Newsletter: We Will Not Back Down

| Newsletter

This week we focus on the grim reality that government agencies and corporations work together to exploit people and planet and suppress dissent. This knowledge can be overwhelming at times to those who are striving for a more peaceful and just world, especially for those who are labeled as ‘terrorists’ by the ones who are violent.

In this work, our hearts are fortified by the love demonstrated in activist communities, by the growing number of communities who are standing up to the security state and corporate domination and by the tangible victories occurring each week.

Undercover police officer entering Zucotti Park on the first day of Occupy Wall Street

Undercover police officer entering Zucotti Park on the first day of Occupy Wall Street

They seek to crush dissent because they are afraid

In “Seven Lessons From How Police Crushed Occupy,” FOIA documents revealed the deep collaboration between federal agencies, even the military, and corporations prior to and during the ‘occupy phase’ of the movement for social, economic and environmental justice. Peaceful protesters were labeled as terrorists and agents infiltrated occupy meetings from coast to coast.

To peaceful activists, the amount of resources spent on surveillance and policing seems ridiculous. It shows the fear of the elites. This fear and over-reaction continues. New York Police Commissioner Bratton just announced a new force under the terrorism unit that will respond to protests. Initially this force was going to be armed with machine guns, but Bratton seems to have backed down from that. Bratton is also pushing to make it a felony to resist arrest, knowing how resisting arrest is misused by police, this would lead to serious abuse.

Fear explains the attempts to silence political prisoners like Mumia abu-Jamal through a new law and rap artists like Brandon Duncan who is facing life in prison, because of an obscure law, for lyrics even though he committed no crime.

The Dallas 6The security state has little regard for human rights. Sister Megan Rice, 84 years old, describes the horrible conditions she is experiencing in jail. John Kiriakou, a whistleblower on CIA torture who was recently released, tells of the abusive treatment of inmates with medical conditions. Supporters are being asked to attend a hearing on February 17 for the Dallas 6, inmates in Pennsylvania who peacefully protested their abusive treatment in solitary confinement.

Where will this stop? In Egypt, 230 activists were sentenced to life in prison, and although TV reporter Peter Greste was released from jail after 400 days, his two colleagues remain. We must stand together to expose and protest these injustices to prevent their expansion. As Chris Hedges wrote this week, Malcolm X understood that the oppressors do not have a conscience. It is up to us to stop them.

The biggest polluter you may not have heard of

There is a low-profile agency in Washington, DC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is a rubber stamp for the oil and gas industry. According to one of the commissioners, the FERC “is not in the habit of denying permits” for oil and gas infrastructure; even when families and communities are put at risk.

FERC approved a permit for storage of liquefied propane gas in a salt cavern in upstate New York, saying it was safe even though the community has proof that there are structural reasons that it is hazardous. Community resistance to the project by a the coalition We Are Seneca Lake is growing.

Cove Point crane climbed 2 February 3, 2015This week, a Maryland teacher scaled a 150 foot crane of a dangerous gas refinery and export plant that is being built in the residential community of Cove Point. This is the first such facility to be placed in a densely populated area and several groups are suing the FERC to stop construction. The town of Deerfield, MA is also suing FERC over a gas pipeline that will require the taking of private land using eminent domain.And resistance played a role in causing the FERC to delay its report on a pipeline in the Northeast.

The Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) coalition is focusing attention on FERC. Last November, BXE shut the FERC down five days in a row and last month they shut down a public meeting of the commissioners. FERC is starting to feel the heat and is panicking. When BXE activist, Ted Glick, attended a meeting to which he was invited this week, FERC security had him removed from the building. After their action was publicized FERC backed down, knowing they were probably acting illegally. More actions are planned at FERC this spring.

Even though it is known that the oil and gas industry works with law enforcement to spy on environmental activists and some are labeled as ‘eco-terrorists’, the fight to stop fossil fuel infrastructure is growing. Just this week, we posted articles on opposition to pipelines in West Virginia, New Jersey, Virginia, and Ottawa, Canada.

Photo by Mike RoyPipelines are one of the reasons that there will be protests across Canada on February 13, known as #ShutDownCanada. This is also the Global Day of Divestment. People are demanding that we end the fossil fuel era and move to 100% renewable energy sources. This town in Germany is using solar to create four times the amount of energy they use.

Dahr Jamail wrote a powerful piece called “Mourning our Planet,” which includes letters by climate scientists who recognize very acutely the severity of the crises we face. Jamail quotes Joanna Macy, a scholar of Buddhism and eco-philosophy, who says that in order to continue in our work, we must express our feelings so that we can see reality without becoming emotionally numb.


This week, Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that the FCC will vote on reclassification of the Internet as a common carrier under Title II on February 26. This has been an amazing come from behind victory. Dominic Rushe of the Guardian describes the powerful contribution that Kevin Zeese and other activists made to achieving net neutrality.

Our next victory needs to be stopping Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Legislation is expected to be introduced at the end of this month. The importance of stopping Fast Track cannot be overstated. It will give seven years for transnational corporations and the US government to cement corporate control over the economy and governments of the world. The damage will be devastating.

We are forming a rapid response team to mobilize as needed. You can learn more this Wednesday on the first Green Shadow Cabinet open meeting. Click here for more information and to register.

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 12.19.16 PMOpposition to the Atlantic version of the agreement (TTIP) is strong in Europe. Hundreds of people turned out to protest recent negotiations in Brussels. They brought a giant Trojan horse to highlight the secrecy and hidden threats to democracy. Recent leaks show that there are provisions in TTIP that will allow strong corporate input into any new laws. Fortunately for the people of all countries involved in TTIP, the new government of Greece led by a leftist party, Syriza, stated that it will not ratify the TTIP which will prevent it from becoming law.

The rise of Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain, coupled with severe austerity in the EU, has some people anticipating a European Spring. Let’s hope that we see continue growth of resistance. Though the pushback may be great, this is our path forward to stopping the machine and creating a new world.

When you see the power structure stiffen its back and get abusive, remember that is because we are building power – and they fear the people having power. This is the time to escalate and show them that we will not back down.

  • il corvo

    Sure politicians will try and take the credit for the open internet ruling by the FCC, if not this year then in 2016. But we know different, this was a citizens victory. WHEN THE PEOPLE LEAD, THE POLITICIANS WILL FOLLOW!

  • Aquifer

    Well, why don’t the people lead by electing better politicians!

  • il corvo

    Most people don’t lead they follow the choices given them by the Ruling Class. The more people that say “No” to political hypocrisy, incoherence and propaganda the more politicians listen. How else to compete for equality against big money interests? The FCC decision is but one glaring example of how 4 million individuals stopped a one sided decision. Let’s take a moment to celebrate and not let politicians take the credit.

  • LibertyQuotient

    Will progress and victories on single-issues like net neutrality eventually lead to progress and victories over the massive national security monster? I don’t think so. This monster, the mightiest in the world, is currently waging shadow wars in 150 countries and is responsible over the decades for millions upon millions of deaths? If we do not subdue it, mark my words, there will continue to be blowbacks, eventually escalating to a possible WWII or worse, Armageddon. I do not think I am exaggerating what the consequences could be if America doesn’t start making peace instead of enemies..

  • easywriter

    We have to say more than NO. We have to stop cooperating!

  • Aquifer

    So let’s get together and say NO at the polls … let’s actually toss them out and put in non-corporate folk …

    Yes, this was a victory (hopefully) for a movement – but considering that there are so many other injuries that continue to be inflicted on us, I confess i do not understand why we insist on putting folks in office that we continually, in large numbers, have to protest against … seems almost masochistic …We are always on the defensive and playing catch up. Why not start out with folks who do, indeed, represent us, non-corporate candidates whose platform represents what so many of us say we want in poll after poll; if we will roll up our sleeves and do that, though it won’t be easy, maybe we would then have some time to enjoy life instead of having to be continually called on to demonstrate, march, etc. – of course we would still have work to do, but at least we would have a gov’t that facilitates, instead of impedes, our efforts …

  • il corvo

    With all due respect, a political change will take place when a critical mass of individuals begins to see the facade of the system politics as compared to the actuality of that system. In families, this can be compared to the myth that “we are a happy family” compare to the actuality of day to day life in that family. One is for public consumption and the other is what is real.

    Unless each of us sees the facade for what it is we will just replace this system with another that will be equally self centered and self serving. Each of us working in our communities, changing the wrongs, and caring about each other is one way to start. What is our sphere of influence and what can we do within that sphere? Sure voting “Green” will feel good but picketing an unjust community policy might just do more.

  • Aquifer

    What is better – picketing a policy or changing it? Vote in decent officials and you can change it ….

    Voting Green doesn’t “feel good” until enough of us do it to make a difference – sure, picket – on your way to the polls ..