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Saturday, 23 September


G20 they colonized our future "IndyWatch Feed"

G20 forecasting prolongs the infinite growth paradigm into the future, while G20 backcasting draws strategic conclusions for present action leaving the paradigm still intact.

lead German Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maiziere, visits the memorial site of the State Security Service of former East Germany with school students, to watch a film about the violence at the G20 summit in Hamburg in a seminar on left extremism, Sept.2017. Bernd von Jutrczenka/Press Association. All rights reserved.When Beethoven composed his Ode to Joy in 1824 he probably wouldnt have thought that merely 200 years later the Donald Trumps of this world would listen to it, while the masses are rioting in the streets outside. Actually, not all people became brothers during the G20 summit on July 7 8 in Hamburg this year. Three months later fiery public debates about the tremendous violence during the summit days still continue and every day more coverage of police violence against protesters crops up in social media.

Apart from that, major media outlets still seem to refuse any coverage on the realistic alternative policy approaches that were framed and discussed e.g. during the Alternative Summit on July 56. So the world has gone back to business as usual and the question what actually changed with the protests? sounds ever-increasingly ironic. But why is that so? As activists are our protests maybe failing to address a crucial aspect of the G20s power?

Colonizing our futures

The G20 states are not merely colonizing the world economically and geopolitically. They also wield a timesavvy colonization of our futures.

One issue completely missing in the agenda of protests and counter-events during the summit is a very peculiar form of colonization that renders all of us alike its subjects. The G20 states are not merely colonizing the world economically and geopolitically. They also wield a timesavvy colonization of our futures. How does that happen?



Britain must accept ambiguity to survive Brexit "IndyWatch Feed"

Theresa May and Brexiteers both insist on a damaging binary view of the UK and Europe.

lead PM Theresa May's speech in Florence, Italy, setting out plans for a transitional period from the formal date of Brexit in March 2019.Jeff J Mitchell/Press Association. All rights reserved.Brexit is written in binary code. It is all zeros and ones - out of the European Union or in. In his long Telegraph essay last weekend, the British foreign secretary and totem of the Leave campaign Boris Johnson reiterated the iron imperatives of last years referendum: The choice was binary. The result was decisive. There is simply no way - or no good way - of being 52 per cent out and 48 per cent in.

This has an impeccable logic, in the way mad things often do. In her speech in Florence on Friday, Johnsons supposed boss Theresa May was trying, in her own weak way, to tweak that logic, to find some wriggle room in the relentless bind of the binary.

The concrete content of the speech may be less important than its signal of distress though whether May is waving or drowning remains an open question. She is edging towards some way to be however temporarily at least a little bit in while moving out. She is edging towards some way to be however temporarily at least a little bit in while moving out.



Mrs Mays Florentine Tragedy "IndyWatch Feed"

Theresa May Florence speechYesterday, in Florence, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, set out partially how and why Britain intends to leave the European Union. She said she chose that location because Florence had played  a central role in the Renaissance, a period of history that inspired centuries of creativity and critical thought across our continent and which in many ways defined what it meant to be European. A period of history whose example shaped the modern world. A period of history that teaches us that when we come together in a spirit of ambition and innovation, we have it within ourselves to do great things. Britains current 27 EU partners, not to mention many millions of Brits, may be left wondering why, if coming together to do things is so important, the UK government is now taking Britain away.



Labour must end Mays hostile environment for migrants in the NHS "IndyWatch Feed"

The Labour Partys 2017 Conference begins this weekend. Docs Not Cops highlight opportunities for attendees interested in migrant access to the NHS to intervene. 

Image: Flickr/SMA

Jeremy Corbyn has attracted support in his leadership and general election battles due in part to his firm position against privatisation in general including NHS privatisation - and also due his history of support for migrants and anti-racist organising.

Yet Labours health policy platform is currently limited as pointed out in this excellent recent article by Allyson Pollock. And the party appears to have no formal policy and little to say in public about the hostile environment the government has been creating for migrants.

The Partys conference this weekend offers members, delegates, and those outside the party, opportunities to improve this situation.

The government is trying to blame the severe and growing NHS funding crisis on migrants, but this is a distraction. The numbers dont add up: deliberate health tourism costs, at most, 300 million a year just 0.3% of the overall NHS budget. The costs that can be recouped by charging people for their care are a drop in the ocean for the NHS, but potentially ruinous for patients now being landed with multi-thousand pound bills or being put off accessing healthcare altogether.  

The Socialist Health Association has put forward a motion to conference supported by at least a dozen constituency parties that calls for the party to restore our fully-funded, comprehensive, universal, publicly-provided and owned NHS without user charges, as per the NHS Bill (2016-17). What this means is that the Labour partys aim should be to return to a publically funded NHS that doesnt charge patients. While immigration checks and charges are not mentioned specifically, the references to comprehensive and universal care, a...


Redirecting the colonial gaze "IndyWatch Feed"

Are we decolonising queer liberation or disciplining the Kurds? Let us attempt a careful and nuanced consideration of the historicity of different struggles.

lead It's going down: TQILA-IRPGF Speaks from Rojava. Anon.The situation of the Kurds in a drastically changing Middle East has received little attention in academia and less in the media despite their growing impact on regional and international politics. The biggest stateless people living in the Middle East are on the verge of a new status, not only in Iraqi Kurdistan, where a referendum for independence takes place on September 25, 2017, but also in Syria and Turkey. The stories of Iranian Kurds and the conditions they live in are the least known, not only by the international community but also by fellow-Kurds living in three neighbouring countries, due to an intense isolation. And then, in this closing contribution, there are 'the intersecting modalities of power.' This weeks short series looks at current political struggles of the Kurds in four neighbouring countries or in a country that does not exist on the world map but in the hearts and mind of 40 million people. Mehmet Kurt, series editor.

The establishment of The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army (TQILA) on 24 July 2017, under the International Revolutionary Peoples Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF) in Syria, has attracted considerable global interest.

This interest has become manifest in two distinct versions. One response has been the intense excitement and support elicited from some parts of the left and various LGBTI+ activists. The other has been one of critique and scepticism, especially towards the western liberal discourse surrounding TQILA. Razan Ghazzawis piece ...

Friday, 22 September


Barbudan land ownership: a 200-year-old freedom put at risk following Hurricane Irma "IndyWatch Feed"

Suspicion and frustration grow as Hurricane Irma evacuees find themselves unable to return home to Barbuda, whilst a law protecting the island from private and foreign investment is dismantled.

Photo of Barbudan coastline before hurricane Irma. Sailing Nomad/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

On Wednesday, 6 September 2017, Barbuda, the less known sister isle of the popular resort island of Antigua, bore the full brunt of Hurricane Irma as it struck the Leeward Islands of the Eastern Caribbean. The island suffered near total destruction: 95% of the islands buildings were damaged, 60% of the population were rendered homeless, and a 2-year-old child was tragically killed. Antigua, on the older hand, was relatively untouched.

Visiting the island after the winds died down, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Brown received wide acclaim for deciding to evacuate the island before the fast-approaching hurricane Jose had the chance to make landfall as well. Dozens of vessels were involved in a frantic effort to transport nearly 1800 people from Barbuda to shelters on Antigua. Thankfully Jose changed course, turning north at the last minute and missing Barbuda, Antigua and the other Leeward Islands.

Meanwhile offers of help began to flood in from around the world. Skilled electricians, plumbers, builders, and carpenters from the Barbudan diaspora as well as individuals from England, Scotland, the US and Canada offered, even at their own expense, to travel to Barbuda and assist with the rebuilding efforts. Yet in Antigua these offers of support were largely ignored. Crates of aid were redirected to other Caribbean islands, and all independent efforts by Barbudan communities were blocked by the Antiguan authorities, who preferred to organise the relief efforts directly.

At the same time, a long list of wealthy private individuals and sympathetic national governments pledged their support for rebuilding of the island. Within days, even...


Podcast: How do we learn to sing a new song for Europe? "IndyWatch Feed"

As Theresa May prepared her latest Brexit speech in the bizarrely chosen venue of Florence, Newsnet took time to record a fresh analysis of the European situation.

Derek Bateman

This latest podcast features Kirsty Hughes, head of a new think-tank, The Scottish Centre on European Relations (SCRE), taking a broad view of the UK governments lack of progress on Brexit, and how the EU nations might respond. Kirsty joined regular host Derek Bateman and journalist and producer Maurice Smith.

So what happens next with Brexit? How will Mays speech go down in the EU capitals? What  about trade? Scotland? The trio also discuss the ongoing situation in Catalunya, where the Spanish government has sent in federal police in an attempt to block an independence referendum scheduled for October.

You can tune in by clicking on the audio file above, via your usual podcast channels including iTunes, or using our RSS feed: podcasts are professionally made to enhance your listening experience. Please support our ongoing media services by subscribing whatever you can afford. Thank you.

The post Podcast: How do we learn to sing a new song for Europe? appeared first on


The crisis of workplace violence against women "IndyWatch Feed"

Violence against women at work is real; it happens every day, in every corner of the world. It takes shape in many ways from verbal and physical abuse to sexual assault and even murder.

Photo from  2014 "16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence Campaign" launch in the Solomon Islands. UN Women/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

As an organisation that represents 50 million workers in 140 countries, IndustriALL Global Union believes all forms of violence against women are unacceptable and supports its trade union affiliates as they take action to stop it.  

All too often, women working in IndustriALLs sectors including mining, textile and manufacturing are afraid to speak out against abuses they face out of fear of losing their jobs, being stigmatised, or being socially ostracised both at work and at home. When they do speak out they are often ignored or blamed.

A woman union leader at a multinational mining company in Colombia not only endured aggressive verbal abuse and discrimination from her male colleagues, but was also sexually assaulted by one of her bosses. When she complained to the company, another woman was prompted to come forward with similar allegations against the same man. Despite the company saying they would handle the situation, nothing was done.

Very often, complicity from the company allows perpetrators to act with impunity.

Very often, complicity from the company allows perpetrators to act with impunity. When a young woman working in the aerospace sector in Morocco complained about being sexually harassed by her supervisor, the company accused her of inventing the story. The management put pressure on the woman to drop the allegations, explaining the negative impact it would have on the company if the story got out. The woman had no proof of being harassed and it was her word against his. She ended up leaving the company.

 Beneath these testimonies of abuse and harassment is the power that men exercise over women. And when this is challenged, it can creat...


Why Ofcoms humiliation over Sky is a dark day for all regulators "IndyWatch Feed"

And there may be worse to come.

lead Culture Secretary Karen Bradley says she is minded to refer Rupert Murdoch's 11.7 billion bid to take full control of Sky to a further inquiry due to concerns over media plurality, June, 2017. Press Association. All rights reserved.Regulators can do damage to themselves. The Financial Conduct Authoritys (FCA) proposed welcome for the controversial Aramco partial flotation, Ofwats conflicted relationship with PricewaterhouseCoopers ( PwC), the Competition and Markets Authoritys (CMA) pursuit of economically insignificant breaches of competition law by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) could all be considered examples of regulatory self harm.

However, a climate where experts are despised is not generally favourable to regulators irrespective of what they do to themselves and puts them at the mercy of populist politicians. The Secretary of States decision ( in effect ) to overrule Ofcom on the issue of whether Rupert Murdochs proposal to acquire the shares of Sky that he does not already own a decision she was legally entitled to take, it has to be said is an illustration of this process at work .

The argument that the proposal threatens broadcasting standards ignores the fact that Skys record stands comparison with its competitors. The notion that the proposal to acquire total control of Sky News with its small market share menaces plurality is far fetched. Bradleys decision to refer the proposed deal to the CMA looks like a cave in to political pressure.

But there is another test on the horizon which Ofcom must not be deflected from if the entire legislative framework on media concentration is to maintain any credibility. This test arises because the recently reported proposal by David Montgomerys Mirror to buy the Express, does actually raise a genuine plurality issue. The editorial positions of the two publications are well known and diametrically opposed. It is quite likely that in the event of a transaction being completed, the Expresss position would change and become more aligned with that of the Mirror. There...


A (weak) homage to democracy in Catalonia "IndyWatch Feed"

The images of a half-empty parliament during the referendum law vote illustrate how Democracy and Catalonia have gone their separate ways. Democracy is not the law of the majority, but the protection of the minority. Espaol

Hundreds of Catalan separatists gather to protest in front of the Catalan Economy Ministry. September 20, 2017. Barcelona, Spain. Matthias Oesterle/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved.

Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.

- George Orwell, 1984

Catalonia may be closer than ever to being independent, but it is increasingly far from embodying the democratic evolution that many of its supporters would have us believe. The secessionists have used a slim majority to approve the referendum and transition law, without any regard for legal safeguards, reports from their own legal services, the constitutional order and standard democratic norms. The images of a half-empty parliament during the votes, while a MP removed the Spanish flags left behind by members of the opposition as a sign of protest, illustrates how the secessionist movement and democracy have gone their separate ways.

With the full support of the president of the Parliament, which should be impartial but acts as another member of the cabinet and finds it difficult to put behind her past as a secessionist activist, they opened the door to convene a unilateral referendum to ratify their project of secession. Mariano Rajoys government affirms that, after what was determined by the Constitutional Court, it will not allow for the referendum to be held. But as the 1 October nears and appeals for dialogue make no progress, we appear to be...


Web standards body constrains digital rights against members' wishes "IndyWatch Feed"

A letter from Cory Doctorow after the World Wide Web Consortium moves to enforce a digital rights management standard without compromise, despite agreement from only 58.4% of members.

Constrained content. Pixabay. CC0.In July, the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium overruled dozens of members' objections to publishing a DRM standard without a compromise to protect accessibility, security research, archiving, and competition.

EFF appealed the decision, the first-ever appeal in W3C history, which concluded last week with a deeply divided membership. 58.4% of the group voted to go on with publication, and the W3C did so today, an unprecedented move in a body that has always operated on consensus and compromise. In their public statements about the standard, the W3C executive repeatedly said that they didn't think the DRM advocates would be willing to compromise, and in the absence of such willingness, the exec have given them everything they demanded.

This is a bad day for the W3C: it's the day it publishes a standard designed to control, rather than empower, web users.

This is a bad day for the W3C: it's the day it publishes a standard designed to control, rather than empower, web users. That standard that was explicitly published without any protections -- even the most minimal compromise was rejected without discussion, an intransigence that the W3C leadership tacitly approved. It's the day that the W3C changed its process to reward stonewalling over compromise, provided those doing the stonewalling are the biggest corporations in the consortium.

EFF no longer believes that the W3C process is suited to defending the open web. We have resigned from the Consortium, effective today. Below is...


A metal pipe for your trouble "IndyWatch Feed"

The Russian authorities campaign against Alexey Navalny is getting violent. 

The pipe used to attack Nikolay Lyaskin. Source: Twitter. The Russian authorities continue to refuse permission to Alexey Navalnys election campaign to hold public rallies, and campaign activists are, on occasion, being detained. But sometimes the anti-Navalny campaign gets even more serious: Nikolay Lyaskin, the coordinator of Navalnys Moscow headquarters, was attacked this week with a metal pipe. Police are investigating, but rather strangely.

As a result of a blow to the head, Lyaskin is suffering from concussion. The police quite quickly opened a criminal investigation into what they classified as hooliganism, and several days later announced they had found a suspect. True, he was not shown to Lyaskin immediately. However, a video appeared in which the suspect alleges Lyaskin himself had promised the man money if he attacked him. Lyaskin claims this is a set-up. The day of the face-to-face confrontation with the suspect Lyaskin was kept waiting the whole day in the police station, and before he left they tried to take away his telephone.

On a positive note, in Kostroma a criminal investigation has been opened into an assault by a police officer on a volunteer from Navalnys election campaign, while in Makhachkala an investigation into an...


On the eve of the German elections, Alternative fr Deutschland prevails on Twitter "IndyWatch Feed"

Populist parties have a higher capacity to exploit digital arenas to boost and propagate their slogans and influence the political agenda. This should not be underestimated by mainstream political forces.

lead Election poster of (Alternative for Germany, AfD) party in the district of Lichtenberg in Berlin, Germany on September 15, 2017. NurPhote/Press Association. All rights reserved.It is a bit puzzling how, after a year in which populist forces have threatened the political order of countries all over Europe, Germany so far has managed to have itself a normal many would say boring electoral campaign.

Angela Merkels Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is likely to be the largest party in the new Bundestag, as polls show its likely share of vote to be between 36% and 37%, at least 15 or so points ahead of Martin Schulzs Social Democratic Party (SPD). However, given Germany has a proportional system, the CDU will most likely be unable to govern by itself, so all eyes are on the battle for the third place, which will have an effect on which party will be Merkels coalition partner.

The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), with its eurosceptic and anti-immigration programme, will most probably win parliamentary seats for the first time. This will perhaps be the most important development of this election. Moreover, according to the latest polls AfD is leading the race within the race for the third place with 11-12%, maintaining a slight lead over its main competitors the Left Party (Die Linke), the Liberal Democrats (FDP) and the Green Party all lagging behind at 7% to 10%.

Recently in Europe we have witnessed a steep rise in so-called populist parties, alongside with a significant wave of innovation in political communication, especially in times of electoral campaigning. When new political actors walk into the scene, they often show innovative communication strategies, such as the widespread use of online channels, a highly engaged network of supporters, and a general inclination towards negat...


Empire of madness: fiddling through the smoke in 2025 "IndyWatch Feed"

The year is 2025, and the war on terror rages on as does the increasing extremity of the planet's weather.

Sep 15, 2017; Bonita Springs, FL, USA; Louis Sarangi pushes a boat out of the flood waters along Pawley Avenue in Bonita Springs five days after Hurricane Irma. USA TODAY Network/PA Images. All rights reserved.Its January 2025, and within days of entering the Oval Office, a new president already faces his first full-scale crisis abroad. Twenty-four years after it began, the war on terror, from the Philippines to Nigeria, rages on. In 2024 alone, the U.S. launched repeated air strikes on 15 nations (or, in a number of cases, former nations), including the Philippines, Burma, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, the former Iraq, the former Syria, Kurdistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Mali, and Nigeria.

In the weeks before his inauguration, a series of events roiled the Greater Middle East and Africa. Drone strikes and raids by U.S. Special Operations forces in Saudi Arabia against both Shiite rebels and militants from the Global Islamic State killed scores of civilians, including children. They left that increasingly destabilized kingdom in an uproar, intensified the unpopularity of its young king, and led to the withdrawal of the Saudi ambassador from Washington. In Mali, dressed in police uniforms and riding on motorcycles, three Islamic militants from the Front Azawad, which now controls the upper third of the country, gained entry to a recently established joint U.S.-French military base and blew themselves up, killing two American Green Berets, three American contractors, and two French soldiers, while wounding several members of Malis presidential guard. In Iraq, as 2024 ended, the city of Tal Afar already liberated twice since the 2003 invasion of that country, first by American troops in 2005 and then by American-backed Iraqi troops ...


Unionism isnt ready for a deal anytime soon "IndyWatch Feed"

Stormont is staring into the political abyss. It already was I hear you say, but over the past week the tone of compromise that gave a faint flicker of hope has all but disappeared.

Unionism has marched right into a cul-de-sac nudged along by the current leader of the Orange Order who has about as much political wit as Jolene Bunting.

Edward Stevenson said that when language is used as a cultural weapon by political republicanism it clearly becomes a threat to our identity and community.

And lo and behold within days the DUPs initial proposal to deal with the Irish language was taken off the table with nothing to replace it. Removed by none other than party elder Sammy Wilson who once referred to Gaelige as a leprechaun language.

The DUP grassroots have had anti-Irishness drummed into them for so long that for some this now appears as a bigger concession than going into government with republicans a decade ago. Words like weapon, threat, impose and the painting of a picture to unionists that they will be stripped of their Britishness is indicative of the siege mentality that unionist leaders reinforce when it suits them.

The most blatant example of this was when the UUPs Reg Empty stated that Irish will be a compulsory subject in all schools if an Irish Language Act is introduced. No party, no group, no individual even has ever proposed this in the debate about this Bill. The UUP sensed the degree of pressure on the DUP about the current talks. So to undermine them, well they just decided to make things up!

Unionism is not ready to make a deal. Not now, not anytime soon.

I wish I was wrong but there simply are no signs of optimism from any party. If James Brokenshire had been replaced by Droopy the Dog perhaps the parties would have been more driven to reach a deal. However the limpless Secretary of State has done nothing more than set up the occasional press conference in his front garden.

It appears that the time for a deal has passed. The DUP would rather take their chances on Direct Rule with our 90 MLAs constituency services ticking over in the background, similar to the situation we had between 2003 and 2007.

Our MLAs are working hard. Of course they are because constituents are demanding and there is plenty of work to keep them occupied. The case that they do nothing is nothing more than a lazy argument.

However If the DUP thought that their constituency offices would be closed and Arlene Foster had to check into the dole office once a fortnight that would make a deal more likely. Remember theres one thing that motivates the DUP more than anything else money.

Its not going to happen though. The Tory dog isnt going to bite its DUP tail.



Have womens rights institutions been ignored again? "IndyWatch Feed"

The European Unions announced 500 million for work to end violence against women and girls. This should strengthen, rather than bypass, existing womens rights institutions.

At a high-level women leaders' forum co-hosted by Germany, the African Union and UN Women, in June 2017. At a high-level women leaders' forum co-hosted by Germany, the African Union and UN Women, in June 2017. Photo: UN Women/Flickr. Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). Some rights reserved.If someone offered you half a billion euros to end violence against women and girls, youd thank them. Especially if you were acutely aware of the many worthwhile strategies and organisations presently starved for support. Especially if you had seen the diverse and insidious forms of violence from intimate partner violence to state-sponsored violence that women have been courageously standing up against for decades.

We join others in extending huge appreciation to the European Union for announcing this week a 500 million grant to the United Nations, to support work to end violence against women and girls. This pandemic destroys lives, communities and families in every country. It requires urgent and comprehensive action from everyone. 

But the launch of this EU-UN partnership was also notable in its failure to mention one of the primary and most consistent sources of support for the work that it now wants to fund: The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.

Funds and trust

The Trust Fund was established in 1996 by a general assembly resolution. It is administered by the UN Women organisation on behalf of the UN system. It makes grants to NGOs and womens rights gr...


Rising from the abyss - the Corbyn effect "IndyWatch Feed"

In an exclusive and edited extract from his new book The Corbyn Effect, Mark Perryman measures the scale of Labours 2017 recovery.

In February 2017 Labour faced two by-elections. Losing one and with a much reduced majority in the other, the results seemed to leave Labour staring into the abyss.

In the Guardian Jonathan Freedland (who admits he is one of the people who warned Corbyn would be a disaster from the start) advised:

Those who voted in good faith for Jeremy Corbyn need to ask themselves what they value more the dreams they projected on to this one man or the immediate need to hold back a government wreaking intolerable damage on this countrys future.

Whilst were revisiting Corbyns critics and their unqualified certainty of the disastrous outcome awaiting Labour under his leadership, it is worth recalling the open letter from Jamie Reed MP, whose subsequent resignation triggered the by-election Labour lost:

At Prime Ministers Questions today, an inexplicable development occurred whereby David Cameron spoke for the overwhelming majority of Labour MPs and Labour voters everywhere it might be in my partys interests for him (Jeremy Corbyn) to sit there, it is not in the national interest. I would say for heavens sake man, go!...The Labour Party stands for a moral purpose that you do not share. We exist to redistribute power, wealth and opportunity through parliamentary democracy. Your (Jeremy Corbyn) actions have repeatedly shown that you do not believe that.

Serving up humble pie to the Corbyn critics is of course no recipe for the unity Labour now craves if it is to turn a decent second into first place. But we need to understand why those who convinced themselves - and did their best to convince the rest of us - of Labours dismal electoral prospects under Corbyn, got it so wrong.

Of course Jeremy has form as a serial backbench rebel himself. But he was ignored by most of...


We just want to stop pleading "IndyWatch Feed"

A call to the people of Spain, because the Catalan independence referendum on October 1 is about rather more than that. Espaol

lead September 20, 2017. Flowers and a banner reading ' I want to vote' on the floor as Spanish Guardia Civil police officers stand guard close to Catalan Governance Ministry in Barcelona. Jordi Boixareu/Press Association. All rights reserved.

When the Spanish Government overturned the Catalan Statute of Autonomy in 2010, even after it had been approved by an ample majority of voters in a referendum that had actually been permitted by the state, I said nothing because I wasnt Catalan; when the Catalans then asked the state to engage in talks on federalism and the state refused, I said nothing because I wasnt Catalan; when they asked for a new referendum and were told we will never even talk about this, I said nothing because I wasnt Catalan; when the state denied Catalans any possibility for being listened to, sabotaged their security and taxes, undermined their schools and administration in order to use these as arguments to cover up their own corruption and play the victim, I said nothing because I wasnt Catalan; when the state throttled their freedom of expression, intercepted their mail and shut down their economy, when uniformed men entered their political organizations and their media, when it confiscated publications, closed websites and arrested mayors, I said nothing because I didnt read this press and hadnt voted for those mayors. I even believed they deserved it for complaining so much and hoped theyd be silenced.

So when they broke my communitys rules of coexistence, violated my right to control my administration, betrayed my security and used me as cannon fodder I responded but, by then, irrationality had pervaded everything. They only had to say thats illegal and everyone kowtowed.

The official media has harped on and on...


Catalonia: recognition and dignity "IndyWatch Feed"

On October 2, it will be necessary to find a way out that does not imply the total defeat of the other and that enables us to recognize Spains national diversity. Espaol

Members of the Catalan National Assembly, distribute information through the streets of Barcelona asking for the vote in the referendum of independence of Catalonia on October 1. September 17, 2017. NurPhoto/Press Association. All rights reserved.A reader not familiar with the ins and outs of Spanish and Catalan politics over the last ten years would be surprised at the unusual events happening these days in Catalonia. There is talk of "attacking democracy" and of a "serious breach of constitutional legality", political leaders are being arrested for wanting to organize a referendum, while the police surrounds political parties headquarters and searches printing houses and newspapers. All this is happening in Spain, forty years after the recovery of democracy following Francos forty-year-long dictatorship, in a country where citizens enjoy by no means negligible levels of economic development and social welfare, the economic and institutional structure of which is fully embedded in the European and global fabric.

How did we get here? Let us spare the details. At the risk of being too schematic, we could say that there is a deficit in Spanish democracy regarding the recognition of its national plurality, and also a widespread perception in Catalan society that the Spanish political system has not been treating them with adequate dignity.

The political regime established in 1978, which has allowed a fully legal and legitimate functioning of Spanish democracy for several decades, has been losing steam. The stern refusal to reform it  for fear of the economic and political elites represented by the two major parties, the Peoples Party (PP) and the Socialist Party (PSOE) has ended up sounding its death knell.

In the agreement that was reached back then, the existence of an internal national plurality was acce...


Not another story of failed liberation: tensions in Bashur and Rojava in the light of the referendum "IndyWatch Feed"

Kurds need to rely on their own strength. The people must directly participate in and control their affairs if the fate of many other postcolonial countries is to be avoided.

lead Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016: New World Embassy, Rojava: installation view, Oslo City Hall, 2016. Democratic Self-Administration of Rojava & Studio Jonas Staal. Flickr/Istvn Virg. Some rights reserved.The situation of the Kurds in a drastically changing Middle East has received little attention in academia and less in the media despite their growing impact on regional and international politics. The biggest stateless people living in the Middle East are on the verge of a new status, not only in Iraqi Kurdistan, where a referendum for independence takes place on September 25, 2017, but also in Syria and Turkey. Then there are the Iranian Kurds. Their stories and the conditions they live in are the least known, not only by the international community but also by fellow-Kurds living in three neighbouring countries, due to an intense isolation. This weeks short series looks at current political struggles of the Kurds in four neighbouring countries or in a country that does not exist on the world map but in the hearts and mind of 40 million people. Mehmet Kurt, series editor.

In less than a week, the people of Bashur will go the polls to vote on independence. As the referendum decision has created ripples through the Middle East and beyond, the reactions of Turkey, Iran, and Iraq have been predictably hostile. After all, in the last hundred years since the World War One, these states have repeatedly tried to keep the Kurds in line through a combination of war, repression, and even attempts at genocide.

So, one should not be so surprised as they throw various threats at the KRG now. More interesting, however, is how the political fractures among Kurdish people and different parts of Kurdistan have become more manifest. Indeed, we now have at least two Kurdistans: Bashur with its capitalist modernization and Rojava and its allies with their democratic confederalism.

It is difficult to...


Psychedelic socialism "IndyWatch Feed"

Acid communism? Psychedelic Corbynism? Freak left? Call it what you will but re-infuse endeavours with a spirit of radical collectivism and unselfing to revivify co-opted countercultures for a world that would be free.

Details of the Acid Corbynism session at this years The World Transformed conference in Brighton, UK, are HERE

Acid communism: on the origins of an idea

When my friend Mark Fisher died in January, he had been working on a book with the provisional title Acid Communism: On Post-Capitalist Desire. He had discussed the book with me, but I only saw the draft introduction when a mutual friend sent it to me after he died. A few days later, some of his students at Goldsmiths College sent me a copy of the curriculum for his MA course on Post-Capitalist Desire, asking me if I, along with a number of other invitees, could contribute a session to allow the course to complete.

I still haven't worked out how to express the very strange complex of feelings I had when reading over this material. To put it bluntly, it felt like Mark was putting forward a set of arguments and ideas that Id been developing for several years in different forms not least in direct conversations and public discussions with Mark which were quite different from the positions hed held before we started collaborating, a few years earlier. There was no direct reference to my work in any of it; but more...


The protection lotto against gender-based violence in the US "IndyWatch Feed"

Women in the United States receive vastly different levels of protection against gender-based violence in the work place depending on where and who they are. 

My name is Cassandra Waters, and I'm the global worker rights specialist at the AFL-CIO.

Penelope Kyritsis (oD): Can you say a bit about why you think gender-based violence in the workplace is such a prevalent issue in the United States today?

Cassandra: It's a prevalent issue in the United States and throughout the world because the reality is that we still live in a society that has a gendered power hierarchy. Gender-based violence stems out of that system. That's something that affects workers all over the world, but is especially prevalent here in the United States because we were founded on unequal power relationships between men and women. There's a lot at stake in preserving those power relationships.

Penelope: What current avenues of recourse do women have to report sexual assault, or abuse, or other violations of their rights?

There are a lot of protections on the books that a lot of people can't reasonably access.

Cassandra: It's sort of piecemeal. At the national level we have Title Nine and we have protections against sexual harassment both direct and with regard to a hostile work environment. We have those protections in place, but there's a really piecemeal approach to how much is protected, and a lot of women feel as if they can't access these protections. People who don't have a regular migration status might be afraid to come forward and report, for example. People who are in temporary work or in a fractured workplace might not even know who their employer is or where they can go to report it. So there are a lot of barriers, and a lot of protections on the books that a lot of people can't reasonably access.

At the state level, some states have much higher levels of protection than others do with regard to what sort of behaviour is guarded against. So, I think that overall we really need something like an international standard to put together a more comprehensive approach.

Penelope: And what would an international framework to protect women against gender-based violence in the workplace look like?

Cassandra: At the ILO level, it would be something that would be negotiated between governments, unions, and employers to define the best practices. I think it would include explicit protections for workplace violence that is rooted in the gendered hierarchy......


They rode on horseback to deliver babies: a century later, midwives are still crucial "IndyWatch Feed"

I grew up with mares foaling and cows calving. I knew critters could do better than that; kinda figured women could too if given the chance.

Jean Fee shows photos from her time as a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service.  Credit: YES! Magazine/Melissa Hellmann. All rights reserved.

Carrie Hall was in the middle of a hair-coloring appointment when she received a call from nurses at a nearby hospital: One of her patients was about to deliver.

Her blonde hair still wrapped in foil, Hall rushed from the beauty salon to the delivery room and within 20 minutes was holding a baby boy in her arms.

I was at the salon and nature called! Hall wrote that April day in a Facebook post through her alma mater, Frontier Nursing University. It went viral. 1st time for everything!

As one of only two nurse midwives within about 40 miles of her hometown of Whitesburg in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, the 38-year-old Hall is accustomed to dropping everything at a moments notice to deliver a baby or conduct a checkup.

But hers is a profession in flux. As the number of obstetrician-gynecologists declines in rural parts of the country and more primary care physicians stop delivering babies, the need for health professionals like her, who specialize in womens reproductive care and childbirth, is becoming critical.

Yet, nearly 100 years after the first American nurse midwives rode on horseback across the Appalachian Mountains to help women in childbirth, many in this region in particular and across America as a whole have still not fully embraced this more natural form of care. Nurse midwives are nurses who have completed graduate-level courses in midwifery. They are licensed in all 50 states to deliver babies and specialize in womens reproductive health. A few states require they be supervised by a physician to practice, but Kentucky isnt one of them. They differ from certified professional midwives, who are trained to attend to home births and cant be licensed to practice in Kentucky.

Still, not enough hospitals and other health care facilities are opening their doors to nurse midwives, and general misconceptions about the kind of education midwives receive leave the profession struggling for acceptanceeven in areas where studies suggest they are most needed.

Often theres a belief that midwives are trained by their g...

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