Quebec’s ‘truncheon law’ rebounds as student strike spreads

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/may/24/quebec-truncheon-law-rebounds-student-strike

A draconian law to quell demonstrations has only galvanised public support for young Quebecois protesting tuition fee hikes


guardian.co.uk, Thursday 24 May 2012

At a tiny church tucked away in a working-class neighbourhood in Montreal’s east end, Quebec’s new outlaws gathered on Sunday for a day of deliberations. Aged mostly between 18 and 22, their membership in a progressive student union has made them a target of government scorn and scrutiny. And they have been branded a menace to society because of their weapons: ideas of social justice and equal opportunity in education, alongside the ability to persuade hundreds of thousands to join them in the streets.

Under a draconian law passed by the Quebec government on Friday, their very meeting could be considered a criminal act. Law 78 – unprecedented in recent Canadian history – is the latest, most desperate manoeuvre of a provincial government that is afraid it has lost control over a conflict that began as a student strike against tuition hikes but has since spread into a protest movement with wide-ranging social and environmental demands.

Labelled a “truncheon law” by its critics, it imposes severe restrictions on the right to protest. Any group of 50 or more protesters must submit plans to police eight hours ahead of time; they can be denied the right to proceed. Picket lines at universities and colleges are forbidden, and illegal protests are punishable by fines from $5,000 to $125,000 for individuals and unions – as well as by the seizure of union dues and the dissolution of their associations.

In other words, the government has decided to smash the student movement by force.

The government quickly launched a public relations offensive to defend itself. Full-page ads in local newspapers ran with the headline: “For the sake of democracy and citizenship.” Quebec’s minister of public security, Robert Dutil, prattled about the many countries that have passed similar laws:

“Other societies with rights and freedoms to protect have found it reasonable to impose certain constraints – first of all to protect protesters, and also to protect the public.”

Such language is designed to make violence sound benevolent and infamy honourable. But it did nothing to mask reality for those who have flooded the streets since the weekend and encountered police emboldened by the new legislation. Riot squads beat and tear-gassed people indiscriminately, targeted journalists, pepper-sprayed bystanders in restaurants, and mass-arrested hundreds, including more than 500 Wednesday night – bringing the tally from the last three months of protest to a record Canadian high of more than 2,500. The endless night-time drone of helicopters has become the serenade song of a police state.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/may/24/quebec-truncheon-law-rebounds-student-strike

Posted in Activism, Anti-Globalization, Civil Rights, Class War, Education, Globalization, Police Abuse, Police State. Comments Off on Quebec’s ‘truncheon law’ rebounds as student strike spreads

This Is What Tyranny Looks Like

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/23-4

by Carl Gibson
Published on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 by Common Dreams

Remember when police beat Tea Party activists with batons, raided homes without warrants, unjustly arrested and strip-searched Tea Party protesters, or attacked and intimidated journalists covering Tea Party rallies?

Me neither. But then again, the Tea Party took to the streets in favor of higher profits and less regulations for the richest 1 percent, whose ranks they hope to but will never join. The media is more than happy to inflate their crowd estimates, and police are more than happy to let pro-status quo protests take to the streets undisturbed. The Tea Party has since phased out street protests to take over a major political party and make it bend to their every radical whim.

While it hasn’t yet taken over a major party, the Occupy movement has successfully exposed the oppressive fascist police state that has reared its ugly head in the past year. If you want to see what tyranny looks like, consider what happened to the estimated 75,000 protesters who took on the military-industrial complex at last weekend’s NATO summit in Chicago, after the mayor revoked protesters’ attempts to lawfully assemble.

-A night before protests even begun, the Chicago Police Department raided an activist’s home and arrested several on unproven allegations of terrorist activity, all without a valid warrant.

-At the front of a police line surrounding a NATO gathering, police suddenly start beating unarmed protesters with batons in an eerie video resembling police at Egypt’s Tahrir Square.

-While covering the protests, credentialed journalists are attacked by police who use bicycles as weapons.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/23-4

Posted in Civil Rights, Class War, Constitutional Rights, Fascism, Globalization, Hard Times, Police Abuse, Police State. Comments Off on This Is What Tyranny Looks Like

The US Government Is Running A Massive Spy Campaign On Occupy Wall Street

From Business Insider:  http://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-government-is-running-a-massive-spying-campaign-on-the-occupy-movement-2012-5

May 24, 2012

Remember the Occupy Movement? Since last November, when the NYPD closed the Zuccotti Park encampment in downtown Manhattan –the Movement’s birthplace and symbolic nexus—Occupy’s relevance has seriously dwindled, at least as measured by coverage in the mainstream media. We’re told that this erosion is due to Occupy’s own shortcomings—an inevitable outcome of its disjointed message and decentralized leadership.

While that may be the media’s take, the U.S. Government seems to have a different view.

If recent documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) are any indication, the Occupy Movement continues to be monitored and curtailed in a nationwide, federally-orchestrated campaign, spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

In response to repeated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by the Fund, made on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild, the DHS released a revealing set of documents in April.  But the latest batch, made public on May 3rd, exposes the scale of the government’s “attention” to Occupy as never before.

The documents, many of which are partially blacked-out emails, demonstrate a surprising degree of coordination between the DHS’s National Operations Center (NOC) and local authorities in the monitoring of the Occupy movement. Cities implicated in this wide-scale snooping operation include New York, Oakland, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Denver, Boston, Portland, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

Posted in Civil Rights, Class War, Economic Issues, Fascism, Police Abuse, Police State. Comments Off on The US Government Is Running A Massive Spy Campaign On Occupy Wall Street

Illinois: Antibullying Bill Rejected From Fears of Being Too Pro-Gay

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/society/education/2012/05/23/illinois-antibullying-bill-rejected-fears-being-too-progay

BY Michelle Garcia
May 23 2012

Illinois legislators rejected an antibullying bill after conservatives expressed fears that the proposed law was too “pro-homosexual.”

The initiative, which would have held school administrators more accountable for handling bullying incidents and preventing harassment, fell one vote short of passing in the state Senate on Tuesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

“There are some programs that are just against bullying in general,” Sen. Kyle McCarter said in the article. “Some of them tend to have an agenda of being pro-homosexual.”

Complete article at:  http://www.advocate.com/society/education/2012/05/23/illinois-antibullying-bill-rejected-fears-being-too-progay

Why the Women’s Rights Movement Must Listen to Sex Workers

From RH Reality Check:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/05/16/why-women%E2%80%99s-rights-movement-must-listen-to-sex-workers

by Chi Mgbako
May 22, 2012

Before a hushed audience of over 2000 women’s rights advocates from 140 countries stood Kthi Win, a sex worker and leader of a national organization of female, male, and transgender sex workers in Burma.  With quiet confidence she bravely stated:

“The key demand of the sex workers’ movement in Burma, in Asia and all around the world is simple.  We demand that sex work is recognized as work. But we have one other key demand, specific to certain parts of the women’s movement. We demand that we are not treated as victims.”

This defiant rejection of victimhood by a sex worker, speaking on behalf of the global sex workers’ rights movement, took place at the recent AWID International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development, one of the largest gatherings of women’s rights activists in the world.  It was an extraordinary moment because there’s a tendency by some in the women’s movement to reject sex workers like Kthi because they dispute the monolithic narrative that all people in prostitution seek rescue.

The characterization of sex workers fighting for their human rights as “prostituted women” engaged in futile attempts to “organize the enslaved” is perplexing.  For five years my students and I have worked with and been inspired by sex workers successfully organizing from the margins of society.  Sex workers in India who fight against police abuse, work as safe sex peer educators, and run afterschool programs for their children.  Sex workers in South Africa who are leading a national campaign to decriminalize sex work.  Sex workers in Malawi who had the courage to sue the government and challenge the constitutionality of forced HIV testing of sex workers without informed consent.  And there are countless more examples of sex workers organizing in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America.  To label and disregard these advocates as “victims” who cannot comprehend their true “enslavement” is condescending, disempowering, and untrue.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/05/16/why-women%E2%80%99s-rights-movement-must-listen-to-sex-workers

Posted in Civil Rights, Class War, Sex Work, Uncategorized. Comments Off on Why the Women’s Rights Movement Must Listen to Sex Workers

Top Right-Wing Group: Minority Births Are ‘Not A Good Thing’ Because They ‘Don’t Share American Values’

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/05/18/486574/top-conservative-group-minority-births-are-not-a-good-thing-because-immigrants-dont-share-american-values/

By Adam Peck
May 18, 2012

Yesterday, the New York Times reported on new census data which showed, for the first time, that non-white births made up over 50 percent of all births in the United States last year.

It marked an important milestone, indicative of a changing United States that has long been considered the world’s melting pot. Or, if you’re the conservative, Phyllis Schlafly-backed Eagle Forum, it’s a clarion call that America is in grave danger of being overrun by uneducated, un-American brown people:

It is not a good thing. The immigrants do not share American values, so it is a good bet that they will not be voting Republican when they start voting in large numbers.
[…]
Instead, the USA is being transformed by immigrants who do not share those values, and who have high rates of illiteracy, illegitimacy, and gang crime, and they will vote Democrat when the Democrats promise them more food stamps.

Setting aside for a minute the offensive way in which the Eagle Forum dismisses all of “the immigrants” as thoughtless criminals, it’s telling that The Eagle Forum views this as simply a political problem. The Eagle Forum’s political allies have long insisted on treating immigrants as second-class citizens, and rather than pivot their policy proposals to better accommodate the nation’s shifting demographics, the group seems instead to want to curb minorities’ procreation.

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/05/18/486574/top-conservative-group-minority-births-are-not-a-good-thing-because-immigrants-dont-share-american-values/

Posted in Civil Rights, Fascism, Hate Speech, Nazism, Racism, Right Wing Bigotry, Right Wing Bug F*** Insanity. Tags: . Comments Off on Top Right-Wing Group: Minority Births Are ‘Not A Good Thing’ Because They ‘Don’t Share American Values’

UK to Use Slave Labor in Hospitals

From Gaia Health:  http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2012-05-21/uk-to-use-slave-labor-in-hospitals/

by Heidi Stevenson
May 21, 2012

The next time you’re in a hospital, how would you like to have your food brought to you by a slave laborer? If you’re in the UK, you may find out, because slave labor has already been trialed in one hospital, and is about to become standard practice there.

The Guardian reports that the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust (SWBHT), a part of the National Health Service (NHS) piloted the program with six unemployed people in consultation with the union. The trust stated that the type of work included:

… general tidying, welcoming visitors, serving drinks to patients, running errands, reading to patients and assisting with feeding patients.

… and justifies it with the statement:

We are situated in a deprived area with high unemployment and we think it is important to help get people back into work. The project gave participants the opportunity to gain confidence, training and experience, under supervision.

So why don’t they simply hire them? You know, the old-fashioned way of getting employees.

Continue reading at:  http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2012-05-21/uk-to-use-slave-labor-in-hospitals/


Posted in Civil Rights, Class War, Corporate Abuse, Depression, Economic Issues, Employment, Fascism, Police State, Social Justice. Comments Off on UK to Use Slave Labor in Hospitals