“August is that last flicker of fun and heat before everything fades and dies. The final moments of fun before the freeze. In the winter, everything changes” –
Please note that constantly updated information about events related to the Coronavirus madness is here
El Salvador, Soyapango: 3 protesters against privatisation of garbage collection wounded by gunshot during angry clashes outside mayor’s office
US: comparative statistics of clashes and riots between May to August 2020 and the post Ferguson period 2014-2015
This is in French but easy to understand (affrontements=clashes; émeutes=riots; villes=towns). He refers to these confrontations as “Black Lives Matter” clashes, which is rather simplistic.
Of course, it’s not just white people who use him as an example of peaceful protesting, nor do all white anti-racists hold him up as a role model – many of them support violent tactics where necessary and possible. But it makes a valid point…
Albuquerque: charming description of charming police in the most charming “reformed” police department in the US
“How could five years of intensive, court-supervised, federally mandated police reform make things worse? The Albuquerque Police Department is notoriously among the most lethal police departments in the United States. How could a department with so much heat on it, with so many critics breathing down its neck, and with so many years of reform imposed it, continue to stalk and harass people, stop and frisk people for no legal reason, routinely beat people, and get away with it? The Albuquerque Police Department has been forced to undergo every single reform measure that every police reform advocate has ever wanted to impose on a police department. If police reform doesn’t work in Albuquerque, arguably the most “reformed” police department in the United States, how could it work anywhere? “
China, Mongolia: mass demonstrations throughout region in response to unannounced state plans to end Mongolian teaching in schools
“Ice Cube remains little more impressed with the present Democratic offering of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for the presidential race than he is with incumbent President Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence. …”What I didn’t hear [at the DNC] is, what’s in it for us? What’s in it for the Black community besides the same old thing we been getting from these parties? […] They just pulled $3 trillion out of they ass and gave it to their friends […] Where’s our f******* bailout?” […] Democrats don’t seem like they got a plan. Republicans don’t seem like they got a plan for us. So how the hell you gonna vote for them?” …For progressive Democrats – particularly supporters of former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders – and those on the front lines of social and racial justice struggles, the Biden-Harris ticket cannot but be a great disappointment. On so many of the most important issues, from judicial and penal reform and Medicare for All to the Green New Deal and foreign policy, a large number of Democratic voters are far closer to the Sanders wing than to the party’s neoliberal leadership. From Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, we know how the story goes – great “hope” and promises of change lead to tepid policies that reinforce rather than reverse trends towards greater inequality and state violence. ….. Chomsky points out, that whatever their faults, the candidates and the Democratic platform, in fact, signal a progressive step forward beyond any tandem or policies that came before. But given how the last two Democratic administrations reinforced rather than transformed the very forces that have enabled the disasters of the Bush and now Trump presidencies, it is hard not to join Ice Cube’s sarcastic refrain and ask “What’s in it for the rest of us?” if the Democrats win, except a brief respite from more Republican Sturm und Drang? In a world and a country beset by multiple interlocked crises that seem beyond the possibility of a solution by ordinary politics – a sentiment which, after all, helped elect Trump in the first place – it is no wonder that young and disaffected voters are not lining up behind the latest avatars of “hope and change”….And while Trump offers racist and xenophobic bread and circuses to the Republican masses, the Democratic Party is too inept even to pretend to support core policies that the vast majority of its voters deeply desire….This election is not about voting for the president who will lead us out of the Trumpian darkness towards a more just, equitable and sustainable future. It is about choosing which enemy we would rather spend the next four years fighting to secure a future that neither the two parties, nor the system that ensconces them, have the interest or ability to create…. being told you have the chance to choose between two radically different enemies to fight for your survival makes the choice and the motivation to vote far clearer. On the one side, we have a ruthless narcissistic authoritarian with no checks on his executive power and a Supreme Court almost entirely his who is permanently enshrining a feudal oligarchy that disenfranchises and disinherits the majority of Americans, and blowing past any survivable CO2 limit, thereby threatening the survival of humanity and a million more species within a few decades. Trump 2.0 will unleash the full weight of the federal government, including white nationalist-infiltrated federal security forces, and tens of millions of heavily armed, fanatical and increasingly apocalyptic followers onto the streets violently to crush any remaining opposition to the quest…On the other side, we have an enemy who is neither strong, cruel, authoritarian, sociopathic nor ultimately suicidal enough to rush headlong towards climate and environmental disaster or permanently entrench a neo-feudal order. Even more so, Biden does not have the stomach or the mandate to unleash a level of state and militia violence against protesters that will be impossible to counter short of civil war. And this enemy has already been infiltrated by upwards of 100 agents of change through the Congressional Progressive Caucus, at least half a dozen of whom are among the most well-known and powerful young politicians in America. While it will take at least a decade for the “Squad” and other young progressives to achieve institutional power, if their numbers grow by even a dozen members, the Democratic Party will have been conquered from within by progressives in the same way Republicans were conquered by the Tea Party. Put this way, voting in November is no longer about choosing an “ally” that will surely betray you or even choosing the lesser of two evils. Rather, it is about having the good fortune of choosing an adversary whom you just might be able to defeat and a strategic position that enables the continuation of the struggle for racial, economic, climate and other forms of social justice without the risk of mass repression and even civil war.”
Though I understand and recognise that a Biden presidency would be better than Trump insofar as the brutal fascists at street/local level and at cop level would be less encouraged than under Trump, this article seems to think that an eventual “progressive” Sanders-type presidency will save the day and the planet. But capital doesn’t work like that. Even a Keynesian-type capitalism could only come about by a significant global social movement (in the Covid-imposed confusion, fear and suffocating social control of current developments to many this seems like more and more wishful-thinking fantasy). Capitalism at a national level has to remain competitive with other nations. Only a significant threat to its existence in the economically &/or militarily stronger countries would force a Welfare-Statist and “ecological” direction internationally that wouldn’t be undermined by the competitive advantage the less Keynesian-oriented nations would gain if others turned to a modern form of greenish social democracy. And a social movement capable of forcing capital into the type of Welfare State that followed WWII would be capable of abolishing capital altogether. Besides, is an ecological capitalism possible or even desirable? As long as the need for money exists such a potential capitalism would have to be very heavily policed globally and as totalitarian as any of the current neoliberal forms of misery. Moreover, such a potential welfare state would be far more technologically equipped to ensure that the margin of freedom that prevailed from the 50s to the 80s would not be repeated. This margin tended to allow a far wider critique of aspects of capital than are generally expressed nowadays, and allowed a far greater degree of experimentation in living and subversive adventure. But with the use of mass surveillance, and other scientific developments, it would be even more reductive of life to mere survival, to “suicide on the installment plan, a renunciation of life every day ” than any previous spans of Welfare Stateism – starting with Bismarck, on to the Liberal Party reforms in the UK in the 9 years before WWI, the development of a kind of totalitarian “safety net” (for the utterly submissive &/or those cowed into submission) under Stalin, Hitler, and Roosevelt, then mostly post-war intensified Keynesianism in other countries (note that Keynes book “The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money” as well as Lenin’s “Ultra-Leftism: an infantile disorder” were amongst some of the books the Nazis did NOT burn after they came to power). One of the most vocal advocates of the welfare state amongst UK politicians in the late 20s, early 30s was the Tory-turned-Left-Labour-politician-turned-England’s-most-famous-fascist Sir Oswald Mosley (he advocated a corporate state which intended to combine businesses, workers and the Government into one body as a way to “Obliterate class conflict and make the British economy healthy again” ). There has never been such a thing as a welfare state determined by the mass of proletarian individuals any more than there’s been such a thing as a workers state. And there never could be. A new form of Welfare State, built on the disarming of proletarian subversion, would be subject to being reversed even quicker than what unfolded during the post-1973 epoch (see also this).
It seems far more useful to consider the Democrats’ strategies for containing social “unrest” than merely to say “voting in November is no longer about choosing an “ally” that will surely betray you or even choosing the lesser of two evils. Rather, it is about having the good fortune of choosing an adversary whom you just might be able to defeat and a strategic position that enables the continuation of the struggle for racial, economic, climate and other forms of social justice without the risk of mass repression and even civil war.” And we’ve seen how they – using “they” loosely to mean the whole repressive reformist street-level professional activists/Leaders etc. – almost immediately moved in to hand over white “outsider” rioters to the cops, to unmask them, to call for “peace”, to snitch on looters, etc. Money might temporarily pour into various recuperative activities (maybe Ice Cube will provide his own forms of recuperation) – so it seems, particularly for those in the States who will be most immediately effected by these things, worth anticipating some of this by keeping an eye out for what the Dumbocrats are proposing. A different form of “mass repression” is certainly likely under Biden. Also, I wouldn’t be so sure that a simmering “civil war” – from Trumpish fascists on the right as well as armed struggle fetishists on the left (or amongst those without any leftist ideology) – would somehow be halted by a Biden presidency. The fascists (or whatever) might be a bit discouraged but I wouldn’t have thought much discouraged. Of course, not living in the States means I don’t have much of an inkling how these things might develop in greater detail than stating this general idea…
“We had been warned that permission for the protest had been denied under lockdown regulations, but hundreds of women turned up anyway,” said one protester.”
This may seem trivial to some, but I think what happened in the NBA is kind of noteworthy, despite the spectacular context of commercialized sports in which it took place and the millionaire athletes who are involved. The Milwaukee Bucks refused to play their scheduled match after the filth shot Jacob Blake – the first time this has happened in NBA history. Since it put into question the rest of the Playoffs and the whole billion-dollar industry around it, it was necessary for this to be nipped in the bud. But as we all know, the dictates of the times are such that this had to be done cunningly and to make it appear as the opposite of what it is: that the players’ strike is the one hurting ‘black lives’ and that the business as usual and continuation of the Playoffs – painted with BLM themes and slogans as well as voting propaganda – benefits black people.
The main man for the job is of course the star product of that industry – the brand that is called LeBron James. If we believe the way the media presents it (which could well be exaggerated), he was the most prominent voice during the players’ discussions around the walk-out/strike, pressuring the renegade players and those who could be incited to act in a similar fashion to stop their shenanigans and harmful practical actions and to stick instead to the aforementioned symbolic gestures on and off the court, similar to other corporate recuperations of the protest movement seen throughout the passing months. James is now hyped by the media as the hero of the day who saved the Playoffs and promotes the right messages, a modernized brand of media-hyped opinion-making athlete-star, in yet another outstanding marketing ploy carried on the backs of the masses of black people. What matters is that black multi-millionaires function as role models for poor blacks with the carrot of a fantasy exit from poverty or from a nasty, brutal and short life in crime even as these role models build their multi-millions on the super-exploitation of blacks and others. Black Lives Don’t Matter – Black Representations of Life Matter.
South Africa, Johannesburg: 100s of local residents clash furiously with the filth after they kill a 16-year-old with Downs syndrome
This irritating, if informative site (“a tool for movements dedicated to anarchist, abolitionist, and revolutionary perspectives”), calls those who clashed with the cops “militants”, as if you have to be a professional activist, a politico, to get angry. These were proletarians, most of whom have no notion of themselves as “militants”. It also calls what’s happening an “uprising”: undoubtedly this was an excellent expression of hatred for the cops, but such language wants to exaggerate and “politicise” events that don’t fit into such “anarchist”-type categories. If this was an uprising rather than a moment of fury, then South Africa has had hundreds, if not thousands, of uprisings over the last 25 years since the official “end” of apartheid (see this).
“A man — who witnesses described as being part of a vigilante militia group — with a long gun brazenly walked down a street in Kenosha, Wisconsin Tuesday night and began firing his weapon at people protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake, killing 2, and incredibly walking right past a swarm of cops who let him go into the night. The protest centered around the courthouse and got out of hand, with water bottles, rocks and fireworks aimed at police. The police then fired rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowd, which then dispersed and moved several blocks. That’s when the white vigilante appears on video with his gun. He reportedly had already shot someone in the stomach several blocks away, and he was being chased by protesters who were trying to subdue him. The vigilante falls to the ground as he’s being chased and then begins unloading his weapon, striking and killing 2 people. And, then the unthinkable happens. As police swarm the area in patrol cars and fortified vehicles, the vigilante — gun clearly visible around his chest — put his hands up in the air. The police vehicles all pass him, as the crowd screams he’s the shooter. It’s a stunning contrast … the white vigilante posed a clear and present danger, even if cops didn’t know he was the shooter, yet Jacob Blake, an unarmed black man, was shot in the back 7 times as he tried to get in his car. Jacob is now paralyzed from the waist down.”
“Protests continue in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, August 25, after police shot a Black man identified as Jacob Blake the previous day. Video footage showed Blake being shot multiple times as he tried to enter his SUV during a police inspection. Blake has been hospitalised in serious condition. According to his attorney, the man’s three children (3, 5 and 8) were in the car. The city of 100,000 inhabitants has seen tensions rise as protesters broke windows and sprayed graffiti at a Kenosha County administrative building following the shooting. According to reports, vehicles at a nearby auto dealership were torched, a fire was started at a county courthouse. Kenosha has since declared an overnight curfew.”
Extracts from a white union militant posted in the Ironworkers Union Local Facebook page (obviously his uncritical attitude towards unions and BLM are not things I agree with, but it’s still interesting):
“Allow me to make a confession. I’m a 52 year old fat bastard, white and proud Union member of Ironworkers Local 396 and I fully support Black Lives Matter…Fully and utterly support! “Why?” Many of my brothers and sisters ask. As if the idea of standing for justice for all no longer affects us. Is the concept of fairness and decency is not our concern? Have we forgotten where we have come from?
What so many of my brothers and sisters don’t understand is that the fight for justice that Black Lives Matter represents is exactly where the fight for worker’s rights was 100 years ago. It is no slight to say they are not on new ground at all, but rather are standing precisely where unions stood a century ago. We are them. They are us. Young! Angry! Thirsty for justice! And like us in 1920’s, they need to be heard. Let me state this as bluntly as possible. There is no activity that Black Lives Matter does that we did not perfect a century ago. In no way am I disparaging this. They are borrowing time-honored techniques from a previous century’s movement just as that movement borrowed them from those who came before. Anything that people complain about BLM doing, the Labor Movement did. We did those things to get us the privileges we have today. In fact, those things are the reason we have the rights we currently enjoy.
Did we block streets in the course of our strikes and protests for better wages and treatment? Hell yes! All the time! There were strikes and marches that shut down entire cities and even states for days at a time. In the fight for just the eight hour day, hundreds of thousands marched across the nation month after month and year after year. They shut everything down. They needed to! Were we violent? Oh my god! Our Grandparents were tough as nails. Does anyone think that they just asked nicely to be given living wages and be treated like human beings? Our great grandparents fought like hell itself for the rights that so many of us now take for granted. And we fought violently against authorities who beat or shot workers in these actions. Many of these periods of civil unrest led to the destruction of rail yards, factories and entire city blocks. Cities shuddered to a halt with the rage in the face of the injustices that occurred when companies had the police departments and the courts firmly in their pocket or could hire mercenary armies to maim or kill workers. Year after year, our predecessors rioted and burned shit down.
But we didn’t loot, right? Do you really believe that? There have always been looters and there always will be. In every period of labor unrest, looting was widespread. The shopkeepers, clerks and capitalists were always against us. They hated what unions stood for and many had little problem with looting and burning shops to the ground. But a month ago the rioters looted Target!!! Get real. With the anti-worker attitude that Target and so many other mega-companies have, our great great grandparents would have had little issue burning Target after Target to the ground.
Did we kill people? Yes. The usual scenario was as follows. The police or mercenaries would shoot a few workers, and the workers would shoot several of them in return. Police firing into crowds or ambushing workers would often lead to full scale violence often devolving into all-out war where dozens or even hundreds died.
Let me give you some events to look up. The Battle of Blair Mountain, The Ludlow Massacre and aftermath, The Great Railway Strike of 1877, The Memorial Day massacre of 1937 to name just a few off the top of my head. Oh, and for all our sakes look up the Minneapolis Teamster Strike of 1934. Look them up and learn.
When workers grew so desperate, they did terrible things. And rest assured, when their brothers and sisters or sons and daughters were shot before their eyes, they often rioted with frightening force. These were not isolated incidences. This violence happened repeatedly decade upon decade. So much so that most American cities built armories downtown to help put your grandparents down if they ever had the temerity to rise against the powers that be. Understand that these armories were not built against foreign invasion, but rather against our union brothers and sisters.
This is our history! Learn this so you not only can protect the rights you have, but so you can recognize what is happening now?
What does all that violence and destruction produce? In our case? Everything! There is not a right we possess today that did not in part arise from violence or the threat of violence by our great grandparents. You may as well ask what good violence did in the Revolutionary War? Our opponents have never given us rights until they are exhausted, until we have risked our lives time and time again standing up to them. In so many cases, we had to demonstrate that every victory they had was a pyrrhic victory. That is where it didn’t matter if the authorities won every battle, the victories would be so expensive that they were never worth winning.
Understand that I am in no way justifying killing and violence. I grieve for those hurt on the sidelines. I sorrow for those who lost business and livelihoods, and I weep for the officers injured and killed. In addition, I also know that often violence becomes the enemy of any movement and often wrecks what has been achieved. Yet most riots, contrary to current conspiracy theory are not planned. They are the inevitable rage created by a system that crushes people in its gears. Violence stems from desperation which stems from injustice. Rioting and other violence is inescapable in a system where for many, justice cannot be found.
The long term solution to rioting is not more police. The solution to rioting is setting up a system where injustice is dealt with. Worker violence raged across this nation for 50 years until Unions were legalized and workers had another outlet for their grievances.
And yet many of the same people who have benefited all their lives from the same tactics that Black Lives Matter is using are now whining about inconveniences in their lives? How have we forgotten so much? Do we think we are shopkeepers and clerks now? Have we moved out of the working class? Do we believe that if we pretend we are on the billionaires’ side that they’ll continue to feed us with tidbits dropping from their table? Do we think that they won’t eventually drop us to the floor to be ground under their heels? And if when that happens and we have stood for no one else, who will stand for us?
But above all justice is still the centerpiece here and as a matter of justice, the facts are brutal. Black people are 2.5 times as likely to be killed by police. How is this not a tragedy worth any inconvenience? Unarmed black men are being killed because they don’t obey the police fast enough, because they don’t bow low enough, because even handcuffed and lying on the ground they are presumed to be such a threat that four officers can slowly suffocating a helpless and pleading man to death. Can you imagine seeing a video of your son or daughter slowly strangled to death? Can you envision how you’d feel watching their gasps for air? How would you feel if your son’s murder was just another in a long line of murders where justice was virtually unknown? Where the perpetrators would get off either utterly free or with a mere slap on the wrist? Imagine the rage you’d feel?
I fully support Black Lives Matter I don’t have a child but I have been a parent to the children of the women I have loved. I can imagine my kid being slowly suffocated under the weight of a human knee. In the last week, I have imagined it time and time again…I admit that I do not know and I fervently hope to never know how that feels, but I can imagine… and that’s enough for me.
For two centuries, the Labor Movement has been a push for justice and is not complete. BLM is a push for justice right now and is just beginning. No matter how I look at it, BLM is a sister organization to my own.
As Unions, we should remember enough of our history to understand what the desperation and suffering of our grandparents when they were on the bottom of society. And we should remember that it has always been our goal to lift everyone up to our level rather than tear anyone down. Therefore I, a white, 52-year-old, fat-bastard am a proud union member of Ironworker’s Local 396. I stand in solid support of Black Lives Matter. A fight for justice has always been at Union’s core, and I’m not about to give that up now.”
This is an interesting article for five reasons:
1) it is an event that has somehow gotten buried as the killing in Louisiana has to a degree as well; both overshadowed by the shootings in Kenosha.
2) it shows what a detestable reactionary Carly Fiorina still is, as if one did not need to be reminded.
3) the reader’s comment by “enemy of the people” consists of the exceptionally revealing quote by Luftwaffe Chief and war-criminal Hermann Goering that I wish everyone knew by heart.
4) there is another comment further below by a man whose father was in the Merchant Marines during the second world war and disposed of an arrogant nazi (“political” – I’m not sure how he knew) officer in a perfectly appropriate fashion.
5) there is at least one other statement by someone who understands that fascist ‘states of exception’ are things that can come around as well as go around – a thing we should all start practicing, whenever we get the chance.
“Beyond the physical strain of marching dozens of miles a day, he said, several counties in their path had documented histories of being Ku Klux Klan strongholds. The group is composed of about 50 people who joined at various stops along the way. It’s a diverse group, with people of various races and members of the LGBTQ community. Some brought their children. A dog named Juice and a cat named Sparrow are on the journey….In Indiana, state police officers arrested three members of the group for blocking traffic in Kosciusko County. They were handcuffed and held for hours in the county jail. Indiana State Police wrote in a news release that the group was “intentionally obstructing vehicular traffic” on a four-lane highway with a speed limit of 60 miles per hour…Chandi LeSure, 36, a hospitality worker from Milwaukee who has marched with the group since the beginning, said she was accused of shoplifting at an Indiana Walmart after spending $300 on supplies for the group. On long, winding highways and rolling county roads, they say drivers have tried to run the caravan off the road. One car, LeSure said, sped toward a member of their group, who jumped out of the way. In Ohio, store owners locked their doors during business hours or refused to let the activists use gas pumps and restrooms, they said. In one instance, strangers pulled their cars into the gas station ahead of them to block the entrance. “I couldn’t believe that — we’ve got kids, we’ve got pregnant women with us who need to use the bathroom,” said Tameka Burks, 43, who joined the group two weeks ago and brought four of her children — ages 2, 3, 7 and 14 — along on the march…In Pennsylvania, a marcher was shot by a homeowner in Bedford County who fired several rounds at the group as they sat while pulled over along a two-lane road…In the videos, a man with a long gun can be seen advancing toward the group, sending people running, shouting, ducking behind cars. Between shots, a protester can be heard shouting, “We’re leaving! You don’t have to be violent!”…In the chaos, a police report notes, one member of the group was shot. Pennsylvania State Trooper Joseph Dunsmore said the agency has “strong evidence to suggest there was gunfire exchanged between the two parties,” although he declined to release other details. No arrests have been made. …The injured protester was hospitalized. The next day, demonstrators checked into a hotel. On Tuesday evening, a group of White men pulled up to the hotel brandishing weapons and shooting guns into the air, protesters said. The hotel staff locked the doors as protesters took shelter in their rooms…A 43-year-old man was charged with reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and a firearms violation, according to Pennsylvania State Police records. By Wednesday, the group was back on the road. The injured protester had checked himself out of the hospital and rejoined the group. He’s not marching on foot anymore, Lowe said, but is determined to make it to D.C.” These are MLK-type pacifists to be addressed by the charlatan demagogue Al Sharpton. So much for non-violence!
Belarus: teachers head rallies against Lukashenko’s government…after official “opposition” calls for strikes (only in state-owned companies) that have already happened without them calling for them
“President Alexander Lukashenko instructed the governor of the Grodno region to completely close the factories taking part. He also threatened to fire those participating in the strikes.”
From RS in Russia:
The difficult economic situation of most factories, inefficient management, and the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus and the global economic downturn caused the majority of the population to become disillusioned with the regime. Dictator Alexander Lukashenko lost the election on August 9, but openly falsified the results. He honestly told the workers that if they wanted him to leave, they would have to kill him (Yes, he said exactly that.). The majority of the working class is caught up in the bourgeois-democratic political illusion and wants the dictator to leave: Now their desires are mainly reduced to this. However, they are not consistent even in this, and are not ready to kill him as he proposed…
The dictator of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, said that all teachers who do not agree to spread state ideology will be dismissed from their jobs. This caused mass protests. A large group of teachers gathered near the Ministry of Education of Belarus.
US, Wisconsin: probation office torched during riots after cops severely injure a guy who posed no threat to them in Kenosha (between Milwaukee and Chicago)…New Orleans: sit-in of City Hall as protests continue against cop killing of black guy carrying knife…Portland, Oregon: police union building torched…Seattle: 2 police precincts attacked
“The people of Kenosha responded in-kind, attacking the courthouse, burning cars and dump trucks, breaking police cars, hurling bricks and molotovs at pigs. They succeeded in knocking at least one pig unconscious, protecting others from his attacks. The courthouse was set on fire.”
US, Oregon: clashes between nazi-types and anti-nazis…100s of Portlanders push out far-right…Colorado: windows smashed in cop HQ
Belgium, Charleroi: recently discovered footage of cops giving Hitler salute whilst killing Slovakian guy
“Hitler salute, laughter and dances around a dying man in a federal police cell: Jozef Chovanec, 38-year-old Slovak, with no mental or legal background, died at Charleroi airport in February 2018. One of the police officers sat with his full weight on his chest for 16 minutes. Conclusion: “The police action more than likely caused a fatal cardiac arrhythmia to the victim.” Jozef Chovanec’s wife decided in August 2020 to take the case to court, after becoming aware of police methods, in particular after the Georges Floyd case.” Account in French of this cop murder and how it took 4 hours before they called an ambulance
“Young people with a migration background are clearly and repeatedly dehumanised in the group… descriptions including “viper brood,” “rats” or “vermin.”
” …more and more police are quitting the force because of the state violence at those protests and posting their letters of resignation alongside their official identity cards online. They are also posting public video messages to their former colleagues, in spite of the consequences that they might face. …”
“…The Interior Ministry has announced the arrest of at least 6,700 people since the outbreak of protests challenging Alexander Lukashenko’s election victory. There were numerous testimonies of young protesters arrested and beaten. Electrocuted, beaten, burned with a cigarette. Belarusian protesters recount their ordeal in Lukashenko’s prisons: “I thought he was burying us here” …”
Although a human chain to show anger at torture and imprisonment seems uncomplicatedly “a good thing”, human chains are largely symbolic, easy moral displays, mostly just shows of solidarity mainly for the cameras. However, they can embolden prisoners and boost their morale.
This is in the Grodno region, where there’ve been significant developments in self-organised strikes by factory workers. I don’t know but this is possibly an implicit threat to the strikers; it reminds me of the way the “People’s Liberation Army” of China started doing mlitary maneouvres in Hong Kong during the social movement there back in autumn last year.
US, Oregon: more confrontations outside ICE building…Virginia: more heavy policing…North Carolina: clashes at Republican Convention
Fuckerberg bans various anarchist sites from Farcebook/Fakebook/Facecrook/Facespook/_______ (fill the gap)
“… in front of the MTZ factory riot police dispersed the crowed of supporters. People went to hide in the park, but riot police followed them and two people were arrested.The OMON has lined up in a chain and is not letting the support group to the plant. But people chanted “Well done” to the workers leaving the building…”
“Informal merchants and vendors clashed in the center of the city of Bogotá, Colombia. With sticks, machetes and other elements, these people staged riots …and other areas …The reason for these protests that have been registered throughout the day is the new strict quarantine that is registered in several locations to reduce cases of coronavirus contagion, which has made it impossible to open several establishments and mobile businesses . ..Faced with this situation, the Bogotá Police had to intervene to prevent some looting of shops and damage to the Transmilenio stations…”Here we are already tired of this quarantine, we need to eat, we need help, no more confinement. The mayor is calm and quiet because she does not care if we are going to eat or not. We have families. We ask that this be lifted right now,” said one from the protesters …”
“Repeated exposure to high-stress calls for service and ongoing exposure to stress without relief were two of the contributing factors that could lead law enforcement officers to become susceptible to adverse events while performing their duties…”If we can develop innovative interventions for law enforcement officers that address their unique occupational demands, we can help mitigate compounding stress factors that affect their overall mental health,” …The research team collected data from three law enforcement agencies in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex: a large urban department, a suburban department, and a rural department. The researchers met with officers in focus group settings to identify stressors and to gain insight on how to prevent future adverse effects such as use of force, officer or civilian injury, civilian complaints, or discharge of a weapon…behaviors such as taking a break between calls, practicing breathing exercises, and addressing one’s mental health over time can help lower levels of chronic stress….Previous studies have shown that for other occupations, reduced levels of stress increase productivity and job satisfaction.”
If only Derek Chauvin, the murderer of George Floyd, had had daily meditation excercises…
“Instead of blindly fighting against them, authorities have today understood the added value that they could draw from certain ‘squats'”, Perspective Brussels, an agency spearheading urban development strategies at Brussels’ regional level, wrote in an overview of the scheme’s growing popularity. As squatting was co-opted from the alternative and outcast spheres of Brussels, and pruned and moulded into an increasingly prevalent tool for urban renewal policies, temporary occupation contracts have encountered an “undeniable success” with all kinds of property owners and developers”
Google Translate of some of this:
“…the workers of Belaruskali went on strike and started forming committees. The workers explained that they went on strike because their demands were not being met. “Our salaries are the bullets of the riot police,” said one of the interlocutors … Some said they would go on strike until there was a change. Management encouraged employees to put their requirements on paper, but not stop production. Among the demands of the workers is to withdraw the OMON [riot cops] from Soligorsk, where the enterprise is located, and to bring to justice those who have exceeded their powers during and after the election campaign…the workers signed a notification addressed to the head of the company, Ivan Eismont, in which there were demands to dismiss the head of the CEC, Lidia Yermoshina [member of the Central Election Commission since 1992, and Chairwoman since 1996], to release political prisoners, to abolish censorship in the media…The workers of the Belarusian Metallurgical Plant are joining the strike…The team stated in an appeal that it refuses to perform labor functions from 12.00 to 17.00 on 17 August. Employees are ready to go on an indefinite strike from August 20, if their demands are not met: the resignation of the president, the Council of Ministers and both chambers of parliament, as well as new elections, the release of political prisoners and an end to the detention of people who do not violate public order. The chairman of the trade union committee, Alexander Koleda, said that he supports the initiative of the strike, but proposes to organize it in accordance with the country’s labor code.”
See also entry for 9/8/20 below.
The following is an email exchange between RS, the person who sent me the link to the Russian article above plus the section on Belarus in the entry for 9/8/20 below, and me, the first email sent following my comments on what he wrote in the entry for 9/8/20:
He responded by email with this quote from what I wrote:
«But destroying factories in itself – at least when it’s done by proletarians and in particular those having to work in them – is fine. What’s more, if there were to be a successful revolution many factories would be dismantled and/or significantly transformed. Moreover, instead of looking at the obstacles to the development of a revolution – both ideological and material – he asserts positive models coming from different epochs and different situations (Hungary ’56, Poland 1980) and what has become a fixation for him – “the power of the General assemblies of workers and their subordinate Councils of delegates” without mentioning any precise situations in present-day Belarus that have some germ of such a possibility, which would make such references to the past less abstract. Given that the movement there so far hasn’t moved beyond the bourgeois terrain of elections, shoe-horning in General Assemblies and Councils of Delegates is particularly off-the-point.»
“This paragraph is a typical concentration of views of modern “anarchism”, which has nothing in common with the working-class anarchism of Mikhail Bakuin and it is a form of rejection of the consistent conquest of society by workers and the rejection of the doctrine of taking the means of production into the hands by organized workers. Meanwhile, according to recent reports from Belarus, workers in some enterprises have started forming strike committees (i.e., actually Workers ‘ Councils). This process began at the giant Belaruskali plant in the city of Soligorsk, which employs 20 thousand people https://news.mail.ru/society/42999723/?frommail=1. The workers, in particular, demanded the departure of riot Police from their city. Also, according to Boris Kagarlitsky (a Russian social Democrat and political scientist), criticism of the government’s economic policy is heard at the factories, but it has not yet been expressed in specific requirements.”
I responded with:
“Thanks for the link to the article about the Belaruskali plant in the
city of Soligorsk. Potentially an interesting development. But why do
you say that the strike committees are actually Workers’ Councils? Is
there any basis for this assertion? I’ve known strike committees that
have neither had anything to do with Workers Councils nor have they even
been answerable to those whom they represent. Is there a factual reason
for you saying this other than wishful thinking? I hope there is but
please give me something other than your assertion that they’re Workers
As for your other comments – would you say that the Bangladeshi garment
workers who burnt down 16 garment factories in 2006 were “a typical
concentration of views of modern “anarchism”? Would you chide them for
not having read or followed Bakunin, who clearly is the final word on
working-class anarchism? In your revolution are no factories to be
dismantled and/or significantly transformed? In your revolution do
workers merely have to conquer society as it is and take the means of
production into their hands as they are? Should everyone only follow
the old theoreticians of the old workers movement? Should they never
develop ideas and actions that correspond to their own needs and point
He responded to the above with:
“As for the first, I wrote that the workers form strike committees. What is the question? Initially, in Russia, the workers ‘ councils are the strike Committee. Simply, as the labor movement develops, this Committee, along with other similar committees, can take on more and more functions. Today in Belarus, as in 1905, workers put forward political demands, talk about economic problems (and in some places include them in the list of demands), and begin to form strike committees. Moreover, neither parties nor trade unions take part in this.
As for the second question concerning Bangladesh. Usually workers want to keep factories, because they want to work in them, they need jobs. Or, at a higher stage of development, the workers see these factories as their collective ownership, which should better serve their interests. In some cases, during strikes, workers in Bangladesh could burn down factories, most likely in response to mass layoffs. In some cases, workers can threaten bosses with sabotage by destroying equipment, as it happens. However, in the vast majority of cases, workers tend to keep factories for the two reasons I have indicated. The reasons for this are obvious – they need to live and work somewhere. They are not parasites, and no one will feed them except themselves.
As for «Given that the movement there so far hasn’t moved beyond the bourgeois terrain of elections, shoe-horning in General Assemblies and Councils of Delegates is particularly off-the-point.»…. Well This statement of yours testifies to your ignorance of the history of the formation of Soviets in revolutionary Russia in 1905. The movement of Soviets developed as a tool of the working class, and initially it supported the same demands as today in Belarus, and only later this changed. The workers ‘ Soviets during the General strike of October 1905 (the first in history) put forward (unfortunately) precisely bourgeois-democratic political demands.”
I responded with:
“Re. your comment on the Bangladesh garment workers: “In some cases, during strikes, workers in Bangladesh could burn down factories, most likely in response to mass layoffs” :
Whilst it may be possible that Bangladeshi garment workers have burnt down factories in response to mass lay-offs, I’ve not heard of any such thing. However, it would have been easy for you to find out about the burning of 16 factories back in 2006 for other reasons, reasons that may not fit into your belief that workers tend to keep factories because of their need to live and work somewhere. I feel tempted to say “This statement of yours testifies to your ignorance of the history of Bangladesh garment workers” (to mirror the arrogant presumption in what you said about me and the 1905 soviets). Maybe I’m wrong but I suspect the fact that you haven’t bothered to read about it implies a reluctance to test out any facts that contradict your very narrow notion of social revolt, a notion that arises out of an indifference to most theoretical and practical developments beyond the old workers movement, which would also include the majority of developments globally during your own lifetime. In fact, the destruction of the factories in 2006 was due to the arrests of 3 workers, and then followed the shooting dead of a worker by the cops:
“In late May and through June this year , there has been a wave of fierce class struggle in the Bangladesh garment industry. To illustrate the scale of events: around 4000 factories in Dhaka went on wildcat strike, 16 factories were burnt down by strikers and hundreds more ransacked and looted, pitched battles were fought with cops and private security forces in workplaces and workers’ neighbourhoods, main roads were blocked. Casualties include 3 workers shot dead , thousands injured, several thousand jailed. The Government eventually felt compelled to bring in the Army to restore ‘order’…..The revolt began on Saturday 20th May in Sripur in the Gazipour district of Dhaka. 1,000 garment workers gathered at FS Sweater Factory, refusing to work until 3 arrested fellow workers were released from custody. The factory bosses locked the striking workers in the factory, cutting the power and water supplies. Eventually, the sweltering heat proved too much and by 11 am the workers fought their way out, then gathered on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway. Now joined by locals, they barricaded the highway for 6 hours and fought pitched battles with the cops. One person was killed and 70 others, including cops and journalists, were injured.
On the morning of Monday, 22 May at Savar Export Processing Zone (EPZ), a suburb of Dhaka, workers at Universal Garments Limited gathered in front of the factory to demand payment of 3 months owed back wages. They were attacked by factory security staff. In response the workers went to neighboring factories and called out other garment workers for support. The growing group of workers then went from factory to factory calling on other workers to join them; 20,000 workers are reported to have joined this angry procession. By the afternoon hundreds of other factories in Savar EPZ and New EPZ had joined the strikes . Two factories were torched and 100s more ransacked, over 300 hundred company and management vehicles wrecked….” – https://libcom.org/news/article.php/bangladesh-garment-revolt-140706
Of course, in this society people “need” jobs. Which, as you well know, is a need imposed by the essential need political economy creates – the need for money. In this society the tasks and transformations of life and the world are called “jobs”, a narrow focus on tasks and abilities that in circumstances of revolt and revolution are shared and developed by all the individuals who want to share and develop such tasks/abilities. A society which progresses towards and eventually abolishes money and/or rationing will involve deciding what tasks and transformations of life and the world would be necessary and desirable and which wouldn’t, which would almost certainly involve destroying or radically transforming a significant amount of infrastructure, a significant amount of the “wealth” accumulated over centuries and centuries of class exploitation. The need to live and feed ourselves is obviously a part of deciding what will be destroyed, what will be transformed and what will be kept more or less as it is, all of it being non-hierarchically self-organised. In squats, in factory occupations, in land takeovers, in any takeover of capitalist property, almost invariably there’s been some transformation and destruction – though such transformations are limited by the speed with which the forces of repression re-expropriate the area. I can’t imagine any lengthy occupation of infrastructure or land that would not involve transformation or destruction of its original form and content.
In this text – https://dialectical-delinquents.com/war-politics/communisation-does-not-move-in-mysterious-ways-june-2015/ – I wrote a critique of the kind of “modern anarchism” dogma which you falsely accuse me of as well as, in passing, your own particular old workers movement dogma, both of which are false choices : “A factory, regardless of size, is mostly inhuman until it is transformed by the workers within it, who then begin to recognise their misery as a social relation and begin to affirm their desire for life by changing the world around them. This might necessitate the burning of factories but also maybe other forms of transformation; some industrially-produced products will still be needed in a post-revolutionary society and the hows and whys of such production will require an understanding of human necessity, which would include also evaluating the ecological cost of such forms of production. Elements of the production of nuts and bolts and other useful things will still be produced “industrially”. Equally, some aspects of production will have to be organised globally – things needed or desired but not available in one part of the world will need to be transported to those areas in an ecological manner. Not globally organising producing and transporting such things might prove to be more disastrous than producing them. To be dogmatic one way or the other means blocking out the experimentation needed to assess what is suitable and refusing to countenance overcoming the false dichotomy of a simple rejection of “Big Industry ” or a simplistic acceptance of it (and it’s an attitude that wants to work out how the new society will exist well before the material means to realise it have been created). “Big Industry” will have to sometimes be destroyed and sometimes be transformed, both in its form and content and in the breakdown of the separation between work and other aspects of life (which already happens at times when people start to take over their factories). Whilst an ideology of simply changing the use from production for profit to production for need can hide the inhuman aspects of working on machines, in horrible environments, we could apply such an understanding to everything – buildings, streets, homes, gardens, living rooms, etc. “
As for my apparent “ignorance of the history of the formation of Soviets in revolutionary Russia in 1905” and your wishful thinking that Belarus 2020 will follow the same trajectory as the transformation of strike committees into soviets back in Russia 1905, that remains to be seen. But unfortunately 99% of strike committees don’t develop that way. Perhaps if you now went to Belarus and gave speeches to the workers about your take on history and on Workers Councils, the workers will suddenly recognise the connection between Russia 1905 and Belarus 2020 and will create soviets around the country, which will then spread to Russia and all the previously USSR countries and from then throughout the world. Perhaps. If you were true to your hopes and beliefs you’d go there and do that. But, though I’d love to be proved wrong, I suspect, however, there’d be a certain reluctance on the part of the workers to take up your suggestions. For one thing, people’s point of view is far more colonised by the false choices of this world than they were in 1905. It takes time and reflection and discussion to develop both the desire and confidence to take things further. Getting together debates amongst 20,000 people, as they did in 1905, is something that would take a great deal more effort and development. The internet is just a poor limited expression of such a possible debate. For another thing, the power of the state, and this society in general, to kill, maim, take away your means of survival, control , imprison, etc. is a tiny bit different from the means Russian capitalism had over 100 years ago, and that may play a part in how far the workers of Belarus may take this. Moreover, the state has learnt not to massacre hundreds of workers led by a priest ( one of the most significant events that sparked off the 1905 revolution) in front of today’s worldwide media. Nowadays they’re subtler and it could be far more useful to examine such subtle manipulations and constraints than to speculate on a vague possibility. But go ahead, test your “theory” in practice – I look forward to a holiday postcard from you with a picture of you smiling in the courtyard of a Belarus soviet.”
He wrote back the following:
“1. I can assume that the reasons why workers in Bangladesh burned down factories may have been different from layoffs, and as I said, workers sometimes resort to sabotage because they are forced to use it as a means to fight capital. However, it is clear that in the vast majority of cases, workers do not do this. The reasons for this are obvious and have already been indicated by me. People want to save work or see the factory as their collective future tool. They are not parasites and have to think about it.
2. I think that in the vast majority of cases, the issue of destroying factories during protests does not exist. Especially because in the conditions of revolutionary chaos, it is especially important for people to keep their factory. I have never received unemployment benefits in my life, like the vast majority of people in the world never received unemployment benefits, so people usually value their work. And it is especially dangerous to lose your job in the conditions of revolutionary chaos. Of course, I do not deny the fact that much of the factory work is hard and unbearable. This only means that the factories will be rebuilt in the future. Perhaps some or many of them will be closed, but this will only happen when other factories or research centers can give the work to the people. However, this is a matter of complex future transformation by joint efforts of numerous collectives. It is a mistake to say that you can simply destroy a significant part of the factories during the uprising. This would lead to disastrous consequences, strictly speaking, this is what happened in Russia in 1918 (due to the incompetent management of the Bolsheviks).
3. As For the councils of delegates, I believe that I have clearly explained everything to you. By the way, according to the latest information, such Councils are formed in the city of Grodno. Unfortunately, the original demands of the Soviets in Russia, as they are today, were bourgeois-democratic in 1905. This did not prevent some of the anarchists and maximalists from agitating for the transfer of power and factories to the Soviets. Of course, the conditions are different, but now the workers form their own strike committees there, just as they did in 1905 (when socialist demands did not dominate these committees or councils), and I see no reason to refuse direct agitation.
4 Thank you for your advice. I have participated in various strikes and protests many times, including two huge factories in different parts of the country that were taken over by workers, in Vyborg and Yasnogorsk. But then I had a group of comrades with whom I did this, and today my comrades, supporters of close ideas of councile communism, live in some other countries, and I alone can hardly do anything at a factory in a foreign country. However, I try to publish relevant materials on websites that are read by hundreds of Belarusian residents which helps me distribute them. Quite a few people understand them.
5. I think that the working class of Belarus will go through a series of tragedies and catastrophes. But I will try to tell hundreds of people about other possibilities, instead of accepting the bourgeois reality myself.”
And later email from RS:
“According to the fragmentary information received, some large Belarusian factories have started forming strike committees. However, the workers do not have the necessary experience. A special feature of Belarus is that the government has crushed all independent trade unions. This has an important advantage – workers are not controlled by the Union authorities. But on the other hand, workers have almost no experience of fighting (although there have sometimes been few spontaneous strikes in the past). In particular, in the city of Grodno, where such strike committees are reportedly being formed.
Similar messages come from the city of Soligorsk, where workers are currently on strike at the Belaruskali plant, the largest in the country. There, too, workers are attempting to form a strike Committee. At the same time, they act very carefully, and intend to pass their demands to the authorities through the official channel – the official (fictitious) trade unions of Belarus.
It is also reported that the liberal democratic opposition, which is supported by part of the business, promised workers financial support, paying part of the compensation for downtime.
At the same time, the workers ‘ protest is growing because of the dictator Alexander Lukashenko’s statements. He said that all workers who participated in the strikes will be dismissed. Thus, he left the workers no choice (at least those who had already taken part in the struggle): either they will overthrow him, or he will fire them and arrest them.”
SF note: Just to pint out that RS doesn’t respond to most of the critical points I’ve made (the elitism of saying “With such a concentration of the skilled working class-experienced professionals able to do complex smart things, it is not surprising what is happening today” ; the idea that strike committees are in themselves precursors to Workers Councils; his caricaturing my position re. destroying factories, etc.).
“During the weekend, the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands witnessed a series of riots, led by a group of teenagers. Launched through social media posts, the riots destroyed property and disturbed public order in several neighborhoods, including Kanaleneiland and Overvecht, where 40 young people were arrested. Leidsche Rijn, a neighborhood in the west of Utrecht, was next on the list. Rioters, who were mostly of Moroccan origin, were planning to meet, Sunday, at the neighborhood, which houses the Islamic Cultural Center Leidsche Rijn (ICCLR). Thanks to the latter, the rioting plans were abandoned.… «Unfortunately, most of these young men are of Moroccan origin and as a Moroccan I felt responsible for their deeds and problems», El Yandouzi regretted. After meeting with the group of young people, El Yandouzi and other people from the neighborhood managed to convince them to drop their initial plans…. In addition to their brave initiative, members of the Islamic Cultural Center in Leidsche Rijn sent messages to 900 families in the city to inform them of the situation and tell them not to let their children participate in the riots.”
The police, however, say that the recent stormy weather might be a reason for the calm [Dutch report]:
France, Rheims: 13 cars torched, cops and fire brigade ambushed, cops attacked with heavy-duty fireworks in popular area of town
The president – Alassane Ouattara – was elected for a 3rd term after his main opponent was sentenced (in his absence) to a 20 year prison term. Whilst the world is focused on election fraud in Belarus, the situation in Cote d’Ivoire, being very closely linked to France (its military have been there since 2015), is ignored. Elections have invariably been a con, but with today’s increasingly totalitarian developments, the con (eg in Trump’s manipulations) is increasingly obvious.
Mexico, Mexico City: clashes as women demonstrate against cop rapes of 3 women and against femicide, in particular the unpunished murder of woman by a police professor in 2016 (videos and links)
“Female elements of the Secretariat for Citizen Security will guard the demonstration along the route. There will be a total of 870 uniformed women….Of the 46.5 million Mexican women aged 15 years and over, 66.1% (30.7 million) have faced violence of all kinds …at some time in their lif…In the first half of 2020, 489 femicides were reported, according to the National Public Security System (SNSP), while in 2019 there were 1,012 murders of women based on gender. But the protesters have also criticized impunity, as the march has also served to demand justice for the femicide of María de Jesús Jaimes, a student at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) who was murdered in 2016.“ …women vandalise monument to 16th century Aztec leader Cuauhtémoc
US, Oregon: on 80th consecutive night of protests cops declare riot, firing endless amounts of teargas…Seattle: another battle
US, Chicago: protesters pepper-spray cops who’d pepper-sprayed them…Georgia: clashes between left and right…Similar clashes elsewhere
“As the two police officers were carrying out a routine check of the road, a 17-year-old – sentenced to labor for his involvement in the Blankenberge riots last week – began to provoke and insult officers. When the officers tried to verify his identity, he became aggressive and resisted, calling on the crowd to come to his aid and turn on the police. The two agents were quickly surrounded and taken to task by the troublemakers…“We released these images because we want to show everyone the circumstances in which the Brussels police must work,” reacts Vincent Houssin, vice-president of the VSOA, Syndicat Libre de la Service Publique. “These are not isolated facts. Such things happen every day in the Brussels region. It is disturbing to note that after such incidents, silence is still in order among local politicians. The problem is so important that it must be tackled head-on. ” More here
“Police in The Hague arrested 27 people as rioting broke out in a low-income neighborhood for the third night, with youths torching a storage building and throwing stones and fireworks at police Friday night and into the early hours of Saturday.Unrest also spread to a second city, with arrests in a neighborhood of the central city of Utrecht, local media reported. Both areas affected are home to many families of Moroccan and Turkish descent. Hague police said arrests were made for offenses including public violence, incitement and threatening behavior. They followed more than 20 arrests for similar offenses on Thursday night.Riot police guarded firefighters as they put out a blaze in a storage shed for sports equipment and games in The Hague.The unrest began earlier this week amid a stifling heatwave in the Netherlands and moves by water authorities in The Hague to prevent children opening fire hydrants to cool off. Populist, anti-immigration lawmakers are seizing on the unrest as evidence of failed policies to promote integration and call for those who refuse to integrate to be deported.”
T writes: “…this neighborhood…is mostly populated by immigrants … or descendants of immigrants. This was to me one of the few interesting places in that expat-oriented lifeless city designed for diplomats. Previous riots occurred there around 2014-2015 following a man suffocated to death in police custody, and after continuous harassment, violence and racism by the police in this neighborhood.”
More here. This short mainstream article in Dutch , which despite it’s vague journalistic observations that don’t want to reach any real conclusions and comfortably doesn’t mention the police violence and racism in the background, reveals a bit of truth. Google Translate:
Colombia, Cauca: 2 indigenous Indians murdered by riot cops in eviction from farms and farmland occupation; cops pretend they were threatened by armed FARC dissident, even though no FARCs were killed
“Chicago police exchanged gunfire with looters and arrested more than 100 people after crowds swarmed Chicago’s luxury commercial district early Monday, looting stores, smashing windows and clashing with officers for hours, police said. Police Superintendent David Brown called the outbreak “pure criminality,” and Mayor Lori Lightfoot sought to distance the incident from the “righteous uprising” in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25. “This was not an organized protest. Rather this was an incident of pure criminality,” Brown told a news conference. At least 13 officers were injured, and a security guard and a civilian were struck by gunfire, Brown said. Social media images showed storefronts bashed in and people fleeing stores with arms full of goods, with much of the action taking place along Michigan Avenue, the upscale commercial district known as the Magnificent Mile. People were drawn by a number of social media posts encouraging looting in central Chicago after tensions flared following the police shooting of a man with a gun, Brown said. As police questioned a 20-year-old suspect, he fled, firing at the pursuing officers, Brown said. Police returned fire and shot the man, who was hospitalized and expected to survive. “After the shooting, a crowd gathered. … Tempers flared, fueled by misinformation as the afternoon turned into evening,” Brown said. In response to the social media posts, police sent 400 officers into the area, where they were met by caravans of people arriving in cars, Brown said. As officers arrested one man carrying a cash register, shots were fired at them from a passing vehicle, and police fired back, Brown said. Brown pledged a police crackdown in central Chicago, assigning officers to 12-hour shifts and canceling days off.”
“The Chicago Transit Authority shut down all train and bus service downtown “at the request of public safety officials,” the [Chicago Transit Authority] said. Buses will not run in the area bounded by Fullerton, Cermak and Ashland Avenue until further notice, the CTA said, with all train service temporarily suspended as well. The bridges over the Chicago River were lifted at around 4:30 a.m., preventing further entry into and exit from the downtown area…Social media exploded with videos showing hundreds of people looting stores such as Apple, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Best Buy, Coach, Gucci and Louis Vuitton…Looters broke into a bank and ripped out the atm. They are trying to break into it. ..The looting began shortly after midnight as people darted through broken store windows and doors along Michigan Avenue carrying shopping bags full of merchandise. Cars dropped off more people as the crowd grew. At least one U-Haul van was seen pulling up…People were seen running out of a PNC Bank, its windows smashed, at Huron and State streets. Down the block, other stores, including a Sally Beauty Supply, had been cleaned out by vandals. Other parts of downtown, including around Grand and Wabash avenues, were littered with trash.Crowds repeatedly tried to bash in the windows of the Omega watch store at Delaware Place and Michigan Avenue.”
“These very recent developments are interesting. For one the re-emergence of a conflictual response to police killings is reassuring and, for me at least, points to the actual weakness of recuperative forces when faced with “the real.” Not that they have no detrimental effect whatsoever, but that the tidal forces expressed periodically here cannot be fully contained by anything that currently exists. Maybe this is an overly optimistic reading.
Two, the looting seems to be, in part, the product of rumor milling on social media. That rioting can break out over untrue details which express a broader truth about contemporary life in this place is equal parts concerning and not. On the one hand, untruths spread on the internet could be highly destructive to any form of social movement and the lack of rigor or concern for this is a potential Achille’s heel. On the other hand, that rioters seem less concerned with the details of the shooting (it would seem the victim had a gun and might have shot at the cops first) than the simple fact of an extra-judicial killing suggests an implicit critique of state power as such that escapes the reformist’s plans for a less lethal police. Of course, this scenario is not really new as it played out in various ways during the rebellions which followed in the wake of Mike Brown’s death. Just because people responded this way to this particular instance does not mean they will continue to respond in this manner or to incidents of this kind in the future.”
C. also wrote re. rioting and looting, in a different context and more generally:
“Is it possible that, for many participants, the riot is not a means to any end, but an event in itself, that it has no trajectory to be traced, followed or influenced? It happens and then it is over. Is it possible that many simply want to “get it in” or “get some shit” and once they have done so, they no longer feel the need to continue? That such a determination to continue comes only from a political motivation? This would certainly help explain the changing demographics of the movement (or perhaps more accurately movements). In this sense, it is the conditioning of life under capital which subsumes all activity to the acquisition of possessions which determines the duration of the looting and its limitations as a form of movement. Not the fringes of recuperative politics, but the mainstream of daily life. This sentiment should not be understood as an orthodox dismissal of looting as a proletarian measure, but rather, an attempt at honest clarification of the limitations of specific historic forms. Looting does not necessarily imply conflict with individual accumulation and private concern, though it certainly does open more possibility for a collective relation to the world than the experience of commodity-currency exchange. That a door is opened, does not mean that we all walk through it.”
A contact (RS, from Russia) writes:
“Events in Belarus have shown the strength of the factory working class.
The working class of the Republic of Belarus (the working class in the broad sense, both workers and non-managerial specialists) became an important component of the protests. According to the information that comes from this country, dozens of labor collectives are joining a political strike. The names of these groups flash every minute – BMZ, GrodnoAzot, Himvolokno, Hephaestus, etc. The giant (11 thousand) BMZ metallurgical plant in Zhodino became the flagship of protests (among other plants). Furniture factories and construction sites, machine-building plants, the Metro and railway workers protest. They are joined by doctors, research teams, and even theater actors. This is a political strike. People demand the dictator’s departure, the recognition of the election results and the release of political prisoners.
Workers in large state-owned factories or factories with mixed (private and public) capital were long considered loyal to the regime: Lukashenko managed to avoid the Russian-Ukrainian disaster of the 1990s by saving their jobs. The turn of the working class against the regime means radical changes in Belarusian politics. In addition, these strikes could hit the country’s economy.
Workers are irritated by the repressive dictatorship – many of them have relatives, friends, neighbors who were arrested and tortured. In 10-million Belarus, the regime has arrested 7,000 people just in few days. Riot police organized torture, they beat people, rape women and men (!), make them lie in their own filth – a combination of sadistic humiliation. There are already several dead. In addition, workers are irritated by humiliations from their superiors. For example, railway employees demanded to stop humiliating during inspections. Russian political scientist B. Kagarlitsky reports that in some cases, various economic requirements are put forward. Economic stagnation has continued in Belarus for 10 years, but today it has been intensified by the pandemic and the global crisis. However, not all factories that are active are fully on strike. Some stop work for several hours, organizing protest rallies and demonstrations.
The peculiarity of Belarus is that it was an advanced part of the scientific and industrial complex of the USSR. This country has kept the plants to the present time. It is interesting that liberal economist Vladimir Milov notes a higher average level of training of Belarusian specialists than in Russia. With such a concentration of the skilled working class-experienced professionals able to do complex smart things, it is not surprising what is happening today.
Unfortunately, a significant part of the Belarusian working class may lose their jobs in the course of future privatizations or factory closures. This will become a reality in the coming years. This will be a tragedy for hundreds of thousands of people and a social catastrophe. Often, when the liberal-democrats came to power in Eastern Europe, they destroyed large-scale industry. This means plunging society into chaos in the style of the 1990s, when half of the factories and research institutes of the USSR were destroyed. It means destroying people morally and physically. They lost their jobs, became beggars, became small traders, sellers or unemployed, turned into alcoholics or went into bandits. A vile situation in the style of Gaidar-Chubais Russia of the 90s may come to Belarus. I went around the country in the 90s and saw what happened then.
However, it is pointless to complain that the political revolution, destroying the dictatorship, will lead to the closure of factories. Unfortunately, these factories will be closed even under Lukashenko’s dictatorial rule. In Belarus a very large part of the industry is in a poor state. The public sector factories are inefficient, unprofitable or low-income. This is reverse side of nationalization policy of Lukashenko. State-owned enterprises are usually unprofitable or low-income, because their bosses live on subsidies from the Treasury and are not interested in rationalizing production. About 60 percent of the country’s factories are unprofitable or low-income. All this existed thanks to the multibillion-dollar support of the Russian Federation. In 2019, Russia decided to curtail subsidies to Belarus within 6 years (this, in particular, is reported by Sergei Guriev, a former leading economist at the European Bank). Lukashenko already went to the IMF with an outstretched hand, but something did not work out there and he was left without loans….
In any case, the awakening of workers ‘ activity today gives labor collectives a chance tomorrow. They could keep privatizers out of factories. This is not a full-fledged solution to the problem, but it stops the process of destroying factories and the population for a while. If this happens, the next step may be to fight for workers ‘ autonomy, for the power of the General assemblies of workers and their subordinate Councils of delegates. Theoretically, this is possible. In practice the working class of Belarus has only just woken up from sleep. The trouble is that they may lose their jobs already tomorrow. The modern working class of Eastern Europe rarely shows such Autonomous initiatives, unlike Hungary in 1956 and Poland in 1980.”
I have kept the original English. There’s some vocabulary which is not exactly appropriate (in particular the word “irritated” in the paragraph that beings “Workers are irritated by the repressive dictatorship…” is, I imagine, an understatement). But it’s all completely understandable and that’s what counts. I haven’t asked the author for alternative vocabulary because at the moment, for various reasons, I don’t want to enter into a dialogue with him even on such technical matters.
There are quite a few things here which are problematic to say the least. For instance, the sentence: “With such a concentration of the skilled working class-experienced professionals able to do complex smart things, it is not surprising what is happening today” implies that such protests require a degree of complex smartness that wouldn’t happen if such proletarians weren’t doing these kinds of jobs, an elitist concept if I’ve understood this implication correctly. Also, he could have said something more nuanced about the closure of factories, say along the lines of doing so in this society is an attack on both workers living standards (through unemployment) and on their potential ability to get together and discuss the miseries of this world and of trying to oppose them. But destroying factories in itself – at least when it’s done by proletarians and in particular those having to work in them – is fine. What’s more, if there were to be a successful revolution many factories would be dismantled and/or significantly transformed. Moreover, instead of looking at the obstacles to the development of a revolution – both ideological and material – he asserts positive models coming from different epochs and different situations (Hungary ’56, Poland 1980) and what has become a fixation for him – “the power of the General assemblies of workers and their subordinate Councils of delegates” without mentioning any precise situations in present-day Belarus that have some germ of such a possibility, which would make such references to the past less abstract. Given that the movement there so far hasn’t moved beyond the bourgeois terrain of elections, shoe-horning in General Assemblies and Councils of Delegates is particularly off-the-point.
This, from anarchists in Belarus, is indicative of a traditional leftist “realistic” populism – ie saying things you don’t necessarily agree with, suppressing your revolutionary desires, in order to appear “realistic” and “entice” people to yourself or your group ; though also involving an attempt to go beyond the standard separation between immediate demands and long-term goals, it doesn’t really overcome this separation:
“Our 5 requirements:
– Resignation of Lukashenko, parliament and all ministers
– Release and amnesty for all political prisoners
– Dissolution of riot police and all security forces responsible for violence on the streets of the country
– Direct democracy – The people should be included as much as possible in making important decisions
– Reinstatement of all those dismissed from work for participating in protests” (see below)
Of course, this seems pedantic, given that a more developed critique wouldn’t fit on such posters, but let’s look at these demands.
1.“Resignation of parliament” etc. This is vaguely realistic, and is what the bourgeois opposition is demanding – not, of course, as something permanent, but in order to have an election that is “free”. Not something anarchists should be getting involved in. A better demand would be “The suicide of Lukashenko, parliament and all ministers” – not of course, realistic, but indicative of a subversive spirit, and not one that the respectable pseudo-opposition would approve of.
2. “Release and amnesty for all political prisoners“. Why just the ones defined as political ? In a sense, all prisoners are political prisoners , and certainly those imprisoned for contravening the rich and powerful’s property laws. Why no banner demanding the destruction of all prisons?
3.“Dissolution of riot police and all security forces responsible for violence on the streets of the country”. A better banner would be “Dissolution of the police, as they are innately responsible for the defending the violence of capitalist expropriation of the poor”, though its length means it would either have had to have been on an advertising billboard-size poster or have only been read by those with a magnifying glass or telescope handy.
4. “Direct democracy – The people should be included as much as possible in making important decisions”. So many dubious things enshrined in this nice-sounding demand. Who are “The people” ? Does this include ruling class people? Cops? What does “should be included as much as possible” mean ? Who defines what is “as much as possible”? What are “important decisons” ? The whole of the commodity economy – which has been imposed by the bourgeoisie bit by bloody bit throughout the world over the last 200 years or more – was and continues to be the most important decison that the vast majority never were included in making but which has so colonised our lives that for people to directly and democratically oppose it would not involve any formal direct democracy outside of the areas where the forces of commodification have been forced to retreat. And even then there’s no attempt to consider what the form and content of the “direct democracy” being proposed here would be. “Democracy”, direct or indirect, is a loaded and highly questionable term and can lead to individuals submitting to the majority even if the majority believe the world is flat or whatever.
5. “Reinstatement of all those dismissed from work for participating in protests”. About the only one that is both realistic (should Lukashenko feel forced to leave after holding “genuine” bourgeois elections) and necessary , given that work means survival or at least a better level of survival than no work . Without Lukashenko being forced out, the practical question of struggling to realise such a demand would have to involve a considerable movement of solidarity, and almost certainly work-place occupations. A movement capable of realising such a U-turn by the state would be capable of going a lot further and so beginning to put the whole notion of the state and capital into question.
US: 6th anniversary of Mike Brown’s murder by the filth – clashes in Ferguson, Missouri and Phoenix Arizona See also this…Portland, Oregon: protesters set police building on fire
Google translate of some of this:
“According to analyst Maha Yehya, four of the five key pillars that have long supported Lebanon have collapsed in recent months.
First, the power sharing between the different Lebanese factions and communities no longer works. Second, the banking crisis and that of the tertiary sector mark the collapse of the Lebanese merchant republic. This economic crisis destroys the third pillar of the country, namely the middle class which is impoverished and no longer finds a future in Lebanon.
Human Rights Watch: 60 people arrested in Lebanon for speaking out on social media.
A fourth pillar, that of freedoms, is also in the process of crumbling. Since October 17, at least 60 people have been arrested for posting information on social media.
Finally, the fifth pillar – the army and internal security forces – still standing, is now feeling the effects of the crisis and is starting to crack.
The perception of the collapse of these pillars by the Lebanese population is obviously at the origin of its mobilization on October 17 and the explosion of nitrate in the port of Beirut.
At the start there is the cargo of the “Rhosus”, a Moldovan-flagged vessel belonging to a Russian entrepreneur carrying 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate bound for Mozambique which docks in November 2013 in Beirut.
For reasons that are not fully clarified, the company goes bankrupt, the cargo is seized and deposited in hangar 12 of the port of Beirut in August 2014.
Since that date, the port authorities, customs authorities, government authorities have been aware, but nothing has been done to secure the port. However, a stockpile of fireworks was adjacent to this highly explosive material when the fire broke out, presumably caused by the welding of a hangar door.
The negligence and carelessness of the state coupled with a neoliberal economy that manages maritime capital aimed at protecting companies at all costs are at the origin of the double explosion in Beirut.
Seven years of doing nothing, the storage of a veritable powder keg in the heart of the capital and, since the explosion, the refusal to assume any responsibility whatsoever, this is the symbol of the collapse of Lebanese institutions.
“The revolution is born from the bowels of sadness” wrote the Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani.
Plunged into a deep economic crisis, the Lebanese are devastated by this disaster. Their testimonies relayed by the media, reflect the astonishment, the sadness, the despair, but especially the rage against their government responsible for this cataclysm.
In the aftermath of the disaster, the images of devastated streets and victims loop on national channels recalling the dark days of the civil war. But very quickly a tremendous outpouring of solidarity is created around the inhabitants affected by the explosion and the Lebanese from all corners of the country flocking to help clear the streets.
At the same time, the calls to protest emerge. The demonstration on Saturday August 8 is one of anger. In downtown Beirut, gallows are being erected and all political leaders from all parties are called out.
On Saturday night, demonstrators stormed the foreign ministry, but were evicted by the army. The following slogans could be read on the banners displayed on the building: “Beirut, capital of anger” and “Beirut an unarmed city”.
The government, but also the Shiite party of Hezbollah is accused of being behind this explosion by part of the opposition. Even though Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s general secretary, denies any involvement in the explosion, he is nonetheless scolded by the raging mob who demand the disarmament of the Party of God and the departure of the ruling warlords.
The government gave in, but the Lebanese are not fooled by the game of politicians who would negotiate a government in their favor behind the scenes. In the aftermath of Diab’s resignation, the leader of parliament Nabih Berri and the former foreign minister and Michel Aoun’s nephew Gibran Bassil are calling for the formation of a government of national unity. These two politicians have lost the confidence of the people and their proposal for a “unifying” government comes late and above all does not convince.
More than ever, the Lebanese are determined to overthrow the regime, but will they be able to get rid of the warlords who have been practicing the capture of power and its sharing for more than 30 years?
The road is long and arduous, but the anger, immense, is equal to the crime committed against the country.”
“On Saturday, the land invaders [sic] pelted soldiers, police and Cape Town law enforcement officers with missiles, leaving roads strewn with debris. A vehicle was set alight. The security officers responded with stun grenades and rubber bullets.”
More here “This shows you ANC will never correct injustice of the past. black man you are on your own “…”The land is ours we are ready to fight for it, Black Lives Matter“…”The real land invaders live a lavish life with stolen wealth in camps bay, stellenbosch and those so called affluent areas”…“South AFRICANS occupy an unoccupied land!”…”Why our black people have to be treated like this in so call New South Africa?As a black people we need to understand that government is our enemy,especial cops.People must given a justice not bullets!”
See also this for South African history and texts.
Iran: google translate of German article giving publicity to workers who’ve been on strike for 55 days:
“The strikes and protests in Iran need our support – and spread (Introduction and translation by Nima Sabouri)
For years there have been protests and strikes by workers in various forms and
Great in Iran for everyday life. The living conditions of the working class are
increasingly precarious and unbearable. Wages are not paid, wage payments often stay away for many months, during which the families are mostly increasing. Trying to keep debt afloat, even though wages are so low that it only amounts to a quarter to a third of the state-set poverty line.
The working conditions are also completely insecure, a large number of workers are
Employed through temporary employment agencies and mostly forced to give blank contracts sign so that they can be canceled at any time.
The protests are related to the direct consequences of the worsening economic crisis,
which turns out to be an ever-deepening class division, poverty and ever-increasing
Misery shows. The causes are many, but the historical combination of neoliberal
Politics, dictatorship and corruption play a major role.
The sanctions resulting from the Iranian state’s nuclear program and its conflicts
with the USA in the context of imperialist power politics in the Middle East,
have escalated the economic difficulties. Still, they are not causes of this crisis, as the state claims.
The strikes have so far only taken place sporadically and separately. This enabled their demands from the factory owners to be ignored. In addition, the strikes crushed by various forms of repression, both politically and legally.
A number of long sentences followed.
Because of this, workers’ demands have increased despite the large number of strikes
and protests (on average there were 3 strikes per day over the past 4 years) hardly any
Gaining weight on the political level. In addition, everyone is stateless organizations of workers are banned and are dealt with tough imprisonment punished.
Now there is a new wave of labor disputes that is getting bigger and bigger. They were inspired by the Haft-Tapeh workers from Khouzestan Province after this
spent more than 50 days with their families in the streets of Shoush City protested. The workers of Haft-Tapeh were the ones with their long militant strikes and protests two years ago the slogan “Bread, work, freedom – administration popularized by councils “across the country. In contrast to the previous strikes, the current strikes are now more united and For the first time, the more militant areas of the striking workers and General strike called by some left social media. In addition, there are many
of the strikers worked in the oil industry (oil refinery), which is a very important one for the state Sector is. Since it is a core industry of the Iranian economy, this increases
the power of the workers. At the same time, therefore, the strikes are from the point of view of the state to prevent all means. Despite all hope, it can be assumed that it will
violent and massive repression will come.
Therefore, more than ever, we should strengthen the voices of the striking workers and show active and effective solidarity with their struggle. The striking workers
von Haft-Tapeh also called for it on their 52nd day of strike. Today (August 8, 2020) is the 55th day of the strike. See this appeal calling for solidarity with the strikers from Haft Tapeh. See also this.
Lebanon, Beirut: protesters clash with cops as they try to storm Economy Ministry following weeks of power outages
This just hours before what has now become another example of a standard capital-induced “accident”-cum-mass-murder waiting to happen.
“a very bizarre form of protest has emerged, where a woman was seen defecating on a police vehicle”
Re. the situation in the US: “Prelude to a Hot American Summer” is a mostly excellent appraisal of the movement there. One dubious aspect worth critiquing: “When you burn down a (non-carceral) piece of infrastructure, you foreclose its reappropriation for prosocial uses.” So workers shouldn’t burn down their factories (like in Bangladesh, 2005)? People shouldn’t smash up cars because they could be used to distribute stuff we all need? Shouldn’t they burn town halls, etc? Even carceral pieces of infrastructure could be reappropriated for prosocial uses – eg for keeping politicians, cops and screws under surveillance, just as buildings used by politicians to spout lies and ideology can, as William Morris suggested, be used for storing manure. But when the dispossessed get angry they attack the infrastructure of this society, which is all they can do until the moment where there’s a mass expropriation of the expropriators. And comments like this, from an assistant professor of criminal justice and a professor of sociology, miss the point, these blatantly obvious points.
Chile: Mapuche anger in 4 towns (videos and links)…over 1000 arrested during other anti-government riots etc. in 6 cities
Switzerland, Vaud: 20 arrested as minors throw fireworks during clashes that have been going on and off over the previous week
Germany, Berlin: clashes as tens of thousands demonstrate against Covid-related restrictions…clashes over gentrification…Video
“During attempts to break up the gathering, which organisers called End of the Pandemic – Day of Freedom, some protesters turned violent. Police said 133 demonstrators were arrested and 45 officers were injured, with some needing to be hospitalised. Several journalists reported being verbally or physically attacked…The demonstrators spanned a wide range of interest groups, from left to rightwing extremists”