Only Nonviolent Resistance Will Destroy Corporate State

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By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – The encampments by Native Americans at Standing Rock, N.D., from April 2016 to February 2017 to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline provided the template for future resistance movements. The action was nonviolent. It was sustained. It was highly organized. It was grounded in spiritual, intellectual and communal traditions. And it lit the conscience of the nation. Native American communities—more than 200 were represented at the Standing Rock encampments, which at times contained up to 10,000 people—called themselves “water protectors.” Day after day, week after week, month after month, the demonstrators endured assaults carried out with armored personnel carriers, rubber bullets, stun guns, tear gas, cannons that shot water laced with chemicals, and sound cannons that can cause permanent hearing loss. Drones hovered overhead. Attack dogs were unleashed on the crowds. Hundreds were arrested, roughed up and held in dank, overcrowded cells. Many were charged with felonies. The press, or at least the press that attempted to report honestly, was harassed and censored, and often reporters were detained or arrested. And mixed in with the water protectors was a small army of infiltrators, spies and agents provocateurs, who often initiated vandalism and rock throwing at law enforcement and singled out anti-pipeline leaders for arrest.

Campaign Nonviolence Organizes Over 1,600 Events For Week Of Actions

A March for Peace in Wilmington, Delaware on Sept. 23. Organizers in Delaware held over 60 events during Campaign Nonviolence's Week of Actions. (Courtesy of Pace e Bene)

By Maria Benevento for NCR – A grassroots movement to bring nonviolence into the mainstream has been quietly but exponentially growing, resulting in 1,600 nonviolent actions in all 50 U.S. states and 16 other countries during the week of Sept. 16-24. For the fourth year in a row, Pace e Bene, an organization founded by Franciscan Friars in 1989 and dedicated to promoting peace, justice and well-being for all, sponsored the Week of Actions as part of Campaign Nonviolence, a long-term movement to build a culture of peace. “We have started this with the hope to get people to ‘connect the dots’ on issues of violence,” said Fr. John Dear, nonviolence outreach coordinator for Pace e Bene, “but also to promote the vision of a new culture of nonviolence, to try to get the movement moving.” Campaign Nonviolence asked local event organizers to take a holistic approach, drawing attention to the interconnection of four main issues — poverty, racism, war and environmental destruction — as forms of violence and promoting a positive vision of a culture of nonviolence. Common events included vigils, marches, public lectures, teach-ins, nonviolence trainings and prayer services. In Cincinnati, the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center worked with Dear to launch “Nonviolent Cincinnati” as part of the Nonviolent Cities Project.

Campaign Nonviolence Mounts Nationwide Week Of Actions

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By Aggie Perilli and Jeanine Genauer for Pace e Bene – Corvallis, OR (September 15, 2017) –Over 1000 marches, actions, events and rallies are poised to take place in all 50 states nationwide as part of Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions September 16-24. This unprecedented campaign of grassroots activism calls for nonviolent action against racism, war, poverty, and environmental destruction. In its inaugural year of 2014, 230 events took place. In response to the hate speech presently dividing our nation, this year people will join together in more than 1,000 rallies, to spread the word of unity and peace. “People across the United States and beyond are taking Campaign Nonviolence to the streets to end violence and injustices, and begin peacemaking,” said Dr. Ken Butigan, co-founder of Campaign Nonviolence and professor at DePaul University. “This unified voice calls for concrete policy shifts to build peace, economic justice, and environmental healing—and insists on being heard.” Campaign Nonviolence is sponsored by Pace e Bene, a non-profit organization committed to building a culture of peace through active nonviolence and shared understanding and partnerships to protect human rights, abolish war as well as nuclear weapons, end poverty, challenge injustice, heal the planet—and meet today’s profound spiritual task: to build a just, peaceful and nonviolent world.

Is Violence The Way To Fight Racism?

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By Peter Singer for Project Syndicate. PRINCETON, NJ – Should rallies by neo-Nazis and white supremacists be met with violence? That question was raised by the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12. White supremacists held a rally to protest the planned removal from a public park of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the leader of the Confederate army during the Civil War. A counter-protest was organized, and street fighting broke out. A woman, Heather Heyer, was killed and 19 people injured when James Fields, a white nationalist, drove his car at high speed into a crowd of counter-protesters.

Noam Chomsky: AntiFa Is ‘A Major Gift To The Right’

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By Maya Oppenheim for The Independent. Noam Chomsky has criticised the anti-fascist movement and argued its actions are wrong in principle and it is a “major gift to the right”. The eminent intellectual, who is described as the father of modern linguistics, argued the movement was self-destructive and constituted a tiny faction on the periphery of the left. Antifa, shorthand for anti-fascist organisations, refers to a loose coalition of militant, decentralised, grassroots groups which are opposed to the far-right. The movement, which was founded in Europe in the 1920s, has dominated headlines in the wake of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville earlier this month. Neo-Nazis, KKK members and “alt-right” supporters clashed with anti-fascists and a woman was left dead after a car ploughed into a crowd of anti-fascist protesters.

Beyond Violence And Nonviolence

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By Ben Case for Roar Magazine. The argument over violence and nonviolence — one of the oldest and most divisive on the left — is back. Broken windows, mass arrests and one well-timed punch marked Donald Trump’s inauguration alongside massive nonviolent marches. In the weeks since, demonstrators converged on international airports, adding weight to a heated judicial fight over a sweeping ban on refugees and immigrants from seven countries, and fiery protests outside a famed hate-monger’s talk at Berkeley cancelled the event and forced the speaker to flee under police escort. Against the backdrop of a renascent fascist menace, the mix of tactical approaches has brought renewed fervor to the violence-vs-nonviolence debate. The dispute has been calcified into fixed positions, where it becomes less about persuading others to a strategic position and more about winning a point for one’s team.

Authoritarianism Is Making A Comeback

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By Maria J. Stephan and Timothy Snyder for The Guardian. It is time for those who support democracy to remember what activists from around the world have paid a price to learn: how to win. Modern authoritarians rely on repression, intimidation, corruption and co-optation to consolidate their power. The dictator’s handbook mastered by Orban in Hungary, Erdogan in Turkey, Maduro in Venezuela, Zuma in South Africa, Duterte in the Philippines and Trump here provides the traditional tactics: attack journalists, blame dissent on foreigners and “paid protestors,” scapegoat minorities and vulnerable groups, weaken checks on power, reward loyalists, use paramilitaries, and generally try to reduce politics to a question of friends and enemies, us and them.

Mobilizing For A Culture Of Nonviolence This Fall

April Showed Huge Increase In Nonviolent Protests Across the US

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By Alexandra Rosenmann for AlterNet – April showed a huge increase in nonviolent protest activity across the U.S. As co-director of the Crowd Counting Consortium, Erica Chenoweth has been collecting political crowd data since the Women’s March in January. She also produces a monthly breakdown for the Washington Post on political activism trends based on the numbers. Based on Chenoweth’s data for April, here are five signs indicating engagement in the resistance to Trump is on the rise. 1. The reported crowd size increased more than 60 percent. According to Chenoweth’s report, “April had a 62 percent increase over the number of reported crowds in March [as well as] a major increase in participation—between eight and 13 times greater than the estimated number who participated in March.” The largest event was the March for Science, in which approximately half a million Americans participated.

Can The “Spiritual Left” Make The Change They Wish To See?

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By Arielle Levites for Religion Dispatches – Over the last twenty-five years, as more and more Americans cease affiliating with any particular religion or church, they increasingly identify with an alternative religious sensibility: “spirituality.” Approximately one in five Americans consider themselves “spiritual-but-not-religious.” While the practice of American spirituality is diverse and decentralized, my research shows that there are many common features in its expression, from yoga studios to mindfulness seminars. It may not surprise you to learn that the spiritual-but-not-religious heavily favor the Democratic Party. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2012 found that Americans who identify as spiritual-but-not-religious are twice as likely to lean Democratic as they are to lean Republican (62% to 31%). But what kind of political activism does spirituality promote? The culture of American spirituality tends to emphasize civic action through emotional self-development. Spiritual practitioners argue that we can best change the world through changing ourselves. If we properly govern our own emotional responses, lowering negative emotion while cultivating positive emotion we make our country a better place…

Night After Day In Afghanistan

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By Dr. Hakim for the Afghan Peace Volunteers. Dr. Hakim runs the Afghan Peace Volunteers. Here is the most recent message that they sent about the important work they are doing to survive, heal and build community: I’m so often caught up in the daily concerns of work and the wars raging across Afghanistan and many parts of the world that I forget how remarkable it is that at the Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre in Kabul, 19 small teams with more than 70 active Afghan Peace Volunteers are putting nonviolence into microscopic but concrete practice. There’s also the pulsating energy from 100 eager street kids ready to change themselves. All these ‘small people’ with ‘big souls’ touch me. They move my days and nights.

The Protesting Priest

Frank Cordaro, Catholic Workers, Iowa, the protesting priest. Photo by Hannah Little

By Angela Ufheil for Urban Plains. Each year, the Andrews Air Force Base hosts an open house. Thousands visit the Maryland base to see the latest in aircraft technology. Pilots perform aerial stunts. Soldiers give talks. And in 1998, five activists, known as the Gods of Metal Plowshares Five, attacked a military bomber. An interpretation of Roman Catholicism allows for the destruction of property in the name of pacifism. That’s where the Plowshares movement came from. The movement aligned with Frank’s goals perfectly. When the first Plowshares action took place in 1980 — a group of eight damaged a nuclear warhead and poured blood onto documents and files — Frank knew he’d one day participate. Most Plowshares protests involved active resistance to war. In this case, active resistance isn’t just writing letters and making a few calls. It means trespassing on military property. It means pouring blood. It means breaking things.

Standing Rock Lives On As A Model For Peaceful Resistance

Protesters watch as structures are burned around them at the Oceti Sakowin protest camp before a 2 pm deadline to vacate in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, February 22, 2017. (Photo: Nick Cote / The New York Times)

By Four Arrows for Truthout – Oppressive legislation is aimed at ending grassroots resistance, the bedrock requirement for sustaining democracy. In an op-ed in the Guardian, Douglas Williams writes that it is not just the media, judiciary or electoral systems that are being undermined: “What is ignored is the effect that the Trump administration will have on the social movements, which serve as pillars of the resistance. If these fall, our democracy will be irreparably harmed.” In response to the “water is life” spiritual movement in Standing Rock, lawmakers in 10 states have proposed oppressive legislation. In North Dakota, a bill was proposed to let someone get away with running over a protester, after a cop on a snowmobile ran over a Water Protector. Earlier this month, the North Dakota State Senate passed a bill 33-12, making it illegal for a protester to wear a mask, whether to protect the face from cold or pepper spray.

When You Brag That The Women’s Marches Were Nonviolent

Rosa Parks being fingerprinted by an Alabama police officer after her arrest during the bus boycott (Wikimedia).

By Ijeoma Oluo for The Establishment – When you brag that your protests had no arrests, I wonder what you think that says about you. “When someone asks me about violence… I just find it incredible. Because what it means is that the person asking that question has absolutely no idea what black people have gone through — what black people have experienced in this country — since the time the first black person was kidnapped from the shores of Africa.” — Angela Davis

America: It’s Going To Be A Wild Ride

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By Bruce Gagnon for the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. I watched Donald Trump’s inaugural speech yesterday with three other housemates and none of us were impressed. He’s living in another age – I see Trump trying to hang on to the long passed time of American military supremacy and economic domination. One last gasp before the US empire crashes under the weight of its own hypocrisy and contradictions. He said a few things that were decent but one must question them as pure political rhetoric as just a quick review of his cabinet appointments (full of corporate operatives) strongly undercuts his claims that he will return the power to the people that the ‘elites in Washington’ have unfairly taken from them. Trump blames other nations (especially China) for ‘stealing our jobs’ but we all know that it was the absolute greed of the corporations that drove them to close production plants across America and move jobs to places overseas where labor was cheaper and environmental regulations were virtually non-existent.