São Paulo on shutdown: The day Brazil stood still

This Friday, the whole of Brazil came to a halt in what has been the country’s first general strike in twenty years. Called by trade unions and workers syndicates to protest against President Michel Temer’s austerity measures, the mass demonstrations were embraced by both students and workers from all areas, including education, health, transport, law and finance.

Although there are no clear numbers of demonstrators as of yet, at least 1.3 million people in over 554 cities are said to have taken part.

Paulista3 25 de março

The measures proposed by the president would weaken labour laws, pension regulations and increase the retirement age.

Throughout the country protests were largely peaceful and non-combative, but in the major capitals of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, some protesters used burning tires … Read the rest

The liberal redneck killing stereotypes with humour

Trae Crowder uses comedy to disarm people on both sides of the Facebook News Feed. Growing up in a small town on the edge of Tennessee, he felt like a blue dot in a sea of red.

Today he plays a character called the Liberal Redneck who rallies against bigotry and hypocrisy in the South, while also challenging liberal stereotypes of the region.

Crowder had been doing standup comedy for six years before he decided to point a camera at himself, branching into porch rants about Southerners – racking up hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of views in the process.

The 30-year-old has exposed double standards in everything from the way ‘rednecks’ view Black Lives Matter – “This has been framed largely as Black Lives … Read the rest

How globalised agriculture is ruining lives in South America

Not much remains of Guayaqui Cuá in southeastern Paraguay. As fires continue to smoulder, wisps of smoke float over the charred slats of a wooden bed, burnt personal possessions and a few sombre peasants living under makeshift plastic tents, which are all that’s left of this small rural community.

Two days ago, security men from the nearby cattle ranch and local police officers, under orders of a large estate owner, moved in without notice to evict the community and raze their properties to the ground, explains a tearful María Lina Estorales. Sitting despondently on the dirt floor and wiping rivers of tears from her face, she’s trying to work out what to do next – surrounded by members of the other 21 families who lost their … Read the rest

Essay: In the Heart of Dixie, Art Is Social Commentary | #50StatesofArt

As part of 50 States of Art, Creators is inviting artists to contribute first-person accounts of what it is like to live and create in their communities. Johnnie Mae Maberry is a visual artist and Associate Professor of Art at Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, MS.

Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old times there are not forgotten.
Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land!

(Daniel Emmitt, 1859)

Strange how the lyrics of the Dixieland tune comes to mind when thinking about Mississippi’s past and present. The relevance of that statement depends on who is doing the talking. There are those who celebrate and dance to the lyrics and tune of “Dixieland,” while there are Others who frown at the lyrics … Read the rest