France: Yellow Vests Protest Reaching a Showdown With Macron

Source:  Popular Resistance
March 23 2019

By Richard Greeman, Popular Resistance

RESIST!

resistance.jpgThe situation in France may be reaching a showdown between the Macron government, which is now considering using the Army against the Yellow Vests, and the social movement, to whose demands the regime continues to turn a deaf ear.

In the last week, we have seen a nation-wide strike of High School and other students demanding immediate government intervention to stop the global warming that threatens their future lives. The government response: police brutality against teenagers.

On Saturday, there was a massive March for the Climate all over France, perhaps 150,000 demonstrators, which converged with the “19th Act” of the weekly Yellow Vest demonstrations, which have just celebrated their fourth monthly anniversary. Again, much police brutality, but only against the Yellow Vests, not the Climate people.

On Tuesday (Mar 19th) the CGT and a coalition of other unions sponsored a one-day nation-wide interprofessional strike, which the Yellow vests supported and joined in the name of “convergence” and common goals: restore public services, retirement, social security, salaries, and a demand to be listened to.

Radio silence from Paris.

Simultaneously, the Macron government has hastily passed several new repressive laws making demonstrations all but illegal. Macron has fired the Police Prefect for being too soft on demonstrators (!) and for not using enough of the Flashballs that have already killed an old woman on her balcony and seriously injured (blinded) over a hundred demonstrators, thousands of whom have been arrested. These weapons, made in Switzerland and labeled as weapons of war there, have been proclaimed ‘medium crowd control defense weapons’ by France, despite the protests of Michelle Bachelet and the European and UN Human Rights groups.

yellow vests protest

The Urgent Imperative of a Resistance Front

November 16 2018

Source:  Granma

The words of Cuba’s revolutionary “Chancellor of Dignity” are more relevant than ever in today’s Latin America

raul roa cuba

If all democratic forms of government have been subjected to the most challenging tests during these times, this has been seen nowhere more ferociously than in Our America, where they have been placed in serious danger. From south to north, military lodges, landholders, power brokers, uncouth oligarchies, and big business, in sinister complicity, with no holds placed by the UN or the OAS, have abolished fundamental human and civil freedoms. The cynical manipulation of popular will, and the violent removal of constitutionally elected governments by despots of a typical totalitarian cut, characterize this dramatic process that threatens the entire continent.

Fifth column pseudo-Marxists and imperialist greed reign today over an array of prostrate nations, at the mercy of big shots, local bosses, carpetbaggers, bankers, and unscrupulous businessmen. A few governments with popular roots, the majority plagued by administrative corruption, social dislocation, electoral demagoguery, and colonial exploitation, complete the somber picture. There is no doubt that the fate of democracy is at stake. The urgent imperative of a broad front of resistance to the uncontrolled aggression of the enemies of popular freedoms is glaringly clear.

Unquestionably, the democratic conception of life, society, and the state is essential to the spirit and historical development of our peoples. But it is no less the case that this concept is now threatened by the most reactionary, rapacious forces of our era.

The central question to be debated is how to push democratic regimes to the point of promoting within the people the impassioned determination to defend them, at the cost of their lives, in all contingencies and vicissitudes. A democratic regime without economic content, without a broad social base, and without the active participation of the people in directing public power, is a useless impediment in this historic period of transition. On this there can be no beating around the bush or euphuisms.

The fundamental problem facing democracy, at this time, is how to organize society without undermining freedom in any way. On the global level, it is imperative that democracy clearly recognize the subjective rights of traditional rights. The questions that torment human beings can only be resolved with the “discovery and establishment of a more just legal structure that allows the problem to be reduced to its true terms.”

Traditional rights can only exist now in function of society. No individual interest that is counterpoised to social interests is legitimate. If we aspire for humans to recover their “lost fertility” and develop fully their aptitudes and powers, things must be socially contextualized. The task which the democratic movement faces is extremely complex.

In the specific case of Our America, we must deal with what history has given us. On the material and cultural level, much progress has been made thus far this century. Viewing the process as a whole, it must be recognized, however, that the economic, social, and administrative structure of Latin American peoples is in need of substantial change. This transformation must be combined with respect for public freedoms and with an international policy that forcefully repudiates regimes that disregard human dignity.

We must insist that only through clean elections, honest administration, public freedoms, economic wellbeing, social justice, diffusion of the merits and consolidation of sovereignty, can representative institutions in the hemisphere be saved. This is a unique opportunity to give the struggle against dictatorships in the Americas content and historical perspective.

American states have assumed the commitment to guarantee our peoples freedom and justice by signing the UN Human Rights Charter and the Rights and Duties charter at the Ninth International Conference of American States in Bogotá.

Peace is the supreme aspiration of men who consider liberty an imperative of conscience. The role played by leaders of the work force is of the first order. No one like them can contribute the most pressing and effective formulas for social improvement to strengthen the democratic regime.

Nor can the problem of industrialization of Our America be neglected. Increasing the economic strength of our peoples is one of the most effective means to build up and consolidate democratic regimes, and rein in imperialists of all bands and types.

The way in which more developed countries can contribute to expanding our economic potential must be considered with this question in mind: Can representative governments that are respectful of public freedoms, and those founded on the usurpation of popular will which deny their citizens access to essential human and civil rights, be placed on equal footing in terms of this help? Can the controversial question of recognizing de facto governments be overlooked?

On this issue, there are no guidelines within intra-American law, or unanimity of opinion among foreign ministries.

If democracy needs both Americas to overcome the deep crisis we face, it is imperative that the good neighbor policy be effectively restored. After the death of Franklyn Delano Roosevelt, on many occasions, “We have been the good and others the neighbors.” May the government of the people, by the people, and for the people stop being the government in name only of the people, without the people, and against the people! May the America of Juárez and the America of Lincoln live on equal footing, in peace and harmony!
(Excerpts from 15 años después, Editorial Librería Selecta, Havana, 1950).

* Raúl Roa García (1907-1982) was a writer, professor, historian, political leader, and diplomat, who served the Cuban Revolution as Foreign Minister from 1959 through 1976.

The legacy of Hugo Chavez

Reblogged from La Santa Mambisa

chavez' legacy

by Atilio Borón

Today, March 5, five years have passed since the physical disappearance of Hugo Chávez Frías and it is fair and necessary to provide a brief reflection on the legacy left by his presence in Venezuela and in Latin America and the Caribbean.

As before, in 1959, Fidel with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, Chávez’s irruption into the politics of his country quickly became internationalized and reached a continental projection. It would not be an exaggeration to say that in a forty-year period (remember that the Bolivarian assumed the presidency of his country in 1999) the contemporary history of Our America experienced those two political earthquakes that irreversibly modified the political and social landscape of the region.

Fighting for the Second and Definitive Independence

Chávez picked up the flags that had been raised by Fidel and with his martial exhortation to fight for the Second and Definitive Independence of our peoples, he enclaved them in the fertile terrain of the Bolivarian tradition.  With Chávez, that which portrayed Neruda’s verse when the Liberator said “I wake up every hundred years when the town wakes up” became a reality. And with the rebellion of 4F Chávez ended the lethargy of the people, a rebellion that, “for now”, had been defeated. But Chávez knew that this people was already getting ready to fight the great battles that had been summoned by Bolívar, re-incarnated in the bodies and souls of millions of Venezuelans and Venezuelans who took to the streets to install Chávez in the Miraflores Palace.

A revolution in consciences

The five years that have elapsed since its sowing provide enough perspective to evaluate the scope of its leafy and multifaceted legacy. The economic and social advances experienced by the Venezuelan people, today attacked with fierce savagery by the American debauchery and the infamy of their local lieutenants, are important but they are not essential. In our opinion, the fundamental, the essential thing is that Chávez produced a revolution in consciences, forever changed the heads of our peoples, and this is a more significant and lasting achievement than any economic benefit. Thanks to Chávez,

In his native country and in all of Latin America and the Caribbean, the idea became evident that the advances achieved in the last twenty years are irreversible and that any pretension to return to the past will face enormous popular resistances. The immense popularity of Chávez throughout the region reveals the depth of these changes experienced in the popular imagination.

Some say, with obvious malice, that the “progressive cycle” has come to an end. But the ventriloquists of imperialism in vain try to hide that the heroic resistance of Venezuelans to the brutal aggressions and attacks launched by Washington reveals, on the contrary, that despite the enormous difficulties and privations of all kinds to which the Chavist people are subjected, they will not tolerate a return to the past, to that “moribund constitution” that Chávez replaced with an exemplary piece of law. And that town resists, and it does so with such force that the opposition that asked for elections to end the government of Nicolás Maduro now does not want to compete because he knows that it will be devastated by a Chavista tsunami. His choice now is clearly extra institutional or, more clearly, insurrectional.

The people are resisting

The people are resisting in Venezuela, the Honduran people fought with incredible heroism, before the electoral farce mounted by “the embassy” in Tegucigalpa. Three months have passed since the proclamation of the triumph of Juan O. Hernández and the people remain in the streets protesting that obscene electoral robbery. As did the Mexicans before, for months, because of the robbery perpetrated against Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the 2012 elections. People who support the progressive and left candidates in Mexico (again with López Obrador) and in Colombia (Gustavo Petro); have displayed, as was shown in Chile with their abstention, their rejection of the electoral fraud mounted in the presidential elections.

The people are resisting also in Brazil, where Michel Temer, is the most unpopular president in recent history (with a level of approval of 3%, while his negative image is around 75%) and fight for honest elections with Lula as a candidate . And in Peru, where the government of Pedro P. Kuczinski was burdened by the evidence of the Odebrecht case and is shaken by the growing wave of discontent that runs through the country. The people in Argentina are resisting with determination and courage , placing on the defensive the government of Mauricio Macri and throwing thick shadows of doubt about the possible continuity of the government of Cambiemos after the elections of 2019.

No “end of cycle”

Here is the extraordinary legacy of Chávez: he changed the conscience of the people, triumphed in the “battle of ideas” claimed by Fidel and as a result of which in Latin America and the Caribbean the right can no longer win elections, with the lonely -and surely temporary – exception of Argentina. In other countries the empire must resort to the “soft coup” as in Honduras, Paraguay, Brazil; or to the most blatant fraud, as in Honduras and Mexico; or unloading its immense media power to frighten and confuse the population, as in Bolivia, or to mediate the corruption of the government of Mauricio Macri in Argentina; or appealing to the old Colombian record of assassinating the candidates of the opposition forces, just two days ago they tried to do it with Gustavo Petro, which leads the intention to vote in the suffering and endearing Colombia. And where there are still no leftist or progressive forces that are constituted as true alternatives, in the case of Chile, the popular response is the withdrawal and repudiation of that conservative and neocolonial political leadership. Conclusion: no “end of cycle”. The struggle continues while the right tries unsuccessfully to stabilize its restoration project, which until now is just that, a project.

The Chavistas Who Toppled Columbus: Venezuela’s Fight Against Colonialism

Source:  TeleSUR
October 11 2017

the chavistas who toppled columbusVenezuelan demonstrators use ropes to take down a Christopher Columbus
statue in Caracas, Venezuela, October 12, 2004. | Photo: Reuters

Long before the statues were taken down in the U.S., social movements in Venezuela removed all monuments from Caracas.

Five centuries ago, Christopher Columbus embarked on his third voyage of conquest, planting the flag of Spain in the Paria Peninsula — now present-day Venezuela — on August 1, 1498

After 506 years, on October 12, 2004 — the Day of Indigenous Resistance, previously marked in Columbus’ honor — the Italian colonizer was “brought to trial” in the streets of the country where he first landed.

RELATED: Anti-Columbus Protests Sweep the Americas
On that day, a 9-meter high statue of Columbus, in downtown Caracas, was toppled from where it had stood for decades.

 

Mock trial of Columbus

Several social movements held a mock trial and “prosecuted” Columbus, declared him “guilty”, demolished his stone incarnate, bathed it in red paint and dragged it to the nearby Teresa Carreno Theater, where it was hung.

Long before activists would take to doing the same to Columbus statues in the United States, their counterparts in Caracas had set the stage: by 2009, every monument dedicated to the conqueror in the Venezuelan capital had been removed.

It was in 2004 that the late socialist President and leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Chavez, changed October 12 from the day that celebrated Columbus and the history of colonialism, to the Day of Indigenous Resistance.

It was in reaction to this move that social movements in the city took to topple the statue.

“There was a very strong revolutionary spirit in Venezuela at that time,” Katrina Kozarek, a reporter at Venezuela Analysis, who along with Cooperativa Calle Y Media created a documentary about the event, told teleSUR.

“People wanted concrete action, not just symbolic,” she added.

Cooperativa Calle Y Media’s film, titled, “Down With Colonialism: Pachamama Libre”

Still, the action held tremendous significance for many.

“It was an act of symbolic justice,”  Angel Montiel, a member of the Organization of Indigenous Youth of Venezuela said at the time. “It represented invasion and genocide in our land.”

Soon after the statue’s destruction, hundreds of Indigenous people and their allies took to the streets to sing and dance to commemorate the act of resistance, chanting “Justice for the people, justice for the people!”

Protesters had drawn parallels between Columbus and then-U.S. president George W. Bush, calling on both to “get out” of Venezuela.

On that day, Indigenous groups also presented a formal request to the city’s mayor to have the decimated statue replaced with that of the Indigenous chief Guaicaipuro — who five centuries ago had led the resistance against Spanish colonialism — a promise that was fulfilled in 2015 under President Nicolas Maduro.

nicolas maduro 2017.jpg

Police, however, who at that time were “very much a reactionary force, still in the hands of the opposition”, explained Kozarek, responded by spraying tear gas at the crowd. Five people were also arrested for taking part.

In response to the arrests, a statement released by the 90 people who claimed responsibility for the act, declared, “We respond by saying that accusations of vandalism, wherever they come from, we reject them absolutely.”

chavistas topple columbus' statue.jpgProtesters prepare to topple the statue.
| Photo: courtesy of Katrina Kozarek

“We are absolutely proud of what we have done, since it is finally destroyed … one of the strongest symbols of what has been the genocidal, exploitative, dehumanizing, deconstructive and truly vandalic exercise of all the imperialisms that have plagued this planet of misery,” it continued. “And in particular the processes of conquest and extermination of more than 70 million human beings … and the death of more than 30 million original inhabitants of Africa, brought as slaves, from the day that this Spanish ‘national hero’ put his boots on these lands.”

Chavez’s response

Still, it was also Chavez who initially rejected the act as one of “anarchy”.

The Venezuelan leader’s main concern at the time, however, explained Kozarek, was “reaction from the opposition”, who supported keeping statues of Columbus.

“The country was just coming out of the coup d’etat,” she explained, adding that the Bolivarian government had viewed the toppling as a surprising, risky act given the response it could have incited from the opposition, following their attempts to oust the government in 2002.

Later, Chavez would come out to approve the action, praising it and calling Columbus “genocidal.”

hugo chavez 1.jpgThe leader of the country’s Bolivarian revolution had always repudiated Columbus, having also called the figure “genocidal” in the past.

“They taught us to admire Christopher Columbus,” Chavez later said in a 2007 televised address. “In Europe, they still speak of the ‘discovery’ of America and want us to celebrate the day.”

That year, the Venezuelan leader revised the nation’s education curriculum to emphasize that the Spanish conquest of the country was destructive, rather than heroic.

Indigenous rights and the Constituent Assembly

The Bolivarian Constitution of 1999 recognized, for the first time ever in the country’s history, the Indigenous population’s right to exist, its languages, cultures, and territories.

With Venezuela’s current National Constituent Assembly, ANC, process underway — which Maduro called to bring the country towards dialogue, in the face of U.S.-backed violence and threats of foreign intervention — Indigenous people are again putting their demands forward.

RELATED:  Social Media Blasts Racist ‘Columbus Day’ in Favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

In July of this year, 1250 different community assemblies elected eight Indigenous representatives to the Assembly, who were tasked with gathering input from their communities in the redrafting of the Constitution.

The main objectives for the Indigenous candidates will be to create an Indigenous Electoral Registration Law and improve access to education. They will also be tasked with preserving and disseminating their respective languages, histories and cultural heritage.

“The spirit of what happened (to the Columbus statue) and the spirit of what is happening now with the Constituent Assembly is similar,” said Kozarek.

“Popular movements emphasize that the revolution cannot be just rhetoric,” she added. “People have placed faith in the Constituent Assembly process, (optimistic) that this will not happen.”

Ferguson: Day of Resistance – December 13, 2014

This movement for justice has been dubbed a “Wave of Indignation” across the country. What started as an urban revolt of young black people in Ferguson, MO has grown into a national movement for Black lives.

The entire nation is awakening to the reality of our broken criminal justice system. We cannot stop or slow down now. This Saturday, we’re taking it to the next level.

Will you join us on the streets this Saturday?

ferguson action

We’re asking you to join everyone in the streets this weekend and #ShutItDown. It’s our civil disobedience, marching and chanting that got us this far— and we must keep going.

When you hit the streets, you’re letting them know: body cameras are not enough. Blue ribbon commissions are not enough. We need broad, decisive action NOW.

Our lives depend on it.

Visit fergusonaction.com to find an action near you or to organize one of your own.

You may also find actions here at the Ferguson response page as well.

Onwards,

Ferguson Action Team

http://engage.fergusonaction.com/

Ferguson Action · United States