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November 2014

Ferguson Actions Grow: Monday-Walk-Out At 1:01 Eastern

Droves of people across the country are stepping off the sidelines and into the fight for justice. Right now, in houses of worship across the country, hundreds of faith leaders are delivering #ACallToResist to their parishioners. Ferguson Hands Up Walk Out Our momentum is building and this is just the beginning. Tomorrow we urge you to join thousands of others and walk out of EVERYTHING-- jobs, campuses, and schools-- at 1:01 PM EST, 10:01 AM PST, the time Mike Brown Jr. was gunned down by police officer Darren Wilson. Congregate with others, remember their lives and honor them by working to end state violence. Visit to find a walkout action near you.

15 Years Ago Today, Seattle WTO Shut Down

I’m thinking about 15 years ago in the rainy streets of Seattle, but even more about farmworkers in the fields of Immokalee and the roads of Burnaby Mountain, British Columbia where First Nations-led mass blockades against Kinder Morgan’s tar sands pipeline are currently happening. After not writing about the Seattle WTO protests for many years, I realized that what people think and know about the past shapes what they do now and thus the future. It’s important to keep some continuity between movements and generations, so new movements and generations can take what is of use and understand what really happened and why from the past and continue to innovate. When Hollywood actor Stuart Townsend called me and told me he was going to make the film Battle in Seattle, I started writing analysis and reflections about Seattle to combat the false myth’s about the Seattle WTO mass direct action shutdown. At this time each year I think and write reflections and analysis around this time.

120 Mile March From Ferguson To State Capital

To call attention to what it sees as a flawed U.S. criminal justice system after a grand jury declined to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed Michael Brown, 18, the NAACP on Saturday is to begin a 120-mile, seven-day protest march from Ferguson, Mo., to the governor’s mansion in Jefferson City. The march is to begin at 12 p.m. Central at the Canfield Green Apartments in Ferguson, near where Brown was shot and his body left lying in the street for hours on Aug. 9, the NAACP said in a statement. The purpose of the march is to call for new leadership of the Ferguson Police Department, beginning with the police chief, and for reforms of police practice and culture in Ferguson and across the country, the release states. “Our ‘Journey for Justice: Ferguson to Jefferson City’ march is the first of many demonstrations to show both the country and the world that the NAACP and our allies will not stand down until systemic change, accountability and justice in cases of police misconduct are served for Michael Brown and the countless other men and women who lost their lives to such police misconduct,” Cornell William Brooks, NAACP president.

Moyers’ Last Episode: The Long, Dark Shadows Of Plutocracy

Some people say inequality doesn’t matter. They are wrong. All we have to do to see its effects is to realize that all across America millions of people of ordinary means can’t afford decent housing. As wealthy investors and buyers drive up real estate values, the middle class is being squeezed further and the working poor are being shoved deeper into squalor — in places as disparate as Silicon Valley and New York City. At the end of the show Bill says: “Tell us if you’ve seen some of these forces eroding the common ground where you live. Perhaps, like some of the people in our story, you’re making your own voice heard. Share these experiences at our website,” Please use the comments section below to do so.

United Nations Condemns US Over Torture & Injustice

The United Nations issued a report on torture by the United States and it should be quite an embarrassment to every American. Not only is the US violating international laws against torture in its military actions and treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, but the report also criticized the violation of US laws against torture. The report noted the widespread police brutality common in the United States and the lack of accountability for police who mistreat people. The report also criticized the mistreatment of prisoners held in solitary confinement as well as botched executions. The UN also concerns over the mistreatment of immigrants, expedited deportation without adequate due process and lack of adequate protection for asylum seekers. . The report is an indictment of government in the United States at every level. The UN criticized the United States for not cooperating with the investigation and providing full information.

Fast Food Workers Plan Nationwide Strike For Dec. 4

Fast food workers in at least 150 cities nationwide will walk off the job on Dec. 4, demanding an industry-wide base wage of $15 per hour and the right to form a union. Workers unanimously voted on the date for the new strike during a Nov. 25 conference call, held shortly before the second anniversary of the movement’s first strike. The first of the recent fast food strikes took place on Nov. 29, 2012, in New York City. Two hundred workers from various fast food restaurants around the city participated in that strike, making it the largest work stoppage to ever hit the fast food industry. Since then, the size of the movement has ballooned several times over: With the backing of the powerful service sector labor union SEIU, the campaign has come to include thousands of workers in the U.S. The National Worker Organizing committee, a nationwide steering group of 26 fast food workers around the country, approved the Dec. 4 strike date before it was proposed to the rest of the workers. Workers from all 150 cities involved in the campaign were then invited to vote on the date over a Nov. 25 conference call. The proposal for a strike date was put forth by Burger King and Pizza Hut employee Terrence Wise, a leader in the Kansas City, Missouri branch of the committee.

Sustained Protests Begin At US Justice Department Dec. 1

The Hands Up Coalition DC calls on Attorney General Eric Holder to stand with the people of Ferguson—and every other community in the United States whereA communique white police routinely slaughter black citizens—and intervene in this case. The local DA in Missouri hid behind the grand jury so he wouldn't have to face political consequences. It's time for the President or the Attorney General to declare a state of emergency: not because of what the citizens of Ferguson may do, but rather, based on the demonstrated assault the police department has waged against Ferguson citizens for decades. A communique released earlier this week by the young people of Ferguson made clear that they are not asking for Officer Wilson to be killed, or to be shot and left in the street, or to be lynched. Rather, they are asking that a white police officer, who shot an unarmed black teen in front of witnesses be brought to trial in a system that was created and is maintained daily to provide justice. They want Officer Wilson brought into that system—not shielded from it by the grand jury.

Cultivating Climate Justice From The Frontlines

“To anyone who continues to deny the reality that is climate change…. I dare you to go to the islands of the Pacific, the islands of the Caribbean and the islands of the Indian Ocean and see the impacts of rising sea levels; to the mountainous regions of the Himalayas and the Andes to see communities confronting glacial floods, to the Arctic where communities grapple with the fast dwindling polar ice caps, to the large deltas of the Mekong, the Ganges, the Amazon, and the Nile where lives and livelihoods are drowned… And if that is not enough, you may want to pay a visit to the Philippines right now.” – Philippines lead negotiator Yeb Sano addressing the opening session of the UN climate summit in Warsaw, following Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

What It’s Like To Be the Target Of NYPD Surveillance

It was here, on this corner, on a Friday in the fall of 2013, that Thadeaus received confirmation of something he had long suspected: He was being watched — closely — by the NYPD. The police knew the names of all of the organizations to which he belonged, and had informants inside at least one of them. They knew he would sometimes moonlight as a DJ and dutifully noted which parties he attended, which events he played. He learned from a New York Times journalist that he was under surveillance. The NYPD, he was told, suspected Thadeaus may have been "the bicycle bomber" — a shadowy figure responsible for detonating a makeshift grenade outside a military recruiting center in the middle of Times Square in 2008. Their evidence was thin: They knew he sometimes hung out with other bicycling enthusiasts and activists, and that he was, at one time, the administrator of an anarchist blog that posted a news article about the Times Square bombing several hours after it occurred. . . . Shortly after filing their complaint, a few of the activists involved went out to a café with a retired FBI agent, a man who had gone undercover with right-wing militias during his time with the bureau. They asked him, as someone who had infiltrated and surveilled groups, how they might prevent it from happening to them, or at least identify the informants in their midst. His advice? Don't even try. The NYPD and the FBI, he told them, "have endless resources to create covers for themselves. You should just keep doing the work that you're doing, and don't try to get to the bottom of it, because it will waste your time, it will be a distraction, and it will destroy your organizations."

Fracking Is Threatening Our Families, Pets And Food

The Real Cost of Fracking describes clearly these findings. However, the book is organized around the firsthand experiences of the animals and people behind seven of these case studies. These experiences include the loss of calves and the imposition of a herd quarantine due to a wastewater spill, bulls and Newfoundland dogs with ongoing reproductive problems, and horses on steroids due to respiratory problems. The authors meet children with elevated arsenic levels, adults experiencing dramatic weight loss, and whole families suffering from “shale gas syndrome” (their name for the combination of burning eyes, sore throat, headaches, nosebleeds, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rashes often experienced by the people in their case studies). Some residents cannot enter their homes without becoming seriously ill and others have lost their animal breeding or farming-based livelihoods. . . . As new research documents the fracking boom’s contribution to global climate change, it has become clear fracking’s climate impact is much greater than originally claimed. Now, with The Real Cost of Fracking, Bamberger and Oswald give voice to those whose lives and health suffer already under that boom – and offer a forewarning to the rest of us.

Report: When Women Flourish…We Can End Hunger

The 2015 Hunger Report, When Women Flourish…We Can End Hunger, released today by Bread for the World Institute, identifies the empowerment of women and girls as essential in ending hunger, extreme poverty, and malnutrition around the world and in the United States. “We have made great strides in reducing hunger and poverty at home and around the world, yet women continue to be treated like second-class citizens,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “Progress towards women’s empowerment has been slow due to discriminatory laws, unpaid work caring for the family, and traditions that demean their capacity as decision makers.” “Eliminating barriers and empowering women around the world is key to ending hunger in our time,” said Asma Lateef, director of Bread for the World Institute. “We must not tolerate discrimination against women and instead, demand a comprehensive approach to women’s empowerment that includes applying a gender lens to all programs and policies.”

An Instructive Afternoon in Ferguson

The brand new looking police department and municipal court building was likely built on the backs of black residents paying these outrageous "fines" over many years. Those in power are not likely going to be eager to shut off that pipeline of easy cash anytime soon. It's a modern plantation system and the Michael Brown killing gave local black residents the impetus to express their pent up rage. My first, middle, and last reflection on the painting of the boards on the windows was what I'd call a typical American reaction to such things - create a facade, a false front, an illusion, go Hollywood. I asked several of the white folks painting the boards if doing so was not an admission that things are not really changing - after all the boards are still up in the windows and you are just trying to make the best of a bad situation. It was when I said that that several of the folks got the most agitated with me - the only thing worse than putting up a false front in America is for someone to challenge the illusion. Let's all go on pretending that everything is just fine and dandy.

Six Days After Grand Jury, Protests Continue

Protests continued in Ferguson and across the country six days after the grand jury decision resulting in no indictment was announced. On Saturday Officer Darren Wilson resigned from the Ferguson Police Department. National Guard troops continue to patrol in Ferguson. Protests stop business as usual in cities across country. Ferguson Action urges walk out on Monday, December 1 -- WALK OUT OF SCHOOL, WALK OUT OF WORK, SAY NO MORE TO POLICE MURDER. There has been no response from the power structure in St. Louis, Missouri, or Washington, DC to respond to nationwide protests about the issues of justice for Mike Brown, militarization of the police, racially unfair policing and the divide between blacks and whites in the United States. The inability of government at any level to respond in a positive way to the concerns of citizens will continue to fuel the fire of revolt. On Monday at 4:00 in Washington, DC on Pennsylvania Avenue the first of ongoing protests begin at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Did Police Set Autos On Fire During Ferguson Protests?

This video captures images worthy of investigation. The video seems to show military-clad police setting fire to a car outside of auto parts store. The store and the one next to it burned down. In other videos where fires were started or stores had windows broken you can hear protesters saying 'leave that store alone' or 'don't start a fire'. We know organizers in Ferguson trained 600 people in nonviolent resistance tactics. Burning cars and looting building is not part of that training, indeed typically people are taught that the idea is to grow the movement into a larger movement and that looting and rioting is counterproductive. We are not saying that all the fires were started by police, but this one raises questions that deserve investigation -- were other fires started by police?

December 11: Next Step In the Campaign To Save the Internet

We have come an incredible distance in our campaign to save the Internet. Initially the solution of the net neutrality community was considered politically impossible, now it is politically inevitable. Or, at least some form of it is and we need to continue to keep the pressure on to make sure it is the right solution that does not allow a tiered Internet with wealthy corporations can pay for better service than start-ups, small businesses and citizen’s media. The solution is to reclassify the Internet as a common carrier so that there can be no discrimination and equal access for all. In order to put into effect Net Neutrality rules the Internet must be reclassified under Title II of the Federal Communication Act. The FCC had planned to put in effect their tiered Internet on December 11. We won an important victory when they were forced to not take that step. Now we need to push for reclassification and Net Neutrality rules. Please join us.
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