Category Archives: Activism

Will 2018 be the year of the neo-luddite?

The downsides of technology’s inexorable march are ​now becoming clear – and automation will only increase the anxiety. We should expect the ​growing interest in off-grid lifestyles to be accompanied by ​direct action and even anti-tech riots

One of the great paradoxes of digital life – understood and exploited by the tech giants – is that we never do what we say. Poll after poll in the past few years has found that people are worried about online privacy and do not trust big tech firms with their data. But they carry on clicking and sharing and posting, preferring speed and convenience above all else. Last year was Silicon Valley’s annus horribilis: a year of bots, Russian meddling, sexism, monopolistic practice and tax-minimising. But I think 2018 might be worse still: the year of the neo-luddite, when anti-tech words turn into deeds.

The caricature of machine-wrecking mobs doesn’t capture our new approach to tech. A better phrase is what the writer Blake Snow has called “reformed luddism”: a society that views tech with a sceptical eye, noting the benefits while recognising that it causes problems, too. And more importantly, thinks that something can be done about it.

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Source: gadt

James Cromwell: 'In jail, everyone recognises my face'

The Hollywood star now has a second life as a fearless animal activist and eco warrior – and, he reveals, it all started with Babe, his film about a talking pig

James Cromwell, veteran actor, Oscar nominee and star of LA Confidential and The Green Mile, is listing what he hates about Hollywood. “I don’t like the system,” he says. “I don’t like what it does to people. I don’t like the values. I don’t like the class system. I don’t like the disparity in pay, for men and women, and men and men.” He smiles. “I have a chip on my shoulder about Hollywood.”

Cromwell, at 78, might be assumed to have shed any youthful inhibitions about speaking his mind. In fact, he says, he has always been awkward, particularly when starting out. “I had issues with authority and made myself fairly unpopular in almost every theatre.” Not only was he “terminally stupid”, he had a temper. On the set of 1997’s LA Confidential, Cromwell disagreed with the director Curtis Hanson over a line. “I cursed him,” he recalls. “I kicked dirt. I punched the car.”

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Source: gad

How migrant workers took on Ben & Jerry's – and won a historic agreement

In Vermont, activists demanded better working conditions on dairy farms – even as the threat of deportation loomed

On a windy afternoon in March 2017, protesters singing civil rights songs circled the steps of the Vermont state capitol. It was a classic Vermont rally. There were white-haired activists; Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist, and Muslim clergy; young adults; and children carrying signs that said: “We All Belong Here. We Will Defend Each Other.”

At the center was a small group of dairy workers from remote mountain villages in southern Mexico. They sang songs, then chanted: “¡Ni una más! Not one more deportation!”

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Source: gad

Black Panther film fuels calls for release of jailed political activists

Film serves as ‘opportunity to remind people of the real heroes of the Black Panthers’, says former party leader

When he was released from prison in 2014, Sekou Odinga felt like he was falling from the sky into a foreign land. After 33 years behind bars, the former Black Panther party leader was released into a United States he didn’t recognize – with strange technology and grandchildren he had never hugged.

Though he celebrated with family and supporters, Odinga, 73, also remained mindful of the many other civil rights activists who weren’t so lucky: “You always feel like you don’t want to leave nobody behind.”

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Source: gad

California police worked with neo-Nazis to pursue 'anti-racist' activists, documents show

Officers expressed sympathy with white supremacists and sought their help to target counter-protesters after a violent 2016 rally, according to court documents

California police investigating a violent white nationalist event worked with white supremacists in an effort to identify counter-protesters and sought the prosecution of activists with “anti-racist” beliefs, court documents show.

The records, which also showed officers expressing sympathy with white supremacists and trying to protect a neo-Nazi organizer’s identity, were included in a court briefing from three anti-fascist activists who were charged with felonies after protesting at a Sacramento rally. The defendants were urging a judge to dismiss their case and accused California police and prosecutors of a “cover-up and collusion with the fascists”.

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Source: gad

‘Young black people can be heroes too’: the campaign to send kids to see Black Panther

From Harlem to Peckham, the Black Panther Challenge has blossomed into a worldwide celebration of race, identity and empowerment

It seems like only yesterday that Marvel released the official trailer for what can now be described as the franchise’s most anticipated film to date, Black Panther. Fans have been waiting for the moment when they’ll finally experience the nation of Wakanda and now it is almost here: in less than a week, everyone will be able to watch the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Black Panther is proving to be more than just a hashtag trend: it is a film of considerable cultural significance for black communities around the world. So high in fact, that it inspired Frederick Joseph, a marketing consultant and activist from New York to set up a GoFundMe campaign called “Help Children See Black Panther”.

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Source: gad

John Perry Barlow: will dream of open internet die with its founding father?

The pioneer penned his techno-utopian ‘Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace’ two decades ago. His ideals are at risk of going with him

Internet pioneer John Perry Barlow, who championed ideals of a free and open internet, has died. And his ideals are at risk of dying with him.

Barlow’s Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, written almost exactly 22 years ago, was a rallying cry for cyberpunks and a warning to governments: “On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.”

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Source: gadt

Turkey’s huge crackdown is destroying civil society | Kate Allen

My Amnesty colleagues face a sham trial for terrorist offences at the hands of a draconian government. Such scare tactics threaten Turkey’s future

Turkey’s military offensive in Afrin ​looks set to dominate news coverage of the region for weeks to come.

Which is no surprise. The operation is taking place on the much bigger stage of the war in Syria, Russia and the US are both deeply involved, and the UN is anxiously assessing the scale of the impact on the already dire humanitarian situation, the number of displaced people running into the thousands.

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Source: gad