Paris cleans up riot debris as support fades for protesters
By THOMAS ADAMSON and ANGELA CHARLTON
Monday, March 18
PARIS (AP) — Business owners, city employees and construction workers dug in Sunday to clean up one of the world’s most glamorous avenues, after riots by ultraviolent yellow vest protesters trashed the Champs-Elysees in Paris to express anger at French President Emmanuel Macron’s economic policies.
Luxury stores, restaurants and banks on the famed avenue assessed the damage after they were ransacked, looted or blackened by life-threatening fires set by some protesters Saturday. Tourists took pictures, shop owners repaired broken windows and city workers scrubbed away graffiti.
French political and security officials, meanwhile, met to come up with better plans to counter the violence.
Images of the destruction — including from a bank fire that engulfed a residential building in Paris and threatened the lives of a mother and child — have shocked France and seem to be further eroding public support for the fizzling four-month-old movement.
“I used to have support for them, but they have gone too far. A mother and baby nearly died… This isn’t protest — this is criminal,” said Alice Giraud, a 42-year-old musician from Marseille and mother of two, who was inspecting a burnt-out kiosk on the Champs-Elysees that still reeked of smoke.
Others walking down the famed avenue Sunday condemned the resurgent violence and put the blame squarely on the “thugs,” a hardcore group of ultraviolent yellow vest demonstrators. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said about 1,500 of those who traveled to protest Saturday in Paris came with the sole aim of smashing things up.
“The yellow vest protests are dying… They are basically getting smaller as time goes on, and the thugs are angry about that, so they are expressing it in violence,” said Julien, 32-year-old baker from Paris, who wouldn’t give his last name.
Protest organizers had hoped to make a splash Saturday, which marked the end of the “Great National Debate” that Macron had organized to respond to protesters’ concerns about sinking living standards, stagnant wages and high unemployment. Yellow vest protesters think Macron’s government has favored business interests and France’s elite over the concerns of families struggling to pay their bills.
Some 10,000 people participated in Saturday’s Paris protest, according to France’s Interior Ministry, up from the 3,000 the Saturday before. In Paris, 192 people were arrested amid the violence. Around the country, the ministry estimated that 32,300 people protested, compared with 28,600 last week.
But it was far from the 250,000 yellow vest demonstrators who successfully demanded in December that Macron’s government rescind a rise in fuel taxes — and a fraction of the 145,000 people who took part in peaceful climate marches Saturday around France, according to the ministry’s figures.
Public support for the yellow vest movement that began on Nov. 17 and sought economic justice is fading as its message is being lost amid internal divisions and extremist violence at protests.
After offering French workers a series of economic concessions to address their complaints, Marcon, the protesters’ target, is now resurgent in the polls.
Cutting short a weekend ski trip, Macron met Sunday with security officials at the Paris crisis center overseeing the police response to the riots.
The French president promised a crackdown on troublemakers who “want to destroy the republic, at the risk of killing people.” But he also tweeted that the rioting showed that his government needs to do more to address protesters’ concerns.
The Interior Ministry said Macron asked Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Castaner to meet to come up with a response to the repeated protest violence.
Authorities and some protesters blamed extremists who come to demonstrations with the goal of attacking police and damaging property. They dress in black, including masks and hoods to make it hard for police to identify them, and often target symbols of capitalism.
On the Champs-Elysees, an eerie calm replaced the hours-long tear gas and arson chaos of the day before on the street that Parisians call “the most beautiful avenue in the world.” No major French police presence was visible Sunday on the avenue and traffic rolled down cobblestones that only a day earlier had been the scene of fierce battles between rioters and police struggling to contain them.
Castaner went to the Champs-Elysees to lay a flower at the plaque commemorating a police officer killed in 2017 by an Islamic extremist that had been vandalized Saturday by some yellow vest protesters.
Passers-by lamented the damage to Xavier Jugele’s memorial.
“There’s no more respect.” said Guillaume Catel, 40, who was out shopping. “This man gave his life to protect France and this is the thanks he gets.”
Milos Krivokapic and Elaine Ganley contributed to this report.
Monopoly was designed 100 years ago to teach the dangers of capitalism
March 14, 2019
Do not pass GO! Monopoly was designed by a progressive writer to teach players the dangers of wealth concentration.
Author: Benjamin Hoy, Assistant Professor of History, University of Saskatchewan
Disclosure statement: Benjamin Hoy receives funding from the Strong Museum of Play.
Partners: University of Saskatchewan provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation CA. University of Saskatchewan provides funding as a member of The Conversation CA-FR.
Have you played Monopoly lately? Or maybe snakes and ladders? These board games are examples of 100-year-old games that many still play today.
But the way they are played today may not be teaching the lessons their designers hoped to share.
At the start of the 20th century, children were part of the regular workforce. They possessed few toys. When U.S. manufacturers created games, they built them to market to parents: to teach as well as to entertain.
Progressive writer Elizabeth Magie Phillips created Monopoly in 1904 to teach players about the dangers of wealth concentration. Originally called The Landlord’s Game, it celebrated the teachings of the anti-monopolist Henry George whose widely read book, Progress and Poverty, published in 1879, argued that governments did not have a right to tax labour. They only had a right to tax land.
Monopoly didn’t become a hit until the Depression. Its original message that all should benefit from wealth was transformed to its current version — where you crush opponents by accumulating wealth — by its second developer, an unemployed heating engineer named Charles Darrow. By the mid-1930s, orders for the game had become so extensive that employees of Parker Brothers stared piling the order forms in laundry baskets.
Games with meaning
Many of the games in circulation today are more than a century old. Pitt (originally Gavitt’s Stock Exchange) was made during economic panics, railroad failures, speculation and anti-monopoly movements. Patented by Harry E. Gavitt in 1903, the game was designed (as the rulebook says), to reproduce the “excitement and confusion generally witnessed in stock and grain” exchanges.
Players work to gain a monopoly over an economic market. They gather all the copies of one product and inflate its value to reap substantial profits.
Monopoly and Pitt taught economics while Chutes and Ladders focused on morality.
Chutes and Ladders was inspired by games played in South Asia about 1,000 years ago. Many of these games had explicit Hindu religious themes. They had different names: Nepal (Nāgapāśa); Tibet (The Game of Liberation); and India (Jñāna Chaupār). A Buddhist monk, Sa-skya Pandita, created the Game of Liberation for his sick mother in the 13th century. He likely based it on earlier forms of the game he encountered as part of his pilgrimages.
In Nāgapāśa, players attempted to reach a realm of one of the Hindu gods. In the Game of Liberation, they aimed to reach nirvana.
British and American manufacturers stripped the game of its religion, but they kept its emphasis on morality and the game stayed much the same: moving upwards on the board represents good moral decisions; falling back is a punishment for poor choices.
Toys and games offered a way for teachers and parents to prepare children for their adult lives. Parents used mechanical toys to teach engineering to boys. They used dolls to teach sewing, ingenuity, and household management to girls. It was one way to take complex ideas about society and translate them into forms children could understand.
Playing games could also be a way to learn history. During the the Philippine-American War, game designers created Merry War to teach children about the conflict.
In 1899, a newspaper columnist in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer wrote that “toy makers…are as watchful as politicians and scientists to keep abreast of the events of the day.”
By the 1960s, manufacturers began to advertise directly to children, rather than to their parents. They emphasized the excitement of their products over their educational value.
At the same time, civil rights unrest, the rise of feminism and rapid technological innovation made the world seem unpredictable. How could you prepare your children for their adult lives when the future seemed so difficult to understand?
Today, lessons remain embedded in many board games, but they sit apart from games just for fun. Board games are no longer a key venue to transmit information across generations.
Yet for all that has changed, we still play these old games, even if we don’t remember their lessons.
Andrew Shead: An interesting article thank you that I am glad to report is now a little out of date due to the activity of the TESA Collective that produces tools for education and social action.
… Board games are no longer a key venue to transmit information across generations.
The TESA Collective created Co-opoly: The Game of Co-operatives, a board game where everyone wins or everyone loses. See this link for more information:
and this link to other board games in their portfolio:
Heidi Hehn: This was an excellent article and very timely. As an economist myself i have always wondered at ‘Monopoly’ and how its outcome is always the same. I had no idea that it was thought out and developed to teach a valuable lesson. Thanks for that!
Teaching in America’s prisons has taught me to believe in second chances
March 18, 2019
Author: Andrea Cantora, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, University of Baltimore
Disclosure statement: Andrea Cantora does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
In 2007, I gave someone a second chance. I was in Danbury Federal Correctional Institution recruiting women for a new program for people returning from prison that I was running in New York City.
A woman approached me and handed me her portfolio. It was basically a detailed resume of her accomplishments, skills and goals for the future.
Over a two-year period before this, I had visited at least six female facilities in New York and Connecticut and met hundreds of women looking to enter our program. But when Jamila approached me, something stood out.
She was bold, persistent and confident about her future. Her portfolio showed that she took advantage of every educational program available to her while in prison. When she was released in 2007, I hired her as an administrative assistant intern. Over the next several years she worked her way up to a top management position at the same organization that ran the program.
A decade later I met another person, Chris Wilson, who created a master plan of what he hoped to accomplish in life. He, too, had embraced books, self-education and formal education while incarcerated. Even though he was serving a life sentence, he believed he could get out of prison and persisted until his judge gave him a second chance by reducing his sentence.
Like Jamila, part of Chris’ success stemmed from the opportunity to get a GED, an associate degree and complete many other programs while in prison. But he also went a step further and engaged in many years of self-education – from learning languages to understanding the operations of the stock market. Chris realized that through education, he could achieve success. Once released, Chris developed his own businesses, created artwork and wrote a memoir, titled “The Master Plan: My Journey from a Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose.”
In between meeting Jamila and Chris, I met hundreds of incarcerated people who clung to education as if it were a lifesaver. I know education can transform lives because I see it constantly in the incarcerated – and formerly incarcerated – people I’ve met. I see it every week when I enter prison to direct the University of Baltimore’s Second Chance College Program.
Education changes self-image
I’ve been running the program since 2016, when the University of Baltimore became one of 67 colleges to participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative.
In the last three years, the program has served 63 students, with 43 currently enrolled and taking courses towards a bachelor’s degree in human service administration.
As one who studies correctional education and prisoner reentry, I have seen how formal education changes how men and women in prison view themselves and their future. It gives incarcerated students a sense of confidence, builds self-esteem and increases maturity.
I’ve observed that being a college student provides a sense of hope and accomplishment that is often absent inside prisons. It also creates a sense of community among those who are participating. Other incarcerated people see all of this – and they want the same thing.
The prospect of becoming a college student in prison seems to have a positive influence inside the institution. Every week men approach me, asking “How can I apply?” Cynics might suspect they do this just to get some time outside of their cells. If so, it is time well spent. If they are persistent enough, they end up excelling and become honors students. From what I’ve seen, they all work incredibly hard to complete tough courses like college algebra, psychology and biology.
Education is not only empowering for the individual, but it is also contagious. I have witnessed how education can indirectly influence the college trajectory of sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and even parents of incarcerated students. My incarcerated college students often tell stories about the conversations they have in the visiting room with their family about the books they are reading and the lessons they are learning in the classroom. Their education journey has inspired family members to start, or continue, their own journeys of education.
Prison education programs achieve all the positive benefits that politicians and the public desire – increased employment and higher earnings, as well as other financial benefits.
Educating people in prison also makes our communities safer – statistics show people who participate in post-secondary education in prison are 43 percent less likely to return to prison and more likely to find work.
Political action needed
With decades of research and anecdotal evidence, prison education and vocational approaches are being embraced by people from all political spectrums. For instance, in the foreword to “Education for Liberation: The Politics of Promise and Reform Inside and Beyond America’s Prisons,” Newt Gingrich, the former Republican House speaker, and Van Jones, a news commentator and former Obama administration official, wrote: “Empowering people in prison through greater access to quality educational opportunities is a worthy effort to increase public safety, strengthen our democratic institutions, and grow our economy.”
Increasing the access to prison education and vocational programming will likely result in more benefits for incarcerated people, their families and society. The newly passed First Step Act will perhaps do this in the federal system, as the bill is expected to increase funds for vocational and rehabilitative programming.
But it would also help to lift the federal ban on Pell Grants for incarcerated people. Lifting this ban would allow states to increase their education and vocational programming options. Together these legislative changes will make communities safer and give more people in prison – the Jamilas and Chris Wilsons of the world – a second chance.
Dutch police question new suspect in tram shooting
By MIKE CORDER
Wednesday, March 20
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch police and prosecutors on Wednesday were pursuing “every lead there is” and questioning two suspects to establish whether the deadly shooting on a tram in the central city of Utrecht was an act of terror.
Officers from a specialized arrest team detained a 40-year-old man in Utrecht on Tuesday and released two other men detained earlier, said police spokesman Joost Lanshage.
The alleged shooter, 37-year-old Gokmen Tanis, remains in custody.
Prosecutors have until Friday to question the Turkey-born suspect before he must appear before an investigating judge who could extend his detention.
Monday morning’s attack saw a gunman opening fire on a tram in a residential neighborhood, killing two men and a woman and seriously injuring three others.
Fearing more than one shooter was active, authorities locked down the city for hours — halting public transport and advising residents to stay indoors — until Tanis was arrested.
Prosecution spokesman Ties Kortmann said that the investigation was continuing into the motive of the suspects and into the possible involvement of the man arrested Tuesday.
“We are looking at the role of the new suspect,” he added. The suspect’s identity was not released.
Prosecutors have said they are seriously considering an extremist motive after finding a note in a suspected getaway car after the attack, and because of the nature of the shooting. They have not ruled out other possible motives.
“We are looking into every lead there is,” Lanshage said.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that investigations had not yet determined any relationship between the alleged shooter and the victims.
Meanwhile, a crowdfunding initiative to pay for the funeral of one of the victims had already attracted nearly 60,000 euros ($68,000) by early Wednesday morning.
On a crowd-funding website, a neighbor of the 19-year-old woman killed in the attack appealed for donations saying the victim’s father “is not well off.”
“To prevent him having more financial concerns because of the unfair death of his daughter, I want to support him financially by collecting money,” wrote the neighbor, who was identified on the funding site as Martje Beniest-Kleppe.
Gunman kills 3 on Dutch tram, mayor says terror likely
By ALEKSANDAR FURTULA and MIKE CORDER
Monday, March 18
UTRECHT, Netherlands (AP) — A gunman killed three people and wounded five others on a tram in the central Dutch city of Utrecht on Monday morning in what the mayor said appeared to be a terror attack, touching off a manhunt that saw heavily armed officers with dogs zero in on an apartment building close to the shooting.
Authorities immediately raised the terror alert for the area to the maximum level. Dutch military police went on extra alert at Dutch airports and at key buildings in the country as the Utrecht manhunt took place.
A few hours after the shooting, Utrecht police released a photo of a 37-year-old man born in Turkey who they said was “associated with the incident.” The photo showed a bearded man on board a tram, dressed in a dark blue hooded top.
Police warned citizens not to approach the man, whom they identified as Gokmen Tanis, but call authorities instead.
The Utrecht attack came three days after 50 people were killed when an immigrant-hating white nationalist opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand during Friday prayers. There was no immediate indication of any link between the two events.
Police, including heavily armed officers, flooded the area after the shooting Monday morning on a tram at a busy traffic intersection in a residential neighborhood. They later erected a white tent over an area where a body appeared to be lying next to the tram.
Utrecht police said trauma helicopters were sent to the scene and appealed to the public to stay away.
Heavily armed anti-terror officers gathered in front of an apartment building close to the scene. A sniffer dogs wearing a tactical vest with a camera mounted on it was also seen outside the building.
Mayor Jan van Zanen confirmed three deaths and police later said five people were wounded. That figure was downgraded without explanation from nine.
“We cannot exclude — even stronger — we assume a terror motive. Likely there is one attacker, but there could be more,” Van Zanen said.
“Our nation was hit by an attack in Utrecht,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said. He said that “a terror motive is not excluded.”
Rutte said that, throughout the country, “there is a mix of disbelief and disgust.”
“If it is a terror attack then we have only one answer: our nation, democracy must be stronger that fanaticism and violence,” he added.
Police spokesman Bernhard Jens said one possibility “is that the person fled by car.” He did not rule out the possibility that more than one shooter was involved.
The Netherlands’ anti-terror coordinator raised the threat alert to its highest level around Utrecht, a city of nearly 350,000 people. Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg said the “threat level has gone to 5, exclusively for the Utrecht province.”
Dutch political parties halted campaigning ahead of provincial elections scheduled for Wednesday that will also determine the makeup of the Dutch parliament’s upper house.
In neighboring Germany, police said they had stepped up surveillance of the Dutch border. Heinrich Onstein, a spokesman for federal police in North Rhine-Westphalia state, said additional officers had been detailed to watch not only major highways, but also minor crossings and railway routes.
German authorities were initially told to look out for a red Renault Clio compact sedan, but were later informed it had been found abandoned in Utrecht, Onstein said.
Mike Corder reported from The Hague. Raf Casert in Brussels and Geir Moulson and David Rising in Berlin contributed.