Posts Tagged ‘activism’

Diário de Classe a verdade …

September 4, 2012
Diário de Classe a verdade ...

Diário de Classe a verdade …

Isadora Faber y Martha Payne

Isadora Faber y Martha Payne

Martha Payne aka Veg with her NeverSeconds food blog has inspired a Brazilian schoolgirl to launch a similar blog, which in turn has led to improvement at the school.

Brazilian teenager Isadora Faber was inspired to start a blog after hearing about Martha Payne aka Veg.

Martha talked about school dinners, Isadora Faber took it further and talked about more than school dinner, highlighting problems with her school.

She created her own Facebook page Diário de Classe: A Verdade (School Diary: The Truth).

The photos published on her page showed broken water fountains and fans, a basketball court with no ceiling and she even called for a teacher who had issues with some students to be replaced.

What she was writing got picked up by newspapers and TV channels and has led directly to a school refurbishment programme and the teacher with who the students were having problems being replaced.

There were attempts by bullyboys at the local council to silence Martha, but she showed courage in the face of the bullies and stood firm.

Isadora faced bullying by the school to try and silence her, but like Martha she stood firm.

Both girls have exchanged videos with each other.

As well as writing of her school dinners, Martha has raised funds for a school kitchen in Malawi called Friends of NeverSeconds. Later this month Martha and her family will be travelling to Malawi for the inauguartion of Friends of NeverSeconds.

Martha has been nominated for a Great Scot Award and for a BBC Food and Farming Award.

Today, on my way from Guildford farmers market and on my way to a lovely coffee shop Café Mila, on visiting Cook (a lovely food shop in Godalming), I nominated Martha for a Cook Great Briton Award. As I told in the shop, I could not think of a more deserving recipient who has done more to raise awareness and understanding of good food.

Whilst at Café Mila a little girl came and chatted to me and told me she was enjoying her ice cream. I asked did she like the coffee shop? A very definite yes. Would she not rather be at Costa? A very definite no!

DDoS: A Thousand Spanners In The Works

January 26, 2011
Old tools and spanners

Old tools and spanners

When I done lived back in Norfolk and got me learned how to write proper-like, I came across a demonstration somewhere around North Norfolk. They were residents of a small, slim village on a road that was getting heavily congested due to industrial developments – they had only a single crossing to get from one side to the other and it was growing dangerous for them. They’d lobbied the council who’d approved these developments, but to no avail.

So they set up a demonstration, a really intelligent one. They made the congestion much worse. They took it in shifts to keep their only crossing in use, all day, every day. They would cross the road and then cross it again, causing traffic to backlog for miles. Genius.

Because the road users were spending more time stationary, it allowed time for the drivers and the protesters to chat about their situation and spread the message – and for the most part everyone was agreed. A contributing factor to this was that the protesters were making it clear that they were targeting their council, not the road-users, which few road users seemed opposed to!

Their number was comprised mostly of retired people and mothers with young children (people who could attend mid-week protests). My point is, they weren’t beatniks or anarchists or fanatics, they were regular people, everyone could see mothers and grandparents, they were everyone. Concerned citizens, if you like, who were using a versatile tactic in a way I’d never seen before. It put a real smile on my face.

You may have heard of a tactic used online called DDoS. That stands for Distributed Denial of Service and it’s really not as complex as it sounds. In fact, if you’re involved with activism, you may have already used this tactic. The Norfolk protesters were certainly using this tactic, knowingly or not.

Basically, a website is bombarded with requests for information, so many requests that it can’t handle the volume and shuts down. It’s essentially a pretty old tactic that’s been applied really effectively to internet activism. Anyone familiar with the classic Berners Street Hoax might also recognise the philosophy.

Wikileaks came under attack using DDoS methods shortly after they released certain documents, an attack which resulted in the website being inoperable. In a truly uplifting show of web solidarity, various unconnected sympathisers set up a series of identical sites to Wikileaks, so no matter what happened to the original site there would still be a Wikileaks site that people could reach. That kind of mobility is only really achievable online – static businesses have no such solution. They simply can’t set up a hundred other shops.

So what’s going on here that we can apply – and have applied – in the real world? DDoS tactics don’t involve ‘hacking’ or anything so complicated, it involves taking the essential purpose of the target and straining it beyond its limits.

Think of your front door. It works perfectly fine letting you in and out of your house. Great. If you invite friends around your door can handle a couple of people at a time, but more than that and you’ve got a queue on your hands. What would it be like if twenty friends tried to use your door at once? Fifty? Your door’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to, but there are limits to what it can do.

Now think of your high-street bank. It works perfectly fine (ha!) providing people with bank accounts and making transactions of various kinds. But there are limits to how much it can handle. Saul Alinksy once recommended getting thousands of people to set up $5 or $10 savings accounts to paralyse the system – if one spanner in the works can be taken out easily, try putting a thousand spanners in there.

If you’re looking to use these tactics in your demonstration, you’ll want to really brainstorm your approach. Here’s some food for thought.

What is your target? What do they do? What’s their purpose? How do they sustain themselves?
Can they operate without this purpose? Will it be easy for them to ignore you?
What’s their capacity? How much do they do it? What’s their turnover?
Do you have enough people-power to clog up the tubes? Can you take it in shifts or does everybody need to get in at once? How many individual disruptions can one person cause in a day?
How will you react to staff members or officials asking you to stop? How will you react to members of the public asking what’s going on?
How long can you keep it up for?

The thing to remember, with any kind of activism, is that you’ll be up against an organisation that does not want to change. So they’ll be unlikely to change after a day of disobedience. Most organisers will be more inclined to wait for a week to see how your numbers peter out. Fine. Your stamina will be much stronger if you pledge to demonstrate on the busiest day of the week for a month or two, rather than spending every day getting tired out.

As much as they won’t like to admit it, big organisations don’t tend to have their own moral compass. They rely on the resolve of their customers and the public to let them know when what they’re doing is unacceptable. Your job is to help them to realise that their policy decision is so unpopular that their business practice will be unsustainable. So you’ll need to not only keep it up yourself, but get enough support that you’re not doing this alone.

The most important asset any activist can have is resolve – and plenty of it. You’ll probably have that already if you care enough about your issue to protest.

Just bear in mind your own capacity as well as the capacity of your target.

Posted by @robsafar from Political Dynamite as a guest post on UK Uncut.

Disruption Talk
Civil Disobedience
Civil Disobedience in Cyberspace
Bringing the Hospital to Boots
Digital Activism is not Slacktivsm
The joys of online activism

Huge New Anti-Government Mural In Shoreditch

November 15, 2010
Anti-Government Mural In Shoreditch

Anti-Government Mural In Shoreditch

brainrobber dave

brainrobber dave

brainrobber george

brainrobber george

A new, anti-government graffito has been added to the front of the old Foundry building in Shoreditch.

The piece, by dr. d, is part of a show at the Red Gallery, located just behind the Foundry. It depicts a tabloid-style exposé by the “Fail Daily” (see what they’ve done there?) of the criminal wrongdoings of our political leaders. The esteemed Prime Minister, his Deputy PM, and the Chancellor, re-christened “Raging Dave”, “Dead Leg Clegg” and “Chopper George” respectively, are done up like proper varmints, accused of being the ‘Great Brain Robbers’ and being part of the “notorious” Bullingdon Club (an accusation that might rankle with Clegg, who was never a member).

Update: According to @Asbardella, the graffito is already being painted over.

Reproduced from the londonist blog.

Well done Dr D! And what a pity, if true, this mural is already being painted over.

Dr D is not the only one who has been busy overnight. The genteel folk from Climate Rush have been out and about with their stencils. [see Suffragette ‘Banksy’ Strikes Again]

Also see

Suffragette ‘Banksy’ Strikes Again

Climate Rush Street Art

Haringey Vodafone unpaid tax protest

Student occupation of Millbank Tower Tory HQ

Grateful Vodafone executives say a big thank you to Chancellor George Osborne

Nationwide shut down of Vodafone stores

Vodafone £6 billion unpaid tax bill

Haringey Vodafone unpaid tax protest

November 14, 2010
Vodafone Wood Green

Vodafone Wood Green

Around 20 people from various groups protested outside a Vodafone shop in Wood Green Saturday lunchtime. Shoppers and passers-by generally gave them a good reception and many agreed with the connection to fighting Tory cuts that was made by the protestors.

The leaflets handed out made the connection between corporate tax-dodging and the fight against Tory cuts, particularly promoting a cuts protest which will take place outside Haringey Civic Centre (the council HQ) on the evening of the 22nd November 2010 when the council will be in full session.

This is the third weekend of protest against cuts and the Vodafone £6 billion unpaid tax bill.

Welfare cut by £7 billion. Vodafone let off £6 billion tax. We can all do the sums and we do not like the result.

Also see

Poll: protests against Vodafone dent its image

How Vodafone made tax dodging respectable

Yes, Britain’s open for business – the sort of business that doesn’t pay tax

Student occupation of Millbank Tower Tory HQ

Grateful Vodafone executives say a big thank you to Chancellor George Osborne

Nationwide shut down of Vodafone stores

Vodafone £6 billion unpaid tax bill

Nationwide shut down of Vodafone stores

October 31, 2010

I was on my way up to London on the train to Zero Carbon by 2030 and the news was coming in fast, Vodafone stores were dropping like flies.

It started at 11 am that morning at a meeting in Hyde Park. Then it was close down the Vodafone stores in London and across the country. By the end of the day over 20 Vodafone stores had been reported by UK Uncut as closed in a day of action against Vodafone.

Vodafone claim their unpaid £6 billion tax is an urban myth. Why then have they not demanded a retraction for all those who have published? Do the FT, Private Eye, Grauniad and Forbes spread urban myths as leaked to them by HMRCR?

If an urban myth, as Vodafone claim, how is it that BBC Radio 4 programme File on 4 were able to rebroadcast their excellent documentary A Taxing Dilemma on how Big Business fiddle their taxes? And as A Taxing Dilemma shows it is not only Vodafone.

Vodafone claim they always pay their taxes. Why then is India demanding $2.6 billion unpaid tax?

£7 billion cuts in benefits to the poor. £6 billion unpaid tax by Vodafone. We can all do the sums and we do not like the result.

Sign the petition calling for Vodafone to pay their unpaid tax

Follow on twitter

The Vodafone protest has brought a whole new generation of protest out onto the streets. It was in the High Street in full view of the public. People could see that direct action works. We will not sit back and take the cuts.

Old style demos are a thing of the past. Corporate bosses are twitching. Who will be next?

Only a couple of weeks before protesters from a Crude Awakening had shut down the Coryton oil refinery. [see Crude Awakening shut down Coryton Oil Refinery]

Also see

Vodafone £6 billion unpaid tax bill

Brixton Anti-Cuts March & Vodafone Protest

Vodafone shops blockaded in tax protest

Britain’s £6bn Vodafone Bill

Full report of todays Vodafone action

Vodaphone protest in Oxford

Vodafone stores in York shut by protests

A day of direct action against Vodafone

London: Oxford Street Vodaphone store shut down by protestors

21 Vodafone Stores Shut in Anti-Cuts Action

Tax protests target Vodafone stores

A Day of Action: Liverpool

A Day of Action: Glasgow

A Day of Action: York

A Day of Action: Birmingham

A Day of Action: Manchester

A Day of Action: London

A Day of Action: Oxford

Cat Smith on the direct action against Vodafone

Why are there protests against Vodafone? A simple guide

We are the angry mob

Vodafone protest shows tweets can get people on the streets

Saturday’s Nationwide Vodafone Shut-Downs

Climate Rush ‘do a Banksy’ on HM Treasury

October 25, 2010
'Bansky' on front entrance to HM Treasury

'Bansky' on front entrance to HM Treasury

Congrats to Climate Rush who in the true spirit of the suffragettes and urban art did a Bansky on HM Treasury this morning.

The coalition government claim to be a green government. With cuts in public spending announced last week which will hit hardest the poorest and the environment, threatened massive expansion of coal-fired and nuclear power stations, sell-off of state forests, we see little evidence so far.

Four artists, using black spray cans and stencils, painted George Osborne’s face with a quote on to the white stone of the Treasury at 2.40am this morning.

The three women and one man from Climate Rush arrived at the Treasury and stencilled the image, in Banksy style, with an Osborne quote: “A conservative treasury will drive green growth … by financing a green recovery.”

According to the FT the ‘Bansky’ was covered with a sheet of white paper and guarded by a burly security guard to ensure the paparazzi could not take a picture.

Also see

Climate Rush ‘do a Banksy’ on HM Treasury

Revealed: The Banksy-style hit on the Treasury

Climate Rush activists give George Osborne the Banksy treatment

The Spending Review and it’s consequences for the environment

Climate Rush storm DfT with Axe

Climate Rendezvous with Climate Rush

Crude Awakening shut down Coryton Oil Refinery

October 18, 2010

The French may be revolting but it is the Brits who are taking the lead on grassroots roots direct action.

And I mean genuine direct action that is effective, not PR stunts by corporate green groups like RAN to raise money for corporate coffers.

In the 1980s, the road building programme was targeted eventually forcing the programme to be abandoned. Two decades on, the direct action baton has now been picked up by climate activists.

On Saturday 16 October 2010 it was the turn of Crude Awakening. Blocks waited in London for a signal via sms which told them where to go. They all then converged on Coryton Oil Refinery which supplies London with fuel.

The first to arrive were woman who locked themselves onto lories, effectively blocking the road.

The day was a success. Massive mainstream media coverage, awareness was raised and Coryton Oil Refinery was shut down for the day.

A sensible strategic decision was taken to pull out at the end of the day en masse.

What has been shown is that climate activists can strike at anytime, anywhere.

In the summer Climate Camp targeted RBS who are funding tar sands extraction.

This morning Climate Rush chased Transport Secretary Phil Hammond with an axe! [see Climate Rush storm DfT with Axe]

In the spring, Just Do It, a feature length film on climate activism will be released. But it needs your support via donations to make this a reality. All donations made within the next two weeks will be matched by Lush. [see Just Do It fundraising party]

Also see

report from coryton oil refinery and more pics

Crude Awakening

Climate Rush storm DFT with Axe

Climate campaigners blockade oil refinery
Green campaigners blockade UK oil refinery

Protesters block road to oil refinery

Crude Awakening Blockades UK’s Busiest Oil Refinery

Campaigners blockading oil refinery in Essex disperse

From Crude Awakening to Climate Camp, direct action needs a new story

50 oil tankers stranded as climate change protesters close road leading the UK’s biggest oil refinery

Just Do It fundraising party

October 14, 2010

Paulo Coelho turned filmmaking on its head when he got grassroots to produce and film The Witch of Portobello which had its premier at the Rome Film Festival last autumn.

Just Do It have taken this a stage further, a film about activists by activists. But it still needs money, hence the fundraising party last night which I attended after a meeting with Climate Rush, who just happen to feature in the film. Also featured are Climate Camp and Plane Stupid.

For the next 17 days, Lush will match donations. So please give generously. Last night £1460, to date £6030. [see £20k in 20 days!]

On the evening, Lush goodies were given to everyone who made a donation.

It is hoped to release Just Do It in the spring. It will be given away free!

Upcoming events

The Crude Awakening – Central London – Saturday 16 October 2010

Zero Carbon by 2030 – Friends House, Euston Road, London – Saturday 30 October 2010

Also see

Emily James: Lights, camera, activists

Emily James on climate direct action film Just Do It

Just Do It: get off your arse and change the world with a Crude Awakening

Interview: Emily James, Director of ‘Just Do It’ says ‘Get of your arse and change the world!’

Lush Cosmetics – Our Environmental Policy

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