No Protesters, Only 'Bikers for Trump' Given Inaugural Permits

All protest groups have been left without prime venues, a violation of constitutional rights, PCJF officials said.

While thousands of people are planning protests around the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, only one group has been given a permit by Washington, D.C. to be there — Bikers for Trump.

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The group is planning the participation of about 5,000 members in John Marshall Park, right along the Inaugural Parade route. On Dec. 5, they were granted an official permit to park their motorcycles on Pennsylvania Ave as Trump passes by.

According to Mic, the group “applied for an area no one else had applied for,” and talked to the National Park Service “before they submitted an application."

The Washington-based Partnership for Civil Justice Fund said the National Park Service had handed over control of sites such as the Lincoln Memorial to the private committee overseeing Trump's inauguration.

The move had left at least a dozen protest groups without prime venues, a violation of constitutional rights, PCJF officials said.

The National Park Service "has done a massive land grab inhibiting all those who want to exercise their right to free speech," Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a co-founder of PCJF, said at a news conference.

Trump's election on Nov. 8 led to days of protests by people who said the New York businessman and former reality TV star promoted racism, bigotry and misogyny in his campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said agency rules in place since 2008 give an inaugural committee preferential access to some public areas along Pennsylvania Avenue, the National Mall and surrounding land.

A federal court has upheld the rules, citing that most public sidewalks along the parade route down Pennsylvania Avenue, the boulevard running from the Capitol to the White House, are open to protesters. The NPS is reviewing the pending applications, Litterst said in an email.

The Partnership for Civil Justice said that it was the first time in recent memory that permits to the land had been extended to a private inauguration committee in the days around a president's swearing-in. But it said that despite the decision, city law allowed peaceful street protests to go ahead without permits.

The fund is prepared to sue to get the permits pulled so protesters may gather near the White House and the National Mall, Verheyden-Hilliard said.

District of Columbia officials are expecting about a million people for the inauguration and events surrounding it.

Several groups have vowed to demonstrate. More than 135,000 people have said they would take part in a march for women's rights the day after the ceremony on Jan. 21.

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Communist Poet, Longest-Serving Prisoner of Franco, Dies at 96

Marcos Ana, a lifelong Communist and anti-fascist, and the longest serving prisoner of the Franco regime died on Thursday in Madrid at age 96.

Marcos Ana, born Fernando Macarro Castillo, was a celebrated poet, lifelong Communist, and perhaps best known as the man who spent the most time imprisoned by the fascist regime of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco regime. Jailed by Franco at the age of 19, he was released 23 years later, in 1961, thanks to an international solidarity campaign led by the likes of Pablo Neruda.

"I am a child of solidarity. It’s not just a beautiful word; it’s an attitude towards injustice, which is still necessary. I owe it my liberty and my life," said Ana.

ANALYSIS: Second Spanish Republic Holds Valuable Lessons

Born to a humble family in Salamanca, Spain in 1920, he left school at 13 to work to support his family and soon joined the young Socialists of Spain rising to become a regional secretary just before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. During the war, he joined the Communist Party of Spain and played a key role in the opposition to Franco.

Captured by Franco's forces in 1939, he would spend the next 23 years in jail, surviving two death sentences, torture, and multiple beatings. While in prison, Ana continued his political work. Along with fellow Communists, anarchists and artists he created a clandestine newspaper and offered tutorials to fellow inmates.

It was in prison that he also began writing poems under the pseudonym Marcos Ana, named after his father who was killed by Franco's forces in 1937 as well as his mother who died while he was in prison. The poems, smuggled out by prison guards and comrades who had memorized the lines before being released, were eventually compiled and sent to a printer in Brazil. The publication in Brazil of his first volume of poetry, "Poems From Prison," brought him to the attention of Pablo Neruda, who would go on to spearhead the international campaign for Ana´s release, along with the newly-formed Amnesty International.

RELATED: 40 Years After Franco, People Demand Truth and Justice in Spain

After his release in 1961, Ana continued his activism in exile in France as head of the Center for Information and Solidarity with Spain which included Pablo Picasso as an honorary president. From France as a member of the central committee of Spain's Communist Party, Ana toured the world organizing aid and solidarity campaigns for fellow exiles and opponents of Franco.

In a speech in London in 1962, Ana said, "The only revenge to which I aspire is to see the triumph of the noble ideals of freedom and social justice, for which we have fought and for which thousands of Spanish democrats lost their freedom or their lives."

He returned to Spain in 1976 after the death of Franco and ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the Community Party in the 1977 elections.

During his birthdays, he would subtract the 23 years he spent in jail from his age and often remarked that he felt he had been born twice, first on the day of his birth and later when he was finally released from prison on Nov. 17, 1961. In 2007 he published his memoirs "Tell Me What a Tree Looks Like: Memories of Prison and Life," with a foreword by Nobel Prize winner José Saramago, and to which Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar acquired the film rights in 2008.

  • Published in Culture

Republican Lawmaker Wants Protests Labeled “Economic Terrorism”

A Washington state senator is drafting a bill which would define anti-Trump protestors as “terrorists” for “obstructing economic activity.”

On Wednesday, Washington State Senator Doug Ericksen announced that he will introduce a bill in the state legislature which will allow for felony prosecution of protesters who “intentionally break the obstructing economic activity.”

“I respect the right to protest, but when it endangers people's lives and property, it goes too far," said Erikson. "Fear, intimidation and vandalism are not a legitimate form of political expression. Those who employ it must be called to account,” the statement continued.

Erikson, who was Donald Trump’s campaign director in the state, said that he was already working on the proposal before the wave of protests against the president-elect, but that it would apply to those as well. Protests against the election of Trump have continued across the country for eight consecutive days and have been particularly strong in Seattle, the state’s capital.

Erikson, who is considered a strong ally of the fossil-fuel industry and whose district includes two oil refineries, said he was also aiming the bill at environmentalists, Indigenous activists and their allies who have obstructed oil and coal trains, pipelines and similar projects. In Olympia, Washington, activists continue to blockade a rail line which supplies fracking materials to the North Dakota Bakken oil fields in solidarity with the Water Protectors in Standing Rock.

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Erikson said that the bill would criminalize not only protesters but anyone who helps fund, organize or encourage protests. “We are not just going after the people who commit these acts of terrorism," Erikson said. "We are going after the people who fund them. Wealthy donors would not feel safe in disrupting middle-class jobs."

Erikson’s bill comes at the same time that right-wing activists in Seattle have launched a petition for the recall of Kshama Sawant, a city councilmember and member of the group Socialist Alternative for her support of the anti-Trump protests.

While the bill is unlikely to pass in the Democrat-controlled legislature, Doug Honig, spokesman for the ACLU’s state chapter, called the proposal “the kind of excessive rhetoric that this country has seen enough of recently.”

Erikson’s bill is similar to a proposal in Iowa, where Republican Bobby Kaufmann is introducing what he calls the “suck it up, buttercup” bill which would criminalize protesters attempting to block traffic as well as defund colleges and universities offering post-election trauma support to students.

Erikson did not say if his bill would have applied to the 1773 Boston Tea Party riots which saw a group of protestors board three British tea ships moored in Boston Harbor and dump 342 chests of tea into the water, ushering in the American Revolution.

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Protesters Occupy Parliament in Latest Anti-Temer Protest

Demonstrators occupied Brazil's Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday while thousands more protested in Rio in the latest wave of anti-austerity protests.

On Wednesday a group of approximately 50 anti-austerity protesters entered the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies causing chaos and bringing an abrupt end to the session.

The group of protesters, there to denounce a proposed 20-year freeze on all social spending, managed to sneak past security guards and occupy the chamber for three hours chanting “free the country from corruption” before being removed by legislative police.

RELATED: Brazil Police Crack Down on Anti-Temer Protests in Rio, Again

Wednesday's protests were just the latest in a wave of protest against Brazilian President Michal Temer's government, which came to power in August after a parliamentary coup and almost immediately embarked on a harsh austerity agenda. President Temer is facing ongoing accusations of corruption in the massive Petrobras scandal.

In Rio, thousands of public sector employees, among them police and prison guards, demonstrated against a packet of proposals which includes a 30 percent reduction in salary for public servants.

RELATED: Brazil’s Congress Pushes Decades-Long Austerity Shock Therapy

Two months after the end of the Rio Olympics protesters carried signs saying “Olympic Games Rio 2016, Welcome To Hell” and shouted, “the people´s house looks like a jail, and the people are here in the streets, reclaiming their rights.” The demonstration ended as military police launched tear gas and engaged in violent confrontations with dozens of protesters.

The governor of Rio, Luiz Fernando Pezao, defended his proposals saying “the crisis isn´s Rio, it´s Brazil” and that the economic crisis required hard measures.

“It´s not a crisis. It's robbery. It's corruption. While they´re cutting public sector salaries, they approved new funding for their favorite sectors. Nothing is by accident,” said one of the protesters, Nara Gonzalves.

The protests continue despite a massive government crackdown on civil society opposition which has seen the arrest of key organizers of Brazil´s Landless Workers Movement.

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5th Day of Anti-Trump Protests Rage on Across the US

“People are upset. And they want to express … strong disagreement with Mr. Trump, who has made bigotry the cornerstone of his campaign,” Bernie Sanders said of protesters.
From San Francisco to St. Louis, Denver to Detroit, the 5th day of protests against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump continue to permeate across the nation.

In Manhattan, protesters carried placards in both English and Spanish, chanting maxims such as "Hate won't make us great!" and "We are here to stay!" as they swarmed the president-elect’s Midtown penthouse home. Secret Service agents and NYPD officers blocked off demonstrators from getting too close.

On the other side of the country, around 8000 people marched in Los Angeles to condemn Trump’s hate speech.

A couple hundred people gathered on the steps of the Washington state capitol.​, chanting "not my president!" and "no Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!"

In Tennessee, Vanderbilt University students sang civil rights songs, marching through campus, crossing into a Nashville street, and temporarily blocked traffic.

In Portland, police arrested 71 protesters on Saturday and Sunday morning after several days of demonstrations.

“The president of the United States, Secretary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, perhaps, others can come forward and ask for calm and ask for a peaceful transition and ask their supporters, which are masquerading as protesters now — many of them professional and paid by the way, I’m sure — ask them to give this man a chance so that this country can flourish,” Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told Fox News Sunday.

While neither Clinton or Obama have specifically called for an end to protests, both have issued complacent decrees about the incoming president.

Obama told Trump at the White House on Thursday that he was going to help Trump succeed, "because if you succeed, then the country succeeds."

Clinton said to supporters at a New York hotel on Wednesday: "Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead."

Sanders, however, has openly supported protesters.

RELATED: Thousands Still Protest 'Fascist' Trump Across US Cities​

“We have a First Amendment. People are angry. People are upset. And they want to express their point of view that they are very frightened, in very, very strong disagreement with Mr. Trump, who has made bigotry the cornerstone of his campaign,” he told USA Today. “I think that people are saying, ‘Mr. Trump, we have come too far in this country fighting discrimination and bigotry. We’re not going back. And if you’re going to continue that effort, you’re going to have to take us on.’”

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Venezuelan Budget Won't Come from Oil, Will Go to the People

Almost three-quarters of the budget submitted to the Supreme Court will go to social spending.

Venezuela’s 2017 budget aims to break the oil-rentier model and promote a new system of social justice in the country, an official said Friday.

OPINION: Chavismo Must Stop the Economic Bleeding

Vice President for Planning and Knowledge of Venezuela Ricardo Menendez said that 74 percent of spending is devoted to social projects: 50 percent to health, education and social programs and 24 percent to infrastructure development, urban infrastructure and public works.

He added that 83 percent of the national budget, estimated at over US$830 million, will come from taxes. Another 12 percent will be financed with revenue from socialist state enterprises and only 3.2 percent with oil exports, based on an average of the Venezuelan barrel price of US$30.

Menendez said that the government is committed "to the breakdown of the oil rentier model, and (to) build(ing) another model, greater justice” and to “show how the horizon is raised in Venezuela.”

“We counter the neoliberal model with a production model, and that production comes from our people,” said Menendez.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro presented the budget directly to the Supreme Court for approval on Friday, bypassing interference from the country's aggressive right-wing opposition in the National Assembly.

The Supreme Court had previously declared invalid all acts of the National Assembly after the organization swore in three legislators whose proclamations had been suspended over irregularities when during their campaigns.

The right wing has also been accused of sabotaging the economy, provoking violence to destabilize the country and having no interest in solving any economic problems.

The budget was approved by Maduro after consultation with a popular assembly. It will be rolled out with revitalized methods for management, in step with local governments.

Maduro also approved the Annual Operating Plan and debt law for next year.

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