“In January a man crawls into a cave of hopelessness; he hallucinates sympathies catching fire”
From now on, the “News” pages will be updated sporacially, probably only once a week.
For those desperate to get information each day, I recommend:
(type in “clash police” or “wildcat strike” or “riot” or whatever into the search box at the top and you’ll get lots of headlines with those words in them; make sure you get the right wording – “riots” will get you different headlines from “riot”, “lashes police” will get you different headlines from “clashes police”)
(a French site with lots of links and videos to English or other language sites; on the right hand side there’s a list of links to specific situations, including stuff like ethnic riots or things that have nothing independent about them; you click on them and get several links dealing with the events of any particular day)
Obviously there are other sites, but you’ll probably do your own research if you want the very latest information, and if you want to – post information in the comments boxes below.
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.
“Reading the morning newspaper is the realist’s morning prayer. One orients one’s attitude toward the world either by God or by what the world is. The former gives as much security as the latter, in that one knows how one stands. ”
“Protesters threw petrol bombs on Sunday night at an empty public housing complex in Hong Kong that had been earmarked to become a temporary quarantine zoneas the city battles an outbreak of the SARS-like Novel Coronavirus as the city battles an outbreak of the SARS-like Novel Coronavirus…Dozens of local residents and protesters opposed to the idea held rallies outside the complex on Sunday, with some setting up road blocks…The city’s ability to combat the crisis was hampered by moves in mainland China to cover up and play down the outbreak, leaving a lasting legacy of distrust among many Hong Kongers.”
“As of today, the state has essentially quarantined an area estimated to encompass 35 million people—a population greater than the 10 largest U.S. cities combined. The unprecedented intervention paints an apocalyptic scene. Around the world, stock markets fell. …Based on what’s known so far, the virus is dangerous—but not unprecedentedly so. It has been confirmed to spread among people who are in close contact—family and health-care workers—but it does not clearly show sustained transmission among people, like other coronaviruses that can manifest as the common cold. The virus seems to have an especially high mortality rate, though of the 26 people reported dead so far, most have been of advanced age or chronically ill—a similar demographic to the hundreds of thousands of people killed every year by the influenza virus….so far, the most deadly coronaviruses—SARS and MERS—each killed fewer than a thousand. Both were tragic, but could have been exponentially worse. Part of the fear and panic in the current case seems less due to the virus than to the response. The moderately virulent nature of the pathogen seems at odds with the fact that the largest quarantine in human history is now taking place in an authoritarian state. People inside and outside of China have limited trust in the information they receive, given the country’s long history of propaganda and censorship. Without knowing everything that the state does, international officials have been hesitant to criticize its response. But there is good reason to believe that the quarantine itself will have significant consequences. Quarantines were common during Europe’s plague-addled Middle Ages, and continued to be the primary means of controlling outbreaks until 1900. Especially after the advent of antibiotics and diagnostic testing, the relative harms began to outweigh the benefits. International agreements were put in place to limit the practice as a matter of justice, because of the burden it placed on people and economies, in addition to basic questions of effectiveness. Quarantines may be used in isolated cases, especially before an outbreak is widespread. But in China, given the advanced spread of the outbreak—the new virus was first reported to the World Health Organization just three weeks ago and has since been found in Japan, South Korea, the United States, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam—some experts believe any window for effective containment has passed…Shortly after the quarantine was announced, The Washington Post reported increases in the cost of food in Wuhan. Some citizens have reported empty grocery shelves…. Social-media posts describe people being unable to get access to medical facilities for viral testing. Other posts on social media about the scope of the outbreak have inexplicably disappeared, prompting accusations of censorship and further uncertainty.”
In 2005 in France the avian flu “pandemic” was the first item of the evening news for about 6 weeks. Small farms were visited daily by gendarmes until they were forced to close down. Nobody in France died, and globally there were less than 1000 deaths of human beings, vastly smaller than deaths from ordinary flu annually (over 60,000 p.a.). But it served the purpose of destroying small farmers/peasants and greatly boosting agribusiness. In 2009 swine flu became the pretext for an exercise in social control – with doctors forced by the state to vaccinate everybody who came to their clinics fearing the disease. Despite massive and continual state and media propaganda, less than 30% of the population took up this manipulated ‘need’ for a vaccine. The Minister of Health at the time, Rosalyne Bachelot, whose personal interests in the pharmaceutical industry were well-known, ordered billions of euros worth of vaccines that were never used, but which the state paid to her financial connections. Undoubtedly illness and disease are constantly used for ulterior motives which will invariably be dismissed as ‘conspiracy theory’ by interested parties. We should remember that Wuhan – the centre of the Coronovirus – had a significant social movement in July 2019 which tentatively began to connect to the movement in Hong Kong ( see this, this, this, this, this, this, and this), which may be a factor in this exercise in authoritarian repression. In the face of the very tenuous beginnings of significant social contestation in countries throughout the world, fear of touching or proximity to others is another convenient factor in the intensification of social separation. Given the ‘spontaneous’ racism of many people, it doesn’t need to be deliberate policy for it to be exploited in such a way as to exacerbate already existing separations – such as racism towards anyone who looks Chinese (see, for instance, this).
See reports for 22nd & 21st January.
Guinea, Dalaba: prefect’s home attacked and looted; youths take over and barricade town as government forces flee and abandon it…More here
“…angry protesters attacked the city’s gendarmerie brigade. They looted and ransacked the building…After the violence of the previous day, during which the police and the civil prison of Dalaba were ransacked by demonstrators, calm reigned in this city on Wednesday morning. The streets were almost empty and all activities paralyzed…local gendarmerie officers went out to clear the barricades that had been on the roads since yesterday and to patrol the neighborhoods to prevent any regrouping.Which irritated the demonstrators, who saw this approach of the police as a provocation. This is why many young people mobilized to go and attack the city’s gendarmerie brigade. Surprised by the demonstrators and the stones which rained down on them, the officers who were on the scene rushed into their vehicles and fled. After breaking the windows and doors of the building, protesters broke into the building in large numbers. They took away food and other things. After this attack, the demonstrators dispersed into their neighbourhoods. A precarious calm reigns in the city, where all activities are almost at a standstill.”
Though some reports imply a kind of local coup d’état, most of the actions seem to involve something more independent and not really political in any traditional sense.
Guinea: police stations attacked, prison liberated, roads blocked, railway track dismantled, in movement to “defend the constitution” – ie trying to stop president’s attempt at a 3rd term
“Following the call to demonstrate launched Tuesday by the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), composed of political parties and members of civil society, the civil prison of Dalaba was attacked and 17 detainees were released by protesters…In this Dalaba prefecture, located more than 400 km northeast of Conakry, the central police station was ransacked and looted, while three rifles were stolen….In several cities, notably in the strongholds of the opposition, public buildings such as police stations, gendarmerie posts or prefect residences were attacked by demonstrators. In the capital …demonstrations by the FNDC caused traffic disruption in several communes and seven cars were set on fire by unidentified people” .
“Violence erupted again in several districts of Conakry on Tuesday as groups of young protests lobbed rocks at police who responded with tear gas…Security forces also clashed with protesters who erected barricades in the central town of Dinguiraye, and in the southeast in Nzerekore, near the border with Ivory Coast and Liberia…Local media and a resident reported that a rail line used to transport bauxite, an important source of state income, had been attacked in Boke, also in the north.”
“The FNDC’s call …was observed in certain localities of Conakry and the interior of the country with the erection of barricades and the pouring of used oil on the roads. In Conakry, this call was hardly followed up in Kaloum, Dixinn and Matam. However, in the commune of Matoto and especially of Ratoma, violent hooligans burst into certain places to pour waste oil on the pavement, to erect barricades, to stone and to burn vehicles…At the Petit Lac in Taouyah, rascals attacked businesses, before setting fire to two vehicles… some incidents have been reported in Gaoual, Télimélé, Fria, Dinguiraye, Coyah, Dalaba, Lélouma, Pita and Tougué.
In Dinguiraye, hooligans tried in vain to attack the premises of the security forces.”
Though the initiative for this is hardly independent, it’s clear that the more radical acts were not carried out by the FNDC.
“Indigenous people are demanding justice for the systematic massacre of social leaders in Colombia, as protests against the right-wing Duque regime resumed throughout the country on Tuesday. Militants threw rocks at riot police, leaving 10 pigs injured. The riot police fired tear gas and stun grenades, injuring one protester and arresting 100. Anarchists were actively involved in the protests, alongside other revolutionaries. Protests also took place in other major cities including Cali and Medellin, and nationwide there were at least 165 marches, rallies and road blockages.”
See most recent reports on the “News” for this site for the following dates: 19/12/2019, 18/12, 6/12, 5/12, 28/11, 27/11, 26/11, 23/11, 22/11, 21/11, 20/11, 16/10, 10/10.
Also see these (written in French but with links mainly in Spanish):
Contre les privatisations, réforme du système des retraites et du travail : affrontements à Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Ibagué – 21 janvier 2020
Contre les privatisations, réforme du système des retraites et du travail : affrontements à Bogotá – 19 décembre 2019
Contre les privatisations, réforme du système des retraites et du travail : affrontements à Cali, Medellin, Pereira – 5 décembre 2019
Contre les privatisations, réforme du système des retraites et du travail : affrontements à Bogota, Medellín, Bucaramanga, Cali – 4 décembre 2019
Contre les privatisations, réforme du système des retraites et du travail : affrontements à Bucaramanga, Medellin, Ibagué– 28 novembre 2019
Contre les privatisations, réforme du système des retraites et du travail : affrontements à Bucaramanga et Bogota – 27 novembre 2019
Contre les privatisations, réforme du système des retraites et du travail : affrontements à l’Université de Bogotá – 26 novembre 2019
Contre les privatisations, réforme du système des retraites et du travail : affrontements à Neiva -26 novembre 2019
Contre les privatisations, réforme du système des retraites et du travail : affrontements à Bogotá -23 novembre 2019
Contre les privatisations, réforme du système des retraites et du travail : affrontements à Bogota, Cali, Manizales et Santa Marta- 22 novembre 2019
Grève contre les privatisations, réforme du système des retraites et du travail : affrontements à Bogota, Bucaramanga, Ibagué, Cali, Cartagena, Popayán, Facatativa -21 novembre 2019
Elections : affrontements à Usiacuri (Atlantico), San Zenon, Pijino del Ccarmen (Magdalena), Santana, Paz de Rio (Boyaca) – 27 octobre 2019
X writes: “The most impressive thing about this event as reported is that the pigs basically evacuated the area and left it to the demonstrators – proof that an armed crowd is less likely to be attacked by the police, even as much as it proves pigs, basically being authoritarians with guns, are far more sympathetic to other authoritarians with guns than they are to a crowd of non-violent (i.e. easily attacked, or if you like, even inviting attack, since they should not be ignorant at this late stage of the proclivities of the the police, not the ultimate purpose for the police in suppressing opposition to elite rule). The article itself, however in its immoderate and utterly unconvincing “message” at the end, namely that the non-intervention of the police against a crowd of heavily-armed people is evidence that the authorities do not want to “steal our guns”, fails to account for all of these attempts to illegalize assault weapons (i.e. standard infantry firearms, the principle weapon of a “citizen army” in our time), limit magazine size, make it impossible to reload in any kind of reasonable time or with any kind of reasonable mechanical efficiency (I live in California where this is manifestly the case), which are obviously aimed at putting the average citizen at a grave disadvantage when pitted against the highly militarized and aggressive invading army in the service of social parisitism that constitutes the police force on operations against them when engaged in the pursuance of their constitutional rights…For contrast: non-violent people defending the right to be housed (that is, not to carry weapons, which the forces of law and order – especially should those armed be black, other minority, or of a “radical” leftist or antiauthoritarian pursuasion – would regard as “provocative”) are attacked by cops with automatic weapons, armored vehicles and robots. Ask yourself if the filth would pull that on a crowd of occupants and supporters armed the way the people are today in Virginia.”
France, La Reunion: 17 cars torched, road barricaded, stones thrown at cops etc. after young scooter driver, “accidentally” crashed into by cops, dies after a week in a coma
See report for 10/1/20 below.
“A previous riot broke out in the same CPR during the night between January 4 and 5, in which fires were set in all the areas of the center. Six people were arrested and subsequently repatriated. Similar protests also broke out in CPRs in Caltanissetta, Trapani, and Bari. Investigators said the riots may have been managed by a common source and said members of the anarchist movement may have planned the riots. “
France, La Reunion: heavy rioting all night after cops “accidentally” (ho ho) crash into scooter, gravely injuring 18-year-old
More here (along with brief accounts of other clashes with cops on the French mainland over the period 3/1 to 5/1).
Background to this conflict here:
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said land rights continue to be one of the biggest sources of human rights violations in Vietnam. “Over the past 20 years, disputes over land, often fuelled by corruption of officials in connivance with land speculators, have continued regularly with no sign that the authorities have the political will or interest in resolving the situation,” he said. The military has owned land in Dong Tam since the 1980s but, aside from an airbase the military built, the area remains mostly undeveloped. By some accounts, the villagers of Dong Tam had been allocated portions of the land by the government, although the details are in dispute. In 2015, however, the land was legally transferred from the military to Viettel, a military-owned telco, for an unspecified “defence project”, according to state media reports.
While the residents of Dong Tam do not dispute the military’s claim to 47 hectares out of a total of 106, the rest, they have argued, which they use to grow corn and peanuts, is rightfully their own. How, exactly, such a large group of riot police, some armed with shotguns, were taken hostage by villagers with sticks and rocks remains a mystery – and the Vietnamese government has never elaborated on exactly what happened. When news of the situation broke, social media rumours swirled that the police were in immediate peril. The communal house where the hostages were being held had supposedly been doused with gasoline and was ready to be lit with the police inside it in the event of a rescue attempt, according to word on Facebook at the time. But Viet Hieu, a 75-year-old local activist and community leader who was part of the clash, said the police were never in danger. They had not even been kidnapped, he said. They had instead been unwilling to put up a fight and voluntarily surrendered their weapons and feigned being kidnapped to avoid following orders they found objectionable. “[We said] you should come with us and wait for the government representatives to come make dialogue,” said Hieu, recalling what was said to the police. “And after hearing that, the riot police followed them to the communal house. No one fought the riot police, and they followed the villagers to the house.” None of the police involved have spoken publicly about their ordeal, and the villagers’ claims that the officers surrendered willingly could not be independently verified.
Regardless of the circumstances of the hostage situation, Kinh was released shortly after the standoff began and sent to hospital for treatment. “The Hanoi government wanted me to vanish,” said Kinh, but added that officials changed their minds once they heard the villagers’ version of events. After a week of on-and-off talks, Nguyen Duc Chung, chairman of the People’s Committee of Hanoi, negotiated directly with the villagers. He promised to investigate the circumstances of Kinh’s arrest and the villagers’ underlying grievances, and vowed to not press charges against the hostage takers. The standoff ended and all eyes were on the authorities to see if they would keep their promises.
A year after the standoff, no villagers have been arrested and the land remains undeveloped. Although a criminal investigation was opened in June, the multiple summonses that have been issued to alleged participants have thus far gone ignored and the government apparently has not pressed the issue. “They threatened us, but no one has come to arrest us,” said Hieu.
The government initially determined in July that the land in question did in fact belong to the military and that a lease to local villagers had expired in 2012. The case is ongoing, however, with a team of five lawyers arguing the villagers’ case pro bono. Private ownership of land in Vietnam officially does not exist under the law, although de facto ownership through usage rights is allowed. The law is less clear on the concept of communal ownership, a problem that arises more often in remote rural minority villages.
Kinh’s son, Le Dinh Cong, said he is confident the villagers of Dong Tam will ultimately prevail. “Absolutely 100% we will win, it is our true land,” he said. “They don’t scare any of us, because we think we are right.”
India, West Bengal: roads & railways blocked, cop car torched, etc. during Trade Union-organised General Strike
“The 24-hour nationwide strike by central trade unions in West Bengal on Wednesday was marked by incidents of violence and arson, blocking of railway tracks and roads by protestors trying to enforce the shut down…The protesters blocked a major road at Sujapur in Malda district, torched several vehicles including a police van, ransacked government buses and set fire to tyres. When police tried to control the situation, they hurled stones and crude bombs…This led the police to baton-charged the mob, burst teargas shells and fire rubber bullets… Railway tracks and roads were blocked in various parts of the state affecting normal life. …The CPI(M) and Congress was quick to return fire and accused Banerjee of instigating violence. They claimed that TMC cadres and police personnel had indulged in violence in the state. Both the parties pointed to a unverified video clip, that went viral, showing persons wearing police uniforms vandalizing buses.”
This says “…general strikes like these are for the most part electoral political facades at cost of genuine workers grievances. Most, if not all unions affiliated with “left” parties treat their workers as infants in these demonstrations controlling them more severely than they are in their workplace. There are some independent unions that are less authoritarian but hardly any genuinely democratic workers organization. We are working to change that.”
China: report of brave young woman who’d defaced poster of Xi-who-must-be-obeyed being released from psychiatric hospital after being fucked over by shrinks
See also this
Indian anarchist based in US writes about Modi and Hindu nationalism here
Video report here
Not that I care tuppence about the repulsive massively immiserating finances of the plutocracy, but this one is fairly telling – blatant evidence of Trump’s dependence on Putin.
France, Strasbourg (and around it): almost 300 vehicles torched in unusually incendiary New Years Eve
“Cédric …has been a firefighter for 20 years at the western barracks in Strasbourg. And in 20 years, he had never seen anything like it. Colleagues were in tears, trembling, ready to give up their careers in the fire brigade…The night was already shaping up to be very turbulent: “At the beginning of December, we noted an increase in this type of incivility with a big increase last week. And already the stones and a hundred cars burned during the night of 30 to 31. We knew that New Years Eve was going to be tough, but not to that extent. “ …Assessment: nearly 300 vehicles burnt down in the Bas-Rhin. 220 in Strasbourg alone. So many interventions from the men of the fire. Risky interventions. “There was already a certain apprehension about going into these districts but there, certain firemen fell clearly into ambushes.” The reinforcement of the police force during the interventions in the sensitive districts was not enough: “Considering the number of interventions which one had to make, the police force could not always follow, it is As a result, colleagues often found themselves alone. This is where it went wrong. ” “I was not working that night. But I was told. I attended the discussion group organized on Friday and I saw my colleagues totally traumatized, crying. It was the first time that I saw Some wonder why it is still worth risking their lives for such a society. It is sad. “
It should be pointed out that, though firefighters in France are not armed they are militarised (hence the term for their quarters as “barracks” above). That is, they have titles like “Commander” and “Colonel” and don’t have the right to really go on strike (their strikes are pure spectacle: they announce they’re on strike but in fact work, sometimes putting a card in the window of their fire engines even as they stand by to put out any little street bonfires during a carnival, for instance).