Category Archives: Class

Chart of the day II: Euro small businesses

From Eurostat [PDF], a country-by-country look at the distribution of very small business employment in Europe:

BLOG Euro small biz

Chart of the day: Poverty, the real terrorism

From SHOCK WAVES: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty [PDF], a new publication of the World Bank:

BLOG Child killers

Map of the day: Sub-Saharan poverty

From HarvestChoice, a map of poverty in 24 nations of Sub-Saharan Africa:

BLOG Afropoverty

Ayotzinapa students get another beatdown

On 26 September 2014, 43 male students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa in Tixtla, Guerrero, Mexico, went missing after police and possibly soldiers opened fire after the students commandeered buses in nearby Iguala — an event which we covered in some depth.

The state teachers colleges produce poorly paid instructors for rural communities, instructors drawn from the regional poor, and at Ayotzinapa they live in cold, concrete-floored unfurnished rooms.

So if students want to go to events in nearby communities, they sometimes commandeered local buses, something that had gone without violent suppression until that night, which had the misfortune to coincide with a with an event of major importance to the mayor’s spouse.

Just what happened to the students remains a mystery, though one bone fragment has been identified as belonging to one of the 43.

Less than 14 months later, students again commandeered buses, along with a gas truck to keep them fueled. And police violence followed.

From the Los Angeles Times:

More than a dozen students were hospitalized in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero after they were detained and beaten by scores of state and federal police officers, according to human rights activists.

About 150 students from a rural teachers college were traveling in eight buses on the highway from the state capital of Chilpancingo toward the small rural town of Ayotzinapa just after 4 p.m. Wednesday when state police pickups began pursuing them, according to the Guerrero-based human rights group Tlachinollan and witnesses.

Cellphone video provided by one of the students purports to show a police pickup driving up to the back of one of the buses and breaking in the windows.

The students attend the Ayotzinapa teachers school; 43 of their were detained and subsequently disappeared in the nearby city of Iguala in September 2014. The students Wednesday were on their way back from raising money for their campaign on behalf of the missing, Tlachinollan said.

Here’s that video, via Anon Hispano, along with a Google translation of the Spanish text:

Federal police began assaulting students #Ayotzinapa 11/11/2015

Program notes:

Treacherous attack took place in the shed nearby Tixtla, Guerrero, by federal and state police to students of the Normal Rural ‘Isidro Burgos’ Ayotzinapa, under the pretext of the abduction of a pipe of Pemex, with a balance at least 20 injured and 10 arrested.

More context from Fox News Latino:

Wednesday’s confrontation outside the municipality of Tixtla occurred when the officers intercepted a tanker truck carrying 30,000 liters of gasoline that the students had commandeered in the state capital of Chilpancingo and were taking to Tixtla, where the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School is located.

The students, who were traveling in around 10 buses, tried to recover the tanker, leading to a clash in which the state police used batons and tear gas and the trainee teachers responded by hurling rocks and other objects at the officers.

An Ayotzinapa spokesperson told EFE that many of the students took refuge in nearby hills and that one of the 15 detainees was Ernesto Guerrero, a survivor of the deadly Sept. 26, 2014, events in the city of Iguala, Guerrero.

Al Jazeera’s AJ+ has more video from the scene:

Ayotzinapa Students Attacked By Mexican Police On Video

Program notes:

“The truth is these m*****f****** were chasing us, but this is how they chase criminals, isn’t it?” At least 8 Ayotzinapa students were hospitalized after they said they were attacked by Mexican police.

More in a video report from Telesur English:

Mexico: Police Attack on Ayotzinapa Students Repudiated

Program notes:

In the southwestern Mexican state of Guerrero, public opinion and social organizations are deeply concerned and angered over Wednesday’s police attack on Ayotzinapa students. The brutal attack, video of which was filmed by the students, left 8 students seriously injured and hospitalized. Critics say the attack is part of a strategy by the state government, now in the hands of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, to discredit the students and criminalize their protests. Clayton Conn reports from Mexico City.

And a Telesur English website update has the latest on the conditions of the injured students:

In Mexico, eight students from the now-infamous teacher training school in Ayotzinapa from which 43 students were disappeared in 2014 remain hospitalized after they suffered police brutality Wednesday: four are in critical condition.

According to the students’ lawyer, Vidulfo Rosales, two people have fractured bones in their the arms, and another in the face. Juan Castro Rodriguez was left in the most serious condition, with a “grade one” head injury.

Rosales, a human rights attorney, demanded that the students be moved from the Raymundo Abarca Alarcon hospital to private facilities, paid for by the Guerrero state government, as he said a bed shortage meant the students were kept standing while waiting for medical attention and did not receive adequate care.

Along with the 20 injured students, 13 students were detained and 20 injured during the attacks by Guerrero state police Wednesday night.

And elsewhere in Mexico. . .

From Telesur English:

Hundreds of Afro-Mexicans in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero lived moments of terror when a group of men armed with AK-47s and AR-15s stormed their local celebrations and opened fire, killing at least 12 people, including two children and a women, according to local reports on Tuesday.

The attack was carried out Sunday night in the small, mostly Afro-descent community of Cuajinicuilapa, near the border with neighboring state of Oaxaca, the town mayor Constantino Garcia said.

Police officials also found shells that they say were fired by .38 caliber and 9 mm semi-automatic handguns.

Authorities have yet to reveal the possible motives of the attack, because as it stands now and based on the weapons used, federal security forces, including military, could be responsible, as well as organized crime.

Students protesters march across the country

The Million Student March erupted Thursday across the country, even here in Berkeley [which was never the Berzerkeley so beloved of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and their ilk.

We have two video reports. both with a Berkeley twist.

From up, via The Real News Network, an interview with a Berkeley student instrumental in the protests:

#MillionStudentMarch: Thousands Walkout Across The Country

From the transcript:

JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: The Million Student March. Thousands walked out of classes at over 100 campuses across the country on Thursday. Among their demands included addressing racial injustice, free tuition at college campuses and universities, cancellation of the country’s $1.2 trillion student debt, and a $15 wage for all university workers.

LAUREN BUTLER: Wall Street has infiltrated our education system. Education has been commodified, you know, and put on Wall Street to be gambled with.

NOOR: Tying racial justice and economic injustice is UC Berkeley student Lauren Butler. She helped organize the walkout on her campus.

BUTLER: People are disadvantaged in education because of their race. And the same system that oppresses us all as students, the same corporate system that benefits off of the creation of debt, you know, essentially the creation of poverty, right, these are the same people that like to exploit people of color, black people especially.

NOOR: Butler also cites the activism at the University of Missouri earlier this week that led to the toppling of two key university officials demonstrates the potential of students to achieve their demands when they are organized.

BUTLER: We’re really seeing a shift in the power dynamics, right. So what Missouri really taught us is that we have to speak their language to get a reaction out of them, right, and we did that. And the reactions of the students, you know, the reactions of the individual students, these disgusting hate crimes and acts of terror against the black students, it really is just reflective of this larger white supremacist power structure.

And from RT’s Ruptly TV, here’s some raw footage of the demonstrations here in Berkeley Thursday:

USA: Million Student March shuts down UC Berkley campus

Program notes:

Hundreds of students marched through the University of California’s Berkeley campus to demand free education, Thursday. The students who were joined by campaign group ‘Nurses for Bernie Sanders.’ Organisers are demanding tuition-free colleges, a cancellation of all student debt as well as a minimum $15 (€13.9) an hour wage for campus workers. The rally was one of many held on campuses across America under the name ‘Million Student March.’

Maps of the day: Two estimates of poverty rates

From the Los Angeles Times, two contrasting maps reflecting poverty rates as defined by two different measures, one a generalized national number and the other tailored to actual costs of living in individual states.

From the report:

[T]he official poverty rate fails to account for variations in public benefits and costs of living. A separate federal benchmark, known as the Supplemental Poverty Measure, shows a much higher poverty rate for California: 23.4%, the highest in the nation, according to the most recent data.

The rate reflects California’s high — and growing — housing costs.

“The fact that California housing is so much more expensive means the threshold to be in poverty is a lot higher,” said David Cooper of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington.

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BLOG Poverty real

Carts of Darkness: Entering the binner’s world

Binners, that’s what they call themselves, the men and women who pluck the goodies from recycling bins before the trucks arrive. In Berkeley, early mornings on pickup days are marked by the sound of the wheels of the shopping carts they use to haul away their goodies.

Housing costs in Vancouver, British Columbia, are the world’s second highest, second only to Hong Kong, so it might be surprising to learn that the Canadian city is also to a significant homeless population.

And binners in affluent North Vancouver have added another, dangerous dimension to the recycling game, racing their carts down the city’s steep hills at speeds of up to 45 miles an hour, unencumbered by helments, knee and elbow pads, or any other protective paraphernalia.

Enter Murray Siple.

A feature in Dwell gives some background:

Murray Siple has never been one to be hampered by physical realities. Traversing a near-vertical mountain on a thin piece of wood seems impossible to many, but to former snowboarder Siple it was just another day on the job. The now 35-year-old Siple studied photography and video at the Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver, then left school to make extreme-sports movies, traveling all over the world to film skateboarders, mountain bikers, and snowboarders careening down steep mountains. Not once did fear stand in his way.

Then, in the fall of 1996, a catastrophic car accident brought an early end to Siple’s time on the slopes, resulting in what is known in medical terms as C 6/7 quadriplegia. In everyday terms, this means that Siple has only limited use of his arms and hands, and that he’s traded in his snowboard for a manual wheelchair.

In 2008 Siple turned his gaze on the cart racers, their sport reminding him of the joys of the snowboarding and other extreme sports which had been at the center of his life.

The resulting documentary explores not only the cart racing but the lives of the men [and they are mostly men] who race them.

And, in the end, Siple joins one of his subjects for an exuberant downhill run.

From the National Film Board of Canada:

Carts of Darkness

Program notes:

Murray Siple’s feature-length documentary follows a group of homeless men who have combined bottle picking with the extreme sport of racing shopping carts down the steep hills of North Vancouver. This subculture depicts street life as much more than the stereotypes portrayed in mainstream media. The film takes a deep look into the lives of the men who race carts, the adversity they face and the appeal of cart racing despite the risk. Shot in high-definition and featuring tracks from Black Mountain, Ladyhawk, Vetiver, Bison, and Alan Boyd of Little Sparta.

Directed by Murray Siple – 2008