May 22nd, 2009
Our newsletter is a weekly review of popular resistance taking place across the U.S. It is important to know we are not alone so we can inspire each other, learn from each other and spread the courage to resist across the country. The newsletter covers people working on a wide range of issues including peace and justice, environmental protection, workers’ and students’ rights, and much more. We see all of these issues connected by our common goal of ending the rule of money, transforming the country and putting people and the planet before profits.
This week marked the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What would it be like if people in the United States knew they had these rights and demanded to have them realized? We believe it would be a very different world – one that is more humane on every front. Instead, this week an annual report of Credit Suisse ranked the US as the most unequal of all advanced countries. Harriet Tubman once said, “I freed a thousand slaves; I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” Similarly, we have human rights and our rights are being violated every day, yet many are not aware of this.
The solidarity at the fast food worker protests on December 5 echoed the solidarity seen on December 3 when people throughout the United States and around the globe protested toxic trade agreements especially the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We are moving toward becoming a movement of movements that cannot be ignored because more people are coming to the realization that our individual struggles are all connected to a larger struggle and that we have more strength when we act together rather than alone. As unity becomes a reality, we will succeed in creating the kind of solidarity that will make this era “OUR MOMENT.”
Our goal is to help build a mass movement that can transform this country from one that is ruled by money in which people and the planet are exploited for profit to one in which people work together to build a just, democratic and sustainable society. We seek to show that the work each of us does to build a better world is connected to a larger movement and that there is a vibrant movement growing within the US and around the world. This is a movement of movements on the front lines of struggle and it isn’t going to be covered in the mass media. We will have to build this person by person. We will succeed when 3.5 percent of us are engaged in action and we have popular support. Research of hundreds of resistance movements shows that no resistance movement in the last 100 years has failed when 3.5 percent participate. There are many levels of engagement.
The struggle of working Americans takes center stage as Black Friday protests cover the country. The struggle for wages that do not leave families impoverished is one that affects us all and highlights the unfair economy created by a class war waged by the wealthy for decades. The ‘Walmartization’ of the US economy has created a downward spiral in wages and destroyed small businesses and communities while heightening the wealth divide that is at the root of so many problems. The people are fighting back and the elites recognize it. There is fear in the investor class as they see people organizing and mobilizing. Corporations are now investing more time and money in preparation to protect themselves from investor actions and legal challenges. The actions of corporations and governments against the people are a sign of their fear, and a sign of our unrealized strength.
Richard Smith writes in Adbusters: “Today, we are very much living in one of those pivotal world-changing moments in history. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that this is the most critical moment in human history.” The world has been rapidly approaching a crossroads not only on climate change but also on mass extinction, destruction of the oceans, poisoning of the air, land and water and deteriorating food quality and security. It is all connected. A global revolt has been building. It is time for a world-wide environmental justice revolt.The United Nations COP 19 climate summit fell apart because it is rooted in deep corruption. The overt domination by polluting industries is highlighted by Michael Klare who wrote :“few governments are as yet prepared to launch the sorts of efforts that might even begin to effectively address the peril of climate change, they will increasingly be seen as obstacles to essential action and so as entities that need to be removed. In short, climate rebellion.”
Knowledge is essential for popular power. In fact, it is access to knowledge and accurate information that will aid our liberation from this ruthless plutocracy. Even former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski agrees, although he does so as a warning to his fellow elites. In a recent speech, he described the “accelerating social change driven by ‘instant mass communications such as radio, television and the Internet.’” Brzezinski warns his fellow members of the power structure that there is a “rise in worldwide populist activism;” that this “persistent and highly motivated populist resistance . . . has proven to be increasingly difficult to suppress” and that as a result of this “universal awakening of mass political consciousness” they cannot exert “external control” over the masses.
Sometimes it feels like elections are an exercise in futility. We live in a mirage democracy in which major party candidates are vetted by the corporate machine before they get on the ballot and third party candidates who represent the values of the movement are undercut by actions in which the major parties collude against them. History instructs that in this environment, it is important to build the movement and use what tools are available to shift power to the people. San Francisco-based lawyer-activist Randy Shaw writes in his new edition of The Activist’s Handbook “that neither politicians nor political parties are the prime movers for progressive change.”
November 1st, 2013
People realize that the institutions don’t work because they are experiencing the consequences. This week was the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy and the recovery effort, Occupy Sandy.To mark the occasion, peoplerom those areas brought a human “wave of change” to city hall in New York and held a march they called “Turn the Tide.” Protesters are demanding that five priorities be met: good jobs, affordable housing, sustainable energy, community engagement and strong healthcare. Sandy demonstrates the dysfunction of government to address both the people’s needs and climate change. As Naomi Klein wrote this week in How Science Is Telling Us All To Revolt, “there is still time to avoid catastrophic warming, but not within the rules of capitalism as they are currently constructed; which may be the best argument we have ever had for changing those rules.”
We are starting to see how the movement is in fact changing the political system without focusing on elections, but instead by focusing on the big issues of a failed economic system that creates inequity and puts profits before the people and the planet. An example is the extreme austerity measures, including threats to Social Security and Medicare, that need our attention. Building alliances and creating solidarity across the movement are critical ingredients to our success. In the end, we are confident that it is not who is in office, but the environment we create for them to operate in. We need to continue to protest when elected officials go off in the wrong direction – which is too often – but always build a mass national movement of communities across the country networked together and working to end the rule of money in each of its manifestations and to shift power to the people.
Newsletter Criminal Justice and Prisons, Democracy, Freedom of Speech and Assembly, Government, Human Rights, NSA Spying, Privacy, Surveillance
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers,
This week may be seen as a turning point in the fight back against NSA spying by creating new systems to overcome the surveillance state. There have been protests against the NSA’s spying program but they focus only on legislative solutions. While legislation is needed, many of the technological solutions lie within our own power and often merely require the government to get out of the way. President Obama’s independent commission is anything but independent. We are not going to get a “Church Committee” in the current Congress. The leadership of both parties and President Obama are too tied to the surveillance state – or, perhaps too afraid of it – to challenge it. The director of National Intelligence, James Clapper was not even reprimanded or forced to resign when he committed perjury before Congress about surveillance on Americans. Protests against the surveillance state continue to grow.
This week, veterans and their allies in New York City marked the twelfth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan by taking a stand against war and challenging New York’s unusual curfew on the Vietnam War Memorial. This protest was about protecting our rights to Freedom of Speech, Assembly and to petition for a redress of grievances as much as it was about opposing war. Tarak Kauff, one of the organizers of the protest, reports that one interesting outcome was that many police officers thanked the vets for doing what they were doing, showing solidarity with the action and apologizing for having to make arrests. When police understand a protest movement is working to make the world better for them and their families, we are on the right path to success. In Wisconsin, Governor Scott backed down in the face of constant protests and litigation and agreed the people had the right to protest in the Capitol Building without a permit.
Newsletter Democracy, Education, Environment, Food and Water, fracking, Health Care, Indigenous Rights
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers,
There is an identifying term that covers the millions of resistance actions that have been taking place throughout our history. It is called the compassionate rebel revolution. A compassionate rebel persona lives in everyone. It combines our ability to care about an issue with our capacity to act against the status quo for the change we believe in. It enables ordinary people to find creative, non-violent solutions to the problems that concern them, and, in the process to contribute towards making the world around them a better place to live for future generations. It projects them into everyday heroes whose acts of caring and courage continue to transform our politics, our culture and our way of life.
In her book “Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” Naomi Klein explains how crises are used by governments to distract and frighten people so that unpopular and exploitative policies can be pushed through It seems that now there is a different reaction disaster capitalism. Rather than disasters providing cover for the implementation of dangerous capitalist policies that lower wages and increase the wealth divide, the disasters being caused by these dangerous policies have woken the public and are leading to a more active and empowered people. People are taking initiative rather than waiting for leaders. Ahmed states, “People are really hungry actually for answers, hungry for solutions, hungry for alternatives, so really this is actually an unprecedented opportunity.
Newsletter Democracy, Environment, Finance and the Economy, Food and Water, Immigration, Occupy, Poverty, TPP, Worker Rights and Jobs
By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese,
This week we reflect on the second anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and the fifth anniversary of the financial collapse. There are reasons to celebrate despite continued economic stagnation and growing debt: the culture of resistance in the US is here and it’s having an effect. There are cracks in the pillars of power, and it’s up to us to pry them open and shine light on the lies and corruption that have been used to steal our future. We see a movement that is building momentum. We look back over the events of the past two years and feel cautiously optimistic. As we met to organize the occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, there was a strong sense of suspense. Some said that Americans weren’t feeling enough pain, that we hadn’t reached the tipping point. Similarly, the organizers of Occupy Wall Street acted out of anticipation.
This week, we focus on one of the fundamentals for the advancement of all societies, and certainly a foundation for the development of all movements – youth organizing for better education and a more just world. When we think back to other successful movements in the U.S. and around the world, youth have been a key force as they challenge old ideas and bring energy to new ones. We saw the beginning of the youth movement in Occupy which, while multi-generational, was energized by youth mistreated by two decades of government that cut services and privatized everything for the benefit of the wealthy. The success of stopping a war and youth activism among other signs are showing that we may be at one of those moments in history where a dramatic political shift is occurring. We may be in the midst of major change, and not even realize it, as so often transformations are only evident when they are behind us.
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