Archive for the 'Protest' Category

UPDATE in University of Florida tasing scandal: THE COP SMILED! [pic]

I will be posting a detailed documentation of how the corporate news media have distorted or attempted to minimize this story in the next day or so. But as I was looking over one of the many videos on Youtube of the incident where police tasered an unarmed, peaceful student for asking a question, I couldn’t believe what I saw for just a fraction of a second.

I have a simple question for all you right-wingers out there who want to belittle, downplay, obfuscate or otherwise mis-characterize this incident:

If the police weren’t acting out of line, then why was this police officer smiling just after he had sent 50,000 volts running through this kid’s body after the kid begged him repeatedly not to?

florida-kerry-taser-incident-cop-smiling.png

“Freedom is the freedom to simply say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows”

-George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

 

Proof of Big Brother tactics at SPP protest (pics + vid)

It was easy to miss, but here are three examples of Big Brother tactics at the SPP protests this week in Quebec.  One of which is your standard George W. Bush doublethink, the second of which gives some interesting circumstantial evidence of government conspiracy to crack down on protesters (and has become an internet sensation), and the third of which proves the culpability of the government and police but which hasn’t been reported anywhere that I am aware of.

#1. As many of you know, the leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico (“The Three Amigos”)  met yesterday and the day before to negotiate a backroom, undemocratic deal to harmonize regulations at the behest of North America’s CEOs.

This summit took place, behind closed doors and meetings were carefully arranged to transpire without public scrutinty.  Afterwards, “The Three Amigos” emerged to the only public scrutiny the meetings would receive: namely George W. Bush reassuring the public that nothing offensive to public morals took place while the public was forbidden from listening in.

So, it was a boring, uneventful series of meetings in which nothing which the public would disapprove of took place, but the public was still nevertheless forbidden from seeing these uneventful meetings?

#2. The following video has recently become an internet sensation because of youtube, digg.com and reddit.com.  It shows three very suspicious ‘protestors’ who come to a peaceful protest with stones and rocks in hand seeking to provoke a confrontation.  It shows fairly reasonable circumstantial evidence that they were actually police informants designed to create cause for the police to crack down.  When confronted with the realization that the crowd surrounding them has realized this, they ‘give themselves up’ to the police.

Now, the other part of the story that has been widely reported, is that after these three were handcuffed, a picture was shot which showed that two of the ‘protesters’ had the same boots as a police officer.

spp-protest-boots-1.png

Here’s where it gets interesting.

The Toronto Star linked to the youtube video, but their report still suggested that it could have been a coincidence.  They wrote that:

“Late Tuesday, photographs taken by another protester surfaced, showing the trio lying prone on the ground. The photos show the soles of their boots adorned by yellow triangles. A police officer kneeling beside the men has an identical yellow triangle on the sole of his boot.”

Clearly, it takes no time at all to see that the protestors have the same boots as ONE of the police officers.  That hardly qualifies for investigative journalism.  And in and of itself without further investigation, this can still be dismissed as a coincidence by the government or by skeptics.

#3. But the part of the story that hasn’t been reported is also the part of the story which proves that all this circumstantial evidence above is not merely a series of coincidence.  The picture below shows that it’s not a matter of these protestors coincidentally having the same style of boots as one of the police officers, but rather that they have the exact same boots as all of the police officers.

spp-protest-boots-2.png

 (Original, hi-rez picture source here — look for yourself)

I made this image when I started to notice something as I was looking over the super-hi rez version of the same image.  If it didn’t take me long to figure this out, no journalist worth his or her salt should have missed it.

Take a look at the way the seam of the leather at the back of everyone’s boots falls in a straight line from the ankle towards the heel.  It doesn’t taper outwards away from or in towards the achilles tendon.  Nor does it curve in any way around the heel and converge towards the achilles tendon.  Rather it runs straight and perpendicular to the sole of the boot.  Notice anything similar between everyone’s boots?

If it wasn’t just one of the officers, then all of the evidence above is not merely circumstantial.  If all of the evidence of police interference in this protest is not circumstantial, then from this everything else, including the media’s complicity in this story, follows.

On the futility of governing pop-culture

Who ever said capitalists were intelligent?

McDonald’s and a cabal of capitalists have been pushing the Oxford English Dictionary for some time now to remove its official listing of the word “McJob” in their publication.  But, AFP wires are now reporting that that’s not enough for McDonalds et al.  They now are seeking to actually ‘flip’ the definition of McJob (an irony in and of itself) from it’s current definition of:

“an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector.”

And they want the new definition in the Oxford English Dictionary to read something along the lines of:

“a job that is stimulating, rewarding and offers genuine opportunities for career progression.”

Now, it is no secret that capital has for years saught to subsume pop-culture and trends under its aegis.  However, what McDonald’s et al are ignoring is the fact that to the extent that capital succeeds in this goal, it does so not by dictating and governing from above what ‘popular’ ought to look like, but by so-called “cool hunting” and the subsuming of what is already pre-existingly popular into a corporate programme.

When capital or any heirarchical structure attempts to artificially manufacture from scratch what ought to be ‘popular’, the results are often ridiculous (and painful) as demonstrated by this ad by the Dairy Farmers of Ontario:  

(WARNING:  For those of you who don’t live in Ontario or who have never seen this ad, I must caution you – watching this may cause seizures, dimensia, decreased IQ and/or temporary insanity.  Proceed at own risk!) 

The capitalists seeking to change the definition of ‘McJob’ therefore are ignorant of two things.  First, obviously, the Oxford English Dictionary does not, like the ‘Newspeak’ dictionary makers in Orwell’s 1984, actually make-up definitions and construct the English language.  It merely reflects the pre-existing usage of the English language.

And second: you may be able to co-opt culture jamming, as the raging success of MTV and “cool hunting” demonstrates, but you cannot govern popular culture from above as these executives are foolishly attempting to do with “McJob”.

As insipid and asinine as many of us may consider the bulk of pop-culture to be, it nevertheless is one of the very few phenomena (along side activism and dissent) in our culture which finds its genesis in genuinely grassroots movements.

And that is a dynamic power which no capitalist and no government can either suppress or govern.

An apology is owed…

This is an absolutely fantastic quote and a great quote for any progressive person who wants to throw something back at liberals when they turn their noses up at us.

“When capital and the ruling classes apologise for: Colonialism, the 14 hour day, class privilege, the 7 day working week, children in coalmines, the opium wars, the massacre of the Paris Commune, slavery, the Spanish-American War, the Boer War, starvation, apartheid, anti-union laws, the First World War, Flanders, trench warfare, mustard gas, aerial bombing, the Soviet Intervention, the Armenian Genocide, chemical weapons, fascism, the Great Depression, hunger marches, Nazism, the Spanish Civil War, militarism, Asbestosis, radiation death, the Massacre of Nanking, the Second World War, Belsen, Dresden, Hiroshima, Racism, The Mafia, nuclear weapons, the Korean War, DDT, McCarthyism, production lines, blacklists, Thalidomide, the rape of the Third World, poverty, the arms race, plastic surgery, the electric chair, environmental degradation, the Vietnam War, the military suppression of Greece, India, Malaya, Indonesia, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama and Turkey, the Gulf War, trade in human body parts, malnutrition, Exxon Valdez, deforestation, organized crime, the Heroin and Cocain trade, tuberculosis, the destruction of the Ozone Layer, cancer, exploitation of labour and the deaths of 50,000,000 Communists and trade unionists in this century alone, then — and only then — will I consider apologising for the errors of socialism.” (from: the Communist Party of Australia)

There’s a great pic to go with this quote that I’ve just added to the Paulitics Political Images resource (along with a bunch of other additions).

Authoritarianism is NEVER progressive: Scott Tribe should resign

For those of you who don’t follow Canadian blogging drama, ProgressiveBloggers.ca, a blog which, as the name implies, bills itself as “progressive” has recently expelled a good progressive comrade, Joanne from Marginal Notes for making sense and not being pliable enough for chief moderator/El Presidente Scott Tribe.

Now, far more eloquent discussions of the problems with ProgressiveBloggers.ca in general and Scott Tribe specifically have been made by other bloggers, so I will not attempt to re-invent the wheel too much here.  Specifically, I recommend Joanne’s (the person at the centre of the controversy) posts on the subject here and here as well as Scott Neigh’s post available here.

Rather, what I would like to talk about here is what I see as the problem with ProgressiveBloggers.ca.

First, unfortunately the bulk of El Presidente Tribe et al.’s authoritarianism  cannot be illustrated as it occurred in the private moderator’s section of the web page (which itself is authoritarian…. ironic that authoritarianism breeds authoritarianism isn’t it?).  However you can get a taste of what I’m talking about in Joanne’s two posts above as well in this public thread in which true progressives are threatened by El Presidente Tribe’s apologists Saskboy and Steve V (click here) — the former of whom actually attempts to pull a Hulk-esque “you’re making me angry” line so that a person he disagrees with wouldn’t test his patience. 

Second, in addition to the aforementioned authoritarianism, it’s obvious to anybody who reads history that, by definition, liberalism has not been ‘progressive’ since the victory of liberal capitalism over feudalism (most notably following the French Revolution).  Thus, the brand of liberalism practised by the bulk of the moderators (and since the moderators are the ones who admit affiliates, many of the affiliates also unsurprisingly practice this same insipid brand of liberalism) does not, by definition, seek to progress beyond liberal capitalism.  Therefore, I’d say the second problem with ProgressiveBloggers.ca is that it’s a misnomer.

But, that said, just because the name is a misnomer does not mean that we should throw the baby out with the bath water.  As Scott Neigh eloquently put it, irrespective of whether ProgressiveBloggers.ca is or is not progressive, “a community like PB is useful because it allows me to easily encounter material that I would not otherwise search out and it allows people who would not search out my kind of stuff to see what I’m up to.”  I couldn’t agree more with Scott Neigh on this front and I think that therein lies the real redeeming quality of PB.

So, it seems to me like there’s little way to solve the second problem with ProgressiveBloggers.ca.  PB is what it is and it seems that there’s little that can be done within the community on this front as Joanne is by far not the first person to try and to have received a black eye for her efforts.  That said, this is where my idea for a true progressive aggrigator (discussed in length here) for fellow progressive comrades to use in addition to Progressive Bloggers, can actually help and I hope to be working on this project more over the course of the summer.

However, there are two things which can be done within the community to solve the first problem.  First, abolish the authoritarian secrecy of the site.  Second, Scott Tribe, for the good of the ‘progressive’ community, should resign his post.

Not in my name!

There are the beginnings of a growing grassroots movement underway in the blogosphere which I felt was necessary to add my voice to.

The nature of the growing controversy stems from a pro-life rally which was held in Ottawa this past week.  It’s not the ideological content of the march which stirred the controversy since it was pretty much what one would expect from this sort of rally:  anti-choice, super-philosophies seeking to authoritaritatively impose their morality on everyone else.

No, what was unexpected about this rally, however, was that the trademarked Government of Canada logo (so-called “wordmark” with the Canadian flag over the final “a” in the word “Canada”) would show up on the pro-life rally’s banners.

Take a look for yourself:

According to the Federal Identity Program (FIP) legal standards, the “Canada” wordmark can only be used by the Government of Canada or by non-governmental partnerships sponsored by the Government of Canada.  So the question is: did the Government of Canada sponsor an anti-abortion rally or did the rally plagerize and illegaly display Government of Canada property?

Here’s where the plot thickens.  I did some hunting around, and I found a Government of Canada website (here) which documents some specifics about how/when the “Canada” workmark ought to be used.  Interestingly, this Government of Canada page links to the specific section of the FIP Manual (Section 1.1) which details the legality of displaying the wordmark, however, when you attempt to click on the hyperlink pointed to by this governmental website, you see that the .pdf file has either been moved or deleted and you get an error message.

It could just be a coincidence, but the Conservatives have deleted websites in the past to avoid embarrassment, so it’s possible that it’s something more as well.

Either way, the grassroots movement is attempting to get the government either to admit that they funded an anti-abortion rally or to get them to state publicly that they did not support this anti-abortion rally.  The highest profile blogger to take up this cause is maverick MP Garth Turner (here), however JimBobby has a really good piece on this (here) as does the Unrepentant Old Hippie (here).

It seems to me more likely that the logo was used without permission.  However, even if it was the group which was at fault for illegally brandishing the legitimizing symbol of the collective,  the government must still be pressed to prosecute these usurpers to the fullest extent of the law.  Irrespective of whether the government funded this or not, the illegal attachment of a government logo — our logo — to this movement cannot be allowed to go unprosecuted.

Not in my name.

Propaganda In Action: Canada as a force for peace in the world

propaganda-in-action-big.pngIt has become a generally accepted truism in Canada that while our American compatriots to the south may occasionally do bad things in the world, we on the other hand are a force for good.

Indeed, to listen to the media or even the talking points which the Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats spout on any range of issues from Afghanistan to Haiti, one would think that somehow, somewhere between 9/11 and today, we in the West have grown a conscience and are intervening abroad militarily out of sheer human compassion. 

There are any number of ways of testing the veracity of these talking points which, if we were honest with ourselves, would have been thoroughly discredited in both the press and in so-called web 2.0 sources such as blogs.

First, in terms of our putative altruistic intentions in Afghanistan, one can disprove this relatively easily by looking at the amount of money Canada is spending on Afghanistan and then analyse the breakdown of said funds between offensive military spending and reconstruction aid.

Continue reading ‘Propaganda In Action: Canada as a force for peace in the world’

“But we’ve always been at war with Eurasia” and other truths…

“Always [Big Brother’s] eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or outdoors, in the bath or in bed — no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.”

 ——————————————-

I recently came across this video clip at Terry’s blog “Message in a Matrix“.  Terry’s a good comrade from the UK, so for all you progressives here in Canada interested in some excellent video selections and commentary from a British perspective, I strongly recommend a visit to his blog.

This clip in particular I felt was haunting especially when paired up with the New York Times’ excellent article (that’s right, I actually praised the New York Times) “City Police Spied Broadly Before G.O.P. Convention.”

In the NY Times piece, it is noted that NYPD (in concert with other US thoughtpolice agencies) spent a year spying on people who were planning to demonstrate against George W. Bush at the Republican convention.  But the real kicker is that they monitored people from across the US as well as Canada and Europe; they shared their intelligence on people who had broken no laws with various other law enforcement agencies; and had such detailed intelligence that they knew of mundane details such as the nature of the performance to be given by a small group of musicians called “Bands against Bush” including how they were planning on getting their political messages out in between musical sets.

Read that NY Times article, then watch this video and then tell me that America has not become a police state.


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