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.
On Tax Day, April 15, 61 year old Doug Hughes, a mailman from Florida, landed a gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn to deliver 535 letters to members of Congress in order “to spotlight corruption of Congress and to present a solution to legalized bribery.” Hughes told the Tampa Bay News that “I’d rather die in the flight than live to be 80 years old and see this country fall.” He has been released on bond with home detention and returns to court on May 8th to face charges of operating an unregistered aircraft and violating restricted airspace, facing a total of four years incarceration. On Saturday, April 11, 22 year old Leo Thornton shot and killed himself in front of the Capitol. He had a sign taped to his hand that read, “Tax the 1%.” The media ignored him, some called him an extremist and did not report his “radical” message of fair taxes. Protests by individuals and groups become impactful when they ignite others to join, to mobilize in support of the call. We urge you to support protests by participating, spreading the word and mobilizing in whatever way you can.
An ambitious young journalist who wanted to speak truth to power, Matt Kennard, was writing for the Financial Times. He quickly learned the corporate media was not the place to tell truths that the power structure did not want to hear. Now he has written a new book, “The Racket: A Rogue Reporter Takes on the Masters of the Universe,” which does speak truth to power.Time for Truth Kennard describes the racket as the “global elite’s prolonged war on the people of our world with the sole aim of pumping up their bottom line.” That ‘war’ has come home and is being waged against people. Just as Matt Kennard shook off the hypnosis and saw reality, we must not be afraid to see the truth around us. Once we do the root causes of the crisis become evident. And, in the end we must fight for a revolution of values; values that end the violence of militarism, racism and capitalism; lead to cooperation between people working together for social, economic and environmental justice. And, when we seek that we will quickly recognize we are not alone, millions are already on that path with us.
Last week, we wrote about the epidemic of neoliberalism. This week, as major protests erupt in Canada, Mexico and Belgium, we discuss its sister, austerity. In neo-liberal economics, wealth is funneled to the top through increasing privatization of the public and cuts to social services. This can only occur if those who are not at the top are subjected to austerity measures. Those at the bottom are squeezed, suffer financial insecurity and the inability to meet basic needs. Rather than these realities weakening our ability to stand up we must stand together in solidarity to take care of each other and build our power in the struggle. People are becoming more aware that their individual struggles are against system-wide problems and are seeing that when the people are united, they can win. Let’s keep building solidarity and unity of action so the muscle of people power grows.
Alnoor Ladha and Martin Kirk of The Rules write in “Capitalism is Just a Story and Other Dangerous Thoughts” that our system of neo-liberal capitalism is one story that is told about the way the world works. In this story, natural resources are turned into commodities so they can be monetized. As in the feudal age, the wealthy few are taking more and more, cutting the rest of us off from the treasures we once shared and expanding the wealth divide so that more of us become ‘serfs’. 1neofeudalLadha and Kirk go on to say, “our only absolute limitation is our collective imagination, expressed through our will to change the mythologies that hold this house of cards together.” For once we see neo-liberalism and its related “isms” of colonialism, imperialism and racism for what they are and what they do, we are closer to being free of their grip and creating a new story.
In his recent article, “The Dance of Liberals and Radicals”, the liberal Robert Kuttner writes, “No great social change in America has occurred without radicals, beginning with the struggle to end slavery. Causes that now seem mainstream began with radical, impolite and sometimes civil disobedient protest.” We at Popular Resistance share the view that there need to be people and groups who see the bigger picture, who fight for what is not on the table and who are willing to put their bodies on the line to make change. Those are the people we try to lift up in our daily coverage of the movement because they are rarely recognized and are usually lacking in resources. Yesterday we marched in Washington, DC for Spring Rising with our friends in the peace and Black Lives Matter movements.
In his story about how he became aware, Marcus Godwyn writes, “I don’t know about you but when it comes to this 21st century, so far, I’m distinctly not a fan!” It is up to us to redefine what the 21st century ultimately means. To that end, here is what happened this week and what is coming up. The Internet in the 21st Century The new net neutrality rules were published this week and the good news from our friends at Free Press is that the Internet as a common carrier has been restored. Matt Wood says, “These rules are an all-too-rare example of Washington actually working for the people.” This only happened because people organized and mobilized to make it happen. The result was an unexpected one and would not have occurred without a people’s intervention.
We are at a critical juncture in world history. We live in a globalized world. That is the reality. But at present, it is a world that is increasingly dominated by multi-national corporations and big finance capital that controls national policies. The result of this system is exploitation of people and the planet and the use of the security state to oppress those who resist or to gather resources. William Dalrymple reminds us of the serious consequences that can result from such an arrangement in his article about the East India Company. It is up to us to rise together and fight back, to resist the expansion of corporate power and to build new systems that are more democratic, just and sustainable. We are with you in this struggle. People power, applied strategically, can succeed.
This week was a busy one for Popular Resistance as three key campaigns had major updates. The success of the ten-month campaign to reclassify the Internet as a common carrier under Title II of the Federal Communications Act to ensure net neutrality has been widely reported. While widely reported, not all the reports described how the movement actually achieved it or what it means. We held a three-day sit-in at Senator Ron Wyden’s office. We are focused on Wyden because he is negotiating with Senator Orrin Hatch on Fast Track legislation. If Wyden joins with Hatch he will provide cover to other Democrats by making this a bi-partisan bill. The campaign to save Cove Point from a Dominion Resources fracked gas export terminal had a major event this week when 24 people went on trial.
Most of the Popular Resistance team is in Cove Point, Maryland right now. Almost all are very likely to go to jail for several weeks after Monday’s hearing for our efforts to stop the Dominion fracked gas export terminal at Cove Point. You can donate to the campaign here. Stopping this terminal is the key to stopping fracking on the east coast. The Calvert Commissioners have made a charade out of democracy. The government in Calvert County has kept the facts from the public. Before letting the public know of the plan to build the terminal they entered into a secrecy agreement with Dominion so the public has been kept in the dark. In the first hearing on the terminal, the County Attorney wrote the agenda: take public testimony, close the record and vote for the proposal. The proposal was for massive tax breaks for Dominion and waiver of zoning requirements. The latter turned out to be unconstitutional. Protests and civil resistance are the only avenues left to stop the Dominion terminal. This is literally a life and death situation for a community of 44,000 people; hundreds, probably more than a thousand lives, will be shortened and diseases that are not common now, will become common.
Newsletter #BlackLivesMatter, Blockades, Energy, Environment, fast track, FCC, Fracking, Free Trade Agreements, Internet, ISIS, Michael Brown, Net Neutrality, Pipelines, Racism, Tar Sands, TPP, Trade, Ukraine, Venezuela, Wars and Militarism
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, www.PopularResistance.org
February 14th, 2015
When our colleagues take brave actions, others are inspired. George Lakey describes how courage develops in movements. He lists some key ingredients to overcome fear: people working in community to empower each other, envisioning a successful action and spreading the contagion of courage. Lakey describes courage as each of us expanding beyond our comfort zones and adds that our training for actions should include opportunities to step outside our comfort zone. He suggests we need to view the rapid heartbeat and adrenalin during an action not as fear, but as excitement. Envisioning the whole story – where the story starts, the action being taken and its successful impact – emboldens us and calms our fears of uncertainty. We learn courage in community because courage is contagious.
This week we focus on the grim reality that government agencies and corporations work together to exploit people and planet and suppress dissent. This knowledge can be overwhelming at times to those who are striving for a more peaceful and just world, especially for those who are labeled as ‘terrorists’ by the ones who are violent. In this work, our hearts are fortified by the love demonstrated in activist communities, by the growing number of communities who are standing up to the security state and corporate domination and by the tangible victories occurring each week. When you see the power structure stiffen its back and get abusive, remember that is because we are building power – and they fear the people having power. This is the time to escalate and show them that we will not back down.
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Howard Zinn who is best known for his “People’s History of the United States” which looks at history from the bottom up, through the lenses of classism, racism and sexism. We remember Zinn for the advice he gave activists a year before his death. When he was asked what should people be doing, he gave advice that is good no matter what the era: Go where you are not supposed to go; Say what you are not supposed to say; and Stay when they tell you to leave. We are pleased to see people around the world instinctively following the advice that Howard Zinn gave to US activists. The world over we are facing governments corrupted by money and not representing the people. Zinn’s recipe for change – Go, Say and Stay – one we should be consciously following.
Sam Smith gave this talk, “On Becoming and Being an Activist,” at a teen conference. The essence of his message is that we are facing serious crises and we have to make a choice of whether we will act or not. We are on a dangerous path and it takes courage to see that and not be paralyzed into inaction. It is easier to ignore the truth and succumb to the many distractions in our lives. Smith writes: “It is this willingness to walk away from the seductive power of the present that first divides the mere reformer from the rebel — the courage to emigrate from one’s own ways in order to meet the future not as just a right but as a frontier.” Smith goes on to describe that traditional tools for social change, working within the system, are not effective in this time. We must raise our voices, do the unexpected and try the improbable. We need to use our passion, our energy, our magic and music to burst the illusion being hand fed to us in the media and taught in our schools.
This week, in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, people around the country are organizing actions to #ReclaimMLK as the true person he was; one that recognized the roots of the crises being experienced and who made connections between many issues. Dr. King was a critic of capitalism, racism and imperialism. He said: “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” Dr. King called for a “revolution of values,” meaning a shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. A new generation of young activists is embracing the radical Dr. King and rejecting the watered-down version presented in major media. We have no doubt that Dr. King would be part of the movement for social, economic and environmental justice. Many of us are already working on the issues of Dr. King, in many ways we have already reclaimed him.
The democracy crisis grows deeper. Analysis of the mid-term elections shows voting levels lower than the era of Andrew Jackson, when the requirement of owning property to vote was removed. People are rejecting both political parties as 42% of Americans are registered independents compared to 30% Democrats and 25% Republicans. Nozomi Hayase writes people are breaking the spell of the corporate state, recognizing the elites who govern are not smarter than the rest of us, that they fit the characteristics of psychopaths for their endless war, debt-ponzi schemes and that the ongoing financial crisis exposes their agenda of hoarding wealth for themselves. At the same time Hayase writes: “Civil disobedience against the corporate state demands that we disobey their commands and instead begin listening to our hearts that know what is right and wrong.”
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