Newsletter: Breaking The Spell Of The Corporate State

The people-powered movement is positioned for significant wins in the first quarter of the year.  This week FCC commissioners expressed support for Title II; Big Energy is  facing a veto of the Keystone XL pipeline; and the large movement of movements against corporate trade is rallying to stop fast track trade authority.

Rolling Rebellion Illusion of DemocracyThe democracy crisis grows deeper. Analysis of the mid-term elections shows voting levels lower than the era of Andrew Jackson, when the requirement of owning property to vote was removed.  People are rejecting both political parties as 42% of Americans are registered independents compared to 30% Democrats and 25% Republicans.

Nozomi Hayase writes people are breaking the spell of the corporate state, recognizing the elites who govern are not smarter than the rest of us, that they fit the characteristics of psychopaths for their endless war, debt-ponzi schemes and that the ongoing financial crisis exposes their agenda of hoarding wealth for themselves.  At the same time Hayase writes: “Civil disobedience against the corporate state demands that we disobey their commands and instead begin listening to our hearts that know what is right and wrong.”

The Future of the Internet Being Secured by the People of the Internet

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn (L), Chairman Tom Wheeler (2L), Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel (2R) and Commissioner Michael ORielly (R) watch as protesters are removed from the dais during a hearing at the Federal Communication Commission(FCC) on December 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. The protesters were advocating for net neutrality. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty ImagesThis week the FCC indicated it is going to reclassify the Internet under Title II of the Federal Communications Act as a common carrier where net neutrality rules can be put in place. Chairman Tom Wheeler spoke at a major tech conference, sending a clear message –the Internet as a common carrier is on the way.  It seems the FCC will put in place rules that the vast majority of Americans want to see. Whether they are Republicans, Democrats or independents people know an Internet without discrimination is essential to our economic and political future.

The telecoms will fight until the bitter end to protect their unreasonable profits as they consistently put themselves before the good of the country. Popular Resistance is working to ensure the people defeat the telecoms. This Wednesday, January 14, we will be outside of the National Telecommunications and Cable Association on 25 Massachusetts Ave., NW at noon to protest. Join our campaign to stop the telecoms from destroying Net Neutrality.

1blm5This nine month campaign shows how the Internet impacts each of us; every front of the movement for economic, social and environmental justice relies on the free and open Internet to educate, organize and mobilize people.  Patrisse Cullors wrote in The Hill how after the Trayvon Martin verdict:

“Black Lives Matter was born as a social media response to this verdict, meant to interrupt a public narrative that criminalizes and devalues Black people’s lives in America. With support from techies, designers, artists and thousands of activists across the country, Black Lives Matter is now an online to offline political movement, affirming the humanity and resilience of Black communities. The continued growth of this movement and its capacity to respond nimbly and effectively to the brutal and biased policing of Black communities depends, in part, on access to a non-discriminatory Internet.”

#BlackLivesMatter Continues to Grow; Plans to Reclaim MLK

Ferguson Action has called for the movement to take to the streets on the birthday weekend of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to #ReclaimMLK.  They write:

“From here on, MLK weekend will be known as a time of national resistance to injustice.  This MLK weekend we will walk in the legacy of Dr. King and the movement that raised him.  This January we will #ReclaimMLK.”

While people plan for MLK’s 86th birthday, actions continue. This week Don’t Shoot, a St. Louis coalition of 50 organizations, delayed the opening of the Missouri legislature after holding a die-in at the rotunda of the state capitol. They called on lawmakers to address systemic problems of police abuse and provided a specific reform agenda.

Image by @ReclaimLanguageIn New York City, a powerful 24 hour vigil was held in Grand Central Station to #CarryTheNames of those killed by police violence.  There have been near daily protests at Grand Central Station expressing the #BlackLivesMatter message. The impact of these protests has been so significant that New York has decided to ban die-ins and the placing the names of the dead on the floor.  We’ll see if this shrinking of Freedom of Speech is accepted by the movement.

There were also significant actions taken in the court system this week. A bar complaint was filed against St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch for intentionally allowing perjured testimony in the Michael Brown grand jury. McCulloch was also sued by a grand juror who wants to speak publicly about grand jury irregularities. And the NAACP Legal Defense Fund asked the presiding judge in St. Louis County to appoint a special prosecutor and convene a new grand jury in a nine page letter that laid out multiple abuses of the grand jury.

Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron S. McLayThe NYPD continues its temper tantrum, angry that people demand reforms to prevent police abuse.  We urge Mayor de Blasio and city leaders to stand up against their bullying tactics and stop a police coup.  One tactic being used by the NYPD, a work slow-down, is backfiring as people celebrate less arrests and wonder – do we need so many police? In Pittsburgh the union is criticizing the police chief because he opposes racism.

The #BlackLivesMatter movement will continue to grow. The movie Selma will help people understand their power. In this 50th anniversary of the Selma civil rights campaign, it is important to learn from history and realize that our actions can change history.

The #BlackLivesMatter movement is showing it is connected to other issues. Many realize that the police were designed to oppress the poor. Links are developing between #BlackLivesMatter with the #FightFor15 seeking to end poverty wages.  And, climate activists are recognizing the connection between racism and environmental destruction where poor communities of color are most impacted by the injustice of climate change and ecological pollution.

Keep It In The Ground, Stop Building Carbon Infrastructure

A study published in Nature tells the world that carbon energy — oil, gas, coal, tar sands – needs to be left in the ground and we need to stop building carbon energy infrastructure. This is the goal of many in the climate justice movement.  There are tough times ahead for big oil as the country and world face this reality.

As Michael Klare writes:

“Around the world, carbon-based fuels are under attack.  Increasingly grim economic pressures, growing popular resistance, and the efforts of government regulators have all shocked the energy industry.  Oil prices are falling, colleges and universities are divesting from their carbon stocks, voters are instituting curbs on hydro-fracking, and delegates at the U.N. climate conference in Peru have agreed to impose substantial restrictions on global carbon emissions at a conference in Paris later in the year.  All this has been accompanied by what might be viewed as a moral assault on the very act of extracting carbon-based fuels from the earth, in which the major oil, gas, and coal companies find themselves portrayed as the enemies of humankind.”

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 9.24.13 AMThis can all add up to a historic moment of transition, but movements have to work to make it happen.  Big Energy is not backing down; in fact Klare writes how they are escalating their expansion of carbon infrastructure, getting nations and states that profit from oil along with bought off politicians to do their bidding. This week  a court ruled that property owners had no right to sue to protect their property from the KXL pipeline.

Corporations are putting forth a vision of global growth requiring carbon fuels , calling for “carbon humanitarianism, where the oil companies provide the fuel needed to satisfy a growing global middle class. Of course this vision is a false one that denies what is already happening because of the climate injustice. But, the truth does not tell its own tale. People must put forward a clear message and continue to take action to block carbon fuels.

West Virginians protest fracking in their state. (Photo: engagejoe/cc/flickr)The global movement to stop tar sands seeks to make 2015 the year the world turns away from tar sands. The anti-fracking movement learned a lesson in New York – if you organize and mobilize you can win. This week we saw protests to stop pipelines and drilling in Pennsylvania,  opposition growing in Virginia against a pipeline, people in New York and Pennsylvania opposing FERC approval of a pipeline, evolving civil disobedience against fracking infrastructure in Seneca Lake, NY, a growing campaign to stop a fracked gas export terminal and refinery in Cove Point, MD and First Nations demanding President Obama veto any authorization of the KXL pipeline. Investments in fracked gas and tar sands are also risking another economic collapse.

The Ultimate Connector Of Issues: Rigged Corporate Trade Agreements

This week we attended an event on Capitol Hill that brought together more than a dozen Members of Congress and numerous non-profit organizations to oppose Fast Track Trade Authority. Larry Cohen of the Communication Workers of America called it the largest coalition ever against corporate trade agreements, representing tens of millions of people. Senator Bernie Sanders pointed to the secrecy of negotiations and demanded that the texts be released.

1nofasttrackThis movement of movements is broad because every issue will be impacted by corporate trade.  Economic unfairness confronting the #BlackLivesMatter movement will be made worse as the wealth divide expands. Internet advocates could see much of the progress made at the FCC undone by corporate trade. The climate justice and environmental movements will face a trade agreement with no environmental protection and more extreme energy extraction.  Our food, water, health care, democracy and sovereignty will all be weakened. These trade agreements can be defeated, Fast Track can be stopped but we all must mobilize to stop the biggest corporate power grab in many yearsPlease join our campaign to fight back and stop Fast Track. We can win but we need you.

Build Our Power With Inspiration and Knowledge that Now is the Time

In these early days of 2015 we find the nation and world are at a pivot point. The US plutocracy, disguised as a representative democracy, is revealing itself. At the same time, people are beginning to understand they have power.

Here are two inspiring actions we want to highlight from this week. When the Vermont governor sold out the people on ensuring healthcare as a human right, the Vermont Workers Center demanded the legislature move forward without the governor.  They said it is time for Vermonters to rise up. They intruded on the governor’s inauguration, disrupted and occupied the legislature. They have not given up the struggle for their human rights. There are many lessons to be learned from Vermont’s struggle that will help all movements.  The bottom-line is we must recognize we have human rights and when they are denied, we must fight for them.

Witness Against Torture January 9,  3We also want to highlight the moving protests occurring in Washington, DC this week against the torture and imprisonment that is part of the war culture in the United States. Witness Against Torture is mobilizing to highlight the horrors of imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay with protests that present powerful images and document the abuse and injustice people still suffer at the hands of the US military. Watch the brief video in this article, Now That You Know You Cannot Turn Away.

We hope these actions inspire you. The growth of the culture of resistance was evident at the end of last year and the beginning of this when the first Worldwide Festival of Resistance was held in Mexico, attracting 2,600 people from 48 countries. The event organized by the Zapatistas focused on the resistance of building the world we want to see while defending our communities from corporations who want to take our resources and destroy our lands. People across the world are fighting back:

“One of the most common responses to speakers was a chant from the crowd that they are not alone. That we are all in this together and are fighting the same fight. And, as the relatives of the Ayotzinapa massacred say, we cannot sleep until we defeat these evils. ¡La Lucha Sigue! The Fight Goes On!”

Festival of Resistance 2014 sign