Popular Resistance Newsletter – Do You See The Culture Of War?

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This week marked one year since a young graffiti artist, Israel Hernandez, was killed with a Taser. Here is a report questioning the validity of calling tasers ‘non-lethal.’

1garnerEach week we see reports of police violence and increasing militarization of police departments. Sometimes police violence is blatant as was this attack on young protesters in Mexico that caused death and serious injuries. And sometimes it is more subtle and dispersed, as this murder of a young Latino in Denver. Sometimes it gets national attention, as is the case of Eric Garner. And sometimes it is part of a daily phenomenon as these youth in Chicago recount.

No matter how police militarization and violence affects your community, the trend is disturbing and justice is lacking for people of color. It is up to us to demand a demilitarization and de-escalation of police violence. Sonali Kolhatkar provides some insight and ideas into how this can be done. If you are concerned, we recommend starting a local group to discuss how your community is affected and to make plans to change local practices.

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 11.42.09 AMOn a related note, October will be a month of actions to stop mass incarceration and the torture of prisoners. Click here for more details.

Police violence and incarceration are symptoms of the militarization of our culture. Instead of common-sense, restorative practices to make our communities healthier, we are indoctrinated in the ways of Empire from a young age. This article reveals that military recruiters bend and break rules to gain access to youth in our high schools. Look around you this week and you’ll be amazed at how deeply war culture has penetrated all aspects of our society.

Stopping Imperialism

We watched with sadness as President Obama advanced his agenda to loot Africa this week.

1iraqJust as the bombing stopped in Gaza, it has started in Iraq. Despite a bi-partisan letter and a landslide vote demanding that the White House seek approval from Congress, the President found a loophole to authorize bombing to ‘protect Embassy staff’ and provide ‘humanitarian’ aid. Robert Naiman of Just Foreign Policy explains why emergencies don’t permit ignoring the Constitution. David Swanson, author of “War Is A Lie,” reminds us that there are other options and Peter Van Buren describes the slippery slope we have entered.

There is so much to write about Israel’s attack on the people of Gaza, perhaps most important is the resistance to it. A group of Jewish Youth called “If Not Now, When?” took many actions to protest the Israeli massacre this week. One of them explains why here. There is an anti-war movement struggling inside Israel. Israeli youth are refusing to fight even when it means facing abuse and jail. And a top foreign minister in the UK quit over her country’s position on Israel.

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 10.02.41 AMHere are two moving pieces: A short video of a large protest in Austin, TX and Khashayar Nikazmrad reading his new poem, “White,” on Acronym TV.

The efforts to suppress awareness of and protest against apartheid and genocide in Palestine are being exposed in the US. Senator Boxer used a maneuver to make sure that CSPAN did not cover the moving testimony of a US teenager who was brutalized in Israel. A university in Illinois fired a professor for tweeting about Gaza. But former president Jimmy Carter wasn’t afraid to come out strongly in calling for Hamas to be recognized in the cease fire negotiations.

The War at Home

Baltimore residents staged a Speak-Out to Rethink RAD on June 11. (Photo courtesy of Right to Housing Alliance)

Baltimore residents staged a Speak-Out to Rethink RAD on June 11. (Photo courtesy of Right to Housing Alliance)

There is also a war being waged on us at home in the form of corruption, austerity and the assault on the environment, but important victories are being gained too. We must be aware of how this attack is being waged. In Chicago, Mayor Emanuel is cutting funding and pensions while giving hundreds of millions of public dollars through a special account to subsidize corporations. The Postal Service is being privatized and Baltimore is on the front lines of a new experiment to privatize public housing.

And despite a serious drought, Nestle is taking water in Colorado and California and selling it under the brands of Arrowhead and Pure Life. For many reasons we urge you not to buy bottled water, one of which is that water is essential for life, not a commodity to be sold for profit. When someone buys bottled water, they are accepting that water is a commodity.

In the US’ system of plutocracy, corporations act with impunity to poison the environment, and as this new report shows, criminal prosecution for environmental crimes is near zero. Even in the case of Bhopal which has international attention, the court ruled this week that victims can’t sue Union Carbide.

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 12.26.12 PMWe are gaining greater insight into how this corruption works. Heather Rogers exposed this secret White House office where lobbyists go to bend the rules in their favor. And activists locked down in a hotel this week to alert the public to a new entity in ALEC to penetrate cities and counties with its corporate agenda.

ALEC was behind this constitutional amendment that passed this week in Missouri that sounded innocent but was backed by Cargill and Monsanto and actually opens the door to more factory farming and pollution. And ALEC was behind this seed law being used in Pennsylvania to prohibit people from sharing seeds through an innovative volunteer seed library.

In the face of this knowledge, some outrage is appropriate, but don’t despair. There have been important victories. Walgreens was planning to move off-shore but its plans were thwarted by exposure and the threat of a boycott. Indigenous activists won in court against a Canadian Gold Mine that threatens their land. Look at this major environmental disaster in Canada to see what harm mining can do.

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 2.05.44 AMA Houston-based company pulled out of a liquefied gas project in Canada because of resistance in that community. And an employer is being held accountable and sentenced to jail for ordering employees to dump toxic fracking waste into public waterways despite their reluctance. Sadly for activists in Colorado who worked so hard to get signatures to put fracking initiatives on the ballot, their member of Congress Jared Polis pulled the signatures in a very undemocratic move to prevent a vote on local control of fracking.

Opportunities for Action

Here are the current featured actions on Popular Resistance:

  1. Sign the petition calling for James Clapper and John Brennan to be fired for lying to Congress and the public.
  2. Send an email to the FCC calling for them to leave the den of corporate lobbyists in Washington, DC and speak to the people through regional hearings.
  3. And mark your calendar for the New York City Climate Convergence in September. This conference on Sept. 19 and 20 (just before the Climate March) will feature excellent plenaries and workshops and opportunities to build our movement of movements. Contact us at info@popularresistance.org if you are interested in a Popular Resistance presence.

Please sign them and share them with people you know.

1sdMore events:

  1. Hold a teach-in on Net Neutrality with these easy tools provided by Mozilla.
  2. Organize a student debt event at your school for September 17 when Strike Debt announces its next action.
  3. Join the organizing of the next US Social Forum which will be held in three places!
  4. Join the week of actions in support of the Cuban 5 in September.
  5. Join the first international day of action against drones on October 4.

 To stay up to date on actions and events, click here to sign up for the Daily Digest.