Posts tagged ‘arab spring’

December 30, 2011

From the Arab Revolutions to the Occupy Uprisings, the Winter of Our Discontent

By Hena Ashraf

Originally published at Left Turn

A few weeks ago on the train my mind drifted to Mohammed Bouazizi and a great sorrow descended over me. I thought of how his tremendous sacrifice on the 17th of December 2010 was the literal spark that set the fire for uprisings around the world. I thought of how an ordinary Tunisian street vendor profoundly affected the lives of millions of people everywhere with his tragic protest.

His self-immolation captured the immense anger and frustration that millions experience on a daily basis. By setting himself on fire in front of the local governor’s office, Bouazizi showed the world that he could no longer endure the harassment and humiliation he suffered at the hands of corrupt local authorities. His example shows how revolutions start from the ground up, from ordinary people who are fed up of being pushed around. His actions set off revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, uprisings in Bahrain, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and throughout the Arab world, as well as in Greece, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

What’s been most remarkable is that despite the War on Terror and its racist underpinnings, in 2011 Europeans and Americans learned how to revolt and protest from Arabs and Muslims. In just a few months, by demanding that regimes supported by Western governments end once and for all, the people of the Middle East defeated centuries of Orientalist notions that they are backward, ignorant, and not ready for democracy. Alongside the toppled regimes lies Orientalism. It is wonderfully astonishing that the reference point for Madrid, Rome, London, New York, Oakland, etc, is the Arab world.

read more »

Advertisements
November 14, 2011

Comrades from Cairo respond to OWS Egypt delegation

Editor’s Note:  On November 10th, the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street passed a proposal (see the minutes here) allocating $29,000 to send an OWS solidarity delegation to Egypt on November 25th to monitor the upcoming elections.  Each working group was then contacted and asked to nominate two representatives to go on this trip.  Many urgent and important questions and concerns have since been raised.  We are re-publishing a letter from activists in Cairo expressing their deep concern with this decision the GA made.

To our kindred occupiers in Zuccotti park,

When we called out to you, requesting you join us on 12 November in defending our revolution and in our campaign against the military trial of civilians in Egypt, your solidarity—pictures from marches, videos, and statements of support—added to our strength.

However, we recently received news that your General Assembly passed a proposal authorizing $29,000 dollars to send twenty of your number to Egypt as election monitors. Truth be told, the news rather shocked us; we spent the better part of the day simply trying to figure out who could have asked for such assistance on our behalf.

We have some concerns with the idea, and we wanted to join your conversation.

read more »

November 4, 2011

Message of Solidarity to Occupy Wall Street from the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq

Editors’ note: We are sharing and re-printing this statement of solidarity written by the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq because we find it an inspirational reminder of how movements against oppression, militarization and the 1% are necessarily connected.

By Yanar Mohammed and Ali Issa

Originally Published at  Jadaliyya


Dear Occupy Wall Street,

The people of the world are watching you, following your news and hoping that – rather than just vent your anger and frustration – you achieve all of your dreams.

While democracy should guarantee all people an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives, you find yourselves forced to take to the streets, as politicians and bankers make decisions behind closed doors and hire an army of police to send you back home with nothing.

While a wealthy 1% ravages your jobs, health, and very lives, their focus is always on their banks and not on the welfare and future of innocent, unsuspecting millions of people. In times of growth, those banks are sustained by your labor, resulting in extravagant luxuries for the 1%; while their economic failures and crises deny you basic resources and economic rights.

This is the same 1% that pursued the war on Iraq without hearing the millions who marched – in the United States and around the world – expressing their opposition. While claiming democracy, the 1% builds vast armies to be launched not just against people all over the world, but also within their own borders.

A second wave of global revolutions has begun as the 99% (that is, the global working class) rejects the tyranny, marginalization, and poverty which capitalist authoritarian governments force onto billions of us. Despite all claims of representation, capitalist states make the people pay the price of the economic failures of their political systems with unemployment and government cuts, while the banks get bailed out by the same resources that people’s toil has created. Avoiding the poverty and starvation of billions is never the concern of these so-called democracies as much as the stability of their own political rule. Moreover, that same 1% re-creates the same failing model of “democratic” capitalist political structures in newly-invaded countries around the globe.

read more »

October 25, 2011

Letter of solidarity to OWS from Tahrir

Editor’s note: We are sharing and re-printing this statement of solidarity written by activists in Cairo, as we think it is crucial to acknowledge the connections between our movements. 

To all those in the United States currently occupying parks, squares and other spaces, your comrades in Cairo are watching you in solidarity. Having received so much advice from you about transitioning to democracy, we thought it’s our turn to pass on some advice.

Indeed, we are now in many ways involved in the same struggle. What most pundits call “The Arab Spring” has its roots in the demonstrations, riots, strikes and occupations taking place all around the world, its foundations lie in years­-long struggles by people and popular movements. The moment that we find ourselves in is nothing new, as we in Egypt and others have been fighting against systems of repression, disenfranchisement and the unchecked ravages of global capitalism (yes, we said it, capitalism): a System that has made a world that is dangerous and cruel to its inhabitants. As the interests of government increasingly cater to the interests and comforts of private, transnational capital, our cities and homes have become progressively more abstract and violent places, subject to the casual ravages of the next economic development or urban renewal scheme.

read more »

October 24, 2011

Revolutionary Movements

By Hena Ashraf

As a filmmaker my eye has always been drawn to the movements present in breakdancing; they are beautiful, fluid, and inspiring. This video released in March, “Spring Movements” by Justin Mashouf, combines this form of dance with footage that shows some of the millions who have fought for democracy in 2011 in the Arab world, and is an example of arts/media/culture as empowering forms of resistance. This week marks the first elections that are taking place amongst the Arab countries undergoing revolution, in Tunisia.

Arab Spring, European Summer, American Fall.