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There are about 3.000 antifascists  in Moscow

 

According to world’s human right organizations, Russia today is not a good place to live. Recently enacted anti-gay law that bans “the distribution of propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors,” increased the number of attacks against gay people. Russian society is very conservative. According to results of survey by All-Russian Centre for the Study of Public Opinion, about 90 percent of citizens support that discriminatory law. There are also many hate crimes against illegal immigrants, especially Caucasians.

“Unfortunately, today, Russians are mostly right wingers and under the enormous influence of the Orthodox Church,” members of Moscow antifascist hardcore band “What we feel” explained. „Our society looks like the Roman empire. There are patricians – rich people who sell oil, free-born citizens and slaves – illegal immigrants who live in very bad conditions and have the lowest-paying jobs. Among 20 million people in Moscow, about 5 million are illegal immigrants. Officially, they do not exist. They could be killed and no one would be charged for murder, because our laws don’t recognize them. At the same time, every year Mercedes-Benz sells more luxury models in Moscow than in whole Germany. So, there is no middle class in Russia. But, unfortunately, people are satisfied. In western countries President Putin is denounced as a dictator, but the fact is that people really vote for him, Russians consider him a good leader. There are extreme right wingers and ex-neo-Nazis in Russian government, secret service and police, but people consider it normal.”

A lot of human rights and other non-governmental organizations are banned in Russia, after adoption of anti-extremism law 2009, which does not permit organizations financed from abroad. Ironically, the law that was one of the government’s measures against fascist groups, targets also antifascist groups and other organizations that fight against far-right wing. According to members of “What we feel,” who are antifascist activists as well as musicians, in the last few years about 60 leaders of neo-Nazi gangs have been arrested in Russia, after anti-extremism law has been enacted. But government’s reaction to neo-Nazi violence was a little bit late. Until 2009, neo-Nazi gangs have already killed about 200 people – illegal immigrants, antifascist activists, gays, but also some ordinary people who happened to be collateral damage.

“Since 1999, neo-Nazis regularly attacked Caucasian immigrants, gays, Roma people and visitors at punk concerts in Moscow, but government didn’t take that problem seriously and long time ignored the fact that there are neo-Nazis in Russia. Our country defeated fascists in Second World War, so no one could accept the fact that there were fascists in Russia in our time. The only ones who confronted them were antifascists, mostly young people from Moscow hardcore and punk scene. Ten years ago, situation was horrible. Neo-Nazis brutally attacked people in the street, music clubs, at punk concerts. We were also included in that street war, because there were always some fights in our gigs, too. It was impossible to be neutral, because they attacked people at concerts, students who were not antifascist activists, just music fans. In April 2006, they stubbed to death 19-year-old Alexander Ryuhin, a student who was coming to our gig. He was not an activist, just a thin guy with glasses.”

In Saint Petersburg, just few months before Ryuhin’s murder, 20-year-old antifascist Timur Kacharava was killed. In 2009, Stanislav Markelov, lawyer and antifascist, was shot to death. In the same year, 26-year-old Ivan Khutorskoy, one of the best street-fighters who organized security at antifascist concerts and other events, was also shot to death in Moscow. Some time after, two men, icon-painters in the church, were arrested and charged for 52 murders. Their victims were mostly immigrants, but also some Russians. There were a lot of other crimes, but the state didn’t react for almost a decade. In the meantime, antifascist activists did everything to bring the government’s attention to hate crimes. Thankfully to their persistence, the state finally accepted the fact that there is a serious problem with neo-Nazis in Russia.

“When government finally decided to fight against fascists, they did a good job. They arrested about 60 leaders of neo-Nazi gangs and sentenced them to 20, 30 years in prison. They destroyed the structure of fascist groups. But they still exist. Officially there are 10,000-15,000 neo-Nazis in Moscow, but unofficially, 30,000-40,000. We managed to banish them from our gigs, so Russian punk and HC scene is now clean from neo-Nazis.”

According to “What we feel” band, there are about 3,000 antifascist activists in Moscow and they are mostly related to punk and HC music scene and mostly in their twenties. Men make up about 70 percent of that population. Women are not numerous, because Russian antifascists are often faced with brutal street fights. These groups are also targeted by the law against extremism and by taking part in fights against neo-Nazis they risk to be considered as terrorists and sentenced to prison. But the fight against fascism in Russia is not nearly over.

LONDON, England – After 12 days of occupying the Mansion building at the Trent Park campus, occupiers were forced to vacate the occupation on Saturday, May 15.

from saveMDXphil:

This evening [May 20] around 50 students and staff from half a dozen different programmes at Middlesex University’s School of Arts and Education occupied the library at Trent Park campus.

This building is full of books on philosophy, literature, art criticism, music and culture. These books – and the courses and departments associated with them – are severely endangered by management cuts. We are determined to preserve them.

The Campaign to Save Philosophy at Middlesex
Thursday 20 May 2010, 7:30pm

May 19, 2010, New York, NY —Wednesday, on the anniversary of Malcolm X’s birth, the community organization Picture the Homeless and its Housing Not Warehousing Coalition orchestrated three banner drops. Transgressing into vacant buildings in Brooklyn and East Harlem in the early morning, they dropped banners that read “Homes Not Shelters / Casas No Refugios,” and “Let Housing Bloom…berg.” After an afternoon community concert and rally in the Bronx, they marched to a Chase Bank, from which a third banner-drop read, “Chase: Give us Back Our City!   Release Vacant Properties to House the Homeless!” The activists’ presence forced the bank to close-up an hour early.

The day of action comes soon after Mayor Bloomberg installed Seth Diamond as the new Homeless Services commissioner, bringing media and community attention to the administration’s entrenched policies as failed, counter-productive, and cruel towards struggling New Yorkers. The homeless-membership-led grassroots organization Picture the Homeless has long asserted that the many vacant buildings and lots in New York City are a great potential stock of properties to create truly-affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers. PTH is currently advocating for the pending city council legislation Intro 48, which would mandate that the City conduct and publicize an annual census of vacant properties.

The vacant buildings used for the banner-drops are located at 2106 Third Avenue between 115th and 116th Streets in Manhattan, and 24 Bartlett Street between Harrison and Throop Avenues in Brooklyn. The East Harlem building is currently owned by the Starwood Corporation, and has been vacant since 1985. The Brooklyn building has been vacant since 1979, and is held by JPMorgan Chase, the target of a PTH corporate campaign focused on transferring Chase’s vacant, un-used properties into a community land trust for housing for the homeless. The Chase branch the activists marched to is at 270 East 137th Street in Mott Haven.

PTH’s members, supporters, and community allies rallied Wednesday afternoon at Brook Park in the Bronx—not far from the PATH office, where families in need of emergency shelter go. Homeless members of PTH highlighted the citywide housing issues facing all community organizers these days. There were several performances, including by the Bronx-based hip-hop crew Rebel Diaz, and a fresh, full meal was served to all attendees.

PTH member and shelter resident Arvernetta Henry: “Commissioner Diamond needs to know that for people entering the shelter system—it’s horrifying what you go through. Children’s education and adults’ jobs being disrupted and disrespected, adults being told what time to go to bed… You get stuck in the system without the real programs any of us would need when we’re facing hard times. The city pays more to keep someone in shelter than the cost to rent an apartment! Everyone deserves their own space, the dignity to have your own home.”

PTH member Alease Lowe: “Today we are here for our direct action campaign—to lay claim to the housing we all so rightfully need and deserve. We need to end policies in this city that prioritize condos over communities, and a billion dollar shelter system over decent housing programs. Homelessness is not a crime, though we often face bogus ‘disorderly conduct’ tickets for no good reason. Housing is a human right. We’re putting pressure on JPMorgan Chase, which got $25 billion taxpayer handout—because they’re holding onto vacant buildings and lots around the city that are put to no use, while so many people here need a place to call home.”

On Malcolm X’s birthday, PTH members recalled his words: “I for one believe that if you give people a thorough understanding of what confronts them and the basic causes that produce it, they’ll create their own program, and when the people create a program, you get action.”

On the 22st day (May 14th) of the University of Puerto Rico student strike: The situation in Puerto Rico has intensified. Over the last few days the university students have demonstrated heroic & militant resistance. Yesterday, at a huge assembly of students at the PR Convention Center, students overwhelmingly decided to to step up the 22-day takeover/strike at the University of PR despite intimidation & harassment attempts by the university administration.
The colonial government has responded with intolerance and repressive police tactics. On this day the riot police squad was mobilized against the students! Water has been cut off to the Rio Piedras campus, the campus dorms have been evacuated, and folks have been arrested for simply trying to pass water & food through the fences to the striking students.

The father of a striking student who was bringing food and water was beaten and then arrested.

Fortunately, the blockade was broken when hundreds of professors, parents, and supporters began to arrive with water and bags of food, which they successfully tossed over the fence and over the heads of the cops, unable to stop them in front of the TV cameras. In the face of this repression, hundreds of parents, workers, community leaders and concerned have joined the picket lines (at all the island campuses) to protect the striking students.

Later in the day, José Pérez, a disabled graduate student who has won the love and respect of the entire striking community for his militancy and dedication, was badly beaten, dragged on the floor, and arrested for “aggression” when he attempted to re-enter the campus, after leaving momentarily to take care of personal affairs. Professors and fellow students who tried to come to his aid were doused in pepper spray. Two more students have been also been arrested for unknown reasons.

This afternoon, the workers unions of Puerto Rico have announced a general strike (work stoppage) for Tuesday May 18th in unity with the student movement and to denounce the confrontational politics of the colonial government of PR.

A call has been made to all people & workers to mobilize in unity with the students at all the various UPR campuses on the island.

In NYC, the Network in Support of the Workers of PR CALLS for ALL TO DENOUNCE THE REPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT AND FOR SOLIDARITY WITH THE STRUGGLE OF WORKERS AND STUDENTS OF UPR.

Join the NYC Protest!
Tue May 18,
5:30PM
at the Offices of the PR colonial Government (PRFAA)
135 West 50 (between 6th and 7th Ave)

http://arizona.indymedia.org/

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Meeting canceled after 700+ students walk out of classes and blockade TUSD headquarters. Fifteen arrested during occupation of Arizona state building

Breaking: On Tuesday, May 11 Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed HB2281, a bill that legally prohibits ethnic studies programs from Arizona public schools, equating such classes with sedition and removing state funding from districts that offer them.

On the morning of May 12th state superintendent Tom Horne, who for years has advocated eliminating ethnic studies, tried to hold a meeting with Tucson Unified School District officials to discuss the district’s curriculum. Rumors began circulating around 10:00 a.m. among Jr. high and high school students that Horne was in Tucson to immediately “pull the plug” on their classes.

In response, more than 700 spontaneously walked-out of their classes, with participants from Rincon, Cholla, Tucson and Pueblo high schools. Students then marched to TUSD headquarters and proceeded to surround the building and blockade the entrances to prevent Horne from entering. Shortly thereafter, school district officials canceled their meeting, claiming that Horne, who is running for state Attorney General, had turned it into “a political event”.

After learning that the meeting was canceled, about 200 among those gathered left TUSD and marched through downtown Tucson to the Arizona state building, where Horne was scheduled to hold a press conference at 2pm. More than a hundred entered and occupied the building lobby, and fifteen were ultimately arrested for refusing to leave.

In addition to HB2281, student demonstrators spoke out against SB1070 and SB1097, a bill that would force school districts to check the legal status of all students and eliminate public funding for those undocumented. A statement was circulated at the rally encouraging others around the country to engage in protests and direct action on Friday, May 14 in solidarity with students in Arizona.

See also: SB1070: Battle at the Grassroots

For immediate diffusion. We exhort all groups, organizations, platforms, unions and all the student movements worldwide to publish this communication and spread it by all possible ways.  Our human and civil rights are being threatened.

Thank you.

In solidarity,

Humanities Action Comitee,

University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus

PS: an overview of the latest developments is available here. + video

—————————————————————-

HUMANITIES ACTION COMITEE

TO STUDENTS AND CIVILIANS WORLDWIDE

STATE OF PUERTO RICO LOCKS STUDENTS INSIDE UPR

Just yesterday, May 13th, the students of the Rio Piedras’ campus of University of Puerto Rico ratified the 22 day strike with an evident majority of votes in favor at a General Assembly that was proposed and organized  by the institution’s own administration. Today that same administration backed with full government support have intensified and reinforced their represive schemes against the student movement stepping over our constitutional right to protest. We condemn rector Ana Guadalupe’s decision to activate the police forces against us and we reiterate yesterday’s vote demanding her resignation as well as president Jose Ramón De la Torre’s. Since 4am there has been heavy police presence around the campus; different police units have been brought to guard all possible entrances and to restrict access of students and those in solidarity.
We wish to publicly alert the national and international media that up until now they have prohibited not only the entrance of civilians, but also and more alarming, the entry of food donations and supplies needed by the hundreds of students that are currently occupying the campus. The students that reside on campus are being forced to move out and are being threatened with the nonrenewal of housing contracts. We also expect water and electricity on campus to be cut off by 1:00pm.

We exhort all students, professors, workers and civilians; every member of every community, to surround the university gates as they have done themselves. We exhort everybody’s presence here today; we need everyone’s solidarity and support if we are to endure this struggle.  We want to let the administration know that their attempts to intimidate have been not only represive but exagerated and unnecesary. We will not allow that the democracy the university’s administration proclaims to practice be arbitrary and partial. Those who participated in the General Student’s Assembly yesterday, experienced a real democratic process in action. The assembly is sovereign and in assembly we voted to continue the strike. We are here to defend the right of all puertorican students to a public education and here we will remain until the administration decides to cooperate and negotiate.

We need everyone’s solidarity and support. Ten out of the eleven campuses that make up the UPR system have declared themselves on strike. All are participating of the same struggle. The same struggle being fought all over the World.

United we stand, divided we fall.

Humanities Action Comitee,

University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus

From http://savemdxphil.com/:

Statement from the student occupation at Middlesex University

The student occupation at Middlesex University now covers the entire Mansion Building at Trent Park campus. The occupation was extended earlier this evening in light of continued management refusal to meet us and discuss our opposition to their plans to shut down Middlesex’s world-renowned philosophy department.

Our occupation is in protest at this abrupt, unjustified and unacceptable decision. We want it reversed. Students have been occupying the executive boardroom at Trent Park since yesterday morning. Today, management again refused to meet our representatives or enter discussions with the students affected by their decision to close the philosophy programme.

We affirm that the university is a site for education, not for profit. It belongs to the people who study, teach and work here, not to those who view the institution as a mere instrument for making money or for furthering their careers. As such, we see the extension of our occupation as a restoration of the university to what it should be, and a reversal of what it has become.

We invite everyone to come and visit the occupied Mansion Building at Trent Park and show their solidarity – not just with our campaign, but with all other struggles against education cuts. We view our occupation as an integral part of a wider movement of student protest, and we are proud to have representatives of these other campaigns with us.

We want this site to become an open hub of culture, politics, thought and creativity. We will be organising a cultural programme and a philosophy teach-in, details of which will be released shortly. Everyone who supports our vision and struggle is welcome here.

More information about how the origins of the occupation here.

Also, if you haven’t yet, please sign the petition here against the decision to shut down all philosophy programmes at Middlesex University:

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-middlesex-philosophy/sign.html

And join the Facebook group if you support this cause:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=119102561449990

Finally, for continued updates:

http://savemdxphil.com/