[WSMDiscuss] [social-movements] Prague Spring Webinars 25-26.4 Antirepression and Internationalistic answers to the Coronacrisis

Jai Sen jai.sen at cacim.net
Sun Apr 26 23:37:58 CEST 2020


Sunday, April 26, 2020

 

Greetings all

            Also at Tord Björk’s request, I’m posting here the minutes of the first day of the Prague/European Spring 2020 webinars programme on ‘Antirepression and Internationalistic answers to the Coronacrisis’.

            Apologies for reaching this to you all a bit late.

            In solidarity,

            JS

fwd
> Begin forwarded message:
> 
> From: Tord Björk <tord.bjork at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [WSMDiscuss] Prague Spring Webinars 25-26.4 Antirepression and Internationalistic answers to the Coronacrisis
> Date: April 26, 2020 at 3:48:13 AM EDT
> To: Jai Sen <jai.sen at cacim.net>

European/Prague Spring 2020 webinars - Minutes 

Day 1 - 25th of April


12:30-13:15 - "Stopping repression against movements in Russia, Ukraine and the EU"

Balint Josa, director of UNITED opened the meeting explaining why this antiracist network saw a need in the coming together of movements primarily addressing social issues and networks addressing environmental issues. This caused UNITED to join youth environmental networks, Transform Europe and organisations in Czechia ,Hungary and Sweden behind the initiative from Prague Spring 2 (PS2) network against right wing extremism and populism to organize a European/Prague Spring 2020 seminar now turned into two webinars 25th and 26th of April.

Leo Gabriel from PS2 gave a general background to the webinars and Tord Björk gave a background to todays topic Stop repression in Europe and defend democratic rights 



Cases in Russia
Prague Spring 2 network initiated this seminar on repression in all of Europe.
Anti-fascists were tortured, false statements created  to bring them prison when they were part of protests against the building of a motorway through the Khimki Forest in Moscow
Prague Spring 2 network organized together with Friends of the Earth Sweden  world wide protests to help them. 
It’s been almost impossible to create a dialogue between the two civil society sides in the Ukrainian conflict, which is concerning as the number of violations are growing.
In relationship to the corona crisis: this is only the first attempt to start the discussion at this webinar. We thought it was necessary to keep bringing forth cases that are going on, and see what kind of repression is emerging now in the last session.
Igor Gotlib: has been addressing Ukraine and Russia
He will send the report of Ukraine to the common chat: “The situation in Ukraine: Zelenskyi is equal to Poroshenko” The author of the report on Ukraine is Volodymyr Chemerys, a Ukrainian human rights defender.
Speaks about the 11 people accused of bombing in St. Petersburg from 2017
In Russia there is a similar authoritarian system that’s accused in the west. But outside europe, these authoritarian systems are much cruder than in russia. 
Developments in these regions are interconnected
In Russia: the 2017 bombing case, CSOss and activists have had an opportunity to examine it further. 
Bomber was from Kyrgyzstan, and had supervision from someone from Turkey.
Investigation hasn’t found out who this Turkish supervisor was
Okay, people from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan were involved
Other 9 ordinary persons who had nothing to do with the bombing, cooks and restaurant workers etc.
Life sentences, 19-28 years in prison. No hope of sentence being changed
Anti-terrorist securitarianism at play here. A construction worker, tenant of the apartment. He was captured due to mistaken interpretation of a phone call he had. Name was Muslim.
There is evidence of fabrication and torture by thee security servics. Illegal secret prison. Tortured by electric shock and waterboarding. One of the people had nothing to do with the bombing, even.
All can be found here: https://www.kansanuutiset.fi/artikkeli/4225918-sopiva-tausta-terroristiksi-vie-vankilaan-venajalla <https://www.kansanuutiset.fi/artikkeli/4225918-sopiva-tausta-terroristiksi-vie-vankilaan-venajalla>
https://rupression.com/en/2020/02/15/solidarity-with-anarchist-prisoners-in-russia <https://rupression.com/en/2020/02/15/solidarity-with-anarchist-prisoners-in-russia>


https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/10/russia-two-youth-activists-jailed-in-deplorable-act-of-injustice/ <https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/10/russia-two-youth-activists-jailed-in-deplorable-act-of-injustice/> 
All in the name of stopping “islamic spread” combined wiyh the indifference of a large part of society, including liberal middle class and media milieu, to the situation of migrant workers.
He hopes we will be able to discuss the situation in different countries, if possible to do support actions, to do countracting of such outrageous things
Antti Rautiainen
It’s a bit too early to say how the corona crisis has affected Russian developments
In prisons, there’s more tension, which also influences political prisoners
This is one of the biggest conflicts in the Russian society over the last 100 years. Major riots have gone on in different parts of Russia.
Majority of the people accused/imprisoned are antifascists, former activists. It’s a repression against antifascist activists, though that’s not the complete piuctre. It’s also people who were imprisoned because they knew the wrong people.
This repression is 90% fabricated - related to anti extremism laws. In russia, you can be sentenced on the basis of trerorst extremism without being involved in any terrorist extremism. Thought crime is enough. 
Solidarity campaign against this has been quite successful. It’s managed to create solidarity between different movements.
But this solidarity campaign became a big issue. All the people who are accused ended up withdrawing their statements. The campsign managd to stop the torture, creat legal defense for the accused. After September, widespread solidarity in russia - trade unions, teachers, musicians, cinematographers have appealed for the accused. Petitions from independent bookstores, urban activists trying to protect old buildings. 
Of course, still a hierarchy in russian political prisoners
https://rupression.com/en/ <https://rupression.com/en/> 
Tord
Ukraine - situation is similar there
He’ll talk about Odessa. This was a period that had a lot of tensions in Ukraine. It’s a business kind of town. 
Street fights in Odessa where people were killed but separate in time and space from the attack on the trade union house  where 42 people were  killed. This has been presented in different ways, never any criminal case brought to final justice. This was a case of mass murder in the middle of Europe.
A solidarity campaign for the attack in Odessa has been organized each year (will be updated):https://solidaritywithodessa.wordpress.com/category/call-for-solidarity/ <https://solidaritywithodessa.wordpress.com/category/call-for-solidarity/>
Unfortunately the repression of the mothers of the victims, threatened with jobs etc, it’s been so hard that they lost contact with them
He hopes that some of us can participate!
Lithuania is a different country where repression is heavy case
Mikhail Bugakov
Will talk about Algirdas Paleckis (all in Russian)
Info about the case here: Release of Algirdas Paleckis jailed on fabricated charges for being a spy 

https://www.change.org/p/president-of-the-republic-of-lithuania-mr-gitanas-naus%C4%97da-paleckis-affair-revising-dreyfus-affair-in-lithuania <https://www.change.org/p/president-of-the-republic-of-lithuania-mr-gitanas-naus%C4%97da-paleckis-affair-revising-dreyfus-affair-in-lithuania>
 
Human rights and freedom of speech ar basic foundation of democracy
But no such thing as absolute freedom
We are observing a situation where the exception is becoming the rule. Basically, too much repression
He goes into the history of Lithuania’s history of independence…
Communist party, socialist groups were early victims of repression in Lithuania
Political repression has legal justification in Lithuania 
Lithuanian parliament has criminalized dissent
The case has been transferred to the court with two formulated accusations. The first charge is that this man gathered info about judges and prosecutors who investigated the Jan 1991 case (when the new independentist Lithuanian leadership was in conflict with the central authority of USSR).
Currently the persecution of dissenters is increasing in Lithuania. One can expect someone who doubts soviet occupation will get a prison term for 2 years. After that this cause of the criminal court will be hardened
However, dissent is rather deeply rooted in Lithuanian society because of social networks. The process has already started.
Tord
In the UK Greenpeace, Stop the War, and others have shown that states use anti-terrorism to clabel them as a threat to society. 
http://www.stopwar.org.uk/index.php/news-comment/3591-letter-counter-terrorism-policy-is-a-threat-to-democracy <http://www.stopwar.org.uk/index.php/news-comment/3591-letter-counter-terrorism-policy-is-a-threat-to-democracy>
Wilhelm Langthaler
Release Abdel Kerim Abu Habel, a Palestinian asylum seeker sentenced to life imprisonment
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170726-austrian-court-sentences-palestinian-asylum-seeker-to-life-imprisonment/ <https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170726-austrian-court-sentences-palestinian-asylum-seeker-to-life-imprisonment/>

https://www.antiimperialista.org/en/content/life-prison-palestinian-austria <https://www.antiimperialista.org/en/content/life-prison-palestinian-austria> 
A very young Palestinian in Austria has been sentenced to life imprisonment which is very very rare
The reason is an attempted terrorist attack which should have taken place in Jerusalem, and membership of Hamas
Legal possibilities have been exhausted. Small possibility that if you produce new proofs and evidence, it’s very rare that a jury case would be reopened.
Very political cs, very political sentence. Says such people need to be punished for general principal.
This sentence states that Jerusalem belonged to Israel
Entire case was conducted with witnesses from israeli prisons, and everyone knows they can be very easily blackmailed.
It’s crazy that a very young guy would have been able to conduct a terrorist attack in Jerusalem via internet connection is a very strange construction
There's a been a request from European Human Rights Court on the point that Israel doesn't follow the rules set by the European Court of Justice
This guy was imprisoned in Israel at the age of  13, was out only half a year, and then imprisoned again in Austria. It’s a tragic case
But the European Court of Justice turned request down without explanation
https://www.antiimperialista.org/de/node/245349 <https://www.antiimperialista.org/de/node/245349>
 
David Aranda - Catalonia
Repression in Catalonia is nothing new. 
Release of the 9 Catalan political leaders that have been sentenced between 9 to 13 years.


https://www.change.org/p/jean-claude-juncker-solidarity-with-catalonia-for-the-right-to-peaceful-self-determination <https://www.change.org/p/jean-claude-juncker-solidarity-with-catalonia-for-the-right-to-peaceful-self-determination>


https://ifex.org/pen-international-calls-for-release-of-catalan-civil-society-leaders-after-shock-sentencing <https://ifex.org/pen-international-calls-for-release-of-catalan-civil-society-leaders-after-shock-sentencing>
 
https://www.catalannews.com/society-science/item/spain-s-national-court-grants-three-activists-accused-of-terrorism-bail <https://www.catalannews.com/society-science/item/spain-s-national-court-grants-three-activists-accused-of-terrorism-bail> 
In the last 5 years we have had more than 3000 people investigated for participating in demonstrations supporting Catalonian independence. 
Spanish state has instrumentalized terrorist offences in order to repress dissent

Second part: Defending democratic rights in the time of the corona crisis
Tord
Northern Europe
“What happened in China cannot happen in northern Europe”, and only in a dictatorship said the media but soon it became clear that all of East Asia handled the corona crisis in similar ways
South Korea also used similar methods as China of monitoring people and finding out where they were. Found out where infected people were moving via gps - put on a public webpage where they had been moving to
Big discussion that these were authoritarian tendencies
Then Europe was hit, and Germany also did something similar as others in Europe, and then there's no protest.
In Norway, govt proposed that they should be allowed to issue emergency laws
Denmark has been taking authoritarian measures
Jon Rodrigues
On the one hand we see governments taking away rights of people
On the other hand, we see the crisis situation of further vulnerability of violation of rights
situations that already existed. Not just southern europe.
Situation of migrant people. This is not something new, but the pandemic is creating new violences and putting people in situations of vulnerability. People put in detention centers, hihc is a nw black hole of vulnerability. Now there's even less accountability, we’re losing checks and balances
There is an activist presence, there’s activity of social movement of people being there physically but now we can’t do that and that’s worsening the situation
This also applies to police violence. It’s happening more, and with more impunity.
Some far right movements are using scapegoating. Left needs to have a clear strategy on how to handle this. 
Legal discrimination turns into on the street violence
Leo
Democracy relies on independence of justice system, we have to develop better systems. 
Whenever we talk about democracy in a general way in the mainstream, it’s also talking about free elections
Tord
We cannot give case studies to Amnesty International. The human rights NGOs select only certain cases and ignore others. They ignored the Odessa case, the worst recent mass murder in Europe. They attacked us because then we’re not allowed to do it because then we’re helping terrorists
Human Rights Watch is similar
Thank you and hope to see you tomorrow.

https://www.facebook.com/praguespring2 <https://www.facebook.com/praguespring2/>

Tord Björk

email: tord.bjork at gmail.com <mailto:tord.bjork at gmail.com>, skype: tordbjork, tel: +46 (0)722 15 16 90



> On Apr 25, 2020, at 12:09 PM, Jai Sen <jai.sen at cacim.net> wrote:
> 
> Saturday, April 25, 2020
> 
>  
> 
> Congratulations on this initiative, Tord and all the co-organisers, and thanks for posting this on WSMDiscuss (and even if a little late ;-) !
> 
>             I’m copying this reply of mine more widely, to let others who might be interested, know.     
> 
>             In solidarity !
> 
>             JS
> 
> 
>> On Apr 25, 2020, at 2:56 AM, Tord Björk via WSM-Discuss <wsm-discuss at lists.openspaceforum.net <mailto:wsm-discuss at lists.openspaceforum.net>> wrote:
>> 
>> 
>> Prague Spring webinar 25 april
>> proposal program
>> 
>> Prague/European Spring 2020 webinars program:
>> 
>> 25 April 2020 - start at 12:00 to 14:00
>> Repression against movements and threats against democracy during the present crisis
>> 12:30 - First contact to webinar practice, and to know each other. -
>> 
>> 12:30-13:15 - "Stopping repression against movements in
>> Russia, Ukraine and the EU"
>> 
>> Speakers:
>> Igor Gotlib and Tord Bjork - as a facilitators and introducing the topic
>> Russia - St Petersburg and Penza cases, Igor Gotlib, Antti Rautianen
>> Ukraine: Odessa massacre and solidarity action May 2, Tord Björk
>> Lithuania - Algirdas Paleckis case
>> Austria - Abdel Kerim Aby Habel, Willy Langthaler
>> Catalonia - IPA - David Aranda i Checa
>> UK : Julian Assange and labelling Stop the war, Greenpeace and
>> other movements as terrorist threats
>> 
>> 13:15-14:00 - "Defending democratic rights during the present crisis
>> 
>> Speakers: 
>> Central and Eastern Europe, Matyas Benyik, Attac Hungary
>> Northern Europe Tord Bjork, Activists for Peace
>> Southern Europe - Jon Rodrigues
>> 
>> 14:00 - Conclusions and closing ceremony
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 26. April 2020 - start at 10 :00am to 17:00
>> 
>> Internationalistic answers to the Coronacrisis
>> European/Prague Spring webinar Sunday 26 april
>> 
>> Internationalistic answers to the Coronacrisis
>> 10:00-10:45 AM - Welcome ceremony 
>> Introduction : How can movements come together during the crisis and work together in Europe and towards World Social Forum (WSF) in Mexico 2021?
>> Speakers:
>> Introduction:(15 mins)  Leo Gabriel + Prague Spring 2 network and member of the International Council of WSF
>> Statement of the speakers on the same subject from initiators of the webinar: Youth Environment Europe, Young Naturefriends, UNITED, Transform! SpED, SZAB, Activists for peace - 
>> Discussion
>> Comments from participants from their movement or country
>> 10:45-11:00 AM - "How to participate" ?
>> Collective solving of practical issues.
>> 11:00-12:30 AM - "Internationalistic answers to the Coronacrisis"
>> From the perspective of your movement towards the idea of coming together 
>> Next steps
>> Speakers:
>> Mirek Prokes as the host
>> Francine Mestrum (WSF)
>> Leire Azkargota (International Peoples Assembly)
>> Rainer Braun (International Peace Bureau)
>> Peter Wahl (WEED/Attac Germany)
>> Aleksander Buzgalin (Alternativy - Russia)
>> Alina Aflecailor (UNITED - Romania)
>> 12:30 - 13:00 Break
>> 13:00 - 14:30
>> Internationalistic answers to the Coronacrisis from a youth perspective
>> From the perspective of your movement towards the idea of coming together 
>> Next steps
>> Speakers:
>> Viktor Koren (IYNF) as the host
>> Michel Diaz Nocetti (No to Nato Sweden)
>> Kristóf Nagy (Fordulat Hungary)
>> Nathan Metenier (YEE and GCE)
>> Marija Mileta - (Zelena akcija/Friends of the Earth Croatian)
>> Balint Jósa (UNITED) 
>> 
>> 14.45 - 16:45
>> What can we do?
>> How can actions proposed inte the morning and youth sessions as well as by peoples movements and preparatory seminars be carried forward.
>> 
>> Tord Bjork as the host/facilitator
>> Neringa Tutenkamenaite host/facilitator
>> First part 14.45 - 15:15:
>> Summary of proposals from earlier sessions. Asked to add to this discussion on how to unify peace and environmental movement and a common way to address the crisis are apart from speakers earlier in the program: Friends of the Earth, La Via Campesina and trade unions, Attac and World March of Women.
>> Speakers: 
>> The hosts from the previous sessions (everyone will get max 5 mins)
>> Joel Holmdal, NOrdBruk/Via Campesina Sweden
>> Second part, 15:15 - 16:00 working groups on:social rural and urban movements, peace and environmental movements, youth movements, antirepression
>> 4 hosts facilitating groups - 
>> Igor Gotlib (antirepression)
>> Viktor Koren (youth movements)
>> Tord Bjork (peace and environmental movements)
>> Leo Gabriel (social rural and urban movements), 
>> Final part, 16:00 - 16:45
>> Tord Bjork as the host
>> Each group will choose a spokesperson to report
>> Reports from the working groups, proposals for actions and next step forward
>> 16:45 - 17:00 conclusions and closing ceremony
>> 
>> Registration: http://www.unitedagainstracism.org/conferences/upcoming-conference <http://www.unitedagainstracism.org/conferences/upcoming-conference>
> 
> 
>> ________________________________________
>> ** Inspired by the World Social Forum, WSMDiscuss – the successor to a list named ‘WSFDiscuss’ started in 2005 - is an open, unmoderated, and self-organising forum for the exchange of information and views on the experience, practice, and theory of social and political movement at any level (local, national, regional, and global), including the World Social Forum.  Join in ! **
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> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> ____________________________
> 
> Jai Sen
> 
> Independent researcher, editor; Senior Fellow at the School of International Development and Globalisation Studies at the University of Ottawa
> 
> jai.sen at cacim.net <mailto:jai.sen at cacim.net>
> Now based in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325) and in Ottawa, Canada, on unceded and unsurrendered Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900) 
> 
> CURRENT / RECENT publications :
> 
> Jai Sen, ed, 2018a – The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance. Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
> Jai Sen, ed, 2018b – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ? (Indian edition). New Delhi : AuthorsUpfront, in collaboration with OpenWord and PM Press.  Hard copy available at MOM1AmazonIN <https://www.amazon.in/dp/9387280101/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1522884070&sr=8-2&keywords=movements+of+movements+jai+sen>, MOM1Flipkart <https://www.flipkart.com/the-movements-of-movements/p/itmf3zg7h79ecpgj?pid=9789387280106&lid=LSTBOK9789387280106NBA1CH&marketplace=FLIPKART&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&fm=SEARCH&iid=ff35b702-e6a8-4423-b014-16c84f6f0092.9789387280106.SEARCH&ppt=Search%20Page>, and MOM1AUpFront <http://www.authorsupfront.com/movements.htm>
> Jai Sen, ed, 2017 – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?.  New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press.  Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
> 
> SUBSCRIBE TO World Social Movement Discuss, an open, unmoderated, and self-organising forum on social and political movement at any level (local, national, regional, and global).  To subscribe, simply send an empty email to wsm-discuss-subscribe at lists.openspaceforum.net <mailto:wsm-discuss-subscribe at lists.openspaceforum.net>
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____________________________

Jai Sen

Independent researcher, editor; Senior Fellow at the School of International Development and Globalisation Studies at the University of Ottawa

jai.sen at cacim.net <mailto:jai.sen at cacim.net>
Now based in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325) and in Ottawa, Canada, on unceded and unsurrendered Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900) 

CURRENT / RECENT publications :

Jai Sen, ed, 2018a – The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance. Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
Jai Sen, ed, 2018b – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ? (Indian edition). New Delhi : AuthorsUpfront, in collaboration with OpenWord and PM Press.  Hard copy available at MOM1AmazonIN <https://www.amazon.in/dp/9387280101/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1522884070&sr=8-2&keywords=movements+of+movements+jai+sen>, MOM1Flipkart <https://www.flipkart.com/the-movements-of-movements/p/itmf3zg7h79ecpgj?pid=9789387280106&lid=LSTBOK9789387280106NBA1CH&marketplace=FLIPKART&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&fm=SEARCH&iid=ff35b702-e6a8-4423-b014-16c84f6f0092.9789387280106.SEARCH&ppt=Search%20Page>, and MOM1AUpFront <http://www.authorsupfront.com/movements.htm>
Jai Sen, ed, 2017 – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?.  New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press.  Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
SUBSCRIBE TO World Social Movement Discuss, an open, unmoderated, and self-organising forum on social and political movement at any level (local, national, regional, and global).  To subscribe, simply send an empty email to wsm-discuss-subscribe at lists.openspaceforum.net <mailto:wsm-discuss-subscribe at lists.openspaceforum.net>
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