Category: What’s Happening In the Movement

Movement Violence Can Lead to a Decline in Public Support

J. MUNOZ and E. ANDUIZA – The choice between violence and nonviolence is available to any protest movement. Opting to engage in violence is more costly to the movement because it increases the chance of state repression and also reinforces the claims of those who oppose the movement. The academic research on this topic shows that nonviolent movements are more successful in achieving their long-term goals, whether influencing policy or bringing about regime change. Many researchers theorize that broad-based public support for protest movements is instrumental to their success and that the use of violence may weaken this support.

PLOWSHARES FOUND GUILTY

KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES 7 – More than 18 months after they snuck onto the site of one of the largest known collections of nuclear weaponry in the world, a jury found the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 guilty of all four of the charges brought against them.

Taking Next Steps toward Nuclear Abolition

KATHY KELLY – Many who are working for the abolition of nuclear weapons are deeply disturbed by the madness of maintaining nuclear weapons arsenals and believe such weapons threaten planetary survival. They are joined by people everywhere who worry that, similar to the 1930s, citizens of countries possessing nuclear weapons sleepwalk toward utter disaster.

Expanding the Concept and Practice of Nonviolence

MIKE YARROW – True “nonviolence” is an affirmative presence of an alternative force for change, which Gandhi called, “a force more powerful.” Martin Luther King Jr.’s statement is, “. . . true nonviolence is more than the absence of violence. It is the persistent and determined application of peaceable power to offenses against the community.”

Americans Want Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, not just Limitations!

TIMMON WALLIS – September 23, 2019: A NuclearBan.US poll, conducted on its behalf this week[1] by YouGov, reveals that 49% of Americans think that the US should work with the other nuclear armed countries to eliminate all nuclear weapons from all countries, in line with the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (“Nuclear Ban Treaty”). Only 32% think that the US should continue to ignore the new treaty and hold on to its nuclear weapons regardless of what other countries think or do, while a further 19% say they “don’t know”.

How the Youth-led Climate Strikes Became a Global Mass Movement

NICK ENGELFRIED – It began as a call to action from a group of youth activists scattered across the globe, and soon became what is shaping up to be the largest planet-wide protest for the climate the world has ever seen. The Global Climate Strike is the result of a whole new generation taking bold action and could be the turning point for grassroots resistance to fossil fuels.

Immigration Resistance Has Many Faces

ANDREW MOSS – For the most part, major news organizations like the New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times have provided comprehensive, accurate coverage of major immigration-related developments. Significant policy changes and their impacts on people have been presented with careful regard for both detail and larger issues. This is as it should be. Nevertheless, coverage often falls short in underplaying a critical dimension of unfolding events: the extraordinary depth and breadth of resistance to the Trump administration’s policies.

Rotary International as a Model for Statecraft

WINSLOW MYERS – The United States is strong enough to lead the way into a new paradigm of self-interest, where dominance is replaced by a global network attuned directly to meeting human and ecosystem needs. Anything less threatens everyone’s survival. If we can offer help to our adversaries because we see it as self-interest, a different world is possible.

It’s In Our Hands Now: Localizing Resistance to Fight Climate Change

OAKLEY HILL – As the climate crisis becomes more prominent and imminent, the world has looked to the top echelons of global power to save us from ourselves. Too often, we look for top down change when problems so profound and systemic must also be addressed from the bottom up. Everyday citizens can slash emissions and move the planet toward environmental sustainability—especially if they leverage their power at the community and city levels. Around the world, this is already a growing reality as hundreds of communities take matters into their own hands to resist the climate crisis and build alternative institutions.

New Common Cause Site Tracks Which Members of Congress Have Actually Read the Mueller Report

DAVID VANCE – Common Cause is tracking which members of Congress have read, or not read, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian attacks on the 2016 presidential election. The new easily searchable “Will Congress Act?” website (willcongressact.org) allows people to see whether their Members have read the report and contact them to ask that they read it if they have not.

In Afghanistan We Have Three Dreams

DR. HAKIM YOUNG – We’re the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabul, and we have three dreams. Our three dreams are about reuniting with nature and 7.7 billion other human beings! Our dreams aren’t prescriptions. They’re music and movements, distilled from today’s nightmares.

Nuclear Weapons Ruined My Life, and I Wouldn’t Have it Any Other Way

FRIDA BERRIGAN – Nuclear weapons ruined my life. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, I hope they are ruining your life too. Because that is the only way we are going to get rid of them. Editor note: This intimate, first person account is a must-read for everyone (and beyond) who cares about the fight to end the existence of nuclear weapons and nuclear power.

Youths Explain Support for Green New Deal

SAMANTHA M. and ANGELICA PERKINS – We believe in the Green New Deal, and we know what the Green New Deal is. We have read it and we understand it because we know exactly what we have to do to secure our future. Youth have a right to be in this conversation because in the long run, this is more than a debate. It is our life and future.

Chelsea Manning Jailed Again For Refusing to Testify at a Grand Jury Inquiry

KATHY KELLY – Chelsea Manning, who bravely exposed atrocities committed by the U.S. military, is again imprisoned in a U.S. jail. On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2019, she was incarcerated in the Alexandria, VA federal detention center for refusing to testify in front of a secretive Grand Jury. Her imprisonment can extend through the term of the Grand Jury, possibly 18 months, and the U.S. courts could allow formation of future Grand Juries, potentially jailing her again.

US Peaceworker Suffers US Sanctions in Iran

DAVID HARTSOUGH – I come back home with a heart which is much stronger but also with a much greater commitment to stop US policies of economic sanctions which I believe are acts of war. I will continue the work of getting the US to rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement and get on the track of peace-building rather than threatening acts of war. I hope you will join me.

When Will Politicians Start Exercising their Constitutional Authority to Rein in Large Corporations like Amazon?

PAUL CIENFUEGOS – Many of us around the country are working hard to build the Community Rights movement, as we understand that in this ecological and social crisis moment in the world, it’s too late to tackle one corporate outrage at a time. That in fact, these problems are structural. That we need to learn from our history and bring back these century-old laws that can once again subordinate the business corporation, so that it is again required to serve The People, to cause no harm, and for its directors and stockholders to once again be held personally and financially liable when the corporation causes significant harm to our communities and the natural world.

Grassroots Catholics Challenge Congress to “Face the Crisis”

MARYKNOLL OFFICE FOR GLOBAL CONCERNS – January 18, 2019—On the occasion of Martin Luther King Day on January 21, eleven national and international Catholic justice and peace organizations delivered a joint statement to Congress today, entitled “Facing the Crisis: A Catholic Offer of Wisdom and Courage to Congress” which calls on Members to courageously take the first steps to end the political polarization that the group says is eroding democracy in the United States.

Beatrice Fihn Is Banning Nuclear Weapons, With or Without Us

EMILY MOON – Beatrice Fihn has spent 12 years working on a campaign to prohibit nuclear weapons, and, as she says, compiling rational arguments and scientific evidence, yet less informed strangers will still pick a fight. But, she adds, “I prefer to argue with politicians than people on the street.” Indeed, she has advanced her arguments and will never give up the fight.

It’s Time to go on the Offensive against Racism

GEORGE LAKEY – The hope for a movement of movements that can amass enough power to push the 1 percent out of dominance lies, I believe, in taking at least these steps. A series of nonviolent direct action campaigns that stay on the offensive can build vision-led movements that — finding themselves facing the same opponent — create a coalition and win. That is the shift that can make possible, at long last, a decisive win against racism

All Wars are Illegal so What do We do About it?

MARGARET FLOWERS and KEVIN ZEESE – Every war being fought today is illegal. Every action taken to carry out these wars is a war crime. In 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Pact or Pact of Paris was signed and ratified by the United States and other major nations that renounced war as a way to resolve conflicts, calling instead for peaceful ways of handling disputes.

How the Women’s March Gave Us Our Best Grounds for Hope

BRYAN FARRELL – Where do you look for hope in dark times? Longtime organizer and author L.A. Kauffman looks to a chart she keeps on her wall that tracks how many people have participated in protests since January 2017. Right now that number is upwards of 21.5 million. “It’s part of my organizing geekdom,” she says. But it’s also the best visual reminder of a fact that’s easily overlooked: We are living in a time of unprecedented protest.

How a Ragtag Group of Oregon Locals Took On the Biggest Chemical Companies in World – and Won

SHARON LERNER – The people who wrote an ordinance banning the aerial spraying of pesticides in western Oregon last year aren’t professional environmental advocates. Their group, Lincoln County Community Rights, has no letterhead, business cards, or paid staff. Its handful of core members includes the owner of a small business that installs solar panels, a semi-retired Spanish translator, an organic farmer who raises llamas, and a self-described caretaker and Navajo-trained weaver. And yet this decidedly homespun group of part-time, volunteer, novice activists managed a rare feat:

How Grassroots Activists Made Peace with North Korea Possible

SARAH FREEMAN-WOOLPERT – Among the most important developments for the peace movement in the last year is the formation of broad coalitions. According to international scholar-activist Simone Chun, 2018 marked “the first time we saw a formidable, sustaining coalition with major American peace activists and the Korean activist communities.” These coalitions have allowed actors to coordinate strategically in pushing for clear goals, like a formal declaration ending the Korean War and sustained diplomacy on a path to peace. These coalitions have also been key in elevating a range of voices, particularly those of Koreans, women and people of color, who have often been marginalized from the mainstream policy debates in Washington D.C.

How a Detroit Community Overcomes a Lack of City Services

KEVON PAYNTER – Decades of economic and population decline, a depleted tax base, and critically underfunded city services have forced Southwest Detroiters to self-organize, establishing a local network of goods and services to fill in for missing city services. The result is a range of neighbor-to-neighbor efforts, like Detroiters Helping Each Other (DHEO), that seek to address broader needs that are going unmet by local government agencies.

National Campaign Emerges to Prevent Nuclear War

ROBERT DODGE – A national collaborative grassroots coalition to abolish nuclear weapons is rapidly emerging in this country. The effort called “Back from the Brink: A Call to Prevent Nuclear War” started last fall after the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted by 122 nations with the U.S. and other nuclear nations boycotting.

Victory in Superdelegates Fight Means: Grassroots Can Win

NORMAN SOLOMAN – When members of the Democratic National Committee voted to take power away from themselves and other “superdelegates” — removing their leverage over the presidential nominating process — they took a big step toward heeding a sign that activists held outside their decisive meeting: “Democratic Party: Live Up to Your Name.”

Afghani Peace Activists Ask Us to Rethink War

DR. HAKIM (DR. TECK YOUNG, WEE) – It’s frustrating that whereas all human beings wish to live meaningful lives, we seem helpless in the face of a few individuals waging wars and exploiting our world. But we can each do something about this insensible status quo, as ordinary folk of the People’s Peace Movement ( PPM ) show us by taking one barefoot-step at a time, traveling to the Northern areas of Afghanistan to persuade fellow Afghans, whether they’re with ‘insurgent groups’ or with the U.S./NATO/Afghan forces, to stop fighting.