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Thursday, December 29, 2011

33 Heroes of a leaderless revolution

A Canadian's viewpoint of Uprising 2011

North African uprisings and Arab Spring

1. Tunisian fruit vendor Mohammed Bouazizi deserves first mention as he is the highest profile martyr of the Arab Spring of Hope. He immolated himself on December 18, and died from the severe burns on January 4th, 2011. The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt both gained significant momentum from Mohamed's actions.

2. On December 22nd, 2010, Houcine Falhi, a 22-year-old Tunisian, committed suicide by electrocuting himself in the midst of another demonstration over unemployment in Sidi Bouzid, after shouting "No to misery, no to unemployment!"

3.Khaled Said died in Egypt from a police beating in 2010, but rose to prominence through the We Are All Khaled Said webpage on Facebook, created by “ElShaeed” (meaning “the witness”, “the struggle” or “the martyr”). ElShaheed was later revealed to be Google executive Wael Ghonim (see Hero #5)

4.April 6th leaders: Isra Abdel Fattah, Ahmed Maher, Asma Mahfouz, Mohamed Adel, Ahmed Salah

The April 6 Youth Movement began as an Egyptian Facebook group founded by Isra’a Abdel Fattah, 29, and Ahmed Maher, 30, in spring 2008 to support the April 6 workers strike in el-Mahalla el-Kobra, an industrial town along the Nile Delta. Ahmed Salah was also an early supporter of the April 6th Youth Movement. Another associate, Mohammed Adel, "Dean of the Dead" was arrested at the age of twenty, detained and placed in solitary confinement for over 100 days because of his political activities on the Internet.

On January 18th, 2011, a video that changed the world was uploaded by Asma'a Mahfouz, for in it the young Egyptian urged her countrymen to take to the streets to protest the injustice. Take a look:

5. Wael Ghonim, ElShaeed

During the Arab Spring I was posting to my Original Joe College blog 3 to 5 times per day, and the arrival in Egypt of Wael Ghonim, and his subsequent arrest, sent shockwaves through the country and around the world. These were no street raggamuffins, but rather included a senior executive from the most powerful company in the world! After Ghonim's release from detention by Egypt's secret police, his DREAM TV interview electrified the nation.

Wael Ghonim with the mother of Khaled Said

6. Mona Eltahawy

International journalist returned to her Egyptian roots to cover the initial Tahrir Square and other Cairo events, herself being arrested and assaulted during the 2nd wave of uprisings in November 2011. Mona's many appearances on global news programs provided an eloquent window into events, adding a charming human face to Egypt's revolution.

7. Gigi Ibrahim

A citizen journalist from American University of Cairo, the stunningly beautiful Gigi Ibrahim was one of the most prominent of many Egyptian youth utilizing modern technology and social networks to report on events in Tahrir Square and throughout Egypt.

8. Tawakkul Karman, a female icon of the Yemen protest movement, won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her brave efforts. She has been called by Yemenis the "Iron Woman" and "Mother of the Revolution."

Tawakul Karman wins Nobel Peace Prize

Bringing It All Back Home – North America revolts

9. Mark Miller, the Wisconsin Senate 14, and the Wisconsin Democratic and union leadership incl police, firemen, teachers. Several decades of collective bargaining progress was about to be wiped away by a reactionary politician with wickedly conspiratorial right-wing business allies, and the people rose up as one to be heard, loudly and clearly.

10. MSNBC's Ed Schultz

Most talking heads on TV do not even comprehend the issues. Ed does, he's mad as hell, and he's not taking any bullshit from anyone. What is it about the name Ed? Canadians will remember the earnest and profound Ed Broadbent, while Americans know and respect Ed Asner, a member of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and Democratic Socialists of America, and two-time president of the Screen Actors Guilkd. Honest Ed...

11. NDP leader Jack Layton

For anybody in Canada this needs no explanation. For others, Jack was a well-loved and highly regarded social democrat whose untimely death and emotional funeral united Canadians of all political stripes, even for just one day. In Mr. Layton's honour, I am working with other progressive Canadians to unite the NDP and the Green Party, and form the Green Democratic Party of Canada.

We miss you Jack...

12. NDP MP Charmaine Borg – The election of many 20-something MPs in the last Canadian federal election shocked many, however the NDP surge in La Belle Province delighted young activists across the nation. Charmaine Borg is a conscientious young lady dedicated to human rights and social justice, in Canada and globally.

13. NDP MP Mylene Freeman – Also elected in Canada's 2011 election that saw the NDP surge in Quebec vault them into Official Opposition status, Mylene has been a tireless advocate for Native Canadian rights and equality for women, and is a fiery and diligent representative for her Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel riding.

14. Kalle Lasn / Adbusters publisher – Likely the most influential person on the planet that almost nobody has ever heard of, the publisher of anti-consumer magazine Adbusters issued the call for the Occupy Wall Street protest, and remains a key contributor to new directions for the burgeoning social movement. Kalle and Adbusters partner Micah White continue to provide valuable direction to OWS and Occupy Together.

15. Micah White in California (Adbusters Senior editor), Kalle Lasn's confidante and co-creator of OWS – Micah is the Senior Editor at Adbusters, and a humble, covert contributor to Occupy Wall Street planning and success. Micah keeps a low profile but will likely be a key contributor to social progress in North America for many years to come.

16. OWS facilitators and spokespeople, incl Marisa and Ketchup … Marisa Holmes, the “quiet leader” of Occupy Wall Street, a 25-year-old freelance documentarian who hewlped organize and guide New York City's pioneering occupation.

Ketchup, spokesperson for OWS, is a 22 year old redheaded gal from Chicago, and her earnest and no-bullshit explanations of OWS goals and methodologies helped the outside world begin to understand what all the ruckus was about.

17. Julian Assange exposed the underbelly of global diplomacy and shook some ivory towers and fortified bastions in the process

18. Michael Moore - the first person to bring a mainstream network news crew to OWS, he insisted that if a major TV network wanted to interview him about OWS, they do it at Zuccotti Park

19. Amina Waheed, Occupy Oakland spokesperson and journalist.

20. Freedom from Occupy LA – She is also founder of Visionary Activists Network; during the eviction of the Occupy LA camp, about 2,000 viewers watched her eloquent live reporting via a web feed.

21. George Strombolopoulos - My first visit to Occupy Toronto was on day three and it was encouraging to read later that evening that George S was there about one after I left, and his show was very balanced regarding goals, tactics and effectiveness of Occupy Canada protests.

22. Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine played at both Occupy Wall Street and Occupy LA. Here he is in New York:

23. Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel – OWS. Here's Jeff performing at Occupy Wall Street:

24. Down By Riverside – Essentially became house band for Occupy Toronto, the Nozuka brothers' group and its members supported the park, the rallies plus any and all Occupy Toronto events more than any others. Props to Jesus Las Vegas, Flow Dan and all the other park musicians I was fortunate to jam with during the occupation.

25. Faith Nolan – Performed and jammed at occupy Toronto a bunch of times. Faith is a talented and conscious singer-writer and a lady our city can be very proud of.

Faith Nolan and Bill Bourne perform together at Occupy Toronto

26. Sid Ryan, President, Ontario Federation of Labour, and Occupy Toronto supporter..

Our message to the Occupy Toronto protesters is this: While the mayor of Toronto may not care about the public services we all rely on, you do. While the mayor, the corporations and those at the top may not care about affordable post-secondary education, public pensions, living wages, quality public health care and basic entitlement to democratic rights, you do. 

Your view that every single human being deserves an opportunity to work, to contribute to society and to a life filled with hope and the opportunity to live up to their full potential is what has fuelled the public’s imagination to support your efforts.

The OFL stands in solidarity with you. We will do everything possible to support you in your desire to make the lives of the 99% of the people in your community better. 
We pledge to be there with you, shoulder to shoulder, to defend our right to free speech and free assembly. 

27. Joe Shithead Keithley - Performed solo at Occupy Ottawa and Occupy Regina, and with his band DOA at Occupy Vancouver. For over thirty years, Joe has been the conscience of Vancouver and of the Canadian punk scene. We old punks waited more than three decades for Occupy to get rolling, and we are not about to let this opportunity for freedom and justice slip away. Fight on young brothers and sisters!!!

28. & 29. Even today in Egypt, dissent is not tolerated and activists like Michael Nabil and Alaa Abdel Fattah remain in jail for critiquing the army.

30.Yennesew Gebre … here we go again. On 11/11/11, 29-year old Ethiopian teacher self-immolated in protest against his students and other young Ethiopians being held in jail without charge, entirely because they expressed and interest in politics and justice. Democracy advocates in Ethiopia will be well-advised to keep Anonymous informed of their plans for next July 21st to July 23rd, as they may need to have certain government websites and communication systems shut down for a few days.

100 years from now, when our great-great-grandchildren ask their parents what happened on 11/11/11, they will reply “Let me tell you about a noble man named Yennesew Gebre, and his gift from the past to the future.”

31.Alexey Navalny – Russia's truth-telling blogger rose to international prominence after the flawed 2011 parliamentary elections. This 35 year old anti-corruption crusader braves arrest and imprisonment every day. Like many things in Russia, even here there is a darker side … as Navalny is a nationalist and has associated with anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim groups. Bears watching...

32.Justin Trudeau – Most people will find it a stretch to include Young Trudeau as a hero of 2011's global uprisings, yet his dissing of the PC blowhard resonated on Main Street. With the NDP currently leaderless, JT appears ready to stand up to the PCs and is the overwhelming fave to become the new leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. Justin will turn 40 on Christmas Day.

33.Fadwa Suleiman – Syrian actress spoke at a rally in Homs and began a hunger strike to protest against the oppression and violence of the Syrian regime, risking her own life for the sake of her people and her nation. God Bless this Light who has her own heart, mind and soul.

Honourable mentions: Razan Ghazzawi, Dorothy Parvaz, Alexandrine Latendresse, Laurin Liu, all Occupiers, and especially all those who have lost their lives in the North African and Syrian revolutions.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Occupy LA: photos of last stand 30NOV11

I was up until 4am watching Freedom's OccupyFreedomLA stream and went to bed when the cops were inside the camp and tearing down tents. Here are a few cool photos from the last night at Occupy Los Angeles' Solidarity Plaza:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Marijuana Tax Act of 1937; can hemp decorticators save our world?

The American Medical Association (AMA) opposed the act because the tax was imposed on physicians prescribing cannabis, retail pharmacists selling cannabis, and medical cannabis cultivation/manufacturing; The bill was passed over the last-minute objections of the American Medical Association. Dr. William Woodward, legislative counsel for the A.M.A. objected to the bill on the grounds that the bill had been prepared in secret without giving proper time to prepare their opposition to the bill. He doubted their claims about marijuana addiction, violence, and overdosage; he further asserted that because the word Marijuana was largely unknown at the time, the medical profession did not realize they were losing cannabis. "Marijuana is not the correct term... Yet the burden of this bill is placed heavily on the doctors and pharmacists of this country."

Dr. William Woodward, American Medical Association lawyer, 1937

Some parties have argued that the aim of the Act was to reduce the size of the hemp industry largely as an effort of businessmen Andrew Mellon, Randolph Hearst, and the Du Pont family. The same parties have argued that with the invention of the decorticator, hemp had became a very cheap substitute for the paper pulp that was used in the newspaper industry. These parties argue that Hearst felt that this was a threat to his extensive timber holdings. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury and the wealthiest man in America, had invested heavily in the Du Pont families new synthetic fiber, nylon, a fiber that was competing with hemp

Decorticators for every village and town!

A decorticator (from Latin: cortex, bark) is a machine for stripping the skin, bark, or rind off nuts, wood, plant stalks, grain, etc., in preparation for further processing.

In 1861 a farmer named Bernagozzi from Bologna manufactured a machine called a "scavezzatrice," a decorticator for hemp. A working hemp decorticator from 1890 manufactured in Germany is preserved in a museum in Bologna. In Italy the "scavezzatrice" faded in the 1950s because of competition from synthetic materials and from other more profitable crops.

Probably hundreds of different decorticators have been developed since 1890. Misconceptions spread about the device includes the suggestion that the first working hemp decorticator was invented in the US in 1935. In 1916 there were already five different kinds of "machine brakes" for hemp in use in the US, and still others in Europe.

One of the most discussed decorticators is the Schlichten model. Quoted from Hemp - American History Revisited by Robert Deitch copyright 2003 Algora Publishing:

“ ... because of the 1917 introduction of a machine designed by George Schlichten, known as the "Decorticator." The Decorticator separated the long hemp fibers from the pulpy celluloid (hurds) center of the hemp stalks, dramatically reducing the exorbitant labor costs associated with cleaning and preparing hemp for further processing. ”

Quoted from The Emperor Wears No Clothes - The Authoritative Historical Record of the Cannabis Plant, Marajuana Prohibition & How Hemp can still Save the World! by Jack Herer copyright 1993 Green Planet Company Publishing:

“ Under old methods, hemp was cut and allowed to lie in the fields for weeks until it "retted" enough so the fibers could be pulled off by hand. Retting is simply rotting as a result of dew, rain and bacterial action. Machines were developed to separate the fibers mechanically after retting was complete, but the cost was high, the loss of fiber great, and the quality of fiber comparatively low. With the new machine, known as a decorticator, hemp is cut with a slightly modified grain binder. It is delivered to the machine where an automatic chain conveyer feeds it to the breaking arms at the rate of two or three tons per hour. The hurds are broken into fine pieces which drop into the hopper, from where they are delivered by blower to a baler or to truck or freight car for loose shipment. The fiber comes from the other end of the machine, ready for baling... Schlichten spent 18 years and £400,000 on the decorticator, a machine that could strip the fibre from nearly any plant, leaving the pulp behind. His desire was to stop the felling of forests for paper, which he believed to be a crime! ”

In 1919 George Schlichten received a U.S. patent on his improvements of the decorticator for treating fiber bearing plants. Schlichten failed to find investors for production of his decorticator, and died as a broken man in 1923.

There are still companies who produce and sell new decorticators for different crops.

Source: My fast-footed friend Wik I. Pedia

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Occupy Christmas / Buy Nothing Day strategies, links and wall photos

Small Business Saturday on November 26, 2012

Occupy Christmas December 2012

The founders of Occupy Wall Street, a 69 year old Canadian (publisher of Adbusters magazine) and a 29 year old Californian, have made some suggestions for Occupying Christmas, via the mag's website:

— a Santa sit-in, whereby protesters sit outside a store and encourage people to cut up their credit cards;

— a Jesus walk, where people put on a mask in the Holy Son’s likeness and walk through malls, to create an eerie sentiment. (Note from Joe: Pose for pictures with the kids, sign autographs.)

— a “whirly mart,” in which would-be shoppers fill their carts with products but abandon them at the cash register. (Note from Joe College: Please do NOT put perishables in your whirly cart, as they could be local. Try to fill it with ultra-crass imported junk.)

Facebook Occupy Christmas group offers advice on buying local gifts

Top Ten Ways to Occupy the Holidays, from Made In USA Challenge

Wherever we read buy USA or buy local, substitute Buy Canadian / North American / buy regional, the theory is the same wherever you live. Support local businesses. This list below is from MadeInUSAchallenge.com:

10 Ways to Occupy the Holidays

1. Buy American. Support local jobs, buy gifts from the many awesome American-made options available.

2. Shop locally. Visit your local independent shops and help reinvest in your own community.

3. Buy handmade. Everyone loves receiving a unique handcrafted gift. Check out local craft fairs and Etsy.

4. Do it yourself! If you are so inclined, share your talents through homemade art, baked goods and craft creations.

5. Buy used. Keep it out of the landfill! Check Craigslist and consignment sales for steals on used products in excellent condition.

6. Give service gifts. Lessons, classes, memberships to museums or tickets to a theatre all make fun gifts.

7. Choose gifts that give back. Charitable giving in recognition of your loved one sends an important message.

8. Cook holiday meals with local foods. Hit your local farmer’s market before they close up shop for the season!

9. Buy with cash. Using cash instead of using credit cards helps you stay on budget and prevents the big banks from further profiting from your hard earned money.

10. Spend less. Only spend what you can afford. No one wants you to go into debt for their gift. Create a budget and stick to it.

The Facebook page for Occupy Christmas already has 2,000 Likes, and it is only the eve of Black Friday. If you are an artist or craftsperson, consider upddating your Facebook status with the image below.

One more link, please don't forget this is Small Business Saturday on November 26, 2012.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Is skull in Peru a child, a dwarf, or an alien?

Head-binding tradition means skull is human, and likely a child

News of this skeleton found in Peru has scientists baffled. The head is almost as big as the body, indicating a young child, and the skull has a soft spot ... yet there are two molars normally found in adults.

Is this the skeleton of a child, or a case of head-binding on a dwarf-like individual? That may seem to be the most logical explanation, and the first step will be to DNA test the skeleton and the skull to ensure they are the same person.

Head-binding in Peru, Mexico and Africa

Paracas skull from Peru

Unusual Paracas skull supposedly deformed by binding the growing head of an infant. The resulting domed head was considered beautiful.

Photographed in the Museo Regional de Ica, from World-Mysteries.com

The tradition of head-binding is also known in Africa.

Could it be that a dwarf was subjected to head-binding at a young age, and one possible side effect was that the head was able to grow even when the body couldn't, so you end up with an extra-large adult head on a child-like body? Further testing may provide clues about that, however it seems less likely than a scenario where this is a human being who died young.

In summary, the most logical explanation is that it is a child and the head-binding was so "successful" that the small neck and body could not support the skull, leading to premature death, a clear warning to Paracans as to what can go wrong. If a child, one could estimate this person may have been at least seven or eight years old, because of the presence of molars.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Occupy Music: Performances from protests across North America

Here are a range of artists performing at Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Toronto and across our beloved continent:

Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine performs The Fabled City at Occupy Wall Street

Blues slide guitar virtuoso at Occupy Wall Street

Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel at Occupy Wall Street

Down By The Riverside at St. James Park, Occupy Toronto

Chanting and singing at Occupy Taipei

Violin, Banjo and Two Guitars at Occupy Toronto

Rainer Mandler's new song Nothing About Us, Without Us

Faith Nolan and Bill Bourne perform together at Occupy Toronto

More 99% Blues from Occupy Wall Street

Hawaiian guitarist Makana played the White House in 2009, and at the APEC gala last night, Makana made a musical statement. His unbuttoned suit jacket revealed a shirt that read “Occupy with Aloha.” He performed an Occupy Together-themed “We Are the Many,” wherein he blasted corporate lobbyists and called on Americans to occupy “the streets,” re-starting and playing several different versions of the tune for 45 minutes in front of world leaders.

We Are The Many, Occupy video by Makana

Makana video released with recent CD

Makana performing Led Zeppelin's classic rock song Going To California

Toronto rapper spittin an anti-war, pro-justice flow, check it:

Down by The Riverside, a Toronto indie band, performing at St. James Park gazebo:

Here's Jesus Las Vegas from Day One of Occupy T-Dot, reading three of his original poems and inspiring the people with his uplifting vibe:

Interview with Toronto band Down By The Riverside:

Nozuka brothers of Down By The Riverside, jamming at St. James Park.

Impromptu Stand By Me jam at Occupy Toronto, with everyone joining in:

Monday, November 14, 2011

350.org animation to save our planet; spread the word!

The global ecology group 350.org invites people of all nations to participate in making our planet a healthier place.

Occupy Portland: Justin James Bridges brutally beaten by police

UPDATE: Interview with Justin from his hospital bed:

Portland, Oregon musician Justin Bridges in Legacy Emmanuel Hospital

After receiving a vicious beating by Portland police last night, guitarist-singer Justin James Bridges (he is also an American Sign Language translator for Occupy Portland) remains in hospital today, in serious condition and unable to move one arm.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Justin, who can be seen speaking about Occupy Oakland and playing his guitar in the video below.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hawaiian musician Makana performs Occupy song for Obama and APEC leaders

Guitarist takes stand at Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation dinner

“It was an incredible experience to sing those words to that group of people,” said Makana.

Hawaiian guitarist Makana played the White House in 2009, and at the APEC gala last night, Makana made a musical statement. His unbuttoned suit jacket revealed a shirt that read “Occupy with Aloha.” He performed an Occupy Together-themed “We Are the Many,” wherein he blasted corporate lobbyists and called on Americans to occupy “the streets,” re-starting and playing several different versions of the tune for 45 minutes in front of world leaders.

We Are The Many, Occupy video by Makana

Makana video released with recent CD

Makana performing Led Zeppelin's classic rock song Going To California

Occupy Music from St James Park, Toronto

Toronto rapper spittin an anti-war, pro-justice flow, check it:

Down by The Riverside, a Toronto indie band, performing at St. James Park gazebo:

Here's Jesus Las Vegas from Day One of Occupy T-Dot, reading three of his original poems and inspiring the people with his uplifting vibe:

Interview with Toronto band Down By The Riverside:

Nozuka brothers of Down By The Riverside, jamming at St. James Park.

Impromptu Stand By Me jam at Occupy Toronto, with everyone joining in:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lord Mayor's carriage passes Occupy London Stock Exchange

At first I thought this had been photoshopped, yet considering it is from England, and is by photographer @LewisWhyld, who works for the Press Association, based in London, looks like it may be real!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Black Sabbath announces reunion tour at the Whiskey a Go-Go!!!

The press conference is going on in Los Angeles as I type, with the big question remaining: Will there be a new LP to go with the tour?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 11, 2011: Global Re*luv*U*shone

Everybody please be respectful of all veterans and Remembrance Day events tomorrow, as the freedoms we rally to protect and expand were fought for and won by our parents and grandparents. The 80+ countries involved in Occupy Together / United for #globalchange are the best places to live on the planet, so please appreciate the freedoms we do have and respect them deeply!!!

RENEW branding for London, Ontario Occupy protest

Occupy Together needs a 4th brand; Why our global revolution is about renewal

Of the three global brands our movement has so far generated, two are somewhat problematic due to limitations of scope and meaning, while the third, though encompassing our ethos, is beautiful but perhaps a tad long:

Occupy Together
Take The Square
United for #globalchange

Our movement has been primarily named after a tactic, as Occupy Together and Take The Square both have their roots in the 25JAN mass protest in Cairo's Tahrir (Liberation) Square. The United for #globalchange brand began with the 15OCT globalization of the Occupy Wall Street protest.

The reality is that "occupying" is just one arrow in our quiver of civil disobedience and non-violence tactics, along with marching, boycotting, voting, general strikes, direct action etc. Our goal is to renew the social contract, to reinvigorate democracy, improve human rights and social justice, increasing freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Do you remember when Occupy was still a bad word, as in “Iraq occupied Kuwait”, or “Israel occupies the West Bank”? This is a very serious matter that deeply affects public perception of our worldwide movement.

By focusing on successful occupations as the core, we must battle local municipalities, and it is not this level of politics that deeply concerns us. Please don't misinterpret this as saying we should not use urban occupations as a tactic, as my point is that it should be a core strategy but not the whole focus. Occupy Wall Street has a ring to it and it is achievable, however Occupy Canada is far less precise.

With London, Ontario having been the first Canadian Occupy Together protest shut down by local authorities, that Western Ontario city may be an ideal locale for launch of the RENEW brand. In addition to Occupy Together, Take The Square and United for #globalchange, RENEW London, RENEW Canada etc will broaden the scope of the dialogue.

To the GA of London in Canada: If your protest has been shut down and you wish to relaunch as a permanent occupation, consider doing it either as Occupy London Ontario once again, or as RENEW London urban occupation, which will take people by surprise and broaden the coalition.

Now, if an Occupy protest is closed down and wants to relaunch as a daily demo without overnight facilities, consider launching as RENEW London Now and make an extra effort to invite labour and environmental groups and all citizens to participate and contribute ideas for renewal of our society.

Here are 3 reasons why it would be incredibly inspiring if London, Ontario were to relaunch as RENEW London Now:

1.Will immediately differentiate the local protest from the one in London, UK.
2.Adding a 4th brand now, rather than waiting to Jan 1st or March 21st as originally proposed, will broaden the movement and increase mass participation in decision making, one of our primary goals.
3.As the first protest to be taken down by authorities in Canada, it is crucial to have a successful rebound, presented in a manner that captures public support and invites all citizens to share ideas for renewing our social contract.

As RENEW London Now, an urban movement for social justice, we can invite everyone down to contribute ideas for social renewal of Canada, North America and the World.

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 11th, 2011 World Re-Luv-U-Shone

I was fortunate to get down to St. James Park again for a few hours yesterday afternoon. It was a sunny day, good vibes all around, got to hear and jam with more of the resident talent. Hoping Toronto the Good can continue to set an example, both citizenry and protesters.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chinese youth Redefines Class Consciousness

by Michelle Chen, HuffingtonPost.com

In every region of the planet young people are rocking their worlds, defying government crackdowns in Santiago and Sanaa, occupying beleaguered cities in America and Europe, challenging authoritarianism across the Global South. But one of the largest concentrations of youth on the planet seems relatively dormant: China's rising generation appears, at least in the Western media lens, to be too timid, cynical, or busy making money, to take on political struggles.

But to read China’s fraught political geography, you need a long-range lens. A new report by the Hong Kong-based advocacy group China Labour Bulletin tracks the nascent Chinese labor movement from 2009 through 2011, examining a pattern of conflict, organizing and advocacy, and finds the seeds of a youth-led labor movement underpinned by a sense of growing economic injustice. Communication technology, migration, creative organizing tactics, and the sheer density of the popular mass are fueling thousands of labor protests in both the public and private sectors.

Socially and geographically, mobile young workers are starting to leverage their power within the political and economic establishment, according to the report:

Workers are becoming more proactive They are taking the initiative and not waiting for the government or anyone else to improve their pay and working conditions.

The protests have created an embryonic collective bargaining system in China. The challenge now is to develop that basic model into an effective and sustainable system of collective bargaining that benefits workers, improves overall labour relations and helps achieve the Chinese government's goals of boosting domestic consumption and reducing social disparity.

Their ability to organize is improving. A growing sense of unity among factory workers, combined with the use of mobile phones and social networking tools, has made it easier for workers to initiate, organize and sustain protests.

Worker protests are becoming more successful. Recent protests have secured substantial pay increases, forced managements to abandon unpopular and exploitative work practices, and even stalled the proposed take-over and privatization of SOEs.

Though China has earned a reputation as the world’s preeminent sweatshop, its broader economic agenda centers on turning legions of workers into vast, politically obedient, domestic consumer class. The fragile social structure has shown some cracks lately, though, as workers discover their unique place in the global economic hierarchy. Workers with rising aspirations understand that they deserve equitable pay for the “cheap” labor that foreign capital readily exploits.

China Labour Bulletin cites a series of high-profile protests by Honda factory workers in 2010 as just one many examples of workers organizing to press for decent working conditions and wages. Troubles have been bubbling up in China's state-owned firms as well, as workers revolt in a “unified collective force” against the state's ruthless drive toward privatization.

On the other hand, a series of suicides by workers at the massive Foxconn electronics plant in southern China suggests a massive level of despair that hasn't yet crystallized into a proactive youth labor movement. And the rioting that erupted in Guangdong earlier this year suggested that when pushed to the brink, disenfranchised migrants will lash out against authoritarian social oppression.

The rapid pace of change, and the demographic upheaval driven by rural-to-urban migration, could be a catalyst for worker solidarity, though the scope of worker activism remains constrained. Geoffrey Crothall of China Labour Bulletin told In These Times:

There is without doubt a great deal of unity among workers at the factory level and to some extent at the industry and regional level, strikes in one factory leading to others in that sector but beyond that it is difficult to see how more widespread action could develop. The authorities are watching carefully and will clamp down very quickly on any organization that develops that could in their view politicize the workers movement.

So far, restive workers have won substantial pay hikes, both from employers and through the local mandatory minimum wage. Meanwhile, amid international public scrutiny, multinationals have made some hasty concessions (Foxconn wages in Shenzehn recently doubled—perhaps a suicide premium of sorts).

In some cases, worker militancy has compelled the All China Federation of Trade Unions, which is embedded with both the state and business interests, to pivot toward labor by strengthening collective bargaining mechanisms. But the government will likely find it increasingly difficult to contain or co-opt dissent as political consciousness converges with economic desperation in the workforce.

Media stereotypes tend to portray Chinese youth as a faceless army of job-sucking drones, or as carefree consumers racing toward a neoliberal dream. But as old state institutions wither and the “free market” moves into the vacuum, the "Chinese century's" generational arc may take a new revolutionary turn. The young workers who will determine China's social future seek more than material wealth, and while their aims are not yet clear-cut, they've emerged at the vanguard of their own long march.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Very Cool and RARE Rock Music photos, Part Two

Dave Grohl - Bruce Springsteen - Elvis Costello

Post-1975 rare rockstar photographs

In Part One of rare and cool rock star photos, we offered up a range of images mostly from the 60s and 70s. This group will be from the late 70s right up to the 90s, with a few even newer! Enjoy!!!

Elvis Costello and Joni Mitchell


Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead

Thom Yorke and David Byrne

Ringo Starr and David Bowie

Kurt Cobain with Eugene Kelly of The Vaselines

Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder

Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love

Last photo of Julian Lennon and John Lennon together

Julian, Sean and John; The Lennon lads

Joni Mitchell with beloved Charlie Mingus

Joni with late bass legend Jaco Pastorius

Johnny Rotten and Joe Strummer

John Kerry and John Lennon

Last photo of John and Sean Lennon

Joey Ramone and Debbie Harry

Joe Strummer and Johnny Rotten

Mick Jagger with U2's Bono

Jagger with Madonna and Tony Curtis

Jagger and Springsteen

Bob Dylan and Robbie Robertson

Deborah Harry of Blondie with Joey Ramone

Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain

Courtney Love with Kurt Cobain and their daughter, Frances Cobain

Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton

Bob Marley, Mick Jagger, Peter Tosh

Bob Dylan with Barack and Michelle Obama

Bob Dylan and Patti Smith

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