With the corporate takeover of federal and state governments, more people are becoming politically active in new and creative ways. A growing culture of resistance is utilizing nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience as a primary tactic, and is forming real democratic organizations to empower local communities—as opposed to working within the corrupt government dominated by a two-corporate party system and within an unfair, big finance, capitalist economy. PopularResistance.org is a resource and information clearinghouse for this movement. From Veterans for Peace to Occupy Wall Street to the Tar Sands Blockade, here you will find links, tools and other resources to help you connect with groups and organizations in the movement. We also provide a daily stream of relevant news articles from around the web, and perhaps the most comprehensive national events calendar anywhere online. (Feel free to submit your own events.)
PopularResistance.org seeks to aid in bringing movements for peace, justice, economic fairness and environmental protection together into an independent, nonviolent and diverse movement that can end the power of concentrated wealth, shift power to the people and put human needs before corporate greed.
We began in early 2011 when dozens of activists from different parts of the United States came together to organize a people’s occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC. Inspired by the Arab Spring and modeled after the Indignados Movement in Spain, we sought to transform the country into one that put human needs before corporate greed, by directly occupying public spaces. After several months of behind-the-scenes planning, we launched our original website (october2011.org) on June 4th, 2011, and called ourselves the October 2011 movement (following the naming tradition used in Spain). In our article, History is Knocking we wrote, “Now is the time to join together and unite our struggles in sustained acts of nonviolent resistance” and we called for “sustained and nonviolent mass resistance in Washington, D.C.” Many of the initial organizers produced a video that called for people to occupy the nation’s capital.
When Occupy Wall Street spread across the country that Fall, we changed our name to Occupy Washington, DC at Freedom Plaza to indicate that we were part of that movement. We had previously endorsed AdBusters’ call to action and also signed a statement of solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street organizers, U.S. Day of Rage. Many of our state and local coordinators in 36 states organized local occupations as part of the Movement.
In June, 2013 we launched our new website, PopularResistance.org, importing all the articles and posts from our original website and adding many more tools and resources for strengthening the movement.
PopularResistance.Org is designed in accordance with the two-prong strategy of resistance and creation, and in the belief that there is greater strength and opportunity for success if there is solidarity in the work for peace and social, economic and environmental justice. Below is a brief discussion of goals, strategics and tactics, for a more complete discussion see History Teaches That We Have the Power to Transform the Nation, Here’s How.
Our struggles for peace and justice are connected by a common desire to uphold the rights of all living beings and the planet and by a fundamental obstacle, the rule of money, which must end to achieve lasting and effective change. This type of change will require a movement guided by unifying principles and strategy so that when a group employs tactics within that framework, all are advanced closer to the ultimate goal.
The rule of money is a powerful opponent, not one that any individual, single issue organization or coalition can counter alone. Large transnational corporations currently control the political process, the judicial system, the major media outlets and education. The national security state, from the local police to the military, protect the interests of transnational corporations, both overtly through fear and physical repression, and covertly through spying and infiltration.
At times it may feel that such an opponent is impossible to conquer, yet social movements have succeeded in the past. There is a growing body of knowledge to guide us about what factors were important to success and why certain movements failed.
Success is more likely if the movement for change has these characteristics:
- Diversity so that there is not one social group or issue that can be ostracized.
- Acceptance by a broad portion of society so that it is not viewed as a fringe movement.
- Strategic nonviolent direct action so that it garners sympathy from the broader public and clearly demonstrates who is the oppressor and who is the oppressed.
And lasting success is more likely if there is systemic change. Systems do what they are designed to do. Any reform within the current system of rule by wealth will ultimately default to a position of serving the wealthy.
To put it simply, political systems serve economic systems. A capitalist economy is based on inequality and scarcity. Some portions of the society will have more than they need and others will not have enough. Such inequality requires a security state to control those who do not have enough so that they do not try to rise up and make demands.
This is why we support a two prong approach of resistance and creation. It is not sufficient to protest what we do not want in our society, we must also create alternative systems to replace what exists currently and that uphold desired values such as environmental sustainability and human rights.
This two track strategic approach has been used in many successful transformative movements. Mahatma Gandhi changed his emphasis in the mid-1930s, a dozen years before independence from the British Empire, to work focused on building economically self-reliant communities from below (sardovaya, or social uplift for all). This became an adjunct to the strategy he is most known for, satyagraha (noncooperation and civil disobedience to unjust laws). Gandhian economics meant thousands of self-sufficient small communities with self-rule and the need for economic self-sufficiency at the village level joined together in a cooperative federation of village republics. This is book-ended by the Gandhian social ideal of dignity of labor, equitable distribution of wealth, communal self-sufficiency and individual freedom.
We call this dual track approach: Stop the Machine, Create a New World, where we protest what we oppose and build what we want. Our vision is ending the rule of money so that people’s needs and protection of the planet come before profit. We need to build economic democracy including worker-owned cooperatives, community supported agriculture, farmers markets, community banks and credit unions as well as local currencies and local stock markets so people can invest in their community, among others. Of course, national policies need to be changed as well, e.g. an open and transparent Federal Reserve that is democratically accountable, the end of corporate personhood, public funding of public campaigns, enact participatory democracy, a new energy economy where every home, business, community uses energy efficiently and produces energy, the end of the destructive extraction economy and so much more.
With corrupt and dysfunctional government and representatives selected in a mirage of managed democracy, people need to build their own non-hierarchical democratic institutions that bring people together to solve community problems, pool talents, resources and energy and allow real democracy to be practiced. This can happen at the local level or the national.
We seek a system-wide transformation and to accomplish that we need to build a mass movement working together toward ending the rule of money. In building the movement we need to pull people from the power structure to the movement. This includes nine specific groups: youth, workers, civil servants, non-government organizations, religious institutions, media, business, police and military. Members of these groups need to see that what we are working for will build a better life for them, their families and communities. As we pull people from these groups to the movement we get stronger and the power structure weakens.
When we work toward a common vision in a strategic framework that we agree on there are hundreds of tactics, proven effective by their use throughout history. These tactics have worked to transform government, society and culture. This also allows people to work together across issues, all of which will advance if we end the rule of money. Solidarity between workers, environmental justice and civil rights activists, those in the independent and citizen’s media, people working for health care, housing and food justice, and end to empire, militarism and war – bringing all of these groups together creates the kind of mass movement that will transform the country in ways that today we can only imagine.
Jack Balkwill, Norfolk, VA, editor, LUV News
Judy Bello, Rochester, NY, Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars
Carrie Biggs-Adams, Communications Workers of America
Roshan Bliss, Denver, CO, Colorado Student Power Alliance
Bill Blum, Washington, DC, editor Anti-Empire Report
Terry Bouricius, Burlington, VT, former Senior Analyst at Fair Vote
Robert Brune, Columbia, MD, DC Media Group
Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Washington, DC, EPA whistleblower and author No Fear
Ronnie Cummins, Finland, MN, executive director, Organic Consumers Association
Jill Dalton, Writer/performer, RecoveringArmyBrat Blog
Steve Early, Richmond, California, TNG/CWA member, Pacific Media Workers Guild, Freelancers’ Unit
Michael Fox, Baltimore, MD, executive director, United Workers
Kymone Freeman, Washington, DC, co-founder We Act Radio
Bruce K. Gagnon, Brunswick, ME, Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Howie Hawkins, Syracuse NY, Green Party
Tarak Kauff, New York, NY and Woodstock, NY, Veterans For Peace Direct Action Group
Brett Kimberlin, Director Justice Through Music, co-founder Velvet Revolution
Sarah (Steve) Mosko, BoogieGreen.com
Bill Moyer, Vashon Island, WA, executive director, Backbone Campaign
Michael Nagler, Petaluma, CA, Metta Center for Nonviolence
Tom Neilson, Folk musician, social justice teacher TomNeilsonMusic.com
Emanual Sferios, Grass Valley, CA, Occucards
Reena Shadaan, International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, North Americablack
Cindy Sheehan, Vacaville, CA, Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox, LLC
Lisa Simeone, Baltimore, Maryland
Arthus Stamoulis, Portland, OR, Citizen’s Trade Campaign
Rivera Sun Cook, Artistic Director, Dancer, Actor, Author, Rising Sun Dance and Theater
Erika Thorne, Minneapolis,MN Training for Change
Dennis Trainor, Jr., Boston, MA, ACRONYM TV
Stephanie Van Hook, Petaluma, CA, Metta Center for Nonviolence
Stephen Wallace, Maryland
Tom Weis, Boulder, CO, President, Climate Crisis Solutions