Popular Resistance Newsletter – End War At Home And Abroad
The recent murders of black men by police and the excessive militaristic repression of protest in the grieving community of Ferguson, MO brought the issues of racism and militarized police to the forefront of the nation this week. We focused our coverage on these issues because they have been bubbling at the surface for a while and now that there is a national dialog and some movement by officials, there is a greater opportunity to organize and change the situation.
For those of you who are not up to speed, last Saturday in Ferguson, MO, 18 year old Michael Brown was shot multiple times and killed by a police officer even though his hands were in the air and he stated that he was unarmed. Two days later, 25 year old Ezell Ford was shot and killed following a routine stop. He was similarly unarmed and is reported by witnesses to have been complying with the officers’ demands. These come shortly after two other high profile cases: Eric Garner in New York and John Crawford in Ohio. According to a report by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, a person of color is killed every 28 hours by police, security guards or vigilantes.
The community in Ferguson, MO was visibly traumatized by the shooting and by the facts that Brown’s body was left on the scene in full view of his neighbors for four hours and no medical treatment was sought. In fact, a nurse who requested permission to assess him was turned away. Vigils were swiftly organized as well as peaceful marches to the police department to demand accountability. Instead of being met with support and space to grieve which would have been appropriate, the St. Louis County Police brought out heavily armed officers in military uniform, tank-like vehicles and assaulted the crowd with tear gas and rubber bullets. The situation escalated on Wednesday night when police were more aggressive. They cleared the protest with tear gas, rubber bullets and sound cannons, shut the media down and dragged people, including a local alderman and his staff, from their cars and arrested them.
The next day, a national moment of silence solidarity rallies and marches were held in at least 96 cities from coast to coast. Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri removed the St. Louis County Police from the case and brought in the State Highway Patrol and put in charge a captain from the community, Ron Johnson, who marched with the protesters. The situation continues to be fragile and the governor declared a state of emergency today in a press conference where the community showed their anger, demanding an indictment of the officer who killed Brown.
This week, the US Civil Rights Commission asked Attorney General Eric Holder to play a stronger role in investigating the case in Ferguson. The Department of Justice announced that it willconduct a broad review of police tactics.
Here is a report from the Massachusetts ACLU on the militarization and federalization of police and the lack of public oversight and accountability. The militarization of police initially grew because of the drug war and then even more after 9/11.
As we feared, mission creep is taking place in Iraq. In addition to air strikes, troops will return to the Anbar region. Here are two reports which connect the US’ actions in Iraq to Chevron’s interest in the oil there. The Friends Committee for National Legislation issued recommendations for responding to the situation in Iraq without bombing.
There is relative quiet in Gaza currently because of the cease fire. We hope that there will be meaningful talks which include the interests of both sides, though we don’t see this as likely. Here is an Australian documentary that we discovered this week which covers Israel’s assault on Palestinian youth.
There have been attempts to bring Israel to account for its actions. After extensive interviews, Bill Blum writes this week why there is unlikely to be an investigation by the International Criminal Court.
On the hopeful side, resistance to Israel’s attack continues to grow. The Obama administration has finally announced that there will be greater scrutiny over what weapons are sent to Israel and he cancelled delivery of more Hellfire Missiles. The Freedom Flotilla is planning once again to try to deliver aid to Palestinians in Gaza. And, opposition to the Israeli government’s actions is growing among people of Jewish Faith in the United States.
Thousands of households in Detroit continue to be without water. A coalition of groups called on President Obama and the Secretary of Health this week to declare the situation a public health emergency and to provide funds to turn the water back on.
We want to remind our readers that another water-related public health emergency has been going on for decades and has not received adequate attention. Many communities, such as this one in the vicinity of Cameron, AZ, have had their water contaminated by uranium and other heavy metals from abandoned uranium mines. Residents have to drive long distances several times a week to get clean water. To learn more about this, please visit the Clean Up The Mines! website and join the campaign.
At Popular Resistance, we advocate for a two track approach to social transformation: stopping harmful policies and creating positive alternatives (real solutions). There is positive news on both tracks this week.
After three years of resistance, Hands Off Appalachia succeeded in making UBS decrease its investments in mountain top removal for coal. They still have more work to do, so please support them if you can. And in Poland, after 400 days of resistance, the community succeeded in driving Chevron away from fracking there.
In New York, worker cooperatives are raising families out of poverty, and because of this the city is providing capital to create more cooperatives. Gar Alperovitz writes that worker ownership would be a positive solution to the crisis at the Market Basket grocery stores in New England.
Campaign Nonviolence is growing and currently has more than one hundred actions planned during the week of International Peace Day, September 21 to 27. September 21 is also the day of the Peoples Climate March in New York City. We encourage you to attend and to plan to come early for the NYC Climate Convergence on September 19 and 20, which we are involved in planning. There will be many workshops, skill shares and cultural events as we create a more connected and strategic movement of movements for justice.
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