Arquivo da tag: Manifestações

O voo dos Gaviões pela liberdade e critica social nas arquibancadas do Brasil (Le Monde Diplomatique Brasil)

Por Sandro Barbosa de Oliveira

04 de Março de 2016

O estopim para que ocorressem tais manifestações talvez seja o fato do deputado estadual Fernando Capez (PSDB) estar envolvido em denúncias sobre o esquema de desvio de verbas das merendas das escolas públicas do estado de São Paulo. Não por acaso que os Gaviões miram em Capez: o inimigo número um das torcidas.

Muito tem se falado sobre as manifestações políticas da torcida Gaviões da Fiel nos jogos do Campeonato Paulista, mas pouco sobre a história que fundamenta tais manifestações. Por isso, esse artigo pretende apresentar alguns elementos que possam contribuir para elucidar esse fenômeno e problematizar os aspectos que envolvem o seu desenvolvimento. Para tanto, inicia com a seguinte pergunta: quando foi que a torcida realizou a primeira manifestação em 2016?

Final da Copa São Paulo de Futebol Júnior de 2016. Os Gaviões da Fiel Torcida, que tomaram parte das arquibancadas do lendário estádio do Pacaembu, decidiram realizar uma festa popular ao acenderem sinalizadores e gás de fumaça para festejar a partida decisiva entre Corinthians e Flamengo, com a presença das duas maiores torcidas do país. Até aí tudo bem se não fosse o fato de sinalizadores e fumaça serem proibidos pela Federação Paulista de Futebol (FPF) e coibidos pela Polícia Militar (PM) do estado de São Paulo. Mas essa não foi uma simples festa popular. Com essa ação, a torcida corinthiana iniciou uma série de protestos políticos contra FPF, o preço dos ingressos e as proibições que sofrem as torcidas para ingressar com bandeiras, faixas e sinalizadores inofensivos nas arquibancadas, fato que fez com que a torcida sofresse outra punição: ficar 60 dias proibida de entrar com faixas e bandeiras nos estádios.

Esse processo de proibições vem desde 1995 e se institucionalizou na forma de punição sobre as torcidas organizadas (elas que representam a organização coletiva e política de seus torcedores) após o infeliz acontecimento decorrente da briga entre torcidas dos times São Paulo e Palmeiras, também na final da Copa São Paulo daquele ano. De lá para cá a imprensa esportiva, o Ministério Público (sob ações do promotor Fernando Capez), a PM e a FPF construíram um discurso e passaram a criminalizar as torcidas organizadas ao realizar ações para que elas perdessem seu espaço nos estádios, com o objetivo de consolidar o padrão de outro tipo de torcedor: o torcedor “família”, consumidor e individual do chamado “futebol moderno”, aquele que consome, porém, não questiona enquanto sujeito político os problemas do esporte nas arquibancadas.

Nesse meio tempo, com as torcidas banidas por um período das arquibancadas e com o discurso da violência nos estádios, a Rede Globo de televisão, aliada de cartolas e dirigentes de clubes, federações e da CBF, estabeleceu a compra das transmissões para consolidar um sistema de transmissão fechado em canais pago, e deter preferência nas transmissões em canal aberto através de privilégios. Ela negociou diretamente com cada clube e estabeleceu contratos que amarram futuras decisões. Com isso, criou-se um público de torcedores que não iam mais ao estádio (com medo das torcidas) e que assistiam no conforto de suas casas, com seus familiares e amigos até que os estádios voltassem a ser “seguros” e compatíveis com certos interesses de classes desses agentes. Ao retornarem aos estádios, as torcidas foram fichadas pela PM e ficaram impedidas de entrar com bandeiras de bambu, sinalizadores inofensivos e com outros adereços.

Recentemente e não por acaso, foi perceptível que antes, durante e após a Copa do Mundo no Brasil em 2014 organizado pela Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) – entidade maior do futebol que também está manchada por escândalos de corrupção tal como a CBF e a FPF – construiu-se um discurso sobre o tal padrão de torcedor e estádio que deveria ser consolidado no país. A organização local desse torneio impediu que manifestantes se aproximassem dos estádios (chamados agora de arenas) por meio de um forte aparato repressor, ao se passar uma imagem para o mundo de que o país vivia alegre e festivamente a Copa (imagem veiculada pela transmissão oficial). No entanto, outros meios mostravam a real situação nas ruas através das manifestações organizadas pelos Comitês Populares da Copa e que foram reprimidas com violência e prisões, imagens estas veiculadas pelas mídias alternativas na Internet. Nesse momento, os Gaviões da Fiel estiveram calados e sequer se manifestaram contra o processo de elitização no futebol que vinha antes da Copa e que se potencializou com o torneio. Se tivessem se posicionado, teriam o apoio das organizações populares que estavam nas ruas lutando por uma Copa popular.

Mas por que os Gaviões da Fiel se manifestaram somente agora em 2016?

Um dos aspectos que chamam a atenção é o posicionamento da atual diretoria dos Gaviões através de seu presidente Rodrigo Fonseca, o Diguinho, que disse em entrevista ao jornal Brasil de Fato que “Não podemos assistir omissos ao processo de elitização do futebol”. De fato, ele reconhece que “não apenas o Corinthians está passando faz anos e tornando a arquibancada um lugar mais branco e rico que outrora”, e destaca que “CBF, FPF, Rede Globo, diretoria do Corinthians e os tais promotores, todos eles trabalham em conjunto para fazer do futebol um espetáculo de elite”.

Outro aspecto importante é que em 2015 os Gaviões soltaram notas em apoio à greve dos professores da rede pública estadual que durou 90 dias, e aos estudantes que lutaram contra a reorganização escolar e ocuparam com ousadia o coração do espaço público na sociedade – as escolas públicas do estado de São Paulo. Ambas as lutas contra o governo do estado que também puniu as torcidas com uma visão elitista de criminalizá-las. Essas lutas sem dúvida influenciaram os Gaviões e os fez alçar novos voos pela liberdade também nas arquibancadas, ao buscarem em sua própria história e origem o legado da luta contra um sistema opressor em defesa da liberdade e da crítica social nas arquibancadas por meio de um despertar político. Os Gaviões nasceram para fiscalizar e lutar contra os autoritarismos e as censuras impostas pela arbitrariedade de dirigentes e federações no clube e no futebol durante a ditadura militar. Foi a primeira (e talvez única) torcida a levantar em 1979 a faixa pela Anistia ampla aos presos políticos.

Regressando um pouco ao ano de 2007, ano em que a torcida corinthiana protagonizou o Movimento Fora Dualib, o futebol do Corinthians enfrentava crises sem tréguas que culminou com o rebaixamento no Campeonato Brasileiro daquele ano. A crise que estourou no clube foi resultado das tramas entre dirigentes que agiam de maneira oligárquica e o setor financeiro. No ano de 2005 eles realizaram uma parceria com a Media Sports Investment (MSI), representada pelo iraniano Kia Joorabchian, parceria que expressou a chegada de capitais britânicos e russos de origem duvidosa ao futebol brasileiro. A MSI estabeleceu um contrato em que iria realizar investimentos por dez anos no futebol do Corinthians ao contratar jogadores renomados e construir o estádio para o clube. Ela formou um time que auto intitulou de “galácticos” que conquistou o Campeonato Brasileiro de 2005, mas que na temporada seguinte, devido ao desgaste pelo controle do futebol do clube entre Kia e Dualib, deixou de enviar recursos ao clube que gerenciou o departamento de futebol por conta própria e acumulou uma dívida superior aos R$ 70 milhões. A parceria, que ganhou as manchetes e elevou o clube aos noticiários esportivos do mundo, terminou em 2007 nas páginas policiais com a intervenção do Ministério Público Federal e o bloqueio das contas da MSI e de seus representantes acusados de lavagem de dinheiro e formação de quadrilha, aspectos que fizeram com que os Gaviões e as demais torcidas corinthianas se mobilizarem para retirar da presidência o responsável por essa trama: Alberto Dualib.

Mas o que esse episódio na história do Corinthians pode dizer sobre o futebol brasileiro? Em primeiro lugar, o futebol é a expressão da formação social, econômica e política da sociedade brasileira organizada para exportar “produtos primários”, aspecto estrutural de uma economia “voltada para fora” e que foi devidamente analisada pelo historiador Caio Prado Júnior quando desvelou o seu caráter dependente. No caso do futebol, isso implica em dizer que parte dos jogadores preparados aqui tem seus passes “vendidos” precocemente em transações financeiras para os grandes clubes da Europa, o que atribui um papel decisivo a um agente que não existia antes no futebol – o empresário de jogador, aquele que faz a ponte entre o clube daqui com os clubes estrangeiros de lá. O futebol expressa a desigualdade social já que 0,80% dos jogadores recebem salários entre R$ 50 mil a R$ 500 mil e 82,40% não recebem mais que R$ 1.000,00.[1] Em segundo lugar, os clubes que querem formar grandes elencos para a conquista de títulos e não criaram condições próprias para isso, acabam por depender de recursos externos e recorrem aos investidores, patrocinadores e parceiros na execução dos chamados “projetos” para aquela temporada ou para um período maior. O fato é que os clubes de futebol, que são entidades sem fins lucrativos e/ou associações, passaram a depender de agentes do setor financeiro que visam com os seus “investimentos” encontrar fontes mais rentáveis para suas receitas e viram nos clubes um jeito de gerar rentabilidade aos seus capitais livres de impostos. O problema é o descompasso entre os clubes, já que parte ainda são geridos de maneira oligárquica por seus dirigentes, e os agentes financeiros, empresas e pessoas físicas que investem recursos para obter lucro.

Em tal cenário de investimentos de capitais e mercantilização sem riscos as torcidas organizadas passaram a ser um problema, pois elas querem ver seus times com elencos fortes e disputando títulos, e questionam com força quando isso não acontece. Elas entraram também no jogo do “mercado” e deixaram de lado as manifestações política que marcaram suas trajetórias. Então, como o futebol não é uma ciência exata e depende da dinâmica dos jogos e da organização das equipes, nem sempre é provável que o elenco mais caro e forte saia vencedor daquele campeonato. Mas como os clubes brasileiros foram integrados em um mundo de economia globalizada, financeirizada e midiatizada, precisam lidar com “a propaganda como a alma do negócio”. Mesmo que não vençam campeonatos, o importante é a marca aparecer e se autovalorizar, e para isso o marketing dos clubes grandes foi ampliado. Outro aspecto é que as brigas entre as torcidas que expressava a organização das classes populares teria afastado o torcedor-consumidor do ideário liberal-econômico que manteria essa engrenagem funcionando.

Nesse sentido, estaria aí um nexo que articula uma explicação possível para a proibição das torcidas nos estádios em São Paulo: por um lado, altos investimentos de empresas e emissoras de televisão nos clubes grandes e nas federações, para que garantam o monopólio e o privilégio de valorização e transmissão das partidas, por outro, pacificação e aburguesamento nas arquibancadas, expresso inclusive no programa Fiel Torcedor que exclui e individualiza o acesso ao estádio, duplo movimento chamado pelas torcidas de “futebol moderno”, o qual é possível defini-lo por futebol elitizado. O futebol paulista e brasileiro, portanto, faz então um movimento de regresso às suas origens direto para a elitização, mas com os conflitos de nosso tempo histórico, já que o mesmo se popularizou a partir da década de 1930 e se tornou paixão nacional na década de 1950 entre as classes populares nos processos de industrialização da sociedade.

Por isso, e retomando a importância das recentes manifestações, por que os atos nas arquibancadas protagonizados pelos Gaviões ganharam ressonância geral para além do clubismo? Talvez porque a torcida corinthiana decidiu atacar de maneira politizada as raízes do problema que determinou a sua punição no estádio com uma pauta clara e direta. Com faixas nas partidas contra o Capivariano e o São Paulo no Campeonato Paulista de 2016 estabeleceu o seguinte diálogo com a sociedade: “Rede Globo, o Corinthians não é o seu quintal”; “Cadê as contas do estádio?”; “CBF, FPF a vergonha do futebol”; “Futebol refém da Rede Globo”; “Quem vai punir o ladrão de merendas?”; “Ingresso mais barato”. Foi a primeira vez que uma torcida se manifestou explicitamente nas arquibancadas contra essas entidades e emissora. Entretanto, ao denunciar os causadores da falta de liberdade de expressão e de sua punição das arquibancadas, os Gaviões enfrentaram a PM e a FPF que impediam que as torcidas se manifestassem politicamente nos estádios. Ao derrubarem os argumentos das “autoridades” com referência ao próprio Estatuto do Torcedor que seus algozes utilizavam, demonstraram conhecimento de causa e puderam deslegitimar a tentativa da FPF e da PM de criminalizá-los.

Cabe destacar que o primeiro movimento de torcedores corinthianos contra o “futebol moderno” dentro e fora do Itaquerão (estádio do Corinthians) foi protagonizado por um pequeno grupo de dissidentes dos Gaviões e torcedores comuns em 2014, quando resgataram o movimento criado pelas organizadas “Andrés aqui não tem burguês”. Eles se manifestaram com faixas e dizeres do tipo “Ingresso caro = corinthiano de fora”, ao se posicionar contra os ingressos caros no novo estádio e chamar a atenção para a exclusão dos corinthianos das classes populares (preto, pobre e periférico). Contudo, sofreram represália da PM e tiveram suas faixas tomadas sob alegação de que estavam violando a lei. Esse movimento ficou restrito a este grupo pequeno e não teve visibilidade como ocorreu agora com as ações dos Gaviões que sempre foi referência política e de canto na arquibancada. De qualquer maneira, o grupo criticou o ex-presidente Andrés Sanchez, responsável pela gestão do estádio, e conseguiu uma conquista importante já que foi ano de eleição: uma pequena baixa no preço dos ingressos. Só que o preço dos ingressos continuou alto para as condições de vida das classes populares que historicamente frequentaram os estádios, não só em jogos no Itaquerão, mas também em jogos com mando de campo de times do interior.

Mas no atual momento o que defendem os Gaviões?

Os Gaviões defendem o direito à liberdade de expressão e à livre manifestação da coletividade nas arquibancadas desse Brasil a fora. Essa liberdade foi garantida pela Constituição Federal de 1988 que diz que “a manifestação do pensamento, a criação, a expressão e a informação, sob qualquer forma, processo ou veículo, não sofrerão qualquer restrição”. Todavia, segundo o Estatuto do Torcedor e o regulamento da FPF, os torcedores podem se manifestar pacificamente nas arquibancadas. Por isso, como disse o jornalista José Trajano “tudo o que eles manifestaram, através das faixas, tem o apoio da maioria da população brasileira. Eles são os nossos porta-vozes. Assino embaixo”. Esse sentimento particular de uma torcida que luta por sua liberdade de crítica social é o sentimento geral de maior parte da população brasileira que se reconhece e se identifica nesse tipo de manifestação, já que o futebol enquanto paixão nacional se tornou um lazer mercantilizado e gerido por dirigentes mafiosos que estão imersos em esquemas de corrupção e lavagem de dinheiro, dominado por uma emissora de TV e que parecem desconsiderar os valores afetivos e de sociabilidade que os torcedores têm por esse esporte popular.

Ademais, talvez o estopim para que ocorressem tais manifestações agora seja o fato de haver chegado ao público denúncias sobre o esquema de desvio de verbas das merendas das escolas públicas do estado de São Paulo, esquema que teria como principal articulador o promotor e deputado estadual Fernando Capez (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira – PSDB). Não por acaso que os Gaviões miram em Capez: o inimigo número um das torcidas e que agora se encontra imerso em denúncias sobre atitudes ilícitas e criminosas de desvio de verbas, aspecto que sempre atribuiu em seus discursos às torcidas organizadas. Ironias da história que não só gira, mas, sobretudo, se desenvolve em um movimento espiral de contradições e conflitos sociais em que os agentes e os acontecimentos se convertem no seu contrário, o bom moço da promotoria está no banco dos réus enquanto que os Gaviões procuram resgatar sua imagem de torcida que faz a festa e manifestações legítimas com forte apelo social.

Por fim, os Gaviões apresentam uma crítica social e não só do futebol ao que ocorreu nas escolas públicas com a chamada propina da merenda escolar e parece conclamar as torcidas, os estudantes e os trabalhadores, já que entoaram o canto “Eu não roubo merenda, eu não sou deputado. Trabalho todo dia, não roubo meu Estado” e de “Ladrão, ladrão, devolve o futebol pro povão”, para lutar contra os desmandos e arbitrariedades da FPF e do partido do governo estadual nesses 21 anos de mandatos, o mesmo partido que proibiu as torcidas de se manifestarem nos estádios, os estudantes de se manifestarem nas escolas e os professores de se manifestarem nas ruas. Tal como analisou Marx, podemos inferir também que a história ocorre por assim dizer duas vezes: a primeira como tragédia, com a proibição das torcidas, reorganização escolar e derrota da greve dos professores, e a segunda como farsa, predominância de torcedores “coxinhas” nas arquibancadas, desorganização escolar camuflada e precarização do trabalho de professores nas escolas. É preciso então haver lutas pela liberdade e crítica social nas arquibancadas, nas escolas e nas ruas para que haja a transformação efetiva da sociedade. As demais torcidas do Corinthians e de outros clubes já estão seguindo o exemplo de politização dos Gaviões e se manifestando nas arquibancadas. Tomara que essas manifestações construa um movimento para além do clubismo e por um futebol que retorne ao poder e apropriação das classes populares.

Sandro Barbosa de Oliveira 

Sandro Barbosa de Oliveira é professor, educador popular, bacharel em Ciências Sociais pelo Centro Universitário Fundação Santo André (CUFSA), mestre em Ciências Sociais pela Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Unifesp) e doutorando em Sociologia pela Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp). Participa do Grupo de Pesquisa Classes Sociais e Trabalho da Unifesp. É também associado e cientista social da Usina Centro de Trabalhos para o Ambiente Habitado.

 

Foto: André Lucas Almeida, Jornalistas Livres

 

Anúncios

Por que você foi às ruas? (TV Folha e BBC)

Em ato contra governo, manifestantes divergem sobre impeachment (TV Folha)

16/03/2015 – TV Folha – Multimídia – Folha de S.Paulo

Vídeo

As manifestações de rua realizadas neste domingo (15) contra o governo da presidente Dilma Rousseff e o PT alcançaram todos os Estados do país, com protestos reunindo milhares de pessoas mesmo em redutos petistas.

O maior ato ocorreu em São Paulo, onde 210 mil pessoas passaram pela avenida Paulista ao longo do dia, segundo o Datafolha, apesar da chuva intermitente.

Nas ruas, apesar do discurso ser contrário ao governo de Dilma Rousseff, os manifestantes divergiam sobre o impeachment da presidente, como mostra o vídeo acima.

A Polícia Militar calculou em 1 milhão o número de participantes, com base em fotografias aéreas, segundo nota da corporação.

Se considerado o número do Datafolha, os protestos reuniram ao menos 877 mil pessoas em todo o Brasil. Pela estimativa da PM paulista, o total sobe para 1,7 milhão.

Editoria de Arte/Folhapress

*   *   *

Por que você foi às ruas? (BBC)

Atualizado pela última vez 05:29 (Brasília) 08:29 GMT

Vídeo

A BBC Brasil conversou com pessoas que foram às ruas de São Paulo – palco das maiores manifestações do país nos últimos dias – para saber o que as levou às ruas contra e a favor do governo de Dilma Rousseff.

Na sexta-feira, 13 de março, sindicatos, movimentos estudantis e sociais levaram milhares de pessoas à Avenida Paulista em uma manifestação que fez críticas ao governo, mas ofereceu apoio à presidente.

Muitos dos manifestantes falavam em evitar “uma tentativa de golpe”, referindo-se aos pedidos de impeachment, que outro grupo levou às ruas, com centenas de milhares de vozes, no domingo.

O protesto contra a presidente petista no dia 15 de março reuniu discursos diferentes a respeito dos problemas e das soluções possíveis para o sistema político brasileiro – alguns falavam em reforma política, outros chegavam a pedir uma intervenção militar.

A luta pela água em SP (Conta d’Água)

25 fev 2015

Quem é quem nos diferentes movimentos e coletivos que se organizam diante da ineficácia do governo e da Sabesp perante a crise hídrica.

Por Ivan Longo da Revista Fórum

O racionamento de água no estado de São Paulo já está consolidado e não é novidade para ninguém. Independente da região, não é difícil encontrar casas ou estabelecimentos que fiquem um ou mais dias sem água, todas as semanas. Os que não ficam só conseguem se segurar graças aos caminhões pipa. Ainda que essa situação seja um consenso, o governador Geraldo Alckmin e a Sabesp seguem negando o rodízio, negligenciando informação e adiando medidas para conter, de fato, a crise pela qual eles mesmos são os responsáveis.

Diante da inércia do poder público, a população vem se organizando para encontrar maneiras de adiar o pior ou mesmo pressionar os governantes para que se mude a lógica de como a água é administrada no estado. Do final do ano passado para o início deste ano, uma série de atos, atividades e aulas públicas relacionadas à crise hídrica vêm acontecendo independentemente da ação do poder público.

Para esta quinta-feira (26), por exemplo, o Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem-Teto (MTST) convocou um grande ato — a Marcha pela Água — com o intuito de cobrar do governo transparência na gestão da crise e o direito universal à água.

Outros coletivos, entidades e movimentos pautados pela crise da água vêm nascendo e alguns deles, inclusive, atuando já há algum tempo. Com o objetivo em comum — o de garantir o acesso à água para todos — cada um desses grupos propõe diferentes métodos, caminhos e soluções.

Saiba quem é quem nessa nova configuração de lutas nascida no solo seco do estado de São Paulo.

Coletivo de Luta pela Água

O Coletivo de Luta pela Água publicou seu manifesto em janeiro deste ano diante do acirramento da crise no abastecimento no estado de São Paulo. Trata-se de um coletivo composto por movimentos sociais, sindicatos, gestores municipais e ONG’s que busca articular a sociedade civil na luta pelo direito à água. Como solução para a crise, a entidade propõe que o governo apresente imediatamente um Plano de Emergência que explicite de forma clara os próximos passos que serão tomados a partir de um amplo diálogo com a sociedade e representantes dos municípios.

Aliança pela Água

Aliança pela Água reúne uma série de entidades com diferentes áreas de atuação, mas principalmente as ligadas à questão ambiental. A ideia é construir, junto à sociedade — diante da inércia do governo estadual para com a crise no abastecimento — soluções para a segurança hídrica através de várias iniciativas.

Para isso, o coletivo tem realizado uma série de mapeamentos, aulas públicas, atos e consultas com especialistas para traçar caminhos, o que já levou à divulgação de uma Agenda Mínima, com 10 ações urgentes e 10 ações a médio e a longo prazo. Entre as propostas, estão a criação de um comitê de gestão da crise, a divulgação aberta de informações para a população, ação diferenciada das agências reguladoras para grandes consumidores (indústrias e agronegócio), incentivo às novas tecnologias, implantação de políticas de reuso, recuperação e proteção dos mananciais, transcrição de um novo modelo para a gestão da água, entre outras.

Assembleia Estadual da Água

Assembleia Estadual da Água surgiu a partir de entidades, como o coletivo Juntos!, do PSOL, que desde o ano passado vem realizando mobilizações contra a crise no abastecimento. No final do ano, a entidade teve contato com o movimento Itu Vai Parar, que lutava contra a calamidade ocorrida em Itu, uma das primeiras cidades a sentir mais intensamente os efeitos da crise. A partir do diálogo, diversas outras entidades decidiram se reunir para, em dezembro, realizar oficialmente a Assembleia Estadual da Água, em Itu, que contou com a participação de mais de 70 coletivos, entidades e movimentos. A Assembleia vem realizando uma série de atividades para mobilizar a população em torno do tema, inclusive em parceria com outros movimentos, como a Aliança pela Água.

MTST

O Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem-Teto (MTST) também resolveu abraçar a causa da água. O movimento, que conta com milhares de militantes e com o apoio de dezenas de entidades, vai realizar o ato Marcha pela Água, no próximo dia 26. Eles exigem transparência do governo estadual para com a situação, a elaboração urgente de um plano de emergência e o fim da sobre taxa em relação ao consumo.

Lute pela água

O coletivo Lute pela Água busca fazer reuniões de bairro para articular a população na luta pelo direito à água e já realizou, desde o ano passado, três protestos contra a crise no abastecimento. Formado por membros do coletivo Território Livre e da Frente Independente Popular (FIP), o movimento defende a estatização da Sabesp e a gestão popular da companhia.

Conta D’água

O Conta D’água é um coletivo de comunicação, que reúne diversos veículos de mídia independente, bem como movimentos e entidades, com o intuito de fazer um contraponto à narrativa da mídia tradicional, que insiste em blindar o governo estadual e a Sabesp pela crise no abastecimento. Com matérias, reportagens, informes, entrevistas e eventos, o Conta D’água vem, desde o ano passado, participando das principais mobilizações em torno do tema e pautando o assunto com o viés e as demandas da população.


Agenda das mobilizações

26/2 (quinta-feira) — Marcha pela Água em São Paulo
Local: Largo da Batata, Pinheiros
Horário: 17h

20/03 (sexta-feira) — Dia de Luta pela Água
Realização: Coletivo de Luta pela Água
Local: Vão livre do MASP
Horário: 14h30

27/03 (sexta-feira) — 4º Ato Sem Água São Paulo vai Parar
Realização: Lute pela Água
Local: Largo da Batata, Pinheiros
Horário: 18h00

Notes from the Anthropocene #1 (The Brooklyn Rail)

Nov 5th, 2014

On September 21, 2014, nearly 400,000 people took part in the People’s Climate March and Mobilization, winding their way from Central Park through Midtown Manhattan and ending with a block party celebration on the city’s mostly empty West Side (flooded during Sandy). Cleanly subdivided into six categories of political subjects—indigenous and environmental justice groups up front, a medieval combination of scientists and priests in the fifth, and finally “Here comes everybody! L.G.B.T.Q., N.Y.C. Boroughs, Community Groups, Neighborhoods, Cities, States, and more” in the sixth—the march called on the United Nations Climate Summit and governments around the world to steer a course towards appropriate “climate action” and “climate justice” on behalf of the groups neatly represented like meats and cheeses on a Hormel party tray. The following day, former anti-globalization and Occupy Wall Street activists, many on the payroll of this or that N.G.O., attempted a mass civil disobedience action on the blocks leading to the New York Stock Exchange. When the orchestrated non-violence of Flood Wall Street met the orchestrated non-brutality of the NYPD, ne’er an arrest occurred and the organizers called it all off, going home and turning the streets over to a few hundred unofficial protesters who were determined to be peacefully taken into custody.

As the United Nations met later that week to talk about talking about limiting global temperature rise to less than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) through a reduction in carbon emissions while simultaneously making economies, cities, and networks resilient, the People’s Climate Summit website released its own numbers: 400,000 people, 1,574 organizations, 50,000 college students, 5,200 articles, and 7 celebrity selfies. Homemade and mass-produced signs, puppets and inflatables, polar bear costumes and globes, thousands of buses whose bills were footed by non-profits and Gofundme.com, a pony-tailed Leo DiCaprio parading around as the U.N.’s Messenger for Peace, with a special focus on climate change issues. A success, they say, in launching the climate justice movement, a success as quantifiable as the parts per million of the upper safety limit for the atmosphere. As the march quickly faded into most New Yorkers’ memories, as when a million of us marched against the war that happened anyway, a variety of non-questions circulated to try to cement the march’s legacy. Was it too radical? Not radical enough? Too little too late? A photo-op? A corporate greenwash with the help of the “non-profit industrial complex”? 1 Non-questions for a non-world. Simply put, the Climate March was a blast from the past, mobilizing a set of political techniques and priorities that have literally been left behind by reality, by the new common in which we find ourselves.

A new epoch is certainly at hand; one need only trace the fault lines from the glacial barricades of Kiev’s Maidan across the radioactive swamp left by Fukushima’s failing ice wall to the “Winter is Coming” graffiti of Istanbul’s Gezi commune. Everywhere this age speaks its exhaustion, in the massive human efforts to break through and in the falling of idols. The once coherent subject around which the world was ordered stands in ruin as a neurotic information node whose closest relationship is with a cellphone or iPad. The claims to mastery over the world are being literally washed away by rising seas, while terminal diagnoses of our civilization proliferate as quickly as fantasies of the end (see the Walking Dead’s Terminus). As Brad Evans and Julien Reid describe it in their book Resilient Life, “We are living out the final scenes of the liberal nightmare in all its catastrophic permutations,” an epoch that is sensed just as much in the collapse of the Western Antarctic ice sheet2 and the bamboo barricades of Hong Kong as in the desertification of the Amazon rainforest and the death vows of the Lakota in the face of the KeystoneXL pipeline.3 Some people say the world is ending, but we say it is just a way of life, a certain order of things.

Ironically, it is geologists who have already arrived at this conclusion, by way of atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen’s “launch[ing] a small hand grenade into the world of geological time scales.”4 Crutzen, formerly most famous for his Nobel Prize-winning research on the depletion of the ozone layer, used the term the Anthropocene in 2000 in a newsletter of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme.5 Since then geologists such as Jan Zalasiewicz have taken up the term, forming the Anthropocene Working Group (A.W.G.) to prepare a proposal for its inclusion in the International Commission on Stratigraphy’s official geological time scale. Etymologically the Anthropocene designates the “epoch of man”—a triumphal crowning of the liberal subject and its way of life, dated unsurprisingly from the middle of the 18th century. Stratigraphically the Anthropocene designates that Man has become the most powerful geological force on the planet, meaning that our measurable physical impact on sedimentation is more powerful than the oceans’ tides or the movement of mountains. Though in many popular accounts the Anthropocene is often reduced to the impacts of global warming or other processes contributing to climate change, geologists have focused on a series of metrics in addition to these such as deforestation, the acidification of the ocean, mass extinction, urbanization, the reshuffling of the biosphere, and the homogenization of environments. As such the perceptible triumph of man and his civilization, its coming to the fore as the most powerful force on earth, can best be measured in a catastrophic impact.

In light of the Anthropocene, geologists have also begun reshuffling their own rubrics, expanding the purview of paleontology from the organic to the inorganic and from the past to the present with the introduction of “technostratigraphy.”6According to Zalasiewicz and colleagues Colin Waters (Principal Mapping Geologist at the British Geological Survey) and Mark Williams (Professor of Palaeobiology with Zalasiewicz at Leicester), technofossils7 may well stand as the most convincing evidence of the epoch’s environmental signature. In the first-ever instance of geoscientists using anything other than biological fossils to help classify a chronostratigraphical unit, the A.W.G. are not looking at dinosaur vertebrae frozen in amber or ancient leaf imprints found in stone, but at critical infrastructures and cities like New York itself, which they see as “one of the most extensive, durable and geologically distinctive aspects of the Anthropocene” (Williams et al, 399) and thus as representative index fossils of the epoch’s recent, current, and near future. Whereas palaeontology has always been about studying past geological artifacts, the objects now under consideration as Anthropocene fossils—the key evidence in the Anthropocene dossier—are those of our present-day, still-functioning civilization. Thus for the first time in history, geologists are now dating an epoch in the present tense, studying contemporary, still functioning, infrastructures as fossils, studying the constituent elements of our civilization the way they once studied the remains of a long-vanished life form.

Through their attempt at naming and measuring the epoch of man, studying cities and subways as fossils in real time, and conjuring future geologists from outer space to study a world in which this civilization has completely vanished, thesegeologists have called our entire civilization and its requisite way of life a ruin. It would be easy to read the “humanity” implied in the Anthropocene as the final expression of modern man’s vanity, one last Promethean blast, but doing so misses entirely what’s most decisive about the stratigraphers’ concept: the Anthropocene elevates liberal humanity to prime geohistorical agent, center of the world, but does so only in the moment of its historical collapse. Has there ever been a civilization that named itself after its most cherished principle in order to call the whole thing a failure?

The Anthropocene as name and as phenomenon: the completion of the West, modernity, and liberal humanism. Seemingly by accident, coming from the sciences but immediately overflowing their bounds of acceptability—constant pressure to avoid seeming too negative and to remain dispassionate in their work—the geologists have cleared away the web of confusion. Naming the epoch after its first principle-in-ruins, they force us to face our age in all its schizophrenia.

Even if the geologists can’t quite say aloud what the New York Times could publish—“that this civilization is already dead”8—they place us succinctly and directly in the present. The end of the world is not this or that disaster coming in the future—a biblical flood, the next hurricane, the collapse of Midwestern agriculture—nor is it a potential future extinction of homo sapiens. The end of the world is what we are living through right now. And whereas the deluge of newspaper accounts of “the collapse of civilization”9 focus almost primarily on environmental factors, we insist that the devastation named by the Anthropocene is just as much a spiritual, existential, human devastation as it is an environmental one. It is impossible to separate the collapse of ice sheets from the collapse of man. Yet here again, in the very name itself, the Anthropocene seems to exceed what is considered polite or acceptable to say.

From this angle the People’s Climate March and Mobilization looks a bit different. Rather than being a matter of too much clicktivism, too few paint bombs, or of making demands to an utterly discredited institution, the Mobilization was designed to function as a last ditch attempt to shore up the present. At work in the generation of a discourse of climate crisis and a climate movement is an operation that dims down the complex reality of our epoch to a single phenomenon—global warming as generated by increased ppm of CO2—and deriving from that a set of clearly representable subjects—from “frontline communities” to “climate activists”—and a set of core questions—how can this situation be managed and how can this way of life be saved from itself?—that in effect attempt to hold back the apocalypse one more day, while also holding back any possibility of redemption. Keeping us cocooned, trapped, within an eternal, frozen present.

Conclusion

As Lauren Berlant writes, “the present is perceived, first, affectively: the present is what makes itself present to us before it becomes anything else” (Cruel Optimism, 4). This series will explore our present, an epoch for which we lack precedents or words but in which we are, already, called and shaped. Its aim is to read the tracks in front of us from within the situation, to recognize the present as it unfolds and to trace the breaths and rhythms with which it expresses itself. As such, the writing may occasionally take on different forms—stories, letters, interviews, or whatever seems appropriate. Future topics include “Those Who Go West” in Japan, extinction obsession, France’s Zone A Défendre and other ZADs, hacker spaces, autonomy, “survival skills,” and more. We will read the signs of the time and open ourselves up to the forms of life that are already coming to replace man in this exhausted age. An age obsessed with the end because it wants to see the world reborn.


NOTES


  1. Pinto, Nick. “Last Month’s Climate Protests: Potent Message Or Toothless.” Gothamist. Oct. 13, 2014. Web

  2. Goldberg, Suzanne. “Western Antarctic Ice Sheet Collapse Has Already Begun, Scientists Warn.” The Guardian, May 13, 2014. Web.

  3. Ibanez, Camila. “Lakota Vow: ‘dead or in Prison before We Allow the KXL Pipeline’ – Waging Nonviolence.” Waging Nonviolence. Mar. 13, 2013

  4. Sample, Ian. “Anthropocene: Is This the New Epoch of Humans?” The Guardian. N.p., 16 Oct. 2014. Web.

  5. Stoermer, Eugene. “Have We Entered the ‘Anthropocene’?” – IGBP. Oct. 31, 2014. Web.

  6. Zalasiewicz, Jan, Mark Williams, Colin Waters, Anthony Barnosky, and Peter Haff. “The Technofossil Record of Humans.” The Anthropocene Review 1.2 (2014): 34-43. Web.

  7. “Is the fossil record of complex animal behaviour a stratigraphical analogue for the Anthropocene?” Geological Society of London, Special Publications 10/2013;


    See also Colin N. Waters, Jan A. Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams, Michael A. Ellis, and Andrea M. Snelling, “A stratigraphical basis for the Anthropocene?” Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 395, first published on March 24, 2014.

  8. Scranton, Roy. “Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene.” Opinionator Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene Comments. The New York Times, Nov. 10, 2013.

  9. Ahmed, Nafeez. “Nasa-funded Study: Industrial Civilisation Headed for ‘Irreversible Collapse’?” The Guardian. Mar. 26, 2014.

CONTRIBUTORS

Glenn DyerGLENN DYER was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and now lives in Ridgewood, Queens. He is a historian, translator, amateur strategist, and part-time instructor at the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies. Glenn is also part of 1882 Woodbine, a workshop and organizing space for practical experiments in building autonomy.

Stephanie WakefieldSTEPHANIE WAKEFIELD is a geographer living in Ridgewood, Queens, where she is part of 1882 Woodbine. She teaches Urban and Urban Environmental Studies at Queens College, and her work has appeared in Progress in Human Geography, Society and Space, and May. Stephanie is currently finishing a book on the emerging climate resilience dispositif in New York City.

Be the Street: On Radical Ethnography and Cultural Studies (Viewpoint Magazine)

September 10, 2012

The man who only observes him­self how­ever never gains
Knowl­edge of men. He is too anx­ious
To hide him­self from him­self. And nobody is
Clev­erer than he him­self is.
So your school­ing must begin among
Liv­ing peo­ple. Let your first school
Be your place of work, your dwelling, your part of the town.
Be the street, the under­ground, the shops. You should observe
All the peo­ple there, strangers as if they were acquain­tances, but
Acquain­tances as if they were strangers to you.
—Bertolt Brecht, Speech to the Dan­ish Working-Class Actors on the Art of Obser­va­tion (1934-6)


“Anthro­pol­ogy is the daugh­ter to this era of vio­lence,” Claude Levi-Strauss once said. Poetic as that state­ment is, I pre­fer the more pre­cise and less gen­dered words of esteemed anthro­pol­o­gist and Johnson-Forest Ten­dency mem­ber Kath­leen Gough: “Anthro­pol­ogy is a child of West­ern impe­ri­al­ism.” Much like Catholic mis­sion­ar­ies in the Span­ish Empire, anthro­pol­o­gists exam­ined indige­nous groups in order to improve colo­nial admin­is­tra­tion, a tra­di­tion that con­tin­ues into the present day with the US military’s Human Ter­rain Project in Iraq and Afghanistan. Often, this colo­nial imper­a­tive has fed a racist dis­re­spect of the sub­jects under study. It was not uncom­mon, for exam­ple, for researchers to draw upon colo­nial police forces to col­lect sub­jects for humil­i­at­ing anthro­po­met­ric measurements.

Accord­ing to Gough, at their best, anthro­pol­o­gists had been the “white lib­er­als between con­querors and col­o­nized.” Ethnog­ra­phy, the method in which researchers embed them­selves within social groups to best under­stand their prac­tices and the mean­ings behind them, had only medi­ated this rela­tion­ship, while Gough, a rev­o­lu­tion­ary social­ist, wanted to upend it. Writ­ing in 1968, she urged her dis­ci­pline to study impe­ri­al­ism and the rev­o­lu­tion­ary move­ments against it as a way to expi­ate anthro­pol­ogy of its sins. Gough later attempted this her­self, trav­el­ling through­out Asia in the 1970s. Although she lacked a solid uni­ver­sity con­nec­tion due to her polit­i­cal sym­pa­thies, she man­aged to con­duct field­work abroad, ana­lyz­ing class recom­po­si­tion in rural South­east India dur­ing the Green Rev­o­lu­tion, and detail­ing the improve­ment in the liv­ing stan­dards of Viet­namese peas­ants after the expul­sion of the United States.

Years later, anthro­pol­o­gist Ana Lopes sees fit to ask, “Why hasn’t anthro­pol­ogy made more dif­fer­ence?” The prob­lem is not that anthro­pol­o­gists are ret­i­cent to con­tribute to end­ing impe­ri­al­ism. Indeed, there are prob­a­bly more rad­i­cal and crit­i­cal anthro­pol­o­gists now than dur­ing Gough’s time, and cer­tainly the dis­ci­pline takes anti-racism and anti-imperialism incred­i­bly seri­ously. Gough her­self artic­u­lated some dif­fi­cul­ties:

(1) the very process of spe­cial­iza­tion within anthro­pol­ogy and between anthro­pol­ogy and the related dis­ci­plines, espe­cially polit­i­cal sci­ence, soci­ol­ogy, and eco­nom­ics; (2) the tra­di­tion of indi­vid­ual field work in small-scale soci­eties, which at first pro­duced a rich har­vest of ethnog­ra­phy but later placed con­straints on our meth­ods and the­o­ries; (3) unwill­ing­ness to offend the gov­ern­ments that funded us, by choos­ing con­tro­ver­sial sub­jects; and (4) the bureau­cratic, coun­ter­rev­o­lu­tion­ary set­ting in which anthro­pol­o­gists have increas­ingly worked in their uni­ver­si­ties, which may have con­tributed to a sense of impo­tence and to the devel­op­ment of machine-like models.

None of these plague anthro­pol­ogy today. Anthro­pol­o­gists are often incred­i­bly deep knowl­ege about mul­ti­ple dis­ci­plines (I have an anthro­pol­o­gist friend I con­sult on any ques­tions of struc­tural semi­otics, Marx­ism, 19th cen­tury lit­er­a­ture, or gam­bling); they have exam­ined cul­ture within large indus­trial and post-industrial soci­eties; they have been involved in all sorts of rad­i­cal issues, from union­iz­ing sex work­ers to ana­lyz­ing the secu­ri­tized state; and while the uni­ver­sity may remain a bureau­cratic, coun­ter­rev­o­lu­tion­ary set­ting, anthro­pol­o­gists have largely aban­doned machine-like mod­els. So what gives?

One issue is how anthro­pol­ogy chose to atone for its com­plic­ity in racism and impe­ri­al­ism. Instead of mak­ing a direct polit­i­cal inter­ven­tion into impe­ri­al­ist prac­tice, ethnog­ra­phy attacked impe­ri­al­ist hermeneu­tics. A deep cri­tique of the Enlight­en­ment sub­ject, the source of anthropology’s claims to sci­ence and objec­tiv­ity as well as meta­phys­i­cal ground for West­ern notions of supe­ri­or­ity, became a major tar­get of the dis­ci­pline. Thus rose crit­i­cal ethnog­ra­phy, decon­struc­tive in spirit. Accord­ing to Soyini Madi­son, crit­i­cal ethnog­ra­phy “takes us beneath sur­face appear­ances, dis­rupts the sta­tus quo, and unset­tles both neu­tral­ity and taken-for-granted assump­tions by bring­ing to light under­ly­ing and obscure oper­a­tions of power and control.”

This func­tions at the level of the method itself: crit­i­cal ethno­g­ra­phers should be self-reflexive. Rather than assum­ing an omni­scient author­i­ta­tive view­point, they should high­light their own posi­tion­al­ity in the field by empha­siz­ing it in the writ­ten account, thereby decon­struct­ing the Self and its rela­tion to the Other when­ever pos­si­ble. In an attack on Enlight­en­ment pre­ten­sions to uni­ver­sal­ity, accounts became par­tial and frag­men­tary, a way to head off poten­tially demean­ing total­ized por­tray­als at the pass.

How­ever, iron­i­cally enough, by per­for­ma­tively ques­tion­ing one’s own research, the fig­ure of the ethno­g­ra­pher risks becom­ing the cen­tral fig­ure in the study, rather than the social group. Even as it pro­duces an often-engrossing lit­er­a­ture, crit­i­cal ethnog­ra­phy can under­mine its own polit­i­cal thrust by dras­ti­cally lim­it­ing what it per­mits itself to say. While Marx­ist soci­ol­o­gist Michael Bura­woy, who shov­eled pig iron for years in the name of social sci­ence, claims that with exces­sive reflex­iv­ity ethno­g­ra­phers “begin to believe they are the world they study or that the world revolves around them,” I’d counter that this isn’t so much pro­fes­sional nar­cis­sism as a prod­uct of the very real anx­i­ety sur­round­ing the ethics of rep­re­sen­ta­tion. How best to fairly, but accu­rately, por­tray one’s sub­jects? How can one really know the Other? I’ve strug­gled with this in my own work, and I know col­leagues who have been all but con­sumed by it. Writ­ing about one­self seems, at the very least, safer. But this aban­dons sci­en­tific rigor in its reluc­tance to make any gen­er­al­iz­able claims.


My own expe­ri­ence in ethnog­ra­phy came from a study of pop­u­lar cul­ture. I had grown tired of schol­arly tex­tual analy­sis: it seemed like more of a game for the com­men­ta­tors, where we crit­ics bandied about spec­u­la­tive assess­ments of books and films and TV shows, try­ing to one-up each other in nov­elty and jar­gon. These inter­pre­ta­tions said more about our posi­tions as theory-stuffed grad­u­ate stu­dents eager to impress than they did about the puta­tive “audi­ences” for the texts. Our con­scious­ness of the objects in ques­tion had been deter­mined by our mate­r­ial lives as critics-in-training. I felt pulled fur­ther away from cul­tural phe­nom­ena, when I wanted to get closer in order to bet­ter under­stand its sig­nif­i­cance. So I revolted against the rule of thoughts, start­ing to learn the meth­ods that got closer to the mat­ter at hand: ethnography,

In cul­tural stud­ies, ethnog­ra­phy (or as a fully-trained anthro­pol­o­gist would prob­a­bly write, “ethnog­ra­phy”) is most closely asso­ci­ated with audi­ence recep­tion and fan­dom stud­ies. Tex­tual analy­sis tells you only what a critic thinks of the work; in order to dis­cover how “aver­age” con­sumers expe­ri­ence it, you have to ask them. This way you avoid the total­iz­ing, top-down gen­er­al­iza­tions of some­one like Adorno, where a rei­fied con­scious­ness is deter­mined by the repet­i­tive, sim­pli­fied forms of the cul­ture industry.

This was Janet Radway’s goal when she stud­ied female read­ers of misog­y­nist romance nov­els. She found out that read­ers cared more about hav­ing pri­vate time away from domes­tic duties than the borderline-rape occur­ring in the books. How­ever, she was forced to con­clude that romance nov­els worked as com­pen­satory mech­a­nisms, secur­ing women in cap­i­tal­ist patri­ar­chal dom­i­na­tion – in other words, she took the long way around and ended up in the same Adornoian con­clu­sion: we’re fucked and it’s our mass cul­ture that makes it so.

My cho­sen topic helped me get on a dif­fer­ent path, one that I believe has more rel­e­vance to rad­i­cal pol­i­tics than harangu­ing the choices of hap­less con­sumers. I wanted to study inde­pen­dent pop­u­lar music instead of romance nov­els. This meant I was well posi­tioned to exam­ine music from the stand­point of pro­duc­tion, rather than just sur­vey­ing audi­ence mem­bers, a tech­nique that always felt too spec­u­la­tive and a bit too closely aligned with mar­ket research.

Not that mar­ket research was totally off base. Pop­u­lar music exists in the form of com­modi­ties. Its form, as Adorno rightly points out, is dic­tated by the needs of the cul­ture indus­try. If the music indus­try was a fac­tory, then musi­cians were the work­ers, bang­ing out prod­ucts. A pecu­liar fac­tory, to be sure, where oper­a­tions spread to the homes of the work­ers, the machines were pirated soft­ware, and the prod­ucts were derived from unique cre­ative labors, becom­ing objects of intense devo­tion among consumers.

You can run into resis­tance when you define art in this way – it seems to cheapen it, as if you can’t call a song a “com­mod­ity” with­out implic­itly stick­ing a “mere” in there, just as refer­ring to artists as work­ers seems to demean their abil­i­ties. But this resis­tance comes almost entirely from music fans, who com­mit their own Adornoian blun­der by plac­ing music on that archaic crum­bling pedestal of Art. The pro­duc­ers and DJs I spoke to in Detroit didn’t see it that way. They saw them­selves as cre­ative work­ers; at best, as entre­pre­neurs. One DJ talked about remix­ing songs in the morn­ing over cof­fee. “You know how some peo­ple check their email or read the news­pa­per? Well, I’m mak­ing a remix of the new Ciara song dur­ing that time.” He took pride in his work ethic, but never roman­ti­cized his occupation.

There wasn’t much to wax roman­tic about in the Detroit music scene at that time. The cul­ture indus­tries were under­go­ing a restruc­tur­ing for the imma­te­r­ial age. Vinyl was no longer mov­ing. Local radio and local music venues had gone cor­po­rate, squeez­ing out local music. DJs who wanted local gigs had to play Top 40 playlists in the sub­ur­ban mega­clubs instead of the native styles of elec­tronic music that had given Detroit mythic sta­tus around the world. Many had given up on record labels entirely. Every­one looked to the inter­net as the sav­ing grace for record sales, pro­mo­tion, net­work­ing – for every­thing, prac­ti­cally. Some of the more suc­cess­ful artists were attempt­ing to license their tracks for video games. Almost every­one had other jobs, often off the books. For crit­i­cally acclaimed Detroit pro­ducer Omar-S, music is his side job, in case his posi­tion on the fac­tory line is eliminated.

I wasn’t embed­ded within this com­mu­nity, as an anthro­pol­o­gist would be. Instead, I made the 90 minute drive to Detroit when I could, and spent the time inter­view­ing artists in their homes or over the phone. I attended some events, par­tic­i­pated and observed. And still, I could have writ­ten vol­umes on my subject-position and how it dif­fered from many of the musi­cians: I was white, college-educated, not from Detroit (the last one being the most salient dif­fer­ence). But my goal was to go beyond self-reflexive inter­ro­ga­tions, in spite of their impor­tance as a start­ing point. I aspired to write some­thing that would in some way, how­ever minor, par­tic­i­pate in the implicit polit­i­cal projects of musi­cal workers.

I can’t say I suc­ceeded in this goal. But while I may have done lit­tle for the polit­i­cal for­tunes of Detroit musi­cians, I had started to think about how to rev­o­lu­tion­ize my the­o­ret­i­cal tools. The point was not to efface or under­mine my role in my research, but to iden­tify the struc­tural antag­o­nism the artists were deal­ing with and describe it from a par­ti­san per­spec­tive. Beyond the self-reflexive analy­sis of the ethnographer’s subject-position was the pos­si­bil­ity of pick­ing sides.


Decid­ing to pick sides is the dif­fer­ence between mil­i­tant research, of the kind Kath­leen Gough prac­ticed, and purely scholas­tic exer­cises. Bura­woy argues that this is a fun­da­men­tal ele­ment of Karl Marx’s “ethno­graphic imag­i­na­tion”: Marx rooted his the­o­ries – not just of how cap­i­tal­ism func­tioned, but how best to destroy it – in the con­crete expe­ri­ences of work­ers, as relayed to him by Engels and oth­ers. Kath­leen Gough is an exem­plary fig­ure in this respect, remain­ing a firm mate­ri­al­ist in her stud­ies. As Gough’s friend and col­league Eleanor Smol­lett puts it in a spe­cial jour­nal ded­i­cated to Gough’s legacy,

she did not arrive in Viet­nam with a check­list of what a soci­ety must accom­plish to be ‘really social­ist’ as so many Marx­ists in acad­e­mia were wont to do. She looked at the direc­tion of the move­ment, of the con­crete gains from where the Viet­namese had begun… Observ­ing social­ist devel­op­ment from the point of view of the Viet­namese them­selves, rather than as judged against a hypo­thet­i­cal sys­tem, she found the people’s stated enthu­si­asm credible.

After study­ing mate­r­ial con­di­tions and for­eign pol­icy in the social­ist bloc, Gough decided that the Soviet Union, while cer­tainly no work­ers’ par­adise, was a net good for the work­ers of the world – heresy for any­one try­ing to pub­lish in the West, let alone a Trotskyist.

Analy­sis is impor­tant, but the really explo­sive stuff of ethnog­ra­phy hap­pens in the encounter. Accord­ingly, ethno­g­ra­phers and oth­ers have increas­ingly turned towards the meth­ods of par­tic­i­pa­tory action research (PAR). In these stud­ies, a blend of ethnog­ra­phy and ped­a­gogy, the anthro­pol­o­gist takes a par­ti­san inter­est in the aspi­ra­tions of the group, and aids the group in actively par­tic­i­pat­ing actively in the research. Mem­bers of the group under study become co-researchers, ask­ing ques­tions and artic­u­lat­ing prob­lems. The goal is to tease out native knowl­edges that best aid peo­ple in nav­i­gat­ing dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances while mobi­liz­ing them to cre­ate polit­i­cal change.

But par­tic­i­pa­tory action research has returned to the same old prob­lems of impe­ri­al­ist anthro­pol­ogy. In the hands of rad­i­cal anthro­pol­o­gist Ana Lopes, PAR led to the for­ma­tion of a sex work­ers’ union in Great Britain. But in the hands of devel­op­ment scholar Robert Cham­bers, PAR is a tool to bet­ter imple­ment World Bank ini­tia­tives and gov­ern pop­u­la­tions by allow­ing them to “par­tic­i­pate” in their subjection.

The point, then, is to real­ize that ethnog­ra­phy has no polit­i­cal con­tent of its own. Pol­i­tics derives not from the com­mit­ment or beliefs of the researcher, but from engage­ment with wider social antag­o­nisms. Ethnog­ra­phy enables Marx­ism to trace the con­tours of these antag­o­nisms at the level of every­day life: a mil­i­tant ethnog­ra­phy means Marx­ism at work, and func­tions not by impos­ing mod­els of class con­scious­ness and rad­i­cal action from above, but by reveal­ing the ter­rain of the strug­gle – to intel­lec­tu­als and to work­ers – as it is con­tin­u­ally pro­duced. Ethnog­ra­phy can con­tribute in just this way, as a method where researchers lis­ten, observe, and reveal the now hid­den, now open fight for the future.

is a graduate student in Washington, DC.

Manifestações neozapatistas (Fapesp)

24.11.2014 

Para além das reivindicações contra os gastos públicos na organização da Copa do Mundo e por melhorias no transporte, na saúde e educação, as manifestações de junho de 2013 no Brasil ressaltaram uma expressão simbólica das articulações do chamado “net-ativismo”, expressão-chave de um estudo financiado pela FAPESP. No vídeo produzido pela equipe de Pesquisa FAPESP, o sociólogo Massimo Di Felice, do Centro de Pesquisa Atopos da Escola de Comunicações e Artes da Universidade de São Paulo (ECA-USP) e coordenador do estudo, fala sobre a qualidade e o lugar das ações net-ativistas e como as redes digitais e os novos dispositivos móveis de conectividade estão mudando práticas de participação social no Brasil e no mundo.

Occupy Democracy is not considered newsworthy. It should be (The Guardian)

Sleeping outside for an iPhone is OK, but do it in furtherance of democratic expression and you’re in trouble

theguardian.com, Monday 27 October 2014 15.11 GMT

Occupy London demonstrationOfficers policing the Occupy Democracy protest in Parliament Square, London. Photograph: Jay Shaw Baker/NurPhoto/Rex

You can tell a lot about the moral quality of a society by what is, and is not, considered news.

From last Tuesday, Parliament Square was wrapped in wire mesh. In one of the more surreal scenes in recent British political history, officers with trained German shepherds stand sentinel each day, at calculated distances across the lawn, surrounded by a giant box of fences, three metres high – all to ensure that no citizen enters to illegally practice democracy. Yet few major news outlets feel this is much of a story.

Occupy Democracy, a new incarnation of Occupy London, has attempted to use the space for an experiment in democratic organising. The idea was to turn Parliament Square back to the purposes to which it was, by most accounts, originally created: a place for public meetings and discussions, with an eye to bringing all the issues ignored by politicians in Westminster back into public debate. Seminars and assemblies were planned, colourful bamboo towers and sound systems put in place, to be followed by a temporary library, kitchen and toilets.

There was no plan to turn this into a permanent tent city, which are now explicitly illegal. True, this law is very selectively enforced; Metropolitan police regularly react with a wink and a smile if citizens camp on the street while queuing overnight for the latest iPhone. But to do it in furtherance of democratic expression is absolutely forbidden. Try it, and you can expect to immediately see your tent torn down and if you try even the most passive resistance you’re likely to be arrested. So organisers settled on a symbolic 24-hour presence, even if it meant sleeping on the grass under cardboard boxes in the autumn rain.

The police response can only be described as hysterical. Tarpaulins used to sit on the grass were said to be illegal, and when activists tried to sit on them they were attacked by scores of officers. Activists say they had limbs twisted and officers stuck thumbs into nerve endings as “pain compliance”. Pizza boxes were declared illegal structures and confiscated and commanders even sent officers to stand over activists at night telling them it was illegal to close their eyes.

Finally, the fences went up, and the guard dogs appeared – ostensibly, for what officers insisted was scheduled cleaning that happened to continue each day of the occupation. Hundreds of participants were thus pushed into the tiny green strip to the north of the Churchill statue, and even then, it seemed like every time they sat down for a seminar on financial reform or planning a response to the housing crisis, they were interrupted by some new pretext for police intervention – someone had an “illegal” megaphone, there was what looked like camping equipment, some regulation might have been violated – and squads of police once again stormed in.

One could speak of many things here: the obvious embarrassment of the police, compared with the perseverance and cheerful good humour of the occupiers, who continually grew in numbers and spirit as the repression increased. But what I really want to talk about is the reaction of the media.

The reason that park occupations are so important is because everyone knows they are there. Activists constantly hear the same refrain from would-be allies: “I agree that there’s been an erosion of democracy in this country, that the money controls everything, what I don’t know is: what can I do?” Our usual reply is: meet with other like-minded people. When people get together, brilliant ideas invariably emerge. But it’s impossible to bring people together unless there is a location, a place where they can always go, 24/7, to meet people and begin to have conversations and make plans. This is precisely what our political authorities have decided that Londoners must never again be allowed to have.

To achieve this, the police and media must take what are ostensibly completely opposite reactions to any occupation. The police act as if the possibility of non-violent camping is an existential threat to the very idea of civil government; hundreds of police are mobilised in a near-panic reaction; hallowed public spaces are shut off.

Official media, on the other hand – and in this case the BBC and mainstream newspapers are acting as if they were an arm of government – take exactly the opposite approach, insisting that the events in question are so trivial and unimportant that there is no need to cover them at all. The very same press that provides wall-to-wall coverage of pro-democracy occupations and police repression halfway around the world, in Hong Kong, acts as if analogous events at home are of no interest. It’s hard to think of a more dramatic story than battles between police and non-violent protesters, or the erection of giant fences and mobilisation of attack dogs directly beneath the mother of all parliaments. Yet while I was in the square, the only TV cameras I saw were being carried by journalists from Iran, Russia and Qatar.

We need to ask ourselves what it means that police suppression of democratic assemblies is no longer considered news. Is the wall of silence, as most activists suspect, simply a continuation of the actual physical wall surrounding Parliament Square, another piece of the same strategy, or is it a token of ultimate cynicism? Britons no longer have the right to freedom of assembly. Sorry, that’s no longer news.

Guerreiros climáticos bloqueiam o maior porto de carvão do mundo (IPS)

1/10/2014 – 10h12

por Lyndal Rowlands, da IPS

canoa Guerreiros climáticos bloqueiam o maior porto de carvão do mundo

Nações Unidas, 21/10/2014 – Trinta ativistas contra a mudança climática oriundos de 12 pequenos países insulares do Oceano Pacífico bloquearam com suas canoas, junto com centenas de australianos em caiaques e pranchas de surf, o maior porto de exportação de carvão do mundo, em Newcastle, na Austrália. Organizado com apoio do grupo ecologista 350.org, com sede nos Estados Unidos, o ato, realizado no dia 17, atrasou a saída de oito dos 12 navios que passaram pelo porto durante as nove horas de bloqueio.

A intenção foi chamar a atenção para as consequências da mudança climática nesses países. Os ativistas, que se autodenominam Guerreiros Climáticos do Pacífico, eram de 12 países insulares do Pacífico, incluindo Fiji, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Micronésia, Vanuatu, Ilhas Salomão, Tonga, Samoa, Papua Nova Guiné e Niue. “Queremos que a Austrália recorde que faz parte do Pacífico e que somos uma família, e ter esta família significa que permanecemos juntos. Não podemos permitir que um dos irmãos mais velhos destrua tudo”, declarou à IPS Mikaele Maiava, um dos ativistas.

A Austrália é o quarto maior produtor de carvão no mundo. “Assim, queremos que a comunidade australiana, especialmente os líderes da Austrália, pensem em algo mais além de seus bolsos… na humanidade, não apenas para o povo australiano, mas para todos”, acrescentou Mikaele, nascido em Tokelau.

Ao discursar na inauguração de uma mina de carvão no dia 13, o primeiro-ministro australiano, Tony Abbott, disse que “o carvão é bom para a humanidade”. Porém, Mikaele discorda. “Falamos de humanidade. A humanidade tem a ver com as pessoas perderem sua terra? Sua cultura e identidade? Tem a ver com viver com medo de que as futuras gerações já não possam viver em uma ilha bonita? Essa é a resposta para o futuro?”, questionou o ativista.

Mikaele afirmou que ele e seus companheiros estão conscientes de que sua luta não se limita ao Pacífico, e que a mudança climática também afeta outros países do Sul em desenvolvimento. “Estamos conscientes de que essa luta não é só pelo Pacífico. A mensagem que queremos passar, sobretudo aos governantes, é que somos seres humanos. Essa luta não se trata só de nossa terra, mas é pela sobrevivência”, ressaltou.

Mikaele contou como seu país já sofre as consequências da mudança climática: “Vemos mudanças nos padrões climáticos e também vemos a ameaça para nossa segurança alimentar. É difícil gerar um futuro sustentável se a terra já não é tão fértil e os cultivos não crescem devido à invasão da água salgada”.

guerreros Guerreiros climáticos bloqueiam o maior porto de carvão do mundo

A costa de Tokelau sofre erosão. “A linha costeira está mudando. Há 15 anos, quando ia para a escola, podia caminhar em linha reta. Agora tenho que andar por uma linha torcida porque a praia sofreu a erosão”, contou Mikaele. Tokelau se converteu no primeiro país do mundo a utilizar 100% de energia renovável quando adotou a energia solar em 2012 para abastecer sua população, de aproximadamente 1.400 pessoas.

Mikaele e seus companheiros ativistas construíram com as próprias mãos as canoas que trouxeram para a Austrália para o protesto, o meio tradicional de transporte e pesca em seus países. Outra “guerreira” climática, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, das Ilhas Marshall, fez chorar o público presente na Assembleia Geral da Organização das Nações Unidas (ONU) em setembro, ao ler um poema escrito por sua pequena filha, Matafele Peinam.

“Ninguém se mudará, ninguém perderá sua terra natal, ninguém se converterá em um refugiado da mudança climática. Ou deveria dizer ninguém mais. Aos ilhéus de Carteret, em Papua Nova Guiné, e aos de Taro, em Fiji, aproveito este momento para pedir-lhes desculpas”, afirmou Jetnil-Kijiner, se referindo aos que são considerados os primeiros refugiados climáticos do mundo.

O Fórum das Ilhas do Pacífico qualificou a mudança climática como “maior ameaça para os meios de vida, a segurança e o bem-estar dos povos” da região. Segundo Jetnil-Kijiner, “a mudança climática é uma ameaça imediata e grave para o desenvolvimento sustentável e a erradicação da pobreza em muitos países insulares do Pacífico, e para a própria sobrevivência de alguns”.

“Entretanto, esses países estão entre os menos capazes de se adaptar e responder a esta mudança, e as consequências que enfrentam são desproporcionais em relação à sua minúscula contribuição coletiva para as emissões mundiais” dos gases-estufa, ressaltou Jetnil-Kijiner. As autoridades das ilhas do Pacífico redobraram suas cobranças e desafiaram o governo australiano a não demorar mais na adoção de medidas contra a mudança climática.

“A Austrália é um país do Pacífico. Ao optar por desmantelar suas políticas climáticas, se retirar das negociações internacionais e seguir adiante com a expansão de sua indústria de combustíveis fósseis está totalmente em desacordo com o resto da região”, afirmou Simon Bradshaw, da organização Oxfam. “Os vizinhos mais próximos da Austrália identificam sistematicamente a mudança climática como seu maior desafio e prioridade absoluta. Portanto, é inevitável que as ações recentes de Canberra repercutam em sua relação com as ilhas do Pacífico”, acrescentou.

“Uma pesquisa recente encomendada pela Oxfam mostra que 60% dos australianos acreditam que a mudança climática tem consequências negativas na capacidade da população dos países mais pobres para cultivar alimentos e ter acesso a eles, chegando a 68% entre a faixa etária de 18 aos 34 anos”, destacou Bradshaw. Envolverde/IPS

(IPS)

“Sonâmbulos” decidem a sorte de conferência climática em Bonn (IPS)

24/10/2014 – 10h52

por Stephen Leahy, da IPS

huracan “Sonâmbulos” decidem a sorte de conferência climática em Bonn

Bonn, Alemanha, 24/10/2014 – As 410 mil pessoas que saíram às ruas para reclamar medidas durante a Cúpula do Clima da ONU se indignariam diante dos atrasos e das posturas políticas de sempre que se observa em uma rodada fundamental das negociações para acordar um tratado climático mundial, em curso nesta cidade alemã.

As declarações dos países presentes na conferência, que começou no dia 20 e terminará no dia 25, no Centro Mundial de Congressos de Bonn, ignoraram os pedidos dos organizadores para serem breves em suas declarações de abertura para ser possível trabalhar na última semana de conversações antes da vigésima Conferência das Partes (COP 20) da Convenção Marco das Nações Unidas sobre a Mudança Climática que acontecerá em Lima, no Peru, entre 1º e 12 de dezembro.

A COP 20 acordará um projeto de tratado climático destinado a evitar o catastrófico superaquecimento do planeta. Um ano mais tarde, os governantes de quase 200 Estados deverão assinar em Paris um novo convênio sobre o clima. Se o resultado das negociações não for contundente e não se conseguir garantir o rápido abandono do uso de combustíveis fósseis, centenas de milhões de pessoas sofrerão e países inteiros entrarão em colapso.

O projeto atual do tratado é muito fraco e os delegados pecam pelo “sonambulismo” em Bonn, enquanto “os dados científicos sobre o clima se agravam”, afirmou aos negociadores presentes, Hilary Chiew, da Rede do Terceiro Mundo.

Os delegados estão habituados a ouvir uma ou duas “intervenções” oficiais por parte da audiência, que tem um limite de tempo restrito e frequentemente não superam os 90 segundos. Esses discursos, apesar da paixão e eloquência de muitos, raramente comovem os delegados que, em sua maioria, se limita a seguir as instruções dadas por seus governos. “Apegar-se às posturas não é negociar”, recordou o copresidente da conferência, Kishan Kumarsingh, de Trinidad e Tobago.

Em Bonn há poucos membros da sociedade civil que podem presenciar quantos países se apegaram às suas posições de curto prazo e defensoras de seus próprios interesses, em lugar de enfrentar o maior desafio que sofre a humanidade. Depois de 20 anos, essas negociações se transformaram “no mesmo de sempre” e parece que continuarão assim por mais 20 anos, segundo os ativistas. “Só um movimento social mundial obrigará as nações a agirem”, afirmou Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, diretor do Instituto de Potsdam para a Pesquisa do Impacto Climático, da Alemanha.

Schellnhuber, reconhecido especialista e ex-assessor científico do governo alemão, não se encontra em Bonn, mas participou da Cúpula do Clima da Organização das Nações Unidas (ONU) em setembro, em Nova York, Estados Unidos, junto com os governantes de 120 países. Novamente, o resultado desse encontro ficou em puros discursos sem compromissos de ação, afirmou à IPS.

Para Schellnhuber, a Cúpula da ONU foi um fracasso, ao contrário da “impressionante” e “inspiradora” Marcha do Povo pelo Clima que a acompanhou e da qual participaram cerca de 410 mil pessoas nas ruas de Manhattan. A única coisa que os países acordaram até agora é a meta de elevação máxima de dois graus na temperatura média mundial e, embora esse aumento “não tenha antecedentes na história humana”, é muito melhor do que três ou mais graus, acrescentou.

Alcançar essa meta ainda é possível, segundo o informe Enfrentar o Desafio da Mudança Climática, redigido pelos principais especialistas em clima e energia e que descreve várias medidas, entre elas o aumento da eficiência energética em todos os setores. A refração dos prédios, por exemplo, pode reduzir o consumo de energia entre 70% e 90%. Também é necessário um preço do carbono que reflita o enorme custo sanitário e ambiental que implica a queima dos combustíveis fósseis, bem como a expansão da energia solar e eólica e o fechamento de todas as centrais movidas a carvão, diz o estudo.

O mais importante é que os governos devem assumir o clima como uma prioridade. Alemanha e Dinamarca estão bem encaminhadas para uma economia baixa em carbono e se beneficiam de menor contaminação e da criação de um novo setor econômico, segundo os especialistas.

Para que todos os governos incorporem o clima como sua prioridade será preciso um movimento social mundial com dezenas de milhões de pessoas. Uma vez que o setor empresarial se dê conta de que a transição para um mundo baixo em carbono está em marcha, pressionará os governos para que apliquem as políticas necessárias. “As soluções para a mudança climática são a maior oportunidade de negócios na história”, enfatizou Schellnhuber. Envolverde/IPS

(IPS)

Disruption

Disruption

Disruption

Disruption opens with a serene archival footage, from Apollo 8 lunar mission, of the Earth rising over the horizon of the Moon before jumping sharply to modern images of extreme storms and the devastation faced in their aftermath. Cities lie in ruin, streets flooded and buildings aflame. “The world hasn’t ended,” title cards bleakly read. “But the world as we know it has.”

Shot during the 100 days prior to the September 21, 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City, the film serves as a cautionary countdown intended to motivate viewers to take action on the issue of climate change. The audience is taken inside the People’s Climate Mobilization Hub, a New York office space where organizers and activists strive to set in motion the largest climate rally in history. Their primary objective is to capture the consideration of world leaders prior to a major UN climate meeting in order to draw worldwide attention to the existing and future threats of changing weather patterns.

Citing historical movements such as women’s liberation and civil rights as major influences in the decision to facilitate a march, organizers share a unified belief in the power of people coming together in the interest of a common cause, even in the digital age. Experts on climate change, from authors and academics to scientists and community organizers, give viewers a history lesson on the topic at hand and make it clear that weather patterns are an issue of global concern. Interview subjects push to disempower big corporations such as oil companies and other resource-damaging operations, warning that the preservation of our natural resources is a long-term investment more valuable than any monetary sum.

At the end, the filmmakers issue a final call to action, encouraging those with environmental concerns to join their movement at a time when “the whole world will be watching.” Featuring impressive cinematography paired with stock footage and impassioned testimonials, Disruption is both an eye-opening look at a grim future, as well as a motivational piece on how to improve that future.

Watch the full documentary now

Voices from the People’s Climate March: Indigenous Groups Lead Historic 400,000-Strong NYC Protest (Democracy Now!)

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014

As many as 400,000 people turned out in New York City on Sunday for the People’s Climate March, the largest environmental protest in history. With a turnout far exceeding expectations, the streets of midtown Manhattan were filled with environmentalists, politicians, musicians, students, farmers, celebrities, nurses and labor activists — all united in their demand for urgent action on climate change. Organizers arranged the People’s Climate March into different contingents reflecting the movement’s diversity, with indigenous groups in the lead. Democracy Now! producers Aaron Maté and Elizabeth Press were in the streets to hear from some of the demonstrators taking part in the historic protest.

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to the People’s Climate March. Organizers estimate as many as 400,000 people marched in New York Sunday in the largest climate protest in history. The turnout far exceeded expectations. Other marches and rallies were held in 166 countries. More protests are planned for today. Climate activists are gathering today in downtown Manhattan for a mass sit-in dubbed “Flood Wall Street.” The actions are timed to coincide with the United Nations climate summit taking place here in New York Tuesday. President Obama and over 100 other world leaders are scheduled to attend.

Sunday’s events in New York began with an indigenous sunrise ceremony in Central Park. Indigenous activists then led the march.Democracy Now!‘s Aaron Maté was in the streets at the People’s Climate March.

AARON MATÉ: We’re near the very front of the People’s Climate March, and the sign behind me reads: “Front Lines of Crisis, Forefront of Change.” This march has been divided up into different groups, and at the front are indigenous and front-line communities most impacted by climate change.

CLAYTON THOMASMULLER: Hi. My name is Clayton Thomas-Muller. I’m an organizer with the indigenous peoples’ social movement Idle No More and Defenders of the Land. Things today are going really, really well. We’ve got tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people on the street. We have front-line indigenous communities from communities that are disproportionately affected by President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy policy. We’ve got leaders from communities fighting fracking, fighting tar sands, pipelines, all kinds of pipeline fighters from across the continent who are organizing in solidarity with First Nations from the belly of the beast in Alberta who are trying to stop tar sands expansion at the source. And we’re here to send a very clear message to President Obama, Stephen Harper and the rest of the world leaders that we need legally binding mechanisms on climate change right now passed, and if they ain’t going to do it, that the people certainly will.

INDIGENOUS ACTIVIST: Hi. We’re here to march for the next seven generations and to take astand against Big Oil companies that are coming through our territories and trying to take our ancestral lands and destroy them. We’re here because it’s going to take all of us—all of us—not just the indigenous people, but everyone in the whole world, to come together to save our water.

PERUVIAN ACTIVIST: We are from the Peruvian delegation here on the March. And we are marching because we are fighting for climate justice, and we are fighting because this December, the next COP event is going to be in our country. And we are preparing a people’s summit and the next march in December 10 in Lima. And we are asking the Peruvian government, Ollanta Humala, for coherence, because even if they are taking pictures here near Ban Ki-moon, they are not doing that kind of commitments in the country. So, we need to fight here, we need to fight in our country. This is a global fight.

EL PUENTE ACTIVIST: Who are we?

EL PUENTE ACTIVISTS: El Puente!

EL PUENTE ACTIVIST: What do we stand for?

EL PUENTE ACTIVISTS: Peace and justice!

FRANCES LUCERNA: My name is Frances Lucerna. I’m the executive director of El Puente. We have about 300-strong here of our young people. We are a human rights organization located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Most of our young people are from Puerto Rico, from Dominican Republic. And the connection between what’s happening in terms of our islands and also what’s happening here in our waterfront community that Williamsburg is part of, we need, really, the powers that be to come together with our people and really make decisions that are about preserving our Earth.

CARLOS GARCIA: Hi. My name is Carlos Garcia. I’m the secretary-treasurer of the New York State Public Employees Federation. We represent 54,000 New York state employees who are professional scientific and technical workers. And we’re out here to say to the U.S. government, New York state government, let’s take care of our climate, let’s take care of our environment.

IRENE JOR: My name is Irene Jor. I’m with the National Domestic Workers Alliance with the New York domestic workers here today. And for us, we’re here because, as domestic workers, it’s time to clean up the climate mess.

DOMESTIC WORKERS: We are domestic workers! We want climate justice now!

IRENE JOR: Domestic workers have been part of the struggle for a long time. We’re disproportionately impacted by climate change. For those of us who are migrant women workers, we often come here because of what extractive resources and climate crisis has done to our home countries.

AARON MATÉ: We’ve come upon a huge contingent of young people, many carrying signs reading “Youth choose climate justice.”

YOUTH ACTIVISTS: Obama, we don’t want no climate drama! Hey, Obama, we don’t want no climate drama!

JONAH FELDMAN: My name is Jonah Feldman. I’m here with the Brandeis Divestment Campaign from Brandeis University.

AARON MATÉ: And what does your sign say?

JONAH FELDMAN: It says, “Divest from Climate Change.” We believe that our university should sell off all its investments in the fossil fuel industry—that’s in coal, oil, natural gas, tar sands—and to reinvest into clean, renewable alternatives.

LUIS NAVARRO: Hello. My name Luis Navarro. I’m 16. I’m from Boston, Massachusetts. I’m with the Boston-area Youth Organizing Project. Well, as a youth, I feel like every youth should be a part of this, because it concerns them and their future, whether or not if they can live by 20 years from now with this climate change. And I feel like it’s important for me to be here to show them that the youth is on our side.

AARON MATÉ: As we weave through this march that has taken over midtown Manhattan, tens of thousands out in full force, coming across all different sorts of diverse groups.

VEGAN: Number one way to fight climate change: Go vegan.

REV. SUSAN DE GEORGE: I’m Susan De George, and I’m with both Green Faith and with Hudson River Presbytery. We have everybody from Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Catholics, Protestants, atheists, agnostics, all marching in a group.

PROTESTERS: What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!

CAITLIN CALLAHAN: My name is Caitlin Callahan. I’m from Rockaway Beach, and I’m an organizer with Rockaway Wildfire. Superstorm Sandy devastated the Rockaway Peninsula. We know that climate change is being worsened and exacerbated by all of the systemic profiteering that’s happening throughout our world. And it’s time for that to stop. If you haven’t been involved in climate justice activism before, it’s time to get involved in climate justice activism, because this is affecting all of us.

BRADEN ELLIOTT: My name is Braden Elliott. I’m a Ph.D. student at Dartmouth College, and I’m here because I care.

AARON MATÉ: And the banner under which the scientists are marching is “The Debate is Over”?

BRADEN ELLIOTT: Correct. The banner says “The Debate is Over” because the core part, the part that the planet is warming and that humans are responsible for the lion’s share of it, is settled. There’s always debate to be had on the edges of a large topic, but the call to action is very clear.

AARON MATÉ: And now we’re in the bloc of demonstrators under the banner of “We Know Who is Responsible,” anti-corporate campaigners, peace and justice groups, those who are organizing against the groups they say are holding back progress.

SANDRA NURSE: My name is Sandra Nurse. I’m here with the Flood Wall Street contingent. We’re calling on people to do a mass sit-in in the financial district to highlight the connections between corporate capitalism, extractive industries, the financing and bankrolling of climate change, the financing of politicians who will not bring meaningful legislation to the table and who are blocking the process of actually bringing meaningful legislation against climate change.

FLOOD WALL STREET CONTINGENT: All day, all week, let’s flood Wall Street!

AMY GOODMAN: Some of the voices from the 400,000-strong People’s Climate March here in New York. Special thanks to Aaron Maté and Elizabeth Press in the streets for Democracy Now!

The Changing Face of Climate Change (Slate)

Will the leaders of the People’s Climate March now lead the movement?

At the front of the People’s Climate March, moments before the crowd began to move, you could look back and see the wall of stone that makes up the wealthy Upper West Side apartment buildings to your left, and Central Park to your right, in the last of its full-blown green phase before the leaves start to turn. Visible on the street: signs, artwork, and many, many heads.

In the front section of the march, designated by organizers for “the people first and most impacted,” were representatives of the Kichwa from Ecuador, Taino from the Caribbean, Winnemem Wintu from California, and many other indigenous groups in traditional clothing. There were also members of the media and the musician Sting. Young people of color from Brooklyn held large paper sunflowers and an enormous banner reading: “FRONTLINES OF CRISIS, FOREFRONT OF CHANGE.” Above them were the glossy towers that mark the beginning of Midtown and the bright red CNN sign against the fog signaling that the 11:30 a.m. start time was drawing closer. On his spire, Columbus had his back to the crowd.

The march was already the largest climate demonstration in history before the walking began. There was plenty of excitement. But the drums, the chanting, and the drone of conch-shell horns added an air of warfare.

Indigenous and underprivileged communities are already experiencing the worst impact of climate change, and for those at the front of the march, battle-ready would seem an appropriate posture.

People's Climate March.

Many of the indigenous groups participating in the People’s Climate March on Sept. 21, 2014, in New York City, wore traditional clothing. Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Ricken Patel, the founder of the online activist network called Avaaz, told us shortly before the march: “We know that the most vulnerable communities get if first and worst every time.” The refrain was repeated by so many others, and research corroborates it. An analysis from Yale and George Mason University finds that in the United States, climate change is most likely to affect “Hispanics, African Americans, and other racial and ethnic groups who are likely to be more vulnerable to heat waves, extreme weather events, environmental degradation, and subsequent labor market dislocations.”

The people at the front of the march were themselves a sign that the face of mainstream climate activism has shifted from polar bears and Priuses toward marginalized communities. It is, in theory, a shift from what climate researcher Angela Park wrote in 2009 was a movement that “still suffers from the perception, and arguably the reality, that it is … led by and designed for the interests of the white, upper-middle class.”

Seven representatives from frontline communities spoke at a press conference before the march began, including Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, a 26-year-old writer, professor, and spoken-word artist from the Marshall Islands. She has also been selected by the United Nations from a group of 544 nominees to speak in the opening ceremonies of Tuesday’s Climate Summit.

We caught up with her after the march. Jetnil-Kijiner is small in stature, with long black curly hair, and she appeared exhausted after arriving from the Marshall Islands just the day before the march (not to mention marching and speaking to reporters all day), but she managed to reanimate herself. Walking in Central Park, she told us that she first felt called to climate activism after returning to the Marshall Islands after college in 2010. “There are some parts of the Marshalls where you can stand and see both sides of the ocean,” she said. Rising sea levels, one of the most devastating and permanent consequences of climate change, threaten the very existence of low-lying island nations. In 2008, she woke one morning to find her home island flooded. Houses were destroyed, debris was everywhere, and once the waters receded, the trees shriveled because of the salt.

While people like Jetnil-Kijiner were physically at the front of the march, the question remains whether their voices will be drowned out by the bigger names of climate activism, the Bill McKibbens and the Ricken Patels.

140922_SCI_PeoplesClimateMarch04

Demonstrators take part in the People’s Climate March on Sept. 21, 2014, in New York City. Photo by Lisa Larson-Walker

The night before the march, McKibben and other writers and politicians spoke on a panel in the packed Unitarian Church of All Souls on the Upper East Side. Nearing the end of the discussion, the moderator, Brian Lehrer, asked McKibben what was the unified message that he wanted people to take away from the march. Instead of answering, McKibben metaphorically passed the mic, saying, “There will be people from communities who have had to deal with Sandy, the ongoing fact of living in a place where every third kid has an inhaler. They’ll do a good job of speaking powerfully.”

Just before the march, Ananda Lee Tan, an organizer with the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, told us, “We’re seeing a shift in the movement. This march really marks a flipping of the script.” Tan explained that the communities most impacted by extreme weather have joined together. “We’re taking over the leadership of the U.S. climate movement,” he said, “and so we’ll see on the streets today probably the most diverse, broad, grass-roots climate movement that the U.S. has ever seen.”

The difference is not that communities most threatened by climate change are now involved in the climate change movement. As Jacqueline Patterson, the NAACP’s Environment and Climate Justice Program director, pointed out in a phone interview, frontline communities have been involved in climate justice from the beginning of the movement. What’s new is that a wide range of groups, from labor unions and indigenous tribes to the Granny Peace Brigade, was marching in the same place.

People’s Climate March.

The People’s Climate March was the largest climate demonstration in history. Photo by Lisa Larson-Walker

Still, Patterson had a more cautious view of the role of frontline communities in the march and the wider movement. She said that while there was now more acknowledgement that frontline communities needed to be engaged, there was “to a lesser extent, an acknowledgement that the frontline communities need to lead.”

On the Wednesday before the march, a 28-year-old Avaaz canvasser (who preferred to remain anonymous, citing a nondisclosure agreement) echoed Patterson’s concerns. He said there was much improvement in the communication with frontline communities, but he was skeptical of the “big greens” such as Avaaz, 350.org, and the Sierra Club, arguing that they needed to deepen their understanding of organizing in frontline communities. “There’s a lot of wisdom there,” he said. Specifically, he wanted the established environmental organizations to give more money directly to grass-roots organizations. He told us that he planned to quit his canvassing job that evening. He didn’t want to canvas in Washington Square Park anymore; he planned to return to his home community of Staten Island to organize there.

The test of the movement’s potency will, of course, be its coordination beyond the march, its ability to maintain the unity that defined it. And on Tuesday, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner will have an opportunity to tell world leaders about the Marshall Islands, about what it is like to live on land just two meters above sea level. She is tired of answering the question of where the Marshall Islanders will move when the islands are gone. “We don’t want to move, and we shouldn’t have to move,” she said. “There should be changes now so that doesn’t have to happen.”

Jon Stewart Obliterates Republicans By Highlighting Their Ignorance On Climate Change (Politicus USA)

Tuesday, September, 23rd, 2014, 10:09 am

jon stewart climate changeedited

On Monday night’s episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, host Jon Stewart devoted the first segment of his program to the subject of climate change. He discussed the People’s Climate March that took place in New York City on Sunday,where over 100,000 people took to the streets to bring awareness to the dangers facing our planet due to rapid global warming. Stewart pointed out that, while you would think people around the world are now acutely aware of the existence of climate change and its effects on the environment, this march was necessary because House Republicans continue to deny its existence.

The Daily Show host then directed his attention to a recent hearing by the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, where White House Science Director, John Holdren,spoke in front of the committee to discuss President Obama’s initiative to reduce carbon emissions 30% by the year 2030. Stewart lamented that Holdren had the unenviable task of “pushing a million pounds of idiot up a mountain.”

Below is video of the entire segment, courtesy of Comedy Central.

Stewart highlighted the various Republicans on the committee who peppered Holdren with idiotic questions or flat-out conspiracy theories. Confirmed moron Steve Stockman asked Holdren about global ‘wobbling.’ Stockman wanted to know why it wasn’t included in any climate models when he had read somewhere that it helped contribute to the last major ice age. Holdren patiently pointed out to Stockman that ‘wobbling’ refers to changes in the planet’s tilt and orbit and takes place over tens of thousands of years. It is very slow and has a tiny effect within a time scale of 100 years, which is the normal time frame for climate models.

Of course, the stupid wasn’t just contained to Stockman. A clip was played showing California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a well-known climate skeptic, tossing out a question about the dangers of carbon dioxide Rohrabacher wanted to know at what level does carbon dioxide become dangerous for human beings. When Holdren stated that he always enjoys his interactions with Rohrabacher, Stewart interjected, claiming Holdren meant it in the same way someone enjoys playing peek-a-boo with a baby or teasing a cat with a laser pointer. Stewart then showed Holdren’s response, where Holdren told Rohrabacher that his question was a red herring. As Holdren stated, the focus on CO2 is not about whether or not humans can breathe with increased levels, but if those increased levels trap heat in the atmosphere and rapidly change global temperatures.

However, the worst may have been Indiana Representative Larry Bucshon. The Congressman revealed himself as a full-fledged denier on the tin-foil hat variety during the hearing. He wondered why Holdren wasn’t listening to public comments on global warming. Holdren answered that perhaps Bucshon should read the scientific literature available on the subject instead of public opinion. As exasperated Stewart stated that Bucshon should read a climate science journal instead a teabaggers YouTube comments. Stewart then said Bucshon gave away the game when Bucshon told Holdren that he doesn’t believe scientists because it is their job to do these studies. In his opinion, scientists have a vested interest to create a hoax and therefore he won’t read what they produce.

After pointing out Bucshon’s idiocy, while also revealing that Bucshon’s biggest campaign donors are energy companies, Stewart then turned it back to Stockman to end the segment. He showed Stockman asking about the rise of sea levels and wondering how long it will take. Then, Stockman amazingly insisted that sea levels won’t rise because of displacement, using an example of melting ice cubes in a glass. This finally set Stewart off. Stewart tore apart Stockman’s lack of understanding of grade-school science by bringing out a glass of ice water and a bowl of ice. Stewart then proved the point that displacement only takes into account ice that is already in a body of water. However, if you take ice from elsewhere, say land, and put it in a body of water, that water level will rise.

All in all, this was one of Stewart’s best segments in a while. He tore apart the willful ignorance and Koch-funded denial of the Republican Party when it comes to the issue of climate change. The fact is, Republicans are placing us in great harm by refusing to act at all when it comes to global warming and the devastating effects it is having on our country and planet.

The silence on climate change is deafening. It’s time for us to get loud (The Guardian)

In Dr Seuss’s parable, it take all of Whoville to make enough noise to save their planet. How much will it take to save ours?

theguardian.com, Wednesday 17 September 2014 16.43 BST

horton hears a who

If Horton could hear a Who, there’s no reason the rest of us can’t hear the warnings about climate change. Photograph: c. 20th Century Fox / Everett / Rex Features

All of Dr Seuss’s children’s books – or, at least, the best ones – are sly, radical humanitarian and environmental parables. That’s why, for example, The Lorax was banned in some Pacific Northwest districts where logging was the chief economy.

Or there’s Horton Hears a Who: if you weren’t a child (or reading to a child) recently, it’s about an elephant with acute hearing who hears a cry from a dust speck. He comes to realize the dust speck is a planet in need of protection, and does his best for it.

Of course, all the other creatures mock – and then threaten – Horton for raising an alarm over something they can’t see. (Dissent is an easy way to get yourself ostracized or worse, as any feminist receiving online death threats can remind you.) And though Seuss was reportedly inspired by the situation in post-war Japan when he wrote the book, but its parable is flexible enough for our time.

You could call the scientists and the climate activists of our present moment our Hortons. They heard the cry a long time ago, and they’ve been trying to get the rest of the world to listen. They’ve had to endure attacks, mockery, and lip service … but mostly just obliviousness to what they’re saying and what it demands of us.

Recent polling data suggests most of us do want to see things change. “Two in three Americans (66%) support the Congress and president passing laws to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy as a way to reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels,” reports the US Climate Action Network. But I hear firsthand from people who aren’t particularly informed and still tell me that they are avoiding thinking about climate because it’s too late.

It is nearly too late, because we’ve know about climate change for 25 years, but the most informed scientists think that we do have a chance and some choices, if we make them now.

To listen to such scientists is an amazing and sometimes terrifying thing: they fully comprehend what systemic collapse means and where we are in that process. They – and others who pay attention to the data – see how terrible the possibilities are, but they also see the possibilities for averting the worst.

Seuss’s Horton was alone. Climate activists in the United States are a minority, but there are vast numbers of people across the world who know how serious the situation is, who are facing it and who are listening and asking for action. Some of them will be with us when the biggest climate march in history takes place on Sunday in New York City – starting on the southern edge one of the nation’s largest urban green spaces, Central Park, running around Times Square and then moving west to the Hudson River – to demand that the UN get serious with this attempt to hammer out a climate change treaty at its summit next week.

A whole lot more people are going to come together to demand that our political leaders do something about climate than have done so before. In a symbolic action, at 12:58pm local time, they will observe a collective couple of minutes of silence dedicated to the past. Wherever you are on Sunday, you can join us in observing that silence and remembering the millions displaced last year by the kinds of floods and storms that climate change augments, or the residents of island nations whose homes are simply disappearing under the waves; the small shellfish whose shells are dissolving or the species that have died out altogether; the elderly and inform who have died in our longer, hotter heatwaves or the people who died in New York’s Hurricane Sandy not quite two years ago.

At 1pm local time, we will face the future, and demand that our leaders face the music. The marchers will make two minutes of noise, and every pot-banger, church-bell-ringer, hornblower and drummer on earth is invited to join in. Churches are invited to ring their bells; synagogues to blow their shofars; mosques to use their loudspeakers; secular humanists to get their brass bands on. Get your own pots and pans, or your trumpets and whistles.

We needed someone to ring the alarm all these decades of inaction. On Sunday don’t wait to hear it from someone else: make some noise yourself. It’s time to start making the future we hope for instead of waiting for the one we fear.

I wish that I could write a pat ending for the story of how we saved the earth, but that is, so to speak, all up in the air right now.

But at the end of Horton Hears a Who, the small people of Whoville decide to make a huge roar so that everyone else could hear them: they all roar and bang and blast, but it takes a boy named Jojo (playing with his yoyo) to add his yapping voice to the roar for them to become audible.

This is our planet: our little blue sphere in the Orion Spur of the Milky Way Galaxy, with the beautifully elaborate systems of birds and insects and weather and flowering plants all working together – or that used to work together, and which are now falling apart. And it’s your voice that’s needed, so raise it on Sunday. Join the roar, so that everyone who wasn’t listening finally has to hear.

• This article was updated on 17 September 2014 to reflect that the the New York City Police Department only granted the People’s Climate March permission to march to Sixth Avenue, and not all the way to the United Nations building on First Avenue.

Activists promise biggest climate march in history (The Guardian)

People’s Climate March in New York and cities worldwide hopes to put pressure on heads of state at Ban Ki-moon summit

theguardian.com, Monday 8 September 2014 06.00 BST

People's Climate March advert to be put up on the London Underground tube network.People’s Climate March advert to be put up on the London Underground tube network.Photograph: Avaaz

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of New York, London and eight other cities worldwide in a fortnight to pressure world leaders to take action on global warming, in what organisers claim will be the biggest climate march in history.

On 23 September, heads of state will join a New York summit on climate change organised by Ban Ki-moon, the first time world leaders have come together on the issue since the landmark Copenhagen summit in 2009, which was seen as a failure.

The UN secretary general hopes the meeting will inject momentum into efforts to reach a global deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2015, at a conference in Paris.

Ricken Patel, executive director of digital campaign group Avaaz, one of the organisers of the People’s Climate March on 21 September, said the demonstration was intended to send a signal to those world leaders, who are expected to include David Cameron and Barack Obama, though not heads of state from China and India.

“We in the movement, activists, have failed up until this point to put up a banner and say if you care about this, now is the time, here is the place, let’s come together, to show politicians the political power that is out there on there. Our goal is to mobilise the largest climate change mobilisation in history and the indications are we’re going to get there,” he told the Guardian.

Patel said he expects more than a hundred thousand people at the New York march alone, which will be the focus of the day’s events. Although many of the hundreds of organisations that have committed to taking part are environmental groups, he said not all those attending would be traditional ‘green’ activists.

“There’s a very strong range and diversity of people from all walks of life, including immigrant rights groups, social justice groups. Whoever you are and wherever you are, climate change threatens us all so it brings us together.”

Nearly 400,000 have signed a call on Avaaz’s site, saying they will attend one of the global events, which also include marches in Berlin, Paris, Delhi, Rio and Melbourne.

Patel added: “We’re building for the longterm here. This is about launching a movement that can literally save the world over the longterm. We want to build to last. We recognise that at this stage what needs be done is build political momentum behind this issue – our governments are nowhere near even the planning to reach the agreements needed to keep warming below [temperature rises of] 2C.”

Around 500 adverts will appear on the London tube network from Monday, calling on people to join the march, and advertising has already appeared across the New York subway. In Rio, the organisers have permission to project messages about the march on to the statue of Christ.

50,000 demand action on climate change at The Wave,   biggest ever UK climate change March in London. 5 December 2009.
Thousands of people had taken part in the 2009 climate march in London.Photograph: Janine Wiedel/Alamy

In an open letter to be published this week, environment and development groups including Greenpeace, Oxfam and WWF, plus politicians including Green party MP Caroline Lucas and Labour MP Tom Watson, have joined with trade unions and faith groups to call on world leaders to use the UN summit to take action on climate change.

“Politicians all over the world cite a lack of public support as a reason not to take bold action against climate change. So on 21 September we will meet this moment with unprecedented public mobilisations in cities around the world, including thousands of people on the streets of London.

“Our goal is simple – to demonstrate the groundswell of demand that exists for ambitious climate action,” they write.

Celebrities backing the People’s Climate March include model Helena Christensen, musician Peter Gabriel, actor Susan Sarandon, Argentine footballer Lionel Messi and actor Edward Norton.

The previous biggest assembly for a climate march was in Copenhagen in 2009, when tens of thousands of people took to the streets.

Separately on Monday, NGOs Greenpeace, WWF, Green Alliance, RSPB and Christian Aid published a report, Paris 2015: Getting a global agreement on climate change, laying out the level of ambition required for a deal at the UN climate talks in Paris.

Matthew Spencer, Green Alliance’s director, said: “There is a fashionable pessimism about multilateralism which shields people from disappointment but does nothing to protect us from the insecurity that climate change is bringing. Only a strong international agreement can avoid that and give nation states the confidence that they will not be alone as they decarbonise their energy systems.”

The Climate Swerve (The New York Times)

CreditRobert Frank Hunter

 

AMERICANS appear to be undergoing a significant psychological shift in our relation to global warming. I call this shift a climate “swerve,” borrowing the term used recently by the Harvard humanities professor Stephen Greenblatt to describe a major historical change in consciousness that is neither predictable nor orderly.

The first thing to say about this swerve is that we are far from clear about just what it is and how it might work. But we can make some beginning observations which suggest, in Bob Dylan’s words, that “something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is.” Experience, economics and ethics are coalescing in new and important ways. Each can be examined as a continuation of my work comparing nuclear and climate threats.

The experiential part has to do with a drumbeat of climate-related disasters around the world, all actively reported by the news media: hurricanes and tornadoes, droughts and wildfires, extreme heat waves and equally extreme cold, rising sea levels and floods. Even when people have doubts about the causal relationship of global warming to these episodes, they cannot help being psychologically affected. Of great importance is the growing recognition that the danger encompasses the entire earth and its inhabitants. We are all vulnerable.

This sense of the climate threat is represented in public opinion polls and attitude studies. A recent Yale survey, for instance, concluded that “Americans’ certainty that the earth is warming has increased over the past three years,” and “those who think global warming is not happening have become substantially less sure of their position.”

Falsification and denial, while still all too extensive, have come to require more defensive psychic energy and political chicanery.

But polls don’t fully capture the complex collective process occurring.

The most important experiential change has to do with global warming and time. Responding to the climate threat — in contrast to the nuclear threat, whose immediate and grotesque destructiveness was recorded in Hiroshima and Nagasaki — has been inhibited by the difficulty of imagining catastrophic future events. But climate-related disasters and intense media images are hitting us now, and providing partial models for a devastating climate future.

At the same time, economic concerns about fossil fuels have raised the issue of value. There is a wonderfully evocative term, “stranded assets,” to characterize the oil, coal and gas reserves that are still in the ground. Trillions of dollars in assets could remain “stranded” there. If we are serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sustaining the human habitat, between 60 percent and 80 percent of those assets must remain in the ground, according to the Carbon Tracker Initiative, an organization that analyzes carbon investment risk. In contrast, renewable energy sources, which only recently have achieved the status of big business, are taking on increasing value, in terms of returns for investors, long-term energy savings and relative harmlessness to surrounding communities.

Pragmatic institutions like insurance companies and the American military have been confronting the consequences of climate change for some time. But now, a number of leading financial authorities are raising questions about the viability of the holdings of giant carbon-based fuel corporations. In a world fueled by oil and coal, it is a truly stunning event when investors are warned that the market may end up devaluing those assets. We are beginning to see a bandwagon effect in which the overall viability of fossil-fuel economics is being questioned.

Can we continue to value, and thereby make use of, the very materials most deeply implicated in what could be the demise of the human habitat? It is a bit like the old Jack Benny joke, in which an armed robber offers a choice, “Your money or your life!” And Benny responds, “I’m thinking it over.” We are beginning to “think over” such choices on a larger scale.

This takes us to the swerve-related significance of ethics. Our reflections on stranded assets reveal our deepest contradictions. Oil and coal company executives focus on the maximum use of their product in order to serve the interests of shareholders, rather than the humane, universal ethics we require to protect the earth. We may well speak of those shareholder-dominated principles as “stranded ethics,” which are better left buried but at present are all too active above ground.

Such ethical contradictions are by no means entirely new in historical experience. Consider the scientists, engineers and strategists in the United States and the Soviet Union who understood their duty as creating, and possibly using, nuclear weapons that could destroy much of the earth. Their conscience could be bound up with a frequently amorphous ethic of “national security.” Over the course of my work I have come to the realization that it is very difficult to endanger or kill large numbers of people except with a claim to virtue.

The climate swerve is mostly a matter of deepening awareness. When exploring the nuclear threat I distinguished between fragmentary awareness, consisting of images that come and go but remain tangential, and formed awareness, which is more structured, part of a narrative that can be the basis for individual and collective action.

In the 1980s there was a profound worldwide shift from fragmentary awareness to formed awareness in response to the potential for a nuclear holocaust. Millions of people were affected by that “nuclear swerve.” And even if it is diminished today, the nuclear swerve could well have helped prevent the use of nuclear weapons.

With both the nuclear and climate threats, the swerve in awareness has had a crucial ethical component. People came to feel that it was deeply wrong, perhaps evil, to engage in nuclear war, and are coming to an awareness that it is deeply wrong, perhaps evil, to destroy our habitat and create a legacy of suffering for our children and grandchildren.

Social movements in general are energized by this kind of ethical passion, which enables people to experience the more active knowledge associated with formed awareness. That was the case in the movement against nuclear weapons. Emotions related to individual conscience were pooled into a shared narrative by enormous numbers of people.

In earlier movements there needed to be an overall theme, even a phrase, that could rally people of highly divergent political and intellectual backgrounds. The idea of a “nuclear freeze” mobilized millions of people with the simple and clear demand that the United States and the Soviet Union freeze the testing, production and deployment of nuclear weapons.

Could the climate swerve come to include a “climate freeze,” defined by a transnational demand for cutting back on carbon emissions in steps that could be systematically outlined?

With or without such a rallying phrase, the climate swerve provides no guarantees of more reasonable collective behavior. But with human energies that are experiential, economic and ethical it could at least provide — and may already be providing — the psychological substrate for action on behalf of our vulnerable habitat and the human future.

A engrenagem das prisões em massa (GGN)

qua, 23/07/2014 – 08:26

Enviado por Leo V

Do Ponte.org

A engrenagem das prisões em massa. O caso Hideki

Bruno Paes Manso

Como produzimos provas para condenar tanta gente?

Já foi dito que as perguntas certeiras são o ponto de partida para boas reportagens e pesquisas. Concordo e já coloco uma questão que há tempos me intriga: como São Paulo (e o Brasil) consegue mandar tanta gente para a prisão se possui uma polícia civil com sérias dificuldades para investigar? Já somos o terceiro País do mundo no ranking de pessoas presas, sendo que nas prisões paulistas há um terço do total de presos nacionais. Como produzimos provas para condenar tanta gente?

As respostas ajudam a decifrar como funcionam as engrenagens dessa fábrica de aprisionamento em massa que estamos construindo em São Paulo e no Brasil. O caso das prisões de Fábio Hideki e de Rafael Marques, detidos sob a acusação de prática de crimes durante os protestos em São Paulo, servem para mostrar a lógica desse mecanismo.

Os dois foram presos no dia 23 de junho numa manifestação na Avenida Paulista durante a Copa do Mundo. A Secretaria de Segurança Pública paulista defendeu a legitimidade das prisões afirmando ter provas de que eles portavam explosivos. Diversas testemunhas afirmaram, no entanto, que o flagrante foi forjado, incluindo o padre Julio Lancelotti, vigário do Povo da Rua, que estava ao lado dos jovens quando eles foram detidos. A SSP rebate e diz que o Ministério Público acompanha de perto as investigações e que os promotores denunciaram Hideki e Marques à Justiça.

hidekiNa semanas que se seguiram às prisões, campanhas foram feitas para que os dois fossem soltos, entidades contestaram a legitimidade da ação, o diretor da Politécnica da USP escreveu carta aberta, mil origamis de tsurus (pássaro da sorte) foram confeccionados para libertá-lo, houve manifestações em São Paulo, Guarulhos e Rio, juristas e juízes democráticos reclamaram, funcionários da USP marcharam, uma página no Facebook foi criada e recebeu mais de 6 mil curtidas, além de inúmeros memes que se espalharam pelas redes sociais.

Mesmo com a pressão legítima, baseada em depoimentos e vídeos que contestavam a credibilidade das ações da segurança pública e as decisões da Justiça, nossas instituições não se deram o trabalho de apresentar as supostas provas ou de justificar seus atos de força. Como se não se sentissem obrigadas a prestar contas de seus atos aos cidadãos que pagam suas contas. Talvez porque se sentem intocáveis. Porque acham que somos todos cegos, que não enxergamos os erros que eles cometem.

Mas já é possível juntar as peças. A figura do quebra-cabeças está ficando cada vez mais visível. A prisão de Hideki e de Marques é apenas a ponta de um profundo iceberg do frágil mecanismo de encarceramento de pobres moradores das periferias. Hideki e Marques foram exceção à regra.

Sem estrutura para realizar investigações competentes, o sistema de Justiça vem condenando faz tempo com base em frágeis evidências. Essa foi uma das principais conclusões da pesquisa feita por Maria Gorete Marques do Núcleo de Estudos da Violência (USP) sobre a aplicação da Lei de Drogas em São Paulo. Boa parte do crescimento do total de presos decorre do aumento da prisão de pequenos traficantes.

Em 2006, havia cerca de 17 mil presos por tráfico. Cinco anos depois, já era 52 mil. Conforme a pesquisa, quase nove entre cada dez prisões feitas no Estado foram ocorrências em flagrante, quando a maioria estava circulando na rua. A maioria (52%) não tinha antecedentes em sua ficha criminal e eram negros e pardos (59%). Na primeira etapa do processo de aprisionamento em massa, a polícia vê um negro em atitude suspeita andando na rua. Ele é abordado e preso em flagrante.

No Judiciário, o depoimento do policial militar que prendeu o suspeito acaba sendo sobrevalorizado. O que ele fala é considerado verdade, mesmo quando a vítima acusa o flagrante de ser forjado. Isso ocorre porque são depoimentos que gozam de fé pública, termo que define juridicamente os documentos e testemunhos que são dados por autoridades públicas no exercício de sua função. São presumivelmente considerados verdadeiros, o que acaba dispensando a necessidade de provas robustas para a condenação.

Na prática, isso significa que, depois de acusado pelo policial, o suspeito passa a ter que provar a sua inocência. As provas materiais do crime ou outros testemunhos de acusação acabam sendo meros complementos em muitos processos. O que não impede o promotor de acusar e o juiz de condenarem o réu. Na pesquisa do NEV-USP, as autoridades explicaram que a gravidade do crime justificaria a decisão de condenar com base em depoimentos de PMs e em provas frágeis.

Não foi o caso do crime Hideki e Marques. Não eram graves. Eles eram meros bodes expiatórios para que a segurança pública e o judiciário dessem uma resposta aos protestos durante a Copa do Mundo. Eles são black blocs? Só dando risada. Acompanhei o movimento e sei sobre os dois presos. Essa afirmação é ridícula. Mas qual é o ponto nevrálgico da questão? Depois de anos e anos prendendo e condenando por nada, nosso sistema já estava acostumado a engolir acusações mal feitas. Qual o problema em condenar mais dois sem que haja provas?

Será que eu estou sendo injusto com nosso sistema de segurança e de Justiça? Há apenas dois meses, eu me deparei com um caso emblemático que foi publicado neste blog em maio. Foi a história de José, um jovem negro de 17 anos que estava em seu apartamento num sábado à noite. A PM perseguia quatro assaltantes de carro pelas ruas. O grupo bateu em um poste durante a fuga, mas tiveram tempo de descer do carro e correr dos policiais. Os PMs acharam que um dos jovens havia subido em um edifício que ficava perto do local da batida. Era onde José morava. Falaram com o porteiro, invadiram o apartamento do garoto às 2 horas da manhã e o prenderam.

José tinha provas de que havia saído de casa somente para fumar no portão. As imagens das 19 câmeras do edifício eram claras. Batom na cueca. Mesmo assim, José continuou preso. O promotor pediu sua condenação e o juiz bateu o martelo. No processo, sobre as imagens que provavam a inocência do acusado, foi afirmado que o “condomínio não tinha fé pública”. O testemunho dos policiais foi suficiente para prendê-lo e condená-lo. As imagens de nada adiantaram. José foi solto apenas depois que a reportagem mostrou neste blog as provas de sua inocência. A Justiça foi forçada a soltá-lo no mesmo dia.

A sociedade merece respostas sobre o flagrante e as provas contra Hideki e Marques. As polícias demandam reformas urgentes. O Estado pode nos tirar os olhos, mas isso não significa que estamos cegos. Segue abaixo, aliás, o belo vídeo feito pela Ponte sobre Alex e Sérgio, fotógrafos baleados durante manifestações.

‘Pedagogia do terror’: testemunho de um ex-preso político da democracia (EPSJV Fiocruz)

Novembro 2013

Paulo BrunoEle foi um dos presos políticos da atual democracia brasileira. Participando de uma manifestação organizada pelos professores municipais e estaduais do Rio de Janeiro, que estavam em greve, Paulo Roberto de Abreu Bruno, pesquisador da Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca (ENSP), da Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, foi detido junto com dezenas de outras pessoas no dia 15 de outubro. Acusado sem provas e sem direito à informação ou à presença de advogados, foi encaminhado para a delegacia e, na sequência, para dois presídios, incluindo Bangu 9. Segundo ele, circulou pelos “porões da democracia brasileira”. Desde o início de junho, Paulo Bruno vinha filmando as manifestações que tomaram as ruas do Rio de Janeiro como parte do seu trabalho de pesquisa. Levou algum tempo para que conseguisse falar sobre o assunto, mas nesta entrevista ele narra as humilhações e violências sofridas pelos presos políticos, descreve a rotina de violação de direitos do sistema carcerário brasileiro, destaca a solidariedade dos presos comuns e chama a atenção para a fragilidade das lutas políticas diante do terror que o Estado, representado no caso pelo governo estadual, pode provocar. Como, na prisão, não tiveram acesso sequer a papel e caneta, os registros que se seguem ficaram registrados, até então, apenas na memória do entrevistado.

Você está sendo acusado de quais crimes?

Dano ao patrimônio, roubo, incêndio e organização criminosa. Eu fui preso por volta de 22h30 do dia 15/11 e, no entanto, no documento que assinei no IML constava como se eu tivesse quebrado alguma coisa, por volta das 18h nas proximidades da rua Evaristo da Veiga. Não há nada quebrado lá. Além disso, nesse horário estava a caminho da Avenida Presidente Vargas, depois de embarcar num trem do metrô na estação de Del Castilho, acompanhado de duas pessoas com as quais trabalho.

Vocês sabiam que estavam sendo presos, para onde estavam indo e por que?

Não. Estava na escadaria da Câmara dos Vereadores e o policial só me puxou. Eu tropecei na alça da mochila e minhas moedas se espalharam. Reclamei disso e, autorizado a recolhê-las, pude me recompor. No ônibus, outro policial mais novo, com pouco menos de 30 anos talvez, ficou perto da porta e mandou entrar. Nisso foram entrando pessoas. Na Evaristo da Veiga, próximo à avenida Rio Branco, alguns manifestantes ainda tentaram impedir que o ônibus saísse e os policiais que estavam em frente ao Municipal jogaram bomba de efeito moral para dispersá-los. O ônibus foi embora com uma escolta, vinham dois de moto — de negro também, acho que eram do choque —, com a arma apontada para a gente, dizendo para fechar a janela, xingando. Tentamos abrir a janela e um deles dizia: ‘fecha a janela senão jogo gás de pimenta em vocês’. Aí fechamos a janela. Até então o pessoal estava revoltado, ninguém tinha noção do que iria acontecer. Eu falava para ter calma, era o mais velho. A gente tinha que estar sempre calado e em nenhum momento falaram para onde iríamos. Na delegacia, permanecemos a maior parte do tempo no ônibus. Ficamos lá de molho até 12h30 do outro dia. Soubemos que duas pessoas que estavam na 25ª, se não me engano, ficaram em condições bem piores, num lugar alagado, com um banheiro. No nosso caso, ficamos em lugares da delegacia sentados ou de pé e depois retornamos para o ônibus. Recebemos orientação dos advogados que chegaram à 37ª DP algum tempo depois de só depormos em juízo. Passamos uma procuração para os advogados do DDH [Instituto de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos] e não depusemos.

Como foi a transferência para o presídio?

Pouco antes de 12h30 os carros começaram a se movimentar, vimos chegar aquele furgão usado pelo batalhão de choque, começaram a deslocar os carros em frente à delegacia, a gente previu que fosse acontecer alguma coisa. Imaginamos que iríamos ser transferidos, mas não sabíamos para onde porque não falaram. Alguns PMs começaram a ser mais irônicos e mais agressivos com palavras. Quando alguém pedia alguma coisa, respondiam de forma irônica. Sempre de forma intimidatória. Até que meio dia e pouco — imagino que nesse horário porque também não tínhamos relógio —, colocaram a gente na traseira desse furgão, que era dividido no meio, com dois bancos laterais. Ia uma pessoa em pé e outra sentada, algemadas. Eu não tinha noção de que algema era objeto de tortura, para mim, era só para segurar a mão do preso. Mas conforme você vai mexendo, ela vai apertando. Então, assim que o carro saiu, a algema encaixou no osso do meu pulso, causando uma sensação muito ruim, eu tentei mexer e percebi que ela apertou. Fomos para o IML [Instituto Médico Legal]. Nessa hora eu já não aguentava mais, pedi para tirarem e acabaram abrindo [a algema] lá. Mas isso nem contou lá no exame de corpo delito porque é uma coisa muito rápida, os caras não querem muita conversa. O tratamento que a gente recebeu em todo momento, a não ser em poucas ocasiões no interior da 37ª DP, era como se fôssemos criminosos. Dali saímos também sem que falassem nada. Nos algemaram de novo, colocaram no furgão e fomos para São Gonçalo, para o presídio Patrícia Accioly, no bairro Guaxindiba. Nas transferências, você é sempre humilhado, chamavam a gente de ‘black bosta’, criminosos, assassinos, vagabundos, vândalos etc. Na saída da 37ª, dois policiais nos chamaram de criminosos, falando que seríamos estuprados no presídio. Diziam que iríamos pagar por termos nos metido com policial, que tínhamos matado o amigo deles, incendiado o carro [da polícia]. Tentavam nos filmar com seus celulares. Quando chegou lá, em Guaxindiba, novamente um cardápio de ofensas e atos para nos amedrontar. Você entra, tira a roupa, fica de cócoras, levanta a sola do pé, mão, tudo para ver se está com algum objeto, e depois te encaminham nu para receber calção e camiseta. Para lá a gente foi com a roupa do corpo. Na delegacia da Ilha do Governador, deixamos as coisas com os advogados, porque tinham avisado que iríamos perder tudo no presídio. Primeiro ficamos acocorados num corredor dos presos de alta periculosidade (segundo eles próprios). A primeira pergunta de um desses presos foi se a gente tinha dinheiro. Todo mundo de mão para trás e cabeça para baixo, em pé ou sentado. Não demos ouvido. Começaram a perguntar o que a gente fez, mas ninguém respondeu. Por fim, ele perguntou se a gente estava em manifestação. O preso da frente falou ‘esse Cabral é um filho da puta, tem que sair!’ e o da cela de trás concordou: ‘É isso mesmo!’.
Dali fomos para uma cela num corredor e ficamos só nós, os presos políticos. Eram celas para seis pessoas, com três beliches de cimento. No canto, o banheiro, com um buraco no chão — um vaso sanitário, chamado de “boi” na linguagem da cadeia — e um chuveiro no alto, sem registro. A gente descobriu que a água era aberta duas vezes ao dia. Foi ato contínuo entrarmos na cela e todo mundo se apresentar. As pessoas não se conheciam. A sensação de solidariedade coletiva minimizava a apreensão causada nos deslocamentos (DP-IML-presídio). Entrar na cela naquela circunstância era como “chegar em casa”: enfim, apesar da falta de banho, teríamos a possibilidade de deitar e descansar.

Como foi a rotina dentro do presídio?

Inicialmente fomos informados sobre como funciona o sistema. Rasparam a nossa cabeça também antes de entrarmos na cela. Recebemos sabonete, escova de dente e creme dental. Toalha não! Os presos mais antigos e com bom comportamento fazem o serviço de cortar o cabelo, dar informes sobre o funcionamento, servir as refeições. Eram feitos três “conferes” ao dia: gritavam no corredor (Confere!), ou tocavam na grade e você teria que se posicionar (erguido, mãos para trás e olhar para o chão) para eles contarem. Tinha pão e café pela manhã, almoço, jantar e um copo de uma bebida que parecia guaravita. A gente foi se acostumando com a rotina. No primeiro dia, não chegou água. Chegamos ao presídio quatro horas da tarde talvez, estando desde o dia 15 sem tomar banho — já era dia 16 anoitecendo. Falaram que abririam a água por dez minutos. Nesse dia abriram a água devia ser 3h da manhã. Tinha muito mosquito nesse presídio. Já trabalhei na Amazônia, andei em várias aldeias, mas nunca vi coisa igual. Não dava para dormir. Eles deram um cobertor e a esperança era que o cobertor ajudasse. No meu caso, era velho e furado, então não adiantava porque os mosquitos entravam. Essa primeira noite foi sofrida. A gente meio que fica na expectativa de sair, mas já estava conversando e encarando a possibilidade de ficar mais tempo. As longas conversas entre o grupo que dividia a cela e a comunicação com outros presos políticos de outras celas serviram para nos mantermos num estado emocional equilibrado. Na segunda noite nesse presídio já havíamos aprendido a fazer incensos com papel higiênico, o que afastava os mosquitos, mas deixava a cela esfumaçada.

Vocês receberam a visita de alguém?

Primeiro, recebi visita dos advogados da Asfoc [Sindicato dos Trabalhadores da Fiocruz], Jorge da Hora e Fábio. Eles falaram da mobilização que era prevista para acontecer na Fiocruz e perguntaram sobre o meu estado. Receber notícias de fora do presídio causou um sentimento desconhecido. Não tinha a menor ideia do que poderia estar acontecendo do lado de fora. Era como se estivesse também com o pensamento aprisionado, apesar de consciente do que acontecia. Depois, na tarde do dia 17, chegaram os advogados do DDH junto com uma advogada ligada a uma ONG que trabalha com direitos humanos em presídios. O trabalho dela consiste em visitar todos os presídios do sistema do Rio de Janeiro e ver as condições dos presos. Acho que tinha alguém da Comissão de Direitos Humanos da Assembleia [Legislativa]. Um pouco depois chegou o [deputado estadual] Marcelo Freixo. Fizemos duas reuniões num refeitório onde tivemos a primeira oportunidade de ver o conjunto dos presos. Dos 19 que éramos quando chegamos à 37ª delegacia, ali já éramos 62. Todo mundo se cumprimentava, apertando a mão. Recebemos uma carta de pessoas de fora. Foi um momento de muita emoção e houve um agradecimento a elas. Aquilo foi muito bom porque a gente estava isolado. É outro universo: no presídio você não tem essa dimensão do que acontece do lado de fora. É outro mundo. Tínhamos consciência de que éramos presos políticos. Foi nosso primeiro contato coletivo com o mundo. O Marcelo Freixo me pareceu muito abatido, falando que a situação era grave, que ele nunca tinha presenciado uma situação dessa no Rio de Janeiro. Comentou que se falava em colocar as forças de segurança nacional na rua e que o Beltrame chegou a aventar isso. E a imprensa estava jogando pesado na nossa criminalização.

E a transferência para Bangu 9?

Na madrugada do dia 17 para o 18, umas 3h30 da manhã, fomos acordados pelos caras batendo [na grade]. “Sai, sai. Deixa tudo!!!”, gritavam. E os meus óculos ficaram na cela. Foi o momento de maior tensão: escuro, aqueles caras enormes todos de preto, gritando muito. A sensação, pelo tratamento, era de que iriam executar a gente. Colocaram a gente num pátio externo, sempre gritando, humilhando, xingando. Eu não fui agredido, mas uma parte do grupo foi agredida com palmatória. Eles queriam que o pessoal dissesse por que o estuprador da Rocinha estava com a orelha cortada e o rosto queimado. Tinha três presos comuns com a gente, um deles era esse estuprador e alguém queimou o cara, só que ele não dividiu cela com a gente em nenhum momento. Mas os caras queriam que a gente dissesse quem foi. Isso eu ouvi do lado de fora de um portão grande de ferro. Fui colocado para fora com outro grupo, de cabeça baixa. Chovera e o chão estava molhado e todos nós estávamos descalços (desde são Gonçalo até a libertação permanecemos nesse estado). Começamos a ouvir interrogatório e, em seguida, batidas e as pessoas gritando. Depois soubemos que era a palmatória de madeira. Isso durou alguns minutos. Fomos colocados num ônibus todo escuro. Dessa vez, sentamos quase todos. Um dos presos políticos estava por desmaiar e outros se esforçavam para mantê-lo acordado. Não era possível ver os rostos mesmo dos que estavam mais próximos de nós. Havia pouca circulação de ar. O Freixo havia dito que possivelmente iríamos para um presídio próximo para aguardar uma solução na justiça. Seria um presídio em São Gonçalo, que ele disse que era mais tranquilo, que estava disposto a aceitar o grupo, tinha espaço. Como eles tiraram a gente de madrugada, só podíamos imaginar para onde estávamos indo, porque estava escuro e, sem relógio nem nada, você perde a noção de espaço e tempo. Só sentíamos o balanço do ônibus, só sabíamos que estávamos em rua esburacada. Depois de algum tempo, pela batida e por alguma luz que entrava, nos demos conta de que estávamos cruzando a ponte Rio-Niterói. Mas, adiante alguém exclamou: “Deodoro!”. Pouco depois chegamos ao Complexo Penitenciário Gericinó, mais especificamente, no presídio Bangu 9 e foi novamente aquela coisa de os caras nos tratarem mal. A fala e a atitude de um policial ficou impregnada na minha memória: ‘Só tem vocês dois de pretos aqui?’. Em seguida segurou a cabeça de um deles e bateu algumas vezes contra a parede. Teve outro preso político que pedia insistentemente para ir ao banheiro, que não aguentava mais. Estavam muito próximo de mim. Gemia… Eu sussurrava para ele: respira fundo. Os caras apenas ironizavam e procuravam humilhá-lo. Mesmo depois de uns cinco pedidos desesperados, o rapaz não teve autorização e evacuou nas calças. Depois disso ordenaram que lavassem o chão.

Fomos para a cela. Quando a gente passa pela triagem, perguntam qual a nossa facção e são apresentadas as seguintes opções num formulário: Comando Vermelho, Amigo dos Amigos, Povo de Israel, milícia ou neutro. Nos identificamos como neutros e ficamos numa galeria juntos com o Povo de Israel, que são os presos que se converteram. O melhor de Bangu é que tinha uma torneira com água 24 horas; no outro não tivemos nem água para beber até a primeira abertura do chuveiro, para banho muito menos. Se quiséssemos beber aquela água imunda, pelo menos havia água, não iríamos morrer de sede. Mas a cela era mais estreita, escura, úmida e quase não tinha espaço para circular. Parece que circulou a informação de que haveria visita do pessoal dos direitos humanos. Aí deram um jeito de transferir a gente para outra cela no final do corredor, onde entrava luz no final da tarde, tinha sol, foi um alento. Além de um pardal que entrava e saía da cela através da grade no alto da parede (no final da tarde ele se alojou num buraco no teto da cela). Dessa cela ouvíamos cantos de outros pássaros. Recebemos somente um lençol branco e limpo que, pelo fato de ser bem largo, dava para cobrir a espuma sobre a qual deitava e, ao mesmo, servir de coberta. As poucas horas que restavam da madrugada permitiram um breve cochilo. No dia 18, acordei com a sensação de que sairia: lavei minha camiseta no banho com caneco e sabonete. Eu pretendia sair limpinho do presídio, estava imundo. Nessa passagem por Bangu, os presos receberam a gente bem. Eles falavam que a gente representava os parentes deles do lado de fora, que a luta era por eles também. Foram acolhedores e respeitosos conosco.

Quando você soube que seria solto?

Durante reunião com o pessoal dos direitos humanos, que aconteceu justamente no corredor, diante da cela onde eu e mais cinco presos estávamos, deram a informação de que tinha saído um habeas corpus. E que a partir desse habeas corpus, em meu nome, a juíza estendeu o benefício para os outros. Dali, voltamos para a cela. O habeas corpus só chegou ao presídio no final da tarde. Nesse meio tempo, chegaram advogadas do DDH, a Luiza maranhão e mais duas que conheciam pessoas comuns a mim e a outros dois presos. A gente foi conversar com as advogadas e, na volta, foi interessante porque um preso parou a gente para conversar no corredor, onde havia outros dois presos soltos. Esse preso falou: ‘Pára que aqui é tranquilo, pode parar’. Parei. ‘Aperta minha mão aí’. Apertei. Tinha outros três na grade festejando a gente e que também queriam apertar as nossas mãos. Eu saí, o Deo [professor da rede municipal do Rio, companheiro de cela] veio mais atrás, parou um pouco e conversou com eles. Eles falaram: ‘Ah, você é professor?A gente é aluno do crime, a gente veio agradecer vocês’. Surpreendeu a gente: por incrível que pareça, tivemos a solidariedade de quem – os policiais falaram – iria nos maltratar. Enfim, foi o ultimo dia lá, saímos à noite. Durante a oração que é feita sempre às 18h, segundo comunicara o preso que servia as refeições, momento em que os presos leem trechos da Bíblia, discursam, cantam — as falas e canções pareciam ter sido construídas no próprio espaço carcerário, pois falavam, muito da situação dos presos —, um dos carcereiros fez uma chamada no início do corredor, o que interrompeu a oração e criou um estado de suspense. Chamaram os nomes dos nove primeiros libertos. A nossa saída pela galeria foi algo comovente! Braços eram estendidos para fora das celas para nos cumprimentar. Olhos brilhantes nos acompanhavam enquanto aguardavam cumprimentos. Ouvia-se um grito: Liberdade! Esperamos quase duas horas fora da cela. Depois saberíamos que foi feito de tudo para que ficássemos mais tempo presos, apesar de os advogados da Asfoc já terem obtido dois habeas corpus antes do que definiu a saída do nosso grupo, detido na 37ª DP.

Dá para descrever os momentos de pavor?

Tem um pavor que é para disciplinar o corpo e, no nosso caso, intimidar. A todo momento falavam que, como era a primeira vez, a gente estava sendo tratado como homem, e que da próxima seríamos tratados de forma diferente. Falavam para que tomássemos cuidado para não voltar para lá. E funciona: nessa noite mesmo tive um sonho com um monte de policial de fuzil atirando nas pessoas aleatoriamente. Isso num nível psicológico. [Mas teve] o físico também, eles bateram em algumas pessoas. Imagino que elas estejam mais frágeis do que eu. Tem essa coisa de incutir o medo. É uma espécie de pedagogia do terror, de você ser educado para não se manifestar, não questionar. Tanto que os últimos atos estiveram meio vazios, as pessoas estão recuando porque foi feita uma coisa exemplar. Isso me faz pensar que essa estrutura de terror não se extingue com mudança de governo, eleições, ela está muito bem estruturada como sistema de tortura… Aparentemente é um sistema legal, no entanto, é uma estrutura em que você entra e é engolido. Quando vem pressão de fora, é diferente. Fora isso, é o sistema de terror. É impossível ressocializar (como sugere o calção que recebemos, com a sigla SEAP e a palavra ressocialização) em tais condições.

Você diz que existe uma pedagogia do terror que funciona. Como é voltar a uma manifestação agora? 

Eu soube de pessoas que não pretendem voltar a manifestações por enquanto. Para mim foi difícil. Nos arredores da Cinelândia, uns dias depois da minha libertação, quando vi o carro e um micro-ônibus da polícia, foi uma sensação muito estranha. Eu fui para casa. A sensação é de que iria repetir tudo que eu falei anteriormente, uma coisa incontrolável, não de ser preso, mas de sentir tudo o que eu senti, de escuridão, de ser puxado para o escuro. De ter sido sequestrado. Mudou também o meu olhar com relação aos policiais. Eu tinha a expectativa de que pudessem se portar como trabalhadores, servidores públicos. Agora eu até entendo a situação de precariedade, que os caras têm que fazer isso para sobreviver, a questão da hierarquia militar etc., mas os possíveis resquícios de solidariedade diminuíram muito. Com a forma como muitos deles tratam as pessoas, não dá para perceber qualquer sinal de compaixão.

Qual a sua avaliação com relação ao sistema judiciário e carcerário brasileiro considerando a situação daqueles que passaram por essa experiência?

Se você está na mão do Estado, está refém do Estado. Estamos em situação de fragilidade. Hoje os grupos mais conservadores estão unidos em torno de um projeto que, a pretexto de viabilizar a Copa do Mundo e as Olimpíadas, visa frear manifestações para assegurar o uso da máquina e dos recursos públicos para garantir os grandes investimentos, o lucro, a expropriação de terras. Não temos certeza se, quando formos a julgamento, podemos ganhar. Essa sociedade democrática que a gente vive é para quem não está dentro desse sistema prisional, só serve para quem nunca passou por lá. Depois que você cai ali, vê que é tudo muito frágil. No escravismo brasileiro, até o século XIX, os escravos que cometiam os “crimes” de fuga das fazendas ou atentado ao “seu senhor”, por exemplo, eram marcados/queimados com a letra “F”. Algo aparentemente superado historicamente se repete com a “marca” que a “passagem” pelo “sistema” deixa em nós. Qualquer um pode ser pinçado, cair ali e pronto! O objetivo dos grupos que controlam as estruturas de poder do Estado é ter você na mão e prorrogar esse processo por anos. Qualquer um de nós, se voltar, com certeza, terá outro tratamento. Eles nos avisaram! Há os que ainda acreditam na possibilidade da luta, garantida nos “direitos constituídos”. Penso que não tem mais direito constituído… Se por um lado a solidariedade presente entre companheiros da Fiocruz e de Manguinhos, em especial, foi extremamente importante para mim, por outro, é surpreendente o silêncio por parte de algumas entidades de classe e parte do meio acadêmico com relação a esse estado de coisas, onde cresce a opressão contra a expressão popular nas ruas, o que coloca o Estado Democrático de Direito como privilégio para poucas pessoas. Também é desprezível o reacionarismo expresso em artigos e ações de intelectuais que, outrora, eram consideradas referências importantes para a crítica ao autoritarismo.

Ainda tem gente presa…

Tem o Jair e o Rafael, um morador de rua. Ambos negros. Segundo as notícias que circulam na internet o Rafael foi preso num prédio abandonado na Lapa, onde ele estava morando. Foi no dia 20 de junho, aquele em que a polícia saiu jogando bomba de gás para todo lado. Ele estava caminhando para o lugar onde iria dormir com uma garrafa plástica de detergente e uma de água sanitária e alegaram que ele estava com material inflamável, com líquidos para produzir incêndio. Foi preso. O cara é morador de rua, está há cinco meses preso, e esteve, durante algum tempo, sem defesa. Já o Jair parece que foi preso por averiguação, e pelo fato de ter passagem anterior, estão dificultando o caso dele. Na reunião com as advogadas, no Bangu 9, foi falado que estava sendo difícil conseguir o habeas corpus para ele.

Você falou que estávamos muito fragilizados e houve uma grande união de forças para acabar com as manifestações. Mas mesmo depois dessa experiência traumática, você continua indo. Por quê?

O que impulsiona a gente a participar é a solidariedade. Aqueles que decidiram o que fazer conosco não têm noção de que, dentro da cadeia, possibilitaram a construção de uma solidariedade entre pessoas que nem se conheciam. Criaram uma liga entre essas pessoas, conheci pessoas de caráter muito firme. A grande maioria lá ficou muito solidária. Eu vejo que de toda essa experiência ruim, de aprisionamento, de repressão, está consolidando um grupo de muitas pessoas com discernimento sobre os fatos e sobre as injustiças presentes em nossa sociedade. Tive oportunidade de rever pessoas que dividiram cela comigo num ato recente de solidariedade aos presos e ex-presos. Algo inexplicável, a repressão produzira laços de amizade e confiança.
Eu volto para as manifestações com a vontade de filmar, mas não sei se vou continuar filmando por enquanto, apesar de querer dar continuidade aos registros históricos e etnográficos que iniciei em junho. Vivemos um processo histórico muito vigoroso e complexo sobre o qual precisamos refletir muito e para isso é necessário que ele seja registrado a partir de olhares diversos. Sou apenas um deles. Também não dá para abdicar de questionar o sistema da forma como está colocado. Afinal de contas, é difícil pensar na construção de um conhecimento científico neutro, principalmente, se levarmos a sério o que sugeria Paulo Freire ao dizer que toda neutralidade afirmada corresponderia a uma opção escondida.

Assim, a passagem pelo sistema prisional e carcerário não poderia ofuscar o nosso olhar sobre a sua dinâmica, sobre a forma como atuam os servidores públicos que os mantêm ativos e, sobretudo, sobre as condições nas quais se encontra seu “público-alvo”, formado por pobres, negros e mestiços em sua grande maioria. Nessa perspectiva, é difícil observar sem críticas um serviço público, financiado com recursos públicos, utilizado para punir parte desse público (presos, seus parentes e amigos). A crítica a esse tipo de serviço não pode ser colocada sem a devida correlação com toda a estrutura de governo do qual faz parte. Na atual conjuntura, essa crítica pode resultar na marcação de um “F” nas nossas costas ou no nosso encarceramento.

Entrevista concedida a André Antunes e Cátia Guimarães – Escola Politécnica de Saúde Joaquim Venâncio (EPSJV/Fiocruz)

The real costs of public protest (Mining.com)

[Note from blog editor: this article shows new sophisticated PR strategies in the attempt to manipulate local communities and public opinion]

Public Strategy Group | June 26, 2014

A May 2014 joint report from the University of Queensland Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining and the Harvard Kennedy School confirms the real costs of public opposition to development.

Researchers analysed over fifty mining, oil and gas projects in India, Chile, Peru, Australia and Argentina to examine and total the costs of public opposition to their businesses. The results were staggering but not unexpected from industries often faced with costly cancellations and delays caused by public objection.

“There is a popular misconception that local communities are powerless in the face of large corporations and governments,” according to key study contributor Dr. Daniel Franks.

Franks asserts that this sentiment is false and concludes that the study’s findings “show that community mobilization can be very effective at raising the costs to companies.”

The study points out that project delays resulted in the most frequent source of costs to companies, with approximately $20 million per week wasted for mining projects valued between $3 billion and $5 billion.

However, project suspensions caused the most overall economic damage. One example the study referenced is a gold and copper mine established in Peru by the Newmont Mining Corporation. The mine, known as the Conga project, aimed to extract 350,000 ounces of gold and 120 million pounds of copper from Peru’s Cajamarca region annually.

But after some initial investments in the $5 billion project were made, local residents grew increasingly concerned that the mine could have negative effects on water quality in the area. Citizens’ concerns eventually lead to a series of protests that escalated into violence and a government order to halt all work at the mine. Two years later, the mine remains closed, leaving Newmont with a $2 billion loss on the investment.

Switching to an industry-wide perspective, in 2012 Swiss financial firm Credit Suisse found “environmental, social and governance risks” across the Australian mining, oil and gas sector to be worth $8 billion.

According Dr. Frank, this level of risk could be negated if companies focus more on investment in risk mitigation at the outset of projects rather than acting retroactively. Franks argues that companies should focus on “meaningful” dialogue at the outset of a project and that this attempt to reach out “is something that the best practice companies are doing at the moment, and something that the International Council for Mining and Metals argues that companies should be doing.”

Contributor Rachel Davis of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative notes that “it is much harder for a company to repair its relationship with a local community after it has broken down; relationships cannot be ‘retro-fitted.’”

What is the best course of action for companies going forward then? While there may not be one perfect formula, companies can start by taking a few important steps to formulate a strategy that minimizes public opposition.

Starting early

Strive to create an open environment for dialogue. Even if opposition appears limited, it only takes a few angry voices to change the atmosphere into one of intimidation and disapproval. Local residents may want a development to succeed, but not at the cost of angering their neighbors. Therefore, the moment a project is internally approved, project managers must have an infrastructure for communication ready, both on the ground and in cyberspace. This way, rapid communication to build an advocacy network can take place by the time opposition starts. Receptive citizens will then have the resources necessary to receive information and voice approval.

Reaching out

Those with new mining proposals must engage residents as their new neighbors by creating a dialogue and allowing residents to develop a sense of familiarity with the company coming to town. Successful projects inform and educate the community using a variety of communication vehicles, including phone calls, direct mailing, press conferences and releases, and open house information sessions. People are invested in their communities; they want to be informed and to know the assets and drawbacks a project will bring. If developers neglect to inform them, opposition groups will.

Furthermore, some locals may have very legitimate concerns that require in-depth answers. It is paramount that these concerns are answered in plain and direct language from the company itself. Rather than ignoring a citizen’s complaint, engage the resident even if a solution is not immediately feasible.

Keeping in touch

Companies must also build a database of supporters and call upon them.

Supporters want the success of the development, and they will help if asked. Let both advocates and the community know about the status of a project – where it is doing well and where it needs help. A few supportive voices at a town meeting will make a significant difference.

Additionally, social media cannot be neglected. Creative content that can be shared easily is an important digital dialogue facilitator.

Staunch opposition will never tire out in its public outreach, and neither can those putting forth the proposal.

Turning local support into legislative support

Finally, supporters must be made aware that success at the local level can be overturned at the state level.

Teach supporters how to engage most effectively with their local and state elected officials through the platforms upon which officials most frequently engage.

Make sure that every mining project is accompanied by a grassroots advocacy campaign that will keep the project popular both with locals and state governments. Politicians will be much more likely to stand behind the industry if it is backed by voting constituents.

With a strong local and legislative advocacy network built by an active grassroots campaign, mining projects will reduce the risk of project delays that can cost millions.

http://www.mining.com/web/the-real-costs-of-public-protest/?utm_source=digest-en-mining-140625&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=digest

Eduardo Viveiros de Castro: El consumo no evita la queja (Clarín)

16/06/14

Tensión. Para el pueblo brasileño, “el gobierno se vendió a la FIFA”, sostiene el antropólogo Viveiros de Castro.

El antropólogo carioca Eduardo Viveiros de Castro estuvo recientemente –y por primera vez– en Buenos Aires. Participó del seminario “La bolsa o la vida. Modelos de desarrollo, nuevas conflictividades sociales y derechos humanos”, organizado por la Biblioteca Nacional y presentó el libro La mirada del jaguar. Una introducción al perspectivismo amerindio (Tinta Limón), que compila una serie de entrevistas donde cuenta su trayectoria como investigador. O mejor dicho, su experiencia fugitiva: cómo se conectó con los indios para huir de Brasil. “Fui a estudiar a los indios porque los indios justamente no eran brasileños. Me interesaba su total incompetencia ciudadana. La pregunta era ¿cómo salir de Brasil?, en el sentido de evitar esa problemática teórica de la nacionalidad, el destino de Brasil como nación, el carácter nacional”. La incorrección política que planteaba esa posición en los años 70 no deja de ser actual y sigue generando polémica. En esta conversación Viveiros de Castro cuenta cómo se vivieron las recientes movilizaciones callejeras y lo que se espera para este 2014 que luego del Mundial, afronta las elecciones presidenciales.

–La consigna que circuló en estos meses era sintética pero directa “No habrá copa” ¿Qué concentra esa frase?
–Para el pueblo la imagen es que el gobierno se vendió a la FIFA. La sensación es que la FIFA ha logrado que se instale un micro-estado de excepción que entrará en vigor incluso antes del campeonato. Hay una indignación patriótica por el modo en que Brasil se ha sometido a esa mega máquina de explotación capitalista que es la FIFA en tanto reduce el fútbol a un puro negocio. En Río, muchas favelas fueron removidas para hacer obras para el mundial, también por cuestiones de “seguridad”. Todo eso sucede al mismo tiempo de la propaganda de que Brasil es la nueva potencia económica mundial, con obras de infraestructura enormes, que incluye el desmonte de la Amazonía, hechas por las cinco constructoras más grandes del país que son las que contribuyen históricamente a financiar las campañas de todos los partidos, sean de derecha o de izquierda.

–¿Cómo caracterizaría esas manifestaciones?
–Son bastante inéditas. Hubo partidos de izquierda pero sin ningún control sobre la movilización. Los partidos de derecha no van. Y toda vez que un periodista de la red O Globo se acerca es expulsado, por eso estas manifestaciones son fuertemente atacadas por la prensa. Han producido su propia prensa, que se llama Midia Ninja. No hay además un solo tema. Aunque podría decirse que existen dos cuestiones fundamentales. El problema de la movilidad urbana de la población obrera de San Pablo que vive en las periferias de la ciudad y tiene que viajar horas, lo cual supone un reclamo por el tiempo que lleva ir de las casas al trabajo, una reivindicación del tiempo libre. La segunda es contra la reacción represiva de la policía frente a las marchas, ante lo cual muchos jóvenes se indignaron.

–¿Esto está en el origen de la formación de los black bloc (grupos de protesta)?
–La práctica del black bloc, especialmente en Río, tiene que ver con la respuesta al accionar de la policía militar con la que cuenta cada Estado provincial, que es como un ejército privado y una herencia del imperio. Es una policía que usa armas pesadas y entrenada para la guerra. El gobierno es acusado de complicidad con esta violencia de los Estados provinciales. Dilma ha dicho por tv que está en contra de toda manifestación que ponga en peligro el orden público. Estas palabras, viniendo de una mujer que estuvo en la guerrilla, que dijo haber sido revolucionaria, orientan el discurso del PT hacia una retórica de orden propia de una derecha más clásica.

–Las movilizaciones en Brasil, a diferencia de las últimas en Europa o EE.UU., no se dan en un momento de crisis o ajuste. Más bien lo contrario: es claramente un momento de desarrollo en términos de inclusión masiva al consumo. ¿Cómo lo interpreta?
–Hay algo muy complejo vinculado al llamado crecimiento. Una gran parte de este aumento de los ingresos por medio de beneficios sociales como el de “Bolsa Familia” ha sido utilizado como método de endeudamiento para los jóvenes pobres. El prototipo podríamos describirlo como un joven de 22 años, sin educación formal, que trabaja de cadete, cuya familia recibe ahora estos subsidios, además de las posibilidades de acceso al microcrédito que el gobierno implementó. ¿Y qué es lo primero que hace este joven? Compra una moto y se endeuda por muchísimos años de su vida con un préstamo muy oneroso con los bancos. Parte fundamental del crecimiento es por este endeudamiento general de las clases populares, especialmente con electrodomésticos. Y no está mal que alguien que no tenía heladera pase a tenerla, todo lo contrario. El problema es que no pasan a tener la heladera sino a ser tenidos por ella, es decir, por la deuda a la que quedan obligados, casi siempre por medio de tarjetas de crédito. En la medida en que ciertos gobiernos de la región se diferencian de las políticas neoliberales tal como se dieron durante los años 90 y promueven un aumento general del consumo, se genera un consenso sobre la legitimidad de estos modelos y cualquier crítica se la clasifica como proveniente de la derecha. En Brasil los que argumentan así son los que llamamos “gobernistas”, es decir, la gente de la antigua izquierda que apoya al gobierno más allá de la medida que se trate porque siempre dicen “otro gobierno sería mucho peor”. Comparado con la Argentina, en Brasil resulta más complicado porque la dictadura no terminó, los militares no han sido juzgados y siguen diciendo públicamente que salvaron al país del comunismo. Y esto, me parece, funciona en acuerdo con el PT: los militares “toleran” que el actual gobierno “de izquierda” gobierne y el gobierno “tolera” que los militares sigan diciendo lo que dicen y no se los juzgue.

–Volviendo a la cuestión del consumo, ¿no cree que cierta crítica al consumo debería plantearse el desafío de deshacerse de toda carga moral?
–Me parece que la democratización en América Latina no llega por el consumo sino por la ampliación de servicios del Estado: salud, transporte, educación. Lo que pasa en Brasil es que el consumo ha sustituido esa provisión de servicios para las clases populares. Entonces, las clases populares en vez de tener más y mejores servicios tienen su crédito para comprar bienes producidos por el gran capital, sea su motocicleta o su heladera. La cuestión es qué resulta más importante: ¿que el gobierno invierta en cloacas, puestos de salud y escuelas o que invierta en liberar de impuestos la compra de autos baratos para que los pobres puedan tener un auto? Se podría responder “las dos cosas” y es una buena cuestión. El hecho a subrayar es que el gobierno brasileño ha invertido masivamente en el consumo mediante el crédito. Y el pedido de mejoramiento de servicios públicos es justamente uno de los reclamos del Movimiento de Passe Livre que inició la ola de manifestaciones. La verdadera inclusión pasa por la inclusión en el acceso a servicios que el Estado tiene la obligación de proveer a todos. Además creo que hay dos tipos diferentes de consumo que hay que distinguir.

–¿Cuáles?
–Por un lado, el consumo de quienes no tenían nada y ahora pueden comprar su tv o su heladera. Nadie puede oponerse. De todas maneras, eso no los convierte en clase media, como dice el gobierno. Pasan de ser pobres a un poco menos pobres. Y después está el consumo inmenso de una clase media-media que pasa a ser una clase media-alta y protagoniza un ascenso de clase verdaderamente consumista: es la gente que va a Miami o a Buenos Aires para llenar valijas con productos importados de marcas de lujo. Esta gente se multiplicó tanto o más que los pobres que acceden a un crédito.

Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown (The Guardian)

Social science is being militarised to develop ‘operational tools’ to target peaceful activists and protest movements

Thursday 12 June 2014 02.00 EDT

Pentagon Building in Washington

The Pentagon is funding social science research to model risks of “social contagions” that could damage US strategic interests. Photograph: Jason Reed/REUTERS

A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term “warfighter-relevant insights” for senior officials and decision makers in “the defense policy community,” and to inform policy implemented by “combatant commands.”

Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD ‘Minerva Research Initiative’ partners with universities “to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US.”

Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model “of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions.” The project will determine “the critical mass (tipping point)” of social contagians by studying their “digital traces” in the cases of “the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey.”

Twitter posts and conversations will be examined “to identify individuals mobilised in a social contagion and when they become mobilised.”

Another project awarded this year to the University of Washington “seeks to uncover the conditions under which political movements aimed at large-scale political and economic change originate,” along with their “characteristics and consequences.” The project, managed by the US Army Research Office, focuses on “large-scale movements involving more than 1,000 participants in enduring activity,” and will cover 58 countries in total.

Last year, the DoD’s Minerva Initiative funded a project to determine ‘Who Does Not Become a Terrorist, and Why?’ which, however, conflates peaceful activists with “supporters of political violence” who are different from terrorists only in that they do not embark on “armed militancy” themselves. The project explicitly sets out to study non-violent activists:

“In every context we find many individuals who share the demographic, family, cultural, and/or socioeconomic background of those who decided to engage in terrorism, and yet refrained themselves from taking up armed militancy, even though they were sympathetic to the end goals of armed groups. The field of terrorism studies has not, until recently, attempted to look at this control group. This project is not about terrorists, but about supporters of political violence.”

The project’s 14 case studies each “involve extensive interviews with ten or more activists and militants in parties and NGOs who, though sympathetic to radical causes, have chosen a path of non-violence.”

I contacted the project’s principal investigator, Prof Maria Rasmussen of the US Naval Postgraduate School, asking why non-violent activists working for NGOs should be equated to supporters of political violence – and which “parties and NGOs” were being investigated – but received no response.

Similarly, Minerva programme staff refused to answer a series of similar questions I put to them, including asking how “radical causes” promoted by peaceful NGOs constituted a potential national security threat of interest to the DoD.

Among my questions, I asked:

“Does the US Department of Defense see protest movements and social activism in different parts of the world as a threat to US national security? If so, why? Does the US Department of Defense consider political movements aiming for large scale political and economic change as a national security matter? If so, why? Activism, protest, ‘political movements’ and of course NGOs are a vital element of a healthy civil society and democracy – why is it that the DoD is funding research to investigate such issues?”

Minerva’s programme director Dr Erin Fitzgerald said “I appreciate your concerns and am glad that you reached out to give us the opportunity to clarify” before promising a more detailed response. Instead, I received the following bland statement from the DoD’s press office:

“The Department of Defense takes seriously its role in the security of the United States, its citizens, and US allies and partners. While every security challenge does not cause conflict, and every conflict does not involve the US military, Minerva helps fund basic social science research that helps increase the Department of Defense’s understanding of what causes instability and insecurity around the world. By better understanding these conflicts and their causes beforehand, the Department of Defense can better prepare for the dynamic future security environment.”

In 2013, Minerva funded a University of Maryland project in collaboration with the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to gauge the risk of civil unrest due to climate change. The three-year $1.9 million project is developing models to anticipate what could happen to societies under a range of potential climate change scenarios.

From the outset, the Minerva programme was slated to provide over $75 million over five years for social and behavioural science research. This year alone it has been allocated a total budget of $17.8 million by US Congress.

An internal Minerva staff email communication referenced in a 2012 Masters dissertation reveals that the programme is geared toward producing quick results that are directly applicable to field operations. The dissertation was part of a Minerva-funded project on “counter-radical Muslim discourse” at Arizona State University.

The internal email from Prof Steve Corman, a principal investigator for the project, describes a meeting hosted by the DoD’s Human Social Cultural and Behavioural Modeling (HSCB) programme in which senior Pentagon officials said their priority was “to develop capabilities that are deliverable quickly” in the form of “models and tools that can be integrated with operations.”

Although Office of Naval Research supervisor Dr Harold Hawkins had assured the university researchers at the outset that the project was merely “a basic research effort, so we shouldn’t be concerned about doing applied stuff”, the meeting in fact showed that DoD is looking to “feed results” into “applications,” Corman said in the email. He advised his researchers to “think about shaping results, reports, etc., so they [DoD] can clearly see their application for tools that can be taken to the field.”

Many independent scholars are critical of what they see as the US government’s efforts to militarise social science in the service of war. In May 2008, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) wrote to the US government noting that the Pentagon lacks “the kind of infrastructure for evaluating anthropological [and other social science] research” in a way that involves “rigorous, balanced and objective peer review”, calling for such research to be managed instead by civilian agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The following month, the DoD signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the NSF to cooperate on the management of Minerva. In response, the AAA cautioned that although research proposals would now be evaluated by NSF’s merit-review panels. “Pentagon officials will have decision-making power in deciding who sits on the panels”:

“… there remain concerns within the discipline that research will only be funded when it supports the Pentagon’s agenda. Other critics of the programme, including the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, have raised concerns that the programme would discourage research in other important areas and undermine the role of the university as a place for independent discussion and critique of the military.”

According to Prof David Price, a cultural anthropologist at St Martin’s University in Washington DC and author of Weaponizing Anthropology: Social Science in Service of the Militarized State, “when you looked at the individual bits of many of these projects they sort of looked like normal social science, textual analysis, historical research, and so on, but when you added these bits up they all shared themes of legibility with all the distortions of over-simplification. Minerva is farming out the piece-work of empire in ways that can allow individuals to disassociate their individual contributions from the larger project.”

Prof Price has previously exposed how the Pentagon’s Human Terrain Systems (HTS) programme – designed to embed social scientists in military field operations – routinely conducted training scenarios set in regions “within the United States.”

Citing a summary critique of the programme sent to HTS directors by a former employee, Price reported that the HTS training scenarios “adapted COIN [counterinsurgency] for Afghanistan/Iraq” to domestic situations “in the USA where the local population was seen from the military perspective as threatening the established balance of power and influence, and challenging law and order.”

One war-game, said Price, involved environmental activists protesting pollution from a coal-fired plant near Missouri, some of whom were members of the well-known environmental NGO Sierra Club. Participants were tasked to “identify those who were ‘problem-solvers’ and those who were ‘problem-causers,’ and the rest of the population whom would be the target of the information operations to move their Center of Gravity toward that set of viewpoints and values which was the ‘desired end-state’ of the military’s strategy.”

Such war-games are consistent with a raft of Pentagon planning documents which suggest that National Security Agency (NSA) masssurveillance is partially motivated to prepare for the destabilising impact of coming environmental, energy and economic shocks.

James Petras, Bartle Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University in New York, concurs with Price’s concerns. Minerva-funded social scientists tied to Pentagon counterinsurgency operations are involved in the “study of emotions in stoking or quelling ideologically driven movements,” he said, including how “to counteract grassroots movements.”

Minerva is a prime example of the deeply narrow-minded and self-defeating nature of military ideology. Worse still, the unwillingness of DoD officials to answer the most basic questions is symptomatic of a simple fact – in their unswerving mission to defend an increasingly unpopular global system serving the interests of a tiny minority, security agencies have no qualms about painting the rest of us as potential terrorists.

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is an international security journalist and academic. He is the author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It, and the forthcoming science fiction thriller, ZERO POINT. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @nafeezahmed.

Brazil Kicks Back Against FIFA and Misses (Bloomberg)

Brazil isn't ready for a lot of things. Photographer: Paulo Fridman/Bloomberg

BRAZIL ISN’T READY FOR A LOT OF THINGS. PHOTOGRAPHER: PAULO FRIDMAN/BLOOMBERG

The other day, as she was priming her re-election campaign, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff hit a speed bump. There she was, racing across the country to launch shiny public-works projects ahead of the World Cup, and the only thing those annoying journalists wanted to know was if the airports would be renovated on time and up to “FIFA standards.” The reference, of course, was to the rigorous Switzerland-based global soccer authority. “The airports will not be FIFA-standard,” she shot back. “They will be Brazil-standard airports.”

And there it was, in a sound bite, the official spin on Brazil’s complicated moment in the sun, a candid take on the rolling public-relations disaster that has been this country’s relationship with the wider world and its international gatekeepers. Rousseff’s prickly riposte might have been calculated. With presidential elections scheduled for October, she has been struggling in the polls. Hardly a week passes without some angry klatsch or another taking the streets — not least because of Brasilia’s perceived weak hand in dealing with those overweening bean counters from Zurich. A mini-genre of anti-FIFA articles has bloomed here and abroad. It’s about time the Brazilians kicked back, she said.

It’s an odd moment to circle the wagons. Brazil is days away from the curtain call for the crown event of the most popular sport on the planet. Two years from now, Rio de Janeiro will stage the Summer Olympics, drawing hundreds of thousands of athletes and tourists, plus billions of television viewers. And yet nationalism and resentment have flared, and with them memories of times that Brazilians had imagined were behind them. “FIFA go home,” says a message stenciled in white on the pavement of Copacabana, Rio’s signature beachfront neighborhood.

Squint a little and you can see the faded graffiti of another cranky time, some three decades ago, when international creditors were banging on Brazil’s door for their due and the International Monetary Fund was their policeman. FIFA Go Home! is the direct heir to IMF Go Home!

This is passing strange. Brazil, with the world’s seventh-largest economy, traffics in a globalized world and its signifiers and acronyms, from the Gini coefficient, which measures economic inequality, to the International Organization for Standardization, which sets proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. When the country excels, Brasilia trumpets the achievement. The nation’s traditionally skewed income inequality score has improved since the beginning of the last decade, even as most fast-growing developing nations become more lopsided. When the country flops, such as in the PISA — the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s yardstick for 15-year-olds, measured by standardized scholastic tests (Brazil is a lowly 58th on a scale of 65 nations) — the official handlers rush to print disclaimers. Then there’s the mother of all acronyms, the WTO. Not only does a Brazilian, Roberto Azevedo, head the World Trade Organization, few countries have been as aggressive as his in wielding its authority, taking protectionists to task 26 times since 1995.

That’s one of the big reasons that Brazilians revere soccer. Roberto DaMatta, the brilliant anthropologist, nailed it when he said that futebol isn’t some opiate for the witless. Brazilians love the game because it is fair, has transparent rules and is played on a level playing field. What counts on the pitch is how you play, not who you know. It’s a scale model of a better world. The current World Cup anger notwithstanding, Brazilians have always been proud of their FIFA standing (currently fourth), and they will remind visitors that they got there the proper way: by beating the best.

More than an ankle kick at Brazil’s intrusive outsiders, Rousseff’s FIFA outburst was essentially the declaration of an era. To her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil was destined for glory. He pushed for a seat on the United Nations Security Council and a nuclear energy deal with Iran. He opened 40 new embassies abroad. Bagging the World Cup was part of the package. Brazil “will now with great pride do its homework,” he promised the FIFA brass in Zurich. That was then.

To contact the writer of this article: Mac Margolis at macmargolis@terra.com.br.

To contact the editor responsible for this article: James Gibney at jgibney5@bloomberg.net.

Brazil’s World Cup Is An Expensive, Exploitative Nightmare (The Daily Beast)

Andre Penner/AP

 05.30.14

Brazilians angry at their government and FIFA could turn this giant soccer tournament into a tipping point. Are these corrupt, elitist spectacles worth it?

The world’s “beautiful game” is about to stage its biggest tournament in the country that is its spiritual home. The realities on the ground in Brazil, however, are far different from how its ringmasters had envisioned. Stadiums haven’t been completed; roads and airports not built. Ten thousand visiting journalists may find themselves unable to make deadlines due to poor Internet and mobile service.

More ominously, there is a rising tide of discontent that threatens to turn the streets into war zones. History may well record the World Cup in Brazil as the tipping point where the costs meant the party just wasn’t worth it anymore.Nao Vai Ter Copa has become a national rallying cry. There Will Be No World Cup. People want bread, not circuses. It’s OK to love the game, but hate the event. The governing body of the game, FIFA, is not amused.

* *

Events like World Cup and the Olympics have become obscenely expensive, with few trickle-down rewards to the citizens who bear the brunt of the costs for the benefit of the few. The people of South America’s largest country were promised the dawn of a new age of prosperity that these mega-events heralded. In a country where corruption is insidious, all-encompassing, and a virus that suffocates all semblance of progress, it is bricks, steel, and mortar that the people see, not new hospitals, schools, or public transport. Even then, Itaquerao stadium, as an example, won’t be ready in time for the opening kickoff in São Paulo on June 12. “Is this what we get for $11 billion?” the people are asking. It is a fair question.

A new type of democracy has sprung up as a result; a unity of thought and expression that is uniquely Brazilian. Citizen collectives with names like Direitos Urbanos (Urban Rights) and the Landless Workers Movement (MTST) were formed to create avenues of options for people who have had to make way forordem e progressothe national motto of Brazil inscribed on the flag. Order and Progress.

U.S. journalist Dave Zirin, in his recent book Brazils Dance With the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics and Brazils Fight for Democracy, says the three Ds—displacement, debt, and defense—are at the heart of the other Ds—such as discontent and disgust.

“The calls for protest aim to highlight the pain as well as show the world who is behind the curtain, pulling the strings,” he said. “There is a highly sophisticated plan that just as the government’s World Cup plans for Brazil are designed for international consumption, there is also an unprecedented global spotlight. The great journalist Eduardo Galeano once wrote, ‘There are visible and invisible dictators. The power structure of world football is monarchical. It’s the most secret kingdom in the world. Protesters aim to drag FIFA from the shadows and into the light. If they are successful, it will leave a legacy that will last longer than the spectacle itself.’”

During a congressional hearing by Brazil’s tourism and sports commission this year, former FIFA World Player of the Year and 1994 World Cup winner Romario, now a popular politician and member of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, was quoted as saying, “We can’t expect anything from FIFA, where we have a blackmailer called [General Secretary Jerome] Valcke and a corrupt thief and son-of-a-bitch called [President Sepp] Blatter.”

* *

Yan Boechat writes for the top news magazine in Brazil, Revista Istoe. Among his previous assignments were stints in war zones like Afghanistan and the Congo. He will be covering the action on the streets during the World Cup.

“A lot of money was spent on construction of things we don’t really need,” Boechat said. “There’s a big stadium in Manaus, a place without a football culture and not even a team in the first or second division. The government removed hundreds of thousands of poor people from their houses to make space for stadiums, roads to lead to them, and other construction projects. Most of these people were sent to places far away from the city centers.”

Photojournalist Ana Lira is from the northeastern city of Recife and a founding member of Urban Rights. She has meticulously documented the bulldozing and burning of poor neighborhoods and the infamous favelas, the shantytowns that dot the hills of Rio and streets of São Paulo.

“So far 27 people have died in the protests, with more than 300 wounded since last year,” she said. “In this number, there are two professional photographers and a journalist who was blinded after being hit in the eye deliberately by the police. They used rubber bullets. Some other professionals were hit or arrested in areas near the protests just because the police wanted someone to pay for the protests.”

“If Brazil does well on the field, then perhaps people will be happy and not protest as much. But if Brazil fails, they will be much larger. There will be violence.”

“We are now seeing a new wave of protesters coming to the streets,” Boechat added. “Teachers, street cleaners, police officers, unions, a movement for affordable housing—all those people are going to be on the streets during the World Cup. They see this as the right moment to fight for their interests. Those groups do not traditionally mix with the anarchists and anti-capitalists.”

This week that number included about 3,000 indigenous peoples in tribal dress, gathering in front of the new stadium in the nation’s capital, Brasilia.

“For whom does our government work?” one of the indigenous leaders, Lindomar Terena, asked the crowd. “Instead of the government standing for the federal constitution and finally ending the demarcation of indigenous lands, it is investing billions in an event that lasts for a month, prioritizing big businesses over ancestral peoples’ rights.”

* *

A new anti-terror law has been rushed through the Brazilian congress to deal with the protesters. It has been nicknamed Bill A1-5, a takeoff on the 1968 AI-5 Act, which gave extraordinary powers to the military junta and suspended key civil and constitutional guarantees for more than 20 years. The implementation of such a law opened old wounds. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was a member of a Marxist revolutionary group after the 1964 military coup d’état in Brazil. She was captured, imprisoned for two years, and reportedly tortured. It is a very important narrative for Brazilians. Her complicity in allowing the World Cup to proceed at the expense of the Brazilian poor is seen as a sellout of the poor to the rich.

* *

At the vanguard of the protests has been the galvanizing effect of social media. Websites like Portal Popular da Copa e das Olympiadas, and by citizen-journalist movements like Midia Ninja,  a Portuguese acronym for “independent narratives, journalism and action,” created to spark disparate movements across the country.

“We’ll be on the streets, covering all political and cultural movements, the passion for football and this new moment of political unrest,” says Rafael Vilela, a founder of the Midia Ninja collective. Their hub is an aggregate of photographs and eyewitness reports taken by hundreds of collectives. The portal will have a system of simultaneous translation in three languages including English.

Midia Ninja and Fora do Eixo (Outside the Axis), a music and cultural collective, have created a community called Cinelandia in downtown Rio, where people can come in, play music, debate, write their blogs, and edit cellphone videos and post them online. There are edit suites mounted on shopping carts, and portable generators to power them. The protests can be seen live on the Internet via Twittercast.

“We’ve managed to do a lot with very few resources except our creativity and collaboration,” says Felipe Altenfelder, a founder of the FDE collective. “Never before has our generation been more prepared in terms of social technology and social knowledge. What we are doing is totally new in Latin America. The various collectives across Brazil have a structure of sharing food, money, even clothes, so even the poorest people can work within our groups and not just survive—but participate in actions against social injustices 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Director Spike Lee has been in Brazil working on a documentary, Go Brazil Go, in which Felipe, Rafael and other members of Midia Ninja figure prominently.

* *

There are 170,000 or more security troops assigned to the World Cup—not to protect the thousands of tourists who will be coming to Brazil to watch the matches, but to quell dissent. Among them are a group of 40 FBI agents, part of an “anti-terror” unit. In January, French riot police were brought in to train their Brazilian counterparts. There are several Israeli drones, the ones used to chase down suspects in the West Bank, as well as 50 robotic bomb-disposal units most recently used by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. There are also facial-recognition goggles that police can use to spot 400 faces a second and match them against a database of 13 million. But there won’t be that many tourists, so exactly whom, people want to know, are the police checking? At a cost of nearly $1 billion, the international composition of the security measures is not only a contentious issue among Brazilians, but a cruel irony given FIFA’s mandate of bringing the world together through football.

* *

“If Brazil does well on the field, then perhaps people will be happy and not protest as much,” said Boechat. “But if Brazil loses, there will be big problems and civil unrest. I think the way we play the World Cup will define a lot of things that will happen outside the stadia. We’re going to have protests; that’s for sure. But if Brazil fails, they will be much larger. There will be violence.”

As the Roman emperors knew during the staging of the gladiator games at the Coliseum, so FIFA knows now: The mob must be appeased. Remember when South Korea beat Italy in the 2002 World Cup and the Ecuadorian referee later admitted taking money from South Korean officials? Or the most dubious of all: Argentina’s win over Peru by six goals in the 1978 World Cup, the exact margin required to proceed in the tournament. The chiefs of the military junta had gathered in Buenos Aires to watch and a Peruvian goalkeeper of Argentinian extraction duly had a nightmare evening. Corrupt to the core.

FIFA wants a show, not protests. They know Brazil has to win to keep people quiet. President Rousseff knows that with an election coming up later in the year, her chances of winning would be a lot better with a sixth Brazilian World Cup win.

In the end, there is always the financial aspect of the biggest show on earth. Goldman Sachs strategist Peter Oppenheimer said the company’s analysts have found that, according to past history, the winning country’s equity markets outperform global stocks by 3.5 percent on average in the first month after winning, “although the outperformance fades significantly after three months.”

Brazil will beat Argentina 3-1 in the final after they see off Germany and Spain in their respective semifinals, Goldman analysts including Jan Hatzius and Sven Jari Stehn said in a report. The host nation has a 48.5 percent probability of winning the FIFA tournament, followed by Argentina at 14.1 percent and Germany at 11.4 percent.

These are bankers, not bookies.

A report like this can lead the mind to extreme cynicism about how and why games are determined.

* *

Unlike in the U.S., where soccer is a game of the middle classes, the roots offootball are firmly entrenched in the working-class neighborhoods and slums of places like Buenos Aires, Lagos, Rio, and, at its birth, in the towns and cities of Industrial Revolution-era Britain. The qualities of energy, zest, improvisation and enterprise needed to survive in such environments created a cauldron of bubbling passion for the game. It’s only soccer, but it is also about liberation. Former Manchester United star Eric Cantona was in Rio filming his seventh documentary, which will be screened at the first-ever Amnesty Football Film Festival in the U.K. In an interview with Amnesty in Paris, the always-outspoken Frenchman lamented the possibility of Brazilian football losing its greatest legacy of all.

“I have been in Maracanã [in Rio, site of the final] before, and I loved Maracanã. But now it is just a stadium like the Emirates Stadium [in London] or Stade de France. And they say, ‘It’s a revolution for us, we have to educate the people to sit.’ But they don’t want to sit, they just want to stand up and sing and dance.” Those who want to sing and dance can’t afford to go anymore, he says. But it is a shame because it’s these kinds of fans who created football and it’s these kind of fans who have a child who will play football,” said Cantona. “Because most of the people, most of the players come from poor areas. To be a footballer, you need to train every day when you are a kid, you need to go in the street and play in the street every day.”

So as the clock winds down to the opening kickoff on June 12 when Brazil will play Croatia, there is a profound melancholy that permeates the emotions of soccer fans. We love the game. We love the World Cup. We love the way it was.

I love its drama,” wrote the great Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby, “its smooth playing skills, its carelessly laid rhythms, and the added flavor of contrasting styles. Its great occasions are, for me at any rate, unequalled in the world of sport. I feel a sense of romance, wonder, and mystery, a sense of beauty and a sense of poetry. On such occasions, the game has the timeless, magical qualities of legend.”

Some of my greatest life memories come from the World Cup, but there also comes a time when the massive show, fueled by corporate might, is overshadowed by the engine of social and political change. Brazil was under a military dictatorship between 1964 and 1985. Democracy is relatively new. What is beginning to emerge is Brazil at an adolescent stage as part of a national rite of passage. The World Cup may yet precipitate the maturing of a nation. In spite of FIFA’s best efforts to act as a shadow government.