Tag Archives: activism

On the kindness of people, and the violence of the state

If I had known how hard a 10 week trial on terror-related charges for a peaceful protest would be, I don’t know how I could have faced it. It was the support people offered from the most surprising places that got us through it.

I’m one of the Stansted 15 convicted, controversially, for a terror-related offence following a peaceful blockade of a Home Office deportation charter flight, for which we narrowly escaped prison sentences last Wednesday. We thought it might be an endurance test in the courtroom which would last as long as four weeks – but it turned out to be a gruelling 10-week ordeal that showed me just how scary it is to face the threat of state intervention into your life. … Read the rest

Documenting the unseen side of the Black Panther Party

In 1968, the Black Panther Party (BPP) stood 2,000 strong; armed not just with firearms, but a knowledge of the Constitution, state, and local laws. Initially organised to fight police brutality, the group quickly organised to institute community social programs. Leadership understood the power of the press and began working with writers, artists, and photographers to get the word out.

That year, Kathleen Cleaver met husband and wife photographers Pirkle Jones (1914-2009) and Ruth-Marion Baruch (1922-1997), and gave them unprecedented access to the inner circle of the BPP.  Of the work they made, Baruch said: “We can only tell you: This is what we saw. This is what we felt. These are the people.”

The photographs – first printed in The Black Panther weekly newspaper – Read the rest

New Yorkers protest homophobia by kissing in the rain

Uzbekistan’s consulate in New York is on 2nd Avenue, just a single block away from the world headquarters of the United Nations. It’s a geography that ordinarily makes sense – diplomats and politicians close by to the world’s foremost international organisation. But despite their proximity, there’s an uncomfortable reality being all too often ignored, according to the fifty or so people gathered in the rain on a Sunday afternoon at the consulate door.

Freelance Freelance

Organised by the RUSA LGBT and New York group “Voices 4” – a non-violent advocacy group committed to using direct action to achieve global queer liberation – campaigners held a rally and kiss in here this Sunday, hoping to draw attention to the state-sponsored violence against the LGBTQ+ communities of Uzbekistan, … 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