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.
By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. Baltimore, where we live, is a deeply segregated city with a stark wealth divide. For decades, police have routinely patrolled black neighborhoods where they harass and arrest people of color without probable cause. This practice escalated when Martin O’Malley was the mayor and was running for governor. In order to beef up his record of addressing crime, police under his command arrested tens of thousands of young blacks and held them overnight in jail for no reason, then released them without any charges. It has created generations of black Baltimoreans who are traumatized by police and have lost opportunities to advance in their lives as a consequence. It has also created a police culture that continues to abuse communities of color. Remember, Freddie Gray was chased by police without any cause and it resulted in his death. In response to this environment, black youth in Baltimore organized an action called ‘Afromation’ to raise awareness and to celebrate Assata Shakur’s birthday.
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. This was a traumatic week. Two more unjustified killings of black men were caught on video and shared widely. Mass protests erupted throughout the country. And then, at the end of a Dallas protest against police violence, a lone gunman shot 12 people, killing five police officers. A graphic video shows Baton Rouge police shooting Alton Sterling outside of a convenience store where he was selling CDs. Two police have him on the ground, then shots ring out and Sterling is dead. Forty-eight hours later in Minnesota, Philando Castile is shot dead at a traffic stop while he is reaching for his wallet. In the aftermath of Castile’s fatal shooting, a video made by his girlfriend from the passenger seat is posted on Facebook and goes viral. Police violence is a growing public heath threat that is wounding, traumatizing and killing people.
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. Official holidays in the United States tend to reinforce false historical narratives. The Fourth of July is one of those holidays and what the official story misses is the reality that must be told. During the decade before the Revolutionary War, colonists ran one of the most effective nonviolence resistance campaigns against corporate power in history. Rivera Sun describes this campaign of nonviolent actions by showing that many of the tactics people attribute to Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other modern activists were used in an effective campaign by the colonists including boycotts of British goods, replacing them with their own goods; refusing to cooperate with unjust laws, non-payment of taxes, the development of parallel governments and local assemblies as well as rallies, petitions, marches and protests.
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The globalized economy is not working for most people of the world. International trade agreements and new government structures like the European Union serve corporate power and put the people and planet aside to ensure profits continue to come first. They undermine democracy and national sovereignty, leaving people feeling more powerless. By pushing austerity and commodification of public services, people are now more economically insecure with less wealth and lower incomes. The response of many is anger. Some protest austerity, others blame people of a different skin color, heritage or ethnicity. The surprise vote in the UK to leave the European Union is the latest, and perhaps the biggest, example of the blowback economic and political elites are getting for their actions. Brexit shows we have our work to do to educate people that this is not about racism and anger at ethnic groups, but is really the battle between the people and the elites. It is a conflict over whether we the people will have the power to decide our futures, whether we can create a fair economy that serves more than the 1% and whether we can act in ways that are consistent with the needs of the environmental crisis we face.
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Protests at homes of public officials and corporate CEOs is a common tactic used widely because it can be very effective. The response of Barrasso shows it is working and should continue. As Saul Alinsky, author or Rules for Radicals, pointed out “any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.” Such protests have to be nonviolent and conducted in a way that does not inconvenience neighbors but educates them about why the protest is occurring. These tactics seek to personalize the issue, to make it less abstract than a federal agency. The campaign should keep their focus on the people responsible, not let up, continue to escalate and make the person isolated and unpopular. The goal is to maintain constant, escalating pressure so the official pays a heavy personal price for their actions.
By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. This weekend the Bilderberg Group is holding its secretive annual retreat in Dresden, Germany. The invitation-only gathering of elites from North America and Northern Europe includes heads of finance and industry, heads of state and intelligence officials. Who knows what schemes they’ll cook up? They don’t keep minutes or allow the press in and attendees can’t quote what was said. It can’t be good for the people or the planet. The Global Peace Index was just released for 2016 and it shows that the decade-long trend of increasing violence is continuing. Of note, the inequality between countries is growing; the most violent countries deteriorated by a greater degree than in the past. Countries that are the most peaceful also have the greatest resilience.
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. Two years ago we wrote that the task of the movement is to build national consensus. We have shown in previous articles that national consensus is being reached on many issues, but the government is not responding to the public consensus. We have also reported on research that shows the US is really an oligarchy operating in the worst democracy in the western world. The government’s lack of responsiveness to the people and elected officials who fail to represent the people’s views are resulting in a crisis of democracy. This week the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs reported on that crisis. They found the legitimacy of US government has disappeared
By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. Memorial Day has become a holiday that celebrates war and treats soldiers as heroes, rather than respecting its roots as a day to mourn the personal costs of war. Instead of being a time of reflection on the truth about wars, the US Empire’s war culture is on full display over the Memorial Day weekend perpetuating the myths that being in the military is both patriotic and heroic, when in truth many US wars are unnecessary and violate international law. It is up to us to examine the hypocrisy of US foreign policy and work toward ending war as a tool of foreign policy. Instead of repeating the mantra that war is good or patriotic, let’s have an honest discussion about the reasons behind wars and the damage that wars wreak in numerous ways. It is time for all of us to build a people’s movement for a world without war.
By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. It is graduation time and our youth are inheriting a dysfunctional economy while they are saddled with the highest debt ever. This situation creates a downward spiral in which new graduates delay meaningful participation in the economy, such as buying a house or starting a new business, while they try to pay off their debt. Chuck Collins advocates for one solution: higher taxes on the wealthy that are used to reduce the cost of education. This is being done in Washington State. The reality for most youth today is a very different situation than that experienced by the older generation; it is one of intergenerational injustice that must be confronted and corrected or the negative impacts will last a long time. Many people no longer believe the lies we are told to keep us from demanding solutions. A veil is being lifted as people understand how the system is rigged against them and how they need to work together to fight for a better future.
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The climate crisis leads to the inevitable conclusion that our job is to turn the climate crisis into a political crisis that forces the corruption of the oil and gas industry into the open and shames governments for their failure to act on an urgent situation that threatens life on the planet as we know it. The failure of the political and economic systems to respond as quickly and strongly as needed puts the responsibility on people to resist oil and gas exploration, carbon infrastructure and continued reliance on dirty energy that is destroying the planet. The reality we face justifies resistance and disobedience to do all we can to slow or stop the use of carbon energy, heighten debate on the reality of the climate crisis and bring climate justice to the forefront of political thought.
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. The 2016 election has deepened the understanding of how out of step the establishment political parties are with the people of the United States. The parties have reinforced the rationale for the Occupy uprising, and the uprisings on racism, inequality, poverty wages, mistreatment of students and more that have occurred since 2011; and they have increased national consensus on the dysfunction and corruption of government, the unfairness and inequity of the economy and the lack of concern for the environment and climate change.Don’t Represent US In order to understand the election’s relationship to the movement for economic, racial and environmental justice, we need to understand that the roots of this election come from the uprising of 2011. As Paolo Gerbaudo wrote in ROAR Magazine: “The 2011 protest wave will forever be associated with the slogan ‘they don’t represent us’ — a clear indictment of the present form of representative politics and the existing political class.”
Newsletter Baltimore, climate crisis, COP21, Democracy, Democracy Spring, Divestment, Environmental racism, Fracking, Freddie Gray, Freedom of the Press, Gas, Incinerators, killed by police, Noam Chomsky, Nonviolence, Nuclear Energy, Nuit Debout, Police violence, Racism, Solar Energy, TPP, wealth inequality, Wind
By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, www.PopularResistance
April 23rd, 2016
By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. This week, on Earth Day, representatives from 130 countries gathered at the United Nations in New York City to sign the climate treaty agreed upon in Paris last December. As they smiled for the camera and promised to do their best to hold the temperature down, climate activists posted an open letter stating that it is too late, the climate emergency is already here. Leading up to the signing of the Paris Treaty this week were actions to stop the advance of fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Many events to mark the one year anniversary are taking place this week and the next in Baltimore to remember the uprising. Erica Chenoweth, the author of “How Civil Resistance Works”, writes that elections both locally and globally are being shaped by nonviolent resistance. In the US, no matter who is elected president in the November election, it will be critical for those who have been activated to continue to organize and visibly protest.
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. As tax day approaches, there will be numerous reports about how US oligarchs – wealthy individuals and major corporations – do not pay their fair share in taxes. A GAO report released this week found “at least two-thirds of active U.S. corporations paid zero federal income taxes between 2006 and 2012. The report also found that large, profitable corporations only paid 14% of their profits in federal income taxes on average from 2008 through 2012, while approximately one-fifth of them paid nothing at all.” This is not only due to tax laws that provide corporations with a wide array of loopholes to lower their taxes, but is also due to the intentional hiding of money off-shore. A 2015 report found that nearly 75% of Fortune 500 companies tucked away $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore to avoid paying US income taxes.
Newsletter Banking and Finance, Corporate crime, Democracy movement, Education, Farmworkers, Fight for 15, France, Living Wage, Minimum Wage, Neo-Liberalism, Nuit Debout, Opt-Out, Police violence, Prisoner rights, Privatization, Student Activism, Tax Evasion, Tax havens, Whistleblowers, Worker Rights
By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, www.PopularResistance.org
April 9th, 2016
By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. Of course, we also know the Panama Papers leak is about just one tax evasion firm, and not a major one. This is a small tip of a massive tax evasion iceberg. Estimates are that $7.6 trillion in individual assets are in tax havens, about one-tenth of the global GPD. The use of tax havens has grown 25 percent from 2009 to 2015. Gabriel Zucman, author of The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens and assistant professor at UC Berkeley estimates that US citizens have at least $1.2 trillion stashed offshore, costing $200 billion a year worldwide in lost tax revenue and US transnational corporations are underpaying their taxes worldwide by $130 billion. The Panama Papers will escalate demands for transformation of the economy as well as of government; continue to increase pressure on capitalism and result in the growth of the people powered movement for economic justice.
By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. It’s impacts are all around us, but it is rarely mentioned. What is it? Empire, and it’s time to bring it out of the shadows. We take a peek at the history of US Empire and how it continues to grow and be all-consuming today. The Empire Economy plunders our national treasury and robs us of jobs, education, healthcare and a future while serving transnational corporations. The US military is the biggest single user of fossil fuels which pollutes the planet and worsens the climate crisis. Our ‘American Way of War’ targets the basic necessities of life like power stations, hospitals and water plants for destruction and turns peaceful people against each other causing chaos and creating a vacuum for extremism and aggression against the US. The Pentagon cannot be audited but demands more every year. The war culture pervades our society.
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