of a critical practice. In Eisenman’s case, that intense criticality has been mostly internal to architectural discourse and production, expressed in formal raptures and ruptures (as in a famous early house that expressed its own Cartesian matrix and conceptual syntax as a series of actual physical incisions through its walls and floors, even straight down the middle of the master bedroom). What would constitute an architecture whose cultural or social, economic or political criticality goes beyond intricate and intimate self-reference? In singling out the work of Wang Shu, the Pritzker jury may have started a conversation about what, within any architectural practice, would materialize such an ambition.

Image: Wang Shu’s Ningbo History Museum. Photo by Iwan Baan, via archdaily.com.

On May 24: A double-seminar on Resistance and Social Movements

Stellan Vinthagen May 21st, 2012

On May 24 the Resistance Studies Network (RSN) and Forum for Social Movement Studies (CSM), University of Gothenburg,
invite to a double-seminar:

Thursday 24 May 13.15-15
‘Resistance’ vs. ‘Social Movements’ – a Conceptual Discussion
Mona Lilja & Stellan Vinthagen, Resistance Studies, and Håkan Thörn & Åsa Wettergren, Forum for Social Movement Research
Room: 419, Annedalsseminariet, Campus Linné
The seminar is based on two papers (attached), one on ‘resistance’, one on ‘social movements’

Thursday 24 May, at 15.15-17.00
‘Every movement claims it reinvents democracy’
Indignados, mobilisers, experts and transition activists and their claims for democracy

By Geoffrey Pleyers, FNRS & University of Louvain
Among his latest books are ‘Alter-Globalization. Becoming Actors in the Global Age’ Polity, 2011
The seminar is based on a paper that will be available one week before the seminar at www.resistancestudies.org
The seminar is at Annedalsseminariet, room 419, at Campus Linné, location descriptions at www.globalstudies.gu.se

Radikala nätverket: Historiska perspektiv på politisk radikalism

Stellan Vinthagen March 28th, 2012

Ur Radikala nätverkets program på Lunds universitet våren 2012:

“History from the Inside Out: The Amistad Africans and their Struggle against Slavery while in Jail, 1839-1841”

28 maj, 14.15-16.00, Sal 3, Historiska institutionen, Lund

Marcus Rediker, University of Pittsburgh
This presentation will explore the well-documented experience of thirty-six African rebels who were incarcerated in American jails after a successful uprising on the Cuban slave schooner Amistad in 1839. Against a fiery backdrop of slave rebellion around the Atlantic in the 1830s, how did African insurrectionists and American abolitionist reformers work together, inside the jail, to build a legal defense campaign, a network of support, a political alliance, and a social movement?

Radikala nätverket är en plattform för forskare intresserade av politisk radikalism i det förflutna och idag. Med ”radikal” menar vi alla grupper som försökt att revolutionera – snarare än reformera – hegemoniska sociala och politiska institutioner, vare sig de har befunnit sig till höger eller till vänster på den politiska skalan, eller har verkat för förändring med våldsamma eller icke våldsamma medel.

Radikala nätverket arrangerar två till fyra seminarier per termin. För att bli medlem av Radikala nätverkets e-postlista, kontakta magnus.olofsson [at] hist.lu.se.

Seminars at Forum for Civil Society and Social Movement Research (CSM), Department of Sociology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Stellan Vinthagen February 10th, 2012

CSM Seminars Spring 2012

Welcome to seminars at Forum for Civil Society and Social Movement Research (CSM), Department of Sociology

Wednesday 15th of February 9.50 -16.30

Linnésalen, Mediehuset, Seminariegatan 1B, Campus Linné

URBAN UPRISINGS IN CONTEMPORARY EUROPE

Paris 2005, Athens 2008, London 2011 – What’s next?

Friday 2 March 14.15-16

Room F417, Skanstorget 18 (with Sociology of Emotions seminar)

Jonas Lindblom, Gothenburg University

EMOTION WORK STRATEGIES IN THE ANIMAL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

Tuesday 13 March, 14-15.30

Room F417, Skanstorget 18 (with GCGD)

Mats Fridlund, Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg

AFFORDING TERROR: THE MATERIALITIES OF TERRORISM DURING 19TH CENTURY GLOBALIZATION

Wednesday 21 March 13.15-15

Room F417, Skanstorget 18 (with Sociology of Emotions seminar and Allmänna Seminariet)

Helena Flam, University of Leipzig

EMOTIONS AND IDENTITY

Thursday 19 April 15.15-17

Clare Saunders, University of Southampton

THE RISE AND FALL OF DIRECT ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE UK

Monday 21 May 9.00-17

CSM RESEARCH WORKSHOP

Wednesday 23 May 13.15-15)

Room F417, Skanstorget 18 (with Allmänna Seminariet)

Thomas Olesen, University of Aarhus:

GLOBAL ACTIVISM AND POLITICAL SYMBOLS

Thursday 24 May 13.15-15

Mona Lilja & Stellan Vinthagen, Resistance Studies, and Håkan Thörn & Åsa Wettergren, CSM

’Resistance’ vs. ’Social Movements’ – a Conceptual Discussion

Room: 419, Annedalsseminariet, Campus Linné

Tuesday 5 June 13.15-15

Room F417, Skanstorget 18

Rick Fantasisa, Smith College, USA

CULTURES OF SOLIDARITY RECONSIDERED

Visit CSM:s homepage: http://www.sociology.gu.se/english/research/research_groups/csm/

Urban Uprisings in Contemporary Europe

Stellan Vinthagen December 18th, 2011

FSSK, CUS and CSM invite you to a conference day:
Urban Uprisings in Contemporary Europe
Paris 2005, Athens 2008, London 2011 – What’s next?

When: Wednesday 15th of February 2012. 9.50am -16.30 pm
Where: Linnésalen, Mediehuset, Seminariegatan 1B, Campus Linné

A Spectre is stalking Europe – the spectre of suburban youth revolts. Europe is a
continent marked by growing inequality, racism and social tensions. In recent years we
have seen battle like pictures on TV from Paris, Athens, Lyon, Rotterdam, Copenhagen
and most recently in London and other British cities. During the last two years different
areas in the metropolitan districts in Sweden has also become a part of this picture.
How should we understand this development, how do we explain these uprisings? Are
there general patterns that could be seen in all cities?
The unit for Contemporary Cultural Studies (Forum för Studier av Samtidskultur -
FSSK), the Centre for Urban Studies (Centrum för Urbana Studier) and Gothenburg
CSM (Forum for Civil Society and Social Movement Research), all at Gothenburg
University, arrange a one day conference on these issues and we welcome you to this first
conference day in a series on urban movements and urban change.
The conference is free (and includes coffee and bun) but has a limited number of seats.
We therefore require that you send us an email if you like to participate before the 8th of
February to ensure your seat.

Email to:
catharina.thorn [at] kultur.gu.se
ove.sernhede [at] gu.se
hakan.thorn [at] sociology.gu.s

Resistance Studies Seminar: Skolan som en arena för motstånd

Stellan Vinthagen November 24th, 2011

Alla intresserade är välkomna till Motståndsseminarium torsdag den 8 dec 2011.

Sven-Eric Liedman, pensionerad professor i idéhistoria ger ett motståndsseminarium på Annedalsseminariet, Institutionen för Globala Studier, Campus Linné, www.globalstudies.gu.se i Sal 220, kl 15:15-17.00. Som vanligt så samlas vi på Gyllene Prag för en bit mat och fortsatta samtal efteråt.

Titel: “Skolan som en arena för motstånd”
Skolsystemet från förskola till universitet är alltid en plats för ständigt kämpande intressen. Just nu styr kravet på att skolan ska förbereda unga människor för en snabb och gränslös marknad, där effektivitet är nyckelordet. Det väsentliga blir då kunskaper i sådant som betraktas som viktigt för ett marknadsliv: matematik, språk, framför allt engelska, men också vad som kallas social kompetens. Begreppet “social kompetens” är värt en särskild eftertanke. Det betecknar i allmänhet en förmåga att umgås med andra människor, vara inkännande men inte kravlös. Men lätt insmyger sig också en nyans av medgörlighet, framför allt den underordnades medgörlighet och kritiklöshet gentemot den överordnade, den anställdes gentemot företaget eller institutionen. Social kompetens kan i så fall urata till kritiklöshet.

För egen del kämpar jag för en skola, och i mitt fall framför allt ett universitet, där ifrågasättandet är i högsätet. Orättvisor på nära håll liksom i ett världsperspektiv kommer då i fokus. Den tilltagande segregationen också i ett land som Sverige måste komma i fokus, liksom givetvis hela den globala snedfördelningen (det hör ju till saken att världen i dag finns i Sverige på ett annat sätt än för femtio år sen). En avgöraned aspekt av detta är också hushållningen med naturens resurser. Det måste inskärpas att människan redan genom sin egen kropp är en del av naturen.

Det betyder inte alls att matematik eller engelska eller några andra skolämnen blir mindre viktiga. Det betyder att attityden till både kunskap och omvärld förändras. Det gäller inte att smälta in utan att få en kritisk inställning till den dominerande utvecklingen.

Extra Resistance Studies Seminar: The Online Struggle on Vaccination

Stellan Vinthagen October 14th, 2011

During the guest research visit by professor Brian Martin from Australia he will give a resistance studies seminar. Brian is one of the world’s leading scholars on nonviolent resistance and widely published. And his publications are available online here.

20 oct 15-17 Room 129, Annedalsseminariet. A vaccination struggle. The struggle between supporters and critics of vaccination in Australia reveals a wide range of tactics, especially online tactics to suppress free speech, and suggests new arenas for studying resistance. The debate over vaccination, involving conflicting perspectives on children’s health, has been heated in many countries. In Australia, the debate recently seems to have reached a new level of bitterness. The Australian Vaccination Network (AVN), a long-established citizens’ group critical of vaccines, has come under attack by pro-vaccination citizen campaigners (Stop the AVN, and others) who have tried to shut down the operations of the AVN using a variety of novel methods, especially via the Internet. How can such attempts at censorship be opposed?

Take the chance to meet Brian and join us afterwards at the restaurant Gyllene Prag for some food, drinks and more talks on nonviolent resistance.

Resistance Studies Seminars, Gothenburg, Fall Schedule 2011

Stellan Vinthagen September 15th, 2011

Welcome to the new schedule for resistance studies seminars at Gothenburg university!

We are this semester, as before, offering a meeting place for critical discussions on resistance, from various perspectives and by different seminar presenters. Everyone that is interested in critical discussions on resistance is welcome: researchers, students, activists, journalists, authors, or others that find the themes interesting.The seminars are at Campus Linné, see a map at www.globalstudies.gu.se or directly at this link.

If you want to get regular emails about the coming program of seminars, let our seminar organizer Per Ström know you are interested: email (without the spaces between letters) per. strom @ yahoo. se

We start early with an extra seminar already on September 22 with Professor Evelina Dagnino, from Campinas University, Brazil on “Civil society: theoretical challenges and practical dilemmas from a Latin American perspective”. Seminar is in English. Thursday 15:15-17 at the A-building in room A-206 (see map). The seminar is organized with the help of Associate Professor Edmé Dominguez at School of Global Studies. If you have questions about this seminar, please email directly to Edmé: edme. dominguez @ globalstudies. gu. se

September 29 with Paul Routledge, Reader at University of Glasgow. He will talk on “Climate Justice as Alterhegemony: The Case of the landless movement in Bangladesh”. Seminar is in English. Thursday 15:15-17.00 at the Annedalsseminariet (Room 303).

September 27 with Irene Molina, Docent i kulturgeografi, Uppsala Universitet och medlem i ArA, Föreningen Antitrasistiska akademin. “Förorten och det symboliska politiska våldet”. Seminar are in Swedish. Tuesday 15:15-17.00 at the Annedalseminariet at Room 303.

October 13 with Ramzi Abdou, Palestinian Youth Activist, Student in Political science from Gaza University. United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East “UNRWA” in GAZA. “Culture of Resistance vs. Defeat”. Seminar are in English. Thursday 15:15-17.00 at the Annedalseminariet at Room 303.

October 27 with Mathias Wåg, Redaktör för antologin I stundens hetta och ansvarig utgivare för tidningen Brand. “I stundens hetta – Svarta block, vita overaller och osynliga partier”. Seminar are in Swedish. Thursday 15:15-17.00 at the Annedalseminariet at Room 419.

November 10 with Paulina de los Reyes, professor i ekonomisk historia och verksam vid Ekonomisk Historiska Institutionen, Stockholms Universitet. “Intersektionalitet, makt och motstånd”. Seminar are in Swedish. Thursday 15:15-17.00 at the Annedalseminariet at Room 303.

November 24 with Elin Andersson, aktivist och freelansjournalist. “Är det verkligen fred vi vill ha? – om risken för ett nytt krig om ockuperade Västsahara”. Seminar are in English or possible Swedish. Thursday 15:15-17.00 at the Annedalseminariet at Room 303.

December 8 with Sven-Eric Liedman, professor i Idé- och lärdomshistoria vid Göteborgs Universitet. “Hets – marknadsliberala skola med konservativa ideal”. Seminar are in Swedish. Thursday 15:15-17.00 at the Annedalseminariet, hörsal.

Resistance Studies Magazine back again! Call for Papers

jj July 29th, 2011

The Resistance Studies Magazine is a peer-reviewed, on-line, and open-access magazine for the studies of resistance and social change (http://rsmag.org/)

We are back after a break and will have a relaunch this fall. We will continue to be a peer-reviewed journal and we have an expanded editorial board.

After a first selection by the editor all articles we want to include will be sent anonymous to at least two reviewers for comments and advise.

We will consider:

- Theoretical and empirical articles on power, resistance and social change.

- Reviews of scholarly articles and books.

Articles submitted before September 1. will be included in the process for texts to be published in our October issue. We accept manuscripts in Word, Open Office or .rtf formats and ask contributors to read the guidelines for submissions here: http://rsmag.org/?page_id=15

For submissions and drafts, please use the following e-mail address: editor (at) rsmag (dot) org

Yours sincerely

Jørgen Johansen

Please help us to let this call be distributed to all relevant individuals, networks, and institutions.


————————————————-
Resistance Studies Magazine

http://rsmag.org/

Editor: Jørgen Johansen
Cellphone: +46 761481011
Office: +46 534 30123
Skype: jj_ahimsa
e-mail: editor (at) rsmag (dot) org
snail mail: J. Johansen, Sparsnas 1010, 66891 Ed, Sweden

As the drop excavates the Stone – The work of Amnesty International from a resistance perspective

Stellan Vinthagen May 25th, 2011

Amnesty International is one of the largest and most recognized human rights organisazitions in the world with more than 2.8 million supporters worldwide in about 150 countries. Traditionally, Amnesty has worked with the promotion of the civil and political rights, even though the organization during this time has claimed that all of the rights in the UN´s Universal Declaration on Human Rights are valid. Thus, big changes have occurred within the organization during the last couple of years. Today, Amnesty also work with the promotion of the economic, social and cultural rights. This work was set forth in the launch of the global campaign “Demand dignity” in May of 2009. Within this campaign, Amnesty is recognizing that poverty is in fact a result of human rights violations. Even the methods for activism that Amnesty is using have partly changed during the years.

During this seminary we will present the changes that have occurred within Amnesty as an organization during the last couple of years. Our focus point will be the activist work within the Swedish section, because this is what we have experience from. We will connect the work of Amnesty to relevant resistance theories in order to create a picture of how the organization can be considered to be an actor of resistance, both nationally as well as internationally.

Elin Åman is currently a student at the masters program in Human Rights at School of Global Studies and an active member of Amnesty International. She is the coordinator of the Swedish sections special group for economic, social and cultural rights.

Johanna Tjernström has a Master’s degree in Global Studies at School of Global Studies and is an active member in Amnesty International, among other things as a board member of the district of Gothenburg.

Annedalsseminariet – Seminariegatan 1A
Thursday 15.00 -1700. Seminar will be in English at room 419.

Welcome to the seminar
Free and open for everyone

Call for papers: Resistance Studies Panel at ISA, San Diego, 2012

Stellan Vinthagen May 12th, 2011

Dear Resistance Researchers,

We are planning to organise a resistance studies panel at the International Studies Assocation (ISA) in San Diego  2012 (see http://www.isanet.org). Organisers of the panel are Mona Lilja and Stellan Vinthagen. The plan is: (1) to discuss resistance studies (2) to meet each other live! (3) to make our work known for others who might be interested. So, if you think this is interesting, join us! Send your abstracts (with title) to Stellan Vinthagen (stellan[dot]vinthagen[at]gmail[dot]com) at the LATEST the 22 May, and then we will put up the panel and connect your paper to the panel. If many people submit papers we register the ones we get first.

However, we are also planning to have meeting and dinner during the same day as our panel, and all will be invited to this that show interest.

All the best,

Mona Lilja and Stellan Vinthagen

Extra Seminar: Genome Hackers

Stellan Vinthagen May 2nd, 2011

Extra seminar with resistance relevance:

Genome Hackers: How amateur biologists are challenging Big Bio and making Dna hackable Seminar, Friday 6th May, 10:00-12:00, rum F417, Skanstorget 18, Gothenburg

Alessandro Delfanti is a PhD candidate in Science and Society at the  University of Milan and the International School for Advanced Studies. He has been a visiting fellow at the UCLA Center for Society and Genetics in Los Angeles. His research interests are related to open access and open source and how these practices interact with scientists’ cultures and the socioeconomic configuration of contemporary biology. Alessandro also tackles science, intellectual property and today’s
capitalism as a journalist and a political activist. He teaches Sociology of New Media and is an editor of the open access Journal of Science Communication. Genome Hackers is the title of his PhD dissertation.

Turkey: Civil Disobedience? Or Political Resistance?

jj April 23rd, 2011

From: SDE
The movement initiated by the BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) and the DTK (Congress of Democratic Society) in the Southeast Anatolia is defined as civil disobedience by the pioneers of the movement and it continues under this stamp. Undoubtedly the people living in the region have problems and there is no doubt that they are at a position to express them. At such a point, the discussable dimension of the issue is the meaning of this action and its relationship with the solution of the demands. To ask in a simpler tone, before its contribution, is this civil disobedience movement?

In order to answer this question we should firstly refer to the meaning of the civil disobedience. In fact, civil, civil society, interest group, political party and all the concepts like this has a meaning and a definition in the western political culture where they were born. In other words, we can’t pad them as we wish. If we do something under the title of such a concept we have to take its meaning there into consideration and do the minimum requirements of these concepts. The civil resistance is not exempt from this condition.

The concept of civil disobedience has been on stage since the mid 19th century. In short, civil disobedience is a civil action taken when it is convinced that there remains no political or judicial way of expressing the demand of public against authoritarian bodies. As clearly understood from this short definition, it is the state of protesting a legal regulation on behalf of legitimate demands by a public sect which doesn’t find a legal regulation to be legitimate. Despite of the appearance of representatives at a position of being the leaders of public this movement is a public movement in all aspects.

More importantly the civil disobedience begins where the political struggle ends. In other words, it is the job of taking the risk of an action considered as crime since it is illegal at a point where the hope of political struggle for social demands disappears. The most consistent dimensions of it are belief in the legitimacy of the demands, the warranty of depersonalization by attributing to the society and not resorting to violence.

Then, under the lights of this description is the movement that we are talking about is a civil disobedience?

As clearly known, it has been put forward that the Kurdish civil action has been done for four main demands which has never been accomplished. These are, failure in education in mother tongue, the discharge of the political prisoners, stopping the civil and military operations and pulling down the election thresholds below 10 percent.

As clearly known the civil disobedience is claimed to be done for four main reasons which have not been resolved. These are: the failures in initiating education in mother tongue, in releasing the political prisoners, in sustaining the civil and military operations and in dropping the election thresholds blow ten percent. Undoubtedly these are problem to be resolved and the demands for their solution are the very basic right of a sect of the society.

However, the solution ways within the frame of the constitution have not been followed adequately. In other words, the so called civil disobedience does not carry the requirement of reaching the end of all political ways. Regardless of what the citizens attending the movement claim we can clearly say that the organizations pioneering this movement do not carry this requirements. We don’t need to too much back, if this movement took place a few years ago it would be more appropriate to be named as civil disobedience than today, because civil disobedience is a multidimensional risky and marginal way which is taken when all political hopes. Whereas, the Kurdish Issue summarized above in a few points has never been so close to the solution since the Republican era as it is today. The state expresses that serious mistakes have been committed and these should be made up for. It also tries to purge a structure which is the main actor of all the mistakes mentioned above. It tries to annihilate a militaristic structure which converted the issue into gangrene in a pro-security system at a pathological level and involved in terrorism at this point. A significant public opinion has come about in civil society regarding the requirement of the solution of aforementioned issue and many civil society institutions declared that they are supportive to the endeavors for the solution. Research institutions such as Institute of Strategic Thinking (SDE) and Politics, Economy and Society Researches Association (SETAV) have published reports that would enlighten the community in this respect as a logistic support to inform the political decision makers in this direction.

In such an environment the public opinion directs the attentions to those who consider themselves to represent the Kurds. However, the things done are surprising. It is an obvious observation that an ordinary observer can see that these they haven’t done any contribution to the process. In short, since the Kurdish politicians could not do politics at the position of policy making all the political ways have been wasted thus the turn of civil disobedience has not come yet. A deputy throw stones to the security forces with children poured down to the streets by illegal organizations instead of doing politics. Of course, the problematic consequence of this action is that it undermines the discourses of civil disobedience.

One of the main stalemates of the Kurdish politicians is that they cannot develop a policy out of the concerns of the illegal Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and its leader Ocalan, whereas politics requires clarity, the ability to think alternatives and the ability to prefer the most profitable choice among many different choices. The establishment of many things in political arena in accordance with Ocalan closes the way for the affirmative politics. Then almost all claims are deprived of frankness or clarity and proof.

What is more, the relationship between the PKK and its leader Ocalan with the political structure considered to have sit at the very center of the case has been discussed. There may not be an organic relation but the process is full of cooperation instances. It is clear that that the pro-security system felt insecurity and even committing its illegal action via this party. This situation can be explained with the idea that everyone founds its calculations on his interests but the process show a deeper relation impression.

In the mean time, the representatives of the civil disobedience who demand the “cease of civil and military operations” didn’t contribute anything to the initiation process which tries to purge the pro-Ergenekon militia structure which is at the very center of the respective operation. They adopted similar attitude with the Republican People Party (CHP) and Nationalist Progress Party (MHP) which have benefited from these clandestine structures and try to take the case from the judicial bodies via deputyship and etc.

What is more, dropping the election threshold is not a main problem of civil society platform. As this claim is not sensible just at the wake of the elections it also concerns the political representatives seriously because, acceptance of a party considering itself as the particular representative of a large landscape and dense population that it would not be able to pass the 10 percent threshold and the reason for falling below in the former elections is not the threshold itself. It was because of the inconsistence of the representatives and unconvincing for the population that they tried to lead.

It seems that those who consider themselves to be the representatives or organizations of Kurdish citizens do not remain at a point that will contribute to the solution. Although it can be said that the main cause of this is their conditioning themselves to illegal structuring and thus could not get to the solution area it can also be said that a part of them are in favor of deadlocking. That is, they may have thought that in case of solution they will lose their functions. A great majority of our prudent citizens who doesn’t want even to remain among the marginal 10 percent political group observes the case closely. In these circumstances these citizens see the movement named as civil disobedience as such instead they perceive it as political disobedience which has not been accomplished.

Special Report: Inside the Egyptian revolution

jj April 13th, 2011

(Reuters) - In early 2005, Cairo-based computer engineer Saad Bahaar was trawling the internet when he came across a trio of Egyptian expatriates who advocated the use of non-violent techniques to overthrow strongman Hosni Mubarak. Bahaar, then 32 and interested in politics and how Egypt might change, was intrigued by the idea. He contacted the group, lighting one of the fuses that would end in freedom in Tahrir Square six years later.

A protester stands in front of a burning barricade during a demonstration in Cairo January 28, 2011.

A protester stands in front of a burning barricade during a demonstration in Cairo January 28, 2011.

The three men he approached — Hisham Morsy, a physician, Wael Adel, a civil engineer by training, and Adel’s cousin Ahmed, a chemist — had all left Egypt for jobs in London.

Inspired by the way Serbian group Otpor had brought down Slobodan Milosevic through non-violent protests in 2000, the trio studied previous struggles. One of their favorite thinkers was Gene Sharp, a Boston-based academic who was heavily influenced by Mahatma Gandhi. The group had set up a webpage in 2004 to propagate civil disobedience ideas in Arabic.

At first, the three young Egyptians’ activities were purely theoretical. But in November 2005, Wael Adel came to Cairo to give a three-day training session on civil disobedience. In the audience were about 30 members of Kefaya, an anti-Mubarak protest group whose name means “enough” in Arabic. Kefaya had gained prominence during the September 2005 presidential elections which Mubarak won by a landslide. During these protests, they had been attacked by thugs and some women members had been stripped naked. Bahaar joined Adel on the course and his career as an underground trainer in non-violent activism was born.

Adel taught activists how to function within a decentralized network. Doing so would make it harder for the security services to snuff them out by arresting leaders. They were also instructed on how to maintain a disciplined non-violent approach in the face of police brutality, and how to win over bystanders.

“The third party, the bystander sitting on the fence, will join when he realizes that security forces’ use of violence is unwarranted,” Bahaar said in one of a series of interviews with Reuters. “Security will harass you to provoke an angry violent response to justify a repressive crackdown in the name of law and order. But you must avoid this trap.”

The process took time. As Wael Adel put it during an interview in a rundown Cairo cafe in March, there was a process of “trial and error” before Egypt’s non-violent warriors were strong enough to begin to take on a dictator.

Kefaya, for example, did run some more campaigns – including one for judicial independence in 2006. But it failed to stir mass protests or expand beyond the middle class elite. There was also internal disagreement between its younger activists and older politicians. By 2007, it had lost its momentum and many had quit.

THE ACADEMY OF CHANGE

In the meantime, the trio of thinkers had morphed into an organization called the Academy of Change — based in London and ultimately moving to Qatar. The Academy became a window for Egypt’s activists into civil disobedience movements outside the Arab world. To disseminate the new methods of resistance, it wrote books about nonviolent activism with a focus on the Arab world: “Civil Disobedience,” “Nonviolent War the 3rd Choice” and “AOC MindQuake” that were published in 2007.

A year later the Academy published “Shields to Protect Against Fear”, a manual on techniques to protect one’s body against attacks by security services during a protest. “The idea of non-violent protest is not martyrdom,” Adel said. “We knew to get ordinary Egyptians, and Arabs, to face their governments and security, they have to have tools to protect themselves. This boosts the morale and enthusiasm to go to the street.”

The ideas espoused by the Academy spread through Egypt. The calls for change reached industrial areas where large groups of workers have long suffered low wages and bad work conditions. Mounting economic hardship mobilized workers in the Nile Delta city of Mahalla El Kobra, home to the country’s biggest textile factory. The workers had been in contact with Kefaya activists and other independent labor activists. The groundwork for a sustained mass mobilization was being prepared.

The first real victory sprung from Mahalla in December 2006 when over 20,000 textile workers staged a six-day strike over unpaid bonuses. The protesters — peaceful but stubborn — confused police forces accustomed to clashing with disorganized crowds. The government offered concessions to avoid losses from a halt to production.

Then came a setback. In April 2008, workers in Mahalla went out on strike again, over rising prices. An online call by Kefaya’s former activists to support the Mahalla strike on fizzled out. Meanwhile, in Mahalla, the protest turned violent. Activists claim plain-clothes police destroyed public and police property and then blamed it on the protesters. Bloody clashes between police and Mahalla citizens lasted three days. Police fired live rounds and teargas, while enraged crowds threw rocks. At least three people were killed, hundreds were wounded and scores arrested.

More discipline was needed. Bahaar began to widen his efforts, traveling to disparate locations farther away from the capital to extend grassroots awareness of peaceful civil disobedience.
Meanwhile, ex-Kefaya activists formed the April 6 Facebook group, using the internet to gather supporters. The group adopted the Otpor clenched-fist logo and some members travelled to Serbia for civil disobedience training.

THE FACEBOOK ACTIVISTS

February 2010. Mohamed ElBaradei was back in Cairo. The former head of the International Atomic Energy Association and Nobel peace prize winner had inspired some of Egypt’s younger generation that change was possible. Several of them had created a Facebook page backing ElBaradei as the country’s next president. But how were they to achieve their goal given Mubarak’s repressive regime? They turned to the Academy for help.

The Academy directed them to its online training manuals, which the Facebook activists tried for a while. But despite their internet savvy, many felt that relying entirely on online training was too theoretical. Couldn’t the Academy give them practical training?

Enter Bahaar.

Those who had signed up to the Facebook page were divided into groups of 100. Bahaar trained eight of the groups in different parts of the country using, among other tools, PowerPoint presentations that explained how you maximize the power of a protest movement. Every protester had a family, and around the family was a wider community, Bahaar explained. If a protester was arrested or beaten by the police, his or her family might be radicalized. Similarly, if a policeman engaged in brutality, his family and social network might not be supportive. By maintaining disciplined non-violent activity, the regime’s power could be progressively weakened.

Why wasn’t Bahaar himself arrested? He says this was partly because he was working underground but also, he thinks, because the security services didn’t judge his non-violent approach a threat.

Others were not so lucky. Khaled Said, 28, was beaten to death by police in Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city, in June 2010. His family said he had posted a video showing police officers sharing the spoils of a drugs bust. Said’s body was barely recognizable and the act of brutality galvanized further protests — in particular, the anti-torture Facebook page “We are Khaled Said,” created by Google executive Wael Ghonim and underground activist AbdelRahman Mansour.

The page played a pivotal role in spreading non-violent strategies such as “flash mob” silent protests, where groups of people suddenly gather in a public place and do something unusual in unison for a short time before dispersing. Instructions for a nationwide “flash mob” were posted on the page. Participants were told to dress in black and arrive at specific locations in small groups to skirt the ban on large public gatherings. They formed single files along main roads with their backs turned to the street. After a certain hour they marched away.

“The Khaled Said page drew countless willing supporters, many apolitical, because its focus was ending human rights violations and that is an issue that affects all citizens. The page set gradual, easy-to-handle tasks. People felt safe and joined,” said Ahmed Saleh, one of the organizers working with the ElBaradei youth campaign and Khaled Said page.

Like Mahalla’s 2006 strike, the flash mob was a new type of protest unfamiliar to security forces. Its cadres were organized, civil, and well diffused across Egypt — and seemingly leaderless. The police didn’t know how to react. Participants were trained in non-violent techniques — both online, by the “Khaled Said” page founders, and on the ground, by Bahaar.

FREEDOM SQUARE

In late 2010, the Khaled Said page decided to call for something more ambitious — a nationwide march to demand the dissolution of parliament, the disbanding of the state security agency, seen by Egyptians as the state’s main arm of torture, and the resignation of the interior minister.

The date chosen for mass action was January 25, Egypt’s national police day. Mansour — who was conscripted into the army on January 17 — posted the call for the nationwide march on December 28. Protesters were urged to march to Cairo’s Tahrir Square and other public spaces across the country. The page was not yet calling for Mubarak to go. It was Tunisia’s popular uprising, which reached its climax on January 14 with the ousting of President Zein El Abedine Ben Ali, which turned Egypt’s protests into an uprising.

The protest drew people of all ages and backgrounds. By 8 p.m. a unified, single chant inspired by Tunisia rang around Tahrir (Arabic for “freedom”) Square: “The people demand the fall of the regime.” By then, many understood at least a few of the tactics of non-violent disobedience. “You don’t need to train every single protester, only a small group of activists well connected with people in their local areas. Ideas spread like a virus,” says Bahaar.

Protesters conversed with riot police sent to cordon off the Square. The aim was simple: win over those in uniform. Women gave out food and biscuits to hungry conscripts and officers.
Young people quickly regrouped after being dispersed. Some climbed security personnel carriers to drag down officers firing teargas and water cannons, raising the crowd’s resolve to push security back and gain more ground. A pattern of whistling and rhythmic banging of stones on metal fences in Tahrir spontaneously developed when they needed to rally reinforcements to hold the fort. Protesters would also whistle to signal their success in forcing security to pull back.

Encouraged by the mass protests, the Khaled Said page posted a second online call for Friday, January 28, naming the event a “revolution” to overthrow the regime.

April 6 activists and youth from the Muslim Brotherhood formed the crucial front lines of protesters who broke security cordons and later faced attacks from pro-Mubarak loyalists. The youth of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most organized opposition force whose members are accustomed to working within disciplined ranks, played a critical role in organizing activists into security teams to guard Tahrir Square’s multiple entrances. They searched those who came into the square for weapons or fluids that could be turned into Molotov cocktails. They wanted neither infiltrators nor supporters to turn to violence.

To help demonstrators hold true to non-violent resistance, the Academy posted online an eight-minute film covering similar ground to its 2008 manual. This explained how people could protect their chests and backs with makeshift shields made of plastic and thick cardboard, and how to mitigate the effect of teargas by covering their faces with handkerchiefs doused in vinegar, lemons or onions.

For the most part, people were having fun. They also took pride in their ownership of the square. Music was put on. Volunteers and protesters swept it, collected garbage and built outhouses.

“Non-violent action is not just about non-violence, but also about joy and happiness,” Adel said. “The festive atmosphere was a key element to drawing the high numbers that Egypt had rarely seen. People felt safe so they came out. They saw in Tahrir what Egypt could possibly be in the future and they wanted to be part of this new Egypt.”

The protests were not entirely peaceful. In particular, scuffles broke out after a group of thugs thought to have been organized by Mubarak’s henchmen charged through the square on horses and camels on February 2, beating and whipping protestors in what came to be known as the “Battle of the Camel”. Many demonstrators fought back, throwing stones at Mubarak loyalists to keep them from entering the square. But there was no wholesale riot and discipline returned.

“The key to a successful non-violent revolt is its ability to constantly reinvent and correct itself,” Adel says. “If violence or conflict breaks out, quickly resolve it while finding ways to avoid it.” Trained cadres shouted “peaceful, peaceful!” to restrain their hotter-headed colleagues. Soon after, the army, which had not been involved in the clashes, said it would not fire on unarmed civilians.

Nine days later Mubarak was gone.

COP: A Living Movement: Toward a World of Peace, Solidarity, and Justice

Stellan Vinthagen April 5th, 2011

Joint Conference of PJSA and the Gandhi King Conference

Hosted by the Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN ~ October 21-23, 2011


The Peace and Justice Studies Association and The Gandhi-King Conference

Jointly present a dynamic conference experience:

“A Living Movement: Toward a World of Peace, Solidarity, and Justice”

The Peace & Justice Studies Association (PJSA) and the Gandhi-King Conference (GKC) are pleased to announce our first-ever jointly sponsored annual conference. The PJSA and the GKC are partnering this year to promote dynamic exchange among individuals and organizations working for a more just and peaceful world. This partnership promises a unique conference experience that combines the best of scholarly and grassroots perspectives on the pressing justice issues in our communities and around the globe.

We invite submissions for the 2011 Annual Conference, to be held on the campus of Christian Brothers University, in Memphis, Tennessee, from Friday October 21 through Sunday October 23, 2011. We welcome proposals from a wide range of disciplines, professions, and perspectives that address issues related to the broad themes of solidarity, community, advocacy, education, and activism as they are brought to bear in the pursuit of peace and justice.

Our goal is to create a stimulating environment where scholars, activists, educators, practitioners, artists, and students can build community and explore interconnections. We invite participants to engage in various modes of exploration, including papers and presentations, hands-on practitioner workshops, and a youth summit. We aim to foster an experience in which attendees will have multiple opportunities to meet and dialogue in both formal and informal settings, against the unique historical backdrop of Memphis, TN.

The deadline for proposal submissions is April 15, 2011. Abstracts are limited to 150 words, and must be submitted electronically through the PJSA website.

For more information, contact: info@peacejusticestudies.org or info@gandhikingconference.org

COP: Nonviolent Civil Resistance

Stellan Vinthagen April 5th, 2011

Call for Papers (Please forward and distribute widely)

Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change volume 34

Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, a peer-reviewed volume published by Emerald Group Publishing, encourages submissions for Volume 34 of the series. This volume will have a thematic focus on nonviolent civil resistance and will be guest edited by Lester Kurtz (George Mason University) and Sharon Erickson Nepstad (University of New Mexico). We encourage submissions on the following topics: variations of nonviolent strategies, the effects of repression on nonviolent movements, reasons for the recent rise of nonviolent revolutions, factors shaping the outcome of nonviolent struggles, and the international diffusion of nonviolent methods.

Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change (RSMCC) is a fully peer-reviewed series of original research that has been published annually for over 30 years. We continue to publish the work of many of the leading scholars in social movements, social change, and peace and conflict studies. Although RSMCC enjoys a wide library subscription base for the book versions, all volumes are now published both in book form and are also available online to subscribing libraries through Emerald Insight. This ensures wider distribution and easier online access to your scholarship while maintaining the esteemed book series at the same time.

RSMCC boasts quick turn-around times, generally communicating peer reviewed-informed decisions within 10-12 weeks of receipt of submissions.

Submission guidelines

To be considered for inclusion in Volume 34, papers should arrive by October 1, 2011.

Send submissions as a WORD document attached to an email to BOTH Lester Kurtz and Sharon Erickson Nepstad, guest RSMCC editors for Volume 34, at lkurtz (at) gmu (dot) edu and nepstad (at) unm (dot) edu. Remove all self-references (in text and in bibliography) save for on the title page, which should include full contact information for all authors.

  • Include the paper’s title and the abstract on the first page of the text itself.
  • For initial submissions, any standard social science in-text citation and bibliographic system is acceptable.

For more information, please visit the RSMCC homepage.

Please forward and distribute widely.

COP: A Decade of Terrorism and Counter-terrorism since 9/11

Stellan Vinthagen March 30th, 2011

A Decade of Terrorism and Counter-terrorism since 9/11: Taking stock and new directions in research and policy

Call for Papers

Organising body: Critical Studies on Terrorism Working Group (CSTWG) of the British International Studies Association

Supported by: The British Academy, Consortium for Research on Terrorology and Political Violence; Communication Research cluster, University of Strathclyde

Location(s): University of Strathclyde and Glasgow City Chambers, Central Glasgow.

September 11, 2011 will mark ten years since the terrorist attacks on America and the start of the global ‘war on terrorism’. The extensive changes engendered by these processes in the last decade have yet to be fully understood and appreciated. There is consequently a real need for rigorous and sustained retrospective analysis. In a year that will see a wide range of special commemorative and academic events, this conference will seek to assess the widespread impact of terrorism and counter-terrorism since 2001 from a distinctly ‘critical’ perspective. More specifically, the conference will foreground inter-disciplinarity and seek to review what we have learnt in a period of unprecedented interest in the study of terrorism and counter terrorism. There will be a range of debate sessions between ‘critical’ and ‘mainstream’ scholars, and engagement with policy actors, including speakers from the government ‘Contest II’/’Prevent’ campaigns, the police, legal officials, civil libertarians and Muslim community representatives.

Key note speakers include Joseba Zulaika (University of Nevada in Reno), Michael Stohl (University of California Santa Barbara), Michael Scheuer (ex-CIA), Richard Jackson (Aberystwyth) Caron Gentry (St Andrews) and Dr. Bob Lambert (Exeter, ex-Special Branch)

The conference is intended to play a significant role in the expansion of interest in, and the re-orientation towards a more empirically informed and theoretically sophisticated practice of, studies of terrorism and political violence. Subsidiary aims include to foster knowledge exchange between social science and natural science disciplines; and to contribute to the re-evaluation of policy on terrorism and counter terrorism.

Scholarship on terrorism has expanded exponentially in the past decade. The subject itself is clearly of major importance inside and outside the academy. While the conference is an initiative from scholars who are part of an openly ‘critical’ working group on terrorism, the conference organizers are concerned to open up dialogue on the shared problems of data, methods and theory which most observers agree are important issues in ‘terrorism studies’. We will bring together an unusually interdisciplinary group including exponents of both ‘orthodox’ and ‘critical’ terrorism studies, and those from other areas of social and natural science who are often not part of the mainstream discussion of ‘terrorism’.

There will be a strong policy and civil society element to the conference with policy actors and human rights activists debating responses to terrorism, civil liberties, and ‘suspect communities’.  We will also host roundtable discussions featuring those with experience of political violence from a variety of conflicts.

In addition, we will host advanced research training workshops for conference participants, together with interdisciplinary research sessions including a small number of ‘master classes’ where leading researchers will reflect on interdisciplinarity and on their own research methods and practice. We intend  to offer both early career and established scholars an opportunity to discuss practical questions outside the formality of the set-piece keynote addresses and we hope that this will encourage sharing of new and developing methods in the field especially in the context of the new opportunities and issues thrown up for methods by new digital technologies. We hope to use these methods workshops to focus in the interdisciplinary workshops on fostering research networking for the future.

Conference themes
The conference is intended to look back and review how we have understood terrorism and counter-terrorism, and attempt to think through where the study of terrorism and counter-terrorism should go from here. Themes in the conference include, among others:

•    ‘Non-state terrorism’, including but not limited to terrorism as an instrument of power;
•    ’State terror’ and repression, including, but not limited to Western State terror;
•    ’Counter-terrorism’, risk governance and ‘radicalisation’;
•    ‘Advances in terrorism studies’ with a particular focus on data, methods and theory, including the contribution of critical terrorism studies;
•    ‘Communicating terrorism’: cybersecurity, social media, influence agenda, public diplomacy, information operations and strategic communications;
•    Gender and terrorism/counter-terrorism;
•    Historical materialism, terrorism and counter-terrorism;
•    The war on terror and the global South;
•    The ways in which conflict resolution can inform the study of terrorism and counter-terrorism policy.

The conference will include a mix of plenaries, keynotes, panel, debate and workshop sessions.

Abstracts and Expressions of Interest
The organizing committee welcomes the submission of
1.    Abstracts (max. 350 words) on these and related topics;
2.    Panel proposals (with a minimum of 3 abstracts, plus a short overview of the panel (circa 250 words))
3.    Workshop proposals (with either a policy/civil society or methodological/practical orientation max 350 words of workshop description plus max 250 words on any individual elements)
All abstracts will be reviewed by the organizing committee to meet rigorous academic standards. Abstracts will be reviewed for relevance, conceptual quality, innovation and clarity of presentation. At least one author of accepted papers is required to attend the conference in order to present the paper.

Abstracts should be sent to Jan Bissett jan.bissett@strath.ac.uk by Wednesday 1 June 2011.

Publication
Papers from the conference will be selected competitively for inclusion in either:
1.    A special issue of the journal, Critical Studies on Terrorism; or
2.    An edited volume on the conference theme published by a major academic publisher.
These outputs will be edited and overseen by an overlapping editorial team led by the organisers. It is anticipated that the journal will focus on advances in terrorism studies. The book will focus substantively on 9/11 and its legacies incorporating interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspectives. The edited collection will be divided into key sections reflecting the conference themes. It is important to note that the papers for the book will be needed in near final draft form in advance of the conference.
Costs: Conference costs  will be announced shortly. It is envisaged that full costs will be around £200 with reductions for student, policy and civil society participation. Accommodation will not be included in conference costs and should be booked separately. It is the responsibility of delegates to book their own accommodation. A list of hotels, hostels and B&Bs will be provided by the conference organizers.

Conference organizing committee
David Miller (Strathclyde) (convenor), Helen Dexter (Manchester), Piers Robinson (Manchester), Dave Whyte (Liverpool), Vicki Sentas (King’s), Bela Arora (University of Wales, Newport), Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet (Manchester), Jessie Blackbourn (Salford), Idrees Ahmad (Strathclyde), Roy Revie (Strathclyde), Steven Harkins (Strathclyde), Rizwaan Sabir (Strahclyde), Tom Mills (Strathclyde), Cyrus Tata (Law, Strathclyde), Rachel Hendrick (Strathclyde), Rani Dhanda (Strathclyde)

Administrative support Jan Bissett:jan.bissett@strath.ac.uk
Conference blog: http://decadeofterrorismandcounterterrorism.wordpress.com/
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/911plus10

Keynote speakers
The conference will hear several keynote addresses from world leading authors on terrorism and political violence.  Each Plenary speaker will also run a Masterclass on research techniques in terrorism specifically aimed at Postgraduate students and early career researchers.

Keynote addresses confirmed so far:
Joseba Zulaika is the Director of the Centre for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada in Reno and an anthropologist by training. Among his research interests are the international discourse of terrorism. His 2009 book Terrorism: the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy was published by the University of Chicago Press. His recent explorations of terrorism focus in particular on the role of intellectuals and reflect on the domain of terrorism studies.

This self-reflexive focus – which is comparatively rare in academic work on terrorism – is the reason why we particularly want Prof Zulaika to deliver a keynote at the conference.
Michael Stohl is Professor of Communication at the University of California Santa Barbara. Stohl’s current research focuses on organizational and political communication with special reference to terrorism, human rights and global relations. Stohl’s foundational work on state terrorism, his focus on Terrorism as communicatively constituted violence, and his current work on terrorism networks and counter terrorism are the key reasons why he is being invited to deliver a keynote. He will also lead a workshop on network analysis in relation to terrorism.

Michael Scheuer (invited) spent 22-years with the CIA in which he held various positions including Senior Adviser for the Usama Bin Laden Department, Chief of the Southwest/Southeast Asia Counternarcotics Operation, and Chief of the Sunni Militant Unit. Dr. Scheuer is the author of Imperial Hubris. Why the West is Losing the War on Terrorism (2004) and Through Our Enemies’ Eyes: Osama Bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of the United States (2003), as well as Marching Towards Hell: America and Islam After Iraq (2008).

Richard Jackson Professor in International Politics (Aberystwyth). He is the founding editor of the journal Critical Studies on Terrorism. Together with Jeroen Gunning and Marie Breen Smyth, Richard Jackson is co-editor of the Routledge Critical Terrorism Studies Book Series. Richard Jackson has published numerous books and articles on terrorism-related issues and international conflict resolution.

Caron Gentry was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas and has recently taken the post of Lecturer at the University of St Andrews. Her previous work has been published in the journal Terrorism and Political Violence.  Her research interests are gender, terrorism and political violence.

Burjanadze: ‘We are Ready for Peaceful Revolution’

jj March 18th, 2011

From Civil.ge

Nino Burjanadze

Nino Burjanadze

Nino Burjanadze, former parliamentary speaker and leader of opposition Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, told an indoor rally of People’s Assembly on March 15, that a peaceful revolution was needed and the Assembly was ready for that.

“We need a large number of people for one reason – to force these authorities to go peacefully, without blood. Yes, this country today, unfortunately, needs a revolution and if no other way is left, we are ready for it [revolution], of course, through peaceful means,” Burjanadze said.

“We are not going to raise our hands even against those compatriots, who committed crime, but if someone dares to raise a hand against us, they will receive a fierce response,” she said and called on police and army to “serve the country and people and not the authorities.”

“We are not alone in this struggle and the entire world will stand beside us in the struggle for justice like it stood beside the Egyptian and Tunisian peoples,” she said.

Burjanadze was speaking at an indoor rally in Tbilisi at the basketball arena packed with activists from People’s Assembly.

The People’s Assembly is a movement launched last year by opposition-minded, public figures, probably the most prominent of them Nona Gaprindashvili, who was women’s world chess champion from 1962 to 1978.

Nino Burjanadze has long been a strongest backer of the movement among politicians and the movement became largely associated with Burjanadze’s political platform.

During a rally outside the Parliament in November 2010, the People’s Assembly announced about start of setting up “resistance committees” throughout the country “to prepare for civil disobedience campaign.”

it was announced at the rally on March 15 that such committees had been established in recent months in “almost each and every town and village” in the country and the People’s Assembly was ready to act.

Nona Gaprindashvili, the chairperson of People’s Assembly, announced at the rally that the movement was starting “a round-the-clock working regime”, getting ready for “a decisive, final stage of struggle.”

She said that this “final stage” would start after Bright Week – a week following the Orthodox Easter, which this year is marked on April 24.

Gaprindashvili said, that by that time, beginning of May, the People’s Assembly “will announce a concrete action plan and the entire Georgia should be ready for this day.”

“We will fight to the end unless we set Georgia free from this criminal regime,” she said.

The People’s Assembly also announced about the readiness “to cooperate with “everyone who genuinely aspires setting Georgia free from this regime and who will not make a deal with the authorities.”

Most of the opposition parties have distanced themselves from the People’s Movement, not least because of the movement’s association with Nino Burjanadze.

SSU professor: Egypt revolt not spontaneous

jj March 15th, 2011

By JEREMY HAY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Cynthia Boaz

Cynthia Boaz

Observers worldwide were captivated in February as millions of Egyptians overthrew President Hosni Mubarek, who has been in power since 1981. Many also described it as spontaneous.

It wasn’t, said Cynthia Boaz, a political scientist at Sonoma State University.

She met with some of the students who became its leaders in 2008, at a workshop co-organized by the Washington-based nonprofit where she is a paid consultant, the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

They discussed the lessons and methods of nonviolent mass civil resistance, and the skills it requires.

Boaz remains in contact with them and said that what is now known as the January 25 Movement, while sparked by a similar revolt in Tunisia, was anything but impromptu.

“I didn’t know they were planning … to start on Jan. 25,” she said, “but I knew the movement had planned for a major action. It’s an organized, planned, disciplined movement.”

Despite the scattered violence that continues, the revolution was overwhelmingly peaceful, waged not with weapons but with voices and placards and mass gatherings.

Boaz, 40, is an expert in nonviolent struggle who consults with educators, activists and students from countries ranging from Spain to Iran. She said toppling repressive regimes is a milestone in the capacity of organized civil resistance movements.

“What happened in Egypt represents a systemwide demand for a new alternative,” she said. “It’s not just about removing the old system from power.

“It was important to get something new for Egyptians, and that really is about democracy.”

Some of the effects are already evident in the largely peaceful protests happening across the Middle East in countries from Bahrain to Yemen.

“It isn’t like these movements have emerged overnight. They’ve just been waiting for an opportunity,” Boaz said.

Libya is an exception because “it’s not organized, there’s not a coherent, unified message,” she said. “It’s not disciplined, and it’s not non-violent.”

Egyptian activists worked for years to identify and neutralize the sources of power in the nation of 83 million. Their effort extended to having coffee with members of the Army.

“It’s a very nuanced divide and conquer strategy,” Boaz said. “You genuinely build real relationships with people, and you begin to help them question the legitimacy of the ruler and the system they’re upholding.”

—–O—–

With the events in the Middle East, Cynthia Boaz is in demand. Before flying to Chile Friday to meet with Latin American diplomats, she talked with The Press Democrat about Egypt’s revolution.

Q: What took place in Egypt has variously been termed a revolt, an uprising, a revolution. Which would you use?

A: Revolution. When power shifted from the regime to the people, that’s what made it a “revolution.”

Q: The revolution is often described as a spontaneous event ignited by the events in Tunisia. To what degree was it organized and why does it matter?

A: This question represents a common and unfortunate misconception about nonviolent action, which is that when you see it, it’s ad-hoc, it’s spontaneous; people just decide to show up in the city square and protest.

But that takes away credit from the activists. When nonviolence succeeds … it’s planned, organized and disciplined.

Q: But doesn’t the suddenness of these events, and how they took place almost simultaneously in these countries, signify a degree of spontaneity?

A: The disaffection and frustration that people feel is long term, so in many of these cases there will be a spark that ignites a population to action.

But that doesn’t mean it’s spontaneous. It means that there may be a movement waiting for a strategic moment in time.

Q: Is it significant that the Egyptian revolution was largely nonviolent?

A: What’s won through violence has to be sustained through violence, so the only truly legitimate way to create democracy is through a bottom-up, nonviolent process.

Also, the long-term consequences of a nonviolent victory in Egypt are that it really increases the credibility of nonviolence.

Young people who are natural bases of recruitment by terrorist organizations are now seeing another option for pushing their grievances — nonviolence.

Q: Regarding legitimacy, what about the American Revolution?

A: Mass non-violent action is relatively new, since the beginning of the 20th Century. It was really perfected by Ghandi …and (the Egyptians) were also looking at Eastern Europe and what happened there in Serbia and Ukraine.

Q: Of the students you know, are any members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is expected to play a role in Egypt’s next election?

A: No. In fact, they are very clear that the movement’s goals and objectives are secular.

See the debate following the publication of this text and the corrections made by Cynthia Boaz at the bottom of this article

Bianca Jagger: We Must Declare a Non-Violent Revolution

jj March 14th, 2011

From Huffington Post

I am calling for a non-violent revolution. A call to arms, without weapons.

On Tuesday the 8th of March, I joined Annie Lennox, Cheri Lunghi, Jude Kelly, Natasha Walter and hundreds of women on a march along London’s Southbank to celebrate 100 years of International Women’s Day (IWD).

It was encouraging to see so many women come together, but we should have been thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions perhaps? The first march in 1911 saw over a million women and men campaign to end discrimination against women and to demand equal rights.

Are we so complacent that we feel we do not need to demand gender equality? Many women are convinced there is equality between men and women. The fact however is that the US has never had a female president and, in the UK there has been just one female prime minister out of 52 male leaders. Shouldn’t this be a wake up call to all those who think we have achieved gender equality?

It is true that much progress has been made since the original march for IWD, and women are excelling in many fields. We may have different lives to those of our grandmothers and even our mothers but gender equality has far from been achieved.

Non-Violent Revolutions

In recent months we have seen women at the forefront of revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Asmaa Mahfouz, a 25-year-old Egyptian woman has been credited by some as sparking the revolution in Egypt when she posted a YouTube video calling for people to join her in Tahrir Square in a fight for democracy. Of the hundreds of thousands of people who joined Asmaa Mahfouz there was as many women as men. This is a pivotal time in history for the Middle East, and women are playing a significant role in its progression towards democracy and freedom.

After such progress, it was shocking to see this week, a peaceful march led by women in Tahrir square to mark International Women’s Day met with aggression and sexual harassment from a gang of over 200 men.

In many countries around the world women have to physically fight for their voices to be heard. We in the west are lucky that we have a voice, but it must come with an obligation to fight for those women who don’t.

As we see women around the world risk their lives to fight for fairness and freedom, we should be inspired to stand up for our rights, our right to be equal; a right which was passed in 1948, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is yet to be fully achieved.

In response to those who deny the existence of gender discrimination I let the statistics speak for themselves.

Gender Inequality

Women now carry out 60% of the world’s work and produce 50% of the world’s food but only earn 10% of the world’s income and only own 1% of its property. According the UN women make up 70% of the worlds poorest. Two thirds of the 774 million illiterate adults worldwide are women. This is because 70 million girls each year are denied the right to the most basic education.

Women around the world face severe restrictions in freedom and in some cases are condemned to death for allegedly breaking bias moral and religious codes, enforced by men.

Death Penalty

In recent years many cases of gender discrimination, gender related violence and honor killings have been brought to public attention. Some of the most egregious cases I have come across are; Mosammet Hena a 14-year-old girl from Bangladesh, who was allegedly raped and was whipped to death for crimes against honour.

The disturbing case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, who was sentenced to death by stoning in Iran for adultery and murder, crimes she has repeatedly denied. Death by stoning is a mandatory sentence for “adultery while married” in Iran. After intense public outcry and campaigning by the international community, human rights organizations including my own The Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, the Iranian authorities have since announced that her death sentence has been “suspended”. At present, the outcome of her case remains unclear.

Honor Killing

Honor killings are increasing in the western world, the recent cases of the television executive Muzzammil Hassan who was found guilty of beheading his wife in a suspected honor crime and the Iraqi father, found guilty of running over his 20-year-old daughter in a Arizona car park have shocked America. In 2009 police recorded over 250 incidents of “honor”-based violence in London alone, according to the Guardian.

Female Genital Mutilation and AIDS

Female genital mutilation and AIDS are another threat to women around the world. Action Aid estimates that 75% of all young people in Sub-Saharan Africa with AIDS or HIV are women. 92 million women and girls around the world are believed to have undergone female genital mutilation.

Rape as Weapon of War

Rape has long been used a weapon of war, during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, it is estimated between 250,000-500,000 women were raped. UN Special Reporter Rene Degnu-Segui stated, “rape was the rule, it’s absence the exception”. In 1993 I traveled with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) personnel through Bosnia and Croatia on a fact finding mission to document the mass rape of women, I had been asked to testify before the Helsinki Commission in the US Congress. I listened to hundreds of shocking testimonies of women, who had been brutally raped. It is estimated that during the Bosnian war up to 50,000 women were systematically raped.

Although the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia issued arrest warrants based on the Geneva Conventions and Violations of the Laws or Customs of War, rape continues to be used as a weapon of war. In 2009 we learned of the brutal raping of 8,000 women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Margot Wallstrom, the UN’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, described the country as “the rape capital of the world” speaking of the violence she explained “if women continue to suffer sexual violence, it is not because the law is inadequate to protect them, but because it is inadequately enforced.”

In countries such as Saudi Arabia, women are not even allowed to drive, let alone vote. In Saudi Arabia and in places such as Chechnya, Afghanistan and Somalia women are routinely punished for not adhering to strict dress codes, and can be flogged in the street for showing their faces.

Seven UN member states have not signed the convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; Iran, Nauru, Palau, Somalia, Sudan and Tonga. The United States, along with Niue and the Vatican City have not yet ratified it!

Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence

These stories are not freak occurrences, every day women face gender related abuse. I was shocked to learn that globally 60 million girls are sexually assaulted on their way to school each year. In the UK only 7% of rape cases end in conviction and only between 10-20% of rapes are thought to be reported. In the US one in four women can expect to experience domestic violence, and according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes each year.

Decision Makers

Globally there is severe disparity between men and women in parliament, and women make up only 19% of the worlds parliament seats. As of 2011 there were only 17 female Senators in the US out of 100 and 76 women in Congress out of 435. In the UK there are 144 members of parliament out of 650. In a world where leaders such as Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy, Burlesconi, Putin, Gaddafi, Mubarak make headlines daily, we hear relatively little of Gillard, Rousseff, Patil and Fernández de Kirchner, some of the world’s 18 female heads of state. Is it perhaps because they make up such a small percentage of world power or is it because we underestimate the power of women in leadership positions?

The reason why I have emphasized the statistics in this article, is because they speak for themselves. Nevertheless they are easily ignored, but we cannot afford to ignore the reality they represent.

Call to Action

We have the tools to change the world, we can make a difference, we can even change the course of history. The time for further excuses, postponement, or procrastination, for hesitation and prevarication has long passed. Now is the time for courage and leadership. We must take concrete steps to empower women, achieve gender equality, equal legal rights and justice.

We must demand that all countries adhere to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and meet the Millennium Development Goals to eradicate extreme poverty, achieve universal primary education, improve maternal health and reduce child mortality, and combat HIV/AIDS.

We can, and we must embark upon a non-violent revolution. We cannot afford to be apathetic, for the sake of the women suffering at the hands of violence, persecution and injustice. For the sake of our daughters and grand daughters we cannot sit still or we will jeopardize their future.

I call on governments, academics, NGO’s, and people across the world to do what it takes to achieve gender equality.

I will be speaking tomorrow at 4.30pm at The Women of the World Festival, Southbank Centre, London

You can follow me on Twitter @BiancaJagger and join my foundation’s Facebook fan page at the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation.

Follow Bianca Jagger on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BiancaJagger

Unless The Women of Egypt Rise There Was No Revolution

jj March 10th, 2011

From: Illume

By Adisa Banjoko. Adisa has entertained many with his work on Hip Hop culture, eastern philosophy, martial arts, Islamic culture, African American and youth social issues.

American Muslims must demand that the safety, freedom and education of the women in those nations is a top priority

Revolution: A fundamental change in the way of thinking about, or visualizing something

Over the recent weeks, many people around the world have been shocked and inspired by the non-violent revolution in Egypt. I’m sure it drove neo-conservatives mad having to admit that the face of the new generation of Islam got rid of their corrupt regime without making violence the focus. But indeed thats what happened.

With cautious eyes the world now watches to see what the endgame for Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain and other countries might be. The simple truth is, these brutal dictators physically, economically and culturally abused their citizens for many decades. A change had to come eventually.

I hope the people of these nations get the leadership they envisioned for themselves. My desire for them is that it blends the most effective democratic practices with the most compassionate and logical Islamic elements. But ultimately those countries belong to the people and whatever they believe is best for them, I pray they can bring into actuality.

At the same time though, the most serious issue for me has become this: As new regimes in Egypt and other nations evolve, American Muslims must demand that the safety, freedom and education of the women in those nations is a top priority. For me personally, the new level of safety, freedom and education for the women of emerging regimes will be the litmus test that will determine my support for them.

Sadly, in many Muslim nations physical abuse, human trafficking, rape, honor killings, and overall neglect of women is far too common. I am not trying to bash my Muslim brothers. But I cannot stay silent about it any longer. As men of God, we should be ashamed that things have gotten this bad for so many generations of women who love God.

Don’t get me wrong, I know America is a sexist nation. I can acknowledge elements of sexism within myself I still need to workout. I recognize many Christians, Jews, Hindus and people of other religious paths also are abusive and neglectful of woman. Muslims do not have a patent on sexism. But if the Muslim men are to truly say they had a revolution, we must see the women of Islam in positions of power. We should know their names, read their stories and know their opinions on everything from family, to politics and technology. We should want to see Muslim women in leadership positions helping to make the new governments of Islam resonate with their ideas and intellect as much as any man standing next to them.

Love and support of women is a Prophetic tradition. When The Prophet was leading prayer, if he heard a baby crying he would shorten the prayer so as not to distress the mothers in the midst of prayer. He was known to have said “A woman acts for the people”. Yet we don’t give them the space to act on our behalf. Prophet Muhammad taught that a Muslim was someone with whom the people are safe. Sadly so many women of this deen are unsafe from Muslim hands in America and overseas. This must change immediately.

In Dr. Ivan Van Sertima Golden Age of the Moor its noted that ”In Andalus women moved freely in public and engaged in various gatherings. The practice of purdah (requirement that women cover their faces in public etc.) was almost completely ignored. Moorish Andalus was unique among Islamic nations. It could easily be argued that women enjoyed more societal freedoms in al-Andalus than in any other part of the Islamic world.” Another section explains how women ”appeared freely in public and took their share in all the intellectual, literary, and even scientific movements of the day. Women held schools in some of the principal towns. There were women poets, historians and philosophers, as well as women surgeons and doctors.”

How many advancements in medicine, technology and science have not been brought into existence because our sisters were cut off from knowledge by us? No historian worth half of their salt will argue against the fact that Prophet Muhammad gave the women of Islam rights that Western women did not see for several hundred years. But we should not have to look back to the time of The Prophet or the Moorish Empire to see an armada of free, highly educated, accomplished women living full lives. The Prophet Muhammad said that if a man walks with an oppressor, knowing he is an oppressor that he has gon forth from Islam. I cannot walk with brothers who brutalize and threaten women. As a husband and father I cannot allow it. Let the ummah of 2011 and beyond seek to outdo the Moorish standards of honoring our sisters.

If we do not help our Muslim sisters rise, I will never say there was a revolution. I will just say some other people took over. I fear that if the men of Islam fail to make the safety freedom and education an immediate priority around the world, we may have missed our greatest moment of redemption. Not redemption from America or any of its allies, but from God.

Music of The Revolution: How Songs of Protest Have Rallied Demonstrators

jj March 9th, 2011

From: Movements.org

Look up the original site and get several of the movies.

Music almost always plays a pivotal role in protest movements, with songs and chants unifying dissidents in their rallying cries. Unlike movements of decades past, however, protest music made popular during the recent revolution in Tunisia, Egypt, and beyond spread virally with the help YouTube and Facebook.

TUNISIA

Twenty-one-year-old Hamada Ben Amor, known as El Général—an underground rapper living in the town of Sfax south of Tunis—uploaded a song he had written called “Rais Le Bled” (“President, Your Country”) to Facebook on November 7. The rap called out then-president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali for the problems faced by average Tunisians trying to make a living, including food scarcity, a lack of freedom of speech, and unemployment with lyrics like: “Mr. President, your people are dying/People are eating rubbish/Look at what is happening/Miseries everywhere Mr. President/I talk with no fear/Although I know I will only get troubles/I see injustice everywhere.”

The Voice of Tunisia

The rap was picked up by local TV station Tunivision and Al-Jazeera and resonated with many Tunisians who quickly began sharing the song. Soon enough, the government blocked the musician’s Facebook page and cut off his mobile phone. Despite the attempt to make his music disappear, El Général’s song quickly became the anthem of the Jasmine Revolution.

El Général then recorded another song of protest call “Tounes Bladna” (“Tunisia Our Country”) on December 22. By that point, Ali’s regime had had enough with the musician. El Général was arrested by state security on January 6, taken to the Ministry of Interior, and interrogated for three days.

He tells The Guardian, “They kept asking me which political party I worked for. ‘Don’t you know it’s forbidden to sing songs like that?’ they said. But I just answered, ‘Why? I’m only telling the truth.’ I was in there for three days, but it felt like three years.” The public was outraged and began demanding his release. The pressure mounted on the government worked and he was soon released from detention.

Since Ben Ali left office on January 14, El Général’s tunes have continued to serve as a rallying cry for other demonstrators in the Middle East, and his work has proven to be popular among demonstrators in Bahrain.

EGYPT

Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm (“Uncle Ahmed”), a popular voice for the poor who has spent 18 of his 81 years in Egyptian prisons, wrote “The Donkey and the Foal,” a commentary about then-president Hosni Mubarak and his son Gamal. Musician Ramy Essam, who had taken to playing in Tahrir Square during the protest, set the poem to music and sang the song as Negm stood beside him.

Essam then penned the song “Leave,” inspired by the slogans and chants being shouted around Tahrir Square:

“We are all united as one,

And what we ask for,

Is just one thing: Leave! Leave! (x3)

Down, down Husni Mubarak! (x4)

The people demand: Bring down the regime! (x4)

He is going away. We are not going anywhere! (x4)

We are all united as one,

And what we ask for,

Is just one thing: Leave! Leave! Leave! (x4)”

The Truth Behind the Egyptian Revolution

Amir and Adel Eid from the Egyptian rock band Cairo-Kee gathered up other artists to record “Sout Al Horeya” (“The Voice of Freedom”), which quickly became another anthem for the revolution. The video for the song was shot entirely inside Tahrir Square during the revolution using a basic digital SLR camera.

“I went down to the streets vowing not to return, and wrote with my blood on every street.

Our voices reached those who could not hear them

And we broke through all barriers

Our weapon was our dreams

And tomorrow is looking as bright as it seems….”

Sout Al Horeya

LIBYA

Traditional songs have also played an important role in demonstrations. Libyans in the liberated eastern parts of the country forged bonds by singing the old national anthem while waving the tricolor flag from before Gaddafi came to power in 1969 as “a symbol of the reinvention of the Libyans.”

In this video, the massive crowd in Beghanzi sings the old anthem to share their pride in being liberated.

ARAB RAP DIASPORA

The Narcicyst, an Iraqi-born rapper living in Toronto, joined with other musicians from the Arabic rap diaspora in North America, such as Omar Offendum, Amir Sulaiman, and Canadian R&B singer Ayah, to record a track called “#Jan25 Egypt,” based off the popular hashtag used during the demonstrations in Egypt. In an Al Jazeera English interview, Omar said that it’s a “song of solidarity with the Egyptian people and [a way] to open it up [what’s happening in Egypt] to an audience in the United States.” The song starts:

“I heard ’em say

The revolution won’t be televised

Aljazeera proved ’em wrong

Twitter has him paralyzed

80 million strong

And ain’t no longer gonna be terrorized

Organized – Mobilized – Vocalized

On the side of TRUTH

Um il-Dunya’s living proof

That its a matter of time

before the chicken is home to roost”

Omar Offendum

LOOKING FOR MORE MUSIC?

Check out Mideast Tunes, a hub launched by Mideast Youth for the region’s underground and alternative music scenes. You can browse music by country or genre. The site has highlighted a number of other protest songs coming out of the region for its listeners (1, 2).

Abdulla Darrat, co-founder of the enoughgaddafi.com (Khalas) site run by a Libyan exiles (now found at http://feb17.info), put together a “mixtape” featuring hip-hop artists from the region. The mix, called “Mish B3eed,” or “Not Far,” features songs describing the conditions in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria. It can be downloaded here.

Durrat says, “[These musicians and emcees] very successfully put into words a lot of the sentiments that young people in the area are carrying with them, and they’re voicing really the struggle of…everyday people.”

Are any popular protest songs missing? Share them in the comments below!

Resistance Within the Army: Israeli Soldiers Tell About “Breaking the Silence”

Stellan Vinthagen March 7th, 2011

Extra Resistance Studies Seminar, School of Global Studies
Monday March 14th 10-12, Annedalsseminariet Room 419
www.globalstudies.gu.se

When telling the truth about war and  occupation is unwanted and even hindered, documenting and telling the truth might be understood as resistance to a discourse of justification. The Israeli organisation Breaking the Silence consist of Israeli soldiers that tells about how it is to serve in the occupied Palestinian territories. During seven years they have collected witness reports from soldiers. The witness reports tells about the work assignments given and gives a picture of the everyday as a soldier, a picture that is far from the Israeli PR-version. Breaking the Silence does a controversial work, trying to serve the public understanding of what a war, an occupation and a life of a soldier is, and tell about the consequences this have for Israelis and Palestinians. One of the founders of the organisation, Yehuda Shaul, tells about the work, shows a film and gives witness from the Gaza-war during the winter 2008-2009.

Next Resistance Seminar: 2 and 3 March, Gothenburg University

Stellan Vinthagen February 25th, 2011

Resistance Studies Seminars
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March 2 with Angie Zelter and Nätverket Ofog – Peace Activists.

War starts here – let´s stop it here!

I Norrbotten finns Europas största krigsövningsområde NEAT, North European Aerospace Testrange. På detta 24000km2 stora område tränar NATO, USA och många andra på krig i form av t.ex. bombfällning. NEAT används också för att utveckla förarlösa bombplan och annat krigsmateriel. Förberedelserna för krig pågår för fullt här och nu. Krig börjar här. Och det är skrämmande tyst om det.

Tillsammans med Angie Zelter, känd fredsaktivist från Storbritannien och mottagare av Right Livelihood Award och Nobels alternativa fredsprise 2001. Angie Zelter och det antimilitaristiska nätverket Ofog kommer för att prata om Sveriges del i det globala krigsmaskineriet med fokus på vad som pågår i Norrbotten. Angie Zelter kommer ge exempel från aktioner hon har deltagit i och vi kommer även att prata om det internationella aktionsläger mot NEAT som vi arrangerar 22-29 juli i sommar och vad annat vi kan göra för att stoppa denna förödande utveckling.

! Seminar is in English and Swedish. March 2 . Wednesday 15:15-17.00 at the Annedalseminariet at Room 419 !

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March 3 with The Journal Dissident – Från kritiken av den politiska ekonomin till motstånd.

Ungdomsarbetslösheten är en viktig faktor för att kunna förklara de stora upproren i Tunisien, Egypten och Libyen. Samtidigt pågår det runtom i Europa protester mot förändringar i utbildningssystemet och i Grekland fortsätter strejkerna och kravallerna mot regeringens åtstramningspolitik. Vi tycks se en mängd resningar mot det faktum att en växande del av världsbefolkningen upplever sig vara överflödig och oanställbar.

I tredje bandet av Kapitalet utvecklar Marx ansatser till en överbefolkningsteori. Kapitalismens utveckling av produktivkrafterna gör att färre och färre arbetare blir nödvändiga för produktionen, vilket skapar en strukturell överbefolkning i förhållande till ekonomin. I väst märks detta främst genom en alltmer prekär och osäker arbetsmarknad, men globalt sett är denna tendens en brutal verklighet i världens kåkstäder. Kapitalismen skapar en sorts utsida till sin egen produktionsprocess, en överbefolkning som ofta är beredd att jobba under de mest vidriga villkor för att överleva. Men detta är bara ena sidan av myntet, det andra är att motsättningen mellan arbete och kapital har omstrukturerats. Vi ser alltmer kamper på gatorna: alltifrån rödskjortornas intåg i Bangkok 2010, demonstrationerna i Wisconsin till kampen på Tahirtorget i Egypten. Vad betyder det för klasskampen att en allt större del av arbetarklassen gjorts
onödig för kapitalet? Vilka arenor för kamp finns det då?

I det här föredraget diskuterar vi Marx’ kritik av den politiska ekonomin som en överbefolkningsteori, men också som en teori för motstånd och revolt. Studiet av kapitalismen var nämligen för Marx först och främst studiet av den verkliga rörelse som avskaffar de nuvarande tillstånden.

! First part of a stand-alone seminar series in three parts with focus on workplace struggles.

Seminar is in Swedish. March 3 . Thursday 15:15-17.00 at the Annedalseminariet at Room 419 !

Belgian senator calls on ’sex strike’ until political deadlock is broken

jj February 9th, 2011

From The Telegraph

A female Belgian senator has called on the wives of all politicians to ban sexual intercourse until deadlock that has left Belgium without a government for 241 days, has been broken.

Mrs Temmerman urged 'the spouses of all negotiators to withhold sex until a deal is reached'

Mrs Temmerman urged 'the spouses of all negotiators to withhold sex until a deal is reached'

Marleen Temmerman, a Socialist senator, has urged the bed partners of MPs, senators and party political leaders to keep their “legs closed” until the deadlock, which is closing in on a world record of 249 days, is ended.

“I call on the spouses of all negotiators to withhold sex until a deal is reached,” she said. “Have no more sex until the new administration is posing on the steps of the palace.”

Belgium has been without a government since May 2010 after splits between Flemish, Dutch-speaking, and Walloon, francophone, political parties precipitated early elections.

The vote, last June, deepened the crisis after a majority of voters in Flanders, the richer Dutch-speaking north of Belgium, supported Flemish separatists who call for the break-up of the Belgian state.

Talks have remained deadlocked and many Belgians fear that market turmoil could bring down their highly indebted country if it fails to end the crisis by Feb 17, when it will beat war-torn Iraq to set a new world record of more than 249 days without government.

Mrs Temmerman has pointed to Kenya in 2009 when women’s movements called for a general sex strike after a conflict between the Kenyan president and prime minister threatened to plunge the country into chaos.

“They decided to have a sex strike to enforce a political solution and called on the first lady and wife of the prime minister to participate in this physical abstinence,” she said.

“Kenyan prostitutes were offered financial compensation if they showed sisterly solidarity and participated in the sex strike. The impact has never been scientifically proven, but after just one week there was a stable government.”

Catherine Fonck, a Christian democrat senator, rejected the call.

“I don’t want to take part in a sex strike,” she said. “Politicians are not there to strike, on the contrary, politicians are there arouse the country.”

Bolivia: Coca-chewing protest outside US embassy

jj January 29th, 2011

From BBC

Indigenous activists in Bolivia have been holding a mass coca-chewing protest as part of campaign to end an international ban on the practice.

The protest was good-natured

The protest was good-natured

Hundreds of people chewed the leaf outside the US embassy in La Paz and in other cities across the country.

Bolivia wants to amend a UN drugs treaty that bans chewing coca, which is an ancient tradition in the Andes.

But the US has said it will veto the amendment because coca is also the raw material for making cocaine.

The protesters outside the US embassy also displayed products made from coca, including soft drinks, toothpaste, sweets and ointments.

They were supporting a Bolivian government campaign to amend the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs to remove language that bans the chewing of coca leaf.

The convention stipulates that coca-chewing be eliminated within 25 years of the convention coming into effect in 1964.

Bolivia says that is discriminatory, given that coca use is so deeply rooted in the indigenous culture of the Andes.

Eradication

The US is opposed to changing the UN convention because it says it would weaken the fight against cocaine production.

In a statement, the US embassy said Washington recognised coca-chewing as a “traditional custom” of Bolivia’s indigenous peoples but could not support the amendment.

“The position of the US government in not supporting the amendment is based on the importance of maintaining the integrity of the UN convention, which is an important tool in the fight against drug-trafficking,” it said.

The US is the world’s largest consumer of cocaine and has been leading efforts to eradicate coca production in the Andes for decades.

Bolivia is the world’s first biggest producer of cocaine after Peru and Colombia, and much of its coca crop is used to make the illegal drug.

Bolivian President Evo Morales has long advocated the recognition of coca as a plant of great medicinal, cultural and religious importance that is distinct from cocaine.

As well as being Bolivia’s first indigenous head of state, Mr Morales is also a former coca-grower and leader of a coca-growers trade union.

The Bolivian amendment would come into effect on 31 January only if there were no objections.

How to Plan and Execute an Act of Electronic Civil Disobedience

jj January 24th, 2011

From Infoshop News

In the midst of hacktivists using ECDs (similar to distributed denial of service attacks) to defend Wikileaks, it’s worth having a document that describes how such attacks are planned and executed. Such a zine has recently been released that is written in laypersons terms so expertise in computing or networking is certainly not needed to understand it. If you have the ability to browse the web and edit a Microsoft Word document, you’ve probably got what it takes to understand the ideas it presents.

The zine goes through everything from anonymously scoping out your target to distributing your ECD tools and call-out. It includes a guide on doing research and making online postings anonymously, legal risks you may encounter and analysis of the effectiveness of ECDs as opposed to other large protest tactics. It reviews three popular tools (the Greek ECD Tool, the Low Orbit Ion Cannon, and Slow Loris) and provides step-by-step instructions for configuring and packaging them. It also includes a short section on the history of the use of ECDs by social movements.

Download the zine for printing and online reading at:
http://zinelibrary.info

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