Daily News and Updates 

“March of the Mummies” – Halloween Protest for Parents’ Rights

On the 31st of October, Halloween is an occasion for many people around the world to dress up in costumes, eat candy and go to Halloween parties. For the organization “Pregnant then Screwed”, it was an occasion to organize the demonstration “March of the Mummies” to advocate for parent’s rights. The organization invites families to join their protest on Halloween, dress up as bandaged-wrapped mummies and make a statement for the rights of working mothers as well as fathers in several cities throughout the UK. “Pregnant then Screwed” offers a platform for those who have faced discrimination related to their pregnancy, offers help in various ways and stands up for the rights of (to be) mothers and fathers. Among other things, their specific demands address parental leave options and flexible working arrangements. We think, that their humorous approach of organizing a protest and making use of the popular day of Halloween to create awareness for their cause through the “March of the Mummies”, deserves some attention. To read more on challenges some women have faced and what “Pregnant Then Screwed” advocates for, you can read this blog article on the Guardian, or visit the March’s website. Photo: A poster advertising the March (via... read more

Rome’s Trevi-fountain turns red – Graziano Cecchini’s vandalism art-protests

Late on Thursday, the water in Rome’s famous Trevi-fountain turned red. It wasn’t just a mistake which drew big crowds to one of the Italian capital’s best known tourist hotspots. Protesting against Rome’s “corruption and filth”, Italian activist Graziano Cecchini managed to climb onto the side of the fountain and pour the dye in. According to the Guardian, Cecchini said the protest was a “cry that Rome isn’t dead, that it’s alive and ready to return to be the capital of art, life and Renaissance.” The stunt performed at the fountain was not Cecchini’s first public performance. His first red Trevi-protest dates back to 2007. After the act was initially considered some kind of hooligan prank, Cecchini told the New York Times that “if it had been me, wink wink, I’d say that this had been a media-savvy operation in the face of a very gray society.” Early 2008, half a million multi-colored plastic balls bounced down Rome’s famed Spanish Steps, in another self-styled protests at on of the city’s landmarks. “Italians’ balls are broken,” was written on leaflets distributed at the time. Talking to Reuters, the Italian artist said his protest was “an artistic operation which shows, through art, the problems we have here in Italy”. This work reminds us of the power of ‘Guerilla-art‘, or artwork which has no external boundary between the image and the environment, as a form of protest. Cecchini’s protests, or works of art, have also been conceptualized under the name of ‘vandalism-art’, which makes us think about these performances: While acts of civil disobedience might include aspects with are technically a crime, should they be judged in the same... read more

The Post-Marches and -Rallies era: Trump protests get creative

In the era of social media and 24/7 news coverage, people tend to get creative. Almost a year after Donald Trump became the President of the United States of America, we have seen a unprecedented amount of anti-Trump protests, in the U.S. as well as in other parts of the world. The January 2017 Women’s March, (which was not exclusively but definitely) aimed at the Trump-administration, might have even been the largest protest in U.S. history. But marches and major rallies of the kind of proportions as the Women’s March are not an easy thing to pull off. How can the agitated individual, make his or her contribution? Although their impact might not be as big, many small, creative initiatives can be an outcome for those who are willing to act, now. Almost a year after Trump’s inauguration, the storm of ignorance and negativity has not stopped causing stupefaction yet. With ammunition provided to them by their own President on a daily basis, people get creative. A brief anthology: On October 6, a small group of protesters neared the Washington Monument. At a spot with a good sight line to the White House, they set up a 160-square-foot video screen, hooked it to a laptop and hit play. What ran on the screen for the next 12 hours was a relentless rewind of Donald Trump’s infamous “Access Hollywood” tape.” Three minutes of vulgar chatter by the U.S. President, (“Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything.”) looped over and over through the day, within view of that same guys new office. Dozens of onlookers posted their own videos of the video, a brainchild of protestgroup... read more

Taking Over Trump Tower – Pussy Riot is at it again

Early this week, the headquarter of The Trump Organisation was taken over by members of the Russian feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot. Several activists staged the action in New York to draw attention to the incarceration of political prisoners, two of them in specific; Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov and anarchist Olexandr Kolchenko, both of who are currently in Russian prison. The trial of the both men was labeled ‘unfair’ and ‘marred by credible allegations of torture’, by Amnesty International halfway 2015. “While Sentsov got 20 years in prison, Kolchenko got ten years. Because they, like you, did not sit by – they were fighting for their freedom in Crimea, which was annexed by Putin,” Pussy Riot stated on their Facebook. In that same statement, the group referred to a time in which several of their members were imprisoned, and the importance of the support they received in those days: “We remember when we were imprisoned, we received news about hundreds of activists around the world putting on balaclavas and going to the streets to support us. That was the moment we understood we are not alone. But we should not forget that even though we’ve come to the other side of the fence, there are still hundreds of political prisoners behind bars waiting for your support. We received a lot of letters, smiles, and noise from you.” Their statements strongly accords with one CANVAS-publication in particular: Making Oppression Backfire by Srdja Popovic and Tori Porell. This work does not only focus on the key element of supporting your fellow activists when they end up behind bars, but also looks at the essential features of... read more

Taxi Industry’s Protest Against Ridesharing Apps – Backfiring Methods?

On Monday, thousands of taxi drivers protested transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber, in the Colombian capital Bogota. The protesters blocked roads and clashed with police, as drivers object to what they say is an unfair advantage awarded to app-based services in their country. In recent years, almost every major town around the world has seen similar forms of protests. Taxi industry groups argue that TNCs are illegal taxicab operations which take away their business. The decline in ‘traditional’ taxi rides, according to these organizations, has to do with unfair competition, through which TNCs can simply offer cheaper rides. The protesters are calling for more regulation on technology companies like Uber and Cabify, who they say are not obliged to pay insurance. Where some federal and local governments engage with all parties involved, to create a level playing field, other argue that it is simply a better and more affordable quality of transportation offered by apps as Uber, Cabify and Lift that makes the difference. “A point that rarely gets talked about is how you can’t reverse the consumer behavior,” sharing economy expert Rachel Botsman told The Huffington Post. “The public has experienced a new way to get from A to B and in many instances decided the new way is better. Once the genie is out of the bottle, that new way exists, you can’t reverse the story.” Whatever your verdict on the TNCs takeover of the transport-industry is, one thing we could argue is that taxi-drivers’ methods for defending their position might not be all that effective. First of all, the common goal of their effort seems to ignore the root of the issue... read more

How Protest Works – A Sociologist view on the Impact of Protest and Social Movements

“Do protests and social movements matter? Do they really bring about change?” Every day, we can see tens, maybe hundreds of individuals and groups, fighting for their different causes, everywhere around the world. Their effort is not focussed on the fight itself, but is pointed towards social impact. Activist want to make a difference; they want to cause change where they can! But measuring this change, or the influence a movement has, is a tricky challange. Sociological conceptions of measuring impact can help us to learn about the structures of change, to analyse the movements we see around us, and in setting up our own. Kenneth T. Andrews, professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, studies the impact of movements. “When social scientists do uncover evidence of a movement’s influence, we have tended to focus on three main pathways by which movements gain power: cultural, disruptive and organizational,” according to Andrews. Cultural influence refers to the power of movements to “shape public opinion, language and everyday behavior.” If a movement is able to introduce a new lingo, or spark a debate around a new concept or idea, this is one way to conceptualize influence. Then, a movement is said to be disruptive, when it has the power “make it more costly for people to support the status quo.” Finally, organizational power makes it possible to make a long term player out of a movement, by sustaining participants and their short term efforts. On their own, Andrews argues, cultural, disruptive, and organizational influence are limited in their effect. Where the Occupy movement was able to spark a new conversation about “the... read more

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