I first realized the ameliorative power of organizing when, as a teenager, awareness of the threat of nuclear war gave me overwhelming anxiety. In the 1980s people in the Reagan administration where talking about “fighting and winning” a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. A massive direct action movement rose up in opposition to this in Europe, where the U.S. hoped to station a new generation of “first strike” nuclear weapons, and it eventually rose in the U.S. as well. I threw myself into this movement, marching with 70,000 people in downtown Chicago and over a million in New York City; attending and organizing speak-ins, die-ins and teach-ins; and going to predawn blockades of weapons manufacturers.
A 2022 report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, dubbed the nation’s report card, reported that 33% of Maryland’s eighth graders could not read at a basic level. For Black students, this number was an alarming 46%. Furthermore, 82% of Black students could not read at a proficient level, according to the report. As reading levels fall, Black Baltimoreans are slipping further away from their ability to liberate themselves. Particularly during a time where socioeconomic barriers, further pronounced by the COVID-19 pandemic, and draconian legislation actively bar Black children from accessing wholesome education.
To survive in prison, inmates usually accept a “convict code” that demands toughness and makes us wary of others. To thrive in prison, I learned to embrace organizing for social change and discovered the rewards in thinking of others first. Contributing to a collective has helped me find deeper purpose in my life, even while serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Like most transformations in our lives, this didn’t happen overnight. My introduction to organizing was the Black Prisoners Caucus, or BPC, at Clallam Bay Corrections Center in Washington state.
Chuck Collins’ new book “Altar to an Erupting Sun” may be fiction, but it poses a very topical, real-world challenge for readers: What’s the right way to act when facing an existential challenge like climate change? Right off the bat, in the first chapter, we learn that the novel’s central character, Rae, is a climate activist who has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Having done her research to know the “carbon barons” responsible for so much destruction, she decides to “take one with her” by wearing a suicide vest. It works as intended, taking the life of a fossil fuel company CEO.
At least 42 people who have protested the building of an 85-acre, $90 million police training facility in Atlanta, Georgia, have been charged with domestic terrorism. While demonstrators always fear being criminalized for exercising their constitutional right to stage protests, being charged with domestic terrorism has a particularly chilling effect. The move to charge protesters with domestic terrorism comes months after one protester, Manuel Paez Terán (who went by the name Tortuguita), was killed by police. Across the United States, we are seeing a rise in laws that seek to squelch and criminalize protests.
Earth first! is, has been, and will continue to be a think tank and proving ground of direct action in defense of the earth and those who reside here. At 43 years old, earth first! may seem like an institution, but in reality it is still created every day by those of us who show up to resist ecocide. If you show up, you’re at the table. There’s no way to sell you on earth first!, cuz earth first! is not for sale. So come to the gathering! Say your piece, make it yours, and let’s fight the bastards together. You don’t have to be an earth first!er to come to an ef! gathering – the fight for the earth is intimately intertwined with struggles against white supremacy, patriarchy, settler colonialism and all forces which oppose collective liberation.
Jen Angel, an activist, journalist and baker who was fatally injured during a robbery outside of a bank in Oakland, Calif., in early February, believed in building a society without police and prisons, and she would not have wanted her assailants incarcerated. Doing so would only distort her memory and what she stood for, and many of those who were close to her have come together since she died to try and protect that legacy. Angel, 48, died February 9, three days after she was dragged 50 feet by her assailants’ getaway car, her head hitting the pavement. She spent several days in intensive care before being removed from life support.
In today’s world, it can be difficult to find inspiring figures to look up to, especially in a time of division and uncertainty. Fortunately, there are still individuals like Margaret Flowers who embody the ideals of progress, justice, and compassion. Margaret Flowers is a leading activist, doctor, teacher, and co-founder of PopularResistance.org, a website that aims to inform and inspire grassroots movements around the world. Margaret has spent her life fighting for social justice and equality. As a physician, she has been a vocal advocate for a single-payer healthcare system that would provide affordable and accessible care to all Americans.
On Friday, February 7th, the Golden Rule peace boat gently sailed over sacred whale breeding grounds, with an ever respectful sense of protection to our beautiful fellow creatures, then bravely showed its sails entering St. Mary's River of the historic town of St. Mary's which joins the beautiful, yet ominous entrance of the East River. Along the East River exists the most deadly concentration of Ohio Class nuclear weapon laden submarines on the East Coast, if not the world, the Naval Submarine Base of Kings Bay. This base remains the most extensive single construction project ever undertaken by the U.S. Navy. It contains the largest indoor dry dock in the world, and as a result, it services not only our own fleet but the Tridents of the United Kingdom.
James Kennedy is a highly-regarded and accomplished Welsh singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer who is best known for his political activism through his music. With a career spanning more than two decades, he has made a name for himself as a powerful voice in the music industry, using his platform to raise awareness about important issues and to advocate for social justice. James joins “Behind The Headlines” host Lee Camp for a full, hour-long interview today. James takes us on a journey through his musical career, discussing the ways in which politics has influenced his music, the challenges of being a political musician in today’s world, and the reasons behind his decision to use music as a tool for change. His music career began with a strong focus on political issues, with songs that explored topics such as inequality, social justice, and human rights.
As a young man, Roy Bourgeois enlisted to fight in the Vietnam War. After being injured, he became a volunteer at a local orphanage and was inspired to become a priest upon his return to the US. Bourgeois became a priest in Bolivia during the dictatorship of General Hugo Banzer. He decided he could not be an apolitical priest. He spoke out against Banzer’s political repression, leading to his arrest and expulsion from Bolivia. Back in the US, Bourgeois organized protests outside Fort Benning, Georgia where the US was training Salvadorian soldiers to fight the leftist insurgency. He was imprisoned twice for illegally entering the base during planned direct actions against the war. In 2012, Bourgeois was excommunicated by the Catholic Church for supporting the ordination of women.v
During the two years the cartoonist Joe Sacco and I spent on our book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, written out of the poorest pockets of America, we invariably encountered heroic men and women who — against overwhelming odds — rose up to fight lonely and often losing battles on behalf of the oppressed. Bill Means, Charlie Abourezk and Leonard Crow Dog in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Larry Gibson and Judy Bonds in the coal fields of West Virginia. Lucas Benitez, Laura Germano and Greg Abbot in the produce fields of Florida. The men and women in Zuccotti Park during the Occupy Wall Street movement. When set against the crushing poverty, environmental degradation, corporate abuse and despair they opposed, the victories they amassed were often miniscule.
The abundance of “hashtag activism” has created a false sense of importance for the everyday individual being driven by weaponized empathy to speak out about a cause or injustice happening internationally. This false sense of importance, brought on by the use of hashtags as awareness, is ignited by already held biases about the colonized world, which inevitably leads to both overt and covert calls for western intervention to “save” whoever has been deemed needing of saving. The use of hashtag activism has certainly all but replaced in-person community organizing. It has allowed an array of people across the country and across the world to be united in solidarity for a cause that can be summarized in as small a character limit as possible. This “connection”, of course, is oftentimes heralded as one of the more positive things about social media.
Roger Waters, the British rock legend and co-founder of Pink Floyd, is in the midst of his “This Is Not A Drill” tour. In his concerts he weds his musical genius to the most pressing social issues of our day, including permanent war, police violence, the crimes of Israeli occupation against the Palestinians, the killing of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, and the imprisonment of Julian Assange. Waters has been an outspoken opponent of the NATO-fueled war in Ukraine, and a vocal supporter of contemporary social movements such as the Water Protectors at Standing Rock and global protests against police violence from the United States to Brazil and Britain. He joins The Chris Hedges Report for a wide-ranging conversation: from his youth and musical career to the political worldview that undergirds his provocative ‘This Is Not A Drill‘ tour.