UK: School Boys Place Health First, Gender Norms Second

On Thursday morning a group of high school students from Isca academy confidently strutted into school clad in skirts. In spite of temperatures exceeding 30C in this last week, school authorities cautioned that the boys must keep to their regular school uniform, which as of yet does not allow for shorts. Acknowledging that the school would likely remain uncompromising in its stance, a group of boys opted to wear the school skirt in lieu of their long trousers, allowing them to partially resolve the issue, all whilst respecting the school uniform. Media pounced on the story, and the school soon came under fire for not being more mindful of student health. Although it would be easy to dismiss this story as nothing more than a charming little tale, there are nevertheless some important takeaways from this wee rebellious act. In the first place, it highlights the potential to act in a way that challenges authority without necessarily acting outside of the law. Although such action is perhaps still limited, it might nevertheless prove to be more inviting, allowing for greater people to join your cause. In the second place, it underscores the power of humor in activism, or as we like to call it here at CANVAS, “laughtivism.” In their cheeky, albeit lawful action, the boys used to humor to underscore the absurdity of the school’s response and accordingly draw to it criticism. Finally, this anecdote serves to remind readers that protest at its best is fundamentally intersectional. Whilst these boys might have only been protesting a Kafkaesque school bureaucracy, doing so involved challenging gender norms, inevitably also drawing...

Hong Kong Youth Activist: We Will Continue Our Fight
By Carol Off and Jeff Douglas

Read more here: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-friday-edition-1.4164029/we-will-continue-our-fight-why-hong-kong-activist-joshua-wong-will-keep-speaking-out-for-democracy-1.4165073. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images. Piece by Carol Off and Jeff Douglas. Joshua Wong was 17 years old when he gained global attention as a leader of the Umbrella Revolution, a series of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong that took place in 2014. Wong, who is the subject of a new documentary on Netflix Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower, plans to plead guilty for his role in the revolution and says he’s proud of his involvement in pressuring his government for change....

Yes Magazine: Pop-Up Schools to Train Amateur Activists in U.S.
By Chuck Collins

Read more: http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/how-to-go-the-resistance-distance2014pop-up-schools-for-new-activists20170612. Photo: shaunl / iStock. Article by Chuck Collins. Opened on May 4, 2017, the Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership will provide in-person training opportunities in activism in Western Massachusetts. The Truth School is one of a number of new schools emerging to meet the demands of a new wave of activism and resistance that has swept throughout the United States since the Trump election. People have offered free venues for the classes to operate; the Truth School is now popping up in art studios, libraries, and community centers. The school is similar to the Citizenship schools and Freedom schools formed during the Civil Rights movement to fight for voter registration and teach youth about Black history and civic engagement....

Africa News: NGOs denounce human right violation in Morocco

Read more on Africa News and on Anadolu Agency. Photo: Jalal Morchidi – Anadolu Agency. The Moroccan Coalition for Human Rights on Wednesday denounced “abusive” arrests and cases of “torture” in al-Hoceïma. The coalition which comprises 22 organisations, criticized Moroccan authorities for repressing demonstrators of the “Hirak”, a popular protest movement that has been shaking the northern Rif region for months. The focal point of the movement was to call for the development of the Rif region deemed marginalised....

NBC News: Meet a Young Venezuelan Artist Known As the ‘Painter of Protests’

Read the full article here. By ASSOCIATED PRESS. Photo by Ariana Cubillos / AP. Abuse is hurled daily at the art of Oscar Olivares. Rubber bullets and tear gas canisters clatter off protesters’ shields adorned with his works — cartoon-like digital paintings that have made him an instant icon for the demonstrators who have taken to Venezuela’s streets in recent weeks to oppose the socialist government. Olivares received a standing ovation at a recent event by former colleagues of volunteer paramedic Paul Moreno, who died in May after being crushed by a truck while attending to injured protesters. In Olivares’ hands, Moreno is immortalized as 24-year-old clinching his fist high the air while walking through a cloud of tear gas with Venezuela’s colorful flag trailing behindIn this June 2017 photo, a protester carries a homemade shield embellished with an adhesive printout created by artist Oscar Olivares, during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela. Another popular creation, called the “Heroes of Liberty,” depicts the more than 50 victims of this year’s protests – along with victims of previous unrest in 2014 – standing alongside independence hero Simon Bolivar and other national icons smiling widely and staring into a sky full of white doves....

Slate: Why Dictators Don’t Have a Sense of Humor

Originally published on Slate. It was early on in our efforts to take down Slobodan Milosevic, and like all novice activists, we had a moment of reckoning. Looking around the room at one of our meetings, we realized that we were a bunch of Serbian kids, and rather than focus on what we had going for us, we began obsessing about everything we didn’t have. We didn’t have an army. We didn’t have a lot of money. We had no access to media, which was virtually all state-run. The dictator, we realized, had both a vision and the means to make it come true; his means involved instilling fear. We had a much better vision, but we thought on that grim evening, no way of turning it into a reality. It was then that we came up with the smiling barrel. The idea was really very simple. As we chatted, someone kept talking about how Milosevic only won because he made people afraid, and someone else said that the only thing that could trump fear was laughter. It was one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard. As Monty Python skits have always been up there right with Tolkien for me, I knew very well that humor doesn’t just make you chuckle—it makes you think. We started telling jokes. Within an hour, it seemed to us entirely possible that all we really needed to bring down the regime were a few healthy laughs.  And we were eager to start laughing. Milosevic-on-a-barrel, smash his face for just a dinar. Photo courtesy Srdja Popovic We retrieved an old and battered barrel...