The Fight to Expose Closed Systems of Brutality

AntiNote: The following is an extended excerpt of a radio interview, edited for readability. Listen to it in its entirety:

On 8 November 2014, host Chuck Mertz of This is Hell! Radio—broadcast out of Chicago—talked to Alison Flowers and Sarah Macaraeg about police violence and impunity in that city, and its broader (even global) implications. Continue reading The Fight to Expose Closed Systems of Brutality

Ferien in Rigonce!

von Vlasta Paulic in Rigonce, in der Nacht vom 26ten zum 27ten Oktober 2015

Rigonce, Slowenien und was ich dort gesehen haben werde ich nie, nie vergessen können. Der Gestank von brennendem Plastik und dieser, mein Schal den ich um mein Mund gebunden habe, um dieses Gift mit dem sie sich warmhalten, nicht einzuatmen. Die verlorene Würde der Menschen die ich am Straßenrand im Dunklen scheißen sah. Die dunkle Strasse die von der Brücke neben der kroatischen Seite führt, neblig als ob ich einen Horrorfilm betreten würde.

Und dann das trübselige Licht vor mir. Improvisierte Feuer, umgeben von eingehüllten Bodenwellen in der Mitte von Nirgendwo. Jelena umher rennend und Kinder in Notfalldecken hüllend. Wir haben einige mitgebracht damit wir eine Erklärung parat haben, sollte die slowenische Polizei uns anhalten. Die Freiwilligen auf der kroatischen Seite hatten uns gewarnt vorsichtig zu sein, da wir Slowenien illegal betreten und verhaftet werden konnten. Continue reading Ferien in Rigonce!

“Seid Mutig”, ein Interview mit Alain Badiou

Interview von Khusraw Mostafanejad für die Papierlose Zeitung

Wie ist Ihr erster Eindruck von der Autonomen Schule in Zürich?

Alain Badiou: Es ist eine starke Erfahrung, wirklich. Das hier ist etwas, wovon ich in Frankreich viele Versuche kenne: einen neuen Raum für Zugewanderte, Arbeiter etc. zu kreieren. Aber ich denke, die Autonome Schule ist in einem gewissen Sinn etwas Neues: So viele Menschen aus verschiedenen Ländern der Welt sind hier zusammen. Frankreich ist ein altes Kolonialland, deshalb kommen viele Leute aus den alten Kolonien in Nordafrika und der Subsahara nach Frankreich. Aber hier ist die ganze Welt versammelt.

Haben Sie je versucht, eine solche Schule in Frankreich zu gründen?

Nicht wirklich. Es gab kleine Versuche. Wir haben versucht, in Frankreich freie Räume zu schaffen, aber diese waren politische Schulen im engen Sinn: Orte, wo wir mit Arbeitern politische Fragen diskutiert haben. Aber sie waren kleiner, keine Schulen wir die eure, nicht so international und umfassend. Continue reading “Seid Mutig”, ein Interview mit Alain Badiou

Vacation in Rigonce

by Vlasta Paulić
26-27 October 2015, nighttime

Rigonce, Slovenia, and what I saw there will never, never leave my mind. The smell of burning plastic and my scarf wrapped around my mouth so I don’t breathe in the poison they are keeping themselves warm with. Lost dignity of people I saw shitting next to the road in the dark. The dark road from the bridge next to the Croatian side, foggy as if I were entering a horror movie.

And then the misty light in front of me. Bumps sitting around improvised fires in the middle of nowhere. Jelena running around and wrapping kids up into emergency blankets. We took some with us so we at least have an explanation of what we’re doing if the Slovenian police stops us. The volunteers on the Croatian side warned us that we should be careful as we’re entering Slovenia illegally and could be arrested.

Still, some of them kept going back and forth, carrying children, bringing blankets. I didn’t know if I was nervous or pissed: I was probably both. So you walk in that fog, next to the river, to finally see where you sent those people. And then you see it…and realize there was nothing, nothing that could have prepared you for this. Not Bapska, not Bregana a month ago, not Berkasovo.

I am walking around with four UNHCR blankets that we got god knows from where and trying to find a family that we moved onto the somewhat empty part of the field, and cleaned some trash so they can lie down. They, however, have nothing: not a sleeping bag, not a blanket. Nothing. Three children. I come to the biggest one, she must have been around five, pat her on the head, am I pissed or crying? No crying. Wojo taught me that a month ago in Bregana: “We will cry at home.”

Continue reading Vacation in Rigonce

A Different Kind of American Revolution

Transcribed from the 19 September 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the full interview:

“On the day when the imperial courts were supposed to meet, 4,622 militiamen organized into 37 companies by their respective townships—half the adult male population of an entire sprawling county—showed up. They didn’t want blood. They just wanted to make sure that there was no imperial government. They shut down British authority.”

Chuck Mertz: A nation’s history—especially the stories it tells about its foundation, how the country became one—has defining characteristics that citizens embrace as an understanding of where their homeland has come from…and that in many ways dictate where it’s going.

So what happens when you haven’t been told the whole story? All of us have been told time and time again about the “Spirit of 1776,” without learning that it was really the revolutionary spirit of 1774, two years earlier, that truly sparked the revolution, the war, and the United States of America.

Ray Raphael is co-author of The Spirit of ’74: How the American Revolution Began, with his wife Marie Raphael. Ray, great to have you back on This is Hell!

Ray Raphael: Good to be talking to you again, Chuck.

CM: Always great to have you on. The first question I have for you was raised by a listener:

“The world views the US revolution as hardly innovative, using mostly the same structure the English had, while not granting many more human rights. It was more of a fight against colonialism, a colonialism we would then continue. The French Revolution of 1789 is far more revolutionary.”

So how revolutionary was the American Revolution?

RR: The American Revolution was many things, and I think the listener is lumping everything that happened in that revolution into one bundle. But I’m going to tell you today about a revolution that was absolutely unparalleled, and has not even been equaled since. Continue reading A Different Kind of American Revolution

Meanwhile in Montenegro

AntiNote: This righteous and scathing open letter, a response to police repressions in Montenegro over the weekend, should prompt those of us in supposedly more “stable and democratic” Western countries to take stock of things when our mass societies appear so frequently to stand on the side of state violence and the repression of democratic, pluralistic impulses. Where’s the outrage? Maybe Montenegro.

Protests in Montenegro: “If this continues, the regime will stand on one side, the citizens on the other!”
Source: LeftEast
19 October 2015

Note from the LeftEast editors: Early Saturday morning Montenegrin police brutally tore down a peaceful encampment that was set up in front of the National Assembly by a faction of Montenegro’s opposition that had been calling for a new electoral law and fair elections for the past 20 days. In the evening, police deployed tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters and arrested several, including directly targeting journalists and MPs.

While until now many in Montenegro have held back supporting these protests – given the sometimes (though not exclusively) nationalist iconography and messaging – citizens’ groups and independent intellectuals are now mobilizing against the police crackdown. Police patrols have stepped up throughout the capital, while checkpoints have been erected on some roads leading to the capital.

The next few days will be critical in determining whether this protest will grow into a generalized revolt against Milo Đukanović’s ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), which has been in power continuously since 1989.

Below is an English language translation of an open letter that was signed today by a multiethnic group of Montenegrin citizens and intellectuals condemning the police violence (Montenegrin-language original can be found here. And the growing list of signatories can be found here.)

Open Letter to the Government of Montenegro, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Police Directorate

We, the undersigned citizens of Montenegro, are protesting against the recent police repression that was aimed against the participants of peaceful citizen’s protest. Continue reading Meanwhile in Montenegro

No Different Than Slavery: Prison Testimony of an Eritrean Refugee

AntiNote: This particular testimony initially appeared in German in the highly praiseworthy refugee-organized Zurich publication, Papierlose Zeitung, a project of the Autonome Schule Zürich. What we present here is a lightly edited version of the English original, with PZ’s headings.

It seems to have been easy for many to forget that refugees coming to Europe in the current swell are not exclusively Syrian. Indeed, even when the diversity of these flows is brought up, even by people involved in and aware of refugee struggles, Eritrea is mentioned with some bafflement as the second largest origin country for people fleeing to Europe, “and we don’t really know anything about what’s going on there.”

There are reasons for that. Among the main ones is that information about Eritrea is being actively filtered by European authorities and media in a transparent attempt to delegitimize refugees and challenge their claims to asylum. This has material results, leaving tens of thousands of people in legal limbo and uncertainty and even in danger of deportation back into persecution. Moreover, as mentioned in another article we posted recently about Syrian refugees in Lebanon, these obfuscations and downright lies also give European authorities moral cover to increase security and development cooperation with the very governments whose atrocious violence and corruption are prompting people to flee.

But some people do know something about what is going on in Eritrea, namely those who have fled from there. This is an attempt at raising up the voice of one such person and providing some of the counterinformation that advocates appear to be in want of but are somehow unsure where to look.

Prison Testimony
by Tekle Tewelde Yacob for Papierlose Zeitung (Zurich)
26 August 2015
(original post)

My message to the government and people of Switzerland—especially to those who think the situation in Eritrea “has improved”—is the following: I wish to inform you that right now, at this very moment, thousands of innocent Eritreans are suffering silently in jails and prisons, while their best years slip away. Continue reading No Different Than Slavery: Prison Testimony of an Eritrean Refugee

A tale of blind doctors and good illnesses


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