June 2017 — Page 3 of 6 — CANVAS

The New York Times: The Art of Protest
By Tina Rosenberg

By Tina Rosenberg, in the New York Times. Photo: Bill Hudson/Associated Press. Read the piece here. Poland has one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. Recently, a government-backed bill sought to go further, punishing women who had abortions with up to five years in prison. Last month, Polish women responded with a one-day strike. On Oct. 3, tens of thousands of people, most of them women dressed in black, protested in major cities. Poland is run by a nationalist, right-wing Roman Catholic party that controls Parliament, has taken over independent media, is disregarding rulings of the Constitutional Court and now proposes creating a militia outside the command of the armed forces. It would not seem to be a government that would listen to such a protest. But three days later, its legislators voted down the abortion bill. Why? The government saw the size and speed of the mobilization, and its high concentration of young people, as a threat — one it worried could grow. The current relevance of this to America, which enshrines in its Constitution the right to peacefully voice protest to check government power, will escape no one. The Republican Party will soon control the presidency, Congress, most governorships and state legislatures; in all probability, there will be a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Given Donald J. Trump’s approval of advisers from the white nationalist far right, following his vitriolic attacks on the policies of the Obama administration, Democrats, independents and even some Republicans are bracing for assaults on — everything. Yet they are not powerless. Seldom, in fact, has an out-of-power opposition been able...

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....