In his story about how he became aware, Marcus Godwyn writes, “I don’t know about you but when it comes to this 21st century, so far, I’m distinctly not a fan!” It is up to us to redefine what the 21st century ultimately means. To that end, here is what happened this week and what is coming up.
The Internet in the 21st Century
The new net neutrality rules were published this week and the good news from our friends at Free Press is that the Internet as a common carrier has been restored. Matt Wood says, “These rules are an all-too-rare example of Washington actually working for the people.” This only happened because people organized and mobilized to make it happen. The result was an unexpected one and would not have occurred without a people’s intervention.
As always, there is more to do to defend the new rules from an attack by the giant telecoms and their Congressional puppets as well as to further democratize the Internet. The same day that the net neutrality rules were voted on, the FCC also removed obstacles to public ownership of networks at the municipal level.
Another critical issue for Internet freedom is privacy. Congress re-introduced legislation to allow the NSA to spy on our Internet activity and shield corporations from being complicit. We must resist this intrusion in multiple ways. Congress needs to hear from those who are opposed to the bill. We must also use tools to protect our privacy. A number of groups are suing the NSA over data collection. And we must protect those, like Matt DeHart, who stand up for our right to information.
On a similar note, we want to make you aware that Pearson, the company that makes the PARCC student tests, is also monitoring student social media and reporting concerns to the Department of Education. The DOE contacted a New Jersey school to ask them to discipline a student because of a tweet.
Support our efforts to defend the new neutrality rules and continue to work to democratize the Internet.
Global Governance in the 21st Century
The work to stop Congress from passing fast track ‘trade promotion authority’ is, to put it bluntly, kicking a__! It was supposed to be introduced in February but wasn’t. The President wanted it by the end of March but the commercial news is reporting that Congress doesn’t have the votes, thanks to your good work. Even the administration’s attempt to create a phony front group has been exposed.
The AFL-CIO stepped up in an historic way and cut off all support to members of Congress in order to focus on this fight. Let’s hope this hails a return to union muscle in the struggle for justice. The Internet freedom movement is pushing hard on Senator Wyden not to betray the work to restore net neutrality by supporting fast track. They are flying a 30’ blimp over his town halls this weekend.
Yesterday was a national day of action to ‘drop in and hang out’ in member’s offices. Popular Resistance went to Senator Wyden’s home in New York City to protest and also sat-in at his DC office. Next Thursday, we are inviting all who can make it to “Flood Congress” in a powerful peaceful action. Contact Mackenzie@PopularResistance.org if you can make it to DC.
The fight to stop fast track is about more than stopping the TPP. We wrote an article this week describing the bigger picture of the path towards a model of global corporate governance that will give corporations greater rights than nation-states and create hybrid corporate-government institutions. We’ve found in our meetings with staffers that most members of Congress are thinking narrowly and have no idea of the implications of fast track on our democratic rights. More than 100 legal scholars agree.
The fight to stop fast track must remain strong over the next few months. They can still introduce a bill and move it quickly, so keep the pressure on. Use www.StopFastTrack.com to contact your members of Congress. Join the weekly National Fast Track Resistance calls too and invite your friends. This Wednesday we’ll focus on how the TPP destroys local democracy and what communities are doing to push back.
Support our efforts to stop fast track for the rigged, corporate trade agreements they are trying to push through Congress.
A Roller-Coaster week for #BlackLivesMatter
There was good news this week when the Missouri Supreme Court removed an unjust judge from the bench, the chief of police in Ferguson resigned as did the city manager and court clerk. The protests in Ferguson remain strong and peaceful despite the unfortunate shooting of two police officers, which is under investigation. Members of Lost Voices traveled to Selma, AL and interrupted the President during his speech. Organizers in Ferguson are holding an Alternative Spring Break for “community service and civic engagement.”
But the bad news is that police continue to shoot unarmed black men with impunity. The Madison, WI community was shocked that it could happen in their city when 19-year-old Tony “Terrell” Robinson was murdered. They’ve responded with massive protests. Protests are also going on for two men with mental illness that were killed in Atlanta, GA and Los Angeles, CA.
Mothers for Justice, started by the mother of Dontre Hamilton, is planning a large march in Washington, DC on Mother’s Day and they are inviting other mothers of victims of police brutality to join them in the organizing. Click here for more information.
Anti-war Movement Rises Up
Many groups are organizing a “Spring Rising” this coming week in Washington, DC for the 12th anniversary of the war against Iraq. It will be four days of teach-ins and actions including a “War Criminal Bus Tour.” The event will culminate with a large rally and march. Click here for more information.
In April, there will be a Global Day of Action Against Military Spending and an action on Earth Day connecting militarism and the climate crisis. In May is the United National Antiwar Conference. World Beyond War is presenting an alternative vision of global security.
To be certain, the alternative will be based on reality rather than the twisted definition of security being used by the Obama administration to label Venezuela as a threat to the US. Glen Ford points out this hypocrisy by a president who is provoking aggression all over the world.
Stopping Environmental Destruction and Climate Wars
Will water be the next ‘resource’ that fuels war, as predicted by the Pentagon? We are already seeing hints of a future we would be wise to prevent. A NASA scientist reported this week that the state of California has only a year’s worth of water in its reservoirs and aquifer levels are dropping. Add to this that Governor Brown allowed fracking wastewater to poison some of those aquifers to see a disaster in motion. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, people are fighting against the commodification of water which is restricting access to this necessity. Matt Stannard chronicles other areas of concern and writes that the solution is to place water back in the control of the public as a commons under democratic oversight.
Community-control of water would probably lead to stronger oversight of corporations that pollute without concern for the health and safety of people and the planet. Big Energy is doing all that it can to prevent our transition to a safer and healthier renewable energy future. Here is Big Energy’s plan to stop community solar.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is also doing its part to support new fossil fuel and nuclear energy infrastructure against the public’s will, but that’s not surprising when you understand that the FERC is funded directly by the industry it regulates. Popular Resistance is a participant in Beyond Extreme Energy which has taken the FERC on. Activists have taken action at every FERC monthly public meeting and at a recent industry event where the chairwoman was receiving an award. Instead of listening to the concerns, the Commissioners issued a new “Sit Down and Shut Up” Rule, but we are undeterred. Join us in May for 8 days of creative action at the FERCus.
People are truly building their power together this year to fight new fossil fuel infrastructure and demand a new energy future. It’s happening at the local level through coalitions like this one in the Ohio Valley. And it’s happening through collaboration and action from coast to coast. Click here for more information.
You may remember when we reported on a giant taconite mine being built in Wisconsin that hired armed mercenaries to keep protesters out. Activists fought back on many levels, including camping out through two winters. And they won! The mine company pulled out.
Through persistence and solidarity, we will win.
We are a reader supported website, please click here to donate.