Nine Activists Put Their Bodies On The Line For Water In Detroit

4500 (2)

By Drew Philp for The Guardian – In 1964, while still in her early twenties, Marian Kramer sat at a lunch counter in Monroe, Louisiana, and was served a tuna fish sandwich and a glass of dishwater. A committed civil rights activist, Kramer would regularly participate in integrated lunch counter sit-ins, organize picket lines and register black people to vote. For this, both the Ku Klux Klan and the police were after her. The first time Kramer drove an automobile was because of the KKK, in fact. While being chased by the hate group, the original driver of the vehicle had lost her nerve and Kramer, never one to give up, took the wheel and drove to the house of a black farmer, where they were hidden. When the owner of a local store shot at a young black man, Kramer helped organize a picket line, a full-on boycott. For her trouble in facilitating the sea change of human rights for African Americans in the 20th century, the policethrew her into a recently emptied garbage truck, the walls dripping with the sludge from the trash of a nation. She was placed in jail and, alongside other leaders, spent eight days and nights in solitary confinement. She was charged with disorderly conduct. But that’s ancient history. Isn’t it? More than 50 years and the turn of a century later, Kramer, now 73, sat in a chintzy Detroit courtroom charged with the exact same offense. Her co-defendant, an ordained Methodist minister named Bill Wylie-Kellermann, sat next to her.

Environmental Defenders Being Killed In Record Numbers Globally

Activists call for justice in the case of Honduran indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres, who was killed last year. Photograph: Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images

By Jonathan Watts and John Vidal for The Guardian – Last year was the most perilous ever for people defending their community’s land, natural resources or wildlife, with new research showing that environmental defenders are being killed at the rate of almost four a week across the world. Two hundred environmental activists, wildlife rangers and indigenous leaders trying to protect their land were killed in 2016, according to the watchdog group Global Witness – more than double the number killed five years ago. And the frequency of killings is only increasing as 2017 ticks by, according to data provided exclusively to the Guardian, with 98 killings identified in the first five months of this year. John Knox, UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, said: “Human rights are being jettisoned as a culture of impunity is developing. “There is now an overwhelming incentive to wreck the environment for economic reasons. The people most at risk are people who are already marginalised and excluded from politics and judicial redress, and are dependent on the environment. The countries do not respect the rule of law. Everywhere in the world, defenders are facing threats. “There is an epidemic now, a culture of impunity, a sense that anyone can kill environmental defenders without repercussions, eliminate anyone who stands in the way. It [comes from] mining, agribusiness, illegal logging and dam building.”

Climate Activists Crashed Global Insurance Meeting To Demand Exit From Coal Companies

34586776404_39c44fd14d_z

By Peter Bosshard for Alternet – By divesting from coal companies, insurers can fulfill their basic mission: to protect us from catastrophic risk. Climate activists brought their message that insurance companies need to stop supporting coal projects to a global meeting of insurance CEOs in San Francisco. On June 15, activists interrupted the opening session of the CEO gathering at the Ritz Carlton Hotel and raised a banner that read, “The World’s Best Insurance? Keeping Coal in the Ground.” The banner display was part of a series of climate protests welcoming the insurance CEOs, who met in San Francisco at the invitation of the Geneva Association, an insurance think-tank. A letter was also sent to the individual CEOs, calling for them to move away from coal and invest in renewables. Then, on the following day, activists conveyed their message with a public rally of insurance mascots to greet the CEOs, and circled the executives’ closing dinner at a landmark hotel tower with a plane displaying the message, “Insurers: Unfriend Coal Now.”

Activists Arrested At Volk Field As They Attempt To Identify Base As A Crime Scene

1volk

By Joy First for War Is A Crime – Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars has held monthly vigils against drones at the gates of Volk Field for over five years. This Wisconsin Air National Guard Base is a critical component of the whole drone warfare program being conducted by the US government in a number of countries in the Middle East and Africa. At Volk Field personnel are trained to operate the RQ-7 Shadow Drone, which has been used for reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition. However, now there is the likelihood that the RQ-7 is also weaponized. See http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/7914/was-a-new-type-of-drone-launched-weapon-used-to-kill-al-qaedas-2-man. There is a savagery in drone warfare as whole communities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and other places in the Middle East and Africa suffer from PTSD from drones constantly flying overhead, as wedding parties and funerals are hit, as rescuers are hit by a second attack, as grandmothers working in the field are killed, as children sleeping in their beds are murdered. A number of credible sources tell us that only 1 out of 10 people killed by drones are the intended target.

Colin Kaepernick Is Being Blackballed By Billionaire NFL Owners. Here’s Why.

Colin Kaepernick launched the Colin Kaepernick Foundation in 2016 “to fight oppression of all kinds globally, through education and social activism.” (Kaepernick7.com)

By Colin Jenkins for Truth Dig – Colin Kaepernick took a courageous and principled stand last season by kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games. This was done in response to a society that continues to systematically, culturally, and institutionally devalue black lives. This devaluation is played out in many areas, including politics, economics, housing, employment, and perhaps most notably, within the criminal punishment system. Black lives are routinely extinguished by police in the streets without recourse, in the courts without pause, and in the prisons without hesitation. Entire generations of black Americans have essentially been destroyed through the “school-to-prison pipeline” and a system of mass incarceration, for which author Michelle Alexander has properly deemed, The New Jim Crow. Kaepernick recognized this and felt compelled to bring attention to it. He openly protested the national anthem, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to community agencies, and started a national youth camp program to teach children from marginalized communities about self-empowerment.

S Korean Activists Discuss Left Priorities In The Moon Jae-in Era, Part 3

KCTU

By Staff of Zoom In Korea – In response to his election, KCTU said in its statement, “While we will support the administration when it moves in the right direction, we will not hesitate to criticize it and make it the target of our struggle should it fail to do so.” Moon promised that he would build a country where the dignity and rights of workers are respected. It is our assessment that while his labor policy is focused on creating new jobs in the public sector, it is weak in the area of promoting fundamental labor rights. The key question is how much will Moon be able to control the chaebols, which dominate the country’s economy, and change the existing laws and labor relation practices to ensure the guarantee of fundamental rights for all workers. The Korean economy is deeply enmeshed in the global recession and relies too heavily on the chaebols. Many of the economic problems the country faces—from low growth to inequality and youth unemployment—can be solved under a system where the working class plays a leading role. In this sense, strengthen unity and solidarity among workers is more important than ever.

Activists March To Trump Hotel, Urge President To ‘Wake Up’ To Climate Change

1-6zuVD_kNe3CSfWaeweiZ2A

By Mark Hand for Think Progress – WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump is reportedly weighing whether to remove the United States from the Paris climate accord, a move most scientists and climate activists believe would be disastrous to the goal of limiting increases in the planet’s temperature through a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In recent weeks, the president has heard from a diverse coalition of business groups that support remaining in the Paris accord. And the Trump administration also continues to hear from activists who for the past two decades have tried to convince policy-makers to make climate change a top priority. A large group of climate activists marched on the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Tuesday morning to demand that Trump “wake up” to the perils of climate change and not pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement. Organizers behind the Peoples Climate March planned the rally. “It’s critical for the United States to be in the Paris agreement,” Sebi Medina-Tayac, an organizer of Tuesday’s rally, told ThinkProgress. “We see a situation where we have one highly unstable person who is in charge of the fate of millions, if not billions, of people.” When organizers were planning the rally, they briefly considered whether they should reach out to the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, to request that she “please help us,” he said.

Margaret Sarfehjooy, Prominent Minnesota Peace Activist, Remembered

Margaret Sarfehjooy Tom Bottolene (Fight Back! News/Staff)

By Sarah Martin for Fight Back! News – Minneapolis, MN – Margaret Sarfehjooy, a tireless, fearless and greatly respected anti-war activist, died suddenly and unexpectedly on April 28. She was a longtime member of WAMM (Women Against Military Madness) and on the organizations board for many years. As Meredith Aby-Keirstead, of the Anti-War Committee says, “Margaret was an outspoken advocate for the Middle East. She was a consistent anti-imperialist and understood the true danger of the U.S. in Syria and Iran. She was also a tireless solidarity activist for freedom for Palestine. I always looked to Margaret for political analysis about the region and she was always supportive to other activists looking to develop their own research and analytical skills.” Margaret was an articulate speaker. At the recent March rally commemorating the 14th anniversary of the beginning of the war on Afghanistan, she spoke about U.S. threats and attacks on Iran. She was an excellent writer. Her article in the latest edition of the WAMM newsletter, “Are State Legislatures Demanding a Loyalty Oath to Israel?” exposes and analyzes the top-down attempts to criminalize the growing Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement.

Why Protest? Answers For Discouraged Activists

Austin Texas protest Resist Disrupt Organize Photo from 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

Austin Texas protest Resist Disrupt Organize Photo from 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

Austin Texas protest Resist Disrupt Organize Photo from 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.