Will Wave Of Action Become Nightmare For The 1%?

 

#RESIST! #ACTIVISM #OCCUPY #WORLDWIDE #WAVEOFACTION #Cookednews

 

Note: We don’t view te #WaveOfAction as a potential last gasp of Occupy.  It is one more series of protests and resistance efforts that will continue no matter how large the #WaveOfAction protests are.  It is up to the people how large the protests are, how creative and how effective.  This is part of the process of building a mass movement — a movement that is much more than the occupy encampments were. 

What will prove to be either the last gasp of the Occupy Movement, or its Renaissance as a social powerhouse, will lie in the success and its embrace of a highly-publicized #WaveOfAction which launches a major 90-day program of protest and resistance on April 4.

The Wave begins, symbolically, on the date of the assassination of Martin Luther King and ends, symbolically, on July the 4th.  It will run from the date of the death of a dream that will not die to the date of the birth of a vision which has yet to be fulfilled.

So, what is the purpose of this ambitious campaign, who is behind it, and what can we expect of it – and of ourselves?  The purpose is stated on its website and is quite clear.

We are a Movement of Movements

“The Worldwide #WaveOfAction begins April 4th and runs through July 4th.

During this three-month cycle, people throughout the world will be protesting corruption, rallying around solutions and taking part in alternative systems. The new paradigm will be on full display.

Studies have proven that it only takes 3.5% of the population taking nonviolent action to create meaningful and positive change. The #WaveOfAction gives all of us who want change a powerful opportunity to #EvolveSociety.

Change-makers all over the world will be engaged at the same time in an unprecedented wave of transformation.”

OK, that sounds acceptable (to most of the 99%, and certainly not the 1%).  Now, who is behind this?

I confess that I can’t say that I have figured that out.  It appears to be nobody.  Or, perhaps everybody.  Or, a coterie of patriots/anarchists/misfits who – such as when Zuccotti Park came to be occupied – are taking it upon themselves to rekindle that Occupy fire.

Word has it that #OWS #Anon and its allies put out a call to action for a World Wide Wave of creative community coordination and collaboration this winter.  There were two organizing conference calls prior to April 4.  One on March 25, and the other on April 2.  (David Degrawis one of the facilitators)

For an organizing call, it attracted verifiable luminaries:  Barbara Max HubbardMarianne WilliamsonRussell BrandKevin ZeesePatricia EllsbergDylan RattiganJohn Perry Barlow, and Lee Camp.  If “you are known by the company you keep,” #WaveOfAction is keeping good company.

Whoever started it, it can be said that occupiers around the world are standing with it, and many called in to declare that support and to announce events they were planning locally.

But, they are coming up against a very familiar foe – themselves.

The Naysayers…and worse

Anyone familiar with Occupy knows that it is rife with the usual suspects:  gripers, snipers and full-blown trolls whose only purpose seems to be that of making sure that “solidarity” will never be had.  “How dare (someone/something) do/be (provide the offense).”  Everything is suspect, and anyone taking a lead roll is to be suspected.

Whether or not this will affect the success of #WaveOfAction will not be known for some time, but the offenders are being put on notice.  Activist and creater of Occu-Evolve,Sumumba Sobukwe, had this to say:

“The Irony of those complaining about this ‘Wave of Action’ is that it will only be a failure if they continue to find fault with EVERYTHING that ‘reeks’ of coordination that might make people move beyond facebook, twitter and other social media ‘activism’ as well as their own silos of causes and interests to actually go out and organize with others in the streets.”

He continues, “When did an ‘occupy’ action ever draw more than a few hundred people that didn’t have unions, grassroots or other groups involved? Who are we fooling here? Occupy has ALWAYS been made up of different groups and individuals, and that’s where the concept of the ’99%’ came closest to being real or at least unifying in theory.”

So, in addition to proving Pogo’s theorem, “We have met the enemy, and they are us,” what other odds militate against the campaign having any major effect?  Let me count the ways:

1. A largely indifferent press.  Activists deride the “MainStream Media” for not paying attention to even the largest of its protests and greatest of its triumphs.  Occupy is hardly alone.  Last year’s March Against Monsanto which attracted a half-million marchers or more worldwide did not find its way into print or broadcast in any meaningful way. (P.S.  Occupy folk helped make that march happen, as well).

  1. A police force dedicated to crushing public dissent.  Naaaah, that can’t be happening here in America, right?  That’s what you find in Russia, or Egypt, or China.  Thank God that “to serve and protect” applies to citizens in the street and peaceful protestors, yes?  Here’s a retired cop who has a word or two on that, Captain Ray Harris. Oh, and not to forget Cecily McMillan’s experience with the Boys in Blue which finds her at risk of jail time for resisting their abuse.
  2. Elected officials.  One would think that people who are elected to represent us willactually represent us, and that they will be at the front of any parade or protest demanding justice and protecting civil liberties.  Think again.  If you ain’t got the money (and few occupiers/activists do), they ain’t got the time. And, if their party can’t co-opt your movement for their betterment, they’ll be the first to applaud authorities who arrest you. Hell, they will demand that force be used.
  3. The 1%.  You can be certain that the #WaveOfAction will be countered by a #FloodOfMoney spent to discredit its work and mission.  Did I mention Fox?  CNN?  Stay tuned and see how money talks.

So, I leave it to you, the reader.  Will this be a “Wave,” or a “Wave Goodbye” on the part of Occupy and its brother and sister causes?  Will you listen to the detractors within and the enemies without and surrender to the impossible forces against you?

Or, will you take comfort in your own, amazing numbers and brilliance and continue to fight the good fight as so many have before you in America’s history. You are the dream that Martin referred to, and the nightmare that the 1% are waking up to.

When you realize that, the others in the 3.5% of the population will as well.  Won’t that be exciting.

     

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The prisoners of conscience of Sochi2014

Russian activist Yevgeny Vitishko

The re-arrest today of yet another environmental activist in Russia’s Krasnodar region where the Sochi Winter Olympic Games will open on 7 February, as well as his brief detention along with five colleagues last night, are more evidence of growing efforts to clamp down on civil society ahead of the Games, Amnesty International said.

 Igor Kharchenko of the Russian NGO Environmental Watch for North Caucasus (Ecologicheskaya Vakhta po Severnomu Kavkazu) is currently being held by police in Krasnodar, the regional capital, where they had arrived ahead of the Olympic torch relay. He was arrested today under the pretext that his car had been ‘involved in a crime’, shortly after three masked men had smashed in the front and back windows of the vehicle.

‘Just days away from the official opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Russian authorities are using every trick in the book to muzzle freedom of expression and silence dissenting voices,’ said Sergei Nikitin, Director of Amnesty International’s Moscow Office.

Kharchenko is one of six activists from Environmental Watch who were also detained last night for several hours in Krasnodar before being released. They felt compelled to scrap plans for a Sochi launch of their report exposing environmental damage caused by the construction ahead of the Games.

Their detention came the same day that their fellow environmentalist Yevgeny Vitishko was arrested in the Krasnodar Region city of Tuapse and sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention, purportedly for swearing in public.

‘This spate of harassment of civil society activists bodes ill for the coming weeks, and raises fears that the Sochi Games will be a human rights-free zone. Even more troubling is what will happen to Russian activists after the Olympic medals are handed out and the international attention fades,’ said Sergei Nikitin.

‘Silencing civil society does nothing to increase security around the Sochi Games and instead broadcasts to the world how the Russian authorities are failing spectacularly to uphold and protect international human rights standards.

As the start of the Sochi Winter Olympics comes closer, harassment against civil society activists has intensified, Amnesty International said today after the arrest of an environmentalist for allegedly swearing in public.

Yevgeny Vitishko was arrested today in Tuapse, part of the Sochi area where the Games will take place. He has been reportedly charged with ‘petty hooliganism‘, allegedly for swearing previously at a bus stop. At a court hearing today he was sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention.

‘Vitishko’s name has now become synonymous with harassment of civil society activists in the run-up to Sochi Games. Vitishko and his friends have been trying to expose environmental violations during the preparation of the Sochi Olympics. For this they are being punished. By trying to lock him up as a ‘petty hooligan’ the authorities are trying to gag him,’ said Denis Krivosheev, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Programme Director.

‘The concern is what will happen to civil society after the closure of the Olympics after the international focus moves away.’

Yevgeny Vitishko and his fellow activists have been actively involved in protests regarding the deforestation and illegal construction and fencing in areas of protected forest around Sochi.

In 2012, he received a suspended sentence in connection with an environmental protest. Last December, a court in Tuapse ruled that he should serve three years in prison for violating a curfew associated with the suspended sentence. His appeal hearing was reportedly scheduled for 22 February 2014, but now all information regarding it has been conspicuously removed from the court’s website.

Amnesty International has already raised concern about his unfair trial which resulted in a court decision to send him to prison colony for three years. His arrest comes as he is awaiting his appeal hearing.

Vitishko’s supporters fear that he will be held in custody until the day of his appeal under administrative charges, and then be sent to a prison colony.

Rights groups have accused Russian officials of harassing activists and journalists in the Sochi area, detaining them on trumped-up charges.

The Olympics are projected to cost $51 billion, or more than every other Winter Olympics combined. The high price tag is being blamed on Sochi being extremely ill-suited to host an Olympics and rampant corruption.

On Wednesday, Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina were set to make their first public appearance in the United States after being released from a Russian prison (23dec.). They were scheduled to speak at a Brooklyn concert organized by the human rights advocacy group and featuring stars such as Madonna.

Alekhina said she wants Americans to look beyond the grandeur of the projects and buildings of the games.

‘They are foreign objects in Russia,’ she said. ‘The only thing that connects Russia to these objects is taxpayers’ money, which has been stolen and has been used to build these Olympic objects.’

Alekhina called on President Barack Obama to increase pressure on Russia over alleged human rights abuses, and said she and Tolokonnikova are handing over a petition to Putin to help ‘end this bullshit.’

‘Aren’t you sick of it all, Putin?’ Tolokonnikova asked.

International response to prior calls to boycott the games has garnered some largely symbolic gestures. Obama included three openly gay athletes in the official U.S. delegation to the Sochi Winter Olympics in a rebuke of Putin’s anti-gay laws. And Norwegian Health Minister Bent Høie said he is taking his male spouse to the opening ceremony. But twelve peaceful protesters remain incarcerated after police arrested them at the anti-Putin demonstrations in Moscow two years ago, the pair from Pussy Riot said.

Now that the band is an icon for the struggle against human rights abuses in Putin’s Russia, the two women said it will also act for the rights of prisoners in the United States.

Tolokonnikova and Alekhina said they plan to visit prisons and meet with nonprofit organizations to learn about the issue of solitary confinement in the U.S. ‘We’re very interested in the fact of how NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) in the U.S. work and collaborate with penitentiary institutions,’ Alekhina said. ‘One of our main goals is to exchange experience.’

‘Pussy Riot inspired a new generation of activists around the world, Samir Goswami, managing director of the Amnesty International USA program Individuals and Communities at Risk said, adding that their supporters followed in the footsteps of those who helped Amnesty International obtain the release of some 44,000 prisoners since its international inception in 1961.

‘Pussy Riot were street performers,’ he said. At the subway, on the streets, they would call on people to take their rights seriously. ‘There are street performers in the U.S. whom we pass every day, but we don’t realize that they can help elevate human rights to the global conversation.’

‘They found a lot of support from folks in the U.S., especially from Russia’s diaspora community in Brooklyn, who called passionately for their release,’ Goswami said. ‘But they’re also learning about the prison conditions in the U.S. and plan on doing some research here.’

Kremlin Suspends Questioned Reform of Wildlife Reserves. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to amend recent environmental legislation that critics said could allow for real estate development in Russia’s protected territories. A law passed in December allows for the downgrading of any of the 102 Russian wildlife reserves to natural parks, where construction is permitted under certain conditions.

The law, which passed quickly through parliament, caused outcry from eco-activists, who said it could be exploited to build commercial real estate in wildlife reserves.

Krasnodar is a city located in the Southern Russia based on the Kuban River situated 80 kilometers away to the North East of the Black sea port. The prevailing political stability and the numerous administrative efforts taken by the regional administration has made the Krasnodar region one of the most favorable investment destinations in Russia.

More than 60 countries have investment cooperation in this region and 773 companies having foreign capital are already part of the regions economy. Majority of the FDI coming in this region is mainly concentrated on food industries, woodworking and fuel.

To finance venues and apartments in the Caucasus Mountains and along Sochi’s coast, state-owned Vnesheconombank, known as VEB, lent $7.4 billion to a who’s who of Russia’s elite. Among the biggest loan recipients are companies controlled byVladimir Potanin, chief executive of OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest nickel producer. Joining him are Oleg Deripaska, chief executive of United Co. Rusal, the No. 1 aluminum company; Alexey Miller, chief of state-controlled gas provider OAO Gazprom; and German Gref, chief of state-controlled OAO Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank.


http://www.amnesty.org/

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