This has been being shared back and forth on facebook, as status updates for a few days now. I have just been made aware of the source; Credit to Bradford Uncut. Of course 'cost' here is referring to the financial realm and does not acknowledge extra-economic costs which are considerable. It does offer remarkable perspective and useful soundbites for anti-capitalists and campaigners for social justice, whatever your flavour.
Well every now and then a British politician says something about politics that I appreciate. I'm not accustomed to 'talking up' many of our MP's but credit where credit is due; perhaps if there were more like John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas it would be easier to engage to a greater extent with politics as we know it, nonetheless after the baron wasteland of any sensible debate from any parliamentarians; John McDonnell's speech here is a breath of fresh of air, it really is:
Breaking News: The IPCC has confirmed that Mark Duggan did not fire at police. They confirm that a non-police issue handgun was found at the scene and in addition that Mark Duggan was not shot in the face or the head, rather in the chest. Still many questions remain. I have not yet heard any clarification regards the bullet in the police officers radio. The IPCC have confirmed that the bullet in the radio was 'police issue', but how? I am personally getting annoyed by the BBC coverage constantly showing the picture of Mark Duggan with his fingers in a gun shape, hardly neutral.
Chris Hedges: "Civil disobedience is the only weapon we have left to save not only the ecosystem that sustains life but the nation itself. Corporate forces, unregulated, unfettered corporate forces exploit everything; human beings, the natural world, until exhaustion or collapse. Karl Marx was right, unfettered, unregulated capitalism is a revolutionary force........."
Continued in the video below.
Anonymous hacks Syrian ministry of defense website 'redecorates' and adds a message for the Syrian people
The message reads:
To the Syrian people: The world stands with you against the brutal regime of Bashar Al Assad. Know that time and history are on your side - tyrants use violence because they have nothing else, and the more violent they are, the more fragile they become. We salute your determination to be non-violent in the face of the regime's brutality, and admire your willingness to pursue justice, not mere revenge. All tyrants will fall and thanks to your bravery Bashar Al-Assad is next.
To the Syrian military: You are responsible for protecting the Syrian people, and anyone who orders you to kill women, children and the elderly deserves to be tried for treason. No outside enemy could do as much damage to Syria as Bashar Al Assad has done. Defend your country - rise up against the regime! - Anonymous
Lib democrats infamous pre-electoral porky 'No more broken promises' has been regularly and appropriately mocked since the Con-Dem coalition came to power. However it would appear grains of truth can be found in Nick Clegg's pre-election work-up. Take this video for example when Nick Clegg expresses his view that if conservatives were to win then riots would be a serious risk. We are now on night three of the most notable scenes of civic unrest for a decade and it's spreading around London and is now crossing the country; flaring up in Birmingham.
The details surrounding the Tottenham riots are still unfolding. What we do know is that the mainstream coverage is sidelining key events. Watching much of the TV coverage on the 24 hour news channels you would almost be fooled in to thinking that aside from being the reason for a peaceful gathering, the fact that a resident, Mark Duggan was shot twice in the face by police officers on thursday night was somewhat incidental. Do people want to know more about why he was shot? Yes they do and they have every right to ask or at least be appropriately pacified as investigations continue. On saturday this is what people came to ask. As violence erupted this is the chant that reportedly rang through the streets " We want answers". It is not unreasonable to propose that communication between police and the community in the interim may have been lacking; A historically pertinent rupture reflected back from police community relations from the Broadwater riots of 1985.
Reports suggest that violence began when a 16 year old girl approached police to ask questions. The footage apparantly captures these moments. From what I can see it is not possible to see exactly what is going on, a protester flies in, boot first perhaps defending the girl? whilst onlookers scream out 'it's a girl, it's a fucking girl'
The fact that Tottenham has the highest unemployment figures in London and basic services are diminishing apace, leaving many people feeling desperate, helpless and frustrated; facing austerity measures that only exist because of the massive and continuing shift of money from the public to the financial elite, seems to have little or no part in mainstream media analysis. The overriding theme portrayed is that rioters and looters are just bad, which does little to resolve, understand or prevent the events of last night from recurring. Were Smiley Culture and Ian Tomlinson on the minds of the protesters? (Probably) Are people sic of the media-political complex that seemingly loses integrity with each passing month? (Yes) Did 100s of people gather because they have a vendetta against ALDI supermarkets Tottenham branch and think it should burn? (No) People can take so much and we are reaching the apex of that tolerance threshold, in short and in context of further market instability, prospect of a double dip recession, further food and fuel price hikes, pension cuts, corporate tax evasion, unemployment and redundancies, burgeoning bankers bonuses, and so on we can expect more scenes like this in the months to come, we must ensure we do not become de-sensitized, it does not have to be like this.
ps. The most volatile scenes of civic unrest in the UK for c.10 years, is it time we had a statement from our primeminister ? or deputy primeminister? I make it 22:10 GMT Sunday night.
pps. The allegation that a 16 year old girl was attacked with battons appears here
48 hour General strike and protests as the people of Greece mobilise against IMF austerity measures i.e. the tried and tested IMF recipe: Massive privatisation of public utilities, tax increases and slashing public services. Allow the markets to run everything for the benefit of the corporate elite while the people suffer.
Live video stream below:
Anonymous were integral to the success of the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions. They have no leader, they don't know who each other are, the same people may or may not be involved from one action to the next, They will never initiate any movement but if voices of the people are loud enough and/or freedoms are significantly compromised they will consider intervention.. This video has just appeared on you tube. I cannot confirm it's authenticity.
"It has come to our attention that in Europe and specifically in Spain, Greece, France and Italy, there have been some small uprisings starting. Anonymous would like to remind you that is not an evil force. Anonymous is a force with great power, The power of the people..We are Anonymous, We do not forget, We do not forgive, Expect us - Always
THE LEFT AT THE ABYSS OF DEMOCRACY Between 11-March 2004 and 15-May 2011
My Spanish Comrades have been very happy with the response from the ecosocialist readership. As soon as they finish writing articles they will be published here so keep checking in for exclusive news and views.
Marcelo Expósito, Tomás Herrero and Emmanuel Rodríguez
(Members of Universidad Nómada www.universidadnomada.net)
On March 11, 2004 ten simultaneous explosions blew up four trains in Madrid, killing almost 200 people, injuring nearly 2000 and spreading terror in the city. In the hours that followed, the Partido Popular government, led by president José María Aznar launched an exercise in mass confusion in order to politically capitalise on the pain. Meanwhile, mobile phones started to receive text messages: let’s meet in the street. Crowds of people took over public spaces in decentralized and spontaneous demonstrations, demanding to know the truth. This was the May 13, the day before the elections, a day when political campaigning was not allowed. The following day, the majority of votes went to the PSOE candidate José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, giving him an unexpected victory. To put it another way, it was a social movement that put Zapatero in power. The newly elected president publicly promised: “I won’t let you down”. Let’s dwell on that image for a moment.
Sunday May 15, 2011. A march that has been organised on web-based social networks grows beyond all expectations: tens of thousands of people gather in sixty different Spanish cities under the common slogan “Real Democracy, Now!” behind which a whole constellation of statements are also brought into play “We are not commodities in the hands of bankers and politicians”, “They don’t represent us”. The marches generate such a sense of euphoria that hundreds of people occupy the main squares in their towns and cities, starting with the most emblematic one, the Puerta del Sol in Madrid. With just a few hours to go before the municipal and regional elections in Madrid, in the midst of a lamentable electoral campaign, the so-called Movimiento 15-M has restored the meaning of the word “politics”. Let’s say this clearly, everything seems to indicate that president Zapatero will leave the Spanish government surrounded by a social movement that was triggered by a growing sense of outrage at the way he dealt with the economic crisis and has now turned into a demand that democracy is re-established on a different basis.
We propose a simple operation of montage: let’s put these two images together, these two social movements divorced from any political parties and spontaneously generated that signal the entry and exit points of a president on whom many progressive hopes were placed. What has happened in between these two images? What sense can be produced by contrasting them? How has that trust in the vote as a tool for change been replaced by the current rabid dissatisfaction?
The explanation lies in the fact that president Zapatero has ruined a historical opportunity: the conditions under which he was elected opened the possibility of a renewed political exercise that would take into account the potency of an organised society. However, he insisted in keeping to a civic republicanism whose progressivism could only go as far as understanding citizens as individual voters endowed with rights from above. This meant he misunderstood the complexity of a society where traditional systems of political representation and delegation of popular sovereignty through the vote have reached an irreversible crisis. Had he understood that current tension between social powers and counter-powers was the condition of possibility of his victory, perhaps he would have tackled the economic crisis in a substantially different way. Perhaps he would not have negociated with economic and supra-institutional powers such a set of undesirable measures––cuts designed to foreclose any hope in our future—he would not have waited until the last minute to look back at his voters, he would not have needed to trump everything on the fear of the right. Those who Zapatero failed to govern, social counterpowers, the potency for democratic mobilisation that is always latent in society, have regained their shape to say, this is enough!
Between the two images (2004-2011) there are seven years in which the street has been shaken up by a right that has become aware of the collapse of democratic representation and exploits it shamelessly, taking like a fish to water to corruptions and lies, turning the population against the same political institutions in which the right is thriving in, in order to benefit the most powerful and richest sectors of society, manipulating social dissatisfaction, promoting a civil war among those in the middle and those who are weaker than them. The left, has taken on board concepts like cuts, reforms or austerity in order to return to economic “normality”. But we have already seen that this crisis is, above all, a crisis of politics as we know it.
A crisis for which the parliamentary left bears an inexcusable responsibility, as it has been unable to reconceive effective mechanisms of the redistribution of income or new social rights. The left-centre governments of Catalunya, Galicia or the Balearic Islands as well as those of some major cities, have not attempted to think through other forms of democracy, other relations to the State or to the social body, they have not implemented any policies that depart from those written in the handbooks of territorial administration and management. All this despite the fact that their own window of opportunity for institutional management was opened thanks to the new cycles of movements and citizens’ campaigns that preceded the 13-M: the mobilisations against neoliberal globalisation and against the war, the Nunca Mais movement, and the local battles against the plundering of land and water.
It is in this context that the 15-M is validated: the time for delegating trust and accepting promises is over. Only a concrete wager, one that invents another ethics, another politics beyond nostalgia and resignation can push the left forward into its next cycle. New rights that take on board the productive capacities and wealth-generating potentials of urban interactions should be in its future programme. The task of reinventing democratic politics demands the support of new social struggles and conquests. Struggles by the poor and by new citizens. Struggles where poverty is constructed as a potency instead of scarcity. The open themes of urban mobilisations do not need to be fictionalised: they are already stated in the agenda of the movements and the citizens’ demands. The Manifesto of the 15-M puts it quite clearly “The priorities of any advanced society have to be equality, progress, solidarity, free access to culture, environmental sustainability, development, and the welfare and happiness of the people”.
A Charter of New Rights could be a way of reprogramming our welfare, a political and economical project that appeals to any party that declares itself a left-wing one. And yet, the formula for left-wing parties would never be to “represent” the people. Citizenship is today constituted as a tendency towards self-representation. Migrants, women, people affected by the mortgage crisis, by environmental destruction or by the degradation of public services, communities formed around singular lifestyles, social networks and a large etcetera of emerging clusters have found a way of speaking for themselves, without the mediation of outmoded institutional or representative apparatuses. It is now time for the institutional left to rehearse new proposals that accept the limits of its own ability to represent and to cooperate with social movements and new forms of aggregation emerging in new urban textures. They need to listen to the need for housing, the right to health and care, the recognition of the commons, the right to education and free movement. These are powerful demands that resonate like the subterranean clamour of new times to come, that are echoed in the daily practice of new ways of inhabiting the city. They are practical programmes and proposals put forward by a real movement that invalidates and leaves behind the current state of affairs, demanding that local governments stop submitting to economical and extra-democratic powers and devote themselves to serving the urgent needs that new social movements have already pointed to.