The second attack on Alexei Etmanov, leader of the labor union at Ford-Vsevolozhsk; the third attack on Carine Clément, director of the Institute of Collective Action; the brutal beating of Mikhail Beketov, leader of the movement to defend the Khimki Forest.
The beatings and murders of labor and social activist is the quiet civil war of our time, a corporate White Terror, a strike by the wealthy and the powers-that-be against the leaders of social movements that in one way or another raise questions related to property and ownership. Our task is to call this process by its real name and publicize what is happening. Each of us will in the end be forced to take sides and it is better if we do this right now. We are on the side of the oppressed.
Slaughter 2017, Lesorubi [Woodcutters], Zombiderevenshchina [Rural Zombie], Vladimir Aigistov and others will perform sets of political new hardcore, punk rock, country metal, and protest songs.
The concert is organized by the >Vpered>> (Forward) Socialist Movement. Entry is free.
Produced by folks at London’s 56a Infoshop Social Centre, this little piece of enlightenment gives readers a brief history of the wave of student protests and mobilizations that has rocked Italy since November. The authors also ponder the prospects of the Anomalous Movement as new nationwide actions are right around the corner in Italy, and they analyze the movement’s tactics and dynamic, its relation to established political movements, and its stance on Italian neofascism.
[We would like to thank Comrade V. for alerting us to the work of these wonderful activists.]
Miami New Times
Don’t cry. Just move into one of those empty homes around the corner.
By Natalie O’Neill November 20, 2008
Her knee-length dreadlocks wrapped in a green cloth, Cassy hoists her two-year-old daughter up on a hip and shuffles in her socks into her big, clean bedroom. “This house is a castle,” says the slender, soft-skinned former university teaching assistant, shaking her head in disbelief. “I’ve never had a walk-in closet … and all this space.”
Two months ago, Cassy (not her real name) was homeless, out in the rain with her four kids. Now she has a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, sky-blue house on a tree-lined street in Miami’s Buena Vista neighborhood. She takes warm showers, cooks vegan dinners, and watches the news on a small, fuzzy TV screen. The only catch: The house isn’t hers. Cassy is a squatter and, at any moment, could be arrested for trespassing, even burglary.
Not everybody in Miami-Dade County is crying over this year’s 40,342 foreclosed properties. Cassy is part of a small, well-executed movement by activists at Take Back the Land to relocate homeless families into empty houses and abandoned government-owned buildings.
Following are excerpts from a statement written by Mahtowin Munro (Lakota) and Moonanum James (Wampanoag), co-leaders of United American Indians of New England. Read the entire statement at www.uaine.org.
Every year since 1970, United American Indians of New England have organized the National Day of Mourning observance in Plymouth at noon on Thanksgiving Day. Every year, hundreds of Native people and our supporters from all four directions join us. Every year, including this year, Native people from throughout the Americas will speak the truth about our history and about current issues and struggles we are involved in.
Why do hundreds of people stand out in the cold rather than sit home eating turkey and watching football? Do we have something against a harvest festival?
Of course not. But Thanksgiving in this country—and in particular in Plymouth—is much more than a harvest home festival. It is a celebration of pilgrim mythology.
According to this mythology, the pilgrims arrived, the Native people fed them and welcomed them, the Indians promptly faded into the background, and everyone lived happily ever after.
The pilgrims are glorified and mythologized because the circumstances of the first English-speaking colony in Jamestown were frankly too ugly (for example, they turned to cannibalism to survive) to hold up as an effective national myth. Continue reading →
On the morning of November 11, 150 police officers, most of which belonged to the anti-terrorist brigades, surrounded a village of 350 inhabitants on the Millevaches plateau, before raiding a farm in order to arrest nine young people (who ran the local grocery store and tried to revive the cultural life of the village). Four days later, these nine people were sent before an anti-terrorist judge and “accused of criminal conspiracy with terrorist intentions.” The newspapers reported that the Ministry of the Interior and the Secretary of State “had congratulated local and state police for their diligence.” Everything is in order, or so it would appear. But let’s try to examine the facts a little more closely and grasp the reasons and the results of this “diligence.” Continue reading →
Here at Chtodelat News, we’re awfully tired of having to translate endless reports of assaults on Russian activists. So we’re glad that once in a while we can turn our gaze from the troubled Eurasian plains and forests to the bright shining shore of America—where President-Elect Obama is rapidly filling his cabinet with dubious DNC types, ex-Clintonites, Wall Street insiders, and fallen university presidents. Good for him! It is nice to know that the one of us who could vote, voted for the wrong guy. (Or is he?) Let the class war to end all class wars begin! So you’ll know which side you’re on when all hell breaks loose, we present you with a user’s guide to the current conjuncture featuring video lectures from Democracy in America: The National Campaign, texts by Brian Holmes, Mike Davis, and Luis Martin-Cabrera, and a forecast of what lies ahead for our comrades in the Zapatista movement. Yes, we can! Continue reading →
Chtodelat News has already reported on the recent attacks on Russia social and labor activists. The most serious of these assaults was made on Mikhail Beketov, the editor-in-chief of KhimkinskayaPravda. Beketov has bravely campaigned to save the Khimki Forest from destruction, and has exposed the corruption of the local administration. Now he lies in a coma at Moscow’s Sklifosovsky Institute, badly beaten, one leg amputated, on the verge of death.
Below, we present a translation of a recent article on the Beketov case from the independent liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Elena Kostyuchenko’s investigative report is not, however, run-of-the-mill journalism. Whether she intended it or not, her essay hearkens to the great nineteenth-century tradition of engaged writing represented by Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Vladimir Korolenko. “The Truth in Khimki” is not so much a reporting of facts as it is a portrait in miniature of a society in deep, continuing crisis and riven by violent, often lethal contradictions. Police who are less interested in solving crimes than in squelching “the opposition.” A population that (sometimes) knows the truth but, with few exceptions, is too frightened to speak out or act on what it knows. State officials who can’t be bothered to answer the charges made against the state and are quick to downplay the significance of the journalists making those charges. (Witness Putin’s public reaction to the murder of Anna Politkovskaya.) Neighbors who are so apathetic that they let a beaten man lie on the cold ground for two days before they call the police. Rightless migrants whose humanity is often more easily manifested than that of the fully endowed “citizens” who surround them. (Witness the Uzbek migrant worker who was the only person to come to the aid of a Tuvan journalist attacked by skinheads in the Petersburg subway, in December of last year.)
On a more pragmatic note, we should call attention to the fact that, at the end of the article, the newspaper’s editors provide information on how to donate money for Beketov’s medical care and donate blood for the transfusions he so badly needs. If you have the means or ability to help Beketov in this way, please do.
Novaya GazetaNovember 20, 2008 Elena KostyuchenkoThe Truth in Khimki
The police are afraid to investigate the attempted murder of journalist Mikhail Beketov
As this issue of the paper goes to press, Mikhail Beketov, the editor-in-chief of Khimkinskaya Pravda [The Khimki Truth], is alive. For the past four days, he has been the most serious case in the intensive care ward at the Sklifosovsky Institute. He has suffered a deep skull fracture as well as multiple fractures all over his body. His right leg has been amputated, and doctors are getting ready to amputate his crushed and frostbitten fingers. He is in a coma. His relatives say that Mikhail hears their voices. He tries to open his eyes; he shakes his head, straining to say something. The doctors advise his relatives not to get their hopes up—just muscle contractions, they say. The doctors have no idea why he is still alive.
We here at Chtodelat News are pleased to announce the launch of an important new online resource for social activists in Russia and those of you who read Russian and are interested in keeping abreast of how the fight for civil, labor, environmental, housing and human rights is going in the world’s largest country. Dvizhenie—“(The) Movement”—is the brainchild of three friends and allies: Artem Marchenkov, Vlad Tupikin, and Alexander Bikbov. In recognition of their timely hard work, we are pleased to publish a translation of an essay by Alexander Bikbov that was just posted on Dvizhenie. Bikbov reflects on the recent series of attacks on labor and social activists in Russia and asks the question that should be on everyone’s mind: who stands to gain from these cowardly crimes?
The events of the last several days—a series of attacks on [Russian] activists—are acutely alarming. It is not political hierarchs who have been attacked or rival businessmen or professional militants from one or another side of the barricades. No, these attacks have been directed against people who have expressed their sense of fairness and justice publicly: in print and at demonstrations, by defending their own rights and the rights of others, by taking honest, consistent stances at their workplaces. The perpetrators are unidentifiable; their masters are anonymous. These are blows from the dark. Continue reading →
Recently, criminal attacks against the leaders of trade union and social movements have clearly increased. Among the latest such incidents, we should note the attacks against Carine Clément, a member of the working group and a leader of the Union of Coordinating Councils; Alexei Etmanov, leader of the labor union at Ford-Vsevolozhsk; Mikhail Beketov, leader of the movement to defend the Khimki Forest; and Sergei Fedotov, leader of the deceived land shareholders of the Moscow Region. In addition, a great many activists fighting the infill construction that is happening in all our cities have been attacked. There have been murders, in particular, of antifascist activists.
This is not a random phenomenon, but a clear trend: active citizens who try to restore justice and defend their legal rights are more and more often subjected to brute force. With no other arguments at its disposal, the opposite resorts to criminal methods. While it is clear that in each situation it is a different group of people who commissions these crimes, the overall tendency demonstrates that excellent conditions for the further escalation of this brutal method of “social dialogue” have been created in Russia today. These conditions include lawlessness, the lack of criminal liability for violations of the law by state officials or members of the ruling elite, universal corruption, and the hypercentralization of authority in the absence of any form of control from below. Many cases of “political” attacks on activists have still not been investigated, and the guilty parties not be found, which gives the assailants a sense of impunity and thus provokes further crimes.
The violence against social activists is escalating. We have learned that yesterday, November 13, at 6:45 p.m., Sergei Fedotov, the leader of the movement of deceived land shareholders of the Moscow Region, was attacked.
The incident took place in the village of Mikhalevo (Moscow Oblast), near Fedotov’s workplace. Fedotov was getting into his car when two young men armed with a baseball bats and a spray can ran up to him. One of them managed to spray tear gas into Fedotov’s face before Sergei could close the door and drive away. His glasses saved him.
The movement of deceived land shareholders of the Moscow Region, which represents twenty-eight settlements in Moscow Oblast, has for the last five or six years fought for the restitution of land shares stolen by raiders. The movement’s last well-publicized action was a picket in downtown Moscow on September 5, during which Sergei Fedotov was detained by police.
This was the third in a series of vicious assaults on social activists yesterday. As we have already reported, Mikhail Beketov, an opposition journalist from the city of Khimki, is now in the intensive care ward. On the morning of November 13, he was found unconscious in the courtyard of his home in the village of Starbeevo (Khimki District).
That same day, Carine Clément, director of the Institute of Collective Action, was attacked in Moscow by two young men who used a syringe to inject her with an unidentified substance.
For more information, call: +7-906-099-31-77 (Sergei Fedotov)