On October 28, 2019, the National Park Service said "In response to more than 140,000 comments received from the public and stakeholders, the National Park Service (NPS) today announced it is withdrawing its August 2018 proposal to revise the First Amendment and Special Use Permit regulations for the National Mall, President’s Park and other national parks in the Washington, D.C. area." This victory shows once again that if we unite and act in solidarity we can win. Now that we have kept our right to protest, we urge people to exercise those rights in the coming years. The 2020s will be a decade of potential transformational change but it will only happen if people mobilize to demand the change we need.
By John Zangas for DC Media Group. January 20, 2017 may go down in history as the most chaotic inauguration ever as groups opposed to the administration of Donald Trump are finalizing plans to disrupt it. The groups form a loose coalition under the banner #DisruptJ20 with plans to blitz all 12 entry checkpoints with blockades, among other civil disobedience actions. The morning trip into the District likely won’t be easy either, since organizers announced plans to block traffic at key points around the city. Plans include training for arrests with instruction in legal rights for non-violent direct actions during the entire day. Washington will in effect transform into a series of chaotic demonstrations along the two-mile route Trump will travel from the U.S. Capitol to the White House after he is sworn in as the 45th President.
Adam Gabbatt for the Guardian. A group of millennial activists from across the country plan to open a “movement house” in Washington DC next month, which will serve as a permanent base to protest Donald Trump’s presidency. The organizers are mostly women of color, many of whom campaigned for Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary. The house, which will be set up by inauguration day on 20 January, has been dubbed “District 13”, in a reference to a rebellious neighborhood in the Hunger Games books and films. Activists told the Guardian that it will serve as a “space for the best kinds of troublemakers from around the country”. The property will be located in Capitol Hill, close to the White House and the Capitol building, and will enable activists to quickly mobilize against Trump should he court controversy during his presidency.
By Staff of BXE - Several of the activists walked into the branch to deliver a letter calling on TD Bank to stop lending its investors’ money to Energy Transfer Partners to build the 1,134-mile Dakota Access Pipeline that would run from North Dakota to Illinois, crossing beneath the Missouri River near Standing Rock Reservation and threatening the tribe’s water supply and sacred and cultural lands. TD Securities, the bank’s parent, is contributing $365 million to the project.
By Kevin Gosztola for Shadow Proof - When the Justice Department ended its investigation into Thomas Tamm in 2011, the Justice Department whistleblower who revealed warrantless wiretapping said it was a relief that a “long ordeal” was now over. But it turns out the “ordeal” has entered a new chapter. He now faces ethics violations for blowing the whistle on illegal surveillance. The District of Columbia Bar, a body with the power to discipline lawyers who violate ethical standards and rules of professional conduct, initiated disciplinary proceedings for Tamm for revealing “secrets” or “confidences” of his “client” to New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau.
By Luke for DC Indy Media. Below is a month-by-month video review of activism, primarily in the Washington, DC region. If you think there are no protests in DC this video will disabuse of that thought. In fact, it was a busy year of protests on a wide range of issues. If these videos were shown on the commercial media or covered regularly by the corporate press it would look like the United States was in revolt. Luke who made the video is based in DC but he cannot cover all the protests that go on here. For example, few protests inside of Congress are included in this video, even though there have been many. Highlights of the past year include Black Lives Matter, the Baltimore Uprising, the TPP, the Pope, the climate protests and more. Below the video is a list of the protests covered by Luke, a DC independent media maker. Luke is primarily covering DC-area protests. In reality, many cities across the country have regular protests on the economy, climate, racism, wars, low wages and more. In the last couple of years as pipelines and other carbon infrastructure is being put in place we are also seeing protests outside of urban areas. When we are in the midst of the struggle, even if we are aware of many protests, we often can still not see how active the movement for economic, racial and environmental justice is.
By Eugene Puryear & Sean Blackman for Stop Police Terror - Mayor Muriel Bowser has released her plan addressing the spike in crime. Stop Police Terror and many others, have stated, she is headed in the wrong direction. In her framing she states the plan is “comprehensive.” Translated from politician-speak that means it contains “something for everyone.” Stop Police Terror has some serious concerns particularly about the massive increase in police presence and expansion of police powers. Much of what Bowser proposes is based on spurious information. Tougher penalties for crimes on public transit is a strategy that simply will not work. One of the principal studies on the effect of more severe penalties concluded: “the studies reviewed do not provide a basis for inferring that increasing the severity of sentences generally is capable of enhancing deterrent effects.” Stop Police Terror rejects this mass incarceration approach to criminal justice that has been proven by the academic and anecdotal evidence to be unsound.
Below are a series of headlines, photos and opening paragraphs from major media sources describing how they covered the nationwide protests against the grand jury decisions in police shooting cases in New York and Ferguson as well as police abuse which has become a nationwide epidemic. Some papers like the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette where there were major protests did not cover the local protests in their communities. Others, like the Washington Post, focused more on the politics of the issue with photos of protests in DC and nationally. The Associated Press summarized the night of protests writing: "Thousands and thousands of diverse people united by anger took to the streets from New York City to San Francisco for a second straight night to protest a grand jury clearing a white police officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man. Grandparents marched with their grandchildren. Experienced activists stood alongside newcomers, and protesters of all colors chanted slogans. A 61-year-old black woman was accompanied by her daughter and twin 10-year-old grandchildren, a boy and a girl. She said it was important to her that the children saw a crowd that was racially mixed and diverse in many other ways all insisting upon the same thing - that something must be done." That was the message, too, in cities across America: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis Oakland, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., among them.
A little-known regulatory agency has been the site of daily protests this week against the environmental costs and health and safety hazards associated with exporting natural gas. Roughly twenty people have been picketing every day this week outside the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency in charge of approving interstate gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas terminals. FERC is accused of being dysfunctional and in dire need of reform, a de facto “rubber stamp” for gas industry plans to expand their fracking operations. “They are oil and gas industry facilitators, not oil and gas industry regulators,” said Mike Tidwell, director of environmental group Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), at a press conference in front of FERC on Monday. Protestors chanted, “Hey, FERC, yes you can, stop this dirty fracked gas plan!” and carried signs which said, “The FERC Rubberstamp Hurts Communities” and “Cove Point is All About Fracking!” They came from areas which would be affected by the approval of the conversion of Cove Point LNG into an export terminal. On Tuesday, Calvert County, Maryland residents picketed and expressed fears about their safety living in close proximity to the energy intensive and volatile process of supercooling methane gas. On Wednesday, people from Frederick County registered their anger with FERC over approving a highly polluting compressor station in Myersville which would help transport gas to Cove Point. According to CCAN, organizer of the weeklong protest, FERC reviews projects without adequately assessing their environmental, health and safety risks, nor their cumulative impacts on the climate.