Solidarity Forever: Occupy Throws Support Behind Struggles in Quebec, Mexico Over the past few weeks, Occupy Wall Street activists have organized marches and other symbols of unity for ongoing status quo–shattering movements in Quebec and Mexico. As a result, the protest communities in North America have expressed unprecedented levels of solidarity between activists, who often share nothing but a common language of struggle and solidarity.
It’s easy for, say, an NYU student buried in debt to inherently understand obstacles facing a Quebec student (whopping 82 percent tuition hikes over the next five years), or for a Quebecer to discern why the Yo Soy 132 movement in Mexico doesn’t want a monopolistic party that ruled for seven decades to once again return to power, or glean why students aren’t crazy about the idea of Televisa and TV Azteca controlling 95 percent of Mexico’s TV market.
Corporate and political monopolies and the consequences of austerity are realities all too familiar to young people, whether they live in Quebec or the United States or Mexico.
To hear the motivations for the 100 days of protest launched by the “red square” revolutionaries—the symbol chosen because they are “in the red” because of student debt—is to hear echoes of student movements within the US.
Student activists from CUNY explained why they choose to protest at Alternet:
For the majority of us seeking degrees, higher education is indeed dying a slow and painful death. Too little considered, however, is the role we as students are playing in its demise. The combination of tuition hikes, a lack of democratic governance in our schools, ballooning student debt, and the intimate relationship between our financial institutions and our academic ones are certainly killing higher education—but what is killing the student movement is our own complacency with these policies. While here in America, students on many campuses have limited themselves to mourning, elsewhere in the world they have taken to the streets—and there is much we can learn from their activism, in order to better our own.
That “take to the streets” mantra appears to be gaining momentum. More…
SYRIZA Party in Greek Debt Crisis Shows How Occupy Wall Street Groups Can Change PoliticsFor the past several weeks election polls have demonstrated that Greece’s left-wing coalition, the anti-bailout SYRIZA party, is likely to win the general elections in June. Previously a relatively insignificant coalition that gained between 4%-5% in general elections, SYRIZA is now expected to win between 21%-28%, gaining exponential importance in Greece’s political playing field and increasing the likelihood that it will become the country’s next governing coalition. Politicians around Europe have been speculating over the effects a SYRIZA victory will have on Greece’s willingness to renegotiate the terms of debt repayment and bailout.
The upsurge in SYRIZA´s popularity has taken place in the context of the global economic crisis, Greece’s surmounting debt, and the influence of the Occupy movement and other resistance movements that have gained influence in Greece as a result of economic hardship. The desperate economic situation has demonstrated to the Greek population that it needs parliamentary politicians that protect their interests as opposed to those of the banks. The victory of the SYRIZA coalition could have widespread consequences for European politics, demonstrating to the world the way in which resistance movements are changing the face of politics as we know it.
On May 25, 2011 Athens´ Syntagmata Square was occupied along with another 60 squares around the country. People stayed occupying the square for two months until Greek riot police entered, declaring the camp illegal, and began forcibly removing the encampment’s infrastructure. According to one Greek professor, the lessons learned during those two months, in which activists organized workshops and major discussions, are what allowed a coalition like SYRIZA to gain in popularity. The people in the square learned communal and democratic thinking, and came to the conclusion that they needed to find parliamentary parties that represent these idea, taking the wisdom from the squares and translating it into parliamentary politics. More…
Tiananmen Protesters Seek Mainland Support Amid Turmoil
Organizers of Hong Kong protests over the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown appealed to mainland Chinese to join the event, as a scandal in the Communist Party exposes rifts before China’s once-a-decade leadership handover.
Organizers are calling for 150,000 to attend the June 4 vigil, Lee Cheuk-yan, chairman of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, said by phone. This year’s anniversary is drawing more scrutiny after incidents including the suspension of Politburo member Bo Xilai, legal activist Chen Guangcheng’s flight to the U.S. and the suicide last month of a man whose son was killed at Tiananmen Square.
China doesn’t allow mainland events to commemorate the crackdown, in which hundreds of protesters were killed by government troops, and is trying to ensure a smooth leadership transition at the 18th Communist Party Congress later this year. The party wants to maintain stability after Bo was ousted amid murder allegations surrounding his wife, analyst Jean-Pierre Cabestan said.
Russian police detain dozens of protesters
(Reuters) – Russian police detained dozens of protesters in rallies held in Moscow and St Petersburg on Thursday against President Vladimir Putin and to demand the right to free assembly.
More than 100 people attempted to gather in a central Moscow square where city authorities had denied them permission to demonstrate, chanting “Russia without Putin!” and “Let’s stop dictatorship!”
Many were wearing the white ribbons that have become a symbol of protests against Putin, who returned to the Kremlin for a third term earlier this month.
Police have largely left crowds alone during winter protests that drew tens of thousands of people, but have been tougher lately, beating protesters at a rally on the eve of Putin’s May 7 inauguration and breaking up attempted round-the-clock protests.
On Thursday, police in black helmets and body armor locked elbows and pushed against protesters, some of whom tried to break through the police line. Police pulled some protesters from the crowd and bundled them into vans as evening rush hour traffic passed by.
Mexican youth protest in streets against corporate media and PRI candidate
MEXICO CITY — Compared with historic, brutal, high-stakes presidential elections here in the past, this has been an important but blah campaign season in Mexico. But recent protests by college students and other young people have added a spark.
Members of the under-25 demographic are calling out the country’s duopolistic media companies and politically cozy broadcasters as propaganda masters and kingmakers — while warning that the front-running candidate, the telegenic Enrique Peña Nieto, is an empty suit.
The only problem with this narrative is that more young people support Peña Nieto than they do his challengers, according to polls, which may make the protests here, led by urban university students, a well-meaning but ultimately meaningless blip.
Yet the stakes, for both Mexico and the United States, are high: a possible comeback by Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ran Mexico with an autocratic combination of corruption and coercion for 71 years until it was tossed out in 2000. A month before the vote, Peña Nieto is up in the polls by double digits.
At a dozen large rallies over the past two weeks in several major cities, thousands of young people protested what they see as media manipulation and thwarted democracy. One of the signs read: “Peña Nieto — the television is yours, the streets are ours!” More…