The policing of COP15 has been totalitarian and democratic rights routinely suspended: no one is considered innocent until proven guilty, but simply arrested “preventatively”. Close to two thousand – 968 in one swoop – were arrested without committing any offence and been left to sit for hours in a freezing cold street, in their own piss and shit, with plastic strips around their bleeding wrists. Some, including delegates, have been severely beaten.
There have been riots in the animal cage prisons (illegal according to Amnesty) and some spokespeople have been arrested and will be charged with – so far all taking place behind closed doors! – the intentions to be violent against the police and for the intentions to incite riots. In part based on phone tapping of interviews with journalists and alleged illegal tapping of Greenpeace. This is what democracy looks like! The police has since admitted that they “only performed two illegal acts of surveillance of phones, nothing more” and Johan Martini Reimann, Director of Copenhagen Police, in order to calm the waters with an unwitting irony, ensures the public that “they have not operated in a manner differently from normal“. Nice to know that the Danish Police routine breaks the law – and as usual revealing to hear what total disregard for the rule of law that this institution has!
In other words, the rule of law no longer rules (did it ever?) the little rotten Duck Pond. There has been world wide reporting of the fascistic policing measures (see for instance: “Copenhagen: the sound of silence: Denmark’s reputation is being destroyed by police action outside the summit and the gagging of NGOs and poor nations inside“), which, of course, does not really surprise those familiar with the Danish police force and political system. Chavez has interestingly stated that Denmark is more repressive than Venezuela.
In connection with a funny, rather innocent, yet cheeky and coordinated Greenpeace action last night in front of and inside the Danish Parliament – Christiansborg – the Chief Inspector of Copenhagen Police, Per Larsen (currently accused of covering up a terrorist act for political gain) , now severely threaten people. First he states that such an action is “as stupid as anything can be. When you do that kind of thing, you are going to pay for it. And that bill is being prepared now“:
»Det er så dumt, som noget kan være. Når man laver den slags, så kommer man til at betale for det. Og den regning er ved at blive udstedt nu«, siger chefpolitiinspektør Per Larsen fra Københavns Politi.
That’s not enough for Per Larsen, however, who also threatens to shoot activists. He says that “the risk is present if anyone feels threatened. When you do such a thing you expose yourself to risks”:
»Den risiko er også til stede, hvis nogen havde følt sig truet. Når man gør den slags, så udgør man da en risiko for sig selv«, siger Per Larsen.
As we have seen throughout COP15 the Danish police do whatever they can, whatever the want, with whatever means necessary to repress protests and to intimidate and scare people from participating in saving the world from corrupt politicians and greeedy corporate pigs, but this is the first time that they directly threaten to shoot people. (Of course they have infamously shot at protesters in Copenhagen before – in 1993 when 113 rounds were fired at an anti-EU demonstration. Denmark just is like that!)
Obviously poor little Per Larsen is upset that the Greenpeace activists took the piss out of him and his imbecile force and now he wants revenge and speaks like a little boy who has had his toy taken away.
While activists climbed lamp posts etc. in front of the parliament building, three others, dressed in appropriate galla fashion entered the fine dinner where the Danish Queen were receiving the “leaders” of states for some pompous food and drink. The exact same style of action was carried out a week earlier in Brussels. EDIT: The four Greenpeace activists have still not been released, causing the Spanish state to “help” one of them, namely the Spanish head of Greenpeace, Juan Lopéz de Uralde.
All bets are off now, all targets – by any means necessary – are legitimate, it seems.
Today the world’s media carry the story of the Peruvian Congress having suspended the destructive decrees that caused a non-violent, yet forceful uprising by indigenous peoples organising to defend the Amazon from the oil and gas industry. It is not a victory – merely one less defeat! The forest continues to be destroyed. Drilling, pumping, spilling roads building and Christian conquest of hearts, souls and minds through concerted violence, repression, manipulation, false promises (“Jesus will buy you a fridge and a car”) and disrespect for the inhabitants of what was once the world’s largest (rain) forest, but which is now better described as a region threatened by destruction, deforestation, desertification, in brief, death. However, at least, for now the attempt to accelerate further the destruction has been pushed back, but not stopped. The struggle continues…..
Congress temporarily suspended two decrees issued by President Alan García that had helped set off recent protests by indigenous groups fearful of large oil and logging investments in the Peruvian Amazon. The decrees would open vast jungle areas to investment and allow companies to bypass indigenous communities to get permits for projects. The protests resulted in repression by security forces and apparent reprisals by Indians last week that left dozens dead.
See also: Top name brands implicated in Amazon destruction, New Greenpeace report shows how the cattle industry in Brazil is feeding demand for raw resources and “Slaughtering the Amazon”
A recent article, which I first read on a mailing list without knowing its source, starts very promising, is very informative, at times sad, and in many ways, to me, reads as a good introduction to why people become freedom fighters. In the end, however, unsurprisingly given the publisher of the article, the article turns into an advocacy for a middle-class, affluent, surburban existence in a foreign, stable country, “with firm, positive views, but without the blind idealism“, in other words, against the ideals of youth that lead people to take affirmative action to change the world. All youthfulness written off as “blind idealism” with suburbia as the only alternative?
The article is about the Tamil Tigers, which began as a movement against the genocide that the Sinhalese controlled state of Sri Lanka is committing on the Tamil minority. They were freedom fighters that the state – and now the international community – condemn as terrorists. Perhaps they have become terroristic rather than freedom fighting, but being the underdog, the minority and the victims of genocide, who have not been heard, it is difficult to see how the Tamil people in Sri Lanka could escape their lose-lose scenario.
Just roll over and die as a people and as a culture? Die fighting? Or perhaps keep fighting in the hope that you can gain the rights and recognition required to live in “peace”?
Is an existence as a suburban, affluent mother more worthy, a better morally choice, than being a freedom fighter for your people? Direct, intentional violence – or indirect, ignorant violence? Shop or fight? Is that really all there is to it?
Assuming that there is a global crisis – financial, climate change and starvation – and assuming that something could be done about it – what would it be? The initial reaction has been to push for more of the same – more debts to be created in order to keep economic power in the same hands. Maybe a few policy changes to avoid too extreme corruption and self-aggrandisement, removal of some draconian measures, but that’s about it. Spend more, that is way to go. It sounds so simple and in a sense it is: wiping the rich people’s slates clean so that they can lend more money for the poor to spend. If it makes you think of spiralling further down into an abyss we’re on the same wave length.
In order, then, to get the American people to spend more money that they don’t have – the total outstanding credit card debt carried by Americans reached a record $951 billion in 2008, constituting a next level in the financial collapse of a system based on ever-increasing debt – president Obama is suggesting “a $410bn (£290bn) spending bill due to be voted on this week“. Part of this bill seeks to lift some of the extreme anti-Cuban legislation that was introduced during the administration of Bush the Second.
There is no doubt about it, Obama – the man in the White House – gives good speeches, but even an old World Banker takes note of the fact that Obama’s grand plan to save the world and “the hardest working people on Earth” (he says it as if it a good thing??) from their predicaments is insubstantial (These videos gives you an insight from the inside – if you really want to know about all the little sheenanigans of a failed system or just want to see the Emperor of the Free World sit before you in his shiny new clothes. Characteristic of times of crisis he looks and sounds like a rhetorical stooge with a nationalistic appeal “the greatest force of progress and prosperity [and climate change?!]”)
Anyway, the Cuban news is a tangent that invites viewing the world from a Latin American perspective.
A good friend just sent me a link to a very interesting read. It sums up quite a few things on my own mind and puts into perspective what I perceive to be crucial issues for the reactionary Left in general and activists in particular. A kind of anarchist magic – and that is probably the only viable solution for substantial change in the world we live in.
It is published in Red Room with the title “GETTING BEYOND THE NARRATIVES: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ACTIVIST COMMUNITY” and was originally just a commentary written to two friends, but it is a lot more than that – which is why it is circulating in cyberspace and why I have chosen to reproduce it here: it deserves wide attention!
A very good read. Enjoy!
GETTING BEYOND THE NARRATIVES: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ACTIVIST COMMUNITY
August 22, 2005
This essay began life as an open letter to two activist friends discussing a book edited by David Solnit, “Globalize Liberation” (SF: City Lights Book, 2004). It ended up in circulation among the activist community in the US, and was published several times on the internet. I have left it in its original form, as I think this adds more than it subtracts. — JMG
James asked me for my thoughts on “Globalize Liberation,” and I hope neither of you will mind a lengthy, even labored, response. The book is extremely thought-provoking in its strengths and weaknesses alike, and it’s given me an opportunity to rethink many of the assumptions I’ve had about social change and the potential shape of the future. Since I come to these issues from a somewhat unusual perspective — the perspective of a practicing mage and initiate of several magical orders — I recognize that the ideas “Globalize Liberation” evoked in me are perhaps a little different from those common in the progressive community. Thus I’ve chosen to explain those ideas here at some length.
There is something happening, it seems, in the U.S. People are slowly becoming aware of the severe erosion that their “great democratic country” is suffering under.
A writer called Naomi Wolf is speaking to the well-educated, yet uninformed American. She speaks about the “pattern of fascism”, or the classic signs of an “open society” being transformed into a closed or totalitarian society of which fascism is one model that the world has seen in various permutations. The actions of Stalin, Goebbels and Bush et al. are compared to one another – with a view to get the latter impeached – and to establish that there is a “blue print” for closing down society – that is, transform what Wolf considers a “free, open democratic society” into a totalitarian regime. With the blue print in hand you can see how it happens again and again.
Here’s another one, right out of the papers:
“In the Brazilian state of Paraná, Valmir Mota de Oliveira of Via Campesina, an international peasant organization, was shot twice in the chest at point blank range by armed gunmen on an experimental farm of Syngenta Seeds, a multinational agribusiness corporation. The cold blooded murder took place on Sunday, October 21 after Via Campesina had occupied the site because of Syngenta’s illegal development of genetically modified (GM) seeds.” – read the rest of the story..
About a month ago the global indigenous peoples’ struggle reached a milestone.
Here are some comments and resources collected and followed by a brief reflection.
First from Resistance Studies:
“The United Nations have overwhelmingly approved the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: after over a decade of negotiations, and a year of Canada trying to stall the final vote on it in the General Assembly” says Nicole Scabus, the International Advisor of the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade.