A progressive revolution?
In Ukraine, revolution and reform has given way to reaction, with vested interests entrenching themselves even further.
Last week, as the world prepared for the Christmas holidays, Ukrainian MPs gathered in parliament at 10am, and departed 20 hours later. This legislative marathon happens every year, when, in a regime of secrecy and sleeplessness, Ukraine’s parliamentarians pass the budget for Europe’s biggest country. After all, when else can you carve up assets in a country that has seen the overthrow of an authoritarian president, a revolution and occupation by Russian forces?
For the past three years, parliamentary deputies, unashamed of television cameras, surround the country’s prime minister in the chamber as they trade for benefits and state contracts. Take Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party. Since 2014, this party, known for its populist rhetoric, has managed to triple the level of state support for a company that builds fire engines. In 2017, direct state financing of the company in question (which, of course, belongs to members of Lyashko’s party) will reach $25m. The Radical Party, meanwhile, positions itself as an opposition platform, yet still votes for the state budget from year to year.
Tensions flare once more as North Dakota officials graduate their militarized tactics against protesters. Sheriffs have now threatened a blockade of people, food, and medicine to the camps.
The threats comes on the heels of the US Army Corps of Engineers warning protesters to leave by December 5th. Anyone remaining stay under fear of prosecution for trespassing. Fines have also thrown into the basket of incentives for the water protectors to surrender.
Establishing a blockade represents yet another ultra-militarized tactic used against peaceful American citizens. Denying nourishment and medical treatment is a classic strategy to degrade will and resolve. Combined with harsh weather conditions, water protectors are faced with a tormentingly deadly roulette.
Millions around the world are again gawking over police brutality against water protectors. Following DAPL’s (Dakota Access Pipeline’s) corporation dishonoring Obama’s requests the to halt construction, a new wave of violence hit the protest camps. However, whereas these acts are obvious, those of contracted intelligence firms remain more insidious.
“Do not believe that your cellphones or your computers are clean and uncompromised”, said journalist Jeremy Scahill. “I guarantee you that they’re using the entire suite of surveillance devices.” Scahill was giving water protectors, and fellow journalists in Standing Rock advice on Democracy Now.
“I know that people have been complaining that their cellphones have been down”, he continued, “their internet has been down. That can be caused by surveillance weaponry targeting their devices.” Scahill describes how phones and computers belonging to water protectors can be used as “geo-tracking devices.”
The drug war’s casualties reach far beyond bloated penitentiary yards, fractured rehab facilities, and its own endless perpetuation. America’s opioid crisis, and its scale, is straining police, the policed, and the decades old rhetoric between them.
Heroin use and overdose in particular is climbing, indiscriminately rocking towns with barbaric fervor. Milwaukee Wisconsin is no stranger, nor its numerous nearby suburbs–like Wauwatosa. Perhaps now is the time for law enforcement to consider drug enforcement nuances cropping up elsewhere in the country.
“888 bodies and counting”, a morbid but fitting title to a recent report by Milwaukee’s alderman’s office. In 14 pages, the document presents detailed analysis of a overdose plague striking the city. “Milwaukee county alone has seen a 495% increase in heroin related deaths between 2005-2015”, it reads. As a point of perspective, Milwaukee’s opioid deaths, heroin and others, exceed deaths by car accidents and homicide.
Authorities have only amplified an already ultra-militarized presence against water protectors at Standing Rock. Supporters and journalists are targeted, arrested, and charged with various crimes on a daily basis including renowned reporter Amy Goodman. Amy’s charges were recently dropped, but surveillance and abuse continue without halt by the government.
Democracy Now! has been on the forefront of Dakota Access coverage since construction of the pipeline began. The $3.8 billion dollar project has already destroyed sacred Native American lands and threatens water supplies. Although focus on water tainting revolves around native communities, they certainly aren’t the only one’s in danger. Dakota Access also flies in the face of pleas by climate scientists that literally no more oil or gas can be harvested from the earth, if we want to prevent climate catastrophic.
The Egyptian mass protests can only be classified as a reform movement that had hoped to create a liberal order. A modest goal that has degenerated into a full-spectrum military autocracy.
The mass protests that erupted in Egypt in 2011, and their aftermath, were dubbed ‘a revolution’ by both opponents and proponents.
The label, on the one hand, has been used to discredit the protests; described as a destructive force that is the reason for the abysmal state of the Egyptian economy. On the other hand, the same label has also been used to romanticize the struggle against the Mubarak regime and its successors.
In countries all over the world different organizations are attempting to stage internal revolutions without the use of violence. History is full of examples of successful revolutions that employed violence in their strategy, but has there ever been a truly successful revolution that didn’t employ violence?
Most attempted revolutions target the national government of a country. The power of a government rests solely in one thing: its monopoly on violence. While governments may also maintain a monopoly on other facets of society such as banking or even the national means of production, these additional monopolies are maintained through the use of violence. All governments achieve all domestic agendas through the use of violence against their own citizens.
Even in the land of the free, people are deterred from jaywalking by the barrel of a gun. If a citizen jaywalks, they are issued a ticket, if the ticket is not paid, a warrant is issued for their arrest, if the citizen does not turn themselves in, the police are dispatched, if the citizen does not comply with police orders, violence is initiated by law enforcement. Every domino that falls in any chain of interaction with a government regulatory body brings the citizen one step closer to violence being used against them.
Once the external anchor of Turkey’s democracy, the EU‘s normative influence has sunk as low as its reputation among its many erstwhile supporters, who now feel betrayed and abandoned.
Shortly after the attack on Istanbul’s Atatürk airport on Tuesday night, a Greek colleague posted on his Facebook wall a message of solidarity with his Turkish friends. “Hang in there”, he wrote. “You are not alone.” One of his compatriots disagreed: “I think they are alone”.