Popular Resistance Newsletter – The Wide Awake Club
Looking back over this week, we see more signs of an awakening to the harsh realities of our history and the current crises. We are hopeful that truth and public debate are laying a path towards the just transformation that we seek.
Exposing the truth
We entered the public debate on the relationship of progressive activists to political parties this week with our article, “Independence or Partisanship.” In the 1850’s, many people who recognized the corruption and immorality of the major parties left them to form new abolitionist parties, in 1864 these evolved into the Republican Party. During Abraham Lincoln’s campaign they called themselves “The Wide Awake Club.” The issue then was slavery. Today the issue is the rule of money and we face two major parties that are corrupted by wealthy interests.
It’s not easy to wake up. It means facing some hard truths. But awareness is a first step towards change. This week, a United Nations committee released a report that was critical of the US’ human rights record. They mentioned a number of areas of concern including torture, treatment of prisoners, failure to prosecute and spying. It is timely that the Senate also finally released their report on the CIA’s use of torture which reveals a pattern of lying to defend an ineffective program. Have they no shame? Apparently Dick Cheney doesn’t because he continued to defend the torture program when he spoke at American University. Some students didn’t buy it and walked out in protest chanting “war criminal.”
The US has a long history of abusing human rights. Another hard truth we must face is our past and ongoing treatment of Indigenous Peoples, the American Holocaust. This new documentary is the first one to show how Hitler actually studied US’ ‘Indian policy,’ American ethnic cleansing, as a model. The abuse of Indigenous People continues in many ways. There is a lot of healing on all sides that needs to occur. In his most recent letter, Leonard Peltier encourages us to do our “best to do what is right and right what is wrong and protect what we have and regain what we have lost.”
This week, the United Nations also released the IPCC report on climate change which outlines the real threats to food security and prospects of resource wars. Peltier reminds us that prophesies of destruction are warnings for us to take action and change course. This is a goal of the Global Climate Convergence that kicks off ten days of action from Earth Day to May Day.
Action to Protect the Environment
Of course, many are already taking action to stop the extreme energy extraction economy that is fueling climate change. Each week, there is so much happening that we can only highlight some of it.
Many communities are saying “no” to dirty fuels through blockades and disruptions. Two were arrested in Illinois for blocking a road needed by Peabody Coal. The town welcomed Peabody when they arrived and brought needed jobs, but has since learned the high price they are paying. And the Sioux in South Dakota recently learned of a shady deal cut between TransCanada and their tribal council. They set up a prayer camp to block the pipeline and are organizing more actions. We’ll keep you informed of ways you can provide support to stop what they call the “heart (electric plant) of the black snake (the pieline.”
In Canada, Mi’kmaq women and allies shut down an oil and gas meeting. Communities in Richmond, CA and Albany, NY, protested oil trains. And Chicago mobilized for an emergency protest at BP’s headquarters following a tar sands bitumen spill in Lake Michigan.
South Portland in Maine was successful in getting a moratorium on tar sands coming through their area. And you may remember the town of Balcombe in the UK that was successful in stopping fracking though a creative long-term blockade last summer. Now they are uniting to build solar. If this Environmental Minister has her way, no communities in Germany will have to worry about fracking.
Building the New Economy
A large part of resistance is building alternative systems to replace the dysfunctional ones in place right now. Jerome Roos of ROAR Magazine outlines the possibilities of a new finance system that was described at the Moneylab Conference in Amsterdam last week. He challenges his readers to think about money differently and to recognize that our current monetary system is based on debt. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Strike Debt released their new and expanded version of the Debt Resister’s Operations Manual which explains the debt-based economy in depth, the damage that it does to all of us and how we organize to change it. And this video explains that, contrary to what we are told, most welfare in the US actually goes to the rich.
The Freelancer’s Union calls the growing new economy the “Quiet Revolution” and they invite you to map what your community is doing – cooperatives, collectives, local food networks. One new form of urban agriculture that is taking off is the vertical farm.
Meeting our basic needs is essential in the current environment in which profit is more important than people. The rule of money was strengthened this week through the Supreme Court decision on McCutcheon v the FEC. This makes the work to get money out of politics more important than ever.
There is so much going on this spring. Get involved and share this information with others.
- The World Wide Wave of Action begins today, the 46th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King. In this interview, David DeGraw describes the wide range of actions being planned.
- Also today, there will be vigils across the nation in support of a Robin Hood Tax.
- A new campaign was launched to make it more difficult for the NSA to spy on us. Join Reset the Net to learn what you can do to protect yourself.
- And another new campaign was launched to take on the World Bank’s new program that will result in greater concentration of agriculture in the hands of multinational corporations and the destruction of family farms. Watch their video to learn more and sign up to take action at Our Land, Our Business.
- The Transform Now Plowshares resisters are in jail. Click here to learn how to send them a letter of support.
- The campaign to save our postal service is becoming more urgent. The newest tactic to privatize the Post Office is to begin postal services in Staple stores. The four postal unions are uniting to stop it and there is a national day of action planned for April 24.
- Check out the ongoing creative campaign to stop the Guggenheim from exploiting workers.
- And check out the calendar at the Global Climate Convergence website. It is filling up with actions!
For inspiration, we leave you with a beautiful video and a quote. This week, a bomb went off in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed a 10 year old girl. In response, the Afghan Peace Volunteers planted trees and magic happened. Watch the video here.
And in his article in which he quotes Thomas Paine, “We are Radicals at Heart: A New History Gets America Wrong,” Harvey J. Kaye reminds us “that history is not over, that prevailing inequalities and oppressions are not inevitable, and that we need to remember who we are and recognize that ‘We have it in our power to begin the world over again.’”
Have a great first day surfing the Worldwide #WaveOfAction.