Category Archives: uprisings

protest tactics like umbrellas and leaf blowers spread like memes

Why Protest Tactics Spread Like Memes

When items like umbrellas and leaf blowers are subverted into objects of resistance, they become very shareable.

Video

 

The New York Times, Sergio Olmos for The New York TimesCredit

July 31, 2020

By Tracy Ma

With Natalie Shutler

Written by Jonah Engel Bromwich

A video frame captured in Hong Kong in August 2019 shows a group of pro-democracy protesters, smoke pluming toward them, racing to place an orange traffic cone over a tear-gas canister. A video taken nine months later and 7,000 miles away, at a Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis, shows another small group using the same maneuver. Two moments, two continents, two cone placers, their postures nearly identical.

Images of protest spread on social media reveal many other matching moments from opposite sides of the world, and they often feature everyday objects wielded ingeniously.

Leaf blowers are used to diffuse clouds of tear gas; hockey sticks and tennis rackets are brandished to bat canisters back toward authorities; high-power laser pointers are used to thwart surveillance cameras; and plywood, boogie boards, umbrellas and more have served as shields to protect protesters from projectiles and create barricades.

Portland Protesters’ Tactics

Excerpt from NY Times:

 

By Mike Baker and Thomas Fuller

  • Published July 22, 2020Updated July 23, 2020, 8:48 a.m. ET
  • PORTLAND, Ore. — Shields were made of pool noodles, umbrellas and sleds. The body armor was pieced together with bicycle helmets and football pads. The weapons included water bottles and cigarette lighters.

Facing federal forces who came to Portland to subdue them, many of the https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/22/us/portland-protest-tactics.html?campaign_id=2&emc=edit_th_20200723&instance_id=20509&nl=todaysheadlines&regi_id=68143430&segment_id=34108&user_id=fcbddfb183a7f759d0917ae1b154dc63city’s protesters have taken to the streets this week with items scrounged from home. Then they have assembled at the federal courthouse each night with sometimes starkly different visions of how to put their tools to use.

In 55 consecutive nights of protest in Portland, no two have been alike. The protests began on May 29, after the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. They have continued ever since, night after night, and they show no signs of letting up.

 

“It’s really organic and non-centralized,” said Luke Meyer, who walked through the streets overnight with a plywood shield. “You almost vote with your actions.”

For weeks, city officials who have been the target of much of the ire have been unable to find a way to bring the demonstrations to an end. Now those protesters are giving grief to federal agents who were assigned to maintain calm in the city but have instead watched the number of protesters outside the federal courthouse swell into the thousands.

“Whose streets?” they shout, in one of their signature chants. “Our streets. Whose lives matter? Black lives matter.”

Facing volleys of tear gas that left many coughing, the protesters retreated up Main Street. But they soon regrouped and returned as the authorities backed off. In an echo of the “umbrella revolution” in Hong Kong, protesters with shields and umbrellas took the front of the line to protect themselves and others from the weaponry of federal forces in tactical gear.

Global Feminisms

I’m finishing up Climate Girls Saving Our World, which includes Gen Z girls from every inhabited continent. Readers learn about regional issues, Gen Z, and activism. To see an exam copy email gkimball@csuchico.edu.

Brave: Young Women’s Global Revolution. Vol. 1 reports on young women’s global issues and Vol. 2  on regional issues, based on surveys of 4,000 young people from 88 countries. It’s a Nautilus Book Award winner.

Also see Resist: Goals and Tactics for Changemakers

http://www.gaylekimball.info/bookstore

Hong Kong Protests: women’s role, recent action

A look at women in Hong Kong’s anti-China extradition protests

The Stand News, July 7, 2020

https://medium.com/adinkra/a-look-at-women-in-hong-kongs-anti-china-extradition-protests-ae032b8f35c5

https://globalvoices.org/2020/07/02/hongkongers-braved-the-newly-enacted-national-security-law-with-a-leaderless-protest/print/

Hong Kong’s anti-China extradition protests are now a year old.

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/710/umbrellas-down interviews young protesters who lack hope but protest on the weekends.

Clothing as symbol in protests

The Dress Codes of the Uprising

Almost every protest movement has its visual signifiers: images etched in the collective memory that crystallize the causes for which they were fought. The white dresses of the suffragists and the women’s rights movements. The neat black suits and white button-up shirts of the original civil rights protests. The Black Panthers in leathers and turtlenecks. The followers of Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhi caps and khadi shirts. The sans-culottes of the French Revolution and the yellow vests of the French revolt centuries later.

The organizers of the South Carolina march specifically used fashion to communicate a set of values and implicit references.

Their aim was to connect to the civil rights leaders of the past and pay them homage; to repudiate old racial stereotypes and attempts by some media outlets and the far right to paint them as antifa (a movement that has its own all-black dress code); to offer a silent riposte to the only other uniform otherwise on view: that of the National Guard and the police.

Generatuions Y and Z are winning for the first time

  • “The ground is moving for the first time for progressive Generations Y and Z in opposition to Baby Boomers in power, observes Harvard pollster John Della Volpe. He points out that globally the Millennials (Gen Y) are the largest one in history. He calls them the Values Generation, evidenced by the large numbers of white protesters against police violence.  Just as they were fired up by the Parkland movement for gun control to vote in 2018, he predicts the same for the 2020 election (although they didn’t turn out for Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign). Your observations about generation differences?
  • Max Haskell, Oct 11, 2019. Daily Trojan
  • Pollster discusses millennial, Gen Z voter trends ahead of 2020 elections

US sending arms to Philippines’ autocrat

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/05/15/stop-2-billion-arms-sale-philippines?

From a youth activist in the Philippines:

I 100% agree with it. It’s a very dangerous time. More people need to see and hear about this and what’s happening in the Philippines. The last line is so important

“The COVID-19 pandemic is baring the need for global solidarity against militarization and austerity. In taking up the fight against the deep footprint of U.S. imperialism, here and abroad, our movements will make each other stronger.”

We are part of the cure covid network of volunteers, the volunteers arrested when distributing relief operations were our partners in our relief operations too and could have easily been us arrested. We also work with the organization Kadamay since the urban poor are one of the most affected sectors by the climate crisis.