RIVERA SUN – From Sept 18-26, tens of thousands of people took action for a culture of peace and active nonviolence, free from war, poverty, racism, and environmental destruction.
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.
FRIDA BERRIGAN – Forty years ago, the Plowshares Eight sparked a movement of nuclear disarmers that continues to take responsibility for weapons of mass destruction.
MIKE FERNER – We are constantly told to thank “the troops” for their service, no matter how problematic their actions. But what about all the people who serve but who don’t put on fatigues and carry guns — nurses, doctors, teachers, bus drivers, postal workers and grocery stockers among others? During this pandemic, they are the ones keeping us alive and helping make sure society functions while the rest of us shelter in place. If we emerge from this pandemic with a very different idea of whom we should be grateful to for their service, we will be the better for it.
JOHN HEID – “Don’t Label Me, An Incredible Conversation for Divided Times” (by Irshad Manji, St. Martin’s Press, 2019), opens with an invitation to expand our moral imagination and concludes with an 11-step “moral courage regimen.” The pages in-between read like a manifesto as radical, i.e. deeply rooted, as any I have come across in years. This is a book acutely for our times. Irshad Manji offers critical analysis, alongside a crash course in nonviolent engagement techniques. Theory and practice all in one. The content is as at once a life-size mirror and flashing red lights for the progressive left.
PAUL STREET – The case for Trump’s ouster grows stronger by the week. Beyond his possible obstruction of justice, criminal acceptance of foreign emoluments while in office and felonious campaign finance violations—any one of which could provide grounds for legal proceedings against him—the president has routinely embraced authoritarian rulers around the world and engaged in obvious appeals to violence. He has, at every turn, revealed himself to be entirely unfit for office.
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
LAURA FINLEY – Despite the horrors that Nicholas Cruz levied, in the terrible killing and wounding at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High SchooI in Parkland, Florida, I still do not want to see him executed. I universally oppose the death penalty. That is not a particularly easy position to hold right now, in this case, but I believe it is the right one. It is for me, at least.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – It’s time to free MLK from his day of honor and put him back at the center of the national news.
TOM H. HASTINGS – This essay is meant to help those who are especially interested in the court proceedings of nonviolent resisters 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.
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.
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.
DAVID CORTRIGHT – It is time for resistance, for acts of radical, even revolutionary, patriotism. We need to re-think our priorities and put our bodies and souls on the line. Business as usual is no longer an option.
JAMES A. HAUGHT – One of my history-minded friends has a long-range political view summed up in three words: Liberals always win. Complex social struggles may take centuries or decades, he says, but they eventually bring victory for human rights, more democratic liberties, a stronger public safety net, and other progressive goals.