Charges Against Portland Black Lives Matter Protesters Dropped

Jake Bleiberg
A protester is led away by police during a Black Lives Matter protest in Portland on July 15, 2016.

By Jake Bleiberg for BDN – PORTLAND, Maine — A year after Portland police ended a Black Lives Matter demonstration with a mass arrest, the resulting legal drama has come to a close with the criminal charges against 17 protesters being dismissed. The charges were expected to be dropped since May, when a court hearing failed to repair a botched settlement agreement between the demonstrators and the Cumberland County District Attorney. The deal, which would have also seen the misdemeanor charges dropped, hinged on police and protesters talking through their differences in a so-called “restorative justice” session. It would have been the first time such a program was used in a civil disobedience case in Maine. But the deal went to pieces in the hall of a Portland church in February, when the protesters and an assistant district attorney couldn’t agree over logistics for the session. In May, a judge blocked the district attorney’s move to again prosecute the charges and ordered protesters and police to try again at the restorative justice session. After the ruling, District Attorney Stephanie Anderson said her office would not make another attempt at the session, thereby leaving the charges in an inactive court docket where they were finally dismissed Wednesday.

MIT Media Lab Announces $250,000 For Civil Disobedience

Zinn on civil disobedience, problem is obedience

By Amanda Hoover for Boston Magazine. On Monday, the MIT Media Lab opened applications for its Disobedience Award, a first-of-its-kind prize for an individual or group involved in civil disobedience that pushes some societal boundary in a progressive direction through peaceful action. The award seeks to honor those breaking the status quo and standing up to oppression, whether that’s in science, politics, corporations, communities, or some other facet of society. Along with the recognition of “official badass,” the title also comes with a not-too-shabby, “no strings attached” $250,000 reward. “Questioning authority and thinking for yourself is an essential component of science, of civil rights, of society,” says Media Lab director Joi Ito in an announcement video for the competition. “At some level, disobedience is at the root of creativity.”

It May Only Take 3.5% Of Population To Topple Dictator– With Civil Resistance

‘Nonviolent resistance works not by melting the heart of the opponent but by constraining their options.’ Photograph: Frank Franklin II/AP

By Erica Chenoweth for The Guardian – The United States has its own rich history – past and present – of effective uses of nonviolent resistance. The technique established alternative institutions like economic cooperatives, alternative courts and an underground constitutional convention in the American colonies resulting in the declaration of independence. In 20th century, strategic nonviolent resistance has won voting rights for women and for African Americans living in the Jim Crow south. Nonviolent resistance has empowered the labor movement, closed down or cancelled dozens of nuclear plants, protected farm workers from abuse in California…

Federal Disobedience: Why We Must Support Federal Worker Noncooperation

Jake Waage; Edited: LW / TO

By Adriana Calvarezi for Truthout – After 17 years at the US State Department, for example, TJ Lunardi decided to call it quits. Like other senior foreign service officers who, on January 25, 2017, left in what Washington Post journalist Josh Rogin characterized as an “ongoing mass exodus,” Lunardi concluded that he “simply could not serve in an executive branch” where he “would have to carry out [Trump's] orders as president.” Trump, he decided, is “a threat to our constitutional values.” After Trump ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on that same day to remove its climate change page from the EPA website, an anonymous Badlands National Park federal employee

180 Federal Employees Sign Up For ‘Civil Disobedience’ Class


By Brooke Seipel for The Hill – A large group of federal employees have signed up to participate in a workshop on civil disobedience in the President Trump era. According to a Washington Post report, 180 federal employees have signed up for a workshop featuring expert advice on workers’ rights and expressing civil disobedience. Dozens of federal workers have reportedly attended a support group for civil servants that serves as a forum for discussing opposition to the Trump administration. Some federal employees have already expressed defiance against the Trump administration following a gag order…

Mass Civil Disobedience To Stop The Suwannee River Crossing


By Staff of Sabal Trail Resistance and Water is Life Camp – Join us in putting a wrench into the gears of the pipeline machine. This will be a mass sit-in to stop the Sabal Trail fracked gas pipeline construction from drilling under the Suwannee River in Live Oak, FL. Exact location for training, parking and protest TBA. There are several options for camping in the area. The night before we will hold a direct action training for all participants (not just people risking arrest.) The night after we will likely hold a vigil at the jail if people are held there. Not everyone who attends needs to risk arrest, but we ask all to consider their role in making this a successful event. It will be a “power in numbers” moment.

The Political Significance Of Being Inconvenienced


By Benji Hart for Radical Faggot – Last fall, Black Youth Project 100 along with Fight For 15, Organized Communities Against Deportation, and #Not1More shut down the International Chiefs of Police Conference in Chicago. Coordinated teams of protesters locked themselves into blockades all over the McCormick Place convention center. They strategically took over major streets, building entrances and passageways, in an attempt to make access to the conference as difficult as possible.

When Protest Becomes Sacrament: Grady Sisters Heed A Higher Call

The We Are Seneca Lake campaign is perhaps the nation’s longest-running act of environmental civil disobedience. (Photo: Nicholas Kusnetz)

By Nicholas Kusnetz for Inside Climate News – On a warm May morning, two dozen people wearing blue shirts formed a neat line in front of the gates of a natural gas compressor station in central New York. The facility lay hidden somewhere in the trees behind them, and just beyond was Seneca Lake, a 38-mile azure gash through deep green hills that provides drinking water to 100,000 people. The sun crept over a ridge on the far side of the lake. It was still early enough to intercept the day’s first delivery.

Civil Disobedience Is Only Way Left To Fight Climate Change

Protesters close Ffos-y-Fran opencast coal mine in Merthyr Tydfill, south Wales, earlier this month. Photograph: Natasha Quarmby/REX/Shutterstock

By Kara Moses for The Guardian – Right now, thousands of people are taking direct action as part of a global wave of protests against the biggest fossil fuel infrastructure projects across the world. We kicked off earlier this month by shutting down the UK’s largest opencast coal mine in south Wales. Last Sunday, around 1,000 people closed the world’s largest coal-exporting port in Newcastle, Australia and other bold actions are happening at power stations, oil refineries, pipelines and mines everywhere from the Philippines, Brazil and the US, to Nigeria, Germany and India.

Climate Disobedience And New “Public Trust” Laws Of Nature

Young people involved with the Break Free movement stopped an open-cast coal mine from operating for the day during a demonstration at the Ffos-y-fran coal mine in Wales on May 3, 2016. (Photo: Break Free)

By Ted Hamilton for Truthout – If you think there’s something odd about the US committing itself to at least a 26 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2025 even while federally owned landsproduce a quarter of the nation’s fossil fuel energy, you just might be a believer in an old legal concept: the public trust doctrine. This ancient idea, applied since Roman days, is pretty straightforward: The government has an affirmative duty to protect natural resources that are shared by everybody.

Press Release: Pennsylvania Township Legalizes Civil Disobedience


By Chad Nicholson and Stacy Long for CELDF and Grant Township – Grant Township, Indiana County, PA: Tonight, Grant Township Supervisors passed a first-in-the-nation law that legalizes direct actionto stop frack wastewater injection wells within the Township. Pennsylvania General Energy Company (PGE) has sued the Township to overturn a local democratically-enacted law that prohibits injection wells. If a court does not uphold the people’s right to stop corporate activities threatening the well-being of the community

Revolution Is In The Air

Actress Rosario Dawson demonstrated Friday on Capitol Hill. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)

By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – WASHINGTON, D.C—The sustained, daily civil disobedience at the Capitol by demonstrators denouncing the capture of our political system by corporate money is part of one of the largest and most important movements for social justice since the Occupy uprising. Join it. Six hundred of the protesters have been arrested, and I was among 100 arrested Friday. The protesters, organized by Democracy Spring, have converged on Washington from across the country.

How Montanans Stopped Largest New Coal Mine In N. America

Protesters block a coal train from entering downtown Missoula in 2015. (Blue Skies Campaign)

By Nick Engelfried for Waging Nonviolence – Montana communities won a victory against one of the world’s biggest coal companies earlier this month, when Arch Coal abandoned the Otter Creek mine – the largest proposed new coal strip mine in North America. The story of how the project imploded is one of people power triumphing over a company once thought to be nearly invincible. To many observers, the Otter Creek project once seemed unstoppable.

Civil Disobedience And Free Speech Tested By Prayer In Ferguson

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By Sharmini Peries for The Real News – On February 9 of 2016, after 20 minutes of a jury deliberation, Ferguson civil liberties protester Rev. Sekou was found not guilty on charges stemming from an arrest back in September of 2014, during the Ferguson uprisings. Rev. Sekou was detained when he knelt in prayer outside a local police department where police officers claimed that he was resisting orders. On to talk about his ordeal and what it means for the democratic right of civil disobedience and the right to protest is the man himself, Rev. Sekou. Rev. Sekou is an author, documentary filmmaker, pastor, theologian, and of course a political activist. Rev. Sekou, good to have you back on the Real News.

US Vets Lead Civil Disobedience Protesting Seneca Lake Gas Storage

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By Dan for We Are Seneca Falls – Watkins Glen, NY – Eleven veterans representing all branches of the U.S. armed forces, were among 13 arrested on Tuesday morning in a human blockade at Crestwood Midstream on Route 14 as part of We Are Seneca Lake’s ongoing civil disobedience campaign against gas storage in underground lakeside salt caverns. The protesters blocked all traffic entering and leaving the facility. Among them was former NY gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins (Green Party), a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.