Newsletter: The Immense Power We Must Confront

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Fifty-six years ago on January 17, 1961 President Eisenhower warned “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.” JFK with Jackie Kennedy and Governor Connolly just before he was assassinatedThis was followed by the assassination of JFK, which now has been exposed as involving members of the military and intelligence agencies; the massive Vietnam War, constant regime change operations, the growth of the US military and intelligence budgets and never-ending wars since 9/11. The military and intelligence agencies have grown tremendously.

Newsletter - The Consent Of The Governed

Revolt Source UPI

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. Governments function because of the consent of the governed. When a government does not serve the needs or interests of the people, it loses its legitimacy and no longer deserves the consent of the people.Plutocracy defined We have argued for a long time that current governments at all levels – local, state and federal -function primarily to benefit the wealthy. Academics have proven that the United States is a plutocracy – rule of, by and for the wealthy. It is time for us to withdraw our consent. Let’s consider how to do that and what protections will be needed. When a government loses the consent of the people, all it has left to wield to keep its power is repression and force. Cooperation Jackson and the Malcolm X Grassroots Organizing Movement, is calling for “a program of noncompliance and noncooperation on both the federal and state levels.” We have entered a new era, a presidency of protest and an increasing illegitimate government. We have the power to withdraw our consent from hate and exploitation and build love and prosperity.

Newsletter: The Movement Matters Most

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. While some people are calling 2016 the worst year ever, we are optimistic that we are on track for transformational change. Of course there are significant challenges ahead, but there are also important opportunities. We knew all along that no matter who won the elections this year, they would be plutocrats, and we, the people, would have to organize and resist. If we look at the big picture, 2016 was a time of progress in political education, movement building and reaching national consensus. These are all elements that are necessary in successful social movements. If we continue to make progress in the years ahead, then our work collectively will have a greater long-term impact than the incoming administration and Congress.

Newsletter - Beyond Russia: The Work Ahead

Trump protest in NYC by Dustin Kirkpatrick

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. As the day that the Electoral College casts its vote for President draws near, so does the frenzy of accusations that Russians hacked the election to benefit Donald Trump and are spreading ‘fake news’ full of Russian propaganda. It seems like everyone is jumping on the anti-Russia bandwagon, including past Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and most of the organizations affiliated with the Democratic Party. Many are calling for the Electors to switch their votes to Hillary Clinton. Russian spying image from the Intercept Russian spying image from the Intercept The absurdity of the 2016 Presidential election doesn’t seem to have an end. We urge readers not to get drawn into the manufactured distractions of the day. We have real work to do, no matter who is elected, to organize across multiple fronts of struggle.

Newsletter: Trump Comes Into Focus; So Do Our Tasks

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. The Trump presidency is coming into focus. Every appointment shows that his populist campaign rhetoric was disguising a government for the ultra-wealthy and the military. He has already appointed the wealthiest cabinet ever with a net worth of $12 to $35 billion, and he is putting generals in what are usually civilian positions. A look at his current appointments show us what we can expect the Trump administration to pursue for policies. Much of the work that has been done for social and economic justice will be threatened. This means that we will need to escalate our efforts and be more assertive. The potential for people working together in solidarity will grow and the long-term impact of the Trump era could be a mass movement that will change the political culture in the United States.

Newsletter - Standing Rock And American Genocide

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. As we write this newsletter, we are driving to North Dakota to volunteer at Standing Rock. We have been wanting to go for many months but could not because of our commitment to organizing to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and our political work outside of Popular Resistance. We were planning to join a team from Baltimore in late December, but recent events made us decide that it was more important to go ourselves now. For a while, a profound sense of the importance of this moment has been growing within us. There are and have been many fights against fossil fuel infrastructure, but this one is different. Given the history of the country, the crises we all face on many levels and the direction that we are going – growing revolt and an increasingly repressive government – the fight at Standing Rock feels like a major turning point.

Newsletter - Time To Ask Who We Are

It's Our Future

By Margaret Flower and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. The United States has reached a turning point. Where we turn is dependent on what we do as people to determine our future. Neither of the major political parties are going to adequately solve the crises we face. This is a time to examine and discuss some fundamental issues: who we are and who we want to be. Out of crises come opportunities to put bold solutions in place. We are calling for a People’s Agenda. We have the power to make changes in this country that completely alter the course of our nation and the world. We can say no to genocide against Native Americans. We can end systemic racism. We can demand respect for the human rights of all people. We can promote peace and prosperity for all. We can solve the climate crisis. It is up to us and how we organize in our communities. At the heart of the success of popular movements is what we have advocated – the building of a broad and diverse unified movement that is active and has built national consensus for the changes we wish to see.

Newsletter: Turn Widespread Discontent Into Mass Movement

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. With the election of Donald Trump as president the struggle continues for economic, racial and environmental justice. We knew we would be in struggle no matter who was elected and have been calling for #NoHoneymoon protests for months. We also support calls made for protests in the days before the inauguration and after them. We expect to see a growing presidency of protest under Trump as the movement will grow and continue to demand justice, human rights and a people-based democracy. We need to build now, provide a vision and have conversations at the local level so when the attacks on our communities occur and false promises of Donald Trump are made obvious people know where they can turn. We can turn widespread discontent into a mass movement with the power to transform the nation.

Newsletter: Time For Boldness, Clarity & Assertiveness

People have the power; protest in Ferguson City Hall in 2014.

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. In this moment, the movement for economic, racial and environmental justice needs be bold, clear and assertive in putting forth an agenda that will serve the economically dispossessed, those under attack by militarized police, immigrants facing detentions and deportations and demonstrate policies that ensure economic security. Where Trump is right, as in detente with Russia, the movement will support him against the neocons and humanitarian war supporters; and we will push him further for an end to war as the primary tool of foreign policy. Both parties are confronting major fissures, leadership challenges and questions about where they go from here. Their confused leadership provides an opportunity for the popular movement to fill the leadership void with policies that put people, planet and peace over profit.

Newsletter: Solidarity With #NoDAPL Strengthens All Of Us

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Once again, as happened repeatedly over hundreds of years of struggle by Indigenous Peoples, the United States is using a militarized response against people seeking to protect the land and water and standing up for their human rights and justice. The militarized police are collaborating with oil companies and Indigenous people are having their civil rights trampled. The Water Protectors wrote the Department of Justice telling them about Indigenous drivers being harassed, the police conducting intrusive strip searches for minor offenses like trespass, the use of unlicensed guard dogs against protesters, as well as the use of military vehicles and militarized law enforcement. As Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault wrote “rather than seeking to keep the peace, law enforcement personnel are clearly working in tandem with private security of Dakota Access”who are escalating the conflict with peaceful water protectors.

Newsletter: Time To Stop The Next War Now

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. There is another drumbeat growing for the United States to go to war. The media is walking in lockstep with bi-partisans in Washington, DC and with the war profiteers to this end. The likely next president, Hillary Clinton, is calling for escalation in Syria with a no fly zone that risks conflict with Russia, a nation she has been demonizing.Gulf of Tonkin How often has the United States been misled into war? How often have the people of the United States been lied to about the need for war, e.g. using a “humanitarian crisis” to justify mass slaughter and the creation of a failed state as in Libya; Weapons of Mass Destruction that did not exist in Iraq leading to a war that created much of the chaos that exists in the region today; and the 9/11 attack that has led to the longest war in US history when it should have led to the arrest of the prime suspect, Osama bin Laden, and his trial in the Hague.

Newsletter - Outing The Prison-Industrial Complex

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. What do you call a system in which private entities partner with law enforcement to spy on peaceful protesters and arrest them, in which the poor and people of color are preyed upon to meet private prison quotas in order to provide slave labor, in which drug use is treated as a crime rather than the public health issue that it is, and in which police are heavily militarized and violate the law without being held accountable? Like the military-industrial complex, the prison-industrial complex (PIC) has become a behemoth that feeds personal and corporate profits through human exploitation. Its tentacles reach into many parts of our society. It is necessary to understand how the many aspects of the PIC operate in order to confront it and stop it from swallowing up our families and communities.

Newsletter: Elections Expose the Oligarchs

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The 2016 presidential election has shown how the duopoly, the two parties that represent big business interests and the wealthiest, are corrupted in ways that prevent the people’s voices from being heard, their necessities being met and the planet being protected from human greed. During the campaigns, leaks have given people a behind-the-scenes look at how the parties operate and research on the candidates shows their personal failures. They give voters an image of elites who behave as if the law does not apply to them and who put themselves ahead of the public interest. Last Friday was a day of embarrassment for both the Republican and Democratic Parties. A tape showing Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault in lewd ways has gotten the bulk of attention, but Wikileaks also released thousands of pages of The Podesta Emails, 2,060 emails and 170 attachments. John Podesta is the ultimate insider.

Newsletter: Living In The Illusion Of Democracy

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The hubris and manipulation of the two establishment parties is evident in the presidential debates. The two Wall Street funded parties decide who is allowed to participate in the debates. The so-called debate ‘commission’ is a disguise of the Democratic and Republican parties. It is a commission in name only, in reality it is a corporation created by the two parties and controlled by the two parties. When the disguise is removed, it becomes obvious that the Democrats and Republicans are choosing to only debate Democrats and Republicans, and preventing any competition. In 1988, the Republican co-founder, Frank Fahrenkopf, who remains a co-chair, indicated at the news conference announcing the ‘commission’ that they were “not likely to look with favor on including third-party candidates in the debates.” The New York Times quoted the Democratic co-founder, Paul Kirk, saying: “As a party chairman, it’s my responsibility to strengthen the two-party system.”

Newsletter – Five Years Later

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. This will be a brief newsletter this week because we are both on the road. Margaret is running for US Senate for Maryland, Green Party, and she is touring the state to spread the word about her and meet voters. Kevin has taken a temporary leave of absence from Popular Resistance to work for the Jill Stein campaign as a senior adviser. Five years ago we organized the occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC with a goal of raising awareness that the problems we face in the US are systemic and that we must build a social movement and the culture of resistance if we are to solve them. We didn’t expect to get involved in electoral politics, but the time has come when majorities of people in the US are sick of the corporate parties and are ready for a change. We believe that there needs to be a political party that reflects the values of the movement and so we are working to build it.