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international / education / opinion / analysis Thursday April 22, 2021 22:39 byIlan Shalif

"No struggle can be crowned with success unless it offers itself a clear and unambiguous formulation of its purpose..." "more or less specific picture of what will replace the existing situation" - P. Kropotkin

"No struggle can be crowned with success unless it offers itself a clear and unambiguous formulation of its purpose. No destruction of the dominant order of things is possible if at the time of the overthrow or the struggle that leads to the overthrow, there is not alive in the mind the idea of ​​what will replace what must be destroyed. But neither is a theoretical critique of existing conditions possible if the critic does not have in mind a more or less specific picture of what will replace the existing situation. The ideal, the perception of something better, is formed, consciously or unconsciously, in the mind of anyone who criticizes social institutions. This is even more true for the man of action. " P. Kropotkin

greece / turkey / cyprus / anarchist movement / press release Monday April 05, 2021 20:13 byDevrimci Anarşist Federasyon

Anarchism is a two-hundred-year struggle for justice and freedom. Anarchism opposes the relations based on Power within the individual and society, the State the enemy of the peoples, capitalism that exploits the peoples. Its reality is based on a hundred-thousand-year-old world without states against the five-thousand-year-old world with states which is full of holes with riots. Anarchism will overthrow Power and create a life without Power for justice and freedom with the power of this reality.

We are the ones who have been weaving the revolutionary anarchist struggle for 12 years. We are the ones who say “Anarchism means organise”. We turned what we said into action. We are experiencing an anarchist organization step by step. Instead of selfishness and competitiveness imposed on every individual in the society, we grow solidarity and sharing. Instead of obedience, we organize rebellion. We save hope from anxiety, we walk on fear with courage.

We are in a fight against the state. State means injustice. We will destroy this injustice. We are Armenians, Kurdish, Laz… We are the majority, not the minority; We are the massacred peoples confronted with the state. We are workers, in a fight against bosses. And every worker’s fight is our fight. We are in a fight against male domination. We are women, against masculinity. We are the colors of the rainbow against the gray of male domination. We are the harmony of the tree with the stream, of the lion with the gazelle. We are in a fight against capitalism that sources ecological life. We are young people who resist all captivity for their freedom. We are those who fight with the power of our youth. We Revolutionary Anarchists are those who share solidarity street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, we are the organizers of anarchism from seven years old to seventy years old. We organized the fight by separating them from subject to subject, without prioritizing the injustices. And our fight continues. Day by day, anarchism is getting organized in our geography. The relationships in different regions are expanding and getting stronger. Now we are faced with a reality that these 12 years have brought to us.

The relation between the organizations in Ankara and Istanbul have operated on the principle of solidarity with each other and cannot meet the needs of the growing struggle. We will experience similar situations in new regions tomorrow. Another similar one is the need to strengthen the ties of independent anarchist struggles. We need federative relationships to fulfill all these requirements and to widen the fight even further. Organized anarchism is our tradition and it shows us this with hundreds of federations it has created at geographies all over the world in its two-hundred-year history. Yes, the reality we are facing today is federation.

We as Anarşist Gençlik (Anarchist Youth), Karala, Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet DAF(Revolutionary Anarchist Action), Lise Anarşist Faaliyet LAF (High School Anarchist Action) and Meydan Newspaper say that we will continue this fight with the Revolutionary Anarchist Federation from today to create a free world full of sharing and solidarity. We are calling everyone to this fight; to the fight of justice and freedom, to carry the tradition borrowed from our comrades to tomorrow; We call to the fight of cultivating the seeds of anarchism in our hands to Mesopotamia, Anatolia and Thrace. We are calling to the Federation.

france / belgium / luxemburg / anti-fascism / press release Monday April 05, 2021 19:43 byUCL Lyon

On Saturday April 3rd in the afternoon, the House of Mesopotamia located in the 7th district of Lyon, France, was violently attacked by a group of fascists belonging to the Grey Wolves (Turkish far right movement).

The House of Mesopotamia is a cultural place of the Kurdish community which is a strong emancipatory force that has been fighting for many years against Daech on one hand and Erdogan on the other hand.

This is the second attack that our comrades suffered in less than a month. The last one took place at the exact same time we were attacked in our premises of « La Plume Noire », on March 20th.

No one was hurt during the attack of March 20th, but the one on April 3rd was even more violent, two Kurds were severly wounded and two of them more lightly. This time, the Grey Wolves attacked heavily armed with iron bars, bats and brass knuckles.

How can we remain blind to the fascists growth in power that is now expressed every week of our lives, more and more violently, and with impunity ?

The inaction of the State structures against the far right here and everywhere, and its relentlessness against the antifascist camp (banning the protest of April 3rd and large-scale police deployment against a press conference at the time of the attack) leaves the field open to all kinds of madness.

Taking advantage of this omnipotence, the fascists strike more and more often and with more and more strength.

We warn the Prefecture directly about this danger: by your leniency, you will very soon have blood on your hands!

We express our full support and solidarity with our Kurdish comrades. We will be with you in the anti-fascist struggle, and like you, we will not stand back against the fascists of any country.

Against fascism, solidarity is our weapon!

southern africa / indigenous struggles / other libertarian press Wednesday March 31, 2021 21:13 byJoseph Hanlon

In the Mozambican province wracked by a violent insurgency, the convenient labelling of those rising up against the predatory elite paints a picture that is far from reality.

When the uprising started in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique’s northernmost province, in 2017, the insurgents used the only weapons they had: their machetes. And they cut off the heads of local elites whom they accused of being allied to the leaders of the ruling Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) in stealing the mineral wealth.

Forty years ago, there was another civil war in Mozambique, in which the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) committed atrocities such as burning people alive in buses. But Renamo had been trained by the apartheid military, many of whom were believing members of the Dutch Reformed Church, which was firmly supporting apartheid. Yet no matter that the trainers thought they were doing the work of God to defend white rule and how cruel the Renamo atrocities were, those who perpetrated them were never called “Christian terrorists”. Yet we insist on calling the insurgents in Cabo Delgado “Islamist terrorists”.

Labels are important and shape how we look at civil wars. We try to label the opposition with the current global enemy. Renamo was said to be fighting “global communism” so as not to be accused of defending white rule. Now the Mozambican government is said to be fighting “global Islamists” and not protecting an elite that refuses to share the ruby, mineral and gas wealth with local people. Thus the labels shape how we see the war.

Save the Children Mozambique issued a press release on 16 March about children “murdered by armed men” – carefully not labelling the insurgents. But most media reports of the press release called them Islamist and stressed links to the Islamic State. All civil wars are cruel and brutal. Amnesty International accused the insurgents of war crimes and “heinous acts of violence” on 2 March. The organisation and others use the local name for the insurgents, al-Shabaab, which simply means the youth (and has no links to other al-Shabaabs).

And Amnesty International also stressed that “al-Shabaab is primarily a homegrown armed group fighting over local issues, an insurgency sparked by the long-term underinvestment in the Muslim-majority province by the central government. The group uses jihadist ideology as an organising tool. While Islamist ideologies have been growing in Cabo Delgado for decades, the movement did not gain traction until the arrival of resource extraction industries that provide little subsequent benefit for the local communities.” Most local researchers support that position.

Grievance and outside intervention

Fifteen years ago I was the co-author of an Open University (United Kingdom) course and its textbook, Civil War, Civil Peace. One key point was that all civil wars have two things: a grievance serious enough that people feel they must kill to save their own lives, and outside intervention. In Cabo Delgado, the grievance is marginalisation and growing poverty and inequality as Frelimo oligarchs and the mining and gas companies do not share the wealth.

Outside intervention to support al-Shabaab has included the Islamic State, which provided some publicity as well as support, including training in 2019 and 2020 but apparently not in the past six months. On the government side, outside support came first from a Russian private military company, the Wagner Group, and then its South African counterpart, the Dyck Advisory Group.

United States “green berets” arrived on 15 March to train Mozambican marines. Portugal promises to send trainers, and the European Union and South Africa are also looking to provide support. On 10 March, the US formally labelled al-Shabaab, which it calls Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – Mozambique (Isis-Mozambique), as a foreign terrorist organisation.

All of the sudden support is not to assist Mozambique but to fight the new global enemy – Islam and the Islamic State. At the press conference on 11 March, John T Godfrey said that “we have to confront Isis in Africa”. His title is acting special envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat Isis, which means his job depends on fighting it, and Mozambique is just another place to send troops as part of that war.

But the other speaker at the US press conference, Michael Gonzales, said that “addressing the socioeconomic drivers of the threat, countering Isis messaging, and providing greater economic opportunity and resilience of the community so that the attraction to violent extremism is lessened” was essential in Cabo Delgado. His title is deputy assistant secretary in the US Bureau of African Affairs, which shows he has a different perspective.

Pushing a narrative

The Frelimo leadership in Mozambique is pushing the foreign terrorism line very hard. And it does not want anyone suggesting that the insurgency is linked to the greed of the Frelimo elite, marginalisation of youths and Muslims, and growing poverty and inequality. In private, Frelimo is very clear: it wants support from individual countries and private military contractors that will provide military help and parrot the message of Islamic State terrorism.

In particular, Frelimo does not want the involvement of international organisations such as the Southern African Development Community, the EU or United Nations, which are big enough to issue reports pointing out the root causes of the insurgency. Mozambique wants humanitarian aid, but again it wants to be in charge. The UN has been waiting for more than four months for visas for 57 humanitarian experts for Cabo Delgado, UN resident coordinator in Mozambique Myrta Kaulard said on 5 March.

Of course religion plays a role in the war. Most, but not all, of the insurgents are Muslim and the original organisers are from Cabo Delgado, including local fundamentalist Muslim preachers. President Filipe Nyusi is from Cabo Delgado and is from the Makonde ethnic group and Catholic. Nyusi has had strong support from Pope Francis, who made an unprecedented visit to Mozambique during the 2019 presidential election campaign when Nyusi was standing against a Muslim candidate, Ossufo Momade of Renamo. And on 11 February the pope withdrew the outspoken Catholic bishop of Pemba, Luis Fernando Lisboa, whom Nyusi had publicly criticised because he was standing up for local people.

It is a nasty war on all sides. Amnesty International accused the Dyck Advisory Group of war crimes, including bombing civilians by apparently using Syria-style barrel bombs made from cooking gas canisters and dropped from helicopters on houses.

And Amnesty International cited government forces for war crimes. The most extreme was in Quisanga in March and April 2020, when the “permanent secretary’s house would come to be known to villagers as a place where government security forces took women to be raped, and men detained, beaten and, in some cases, summarily executed as well. Six witnesses described a mass grave behind the home, a ‘big hole’ under the trees, where people would be taken to be shot and dumped directly in the pit.”

Nyusi is commander in chief and is in much more direct control of his forces than the Islamic State is of al-Shabaab. And Nyusi is Catholic and the pope has intervened in the war. If we insist on citing “Islamic terrorism” because of the role of the Islamic State, should we be calling what happened in Quisanga “Christian terrorism”?

Hidden truths

In fact, neither label is correct. But again, labels are important. The 1980s civil war was in reality a Cold War proxy war, with the US backing apartheid South Africa to build up Renamo to fight the “communists” backed by the Soviet Union. Now Islam is the enemy and the US is back, fighting the Islamic State on Mozambican soil with the willing participation of Portugal and, probably, France and South Africa.

But the insurgency will not be stopped militarily. As Gonzales and many others stress, Islamist militants recruit young men with no jobs and who see no future; they stress that the government is stealing their future. Creating thousands of jobs for the poorly educated youth of Cabo Delgado would end the war, but that requires the gas companies and the Frelimo oligarchs who rule Cabo Delgado to use some of their profits to fund that job creation, and so far they have shown no interest. They would prefer the Islamic State to be blamed and that someone else fights the war.

The French company Total is developing a $20 billion gas liquefaction plant on the Afungi peninsula. Insurgents reached the gates of the project on 1 January and Total pulled out its staff. It told Mozambique it would only return when the Mozambique government could guarantee a 25km-radius secure zone around Afungi. That looks as if Total is happy to do gas production if the war can be kept out of sight. It has experience of this in Nigeria, where it has offshore wells and in the Niger Delta an insurgency has been going on for decades.

That is why labelling is so important. If this is treated as “Islamist terrorism” from the Islamic State outside of Mozambique, then Cabo Delgado will become like the Niger Delta and the war will continue indefinitely – with the gas companies in secure zones. But if jobs were created and marginalisation reduced, the war could be stopped. Sadly, it looks as if the gas companies, the Frelimo elite and the US building a new cold war would rather fight mythical global Islamist terrorists.

This article was first published by New Frame.

greece / turkey / cyprus / anti-fascism / non-anarchist press Wednesday March 31, 2021 16:17 byDaniel Johnson

In Istanbul, 2021 began with hundreds of students initiating a series of protests on the campus of Boǧaziçi University. They were demonstrating against President Recep Tayyip Erdoǧan’s January 1 appointment of a new rector via presidential decree. Melih Bulu, a business management Ph.D. and longtime Justice and Development Party (AKP) activist, was the first rector selected from outside the university since a military coup in 1980. Students chanted “Melih Bulu is not our rector” and “We don’t want a state-appointed rector.” (The song “Master of Puppets” could also be heard after Bulu gave an interview in which he claimed to be a regular guy who likes Metallica.)

Police met demonstrators with pepper gas and plastic bullets; by early February 560 students had been detained, with 10 arrested and 25 sentenced to house arrest. Demonstrations have continued, however, importantly with broad faculty support. Students’ Boǧaziçi Solidarity platform demands Bulu’s resignation, and in early March seventy of the university’s professors applied to the Council of State to have the appointment rescinded. Erdoǧan and AKP officials labeled protesters terrorists, compared students to demonstrators involved in the 2013 Gezi uprising, and attacked LGBTQ student groups – since according to the AKP gay and trans people do not actually exist in Turkey. (Such deviant ideas are an import of the decadent West.)

The government’s response to the protests is of course no surprise. It was the brutal suppression of the Gezi rising of 2013 that revealed the true illiberal face of the AKP, and since a failed coup in 2016 the state’s repressive apparatus has stepped up efforts to eradicate opposition. Arrests and prison sentences for opposition politicians, activists, and journalists continue today, as Turkey’s human rights record continues to deteriorate.

But in recent weeks the Turkish state’s aggression has intensified. In addition to attempting to ban an International Women’s Day march on March 8, a new presidential decree withdrew Turkey from the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe initiative to combat violence against women and domestic violence. These moves coincided with the announcement of plans to close the left-wing People’s Democracy Party (HDP), the second-largest opposition party in parliament. While the state closure of political parties in Turkey is also not new, the prosecutor’s stated intention to ban 687 HDP politicians from politics marks a departure in its attempt to create a “Turkey without Kurds.”

While it may appear that the AKP (together with the far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP), its junior partner in parliament) has taken the offensive, the recent aggressions are in fact an indication of the increasing desperation of the AKP-MHP “People’s Alliance.” For the last four years support for the Alliance has steadily deteriorated, with support especially low among young people. With no clear way out of a worsening economic crisis and in the face of growing popular opposition, the ruling bloc has abandoned even the pretense of adherence to basic democratic norms. While it would be unwise to underestimate the AKP-MHP’s ability to manufacture crises in the interest of maintaining power in the short-term, it is hard to see how it can reverse a long-term decline. But if the decades-long era of AKP dominance is coming to an end, what might replace it is anything but clear.

The Fall
The failure of an attempted coup in the summer 2016 briefly united all Turkish political parties in defense of democracy. The illusion of unity was quickly dispelled the following year, however, when a referendum replaced Turkey’s parliamentary system with an executive one. The plebiscite was held during a state of emergency in an atmosphere of blatant intimidation. “No” campaigners were harassed and arrested while AKP municipalities refused to allow events encouraging the referendum’s defeat. Nevertheless, the yes campaign won just over 51 per cent of the vote, despite clear evidence of fraud on election day.

The following year, 2018, saw the beginning of an economic crisis in which the value of the Turkish lira plunged as unemployment and inflation ballooned. In the midst of the recession Erdoǧan appointed his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, minister of finance and treasury, which was immediately followed by a further drop in the lira’s value. Generally known simply as damat (son-in-law), and like his American avatar Jared Kushner, Albayrak has long been an object of ridicule in Turkey. It is difficult to say who is a more undeserving (and unsuccessful) beneficiary of nepotism, but in November of 2020 Albayrak was no longer in his post. With flagging growth, depleted currency reserves, and major dependence on borrowing from abroad, the lira lost another 30 per cent of its value in 2020.

The economic crisis largely determined municipal elections in 2019. Voters in Turkey’s two largest cities, Istanbul and Ankara, ousted the AKP and elected mayors from the Kemalist, and ostensibly social democratic, People’s Republican Party (CHP). Other major municipalities were also lost in a vote that constituted a major electoral setback for the AKP. Compounding the difficulties of deep recession and election losses was the defection of tens of thousands of party members, including founding AKP leaders who soon announced the formation of new parties. The party, never especially willing to criticize the Great Leader, is now nothing more than Erdoğan’s fiefdom.

It was in this context of economic crisis and growing political opposition that Turkey recorded its first official case of COVID-19 in March of 2020. Within a month, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) accused the ministry of health of manipulating case numbers by excluding cases and deaths without a positive PCR test. Some estimated that true numbers were as much as ten times higher than those of the government. Yet by early May the first wave appeared to be receding, and at the beginning of June the government allowed the reopening of restaurants, parks, beaches, malls, and – crucially for the ailing economy – tourist facilities.

The government expressed a desire to limit daily cases to 1,000 at the beginning of the outbreak, and for a while official cases were remarkably close to that number. By August, however, hospitals and ICU units were full and it was soon undeniable that the government was seriously undercounting cases. On September 30, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca admitted that the government had previously excluded asymptomatic positive cases from its daily count, only announcing what it called “patients.” By the end of November, after being forced to release more accurate numbers, Turkey was recording the third-most daily cases in the world, following only the much larger US and India (Turkey’s population is 83 million).

After the imposition of lockdowns and weekend curfews, COVID numbers began to decline toward the end of the year (though by late March 2021 Turkey was again recording close to 30,000 daily cases). A delayed rollout of the Sinovac vaccine, trial disparities involving the vaccine’s efficacy, suspicions over fair distribution, and the government’s obfuscation of case numbers has left a large majority of people in Turkey lacking trust in the state’s ability to manage the pandemic. When combined with the daily revelations of AKP corruption from the municipal to the national level, it is hardly surprising only 32.5 per cent of voters have said they would support the AKP in elections. That young people who will be voting for the first time in parliamentary elections in 2023 are especially unsupportive of the AKP does not bode well for the party’s future.

The Reaction
The Boǧaziçi students’ chants against a “trustee” (kayyum) rector evoked the 1980 coup as well as the more recent state practice of removing democratically elected mayors and appointing pro-government replacements. Between 2016 and 2018, 94 of 99 municipalities run by the Peace and Democracy Party (the former sister party of the HDP in local governments) were removed by the central government and replaced by trustees. Ankara appointed dozens more trustees after the HDP swept Kurdish-majority towns and provinces in the 2019 municipal elections. While some in Turkey see the HDP’s closure as a gift from Erdoğan to the ethno-nationalist MHP, whose mafia-friendly leader Devlet Bahceli has demanded the party’s destruction, it is in fact the culmination of a years-long process.

Unfortunately for the People’s Alliance, presidential decrees and mayoral trustees in Kurdish-majority provinces cannot resolve the contradictions of capitalism. A New Economic Program announced by Bayrak before his departure was quickly criticized by mainstream and left economists alike. A new plan announced in March after a further deterioration of the Turkish lira offers little that is new; focus on “expenditure discipline” and labour “flexibility” are of course euphemisms for austerity and worker precarity. If improving life for the majority under neoliberalism is impossible, what is a capitalist party to do?

Making it impossible to know what is actually going on is one strategy. Erdoǧan and other AKP officials (Albayrak included) regularly sue journalists for “insulting” them; prosecuting reporters on vague charges of terrorism is also commonplace. Turkey ranked 154 out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ 2020 press freedom ranking, and in late 2019 the government began silencing opposition by banning public ads in independent newspapers. A new social media law requires large social networks to have a representative stationed in Turkey, and platforms will have to obey court orders to remove objectionable content.

Legal avenues to struggle have also been restricted. The 2017 referendum gave the president increased powers to appoint judges, and in 2020 the People’s Alliance in parliament sought to overturn a rule mandating one bar association per province. The move was an obvious attempt to break up the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB), which has long constituted a powerful source of government criticism. Prior to the parliamentary vote (which passed in July), 78 out of 80 bar associations signed a statement opposing the change.

A particularly grotesque example of the use of law to deny justice to workers occurred in January 2021. In the spring of 2014, a coal mine explosion in western Turkey killed 301 miners and injured hundreds. Three Soma Coal Enterprises Inc. executives were sentenced to prison terms of 15 to 22 years for their role in the preventable disaster in 2019, and the following year the Court of Cassation declared the officials should be sentenced for causing death and injury by “probable intent.” In January of 2021, however, the Court overturned its own decision after three judges were replaced. Instead of “probable intent,” company officials caused deaths and injuries through “gross negligence.” In early February all the executives were released from jail.

Like progressive trade unions and the bar association, medical professionals’ national organization has been a vocal critic of AKP policies. As noted above, the TTB warned early on that the government was severely undercounting COVID cases, leading Erdoğan to charge the organization with terrorist affiliations and to demand “reforms” similar to that of the bar association. Erdoğan also claimed that the TTB “chose a terrorist as a leader” after it selected as its new chair Şebnem Korur Fincancı, who in 2016 signed an Academics for Peace petition that called on the government to end military operations in the Kurdish-majority southeast. As an important rejoinder to authorities, in late February Fincancı gave on online course to Boğaziçi students on “Academia and Human Rights in Turkey.”

The End?
With civil society organizations from the press to medical associations under constant attack, it isn’t surprising the Turkish state is also targeting higher education. Not only has Bulu refused to resign, in early February Erdoǧan issued another decree announcing the creation of law and communication faculties at Boğaziçi, in addition to appointing a host of new rectors and faculties at other universities.

The power to issue presidential decrees is a product of the 2017 referendum, which grants the executive the right to ministers, oversee of the budget, and choose judges. But if the constitutional changes were intended to consolidate AKP-MHP hegemony under Erdoǧan, the opposite has occurred. For example, public support for Boğaziçi students is overwhelming. A poll from late January showed 75 per cent of respondents support universities’ political independence, while 73 per cent believe teaching staff should select their own rectors. Only 17.9 per cent agreed with the current system – including less than half of AKP supporters.

The withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention and the closure of the HDP have also split conservative ranks. The pro-government Women and Democracy Association (KADEM) criticized the withdrawal, while former AKP leaders have opposed attacks against the HDP and its members. The People’s Alliance is attempting to rally its nationalist-conservative base around religion and the flag, while simply making it impossible for the opposition to function. Such an ideological strategy in a context of worsening material conditions is unlikely to succeed in the long run.

If its days are indeed numbered, what a post-AKP Turkey will look like is far from clear. If young people in Turkey trend liberal and left, at present there exists no organizational structure for the expression of these leanings. In the short-term, vocal support for the HDP is essential, as is the need to establish solidaristic links between social movements.

Ultimately, however, any left-of-centre government would confront the same economic problems as the People’s Alliance. Dependence on foreign loans and investment leaves developing economies like Turkey in a policy straight-jacket imposed by global capital. In addition to the formation of popular solidarities in the present, alternative visions for a just economic future are essential. If a post-AKP world can now be envisioned, the left must be prepared for what might come next.

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Les victoires de l'avenir naîtront des luttes du passé. Vive la Commune de Paris !


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kropotkinmobile.jpg imageThe Quote Of the Day - P. Kropotkin Apr 22 22:39 by Ilan Shalif 0 comments

deklaeng.jpg imageWe Are Calling To The Federation! Apr 05 20:13 by Devrimci Anarşist Federasyon 0 comments

460_0___30_0_0_0_0_0_house_of_mesopotamia_1.jpg imagePress release in support to the House of Mesopotamia after the attack Apr 05 19:43 by UCL Lyon 0 comments

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