Category: What’s Happening In the Movement

Necessity As the Mother of Prevention

TOM H. HASTINGS – This essay is meant to help those who are especially interested in the court proceedings of nonviolent resisters[1] to anthropogenic climate change. The intended readers would include nonviolent resisters, their lawyers, and those experts in strategic nonviolent civil resistance who may be asked to provide expert testimony validating the use of the necessity defense for resisters. In general, the necessity defense is known as an affirmative defense, a narrative that contextualizes and validates the otherwise apparently illegal actions of the nonviolent resisters.

Needed: A “Men Against Gun Violence” Campaign

ROB OKUN – Okay, guys, white guys—all guys—this is our moment to say, “Enough!” This is the moment to start a national “Men Against Gun Violence” campaign. Right after Newtown, women launched “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense” the day after the murder of 20 six and seven year-olds, and six staff at Sandy Hook elementary school. The day after!

Communities Prepare to Fight Fracked Gas Pipeline

PRESS RELEASE FROM ROGUE CLIMATE – Landowners, Tribes, and community groups are ready to stop the proposed Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline and Jordan Cove LNG export terminal terminal for the third time in 12 years, following yesterday’s announcement by Veresen Inc. that it has filed its permit application for the project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Anti-Pipeline Activists across the Country Unite to #StopETP

BRANDON JORDAN – The company behind the Dakota Access pipeline and many other damaging fossil fuel projects — Energy Transfer Partners — was the focus of nearly 20 actions spanning 10 U.S. states last week. The #StopETP protests, which took place on Friday and Saturday, included a flotilla on a Louisiana bayou, a blockade of pipeline construction equipment in Pennsylvania and a demonstration outside the Texas home of CEO Kelcy Warren.

10 Ways Shame & Blame Hurts Social Justice Efforts

VANISSAR TARAKALI – We have all experienced it. We have inflicted it on ourselves or others. Subtle and not-so-subtle shaming, blaming and self-righteous ostracizing undermine social justice work. But let’s say our community or social justice group decides to take these habitual shame and blame pitfalls seriously. Changing old habits is possible when we are focused and persistent. With that in mind, what can we do?

Mass Civil Disobedience Campaign Obstructs One of Europe’s Largest Polluters

SARA FREEMAN-WOOLPERT – Red and yellow circus tents rose over the Rhineland farmland of western Germany last weekend, as over 6,000 climate justice activists converged for a series of action days to protest coal mining in the region. This included a mass civil disobedience campaign called Ende Gelände (or Here and No Further), in which 3,000 participants illegally obstructed the coal mining infrastructure on Friday and Saturday.

‘There must be another way’: Israeli 19-year-old Jailed for Refusing Military Service

BETHAN MCKERNAN – ‘I do not believe in building walls but building bridges,’ pacifist Noa Gur Golan says in rare case of IDF draft refusal. “When I was little, I dreamt of being an IDF war pilot,” says 19-year-old Noa Gur Golan. Now, however, the teenager is sitting in Military Prison 396 near Haifa. She’s been branded a traitor and a coward. It’s not clear when she is going to be released, because she’s being detained for refusing to do her military service with the Israel Defence Force (IDF).

Mayors for Peace Call for Early Adoption of Nuclear Abolition Treaty

MAYORS FOR PEACE – “We call on the cities around the world to unite in cross-border cooperation to pave the way towards the abolition of nuclear weapons.” This call made by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki led to the establishment of “Mayors for Peace.” Since then, we have appealed for the establishment of a legal framework to prohibit nuclear weapons as we believed it to be essential in achieving their abolition.

Ann Wright Wins 2017 Peace Prize

U.S. PEACE MEMORIAL FOUNDATION – We are pleased to announce that the US Peace Memorial Foundation has awarded its 2017 Peace Prize to The Honorable Ann Wright “for courageous antiwar activism, inspirational peace leadership, and selfless citizen diplomacy.”

Don’t Feed the Trolls – How to Combat the Alt-Right

KAZU HAGA – Nazism and white supremacy are forms of violence. Let’s start there. The constitution does not protect violence, and I’m happy to see that the California chapter of the ACLU has taken a stand against protecting the “free speech” of hate groups. But with or without marching permits, it is clear that public displays of hatred are a growing trend in the United States. And as much as I don’t want to give these groups more attention, it is also clear that simply ignoring them is not going to make them go away. So what do we do?

Should I Go to That Neo-Nazi Rally to Fight Back?

STEPHANIE VAN HOOK and MICHAEL NAGLER – When we hear that the Neo-Nazi movement is coming to our town, most of us naturally feel called—or pushed– to some kind of action. But not every action is going to be effective, especially if we are walking into a situation where the level of dehumanization is extreme—where people are prepared to harm or kill others. How then can we draw from the power of nonviolence in a situation of escalating violence?

What Did MLK Mean by “Love”?

JOSE-ANTONIO OROSCO – As someone who regularly teaches about the political philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr., I often spend time discussing with students the ways in which King’s ideas are taken out of context and turned into sound bites in order to support positions he would not himself have taken.

Chemical Industry’s Years of Deadly Malfeasance Revealed in “Poison Papers”

SHARON LERNER – For decades, some of the dirtiest, darkest secrets of the chemical industry have been kept in Carol Van Strum’s barn. Creaky, damp, and prowled by the occasional black bear, the listing, 80-year-old structure in rural Oregon housed more than 100,000 pages of documents obtained through legal discovery in lawsuits against Dow, Monsanto, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, the Air Force, and pulp and paper companies, among others. As of today, those documents and others that have been collected by environmental activists will be publicly available through a project called the Poison Papers.

Working in Concert: Remedy for Flawed Democracy

ROBERT J. GOULD – Last year, the Economist Intelligence Unit dropped its score for the U.S. from 8.05 to 7.98 (Above 8 is a full democracy; below 8 is a flawed democracy). Not much of a change, and according to the report, no fault of the current President, as the rating has been “teetering on the brink of becoming a flawed democracy for several years.” Like other flawed democracies (France, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and India), we have “weak governance, an underdeveloped political culture, and low levels of political participation, according to the EIU.”

C’mon Millennials, Woodstock is Over and Our Seniors Deserve a Break

CHLOE MEYERE – On Jan. 21, I took a walk down Pennsylvania Avenue with a million like-minded ‘friends.’ I swore it was the beginning of an epic uprising, the first one where millennials could be the leaders. I was so certain that my generation would be responsible for the president’s downfall that I wrote about it. It even landed me a few death threats, kindly mailed to my office. But I didn’t care. I was ready to fight the good fight.

In Our America: Community Building 101

ALI KING – As the night of Tuesday, November 8, began to go downhill, like many Americans, I felt stunned and sickened. I hadn’t actually allowed myself to imagine things going the way they did and the unthinkable had happened. Just a few months earlier, everyone was scoffing at the idea of Trump becoming the president and, inexplicably, he had just won. When I woke up from my restless sleep the next morning, I could barely function. Over the next two days, I went through the usual stages of grief – disbelief, anger, sadness, but with so much on the line, I just couldn’t get myself to the acceptance stage. I knew sitting around and watching things crumble was not an option.

An Open Letter To Rep. Barbara Lee: ‘Think Through The Implications Of Our Actions’

NORMAN SOLOMON – More than a decade and a half ago, your eloquent words and courageous vote set a high bar as you stood up against a war frenzy on the House floor. Three days after 9/11, you implemented the kind of brave wisdom that we desperately need in a world beset by the massive violence of warfare and the overarching dangers of nuclear holocaust. Since then, like many other people opposed to perpetual war, I’ve deeply appreciated your leadership in advocating for diplomacy instead of reckless confrontation in international relations. Year after year, following your lone vote against a blank check for war on Sept. 14, 2001, you’ve been a steadfast voice for the necessity of diplomatic initiatives. Until now.

A Call to Mobilize the Nation over the Next 18 Months

REV. JOHN DEAR – While the media and the nation sit transfixed over the Trump scandals and attacks on democracy, those of us who work for justice and peace know that we have to keep working, resisting, and mobilizing people across the country if we are going to have the social, economic and political transformation we need for our survival.

Trump Quadruples Obama’s Rate of Drone Strikes

JOSEPH GIBSON – “Trump has taken Obama’s massive and limitless drone war and quadrupled strikes—more than one a day now,” said Courage to Resist’s Jeff Paterson. “My hope is that because it’s now The Donald lawlessly murdering people with flying robots, folks will begin to realize how insane this ‘less interventionist’ policy is. Aside from being a terrorist recruiting tool, it’s morally unjustifiable. We need to resist, and support those with the courage to do so.”

Civil Rights Advocates Renew Efforts to Oust Bannon

NEWS RELEASE – As news outlets continue to report on whether embattled White House chief strategist and white nationalist Stephen Bannon will continue serving in the administration, 23 diverse civil rights groups are reminding the Trump Administration that governing through Bannon’s divisive and hateful campaign style is out of step with the country.

U.S. Out of Korea

DAVID SWANSON – My biggest concern is not the embarrassment of a U.S. public afraid of the tiny impoverished nation of North Korea. If that embarrassed me, how would I survive what U.S. culture makes of ISIS, or — for that matter — the election of Donald Trump? My biggest concern is that U.S. war profiteers may end up using Korea to get us all killed.

Why ICE Raids Imperil Us All

ANDREW MOSS – When silent complicity prevails, the gates to authoritarianism are opened wide. Yet the choice to speak on behalf of the other can still be exercised if citizens act in time. In such choosing we can see not only the movement of the individual conscience. We can also see how democracy itself – the culture and institutions sustaining human rights – can be kept alive as well.

Protest and Persist: Why Giving Up Hope is Not an Option

REBECCA SOLNIT – I began talking about hope in 2003, in the bleak days after the war in Iraq was launched. Fourteen years later, I use the term hope because it navigates a way forward between the false certainties of optimism and of pessimism, and the complacency or passivity that goes with both. Optimism assumes that all will go well without our effort; pessimism assumes it’s all irredeemable; both let us stay home and do nothing. Hope for me has meant a sense that the future is unpredictable, and that we don’t actually know what will happen, but know we may be able write it ourselves.

Veterans For Peace Endorses Gabbard’s Stop Arming Terrorists Act

TULSI GABBARD – “Those who have seen and experienced war firsthand share a unique appreciation for the need for peace. From Iraq to Libya and now in Syria, the U.S. has and continues to wage wars of regime change, each resulting in unimaginable suffering, devastating loss of life, and the strengthening of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS. I am grateful to have the support of Veterans for Peace for the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, and for their work to prevent the United States from continuing to pursue counterproductive, interventionist wars,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Do These 10 Things, and Trump Will Be Toast

MICHAEL MOORE – Friends, I welcome you to “The Michael Moore Easy-to-Follow 10-Point Plan to Stop Trump.” First, let’s acknowledge what we all know to be true: Trump is in deep, deep trouble — in the pocket of Russians, surrounded by alt.right idiots, alone in his bathrobe in a mostly-empty White House — and caught inside a disgusting “shit-sandwich”, so said his supporter who turned down the NSA job.

A 10-point Plan to Stop Trump and Make Gains in Justice and Equality

GEORGE LAKEY – I was among the 100,000 who marched in San Francisco’s Women’s March the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. While enthusiasm for the struggle seemed high, an important question was looming: What’s the strategic plan, as we head into the Trump era? Although there’s no simple answer, I offer this 10-point plan — fully open for discussion and debate.

Activist Challenges Supreme Court Over Capital Punishment

JACK PAYDEN-TRAVERS – “I won’t be able to make that appointment as I’ll be in jail next Tuesday,” I told the nurse who was setting the date for my checkup to remove stiches. She appeared a bit shocked that this aging white middle class male was going to jail. I tried to assure her that I would return–just not on the 17th. I explained to the nurse that January 17, 2017 is the 40th anniversary of the first execution in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in the case of Gregg v Georgia back in 1976.

What Kind of Nonviolence Training Do You Need?

RIVERA SUN – Campaign Nonviolence is often contacted by people who are looking for nonviolence trainings. Frequently, they are not sure what type of training they need, or what the catch-phrases are to describe what they’re looking for. This guide is offered as a resource in identifying which type of nonviolence training supports the needs of each situation. We believe that a culture of active nonviolence will benefit from training all citizens in all of these skills and practices. However, the different types of trainings are distinct and not interchangeable.

Resolve in 2017: Eternal Hostility to Poverty, Racism and Militarism

KATHY KELLY – No matter what gang is issuing the orders to kill, whether a massive military power or a smaller group that has acquired weapons, we can all claim our right not to develop, store, sell or use weapons. We can claim our right not to kill and not to live with the memory of having killed. “Declaring eternal hostility” to the fear, greed and hate which are our real enemies seems to be our true hope. We can lay aside forever the futility of killing. We can be hopeful and determined that our resources and ingenuity are directed toward meeting human needs.

Be a Citizen Diplomat in 2017

SHARON TENNISON – For the whole of 2016, we have been actively deliberating how best to use the Center for Citizen Initiatives’ 33-year experience in the US-Russia field––since Russia is increasingly being declared America’s enemy #1––which we totally reject. We’ve concluded that our successful programs of the ’80s are precisely what is needed again in today’s baffling environment.

UN General Assembly Approves Historic Resolution

TONY ROBINSON – On December 23, 2016, the United Nations General Assembly approved an historic resolution to launch negotiations in 2017 on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. The vote follows a decision on 27 October, 2016, by the General Assembly’s First Committee – which deals with disarmament and international security matters – to begin work on the new treaty despite fervent opposition from some nuclear-armed nations.

A Visit to Russia for “Life Extension” of the Planet

BRIAN TERRELL – The life extension of our planet needs to be a universal goal. To speak of, let alone pour a nation’s wealth into a program of “life extension programs for weapon systems” is nothing short of madness. Our Russian friends’ confidence in our collective sanity and the steadiness of our leadership, especially in the wake of the recent election, is a great challenge. I am grateful to new friends for the warmth and generosity of their welcome and I hope to visit Russia again before long. As important and satisfying as these “citizen diplomatic” encounters are, however, we must honor these friendships through active resistance to the arrogance and exceptionalism that might lead the U.S. to a war that could destroy us all.