Sunday, January 19, 2014

Statement of solidarity with the African refugees in ’48 occupied Palestine

Statement auf Deutsch lesen
إقرأ البيان التضامني باللغة العربية

The Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants stand in strong solidarity with the massive self-organized protests of African refugees against the oppressive policies of the Israeli government.
In the last weeks we were observing with much appreciation as tens of thousands of refugees took to the streets to protest against the worsening of their situation through new draconian state policies, the corrections to the “Anti-Infiltration Laws”, which permit incarceration without trial of any person suspected of “infiltrating” the country. For those aims the government has built a new “open” detention center, located in the middle of the Naqab desert in the south of the country. This center is supposedly an open detention center, meaning that the persons incarcerated are allowed to leave during the day only. When a couple of weeks ago around 200 refugees initiated a protest march from the detention center towards Jerusalem, they were arrested and sent to an incarceration center for African refugees. The danger of being sent to those centers lurk upon each refugee residing in the country, and refugees are constantly being kidnapped in broad daylight by the Israeli immigration authorities in many big cities, and in ever growing numbers since the amendment to the law. This practice is being done according to clear racial profiling, and has little to do with the legal status of the arrested, which is usually only to be verified later. Furthermore, the state of Israel refuses to install a system of processing asylum requests, and insists on labeling the refugees as illegal infiltrators, which leads to the situation today in which close to none of the 60,000 African refugees in the country have had their asylum case examined.

We, as a self-organized network of refugees and migrants see the self determination of the protesting refugees as an inspiring and important step against state oppression and the struggle against colonialism and racism. Without letting well-meaning but often paternalistic white NGO´s dictate the tone of their struggle, tens of thousands of refugees have managed to organize themselves into a country-wide general strike and huge manifestations, which have proven once more that the power of subjective self-organization is the key to any struggle against oppression. Through the days of action we have witnessed many brave acts of civil disobedience, including a general strike in several cities, huge marches and manifestations. The racism which is directed at the African refugees, much like the “Anti-Infiltration Law” which now condemns them as criminals, has its root in the colonial history of the state of Israel. The “Anti-Infiltration Law” was first legislated in 1954, once again under the pretense of state security, to prevent Palestinian refugees from coming back to their land, which was stripped away from them during the Nakba, the 1947-48 displacement of a major part of the Palestinian population. The Nakba, and the following occupation of the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza in 1967, are the cause of the large numbers of Palestinian refugees forced until today, three generations later, to live in exile in the middle east and around the globe, often in overcrowded refugee camps in disastrous humanitarian conditions. Those refugees are still strictly denied return to their country, even though the state of Israel allows immigrants of Jewish descent from all over the world, which in most cases are not refugees and hold a citizenship of another country, to acquire the Israeli citizenship and immigrate.

We see the oppression, from which the protesting refugees are suffering, as directly connected to the racist and colonialist mindset of the zionist project, very similar to the European colonial and racist mentality under which we as refugees and migrants suffer here. Those policies are being implemented by the west in our countries of origin and are the direct reason of our flight. The zionist project, which itself could not have been possible without the support of the European colonial powers and enjoys its impunity, also has its hand in several armed conflicts and the support of oppressive regimes in the African continent through arm sales and the trainings of militaries and paramilitary groups, an involvement which can be traced decades back, as the Israeli government was one of the last allies of the Pretoria Apartheid regime in South Africa. We see the struggles and protests of refugees everywhere as struggles against these racist and colonialist policies which exploit and destroy our countries.

In Solidarity,
The Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants
 The english statement as PDF

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Brazil: FIFA Forces Evictions For World Cup, Police Brutality Rages

Photo by Paula Kossatz, via Coletivo Carranca’s Facebook page
A dozen houses in the Mangueira slums of Rio de Janeiro have been demolished, and residents have been removed at gun point by the government of Brazil in order to build a parking lot for the upcoming World Cup.
Photo by Media informal, their Facebook page is here 
A shocking video was posted hours ago by Midia Informal, showing cops ready to open fire on people.
Pictures from Midia Informal
People who were living in these homes were targeted by militarized riot cops, sent in by the government to push them into the streets. They were not even allowed to gather their personal belongings.
Pictures from Midia Informal
Impoverished residents were forcefully evicted in large numbers by the government: the riot cops even threatened to kill children in their mothers’ arms.
This video shows even more brutality: cops teargassing women for simply passing by; riot cops repeatedly attacking locals, throwing teargas grenades into their homes or aiming straight at them, and terrorizing and bullying defenseless people on the streets.
(World) Cup kills the poor.
Photo by Contra Copa 2014′s Facebook page.
Riot cops are an occupying force, while people from Brazil fight FIFA and their government for targeted attacks on indigenous people, pregnant women and black people.
Faced with another episode of brutal oppression in the name of the World Cup and FIFA (an organisation which has kept silent about crimes, and racist/social abuses committed by the government of Brazil), activists from Rio de Janeiro organised to help people in the slums resist the governments violent gentrification attack.
The struggle of the people who were attacked by the state police in the name of FIFA is perhaps best expressed in a short poem posted by Mídia NINJA:
“Inhabited by people so simple and so poor, / Who only have the sun to cover them all, / How can you, Mangueira, still sing?” (our note – Mangueira is a very popular Carnival Group’s name in Brazil.)
Photo by Mídia NINJA. Cartola, Sala de Recepção
Organização Anarquista Terra e Liberdade OATL wrote the following: “Here is the real sense of popular power: DIRECT CLASS ACTION. Earlier today (yesterday), the population revolted against being evicted from their houses. They built barricades and resisted the police violence. It’s not even dark yet (our note – riot cops in Brazil attack poor communities especially at night, videos from last night’s attack here) and the faces of the professional killers showed up on the alleys again!”
In October and November of last year, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro had promised the people living in the Mangueira that they would not be affected by the construction the government is planning for the World Cup. Then, suddenly people found themselves threatened at gunpoint to leave their homes.
A multi-billion dollar industry, which has manifested from FIFA’s football sports events, seems to be manipulating this game exclusively for making money.
513 years of genocide.
Picture via Street art in Rome on Facebook
Impoverished blacks and indigenous people only gained the attention of the government when it came time for their lives to be destroyed or sacrificed for the sake of the world cup; which will enrich over night the lives of real estate speculators, tourist business owners, and companies getting government contracts, to name a few. People are enraged that the government refuses to spend money on schools and hospitals, but throws away billions, of which it borrowed a third, on creating future situations of poverty for the Brazilian working people who will have to pay them back, with interest.
Foto Midia NINJA
Poor people’s houses destroyed by the State’s order in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, to make room for a FIFA World Cup parking lot.
The picture above posted by Ninja Media’s Facebook page shows how ruthlessly the government destroys the lives of poor people. What are they supposed to do now? They can go to a shelter or sleep on the streets, as this woman explains in this video.
But there’s an everlasting message from these events happening in Brazil that makes them so impactful.
“The slogan “NO CUP” is very clear and powerful, and it needs to be read just once to be understood. One of its possible meanings is that the World Cup will no longer be the same after its hosting by Brazil. From now on, where there is World Cup, there will also arise a social movement (against it). These social movements will stand up, will express their demands, will keep their forums next to this event, and they will make known to the world the causes of the people of the host country.”

When impoverished people took to the streets to protest the lack of electricity, the state of Brazil sent in riot cops who responded with live ammunition. On January 6, cops opened fire at residents of the Morro São João Mill neighborhood, in New North Zone of Rio de Janeiro, who were protesting a lack of electricity for weeks in their community.
In Brazil, people are the perpetual victims of the state and the capitalist ruling class. Activists say the government plans more evictions to meet the demands of property speculation by the city ahead of the World Cup. These evictions will devastate, compromise, and potentially end the lives of many people.

contra copa 2014 1499666_693279957370015_279178318_n
Organização Anarquista Terra e Liberdade OATL: “Police are killers. They only serve to oppress, kill and evict people. Destroy the genocidal State that kills especially poor and black people.”
The anarchists from Organização Anarquista Terra e Liberdade OATL explained that the cries “NO WORLD CUP” which engulf the streets of Brazil these days are still misunderstood. The protests against FIFA’s World Cup in Brazil radicalized as people started to ask why the government is investing huge amounts of money in stadiums and useless tourism propaganda, while women give birth in hospitals’ waitings rooms, or on the streets. The world cup still remains the priority while doctors have no medicine to treat sick people. Schools are scarce, and where they are not they are decaying.
But what enraged people and determined them to reject the World Cup were the forced evictions, which threw thousands of families from their homes into the streets employing unjust and unimaginable violence.
This violence,” write the OATL, “comes from the State’s war on poor going on for many years! The image below is a subpoena that some residents received in October 2010, as they were given the deadline of 0 days to leave their residences. The prefetura had the audacity to distribute these subpoenas without offering anything or very little as compensation to the residents. Let people revolt.”
The first victims were the indigenous people in the village of Maracanã, who recently won their case in court, as a judge found that their eviction and expropriation by the government to build facilities for the World Cup was illegal. The indigenous have won the right in court to go back to their village as they are to be reinstated with possession of it. Despite the court order, police still refuse to let them back in, but indigenous people continue their fight.
Video via Coletivo Vinhetando

Events against police oppression, government and FIFA’s World Cup have mushroomed on facebook.