Last night I went to an anarchist punk show. It was the usual mix of hardcore bands playing hard and fast with lyrics shouted and unintelligible. There were animal rights activists, vegan promoters and Food Not Bombs representatives. A literature table from PM Press with some anarchist and left communist books was the only serious political material available. Various local groups such as RAC also had tables and I saw the Black Riders leaving as I was coming in. There was a good crowd of several hundred people jamming the club ‘Blvd’ in Boyle Heights, a neighborhood in East Los Angeles.
The music was a bit anachronistic, and focusing on animal rights at a time when revolt is brewing around the world seems to be a bit out of touch with the times, but then ultimately meat eating may be unsustainable in the long run if the population keeps increasing. They want to replace the animal food chain eaten in the industrialized world with a western spin off on Gandhian non-violence in the form of non consumption of animal products. This works well in India where there is a religious culture promoting the concept. I can’t see it as more than a novelty among a minority in the rest of the world, especially with the new affluence in places like China where McDonalds is something of a status symbol. But it is nice to see youthful idealism, I just wish it was geared more to fighting for more practical issues that affect people here in the USA rather than Quixote like battles with American’s eating habits. On the other hand that is what Michelle Obama is trying to do, so in that sense they are right in step with some of the reforming aspects of the government.
Otherwise there is a rebellion brewing across the Arab world. Below are reports I have gathered from media about what is happening or about to happen in various countries.
Sudanese police clash with students in Khartoum
By Khaled Abdelaziz
KHARTOUM | Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:12am EST
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese police beat and arrested students on Sunday as hundreds protested throughout the capital demanding the government resign, inspired by a popular uprising in neighbouring Egypt.
Armed riot police broke up groups of young Sudanese demonstrating in central Khartoum and surrounded the entrances of four universities in the capital, firing teargas and beating students at three of them.
Some 500 young people also protested in the city of el-Obeid in North Kordofan in the west of the country.
Police beat students with batons as they chanted anti-government slogans such as “we are ready to die for Sudan” and “revolution, revolution until victory.”
Groups have emerged on social networking sites calling themselves “Youth for Change” and “The Spark,” since the uprisings in nearby Tunisia and close ally Egypt this month.
“Youth for Change” has attracted more than 15,000 members.
“The people of Sudan will not remain silent any more,” its Facebook page said. “It is about time we demand our rights and take what’s ours in a peaceful demonstration that will not involve any acts of sabotage.”
The pro-democracy group Girifna (”We’re fed up”) said nine members were detained the night before the protest and opposition party officials listed almost 40 names of protesters arrested on Sunday. Five were injured, they added.
Sudan has a close affinity with Egypt — the two countries were united under British colonial rule. The unprecedented scenes there inspired calls for similar action in Sudan, where protests without permission, which is rarely given, are illegal.
Before Tunisia’s popular revolt, Sudan was the last Arab country to overthrow a leader with popular protests, ousting Jaafar Nimeiri in 1985.
Opposition leader Mubarak al-Fadil told Reuters two of his sons were arrested on their way to the central protest.
Editor-in-chief of the al-Wan daily paper Hussein Khogali said his daughter had been detained by security forces since 8 a.m. (1 a.m. EST) accused of organising the Facebook-led protest.
From the Wall Street Journal
Yemeni Protests Turn Violent .
By HAKIM ALMASMARI
SAN’A, Yemen—A small anti-government protest turned violent in the Yemeni capital Saturday, according to eyewitnesses, with demonstrators—emboldened by Friday’s massive protests in Egypt—clashing with security forces.
At least nine protesters were set upon by police with batons when security forces blocked up to a hundred demonstrators as they attempted to march to the Egyptian Embassy here, in a show of solidarity with protesters in Egypt, according to eyewitnesses.
A government supporter waves a traditional dagger during confrontations with anti-government protesters in the capital Sanaa. Yemen’s ruling party has called for dialogue with the opposition in a bid to end anti-government protests.
It was the first instance of reported violence during a recent bout of protests in Yemen, which started earlier this month in the wake of anti-government demonstrations in Tunisia that eventually ended the long rule of that North African country’s autocratic ruler.
Witnesses also said prominent human-rights activist Abdul Hadi al-Azazi was arrested in the march on Saturday.
A Yemeni governmental spokesperson, Tareq Al-Shami, said: “Security forces were not involved, but because protesters were both pro-government and anti-government, clashes could have taken place among them, with security forces out of the picture.”
From Argentina Star
Sunday 30th January 2011 Edition 30/2011
Protests break out in Yemen and Jordan
Saturday 29th January, 2011
While world focus has been on the spreading protests in Egypt, similar demonstrations have broken out in neighbouring Jordan and in Yemen.
There are also reports of demonstrations in Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia.
Tens of thousands of Yemenis are protesting in the capital Sanaa, calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Saleh, like Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, has been in power for three decades, ruling with an iron fist, frustrating the young people of the country. Widespread poverty and corruption have been central targets in the growing protests.
Yemen has been in the spotlight in the West as it combats al-Qaeda influences in the country. The U.S. military has been targeting what it terms are terrorist targets associated with al-Qaeda in the country with drone attacks.
Protesters chanting “its time for a change,” have taken to several parts of the city.
“We gather today to demand the departure of President Saleh and his corrupt government,” Opposition MP Abdulmalik al-Qasuss, from the al-Islah (Reform) party, was quoted by AFP as he addressed protesters.
Government officials are clamping down on the demonstrations. “We are against whoever wants to trouble the country’s interests. All Yemeni people are against that, and we will prevent any kind of disturbance,” government supporter Saleh al-Mrani said .
Yemen’s President Saleh, an ally of the West, became leader of North Yemen in 1978, and has ruled the Republic of Yemen since the north and south merged in 1990. He was last re-elected in 2006.
His party, the General People’s Congress (GPC) party, called for dialogue between the parties ahead of elections planned for April. “We call for the halting of media propaganda and urge all political parties to work together to make the dialogue a success and arrange for upcoming elections,” a GPC committee member was quoted as saying on the Web site of the Saba state news agency.
“Furthermore, we urge an end to protests that ignite dissent to avoid dragging the country into conflict or sedition,” the statement said.
Meantime about 3,500 people gathered in Amman after prayers on Friday to demand the ouster of Jordan’s Prime Minister Samir Rifai, an end to corruption, and high food prices.
Many of the protesters were reported as chanting, “Rifai go away, prices are on fire and so are the Jordanians.”
Similar demonstrations took place in other cities across Jordan.
King Abdullah has agreed to partial reforms, including to elections, but is not expected to relinquish his power to appoint the prime minister and cabinet ministers.
With a quarter of the country living in povery, and half that number unemployed, Jordanians are becoming increasingly frustrated and angry.
Ibrahim Alloush, a university professor, told The Associated Press it was not a question of changing faces or replacing one prime minister with another. “We’re demanding changes on how the country is now run,” he said.
Elsewhere, dozens of demonstrators have been arrested in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia during protests which followed Friday prayers. The city is recovering from extensive floods, and in many parts of the highly populous city are without power.
Around fifty people were arrested observers say. “They took them all. They were protesting. There are still some people hiding in that building over there. The police are looking for them and trying to arrest them,” a police officer at a station near the protest said.
January 31, 2011 Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No.661
Crisis in the Middle East – Part III: Syrian Facebook Pages Calling for Demonstrations on Saturday, February 5, 2011
By: Y. Yehoshua*
In the past week, Syrian activists have been using Facebook to call for mass protests in Syria on Saturday, February 5, 2011, dubbing it the “Day of Rage.” In Facebook pages created specifically for this purpose, members have called on the Syrian public to take to the streets on that date and stage peaceful demonstrations and rallies in all parts of the country, as well as in front of Syrian embassies in Arab and European capitals, in protest of the oppressive Syrian regime. These Facebook pages also feature images and videos slamming Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and supporting protest against his rule.
The organizers of the Syrian protests have expressed support for the demonstrators in Tunisia and Egypt, and have adopted their methods: opening special Facebook pages on which information is posted regarding the place and time of the planned protests, and creating a special profile picture, associated with the protests, to be used by all Facebook members sympathizing with the cause. However, it seems that the scope of their activity is limited compared to that of the Tunisian and Egyptian activists. So far, the number of people who have registered as members on these Facebook pages is relatively small, and some of the members reside outside the country.
Among those promoting the “Day of Rage” protests is the Independent Islamic Bloc – part of the “Damascus Declaration” opposition movement – which has called upon Syrians to attend a “sweeping protest and mass rally” in front of the Parliament house in Damascus on February 5. In its announcement, the organization praised the protests in Tunisia and Egypt and warned the Syrian regime against continuing its oppression, corruption and political arrests. Websites have also published a message by “the Popular Committees in Aleppo Province” announcing a February 5 protest rally in the center of Aleppo, the second largest city in Syria.
The organizers of the planned demonstrations in Damascus and Aleppo have listed their demands: an improvement in living standards, respect for human rights, freedom of speech for all Syrian citizens, and greater influence for Syrian youth. They requested that the protesters come equipped with nothing more than Syrian flags and signs expressing their demands.
Syria is on the alert for the possible spread of protests to its territory. On January 29, 2011, the Syrian authorities prevented the holding of a demonstration in solidarity with the Egyptian protesters in front of the Egyptian embassy in Damascus, fearing a conflagration. It was also reported that Syrian security chief ‘Ali Mamlouk has met with province governors and police commanders in order to prepare for possible protests in the country.
There are conflicting reports regarding the accessibility of Facebook, which has played a crucial role in mobilizing the public for the current wave of protests in the Arab world. According to a January 25, 2011 report on Alarabiya.net, the Syrian authorities have restricted access to Facebook in a bid to keep the protests from spreading to Syria, but some users are managing to access the site through proxies.  The Syrian news agency SANA has denied this, saying that access to the Internet is unrestricted throughout the country.
Following is a review of the preparations on Facebook for the February 5 protests in Syria:
Facebook Pages Created to Advertise February 5 Protests
In advance of the anticipated events, several Facebook pages have been launched, such as the pages titled “Syrian Day of Rage,” “The Syrian Revolution against Bashar Al-Assad,” and “Towards Popular Action in Syria: The February 5, 2011 Day of Rage.” As of this writing, these three pages have some 5,000 registered members, but more are joining every hour.
From Ennahar Online
Algeria: No March will be allowed in Algiers / M. Oudina30 January, 2011 06:12:00ALGIERS
- Algerian Interior Minister Dahou Ould Kablia reminded that no march will be permitted by the authorities in Algiers, in an interview Sunday with the French-language daily Liberté.
“The marches are banned in Algiers,” he said ensuring that this does not apply only to protests from the opposition but to “all marches”. January 22, a march of the RCD (Rally for Culture and Democracy, opposition) was prevented by police.
“If a Party from the presidential Alliance plans to hold a march tomorrow in Algiers, I can tell you as Minister of Interior, that it will be banned,” he added.
The presidential Alliance, in power in Algeria, includes the National Liberation Front (FLN, Conservative), The National Democratic Rally (RND, Liberal) of Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, and the Movement of Society for Peace (MSP, Islamist).
A march to demand the “departure of the regime” is scheduled on February 12 in Algiers at the invitation of the new National Coordination for Change and Democracy, which includes opposition movements and civil society organizations. This coordination was born Jan. 21 in the wake of riots in early January that killed five people and injured over 800.
The Minister explained that the ban on marches was justified by security reasons. “Algiers is a city of three million inhabitants. There are problems that can not be taken into account by the organizers of the marches,” he said.
Street demonstrations are banned in Algeria since June 14, 2001 when a march in favor of Kabylia had turned into a riot which left eight dead and hundreds injured.
From Zero Hedge
Protests Spread To Saudi ArabiaSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/29/2011 13:19 -0500
While the biggest threat to the Middle East region is the possibility that the population of Saudi Arabia may try to imitate what has been happening in the area, thereby bringing total chaos to the established regional geopolitical and more importantly, energy, structure, the first protests in the Saudi Arabia city of Jeddah are already in the books. The clip below shows the peaceful demonstrations that have taken place recently, which as Fedupmontrealer explains are “taking place in front of the Municipality in protest of the severe lack of infrastructure, and corruption, that led the city to be inundated this week causing billions of dollars of damages for the second time in two years.” That this is even occurring in a state where the average wealth is orders of magnitude greater than in Egypt is remarkable. On the other hand, we expect more news such as those from yeserday that Kuwait is paying its citizens $3,500 plus free food for a year to keep calm. Oddly, visions of money dropping helicopters, infinitely extendable unemployment insurance and tax breaks keep dancing in our head. Those who wish to follows the latest developments out of Jedda which appears could be the lightning rod for Saudi riots can do so by tracking #JeddahProtests on Twitter.