The NFL Players Union Just Awarded Colin Kaepernick ‘Week 1’ MVP

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By Grant Stern for Verified Politics – The NFL Player’s Association just picked a free agent quarterback as their Week 1 MVP for his charity work, even though he didn’t even make it onto the field. Colin Kaepernick has been blackballed by the NFL’s ownership – 97% of which is composed of enormously wealthy, mostly conservative white males – over his controversial stand to peacefully protest racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem while playing for the San Francisco 49ers last year. Kaepernick guided the Niners to a Super Bowl just four years ago, turning in a stellar performance while his team came up just short against the Baltimore Ravens. Now, he’s still making good on his pledge to donate $1 million to charity, even though he’s unemployed. The Chicago Tribune reports: The NFLPA found particularly impressive, Kaepernick’s continued donations to charity, including a Sept. 7 gift of $100,000 split between four organizations. Kaepernick, who some say hasn’t been signed by an NFL team due to his political activism, gave $25,000 each to DREAM, a New York City after-school program that promotes sports in urban neighborhoods, the Gathering for Justice’s War on Children, a forthcoming initiative to tackle child incarceration, United We Dream, an organization focused on empowering immigrant youth and the Coalition for the Homeless.

Campaign Nonviolence Mounts Nationwide Week Of Actions

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By Aggie Perilli and Jeanine Genauer for Pace e Bene – Corvallis, OR (September 15, 2017) –Over 1000 marches, actions, events and rallies are poised to take place in all 50 states nationwide as part of Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions September 16-24. This unprecedented campaign of grassroots activism calls for nonviolent action against racism, war, poverty, and environmental destruction. In its inaugural year of 2014, 230 events took place. In response to the hate speech presently dividing our nation, this year people will join together in more than 1,000 rallies, to spread the word of unity and peace. “People across the United States and beyond are taking Campaign Nonviolence to the streets to end violence and injustices, and begin peacemaking,” said Dr. Ken Butigan, co-founder of Campaign Nonviolence and professor at DePaul University. “This unified voice calls for concrete policy shifts to build peace, economic justice, and environmental healing—and insists on being heard.” Campaign Nonviolence is sponsored by Pace e Bene, a non-profit organization committed to building a culture of peace through active nonviolence and shared understanding and partnerships to protect human rights, abolish war as well as nuclear weapons, end poverty, challenge injustice, heal the planet—and meet today’s profound spiritual task: to build a just, peaceful and nonviolent world.

Empire, Indigenous Rights And The Environment

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Clearing the FOG Radio. With Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, wildfires and droughts fresh in our minds and threats of greater global aggression, we take a look at the connections between Empire, war, Indigenous rights and the environment. This week is the tenth anniversary of the official adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We speak with Gar Smith, editor of The War and the Environment Reader, about his new book and a conference he is organizing later this month with World Beyond War on the topic. Then we speak with Charmaine White Face, author of Indigenous Nations’ Rights in the Balance, who participated in and protested the process used by the United Nation, about Indigenous sovereignty and her work to protect the Black Hills, a sacred site.

“Hegemony How-To”: Rethinking Activism And Embracing Power

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By Bruce Levine for Bruce E. Levine – Occupy Wall Street insider Jonathan Smucker’s recently published Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals (AK Press, 2017) is the post-Occupy guide for how to be smarter about politics. Smucker, a long-time grassroots organizer, does not dismiss what Occupy did right but is honest about its failures. The 99% remain just as powerless as ever, and we still have endless wars, corporate control, and increasing social and economic injustices. In the tradition of Saul Alinsky and Antonio Gramsci, Smucker points out that “knowledge of what is wrong with a social system and knowledge of how to changethe system are two completely different categories of knowledge.” Before touching on how Hegemony How-To speaks directly to my own experience, a feel for Smucker’s punches. Smucker spares nothing and no one—including himself—in his passion to achieve political victory. Smucker asks himself: “How many times, I wondered, had I favored a particular action or tactic because I really thought it was likely to change a decision-maker’s position or win over key allies, as opposed to gravitating toward an action because it expressed my activist identity and self-conception? How concerned were we really, in our practice, with political outcomes?” Smucker concludes, “We often seemed more preoccupied with the purity of our political expression than with how to move from Point A to Point B. It felt as if having the right line about everything was more important than making measurable progress on anything.”

‘People’s Congress Of Resistance’ Draws Grassroots Activists

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By Sarah Jaffe for Truthout – We’ve both been partnering, along with a number of other co-conveners, for the past almost six months now. It was obvious, certainly at the moment that Donald Trump was elected, that a massive grassroots movement had come into being, resisting against Trump’s odious and reactionary and racist and misogynist policies. … People were in the streets instantly, they were in the airports, they were reacting en masse to Trump’s plans to “take this country back” many, many decades. The demonstrations were such in terms of magnitude that perhaps as many as one out of every three people [in Washington] had participated in a protest. But we saw that this protest movement was also … being co-opted by Democratic Party elites who saw in the movement a vessel for their own electoral goals in 2018 and 2020. They almost instantly turned the “resistance” against Trump, which was progressive and grassroots and made up of front line fighters, into something that was more or less reactionary by focusing on Russia — the narrative that the reason Trump won (he of course being the most unpopular candidate in US history) and the reason that Hillary Clinton lost was because of the collusion of foreign powers.

NFL Fans Rally To Defend Kaepernick, Threaten To Boycott Season

During the 2016 season, quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a stand against police brutality and racism. | Photo: AFP

By Staff of Tele Sur – What began as a stand against police brutality and racial injustice has led to unemployment for NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. One year after NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s took a knee during the U.S. national anthem, the football player has been left without a contract deal since becoming a free agent in March and football fans across the country are threatening to boycott the season if he doesn’t get picked up. What began as a stand against police brutality and racial injustice has led to unemployment for the African American quarterback, who opted out of a contract renewal with the San Francisco 49ers earlier this year. “There will be no football in the state of Georgia if Colin Kaepernick is not on a training camp roster and given an opportunity to pursue his career,” Gerald Griggs, spokesperson for Atlanta’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told Fox News. Riggs warned that if Kaepernick does not get a contract by 5 p.m. on Sept. 17, “We will take a knee, and we will continue to take a knee on the NFL until they act with one voice.”

Net Neutrality Activists Launch Crowdfunded Billboards Targeting Key Members Of Congress

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By Tiffiniy Cheng for Fight For The Future – Today digital rights organization Fight for the Future unleashed a series of crowdfunded billboards targeting lawmakers who support FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s efforts to repeal the country’s net neutrality rules. With members of Congress back in their home districts, the billboards – paid for by hundreds of small donations – appear in six different states just weeks before the FCC’s final deadline for public input on their proposal to gut net neutrality rules that prevent companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T from charging extra fees, throttling, or blocking websites, apps, and online services. Since the massive July 12th day of action, millions have contacted their representatives – who have oversight over the FCC – to ensure these key protections are not changed or removed. The billboards send a strong message to any Members of Congress contemplating support for the FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality, which is currently being tracked through a “congressional scorecard” on BattleForTheNet.com. So far very few lawmakers have been willing to publicly support Ajit Pai’s plan, likely in light of polling that shows voters – including Republicans – overwhelmingly oppose it.

“Free Speech” Bills Could Chill Campus Activism Nationwide

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By Brad Poling for Occupy – Universities across the country may be on the precipice of a new era in activism, politics and – in the most basic sense – expression. Motivated in part by recent high-profile protests against controversial speakers, at least 10 states are currently considering some variation of a bill proposed by the conservative Goldwater Institute that would implement punitive measures for students involved in protests on campuses. The bill also curtails public universities’ ability to take a stand on “controversial” issues – without providing a lot of guidance about what exactly these controversies may include. The states proposing the bill – California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and North Carolina – have introduced slight variations of the original into their statehouses. But each bill is marked by gray areas and vague uncertainties that pose a serious threat to the very thing they seek to defend: free speech. For example, take Wisconsin’s bill, the Campus Free Speech Act. Considering how smoothly the legislation progressed through the state’s Republican-dominated Assembly, it has generated a fair amount of confusion as to how exactly the law would work.

Climate Change Nihilism

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By Eleanor Goldfield for Occupy – According to Professor Guy McPherson, we have 10 years or less to live on this planet. His specific brand of doomsday-ism is couched in the theory that no other climate scientists are recognizing the complete picture – taking all the ills together, from permafrost melt to ocean acidification. While it’s odd that no other climate scientists are lining up behind that theory, this segment is less about the time argument and more about how you spend that time. McPherson suggests that because of this limited window of life we have left, we should all pursue “a life of excellence.” Stopping short of actually explaining what that means, McPherson suggests that we let go of hope, live with death in mind but also try to enjoy life as much as we can. Well, I call bullshit on this specific brand of nihilistic doomsdayerism. Fighting for a better world is not just about 70 years from now. It’s about today – and however much time we have left, regardless of climate change or whether we die tomorrow in a freak boating accident. Dissecting doomsday-ism and inspiring the fight on Act Out!

Why We Should Stop Using The Word “Activist”

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By Jonathan Matthew Smucker for In These Times – One way that progressive political groups create barriers between themselves and society is through the construction of a relatively new category of political actor: the activist. The word activist was first used about a century ago to describe those Swedes who advocated for Sweden to abandon neutrality and enter World War I on the side of the Kaiser. But as it is now used, the term became part of our lexicon in the 1960s. Today, activist carries important meanings absent in words that described earlier manifestations of collective action. Classifications like abolitionist, populist, suffragette, unionist or socialist all referenced specific contents. Activist, on the other hand, is a “contentless” label that traverses political issues and social movements. Negative stereotypes about activists can negatively affect opinions about a given political issue once the issue is associated with activism. Consequently, because the term repels many people, it cognitively blocks their entry into collective action. Yet, some people are attracted to activism for that very reason. Many activists take pride in activism partly because it is an expression of their willingness to do something that is unpopular. Indeed, some come to see their own marginalization as a badge of honor, as they carve out a radical oppositional niche identity

Citizen Activism And The Courts

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By David Cole for The American Prospect – David Cole’s Engines of Liberty is a welcome corrective to a conventional way of narrating constitutional law as being the work of federal courts, especially the Supreme Court, whose justices are nerd-celebrities, internet memes, and partisan heroes or villains. Cole argues that constitutional law comes from sources that are more democratic, and more obscure, than judges. It begins in the work of citizen activists, quixotic lawyers, and legal scholars willing to buck mainstream views and take unfamiliar ideas to their logical conclusions. If progressives hope the courts will stand in the way of Donald Trump’s enormities, Cole’s arguments suggest, they had better mobilize now for the constitutional values they hope to see judges protect in a few years. Cole makes his arguments by telling the background stories behind three important legal developments of the last 15 years: the Supreme Court’s embrace of same-sex marriage in 2015, its announcement of a constitutional right to individual gun possession in 2008, and its pushback against George W. Bush’s “War on Terror” in a series of cases concerning the rights of detainees and other targets of that “war.” In each instance, courts behaved surprisingly.

Manifesto For A Naïve Activism

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By Rev. Billy Talen for Common Dreams – It is the darkest of times; it is the brightest of times. A mentally ill President slouches toward the nuclear suitcase to mistake a Twitter feed for the big one. But he can see in the windows of the Oval Office, out in streets, the 99% and the Black Lives and the Kayaktivists and the Pussy Power and the Dreamers and the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. This succession of startling movements are the seeds of our revolution. The pattern over the five plus years since Occupy Wall Street is one of peaks and valleys. Up in the visionary light of a life-saving rebellion and then down into the aftermath of months and months of organizing, meetings and marches and rallies…

Activism Then & Now: Organizing In The Pre-Twitter Era

Today's protests bring about memories of student activism in the 60s. Photo by AP

By John Eklund for Portside – There’s no question that social and digital media are transforming the way movements are built and organized. But technology by itself has never overthrown a tyrant nor seized state power. Self-expression is a potent thing, but as a plan of action it’s just a start. Progress demands that the contemporary social media-based resistance overcome its fear and loathing of leadership, organization and ideology. Recently a contemporary member of the new resistance asked me- a veteran of the 1960s resistance- how we managed to organize a movement without social media. How indeed? I came of political age in the late 1960s, when my Milwaukee high school was consumed by movements for change…

Should Scientists Engage In Activism?

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By Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus for The Conversation. Have you heard that scientists are planning a march on Washington? The move is not being billed as a protest, but rather as a “celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community,” although it comes as a direct response to recent policy changes and statements by the Trump administration. Not everyone thinks the nonprotest protest is a good thing. It’s “a terrible idea,” wrote Robert Young, a geologist at Western Carolina University, in The New York Times. The march, Young said, will just reinforce a belief among some conservatives that “scientists are an interest group,” and polarize the issue, making researchers’ jobs more difficult. Others find that argument less than convincing, pointing out that science and politics have always been intertwined.

Only One Way To Come To Grips With Climate Crisis

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By John Foran for Popular Resistance. First, let’s please just acknowledge there is a crisis. I’m afraid any reasonably educated, rational, and unbiased adult (or younger) can understand what the climate science has been telling us now for two decades: the Earth is warming, slowly but surely (so far by about 1 degree Celsius since 1800), due to humans’ putting carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere, mainly through burning fossil fuels (gas, oil, and coal) and the byproducts of large-scale and animal-based agriculture. A good primer on this is Danny Chivers’ No-Nonsense Guide to Climate Change. Second – and it only takes a bit of sociological thinking here – we see that this is already having massive negative effects on people’s well-being: floods, droughts, superstorms, rising sea-levels, loss of biodiversity (species extinction), polluted cities, rivers, and oceans.