Popular Resistance Newsletter: No Rest Yet
The end of the year is turning out to be among the busiest times since the early days of the occupy encampments. Many Popular Resistance campaigns are coming to fruition and key conflicts around the country and world are at critical moments.
After mid-December and through mid-January there should be an opportunity to reflect and plan for 2015, but for now, we are running at full speed on issues that impact all of us. If you can get involved – we need you – if you can’t get involved but can help to fund this work, a donation now would come at a key time.
Ferguson: The Moment For The Movement Has Arrived
Reports are that the grand jury has reached a decision but that prosecutor Robert McCulloch will announce the grand jury decision this Sunday morning. Schools in Ferguson have announced they will be closed next week.
Police around the country have been preparing for protests reacting to the decision. In Ferguson they have mobilized 1,000 police officers, activated the National Guard, added more weapons and have engaged with protesters’ demands for rules of engagement. Veterans have urged the National Guard to side with the people.
Protesters are also ready. The people of Ferguson are reaching out to all of us and issued a “Call To Action.” Organizers in Ferguson and around the country are prepared for a sustained and strategic nonviolent resistance campaign seeking systemic changes. Long-time human and civil rights organizer Larry Hamm puts the Michael Brown killing in context of history and calls for us to fill the streets the day after the grand jury decision. (Hamm will be our guest for a full hour this Monday at 11 AM Eastern on Clearing The FOG Radio.) Hundreds of lawyers have come to Ferguson prepared not just to shield protesters but to use the sword of litigation if there is police abuse.
In Washington, DC, Chief Kathy Lanier has activated 17 riot squads for Sunday and Monday, which she euphemistically calls “civil disturbance platoons.” Escalation by police in Ferguson and DC as well as other cities threatens to create a self-fulfilling prophecy rather than restrained police activity which would reduce the risk of violence.
People can no longer tolerate the widespread police abuse in communities of color. Molly Crabapple illustrates the connections, demonstrating how the killing of Michael Brown was not a stand-alone incident but a pattern of police abuse in communities of color. As Michael Brown, Sr. said in a video released this week: “I do not want my son’s death to be in vain. I want it to lead to incredible change, positive change, change that makes the St. Louis region better for everyone.”
At Popular Resistance we believe this can end well. David Swanson reminds us of how history is replete with moments when militarized police have tried to suppress movements for justice and the people have won. In 1919, strikers in Massachusetts faced police with machine guns. AJ Muste told the strikers:
“…to permit ourselves to be provoked into violence would mean defeating ourselves; that our real power was in our solidarity and in our capacity to endure suffering rather than give up the fight for the right to organize. . . that cheerfulness was better for morale than bitterness and that therefore we would smile as we passed the machine guns and the police on the way from the hall to the picket lines . . . .”
Michael Brown’s murder, along with many others across the country, has awakened many to the injustice of current police practices and that we can make change in communities long mistreated by police and the unfair economy. Consciousness is not only being raised in black communities, but in white communities as well. Michael Brown, Sr. is right when he says: “ We’re stronger united. Continue to lift your voices with us and lets work together to heal and to create lasting change for all people regardless of race.”
People Call for Net Neutrality Without Delay
The events in Ferguson on the day of Michael Brown’s murder and since then have gained national recognition in large part because of the ability to share information quickly over the Internet. The Internet is an essential tool for democracy as well as for many aspects of our daily lives. That is why net neutrality is a fundamental issue for all of us.
Last week we had a party at the FCC to celebrate how far we have come. The people have sustained pressure on the FCC to reclassify the Internet under Title II of the Telecommunications Act so that there can be full net neutrality. This pressure and our unwillingness to accept phony ‘hybrid’ approaches led the FCC to drop what the Chair Wheeler was recently proposing. This week the FCC announced that it will not vote on the ‘hybrid’ at the next meeting on December 11.
Many have criticized the FCC for not taking Title II up immediately since it and net neutrality laws have been around for a long time and were used for the Internet originally. Net neutrality is widely supported. Even Ted Cruz faced a strong backlash from his base for opposing it.
Net neutrality supporters are concerned that a delay will give the giant telecoms more time to push Congress to pressure the FCC and to mount campaigns to confuse the public. The telecoms have already been using front groups and buying off civil rights groups to oppose net neutrality. Wheeler comes out of the industry and recent emails obtained by VICE through a Freedom of Information request reveal close ties between the industry and the FCC.
That is why we are calling on you to come to DC for the FCC meeting on December 11. We must send a strong message that there must not be any more delay on reclassification. Take the pledge here to join us and to learn what you can do if you can’t make it to DC.
DC Negotiations on TPP An Opportunity To Finish Off Rigged, Corporate Trade
Another issue that connects us as a ‘movement of movements’ is rigged corporate trade. The US Trade Representative has given us a tremendous opportunity: Trade negotiators are coming to Washington, DC on December 7 to 12. We see this as a moment to finally defeat the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Perhaps USTR hopes that we will be unable to organize during the holiday season; we intend to show them we can.
Sign up here to join us to stop trade agreements that will impact our food, water, air and every aspect of our lives. We know these agreements undermine jobs and income, kill the economy for the working class and increase the wealth divide, add to the climate crisis with more fracking and extreme energy and undermine the environment with no environmental protections, undermine the Internet, and undermine human rights.
People power has been a critical ingredient to stop corporate trade agreements, including the TPP. A combination of spectacle protests that exposed the secret agreements, street actions that showed the breadth of opposition and online campaigns that have swamped Congress have stopped passage of “fast track” trade authority. Protests have resulted in members of Congress, progressives and conservatives working together to oppose fast track and the TPP. Even with the new Congress, we believe people power can continue to win.
It’s time for us to know what is in the TPP. Millions around the world have demanded transparency by calling for the text to be made public and we will join them. We intend to go to the negotiations with a letter, signed by thousands, demanding an end to secrecy around the rigged corporate trade deals currently being negotiated. Sign the letter here. Secret negotiations resulting in treaties passed without the people being told what is in them are anti-democratic. These laws destroy the sovereignty of nations, weakening the ability of governments to pass laws in the interests of the people and planet at national, state and local levels as well as in the courts.
We understand how serious the global corporatists are at seeking trillions in dollars at the expense of all of us — we do not underestimate them. We have been holding them at a standstill. The Washington, DC negotiations are an opportunity to finish these agreements off. As trade negotiations fail, momentum is on our side; as fast track fails, momentum is on our side; as people protest, momentum is on our side.
Campaign To Stop Extreme Energy Extraction Escalates
The continued use of fossil fuels even though their extraction is poisoning communities and is worsening the climate crisis is nonsensical. There is consensus that we must rapidly transition to greater efficiency, redistribution of consumption and renewable sources, but the fossil fuel industry continues to rule.
In response, the people have risen and they are not backing down. This week there were escalations of actions to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline in British Columbia’s Burnaby Mountain and by the Dene people in Saskatchewan to stop oil exploration.
The Rosebud Sioux declared the House’s vote for the Keystone XL pipeline “an act of war,” and when it came to the Senate for a vote, protests at Sen. Landrieu’s house and in multiple senate offices stopped its passage. When the vote was announced, Greg Grey Cloud of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe sang a powerful song from the Senate gallery.
Local struggles are also escalating in the US. Students at Harvard are now suing the university for its failure to divest from fossil fuels. Utah tar sands resisters protested outside an investor’s meeting. They are also making plans to return to the extraction site in the Spring.
‘We are Seneca Lake’ held daily actions this week to stop construction of a methane gas storage facility in an unstable salt cavern. The total number of arrests is 73 and two people are serving time, including Dr. Sandra Steingraber who respects the law and wonders when Crestwood CEOs will do the same. Residents of Cove Point are ramping up their civil resistance to a methane gas export terminal that puts their homes in a blast zone and will drive more fracking of the Marcellus Shale. These two efforts are in critical phases. Sign up here to support them.
It is up to us to drive the change from fossil and nuclear fuels because the industries are doing all they can to prevent this. The Nuclear Information and Resource Service published an article that shows how Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’ is a tool for the nuclear industry to grow itself and prevent renewables. TransCanada’s playbook for dealing with environmentalists was revealed recently. And investigative journalists Steve Horn and Lee Fang just published an excellent report on the methane industry’s methods of influencing policy.
If the climate crisis is an issue that you care about, click here to join Popular Resistance’s climate justice group and we’ll keep you informed about what is going on and how to be involved.
Uprisings Around the World
First, a shift in President Obama’s enforcement of immigration laws came this week. After being the president who deported more people than any other, President Obama announced new policies that will protect 4.5 million immigrants. Unfortunately, 6.5 million immigrants remain at risk and will face stiffer enforcement. The executive order will also provide cheap labor to tech industries and continue to drive down wages. But, this is a significant, if partial, victory for the immigrant rights movement. Our hope is it builds their confidence and strength so they escalate their actions to achieve all of their demands.
Mexico is in revolt. The murder of 43 students has resulted in revolt, strikes and uprisings throughout Mexico and solidarity actions around the world. Various government officials have already resigned, a mayor has been criminally accused and the national government is under threat with its political class and governing institutions discredited from this popular movement that seeks an end to a system of repression and inequality.
Students in the United Kingdom are protesting for free college tuition while US students are protesting tuition increases. In Greece, students protesting against the underfunding of schools were severely attacked by police.
Hong Kong: Protesters are being removed from occupying public streets. No doubt this is only the end of a phase for this democracy movement. In the UK, as in Hong Kong, there is a democracy movement growing in London, demanding a real democracy not an oligarchy.
These are all rapidly developing stories. More articles on each will be published tomorrow and in the coming days, so keep watching Popular Resistance regularly for updates, subscribe to our daily digest or twitter feed, @PopResistance. If you can send some financial support, now is a time when we need it.