“A gush of bird-song, a patter of dew,
A cloud, and a rainbow’s warning,
Suddenly sunshine and perfect blue –
An April day in the morning”
“The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.”
– Mark Twain
There are obviously significant limits to providing links to information about situations I know little about. Some of this might give people the idea that struggle is advancing or happening far more than it in fact is, and may even blind people to the contradictions and complexities of any specific situation. However, despite the inevitable limitations, I will continue to put up links if only as a method of keeping a record of events, though this will be reduced compared with previous years.
Georgia, Pankisi: clashes with cops as locals resist construction of hydro power plant “17 civilians and 38 police officers were injured Sunday according to the Ministry of Interior in Georgia’s mountainous Pankisi gorge. Tensions flared as the locals protesting the construction of the hydro power plant have clashed with the riot police…Locals have long been protesting the construction works on the series of small powerplants, fearing possible loss of drinking and irrigation water. They have managed to halt the construction of this particular five mgwt capacity powerplant, “Khadori-3” in June 2018. According to the Reg.Info news agency, the decision to resume construction was communicated to the locals on April 18 …Standoff between the locals and the riot police has escalated around 11 am, local time when protesters confronted the officers separating them from the construction site. Police used batons against the protesters, but were forced to withdraw few meters behind as locals threw stones at them. Officers responded with firing tear gas and rubber bullets, and returned to their initial position. …The clashes intensified mid-day, however, as protesters responded angrily to deployment of the additional police force into the area, while the talks with Minister Gakharia were under way. The construction machinery was burned down, and several police cars damaged. Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia arrived on the scene shortly after the incident. Locals agreed to cease the demonstration after the community leaders agreed with the Minister that the authorities would remove the riot police from the area. Speaking after the talks, Gakharia said the company building the power plant would halt the construction works and continue talks with the local residents. “We have decided to postpone the power plant construction and agreed on the following – it will only be built, if 90% of locals support it,” he noted. Gakharia said, however, that the police would maintain enhanced presence in the area. …Emzar Tokhosashvili, one of the protest leaders, said after the talks that there is near-absolute consensus in Pankisi that the power plant will not be built. “Only 2-3% of local residents might be in favor of building it, the rest are against… The government is not doing anything to develop the area, they are protecting the interests of investors only,” he noted…“
France, Paris: further yellow vest protests “Marching from outside the economy ministry, protesters calmly carried French flags with slogans against Macron written on their yellow vests, such as: “Macron, you take from the poor to give to the rich.” Some carried banners slamming the “hypocrisy” of wealthy billionaires pledging a total of more than €1bn (£865m) to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral, saying business leaders had done nothing to address low salaries and the plight of people who couldn’t make ends meet. “Humans first, €1bn for the gilets jaunes,” read one banner.“Millions for Notre Dame, what about for us, the poor?” read a sign worn by a demonstrator. “Everything for Notre Dame, nothing for Les Misérables,” read another sign that evoked Victor Hugo’s novel.”…Toulouse: and more clashes“A little after 7pm, the prefecture of Haute-Garonne counted two wounded “in relative urgency”. Seventeen people were also arrested, in particular for throwing projectiles, violence against people in charge of public authority or outrages…. Without a defined route, the demonstrators circulated several hours in the streets of the center of Toulouse, avoiding the Capitol Square, which was prohibited from 10am to 9pm by a prefectural decree. “I’m scared but it’s not going to stop me from coming,” says Claudine Sarradet. … “We get millions for stones, but nothing for people, it makes me very angry,” says Sarradet in reference to donations, mostly private, for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame. “Notre Dame v Notre Drame” [Notre Dame v. Our Drama] or “Rehouse Quasimodo and the homeless with him”, could be read on posters posted in town by the demonstrators. The tension rose in the late afternoon, shortly before 5pm, near the War Memorial. Protesters clashed with security forces who advanced to block them, firing tear gas and stun grenades.“
Tunisia, Sidi Bouali: major highway blockaded with burning tyres, 5 cops hurt in clashes, as region goes on General Strike in solidarity with dairy factory workers, on strike for 5 months over redundancies & unpaid wages
Denmark, Copenhagen: cars etc. burnt during clashes between mainly ethnic minority locals and fascists More here ” After an anti-Muslim provocateur publicly desecrated the Quran in Copenhagen, demonstrations against him on Sunday and early Monday descended into violent clashes between protesters, who set about 70 fires in the streets, and the police, who made 23 arrests.” Video here More here “Copenhagen Police have banned right-wing demonstrations as a “threat to public safety” and established temporary double punishment zones…Copenhagen Police have confirmed that an object resembling a hand grenade was found at the Blågård Plads square in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro district“.
France, Paris: conflagration of sickening hypocritical bullshit erupts “Thousands gathered at the scene on Île de la Cité, and sympathy-scenes around the world, to gasp, to gape, to weep, to mourn, and to pray that the rocks upon which this church was built– ignorance, superstition, slavery, degradation of women, child abuse, and landed estates– might be saved from the fire….”
Spot the difference:
Notre Dame, Paris, 2019 Grenfell Tower, London, 2017
On top of this outpouring of sickening crap indicative of the contradictions we are all forced to endure, the reification that has colonised people’s heads so much that things are sacred, human lives profane, it’s worth pointing out this bit of hypocrisy: about 3 weeks before this fire, Macron held a banquet in Nice for Xi Jinping, China’s increasingly totalitarian President, the man who has presided over the deliberate destruction of hundreds of mosques, including one, like Notre Dame, from the 13th century.
Spain, Bilbao: clashes between cops and people protesting far-right party It should be pointed out that this, in the Basque region, has less to do with pro-migrant feelings than the fact that Vox is against any regional autonomy, an irrelevance supported by capital’s Left wing.
UK: more youth climate change ‘strikes’ Often said, but unless these protests recognise the anti-ecological nature of the economy, of capitalism, and aim to subvert it, they will all eventually become mere ideological fodder for a reformism that will only enrich those leaders scrabbling for power over the backs of these protesters. Such a reformism is mostly a mirage that is pretty unlikely to be anything other than a quickly evaporating illusion as soon as it seems we approach it. However, it would be wrong – and determinist – to assume that – as Armageddon seems to approach – that capitalism inevitably is unable to take an ecological form eventually over the bodies of billions of victims of environmental catastrophe, however unlikely this is or seems to be at present. And if capitalism, or life on the planet, is not destroyed, we can only expect – at “best” – an ecological totalitarian form of capitalism involving some form of world state that, even as it maintains the need for money, will police social relations to an unprecedented degree to produce a world and life that has been reduced to mere survival at its emptiest.
Israel: trains throughout country stop due to 8 traffic controllers’ illegal strike “Israel Railways was forced to stop all train traffic throughout Israel at 8 a.m. until further notice, due to the fact that nearly half of the traffic controllers in the National Railways Command “called in sick.” “This is a severe blow by the workers’ union to Friday’s train passengers, along with the many IDF soldiers who use the trains,” the Israel Railways administration said in a statement on early Friday morning. “In the last few hours, in an illegal and irresponsible organizational step, eight traffic controllers in the National Railways Command announced they were sick,” the statement continued.“
Italy, Venice: report about squatters occupying lots of empty homes in protest against high rents “Alessandro Dus, 34, has been occupying an apartment for two years. “We want to fight against the thousands of closed abandoned apartments in Venice, when we move to an abandoned apartment we renovate it and we make it habitable again,” he said. …While acknowledging that “Venice risks extinction”, regional housing agency chief Raffaele Speranzon denounced the squatters for taking matters into their own hands“
South Africa: service delivery protests shut down various parts of country “Tshwane, Somerset West, Khayelitsha, Kroonstad, Orange Grove, and Vanderbijlpark are among the areas affected.Reports of protests in various parts of South Africa have been received as the “Total Shutdown” movement spreads.Tshwane is reportedly undergoing a shutdown, with Mokopane and Shoshanguve apparently blocked and inaccessible. There are also reports that the R101 near Hammanskraal has been barricaded. Clouds of smoke above Hammanskraal have also been reported.” More here “During the early hours of the morning on Thursday, protestors in the precinct of Akasia Police Station stopped and burnt a truck with a cargo of cutlery. They incurred damages of approximately R700 000 in the process…National police commissioner general Khehla Sitole confirmed that police responded to the scene but were ultimately attacked by the protestors. He said one of the officers sustained gunshot wounds to both his legs. He was rushed to hospital for medical assistance and is currently in a stable condition. The statement continues: “However, later in the day the protestors continued with their intentions to loot. It is alleged that during the commotion at one of the shops, the owner fatally shot a 35-year old man and fled the scene.” Moreover, officers responded to the scene and were attacked. In addition, protestors damaged their vehicle. Sitole also added: “The protestors proceeded to a house in Extension 5. They broke in and stole musical equipment and set the house alight. The police responded and discovered the body of a 30-year-old man across the street from the burnt house.” Protestors continued to loot and damage property during the day. “
Sudan, Khartoum: soldier and another man killed as army breaks up sit-in “Sudanese security forces attempted to break up an anti-government sit-in outside the military headquarters in the country’s capital on Monday, setting off clashes in which a soldier was killed while trying to protect protesters, activists said. Thousands also rallied in front of the compound in Khartoum over the weekend, in one of the biggest demonstrations since protests erupted in December calling for President Omar Al Bashir to step down. On Monday, security forces used tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire to try to disperse the protesters, according to the Sudanese Professionals Association, which is spearheading the demonstrations. The Sudan Doctors Committee, an affiliate of the SPA, said a soldier was fatally wounded while trying to protect the protesters. It said another man died elsewhere in Khartoum after being beaten and tortured by security forces.“
Greece: 3rd day of clashes between migrants & filth “Hundreds of protesting migrants clashed with police for a third straight day in northern Greece on Saturday, with migrants throwing rocks at officers who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. …Several migrants, including children, fainted amid the clouds of tear gas Saturday. The protesters have lit fires to make the air more bearable, but blazes have also erupted from exploding stun grenades. In Athens, migrants left a main railway station after blocking trains on Friday and services resumed Saturday.” See also “Asylum seekers in Greece and Germany”
Venezuela: further riots in Barcelona & Cabimas over power cuts Mainstream report from impoverished areas, showing verbal opposition towards both right and left rackets, here “Alexis Pineda, a 18-year-old student from El Campito, said that for all his community’s hardships he felt ambivalent about both men. “The way I see things, neither of them has done anything,” he grumbled. “All right, Guaidó declared himself president … but we haven’t heard much from him since.” José Jaramillo, a 32-year-old construction worker, said the political crisis had left him feeling like an orphaned child: “None of them are any good. Not Maduro. Not the opposition. None of them.”…Venezuela’s impoverished barrios have been making their voices heard in the weeks since Guaidó threw down the gauntlet to Maduro on 23 January – and have paid dearly for it, with human rights activists accusing security forces of a string of politically driven killings….“I feel afraid. I feel anger. I feel hatred,” said Cárdenas, as her neighbours placed improvised oil lamps outside their electricity deprived homes. “The truth is, it’s all just too much.” Cárdenas did not hesitate in declaring herself part of the opposition to Maduro but admitted she was still not completely convinced by Guaidó. As she sat in the shadows, the grandmother of six scoffed at the chirpy slogan of his campaign to topple Maduro: “Vamos bien”, or “We’re doing well”. “We’re well fucked, that’s what,” she said.” See also reports from 17/3 & 10/3 here. See also this: A Desperate Venezuela Today (despite having elements of self-management ideology, and an affirmative use of the dubious Chavista term “People’s Power”, this seems to be a pretty good contribution to understanding the situation there). It should be pointed out, for those who can’t see the obvious, that Guaido, who’s supported by Trump and Richard Branson amongst other creeps, is clearly using this as a way of buying support from the impoverished and starving. Whether the Venezuelan poor can steer their way past the Scylla of the Left of Capital and the Charybdis of Capital’s Right wing is unlikely without an intensification of independent class struggle throughout Latin America and further. See also this: Humanitarian Aid… for War. And this, about the conflicts on the Colombian-Venezuelan border bridge (thought the final sentence – “we are simply not in a position to decide which faction in this fight should win” – is a cop-out, since we are definitely in a position to desire, though not decide, that no faction should win. Also worth reading – this El Libertario article, though very general and lacking in details about present daily life there.
Above: migrant camp
“It was not a problem of overcrowding.” – Rodulfo Figueroa, head of the National Migration Institute in Tijuana