Popular Resistance Newsletter – This Revolutionary Moment
Last week, we wrote about Independence Day and the importance of examining that revolutionary period and the state of affairs today more deeply. The Declaration of Independence states that when a government does not support the rights and needs of the people, then
“it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
As we’ve covered in previous newsletters, there are now academic studies that demonstrate the lack of democracy in the US and that the government functions as a plutocracy that represents the needs and wishes of the wealthy elite. At the same time that the government is dysfunctional, we are experiencing multiple crises that demand immediate action.
We are in the midst of a week of wonderfully creative actions to raise awareness of the need for real democracy. For information, visit RollingRebellion.org. In Venice Beach, CA, activists dressed as characters from the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars and marched in the Fourth of July parade taking on democracy-killing entities such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and money in politics. Activists in Seattle, WA also marched with giant puppets and talking TV heads.
Hundreds marched in the New Hampshire Rebellion organized by Lawrence Lessig. His approach to getting money out of politics is to raise millions of dollars to elect candidates that will work to get money out of politics. He met the first hurdle this week.
A march to stop construction of a high-pressure fracked gas pipeline is underway across the state of Massachusetts. This march is rolling from town to town along the path of the proposed pipeline and will end on July 30 with a rally at the State House. Click here for information on how to join it. Another march will take place in DC this Sunday to protest the construction of a liquefied fracked gas export facility in Maryland.
Creating Real Democracy
Elliott Sperber argues that in order to create democracy in the US, certain preconditions must exist. For all people to be able to participate in public life they must have equal political rights and their basic needs must be met. He advocates a minimum of a basic guaranteed income for everyone.
The Moral Monday Movement is devoting its energies to protecting the basic right to vote. While this is an important part of the work for democracy, it will be insufficient as long as extreme wealth inequality and a corporate-dominated political system continue.
The new economy work that is taking hold in the US is also an effort to create the preconditions for democracy. New York City took a major step this week by allocating $1.2 million in capital to support worker cooperatives.
Fortunately, there is already a majority of people in the US who agree on major issues. This recent poll found supermajorities agree that the political system is broken and that neither major party will fix it. And a poll of people in red and blue districts found much more agreement on issues than differences.
Activists in Spain are taking exciting steps towards creating real democracy. The new Podemos (“We Can”)Party took off faster than expected and won five seats in the European Parliament. The Spanish Movement for Democracy also created a ‘Charter for Democracy.’ They held thirty workshops over a year to develop the charter which they see as a living document. They share it in the hope that it will provide a basis for discussion of what kind of world we want to create. You will find many similarities in the challenges we face.
Another document that came from the Spanish Democracy Movement is “Last Call: A Manifesto for Social Transformation” signed by more than 250 academicians, activists and more declaring the urgent need to create sustainable and just systems. It is available in English and you are invited to sign on if you agree.
These documents provide models for communities everywhere to come together and have broad discussions of the current crises and what we can do together to address them. Many communities are already doing this work around specific issues such as fighting the causes of climate change.
Communities are fighting coal and fracking and winning. In Colorado, a federal ruling is stopping the expansion of a coal mine on the basis that it failed to consider climate change. Cases are underway in three Western states to force the permit process for coal mines to include more public input. And the recent ruling in New York that allows local governments to ban fracking has laid the groundwork for other states to do the same.
Syngenta recently tried to get an exception to the ban in the UK on its pesticide which is responsible for reduction in the bee population, but dropped that attempt due to public pressure. And farmers in El Salvador successfully blocked GMO seeds from their country.
Research supports the move away from extreme energy extraction and to the creation of green cities. The first study connecting tar sands and cancer was released. A number of studies show that most people live in metropolitan areas, that cities are linked to greater health problems and that nature is the antidote. It is hopeful to see growing efforts to green cities and bring healthy food to urban populations through community gardens and community-supported agriculture.
A major and urgent concern is the current Israeli attack on the people of Gaza. We are working to provide you with honest information about the situation that you won’t find in the corporate media. As the situation changes, the fastest way to stay up to date is to follow us on twitter.
Follow @PopResistance to stay informed about this and other issues we are constantly covering.
More information is coming out to show that the Israeli government knew early on that the kidnapped Israli teenagers had been murdered, but suppressed it and instead whipped up public outrage during the search for them. In addition, there had been a cease fire on rocket attacks from Gaza for two years. It was not until Israel attacked Gaza that the Palestinians responded with their much weaker rockets. And now, we find that an American organization is collecting tax-deductible donations to defend the suspected killers of a Palestinian teenager who was kidnapped in revenge. The teenager was kidnapped and forced to drink gasoline and then set on fire, causing him to burn from the inside out. Your tax dollars are being used to defend these brutal killers.
And as expected, the corporate media is providing a false picture of the attacks. Whether it was a mistake or not, ABC news aired footage of the attack on Gaza and of Palestinians fleeing but told the viewers that is was in Israel and it was Israelis who were fleeing. The bias of the US media on the issue of Israel is so blatant that multiple commentators are highlighting it. It is important people realize that the corporate media cannot be trusted on this issue and question everything they are told by the media and US government, since much of it is biased reporting.
We want to conclude with some news about Ed Snowden and new revelations about NSA spying. With the one year anniversary of his asylum in Russia coming up, Snowden applied to extend his stay there. Hillary Clinton urged Snowden to return home and defend himself in the legal system. However, Kevin Zeese explained why this is not a realistic option for Snowden as it will result in an unfair trial akin to the court in Alice in Wonderland where the Queen exlaimed: ‘Sentence first, verdict later.’ And CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Scudder is a sad example of what happens to people who try to work within the current system to expose the truth.
The Washington Post published a review of the extent of NSA spying using the Snowden documents and found that it is extensive encompassing a large majority of innocent people and has a disturbingly voyeuristic nature. Civil defense lawyer Lauren Regan wrote an extensive piece about electronic communications surveillance of activists and ways to protect ourselves.
A new NSA leak was released which did not come from Snowden, indicating that there may be another NSA whistleblower. This week, a set of billboards have gone up around the DC area featuring Daniel Ellsberg and urging more whistleblowers and providing a safe way for people to blow the whistle. We hope that more people who believe in real democracy, human rights and the rule of law will shine light on the truth either anonymously or openly with public support.
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