Monthly Archives: September 2011

Freedom University (Georgia, USA)

MISSION / MISIÓN

Founded in 2011, Freedom University is a volunteer-driven organization that provides rigorous, college-level instruction to all academically qualified students regardless of their immigration status. Our faculty are fully committed to providing our students with college courses equivalent to those taught at the state’s most selective universities. We believe that all Georgians have an equal right to a quality education. Separate and unequal access to higher education contravenes this country’s most cherished principles of equality and justice for all.
Fundada en 2011, la Universidad de la Libertad es una organización impulsada por voluntarios que ofrece rigurosa instrucción universitaria a todos los estudiantes académicamente calificados, independientemente de su estatus migratorio. Nuestros profesores están enteramente comprometidos a proporcionarles a nuestros estudiantes cursos universitarios equivalentes a los que enseñan en las universidades más selectivas del estado de Georgia. Creemos que todos los habitantes en Georgia tienen derecho a una educación de calidad. Acceso separado y desigual a la educación superior contraviene los más preciados principios de este país de igualdad y justicia para todos.

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To the University System of Georgia Board of Regents:

We the undersigned oppose the Board of Regents’ decision to ban undocumented students from the state’s most selective universities, including the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, the Medical College of Georgia, and Georgia College and State University.

The ban represents a formal step towards the re-segregation of higher education in our state. Banishing Georgia’s high school graduates to separate and unequal educational facilities tarnishes the state’s reputation, squanders talent, abets hostility towards immigrants, and makes it harder to recruit and retain top faculty and students. 

The long-term economic and ethical costs of discrimination are immense. Please rescind the ban on undocumented students and do everything in your power to ensure that all Georgians have equal access to higher education. The Board of Regents should support in-state tuition for all Georgia students regardless of their immigration status. Nebraska, Texas, California and nine other states now charge in-state tuition to undocumented high school graduates and Georgia should follow their example.

SIGN HERE.

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Filed under activism, alternative education, immigration, open letters, manifestos, appeals, student movements

Social Housing – Housing the Social (Amsterdam)

Social Housing – Housing the Social is the second edition of Actors, Agents and Attendants, a series of symposia initiated by SKOR | Foundation for Art and Public Domain. This two-day symposium takes place on November 4 and 5, 2011, at Felix Meritis in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The symposium emphasises the relationship between the waning political and practical imperative of social housing and the broader conceptual or philosophical idea of ‘housing the social’.

Given the increasing global conditions of unequal wealth distribution, and the specific urgency brought about by cuts in social and cultural funding in the Netherlands, can forms of cultural production be reclaimed as tools with which to design and defend social space, or are the agents and engineers of such projects merely tools in the further decoration of reduced welfare rights? What do we want cities to accommodate today? What is the legacy of the utopian ideals of the ’60s and what alternative plans for living together in cities are being incubated now? How do we deal with the very real problems of social division brought about by poverty, migration, addiction, lack of representation? What roles do artists, designers, architects play in this process?

PROGRAMME

The programme of the symposium combines keynote lectures, presentations and panel sessions with specific case studies, discussions, performances and film screenings. Please note the official language is English. View the full programme here.

ADMISSION
2-day admittance: E 40,-
1-day admittance: E 25,-

Reduced fee for students and persons aged 26 and under
2-day admittance: E 25,
1-day admittance: E 15,-

Admittance includes: symposium booklet, coffee, lunch, dinner and refreshments.

REGISTRATION is possible here (deadline October 31, 2011).

Curious about the first edition? See this link for Speculations on the Cultural Organisation of Civility.

CONTRIBUTORS & KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Yazid Anani (architect, Birzeit University, Palestine), Laura Burkhalter (architect, Institute for Bionomic Urbanism, USA), Joana Conill (film director, S), Chto Delat (artist collective, R), Adri Duivesteijn (PvdA, NL), DUS Architects (architect collective, NL), Zoran Eric (curator, MOCA Belgrade, SER), Fallen Fruit (art and activist collective, USA), Bregtje van der Haak (documentary filmmaker, NL), Jeanne van Heeswijk (artist, NL), Ernst van den Hemel (philosopher and activist, NL), Jiang Jun (editor-in-chief, Urban China Magazine, CN), Chris Keulemans (artistic director, Tolhuistuin, NL), Sabrina Lindeman (artist, NL), Don Mitchell (urban geographer, Syracuse University, USA), Merijn Oudenampsen (social and political scientist, NL), Marjetica Potrc (artist and architect, SLO), Partizan Publik (design and action collective), Recht auf Stadt (activists, Hamburg, D), Arnold Reijndorp (urban sociologist UvA, NL, to be confirmed), Arno van Roosmalen (director STROOM, NL), Martha Rosler (artist, USA), Christoph Schaefer (artist, D), Pelin Tan (sociologist, Technical University Istanbul, TR), Ultra-red (artist collective, international), Roman Vasseur (artist, UK) and Ymere housing corporation (NL).

Curators: Fulya Erdemci (SKOR) and Andrea Phillips (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Associate curator and coordinator: Vesna Madzoski (SKOR)
Architectural advisor: Markus Miessen (Studio Miessen)

Research Group: Arno van Roosmalen (director, Stroom Den Haag), Bregtje van der Haak (documentary filmmaker), Chris Keulemans (artistic director, Tolhuistuin Amsterdam), Ernst van den Hemel (philosopher and activist, University of Amsterdam), Huib Haye van der Werf (curator, SKOR), Nils van Beek (curator, SKOR), Partizan Publik (design and action collective, Amsterdam), and Theo Tegelaers (curator, SKOR)
Interns: Laura Pardo and Michelle Franke

SKOR
Ruysdaelkade 2
1072AG Amsterdam
T 020-6722525
E info@skor.nl
W www.skor.nl

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Filed under activism, critical thought, open letters, manifestos, appeals, urban movements (right to the city)

Riot Police Try to Stop Student Counter Forum in Kyiv

edu-factory.org

European Education Ministers meet in Kyiv: Counter Forum Prohibited + Protesters detained

Friday, September 23, 2011

Education ministers from across Europe met in Kyiv (Ukraine) for the so-called Forum of European Education Ministers hosted by the Ukrainian government today. Since people in the Ukraine struggle against the increasing commercialisation of education just like everyone else around the world, some students decided that this meeting could not just take place silently.

More than 100 students gathered to voice their opposition to the dominant education policies in the Ukraine and across Europe. The protesters were faced with a massive police presence: even riot police was to keep the students from voicing their opposition.

The police was aggressive and at some stage attacked protesters. Four activists, three of whom are members of Direct Action (a network of independent student trade unions), were detained. The police “offered” to release them in exchange for everyone to stop protesting. But since they saw that this “offer” had no effect, the activists were fortunately released a few minutes later.

The Direct Action network planned to hold a students’ counter-forum (“The Other Side of Education”) during these days, but it was prohibited by a court ruling. Obviously this decision is in violation of the freedom of assembly. According to the law, this freedom can only be restricted if there is a direct threat to national security or public order.

Since “The Other Side of Education” was prohibited, students decided not to set up an encampment as planned, but to march through the city center of Kyiv instead.

The current education reforms in the Ukraine (like in most other parts of the world) are aimed at cutting public spending on education and further commercialization of the education system as a whole. This would make it harder for the financially poorer parts of society to attain an university degree.

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In this report from the scene of events on the Ukrainian channel STV, a police spokesman labels the protesting students common “football hooligans.”

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Photo by zip-cn2. See their complete photo reportage of the counter forum here.

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Filed under activism, film and video, international affairs, political repression, protests, student movements

Kazakhstan: Support striking oil workers!

www.labourstart.org

Kazakhstan: Support striking oil workers!

Since May 2011 two towns in Western Kazakhstan have been seeing protest actions in the oil sector that still involve thousands of workers. Massive lay-offs have hit over a thousand workers, affecting their families, their children. Some of the protest action participants suffered detention, disciplinary punishments, and criminal prosecution, including Natalya Sokolova, a union legal officer, who was sentenced to 6 years in prison for so-called “incitement to social animosity”. This sentence creates a dangerous precedent for the whole trade union movement in the country and has been widely denounced by trade union and human rights organisations from all over the world.

The Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Kazakhstan, supported by international trade union organisations, is campaigning for the resolution of the conflict.

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You can help! Go here to send a message to Kazakh President Nazarbayev.

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Filed under activism, political repression, trade unions

Meanwhile, in Russia’s “cultural capital”…

(Via Comrade R.)

http://vkontakte.ru/event30175913

Митинг с требованием ограничения иммиграции из стран Средней Азии и Закавказья, за введение визового режима со странами СНГ.
1 октября 2011 с 15 до 17 в Петербурге. Организатор – этнополитическое объединение Русские в Петербурге при участии ряда союзных организаций. Администрация города получила уведомление об акции и согласовала место проведения.Известно, что массовая иммиграция в Россию из стран Средней Азии и Закавказья осуществляется на вполне законных основаниях благодаря тому, что у России с этими странами безвизовый режим пересечения границы. Т.е. любой желающий из Таджикистана, Киргизии, Узбекистана и т.д. может в любой момент купить билет и очутиться в любом из Российских городов практически беспрепятственно. Десятки тысяч наших сограждан ограблены, убиты и изнасилованы выходцами из этих стран в последние годы. 
Мы, граждане России, протестуем против такого порядка и требуем ограничения массовой иммиграции. 
Необходимо заставить правящую партию “Единая Россия” и её лидеров ввести визовый режим со странами Средней Азии и Закавказья, либо поменять власть. 

Цель планируемой акции – привлечь внимание общества к проблеме, заставить власть пойти обществу на уступки.

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*Rally demanding restriction of immigration from the countries of Central Asia and Transcaucasia, with the introduction of visa regime with CIS countries.
October 1, 2011 from 15 to 17 in St. Petersburg. Organizer – ethno-political association of Russian in St. Petersburg and a number of allied organizations.City Administration has received notice of the action and agreed on the venue.It is known that mass immigration to Russia from Central Asia and Transcaucasia by could legitimately due to the fact that Russia and these countries visa-free border crossings. Ie Anyone from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, etc. may at any time to buy a ticket and find yourself in any of the Russian cities virtually unimpeded. Tens of thousands of our fellow citizens are robbed, raped and killed by natives of these countries in recent years.
We, the citizens of Russia, protesting against such an order and demand constraints of mass immigration.
Must be made to the ruling party “United Russia” and its leaders to introduce a visa regime with the countries of Central Asia and Transcaucasia, or change the power.

The purpose of the planned action – to draw public attention to the problem, forcing the authorities to go public to make concessions.

*Crappy translation of fascist hate-speech provided by the robots at Google.

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Filed under immigration, open letters, manifestos, appeals, racism, nationalism, fascism, Russian society

The News from Occupy Wall Street

(Via the eternally invaluable Louis Proyect)

John Halle:

Under the Giuliani and Bloomberg regimes the cold precision of the choreography imposed by the NYPD on protests rivals that of the Ballet Russe under Balanchine: since the Feb 15th, 2003 and Republican National Convention protest, the authorities have made use of a highly effective combination of carrots and sticks. Quiet and non-violent-by which is meant non-disruptive protests under the terms set by the authorities are tolerated.  However, those stepping out of line, those who insist that protests do what they are supposed to do, i.e. disrupt business as usual and impose a cost on those primarily benefitting from its operation, are dealt with considerable harshness.

The response of demonstrators over the past few years has been to capitulate to these imposed conditions and thereby, often under the rubric of “non-violence”, allowing protest to become empty rituals. What is necessary now is that demonstrations reclaim their roots as a demonstrations of power, specifically, their ability to disrupt. And while the disruptions effected today, in the larger scheme of things were quite minimal, what a critical mass of the participants seem to implicitly understand is that disruption-the ability to inflict real costs on entrenched capital through unpredictable and spontaneous (i.e unchoreographed) direct action is a necessary condition for the success of any protest. If these protests succeed in growing with this assumption at their core, they have real potential to become truly meaningful. It remains to be seen whether they will do so.

[…]

A description of the remainder of the march requires the trite but, in this context, altogether accurate phrase, “violently dispersed by the police”, though this is, of course, usually applied to various third world dictatorships. One block south the police began to erect a second set of barriers with the purpose of dividing the march into smaller groups, separated by a block or so, arresting those who refused to get out of the street, and who resisted. The arrests were undertaken with considerable brutality which I was a direct witness to, and almost a victim of. The worst which happened to me was to have receive the full brunt of a body which had been slammed with remarkable force by a particularly violent and thuggish cop. Another encounter which I witnessed was worse and somewhat disturbing. A protester who had, I would imagine, prevented the erection of the crowd control barrier, was tackled and set upon by at least seven or eight cops administering a series of blows to all parts of the man’s head and abdomen. I had never seen a display of violence of such intensity and it was quite unnerving. The fact that the target of this display of brutality was black will probably not come as a surprise.

These are some of the events which seem worth reporting here. There were others which a more journalistically inclined (and trained) observer would no doubt relate. Rather than itemizing these I’ll close by mentioning a third reason for why I am somewhat optimistic.  This is personal and even a bit sentimental so those who don’t know me might do well to skip the remainder of this paragraph. At the intersection of West 4th my friend Judd Greenstein who I had called earlier darted in the the crowd next to me. Judd, in addition to being probably the most gifted, passionate and communicative of the younger composers I know, is also one of the finest people-in the most simple and meaningful sense of the term. Pretty much unique in my circle of acquaintances, he is a reliable presence at these sorts of protests, having met up with me a year ago or so at a Wall Street protest following the bank bail outs. More significantly for me, this seemingly random encounter brought back for me one of my most treasured memories. At the Iraq war protest in Feb 2003, I was within a sea of bodies walking southward on the corner of 79th and Amsterdam,  when I spotted within the crowd heading west my father Morris who was then eighty and my mother Rosamond who was now walking slowly having begun to be affected by the Parkinsons disease which would take her life this year. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised.  While they are not political activists (certainly less so than my father’s long time friend and colleague Chomsky) their investment in politics is real, though almost exclusively moral-dictated by a simple code which required them to actively protest when their government is enacting atrocities in their name, as it did in Vietnam during my childhood, and as it was about to do in Iraq.  Protest is what every decent person did back then-it was not limited to an activist clique.  There were lots like my parents back then.

Judd attended this demonstration for exactly the same reasons which my parents did nearly half a century ago, and which were defining events of my childhood.  Protest is what decent people do when they are confronted with evil.  Having both witnessed the thuggish crackdown south of Union Square, I was grateful to be able to be able take stock of the situation with him. His presence today was for me a validation of the possibility that there maybe some ultimate hope to be squeezed out of what now appears to be a fairly desperate trajectory into something approximating a police state-at least for those who do what is necessary to make protest meaningful.

Finally, a post-script: I’m writing this as the police prepare for what may be a final-and likely, if today’s events were any guide, intensely brutal assault on the encampment in Zuccati Park. As I have been posting on Facebook, this appears to me to be a Martin Niemoller moment for us-one where they are coming for a marginal clique, one which is the butt of jokes (including my own above) and regarded as absurd and insignificant by all but a few.  Today’s NYT’s coverage of the protestors, predictably contemptuous and dismissive, sets the stage perfectly for this crackdown-and provides grounds for all the right thinking people who are the Times’ primary demographic to avert their eyes.  The few decent people who find out about this may get on the subway and head to Wall Street to bear witness, and maybe even act.  But I can’t say I’m in the least optimistic that anything like this is in the cards-certainly nothing approximating the display of force which we must martial to make a difference. All this is only further confirmation of Niemoller’s dictum: when they come for us there may very well be very few left to speak up.

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Chris Hedges:

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Keith Olbermann:

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Filed under activism, film and video, political repression, protests, urban movements (right to the city)

“Goldman Sachs rules the world”

Via Richard Murphy:

Update: Was this interview a Yes Men hoax? (Via Louis Proyect)

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Filed under international affairs