LANGELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

Using the power of photojournalism to expose social, economic and ecological injustice

Posts from the ‘Direct Action’ category

Be realistic, ask for the impossible slogan in Paris uprising, May 1968

To me it is very important to remember the events of May 1968 – not only in Paris but in the U.S. as well. Events that occurred fifty years ago were a glimmer of hope that strengthened an anti-war and anti-imperialist youth movement. This movement eventually helped bring other critical issues to the forefront including race, women’s rights, and the environment. For many reasons, there are no mass movements in the U.S. today that are as vibrant and militant as they were fifty years ago. The anti-corporate globalization movement from the 90s and early 2000s is still recuperating from the draconian police state in the U.S. that keeps intensifying as I type. While ‘Black Lives Matter’ provides another important glimmer of hope, most people today organize around single issues and do not incorporate a vision that unites all of the issues confronting us with a view addressing their common root causes. As a result, peoples all around the Earth suffer, the ecosystems and life support systems that enable life on Earth are further degraded, and climate chaos runs rampant.

Now is time to be realistic and demand the impossible. – Orin Langelle

(More information and analysis follows)

This photograph was taken on 3 November 2004, in the streets of Burlington, VT, U.S. Incumbent Republican President George W. Bush was named the winner of the presidential election that occurred one day earlier, defeating challenger John Kerry. Outraged over the election results, students and radical activists took over the streets all day and evening, causing traffic jams throughout the town. photo: Orin Langelle

Daniel Warner writes in his article From May 1968 to May 2018: Politics and Student Strikes for CounterPunch:

“For those who struck in 1968 at Columbia, Berkeley and Paris, just as for Martin Luther King Jr., there was a larger picture. King spoke of a society that was imperialistic at home and abroad. The lack of social justice in the United States, for King, was intertwined with America’s unjust foreign adventures. Student demonstrations in 1968 were against the university as part of a societal/political injustice. The university was a small manifestation of that injustice.

“I would hope that today’s French students, as well as students elsewhere, would be able to mobilize around other issues than university admissions and guaranteeing employment. There are more than enough issues to be outraged about today, and their solution requires the energy and determination of the young. That activism is what should be highlighted as the legacy of May 1968 and any comparisons with May 2018.”

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from Wikipedia:

The volatile period of civil unrest in France during May 1968 was punctuated by demonstrations and massive general strikes as well as the occupation of universities and factories across France. At the height of its fervor, it brought the entire economy of France to a virtual halt. The protests reached such a point that political leaders feared civil war or revolution; the national government itself momentarily ceased to function after President Charles de Gaulle secretly fled France for a few hours. The protests spurred an artistic movement, with songs, imaginative graffiti, posters, and slogans….

The unrest began with a series of student occupation protests against capitalism, consumerism, American imperialism and traditional institutions, values and order. It then spread to factories with strikes involving 11 million workers, more than 22% of the total population of France at the time, for two continuous weeks. The movement was characterized by its spontaneous and de-centralized wildcat disposition; this created contrast and sometimes even conflict between itself and the establishment, trade unions and workers’ parties. It was the largest general strike ever attempted in France, and the first nationwide wildcat general strike.

The student occupations and wildcat general strikes initiated across France were met with forceful confrontation by university administrators and police. The de Gaulle administration’s attempts to quell those strikes by police action only inflamed the situation further, leading to street battles with the police in Paris’s Latin Quarter, followed by the spread of general strikes and occupations throughout France.

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from The Guardian:

France’s 1968 uprising, 50 years on: ‘It’s harder for the youth today’

‘If there’s one thing in common … it’s young people’s despair,’ says Antoine Guégan, whose father Gérard staged campus sit-ins in 1968.

“It’s terrifying to see that this is becoming the norm for riot police to be sent into universities,” said Guégan, who is doing a doctorate on representations of slavery in American cinema and teaches at the campus while studying at another university in Paris’s suburbs…

“If there’s one thing in common between 1968 and today, it’s young people’s despair,” he said. “But it’s a different kind of despair, because the social and economic context is not the same. In 1968, there was a global movement, there was rock music, new sexual freedom, a different culture and a desire to change the old world. Today’s youth is facing a moment of stagnation, with little to lean on, which makes the struggle harder.”

One of Gérard Guégan’s favourite slogans from May 1968 was “Be realistic, ask for the impossible”. He said: “We were constantly thinking of what we called dreams, and what could be called utopia … Everyone was convinced that something massive was happening.”

– Angelique Chrisafis is The Guardian‘s Paris correspondent

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Note: The quote “Be realistic, ask for the impossible”, is one of Ernesto Che Guevara’s most most popular quotes. Che Guevara image (below) is a world wide symbol of resistance, especially in Latin America.

The 2003 march on the World Trade Organization meeting in Cancun, Mexico. When the march had to stop due to chainlink fences blocking the marchers from the WTO meetings, a South Korean farmer committed suicide. photo: Orin Langelle

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In 1990, Earth First! occupied Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest’s Fairview timber sale area for 79 days – at that time the longest occupation in EF! history. The area slated to be cut was rich in biodiversity, a haven for songbirds and loved by the many locals who went there to watch the birds, camp or enjoy nature.

The major daily newspaper in Springfield, IL, the state’s capital, called the Earth First! occupation “a popular uprising.”

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The Biscuit (1990)

Woman with monkey wrench atop buried Chevrolet Biscayne, nicknamed “The Biscuit,” in a car blockade of the Fairview timber sale in the Shawnee. The car blocked the entrance to the Shawnee National Forest during the EF! occupation. The car blockade was a replica of a photo taken during the then-ongoing “Oka Crisis.”       Photo: Langelle

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia,

The Oka Crisis was a 78-day standoff (11 July–26 September 1990) between Mohawk protesters, police, and the army. At the heart of the crisis was the proposed expansion of a golf course and development of condominiums on disputed land that included a Mohawk burial ground. Tensions were high, particularly after the death of Corporal Marcel Lemay, a police officer, and the situation was only resolved after the army was called in. While the golf course expansion was cancelled, and the land purchased by the federal government, it has not yet been transferred to the Kanesatake Mohawk community.

EF!ers in the Shawnee publicly stood in solidarity with the Mohawks and also with Redwood Summer, a major national mobilization to save the last of the ancient redwoods. Earlier that year, EF! Redwood Summer organizer Judi Bari was almost killed when a pipe bomb exploded under the seat of the car she was driving.

From the photo exhibit Struggles for Justice: Forests, Land and Human Rights

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The industrial revolution may have brought technological advances, but its reliance on fossil fuels also means that dirty technologies have proliferated, with consequences for our environment and our climate. Photo: Bogdan Bousca (Romania) bogdanbousca.finegallery.net

The industrial revolution may have brought technological advances, but its reliance on fossil fuels also means that dirty technologies have proliferated, with consequences for our environment and our climate. Photo ©: Bogdan Bousca (Romania) bogdanbousca.finegallery.net

Paris, France – Telling the story of the growing global demand for climate justice, featuring images from photographers in Australia, Croatia, Romania, the UK and the USA. This exhibition is on display in Paris during the UNFCCC COP 21 negotiations, at the Climate Action Zone (ZAC), 7-11 December. The address is Room Ecuries C, Centquatre, 5, rue Curial, 75019 Paris. (The closest metro stations are Stalingrad and Riquet.)

It includes images from the following Critical Information Collective photographers, in panels of six images: David Tao (Australia), Luka Tomac (Croatia), Bogdan Bousca (Romania), Orin Langelle (USA), Jason Taylor (UK), and JudithDeland (Australia). There is a seventh panel comprising images from Stephen D Melkisethian (USA), Susan Melkisethian (USA), Joseph O Holmes (USA) and Ronnie Hall (UK).

For the exhibit, please go to UN Climate Conference of the Parties 21 (COP 21) Exhibition: Climate Change—Realities and Resistance

The second showing of this exhibit will be at the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery in Buffalo, NY. The exhibit opens there on 4 March 2016. That show will include work by artist Ashley Powell.

Notice that Orin Langelle, Buen Vivir! Gallery director, has one of the panels, Struggles for Justice, with six photographs in the Paris show, that is coming to Buffalo.

 

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This review of my exhibit was by Jack Foran was published in Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v14n23 (06/11/2015) » Art Scene. Artvoice (print and web) is one of Buffalo, NY’s two major alternative weeklies. Additionally, the exhibit continues through June 19, at which time I’ll give a walk-through and talk about the various photos, scheduled from 6 to 8 pm. Wine and hors d’oeuvres provided. The ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery is located at 148 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14201- OL

PORTRAITS OF STRUGGLES

ORIN LANGELLE’S PHOTOGRAPHS ON DISPLAY AT ¡BUEN VIVIR! GALLERY

By Jack Foran

Photographer Orin Langelle’s website concludes with two quotations. From Brazilian educator and philosopher Paolo Freire: “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” And folksinger and activist Phil Ochs: “It is wrong to expect a reward for your struggles. The reward is the act of struggle itself, not what you win. Even though you can’t expect to defeat the absurdity of the world, you must make that attempt. That’s morality, that’s religion. That’s art. That’s life.” They pretty much sum up Langelle’s life and work.

A potpourri of his witness to the struggle photos from the 1980s and 1990s is currently on view at his r1¡Buen Vivir! gallery on Elmwood in Allentown. Including the iconic photo of an unidentified environmental activist, poised on a log tripod construction, arm and fist raised in spirited gesture of we shall overcome, at a training camp in non-violent disruption techniques in Vermont in the late ‘90s.

r2The exhibit is dedicated to the memory of activist Judi Bari (1949-1997), an activist against redwood logging in northern California who narrowly escaped death when her car was blown up by a pipe bomb—following which she was arrested by the FBI on charges of eco-terrorism. The FBI alleged she had been transporting explosives. Laboratory and other analyses discovered that the explosives inr3 question were placed directly under the driver’s seat and equipped with a motion sensor trigger to cause them to detonate when the car was driven, whereupon the Oakland District Attorney declined to press the FBI charges. Bari filed a violation of civil right suit on matters including false arrest and illegal search. Five years after her death her estate was awarded $4 million in the case.r4

The targets of the protests to which Langelle’s photos bear witness range from roadway expansion schemes in London, England, to golf course expansion and development of condominiums on land sacred to the Mohawk Indians, to logging activities within the Trail of Tears State Forest r5in Illinois, to Hydro-Quebec plans for hydroelectric production facilities on Cree Indian lands in northern Canada, to a protest against the Tasmanian Forestry Commission, Australia, an agency that is supposed to protect forests from rapacious practices of commercial timber interests, for failing to do so.

r6One photo is of an activist arrested—in New Hampshire—for handing out fliers urging people to write to their representatives in Congress in opposition to a timber harvest scheme in the White Mountain National Forest. Another—in Vermont—shows Abenaki Tribal Chief Homer St. Francis standing up in court, when he was told he was “out of order,” responding, “No, Judge, you’re out of order.” The Abenaki apparently had never ceded their land to any state or federal government, and continued to issue their own license plates and hunting and fishing permits. They were demanding that all Abenaki land be returned to them. Ultimately, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that all Abenaki claims had been “extinguished due to the increasing weight of history.” History apparently was to blame.

Not all the protest activist photos show protest actions. There is a wonderful portrait of a Cree elder woman, looking ancient and patient—but not infinitely patient—taken during the photographer’s journey to Cree territory to learn about and document the struggle against the Hydro-Quebec project. The second phase of the project, that is. The first phase, the La Grande Project dam, had already flooded thousands of acres of Cree land, displacing resident natives and resulting in environmental devastation such as when an untimely water release drowned 10,000 migrating caribou. The second phase was another dam proposal that was postponed indefinitely following protests in Canada and worldwide. One photo shows protesters in front of the Quebec consulate in London with a banner denouncing the hydropower scheme. The second phase was ironically well-named. It was called the Great Whale Project.

The exhibit continues through June 19, at which time Langelle will give a walk-through and talk about the various photos, scheduled from 6 to 8 pm.

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About Judi Bari

Judi Bari, center, walks on a Pacific Ocean beach in California with the support of two women friends  after a pipe-bomb ripped through her car in 1990 - See more at: http://photolangelle.org/blog-2/#sthash.H5VB3OGI.dpuf

Judi Bari, center, walks on a Pacific Ocean beach in California with the support of two women friends after a pipe-bomb ripped through her car in 1990

Judi Bari was a North American environmentalist and labor leader, a feminist, and the principal organizer of Earth First! campaigns against logging in the ancient redwood forests of Northern California in the 1980s and ’90s. She also organized efforts through Earth First! – Industrial Workers of the World Local 1 to bring timber workers and environmentalists together in common cause.

In 1986, Houston millionaire Charles Hurwitz acquired Pacific Lumber Company and doubled its rate of timber harvesting as a means of paying off the acquisition cost. This enraged environmentalists and drew attention from government agencies because of his use of junk bonds.


In 1989 Judi and other Earth First!ers came up with the idea of Redwood Summer, protests inspired by Freedom Summer, and by the Freedom Riders of the civil rights movement. Bari was instrumental in the process of calling in demonstrators from college campuses across the United States. Reactions to her lobbying tactics were severe, including the ramming of her car by a logging truck in 1989, as well as death threats.

On 24 May 1990, in Oakland, California, the vehicle used by Bari and colleague Darryl Cherney was blown up by a pipe bomb under Bari’s seat. Bari was severely injured, but was arrested for transporting explosives while she was still in critical condition with a shattered pelvis and other major injuries. The FBI took jurisdiction of the case away from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, alleging it was an eco-terrorism case.

Bari’s injuries disabled her to the extent that she had to curtail her activities. While she lay healing, Redwood Summer took place. In late July 1990, the Oakland district attorney declined to press charges against Bari and Cherney, claiming insufficient evidence. The false arrests and illegal search warrants became the basis of Bari’s civil rights suit filed the following year but not decided until 2002, five years after her death, when her estate was awarded $4 million in damages.

Recently Mary Liz Thompson and Darryl Cherney produced the documentary Who bombed Judi Bari?

This photo taken by Orin Langelle is part of the exhibit Struggles for Justice: Forests, Land and Human Rights – Late 80s to Late 90s is dedicated to Judi Bari (7 November 1949- 2 March 1997). The exhibit is on display at the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery in Buffalo and is online here

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For Immediate Release       

Twenty-five years later: Who Bombed Judi Bari? to be presented in Buffalo

Buffalo, NY (18 May 2015)–A quarter of a century ago this month a pipe bomb ripped through the car of activist Judi Bari in Oakland, CA as she and Darryl Cherney were on their way to a rally to support halting the logging of ancient redwood trees.

At 7 p.m. this Thursday, 21 May, Buffalo-based Global Justice Ecology Project, Langelle Photography and Burning Books will present the documentary Who Bombed Judi Bari? at the Burning Books bookstore, located at 420 Connecticut Street, Buffalo. This showing is one of many events occurring across the country in observation of 25th anniversary of the bombing of Bari and Cheney.

The multi-award winning feature documentary Who Bombed Judi Bari? is a suspenseful story about people who risked their lives to save the California redwoods and took on the FBI for trampling their freedom of speech. It showcases an amazing protest movement that succeeded against all odds – with creativity, music, and humor.

Global Justice Ecology Project’s Anne Petermann said, “As part of a slander campaign against Bari and Cherney, the FBI arrested them for the bombing and never pursued any other suspects, Charges were never filed for lack of evidence. Bari and Cherney later sued the FBI successfully for violating their civil rights, and were awarded $4 million.”

“Judi Bari was not only an Earth First! activist, she also organized workers in the timber industry, attempting to bring them together with environmentalists, explaining the industry was destroying both the redwoods and the workers’ livelihoods,” said Orin Langelle, Director of Langelle Photography.

An excerpt from an interview with Bari about the bombing before she passed away in 1997 can be heard here

Global Justice Ecology Project co-founders Orin Langelle and Anne Petermann, friends of Bari and Cherney, will speak at the event.

Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) explores and exposes the intertwined root causes of social injustice, ecological destruction, and economic domination.

Contact: Kip Doyle, Media Coordinator, 716.867.4080
kip@globaljusticeecology.org.

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Struggles for Justice: late 1980’s to late 90’s

This Photo Essay was completed in February 2014 in LaBelle, FL – during LaBelle’s Annual Swamp cabbage Festival – for a presentation at a Organizers’ Conference in a nearby forest camp (and for the web). The essay has been edited to produce the Photo Exhibit Struggles For Justice: Forests, Land and Human Rights – Late 80s to Late 90s.

Most of the photographs in the old essay, like the one below, are now in the new exhibit.

Exhibit Online Now 

-*34 Tas takeover02990009“Ned Kelly Bushrangers” drop banner on Forestry Commission Tasmania in Tasmania, Australia.  (1992)

The First International Temperate Forest Conference took place in Tasmania around the time the photo was taken.  The conference led to the formation of the Native Forest Network.

 

All photographs are copyrighted by Langelle Photography (2014), all rights reserved. No photo can be used without the consent of Langelle Photography.  See Publishing and Acquisition Information.

Why Copyright?  One of the reasons I copyright my photographs is to track where these photos are being used in order to monitor the impact of my work and evaluate the effectiveness of Langelle Photography, a nonprofit organization.

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I grew up not far from Ferguson, MO.  In fact it was half an hour away.  This morning, 18 August 2014, I read that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered the MO National Guard to Ferguson to attempt to quell peoples’ outrage in that city due to the shooting of an unarmed black youth, Michael Brown, by a white policeman 9 August.  He was shot six times, including twice in the head.

While going through some of my photos today, preparing for an upcoming exhibit, I came upon the photo below that I took in 1995 in Burlington, VT during protests at the National Governors’ Association Conference there.  The protests helped stop the execution of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

And still news commentators wonder why people take to the streets.

The caption below the photo tells more.

plmartin-robTwo protesters are arrested attempting to blockade President Bill Clinton’s motorcade during the National Governors’ Association Conference in Burlington, VT in 1995.  They were protesting to draw attention to the impending execution of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, who signed the Death Warrant for Mumia Abu-Jamal, attended the National Governors’ Association Conference in Burlington, VT from July 29 to August 1.  Governor Ridge was targeted during four days of militant protests in support of Abu-Jamal during the conference.  There were 24 arrests.

In what many believe was a frame-up for his political beliefs, activist Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing a policeman in 1981.  The protesters said his “trial” was farcical, with an inadequate defense, suppression of evidence and a judge who put more people on death row–the majority them people of color–than any other judge in the U.S.  The execution order was overturned, but left Abu-Jamal on death row.  Mumia Abu-Jamal would have been the first political prisoner to be legally executed in this country since Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were electrocuted in 1953.  Following the protests in Burlington and other cities, the death warrant was rescinded.

 

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