Popular Resistance Newsletter: Glimpses Of Our Power

People have the power Ferguson City Hall protest 101-13-14

The nationwide reaction to the grand jury decision in Ferguson and police killings across the country taught the social justice movement an important lesson: The people have the power to shut down the nation. This is an important reality to consider. The reaction to the grand jury in 170 cities included people blocking major roadways, highways, bridges and tunnels. The police were unable to stop mobilized people working together to stop traffic. Those involved in the protest were still a small number, perhaps 200,000 people, but even this small percentage of the population had the power to #ShutItDown. In most instances protests were met with support even by people who were inconvenienced by traffic. Now that we know that even a small percentage of Americans, well under .1%, have this power, how do we grow this capacity? How do we use it to our advantage in the case of racially unfair policing? How do we use this power for other issues?

#BlackOutBlackFriday: The Time Has Come

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#BlackoutBlackFriday: The Time Has Come’ is our latest video that we’ve produced to raise awareness about Blackout Black Friday and our nation’s epidemic of police brutality. Blackout for Human Rights started #BlackoutBlackFriday to stand up for victims of police brutality and spark change. Blackout for Human Rights (Blackout) is a network of concerned citizens who commit their energy and resources to immediately address the staggering level of human rights violations against fellow Americans throughout the United States. We demand an immediate end to the brutal treatment and inhumane killings of our loved ones; the lives of our friends, our parents and our children have value and should be treated with respect. Our right to life is secured not only by our humanity, but is protected by law both federally and internationally by the Constitution of the United States of America and the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Walmart Black Friday Protests Sweep The Nation

Our Walmart from FLICKR

At Walmart, this year’s Black Friday protests will be the widest-reaching ever, organizers say, with pickets and strikes planned at 1600 stores in 49 states to remind shoppers that the people serving them often can’t afford to feed themselves. “I have to depend on the government mostly,” says Fatmata Jabbie, a 21-year-old single mother of two who earns $8.40 an hour working at a Walmart in Alexandria, Virginia. She makes ends meet with food stamps, subsidized housing, and Medicaid. “Walmart should pay us $15 an hour and let us work full-time hours,” she says. “That would change our lives. That would change our whole path. I wouldn’t be dependent on government too much. I could buy clothes for my kids to wear.” The nation’s largest employer, Walmart employs 1.4 million people, or 10 percent of all retail workers, and pulls in $16 billion in annual profits. Its largest stockholders—Christy, Jim, Alice, and S. Robson Walton—are the nation’s wealthiest family,collectively worth $145 billion. Yet the company is notorious for paying poverty wages and using part-time schedules to avoid offering workers benefits. Last year, a report commissioned by Congressional Democrats found that each Walmart store costs taxpayers between 900,000 and $1.75 million per year because so many employees are forced to turn to government aid.

Ferguson Protesters Surprise Macy's Black Friday Shoppers In NYC

Ferguson Hands Up Don't Shop

More than 200 people angered by a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer for killing an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson sought to disrupt Black Friday shopping in New York with a protest in front of Macy’s flagship store. A small group of the protesters took their rally to the Manhattan department store’s ground floor for a few minutes, as staff and shoppers seeking post-Thanksgiving bargains looked on in apparent surprise. Some shoppers took pictures of the protests with their cellphones. Many protesters said they were encouraging a boycott of Black Friday to highlight the purchasing power of black Americans and to draw links between economic inequality and racial inequality. “Voicing your opinion is not enough,” said Sergio Uzurin, one of the protesters. “You have to disrupt business as usual for this to happen and that’s the only thing that’s ever made change. It’s the real way democracies function.”

Ferguson Black Friday Shuts It Down

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As the crowd swelled it took over both floors of the mall and about half the stores pulled down the security gates to close their shop. Many of the workers inside the stores stood behind their gates and clapped, chanted and filmed the protest. The best moment was when two women in Macy’s uniforms led the rousing chant “No Black Friday”. Twice during the 90 minutes we were there a mass die-in was held to remind everyone that Michael Brown’s body was left in the street of Ferguson for four and one-half hours after he was shot dead. Many cops from various law enforcement agencies were brought into the mall but they were helpless – it was impossible to distinguish the protesters from shoppers as many mall customers were clapping and filming the action with their cell phones. Many actually joined the crowd as we walked through the mall.

Watch One Of World’s Largest Solar Farms Being Built

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Below are two videos describing one of the world’s largest solar projects, a massive solar farm in San Luis Obispo County, California. The Topaz Solar Farm will be a 550 megawatt photovoltaic (PV) solar farm Located on the northwestern corner of the Carrisa Plains. The Topaz Solar Farm will produce sufficient electricity to power between 150,000 and 200,000 California homes. It will displace 377,000 tons of CO2 annually—equivalent to taking 73,000 cars off the road. It will provide $192 million in compensation for approximately 400 construction jobs over a 3-year period; $52 million in economic output for local suppliers and $14 million in sales taxes during construction and up to $400,000 per year in new property tax revenues.

#FreeBassem: Let Ferguson Report

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Bassem Masri is one of the staunchest activists on the ground in Ferguson, MO during this trying time for our country. He has been our eyes and ears for what’s really happening in the community. His courageous “citizen-journalism” has been getting more attention than the mainstream media outlets that have been portraying inaccurate and sensationalist images of events taking place. On the night of the grand jury decision Bassem had 90,000 viewers and did a fantastic job reporting what was occurring. Later that night he had his phone stolen and then was arrested for driving on a suspended license (while he was a passenger). He has been in jail since the 25th because of a $15,000 cash-only bond.

All Charges Thrown Out Against Kinder-Morgan Pipeline Protesters

SFU professor Lynne Quarmby with her lawyer Jason Gratl celebrating a ruling, outside the B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday. Photo by Jenny Uechi.

SFU molecular biology chair Lynne Quarmby beamed widely as Justice Austin Cullen announced at the B.C. Supreme Court that Kinder Morgan’s request to extend the injunction date would be rejected, and said all charges of civil contempt for protesters arrested so far on Burnaby Mountain would be thrown out. “It’s fantastic!” Quarmby said, moments after the judge announced his decision. “It’s a fabulous victory.” Drivers in cars passing by the court house honked their horns, apparently recognizing the professor, who was arrested last week protesting Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion. Justice Cullen’s ruling did, however, allow Kinder Morgan to substitute its current injunction zone, which was not accurate, with the correct one.

Tweeting About A Revolution

Photo: Reuters

Social media thrives on divisive, polarising points of view, and that’s not happening with OCLP. “The most mentioned topics of Occupy Central include ‘Hong Kong’, ‘Hong Kong Police’, ‘OccupyCentral protests’ and others in a similar vain,” Alobeid says. “The crux of their movement, occupying with ‘love and peace’ was not one of the most discussed topics.” Although Twitter is painted as being critical to a conversation, successful campaigns usually show activity on multiple platforms. Facebook is the obvious second choice, but without hashtags and handles, it can be harder to navigate than Twitter for those after information on a single issue. However, this network of 1.2 billion people can help create far-reaching discussion. Just look at the summer #IceBucketChallenge craze.

Packed Courtroom Aids Release Of Chicago Ferguson Protester

Richard Newburger Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune Richard Newburger, 57, was charged with felony aggravated battery to a police officer Wednesday. (Chicago police photo)

A Logan Square man charged with aggravated battery against a Chicago police officer during a Ferguson, Mo.-related protest was ordered released from custody Thursday after a highly charged hearing that threatened to turn into another protest. Several dozen activists had gathered in the courtroom at 26th Street and California Avenue to support Richard Newburger, who wore jeans and a black jacket and kept his hands behind his back as he was led before the judge. Cook County prosecutors alleged that the police officer was assigned to the Loop protest and riding a bicycle Wednesday when Newburger, 57, struck him with his shoulder, knocking the officer off his bike. The officer was not injured, prosecutors said. A police report of the interaction states that Newburger “aggressively bumped” the bike officer, causing him to lose balance as Newburger was attempting to disrupt traffic.

NYPD Cracks Down On Ferguson Thanksgiving Day Parade Protest

Photo from @dantelfer on Twitter

Multiple arrests were made by the New York Police Department (NYPD) on Thursday morning as protesters incensed by the lack of criminal charges brought againstFerguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson engaged incivil disobedience at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. NYPD confronted around 100 demonstrators who attempted to enter the Manhattan parade while carrying protest signs. One such sign read: “From the first Thanksgiving to this one, fuck ur [sic] celebration of genocide.” As many as seven of the protesters were arrested by officers, who, according to eyewitnesses, violently pushed, pulled, and shoved the demonstrators to the ground after kettling them with metal barriers.

Documentary “Burn” About Uprisings In UK Over Police Brutality

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In August 2011 Britain was on fire – what was the spark that led to the crisis? When Mark Duggan was shot by the police the scene was set for a confrontation but it was not the first time. In this grass-roots documentary we hear why Tottenham burned, show how the flames spread and look at the deep-rooted reasons that have set fires blazing in the last three decades. Four people in this small community, all black and working class, have died at the hands of the police and this film retraces their story. Powerful witness testimonies are balanced against police reaction to the violence that exploded and the film offers a fresh political analysis of the cause of the uprising. Exploring ideas of collective memory ‘Burn’ is poetry for the people. This radical film bears witness that only justice for those that have died at the hands of the police can put out the fires.

Want Thanksgiving Off? Follow These Whole Foods Workers’ Example

A signup sheet from a Chicago Whole Foods for workers who choose to work on Thanksgiving. After workers went on strike last year, management quietly changed their policy of mandatory work on the holiday.

One year after workers staged a “Strikesgiving” protest at a Whole Foods Market in Chicago, the company’s stores in the Midwest have quietly implemented a new policy for scheduling and compensating workers on Thanksgiving Day—and workers are calling it a victory. Frustrated that their store would remain open on the national holiday, about seven workers at the Whole Foods on Halsted Street in Chicago protested by walking off the job or neglecting to come in to work the day before Thanksgiving last year, demanding paid time off for all workers. The strikers—members of the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, which launched a Fight for 15 campaign at Whole Foods in the spring of 2013—also called for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation.

The Global Movement For Net Neutrality

This Is Net Neutrality. (Photo: AccessNow.org)

As a movement crystallizes around the future of the Internet, more than 35 human rights and technology organizations from 19 countries have come together as a new coalition to define and protect the idea of ‘net neutrality’ as they lead what they say is a global battle to protect the Open Internet and online freedom. The numerous and diverse groups—coming together as the ‘This Is Net Neutrality’ coalition—released a joint statement (made available in eleven languages) expressing their shared purpose: The open Internet has fostered unprecedented creativity, innovation and access to knowledge and to other kinds of social, economic, cultural, and political opportunities across the globe.

The Great Police Violence Cover-Up

Lead image by AP Photo.

Starting with the Rodney King beating, it has often been the occasional citizen video that has been the most effective means of holding police to account. According to a survey of body-camera studies sponsored earlier this year by the Department of Justice, far more research is needed on whether they are effective, and the idea of mandating their use raises privacy issues, among other problems. But the survey did note that “body-worn cameras increase transparency and citizen views of police legitimacy,” and it quoted William A. Farrar, chief of police in Rialto, California, as saying: “When you put a camera on a police officer, they tend to behave a little better, follow the rules a little better. And if a citizen knows the officer is wearing a camera, chances are the citizen will behave a little better.”