Newsletter – No Justice, No Peace
Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report writes that “No justice, no peace” is “a vow by the movement to transform the crisis that is inflicted on Black people into a generalized crisis for the larger society, and for those who currently rule.”
In reality, given the violence being inflicted upon people, particularly people of color, whether directly or indirectly through rising poverty, unemployment, homelessness, lack of access to health care and more, and the government’s failures to address these crises and listen to the people, disruption is a necessary element for political change.
Institutionalized racism is a founding principle of the United States beginning with treatment of the Native inhabitants when settlers arrived and continuing today in the disparities between the ways that people of color and white people are treated. This was blatantly exposed recently when police in McKinney, Texas brutalized a fourteen year old girl and her friends at a pool party.
Lawrence Brown puts the racist terrorist attack in North Charleston, SC in context by documenting the history of brutality against blacks. He asks, “will white Americans confront the ideology of white supremacy and uproot it from every policy, practice, and community?” Alicia Garza urges us not to see the recent massacre in North Charleston as an isolated incident, nor to view it as a consequence of mental illness. Instead, it should be recognized as a manifestation of inherent racism and those who promote this racism should be held accountable.
Similarly Richard Rothstein outlines how racist public policies have caused racial disparities in housing and access to work. He describes how in Los Angeles, as in many cities across the country, primarily people of color are being displaced from their homes so that landlords and developers can make higher profits.
Communities are fighting back. Residents of one building in LA are sticking together and protesting weekly. Community members in LA are also taking action together to end police violence. In New York, the death of Kalief Browder who was jailed in Rikers, New York at sixteen and held for three years without trial is starting to change structural policies. It is a sad fact that it takes such tragedy to bring about this change.
A draft of the Pope’s most recent encyclical, this one on climate change, was leaked this week. It is reported that he calls for changes in lifestyle and consumption habits along with recognition of obstacles to solutions. Will he also call out the capitalistic system that drives the worsening of the climate crisis and the corruption of government by Industry that prevents solutions?
Disruption is required to turn us from the current deadly path. Audrey Siegel speaks about her commitment to stop Shell from drilling the arctic. She says, “We aren’t just going up against Shell and the Arctic drilling, what we are actually going up against is the evil and the greed that has put this world in the condition that we are in right now.” Activists, many of them in kayaks, did their best to blockade Shell’s huge oil rig from leaving Washington State this week.
In Vermont, activists held an overnight vigil and one person locked down to a construction site to prevent a massive pipeline from being built. In Massachusetts, a group of activists disrupted a gas forum two days in a row bringing the voices of frontline communities to the industry executives. In Washington, DC, a large group delivered a letter from scientists and petitions calling for the Smithsonian to cut ties to fossil fuels. Later in the week, Beyond Extreme Energy again disrupted the corrupt Federal Energy Regulatory Commission monthly meeting and then did the same at a gas industry luncheon.
Lee Stewart of Popular Resistance writes, “Such disruptions and appeals seem to do nothing when the system is set up to be non-responsive. Nor do I think any one of these endeavors, a few among many, can be achieved alone in isolated campaigns. Each one rests on a rotting system that if not dismantled and replaced as a whole, will leave us with a threatened existence.” He urges us to continue to find ways to act boldly and work in solidarity.
Last chance to stop Fast Track
There is tremendous solidarity in the pivotal fight to stop Fast Track, but we have an uphill battle there. Despite millions of calls, emails, letters, protests and visits to members of Congress, we may see passage of Fast Track legislation this week in time for the President to sign it and make it to the signing ceremony for the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) at the end of the month. Even members of the European Parliament urged Congress to oppose Fast Track.
On June 12, the House voted down a key part of the Fast Track package that passed in the Senate and some declared victory, but we were less optimistic. We had won the battle of the day but the war was not over yet. President Obama and Republican leadership huddled closely over the weekend to find a way to advance Fast Track.
What they did was called unscrupulous by some and unconstitutional by others. They connected a standalone Fast Track bill to a firefighter’s pension bill and brought that to a vote in the House on Thursday where it passed with the necessary 218 votes. The 28 Democrats who supported Fast Track the first time stuck together and voted as a bloc again.
Now the Fast Track bill heads to the Senate for a vote this week. There are 14 Democrats who supported Fast Track the last time it was in the Senate, so the outcome depends on whether they will pledge to stay together or if four will break ranks and vote no. Find out who they are here.
We must move beyond phone calls and emails if we are to stop Fast Track this week. We must show our anger and that there will be political consequences for “yes” votes. Actions are being organized across the country on Monday and Tuesday, particularly in key states. And others are planning “Senate Don’t Come Home” Actions for the June 27 recess for Senators who vote for Fast Track.
The Rigged Trade Rebellion will return to Washington, DC on Tuesday morning and we urge you to join us. The more who attend, the more we can do to make noise. Follow this Facebook page for details or fill out this form. You can also contact Mackenzie@popularresistance.org.
If you want to understand why this opposition is critical, read David Dayen’s piece on why these agreements are so harmful and why they are not about trade, or Stan Sorscher’s piece about why the TPP is bad policy, or Ellen Brown’s piece on why the treaties will permanently privatize money and prevent us from democratizing the economy. Bruce Fein and Alan Morrison explain how the ISDS provisions in these agreements violate the US Constitution.
More to act on
Net Neutrality – Now that we won reclassification of the Internet as a common carrier, the Appropriations Committee in Congress is working to defund its enforcement.
The Asian Pivot – The US and Japan are collaborating on the construction of a huge US military base in an ecologically-sensitive area of Okinawa despite widespread opposition by the people of Okinawa who protest daily. If you would like to act in solidarity with them to stop this base, please sign this petition.
Privacy – There is still work to do to protect our civil liberties and right to dissent.
In 1968 the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke outside a prison in California where people were being held for protesting the Vietnam War. In the speech he drew the connections between the Civil Rights movement and the peace movement. Today we see the links between racism, inequality, imperialism, militarism and ecocide and his comment on that day continues to ring true: “There can be no justice without peace. And there can be no peace without justice.”