Category: What’s Happening In the Movement

As DA Rejects Charges, Bayou Bridge Water Protectors Vow ‘We Will Not Stop Our Work’

BRETT WILKINS – “Louisiana’s ‘critical infrastructure’ law is an attempt to take away our personal freedom along with our constitutional right to protest,” Annie White Hat continued. “I stand proud of our work and am grateful for the countless allies who bravely stepped forward to support the first direct actions to stop oil and gas in the swamps of south Louisiana.”

Peace on the Korean Peninsula Needs to Be a Priority

KEVIN MARTIN – This year marks the sixth annual edition of coordinated advocacy days calling for peace in Korea. When it first started in 2015, just 12 people participated; the effort has now grown to include more than 200 people. Korean-Americans, the fifth largest Asian-American population in the U.S., are leading the effort and have become more politically engaged than just a few years ago, but everyone in this country, in Asia and around the world, would benefit from a more peaceful, less militarized Korean peninsula.

‘Oi Barclays, Clean Your Act Up!’ – Extinction Rebellion Dirty Scrubbers Pay a Visit to Barclays HQ

EXTINCTION REBELLION – [On March 30] Extinction Rebellion Dirty Scrubbers took their theatrical protest to Barclays Bank headquarters in Canary Wharf with a letter to the bank demanding it ‘clean its act up!’ The scrubbers were armed with a ‘wobbly washing machine’ and a bubble machine. They washed the blood, oil, and greenwash out of Barclays’ dirty money and cleaned the black carbon out of Barclays’ arctic exploration in a theatrical performance designed to highlight the role of banks in the climate and ecological emergency.

Where Are the “Other” White Men?

ROB OKUN – Where are the “other” white men? Who wear masks, believe in gender equality (and science), raise their children, don’t “babysit” them; workingmen volunteering in their communities? There are plenty of them below the media’s radar, and many like them are in BIPOC communities.

Rewriting Portland’s Violence Narrative

RANDY BLAZAK, TOM HASTINGS, and SASKIA HOSTETLER LIPPY – Portland residents hold the key to changing the narrative of violence that has characterized the city. Nonviolent civil disobedience, such as peaceful protesting June 1, 2020, a demonstration for Black lives, can help lessen polarization and build broad support for change.

How DC Peace Team Modeled Community Protection during Election-related Demonstrations

METTA CENTER FOR NONVIOLENCE – DC Peace Team, or DCPT, has had a presence in Washington, D.C. since 2011, mobilizing volunteers at different events with the potential to turn violent. So, when local organizations expressed a need for a coalition of experienced volunteers to step forward to be a part of the safety and security collective actions in the city, DCPT team was prepared.

How a Small-Town Paper is Applying Conflict Mediation Skills to its Opinion Content

JULIE HART – A letter to the editor was painful evidence that a small, community newspaper’s commitment to publishing as many letters as possible was no longer advancing a healthy dialogue among readers, if it ever had. In the town’s increasingly divided community, the paper had to take a hard look at how it could become part of the solution.

Climate Activists Mount Utility Strike to Urge the Shutdown of New England Coal Plant

BARBARA PETERSON – The Strike Down Coal campaign provides a COVID-safe form of disobedience, building on more than a year of direct actions to shut down Merrimack Station. Activists protest the continued burning of coal in New England by refusing to pay utility bills, and mailing coal to the utility company instead. (Facebook/No Coal No Gas)

Concerning Violence and Hate: A New Year’s Wish

SASKIA HOSTETLER LIPPY MD – Lately, I have been reflecting on what I have in common with extremists. It turns out that the list is longer than one would think. I hold their same passions for change, an ability to withstand discomfort–put more bluntly, tolerance for risk of pain that some term masochism–and I share a lack of tolerance for passivity and denial. Extremists are people of action. I am a person of action. I empathize with their demand to be heard and seen. They want us to feel their pain, even to the point of killing us to further their cause. As a pacifist and humanist, where I differ radically is in the choice of tactics.

Peru ‘Coup’: Public Fury Forces Resignation of Interim President Leaving Dangerous Power Vacuum

ALONSO GURMENDI DUNKELBERT – The growing popularity of parliamentary coups in Latin America is frequently overlooked outside of the region, but it is nonetheless an extremely worrying practice. What has happened in Peru should be seen by the international community as a renewed opportunity to examine this new kind of antidemocratic procedure. In the meantime, without a clear consensus on how to move forward and restore stability, there will be difficult months ahead for Peru – and Latin American democracy in general.

Choose Democracy’s Whirlwind Effort to Prevent a Coup is a Crash Course in Good Organizing

EILEEN FLANAGAN – Choose Democracy — the whirlwind start-up that trained 10,000 people to prevent an election-related power grab — started with just three folks. Two had full-time jobs and small children. The other was 82 years old. Over the summer of 2020, Daniel Hunter, Jenny Marienau and George Lakey observed alarming signs that Donald Trump might not go quietly if defeated at the polls. As experienced trainers and organizers, they knew that preparation helped people to act powerfully. So they decided to prepare people to resist a potential coup based on nonviolent strategies that have worked in other countries.

Announcing “No Honeymoon” for Biden

ROOTSACTION.ORG – On December 16, the progressive activist group RootsAction.org announced the launch of “No Honeymoon” — a sustained campaign that will mobilize grassroots pressure on Joe Biden from across the country. The group’s NoHoneymoon.org website invites activists “to join with RootsAction to push back against the destructive forces of corporate power, racial injustice, extreme income inequality, environmental assault and the military-industrial complex.”

How Portland Radicalized Me

SASKIA HOSTETLER LIPPY, MD – Today I find myself in an untenable position. I run an online encrypted mental health service to serve the Portland protest movement. This is the story of how I came to use a code name, an encrypted email and apps, and risk myself to help frontline activists.

Is It Time to Re-Envision Our Constitution?

GREG COLERIDGE and JESSICA MUNGER – The electoral crisis, the decline of trust in government, and gross income inequality in the United States may seem like separate issues. But they have a surprising, common origin: the US Constitution, or more accurately, its shortcomings. Indeed, the depth of multiple crises in our nation in 2020 — if not their existence entirely — are all rooted in our flawed Constitution and the judicial decisions that it has facilitated.

Meet the Volunteer Organizing Team Helping Non-Union Workers during the Pandemic

ERIC DIRNBACH – As early as March, there was a clear need to find ways to assist workers in confronting the new unsafe world at work. That’s when the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee, or EWOC, was born. A joint project of the Democratic Socialists of America and the United Electrical workers union, EWOC recruited volunteer organizers to talk with workers who wanted to organize around COVID-19 concerns. It created a request form for workers to fill out, which it spread through social media. Inquiries from workers started coming in every day.

‘This Is a Really, Really Big Deal’: Michigan Gov. Moves to Shut Down Line 5 Pipeline to Protect Great Lakes

JESSICA CORBETT – Environmental and Indigenous activists celebrated Friday after Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took action to shut down the decades-old Enbridge Line 5 oil and natural gas pipelines that run under the Straits of Mackinac, narrow waterways that connect Lake Huron and Lake Michigan—two of the Great Lakes.

Portland Nonprofit Launches Attempt to Save Hospice House

EMMA HABER – In the aftermath of the closing of Hopewell House, the only hospice house in Portland, one final hope has arisen. After 30 years providing compassionate and dignified end-of-life care, Hopewell sadly shuttered its doors in 2019. With only months to raise the funds, Friends of Hopewell House, a newly incorporated 501(c) nonprofit, has launched a $5 Million capital campaign to purchase the property from Legacy Health Systems and once again open the beloved institution’s welcoming doors.

A Voice and a Vote for the People of the World

DONNA PARK – It is now more evident than ever that the world lacks the structures necessary to successfully address the many global problems facing it. The General Assembly of the United Nations represents the nations of the world. But the governments of these nations often seem more worried about protecting their national sovereignty than about addressing global problems that are existential threats to humanity.

You Can Help the Homeless By Offering Dignity

JAMES RYAN – There are many ways to make a difference. One of the most important is simultaneously the easiest and most difficult: provide dignity. Please do not studiously ignore the homeless person on the park bench or look away from the one sitting on the sidewalk as you pass. Greet them or strike up a small conversation. Many homeless people report that more difficult than giving up their possessions is giving up the dignity of being seen.

With Focus on Assange, Belmarsh Tribunal Puts ‘US War Crimes on Trial’

BRETT WILKINS – The Belmarsh Tribunal—named after the notorious British prison where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is imprisoned as he faces possible extradition to the U.S.—was convened remotely Friday morning by Progressive International (PI). The activists “put the United States government on trial” for crimes ranging “from atrocities in Iraq to torture at Guantánamo Bay to the CIA’s illegal surveillance program—and draw attention to the extradition case of Julian Assange for revealing them.”

Ashland Activist: Systemic Change Starts with Us

IRENE KAI – The first World Peace Flame in North America was installed in the lobby of the Civil Rights Museum, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee in 2002. Ashland (Oregon) Culture of Peace Commission (ACPC) installed the second North American World Peace Flame on the International Day of Peace two years ago, 21 September 2018.

Listen Democratic Party: Your Supporters Want Military Budget Cuts

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Democratic majorities were crucial this summer to the defeat of three separate bills, introduced by progressive Democrats, to reduce military spending and/or undo the militarization of police departments. These included amendments in both the Senate and the House to the National Defense Authorization Act, diverting 10 percent of the Department of Defense budget to health care, education and jobs; as well as a Senate proposal to end the 1033 Program, which allows the Pentagon to transfer military gear to the police. The amendment’s defeat in the House was especially an outrage in that the Dems hold a majority in the House and could have passed it.