Tag Archives: ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΑ

Clashes Break Out During Protests Over Trash Crisis in Lebanon

Αναδημοσίευση του ομότιτλου άρθρου από τους New York Times (όπου υπάρχει και σύντομο σχετικό βίντεο):

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By HWAIDA SAADAUG. 23, 2015

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Thousands of protesters streamed into downtown Beirut for a second day on Sunday to demand that the government resign over its inability to remove enormous heaps of garbage from the city’s streets. The demonstrations led to clashes with the police, who turned fire hoses and tear gas guns on the crowds.

At least 30 people were hurt, according to the Red Cross. Dozens of people were injured on Saturday, when the police also used rubber bullets.

On Sunday night, chaotic scenes unfolded as demonstrators refused to disperse and entered Martyrs’ Square, an expanse of empty space created by the destruction of Lebanon’s civil war a generation ago.

The garbage crisis has become the most glaring sign — at least to the senses of sight and smell — of the political paralysis that now grips the nation and has unified many Lebanese, usually divided by sect, religion and region, in what the protesters call the “You Stink” campaign.

Two more bags of trash were added to a mound of it near Floyd the Dog bar in Beirut. Garbage in the city has not been collected in over a week.Beirut Journal: Lebanese Seethe as Stinking Garbage Piles Grow in Beirut and BeyondJULY 27, 2015

The office of president has been vacant for more than a year, and Parliament essentially re-elected itself after being unable to agree on new elections, even as the country absorbed more than 1.2 million refugees from the Syrian civil war.

Fouad al Hassan, an actor known for his work in television comedies, said he took part in the protests outside the Grand Serail, the stately Ottoman-era building where Prime Minister Tammam Salam has his office, because “I want to change the system.”

“We want new blood or the country will stay the same,” added Mr. Hassan, 65. “Today, it’s too late for me, but I want it for my children. I want them to live a better life.”

Aline Shirfan, a 21-year-old civil engineer, said it was her first time participating in a demonstration. “I have nothing to lose, I’m so desperate,” she said. “If we don’t die from a bullet we will die from cancer from the trash smell.”

Men with covered faces threw stones at the police, but organizers of the You Stink campaign insisted that they were not part of it. In a telephone interview, Lucien Bourjeily, one of the organizers, described the men as infiltrators sent by “partisan elements” who were trying to tarnish a peaceful movement.

Martyrs’ Square was the site of huge rallies after the assassination of a former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, in a car bombing in Beirut in 2005. Those rallies eventually led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops and ended de facto Syrian control of the country, though Syria and the militant group Hezbollah, its Lebanese ally, denied any involvement in the assassination.

On Sunday night, clouds of tear gas reached Mr. Hariri’s tomb, which adjoins the Mohammed Al-Amin Mosque, which he financed. On a street leading to the Serail, traffic lights and shop windows had been smashed.

Before the violence on Sunday, Mr. Salam admitted at a news conference that “excessive force” had been used during the rallies on Saturday, and that the demonstrators had a legitimate grievance.

“What happened yesterday was the result of accumulating matters that have been building up and increasing the people’s suffering as the result of the vacuum we are living,” Mr. Salam said. He promised that he would hold government officials accountable and said, “I won’t cover anyone.”

 

Asked if he would resign, Mr. Salam said, “My patience is limited, and it’s linked to yours.”

For many years, Beirut’s trash and that of much of central Lebanon was sent to a landfill near Naimeh, a town south of the capital.

But the amount of trash long ago exceeded that landfill’s capacity, and communities nearby complained of the smell and blamed it for health problems. Protesters blocked the road to the landfill last summer, causing a pileup of garbage in Beirut.

They relented after the government promised to find alternatives. But when no alternatives materialized, the protesters blocked the road again last month, leading to the present crisis.

The complaints that brought ordinary citizens into the streets of Beirut over the weekend were not unlike the festering anger that prompted recent protests in Baghdad over the Iraqi government’s failure to provide enough electricity to power air-conditioners when temperatures soared well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In other countries, like Brazil, Honduras and Guatemala, largely leaderless protests have arisen suddenly and more or less spontaneously over allegations of government corruption and widespread perceptions of a lack of accountability.

On Sunday, some Lebanese who did not take part in the demonstrations expressed strong support for them. “Unfortunately, today is my shift so I can’t join. All my friends are already there,” said a woman who was working at a market and identified herself by her first name, Hiba. “This country is not functioning.”

As she was speaking, the electricity in the store went off. “Now you know what I mean,” she said.

Pieces of Madrid

The latest short documentary in the Global Uprisings series explores ongoing resistance and self-organization in the midst of the crisis in Spain.  As social conditions continue to deteriorate across Spain, people have been turning to the streets and to each other to find solutions to the crisis. This film tells the story of the massive mobilization that saw millions of people converge on Madrid on March 22, 2014; the story of the proliferation of social centers, community gardens, self-organized food banks; and the story of large-scale housing occupations by and for families that have been evicted. The film pieces together many of the creative ways that people have been coping with crisis and asks what the future may hold for Spain.

Filmed and edited in March/April 2014, it is part of the Global Uprisings documentary series.

Το προλεταριάτο στη συγκυρία της Ελλάδας του “4oυ Μνημονίου”

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Η ταξική πάλη του κεφαλαίου

 

Σήμερα ψηφίστηκε ένα ακόμη πακέτο “μέτρων” στη Βουλή, το τέταρτο κατά σειρά (Μάιος 2010, Φεβρουάριος 2012, Νοέμβριος 2012 και τώρα Μάρτιος 2014). Έχουμε αναλύσει στο παρελθόν[1] την τρέχουσα αναδιάρθρωση ως “δεύτερη φάση” της αναδιάθρωσης, της οποία η πρώτη φάση έλαβε χώρα στα πλέον ανεπτυγμένα κέντρα συσσώρευσης τη δεκαετία του 1980 και στην Ελλάδα τη δεκαετία του 1990. Κάθε ένα από τα προηγούμενα πακέτα μέτρων από το 2010 έως τώρα αποτελούσε ένα βήμα υλοποίησης του διπλού στρατηγικού στόχου αυτής της δεύτερης φάσης της αναδιάρθρωσης, δηλαδή, της υποτίμησης της εργασιακής δύναμης και της ιδιωτικοποίησης κρατικών δομών αναπαραγωγής της εργατικής τάξης και κρατικών κεφαλαίων. Η δεύτερη πτυχή του στόχου ισοδυναμεί με έμμεση επιπλέον υποτίμηση της εργασιακής δύναμης λόγω της αύξησης των τιμών των υπηρεσιών που θα έχει ως αποτέλεσμα αυτή η ιδιωτικοποίηση, αλλά και της συμπίεσης των μισθών που θα προκαλέσει η αναδιάρθρωση των κρατικών επιχειρήσεων που θα ιδιωτικοποιηθούν.

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Η πολυπλοκότητα της Ουκρανίας

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Οι Ουκρανοί όμως μας ενημερώνουν ότι τα πράγματα είναι πολύ πιο πολύπλοκα από ότι θα ήθελε το Mega και τα σταλινικά απολιθώματα:

We, the collectives and members of Ukrainian leftist and anarchist organizations, announce that “Borotba” union is not a part of our movement. During the whole time of this political project’s existence, its members tended to be committed to the most discredited, conservative and authoritarian “leftist” regimes and ideologies, which do not represent the interests of working classes in any way.

”Borotba” has proved itself an organization with a non-transparent funding mechanism and unscrupulous principles of cooperation. It uses hired workers, who are not even the members of the organization. The local cells of “Borotba” took part in the protest actions together with PSPU (Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, which is an anti-Semiticracist, and clerical party, and has no relation to the world socialist movement) and with Kharkiv pro-government, anti-Semitic and homophobic group “Oplot”; and are known for their linkage with an infamous journalist O.Chalenko, who openly stands for Russian chauvinism.

Recent events demonstrate that the leadership of this union, following the example of the “Communist” Party of Ukraine, have been overtly defending the interests of president Yanukovych, justifying the use of weapons by security forces and denying the acts of unjustified violence and cruelty on their part, the use of tortures and other forms of  political terror.  The representatives of “Borotba” take an extremely biased stance concerning the composition of protest movement, which is represented both on their own web resources and in the media commentaries. According to them, the Maidan protests are supported exclusively by nationalists and radical right, and were aimed only at a coup d’etat (“fascist putsch”).

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Crisis, City and Democracy: notes on the uprising in Turkey

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Κείμενο που αναδημοσιεύθηκε στο roarmag από την μπροσούρα για την εξέγερση του Ιουνίου 2013 στην Τουρκία This is only the beginning

Κάποιες από τις επισημάνσεις του κειμένου έχουν ενδιαφέρον. Τις αναπαράγουμε εδώ (η έμφαση σε ορισμένα σημεία δική μας):

Looking at content and experience rather than quantity and votes gives us a clue for a way out of the democratic stranglehold. Mutual aid, solidarity and direct action, all of which have been the hallmarks of the Gezi Resistance, are in fact the antithesis to the democratic system run by elections and regulated by representatives. In fact, the Gezi Resistance was profoundly anti-democratic in the sense that it barricaded itself against the guardians of bourgeois democratic relations: the police. Those who have been evicted from Gezi Park attempted to recreate its spirit in popular assemblies that mushroomed around Istanbul and in other cities. The proliferation of these public forums has lead some to claim that it is an experience in direct democracy. Regardless of what one might call them, they are a refreshing form of political being for those who have lost hope in a democratic system. It is still unclear what shape these forums might take, but at their onset and during the largest participation they’ve had, they forego any sort of decision-making structure that would pretend to speak and act on behalf of the whole assembly. Apart from some exceptions, by and large the crowds did not seem to opt for a crippling consensus system neither for a majority vote negating the agency of minority opinions. Instead, proposals would be made from the stage and if there seemed to be enough interest, action would be taken. Sometimes this would be in the form of a spontaneous march and sometimes in the form of a working group.

[…]

A further lesson concerns the idealized revolutionary worker. Those who see the worker as the primary revolutionary agent must begin (as if they have not had sufficient reasons to do so already) to shift their gaze away from labor unions. Even the most leftist labor confederations in Turkey, such as DISK and KESK, were impotent in propelling the movement into the realm of the economy. Although this is not completely a fault of their own and also has to do with the historical decimation of organized labor by the state in Turkey, it was also clear that beyond the classical factory or industrial worker, the formally unorganized, precarious, white-collar and diploma holding proletariat on the brink of unemployment have the potential to take many initiatives in social revolts. Furthermore, the traditional blue collar proletariat might hold more revolutionary potential outside of their workplaces under the dominion of their unions. A crucial turning point for similar rebellions will come through the arrival of the antagonism from the squares and parks into the arena of commerce and work where this unorganized proletariat either already works, or is kept docile with its promise.

Τουρκία: Ταραχές για όλους τους λόγους (λογοκρισία, διαφθορά, περιβάλλον)

Ταραχές ενάντια στη λογοκρισία που προσπαθούν να επιβάλλουν στο ιντερνετ:

Φοιτητές συγκρούστηκαν με την αστυνομία στη διαδήλωση ενάντια στην κατασκευή αυτοκινητόδρομου στην περιφέρεια της Άγκυρας:

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Ταραχές παντού και για τη “διαφθορά του Ερντογάν” (πηγή revolution news):

 A leaked recording surfaced of Turkish PM Erdogan Instructing his son to hide huge sums of money. In the new voice recording, Erdoğan and his son Bilal allegedly discuss during five wiretapped phone conversations on plans how to hide huge sums of cash on the day when police raided a number of venues as part of a corruption investigation that has implicated sons ofthree Turkish ministers, businessmen and chief of the state bank. At the beginning of the phone conversation, the prime minister briefs his son Bilal about the raid and asks him to “zero” the amount (at least $1 billion cash) stashed at five houses. The authenticity of the recordings has not been verified.

Tonight citizens of Turkey have taken the streets of Istanbul, Ankara, Sakarya,Bursa, Antalya, Izmir, Kartal and others to vent frustration and disapproval over Erdogan’s corruptive practices.

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Dead End: About the Coup in Egypt

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Παρά το σαφή εργατίστικο προσανατολισμό της ανάλυσης του Wildcat αναδημοσιεύουμε το άρθρο γιατί θεωρούμε ότι φωτίζει με ικανοποιητικό τρόπο τα αποτελέσματα αλλά και τις εσωτερικές αντιφάσεις της πολιτικοποίησης των ταραχών στην Αίγυπτο.

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πηγή: http://www.wildcat-www.de/en/eindex.htm

Go to the Afterword from February 2014

For two years, Tahrir Square was the symbol of a radical departure from social ossification and crisis. The military coup in the summer of 2013 ended this phase. The various illusions and hopes were buried with the hundreds that died. Essential parts of the liberal milieus have accepted state-led massacres and mass arrests in the name of ‘defending democracy’. The hope of a state solution to social misery is also lost; the last heirs of Nasserism and trade union movement-hopefuls now sit at the military (side) table. Their vague promises of reform are drowned out by their appeals to peace, order and willingness to work.

In the acute social situation there is currently no room for participation. The movement will have to provide new questions about social revolution and organisation and will have to find new answers. To this end, migrants play an important role.

Egypt’s ruling class

With the fall of President Morsi at the beginning of July 2013, the amalgamation of the state and military apparatus with the economy once again became visible. This form of class power emerged at the end of the Nasser era. In the mid-seventies, the military had lost its role as protectors of an ‘anti-colonial’ state industrialisation, and the bloated military apparatus afterwards found itself new fields of activity in the civil economy after the 1978 peace treaty with Israel. A new model of accumulation developed, particularly during the second, ‘neoliberal’ half of the 30-year long Mubarak regime, which was less based on industrialisation, and more on privatisation, the plundering of social wealth and on state-secured investments in infrastructure (transport, tourism, telecommunications). This model was enforced by a gigantic repressive apparatus, which was detached from any ‘democratic control’. This apparatus included an informal army of baltagiyyas (thugs) and the military courts, which had been installed permanently since the state of emergency in 1981. The uprising in 2011 showed the crisis of this model.

It is still the case that most of the companies are small and medium-sized enterprises, but they are controlled by a very small layer of society through an old boys network, which means that we are dealing with monopolies. In 2010, around 500 families owned financial assets of more than 30 million USD, while 20 families (the ‘core-elite’) owned more than 100 million. The main economic focus of these groups of enterprises is on construction, telecommunications, tourism, food and pharmaceutical production, and (foreign) trade. At the very top stands the Sawiris family, which owns Egypt’s largest construction company and rules over the telecommunications market and the media sector. In the 2000s this new economic elite took over the high command of political power directly; prime examples being Gamal Mubarak and the Nazif government, which came to power in 2004. Politically, they thereby entered into competition with the military apparatus, which manages the factories of the Nasser-ite epoch of industrialisation (consumption goods and arms manufacturing) and which, in addition, started to participate in the business of mass tourism since its boom in the 1990s. In total the military controls 5 to 15 per cent of the national economy.

The military played a significant role in the enforcement of this neoliberal looting because it has the right to confiscate land e.g. for the construction of infrastructure projects, tourist parks, and new industrial zones. This was the cohesive element between the military and the oligarchic elite. The top-layer of the Muslim Brotherhood, which mainly engaged in trade, were part of this arrangement, although, apart from a few exceptions, they were situated rather in the second or third tier. The military and civil top elite is partly Coptic (like the Sawiris) and in general rather secular.

The network of clientelism that was directed towards the masses was organised in ‘religious’ terms. After the privatisation in the 90s, the welfare system (benefits for the poor, education and health care) was split off into a completely deficient and corrupt public sector, an expensive private sector and a third sector comprising the various liberal, islamist and christian charities. The vast NGO sector is based on voluntary and informal labour and, in part, directly organises the informal economic sector.

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