Why Protest? Answers For Discouraged Activists

People marching in Austin, Texas on Saturday were among the millions nationwide who mobilized to express their dismay at the reality of President Donald Trump. "There are millions of people in this country who currently feel lost and alone and would like to contribute to movements that envision a more just society," writes Lobel. But in addition to organizing this new wave of energy, he adds, there must also be "a coherent strategy and vision" if transformative change is to be achieved. (Photo: Steve Rainwater/flickr/cc)

By Ilana Novick for AlterNet – In addition to fighting the Trump administration’s policies, another obstacle the resistance faces is its own cynicism. When even left-leaning pundits proclaim that “Trump just became president” for competently reading a teleprompter onstage or unloading Tomahawk missles on Syria from the comfort of his country club, it’s tempting to feel deflated. Why protest, one might ask, when it’s easier to compulsively rewatch “The West Wing” in tears, leave desperate messages on Barack Obama’s Instagram and generally pretend that there aren’t racist demogogues running our country. If you recognize any of these scenarios, it’s time for a dose of perspective. One source is the excellent new internet zine, “Why Protest?” created by Mariame Kaba and designed by Megan Doty. Kaba, the founder of the criminal justice organization Project NIA, explained in an email interview that she was inspired by an anonymous Facebook post about why protest matters, even when it feels like it doesn’t. She explained, “As months passed, I found myself trying to explain why protest matters to several children and young people I love.

#WageLove: Water Activists Build A Global Movement

People marching in Austin, Texas on Saturday were among the millions nationwide who mobilized to express their dismay at the reality of President Donald Trump. "There are millions of people in this country who currently feel lost and alone and would like to contribute to movements that envision a more just society," writes Lobel. But in addition to organizing this new wave of energy, he adds, there must also be "a coherent strategy and vision" if transformative change is to be achieved. (Photo: Steve Rainwater/flickr/cc)

By Anne Elizabeth Moore and Melissa Mendes for Truthout – Grassroots efforts by Nicole Hill and Melissa Mays — and the thousands of others fighting alongside them in Detroit and Flint to ensure access to safe and affordable drinking water in Michigan — have galvanized public attention in recent years. But an equally epic battle has been waging in the courts, a slower-paced struggle to stop what is happening in Detroit and Flint and make sure it doesn’t happen elsewhere. Meet civil rights lawyer Alice Jennings. “If you were to actually order a burger with awesomesauce, it would just be Alice Jennings, sitting on your burger,” Nicole Hill told us when we interviewed her in January. Sharp, commanding and full of laughter, Jennings was among the first to recognize the Detroit water shut-offs as a human rights issue, tipped off by early water warrior Charity Hicks. Ever since, she’s been helping to frame the legal issues that will one day ensure your children — or perhaps their children’s children — have access to affordable, clean, safe drinking water, even as this supposedly renewable resource is rapidly privatized. “#WageLove” — named for the hashtag water activists use to commemorate the contributions of Charity Hicks…

“Know Where You Stand, And Stand There”

(from left) Bernie Meyer, Larry Kerschner, Gilberto Perez

By Leonard Eiger for Ground Zero Center for Nonviolence – The Trident Three were found guilty in Federal Court on charges of “trespassing” on a U.S. nuclear submarine/weapons base last May. Larry Kerschner, Gilberto Perez and Bernie Meyer, aka: the Trident Three, appeared in United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Tacoma on Wednesday, April 12th. Magistrate Judge David C. Christel presided over the proceedings. A large number of supporters were in the courtroom to witness the trial. The defendants had their cases consolidated, meaning that their cases could all be tried at the same time. Attorney Blake Kremer, who has supported and represented many nuclear resisters, represented Larry Kerschner, and acted as standby counsel for Meyer and Perez. All parties had already agreed to and signed the “statement of facts” that defined the events that occurred on May 7, 2016 when, during a vigil held by Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, the three demonstrators engaged in a peaceful protest, entering the main highway and briefly blocking traffic on the federal side of the Main gate at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Silverdale, Washington.

What Does It Take For Activists To Get Your Attention?

610457654

By Brian Martin for Waging Nonviolence – For major protests today, it is standard to have a media strategy. For example, there can be individuals assigned to media liaison. The location and timing of an action can be chosen with an eye toward media schedules. Some actions are designed specifically to attract media attention. However, there are many factors that complicate activist efforts to reach the mass media. Major outlets choose what to report based on news values such as conflict, prominence and proximity. A politician will be quoted rather than an activist, and a scuffle at a rally will be reported rather than what the protest is actually about. Activists can try to sidestep the mass media by using social media. Another option is simply to not worry so much about media coverage and focus on making actions meaningful for participants. After all, protesters are part of the audience. There is lots of practical advice on how to send the protest message, and it is definitely worth understanding media dynamics and taking them into account. However, protesters will nearly always be at a disadvantage when trying to compete with dominant groups…

A Great Political Organizer Worth Knowing Bob Lee

Bill “Preacherman” Fesperman, Bob Lee, Lamar Billy “Che” Brooks, and Fred Hampton at a Rainbow Coalition rally in Grant Park, 1969.

By Jakobi E. Williams for Viewpoint Magazine – Bob Lee, a key mem­ber of the Illi­nois Chap­ter of the Black Pan­ther Par­ty (ILBPP), founder of the orig­i­nal Rain­bow Coali­tion in Chicago, and self-described life­long com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­er, passed away Tues­day March 21, 2017 after a bat­tle with can­cer. He was 74 years old. He leaves behind his wife Faiza, two broth­ers, a son, and a long list of activists and orga­niz­ers influ­enced by his ded­i­ca­tion to the poor and under­served. I last saw Bob Lee less than two weeks before his death in his hos­pi­tal room in Hous­ton, Tex­as. Still the con­sum­mate orga­niz­er, he was try­ing to orga­nize the hospital’s nurs­es and din­ing staff from the con­fines of his hos­pi­tal bed!

Anti-Apartheid Leader Ahmed Kathrada, Jailed Alongside Nelson Mandela, Dead

Anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada listens to a speech at the 10th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates at the Rotes Rathaus (City Hall) in Berlin. (AFP File Photo)

By Staff of Polity – Sad as the passing of Ahmed Kathrada is, we need to use these occasions to draw lessons from his life. Kathrada is one of the last of a generation of political figures who built the Congress Movement, consisting of the ANC, Indian Congresses, South African Congress of Trade Unions, Congress of Democrats and the South African Coloured People’s Organisation. It was a mighty force that stressed the need to unite all the people of South Africa experiencing oppression or, as whites, willing to combat oppression and build a united democratic South Africa. Initially the alliance that was built was referred to as multi-racial, but gradually the term non-racial came into existence, envisaging that the basis for unity would not be separately organised people, though this separate organisation did persist.

Rasmea Odeh Accepts Plea Agreement With No Prison Time

People marching in Austin, Texas on Saturday were among the millions nationwide who mobilized to express their dismay at the reality of President Donald Trump. "There are millions of people in this country who currently feel lost and alone and would like to contribute to movements that envision a more just society," writes Lobel. But in addition to organizing this new wave of energy, he adds, there must also be "a coherent strategy and vision" if transformative change is to be achieved. (Photo: Steve Rainwater/flickr/cc)

By Hatem Abudayyeh for Stop FBI – After living in this country for over 20 years, Rasmea was charged in 2013 with an immigration violation that was always just a pretext for a broader attempt to criminalize the Palestine liberation movement. She has spent the last three and a half years leading a powerful battle to resist this attack, joined by hundreds of supporters for every court appearance, and thousands of supporters across the country and the world. However, the prospects for a fair trial are slimmer than ever. The prosecution team is now under the regime of racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and a new superseding indictment re-frames this as a case about “terrorism” rather than immigration.

Memorial Events In Honor Of Military Veteran And Water Protector Killed By Police Last Month

image

By Staff of Sabal Trail Resistance – Please join Sabal Trail Resistance (STR), Vets For Peace and other activists in honoring James “Jim” L. Marker by continuing to stand against the oil and gas pipelines that he lost his life fighting on Feb 26, 2017. Community Remembering on Sunday, March 26, 1pm at the Pruitt Memorial site in Halpata Tastanaki Preserve, on mile north of the Withlacoochee River. Enter at Pruitt Trailhead, off of SR 484. Park in picnic area, hike 0.5 miles to memorial site.(Please bring a song, story or poem to share, along with food or beverage to share.) Demonstration at Dunnellon Compressor Station construction site on Monday, March 27, 10 a.m. Located along SR 200. Click here for map image. Parking will be on the shoulder of the road. (Please bring signs, banners, drums, etc. with the message “Kill Pipelines NOT People”)

The People’s Lawyer Lynne Stewart Dies At 77: A Tribute

Popular Resistance, Revolution, Rebellion, Capitalism

By Gloria La Riva for the Central Committee of the PSL – Lynne Stewart, a revolutionary and people’s lawyer who fought for political defendants often persecuted by the system, and who herself was imprisoned for her principled advocacy of others, died on March 7. The Party for Socialism and Liberation extends our deepest solidarity and condolences to her lifelong partner Ralph Poynter and her entire family. Stewart was fervently dedicated to the cause of prisoners, both those behind bars for their political beliefs as well as the victims of mass incarceration and criminalization of the poor. Stewart gained the admiration and solidarity of many in the progressive and revolutionary movement because she not only fought valiantly in the courts but above all, was a true radical activist.

Flint Mom-Turned-Activist Describes City’s Disturbing Declining Health

(Image: Health care costs via Shutterstock)

By Mnar Muhawesh for Mint Press News – MINNEAPOLIS — For almost three years, the residents of Flint, Michigan, have had poison running through their pipes. The city’s water supply has been tainted by lead and other dangerous pollutants since the city started drawing its water from the polluted Flint River in April of 2014 in an effort to cut costs in the economically depressed city. By January of 2015, city officials were ensuring their own supplies of clean bottled water. And the governor’s office was informed of the toxic water in February. But it wasn’t until October that year that residents were warned to stop consuming the city’s toxic water.

19 Democracy Activists In The Congo Released

Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban with AFP

By Staff of News 24 – Kinshasa – Nineteen pro-democracy activists arrested during a protest against the Democratic Republic of Congo’s president Joseph Kabila were released on Tuesday, their organisation and a UN official said. “Lucha confirms that 18 comrades arrested during a sit-in in Goma (in eastern DRC) on December 21 … were released on Tuesday,” the opposition movement’s Ghislain Muhiwa said. “Another Lucha activist, Gloria Senga, who had been kidnapped on December 18 in Kinshasa, has also been freed,” he said. Seven other Lucha activists are still behind bars, he added.

Nine Nifty Notes For Scholar Activists

CCCP (Soviet) poster, 1963

By Staff of Climate Justice Report – Below I have put together what I hope is an illustrative, but by no means exhaustive, list of the kind of best practices scholar activists may wish to adopt in their work. These notes will hopefully help scholar activists reflect upon our work to ensure that our research and activism can be carried out critically, accountably, with integrity and in useful and engaging ways. There are many different ways of doing scholar activism, and of being a scholar activist, so this list will likely be more relevant to some kinds of scholar activsts than to others.

We Can No Longer Hope To Win This By Simply Voting Or Speaking Out

The five climate activists that shut down tar sands pipelines Tuesday include: (L-R) Emily Johnson, Annette Klapstein, Leonard Higgins, Michael Foster and Ken Ward. (Photo: Shut It Down)

By Emily Johnston for Common Dreams – Annette and I have been charged with felony property damage and aiding and abetting felony property damage, as well as trespass and aiding and abetting trespass. Along with our friends engaging in the same acts in other states, we took every precaution to ensure the safety of our actions, including two safety calls to Enbridge, and in fact—as a result of these calls—it was the company which actually shut the pipelines down.

In Peru, This Young Activist Is Sparking A Movement For Climate Justice

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 7.02.20 AM

By Sabrina Imbler for Grist – Majandra Rodriguez Acha was 19 when her country erupted in protests over Amazonian oil. The year was 2009, and Peru’s president had just opened the jungle to oil development, ensuring the displacement of thousands of indigenous people. Enraged by the violent clashes she saw on television, Acha attended a protest on her own. The police released tear gas on Acha and the other protesters as they shouted “La selva no se vende, la selva se defiende.” In other words: You don’t sell the jungles, you defend them.

How One Artist Put Climate Activism On Paper

Rachel Schragis climate

By Emma Foehringer Merchant for The Grist – In 2011, artist Rachel Schragis found herself in Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Initially, she was struck by the protesters’ spirit of collaboration. But she was also captivated by the art spilling out of every corner of the park: a puppet of Lady Liberty; the sign-making station with its constant flow of well-cut cardboard, markers, and paint; and the work of illustrators like Nina Montenegro, whose print of a police officer brandishing a night-stick at a dandelion became an emblematic image.