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I.H.T. SPECIAL REPORT: SMART CITIES
An Urban Jungle for the 21st Century



SINGAPORE — The math is impressive. In the last 25 years, the population of Singapore has nearly doubled, to more than five million. Over the same period, its green cover — planted areas that appear green on satellite photos, from parks to rooftops — has increased from a little more than a third of the city-state’s area to nearly half.

But it is not enough. In Singapore’s next “green road map,” its 10-year development plan, the country aims to go from being “a garden city” to “a city in a garden.” “The difference might sound very small,” says Poon Hong Yuen, the chief executive of the country’s National Parks Board, “but it’s a bit like saying my house has a garden and my house is in the middle of a garden. What it means is having pervasive greenery, as well as biodiversity, including wildlife, all around you.”


Read more... )



From the NYT
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Honduras Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women’s Constitutional Assembly

Proposals to radically re-formulate the constitution of Honduras need to incorporate the experiences and perspectives of indigenous and Afro-Honduran women, declared Berta Cáceres, a longtime feminist indigenous activist and an organizer of the Constitutional Assembly Self-Organized by Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women. The historic event, which is taking place July 10-14, 2011 in Copán Ruinas, will include indigenous and Afro women delegates from all over Honduras, said Cáceres, who is also coordinator of COPINH (Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations in Honduras).

Many of these women have been front and center in the popular resistance movement against the repression following the coup d’etat in their country in June, 2009, struggling against assaults on their lands, sovereignty, natural resources and cultures. Likewise, many have been specifically targeted as leaders in these struggles with aggressive and violent assaults and detentions by police and private security forces.

Along the northern coast of Honduras, there are 48 Garifuna communities “who are suffering an accelerated expulsion from our territories that we have inhabited for 214 years,” said Miriam Miranda of OFRANEH (National Fraternal Organization of Black Hondurans) in a public letter she released after being violently detained and assaulted by security forces in March, 2011 for her role as a leader in the resistance. Communal lands of the Garifuna have been subject to widespread privatization as part of massive development plans by the government and World Bank to create big tourist resorts and “model cities.” The Garifuna are matrilocal, meaning the land has been traditionally passed along matrilineal lines, so this massive assault on communal lands has hit women particularly hard (Vacanti Brondo, 2007).MORE



Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women: Autonomy and an End to Violence Against Us

Final Declaration of Constituent Assembly Self-Organized by Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women

From the rhythmic beat of powerful drums and ancient spiritual songs that echoed through the sacred ruins of the Mayan Chortí in Copan in western Honduras, the three-day event ended with hundreds of indigenous and Afro- Honduran women demanding autonomy and an end to the colonization of their lands, their bodies, their lives, and ways of doing politics.

The
Final Declaration of Copán Galel of the Self-Organized Constituent Assembly of Indigenous and Afro-Honduran women denounced the “violence, repression and domination of women operating through capitalism, patriarchy and racism,” said Berta Caceres, coordinator the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), in an interview with Escribana.

Caceres was also one of the organizers of the Assembly, which took place July 11 to 13, 2011 in Copan Ruinas, Honduras. The Assembly involved an intensive dialogue on the realities of life of the 300 participating women whose cultures, lands, natural resources and the country have been under siege that intensified since the military coup in June 2009.

Since then, the government, the powerful elites and transnational corporations have been using the “
Shock Doctrine” (Naomi Klein) to promote a rapid re-engineering of business, economic policies and all policies before people have opportunity to react. (Http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine).

For Honduras, this has meant immediate and aggressive plans for mass-tourism projects, mega-projects such as hydroelectric dams and the expansion of mining, agribusiness and forestry, all involving the confiscation of indigenous and Afro lands.
MORE





Israel Daphne Leef:How a woman in a tent became Israel's Top Story

Until recently nobody had heard of Daphni Leef. Now, everybody in Israel knows the 25-year-old's face and her cause. Just a few weeks ago, Leef was waiting tables. Now, her schedule has become such that she cannot help keeping people waiting. This interview was meant to take place at 11am but did not start until 5pm. Among things that might have distracted her was the small matter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu putting everything on hold to respond to her demands.

Even after the interview started, we were interrupted by well-wishers, delighted to see her in the flesh sitting outside a Tel Aviv café. A young man wanted a hug; a little old lady wanted to have her picture taken with Leef. And upon hearing her voice a blind woman halted her guide dog and chatted excitedly.

So what did Leef do to bring her such national attention? She got chucked out of her flat. And then wrote on Facebook. Just over a month ago she was told that she needed to leave her Tel Aviv apartment because the building was slated for redevelopment. She started looking for a new home, and was shocked to find how expensive rents had become.

"I called up a friend and said, 'I'm setting up a tent'," she recalls. "He said I should calm down." But she did not calm down - instead she opened a Facebook "event", inviting people to erect tents in central Tel Aviv to protest against high housing prices.MORE


Dude. They profiled the originator of a protest that has seen up to 300,000 people participate....in the lifestyle section. God. DAMN.


Tunisia Tunisian women fear the Algerian way

TUNIS, Aug 5, 2011 (IPS) - A women’s group begins campaigning near La Marsa beach in Tunis to convince more women to come up and register in the electoral lists, in time for the deadline now pushed back to Aug. 14. Most of the women watching the proceedings are veiled.

The veils present more a question than a suggestion at present. One survey among veiled women conduced by journalists here claims that four in five of these women will not vote for Ennahda, the Islamist party surging ahead in popularity ahead of elections for a constituent assembly due in October.

Veils in such numbers are an unusual sight in Tunisia where women visit the beach just as comfortably in a bikini as wearing a headscarf, and just as comfortable sipping wine as a soft drink, listening to rap or traditional music.

Looks may be deceptive, one way or another. "Look around," says Khadija, an activist with the Modernist Democratic Front - a coalition of local Tunisian democratic parties - on another beachfront near the fashionable La Goulette. "Can you see these people living under Islamic law? Tunisia is not Algeria. I am sure it will never happen here."

...


Women have had successes they want to hold on to: half the candidates in the electoral lists must now be women. A strong presence of women in the constituent assembly could be crucial to women’s rights.

Women also want to consolidate the position taken by the High Commission charged to verify that the goals of the revolution are respected - namely that religion and politics will be kept separate. Ennahda has opposed this move in the transitional period. It has also opposed the transitional government’s decision that parties cannot receive funds from outside.

On another front women are fighting the undemocratic influence of former president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in institutions such as the media. The media gives little space to women, even though they are politically active, and many will be candidates. MORE
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SPAIN
'Indignant' Demonstrators Marching to Brussels to Protest Effects of Crisis


MADRID, Jul 30, 2011 (IPS) - Protesters from several European Union cities have begun to follow the example of hundreds of demonstrators from Spain who are marching from Madrid to Brussels, the bloc's de facto capital, in a growing protest against the effects of the economic crisis and the fiscal adjustment policies adopted to combat it.

The march - literally, on foot - began Tuesday Jul. 26 with half a dozen people at the Puerta del Sol, in Madrid, the "kilometre zero" point from which all distances in the country are measured. The "'Indignant' People's March" aims to cover the 1,550 km to Brussels by Oct. 8, one week ahead of the global demonstration planned for Oct. 15 by Democracia Real YA (Real Democracy Now!)

Marchers from other European cities will stop in Paris on the way to Brussels, to support the Occupy Wall Street initiative, aimed at occupying and disrupting what they call the "financial Gomorrah" of the United States.

Adbusters, a counter-cultural Canadian magazine, quoted Professor Raimundo Viejo of the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona as saying: "The anti-globalisation movement was the first step. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf leading the pack, and others who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people."

The Adbusters article calls on U.S. President Barack Obama to set up a presidential commission tasked with "ending the influence money has over (the country's) representatives in Washington."

It also proposes "dismantling half the 1,000 military bases (the United States) has around the world," among other pro-democracy measures.

But the May 15 Movement (15M), which emerged on that date with large demonstrations in the main squares of cities across Spain held to protest the political, economic and social system, is also drawing attention to issues not prominently covered by the international press, such as repossessions of the homes of those who fall behind on their mortgage payments. MORE


I wish them all good luck and will follow their shenanigans with interest!

Hope...

Jul. 29th, 2011 12:28 am
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PAKISTAN After the Flood, Green Homes


KARACHI, Jul 28, 2011 (IPS) - Subhan Khatoon’s brand new home is nothing like the one that got washed away, along with all her worldly goods, in the 2010 monsoon floods that submerged a fifth of Pakistan and left 2,000 people dead.

Before that deluge, Khatoon, 45, could not have dreamed of owning a well-ventilated house with such luxuries as an attached toilet and a clean kitchen.

Khatun was lucky that the district administration of Khairpur identified her village Darya Khan Sheikh, on the banks of the Indus in Sindh province, as one of the worst affected, and her house as one that had been completely destroyed and, therefore, merited replacement.

Paperwork over, architects and engineers from the voluntary Heritage Foundation (HF) began designing Khatoon’s new home using locally available materials under its ‘Green Karavan Ghar’ initiative, which runs a similar rehabilitation project in the Swat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The vision behind the HF initiative is the use of local materials and a workforce backed by students from schools of architecture and engineering.

Established in 1984 by Yasmeen Lari - incidentally Pakistan’s first woman architect - the HF basically documents historic buildings and works for their conservation, but came forward to help with post-disaster reconstruction.

"These young professionals must learn to respect the traditional ways of building and also get hands-on training both technical and humanitarian in nature," Lari told IPS.

They have already handed over 104 homes in two villages in Sindh, all built with bamboo, lime (as opposed to cement) and mud. Not only can these be made speedily, they are cost-effective at Pakistani Rs 55,000 (647 US dollars) and have a low carbon footprint.
MORE


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Israel Erupts in Protest, Tens of Thousands Chant 'Revolution'


Approximately 30,000 protesters marched in Tel Aviv last night, with social justice activists blocking central streets and chants of "Mubarak. Assad. Netanyahu" filling the air.

Tel Aviv police arrested 42 activists, which is an extremely rare number, "if not unprecedented," according to +972 Magazine, which has been closely following the circumstances surrounding the sudden rise of Israel's progressive left

The protests are part of a larger movement that began as opposition to rising housing prices, and indeed is still centered around that issue, but has spread to other social justice and progressive causes.

These protests are being described as "the greatest challenge PM Netanyahu faces on the home front," and show that the progressive left in Israel has awoken.

Change in Israel may be coming.

MORE



Facebook is driving Israel's protests

But the role of Facebook is not limited to news updates. The protesters on Rothschild Boulevard hold meetings where everyone can have a say. On Facebook, one status update can provoke a flood of responses and turn into a heated public debate.

Facebook is what radio was in the early days of the state, what television was when the Iron Curtain crumbled, what the newspapers were during the Spring of Nations. The protests over the price of gas, cottage cheese and, of course, housing, would not have accelerated as they did without Facebook.

It's even possible that without this platform, where people can call for a boycott and get infinitely more exposure for their views than they would by standing in the town square, these protests would have never taken place.

These are crazy times in the virtual world of Facebook. One strand of civil action meets another, 1,000 more people join a protest and a chain reaction that began with nothing in the morning can build up into a demonstration that is thousands strong by evening.

"What's happening tonight?" a friend asks. "Go to Facebook, all the details are there," I tell her. "I told you I'm against Facebook, I want to maintain my privacy," she says. But the wall of opposition is slowly but surely cracking; "perhaps today I will join," she finally says. MORE



Massive Housing Protests Shake Israel Government Into Action Demonstrators Reject Netanyahu's Plan as Inadequate


Tel Aviv — In a speech from his office July 26, Netanyahu announced that for the first time in Israeli history, the government will give contractors incentives to build housing for long-term private rental at low rates.

Netanyahu’s speech came as 350 tents lined Tel Aviv’s fashionable Rothschild Boulevard, filled with people demonstrating against high housing prices. More than 500 protest tents were pitched elsewhere in the country. A few hours before Netanyahu’s speech, Haaretz released a poll finding that 87% of Israelis supported the protests. Three days previously, about 30,000 Israelis marched for the cause in Tel Aviv. Netanyahu put other political business on hold and tried to quell the anger.

“In Israel protests by specific groups happen daily, but this has brought in many groups and become massive,” said Ben Gurion University historian of social economics Efraim Davidi. “It is the most important protest in a generation.”

Under Netanyahu’s proposal, the government will offer free state-owned land to contractors willing to compete to build homes for long-term rental at the lowest prices. Netanyahu’s program will also offer half-price land for sale where contractors compete to promise the lowest sale price. Young couples, graduates, and people finishing military or civilian national service will have priority when these homes reach the market. MORE


Free state owned land, eh? Wonder where this land came from? Either way...I watch this development with interest...
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Spain's 'Indignant Ones'

While “Europe’s slow-motion financial collapse” – as Mother Jones magazine described it in a June 6tharticle – continues to unravel, Spain, like other European states continues to implement anti-social-neo-liberal policies with strong opposition from the citizenry.

It has been one month since the country’s ‘Indignados’ (Indignant Ones) movement claimed nonviolently sixty city-squares in cities across the country, calling for economic democracy, political justice and peace. Since then, much has happened within Spanish borders, and what is happening there is clearly spreading across Europe, where we have already witnessed social movements making similar demands. We have seen the Bastille in Paris, taken nonviolently by French ‘Indignados’ only to be quickly reclaimed by the country’s police force. We have observed the rise of a parallel movement in Portugal where most city squares have also been camped on by ‘Indignados’, and where only hours before the country’s general elections protestors in Lisbon were attacked and beaten by police. We have witnessed how on that same night, in Athens, Greece, 80,000 protestors congregated in the city’s main square in opposition to the country’s ‘austerity measures’, waving banners in solidarity with the ‘Indignados’ of Spain and of other European country’s. MORE



May 28th 2011 'Democracia Real Ya': When the People in Spain Remind the Government Who They Work for


Anyone who was there during the protest would tell you that they didn’t see it coming. As a matter of fact, how can we explain this movement? Perhaps a little context is necessary for us to understand, even though one does not always find clear answers to that.

Context

On September 29th 2010, thousands of people were asked by the main labor unions to join a protest in the streets of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and all the other major cities, in protest for the austerity measures anounced by the Zapatero government. However, this general strike, deemed a failure by many, left most people disenchanted with traditional politics and the general atmosphere was one of frustration, defeat and a growing sense of individualism, palpable in the streets of Madrid, and also a general mistrust, conveyed in public opinion polls regarding banks, social groups and the political class across the spectrum, as well as a pessimistic view of their future.

So, in other words, nothing at the time would make any observer anticipate what was to happen, nor its magnitude. So the question is, what happened in between? What are the main causes that could explain this phenomenon? MORE



Protests Evolve But Tensions Continue

The mobilizations that started on May 15 in Spain have gradually evolved into local meetings, gatherings and different kinds of initiatives all over the country. Most activists are not focusing on the camps any more. Campers have decided to leave the Madrid square “Puerta del Sol” on June 12, 2011. It became the physical symbol of the people's unease with their political representatives. Netizens are calling this shift “Sol se mueve” (Sol is moving), and using the tag #solsemueve on Twitter.

This does not mean that the movement has died. Assemblies and reunions co-exist with specific actions, like the marches towards city councils on June 11 to protest against the investiture of politicians charged with corruption. In Madrid, the capital city, a sit-in ended up with police charging against demonstrators, which can be seen on the videos widely shared online, like this one by journalist Juan Luis Sánchez of Periodismo Humano [es]:

MORE

On Angola

Jun. 17th, 2011 05:57 am
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BBC Angola Profile

Politics: President has been in power for 30 years. Oil-rich enclave of Cabinda has been embroiled in a long-running independence struggle.

Economy: One of Africa's leading oil producers, but most people still live on less than US $1 a day. Experiencing a post-war reconstruction boom

International: China has promised substantial assistance to Angola, one of its main oil suppliers

Full name: The Republic of Angola
Population: 18.9 million (UN, 2010)
Capital: Luanda
Area: 1.25m sq km (481,354 sq miles)
Major languages: Portuguese (official), Umbundu, Kimbundu, Kikongo
Major religion: Christianity
Life expectancy: 47 years (men), 51 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 kwanza = 100 lwei
Main exports: Oil, diamonds, minerals, coffee, fish, timber
GNI per capita: US $3,490 (World Bank, 2009)
Internet domain: .ao
International dialling code: +244
MORE



Angola Press: The Country

Angola is situated on the Western coast of Southern Africa and was a Portuguese colony till 11 Novemeber 1975, when it won independence. It has an area of 1,246,700 km².

The country is divided into 18 provinces, and its capital city is Luanda. Its periphery comprises 4,837 kilometres, bordering on Congo Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (ex-Zaire), Zambia, and Namibia. Its coast, washed by the Atlantic Ocean, has 1,650 kilometres.

Luanda, Lobito and Namibe are its main ports. The countrys highest peak is Monte Moco (2,620 metres), situated in Huambo, with its main rivers being Kwanza, Zaire, Cunene and Cubango. Its currency is Kwanza (Kz). MORE




The Rise and Rise of Angola


Figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) show that during 2011 Angola will leapfrog Morocco to become Africa’s fifth largest economy. This is a startling development: just ten years ago Angola was poorer than all five North African countries, languishing among the worst performing states in the region based on indicators such as the Human Development Index (HDI). Decades of civil war had taken their toll, destroying infrastructure, halting economic expansion and slowing progress on social development indicator such as health and education. It was far from being one of the continent’s top ten economies. Today, it holds a larger nominal GDP than Tunisia and Libya. In 2003, one year after the three decades-long civil war ended, Angola’s GDP was just $13 billion: the IMF estimates this year’s figure at $110 billion, an absolute increase of almost ten-fold in eight years. The five-year period from 2003 saw average growth rates approaching close to 20% annually. The Economist claims Angola was the fastest growing economy during the last decade, ahead of China, with average rates of 11.1%. That data is even more remarkable if it is noted that the first three years of the decade saw very little expansion due to the civil war. By 2016 the IMF forecasts GDP to grow to $160 billion, an increase of $75billion over 2010’s figure. Eurostat’s latest accounts show Angola to be the third largest African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) trading partner of the European Union (EU) behind only South Africa and Nigeria. In 2008 the trade volume was greater than that of Ghana, Ivory Coast and Kenya’s combined. MORE
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Sunshine and Shadow in Rwanda's Rural Housing Programme

KIGALI, Apr 27, 2011 (IPS) - The gleam of new corrugated iron sheets shimmers through the blue-green haze that veils Rwanda's rural valleys and hillsides. It is a visible sign of Rwanda’s metamorphosis from a nation devastated by genocide seventeen years ago to the fastest modernising state on the continent.

But are the shiny roofs the jewels on Africa’s emerging bride, or the bling worn by a bully?

Most of the new houses are the result of a hugely ambitious plan to bring rural families, at present scattered across the countryside, together into villages called imidugudu, enabling the government to more easily provide electricity, water, schooling and security. But it is a smaller programme, the replacement of grass-thatched houses with more modern structures, which caught the attention of aid agencies when complaints emerged last year that the homes of the minority Batwa, former pygmy forest dwellers, were being destroyed by the government.

The issue is complex, encapsulating many of the tensions haunting Rwanda as well as the strides it is making towards prosperity.

... MORE



Realising grand plans

In Rwanda's system of government, the job of local leaders is to mobilise and co-ordinate local and national resources to implement programmes.

In the case of Bye-Bye Nyakatsi, central government earmarked 10 million dollars. This is complemented by the mobilisation of the army to distribute roof sheets and building material. Public works programmes aimed at employing youths provide further labour.

Then Rwanda’s intense traditional communal-work system, called umuganda, kicks in to help build the new houses. Everybody pitches in to supply labour and materials - officially on the last Saturday of every month, but often whenever someone has time to help a neighbour. Scroll and look to the right in the yellow box for rest of this article
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via : [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political Tunisia's ongoing revolution

Matt Swagler describes the attempts of Tunisia's elite to impose order--and the inspiring examples of direct democracy and workers' struggle since the fall of Ben Ali.

AN EVENTFUL two months have passed since mass protests toppled former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali--largely out of the media spotlight once the revolution spread to Egypt, but with great importance for the struggle for democracy and justice, in Tunisia and beyond.

In December and January, a nationwide movement emerged in Tunisia, led by workers, students and the unemployed, calling for the hated autocrat to go. After just four weeks, the Tunisian people achieved what had seemed impossible: they challenged a 23-year dictatorship backed by a massive, brutal security force--and won. In doing so, they also exposed the complicity of the French and U.S. governments, which were both long-time allies and defenders of Ben Ali's corrupt regime right through his final days.

When Tunisians' nonviolent demonstrations forced Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia on January 14, the victory immediately gave confidence to emerging protest movements across North Africa and the Middle East. In Egypt, where a struggle against President Hosni Mubarak had been brewing for over a decade, the lesson was clear: If Ben Ali and his security forces were not invincible, than Mubarak could be ousted as well.

...

But Tunisia provides important lessons for anyone who hopes to learn from the struggles, debates and conflicts within an unfolding revolutionary situation. In particular, Tunisia offer insights into what it means for hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, to actively take part in trying to transform society from the bottom up.

The movement against Ben Ali was driven in large part by demands for democratic political reforms and an end to the country's oligarchic rule. But growing anger over soaring food prices, inadequate wages and widespread unemployment--especially in the interior of the country--fueled the struggle as well.

Thus far, the interim Tunisian government, which replaced Ben Ali's administration, has proven hostile to enacting reforms that would significantly alter Tunisia's economic inequality. New political freedoms have been won, but these incredible victories have only come about because the interim government has been faced with protests and workers' strikes--on an almost daily basis.

...

If anything, the toppling of Ben Ali has proven to be only the opening round in a revolution that is now involving even greater numbers of Tunisians, who are actively and collectively tackling larger questions about what to do next.MORE
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Houseboaters being 'socially cleansed' from Olympics area

River Lea residents fear licence could rise from £600 to £7,000, but British Waterways says increase only option


Houseboat residents near the Olympic development site in east London are accusing British Waterways of an attempt at "social cleansing". They say proposed changes to rules for living on the canals before the 2012 Games could force hundreds of people from their water-based homes.

British Waterways, which manages 2,200 miles of canals and rivers, has put forward changes to the mooring rules on the river Lea, in east London, that could increase the cost of living on the waterway from about £600 to £7,000 a year. Residents see the move as a deliberate attempt to drive them away.MORE
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Source: http://www.thenation.com/article/158282/how-build-progressive-tea-party

How to Build a Progressive Tea Party

by Johann Hari, February 3, 2011 (February 21, 2011 edition of The Nation)

Imagine a parallel universe where the Great Crash of 2008 was followed by a Tea Party of a very different kind. Enraged citizens gather in every city, week after week—to demand the government finally regulate the behavior of corporations and the superrich, and force them to start paying taxes. The protesters shut down the shops and offices of the companies that have most aggressively ripped off the country. The swelling movement is made up of everyone from teenagers to pensioners. They surround branches of the banks that caused this crash and force them to close, with banners saying, You Caused This Crisis. Now YOU Pay.

As people see their fellow citizens acting in self-defense, these tax-the-rich protests spread to even the most conservative parts of the country. It becomes the most-discussed subject on Twitter. Even right-wing media outlets, sensing a startling effect on the public mood, begin to praise the uprising, and dig up damning facts on the tax dodgers.

Instead of the fake populism of the Tea Party, there is a movement based on real populism. It shows that there is an alternative to making the poor and the middle class pay for a crisis caused by the rich. It shifts the national conversation. Instead of letting the government cut our services and increase our taxes, the people demand that it cut the endless and lavish aid for the rich and make them pay the massive sums they dodge in taxes.

This may sound like a fantasy—but it has all happened. The name of this parallel universe is Britain. As recently as this past fall, people here were asking the same questions liberal Americans have been glumly contemplating: Why is everyone being so passive? Why are we letting ourselves be ripped off? Why are people staying in their homes watching their flat-screens while our politicians strip away services so they can fatten the superrich even more?

And then twelve ordinary citizens—a nurse, a firefighter, a student, a TV researcher and others—met in a pub in London one night and realized they were asking the wrong questions. “We had spent all this energy asking why it wasn’t happening,” says Tom Philips, a 23-year-old nurse who was there that night, “and then we suddenly said, That’s what everybody else is saying too. Why don’t we just do it? Why don’t we just start? If we do it, maybe everybody will stop asking why it isn’t happening and join in. It’s a bit like that Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams. We thought, If you build it, they will come.”

Full text of article for archiving purposes. )



The U.S. and Canada now have their very own uncut protests:

http://twitter.com/USUncut

http://www.usuncut.org/

http://twitter.com/CanadaUncut

http://canadauncut.net/

Need ideas? Bank "bail-ins" are amongst the most recent at:

http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/
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Here are a few links. After I've finished with my school day, I'll look for some good articles. For now:

Three older dictators bowing under the stress of freedom demands?

Former Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in grave condition in hospital

Egypt domino effect: Hosni Mubarak 'very sick'

There were reports around the time that Mubarak was being thrown out that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was sick with the stress. I don't see much of those reports anymore so maybe they were rumours...



Al Jazeera English

Live Blog - Libya Finally!

Live Blog - Bahrain

The Guardian:

Middle East protests - Live Which include updates on Iran, Iraq and Algeria plus Yemen.

The Arabist

The Arabist Blog looks interesting.


The LA Times
and they link to the fact that Jordan is still having protests too.


LIBYA: Google map marks protest, violence, deaths

Global Post

Feb 17..Have Yemen protests reached a turning point?:In biggest showing yet, thousands of anti-government protesters turn out in Sanaa


Link to stuff you have seen!


ETA: A cautionary note: Learning from past revolutions


[On Feb 20]: Morocco protests will test regime's claims to liberalism:Facebook groups are calling the country's youth on to the streets of cities including Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat and Tangier on Sunday to demand constitutional reform and proper democracy


ETA 2 NEw Yorker says Bahraini Protests have been going on since the eighties

The Bahraini opposition—some of whose factions have been influenced by Iran, but which, in total, is by no means a proxy for Tehran—has persisted with its resistance and illegal street protests. The street battles this week are typical of what has been going on in Bahrain, without much attention, on and off since the nineteen-eighties.

Read more Bahrain’s Long Revolution



And One MORE thing: Mass protests as Egyptians mark "Victory Day" (Roundup)


Oh GOD. The last thing I SWEAR /o\ Blogpost by Saudiwoman, which has been recced to me more than once, and was linked to the Guardian page: The Arab Revolution Saudi Update Please note that Saudi Arabia is suspected to be all up in the Bahraini revolution because it fears that its Shia population would be encouraged to start demanding rights.

Saudi Arabia has a Shiite minority concentrated in its eastern oil-producing hub that also complains of discrimination. Any spread of unrest into the world’s biggest oil exporter risks pushing crude prices above the 2 1/2-year high reached this week. Authorities arrested 38 people after clashes involving Shiite pilgrims in the holy city of Medina two months ago.MORE
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Revolt and Revolution seem to be in the air. Newly precarious autocratic gov'ts are watching in some fear. Some of them are already dealing with protests in their own countries. Some of them are making concessions to stave off or calm down cries of democracy now!!! Here's a roundup partly based off a Firedoglake post and off a Wikipedia article



THE UNREST



OMAN

In January after the Tunisian revolt there were protests in Oman Oman protestors call for fight against corruption The headline leaves out the fact that they are also fighting against high food prices

MUSCAT - Some 200 Omanis protested on Monday against high prices and corruption, a rare phenomenon in the Arab Gulf monarchy that seems to have been touched off by the revolt in Tunisia.

"Rising prices have destroyed the dreams of ordinary citizens," read one banner carried by the crowd gathered outside the housing ministry, where police manned a security cordon but did not intervene.

The protesters, who appeared after they received emails and messages on their mobile telephones calling for the demonstration, chanted slogans against corruption and the high cost of living.

"No to corruption. No to corruption," shouted the protesters who called for "higher wages" and "fixed prices" for basic food items, the cost of which have swelled since the global financial downturn. MORE



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Today is Martin Luther King Day in the US and they are playing his I have a dream speech on repeat. But Martin had opinions on many other things, and one of them was working towards a fair and just economy


The Martin Luther King who’ll be on our screens is a memory filtered of its radical light. Particularly in his later life, King had a sharp diagnosis about how the evils of militarism, racism and poverty had a root cause. That cause? Capitalism. Will we hear about that on CNN, from the President, on the news? Not likely.
In his last speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1967, quoted below and available in full here, he said:
One day we must ask the question, “Why are there forty million poor people in America?” And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life’s market place. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that questions must be raised. You see, my friends, when you deal with this, you begin to ask the question, “Who owns the oil?” You begin to ask the question, “Who owns the iron ore?” You begin to ask the question, “Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two thirds water?” These are questions that must be asked.
The FBI, in a trope that we see in South Africa today, explained King’s rejection of capitalism through the fact that he’d been brainwashed by the dangerous white folk around him. One of those friends, Stanley Levison, explained this simply as a function of the FBI’s
“racist contempt for the intellect of the black man. No one with a modicum of sense … could have concluded that a man with the force of intellect and fierce independence that Martin King had could have been dominated by anybody…”
King wasn’t anyone’s dupe – and that means that he was critical of the Soviet Union too, as you’ll see in the excerpt below, and from the line:
“Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the Kingdom of Brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of Communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis.”
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In recognition of that...


BRAZIL: Solidarity Economy Thriving

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DEVELOPMENT-BRAZIL: Solidarity Economy Combats Exclusion

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INDIA: Hill Women Form Cooperative, Turn Entrepreneurs

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DEVELOPMENT: India Holds Public Meetings on GM Food Crop

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MALAWI: Green Belt Initiative Taking Shape


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CHILE: Eliminating Slums


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