By Bonnie Darves. Washington, DC – On the Washington, D.C., streets this week, it’s already looking like Pick-Your-Protest-Land, and even Trump can’t tweet fast enough to respond to the torrent of backlash that’s broadening with each new insult he issues. I’m here from Seattle to participate in the Refuse Fascism movement, which seeks to stop the Trump-Pence regime from taking power. It’s a long shot, but anything that might stop this disaster in the making or potentially mitigate its damage is worth the effort. The Trump Defense Camp claims that the resistance organizations that have formed since the election represent only jargon-spouting leftists on the fringe. That’s not what I’ve seen. The protesters I’ve encountered are schoolteachers, IT workers, scientists, paralegals, health care professionals, business owners, film makers and restaurant managers.
By Sharon Lerner for The Intercept – ON A MUGGY Thursday morning in June, I drove through the gates of the Federal Correctional Institute in Tallahassee to meet a convicted criminal who, as far as I can tell, is the only person connected to two huge environmental contamination cases in Mississippi to ever serve prison time. Yet, strangely, the convicted felon I was on my way to meet wasn’t a polluter. On the contrary, Tennie White, who was prosecuted by a joint team made up of attorneys from the Environmental Protection Agency and the environmental crimes division of the Justice Department, had spent her professional life exposing contamination.
By Alexander Reed Kelly for Truth Dig – Left-wing activist Tom Hayden, who died Sunday at age 76, once told an interviewer of his reluctant transformation from journalist to activist after an encounter with Martin Luther King Jr. “Whether he meant to or not,” Hayden said of King, “he started me questioning whether I should keep writing about these things for my career or whether I should shut my notebook and join the picket line. … I eventually found it possible to do both. But the effect was enormous and gradual.”
By Emma Niles for Truth Dig – Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer sat down with journalist Chris Hedges on Monday for an intimate, salon-style conversation in Los Angeles. They discussed everything from religion and social control to war and police brutality. First, Hedges explained how his father influenced his participation in reform efforts by encouraging him to begin an LGBT activist group at his conservative college campus.
By Martha Biondi for In These Times. Three years have passed since the July 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin prompted Oakland, Calif., organizer Alicia Garza to write an anguished Facebook post ending with the words “Black lives matter”—words that would channel an outpouring of outrage on social media. A year later, the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., ignited a local rebellion of Black citizenry, and a social movement took shape. That the Ferguson Police Department left Brown’s fatally wounded body on the street for hours encapsulates the disregard for Black suffering that continues to drive protest nationwide. Already, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and the violence it exposes feel like a fixture of our media and social landscape, the images jarring and unrelenting
By Dawn Stover for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – Dwarfed by the ships from the US Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the US Coast Guard that visited Portland, Oregon, for Fleet Week last month, the 30-foot-long Golden Rule looked like it was from another era. And it was. The boat, sporting a 6-foot-wide peace symbol on one of its sails, is the same wooden ketch once crewed by pacifists who tried to sail it to the Marshall Islands in 1958, to protest US atmospheric testing of large nuclear bombs. They were prepared to sacrifice the boat and their own lives in an attempt to stop the tests, which were devastating the islands and sending radioactive fallout around the globe.
By Carolina Drake for Truthout – On the last day before spring break at Manhattan Country School, a progressive school in New York City, the 7th and 8th graders were busy at work with their activism campaign, “Build Bridges, Not Borders.” In one classroom, a group of students gathered near the phone, waiting for their turn to call Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office to encourage the resettlement of Syrian refugees in New York. In another room, students practiced their talking points and arguments in anticipation of their lobbying trip to Washington, DC, where they would ask congressional representatives to oppose bills that would block the refugee resettlement process
By David Swanson for Let’s Try Democracy. Clare Hanrahan’s memoir The Half Life of a Free Radical: Growing Up Irish Catholic in Jim Crow Memphis is a remarkable feat: part Jack Kerouac, part Dorothy Day, part Howard Zinn, and a bit of Forest Gump. First and foremost this is an entertaining and irreverent tale of childhood and adolescence told with great humor, honesty, and empathy. But it’s also told by someone who became a peace and justice and environmentalist activist in later life, someone able to look back on the poverty, racism, consumerism, militarism, sexism, and Catholicism of her youth with passion and perspective — even appreciation for all the good that was mixed in with the bad. Hanrahan writes what in outline form would read like an endless tale of misfortune, and yet leaves you with the thought of how much riotous fun she and her eight siblings and other acquaintances had.
By Lorna Garano for Truthout. L.M. Bogad’s artful activism blends the strategies of civil disobedience with heaping doses of Harpo Marx. As a professor and “tactical performer, Bogad says he is committed to “speaking mirth to power.” In his long career he has staged outrageous theatrical spectacles to skewer governments, corporations and power brokers of all sorts. Bogad has worked with the Yes Men and with unions and human rights groups on picket lines and occupations around the world. He helped to create and train the spectacular Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (CIRCA) and to make the street theater organization known as Billionaires for Bush — which calls for “Government of, by, and for the Corporations” — a fixture at the protests that shadowed George W. Bush’s time as president. All of this “serious play” is informed and inspired by constant research into the long history of creative resistance.
By Steve Early for Counter Punch – As the 2016 primary season ends and Bernie Sanders backers look beyond next month’s Democratic convention in Philadelphia, many who’ve “felt the Bern” have their eye on local politics. Hundreds, if not thousands, will be heeding the call of Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, a Sanders’ endorser and convention delegate. “We need people running for school boards,” Ellison told theNew York Times in May. “We need people running for City Council. We need people running for state legislatures.
By Grassroots Jerusalem. Since the Oslo agreement, the world through international aid has supported the imported “peace process.” This international aid primarily designs, coordinates and implements actions as if Palestine was a humanitarian crisis, a 67 year old emergency humanitarian crisis! Most of the civil services are provided by these unrepresentative entities to help the Palestinians merely survive under this occupation. While Palestinians expect the international community to focus on ending the occupation, this approach stifles the genuine grassroots movement organising to resist it.
By Dianne Lee for Mondoweiss. Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, 91, died at her home in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, on May 26, 2016. An internationally renowned, respected and admired advocate for human and civil rights, Hedy was encircled by friends who lovingly cared for her at home. Born August 15, 1924, in the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany, her lifelong commitment to human rights was formed by the horrific experiences she and her family endured under the repressive Nazi regime. Unable to secure travel documents for themselves, Hedy’s parents, Hugo and Ella (Eichel) Wachenheimer, arranged for 14-year-old Hedy to leave Germany on a Kindertransport. Hedy credited her parents with giving her life a second time when they sent her to England to live with kind-hearted strangers.
By Michael Albert for ROAR Magazine – I was radicalized in the 1960s. I happened to be attending MIT at the time, which is primarily a scientific-technical school. I was there to study physics. The war in Vietnam was raging. The Civil Rights movement was in full gear and concern about these trumped what I was doing at university. Had it not been for these movements, I would have focused on my “career.” Instead, I became politically involved with stopping the war and pursuing campus changes, though my activism quickly branched-out to other topics, and eventually to media projects and answering the question, “What do we want?”
By Staff of Break Free 2016 – Fundamental principles embodied in the laws and constitutions of countries around the world provide strong bases for such a claim. Basic human and constitutional rights include the unalienable rights to life and liberty. Under the “public trust doctrine,” governments must manage the vital natural resources on which human well-being depends for the benefit of all present and future generations. Governments have no right to authorize their destruction to the detriment of constitutional rights to life, liberty and property. These legal rights can serve as an important frame for the public messaging and legal strategy of climate-protecting civil disobedience.
By Jim Hightower for AlterNet – In my travels and conversations this year, I’ve been encouraged that grass-roots people of all progressive stripes (populist, labor, liberal, environmental, women, civil libertarian, et al.) are well aware of the slipperiness of “victory” and want Washington to get it right this time. So over and over, Question No. 1 that I encounter is some variation of this: What should we do!?! How do we make Washington govern for all the people? What specific things can my group or I do now?