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 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.”
“2015 The Year We Build Power Together” is the major task we see for the movement this year. In 2014 we saw tremendous growth of the movement across numerous fronts of struggle – worker rights and the wages, racism and policing, climate, the environment and extreme energy extraction, building a new economy and so much more. We also saw how uniting and working in solidarity is a foundational requirement for success. “Building power together” means building on the 2014 successes of creating a larger and bolder movement that is beginning to work together as a movement of movements and recognizes that we are building our unified power because all of our issues are connected. If the people defeat transnational corporate power in the first big confrontation of 2015, we will be on our way to making 2015 the year we built our power together. We will be freed to create the world in which we want to live and one that increases the chances of a livable future.
At the beginning of 2014, we wrote about the tasks of the movement for the year to work towards the goal of building a mobilized mass movement. Progress was made this year on a number of fronts where not only did greater numbers of people mobilize, but people also made connections between issues and worked in solidarity. We’ll look back at some of the tasks we identified and how we did: Build unity around the values of the movement – a primary task is identifying not just what we are against but defining what we are for, what kind of society we hope to build. In 2014, there were conferences held across the country where people discussed how to build a new economy that creates and maintains wealth locally, empowers people and decreases the wealth divide. Cities like Jacksonville, FL are creating roadmaps to the new economy by building on successful models elsewhere. Seattle, WA is working towards a public bank that keeps public dollars from feeding Wall Street.
In the last few months multiple groups of people have been discussing how to escalate, link issues and build the protest movement’s power even more. We have heard the same conversation in different circles multiple times. We have seen this before and know it means another big wave is coming. We want to alert you to it because to make it as impactful as possible, we all need to be prepared to do all we can. People across the country should be asking their friends and colleagues: what can we do to grow the movement for transformative change? In this week’s newsletter, we are going to report on recent actions that show the movement getting more sophisticated, effective and organized. Before we do so, we want to let you know about a new tool that could be very helpful in building your actions and making them more effective.
Newsletter Bankers, Climate Justice, Corruption, Education, FCC, Finance and Economy, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Speech and Assembly, GMOs, Healthcare, Human Rights, Internet Freedom, Monsanto, Net Neutrality, Police abuse, Racism, Torture, TPP, Undercover police, Worker Rights and Jobs
By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, www.PopularResistance.org
December 13th, 2014
This week we marked the 66th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was signed by the United States at its inception but has never been ratified. Perhaps because we live in a country that does not protect our human rights, many people in the United States lack an understanding that they exist. In the work for justice, important tasks are to learn about our rights, recognize that they are being violated and to stand up with the demand that these rights are honored. Throughout history it has been organized people-power that has won rights. We cannot expect to gain them any other way. We’ll highlight many areas where people are fighting for rights.
This week tens of thousands of people in the United States flooded the streets to demand racial justice. It is one of many issues that has been building for years, reaching the tipping point and seeming to explode in a national awakening. We also saw that in the last two weeks with national protests for living wages. Four years ago when we organized the occupation of Washington, DC at Freedom Plaza, we listed 15 crisis issues that the country needed to face, poverty wages and the injustice in criminal enforcement, including racially abusive police practices, were two of them. None of these 15 core issues has been adequately dealt with. In each there are people working to build support for their cause; each has the potential to explode on the national scene – some already have. This newsletter highlights five current campaigns and mobilizations that are demanding social, economic and environmental justice.
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?
The end of the year is turning out to be among the busiest times since the early days of the occupy encampments. Many Popular Resistance campaigns are coming to fruition and key conflicts around the country and world are at critical moments. After mid-December and through mid-January there should be an opportunity to reflect and plan for 2015, but for now, we are running at full speed on issues that impact all of us. If you can get involved – we need you. The Grand Jury’s announcement in Ferguson is expected imminently and many have issued a nonviolent call to action. The FCC has its next hearing on Dec. 11. The TPP negotiators are coming to Washington, DC on Dec. 7 and campaigns to stop the extreme extraction of fossil fuels are in critical moments. All of this and more means that your involvement is needed however you are able to participate.
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