On April 28, 2022, in DeWitt, NY night court, Judge David Gideon presiding, pro se defendants Mark Scibilia-Carver and Tom Joyce of the Ithaca Catholic Worker and the Upstate Drone Action Coalition, had their 2019 violation charges for blocking, with several others, the main entrance of Hancock drone base, home of the 174th Attack Wing of the NYS Air National Guard. dismissed “in the interests of justice.” According to Sujata Gibson, stand-by counsel and Cornell Law School faculty, the dismissal “was significant, not just to this movement but to our collective conversation about the role of non-violent peaceful action in our democracy.” Gibson continued, “It was an honor to witness the thought that Judge Gideon put into his decision and deeply moving to hear the words of those who put themselves on the line to bring attention to these issues.”
Imagine you are a climate-change campaigner. You’ve studied research findings and know that unless greenhouse gas emissions are greatly reduced very soon, future generations will likely suffer catastrophic impacts. You’ve protested for years, yet governments and companies continue to invest in fossil fuels, and emissions keep going up. You are especially annoyed at those who are rich and privileged and who seem not to care that with their SUVs and international flights they are causing more damage to the climate than thousands of ordinary people in Bangladesh or Burundi. You don’t want to give in to desperation. You want to do something to bring a halt to a crime in the making.
An organizer and analyst we deeply respect, “Training for Change” co-founder George Lakey, recently suggested Voices help maintain a list of organizations in the U.S. which are helping people prepare for the possibility of a stolen election, a rigged election, or an outright coup following November 3rd voting in the U.S.. In a nation with rapidly dwindling concern for democracy, the principle of nonviolent community organizing for democracy has seldom seemed so urgent. We’re impressed by the quality of outreach and organizing which has already developed in cities and states across the U.S.
The six remaining Kings Bay Plowshares defendants have had their sentencing dates moved from September to October 15 and 16. They had requested a continuance because they want to appear in open court in Georgia and the virus situation there is still too out of control to safely allow it. Steve Kelly has now served almost 29 months in county jails since the action in April 2018 so has already met the guidelines for his likely sentence. The court may not want to grant him further extensions. (You can send a postcard to Steve to let him know you're thinking of him. Directions on writing here.) The other defendants are not sure if they would prefer to seek more continuances or choose virtual appearances for sentencing in solidarity with Steve on those dates in October if it appears unsafe to travel to Georgia at that time.
Hamburg, Germany - With this week’s commemorations of the US atomic massacres at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there will be countless hours spent on speeches, sermons, hymns, and warnings; tons of ink spilled in op/eds, editorials and articles. All will solemnly promote the need to pursue a world without nuclear weapons. However, many of the same voices will negate their own words by advocating a wait-and-see, what-about-the-other-guy, business-as-usual support of “deterrence.”
Soon after George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, was suffocated to death by Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020, a nationwide response to his killing reenergized the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. BLM was founded in 2013 after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer. It has only grown and evolved in the years since, especially strategically. The movement’s demands include an end to systemic racism, racial injustice and police brutality; the arrest, prosecution and conviction of killer cops; the removal of monuments and statues which commemorate Confederate figures and other white supremacists; and the defunding of our archaic and oppressive policing system.
Nationwide protests against police brutality following George Floyd’s murder are the broadest and most persistent in US history. They have laid bare the racism that pervades American society—and demonstrated the willingness of Americans to take to the streets and resist oppression, even in the midst of a pandemic. Americans must continue demanding an end to white supremacy and follow the lead of Black organizers to galvanize a similar flexing of civic muscle to help ensure democratic continuity come November. With elections four months away and the rule of law under steady attack, people power could prove decisive in ensuring a constitutional transfer of power without violence. Analysts have developed a number of doomsday scenarios for November. The election could be postponed or canceled. A state of emergency could be declared and polling stations shut down.
One key to a winning strategy is to figure out what the opponent’s strategy is and refuse to be manipulated — in Portland and in the other cities on Trump’s target list. Federal intervention in Portland has turned the previous hundreds of late-night protesters into thousands. Nonviolent tactics include dancing, a “Wall of Moms,” and orange-clad dads with leaf-blowers, who blow away tear gas. Other activists have escalated violent tactics in response to the escalation by the feds. According to The New York Times, some of the protesters used lasers while federal officers fired projectiles into the crowd. Court papers claim that a Molotov cocktail was thrown and one protester was charged with hitting an officer with a hammer, while the Times reported multiple efforts by some protesters to set alight the wood on the façade of the federal courthouse. The fire attempt of course reinforces Trump’s dubious claim that the feds need to be there to protect federal property.
In response to the use of tear gas being utilized by federal officers against demonstrators, including a group of moms, in an uprising in Portland, Oregon, this week, a like-minded dads’ group encouraged others to show up to the event with leaf blowers in order to dissipate the chemical agents. Uprisings in Portland have happened nightly since the end of May, in response to police violence against Black Americans, including renewed attention to Jason Washington, a Black resident of the city who was shot and killed by police in 2018. Tensions have escalated in recent weeks as federal officers began appearing at the events. Last week, there were reports of agents in unmarked vans stopping next to protesters, whisking them away in the vehicles without stated justification and without identifying who they were.
Syracuse, NY - Students with #NotAgainSU, who have been protesting racism and hate incidents on campus that are not being punished, are currently occupying the admissions building, Crouse-Hinds Hall. Their action began yesterday. Last night when the university ordered them to leave at closing time and move their action to the library, which is open twenty-four hours a day, the students refused. Today, the students remain in Crouse-Hinds Hall, but rather than listening to their concerns, the university is limiting access to the building to employees only and preventing anyone from bringing food inside. The students say they are hungry. They haven't eaten since Monday afternoon. They also report that the building is cold and that police are acting violently.
As we approached the first weekend of the October Rebellion, it was humbling and inspiring to see that rebels showed no sign of slowing down. In fact, day 5 was marked by a series of exciting milestones: XR Dublin had their first arrests; XR Israel reached a new level of direct action, as rebels glued themselves to the National Stock Exchange in Tel Aviv; and Aussie rebels pioneered the delightful new concept of ‘Civil Disco-bedience’.
Persistent willful ignorance of necessary knowledge can be deadly. This is true of denial of climate collapse. It is also true of denial of the tools and power of nonviolent action. As evidence and knowledge pile up in each case, denial of the facts looks more and more intentional, reckless, and malevolent, or intentionally, recklessly, and malevolently manufactured by propagandists. “We need to burn more oil or suffer horribly” is slowly being recognized as a vicious deception, as more and more people come to understand that we need to burn less oil or suffer horribly.
Many studies have focused on the conditions that contribute to successful nonviolent resistance campaigns, but few analyze the reasons or events that cause these campaigns to emerge. This study provides insight into some of the possible explanations for the increase of nonviolent campaigns around the world, mainly pointing to the influence of economic modernization. The authors argue that the advancement of modern economic sectors, such as manufacturing, provide the opportunity and leverage for citizens to voice their dissatisfaction through nonviolent means.