Daily News and Updates 

Srda Popovic izabran za rektora skotskog univerziteta

Aktivista i jedan od osnivaca Otpora Srda Popovic izabran je za rektora skotskog univerziteta Sent Endruz, preneo je BBC. Studenti univerziteta u gradu Sent Endruz izabrali su Popovica za rektora, koji je na skotskim univerzitetima predsednik univerzitetskog suda i predsedava sastancima na kojima se donese odluke od raspodele budzeta do akademskih politika. Popovic, koji je osnovao i nevladinu organizaciju Kanvas (Centar za primenjenu nenasilnu akciju i strategiju), bio je kandidat za rektora na predlog studenta Dzejmija Rodnija koji je procitao njegovu knjigu “Mustra za revoluciju”. Na glasanju studenata, Popovic je dobio vise glasova od bivseg lidera skotske liberaldemokratske partije Vilijama Renija. BBC navodi da je Popovica ubedilo da bude kandidat to sto je na toj funkciji bio i komicar Dzon Kliz iz Monti Pajtona. “Citav zivot volim Monti Pajton i njihov apsurdan humor je nesto sto je inspirisalo moju kreativnu taktiku protesta”, rekao je Popovic. Univerzitet Sent Endruz u istoimenom gradu osnovan je 1413. godine i najstariji je u Skotskoj, a treci najstariji u zemljama engleskog govornog podruja u svetu. Vise o Srdji Popovicu i njegovom izboru za rektora univerziteta u Skotskoj procitajte ovde Fotografija: N1... read more

CANVAS founder Srdja Popovic elected new Rector of St. Andrews University

After being approached by a St. Andrews student, CANVAS founding member Srdja Popovic ran for the position of Rector at St. Andrews University – and won the election last week. Running against MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, Popovic was able to secure double the student’s votes. The position of Rector, existing at Scotland’s oldest universities, is elected by the student body every three years to become President of the University Court, presiding over meetings taking essential decisions for the University. In the new position of Rector at the prestigious university, Srdja Popovic “aims to empower students in St Andrews to mobilise themselves”, he told Rachel Miller from BBC News. The Serbian activist further stated that one of the goals should be to build a student movement as a platform for broader social change. Srdja Popovic already came closer to achieving this goal by helping 50 students active in the campaign to build their own ‘students for students’ movement. He also revealed to BBC that what ultimately convinced him to run for the position, was the discovery that one of the former Rectors was John Cleese who inspired him in his own creative protest through Monty Python’s absurd humor. To read more about Srdja Popovic and his new position as the Rector of the University of St. Andrews, read this BBC article. For those who speak Serbian, take a look at this N1 Info article. Photo: N1... read more

Protest Banner Lending Library: creatively supporting protest!

Chicago Tribune reported on American artist Aram Han Sifuentes who started sewing protest banner and arranging a “Protest Banner Lending Library”. The fiber arts’ teacher started sewing protest banners with different slogans last year. It was her way to support protests without having to go to the streets herself, as she was still in the process of applying for citizenship. The artist had moved to the US with her family from South Korea when she was a child and grew up in California. Establishing the “Protest Banner Lending Library”, she enabled others to go through a large list of already existing banners and to lend them for their own protests. Some of the banners Sifuente made herself, others were made by collaborators or one of the visitors of one of many workshops in Chicago or New York. Until mid-November, the Lending Library can be visited at the Alphawood Gallery in Lincoln Park, Chicago. This project is an example of how one can support protest and a cause without going to the streets or taking risks he or she is not prepared to take. Others who are, can still benefit from this support! And besides this “practical” aspect, a lot of Sifuente’s projects are creative and humorous, another quality which can be useful in attracting people to a cause when trying to win over more supporters, for example. To read more about the “Protest Banner Lending Library” and other creative projects by the artist, like a disco-themed polling booth for all those who cannot vote legally, follow this link. Photo: Terrence Antonio James / Chicago... read more

Anthem protests in Hong Kong: This time it’s the fans

With lots of attention focused on kneeling protests during the national anthem in the United States, some media has reported on a similar movement in Hong Kong. But while in the US it’s the athletes who protest, in Hong Kong it’s the fans. Hong Kong sports fans have been turning their backs, booing, chanting and even raising their middle fingers during China’s national anthem being played. “[A] protest of Beijing’s growing influence in this semiautonomous city”, states New York Times. Most recently on last Tuesday, Hong Kong soccer fans booed before an Asian Cup qualifier against Malaysia started, while two weeks ago, they protested at another game against Laos. After the street protests of the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong had ended three years ago “without the government ceding any ground on expanding residents’ say in local elections”, the New York Times reports “that [the] spirit of protest has been revived in the stadium jeers, which appear to have started two years ago.” This month, a new law passed by the Chinese government went into effect, among other things prohibiting the disrespect of the anthem. Hong Kong has yet to enact its own version of the law. The city which returned to Chinese control in 1997 after being a British colony, enjoys significant autonomy and many citizens “desire to maintain a separate identity as Hongkongers”, writes Washington Post. In international sports competitions, Hong Kong also has its own teams competing. To read more about the protests, some local and international reactions or watch the latest videos from Hong Kong, take a look at the following articles by the New... read more

US American athletes could learn from past nonviolent action: be clear and disruptive!

In past weeks, professional athletes kneeling during the national anthem to protest and raise awareness on the issue of racial injustice in the United States have caught the media’s attention. CANVAS’ Weekly Report and Daily News reported on the protests and Donald Trump’s and Vice President Mike Pence’s reaction at a San Francisco 49ers game earlier this month. While protests had caused solidarity in the NFL for a while, the league’s commissioner Roger Goodell called on the players last week to stand up for the national anthem possibly fearing financial consequences, wrote Les Carpenter on the Sportsblog for the Guardian. But even after this statement, some players again kneeled during the anthem at a game on Sunday. In an opinion article for Bloomberg last Thursday, Stephen L. Carter, columnist and professor of law at Yale University, pointed out that even though he is a supporter of the athletes’ cause, the players are currently not causing any disruption and are thus not advancing their struggle. He refers to lessons learned by Martin Luther King during the Albany Movement in 1961-1962, when activists failed to incite the expected harsh responses by the police, not being able to make their point. Carter writes: “Protest at its best should have a clear, articulable purpose. It should also be designed to create a disruptive tension that can be resolved only by bringing the movement nearer to its goal.” The CANVAS Core Curriculum as well points out that “[t]he world rarely changes because of symbolic actions” (p. 69), that protests should communicate a clear message and that one of the main desired outcomes of nonviolent action,... read more

Can nonviolence end the Israeli occupation? – Issa Amro interview

Late on Friday, Al Jazeera aired an interview with prominent Palestian human rights activist Issa Amro. As a part of the weekly UpFront- show, presenter Medhi Hasan asked Amro, who’s been recognised by both the European Union and the United Nations for his tireless work, about his persistent advocacy for specifically non-violent action. Amro was asked if he could understand that many of his fellow countrymen, repressed for so many years, would rather fight back instead of using a peaceful sit-in or other civil-disobedience tactics. “If a Palestinian under occupation wants to fight back against an Israeli soldier illegally occupying their land, what is wrong with that in your view?” asked Hasan. “It is not about what is wrong. It is not about armed resistance versus nonviolent resistance. On the contrary. The armed resistance is allowed under international law, to resist the occupiers. But it is about tactics, and what is possible. About what you win and how you will win. Palestinians practiced people’s resistance in the first Intifada and it went very well, we were achieving a lot. In the second Intifada, we lost a lot from [more violent tactics], and the price was very very high. So it is about tactics and strategies, and about what kind of resistance will make you stronger. […] Non-violence as a tactics now is just the best tool to end occupation.” Where Amro has been dubbed ‘the Palestinina Ghandi’ by many, his views are not at all those of so called ‘principled non-violent resistance‘ grounded in religious and ethically based injunctions against violence. Rather, his adoption of non-violence is a strategic choice, simply waging the impact of... read more

Fighting Nuclear Power with Fireworks!

Developing your goals and ‘Vision of Tomorrow‘ is one thing, focussing public attention to the underexposed issue you are fighting for might be as important. How does one bring attention to a public risk that affects millions of people? In Greenpeace’s battle against nuclear energy, the organisation published a new report on the danger of fuel storage pools at nuclear facillities in France and Belgium. The report by independent experts, submitted to French and Belgium authorities earlier this week, questions the security of several nuclear facilities and points at their vulnerability to outside attacks. “While these pools can contain the highest volume of radioactive matter in a nuclear plant, they are very poorly protected,” according to Greenpeace. “Rather than wait for the worst to happen, let’s address this issue and take action.” The report, however, was not the only action this week!  Early on Thursday, Greenpeace activists broke through two security barriers at EDF’s Cattenom nuclear plant in northeast France, reaching the reactor’s nuclear zone to within a few tens of meters of the nuclear installations. Several activists launched fireworks inside the grounds of the French nuclear plant, to highlight the vulnerability of the plant to attacks. Using drones and on the ground activists to register their actions, the fireworks made it all over the news. Greenpeace reports might only reach a secluded group of people, but the issues they report on concern a much wider audience. Getting their attention, even for a brief moment, is part of building a bigger movement, and mobilizing people for your Vision of Tomorrow. For footage of the Greenpeace action, read the full Reuters-article... read more

International Community ignores Non-Violent Tibet, while Tibetan-government calls ‘Five-Fifty’ forum.

According to the latest Freedom House index, the denoted territory of Tibet is right at the bottom of the ranking, in the good company of countries as Syria, North-Korea and Eritrea. “Yet the situations in Syria and North Korea get far more media coverage, thanks to the crises’ threats of terrorism and nuclear war,” writes Josh Rogin for the Guardian, late last week. Tibetan leaders lament that their nonviolent movement is ignored while violent movements and violent regimes succeed. The (in this case Chinese) surge of nationalism and the retreat of human rights and democracy promotion, should be seen as global trends, according to Rogin. Although the Tibetan issue has moved to the background of world-politics over the last years, their nonviolent movement is at a crossroads, facing increasing Chinese oppression. Loss of visible support from the United States and the rest of the international community prompted the Tibetan government-in-exile in northern India to convene the ‘Five-Fifty’-conference last weekend to determine its path forward. The Five-Fifty-forum refers to the bilateral goal of the conference: chart a five-year plan for pursuing a return to dialogue and negotiations with China, or, alternatively, plan for another 50 years of resistance to China’s occupation, systematic repression and attempted cultural genocide in Tibet. Guiding Tibet’s quest for a sustainable solution is the so called “middle way approach,” which seeks limited autonomy within the Chinese system, and not ethnic purity or even an autonomous state. The middle-way approach is a nonviolent, but more importantly very pragmatic approach to conflict-resolution, in which genuine dialogue conducted with a spirit of openness and reconciliation are the most important values. Where the Dalai Lama has held the... read more

New protests force US Vice President to walk out on NFL-game

A new chapter in the US-campaign, in which NFL-players try to play their part in raising awareness for racial injustice in America. The protests during the anthem by NFL players, almost all African American, began last year when the then 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled in protest against racial injustice and police brutality. 49ers players have been prominent among those kneeling this season. Though Kaepernick had knelt to protest against unpunished police killings of African Americans, the president and the White House insisted that protesting during the anthem showed disrespect to the flag and to American troops, veterans and first responders. On Sunday, after at least 20 members of the San Francisco 49ers were kneeling during the national anthem, US Vice President Mike Pence decided to leave the stadium, staging his own little protest. Pence announced his departure from the Lucas Oil Stadium on Twitter. A White House statement followed, with a tweet from President Donald Trump which confirmed the walkout was not spontaneous. “I will keep doing what I feel is necessary to use a platform that I have to make those changes. It is just really disheartening when everything I was raised on, was to be the best person I could be to help people that need help. And the Vice-President of the United States, is trying to confuse the message that we are trying to put out there,” said 49ers player Eric Reid. Read more about the campaign and Eric Reid here. Photograph: Michael Conroy/AP... read more

FOLLOW UP – Monopoly Man at Equifax Senate hearing!

FOLLOW-UP POST! Late last week, CANVAS wrote about the ‘Monopoly-man’ protest. Activist and consumer protection advocate Amanda Werner performed the stunt to raise awareness about forced arbitration clauses and their effects on consumers. Vice Magazine contacted Werner and gave her a platform for a more detailed explanation about the message behind the method. Werner’s aim was to achieve more than just a laugh with her actions. “Equifax and Wells Fargo are using these arbitration clauses as a way to [to use another Monopoly reference] get out of jail free, and deny consumers justice,” she told VICE. Before her appearance in the hearing went viral,  Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform already distributed mocking “get out of jail free cards” on Capitol Hill, symbolizing how forced arbitration lets banks get away with wrongdoing. Werner describes how she needed to find a balance between catching the camera’s and not crossing the line of what was still acceptable surrounded by Equifax execs and representatives. “I was getting a lot of dirty looks, and folks were very uncomfortable with the fact that I was in the room,” Werner told VICE. “I think honestly they kept waiting for me to do something that was going to get me kicked out, but luckily I did my homework, I knew what I was allowed to do and not do.” Where her attendance made a big impact, kicking her out in the middle of the hearing might have raised even more eyebrows. Dilemma-action in its prime! Read the full Vice Magazine-article here. Photo: Amanda Werner/ Twitter – via... read more

Monopoly Man at Equifax Senate hearing – Laughtivism used by US activist

Who doesn’t know the top hat wearing, mustached man covering the popular board game “Monopoly”? Pictures and videos of a person dressed up as this well-known figure in a US Senate hearing appeared on the Internet throughout the last days. Protesting financial company Equifax’ behavior after a data breach had become known, activist Amanda Werner from Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform wore the costume during former CEO Richard Smith’s hearing at the Senate. The data breach that first became public in September had possibly exposed data of more than 145 million people. In the following, “Equifax offered a credit monitoring service that required consumers to accept arbitration to settle disputes, something it has since removed”. Americans for Financial Reform declared in a statement this week that “Forced Arbitration Is a ‘Get-Out-of-Jail-Free’ Card for Banks That Cheat Customers”. Such “Get-Out-of-Jail-Free” Cards were also handed out during the protest. Making her appearance at the hearing in the costume, the activist used Laughtivism, a powerful and humorous form of nonviolent action and activism. Through this, she drew attention to the case and issue, triggering widespread reactions on social media. (Photo: Reuters /... read more

Artists making creative statements against violence, weapons and war

Many places in the world commemorated the International Day of Non-Violence on Monday, October 02, Mahatma Gandhi’s 148th birthday. The UN had set up this day to spread the message of nonviolence, and promote peace and tolerance. On Monday at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly it was celebrated for the tenth time. Some others have chosen a very creative way to make statements on the topic, creating art projects conveying messages against violence, weapons and war: Making artwork from bombs and bullets on the streets of Douma, Syria, or using images from popular movie scenes in which weapons are replaced with a Thumbs Up. The creators believe that “real tough guys don’t need guns, they just need a positive, can-do attitude”. To learn more about their projects and others, consult the following blogpost on artists turning weapons into “powerful messages of nonviolence”. (Photo of Chewbacca and Han Solo: Preston E. /... read more